Friday, April 18, 2014

Bester’s Early Years ……. Or Should I Call Him Barstow?



Bester B. Peck is my 3rd great-grandfather from Connecticut. My genealogical search for him has been one mystery followed by another!

How am I related to Bester?
   My grandmother, Viola Lillian Wilson, daughter of Jerome Walter Wilson and Grace Lee Clark
   My great-grandfather, Jerome Walter Wilson, son of Walter S. Wilson and Mary M. Peck
   My great great-grandmother, Mary M. Peck, daughter of Bester B. Peck and Mary A. Case

I’ve written about Bester in earlier posts. The first was titled Bester B. Peck Husband and Father, 1798-1863 dated Dec. 3, 2013 discussing his marriage to great-great-great grandmother Mary A. Case and their children.  My next post was called Hunting for Bester's Parents dated Jan. 11, 2014. In this post I zoomed in on Bradford Peck and Lydia Barstow as possible parents for Bester. They married July 24, 1794. Bradford was the son of Darius Peck and Hannah Warner while Lydia Barstow was the daughter of Yetonce Barstow and Esther Wood, all from Franklin, New London Co., Connecticut.  Lydia (Barstow) Peck died a young woman on June 6, 1798. 

Lydia’s father, Yetonce Barstow, died Dec. 28, 1799 in Franklin, Connecticut outliving 2 wives and his 2 daughters. Yetonce didn’t prepare a will and when he died, his son-in-law, Edward Corwin administered his estate.  The probate estate papers are on microfilm at the Connecticut State Library and told this family’s story very nicely[1].  Mrs. Phineas Corwin, Nathaniel Hyde and Cherub Abell were named guardians to Lydia Peck’s children in a document dated Oct. 14, 1800.  Edward Corwin was granted permission by the Court to rent Yetonce Barstow’s lands and Edward received extra monies for taking care of Yetonce in his last illness.  Money was also approved for Mr. Asahel Ladd for keeping one of Lydia’s children. 

‘A Return of the Division of Estate of Yetonce Barstow & the Peck Children” dated Dec. 15, 1800 described who got what[2].  Bester Corwin, the only son of Esther (Barstow) and Edward Corwin received one mare, a feather bed and sundry other articles amounting to the sum of $100.13.  He also inherited 23 acres and 100 rods of land by a highway and bound by Capt. Cherub Abell and Milton Hyde’s lands.

Lydia (Barstow) Peck’s three children got one horse, a silver watch and sundry other articles amounting to $100.13.  The Peck children also received 2 pieces of land to hold as copartners and tenants in common.  The first lot contained 2 acres and 114 rods adjoining Capt. Phinehas Peck’s property and the line of Phinehas Corwin’s land.  The second lot consisted of 26 acres and 46 rods on easterly and northerly side of the highway bound by Edward Corwin’s land and the lot set out to Bester Corwin.  A small three cornered piece of land containing 12 or 15 rods bound by Phinehas Corwin’s property was set aside for the Peck children too. 

The Division of the Estate separated the estate between Lydia Peck’s three children.  Nancy Peck was the eldest child and inherited one woolen sheet and other items equaling $33.38.  One piece of land containing 8 acres and 15 rods was set aside for her as well as the small three cornered lot described above. 

Clarry Peck, another daughter of Lydia Peck, also was gifted with one woolen sheet and other articles amounting to $33.38.  Clarry’s land consisted of two pieces.  The first lot contained 6 acres and 46 rods adjoining the Ayers property.  The second parcel was woodland bordering Capt. Phinehas Peck’s land containing 2 acres and 114 rods. 

Barstow Peck, the only son of Lydia Peck was given one checked coverlid and other articles at inventory price amounting to $33.38.  He also received 11 acres and 82 rods of land bound by the Ayers line and Edward Corwin’s land. 

Yetonce Barstow’s estate papers prove Bradford Peck and Lydia Barstow had three children—Nancy, Clarry and Barstow.  Bradford and Lydia married in 1794 so we know the children would be very young when their grandfather died in 1799 thus legal guardians were named to represent the children. 

Bester Peck was born March 7, 1798 which would make him an infant in 1799.  When Bester Peck married Mary Case, his name was noted in the records as Bester B. Peck.  Could Bester B. be Bester Barstow?  Was Bester and Barstow Peck the same child?

A probate record exists for the estate of Barstow Peck, minor, dated May 3, 1805[3].  Nathaniel Hyde of Franklin, Barstow Peck’s guardian, petitioned the Honorable General Assembly in October 1804 for permission to dispose of land belonging to Barstow for debts accrued for his support and his future support.  The General Assembly granted Nathaniel Hyde the right to sell Barstow’s estate to the best advantage. 

Connecticut Estate of Minors: Barstow Peck 
This new piece of the puzzle took me directly to Franklin land records.  Barstow’s cousin, Bester Corwin, sold his lands that had belonged to Yetonce Barstow April 17, 1815 to Abner Ladd, Jr. of Franklin, Connecticut[4].  When Bester Corwin sold the property, he was a resident of Cazenovia, Madison Co., New York. 

Nancy Peck who married Asa Ladd was definitely Bradford and Lydia’s daughter.  Nancy and Asa Ladd sold her property she inherited from her grandfather, Yetonce Barstow, Jan. 20, 1817 to Abner Ladd, Jr. of Franklin[5].  They are buried in Yantic Cemetery, Norwich, Connecticut[6].  A tombstone inscription state Nancy Peck Ladd, wife of Asa, was born 1795 and died 1853.  Asa Ladd was born 1793 and died 1869.  Asa and Nancy had four daughters and one son. 

On February 17, 1817, Clarissa and Buel Ladd sold her grandfather’s lands also to Abner Ladd, Jr[7].  This is the Clarissa Peck who married Buel Ladd.   Clarissa and Buell Ladd were buried in the Pautipaug Cemetery, Franklin, Connecticut.  Clarissa died August 9, 1873 at the age of 76 and Buell died July 4, 1879 age 86[8].  The Franklin Vital Records from the Barbour Collection identified three of their children:  Jabez Buel born Sept. 20, 1817, Mary Clarissa born Dec. 18, 1819 and Chester Hyde born Dec. 29, 1821.

I recognized Nancy and Clarissa Peck from earlier surname research when two Peck girls from Franklin, Connecticut had married into the Ladd family in 1816. Could this be the link to Bester’s early years?  Asa Ladd married Nancy Peck March 14, 1816 in Franklin[9].  When I reexamined my records, I realized Asa and Nancy Ladd were residing two doors away from Bester and his family in the 1850 census[10].  This piqued my interest further but I was unable to prove a relationship between Bester and Nancy.  The other Peck girl, Clarissa, married Buel Ladd Nov. 17, 1816 at Franklin, Connecticut[11].  Clarissa and Buel Ladd’s son, Jabez Buel Ladd, is the one I want you to pay close attention to. Bester Peck’s 13 year old grandson, William Warren, was dwelling in Jabez Ladd’s home and working on his farm per the 1870 federal census. This is feeling more and more as though Bester is linked to both Nancy and Clarissa.

There were no land records involving the sale of Barstow’s property in the town of Franklin deeds.  Nathaniel Hyde, acting has his guardian, had petitioned the General Assembly so I began searching for those records.  The “Connecticut Archives Index Estates of Minors 1715-1820”[12] and “The Public Records of the State of Connecticut”[13] both contained references to Nathaniel Hyde’s petition revealing more details about the family.  Barstow was left an orphan and cared for by his grandfather, Yetonce Barstow, who left him a legacy in land.  Nathaniel Hyde wanted reimbursement for $100 that he had spent on Barstow and asked to sell sufficient real estate to meet the debt.  The General Assembly granted Barstow’s guardian the right to sell his land October 1804.  Public records stated Barstow’s mother died in June 1798 “when said Barstow was a sucking child”.  It further revealed his father was bankrupt and absconded leaving no relatives of ability to care for him except his grandfather, Yetonce Barstow.   Yetonce’s legacy to Barstow consisted of about ten acres of land valued at $150.00. 

I examined original guardianship documents for New London County, Connecticut housed at the Connecticut State Archives not finding any papers for Nancy, Clarry or Barstow Peck.

I haven’t been able to locate any later record for Barstow Peck.  Did Barstow use the name ‘Bester’ at this point?  Was Barstow called ‘Barstow’ to differentiate him from his cousin, Bester Corwin?  It is a puzzle.  The preface of Arthur Hitchcock Radasch’s Barstow-Bestor Genealogy adds more confusion to the issue when the author explains:

   “The spelling of the name in any particular way cannot be used as a criterion to tell from which immigrant ancestor an individual is descended.  Indeed, in some families the name has gone from Barstow to Bastow and then to Bestor in a relatively short period as if the family was undecided or experimenting.  Other families seem to have been houses divided against themselves, with one son going off with one name, and other sons using a different name.”

The next time I found ‘Bester’ Peck was when he married in 1827.  In a later visit to the Connecticut State Library, I revisited the probate records just in case some monies were owed him when he turned 21 on March 7, 1819 with negative results[14]

I would really like to find supporting documentation that Bester was indeed Barstow.  This will continue to be my goal. 


[1] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Probate Estate Papers, Barstow, Yetonce:  Town Franklin, District Norwich, Town Franklin, No. 802, Date 1800,1 Bond, 1 Inventory, 1 Distribution, 1 Account of Administration, 16 Receipts, 1 Misc., 21 Total Documents
[2] Ibid
[3] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Probate Estate Papers, Estate of Peck, Barstow (minor), Town Franklin, District Norwich, Date 1805, No. 8459, 1 Bond
[4]Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Franklin, CT Land Deeds, Vol. 2-3, Page 133
[5] Ibid, Page 251
[6]Connecticut Headstone Inscriptions, Charles R. Hale Collection, RG 72:1, Volume 98, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Yantic Cemetery, Norwich, CT, Page 324
[7]Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Franklin, CT Land Deeds, Vol. 2-3, Page 250
[8]Connecticut Headstone Inscriptions, Charles R. Hale Collection,  Town of Franklin, Pautipaug Cemetery, Page 26
[9]Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Barber Collection, Franklin Vital Records, page 74
[10] 1850 Federal Census, Norwich, New London Co., CT, Page 149, Line 18, Asa Ladd Household
[11] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Barber Collection, Franklin Vital Records, page 73
[12] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Connecticut Archives Index Estates of Minors 1715-1820, Vol. 7, page 23
[13] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT., The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, Dorothy Ann Lipson, Editor, Vol. XII, pages 172-173
[14] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Norwich Probate Packets, 1748-1850 on microfilm

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