Fanny Ward Alger

Female 1817 - 1889  (72 years)


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  • Name Fanny Ward Alger  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
    Born 30 Sep 1817  Rehoboth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 29 Nov 1889  Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • The following obituary was found in the Adolphus Barnes Family Bible (also known as the Stephen Barnes Family Bible). Spelling and punctuation are uncorrected.

      "Fanny W. Custer, wife of the late Solomon Custer, was born in northern Ohio, near Cleveland, on September 30, 1817, and passed from this life at her son's home in Indianapolis, on the evening of November 29th, at the age of 72 years, 1 month, and 29 days.

      Aunt Fanny, as all her long time friends and acquaintances of Dublin called her, was one of the earliest settlers of this locality, having come to Dublin, then a scattering hamlet with a hut here and there, that spoke of the advance of civilization, when this part of the country was looked upon as but the borders of the great wilderness to the westward -when the forests that abounded on every side were as nature formed them, and through whose inaccessable depths roamed the Indian, and the bear; and which were, at that time being gradually, but surely, pressed toward the setting sun, by that toward tide of civilization, that has at last covered the vast territory lying between the two oceans, lakes and gulf. The deceased was untied in holy wedlock to Solomon Franklin Custer, in this place, at the old tavern stand, that used to occupy the site of the late Benjamin Cruil's residence in the east part of town, on Nov. 16th, 1838. As the result of this union, she had born to her nine children, two of whom survive her. With the exception of a very short period at two different times, aunt Fannie had made "Dublin her home, since first coming to the settlement; then just forming, away back in the 20's. She was generally beloved by all who knew her, and was noted for her benevolence of spirit and generous-heartedness; being known as one who would share her last crust with whosoever should need it.

      She joined the Universalist church on the evening of the 10th of Octrober, 1874, and until her last, held to that belief. She passed away peacefully and resignedly, with an abiding faith in the justice and love of an All Powerful and Supreme Being, and with joy in the full belief that she would meet with dear ones gone before.

      Having fulfilled the duties of life, with a conscientious regard for the welfare and happiness of those who were compelled to lean on her in her middle and early life, she passed away, fully trusting that the welcome applaudit summons, "well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord," would greet her on the other side. Funeral services were held at the Universalist church in Dublin, on Sabbath morning, Dec. 1, 1889, Rev. P.S. Cook and C.T. Swain, officiating"
    Person ID I135  Alger
    Last Modified 18 Aug 2018 

    Father Samuel Alger,   b. Est 1786, Uxbridge, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Sep 1874, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 88 years) 
    Mother Clarissa Hancock,   b. 3 Sep 1790, Longmeadow, Hampden Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Jul 1870, Parowan, Iron Co., Utah, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Married 25 Feb 1808  Uxbridge, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F26  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Solomon Franklin Custer,   b. 1816, , Montgomery Co., Ohio, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Mar 1885, Dublin, Wayne Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years) 
    Married 16 Nov 1836  Dublin, Wayne Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • The marriage license of Solomon and Fanny reads:

      State of Indiana, To wit
      Wayne County - Be it remembered that on the 14th day of November A.D. 1836 the clerk of the Wayne Circuit Court issued a license authorizing any person legally authorized to solemnize matrimony to join in marriage Solomon Custer and Fanny Alger and afterwards to wit on the twentieth day of December in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty six the following return was made in the clerk's office of said court to wit "Dublin November 16th 1836 this day married by me Levi Eastridge a Justice of the Peace for Wayne County and State of Indiana Mr Solomon Custer and Miss Fanny Alger both of this town. Levi Eastridge J.P.
      Attest: Sam Haunalil C.W.C.C. [hard to read]
    Children 
     1. Mary Clarissa Custer,   b. 1840, Dublin, Wayne Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Apr 1857, Dublin, Wayne Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 17 years)
     2. Lewis Alger Custer,   b. 7 Sep 1843, Dublin, Wayne Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Aug 1870, Spartanburg, Randolph Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 26 years)
     3. Clarissa Custer,   b. 1847,   d. Yes, date unknown
     4. Suphrena Alice Custer,   b. 1848, Dublin, Wayne Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1875, Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 27 years)
     5. Benjamin Franklin Custer,   b. 17 Oct 1849, Dublin, Wayne Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Jul 1923, Dublin, Wayne Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
     6. Lafayette Paul Custer,   b. 29 Aug 1854, Dublin, Wayne Co., Indiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 May 1930, Belvedere, Los Angeles Co., California, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years)
    Last Modified 31 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F1949  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • While still a young lady, Fanny had an affair with Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church. Mormon writings make it seem that Joseph and Fanny were married and if this is true, Fanny would have been Joseph Smith's first polygamous marriage. One reference says Fanny and Joseph Smith were probably married in 1835 in a ceremony conducted by her cousin, Mosiah Hancock. However no public records have been found to support a marriage and family tradition rejects that notion. According to Mormon literature, Fanny went to Indiana after the Mormons moved west to Illinois, but she remained a member of the Mormon Church and a friend to Joseph Smith.

      **********
      (The following is from an e-mail messages from Jo Kester, a descendant of Fanny Alger)

      ?i?Solomon and Fanny (Alger) Custer are my maternal gr-gr-grandparents and I have been researching them for over twenty years. My Mother was also a researcher for many years before I became interested in genealogy. My Mother was born and raised in Dublin, Indiana, where Solomon and Fanny were married and resided their entire married life. As a child, my Mother lived for several years with her maternal grandparents, one of which was a son of Solomon and Fanny Custer. My Mother stated that there was never a Mormon Church in that area and in fact, Solomon and Fanny were members of the Universalist Church of Dublin, Indiana.

      Fanny's affair with Joseph Smith took place in 1835. When their relationship became public knowledge, Fanny fled from the home of Joseph and Emma Smith to be with her parents in Indiana. I believe she never had another encounter with Joseph Smith. I also believe that she was very ashamed of her affair with Smith because she never mentioned it to her children.

      My grandmother, who was a granddaughter of Solomon and Fanny, and her aunt, who was a daughter of Solomon and Fanny, were avid letter writers to each other from the late 1920's until the late 1930's and not once was there any mention of Joseph Smith. I feel if this daughter had known about the affair of her Mother and Smith she would have mentioned it. She did mention that Brigham Young ?/i?[Joseph Smith's successor as leader of the Mormon Church]?i?, accompanied by Fanny's brother, John Alger, did come to Indiana, before Fanny married Solomon Custer, to ask her to marry him. She answered him by saying, "You are a fine young man but I want to be an only wife."

      ?/i?[A reference from the internet (and recounted in an email message from Jo Kester) says:]?i?

      "...the first documented "plural wife" in Mormon history was no widow, but rather a 16-year-old single girl named Fannie Alger, who was Emma Smith's housemaid. Several of Joseph Smith's intimate followers asserted that Smith "married" Alger around 1833, in Kirtland, Ohio. That relationship caused quite a scandal in Kirtland, wherein Smith's subordinates Oliver Cowdery and Warren Parrish attempted to bring Smith to a church trial on charges of adultery. Smith had a loyalist, Levi Hancock, spirit Miss Alger out of town to prevent her from testifying to the relationship. Miss Alger later civilly married one Solomon Custer in Indiana, and apparently had nothing more to do with Mormonism. In the 1890's, assistant LDS Church Historian Andrew Jenson listed Miss Alger as Joseph Smith's first-ever "plural wife." As Miss Alger was an unmarried teenager at the time of her relationship with Smith, and in fact was very marriageable in the eyes of Solomon Custer, Smith had no need to "marry" her to provide for her."?/i?
      **********
      **********
      (The following is from an e-mail from Paul Alger - 27 May 2011)

      ?i?According to Mosiah Hancock, whose father, Levi, reportedly performed a plural marriage for the Mormon prophet, the first of these unions occurred in Ohio in 1833 when Joseph married sixteen-year-old Fanny Alger...?/i?
      **********
      **********
      (The following is from an Obituary found in the Adolphus Barnes Family Bible (also known as the Stephen Barnes Family Bible). Spelling and punctuation are uncorrected.)

      ?i?"Fanny W. Custer, wife of the late Solomon Custer, was born in northern Ohio, near Cleveland, on September 30, 1817, and passed from this life at her son's home in Indianapolis, on the evening of November 29th, at the age of 72 years, 1 month, and 29 days.

      Aunt Fanny, as all her long time friends and acquaintances of Dublin called her, was one of the earliest settlers of this locality, having come to Dublin, then a scattering hamlet with a hut here and there, that spoke of the advance of civilization, when this part of the country was looked upon as but the borders of the great wilderness to the westward -when the forests that abounded on every side were as nature formed them, and through whose inaccessable depths roamed the Indian, and the bear; and which were, at that time being gradually, but surely, pressed toward the setting sun, by that toward tide of civilization, that has at last covered the vast territory lying between the two oceans, lakes and gulf. The deceased was united in holy wedlock to Solomon Franklin Custer, in this place, at the old tavern stand, that used to occupy the site of the late Benjamin Cruil's residence in the east part of town, on Nov. 16th, 1838. As the result of this union, she had born to her nine children, two of whom survive her. With the exception of a very short period at two different times, aunt Fannie had made "Dublin her home, since first coming to the settlement; then just forming, away back in the 20's. She was generally beloved by all who knew her, and was noted for her benevolence of spirit and generous-heartedness; being known as one who would share her last crust with whosoever should need it.

      She joined the Universalist church on the evening of the 10th of Octrober, 1874, and until her last, held to that belief. She passed away peacefully and resignedly, with an abiding faith in the justice and love of an All Powerful and Supreme Being, and with joy in the full belief that she would meet with dear ones gone before.

      Having fulfilled the duties of life, with a conscientious regard for the welfare and happiness of those who were compelled to lean on her in her middle and early life, she passed away, fully trusting that the welcome applaudit summons, "well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord," would greet her on the other side. Funeral services were held at the Universalist church in Dublin, on Sabbath morning, Dec. 1, 1889, Rev. P.S. Cook and C.T. Swain, officiating"?/i?
      **********

      Fanny and Solomon adopted their niece, Saphronia Alger, (daughter of Thomas and Sarah Ann Alger) when Saphronia was just a todler and raised her as their own.

      Compiled and edited by Allen Alger, Alger Family Historian - e-mail: alger@alum.mit.edu

  • Sources 
    1. [S159] Alger files - Atwood, Don, Don Atwood, Email from Don Atwood - 30 Oct 2002 (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S84] Alger files - Kester, Jo, Jo Kester, Email from Jo Kester - 4 Mar 2003, 27 Apr 2003, 15 Jul 2005 and 5 Sep 2008 (Reliability: 3).

    3. [S98] Alger e-files - Alger, Paul Dale, Paul Dale Alger, Email from Paul Alger - 27 May 2011 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S133] Alger e-files - Liddle, Larae, Larae Liddle, E-mail from Larae Liddle - 28 Nov 2011 (Reliability: 3).

    5. [S124] Family of Adam, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, (https://familysearch.org/ : copyright 2008), accessed 23 Jun 2014), L8Q9-HX8 (Reliability: 3).

    6. [S160] Alger e-files - Kester, Jo, Jo Kester, E-mail from Jo Kester - 5 Sep 2014 (Reliability: 3).

    7. [S160] Alger e-files - Kester, Jo, Jo Kester, E-mail from Jo Kester - 16 Mar 2015 (Reliability: 3).


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