About My Ancestors · California Genealogy

Closing the Book on Jeanette (Jones) Walther

Researching Jeanette Jones Walther of San Francisco

My quest to find descendants of John Joseph Jones and Mary Jane Haywards so as to work out some of my DNA connections has hit another wall.  Jeanette (Jones) Walther was their last child I needed to research. It appears she died childless.

The Three Children of John Charles Jones and Margaret Coffin

John Charles Jones, a native of Australia,and son of John and Mary Jane, married Margaret Coffin, a native of New York,  in San Francisco, California sometime around 1865.

John and Margaret had three daughters and another child, name unknown who probably died as an infant.

Jeanette “Nettie” Jones married Frank Ludwick Walther.  They had no children.

Helen “Nellie” Jones married William Hull Phelps and had one daughter, Helen Marjorie (Phelps) McShea.

Maude Ethel Jones married James Percy Porterfield and had two daughters of the same name, Maude Ethel. The first Maude died while the second Maude survived.

I’ve been able to bring Helen and Maude’s lines forward, but have not been able to track down current descendants. I pinned my hopes on Jeanette.

Jeanette was a Young Widow

Jeanette married Frank Ludwick Walther 7 Apr 1887 in San Francisco. It was a short marriage of 18 years. Frank died in 1905 at Napa State Hospital of apoplexy which is defined as incapacity due to cerebral hemorrhage or stroke. He was only 45.

Jeanette was 38 and a widow. She and Frank had no children.

What Happened to Jeanette after Frank Died?
That’s the question I had trouble answering. She seemed to disappear off the face of the earth.  Since the earth isn’t flat, I kept trying to find some proof of her existence after her husband’s death.

Jeanette, also called Nettie, didn’t seem to exist after that point. I suspect she remarried. I found a newspaper marriage announcement between David C. Shepherd of Stockton and Jeannette Walther of San Francisco in 1909. But, the ages were all wrong. This was young love and I was looking for a woman in her late 30s. It couldn’t be her.

Marriage announcement Shepherd Walther
Marriage announcement Shepherd Walther, SF Call 31 Oct 1909

Or, could it?

I put on my sleuthing hat and chased after David Shepherd. I found him in the 1910 US Federal Census living in Stockton, California with wife, Jeanette.   The census says they were married 2 years.  David was 62 and Jeanette 40. The marriage announcement had the wrong ages!

While I was happy to finally find Jeanette, the census record confirmed my fears. Although seven children are listed, they are not Jeanette’s.  The youngest Shepherd child is 6.  By Jeanette’s name under the number of children by this mother is 0.

So, Another Dead End

I’ll continue following Jeanette’s trail to fill in the details of her life.  I don’t have her death date.  And, there is this little note in the occupation field that has me wondering. Her husband’s occupation is listed as Produce Merchant. Jeanette’s is listed as “Own Income”… own income from what?

As far as descendants are concerned, the book is closed on Jeanette (Jones) Walther/Shepherd. I’ll focus on the two children of her sister’s. Helen Earle (McShea) Pearse and Maude Ethel (Porterfield) Maffe each had children. Maybe eventually I’ll find those descendants of John Charles Jones and Margaret Coffin.

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