Are All Three Wives Named Elizabeth?

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

My maternal 3rd great grandfather, John Bell Ruperd, had fourteen children with three different wives. In order to make sure I was tracking the correct information for all the wives and children, I have been taking my time researching this family branch. I still have more information I need to research to be sure that I am as accurate as possible. I want to be careful with so many children that I link them to the correct mothers. When I began researching my 3rd great grandfather a while back I kept coming across information suggesting that all of his wives were named Elizabeth. I thought he must really like the name Elizabeth or it just made his life easier to have a wife named Elizabeth so he wouldn't call her the wrong name. Who could blame him for that since he had a lot of children's names he needed to keep straight.

Through the past years, I have spent researching him I have learned that only his first two wives were named Elizabeth. Some researchers were confused by my 3rd great-grandmother, Elizabeth Wiles. Prior to my grandmother marrying Ruperd, she had been married to Daniel Smith with who she had three children. On the marriage record from Montcalm County, Michigan, her married name of Smith was used on the record. You would have needed to look at Elizabeth's marriage record to Daniel Smith to realize that her maiden name was Wiles. I had also located her name connect to her first children and learned that she had been married to Daniel Smith.

After determining that Elizabeth Wiles and Elizabeth Smith were the same person, I was able to begin figuring out who the third wife was. From census records, I was able to determine that his 3rd wife's first name was Sarah. I had the youngest child's birthdate from family history that was passed down to me and knew that if the information was correct that he was born in 1896. So I set out to find a marriage record between 1892, which was when my 3rd great grandmother Elizabeth passed away, and 1896. I finally located a marriage record for his third marriage to a Sarah Scott in Montcalm County. The record showed the marriage of Ruperd and Sarah took place on January 1, 1985. I was able to determine that Sarah's maiden name is Scott because her parents were listed on the marriage record.

I finally had all three wives figured out!

1st Marriage...

John Bell RUPERD (1832-1900) and Elizabeth LOVER (1834-1889) were married on November 23, 1851, in Ohio. During their marriage, they had 12 children - Alexander (1852-1922), William (1855-1925), Sarah Ellen (1858-1936), George (1860- Before 1870), Nancy Isabella (1863-1881), Susan Lucinda (1865-1894), Mary Adelaide (1868-1940), Sidney Ulysses (1870-1898), Delora M (1872-1874), Emma Ester Marie (1875-1927), Eva Luella (1876-1962), Baby Boy (Stillborn 187?)

2nd Marriage...

John Bell RUPERD and Elizabeth WILES (1856-1892) were married on January 22, 1891, in Montcalm, Michigan. During their marriage, my 2nd great-grandmother was the only child from the marriage, Lavona Emaline (1891-1930).

3rd Marriage...

John Bell RUPERD and Sarah SCOTT (1858-?) were married on January 1, 1895, in Montcalm, Michigan. During their marriage they had one child before John passed away, Samuel (1896-?).

Now that I have been able to careful figure out the wives and children from my 3rd great grandfather I can begin digging deeper into his life story to see what I can learn about him. I know that towards the end of his life that he and his wife, Sarah ended up at a Poor Farm in Montcalm, Michigan for about a month or so. I know that my 2nd great-grandmother, Lavona was adopted by the Reed family after he passed away and it was mentioned the youngest son was also adopted out. I am wondering if they were living with their adoptive family's when my 3rd great grandfather and his wife Sarah were at the Poor Farm. Only my 2nd great uncle, Ulysses was listed on the 1900 Federal Census at the Poor Farm with them. I still have a lot to learn about the Ruperd family but I look forward to learning more about them.

I am sure that I will be coming across a lot of distant cousins from this branch of the family tree! In fact, if you are reading this and are related to John Bell Ruperd I would love to hear from you!

Until next time, take care.