52 Ancestors – She had a lot of thorns in her life –My Great Great Grandmother Alice Rose

Alice Wilbur Carr with unknown child

Alice Wilbur Carr with unknown child

My great great paternal grandmother, Native American Alice (nee Wilbur) Quinney Moon Showers Carr, was born in Stockbridge, Calument County, Wisconsin, in 1843 to John and Elizabeth Doxtator Wilbur. Alice had four husbands, two of whom I know she divorced, though I’m not convinced that she actually liked or loved any of her four husbands.

Alice and her first husband, Paul Quinney, a Union soldier from Wisconsin, were married in 1862. Unfortunately, Paul died in the Civil War. He was taken prisoner by the Confederates, and he died shortly thereafter in the infamous prison, Andersonville, supposedly from a gunshot wound and fever. Alice and Paul had one daughter, Mary, born in 1862, and perhaps the real reason for their hasty marriage in 1862!

Shortly after Paul’s untimely death, Alice married her second husband, James R. Moon, also Native American, in 1865. They had three children, including my great-grandmother, Jenny Moon. While using city directories in Ancestry, I discovered that Alice was a dressmaker, and that James was a blacksmith. They were living in Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wisconsin. By 1875, James and Alice were divorced, James then marrying a 15-year-old girl in 1876. Alice had another daughter, Lucy, out-of-wedlock, with a white man, in 1877.

In 1881, Alice married her third husband, William H. Showers, a white man and a rafter by trade.  He died in 1895 of liver complications. But Alice wasn’t finished yet with men or with marriage.  In 1899, she tried marriage one more time, marrying Squire Joseph Carr. Apparently their marriage was quite volatile, lasting only 5 years, and to my surprise, Squire actually filed for divorce from Alice. I have their divorce papers, and though we only hear Squire’s side of the story, apparently he and Alice gave their neighbors and family members quite the show, always fighting, hitting, and swearing at one another.  Needless to say, they were divorced in 1905.

After that marriage fiasco, Alice remained single for the rest of her life. She died in 1915 of a blood clot in the brain on the Stockbridge Indian Reservation in Shawano County, Wisconsin.

I don’t know a lot about Alice or her husbands; I can only draw some conclusions based on some Native American letters and documents as well as several depositions from Alice and other family members. I have and continue to research my Native American ancestry, and with that research I’ve uncovered family secrets and information that has shocked and surprised me, and often it has made me laugh. Maybe that’s why I keep digging. When I research an ancestor, I want more than dates. I want to get to know that person as much as I can. I can research one person for a year or more as I discover new information online or from Ancestry. Research is never finished with genealogy.

I’ve included a rare photo of Alice that I found, with lots of jubilation, at the Stockbridge Indian Museum in Bowler, Shawano County, Wisconsin. I am not sure of the identity of the child. Perhaps it’s Alice’s first daughter, Mary Quinney. If I knew the approximate year of the photo, that might help me with the identification. When I first received this photo and studied it, I noticed what appears to be a lump (goiter?) in Alice’s throat. It also took me a long time to identify the object around/near Alice’s hands. I believe she’s wearing gloves, and I think there’s a child’s toy near the infant as well. All in all, I’m thrilled to have this wonderful photo of Alice with a child.

52 Ancestors – My great great Aunt Gladys Moon Sears

Gladys Moon Sears

Today I received this precious photo of my great great Aunt Gladys via email from a fellow researcher who also has family connections with Gladys.

Gladys was born on September 8, 1885, in Red Springs, Shawano County, Wisconsin, to James (my great great paternal grandfather) and Phoebe Johnson Moon (James’ third wife). While giving birth to Glady’s sixth sibling, Martin in 1897, Phoebe dies. Consequently, all of the Moon children are left without a mother. Apparently James does the best he can with raising this large family, but in 1903, James died unexpectedly, and all of the children, except Bessie who died at the age of 8, are separated and given up for adoption. Gladys is raised by the Gardner family on the Stockbridge Reservation in Shawano County, Wisconsin, and eventually is sent away to the Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Indian Government School. Gladys remained at the school for many years, and as part of the Indian School program, all children were eventually sent to stay with different host families throughout the state of Pennsylvania to practice their trades and gain experience in the real world. Gladys’ family enjoyed her so much that after she finished with her schooling at Carlisle, Gladys stayed on with her host family for many years until she returned to Wisconsin where in 1928, she met and married Orville John Sears. They had two children together, Wendall and Earl. Fortunately Gladys was reunited with several of her siblings, including her long-lost sister, Kitty Jane (a long story), and her half-sister, Martha Moon Gibson. Gladys died in August, 1967, in Green Bay, Brown County, Wisconsin. Isn’t Gladys beautiful!