Bride of Shoemaker Finds Better Life in Geauga County

by Pamela Pattison Lash


John S. Silvernail v Serepta Colvin Crafts Silvernail (Journal 6 p600 - 31 Oct 1866; Roll 18 case number 40 - Oct 1866)

            The couple was married on 18 Sept 1840 in Auburn, Geauga Co, OH.  John Silvernail was born on 22 June 1802 in NY, the son of Philip and Catherine Simon Silvernail. He married his first wife, Polly Ann Clark, c1822; she died on 16 Mar 1840.  Serepta Colvin, the daughter of Nehemiah and Lucy Butts Colvin, was born on 11 July 1806 in NY or RI, She was first married to William Crafts, 17 Nov 1840 in Auburn, Geauga Co, OH; William was born on 27 Nov 1801 in Middlesex, Yates Co, NY, possibly the son of John Crafts; William died on 27 Oct 1839 in Auburn as a result of a fall from a horse; he was buried in the Shadyside Cemetery in Auburn.

            The 1840 Auburn Twp, Geauga Co, OH federal census p144 showed John Silvernail aged 30-40 living alone, and Serepta Crafts aged 30-40 with two children, one male aged 10-15 and one female under five.  The known Crafts children both born in auburn, Geauga Co, OH were Lorenzo (b July 1833; d Aug 1834) and Aurilla (b 8 Sept 1835).   In the 1850 Wright Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI federal census p217, the Silvernail family was enumerated as John 47 NY shoemaker, Serepta 43 NY, Richard 12 OH, Alonzo 2 MI, Adorna 1/12 MI, and Erilla Crafts 14 OH.  By the 1860 Wright Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI federal census p227, the Silvernails were listed as John SR 57 NY shoemaker, Serepta 54 NY, Alonzo 11 MI; they lived next door to John Silvernail JR 34 NY farmer, Eliza 29 NY, Urilla P 8 MI, and George A 7 MI.

            John stated that his wife was willfully absent for three years or more in his divorce claim of Oct 1866 in Williams Co, OH.  “She may have returned to Auburn”.  A legal notice appeared in a local paper. The divorce was granted.  Less than a month later John Silvernail married Mary A. Church in Wms Co on 25 Nov 1866 (Marriage V3 p623).  From the 1867 personal property taxpayers listing John resided in Madison Twp, Wms Co. In the 1870 Wright Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI federal census p558, John was found as 67 years of age from NY and still a practicing shoemaker; he lived alone. John later died on 6 Sept 1872 in Wright Twp, Hillsdale Co, OH. 

            Serepta Silvernail had indeed moved back to Geauga County as she was enumerated in the 1870 Burton, Geauga Co, OH federal census p44 with the following family: Alonzo Silvernail 22 MI farmer, Sarepta 64 RI, Seth 1 OH, and Theresa Hartson 11 OH.  Serepta Silvernail died of consumption on 19 Apr 1871 and was buried in Shadyside Cem, Auburn Twp, next to her first husband William Crafts; she was listed as a widow according to death records for that county.


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