My 2nd great grandmother, Sarah A. (TAGUE) VAN DUYN died of a stroke (cerebral hemorrhage) in Greensboro Township, Henry County, Indiana, on Valentine’s Day of 1935. She was 79 years, 9 months, and 15 days old. Sarah’s parents were George TAGUE and Eliza Emaline (BROOKS) TAGUE.
Twenty-three year old George W. VAN DUYN of Hancock County had taken her as his very young bride in 1869 when she was only 14. For what reason? Was she an enamored young teen who begged her father for permission to marry? Was she “in trouble” or thought she was? Was this an arrangement between George’s father, Civil War veteran Isaac VAN DUYN and Sarah’s father, Civil War veteran George TAGUE? George TAGUE had five children, and only one daughter, Sarah. These are all thoughts of my wild imagination. It was too long ago and the truth may not have been known then, let alone now.
When she was fifteen, Sarah’s first child was born. There were to be six more during the next 17 years.
- Arthur Clinton
- Claudius Monterville
- Obe Dallas
- Emma Irene
- Marylou Nellie
- Charles George
She was only 32 when her last child was born. If there were others not listed, I cannot find any evidence. These are the ones shown in census records, from death certificates, and from family knowledge. All married, and the three women were married as follows: Emma to William BURNS, Allie to Floyd KITTERMAN, and Marylou Nellie to Thomas Milton BROOKSHIRE.
All of these children lived and most died in Hancock County and/or Henry County, Indiana.
Something happened in the fall of 1914. On 17 October 1914, The Indianapolis Star published a short announcement:
NEWCASTLE — Sarah VanDuyn of Shirley has filed suit for divorce and $5,000 alimony from George VanDuyn. She charges cruel and inhuman treatment. The couple have been married forty years.
I don’t remember hearing about this when the family would talk about this line of ancestors, and it was a surprise when I found it a few years ago. I haven’t sought out the public records, but on later censuses and on her death record, she is still shown as being or having been married to George.
At age 14, she seems too young to have married, at 15, too young to have been a mother, and from the divorce announcement, clearly things were not rosy. Was her husband, yet another of my 2nd great grandfathers, a difficult and cruel person? Again, we may never know.
I am not sure if anyone has photographs of Sarah, but she certainly lived most of her life during the years when photography was available.