Saturday, May 30, 2015

Foster Connections

According to an old piece of paper found in an old bible that was in my family, my 3rd g-grandfather, Daniel Hildreth, named his first son, Charles Foster Hildreth, who was born in 1819 in Minisink, Orange, NY. This middle name of Foster might be a clue, either to the first wife of Joseph Hildreth (1753-1789) or to somebody on Daniel's maternal side, or perhaps, to somebody who became guardian to Daniel after his father died.  Whatever the connection, here is a list of people with the Foster surname in the 1790 census (pg 134) who lived nearby Samuel Hildreth and Daniel Hildreth II, starting with those listed closest to the Hildreth names just mentioned:

• Nathan Foster
• Stephen Foster (only 1 person in this household, a male over 16)
• Benj. Foster
• Chistopher Foster
• Stephen Foster

So we know there were Foster families near our Hildreth families in 1790, and even before then as I have found some deeds between Stephen Foster and Daniel Hildreth from 1757. And yes, there were also a couple marriages between the Foster and Hildreth families. Here are the ones I've discovered so far:
  • Ephraim Hildreth, a brother of my ancestor Nathan, had a daughter named Phebe (1733-1787). This Phebe Hildreth married Christopher Foster, possibly the name we see on the 1790 census. I believe Christopher remarried and had more children, but I'm not sure.
  • Joseph Hildreth, another brother of my ancestor Nathan, had a daughter named Sarah, who I believe was born around 1705. That Sarah Hildreth married Stephen Foster around 1725 and they had 8 children, one was a son named Stephen, who is possibly the person we see in the 1790 census.
So Foster is a Southampton family with definite ties to ours. My genealogy radar tells me the connection might be significant since my 3rd g-grandfather gave his first son the Foster name.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

John Hildreth of Bridgehampton

This post pertains to John Hildreth, whose vital dates are believed to be around 1729-1795. That John Hildreth descended from Isaac, son of Joseph-1, while my branch descended from Nathan, son of Joseph-1.  So why am I  writing about this John Hildreth?

Because I have been exploring the family history that was recorded in 1867 by Daniel Hildreth III (1800-1881), a subject of several posts here, starting with this one.  The opening paragraph of that account is a bit hard to understand, but it seems to be saying that the original Hildreth settler to Long Island had two sons, Joseph (our ancestor) who settled in Southampton, and John, who settled in Bridgehampton.

I think most researchers of Long Island Hildreth's might agree that the original settler was probably Thomas Hildreth. There is also much agreement that Thomas had a son named Joseph, but there does not seem to be any trace that Thomas had a son named John.  So Daniel III was just wrong.

But let's think about this.  Joseph, son of Thomas, had 9 sons, whose status became:
  • Joseph, Daniel, and Jonathan all presumably died in childhood, before 1698
  • Benjamin and John left Long Island (Benjamin, I think to NYC, and John to Orange County, NY)
  • Joseph (second child with this name) and Ephraim had only daughters
  • Isaac and Nathan (my ancestor) lived their lives on eastern Long Island
(note that this summary comes from my own research and may not be certifiably correct)

Of the two sons of Joseph who had families on Long Island:
  • Nathan Hildreth had 8 children that we know of, all of whom, it seems, lived in Southampton. Daniel III descended from this branch.
  • Isaac Hildreth had one son who we know survived to adulthood, namely John Hildreth, 1729-1795. This John was born in Bridgehampton and died in Sag Harbor. This John had several descendants with names that include Luther, Isaac, John, and later Lester, Shadrach, Matthew, all names showing up in censuses and tax lists during the lifetime of Daniel III, and Daniel III most likely would have known them to be relations from another branch.
So, as I often find in personal accounts, even when I find a statement that is wrong, there is still somewhere an element of truth in it. In this case, Daniel III knew that one branch of the family lived in Southampton, and the other in Bridgehampton (true). He knew the name John was associated with the Bridgehampton clan (also true). That John Hildreth would probably have been known to both clans because he served as an Ensign during the Revolution, and died just shortly before Daniel III was born. Daniel III knew some things about John Hildreth, who was his first cousin, twice removed. But Daniel III did not grow up nor live in Bridgehampton, and so his knowledge of that branch's history was less informed than it was for his own branch in Southampton.

As always, comments welcome.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hildreths in 1790 Southampton

I don't know why this has escaped me before now, studying the 1790 census of Southampton. Maybe because I've been so focused in a time period BEFORE a US federal census existed.  And, of course, now I am kicking myself for not searching for and considering more spelling variations of the name Hildreth. Nevertheless, I saw it all today, so today is the day.

There are a number of Hildreth's in 1790 Southampton, but here are the ones of most interest to my line of descent:

page 134:
WM 16+
WM < 16
All WF
Other Free
Samuel Hildridge

Samuel Sandford

Daniel Hildridge

Here are my observations:
  1. I feel sure that “Hildridge” in this census is really our Hildreth family. Of course I must always add the caveat that I could be wrong.
  2. I believe the Hildreths in this table were brothers, and sons of Daniel Hildreth 1715-1784:
    • Samuel Hildreth, 1762 – unk. I think he was not yet married in 1790.
    • Daniel Hildreth II, 1752-1832. I think he was just married around 1790.
  3. From what we think we know, both Joseph Hildreth Sr. and Jr. had died just before the 1790 census. Without the men, the households of each Joseph might have looked like:
    • Joseph Sr: probably just his widow. Both his daughters were just married by this time, more on that in minute.
    • Joseph Jr: a widow and as many as three male children under 16.
  4. The household of Daniel II looks about as I would expect it to if it included himself, his wife, and a newly born son (Shadrach). I have in my tree that he might have had a daughter named Pamela, so perhaps she is the extra female.
  5. The household of Samuel Hildreth, I propose, had taken in the family members of Joseph Jr. So we might imagine the household included Samuel, the widow Mary Post Hildreth, and her three sons, all under 16 (Joseph, John, and Daniel). That leaves 2 other females in Samuel's household who would be as yet unknown. 
  6. The appearance of the household of Samuel Sandford, is significant, partly and maybe importantly because it appears between the two Hildreth households. I believe this Samuel Sandford is the person who married the daughter of Joseph Sr., Phibe Hildreth (see the first of my two-part posts about her). Samuel Sandford and Phibe were also newly married around this time, and had one daughter who had just arrived in the world, which matches the household we see in this 1790 census. But where was the mother of Phibe, the widow of Joseph Sr? Perhaps she too had died before 1790, or remarried, or is one of the extra females in the household of Samuel.
But what does this arrangement of people imply, and how much weight do the implications carry?

When I first saw the Sandford household between the households of the two Hildreth brothers, I thought the placement of the Sandford household must certainly imply a close relationship to the Hildreth brothers, a relationship that was perhaps representative of the Hildreth's dead brother, Joseph. If this interpretation is true, then we're mixed up again, and the Joseph Hildreth who had only daughters was a son of Daniel 1715-1834. The implication of this interpretation would be bad news for the story of DH-III (see my previous post on this topic if you haven't been already following along).

On the other hand, it seems both possible and somewhat likely, given what we do know about our family group (i.e., Our Daniel Hildreth and his family of origin), that the family of the deceased Joseph Jr. were the ones living with Samuel Hildreth in 1790. Samuel would have been an uncle to our family, a then-single uncle, and one who had property and resources. If this interpretation is true, then the story of DH-III still stands, and the Sandford household represents not relatives of the Hildreth's brother Joseph, but those of their uncle Joseph.

As always, comments welcome.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Post Possibilities

As I have noted from my study of the account of DH-III, there well may have been two women named Mary (or Polly) Post, both married to a different Joseph Hildreth, one would have been the mother of Our Daniel Hildreth 1787-1876, and the other would have been his aunt. How can we figure out if this idea is plausible?

First, what dates do I need to consider? Each Mary Post, like our two Joseph Hildreth's, is a generation apart. So, for Joseph Hildreth 1727-1788, and Joseph Hildreth 1753-1789, I would expect a birth date for a wife to be at least in the same ball park as those of the men. This assumption does not have to be true necessarily, but I'll start here with this generality.

Now let's look at the wife of the older Joseph Hildreth. I will make note here that Howell's Early History book referred to the wife of Nathan's son Joseph (21) as Sarah, but, as I've written about elsewhere, there are sadly no sources for Howell's genealogies. Because the account of DH-III named the wife of this Joseph Hildreth as Mary Post, I'm going with that name for the moment.  Also, I am going with the assumption that Post was a maiden name and not the name of a widow. That assumption is certainly not a safe bet, but one has to start somewhere.

That said, I studied all the males with the surname Post listed in the 1776 census of Southampton. After a search of those names across various genealogy databases, it would appear the Post names found on the 1776 census are descendants of Capt. John Post 1673-1741 and Mary Halsey. Do not quote me on anything I'm about to say, but my preliminary search shows sons of Capt. John Post to be John, Joseph, and Isaac, all of whom were found in the 1776 census, and all of whom would be about the right age to be the father of a daughter who would marry Joseph Hildreth around or about 1760 (I am estimating the birth year of such a daughter around 1730, close to the birth year we have for Joseph). I will point out that all three of these Post sons might be likely to name a daughter Mary, after their mother, Mary Halsey.

Unfortunately, most genealogies, not to mention the record sources themselves, so rarely mention female children. So here's the general and unsourced picture of the Capt. John Post and Mary Halsey family group minus half its members:
  • John Post 1700-1792 + Abigail Halsey; children James, John, Abraham, and !Esther! (b. 1743, which is a little late for what I'm looking for)
  • Joseph Post 1704-1780 + Bethia Jessup and/or Mary Smith; children Henry, Jeremiah, Joseph, Stephen, Nathan, and more. Most of these names are found on the 1776 census.
  • Isaac Post 1712-1785 + maybe Mary Jessup and later Agnes. Isaac, noted as Esq. because he was a justice among several other titles he held in community service, died - apparently - from falling out of a tree. The deeds show that his widow was Agnes, who apparently sold all his land, remarried, and moved away.
Technically, any of these Post brothers could have been father of a daughter who married Joseph Hildreth Sr., although if it was Isaac, he would have been becoming father to a daughter when he was around 18. So let's just skip over Isaac for the moment. Between John and Joseph, I would lean toward Joseph because, potentially, he had a wife named Mary, which would be double the reason to name a daughter Mary.

It's hard to know where to look for a younger Mary Post who married the younger Joseph Hildreth Jr. and who could well be my 4th g-grandmother. Note that the DH-III account referred to this wife as Polly Post, and Polly is known to have been a nickname for Mary.

Again, we can't know at this point if this Mary Post was herself a widow when she married Joseph Hildreth, especially given that it was apparently a second marriage for him. But even with so many unknowns, here is a clue that might be worth considering:
  • Daniel Hildreth II bought some property in 1786 that was bounded by that of Jeremiah Post, who was a son of Joseph Post. Daniel II and Joseph Hildreth Jr. were cousins, and it seems likely that families of bounding properties knew each other. We REALLY need to look at a map of old Southampton to see where various Hildreth properties were in relation to that of others with the surname Post. I think MAPS are going to be a key consideration to this puzzle of Post connections!
So, in answer to the question, Who were Mary Post Sr. and Jr.?, all of this analysis can only be food for thought at this point. Now it's only proper to chew on these things for awhile.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

God Bless America, Now Pay Your Taxes

Here's a little more analysis I just completed (or is ongoing, to be more accurate):

Hildreth Names in 1799-1803 Tax Rolls of Southampton, New York

As exciting as it is to discover new sources, it has then taken me several days to figure out exactly WHO are the Hildreth's appearing in these tax lists???  Having an actual source has caused me to turn my family tree upside down, yet again, mostly to shake out all the unsourced information that I had attached at some past and unthinking point. I'm not opposed to "trying on" unsourced information mostly because it helps me to think about things, but also because it generates hints I wouldn't otherwise see on But then I forget and then I come back years later and wonder what was I thinking? The lesson of writing down what I was thinking is partly why I write this blog. Hopefully others will learn from my mistakes as well as my wonderings.

Hildreths in Revolutionary Associations

One of the things I love about doing genealogy is there is always something new to learn. This particular source has taught me alot:

Mather, Frederic Gregory, The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut. Albany, N.Y.: J.B. Lyon Co., printers, 1913

From this source, I learned that all the male Hildreth's living in Southampton, New York in 1775 signed an Association list. But in reading the material around these lists, I was in the end confused about what exactly an Association was. Now another source explains:

"In 1775 associations were formed, the members of which pledged themselves to the support of the measures of the provincial congress, and the union of the American colonies, to resist the oppression of the British government."

Onderdonk, Henry, Revolutionary Incidents of Long Island, N.Y., published 1846 and 1849. I have not actually seen this source but found the above quote referencing this source.

So, excellent explanation of Associations! However, I want to here add an additional note about this 1776 Refugees source. I am not sure if Mr. Mather (the author) saw these original Association lists and then transcribed them, or if he was given the lists already transcribed. I do know (now) that each list as it appears in this source has been alphabetized by both surname and given name. I made the mistake of thinking that the Hildreth names appearing together must certainly imply something about which family group each man belonged to. But that is most certainly not the case. For example, the appearance of the name James Hildreth following the name Isaac Hildreth does not in any way indicate that these two men belonged to the same immediate family group - it only means that "J" of James follows "I" of Isaac in the alphabet. Sheesh.

Like I said, there's always something more to learn, not just about history, but also about how to understand our sources.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hildreth's of 1698 Southampton

First, let me say what an unexpected delight it was to find a census had been taken in Southampton, Long Island in 1698, and not just of males! It seems almost too good to be true! It is also my understanding that this census records "young and old," meaning not just head of household. I have to look into this detail more closely to be sure, but if true, this source is even more valuable.

The names as listed here may or may not be listed in the order they were recorded at the time; that part is still something I need to investigate. Though I can't prove it, I suspect these names might be appearing in age order.

But all speculation aside, here are the names of males that I believe pertain to our branch of the family - those related to Joseph Hildreth and Hannah Jessup:
  • Joseph Hildrith
  • Joseph Hildrith Jr.
  • Nathan Hildrith
  • Isaak Hildrith
  • Ephraim Hildrith
  • Daniell Hildrith
  • Jonathan Hildrith
Separate from this group of names was listed Benj. Hildrith, and separate still was a group that included James Hildrith, James Hildrith Jr. and Joshua Hildrith.
I'm going to discuss each of these in order.

Joseph Hildrith - presumably 1657-1735, married Hannah Jessup, who was presumably the Hannah Hildrith listed with the white females.

Joseph Hildrith Jr. This one is a bit tough. I have in my tree, but without source, that there were two sons of Joseph Hildrith Sr. named Joseph. One was born in 1679 and died some time before 1696, and the second was born around 1696. On the other hand, I found yet another unsourced tree today that mentions only one son of Joseph Sr. named Joseph, whose vital dates were roughly 1679-1742. This Joseph Jr. apparently married somebody named Hannah and had a second wife named Deborah Scott, and had only daughters. Does anybody know anything else about this Joseph?  It should also be noted there was a 1720 Southampton deed from Joseph Hildreth to his son Joseph "given for love and affection."

Nathan Hildrith - our ancestor - 1685-1746. If his vital dates are correct, then this census was listing children, because Nathan would have been only 13 years old.  Nathan also later received land from his father (in 1713 and 1715).

Ephraim Hildrith - 1689-1771. Same comment about age; Ephraim would have been 9 years old. Ephraim received land from his father in 1717.

Daniell Hildrith - b. abt 1691, though I have no good source for that date. To my knowledge, we don't know of any other other mention of this Daniel.  That is, if he was a son of Joseph Sr. at all.

According to older genealogies (like Howell's book, The Early History of Southampton), Joseph Sr. also had sons named John "probably," and Isaac and Jonathan, all of whom I have thought might have been born after 1700. At least as regards Isaac and Jonathan, either there were other males in Southampton in 1698 with these names who were not sons of Joseph Sr., or Isaac and Jonathan were born before 1698.  That is, if these Hildreth's were sons of Joseph Sr. at all.

One more son seems to have been nearly universally associated with Joseph Sr. and that is Benjamin.  The fact that a Benjn Hildrith is listed by himself and not with the other family groups implies to me that he was possibly older, and on his own by 1698.  That is, if he was a son of Joseph Sr. at all.

James Hildreth is supposedly the brother of Joseph Sr. and I am assuming that James Jr. and Joshua were his sons or other close relation.

Since there were no deeds found from Joseph Hildreth Sr. to Daniel, Isaac, or Jonathan, one might guess that the later sons - if they were sons of Joseph Sr. - either did not survive or they moved away. That is still just conjecture, but it's interesting to note that all three of these males who have been attributed to Joseph Sr. as his sons might have been born before 1698.

There is a whole lot of speculation going on in this post, granted. But this source nevertheless seems to me quite valuable, and I'm not opposed to wondering.

Comments welcome.