Tracking down women in 19th Century records is often difficult. Over the past week or so, I’ve been searching for records about Sally Ann Darling, the sister of Rufus Holton Darling as part of my Darling research in Western New York. Searching many new sources, I’ve just not been successful in finding anything new about Sally Ann. I’m only barely convinced that she existed. That said, searching for evidence of Sally Ann led me to several other facts of interest, but first, what I think I know about Sally Ann.
Darling Research 2018 –The 6th child of #48 (Abner Darling)
I have no real proof that Sally Ann Darling existed. I have found her in several trees shared by other people, including Family Search, but have not found any record proving positively that she existed. If Sally Ann were born in 1822, she would likely be one of the two females in the household of Abner Darling of Clarkson, New York aged 5 to 9 during the 1830 Census (the other likely being Hannah).
Similarly, with the death of Abner in 1839, she would have likely shown up in the 1840 Census record of her brother Rufus Darling who took over as head of the household. Sure enough, she appears to be in his household. Rufus’ household includes two families, 15-19 years of age whom I believe are likely Sally Ann and Hannah.
Her brother, Abner C. Darling’s obituary has no mention of Sally Ann. No entry is not evidence that Sally Ann didn’t exist nor does it provide evidence that Sally Ann had passed. However, it adds to my concern that the two children in Abner (senior) and Rufus’s census records could be entirely different people. That said, if Sally Ann did exist, I suspect that she died sometime between 1840 and 1880.
Once again, my research for Sally Ann, so far, has not yielded any positive evidence of her existence.
Bright Shiny Objects
However, my research for Sally Ann yielded several other bits of information (Bright Shiny Objects – BSOs) regarding other Darlings in Monroe County, New York. It is my practice to ignore BSOs while researching someone, save the information or links to the information and come back to them later. I did that in this case and learned several things.
I confirmed that there was another Rufus Darling who lived in Monroe County during 1887. Second great-grandfather Rufus Holton Darling died in 1857; Rufus Harry Darling was living in Kalamazoo at that time. Additionally, Rufus A. Darling (son of Franklin C. Darling and Ellen Norton) was living in Minnesota in the 1880s. So, the Rufus Darling residing in Monroe County in 1887 is a heretofore unknown Rufus.
I found several newspaper articles indicating that Abner Darling had mail remaining at the post office as early as April 1824. I knew that Abner was in Paris, Oneida County in 1820 and in Monroe County in 1830. Seeing that he had mail waiting for him in Monroe County in 1824 suggests that he located to Monroe County before April 1924, I also found a “History of Clarkson” newspaper article which confirmed Abner Darling’s death as Jan 11, 1839. The article also indicates that the cemetery was named the “Kenyon Cemetery” at that time rather than “Lakeside Cemetery” as it is currently known as.
I continue investigating the siblings of Rufus Holton Darling. In this research, I was able to extend my knowledge of Rufus’ mother Sally Ann (Munsell) Darling. I learned that Sally moved in with her son, Abner, and his wife before the 1860 Census. By knowing Sally was in Wisconsin in 1860, I may be able to find her death records.
Indeed, the building of the Erie Canal was a big part of his childhood. Construction began in Rome on July 4th, 1817, with the canal connecting Rome to both the Hudson River and the Great Lakes by 1825.
By 1830, his family located further west, to Clarkson, Monroe County, New York. Clarkson is about 18 miles west of Rochester and about 8 miles from Lake Ontario. The 1830 Census appears to include a household of Abner senior and his wife, Sally.[ii] Also, are five boys and three girls. They appear to be:
Franklin (age 1)
Hannah (age 6)
Sally Ann (age 9)
Henry (age 10)
Rufus (age 14)
Deidamia (age 16)
Abner (age 19)
Unknown (Possibly Andrew)
One child’s identity is unknown, but his age is 15 to 19. It is possible that this child is Andrew, but other records suggest Andrew should be age 25 during the 1830 census.
About 1834, Abner married Nancy Anne Green. They had two children while living in Clarkson, a daughter, Lucinda, (born 1835) and a son, Ned, who was born before 1840. The family moved from Clarkson, New York to Racine, Wisconsin about 1840. It appears that Ned died there before 1840.
Abner started a business in Racine and went bankrupt. After the business problems, Abner and Nancy moved on to Grand Chute, Wisconsin, where he began another business. I have not been successful finding him in the 1840 Census.
During the 1850 census, the family consisted of Abner, his wife Nancy Anne, and their daughter Lucinda.[iii] They lived in Grand Chute, Brown County, Wisconsin. In 1851, Brown County was divided, and part of it became Outagamie County.
The 1855 Wisconsin census indicates they were living in Appleton, but it is unclear if they moved from Grand Chute or if only the “closest post office” change.[iv]
In 1860, they had a very complex household. Besides Abner, Nancy, and Lucinda there are five other individuals in the house.[v] Sally A. Darling, Abner’s 75-year-old mother is living with them. Also, there are four young adults living with them. Harriet Reed, Wilbur Yoenne, Joseph Hammend, and Jos Colman. All ages 20 to 25. Jos Colman is interesting because, later that fall, Lucinda marries Henry Colman. I need to research and find out what the relationship might be between Jos Colman (b. 1840) and Lucinda’s husband, Henry Colman (b. 1834). I suspect they were all students at Lawrence College.
Education appears to have been very important to the Darlings. Lucinda, Abner and Nancy’s only daughter, attended Lawrence College and was the first woman to graduate from the school (in 1857). She went on to be an instructor in Latin at Evansville Seminary in the 1860s and later taught in the Madison and Sheboygan public schools. The Lawrence University 1930 yearbook, The Ariel, was dedicated to her.[vi]
Abner’s wife Nancy died in April 1867. That following October he married Nancy’s niece, Sarah Green.[vii] The 56-year-old Abner was 27 years her senior. They had three children together.
Alice Wells Darling (1869-1920)
Jessie Lucy Darling (1870-1917)
Helen S. Darling (1878-1949)
The 1870 Census finds the family consisting of Abner, Sarah, and their daughter Alice.[viii] Also living with them are three other individuals. Louisa Lowell, a 20-year-old domestic servant, and May Welland, a six-year-old girl whose relationship is unknown, lived with them. Also was 68-year-old R. H. Green. This is apparently Robert Hunter Green, Sarah’s father.
The 1880 Census finds the family back down to Abner, Sarah, and their three daughters.[ix] Living with them still is Abner’s father-in-law, the 78-year-old Robert Green.
Abner Darling died in the fall of 1880. He was buried at Riverside Cemetery, Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin.[x]
Further Actions / Follow-up
Document Abner’s property ownership in Outagamie County.
Document Abner’s bankruptcy in Racine.
[i] This date is consistent with his Grave Marker and the 1850 and 1860 Census records.
[ii] 1830 Census (A), Abner Darling – Clarkson, Monroe, New York – Page 271. Source Citation 1830; Census Place: Clarkson, Monroe, New York; Series: M19; Roll: 94; Page: 271; Family History Library Film: 001715 4
[iii] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Abner Darling (c. 1812) – Grand Chute, Brown, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4D6-G1L : 12 April 2016), Abner Darling, Grand Chute, Brown, Wisconsin, United States; citing family 640, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4D6-G1L.
[iv] Wisconsin, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1820-1890, Ancestry, WI 1855 State Census Index – A. C. Darling – No Image. Outagamie County, Appleton Village, 1855. Ancestry.com. Wisconsin, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1820-1890 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 1999. Original data: Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp. Wisconsin Census, 1820-1890. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.
[v] 1860 Census (FS), Family Search, 1860 Census – A C Darling – Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW9J-N11 : 1 October 2017), A C Darling, 1860. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW9J-N11.
[vii] Wisconsin, County Marriages, 1836-1911, Family Search, Abner C Darling & Sarah A Green – 1867. “Wisconsin, County Marriages, 1836-1911,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK85-MHDG : 9 March 2016), Abner C Darling and Sarah A Green, 26 Oct 1867; citing Rock, Wisconsin, United States, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison; FHL microfilm 1,275,527.
[viii] 1870 Census (FS), Family Search, 1870 Census – Abner C. Darling – Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNSM-K4W : 12 April 2016), Abner C Darling, Wisconsin, United States; citing p. 84, family 631, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 553,229.
[ix] 1880 Census (FS), Family Search, 1880 Census – Abner C Darling – Grand Chute, Outagamie, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNHH-VFZ : 14 September 2017), Abner C Darling, Grand Chute, Outagamie, Wisconsin, United States; citing enumeration district ED 126, sheet 238C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 1440; FHL microfilm 1,255,440.
[x] Find a Grave, Abner Darling (1811-1880). Citation: Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 01 February 2018), memorial page for Abner Darling (1811–1880), Find A Grave Memorial no. 184635832, citing Riverside Cemetery, Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin, USA; Maintained by Jeanne Weiland (contributor 49074152).
According to Forebears, dyrling was an “Old English term used to denote the young noble of a house, perhaps exclusively the eldest son, on whom all expectations rested.” Later it became a family name[i]. Ancestry reports that the name is English and Scottish and derives from deorling meaning “beloved one” or as a derivative form of deor (dear)[ii]. In either case, it became a surname before 1500.
The Darling surname is most common in the United States and England with nearly half of all people with the Darling surname living in the United States. In terms of frequency, it is most common in Canada with 1 in 13,078 people in Canada having the surname.[iii]
The 1920 census indicates that the greatest number of families with the Darling surname were New York, Michigan, and Massachusetts. During the 1880 Census, the greatest number of Darling families were in New York and Massachusetts. Finally, the 1840 Census indicated most of the Darling families lived in New York[iv].
That pattern follows my wife’s ancestors nicely. Her Darling ancestors came to the Colonies in the mid-1600s and settled in Mendon, Massachusetts. They relocated to Eastern New York (Dutchess County) about 1740. They continued west and settled in Oneida County, in western New York about 1800. They lived in Monroe County, NY, in far western New York, for a short time as well. They moved further west again to settle in Kalamazoo, Michigan about 1845.
Other Darling family members located in Missouri and some continued out west to California. Whenever I hear about the migrations west, I think about my wife’s Darling family being clear representatives of the time.
It is not clear when Mary-Alice’s earliest known Darling ancestor came to the Colonies.
But, her 7th great-grandfather, Dennis Darling married Hannah Francis in Braintree, MA in 1662.[v] By 1678 they had moved 40 miles west to Mendon, MA.[vi] His son Benjamin was born and died in Mendon, but his son, Ebenezer, migrated to the Beekman Patent land in New York before 1740. His son, Abner, moved west to Oneida County about 1800. Abner’s son, also named Abner, moved further west to Monroe county, NY about 1830. His son, Rufus Holton, moved on to Kalamazoo, Michigan, about 1844. Rufus’ son, also named Rufus, was born and died in Kalamazoo.
Rufus Harry was a railroad man. Besides Kalamazoo, he lived in Chicago, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh; his son Robert was born when Rufus was in the Pittsburgh area. Robert died in Michigan.
Direct Darling Ancestors
# 006 – G
Robert Harry Darling
# 012 – GG
Rufus Harry Darling
# 024 – 2nd GG
Rufus Holton Darling
# 048 – 3rd GG
Abner Darling (Jr.)
# 096 – 4th GG
Abner Darling (Sr.)
# 192 – 5th GG
# 384 – 6th GG
# 768 – 7th GG
My records have 233 direct-line descendants of Dennis Darling identified in my family tree, which is about 8% of my total Howell/Darling ancestors.
Grandfather (#6): Robert Harry Darling (1905-1969)
1st Great (#12): Rufus Harry Darling (1856-1917)
2nd Great (#24): Rufus Holton Darling (1815-1857)
3rd Great (#48): Abner Darling (1780-1839)
4th Great (#96): Abner Darling (1747-18??)
Abner Darling (1747-aft. 1800)
Abner Darling was born on 19 May 1747 probably in New Hampshire.
Nothing is known about his childhood. There was a “terrible earthquake” in New Hampshire in 1757, when Abner was 10 years old. We don’t know if he experienced that or not. Certainly, the French and Indian Wars 1754–1763 would have affected him. In any event, it appears that he and his family located to New York and settled in the Beekman Patent area. I need to do further research to determine when the Darlings moved to the Beekman Patent area (Dutchess County, New York).
He married Hannah Carpenter on 23 Dec 1768. Some researchers indicate that Hannah’s surname may have been Reed. Much more research is needed regarding Hannah.
Children of Abner and Hannah Darling
1770 – 16 Jan– Abner’s first child, Mary was born. She would marry Daniel Felton on 7 Aug 1787.
1771 – Feb – Lucy was born.
1772 – another child was born; name and sex are unknown.
1773 – Feb – Sylvia was born; she married Robert Felton on 1 Feb 1790 and died on 8 May 1838.
1775 – 8 Feb – First known son, Thomas, was born. He died as an infant in 1776.
1776 – 2 Oct – Their second son, also named Thomas was born. He married Mary Winslow in October 1800.
1778 – 22 Oct – Esther was born. She married David Maker on 12 Oct 1800.
1780 – 20 Dec – Third-great-grandfather Abner was born. He married Sally Ann Munsell on 3 Feb 1803 and died on 11 Jan 1839.
1783 – 10 Jan – Reid (or Ried) was born. He married Mary Wayne on 1 Jan 1806. Many researchers indicate Reid married on 16 Jan 1806; however, I read the Bible record differently seeing “1806 Jan’ry 1st“ rather than “Jan’ry 16.”
Bible Entry for marriage between Reid Darling and Mary Wayne
I read as “Jan’ry 1st”
Source: The National Archives via Fold 3
1785 – 29 Jan – Twins were born Lucinda and Luana.
Lucinda married Andrus Munsell on 28 Aug 1803.
Luana married Job Gardner 18 Sep 1803.
1787 – 14 Jan – Another set of twins were born.
Alanson married Nancy Deming in August 1804.]
Deidama – Status unknown.
1789 – 3 Feb – Hannah was born. Hannah married Stephen V Walley in the Dutch Reformed Church on 22 November 1806.
1781 – 2 Jan – Apparently there was some doubt about the loyalty of Abner Darling to the American colonies during the Revolutionary War, as shown in Minutes of Commissioners for Conspiracies, State of New York. He was acquitted, but his reputation was probably tarnished. More research on this is needed.
1790 – Census reported him in Hoosick, Albany County, New York.
1800 – Census reported him in Augusta, Oneida County, New York.
I have not found a death record for him nor a burial location.
Further Actions / Follow-up
Determine exactly when the Darlings moved to the Beekman Patent area
Research his wife, Hannah Carpenter (Reed?).
Learn more about Abner facing the Commissioners for Conspiracies.
Determine Abner’s death location and burial location.
Research Abner Darling in the Dutchess County Store Books.
Fully research the United States Revolutionary War Pension Records for Daniel Felton for additional information regarding Darling family line.
Research Mary/Polly Darling in Job Winslow’s will, Abstracts of Columbia Co., NY Wills. FHL MF 908922.
Read/Review “Tree Talks,” the quarterly publication of the Central New York Genealogical Society, Syracuse, NY. For information regarding Abner Darling’s will.
I just can’t express how important I find genetic genealogy. I often hear others talk about learning more about ancestors and finding other living relatives who might have information on your family that you don’t know. But, there is more to it than just that. Recent communications with a distant cousin of my mother-in-law reminded me of the importance of connecting with these distant DNA Cousins.
Claudine Boerner and my mother-in-law are a distant match, 4th to 6th cousins on Ancestry DNA. That means that they are likely to share a common 3rd, 4th, or 5th great grandparent. I often don’t expect much on matches that distant. In my mother-in-law’s case of the 32 possible surnames, she would have among her 3rd great-grandparents, we only know 15 of them. So, the odds of finding a common ancestor between 5th or 6th can be even more daunting. In my case, having only 15 of 64 (4th great) or 15 of 128 (5th great) possible surnames the odds of finding a common ancestor seems very remote.
However, in the case of Claudine, she and my mother-in-law share one common surname that we know of, Darling. We don’t know if that is the genetic connection or not, but we do know that we are both researching the Darlings in upstate New York during the 1700s and early 1800s. As she was doing her research, she came across an individual, Rufus H. Darling, whose name she remembered was in my Darling tree. She sent me a note that she had seen some information that included Rufus in the “Beekman Patent.” She mentioned some material was in a book, Dennis Darling: of Braintree and Mendon and some of his descendants 1662-1800 by William Albert Martin and Lou Ella Johnson Martin. I was able to locate a copy and found the entry where Rufus is mentioned along with his parents, whom I had determined previously (unbeknownst to Claudine). It also had the names of several of Rufus’ siblings, whose names I didn’t have previously. It included the names of Rufus’ father (Abner), siblings and his father’s name. Another Abner, and his father’s name, Ebenezer. The book has a reasonable amount of footnoting (sources) so I am able to use those to validate what I find.
A 1776 map showing the Beekman Patent [i]
I was also able to find a website regarding “The Settlers of the Beekman Patent” Dutchess County, New York. It includes “An Historical & Genealogical Study of all 18th Century Inhabitants of the Patent.” I then contacted the author, Frank J. Doherty, of the material and asked if “The Darling Family – 12 pages” included information regarding Rufus H Darling and his father, Abner Darling (1780-1839). He replied that it did and I ordered a copy of it. I quickly received a copy of it electronically. It too is excellent. It is a 12-page document regarding the Darlings of the Beekman Patent plus another 12 pages indicating the sources of the information. It also indicates that Ebenezer’s name was Benjamin and his father’s name was Dennis. I was a little disappointed that some of the material in the Dennis Darling: of Braintree is verbatim from the Beekman Patent pages, but still, the information provided is well worth the modest fee Mr. Doherty charges.
With the information in the book and Doherty’s Darling Family pages and the sources provided I have hundreds of hours of work to review, analyze, document, and verify the information, but the information, the source suggestions are invaluable.
With me possibly pushing back another two to four generations on my Darling line and Claudine’s continued research, it is possible we will find our shared common ancestor. Then again, maybe that ancestor is one of the other 128 fifth great-grandparents. Either way, one significant benefit of connecting with distant cousins are the important clues they can provide to your research.