We are going to travel back to our family in Palmer and Monson, Massachusetts. One of the early posts on January 28, 2018 was on Charles “Charlie” Henry Andrews and Martha “Mattie” Gibbons. Charlie and Mattie were the parents of Blanche Louise Andrews, and the grandparents of Ruth Martha Andrews. We have reviewed the ancestors of Charlie. Now we are going to look at the ancestors of Mattie, climbing her family tree. Anna Marie Gibbons Wallace is sharing her story with you.
Mattie was the daughter of James Wallace and Anna Marie Gibbons. Anna Marie was born April 1, 1845 in New York City. Per her death certificate and information given by her daughter, Mattie, her parents were Charles Gibbons and Martha A. Washington, and they were born in the “South”. The 1900 Federal Census for Anna indicates they were born in Virginia. No other information is known about them.
I first found Anna when she was five years old. In the 1850 Federal Census she was living at the Catholic Orphan Asylum in New York City. In 1855, when she was ten years old, she resided in Lee, Massachusetts, located in Western Massachusetts in the Berkshires, with Henry M. and Ann M. Carty. Henry was a farmer, they were both born in New York, and Henry and Ann were black. Henry and Ann had no other children. Around this time orphanages had started a system of “placing out” of their charges with families in the community. This is similar to our current foster care system, and might explain how Anna came to live with the Carty’s. Her home with the Carty’s was short lived. In 1860, when she was 15 years old, she was a servant in the home of Alexander and Emily Chapin in Springfield, Massachusetts. Alexander was a goldsmith and spectacle maker. She was still living with them five years later in 1865.
Anna probably met James Wallace after he returned from his service in the Civil War. James and his family lived in Monson. It appears that James was involved with several women at the time, which we will discuss when we look at his story. Anna got pregnant and they did not marry until many years later.
Between 1865 and 1870, Anna moved to Brookfield, Massachusetts. This might have been where she met James, since his great aunt, Dolly Wallace Hazard, and her children lived in Brookfield, and it is close to Monson. There were few black families living in the town, so it is likely that they knew and socialized with each other.
In 1870 Anna, a single mother, and her daughter Martha, who was born in 1869, were living with Rodney and Mary Howard in Brookfield. Rodney was a minister and Mary was a school teacher. Anna worked as their housekeeper. In 1880, Anna and Mattie are living with Roxanne Forbes and Anna was working as a domestic servant.
The romance and friendship between James Wallace and Anna continued. James married, became a widower, and then he and Anna married. On April 15, 1891 James and Anna were married by Reverend C. Martin in Monson. Anna was 46 and James was 50, and they remained together for the rest of their lives.
In 1900, Anna and her husband were living in Monson, but they moved to Palmer by 1901 where they remained. Between 1901 and 1918, when James died, they lived at 29 Dublin Street near the railroad. In 1910, Anna was working as a laundress in her own home. By 1920 she had moved in with her daughter and son-in-law on 20 Dublin Street. They were all living at 11 Pine Street at the time of her death.
On April 10, 1926, shortly after her 81st birthday, Anna Marie Gibbons Wallace died from cardio-vascular disease. She had been ill for at least two years. She is buried in the Oak Knoll Cemetery in Palmer.
(Note: Anna’s age given in the obituary does not match any of the other records for her.)
April 12, 1926 The Journal-Register, Palmer, Mass.
Mrs. Anna M. Wallace
Palmer – The funeral of Mrs. Anna Maria Wallace, aged 79, widow of James Wallace of Pine Street was held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the home of Bert L. Beers of North Main Street. Rev. C.A.S. Howe, pastor of the Second Baptist Church officiated and internment was in Oak Knoll Cemetery.
Mrs. Wallace leaves a daughter, Mrs. Charles Andrews with whom she lived and a great granddaughter Martha Ruth Andrews, also of Palmer. Mrs. Wallace was born in New York and has been a resident of Palmer for the past 50 years.
The next story will be on James Wallace, husband of Anna and great grandfather of Ruth Andrews DeBoise.
Until next time….