25 July 2012

A Case of Insanity and Death in Williams Co, OH - 1894 - McCoy

By Pamela Pattison Lash

What I found personally interesting to me was the fact that this family originally came from Spring Twp, Crawford Co, PA, which is home to my Stewart/Stuart and Tarr lines – small world.  The old newspapers, as always, bear fruit for genealogical research.  As you read the entries, it seems hard to believe that one is deemed “insane” at the beginning of September and sent away but by the end of October the person is back in Williams County.  I wonder if he was sent to Toledo for observation and then released (probably never know).  Then add into the mix the death record(s) which I’ve also added; this information adds more – did our subject become too ill to be properly treated in the asylum to the extent that he was sent back home to die?

The Bryan Democrat, 6 Sept 1894 p5 c1
Collins McCoy of Jefferson has been adjudged insane by the Williams County Probate Court and taken to the insane asylum at Toledo.

The Bryan Democrat, 1 Nov 1894 p5 c1
Collins McCoy of Jefferson Township died Wednesday morning, aged 30 years.

Williams County, Ohio Probate – Collin A McCoy, 25 Sept 1894, case #3525, misc (aka usually insanity, which in this case is the situation; this record is unfortunately sealed)

Williams County, Ohio Death Records, V3 p93 – 2 entries apparently for the same man except the death years are different as are the age components (I actually looked at old paper copies)
1. C S McCoy, died 31 Oct 1895 @29Y 4M 13D in Jefferson Twp of Lagrippe; born in OH; farmer, single
2. Collins McCoy, died 31 Oct 1894 @29Y 10M 3D in Jefferson Twp of Lagrippe; born in PA, farmer, single

Williams County, Ohio Death Records, V3 p93 (online)
Collins McCoy, single, farmer, died on 31 Oct 1894 in Jefferson Twp, Williams Co, OH

Obit – Bryan Press, 8 Nov 1894 (not found yet)

Jefferson Township, Williams Co, OH Cemetery Records - Shiffler Cemetery burial records (WCGS, p72)
McCoy, Collins S died 31 Oct 1894 @29Y 10M 3D s/o Robert and Mary A McCoy
Also buried there were Addie B McCrea, Wilton D, Robert (a Civil War veteran), Mary A, and Flora McCoy.

Once I identified Collins in the above mentioned records, the obits for the parents, and the 1880 census I could piece together his family and add more details.  His father’s obit was extremely helpful.

(Father) Robert McCoy died on 11 July 1901 in Jefferson Twp, Williams Co, OH @74Y, married, buried in Shiffler Cem; born c1827 Springboro, PA; his father was William R McCoy and his mother was Amy Stu…Eban??
Obit – Bryan Democrat, 18 July 1901 p5 and 25 July 1901 p1 and 19 Sept 1901 p4; Bryan Press, 18 July 1901 and 25 July 1901

Bryan Democrat, 18 July 1901 p5 c3
Mr Robert McCoy another old resident of this community (Jefferson Township) passed away quite suddenly last Thursday after a brief illness of 3-4 days.  Mr McCoy was well up in years, having lived a few years over the allotted time of man.  He was a good citizen and in every respect a model man.

Bryan Democrat, 25 July 1901 p1 c4 (very long obit so I picked out the vital info)
Robert McCoy, born in Springboro, PA, 26 Sept 1826; married 7 Apr 1859 Mary A Stanford; had 3 children – 2 sons and 1 daughter: Addie (Mrs Will McCrea) of Danville, IL, Collins, a young man of promise was snatched away by death, and Wilton who lives on an adjoining farm. He lived for 6 years on a farm in PA and then came to Williams Co living on a farm 3 miles east of Edgerton for 8 years while he engaged in school teaching part of the time; then he purchased a farm in Jefferson Township where he lived until he died.  He was buried Shiffler Cem – survived by 2 children, 3 grand-children, 2 brothers, 1 sister, and his wife.

(Mother) Mary Ann Stanford died on 31 Jan 1919 in Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Williams Co, OH @80Y 7M 17D, widow, buried in Shiffler Cem; born 14 June 1838 in PA, the daughter of James Stanford of England and his wife (unknown) Logan
Obit – Bryan Democrat, 4 Feb 1919 p1; Bryan Press 6 Feb 1919

1860 Spring, Crawford, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1100; Page: 921; Image: 300; Family History Library Film: 805100.
h/h 1832/1731 McCoy, Robert 33 PA farmer
Mary 22 PA
Note they lived next door to his parents (Collins’ grandparents), William and Amy McCoy plus his siblings; Robert is 23 PA in the 1850 Spring, Crawford, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_770; Page: 18B; Image: 43, living with his parents and siblings, Asa, James, Sarah, Ella, and Julia

1870 Florence, Williams, Ohio; Roll: M593_1282; Page: 79B; Image: 162; Family History Library Film: 552781.
h/h 289/289 McCoy, Robert 43 PA farmer
Mary A 32 PA
Wilton 9 PA
Collins 5 PA
Ada B 3 PA

1880 Jefferson, Williams, Ohio; Roll: 1077; Family History Film: 1255077; Page: 517B; Enumeration District: 006; Image: 0669.
h/h 14/15 McCoy, Robert 53 PA-PA-PA farmer
Mary A wife 42 PA-PA-PA
Wilton D son 19 PA-PA-PA (born Mar 1861, Springboro, PA; died 16 June 1943 Bryan, Williams Co, OH; buried in Shiffler Cem) mar Flora Hughes, 27 Mar 1895, Williams Co, OH
Collins S son 15 PA-PA-PA
Adda B dau 12 OH-PA-PA (born 24 June 1867; died 8 Feb 1913 as Adda  B McCrea, divorced; buried in Shiffler Cem) mar William McCrea, 26 Mar 1890, Williams Co, OH; by 1910 she’s married to David G Harter with her mother Mary McCoy living with them in Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Williams Co, OH

1900 Jefferson, Williams, Ohio; Roll: 1332; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 106; FHL microfilm: 1241332.
h/h 24/24 McCoy, Robert 73 (Sept 1826) PA-PA-PA mar 41Y farmer
Mary wife 62 (May 1838) PA-Eng-PA 3/2 ch
Note son Wilton and his family live next door; Wilton’s place of birth is listed as OH

23 July 2012

A Tale of Two Newspaper Accounts - Altorfer

By Pamela Pattison Lash

Here’s an example of how two Bryan newspapers treated a suicide.  The Press gave many details not only of John Jacob Altorfer but of his wife whose obituary followed several days later.  The Press may have given a far better picture of his circumstances than The Democrat, but you be the judge.  Also note the differences in the spelling of the surname.

The Bryan Press, 22 Aug 1895 p3 c3
John Jacob Altorfer of Stryker, head of the family of the same name, which has engaged the attention of several grand juries in recent years, committed suicide by hanging last Friday night.  He was found by his wife about half past ten hanging to a rafter in a small room off the woodshed at his home, his feet touching the floor.  Life was extinct, and Squire Hester, acting as coroner, after an examination, pronounced the case to be one of self-destruction.  The deceased was about 65 years old, a veteran of the late war, a kindly disposed and inoffensive German, who for several years had been totally blind.  Last fall his wife was convicted in the common pleas court of keeping a disorderly house, and incarcerated in the Toledo work house.  Notwithstanding this lesson, the various members of the family have continued their shameful practices and it is supposed that his inability to control his wayward wife and daughters was the cause of the father’s act.

The Bryan Democrat, 22 Aug 1895 p5 c2
John J Altaffer who resided at the west end of Stryker committed suicide last Saturday morning by hanging himself in a summer kitchen.  He was a soldier in the Union army, had become blind after the war, and failing to secure the pension he wanted became despondent and took his own life.  He was buried by Bradley Post GAR.

The Bryan Press, 5 Sept 1895 p3 c5
Mrs. Altofer, whose husband hung himself some weeks since, expired Monday.  The undertaker in his report of her death, said she had cancer or tumor. Her home had been infamous several years.  A few nights since a dynamite cartridge was exploded upon the porch of her house, shattering front windows.  Two or three daughters were living with her.  Citizens of the neighborhood hope the resort will be closed.

From these obits I was able to piece together more about this family.

Williams County, Ohio Deaths, V3 p1 – J A Altoffer, died 16 Aug 1895 in Springfield Twp, Williams Co, OH; born in PA, laborer, age 61Y, married

Williams County, Ohio Deaths, V3 p1 – Rebecca Altoffer, died 31 Aug 1895 in Springfield Twp, Williams Co, OH; born PA, age 56Y, housewife, married
(Her name was possibly Rebecca Magdalene Beals)

Williams Co, OH Probate - 5 Sept 1895 case #3652 - Rebecca M Altaffer (note spelling) - there could be letters of administration and/or a will; no probate was found for her husband

Margaret C Altofer, dau of Jacob and Rebecca Beek Altofer, was born in Pike Twp, Fulton Co, OH on 26 June 1872 (Births V1 p61) – I found referencing to Beek, Beck, Bial, and Beal; Margaret C “Maggie” Altorfer married Eli Berrier in Paulding Co, OH on 7 May 1898 (Marriage V5 p506)

Using familysearch.org I found this same daughter of the couple (note different b-dates) -

name:            Christina M Berrier
burial date:            16 Jul 1927
burial place:            Bryan, Ohio
death date:            16 Jul 1927
death place:            Toledo, Lucas, Ohio
age:            56
birth date:            28 Jun 1871
birthplace:            Wauseon, Ohio
occupation:            At Home
race:            White
marital status:            Married
spouse's name:            Eli Berrier
father's name:            John J Altofer
father's birthplace:            Switzerland
mother's name:            Rebecca Bial
mother's birthplace:            Holland
indexing project (batch) number:            B07145-6
system origin:            Ohio-EASy
source film number:            1689660
reference number:            p 90 cn 2321

I also found this son listed:

name:            Charles Milton Altofer
event:            Birth
event date:            06 Sep 1879
event place:            Wauseon, Fulton, Ohio
registration date:           
registration place:           
gender:            Male
father:            John L. Altofer
father's titles & terms:           
father's birthplace:           
father's age:           
mother:            Rebecca Beal           
reference number:            pg 6-7
film number:            909018
digital folder number:            4017207
image number:            258

Charles Milton Altofer married Ella Gross Gaffney on 14 Apr 1908 in Montgomery Co, OH.

Then I used the federal census records and CW online sources to piece together the family.  Here’s what I found:
1860 German, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: M653_965; Page: 348; Image: 163; Family History Library Film: 803965
h/h 1088/1099 Intham, John 30 clothier Switz
Barbara 23 Switz
Henry 2 OH
Lydia 1 OH
Elizabeth 1/12 OH
Olderfer, Jacob 28 day laborer Switz

1861 John Altraper
Age at enlistment:            29
Enlistment Date:            9 Dec 1861
Rank at enlistment:            Musician
State Served:            Ohio
Survived the War?:            Yes
Service Record: Enlisted in Company S, Ohio 14th Infantry Regiment on 12 Sep 1861.
Mustered out on 10 Sep 1862 at Bowling Green, KY.
Birth Date:            abt 1832
Sources:            Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio

1870 Clinton, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: M593_1202; Page: 48A; Image: 99; Family History Library Film: 552701.
h/h 317/316 Oldoffer, Jacob 33 Switzerland corn laborer 899/120
Rabeca 27 OH
Albert 6 OH
Mary 5 OH
William 3 OH
Caroline 1 OH
Susan 1 OH

1880 Swanton, Lucas, Ohio; Roll: 1044; Family History Film: 1255044; Page: 87A; Enumeration District: 056; Image: 0333.
h/h 6/6 Altorfer, John J 49 laborer Switz-Switz-Switz
Rebecca M 37 wife OH-PA-PA
Albert L 16 OH-Switz-OH laborer
Mary L 14 dau OH-Switz-OH
William H 12 son OH-Switz-OH (pos m Amelia Anna Thierry)
Caroline 11 dau OH-Switz-OH
Susan A 11 dau OH-Switz-OH
Margarett C 9 dau OH-Switz-OH (mar Eli Berrier)
Rosa A 7 dau OH-Switz-OH (mar William H Umstead, 30 Oct 1897, Defiance Co, OH)
Cora A 5 dau OH-Switz-OH
Flora E 3 dau OH-Switz-OH
Charles M 9M son OH-Switz-OH (Charles Milton, b 6 Sept 1879, s/o John Altorfer and Rebecca Beal)

General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration; Roll # T288_7 John J Altorfer applied for a Civil War Pension on 21 Apr 1880 for service as musician in Reg Band 14th OVI; application #360,420; certificate # 319, 513

1890 Stryker, Springfield, Williams, Ohio; Roll: 61; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 194. Veterans Schedule – John J Altorfer: enlisted 12 Sept 1861; discharged 13 Sept 1862 (1Y 1D); musician; Co O 14th OVI

Their children appear to be
Albert L (1864 OH - )
Mary Lucenda (1866 OH - )
William Henry (27 Oct 1867 Wauseon, Fulton Co, OH – 26 Oct 1893 Mark Twp, Defiance Co, OH)
Susan A (1869 OH - )
Caroline E (1869 OH - )
Margaret Christena (28 June 1871 or 27 June 1872 Pike Twp, Fulton Co, OH - )
Rose Matilda (1873 OH - )
Cora A (1875 OH - )
Flora Ellen (1877 OH - )
Charles Milton (6 Sept 1879 Swanton Twp, Lucas Co, OH -)

At this time I do not know if Rebecca is the Rebecca Beal of this family – her mother was unknown as this David Beal married a Lucinda as a later spouse:
1860 Morenci, Lenawee, Michigan; Roll: M653_551; Page: 741; Image: 741; Family History Library Film: 803551.
h/h 2120/2125 Beal, David 40 PA farmer
Lucinda 28 OH
Rebecca 18 OH
Charles 14 OH
William 6 OH
Caroline 4 OH
Franklin 2 MI
Mary 1 MI