Thursday, March 10, 2016

Fearless Females: RHEUA or RUHAMAH, wife of SAMUEL BROWN of Pound Ridge, Westchester County New York

March is Women's History Month! Taking inspiration from the writing prompts on Lisa Alzo's blog, The Accidental Genealogist,  I will be exploring several of the "Mystery Women" in my family tree.

RHEUA/RUHAMAH, my great x 5 grandmother, was the wife of SAMUEL BROWN of Pound Ridge, Westchester County, New York. She is a mystery woman in my family tree--who should NOT be a mystery woman!! 

According to her gravestone in the Longridge Union Cemetery in Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, she died July 17, 1865, age "88 years and 3 months". That would make her birthday April 1777.  

Where she was born is more of an enigma. Was it Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut? or Pound Ridge, Westchester County, New York? The two locations are only a few miles apart. The 1850 census record shows her as born about 1776 in Connecticut; the 1860 census shows her as born 1777 in New York. So which was it?

Records shows her name alternately as RHEUA and RUHAMAH. She is called REUHAMAH in her husband's 1850 will. But her gravestone shows her name as RHEUA. 

RHEUA/RUHAMAH married SAMUEL BROWN in about 1796, probably in Westchester County New York.  I have not been able to find a marriage record. They had six children:

--MARY "POLLY" BROWN born July 5, 1797 Pound Ridge, Westchester Co New York, who married SIMEON DIBBLE

--CLARISSA A BROWN born Nov 13, 1798 in Stamford, Fairfield Co Connecticut, who married CHARLES G BETTS

--AARON THOMAS BROWN born Jan 19, 1801 Pound Ridge, Westchester Co New York, who married MARY REMINGTON, then LAURA SMITH

--HARRIET BROWN born March 18, 1802 Pound Ridge, Westchester Co New York, who married ABSALOM SHERWOOD

--ALEXANDER "SANDY" BROWN born March 28, 1806 Pound Ridge, Westchester Co New York, who married JANE TYLER.

--ELIZA BROWN born about 1823 Pound Ridge, Westchester Co New York, who married DEWITT CLINTON "DWC" CARPENTER. 

These are the six children named in the 1850 will of SAMUEL BROWN. There may have been others born in the 17 years between 1806 & 1823, but these are the children who survived & can be found in census records.

Records are readily available for Stamford, so that was the first place I checked.  Certainly, there were families with daughters named "RHEUA" or "RUHAMAH", but none born in 1777, much less April 1777. 

Likewise, I have been unsuccessful in finding RHEUA/RUHAMAH in Westchester Co New York families.  Searches of early Westchester wills have proved fruitless.  I have also looked for males named AARON or ALEXANDER, as those names do not appear in the family of SAMUEL BROWN. 

I have also carefully examined early census records to see who was living adjacent to SAMUEL BROWN , and also to his father, SOLOMON BROWN.   So far, none of the families that I have researched had a daughter named RHEUA/RUHAMAH.  

I was particularly interested in the family of EBENEZER DeFOREST born about 1750, who lived next to SAMUEL & RHEUA/RUHAMAH BROWN for a number of years. However his will does not mention a daughter RHEUA/RUHAMAH. In the 1850 census, a STEPHEN DeFOREST age 22 (likely a grandson of EBENEZER DeFOREST) was living in the household of SAMUEL & RHEUA/RUHAMAH BROWN.

Unlike JANE my great x 3 grandmother (see previous posts), I have not received any DNA matches that would help me discover RHEUA/RUHAMAH's maiden name.  And since I am descended from nearly ALL the earliest families of Stamford, it is likely that, whoever her parents were, I am already related to them anyway in a different part of my tree!

I would very much like to know more of RHEUA/RUHAMAH's story, and especially find out more about the 17 year gap between her son ALEXANDER and daughter ELIZA.  

The thought has occurred to me that RUHAMAH was the first wife of SAMUEL BROWN, and mother of most of his children, and RHEUA was a second wife, and mother of ELIZA only . But so far I have found only one gravestone next to SAMUEL's, in Stamford, and none in Pound Ridge. And 1850 & 1860 census both show the wife of SAMUEL BROWN as RUHAMAH!

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2016


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