Monday, January 16, 2006

Moses Crothers - possible son of John Crothers and Mary "Polly" Wyckoff?

A few weeks ago, I did some research in the Clinton County, Michigan Birth Records (Volume A, as viewed on Family History Library microfilm #0987077), and accidentally (or serendipitously?) stumbled across a birth record for an unnamed female child of Moses and Sarah Cruthers. She was born 14 Jan 1869 in Bingham Township. Now I have come across Moses Crothers/Cruthers from time to time doing searches on the Internet for my own Crothers. But what stood out at me was Moses' (and Sarah's) birthplace as listed on their daughter's birth record: Erie County, New York. That is exactly where my Crothers lived before moving to Eastern Michigan. So I made a photocopy of the record and took it home.

Now my John Crothers was found on the 1840 Federal Census of the Town of Clarence, Erie County, New York. In that census, only the names of the heads of households were listed. All others in the household were listed by number of genders of certain ages ("number of females under the age of 10," etc.). I can plug in wife Mary "Polly" Wyckoff and five of their children (Anna - my ancestor; William, Willard, Elizabeth and Nancy) using the census data for that household, but there remains one female, born c. 1826 - 1830, and one male, born c. 1835 - 1840, unaccounted for. I have, until recently, assumed these children died young, as there seemed to be no records of these children to be found elsewhere.

This weekend, I did some work at entering records I've found into my database at RootsWeb's WorldConnect. I decided to add Moses Crothers, but not plug him into any of my Crothers' lines until I verify he's related. I did a little hunting online using Google, and found a mention of his marriage record at the Flint Genealogical Society's website. He and Sarah A. Howe were married 7 Jul 1866 in Genesee County, Michigan. Good news, as my Crothers moved from Erie County, New York to Genesee County, Michigan around 1850.

I then went to, and looked up Moses in the 1870 Federal Census. He and Sarah were living in Bingham Township, Clinton County, Michigan (post office: St. Johns) with their daughter, Mary E., who was born c. 1869 in Michigan. Can't say yet whether this is the female child whose birth record I mentioned above. But on the same page was William Wyckoff and his nephew Washington Wyckoff (two doors away from the Crothers) and on the other side of the Crothers was a household headed by George Krull. Now, my Crothers family's mother's name was Mary "Polly" Wyckoff. Her brother was the William Wyckoff on that page, and their nephew (whom William raised) was Washington. Polly and William also had a sister, Jane Wyckoff Kroll/Krull, who had a son George, who would be the right age for the George I found.

Also, Moses' age indicates that he was born c. 1837. We already know he was born in Erie County. It looks very much as if he is the missing son of John Crothers and Mary "Polly" Wyckoff; if so, he was living in the same area as his Uncle William Wyckoff, his cousin Washington Wyckoff, and his cousin George Krull...not unusual in those days for families to emigrate and settle together.

It gets better: After John Crothers passed away between 1840 and 1844, his wife, Mary "Polly" Wyckoff married William Chappell. They had two children, including a son named John Chappell. John Chappell and his half-sister, Nancy Amanda Crothers Phelps both lived in St. Johns, Clinton County, Michigan, and are buried (as is William Wyckoff) at Mount Rest Cemetery in St. Johns.

I went to Find A Grave; and found a listing for Moses Crothers in the Mount Rest Cemetery, along with a daughter named Myrtle, who is listed as the daughter of Moses and Nancy Crothers. Not sure if Nancy is a second wife of Moses; perhaps it was Sarah's nickname (her middle initial was "A"; it could be that her middle name was Anne; Nancy is a common nickname for Anne).

I am going to order the Clinton County Death Records to see if I can find a death record for Moses. His parents may be listed, and if so, he may be the missing son.

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