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.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–

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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 in the Early Censuses

Brown-Sanford
Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.One essential action in researching an ancestor is to find that individual in all of the census records during their lifetime.  Ezra Clugston Sanford was a frustration for me.  He died on 22 Jun 1813, in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont, so he should be in the 1810 census.  Search as I would, I couldn’t find him. Finally, I used a FAN (Friends, Acquaintances, and Neighbors) search technique and found something quite interesting.

1800 Census

Looking for Ezra in the 1800 Census was a success[i].  I found:

1800 Census – Ezra Sanford – Pownal, Bennington, Vermont

Ezra is the 7th entry down from the top.

Ezra Sanford in the 1800 Census

Ezra Sanford || 1 – – 2 – || 2 1 – 1 –

1800 Males in Household

  • Under 10     = 1       Ezra (Junior) would have been 8.
  • Age 26-45 = 2       Ezra (Senior) should be 47.
  •                                     Unknown male.

1800 Females in Household

  • Under 10     2       Lucy would have been 1
    Sally/Sarah should have been 4.
  • 10-16            1        Electa would have been 10.
  • 26-45           1       Mercy would be 39.

So, the 1800 Census shows all of the children of Ezra and Mercy that I would expect. It does suggest Ezra is two years younger than he probably is, but I’ll accept that. Finally, an unknown male was living with Ezra and Mercy in 1800.

1790 Census

Ezra and Mercy married in 1786. I would expect the Ezra Sanford Household of 1790 to consist of:

1 (or 2) Free white male(s) age 16 and up and two white females.

Ezra was born in Newtown, Fairfield County, Connecticut, but he married Mercy in Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Finally, the couple lived in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont in 1800, so I would expect Ezra and Mercy to most likely be in one of those three locations in 1790.

A search for Ezra on Family Search yielded three results for the 1790 Census.

Ezra – Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut – 1 – 0 – 3.

Litchfield and Sharon are about 25 miles apart so, and this is possibly them.

Ezra – Redding, Fairfield, Connecticut – 2 – 1 – 3.

Reading and Newtown are about 11 miles apart. Likewise, this is a possible location.

Ezra – Warwick, Orange, New York – 3 – 1 – 7.

Warwick, New York is about 85 miles from Sharon and Newtown and over 150 miles from Pownal.  Also, their having a household with seven females would make this a very complex household.  Based upon the location and household makeup, I’m sure the Warwick Ezra is not mine.

Which is my Ezra – The one living in Litchfield or the one living in Reading?  To clarify, I went to the 1800 Census and looked there for Ezra. (Mine was in Pownal, VT) It shows an Ezra Sanford living in Redding, Fairfield County, Connecticut, in 1800, so my Ezra must be the one living in Litchfield, Connecticut in 1790[ii].

Ezra Sanford in the 1790 Census

Ezra – Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut

Ezra Sanford   1  || 0  3.

  • Free white male 16 or older = 1 – Ezra.
  • Free white females = 3           Mercy
  •                                                 Electa (probably born in 1790)
  •                                                 Unknown daughter (probably born 1787-1789)

1810 Census

I returned to searching for Ezra in the 1810 Census.

A search for “Ezra” in Bennington County yielded 11 results. None of them had a surname beginning with San…. or ending in …ford.

A search for “Sanford” in Bennington County yields six results. Four were in Sandgate, and two were in Dorset township. I found it interesting that NONE of the findings included anyone in Pownal. I then browsed the 1810 Census records on Ancestry.Com. There, various townships were listed, but Pownal was not one of them. I manually reviewed all of the pages of a group under, “Township not listed.” I was not successful finding anyone resembling “Ezra Sanford.”

Finally, I looked at the names in the 1800 census that were near Ezra. They included people like Obadiah Dunham (who we’ll see named in Ezra’s probate actions) and Israel Osborn. I was able to find them enumerated in Peru, Bennington County, Vermont. Peru?  Peru is a town at the opposite corner of Bennington County from Pownal could this really be?

<<Insert Peru/Pownal Image>>

Pownal misidentified as Peru on Ancestry.Com

Then I noticed that although the search and Ancestry  Page designation indicated it was Peru, the top of the actual page indicated it was Pownal. Very near in the 1810 Census record for Obadiah Dunham is an entry for “John Samford.”[iii]

John Samford – 1 – – 1 || – 2 1 – 1

This looks like “John Sanford” to me.

My view of the name indicated that “Sanford” was just as likely, if not more likely, as “Samford.” So, I wondered, could this be Ezra? The household consisted of the following:

    • Male 10-16     Ezra (Junior) would be 17 ???
    • Male >45         Ezra (Senior) would be 47
    • Female 10-16  Lucy would be 11
    • Female 10-16  Sally/Sarah would be 14
    • Female 16-26  Electa would be 20
    • Female >45     Mercy would be 49

So, the location and family unit for Ezra Sanford appears to fit John Samford/Sanford. John does not show up in Bennington County, Vermont, in either the 1800 nor the 1820 Censuses, so I believe that “John Sanford” in the 1810 Census is Ezra Sanford. I don’t know if Ezra’s full name was “John Ezra Sanford” or “Ezra John Sanford” or if the census enumerator just got his name wrong, but I am fairly certain that John is Ezra, and that the location of Pownal is correct. Thanks to looking into Ezra’s neighbors, I was successful finding who I believe to be Ezra.

My goal to find Ezra Sanford in all of the census records during his life is successful.  Another good day.

Continue reading “Ezra Sanford in the Early Censuses”

Donna in the News – Two New Venues

Donna Montran
Vaudeville

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, I learned of two new venues, specific dates for a previously known show, and one venue confirmed by another newspaper. I made these new discoveries using Genealogy Bank. A Search for Donna Montran found four new articles. One article confirmed a venue I wrote about before—Pacy’s Garden Theatre on September 14-17, 1920. The Baltimore American dated Sep 14, 1920, on page 5 said:

Bathing Girls at Garden.

Nine bathing girls, grouped as “The California Bathing Girls” and headed by Donna Montran are presenting “A Beach Promenade,” a musical comedy, at the Garden Theatre this week. The offering differs from the usual bathing-girl act in that it is not a series of tableaux, but is an ambitious musical comedy offering with six beach scenes and a number of tuneful melodies.

The Bijou – New Haven, Connecticut – 19-22 December 1920.

The Connecticut Labor Press (New Haven, CT) for Dec 18, 1920, said that:

George Walsh in “The Plunger,” and “The Dragon’s Net” will remain for the first half of the week in conjunction with a remarkable bill of all-star vaudeville headed by Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.

From the Donna Darling Collection, (DDC-8) I had known that Donna played at the Bijou in New Haven sometime in November or December of 1920. An ad on this page showed it was Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (19-22 December).

State Theatre – Trenton, New Jersey – 3-5 March 1921

The latter part of Donna’s 1920-1921 Bathing Beauty Show has always been a mystery. I knew she played the Keeney Theatre in Brooklyn at the end of January and that she closed the show in May or June for the summer, but I knew nothing of February, March, April, or May. Thanks to the Trenton Evening Times, dated March 3, 1921, on page 16 I learned that she played the State Theatre, in Trenton, New Jersey in “Tom Rooney’s and Earl Lindsay’s California Bathing Girls.”

Garden Theatre – Baltimore, Maryland – 20 March 1921

The Baltimore Sun ran an advertisement for “The California Bathing Girls with Donna Montran in “A Beach Promenade” on March 20,  1921. This was a return to the Garden Theatre for Donna with the same show six months after her earlier show. Still not sure how many days she was there, but further research should provide the answer.



————–  Disclaimer  ————–

Surname Saturday – Beardsley

Darling Line
By Don Taylor

Name Origin

According to Forebears, the surname “Beardsley” is a derivation of “Bardsley,” which was derived from being from a place, ‘of Bardsley.’ Bardsley is a parish between Ashton and Oldham, near Manchester. The American Bardsleys, and all the North English Bardsleys, and perhaps all the Beardsleys, hail from the Lancashire parish[i].

Ancestry suggests the name may be based upon an unidentified place, possibly in Nottinghamshire, where the surname is particularly common[ii].

Of course, I need to see things in order to understand the relationships of locations in England. Using Google Maps, I learned that Forebears puts the Beardsleys up near Manchester and Ancestry suggests a location 60 miles southeast of Manchester.  Oddly enouth, my Beardsley are from Ilkeston and Stratford-upon-Avon (50 and 90 miles from Manchester).

Locations of Beardsleys based on Forebears and Ancestry are in Gray and the locations of my wife’s Beardsley ancestors births. 

It seems odd to me that William and his son were born so far apart. It makes me wonder if my data regarding their birthplaces is incorrect.  Additionally, I’m relying mostly upon the research of others for those specific locations (sources I’ve found only say they were born in England). In any event, I haven’t had a chance to research these individuals in depth yet. However, the Interregnum may explain the relocation.

Geographical

Worldwide there are approximately 12,390 people who bear the Beardsley surname.

It is most prevalent in the United State where over three-quarters of the people with the Beardsley surname live. Little Montserrat (a small island in the Lesser Antilles has the highest density of Beardsleys with 1 in 1,220 people having the surname.

Earliest Beardsley Ancestors

My wife’s ninth-great-grandfather, William Beardsley was born about 1604 in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England. I, of course, like to imagine that young William Beardsley was named for William Shakespheare, a contemporary of the town of Stratford on Avon. Likewise, little William was about 12-years-old when Shakespeare died, so I speculate that William had seen, or at least knew of Shakespeare. William moved to Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England sometime before 1630 where he married Marie Harvie.

There, he had a son, Joseph Beardsley, who was born in Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England in 1635.

It was sometime before 1665 that William, Marie, and Joseph located to the Colonies and settled in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Flag of the United Kingdom
Immigrant Ancestor

The Interregnum of England took place from 1649 to 1660. (The between the execution of Charles I and the arrival of Charles II and the start of the Restoration[iii]. It was the time of Oliver Cromwell. More research is needed to know if they arrived in the Colonies before during, or after the Interregnum. In any event, it was a time of great upheaval in England and that chaos might have been the cause for leaving England for the new world.

So, both William and Joseph were immigrant ancestors from England.

Joseph married Abigail Phebe Dayton in Connecticut in 1665. They had a daughter, Hannah Beardsley, who is my wife’s seventh-great-grandmother.

My wife’s direct Beardsley ancestors:

  • Grandfather: Robert Harry Darling (1905-1969)
  • Great-grandfather: Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
  • 3nd Great-grandmother: Elizabeth Jane Swayze (1818-1896)
  • 3rd Great-grandfather: David Swayze (1796-1850)
  • 4rd Great-grandfather: David Swayze (1762-1838)
  • 5th Great-grandfather: Amos Swayze (1739-1813)
  • 6th Great-grandfather: Mathias Swayze (1699-1728)
  • 7th Great-Grandmother: Hannah Beardsley (1671-1742)
  • 8th Great-Grandfather: Joseph Beardsley (1634-1712)
  • 9th Great-Grandfather: William Beardsley (1602-1661)

Known relatives.

Although I only have 11 Beardsley in my data, my records have identified 271 direct-line descendants of William Beardsley.

Sources:

Endnotes: