Lydia Hollingsworth Holaday, 1819-1911

Lydia was my 3rd great-grandmother and my interest in her, her family and her descendants will never cease.  I've traced as much of her life as I can and I continue to do so.  I will never stop. :)  I cannot know enough about Lydia.  I find her to be nearly the most fascinating of my ancestors.  My admiration for her strength and endurance knows no bounds.  

I hope I can tell the tale of her life and her ancestors properly. It will take some time, so please settle in. :) I'm going to attempt to take you on a tale of her history and lead you to present. :)

First, let me say, may she Rest in Eternal Peace.

Burial:  Winterset City Cemetery, Winterset, IA

Lydia was born November 23, 1819 in Union Co, Indiana. Her parents were Ezekiel Hollingsworth and (Sarah) Jane Hollingsworth.* (More on (Sarah) Jane Hollingsworth to come.)

She married George Meacham Holaday on November 29, 1838 in Vermilion Co, IN.   She gave birth to 11 of George M. Holaday's children; 2 died young.

She died July 8, 1911 in Madison Co, Winterset, IA.  She is buried in the Winterset City Cemetery.

Lydia was a Quaker until the time she married "contrary to discipline" (mcd) and her husband was, effectively, "kicked out,"  or, in Quaker terms, disowned.  Her husband did not repent, nor did she as it would seem, so the end of her Quaker life was the civil marriage between she and George Meacham Holaday in 1838.  Incidentally, George had also been reported for "attending places of diversion."  None the less, he did not attempt to repent for either.  

Lydia came from strong Quaker lines, dating back to Valentine Hollingsworth, a founder of the Hollingsworth family in America circa 1682, in the time of William Penn.  He was a prominent Quaker.

Lydia's father, Ezekiel, was the son of Joseph Hollingsworth and Margaret Hammer Wright.  Their marriage was recorded at Bush River Monthly Meeting House, SC - June 4, 1768.  This was Joseph's second marriage. His first wife was Martha Hannah Frost, to which she and Joseph had two sons; Jonathon and David. David was the latter born, in 1765, so wife Frost died between 1765 and 1768.

Margaret had first been married to John Hammer.  John and Margaret had (at least) two children, David and Mary.  Margaret was the daughter of John C. Wright and Rachel (Wells) Wright.  Rachel was a Quaker Minister and the daughter of Joseph Wells and Margaret (Swanson) Wells.

I believe Joseph and Margaret Hammer Wright had (at least) the following children:  Abraham, Charity, Levi, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Richard, Susannah and our Ezekial.

Lydia's mother, (Sarah?) Jane Hollingsworth, was the daughter of George Hollingsworth and Jane Henry.  Ezekiel and Jane's fathers were step-brothers - making Ezekiel and (Sarah) Jane first half-cousins.  

This is surely the reason for Ezekial's fall from grace from the Quakers at Bush River MM, SC.  The disowned entry is dated 1803 and their marriage is dated 1802.  So they likely married without consent, though it would not have been given.  Clearly they knew that, married anyway, were disowned and disappeared from future Quaker records.... for awhile, anyway.

Ezekial's trace to Valentine Hollingsworth, Sr: Ezekial, son of Joseph, son of George, son of Abraham, son of Thomas, son of Valentine Sr.

The migration of the South Carolina Hollingsworths began circa 1805.  Many of this clan had originally hailed from Virginia.  The South Carolinian Quakers had decided they didn't wish to live in a state where slavery was accepted.  Many of them headed west and a large number went to Miami Co, OH to join the Miami MM there. This nearly depleted the membership in Bush River, so Bush River and Cane Creek meetings were joined to New Garden MM. Bush River MM was laid down in 1822.  

Ohio was the "gateway" to the west and all eastern pioneers had to pass thru via Ohio.

Ezekial went farther west, and settled in Union Co, IN, where most of his children were born.  As you will see on a map below, Union Co, IN actually wasn't very far geographically from Miami Co, OH.

Many of Ezekial's family members were Quakers so their records reflect their movements.  

Ezekial's half brothers Jonathon and David were both received on certificate from (rocf) Bush River, SC at Miami MM, OH.

Ezekial's brother Jacob was also rocf Bush River, SC at Miami MM, OH.  His other (full) brothers Abraham, Levi and Richard show death dates in OH and IN, but I have yet to find Quaker records for them.  Levi shows being disowned for marrying out of unity (mou) at Bush River, SC in 1788, so perhaps he never rejoined the Quakers.

Marrying out of unity meant the person had married a non-Quaker. (To my best understanding) This is opposed to Marrying Contrary to Discipline (mcd), which could mean several things.  Either:  (1) The couple did not wish to go thru the process via the Meeting to gain approval, (2) The couple was related, as in cousins, or (3) The wife was pregnant.

Ezekial's uncles Isaac, James, George, Henry, John, Nathan and Aunt Susanna were all rocf from Bush River, SC at Miami MM, OH as well.

The document: Territorial Papers of the US; Volume Number: Vol 7; Page Number: 691; Family Number: 101 shows Ezekiel's name on a petition in Indiana Territory, dated 12 Dec 1809, to Congress by citizens of the territory asking for voting rights for all white males over 21 who paid taxes or fulfilled militia duty.

The Hollingsworths that signed this petition: Isaiah, George, Jonathon, Abraham, Issac, Joseph, William, Levi, Richard, Ezekiel. Clearly many of the Hollingsworths also settled in Indiana.

A year later, in 1810, Ezekiel's name is on a list of electors of election held April 3, 1809 at the house of John Templeton, Esqr in Dearborn Co, Indiana Territory, IN.

They lived in Union Co, IN for a number of years. Nine or possibly ten of Ezekiel and (Sarah) Jane's twelve children were born there and the last two (or three) were born in Vermilion Co, IL. <<See Lydia's siblings>>

They family moved almost due west, to Vermilion Co, IL. They settled there for some time. At some point, (Sarah) Jane died, but I am unclear as to when. Their last child was born in 1825, so sometime after that and before 1837.

In Vermilion Co, IL, Ezekiel was a busy man with the Quaker church. Note there is no "Hollingsworth" for Sarah/Jane, so it is my belief she must have passed by 1826. Ezekiel would've been a very busy man and appears he did not remarry until 1837. Wow!

From Vermilion Co, IL Monthly Meeting Records:

Notice the entry on 4-1-1837: Ezekiel announces intent to mar Dolly Holladay.

Dolly Holladay -- ("Mary" Dolly Holaday - please note the name spelling difference, with the spelling in parantheses the correct one) was born 24 Oct 1793 in Chatham, NC to George Meacham and Mary Durham. (Incidentally, Mary Durham's father Matthew was a Revolutionary War Patriot, DAR # A035349.)

Mary Dolly Meacham married first husband Samuel Holaday 28 Mar 1814 in Orange Co, NC. They had the following children: William, George Meacham, Jane, Sarah, Asenath, Betsey Ann and Ruth.

Illinois Quaker records show Samuel and (Mary) Dolly being received from the Lick Creek meeting in Indiana, as well as Dolly becoming a very active part of the church:

Where this all ties in together (I know you've been waiting for that, lol) is:

Ezekiel's wife (Sarah) Jane had died...

Samuel Holaday, Mary Dolly's husband, had also died.

So, Ezekiel and Mary Dolly married in 1837. (Note name mis-spellings, as well as wrong location for Samuel Holaday's birthplace; ie, Orange Co, IA - and should be Orange Co, NC.)

Among the witnesses of their marriage were none other than our Lydia -- Ezekiel's daughter -- and --George Meacham Holaday -- Mary Dolly's son.

Not long after, on 29 Nov 1838, George Meacham Holaday and Lydia Hollingworth were wed in a civil ceremony, ending their ties to the Quakers forever.

George and Lydia have their first child, a son, 8 Nov 1839, in Vermilion Co, IN.  He is named Samuel Meacham Holaday. (Note the "Meacham")  This will be their only child born there.  They soon move west, to Iowa, at the same time or near the same time as the rest of the Hollingsworth clan.

George's mother and Lydia's father, now married, are still Quakers and are given a certificate to the Salem Meeting in Iowa:


The Hollingsworths and newly married George & Lydia Holaday and their young child Samuel head for Iowa Territory.  The U.S. Congress had only just established the territory of Iowa on 4 Jun 1838.  The first American settlers had come to Iowa in 1833.  The Hollingsworths/Holadays settled in Keokuk Co.  What a life that must have been...!! (Be sure to check out "A Pioneer Story." It is absolutely wonderful; of the same time frame and same area!) (If the website is off-line, you can download a Microsoft Word doc of it from the "Links" page.)

And so now we will get into more of George and Lydia's lives. Hold on, it will be something of a ride. :)

George began buying land in Keokuk Co. He eventually purchased a great deal of land, but never enjoyed the fruits of that ownership and he sold it all before it could substantially appreciate.

One land deed:

George and Lydia continued growing their family with the births of six more children in Keokuk Co: Miles, John Milton, Caroline, Emma, Ellen & William. << George & Lydia's children, pics, info, etc>>

1850 was a very substantial year for George & Lydia. 1850 started George's wanderlust years that would not stop again until 1880. It doesn't end particularly well for Lydia. George seemed to appear only long enough to make more children, and he was off and running again.  George must have been a man that exuded some power, charisma, charm.  He surely did, for he found himself in positions of power and command in spite of being a disowned Quaker with no formal education.

For a time, I will talk of George and his antics.

I am impressed with George's accomplishments at the same time I am disappointed in his failures; namely the roaming nature of him that surely made life very difficult for his wife Lydia Hollingsworth.  George, quite simply, could not seem to sit still.  He always had his hand in something, whether it be a land purchase, a saloon or a great many other undertakings. 

According to the 1894 Kern Co Voter Registration, George was 76 yrs of age, 5 ft 7.75 inches tall, light complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and blind in the left eye.  Another census put him at 5 ft, 10 inches.  I would be willing to be he was a handsome man.

From: An Illustrated History of Southern California detailing George's antics from 1850-1853:

On about March 12, 1850, he left St. Joseph, Missouri, for California, with ox teams, and arrived at Placerville June 12. After a sojourn at the latter place until March, 1851, he went to San Francisco and started thence with a company to the new mines in the north; but about four days after they started their vessel was wrecked and they returned to San Francisco. Mr. Holaday then went to Sacramento, bought a wagon and a yoke of cattle and went to the Trinity river gold mines; but his success there was not sufficient to justify his remaining, and he returned to Sacramento and hired men to cut and bale wild oats in Napa valley. He had 200 tons cut with an old-fashioned scythe, baled it and shipped it across the Suisun bay and up the river to Sacramento city, where he had a half interest in a feed and sale stable, with James Buckner, on J and Twelfth streets. What hay they could not use they hauled to the mines and sold.  

In the fall of 1851 Mr. Holaday located a ranch on the south side of the Sacramento river six miles below Colusa, — a timber section which he supposed to be Government land, — and hired men to cut large quantities of wood, for which he found a ready sale to steamers at $8 per cord. In the fall of 1852 he was notified to leave that place, as it was grant land. There were then about 300 settlers improving it. One of the owners, Dr. Stoddard, landed at Mr. Holaday's place from San Francisco to take possession, which was refused by the settlers, over a hundred of whom immediately gathered at that point and elected Mr. Holaday captain. The first thing they determined to do was to get the Doctor out. Mr. Holaday agreed to accomplish the task with a picked lot of men. They marched two and two in a column until they reached the house of John Fitch, where Dr. Stoddard was, about midnight. Holaday placed a guard of four men at each door and window with instructions to allow no one to pass in or out, took four true men, called up Mr. Fitch, who knew his voice and arose and let them in, not knowing his business. The Captain with his men entered the room of Dr. Stoddard, who at first began to show signs of fighting; but as soon as he saw the situation he quietly gave himself up, and Captain Holaday informed him of his mission, assuring him that not even a hair of his head should be touched. They took him and his effects down to the river bank, " the worst-scared man you ever saw;" and he begged to be kept there until morning. Holaday took a vote from the crowd, which determined that he should be put over the river into Sutter County, — in the midst of a dense thicket inhabited only by wild beasts, even grizzly bears- The vanquished Doctor hailed the steamer next morning and returned to San Francisco, where he reported the matter to the United States Deputy Marshal. 

A man named Douglas was sent up with injunction papers. On meeting Captain Holaday they had an argument, wherein all the blame was laid upon Holaday. He reported to the grand jury at San Francisco, who found a bill against Holaday, and Douglas was sent back with four policemen to arrest the indicted man. Holaday was taken to San Francisco, excitement ran high and the newspapers were sensational with the progress of the case.  The trial was postponed, matters cooled down, Holaday went to trial, and he and Douglas became good friends by this time, Douglas giving him his own bed in the station house in which to sleep, never offering to imprison him. Holaday's testimony was taken in court, but not that of any other witnesses, and the court fined him to the extent of the law, the result being a loss to him of over $900. In the meantime, while a prisoner, Mr. Holaday sold his ranch, the 400 cords of wood he had on hand, and all his stock, and returned to the Atlantic States.

It is very difficult to read, but the best I can decipher is this:

The Squatter Holliday, who made that/the ______ assault upon the person of U.S. Marshall Douglass a short time ago in the neighborhood of Colusa was brought down to this city last night in company of the U.S. Marshall and officers North, ________ and Andrew McKenzie.  They stole a march ________ him and the whole affair was conducted with the nicest judgment and tact.

George served his jail time and went back to Iowa circa 1853.

He is now found in Jefferson Township, Adair Co, IA. It is unknown when Lydia and family made their way to Adair County.

In April 1854, the first election occurred and George is chosen to be Adair County's first judge.  He performs the first marriage of Jefferson Township, Adair County, on 7 May 1854 at the residence of William Alcorn, between William Stinson and Elizabeth F. Crow. George and Lydia’s home was on Section 35 and George was said to have the finest double log cabin in the land.

He is appointed postmaster of Adair County on 23 Mar 1855. Holadays Post Office was discontinued in 1899, but bore that title until then.

George and Lydia's next child was the first birth in Jefferson Township. Thomas Jefferson Holaday was born in the fall of 1854, but unfortunately died the following year, in the autumn of 1855.  He is said to be buried in a pasture in Section 26 of Jefferson Township.  He was buried with another child, William Alcorn, who was 7 or 8 years old when he died in 1853 of a rattlesnake bite.  William was the first death in the county.

The next child appears to be Orpha Holaday, born about 1856.  She appears on the 1856 Iowa Census in Adair Co as being "0" years old.  Pauline, the next child, was born on June 19, 1856, so surely Orpha and Pauline were born nearly back to back.  I've wondered if perhaps the girls were twins, but Pauline does not appear on the 1856 Census. Pauline appears on the 1860 Federal Census, though her name is partially crossed out and somewhat illegible.  It was transcribed as "Palmer," but this is surely Pauline.  She is listed as 3 years old and female on the 1860 census. Orpha disappears on the 1860 Census, so she has apparently died by then.  

From Lydia's Obituary:  "Of the eleven children born to Mrs. Holaday two died in infancy..." These two children are Thomas Jefferson and Orpha.

Sometime also circa 1856, George was off and running again, this time to Ft. Des Moines, IA, supposedly to educate his children. Lydia was said to be agreeable to this.  A write up in the History of Guthrie and Adair Counties, IA, 1884, transcribed by Bobbi Pohl, states:  "In the fall of 1856 he left here for Des Moines, wither he went to educate his children.  He did not turn out well, leaving his wife and children to shift for themselves, and left this country with another woman.  He is believed to be in California at the present time....."  

George becomes a Justice of the Peace in Des Moines and served a term from 1857-1858:

Meanwhile, circa 1857-58, Lydia gives birth to their daughter, Pauline.

Unforunately, George was very busy between Adair Co and Des Moines, IA.

George met up with his to-be second wife in Des Moines in this time-frame. Her name was Elvira, and this union resulted in a child born in 1859 and he was named George Washington Holaday. His exact birth place is unknown, but is definitely Iowa, and most likely, in Des Moines.

He wasn't finished with Lydia just yet, however, as their last child, Henry Delano, was born in Madison Co, IA 10 Apr 1860. 1860 was the last year Lydia ever saw her husband.

He left in 1860 on a mining expedition to Pike's Peak. He surely took his new wife and child with him.  It is said he was involved in running a freight line between Omaha, NE and Denver, CO for a few years.  An as yet undetermined possible relative, Ben Holladay, owned "The Western Stage Company" and had a mail contract awarded to him on September 20, 1860 to run mail between Omaha and Ft Kearney, NE and Denver, CO.  Passenger service to mining camps was added later.  It is very likely George had a tie to Ben Holladay and worked for him.  Additionally, Ben Holladay operated several lines that ran to Utah, Montana, Washington and Oregon.  Eventually Wells Fargo purchased Ben Holladay's holdings.

Her husband left her just before the Civil War broke out, and it is unimaginable what it must have been like for her, to raise her children with no assistance in the middle of war times. How impossibly difficult it must have been to have no husband and 9 children to raise in the midst of Civil War.

In Madison Co, IA, Lydia is running the St. Nicholas Hotel, with the help of George & Lydia's first-born son, Samuel. The St. Nicholas stood where the present-day fire station is now.

The St. Nicholas Hotel was originally named “The Pitzer House,” named after Judge Pitzer, the man who built it.  Lydia's daughter Caroline, in a beautifully written piece, had this to say of the St. Nicholas:

"It will be hard for this and future generations to realize our almost primitive modes of living — our facilities for news and transportation were very different from what they now are, instead of taking our much abused train for Des Moines, a stage coach was drawn up in front of the St. Nicholas Hotel (then the "Pitzer House" and always spoken of as a tavern) each morning for passengers. It also carried the mails, and its return in the evening was watched for with great interest.

The pride of those stage drivers in making a rapid entry, and the peculiar crack and wielding of their whips and the masterful way of rounding corners was something only attained by long experience. Then they were also news carriers, anything that had happened in the outside world since they had left in the morning was quickly told, and. eagerly listened to by the many by-standers who had congregated to witness the grand entry and hear the latest news."

(Click to see the entire writing) (Strongly recommend!)

It is unknown who the man standing in front is in the photo.  Could it be George? 

George and Lydia's first-born son Samuel is helping run the St Nicholas in 1863: (The other Holaday entry -- "J.M." is Lydia's other son, John Milton.)

George disappears for a time, but re-appears in LaPaz, AZ (more on LaPaz) (more on LaPaz) Territory with 2nd wife Elvira and their child on an 1864 Census:

The 2nd Mrs. Holaday meets her demise in Arizona Territory in 1864:

Arizona miner (Fort Whipple, Ariz.) 1864-1868, August 10, 1864: (Note spelling error.)

George, however, is moving on. His 2nd wife is dead and there's no time to waste. He makes his way to Precott, AZ Territory.

There is no mention of George having arrived with a child. The child is never mentioned again; however, the child George Washington Holaday, does eventually pop up on censuses.

George is welcomed in Prescott, AZ Territory:

Arizona Miner (Fort Whipple, AZ) 24 Aug 1864

George becomes a member of the House of the First Territorial Legislature of Arizona Territory.  He serves on various committees and was the temporary speaker in October 1864.

George was running – and appears to have owned – the Montezuma Saloon on Old Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ:

Whiskey Row runs north and south on S. Montezuma St. between Gurley and Goodwin St., directly west of the county courthouse.  This single city block has been the home of the St. Michael's Hotel and the Palace Hotel since the late 19th century along with other colorful purveyors of night-life.

The Arizona Miner, 24 Jan 1866, Image 3

Ahhhh George. You may recall George, years back, in trouble for the Quakers for "attending places of diversion." ie -- saloons, bars. He and Lydia had run the St Nicholas hotel/bar in Winterset for a time. George likes saloons!

But, even George has his limits! Not long after:

The Arizona Miner, Wednesday, 14 Feb 1866

Not long after, however, his saloon burnt to the ground:

Daily Alta California, Vol 19, Number 6272, 17 May 1867, Pg. 1

When George left Prescott, AZ, he made his way to Sonoma Co, CA. He is found on a Voter Registration as living in Petaluma, CA as of July 29, 1867.

George also found himself a new wife, his third, in California. He married Mary Robinson Finley in 1868.

Mary had been born circa 1832 in Tennessee. She was the daughter of Irwin Robinson and Rhoda Strong. She'd been married to James Finley and appears to have had 8 children with him. It is unknown (by me) when they divorced or whether perhaps he passed away.

Mary's family had moved from Tennessee to Missouri and were in Bates Co, MO in 1850. A later census shows her with husband James and children, but the birth year of the oldest child makes Mary only approximately 12 years old at the time of birth. Hmmm. Quite young! (Research may be flawed, but facts do line up well...??) James Finley (as Findley) also appears on the Missouri 1850 census as a farmer, living alone and a neighbor of Irwin and Rhoda Robinson.

Birth years for Mary Finley's children, according to the 1860 US Census (Oregon) are approximately:

1844 in Missouri: M.R.

1846 in Missouri: C.A.

1851 in Missouri: Samuel Jefferson

1854 in California: Nancy J.

24 Jun 1857 in California: Amanda Finley (d) 12 Jan 1933 (m) Harden Martin Berry

1860: Dilla A. Finley; Oregon

1861: James Finley; Oregon

1864: George Finley; California (d) 2 Oct 1944 in OR

MEANWHILE! :) Back in Iowa in the same year as George is marrying wife #3 .... Lydia has remained her steadfast and apparently cheerful self. She kept her strong sense of self and did not waver.

Daily Iowa State Register 23 August 1868

I am not sure who wrote this column, but her son John Milton was a columnist who went by the name "Ye Local."

Back to George.... A census from 1870 shows George and Mary, along with Mary's children and George's son from his second marriage:

George's name is mis-spelled, but that happened often. George is shown as a farmer from Indiana, Mary a housekeeper from Tennessee. George W is the child of George with 2nd wife. Amanda, Dilla, James and the last George are Mary's children from her prior marriage.

A decade later on the 1880 census, some of the children have apparently moved out:

There is an error here, in that George (jr) is listed as "George W." This is not George W. The young George listed here would be Mary Finley's biological son.

George Meacham Holaday's son with second wife Elvira, George Washington Holaday, remained in California. He married Sarah Isabel Atwood ((b) 2 Mar 1867 in San Bernardino (d) 26 Aug 1954 in Los Angeles, California)) and they had the following children:

  1. Clarence Weinwright (b) 7 Jan 1885 in California (d) 31 Jul 1951 in Humboldt, California
  2. Ethel Elvira (b) 28 Nov 1887 in CA (d) 25 Nov 1980 in Whittier, Los Angeles, California (m) John Elmer Van Horn (b) 10 Jul 1878 in Hanford, Kings, California (d) 10 Dec 1962 in Riverside, California
    1. Melba Minnie Van Horn (b) 21 Apr 1913 in San Diego, CA (d) 13 Dec 2001 in Upland, San Bernardino, California (m) Lorenze Frank Cox 9 Mar 1973 in Orange Co, CA (b) 1906 (d) 22 Jul 1974
  3. Leo William (b) 13 May 1889 in San Bernardino, CA (d) 24 Apr 1953 in San Diego, CA
  4. Eva M (b) Oct 1894 in California

The reason I am fairly sure George's second wife's name was "Elvira" (not Almyra or Alvira as some of the spellings indicate) is due to the naming of his first daughter's middle name.

George's life was winding down. He had been a very busy man for a great many years. He'd had three wives and 12 biological children, not to mention step-children. He'd had many titles; Justice of the Peace, Judge, Legislator.

I do not believe George ever "divorced" Lydia. He'd simply left her. One must wonder, what did she think? When George went back and forth from Des Moines to Winterset, with his mistress in Des Moines and his wife in Winterset, what did each woman think was happening? He was clearly involved with each, considering his mistress gave birth in 1859 and his wife gave birth in 1860.

George received a lengthy write-up in: "An illustrated history of Southern California : embracing the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, and the peninsula of Lower California, from the earliest period of occupancy to the present time; together with glimpses of their prospects; also, full-page portraits of some of their eminent men, and biographical mention of many of their pioneers and of prominent citizens of to-day  (1890)"

The most interesting part of the article---- (2nd to last paragraph): "He is a member of the Holiness Church and an earnest Christian gentleman. He has been a wanderer for many years, but is now settled in a quiet home, where he expects to spend the evening of life, free from the rush and excitement of a public career, etc."

Earnest Christian gentleman? Hmmm. I'm not so sure of this. I wonder if Lydia, back in Iowa, would think this to be accurate.

Upon George's death, he received a lengthy write-up in the Tulare Daily Register. (Friday, 6 Sept 1895, Page 3.) This was significant, in that not many received so much as a mention, much less multiple paragraphs.

The son mentioned was his son Miles; George & Lydia's second-born son.

So where did Mary end up? What happened to Mary? I have my suspicions, but I'm not sure if the research supports me.

What I can tell you is this: There is a record of a "Mary Halliday" as an inmate of the Santa Clara Insane Asylum in the Federal Census of 1900:

The birth date fits, so to speak, or at least close. The connotation of "married" is a bit odd, as George had died five years prior, but old records are strife with errors. Would it be so suprising she ended up here? I think not.

St Agnew Insane Asylum, Santa Clara, CA.  The asylum was nearly destroyed by the San Francisco Quake of 1906. The "inmates" were said to be "running the streets." Many were killed. There is no official list of deaths as a result of the quake. Could Mary have been amongst those in the streets? Had she lived that long? Had she ever been there at all? I've spent years trying to find that information and remain at a dead end.

George and Lydia's daughter Caroline remained in Iowa for many years after Caroline's husband's death in 1890. Once her mother Lydia passed in 1911, she went to California and moved in with her daughter Maud, who was divorced by then. Caroline took care of her mother, living with her for so many years, sharing a home and care-taking her mother in the latter years. Lydia died at Caroline's home and Caroline signed Lydia's death certificate as the provider of the information.

The information on the certificate is of interest. Lydia's mother is named as "Sarah." All records found.. everywhere.. list her as "Jane." Is this mistaken? Was she "Sarah Jane"? Was Caroline incorrect? I tend to doubt it. Lydia and her daughter Caroline lived together for so many years. How could Caroline possibly be mistaken about Lydia's mother's name?

I suppose it may never be known.

I have immense respect for Lydia.  She endured great hardships and did so alone for so many of her years.

As I research, Lydia is always on my mind, as is her baby daughter Orpha, in particular.  Although she was born more than 150 years before me, she is alive in my heart and soul.  This page, really, is more about Lydia than her husband George, in many respects.  I want to honor her, her hardships and trials far more than I want to trace George's footsteps.  

As I type this now, on my Windows 7 computer and prepare to put it on the Internet in 2013, I think of Caroline's closing comments in her piece....

"It is probably difficult for our "youngsters" of today to see in this Company of the Grand Army of the Republic - young, active, enthusiastic, vigorous young soldiers of '61 and '65."

...and I wish there was a way to say to her -- "Yes, it is difficult, but 105 years later, we are reading your eloquent words and we are exceedingly grateful that you put them to paper and... we... truly and deeply care."


Please check back from time to time for updates. :)