Sunday, June 14, 2015
Westward to Wisconsin? Looking For John Vincent
In typical fashion, for me at least, I've been distracted yet again from the research into my Irish families and am now on the trail of John Vincent, known as John I. Vincent in some circles. I've read that he appears in his father's (Capt. Jeremiah Vincent) will, but he's really hard to nail down after that. I know he and three siblings were probably born at Half Moon, New York, (love that name), to the Captain and his unknown first wife around 1778. Some trees online have his mother as Mary Merritt, but she was the Captain's second wife and they didn't marry until John was already 13 years old.
None of the trees have any mention at all of when or where John might have died. A few say John's wife was Mary Clements who died in Victory, NY at some point, but none mention where this information was obtained. Everything I've seen agrees that John had only one child, a son named Thomas, born in 1803. Having only one makes me think perhaps Mary C. died at a young age. Let's just assume for a moment that is the case and that John then married a woman named Lucretia. Let's also assume he went west afterwards. I know that's alot of assuming going on, and I'm not for one second suggesting any of this is fact, but I do have a reason for speculating.
While searching I discovered that Captain Jeremiah and his second wife Mary Merritt had two children of their own, Elizabeth and Stephen, (who would be half siblings to John), in addition to those he had with his unknown wife. I also learned that Stephen had a son named James Vincent who moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin after a stint in the California gold fields. There were several John Vincents floating around, but upon searching the 1860 census, the closest match I could find to John I. was a man living in the very same La Crosse, Wisconsin. I tried searches on that person, but found nothing much except his and his wife Lucretia's burials on Find A Grave.
I did find a bio of Stephen's son James Vincent however, who became a prominent lumberman, which states he moved his family including his parents to La Crosse. What if that family also included his Uncle John and Aunt Lucretia? It's certainly possible given that no one knows what became of John, and he wouldn't be the first disappearing ancestor I've found in the mid-west. This John is the right age, was living in the same county as his (maybe) half brother, and was born in New York-- though in the mid 19th century a large part of the population of Wisconsin was born in New York. The only thing that doesn't match up is his current wife's name, but early deaths were far from uncommon in the 1800's and as I hypothesized earlier, Lucretia could easily be a second wife.
What is really needed here is a lengthy, informative obituary for John Vincent who died on 10 May1869 and was buried in Farmington Cemetery, La Crosse County, Wisconsin. But I can't find one. A search on Genealogy Bank failed to produce a hit even though there were newspapers being published in that area in 1869.
I know this really is a long shot, but that's part of the fun of genealogy, some of our theories turn out to be fact. The other part of the fun is proving it.