Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy Birthday - March 16

Happy Birthday to:
  • Emeline C. ROBBINS, born on this day in 1846 in either Cattaraugus Co., New York or Liberty Township, McKean Co., Pennsylvania to my 4th-great-grandparents, Joseph Josiah and Marinda (ROBBINS) ROBBINS. She was their second child and first daughter, and was named for Joseph's first wife, Emeline C. [--?--], which was a rather common occurrence in those days. Emeline's older brother was my ancestor, Charles. Younger siblings were Benson, Lee, Evaline, Frank and Willie. Emeline was apparently what we now call "developmentally impaired" or "developmentally disabled." In those days, people with mental retardation were called "mentally incompetent," or, as she was labeled on the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, "idiotic." Between 1865 and 1870, the family removed to Newfield Township, Oceana County, Michigan, near the village of Hesperia. Emeline remained at home, and of course, never married or had children. When her father died in 1905, her brother Frank and his wife Helen cared for their mother and for Emeline in their home. Frank and Helen had also helped to care for Joseph in his final years of blindness caused by sunstroke during his Civil War service and senility. It was a very difficult time, causing much stress on the family, and was described in Marinda's application for a Civil War veteran's widow's pension. Marinda died in 1912 at the age of 84. Frank died in 1916 (he hung himself). Emeline died the following year at Traverse City State Hospital, Grand Traverse Co., Michigan at the age of 71. Such tragedy. I would love to flesh out more to this story.
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