|Mary Mayer Kuck|
I don't know much about Mary Mayer because she lived just a short life. All my knowledge lies in just a handful of records. I have her marriage certificate from Galena, Illinois where my 3rd great grandfather John Kuck met and married her while doing an apprenticeship at a harness shop, I have two census records in 1860 and 1870 that list her and I have a newspaper clipping detailing the tragic death of Mary at age 42 and five of her seven children in a diphtheria epidemic.
As often is the case, my search into who my 3rd great grandmother was begun with the record of her death. Mary Mayer was born in Switzerland on 7 January 1837. The date and oddly enough her country of origin comes from her gravestone shown above though the latter is listed in both census records I have on her. I haven't seen another gravestone that announces the country someone was born in before but this one lists two different countries, Germany and Switzerland as well as the United States by default when it lists the towns that five of their seven children were born in. I have no records for her before 31 May 1860 when she got married and the following marriage certificate was filled out.
I have done quite a bit of looking into who her parents could be but have never been able to conclusively identify any. Part of this problem is that there are a lot of Mayers in the area at the time, the part of Switzerland that she was from may have been on the border with Germany and thus listed that way on census records and that there are a lot of spellings for Meyer, Myer, Mier, Mayer, etc. Her first born daughter was named for her mother-in-law, her first born son after her father-in-law. Her second daughter was named Lydia and thus by naming conventions present in the family, I suspect that could possibly be her mother's name especially since Lydia was a name I've found on her husband's side of the family. The second son born to Mary was named George. By naming standards, this could be her father's name but it is also the name of her husband John's youngest brother who died ten years earlier. The third son was named Edward which again, isn't a name used by John Kuck's family. I have spend time searching for a George & Lydia Mayer or an Edward & Lydia Mayer but to date, haven't found any that could match up as parents to Mary.
Most of the information I have on Mary was found in this old newspaper article that was in my 2nd great grandmother Elizabeth Cogswell Kuck's scrapbook and that isn't much. My hope for future research is to scan the newspapers during the months that her children died to see if perhaps I can glean a clue or two from anything written about them. For that very reason, I made a trip up to the nearest state historical library a month ago which has newspapers from that time frame but alas, the newspapers from Charles City were absent during that year. I have since asked a local genealogist to that area whom has looked up information for me in the past to check out the local library to see if they have newspapers from that time frame. He said he would but due to the time of year, I may have to wait for the first of the year for my answer. Sometime waiting is the hardest part.