Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Fannie Stotler

Sarah Francis (Fannie) Stevenson-Stotler, 1920

I found this obituary in an envelope in one of my Grandmother's boxes. It is the obituary for the 2nd(?) wife of my 3rd Great Grandfather, Hiram A. Stotler (1838-1920). I am a descendant of his first wife, Hannah Argo. Hannah died in March 1871 and Hiram married Sarah Francis Stevenson in December 1871. They later divorced. The article to follow is dated October 28, 1920 and probably from a newspaper in the Piatt County, Illinois area, though that part is missing from the article. The obituary omits details on their divorce, but Hiram had moved to Indianapolis by the 1900 census and he died in Rockwell City Iowa in June 1920. Fannie was listed widowed in 1900 and 1910 and divorced in 1920. They were probably divorced prior to 1900 and the census taker recorded widowed by mistake or misunderstanding. The 1900 census also lists 3 children, zero living.


Mrs. Fannie Stotler Found Dead Thursday Afternoon After Being Dead Several Hours

Word spread through the village on Thursday of last week that Mrs. Fannie Stotler, a familiar character about town was found dead in her chicken yard.

Mrs. Stotler lived alone for many years, and on the day of her death she was missed about the house by her neighbors, but they thought she was in town until in the afternoon when Mrs. Wells and Mrs. Skeels went to the house, but found her still absent and in a short time Mrs. Wells found her lifeless body in her chicken park where she had gone to feed her chickens. In a short time a large crowd had gathered and the lifeless body was removed to the undertaking parlors of Wm. House, where the body was prepared for burial.

Coroner W. J. Porter of Montecello came to Mansfield Saturday morning and empaneled the following jury, A. R. Ross, foreman, Chas. Slater clerk, Garret VanMeter, Robert Bateman, Sr., A. F. Smothers and Dr. Young, who returned a verdict of death from natural causes. (A.R. Ross may be a descendant of a sibling of my 3rd Great Grandfather Henry Ross)


Sarah Francis Stevenson was born in Cable county W. Virginia, August 1, 1844 and died in Mansfield, October 28, 1920. She was left motherless when a few weeks old and was taken into the home of James Mathews, where she grew to womanhood. In 1852 she accompanied her foster mother to Fayette county, Ohio, and in 1885 [This must be a typo in the newspaper, probably 1855 or 1865] the moved to Illinois, December 28, 1871 she was married to Hiram Stotler. In 1880 they came to Mansfield where she has since resided.

She was converted in early life and united with the Methodist church and lived a constant christian life in her peculiar way, often saying it was the grace of her Lord that carried her thru.

Funeral services were held in the M E. church Sunday afternoon, conducted by the pastor Rev. J. E. Evans. In addition to the floral offerings of friends there was a large boquet [sic] of flowers plucked from the garden of the deceased. The body was laid to rest in the Mansfield cemetery.