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Sunday, January 7, 2018

A letter about my Uncle Legrand Booth's family

When you have a great (times 4) uncle who has 12 children, and he outlives his 2 wives, it is worth looking at a letter describing some of his later life, written while he was still alive and living with various relations.

Legrand Booth c.1783-c.1865
His brother Isaac Booth Jr  1795-1836 was my 4th great grandfather.

So I'll give the quote as it stands on Ancestry, which may be incidental information to them, but tells so much about a man, and his family. My guess is the person who posted it to Ancestry was Cheryl Richardson, my 3rd cousin twice removed (or something like that.) Cheryl and I have the same 4th great grandparents. She says:
I have no information about the Legrand Booth family except what is contained in a letter dated April 23, 1859, addressed to Elliott Booth by his brother-in-law, Chester Gooding, E. Bloomfield (state not given). I will quote parts of the letter as it mentions places where some of the family lived:  NOTE:  Chester Gooding is brother of Ann Gooding Booth married to Elizer Booth
“I will give you an account of your father's family. Your mother died January 8, 1852. The family at the time of her death consisted of your father, Lafayette (Erastus), and Annjeanette, Lucius having been married the fall before to Mary Hopkins. After a time your father becoming dissatisfied and uneasy they concluded to break up and leave and your father went to live with Emeline who lived in Lafayette, Indiana, with her second husband, Mr. William Cochrane, having been divorced from Hummer who had left her and run off with a female spirit medium. Mr. Cochrane, being a very wealthy man and a large land holder and not enjoying very good health, Emeline wrote to Lafayette and father to come and live with them. Your father went up in November 1852. He did not like living in Indiana and left there in the following summer and went to Fitchburg, Dane County, Wisconsin, to live with Eli who was married and living there. Your father writes that he likes Wisconsin very much and enjoys excellent good health.
“Lafayette married in Indiana and also left and went to Fitchburg to live. He stayed there until this spring and has now returned to Lafayette and is in the County Clerk's office writing at a salary of ten dollars a week.
“Edward is in Joliette, Illinois, and is not married. Lucius moved last fall to Mundy, Genesee County, Michigan. Elizur lives where your father used to live and has as much flesh to carry about as your father ever had. Ann Jeanette is living with us.”

I note that my cousin only refers to Chester Gooding being the brother of Ann Gooding Booth, married to Elizer Booth.  But Chester Gooding was also married to a Booth himself, Lauricia Booth Gooding.  So it was a case of a brother and sister marrying a sister and brother of the 2 families, and thus Chester was a double brother in law!

Anyway, I will look at each of the Booth children mentioned in the letter, rather than all 12 of them. Father Legrand made his decisions (apparently) based on geography as to whom he'd live with.

Recipient of the letter was Elliot Lansing Booth, 1823-1882, eldest child of Legrand's second marriage to Mary May Booth (don't know her maiden name at this time).  Mary Booth lived from 1792-1852. Elliot apparently served for a while in the Union Army during the Civil War.  The next information is from NY Town Clerk's records of Men who served in the Civil War, 1861-1865, Onondaga, Syracuse, NY, Microfilm page 226 of 283.
Elliot Booth's rank was "Sergeant, in the 122 NY infantry and he enlisted in Aug 1862, and his residence was Tully, Onondaga, NY.  His occupation is listed as "butcher." The handwritten documents says: "Deserted from the regiment at the battle at Boonsborough, MD about the middle of July 1863."
But the microfilm document states: "Mustered out on 12 July 1863 at Boonsboro, MD." So I guess there wasn't really a desertion.
Erastus Lafayette Booth (mentioned as Lafayette still living at home) was second son of Mary and Legrand, and lived from 1827-1907, so he was 25 at the time of his mother's death. Erastus Booth may have been in the Civil War, but the document I found states he died in Mississippi in 1863. It also gives his father as Erastus, and mother as Nancy, and identifies him as a "farmer."  (Remember his father was Legrand, mother was Elizabeth "Betsy" Peck Booth.)

Ann Jeanette Booth lived from 1830-1902, making her 22 at the time of her mother's death.

The other son mentioned is Everette Lucius Booth, 1828-unknown death date, who apparently just had married Mary Hopkins in 1851.  This is the only mention I see on Ancestry of this marriage. 

Next we hear how Legrand went to live with his daughter Emmeline Booth Hummer Cochran 1810-1895 in Lafayette, Indiana. Emmeline had been married in 1834 to Michael Hummer (1802-1886) and had one child, and she married around 1852 to William Kerr Cochran (1807-1864).

Not only did I see a red flag when she married a second time before the death of her first husband, but the letter gives details about his mis-behaviors.  AND there's another interesting brother/sister relationship between her husbands.  From the Ancestry site is a story:

Emeline Booth (1810-1895) married 1st Michael Hummer (1802-1886).
Second she married William Kerr Cochran (1807-1864)
William Kerr Cochran's 1st wife was Nancy A Hummer (1807-1851).
Nancy A Hummer and Michael Hummer were brother and sister.

Incidentally her first husband died in Kansas, and had no other children with his second wife, Mary Margrave, the spirit medium, while Emmeline remained in Indiana. I love that her invitation to her father and brother to move in with her included the author's statement that her husband wasn't in very good health and had a lot of land. No wonder her father didn't stay but a season, and the next fall went to Wisconsin to stay with his son, Eli and wife, Juliette Rice Booth in Fitchberg, Dane County. Eli had registered for the draft in the Civil War in 1863, and identified himself as a shoemaker.

Erastus Lafayette married, lived in Indiana, and worked in county clerk's office. He and Hettie had 3 children, all born in Indiana

The last records are brief, and probably to the point if the letter was in April 1859. The comment about Ann Jeanette doesn't mention that she married Aug 10, 1858 to John H. Salisbury. Their first daughter was born July 23, 1869, so it's possible she was staying with the Goodings for the birth with her older sister in Wisconsin.

Now going back to the father of all these adult children...

Legrand Booth had gone through some tough financial times in 1815, having "Notice of Insolvancy" in August and December of that year, as published in 2 newspapers. 5 years prior to that, in the 1810 census he only had 5 household members. By 1820 there were 8.  They just kept having more children, apparently!

And then there's also a story about how some Booths took part in the California gold rush.  That's a story for another day, which cousin Cheryl shared on Ancestry.  I'll look it up for tomorrow's post.

 Quote for the Day:

Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility.

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