Monday, March 29, 2010

Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of Phillip L Huber

Can there be anything more frustrating than an ancestor who simply disappears from the face of the earth with no explanation?

My great grandmother CAROLINE AMELIA "CRAMELIA" FRAZIER (b April 9, 1848 Boone Co Indiana) married PHILLIP L HUBER (b 1844 Ohio) on Nov 24, 1869 in Boone Co Indiana.  She was from a Quaker family, and his family had been Lutherans for several generations.   In 1870, shortly after their marriage, PHILLIP & CRAMELIA HUBER were living (with his mother) in nearby Montgomery Co Indiana, and by 1880 were living in Bangor, Marshall Co Iowa, where her parents  ELI BRANSON FRAZIER and NANCY VAN ARSDALE had settled in 1870.

Here is a photo of great grandmother CRAMELIA FRAZIER, taken about 1860, before she married.

PHILLIP L HUBER and CRAMELIA FRAZIER had four children, all born before 1880: CLARA HUBER who died in infancy; ARETTA HUBER who married JEFFERSON SPAKE;  ALONZO C HUBER who married MINTTIE MAE BRUTON, and MINNIE HUBER who married  MELVIN CLEMENS and 2nd) WILLIAM PLANDER.

In the summer of 1882, according to family members,  PHILLIP L HUBER took his son ALONZO to the Hardin County fair.  He gave ALONZO some money and told him to meet him at the horse barn at a certain hour.  When ALONZO returned to the horse barn, his father wasn't there. ALONZO waited, and waited, but PHILLIP never returned.

In fact, PHILLIP disappeared completely and left no trace whatsoever, according to family members.  CRAMELIA was left with three children to support.  In the 1885 Iowa state census she is shown as head of household, in the town of Bangor,  working as a seamstress.

I have searched for ten years and have never found any trace of PHILLIP L HUBER in census or other records after 1880.  Of course, if he wasn't murdered, it is possible that he changed his name and started a new life. There have been accounts of that kind of thing happening. I do not have access to newspaper archives for Hardin or Marshall County Iowa, but one would think there would be some mention of such a disappearance in the local papers of the time.

CRAMELIA waited over ten years to marry again. She married 2nd) to PETER CLOW in 1895.  He died in 1899, so their life together was very short.  It is apparent from census records that she worked to support her family in the years between 1882 and 1920.  She must have had a difficult, lonely life.  She lived in the household of  my grandfather ALONZO in the 1920s, and my father told me that he did remember her, even though he was very young.
No photo exists of PHILLIP L HUBER, to my knowledge

So the mystery remains.  The how and why will probably never be known.

Have a great day!


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