* their daughter, #19 Sophia Newton (1834-1923) who married Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) in 1852.
1) PERSON (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
* Name: Thomas J. Newton
* Sex: Male
2) INDIVIDUAL FACTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
: Birth: about 1800, Maine, United States
* Residence: 3 December 1832 (about age 32), Westborough, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States 
3) MARRIAGES AND CHILDREN (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
* Spouse 1: Sophia Buck (1797-1882)
* Marriage 1: about 1834 (about age 34), probably Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
* Child 1: Sophia Newton (1834-1923)
* Child 2: Thomas Jefferson Newton (1835-1915)
4) NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
Thomas J. Newton is one elusive ancestor! He may have been born between, say, 1790 and 1810 in Maine. He is the purported husband of Sophia (Buck) Brigham, as her second husband, perhaps married in about 1834. He is the purported father, according to Massachusetts vital records, of at least two children - Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (1834?-1923) and Thomas J. Newton (1835?-1915) - with Sophia. It is not known if Thomas J. Newton had a wife previous to, or after, Sophia (Buck) Newton. It is not known when or where Thomas J. Newton died.
One of the time constraints on this relationship between Thomas J. Newton and Sophia (Buck) Brigham is the death of Sophia's first husband, Lambert Brigham on 5 May 1834 in Westborough, Massachusetts. Assuming that Sophia was married to Lambert at the time of his death, there is the possibility that Lambert Brigham is the biological father of Sophia (Newton) Hildreth and Thomas J. Newton, but only if they were born in 1834 or before.
The available evidence for the birth of the purported daughter, Sophia (Newton) Hildreth, indicates that the year of her birth is between 1832 and 1837, probably in Vermont. The two earliest pieces of evidence (1850 Census and 1852 marriage record) imply 1834 by the age given in the records. The 1880 Census evidence implies 1833. The 1860, 1870 and 1900 Census evidence implies 1835. The 1910 Census evidence implies 1836. The 1920 Census evidence implies 1837. She died 29 April 1923 in Leominster, Massachusetts, aged 86 years, 11 months, 15 days; Her age at death calculates her birth date to be 14 September 1836. The death record indicates her birthplace as Springfield, Windsor, Vermont, and provides no father's name and a mother's name of (Buck) Newton. Ages given on census records, and death records, are notorious for being one or two years off if the specific person did not provide the information to the enumerator; also, people fibbed at times.
My working hypothesis, based on all of the available evidence, and weighting the earliest bits of evidence the most, is that Sophia Newton was born on 14 September 1834. I have attempted to summarize what I know and how I know it in "Who Really Was the Father of Sophia Newton (183?-1923)?" (http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/05/who-was-really-father-of-sophia-newton.html).
Sopiha Newton (1834-1923) married in Northborough MA on 25 December 1852 to Edward Hildreth. On the marriage record, her father's name was listed as Thomas J. Newton. She died 29 April 1923 in Leominster, Massachusetts, aged 86 years, 11 months, 15 days, with a birthplace listed as Springfield, Vermont, no father's name listed, and a mother's name of (Buck) Newton. The 1880 and 1900 census data indicates her father was born in Maine, but the 1910 and 1920 census data indicates he was born in Massachusetts.
The second purported child of Thomas J. Newton was a son, Thomas J. Newton (1835-1915), whose marriage record in 1864 identifies his parents as Thomas and Sophia, and his death record in 1915 identifies his parents as Thomas J. Newton (born in Maine) and Sophia Buck. His death record says that his birth date was 3 June 1835 in Burlington, Vermont. The earliest record of this Thomas J. Newton is the 1850 U.S. census record for Sterling, Massachusetts where he is age 17, born in Vermont. The 1900 U.S. census says he was born in June 1835 in Vermont, but the 1850 (age 17), 1870 (age 37) and 1880 (age 47) census records imply that he was born in 1832-3, as does his 1864 marriage record (age 32). So we have a birth year range of 1832-1835 for Thomas J. Newton. If it was in 1832, then he may be the son of Thomas J. Newton by some unknown wife, or he may be the son of Lambert and Sophia (Buck) Brigham and then adopted the Newton surname.
A problem with these children is their relative birth dates. If daughter Sophia Newton was born on 14 September 1834, and son Thomas J. Newton was born on 3 June 1835, that is less than nine months apart. If Thomas was born in 1832 and Sophia in 1834, that would be logical. Or if Sophia was born in 1834 and Thomas in 1836, that would be logical. Or it could be that they had two different mothers (say, an earlier wife for one of them, and Sophia for the second child). Or both children could be Lambert Brigham's children. Or one or both of the children could be adopted.
I have found no marriage records for Thomas J. Newton and Sophia (Buck) Brigham. Sophia had two children by Lambert Brigham (who died in May 1834) - Augustus Brigham (born 1820) and Aurelius Brigham (born 1830), both born in Sterling, Massachusetts.
It is logical that the widow Sophia (Buck) Brigham resided in or near Sterling in the 1834 to 1836 time period with her two sons and near her Buck and Brigham families.
At some point, Thomas J. Newton met and may have married Sophia (Buck) Brigham. They had a daughter, Sophia Newton (born 14 September 1834 in Vermont) and a son, Thomas J. Newton (born 3 June 1835 in Cambridge, Vermont) if the accumulated records of those persons are to be believed.
My working hypothesis is that Thomas J. Newton married Sophia (Buck) Brigham in 1834 or 1835 in Worcester County, Massachusetts.
I have searched records for Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire - including Vital Records, census, some land and probate records, Newton family books, town histories, etc, - for Thomas J. Newton.
The Newton Genealogy book by Ermina Newton Leonard has been perused for hours, trying to link Thomas J. Newton with a Maine, Vermont or Massachusetts family, with no success. There are two Newton families that resided in Oxford County, Maine before 1810.
The Newton family was numerous in the Marlborough, Northborough and Southborough area of Massachusetts. It is possible that Thomas J. Newton is descended from Nathan and Anna (Brigham) Newton who moved from Northborough, Massachusetts in 1790 to Andover, Oxford County, Maine, and had a son Lambert and a daughter Sophia plus several other children. The Brigham, Lambert and Sophia names coincide with those found in the family of Sophia Newton's mother. In addition, Sophia Buck's first husband was named Lambert Brigham.
It is also possible that he is descended from Levi and Betsey (Woodward) Newton. Levi was born in Southborough, Massachusetts, and his family resided in Sutton, Massachusetts in 1790, and moved to Dixfield, Oxford County, Maine in about 1795. They had several sons, including Jacob Newton. Jacob Newton had a son, Thomas Newton, born in 1808 (more on him later).
There are no records for persons named Thomas Newton (or similar) in Maine or New Hampshire in the 1830 U.S. census.
There are three records for persons named Thomas Newton (or similar) in the 1830 U.S. census for Vermont. They are:
* Thomas Newton - in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont, age 20-30, with a female aged 20-30.
* Thomas Newton - in Ira, Rutland, Vermont, age 30-40, with males aged 5-10, 10 to 55, 15 to 20, and females aged 5-10 and 30 to 40.
* Thomas F. Newton - in Pawlett, Rutland, Vermont, aged 40-50, with males aged 0-5, 10-15, and 15-20, and females aged 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, and 30-40.
There is one person named Thomas Newton (or similar) in the 1830 U.S. census for Massachusetts:
* Thomas Newton - in Phillipston, Worcester, Massachusdetts, age 40-50, with males aged 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, and 15-20; and females aged 10-15, 15 to 20 and 40-50.
In the 1840 U.S. census, there are no entries for a Thomas Newton (or similar) in Maine or New Hampshire.
There are two records for persons named Thomas Newton (or similar) in the 1840 U.S. census for Vermont. They are:
* Thomas Newton - in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont, age 30-40, with males aged 0-5 and 5-10, and a female aged 30-40.
* Thomas C. Newton - in Ira, Rutland, Vermont, age 40-50, with males aged 15-20, 20 to 30, and females aged 15-20 and 40 to 50.
There is one person named Thomas Newton (or similar) in the 1840 U.S. census for Massachusetts:
* Thomas Newton - in Phillipston, Worcester, Massachusdetts, age 50-60, with males aged 10-15, and a female 50-60.
For the 1830 and 1840 census records, it is apparent to me that the Thomas Newton families in Burlington, Vermont, Ira, Vermont, and Phillipston, Massachusetts are in both census years, and are not the Thomas J. Newton I am searching for. Of course, there could have been a different spouse in 1840 than in 1830. However, no 1840 Thomas Newton family in the four states considered have both a male child (son Thomas) and a female child (daughter Sophia) in age ranges of 0-5 and/or 5 to 10.
Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) Newton resided in Northborough, Massachusetts in the 1850 U.S. census with her daughter, Sophia. The son, Thomas J. Newton, resided in nearby Sterling, Massachusetts.
A T. J. Newton, age 45, was found in the 1850 census, living in Reading, Massachusetts with a wife Eliza, and a 16-year old male named Albert Newton. This Thomas J. Newton was born in Dixfield, Oxford County, Maine, according to his death record in 1852, the son of Jacob Newton. He was born in 1808 in Dixfield, Maine. The problem is he's only 45 years old (actually 42) in the 1850 census. This Thomas J. Newton (single, no occupation, no age, no parents) married Eliza P. Coffin (widow) in Dedham, Massachusetts on 17 September 1843. Dedham is not that far from Westborough and Sterling, Massachusetts. This may be the Thomas J. Newton who probably married Sophia (Buck) Brigham in about 1834. Or not!
A divorce from Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) Newton is a possibility. The divorce records for Worcester County, Massachusetts from about 1834 to about 1850 were reviewed on FamilySearch Library microfilms. They are included in the Supreme Judicial Court records for the county. I looked at two films - one for 1833-1845, and one for 1845-1854. There were several interesting law suits for Newton on these films, but not for the target Sophia and Thomas Newton. There may be a divorce record in Lamoille County or Windsor County, Vermont, or another Massachusetts County, which I have not reviewed to date.
The only record I have found for this Thomas J. Newton residing in a town near where Sophia (Buck) Brigham resided in the 1830 to 1835 time frame is the Westborough town list of "Account of Town Orders from Select Men of Westboro drawn for the support of Town Paupers for whom Cash was drawn from Town Treasury by Caleb W. Forbush Town Treasurer" included Thomas J. Newton, who drew $32.59 on 3 December 1832.
There are no land records in Worcester County, Massachusetts Land Record Grantee and Grantor Indexes for Thomas J. Newton or for Sophia Newton. I have not checked for land records in Lamoille or Windsor Counties, Vermont for Thomas J. Newton.
There are no probate records for a Thomas J. Newton in Middlesex County MA, Worcester County MA, nor in Lamoille County or Windsor County, Vermont records.
I have found no burial record for Thomas J. Newton in published or online records or databases.
One scenario for this Thomas J. Newton and his wife (?) Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) Newton, is that he met her in Westborough, Massachusetts and vicinity around the time of Lambert Brigham's death; she had at least two young sons by Lambert in 1820 and 1830, and may have been pregnant with another and needed a husband to provide for her. They may have married, gone off to Lamoille (or Windsor) County, Vermont for a period of time, and then he either died, or they separated/divorced, in the 1835-1850 time period. In the 1850 census, the mother Sophia, the daughter Sophia and son Thomas are residing in Massachusetts.
Another scenario is that the elusive Thomas J. Newton is the Thomas J. Newton, born in 1808 in Dixfield, Maine to Jacob and Fanny (Parks) Newton, who came to Westborough, Massachusetts by 1832, married Sophia (Buck) Brigham in say, late 1834, fathered perhaps one or both of the children, divorced Sophia soon after, and married widow Eliza Coffin in 1843 in Dedham, fathering two more children, Cordelia (1844-1845) and Thomas Jefferson Newton (1848-1849), appeared in the 1850 census in Reading as T J Newton, and died in 1852 in Reading, Massachusetts. The problem here is that he would be 11 years younger than Sophia (age 37 at her marriage), the births of Sophia and Thomas are supposedly in Vermont, and he had a son Thomas Jefferson Newton born in 1848, who died in 1849.
So we have a mystery man in this Thomas J. Newton. He may have been the father of Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (1834?-1923), or he may not. He may or may not have been the father of Thomas J. Newton (1835?-1915).
1. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), "Westborough, Town Accounts," page 160 (image 84 of 129), No. 103, Thomas J. Newton entry on town support list.
Note that I have provided a lot of narrative, but not a lot of sources for this biography. I chose not to insert sources for my narrative summaries because of time constraints. As you can see, I have only one source that clearly identifies this person in a record in the vicinity of the purported wife and children.
I welcome any and all comments about my narrative, the hypotheses and scenarios.
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/08/52-ancestors-in-52-weeks-week-31-38.html
Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver