Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

#3 Andrew George Cobbett Cochrane

#3 Andrew George Cobbett Cochrane  

This week’s ancestor is  Andrew George Cobbett Cochrane.  He is my great, great uncle, brother to my great, great grandfather, William.  I had heard various stories about him from my father and my aunt, particularly that he would come to Brooklyn to visit his brother and his family and how they would go to Manhattan to the theater and other performances.  I also heard that my grandmother met her husband when she visited her cousin, Lucy Cochrane, who was one of Andrew’s daughter.  I thought it would be interesting to know about him and his family.  In doing so, I was impressed with the amount of information that was available in the Buffalo city directories. 
                Andrew George Cobbett Cochrane was born on May 12, 1809 in London, England.  His parents were The Honorable Andrew James Cochrane and Ann Morgan.  Andrew had two brothers, William and George, and one sister, Anna Maria, all born in London.   In 1828, he married Emma Shaw at St. James Church, London, England.  According to the baptismal records for his daughter Emma, in 1830, the family lived on Museum Street, in London, and from the records for his son, Charles,  in 1832,  on Court Street.  Both records indicated that Andrew was an assistant overseer. 
In 1835, Andrew and his family and his brother William and his wife immigrated to the United States and settled in Buffalo, New York.  According to the census and the City Directories for Buffalo, Andrew was a bookkeeper.  From 1836 until 1855, Andrew worked for a variety of different companies, e. g,, Holt, Palmer & Company;  E. Norton; and Kinne, Davis, and Company.  Beginning in 1855 and until his death, Andrew was the general account for the American Merchants’ Union Express Company, which I believe was the forerunner of American Express. 
                Andrew and Emma had five children:  Emma born in 1830; Andrew Charles, born in 1832; Lucy, born in 1834; William, born in 1838; and Edward Chester, born in 1843.  The census for 1840 show that Andrew was living in Buffalo  in a house with 15 other people.  I suspect that his and his brother’s families were living together, but who the additional people were is a mystery.  By 1850 Andrew was living with his wife, and children, Lucy, William and Edward.  In 1860, Andrew and his wife were living with Andrew, Lucy, William, and Edward.  In addition, Emma, her husband, Amasa Kingman and their four children, were also living with them.  By 1870, all the children were married and living out of the house with the exception of Charles, who is described as away at school. 
                The City Directories for Buffalo list the associations, organizations, and churches as well as the individuals who held offices in them.   In 1837, Andrew was the recording secretary of the Young Men’s Association, a literary society, which is described as having a “well-selected” and large library of books and was the forerunner of both the Buffalo Public Library and the Buffalo Museum of Science.  A year later, he was still the recording secretary, but also on the library and by-laws committees.  In 1847-48, he was the Assistant Secretary of the St. Andrews Society, a group for those of Scottish descent; a notary public,  and the Deputy District Grand Master of Erie District #3 of the Odd Fellows.  From 1847 to 1849, he was a trustee of the Unitarian Church. 
                While I would like to have a picture of Uncle Andrew, the best I can do is the description on his passport application when he was 62.  He is described as 5 feet 8 and ½ inches tall with grey eyes, gray hair and an oval face. 
                Andrew died on May 28, 1872.  He along with his wife is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.

                If I were able to speak to him, I would ask why he and his brother decided to come to the United States and particularly to Buffalo.  I also would like him to tell me about his mother.  She is one of my brick walls.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

#2--Elizabeth Mears

Elizabeth Mears/#2        

                Elizabeth Mears (abt 1770 to 1842) is my 3rd great grandmother.  I decided to write about her this week, because, while I do not know much about her, what I do know, I think is fairly interesting. 
According to the biography of J. D. Sayre, her grandson, in The History Edgar County, Illinois,
                “…his grandfather (David) came from Germany at an early date, he with his wife (Elizabeth) and two children, and a small party of others, were captured by the Indians at what is known as Three Islands on the Ohio,, and was marched across the county, to Detroit, MIch., where the “post trader” bought them of the savages to rescue them.”
Whether that is a true story or not, I have no idea, but it a good story.
                Elizabeth and her husband settled first in Kentucky, and then in Brown County, Ohio.  They had nine children:  Mary (1786—Unknow); Samuel (1791—1853) Elizabeth (1796—Unknown); Catherine (1799-1888); William (1799-1873); Nancy (1801—1883); Jane (1903-1878); Charity (1806—1842); and Sarah Jane (1808-1899).
                In 1822, her daughter Charity married John Hannah while in 1828 her daughter, Catherine, married Israel Donnelson Sayres.  In 1830, Elizabeth’s  husband, David, died. 
                As far as I can tell, in the year her husband died, Elizabeth moved to Edgar County, Illinois with her daughters, Charity and Catherine and their families.  While the husband of both daughters bought land in Illinois, shortly after they arrived, what I find most interesting is that on February 21, 1831, Elizabeth bought 200 acres of land in Brouletts Township, specifically the northwest part of Section 11 in the Public Domain Land Sales.  The cost of the land was $200.   On March 7, 1838, she bought two more parcels of land in the public domain:  first, the northeast section of the northwest quarter of Section 36 (40 acres) , in Prairie Township for $50, and second the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 35 (40 acres) for an additional $50.  From looking over the data base of land sales in Edgar County, it was extremely unusual for a woman to buy land and I wonder how she used it.  Did she have one or both of her son-in-laws farm it for her?  Did she hire men and farm it herself? 
                The last piece of information about Elizabeth that I find interesting is her will.  After the usual statements about paying for her funeral and her debts and  bequeaths of some personal possessions, she directs that all the rest of her property be sold and the proceeds divided among her grandchildren and held in trust for them until they either marry or become 21 years of age. Now that sounds fairly typical, until one realizes that the only grandchildren who will receive anything are those that are named for her husband, David, or herself.  It should come as no surprise that six of her children by the date of the will had children named David and/or Elizabeth.  It appears that Mary, William and Nancy did not name their children David or Elizabeth.  However, the will also states that should they have children of those names, those children would also share in the proceeds.  I have not read a lot of old wills, but I think that making bequeaths only to those who are named for you or your husband rather strange and pretty eccentric.
                If I could ask Elizabeth some questions, I would ask where she got the money to buy the land, who she lived with in Illinois, and why she restricted her bequeaths in the way she did.


Monday, February 10, 2014

# 1/ Abiathar Richards

Abiathar Richards/

Abiathar Richards, my great grandfather, was born on October 25, 1837 in Dedham, Massachusetts to Ebenezer and Catherine (Newell) Richards.  As a child, he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle, Fanny (Richards) and Seth Richards in Newport, New Hampshire.  In 1860, Abiathar was living with his older brother, Abner, and his family in Brooklyn, New York.  On October 4, 1866, probably in Brooklyn, he married Mary Jane Cochrane, daughter of William and Emma (Merrett), Cochrane.  Abiathar and Mary Jane had three children:  William Fisher, born April 15, 1869, Chester Ingersol, born September 25, 1876, and Gertrude Cochrane, born September, 7, 1874.
            The 1870 census indicates that Abiathar and Mary Jane lived with her parents at 124 Fort Greene Place in Brooklyn.  Abiathar’s occupation is given as an auctioneer. The New York City Directory for 1869 lists Abiathar Richards as in the shoe business at 7 College Place, New York, and living at 124 Fort Greene Place.  His brother, Abner, was also listed as in the shoe business at the same address.  The 1890 New York City Directory again describes Abiathar as in the shoe business at 61 Reade Street, New York.  His brother was by then decreased as the directory lists Catherine Richards of 72 West 45th Street as the widow of Abner.
            Abiathar Richards died on Arpil 17, 1905.  The cause of death was diabetes.  Two of his obituaries were as follows: 
Abiathar Richards, wholesale shoe dealer of Manhattan, died at his home. 124 Fort
Greene Place. Brooklyn, yesterday in his sixty-eighth year. He was born In Dedham.
Mass.. and came to New York in his early youth. He was fond of horses and for years
was  known on the Ocean Parkway and late on the Speedway as one of the oldest drivers of fast trotting horses. He was a member of St. James Protestant Episcopal Church.  He is survived by a wife, one daughter and two sons.
The Sun, April 18, 1905

Abiathar Richards died at his home, 124 Fort Greene place, yesterday, after
an illness of three weeks from diabetes.  Mr., Richards was born In Dedham, Mass..
He was in his sixty-seventh year. He came to Brooklyn nearly fifty years ago.
He was a member of the New England Society and was also a member of the
Oxford Club, A widow, Mary J,  two sons. William F., and C. I., and one
daughter, Mrs. William Hannah, of Auburn, N. Y. survive him. Funeral services
 will be held at his late home Friday morning at 11 o'clock. 
The Daily Standard Union, April 18, 1905

He was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.  His will directed that his wife, Mary Jane, should have use of all the household effects during her lifetime and upon her death those effects should be given to his daughter, Gertrude.  He left half his estate and property to his wife.  The remainder of the estate was to be divided equally between his three children, Chester, William and Gertrude.  Further, money was to be given to his executors to invest and pay the income to his daughter, Gertrude.  Upon her death, the principal was to be divided between her living children.

If I were able to talk to him, I would ask why he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle.  


I have been doing genealogy for a number of years and gathered a great of information about my some of lines: Richards, Cochrane, Hannah, Eitelbach, Minarcik, Willey, Huelster, and Merrett. Along the way I have found some people that seem to be very interesting or about whom I have questions.  In other words I would like to know them.  Hence the title of this blog.
A challenge was issued on Ancestory.com to blog about one ancestor each week.  I thought that might be an excellent way to better organize my research and refine my thinking.  I am getting a late start on this, and while I might not get to one a week, I will try to post as often as I can.