Friday, July 6, 2012

a clue from a deed ...

is making me crazy. Among papers handed down in my father's family is a deed dated 6 June 1848 in which Cherry A Shattuck of Galveston, Texas, sells her interest in some properties in Middlesex County, Massachuseets, to William Adams of West Cambridge in that county: one undivided third part of half a dwelling house, a shed & part of a barn ... also one third part of one other lot of land containing about one acre known as the Well Piece ... also one third part of another lot of land called the Peach Orchard ... also one seventh part of a lot known as the Mountain Lot containing about fourteen acres.

There is a note along the side of the deed that it was recorded in Cambridge, Middlesex County, in Deed Book 555, Page 102, on 17 January 1849. This William Adams is almost certainly my great great grandfather (1821-1905). His first wife (and current at the time of the deed) was Lucy Gardener Locke, daughter of Asa Locke and Lucy Wyman. Lucy (Locke) Adams died 24 April 1866 of diptheria and a couple of years later, William married Emma Isadora Stanton, my great great grandfather.

First question is how does Cherry fit in? Is she definitely a Locke? If so, whose daughter is she? If not, what is her maiden name? ... and how did she end up all the way in Galveston, Texas, by 1848?

In the 1850 census of Galveston we have a John Robinson, aged 50, a merchant born in Scotland, with his aparent wife Cherry A Robinson, aged 37, born in Massachuestts. Living with them are V P Shattuck aged 22, a merchant clerk, born in Massachusetts; Josephine Shattuck, aged 16, born in New York; Sarah S Shattuck, aged 10, born in Indiana; Charles T Shattuck, aged 9, born in New York; and Francis L Shattuck, aged 7, also born in New York. This appears to be the Cherry we seek with a second husband and five children by her first husband who is presumably deceased.

Although the 1850 census indicates Cherry was born about 1813, the 1860 census gives her age as 58, thus born about 1802, and the 1870 census as age 60, born circa 1810. She has yet to be found in later years nor has a death record been found. The New England Historic Genealogical Society shows the marriage of Cherry Locke of Woburn to Varnum P Shattuck of Charlestown on 30 December 1826. Their records also show a Cherry Adams Locke born 13 January 1807 in Woburn to Josiah Locke Jr and his wife Susanna. If this is the correct Cherry, then she would be an aunt to William Adams' wife.

The birthplaces of the children indicate that Varnum & Cherry went from Massachusetts to New York, were in Indiana around 1840, and then back to New York for at least the first half of the 1840's. Around 1840, Varnum became embroiled in financial difficulties and with others was sued in New York Chancery Court. Legal notices found through GenealogyBank say in  1839 that he was a resident of Michigan and in 1840, of Indiana.

In June 1845 a Varnum P Shattuck is recruited by the Third Infantry, Regular Army, as a "supernumerary recuited on detachment." This recruitment seems to have ended up at Camp Wilkins (aka Fort Jesup) in Louisiana. This could be either the father (age 39-40) or the son, but the son was 16, 17 at the most and a bit young to enlist. Also found at GenealogyBank was a listing from the New York Evening Post of 8 July 1847, stating [died] "at Vera Cruz of yellow fever, Mr. Varnum P. Shattuck, aged 42 years, late of Chrlestown, Massachusetts."

That this is the father is supported by a listing in the Middlesex probate records for a Varnum P. Shattuck, case file 41380 in 1849 giving his late residence as Galveston, Texas. The younger Varnum is with his mother and stepfather in 1850 and with his mother in 1860.

Texas marriage records on FamilySearch show that the daughter Josephine married 2 Jan 1855 in Galveston to a John Howard. Her sister Sarah also married a John Howard in Galveston on 3 November 1857. At this time it is not known if the John Howards are one and the same or separate individuals. John, a merchant aged 35, and Sarah Howard are found in 1860 Galveston with a 2 year old child aged 2.

Clearly there is more to search although I have about tapped out the online stuff. FindAGrave provided the death of the younger Varnum (1 January 1868) and a few other minor details have been located. One of the more important items is probably the actual case file for Varnum in the Middlesex probate records.

You can see how obsessed I get ... this is a possible relative of a first wife of my direct line and I have already spent 3-4 days on it!! Certainly some of this was not as easy as it reads here. The 1860 census information in particular was tricky as the enumerator messed it up significantly, listing Cherry and her two sons as: C Robsterr, age 58; B Scott, age 30; and Chas Scott, age 18 instead of C(herry) Robinson and V(arnum) Shattuck and Chas Shattuck ... arrrggghh!!!

No comments: