|Birth: ||May 13, 1872|
|Death: ||Nov. 8, 1892|
THE MARRIAGE OF STEPHEN J. LEMONS AND JENNIE S. COPPERNOLL
Stephen Joseph Lemons was born March 18, 1867 at Wauzeka, Crawford County, Wisconsin. He was the only child of Joseph Edgar and Emma E. "Emily" Wells Lemons. His mother, Emma, died when he was only three years old- leaving him a mere baby in his widowed father's care. Shortly afterward it was decided that Stephen should go live with his maternal Grandmother, Jane Miller Wells at her home in Colon, Michigan. Also residing with his grandmother Wells were his maternal Aunt, Elizabeth Adelaide "Addie" Wells Chamberlain and his cousin, Jennie Chamberlain (the daughter of his Aunt Addie and her estranged husband, William G. Chamberlain).
In 1891, at the age of 24, Stephen met and fell in love with Miss. Jennie S. Ccppernoll. Born on May 13, 1872 at Grass Lake, Jackson County, Michigan, Jennie was the daughter of Burton F. and Ruth Ann Woodruff Coppernoll-McClay. Her parents had divorced prior to 1891, and Jennie's mother was then living at Boone, Boone County, Iowa with her second husband, William H. McClay. On September 18, 1891, The Grand Rapids Evening Leader printed a listing [Page 4 Column 2] of those receiving marriage licenses. This item appeared as follows:
Unless otherwise stated the licensees are residents of this city.
Stephen J. Lemons, Common; Jennie Capernold, Boone, Iowa. Ages 24-19.
[The following errors should be noted in the above notice however. Stephen Lemons' residence should read "Cannon," as he was residing in Cannon Township, Kent County, Michigan at that time. Jennie's surname name should also read as "Coppernoll". The name had apparently been spelled phonetically.]
On 17 September 1891, Stephen J. Lemons and Jennie S. Coppernoll were married in Cannon Township, Kent County, Michigan by Stephen's maternal Uncle, Barnabus Horton Whitman who was a Methodist minister. The witnesses at the wedding were Stephen's maternal aunts, Mary J. Wells Whitman (wife of Reverend Barnabus Whitman); and Addie Wells Chamberlain. [Record number 4505, Kent County Marriage Records, Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan.] Mary Jane Wells Whitman, Addie Wells Chamberlain, and Stephen's mother, Emma Wells Lemons, were all sisters- the daughters of Private Francis H. "Frank" Wells and his wife Jane Miller Wells.
Also in September of 1891 (perhaps even on this same day), Jennie was welcomed into the family by being included in a family photograph. On the reverse of the photo Stephen Lemons penned the note, "Taken at Rockford, Kent County, Michigan in September, 1891." While always assumed to be their wedding photograph, this was later proven to be the case when an additional photo was uncovered which featured only Jennie and Stephen's images with a "clouding out" of those standing nearest to them. Those in the group photograph were: Stephen J. and Jennie S. Coppernoll Lemons, Art Whitman and sister Abbie Whitman, Elizabeth Adelaide "Addie" Chamberlain and her daughter, Jennie Chamberlain. Both Art and Abbie Whitman were cousins of Stephen's- the children of his maternal Aunt and Uncle, Reverend Barnabus H. and Mary Jane Wells Whitman.
After their marriage, the young couple set-up housekeeping. Nearly one year to the date, they made the announcement that Jennie was pregnant- news that was met with accolades from both sides of the family. As was common in that day, Jennie chose to spend her "period of confinement" in her mother's care, so she boarded the train sometime in June of 1892 for Boone, Iowa. Upon arrival she is said to have "complained of a chill, which quickly turned to a cold and then progressed into pneumonia." Her small-framed body was unable to sustain the heavy coughing that the illness brought on, causing her left lung to give out. This, in turn, brought on the aborting of their unborn child. At 11:20 PM, on November 8, 1892, Jennie Lemons passed away quietly- leaving young Stephen Lemons in complete mourning. [Death record filed at the Boone County Clerks Office, Boone, Boone County, Iowa]
The following day, he composed a "letter edged in black" which he sent back to his family in Michigan. Written in his beautiful, flourishing penmanship, the letter is addressed to his "Mother, Aunt and Cousin." It contains a very sad and vivid account of Jennie's final hours of life and her eventual death. Having been raised by his maternal Grandmother Wells, Stephen frequently referred to her as his "mother." The "Aunt" would have been his maternal Aunt, Addie Wells Chamberlain, and the "Cousin" was Addie's only daughter, Jennie Chamberlain, whom Stephen had been raised with.
Boone, November 9th, 1892
Dear Mother, Aunt and Cousin,
It is with a sad heart I now address you and sad news that I must tell. All my most cherished hopes are now broken. My poor girl is out of her misery in this cold world and I have the greatest assurance of her finding a welcome in a better and happier sphere.
She passed away quietly and apparently quite easy at 11:20 last night. She was entirely conscious until eight of nine o'clock last night when she began to wander but the poor child seemed happy to the last. She said in the afternoon she was willing to die if she must but she did not like to leave me. I would not give her up until yesterday morning when I was convinced I must let her go.
This is the deepest sorrow I have ever known and the most direct blow that was ever dealt me. Tomorrow at two o'clock in the afternoon her funeral services will be preached by the Rev. Mr. Vedder. Then, for the last time in this world that I can look upon that form that has been so dear to me, I will see the extreme limit of my cherished happy dream.
When we have done all we can for our loved one I will make my own arrangements to return to Michigan. This is a cruel fate that has befallen to me. (amen) I can write no more, yet I might write volumes.
I will bid you goodnight. Please write to me-
On November 11, 1892, Jennie S. Coppernoll Lemons was buried on the Coppernoll family plot at Linwood Park Cemetery in Boone, Iowa. Based on several letters of inquiry, it appears that no tombstone exists to mark her place of interment.
The following newspaper clipping is Jennie's Notice of Death that was saved in the Lemon's family Bible, along with the "letter edged in black." The original clipping gave no clues to its origins. However, while researching newspaper records for the Boone area in 1995, it appears that a reprint of this newspaper item appeared in a "20 Years Ago Today" column in 1912. The information printed in that column gave proof that the original notice had first appeared in The Boone Daily News on Friday evening, November 11, 1892.
Stephen J. Lemons, the death of whose wife at the home of her mother in Boone was noted Wednesday, was in Boone at the time of her death. He joined his wife here about six weeks ago.
Ruth Ann Woodruff McClay (1852 - 1940)
Stephen Joseph Lemons (1867 - 1953)
There is no tombstone marking this grave site.
Linwood Park Cemetery
Created by: patrickinpetoskey
Record added: Dec 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 102237588