Saturday, May 24, 2014

This Week's Research Project: 1889 Explosion Kills Two Brothers

For the last several weeks, I have been researching the children and grandchildren of Mark P Stewart (Stuart) and Julia Ann (Alexander) Stewart (Stuart), who are my maternal 3rd great grandparents. Yesterday, I decided to work on finding out:

What happened to Henry's twin brother Edward?  

When doing research you always want to move from the "known" to the "unknown" ... So I had to figure out what I knew about Edward first.

1) Edward and Henry were twins, born in December 10, 1871 in Evergreen Township, Montcalm County, Michigan.  Their parents were Mark and Julia, who were born and married in Ohio.
2) The twins are both enumerated with their parents (Mark and Julia) in the 1880 census, in Evergreen.
3) In about 1884, their father Mark dies and so in 1887, Julia applies for a Civil War Widow's Pension and lists three children (Charles, Edward and Henry) living with her that she was their sole support.  
4) In 1900, I found Henry living in Forest County, PA (along with another brother John).  Edward or Charles are not listed in either Montcalm County, Michigan or Forest County, PA in the 1900 census records under Stewart or Stuart.
5) Henry worked in the Shingle and Lumber business in 1893; and lumber was the industry of the region so it was likely that Edward, Charles and John all worked in similar occupations (or farming).

The following is my thought process ...

Knowing that Edward did not appear to follow Henry to Forest County, Pennsylvania and not knowing where Charles may be living in 1900 ... I attempted to see if I could find Edward in a 1900 US Census.  I found a record for a "Edward E Stewart" listed as a "prisoner" in Iowa, that was born in Dec 1871 in Michigan, but his parents are listed as born in NY (my Edward's parents were born in Ohio) so I wasn't sure if this was my person, but I made a notation of the record.

Next not finding an definitive answer for Edward, the next question was ... Did Edward die before the 1900 census.  So I decided to look for a death record (post 1887 but pre 1900).  

My preferred place to start research is in the death certificates at (1897 to 1922), but I found no Edward Stewart or Edward Stuart that matched my Edward.  Then I narrowed my search period to post 1887 and pre 1897, which puts me in my second favorite place to research ... FamilySearch's Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897" collection ... which is where I found the following three death records recorded in Montcalm County for 1889.

first image, lines 252 and 253

second image, lines 252 and 253

First thing I noticed was:

Edward Stewart (age 17) and Charles Stewart (age 20) died on the same day March 28, 1889 in Hungerford, Mecosta County, Michigan (not Montcalm Michigan, which is where the death was apparently recorded) On the following image, it listed them as dying in a "boiler explosion" and their parentage information is "not known".

Something else that caught my eye, was that the person above them "William Suet" is the son of "Mark P Suet and Julia Suet" and he was married living in Edmore (which is also a location that my Stewart/Stuart branch was believed to be living in at one time) -- This information I had to file away for looking into another day ... because I was hot on the trail of Edward and Charles now.

Then I reformed my question ...

Was the Edward Stewart and Charles Stewart,
who died in Hungerford, Mecosta, Michigan
on 28 March 1889 the sons of 
Mark P Stewart and Julia Stewart? 

And what caused the boiler explosion? So then I moved on to my next favorite online resource ... historical books and newspaper accounts.

First I did a Google search for "1889" and "Hungerford" and "explosion" and found a couple historical books about factory safety from the early 1890s. Including the following:

Then I found a newspaper article in the Indiana Sentinel from 1889:

Indiana State sentinel, Volume 35, Number 9, 3 April 1889, Page 4
Next I went to the Library of Congress's Chronicling America website and found several more news paper articles, from as far away as Los Angeles, Sacramento, Salt Lake City and Maysville, KY.

Los Angeles daily herald. (Los Angeles [Calif.]) 1884-1890, March 29, 1889, Page 5, Image 5

Sacramento daily record-union. (Sacramento [Calif.]) 1875-1891, March 29, 1889, Page 4, Image 4

The Salt Lake herald. (Salt Lake City [Utah) 1870-1909, March 29, 1889, Page 5, Image 5

The evening bulletin. (Maysville, Ky.) 1887-1905, March 30, 1889, Image 1


I still have not proved fully yet that the Edward and Charles killed in the explosion, are the sons of Mark and Julia Stewart but I do know know that they were brothers based on these newspaper stories. Additionally, my Edward would have been approximately 17 or 18 in March 1889; and my Charles would have been approximately 20 or 21 in March 1889 which seems to fit.

The death of these two young men being registered in Montcalm County, Michigan rather than Mecosta County, Michigan where their deaths actually occurred also gives me reason to suspect that they had "familial" ties to Montcalm county, Michigan.  In 1887, Julia was living in Rodney, Mecosta, Michigan but she filed her Widow's Pension Paperwork at the Montcalm County courthouse.

My next research needs to focus on local newspaper accounts and any historical books about the Mecosta or Montcalm county areas.  I will also try to reach out to the local public library and historical societies and see what information they can provide me about the explosion at Morgan's Mill in Hungerford.  I am ultimately hoping to find a newspaper article that says simply "local resident Mrs. Mark Stewart loses two sons Edward and Charles in an explosion in Hungerford this week".  Question is, does that story exist.   Meanwhile, the hunt goes on ...

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and Aloha,

Friday, May 9, 2014

Joseph Shaw and Alice Kenyon - Marriage March 2, 1874

After seeing that the informant on Thomas Kenyon's death certificate was his sister, Alice Kenyon, I decided to track down any information I could on Alice.  I ordered a copy of her marriage record in 1874 to Joseph Shaw from the GRO in England, which arrived in my mailbox this week.  

This certificate clearly show's her father's name as John Kenyon, I need to see what information I can find that will get me back another generation.  Perhaps a birth record for Alice (from 1853) with a father listed as John.  Wonder how many Alice Kenyon's were born in Wigan in 1852-1854?

Marriage Record for Joseph Shaw and Alic



Application Number 5608864/1

1874. Marriage solemnized at the Register office in the district of Wigan in the County of Lancaster.


When Married.
Second March 1874

Name and Surname.
Joseph Shaw
Alice Kenyon

22 years
21 years


Rank or Profession.
coal miner
colliery laborer

Residence at the time of Marriage.
(unable to read) Wigan
(unable to read) Wigan

Father's Name and Surname.
John Kenyon (deceased)

Rank or Profession of Father.
Engine tender

Married in the Register office (according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the - struck through) by (unable to read) before me Robert Halliwell Registar Henry Ackerley Supt Registar

This Marriage was solemnized between us, X the mark of Joseph Shaw  Alice Kenyon
in the Presence of us, Thomas Shakelady  X The mark of Beloy Ann Shackelady

CERTIFIED to be a true copy of an entry in the certified copy of a register of Marriages in the Registration District of Wigan. Given at the GENERAL REGISTER OFFICE, under the Seal of the said Office, the 22nd day of April, 2014.

MXG 242680


Some additional research questions for me include:

1) Who are Thomas Shackelady and Beloy Ann Shackelady to either Joseph Shaw or Alice Kenyon?
2) Why didn't Joseph Shaw provide information about his father?
3) Why were they married at the Register office and not the local church?
4) What is an "engine tender"?
5) Can anyone else figure out what is written in for their residences?
6) Can anyone else figure out what is written in above Robert Halliwell's signature.  It appears to be related to how they were married?
7) Look for a birth record in 1853 for Alice Kenyon in Wigan, with a father named John Kenyon (makes the assumption that Alice was born in Wigan).
8) Look for a birth record in 1852 for Joseph Shaw in Wigan.  (This may be more difficult without a father's name to start with, as this may be a rather common name.  It also is assumed that Joseph was born in Wigan.)
9) Can you find a Joseph Shaw living in Wigan, age 19 in the 1871 England Census?
10) Can I find an Alice Kenyon living in Wigan, age 18 in the 1871 England Census with a John Kenyon as the head of household?
11) Can I find an Alice Kenyon, living in Wigan, age 8 in the 1861 England Census with a John Kenyon as head of household?
12) Locate the last census record that John Kenyon, with a daughter named Alice Kenyon can be found and then try to obtain a death record.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love & Aloha,
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