I have located where — the actual farmstead — my ancestor Ezra Darwin Darling was born in Ontario County, New York in 1830. The land is at the southern end of Canadice Lake on the eastern side. His father, Jabez Darling, appears to have settled there in 1829, residing only for a year. On the map, the owner is listed as P. C. Swarts.
Some of the Northrup clan lived nearby. (Ezra married a Northrup.)
“Jabez NORTHRUP, with a family numbering 13, settled on the farm now occupied by Stephen MILLER. NORTHRUP was a carpenter, and erected a frame house; it was better and larger than those of his neighbors. Here he lived till 1837, when he died, aged 74 years. Before his death, his children, once 11 in number, had so settled about him that the conch shell could call all the living to their dinner. The family not only cleared the homestead, but 300 acres in the neighborhood. Anderson NORTHRUP, Dr. CAMPBELL, J. HEWETT, McCROSSEN and COLGROVE, were successive owners.”
I’ve been reading a book, in bits and pieces, written by a cousin about some of our ancestors, including my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Ichabod Foster. It’s based on a volume of his diaries and her travels tracing his footsteps.
It was with great satisfaction to find some details about my Foster cousins and their traditions, including Thanksgiving.
Many of my family’s branches have connections to this part of Iowa — Washington, Johnson, Keokuk and Linn counties.
Almeda Foster, a great granddaughter of Ichabod, married a fellow named John Shannon Boal. Azariah Foster, Ichabod’s grandson, was her father. Their eldest daughter, Nettie Boal, married Jerome Harvey Darling. I’ve discovered that Nettie had sisters, too, the knowledge of which slowly faded from people’s memories.
I actually have one of Nettie’s books, printed in 1871, I think. It was among some of my grandmother’s things for sale just before she moved from her home to a retirement community. Thankfully, I had the chance to quickly browse through what was left, before the sale, but after relatives had picked through whatever was there. Somehow folks had missed this book. I noticed a stack of books and immediately made my way to it.
Nettie and ‘Grandpa Darling’ had one daughter, my great grandmother, named Geneva. My grandmother had obviously either rescued the book or was given it by her mother, Geneva.
I’m glad I’ve got something from this side of the family and era, a book printed just after the Civil War. In fact, Nettie’s father was a Civil War veteran, though I have yet to pin down his unit and experiences.
Now, we can add Julie Foster Van Camp’s memories and writings about Ichabod’s diaries to what we know about the Foster family. It’s nice to read about others, particularly cousins, with the same passionate interest in history and their efforts to preserve and share it.
A COUSIN RECOUNTS
ON THE FAMILY FARM
IN RURAL IOWA . . .
Well, what do you know. My great-great-great grandfather was in charge of the mail in Wassonville, Washington County, Iowa. He was appointed a U.S. postmaster on March 6, 1855. How long he did it I don’t know. He was farming, too, at the time.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. Unfortunately, I haven’t found it yet.
The first Jabez died during the American Revolution. He was caught up in a nasty back-and-forth between the colonists and the Brits and their Native allies.
Before the Revolution, there was conflict between the colonists in the Wyoming Valley, a region in northeastern Pennsylvania. Connecticut had claimed the northern part of Pennsylvania as its own. Of course, Pennsylvanians thought otherwise. Hence, a series of skirmishes known as the Yankee-Pennamite Wars ensued, which were interrupted by the Revolution.
Jabez Darling was on the losing side, though he may not have lived long enough to feel the repercussions. Most of the Connecticut settlers, the Yankees, lost their land.
In 1778, the British, their redcoats and their Indian allies, swept through the Wyoming Valley, burning and killing and scalping along the way. When word of the first killings reached the civilians, most of them fled in what was described as the Great Runaway. Those who remained stayed to fight and protect what was theirs. Jabez was one who stayed behind. He was killed on July 3rd, 1778, just two years after the Declaration of Independence was drafted in Philadelphia, during an attack on Forty Fort, not far from Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
Another branch of the family, on the Hill side, was there, too, at the time. Martin Tidd, future father-in-law of James Hill, witnessed the same events. He probably knew the Darling family and Jabez Darling in particular. Both the Darlings and the Tidds had come from Connecticut, making them Yankees. Yankees didn’t come from New York. They were from New England.
Martin Tidd, like many of the Darlings, ended up in Ohio, thanks, at least in part, to Congress intervening and settling the land disputes in favor of the Pennsylvanians. Connecticut claimed land in the Ohio country, too, what was called the Northwest Territory.
A portion was set aside for Connecticut known as the Western Reserve. Part of the Western Reserve was for those who had lost property by fire, intentionally set by the British and their allies to terrorize the citizens, during the Revolution. Thus, the term Fire Lands was used to describe this area.
Many of the Connecticut settlers of the Wyoming Valley took advantage of the opportunity and left for what would become the state of Ohio. Martin Tidd did so. He was among the first settlers of Youngstown in 1797, a small band which included his daughter Sarah Tidd and her husband, his son-in-law, James Hill.
Another Jabez Darling, my ancestor who was apparently named after the Jabez who was killed in 1778, went to Ohio, too, after having lived in New York for decades. There he died, in 1836. Who his parents were is unclear, though I am convinced there is a connection to the previous Jabez who died in 1778 during the Revolution.
Another connection is David Darling, a longtime resident of Seneca County, New York, who shows up at Jabez’s youngest son’s farm in Washington County, Iowa in May of 1871. Jabez’s son, Ezra Darwin Darling, had married one of his boss’s daughters in New York and then left for Iowa after the well-to-do father didn’t take it well. I’m guessing that David Darling is an uncle of Ezra and brother of Jabez the Younger.
Now, I just have to prove it. I have some digging and poking around to do. Hopefully, I can piece it together, finding a clue here or there.