Genealogy Blog Party: I’ve GOTT a funny feeling

Little Bytes of LifeI’m joining the Genealogy Blog Party at Little Bytes of Life. The theme for this month is Time Travel to an Ancestor!

  • Who is the ancestor you will meet?
  • What question(s) do you need him/her to answer?
  • Is there a problem you can help your ancestor solve?
  • Will you reveal your true identity to your ancestor? If so, how will your visit impact the future? (Remember what happened to Rose when she went back to meet her father.)
  • Will you bring your ancestor to the future to meet his/her descendants? What will be the outcome, if you do?

There are a few ancestors I would like to meet, but I’ll start with my second great-grandmother Mrs. Elizabeth E. Chase née Gott born in 1854.

What question(s) do you need him/her to answer?
My questions for her would be rather uncomfortable to ask a stranger. I can’t think of a polite way to ask her, how did you met your husband and were you the “other woman” for the first ten or so years of your relationship?

You see, she did not marry the father of her son until he was about ten and on their marriage registration he listed their marriage as his second. Granted, the marriage following her death was also listed as his second, but I digress. There are other pressing questions…

Why was your first son born in West Springfield Massachusetts when you lived in Lowell Massachusetts at the time? Who did you stay with? Did you have family there? Did your husband, who was not yet your legal husband, have something to do with the deaths of the following three children who all died before their first birthday? I realize infant mortality was high at the time, but I ask because before you died you took your eleven year-old son and ran away from home.

GOTT_Elizabeth_b1854_1894_burial

Your husband hired a detective to find you but the detective quit after the first day telling the newspaper that you had good reason to leave. Your brother also told the paper that you were afraid of your husband, but had arranged for a meeting between you and your husband for the week before body was found. A meeting which, as it turns out, you were unable to attend. The discovery of your body made the fourth and fifth pages of the Boston Daily Globe, and your story was covered by a few other papers. You were found drowned. Your body was removed from the Tremont canal and according to the undertaker had been in the water for a week.

From page 5 of The Boston Daily Globe—Thursday, October 11, 1894:

It Is still a mystery where Mrs Chase was drowned, although her body was found in the Tremont canal.

All the canals were drawn Sunday, and superintendent Cheney says It would be impossible for the body to be concealed at any point without being brought to the surface by the swift currents.

Mrs Chase, it is thought, may have been temporarily insane as tho result of worriment.

The undertaker says her body must have been In the water a week.

From page 4 of The Boston Daily Globe—Thursday, October 11, 1894:

District officer Neal of Lynn was In Lowell this morning to make inquiries regarding Mrs Chase’s death. It is understood, he was satisfied there was nothing which required the attention of the police.

Is there a problem you can help your ancestor solve?
I can’t help the feeling that maybe Mr. Chase wasn’t such a great guy. In fact to my modern senses, reading between the lines of the many newspaper articles surrounding her death, he seems downright shady. If I could I’d find a way to get her away from him and keep her from falling into the same trap again.

Will you reveal your true identity to your ancestor? If so, how will your visit impact the future?
I think considering my line of questions I would have to reveal my identity to have any hope for answers. If I were successful in saving her from what seems to be an abusive husband maybe she would live a longer life. A life as pleasant and fulfilling as the time she lived in allowed.

Will you bring your ancestor to the future to meet his/her descendants? What will be the outcome, if you do?
No. I’d rather go to her and experience what is now history. I’d also rather not have to reveal that her only child to survive to adulthood died at the age of forty, just as she did.

One last question for you dear Elizabeth…is there somewhere I may find a picture of you? Please.

6 thoughts on “Genealogy Blog Party: I’ve GOTT a funny feeling”

  1. Hi Erica, This is by far the most mysterious of the Blog Party entries I’ve read. Since you mention places in Massachusetts, but no exact years, I am assuming the children died in the later 1880s or early 1890s. Have you looked for death certificates for the three little children? Massachusetts vital records are online up to around 1920. They might answer a few of your questions.

    1. Thank you. Yes, the children died in 1886, 87, and 1890. I found two of them on death indexes, but did not know they were attached to this family at the time. Newspapers indicated she was buried with her Children in a family plot at Edson Cemetery in Lowell Massachusetts. I only recently received a packet of information from the cemetery where I learned that there were three children (by her) and their names. The child of the wife after her was also buried there, so I’ll need to look him up too.

  2. It’s so hard when we have a hunch about a situation in the life of an ancestor but can’t seem to solve the puzzle it presents. Assuming you’re accurate about your guesses, what a terrifying situation for Elizabeth and her children to be in. And how sad for her to lose those little ones when they were babies.

    I’m guessing you’ve researched Mr. Chase and haven’t turned up much. I hope you’re able to solve this problem with further research. We do keep going back to the puzzling ones, don’t we?

    1. I’ve researched Mr. Chase to a point. I know his occupation and need to research some partners listed in the newspaper articles, but there is also a bit of a brick wall. I’m trying to find his first wife to see if there were any children. I have a possible name, but not enough information to make sure it’s my Mr. Chase (not really sure I want to claim him, but you know).

      I’m also seeking for the cause of death for Elizabeth’s infants. I found one listed “spasms” as cause of death. The other two I’m not finding the cause of death online. It’s possible those three infants all had medical issues and she lost herself in the grief, but either way hers is a sad story. I do keep circling back to this one.

      Thank you for the comment.

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