According to family legend Charity Amelia Thomas was born in a log cabin in Gustavus, Ohio 1840. She married her first husband Albert Vanderwyst (1820s-1882) probably in either Gustavus or around Conneaut Lake (Crawford Co., Pennsylvania) on July 1, 1856 (family bible). She had her first child in Pennsylvania in 1859 and by 1860 was living in Brooklyn Twp., just south of Cleveland Ohio (1860 census).
By 1870 the family had purchased a large tract of land in the village of Brighton, right near where the Cleveland Zoo is located. On the premises she and her husband hosted the tiny catholic congregation of that area until they could build their first church in 1875. Charity's brother Albert Henry Thomas (1848-1928) likely lived nearby if not with Charity and her family, for his eldest child is born in Brighton in 1878, although by 1880 he had moved to Medina Co., Ohio. In 1880 it appears as if her husband Albert was ill since the family had moved close to his business on the Near West Side of Cleveland (1880 census). Albert died on November 20th 1882.
According to probate court documents Charity sold her husband's share in his cooperage business in 1883 to her husband's partner, William Greif , and she remarried to one Theodore Werk a day short of the first anniversary of Albert's death (marriage record). Theodore appears to have died on December 7 1896 at the age of 62 (Cleveland Necrology File) but 1886 is more likely as Charity remarried again to one Edward T. Granger on July 7, 1892 (marriage record) and there is no indication that she was ever divorced. Granger was reputed in family legends to have been a Cleveland Fire Chief, but we have not uncovered any evidence of this. Family legend also has Granger dying well before Charity, but we have yet to find any record of that either.
Certainly by the 1910s Charity has reverted to using "Vanderwyst" as her last name, suggesting that Edward was out of the picture (1910 census). She appears to have lived continuously at 3429 Broadview Road, Cleveland, which was part of the old Vanderwyst holdings from the 1860s (see Albert Vanderwyst (1820s-1882) for more detail). In 1910 she is living with her 46 year old widower son Albert Joseph Vanderwyst (1863-1932), her son Stephen's (step?) child Elmer, and her daughter Lila Mae's son William Albright (b.1899)., as well as with three boarders. By 1920 her family have all moved out, but she still has numerous boarders living in the house.
Family legend has it that in her eighties Charity could still be found up on the roof hammering shingles. When her son asked her why, at her age, she didn't call in a roofer she hollered back down "Roofers don't know their ass from a hole in the ground!".
Charity died October 29, 1926 and is buried at St. Mary's next to her first husband Albert.
Not much is known about Jairus Thomas. On his 1880 census return he reported that he was eighty years old and a retired "moulder", and that he and his parents had both been born in Connecticut (his wife Cynthia was also born in Connecticut but her parents were both born in New York state). Nothing is known about his early life until 1837 when he appears on the tax rolls in Gustavus Twp., Trumbull Co. Ohio. At that time he owned no real estate, one horse (worth $40) and one cow (worth $8). By 1840 he had acquired a furnace (for metal working) and by 1841 he had 2 acres of land (rented?) as well as a second horse (Trumbull Co. tax rolls). However, a map (above) from 1840 seems to indicate his possession of the same plot of land at least two years before this.
In 1843 Jairus purchased 3 acres of land from E.C.Selby for $120 (land transfer record). In 1847 he sold the same parcel of land for $150 to a Henry Thomas, who appears to be his son, for in 1854 Henry Thomas and Jairus Thomas Jr. sell the property back to Selby for $300 (land transfer documents). It is unclear whether Jairus was still working his forge in Gustavus Twp. by this time. A pamphlet published by the Gustavus Historical Society says that an "1856 map shows an iron foundry at the southeast corner of Route 87 and Hayes Rd. operated by Mr. Thomas" (Gustavus Story 1800-1965, p.21), but this could refer to Jairus or one of his male children. We suspect that he moved next to the nearby Conneaut area of Crawford Co. Pennsylvania, but that is just speculation. By 1880 he is retired and living in Tunersville, Crawford Co., Pennsylvania. His and Cynthia's date of death are unknown.
Albert Henry Thomas was born in 1848 in Gustavus Twp., Trumbull Co. Ohio to Jairus Thomas (b.1800) and his wife Cynthia. By the early 1870s he is living in Cuyahoga Co., Ohio since that is where he married his wife Imogene Wilsen (1850-1923). In 1878 he is living in Brooklyn Twp., Cuyahoga Co. Ohio (Imogene Thomas' birth record www.familysearch.com): it is likely that he was in close contact with his sister Charity Amelia Thomas (1840-1926) at this time. By 1880 he has moved to Medina, Medina Co., Ohio, and is apparently engaged in farming (1880 census). In his obituary it says that he carried mail over different parts of Medina Co. for 38 years and that he retired in 1921. His daughter Mettie married a Wacker/Wocker and continued to live in Medina, while his daughter Imogene married a Collister and moved to Lakewood and his son Albert moved to Lorain. He is buried with his wife at Spring Grove Cemetery, Medina (Obituary, Medina Co. Gazette, Aug 24, 1928).