Tuscarora City

b_DECK Sadie

Miss Sadie Deck was born in 1856 and grew up a farmer’s daughter near Martinsburg, West Virginia.   Unlike her brother and five sisters who lived long lives, Sadie’s days on this earth were short.


I struggled with this identification because I could not find Tuscarora City, Virginia.  It wasn’t until I took my search to the newspapers that I found the answer.

1873 Apr 12 TUSCARORA CITY Shepherdstown Register Shepherdstown WVA
Apr. 12, 1873 ~ Shepherdstown Register (WVA)

About 1873, when this tintype image was taken, a failed push began to change the name of Martinsburg, West Virginia to Tuscarora City.  Why the name Tuscarora? The white colonizers stole the land where Martinsburg stands from the Tuscarora Native Americans.  As for the author’s use of Virginia instead of West Virginia…possibly they hadn’t embraced the state’s split some ten years earlier.

vDECK Sadie

On January 18, 1876, nineteen-year-old Sadie married her childhood friend and neighbor, William Boltz, and in October the couple became the proud parents of a daughter named Bessie Grace.  Their joy was brief as four days later Sadie perished.

Death continued to plaque William.  Little Bessie soon followed her mother to the grave.  William married again only to lose his second bride to typhoid fever in 1882.  The third time was a charm as his next spouse, Mary, outlived him.  Yet William still suffered the loss of an infant daughter, Rena, in 1889, and the death of his twenty-year-old daughters, Clara and Edith, in 1901 and 1903 respectively.

I wonder how often William, who lived to be 83, thought of Sadie, his first love.  I like to think that his memories of their time together, although short, came to mind once in a while.

“Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.” ~ George Eliot

Census records
Find a Grave
West Virginia death index
West Virginia birth index
West Virginia marriage index
Talkin’ Tar Heel: How Our Voices Tell the Story of North Carolina by Walt Wolfram and Jeffrey Reaser, pub. 2014
Aler’s History of Martinsburg and Berkeley County, West Virginia by Frank Vernon Aler, pub. 1888

12 thoughts on “Tuscarora City

  1. Interesting that the people of Martinsburg wanted to honor the original inhabitants, in an era when the Indian Wars were so fierce out west. I’ll bet William did fondly recall Sadie regularly. We who live in the age of antibiotics can hardly fathom the suffering families went through in earlier times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am often struck by the number of premature deaths many families in the past had to endure. Sometimes there are several children listed on gravestones who died before age 5 (just as an example), one after another. Also people in their early 20’s seem to be snatched away just as their adult lives are beginning. I ponder this quite a bit and grieve with these long-ago families. Thanks for all the great photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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