A Tragic End for a Father of Many in Williams County, Ohio 

No Divorce, 1882

            By Pamela Lash

            MB Plummer married the couple in Wms Co on 20 Nov 1879 (Bryan Democrat, 27 Nov 1879; Marriage V4 p656). The bride being only 17 was given permission by her father to marry Charles.  Frances was the daughter of David Daniel and Margaret Gusler Deck, natives of Huntington Co, PA and Allegany Co, MD, respectively; this couple was married in Wms Co, OH on 7 Aug 1856 (Marriages V2 p168). In the 1860 Washington Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census PO Ney p411, the Deck family was listed as D. 25 PA, Margaret 21 MD, Emery 3 OH, and Arthur 9/12 OH.  Having moved to Bryan, the family was listed in the 1870 Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p161, as David Deck 36 PA, Margaret 32 MD, Emery 13 OH, Arthur 10 OH, Frances 7 OH, and Adam 45 PA. 

            Charles Austraw, b 15 Jan 1854 in Wayne, Holmes Co, OH or Wooster, Wayne Co, OH, was the son of William and Mary Ann Starn Austraw.  The Austraws appeared in the 1870 Pulaski Twp federal census p2, as William 50 PA, Mary 40 OH, Charles 16 OH, George 14 OH, Willis 11 OH, and Isabelle 5 OH.

William Austraw died on 30 Jan 1875 @54Y and Charles' mother Mary sued her son who was administrator of the deceased father's estate (Wms Co, OH Probate #1723 – 31 Mar 1875; Wms Co Civil and Criminal Court Journal 9 p51 - Nov 1876).  Mary Austraw stated that her son had control of the land and property (Sec 33, Pulaski Twp) and he needed to distribute this to her and the other heirs; several were minors (George, Isabelle, and Willis) who were granted John Starn as guardian on 11 Dec 1877 (Probate #1975).

            Frances Deck Austraw appeared in the Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 11 p478 - Dec 1882; Roll 38 case number 1000 - 6 May - Nov 1882), and charged that on 3 Apr 1882 Charles refused to support Frances and daughter Emma or to live with her.  He was guilty of extreme cruelty and use of violent language; he choked and forced her to the floor.  Charles owned real estate in Sec 33 of Pulaski Twp, valued at $2500.  Frances feared that he would sell this and cheat and deprive her of any financial support.  She was pregnant with another child. The court dismissed the case but Charles had to pay court costs. David Deck, Frances’ father, passed away on 25 May 1884 in Wms Co (Death V2 p29).  Frances died of lung fever on 25 Jan 1888 @25Y 5M (Bryan Press, 2 Feb 1888). “She was the mother of four small children, one son and three daughters; the youngest was a year old.”  These children were Emma B (13 July 1880), Elgison (f – 28 July 1882), Zella/Julia (25 Dec 1884), and Virgil (10 Feb 1887).  Frances’ mother, Margaret Deck, died on 13 Sept 1889 in Wms Co (Death V2 p51). 

            Charles later married Mrs. Lucy E. Hamilton on 13 Nov 1892 in Wms Co (Marriage V6 #807).  Note that this marriage date is different than the date of 3 Feb 1892, mentioned in Charles’ obit (Bryan Press, 2 June 1921). An Internet source stated that Lucy, the daughter of William and Anna Lourchi Young, was born in Wms Co on 31 Sept 1864, although the 1900 federal census information stated her birth as Aug 1868.  In the 1870 Center Twp, Wms Co federal census p1 there was an Asa Young 69 NJ, wife Mary A 68 NJ with son Charles 38 OH and his wife Ann 35 OH plus their children, one of whom was a Lucy 7 OH. Another Internet source stated that Lucy had a son, George Hamilton, from a previous marriage; there was a Wms Co, OH marriage for George W. Hamilton and Lucy Mattice on 30 July 1887 (Marriage V5 #1024), but the bride’s maiden name was listed as Mattice, not Young.  Further research needs to be made to clear up this mystery.

            In the 1900 Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p159, the Austraws lived on East Bryan Street, and were enumerated as Charles Ausstrow Jan 1854 (46) OH, laborer, with 6 children, 4 surviving, wife Lucy, Aug 1868 (36) OH, Julia Dec 1884 (15) OH, Virgil Feb 1887 (13) OH, Earl C Nov 1892 (7) OH, Walter O May 1894 (6) OH, Donald E Sept 1896 (3), and Edith A Dec 1899 (5/12) OH.  A son, Ray, b 21 Sept 1895, had died on 5 Feb 1897 and a son Byron died 12 Jan 1897 @1Y 3M 10D (Death V 3 p1).  In the 1910 Pulaski Twp federal census p165, Charles Austrow 56 OH, married 18Y with 11 children, 8 surviving, was a shoe store clerk, listed with wife Lucy 46 OH, and children Virgil 23 OH, Charles E 17 OH, Wallie Owen 16 OH, Donald D 12 OH, Editha 10 OH, Adrian 8 OH, Carelton Wayne 7 OH, Juneta Pearl 4 OH, and Stephen Lester 1 10/12 OH. 

            Charles committed suicide by hanging himself in his barn on 30 May 1921 @67Y 4M 15/19D and was buried in the Brown Cemetery, Center Twp. His obituary in the Bryan Democrat, 3 June 1921, stated that Charles “had been in abnormal mental condition for some time but his rash act was not expected.” His estate was probated on 19 Aug 1921 (#6938).  Lucy died on 14 Apr 1937 and was also buried in Brown Cemetery.


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