Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Marguerite Lysle of Allegheny City - 52 Ancestors #38

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Favorite Place: What has been your favorite place to research? Which ancestor came from there?

Although it can be challenging, my favorite place to research is Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, specifically Allegheny City, which, in 1907, became the "North Side" of Pittsburgh. (Read about Allegheny City at Wikipedia.) I enjoy this area because I have a group of maternal ancestors who lived there for several generations.

I previously blogged about the burial locations for four generations of my maternal grandmother's family. I now see why my mother feels such a connection to Pittsburgh, although she hasn't lived there in decades.

My mother was very close to her maternal grandmother, Marguerite Lysle, and has shared many stories and photographs of her. However, in my research, I have found out a few things about Marguerite that my mother never knew.

Marguerite and George
Marguerite Lysle was born on August 13, 1876, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, to George Lysle, Jr. and Marion Helen Alston. Two years later, her brother, George Barton Lysle, was born on July 18, 1878.

I have written about her mother, Marion, here, and my Lysle ancestry here.

In the way Marguerite spoke about her father, it was clear that she adored him, but she didn't speak much about her mother, who died when she was eight years old. In June 1889, when she was twelve and a half years old, her father married twenty-year-old Edith Hadly (born in February 1869) who became step-mother to Marguerite and her brother George. (Can you imagine having a step-mother who was just seven and a half years older than you?)

George and Edith had a couple of sons, half-brothers to Marguerite, but Marguerite never spoke about her step-mother or her half-brothers and my mother didn't know anything about them until years later. By the time Marguerite's father died in 1900, she had long since moved out due to her marriage to Percy Earle Hunter on October 21, 1897. This was a very happy marriage and they went on to have five daughters, Marion, Caroline, Mary, Margaret, and Helen, my grandmother.

Marion suffered from pneumonia three times and in 1911, the family moved to Berkeley, California for a year or two, to see if it improved Marion's health.

Click here to read stories about these five daughters and see images from several city directories AND a California voter registration list which includes both Percy and Marguerite, to show when they were living in California. However, they returned to Pittsburgh by 1913, when their eldest daughter, Marion, died of pneumonia. Marguerite felt the loss so strongly that she couldn't speak about her dead daughter for years.

I have previously blogged about finding Marguerite in U.S. Census records:
1900 and 1910 in Allegheny / North Side Pittsburgh
1920 in Pittsburgh
1930 in Pittsburgh

In the early 1930s, the Hunters purchased land in Hampton Township, just north of Pittsburgh, and built a house there (shown below). Sadly, Marguerite's husband, Percy, died in 1937 and Marguerite is listed as a widow in the 1940 U.S. Census. She continued to live in the house for many years and my mother fondly remembers it from her childhood.

Home of Percy and Marguerite Hunter in Hampton Township, Pennsylvania

Although she suffered a heart attack in the early 1950s, and was told that she didn't have long to live, she lived until age 91, dying in Pittsburgh on December 25, 1967. She is buried at Uniondale Cemetery.

I did get to "meet" my great-grandmother and had a four-generation snapshot taken:

Great grandmother Marguerite (Lysle) Hunter (1876-1967), my mother, grandmother Helen (Hunter) Copeland (1907-1990), and me at about nine months old.

See more pictures of my great grandmother here.

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