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It’s been just over a decade since I listed some open questions whose answers have finally put a satisfying button on the Oliver-and-Hannah saga. This morning, unexpectedly, the brick wall came crashing down, transmuting the 24th of January in the Year of Our Lord 2020 into a true Red-Letter Day in the story of my family researches.
Having come to a reasonable stopping place in my third descendancy project (McLean (2019), building upon Munroe (circa 1998) and (Fisher (circa 2018), I was casting about prayerfully for the next in the series, when the logical position of our Russell descent came forcibly to mind. The Fishers and McLeans, after all, were parallel kinships connected to Grandma Elizabeth Jane Fisher Seely. And the pioneer homestead of William and Martha Russell in the middle 1600s lay just across Woburn Street from that of William and Mary Munroe in colonial Cambridge Farms, later to become Lexington, a major focus of our family and national history.
So I created the Russell Descendancy Tree in Ancestry.com and started setting up its backbone, my line of descent from William and Martha. About half-way through, I came to fourth great-grandparents Oliver III and Hannah Ashby Wheeler. With a pang, inasmuch as their affecting story has remained incomplete for all this time.
We had visited Oliver’s home and grave ’way back in 2004 and learned that, when he died in 1854, Hannah was aware of only a small fraction of their descendants But we’d been unable to discover the rest of her story: how and where she’d lived and died as his widow.
As I went to insert Oliver and Hannah into the Russell backbone, I scanned through the pile of “Hints” that Ancestry has assembled. And, lo and behold, there appeared Hannah’s FindAGrave memorial, complete with a photo of her rather handsome gravestone and the notation from her obituary in the (Akron,) Summit County(, Ohio) Beacon for Thursday, 23 January 1868, that she, the "...Widow of Oliver Wheeler, ...aged 85 yrs, 8 mos., had died "...at the residence of her son, B.F. Wheeler, North Main street, on Monday morning, Jan. 20th."
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Updated Sep 2020
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