This will be the last Stewart post for a while, but this family is as big a mystery as whatever happened to Robert Nelson Stewart, son of John and Catherine Stewart.
Nancy Stewart is a daughter of John and Catherine so Robert Nelson is one of her brothers. Nancy’s birth was recorded in Charlotte, Washington County, Maine on 19 July 1827.
Nancy married Thomas Jenkins before 1850, when they were enumerated in Twp. 9, Range 3 of Washington County, Maine. There was one child in the household, Alphia (female), one year old.
Thomas was born about 1825, possibly in Wales or Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Maine. Yes, any one of those places! His parents were Thomas and Mary Jenkins and he lived next door to them in 1850. After 1850, the household composition and what happened to people isn’t quite as clear.
Thomas and Nancy appeared in the 1860 and 1870 censuses of Aroostook County, Maine. Nancy is the head of household in 1880 and later appears in the 1900 and 1910 censuses.
In 1860, Thomas and Nancy appear in a household in Bridgewater, Aroostook County, Maine, living only five doors away from Nancy’s parents, John and Catherine Stewart. However, here is the first of many errors, because the census indexing says they lived in Monticello. That is because the indexer only looked at the top of the enumeration page. a glance towards the middle of the page shows that the enumeration of the town of Bridgewater begins there.
In any case, by 1860, Thomas and Nancy have the following children living with them:
1. Ellithea (probably Alphia, who was in the 1850 census), 10
2. Elvira, 8
3. Margaret, 6
4. Appleton (male), 4
5. Silas, 2
6. Robert, 1/12
This census was taken in July, so Robert was born in June 1860.
Back to the Robert Nelson Stewart issue of dropping off the face of the earth – could this be a clue that Robert Jenkins was named for Robert Nelson Stewart, who possibly died after marrying Eliza August Grass in March 1860 and before this baby was born?
In 1870, Thomas, Nancy and their children are living in Alna, Aroostook County, Maine. The children are a bit murkier:
1. Althea, 21
2. Elvira, 17
3. Appleton, 14
4. Silas, 12
5. Elcander, 9
6. Elenor, 7
7. Olive L., 4
8. (Lucy, born 18 February 1868, Blaine, Aroostook, ME; died soon – not listed in 1870)
9. Hannah, 1
Thomas apparently died between 1870 and 1880, as we find Nancy, head of household, but listed as married, living in Blaine, Aroostook County, Maine. Thomas hasn’t been found elsewhere, but perhaps he went off looking for work or else the census info is wrong and Nancy was actually a widow. In the house with her are:
1. Elvira, 20
2. Silas, 19
3. Alex, 16
4. “Elnor”, 15
5. Olive, 14
6. Hannah, 10
The ages don’t match up, but this appears to be the same family as Nancy’s children in 1870. My main question here, is where was Alex in 1870? He should have been about 6 years old. Is he the same person as Elcander in 1870?
Nancy appears in two more censuses, the 1900 and 1910.
The 1900 census includes a lot more information than previous censuses, but the new information simply adds to the confusion. Nancy is now living in a household in Mars Hill, Aroostook County, Maine with Howard A. Jenkins as head. He was born in August 1855. Is this Appleton? His middle initial is A and I have to admit if I were a guy, I think I would prefer to be called “Howard” instead of “Appleton.” The age is a good fit.
Also in the house is “Elick”, born February 1865. He is likely “Alex” found in 1880, but the question remains – where was he in 1870?
The last member of this household is Mary A. Howard, who is Nancy’s sister. Both Nancy and Mary are listed as widows.
The census taker did ask Nancy and Mary the question about how many children had they given birth to and how many are surviving. Nancy’s data says she gave birth to 9 children, with 7 surviving.
That doesn’t match the previous census information and the birth registration of baby Lucy.
There are a couple more questions found in the 1910 census:
Nancy is again head of household, aged 80, which is about right. She has two sons living with her:
1. Jack, aged 55, so born about 1855. Is this Howard Appleton by yet another name?
2. Alex, 50, so born about 1860. At this point, I think this is Robert and “Elcander” is a misspelled “Alexander.”
The next perplexing document is a death certificate for Nancy Jenkins, born in Washington County, Maine.
This Nancy Jenkins died on 7 April 1909 in Easton, Aroostook, Maine. She was about 80 years old so born about 1829. Nancy’s parents’ names are given as “John Stuart” and “Mary Carlyle.” Well, the Mary part is wrong because her mother’s name was Catherine, but the rest fits.
However, Nancy is clearly living in 1910 in Easton. I even checked the census date, thinking maybe who ever wrote 1909 forgot it was a new year and should have written 1910. That doesn’t make sense either, though, because Nancy was enumerated on 22 April 1910.
I was thinking that maybe it was Nancy’s sister, Mary Howard, who was born in 1829. However, she died on 2 October 1907 in Oakfield, Aroostook County, Maine, so I have no idea how to explain this.
Next, I’ve tried to reconcile all the different children’s names with who they actually were. I’ve come up with this list:
1. Althea, born about 1849, who married Richard Wilkins, about 1872, probably in Aroostook County, Maine. She is last found in the 1910 census.
2. Elvira, probably born about 1852 and last found in the 1880 census.
3. Margaret, born about 1854, last found in the 1860 census.
4. Howard Appleton, sometimes called Jack, born August 1855, died after 1900 census, apparently unmarried.
5. Silas E., born about 1858; died after 1920, probably in Aroostook County; unmarried in 1920.
6. Robert Elcander/Alexander, aka Alex and Elick, born June 1860; apparently unmarried.
7. Eleanor R., born about 1863; died after 1880
8. Olive L., born about 1866; died after 1880
9. Lucy, born 18 February 1868, Blaine; died before 1870
10. Hannah, born about 1870; died after 1880
This still doesn’t square with Nancy’s description in 1900 of having given birth to nine children with seven surviving, but it is close. Unfortunately, the census taker failed to either ask or record Nancy’s answer to that same question in 1910. The space is left blank, but he did record that she married once.
The last mystery is a two-parter. Which two children died before 1900? We know Lucy is one of them. We can account for Althea, Howard/Appleton/Jack (assuming they are one person), Silas and Robert/Elcander/Alexander (again, assuming they are one person). That is four out of ten. We have six more people who dropped off the face of the earth. I have found no further records for Elvira, Margaret, Eleanor, Olive, Lucy or Hannah. I assume they may have married, but records are lacking. It doesn’t appear that they remained in Aroostook County.
Do you think I have the children right? What is your theory about Nancy Jenkins who died in 1909 but appears in the 1910 census? Who is the second child who died before 1900? Was infant Lucy counted as one of the nine children? If not, then two of the other girls died before 1900.
I would love to hear your theories about this mess!