Tag Archives: Charles Sherman

Ancestors-in-Law: The Shermans of Susquehanna County, Penna.

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!

A Pennsylvania farm. In the mid-1800s Abel Sherman — the father of Sarah Ann Sherman, Zebulon Blakeslee’s second wife — owned a farm in the fertile Porter Ridge area north of Wyalusing  Creek in Jessup Township, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. Photo: Coffee/Pixabay

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
Dwelling Name Age Born Details
339 Abel Sherman, Head of Household 61 NY Farmer; Real Estate: $2,000; Personal Prop: $821
Louisa Sherman 59 Mass. Wife
Sarah A. Sherman 38 Penna.
Charles Sherman 23 Penna. Farm laborer
Jim Sherman 21 Penna.
340 Unoccupied

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
Year Location Head Wife Children
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?

Eastern Branch of Wyalusing Creek, Susquehanna County, Penna. Photo: anyplaceamerica.com

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.

© 2019 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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1867: Zebulon Blakeslee’s second marriage

Sepia Saturday 479: Eighth in a series on the odd 1860 separation of my great-great-great grandparents Zebulon and Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee — a summertime census mystery.

My discovery of the 1860 separation and subsequent divorce of my third great-grandparents Zebulon and Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee prompted a recent genealogy road trip to Montrose, Penna. in search of details and documentation.

I was not able to obtain their divorce decree on that trip — but I was successful in learning about Zebulon’s later life, including details of his second marriage.

A midlife second marriage. Nine months after his divorce from my ggg grandmother Hannah, my ggg grandfather Zebulon, 56, married a second time. Was his desire to remarry the impetus to file for divorce?  Photo: annca/Pixabay

Notice of a marriage

From his federal census returns, I knew that Zebulon married a woman named Sarah Ann after his divorce from Hannah. But what was her maiden name, when did they wed and exactly where did they live?

Happily, my visit to the Susquehanna County Historical Society in Montrose provided answers! Because that’s where I found the newspaper announcement of Zebulon and Sarah Ann’s wedding (below) from the 7 June 1867 issue of the Montrose Democrat.

Montrose Democrat (7 Jun 1867): Announcement of the second marriage of my divorced 3rd great-grandfather Zebulon Blakeslee to Sarah Sherman in Jessup Township, Susquehanna County, Penna. Scan by Molly Charboneau

This brief announcement yielded a wealth of family history information:

  • Exact wedding date: 27 May 1867
  • Bride’s maiden name: Sarah Sherman
  • Bride’s father’s name: Abel Sherman
  • Wedding location and place of residence: Jessup Township in Susquehanna Co., Penna.
  • A civil ceremony: They were married by D. Hoff, Esq.
  • Calculated ages [based on the 1870 federal census]: Zebulon, 56; Sarah Ann, 45; Abel Sherman, 68.

Details tell a tale

When and how Zebulon met his second wife is still unclear. But the fact that he initiated the divorce from Hannah (finalized circa 28 Aug 1866) — and married Sarah Ann nine months later (27 May 1867) — implies that his desire to remarry may have prompted his divorce petition.

By the time of his second marriage, Zebulon had relocated within Susquehanna County. He left Brookdale (in Liberty Township) and moved to Jessup (a township southwest of Liberty) — putting some distance between himself and his past life.

Learning the name of his new father-in-law, Abel Sherman, helped pinpoint exactly where Zebulon might have lived in Jessup (see map below).

Map of Jessup Township, Susquehanna Co., Penna. (1858). Click map to enlarge. The farm of Abel Sherman is highlighted at the township’s northern border.  In May 1867 — nine months after his divorce — my ggg grandfather Zebulon Blakeslee, 56, married Abel’s daughter Sarah Ann Sherman, 49, and moved in next door. Map: ancestortracks.com

Abel Sherman: A longtime Jessup resident

Abel Sherman appears in one source as an 1827 taxpayer in Susquehanna County’s Bridgewater Township, east of Jessup.

But by 1847 he was on a roster of Jessup Township taxpayers, in 1858 he was named on the Jessup map above, in 1866 he hosted his daughter’s Jessup wedding ceremony, and in 18608and 18702he was enumerated as a farmer, with his wife Louisa, in the Jessup federal censuses.

I took a careful look at Abel’s 1870 federal census enumeration, and what do you know: Zebulon and Sarah Ann lived right next door to her father! Zebulon’s 1870 occupation was “Day Hand.” So I wonder: Did he work in that capacity on Abel Sherman’s farm? Was that how Zebulon met Sarah Ann?

A civil ceremony

Also of interest is that D. Hoff, Esq. presided at Zebulon and Sarah Ann’s wedding — apparently a civil ceremony. Zebulon’s daughters Rhoda and Mary (my great-grandmother) were both married by Presbyterian ministers — so that might have been Zebulon’s denomination. But since he was divorced, maybe a church wedding wasn’t possible for him the second time around.

Nevertheless, it appears that Zebulon and Sarah Ann (Sherman) Blakeslee made a go of their midlife marriage — remaining together until Zebulon’s death.

And although they did not have children together, I may still have some of cousins-in-law out there — descendants of Sarah Ann’s younger brother Charles Sherman and his wife Hannah.3

Up next: Zebulon Blakeslee’s final years. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2019 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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