Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just Who Was Ellen Galloway?


     I've been finishing up, (for now), my Galloway research and fulfilling my promise to the Arcadia Town Historian to get my research notes in order and pass them on to her.  I forwarded Milo's data a month ago and his father George's also.  Now I'm working on Russell, who is another son of George and is my direct ancestor.  His brother Milo so grabbed my imagination I spent alot of time on him, and sorry to say, ignored 3rd great grand-dad Russell.  I'm remedying that now, and have come across a bit of a mystery.  

     Russell is pretty simple to track in census and land records, and I thought I was going to have an easy time writing about him until I took a close look at the 1875 New York State census.  The 1860 and 1870 censuses don't spell out relationships in any given household.  All they really tell us is that the individuals listed together were living at the same address the day the census taker came to their door.  In 1875 that changed. The little girl called Ellen Galloway in earlier censuses, and who was with Russell and his family all along, is identified in 1875 as a granddaughter and her surname is now Gray.  This begs the obvious questions, who were her parents, why did her name change and where did she go after 1875?  She is no longer with Russell in the 1880 census.

     To give you some background, in 1860, Ellen H. Galloway, age 4, (so born 1856), is living in Wolcott, New York with Russell Galloway aged 54, his wife Hattie aged 49 and their twin sons aged 10.  For Hattie to give birth at age 45 would be unusual, but not impossible, so it's easy to imagine that Ellen is her daughter.  In 1870 the family is living in Butler, New York and Ellen has become Ella, but she is 14, exactly the age you would expect.  Then the 1875 census-- still in Butler, the appropriate age of 19, but with a new name, Ella Gray, granddaughter. 

      So to whom did Ellen or Ella belong?  If she is not Russell's daughter, the most likely suspect for her mother is Phebe Galloway, Russell's oldest child about whom I've not been able to find much information.  I located a Phebe Gray, wife of "Jeddiah" Gray, in the Hudson, Michigan census of 1860.  That Phebe was born in New York, (but so was half of the population of Michigan in 1860), is the right age, and even has a daughter named Ellen, but this Ellen is 8 years old, the Ellen with Russell in 1860 is only 4.  I have seen a case where a child was enumerated in both Michigan and New York in the 1850 census, so Ellen being counted in both states in 1860 wouldn't necessarily rule this family out, the age discrepancy bothers me more.  It's hard to mistake an 8 year old child for one of 4.

     As to where Ella was in 1880, I had no idea.  Did she marry or pass away?  Find work elsewhere?  And was Ella's name always Gray or did she have a very short, early marriage?  Finding no records of Ella Gray in the area, I turned to a fave newspaper site, Old Fulton Postcards.  After reading just a few of the articles my search brought up, I found one that seemed to fit.  It was the obituary of Mrs. Frank C. Way who was born at Wolcott, the daughter of Truman E. and Ella Gray Mason!  Then I found her brother Claude's obit, his parents were named as Edward and Ella Gray Mason, now I had a probable married name for Ella!   Next I took a look at the 1880 census but could not locate Ella Mason.  She was however, in the 1892 census of Butler, just five families away from her father/grandfather, Russell Galloway along with her husband Edward and their children. I then remembered that Ancestry has a book of extracts from the Lake Shore News of Wolcott on their site, there I found this entry:  
   Married at the Presbyterian parsonage in Wolcott, Nov. 6, 1879, Truman E. Mason and Miss Ella Galloway.  So we're back to Galloway.  I wonder if Ella was orphaned early on and raised by her grandparents, taking their name?  The 1870 census has no Jeddiah or Phebe Gray that fit as Ella's parents.  It doesn't seem like the newspaper would call her "Miss Galloway" if she had been widowed, but they do make mistakes.  I'm confident Ella Gray Mason is the woman I'm looking for, but I'm no closer to her parentage.  I strongly suspect it was Phebe who gave birth to her though.  Ella's story takes a decidedly weird turn after her marriage, which is the subject of my next blog.


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