Sometimes the Census Taker is Wrong & Andrew Martin Darling

Sometimes the Census Taker is Wrong

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.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.

SOS Online BackupAndrew 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

Child Name Born Married Death
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.

Map showing Darling Homestead
Part of Douglan County, MN – Click map to see larger image

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.

Sources

  • 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.

Biography – Karl Bauer (1885-1968)

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Sometimes it is necessary to take two steps back to answer questions. Although quite a lot was known about Karl Bauer, almost nothing was known about his siblings. Family oral history indicated he had a dozen or so siblings. The goal was to get to know about them. In order to do so, I needed to step back and get to know Karl’s life much better.  Through that process, I learned he had two sisters who lived and died in Germany before Karl immigrated. I also learned he had two sisters that came to America and lived in New York. Following is what I’ve learned about Karl’s life so far.

Hopfe-Bauer 2017 Project – Ancestor #06

List of Grandparents

  • Maternal Grandfather: Karl Bauer
  • 1st Great-Grandfather: Franz Bauer
  • 2nd Great-Grandfather: Jacob Bauer

Karl Bauer (1885-1968)

Karl Bauer was born on 16 Jan 1885 in Wolfstein, Bavaria, Germany to Franz and Margaretha (Licht) Bauer.

Childhood

He is believed to have had an older sister, Katharina, and a younger sister, Karoline. Further research is needed regarding his family in Germany.

In 1900, while he was about 15, he traveled to the United States and visited Pittsburgh, PA. The purpose of that visit and any family there is unknown.

Marriage

Wedding Photo of Anna Gunther & Karl Bauer circa 1909
Anna Günther & Karl Bauer c. 1909

He married Anna Elizabeth Güther on 30 December 1909 in Wolfstein, Germany.

Adulthood

Karl and Anna had two children before the war.

  • Emilie was born 26 September 1910 and died 8 Nov 2005 in Brookhaven, New York.
  • Irmgard Elizabeth was born 21 May 1913 and died in 1990 at Yaphank , New York.

Military

Photo of Karl Bauer in his Military Uniform
Karl Bauer – Military Uniform Photo from lbabeb via Ancestry.com

During World War 1, Karl served in the German Army. He was a musician. Further research is needed into his German military service.

Karl and Hanna had three more children after the war and before leaving for the United States.

  • Karl Walter was born 10 May 1920 and died 21 Nov 1987
  • Herbert was born in Jan 1921 and died six months later, on Christmas Day.
  • Reinhard was born in 1924.

Immigration

In January 1926, Karl left his wife and children in Wolfstein and immigrated to the United States aboard the S.S. Columbus. He planned his immigration to be permanent. He stayed with his brother-in-law, Eduard Brummel, at 2024 Grove Str, in Brooklyn, NY upon arrival.  In May, 1926, Karl formally renounced is allegiance to the German Empire and declared his intent to become a US Citizen.

Karl was musician and he is known to have played the violin throughout his life.

Photo of the S. S. Columbus
S.S. Columbus – By Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-00383 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, de, Via Wikimedia Commons

In January 1927, Karl’s wife Anna and three of their children, Emilie, Karl (Walter), and Reinhard (aka Reinhart) joined Karl at 229 Bleecher Street, Brooklyn. They also arrived aboard the S.S. Columbus. Irmgard also arrived in the United States in 1927, however, it doesn’t appear that she came with her mother and siblings aboard the S. S. Columbus. Today, 229 Bleecher Street is a police station.

The 1930 Census finds the Bauer family living at 229 Bleecher Street – Renting for $27/mo. There appears to be an error wherein Irmgard is identified at “Eugart” and a boy, however, the age and the rest of the family identifying information are correct. Also, in the household are Emmy, Walter, and Reinhart.

On 18 March 1931 Karl filed his petition for citizenship.

During the 1940 Census, Karl and Anna were in the same place since Anna arrived in 1927, 229 Bleecher Street, Brooklyn, NY.  Walter and Reinhard were still at home. Living with them was Anna’s mother, Anna Gunther, who was widowed and had been living with them since at least 1935.

In 1962, Karl and Anna moved to Oak Street in Yaphank, Suffolk County, New York, which is about 60 miles out on Long Island.

Death

Photo of marker of Karl & Anna Bauer
Marker – Bauer – Karl & Anna. Photo by Arleen Koello via Find a Grave

Karl died in November, 1968. His funeral service was held at Ruland Funeral Home in Patchogue. He was survived by his wife, four children, and two sisters. He is buried in Yaphank Cemetery, Yaphank, Suffolk County, New York. Anna Died in 1975 and was buried with Karl.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Research the siblings of Karl.
  • Find Karl’s 1900-1901 visit to Pittsburgh and determine the reason for the visit. Did he have family there?
  • Find Karl’s military record.
  • Learn more about the Bauers of Wolfstein, Germany.

Sources:

  • 1930 Census (A), Com, Carl Bauer – Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
  • 1940 Census (A), Com, Walter C Hopfe, Head. Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: T627_2608; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 24-2351
  • Find a Grave Memorial, Find a Grave, Karl Bauer Memorial# 38003122
  • Long Island Advance (Suffolk County, NY, ), NY Historic Newspapers, 1968-12-05 – Page 04, Column 1 – KARL BAUER.
  • New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925­-1957, Family Search, Karl Bauer – S.S. Columbus – Bremen —New York – January 17, 1926.
  • New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940, Com, Karl Bauer – Declaration 113938.
  • New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940, Com, Karl Bauer – Petition #153989.
  • S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Ancestry.Com, Karl Bauer – 082-28-7795.
  • S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, Karl Bauer – 16 Jun 1885 – Wolfstein, Germany.

Ancestor Biography – Mercy Eliza Taft  (1822-1884)

Roberts/Barnes/Taft Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.When I reviewed my possible connections through “We’re Related” to Walt Disney and to my Scarborough Historical friend, Carl, both were stopped by my research blockage at Mercy Eliza Taft.  After Mercy, both lines went through her father, Joel Cruff Taft. My research on Mercy convinced me that her father was indeed Joel and her grandmother was Sarah Whitney, which brings me two generations closer to proving a relationships with both Walt Disney and Carl.

Minuteman – Lexington

While doing this research I also encountered many new and exciting things. Fifth great-grandfather, Silas Taft is a Revolutionary War veteran and was part of the “Lexington Alarm” which was the first real battle of the Revolution in 1775. More about him in a later post. Also, I learned that William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States and the 10th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is my 5th cousin, 4 times removed. Taft is the only person to ever be both POTUS and the Chief Justice.

Roberts-Barnes 2017 Research – Ancestor #21

List of Grandparents

  • Grand Parent: Elsie Pansy Barnes
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Joel Clinton Barnes
  • 2nd Great-grandmother: Mercy Eliza Taft
  • 3rd Great-grandfather: Joel Cruff Taft
  • 4th Great-grandfather: Asa Taft
  • 5th Great-grandfather: Silas Taft
  • 6th Great-grandfather: Stephen Taft
  • 7th Great-grandfather: Benjamin Taft
  • 8th Great-grandfather: Robert Taft

Mercy Eliza (Taft) Barnes (1822-1884)

There is confusion regarding Mercy’s first name. Some researchers believe her name was Mary. I think that it is even possible that her first name might have been Marcy or even Mancy. In reviewing the records, I am yet to find a source that I feel is compelling enough to prove her name. People who have seen her grave marker indicate that her name is Mercy. Certainly, her Christian name if Eliza is used in the majority of records regarding her. I’ve decided to use Mercy until I find a compelling source.

Map of Sullivan County showing Fairbanks Township.
Fairbanks Township in Sullivan County, Indiana

Mercy Eliza Taft was the second of ten children of Joel Cruff and Tamise/Fanny Sutherland/Southerland, born in New York on 27 March 1822.[i] It appears that all of her siblings live to adulthood. It does appear that the family moved several times in New York before part of the family split off and settled in Fairbanks Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.

Eliza married Nelson Barnes in New York on 31 October 1839.[ii] Their first daughter, who has one of the most unusual names I’ve ever encountered, Tryphenia Ann Barnes was born on 11 Oct 1841 in New York. The following year the young family moved west to Indiana (1842) by covered wagon and camped near Fairbanks. They started out renting farmland, then slowly purchased land until they had 80 acres.

Over the ensuing years, Nelson and Eliza would have nine children. They are:

Children of Nelson and Mercy Eliza Taft

Children: Sex Birth Death
Tryphenia Ann Barnes F 11 Oct 1841
New York
03 Nov 1915
Turman, Ind.
Ploutina Mariah Barnes F 09 May 1844
New York*
23 Mar 1918
Indiana
Theodore E Barnes M 29 Mar 1847
Sullivan, Ind.
06 Aug 1919
Danville, Ill.
Susan Barnes F Bet. 1848-1849
Indiana
Bef. 1909
Abraham Barnes M 04 Mar 1852
Indiana
20-Jan-21
Cyrus John Barnes M 04 Apr 1855
Sullivan, Ind.
17 Feb 1879
Sullivan, Ind.
Joel Clinton Barnes M 23 Jun 1857
Graysville, Ind.
30 Jun 1921
Sullivan, Ind.
Lucy Minerus Barnes F 18 Apr 1860 05 Sep 1890
Martha Ellen Barnes F Sullivan, Ind. 16 Feb 1949

*I believe that Ploutina was born in Indiana and not New York.

  • Mercy on left base, Nelson on Right base

    1850 – Living with husband and four oldest children in Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana.[iii]

  • 1860 – Living with husband and six of the children in Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana.[iv]
  • 1870 – Living with husband and five of the children in Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana.[v]
  • 1880 – Living with husband one of her children and one of her granddaughters in Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana.[vi]
  • 1884 – Her husband Nelson died in either January or February.[vii],[viii]
  • 1884 – Eliza died on 4 October 1884 in Turman, Sullivan County Indiana. She was buried at the Drake Cemetery in nearby Fairbanks, Sullivan County, Indiana.[ix]  I find the image available through Find-a-Grave isn’t clear enough to determine the name used on the marker.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Find the Taft Family in the 1840 Census.
  • Find the Taft Family in the 1830 Census.
  • Visit the Drake Cemetery and see if I can get a better image of her marker to confirm the name she was known by at the time of her death.

Endnotes:

Ancestor Biography – Nelson Barnes (1816-1884)

Roberts/Barnes Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.It is usually the birth record, and how comfortable I am with that record, that defines how comfortable I am with my feeling that I know an ancestor.  Nelson Barnes’ birth records, parents, and childhood records do not give me a warm fuzzy feeling.  I have no sense of the cat purring behind my ear.  But, here is what I think I know.

Roberts-Brown 2017 – Ancestor #20

List of Grandparents

  • Grand Parent: Essie Pansy Barnes
  • 1st Great: Joel Clinton Barnes
  • 2nd Great: Nelson Barnes
  • 3rd Great: (Possibly Joel Barnes)

Nelson Barnes (1816-1884)

Birth

Thomas Wolfe, in A History of Sullivan County, Indiana,[i] indicates that Nelson Barnes was born in New York on 24 March 1816. It is very clear; however, Nelson Barnes’ Find a Grave Memorial [ii] indicates he was born on 6 December 1816. The photo on the memorial is too pixelated to be able to determine what it might say. So, I have submitted a Find-a-Grave photo request to try to get a higher quality image to look at.

Source ages and places of birth for Nelson Barnes

Document Age Supports Birth in
1850 Census 35 – Pennsylvania December 1816
1860 Census 44 – New York March 1816
1870 Census 54 – New York March 1816
1880 Census 64 – New York March 1816
1884 Find-a-Grave If age 68 in January 1884, then December 1816
1884 Find-a-Grave New York 6 December 1816
1909 (Wolf book) New York 24 March 1816
Photo of marker for Mercy Eliza Taft Barnes and Nelson Barns.
Marker for Mercy Eliza Taft Barnes and Nelson Barns. Photo by Wabash Valley Genealogy Society Cemetery Committee via Find a Grave

Normally, I like to use the document closest to the event. However, in this case, three of the four census records and the Wolf book indicate a different birth date makes me uncomfortable accepting the December 1816 birthdate. I’ve decided to ignore the Pennsylvania birthplace states in the 1850 Census as just wrong. His marker might indicate his age at death as 68 years and 29 days. If so, that would put his birth in December 1816 also.  So, I’ve requested an updated find-a-grave image of his marker. Hopefully, the bottom line will be more readable. An improved image might clear his birth month up for me.

Childhood

I have not found any documents, so far, that clearly identify Nelson Barnes’ parents. That said, there are 11 family trees on Ancestry that share Nelson Barnes as an ancestor.  All 11 of those trees indicate that Nelson Barnes’ parents were Joel and Lucy Wilson (Taft) Barnes. None of these researchers appear to have identified any siblings for Nelson nor have are any siblings identified on the Family Search family tree (ID: M1PY-5V8). Finally, the idea that Nelson married a Taft and that his father also married a Taft makes me uncomfortable.  Are the identities confused by the researchers or did it really happen this way? Having Nelson’s father named Joel would explain one of his sons being named Joel. In the future, I will research Joel Barnes (the elder) and see if I can connect him to Nelson, but in the meantime, the relationship of Nelson to Joel and Lucy is very tentative.

Marriage

Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft were united in marriage in New York on October 21, 1839.[iii]

Adult

Their first child, a daughter, has one of the most unusual names I’ve encountered – Tryphenia.  Tryphenia (or Tryphena) was born in in 1841 in New York.  Records seem to conflict about if she was born in Broome County (Binghamton area) or King’s County (Manhattan).

Likewise, their second child, also a daughter – was born in 1844, also in New York.

The family then located to Sullivan County, Indiana where Nelson and Mercy had seven more children, all in Sullivan County.  They were:

  • Theodore              1847
  • Susan                    1849
  • Abraham              1852
  • Cyrus                     1855
  • Joel                        1857
  • Lucy                       1860
  • Martha                  1863

Nelson was a farmer and attended Methodist Episcopal church. The 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 census records all clearly show him living in Sullivan County.  Although some researchers indicate that Nelson served in the Civil War, I do not agree and believe the 45-year-old father of 8 remained out of the war. See “Nelson Barnes – Civil War Veteran?” for details.

Stories

In February 1879, Nelson and Mercy’s son Cyrus died at the age of 24.

Death & Burial

Nelson died on 21 January 1884 and is buried in Drake Cemetery, Fairbanks, Sullivan County, Indiana.[iv]

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Research potential ancestors, Joel and Lucy Wilson (Taft) Barnes, and see if there is a descendant path to Nelson Barnes.

Endnotes and Sources

[i] Citation:  Wolfe, Thomas J. 1909. A history of Sullivan County, Indiana, closing of the first century’s history of the county, and showing the growth of its people, institutions, industries and wealth. New York: The Lewis Pub. Co. Page 235.

[ii] Find A Grave Memorial# 37229135 – Nelson Barnes (1816 – 1884). Accessed 27 Mar 2017. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=37229135

[iii] Wolfe, Thomas J., History of Sullivan County, Indiana, A, Files (Personal),  See Item i above.

[iv] Find a Grave, Find a Grave, Nelson Barnes (1816 – 1884). See Above. See item ii above.

William M Sanford – Pioneer

Roberts-Brown-2016 Research
Brown/Sanford Line

By Don Taylor

Map of places where William Sanford lived.My third great-grandfather, William M. Sanford was a pioneer. He is the first ancestor that I have encountered that was identified as a pioneer in two different books relating the history of two very different places. He came with his father and brother from New York to near Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan, in the 1830s to settle that area. Following his father’s model, he helped settle Wells County, North Dakota with two of his sons. Much like when his father settled Washtenaw County other family members also settled in North Dakota when he relocated there. He was a successful farmer in both locations and was known to have both cattle and sheep when he settled North Dakota.

Roberts-Brown 2016 – Ancestor #50

List of Grandparents

  • 6 – Grandfather: Richard Earl Brown (aka Clifford Durwood Brown, Richard Earl Durand)
  • 12 – 1st Great-grandfather: Arthur Durwood Brown
  • 25 – 2nd Great-grandmother: Marian Sanford
  • 50 – 3rd Great-grandfather: William M. Sanford

If you are descended from William M. Sanford or any of my other grandparents, please contact me.  I’d love to how you fit into the family and I’d love to share notes, documents, photos, etc. Please use the contact form below.

Biography – William M. Sanford (1823-1915)

William M. Sanford was born on 30 March 1823 in Genesee County, New York, the second of nine children of Ezra and Almira (Chamberlin) Sanford.

The year of William’s birth is somewhat in question. Assuming his birth was 30 March the following sources give the following ages and assumed year of birth:

Source Age Year of Birth
1850 Census[1] 27 1823
1860 Census 36 1824
1863 Civil War Registration 41 1822
1870 Census 46 1824
1880 Census 57 1823
1881 – History of Washtenaw Co…[2] 1823 (30 Mar)
1885 – No. Dak. Census 63 1822
1900 Census 76 1824 (Mar)
1910 Census
1915 – Death Certificate 92 1823 (30 Mar)

From all of these possible dates, none of them are compelling sources. Because the earliest record I have, the 1850 Census, suggests an 1823 birth year, I am going with that. That year is also confirmed by the History of Washtenaw County.

Rome City, Indiana CC BY-SA 3.0
Rome City, Indiana CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1836, when William was about 13 years old, William’s father, Ezra, his brother, Ezra, and he emigrated from and left his two New York to Michigan. They looked at several different counties, stopping in Calhoun County, but did not remain there long. They moved on to Noble County, Indiana, where Mr. Sanford bought lots near Rome City, Indiana (not to be confused with Rome, Indiana). The two boys (Ezra was about 19 old at the time) stayed in Indiana while Ezra senior returned to New York.  The following spring, Ezra (senior) purchased 200 acres on Section 21 in Washtenaw County, Michigan.[3]

Marriage and Children

On 18 June 1844, William married Mary Electa Parsons in Benton, Washtenaw County, Michigan.  William and Mary had seven children.[4]

  • Marion Sanford – born c. 1846. Marion married William Henry Brown about 1866; her death occurred sometime after 1885.
  • Unknown Sanford – born April 1850 and died before 1860.
  • Elva P Sanford – born c. 1852. She married William Wright on 27 April 1871; her death was sometime after 1929.
  • Almon C. Sanford – born in October 1855; he died 3 April 1922.
  • William A. Sanford – born c. 1858; his death was after 1880.
  • George P. Sanford – born 7 October 1865; died 5 October 1932.
  • Unknown Sanford – birth unknown; he or she died before 1881.

The 1850 Census shows the young couple with two children, one unnamed infant.  Living with them is J. W. Sanford, a 79-year-old farmer whose relationship is not known (by me).  Also living with them is 11-year-old Charles Sanford. Again, I do not have a clear idea who these two individuals are.[5]

From the 1860 Census, the family located to Aurora, Indiana.  Their fourth child Almon was born in Michigan in 1855, but their fifth child, William A, was born in Indiana about 1859. So, it appears that the family located to Indiana sometime between 1855 and 1959. In any event, the 1860 Census indicates the family consisted of William and Mary with four children, Mary (Marion), Elva, Elmon (Almon), and Willee (William).[6] (The unknown second child is not mentioned in the census.)

Map of Saline Village showing Sanford farm, 1874
Map of Saline Village showing Sanford farm, 1874

By 1863 the family had returned to Saline, Michigan, where William registered for the Civil War Draft. He was in “Class II,” which was everyone not in Class I.  (Class I were those aged 20-35 and those 36-45 and unmarried.) William indicated he was 41 and married making him Class II.[7]

By 1870, Marion had married William Henry Brown and was out of the house leaving Elva, Alma (Almon), Willie (William) and George. Also living with William and Mary were four-day laborers. James Roach, George Coats, Gabriel Reeves, and Wilson Hoag.[8]

According to the 1880 Census, living with William and Mary in Saline, Michigan are three of their boys. Uhnond (Almon), William, and George. Also living with them are two “Servants,” Henry Morris and Joseph Evans.[9]

North Dakota

In 1883, the family relocated again and moved west. William Sanford with his sons A.C. (Almon C) and George located to Section 6, in northwestern Sykeston Township. We know that other of his family members located to North Dakota about that time, including his daughters, Marion and Eva and his brother, C. A. Sanford who was the donor of the Sanford Dormitory at Jamestown College. William had a successful farm, which included the first herd of cattle in the county, a thrashing machine, pedigreed stallions, and a large flock of sheep.[10]

Area of Sanford Homestead, Section 6, Sykeston Twnsp, Wells Co., ND

Dakota Territory held a census in 1885.  That census showed William and Mary living with their two sons, A.C. (Almon) and George. Also, living with them were two servants, George Huber and John Sager.  It is interesting to note that William’s daughter, Elva, and her husband William Wright, show on the same Census page.[11]

In 1888, after 43 years of marriage, William’s wife, Mary, died.[12]

Five years later, in 1893, married Harriet Kent a 59-year-old widow.[13] It appears that she died before 1900, because in the 1900 Census, the widower William is living with his son George (and George’s wife and son) in Township 146, Wells County, North Dakota.[14]

William married once again, on 26 February 1901, this time to Phila Geer Frisby.[15]

Death

Sanford Marker at Lake View Cemetery, Cathay, North Dakota
Sanford Marker – Photo by Cemetery Scavenger via Find a Grave; used by permission.

William died on 5 June 1915 in Charlotte, Michigan, at the age of 92. His death was preceded by a fall where he broke his hip. He was then removed to Cathay, Wells County, North Dakota for burial.[16]  William was buried with his first wife, Mary Electa (Parsons) Sanford at Lake View Cemetery, in Cathay, ND.[17]

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Follow-up on lives of all of William’s children.
  • Continue research on William.

Contact

Once again, if you are descended from William M. Sanford please let me know how you are connected. I’d love to hear from you.

———– DISCLAIMER ———–

fold3-468x60


ENDNOTES

  • [1] Family Search; 1850 Census; (William Sanford) Michigan, Washtenaw, Saline, Sheet 737, Line 41 & following sheet.
  • [2] Google Books; History of Washtenaw County.  Michigan:  Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages, and Townships…. 1881. http://books.google.com/books?id=2z0XAQAAMAAJ.
  • [3] Google Books; History of Washtenaw County.  Michigan:  Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages, and Townships…. 1881. http://books.google.com/books?id=2z0XAQAAMAAJ. Page 1409.
  • [4] Ibid.
  • [5] Family Search; 1850 Census; (William Sanford) Michigan, Washtenaw, Saline, Sheet 737, Line 41 and following sheet.
  • [6] Family Search; 1860 Census; (William Sanford) Indiana, Dearborn, Aurora Center, Image 424.
  • [7] Ancestry.Com; U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865; William Sanford.
  • [8] Family Search; 1870 Census; (William Sanford) Michigan, Washtenaw County, Saline, Page 17, Line 22.
  • [9] Family Search; 1880 Census; (William Sanford) Michigan, Washtenaw, Saline, ED 237, Page 22 B, Line 16
  • [10] Spokesfield, Walter E.; The History of WELLS COUNTY NORTH DAKOTA AND ITS PIONEERS:  With a Sketch of North Dakota History and the Origin [sic] of the place names.  Valley City, N. D.:  Publisher: Not Identified, Published in 1929.
  • [11]  North Dakota State University; 1885 Census Index – Dakota Territory – (Wm Sanford) Page 35W-005; https://library.ndsu.edu/db/census/family?ed=35W-005-27
  • [12] Find a Grave – Mary E Sanford – Memorial# 142980426.
  • [13] Family Search; Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925; William Sanford – Harriet Kent.
  • [14] Family Search; 1900 Census; (George Sanford) – North Dakota, Wells, Township 146, Range 69, ED 212, Sheet 12A
  • [15] Family Search; Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925; William Sanford & Phila Geer Frisby
  • [16] Seeking Michigan; Michigan Death Certificate – William Sanford – Michigan, Eaton County, Charlotte.
  • [17] Find a Grave – William Sanford – Memorial# 142980536