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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2011-01-22 09:05 pm
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A Chapin cousin found me...

I guess he did a Google search, and hit on my entry about Essie Chapin. She was his great-grandmother. That makes him my third cousin once removed.

He left a comment and his email address. We have been corresponding for about a week.

Turns out mine is not not the only mind Essie messes with...

At issue is our very own Chapin version of who's your daddy?

Today, my cousin sent me three pages of Chapin genealogy handwritten by his grandfather that made me realize I had the wrong daddy (and mommy) for Nathaniel Foster Chapin. I corrected the GEDCOM, and now need to figure out just which Joel Chapin we are dealing with in that generation.

That should be a piece of cake when compared to puzzling through all of Essie's relationships.

Because I am not yet convinced she was married to all those men.

I've tried to be thorough in researching Essie, following her from cradle to grave. At first glance, it appears that she was married four times.

First, on 15 Oct 1889, to Frank G Shephard in Fort Scott, Bourbon Co., KS.

I tracked her after her marriage in both Kansas State and US censuses. In the 1895 Kansas State Census, as well as the 1900 US census, she was Essie Carr, and said she was a widow.

And my heart went out to her. Oh wow, only 29 years old and twice a widow, with two little kids, Broshia and Elbert Shephard. Then, I found a Chapin message board post that said Elbert was really not a Shephard...that he was Elbert C Carr's son, and after she became pregnant with him, Essie married his father in Oregon.

So I moved little Elbert to the second marriage.

Then, I got the comment from my cousin:
The story in my family is that when EC Shephard (my grandfather) was 2 years old, his family...Essie, Broshia and EC, were abandoned by their father Frank Shephard. The only mention of other husbands of Essie was a vague mention that she later married a man named Finn. I am very interested in tracing back the line of Frank Shephard and have little information. I have a photocopy of a REPLACEMENT birth certificate for EC Shephard, born Sept. 5, 1891, issued Feb. 3, 1932 or 1942 (date blurred). It lists his father as Franklin Shephard, 20 years old, undertaker, born in Fairfield, Iowa and residing in Ft. Scott, KS at time of birth. It lists his mother as Essie Chapin, 19 years old, housewife, born in Olean, NY, residing in Ft. Scott KS. I would very much like to know the date and place of death of Joseph (Franklin?) Shephard and the date and place of marriage of Essie and Elbert C. Carr. It seems a real question as to why the baby is given the name of Essie's second husband and surname of the first husband. Who is the biological father? This of course is an important question to me. I would REALLY appreciate any information I could obtain about this.

I looked back at the 1900 census. Essie said the father of both her children was born in Iowa.

I moved little Elbert back to the first marriage.

And wondered who it was who "widowed" her in that census...

Elbert and Broshia lived with Essie and her third husband, Joseph Young Lebolt in Altoona, Blair Co., PA in the 1910 census. Even though the "kids" were almost grown, they were using the Lebolt surname. (More about Lebolt later.)

I looked at that census to get the year that Essie and Joseph married.

I don't know who said it - Joseph or Essie...that it was the first marriage for both of them and they had been married 21 years.


By 1920, Essie had married Daniel J Finn. She was enumerated with him in both the 1920 and 1930 censuses.

So I was thunderstruck to find her obit details from the Altoona Mirror archived at the Altoona Library, which listed her as Essie Lebolt Finn.

Because in 1930, Joseph Y Lebolt was living in Los Angeles, CA with his brother and widowed a single man.

I decided to take a different perspective in looking at Essie's life.

I was going to track the husbands.

Hubby #1 ran off. So if the information in the 1900 census about Essie's marital status was correct, then that meant Elbert Carr died.

But shouldn't there be a divorce on record in Bourbon Co., KS for Essie and Joseph Shephard? And why was Essie's son named for husband #2, and carrying husband #1's surname? (I think the preponderance of the evidence indicates that E C Shephard was Joseph Shephard's son...maybe Elbert Carr was just the kind of guy who would pick up another man's slack...)

If Essie was married to Elbert Carr, then he died (or disappeared) before the 1895 Kansas State Census. I can find no record of a marriage for them in either Kansas or Oregon.

Likewise, I have no idea where or when Essie married Joseph Lebolt. He was the son of German immigrants, Lazarus Lebolt and Jeanette Rubel, and was born in Chicago, where his father and brothers made silverware and fine jewelry. Even to this day, the Lebolt family is still dealing in fine jewelry in Chicago.

Essie's marriage record to Lebolt could reasonably be in any one of three states - Kansas, Illinois or Pennsylvania. In the 1900 census, 40 year old Joseph was living with his parents, several younger adults siblings and two female servants in Chicago.

In that census, Joseph's father, Lazarus, was an agent for the California Wine Association. Three years earlier, he won his petition for a writ of habeas corpus against the City of Chicago, arguing that it was not in the City's power to regulate the interstate commerce of liquor sales from California to Illinios. See decision In Re Lebolt, 77 F 1d 587, in the West Reporter, Vols 77-78 (West Publ Co.), digitized at Google Books.

Joseph died in Chicago on 16 Jan 1938. At the time, Essie was married to Daniel J Finn - for at least 18 years. So it makes even less sense to me for her obituary to read Essie Lebolt Finn.

I think Daniel J Finn was hatched.

All I know about him is that he was born in Pennsylvania in 1877, died in Altoona on 19 May 1953, and had to have married Essie in Altoona sometime before the 1920 census.

But I can't find a marriage record for them either.

Wow--cousins found you

(Anonymous) 2011-01-27 01:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Hi Dee, Your entry reminded me of the discussion over "cousin bait" and I'm so glad your cousins found YOU. Enjoy the genealogy journey together!
- Marian Wood,