Saturday, January 25, 2014

Eliakim Winchell Sr.'s Second Wife

I’ve wondered why I came to the conclusion several years ago that my ancestor Eliakim Winchell Sr. had two wives.  Today I found those notes. 

I traced Eliakim through the U. S. census records.  I haven’t worked with the early census records very much, so it’s possible my logic is faulty. 

1790 federal census, Berkshire County,
Eliakim Winchell, Town of Egremont
2 white males over 16 (Eliakim and 1 son ready to leave home)
4 white males under 16
5 females

It appears that Eliakim had four sons and four daughters in 1790, allowing for one of the females as his wife.  I have documentation of only four children—Chillup, Rachel, Charlotte and David—all baptized 19 June 1782 in the Town of Egremont, Berkshire Co., Mass.  I don’t have definite birth dates for son Eliakim and daughter Deborah.  I’m also missing the names of two children completely.

1800 federal census, Berkshire County
Eliakim Winchell, Town of Mount Washington
1 male 45 years of age or older (Eliakim)
1 female under ten
1 female 16-25 (either a daughter or a new wife)

There isn’t a female the approximate age of the head of household.  The female between 16 and 25 is either a daughter or a younger wife.  There are six children no longer living at home. 

1810 federal census
Eliakim Winchell
Town of Mount Washington
2 males under 10
1 male over 45 (Eliakim)
2 females under 10
1 female over 26 and under 45

In 1810 Eliakim has four small children under ten years of age.  There is a female between 26 and 45 in the household.  Since she’s the only adult, she’s probably his wife and the mother of his children.  I know who these children were:  George, Margaret, Elizabeth and Clarissa.  His daughter Almira was born about 1814.  The mother died before April 1818 when Eliakim died.  There's no mention of her in the probate records.

I’ve never found a marriage record for Eliakim.  The Town of Egremont records burned in the 1830s.  I looked through the vital records for the town of Mount Washington and the town records.  There was no mention there.  A local researcher, a federal ranger and past president of the Great Barrington Historical Society said that was probably because the second wife was Native American.  Two of Eliakim’s grandsons, Milton and John Winchell, seemed to be noted as Native American on the 1870 U.S. census.  I will have to see if I can find any trace of a married Winchell woman who died in the town of Mountain Washington between 1814 and 1818. 

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