Margaret was raised in the Ogilvie household in Nova Scotia. She married English emigrant, Peter Furlong, and their first child, Barbara Elizabeth, was born in or near Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1852. The Furlong family joined the Ogilvie family on their arduous journey West to Utah Territory in 1855. They lived briefly in Tooele, then Alpine City, and later settled in Spanish Fork, and four more children joined the family. It was a difficult existence in those early days, with very little food, widespread illness, and poor shelter. To complicate matters, by 1860, Margaret's step-father, George B., had separated from her mother, and was starting a new family in a new location.
The 1880 U.S. census marked her further decline. She was the only boarder in the household of James and Jane Powell. She was marked as "insane," labeled sick with "paresis," and had not worked in the last 12 months. As you can read below, Margaret died five years later, in 1885, after having been "insane for a great many years."
As anyone who studies family history knows, unfortunate circumstances can continue to ripple for generations. Margaret's youngest child, Mary Ellen, was certainly affected by her family's misfortune. The following description of her childhood in a history of her husband, George Newman Perkins, is heartbreaking.
I often think of Margaret's family and the series of misfortunes in their lives. Margaret lost her father at an early age, endured the hardships of pioneer life, bore at least five children, lost the only father-figure she knew, and then her husband - her provider and protector - died at a young age. Poor and illiterate, she then lost her mother and two of her children, and then her other three children were sent to work, some in abusive situations. She lived alone, or as a boarder for the last fifteen years of her life. I think even the toughest of us would have been hard-pressed to retain our sanity through all of these events. Margaret's three surviving children went on to live long and productive lives, and two of them had very large families (the third gave birth to at least eight children, with only two living to adulthood - more misfortune).
Stories like Margaret's are a good reminder that not all family histories are pretty. However, these tales are just as important to tell, and can often provide explanations for medical histories, reasons why families fell into poverty, and inspiration for handling our own challenges. Understanding these stories can make successes stand out even more, when we know the challenges and misfortunes a family has faced.
1. Estate Papers of John Campbell, Musquodoboit, ca. 1827, “Halifax County Estate Papers,” no. C18, microfilm 19399, Nova Scotia Archives (NSA), Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
2. "Utah, Death and Military Death Certificates, 1904-1961," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 March 2018), entry for Barbara Elizabeth Hales, 13 October 1924, Utah County; citing "Death Certificates, 1904-1961," Series Number 81448, Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
3. Individuals in this Company, Jacob F. Secrist/Noah T. Guymon Company (1855); online database, Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel (https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/companies/263/jacob-f-secrist-noah-t-guymon-company-1855 : accessed 2 November 2017); citing "2nd Company of 50 reports,” 31 May 1855; report, CR 1234 5, box 1, folder 37, Emigrating companies reports 1850-1862, Reports 1853-1855, Brigham Young office files, 1832-1878, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.
4. 1860 U.S. census, Utah County, Utah Territory, population schedule, Spanish Fork Post Office, p. 230 (penned), dwelling 2043, family 1632, Peter Furlong [incorrectly indexed as “Furlond”], Margaret Furlong; digital image, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 November 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1314.
5. 1860 U.S. census, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory, population schedule, Union Post Office, p. 270 (penned), dwelling 1983, family 333, Geo B Ogleby; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 November 2017); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication M653, roll 1313.
6. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 26 March 2018), memorial page for Peter Furlong (19 Jun 1819–30 Apr 1865), Find A Grave Memorial no. 48253567, citing Pioneer Heritage Cemetery, Spanish Fork, Utah County, Utah, USA. Note: I am still seeking original documentation for Peter Furlong's date of death. It is possible that he was buried in the Spanish Fork Pioneer Cemetery, but this has not yet been confirmed to my knowledge.
7. Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” page 3/image 22, Catherine J. Furlong entry; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 008195204; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 22 March 2018). Note: this record has a date of death as 15 October 1866, but the Spanish Fork City Cemetery Index on Ancestry has it as 15 October 1868.
8. Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” page 4/image 23, Barbra E. Ogilvie entry; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 008195204; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 9 November 2017).
9. 1870 U.S. census, Utah County, Utah Territory, population schedule, Spanish Fork, p. 29 (penned), dwelling 227, family 215, Margaret J Furlong [incorrectly indexed as "Mary W Furlong"]; digital image, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 March 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1612.
10. Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” page 18/image 31, Margaret A. Furlong entry; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 008195204; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 22 March 2018).
11. "Deaths," (Salt Lake City, Utah) Deseret News, 18 March 1885, page 16, for Margaret Furlong; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 22 March 2018).
12. Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” page 76/image 90, Margaret J. Furlong entry; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 008195204; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 22 March 2018).
13. Reo Stephens Perkins, "George Newman Perkins," [publishing date unknown], page 1, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/6604803 : accessed 24 March 2018). Note: I have been unable to identify the Gibbs family referenced in this memory - it is possible that this surname was mis-remembered.