Chester Parsons and the 1820 Census

Census Sunday
Brown/Sanford/Parsons Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Following ancestors through all the census records is often difficult, particularly in census records before 1850, when only the head of household was named. Tracing my 4th great-grandfather, Chester Parsons was straight-forward from the 1880 census back to the 1850 census, even on to the 1830 Census, while Chester was in Saline, Michigan. Before that, he was a young man in someone else’s household not in Michigan. The path to understanding is to take what you know, hypothesize what should be, then see if research fits.

What I think I know.

  • Chester was born on 1 December 1799 in Sandisfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts.
  • Chester married his first wife in Greene County, New York in 1824.
  • In May 1826, Chester and his young family moved from New York to Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan Territory.
  • He and his family appear in 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses. The family seems to have been very stable living in Saline, Michigan, for over 60 years.
  • Chester’s father, John Parsons, died in 1813 in Greene County, New York.
  • In 1820 Chester would have been 20 years old.

My Speculation.

Because Chester probably lived with his father when his father died in 1813 and Chester probably resided in Greene County when he married in 1824, I presume the 20-year-old Chester also was living in Greene County during the 1820 Census. If so, who was he living with?

Search & Results

A quick search on Family Search of all families with the Parsons surname living in Greene County, New York in 1820 yielded four candidates, Samuel, Orrin, Albert, and Stephen. I’m looking for any of those people that might have Chester living with him.

Samuel Parsons – This Windham household consists of 1 Male (Age 26-45) and no other males. Chester’s oldest brother was named Samuel and would have been 33-years-old. This Samual is possibly, even likely, Chester’s brother.

Orrin and Samuel were enumerated next to each other in the 1820 Census.

Orrin Parsons – This Windham household consists of two males (one 16 to 26 and one under 10. There is also a female 16 to 26 in the household. Chester’s 2nd oldest brother was named Orrin and was 25 at the time. It is likely this was him with his wife, and first, previously unknown, son.

Albert Parsons – This Windham household consisted of five individuals, apparently Albert age 16-26, male 10-16, and male under 10 and two females, one, an apparent wife 16 to 26 and another age 10 to 16. There is no known Albert Parsons in my research before this. I will probably need to do more research to determine this Albert’s place in the family or determine he isn’t related. In any event, Chester is not in that household either.

Conclusion

Chester’s father John died in 1814. It appears that Samuel and Orrin each married and established households of their own. Chester, his brother John, and their mother were probably either missed in the 1820 Census or were living in the household of someone without the surname Parsons in Greene County, New York.

Further Research

  • It is possible that Chester and family lived with sister Mary/Polly in 1820. Research Mary/Polly Parsons’ life.
  • It is possible that Chester and family lived with a female sibling of John Parsons, Jr. Research the lives of the other Parsons of Sandisfield, Massachusetts that located to Windham, Greene County, New York between 1800 and 1820.

Ancestor Bio – Almira Chamberlain Sanford (1804-1845)

52 Ancestors – Week 2018-07
By Don Taylor

Almira Chamberlain married young and died young, at only 41 years of age. She was a pioneering woman who went west with her husband, from her native Vermont to Genesee and Orleans counties in New York. Then again further west, Almira moved to Saline, Washtenaw County Michigan.

Research Brown Line – Ancestor #101

List of Grandparents

Almira Chamberlain Sanford (1804-1845)

In the year Almira Chamberlain was born, 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a dual, Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of France, and Louis & Clark left on an expedition to explore the newly purchased land west of the Mississippi. Almira was born on 21 August 1804.[i] I believe her father was Benjamin Chamberlain, her mother is unknown. The 1810 Census suggests that she had two older brothers and an older sister.[ii]

Marriage

Almira married Ezra Sanford in 1819. [iii]She was 15 and Ezra was 27. The young couple headed west and were in Bergen, Genesee County, New York by August 1820 when the census was taken.[iv]

They had nine children – eight boys and one girl. They were Ezra (1820), William (1823), Henry (1824), Amos (1827), Ann Maria (1829), John W. (1831), Orlo (1835), George Poindexter (1835), and Charles A. (1838). All of the children were born in New York except for Charles who was born in Michigan.


The family was in New York through the 1830 census and appears to have consisted of Ezra, Almira, and their first five children.[v]

In 1834, her son Henry died at the age of ten.

In 1836, Ezra headed west with 16-year-old Ezra, (Jr.), and 13-year old William to prospect a new homestead. The following year he returned to New York for his wife and other children and located them in Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan, arriving on July 4th, 1837,[vi] the year that Michigan became a state and only five years after Saline became a town.

The 1840 Census suggests that Ezra junior had created his own household, but Charles, George, Orlo, John, Ann Maria, Amos, Henry, and William were still home. [vii]

Almira (Chamberlain) Sanford died in Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan on July 7th, 1845. She is buried at Benton Cemetery.


Endnotes

[i] History of Washtenaw County, Michigan, William Sanford – Pages 1408 and 1409. Chas. C. Chapman & Co. (1881). History of Washtenaw County, Michigan: Together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships … and biographies of representative citizens : history of Michigan. Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman & Co. https://archive.org/details/cu31924028870520.

[ii] 1810 Census (FS), Family Search, 1810 Census – Benjamin Chamberlain Head – Bennington, Vermont. “United States Census, 1810,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XH21-YST : accessed 7 February 2018), Benj Chamberlain, Bennington, Vermont, United States; citing p. 87A, NARA microfilm publication M252 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 64; FHL microfilm 218,668.

[iii] See Endnote #1 above.

[iv] 1820 Census (FS), Family Search, 1820 – Ezra Sanford – Bergen, Genesee, New York. “United States Census, 1820,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHLV-7VN : accessed 24 September 2017), Ezra Sanford, 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.

[v] 1830 Census (FS), Family Search, Ezra Sanford – Clarendon, Orleans, New York. “United States Census, 1830,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHG5-KP2 : 29 July 2017), Ezra Sanford, Clarendon, Orleans, New York, United States; citing 96, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 115; FHL microfilm 17,175.

[vi] See Endnote #1 above.

[vii] 1840 Census (FS), Family Search, 1840 Census – Ezra Sanford – Saline Township, Washtenaw, Michigan. “United States Census, 1840,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHYX-63Z : 15 August 2017), Ezra Sandford, Saline Township, Washtenaw, Michigan, United States; citing p. 140, NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 211; FHL microfilm 14,797.

1840 Census and Chester Parsons

Census Sunday

The 1840 census often exasperates genealogists.  I find the information presented to be challenging and able to provide new questions as well as details.

I was getting to know my 3rd great-grandmother, Mary Electa Parsons. In 1840 Mary Electa was 13 years old and living with her family in Saline, Michigan.  Of course, the 1840 Census only lists heads of households, so seeing Mary in the census is impossible. What I like to do is that the census record and determine who all of the individuals are that are listed suggested in the census.

Screen shot of 1840 Census
Crop of 1840 Census, Saline Township, PG 141

In the case of Mary Electa’s father, Chester Parsons the details, transcribed are:
Chester Parsons | – 1 –  1 – – 1 1 – – – – – // – 2 2 – 1 1

Then using my other records and sources I try to explain each of the individuals listed.  In this  case they are:

Males: 

  • 1 – 5 to under 10           Presumed to be Alfred (age 10)
  • 1 – 15 to under 20         Unknown
  • 1 – 40 to 50                    Presumed to be Chester Parsons (Age 41)
  • 1 – 50 to 60                    Unknown – Possibly brother of Chester or Deborah but most likely Deborah’s father Robert Maben (Age 59).

Females:

  • 2 – 5 & under 10            Presumed to be Harriet (age 8) and unknown.
  • 2 – 10 & under 15          Presumed to be Lucinda (age 15) and Mary Electa (age 12)
  • 1 – 20 to 30                    Probably Sarah Jane – Inconsistent Age.
  • 1 – 30 to 40                    Presumed to be Deborah Buel Maben Parsons

I am quite sure that Chester and his wife Deborah Buel Maben have one child that died in 1881. That individual could be the unknown male 15 to 20 or could be the female age 5 to under 10. That means there is another child living in the family that is completely unknown. All of the other children known to Chester and Deborah are accounted for.

Chester and Deborah were married in 1824, if they had a child in 1825 that child would have been 15 in 1840 and is a likely candidate to be the first unknown male. Likewise, the second unknown girls between 5 and 10 is a likely child. As such, I’m adding two tentative children of Chester and Deborah:

Unknown Parsons – Male – born 1819-1825. Living 1840 – Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan.

Unknown Parsons – Female – Born 1829-1835. Living 1840 – Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan.
I will also update my Unknown Parsons, who died 1881, to suggest it could be one of the above two or an entirely different child.

Finally, there is an unidentified male listed, age 50 to 60. Chester’s father was dead before 1840, however, Deborah’s father, Robert Maben, was still living. Her father would have been 59 in 1840. Additionally, Robert died in 1843 in Saline.  He does not show as the head of a household in Saline during the 1840 Census.  As such, I postulate that Robert Maben was living with his daughter, her husband, and her children.  Do I know this to be true?  No, but I think it is a strong likelihood. As such I’ll add it as a tentative fact until I see facts suggesting otherwise.

Robert Maben – Residence: 1840 – Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan (Probable) – Probably Living with daughter Deborah and son-in-law Chester Parsons.

Taking an 1840 census, applying all know relationships to the census and then attempting to reconcile any unknowns can lead to new insight into the family and family relationships.

————-Disclaimer————-

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Source: Family Search; 1840 Census; Chester Parsons – Saline Township, Washtenaw County, Michigan, Page 141; https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHYX-65H

 

Don’t avoid those Bright Shiny Objects.

Brown Research

Bright Shiny Objects - Photo by arbyreed - CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Bright Shiney Objects

Photo by Arbyreed (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 

I’ll admit it; I get diverted from my goals by Bright Shiny Objects (BSOs).  I was working on a problem ancestor of mine, my third great-grandmother, Mary C. LNU (Last Name Unknown), about whom I know very little.

Bio – Mary C. (LNU) Brown (1823-?)

What I think I know:

  • She was born about 1824 in New York.[i]
  • She probably married Barney/Daney Brown about 1841.[ii]
  • In 1850, she was living with her apparent husband, Barney, and two children, William H and Myron O Brown in Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan.[iii]
  • In 1860, she and her apparent husband, Daney, were living with four children, Henry W, Myron O, Alice C. and David V. Brown in Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan.[iv]
  • In the 1870 census, it appears that she is living alone.[v] Her son, Henry, was married and making a life with his wife and two children nearby. Not sure where Myron, Alice, or David were. I can’t find them nor their father, Barney/Daney, in the 1870 census either. So, I figured he possibly died in the Civil War. Certainly, I have a lot more research to do to determine if one of the many Browns who fought for the Union was my Barney/Daney Brown.

Newspapers

After I had figured out that I had exhausted my many searching methods on Family Search, Ancestry, and Genealogy in Time (read Google) for Mary, Barney/Daney, and the children, I thought I’d see if there were any newspapers of the area. I like using The Ancestor Hunt to seek out newspapers. I research Michigan enough that I have a bookmark right to Kenneth Mark’s Michigan page in my browser. I click it, then do a {Control/f} to “find” type “Saline” and–Bang–there were three newspapers listed for Saline. One was 1958-2014, outside of my possible range. But two were in the 1800s, both at Central Michigan University. So, off I go (metaphorically speaking).

Digital Michigan Newspapers – It is a “Bright Shiny Object.”

I quickly figured out how to search only the Saline papers and found lots of articles about various Browns, but none that appeared to be about this family unit.  (It might be really helpful if I decide to do a locational surname study.)  But this is a nice site.  I’d just bet I can find some juicy bits of information there – It It looks like it is a BSO!

Newspaper Clipping - Obituary - Janette A. Arnold Wakefield Parsons
Obituary Janette A. Arnold Wakefield Parsons

I went back to my genealogy program (I use Heredis) and selected the people who had any event in Saline in my database – 45 people.  I’ll bet some of these people are in those papers. As I worked through the list, at first I didn’t find articles about lots of them, A tantalizing bit here and there, like Sarah Young had perfect attendance in school in 1881. Then, I hit some really important articles. My 4th great-grandfather, Chester Parsons’ personal property was auctioned off by the administrator of his estate. Awesome detail of what was going up for sale, “12 cows, 16 head young cattle, seven head horses, 52 acres wheat on the ground and a large quantity of farm implements. Eighty acres of timber land is also offered for sale at a bargain.”  Very interesting stuff. I even learned that someone named Daniel Reeves lived on Chester Parson’s farm for six years, including two years while Chester was still alive.[vi] Who was Daniel Reeves and why was he living on the Parson farm?  I also found the obituary for Chester Parson’s second wife, which provided the date he married her, her maiden and widowed names, and her daughter’s names.  Those names might be helpful when I find Chester Parsons’ probate records.

The bottom line is that in a couple hours of investigating this BSO, I learned a couple dozen facts, developed several new avenues of inquiry and had a lot of fun.  I know that I probably should have kept to my research goal: What was Mary C [Brown]’s maiden surname? I still don’t know the answer to that, but I do know lots of new things. So it is okay with me that I diverted to look at the BSOs. The information I found added texture to my understanding of the lives of several ancestors. So, I’m glad I didn’t toss aside that Bright Shiney Object once I knew it wouldn’t answer my research question. I hope you find BSOs you can have fun with also.

Future Actions:

  • Research Mary C. [Brown] and determine her maiden surname, place of birth, death, etc. (Again.)
  • Find the Probate Records for Chester Parsons (1799-1887) – Washtenaw County, Michigan.
  • Determine if Barney/Daney Brown served in the Civil War.
  • Determine if there is a relationship between Daniel Reeves and the Parsons family.
———-  DISCLAIMER  ———-
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ENDNOTES

  • [i] The 1850, 1860, and 1870 census records for her are all consistent, 26, 36, and 46 years old respectively.
  • [ii] Their first child, William Henry Brown, was born about 1842 in Michigan.
  • [iii] United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MF8P-F8S : accessed 23 March 2016), Barney Brown, Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan, United States; citing family 185, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • [iv] “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MWDZ-DLM : accessed 23 March 2016), Daney Brown, 1860.
  • [v] Year: 1870; Census Place: Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan; Roll: M593_708; Page: 315B; Image: 166772; Family History Library Film: 552207  Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
  • [vi] Saline Observer (Saline, MI) – 1891-12-10, Pg 5, Column 2 (last paragraph) – via Digital Michigan Newspapers; Central Michigan University
.

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