Gordon, I was going through some of my notes on this side of the family, came across a note I had written down and had a couple of thoughts I wanted to share.
In the Ottawa Co. Marriage Record Index there is,
Nancy Smith m. Henry A. Carney (5-267)
The best I can do without seeing the record is to estimate it was around 1884 (+/- a few years) and I have no idea how old either of them were as I can't find them in any of the censuses, before or after.It could be Nancy belonged to any number of Smith families or it was a married name, but it could also be that Nancy Smith, w/o Uriah Howell remarried and that is why there is no record of her death.
It is also possible that she could have left him before he died.It might be that she moved out of state and planned to send for the younger children and either didn't or couldn't.Maybe she died shortly after and was buried under a new name.Maybe she lived to a ripe old age and the family never forgave her, so they spoke of her no more.
I had a family that something similar happened with them.My ancestors LYMAN SWAN's bio stated.
"He was married at 22 in Madison Feb. 22, 1850 to MARTHA FISH.They had five children, three of whom are living- Sarah, George and EMMA .................. His wife died and he was remarried again April 2, 1864, to Anna Hamlin, born in Troy, NY, in 1841."
I did the usual thing and looked for something pertaining to her death between the birth of her last known child and his remarriage.I looked for Martha's death records and burial place for a long time until I found her in the census remarried.
I think that Lyman could not bring himself to have an outright lie printed for all to see, so he told the facts and let the reader believe what they may.It was somewhat deceiving though.MARTHA did die by the time the book was being written in 1881, but not before he married like it sounds in the bio.She remarried in 1865 and died in 1878.LYMAN d. in 1893.
Later I found a record,
1865 April 5, MARTHA SWAN granted divorce from LYMAN SWAN with alimony.Note the dates of her divorce and his remarriage.I think they had been apart for a while, but can only surmise.
If you haven't found a death record for Nancy (Smith) Howell yet, I would try looking for another marriage.It may lead to something.