Saturday, January 30, 2010

Possible Foster family

The images below are from an 1899 genealogy entitled "Foster genealogy : being the record of the posterity of Reginald Foster, an early inhabitant of Ipswich, in New England". I followed the suggestion of my friend to look into the FOSTER family as a way to proceed with the CROSBY research.

In looking at the FOSTERs who lived in the Putnam / Dutchess county areas, I found sisters Thankful and Susanna FOSTER (no dates, no husbands) who were the daughters of Nathaniel FOSTER (1725-1787) and Phebe WING (b. 1726). The names Thankful, Susanna and Phebe intrigued me. I wondered if Thankful FOSTER could have been Phebe's aunt, Thankful COX, if her mother could originally been Susanna instead of Susan and if Phebe CROSBY could have been named for Phebe WING.

I have not found anything yet to prove or disprove this theory.

Thoughts on Crosby research by a qualified observer

A retired professional genealogist, whose permission I haven't obtained yet to provide her name, graciously agreed to review these posts. She had the following comments:

I think Foster could be an important clue, and possibly Susan was born Susan Foster. But with Isaac (1719-1815) marrying Marcy Foster, and Obadiah marrying another Mary Foster, we can’t be sure why Elisha and Susan chose to use the name on their third son. The grandson, Elisha Foster Crosby, is definitely of interest.
I’m not sure that Elisha didn’t come to New York with a herd of New Englanders, rather than having been born there. Obadiah’s probable father was born in Massachusetts, and it is possible that he and Elisha were as close as first cousins. Obadiah and Elisha could be brothers who married Foster sisters/cousins, OR they could be distant cousins who are found together mainly because they married Foster sisters.

If Elisha did come via Dutchess County:
1. He is too young to be a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Hopkins) Crosby, and too old to be their grandson.
2. He is too young to be a son of David and Reliance (Hopkins) Crosby, and only David, Jr. (b.1737) could have had a son born in 1762.
3. Joshua and Lydia (Hopkins) had four/five sons who could have had a son born in 1762:
Reuben [whose sons were Abiel, James, Tertullus],
Joshua Jr. [whose children in his Will were Nathan, Josiah, Reuben, Joshua, John, Samuel, Theodocius, and daughter Lydia Foster],
and ?Isaac.

Because Elisha’s eldest son was Joshua, I like that line. But that’s I’ve been working too long with Hudson Valley Dutch naming patterns.

4. Isaac and Mercy (Foster) are a mess. All of his sure and unsure sons are too young to have been the father of Elisha, but Isaac himself could have had an Elisha as JK Jones suggests.

Too many possibilities!

I don’t trust Fanny Crosby. Ten years ago I investigated the family because the client wanted to know his relationship to Fanny. The client was via Thomas and, at that time, I tentatively concluded that Fanny’s father was through Joshua and her mother was through Isaac. I have the letters I wrote but, to make room for my own papers, I disposed of many of my client folders last year. (Wish now that I had the sources that I looked at but didn’t use in my report.) Anyhow, I don’t remember if Fanny had three siblings or three half-siblings, but they aren’t important in her self-serving autobiographies. We aren’t told if her loving grandmother was maternal or paternal. The birth and death of her one child is entirely omitted. The attempt to explain Fanny’s blindness by a blundering doctor who applied hot poultices for an eye inflammation is not credible. Poultices hot enough to damage the corneas would have caused skin burns first, and would have been violently resisted by the baby. You don’t apply poultices to normal eyes, so the eyes were a problem before the doctor was called. The blindness was more likely caused by whatever had first caused the inflammation of the eyes, but the germ theory of disease had not been developed in 1820. Also, we know the parents were cousins and the blindness could have been caused by recessive genes, but Fanny’s affliction occurred before genetic theory was developed in 1900.

The story about Isaac Crosby is also fanciful. He may have had nineteen children (by, I agree, two wives) but there is no record that he served in the Revolutionary War. He would have been in his late fifties and early sixties then, back in the days when sixty was really old. The sixties may be the new fifties now, but then they were old sixties. As to earlier service, there is no record of him in the New York Colonial Muster Rolls 1664-1775. In Dutchess County rolls for 1758, when Isaac would have been a reasonable 40, the only Crosby was Reuben, 23, born Dutchess [son of Joshua]. Other Crosbys 1755-1761 were Theodorus, 20 in 1760, born Boston [son of Joshua] and Elijah, 19 in 1761, born Boston, [also a son of Joshua]. There was an Ebenezer, 22 in 1755, no location given, and three entries for Michael Crosby, 30-33, born Ireland, serving in NYC, Suffolk, and Westchester.

In the Philpse Highland patent, sections 1,3,4,5,7, and 9 were owned by two daughters who married and remained Tories. The papers pertaining to their lands do not survive. Only sections 2,6, and 8 were owned by the patriot son and some of those papers do survive. Some of his lessees were Tories and their plots were confiscated by the Committee of Forfeiture, and generally appear in vol. 8 of Dutchess Deeds. Most of the Oblong residents were patriots, but a few were Tories who are in vol. 8.

Do you think that Susan died in Schoharie county, and Elisha and young Phebe moved to Bainbridge with his son Joshua or daughter Patty? Elisha lived with them until he died in 1818, and Phebe until she married neighboring Benjamin Peck there in 1817. So Elisha didn’t need to buy his own land in Chenango county. You didn’t find Elisha in Schoharie deeds, but I agree that the Mortgages in Schoharie should be read.

Of course, Susan might have been a Rooker and that’s why two seemingly unconnected men signed a co-lease. I wish more was known about Joseph Rooker. Is Rooker the real spelling of his name, or is it something like Hooker with a R/H handwriting problem?

One more thought, after spending three days in Albany working on 1779-1789
tax lists:
re Obediah p. 15:
While the lease does not prove that Obediah ever lived on the Rensselaerville lot, the fact that he paid personal as well as real estate taxes does prove it. When no one lived on a land, there was no personal property to tax, and the name was taxed only for real estate. If personal
property was taxed, Obediah, or someone, was in residence.

Enoch Crosby confusion

I have noted with regard to at least 2 local history biographical entries, that some CROSBYs seemed to be very concerned with their connection to Enoch CROSBY (1750-1835) whose experiences may have been the basis for the main character in James Fennimore Cooper's novel, The Spy. This may be one of the reasons we haven't been able to find any histories mentioning more of Isaac CROSBY's (1719-1815) children.

Enoch CROSBY (1750-1835) was the son of Thomas CROSBY and Elizabeth HOPKINS (see 22-May-2007 post "Crosbys of Dutchess and Putnam Counties, New York").

A 1939 history entitled When Phelps Was Young provides a confusing genealogy, which I have attached to this post. The genealogy seems to say that Enoch CROSBY (1750-1835) was the son of Theodore CROSBY and Prudence CLOSE and that Enoch's (1750-1835) son, Enoch (1761-1840) (an biological impossibility by the dates alone) moved to Phelps, Ontario County, New York. However, the writing could be saying that Theodore and Enoch (1750-1835) were brothers (which they were not, according to J. Kelsey Jones). Theodore and Prudence were said to be the parents of Enoch, Stephen, Joshua, Elijah, Theodore Jr., Sarah, Mercy, Lemuel and John. The name Lemuel intrigued me, as J. Kelsey Jones had proposed Lemuel as a possible brother of our Elisha. The book does mention a Lemuel CROSBY (again it is confusing as to where he fits in) who was the same Lemuel to whose will I have previously posted a link. Interestingly, the Phelps book does not mention Darius CROSBY, who named as Lemuel's brother in the Lemuel's will.
I have not been able to find any evidence of Theodore CROSBY who married Prudence CLOSE outside of this book.
A 1900 Westchester County, New York, biographical volume includes the biography of a great-grandson of one Darius CROSBY "of Scarsdale, a lawyer, who held the position of master of chancery in Westchester County in 1812." This Darius had a son Alexander H. CROSBY, "rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, of Yonkers." I don't know if this Darius was the brother of Lemuel or not. This book claims that Enoch Crosby was "a member of this Crosby family".
It is, of course, not unusual for people to claim close relationships to celebrities. I wonder in these cases if Enoch's fame overshadowed the real ancestry of Darius and Enoch (1761-1840).
Another possibility is that there is some illegitimacy that 19th century persons wanted covered up. This is the case with another of my ancestral lines, also from Dutchess County.