Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Newspaper Research - Color This Life Tragic

Family research is not just names and dates and causes of death and burial places. You have to sometimes read between the lines in census and death and marriage certificates.

I am still working on these Percival lines in New York State. I've been working on them for the whole year. Ok, so the year is not quite 4 weeks old, but still.

One of the things I found was a granddaughter of Chauncey and Catherine Percival enumerated with them on the 1900 census. Her name was Florence Lough. Since they had two daughters,  there were suspicions on my part that both daughters had been married more than once.

Still using my latest favorite newspaper site Old Fulton Postcards (aka Fulton History), I found Florence Lough was adopted by Chauncey Percival. Great, just what I needed was one more Florence Percival to research in New York. Well, on the 1910 census I found Florence living with Howard Marvel and Edith Marvel, and she is listed as daughter.

Well, now I have to find what I can on Chauncey's daughter Ede (per 1870 & 1880 census), who is listed as Mrs. Edith Marvel in Chauncey's obituary.

I find her, but oh, what a surprise. I find an article about Archibald Lowe who was arrested and charged with being an instigator of the Tonawanda, New York riot of 1895. Finally released on bail, he comes home to find another man at his dinner table. This man is referred to as Harvey Marvin. Is this really Howard Marvel?

Whether or not it is, apparently Mrs. Lowe deserted her husband and two children in favor of Mr. Marvin. The kicker line was that Mrs. Lowe was formerly Miss Edith Percival of Annsville, New York and is well connected.

Ok, newspaper reporting apparently was not that accurate in 1895 in Rome, New York. Substitute Lough for Lowe and BINGO! you have the story of the end of a marriage. Whatever happened to the other child is unknown.

By 1896, Howard and Edith Marvel have a child and he dies at the age of one month and seven days. In 1900, they are living in Utica and census record says she was the mother of two, none living. I guess Florence didn't count? And what happened to the other child of Archibald Lough?

In 1901, after a chase through the streets of Utica, Howard Marvel swears out a warrant against one Archibald Hall who claimed Marvel was living with his wife! Is this supposed to be Archibald Lough (Lowe)?

I don't know exactly when Edith Percival Marvel dies, but Howard remarries in 1927. I find no record of her after 1917.

Florence Lough Percival marries one Ernest Spediacci on August 3, 1922. Her obituary says he dies in 1947, but the only Ernest Spediacci I can find was a bootlegger who died in 1937.  But there is indeed a Florence Spediacci in Utica in 1930. 

Florence married Utica Deputy Police Chief Vincent in November of 1947. He hung himself in their cellar August 25,1960. Six months later, Florence, despondent over his suicide, hangs herself in the bathroom. No mention of survivors is made in her obituary.

I can't even imagine a life as tragic as this. Sometimes the things we find in researching are happy, or interesting, or mysterious. And sometimes they are just unbearably sad.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

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