Thursday, February 18, 2010

Minerva Louise Favorite 1 April 1830 - 2 Feb 1890

My 2nd gtgdmother on my mother's maternal side is Minerva Favorite.  She has been one of those ancestors who is so elusive, you just about think you've caught her and then away she goes, lost in the records of the past.  Minerva seems to keep reaching out to me, asking me to tell her story, so let me tell it here. 

Minerva was born in Baltimore, Maryland on 1 April 1832, the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Kuhn Favorite. She was christened in Graceham, Frederick county, Maryland on 9 June 1830. Sometime in 1832 another daughter, Sarah Catherine was born.  Then something happened to this young family.  I'm not sure what, except that the two young sisters apparently were separated from each other when very young.  A letter written in 1883 from Sarah addressed to Minerva as  "Sister" talks about how unfortunate it was they were separated at such a young age and did not develop a "sisterly bond".  In the 1840 census of Frederick county, neither Joseph Favorite nor Sarah Favorite can be found. By the 1850 census Minerva is found living with Eliza Nickum and her daughter Margaret Nickum who later is referred to as a cousin of Minerva's.  It appears the parents of these two young girls, Minerva and Sarah died, leaving them alone in the world. It also appears the girls were fostered out to family members, although I have found no evidence in the court records.  A marriage record again from the Family Record in the family bible states the marriage between Minerva and John Milton Douglass of Mercer county, PA took place 23 Jan 1855.  Minerva must have been so happy to finally have a family she could call her own.  A husband to love and protect her, with the expectation of children to love and cherish.  The family bible provides the births of two children in Pennsylvania and then by 1860 the family has moved to Ottumwa, Iowa.  Three more children are born between 1860 and 1866.  In the midst of the turmoil of the Civil War, I image that Minerva remains content.  She has her family; her children, a husband, a new home in a new town.  But disaster looms. By 1871, Minerva has lost two of her children and her husband to consumption.  She is again alone in the world with only herself to count on. She must be strong for her remaining children, but how unfair must she have thought her life. First to never know the love of her parents and then to lose the love of her husband and children. She did not give in to the fates however, as she lived another 20 years, raised her remaining children, provided for herself and saw the birth of two grandchildren. 

I believe our ancestors watch over those of us who try to remember them and I hope Minerva realizes how much I appreciate her sacrifice and her life.  Without her I would not be here. Thank you Minerva for your strength.

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