Tag Archives: Rachel (Chapman) Hance

1858: Why did Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee leave her marriage?

Sepia Saturday 492: First in a new series on why my third great-grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee may have left her marriage in 1858.

Major personal crossroads are reached by a winding path extending back for years. Deciding how to move forward draws from the deep well of an individual’s life experience —  even when the choice of which path to take is spurred by an immediate event.

Such was the situation I believe my third great-grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee faced when, at 46, she left her husband — my third great-grandfather Zebulon Blakeslee — on 1 Nov. 1858, never to return.

Two previous series have examined the Blakeslees’ separation — and their ultimate divorce in 1866. Yet I have found no record giving Hannah’s motivation for taking the path she chose.

So this new series will endeavor to circumstantially answer the remaining mystery: Why did Hannah leave? And what better place to begin than with Hannah’s personal history.

1882: Going into the World by Evert Jan Boks (1838-1914). The decision by my third great-grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee to leave her husband in 1858 cannot have been easy. Yet apparently once she had made the tough choice, she never looked back. Image: mimimatthews.com

Hannah’s childhood

Hannah was born on 8 Feb. 1812, most likely in Conklin, Broome Co., N.Y.  She was the  fourth of six children — with three older siblings (brother Isaac and sisters Catherine and Rachel) and two younger (sister Lydia and brother Asher).

Her parents were my fourth great-grandparents — Waples Hance (1760-1843) from Shrewsbury, Monmouth Co., N.J., and his second wife Rachel Chapman (1784-1837) of the Conklin area.

Waples settled in Conklin circa 1788. However, allegedly due to a land dispute he moved just across the border into Pennsylvania — where from 1815 his farm, home and livestock appear on the tax rolls of Lawsville in Susquehanna County’s Liberty Township.

Hannah was three when her family moved to Lawsville —  where her father continued paying taxes until his death in 1843.

Image by 12019 on Pixabay
A New York Farm. The small, rural hamlet of Lawsville, Susquehanna Co., Penna., became Hannah’s childhood home — with her immediate world a sparsely populated agricultural expanse punctuated by forested hills straddling the New York-Pennsylvania border south of Binghamton, N.Y.

Thus small, rural Lawsville became Hannah’s childhood home — with her immediate world a sparsely populated agricultural expanse punctuated by forested hills straddling the New York-Pennsylvania border south of Binghamton, N.Y.

Early marriage and motherhood

Not surprising in these circumstances that Hannah married at age 16 — younger than the average marriage age of 20-22 for nineteenth century women — and chose a man who, like her father, was from elsewhere.

My third great-grandfather Zebulon Blakeslee was born in Connecticut in 1807. In his divorce petition he stated that he and Hannah married on 19 Nov. 1828. He was 21 at the time — five years Hannah’s senior.

What were her hopes for marriage to Zebulon? A solid partnership with a good provider? A stable, hardworking father for her children? Or a chance to leave Lawsville and see a bit of the world? There is no way to know without direct testimony from Hannah.

Suffice to say that by the time of the 1830 U.S. Census1Hannah and Zebulon were living in Lawsville a few houses down from her parents — where court records indicate Zebulon had bought land in 1827.

And on 7 Dec. 1830, at age 18, Hannah gave birth to their first daughter Rhoda Ann Blakeslee.2

Up next: Hannah’s early married life with Zebulon. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2019 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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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.com

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 3

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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