Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Alonzo B. Polar

Alonzo B. Polar is my reminder that when researching, one should never ever assume that an unfamiliar name in vital record index is not related to your family line. That statement bears repeating as I have fallen into this trap on more than one occasion but I'll spare you the repetition. (I've come to the conclusion that the definition of the word assume is where the term "taking a wild a$$ guess" is derived, both resulting in the same conclusion.)


A number of years ago, I discovered that my great-great grandfather, Rancellor Polar, for a period of time, lived in neighboring Waupaca County, which is a lovely place to research. Waupaca is the heart of the Chain Of Lakes, the perfect setting for a day spent searching for records with a break for lunch at a favorite lakeside restaurant.


My Polar family research would be incomplete if it weren't for the efforts of a second cousin who began his research long before Ancestry and Footnote; writing letters, filling out family sheets in longhand, keeping copious and meticulous notes. Additionally I consider it a blessing for my family history that my mother paid attention when her mother and Aunt Leona talked about their Polar family history.


Going through the records at the Waupaca County court house, Mom and I were aware of the children of Rancellor Polar and Mary Jane Carson: Charles Finley Polar, father of Alma & Leona; their Uncle Giles and Aunt Adelia; Uncle Clarence who was deaf; Uncle Warren and sister Aunt Alice who married siblings of the Jones side of the family; Aunt Emma who married a brother of the Clarke relation; Aunt Phebe affectionately known as Aunt Pheb. Land records yielded an array of additional Polar's giving us several clues to possible siblings of Rancellor.


Alonzo Polar. "Mom, do you recall Gram or Aunt Leona mentioning an Alonzo Polar?"


Nope ... can't be our Polar. Alonzo is defiantly not one of our family names.


Fast forward a few years and a wiser family researcher who resists the temptation to assume. Suffice it to say that, yes, Alonzo belongs in the Rancellor Polar family. While he is not in my direct family line, as an avid and enthusiastic believer in Cluster or Whole Family Genealogy, every now and then, Alonzo gets my undivided attention.


Alonzo B. Polar as born 1812, in the state of New York. The oldest child of Simeon Polar and Charlotte Pooler/Poler? eight known children. The name Benjamin appears in several of the family lines leading me to surmise that the B stands for Benjamin.


In October 1843 Simeon and Charlotte Poler of Royalton, Niagara, New York purchased 320 acres of land from Joseph and Betsy Compton. In October 1844 Simeon and Charlotte sold 40 acres to their son Alonzo Poler; the remaining 280 acres was sold to their son George W. Poler in December 1844. The addresses of all parties is recorded as Leslie, Ingram, Michigan. This is the last recorded land record found listing Simeon and Charlotte.


Records indicate that at the time of Alonzo's death, he was a resident at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in the town of King, Waupaca county, WI. A request of these records provided very little family information as I had hoped, but they indicated that when he became a resident of  the veterans home he brought with him his wife Cordelia.


Alonzo served the state of Wisconsin during the Civil War and is found listed in Ancestry's database including American Civil War Soldiers which indicates Alonzo was a residence of Wautoma, Waushara County, WI. He enlisted as a private on January 20, 1862, in 8th Light Artillery Brigade and received a disability discharge on January 21, 1863.


Also found on Ancestry is a listing for Alonz[o] B. Polar in Headstones Provided for Deceased Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903, confirming that he is buried  at the Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery. 






A lovely afternoon spent strolling the cemetery grounds yielded the grave of Alonzo Polar with wife Cordelia's grave located in the vicinity.




On their application to the WI Veterans Home, they indicate that Cordelia was born March 21, 1828, in Ohio. She does not list her maiden name, they have no children and were married in October 1873 in Kilbourneville, Racine County, WI. Cordelia's death certificate does not list her parents names, probably due to the fact that they are not listed on her entry application. Cordelia died on March 14, 1908.


Cordelia was not Alonzo's first marriage, thanks to cousin Harold, we know that Alonzo's first marriage was to Mary Ellen Palmer on May 6, 1840 in Rochester, Monroe County, NY. Mary Ellen was born September 29, 1823, in Rochester. They had one child, Mary Helen Palmer, born July 7, 1841, in Rochester. Harold indicated that Mary Helen married Nicholas Scharding on September 20, 1858, in Yolo County, CA, but I have not been able to document this fact. 


Alonzo and Mary Ellen parted ways sometime between 1841 and 1850. Mary Ellen married George W. Brown and is found living with Mary Ellen Polar in Somerset Township, Hillsdale County, Michigan in the 1850 Federal Census.


But was there another Mrs. Alonzo Polar in addition to Mary Ellen and Cordelia?


Listed in Wisconsin Marriages, Pre-1907 is Alonso B. Polar,  married on February 23, 1894, in Columbia County. This record indicates a marriage 21-years after the date given by Alonzo and Cordelia as their marriage date and comes only three years prior to Alonzo's death in 1897.




What about the family of A. B. Polar found living in Dakota Township, Waushara , WI?


Or is there another Alonzo B. Polar?


Well I'm sure that he can't be related to my line of Polars.



2 comments:

Cher' Shots said...

Cindy, You are such a great 'blood-hound' and I'm saying that with great respect for you and your desire to keep digging for answers. Great post!!
'love & hugs from afar'

Kate said...

Great piece of research! I'm very, very curious about Alonzo's apparent third marriage. This is what I love about family history, it's like having your own personal mystery story to unravel.

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