Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just another family mystery

I was looking at the Ringo branch of the family when I came across a distant cousin, Mary Elizabeth Duncan, who seems to have gone through husbands like water. I began to focus on her parents and grandparents to see if I could find a pattern.

Elizabeth J. Sawyer and John E. Dillon had two children, Ethel and William when the family was enumerated in St. Peter, Minnesota on June 5, 1900. William Edward was born January 10, 1898 in Le Sueur County Minnesota when his father was 25 years old and his mother, 21 years old. William enlisted in the army on February 7, 1918 and was discharged on January 25, 1919. He served as a private in the 871st Aero Repair Squadron of the Signal Corps. (This squadron appears to have been located in St. Paul, Minnesota.)
His son Harlan Dillon of Kasota, Minnesota applied for a headstone from the US government on January 27, 1962. William died on January 1, 1962 and was buried in the Kasota Hill Cemetery Section C. His wife, Leona Cora (Puffpaf) Dillon, was born July 7, 1908 in South Dakota, died on October 14, 1958 and is buried near her husband.

William was living with his aunt and uncle, Francis H. and Helen Dillon, in St. Peter, Minnesota in 1910. The next record in which I found him was in 1940 when he and Leona were living in Kasota, MN with adopted son, Harlan, and daughters, Jacqueline and Hazel. They were living in rural Le Sueur County in 1935.

I did not find Ethel Dillon in the 1910 census but I did find her married to Joseph Duncan in the 1920 Census. They had two children at that time, Shryle and Mary Duncan. Shyrle Duncan died in 1926. I could not find her birth under various search fields. I did find a child Alden born in Hennepin County on the same date as Shyrle. So it would seem that Ethel had Shyrle before she married Joseph Duncan.

I have no idea if there is a connection, but in 1920 when “Hazel L.” and Fred A. Diekow were enumerated, there was a Ernest and Anna Alden on the same page.

The couple had a son, John Samuel Duncan, in 1921. In 1930, Joseph and John were living together in Louisville, KY, near where Joseph Duncan had family. Mary Elizabeth Duncan remained in Minnesota with her mother’s family.

I have been unable to locate information about John Dillon after 1900 and before 1920. In 1920, John is a farm laborer in Washington Township, Le Sueur County, Minnesota. His marital status is single. However, in 1930 he is living with his brother-in-law, Michael Smith, in St. Peter, MN. His marital status is divorced. Michael is widowed and was married to John Dillon’s sister, Mary. John Dillon died in 1931.
As far as Elizabeth Sawyer is concerned, I think that I have found her under a different name. Her daughter, Ethel Dillon was married to Joseph Duncan by 1920. She had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Duncan born in 1919. Ethel died in 1926. I found Mary in the 1930 Census living with F and H Diekow in Minneapolis. She was recorded as a niece. Included in the same household is a Lucy Sawyer, mother-in-law of F Diekow. So it would seem that H. is the daughter of Lucy Sawyer and the aunt of Mary Duncan. Based on the 1920 Census, H is Hazel Diekow and is the wife of Fred Diekow.

Alexander and Lucy Sawyer had no daughter named Hazel. I looked at the 1880 Census and the 1900 Census and the Minnesota State Census in 1885 and 1895 and did not find a daughter named Hazel. The age of Hazel in the 1920 and 1930 Census fits with that of Elizabeth. So it would seem that Hazel is Elizabeth Sawyer and the grandmother of Mary Duncan.

It appears that John and Elizabeth were divorced after June 5, 1900 when the family was enumerated and before June 6, 1905 when the children were living with their maternal grandparents in Kasota, Minnesota.