“She’s MY Ella!” “No, she’s MY Ella!” A Tale of Two Ellas

April 5, 2015 in 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, Lemon

Something unusual is happening in my research, something that’s happened before, but not like this.

Luella “Ella” Lemon was born about 1865 in Macomb County, Michigan, to Abner and Lucy Harmon Lemon.  Abner and Lucy were both born in Canada, which is where they married and had their first child, then moved down into Michigan and had 4 more children.  Ella was the couple’s 4th child.  Their other children were:

  • Jemima, born in 1852 in Canada
  • William B., born in 1855 in Michigan
  • Charles Harmon, b. in 1860 in Michigan
  • James Manley, b. in 1868 in Michigan.

For many years, Ella was just a name in two census records, 1870 and 1880.  Try as I might, I couldn’t find any other record for her; no marriage, no death, no other census.   Then I found an obituary for her brother, William, who died in 1929:

William Lemon Obit

Finally, there was Luella!  So I started searching for “Ella Deering”, and had no luck.  No marriage record in Michigan or any other state, no census records, nothing.  So, I just moved on, not realizing I had missed a very important clue.  Can you spot it?

More years went by and I’d search for her again occasionally; I don’t like loose ends. Then earlier this week, I found a marriage record online at Ancestry:



There she was, getting married in Michigan!  There are 4 records showing her marriage on Family Search, where Ancestry got the record, but only one has an image.  Two others have her name given as “Ella Deering”.  The man she married was Alpheus Dulmage, and it wasn’t his first marriage either.  He’d been married before to an Ella Mulholland, and there’s where the problem started.

Alpheus and Ella Mulholland married in September of 1881 in St. Clair County.  It was a first marriage for both of them.  They are found in one census record, 1900, having had 5 children, then Ella disappears and Alpheus marries my Ella in 1906.  There is no death record I can find for Ella Mulholland Dulmage, and no divorce record for her and Alpheus either.  What happened to her?

The marriage of my Ella and Alpheus didn’t last long.  Alpheus filed for divorce on the 12 of May in 1910 and it was granted in December of that year.  In the 1910 census, which was taken on the 7th of May that year in that place, Alpheus is living with 2 of his children and is listed one line above Ella Lemon’s sister, Jemima, and her family in Macomb County.  “Awkward!” was what I said aloud when I saw that.  But where was Ella?  I redoubled my search efforts and found some pretty amazing things:  I found Ella and her 1st husband (that I know of), Owen Deering, living in Colorado, of all places.  “Click” That’s the sound I heard when I found them.  Colorado was where her brother, Charles, lived.  Okay, that made sense.  The 1900 census record said that Owen and Ella were married in 1892 and had no children.  Colorado is one of those awful states for me to research because I can never find records.  So Ella was married in 1900 and then married again in 1906 in Michigan.  What happened to Owen?  I found the answer:


The couple must have had some money because that’s a nice stone and his grave has a fence around it:



Pretty fancy.

That explains how Ella was able to remarry, but what about Alpheus?  I still can’t find any record of what happened to his 1st wife, Ella Mulholland.

Then I found something written in someone’s public tree about her:


This tree also had a date of death for her…in Colorado.  Someone had even made a Find A Grave memorial for her:



The problem is, I think this is my Ella, Luella Lemon Deering Dulmage.  The other woman thinks it’s Ella Mulholland Dulmage.

While still searching, I found Charles Lemon in Colorado in 2 census records: 1920 and 1930.  He’s listed as “Harmon Lemon”.  I had seen the “H” in his name before, but when I saw the name “Harmon Lemon”, I again heard that “click”.  Lucy Harmon’s father’s name was Charles Harmon.  It would appear she named her son after her father.  And while all of this is interesting, it still didn’t help me figure out what happened to Luella.  I think I found her in 1910 living with Charles in Colorado.  1910census

This is the same place “Harmon Lemon” is in 1920 and 1930.  The reason there’s no real information in that 1910 census?  When I looked at the image, I found this:


Looks like they didn’t want to talk to the enumerator.

I wrote a couple of comments on that “Ella’s Death” note and the person who had it posted to their tree answered.  She believes it is Ella Mulholland.  I got very lucky and found that Mountain View Cemetery, where this Ella Dulmage is buried, has a website online that allows you to look up the people who are buried there.  Part of the information they give is which funeral home handled the burial.  That funeral home is still in business and I’ve written them an email asking if they have any further information on Ella.  Hopefully, they’ll respond this week and the mystery will be solved.  If not, I’m going to send to Colorado for her death certificate.  I’m also going to see if there’s a death certificate for Charles as well. It’ll be a bit pricey, but worth it, I think.

An interesting side note about Charles.  In 1920, he was the proprietor of a “bath house.”  I did some searching for a bath house in Placerville, Colorado and found that an H. P. Lemon owned something called “Lemon’s Hot Springs”.  Could it be that Charles Lemon is H. P. Lemon?  I don’t know, but it’s interesting.