52 Ancestors – Week 15 – Solitude

This was an extremely difficult prompt for me. I had no idea what to writ about. I decided to go in the direction of a relative that did not have any children. I had already written about my Great-Aunt Olive Witherwax Rodgers, who I have always been enamored of. I then decided to focus on her brother Leslie Winchester Witherwax.

My great uncle Leslie Winchester Witherwax, with the exception of possibly my great-grandmother Mildred Shumway Stewart, my have been the only person I ever met that was born in the 1800s.

Leslie Witherwax was born 29 November 1891, in Peru, Clinton County, NY to Benjamin Witherwax and Minerva Beardsley Witherwax. He appears on the 1892 NYS Census for Peru, Clinton County, NY. In the household are Benjamin 40, Minnie 22, Hattie H. Martin 7 and Leslie is 1. The family above them are George and Dorcas Witherwax, Benjamin’s parents.

The 1900 Census for Peru, Clinton Co, NY shows Leslie, age 8 in the household of George Weatherwax 78, Dorcas 68, Benjamin 48, Minnie 29, Olive 5, Halsey 2, Helen 1, Harriet Martin 14. All the children are listed as the grandchildren of George including Harriet.

In the 1905 NYS Census Leslie is now 13 and listed in father Benjamin’s (52) household. Minerva 35, Olive 9, Halsey 7, Hellen 5, Laura 2. They are living in the Town of Ausable. (I need to research this as the family owned a large farm and I am not sure why they were there).

I don’t have a record of the family for 1910 so that is on my list but in the 1915 NYS census Leslie 22, is in Schenectady and is listed as a border.

On 7 June 1916, Leslie Winchester Witherwax, 24, married Edith Marks, 24, in Schenectady, NY.

Sadly, Edith died 24 January 1919 of Pneumonia following Inflenza. Leslie was a widower at the age of 27.

The 1920 Census for Bridgeport, Fairfield Co, CT finds Leslie 28 and brother Halsey 22 as boarders. In the 1925 NYS Census for Glenville, Schenectady, NY Leslie 33, is listed as the head of the household and a chauffer. Also in the household are MInerva 54, Benjamin 72, Laura 22 and Earl 14.

On 26 March 1926, Leslie now 34 marries his 2nd wife Mary Olive Onderdonk. She is known to the family as Aunt Olive. I have no record of Leslie and Olive in the 1930 census (something I am going to look for). The 1940 Census Leslie (48) and Mary Olive (51) are living in Schenectady and they have no children. In 1942, Leslie Witherwax filed his WWII Draft Registration card. It shows him living on Toll Street in Scotia, NY and working for General Electric. Mary Olive Onderdonk died 12 July in Schroon, Essex Co, NY. She was 65 and for the second time Leslie Witherwax was a widower.

On 6 September 1958, Leaslie W. Witherwax age 66 married Corrine Schroeder Tomkinson (58) in Ludlow, Vermont. Sadly, Corrine died in November 1958 in Florida. Leslie was a widower for the 3rd time. Great-uncle Leslie never married after Corrine died. He split his time between St. Petersburg, Florida and Upstate New York. He used to travel and visit all the family.

He died 31 July 1981 in St. Petersburg, Florida at 89. He is buried in the Niskayuna Reformed Cemetery with his wives, parents Benjamin and Minerva and his sister Olive.

I think after Corrine died he must of been lonely. I also think it is sad he never had children. I wonder if it was by choice or just not possible for him and Aunt Olive. He did have that span of 16 years with Olive where things must of seen possible. At least by writing about Great Uncle Leslie he will be remembered.

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