Sepia Saturday 505. Fifth in a series based on recent research discoveries at the NYS Archives & Library: New details for my paternal ancestor Waples Hance.
Rounding out my recent research trip to the New York State Library and Archives, I was able to access some early tax records for my paternal fourth great-grandfather Waples Hance — who moved in the late 1700s from his childhood home in New Jersey to New York’s southern tier.
Finding evidence of Waples’ arrival in the Binghamton, N.Y., area — and the possible name of his wife Rachel Chapman’s father– were among my research goals.
Waples and Rachel were the parents of Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee — whose 1866 divorce I wrote about last year. And I can’t help but wonder whether her decision to leave her husband Zebulon in 1858 might have been inspired, in part, by the example of her father — who picked up stakes to start a new life with a new wife far from his New Jersey home.
Waples’ story in brief
I have not yet written in detail about my fourth great-grandfather Waples Hance (born circa 1760) because I am still documenting his story — particularly his early life in Shrewsbury Township, Monmouth County, N.J.
However, numerous written sources, including J.H. French’s Gazetteer of the State of New York, indicate that as an adult he lived in Conklin in Broome County, N.Y. — arriving there circa 1788, when he would have been about 28 years old.
Tioga County tax rolls
So in the New York State Archives, I looked at tax records for that period — when Conklin was in Town of Chenango (from which Binghamton was formed in 1855) in Tioga County (half of which became Broome County in 1806).
Tax assessment rolls on microfilm for Tioga County, from 1799 to 1804, covered the period I was interested in — and I found several entries for Waples Hance that firmly place him in Chenango, Tioga County, N.Y. during that time.
|Town of Chenango, Tioga County, N.Y – Tax Assessment Rolls 1799-1804 – Source: New York State Archives|
|Year||Names of Possesors||Description of Real Estate||Value of Real Estate||Value of Personal Estate||Tax to be paid|
|1799||Hance, Waples||House & farm||$340||$30||$0.36|
|1800||Hance, Waples||House & farm||$340||$40||$0.94|
|1801||Hance, Waples||House & farm||$200||$56||$0.66|
|1802||Waples Hance||House & farm||$200||$30||$0.46|
Like Gloversville city directories, some early tax assessment rolls for Tioga County have been digitized. Yet, I found more entries for my ancestor Waples Hance by scrolling the microfilm than through online searching — plus I was able to see other entries on the rolls and place my ancestor’s house and farm in a broader context.
A Chapman family mystery
The tax rolls also allowed me to delve into one more family mystery: Who was the father of Waples’ wife, Rachel Chapman?
French’s Gazetteer, in a note about Conklin, N.Y., mentions Daniel Chapman as an early resident. Could he be the father of Rachel (Chapman) Hance? If so, he might be my fifth great-grandfather — and judging by the tax rolls, he certainly appears to be a good candidate! More on what I discovered in the next post.
Up next: Finding a new fifth great-grandfather. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.
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