By Don Taylor
Mercy Gay was born into a leading Connecticut family. She married and removed to Vermont where she and her husband were early settlers. When her husband died in 1813, she moved west with family members to western New York where she died at 79 years of age.
Roberts/Brown – Ancestor #201
List of Grandparents
- Grandfather: Richard Earl Brown (aka Clifford Brown, aka Richard Durand)
- 1st Great-grandfather: Arthur Durwood Brown
- 2nd Great-grandmother: Marion Sanford
- 3rd Great-grandfather: William M Sanford
- 4th Great-grandfather: Ezra Gay Sanford
- 5th Great-grandmother: Mercy Gay
- 6th Great-grandfather: John Gay
Mercy Gay (1761-1841)
Mercy was born 16 September 1761 in Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut, only 22 years after Sharon Town was incorporated. Mercy was the daughter of John Gay. John Gay is considered to be among the “first settlers of the town,” having purchased the town’s 39th lot from Israel Holley in 1743. She had at four brothers, John, Ebenezer, Fisher, and Perez.[i]
Mercy married Ezra Clugston Sanford on 11 Oct 1786. Mercy was 25 years old and Ezra was two years her junior. Together, they probably had five children.
- FNU Daughter 1 – Born between 1787 and 1789. She probably died before 1800
- Electa Sanford – Born 1790 in Litchfield, CT; Died 1819 in Byron, NY.
- Ezra Gay Sanford – Born 1792 in Pownal, VT; Died 1855 in Tecumsch, MI.
- Sally Sanford – Born 1796 in Pownal, VT; Died 1881 in Byron, NY.
- Lucy Sanford – Born 1799 in Pownal, VT; Died ca. 1870.
- The 1790 Census shows Ezra Sanford living in Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut with 3 females in his household. One of the females in the household must be his wife, Mercy. One of the other females is probably Electa, who was born in 1790 and one is possibly an unknown Sanford daughter probably born between 1787 and 1789.
- 1792 Move to Pownal. Ezra and Mercy removed from Sharon to Pownal, Vermont in February 1792.
- The 1800 Census shows the Ezra Sanford household living in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont. Living in the household is Ezra and two other males as well as 4 females. Ezra, Junior, would have been 8 years old and is apparently the one male under 10. Lucy (age 1), Sarah (age 4), Electa (age 10), and Mercy (age 39) are all accounted for in the Census. Also living in the household is an unknown male, aged between 26 and 45.
- 1810 Census – I thought I was unable to find the Ezra Sanford household in the 1810 Census. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the John Samford enumerated in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont had to be Ezra. Ezra Junior would have been 17 and Ezra would be 47. Mercy and the daughters, all fit the family unit for John Samford. There are no entries for any Samford in any of the previous or subsequent census records, so I’m fairly confident this is Ezra and Mercy.
- 1813 – Death of Ezra. Ezra died on 22 June 1813 at the age of 50 years, 2 months. Mercy was granted the guardianship of their 14-year-old daughter, Lucy, and “received several parcels of land from the estate of Ezra Sanford.”
- 1820 Census – Mercy appears to be living with her son-in-law, Dewey Miller in Bergen, Genesee County, New York.
- In 1820, the town of Byron was incorporated from part of the town of Bergen.
- 1830 Census – The Mercy Sanford household of Byron, New York, consists of 1 Female, 60 to 70 years old (Mercy) and a young male (from 10 to 15 years old). My suspicion it is likely a grandson, or even a great-grandson helping to take care of the masculine chores of the household.
- 1840 Census – There isn’t a Mercy Sanford in the 1840 Census. However, there is a Mary Sanford of the correct age whose neighbors are many of the same people as were neighbors to Mercy during the 1830 Census. The neighbors include David Shed, Erastus Hamond, and Stephen Clark. The entry for Mary (Mercy) Sanford household is:
- 1 Male 10 to 15 – Unknown male.
- 1 Female 70 to 80 – Mercy (Gay) Sanford
Apparently, Mercy has another young male helping in the household.
- Mercy (Gay) Sanford died on 1 May 1841 in Byron, Genesee County, New York. She is buried in the North Byron Cemetery.
Events by Location
Life Events of Mercy Gay Sanford
Sharon, Litchfield, Connecticut: Birth – 1761; Marriage – 1786.
Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut: Lived 1790.
Pownal, Bennington, Vermont: Lived – 1792; Lived 1800; lived 1810.
Bergen/Byron, Genesee, New York: Lived 1820, 1830, 1840, Death 1841, and Burial, 1841.
————– Disclaimer ————–
- 1790 Census, 1790 Census – Ezra Sanford – Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut. “United States Census, 1790,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHK M3Q : accessed 4 September 2019), Ezra Sanford, Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut, United States; citing p. 353, NARA microfilm publication M637, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 1; FHL microfilm 568,141.
- “United States Census, 1800,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHRQ-ZSB : accessed 24 September 2017), Ezra Sanford, Pownal, Bennington, Vermont, United States; citing p. 137, NARA microfilm publication M32, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 51; FHL microfilm 218,688.
- “United States Census, 1810,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XH2 YPV : accessed 5 September 2019), John Samford, Peru, Bennington, Vermont, United States; citing p. 105, NARA microfilm publication M252 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 64; FHL microfilm 218,668.
- 1820 Census (FS), Family Search, 1820 Census – Bergan, Genesee, New York – Page 43 – Dewey Miller . “United States Census, 1820,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHLV-7N5 : accessed 15 February 2020), Dewey Miller, Bergen, Genesee, New York, United States; citing p. 43, NARA microfilm publication M33, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 72; FHL microfilm 193,727.
- 1830 Census (FS), Family Search, 1830 Census – Byron, Genesee, New York – Page 368 – Mercy Sanford. “United States Census, 1830,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHPN-YDQ : 29 July 2017), Mercy Sanford, Byron, Genesee, New York, United States; citing 368, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 90; FHL microfilm 17,150.
- 1840 Census (NARA), 1840 Census – Bergan, Genesee, New York, Page 267 – Mary [Mercy] Sanford. “United States Census, 1840,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHT7-SWK : 15 August 2017), Mary Sanford, Byron, Genesee, New York, United States; citing p. 267, NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 286; FHL microfilm 17,188.
- Find a Grave, Internet, Mercy (Gay) Sanford (1761-1841) (No Marker). Accessed 15 Feb 2020. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 15 February 2020), memorial page for Mercy Gay Sanford (16 Sep 1761–1 May 1841), Find A Grave Memorial no. 72317614, citing North Byron Cemetery, Byron, Genesee County, New York, USA ; Maintained by ADD (contributor 46942490).
- Thomas Sanford, the emigrant to New England; ancestry, life, and descendants, 1632-4, Carlton E. Sanford, Charles Arthur Hoppin (1911), Page 226 – Sketch 711 – Ezra Sanford. https://archive.org/details/thomassanfordemi01sanf/page/n3.; PDF, Org.
- Vermont; Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999, Com, Probate – Ezra Sanford (1753-1813) – Page 03 (00390). Guardianship Papers – Assigning Mercy Sanford as guardian for Lucy Sanford, 5 July 1813. https://search.ancestry.com/collections/9084/records/325523/.
- White, Lorraine Cook, ed., Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) (Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1994-2002), Family Search, Ezra Sanford – 22 Apr 1763. Accessed 24 Aug 2019. https://search.ancestry.com/collections/1034/records/596985/.
[i] I’ll research Mercy’s siblings when I research her father John Gay of Dedham, MA.