"...they are no household of mine"

In a recent post, I wrote about one of my favorite ancestors, Frederick Dillazone Ketchum, focusing on his ship-building career. This time we will look at his other legacy, his children. But before that, I must touch briefly on his second wife.

Adaline [LKU] (1814 - 7 Nov 1888), the sometimes Mrs Frederick Ketchum, is a person of mystery, not just because she is listed in the 1860 U S Federal Census as "Acklin Kitchun." Was she an "attractive and prepossessing" woman of character, or a wicked stepmother--or a little of both? Not much is known about her, making her a good example of how genealogists must read between the lines when researching, as well as delving into the tangential stories sometimes discovered there. The time frame makes it especially difficult, as it was not until the 1850 U S Federal Census that children or married women were listed by name.

We do know that Adaline was our widowed ancestor's second wife, while he was her third husband. Her previous spouse was William P Mason (abt 1785 - bef 1860?), a man thirty years her senior, by whom she had three children, whose ages and birthplaces vary from record to record; were these honest mistakes, or did she have something to hide?

The Masons were living in Monguagon, Michigan in 1850; at the time the Ketchums were temporarily away from their Huron, Ohio home and living in Erie, Pennsylvania, no doubt due to Capt Ketchum's work. His first wife, Mary Ann Cherry, died in 1853. Sometime between then and 1860, Adaline and the Captain were married and living in Huron. How they met and when they married is not known.

We do know that upon marrying Capt Ketchum, Adaline moved her family in and his family out, scattered among other family members and friends; why? None of Adaline's children seem to have married; why not? Her youngest child, Charles Mason (? - 30 Mar 1917), a minor sculptor, died in 1917, at age sixty-two (or perhaps sixty-four...), an inmate of the Erie County [Ohio] Infirmary, his home for the previous twenty years.

Capt and Mrs Ketchum separated by 1880 (although, again, we do not know why or when); Frederick lived the last eight years of his life with his daughter Fannie and her husband. Perhaps tellingly, on their respective 1880 U S Federal Censuses, both Capt Ketchum and Adaline gave their marital status as "Widowed." Who was Adaline's first husband? What was her maiden name? Would she have married again? These are among the things we may never find out.

Adaline's obituary,
Erie County Reporter, 15 Nov 1888

Despite any influence from their step-mother (however unlikely), the Ketchum children stayed remarkably true to their father's nautical nature; nearly all of them made their livings on the Great Lakes, one way or another. The Ketchum love of water seems to have descended to my cousins and me as well; nearly all of us live within sight of an ocean, bay or lake.

George Henry Ketchum (3 Dec 1835 - 3 Sep 1899) was a sailor until, after being imprisoned during the Civil War, he fell upon ill health.  He married an orphan, Amelia Lloyd McLaurin (Nov 1842 - 3 Apr 1914), and the new family moved to Mackinac Island, Michigan for his health, which never fully recovered. Interestingly, Amelia is the only member of my family beside myself I have found that lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, at any time; she appears there as a young girl on the 1850 U S Federal Census.

Both before and after her marriage, she lived for many years with her uncle, Richard Lloyd Mansell (22 Oct 1840 -18 May 1912), who was the lighthouse keeper in Huron, Ohio for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. It is nice to think about him helping protect his in-laws' ships; although as I mentioned elsewhere, this was a mostly impossible task. (I have also written elsewhere about George and Amelia's daughter, Minnetta Amelia Ketchum.)

The lighthouse at Huron, Ohio, on Lake Erie, as it was in Richard Mansell's time.
This was the second lighthouse at this location, the first, built in 1835, having
been destroyed by a storm. Erected in 1857, this lighthouse was in turn replaced
by an automated, art deco design in 1936, which still operates today.

Frances "Fannie" Matilda Ketchum (13 Mar 1838 - 31 Jan 1917) and her husband, James Bennett (1 Oct 1822 - 22 Jul 1883) were married about 1855. James Bennett was a ship's captain, at least once in command of one of the ships built by his father-in-law. They had one son, James W Bennett (Mar 1856 - aft 1910), who never married. Until his death, he ran a hotel the family had purchased on Mackinac Island, Michigan.


Not the Bennett's hotel, although from the same period.
Mackinac Island Grand Hotel, abt 1910.


William Henry Ketchum (17 Jul 1840) lived just ten days.

Mary Elizabeth Ketchum (21 Nov 1841 -10 May 1911) married John L Dunbar (May 1834 - aft 1910), who worked as a ship's carpenter and moulder. They moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, had five children, and lived--one hopes--an uneventful life.

Florence Augusta Ketchum (8 July 1844 - 12 Jun 1916) and Frederick Augustus Ketchum (8 Jul 1844 - 28 May 1933) were twins. Born as they were in July, it is unclear why they received their middle names, as there were no other classical names in the family....

Florence married Louis Cass Crowell (Apr 1848 - bef 1916), a farmer. Like her sister, she also moved to Kalamazoo, her husband's hometown.

Fred Jr was a sailor on the Great Lakes, then served as a Private in the Ohio 24th Infantry during the Civil War. He married twice (both times to women named Mary, like his mother), and died, aptly enough, in the Ohio Sailors' and Soldiers' Home, at age 88. He outlived all his brothers and sisters.

William Wallace Ketchum (6 Oct 1849 - 2 Jul 1920) married Helen Marcia Thomas (9 Feb 1852 - 13 Feb 1917), and had three children. A farmer, he lived his entire life just a few miles from where he was born. He was the only one of Capt Ketchum's sons not to make his living on the Great Lakes.

Not last (she was born before William, above), and certainly not least, was Caroline Clarissa Ketchum (30 Sep 1848 - 7 Feb 1920), my great-great grandmother, better known as "Clara." At age twelve, after her father's marriage to the mysterious Adaline, she was sent to live with the Wilber family, whose relationship with the Ketchums remains unknown, although they lived just a few doors down from her uncle, William Hopkins Cherry. In 1871, she married Philip Jacob Runser (30 Jun 1845 - 22 Mar 1921). You'll be able to read more about them in a future post.

Caroline Clarissa Ketchum, at 18.


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