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coincidence

Interesting but meaningless (or not???) coincidences discovered in the records on both sides of my family.

Do you know of any interesting stories or coincidences? Please email me so I can add them here.


The Vespers (on my mother’s side) came to America on a ship called the Diana. The Wagners (also on my mother’s side) came on a ship called the Eliza Thornton. Elizabeth Vesper married John Wagner, whose great great granddaughter’s name was Diana Thornton (me) (the Thornton name from my father).


In 1931, my maternal grandmother, Louise Weiler, “worked” (before she got married) briefly at Mayview Mental Institution where my father, Charles Paul Thornton, was later a patient from 1965 onward. The families were not connected at that time.


I often encounter people with the same name and birth date as my ancestors in the records, but this was just too close to not document:

In 1891, CHARLES Thornton (my relative) was born to mother HATTIE Thornton in Montgomery County, Virginia.
Also in 1891, about 55 miles away in Mercer County, West Virginia, CHARLEY Thornton was born to mother MATTIE.
They both had a brother named Wade.
Charles and Hattie were white and Charley and Mattie were black.

From the census, the other Mattie (a widow by 1910) and her four sons appear to have been doing well for a black family in post-civil war era West Virginia. They could all read and write, and all but the youngest had jobs. The 1910 census lists Mattie working as a nurse at a “private farm” and the two oldest boys worked at a drug store with the third working at a clothing shop. The youngest boy was in school. They appear to live in a mixed neighborhood in Bluefield with whites, blacks and mulattos. Bluefield, a booming steel/coal town, was the site of the 1895 founding of the Bluefield Colored Institute (now Bluefield State College), the nation’s first college with primarily black students.


My grandfather, Homer Wagner, was born in Canton, Missouri August 12, 1903. His father was William Wagner. 300 miles away in Stotesbury, Missouri, seven months later, on March 19, 1904 another Homer Wagner was born to another William Wagner.


My 3rd great grandmother Susan Freyhofer was born on Christmas day, 1805 in Switzerland. She died in Santa Claus, Indiana.


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