Saturday, June 13, 2009

William the Wanderer

When you begin to research the Wainwright family, it becomes doubly difficult because they, like so many families of their time, named their children in honor of beloved brothers and sisters. Thus, certain family names are often repeated from generation to generation. As mentioned earlier, I found the information of Steve Wainwright of California and Rodney Wainwright of New York to be invaluable. Without their help, I could never had as much success as I did.

In speaking with Steve, he refers to "our" line as the "Daniel/Vincent Line" because those names are found in almost every generation. Thomas and William are also used quite frequently. The challenge then becomes that when you've found records for William Wain(w)right that you do everything you can to insure that it is the "correct" William Wain(w)right -- not the brother, father, or nephew.

In an earlier posting, I discussed the evidence for William in Cincinnati -- but he didn't seem to stay put. William was the son of Vincent Wainwright and Elizabeth Williams of Monmouth Co., New Jersey. We are fortunate that we are connected to the Wing Family through marriage and they have documented a lot of the Wainwright earlier history. Go to this link:

William did not stay put. He was born in Shrewsbury, Monmouth, New Jersey on February 26, 1780. He was the 8th of nine children born to Vincent Wainwright and Elizabeth Williams. His father died in 1783 of small pox leaving his widow with nine children with two of the boys ages three and under.

William married Ruth Wright and eventually relocated to New York, New York. One of his daughters, Ann Eliza, was born in New York in 1810. About 1819 the family relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio where Britton was born. He worked as a blacksmith. That same year William bought property in Clermont County, Ohio. Here is a copy of the deed. He did not move immediately as he is still listed in the Cincinnati City Directory as a blacksmith living on Broadway near 2nd Street in the year 1831. Two of his sons, William Jr. and Vincent are also listed as blacksmiths living on E. Front St.

William is also listed in the index for property transfers in Clermont County along with other Wainwrights. According to the Genealogy of the Family Line of Thomas Wainwright cited earlier, William's brother Daniel brought his large family to Clermont County in 1828. Many of the records in Clermont County are from Daniel's family. Hopefully, I'll be able to post the exact locations of these properties before too long.

Property Transfers in Clermont County, 1791-1830
Note that Daniel, Vincent and William all bought property in Clermont County between 1819 and 1826. William bought property first followed by Daniel and Vincent. I do not know if Daniel and Vincent are the sons of William or his brothers. Daniel bought property in 1825.

Somewhere around 1839, William moved his family back to Cincinnati where he again worked as a blacksmith. He is listed in the Shaffer's Advertising Directory for 1839-40:

Wainwright, Wm (N J) Blacksmith, res, E Front n Corp line

The Cist Cincinnati Directory for 1843 has the following listings:

Wainright J. & B. wagon makers and blacksmiths, cor Front and
Wainright John, (J. & B. W.) Front bet Washington & Collord
Wainright Britton, (J. & B. W.) boards Wm Wainright
Wainright William, blacksmith. Front bet Washington & Collord

I believe that "J. & B." stands for John and Britton, two of William's sons. I know that Britton got married in Cincinnati and was still here in 1850 as he appears with his family in the Census.

Before Britton got married, however, it appears as if the wanderlust had struck him, too. He purchased 40 acres of land in Gallatin Co., IL. Shortly before he married Mary Elizabeth Darby in Cincinnati, he sold the 40 acres of property to his father -- a recent finding.

This land purchase took place in 1846. William was listed as living in Gallatin Co. in the 1850 Census. It says in the Census that he was married, yet Ruth is not listed in the Census with him. I found Ruth living in Cincinnati with her daughter Rachel Lusk in 1850. Her last name is misspelled and listed as "Wenright" in Rachel's husband James' occupation is listed as a "ships carpenter".

This was not to be his last move, however, because as cited earlier, William died in Athens Co., Ohio and is buried in the family plot of his daughter, Ann Eliza Broadwell. At some point after 1850 the Lusks and Ruth (William's widow) moved to Newport, KY. Ruth was living in northern Kentucky when she died and was buried at the Evergreen Cemetery.

I do not know what motivated William to move so often, but I've been able to track him in the following locations: Born in New Jersey, one child (at least) born in New York, son born in Cincinnati in 1819, lived in Clermont Co. from at least 1820 - 1839, back to Cincinnati in 1839, bought property in Gallatin Co., IL in 1846 and was there for the 1850 Census, and died in Athens Co., Ohio. I'm glad for the information I have but wish I understood more about his willingness to move so often.

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