Thursday, April 13, 2017

Grandfather James and Uncle Hugh Immigrate to the United States



Yesterday I began the story of the Scots I call family. Today’s post tells the Wilson family’s beginning in the United States.

In the United States

James immigrated to the United States by 1829. I know because James and wife Marion Moore resided in Paterson, New Jersey March 28, 1829, where their daughter, Marion, was born. New Jersey was the birthplace of the next two Wilson children—Ann born in 1831 and Janett in 1833.  The Wilson family welcomed three sons, Hugh, Walter, and John, born in Connecticut from 1836 to 1842.

I hoped to find James’ family in Paterson, New Jersey in the 1830 federal census. Paterson is currently part of Passaic County, but when the 1830 census was taken, Paterson was part of the Acquackanonk Township in Essex County. I located three men in Acquackanonk named James Wilson and can’t say any of them are Grandfather James. The census included a column, “ALIENS—Foreigners Not Naturalized” which I was sure would lead me right to my Grandfather. Not so! None of the three James Wilson’s contained a tick mark for this category. An explanation might be Grandfather James wasn’t a head of household, the enumerator simply made a mistake, or he was somewhere else.

In 1830 Hugh lived in Griswold, New London Co., Connecticut with his wife Charlotte and two males. No doubt one male was his son, James, born 1817 in Scotland and the other a 20-30-year-old man not known to me. The census enumerator noted all members of the household were aliens not naturalized.

Uncle Hugh buys land in Connecticut

Sept. 12, 1836, Hugh bought a small lot in the Village of Greenville, Town of Norwich from William C. Gilman and William P. Greene, all residents of Norwich, New London Co., CT for $87.50.

The property as described in Deed Book 46, Pages 520-521:

   “Beginning at the Northeasterly corner of the premises at a point in the Southerly line of ninth Street and also adjoining land that said Gilman and Greene sold to George Brooks, thence, Northwesterly and adjoining said ninth street twenty feet to an alley of fifteen feet as width laid out through Square No. 3 from eight to ninth street thence southwesterly and in line of the easterly side of said Alley fifty feet, thence Southeasterly and at right angles with said alley twenty feet to said Brooks land thence Northeasterly and adjoining Brooks land fifty feet to the place of beginning being twenty feet front on said ninth street and fifty feet deep on said alley with right angles and is part of lot No. 4 on said Square No. 3 as laid down on the plan of the Norwich Water Power Company lots at said Greenville.”

The town clerk, John H. Grace, recorded the transaction May 20, 1837.

H. & J. Wilson Company

Hugh mortgaged his lot March 10, 1838, to merchants Jedidiah and Jonathon G. Huntington for $363.79. (Deed Book 47, pages 246-247)

  “I the said Wilson do by these presents bind myself and my heirs forever to warrant and defend the above granted and bargained premises to them the said Huntingtons their heirs and assigns against all claims and demands whatsoever  Always provided that these presents are upon condition that whereas the aforesaid Hugh Wilson with his brother J. Wilson associated in business under the name and firm of H & J Wilson are justly indebted to J & J G Huntington in the sum of $363/80 (Three hundred & sixty three 79/100 dollars) by note dated 24th Feby 1838 for that sum signed by s’d H & J Wilson in their co name payable to said Huntingtons six months from date with interest”

Hugh signed the mortgage which had been witnessed by James Wilson 2nd and the Justice of the Peace Jesse Fuller. Uncle appeared before the Justice of the Peace March 28, 1838, with the agreement recorded by the town clerk the same day. At first, I thought James Wilson 2nd was Hugh’s son, but then I recalled young James had not yet reached the age of 21 years. He was still a minor and not old enough to appear in official court documents. James Wilson 2nd must be my Great Grandfather.

Later that year Uncle Hugh acquired a lot from George Brooks of Griswold, New London Co., CT (August 20, 1838). George Brooks owned the property bordering Uncle Hugh’s parcel. (Deed Book 47, pages 395-397)

H. & J. Wilson Machine Business Dissolved

April 24, 1839, Hugh and James officially dissolved their partnership. A legal notice ran in the Norwich Courier, Norwich CT May 1, May 8, and May 15, 1839.


The brothers mutually agreed to end their partnership. Uncle Hugh would continue operating the machine shop and promised to pay all debts. 

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