Who Was that Little Girl Buried Next to MJ’s Grandmother

by , under Ancestry.com, Ashtabula County, Find A Grave, Ohio, Online Research, Uncategorized, West Virginia

In discussing our family history, my wife, Mary Jane (MJ for short), has mentioned many times that her paternal grandmother was named Mary Margaret Caroline Heinselman Butcher Van Court. She was somewhat unusual for having two middle names and three family names. Heinselman was her maiden name, and Butcher was the name she assumed when she married Albert Theodore Butcher on 23 Aug 1885 in Beech Run, Richie County, West Virginia. He passed away at age 40 in 1893, supposedly in Ritchie County, West Virginia. To date, I have found no West Virginia death certificate for him.

Mary next married James Smith Van Court, MJ’s grandfather, on 10 Oct 1894 in Ritchie County, West Virginia. They moved from West Virginia to Richmond Center in Ashtabula County, Ohio, sometime before 1910. They purchased and operated a farm close to the intersection of US Rt 6 and the Richmond-Footville Rd. which is the center of Richmond Township. James and Mary appear on the 1910 Ashtabula County, Ohio, Federal Census in Richmond Center. Their farm happens to be close to the Richmond Center Cemetery,

James died in 1928, so MJ never knew him. Her grandmother died in 1945 when MJ was only 6 1/2 years old, so she didn’t hear much talk about Van Court family history from Mary.  Mary was buried in the Richmond Center Cemetery, and you can see the family plot from the kitchen window of the Van Court farm. Only a bit of pasture separates the farmhouse from the cemetery. MJ does remember playing in the cemetery and picking wild flowers to place on the graves of children buried there.

One of those graves was that of Louise Ida Butcher, who died after living only one year, from 1914 to 1915. Who was Louise? Find A Grave provides a photograph of Louise’s head stone. The volunteer who added this photo and some memorial information noted that she was the “daughter of Bert Butcher and Illene Carter, buried with [next to] her grandmother Mary Heinselman Butcher Van Court.”

It turns out that Illene Ida Carter married Albert C Butcher, son of Mary, on 10 May 1913, in Ashtabula County, Ohio, according to their marriage license found on FamilySearch.org.

Louise Ida Butcher was born to the couple on 4 Apr 1914 according to an Ohio birth index entry found on Ancestry.com in the Birth Index, 1908-1964 database online. The original data for this database came from Ohio Birth Records, Columbus, Ohio Vital Records Office. No location is given for the birth.

The only death date I know at the moment for Illene is 1914, so she may have succumbed following the birth of her daughter. Where did she die? For that matter, where did Louise die? These are mysteries yet to be solved. All that we do know at the moment is that Illene and Louise both were buried in Richmond Center Cemetery.

As a result of this additional research, we now know who young Louse Ida Butcher was, and that she might loosely be called a shirt-tail cousin of MJ’s.

BTW, I have images and links for this little bit of research, but I have run out of time right now to add them. Maybe later.





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