Among the more challenging mysteries in my family tree is identifying the family of my great great grandfather, William Alford, who came to Kalamazoo, Michigan from Canada, with his wife and 14 children, in 1838.Many of the pieces passed down in family stories, along with information in records that are now available, are beginning to bring into focus a much clearer picture.
Some time ago, in consultation with others looking into this lineage, Benedict Alford (b. 1754 Windsor, CT-d. 1838 Troy, Geauga, Ohio) and Huldah Unknown fell into place as the better of several candidates for William’s parents.
They had mysteries of their own:We know from records that Benedict Alford married a woman named Huldah, but her surname is never mentioned.We know from documents that Benedict and Huldah moved to Vermont and had three sons.One is confirmed: Benedict Alford Jr.Another is strongly inferred from records linking him to this family: Ammi Alford.The third son is unnamed.
We identified Huldah Hickock, who was born in Norwalk in Connecticut on 1 Nov 1757 as one of the likely candidates for the wife of Benedict—everything fits, but again there is no hard documentary evidence.But there is compelling circumstantial evidence: Ammi Alford’s first child is named Jane Hickock Alford.
The family lost contact with the two younger boys after the War of 1812 in which all three boys were participants.Ammi stayed in Vermont, Benedict Jr. moved west with his parents, and the unnamed son disappears.
By February 14, 1837, Benedict Alford resided in Troy, Geauga County, Ohio with his son Benedict Jr.We know this because he made formal application to have his veteran’s pension changed from New York to Ohio.We also know from the records that Benedict Jr stayed close to and probably cared for his parents for 30 years until their deaths.
In the Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Vol. I, A-E, as abstracted by Virgil D. White (The National Historical Publishing Company, Waynesboro, TN, 1990) we find this relevant quote:“son Benedict Alford, Jr. lived in Troy OH in 1859 aged 73 … made reference to 2 brothers one in MO & the other in Lower Canada …” (page 30 and 31).Benedict Jr. also stated that neither brother had been heard from for 40-50 years.
The ancestry of William Alford (abt 1796 – 4 Aug 1849) may now be solved.Stories passed down to the Alford and Gunn grandchildren (my grandparents) say that the father of William Alford was a soldier in the Revolution, and that William himself was in the War of 1812.Some thought he was captured and a prisoner in Canada for a while.There were various opinions about his place of birth.
Records show, in fact, that the Benedict Sr mentioned above was indeed a veteran of the Revolution, and show that a William Alford, an Ammi Alford and a Benedict Alford, all from Vermont, were veterans of the War of 1812.
Ammi apparently did not go to Missouri as his brother Benedict Jr. believed, but stayed in Vermont and raised a family there.However, my gg grandfather William did go to Canada (to Eramosa, Ontario) where he also married and raised a family, and later moved to Michigan.
As yet, no hard evidence has shown up proving that William Alford is the missing Alford brother, but it seems believable, and even likely.
If anyone can add relevant information to these mysteries, please do so.