history-genealogy site

This is a site where I will discuss my family genealogy research and related history. When a blog deals with a particular family group, I will try to include it in the title so uninterested people can skip it without skimming it. It is my hope to get feedback on research methods, family members and historical context from other historians, genealogists, and researchers. (c) Barbara L. de Mare 2006, 2007

Location: Englewood, New Jersey, United States

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Although I wrote this a few years ago, it seems an appropriate time to publish it on my blog. I have been informed that the man mentioned in the article is now one of the inhabitants of the cemetery--Mt. Repose or elsewhere--so no one should be offended.

On July 27, 2001, my sister Betty and I visited Mt. Repose Cemetery in Haverstraw, New York. This was our second visit having gone first in 1999. The point of these trips was to learn more about the family of our Grandmother Ethel Dykeman. We knew from obituaries and other sources that her mother Sarah Janet Phillips, generally known as ANettie,@ was buried at Mt. Repose as was her grandmother Catherine McKenzie.

Before this trip I had located some of the Rockland County cemetery records on-line, and gotten the plot number at Mt. Repose for a Thomas Phillips. As he was buried three days after the death date I had for our 2G grandfather Thomas Phillips and as Thomas Phillips was the husband of Catherine McKenzie (who I knew was buried in Mt. Repose), I surmised that this had to be my 2G grandfather, one of the ancestors for whom I was searching.

After our first unsuccessful visit I had written to the cemetery, asking for information about the burial cites of Sarah Janet Phillips and Catherine McKenzie, but had gotten no reply. Additionally, I had called the day before we planned on visiting, leaving a message on an answering machine. I got a return message from a man who stated that he would not be at the cemetery on the proposed date. Having had no luck finding anything on our own two years before, we decided to delay the trip to another day.

I called again when we had another chance to visit, and left another message. This time a man named Jim called back when I was at my desk and advised me that he would be at the cemetery on the following Friday, not Saturday. Having actually spoken to this elusive man, I took the day off from work to go there. Jim told us to meet him between 11 and 12 at the garage up the road to the right of the main gates. He said to look for a blue pickup truck, and he would be around there someplace mowing the grass.

On the appointed day we followed Jim’s directions, and indeed found him hanging out at the garage. He told us that he had very few records as several years ago the secretary of the cemetery corporation had a fight with the Board of Directors and took all the records home. The secretary then died and no one knew what he did with the records. Jim further advised us that records of many burials never existed as at times the people in charge of the cemetery were illiterate.

I asked about the records I had found on-line. Jim was vague, but did say that several years before some woman went there and copied down “the remaining records.” He figured these must be what I found. Jim showed us a safe in the garage and pointed out a few record books in it that he said he does not let anyone touch anymore as they became damaged and loose from prior careless handling. He seemed to be blaming the woman who had copied them, but was unclear. He had no idea where she was from.

Jim then reluctantly showed us a map of Plot 212, which is where I knew Thomas Phillips was buried, and let me copy it. The information on the map confirmed that Thomas Phillips was indeed our 2G grandfather Thomas Phillips. Next Jim showed us a blue card from a filing cabinet in the garage. He also let me copy the blue card. While I was copying he told us that he had no interest in the old graves and records, and could not understand why so many people did. He was helpful nevertheless. After I finished copying the blue card he took us to the plot, then went back to mowing the grass.

Mt. Repose is a large old non-sectarian cemetery still in use for burials, but seems to have no office or other building except for the garage. Only Jim the grass mower seems to run the show, although he did make reference to a Board of Directors. It would seem that Jim must answer to someone as there is a cemetery corporation. I doubt that he really lets anyone tell him what to do. All in all, the visit was quite an experience.


It's official--for better or worse. Last night I was elected President of the Genealogy Society of Rockland County. The gavel is turned over to me at the next meeting, Tuesday, June 27, 2006, at the New City Library, New City, New York. I don't think there is a speaker scheduled for that meeting, so I should either find one fast or bring in goodies for a mini-party. If any of my friends and relatives would like to be there, I would be thrilled. Even though I know they usually have a hard time finding someone to serve, I am nevertheless honored to be elected. This group runs itself, and the credentials are good for my up-coming certification as as genealogist.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


This is an entry from my Chapel Research journal for 23 February 2006.

Another success story--this time with collaterals. I knew one of my Massachusetts

Chapels, namely my 2G grandfather Richard Smith Chapel, married Amanda Eacker, a Palatine. They met as her brother John Eacker had already left the Mohawk Valley and moved to Brooklyn. Originally Richard lived next door to John--John at 79 Second Place and Richard at 89 Second Place. Then Richard built (or bought) a big house at 81 First Place. After the mid 1850s the John Eackers seemed to have disappeared, and didn't come up on the census for 1860. As the street numbers are on the 1860 census I could follow it to his house, where he was still living. From that

I got the names of 3 of his children. A 4th I had already found in the New York Times obituaries--she had died at about 2 years of age. Now for the interesting parts. They lived in a brownstone. If you are not familiar with Brooklyn brownstones, they are 4 story attached houses. They were originally one family homes, then in recent years became apartments, one apartment per floor. So there was lots of room for extended families to all live together. I had known from city directories that the business in which John Eacker and Richard Chapel were engaged together was Chapel, Eacker and Downey. I never had any idea who Downey was. Lo and behold, there he was on the 1860 census living in the Eacker household! Second interesting thing from the 1860 census--another member of the John Eacker household was Jesse Mitchell, also a merchant. John's wife's maiden name was Mary Mitchell. They got married in Albany, so she is also an upstate person. All these glimpses into the lives of this family, which is the one concerning which I am trying to write a book, because of my curiosity as to what happened to Amanda's brother! In the 1870 and 1880 censi he was in a little village in St. Joseph County, Michigan. The daughter was married to someone from Connecticut and living in the same household. Did they meet in New York or Michigan? And why was John in Michigan? Was he still in business with Richard Chapel? According to family stories Richard made his fortune by trade with the west. I will have to see where this village is--whether it is on the Lake or an a railroad route. Of course every discovery just raises more questions. I also have to check and see if the studio pictures I have of John and his wife Mary were taken in Brooklyn or Michigan--I don't recall off hand, but think it might have been Michigan. As I was already up way past my bedtime getting all the census results cited properly and entered on FTM, that's as far as I got last night.

NO Genealogy weekend

I seem not to have succeeded well in shprtening my blogs--I will try again this week. Meanwhile I did absolutely NO genealogy this weekend as I went to Baltimore to aniece's graduation from Loyola. In another 4 years I will have to go to her medical school graduation. I did give her a genealogy graduation present--an original edition of John Sanderson's "An American in Paris." (Sorry for the quotes but I can't make either the italics or the underline work). So I can't find JohnSanderson's paternal line, but I did find one of his books!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What happened to MATHEW CHAPEL?

Family Tradition:

Since I was a child I have heard that my third great grandfather Mathew Smith Chapel must have died young because his wife Susan (Wilcox) Chapel lived in Brooklyn with her son Richard Smith Chapel from Richard’s majority until Susan’s death. Mathew and Susan had married and had their children while residing in Sandisfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Sandisfield is located in the eastern foothills of the Berkshire Mountains and is bounded on the south by the Connecticut border. The west side of the township is not far from the New York border.

Richard Smith Chapel was the first owner of the home at 81 First Place, Brooklyn, New York, where his son William Lincoln Chapel and his granddaughter (who is also my grandmother) Ivy Howe Chapel were both born. Susan resided there until her death on 10 Feb 1868.[1], [2] Mathew was not known to have ever lived in Brooklyn.

My grandmother’s younger brother, William Lincoln Chapel, Jr., generally known as Uncle Bill, made a perfunctory stab at family research in the 1950s and 1960s and concluded that his great-grandfather Mathew Chapel had indeed died young. He based this conclusion on the fact that Mathew’s wife Susan appears in the 1840 Hartford, Connecticut, census, with her two children but without Mathew[3], thus perpetuating the myth. The purported causal connections between the assumptions upon which the myth is based and the alleged facts are both poor conjectures.


Further study of the 1840 census would have revealed that Mathew was indeed listed therein.[4] He was right across the mountains in Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York. The 1840 and 1850 censuses[5] further reveal that by then Mathew had a new wife, Catherine, and two daughters, Mary and Agnes. By 1850, however, Mathew was once again missing from his family group. Did he have wanderlust, suffer from mental illness, or was he thrown out by both women?

At the same time that Mathew was in Kinderhook with Catherine, Jacob Eacker, Jr., the father of Mathew’s future daughter-in-law Amanda, was residing in Big Flats, New York, having left his wife and ten children behind in the Mohawk Valley. Jacob waited until after the 1851 death of his wife Gertrude Herkimer before marrying his paramour. Mathew could not have waited until after Susan’s death to marry Catherine, as Catherine predeceased Susan by many years. We don’t know if Mathew was ever divorced from Susan or if he ever formally married Catherine, legally or otherwise. Catherine’s death on 22 Aug 1853 is recorded in the cemetery records for Columbia County, New York, wherein she is named as the wife of Mathew S. Chapel.[6] She was buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery in the Village of Valatie, Town of Kinderhook, New York. I have been unable to find any marriage or divorce record for Mathew S. Chapel, or any birth record for his daughters with Catherine. The daughters, Mary[7] and Agnes, were born in about 1827 and 1833 respectively.[8]

The fact that divorce was uncommon in nineteenth century America does not mean that couples married and lived happily ever after. It is simply indicative of the facts that life spans were shorter and that divorces were more difficult to obtain. Mathew, like Jacob, might have simply crossed the mountains and commenced a new life. Although permission had to be granted by the town fathers to move into a new town, a job was really all that was required. There were no background checks. The purpose of the law was to try to keep out paupers for whose care the village would become responsible. Ironically, the county poorhouse is where we find Mathew in the 1860 census.[9]

In early nineteenth century America, an abandoned wife could leave town and resume life as a widow. She would then be supported by her children. By the time Susan moved to Hartford, probably prior to 1838 when she was dismissed from the Sandisfield Church,[10] her oldest child Richard was about 20 years of age and capable of performing the tasks expected of the head of a household. He was destined to become very wealthy and support his mother as a Brooklyn socialite for the rest of her life. This was her status in life in the 1860 Brooklyn census.[11]

In 1840 Hartford was a bustling commercial town where a hard-working young man could embark upon the road to riches. The city directories show that Richard did just that. His addresses and employments became increasingly less modest, [12] until 27 October 1845 when he left town for Brooklyn, New York, carrying a Letter of Introduction signed by many Hartford businessmen.[13] According to one obituary, "he amassed a fortune shipping merchandise to the West before the country was covered with railways."

Kinderhook, where we found Mathew in 1840, although physically a small Dutch village, was the home of Martin Van Buren, then serving as President of the United States of America. The President’s house was located on the south side of the village, near the Val Alen Homestead, alleged to be the home of Katrina Van Tassel of Ichabod Crane fame. Before fame came to it, the Van Alen Homestead would be the birthplace of my grandfather Louis Washburn Fish, who grew up to marry Ivy Howe Chapel, a great-granddaughter of Mathew.

Ghent in Columbia County, New York, was the home of the county poorhouse, or “county farm” as it was often called. The county farm was established as a result of the 1824 New York State laws establishing the poor house system. It housed the mentally ill persons in the county as well as the paupers. We have no way of knowing which was the reason for Mathew’s residence there, or how long the residence lasted. I have carefully searched the inmate list for the 1850 census, and do not find his name. Neither have I located him in any census after 1860.

My study of the Columbia County burial records also revealed the 1828 burial of a Sarah Chapel in Stuyvesant in north-west Columbia County. This Sarah Chapel is said to have been 72 years old at the time of her death.[14] Upon visiting the cemetery where she is buried, and touring the area in general, I discovered that it is very close to Kinderhook where Mathew lived. Mathew’s mother Sarah was born 14 Sep 1758 according to both the Vital Records of Sandisfield[15], Massachusetts, and Mayflower Society records.[16], [17] The couple of years difference in age could be accounted for by the failure of Mathew to know exactly when his mother was born when he buried her. She is not located in Columbia County in any census returns. She is located in the census returns for Sandisfield, Massachusetts for every year through 1820. Her husband Richard Crignon Chapel died there on 27 Feb 1825 and was buried with his first wife in the Roberts Road Cemetery in the Town of Sandisfield.[18] It would be natural for Sarah upon the death of her husband to move across the mountains to reside with her son and his young family. In those days widows seldom lived alone.


1. Most likely the Mathew S. Chapel residing in Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York, in 1840 is the same Mathew S. Chapel who was the husband of Susan (Wilcox) Chapel and the father of Richard Smith Chapel.

2. Mathew S. Chapel had a wife or paramour in Columbia County named Catherine with whom he bore two daughters, Mary and Agnes.

3. Mathew was not living with Catherine and her daughters in 1850. His whereabouts in 1850 are unknown.

4. Catherine died 22 August 1853 and is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Village of Valatie, Town of Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York

5. No further information regarding the daughters of Mathew and Catherine, i.e. Agnes and Mary, is known.

6. Mathew S. Chapel resided in the County Poorhouse in 1860.

7. Mathew most likely died a pauper some time after 1860. Neither his date of death nor his burial place are known.

8. A Sarah Chapel died in Columbia County, in or near the Town of Kinderhook, in 1828 at the purported age of 72 years.

9. Mathew’s mother Sarah (Smith) Chapel was born in 1758 in Sandisfield, Massachusetts.

10. Mathew’s father, Sarah’s husband, Richard Crignon Chapel, died 27 Feb 1825 in Sandisfield and is buried there with his first wife.

11. Susan (Wilcox) Chapel died in Brooklyn, New York, on 10 Feb 1968 and is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery.

712 Before her death, Susan resided with her wealthy son Richard Smith Chapel and his family in a huge brownstone in an exclusive area of Brooklyn.

Rather than solving the puzzle, each new piece of information found only evokes more questions. Some of the questions raised from my research into Mathew Smith Chapel and still unanswered are as follows:

Unanwered and/or Unproven Issues:

1. Is the Mathew S. Chapel in Columbia County in the 1840 and 1860 census returns the same Mathew S. Chapel who was my 3G grandfather?

2. When did Susan move from Sandisfield to Hartford?

3. Did she live any place after leaving Sandisfield and before arriving in Hartford?

4. Did Susan join a church in Hartford, and if so was it Congregationalist or Baptist? Although she belonged to the Congregational Church in Sandisfield, her family frequently attended the Baptist Church in Colebrook, Connecticut, and the Chapels remain Baptists until this day.

5. Where was Mathew in 1820 and 1830. I have not located him in the census returns for any of the tri-state area.

6. Assuming the answer to the first question is in the positive, then:

a. When and how did Mathew meet Catherine?

b. Were Mathew and Susan ever divorced? To date I have been unable to locate divorce records for New York, Massachusetts, or Connecticut.

c. Were Mathew and Catherine ever married?

d. Were Agnes and Mary baptized, and if so where?

e. What happened to Mary and Agnes after the death of their mother, and do they have heirs? If so, where are those heirs today?

f. When did Mathew S. Smith die?

g. Where is he buried?

h. What are the circumstances that led to his residence in the county farm?

i. Is the Sarah Chapel buried in Stuyvesant Mathew’s mother Sarah (Smith) Chapel?

[1] Susan Chapel tombstone, Lot 18104, Section 173, Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11232, transcribed by Barbara Louise (Ferry) de Mare and Elizabeth Ellen Ferry on 7/15/2001.

[2] Susan Chapel death notice, "New York Times,” February 11, 1868, p. 5, online database ProQuest Historical Newspapers, New York Times (1857-Current file), accessed through http://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org/ at http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?RQT=301&Userid=REFURL&Passwd=REFURL&cfc=1.

[3] William L. Chapel, Jr., Ancestors of Winifred Barrett & William Lincoln Chapel, Jr., (compiled April 1971), 26.

[4] Matthew S. Chapel household, 1840 United States Census, Columbia County, New York, population schedule, Township of Kinderhook, Ancestry.com copy of National Archives microfilm Series 704, Roll 277, Page 79, Image 157.

[5] Catherine Chapel entry, 1850 United States Census, Columbia County, New York, population schedule, Township of Kinderhook, Ancestry.com copy of National Archives microfilm Series 432, Roll 492, Page 358.

[6] Columbia County Historical Society, Cemetery Book #6 (copied 1934-1935 by Louise Hardenbrook) p. 7

[7] Mathew must have liked the name Mary. His second child with Susan, born between 1820 and 1825, was also named Mary.

[8] See 1840 and 1850 census returns for Kinderhook, Columbia County, referenced above.

[9] Mathew S. Chapel entry, 1860 United States Census, Columbia County, New York, population schedule, Township of Ghent, County poorhouse residents, Ancestry.com copy of National Archives microfilm Series 653, Page 749 (printed), Page 11 (handwritten).

[10] Rollin H. Cooke, transcriber, Records of Sandisfield Massachusetts Congregational Church, (Pittsfield, Mass: 1901), 272, 309, 320.

[11] Richard S. Chapel household, 1860 United States census, Kings County, New York, population schedule, 6th Ward, 2nd District, Dwelling 57, Family 63, Ancestry.com copy of National Archives microfilm Roll: M653_766, Page 664 (stamped), Image 227; Page 10 (handwritten).

[12] Sharon Y. Steinberg, Assistant Research Librarian, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford City Directories, (e-mail letter to Barbara (Ferry) de Mare dated 26 August 2002).

[13] Original at Connecticut Historical Society

[14] Rickard, Index to People Buried in Columbia County, New York, a Sarah Chapel was buried in Stuyvesant, Columbia County, New York, in 1828, 72 years of age.

[15] Capt. Elizur Yale Smith, compiler, Vital Records of Sandisfield, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850, (Tuttle Publishing Co., Rutland, Vermont, 1936), 54.

[16]John D. Austin, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume Six, Third Edition, Stephen Hopkins, (Plymouth Mass: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2001), 238..

[17] Robert M. Sherman, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume 2, Chilton, More, Rogers, (Plymouth, Massachusetts: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1978), 232.

[18] Rollin H. Cooke, transcriber, Records of Sandisfield Massachusetts Congregational Church, (Pittsfield, Mass: 1901), p. 337, Deaths in Sandisfield, commencing Jan 1st, 1823: 1825, Feb 21 "Richard Chapel aged 74."

Shortening my entries

Dear Readers, I see that my entries are way too long--I don't evedn have the patience to get through the whole thing. My efforts to divide up a long research question and provide all the background material ended up not sufficiently divided. I will try to do better in the future. Tonight I will try to give you a break from Sanderson and talk about Chapels. I certainly hope it is shorter, or at least easier to read.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Mystery of the Parentage of John Sanderson, Part III: The Issues Defined

I have spent the evening working on an essay for my National Genealogical Society Home Study Course, but it is not yet in publishable form, so will contine with the John Sanderson saga. The essay will have to wait until another day to appear on this blog. So far we have just quoted two secondary sources concerning the parentage of John Sanderson, and come up with different answers. More specifically, we have found different mothers. In the alternative, they are wives of different persons named William Sanderson, each of whom had a som John. The question remains, who is our John, and who is his mother? We should start this research journey by more specifically defining the issues raised by these two books.

Issue regarding wife of William Sanderson:

Carpenter states that William’s wife was Agnes McClelland, the daughter of a highly educated woman, and that she lived the end of her life in Alabama with her only daughter Matilda, who married a Dr. May. He also states that she had three sons, John, James, and Joseph, and that John with the help of James wrote The Signers.

Marriage records for Alabama show that a Matilda Sanderson married a Dr. James May on 24 July 1832 in Greene, Alabama[1]. John Sanderson is known to be the author of The Signers and to have had the assistance of his brother James.

McCormack states that William’s wife was Rebecca Randolph, and that he married her on December 26, 1786. He gives their children as John, Sarah, George (1792-1851), Elizabeth, Anne, Frances, Mary and William. Only George is further discussed in the text.

It would certainly appear that we are discussing two different families. Although each wife is said to have had a John, only Agnes McClelland had a James. Having established that we are most likely discussing two different families, we then must determine:

Which, if either, John is our ancestor?

Are the other children of each mother named correctly?

Could the two women be different wives of the same William Sanderson? If so:

Which was the first wife?

Did the first John die young, as generally a name is not reused in the same nuclear family when the first holder thereof is still alive? None of the other names are repeated.

Some of these questions can be answered, or at least partially so, by determining the birth date of each John Sanderson.

Issue regarding date of birth of John Sanderson:

According to McCormick, Family Record, p. 438, "on June 3, 1805, John and Sarah Sanderson, [children of William Sanderson and Rebecca Randolph,] minors above the age of fourteen" asked the court to appoint a guardian. Consequently John son of William was born before 1791. The other children of William and Rebecca were stated to be minors under the age of fourteen, with the oldest of these, George, born in 1792. It would appear, then, that Sarah was born c. 1790 and John c. 1788. As McCormick also states that William Sanderson and Rebecca Randolph were married December 26, 1786, additional credence is lent to the 1788 birth date for their son John Sanderson.

If John Sanderson had been born in 1783 as stated in Carpenter, he would have been 22 years old in 1805 and not in need of a guardian. If born in 1788 (a 3 and an 8 confused at some point) he would not only fit properly into the family of William and Rebecca, but would also have been a minor over the age of fourteen in 1805 when a guardianship proceeding was instituted.

If William was twice married, the second and last wife was obviously Rebecca Randolph, as he was married to her at his death by 1805.

The 1783 date also appears to be too early even if our John Sanderson’s mother were Agnes McClelland and his siblings were as set forth in Carpenter, as this John’s sister Matilda was married in 1832. Thus she was probably born after 1800, most likely closer to 1810. With only 5 children, a 25 year gap seems unlikely.

From this analysis, John Sanderson could have been born in 1788, the son of either William and Rebecca or William and Agnes. Getting copies of all the relevant wills would undoubtedly prove helpful, particularly that of Rebecca Randolph Sanderson dated February 7, 1824, proven July 1825.

Information obtained from Pension Application of William Sanderson

Carpenter states that both William and his father Robert served in the Revolutionary War. The service of William (the son) is stated to be “captain of the 3rd Company, 7th Battalion, Cumberland County Associators, commissioned July 31, 1777, again in May, 1778, and in April, 1779. (Penn. Archives, 2d series, vol. 14, pp. 412, 436, 438, 451, also vol. 15, pp. 578, 624). He was commissioned May 10, 1780, major of the 5th Battalion (vol. 14, p. 461).”

A pension application filed by the heirs of a William Sanderson matches these dates and modes of service. The wife of the serviceman, however, is stated to be Rebecca Reynolds. with children surviving on August 24, 1852, the date of a deposition of Anna Erb, being the said Anna, Fanny McMichael, and William. Anna stated that she was 60 years old at the time of the giving of the deposition, making her year of birth about 1792. However 1792 is the year in which George was born according to McCormick, who also sets forth the birth of Elizabeth between George and Anna. According to the guardianship proceeding as related by McCormick, Anna was born after 1791, as she was a minor under the age of 14 years in 1805. Thus she was probably younger than 60 when she gave her deposition, a backwards way for a woman to lie about her age. She signed the deposition with an X, so may not have really known her age.

More questions arise concerning dates when the pension application is perused. According to the information given by Anna in the pension application, her father William Sanderson died in October 1809, in Middleton Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. However the guardianship application of his children is stated to have been brought on June 3, 1805. The death should occur before the guardianship application. The guardianship records need to be obtained and studied. Death information for William Sanderson should also be sought. Upon further study of the date in the pension application, death date could be October 1804, which would correspond with a May 1805 guardianship proceeding. Acting Commissioner in 1924 read it as 1809.

The pension application further states that Rebecca Sanderson died on July 2, 1845, in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. There is no apparent reason to question this date.

[1] Alabama Marriages, 1807-1902, Hunting For Bears, comp. Alabama Marriages, 1807-1902 [database online]. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2004. Original data: Alabama marriage information taken from county courthouse records. Many of these records were extracted from copies of the original records in microfilm, microfiche, or book format, located at the Family History Library.

[2] Could be a 4 or a 9. Determine is a 4 from other evidence set forth above. Acting Commissioner 1924 who typed letter read it as a 9.

My Transcription of The Pension Application

Service: Number

Penn. Sanderson, William W3303


[new page]

The marriage of Mr. William Sanderson to Rebecca Randolph Dec. 26th 1786, is commemorated in a private record which has descended to the present ? of the First Presbyterian Church in Carlisle among other placements which have been preserved in the absence of the first record book of the Church which is now lost. There can be no reasonable doubt of its perfect genuineness.

Carlisle Aug 27, 1852

C.P. Wing, Pastor of the First

Pres. Church in Carlisle

State of Pennsylvania )

) ss:

Cumberland County )

Personally appeared before me a Justice of the Peace in and for said County, Rev. C.P. Wing now pastor of the 1st Pres. Church in Carlisle, Pa, who upon his solemn Affirmation says that the above statement is correct and true.

Affirmed & Subscribed }

before me the 27th day } Conway P. Wing

of August A.D. 1852 }

M. Hobrooke

Justice of the Peace

Carlisle County

[new page]


Pennsylvania, Phil

Rebecca Sanderson, dec’d

widow of Wm Sanderson

who was a Captain

in the Revolution—Penn Service

Inscribed on the Roll at the rate

of 480 Dollars ----------

Cents per annum; to commence

on the 4th day of March, 1843

& ending July 2, 1845

Certificate of Pension issued

the 29th day of Jany 1853

and sent to

Hon. J.C. McDonahue


Acts of March 3, 1843, & June

17, 1844

Recorded in Book A

Vol. 2 Page 116

[new page]

State of Pennsylvania )

) ss:

Cumberland County )

On this 26th day of January AD 1853 personally appeared before me a Justice of the Peace, within and for the state and county aforesaid, Peter Willey and Abm P. Erb, residents of the State of Pennsylvania and County of Cumberland, who being duly sworn according to law declare that Rebecca Sanderson is the widow of Capt. William Sanderson dec’d, and that she the said Rebecca Sanderson died in Carlisle on the 2nd day of July 1845, and that there are three surviving children, Viz—Anna intermarried with A. Erb, Fanny intermarried with William McMickel and William Sanderson, and that the above named Capt. William Sanderson is the same person whose name appears among the papers on file at the Secretary’s Office at Harrisburg.

Sworn and subscribed before } Peter Willey

me the 26th day of January 1859 } A.P. Erb

Stephen ? }

Justice of the Peace }

[new page]

State of Pennsylvania )

) ss:

County of Cumberland)

On the twenty fourth day of August A.D. 1852 personally appeared, in the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County before the Honorable James N. Graham, Presiding Judge, Mrs. Ann Erb a resident of Wormleysburg in the County of Cumberland aged sixty years who being first duly sworn according to law doth on her oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the Act of Congress dated July 7th 1838 entitled the act granting half pay and pension to certain widows. That she is the daughter of Rebecca Sanderson, who was the widow of William Sanderson, who was a Captain in the Battalion of Pennsylvania in Militia commanded by Colonel Frederick Watts—as appears by papers on file in the Secretary’s Office of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania—commissioned 15 January 1777 --- return made 14 May 1778. And also that he the said William Sanderson was Captain in the Third Company of Cumberland County Militia for Pennsylvania in the service of the United States commanded by Colonel William ?, commissioned 23 April A.D. 1779, that he served in said capacity until 10th May 1780—being a period of more than one year as appears by the Muster Rolls of said Company—The original being on file in the office of the Secretary of State Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

She further declares that her mother the said Rebecca Sanderson was married to the said William Sanderson as she is informed on the twenty sixth day of December A.D. 1786. That her father the aforesaid William Sanderson died on the day of October A.D. 1804[2]. That, she is informed, her father the said William Sanderson was not married to the said Rebecca Sanderson prior to his leaving the service. She further swears that her mother was not afterwards married but that she died his widow.

Sworn to and subscribed } her

in open Court on the day } Ann X Erb

and year above written, about } mark

before me 24 August 1852 }

George ? ? }

State of Pennsylvania )

) ss:

Cumberland County )

I James H. Graham Presiding Judge of the 9th Judicial District, composed of the counties of Cumberland, Percy & Juaniatta, do certify that George ?, Esq., before whom the foregoing affidavit was made, was at the time and now is Perthonotary of the Courts of Common Pleas of Cumberland County, duly commissioned and qualified and that the above signature purporting to be his is genuine, to all those acts as such in that capacity due faith and credit are and of right ought to be given throughout the Untied States and elsewhere.

Witness my hand and seal at Carlisle this 28th August A.D. 1852.

JHGraham (seal)

[new page]

State of Pennsylvania

Cumberland County, ss:

Personally appeared before me the subscriber one of the Justices of the Peace in and for said County Ann Erb who after being duly sworn doth depose and say that she is sixty years of age, and resides in Cumberland County, and that she is a daughter of William Sanderson who served in the Revolutionary War, and that her father was legally married about the year 1786, further says that her father William Sanderson died in the year 1804 and further says that her mother Rebecca Sanderson died in the year 1845.

Sworn to and subscribed before } her

me this 24th day of March 1852 } Ann X Erb

G.W. ? } mark

State of Pennsylvania )

) ss:

Cumberland County )

Personally appeared before me the subscriber one of the Justices of the Peace in and for the said County, Peter T. Vibley, who upon his solemn oath says that he is well acquainted with Ann Erb, as mentioned in the foregoing stated deposition, and that she is a woman of truth and do know that she is the daughter of William Sanderson, and understand that he was an officer in the Revolutionary War, and do believe her statement to be correct. I am in my seventy second year of age.

Peter T. Vibley


[new page--typed] August 14, 1924

Mrs. Carl Musser

Cynthiana, Ky.


I have to advise you that from the papers in the Revolutionary War pension claim W3303 it appears that William Sanderson was commissioned January 15, 1777 Captain in the Third Company of Colonel Frederick Watts’ Seventh Battalion of the Cumberland County Militia, and served in the Militia until May 10, 1780 when commissioned Major of the Fifth Battalion of said Militia and served until the close of the War.

Soldier married December 26, 1786 in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Rebecca Randolph. He died in October 1809 in North Middleton Township, and his widow Rebecca died July 2, 1845 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

On account of soldier’s services in the Revolution, pension was allowed their three surviving children Ann or Anna who married A. Erb, Fanny who married William McMickel, and William Sanderson, on the application of said Ann or Anna Erb, which application was executed August 24, 1852 while she was a resident of Wormleysburg, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania aged sixty years. The ages of soldier and widow are not given.


Acting Commissioner

The time has come when I must consult more original sources. The pension application of itself gave us no answers, I have searched census results for both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and similarly found no useful information. There are too many Sandersons name John, William, and Robert to easily sort out this family. I even carefully stufied all the John Sandersons listed in the McCormick book to see of ours could be a different one. None matched the known facts about our ancestor. It is my intention to spend some time tomorrow in the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Hopefully I will be able to find some original sources. Vital statistics, church records, death records, wills, and deeds are at the top of my list of documents to seek. That's only a weeks worth of work to try to cram into my few hours. Obviously I won't solve the mystery in one library trip! I am still waiting for you readers to come up with a brilliant solution. One of my cousins sent two different biographies, each touting a different wife for our John. Consequently I haven't quoted them in this blog.--they are just one more point for each side!

[1] Alabama Marriages, 1807-1902, Hunting For Bears, comp. Alabama Marriages, 1807-1902 [database online]. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2004. Original data: Alabama marriage information taken from county courthouse records. Many of these records were extracted from copies of the original records in microfilm, microfiche, or book format, located at the Family History Library.

[2] Could be a 4 or a 9. Determine is a 4 from other evidence set forth above. Acting Commissioner 1924 who typed letter read it as a 9.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Mystery of the Parentage of John Sanderson: Part II The McCormick Genealogy

Another family historian of the same era gives a different wife for William and thus mother of our John Sanderson. Although this book (the "McCormick book") deals primarily with McCormicks, it also contains a large section entitled "Alexander Sanderson and His Descendants." (pp431ff)

Ancestry according to McCormick book[1]:

"I. Alexander Sanderson.

"Emigrated from Scotland to America, and settled in Middleton Township, Cumberland County, Pa. "Previous to 1750, as is shown by the tax-lists, he was an elder in the Presbyterian Church at Dillsburg, York County, which church is known as 'Old Monanghan,' because of its antuquity, having been organized previous to 1745. "His will is dated Feb. 20, 1760, proven Dec. 11, 1760, and is on file at Carlisle, Pa. In it he appointed Patrick Watson, his brother-in-law, as guardian of the three younger children, James, Margaret and John, who were minors at the time of his death. He also directed that, should his som William die in his minority, the land bequeathed to him in Sherman's Valley should pass to his (William's) brother Alexander. He also appointed his son, GEORGE SANDERSON, and John Stewart, executors, and these duly administered his will. "He married (possible as a second wife) Jean Watson, who survived him and was a legatee.

"Had Issue: "a. George Sanderson

"B., 1712 "D., 1797 "M., 1, Miss Ross. "2, Jean Aitken

"b. Alexander Sanderson "B., 1714 "D., 1803 "M., Mary ________

"c. Barbara Sanderson "d. Martha Sanderson

"e. William Sanderson

"f. James Sanderson

"g. Margaret Sanderson

"h. John Sanderson B., 1751 D., in Middle Township, 1797


"Son of Alexander Sanderson. "B., 1712 "D., in Middleton Township, 1797

"On Dec. 12, 1759, his father deeded him 189 acres of land in Middleton Township, two miles from Carlisle, Pa., bounded by Conodoguinet Creek and lands of his brother, Alexander Sanderson. "His will is on file at Carlisle, Pa., dated Nov. 11, 1775, proven May 22, 1797. In it he bequeather to his daughter, Martha Sanderson McCormick, one-fifth of his estate. "George Sanderson married, 1, Miss Ross, daughter of Thomas Ross.

"Had Issue:

"1. Robert Sanderson

"B., 1738 "D., 1803 "M., Mary _______

"2. John Sanderson "B., 1740 "D., 1799 "M., Sarah McMichael

"3. Catherine Sanderson "B., 1742 "D., 1810 "M., Hugh McCormick

"4. Margaret Sanderson "B., 1744 "D., Jan. 23, 1823 "M., James Elliott, 1768

"5. Mary Sanderson "B., 1745 "D., ______ "M., David Elliott

"6. Martha Sanderson "B. 1747 "D. 1803 "M., Robert McCormick, 1770

George Sanderson married, 2, Jean Aitken No issue.

"1. Robert Sanderson

"Son of George Sanderson

"Grandson of Alexander Sanderson

"B., 1738 "D., 1803

"ROBERT SANDERSON lived about two and a half miles northwest of Carlisle, adjoining the Meeting House Springs graveyard. He owned the farm on the north side of the creek, known as the Mill Place, which adjoined lands, that were occupied in 1737, the earliest on that side of the stream in that locality. "In his will, dated Oct. 16, 1803, he refers to his mill adjoining the lands of John Sanderson.

"M., Mary___________

Had Issue: "a. William Sanderson

"B., ________ "D., ________ "M., Rebecca Randolph, Dec. 26, 1786

"b. Jane Sanderson

"M., ______ Howling

"c. George Sanderson

"d. Alexander Sanderson

"e. Martha Sanderson


"Son of Bobert Sanderson "Grandson of George Sanderson "Great grandson of Alexander Sanderson

"B., ______ "D., ______ "M., REBECCA RANDOLPH, Dec. 26, 1786

"The record of this marriage is found among those of the first Presbyterian Church of Carlisle, which was built in 1757. The name of Rebecca Sanderson occurs in the list of communicants Dec.3, 1816, and also in the list of Dec. 3, 1817. Her will is dated Feb. 7, 1824, proven July, 1825.

"William and Rebecca Sanderson had issue:

"1. John Sanderson "2. Sarah Sanderson

"3. George Sanderson "B., 1792 "D., 1851 "M., Peggy ________ "4. Elizabeth Sanderson "5. Anne Sanderson "6. Frances Sanderson "7. Mary Sanderson "8. William Sanderson

"On June 3, 1805, John and Sarah Sanderson, minors above the age of fourteen, asked the court to appoint William Drennan their guardian, and on the same date George, Elizabeth, Anne, Frances, Mary and William Sanderson, above named, and grandchildren and legatees of Robert Sanderson, petitioned the court to appoint James Griffen, of Middleton Toewnship, their guardian.


Alexander1 Sanderson (--1760) and Jean Watson

George2 Sanderson (1712—1797) and ? Ross

Robert3 Sanderson (1736-1803) and Mary ?

William4 Sanderson and Rebecca Randolph (Dec. 26, 1786)

John Sanderson--is this our ancestor who married Sophie Carre?

Disagreement comes with the identity of the wife of WILLIAM SANDERSON, the mother of our JOHN SANDERSON. It should be noted, as is highlighted in each generation above, that every generation has a John Sanderson, and most also have a William and a George. Therefore the name John alone is insufficient to identify our ancestor. The mystery is, who are the parents of our John Sanderson?

As the secondary sources give us different answers, we must go the primary sources to try to solve the mystery. But first, in our next instalment of this saga, we will more carefully define the issues.

[1] Leander James McCormick, Family Record and Biography (Original publication Chicago: 1896; digitized Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2005), pp. 433-438