Friday, August 17, 2012

Delia E. Lewis McCulley

Delia Elizabeth Lewis was born the 16th of December in 1853 in Union County, Illinois. She was the daughter of Levi and Charlotte "Lottie" (Oxford) Lewis. She was the second to last child to be born into this marriage.

She is listed as a child of Levi Lewis in his probate record dated 1856. Without this information I would think she was the child of Charlotte's second husband Wiley Cox. Other documents list her birth date around the year 1859. However, in the 1860 Census she is listed as 7, making her birth date 1853.

In the 1860 Census she is found with her mother and siblings in the household of Wiley Cox. The "Louis" family is living in Township 12 S Range and Anna was the closest post office. The page number is 281.

In the 1870 Census she is listed as 12 years old, however she would be 17 years old. She is living in her mother's household ( back with the name of Charlotte Lewis) in Stokes, Union County, Illinois. The page number is 32 and the nearest post office is Mt Pleasant.

This is where the dates make her age interesting.

In 1875 Delilah marries Henry A Wentz on August 12, in Union County, Illinois. If she was born in 1853 she would be 21 years old. I found her marriage information in the "minors" book at the Union County Courthouse. The document states that he was 22 and she was 17. If she was truly 17 then she was born in 1859 ( 3 years after Levi Lewis died and thus to late to be in his probate record).

Both parties were from Stokes, Union County, Illinois. They were married by William McCarty (JP) at his office in Western Saratoga, Union County, Illinois. Delia's mother gave her approval for the marriage. The certificate number is 2560.

The marriage only lasted 6 months. Union County Circuit Court records show they were granted a divorce on March 21, 1876. (Refer to Henry Wells v Dinah Wells, Book N pp 393 and 407.)

In 1876 Delia married for the second time. On December 23, 1876 Delia Wentz married Alexander McCulloch at Mrs M. Louis's in Union County, Illinois by C Sitter (JP). They were both from Mt Pleasant, Union County, Illinois. He was 37 years old. She was 18 years old ( or so she said). The certificate number is 2813.

In the 1880 Census Delia is found with her husband "Aab" McCulley. They are living in Stokes, Union County, Illinois and are located on page 23. She is 21 years old and keeps house. He is 48 years old and works as a laborer.

In the 1900 Census Delia "Elisebeth" is found with her husband and children. In the past 20 years she gave birth to 8 children with only 5 still alive. In this census they give her the same birth date as her husband (1838) but write her age is 41. They are living in Saratoga, Union County, Illinois. The enumeration district number is 106 on sheet 6.

McCulley, Eic A (married 23 years), works as farm laborer, rented farm

-------, Elisabeth , keeping house,

-------, Elijah (born 1880)

-------, Charlotte T (born 1882)

------, Sarah J (born 1884)

------, Mittie E (born 1885)

------, Cleveland (born 1887)

Mittie is the only one that can read and write.

I had a difficult time finding her in the 1910 Census. In just 10 years her family structure had changed a great deal. Her husband has pasted away. Her daughters are married and one had died.

In the 1910 Census she is found living back in Stokes, Union County, Illinois with grandson Alexander Carnes and son Cleveland. Due to a black mark on the census paper her name has been translated as " Josefa McCulley." The enumeration district is 146 on sheet 7. It notes that she a 49 year old widowed mother of 8 ( 5 still living). I think she only had 4 children living at this time. I believe ( but have no documentation) that Mittie married a Carnes. Please refer to Myrtle "Mittle" McCulley for more information.

In an interview with her granddaughter, Mrs Scivalley, she said that Delia received a pension from her husband's  military service. She either received land to farm or bought land with money from the pension. The old farm house no longer stands. The land has gone back to nature.

In the 1920 Census she is still living in Stokes, Union County, Illinois with grandson "Xander." This time they spell her name "Deligh MCully." She is a 67 year old widowed woman.  Her grandson this time has the last name of MCully. He is 16 years old and works as a farm laborer.

On a side note: I have lost Alexander "Xander" McCulley-Carnes after 1920. His cousin Mrs Scivalley remembers hearing about him when she was a young girl. She doesn't remember what happened to him.

In the 1930 Census Deliah McCully is living with son Elijah and his son Evertt in Anna, Union County, Illinois. The enumeration number is 91-5 on sheet 3A. It states that she is 76 years old.

Note: Elijah's name has been translated as Chipah.

Her granddaughter, Mrs Scivalley, remembers that Delia would move between Cleveland and Elijah's homes. When she was mad at one then she would move to the other's house. She had a close relationship with her granddaughter. The doctors told Delia that due to problems with her heart she needed to stop eating bacon fat. Delia loved a good farm breakfast which consisted of a lot of lard. She pleaded with her granddaughter to fry up a big heaping slab of bacon. Her granddaughter reports that she enjoyed that meal but it was her last. By the next morning Delia had pasted away.

On September 3, 1932 Delia (Lewis) McCulley pasted away and was laid to rest at Casper Cemetery. Her son Cleveland was the informant for the information on her death certificate. She was living in Dongola, Union County, Illinois. He stated that she was 72 years old, 8 months and 18 days old. I believe her true age was closer to 78 years old.

One note about her burial. Her granddaughter remembers that she told them that she had a place to be buried beside her family. They tried to bury her there but was told by the new landowners that they would not let her be buried on their property. I asked her to retrace her steps to this property. There is no cemetery in this area (that I could find). It is possible that the farmer knocked over the old gravestones and plowed over the family cemetery. This is an on going mystery and needs more research from me. This might explain why I can't find Delia's family's last resting place.

Questions/ Further Research

1. Research divorce records from Henry Wentz/Wells. Sometimes records tell other information about the family.

2.Why since the age of 12 has here age been off my 5 years?

3. Were is this cemetery that her family was buried? Did they go to the wrong farm? Did the farmer plow over the cemetery?

4. What happened to Alexander Carnes?

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