Itha Elmer Doyle, 1874-1958,
Mary Louise Payne, 1883-1953
- by Alice Marie Beard

Itha Elmer DOYLE had two paternal half-brothers whom he had never seen. Mary Louise PAYNE had two paternal first-cousins whom she had never seen.

Elmer's unknown half-brothers were Mary's unknown first-cousins.

Likely Elmer's mother (Lucy) had been the midwife for Mary's mother (Elizabeth) when some of Elizabeth's children were born. Mary's mother knew Elmer's mother when Elmer was born, and Mary's mother would have known Elmer when he was about eight and lost his mother to death in late February 1883, just three months before Mary was born. The two mothers almost certainly were friends. Friendship usually leaves no records, but family history says that Elmer's mother was buried in a plot donated by Mary's parents.

It's also likely that their fathers had been friends: Itha's father (Tom) had been the brother-in-law of Mary's father (William) when Tom was married to William's sister Permelia. Mary's father died when she was five; her mother remarried less than a year later. Like Mary's father, Mary's stepfather also would have been a friend of Itha's father, because the stepfather was William's brother brother Able Wade.

the young married coupleItha and Mary married December 19, 1900, in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois. Mary was 17-and-a-half; Elmer was nine years her senior.They did not know what they would have to face together: The farmer's depression in the early 1920s. The Great Depression in the 1930s. Absolute poverty.

Before their fifth child was born in 1921, they moved from Vermilion County to Minnesota to raise potatoes, because potatoes were selling at a high price. When they moved, they had two train cars filled with their possessions -- one filled with household goods, the other with farm animals. When they left Minnesota a few short years later, it was with little more than the clothes on their backs and debts owed beyond what they could ever repay. Because the price of potatoes had risen so high, too many farmers were growing potatoes. When Itha tried to sell his crop, he could not have given the potatoes away; the market was flooded.

At the age of 47, Itha had lost everything. He spent the rest of his years working someone else's land. He and Mary never again owned their own farm. They took their family back to Vermilion County and they were poor the rest of their lives.

By April 2, 1930, Elmer and Mary were living in Lincoln Township, Berrien County, Michigan. According the the U.S. Census, Elmer was working as a manager on a farm. Living with him and Mary were their youngest two children: a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter. Nearby households included Elmer and Mary's daughter Hettie (21), with her husband Vernon (26) and their two-year-old daughter, and Elmer and Mary's son Lester W. (26), with his wife Hazel E. (38), and their two daughters who were three-years-old and one-year-old.

Before 1940, Elmer moved his family back to Vermilion County, Illinois, and before 1950, Elmer and Mary moved back to Berrien County, Michigan, where Mary died in 1953 and Elmer died in 1958. For burial, their bodies were taken back to Vermilion County, Illinois. Their remains were interred at the Potomac Cemetery in Potomac, Illinois.

Elmer's exact birth date is not known. He had a twin sister, Ida Ellen; neither remembered their birthday. He was illiterate. He described himself as having gotten to the second grade when his mother died in February of 1883; that would mean that he was about eight years old when he became motherless. After Elmer's mother died, he did not go to school. There was no organized child care in rural Illinois in the 1880s; his father placed the children with various families and would see Elmer on the weekends. His dad also was illiterate, worked as a miner, and would not have be able to care for children during the day. Even as an old man, Elmer blamed his father for his mother's death. His mother had died of a strangulated hernia, and Elmer said his father should have found a way to pay for surgery to repair the hernia, so that it would not have become strangulated. What Elmer never realized was that such surgeries were not done until after his mother's 1883 death.


Mary and Itha Elmer, after many years of marriageItha Elmer and Mary Louise were husband and wife for fifty-two years and eight months, until parted by Mary's death. After Mary died, Itha Elmer wore her wedding band on his little finger. The picture at left shows Itha Elmer and Mary Louise as an older couple.

Through Itha or Mary, their children and grandchildren descend from -- among others -- two Civil War veterans, three D.A.R. established patriots of the Revolutionary War, a Captain in the French & Indian War, a woman executed as a witch because she believed she saw her dead child, one of the 25 elected barons who held title to some of King John's property so as to guarantee compliance with the Magna Charta, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Scotland's William the Lion, Scotland's King David I, Malcolm III, and Duncan who was murdered by Macbeth.

To see a list of all of the known ancestors of Itha Elmer and Mary Louise, CLICK HERE


FAMILY GROUP RECORD:


HUSBAND: Itha Elmer DOYLE
BORN: 1874, Bixby, Vermilion Co., IL
DIED: 22 Jan 1958, Niles, Berrien Co., MI
BUR.: Potomac Cemetery, Potomac, Vermilion Co., IL
MARR: 19 Dec 1900, Vermilion Co., IL
CENSUS: 1920, Norman Co., MN; 1910, Grant Twp., Vermilion Co. IL; 1900, Butler Twp., Vermilion Co., IL.
FATHER:
Thomas Reed DOYLE, a.k.a. Francis REED
MOTHER:
Lucy PETERSON
=====================================
WIFE: Mary Louise PAYNE
BORN: 1 Jun 1883, Marysville, Vermilion Co., IL
DIED: 26 Aug 1953, Niles, Berrien Co., MI
BUR.: Potamac Cemetery, Potomac, Vermilion Co., IL
FATHER:
William O'Neal PAYNE
MOTHER:
Elizabeth Ann OLIVER
=====================================
CHILDREN
=====================================

1.] Lucy May DOYLE
BORN: 19 Apr 1902, Rossville, Vermilion Co., IL
DIED: 16 Oct 1993, Niles, Berrien Co., MI
BUR.: Mission Hills Cemetery, Niles, Berrien Co., MI
MARR: Oct 1916, Berrien Co., MI (3 sons born to this marriage)

HUSBAND: Ralph Cleo "Jack" QUICK; b. 8 Jan 1899; d. 23 Dec 1978
---------------------------------------------------------
2.]
William Lester DOYLE
BORN: 21 Feb 1904, Bismark, Vermilion Co., IL
DIED: 10 Oct 1956, South Bend, St. Joseph Co., IN
BUR.: Galien, Berrien Co., MI
MARR: 26 Oct 1926, Indianapolis, IN (3 dau. & 2 sons born to this marriage)

WIFE: Elsie Hazel FISH (children from prior marriages); b. 5 Mar 1892; d. 11 Dec 1989
---------------------------------------------------------
3.]
Hettie Marie DOYLE
BORN: 20 Sep 1908, Rossville, Vermilion Co., IL
DIED: 6 Nov 1975, Buchanan, Berrien Co., MI
BUR: Oak Ridge Cemetery, Buchanan, Berrien Co., MI
MARR: 20 Dec 1926; Troy, Ohio (2 dau. & 1 son born to this marriage)

HUSBAND: Vernon Monroe SHANER, Sr.; b. 7 Nov 1904; d. 24 Jan 1978
---------------------------------------------------------

4.] Ralph Reed DOYLE
BORN: 26 Aug 1917, Jamesburg, Vermilion Co., IL
DIED: 24 Dec 1981, Decatur, Macon Co., IL
BUR.: Potomac Cemetery, Potomac, Vermilion Co., IL
MARR #1: 4 Jun 1939, Lafayette, IN (4 dau. & 1 son born to this marriage)
WIFE #1: Marie TODD; b. 25 Apr 1921; d. 8 Jun 1957
MARR #2: 19 Jul 1958 (no children born to this marriage)
WIFE #2: Patricia HELTZEL; b. 28 Feb 1934; d. 10 Jul 2007
---------------------------------------------------------
5.]
Elizabeth Ann DOYLE
BORN: 12 Jan 1921, Norman Co., MN
DIED: 8 Dec 2007, Mishawaka, St. Joseph Co., IN
BUR: St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park, Granger, St. Joseph Co., IN
MARR #1:
16 May 1942, St. Joseph Co., IN (2 dau. born to this marriage)
HUSBAND #1:
William Emory SMITH; b. 22 Aug 1919; d. 1 Nov 1990 (Smith remarried also.)
DIVORCED: 11 Apr 1947, South Bend, IN
MARR #2:
19 Nov 1949, South Bend, IN (1 dau. & 3 sons born to this marriage)
HUSBAND #2:
Miles Griffith BEARD; b. 14 Apr 1918; d. 23 Mar 2006
CLICK to see marriage #1 divorce decree and marriage #2 records.


DESCENDANCY CHART
=====================================

1-- Itha Elmer DOYLE (1874-1958)
.sp-Mary Louise PAYNE (1883-1953)
 
....2-- Lucy May DOYLE (1902-1993)
.....sp-Ralph Cleo "Jack" QUICK (1899-1978) (m. Oct 1916)
........
3-- George William QUICK (b. 20 Jul 1918; d. 30 May 1993)
............4-- [living male b. 1946]
........
3-- Elmer Martin QUICK (b. 28 Dec 1919; d. 10 Jul 1983)
............4-- Barbara Jo QUICK, b. 1940
............4-- [living male b. 1942]
............4--
Clark Lee QUICK (b. 19 Jan 1943; d. 19 Jan 1943)
............4-- [living female b. abt 1944]
............4-- [living male b. 1945]
............4-- [living female b. 1947; not given the surname of her biological father]
............4-- Wanda Mae STUCKER (b. 16 May 1948; d. 15 Oct 2005; not given the surname of her biological father)
........
3-- Garold Winton QUICK (b. 16 Apr 1922; d. 9 Jul 2015)
............4-- [living female b. 1938]
............4-- [living male b. 1942]

....2--
William Lester DOYLE (1904-1956)
.....sp-Hazel Elsie FISH (1892-1989) (m. 26 Oct 1926)
........
3-- Mary Jane DOYLE (b. 1 Dec 1926; d. 4 Sep 2011)
............4-- [living male b. 1944]
(no descendants; adopted infant twins b. 1969)
............4-- [living female b. 1950]
............4-- [living female b. 1953]
............4-- [living female 1955]
............4-- [living male 1956]
............4-- Bonnie Lou LANSFORD (b. 20 Jun 1960; d. 15 Oct 1997)
............4-- [living female b. 1962]
(no descendants)
............4-- [living female b. 1963]
............4-- [living male b. 1965]
(no descendants)
........
3-- Zelma Janett DOYLE (b. 20 Oct 1928; d. 16 Nov 1993)
............4--
Robert Ray ONDERDONK: b. 9 Jun 1949; d. 15 Jan 2006
............4-- [living female b. 1950]
............4-- Jess Lee ONDERDONK: b. 12 Jul 1951; d. 5 Sep 2008]
............4-- [living male b. 1952]
............4-- James Rex ONDERDONK: b. 29 Jun 1955; d. 17 Nov 1955
............4-- [living male b. 1958]
........
3-- Florence Cyintha DOYLE (b. 17 Oct 1930; d. 25 Jul 1937)
........
3-- [living male b. 1933]
............4-- [living female b. 1953]
............4-- [living male b. 1958]
........
3-- [living male b. 1940]
............4-- [living female b. 1962]
............4-- [living female b. 1967]
............4-- [living female b. 1969]
 
....2-- Hettie Marie DOYLE (1908-1975)
.....sp-Vernon Monroe SHANER (1904-1978) (m. 20 Dec 1926)
........
3-- Verna Marie SHANER (b. 27 Nov 1927; d. 26 Dec 1995)
............4--
John DUNEK (b. 23 Aug 1954; d. 3 May 1967)
........
3-- Lucille Mae SHANER (b. 20 Sep 1929; d. 24 Jan 2011) (no descendants)
........
3-- Vernon Monroe SHANER, Jr. (b. 3 Nov 1932; d. 28 Jun 1998)
............4-- [living female]
............4-- [living male b. 1956]
............4-- [living female]
............4-- [living male b. 1964]
 
....2-- Ralph Reed DOYLE (1917-1981)
.....sp-#1, Marie TODD (1921-1957) (m. 4 Jun 1939)
........
3-- [living female b. 1940 (twin)]
............4--
Terry Lee DOYLE-VanKIRK (b. 12 Jul 1960; d. 4 Mar 1961; son of Leroy VanKirk)
............4--
Ronald Kay Avery, Jr. (b. 17 Jan 1962; d. 14 Jul 2007)
............4--
Kelly Ann AVERY (b. 11 Jan 1964; d. 11 Jan 1964)
............4-- [living male b. 1965]
............4-- [living male b. 1966]
........
3-- [living female b. 1940 (twin)]
............4-- [living female b. 1960]
............4-- [living female b. 1963]
............4-- [living female b. 1964]
............4-- [living female b. 1967]
............4-- [living male b. 1977]
........
3-- Ralph Reed "Bubby" DOYLE, Jr. (b. 26 Jul 1942; d. 11 May 19 1967)
............4--
RuthAnn Marie Doyle, b. 24 Jun 1966; d. 24 Jun 2011
........
3-- Juanita Marie DOYLE (b. 22 Sep 1943; d. 22 Nov 2015)
............4-- [living male b. 1964]
........
3-- [living female b. 1947]
............4--
Ricky S. GIBSON (b. 20 Oct 1969; d. 20 Oct 1969)
.....sp-#2, Patricia HELTZEL (1934-2007) (m. 19 Jul 1958) (no children born to marriage)
 
....2-- Elizabeth Ann DOYLE (b. 1921-2007)
.....sp- #1, William Emory SMITH (1919-1990) (m. 16 May 1942; divorced 11 Apr 1947)
. . . . . CLICK for divorce decree for marriage #1.
........
3-- [living female b. 1944]
........
3-- [living female b. 1947]
.....sp- #2,
Miles Griffith BEARD (1918-2006) (m. 19 Nov 1949)
. . . . . CLICK for marriage records for marriage #2.
........
3-- Alice Marie Beard b. 1950
............4-- [living male b. 1979]
............4-- [living female b. 1984]
........
3-- [living male b. 1955] (no descendants)
........
3-- [male, presumed to be living, b. 1959]
............4-- [male b. about May or June 1975, St. Joseph County, Indiana; paternity hidden; not given surname of biological father; fate unknown.]
........3-- [living male b. 1964]
............4-- [living female b. 1990]
............4-- [living female b. 1992]
............4-- [living male b. 1993]
............4-- [living female b. 1995]
............4--
stillborn male (1997)
 

Itha Elmer and Mary had 22 grandchildren known to have been born alive:
12 granddaughters and 10 grandsons.

This family has three unusual threads to its history:

  • The story behind the two boys who were paternal half-brothers to Itha Elmer and paternal first-cousins to Mary Louise,
    available HERE.
  • The story behind Itha Elmer's father living out his life under a false identity,
    available HERE.
  • The story of Mary Louise's mother and her own complexities,
    available HERE.

The attempt here is to present accurate genealogical information that meets the standards of genealogists. Errors have been corrected as they have been found, and additional information has been added as it has been learned -- even when that meant adding someone whose existence had been hidden for over three decades.

In February 2016, it was learned that there was a male descendant of Itha Elmer DOYLE and Mary Louise PAYNE who was born in October 1985 in South Bend, Indiana, who was placed for adoption. The male shares 142 centimorgans of DNA across 11 DNA segments with Alice Marie Beard b. 1950. The male shares 69 centimorgans of DNA across 5 segments with Barbara Jo Quick b. 1940. There is no doubt that he descends from Itha Elmer and Mary Louise. The numbers say that he does not descend from either Lucy May Doyle b. 1902 or Elizabeth Ann Doyle b. 1921. In other words, he descends from William Lester Doyle b. 1904, or from Hettie Marie Doyle b. 1908, or from Ralph Reed Doyle b. 1917. Other facts argue against him descending from Hettie; thus, the unplaced male born in 1985 likely descends from William Lester or from Ralph. The unplaced male did his DNA testing with ancestry[dot]com. Both Barbara Jo and I also tested with that service. In addition, I have tested at familyTreeDNA and at 23andMe. DNA testing by children or grandchildren of William Lester or Ralph could help to define the unknown male's line of descent.


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