Friday, April 11, 2014

Orlow Bronson Griffin 1807-1851 Essex, Vermont, Will

The first deed is for Lot 103 which became Orlow's home lot. He made the purchase from his father making them neighbors. Orlow / Samuel / Samuel / Samuel Griffin of Killingworth

Theron Bradley of Essex

Theron Bradley is the son of Samuel Cornel Bradley and his wife Abigail Brownson. His birth on May 7, 1785 is recorded in Volume One of the land deed ledgers in Sunderland, Vermont. His father Samuel was born in Guilford, Connecticut, his mother in Salisbury, Connecticut. The Bradley and Brownson families were part of the group that founded Sunderland in the 1760s. The town records provide some clarity to the spelling of family names. Brownson is written Bronson in some family trees. In the Sunderland records his uncle Timothy spelled his name Brownson. Timothy Brownson may have been the leading citizen in Sunderland. Referred to as Colonel Brownson he led the local militia. The militia played a large part in the life of the community. The militia protected local claims to the land from claims submitted by other colonies mainly New York. In addition in the late 1700’s the Indians were a very real every day challenge. The Sunderland militia played a major role in the Battle of Bennington a major event in the Revolutionary War. Both Timothy Brownson and Samuel Cornel Bradley have their names etched in the large stone monument erected to celebrate the event. The names of Theron’s grandfather Stephen Bradley and his father Samuel Cornel appear multiple times in the Sunderland records. His father’s name is always spelled Samuel Cornel Bradley. Historically the name Cornel has had a number of different spellings. At some time around 1787 Theron’s family moved to Essex, Vermont. Samuel Cornel Bradley, along with the Griffins, was in the first group to purchase lots from the original proprietors. Samuel was to play a leading role in the new community. As a Deacon in the Congregational Society he took the lead role in the most important institution in town. He served as town clerk, the leading administrator, for many years and served as the Capt. of the militia. Surviving personal histories from the period describe a life centered on reclaiming farm land from the heavily forested landscape. Cutting and burning trees was a major occupation for a young son on his father’s farm. The town history shows Theron as being a member of the local militia that served in the War of 1812. The unit played a part in the Battle of Plattsburgh a city on Lake Champlain. The battle ended the final invasion of the northern states by the British. Theron did not marry until he was 45 marrying Amanda Ring in Essex on May 10, 1830. The 1840 census finds the family still in Essex now composed of Theron and Amanda and 3 sons. The 1850 census, the first to list each member of a household, lists only Theron and Amanda. This circumstance probably accounts for the fact that most family histories seemed to indicate that they did not have any children. But the schools records from the 1840’s indicate that Theron had 3 children enrolled in the local schools. In the Essex town records we find notice of his death, Theron Bradley February 28, 1867 at the age of 81 yrs and 9 mo. His parents are listed as Samuel and Abigail Bradley. We find a brief death record in the Williston town records for Amanda, “Bradley Amanda Ring, Dec 3, 1880”. We have managed to piece together a picture of his family from the Essex town records. In the time frame of the 1840s and 1850s the only Bradley family in Essex was Theron’s. _____________We find a marriage record for a L. S. Bradley of Essex and Sarah Ann Button of Underhill dated June 29. 1856. In the death records we find the records for his daughter Edna Louise age 3 dated January 20, 1859. Edna’s parents are identified as Lowell S. and Sarah A. Bradley. We find a hint of the family connection in the Essex Common Burial Ground. Edna is buried next to her cousin Sylvia E. Bradley. The cemetery record identifies Edna as the daughter of L.S. and S. A. Bradley. Sylvia is the daughter of Lowell’s brother Norman. Norman’s records clearly identify him as the son of Theron Bradley. There is very little history for Lowell. We do not have a death record for he or his wife. We find him in the 1850 census living in Essex as an apprentice to a shoe maker listed under the “S’ middle name, Serene Bradley age 19. In 1860 he is again listed as a shoemaker age 29. In 1860 he is living alone no spouse no children. A 1864 land deed is the last record we have for Lowell Serene Bradley born probably in 1831 the year after his parent’s marriage. ______________We have a detailed death record for the second son in the family Norman S. Bradley dated December 30, 1903 in Williston, Vermont. Bradley Norman S. ,age 70 yrs, 4 mo and 23 days, Born in Essex , Parents Theron Bradley and Amanda Ring. That places his date of birth at August 7, 1833. The 1900 census lists his birth as Aug, 1833. There is a family history that suggests his name was Norman Samuel Bradley. Norman married Sarah McDonald in Essex August 20, 1854. Norman and Sarah had 6 children together. ____________The third son Henry S Bradley was born in 1836 when Theron was 51. We have a detailed marriage record for Henry. “”5th day of May AD 1860 Mr. Henry S. Bradley of said Essex aged 24 years by occupation a Farmer born in said Essex the son Theron and Amanda Bradley and Miss. Ann Hall of said Essex aged 19 born in England the daughter of George and Betsy Hall”. In the 1850 census we find Henry, age 13, in the household of his Aunt Abigail Bradley and her husband Horace Halbert. In 1860 he is listed in Essex his household includes Ann and a son William 5 months old. Henry joined company F of the 9th Regiment of Vermont Infantry June 14, 1862. Regimental records list his death from disease Oct 1, 1862. The 9th was at Harpers Ferry at the time of southern general Stonewall Jackson’s famous Valley campaign. Stonewall attacked on September 13, 1862. The battle lasted for 3 days with the whole 9th regiment surrendering on the 15th. Initially paroled to Annapolis, Maryland by September 25th they were in Chicago. Parole meant they were confined to camp until they were exchanged for southern prisoners. The exchange occurred on January 10, 1863 too late for Henry. Henry died from disease probably due to condition relating to camp life. There is no record of where he actually died or was buried. We do not have any records of what happened to his family. There is a brief record in the Essex probate files and a land deed transferring his property to his wife Ann. The Probate record notes, “Six acres of land with a dwelling house standing thereon being the homestead of said deceased”. It is dated December 30, 1862. ______________ Theron Bradley / Samuel Cornel / Stephen / Stephen / Stephen / Stephen Bradley-Hannah Smith of Guilford.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Henry Dennison Davis of Killingworth

Henry Dennison Davis, the son of Leonard Davis and Arta Hill, was baptized in the Union Episcopal Society April 22, 1827. We published the family history for Leonard’s family in October and September of 2013. In the Killingworth town records and in the Congregational Second Society records we find recorded his marriage to Diantha Griswold on October 21, 1846. The fact that the marriage was recorded in the Congregational records suggests Diantha’s family were members. Henry on the other hand was a member of Union Episcopal Society. The name Diantha is of American origin. It is a contraction of the two names Diana and Anthea. In her death record she is identified as the daughter of Ebenezer Griswold having been born in Killingworth. Her date of death is March 12, 1901. The record lists her age as 81 years 2 months and 6 days suggesting a date of birth on May 6, 1820. The 1900 census places her birth in January 1820. Town records identify her mother as Anna Campbell of Middletown. Her parents are buried in the Nettleton Cemetery in Killingworth. Henry and Diantha are buried in the family plot in the Stone House Cemetery. “Davis Henry D., died Dec 16, 1868, age 42 yrs”. Davis Dianthia Griswold, wife of Henry D. died Mar 12, 1901 age 81 yrs”. _____________ Henry’s will and the census records paint a picture of the life shared by Henry and Diantha. The life of the Davis family was centered around the large farm created by his grand parents Azuba Griffin and Henry Davis. His father Leonard Davis inherited the lion’s share of the farm, which in turn was divided between Henry and his siblings. They added to the farm ground by buying up surrounding properties. The 1850 and 1860 Killingworth census shows living in 3 successive households, Henry’s mother Arta, Henry and Diantha and the family of his sister Orpha with her husband William Skinner and their children. They each owned a portion of the original farm I suspect they farmed it in something of a cooperative manner. ________________ When Henry died in 1868 he left behind a detailed will. “Estate of Henry D. Davis late of Killingworth in said district deceased. The subscribers appointed to set out and distribute to Diantha Davis widow of said deceased”. The inventory in the will suggests that Henry had lived the life of a successful farmer. Of a personal nature is listed 3 different hats, a black frock coat, a black sack coat, cashmere pants, black pants, cashmere vest, satin vest and calf boots. Listed is a writing deck and books including 2 Bibles. For a gentleman’s leisure a fowling piece and a bamboo fish pole. Listed are an ox cart, sled and wagon and a buggy wagon. Also listed are the implements needed to run a farm. The family larder contained large amounts of beef and pork also potatoes and turnips. Included are wine, cider and sorghum barrels. Included in his bequests was $56.75 to the Episcopal Society in whose record’s Henry’s name appears frequently. He leaves some of his property to his sister Orpha Skinner and his brother Joel H. Davis along with his sister Eleanor Francis’s children. The 1870 census shows Diantha still living next to her sister in law Orpha Skinner. By 1880 the Skinners have moved to Haddam and Diantha is living alone living on the assets left to her by Henry. In the 1900 census she is part of her brother Stephens’s household. Stephen had never married they died one month apart in 1901 both listed as the children of Ebenezer Griswold. Diantha and Henry did not have any children. The cause of Henry’s death is listed as epilepsy. Diantha was 6 years older than Henry, a somewhat unusual circumstance, and never remarried living for 34 years as a widow. I have a suspicion that they were a somewhat handicapped couple that found contentment, companionship and a comfortable life together. _______________ Henry Dennison Davis / Leonard / Azuba Griffin / Samuel Griffin / Samuel Griffin of Killingworth

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Will of Henry Francis husband of Eleanor Davis

The will of Henry Francis includes a detailed listing of his assets. The assets describe a typical Connecticut farm. The dower portion of his will goes to his 4th wife Esther A Bunnel. The will lists his surviving children. From his marriage to Eleanor Davis, Emma A. Scranton, Sabrina D. Stone, and Eleanor A. Burr. From his marriage to Rachael Hill his surviving sons Friend Hill and Charles O. they had lost 4 children to diphtheria Martha, George, Jane and Rachael Estelle. Listed are 4 children from his marriage to Harriet Kelsey Lane, Rosilla, Mary Jane, Mertie A. and Henry E.

Eleanor Davis and Henry Francis

Most of the projects on the Blog get their start from inherited family traditions or histories. Our role has been to paint a picture of these cousins using the documentary trail they left behind. I am intrigued by the images I find in these documents. Reading in Arta Hill Davis’s probate that she left behind 3 lace caps painted a picture of Arta in my minds eye. She ceased to be merely a historical figure and became the picture of a pious New England Congregationalist women sitting in church with her head modestly covered. Family tradition had painted an incomplete picture of the family of Leonard Davis. There seemed to be a lack of concrete documentary evidence. The discovery of a one-word hint in the Killingworth 2nd Society records changed all of that. In the Second Society ledger is found the death notice for Leonard Davis as part of that notice is one word “Episcopalian”. That one word started our hunt for the Episcopal records and the discovery of a part of the Killingworth Davis Family history. We had known for some time that Leonard was buried in the Stone House Cemetery next to his parents, Henry and Azuba Griffin Davis, along with two of his children Joel and Henry. There was no definitive understanding of the history of the rest of his children. The recovery of Leonard’s will only served to further confuse the situation. Listed were Orpha Skinner, Emma Scranton, Sabrina Stone, Eleanor Burr, Henry D. Davis, Emily S. Davis and Joel H. Davis. Buried next to Leonard was the Henry D. Davis listed in the will and Joel Hobart Davis who died in 1825 at the age of 2. So who was the Joel Davis and his wife Emily S. Davis identified as a married couple in the will? Did Leonard have a family that included 4 girls, Henry D. and 2 son’s named Joel? The search for the answer to these questions led us to the notation “Episcopalian” and our eventual discovery of the records of the Union Episcopal Society in Killingworth. The Union Episcopal records revealed the names of five children; Eleanor, Orpha, Joel, Henry and a second Joel Hobart. The first Joel and his brother Henry are buried next to their father. We recently published the family history for the 2nd Joel (Dec 2013) named after his older brother who died at a young age. The will names 4 girls the church records only 2? We had an Eleanor in the church records and an Eleanor Burr in the will. The church records had listed an Orpha and the will an Orpha Skinner. But who were the two extra girls listed in the will, Emma A. Scranton and Sabrina D. Stone? The church records listed baptismal dates of 1816 and 1820. Using that date range we searched the census records for these daughters using the married names discovered in the will. We quickly found the family of Orpha Davis. Orpha married William S. Skinner. Orpha and William are buried in the Stone House Cemetery with the rest of the extended family. Her headstone reads Orpha Davis Skinner. The Skinner family records for their 6 children are found in the various Killingworth records. Using the 1816-1820 time frame we did not find any reference to the other 3 girls. After a pause to reconsider our premise that these names represent Leonard’s daughters we preceded based on the assumption that they may in fact be granddaughters. Adjusting the dates of our search we soon came up with census and eventually burial records for the 3 girls. To our delight the burial records for 2 of the girls included their maiden as well as married name. Emma A. Francis Scranton, Sabrina D. Francis Stone. We had assumed that the Eleanor found in the Episcopal records and the Eleanor Burr in the will were the same person. Failing to find an Eleanor Burr using Eleanor’s baptismal date in 1816 we searched for a granddaughter of the same name. We soon found in the Killingworth records an Eleanor Burr wife of Harmon Burr. The birth records for her children list their parents as Harmon Burr and Eleanor A. Francis. The obvious conclusion now became that the 3 girls in the will were all sisters Emma, Sabrina and Eleanor Francis named in the will to inherit their mother Eleanor’s portion. Based on this information we went on a search for Leonard’s daughter Eleanor assuming that her married name must be Francis and that she had preceded her father in death. It should have been no surprise that we find her buried near her parents in the Stone House Cemetery were she had been hiding in plain sight all along. Eleanor Francis, wife of Henry, died Sept 9, 1841, age 26 yrs. Next to her Henry Francis, died Sept 22, 1874, age 60 yrs. The youngest of the 3 daughters Eleanor was born July 15, 1841 her mother passing away 7 weeks later possibly from the stress of childbirth. ___________ We only have two documents from the life of Eleanor Davis. We have the inscription from her headstone and the notation of her baptism, “11 February 1816 Baptized by Mr. Baldwin Eleanor Daughter of Leonard Davis”. The historical evidence tells us she married Henry Francis. Both the Davis family and Francis families were based in Killingworth. Eleanor and Henry made a home in Killingworth farming along side the Davis dairy farm. Their life was interrupted by her untimely death soon after the birth of their 3rd child. The history for Eleanor Davis is the history of her 3 daughters and her husband Henry Francis. In Henry’s will he names their 3 daughters Emma A. Scranton, Sabrina D. Stone and Eleanor A Burr. The will lists 6 different parcels of land totaling 148.5 acres. The main farm contained 86 acres and an old barn. Also listed are 2 cow houses and a 24-acre plot with a new barn. The inventory contains farm equipment, a hay cutter and hay rake, 5 ox yokes and an ox wagon. Listed are rye, wheat and potatoes. One of the items for the house is 2 vinegar barrels. Harmon Burr’s will noted he had 80 gallons of vinegar a testimony to how many things they must have been pickling. One item in particular is interesting a notation for “Cash on hand” the amount $6.23. _______________ Emma A. Francis was born, according to the 1900 census, in July of 1835. In the Episcopal records in Middletown is a record of her marriage to Alfred B. Scranton dated October 6, 1861. Emma and Alfred lived for a time in Killingworth but the birth records for their 3 daughters are found in the Madison town records where they lived the farm life. The oldest child was Martha Estella born August 24, 1865. The town records list the husband and wife by age. The records also list the mother of the child by her maiden name. For Martha we have Alfred B. Scranton age 29 and Emma A. Francis age 30. In Madison we also find a birth record for Mary Eleanor October 27, 1869 and Edna Francis, listed as the 3rd child, May 10, 1874. In the Union Episcopal Society in Killingworth we also have baptismal records for Martha Estella on Oct 7, 1865 and Edna Francis October 18, 1874. Emma and Alfred must have lived in North Madison. The Union Episcopal society was made up of members from the northern end of both Madison and Killingworth. We find Emma and Alfred’s named appearing quite frequently in the Episcopal records. By the time of the 1900 census the family consisting of Emma, Alfred along with Mary and Edna neither of whom ever married, is living in Middletown. By 1910 Edna has disappeared and Mary is listed as the head of the house her parents as part of her household. The census notes that she was the owner of a dress making shop. The oldest daughter Martha married Charles S. Loveland in 1887. They were still living in Durham in the 1930 census. Emma, Alfred and Mary are buried in a family plot in the West Cemetery in Madison. “Alfred B. Scranton born 1836, died 1917. Emma A. Francis Scranton, wife of Alfred B., born 1835, died 1914. Mary Eleanor Scranton, daughter of Alfred B. & Emma A. born 1869.” Mary died Oct 6, 1955 in Durham. Having been listed as a dressmaker in the Middletown city directory into the 1950’s it is my guess that she was with her sister Martha or Martha’s children in Durham at the time of her death. _______________ Sabrina D. Francis was born in Killingworth, according to her headstone, July 21, 1838. In the Killingworth town records we have a record of her marriage. “1860 Jan. 4, Gilbert S. Stone, Sabrina Francis, 25/17, Madison and Killingworth”. The birth of their 5 children is recorded in the Madison town records; Edith Eleanor, Alton Lewis, Carrie Antoinette, George Francis and Charles Gilbert. Note the liberal use of family names. Their parents are listed as Gilbert Stone and Sabrina D. Francis. The 1900 census notes Gilbert’s occupation as “Capitalist”. Their sons are listed as “provision providers”. It is my guess that the family was involved in servicing the fleet of ships that made Madison their homeport. The Stone’s are buried in the New Cemetery in Durham. “Gilbert S. Stone., born March 19, 1839, died Oct. 5, 1903, age 64. Sabrina D. Francis Stone, wife of Gilbert S. Stone, born July 21, 1838, died June 6, 1906, age 68”. ________________ Eleanor Anna Francis was born according to her headstone July 15, 1841. Her mother Eleanor Davis Francis was to die soon after on September 9, 1841. In the 1850 census she is listed as Anna E., in 1860 as Eleanor A. Eleanor married Harmon Burr in Killingworth on August 20, 1862. Their 2 children were also born in Killingworth Eva Luella December 9, 1865 and Wilton/Willie January 10, 1867. Their parents are listed as Harmon Burr and Eleanor A. Francis. Harmon died at the age of 35 December 30, 1871 followed two years later by his son Wilton. The Burr’s were a farm family. Harmon’s will lists “A dwelling house and barn and wood house”. There were 2 plots of land totaling 47 acres. Among the listed assets 10 bushels of rye, 19 bushel’s of corn, 14 of buckwheat and 33 bushels of potatoes. As a commentary on their home life a “washing machine” was listed in the inventory. The extended Burr family is buried in the Nettleton Cemetery in Killingworth including Harmon’s parents Martin and Lucretia Burr. Eleanor took Edward Burr as her 2nd husband. Edward was from Haddam. His first wife Eliza Hough had died in 1876. The 1880 census finds Eleanor and her daughter Eva as part of Edward’s household in Haddam. Edward died in 1907 and is buried next to Eliza in the Burr Family Cemetery in Haddam. Eleanor is buried in Killingworth next to Harmon. “Eleanor A. Burr, born July 15, 1841, died July 9, 1912.” ______________ While collecting material to finish this essay I became aware of a history published by the Francis family in 1906 titled, The Descendants of Robert Francis of Wethersfield. The Francis family had documented the family of Henry Francis but ran into a roadblock trying to identify the family of Eleanor Davis. We had just the opposite problem. Now we can combine the two histories. As I read the material in the Francis family history I wondered about the source for their data. One hint might be found in Henry Francis’s will. As part of the legacy to his son Friend was a “Bible containing the family records of the Francis family.” Henry Francis was the son of Friend Wicks Francis and his wife Anna White. Henry was born in Killingworth Aug 2, 1814. The Francis family history places their marriage date on April 14, 1833. There are no remaining birth records for the 3 girls in Killingworth. The Francis history lists them as Emma A. July 21, 1835, Sabrina July 21, 1838, and Eleanor July 15, 1841. We have postulated previously that the Stone House Cemetery was named after the stone house owned by Henry and Azuba Griffin Davis and served as a family cemetery for the extended Davis family. The next largest family group in Stone House is the Francis family. Friend and Anna are buried there. I am assuming that there was some familiarity between the two families thus the courtship and marriage. The early death of Eleanor cut short the marriage for the young couple, which accounts for the lack of a family history. After Eleanor’s death in 1841 Henry took as his 2nd wife Rachael Hill. They married February 28, 1843. Their children were Martha, Friend Hill, Charles, George, Jane and Rachel Estelle born October 12, 1857. Childbirth was very unkind to Henry. We find the death record for Rachel in the Killingworth records dated October 12, 1857 on her childbed. Henry then married Harriet Kelsey Lane. The couple had 4 children together Roselle, Mary Jane, Mertie A. and Henry E. As if losing 2 young wives was not challenge enough diphtheria ravaged the Francis household in the fall of 1862. Rachael Estelle died October 27, Martha, November 2, George, November 11 and Jane M., January 1. Henry lost his 3rd wife Harriet January 4, 1867. The next day Eleanor Davis Francis’s mother, Arta Hill Davis, passed away. The Killingworth records list a “4th” marriage for Henry. On March 24, 1868 he married the widow Esther A Holbrook maiden name Bunnel. Childbirth was again cruel to Henry. At the age of 56 he suffered the lost of a daughter April 26, 1870 recorded as stillborn. In 1871 the same fate for a son. Henry’s death is part of the Killingworth records the cause of death is listed as “Hemorrhage”. Henry is buried in the Stone House Cemetery in the Francis family plot. “Henry Francis, died Sept 22, 1874, age 60 yrs.”_________________ Orpha Davis Skinner, Eleanor Davis Francis / Leonard Davis / Azuba Griffin / Samuel–Marah / Samuel Griffin of Killingworth.