Monday, June 1, 2015

An Orphan, a Widow, a Survivor- The Grievous Life of Mary Hedge

Last week I posted several documents from the Widow's Pension of Mary Hill Woods of Fulton County, Illinois.  Her first husband, William Roland Hill died on 23 May 1863 on furlough at home after contracting tuberculosis in La Grange, Tennessee.  He was serving in Company A of the 103rd Illinois Infantry.

William Roland Hill served in Company A of the 103rd Illinois Infantry.
This picture of his military marker was taken in July 1993 in Apple Cemetery, Fulton County, Illinois.

William Hill married Mary Hedge on 22 October 1857 in Fulton County, Illinois. Mary was born 23
August 1842 in Liverpool, Fulton County, Illinois. Their daughters were Flora, born 3 December 1860 and Laura, born 20 July 1863 after her father’s death.

Mary Hedge Hill experienced more than her fair share of tragedy as a child and during her first marriage.  Mary's parents were Joseph Hedge and Hannah Martin.  It is presumed that her mother died before 1850 judging by the fact that she was not enumerated with her husband and children in the 1850 census.

Hedges, Joseph       50  M   Md.   Farmer
               Stephen     18  M   Ill.      Farmer    School
               Eder          12  M   Ill.                     School
               Richard      10  M   Ill.                     School
               Mary           8  F     Ill.                     School

Source Citation
Year: 1850; Census Place: Mason County, Illinois; Roll: M432_120; Page: 202B; Image: 245; Family Number: 858

Mary appears to have been the youngest surviving child of Joseph Hedge and Hannah Martin.  Hannah died between 1842 and 1850.  A few years later Mary's father died on 14 June 1853.  Mary's uncle, Eder Hedge was appointed guardian of the minor heirs of Joseph Hedge (Eder Hedge, Richard Hedge & Mary Hedge).  According to the probate file, Mary's siblings, Lousia Hedge, Eda Hedge & Stephen Hedge were "of age" by February 1857.  

Since Mary was only 15 years old in 1857 she had to get permission from her uncle and guardian, Eder Hedge to marry the English immigrant coal miner, William Hill on 22 October 1857.  Her first child, George Hill was born in August 1858.  George was the first member of the Hill family to be buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery also known as Apple Cemetery. The inscription on his grave marker reads: GEORGE, Son of W. & M. HILL, DIED, Oct. 17, 1859, AGED 1 yr. 1 mo. 28 ds. 

Also buried in the Mt. Pleasant/Apple Cemetery are all three of Mary's brothers, Stephen, Eder and Richard Hedge.  All three men served in the Civil War but only Stephen survived. Richard died March 1, 1862 on furlough in Fulton County and Eder died March 30, 1863 in Jackson, Tennessee.  Stephen was debilitated by dysentery contracted while in the service.  

Mary's sister Edey Hedge, wife of John G. Kaler died on 31 Jan 1864 in Lewistown, Fulton County, Illinois.  Before the end of the Civil War, Mary Hedge Hill had lost both of her parents, a son, two brothers, her husband and her sister.

Mary Hedge Hill married for the second time at the age of 22 on 1 December 1864 in Lewistown, Fulton County, Illinois to Henry Woods 1832-1909. 

Henry and Mary had the following children:

  1. Charles L. Woods 1865 – 1952
  2. Amy J. Woods 1868 – 1913
  3. Perry Clarence Woods 1870 – 1955
  4. Willard E Woods 1875 – 1964
  5. Edward Woods 1876 – 
  6. Arthur Woods 1877 – 
  7. Lucy May Woods 1881 – 1948
Henry Woods died in 1909.   Mary's daughter, Amy J. Woods Malakie died in 1913. Her first daughter, Flora Hill Price died in 1915 

Mary Woods died in Fulton County, Illinois on 13 December 1924.  Her residence at the time of death was Washington, Washington County, Iowa.  Presumably she was visiting family.  Her death certificate gives the address where she died as 907 South 6th Avenue in Canton, Fulton County, Illinois.

Mary Hedge Hill Woods was a survivor.  She lived a relatively long life of 82 years.  She had more than her fair share of grieving but she also led a very full life and has hundreds of descendants that celebrate her perseverance.

Mary Hedge Hill Woods 1842-1924


  1. Hello Mr Cimino. My name is Diane Lothamer Hedges. I am curious how or if the Cimino and Hedges are related, I recently did 23 and me DNA and it says i have 4% Italian. Thank you for any information you may have.

    1. Hi Ms. Hedges. My wife’s family tree includes Hedges on her maternal line. Mary Hedge is my wife’s 2nd great grandmother. Mary Hedge was born on August 23, 1842, in Liverpool, Illinois, her father, Joseph, was 36, and her mother, Hannah, was 27. She married William Roland Hill and they had three children together. She then married Henry Woods and they had seven children together. She died on December 9, 1924, in Canton, Illinois, at the age of 82.