New Blyther Cousins

I’ve been madly working on Blyther leads for the last few days. Another new update – Marjorie Franklin, daughter of Will and Inez Wright Parker, born in 1911 and  died in 1933, unmarried. That creates another closed line.

The last Blyther daughter is Henrietta L., born 1 Apr 1847, Calais, ME and died 22 Jan 1944, Sonoma County, CA. Henrietta married (1) Philip Roemmele, born about 1878  in Germany, on 29 July 1875 in Sacramento, CA. No further records have been found after the marriage for Philip and Henrietta married (2) Edward S. Rusing, 7 Aug 1878, also in Sacramento. Philip likely died, but they may have divorced. In either case, there appear to have been no children from that short marriage.

Henrietta and Edward had two daughters. Grace M. was born in October 1879, Nevada and married Charles W. Tozer on 12 Sept 1905 in Alameda County, CA. However, Grace died nine months later on 7 June 1906 in San Francisco, CA. It is easy to speculate that she died giving birth, but she died only about six weeks after the earthquake and it is possible she died from injuries or sickness.  Charles died sometime after 1920 and no second marriage record has been found for him. Henrietta’s second daughter was Helen O., born 3 Aug 1883 in California. She died 18 July 1941, unmarried, in Placer County, CA, leaving Henrietta with no descendants.

Tomorrow, I will summarize the information on the Crouse/Blyther descendants and provide a short explanation of how I traced the 21st century family.

Blythers of Calais, ME

One update from yesterday’s post – Helen Ford, daughter of Elmer, passed away unmarried on 3 June 2008 in Jaffrey, NH, leaving her sister, Dorothy, who may have married Francis T. Prendergast, as the only possibility for descendants in that line, along with the children of Dean Samuel Blyther,- Royal, Walter and Mary Ella.

However, although that branch of the family adopted the Blyther surname, they were actually Crouses. There are no descendants of Peter Crouse living today who carry his name.

Remember, after Rebecca Jones Crouse married Benjamin Blyther, they had four daughters together – Martha, Helen, Ruth and Henrietta. What became of them?

First, I went to the (subscription) website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and searched for any data on “Blyther” and “Blither.”  The surname isn’t terribly common and only 76 hits came up, so I started scrolling through them. I had a surprise!

There was an entry for a Rebecca (Jones) Blyther who died in 1897. My Rebecca Jones Crouse Blyther died in 1897 and, with an uncommon name, there couldn’t be very many of them with the same maiden and married name dying in the same year. My Rebecca died in Calais, or so I thought. This Rebecca died in Hubbardston, Worcester, MA and my family had no known ties to that town. I eagerly checked out the actual image and, yes, it is my Rebecca. Her parents were Richard Jones and Mary Boone, same as the parents named on the Hubbardston death certificate.

Now my interest was piqued – Rebecca died far from Calais, ME. Where else might she have lived besides New Brunswick in the 19 years between Benjamin’s death and her own passing? I searched for Rebecca in the 1880, but didn’t find her in Maine or Massachusetts. One interesting possibility came up for R. Blither, 65, born ME living in Cisco, Placer County, California. She was living with the family of R.A. and Ruth Campbell (family number 3) and was enumerated as the mother. R. Blither’s age was close to my Rebecca’s.

One of the four Blyther girls was named Ruth and her age matched the age of this Ruth Campbell. This might well be “my” Ruth Blyther and I couldn’t find her before because I hadn’t been looking in California!

I also found an 1867 marriage for Ruth Blyther in Charlestown, MA  to Robert A. Campbell.

This Ruth was born in Calais, ME and her parents were listed as Benjamin and Rebecca. That was the proof that R. Blither in Placer County, CA in 1880 is my 3x great grandmother, Rebecca Blyther.

So, my Rebecca, who I thought was born in New Brunswick, married there, began her family there and then remarried and spent the rest of her life in Red Beach (today part of Calais) actually must have had quite an adventure traveling to California to live with her daughter and son-in-law.

Gold mining was big business in that area in the 1880’s. I have to wonder if the family had the same hopes as many – striking it rich with gold.  Robert and Ruth Campbell ae last found in Oakland, CA in 1910 so I wonder how Rebecca made the journey back east. Did she travel alone? Did the family make a trip together and she remained on the East Coast?

Finding Rebecca also answered one question about the Blyther daughters. Ruth and Robert Campbell had one son, Robert Colin, and one daughter, Gertrude M., who married and may have descendants living today.

We already know that Martha Blyther Smith who married Joseph S. Smith and took in Dean Samuel and Sarah Maria Blyther had no children of her own.

That leaves Helen and Henrietta for tomorrow.

Sarah Moriah Crouse

I have written a lot about my Danish ancestors, from my grandmother Hazel’s mother back to Copenhagen. Sarah Moriah Crouse was Hazel’s paternal grandmother.  Sarah was born 7 May 1833, in the small town of Keswick, in York County, New Brunswick, Canada and was the daughter of Peter Crouse and Rebecca Jones, themselves children of Loyalists who fled to Canada at the close of the Revolution. Sarah had little or no memory of her father, who reportedly died about 1836. Her mother remarried Benjamin Blyther, who lived in Red Beach (today part of Calais), Maine, before 1840.

Sarah married neighbor William Coleman on 6 Feb 1855 in Calais and lived the rest of her very long life in Calais, except for a brief time around 1920 when she lived with son Hartwell and grandchild Hazel in Malden, MA.

William and Sarah continued to live in Red Beach, raising their young family. Sarah gave birth to six children, but Alvin, second born in 1857, died when he was only four months old. Their youngest child, Ethel, appears in the 1880 mortality schedule, having died of croup at the age of seven.

William Coleman-Senior

William and Sarah Coleman,  later in life

My grandmother was named Hazel Ethel in memory of her father’s baby sister. Their other four children lived to adulthood, although first born Mary Adelaide who married George Redding died at the age of 39. George followed four years later, leaving seven young children.

William died in Calais on 30 May 1905 and is buried there with Sarah.

I know quite a bit about William’s and Sarah’s descendants, but I realized that I know very little about her siblings and half siblings. I got a quick reminder that it is always good to revisit research, especially research done a quarter century ago as I took another look at Benjamin and Rebecca Blyther.

Benjamin Blyther was born in 1794 in Maine and was about 15 years older than Rebecca Jones Crouse, who was born about 1809-1810 in New Brunswick, Canada. Ben and Rebecca appear in the 1850 census with their children all enumerated as Blyther. Actually the first five children – Elias, Dean, Samuel, Sarah and Mary – were the children of Peter Crouse. Martha, Helen, Ruth and Henrietta were the Blyther children they had together.

Benjamin Blyther died in 1878 in Calais; Rebecca survived him by 19 years and is buried next to him in Red Beach Cemetery. I had always assumed that Rebecca died in Calais. However, that was not true, as I just found out. More about that and Rebecca’s travels as a widow tomorrow. Sarah Coleman died on 18 Oct 1930 at the age of 97 years. What happened to all of her siblings and half siblings and were there cousins out there of whom I knew nothing?

I will begin with the Crouse children. Elias Crouse, born about 1828, probably in Keswick, York, New Brunswick, Canada,  married Cyrene A. Cook in 1858 in Calais. They had no children in 1860 and Elias apparently died in the 1860’s as Cyrene married (2) Capt. Joshua Pettigrove on 15 Feb 1866 in Calais. There is no evidence that Elias served in the Civil War and Cyrene reported in 1900 that she had not given birth to any children so this line ended with Elias.

Dean was born about 1829 in Keswick and was unmarried at home in 1860. He hasn’t been found after that time and there is no evidence that he ever married. His nephew, Dean Samuel, was born in 1865 in Calais and apparently named for his uncle. Dean had probably already died by that time without issue.

Samuel was born about 1831 in Keswick. He married (1) Matilda Jane Carlow in 1855 in Calais and (2) Eliza Smith, about 1860. He and Matilda had one daughter, named Matilda Jane for her mother, born about 1858. I think mother Matilda may have died giving birth to her first child. Samuel was at home, unmarried in 1860, while daughter Matilda was living in Brewer, Penobscot, ME with James and Clarissa Carlow, her maternal grandparents. Also in the household was Clara Carlow, their 27 year old unmarried daughter. The family was enumerated as paupers; Clara died a month after the census on 16 July 1860. Matilda married Luther J. Fickett in Brewer about 1892. Daughter Nettie was born in June 1894. Luther and Matilda separated by 1900, when Matilda was last found in the census with daughter Nettie. By 1910, Luther had remarried and Nettie lived with her father and stepmother. Nettie married John Homer Clemons in Brewer in 1911. They are last found in Newburgh, Orange, NY in 1940 and apparently had no children.

When Samuel married Matilda, he was listed as Samuel Crouse. It appears he adopted the Blyther surname either when he married Eliza (that record hasn’t been found) or shortly afterwards. Samuel and Eliza had apparently both died by 1880, when their son, Dean Samuel Blyther and daughter Sarah M. Blyther were living with Joseph S. and Martha Blyther (Samuel’s half sister) Smith in Calais. Joseph and Martha had no children of their own. (Samuel, Eliza, Dean S. and Sarah M. have not been located in the 1870 census.)

Sarah M. Blyther married George Franklin Ford in 1881 at the home of Joseph and Martha Smith. They removed to Boston, where two children were born. Daughter Evelyn Gertrude was born in 1883 and was unmarried when last found in the 1930 census. Even if she married after that time, she would not have had any children of her own.

Son Elmer Leo was born in 1886 and died in 1970 in Jaffrey, Cheshire, NH. He married wife Christine (MNU) about 1915, likely in NJ or NY. They had three daughters – Dorothy, born 1917, Helen, born 1919 and Barbara D., born 1921. Barbara did not marry; Dorothy and Helen haven’t been found after 1940 so it is possible that they married and left descendants. Dorothy may be the lady who married Francis T. Prendergast and lived in Gardner, Worcester, MA. Her birthdate matches our Dorothy. Francis died 2 Jan 1963 in Gardner, but Dorothy didn’t pass away until 3 Mar 1995, also in Gardner.

Dean Samuel Blyther married Eunice B. Parker and three of their six children left descendants: Sons Royal Raymond and Walter Parker Blyther and daughter Mary Ella Blyther Houghton. For privacy reasons of those living today, I won’t give vital details.

Mary Crouse hasn’t been found after the 1850 census. It is not known whether she married or died young.

So it seems that Sarah  Coleman’s Crouse siblings left only a few descendants through her brother Samuel Crouse Blyther and his wife, Eliza Smith.

Sarah also had four Blyther half sisters – Martha, Helen, Ruth and Henrietta. What became of them and what about Rebecca Blyther’s travels? More tomorrow.