Parents sometimes bestow unusual names on their children, and in some cases the children change or de-emphasize those unusual names later in life. One such example is General Sherman Bosseller, who was born in November 1864, when General William Tecumseh Sherman was conducting the Civil War campaign known as Sherman’s March to the Sea. General Sherman Bosseller was my second cousin, three times removed (I used a relationship chart to figure this out. About.com has a nice relationship chart to use for this purpose.)
When General Sherman Bosseller was born in Salem Twp, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, his father, Leonard, was 39 and his mother, Violetta, was 39. He married Nancy “Nannie” Vosler in 1891. They had three daughters over 21 years. He died on 28 Jan 1942, having lived all of his 77 years in Salem Twp. He was buried in Stevenson Cemetery in Greenville, Pennsylvania. After being named General Sherman Bosseller at birth, his cemetery marker reads simply “Sherman Vosler.”
In 1870, General Sherman Bosseller was 5 years old and lived in Salem Twp with his parents, Leonard and Violetta, and with three brothers and three sisters. (Note: in following references to censuses, I will use the name the enumerator recorded for our subject. All census research was performed at www.ancestry.com)
The first change came in 1880, when Sherman Vosler was listed as 15 years old and living in Salem Twp with his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters.
According to the 1900 Census, Sherman Vosler married Nannie in 1891. The census reports that by 1900, they had had two children, both of which were living. The Census lists Mabel born in Dec 1891 and Naoma born in Oct 1894. In 1900, he was 35 years old and a farmer in Salem Twp.
In 1910, General S. Vosler was 45 years old and working as a farmer in Salem Twp, Mercer, Pennsylvania with his wife, Namie, age 39, and two daughters. Mabel V was 18 years old, and Naoma J was 15.
In 1920, G. Sherman Vosler was 55 years old and working at general farming in Salem Twp, Mercer Pennsylvania with his wife, Nannie, and daughter, Dorothy, age 7.
In 1930, G. Sherman Vosler was 65 years old and was a farmer in Salem Twp, Mercer, Pennsylvania with his wife, Nannie. His daughter, Dorothy, age 18, had married John L Roberts, and they and their five month old daughter, Betty L, were living with Sherman and Nannie. John listed his occupation as fireman at a saw mill.
G.S. Vosler is listed as residing at Rural Route 1 on page 240 of the 1932 Greenville, Pennsylvania, City Directory found at www.ancestry.com.
As of April 1, the 1940 U.S. Federal Census shows Sherman Vosler as 75 years old and living in Salem Twp with his wife, Namie. The occupation column is blank for Sherman, indicating that he probably had retired from active farming. John Roberts and his wife, Dorothy, were living in the household, along with two granddaughters, Betty Lou, 4 [14?] and Roberta, less than 1 year old. The 1940 census enumeration states that all the family members were living in the “Same House” in 1935.
Sherman Vosler died on 28 Jan 1942 and was buried in Stevenson Cemetery, Greenville, Mercer, Pennsylvania. In later life, both his given name and family name were to simplified to Sherman Vosler from his birth given and family names of General Sherman Bosseller.
A year later, his wife paid for the following newspaper memorial: “In memory of Sherman Vosler who departed this life 1 year ago today, Jan. 28, 1942. Gone but not forgotten. Sadly missed by his wife and family. Mrs. Sherman Vosler and Family,” which I retrieved from www.newspaperarchive.com as being published on 28 Jan 1943 in The Record-Argus, Greenville, Pennsylvania, p 2.