Birth Date:

February 1839?

Birth Location:


Death Date:

October 5, 1913

Death Location:

Kankakee, Illinois


Jones Cemetery (Beaver Creek)
Rural Papineau, Illinois

Sylvester Wadley
Elizabeth (?)
Mary Margaret

Sylvia Wadley married Orrin B. Clark
on December 31, 1855 in Kankakee County, Illinois.
They had three children together; O.B. Clark died on May 4, 1861.

She then married Stephen L. Benjamin in 1863.  They had three
children together; Stephen Benjamin died on September 10, 1872.
(It has been suggested that they were not legally married.
No record of their marriage can be located.)

She then married David Brown on May 22, 1873 in Kankakee County, Illinois.
(They were married by Case Wadley, Sylvia's uncle.)
David Brown died in March of 1874.

Her fourth and final marriage was to Chancey Smith
on March 3, 1881 in Iroquois County, Illinois.

Three Children with Clark Three Children with Benjamin







In 1850, 12-year-old Sylvia Wadley are is living with her parents and sister in District 21, Iroquois County, Illinois.

In the 1850’s, Sylvia Wadley and O. B. Clark lived only 6 miles apart.  They married  on January 1st, 1856; Sylvia was 18 years old, Orrin was 27.

In 1858, they had a daughter named Lydia.  The next year O.B. and Sylvia have another daughter, Alice.  At this time, O.B.'s widowed mother Sarah was living with them.

In 1860, O.B. and Sylvia Clark are living in Wygandt Township, Iroquois County, Illinois.  They have two children living with them, Lida and Alise.  They also have Orrin's mother Sarah Clark living with them.

In the winter of 1861, Baby Alice died.  A few months later, Sylvia gave birth to a baby boy, Major, born on April 22, 1861.  Twelve days later, O. B. Clark died.  He was 32.

Stephen Benjamin rented the 160 acres of Clark farm ground through Nelson Bancroft, a 33-year-old farmer from Martinton Township who was the administrator for O. B. Clark’s estate.  Sylvia apparently liked the new farmer for she married Stephen in 1863 and they continued to farm the Clark place.

The next year, Stephen and Sylvia had their first daughter, Emmaline.  About this time, Sallie Clark moved out of the house to live in the homes of her other children.

The following year, seven-year-old daughter Lydia died on the July 2, 1865.  So the household consisted Stephen, Sylvia, O. B.’s son Major, their daughter Emmaline.

In 1867, Stephen and Sylvia have their second child, a daughter named Caroline.

***** JLM 1868 *****

 In 1870, Stephen and Sylvia Benjamin are living in Papineau Township, Iroquois County, Illinois.  They have three children living with them, Major Clark (Sylvia's son by Orrin Clark), Emma and Caroline Benjamin.

On October 8, 1870, Sallie Clark sued her daughter-in-law Sylvia Wadley Clark Benjamin for support from the Clark farm, which she claimed she had not received since her son O. B. died.  Like many court cases, it lingered on and on.

In 1871, Stephen and Sylvia have their third child, a son named Levi.

      In September 1872, Stephen Benjamin died at the age of 38. Sylvia married David Brown on June 11th, 1873.

In November 1873, Judge Chamberlin decided in favor of Sallie Clark.

Nine months after Sylvia married David Brown, he died in March of 1874.

Two months later, Sallie Clark died, in May 1874.

The following month, Sylvia sued her 13-year-old son Major Clark as a result of the court decision and the deaths of O. B. and mother Sallie Clark.  The results of this case are that Sylvia got one third of the land, the house to live in, and $1000 for Lydia, the daughter who was living at the time of O. B.'s death.

        By 1880 Sylvia was living on a farm with William Dunning, Chancy Smith and Smith's 8-year-old son George.  Dunning, who was retired, owned the farm, on the north edge of Iroquois, that once belonged to Gurdon Hubbard who used it as a fur trading post at what was then called Bunkum.  Smith was farming the ground and Sylvia was keeping house for the men.

        Sylvia married Chancy Smith on March 2, 1880.  He was about twenty years older than her and she eventually had him placed in the Iroquois County poor farm.

In 1900, Sylvia Smith is living in Kankakee Township, Kankakee County, Illinois.  She has her three grandchildren, Sylvester, Arthur, and Gertrude, living with her.  (These are the children of her daughter Nell.)

In 1904, Sylvia Smith, widow, is living at 20 West Avenue in Kankakee, Illinois.

In 1910, Sylvia Smith is living in Kankakee, Illinois with her "grandson" Arthur Jones.

According to census records, Sylvia had a total of eleven children; only four survived beyond childhood and these four were alive in 1900 and 1910.

In an article in the Kankakee newspaper, Sylvia was reported as sick with cancer in December 1911.

This death notice appeared in the Kankakee Daily Republican on Monday, October 6, 1913.

Sylvia's body is believed to have been  interred in the mausoleum built by her daughter, Nell Clark.  After Nell's death, the mausoleum is supposed to have contained five bodies:  Carrie Benjamin Langan, Sylvia Wadley Smith, Arthur Clark, Gertrude Clark Berchier, and Nellie Clark.  In 1991, the deceased in the mausoleum were buried in unmarked graves, and today the mausoleum stands empty.


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