The Mystery of Della Pickering
Quite possible the hardest brick wall to break through is the one that prevents us from learning the history of the family of my gg-grandmother, Della Pickering. According to the military service records for my gg-grandfather that I obtain from NARA, Frank Gaume married Della Pickering in the state of Wisconsin in October or November of 1868. This date is approximate and is based on the statement that his first wife died eight months after marriage. According to an affidavit signed by Frank Gaume and dated March 26, 1915, he and his first wife were married in June of 1868. According to affidavits filed by three other people including Frank Gaume’s sister, Mrs. Mary Saunier of St. Marys, Kansas, Della Pickering died in June of 1868 and was buried in the “Catholic Cemetery at Louisville, Ohio”. Della Pickering, first wife of Frank Gaume and my gg-grandmother, is mentioned in four documents and the name is always Della Pickering. Three of the documents contradict Frank Gaume who at age 72 (1915) said that he and his first wife were married in June 1868 and that Della (Pickering) Gaume died June 2, 1869. An affidavit signed in 1917 by Joseph Blanchet, Frank’s brother-in-law at the time, and originally of Holmes Co., Ohio, says that Della Pickering died in June 1868 and was buried in Louisville, Ohio. An affidavit signed by Mary Saunier (originally Mary Gaume of Louisville, Ohio) in St Marys, Kansas that same year states that Della Pickering died in 1868 is buried in the “Catholic Cemetery at Louisville, Ohio”. A third affidavit signed in 1917 by a Katie Bakule, a childhood friend of Frank’s second wife, Justine Blanchet, from Holmes Co, Ohio, and at the time a resident of Topeka also states that Della Pickering died in June 1868 and is buried in the Catholic cemetery in Louisville.
In May of 1868, Frank’s daughter, Della Gaume was born in Canton, Stark, Ohio. According to the service records, Delia Pickering died one month later on June 2, 1868 in Louisville, Ohio. In the US Census of 1900 and 1910, the record for Della (Gaume) DeBacker shows that her mother was born in Pennsylvania. There is still a lot of work yet to do to learn the truth about Della Pickering, but in July 2006 I received an email from the same first cousin once removed who had earlier told me about the DeBacker’s coming from Ronse (Renaix), Belgium and the Jeanin-Gaume’s of Montecheroux, France. Her email asked me to call her on cell phone as she had exciting news regarding Della Pickering. I called and she told me that she believed that she had located the Della Pickering’s family in northeastern Pennsylvania. This is discussed in more detail at The Pickering Project.