Sunday, January 20, 2013
Death of Marah Griffin August 13, 1765
Marah and Samuel Griffin’s marriage lasted a short six years. Yet despite this brief time together they enjoy the legacy of a large and successful posterity. Their posterity is traced mainly through the family names of Kelsey, Doud and Davis. Through our research we have come to know more of their posterity than they, in particular, Marah. We would like to address that topic as best as we can. The date and location for the birth of Marah “Griffin” Griffin remains an open question. The Barbour Collection would seem to suggest that at the time of her marriage she was living in Killingworth with several of her siblings. However there is no record of her parents or a recorded birth date in the existing Killingworth records. Discovering even her last name posed a challenge. In the town records there are several lists of marriages, each covering a few selected years. In these records we see listed husbands and wives with each new bride being listed by her first, and most importantly, last name. On one such list she is identified as Marah “Griffin”. We also see in the records three people who historical context would suggest could very well be her siblings. Ame Griffin who married Elihu Wellman, April 17, 1744, Elizabeth Griffin who married Benjamin Turner, November 15, 1753, Samuel and Marah bought their home lot from Benjamin Turner. The last possible sibling was William Griffin who married Eunice Crane, May 13, 1769. These three additional marriages help establish the presence of a second Griffin family in the Second Society. The First Society had within its boundaries a third identifiable Griffin clan. The existence and identity of that clan was discussed in our article on the family of James N Griffin. Marah’s documentary history in Killingworth starts with her marriage to Samuel Griffin on May 17, 1759 (document). Key for our discussion here is the fact that there remains some confusion concerning the spelling of her first name and the date of her death. In the blog we have made note of the three spellings used in the various records, Marah, Mariah, and Mary. In the documentary history there are only two different spellings. In her marriage record and death records, both found in Volume Two of the Town Records, her name is written as “Marah.” The Barbour Collection is taken from these town records. For her marriage record Barbour used the correct spelling Marah. For her death record there is a transcription error changing the name to Mariah. This entry in the Barbour Collection is the only source for the “Mariah” spelling. In the church records we see listed people who on a yearly basis were admitted to Full Communion. We see Samuel Griffin and Mary the wife of Samuel Griffin listed on July 19, 1761 (document). This record is the source for the name Mary that I have always assumed was a version of Marah. The commonly used date for Marah’s death is the Barbour date of August 13, 1763, which is taken from the town record. (document). As part of the documentation that we are presenting is a notation that is written in Volume Two concerning the section of documents in which this date for Marah’s death is found. It states that these records are themselves a certified copy of other original records (document). As with all transcriptions they presented an opportunity for transcription errors. The three most common numerical errors are between the numbers 1 and 7, 7 and 9, and 3 and 5. In this case I argue that a 5 became a 3 and the Barbour Collection simply passed along the error. The primary argument for a date of 1765 is the birth dates of her children. Together Samuel and Marah had three girls (document). The oldest is Lois (Kelsey) her date of birth, as noted in the concise little family record that was unfortunately smudged, is recorded as November 21, 1760. The church records list Lois as being baptized, along with two other children, January 19th, 1761. The Barbour Collection dates for the three girls are obviously taken from the family record discussed above. For Polly (Doud) the records note that she was born August 13, 1762, and baptized August 15, 1762. They show Azuba (Davis) being born April 9, 1765 and her baptismal date noted in the church records on April 14, 1765. The key dates are for Azuba who was born and baptized in April of 1765 (document). Marah married in 1759, her children were born in 1760, 1762, and 1765. These dates follow a pattern that is very common for the era and can be used as a secondary form of historical verification for family groupings. I propose that Marah died August 13, 1765 leaving Samuel with three young daughters one only months old. Again following a commonly seen historical pattern the records show Samuel remarrying fairly quickly on May 15, 1766 taking Mercy Nettleton as his second wife (document).