What about Charles Smith?

Looking at the gravestones in the Dublin Cemetery on Memorial day reminded me of one of those peripheral mysteries in our family tree- Charles Smith. Charles was the son of Leonard and Lydia Smith. Their other children were Mary Alice, my great grandmother, who married Daniel Dunn; and Etta, who married Walter Scott, and moved to Worcester some time around 1900.

Mary Alice is buried in the Dunn family plot in Rindge, and I would assume that Etta’s grave is in Worcester. Charles, who died at the age of 52 in 1912, is buried in Dublin, in the Smith-Cogswell plot. Although he married a woman named Annie in 1893, she is not buried there.

The 1880 census shows Charles, then 20 years old, living and working as a hired laborer on the farm of Annie Pierce in East Jaffrey. In 1886 the Cheshire County Gazetteer lists him as farming along with his father, Leonard, on the family farm. The 1900 census, taken two years after Leonard’s death, still shows Charles as a farmer, now living with his wife Annie in Jaffrey. It’s not the same Annie that he worked for in 1880- that Annie was the widow of a prosperous Jaffrey farmer, about fifteen years older than Charles. Charles’s wife is six years younger, and, according to the census, was born in Indiana. The census also reveals that they have no children, although Annie has given birth to a child who has died. Charles owns the farm free and clear, with no mortgage.

Ten years later, Charles and Annie are missing from Jaffrey’s 1910 census listing- in fact, I can’t find them anywhere in that year’s census. (I was intrigued by a listing of a Charles and Annie Smith living in New Mexico in 1910- especially when I saw that that Annie was also originally from Indiana- but the rest of the couple’s data didn’t match).

So what happened to Annie? It’s still a mystery to me. It’s possible she survived Charles, and may have remarried. The house Leonard Smith owned, and presumably left to his son on Gilmore Pond, was, by 1930, the summer home of a wealthy investment banker from Boston. I haven’t traced the ownership of the house- that may provide the answer to the mystery.

There is also a possible clue in the Dublin graveyard- an uncarved stone which happens to be in just about the location where you might have expected Annie to be buried. In the first picture, the first stone on the left is Leonard Smith, Charles’s father. Next is Charles’s grave, and then the “natural” stone.

So does the third stone actually mark a grave? If so, is it Annie’s, or perhaps her child? Hopefully the Dublin Cemetery records will have the answer. Stay tuned…