Finding Lucy Holley

The parents of Lucy Holley (1841-1887), wife of George W. Wetherbee and 3rd great-grandmother of MKS, have been found after a most difficult search.

Working backward …

George, age 41, and Lucy, age 38, are listed in the 1880 US Census living in Napoleon, Jackson County, Michigan, with two of their children.

George, age 13, is then listed in the 1850 US Census living in Grass Lake, Jackson County, Michigan, with his parents and siblings.

Well, that is a 30 year gap with nothing to be found in between. Where is George?

After reading through thousands of names in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 US Censuses for Napoleon, Grass Lake, and all the surrounding towns in Jackson County, he was, well, right there in Napoleon the entire time.

George and Lucy’s names are severely mangled in the 1870 US Census for Napoleon:

  • Gae Willoughby
  • Lucy H Willoughby

George, age 23, is then listed in the 1860 US Census (page  8, row 18) living in Napoleon, working as a farm laborer for James Holley, Betsy Holley, and family (rows 11-19). Again, his name is mangled (George Weatherly).

Now we’re getting somewhere. Are these his in-laws? But there is no daughter Lucy listed.

We then find James Hawley in the 1850 US Census with wife Elizabeth Hawley and the same children living in Columbia, Jackson County, Michigan. And there we find Lucy Hawley, age 8. This age is consistent with Lucy’s birth year of 1841 in subsequent US Censuses and other records.

And we then hit the jackpot! Betsey Holley’s will and probate records are available online, and list Lucy Weatherby and three of her children (Elmer, Leroy, and Homer Wetherbee). hints then quickly tell us that Betsey’s maiden name is Case.

This search has been the difficult inspiration for two Tree Rules:

James Holley (1814-1877) and Elizabeth (Betsy) Case (1815-1887) are 4th great-grandparents of MKS in the Wetherbee branch.

George W. Wetherbee (1837-1906) and Lucy Holley (1841-1887) are 3rd great-grandparents of MKS in the Wetherbee branch.

[1] James Holley and Betsy Case Holley tablets, member Vernon W. Goodrich (photographs).