Sometimes the Census Taker is Wrong
By Don Taylor
I’ve been having many roadblocks in my Abner Darling (1780-1839) research. Enough so that I decided to take a step back and look at Abner Darling’s descendants much more closely. The first of these that I am examining is Andrew M Darling, the oldest brother of Rufus Holton Darling (1816-1857). Rufus left New York for Kalamazoo, Michigan about 1844. Andrew left New York in the 1840s also and settled in Utica, Wisconsin. Then about 1859 Andrew moved west again, this time to Alexandria, Minnesota. Andrew died in 1864. I looked and looked and looked and couldn’t find Andrew in the 1860 census. Finally, I searched for everyone named Andrew in Douglas County, Minnesota. There I found an Andrew Martin, whose apparent wife was Antoinette, and three children, Sarah, Olive, and Abram who matched the ages of Andrew Darling’s Wife Antoinette, and three children, Sarah, Olive, and Abner. I have little doubt that I found the family. Now my suspicion is that Martin was Andrew’s middle name, the “M.” I’ve known about for quite some time. The census taker just got the name wrong, a simple mistake. The Darlings were new in the area and the census taker probably didn’t know them yet.
Howell-Darling 2017 Research
List of Grandparents
Grandfather: Robert Harry Darling (1907-1969)
1st Great-grandfather: Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
2nd Great-grandfather: Rufus Holton Darling (1816-1857)
2nd Great-grand Uncle: Andrew M. [Martin?] Darling (1805-1864)
Andrew Martin Darling (1805-1864)
Andrew M. Darling was born in 1805 or 1806 in New York, probably on the Beekman Patent in Dutchess County to Abner and Sally Ann (Munsell) Darling.
Andrew grew up with 7 siblings. They were
- Diadema Darling
- Sally Ann Darling
- Abner Darling
- Rufus Holton Darling(1816-1857)
- Henry W Darling
- Hannah Darling
- Franklin C Darling
Abner moved his family west, first to Paris, Oneida County, New York (before 1820) and again to Clarkson, Monroe County, New York.
Sometime before 1835 Andrew moved west, apparently by himself, to Medina, Ohio. There he married Esther Antoinette Doolittle on October 8th, 1835 in a ceremony performed by Joel Goodell, a Minister of the Gospel. Andrew and Antoinette appear to have had four children.
Children of Andrew M. Darling and Esther Antoinette Doolittle
|Sarah Antoinette Darling||c. 1844||1863 – James Dicken||1901|
|Alice Darling||c. 1846||—||Before 1860|
|Abner M Darling||1851||Ella [LNU]*||Unknown|
|Olive Blanche Darling||1854||c. 1869 – George McQuillen||1902|
I have not found Andrew in the 1840 Census. All four of the children above were born in Wisconsin, so it is clear that Andrew and Antoinette located to Utica, Winnebago County, Wisconsin before 1844.
The 1850 Census shows a three generation household. With Andrew is his wife, Antonette and their daughters, Sarah and Alice. This census record provides the only mention of Alice that I have found. Also living with Andrew is his mother, Sally A [Munsell] Darling, and his two youngest siblings, 25-year-old Hannah and 22-year-old Franklin.
The 1855 Wisconsin Census shows the family still in Utica, WI with a household consisting of 3 males. (Most likely Andrew, his son Abner, and his brother Franklin.) The household also has four females. (Most likely Esther Antoinette, Sarah, and Olive. Additionally, either Alice was still alive in 1855 and Hannah moved on, or Alice had died by 1855 and Hannah was still there. Further research is needed to discern what occurred.
The family moved west again, this time, in 1859, to Douglas County, Minnesota. The 1860 Census shows the family with the surname “Martin.” Clearly a mistake. Living with Andrew is his wife, 44-year-old Antoinette; his 16-year-old daughter, Sarah; his twelve-year-old daughter, Olive; and his eight-year-old son, Abner (listed as Abram).
It appears that Andrew died in September 1864 in Phelps County, Missouri. However, his family continued to prosper in Douglas County. He was said to have been an “exceptionally successful farmer.[i]” His wife Antoinette received a patent in 1873 for 149.1 acres of land they settled on the south shore of Lake Darling (near Alexandria, Minnesota)[ii]. Lake Darling was named for Andrew Darling[iii].
Further Actions / Follow-up
- Determine if the three males in the 1855 Wisconsin Census includes Andrew’s brother Franklin or if there is an unknown child of Andrew.
- Determine if the four females in the 1855 Wisconsin Census includes Alice or if the 4th female is Hannah. Was Alice was still alive in 1855 and Hannah moved on, or Alice had died by 1855 and Hannah was still there.
- 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – A M Darling – Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, Family Search – 12 April 2016), Am Darling, Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin, United States; citing family 1092, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4DT-3L6.
- 1855 WI Census, Family Search, 1855 – A. M. Darling – Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin. “Wisconsin State Census, 1855,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMM5-5DV 14 November 2014), A. M. Darling, Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin; citing line 12, State Historical Society, Madison; FHL microfilm 1,032,689.
- 1860 Census, Family Search, 1860 – Andrew M Martin [Darling] – Alexandria, Douglas, Minnesota. “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4LG-PBH – 26 July 2017), Andrew M Martin, 1860.
- Martin, William Albert, and Lou Ella Johnson Martin, Dennis Darling: of Braintree and Mendon and some of his descendants 1662-1800 – Page 461.
- Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013 , Family Search, Andrews Darling & Antoinett Doolittle – Marriage. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch 27 September 2017, Andrews M. Darling and Antoineth Doolittle, 08 Oct 1835; citing Medina, Ohio, United States, reference 132; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 423,817. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZ5X-M24.
- Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013 , Family Search, Andrews Darling & Antoinette Doolittle – Intended Marriage. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 27 September 2017), Andrews W. Darling and Antoinett Doolittle, 25 Sep 1835; citing Medina, Ohio, United States, reference 83; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 423,817. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZ5X-GTR.
- Wisconsin, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1820-1890, Ancestry, WI 1855 State Census Index – A. M. Darling – No Image Winnebago County, Utica Township, 1855
Endnotes & Additional Sources
[i] Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 180.
[ii] Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, Accession MN0950.303 – Darling, Antoinette 11/15/1873. https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx?accession=MN0950__.303&docClass=STA&sid=swuujfdu.p5v.
[iii] Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 180.