Saturday, May 4, 2013

Update, and a Possible new Clue #9

Any News on the Hunt for Ursula?

Three years ago I created this blog for the purpose of trying to identify who was Ursula Wright.  I posted 8 clues that I had amassed:

Clue #1: Martha Searing, daughter of Nathaniel Searing and Ursula Wright was born 10 March 1808 in Stillwater NY.  She married Denison Worthington on 24 December 1829 in Albany NY.  Martha had three children before she died 23 March 1839, only one survived her.  I have the wedding record from the Presbyterian Archives [new, shown here] and her picture and tombstone [new], but not the birth of Martha.

Worthington - Searing Wedding, see middle of page just above the line.

Clue #2:  Nathaniel Searing, son of Nathanial Searing and Ursula Wright, brother of Martha, was orphaned when his when he was sixteen with his mother's death (his father had died 4 years earlier).  Nothing new here yet.  He's still an orphan as was his sister Martha.  It would be nice to find the death details of their parents, however.

Clue #3:  Ursula Wright MIGHT have been baptized in Stillwater NY, the child of Reuben and Phebe Wright.  Only one baptism in Stillwater was found of someone who might be Ursula Wright, her name was recorded "Ursley" -- since spelling wasn't standardized and was based on the literacy of the person recording, that's not TOO big a problem.  However, she was supposed to have be born "about" 1783, and this one and only baptism was 1789.

Clue #4: The 1810 US Census for Saratoga Springs New York, includes the Nathaniel Searing family.  There aren't any of the 1815, 1825 etc. New York STATE census pages up on for those years or that county.

Clue #5: The Will of Reuben Wright [potential father of Ursula] only mentioned names of sons anad his 2nd wife.  His first wife Phebe died early, and he had more children.  There might be more than one Reuben Wright in the area, so confirming this is the correct one on the grounds that he "seems to be" might not meet the Genealogical Proof Standard quite yet.

Clue #6:  The "Reuben Wright of Stillwater" summary of notes from the Stillwater NY Historian's files [no date, no author] references the baptism in clue #3.  But, again, is this Reuben Wright the one who was a Revolutionary soldier?  Or is the summary a mixture of information on more than one person with that name.  As Revolutionary War records get filmed and become available, hopefully his will be found and give some clues.

Clue #7:  Ruben Wright is still in the 1790 US census in Stillwater NY.

Clue #8:  Potential mothers for Ursula Wright seem to point to Phebe Moore who either married Silas Wright or married Reubin Wright of Stillwater.  Each version is almost identical except for that detail.  No new evidence to sort that out yet.

A new possible clue:
Clue #9:
There is a 10-page book, CATALOGUE of the STILLWATER ACADEMY, 1838-9, Troy NY, 1839.
The book lists faculty and students.  The last page has two students named WRIGHT:  Margaret M. and Ursula, both from Stillwater.  This Ursula would be too young [my Ursula was already dead about 1830], however, the same first and last name, the same small home town -- could this be a relative?

©Erica Dakin Voolich 2013
The link to this post is

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Clue #8: Who was Ursula's Mother?

In Clue #3,  we find “Ursley” baptised in 1792, with a birth date of 5 September 1779.
In Clue #3, it was stated that Ursula was born “about 1783”.  
In Clue #5, will of Reuben Wright.  His farm is next to Reuben Moore from whom he bought part of his farm land.
Checking back as to where that “about 1783” came from, I find a few sites on trees giving that date (  But these don’t give reference to any parents.  I don’t find anything in other Ancestry files now giving information on my Ursula WRIGHT.
There is another Ursula WRIGHT who was born 26 May 1783 in Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts.  She is the daughter of Joel WRIGHT and Ursula MOSELEY.
There is no spouse for her on this site.
and no hint as to what happened to her, such as moving to Stillwater NY.
[The future husband of my Ursula WRIGHT was born in Hempstead, on Long Island NY and moved from there to Stillwater NY.]
The Ursley who was baptised in Stillwater in 1792 (born 5 September 1779) was the daughter of Reuben WRIGHT and Phebe, his first wife.  So, who was this Phebe who was received in the Congregational Church, Yellow Meeting House, 4 September 1772, Stillwater NY and then in the Stillwater Presbyterian Church in 1792 where their children were baptized (including Ursley in 1779)? [see Clue #6]
There is a clue here.
In a personal e-mail from a MOORE/MORE family researcher:
“850. The More family, Stillwater.
[??] my mother's father was Ephraim P More.  He came from Simsbury, Ct. to Stillwater.  He worked in the Simsbury mines, and by an explosion in the mines his eyes were so burnt that he became partially  & [??] blind.  His children were, Ephraim, Gideon, Charles, [??], Phineas & Reubin, & his daughters, as follows.
Anna was second wife husband of Job Wright & had but one son, John.  A half brother of John Wright was Abraham Wright, who kept the well  known "Wrights Ferry" for a great many years.
Phebe married Reubin Wright of Stillwater--no connexion of Job.  They had Silas & other children--
Anna (Hannah?) married Ephraim Woodworth, who lived & died very rich in Northumberland.
Jerusha married a Stillwater man, named Highstead, who moved off to the west somewheres.
Lydia married Moses Martin, my father. [??]
[??] married  William ? Bemis of Bemis's Heights [??]”
So a possibilty is that my “Phebe” is Phebe More of Stillwater, daughter of Ephraim P More from Simsbury CT.
The Fitch Gazetteer, An Annotated Index to the Manuscript History of Washington County, New York, 1999, transcribes this slightly differently:
“Ephriam?- of Simsbury, Conn.; he worked in the mines there, his eyes were burnt by an explosion, leading to partial & later, total blindness; rem. Stillwater, N.Y.;. children sons Ephriam, Gideon, Charles, Alpheus, Phineas & Reuben; daus Anna, m Job Wright ; Phebe m Silas Wright;
Anner (Hannah?) m Ephraim Woodworth; Jerusha m ____ Highstead;
Lydia m Moses Martin; & Triphena, m William ? Bemis of Bemis's Heights, Stillwater N.Y. -850”
These two quotes are very close, except for the detail as to who Phebe married.  Reuben or Silas.
Also, there isn’t a date for this.  I tried to research explosions in Simsbury Mines, and there is a history of explosions, but nothing that must have dated from 1700’s that I’ve found yet.
I checked the Barbour Collection, Simsbury Vital Records for “MOORE, MOOR, MORE, MORRE”:
There is no Ephraim More.  I checked the names of his children listed above.  The only person with a name included is Gideon, son of Gideon born 14 April 1738.
Any ideas?  I’m open to suggestions on who is Phebe (possibly MORE) who married Reuben WRIGHT and gave birth to Ursley.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Clue #7: Ruben WRIGHT family in 1790 census, Stillwater NY

In the census, the Ruben Wright family has
3 free white males under 16
3 free white males 16 and over
4 free white females
10 total household members

Clue #6: Summary of information known about Reuben Wright by anonymous

There was a typed document in the WRIGHT files in the Stillwater NY Historian's files.  There is no date and no author.  Any handwritten additions are in [ ]s.

Reuben Wright of Stillwater was born 1746, died September 1796.
He was a member of the Stillwater Congregational Church having been received with his wife Phebe (maiden name unknown) in September 1772.  There is no evidence that he came from Connecticut with the original Congregation in 1762.  The name Reuben Wright is among the “signers of the Covenant” in Canaan Conn. in 1752 but that could hardly be the Stillwater Reuben who at that time would have been bur six years old.  There were a number of Wrights mentioned in the Canaan Congregational Church records previous to the removal to Stillwater.  They apparently remained behind in Canaan.

The children of Reuben and Phebe were baptised in the Stillwater Church as follows:  Luraney 1772; Lydia 1774; Ursley (Ursula ?) 1779; a son (unnamed who may have died in infancy) 1782.
(Perhaps his wife Phebe died at this same time)
His sons by a second marriage to Sarah (maiden name unknown [handwritten: Husted]) are named in his will as Reuben and John.  [handwritten:  Reuben Wright b Nov 11 1789 Quaker Spa Centy d Feb 6 1867]
Ransler (Rensselaer) May 1796. (Gravestone?)  His last child as he died September 1796.
Reuben Wright was Supervisor of Stillwater in 1795.
The roster of the 13th Regiment Albany County (Stillwater & Saratoga Regiment) Lists Ensign Reuben Wright and also an enlisted man Reuben Wright.
The Census 1790 lists Reuben Wright as the head of a household including 4 females (his second wife and 3 daughters?) and 3 males under 16 years (3 sons?) and 3 males over 16: himself and 2 others not sons but adult males (perhaps grandfathers or uncles).  The other children seem to tally with this listing.
Tax list 1789-lists Reuben Wright as owner of a good sized farm.
The position of his  name in the list of both tax list and census indicates that his farm was on the Bemis Heights road this side of the Back Baptist Church and near one Reuben Moore from whom he bought land (mentioned in his will).

He was apparently not buried in the Back Baptist lot nor yet in the Congregational plot at the Yellow Meeting House but - tho I have been told by descendant who may be misinformed - that his remains were removed from the plot on the school house hill in Stillwater to the Union Cemetery.  Evidence is strong that he was buried in the Bemis Heights Graveyard near the school house there, and later removed with the other bodies - his neighbors Newland, Woodworth etc - to the Union Cemetery where they lie along the back fence in a row neglected and forgotten.

This is all I have to date about Reuben Wright of Stillwater, Revolutionary soldier.”

Clue #5: The Will of Reuben Wright (possible father of Ursula)

In the will of Reuben Wright, he names sons, but not daughters.  Says he has 6 children.
Will proved in September 1796.

Will of Reuben Wright

“Reuben Wright of the Town of Stillwter havaing made his will by which he appointed Joel Ketchum and Increase Child his Executors which said Will having been moved and his the Executor having taken the usual oaths letters testementary were this 27 September 1796 granted to them with said will with [?] Letter Testamentary thereon are in his words following viz:

 In the name of God amen I Reuben Wright of Stillwater in the County of Saratoga and State of New York being by the wise and Righteous dispensation of devine Providence visited with [?] sickness and the apparent decay of Nature but yet of perfect sound mind and memory blessed be god therefor do hereby make and publish this my last will & testament in manner and form following viz.  I commend my Soul to God whom I acknowledge to be the author of my being with a Comfortable hope that it has been redeemed through the mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ and my body I commit to the Dust to be buried in a Decent manner with a full [?] I shall receive it again in the glorious morning of the Resurection and as to such worldly Estate as has pleased God to bestow upon me Thy this my last will and Testament  Dispose of in the following manner viz.  I will and order my Executor hereafter mentioned that they see all my just Debts paid and the debt I owe to Henry Quackenbes Esq I order to be paid by a collection of my notes Book accounts and the  sale of such Merchant goods as I have on hand at my decease & the remainder of my Interest I give & bequeath as follows viz. 1 I will & order that my dear beloved wife Sarah Wright see to the support maintainance and bringing up of my Children which are not of age untill they shall arrive to lawful age to act for themselves and in order to inable her to perform the same and for her support  & maintance I will order that she my said wife shall have the  use of my home & land on which I now live and the then acres of Land I hold by deed from Reuben More and all my house hold furniture (except such as I was possessed of before my marriage to her) untill the time my youngest surviving Child shall arrive to Lawful age to act for themselves and then for my siad wife to have the one half of my house hould furniture not before excepted as her own and the other half to be equally diveded amongst my other surviving Daughters but then it is to be accounted as so much of this divison of my estate and when the youngest of my surviving Children shall arrive to lawful age if my said wife shall then remain my widow that then she shall have the use and profit of one kind of the aforesaid Lands and [?] during her life or the time she remains my widow the house hold furniture before excepted is to be equally divided between my daughters whch I had by my first wife.  2ly I will and order that my son Reuben Wright shall have the use and profits of the one half of the farm on which he now lives untill the youngest of my then surviving Children be of lawful age to act for themselves and then the whole of the said farm to be equally divided among the whole of my them surviving Children and the other half of said farm to be put to use and the profits arising there from to go to pay debts or to be equally divided at the time of the division of said Farm.  3ly. My wearing apparel including my regimentasl Suit I order to be equally divided among my Sons and the part belonging to those who are not of age to be kept for them untill they are of age.  4thly.  I give and bequeath to my son John Wright my musket & Cartridge Box.  5thly.  I will and order that an equal division of all my interest both real of personal after paying my debts sall be made amongst all my children except what is herein before disposed of and those of my children which have hereto fore received any thing from me it is to be accountd as so much of [?] dividend and that the first dividend shall take place amongst them of such of my Interest as is not encumbered by this my last will & testament & the parts of those who are of age to be paid to them and the parts of them who are under age to be put to Interest for them and when they shall severally be of age then to be paid to them and when the youngest of my surviving Children shall arrive the lawful age and the incumbrance taken off the aforesaid lands & tenements then another equal division amongst all my children is to be made of the Lands & Tenements  herein before mentioned and it is my special wish that my son John Wright should remain with and assist my said wife Sarah Wright on the farmland that when my other 6 children are come of age for him the said John Wright to keep the first mentioned pieces of Land and Tenements & pay out to the rest of the Children each one their part of the Dividend of said lands & Tenements  6thly.  I do hereby constitute ordain & appoint Joel Ketchum and Increase Child to by Executors to this last will and testament to see the same fulfilled according to the true meaning and intent and I do hereby revoke former wills by me made and declare and publish this as my last will and Testament  The writings whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty first day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety six.  Reuben Wright.”

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Clue #4: 1810 Census

The only census which seems to include the Nathaniel and Ursula (Wright) Searing family is the 1810 for Saratoga Springs:

The census includes Nathaniel Searing and the members of his household.  Unfortunately, it wasn't until 1850 that all the household members are listed in the census.  So, we can read the number of people of each age.  This would count for Nathaniel, Ursula and their three children plus 4 other people.  Yet, we can't tell for sure who is included.

If Nathaniel Jr's obituary is correct, Nathaniel Sr died about 1826 and Ursula about 1830.  I do not find the family in the 1820 census.  Maybe by then they were living with relatives, such as Samuel Searing, father of Nathaniel or Richard Searing, brother of Nathaniel Sr.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Clue #3: potential baptism & parents

There is no record of Ursula's birth in the Saratoga County records or town records.  The Ritchie Files (Saratoga County Historian’s Office, Ballston Spa, NY) do not list a birth for her.

Ursula was born "about 1783."  How many years away from 1783 is "about?"  Could a baptism in 1779 be "about 1783?"  Could "Ursley" really be Ursula?

A potential candidate for her birth/baptism is:

“Reuben married ist Phebe
was received in Yellow Meeting House Sept 4 1772, Stillwater Presbyterian Church in 1792
Lydia born Oct 2 1774
Ursley born Sept 5, 1779
Son born Aug 18, 1782
Luraney Sep 6 1772”

Clue #2: son Nathaniel

Ursula died about 1830 (based on story of son below).

According to his obituary, Nathaniel Searing was born 17 February 1814 in Saratoga Springs NY.

According to the "History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan by John S Schenck):
     “When Nathaniel was but twelve years old his father died, and he lived with his mother until he was sixteen, attending school a portion of the time and earning small amounts, between his eight and sixteenth years, by cupping water at the famed “Congress Spring.”  He assisted in clearing up the land which is now the park, and after the death of his mother, which occurred when he was sixteen years of age, he found employment by the month on a farm.  Two years afterwards he went to Niagara Co., N.Y., and continued farm-labor for hire for five years.  He was then married to Louisa C. Martin, a native of Whitby, Ontario, Dominion of Canada, where she was born Dec. 22, 1813.”   [Congress Spring is in Saratoga Springs NY].

Clue #1: daughter Martha

According to "The Genealogy of the Worthington Family," by George Worthington (1894), Martha SEARING was born in Stillwater, NY on 10 March 1808, and was the daughter of Ursula WRIGHT and Nicholas SEARING.

Unfortunately, this is before NY state started recording births, and there is no vital record confirmation of this clue, nor have I found any church records of it yet.

Martha went on to marry Denison Worthington on 24 December 1829 in the 2nd Presbyterian Church of Albany NY.  She had 3 children, Robert Searing Worthington (4 October 1830), Harriet Worthington (20 July 1833) and William Henry (23 May 1836).  She died on 23 March 1839 in Albany and was buried with her two children who pre-deceased her, Harriet and William.