Now that I’ve taken a breather from researching the connection between the Kruse, Murdock and Stevens families of Lafayette, Indiana, to travel back home, it’s time to pick up the task once again. After all, now that we know who the players are, we need to know more about the play.
Going through the many steps it took to figure out who, exactly, the unfortunate Raphael Kruse might have been was a tedious process, true. But worth it, when you consider how many connections and details this search yielded.
Before moving on, it’s sometimes helpful—and encouraging—to stop and take a look back and realize what’s been gained by the “journey.” Of course, what you might not have realized is that I had been forcing puzzle pieces together in places where they didn’t fit for a good ten to fifteen years. Putting this story down in blog form allows the episodes to telescope nicely into a package in a way that might not have seemed wearying to you. But believe me, jamming those square facts into tiny round holes for all those years was a frustrating process. The relief in finding the explanation comes in at the equivalent of, oh, storm clouds clearing and rays of sunshine bursting forth as angel choirs sing.
Here’s what I gained by pursuing that little mystery:
- I finally found Eliza Murdock—now Clark—in the 1860 census, just prior to her marriage to widower John Stevens
- I finally figured out who the mysterious “Mrs. Henry Kruse” was from Eliza’s obituary
- I was spared the purgatorial doom of having to search through umpteen possible creative spelling renditions of the surname Kruse and three tries per each rendition by having to plug in John Stevens’ three daughters’ names to each variant
- I finally found Eliza in her own family constellation, substantiating some of her brothers’ names which had been mentioned—but previously not located in corroborating documentation—in her husband’s obituary
- I then was able to trace Eliza’s siblings in that 1860 census listing to discover more about the Murdock family through other records
- Most important—and to the point of addressing the mystery news report that started me on this chase in the first place—I was able to piece together the family constellation of Henry and Nellie Kruse and discover the connection between little Raphael Kruse and his uncle, the policeman from Fort Wayne, John Kelly Stevens.
However, even after such an exhaustive exercise, I discovered there was still much that I didn’t yet know.