September 30, 2014

The wife of Jesse Watson Olney

Jesse, the son of Julia Watson and James Brown Olney, was a lawyer from Catskill, NY and a graduate of Yale. In 1900 he was living with his widowed father in Catskill and then was not found again until 1918 when his WW I registration card listed him as a farmer in Victorville, California with wife Marie K. I did not find them in the 1910 census. In the 1920 census Marie was listed as born in Ohio.

Attempting to find marriage place and date, I began searching for him the in NY 1905 census.  On familysearch I came across a 1905 passenger listing for Mrs Jesse Olney, returning to NY from Bermuda. Going further I found a NYC marriage record for December 1905 uniting Jesse Watson Olney and Catherine Morris Bruno (then 24 per the ship record).   A bit confusing ... did she use a different name or was this a different wife?  I had trouble finding them in the 1910 census.

California has detailed death records, and I did find one for Marie Olney, listing her parents' surnames as Nelson and Parsons. But then I was stuck ... could not find them in census records, nor a birth records. Little by little, the story evolved -- greatly due to newspapers. But there were quite a few twists and turns before all the pieces fell into place. Based on newspaper items I found that Jesse and his first wife had divorced in 1909 and he married Marie in 1912 -- but not as clear cut as that may sound.

September 12, 2014

The sons of Thomas Watson of Rensselearville

Until a few weeks ago I knew only that Thomas Watson was born in Newport, RI about 1770 and died in Rensselaerville, Albany County, NY in 1813.  I had found him in the NY census in 1800 and 1810 with an assumed wife and 3 sons.  Exploring a bit more I learned that he was a lawyer (as many in that family line were), he was a land owner and was survived by wife “Sally and heirs”.  I had suspicions that Rufus W. Wheeler (1806-1876), a Catskill New York lawyer, might be one of his sons.

I had a great breakthrough earlier this month when I received copies of pages from the records of Rev Samuel Fuller, a Presbyterian minister in Rensselaerville. [ Thanks to the NYSHA in Cooperstown, NY for their assistance]. Those pages unveiled the family as follows:

-       His wife was Sarah “Sally” Jenkins, daughter of Samuel who built the first house in the village
-       Three sons were named without ages, all baptized on the same date the year their father died
o   Rufus Wheeler
o   Samuel Squires
o   John Jenkins
-       She remarried in 1818 – a second marriage also for her husband Roger Metcalf of Otsego County (where Thomas’ oldest sister Desire and her husband Peleg Peckham lived after leaving Rensselaerville)

Rufus W. Watson is a common name in this family line, so at first I as not sure the baptized son was the Catskill lawyer.  But I found a reference to Rufus W. Watson of Catskill lawyer that mentioned his father Thomas was one of the earliest lawyers in Rensselaerville. Rufus is buried in the Catskill Village Cemetery with his wife Elizabth Botsford. He apparently spent his entire adult life in Greene County, NY.

So, now the question is what happened to Samuel and John?  Were they older or younger than Rufus?  The search continues.