Henriette Stolz Dever

Henriette Dever

8 June 1888 – 2 March 1904

Henriette was the middle child and third daughter of German immigrants Joseph and Henriette Doehring Stolz. All the children were born in Champaign, Illinois, where their father was a farmer, but at some point after 1890 when youngest Edmond was born, they moved to Chicago.

In 1900, Joseph was working as a janitor. His oldest daughter Josephine had already married, had a child, and passed away by 1898 at the age of 22, and her widower and son were living with the Stolzes. Everyone in the family was working outside the home except Henriette Sr. and ten-year-old youngest child Edmond who was at school.

Henriette was working as a servant in 1900, but on 11 January 1902, she married William W. Dever, a young man originally from western Ohio. Sadly, she passed away just over two years later. Her father had already passed away the same year in January, leaving her mother widowed and grieving another daughter.

It is unclear what happened to Henriette’s older sister Hulda and younger brother Louis, but by 1910, both are also dead as Henriette Sr. lists only one child living of five born. Henriette Sr. herself passed away in 1922 leaving just the youngest (though by now adult), Edmond of what had been a family of seven and Edmond himself died relatively young at 45, leaving a wife, two children, and one grandchild.

Henriette Sr., Joseph, and Josephine are all also buried in Concordia though no information is available as to where on findagrave.com.

But this is an #ImmortalBeloved post, so what became of William W. Dever? He moved to Urbana  or perhaps back there if he had originally met Henriette there before she and her family went north to Chicago. He remarried in late 1906 to a woman named Launa with the ceremony taking place back in Ohio. It appears he may have moved home after being widowed and met Launa there as she is also from the area.

In any case, by 1910, he, Launa, and the first two of their eventual ten children were living in Urbana and farming. By 1918 (from his WWI draft card), they’d moved to back to Ohio, more specifically to the farthest western edge of the state that borders on northeastern Indiana right near where I was born and raised. Later records indicate the family moved again, this time just across the border into Indiana, to Dekalb County, where they settled in to farm seriously.

Rather sadly to me, in 1930, William fibbed on the census, putting the age he was when he married his second wife as his “age at first marriage,” effectively erasing Henriette entirely.

Between 1930 and 1940, William changed careers from farming to owning a filling station and grocery store in Allen County on the edge of Fort Wayne (literally where I was born and raised). One of his sons, a Marine who served in World War II, died of polio on the last day of August 1950, the tragic loss written up in the newspaper, just over three weeks later, William himself passed away at the age of 70, apparently from complications from stomach or colon cancer (I do have the death certificate but it’s unclear exactly where the cancer was except that area). I suspect the devastating loss of his son also played a role in his passing.

He was buried back across the border in Ohio, Launa joining him there five years later in the Dever family plot at Maple Grove Cemetery.

Ultimately this is another story of a woman lost mysteriously and too young with almost nothing to tell about her except that she died. Her headstone is lovely, though, and I think young William fully believed he would return some day and join her, unable to imagine a world in which his loss would fade and life would go on and be so full of (I hope) love and family that he would want to spend eternity anywhere but beside her.

RIP Henriette and all of your family

*A note on death records — I’m going to guess that Illinois has restrictions on what can be published because only transcriptions of the data are available on ancestry.com; however, many other states’ records (such as Indiana) include photos of the full death certificates which is very frustrating to know that some states do release the full info, and I’m doing my primary research in a state that doesn’t!

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