Sepia Saturday 481: Tenth in a series on the odd 1860 separation of my great-great-great grandparents Zebulon and Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee — a summertime census mystery.
After his 1866 divorce, my third great-grandfather Zebulon Blakeslee married Sarah Ann Sherman in 1867. She was the daughter of Abel Sherman of Jessup Township, Susquehanna Co., Penna., according to their wedding announcement in the Montrose Democrat.
So this summer, not only did I learn about my Blakeslee ancestors’ divorce — but I was also surprised to discover a whole new set of ancestors-in-law: the Shermans of Jessup Township!
I say ancestors-in-law because Zebulon and Sarah Ann, who married late in life, did not have children together.
Nevertheless, the extended Sherman family seems to have embraced Zebulon when he relocated to their part of Susquehanna County — so it seems fitting that I write a bit about them.
The Abel Sherman household in 1860
In the 1860 federal census1for Jessup Township — enumerated seven years before Sarah Ann married Zebulon — I found her living with her parents and two younger brothers on her father Abel’s farm. Located next door was an unoccupied dwelling. (See Table 1.)
|Table 1. Abel Sherman household – 1860 U.S. Census, Jessup Township, Susquehanna Co., Penna – Source: FamilySearch2|
|339||Abel Sherman, Head of Household||61||NY||Farmer; Real Estate: $2,000; Personal Prop: $821|
|Sarah A. Sherman||38||Penna.||—|
|Charles Sherman||23||Penna.||Farm laborer|
The Shermans in 1870-1880
Ten years later, there were significant changes for the Shermans. By the 1870 federal census3of Jessup Township, Zebulon and Sarah Ann (Sherman) Blakeslee were married and living next door in the formerly “unoccupied” dwelling — and Zebulon was working as a “day hand,” possibly on his father-in-law Abel’s farm.
The year 1870 is also when my possible cousins-in-law appeared. For Sarah’s brother Charles Sherman had married and started a family — and by 1880 his family had grown. (See Table 2.)
|Table 2. U.S. Census Enumerations for Charles Sherman – Source: FamilySearch4|
|18705||Bridgewater, Susquehanna, Penna.||Charles Sherman, 33, Born in PA, Works on Farm||Hannah, 19, Born in PA, Keeping House||Son Fredrick, 2, born in PA|
|18806||Jessup, Susquehanna, Penna.||Charles Sherman, 43, Born in PA, Farm Labor||Hannah, 29, Born in NY, Keeping House||Son Fred, 11, and Dau. Gerty, 9. Both at school & born in PA|
More to learn about the Sherman in-laws
Sarah Ann’s brother Jim Sherman, however, has been more elusive. In 1870, there was a Jesse Sherman, 35, with his presumed wife Ellen, 22, and children Emily, 4, and Lucy, 2, living in Abel and Louisa Sherman’s household7. Was “Jesse” actually Sarah’s younger brother Jim, just enumerated with a different name — which could mean more possible cousins-in-law?
The 1860-1880 U.S. censuses for Jessup and neighboring townships show a number of other Shermans living in the vicinity of Abel’s farm — but it’s unclear how they were related to Sarah Ann or her family.
Since the Shermans are the newest additions to my family tree, I haven’t had time yet to do much research on them.
Suffice to say there is more to learn about the family that gave my third great-grandfather Zebulon Blakeslee a new late-in-life start after his 1866 divorce — and hopefully I will find out more about them through future research.
Up next: A one-stop summary of my Blakeslee ancestors’ story. After that, a new series focusing on my Blakeslee ancestors’ divorce. (Yes, I have located the records!) Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.
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