52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 6:
Family Finds Charter Oak

Luella Pressell, 1861-1910

Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942. My father, my aunt and grandmother often told stories about him and I have many of his vital documents. Then, a couple years ago while researching the particulars of a family story regarding my great grandfather, his first wife and their two sons, I discovered something I did not expect: another wife!

Gramps was full of surprises

David L. Osborne, 1935

Another Wife

As far as I knew my great grandfather had married twice, his first wife died in 1883 leaving him with two very young sons. Then, in 1886, he married my great grandmother and they had three daughters together. The family story was the two boys were in an orphanage after their mother died, my great grandmother worked at the orphanage and my great grandfather met her there while visiting the boys [1]. This was the story I was researching when I found a marriage record from February 1884 for David L. Osborne to Luella Pressell [2]. At first I thought it must be another man of the same name, but the record clearly lists my great grandfather’s parents names: William and Harriet Osborne. At that point I had to accept this was not another man, but my great grandfather married to a woman whose name I had never heard mentioned before. Surprise!

So what happened to Luella? I knew my great grandparents married in 1886. I found my answers in the “Town Notes” section of the newspaper [3]. It was reported Mrs. Luella Osborne was seeking a divorce in May 1885. Then, in December 1885 in the “Divorce Matters” section it was reported a judge had partly heard the request for a divorce from Luella Osborne and it mentions two boys being in the ‘orphan asylum’[4]. Finally, in February 1886 in the “City News” section is an item stating a divorce was granted to Luella Osborne and David L. Osborne [5]. This freed David to marry my great grandmother, Jenny Warbington, in May 1886.

Who was She?

I’ll never know what happened, but I do know Luella was at least 13 years younger than my great grandfather and that just prior to their marriage she was living in her parents’ home with four or five siblings [6]. Luella’s father, William Pressell was a carpenter and Civil War veteran and it seems possible he knew David Osborne professionally or socially. It seems likely my great grandfather wanted a mother for his young sons, but perhaps Luella was not ready to be a full time mother. Luella later married a man her own age in 1891 and they had one child in 1900 [7]. Luella died in 1910, she lived less than 4 miles from my great grandparents [8].

I feel certain my great grandmother knew of Luella’s existence given the timing of their marriage and her proximity to my great uncles at the orphanage. However, I am not sure my grandmother knew her father had this previous marriage and I am nearly certain my father (who knew his grandfather very well) did not know anything of the marriage to Luella Pressell. Genealogy can be full of surprises, some good, some not and some are just surprising.


1. https://barblafara.com/the-marriage-of-david-and-jennie-osborne/

2. Entry for David L. Osborne and Luella B. Pressell, Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993 [database on-line]. Ancestry.com, Provo, UT, USA

3. “The Indianapolis News” 18 May 1885, p4, col2, above fold https://www.newspapers.com/image/35058691/?xid=637

4. “The Indianapolis News” 25 December 1885, p3, col3, below fold https://www.newspapers.com/image/34593647/?terms=luella&xid=637

5. “The Indianapolis News” 4 February 1886, p3, col1, above fold https://www.newspapers.com/image/34274931/?terms=luella&xid=637

6. Entry for Luella Pressel, U. S. Federal Census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana; Roll: 295; Page: 421C; Enumeration District: 119

7. Entry for Lulu B. Miller, U. S. Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0050; FHL microfilm: 1240388

8. Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1910; Roll: 10; Ancestry.com. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Remember Me and I Will Live

Frank Takeo Flucawa

Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.

David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.

The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.

Do You See A Resemblance?

While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.

Probate of Jesse King 1868

Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.

Letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary

A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.

Sarah Smith: Challenge

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846

Laferre to LaFara: Unusual Name

The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.

Rumple Family Photo 1895

For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.

Conrad Rumple: Bachelor Uncle

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.

George Lafary and Catherine Landon: Large Family

My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.

In The Paper

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.

Genealogy Brick Walls

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.

Catherine Landon: Out of Place

I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.

Immigrant Ancestors, Fresh Start

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week1: Fresh Start.
The varied reasons my European ancestors immigrated to North America for a fresh start.

William and Uva Lafara: Favorite Photo

I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.

Close to Home

My grandparents. Earl and Pearl, met at church, close to home, in 1914,

So Far Away

My great-uncle Frank immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1905 to further his education, so far away

Same Name

I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!

Favorite Discovery

My favorite discovery is finding the common ancestors shared by my parents. Don’t be alarmed, the common ancestors are 10 generations removed.