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The story of Harry Church and Mary Hammond

On May 12, 1880, Mary Emogene Hammond was born in Bolton, Warren County, New York. She would marry Harold “Harry” David Church on May 3, 1899 in Goshen, Hampshire, Massachusetts. She would then die on September 2, 1953 in East Derry, Rockingham, New Hampshire, with her husband dying in 1969. On Find A Grave, we know that they  had at least four children: Joseph, Clarence, Edith, and Georgie. But there is more to the story than this. Mary’s parents were Hetabella “Hattie” Belle Mills and Hannibal T. Hammond.

In June 1869, Hattie and Hannibal had married. The following year, they boarded with Hattie’s family, the Mills Family, in Chester, Warren, New York with Phebe Bibby who could be the adopted child of the couple.In 1871, their first child, Joseph, was born. Five years later, their second child, Clarence, was born. Then in 1880, Mary was born. By 1880, Hattie and Hannibal were living  in Glens Falls, Warren, New York. Hannibal was a carpenter and Dora was staying in the same household. He would due on December 14, 1886 in Cummington, Massachusetts with Cyrus W. Packard (Dora’s husband) serving as an informant for his birth, death, and other information. When Hannibal died, he was age 53, 10 months, 17 days, married, dying of “consumption” (tuberculosis) and being a farmer. His parents were listed as Perry G. Hammond (born in Caldwell, NY) and Mary Ann Hammond (born in Granville, NY). He would live his last days in Cummington.

But where did this leave Hattie? Well, on December 22, 1889, three years after Hannibal’s death, she married a man named Joseph Beals. Little is known of her life after this point. We do know that in 1900 she was living with her husband Joseph in Goshen Town, within Massachusetts’s Hampshire County, with Marian and Charles E. Packard, children of Dora and Cyrus, living with them, along with Edith B. Hammond, a daughter of hers from the marriage with Hannibal. Ten years later, in 1910, she was still living in Goshen but with her daughter Edith and she was widowed, evidencing Joseph Beals’s death. There was also a boarder named George A. Andrews is living with them. As such, it makes sense that she died in 1912. Her death certificate says she died of chronic vascular heart disease on Aug. 3, 1912, and says her birth date is Jan. 29, 1850, with these days treated as correct but the year totally false. This is due to the fact that the 1855 census shows her living in the household and as age 12 (meaning that she would be born in 1843), to give one example:

Mills families in Bolton in 1855 (see bottom entry of Mills family, specifically he one labeled “Hetabella Mills.”

Or see the 1850 census, calling her Hetabella, which says she is age 9 (which is why I said she was born in 1841 on her Find A Grave bio):

Or see the 1865 census, naming her as “Hattie. B. Mills” which calls her age 21 (saying she was born in 1844):

As such, Hattis’ gravestone gives her wrong date of birth and is off by 11 years. Why the gravestone is that wrong is not known.  The gravestone is shown below:

Yet her death certificate, with information supplied by her son, Clarence (C.O. Hammond) says 1850:

The problem didn’t begin in 1870, as she was described as age 25, meaning she would have been born in 1845.The 1875 census says she was 31, pegging her birth date to 1844. The same can be said of the 1880 census, which says she is age 32, pegging her birth date to 1848. Even the 1905 census says she was age 56, pegging her birth date to 1849. So, none of these censuses say that. The mystery goes on.

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