Saturday, September 27, 2014

52 Ancestors: #35 Nancy Elizabeth McLaughlin, Eloped at 16

Above: A section of the National Road in 1908. 
Below: Henry and Nancy's marriage certificate.
A story has been handed down in my family that my 3rd great-grandparents, Henry Fisher and Nancy McLaughlin, eloped to be married.  On a dark March evening, Nancy went out into the front yard after supper on the pretext of emptying the dishwater.  Henry was waiting for her on horseback.  Nancy had smuggled out her dress-up clothes earlier that day so that they could make their getaway easily.  A minister had been arranged for, and the license had already been obtained.

The National Road (known today as U.S. 40) had been built by that time, so perhaps they would have used that route to travel from Marion County to Wayne County to be married. Henry and Nancy were married on the 13th of March, 1843. She was 16 years old, and he was 22.

Nancy Elizabeth McLaughlin was born in Marion County, Indiana, on May 11, 1826. Her parents were James McLaughlin and Elizabeth Huggins, both natives of Kentucky.  Nancy was the second of 13 McLaughlin children.

After Henry and Nancy eloped in 1843, the first document they appear in is the 1850 census.   The Fishers and their three young daughters lived next door to the Marion County Asylum (which was essentially a poorhouse for paupers and the feeble-minded).  Henry was the superintendent of the asylum.  In 1860, the Fishers lived in the village of Broad Ripple in Marion County.  They stayed in Broad Ripple for 20 years then moved to Jasper County, where they remained for the rest of their lives.

Henry and Nancy had ten children: seven girls and three boys.  One of their daughters, Minerva, born in 1848, lived to be 100 years old. Their fifth daughter, Rebecca, was my great-great grandmother.

Nancy Fisher died on December 20, 1895.  She is buried at Weston Cemetery in Rensselaer, Jasper County, Indiana.

I found a letter written by my grandmother that mentions a photograph of Henry and Nancy with one of their grandsons, Noble Fisher.  I've looked through all my family files and haven't been able to find the picture.  In the back of my mind, I feel like I may have seen the picture before, but maybe it was just a dream. (Yes, I do dream about genealogy sometimes!)

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