At The Courthouse

#52Ancestors – Dig deeper for the whole story. Things aren’t always what they seem. Remember…documents are only as accurate as the person giving the information and/or recording. Some mistakes (names, dates, locations, spellings, etc) are not necessarily human error, but an intentional untruth!

Anna Grace Waller (my great-grandmother) was born April 22, 1889 in Solon, Ohio. She married Frank Westbrook (great-grandfather) who was born July 16, 1883 in Marietta, Ohio. We have no idea how they met considering they lived in different parts of the state. The 1900 census show Anna Grace lived with her parents in Solon, Ohio (northern Ohio) and was just 11 years old. Likewise, Frank Westbrook lived with his parents in Lawrence Twp (southern Ohio and was 16 years old.

Courthouse records show Anna and Frank were married in St. Mary’s, West Virginia (Pleasants Co.) just over the Southern Ohio boarder. Both ages were recorded as 21. (Mistake, assumption of the recorder or untruth of the couple giving the information?) Apparently, the latter since census records indicate otherwise.

The 1910 census verifies they were living in Bedford, Ohio near her family. Frank was age 26 and Anna Grace was age 21. Additionally, the census for 1910 asks how many years married! For Frank and Anna Grace…five years and two children; Dorothy (age 3) and Wilma (age 1 yr 11 mo).

The 1920 census validates their ages again as they were living in Maple Heights Village, Ohio still near her family. Frank was age 36 and Anna Grace was age 31. Children: Dorothy (age 13), Wilma (age 11) and Sylvia (age 6).

The 1930 census asks once again; “age at first marriage”. The record reveals they were truthful and Frank (who was now age 41) was age 21 when first married and Anna Grace (now age 41) was age 16 when first married. The last remaining child at home was Dorothy Westbrook (age 23).

Note: The census was taken in January 1920 and Wilma Adaline Westbrook died April 20, 1920. This explains why she is not in the 1930 census. Additionally, Sylvia Luella Westbrook was married July 13, 1929.

Sadly, the 1940 census indicates Anna Grace was living with her daughter, Dorothy Evelyn and her husband Preston Maxwell Appleby (my grandparents). Frank was remarried and seemed to have little connection with his family. Divorce records from the Courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio give us an understanding of their final few years together.

After 30+ years their marriage began and ended in the Courthouse!

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