Kathryn Sullivan married Oscar Owen Mercer in 1892. I positively identify her and family in the 1900 Census living in Duluth, MN, although her first name is listed as "Catherine". At that time her children were Frank O Mercer, Chas M Mercer, and Harold V Mercer. Later Census' show 2 other children, Helen M Mercer (my grandmother) and Grace M Mercer (real spelling Grayce). Harold died of diphtheria at age 5 (per my mother; can't find documentation of death). Kathryn died 15 Aug 1949 in San Francisco. The others can be reliably traced to their deaths.
I spoke with my mother and was able to discern a few additional items about Kathryn's early life. Based on this, I no longer believe that the 20 year old Nellie Sullivan living in Cedar Rapids, IA in the 1880 Census is likely Kathryn's sister. Because the Nellie (Nellie Barlow, nee Sullivan) identified in the 1900 Census in Grand Forks, ND was definitely Kathryn's sister, I will accept Nellie's birth as listed in the 1900 Census as Oct 1865 as reliable.
- Father's name: John Sullivan
- There were 5 children: 2 older brothers, Nellie, Kathryn, a brother who drowned around age 2
- Mother dies when Kathryn is 3 (noted above)
- Father dies at some point
- Older brothers raise younger sisters for a period of time
- Home is isolated (requires overnight travel to "town" for supplies)
- Nellie marries, brothers no longer able to care for Kathryn
- Kathryn sent to live with "the Ursalines".
I'm going to take another look at the Iowa Census data and see if I turn up anything further based on this additional info.
Thanks again for the assistance.