My mother remembered her grandmother Anderson, Mary Veolia Brink Anderson Kline and liked everything about her except the “V” middle name.
My mother’s parents, following a long tradition in the family, named her for her two grandmothers. Mother inherited Harriette and her nickname ‘Hattie’ from her maternal grandmother, Harriet (Hattie) Morgan Stout . But she hated the middle name Veolia from her paternal grandmother Mary V Brink Anderson. Harriette Veolia Anderson Kaser hated that name so much that, after she was married, instead of signing things with her middle name, or even her initial her signature always read Harriette A. (for Anderson) Kaser.
I have no idea how Mary Brink felt about her middle name, but by the time they got to their seventh child [Correction: eighth child], perhaps Abraham (Abe) and Dorcas Eliza Middaugh Brink were running out of ideas for names. [Corrected] Six of the Brink’s children were living when Mary was born, and they had five more children after Mary.
Abe and Dorcas’ family had more than its share of infant and childhood deaths. Five of their eleven children died–two in infancy. But 1864 to 1865, when Mary was seven years old, was a particularly tragic year for the Brink family. First a three-year-old died, and then a thirteen-year-old boy and soon after a 15-year-old girl. Some epidemic hit the family hard.
When Mary was a young teen, her older sister Sarah Jane married the tall and handsome Frank Anderson from a nearby farm. Not too long after, Frank’s slightly older brother, Joe Anderson, came courting Mary. Joe was lively and fun. He taught music at the after-hours classes at the local school as well as farming, and at 18, Mary and Joe married (January 7, 1877). The following year their son Leonard Guy Anderson was born (my grandfather, who was always called “Guy”). Joe and Mary settled into their farm life and the next year, they had another baby, but this little girl died in infancy.
Mary must have been despondent, having seen so many children die in her own family, I cannot imagine what she thought. Did she want to give up having children? But in 1881 she gave birth to another healthy boy, who they named Bernard Franklin Anderson (called Ben). Life with her Joe was good.
But just six and a half years after they married, Joe died. On August 20, 1883 he was suddenly gone, and Mary was a widow at 24 years old. I am speculating as to what exactly happened, but my guess is that Mary was so bereft that she was incapable of caring for her two young boys. Her sister Sarah Jane and Frank Anderson took in “Ben” and “Guy” and raised them to adulthood.
Joe and Mary’s farm was next door to her sister and brother-in-law’s farm (Sarah Jane and Frank Anderson). LIke most of the Andersons, they lived in Monroe Township, Holmes County, Ohio. When her older son Guy (by then 22) married, he and his new wife Lillis moved in with Mary. Mary’s mother, Dorcas Brink also lived on the farm in her old age after Mary’s father died.
Who knows how long this arrangement might have lasted, but in 1903 Guy’s young wife Lillis died and in 1904, Mary’s mother died, as well.
As I have mentioned in other posts, Lillis left behind two young children. In 1904, when Guy married my grandmother, Vera Stout Anderson Rhema went to live with Aunt Sarah Jane and Uncle Frank Anderson and Telmar with Guy’s brother Ben.
How hard it must have been for Mary, who lost her own young husband to see her son lose his young wife. Mary went to live with her second son Ben and his wife Nettie. Vera and Guy were living on a nearby farm. Mary continued to live the life of a dependent widow–dependent on relatives–from the time she was 24 years old for thirty-six years, until, in her sixties, she married a man named James Kline, a widower.
Kline was a lumber dealer, but interestingly, Mary and her second husband lived with her son Ben Anderson who is listed as head of household on the 1920 census. By 1930 their roles are reversed and James is listed as head of household, although the household still includes James, Mary and Ben.
Mary, with her high forehead and square face, always appears so calm to me in the photographs that my grandmother kept. The two of them attended Killbuck Church of Christ events, the lively young Vera and the calm widow Mary.
The story Mary told about the Robert Burns’ poem John Anderson my Jo–which she called “Joe Anderson”– illustrated her devotion to the husband who died so young.
When mother mentioned Mary’s late-in-life marriage (She was 60 when she remarried) she never gave me any details. She would just say, “She was a widow for nearly 50 years [Actually more like 35] and then married a man named Kline.” as though it was not of the least importance compared to her young romance with Joe Anderson.
[ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: I’ve been curious about why Mary’s gravestone, in the Welcome Cemetery, says “Mary Anderson” rather than the last name of her 2nd husband. I have learned that James Kline died before Mary–in 1931. He was buried in the Killbuck cemetery beside his first wife, Caroline. James and Caroline had been married 28 years when she died in 1914.
When Mary died four years later, apparently her own family took responsibility for her funeral and buried her in the Welcome Cemetery where many Andersons, including her first husband, Joseph Anderson, are interred.]
[ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: After I wrote this post, I discovered a photo of Mary’s death certificate on line at Ancestry.com and learned more about her death.
She had been diagnosed with cerebral arteriosclerosis in 1932. In August 1935, she suffered a stroke (cerebral hemorrhage). Her doctor saw her on September 4, 1935 and she died on September 8, 1935. The information about her parents was provided by my grandfather, Guy Anderson, but he did not know their birthplaces. Mary was buried on September 11, 1935 at the Welcome Cemetery (Welcome Church of Christ) in Holmes County, Ohio.
I was particularly intrigued to learn that the attending physician, N. P. Stauffer was the same one who would usher me into the world just 3 1/2 years later. For many years, Dr. Stauffer had an office in the small building on my grandmother Anderson’s property, next to her house in Killbuck.]
Mary is buried at the Welcome Cemetery with other Andersons. Her simple gravestone bears only her first married name–Mary Anderson.
A Genealogical Note:
I have not yet followed the breadcrumbs back to find out when the Brinks came to the United States, but cursory research indicates they probably came from Holland to New York, perhaps as early as the mid 1700’s. I would like to find out more about the parents of Abraham (born 1820 in Bushkill, Pennsylvania, married in 1844 and died in 1898 in Holmes County Ohio) and his ancestors, but I am not sure who Abraham’s father actually was. It is not clear from the records I have looked at yet exactly who is who among the many Brinks lines, and several family trees I have looked at have conflicting information. (I welcome any concrete proof than anyone can offer.)
Not only are the Brinks Dutch, but Mary’s mother was a Middaugh (Meddaugh and half a dozen other variant spellings), which is definitely also Dutch. (Mary’s mother Dorcas Eliza was born in Danby NY in 1825 and died in 1904 in Holmes County Ohio). So Mary was 100% Dutch.[Correction, 2016–I have not proven that yet.]
Oddly, my mother never made much of this Dutch ancestry. When asked she would say she was English (from grandma’s side) and Scotch-Irish. But that totally ignores my mother’s paternal grandmother’s line. I now know that besides the Scotch-Irish Anderson side of his line, my grandfather Leonard Guy Anderson was 50% Dutch. And I have a whole new heritage to explore.
This all probably explains why I loved the story of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates as a child, and have always been fascinated with the Hudson River Valley and the Dutch folklore retold by Washington Irving.
HOW I AM RELATED
- Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
- Harriette V. Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
- Leonard Guy Anderson, who is the so of
- Mary Brink Anderson (Kline).
NOTES ON RESEARCH
Recorded recollections of my mother, Harriette V. Anderson Kaser (1906-2003).
U. S. Federal Census: 1870, 1880, 1900 (Monroe Twp., Holmes County, Ohio), 1910, 1920, 1930, Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio).
Ohio Find A Grave Index, Mary Anderson
Coshocton Tribune, Sept 9 1935, Obituary for Mary Anderson
Tombstone from Welcome Cemetery Photo by Larry and Judy Anderson
Photo of Marriage License Holmes County, Ohio, Mary Anderson and James Kline, Sept 19, 1919. Ancestry User KManery65
Photo of Death Certificate, Holmes County, Ohio, Mary Brink Anderson. Ancestry.com user KManery65.