02 July 2010

First Friday Folder: Asahel Davison & Lucy Wait

Asahel DAVISON and Lucy WAIT are my great-great-great-grandparents in my Porter line.  I selected this folder this month because Lucy is my 'most recent' brickwall in this line; I mean that my Porter pedigree is solid until I reach Lucy.  Actually, Lucy is more of a 'climbing wall' than a  brickwall: there seem to be many clues as to her ancestry and I'm fairly confident that I just need to find the right combination of 'handholds and footholds' to climb my way to her....

The organization of the folder was in pretty good shape.  There was just one duplicate to discard and a family group sheet to print out for (collateral) son Wait's family.  The most glaring problem is that I really, really need a detailed, specific research plan!

Asahel Davison
Asahel was born 4 June 1769 in Pomfret, Windham, Connecticut, the fourth child of Dea. Dan Davison and Martha Goodell [2].  He died in April 1813 during his first month of service in the 11th regiment of an infantry company in the War of 1812 at or on Lake Champlain [3].  I think it was a state militia group, rather than US forces.  I have not yet found any record of any pension for his family. Perhaps the very short duration of his service did not qualify him for any benefits?

He appears in town records of Bethyl, Windsor, Vermont from 1794 through October 1897. [4] (His father was in nearby Hartland from the 1780s to his own death in 1821.)    But, Asahel's second and third children may have been born in Waterford, Caledonia, Vermont during that time period.  Later children were more certainly born in Waterford, Caledonia, Vermont [5].  For the 1810 census, Asahel is in Milton, Chittenden, Vermont with a listing of males and females that matches his expected family composition.

A compiled genealogy lists his wife as Lucy WAIT, but I have not found a marriage record or location.  There are also several unsourced, online family trees that say WAIT.  But, I believe I need to be open to her having a different surname.

Lucy Wait
Lucy appears only in the 1850 census of Fairfax, Franklin, Vermont as Lucy Stoddard, giving an age of 81 and birthplace of Massachusetts.  Son Titus is the only child who I've found who lived to the 1880 census, where he listed both parents as born in Vermont.  Given that Asahel definitely was born in Connecticut, Vermont could also be an error for Lucy. 

It's a bit hard to read here, but her gravestone gives 1769 as a birthdate, matching the 1850 census data [1].  The stone shows Lucy with her second husband, Benjamin Stoddard.  This engraving is actually on the back side of the stone for her son Wait Davison in the Fairfax Plains Cemetery in Fairfax, Franklin, Vermont.

Clues to Lucy's Ancestry
Son Wait Davison married an Almira Wait of Highgate, Vermont [6].  WAIT is a somewhat common surname in Vermont, so this could be a coincidence, but I think tracing Almira could be the missing foothold.

Vermont State Index Cards include a card of a Lucy Wait, born 27 Apr 1769 in Rockingham, Vermont, with parents John & Sarah.  However, reviewing original Rockingham records, there are a number of records that seem to preclude this Lucy being the one who marries Asahel.  Also, none of Lucy & Asahel's children were named John or Sarah.

A John Wait of Milton was appointed as one of the administrators of Asahel's probate [3].  This John has left precious few records in Milton and I really don't know anything about him.  Clearly, this lead has the be more fully investigated!

There is a record of a Lucy Wait born to Moses & Hannah WAIT  3 April 1769 in Springfield, Massachusetts [7]. I've done a bit of looking in Springfield records, but I have seen nothing that allows me to accept or discount this record.  Lucy and Asahel did not name any sons 'Moses' but there is a daughter 'Harriet.'  I wonder if this Moses had a son John who could be the administrator of Asahel's estate?

There are several Lucy Davisons in this time period.  However, it seems too much of a coincidence that Hartford, Vermont has a "warning out" issued 4 Nov 1817 for "Lucy Davison and family" [8].  Could the young widow, with 7 children under 17, have moved to a new, nearby town and received the notice?  If so, did she have family there?  I need to check original Hartford, Windsor, Vermont records. 

And, there should be a long trail of guardianship records somewhere for all of Asahel and Lucy's young children.  Perhaps the relationship to John Wait is explained there.

Research Plans
In addition to following each of the clues above, I need to:
  • track more fully all of Asahel's 5 siblings to see more places where his marriage might be recorded.  The marriages of 3 of his siblings were recorded in 1790, 1793, and 1795 in Hartland, Windsor, Vermont.  There were WAITs in adjacent Braintree & Tunbridge in the 1790 census.  So, Hartland seems like a good place to start.
  • track more fully all 11 of their children & spouses, with Almira Wait being a priority
  • map all of the known 1760-1810 locations for Asahel, his father, and known WAIT census listings to identify surrounding towns/counties that I might otherwise miss
  • make a formal, specific research plan
Again, at first glance, the folder and family group sheets look pretty good, but then I see that I need some critical primary sources.  The most glaring problem is lacking a marriage record for the couple.

I think I have several very solid, potentially rewarding clues to follow.  There are certainly clusters here to follow.  I think that using different formats (maps, charts, tables, etc.) than I commonly use may help give me a new perspective so that something wonderful will jump out at me!

I need a specific plan.  I need to concentrate on following the plan and not let my self be distracted by research on other lines or in other places.  [But what fun is that?!  I have to think that I am after success and that being more organized here will be the fun!]

Any and all suggestions will be gratefully considered! Have a great day!

[1] Photo by MHD in 2004.  Parts of another image at findagrave.com by Bev Destromp are a bit better.  Her image of Wait's side is far superior to my photos of that side.
I have additional and more complete source citations for most of the data above, and they are available upon request.  Briefly:
[2] Connecticut, Pomfret: Vital Records of Pomfret, Windham County, Connecticut, (at SLC FHL), p. 93.
[3] (among others) Chittenden District Probate Court, Vermont, FHL# 28,033; Vol. 5, pp. 38-39
[4] Eldest son Cyrus' birth record -- Vermont, Bethyl: Records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1769-1997, (at SLC FHL). FHL# 27,911; Item 3, Bethyl VR Vol I - 1785-1857; p. 4.  Asahel in town records --  Bethyl, Vermont. Town Records, 1782-1886, p. 7 & p. 46, (at SLC FHL), FHL # 0982506.
[5] Vermont, Waterford: Vital Records of Waterford, Vermont, p. 11 & etc., (at SLC FHL), FHL # 29,053. Dated: 1809-1931.
[6] Vermont General Index to Vital Records, Office of the Secretary of State, (at SLC FHL). Films are of cards alpha order. All are very clearly written.  FHL# 27,528
[8] Alden Rollins, Vermont Warnings Out, Vol. 1: Northern Vermont  (Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1995), p. 337.

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