1888: Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee R.I.P.

Sepia Saturday 404: Fourth in a series on my Union Army great-great grandfather Arthur Bull and his final years in Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, N.Y.

The year 1888 was significant for my great-great grandparents Arthur and Mary (Blakeslee) Bull, who experienced the ups and downs of family life while living in Salamanca, N.Y.

The first momentous event was the death on 8 Jan. 1888 of Mary’s mother — my widowed great-great-great grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee — who was living with them at the time.

My ggg grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee’s stone in Shawsville Cemetery, Conklin, Broome Co., N.Y. Hannah was living with her daughter Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull and son-in-law Arthur in Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y., at the time of her death. Photo: Paul R/Find a Grave 1.
Hannah’s history

Hannah has appeared in only one post on Molly’s Canopy, as I have not yet researched her or my Hance ancestors in detail. However, the recent discovery of her obituary stating that she lived with Arthur and Mary at the end of her life prompted me to review what I know about her.

Excerpted Timeline for Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee
Year Source Age Details
1850 U.S. Census, Conklin, Broome Co., N.Y. 37 She lived in household of farmer Z. Blakeslee, 42, with child Mary E, 12. Farm valued at $2,000.
1860 U.S. Census of Hancock, Delaware Co., N.Y. 48 She was living without Z. Blakeslee in household of William and Rhoda A. Whitney.
1880 U.S. Census of Binghamton, Broome Co., N.Y. 68 Living in Butternut St. household of grandson Albert Whitney, 27, wife Kate, 25, and daughter Zara, 5.
1888 Death Certificate, Salamanca, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. 73 and 11mos. Hanna Blacksley: Widowed, worked as a nurse, born in Susquehanna, . buried in Conklin, N.Y., her father was Waples Hance.
1888 Cattaraugus Republican Jan. 13 obituary 76 Hannah Blakesley: Mother of Mrs. A.T. Bull, at whose residence she died. Transported to Binghamton, N.Y., for funeral, burial.
Shawsville Cemetery stone, Conklin, Broome Co., N.Y. 75 and 11 mos. Hannah Blakeslee, wife of Zebulon, Died Jan . 8, 1888 aged 75 yrs. & 11 ms.

Hannah is mentioned briefly in an 1887 Centennial History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania as a daughter of Waples Hance who married Zebulon Blakeslee, a local merchant.

She also appears as a daughter of Waples and Rachel (Chapman) Hance in a family tree of  “John Hance and Some of His Descendants” by Rev. William White in the the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. 2

Yet questions remain: Where was she living in 1870? What became of her husband Zebulon? What can be learned about her early life? When exactly was she born?

Multi-generational household

In 1888, Hannah was the senior member of the three-generation Bull household in 1888. Arthur was the wage-earner. Mary kept house. And the three youngest Bull children (Jessie,19; Alice, 11; and Waples, 10) probably still lived at home.

Arthur was receiving a one-half disability pension for health effects of his Union Army service and unable to work full-time. So possibly trying economic times — and then came the sad occurrence of Hannah’s passing.

Back home to Broome County

Obituary of my ggg grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee (Cattaraugus Republican, 13 Jan. 1888). From this obituary I learned that Hannah was living with Arthur T. and Mary (Blakeslee) Bull in Salamanca, N.Y., at the time of her death. Scan by Molly Charboneau

According to her obituary, Hannah was transported from Salamanca to Binghamton in Broome County, N.Y., for her funeral and burial — a location she probably considered home.

Hannah grew up and married in the area, where she also raised her daughters Rhoda and Mary.

Rhoda and husband William Whitney still lived there in 1888 — and cemetery records show that he paid for Hannah’s plot.

Hannah is buried in Shawsville Cemetery in Conklin, N.Y. with her extended Bull and Whitney family — and just down the road from Stillwater Cemetery, the final resting place of her parents Waples and Rachel (Chapman) Hance in Corbettsville, N.Y.

A difficult start to 1888 Arthur and Mary (Blakeslee) Bull with Hannah’s passing. Yet despite this loss, happier times were ahead as their daughter Jessie prepared to marry and set up a household of her own.

More in the next post. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2018 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Footnotes

  1.  Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 28 January 2018), memorial page for Hannah Blakeslee (Feb 1812–8 Jan 1888), Find A Grave Memorial no. 91413754, citing Shawsville Cemetery, Conklin, Broome County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Paul R (contributor 47317162)
  2.   White, William (1904). John Hance and Some of His Descendants. New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 35(2), 130.
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8 thoughts on “1888: Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee R.I.P.”

  1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Yes, the later U.S. Census returns provide a good deal of family information, as do obituaries — but further back in time the census detail is more sparse and obituaries appear rarely. When blogging, I find using tables, subheadings and a conversational style helps lay readers relate to genealogy and family history in a more personal way — and it helps me understand my own discoveries! As for my ggg grandfather Zebulon Blakeslee, I hope to research him and his family, line along with the Hances, in the not too distant future 🙂

  2. Yes. the U.S. seems to have much richer records than(in most cases)the UK.
    Mike makes an interesting comment about present records, I bet modern social media will actually make research more difficult for future generations to do any meaningful research on us!
    Zebulon is a fine name! Ask the good people of North Carolina !
    Keep Up The Good Work Molly!

  3. How well you document things, with sources too! And I especially liked the idea of a table for time-line events. But best of all is your narrative style. I tend to just copy the facts. A good lesson for me!

  4. I too particularly like your timeline presentation. I gather that quite ordinary people can be found with obituaries in the USA. Here in Britain we lack that resource, unless your ancestor had made his mark in someway in his community – the only exception, casualities in war. Even death announcements in newspapers can be very brief, with few details on family.

  5. Names were hitting me: Chapman (our next door neighbors), and Whitney (my Mom’s maiden name and daughter’s middle name). I’ve never heard the name Zebulon either. Very unusual. Is it a name of nationality?

  6. Finding obituaries is always a rewarding confirmation of family genealogy. I’ve found the newspaper archives are way more valuable than census records, especially in that infamous hole between the 1880 and 1900 censuses. I wonder if in future times, Facebook and other internet based social media will be searched for ancestor details? Many of us who don’t participate will leave few breadcrumbs.

  7. Even without having done extensive research on that side of the family, you are off to a good start with the obituary. And by the way, I really like how you presented the story with subheadings and the table of dates. Note to self: copy this!

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