I recently pinned down the family of Hannah Andrews, my ggg-grandmother. I thought I would give an account here of how that happened.
My relationship to Hannah Andrews (counting up from my grandmother):
- Hannah Andrews (1819 – 1878), my 3rd great grandmother
- Emma Luella Lamphere (1857 – 1927), daughter of Hannah Andrews
- Russell Earl Darling (1883 – 1959), son of Emma Luella Lamphere
- Edna May Darling (1905 – 1999), my grandmother, daughter of Russell Earl Darling
I have documented Hannah previously in On Poverty, Records, and Chicken Thieves, The Brick Wall Stories: A Theory on Hannah Andrews and The Brick Wall Stories: Hannah Andrews. I have listed a lot of sources there, so I won’t do that today – just my thought process as I went through this for the last 4 years. Future work on these lines will bring up more documentation.
The story of Hannah Andrews
Hannah’s youngest child was my gg-grandmother Emma Luella Lamphere. I had to trace Emma’s scattered history back a ways to even find Hannah. Emma had been born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (and that was as far back as our vague family recollections went), but thanks to census records I began to realize her parents were from southern New England, and I found them and their Connecticut-born older children in some basic Connecticut sources. I knew Hannah’s name from her marriage to Russell Lamphere recorded at Norwich, Connecticut in 1838. “Hannah Andrews, of Ashford, Connecticut“.Hannah married Russell Lamphere and had four children in the industrial areas of Norwich Falls and Greenville, Connecticut: William H. (b. 1840), Sarah E. (b. 1843), Charles C. (b. 1844), and Caroline M (b. 1847). In the 1850 census Russell is listed as a “Machinist” with property worth $700; really not a bad level of prosperity considering he was one of 14 children and would likely have received nothing from his father at that point.
During the early years of her marriage, Hannah often lived near or with an “Alden Andrews“, a farmer a year or two older than her, who married twice and became the father of a number of children. Later in the 1880’s (after Hannah’s death), one of Alden’s sons lived in Russell’s household and was working in the mill with Russell. This, as well as the fact that Alden named his first son Russell, is how I knew early on that Alden and Hannah were siblings.
Russell Lamphere was an ambitious man who took his family from the booming mill town of Norwich, Connecticut and headed south to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to start a business around 1852. The south was anxious to process more of their own cotton and not depend on northern industries so much; I can only assume that this may have been part of his motivation. I wonder how they made the trip? The Lampheres were not used to traveling – Russell’s brother William reported in his 80’s that he had never left their county in Connecticut – I wonder if the trip was by water, with an inland journey by carriage? A younger sister or cousin of Russell, and her new husband, also found their way to Tuscaloosa, but otherwise, they went alone.
Hannah and Russell’s last child, Emma was born in 1854 in Alabama, and, lacking birth records, there could have been other children who did not survive. I learned from Tuscaloosa newspapers (In Which I Stoop to Buying Microfilm) that Russell’s business partner died around 1860, and Russell opened a metalworking shop in downtown Tuscaloosa. I am still uncertain what the original business was.
Other than a family memory that things didn’t go well with the business because of the Civil War, and that it was unsafe after the war, no one really knows how it all went for them. Hannah raised her young children and, presumably, watched them become quite southern, during divisive times. The Tuscaloosa newspapers of the 1860’s were full of bitter, hateful reporting leading up to the Civil War. How was that atmosphere for Russell and Hannah? Were they conflicted? The sons were grown by the time the war broke out. Charles definitely served in the Civil War as a Confederate soldier and stayed in the South for the rest of his life, and I believe William died in 1912 in Tuscaloosa. In both cases I am basing this on how they named their children and some claims about being born in Connecticut. There had been some letters from a civil war soldier among my family’s possessions, now lost – I suspect these were from Charles or William to their parents. I’m sure the well being of her family and the safety of her sons placed Hannah squarely on the southern side of this conflict.
Towards the end of her life Hannah suffered from a “long and painful illness.” She may have been ill when the 1870 census taker came around to a room in a boarding house shared by Emma and her father in Meridian, Mississippi (A Story Just Like Russell Lamphere’s). I have not found any other family member in the 1870 census. Where were Hannah and her daughters Sarah and Caroline? Could their absence have something to do with Hannah’s illness?
Between 1870 and 1875, Russell and Hannah moved the family up to Johnston, Rhode Island, just outside of Providence, where Russell was a “Manufacturer of Cotton Goods” according the the Rhode Island state census. The west side of Providence, and Johnston, were filled with many textile manufacturing operations, large and small, at that time. Daughters Sarah and Emma were living with them. I have never determined what happened to Caroline, but she may have come north with the family since Russell’s obituary, much later, mentions a daughter in Eden Park, Cranston, who could not possibly be the other two daughters. After leaving the south, it’s likely Hannah never saw her two sons again, although I can’t be sure of that.
Hannah died in 1878 in Providence, of gall stones. She is buried in an unmarked grave at Yantic Cemetery, Norwich, likely a plot purchased by her husband in happier times.
Within the next year or two, her daughters Emma and Sarah married, and her husband remarried. Was her illness another long, sad note in the difficult times this family faced? Or was it actually relatively brief? Did it impact how the business venture in Johnston went? The family had moved on to Providence by the time of her death, where by 1880 Russell was an overseer in a large mill, obviously not his own. It’s sad to think of them burying her far away (and Russell followed her, a couple of decades later), and probably thinking, for years, that they would put up a headstone, a plan that never came to fruition.
Who were the Andrews?
At first, I thought it would be easy to discover the Andrews of Ashford, Connecticut, and learn about Hannah’s origins. Ashford is a little town in rural northeastern Connecticut, well north of Norwich. I knew Hannah’s story was a little bit complicated, because sometimes she and Alden, or their children, reported them being born in Massachusetts, sometimes Connecticut. Her Providence death records reported her parents as Jesse and Sarah Andrews (Alden’s 1873 death record lists a father, Jesse, only), and her birth place as Coventry, Connecticut. Nothing much came of the Coventry clue, so I moved back to a more contemporary record. Knowing she was “of Ashford” in 1838, I checked the 1840 census records.
No Jesse Andrews in the 1840 census. In 1830, Jesse Andrews was living in Ashford. His household showed only a man, 60-70, and a woman, 50-60. Next to him was a “Benjamin Andrews”, also in a household of 2, a younger man and woman. The 1820 census for Ashford showed Jesse Andrews in a bustling household of 11; a male over 45, a female 26 – 44, and 8 of the occupants were 16 or under. One person was engaged in Agriculture and 5 in Manufactures. The 1810 and prior census records showed no Jesse Andrews anywhere in Windham County. I readily admit, I was confused. How could that lonely household of 2 in 1830 have been the family of Hannah and her brother Alden, who would have been around 11 and 13 that year?
I set about hunting every Jesse Andrews I could, in New England. One was married to “Sarah” and they lived their lives in Montague, Massachusetts. The trouble was, in the years when Hannah and Alden could have been born, they were busy having several other children, and they raised a large family and never left Montague. They were never in Ashford.
The only other Jesse Andrews that married a “Sarah” was a 1795 marriage record in Warwick, Rhode Island, for Jesse Andrews and “Sally Arnold.” Surely, that was too early for children born in 1817 and 1819. And, of all the Connecticut and Massachusetts references I had seen, no mention was ever made of Rhode Island.
A visit to Ashford showed no vital or probate records for any of the people I knew, or any likely Andrews. On another trip I went to Eastford, an offshoot of Ashford, again, nothing.
Key Fact #1
The one thing my Ashford visit turned up was a deed from Jesse Andrews to Alden Andrews in January, 1838 for the purchase of a 50 acre tract of land in southeastern Ashford.
It was good and bad news. The names were unusual enough, and the year was the exact year that tied her family to Ashford, 1838, so I had to accept that this was Hannah’s family. That was great, I had found them. What was bad was the poor documentation and subsequent disappearance of Andrews from Ashford. In the only other deed for Jesse, he (“of Ashford”) purchased the same property, with a mortgage, in 1832. Alden lost the property by 1840, and was in Springfield, Massachusetts when he married for the first time. I suspect Jesse was dead by 1840.
And here things sat for quite a while. I pursued a line of Andrews that came from Ipswich, Massachusetts to Preston, Connecticut for quite a long time, and some Andrews from the Hartford area. Alden’s name is unusual enough that I felt, for sure, I would find it. I didn’t.
About a year and a half ago I began again my hunt for Jesse and Sarah, and this Benjamin Andrews who was a neighbor.
Key Fact #2
It’s almost hard to say why this clue was so big, but as I searched census records I finally noticed that there was an 1850 census record in Eastford for Benjamin Andrews, who was a 41 year old recent widower with two children, and a woman named Sarah Andrews, 74 and both Benjamin and Sarah reported being born in Rhode Island.
Suddenly, it all made sense. Benjamin was another son of Jesse Andrews, and Sarah was his mother, who was by then a widow. If they came from Rhode Island, she could be the “Sally Arnold” who married Jesse Andrews in 1795. Benjamin could have been born in Rhode Island around 1809. Jesse and Sarah could have been the older couple in Ashford in 1830. Sarah’s age when Hannah was born in 1819 could have been, say, 44. Not completely crazy.
I visited the Connecticut State Library around this time, and learned that Sarah continued to live with Benjamin, during his second marriage, until she disappeared from the Norwich city directories about 1862. No death or probate records, and that was too bad because I was hoping to find a death record that gave Sarah’s maiden name. None turned up. Benjamin himself developed quite a criminal record towards the end of his life and spent time in prison.
I began studying the Warwick Jesse and Sarah Andrews in earnest. I learned several things:
- Jesse was the son of Phillip Andrews, according to his marriage record and a manuscript I found at the Rhode Island Historical Society. This rather obscure Andrews family descended from a North Kingstown, Rhode Island founder – one of the Fones purchasers – John Andrews (sometimes McAndrews). Jesse had a grandmother named Hannah.
- Jesse’s part of this family was not well documented, but he and one brother, Christopher, had detailed marriage records that have survived.
- Phillip, the father, had an active military career in the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution. He was sometimes in the company of a Benjamin Andrews. The name of his wife is unknown. He died before 1795 when he was “dec’d” on Jesse’s marriage record. No probate.
- Since I knew from the marriage record that Sally’s father was Joseph Arnold (an extremely common name in that place and time) I noted that Jesse often lived next to a Joseph Arnold, and also another neighbor named Freelove Andrews, possibly Jesse’s widowed mother, whose name is unknown.
- Jesse’s brother Christopher left Rhode Island in the late 1700’s for Pittstown, Rensselaer, New York. He became the father of numerous children and he and his children are quite well documented.
- Jesse had a Seaman’s Protection Certificate issued in 1798 and served on the Brig Fanny out of Providence in 1799.
- Jesse purchased a small house and lot at the corner of Main and Montrose Streets in East Greenwich in 1797. He sold it by 1800 and was at that time listed as “Yeoman alias Mariner.” His wife “Sarah” signed one of the deeds, showing that “Sally” was indeed a “Sarah.”
Jesse appeared with a growing family in the 1800 and 1810 census in Warwick, then disappeared. Not really knowing Sarah’s exact Arnold family and possible connections, I did an extensive census match-up between Warwick in 1810 and Ashford in 1820 to see if anyone might have accompanied them (A Census of the Census and 9 Other Things I Tried). Nothing came of that.
Key Fact #3
All of this was helpful, but didn’t prove that the family in Warwick was the same as the family in Ashford. Then I decided to get some DNA testing done on both my parents.
Mom’s test came up with dozens of close matches to either Christopher Andrews (Jesse’s brother) or other Andrews of Warwick and East Greenwich, as well as the local families they tended to intermarry with – Sweets, Mattisons, Arnolds, Greenes. Mom has no other connections in this part of Rhode Island. It can really only come from Hannah Andrews. I’m going to continue testing with other companies, but I’m accepting this evidence at this point.
Things I still don’t know
- Hannah and Russell were married by a Rev. Joel R. Arnold of the Colchester Conn. church, a popular preacher who didn’t stay long. Now I am wondering if he is related to Sarah. Duh. Arnold. That’s just occurring to me.
- What happened between 1810 and 1820? If they were in Massachusetts, where? I find no evidence in deeds, many of which are actually online. I see other relatives heading to Vermont or New York, but I never see anyone else going to Massachusetts. Nearby Massachusetts should be a possibility (just north of Ashford, maybe) but I can’t find any record. Perhaps Jesse’s mother died, and he had a small inheritance, and went elsewhere to buy land. But I can’t find it. I read Warwick town records for this decade, thinking they may have thrown him out, or paid him for something, but no luck.
- The name Alden – where did that come from? None of these Arnolds or Andrews had Mayflower roots.
- Sarah Arnold’s parents will have to be discovered among the early Warwick Arnolds. Her birth was not recorded, so she may have been in a family that migrated from one town to another, perhaps recording only part of their family. My biggest clue is the proximity of Joseph Arnold to Jesse Andrews in the census records.
- While I don’t think there are marked graves for Jesse and Sarah, I at least would like to find some notice of their deaths.
- I have a theory that the missing children for Jesse and Sarah Andrews in the 1830 Ashford census may have headed south to Norwich, with their older siblings, to work in mills or do piecework at home. Hannah could really only have met Russell in Norwich.
- There were many other children in the Warwick 1810 census whose names are not known to me – what became of them? I see little clear evidence in Warwick, Ashford, or Norwich.
- It is embarrassing that I only have first name/middle initials for 4 of Hannah’s 5 children. I normally do much better than that. In Sarah’s case, I sought out her grave and cemetery records, and I certainly sought and sometimes found marriage and death records for all. If any of their descendants read this, please, let me know if you know one.
- Now that I have the DNA bug, I’m a little curious about what the DNA of Alden’s descendants might tell us. I don’t know any of them, but for his oldest son Russell, in particular, I have a lot of leads.
In the meantime, yay. I found my ancestors right in my own backyard. Much more research will follow.
Hannah saw a lot in her 59 years. She was born in a town that was new to her family, moved at least once or twice, and may have been part of the workforce at an early age. I suspect when she met her husband he seemed far above her in station, and I am quite sure he was a very smart man, a sort of self-educated engineer. Not much transpired after marriage that was easy or particularly successful, but I have in mind a version of her life where she admires her smart and ambitious husband, is appreciated for her willingness to follow him south, weathers very difficult times during the war, tends her children until, at the end, they must tend her, and is sincerely mourned. Rest in peace.
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