Friday, December 16, 2011

Marriage notice: the rest of the story

    Using the website as a portal, I recently made my way to an index of digitized newspapers for Quincy, Adams County, Illinois.  That website is at: .  There, I discovered a treasure trove of news snippets about my ancestors and their connections.  Notices of  trips taken, new jobs, illnesses, and the like, were all used to fill small corners of the pages.  However, a wedding notice of Fred Francis to Florence Dempsey, from 1916, points up the dangers of recording these items as "proof" of anything, or even a starting point for further information.  Here is the article from the Quincy Daily Journal of Saturday, 12 February 1916: 

     From my research in other sources, I know that the story is accurate on many points.  The last sentence, however, needs major clarification.  "She is the daughter of a prominent business man in South Chicago," diverges from the truth on two major points.
     Florence Isabell Dempsey was born in Cleveland:  Ohio, the youngest child of James Dempsey and Louise Coleman.  James and Louise were natives of New York state, and met when both were living in Oswego, NY.  The couple moved to Cleveland around 1880, and were the parents of 7 known children.  Theirs was not a happy marriage, and by the early part of the 20th century, lived apart.  Research to date hasn't revealed whether they ever actually divorced.  Louise Coleman Dempsey moved with her two youngest children, James Gleason Dempsey and Florence Dempsey, to Chicago by 1913, where she worked as a "practical nurse," and may be the individual listed in a city directory of that year described as widowed.   James Dempsey, the father of her children, remained in Cleveland, where he died in 1916.  He's buried at Calvary Cemetery, Cleveland.   
     Based upon the addresses which appeared in varioius Cleveland city directories, as well as the job description of stationery engineer on his death certificate, it's possible that James Dempsey worked at the Walker Mfg. Co. of Cleveland.  This was a forerunner of Westinghouse.  The addresses for the likely James Dempsey and his known children all surround a massive property where the factory was located.  Using a plat map of the time, I was able to identify the name of the factory on the site.

     And so, using additional available sources, the prominent South Chicago businessman emerges more accurately as the factory heavy equipment operator in Cleveland.