Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Happy Anniversary Theodore and Mary Jane (Vale) Whitlock

Dear Grandparents,
Yesterday, we are commerated the 166th wedding anniversary of my husband's 3rd great grandparents, Theodore and Mary Jane (Vale) Whitlock.

Image from www.ancestry.com
Whitlock-Vale record underlined.
Theodore is the oldest son of John Whitlock, who was born about 1809 in Cecil County, Maryland. John married Rachel Ann Mason March 25, 1832 in New Castle County, Delaware. Rachel is the daughter of Matthew Mason and an unidentified mother. John was a Wheelwright and Theodore learned his trade from his father. A wheelwright is someone who made or repaired wheels for carts and wagons.

Mary Jane is the daughter of James Vale (Vail). She appears with him on the 1850 census as a 16 year old living in Middletown, New Castle County, Delaware. There is no appropriately aged female that could be considered her mother on the record.

1850 Census Middletown, New Castle County, Delaware stamped p 196
By 1860, Theodore and family were living in the village for Leipsic about 5 miles inland from the Delaware Bay. He owned real estate worth 300 dollars. In 1860, wheelwrights would earn about $10.64 per week so to have accumulated 300 dollar's worth of real estate meant the family was doing well. It should also be noted that Mary Jane is listed as an adult who can neither read or write, a situation that was not unusual for women at that time.

1860 Census from Little Creek Hundred for Theodore Whitlock and presumed family
image from www.ancestry.com

The next record we find for the Whitlock family is the 1870 census and there are some problems with the information reported to the Enumerator. Theodore is still a Wheelwright born in Delaware, however the box for having a foreign born father is checked and we know his father was born in Maryland. Mary Jane's name is listed as Sarah J. Some other items seem correct. The four coldest children, ages 18 to 10 are all listed as laborers who can both read and write. It was not uncommon for children to go to work at very young ages usually for their father.

1870 Census record for Theodore Whitlock and presumed family

By 1880, the family is living in West St. George's Hundred, New Castle County. Theodore is still working as a Wheelwright and Mary J is keeping house. There are six children still in the home, the youngest three are in school. I have not included the image as it is very faint.

Death Certificate for Theodore Whitlock, Sr.
Today, we would think that Theodore died fairly young only 58.. The cause of death is listed as appoplexy, that is a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke.
A death certificate for Mary Jane has not been found. The last record we have of her is the 1900 census. She is listed as a widow, living in a rented house in District 63 in Middletown. Also in her household are sons John, age 41 and widowed, Eugene age 34 single, daughter Olive married and grandson Eugene born November 1891. All of them, with the exception of the grandson, can read and write.

1900 Census for Middletown, New Castle County, Delaware District 63
For more than fifty years, Ed and I have been driving through Middletown, Delaware on trips between Burlington County, New Jersey and Annapolis, Maryland. These trips began when Ed was a Midshipman at the U. S. Naval Academy and have continued when we lived in Annapolis and now when our daughter lives in Annapolis. In the beginning, we did not know that Ed had ancestors who had lived in Middletown. Probably, we did not even know that Ed had Whitlock surnamed ancestors.
Still the town always had appeal and we often stopped there for a break.

Ed, Amanda and I stopped in Middletown a couple of years ago and spent a few hours looking in local cemeteries and libraries looking for a death record for Mary Jane and headstones. Unfortunately, we did not have any luck. Hopefully, we'll be back later this summer and find something.

Until then,

For family members
Theodore and Mary Jane (Vale) Whitlock parents of
James Whitlock who married Catherine Shaffer
Catherine "Kate" Whitlock married Edward Everett Hanna
Alice Mae Hanna married William Joseph Kelly
Edward Ebert Kelly* married Pauline Nelda Haas
*family lore has it that Edward Ebert Kelly was supposed to have been named Edward Everett for his grandfather and an error was made on the birth certificate so Edward Ebert he became.