Friday, February 24, 2017

The Wilson Sisters—Marion, Ann, and Janett

In my last blog post, Thank You, Uncle Hugh, I began a quest to learn what became of my 2nd Great Grandfather Walter Wilson’s brothers and sisters. I made little headway with the Uncles but found 2nd Great Grand Aunties Marion, Ann, and Janett Wilson.

Great Aunt Marion married Alonzo Davis Sept. 28, 1847, at Somersworth, Strafford County, New Hampshire.; New Hampshire, Marriage and Divorce Records, 1659-1947

After 3rd Great Grandfather James Wilson’s death, Grandmother Marion Wilson lived in Norwich, Connecticut with her children. Gran’s daughter Marion and husband Alonzo Davis were close by in Preston August 1850. Aunt Marion and Uncle Alonzo welcomed Great Gran and the youngest Wilson boy into their home at Newfield, York County, Maine (where I found them in the July 1860 federal census). The 1870 census states Alonzo resided in Somersworth, New Hampshire employed as a worker in the iron foundry. He still provided for Great Gran—a good trait for a son-in-law. By 1880, Alonzo worked as a molder in the foundry. Grandmother Marion wasn’t in Alonzo’s home, but he was still taking care of the family. His widowed daughter, Fanny A. Dorman, lived with Alonzo and Marion. Right next door was their eldest girl, Maria A., husband Albert A. Ham and five-year-old Eve.

Alonzo died Nov. 17, 1889, when he was 60 years of age. Aunt Marion remained in Somersworth sharing a home with her daughter Fannie until she passed on Dec. 22, 1910.

Next, I turned my attention to Ann Wilson. Aunt Ann was alive when named in Uncle Hugh’s will written Feb. 19, 1881, but I couldn’t find any clues to her whereabouts.

The1850 census indicates Aunt Janett’s birth occurred in New Jersey about 1833. I suspect she was not an heir of Uncle Hugh because she died before he wrote a will.

I located a Norwich, Connecticut marriage between Janett Wilson and John Swasey Oct. 14, 1851, in the Town of Norwich Vital Records:

                                                                                    Norwich  July 1st 1851
            This is to certify that Mr. John Swasey and Miss Janett Wilson, of
            Norwich, were married by me, July 1st 1851.
            Recorded Oct. 14th 1851, by                    A. L. Loveland
            Othniel Gager Town Clerk                          Clergyman

I needed to know more about this couple.

The District 10, Davidson Co., Tennessee 1860 federal census included:

You can see John Swasey worked for the railroad. Jennett was born in New Jersey about 1833 just like my Grandfather Walter’s sister. The first child, John, was born in Connecticut. Then the family moved to Georgia by1856 where Vashti was born. The new baby Thomas arrived June 1860 in Tennessee.

By 1870, the Swasey’s had moved to Huntsville in Madison County, Alabama. John was still employed as a locomotive engineer, and Janett took care of the house. Their children John and Vashti were at home; sadly, Thomas was not.

I found a widowed John Swasey in Huntsville June 1, 1880, when the federal census was enumerated. This record tells me Janett died sometime between 1870 and 1880 much too young; she was in her late 30’s or early 40’s. Of course, this would explain why Aunt Janett was not among her Uncle’s heirs.

While the1880 census let me know Aunt Janett was gone, it also led me to Aunt Ann. Ann M. Wilson, the sister-in-law of John Swasey, was a housekeeper in the home. Yes, her birth date and place match what I know about her from the 1850 federal census. She was born in New Jersey about 1831 and her parents both born in Scotland.

My Great Grandfather Walter thought highly of his brothers Hugh and John and named two sons in their honor. I’ll continue my quest to find the Uncles.

My ancestry
3rd Great Grandfather James Wilson and wife Marion Moore
2nd Great Grandfather Walter Wilson and wife Mary Peck
Great Grandfather Jerome W. Wilson and wife Grace L. Clark
Grandmother Viola L Wilson and husband Frank Leroy Doty
My Mother

Monday, February 6, 2017

Thank you, Uncle Hugh

3rd Great Granduncle’s legacy to 2nd Great Grandfather Walter Wilson led me to my 3rd Great Granny from Scotland.

I featured Walter Wilson Jan. 2, 2015 in blog post FUNERAL FRIDAY: Erie Railroad Engineer Walter S. Wilson Funeral, May 17, 1893, Goshen, NY


Walter’s parents, James and Marion Wilson, emigrated from Scotland, Great Britain. They spent time in New Jersey and later Norwich, Connecticut.  3rd Great Grandfather James Wilson had a brother, Hugh, in this country. Grandfather and Uncle resided in the Norwich area and operated a business together.

I’m assuming Great Grandfather James died by 1850 since he didn’t appear in the 1850 federal census with the family. Walter lived at home with his widowed mother and siblings Ann, Janett, Hugh, and John November 1850.; 1850 Federal Census; Norwich, New London, Connecticut;
Roll: M432-48; Page: 190A; Image: 382

3rd Great Granduncle Hugh lived to be an old man outliving his wife and son passing away May 19, 1881. Uncle Hugh remembered his brother’s children in his will written Feb. 19, 1881:
I do give & devise unto my brother’s children Walter Wilson, John Wilson, Marion Davis & Ann Wilson the sum of three hundred dollars each & unto his other James Wilson’s children the sum of three hundred dollars.

Only four of James and Marion’s known children inherit in Uncle’s will—Walter, John, Marion, and Ann. Where’s siblings Janett and Hugh from the 1850 census? I find the words “unto his other James Wilson’s children” odd and don’t know how to interpret this. Did Great Grandfather James have a family with a former wife? Unfortunately, I couldn’t find answers to my questions.

For years I attempted to locate more records for Grandfather Walter’s mother and siblings with no success … that is until this past week. Tuesday morning I successively typed Marion Wilson, Ann Wilson, Janett Wilson, Hugh Wilson, and John Wilson into the search box at  It wasn’t looking good. Grandfather Walter’s sister Marion Davis was my last hope. She must have been an older child already married and out of the house by 1850.

The first search result that popped up was ‘New Hampshire Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947’ collection. Marion (Wilson) Davis, wife of Alonzo Davis, died in Somersworth, New Hampshire Dec. 22, 1922. Her father was James Wilson and her mother, Marion Moore. Both mother and father were born in Scotland. (Finally, Gran’s family name!)

Next, I searched the 1860 federal census. Marion and Alonzo Davis lived in Newfield, York Co., Maine with their three children, two Davis family members, and two Wilson family members. What a surprise to find 3rd Great Grandmother Marion and her youngest son John R. Wilson in the house. (Newfield was Alonzo’s birthplace.); 1860 Federal Census; Newfield, York, Maine;
Roll: M653_451; Page: 672; Image: 229

The Somersworth, Stratford Co., New Hampshire census enumerator found Great Grandmother Marion in Alonzo and Marion Davis’ home along with grandchildren Maria and Fannie July 29, 1870.; 1870 Federal Census; Somersworth, Strafford, New Hampshire;
Roll: M593_849; Page: 346B; Image: 186160

What I would like to know is when and where Grandmother Marion died. My ancestor, Walter Wilson, became an engineer for the Erie Railroad and settled in Orange County, New York but what became of his brothers and sisters. That’s my new quest.

I could use some help so please feel free to share your thoughts. I’m not familiar with York Co., Maine or Stratford Co., New Hampshire resources and appreciate any advice you want to give.

My ancestry
3rd Great Grandfather James Wilson and wife Marion Moore
2nd Great Grandfather Walter Wilson and wife Mary Peck
Great Grandfather Jerome W. Wilson and wife Grace L. Clark
Grandmother Viola L Wilson and husband Frank Leroy Doty
My Mother