The Search for Rufus H Darling’s father: Abner Darling
Finding individuals before the 1850 Census is always problematic. I find the process to be an iterative process, that is to say, it is necessary to go through the same records several times until you find the right connections. Here is my process for finding Abner and Sally Darling. As is always the case, start with what you know (or think you know).
According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, Rufus Holton Darling was the son of Abner & Sally Darling. He had come to Kalamazoo from Rome, Oneida Co., NY in 1840.[i] This article is about searching for Rufus in Oneida County and the search for his parents, Abner and Sally Darling.
A search of the 1840 Census revealed 9 people with the surname Darling in Oneida County, New York. No one named Rufus or Abner (that would be too easy) is listed. The only Darling listed as being in Rome is
1840 – Israel Darling – Rome, Oneida, New York
M Under 5 1
M 30-39 1
F Under 5 1
F 5-9 1
F 20-29 1
1 person employed in navigation of canals, lakes, rivers.[ii]
From this, I deduce that Israel Darling was born between 1800 and 1810 and probably worked on the nearby Erie Canal. Clearly no other Darling men were living in his household. From this Census record, I think it is fairly safe to conclude that Israel Darling was living with his wife and three children in 1840 in Rome.
Rufus doesn’t appear in the Census for Rome, Oneida county, New York in the 1840 Census. So, there are three likely answers.
1. Rufus moved before the census date of 1 June 1840.
2. Rufus was somewhere else in Oneida County, near to Rome.
3. The newspaper article was wrong.
A search of the 1830 Census yields seven Darling’s listed. Again, no Abner. I wouldn’t expect the then 14-year-old Rufus to be enumerated, but rather be in another household.
The only other chance is to find the family in Oneida County the 1820 Census. A search on Ancestry.Com yielded 8 entries for Darlings in Oneida County, New York. None were in Rome; however, there were two entries for Abner Darlings.
Abner Darling Entry #1
1820 – Abner Darling – Vernon, Oneida, New York[iii]
M 10-15 1
M 16-18 2
M 16-26 5
M 26-44 3
M 45 & over 1
F 16-25 1
F 26-44 1
F 45 & Older 1
Persons engaged in Manufacturing: 8
Vernon is a small town about 12 miles south of Rome, NY. However, this census entry shows a complex household with six adults and seven children (under 25) primarily working in manufacturing. In 1820, Rufus would have been five years old and is not enumerated in this listing. So, we need to look at the other Abner Darling’s entries. The good news is this entry
infers there was an Abner Darling who was born before 1875 living in Oneida Co., so I should make a “do not confuse with” entry in my worksheets.
Abner Darling Entry #2
1820 – Abner Darling – Paris, Oneida, New York[iv]
M Under 10 3
M 10-15 1
M 26-44 1
F Under 10 1
F 10-15 2
F 26-44 1
Persons engaged in Agriculture: 1
This likely shows a simple farm family with two adults and seven children under 16.
The good news is that Rufus could be one of these three males under 10. The bad news is that it is not Rome. Paris is a small town about 17 miles southeast of Rome. However, Paris is only about ten miles south of Utica, so I would expect that people from Paris would associate themselves with Utica and not Rome. Abner Darling of Paris doesn’t show in the 1830 census gives rise to my speculation that Abner Darling of Paris either died or moved sometime between 1820 and 1830. I think I’ll use that as a hypothesis and continue on.
Returning to the 1830 Census, sadly none of the entries for Darlings in Oneida County are in Paris. So, it appears that Abner either died without his heirs continuing on the property or that Abner moved.
The Abner of Paris in the 1820 Census closest census (three on each side) neighbors were: Henry F West, James Eastman, David Pixby (?), John Ramsdale, Solomon Stockwell, and Joseph Ballou. I decided to see if they show in the 1930 Census.
Back to the 1830 Census
Henry F West Appears to have moved to Richland, Oswego County by 1830.
James Eastman – No John, but there an Amasa Eastman in Kirkland and two Benjamin Eastmans in Paris.
David Pixby (Bixby?) – None
John Ramsdale – No John, but there is a Henry Ramsdale in Kirkland.
Solomon Stockwell – shows in the 1830 Census living in Kirkland. No there are Darlings enumerated on the same page (11).
Joseph Ballow – Also shows in the 1830 Census living in Kirkland and also on Page 11.
The good news is that Kirkland was established as a town in 1827 from the town of Paris. People in Kirkland in 1830 would have been in Paris in 1820 without having moved. Because of this, I have little doubt that I found the neighbors of 1820 Abner of Paris and looking at those neighbors, neither Abner nor any other Darlings are in Kirkland in 1830.
At this point, I’m still pretty good with the hypothesis that Rufus Holton Darling’s father, Abner Darling, was the Abner Darling of Paris (Later Kirkland). If that is the case, I have the following family information
Abner Darling Born 1776-1794 – Married before 1807. (Engaged in Agriculture.
Sally [Darling] Born 1776-1794 – Married before 1807 – Died after 1820.
1. Unknown Male Darling – B. 1804-1810
2. Unknown Female Darling – B. 1804-1810
3. Unknown Female Darling – B. 1804-1810
4. Unknown Male Darling – B. 1809-1920
5. Rufus Holton Darling – B. 1815-1816
6. Unknown Male Darling – B. 1809-1820
7. Unknown Female Darling – B. 1809-1920
For a marriage date, I am assuming that the 1820 Abner Darling of Paris census entry was a standard family unit, that is to say, husband, wife, and 7 children. I presume that they were married before the oldest child was conceived. They have three children over 10 in August 1820 so the oldest of the three children must have been born by 1808 and conceived by 1807 (presuming no multiple births).
The Will of Abner Darling
At this point, I was kind of stuck. Then I looked at the wills and probate records on Ancestry.Com. It is a fantastic resource. I quickly found the Will of Abner Darling who died in 1839 who gave everything to his wife Sally. Could this be the same Abner and Sally Darling who were the parents of Rufus Holton Darling?
Back to the 1840 Census
I thought I’d take a look at the 1840 Census. Sally would, most likely, still be in Clarkson only a year later. A search yielded a huge find. Rufus H Darling was the head of a household in Clarkson.
Rufus H Darling Entry
1840 Census – Rufus H Darling – Clarkson, Monroe, New York[v]
Minor child in will.
Fits 1820 Census.
Fits 1820 Census.
Minor Child in will.
Fits 1820 Census.
I have little doubt that this Rufus H Darling entry is the correct Rufus H Darling and that his father, Abner Darling of Clarkson, died in 1839 and that, in 1840, Sally Ann Darling was living with her son Rufus H in Clarkson, Monroe Co., New York.
Back to the 1830 Census
Then I went back to the 1830 Census and found an Abner Durling living in Clarkson, Monroe County, New York.
1830 Census – Abner Darling – Clarkson, Monroe, New York[vi]
M Under 5
Youngest boy in 1840 Census
Missing in 1840 Census
One of them is probably Rufus.
Other Unk Male in 1840 Census.
Fits 1840 Census
Fits 1840 Census
Fits female < 10 in 1820 Census
Fits both 1820 & 1840 Censuses
Everything appears to fit my expectations for the Abner Darling family as I would expect it to be in 1830.
The will of Abner Darling provided the break that allowed me to think outside of the Rome, Oneida County box. I now believe that Rufus Holton Darling was born near Rome, New York. When he was a child from 5 to 15 years old, the family moved to Clarkson, New York (about 20 miles west of Rochester). In 1839, his father passed and the 25-year-old Rufus became the head of the household. In late 1840, Rufus located to Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Solving family history by using the pre-1850 censuses can be difficult and complex. There are seldom easy answers, but through perseverance, a viable conclusion can be reached. Now to sort out Abner in the 1810 Census. There are five Darling families in Oneida County during the 1810 Census. One of them is “A. Darling.” The eldest in that enumerated family is over 45 years old. Too old to be our Abner. But there is a 16 to 25-year-old male in that enumeration who could be our Abner. Another fine investigation to undertake….
Abner Darling (1780-1839)
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 3
Marker of Abner Darling
Born 1780 – The 1830 Census indicates he is between 40 and 49 years of age, suggesting a birth between 1780 and 1790. His marker on Find-a-Grave appears to indicate his birth in 1780.
1820 – Paris, Oneida, New York, USA, Appears to be living with wife and 7 children working in Agriculture.[vii]
1830 – Clarkson, Monroe, New York, Appears to be living with wife and 9 children.[viii]
c.1838 – Monroe County, New York, sued Nathan Mott & Ansel Frost.[ix]
1839 – January 8th, Monroe County, New York, signed last will and testament giving all to his wife Sally Ann.[x]
1839 – January 11th, Abner died. He was buried in Hamlin, Monroe County, New York at the Lakeside Cemetery. [xi]
1839 – May 1, Abner’s will was probated. His wife, Sally Ann was the Executrix.
Determine the siblings of Rufus H Darling.
Find Abner Darling in the 1790, 1800, and 1810 Censuses.
Determine Sally Ann Darlings maiden name.
Determine what happened to Sally Ann Darling.
[i] ”KPL 3X5″ Vital Record Files, Kalamazoo Public Library;, Kalamazoogenealogy.org.
[ii]1840; Census Place: Rome, Oneida, New York; Roll: 313; Page: 65; Image: 705; Family History Library Film: 0017199
[iii] 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Vernon, Oneida, New York; Page: 257; NARA Roll: M33_73; Image: 260