Anna Belle (Boyd) Sears was born in March 1860/1861 and raised near Greenfield, Hancock County, IN, the adopted daughter of William E. and Maria J. (Bush) Boyd.
Anna's sister, Ellen "Nellie" (Boyd) Mundelle, also was raised by the Boyds, but the fate of a brother, Michael Thompson, is unknown.
They together produced one daughter, Josie Beaver, and raised two granddaughters, Nelle "Marie" (Beaver) Hutton and Catherine (Beaver) Hamilton Wing.
In 1880, when William was 25 and Annie 21, they resided with the Boyds on their farm northeast of Greenfield.
The Greenfield Daily Reporter once said of William that he "lived in this county all his life, having been engaged at farming the greater part of the time."
When the federal census enumeration was made in 1900, the Searses were on a farm next to Anna's parents in Center Township, Hancock County.
Later, they moved into town, residing at 429 Walnut Street in Greenfield.
Tragedy struck thrice in 1902, when they lost three of their young grandchildren in tragic or untimely deaths. On June 12 of that year, granddaughter Anna Beaver died of an accidental burn, when she tipped onto herself a pan full of scalding water. On July 31, grandson Charles Perry Beaver died of heart trouble, at the tender age of only five weeks and four days. Five days after that, on August 5, grandson Ralph Boyd Beaver died, when he "upset a pail of boiling water on himself." All three of the funerals are thought to have been held at the Sears home.
To mourn the loss of the Beaver children, a poem was published in the Hancock Democrat by "A Friend":
Anna outlived her husband by four years. She passed away on Oct. 31,
1926. They are buried together in unmarked graves beside her parents at
the Park Cemetery in Greenfield.
~ Daughter Josie (Sears) Beaver ~
Daughter Josie L. Sears (1878-1909) was born in Sept. 1878 in Center Township, Hancock County, IN.
When she was about 16 years of age, in 1895, she was joined in wedlock with 22-year-old Alvin E. Beaver (Sept. 1873- ? ).
Five known children born to the couple were Marie M. Beaver, Ralph Boyd Beaver, Anna M. Beaver, Charles Perry Beaver and Catherine Wing Hamilton.
The United States Census of 1900 shows the family making its residence in Center Township, north of Greenfield. Alvin earned a living at that time as a day laborer.
A series of tragedies struck in 1902, when they lost three of their young children in tragic or untimely deaths. On June 12 of that year, 20-month-old daughter Anna Beaver died of an accidental burn, when she tipped onto herself a pan full of scalding water. News accounts reported that Josie tried to save the child and "was badly but not fatally buried." Eight days later, said the Bremen (IN) Enquirer, "the home and crops were destroyed by a cyclone and Mrs. Beaver injured." On July 31, newborn son Charles Perry Beaver passed away of heart trouble, at the tender age of only five weeks and four days. Five days after that, on August 5, son Ralph Boyd Beaver died when he "upset a pail of boiling water on himself." Opined the Enquirer, "Misfoortune seems to follow Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Beaver, of Jackson township." All three of the funerals are thought to have been held at the Sears home. Burial initially was in Cummings Cemetery at Willow Branch, Hancock County.
Alvin made news again in January 1908 when involved in a fight with his brother-in-law and neighbor Oscar Roland. Said the Tri-County (IN) Banner, he was "in a serious condition with two broken ribs and serious internal injuries... The nature of the trouble, which occurred Monday, is unknown, but the results are considered most serious and may result fatally. The two men who are about the same age, probably thirty-five years, had some trouble about moving a house, which resulted in Mr. Beaver getting his with a brick."
Sadly, Josie became seriously ill and was cared for in her parents' home. There, she succumbed to the spectre of death on Sept. 28, 1909, at the age of 31. An obituary was published in the Greenfield Daily Reporter. Her funeral service was led by Rev. Robert O. Rogers, pastor of the local Christian Church, with assistance from Rev. Mrs. Lowe representing the Holiness Society. Interment of the remains was in Park Cemetery in Greenfield.
By 1910, Alvin had moved back into the dwelling of his mother Debby A. Johnson in Jackson Township, Hancock County, and was marked by the census-taker as widowed. He is known to have resided in Bloomington, IN in May 1920, when he and his daughters Marie and Catherine paid a visit to Catherine "Katy" (Fields) Catt ( ? - ? ), daughter of William R. and Minnie (Beaver) Fields, in the village of Cleveland, IN. He appears to have been living in Ohio in July 1921 at the death of his mother. Evidence suggests that he married Katy prior to 1930.
Alvin relocated yet again by 1941 to Martinsville, IL.
Daughter Marie M. Beaver (1895-1974) was born on Nov. 14, 1895 in Hancock County. She entered into marriage with Chester Scott Hutton (March 13, 1892-1971), son of Aaron and Mary (Scott) Hutton of Hancock County. Together, the pair produced four children -- Ralph S. Hutton, Louis Hutton, Phyllis Settles and Barbara Mattlingly. Chester was a U.S. Army veteran of World War I. Chester spent his working career as an automobile mechanic and for many years worked at Kinder's Garage. They belonged to the Greenfield Christian Church, and he held memberships in the Hancock post of the American Legion and the local Eagles lodge. In time he arranged for the graves of his wife's young siblings to be relocated from Cummings Cemetery at Willow Branch, Hancock County, to Park Cemetery in Greenfield. The couple's final address together was 313 Grant Street, Greenfield. Sadly, Chester died at the age of 79 on Aug. 28, 1971. His pastor, Rev. Dan Garrison, officiated the funeral service, with burial in Park Cemetery. An obituary appeared in the Greenfield Daily Reporter. Marie outlived her spouse by three years and remained in their home. She died onSept. 25, 1974, at the age of 78. Rev. Ralph Kitley presided over the funeral. Over time, her offspring spelled her maiden name "Bever."
Daughter Catherine Beaver ( ? - ? ) married twice, first to (?) Wing and later to (?) Hamilton. She lost an 18-month-old son, Robert Wing, in 1928 and a four-year-old son, Richard Gale Hamilton, of the effects of diphtheria, in 1933.
Copyright © 2000, 2009, 2022 Mark A. Miner