Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mary Rosetta Grinolds... For many years, a mystery...

Mary Rosetta Grinolds was born 4 October 1833*, most likely in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Matthew Grinolds & Sarah "Sally" Matson. The exact location of Mary Rosetta's birth is unclear, sometimes she is listed as being born in Pennsylvania and other times New York. Her parents started out in Herkimer County, NY and by 1840 they were living in Steuben County, NY... but it seems they lived in Pennsylvania for a brief time, as Mary Rosetta and some of her siblings are often listed with that as a birthplace. Often times she is listed as 'Polly', a common nickname for Mary, and later in life sometimes as 'Rosetta'. It took many years of research to establish just who Mary Rosetta was and who her family was.

Her parents later moved to Juneau County, Wisconsin, and at some point Mary Rosetta met Ole Nelson and they were married 25 December 1855, probably somewhere in Wisconsin, though the exact locale thus far remains a mystery. A short time later they relocated to Freeborn County, Minnesota-- though some of her children have Wisconsin show up as a birthplace, it seems likely they were born in Minnesota, with the exception of child #4- John Charles Nelson born 10 April 1865, during what must have been a brief stay (or just a visit perhaps?) to Wisconsin.

Ole & Mary Rosetta would have at least 9 children, including: Sarah Almira (wife of William Blair), Matthew Gillfillen "Gill, Stephen Luther, John Charles, Lena Sophia (wife of Reinhart Giselson), Mary Rosetta (wife of Charles Hall), Job Vincent, Elmira (died as infant), and another son who also died in infancy. It is likely that there were other children who also died as infants.

The Nelson family lived and farmed in Nunda Township, Freeborn County, Minnesota for many years and sadly it is there that Mary Rosetta succumbed to ovarian cancer on 8 July 1877 at only 43 years of age. [*Her death record gives her age at 44 yrs 10 mos 4 days, which would make her birthday 4 September 1832].

Mary Rosetta had a larger number of brothers and sisters-- some of whom stayed in New York, others coming to Wisconsin & Minnesota. Her brother- John Grinolds and her sister- Almira Schoonover, lived in Faribault & Freeborn County areas in Minnesota, and must have kept in contact to some level with her family.

While her identity was unclear for many years, slow strides have connected her to her parents & siblings. Other things, such as where she is buried, still remain a mystery. I would very much like to find her burial location, but am beginning to think she must have been buried on the family farm, because no nearby cemetery has any record of her.

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