Who was Marietta Pomeroy?, continued

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Marietta Clark, death record for Sept. 11, 1882, Massachusetts Death Records- Williamsburg, page 36, in Massachusetts Town and Vital records 1620-1988, Ancestry.com, part 1.
Marietta Clark, death record for Sept. 11, 1882, Massachusetts Death Records- Williamsburg, page 36, in Massachusetts Town and Vital records 1620-1988, Ancestry.com, part 1.

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

Our original quest was for proof that Marietta Pomeroy was the daughter of William Pomeroy and Rachel Edwards, as noted in many online trees. Marietta was not listed with their other daughters in the Williamsburg Town Records (see previous Sibling Saturday: Cynthia Maria Pomeroy and Her Sisters) and there are no attached sources for the information in the online trees except other family trees. Local histories do not list her as a daughter.

Late night research helped us learn about the life of a Marietta Clark. (See Mystery Monday: Who is Marietta Pomeroy?)

An actual contemporaneous birth record for a Marietta Pomeroy has not been found yet, despite all sorts of tricky keyword searching, including just her first name. She doesn’t turn up in a search of the Williamsburg records for a birth in 1805, +/- 5 years.

With William and Rachel Pomeroy being born in 1785, there are no censuses that actually list their children- just the number of persons in the household. The 1810 US Federal Census for 1810 does list one white female under 10 living in the family- this could be Marietta. That same census, however, lists 1 white male under 10, 2 white males ages 16-25, and 2 white females ages 16-25. Both Rachel and William would have been about 25, but we don’t know who the other two 16-25 year old persons would have been. Who were the two children in the household, since the first documented Pomeroy daughter was born in 1811? Possibly a son who died young but was not listed in birth records? Or a ‘bound out’ child who helped with farming, etc.? The young female could also have been a first-born daughter, possibly Marietta, or a bound out child.

Marietta’s death record states that she passed away on 11 September 1882 of ‘Disease of the Heart’ and was 77 years and 1 month old at her death. That would make her born in August of 1805.

That birthdate does not fill well because:

  1. Her ‘parents’ married 25 Jan 1809 after filing an intention to marry on 10 Dec 1808. If there had been an ‘early’ pregnancy, or they already had a daughter who was 4, they might not have waited over two weeks to marry after an intention was filed. (A check of Massachusetts marriage laws might be helpful- were they required to wait 2 weeks after the intention filed, no matter what? But if their daughter was already 4, there might not be a sudden rush to marry. Their first documented daughter was born in 1811.)
  2. In 1805, William and Rachel were both just 20, and couples generally did not marry back then until they were 23-25 or so, though earlier could have happened.
  3. Marietta is listed in many sources as being born in Williamsburg, but as previously discussed, there has not been a record found for her birth in Williamsburg. The list of children born to the Pomeroys does not include her. (The handwriting does look the same on each daughter entry so it may have been a transcription from original record books. Possibly Marietta was missed in the copy?)
  4. If Marietta was born in 1805, her next (known) sibling was born in 1811- a big gap for back then. The next daughter came in 1813, then another in 1816. There was then a gap for 7 years, with C. Maria born in 1823. Rachel was about 38 when C. Maria was born, so maybe she was one of those ‘surprise’ babies, but many women of the time were still bearing children into their early 40s. A stillborn child was born to Rachel and William in 1826, when Rachel was 41.
  5. It is possible that Marietta was born from a first wife of William’s, but nothing has been found to indicate that he was married prior to Rachel, and his age at a previous marriage would not align well with custom. (But it is possible.)
  6. Marietta is likely not a child of a first marriage for Rachel, as their marriage record indicates she is “Miss” Rachel Edwards, and no records of a first marriage for her have been found.

The marriage intention for Marietta Pomeroy and Franklin Clarke lists her name as “Miss Mariette Pomeroy:

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.)

The marriage record, listed as the same date, also uses the Pomeroy maiden name.

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

Marietta’s death record states that her parents were Rachel and William Pomeroy, he born in Williamsburg, she born in Chesterfield. Those birthplaces align with known facts.

Marietta Clark, death record for Sept. 11, 1882, Massachusetts Death Records- Williamsburg, page 36, in Massachusetts Town and Vital records 1620-1988, Ancestry.com, part
Marietta Clark, death record for Sept. 11, 1882, Massachusetts Death Records- Williamsburg, page 36, in Massachusetts Town and Vital records 1620-1988, Ancestry.com, part 2. (The first ‘Williamsburg’ was Marietta’s birthplace.)

 

So what are the possibilities?

— Marietta could have been the daughter of a family member or friend, and taken in by William and Rachel, yet called their daughter throughout her life.

— Marietta could have been missed in the transcription of births, and thus missed in later published genealogies/local histories. This hypothesis does not, however, align with the marriage date of William and Rachel.

— Marietta’s birth year may be wrong, but it was consistent for the 1860, 1865, and 1880 censuses when calculated. (No 1870 entry has been found.) Women do not generally make themselves older on the censuses, especially as they age, but it could happen. The consistency makes one think it was a fairly reliable number.

So, was Marietta Pomeroy a true descendant of William Pomeroy and his wife Rachel Edwards Pomeroy? More research will be needed for proof. It is likely, however, that she was raised as their child, with the evidence found thus far.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Marietta Clark, death record for Sept. 11, 1882, Massachusetts Death Records- Williamsburg, page 36, in Massachusetts Town and Vital records 1620-1988, Ancestry.com
  2. 1810 US Federal Census for William Pomeroy- Year: 1810; Census Place: Williamsburg, Hampshire, Massachusetts; Roll: 19; Page: 272; Image: 00287; Family History Library Film: 0205627
  3. Intention to marry- Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).
  4. Marriage record- Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).

 

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