Monday, January 23, 2012

Mary "May" Chandler was born in 1871 in Iowa, the daughter of William Chandler and Maria Hulick. She was my grandfather's first cousin once removed (she was his mother's first cousin). She had a tough childhood, her father abandoning the family and her mother dying young. Mary was the oldest and had to care for her younger siblings.

Although she spent little time in Traverse City, living in Chicago and Springfield, Missouri during her adult life, she kept in contact with her relatives there. She was married three times: 1) William Shannon, 2). Harry Van Camp, and 3). John Walter Kastler.

Mary (Chandler)(Shannon)(Van Camp) Kastler. 

 We have a few pictures of her and my mother remembers meeting her in 1946, the 100th anniversary of Traverse City. Mary came to the festivities and visited with my mother's family. My mother's middle name is Mary, and the older Mary thought she was named after her (she wasn't, but no one corrected her). She sent my mother a quilt, the pattern "Grandmother's Flower Garden." It was a popular pattern. My mother still owns the quilt.

 A big mystery in my family history research was "What happened to Mary?" A few years back I was able to identify her second husband and then her third husband. Her last name was pronounced "Kessler" and it was only after discovering her cousin Caroline Mahan in the 1910 census, that I was able to find out the correct spelling of her last husband's name. A couple of days ago I was finally able to learn her date of death- 1959, and place of burial. It is always satisfying solving a family history mystery.

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