Monday, January 8, 2018

Brick Wall Ancestor | #9 Martha McBride {part 1}

We all have them! Those stubborn ancestors that refuse to come out of hiding. No matter how much coaxing we do! Well, I think it's time to bring them out of the shadows - put their redacted story out there - another piece of the puzzle could be lurking just around the (cyber) corner, in someone's basement, or closet, or sitting in a box on a bookshelf ...... You never, ever know where that loose chink will manifest, the one that allows you to push out one brick, then the next. Food for thought. So without further ado....

Brick Wall Ancestor | #9 Martha McBride part 1

Martha is my 3rd great grandmother. I've written about her before. I presented a sketch of her life, as I could suss out, for my 52 Ancestors project. You can read it here. I called it "Invisible Wife" and she still is! I have not learned more about Martha since that time. But I have a (wild) theory or two ......

The portion of New York state that Martha and family resided in began as Ulster County, was annexed to Orange County in 1798 and further added to the new Sullivan County in 1809. The land and the town names remained the same, only the county changed. Because, fun!

Martha was born about 1789/90, deduced from the recording of her death as "taking place about Christmas time, 1845, when she was probably fifty six years old" (from FindAGrave and other histories) Martha married her husband James Faulkner near Wallkill, Orange Co (previously Ulster Co), New York most likely, as James and family are documented in Wallkill, Ulster/Orange/Sullivan Co, New York as land owners and residents; James being a prominent citizen within the community.  The Faulkners were long-standing Presbyterians and many held positions within the church. Other Faulkner men and women married other McBride men and women around the same time as James Faulkner married Martha McBride.

In 1790 there were only three male heads of household in all of Ulster Co, New York, where Martha was presumed to have been born. Archibald McBride (resides: Mamakating: 3 males under 16, 2 males 16 and over, 4 females any age), James McBride (resides: Montgomery: 3 males under 16, 1 male 16 and over, 3 females any age, 3 slaves) and John McBride (resides: Montgomery: 1 male under 16, 1 male 16 and over, 2 females any age) The 1790 census is really disappointing as it lists only the total number of females in the household, these records reflect the possibility of Martha being in the household of any of these men. So lots of speculation there!

The author of the Bull Family genealogy book theorized that these three men were brothers, their father being James McBride Sr, who came to the area from Ireland about 1728; so which James is on the census? Both James Sr and James Jr were alive in 1790 and residing in Ulster Co. according to this author. I have not found any further documentation to prove/disprove this and surmise there was some confusion interpreting the death records (fodder for a future post)

More digging revealed that James McBride Jr had been married twice. First, to Martha Hill in 1778, who died in 1790 one month prior to the census being taken. The couple could have had at least 5 children together. James remarried in 1792 to Sarah Eager and had at least 3 children with her before he died in 1798. He is buried in Goodwill Cemetery in Montgomery, Orange Co, New York. He will not appear on any future census.

 The 1800 census is a little better, but just as speculative. This census again lists three McBride heads of household but this time Sarah (resides: Montgomery: 1 male under 10, 1 female under 10, 1 females 26 thru 44), James (resides: Montgomery: 2 males under 10, 1 male 16 thru 25, 1 female 16 thru 25, 1 female 26 thru 44) and Archibald (resides: Wallkill: 1 male under 10, 1 male 26 thru 44, 1 female 26 thru 44) appear. Well we know James Jr died in 1798 and the age of the household members does not line up for James Sr, so there might be a son we don't know of yet. Same for Sarah. Sarah McBride was James Jr's second wife and was certainly alive in 1800, but her household only lists two young children, one male and one female. Sarah and James had one daughter and two sons who grew to adulthood, so either one son was not counted or this is not the correct Sarah. That leaves John. The John McBride household could have contained the two children, based on the tally from the 1790 census. Could John have married a Sarah? Could John have died prior to 1800? As for Archibald, the only female listed in 1800 was 26 to 44 years old. Is this the correct Archibald or could this be a son? In that case, where is Archibald from 1790? (put a pin in that)

Other tidbits.

Only James McBride Jr is known to be the son of James Sr. Interestingly, James Jr named his first born son Archibald. Archibald I, James' son (and possibly Martha's brother) married Susan Faulkner, a first cousin of Martha's husband James Faulkner.

It is known that James McBride Jr was a member of the First Presbyterian Church at Goshen. His marriage records can be found on Ancestry dot com. Martha McBride and her husband James Faulkner were Presbyterians.

Oddly, a descendant of Archibald McBride (possible brother of James and John) is a 5th to 8th cousin DNA match with myself and one of my siblings. That would work out to James McBride Sr being our MRCA. (put a pin in that)

Are you taking notes? It gets mighty confusing! Perhaps a flow-chart might help?

A Venn diagram?

A giant detective board with pushpins and string?

So here's my first (wild) theory.  I call it the Theory of James. Looking at the paltry information available, and this in NO WAY concludes anything, this theory postulates that Martha belongs in the James McBride Jr household. Her mother would then have been Martha Hill. Martha Hill died in 1790. Martha McBride was born in 1789 or 1790. Could Martha Hill have died in childbirth? Could James McBride have named his newborn daughter after her deceased mother?

This theory asks the additional questions: where is 10 year old Martha in 1800? Could she be living with other relatives? Grandparents? Aunt or Uncle? In this theory her father died in 1798, leaving her with a step-mother who had three small children of her own to deal with.

So much fuzzy information. Just enough to get one in trouble should one choose to take a hunch and run with it. (don't) Kind of like playing a 230 year old game of 'telephone', the whispers of hazy evidence floating up to confound and confuse.

So, just who WAS Martha McBride's father? And where was she born? And when?

Stay tuned for wild theory #2 ......

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