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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fearless Females: Favorite Female Ancestor

Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.
William Brennan, Timothy, Mary, William Jr
About 1898
I have several female ancestors that I would like to learn more about, mainly because I don’t know much about them.  Recently I have been thinking about my 2nd great grandmother Mary Frances Bline a bit more than the others.
Mary was born 28 September, 1869 in Harrison County, Indiana.  Her father, Francis Marion Bline, was a civil war veteran who rode with the Harrison Cavalry Mounted Hoosiers.  He moved his family to Washington, Indiana sometime in the 1870’s and set-up a boarding house on the corner of Van Trees and Second Streets.  My father remembers stories about the dining room of the boarding house and the fantastic meals her mother Sarah would make.  In fact, there is a recipe for fish sandwiches that is famous all over the area.  Few know that it is the Bline family recipe!
Curiosity about this woman peaked when I found a typed out extract from the Daviess County Democrat, “The Wedding Didn’t Go Off” dated Saturday Mar. 26, 1887.  In it is the love story of poor Mary Bline, left at the alter by her fiancĂ© William Brennan.  It was to be a simple civil service, in the parlor of her parent’s boarding house.  When without warning William skipped town for Minnesota the morning of the wedding, where the paper reports he had an uncle.  To say that her parents were upset is an understatement.  Her mother tells the reporter “I am glad it turned out as it did, as far as I am concerned, and I always opposed the match, because I thought my daughter was too young to marry--she is not eighteen yet.” 
William and Mary mid 1920s
William did come back to town, and they married sometime that fall.  They had four children together, two who survived childhood, and from what I understand lived a full and happy life.  Mary Frances Bline Brennan died 05 February, 1939 in Washington, Indiana.  Just a few months before my father was born. 
I would love to know what made her take him back.  Even better, I would love to get my hands on a copy of this article!  What a find, and what a soap-opera.  Sometimes real life is better than TV.
Other things I would like to know about are the boarding house.  I think that means I need to do some scouring in the local histories of Daviess County and the City of Washington.  Maybe even look in newspapers for advertisements!  I called a local cousin to see if she can find out for me where the newspapers keep their archives, if any.

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