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|community is notable, however, not just because J. C. would eventually serve as postmaster of Bruin,24 but also because Melinda would soon wed George Sedwick. Melinda and
George Sedwick were married on 14 July 1852 in nearby Mercer Township, Butler Co., PA.25
The family Bible reveals that George and Melinda Sedwick had two children. Their first child, UNICE LATICITOUS [sic] SEDWICK, was born 4 April 1853, but survived only five weeks and one day. Son, WILLIAM GEORGE SEDWICK was born on 15 July 1854--probably in Trumbell Co., OH.26 More tragedy entered the young couple's life when Melinda contracted tuberculosis.27 She died on 1 July 1856 and is buried in the Fletcher Cemetery in Bruin. George and Melinda's son, William George, would have been about two years old at the time of her death --the age recounted in my Grandmother's essay.
Exactly what became of George Fletcher Sedwick over the next few years is unclear. When one considers the difficulty of a widower raising a two-year-old child in rural, nineteenth-century western Pennsylvania, it seems likely that he put his son, William George, in the care of the boy's grandparents immediately upon Melinda's death or shortly thereafter. George is listed
24 Waterman, Watkins, 409.
25 Pension Records of Sgt. George Fletcher Sedwick, 6th USC, N. A. (hereafter cited as Pension Records), Sworn affidavit of John M. Galbraith (of Mercer Twp., Butler Co.) and Zera B. Shepard, dated 13 June 1867. The affidavit states, "they were present and witnessed the marriage of George F. Sedwick late of Co. K. 6th U.S. Cavalry deceased and Melinda C. Halstead also deceased. That the said marriage was on the 14th day of July, A.D. 1852 at the house of John M. Galbraith in Mercer county in the state of Pennsylvania and the ceremony was performed by John Keck Esq . . . " Note that there is evidently a clerical error in this affidavit. According to the 1860 U.S. Census, John M. Galbraith lived in Mercer Twp., Butler County not Mercer Co. (US Census 1860, Harrisville Boro, Mercer Twp., Butler, Co., Pa., N.A., roll 1087: 484, line 30, dwelling 340, family 302.). This fact is corroborated by an earlier citation in the affidavit at hand. The connection of the Galbraiths with the Sedwicks is an unknown but undoubtedly significant one. The 1850 census shows a Mary Sedwick, aged 56, living with the John Galbraith family (U.S. Census, 1850, Parker Twp., Butler Co., Pa., N.A., roll 760: 362, line 1, dwelling 836, family 834.). Mary is listed next to the Galbraiths in the 1860 census (US Census 1860, Harrisville Boro, Mercer Twp., Butler, Co., Pa., N.A., roll 1087: 484, line 28, dwelling 340, family 302.) and is buried near John's son, Felix (in the Prairie Cemetery in Mercer Township). Her relationship to the Sedwicks of Bruin or to the Galbraiths is unknown. The date of George and Melinda's marriage is confirmed in Appendix A.
26 Appendix A clearly states that he was born "July 15th 1854 in Ohio" but the pension records reveal a great deal of discrepancy concerning this date. Testimony of Mary Ann Sutton and Nancy Delano (Affidavit dated 24 January 1867) of Johnston, Trumbell Co., Oh., states that they were present at the birth of William George Sedwick on 2 July 1856 in Parker Twp., Butler Co., PA. Clearly, the year of Melinda's death has been supplied here rather than that of William's birth. Whether the birth occurred in PA or OH is unclear. It seems more likely that Melinda would have returned to her family home to deliver (especially after having lost her first child) than that two women would have traveled such a distance to assist with a birth.
27 Undated telephone conversation with Mrs. Russell (Ellen) Harriger by the author.
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