Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday is for Mothers: Mercy Ann "Anna" Darling

Mercy Anna Darling Webb Walsh; courtesy of Olive Kennedy

My great great grandmother Mercy Ann "Anna" Darling Webb Walsh was born in the town of Harford in Cortland County, New York, on May 11, 1835, one of the six daughters of David Darling and Polly Gates. The family appears there in the U.S. 1850 Census.

However by the 1852 Iowa State Census, they had moved to Fairview, Jones County, Iowa, where on November 6, 1856, 21-year old Anna married a young carpenter from Pennsylvania, Abner Webb.

The 8th U.S. Census on June 27, 1860, lists Abner as one of three carpenters working for a well-to-do young attorney F. L. Gates in Collin County, Texas. We haven't found any sign of Anna in that census but there's a handwritten genealogy in the family records that states that Abner and Anna's only child, Jesse David Webb (my great grandfather), was born in Galveston, Texas, on July 17, 1860.

The 1860 census record is the last one we have for Abner Webb. Family tradition says that he was forced into serving in the local Texas militia and was killed in battle, but I haven't found any verification of that.

From the same source comes the story of Anna's widowhood on a small ranch in Collin County and her subsequent marriage to Joshua Butler Walsh. Joshua, a veteran of the Mexican and Seminole Wars, was one of a posse of men who stopped for water at her place during their pursuit of a horse thief. Apparently it was love at first sight for Anna and Joshua--he promised to return and take her back to Iowa.

Mercy Anna Darling Webb, Walsh; courtesy of Olive Kennedy

They were married on September 6, 1864, and by the 1870 U.S. Census the Walsh family was residing in Fairview, augmented by the first two of her four children by Joshua. (Nine-year old Jesse's surname is given as Walsh also.)

By 1885, Joshua and Anna were living in Verdigris, Antelope County, Nebraska, with three of their children. And that's where Joshua died in 1888 at the age of 78 and is buried in Millerboro Cemetery.

As his widow, Anna received a government pension and we find that record in the 1890 Special Schedule for veterans and their widows. 1890 Veterans Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M123, 118 rolls); Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

According to an announcement in the Anamosa Eureka in April of 1902, she had retained her connection to Jones County, Iowa, and was visiting friends there so it's apparent that she had the means to travel a bit.

Mercy Ann Darling Webb Walsh; courtesy of Olive Kennedy

According to Mark Allen (the husband of one of Anna and Joshua's descendants) family legend further has this to say of her: "She suffered from chronic sinus and headaches, as well as liver disease in her 50s, and was declared by her physician son-in-law to be 'insane' as of 1897, but then was granted to be 'sane' in 1903."

In both the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Censuses, Anna was living in a house she owned on Goss Street in Boulder, Colorado and she was no longer working by the later date.

She died on 29 Oct 1915 in Creighton Township, Knox, Nebraska and shares a gravestone with Joshua in Millerboro Cemetery.

One of her younger sisters, Nancy Adelia, married Jesse Sill Webb, Abner's brother, and her youngest sister  Amanda J. was the second wife of my great great grandfather George Marion Tomlinson.

© 2014 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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