The Family Story

Susan Wynn McLean

I need to preface this with the reminder that every family has stories – whether these tales have any basis is truth is often a matter of perspective. The following came from what I was told when growing up and later conversations with extended family members during my research.

I only knew my grandaunt Sue for a short time. We both lived in Reno in the mid-1970s, and I visited with her several times. She was a very sweet lady who reminded me a lot of my grandmother Margaret. Most of the family stories I heard about Susie began with “Poor Sue.” I think her siblings felt Susie had had a pretty rough road in life.

The “Poor Sue” seems to begin with the death of her husband John Kelley. By all accounts, she loved him very much and his sudden death was shattering. Susie was pregnant at the time and she and her infant daughter (also named Nettie) moved back in with her mother. John Kelley’s son John Stewart Kelley was born in his grandmother’s home three months later. Her mother Nettie fired the maid and Susie picked up her duties to pay her way. It’s my understanding that Nettie never missed an opportunity to let her daughter know how “lucky” she was to have a place to go.

I’ve heard that when Susie married Edmund Griffin, Nettie told her that she didn’t like him or want him in her house. What is also clear in listening to the family stories is that Edmund and his mother-in-law Nettie butted heads frequently and the dislike and lack of respect was mutual. [Read more…]

George Edward McLean (1867-1915)

GeorgeGeorge Edward McLean was born 10 Sep 1867, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York,1 the fourth known child of Peter Byron McLean (1832-1895) and Susan Winn Frith (1839-1915). His Brooklyn birth certificate states he was born at home, 428 Grand Street, Brooklyn, and provides both his parents full names as shown below.
1867 Birth
On 12 Jul 1893, twenty-six-year-old George married his eighteen-year-old, first cousin Henrietta “Nettie” Ella Frith (1875-1963) in Brooklyn.2 Nettie was the daughter of George Richard Frith and Henrietta Brimlow. Her cousin Cordelia Edith (Frith) and husband Norman Roscoe were the witnesses.
Marriage
For some reason, George and Nettie kept the marriage secret from his family for almost two months. When the marriage did come to light, it made the 18 Sep 1893 edition of the New York Times.3

Became Jealous and Claimed Her Husband. ROSLYN, L.I., Sept. 17. – George E. McLean of this village married his cousin, Miss Nettie Frith of Brooklyn, July 12. The ceremony was performed in Brooklyn by the Rev. A. J. Wright. The couple kept the marriage a secret, and there is no telling when it would have leaked out had not McLean caused his bride to become jealous of his attentions to other girls. She yesterday told her husband’s parents of the marriage. The announcement caused considerable surprise.The bride’s father is a brother of Mrs. McLean senior, and is well known in the Eastern District of Brooklyn, where he lives. The young people have been forgiven.

My cousins and I have spent a great deal of time wondering what it is about this thin, long-necked, big-eared man that was so captivating.

l-r: Margaret , Nettie holding Welling, Sue, George with Edward, and Ada.  c.1909 Roslyn Height, NY.

l-r: Margaret , Nettie holding Welling, Sue, George with Edward, and Ada. c.1909 Roslyn Height, NY.


George was a painter and general contractor by trade. There are several notices in the newspapers of his receiving contracts for painting and building in the Roslyn area. The family can be found there on the 1900 and 1910 Federal Censuses.4,5 However, I have not been able to locate them on 1905 New York State Census yet.

He died 25 Mar 1915 at the age of 47 and was buried in the Roslyn Cemetery.6 He died of chronic parenchymatous nepritis – bad kidneys. His widow Nettie is the one who changed the spelling on this line to MacLean after his death.
HPIM0739

I will discuss Nettie and their children in more detail in a separate post. Their known children were:

1. Stillborn Boy McLean, 19 May 1894, buried in Roslyn Cemetery.
2. Susan Wynn McLean, born 20 Mar 1897, No. Hempstead, Queens, New York, died 15 Sep 1993, Campbell, Santa Clara, California. Married 1st about 1916 – John T. Kelley (18 Jul 1888-29 Oct 1918). Children: Nettie E. Kelley and John Stewart Kelley. Married 2nd about 1922 – Edmund Griffin (6 May 1894-7 Apr 1977). Children: Edmund Griffin Jr. and Benjamin Payne Griffin.
3. Margaret Frith McLean – previously discussed.
4. Ada Mae McLean, born 25 Aug 1901, No. Hempstead, Nassau, New York, died 30 Dec 1982, Long Branch, Monmouth, New Jersey. Married 1st about 1919 – John (Jack) Stillwell (10 Aug 1897-aft 1951), children: Dawn Stillwell and John Wesley Stillwell. Married 2nd – Henry Sykulski (10 Feb 1913-Dec 1982). They had no children.
5. Edward Frith MacLean, born 29 Aug 1906, No. Hempstead, Nassau, New York, died 29 Feb 1988, Mineola, Nassau, New York, buried All Saints Cemetery, Great Neck, Nassau, New York. Married Dorothy Coleman 26 Apr 1947 in Roslyn, Nassau, New York. Children: Laurie E. MacLean and Leslie MacLean.
6. Welling Seeley MacLean, born 1908 in No. Hempstead, Nassau, New York, died 25 Oct 1964, Caldwell, Essex, New Jersey, buried Roslyn Cemetery. Married Mabel Ramee 2 Sep 1935 in Garden City, Nassau, New York. Children: Nancy Ruth MacLean (16 Jun 1939-23 Jul 1945). Family sources have stated there was a stillborn child early in the marriage and that Nancy was adopted.



1. Kings, New York, (FHL microfilm, Salt Lake City, UT), birth certificate no. 3453 (10 Sep 1867), George Edward McLean; FHL microfilm 1,324,344. Cit. Date: 2 Aug 2010.
2. Marriage Record, Certificate of Marriage Brooklyn #3969, 12 Sep 1893, George Edward McLean and Nettie Ella Frith, witnesses: Norman and Cordelia Edith Roscoe. FHL Film #1,523,044. Cit. Date: 26 Apr 2014.
3. “Became Jealous and Claimed Her Husband,” The New York Times, 18 Sep 1893, online archives (http://nytimes.com : accessed 20 Dec 2008), p. 5. Cit. Date: 21 Dec 2008.
4. 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, No. Hempstead, Nassau, New York, enumeration district (ED) 711, p. 4B, dwelling 77, family 82, McLean, George E.; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 11 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1079. Cit. Date: 11 May 2014.
5. 1910 U.S. census, population schedule, No. Hempstead, Nassau, New York, enumeration district (ED) 1123, p. 2A, dwelling 22, family 22, Mclean, George E.; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll T624 995. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
6. Roslyn Cemetery (Letter from Dominick Tarantino, Manager, Roslyn Cemetery, Roslyn, NY dated 24 Mar 2008. List of people in McLean plot #61, Section Old Chart, with Name, Date of Internment and Age (if known)), George E. McLean, Age 47 years 6 mo 15 days. Cit. Date: 10 Apr 2008.

Peter Shaffer Family Tombstone

All of Peter and Nancy’s children are buried in Elderton Cemetery.

Peter and Nancy Shaffer’s tombstone.

Peter and Nancy Shaffer

Oldest daughter Minnie Elizabeth Beatty was married to John Frailey in about 1894.

Minnie and John Frailey

Oldest son Charles Wilmer was married to Lillian May Kelley.

Charles Wilmer Shaffer


Lillian Mae Kelley Shaffer

Son Leason J was married to Mary A. Hilliard.

Lee and Mary Shaffer

Son Harry Oliver was married to Martha Pearl Williams.

Harry and Pearl Shaffer

Son George Addison was married to Zelma Smith.

George and Zelma Shaffer

Youngest son, Christopher Nesbitt was married to Zula Agnes Smeltzer.

Christopher N. Shaffer


Zula Smeltzer Shaffer



Photos not taken by me courtesy of Ralph Satterfield and other contributors.

Peter Shaffer (1852-1935)

I think we need a little recap of where we are in the tree, it’s easy to get lost in the jumble of names. We are going to go up the Shaffer line next. While Peter Shaffer is not the biological father of Anna Mary Beatty, he was the husband of Nancy M.J. Beatty and Anna’s children considered him to be their grandfather. I have noted that he is her stepfather, but he appears on our family tree in the paternal slot. So here once again is the tree of Robert Clare Scott and we are looking at his mother’s paternal line.

Peter was born 12 Jan 1852, in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, the son of John and Harriet (Craig) Shaffer. Right off the bat, we have the first “diffugilty.” His Pennsylvania death certificate and his obituary both state he was born in 1849.1,2 His tombstone actually has the correct date of 1852.

Why do we know the stone is right and the documents are wrong? He does not appear on the 1850 census with his parents, but he does appear on the 1860 census at the age of seven.3,4 He remains consistent in his age on the census records from 1870 – 1920, usually declaring himself to be born in 1852 (ages: 19, 28, 48, 58, 69).5,6,7,8,9 The only time this varies is on the 1930 census when his age is listed as 81.10 He is living with his son and his family so it is possible that Peter was not the informant. The informant on his death certificate was Mrs. John Frailey. That’s right, Peter and Nancy M.J.’s daughter Minnie. The same one who was living with her grandmother Rebecca Beatty on the 1900 census when all of Rebecca’s information changed. I have gone with the 1852 date that is consistent with the records that either he or his parents would have provided.

The second “diffugilty” comes with the middle name. As I mentioned in my post about Nancy, the middle names are an issue. Peter never appears on any documents (created while he is alive) with a middle initial or name. The only times the initial K appears is on his death certificate and then again in his obituary. That information was provided by daughter Minnie. The next odd middle name, Levi, appears in the obituary of his son Christopher and is probably provided by his daughter-in-law Zula.11 At the time Christopher died, Zula would have been well up in her 70s and Peter had been dead over forty years. I have not yet found the name of Levi used by any other Shaffer or Craig family members of Peter’s generation or previous.

His tombstone reads simply Peter Shaffer, which I believe to be the most correct. Based on the records created while he was alive, I have chosen not to use the middle initial or middle name. I will continue to explore records to see if he ever uses an initial on either tax, land, or voting records.

I have provided links to the images of all the census records on which Peter appears:
1860
1870
1880
1900
1910
1920
1930

He married Nancy M.J. Beatty in about 1874. I have not yet found a marriage record for the couple. This date is based on the 1900 census and the birth of their first child together. Peter remained in Plumcreek Township his entire life and did not remarry after Nancy died in 1909.

I found this article in the Simpson Leader Times newspaper dated 31 October 1931:12

Elderton Farmer Injured
An 80 year old Elderton farmer lay in his home today with a serious head injury, suffered when the wagon on which he and a 30 year old son were riding, was wrecked in a heavy fog Thursday morning.
The farmer, Peter Shaffer, living about a mile from Elderton, was unable to recognize members of his family late yesterday. He is in a semi-conscious condition.
The son, Christopher Shaffer, was less seriously injured.
The two were enroute to another farm when a car driven by Joseph Coulter, of Girty, enroute to Kittanning, collided with the wagon in the heavy fog.
The force of the collision hurled the two men on the wagon onto the concrete.
They were taken to their homes and Dr. E. E. Keeler of Elderton was summoned. He has been administering treatment since.

Peter died 4 January 1934 in Plumcreek Township of apoplexy. His death certificate lists the secondary cause as epilepsy, listing the duration of that condition as three years, possibly linking it to the accident above. He is buried with his wife Nancy in the Elderton Cemetery.

Peter Shaffer and Nancy M.J. Beatty had the following children together:

Minnie Elizabeth (28 Jun 1875 – 26 Jun 1944) m. John R. Frailey (abt. 1873 – 1953). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.
Charles Wilmer (18 Jun 1877 – 26 Aug 1939) m. Lillian May Kelley (1881 – 1922). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.
Leason J. Shaffer (Jan 1880 – 19XX) m. Mary A. Hilliard (15 Oct 1882 – 18 Jul 1942). Removed to Niles, Trumbull, Ohio, buried in Elderton Cemetery. His tombstone does not have the last two digits engraved.
Harry Oliver (11 Jun 1882 – 17 Mar 1960) m. Martha Pearl Williams (30 Mar 1886 – 17 May 1968). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.
George Addison (30 Sep 1887 – 26 Jan 1967) m. Zelma Smith (25 Sep 1895 – 26 Jan 1978) Remained in Elderton most of their lives, removed to Corning, Stueben, New York much later. Buried in Elderton Cemetery.
Christopher Nesbitt (1 Nov 1889 – 10 Jul 1976) m. Zula Agnes Smeltzer (15 Aug 1894 – 21 Nov 1986). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.

I have not included family group sheets for these people because many of their children are still living.

Does anyone have a picture of Peter Shaffer? If so I would very much like a scan of the image for Peter or his wife Nancy.

My next post will be the tombstones of these family members and then we will move back a generation and attempt to deal with Peter’s parents, John and Harriet (Craig) Shaffer.



1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 2875 (1934), Peter K. Shaffer; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.
2. Obituary, “Peter K. Shaffer,” The Indiana Evening Gazette, 5 Jan 1934; digital images.
3. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 342A, dwelling 120, family 120, John Sheaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll M432 749.
4. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 728, dwelling 991, family 879, John Sheaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll M653 1069.
5. 1870 U.S. census, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Armstrong Twp., p. 13, dwelling 184, family 192, John Shaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1350.
6. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 124, dwelling 283, family 301, Peter Shaeffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 6 Mar 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1096.
7. 1900 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 11, p. 6B, dwelling 137; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1373.
8. 1910 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 37, p. 5, dwelling 79; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 1310.
9. 1920 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 15, p. 4A, dwelling 68; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 1508.
10. 1930 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 42, p. 13A, dwelling 298; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1994.
11. Death Record, “Christopher N. Shaffer,” The Simpson Leader Times, 10 Jul 1976, p. 7, col. 8; digital images, NewspaperArchive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 19 Dec 2011), Historic Newspapers.
12. News Article, “Elderton Farmer Injured,” The Simpson Leader Times, 30 Oct 1931, p. 1; digital images.