Sunday, October 31, 2010

U.S. Invades Veracruz - In 1914

Did you know the U.S. invaded Veracruz, Mexico in April of 1914?  I'll admit I didn't.  Actually, I do recall a brief mention of Mexico - U.S. relations leading up to WWI in my American History Class from high school.  If we talked about an invasion, I had forgotten all about it (that comes with the gray hair...).  I do, however, remember seeing the postcard photographs with my grandfather's handwriting on them.  He was long dead by the time I came around, and my grandmother only new he was in the Marines.  Evidently my grandfather was a participant in the invasion and/or occupation of Veracruz.

I though it might be interesting to create a post describing the whole thing using my grandfather's photos as a backdrop.  The first photo is one I have posted on my blog.  It is of my grandfather, George Pratt, standing on board the U.S.S. Virginia.  If this photo was taken in 1914, George would have been about 23 years old.

Bow of the U.S.S. Virginia
Veracruz was one of the main seaports used for Mexican commerce.  As the World political scene became more and more unstable as it slipped toward a major European conflict, President Woodrow Wilson tried to prevent the U.S. from becoming involved.  From what I can see, Mexico at this time was ruled by a dictator named Victoriano Huerta.  His nickname is The Jackal.  England, at this time, received most of their oil from Mexico, and to maintain this supply they support their own private army.  

Germany wants to create unrest in Mexico to divert the English attention from the rapidly deteriorating political situation in Europe.  The German government decides to sell arms to Huerta to strengthen his rule.  This of course is disturbing to President Wilson and ultimately seals not only the fate of Veracruz, but that of 'The Jackal' too.      

The American forces take the city of Veracruz and occupy it until the end of November of 1914.  I'm not sure how long my grandfather was stationed there, but evidently he rarely talked about his time in the Marines.  By the time the U.S. is ready to enter what has now become a World War, George is living in Detroit and claims a deferment from the draft because he is his mother's sole source of support.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Fox Family of Marlborough, Connecticut

I have really enjoyed this Fox hunt.  It has made me rethink a lot of things.  I revisited the 1810 Marlborough, Connecticut census.  This time I used the Barbour collection of vital records listing births and marriages for Joel Fox, The image below is 'the list'.  If I understand the Barbour collection, the town of Marlborough is not included in the list.  If this is the case, I will definitely need to view the films for these records!
Marlborough was created in 1803.  This would mean that Gustavus and Henry Fox's births may be recorded in the city records.  I see the LDS has filmed these records, so I'll put them on my 'to-do' list.  The image below accounts for all but one of the children of Joel Fox and his wife Mercy Gilbert.  I now have an unknown male in the household of Joel Fox Junior.  Could this be his Father-in-Law?  
I feel this fits the given information pretty good.  The only thing is, this makes it pretty unlikely my Sarah Ann Fox is a daughter of this Joel Fox.  I'll keep looking around, but it might just be that Henry Fox and Sarah Ann Fox are not related.  It could very well have been a coincidence that Henry Fox was enumerated a few households away from William Perry and his wife Sarah Ann Fox in the 1840 Census for St. Clair County, Michigan.  

I'll keep looking...      


Close - but no cigar! Joel Fox and the census taker.

One of the things that can be so frustrating about brick wall ancestors is their ability to 'elude' the census taker.  Maybe elude is the wrong word to use.  I think it might be more appropriate to say brick wall ancestors are probably recorded in the census, just not necessarily listed in the way we think they should be.  I did find a 'Joel Fox' listed in 1820 in Genesee County, New York.  He is listed in the town of Elba which borders the town of Batavia.  The only thing is there appears to be no Joel Fox listed in the household!
The two boys appear in the household as does Joel's wife.  There are also three female children in the household. Where is Joel?  Did the census taker neglect to record Joel in his own household?  The way my 'family tree' luck tends to fall, I would guarantee it!

I don't find Joel Fox in the 1830 census.  This makes sense if he relocated to Canada by 1823.  1810 also proves to be difficult.  Joel should be in Connecticut in 1810 since his son Gustavus is born there in 1810.  I have posted a clip from the 1810 Hartford County, Connecticut census.  There are two Joel Foxes, living side by side with a Ne? Fox next door.  See if you agree with my take on Joel Fox Junior.
It appears to me that Joel Fox Junior is a probable match to the 1820 census for Joel Fox in Genesee County, New York.  If this is the same family, we can 'narrow' down the birth range for Ethalene Mack to 1775 to 1785 based on her age bracket for the 1820 census.  I also noticed the male could 'fit' the age bracket for my Sarah Ann Fox's father Joel Fox, though just barely, assuming Joel was born in 1795.  That would make Henry's Joel the grandfather of Sarah Ann Fox.  This would mean Henry Fox would be Sarah Fox's uncle.

My next post will look a little closer at the census records in Connecticut...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Will the real Joel Fox please stand up...

I find creating a table of facts can sometimes illuminate an otherwise confusing problem.  I listed what I know about Sarah Ann Fox's father Joel Fox and Henry Fox's father Joel Fox.  The information is displayed in the table below.  I hadn't realized just how much information I had collected.
Sarah Fox's Joel
Henry Fox's Joel
Date of Birth
Circa 1795 to 1802
Prior to 1786 based on birth of Henry
Place of Birth
Saybrook, Connecticut

Birth of Henry Fox in CT
Before 1820 Mary Forbes
Before 1810 Ellathene Mac
Birth of Gustavus Fox in CT
Batavia, Genesee, New York
Deerfield, Oneida, New York
Birth of Sarah Fox in Deerfield, NY
1827 - 1830
Clinton, Macomb, Michigan
Deceased based on birth of Frances Rector
Looking at the table of information, I am almost certain I am looking for two different Joel Foxes.  Notice how Henry’s Joel Fox had at least 2 children by 1810, but when I see the 1820 census for Sarah’s Joel, he has only one female child living in the household.  He should have had two male children in the household, too.  Of course I guess you could argue that the two boys may have been living somewhere else.  The other thing that makes me think there are two Joel Foxes is Henry’s Joel is living in Batavia, New York in 1815 and in 1820, Sarah’s Joel is living in Deerfield, Oneida County, New York.  Is it impossible for these records to represent the same Joel, obviously not; however this would be the opposite migration route for the vast majority of pioneers.  It would be like a fish swimming upstream.
The map below shows the common migration route immigrants took as the western areas of New York became open to settlement.  The road our ancestors traveled down is called the Great Genesee Trail.  It’s my understanding this was an Indian trail of great antiquity.  What jumped out at me is that the trail starts in Utica, New York and ends at Buffalo, New York after going through Batavia, New York.  If Henry’s Joel moved to Canada in 1823, the obvious crossing spot would have to be Buffalo.  So what does this map mean?  It means that both Joel Foxes likely came through Utica! 
The nice thing about making a timeline table is that it points out areas for further research.  So now the Fox hunt is on again.  First, I thought I would try to find Henry’s Joel Fox in the 1820 census.  This would almost guarantee I have two separate Joel Foxes as I already have Sarah’s Joel Fox in Oneida County, New York.      

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gustavus Fox of Macomb County, Michigan - The Fox Hunt Continues

I've been slowly expanding my 'Fox hunt' and will try to zero in on Henry Fox's father, Joel Fox.  To do this I need to first introduce you to Henry's younger brother, Gustavus Fox.  Once again comes to the rescue.  Gustavus has a biographical sketch in the Past and Present of Macomb County, Michigan.  I clipped out the entry which is displayed below.

This sketch provides a little more information on Joel Fox.  We find out that Gustavus is born in Connecticut in 1810.  Joel then moves his family to Batavia, Genesee County, New York by 1815.  Joel Fox moves to Canada in 1823.  This sketch states that Gustavus arrives in Michigan in 1832.  Henry Fox is said to have arrived in Michigan in 1833.  If this sketch is correct, we can place the father of Henry and Gustavus in Connecticut up to at least 1810.  

Two of Gustavus's children have biographical sketches in the History of Macomb County, Michigan.  I have clipped the part of the sketches that refer to either Joel or Gustavus Fox.
Both of the above sketches mention Joel Fox, too.  Robert Fox states that Joel came to Macomb County by 1827 while Henrietta Fox says Joel 'and his family' arrive in Michigan about 1830.  Either way, Joel Fox is supposed to be in Michigan very early.  In the late 1820s and early 1830s Michigan was truly a frontier.  The population of Michigan did not appreciably grow until after the completion of the Erie canal in the 1830s.  The 1830 census does exist for the territory of Michigan, but I do not see Joel Fox listed.  Of course he could easily have been missed as most of the area outside of Detroit were extremely remote settlements. 

Henry Fox died before death certificates were required in Michigan.  Gustavus Fox died in 1904.  By this time death certificates were required for all deaths.  I copied the death certificate for Gustavus Fox.  It is displayed below.

This record confirms the father of Gustavus Fox as Joel Fox.  It also shows the mother of Gustavus Fox as being Ellath... Mac.  I'll let you figure out what her first name is.  If you look at her last name it appears to be Mac.  A quick search online for Gustavus Fox turns up several files which list her surname as Mann.  I'm not quite sure where this comes from.  I think her name was Mac (I'll tell you why in a later post).  

Now we are ready to recap all the information we have collected as we continue on our Fox hunt...   


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Henry Fox in St. Clair County, Michigan

I am pretty confident in stating the Joel Fox listed in the 1820 census for Deerfield, Oneida County, New York is my Joel Fox.  Everything fits together nicely with the obituary for Sarah Perry (transcribed in a previous post). Joel Fox is living near Utica, New York in 1820.  Sarah Ann Fox is born in 1821.  He is living next to Warner Forbes who had a daughter named Mary.  Joel Fox has a female in the household in the right age bracket for Mary Forbes, as she would have been 19 years old.

I started this series off with an image of the 1840 census for St. Clair County, Michigan.  William Perry, his wife Sarah Ann Fox and their son, James C. Perry are listed in the household.  I also highlighted the family of Henry Fox who was living a few houses down from William Perry.  Who is this Henry Fox?  Is he related to Sarah Ann Fox?  If so, how are they related?

The image to the left is a small clip from the History of Macomb County, Michigan.  I highlighted the parts of this biographical sketch which provide some clues to the identity of Henry Fox.  The sketch is for Winent Fox, who is a grandson of Henry Fox.  According to this sketch, Henry is the son of Joel Fox.  Henry is identified as being born in Connecticut in 1806.  It is also stated that Henry Fox immigrated to Michigan from New York in 1833.

Henry Fox marries Mary Avery and relocates to the Port Huron area of St. Clair County, Michigan.  This is where we find William Perry and a Henry Fox.  Is this Henry Fox the same Henry Fox described in this biographical sketch?  I submit to you that these Henry's are indeed the same person.

Another key piece of data is a mention that Henry has a brother who  also lived in Macomb County, named Gustavus A. Fox.  Gustavus was born in 1810 and lives a long life, dieing at the ripe old age of 94 years.  We will cover Gustavus in another post.

I copied a partial page of the 1850 census for the township of Clyde, St. Clair County, Michigan.  This is the same township William Perry and Henry Fox are living in, in the 1840 census.  Here we have Henry Fox and Mary his wife.  The oldest child, Lewis must be Henry L. from the sketch.  So now let's compare this 1850 census to the Henry Fox listed in the 1840 census.  

I have redisplayed the 1840 census record using the information from the 1850 census record to see if both of these records represent the same family.  The only individual that does not seem to be in the right age column is Henry Fox.  He should have been 34 and he is listed in the 40 to 50 age bracket.  Everyone else fits perfectly into the correct age groups.  My guess is Mary was probably pregnant with Oscar when the 1840 census was taken.

I feel confident in identifying Henry Fox, above, as the son of Joel Fox and a brother of Gustavus Fox.  Assuming the biographical sketch of his grandson is correct, Henry was born in Connecticut and came from New York to Michigan in 1833.  Before I start looking for him in 1830, I will cover Henry's younger brother Gustavus Fox...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Joel Fox in Oneida County, New York

The image above represents an approximate 12 mile radius from the city of Utica, New York.  In the previous post, the obituary for Sarah Perry mentions she was born 12 miles from Utica.  Sarah's death certificate states her father was Joel Fox and mother was Mary Forbes.  Sarah was born in 1821, so I started with the 1820 census and with the magic of came up with the census page below.  It is for the town of Deerfield in Oneida County.  Deerfield is not shown on this map, but it borders Utica.  I highlighted the household of Joel Fox and it appears like he may have already been married and had one child, a girl.  He is living next door to a Forbes family cluster.  I highlighted the house of Warner Forbes, as it appears like this is probably the father of the group of Forbes' or at least a generation older than Peter and Jacob.

A quick check of the IGI turns up a Warner Fox with sons named Jacob and Peter.  More importantly, he also has a daughter named Mary born 29 Jan 1800.  I am always a little hesitant to accept an IGI record without any substantiating proof, but this family group seems to be accurate.  Even the age groups are a perfect match to this family (assuming the female in Joel Fox's house is Mary Forbes).  Joel Fox is in the 18 to 25 year old group making his birth between 1795 and 1802.  Everything seems to fit together quite nicely.  I cannot seem to find Joel Fox in the 1830 census.  

Remember Henry Fox in the 1840 census for St. Clair, Michigan?  Now it's time to discuss his family and Joel Fox for the years 1820 through 1840...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sarah Ann Fox and Frances Rector

I'm enjoying writing this series of posts because it is helping me rethink my previous research.  I mentioned in the previous post that the death records for both Sarah and Frances obviously give their dates of death.  I used this information to see if any obituaries were published for these individuals.  In both cases they had.  In the case of Sarah Ann Perry, it paid to search the areas in which she had lived previously, too.  William and Sarah had spent many years living in the city of Big Rapids, Michigan.  Big Rapids is located in Mecosta County.

I have transcribed the obituary for Sarah Perry which was published in the Big Rapids Pioneer:
Death of Mrs. Sarah A. Perry
A few lines from Evart notifies the Pioneer of the death of Mrs. Sarah A. Perry. Those of our readers who resided in Big Rapids thirty years ago will have no difficulty in recalling to mind the person whose death we here record. Thirty years ago Mrs. Perry was a well known resident of Big Rapids, and was universally beloved by reasons of her many lovable qualities. She was the wife of William Perry, who is still living, and the mother of Joel Perry, a prominent resident here for many years, now residing in Mississippi. Mrs. Perry was born twelve miles from Utica, in the state of New York, in 1821. At the age of fifteen years she came to Michigan, and resided for a time near Port Huron. At the age of sixteen years she was united in marriage to Mr. Perry, and with her husband and children came to Big Rapids to reside in 1863. Their home was in Big Rapids in the neighborhood of twelve or fourteen years, and then they removed to Chippewa township, where they resided about twenty years. Last spring Mr. and Mrs. Perry removed to Evart, and it was here where Mrs. Perry died, her death taking place last Friday morning shortly before 3 o'clock. The funeral was held from the Baptist church in Evart, and the remains were laid away near the old home in Chippewa township. Two of the three children now living were present at the funeral, Joel not being able to leave his home on account of the prevalence of yellow fever in his locality. A daughter residing in Grand Rapids and the son from Wisconsin were in attendance at the funeral. Deceased, whose memory will be cherished by reason of her kindly deeds and other excellent traits of character, was a great sufferer for some time prior to her death, but bore her affliction with remarkable patience. In the death of Mrs. Perry, many have lost a dear friend.
Now the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together - or do they?  Sarah Fox came to Michigan in 1836.  This makes sense as 1836 was the year Michigan quadrupled its population.  The U.S. was experiencing an unprecedented era of economic growth.  Few could have foreseen the economic crash that would occur.  By 1838 the U.S. was in the midst of an enormous bank meltdown.  Currency essentially vanished from the frontier at a time when Michigan desperately needed currency.  There were no markets for any of the raw materials the frontier produced.  Many families returned back to their previous homes, which is why early Michigan research can be so frustrating.

Sarah's son Joel mentions his mother married when she was 16.  This is a very good fit with the 1838 marriage date.  The key piece of data, though, is that his mother was born 12 miles outside of Utica, New York.  This, along with the knowledge that her father's name was Joel Fox and her Mother's name was Mary Forbes enable me to try and unravel the Joel Fox mystery (more about him in my next post).

This is the obituary for Frances Delamater from the Saginaw Evening News printed on 26 Feb 1906:
Death Due To Peritonitis
Frances Louisa Ann Delamater died Sunday at her daughter's home.  Mrs. Francis Louisa Ann Delamater, wife of William J. Delamater, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. William Wells, 134 Elm street, at 1:45 o'clock Sunday morning of peritonitis, aged 71 years.  Deceased was born in Wales, Mich., 26 June 1835, and was united in marriage with Mr. Delamater in 1858, and since her marriage has made her home at Grand Ledge nearly all the time.  She came to Saginaw to make her home with her daughter in 1903.  She leaves her husband, four sonds and three daughters.  John A. of Mt. Pleasant, William J. of New York, George Perry and Joel of Grand Ledge, Mrs. Eugene Foster of Grand Ledge, Mrs. Adeline Tausend of Adrian, Mich., and Mrs. William Wells of Saginaw.  The remains will be taken to Grand Ledge for interment Tuesday morning.

The image below displays a county map of St. Clair with its townships.  I placed the census year and township in which William Perry appears.  I also found a John Rector in the St. Clair County, 1840 census.  He is living in Clay Township which contains the city of Algonac.  Remember, Sarah and William were married in Algonac in 1838.  Is this Frances's John Rector?  I'll save that for another post...

I'm pretty comfortable in saying that the Francis Rector living in the household of William Perry in the 1850 census is the same Frances Perry who marries William Delamater.  This means her father was John Rector and mother was Mary Forbes.  If the Mary Forbes is the same Mary Forbes as Sarah Ann Fox's mother, this would make Frances Rector a half sister of Sarah Ann Fox.  So let's see if we can find Joel Fox in New York and try to figure out what happened.  Oh, and don't forget the household of Henry Fox which is listed a few households down from William Perry in the 1840 census... 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sarah Ann Fox

Census records are the mainstay of U.S. family tree research.  Even though the 1850 census does not list the relationship of an individual living in the household to the head of household, quite often relationship is implied.  The screen shot below is part of a page from the 1850 census for St. Clair County, Michigan.  It is for William Perry and his wife, Sarah Ann Fox.

I know that the first five children are children of William and Sarah.  Frances Rector appears after the children, but before the three male individuals living in William Perry's household.  I should preface this discussion with the information that William Perry worked as a lumber estimator.  It was his job to estimate how much lumber a wood lot would produce.  In other words, the profitability of the wood lot depended on his estimation of how much board feet of lumber it would produce.  He also would oversee the harvesting of the trees, keeping track of the lumber production.

The three males living in William's household are undoubtedly workers for one of his lumbering operations.  At least I cannot locate any more information on this trio.  Frances Rector is the individual that I was more curious about.  Who was she?  More importantly, why was she living in William Perry's household?  I've always found tracing every individual living in a person's household a requirement for solving a 'brick wall' ancestor problem.  

If you do a quick search of St. Clair County marriages you will find the 23 Nov 1856 marriage of Frances Rector to George Sills.  For years I had assumed this was the marriage of the Frances Rector living in William Perry's household.  She said she was 18 at the time of her marriage, making her birth year 1838.  This must be her.  You should always revisit your research, especially when new databases come online.  This is the case for the Seeking Michigan website.  This site is a must for anyone researching Michigan roots.  The image below is the death certificate for Sarah Ann Perry.

The death certificate states Sarah Ann Perry's parents were Joel Fox and Mary Forbes.  Remember, in my last post, I mentioned Henry Fox living a few households away in the 1840 census has a father Joel Fox.  The witness for the death certificate is Sarah's grandson, whom she raised after the untimely death of her daughter, Sophia.  The death record also gave me the date of death for Sarah.  The result of this I will discuss in my next post.

Remember Frances Rector?  I was playing around with the Seeking Michigan website and found a very interesting death certificate.  Whenever a database allows an 'advanced search' option, you should always select it!  I decided to search the Michigan death certificates for any record in which the 'father of the deceased' was named Rector.  The record below is what I found.

The death record is for Frances L. A. Delamater.  She dies in Saginaw and her parents are listed as John Rector and Mary Forbes.  Her date of birth, 1835, reasonably matches the date of 1838 for the child living in William Perry's 1850 household.  Could Mary Forbes have outlived Joel Perry and married a second time to John Rector?  If this is the case, Frances Rector was Sarah Ann's half sister!  Had I not revisited my research, I would never have uncovered these records.  I'll also discuss what I did with this record on my next post...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is she or isn't she?

Well, I'm back after a long absence.  Life can be a roller coaster ride and I have certainly been on a long, long ride.  This post is a little different from the ones I have posted earlier.  Today I am going to introduce you to one of my own ancestors.  If you have been 'doing' genealogy for any length of time, you probably have at least one 'brick wall' ancestor.  You know the type, they just appear in a community, leave very little, if any documentation as to their family.  These are the family lines I love to research.  So, with no further ado, let me introduce you to my great, great, great grandmother, Sarah Ann Fox.

When I first started researching my family tree many years ago, I would travel to the Library of Michigan with my friend Chris, my mother, and Chris's mother.  The drive was just over an hour each way.  We made this journey just about once a week for some time.  This was the only way we could access the Federal census records.  Now you can access indexed electronic census records 24-7.  This brings me to the point I wish to make.  Times change.  Technologies change.  When trying to resolve a brick wall ancestor, you should always revisit your research.  I can't tell you how many times I have looked at a census image only to see a name or a date I had not noticed before.

The image below is a screen shot of the 1840 census for St. Clair County, Michigan.  Sarah Ann Fox marries William Perry on 2 January 1838 in Algonac, St. Clair County, Michigan.  They have one male living in the household under the age of 5.  This is their son, and my great, great, grandfather, James C. Perry.  Sarah's maiden name of Fox took me almost two years to identify, as the marriage record does not exist in St. Clair County marriage records.  Once I determined Sarah's maiden name I went back to the 1840 census and discovered the household of Henry Fox further down the same census page.  This is where things began to get complex...

I have listed the children of William and Sarah Perry:
  1.  James C. Perry b: 9 JUN 1839 in St. Clair County, MI
  2.  Henry W. Perry b: 21 JAN 1842 in St. Clair County, MI
  3.  William Lester Perry b: 1844
  4.  Joel E. Perry b: 29 OCT 1846 in Wales, St. Clair County, MI
  5.  Mary E. Perry b: 25 DEC 1849
  6.  Alfred E. Perry b: AFT 1850
  7.  Sophia A. Perry b: 5 MAY 1855 in prob St. Clair County, MI
  8.  John E. Perry b: 26 JUL 1858 in Michigan
All of the children were born in St. Clair County, MI.  Henry Fox's father is Joel Fox.  Now if you look at the name's of Sarah's children you will see Henry and Joel.  So my working theory is that Henry Fox is a brother of Sarah Ann Fox.  By extension, that would make Joel Fox the father of Mary Ann Fox.  At this point I should add the caveat - never rush to a conclusion.  Genealogy is not a course in speed reading!  You should always take the time to think things through and, always keep your mind open to alternative interpretations.  

My next post will look a little closer at the 1850 census and what happens when new technology or new databases come online...