Friday, November 28, 2014

ONE COUPLE -- TWO BRICK WALLS

Benjamin QUINCY and Sarah "Sallie" HAMMOND were married on 1 January 1793 at Stanfordville Baptist Church, Dutchess County, New York.  My original assumption was that they were from that town or very nearby but a whole lot of research did not find parents for either of them in that area.

Benjamin Quincy was born in Massachusetts or New York according the the census records of his children.  Sarah Hammond was born in New York or Vermont according to the census records of her children.

As I continued my research, I discovered that the pastor of the Stanfordville Baptist Church "rode the circuit" to a lot of towns up and down the border of New York -- performing baptisms and marriages where there was no Baptist Church in the town.  Then he returned to his home church in Stanfordville and recorded the events there.  So I expanded my search!

A descendant in another branch of the family had told me that Sarah's father's name was Asa Hammond.  I tracked down every Asa Hammond in all of New York and New England. None of them fit as Sarah's father.  I now believe that she named a son Asa Hammond Quincy, not because her father was Asa Hammond, but because she simply like the name Asa and gave him her maiden name as a middle name -- a common practice.

Next, I attempted to track down and record information on every person the right age to be Sarah's father or Benjamin's father -- all up and down the Vermont/New York border.  I discovered that there was only one person named Quincy anywhere along the border (in fact only one in all of the state of New York), a John Quincy in Halfmoon, Albany (now Saratoga) County, New York.  There were a whole lot of Hammonds in the area but only one was living in the same town as John Quincy, a Phineas Hammond.  Each of these households had a child the right age to be Benjamin and Sallie.

Meanwhile, I had been looking at any and all records for their children for clues.  Their eldest son (my ancestor) was named John Quincy -- after his grandfather?  I discovered an obituary for one of their daughters that said she was born in Halfmoon, New York!  Now I figured I was getting somewhere.  However, there were no other records for John Quincy in Halfmoon.  I was able to track Phineas Hammond.  He moved to Pittsfield, Rutland, Vermont.  His brother Thomas and other relatives were living in Pittsfield.  Unfortunately, he didn't leave very many records there.

A genealogy has been published for the Hammonds of Newton, Massachusetts.  Phineas and Thomas and their siblings are included so I know it's the right family -- but no Sarah!

I believe I have found the fathers of Benjamin and Sarah but, after many years of research, can I prove it?  NO!  I'll eventually have another go at it but, for now, they are still brick walls!

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