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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Curious Case Of Luella Eccles

A Day in the Life: February 3rd

(Aged 14)
Wea.  Snowy                                MON. FEB. 3, 1896                        Ther. 33

Went to school.  In evening went up to Mr. Maxwell’s.

(Aged 16)
Wea.  Clear                                  THUR. FEB. 3, 1898                     Ther. 6 below

Went to school rode down with Pa he went to Jamestown.  Leon Page rode down with us it was awful cold.  Stayed all night with Mrs. Mason had a good time with Alice Peterson she boards here.  In evening went to church with Irma Bunce + Mrs. Merric came + sat with us.  HA! HA!                

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             FRI. FEB. 3, 1899                           Ther. 

Drove Tom + buggy to school.  Alton Bunce + I used the microscope for 2 divisions this P.M.  Pa + Ma went down to Mr. Flaggs.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              SAT. FEB. 3, 1900                          Ther.

Mary Cass Eccles; Gib's wife; Luella's mother
Rode Big Bill up to Gib's.  Had Ed Harrington’s saddle.  When I went up I saw a fox track  we put the dogs on but they hadn’t come back when I came home. Mearle Cowan took Luella to a dance last night.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                               SUN. FEB. 3, 1901                        Ther.

Did chores + stayed at home all day.  Ed + Ida Harrington came down in evening.

(Aged 20)
Wea.                                             MON.  FEB.  3, 1902                      Ther.

Awful stormy.  The mail didn’t come.  We split wood + done chores.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                             TUES.  FEB.  3, 1903                     Ther.

Alice’s folks came down and stayed to dinner.

(Aged 22)
Wea.                                               WED. FEB. 3, 1904                      Ther.

Stayed at home all day.


Editor's Note: At 16, Allen sure is having a lark with all the girls.  Presumably Alice Peterson is much like Clara Londquist in the "too old" category but he loves the flirt just the same.  Then shenanigans ensue at Church when Mrs. Merric tries to insinuate herself into the happy duo of Allen and Irma.  "HA HA" indeed. 

It seems age has a lot to do with title usage.  For example, in younger journals Allen refers to Sarah Mason as Grandma Mason but later she is Mrs. Mason.  Here too, at 18 we see Unkle Gib is now Gib. Very Man-to-Man now.  I know this is Unkle Gib because Luella is his daughter and Allen's first cousin.  Now here is where it all gets confusing...If Census information is to be relied on Luella is a bit of an interesting thread that leads to a few different places and possibilities...some unsavory. 

First off the happy version:  Gilbert Eccles married Mary Cass in 1888 and had 6 children the oldest being Luella.

The rest of the story concluded by interesting census revelations/conflicts:

Gilbert was possibly first married to a Mary from Indiana...clearly not Mary Cass.
Luella was actually born in 1884.  Four years BEFORE he married Mary Cass in 1888.
In the 1920 Census Gilbert at aged 78 is married to 35 year-old Luella.   (Scooby-gulp here)

So there are two ways I can resolve this in my mind.  In 1920 the Census Taker mistook the daughter for a wife and Mary Cass simply gave birth out of wedlock in 1884.  But this doesn't take into account the odd reference to the Indiana Mary.

If we are to acknowledge the Indiana Mary as having existed and not excused as enumerator error, the second way to resolve this is to say Mary Cass had Luella with an unknown husband,  married Gilbert who then gave Luella his name.  Indiana Mary dies, and the widowed Gilbert marries Mary Cass and has five more children.  Widowed again, he marries the woman he raised as his daughter.  Unsavory in the Woody Allen variety to say the least.

This is what I love/hate about genealogy.  It is a fabulous puzzle but sometimes pieces are just gone.

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