Sensation at West Unity
By Pamela Pattison Lash
(I must be getting a reputation for pursuing unusual types of
genealogical data; my friend Carolyn Pfiester found this article in The Bryan
Democrat, 1 August 1878, p4 c3, and copied it for me.
Of course, I couldn’t resist nosing about and found a great deal of
data on the families included. Here
is the genealogical detailing of the unfortunate mother who caused a sensation
in West Unity.)
usually quiet community of West Unity was thrown into a state of great
excitement early last Friday morning (26 July 1878) by a report of finding a
newborn babe in the vault of the water closet back of the residence of GW
Grindle (on Jackson Street). An
investigation of the matter proved the report to be too true.
It appears that a short time since a young girl named Lucy Loveless
was given employment in the home of Mr. Grindle where she remained without them
having any knowledge of her being in an interesting state, until early Friday
morning when her absence from the home excited suspicion and a hunt instigated
which resulted in the finding of the child as above stated. Dr. Finch was
called in but the girl who had returned to the house denied all knowledge of the
child and it was not until the examination by the jury, impaneled by HH
Peppard, Justice of the Peace, that she confessed her parentage. The verdict returned by the jury was “that the child came
to its death by drowning in the vault of the privy and it was thrown there by
the hands of Lucy Loveless.” The
girl says she strove to keep the birth a secret through fear of her
brother-in-law, who she claims is the seducer, saying that he threatened her
life if it became known. She also
claims that he compelled her to accede to his foul and most unscrupulous
demands. – Eagle. No record of this proceeding has been found in the Williams
County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court Records for that timeframe; therefore, it
would appear that there was no criminal charge lodged against anyone in this
With the above newspaper article as a starting point, I
discovered the following information concerning Lucy Loveless and her kin.
Again, we must not judge Lucy’s actions as we do not know all the
circumstances, but here’s what we do know:
Loveless, b c1856 NY, was the daughter of Crandall and Anna Baker Loveless,
natives of West Butler, Wayne Co, NY. Crandall,
son of Ransom and Mary Hodges Loveless, was born on 11 Oct 1827 and died 27 Dec
1872 in Amboy Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI. His
wife Anna Baker, parentage unknown, b1829-1830, married Crandall prior to 1850
and the family was enumerated in the 1860 West Butler, Wayne Co, NY federal
census, p108, as Crandall 32 NY farmer, Ann E. 30 NY, Olive 9 NY, John C 7 NY,
Lucy A 4 NY, Sylvia 2 NY, and James C 6/12 NY. Father Ransom Loveless was a
lieutenant in the War of 1812 and lived out his days in West Butler, NY.
brother Hiram Loveless and his wife Sarah M. Proctor, daughter of Leonard and
Loraine Proctor, had moved to Gorham Twp, Fulton Co, OH in time to be listed in
the federal census of 1860; Sarah Proctor Loveless’ parents had moved to
Gorham Twp in time to be enumerated in the federal census of 1850, so one can
see that the Proctors came here first, followed by Hiram Loveless, and later by
his brother Crandall. The 1858
Fulton Co Atlas showed 70 acres owned by H. Loveless and 80 acres by Leonard
Proctor in Sec 14 of Gorham Twp; by 1874 Hiram owned property in Sections 6 and
8 on the outskirts of West Unity and land in Brady Twp at various locations.
Whether brother Crandall ever owned property here is not currently known.
Crandall Loveless and his family were again listed in the 1870 Millcreek Twp,
Wms Co, OH PO Primrose federal census p129 as Crandall 43 NY farmer, Ann 41 NY,
Olevia 19 NY, John 17 NY, Malissa 15 NY, Silvia 12 NY, James 10 NY, Ida 6 NY,
and Alphonso 2 OH, leading one to surmise that Crandall and his family migrated
to Ohio c1864. Crandall and Ann had
the following children: Susan Olive 1851 - ?; m Eugene Mattison/Madison; John
Chester 1853 – aft 1870; Lucy Ann (our subject); Sylvia 1858 – aft 1870;
James C. 1860 – aft 1870; David Oct 1862-7 Oct 1867; Ida Jan 1864 – aft
1884; Eva July 1866 – 13 Oct 1867; and Alphonzo 1869 – 1956; M. Jennie Mamie
Lucy’s little sister, Ida, was taken into the David M. Webb household
as evidenced by the 1880 West Unity, Wms Co, OH federal census p510A, living on
Church St. as David M. Webb 50 OH, Nancy (Grant) 46 OH, and Ida Loveless 16 NY
servant. The Webbs according to Mr.
Webb’s obituary treated Ida as a daughter.
brother-in-law who appears to have been the father of Lucy’s child may have
been Eugene Mattison whose parents were Nathan and Ardelia Matteson of
Madison Twp. Eugene’s father died
c1854 and his widowed mother became the second wife of Michael Pifer of West
Unity (whose unsuccessful divorce detailing stemming from charges brought by his
third wife was recently included in this newsletter – Dec 2006 issue). There
was a probate record for Nathan Matteson on 17 Oct 1854 (#1335) when Eugene’s
mother Ardelia was named the guardian for her sons.
The Matteson sons were found in the 1870 Brady Twp federal census as
Eugene Madison 18 OH harness maker, living in the household of Henry Shawley,
and Frank Matteson 17 OH living in the 1870 Millcreek Twp household of the John
Coleman family. Eugene and Olena Loveless became the parents of daughter
Della, b. 14 Sept 1873, Wms Co (Births V1 p61).
Little Della was probably named after her grandmother, Ardelia Matteson
Pifer. There was no marriage record
in Wms Co for Eugene Mattison and Susan Olive Loveless.
It would seem that Lucy Loveless took the position of servant in the GW
Grindle family sometime in 1878. Her
father had died and possibly so had her mother, making it imperative for her to
secure such a position, especially since she was pregnant and would have to make
a living for herself. So what
happened to Lucy after the inquest stated in the newspaper article?
In order to answer this one, must look at a Civil War pension record, a
1900 federal census enumeration, and an obituary from the West Unity Advance
Reporter dated 1901.
Jackson Cain, son of Francis and Sarah Cain, was born on 26 Jan 1837 in Scipioville,
Cayuga Co, NY. He and his family
were listed in the 1850 Scipio federal census p178-179 as Francis Cain 44 NY
farmer, Sarah 27 NY, Henrietta 19 NY, Andrew 17 NY, Ira 12 NY, Benjamin 11 NY,
Sarah J 8 NY, David 7 NY, and Thomas 2 NY. Andrew first married Nancy J. Merryfield in 1853.
They were enumerated in the 1860 Scipio, Cayuga Co, NY federal census
p548 as Andrew Cain 27 NY farm laborer, Nancy 27 NY, and Mandessy 3 NY.
Andrew served in the Civil War when he enlisted as a private in Co D 75th
NY Infantry on 21 Sept 1861; he was honorably discharged on 16 Oct 1862 at Camp
Kearney, Alexandria, VA due to disability and later applied for and received a
pension sometime after 26 Mar 1863. Andrew
and his family moved to Wisconsin by 1866 and according to the 1870 Jackson,
Adams Co, WI federal census p25, the Cain family was listed as AF Cain 38 NY
farmer, Nancy 33 NY, and Melissa 13 NY.
the startling discovery of Lucy Loveless’ part in the death of her baby,
Andrew Cain and family moved to West Unity from Jackson, WI, c1871, and were
enumerated in the 1880 Brady Twp federal census p509D as Andrew Cain 46 NY
carpenter and wife Nancy J 43 NJ. His
daughter Mandanna W., 23 NY, lived close by as the wife of George W. More, 23,
also a carpenter, along with Andrew’s granddaughters, Gertrude 3 OH and Sylvia
1 OH (p508A). Andrew’s wife Nancy
died on 30 July 1884 in Wms Co (Death V2 p20).
between 1885-1886 Andrew Cain married Lucy Loveless.
On 6 Sept 1891 they had an unnamed son born who later died either the
same day or shortly after (Wms Co Births V2; Wms Co Deaths V2 p62). According to
the 1900 West Unity, Brady Twp federal census p6B the family was enumerated as
Andrew J. Cain 67 NY, wife Lucy (no age or b-date) NY, Robert Cain, stepson, 16
b Jan 1884 MI-unknown-OH, and son James 12 b Dec 1887 OH-NY-NY; the Cains were
married for 15 years and had 1 surviving child.
An interesting side note was also found in this census: Lucy Cain could
not read or write.
Andrew Cain died on 1 Jan 1901 @63Y 11M 4D of a stroke and was buried in
Floral Grove Cemetery. West Unity. His
grave was decorated with a GAR CW marker. Upon
his death, according to his obituary in a random collection of obits from West
Unity Advance Reporter, p12, Andrew had a son (unnamed) and a daughter, Mrs.
Mandana Merryfield of Chicago. His
wife, children, 3 brothers and 1 sister in NY survived him. Andrew was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of West
Unity and Reverend FM Money conducted his funeral service. AJ Cain’s estate
was probated on 20 Aug 1901 (case number 4278).
On 7 Jan or July 1901 Lucy, the widow, applied for a widow’s pension
based on her husband’s CW service.
the 1910 Montpelier, Superior Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p9B, Lucy’s son
Robert Cain was listed as Robert 26 OH-WI-NY foreman at the Round House along
with his wife of 3 years Marie 24 Germany, and their daughter Ruth M 1 4/12 OH.
If the census information is correct, Lucy gave birth to Robert in Jan
1884 in Wisconsin; Robert’s father was born in NY.
#1: Lucy had made the acquaintance of Andrew Cain sometime in 1883 in this area,
became pregnant, traveled to Wisconsin to have her baby, and came back to West
Unity or the area in order to marry the baby’s widowed father, Andrew Cain.
Speculation #2: Lucy lived in Wisconsin after the incident here, became
pregnant, came back to West Unity, met Andrew Cain, a recent widower, and
married him. He gave Robert, her
son, his name, and later had two children by Lucy.
Speculation #3: Lucy made up the story of being pregnant by her
brother-in-law to cover up a relationship with Andrew Cain, who was living in
West Unity at the time of these events. The secrets of this family may be
revealed by further research of the sons, Robert and James Cain.
Nothing further is currently known of Lucy Loveless Cain after 1901,
twenty-three years after the sensation in West Unity, Ohio.
Proctors and Hiram Loveless
The Leonard Proctor family was listed in the 1840 Butler, Wayne Co, NY
federal census. According to the
1850 Gorham Twp, Fulton Co, OH federal census p348 the family was enumerated as
Leonard Proctor 53 NY, Lorain 51 NY, Sarah 26 NY, Henry 25 NY, Arzlia 16 NY, and
Wallace 4/12 OH. A daughter Sally M. 22 NY was listed with her husband, Hiram
Loveless, in the 1850 Butler, Wayne Co, NY federal census p323.
Once again the Proctors were found in the 1860 Gorham Twp, Fulton Co, OH
federal census p417B as Leonard Proctor 63 NY and Loraine 60 NY; the were
located not far from married daughter Sarah Proctor Loveless and husband Hiram
as Hiram Loveless 34 NY, Sarah 32 NY, Sarah H. 7 NY, Viola 6 OH, Jessie (f) 4
OH, Anzalia 2 OH, and Matilda Fellows 18 OH.
Leonard Proctor, b c1797, died on 14 Mar 1863 and was buried
in the Olive Branch Cem, Millcreek Twp, Wms Co, OH. His will (Fulton Co, OH V2 p70) was signed on 6 Feb 1853 and
probated 16 Mar 1863, in which he devises that his wife Lorain, in lieu of
dower, received 70 acres of land (W ½ SW ¼ of Sec 14 in T9S, R1W in Gorham
Twp), during her lifetime, being the home farm and at her death, the property
would go to Henry Proctor and Sarah M. Loveless.
The Proctors were the parents of the following children: Sarah 1822 NY -
?, Henry 1825 NY - ?, Arzelia 1830 – 22 May 1857 @27Y 8M; m JH McIntire;
William Wallace 1843 – 26 Apt 1870 @7Y 5M 8D.
There are discrepancies between the 1850 census and the tombstone
inscriptions of the children, all with death dates buried with their parents in
the Olive Branch Cem. In the 1870
West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p12 we find Lorain Proctor 70
NY living with the Loveless family as Hiram B. 44 NY farmer, Sarah M 43 NY,
Sarah H. 18 NY, Viola 16 OH, Jessie 13 OH, Hattie 8 OH, and Jennie 6 OH.
By 1871 Lorain Proctor died and was buried beside her husband Leonard as
Lorain Proctor, 1799-1871.
story now turns to the Loveless family. Tragedy befell this group as father
Hiram, b 1826, died on 15 May 1874 in West Unity and was buried in Floral Grove
Cem; his grave was decorated with a CW marker.
His estate was probated in Wms Co, OH (case number 1656) on 20 May 1874.
By 1 Apr 1875 (case number 1722) his children, Hattie, Hiram B, and
Jennie Loveless were granted guardians. The Hiram Loveless children were: Mary
31 Mar 1850 – 19 Aug 1850; Sarah H. 1852 - ?; Viola L. 1856 OH – 25 Jan
1885; m James J. Theobold; Jessie 1860 – 18 May 1888; m Frank Barkdoll;
Harriet 1862 – 1926; m Emitt G. Ely; Jennie 1864 – 20 Nov 1877; and Hiram
Bird 9 Dec 1872 (Births V1 p45) – 9 Dec 1879 (Deaths V1 p45).
The History of Williams County, Ohio, Weston Goodspeed, 1882,
p393, 405, and 523, plus the census information tell us that daughters, Hattie
and Jessie Loveless, were both teachers in West Unity (1877) and Millcreek Twp
(Hattie – 1881). Daughter Viola
Theobold in 1880 was listed as a dressmaker on North Street, West Unity, OH
along with her husband James, a clerk; however she was buried in 1885 as Viola
The 1880 and 1900 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal censuses listed Sarah M.
Loveless as of 1880 living with daughters Jessie and Hattie; by 1900 she resided
with daughter Hattie, now wife to Emitt Ely and their family.
Sarah M. Proctor Loveless died in 1915 and was buried in the Loveless
family plot in Floral Grove Cemetery, West Unity, OH, outliving her husband
Hiram by 41 years.
GW Grindle and Family
Returning to the story in West Unity, the tragedy began in the home of GW
Grindle. Lucy Loveless was a servant in that home for a short period.
Who were the Grindles and why were they unaware of Lucy’s pregnancy?
The first part is known through research but the second question may
never have an answer.
Goodspeed, p667-668, outlined the history of George W. Grindle,
who was born in Wayne Co, OH, on 16 Mar 1863, the son of Abraham and Susanna
Gill Grindle. Abraham moved to West
Unity in 1864 and presumably so did George, a Civil War veteran and a recruiter
for both Williams and Fulton Counties, attaining the rank of lieutenant.
It is likely that George came here sometime before 1864. He was married three times and ran a stationery business in
After the Loveless tragedy one finds George W. Grindle and family in the
1880 West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p512B as George W. 45 OH a
stationery merchant, Jane 38 OH, Lincoln 18 OH, Philo 16 OH, George 10 OH, and
David 1 OH. The family lived on
Jackson St not far from George’s parents, Abraham 66 PA and Susannah 64 PA. George’s wife Jane Chamberlain lived in Wms Co as
early as 1850 as she was enumerated with her widowed mother Susannah Chamberlain
in both the 1850 and 1860 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal censuses.
Jane Chamberlain, daughter of Samuel and Susannah Chamberlain, married GW
Grindle in Wms Co on 11 Nov 1867 (Marriages V3 p728) and would be the mother of
George and David Grindle mentioned in the 1880 census.
She was also mother to John Nelson Grindle, b 24 June 1874 (Births V1
p84) and Mary Jane Grindle, b 23 Mar 1877 (Births V1 p95).
Two and a half months after the Loveless tragedy, these Grindle children
died, John N. on 18 Oct 1878 (Deaths V1 p50) and Mary Jane on 19 Oct 1878 (same
source). Perhaps the children were
ill for a period before their deaths and this is why Lucy Loveless was retained
as a servant in the Grindle household.
and Mrs. George W. Finch
Dr. Finch was called to the scene of the tragic discovery and might have
examined Lucy when she returned to the Grindle home, but the newspaper account
implies he did not as Lucy only admitted her pregnancy before the inquest.
It seems to the modern reader that the physician would have insisted that
Lucy be examined if for no other reason than to insure she was physically fit
after her unexplained disappearance from the Grindle home and Lucy being a prime
suspect in the tragic death of the baby. However,
this is all speculation as we have no way of verifying the chain of events aside
from what the newspaper details.
to Goodspeed, p667, when Dr. George W. Finch, son of Nathaniel Finch,
born in Belmont Co, OH on 15 June 1819, first came to West Unity with his wife,
Mary Morrow Finch, his two worldly possessions were a horse and $10.
From this he set up a medical practice, having graduate credentials from
Delaware College; his practice thrived until his death on 13 July 1879 (Deaths
V2 p1), about a year after the Loveless incident; his first wife Mary died in
Sept 1865 and later he married Lucy Byers Eckis, widow of Dr. Samuel Eckis, on 1
Jan 1877; however Goodspeed’s info on this marriage is opposed to the
marriage record of 1 Jan 1867 (Marriages V3 p641) and the 1870 census for West
Ann was also trained as a physician, and became the principal of West Unity’s
High School from 1865-1866; after Dr. Finch’s death she continued a medical
practice. The Finch couple was found in the 1850 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal
census p4 as George Finch 26 OH physician and wife Mary 25 OH. From the 1860
West Unity federal census, p155a, one locates the Finch household as GW Finch 39
OH physician, Mary 38 OH, George 9 OH, Maria 7 OH, Adaline 3 OH, Clinton 3/12
OH, and Harriet Leach 14 OH. In the
1870 West Unity federal census the family is enumerated as George W. Finch 50 OH
physician, Lucy A. 46 OH, George 18 OH, Maria 16 OH, and Clinton 10 OH. On 4 Sept 1886 in Wms Co (Marriages V5 #869) Lucy E. Finch
married Stephen B. McKelvey; his first wife, Jennie Byers, was Lucy’s sister;
therefore Stephen married his sister-in-law, a custom that was not uncommon for
the time frame.
Peppard, Justice of the Peace
H. Peppard, a lieutenant in Co D 195th OVI during the Civil War, was
a member of the GAR Royer Post in West Unity as was George W. Grindle as of 1882
(Goodspeed, p394-395). He
called the inquest jury to determine a cause of death for the Loveless baby.
One finds Hiram and his family living in Brady Twp as of the 1850 federal
census p3 as Hiram Peppard 27 PA monthly laborer, Armatta 28 OH, Mary 9 OH,
Harriet 5 OH, Amanda 3 OH, and Mariah 1 OH. He had married Arminta Smurr, daughter of Solomon and Sarah
Strieby Smurr, on 4 Oct 1844 in East Union Twp, Wayne Co, OH.
It would appear that he had been married once before as his daughter Mary
was too old to be Arminta’s daughter from this marriage. Arminta’s father,
Solomon, lived next door to Dr. Finch and his wife in 1850.
the 1860 West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p140a, the family was
listed as HH Peppard 38 PA tailor, Araminta 37 OH, Mary 17 OH, Harriet 15 OH,
Amanda 13 OH, Elizabeth 11 OH, William 8 OH, Francis 6 OH, Durango 3 OH, and an
unnamed male 4/12 OH. By the 1870
West Unity federal census p5, the Peppards were enumerated as Hiram H. 46 PA
tailor, Aramint 47 OH, Amanda 22 OH, Elisabeth 20 OH tailoress, William 18 OH,
Frances 16 OH, Durango 13 OH, Hiram 10 OH, Ellsworth 7 OH, and May 5 OH.
died on 6 Jan 1900 and was buried in Floral Grove Cem, West Unity next to his
son-in-law George Clinger, also a CW Vet, but Arminta, if buried there, had no
tombstone remaining when the cemetery was read by WCGS in 1993.
Hiram’s obituary (West Unity Advanced Reporter, loose collection,
p128-129) stated that Hiram was born in Washington Co, PA, but moved with his
parents to Wayne Co, OH c1830 where he was apprenticed as a tailor in 1836; he
and his wife Arminta moved to West Unity in 1847.
He was a member of the Free Masons.
His death was attributed to apoplexy.
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