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... 

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