I made some good progress this year with the Lampheres when I found some Westerly, Rhode Island deeds that showed that my ggggg-grandfather, Daniel Lamphere, had two families of children, the first with wife Eunice (possibly Wise) beginning in 1759, and a subsequent set of children after 1775 with second wife Nancy (possibly Tefft) (the story of that is here). The Westerly vital record books show both of these families (vol. 3, page 100 and vol. 4, page 67 – both indexed in Arnold’s Vital Records of Rhode Island, vol. 5, Westerly Births & Deaths section, p. 111 & 112) and on first glance one would think these were two different Daniel Lampheres. Neither wedding – to Eunice or to Nancy – has surviving documentation, although the marriages are real enough, per the birth records, and Daniel’s last land records which name Nancy as his widow, and name both sets of children as belonging to him.
Knowing there was only one Daniel Lamphere, and suspecting (not completely proven yet) that his correct place in the fourth generation of the Westerly Lampheres was Daniel4, Daniel3, John2, George1, I turned my attention to the identity of Daniel’s second wife, Nancy, who is my ggggg-grandmother. Nancy was identified tentatively as a Tefft in the usual Lamphere resources (see details below). Nancy is related to my grandmother in the following way:
Learning more about Nancy
This is the convoluted problem with Nancy:
- Several unreliable sources suggest her name may be Tefft
- She became Daniel’s widow in late 1808 and by her right of thirds, held onto one third of the Westerly, R.I. farm which I have tentatively located (see blog post here).
- Although I have no documentation of the wedding, their first child, my gggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere, was born December 2, 1776, and five additional children by 1792.
- There was a neighbor to the Lamphere property over a period of many years named John Tefft.
- A Partial Record of the Descendants of John Tefft by Maria E Maxon Tefft (Buffalo: Peter Paul Book Company, 1896) presents, on page 30, a John Tefft family featuring a daughter, Anna (for which Nancy would be a nickname), who married Daniel Lamphere. Surprisingly, Anna was born in 1790 (and Arnold’s Vital Records of R.I., vol. 5, Westerly, p. 138 shows the same birth dates) . Since my ggggg-grandmother Nancy married by 1776, the person in the book is about a generation off.
- The book A Partial Record reports some information about John Tefft’s property: “The Tefft homestead was built in 1739, and is situated one mile and a half from the busy part of Westerly, R.I. and is owned by William R. and Walter Frazier, great great grandsons of John Tefft.” I turned to my map of the Lamphere property location, as well as a Beers 1870 map from this page on historicmapworks.com, which shows a “Wm Frazier” and “Frazier”. That location definitely borders the Lamphere property.
- John Tefft’s will is abstracted in the Rhode Island Genealogical Register, v. 9, page 54 (Westerly, R.I. Probate vol. 2 1811-1821, p. 347-348). The will was proved 28 Feb 1820, and mentions many of the same children, and their spouses, reported in A Partial Record, including daughter Anna Lanphere, wife of Daniel Lanphere.
With so much to back up the John Tefft family whose daughter, Anna, born 1790, married Daniel Lanphere, I have to conclude that there was a real Anna Tefft, daughter of the neighbor John Tefft, who married a Daniel Lanphere. But it is clear that is NOT MY ggggg-grandfather Daniel Lanphere, but must be some later Daniel Lanphere.
Looking at other Daniel Lanpheres
My Daniel Lanphere had two sons “Daniel” named in the Westerly birth records, one born in 1768 in the earlier family and the other in 1792 in the later family. This seems strange since there is no indication that the elder one was dead before the later one was born.
A Daniel Lamphere had an 1812 probate record in Westerly, abstracted in Rhode Island Genealogical Record naming three minor children, Daniel, Sophronia, and Pamelia, who chose Lemuel Vose as their guardian (Lemuel’s brother was married to a Mary Lamphere, connection unknown). I am not finding a marriage record nor have I read the original probate record yet, (The Lanphere Family Research Aid mentions that a wife, Elizabeth, is named in the will), but Nancy, born in 1790, is very unlikely to have been the wife here, she would be a little too young.
There are other Daniel Lampheres. There is a Daniel Lamphere, died 1854, buried in the Joshua/Lemuel Vose Lot in Westerly, near his two wives: Nancy Ann, died 1832, and Fanny, died 1838. Surely, that is the Daniel that was taken in as a child by Lemuel Vose in 1812. I can find no last name for Nancy Ann – could she be Anna Tefft?
Looking at census records for Westerly, Rhode Island:
- 1810: no Daniel Lamphere head of household
- 1820: one Daniel Lamphere, household of a couple with three children
- 1830: one Daniel Lamphere, a household of 12
My conclusions about Nancy Tefft
All along, I suspected that the Tefft books were simply placing my Nancy Tefft in the wrong generation, somehow. But now, with evidence to substantiate what the book says, I am starting to think that A Partial Record is right about Nancy Tefft. She married a Daniel Lamphere, just not MY Daniel Lamphere.
But the bigger question is, how does this change my research:
- Is the whole “Nancy Tefft” idea that I see mentioned over and over as my Daniel Lamphere’s wife a simple error based on the Tefft books, possibly encouraged by the neighboring properties, but really my ggggg-grandmother has a completely different surname?
- Could there actually be two generations of Nancy Tefft/Daniel Lamphere marriages?
- If her surname is not Tefft, how will I find other possibilities?
I think I have explored all of her deeds, and I am unable to find a death record, and probate for her seems unlikely since she essentially deeded her third of the farm to Nathan F. Dixon in 1817. Based on the census, she seems to have lived past 1830.
All in all, the details in the book looked shoddy to me, but they turned out to be reliable enough that they are truly pointing in another direction. Now I am left with a completely undocumented wife … essentially, starting over with her.
- Considering that I truly have no idea what her name is, look for new possibilities. I have taken the Tefft suggestion much too seriously. I will not even use it as a tentative name in the database anymore.
- Keep searching for death, probate, subsequent deeds, census or burial info for Nancy.
- Find out what happened to the first wife, Eunice – continue the search for a divorce record at the Rhode Island Judicial Archives, or death information for Eunice in other places.
- Continue to explore the stories of each of the 15 children listed in the Westerly birth records for Daniel Lamphere.
Westerly vital records are transcribed in James Arnold’s Vital Records of Rhode Island 1636-1850, which can all be found here – Westerly is in the second half of volume 5.
– The Lampheres
The NEHGS articles, available to members on the NEHGS website, http://www.americanancestors.org, or in many genealogically-oriented libraries, are the standard source for Lamphere generations one through three:
- Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants.” New England Historic Genealogical Register 153 (April 1999): 131-140.
- Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants, Part 2.” New England Historic Genealogical Register 159 (October 2005): 333-340.
- Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants, Part 3.” New England Historic Genealogical Register 160 (January 2006): 47-59.
The Ancestry of Harry E. Figgie, Jr., of Cleveland, Ohio by Patricia Law Hatcher. Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2007.
Two sources commonly accessed by Lanphere researchers should be used with caution, since they are drafts only and contain many known errors and omissions:
- The Lanphere Family Research Aid by Shirley (McElroy) Bucknum. The Genealogical Society of Portland, Oregon, 1979, plus rev., 1981. The author states there is no copyright on the book, so that it can be shared. I will try to take better pictures of the booklet in the future and put it online, in the meantime, try this link to an archived pdf copy.
- The Lanphere and Related Families Genealogy by Edward Everett Lanphere. Typewritten manuscript, 1970. This is present in many genealogical library collections, but is also available at this link for subscribers to Ancestry.com. The main section, starting on page 1, is called “The Lanphere Line”. Googling that term may produce other online copies.
A Partial Record of the Descendants of John Tefft by Maria E Maxon Tefft Buffalo: Peter Paul Book Company, 1896.
The Tefft Ancestry, Comprising Many Hitherto Unpublished Records of Descendants of John Tefft of Portsmouth, Rhode Island by Charles H. W. Stocking. Chicago: The Lakeside Press, 1904.
The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island by John Osborne Austin – add. by G. Andrews Moriarty. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. Teffts are on p. 392-393. Covers early generations only.
Sypher, Francis J. “Ancestry of William Tefft of Herkimer and Oneida Counties”, The New York Biographical and Genealogical Record, v. 139 (2008) p. 95-102.
Hatcher, Pat. “Peter Tefft and Occam’s Razor”, The New York Biographical and Genealogical Record, v. 139 (2008) p. 103-108.
Mathew, Linda L. “John Tefft and his Children: A Colonial Generation Gap?”, Rhode Island Roots, v. 18 1992, p. 76-80.
The Descendants of John Tefft (1614-1676) compiled by Rachel Saul Tefft. Reprinted by Higginson Book Company, Salem, Massachusetts, 1997. Accessed at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
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