Elizabeth Bourke - CopyEliza Bourke is my paternal 2nd great grandmother.  She has been a bit of a bugger.  I have written about her on several occasions: here, here, and here. Unfortunately, I really haven’t been able to focus on her since the last post almost a year ago.

Eliza was born between 1850 and 1861 in either Michigan or Illinois.  Eliza’s parents, Louis and Mary Bourke, were born in Canada.  Eliza is the third of seven known children.

In 1881, Eliza married Joseph Zenophile Lanctot – perhaps in Nebraska, perhaps somewhere else.  The Bourke family was living in Saunders County, Nebraska in the 1880 census.  Unfortunately, I have no idea where Zenophile was living at that time, as I have only been able to find him on the 1881 Canada census.  I do know that they had at least one child in Nebraska in 1882, and that was their only living child in 1885.

Now, I found a marriage record for Eliza’s presumed oldest sister Emma that lists their father, Louis, in the 1870s in Saunders County, Nebraska.  Unfortunately, the index I found online doesn’t go far enough to cover the marriage between Eliza and Zenophile, so I will probably have to order the microfilm.

According to her obituary, from 1883 until 1900, the family was in Charles Mix County, South Dakota, and had seven more children (two of whom perished as infants, I believe), when they moved to Armour, Douglas County, South Dakota and bought a hotel.  I wrote about that in Zenophile’s post last week.  When Zenophile died in 1913, Eliza took over management of the hotel.  Conflicting stories say that Eliza either operated the hotel until her death, or that she sold it in 1916.  I have not yet found any evidence that she sold it in 1916.  However, in 1920, she (and Zenophile’s other heirs) sold Lot 18 of Block 24 to Hattie Edens for $5,000.  Lots 17 and 18 of Block 24 were purchased by Zenophile in 1900, presumably these two lots were for the hotel.  I have not found a record for the sale of Lot 17.

In 1927, she became the owner of roughly 622 acres of land in Casper, Wyoming.   However, I see no indication that she ever actually lived on that land.  She is found in the 1930 census still living in Armour.  She passed away on 22 December 1930 of pneumonia in Armour, South Dakota, and is buried at Pleasant Ridge Cemetery there.

What I don’t know – and how will I find the answer?

There is so much I don’t know about Eliza, it’s hard to know where to begin.  For now, I won’t even attempt to solve the mystery of her birth – that’s another project altogether.  I have addressed the marriage date in Zenophile’s post.

What happened to Lot 17?  I need to find the deed for this transaction, if it exists.

Who are the two other unnamed children?  I know from Eliza’s obit that there were six male and two female children born.  I need to try to narrow down where the children may have been born, and then try to find birth records.  

Did Eliza have any other siblings?  The first child I show born to Eliza’s parents is Emma  around 1854.  There may not be any others, as Mary was 19 when Emma was born, but I’d like to find the family on the 1860 census to see if it mentions any others.

What happened to the Wyoming land? And why did she have it?  I need to find deed records for this property as well.

When were Eliza and Zenophile married?  Even though I sort of addressed this in Zenophile’s post, now that I’ve found a mention of one of Eliza’s siblings being married in Saunders County, I need to order the microfilm and take a look at the rest of those records!


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