This is Henry Bouchy, my second-great grandfather on mom’s side. Henry was a gold smelter at a watch case company in Dayton, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, in the early 1900s. Henry had ten children and three wives.
Henry arrived in the United States with his family on 2 May 1865, just two weeks after the assassination of President Lincoln and less than a month after General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomatox Courthouse. Henry was nine years old at the time of his family’s emigration from Moselle, France, and one of seven children born to his parents Jean Charles and Melanie Bardeau Bouchy.
The Bouchy family initially resided in New York City, but moved to Newark, New Jersey, about 1875, after Henry’s brother Emil’s tragic suicide. Emil was chronically ill and decided to end it all with a revolver to the head at the age of twenty-one. Henry’s sixteen year old sister, Lucie died five months later.
Henry worked in a watch factory in Newark and married Ada Johnson in 1880. Ada was the first of Henry’s three wives and they had seven children together. One year after their youngest, Carolyn, was born, Ada died on 3 September 1893, at the age of thirty-three. Twenty-two days later, Henry wed a fifty-seven year old widow, Caroline Ferris Crossman. Henry was thirty-six years old and with seven children, needed someone to care for his children. It’s probably safe to say that this was strictly a marriage of convenience. Caroline died on 10 January 1899, leaving Henry a widow once more, this time he waited a whole eight months before remarrying. On 2 August 1899, Henry wed another widow, Anna Buehler Linz. Anna was twenty-eight at the time of their marriage. The couple picked up the entire family and left Newark for Dayton, Kentucky, where Henry worked as a gold-smelter for a watch company.
Henry and Anna had three boys together and when the youngest, Frank was two years old, Henry died at the age of fifty-one on 8 March 1909. Henry’s death certificate states “mastoiditis” as the cause of death, which is basically an untreated ear-infection. Before antibiotics, this condition was often fatal in infants, children and adults.
Anna did not stay in Dayton with her seven stepchildren after Henry’s passing. She took her three sons she had with Henry and returned to New Jersey, where things went poorly for the Bouchys. But that’s a story for another day.