February 12, 2012

Clarissa Smith Sanborn of Loudonville: Sunday's Obituary

Clarissa Annah Smith, who married Joseph Haven Sanborn, was my husband’s great-great-grandmother. She went by the name Clara Smith when she was young, and Clara Sanborn after she married. This was probably to distinguish her from her father's sister, Clarissa Smith, for whom she was named. In one of those twists that makes family history research so difficult interesting, her aunt Clarissa Smith later became her mother-in-law. As a genealogist, I’m so grateful for her nickname, Clara—keeping track of two women named Clarissa Smith who both became Clarissa Sanborns gets a bit confusing!

When Clara Sanborn died, she received a beautifully detailed obituary in the Loudonville (Ohio) Democrat. It was published on January 8, 1914.
        Clarissa Annah, daughter of Dr. J. H. and Annah Yves [Ives] Smith, was born in Loudonville, Ohio, January 6th, 1838. When she was six months old her father died, leaving five children. She was married to Joseph Haven Sanborn on November 15th, 1864, who preceded her in death in August, 1895. To this union were born four children: one daughter, Laura, died in infancy; three survive: Haven L., Tenabo, Nevada, Gillman Stanton, Cody, Wyoming and Mrs. Mary Crites, Hiram, Ohio, and one sister, Mrs. Jane Roberts, of Weiser, Idaho.
       When she was two years old her mother married Myron Soule, of Geauga county, where she made her home until her marriage, when she removed to Loudonville, which was her home until last August, when, failing in health, she went to stay with her daughter where she died last Tuesday morning, December 30th, at the age of 75 years, 11 months and 24 days.
       She was a student of Hiram Eclectic Institute in the years 1855, 1856 and 1857. In early youth she confessed Christ and united with the Christian church at South Russell. Her home was always the preachers’ home. She was a life member of the C. W. B. M. and her life was full of good deeds.
       The remains were brought to Loudonville last Wednesday evening and funeral services were conducted by her pastor, Rev. A. D. De Bord on Thursday at 1:30 p.m., at the residence of her son, H. L. Sanborn, on North Water street. Interment in the Loudonville cemetery.

I love all the information this obituary provides. It’s a genealogist’s dream. Here we have the following information about Clarissa Annah Smith Sanborn:
  • Her full name, parents’ names, and mother’s maiden name
  • Her father’s occupation and approximate month of his death
  • Her birth date and place, and number of siblings
  • Her husband’s name and the date and place of their marriage
  • The month and year of her husband’s death
  • The name of an infant daughter who died
  • The names and residences of her three adult children
  • The married name and residence of her one surviving sister
  • Her stepfather’s name and the county she grew up in
  • Her age and place of death
  • The years she was a student at Hiram Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College)
  • The identity of her childhood church
  • Her pastor’s name and activity in her church women’s association
  • The cemetery in which she was buried 

Another notice appearing in the same issue gave the names of some funeral attendees: "Sherman Mumper, of Akron, Rollin Smith and Joel Burnett, of Chagrin Falls, Mrs. Emma Morris, of Columbus, and Mrs. W. H. Baumgardner, of Wooster, were here last Thursday attending the funeral of Mrs. Clara A. Sanborn." More clues to follow up on.

I’ve already confirmed most of the information from the obituary with other sources, and haven’t found any discrepancies yet. I plan to make a trip to Loudonville this spring to visit her tombstone. But I'm still missing a photograph of Clara. If anyone researching Sanborn genealogy, Soule genealogy, or the family of Dr. Joseph Haven Smith (Clara’s father) has information or photographs to share, I would love to hear from you!

Clarissa Annah Smith Sanborn obituary, Loudonville Democrat (Loudonville, Ohio), 8 January 1914, p. 5, col. 6.
Clara A. Sanborn funeral visitors, Loudonville Democrat (Loudonville, Ohio), 8 January 1914, p. 1. col. 1.

1 comment:

  1. Pssstt..Shelley, I tagged you..come on over and play....



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