Friday, March 6, 2015

The Boy Next Door - Women's History Month Post #5: How William Wallace Colby and Mamie Elizabeth Hugunin Met

Dear Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother Colby,
Today, we are asked to relate or speculate on how our parents, or in this case great grandparents met.
I know that you, William Wallace Colby and Mary "Mamie" Elizabeth Hugunin, were married 16 October 1884 at the home of the bride's parents. The date of your meeting was not passed down to the family. I wonder if either of you remember the day you meet. As neighbors, especially considering the more than ten year difference in your ages, it was probably a day that passed without special noting.
Plat map is from Blue Skies Kansas website which is now disabled.
In the center, notice the adjacent properties of Lydia Richards,
W.W. Colby, M. L. Colby and W. H. Hugunin
This portion of the Kirwin township plat map provides clues to your meeting. The first family member to arrive in the area was Lydia (Hunnewell) (Edgerton) Richards. She and her husband, Bela Edgerton, were among the early settlers near Kirwin. The couple was working hard to turn the prairie into a productive farm when Bela died of a fever at age 40, 5 December 1873. Lydia must have been panicked to try to face the winter and spring planting alone.

I expect she must have written  to her sister Fannie (Hunnewell) Colby explaining her dire situation.
William Henry and Fannie Colby were living in Logansport, Indiana where William was partner in a broom manufacturing concern and young William Wallace called W.W. was attending Logansport Seminary training to be a teacher. A record that discloses the exact date W. W. went to Kansas to help his Aunt Lydia has not been found. The 1880 census shows him working on her farm.

Mamie Hugunin moved with her parents, Van Eps and Sarah Amanda (Gibson) Hugunin, and little brother, Walter, to Kirwin sometime between her grandmother Jannetje (Van Eps) Hugunin's 29 December 1878 death in Johnston, Wisconsin and the birth of her sister Grace 10 May 1879 in Kirwin. They settled on a homestead adjacent to Lydia's property.

So you became neighbors. Both of you became teachers. Obviously, you also fell in love and were married until Mamie's death in 1917. I wish I new more of your story.

Love your great granddaughter,

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