Family Stories

Philip West and Mary Alice Slazor

Good morning, everyone!  I think we finally have a winter worthy of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I would guess we have 25 inches or more on the ground, four inches reported for today and seven for tomorrow!  I love it!  Of course, being retired, Ritchey and I are in the position of being able to sit near the fire and not make one step outdoors – if we wish.  However, I get out at least a couple of times a week, Ritchey every day since he uses the snowblower and brings in the video cards from our outdoor cameras.

Our neighbor has introduced us to the world of auctions.  In the lower part of Michigan there are several, one in particular in Saginaw, where he travels each week to pick up his wins – and now ours!  Last week must have been genealogy week!  I won the bid on some postcards from the 1920’s (messages written on each), old photographs and what I thought were two locket sized portraits.  I nearly fell over when I found out they are approximately 12×20 inch ovals – not including the frames!

On back were written their names and birth/death years.  Philip West 1842-1907, Mary Alice Slazor 1849-1903.  Also written on Philip’s was that he was in the Civil War for the north.  That’s all, no places of birth or death listed.  But, as you might have guessed, that was enough to send me on a wonderful genealogy hunt for more information on these two people.

Putting Philip’s dates into Ancestry brought me to the link for Find A Grave.  There, in Richland County, Illinois, in Shiloh Cemetery, he was buried with wife Mary Alice Slazor.  On the back of Alice’s photograph her name is written with a ‘z’.  I have seen it in records as an ‘s’.  Since the family used a ‘z’, I believe that must be the correct spelling.  Their small stone has the full dates for them –

Philip West, April 23, 1842 – October 29, 1907

Mary Alice West, April 15, 1849 – May 24, 1903

In addition, there are three names on the stone, their children who died young:

Laura West, September 5, 1869 – August 16, 1879

Demma West, October 27, 1875 – July 12, 1879

Philip West, September 13, 1873 – May 11, 1874

Laura and Demma died within a month of each other.  I would think cholera or another infectious disease must have robbed these parents of two sweet children.  Philip was an infant when he died.  Just as much of a heartbreak as losing the two girls.

Philip’s parents were Lewis Cheek West, 1818-1842, and Sarah Ann Phillips, 1823-1873, married February 11, 1839, in Lawrence County, Illinois.  As you can tell by Lewis’ date of death, he died at an early age – 24 – when Philip was only four months old and sister Elizabeth was 4.  After his death, Sarah married George Helsel, with whom she had Mary, John, Andrew, Ellen and Martha.  Philip is listed in the 1850 census with his mother and stepfather.  I could not find Philip in the 1860 census, but it is quite possible he was living with other relatives, or boarding as a laborer.

Alice’s parents were Zachariah Slazor, 1821-1867, born in Ohio, died in Richland County, Illinois; and Sarah Adams, 1823-1908, born in Virginia, died in Richland County.  They married December 29, 1842, in Guernsey County, Ohio.  Their children, in addition to Alice, were William, Caroline, Ida, Anna and Charles.  In 1850 Zachariah and Sarah lived in Guernsey County, Ohio.  In 1860 the family lived in the household with William Lyon or Lymn.  At some point after this census the family moved to Richland County, Illinois.

A list of the children of Philip West and Mary Alice Slazor:

  1. Laura West, September 5, 1869 – August 16, 1879
  2. Charles Henry West, December 19, 1870 – November 16, 1945, married Erminie (Mina) Cazel
  3. Philip West, September 13, 1873 – May 11, 1874
  4. Demma West, October 27, 1875 – July 12, 1879
  5. Ida Mae West, July 16, 1877 – February 16, 1958, married William David Cazel
  6. Lewis Andrew West, July 31, 1880 – September 22, 1949, Indiana, married Mary Alice Bowlby
  7. Lora West, October 1882 – May 24, 1963
  8. Alice West, March 22, 1886 – September 24, 1905
  9. Lottie West, December 10, 1888 – May 24, 1963

I think we’ll stop here for the day.  But there is much more to the story of Philip West and Alice Slazor.

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