Thursday, January 13, 2011

All in the Family: Fannie Isadora Stevens

Fannie was the oldest child of Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Stevens and his wife Alice A. Covalt Stevens. She was born March 17, 1857, in Brown County, Ohio. Her siblings included Harvey F., Willie (who died either in childbirth or in his first year), and Ella, about whom nothing is known other than that she was listed as a child with B.F. and his second wife Laura in the 1880 census.

She married Joshua (Jack) Pyle in 1875. Since Jack was born in Indiana, it is likely the married occurred there, likely in the Pt. Isabelle area. She and Jack had three sons, Bert Franklin (born September 6, 1876), D’Earle (born 1879), and Ben Harold (exact date of birth unknown).

The 1880 census records  Joshua and Fanny Pyle with children Bert F. and Dearl (sic). Fannie’s occupation is listed as housekeeping and Joshua as Farming Hand.

Family lore states that Jack called for a cousin, Robert Lee Lake, to come from his home in Kentucky to help with the crops. After Jack’s death, Fannie married Robert on September 29, 1886, and they had two daughters, Winona Myra Alice (my grandmother, born October 23, 1887) and Florence Ethel (born May 26, 1890).

For a short time, when Ethel was born, the family lived in Houghton, South Dakota, where Robert had obtained some farming land. Following a huge storm which wiped out his crops, he decided they needed to move back to Indiana, abandoning the property.

According to Eugene Brobst, Fannie was a great reader, a love she passed on to her daughter Winona.

Eight years older than he husband, Robert, Fannie also outlived him by thirty years, dying November 24, 1930, at the home of her daughter, Winona, at 1016 Roe Avenue in Alexandria, Indiana.

Fannie is buried at Knox Chapel, a cemetary in the country one mile south and a half mile east of Pt. Isabel. The old church across road has been abandoned since her funeral. She lies between her first husband, Jack Pyle, and her second husband, Robert Lake. She put a nice headstone on Pyle's grave and along in the 1930s, D’Earle placed a brass marker on her grave. No marker was ever placed on Robert Lake's grave.

Fannie’s brother, Harvey, is buried in same cemetery, slightly north and several feet east of her.  Evidently there is no marker on his grave.

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