I am so happy to write that I have managed to find a great big puzzle piece in my quest to find my 2nd great uncle Dale Stewart. For new readers, let me briefly say that Dale was orphaned in 1914 when his mother was murdered by their father before he committed suicide himself at the Columbia Hotel’s out kitchen in Caldwell, Ohio. Dale and his older brother, my great grandfather, Glenn Archer Stewart ended up in a few home for boys before Dale became a merchant marine and Glenn went on to be a farmer, security guard and a steel worker among his many other incarnations. Both Dale and Glenn committed suicide later in life to which I’ve written about as well.
This past week, my mom sent me the very first pictures I’ve ever seen of my great-grandfather, Glenn Archer Stewart, Sr. I’ve written briefly about Glenn… he was one of the two young boys who were orphaned when their father, William Stewart killed their mother, Esther, and then himself at the the Columbia Hotel in Caldwell, Ohio, in 1913. Glenn, and his younger brother Dale (who I’ve also written about), both committed suicide as well – Dale in 1943 and Glenn in 1958.
I have written before about the tragic trail of suicides in the Stewart side of my family HERE and again HERE. I wasn’t prepared for the surprise I found on Ancestry this past month regarding a sister & brother of my third great grandfather William H. Stewart, who was the one who killed his wife and then shot himself in the out kitchen/ice storage of the Columbia Hotel in Caldwell, Ohio in 1914.
I was tying up a few loose leaves on my tree and stumbled upon yet another suicide – this time, the sister of William H. Stewart, named Anna May Barnes. Anna was born in 1876 in Muskingum County, Ohio near Hopewell.
Awhile ago I wrote about the story in my husband’s family about their one great grandfather being “sold” at the Ohio State Fair to a farmer down near the southern Ohio border. Turns out, that this very thing, however unbelievable and far fetched, is absolutely, 100% true.
I reached out on a whim to the Ohio State Fair administration office and they answered within 24 hours. The Ohio State Fair has a historian named C. LaVon Shook and he wrote a book entitled A History of the Ohio State Fair in which he documents the Children’s Home Society offering “on the spot” adoptions of children. There was even an article in the Columbus Dispatch! (see below!)
If you read my very first post here talking about Uncovering Dark Secrets in Your Family Tree, I ended it with “to be continued” and I finally received the paperwork I was waiting for to finish my sorrowful tale of my great-great grandmother Esther (Archer) Stewart and her family.
Esther’s son, Dale Walton Stewart, had been a near ghost on my tree for some time. I couldn’t find hardly anything on him at all. I only had 2 census records, an Ohio birth index listing and a listing from the Ohio Boy’s Industrial School where he was placed after his parent’s murder/suicide in 1914. No phone numbers, no addresses, no military listings that I could positively identify as “him”….just a phantom floating through my tree.