Mary Louisa was born on September 7, 1844 in Kaw Township, Jackson County, Missouri. Her mother, Oney Biggs, died when she was five years old. Mary and her brothers went to live with William and Rebecca Oney Corel and their family. I could not find Mary Louisa in the 1855 Kansas Territorial Census, she and her older brother, Stewart, may have stayed in Missouri with their father. In 1860 there is a 17 year old Mary L. Peart living in Westport, Jackson County, Missouri who is employed as a servant.
Mary Louisa Peart and Joseph Boston Steele
On July 21, 1861 Mary married Joseph Boston Steele who was born June 10, 1928 in Virginia. On the 1910 Census, Mary states that she has 10 children, 4 living. From census records, I have found six of the children, all born in Kansas.
- John F. born about 1864. By 1895 John married a woman listed as Lennie on the Kansas Census. When I find John again in 1915, he no longer has a wife.
- Edward born about 1868. Edward married a woman named Birdie about August 1909.
- Elizabeth A. “Lizzie” born November 1869.
- William born about 1875 and died about 1903.
- Harvey born about 1877 and died before 1900
- Ophelia born March 1879.
From 1865 until her death in 1916, Mary Louisa lived in Wyandotte County, Kansas near current day Edwardsville. As I researched Mary in the census records, I came to realize that one cannot research just the Corel line and not delve into all of the ‘side’ lines. Too many of these other lines are well interwoven within the Corel line.
In 1865 Mary and her young family lived near William John and Louisa Corel Puckett as well as the Samuel Blevins family. Samuel Jr. would marry Nancy Puckett, daughter of Joshua and Margaret Corel Puckett in 1880.
In 1875 Mary and her family lived a few doors away from Mary Corel Puckett and her youngest children.
In 1880 Mary and family were living near both the George Q. Matney family, nephew of Henry Highland and Nancy Matney Corel, and Winfield Scott and Alice Puckett Holsinger. Alice is the daughter of John and Mary Corel Puckett.
William G. Cutler wrote the following about Joseph Boston Steel in Cutler’s book History of the State of Kansas, first published 1883. You can see the book reproduced online at The Kansas Collection of Books. Part 19 of Wyandotte County ends with the brief biography of William Justice.
JOSEPH BOSTON STEEL, farmer, Section 29, P. O. Argentine, was born in Tazewell County, Va., June 10, 1828, son of William and Mary Steel. His grandfather, Ralph Steel, was a veteran of the war of 1812. He lived until sixteen years of age in his native county then moved to Jackson County, Mo. Farmed two years, and then in the spring of 1855, moved to a new place on the Wakarusa Bottom, southwest of Topeka, in Shawnee County, Kan., where he remained eighteen months, during which time his mother died, and he returned to Jackson County, Mo., but in 1857, fall of the year, he moved into Wyandotte County, Kan., and engaged in teaming four years. He then rented a farm four miles from Kansas City, and after cultivating it four years, he bought it, and greatly improved it, and five years afterward sold out and purchased the farm which he has cultivated ever since. His home consists of 120 acres of, land, in a high state of cultivation, and well improved. Mr. Steel has served four years as Township Trustee, and is the present incumbent. Has also served eight years as Road Supervisor, and two years as Director of school district. He was married in Shawneetown, Johnson County, Kan., July 21, 1861, to Mary L. Peart, native of Jackson County, Mo., and daughter of Jonathan and Oney Peart. They have five children, viz.: John F., Edward, Lizzie, William C. and Ophelia. Mr. Steel is one of Wyandotte’s best citizens.
In 1885 Mary, listed as a widow born in Kentucky, and her children were still living near George Q. Matney and his family.
In 1895 Mary has three of her children living at home with her, Edward, William, and Ophelia. Two doors down lived John F. with his wife, Lennie. Next door to John was his sister and her family, Elizabeth and Franklin Klaber. Two doors from Elizabeth started a string of Matneys. Elisha M. and Isabell Cushard Matney lived in the first house with their children. Elisha’s parents lived next door, David B. and Emily Puckett Matney (Emily is the daughter of John and Mary Corel Puckett). On the other side of David and Emily was another son with his family, John R. and Alice Brown Matney.
By 1900 Mary has taken in two boarders and has Edward and Ophelia living with her. Mary has also stated that she has given birth to 10 children and at this time five are still living. Next door lives Mary’s daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons, Elizabeth, Frank, Royal, and Eugene.
Ophelia and Edward still live with Mary in 1905, and although not next door, Frank, Elizabeth and the boys still live a short distance away.
The next five years provided change for Mary and her children. Elizabeth and her family still live a few doors down from Mary who is now living with Ophelia and her husband of four years, Joseph F. Key. The census shows there is a servant and boarders living with the family as well. Next door to Elizabeth is Edward with his new bride, Birdie. According to the census the couple was married August 1909. Sadly, the census also shows that another of Mary’s children has died and she has four living children.
In 1915 Mary and her oldest son, John, are living with Edward and Birdie. Much further away than in previous years, but still within the same city, are Ophelia and Elizabeth with their respective families, separated by Elizabeth’s oldest son and his family.
Mary Louisa Peart Steele passed away July 25, 1916 in Wyandotte County, Kansas and was buried at Maple Hill Cemetery in Argentine, Wyandotte County, Kansas.