Most families have conflicts, mine included. As children we fought over toys and tv viewing. As yound adults and even into today, my siblings and cousins argue over our favorite sports teams. And most recently we’ve debated with each other about politics. But those are stories for other times.
Today I want to tell you about a conflict that remains a mystery to me. Shortly after I began researching my genealogy, I discovered a marriage record for my great-great-grandparents, Henry Weiss and Catherine Holton. I haven’t done a lot of reserach on my Holton line; that is a goal for 2019. I did, however, find an abstract of will for Catharine Peterson on HeritageQuest.com. More recently, I came upon Catharine’s entire will as registered in Salem County, New Jersey.
Catherine left her property divided six ways among her children, Amy Carrow, Rebecca Perry Catharine Cole and Samuel Biddle ; the children of her son, Abel Biddle-- Louisa Holton, George Biddle and Abel Biddle; and the children of her deceased daughter, Sarah Holton-- Charles Holton, Rebecca Till, Mary Butler, John Holton, William Holton and Ephraim Holton .
It seems straight-forward until you get to this tidbit:
Why did Catharine write Mary and Catharine out of her will. Was this the result of a conflict between the women? Did they marry out of their faith or marry a man whom Catharine did not like? Both women migrated to Illinois—Catherine Weiss came to Illinois sometime between 1850 and 1860, about the time Catharine Peterson wrote her will. Did Catharine feel abandoned and angry when they left? I notice that in the will Catharine Peterson spelled her granddaughter’s name wih and ‘a’; Catharine. This is the only time I’ve seen it that way. Could Catharine Peterson be hurt because her granddaughter used an alternate spelling? Or is it as simple as the fact that Catherine distributed their share of her estate to Mary and Catherine before her death. I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer to this riddle!
One thing I should point out is that, while I am basing this on the conclusion that my great-great grandmother, Catherine Holton Weiss, is the granddaughter of Catharine Biddle, I’ve not yet proved this. I’ve not done an exhaustive search of the records to rule out the possiblity that there is another Catherine Weiss that was related to the Holtons and Biddles and the granddaughter of Catharine Peterson. That is something I plan to work on next year!
To learn more about my 52 Ancestors in 2018 project, read my introductory blog post.