Photo courtesy of Joan G Italiano
Elizabeth's approximated year of birth varies remarkably from one census
year to the next:
1850: 28 (born ca 1822) 
1860: 38 (born ca 1822) 
1870: 50 (born ca 1820) 
1880: 62 (born ca 1818) 
1900: born Jul 1816 
It's highly unusual that Elizabeth's birth year is pushed back two years
with virtually each census reading.
According to the 1880 census,  Elizabeth's father was born in
Pennsylvania and her mother in Germany. The 1900 census (she's living with
son William H Pettet) states that both parents were born in Pennsylvania.
The following is from a letter dated 1971 from Vernal Cooley Shelton to
"Zella," now in the possession of Joan Gaye Italiano. "Grandma Cooley" is
Amelia (Pettet) Cooley, widow of Greenberry Cooley. It's worth noting that
on the 1910 census Vernal is residing with her grandparents.
She [Elizabeth Mohler Pettit] lived with Grandma Cooley [Amelia Pettet
Cooley] the last few years. She died at the age 94.
If we accept the 1900 census reading -- that Elizabeth was born in July
1816 -- that puts her death at about 1910. Vernal continues...
The day Grandma Pettit [Elizabeth Mohler Pettit] died, grandma Cooley came
outside in the yard and was crying. I was very young but I noticed she was
sad and said, "What's the matter grandma?" She said, "Maw just died!"
Elizabeth isn't present in the household in 1910. The census enumeration
for that location was taken on April 29 and May 5, 1910. The inevitable
conclusion, then, is that she died some time before those dates.
I visited Putnam County, MO in 1988. The records I copied include the
following dockets in the circuit court records for Wm. H Pettit:
Pettit, W, & B, Avis
H 86, 88, 90, 155, 232, 233, 246, 247, 265, 309, 320, 412
William Pettit and his niece Birdie Avis were found guilty of the charge,
the incident having occurred 20 Jul 1884. He was sentenced to five years,
she to two years. I don't know if they served their terms.
And there are these items for William:
Pettit, Wm State vs.
H 265, 411
Pettit, Wm. H. State of Missouri
Tearing down fence
M 6, 82, 84, 122, 170, 248, 250, 251, 252
When later inquiring to the circuit court about case #7000,  I received the following:
In the Circuit Court of Putnam County, Missouri
State of Missouri---Plaintiff
November Term 1906.
Case No. 7000.
Now comes the defendant in the above titled cause and mooves [sic] the court
to continue said cause, to the next term of this court for the following
reasons; to wit:
First ---- That the mother of defendant is now seriously and dangerously
sick at her home and requires the constant care and attention of this
defendant, that the moover [sic] hereof is likely to die at any
W H Pettet
Subscribed and sworn to before me this the 1st day of Dec 1906.
Thos B. Davis
If Elizabeth was in fact born as late as 1822 and died at the age of 94,
that would place her death in 1916, ten years after William excused himself
from court due to his mother's grave illness. That seems unlikely. On the
other hand, if she was born in 1816, which is the most commonly cited year,
that places her death squarely in 1910, explaining why she doesn't appear on
the census for that year.
To date, neither a record of death nor an obituary for Elizabeth has
Search for parents
It appears that all the Mohlers in the Morgan/Perry and Muskingum
counties area were descended from Casper Moler (1759-1845), a Revolutionary
soldier1 and son of German immigrant, George Adam Moler. In all
likelihood, Elizabeth was a granddaughter of Casper's but no supporting
documentation has been found. She's often cited as a daughter of Peter
(1792-1871), but his daughter Elizabeth is living with her parents in 1850
and 1870. A process of elimination among Casper's children suggests that
his oldest son, Henry, was the father of someone of Elizabeth's age. Of
him, Joyce Denton wrote,
This Henry is listed as a child of Casper although I have no proof of this.
He lived in a close proximity to Casper and his family. In 1810, a Henry
b.1765 or before lived in Finley Twp, Washington, Pa , a township not far
from Buffalo Twp where Casper lived. In 1820 this Henry was listed in
Centre Twp, Morgan, Ohio although the History of Morgan County, Ohio by
Charles Robertson had both Peter and Henry listed as having voted in
Manchester Twp for the election of the law enforcement officials. In 1830,
Henry was in Bloom Twp, Morgan, Ohio. He and his wife were both age 40/50
while the children were listed as 2 sons 5/10, 1 age 10/15, 1 age 15/20 and
2 daughters 10/15. This leaves a lot of room for some of those lost Molers
in Morgan county . Some children listed under Henry are here as their
parents have not been established as yet and they were living very near each
other in 1850. Both Henry and Christian were in the 1840 Athens, Ohio
It's a stretch, but she could have been one of the two daughters 10-15 in
the 1830 census. Of further interest is that Henry had a son named Solomon,
a name Elizabeth gave to one of her own children. Solomon's mother Margaret
(68), wife Susannah (18), and daughter Elizabeth (1), are living in Perry
County with him in 1850.
1. Pension number S.2774.
All original portions ©
Michael Cooley, OrbitInternet.net -