Some ancestors, either by virtue of their personality or their maddening elusiveness, become ‘pets’. Favorites. Those you remember most and seek first amongst all the hundreds (perhaps thousands for the researchers who’ve been at it a while) of individuals in your family tree, given five minutes alone with a database or research opportunity. You dig and you dig, and the search itself takes on a life of its own. Each of us have these ‘pet’ ancestors. One of mine is Charles W. Hague.
Though various census records would later suggest he was born in 1811/12 in Virginia (perhaps West Virginia now?), the first time Charles W. Hague crops up in records I’ve found is Franklin Co., Ohio. A marriage record from 17 September 1837 says he was married to a ‘Doratha Davis’ by Mahlon Peters, a known Baptist minister in the area. This was actually Dorothea Celia Davis, daughter of Jeptha Davis and Matilda Haff Loofboro/Loofborough), and I’ve seen it suggested she was born in the early 1820s, which would make her about 15 when she married Charles, who would’ve been a good ten years older than her. She didn’t live long, however; Charles would marry Thursa Elizabeth Kirtley in 1842, only 5 years later. Thursa was a widow with two children at that time.
What happened to Dorothea? Did she die of illness? An accident? In childbirth? I’ve never been able to find out, and this woman’s short life is even more of a mystery than her husband’s. She did bear him three children before she died, though:
1) Owen Clover Hague, b. 1837 (supposedly in Rockingham Co, Virginia, according to his death record) – married Nancy Waggoner, widow of Wesley Brackney
2) Rue Ann Hague, b. 1839 – married Enos Babcock
3) Charles Hague, b. 1841 – married 1) Sarah Jane Black and 2) Louisa Snyder
Though Owen was supposedly born in Virginia, Charles and family are right back in Franklin Co., Ohio in the 1840 census, living next to his father-in-law, Jeptha Davis. In 1850, he’s seen with Thirsa in Jackson, Shelby Co., Ohio, with the three children from his first marriage. Also present are Elizabeth and Mary (Meriah) with the surname Hague, but these are, in fact, children from Thursa’s first marriage to Wesley Brackney. The other three children listed are products of Charles and Thursa’s marriage together, bringing Charles’ total number of children to 6:
4) William Wilson Hague, b. 1845 – married Maria C. Jacobs
5) Caroline Arabel hague, b. 1847 – married Joel Beech
6) Priscilla Jane Hague, b. 1848 – married ___ Cole?
Charles and Thursa remained in Jackson, Shelby County, Ohio through the 1860, 1870 and 1880 census. Thursa finally died in 1894 and a picture of her tombstone is available to be seen here. Charles died two years later in 1896. His probate was found in Shelby County and lists either his children or the grandchildren of deceased children. Plenty of paper, documentation, and the man never moved much. End of story, right? Yes – and therein lies the problem.
I have never, despite all of my searching, been able to find Charles’ parents. His birthplace. Where or who he came from. I have tried cluster genealogy, name analysis of his children, county-by-county searches in Virginia and West Virginia…and nothing’s come of it. I know a great deal about other Hagues in Ohio at the time and I’ve even seen quite a few in Loudoun Co, Virginia – but are they the same?
The only clue I have that Charles W. Hague didn’t simply appear out of thin air one day is the 1880 census. Therein, a ‘nephew’ is living with him by the name of William Hague, b. 1858. This could be my necessary link to family – but I have not been able to find a matching William Hague in any other census. So, for now, Charles W. Hague remains my biggest brick wall. My pet ancestor. The one that drives me mad and tempts me to look for him in every new appropriate database I run across. I haven’t given up hope I’ll find out who his parents are, where he came from, but I’m resigned to the fact it may be many years down the road.
Do you recognize any of these names? Or do you have a suggestion for a place I could look? Please, leave me a comment. It only takes removing one brick to bring down the wall!