Mitchell’s family spread out
By Gene Kemmeter
Continued from a previous edition
The wife of Mathias Mitchell and one of his daughters received a Power of Attorney to act on his behalf to recover his estate in a filing at the Portage County Register of Deeds Office May 7, 1891.
Catherine Mitchell of Fresno County, Calif., the widow of “Matthias,” now deceased, and Emeline Bennett, also of Fresno County, Calif., “divorced wife of Alfred Bennett and daughter and heir of Matthias,” submitted the filing for recovery of Mitchell’s estate.
The filing does not list when Mathias died or where he died, or where he was buried. The power of attorney authorizes an attorney of the heirs to recover and collect all debts owed to the Mitchell estate.
The filing also identified Emeline Bennett as the daughter of Mathias and Catherine and divorced wife of Alfred Bennett. That solved the mystery of what happened to the younger daughter of Mathias and Catherine who was born about 1844 based on the 1850 Census but wasn’t living with the family when the 1860 Census was taken.
Learning Emeline Mitchell was the wife of Alfred Bennett sets off another search: who was Alfred Bennett?
Alfred Bennett was a Civil War soldier who enlisted in Company Bof the 14th Infantry Regiment in Plover on Oct. 28, 1861, and was discharged due to disability on Aug. 23, 1862. Like Mathias Mitchell’s son Ela, the disability isn’t disclosed in state Civil War records.
The 14th had been engaged in the Battle of Shiloh in southwestern Tennessee on April 6 and 7, 1862, and then remained at the site as provost guard as other Union units moved toward Corinth, Miss., where the Confederates had fled after the battle.
In Chapter 22 of E.B. Quiner’s Military History of Wisconsin in the Civil War, Quiner wrote “for four days they (the regiment) remained without tents, exposed to almost continual rains and without sufficient rations. The fatigues of the battle, and these exposures, together with the unhealthiness of the position, produced much sickness.”
The regiment remained at Shiloh until July 23, 1862, when the 14th was assigned to provost guard duty at Hamburg Landing, Tenn., where they were until Aug. 23, 1862. That day Bennett was mustered out of service, and the regiment was ordered to Corinth.
The Alfred Bennett in Civil War records are linked on Ancestry to Alfred Bennett, then 13, in the 1850 Census, living in the town of Hubbard, Dodge County, Wis., with his parents, Jeremiah Bennett, 39, born in New York, and Emeline, 37, born in New Hampshire; his brothers Jonathon, 16, Thomas, 10, and Joseph, 5; and his sisters, Naomi, 9, and Susannah, 10 months.
In the 1860 Census, Alfred, 23, is a farmer, living in town of Canton, Jefferson County, Missouri, with his wife, Emeline, 19, and his daughter, Kate, 9 months, born in Missouri. Alfred’s parents, Jeremiah and “Emmaline,” are living in the town of Stockton in Portage County with their sons Joseph, 15, and James, 8; and their daughters, Susannah, 10, and “Wealthy,” 5.
Alfred is listed in the 1870 Census as Bernett Alferd, 34, a farmer living in the town of Murray in Alameda County, California. He is living with his wife, Emeline, 27; their daughter Kate, 10; and a son, B., 5, who was born in Wisconsin.
They are living next door to J. (Jeremiah) Bennett, 60; his wife Adeline, 58; their son James. 18; and daughter Annette, 15. Both children were born in Wisconsin, and Annette appears to match the “Wealthy” listed in the 1860 Census.
Alfred Bennett isn’t listed again in the U.S. Census records until 1900 when he was 52, working as a saloon keeper and living in Township 1 of Placer County in California. Alfred died Jan. 20, 1910, and is buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore, Alameda County, California. His birthdate is listed as Aug. 16, 1836.
Emeline (Mitchell) Bennett, 37, is listed in the 1880 Census as living in the town of Murray in Alameda County, California, with her son Bert, 15; and her daughter Katie Shipman, 20, a widow, and Katie’s children, Carrie Shipman, 3, and Charles Shipman, 1, both born in California.
There are no records available for the U.S. Census in 1890 because a January 1921 fire damaged some of the records, while others were water damaged during the effort to put the fire out.Later, officials decided to burn the damaged and other records for that Census, doing so in 1934. In 1942 and again in 1953, the National Archives found fragments of some records and retain those.
That results in a 20-year gap in Census records, which help track people across the nation. Some states have voter registration records, but women were unable to vote, so they aren’t listed as registered voters.
Catharine Mitchell, Mathias’ widow, was alive in 1891 when she applied for the Power of Attorney, but she isn’t listed in the 1900 Census. She would have been 85 or 86 years old at that time (based on her ages recorded in prior Census records) when people living that long were uncommon.
Emeline “Emma” Bennett, 55, is listed in the 1900 Census as living in the township of Murray in Alameda County, California, in the household of Joshua Chadbourne, 67, with his wife Francis Chadbourne, 69; their granddaughter, Ethal Harris, 24, a dressmaker; Inang Yong, 34, a garden laborer; and Charles S. Haley, 30, their nephew and a stableman.
The Census says Emeline was born in July 1844 in Illinois of parents born in Pennsylvania, and she was a widow, even though her former husband was still alive.
In regard to Emeline’s children, California marriage records show a K.E. Bennett married a C.J. Shipman on July 31, 1876, in Alameda, Calif. (The records only use initials, no first or middle names.)
The 1880 Census recorded that Kate Bennett Shipman was a widow, but there’s no record of her husband’s death. A link on Ancestry from that Census record goes to Find A Grave.com goes to a Kate Bennett Sherman (1859-1897) gravestone in Lookout Cemetery in Modoc County, California.
Links on that Find A Grave page go to the Ancestry records for Kate in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 Censuses, plus the marriage record. There is also a link to a 1900 Census to a Kate Sherman who died in 1933. Another puzzle in the search to find ancestors.
There are no links to other records for Kate’s daughter Carrie, 3; but there is one for her son, Charles, who was 1 in 1880. That goes to the voter registration record of Charles Wallace Shipman, 31, a housemover living in Alameda, Calif., in 1908.
Emeline’s son, Burt William Bennett, had a long life. He died at the age of 89 on Feb. 2, 1954, in Alameda, Calif., and is buried in Alamo Cemetery in Contra Costa County,Calif. His death record shows he was born June 12, 1864, in Wisconsin. His Social Security Registration says he was born June 12, 1864, in Plover.
Burt married Florence Rosella Fairfield in 1887, and they had three girls, two of whom lived longer than he did. His wife, known as Rosella, died June 15, 1900, at age 39. She was born in 1861.Their three daughters were 12, 10 and 3 years old when she died.
He worked as a farmer and laborer in Contra Costa County, a machinist in shipyards in Oakland and chief of police in Pleasanton, Calif., before retiring, according to Census records.
To be continued