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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Seventeen Children of Melvina Young

All genealogists have a "brick wall" or two in their family trees--lines that seemingly cannot be pushed back another generation. I pride myself on having almost all of my lines traced back into the 1700s, but there are a pesky few that are stuck firmly in the early 1800s.

One of these is my Holtzapple family. I decided to tackle this one first since I actually had pictures of these people, and quite a bit of info right up to The Wall. 

Sorry to report, but as of yet the Holtzapples appear to have migrated from Mars about 1820, though I still haven't found that passenger list. But, in revisiting this line, I solved a little mystery that I've had going for several years.

I got interested in genealogy at a very young age. When I was probably about 20, my dad gave me a little box full of newspaper clippings, containing obituaries and news articles about our family.  One that caught my eye was that of my great-great grandmother, Melvina Young Holtzapple.

"Was Mother of Seventeen Children." What? Is that humanly possible? (Yes, and my ancestress Elizabeth Haught Hilyard actually bore 21 children!) I don't know how many of these children I was aware of at the time but I think about six or seven.  Over the years, I collected information on 16 of Melvina's children, but could never pin down the last one. Who was missing? That project went on the back burner, until last week.

I learned early on that Melvina was married first to Henry Sunderland, and that he had died in the Civil War. I never wrote for his civil war file, since he was not my direct ancestor and I didn't think it would hold any information helpful to me. Well, was I wrong.

I decided to check to see if there was anything, and jackpot! Sixty-four pages of pension for widow and children. And that is where I found the missing 17th child, Isabella S. Sunderland.

Melvina Young was born on June 7th, 1845. Her parents were William Young, who had just turned 58 the week before, and Margaret Madden Young (only 34).  Melvina was a middle child in a family of at least six. In the 1850 census, she was living with her parents, but in 1860 she was living a few families away in the home of Daniel and Mary Carmean. (They'll be back, don't forget them.)

On August 17th, 1862. Melvina married Henry Sunderland in Auglaize County, Ohio. I now know Henry was a young widower with two small boys.  On January 22, 1863 (I'll let you do the math on that one), Henry and Melvina welcomed a little baby girl into their lives:

1. Isabella S. Sunderland (22 Jan 1863-31 Oct 1921)
     This is the little child I couldn't find. She was born before birth records were kept, and didn't appear in any census records with her mother. However, her birth was completely documented in her father's pension file. Once I knew who I was looking for, I easily found her in 1870 and 1880 census records, living with....Daniel and Mary Carmean! This couple had no children of their own. Daniel was appointed Isabella's guardian after the death of her father, and she is listed as "adopted" on the 1880 census, though she kept her Sunderland name. Isabella married Levi Clark Peterson when she turned 18, and they lived right next door to her adoptive parents with their children.

Henry Sunderland joined the Union Army in 1864. Sadly, he contracted diarrhea almost immediately and it killed him on July 4th of that year.

2. William Henry Sunderland (15 Sep 1864-?)
    I knew about William from the 1880 census. He was living with his mom and stepdad, but I haven't found anything more about him yet.

3. Lucy Noble? (4 Apr 1867-25 Jul 1949)
     Lucy is a bit of a mystery. In the 1870 census, she has the last name Sunderland. However, since Henry Sunderland died in 1864, he wasn't her father. Melvina's obituary shows that all of her children were born to her second husband, William Holtzapple, though I know that isn't true. William's obituary lists Lucy as his step-daughter. So I'm pretty confident he was not the father either. My only clue so far is that on a few of Lucy's children's records, they list their mother's maiden name as Lucy Noble. I'm still puzzling this one out, but she was certainly the third child of Melvina Young.  Lucy married Antle Moorman in Allen County, Ohio in 1883 and they had seven children that I know of.

Melvina married for a second time to William Harrison Holtzapple, my great-great grandfather, on January 8, 1869 in Auglaize County, Ohio. William was born in Pennsylvania to John and Mary Ann Detrich Holtzapple, the citizens of Mars, on September 2, 1848. These parents are the brick wall I am trying desparately to bust open.  William and Melvina had 14 children together, as follows:

4. Amos Israel Holtzapple (7 Sep 1869-1923)
    Amos married Etta Pfeifer and they had 10 known children.

5. Melissa A. Holtzapple (26 Jan 1871-15 Aug 1873)
     Little Melissa died of diphtheria at age 2 1/2 and is buried in Kings Cemetery in Auglaize County, Ohio.

6. Alice Arah Holtzapple (20 Oct 1872-20 Jan 1959)
     My great-grandmother, and the mother in the website's main photo, married Jesse John Hilyard in 1892. They had four children including my grandfather Vaughn, the youngest boy in the picture.
Alice Holtzapple and her mother Melvina (Young) Holtzapple

7. John Thomas Holtzapple (9 Sep 1874-8 Jun 1947)
     "Tom" as he was called married Olive Wilson 1898 and had no children.

8. Mary Jane Holtzapple (24 Sep 1876-21 Mar 1953)
     Mary Jane married first Henry Wagner in 1892. They were divorced. She married second Leroy Kindlesparger and they had four known children.

Following Mary Jane, Melvina and William lost five small children:

9. Jacob L. Holtzapple (3 Oct 1878-24 Feb 1879)
     Four-month-old Jacob is buried in Kings Cemetery in Auglaize County, Ohio.

10. Carolina Holtzapple (21 May 1880-5 Jun 1880)
11. Charles Holtzapple (21 May 1880-3 Jun 1880)

These tiny babies were both alive on census day, June 1 1880.

12. Adam Holtzapple (24 Apr 1881-24 Apr 1881)
     He was not stillborn; cause of death was given as spasm.
13. Joseph Holtzapple (24 Apr 1881-5 May 1881)
     He lived 11 days. Cause of death also given as spasm.

14. Ida Mae Holtzapple (27 Jun 1882-1918)
     She married Clinton Shields in 1900. I don't know of any children.

15. James Harrison Holtzapple (1 Jan 1885-1943)
     He married Etta Kirk and had two known children.

16. George Grant Holtzapple (10 Aug 1887-2 Feb 1962)
     He married Ines Foreman and they had four known children. George was the only one of Melvina's six twins to survive to adulthood.

17. Maggie Holtzapple (10 Aug 1887-2 Sep 1887)
     Maggie died of inflammation of the bowels before her first birthday.

And there you have it. Still a few mysteries to unravel, but now I know all of the children and most of the basic information about them. Somewhere among them I might find a clue to my Holtzapple ancestry.

What is the largest number of children born to a single mother in your line?

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