Archive for the ‘Miner’ Category

Lydia Minor married Russell Lamphere in 1807 in Preston, Connecticut.  They may possibly have had fourteen children in nearby Norwich, and she died in Norwich in 1849.  Lydia is my gggg-grandmother through the following line – my grandmother Edna Darling–>Russell Darling–>Emma Louella Lamphere–>Russell Lamphere Jr.–>Lydia Minor.  I last wrote about Lydia over a year ago.

The evidence

I reviewed my scanty evidence of Lydia Minor previously:

  1. a marriage notice in the Norwich Courier, May 20, 1807:  “At Preston, Miss Lydia Miner, to Mr. Russell Lamphere.
  2. a death notice in the Norwich Courier, Jan 23, 1849:  “At Norwich Falls, on the 18th inst., Mrs. Yydia, wife of Russell Lamphere, aged 62 years. ” [most likely a typo for Lydia]
  3. an entry in “History of Floyd County, Iowa” (1882) contained in a memorial to their son, Williard “son of Russell and Lydia (Miner) Lanphere, natives of Connecticut, where they died. … He is one of a  family of fourteen, and is the tenth child.”
Death norice of Lydia Miner Lamphere, from the Norwich Courier, January 18, 1849

Death notice of Lydia Miner Lamphere, from the Norwich Courier, January 23, 1849

And the one piece of new evidence that has surfaced in the last year or so:

  1. A Norwich Bulletin article from 12 Sep 1898 entitled “Letters of the People: Old Times and Old Folks” was sent to me by a thoughtful researcher who found my blog.  It gives a reminiscence of Russell and Lydia by their son, when he was elderly:
  • “Russell Lamphere, father of William Lamphere of William Street, who is a genial old gentleman, fond of stories (<-note these remarks refer to William, not Russell) also had fourteen children – seven boys and seven girls – perfect method, you see, for the Lampheres were sterling Methodists.  The most of the children lived to be over 75, and the eldest to be 86!  William Lamphere and Captain William Sherman are the oldest residents of the Falls.”
  • ” … Their mothers “when women were women, and fashion models had not been invented” as he says, did all their housework, with ten children to care for, and besides found time to meet the demands of society.”
picture for Mrs. H.D. Burdick's Millinery shop, from the slightly mis-named book Leading Business Men of Westerly, 1889

picture for Mrs. H.D. Burdick’s Millinery shop, from the slightly mis-named book Leading Business Men of Westerly, 1889

The question:  Where was Lydia born?

One major question about Lydia Minor is whether she was born around Preston, Connecticut, where she married in 1807, or perhaps in nearby Westerly Rhode Island, where her husband was born.  I examined the children’s reports of her birth place, on various census records.  I have identified 10 possible children for Russell and Lydia, with varying degrees of certainty.  Analysis of that evidence would take several pages, but contact me if you are interested in a particular individual.

View of Preston, from Connecticut Historical Collections, by J.W. Barber, 1836.

View of Preston, from Connecticut Historical Collections, by J.W. Barber, 1836.

Here is what the possible children reported about their mother’s place of birth:

  • Nancy, b.?   Married Samuel Munro in 1833 in Plainfield, Connecticut?
  • Lydia, b. 1807.  Married Henry Palmer, 1830, Norwich.  Died 1852.
  • Lucy Ann, b. 1808.  Married Burnham Cook, 1833, Norwich Falls. Died 1865.
  • Eliza or Elizabeth, b. 1811.  Married Joseph Thomas Fletcher, 1829, who died young. Married Ashael A Parkerson, 1847. In the 1880 census she indicated that both her parents were born in Connecticut. She died in 1896.
  • Caroline, b. 1814.  Married Jeremiah C Brown in Norwich, 1832.  No evidence after 1850.
  • Russell Jr, b. 1817.  Married Hannah Andrews 1838, in Colchester, Connecticut.  In the 1880 census he indicated both parents were born in Rhode Island. He died in 1898.
  • William, b. 1818. Married Jane Elizabeth Hopkins 1844.  In the 1880 census he indicated both parents were born in Rhode Island. In the 1900 census he indicated that both parents were born in Rhode Island.  He died in 1901.
  • Williard, b. 1820.  Married Mary J. Hoisington in the 1850’s in Iowa.  In the 1880 census he indicated his father was born in Rhode Island and his mother was born in Connecticut.  Williard died in 1902. No 1900 census found.
  • James D., b. 1829.  Married Mary —.  In the 1880 census he indicated both parents were born in Connecticut. James died in 1887.
  • Louisa H., b. 1832.  Married Nathan Locke Potter, died before 1876.

Reports are evenly divided between Rhode Island and Connecticut. Williard is the only one who splits the birthplace of his parents, to assert that his mother was born in Connecticut.  And yet, just the fact that any of the children, all born and raised in Connecticut, would say their mother was born in Rhode Island seems significant.

Norwich Plain c1840 from Old House of Ancient Norwich by M.E. Perkins, 1895.

Norwich Plain c1840 from Old House of Ancient Norwich by M.E. Perkins, 1895.

Consulting standard sources

Most of the standard sources on the Minors were produced by John Augustus Miner, including Thomas Minor Descendants 1608-1981 (Trevett, Maine, 1981) and earlier versions of this genealogical work, such as The Lyon’s Whelp, 1970.  The Barbour collections for the southeastern Connecticut towns have all been consulted, as well as the genealogical journals indexed on the NEHGS website, AmericanAncestors.org.

There is only one Lydia mentioned in Thomas Minor Descendants 1608-1981 who could be this Lydia Minor. Since Lydia’s brief obituary is specific about her age, we can estimate her birth at around 1787.  The book mentions a Lydia born in Stonington, Connecticut, January 27, 1787 to Lodowick and Jerusha (Peabody) Minor.  Here and there (but NOT in the book) one sees an indication that this Lydia married Paul B. Maine and moved to Chenango, New York, died 4 Jul 1874, and is buried in Center Cemetery, Pharsalia (former name, Stonington), New York.  I have been unable to get a death record.  Two siblings of that Lydia – Isaac and Lodowick – also settled in New York but not particularly near Lydia, or each other.  I have not yet searched for a probate record for Lodowick, Sr., which might settle this.

And yet I have sensed all along Lydia could easily have had an undocumented birth; her own children were not registered, that I have found.  Tying her to Lodowick and Jerusha is based on name and date only and as time goes on and I find no other matching names or places I feel more certain that is not her.

Stonington 1836

Finding a clue in Westerly

While searching Westerly deeds recently for Russell Lamphere’s family, I learned that Russell grew up in Westerly and had departed before 1808.  Norwich, Connecticut was a growing mill town and he may have headed there for work.  Clearly he could have met Lydia in either spot before their marriage in Preston (not far from Norwich), Connecticut in 1807.

I made a thorough review of Minors in James Arnold’s Vital Records of Rhode Island, volume 5.  In the Westerly Marriages section, p. 46, I found something I’ve never noticed before:

  • 4-253 Minor, Eliza, and William Lanphere 2d, Dec. 23, 1812.

This is not so far off from 1807, the year of Lydia’s marriage.  A thorough search for Eliza’s parentage has revealed nothing so far.  However, I note that Lydia named a daughter Eliza or Elizabeth in 1811.

Stonington, pictured in Leading Business Men of Westerly, 1889.

Stonington, pictured in Leading Business Men of Westerly, 1889.

I searched for William Lanphere 2d (noting that “2d” may not have meant then what it would mean today).  The Lanphere Family Research Aid by Shirley Bucknum suggests that the William Lanphere who married Eliza Minor in 1812 was the son of Nathan4 (Nathan3, John2, George1) and that Eliza may have died before 1830, when William married (2) Achas Stillman.  A DAR record (DAR set, Albany, NY B58, p144) was cited for some part of this, and apparently there are recorded births of children in Westerly.

Why this seems significant

William Lanphere’s father, Nathan Lanphere, married three times and William was the son of Nathan and his third wife, Sarah Saunders.  William had many siblings.  As I read through the Lanphere Family Research Aid for this family (p. 11), I was surprised to see that one of the sisters, Abigail, married Wait Clarke in 1799 (apparently recorded in Westerly).  Wait Clarke had appeared at the probate hearing for Russell’s father, Daniel Lanphere.

In conclusion

Eliza Minor is probably the biggest clue I’ve had on the Lydia Minor mystery in two years.  But she is only a clue, there is no real evidence at this point, and no combination of details to prove anything.  Eliza could be a cousin or sister of Lydia, or not.  I notice there are more mentions of Minors in the Westerly deeds than in the Westerly vital records, suggesting to me that Minors came across the line from Stonington, Connecticut (where the Minor population was much larger) from time to time.  I suspect that the births of Lydia and Eliza were either not recorded, or were recorded in a way that is now hard to find.

Since my discovery of the identity of Russell’s father, Daniel, I have struggled to find Daniel’s exact parentage in a community that had several Daniel Lanpheres.  However, if they are from the line I suspect (Russell5, Daniel 4, Daniel3, John2, George1) then Russell and William would have been second cousins.

So Russell’s second cousin married a Minor, in Rhode Island, perhaps?  I think I can officially say I now have a fifth clue for Lydia.

View of Norwich, 1836, from Connecticut Historical Collections, by J.W. Barber, 1836.

View of Norwich, 1836, from Connecticut Historical Collections, by J.W. Barber, 1836.

Next steps

  • Explore Minor probate records in Westerly or Stonington for names that look familiar from Lydia and Eliza’s children, and could possibly be the father of Lydia, Eliza, or both
  • Find the spouses of Eliza’s children, and see if Eliza’s parentage could be mentioned in genealogies for those families.
  • Continue to explore the Seventh Day Baptist connections, since Wait Clarke and his wife were lifelong members of the church.
  • Look for a death record for William’s sister Abigail (Lanphere) Clarke.
  • Continue to explore the location of Lydia’s wedding, Preston, Connecticut.
  • Look again for neighbors of Russell Lanphere’s boyhood home (now that I am close to finding the spot) through census and deed records and Russell and Lydia’s life in Norwich, Connecticut.
  • Explore other sources for obscure stories, such as the Narragansett Historical Register or Rhode Island Roots.
  • Continue to seek the burial spot of Lydia and Russell.

The post you are reading is located at: http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2013/03/02/a-sister-for-lydia-minor/

An ad for Westerly Grantie monuments from Leading Business Men of Westerly, 1889.

An ad for Westerly Granite monuments from Leading Business Men of Westerly, 1889.

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Top Five Brick Walls

I see on the blogs recently that “brick wall” is a controversial term. So let me acknowledge these are problems I simply haven’t solved yet. I’m hoping that putting them here will spark someone else to give me an idea. I can always hope!!

1. EDWARD BALDWIN, 1833 -. I am missing the parents of Edward Baldwin. Edward may have been born in Massachusetts around 1833 (I would suspect the Springfield –> Worcester area based on subsequent family history). I know he lived in Belmont (Allegany County), New York with his wife, daughter and step-daughter, and that his son was born in Belmont around 1863. See my blog post Edward Baldwin – Birth Record Wanted.

2. HANNAH ANDREWS, 1819 – 1878. Hannah may have been born in Massachusetts, but she married Russell Lamphere Jr. at the Congregational Church in Colchester, CT in 1838 and in that (Norwich, CT) record she was “of Ashford”, CT. According to her Providence, R.I. death record, Hannah’s parents were named Jesse and Sarah Andrews, and she was born in Coventry, CT. There is a couple by that name who raised a large family in Montague, Massachsuetts but I am quite sure they are not her parents since they seem to have other children born around the time of her birth, and they never moved to Connecticut. Hannah had one brother that I know about, ALDEN ANDREWS, who lived at some point near Springfield, Mass., so perhaps that is her birthplace. I’m stumped. For some details of her married life, see my post The Girl from Alabama.

3. LYDIA MINER, 1787 – 1849. Lydia is doubtless from the southeastern Connecticut/southwest Rhode Island area but I cannot place her in any specific family. She married Russell Lamphere Sr. in 1807 in Norwich, CT. They raised 14 children there. This one should not be that hard. See more in my blog entry My Lydia Miner.

These last two are only challenges. Someone set a stopwatch, because I’m giving myself 6 months:

4. NANCY TEFFT married Daniel Lamphere in 1773. She was probably born in R.I. and after her marriage, lived in Westerly, R.I. I have two sources for her first name but only one unreliable source for her last name. The Teffts were mostly from Hopkinton, Rhode Island.

5. LUCY ARNOLD was married in Smithfield, Rhode Island to Richard Ballou around 1777. This is fairly certain. However, there were many Arnolds in Smithfield and I can’t seem to pin her down.

Any and all leads or thoughts are most welcome. thanks!!


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My Lydia Miner

I guess we all have ancestors that we single out for extra research.  Mysteries that must be solved, clues that keep us awake at night, and that nagging sense that this person needs to be found; we’re not sure why.

For me one of those people is my gggg-grandmother, Lydia Miner Lamphere.  Lydia was born around 1787.  I don’t know who her parents were.  She married Russell Lamphere in Preston, Connecticut in May, 1807.  They spent their lives in Norwich, Connecticut (The Falls) and had 14 children.  Lydia passed away on 18 Jan 1849 in Norwich Falls, Connecticut.  I know what you’re thinking … just missed the 1850 Census, AND, just missed the 1850 Mortality Schedule which goes back 12 months from the census date, June 1.

I had assumed that Lydia was born in Stonington or North Stonington, Connecticut, the long-time stomping ground of the Miners.  But in the 1880 Federal Census, two sons report that she was born in Rhode Island.  That likely means Westerly or perhaps Hopkinton in southwestern Rhode Island. In fact, the Lampheres were also from Westerly.

I have no government or church VR’s for Lydia, but several decent sources.  There is her marriage announcement in the Norwich Courier of 20 May 1807.  I found this in GenealogyBank.com :

Lydia's marriage announcement

Lydia’s death notice in the Norwich Courier was indexed in the Hale Collection of Newspaper Marriage and Death Notices.  I looked at the index on microfilm that I ordered at the local Family History Center.  I knew the newspaper announcement wouldn’t give many more details than the index but I wanted it anyway.  The Courier from 1849 is hard to find, so, checking in the Library of Congress’s “Chronicling America” “U.S. Newspaper Directory 1690 – present” I found the Courier for 1849 and drilled down to “view complete holdings information”.  This showed me some rather old data about the libraries where those issues were held.  But it worked, and I located that issue at the New London County Historical Society.  The society allows you to purchase a copy of an article; I sent them a check and they emailed it to me.  They were very nice to deal with.   Here it is:death notice of Lydia

I think of her as MY Lydia Miner because I am always looking for her, but finding, instead, other Lydia Miners.  The closest Lydia Miner I have found is the one born in Stonington, Conn. 24 Jan 1787 to Ludowick and Jerusha (Peabody) Miner.  According to many, she married Paul B Maine on 6 Jun 1804, and died in Chenango, NY 4 Jul 1874.  I have a list in my files of 8 other Lydia Miners that, likewise, didn’t make the cut.

The reason I say that Lydia and Russell had 14 children is a passage from a book called History of Floyd County, Iowa (1882) where their son Williard is memorialized:

Williard Lanphere,  farmer, postoffice, Charles City; son of Russell and  Lydia (Miner)  Lanphere, natives of Connecticut, where they died. Williard was  born  Feb. 25, 1820, in Connecticut, where he was educated. He is one of a  family of fourteen, and is the tenth child. He went to New York in 1836,  remaining  about seven years; thence to Ohio for a short time; thence  to Wisconsin, and  then to Iowa in 1852, and to Floyd County in 1856,  where he entered land; he has  now a farm of forty acres on section 24,  Cedar Township. In 1848 he married  Mary, daughter of Isaac and Mary  (Sawyer) Hoisington, natives of Vermont and Massachusetts respectively.  By this union there have been eight  children, four living – Carrie  (wife of Everton Canfield), Franklin, Phineas and Olive.  Mr. and Mrs.  Lanphere are members of the Wesleyan Methodist church. He votes the  Democratic ticket.

There are no birth records for Lydia’s 14 children, that I have found.  I did go to Norwich VR Department but to no avail. I have more or less collected evidence of 6 of the 14 children:

Norwich Falls, oil on canvas, John Trumbull, 1806

Lucy Ann Lamphere, 1808-1865

Lydia Lamphere, 1808-1853

Eliza Elizabeth Lamphere, 1811-1896

Russell R Lamphere, 1817-1898

William Lamphere, 1820-1901

Williard Lamphere, 1820 -

If my dates are correct, there may be two pairs of twins.  I have found others who COULD be their children, but no real evidence.  My ggg-grandfather is Russell R Lamphere.  Looking at the list, a couple of things strike me.  If they were married in 1807, Lucy Ann is likely the first child, so the name Lucy is significant.  I know of no Lucy’s in the Lamphere line.  It could be Lydia’s mother’s name.  Another thing, if it took them until 1817 to name a child Russell Jr, then they either had all daughters before then, or named the sons after some other close relatives — so finding additional sons may give me additional clues.

This story is not over.  I have a few ideas, specifically:

  • to keep trying to find Lydia’s parents in Rhode Island, since previously I have mostly concentrated on Connecticut
  • to search that “Lucy Miner” name
  • to satisfy myself once and for all that she is NOT the Ludowick Miner daughter.

but mostly I think this brick wall may wait until I learn more and get some new methods.


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