Thursday, August 30, 2012

Josie E Wilder Seeley Casey


I have finally been able to find the date of my great-grandmother's sister's death.  Josie Wilder was the older sister of Eva Bell Wilder Lemon.  Eva died in her 30's of burns suffered when the gasoline stove she was cooking breakfast on exploded in 1901.  She had two siblings; Charles Edgar Wilder and Josie E Wilder.  Both her siblings were born in New York before the family migrated to Michigan where Eva was born in 1867, 10 years after her sister Josie.
I've been trying to find Josie for many years now.  She just disappeared after the 1880 census.  The only clue I had was in the obituary for her mother, Calista Maria Lewis Wilder, which stated that Josie was in Pittsburg in 1919, the year her mother died.  I couldn't find her in the Pittsburg, PA census for any year.  It turns out that her husband, Lyman Seeley, died in 1890 and she remarried a man named John B. Casey.  I found her while I was researching Josie's father's sister, Mary Wilder Smith.  Mary Wilder, Bernard Wilder's older sister, married William V. Smith and had a daughter, Ada Jane Smith.  Ada Jane Smith married Samuel T. Lyke.   I discovered that Samuel T. Lyke married Josie's daughter, Mabel H Seeley.  I hadn't known that Josie had two daughters, I was only aware of one, Gertrude Seeley.  But when I plugged Mabel's name into the Family Search web site, there she was, the daughter of "Jessie" and Lyman Seeley, born in Macomb County, Michigan.  That means that Samuel was first married to Mable's 2nd cousin.  It gets confusing.  The relation is on Samuel's first wife's side:  his wife's mother was the sister of Mabel's grandfather, Josie's father, Bernard Wilder.
How odd to find Josie by accident!  She was living with her daughter, Mabel H Lyke, in the 1930 census.  The little hints on the side of the census record listed Josie Wilder and I eventually put everything together.  What a happy day!  I remember the feeling when I kept stumbling across Josie, thinking, "This can't be right."  But it was. 
Now I have documented every member of the Bernard Wilder/Calista Maria Lewis union, the parents of my paternal great-grandmother, Eva Bell Wilder Lemon. 
I bet Uncle Dick is shaking his head and saying, "For a Smart Cookie, it sure took you long enough!"

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