I remember my grandmother once mentioning that one of her grandmothers was from the South. This was surprising to me but I didn’t get much further information.
But you know how family stories are. It was only partly true.
Emma Luella Lamphere was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on 19 Apr 1857. This is gleaned from the Rhode Island State Census of 1905, and to a lesser extent from other census records and her death record. I have no birth record.
Emma’s parents were Russell and Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere. Russell was from an old Westerly, Rhode Island family. Hannah was from either a Connecticut or Massachusetts family that is a bit of brick wall for me. Russell and Hannah had five children that I know about:
- William H Lamphere 1840 – 1912
- Sarah E Lamphere 1843 – 1905
- Charley C. Lanphere 1846 –
- Caroline M. Lamphere 1847 –
- Emma Luella Lamphere 1857 – 1927
The first four were born in or near Norwich, Connecticut. Some time between the 1850 census and Emma’s birth in 1857 the family relocated to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. They are in the 1860 Federal Census, page 11 as found on Ancestry.com. I won’t show you the whole thing, but trust me it’s them. What I would love people to look at is Russell’s occupation:
Manuts – St – Marchad??? really? any ideas? please?? I examined the handwriting on the rest of the page but my only conclusion is that the middle word is NOT Ste. but is St. Not helping.
What I do know is that in most previous census records Russell was listed as a machinist. Family lore says that they went down to Alabama in the 1850’s to start a business. After, or possibly during, the war the business failed. After moving to R.I. in the 1870’s, Russell is listed as a mill overseer at the Oriental Mills, Admiral Street, Providence (now the Union Paper Company building). Oriental Mills was one of many cotton fabric mills in Rhode Island. I can’t help but think he must have used those machine skills down south and been a part of a fabric weaving mill startup … perhaps with partners. After the war the family was unhappy during the upheavals of reconstruction, had lost the business, relocated for a while to Meridian, Mississippi, and then moved back North. But this is despite Russell’s 1860 enlistment in the Alabama militia. I sense they were committed to the south but then gave up.
After moving to Providence, Rhode Island in the 1870’s, Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere died in 1878 “after a long and painful illness” which was only noted as gall stones (“biliary calculi”) on the death certificate. Daughter Emma married, on 5 Mar 1879, Addison Parmenter Darling, a silver engraver in Providence. The father also remarried in 1879.
Emma and Addison had 3 children, the first of whom was my great grandfather, Russell Earl Darling. Grace Luella and Addison Jr. soon followed. Emma’s somewhat difficult life ended tragically at age 69 in a streetcar accident on Broad Street, Providence while on the way to a family function. The family waited for her and she never arrived. She lingered in pain for a day or two at the hospital and passed away 2 Feb 1927.
So I am seeking help on two fronts: reading the handwriting from the 1860 census, and also, understanding the business climate in Tuscaloosa in the 1850’s. Were there cotton mills there? What evidence remains? I haven’t explored Tuscaloosa deeds yet, but it’s possible Russell owned the property for the business, or owned a home. Perhaps he paid taxes on the business.
Any leads on collecting this info would be great. As the blog title suggests, I am way up here in R.I.!