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Mary Macke's Lost Inheritance

Mary Macke's Lost Inheritance

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Published by lbrty4all9227
Oral history regarding Mary Macke Jansen
Oral history regarding Mary Macke Jansen

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: lbrty4all9227 on Feb 03, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Her Lost InheritanceMary Macke Jansen was born in 1848 on a small farmhouse on the Old Peppertown Roadthree miles from Oldenburg, Indiana. She was the second child of Bernard (?)Macke and Hannah Taylor Macke. Her brother Ben was two years old when she wasborn. Several days after Mary was born her mother developed child bed fever anddied.Her father found Katherine (?) [Theresa], a single young woman of good dispositionand reputation, who came to care for the two children and keep house for thebereaved man. Two years later the man and woman married and had several morechildren. Together, they were a close-knit family unit, and, together, they had aproductive farm. Macke also ran a cooperage in a small outbuilding on the edge ofthe farm.Young Ben [Henry] was fifteen when he became bored with the unending labor of farmwork, and he tired of the meager monetary return for all his toil. So he solvedhis own problem by leaving home in secret. The saddened parents waited for wordfrom their wandering son in vain. Many years later came word from San Antonio,Texas, that he was well and working for a railroad.When Mary was a young woman of eighteen or so, she came to Cincinnati to work andhere she met Joseph Jansen. After a courtship of several years they married andbecame the parents of ten children--seven girls and three boys. Mary, Clara,Joseph, Theresa, Katherine, Hannah, Rose, Philomena--died aged 21, Bernard, andEdward--died in early infancy.Mary kept up a close relationship with her parents. She wrote often and visitedthe farm as often as her busy life permitted. Her children all spent a part oftheir summer vacations on the farm, thus getting to know well all their uncles,aunts, and cousins who remained in the vicinity of Oldenburg.Bernard [Joseph] Macke died (date unknown) and was mourned by his loving family.His wife stayed in the little house. The farm, at her death, was to go to theirson Joe and his wife Kate, and they came with their children, to make their homewith their mother. One day Mary received a letter from her brother, Joe. Heurged her to come at once. Her mother was dying. There was something on thedying woman's mind and she needed to see Mary at once.Mary left for Oldenburg on the early train the next morning and hurried to thebedside of the woman she knew as Mama. The old woman was failing but held a lucidconversation with her daughter.She told Mary that she, Katherine [Theresa], was really the stepmother and shetold Mary the details of Bernard's first marriage. It seems that when Bernardarrived in America from Germany, he found work in Richmond, Virginia, as agardener for the Taylor family. The Taylors were Methodists and anti-Catholic.When Bernard fell in love with their daughter, Hannah, they refused to considerthe match for two reasons--he was beneath Hannah's station in life and, worse, hewas a Catholic. The two young people, desperately in love, made plans to elopeand Bernard applied to the government for a free homestead in Indiana. When hisland grant was approved, they moved in 1845, and left Richmond for Oldenburg,Indiana. Hannah knew she was disinherited."Your mother was a fine horsewoman," said the old woman. "She loved horses andriding and she had a beautiful riding habit which she brought with her when shemarried your Papa. She rose almost every day except when she was expecting thetwo babies. When I came here to care for your Papa and his two children Igathered together all her belongings and packed them in her little trunk. Icleaned her riding habit and packed it away carefully. She owned a beautifulriding crop with a handle of real silver. I packed that away. I also found somepersonal papers belonging to her. Those papers are in the trunk which has been inthe loft all these years. If you read through those papers I'm sure you can reachyour relatives in Richmond. Since your brother, Ben, has turned his back on usand has ignored us all these years, I want you tho have your mother'spossessions."The dying woman fell into sleep and Mary was left with her world falling down

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