Monday, March 10, 2008

The Elusive --?-- (who married Cornelius Feather)

It's National Women's History month, so I am posting some of my most elusive women ancestors in hopes that someone will Google their name and find my post. Ideally, the Googlers will provide me with more information about my elusive female ancestor's ancestry. Realistically, they will commiserate with me about the lack of records and wonder why no researcher has figured the problem out yet.


Family of --?--

1. --?-- was born before 1785 in CT, and died before 1830 in probably Mercer County, PA. She married Cornelius Feather before 1804 in probably Trumbull County, OH, son of Stephen Feather. He was born 1777 in Middlesex County, NJ, and died 1852 in Mercer County, PA.

Notes for --?--:

The name of the wife of Cornelius Feather is not known. The only clue about her birthplace is the 1880 US Census record of her son, George Feather, which says his mother was born in Connecticut.

Notes for Cornelius Feather:

Cornelius Feather was with his father, Stephen Feather, when he moved to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania after the Revolutionary War.

Cornelius Feather married and settled in Warren township, Trumbull County, Ohio. He appears in the 1804 through 1810 tax records of Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio.

He moved to Mercer County, Pennsylvania in about 1823, settling in what is now Otter Creek township. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, voted the Democratic ticket, and served in the War of 1812. His family included John, George, Mary (Mrs. Charles Milner), Sarah (Mrs. Henry Carringer), all of whom are dead except George, who was born in Warren, Ohio in 1808. ("The History of Mercer County, Pennsylvania," published in 1888).

The Mercer County history book ascribes Cornelius' son John Feather as the one who married Phoebe Condit and had eleven children, including Stephen, George and Ira, who are described in the history book. However, research by Feather descendants indicates that the John Feather who married Phoebe Condit was the son of John Feather, brother to Cornelius. The primary evidence is the graveyard monuments in Oak Hill Cemetery near Sandy Lake, John Feather was the son of John Feather and the father of Ira Condit Feather.

In the 1830 US census for Mercer County, PA, the Cornelius Feathers household resided in Salem township. The household included one male aged 20-30, one male aged 50-60 (Cornelius), one female aged 10-15, one female aged 20-30 and one female aged 30-40. (National Archives Microfilm Series Roll 149, Page 206, also FHL Microfilm 0,020,623, page 206).

In the 1840 US census, the Cornelius Feather family resided in New Lyme township, Ashtabula County, Ohio. The household included one male aged 60-70 (Cornelius), one female aged 0-5, one female aged 5-10, one female aged 30-40 and one female aged 40-50. (FHL Microfilm 0,020,18).

In the 1850 US census, this family resided in Salem township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania (National Archives Microfilm Series M432, Roll 796, Page 349, dwelling #1319, family #1419, line 31, also on FHL Microfilm 0,444,764). The household included:

* Cornelius Feather -- age 73, male, a farmer, $1000 in real property, born NY
* Mary Feather -- age 58, female, born PA

The age of Mary Feather in the 1850 census record (age 58, born about 1792), and of the oldest female in the 1830 and 1840 census records, imply that Mary (and the oldest female) is not the mother of Sarah Feather (born in 1804), John (born about 1806), or George (born about 1808) but may be the mother of Mary Ann (born about 1815).

Children of Wife Feather and Cornelius Feather are:

2 ... i. Sarah Feather, born 07 June 1804 in Warren, Trumbull County, OH; died 09 April 1848 in Perry, Mercer County, PA (gravestone). She married Heinrich/Henry Carringer before 1825 in Mercer County, PA; born 06 June 1800 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; died 10 August 1881 in Columbus City, Louisa County, IA (gravestone, "age 78").

3 ... ii. John Feather, born 1806 in Warren, Trumbull County, OH.

4 ... iii. George Feather, born 1808 in Warren, Trumbull County, OH; died 1890 in Mercer County, PA. He married Mary Keelan; born about 1812 in PA.

5 ... iv. Mary Ann Feather, born about 1815 in Warren, Trumbull County, OH. She married (1) Charles Milner in Mercer County, PA. She married (2) Dennis Harbaugh 12 February 1837 in Trumbull County, OH; born 25 April 1813 in Tuscarawus, OH.


Here is a nameless ancestor who played a vital role in creating several families, and she probably has several hundred, or even thousands, of descendants. She was a daughter of somebody and likely the inheritor of a fine New England colonial ancestry. And we (well, I) don't even know her first name, let alone her maiden surname.

My own ancestry is through Sarah Feather, who married Henry Carringer.

If anyone has additions or corrections to this family data, please, please, please, please (shades of James Brown, eh?) email me at

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