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Incorrect Dates

Do you have conflicting dates for an event such as a birth, marriage or death? I realize that the incidence of conflicting dates is not uncommon. Most of the time when I find multiple dates, I can locate multiple sources in support of one date and very few sources for the other date(s).

However, that is not the case for the marriage date of George Mentzer and Emeline Minnick. I have multiple sources say they were married 1 Jan 1867 and then many other sources with a marriage date of 1 Jan 1868. Looking at the sources, it appears that I can basically group those sources into two groups: his and hers.

He Said

The biography of George Mentzer published in the History of Woodson and Allen Counties, Kansas indicates that George and Emeline were married 1 Jan 1867. (See Mentzer Hints post)

In Henry county, Illinois, Mr. Mentzer was united in marriage to Miss Emeline Minnick, a daughter of John Minnick, a Pennsylvania German, who had a family of five daughters and one son. The wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Mentzer was celebrated on the 1st of January, I867,

The Mentzer biography found in the Woodson County (KS) Historical Society publication, In the Beginning from July 1970 also has a marriage date of 1 Jan 1867. (See Mentzer Hints post)

George Mentzer and Emeline Minnick were married on January 1, 1867, at Kewaunee. His bride was a daughter of John Minnick, a Pennsylvania German.

George’s obituary is consistent with the biographies in that it gives the marriage date of Jan. 1, 1867.

Friday, Jan. 26, 1912
Obituary
Mentzer
George Mentzer was born in Stowe, Mass., June 12, 1838, and died at his home near Yates Center, Woodson Co., Kansas, on Jan. 19, 1912, of paralysis, aged 73 years, 7 months and 7 days.
He enlisted in Co. C 24th Massachusetts regiment on Sept. 25, 1861, and served three years, until discharged on Sept. 28, 1864.
After the Civil War he moved to Kewanee, Ill, where he was married to Emeline Minnick, Jan. 1, 1867. To this union were born eight children, one, Susie May Tunnicliff, preceded him to the better land on Jan., 8, 1909, besides his wife he leaves to mourn his loss, Mrs. Clara E. William; Charles O., Fred J., Henry A., Phillip E., Ernest E., and Clarence A. Mentzer, and 22 grandchildren.
Mr. Mentzer joined the Methodist Episcopal church in 1866 at Kewanee, Ill.
In 1871 he moved to Kansas, settling on the farm where he died.
Mr. Mentzer was well and favorably known throughout Woodson County. He has lived among us for more than 50 years and was known to us as a faithful Christian gentleman. His dealings with men were characterized by honesty and he governed his conduct with men by the high standard of moral rectitude.
The bereaved ones have the sympathy of the entire community in their sad loss. Funeral services were held at the family home Monday morning by Rev. W. L. French. Interment in the Yates Center Cemetery.
A precious one from us has gone;
A voice we loved is stilled;
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.
God in his wisdom has recalled
The boon his love had given
And though the body slumbers in the grave,
His soul is safe in Heaven.

“Obituary – Mentzer,” The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas), 26 January 1912, image 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed onlnie August 2018).

He Said

The first hint of a different marriage date was found in George Mentzer’s military pension file. In a Bureau of Pensions Document dated 2 Jun 1890, the marriage date is given as 1 Jan 1868. This document was signed by George Mentzer and dated 4 May 1898.

1898 May 4
Bureau of Pension – Act June 27 1890

Certificate No. 598867
Name Geo Mentzer

Department of the Interior
Bureau of Pensions
Washington, D.C. January 15, 1898

Sir:
In forwarding to the pension agent the executed voucher for your next quarterly payment please favor me by returning this circular to him with replies to the questions enumerated below.
Very Respectfully
M Clay Evans

First: are you married? If so, please state your wife’s full name and her maiden name.
Answer: yes Emmeline Mentzer, Emmeline Minnick
Second: When, where and by whom were you married:
Answer: Jan 1, 1868, Kewanee, Ill, Rev. Aplebee
Third: What record of marriage exists?
Answer: marriage certificate, family record
Fourth: Were you previously married? If so, please state the name of your former wife adn the date and place of her death or divorce
Answer: No
Fifth: Have you any children living? If so, please state their names and the dates of their birth.
Answer. Yes. Charles Oliver, July 1, ‘69, John Fredric Mar 3 ‘71, Susan May, Feb 28th ‘73, Henry rnold Dec 31 ‘75, Philip Embry Feb 22 ‘77, Ernest, May 10, ‘88, Clara, Sept 20 ‘82, Clarence Albert, April 7th, 1886

Signed: George Mentzer
Date of Reply, May 4, 1898

George Mentzer (Company C, 24th Regiment Massachuses Infantry), pension no. WC 741.913, Case FIles of Approved Pension Applications, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

She Said

And then we get to documents related to his wife, Emeline. In her ‘Declaration of a Widow for Original Pension’ she gives the date of their marriage as 1 Jan 1868.

Declaration ofo a Widow for Original Pension
State of Kansas
County of Woodson
On this 13 day of Feb., A.D. one thousand and twelve personally appeared before me, a county clerk within and for the county and State aforesaid, Emeline Mentzer, aged 63 years, a resident of Center twp., County of Woodson, State of Kansas, who being duly sworn according to law, make the following declaration in order to obtain pension under the acts of Congress granting pension to the widows of soldiers and sailors who have died by reason of wound or injury received, or disease contracted, in the service of the United States and in the line of duty.
That she is the widow of George Mentzer, who was enlisted under the name of George Mentzer at Northboro on the 25 day of September, 1861 as a Private in Co. C, 24 Mass. Vol. Inf. and was discharged on the 25 day of Sept. 1864, and who died at Yates Center on the 19 day of Jan, 1912 of Paralysis, due to _ incurred in the above-named service. That the said soldier was in the military or naval service of the United States except as state above.
That the said soldier was born June 12, 1838 at Stow, Mass. that his personal description at enlistment was as follows: height, ; complexion, ; color of eyes, ; color of hair, ; permanent marks or scars, ; that his occupation was
That she was married under the name of Emeline Minnich to said soldier at Kewanee, Ill on the 1 day of Jan. 1868 by Rev. Applebee; that there was no legal barrior to the marriage; that she had not been previously married; that the soldier had not been previously married.
That she was never divorced from said soldier, and that she has not remarried since his death.
That said soldier left the following-named children under 16 years of age at the date of his death, to -wit:
(none listed)
That she has not heretofore applied for pension, none
That her post-office address is Yates Center, County of Woodson, State of Kansas

Signed: Emeline Mentzer
Attest: Cecil Clare Turner
Bert Mentzer

George Mentzer (Company C, 24th Regiment Massachuses Infantry), pension no. WC 741.913, Case FIles of Approved Pension Applications, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

An obituary clipping for Emaline Minnick Mentzer gives the marriage date as New Year’s day, 1868. This clipping was saved by her granddaughter, Pauline Mentzer Briles.

Died
Mentzer
Emeline Minnick was born near Pittsburg, Pa. Aug, 26, 1848 at which place she spent her childhood in the home of her parents, John and Mary Minnick. At the age of 12 years her parents with their five daughters and one son, moved to Kewanee, Ill. where she attended the public schools and grew to young womanhood.
On New Year’s Day, 1868, she was united in marriage to George Mentzer, living in Kewanee until the pioneer spirit brought them to the state of Kansas where they located on the old Mentzer homestead in West Center township in May 1872. On this place she resided until Feb. 1914 when she moved to Yates Center where she died Tuesday evening, Sept. 13, 1927, at the age of 79 years and 17 days.
To this union 8 children were born and grew to manhood and womanhood. One son, Albert C., in 1919 and one daughter, Susie M. Tunnicliffe, in 1908, and her husband in 1912, having preceded her in death.
She was raised in a Christian home and early in life she was converted uniting with the M.E. church in Kewanee, ILL and later transferring her membership in 1873 to Pleasant view M.E. church in Woodson county Kansas and later to Yates Center of which church she was a faithful member up to her death. She was one of the truly great Christian characters, who lived each day in faith and humility. Although her last days were spent in suffering, she lived in beautiful resignation and patience.
She leaves to mourn her passing, her sons, C. O. of Neosho Falls, Kansas; F.F., H.A., P.E. and E.E., of Yates Center, and one daughter Clara E. Williams of Yates Center, Kansas and 18 grandchildren; one sister, Mrs. Ellen Frink, of Shenandoah, Iowa besides her friends and relatives.
Funeral services were held in her memory at the M.E. church, Thursday afternoon, conducted by her pastor Rev. A.W. Johnson, assisted by the Rev. JE.E. Latimer. The pall bearers were six of her grandsons. The body was laid to rest in the family lot by the side of her husband.
Thus passes away another of the early pioneers of Woodson county.

Another Date

In an attempt to determine the actual date, I turned to actual records – and found a THIRD date of 27 Dec 1867.

Illinois, Henry County. Marriage Register. County Clerk, Film #1435944 DGS 4031862. Mentzer, George, 27 Dec 1867 Digital Images, Family Search http://www.familysearch.org : viewed online August 2018.1435944 DGS 4031862

Which Is Correct?

Finding the actual marriage license helped me resolve this date conflict.

The People of the State of Illinois

To any person authorized to solemnize Marriage

Greeting

You are hereby authorized to celebrate & certify

The Rites of Marriage of

George Mentzer

Emiline Minnick

Now of this County According to the

Usual Custom and Laws of the State of Illinois

Witness Daniel Bonar Clerk of the County Court in and for the County of Henry and the Seal of said Court hereto affixed at Cambridge, this 27 Day of Dec A.D. 186?

J D Bonar, Clerk

State of Illinois, Henry County, SS.

I hereby certify that on the first day of janury AD 1868 Ijoined in the Holy State of Matrimony George Mentzer and Miss Emaline Minnock according to the Custom and Laws of the State of Illinois.

Given under my hand and seal this 1st day of January A.D. 1868

Benj Applebee

Pastor of M E Church
Kewanee Ills

Henry County Illinois, “Return of Marriage,” Book A, page 313, George Mentzer and Emeline Minnick, 1 January 1868; County Clerk, Henry County, Illinois.

Analyzing these records made me realize why it is necessary to locate any and every record for an ancestor.

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