Christopher Whitford was born about 1753-1756 in Rhode Island, son of a Nicholas Whitford.Who was his mother?Some say her name was Catherine Sweet, but no one seems to have any evidence to substantiate this theory.In fact, certain circumstantial evidence suggests that Christopher's mother's name might have been either Meribah or Eleanor.Please read below.
About 1778, Christopher married Sarah Howard, daughter of John Howard and his wife (some say Sarah's mother was Elnathan Rice and others say Sarah Foster), and moved to New York where he appeared in the censuses in 1790 (Stephentown, Albany (but now Rensselaer) County; indexed as "Cristopher"), in 1800 (Paris, Oneida County) and 1810 (Sherburne, Chenango County).According to his Revolutionary War Pension file, he had lived in Otego (Otsego County) before Paris (Otego was not formed/named until 1796, so possibly sometime between 1796 and 1799).Christopher died in Sherburne in 1811.
Christopher and Sarah reportedly had the following children.
1.Marbery (likely a phonetic spelling of the traditional woman's name "Meribah", which has Biblical origins), born 25 FEB 1778 (likely Rhode Island); died 4 APR 1858, Warren County, Pennsylvania (seemingly single all her life).
2.Mercy, born 24 JAN 1780 (likely in RI), married John Babcock and had children.
3.John, born 12 JUN 1781 (likely Rhode Island), married Lucinda Huntley, had children, and died 24 APR 1865 in Warren County, PA.
4.Nicholas, born 23 SEP 1783, married Deborah Howard (a cousin) and had children.
5.Eleanor (nicknamed "Ellen"??), born 16 AUG 1786, married William Henry Howard (a cousin) and had childen.
6.Sarah (nicknamed "Sally"), born 15 AUG 1788 in New York (likely Stephentown), married John George Howard (a cousin), and had children.
7.Martha (nicknamed "Patty"), born 9 AUG 1790 (likely in Stephentown, NY), married a Howard (a cousin), and had children.
8.Ezekiel, born 5 JAN 1793 (likely in Stephentown, NY), married Ruth Rice (born ca. 1791) and had children.
9.Lydia, born 14 SEP 1797 in Otego, Otsego County, NY, married a Mr. Henry and had children.
Apparently there is information about this family in a paper entitled "History of the Whitford Family".This paper was apparently read aloud at a reunion of this branch of the Whitford Family on 28 Aug., 1890. I believe a copy of the paper can be found at the Corry Area Historical Society in Corry, Erie County, PA.
I believe that Christopher and Sarah were "traditionalists" when it came to naming their children.I believe the following "theory" explains many of their name choices.
2.Mercy, possibly named for Sarah (Howard) Whitford’s sister.
3.John, possibly named for Sarah (Howard) Whitford’s father.
4.Nicholas, possibly named for Christopher’s father.
5.Sarah/Sallly, possibly named for Sarah (Howard) Whitford herself, so Sarah “jr”, OR, possibly named for Sarah (Howard) Whitford's mother (IF her mother was Sarah (Foster) Howard).
7.Martha, possibly named for Sarah (Howard) Whitford’s sister.
8.Ezekiel, possibly named for Christopher’s uncle, Ezekiel Whitford, who had remembered Christopher in his 1791 will.
9.Lydia, possibly named for Sarah (Howard) Whitford’s sister.
CONSPICUOUSLY absent from this list of names is the name "Catherine", even though many researchers believe that Christopher's mother MIGHT have been a Catherine Sweet, supposedly born about 1713 to unknown parents.Given the other "traditional" origins for the names of the children in this family, it seems unlikely that Christopher would not have named a daughter after his own mother.The two unexplained names in this family are Marbery (i.e., Meribah) and Eleanor/Ellen.I would like to propose as a THEORY to guide further research that Christopher's mother was actually either a Meribah or an Eleanor/Ellen, maiden name as yet unknown, rather than a Catherine Sweet.
Apparently no one has (yet) found a marriage record for Christopher's father, Nicholas, and any woman.Nor have I found any explanation of how people have concluded that his mother was a Catherine Sweet.There is apparently a birth record for a Cathereine Sweet, born 27 Feb 1725 to a John Sweet and unnamed wife in North Kingston, Kings County (now named Washington County), Rhode Island.An extraction from these records is included in the Latter Day Saints International Genealogical Index.Some say she married both an Ezekiel Whitford and an Elijah Johnson, but no one reports her as the wife of a Nicholas Whitford.
Apparently Christopher's father, Nicholas, did not leave a Last Will (or at least not one that anyone has found and shared).While some estimate his death at 1792, he does NOT appear in the 1790 census for Rhode Island as the head of a household, so a fair inference is that he might have died before 1790.
If anyone has any information or even other theories about the mother of this Christopher Whitford, please contact me direcly at firstname.lastname@example.org.