Monday, April 7, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #13 Josiah Hemingway

As I researched my great-great grandfather, I learned that this man had been very strong and helped clear the first part of Yonge Street in York (now Toronto). He was born about 1774 in New York State. In about 1800, Josiah married Annie Stiver/Stoeber, one of the Berczy Settlers who had arrived in Markham Township in 1794.  Josiah farmed at Lot 4, Concession 4. With his wife Annie, they had a large family: Eleanor, Nancy, John, Peter, Moses, Mary, Elizabeth, Anna, Hannah, Benjamin and Caroline.

So when did he die? Do you believe everything you see in print or carved in stone? According to Josiah Hemingway's monument in the East Hagerman Cemetery, Markham, Ontario, Josiah died in 1854.

Note: This is a newer monument than the date of death would indicate and also note the position of Josiah's name on the monument. [Click on the photo to see it more clearly - Control + will increase the size

His biography appears in the biographical section of the two volume set, The History of Toronto and York County published in 1885 as part of the section on his son Moses Hemingway and it states that "he died in the year 1854". [1]

I questioned the 1854 date of his death that I saw on the stone and in the local history book. This date also appears in online family trees and information I had received from another researcher. These are not independent sources as the year is most likely based on one source. I suspect it originated with a misread one being a  four or possibly just a mis-remembered date.

Why did I question the death year of 1854. I questioned it first because of the 1851 census but it was Josiah's estate records that verified that 1854 was not correct.

First, the official date for the 1851 census was 12 January 1852. Anna Hemminway, aged 68 is listed as a widow. She is living in a hewed log house with Mary Jane, aged 18 and Susannah, aged 10. The 1851 census doesn't give relationships of individuals to the head, so the relationship of Mary Jane and Susannah is not known. [2]

Josiah wrote his will on 2 December 1850. The cover page of the estate papers has the date 28 September 1851. The inventory is dated 13 October 1851. [3]

The inventory gives a good indication of the financial position of Josiah. The totals are in Pounds, Shillings and Pence.

Inventory of the Estate of the Late Josiah Hemingway of the Township of Markham County of York Canada West Taken Oct 13 1851 [signed by Anna Hemingway with her mark on 16 October 1851]


Item
Pounds
Shillings
Pence
300 Acres of land
2100
0
0
Household furniture
18
0
0
Farming Utensils
12
8
0
Grain & Roots
8
15
0
 ? Cattle
16
5
0
Sheep
15
0
0
Hogs
7
10
0
Book debts
10
10
0
Book debts
20
15
0
Lumber
3
10
0
Notes
258
6
11
Poultry

10
6
Total
2463
7
5


The two eldest sons John and Peter only received one pound each. [Land records likely will show that they had already received land.] [4]

All my Freehold Estate compromising my Land Property be divided between my other two sons Moses and Benjamin, in such a manner that Benjamin, shall have and possess of the said land from twenty five to thirty acres more than my son Moses, to be left at the Discretion and be determined by the undermentioned Executors . . .  
Now this might not have been a problem but Benjamin died several months later on 22 December 1851 without a will and before the property had been divided. The Estate papers for Benjamin give an idea of what happened after his death.

Josiah also names his daughters in his will. To Nancy, Betsy, Mary, Anna, Hannah and Caroline, he leaves to them the rest of his personal goods and chattels to be divided equally among them. He says in his will that if any of the girls are ever destitute that they will have the privilege of living in the house.

The will includes the stipulation that there would be no disputes or suits if anyone disagreed with the decisions. Did he anticipate that problems might arise? Does it give a glimpse into the nature of Josiah?



 [1]Adam, Graeme Mercer, Mulvany, Charles Pelham Graeme Mercer Adam and Charles Pelham Mulvany, History of Toronto and County of York, Ontario : containing an outline of the history of the Dominion of Canada, a history of the city of Toronto and the county of York, with the townships, towns, villages, churches, schools; general and local statistics; biographical sketches, etc., etc. Volume 2, C. Blackett Robinson Publishers, 1885, p. 290.
[2]1852 Census of Canada West, York County, Markham Township,
[ 3] Josiah Hemingway Estate file H-9 RG 22 Series 6-2, (28 Sept 1951), York County, microfilm MS 638 Reel 84, Archives of Ontario, Toronto
[4 ] British monetary system used in Canada West until 1858.

© 2014 Janet Iles Print

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