Mystery Monday: Who Was Marietta Pomeroy?

Franklin and Marietta Clark in 1880 US Federal Census, Chicopee, Hampden, Massachusetts.
Franklin and Marietta Clark in 1880 US Federal Census, Chicopee, Hampden, Massachusetts. (Click to enlarge.)

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

Some online family trees list “Marietta Pomeroy” as a daughter of William and Rachel (Edwards) Pomeroy, with a birth date of 1805 in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, and death 11 September 1882, place unknown. There is no documentation attached to any of these trees for this information except other trees. There are other online trees that do not include her. Marietta is not noted in the town records with the list of all their daughters, (see previous post, Sibling Saturday: Cynthia Maria Pomeroy and Her Sisters), so we need to determine whether or not she is truly related.

It must be noted that there were a LOT of Pomeroys- and Pomroys, Pumerys, etc. in New England during this time period.

If Marietta was a daughter of William and Rachel Pomeroy, it seems her birth would have most likely been recorded sometime in Williamsburg, but such an entry has not been found despite additional searches from 1805 to 1810; the first of the Pomeroy daughters was listed in the record book in 1811. The record book reviewed may have been a transcription from long ago, so possibly research is needed in even earlier town records, with the births alone. Her birth just might not have been recorded, but they did keep very good records in New England towns as early as 1800, so that is less likely, but possible. Then there is that sticky problem of Marietta’s birth supposedly in 1805, but no marriage record for her parents until 1809. Before adding her officially to the family tree, there obviously needs to be more research.

Of course, topics that need research tend to nag at a family historian, so more time on and Google in the wee hours is generally what comes next, and it did in this case as well. Family trees can be clues- and should always be taken that way, with the information then verified. So Marietta was added to my private Ancestry tree, as that is a great way to get hints about possible records, or to do searches and verify facts. Having the family linked helps to find more records than just doing a search for a person with just a bit of data added. Additionally, the tree is private so people who just click and add to their trees don’t take ‘in progress’ work as facts. Also, a ‘Custom Event’ called ‘Research Notes’ was added and completed to ensure that the information on her page was not considered completely factual and proved.

Looking at censuses, in 1880 (see above image), a Franklin Clark was a boarder in a home along with Marietta Clark, he 77, she 74. They did not have jobs, and the head of household was a clergyman named Samuel Austin, age 53. His wife was Susan, who was 45; a daughter named J. Maude, age 19 and a ‘scholar,’ was living in the household as well. Was Rev. Austin just a kind soul to let the Clarks live with him? Since he was a minister, the likelihood of the Clarks being legally married to each other, or possibly siblings, was high. Sometimes aging parents are listed as boarders; other times, more helpful census takers would list their relationship, such as father-in-law, but that was not noted on this 1880 census.

More research indicated that Franklin Clark and Marietta Pomeroy were, indeed, married. There was an Intention to Marry filed 21 May 1831, and they were also recorded as being married on that date.

Marriage Intention of Franklin Clarke and Miss Mariette Pomeroy, 21 May 1831.
Marriage Intention of Franklin Clarke and Miss Mariette Pomeroy, 21 May 1831. (Click to enlarge.)

One of the best clues, however, came from a Google search. The Congregational Year Book for 1900 included a necrology (a bio written after someone dies) of Samuel John Austin, who married Jennie S. Clark, the “daughter of Franklin and Marietta (Pomeroy) Clark, of Lancaster, Mass.” The Clarks did live in Lancaster, and this information explained the 1880 census household with Samuel Austin- he was the son-in-law of Franklin and Marietta, and he and Jennie took them in as they aged.

A minister’s necrology will state all the places he served, and Samuel’s included being in Chicopee Falls from 5 Dec 1877 until 12 Mar 1884. That location fit perfectly with the 1880 census from Chicopee.

One problem with this assumption was that the name of the Clark’s daughter was Jennie- not Susan as listed in the 1880 census. Perhaps Jennie’s middle initial “S” was for Susan, and she used her middle name? Maybe…

Massachusetts death records for 1862 next appeared in searches and included Jennie Austin, so that told us she could not possibly be the wife in the 1880 census. A closer reading of the necrology was in order. (It was getting late, so I could have missed something.) It stated that after Jennie died on 15 November 1862, Samuel remarried, to Susan Maira Miller, on 8 Dec 1863. Now we knew who the wife was in the 1880 census.

The necrology also stated that Rev. Austin had a daughter with Jennie, and with Susan he had a son who died young. (Neither are named.) A closer reading of the death record for Jennie (remember, it is now the wee hours in this quest) made more information click- the daughter in the household, J. Maude, could not be the daughter of Susan, since she was 19 in the 1880 census, making her born about 1861 or so. Hmmm, that is not that far off from when Jennie died, so back to her death record. She died of disease of the liver- and premature labor was written on the line below.  Jennie S. (Clark) Austin was sadly another victim of the high mortality rate of childbirth, and their daughter would have been born sometime around 15 Nov 1862, when Jennie died.

Perhaps the premature babe was named for her mother, and was Jennie Maude?

The pursuit of the story took hold, and the planned 30 minutes of research had become five plus hours. It was now established that there was a Marietta Pomeroy married to Franklin Clark(e), and they had children together. This was some digression from the original question- was Marietta the daughter of Rachel Edwards and Franklin Clark?- but when information comes to a historian, it must be recorded. Analysis of any data found might provide a small clue within to help answer the original question.

(The original question?- to be continued…)



Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. 1880 US Federal Census for Franklin and Marietta Clark, Chicopee, Hampden County, Massachusetts, page 4, E.D. 287, taken 02 June 1880.
  2. Congregational Year Book, 1900, Vol. 22, Page 14, GoogleBooks-
  3.  Marriage record of Marietta Pomeroy and Franklin Clarke, Springfield, Massachusetts, in Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988,


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