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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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.

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