Sunday, November 04, 2007

Roadblock - Sally Church

Last month I wrote about one of my troublesome ancestors in Roadblock - Ruth Dyer and Jonas Joslin. Another roadblock is the wife of my 5th Great Grandfather, Bela Goodrich, whom I wrote a little bit about in Gravestones don't lie? When did Bela die?

The only "clue" we have of Bela's wife's name is in a biography of his son, Price Goodrich, published on page 316 in "Counties of Whitley & Noble, Indiana (Goodspeed and Blanchard, 1882): "Price Goodrich was born in Hartford, Conn., December 17, 1799, the son of Bela and Sally (Church) Goodrich, both natives of Connecticut." (Sally is a common nickname for the given name of Sarah.)

Price Goodrich was still living when that biography was written, so it is probably a safe assumption that he or one of his children provided the information. There is no death record for Price who died October 30, 1891 and his obituary does not give his parents. There is a death record for Eunice Goodrich James that gives her father as Bela Goodrich but does not give the name of her mother. Actually, when you get right down to it, there is no concrete "proof" that Bela is my ancestor, but there is a preponderance of evidence that leads to that conclusion but I'll leave that discussion for a future post!

Bela Goodrich was born on February 4, 1777 at Wethersfield, Connecticut. The Barbour Collection of Wethersfield Vital Records 1634-1868 (online at Jane Devlin's site and Ray's Place) does not include a marriage record for Bela nor any birth records for his children. Was Sally Church born at Wethersfield or even in Hartford County?

There are 10 Church families listed in the 1790 Federal Census for Hartford County, Connecticut with only one being in Wethersfield. That was Joseph Church who had 2 males age 16 and over and 3 females in his household. By 1800 this Joseph is gone from Wethersfield. There are no other Church families in Wethersfield in 1800. There was also a Joseph Church in Hartford in 1790 and it appears that he is still there in 1800, or perhaps the Joseph from Wethersfield moved to Hartford. Hard to say one way or the other as there simply is not enough available information.

One online database gives Sally's parents as Ebenezer Church and Eunice Carney but doesn't give any further information or sources. It is possible that Sally is a descendant of John and Sarah Beckley Church who were early settlers of Hartford County. They had a large family; ten children, including four sons named in John's 1691 will. But getting from the 1690's to the 1790's is somewhat problematical.

It is also possible that Bela and Sally were not married at Wethersfield. However, it does appear that they were living there in 1800. The Federal Census for that year for Wethersfield (page 311) has the following entry for Bela Goodrich. The film/image was a bit difficult to read, but I interpret it as 11100-00100-00
one free white male under 10 [Price...1799, age 1]
one free white male 10-16 [????]
one free white male 16-26 [Bela...1777, age 23]
one free white female 16-26 [Sally...about 1780, age 20]

About 1807, a large group of settlers left Wethersfield and moved to Franklin County, Ohio. Amongst those were Bela Goodrich, his young family, his siblings and their families, and his father, John Goodrich.

It is presumed that Sally was still living and moved with Bela to Ohio. Three children would have been born to Bela and Sally prior to the move to Ohio; Price in 1799, Lucinda about 1802, and Abigail about 1805. There is record of another daughter, Eunice, born in 1822. Given the large "gap" between Abigail and Eunice it is likely that there were other children. In fact, there is a James Goodrich, born 1817 and Ralph Goodrich born 1820 that show up in Whitley County, Indiana at the same time as Bela and Price arrive there, in 1838, and in the same township. They were neighbors. Bela even sells some of his land in Whitley County to Ralph in 1841. But I digress.

Back in Ohio, now in Delaware County, we find Bela Goodrich enumerated in the 1820 Federal Census in Orange Township. And, in 1830, listed as head of household is Sally Goodrich. I'll forgo the details of the listings but they show additional youngsters in the households that could indicate that Bela and Sally had more children than we are aware of. The fact that Bela was not listed in the 1830 census could be resolved in part by one of the stories handed down to descendants of Price Goodrich, which states "Price Goodrich lived with his parents and indeed was their main support, as the father loved rather to trap, fish and hunt than to till the soil. . . . while Price was on a trip to New Orleans about 1831, his mother (back on the farm in Ohio) sickened and died."

No record of Sally's death. No tombstone record. So, what's next? Alas, I'll probably leave poor Sally on the back burner for a while and return to her later, when I can devote my undivided attention to her.

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