Jane "Jennie" Fazenbaker was born 7/21/1822.She was a granddaughter of the "Hessian" soldier George Fazenbaker, and the daughter of another George Fazenbaker and wife Sarah "Sally" Walls.(While some researchers record Sally's maiden name as Broadwater, I believe this is incorrect.It was Sally's mother who was a Broadwater.)
Jennie recalled, "I had always lived with my parents until I was married to John Bear, as nigh as I can say--Some time about the year 1842."
Jennie recalled that her folks objected to her marrying Bear.She and others described him as a tall, raw boned, rough sort of man.
Jennie reported that she and Bear first "went back near Frostburg & lived for 2 years, then we went out on the turn pike & lived for some 2 years...."Jennie and John Bear had one child.Jennie reported that Bear treated her badly, and even tried to shoot her "once or twice."After they separated, Jennie and her neighbors reported that Bear soon left the vicinity.Jennie learned years later that Bear had sued for and was granted a divorce 4/27/1848.Unwittingly, Bear had done Jennie a great service, for this divorce legitimized Jennie's subsequent marriage to Andrew Jackson Fazenbaker, and this made it possible for her to keep her widow's pension in the face of an inquiry by the Bureau of Pensions.
By the late 1840s Jennie was living with Andrew Jackson "Jack" Fazenbaker, but the marriage ceremony was not performed until decades later on 10/15/1873 at Eli Merrill's.Jennie reported that she had heard that Bear had died by then.Still later, it was shown that that information was incorrect, but that Bear had obtained a divorce.
I have a great deal of information about Andrew Jackson Fazenbaker and his descendants.He and Jennie had nine children.
Jack died in 1893, and Jennie remained for a time near Bittinger.She was living there in January 1898, about the time that she began receiving a Civil War widow's pension.It is said that she was a tall, slim woman, and that she smoked a pipe.
Sometime prior to the 1900 census, Jennie's youngest son, Alban, took her into his home atop Big Savage Mountain, near the intersection of Russell and Michael roads, four miles northwest of Barton, Maryland.There, Jennie lived the rest of her life.
An officious clerk in the Bureau of Pensions questioned Jennie's pension in 1909, some 11 years or more after Jennie had begun drawing the pension by virtue of her husband's Civil War service.The concern was whether Jennie was indeed legitimately married to Andrew Jackson Fazenbaker, or was she instead still officially married to John Bear.This question caused a special examiner to reinvestigate Jennie's pension application.
Visiting with several local citizens including Jennie, the examiner took lengthy depositions which are preserved today at the National Archives in Washington, DC.While this investigation must have been a source of anxiety for Jennie and an irritation for others, it resulted in a great deal of personal and genealogical information being recorded that would otherwise be lost today or known with less confidence.Jennie revealed that Jack had been reluctant to apply for a pension because he did not want to accept government help as long as he could do for himself.Jennie identified her parents and the number of her brothers and sisters.Various relatives gave depositions.
Great detail was provided about Jennie's marriage to John Bear, and his biography, most of which was not known by Jennie herself, was compiled by the examiner.For example, it was learned that Bear remarried and died in 1897 at the alms house in Cumberland.After a careful and lengthy investigation, the examiner recommended that Jennie retain her pension.
Jennie died 2/6/1924 at the remarkable age of 101 years, six months, and 16 days.This precise age, which is consistent with census records going back to 1830 and is thus considered reliable, is recorded on Jennie's 1924 death certificate.It is also precisely repeated by modern Fazenbaker descendants to this day, including my grandmother (Jennie's granddauaghter, who turns 94 soon).Several of Jennie's children and grandchildren also enjoyed and are enjoying similarly remarkable longevity.Two grandchildren lived to age 101.Many of Jennie's other descendants lived and are living well into their 90s.