Telling my family's stories
On the 1850 census, there is a family group living in Lenawee County, Michigan with the following members: Shirley B. Williams, age 53, b. Conn.; Hannah Williams, age 51, b. NY; and Silas O. Williams, age 17, b. NY.
When Silas died in 1910, his parents (as listed by the informant William J. Emery) were S.B. Williams and Hannah Bowker:
These are the only two documents that I have found which mention Hannah; after the 1850 census she disappears, and I have not found any death certificates for Silas’ siblings (he had at least 3) that name her either.
So Hannah Bowker seems to have been born around 1798 or 1799 in New York. My best guess, also shared by a researcher who has independently done quite a bit of work on the Bowker family, is that she is a daughter of Daniel Bowker and Azubah Gregory, who were living in Delaware County, NY about the time Hannah would have been born. They had 9 known children, including 4 “lost” daughters, in the 1790-1810 era, so the time fits. There are several very suggestive names that run through both Shirley & Hannah’s family and Daniel & Azubah’s family.
With not just one, but several shared names in the two families, the link certainly looks plausible!
I am currently looking for documentation to back up this guess. Daniel Bowker died in 1829 in Delaware County; as far as I can tell, he left no will or estate papers, but this is one thing to check on. Another avenue of research is to track out the known siblings. Because Hannah disappeared so early (well before vital records were being kept in Michigan), it seems unlikely that we will come up with anything on that front. Another name link that I am checking is Silas’ middle name. The initial is O, and I am wondering if this stands for Orsimus, another Bowker family name. If so, that would help the case, as it is an uncommon name. I am also trying to figure out where Shirley Williams comes from (a whole ‘nother story!), where they married, etc: if we could establish a location in or near Delaware county, this would help a great deal. Currently, the earliest I have Shirley and Hannah’s family is in 1830, when they appeared on the census for Clarendon twp, Orleans Co, NY.