Mary Lee Young

Mary is my second great grandmother.  She was born 31 March 1856 in New York, the daughter of John J. and Leanore Rose (Perry) Young.  She married William Andrew Smith 19 February 1878 in Bay City, Michigan; the witnesses were Benjamin F. Gibson and William H. Lennon.[1]  They had three children, two surviving to adulthood; Charles Leslie and Ethyl Rose.  She was counted in four censuses in Lawrence, New York, Portsmouth, Michigan, Merritt, Michigan and Standish, Michigan.[2]  Mary died from complications due to bladder cancer in Bay City, Michigan 12 July 1907 and was to be buried at Pine River Cemetery in Standish, Michigan,[3] but, she is buried at Woodmere Cemetery in Standish, Michigan, with a tombstone with SMITH written on it with her name and dates plus “Wife of W.A. Smith,”[4] she is alone there as her husband died in Washington State and is buried there.

There is a family legend/story told to younger members of the family that Mary was married off by her father, John Young at the age of 13 to a much older man. She was so frightened by him that she ran away before the marriage was consummated to hide with a favorite Aunt.  The Aunt lived away from the town of Portsmouth were the Young’s lived at the time.  The Aunt took Mary to a sympathetic Priest and he had the marriage annulled. Ironically the man’s name was Smith also.  When Mary died of cancer the Priest at her local parish in Bay City refused to bury her in the Catholic Cemetery because he believed her to be possessed by the devil because of the large cancer in her abdomen.  I believe the family left the church at this time in protest of this treatment by a trusted Man of God.


[1] “Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : 2013); entry for William A. Smith and Mary Young, 19 Jul 1878; citing “Return of Marriages in the County of Bay, for the year ending December 31st 1878,” page 60 (stamped), line 1720.

[2] 1860 U.S. census, Saint Lawrence County, New York, population schedule, Lawrence, pages 17-18, dwelling 138, family 138, John Young; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : 2013); citing National Archive microfilm publication M653, roll 853.  1870 U.S. census, Bay County, Michigan, population schedule, Portsmouth, page 6, dwelling 36, family 36, John Young; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : 2013); citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 662.  1880 U.S. census, Bay County, Michigan, population schedule, Merritt, Enumeration District (ED) 30, page not clear, dwelling 187, family 200, William A. Smith; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : 2013); citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls.  1900 U.S. census, Arenac County, Michigan, population schedule, Standish, Enumeration District (ED) 27, page 274 (stamped), sheet 2A, dwelling 29, family 31, Andrew Smith; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : 2013); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 700.

[3] Michigan Department of State, death certificate, 425 (stamped), 1907, Mary Smith; Division of Vital Statistics, digital image, Seeking Michigan (oclc.org : 2013).

[4] Find A Grave, Virtual Cemetery, digital images, (http:www.findagrave.com : 2013), photograph, gravestone for Mary Smith (1857-1907), Standish, Michigan.

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