Monday, April 27, 2015

Sons of Nathan Hildreth: Daniel and Joseph

Let's start by shaking up the status quo, which regarding my Hildreth lineage, has previously looked like this:

Thomas-1, Joseph-2, Nathan-3, Joseph-4, Joseph-5, MY DANIEL-6

And when I say "My Daniel," I am referring to Daniel Hildreth born 1787 in Southampton, NY, who served in the War of 1812, married Sarah Crane, lived in Minisink, Orange, NY and South Creek, Bradford, PA, the last place being where he died in 1876 at the age of 89. This Daniel and this Sarah were the parents of my 2nd g-grandmother, Sarah Jane Hildreth who married Clayton Brown.

The documentation proving this line has been somewhat scant, although there are no shortage of family trees (mine included) that reference each other as proof of this line. Another widely-used source seems to be the Hildreth Family Association (HFA). I am not a member (yet), but I fell across some of their publications which are available on the Internet Archive. I'm not sure how many HFA publications there have been now in total, but the one that caught my interest was the Second Publication, published in 1922 (confusingly titled the First Publication by the Internet Archive). That particular publication appears to contain a verbatim family history account of the Long Island Hildreth's told by Daniel Hildreth III (1800-1881). Even though I have not seen this original source, and there are likely some bloopers in the online OCR rendition, after studying the account at length, I still consider this a source of some weight. It is a first-hand account of the memories of a Hildreth family member who was close in time to many of the people and events described, or at least closer in time than other genealogical sources I've seen so far. At the very least, this family history account of DH-III might offer some details and insights that we could corroborate in other ways. It's something with a little more meat.

So now to the shaking-up part. The DH-III account talks about Daniel (1715-1784) and Joseph (1727-1788), sons of Nathan (1685-1746) who lived in Seven Ponds with these details:
  • Joseph was married to Mary Post and had only two daughters. If this is true, then attributing him with a son named Joseph has been wholly incorrect.
  • Daniel had 12 children, including one named Joseph with the same general birth date I had for Joseph-5 son of Joseph-4! Daniel also had a son named Philip who apparently lived with his brother Joseph, and the two brothers both died of small pox in 1789, which is a detail that appears in other HFA sources.
Based on this information, now I am considering an adjustment to my Hildreth lineage that looks like this:

Thomas-1, Joseph-2, Nathan-3, Daniel-4, Joseph-5, MY DANIEL-6

Points to consider in making this argument plausible include:
  • The references to "Joseph 2nd" in the DH-III's account would still apply to the new paradigm because Joseph-4 apparently had no sons, so the reference would fall to Daniel's son Joseph.
  •  Also in the new paradigm, both Joseph Hildreth 1727-1788 and his nephew Joseph Hildreth 1753/1754-1789 had a spouse named Mary "Polly" Post. Although more research is called for, it is not unreasonable to postulate that more than one Post family group had a daughter named Mary who was also called Polly.
  • Other more complicated points associated with making or breaking this argument will be coming in subsequent posts - so stay tuned!
Even though the account of DH-III is a little hard to follow, when you understand his terminology, his account seems fairly straightforward.  I readily admit that my theory that "My Daniel" had a different grandfather than previously thought is based on the recorded memories - which are fallible - of a then-67-year-old man, and that his account might easily have been modified or mistranscribed or misunderstood by any number of people, well-meaning or not, between 1867 and 2015. I admit it all. And yet, given that other primary sources are apparently either non-existent or not yet known (by me or others), this source, secondary as it is, seems to hold some threads of plausibility. Why not explore them? Even if I am all wet, exploring can still offer some surprises along the way.

I welcome feedback.

No comments:

Post a Comment