Saturday, April 21, 2018

Michigander Girl, Olive Jane (Smith) Wehrly (1846-1913), 52 Ancestors # 16

Olive Jane (Smith) Wehrly tombstone,
Salamonia Cemetery, Salamonia, Indiana

The 16th Ancestor in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project is my paternal great-great grandmother, Olive Jane (Smith) Wehrly (1846-1913).  Olive is number 19 on my Ahnentafel list, and previously I've written about the details of her life in an Exploratory Analysis post.

I am descended through:

* her daughter, # 9 Barbara Isabel Wehrly (1869-1930), married # 8 Luman Cooper LeMasters (1867-1933), in 1886.
* their son, #4 Ord Wehrly LeMaster (1906-1971), married # 5 Ruth Pauline Haley (1911-1990) in 1932 - my grandparents.
Olive was born June 23, 1846 in Cass County, Michigan1,2,3, the only daughter of William and Prudence (Maxson) Smith.  The Smith family had relocated to Cass County, Michigan from Jay County, Indiana and resided there from 1844 to 18514.  Olive is the only one of my direct ancestors born in Michigan.

In 1851, the family had returned to Jay County, and settled in Madison Township. At the time of the 1860 census, Olive was listed as being 13 years old and having attended school within the year5.

Wehrly-Smith marriage record, Jay County, Indiana

While we don't know of all of the connections between the Smith and Wehrly families before Olive married William P. Wehrly on August 5, 18666, both families were living in the Salamonia area before the Civil War.  Her husband had served in the same unit as Olive's father, William P. Smith, the 139th Indiana Infantry.

After their marriage, Olive and William began raising their family in Salamonia and Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana.  They had a large family of 13 children, 8 boys and 5 girls.  Only one child didn't survive until adulthood.

Their children were Minerva Prudence, who married Lawrence Jackson; Barbara Isabel (my ancestor), who married Luman Cooper LeMasters; John William, who married Esther White; Orilla Catherine, who married Arthur Andrews; Benjamin Franklin, who died at 22 years old, unmarried; Henry Leonard, who married Mamie Salisbury; Harvey Allen, who married Nettie Shreeve; Alma Monroe, who married Emma Yaeger; LeRoy Garfield, who died at age 3; Ida Laura, who married Edward Scholer; Blaine Pearl, who married Gladys Ashcraft; Ethel May, who married William Shreeve; and Martin Nimrod, who married Cora Burley.

In the 1870, 1880 and 1900 census, Olive was listed as keeping house in Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana6,7,8.  Olive's husband, William, died June 14, 1909 in Salamonia.  I've yet to locate Olive in the 1910 census.

Olive died January 6, 1913 in Portland, Jay County, Indiana2, of pneumonia, and was buried beside her husband in the Salamonia Cemetery.  According to her obituary, she was living with her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Jackson, on Shanks Street in Portland at the time of her death.

Like many of my female ancestors, Olive is one that I have very little information about, even a picture of what she looked like is unknown at this point.  I only hope that as I continue to search, I will come across additional clues that will bring to light the details of her life.


1. William Smith household, 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Jefferson Township, Cass County, Michigan, page 298, dwelling 759, family 767; National Archives micropublication M432, roll 349.
2. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line], Provo, Utah: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Indiana State Board of Health, Death Certificates, 1900-2011.  Microfilm. Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana. Olive Wehrly, 1-6-1913, Jay County, Indiana
3. Wehrly, Blaine & Gladys, "Wehrly & Smith Family History." Report to Wehrly Reunion, New Castle, Indiana, 16 August 1970. Photocopy held by author.
4. "Biographical and Historical Record of Jay County, Indiana", Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1887, page 647.
5. William Smith household, 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, Salamonia P.O., dwelling 60, family 60; National Archives micropublication M653, roll 269, page 9. 
6. William P. Wehlry household, 1870 U.S. census, population schedule, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, page 27, Salamonia P.O., dwelling 197, family 200; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 327, page 87.
7. William Wherly household, 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Salamonia, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, ED 169, SD 6, page 28, dwelling 6, family 6; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 287.
8. William P. Wehrly household, 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, ED 62, SD 67, sheet 2B, dwelling 44, family 45; National Archives micropublication T623, roll 380, page 77.

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge was created by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small blog.  The premise is to write once a week about a specific ancestor - whether it be a story, a biography, a photograph or a research problem.

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