Dead Ancestor Soap Opera – Part IV – Edith Speaks, cont.

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While I was in Ingleside Home I think I bore my maiden name. I may have gone under some assumed name to avoid my people finding out where I was, and think I did so in Buffalo. But that name would do no good in this case. A Mrs. Prindle was the Matron, and dead. Well, I think I bore the name of Edith St Clair when I was treated in the Buffalo general Hospital as before stated. Dr. McGuire was the House physician, and Drs. Parks and Mann were the surgeons and I underwent an operation for some bowel trouble.


Yes, I did assume the name of Edith St. Clair in Buffalo. I did not assume marital relations with any man after the birth of Gertrude until I was married to the soldier as already stated. I never had but the one child in my life I don’t know any one now living who knew me in Buffalo. I bore the name of St. Clair there mostly.


Yes, I was in Omaha, Nebraska, at one time. Yes, I was there with the soldier. Yes, I passed there as his wife. Yes, that was before I was ceremonially married to him as before stated.


We were in Omaha the year before we got married. We kept a rooming house, known as the Peabody House, and then another near the Board of Trade Building, and we sold out there in the spring of 1890, and came back here. Yes, soldier was a common law husband for some two years before we got married ceremonially.


Yes, I made the affidavit shown to me and filed March 23 1901, in soldier’s claim, and then stated I had been his wife since July 1889. Yes, I was a common law wife of soldier July 1889, and married in 1891.


The soldier was married twice before he married me, or had two wives as I learned, and both were dead before he and I got married. The first wife was Mariah Bartlett, and by whom he had 7 children, named; Fred Z. Culerville, Livingston Co., N.Y.; John L., Adams Street, Olean, N.Y.; Hattie M., now Mrs Archie Mott, Barry Street, Olean, near Green St.; Lewis S., lives in Bradford, Pa., City address not known; Jennie A., now Mrs. Clarence Kratts, near Cuba, N.y. on a farm; George C., in Bradford, PA.; Alice p., now wife of Guy Benson, Wellsville, N.Y.


The soldier’s family Bible recording the death of the first wife is in the possession of the daughter Mrs. Mott, and that record shows that said first wife died in 1881.


The second wife was named Lizzie, maiden name not known to me. I understand she was marred to a man named Booth who died, and then was said to have remarried a man named Moses, and his fate not known. Then was married to a man named Canfield, a nice man, and he died. The she remarried the soldier, and I have their marriage Certificate here which shows that “George W. Oakely” and “Lizzie Canfield”, were united in marriage on the 10 day of December, 1881, at Bradford, Pa. by Loyal Ward, J.P. Witnesses: John Jellum and Mrs. Chamberlain, that both parties, to said marriage, were from Olean, N.Y.


I never saw Lizzie, and I have been informed that she and soldier lived here together on Clinton Street, until she became insane and sent to Machias, N.Y. to the Poor House, and later was sent to some other institution for the insane, to Buffalo as I understand, and that she was sent back there as incurable and later died there at the Poor House on or about Febuary 4, 1891. A telegram was sent to the Chief of Police here, named Daniel Allen, asking my husband whether he wanted to claim the body, and he did not. That is al I know or have learned of her death. No, I have never heard she was living since her reported death. Daniel Allen is dead.


Yes I am aware that search has been made of the records at said Poor House, and that no record of her death was found. I understand that the Insane  were formerly sent to the Poor House and later to some Insane Asylum. If she did not die at machias, N.Y. in Poor House, I don’t know how her death could be proven.


Charles Carter, an Alderman of this place, was employed by me to look for the record of thee death of Lizzie, and paid him $33, for his services and traveling expenses in making the search, and he failed to find any evidence of her death so he told me. I paid him by check Nov. 9, 1917. He went to Machias and to Salamanca, N.Y. and wrote or had letters written to Buffalo, N.Y. making inquiry as to Lizzie and of her death, and nothing was found. Here is a letter from the Superintendent of the State of New York. Buffalo State Hospital Buffalo, N.Y. dated Dec 4, 1917, and will file same.


I think Carter may have tried the Hospital for the Insane at Gowanda, N.Y. No, I don’t know that he tried the State Hospital at Rochester, N.Y. I went to Carter and he said he would try to look up a record.


Soldier has one sister living, Mrs. Amanda Scott, widow, living on the Haskell Road, some seven miles from here, and she gets mail on the R.F.D. Portville, N.Y. Mrs. Mott can tell you where Mrs. Scott lives. She has known me since about 1890.


The woman Lizzie has one son and an only child, and name Elijah Booth, and he lives near Franklinville, N.Y. on a farm. I have not seen him for years. I wrote him for any information he had of the death of his mother, and he wrote me he had learned of her death and in the Machias Poor House. He was of (the) opinion she had died in February and in think in 1894. Yes, that was after I married the soldier, but I know that Lizzie was dead before I married soldier according to what he and all others told me. I was with him then.


I do not know of any brother or sister of Lizzie, and the son is the only relative of the second wife that I know of and he was a mere boy when his mother is said to have died. Hattie Mott may be able to tell you as to his age now.


I look upon Mrs. Cobb, Notary Public of this Village as my agent or attorney in this claim, as she had done the writing for me. I have made no agreement or contract as to her pay of fee. I have not paid her one cent. Mr. Carter said he would try to look up the death record of second wife and would charge one dollar per year from about 1884, which was supposed to be about the year Lizzie went to the Poor House. He said he would not work on my pension claim.


I waive rights as to presence and representation during this examination. I have heard this statement read, questioned fully understood and I am correctly recorded.


Edith C. Oakley – Deponent


From another page written by the examiner, he states the reason behind all of the investigation into the marriage of Edith and George. George had filled out paperwork for his pension and had never mentioned his second wife. At one point Edith had sent information in for George as a witness for his pension application. I am sure all of this really looked suspisious. 


When Edith had been interviewed, after George’s death, she did. Once you take a good look at Edith’s statements some things don’t quite line up. They would be back to talk to her more.


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