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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
A Huge Age Difference and 6 Maiden Names
Every once in a while, I came across a record that demands a second look. The recent one was the 1940 census for Charleston, Orleans, Vermont showing Alexander Westover age 72 and Mary E. Westover age 26, as husband and wife. Naturally, I thought it was an error and I needed to investigate.
Seeing that Alexander was married, now 72, was a surprise, since he was a widower in 1930.
Their marriage record shows Alexander Westover, age 62, No. of marriage/ second, married 14 Feb. 1934 at Richford, Franklin, VT, to Mary Elizabeth Clair, age 19, her first marriage. However, they managed to be married six years, with one child by the time of the 1940 census. Why did a 62 year old marry a 19 year old?
Alexander and Mary Elizabeth had Lawrence Alexander Westover born Aug. 24, 1935 at Belvidere, Vt. Listed parents were Alexander Westover age 66 and engineer, born Berkshire, Vt. and Mary Elizabeth Clair age 20 born Sheldon, Vt. (Note, he aged 4 years and she just 1 year.)
His previous marriage, #2 from Vermont Vital Records 1871 to 1908 (located at NEHGS*). Roll #445. Pg. 935. Alexander Weston, [sic] as typed, then hand written as Westover was 31, a laborer of Jay, VT, No. of Marriage 2 (Divorced) married Emma Ruby Bell on May 8, 1906 at Jay, VT. Per Roll #299 Emma was age 18, b. Jay, VT. Notice he was divorced by 31 and married an 18 year old. Emma died in 1928.
Marriage #1 to Ethel Davis was before 1906 and I have no record for the marriage or when it ended, but they did have children from this union.
Why did marry such young girls? Maybe Alexander was from a dysfunctional family, and had a thing for younger wives. I also wonder what was going on with his mother as well. Why did the majority of his siblings not know their mother's maiden name? For example, 6 of the 13 children didn't know the correct maiden name. The mother Orilla is always listed as being married to Moses Westover, however her maiden name could be any one of the six below.
Marriage of Alexander's siblings who state their mother was:
Ida married 1878, parents: Moses Westover and Orilla Booth
John Alfred married 1889, parents: Moses Westover and Orilla Burnham
Rufus married 1893, parents: Moses Westover and Orilla Burnham
Frank married 1914, parents: Moses Westover and Orilla King
Alice married 1932, parents: Moses Westover and Orilla Burman
Alexander married 1934, parents: Moses Westover and Orilla Bonney
The 1953 Death record for Alexander, parents: Moses Westover and Ovillan Bonneau. The death record for his mother, shows her name as: Orilla Hepsibah Bonneau Westover in 1897.
* New England Historic Genealogical Society