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In Delaware, there was a closely-knit community of families who shared a common heritage.The connection was based on race, to be more exact, the presence of mixed blood, be it Native American, African American, Moorish, or of other origins.The mix caused the term "mulatto" to be applied to these folks frequently, though other labels sometimes appear.Native Americans, regardless of blood line, were usually called mulattos.The rules for census listings at various times either prohibited or frowned severely on using the terms Indian and Native American.A few individuals were known to take strong exception to the applied labels, often insisting on a different term.
The Delaware-to-Michigan/Ontario Migration
by Donald W. Fisher
July 27, 2004
Family files updated as of June 23, 2005
From this community, over a dozen extended families migrated to the Great Lakes region in the years 1855 to 1875.The specific areas of Delaware from which these people departed are detailed in the family histories, though the common "hundreds" are Appoquinomink (New Castle Co.), Dover and Little Creek (Kent), and Nanticoke (Sussex).Several decades before the migration, many of original six migrating families were in Nanticoke Hundred, Sussex Co., with some children moving to the northern counties in the ten-to-twenty-five years before the migration.
The first settlement in Michigan was at the then-rural southwestern corner of Wayne County, particularly in an 18-by-12-mile rectangle comprised of Canton, Huron, Nankin, Romulus, Sumpter, and Van Buren townships.The larger villages were Romulus, Belleville, and Wayne (village).This area is just to the east and southeast of the city of Ypsilanti in neighboring Washtenaw County.The present-day Detroit-Wayne Metropolitan Airport is in Romulus, on land perhaps including the farms of some Delaware migrants.Some families soon moved elsewhere in lower Michigan.One family settled farms nearby in Kent County, Ontario, just to the east of Lake St. Clair in the vicinity of Chatham.
In Delaware, the children and grandchildren in these families frequently married within the community, and that trend continued in the midwest, at least into the early 1900s.Thus, frustratingly, virtually everyone is related to everyone else one way or another.
A contemporary expression of the motivation for the migration, from one of the folks involved, has not turned up as yet.The immediate reasons were probably economic.The families were "going forth and multiplying", their main trade was farming, and the amount of farm land in Delaware was finite.There were many formal land programs, offered through federal and state/provincial governments, to encourage the settlement of the new lands.Once the first families had moved, there may have also been communication with other families still in Delaware, encouraging them to follow.It does not appear that the organization of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, with its origins involving people from Delaware and from Michigan, was a significant issue.
The Civil War, especially in its racial ramifications, may have also been a factor.The timing suggests that.Though most people of color in Delaware were free, not slaves, the legal and social climate in Delaware kept those of mixed blood in a second-class-citizen status.Apparently in defense, they chose to "hang together" in their own cultural community.The Sockum trial (law passed 1852, trial in 1855-56) is indicative of the problems that the legal system could cause.At issue was the prohibition for free people of color, including mulattos, to buy firearms and/or ammunition.This and other Jim Crow laws may have influenced families that fled to New Jersey or Pennsylvania (but not Maryland) in the same period, with some ultimately reaching Michigan after the war.Thus, a secondary motivation for the migration in 1855-56 may have been to escape this situation and also to avoid the dangers of the imminent war itself.They might have perceived it to be safer and friendlier "out in the wilderness of Michigan".And, from the families migrating before the war, a few young men did serve in the Union army.However, if these issues were the primary reason to migrate, it would seem likely that some documents or stories would have been handed down through the families.To the present date, no such information has been found.
THE FAMILIES OF THE MIGRATION
Listed here are the families known to have migrated during the years under discussion.The first group, in 1855-56 or shortly thereafter, must have had a common plan and motivation inspiring them to migrate.For so many to be involved in going to the same place simultaneously, there must have been communication and cooperation.This group was comprised of six families, Counsellor, Dean, Farmer, Miller, and Perkins in Michigan, and Sammons in Ontario, plus a few male in-laws bearing other surnames.To some extent, the children of these families had already intermarried before leaving Delaware.For a few of the later migrants, there was a departure from Delaware prior to the Civil War with a stop in another location (usually PA or NJ) before moving on to Michigan after the War.
When both parents and married children migrated, they are listed together here as an extended-family group.In the interests of completeness, if it is uncertain where a marriage occurred (DE or MI or ONT), each family is listed.Otherwise, unmarried children of any age migrating with their parents are not listed below.The years cited are mainly inferences from the census reports of the birthplaces of the children.In situations where a span of years is listed, the reader should presume that the actual year was one within that span.
The files for the Handsor, Sammons, and Richardson families are presented In Memoriam Floyd Blaine Handsor, Jr. (1941-2002).This compilation on these families began with Floyd's files, and significant additional data is presented here to fill in his monumental initial work.Floyd was a respected researcher and a very genial friend.
Before the Civil War
1856-57Elisha Counsellor and second wife Rebecca Dean
1858son David Counsellor and wife Martha Munce
1862-63son Benjamin Counsellor and wife Hannah Munce
prob 1856-57James H. Dean, probably single at time of migration, married Elva Fargo in Michigan, was a brother of Angeline Dean below and therefore an in-law of the Deans below
1856-57(?)William Dean and wife Mary Ann Cork
1856-57son James Dean and wife Angelica
1856-57probable daughter Rebecca Dean (see Elisha Counsellor above)
1856-57son Robert Dean and wife Angeline Dean (marriage location not known)
bef 1860son William H. Dean and wife Nancy Farmer (marriage location likely Michigan)
bef 1860Mary Miller Farmer, widow of Abraham Farmer
bef 1860son Henry Farmer, never married
1856son Joseph Farmer and wife Elizabeth Miller
unknownson John Farmer and first wife Catherine
bef 1860daughter Nancy Farmer (see William H. Dean above)
bef 1860John Hughes Miller and wife Ann [Grinage?]
1856-58son Deborix Miller and wife Sarah Ann Miller (marriage location unknown)
1858-59son Alfred Miller and wife Mary Miller (marriage location unknown)
1871-79daughter Martha Miller (see John Norwood below)
1858-59daughter Mary A. Miller (see William Pickerem below)
bef 1860daughter Margaret Miller (see Charles Norwood below)
bef 1860Charles Norwood, single at time of migration, married Margaret Miller (above) in Michigan; Charles may be the brother of John Norwood (below)
Children of Warner Perkins (not known to migrate himself)
1856son Joseph Perkins and wife Catherine
1856son Mitchell Perkins and wife Sarah Becketts
ca 1869granddaughter Mary J. Perkins, daughter of Mitchell (see Robert Simons below)
Children of Isaac Pickram and Mary Sisco (not known to migrate themselves)
1858-59son William Pickerem and wife Mary A. Miller
1864-65daughter Elizabeth Pickerem (see Benjamin Songo below)
1855Benjamin Sammons and wife Sarah Miller (land purchase in 1853)
1855daughter Sarah Sammons and husband Peregrine Handsor, Jr.
1855son James Simons (married Susan Keys, location not known)
After the Civil War
1867-69Peter Becket and wife Mary Ellen Durham, married in Philadelphia, moved to Michigan afterward
bef 1873Miller Carney, single at time of migration, married Angeline Songo in Michigan
1870-80William Driggett and wife Charlotte, after sons had migrated
1870-80son Manane Driggett, never married, migrated with parents later
1868son David Driggett and wife Hester Durham (via NJ)
1868(?)son Levi Driggett and wife Rebecca Williams (via NJ)
1871-78daughter Mary J. Driggett (see George Washington Greenage below)
1867-69(?)Elijah Durham and wife Mary Ann Cott (via PA)
1867-69daughter Mary Ellen Durham (see Peter Becket above)
ca 1867 nephew John Wesley Cott, single at time of migration, married Lydia Dean in Michigan (some uncorroborated references suggest migration date as 1856)
Children of William and Mary Durham (not known to migrate themselves)
1861-69son George Durham and wife Ann Harmon
1864-67son Charles Henry Durham and wife Ann Ridgway
ca 1870son Alfred Durham, probably single at time of migration, married Emma in Michigan, returned east
ca 1865 William Durham and wife, probably Sarah Miller - relation to above Durhams and Millers unknown
1871-79Rachel Miller Greenage, widow of Benjamin Greenage, probably with son (via NJ)
1865son Josiah Greenage and wife Rachel Miller (not a typo, same name as his mother)
1871-78son George Washington Greenage and first wife Mary J. Driggett (via NJ)
ca 1867 William Hansor (marriet Harriett Drigget in Michigan) - may be a son of John Hansor who may have migrated also
1861-69Sarah Concealer Miller, widow of Deborix Miller, aunt of Elisha Counsellor (above)
1861-69daughter Rachel Miller (see Benjamin Greenage above)
1861-69son Josiah Miller and second wife Ann
1863-67son Enoch D. Miller and wife Phoebe Carney (via PA?)
1865-67son Robert Miller and wife Mary Ann Dean
1871-79John Norwood and wife Martha Miller (via PA and NJ); may be brother of Charles Norwood above
1869-1872 James Simons, widower (MI via PA and ONT)
ca 1869Robert Simons and wife Mary J. Perkins (see Perkins above)
1864-65Benjamin Songo and wife Elizabeth Pickram
1864-65(?)daughter Angeline Songo (see Miller Carney above)
1865-1873 Robert Wright and first wife Nancy Handsor
CONVENTIONS IN THE LISTINGS
The author has attempted (not always systematically) to present names as they were spelled in the initial or most reliable source of information.When referencing a source document, the spelling in that citation is maintained in any quotation.Many names appear in widely different forms.If you have looked through Counsellor or Grinage and are astounded at the variants, please have respect for the Driggott collection of spellings.Not even the Soundex methodology will match them up.Many of the usual given-name problems occur here:Nancy for Ann, Sally for Sarah, etc.But relatively uncommon transmutations occur also, such as Deborix (as Deverix) and Peregrine (as Perryguine).Biblical names abound in a variety of spellings, such as the many forms of Isaiah.The author wishes the reader well at deciphering the spellings of any and all names, especially when using the "find" function.Creative searching is recommended.
There are style elements in these notes of which the reader should be aware.
1)Surnames that appear entirely capitalized are of persons in the author's own direct lineage.There is no other significance to the capitalization.
2)The surname MdnNmUnkn indicates that a woman's maiden name has not been found.
3)Census page citations have not been fully edited into the same exact format.The general convention about census entries follows this sequence:year, state, county, township, (in parentheses) post office if different from the previous entry, the page numbers, and the date of the census.Please forgive any lapses from this format.Because 1930 census data is now in the public domain, no citations from that year or earlier years have been blocked by the privatization process.
4)Many census pages have both a written and a stamped number.Small case "p" indicates page.The letters "wr" after a page number indicate the hand-written number, while "st" after a page number indicates the stamped number.Entries made in the early stages of research may not always follow this convention, though it has been used rather consistently for newer entries.
5)Capital-letter abbreviations used in some census listings:B (black), F (female), M (for both male and mulatto), N (Negro), W (white).Common two-letter state abbreviations are given as capital letters.
6)Generally, small case "m" or "mar" indicates married or marriage and may be followed either by a date or the number of years ("y").The trio of "y", "m", and "d" are used to cite age in years, months, and days.
7)The following abbreviations are frequently used for birthplaces:"b" for "born";"fb" for "father born";"mb" for "mother born"; and "pb" for "parents born", indicating both the same.It is hoped that other abbreviations will be clear by the context in which they occur.
8)"[JR]" associated with citations refers to Joseph Romeo as the source.Joseph was extremely helpful in amassing Wayne Co., MI, birth, marriage, and death records.His work is now available on the Mitsawokett website.Joseph also provided many census references before they became generally accessible on the Internet."[DWF]" refers to the author.Other sources are cited directly without abbreviation.
9)The program used in privatizing the information of living persons frequently inserts the term "unknown" in an empty space where a date (death or burial) should be.If one reads:"Burial:Unknown, Michigan Memorial, Flatrock, MI", the "unknown" refers to the date of burial.
ORGANIZATION OF THE LINEAGES
The information displayed here is a result of approximately ten years of research.The author is grateful to all who have contributed, as well as those who will contribute in the future.
The intent is to provide as much documentation of this migration, its ancestral roots, its descendants, and the related families that remained in the east, as possible in one single place.These reports were generated by Family Tree Maker 10 and subsequently updated with FTM 2005, and the pagination, the index, and the privatization of material were also generated within that software.Both the PDF and HTML versions linked on the author's webpage are in the format directly generated by FTM.Adobe Reader is needed for the PDF version.Comments and updates are welcome at the author's e-mail address or on the Mitsawokett mailing list.
The files in this lengthy document are intended to trace the heritage of the migrating families back to the earliest known ancestor.This causes some of the sections to have surnames not directly involved in the migration.They are included because some descendants were part of the migration.A considerable amount of information about relatives who remained in the east is included, for sake of completeness.
The Table of Contents gives the technical number of generations in each file, as determined in FTM.However, note that the latest generation's data also includes the children of many of the people listed.Thus, the number of generations is effectively one more than indicated in the Table of Contents.
All ancestors and descendants of the migrating families have been included, to the extent they are known, including descendants who stayed in the east.No systematic attempt was made - for reasons of privacy - to include data on living persons or to include any information dating after 1930, though some later death dates have been included where they are publicly available, such as in the Social Security Death Index, on tombstones, or from published obituaries.There is some after-1930 data in lines close to the author's personal history.
Some lineages may seem to be omitted from the Table of Contents, because the data have been entirely subsumed in either the Perkins or Counsellor lines, for instance, descendants of Deborix Miller and Sarah Concealer.This is also true for some names, such as Whittington Smullen, with no descendants known to migrate to the midwest.
The author has attempted to include full information on all parties, though the reader may have to transfer from one family's lineage to another to find it all.The index of individuals should be a help in finding in which lineage someone is covered.For the sake of size of the document, duplicative listings have been kept to a minimum.Please submit corrections or omissions to the author, preferably with supporting citations.
Please regard this publication as a work in progress.The present intent is to solicit comments, corrections, and additional data, culminating in a re-issue with updated files.
(c) 2004, 2005Donald W. Fisher
See copyright notice for restrictions
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