Piecing together Eleanor Jane Newell Stockford

Dearest family.  I worry that the mechanics of genealogy bore you despite my excitement at being able to extend another line just a little bit further.  So, the first part of this post will be to tell the story of Eleanor Cobe’s grandmother, Eleanor Jane Newell, and I hope it is interesting.  Then I will end it with the dry mechanics, just in case another researcher stumbles upon my musings and wishes to know how I formulated her story.

Eleanor Jane Newell was born around 1829 most likely in Erie County, New York to farmer John S. Newell of Vermont and his wife, Melinda.  She was the sixth child born to her parents and was followed by two more siblings, a brother, and a sister.

Erie County lies in the northwestern corner of the state of New York along Lake Erie.  John raised his family in Colden Township on a small rough farm just northeast of the modern town of Colden.  Colden Township is bounded on the west by Boston Township and in the south by Concord Township.  Collins Township lies to the west of Concord.  The city of Buffalo lay northwest of the township along the shores of Lake Erie and south of Niagara Falls.  In 1860 the New York Gazetteer described this portion of the county as hilly and farmers were more inclined to producing dairy and wool. 

It is not so surprising that the Stockfords from England found their way here, as cattle were the main industry where they came from.

Sometime after 1844, when Eleanor was in her late teens, she met the immigrant Joseph Stockford who had just arrived with his family from Stoke Lyne, England on their way through New York to Canada.  It’s hard to know with certainty, but it’s my story so I will just say it…Joseph loved Eleanor enough to stay in New York to marry her.

Instead of following the Stockfords to Canada, Joseph and Eleanor chose to remain in New York with her family, long enough for the birth of their first child.  But her older brothers began to move away.  First to Ohio, then Michigan, and finally Indiana.  Or perhaps it was Joseph Stockford who prompted their gypsy roaming on the hunt for opportunities in the stock trade.

One brother, Lafayette, became a boatman ferrying goods along the waterways from New York, into Ohio, before settling in Indiana as a farmer.  If I were a betting woman, I would say that Lafayette took a job on the waterway to help ship his family members across Lake Erie to Toledo, OH.  He briefly stayed in Lucas (Toledo) and Defiance Counties, Ohio (near Henry County), but it was long enough to see his three youngest siblings, Eleanor, Ira, and Malinda, well-settled early in the 1850s.  

Migration of Newells from Colden, NY to Ohio and Michigan. Google Maps.

Joseph Stockford and Eleanor arrived in Henry County by 1850 where Joseph filed his second papers for naturalization and went into the business of raising livestock, an industry he was most familiar with.  Shortly after their arrival, the youngest Newell children, Ira and Malinda, appear.  Both were married in Henry County in 1852.  Ira in November and Malinda in December.  In the absence of their father, who remained in New York, Lafayette signed an affidavit for 18-year-old Malinda to get married.  Ira took his bride to Defiance and raised his family close to his eldest brother. 

The oldest sibling, John S. Jr. found good fortune in Defiance County, Ohio.  There he raised his family, became politically and socially involved, and moved no further.  Their mother, Malinda, died some time before 1860 (probably in New York).  Instead of staying in Erie County with their middle son, Heman (or Herman, records vary), their father moved down from New York to live with John S. Jr.  He lived another 12 years, moving to Indiana to live with Lafayette where he died in 1872 at the age of 75.  John S. Sr. is buried in Indiana with Lafayette in his family plots.

Her third brother, Joseph, tried his luck in Michigan.  But the Civil War caused heartbreak with the death of his oldest boy, also named Lafayette in honor of his uncle.  He died as a prisoner of war at the notorious Andersonville Prison (Confederate Camp Sumter) a year after enlisting.  In his grief, Joseph joined the Army himself, probably seeking revenge.  He never made it out of New York as he was discharged nearly three months later under General Order 77 (decreased spending as the war wound down).  While Lafayette the younger was a prisoner of war, his Uncle Lafayette joined up and made it as far as Huntsville, Alabama when the war ended and Andersonville was liberated.  Was Uncle Lafayette trying to get to Georgia to liberate his nephew?  Again, a detail we can never know, but I like to think the timeline suggests the family was rallying around young Lafayette’s predicament. 

  • 1864 Lafayette (the younger) enlists in Toledo, Ohio. His brother, Nathanial, enlists the same year from Michigan.
  • February 1865 Lafayette (the elder) enlists in Indiana
  • March 1865 Lafayette (the younger) dies at Andersonville prisoner camp
  • April 1865 Joseph enlists at Boston, Erie County, New York
  • May 1865 Andersonville Camp is liberated. Lafayette (the elder) is discharged from Huntsville, Alabama
  • June 1865 Joseph is released from service in New York

Joseph’s second son was also serving and made it back to Michigan where he picked up the pieces, started a family, looked after his grieving mother, and appears to have lived a good life.

After the war, Joseph Newell found his way to Henry County, Ohio where he rebuilt his life by raising his second family.  He and his second wife stayed close with Eleanor Stockford and her husband.  He was there for her when Joseph Stockford died from illness in 1885, helping her through the probate process.

Eleanor’s final resting place has not been found yet.  It is not clear if she remarried or moved closer to another sibling.  Or perhaps her burial was forgotten and lost to time and the elements.  Still, maybe, I just haven’t looked hard enough…

Joseph Newell: a brotherly connection

When last I wrote of our Newell line it was in a blog post about cluster research.  Joseph Stockford married Eleanor Jane Newell (Eleanor Cobe’s maternal grandmother) somewhere in New York.  Probably at the same place in New York where Eleanor was born.   

But how did I determine her name was Eleanor Jane Newell?

Eleanor’s small F.A.N. (friends, associations, and neighbors) club started with Joseph Stockford and her children.   In Joseph’s will, he named his wife Eleanor Jane Stockford.

Closeup of Joseph Stockford’s will naming his wfe as Eleanor Jane Stockford.

Next, I found the death certificate for a son, Charles Stockford, who died in Lorain County, Ohio at the Elyria Memorial Hospital.   I validated this to be the correct Charles because his birth is recorded as 7 November 1864 in Henry County, Ohio to Joseph Stockford of England.  There is only one man named Joseph Stockford in Henry County in the 1860s and that is Joseph Stockford from Stoke Lynn, Oxfordshire, England who named his wife Eleanor Jane Stockford.  Their family makeup in the 1870 and 1880 census includes Charles Stockford whose birth occurred around 1863.  Charles was still living in or near Henry County at the time of his father’s death in 1885 and was a signatory in the probate records.

Closeup of Charles Stockford’s death certificate naming his parents and showing the informants name and residence.

The informant on Charles’ death certificate is J.A. Stockford of La Porte, Ohio.  Charles had a brother whose name was Joseph A. Stockford.  According to his father’s probate records, son “J.A. Stockford” had moved to La Porte, Ohio (in Lorrain County).  So, informant J.A. Stockford was very likely Charles’ brother, Joseph A.  J.A. Stockford names their mother as “Elnor Newell” from the “State of Maine”.  While it’s the only evidence to offer her maiden name, because it is a sibling who knew Eleanor personally, I consider it an excellent source for evidence.

Question answered:  Eleanor Jane Stockford, the wife of Joseph Stockford and mother of Mary Pohlman (as named in her father’s will) was Eleanor Jane Newell.

So where was she from and who were her people?

Going back to Joseph’s will, we see that two couples signed as witnesses; Joseph and Mary Jane Newell, and Thomas and Jane Holmes.  Joseph Newell is further tasked with notifying the heirs that the will was accepted in probate.  Why would Joseph Newell be selected?  First and foremost, because he is the one who presented the will to the courts for probate.  Most often wives’ relatives were asked to be will witnesses as a matter of good faith to the wife.  Then there’s that familial relation angle, courts often tried to go with relatives for notifications because relatives were most likely to know the whereabouts of all the heirs.  

Joseph Stockford’s connection to Joseph Newell continues in burial records.  In 1882 Argee Stockford, son of Joseph and Eleanor Stockford is buried at Locust Grove Cemetery, Section B, Row 10 lot 1.  In 1885, Joseph Stockford (the father) is buried also in lot 1.  In 1895, Joseph Newell (the witness) is buried in lot 2 (same section and row).  Next, Joseph Newell’s son and daughter-in-law are buried in lot 3 of the same section and row in 1961 and 1957 respectively.  Sadly, Eleanor Jane’s final resting place has yet to be found.

Burial index for Locust Grove Cemetery in Ridgeville Township, Henry County, Ohio. Showing the Stockford and Newell burial location. Henry County Cemetery Inscriptions, Columbus [Ohio] Metropolitan Library.

It all makes sense now that we know Eleanor Jane Stockford’s maiden name was Newell, right? 

Ok, so now Eleanor’s F.A.N. club has just expanded to a probable brother, Joseph Newell, and his wife Mary Jane.  Joseph Stockford and Eleanor Newell arrived in Ridgeville Corners, Henry County by 1850.  Joseph and Mary Newell arrive in Ridgeville Corners around 1869 and raised a family of six there.  Both Eleanor Jane and her probable brother, Joseph Newell, are from New York (consistently according to the census).  

Joseph Newell’s burial records identifies him as a veteran of Co. C 193 N.Y. Infantry.  The 1890 Veteran’s Schedule supports his enlistment with Co. C 193 NY Infantry.  Enlistment records for New York counties find the list for Boston [township], Erie County, New York with Joseph Newell, age 46 with enlistment dates that match the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule. 

The 193rd N.Y. Infantry existed for a very short time in 1865 and was dismissed by General Order 77, which was an order for a reduction in force as the Civil War was winding down.  So Joseph Newell only served for 2 months and 20 days and never filed for a pension. 

Tracking Joseph Newell’s movements was not this straightforward.  His life was very complex and he appears to have also had associations to Dundee, Monroe County, Michigan, and a first wife named Catherine Millis!  I have pulled the strings on the Dundee connections and am satisfied that the three Joseph Newell’s in Monroe County, Michigan, Henry County, Ohio, and Erie County, New York are the same man.  His story is quite interesting to me, as a genealogist, but it does very little to add to the evidence of where Eleanor Jane Newell came from. Onward we go…

So, in Erie County, New York, we find Joseph Newell and his first wife, Catharine Millis.  They live in Concord Township not far from another Newell and Millis family in 1850 Colden Township and 1840 Collins Township respectively.

Joseph and Catherine Newell had several children, one of whom was named Lafayette (1844-1865).  The other Newell family in Erie County consisted of John S. Newell, his wife Malinda, and several children, one of whom was named Lafayette (1822-1895).  Among John S. and Malinda’s children are more connections to each other in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

But Eleanor’s connection to this Newell family isn’t that clear.  She is only directly tied to Joseph Newell by her husband’s will and burial but is not identified as a sibling.  Joseph Newell, himself, can be traced to Erie County, New York, but has no direct ties to John S. Newell except proximity to both John S. Newell and Catherine Millis’ families, and a unique name shared by his son and probable brother.  What is Eleanor’s connection to John S. Newell and his wife, Malinda?

In John S. Newell’s 1840 household is a woman/girl in the correct age group to be Eleanor Jane Newell.  In 1850 that woman/girl is gone, having moved on or died.  

I have not been able to fully test my theory that this 1840 tick mark is Eleanor using traditional paper research methods, but I have been able to short-cut that process by using DNA.

Uncle M has DNA matches on Ancestry.com to descendants of five children of John S. Newell and Malinda.  I have corroborated the descent from two of their proven children, and am working on the third.  Before completing the third child’s line, I am comfortable proclaiming that both John S. Newell and his wife Malinda are the biological parents of Eleanor Jane Newell Stockford.  Thus through indirect evidence and DNA, I can make Eleanor’s connections.

Using the timeline tool, I can take into consideration the parallel timeline between Joseph Stockford and Eleanor Jane Newell to the Erie County Newell family, that goes something like this:

Joseph Stockford/Eleanor NewellJohn S. Newell and Malinda
1829 New York
About the year Eleanor Jane was born.
1826-1830 New York
Two daughters were born; one has been identified as Melissa, the other could be Eleanor.
1841 Stoke Lyne, Oxfordshire, England
Residence of Joseph and his parents.
1840 Collins, Erie County, New York
John S. and Malinda are 40-49 and they have 2 daughters age 10-14, one could be Eleanor Jane, the other was Melissa.
1844 New York
Joseph Stockford arrives in America
Before 1850 New York
Estimate when Joseph Stockford meets and marries Eleanor Jane Newell.
1849-1851 New York
Oldest son was born

1850 Henry County, Ohio
Joseph Stockford files his 2nd papers for Naturalization.
1850 Colden, Erie County, New York
Household of John S. Newell consisting of Malinda (inferred wife), and inferred children; Heman, Ira, Malissa, and Malinda The other daughter b. bet 1826-1830 is gone.
1853 Ridgeville Corners, Henry County, Ohio
Joseph starts to appear on tax lists.
1860 Ridgeville Corners, Henry County
Joseph and Eleanor Stockford residence.
1860 Adams, Defiance, Ohio
Residence of John S. Newell Jr., which includes father, John S. Newell Sr. in household.  See DNA match a) John S. Newell Jr.
 1872 Park County, Indiana
John S. Newell is buried in same cemetery as Lafayette Newell.  See DNA match b) Lafayette Newell.
2021 DNA Match to children of John S. Newell Sr.: a) John S. Newell Jr., b) Lafayette Newell, c) Malissa Newell, d) Ira Newell, and e) Malinda Newell2021 DNA match includes members of 
John S. Newell’s 1850 household; c) Malissa, d) Ira, and e) Malinda.

Traditional paper research tied Eleanor to Joseph Newell who directed me to Erie County, New York.  DNA matches helped to bridge the gap between the New York Newell family and Eleanor Jane Newell.  With the DNA matches comes an explosion in Eleanor’s F.A.N. club.  As it turns out, she remained geographically very close to her siblings living within one county to most of them in Ohio.

3 thoughts on “Piecing together Eleanor Jane Newell Stockford

    1. I have an obsession with maps in genealogy. Library of Congress is hit and miss depending on when and where you are trying to map out (https://www.loc.gov/maps/). The best maps (in my opinion) at LOC is the Sanborn Insurance maps of cities c. 1860-1930s (https://www.loc.gov/collections/sanborn-maps). Alternate sources are 1) Mapofus.org (great time-lapse for U.S. county formations). This site also has hyperlinks to other old maps by U.S. State. 2) https://www.davidrumsey.com for maps from around the world. This site has several overlay tools so you can see an old map over a modern map (https://www.davidrumsey.com/view). There is an Eastern European version that’s fun to use because I don’t speak or read the language! LOL

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