Ancestor Sketch – Mercy Gay

Brown-Sanford-Gay
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.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

Mercy Gay (1761-1841)

Birth

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]

Marriage

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.

Adult Events

  • 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
(1761-1841)

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.

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Mercy (Gay) Sanford & the Early Censuses

Mercy Sanford and the 1840, 1830, and 1820 Census records.

Brown-Sanford-Gay
Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Following widows in early America can often be difficult, Mercy (Gay) Sanford was widowed when her husband, Ezra Clugston Sanford, died 22 June 1813 in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont.[i] Mercy died in Byron, Genesee, New York sometime in 1841.[ii] So, the question arises, what happened to Mercy between 1813 and 1841? When did she locate to Byron?

Typically, you start with what you know, and go back in time. However, in the case of Mercy, I needed to start with what I knew and go forward in time. First, I looked at the three census records in question.  Miraculously, I found Mercy in the 1830 Census.

Censuses

1830 – Byron, Genesee County, New York

The Mercy Sanford household consists of 1 Female, 60 to 70 years old and 1 male from 10 to 15 years old.

Mercy was born in 1761, so she would have been 69 in 1830. Living with her is a young male; my suspicion a grandson, or even a great-grandson.[iii]

1820 – Not with Lucy. 

After Ezra died in 1813, Mercy was given guardianship of her daughter Lucy.[iv] Lucy married Levi Case in 1817. My first thought was that Mercy might have been living with her daughter Lucy and her husband Levi during the 1820 Census. No Such Luck.

The 1820 Census record for Levi Case is:

Levi Cass 1 – – 1 – – 1 – 1 – – – 

Males
1 Male  Under 10   Apparently Levi A. (Jr.)
2 Males 16 to 26   One must be Levi. The other is unknown.

Females
1 female under 10 apparently is Mercy G.
1 female from 16 to 26 years of age must be Lucy.

So, it is apparent that Mercy didn’t locate to New York with Lucy and Levi.

1820 – Not with Electa. 

Mercy’s daughter, Electa, died in 1819, so Mercy couldn’t be living with her in 1920.

1820 – Bergen, Genesee County, New York. 

After Electa died, her husband, Dewey Miller, married Electa’s sister Sally. Could Mercy be living with them during the 1820 Census? Yes.[v] The 1820 Census entry for Dewey Miller is:

Dewey Miller  3 – – – 1 – 1 – – 2 1  

Males
3 males under age 10. One is likely Aaron, one is likely Albert, the third one is unclear.
1 male between 26 and 45 is clearly Dewey.

Females:

1 female under age 10 appears to be daughter Lucy.
2 females 26 to 45. One must be Sally and the other is an unknown female.
1 female over 45 appears to be Mercy.

Dewey was born in 1787, so he’d be 33 during the 1820 Census.
Sally was born in 1790, so she’d be 30 during the 1820 Census.
Mercy was born in 1861, so she’d be 59 during the 1820 Census.

The marriage of Dewey to Electa, her death, the marriage of Dewey to Sally, and the 1820 census lend themselves to a speculative narrative that Electa got sick. Mercy located to help take care of Electa. Upon Electa’s death, Dewey married Sally, and Mercy was still with the household during the 1820 Census.

1840 – Byron, Genesee County, New York

There doesn’t appear to be 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.[vi] The neighbors include David Shed, Erastus Hamond, and Stephen Clark.  The entry for Mary (Mercy) is:

Mary Sanford – – 1 – – – – – – – – – – –  |  – – – – – – – – 1 – – –

1 Male 10 to 15 – Unknown male.
1 Female 70 to 80 – Mercy (Gay) Sanford

Conclusion

Mercy and Ezra Sanford were married on 11 Oct 1876. His records for the 1790, 1800, and 1810 censuses are the records for Mercy. These three additional census records follow Mercy for the years after Ezra’s death until Mercy’s death.

Endnotes:

[i] Find a Grave, Find a Grave, Ezra Sanford (1763-1813) – Memorial# 43640146. Died 22 Jun 1813. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=43640146.

[ii] “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, Archive.Org (https://archive.org/details/thomassanfordemi001sanf).

[iii] 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.

[iv] Vermont; Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999, Ancestry.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/.

[v] 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.

[vi] 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.

Ancestor Sketch – Ezra Clugston Sanford

Brown/Sanford Line
By Don Taylor

Contemporary writers said Ezra was a “remarkably muscular man, possessed of great nerve and quickness of perception.”[i] They also said he was “a mechanic, a respectable member of society, a kind husband and parent, a good neighbor and an honest man.”[ii] Wow.  What great things were said about my 5th Great-Grandfather, Ezra Clugston Sanford.  He is definitely an ancestor that I would have loved to have met in person. He sounds amazing.

Ancestor #200 – Ezra Clugston Sanford (1763-1813)

List of Grandparents

  • 6 – Grandfather: Richard Earl Brown
  • 12 – 1st Great-grandfather: Arthur Durwood Brown(1869-1928)
  • 25 – 2nd Great-grandmother: Marion Sanford(1846- c. 1895)
  • 50 – 3rd Great-grandfather: William M Sanford(1824-1915)
  • 100 – 4th Great-grandfather: Ezra Gay Sanford(1792-1855)
  • 200 – 5th Great-grandfather: Ezra Clugston Sanford (1763-1813)
  • 400 – 6th Great-grandfather: Amos Gilbert Sanford (1733-1777)
  • 800 – 7th Great-grandfather: Samuel Baldwin Sanford (1703-1758)*
  • 1600 – 8th Great-grandfather: Samuel Sanford (1680-1729)*
  • 3200 – 9th Great-grandfather: Samuel Sanford (1643-1691)*
  • 6400 – 10th Great-grandfather: Thomas Sanford (Immigrant Ancestor) (1607-1681)* 

* Italicized individuals were newly added as a result of my research into Ezra Clugston Sanford. Their information and relationships have not been confirmed.

Birth

Ezra Clugston Sanford was born 22 April 1763 in Newtown, Fairfield County, Connecticut. He was the fourth of ten children born to Amos Gilbert and Mary Cluckstone (Clugston) Sanford. Newtown was a thriving town of nearly 2000 people when Ezra was born.

In 1763 the Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years’ War and France ceded New France (Canada) to Great Britain. Just days after Ezra’s birth, Chief Pontiac of the Odawa people, along with 17 other nations, began attacking the British Fort Detroit in what become known as “Pontiac’s War.”

Childhood

Ezra was baptized in the First Congregational Church in Newtown, CT on 8 May 1763.

Siblings of Ezra Clugston Sanford

Name Birth Married Death
David Clugston Sanford 1757 Hannah Rowlin 1836
Elizabeth Sanford 1759 Isaiah Honeywell 1809
Caleb Clugston Sanford 1761 Lucinda Pike 1783
Samuel Clugston Sanford 1765 Miss Rand 1832
John Sanford 1767 Miss Russ ?
Annise Sanford 1770 ? ?
Mary Dianta Sanford 1772 ? 1851
Amos Sanford 1774 Betsey Pardee 1831
Gurdon Sanford 1776 ? ?

Photo By Magicpiano – CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

In 1780, Ezra’s uncle, Thomas Sanford, built a house at 71 Riverside Road in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown which stands today and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[iii]

When Ezra turned 21 in 1784, another Treaty of Paris was ratified—this time to end the Revolutionary War.

Marriage

Ezra married Mercy Gay on 11 October 1786 in Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut. The couple had four or five children.

Children of Ezra and Mercy (Gay) Sanford

Name Birth Death
Electa Sanford 1790 – Litchfield Co., CT ?
Ezra Gay Sanford 1792 – Litchfield Co., CT 1855
Sally Sanford 1796 – Pownal, VT 1881
Lucy Sanford 1799 – Pownal, VT 1870

The 1790 Census indicates that Ezra is living with three females in Litchfield. One is his wife, and one is his daughter Electa. That leaves one unknown female. That female could be anyone, including another child. Ezra and Mercy were married in 1786 and had Electa in 1790. However, a four-year gap between marriage and their first child is longer than I would expect. As such, I believe that this unknown female in the household is a daughter born about 1788 and who died before 1800. (See: Ezra Sanford in the Early Censuses for details.)

Adult

Ezra, Mercy, and children moved to Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont in February, 1792.[iv]

1800 Census – In the 1800 Census. Ezra is the head of a household consisting of 3 males and 4 females. There is one unknown adult male in the household and one female that was there in 1790 that is not listed, but the other members of the household are enumerated as expected.

Ezra Sanford 1 – – 2 – | 2 1 – 1

Ezra Sanford in the 1800 Census
  • 1809 – The Vermont Gazette (Bennington, Vermont) on 17 July 1809, Page 3, indicated that Ezra was living in Pownal but had mail waiting for him at the post office.
  • 1810 Census – The Ezra Sanford household is still in Pownal, with Ezra and Mercy with four children, Ezra (Jr.). Electa, Lucy, and Sally/Sarah.
  • 1812 – The Vermont Gazette (Bennington, Vermont) on 11 May 1812, Page 4, indicated that Ezra was living in Pownal and was a commissioner in the probate of Leah Barber’s estate. \

Death & Burial

  • Ezra Clugston Sanford died on 22 June 1812 at the age of 50 years and 2 months in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont. He was buried in the Towslee Cemetery in Pownal.

Will & Probate

I wrote about Ezra’s estate previously.  Please see:

Events by Location

Newtown Township, Fairfield County, Connecticut – Birth, Baptism.

Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut – Marriage, 1790 Census.

Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont – 1800, 1810, Death, Burial.

Further Actions / Follow-up Research

  • Research the Sanford family of Newtown, CT, and learn about their support of the Revolution.
  • Research the Sanford family of Newtown, CT, and learn about their education.
  • Research death dates and marriages of Ezra’s siblings.
  • Determine death information regarding Electa Sanford (1790-?)
  • Determine property that may have been owned by Ezra Sanford in both Connecticut and Vermont. Check for tax records also.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–

Continue reading “Ancestor Sketch – Ezra Clugston Sanford”

Ezra Sanford – Probate – Inventory – 2

Transcription Tuesday
Brown/Sanford
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for “Transcription Tuesday,” I am looking at the second part of the Inventory Papers of the Probate of Ezra Clugston Sanford (1763-1813)[i]. The Papers are images 10, 11, 12, and 13 of the 19 images contained in the probate file. Ezra and Mercy (Gay) Sanford are my 5th great-grandparents and are among my few known New England ancestors.


Image 397 – Inventory of estate (title)

Inventory of the estate of Ezra Sanford of Pawnal – Rec? Aug 2nd 1813Recorded Book, 5th Pages 354.526 by I. E. Robinson Reg.

Image 398 – Inventory of estate (description)

At a probate court held on Aug 2nd 1813.

The forgoing inventory was ???  approved & ordered to be recorded by Jonah Wright, P. Judge.

Image 400 – Inventory of estate (Page 1)

Page 1st

An Inventory of the estate of Ezra Sanford Late of Pownal Deceased taken the 12th day of July 1813. [ii]

1 – 48 Acres Land 2682
1 Cow called Hill Clean 15
1 ?yned Black Cow 17
1 Brindet Cow 16
1 Yellow Cow 17
1 ??end Cow 15
3 Two year old ?teass 30
2 Two year old heffers? 20
5 One year old ??? 27.50
5 ???? 15
1 Mare 25
2 Young horses 30
40 Sheap [sic] 40
5 goats 90 / 1 old lone 36/ 21
1 Waggon 30
1 Wood shed 75
PLUS 25 Lines of additional personal property[iii]
Carry over to page 2nd $3-176-12

Image 399 – Inventory of estate (Page 2)

Broat over from Page 1st $3-176-12
PLUS 37 Lines Of additional personal property[iv]
Pownal July the 12th 1813 $3-383-42

We your commissioners certify the above and forgoing is a true inventory of the estate of Ezra Sanford late of Pownal deceased sworn unto us by the Administrators of said estate attest

Obidiah Dunham   —  } Commissioners
Isaac Kimbill — }

Facts I learned

I learned that Ezra was pretty well to do. Although he only had 49 acres of land, he had five cows, 3 horses, 40 sheep, and lots of personal property, altogether totaling to over $3,300.

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NOTE:  The Cambridge Dictionary defines “transcribe” as to “make a complete written record of spoken or written words.” My transcriptions are seldom perfect but I do my best to convert handwritten documents into typed words for my genealogical purposes.  If you see anything that I have incorrect, please let me know your thoughts via the Contact Form at the bottom of the page.


Endnotes

[i] Author: Vermont. Probate Court (Bennington District); Probate Place: Bennington, Vermont – Ancestry.com. Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

[ii] The original document is handwritten with lines linking the individual items to the value. Rather then using lines like the originally, I’ve created a table to better display the information. I have also truncated the table to include his land and livestock leaving his personal property off.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

Ezra Sanford – Probate – Order Papers

(Third article in a series about the probate of the estate of Ezra Sanford.)

Transcription Tuesday
Brown/Sanford
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for “Transcription Tuesday,” I am looking at the Inventory Papers of the Probate of Ezra Clugston Sanford (1763-1813)[i]. The Order Papers are images 7, 8, and 9 of the 19 images contained in the probate file. Ezra and Mercy (Gay) Sanford are my 5th great-grandparents and are among my few known New England ancestors.

Image 395 – Commission to distribute (Title)

Commission to distribute the estate of Ezra Sanford
——  —–
B.5.P237

 

Image 394 – Commission to distribute (Preamble)

For the Probate district of Bennington least by one of yourselves-

Given under my and and seal in and of office this second day of August in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and thirteen

Josiah Wright P. Judge

Bennington County 20th September 1813 Obediah Dunham and Isaac Kimbill were duly sworn on the within _____ before John Mackinton, Justice of Peace Pownal 20th September 1813 John Macinton was duly sworn on the within before Obadiah Dunham ???  ??? to the business of our appointment on on the within commission made at division of the estate of Ezra Sanford late of Powal division both real and personal which are herewith return.

            Josse Blackington        \
            Obadiah Dunham        }   Commissioners
            Isaac Kimbill                /

Image 396 – Commission to distribute (Detail)

To Obediah Dunham, Isaac Kimbill, & Jesse Blackington all of Pownal in Probate District of Bennington sufficient freeholders – Greetings,

Pursuant to the powers to me given in and by the laws of this State – I do hereby appoint and authorize you those, Obadiah Dunham, Isaac Kimbill, & Josse Blackington a committee to distribute to emer among the lawful heirs of the estate of Ezra Sanford Late of Pownal deceased so much as by law ??? belongs to them or ?? of them as the will accommodate without prejudice to or showing the whole performance being had to the males in doing which you as to deal impartially as you are sworn, moreover if any of the heirs of the said deceased have received anything of him in his lifetime in advance towards their portions you are to signify the same to me and how much each one has received –

When you go about your business let all parties con ??? have notice and if any dispute arise about the quantity of any parcel of land you may procure an artist for the survey that, and if all parties are satisfied with your proceedings, let them signify the same by county signing. Finally, Seal up this commission with your doing therein and return the same with all convenient speed into the Register’s office.

Facts I learned

I was reminded that the handwriting legibility of clerks was not a requirement for them to be elected or appointed to office. I was also reminded that some documents have no genealogical value. Better luck next time.

ENDNOTES

[i] Author: Vermont. Probate Court (Bennington District); Probate Place: Bennington, Vermont – Ancestry.com. Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.