October 1, 2018

MORSE: A Helpful Death Notice in 1909

The large Morse family lived in Wawarsing, Ulster County, New York. With such a common surname, it is not always easy to trace all its members.  Recently I was made aware of the 1909 obituary of Mary E Morse Corbin published in the Kingston Daily Freeman. Mary was the daughter of William Morse and Anna Peck, the 2nd of their 9 children. Her death notice mentioned the following family members, referring to them as “surviving members of her father’s family”; in fact they were her siblings. Her father was also one of 9 children and I will report on them in another post.

A recap of those mentioned include:

Her deceased husband Albert 1827-1900
His brother Isaac Corbin 1830-1888

Her 6 surviving siblings:

Mrs Thomas Smart in Penn = Jane 1829-1914
 Recently widowed and the mother of 12 !
Leonard Morse in California = 1831-1914
              out west since mid 1860s, widower no children
 John Morse in Ellenville = 1834-1915 married, 8 children
 Mrs W W Miller in NYC = Alice 1846-1915 
              twice widowed, 2 children
Mrs Belle Johnston of Staten Island = Isabelle 1851-1915
Mrs Seth Catlin of New Jersey = Emma 1843-1940, 5 children

Her other siblings were Edgar 1839-1887 who died unmarried in Nashville, TN (where their uncle George ran successful stockyard operations) and Addie 1838-1893 wife of Dr John Jackson Ward, 1 son.

Some of these siblings had married before 1850 and were never listed in the census with their parents, disappeared from NY (like Leonard) or females married several times becoming hard to identify and locate.

This newspaper item helped me piece together all of Mary’s siblings. I always find it helpful to flush out every person listed in a death notice.

September 30, 2018

What happened to Mary D Comfort, daughter of Joel ?

Mary, the oldest child of Joel Dubois Comfort and his wife Emeline Ludington, was born 1829 in Catskill, NY. According to church records she married James W Johnston 'of Dubuque, Iowa' in September 1856 at the Leeds RDC.  I have found no subsequent record for either of them. I had expected that James would be in the Greene County 1855 census, but he was not found. Nor have I located him in 1850 in Iowa or elsewhere.

Interestingly, Mary's parents are listed in the Catskill 1865 census with their youngest daughter Josephine and with a 6 year old granddaughter with the surname Johnston. Sadly, this record is almost impossibly hard to read. I cannot decipher the girl's first name nor did I find her with her grandparents in the 1870 census.

Who is she and where are her parents?  I cannot find James and Mary in 1860, when their daughter would have been an infant. I have found no 11 year old female Johnston in Greene County in 1870.
This family group remains a mystery.

October 26, 2017

The Coles buried at Tan Hollow Cemetery, Westerlo, NY

Simeon Cole had been a neighbor of one of my ancestors and I noticed that he and other family members were buried in this small cemetery in Albany County as were my Adam Clark and his wife Olive Burdick.

The Coles listed were:

Eddy S, age 68, died 1885 [1817]

Edwin, age 57, died 1870 [1813]

Elizabeth Slade, wife of Simeon, age 86, died 1873 [1786]

George, age 22, died 1867 [1845]

Mercy, age 75, died 1889 [1814]

Simeon, age 74, died 1863 [1788]

How were they related?

Simeon married Elizabeth Slead, daughter of John, in 1812. In researching the others buried with them, I could verify that Eddy, Edwin and Mercy were their offspring. George was their grandson, son of Edwin.

Simeon and Elizabeth had 6 children, the others were: Hannah 1819 (married Zina Babcock),  Leonard 1821 (married Margaret Lockwood), Angeline 1825 (married Wm H Haswell). In 1840 Edwin married Harriet Lockwood (sister of Margaret who married his brother Leonard); Mercy  and Eddy were unmarried.

Luckily the Cole family bible was transcribed by Greene County genealogists and posted on Rootsweb. It gives specific dates and relationships and confirms the information I found elsewhere. 

Wish I could find bible records for all the family groups I investigate.

August 15, 2017

Rev Adam Clark and Olive Burdick of Westerlo, NY

Adam and Olive are buried in the Tan Hollow Road Cemetery in Westerlo where she is listed as his wife. Adam died in April 1837 and Olive in Jan 1838. This listing came to my attention while seeking to identify the parents of my ancestor Dr Adam Clark (1791-1860) who married Harriet Watson, daughter of Wheeler, about 1820 in Albany County. A manuscript held at the NY State Library regarding Adam Senior’s farm in Westerlo identifies him as the father of Adam Clark and confirms the land deed records of Adam and Harriet found on the American Ancestors database of NEHGS.

Census records show Adam Senior in Coeymans in 1800 and 1810 with an assumed wife and 5 children, then in Westerlo in 1820 and 1830 with a less clear mix of adults and children. The ages for the oldest child match up with Adam Junior though the other children have not yet been identified. There is some confusion over the reported age of the female in the household making me wonder if Olive was the mother of the children.

Based on her burial record, Olive was born in 1770.

         Census year                  Reported Age             Olive’s Age
           1800                                 over 45                      30
            1810                                 26 – 44                      40
            1820                                 over 45                      50
            1830                                  60 – 69                     60

Understanding that ages are not always correctly reported, this makes me strongly suspect that the female in 1800 is a different person than the one reported in 1810.

I have been unable to find a marriage record or any record of the other Clark offspring. If you might happen to know, I’d love to hear from you.