Saturday, April 27, 2013

Levi Felton married Sarah Cole AND Sarah Felton married Levi Cole?? Thinking Out Loud About a Family History Mystery in Clarence, Erie County, New York

Recently I found the public tree of a distant cousin from my MARTINE family.  She has listed my great great grandfather JOHN F MARTINE as "JOHN FELTON MARTINE".  She has not told me her source for this information on his middle name (and I wish she would), but I have to say I was overjoyed, because the Martine family routinely named all sons after grandfathers or great grandfathers, from the 1750s until the early 1900s.

I now suspect that JOHN FELTON MARTINE, my gg grandfather, was possibly named after his maternal grandfather JOHN FELTON Sr who was born Nov 9, 1741 Marlborough, Middlesex Co Massachusetts, married PERSIS ROGERS Jan 23, 1766 in Marlborough, Middlesex Co MA; moved shortly after marriage to Marlborough, Cheshire Co New Hampshire; and from 1790 onward migrated westward across northern New York state until finally settling in Clarence, or Clarence Hollow, Erie Co NY (which was Niagara Co NY until after 1810).  According to sources, JOHN FELTON & PERSIS ROGERS both died about 1820 during an epidemic (which might actually be the 1832 cholera epidemic, more research to come...).

According to New Hampshire birth records, and the book "A Genealogical History of the Felton Family" by Cyrus Felton, here are the children of JOHN FELTON Sr & PERSIS ROGERS. Most of them ended up in Western New York, in the counties near or around the Erie Canal:

--JOHN FELTON Jr b Sept 17, 1766 Marlborough, Cheshire Co NH; no one appears to have any information on this individual, except that he was a "civil engineer" according to Cyrus Felton.

--SARAH FELTON b Aug 10, 1768 Marlborough, Cheshire Co NH; Cyrus Fenton indicates she married an unknown COLE, but I suspect she married JOHN EDSON, see below....

--ELIZABETH FELTON b May 10, 1770 Marlborough, Cheshire Co NH, married EBENEZER TUTTLE and died April 24, 1813 Bradford Co PA.

--JEDEDIAH FELTON b Feb 2, 1773 Marlborough, Cheshire Co NH; Cyrus Fenton indicates he was married twice & had children, but I have yet to find.  He was, however, named in the 1810 will of his brother LEVI FELTON.  He was also quite active in the Methodist church in Clarence, Niagara/Erie Co NY, as was his mother PERSIS ROGERS FELTON, and sister PERSIS FELTON HAYNES/HAINES.

--LEVI FELTON b July 22, 1776 Marlborough, Cheshire Co NH; supposedly married about 1796 SARAH COLE, b June 4, 1770 Richmond, Cheshire Co NH, daughter of EBENEZER COLE Jr & SUSANNAH ALDRICH; I have not found a death date or place for SARAH, but I did find an abstract of his will dated May 19, 1810 and in the will his wife is called POLLY (possible 2nd wife?).  LEVI died June 17, 1810 in Clarence, Niagara/ Erie Co NY.

--PERSIS FELTON b Jan 16, 1779 in Marlborough, Cheshire Co NH; married about 1779 JOHN HAYNES/HAINES.

--Lt SYLVANUS FELTON b Aug 22, 1785, Marlborough, Cheshire Co NH; m about 1805 LYDIA POWERS; died Aug 2, 1814 at Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, during the war of 1812, and is buried in Clarence, Niagara/Erie Co NY, in what is now the Schopf Pioneer Cemetery.

I know for certain that my gg grandfather JOHN FELTON MARTINE was the son of ALBERT MARTINE who was born Dec 28, 1800 Clarkstown, Rockland Co NY, the son of ISAAC MARTINE b Aug 23, 1766  Haverstraw, Orange Co NY & GEERTJE "CHARITY" CAMPBELL b Jan 17, 1776 Clarkstown, Rockland Co NY.  ALBERT & his parents & siblings lived in New Hempstead, Rockland Co NY, and then moved to New York City, where ISAAC MARTINE was a firefighter in the 8th ward (died 1811);  they lived there until at least 1820, possibly longer, before re-settling by 1829 in Spencerport, Monroe Co NY along the Erie Canal.  ALBERT appears to have died before 1840, as his widowed wife & children were living with his mother CHARITY MARTINE in the 1840 census.

Because of naming traditions in the Martine family, it is my supposition  that ALBERT's wife was MARY EDSON b 1800 Oneida, Augusta Co NY, daughter of JOHN EDSON & SARAH his wife--who I now suspect might be SARAH FELTON.

Like the FELTONs, the EDSONs migrated westward across northern New York State.  JOHN EDSON was in Batavia, Genesee Co NY by 1805-1806--as was LEVI FELTON, son of JOHN FELTON Sr.  So I know the two families were in the same general area at the same time.  I can trace the family of JOHN EDSON in census in Genesee Co NY until 1820--then they seem to disappear.  I have long suspected that ALBERT MARTINE and the family of JOHN EDSON may have all perished in the 1832 cholera epidemic, which swept up the Erie Canal, killing thousands.

But back to the FELTONS. I discovered a source entitled "The Genealogical Exchange Vol 1-7" (Dec 1906) by Natalie R Fernald which contains a cemetery transcription of what is now called the Schopf Pioneer Cemetery in Clarence, Erie Co NY.  There is a gravestone for Lt SYLVANUS FELTON (d 1814) and his sons LEVI FELTON (d 1843 age 33) and JEDEDIAH FELTON (d 1824 age 1), but there is also a grave for SARAH, wife of LEVI COLE who died May 19, 1820, age 51 years (thus b 1769).

I am guessing--but I have no proof--that this cemetery inscription is the source of the vague reference in Cyrus Felton's book about SARAH, daughter of JOHN FELTON & PERSIS ROGERS having married a COLE.  But is that really SARAH FELTON buried under the tombstone?

If it was, that would mean that LEVI FELTON married SARAH COLE,  and his sister SARAH FELTON married LEVI COLE.  Confusing at best, and possibly incorrect on both counts!!  So far, I have not found any primary source records to prove either marriage. And so far, I have not been able to trace LEVI COLE in Western New York.

It is my suspicion that there may be either some transcription errors or misguided genealogy involved here.  I would love to comb through actual court, probate & land records in Erie, Genesee, & Monroe Co NY--which would probably involve a visit to the area.  I am not finding many published sources of actual records for these counties.

At any rate, I will continue to research the FELTONs and the EDSONs.  Here is a link to my Rootsweb online tree database, "Martine of Westchester Co NY and Scofield of Stamford, Fairfield Co CT" which lists documentation found on these families.

As always, comments & corrections are appreciated.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2013