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06 December 2014

#33 —52 Ancestors —Perfect Obit
Lucy Emma Noble, wife of Abraham Vanderpool (1837-1878) and Solon Brower (d. 1932)

Sometimes golden nuggets of genealogical data just fall into our laps. Perhaps these treasures are rewards for the hours of negative research, blind alleys, dead-ends, and the piles of conflicting information that most of us encounter. I like to think so.

I wasn’t even looking for Lucy — in fact, I didn’t even know who she was. Had no idea she belonged in the ever-growing Vanderpool tree that my cousins and I have been working on for several years. However, finding her has answered a number of questions and helped to fill out a spotty, almost barren, branch. I found her via a random search in newspapers for Vanderpools. I was looking for someone else.

The lady died in 1933 and her funeral notice appeared on the front page of the Saint Cloud, Florida Tribune. Her obit ran a few days later. It noted that she was born in Delaware County, Iowa. She was not a Vanderpool, but her first husband was and she had two sons by him.

The obit noted that she was a descendant of “Thomas Noble, the first immigrant ancestor of the largest family in the United States bearing the name of Noble, who was born in England in 1632 and came to America in 1653.”

It provided the names of her father and paternal grandparents and on back to the first Noble ancestor born in America — in Massachusetts. It also gave the name of the genealogist who had compiled this Noble family history, how long it had taken (25 years), and the fact that it had been expensive.

The detailed obituary mentioned that Lucy Noble was born 11 March 1855 and lived in Yankee Settlement of Delaware County, Iowa with her parents, Dwight Noble and Lucy Lucretia Huff, until the war [Civil War] broke out in 1861. Her father passed away when she was about four years old. Then she, her mother, and younger sister went to Dearborn, Michigan. They lived there until she was eight years old and she went to Detroit, Michigan to attend school.

She married Abram A. Vanderpool, who was born 25 April 1837 in Medina, New York. Vanderpool was a conductor on the Michigan Central Railroad for 13 years. They had two children — Edward All [sic] Vanderpool and Harry Ellsworth Vanderpool, the latter dying in infancy. Her husband died October 10, 1878 in Detroit, Michigan, at the age of 41 years and five months.


State Insane Asylum in Hastings, Nebraska


 After her husband's death, she took a course in nursing and for many years had charge of Dr. Griggs’ lying-in hospital. On January 17, 1893, her mother passed away. Next Lucy went into the dressmaking field where she worked her way up until she had her own establishment and was known to the trade as ‘Madame Vanderpool’ and had in her employ six to eight girls at all times."

In the winter of 1888, Lucy (Noble) Vanderpool went to Lincoln, Nebraska, and was appointed by Governor Thayer as head seamstress at the State Insane Asylum at Hastings, Nebraska. Later she moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, and was appointed by Governor Holcomb as head matron of the Home of the Friendless, and was in charge of the institution, where she inaugurated many reforms.

Her son, Edward A. Vanderpool, became a conductor on the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad and first made his home at Green Bay, Wisconsin. He married Nina May Briggs, who died 20 August 1904 in Hudson, Lenawee County, Michigan. Later he was transferred to Big Spring, Texas and Lucy went to live with him there for 11 years, helping him raise his two daughters.

In 1916, Lucy removed to Florida where on November 1, 1917, she married secondly Solon Brower, who was born and reared in New York City. He was a veteran of the Civil War and an expert watchmaker. In 1924, Mr. Brower's health failed and “for eight years he was confined to his home where he lingered until 1932, being cared for by his kind loving wife.” On May 2, 1932, he passed away. Her son also died that year.

From this detail-rich obituary, I have been able to fill in some blanks on the family group sheet of Abram Vanderpool for whom we had only fragments of information. Now I can search for documentation, verify information in the obituary, and track his descendants.

It is like Christmas. Life’s good.

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