Mary Jane- Who Was She?
Mary Jane was my paternal great-great grandmother. I was always fascinated with this photograph of her. "She had a hole in her nose because she liked to chew and sniff snuff", my grandmother would tell me. The actual cause of death on her death certificate was "stomach cancer due to gene debility", but she lived until she was 83, so it did not seem to shorten her life considerably.
But you can see the suffering in her face.
Mary is the subject of some controversy in our family. We were always told that "her mother was an (American) Indian", and some people say you can see it in her features. A cousin who did some research years ago concluded that "Mary was an Algonquin Indian, her mother was a full-blooded Indian named Barsheba Seokie". Unfortunately, my cousin died soon after giving me this information, and I have been able to discover what her source for this information was.
It has since been established that Mary Jane's mother was Barsheba Delong, and her family's American roots date to 1671 when Aryan Fransen came from Amsterdam, North Holland to America, settling in Kingston, Ulster, New York. There he married Rachel Jansen Pier, and their descendants remained until 1831, when Barsheba's parents, Henrick and Margaret (Joslin) Delong moved to Ameliasburg, Ontario. This information is established through records, so here is the version I believe to be true:
Mary Jane's BiographyMary Jane was the youngest of seven children born to John D. Dumprope and Barsheba Delong. She was born at Ameliasburg, Prince Edward county, Ontario, Canada on 20 September 1830. Mary Jane's father died just before her 14th birthday, and within the next couple of years she married Sanford Jeremy Clark.
Sanford and Mary Jane joined most of her family in their move to Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin about 1848. They began their family with the birth of my great-grandfather in February 1850, followed by Barsheba Jane, Charles Rogers, Simon Edward, Ann, Wilhemina Agnes, Jeanette Sarah and Charlotte Beatrice. According to the 1900 census, Mary Jane reported that she had born 13 children, 6 of whom were still living at that time. The loss of children, at whatever age, is heartbreaking.
Sanford and Mary Jane moved to Door County, and farmed in the Clay Banks area until his sudden death in 1892, when Mary Jane returned to Sheboygan. She lived with her children for the rest of her life. In 1900 she was living with her daughter Charlotte (Lottie) and Theodore Lorenz. Five years later she is listed on the 1905 Wisconsin state census at Ahnapee, just south of Clay Banks, living with her son Edward's family and son Charles. Within the next 5 years she returned once more to Sheboygan.
I found once reference to her in the Sheboygan Press of April 17, 1913, where it reported on the fall and serious injury of her grandson, Sanford Edward Clark in Sturgeon Bay:
SANFORD CLARK INJURED IN FALL (Sheboygan Press, April 17, 1913, page 5)As I wrote in another article, Sanford made a full recovery, but his grandmother died 11 months later, on 20 March 1914. She is buried at Wildwood Cemetery in Sheboygan, on her daughter Minnie Feld's lot, but does not have a headstone.
"Word reached here last evening by Mrs. M. J. Clark (Mary Jane) that her grandson, Mr. Sanford Clark, was seriously injured when he fell from a steamer at Sturgeon Bay. Mr. Clark was a former Sheboygan young man and is known in the city. His condition at the present time is alarming as he is not expected to recover. Mrs. M. J. Clark and Miss Grace Clark left for Sturgeon Bay this morning."