John Sloan married Mary Jane Cota 14 August 1880

John Sloan was born in 1854 in Magaguadavic, New Brunswick, son of David Sloan and Catherine Jamieson.  Later records give a variety of birth years for John.  Lacking an actual birth record, I am using his birth year according to the 1861 census, as that record was made closest in time to the event.  In 1861, John’s family lived in Prince William, York county in New Brunswick.  David was a farmer, and the family was Presbyterian.  John’s race was listed as “native”. has added “Native American”.  I think Ancestry is wrong, that he is native because he was born in New Brunswick, as opposed to Scotland or Ireland.  Another thing that makes me think he is not a “Native American” is because not a single person on that sheet was listed as having been born in NB.  I have sent a suggestion to Ancestry to check on that, because I think people will start claiming to have Native American blood based on how Ancestry interpreted what the census taker wrote. 

In 1871, John’s family still lived at Prince William, NB.  His father was a lumberer.  John, at 16, was a laborer.  The next four younger children were in school, and the three youngest were at home. I was not able to find John in the 1880 census, which was taken on or about June 1.    

Mary Jane Cota was born 6 July 1860 in Essex, VT.  She was the second of eight children of Henry Cota and Elizabeth LaClair.  In 1860, her father was a railroad laborer.  Henry and Elizabeth moved their family back to Ste Cécile de Milton in Quebec, where he was a farmer. 

The Cotas moved back to Vermont.  In 1880, Mary lived in Bartlett NH, and worked in a peg mill. Tiny wooden pegs were used to attach shoe uppers to shoe soles, in place of stitching them together.  They were cheaper to make, but not as durable. Mary lived in a boarding house.  One of the other tenants was Nelson Brooks, who later married her sister Elizabeth.

John Sloan married Mary Jane Cota on 14 August 1880 in Bartlett.  Although I didn’t find him in the census there, the record says that both were residence of Bartlett.  He was a lumberman so perhaps was away in a lumber camp that didn’t get counted for the census.  Mary was a housekeeper, this was the first marriage for both, and was performed by A.L. Meserve, justice of the peace.    

John and Mary had three children all born in Bartlett.  Edward John “Jack” was born in 1882.  He married and settled in New York.  Maud May was born in 1885, but died at four months from cholera.  William H “Willie” was born in 1887, but drowned at about age 16.  (I have not yet found his death record.)

In 1900, John lived in Bartlett, and reported that his father was from Scotland and his mother from Ireland – more indication that the 1861 census “race” was not what Ancestry relabeled as “Native American”.  John was a railroad conductor, and his son Edward was a railroad laborer, at age 16.  William was 13 and at school. 

Mary was not in the household.  I found her listed as a prisoner at Maine General Hospital in Portland.  I am sure that this is the right person, as the birth date and place match, the marriage date matches, and the number of children born and still living.  Plus someone had noted in the margin that she was from Bartlett NH.  I am not sure why she was there.  I have seen the term “inmate” used for a hospital patient, but had not seen the word “prisoner” before.  I thought this might have been a mental institution, but it appears that the two Maine “insane asylums” of that era were in Bangor and Augusta, and the Portland facility was a general hospital.

Whatever Mary’s reason to be in the hospital, she was released, and in 1910, she and John lived in Bartlett, where John worked as a railroad conductor.   Son Edward had married and moved out, and Willie had died about 1903.  The other family member was Mary’s mother, Bessie Cota. 

John and Mary lived in Bartlett in 1920.  They owned their home and it was free of mortgage, on the state road in Bartlett.  Both could read and write.  John was a flagman for the railroad.   Mary Sloan was also recorded as living with her sister, Martha Woodward, in Lebanon. 

After 42 years of marriage, John and Mary divorced.   On 1 February 1922 in Lebanon NH, Mary married Herman A Ford, widower, age 71, employed as a nickel plater. He died of diabetes on 5 January 1929 in Lebanon, and was buried at Glenwood cemetery with his first wife and two daughters. 

In 1930, Mary lived at 7 River Street in Lebanon.  She own a home valued at $1000, and owned a radio.  She did not list an occupation.  Mary died 11 November 1947 in Lebanon. Cause of death was not listed.

On 4 November 1922, John Sloan married a widow, Sylvia A Munch (nee Burnell).  In 1930, they lived in Bartlett, where John age 76 (but claiming to be 73) was still working as a railroad flagman.  They owned their home, which was valued at $4000, but did not own a radio. 

John died 5 December 1942 in Bartlett.  I do not have a death date for Sylvia.



  1. Mary Anne Lyster said,

    March 28, 2017 at 18:57

    Hi Susan,
    I am sure that by now you have probably found the divorce record for Mary and Herman Ford. But if not they were divorced on October 11, 1923 due to conduct injurious to health. I have saved a copy of the divorce record if you dont have it I could send it to you.

    Mary Anne Lyster

    • sooze471 said,

      March 28, 2017 at 19:19

      How eerie – of all the people in my trees, I was open to Mary Jane’s record when your comment popped in. Yes, since writing that story, I had discovered the divorce record for Mary and Herman Ford. I also found the burial information for John Sloan’s second wife Sylvia – she died in 1949 and is buried with her first husband Merville Murch (thanks Find-A-Grave).

      Thank you for taking time to read and comment.

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