An Old Settler Departs

Amanuensis Monday
Darling Line
By Don Taylor

I’ve been researching the siblings of Rufus Holton Darling and had three left to research. Sally Ann Darling, Hannah Darling, and Franklin C. Darling. I haven’t been finding much on any of them. I suspected that a Franklin Darling in Minnesota might be Franklin, the brother of Rufus Holton Darling, but hadn’t found any definitive evidence that they were the same person. In searching for Franklin on Newspapers.Com, I encountered an amazing article about the death of Franklin and Rufus’ brother, Abner C. Darling.

Document Image & Transcription


Death of Abner C. Darling.

Obituary: Abner C. Darling (1812-1880)
Obituary: Abner C. Darling (1812-1880)

On Monday, Sept. 20, 1880, at his residence, in the town of Grand Chute, near this city, Abner C. Darling, for more than 40 years a resident of Wisconsin, over 30 of which were spent in this city, departed this life at the age of nearly 68 years.

This death created a profound sensation among the old settlers, all of whom were personally acquainted with the deceased.

Mr. Darling was born near Rome, N.Y., October 29, 1912, went with his father’s family, a very large one, to Michigan, when he was a boy. in 1825 was married in Western New York to Miss Nancy A. Green, at the residence of her uncle, Robert Green, who has resided with Mr. Darling for many years, and still survives him at an advanced age; emigrated in 1840 with his wife and their only daughter, now Mrs. L. S. Colman, of Milwaukee, to the very new village of Racine; removed in 1850 to Appleton, then almost a dense forest, and speedily erected a store on College Avenue, which still stands with its red front as one of the few land marks left of Appleton’s early days, and embarked in business. His wife, a most estimable lady, died in the spring of 1867, and some years subsequently he married Miss Sarah Green, daughter of Robert Green, who with three children survives him. Only two of his brothers are living, Henry Darling of Fox Lake, Wisconsin, and Franklin Darling, of Minnesota.

The great fire of 1873, which swept the old Crescent Hotel and many other business buildings, originated in the building he then occupied, about where Schroeder’s furniture now stands and destroyed $4,000 worth of uninsured goods. This loss, with the subsequent depreciation of real estate that followed the Great Panic of 1873, left him nearly penniless, and from that time to his death, it has been a constant struggle with financial disappointment and disaster until the strongman succumbed. Always active ever seeking to rise above the pressure of events, he has commanded sympathy and respect, and this announcement’ of his demise elicited on every hand the most earnest regrets.

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at
Mr. Darling, during nearly all the years of his manhood, was an active yet unobtrusive communicant of the Methodist Episcopal church, and all who know him intimately will bear testimony that he was sincere and sought to do right. On Wednesday, a large number of citizens and friends, including most of his old neighbors, gathered at his dwelling to pay their last tribute of respect to his genuine worth, and on that beautiful autumnal day, they placed his remains in their resting place, Riverside cemetery, his life work all done, his eternity begun.


New Facts

This article suggests many new facts. Facts new to me are identified as bold. Questionable facts are identified as red and in italics.

1812 – Abner C. Darling was born near Rome, NY 29 Oct 1812.

1825 – Married Nancy A. Green in 1825 in Western New York. – Question fact.  Abner would have been 13 years old in 1825 and Nancy 9 years old.

1840 – Moved to Wisconsin c. 1840 with wife and only daughter. Although not false, the fact appears to be incomplete. Abner and Nancy’s son, Ned, was born before 1840 in New York and died about 1840 in Racine Wisconsin, so it appears that Abner moved to Wisconsin c. 1840 with his wife and two children.

1850 – Moved to Grand Chute c. 1850 and built a store on College Ave.

1873 – Fire destroyed his stock and the Great Panic of 1873 left him penniless.

1880 – Abner C. Darling died 20 Sep 1880 in Grand Chute, Mich.

1880 – Buried Riverside Cemetery.

Religion: Methodist Episcopal

First Wife:  Nancy Green (niece of Robert Green)

1867 – Nancy Died

Daughter is Mrs. L. S. Colman lives in Milwaukee in 1880.

Uncle Robert Green lived with the family for “Many years” prior to 1880.

Abner married Miss Sarah Green (Daughter of Robert Green) some years after 1867. Sarah and her father Robert are living in 1880

Brother Henry Darling of Fox Lake, Wisconsin is living in 1880

Brother Franklin Darling of Minnesota is living in 1880.

Because Abner’s sisters are not mentioned at all, It appears that they probably had passed before September 1880. Abner’s sisters were Deidamia [Limbacker], Sally Ann, and Hannah.


This obituary provided eight new facts including proof that Franklin located to Minnesota.


[i] The Appleton Crescent (Appleton, Wis.) · 25 Sep 1880, Page 3; via Newspapers.Com.

Ancestor Bio – Abner C. Darling (1811-1880)

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I continue investigating the siblings of Rufus Holton Darling. In this research, I was able to extend my knowledge of Rufus’ mother Sally Ann (Munsell) Darling. I learned that Sally moved in with her son, Abner, and his wife before the 1860 Census. By knowing Sally was in Wisconsin in 1860, I may be able to find her death records.

Research Family 2017 – Ancestor #96

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-granduncle: Abner C. Darling (1811-1880)

Abner C. Darling (1811-1880)

Abner C. Darling was probably born on 11 October 1811 in Rome, Oneida County, New York. [i]

He was the 2nd child of 8 children born to Abner and Sally Ann (Munsell) Darling. Abner grew up with seven siblings:


Indeed, the building of the Erie Canal was a big part of his childhood. Construction began in Rome on July 4th, 1817, with the canal connecting Rome to both the Hudson River and the Great Lakes by 1825.

By 1830, his family located further west, to Clarkson, Monroe County, New York. Clarkson is about 18 miles west of Rochester and about 8 miles from Lake Ontario. The 1830 Census appears to include a household of Abner senior and his wife, Sally.[ii] Also, are five boys and three girls. They appear to be:

  •       Franklin (age 1)
  •       Hannah (age 6)
  •       Sally Ann (age 9)
  •       Henry   (age 10)
  •       Rufus    (age 14)
  •       Deidamia (age 16)
  •       Abner   (age 19)
  •       Unknown (Possibly Andrew)

One child’s identity is unknown, but his age is 15 to 19.  It is possible that this child is Andrew, but other records suggest Andrew should be age 25 during the 1830 census.


About 1834, Abner married Nancy Anne Green. They had two children while living in Clarkson, a daughter, Lucinda, (born 1835) and a son, Ned, who was born before 1840. The family moved from Clarkson, New York to Racine, Wisconsin about 1840. It appears that Ned died there before 1840.


Photo of Abner Darling (1811-1880) courtesy Jon Broderick.
Abner Darling (1811-1880)

Abner started a business in Racine and went bankrupt. After the business problems, Abner and Nancy moved on to Grand Chute, Wisconsin, where he began another business. I have not been successful finding him in the 1840 Census.

During the 1850 census, the family consisted of Abner, his wife Nancy Anne, and their daughter Lucinda.[iii] They lived in Grand Chute, Brown County, Wisconsin. In 1851, Brown County was divided, and part of it became Outagamie County.

The 1855 Wisconsin census indicates they were living in Appleton, but it is unclear if they moved from Grand Chute or if only the “closest post office” change.[iv]

Search Civil Military - Fold3 

In 1860, they had a very complex household. Besides Abner, Nancy, and Lucinda there are five other individuals in the house.[v]  Sally A. Darling, Abner’s 75-year-old mother is living with them. Also, there are four young adults living with them.  Harriet Reed, Wilbur Yoenne, Joseph Hammend, and Jos Colman. All ages 20 to 25. Jos Colman is interesting because, later that fall, Lucinda marries Henry Colman. I need to research and find out what the relationship might be between Jos Colman (b. 1840) and Lucinda’s husband, Henry Colman (b. 1834). I suspect they were all students at Lawrence College.

Education appears to have been very important to the Darlings. Lucinda, Abner and Nancy’s only daughter, attended Lawrence College and was the first woman to graduate from the school (in 1857). She went on to be an instructor in Latin at Evansville Seminary in the 1860s and later taught in the Madison and Sheboygan public schools. The Lawrence University 1930 yearbook, The Ariel, was dedicated to her.[vi]

Marriage 2

Abner’s wife Nancy died in April 1867. That following October he married Nancy’s niece, Sarah Green.[vii]  The 56-year-old Abner was 27 years her senior. They had three children together.

  • Alice Wells Darling (1869-1920)
  • Jessie Lucy Darling (1870-1917)
  • Helen S. Darling (1878-1949)

The 1870 Census finds the family consisting of Abner, Sarah, and their daughter Alice.[viii] Also living with them are three other individuals.  Louisa Lowell, a 20-year-old domestic servant, and May Welland, a six-year-old girl whose relationship is unknown, lived with them.  Also was 68-year-old R. H. Green. This is apparently Robert Hunter Green, Sarah’s father.

The 1880 Census finds the family back down to Abner, Sarah, and their three daughters.[ix] Living with them still is Abner’s father-in-law, the 78-year-old Robert Green.


Marker - Abner & Nancy Anna Green. Photo Source: Photo by Jeanne Weiland, Find a Grave ID 4907152 via Find-a-Grave.
Marker – Abner & Nancy Anna Green

Abner Darling died in the fall of 1880. He was buried at Riverside Cemetery, Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin.[x]

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Document Abner’s property ownership in Outagamie County.
  • Document Abner’s bankruptcy in Racine.




[i] This date is consistent with his Grave Marker and the 1850 and 1860 Census records.

[ii] 1830 Census (A), Abner Darling – Clarkson, Monroe, New York – Page 271. Source Citation
 1830; Census Place: Clarkson, Monroe, New York; Series: M19; Roll: 94; Page: 271; Family History Library Film: 001715 4

[iii] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Abner Darling (c. 1812) – Grand Chute, Brown, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016), Abner Darling, Grand Chute, Brown, Wisconsin, United States; citing family 640, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

[iv] Wisconsin, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1820-1890, Ancestry, WI 1855 State Census Index – A. C. Darling – No Image. Outagamie County, Appleton Village, 1855. Wisconsin, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1820-1890 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 1999.  Original data: Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp. Wisconsin Census, 1820-1890. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.

[v] 1860 Census (FS), Family Search, 1860 Census – A C Darling – Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 1 October 2017), A C Darling, 1860.

[vi] 1930-12-22, Pages 1 & 13 – Injuries Fatal – Oldest Graduate of Lawrence Dies. – accessed Feb 1, 2018., Post Crescent, Appleton, Wisconsin.

[vii] Wisconsin, County Marriages, 1836-1911, Family Search, Abner C Darling & Sarah A Green – 1867. “Wisconsin, County Marriages, 1836-1911,” database, FamilySearch ( : 9 March 2016), Abner C Darling and Sarah A Green, 26 Oct 1867; citing Rock, Wisconsin, United States, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison; FHL microfilm 1,275,527.

[viii] 1870 Census (FS), Family Search, 1870 Census – Abner C. Darling – Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016), Abner C Darling, Wisconsin, United States; citing p. 84, family 631, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 553,229.

[ix] 1880 Census (FS), Family Search, 1880 Census – Abner C Darling – Grand Chute, Outagamie, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 14 September 2017), Abner C Darling, Grand Chute, Outagamie, Wisconsin, United States; citing enumeration district ED 126, sheet 238C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 1440; FHL microfilm 1,255,440.

[x] Find a Grave, Abner Darling (1811-1880). Citation: Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 01 February 2018), memorial page for Abner Darling (1811–1880), Find A Grave Memorial no. 184635832, citing Riverside Cemetery, Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin, USA; Maintained by Jeanne Weiland (contributor 49074152).