Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   


Generation Three

     3. Benjamin S.3 Gifford (William2, Benjamin1); born 4 May 1829 in Troy, Bradford Co., PA;6,35,20,36,37,38,39 married Julia Basset Rappleye, daughter of Hiram Rappleye and Rachael Chandler, 23 July 1851 in Kidder's Ferry, Seneca Co., NY, in a ceremony performed by the Reverend William McCarthy;6,40,37,38 he died 5 January 1897 in 58 Butternut St, Detroit, Wayne Co., MI;6,41,37,42,38 buried 7 January 1897 in Woodlawn Cemetery, Leslie, Ingham Co., MI.43,44,38

     Benjamin S. Gifford, unidentified photograph,
G.F. Sterling, Bay City, Michigan, photographer.

     Benjamin S. Gifford was barely twenty years of age when his father died in May 1849, leaving Benjamin the head of a family consisting of his mother and six younger siblings. Benjamin and part of his family left Seneca Co., New York, and returned to his mother's home in Pennsylvania, settling in Richmond Township, Tioga County. The 1850 census enumeration of the family lists Benjamin, age 21, as the head of household, and includes [his mother] Eunice, age 43, and [siblings] Julia A., age 19, and Hiram, age 3.20 Benjamin is a shoemaker, an occupation he learned from his father. Although his mother and sister Julia would spend the rest of their lives in Richmond Township, Benjamin appears to have left his heart in New York. He returned in less than a year to marry Julia Basset Rappleye, a young woman who had lived her life in Farmersville, New York.

     Shortly after the birth of their first child, William, in May 1854, the young family moved to Ingham Co., Michigan, settling near what was then called Teaspoon Corners in the fall of 1854.38 However, due to the "ague, which was then prevalent in Michigan," they returned to Covert Township, New York, and were residing there in 1860. The 1860 U.S. census lists Benjamin as B. S. Gifford, age 31, a shoe dealer with real property and personal property both valued at $800. In addition to Julia, age 29, and William, age 6, his household also includes a shoemaker's apprentice, a shoemaker's journeyman and a shoe peddler.36 Apparently, Benjamin S. Gifford, shoe dealer, was prospering.

     However, the Gifford family life, like all others in the country, was disrupted by the outbreak of the Civil War. Benjamin's brothers, William and Stephen, had enlisted September 1861 in Company F, 1st New York Light Artillery. Benjamin enlisted in the same company 24 October 1861 and was mustered into service as a private six days later.45 At the time of enlistment, he was described as "31 years of age, 5 feet 9 inches high, dark complexion, dark eyes, black hair"38 The day after his muster-in, Benjamin and Company F were on their way to war.

     Company F had been organized at Elmira, New York, and was captained by W. R. Wilson. The men left New York for camp in Washington, D.C., 31 October 1861. The company served on duty at Camp Barry, Washington, D.C., from November 1861 to March 1862. Benjamin Gifford was promoted 1 February 1862 to the rank of Bugler in place of Bugler Parmiter, who had deserted.45 His company was attached to Franklin's 1st Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, in March and they took part in the advance on Manassas, Virginia, 10-15 March 1862. Company F was part of McDowell's advance on Fredericksburg, Virginia, 4-12 April and served on transports during the Siege of Yorktown 24 April - 4 May 1862.

     Company muster rolls for the months of May and June 1862 list Benjamin Gifford as "absent sick in hospital."45 In his 8 February 1875 Declaration for Original Pension of an Invalid, Benjamin states that he received the following disability: "a disease pneumonia of the lungs by excessive services as a buglar [sic] while on the march from Yorktown to Richmond Va. in the months of May and June 1862."38; Muster rolls for July and August 1862 list him as "absent sick from 4 June 1862, present whereabouts unknown."45 At Bottom Bridge, Virginia, 1 June 1862, Benjamin S. Gifford had "received a fall from a horse by reason of which he was ruptured and suffered a long time from disease consequent thereupon which shattered his constitution leaving him in a continued weak state of health and liable to recurrence of disease."38 This injury marked the end of Benjamin's military career.

I was sent from my Co. to the Hospital of the 3d N. Jersey regiment [at a farm house] having no sergeon to se me untill I arived at their hospital Consequently no Oficers or Comrads could know how Badly or where I was injured. I recieved no treatement for the hernia while lying in the hospital I was sore and bruised all over the whole Boddy my Lung took up all the atention of Sergeon and atendants a blister on Breast one day folowed with one on back next day oposite the other poulticed between we had no time or inclination to look up other ailments I did not notice the Hernia untill I had my discharge and started for home I did not then know what it was of myself having never seen one at that time on any person. [original spelling and punctuation retained]38
Benjamin was transported by ambulance from the make-shift farm house hospital to the hospital at White House Landing, Virginia, and from there to St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia. He received a disability discharge from this hospital 1 August 1862. W. P. Moore, Acting Surgeon in Charge, certified him as two-thirds disabled by reason of "phthisis pulmonalis."38

     Benjamin made his way home from the hospital, first visiting his mother in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. His brother Hiram saw him there. "He was very much emaciated at this time could not say how much he weighed when he enlisted but was much poorer on his return."38 Benjamin claims in his invalid pension application that his health never returned. In an undated affidavit he states that "he has only been able to perform labor of a light kind for short periods at a time and has been entirely prevented from following his occupation of a shoe maker from the fact that he cannot sit upon the bench without a recurrence of attacks of disease." Unable to pursue his original occupation, Benjamin states that he followed several "light occupations," working as a shoe mender, an assistant in a photographic gallery, and peddler for a book agency.38

     The Gifford family also changed residences several times following the Civil War. After his discharge, Benjamin returned to Farmerville in Seneca Co., New York. In November 1866 he and his family rejoined his mother and siblings in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, residing there until June 1868.38 They then removed to Leslie, Ingham Co., Michigan. Julia's brother James and her recently widowed mother both lived in Leslie, as did her maternal aunts and uncles. It is here that the Benjamin Gifford family is enumerated in the 1870 U.S. census. Benjamin, now 40 years of age, is a photographer with real property valued at $1200 and personal property of $1300. His household consists of [wife] Julia, age 38, and [children] William, age 16, Mary, age 9, Ella, age 7, and Arthur, age 5. All the children were born in New York, probably in Seneca County, and all attend school. William's occupation appears to be "sawyer."35

     In his circa 1889 affidavit to the Pension Office, Benjamin states that his family moved to Roscommon, Roscommon Co., Michigan, 12 March 1876.38 Records created long after the fact are always suspect. Benjamin Gifford was actually a resident of Roscommon by 3 September 1875 when he applied for homestead land under the Soldiers' and Sailors' Homesteads Act passed 8 June 1872. Although this homestead file gives little genealogical information, one final proof paper dated 21 January 1878 gives the following description of the Gifford property:

The said Benjamin S. Gifford entered upon and made settlement on said land on the 3rd day of September, 1875, and has built a house thereon consisting of a frame building 28 x 30 one and a half story high a cellar under the house 18 x 30 the House not plastered and has lived in the said house and made it his exclusive home from the 3rd day of September, 1875, to the present time, and that he has, since said settlement, plowed, fenced, and cultivated about 6 acres of said land, and has made the following improvements thereon, to wit: a good well 74 feet deep, fences around 7 acres the land cultivated 3 years has currant brush has strawberries vines and plum trees.46,38,47
.

     The 1880 U.S. census enumeration of Higgins Townshop in Roscommon County shows that Benjamin Gifford is again working as a shoemaker. The main industry of Roscommon County at this time was logging and Julia (Rappleye) Gifford apears to have taken advantage of the situtation. She is occupied as a boardinghouse keeper. Only two children remain in the household, son Arthur, 15 years old, a laborer who had attended school for six months and daughter Cora, age 5, who had attended school for eight months that year.39 The state of Michigan took its own census in 1884. The Gifford family, enumerated 9 June 1884, now resides in Roscommon Village. Benjamin is a farmer and wife Julia B. is a housewife. Son Arthur, age 19, is a post office clerk and daughter Cora E. is a school girl, age 11.48

     Benjamin Gifford's health deteriorated over the next ten years, a circumstance detailed in his applications for an increase in his pension.38 Eventually, his family took him to Detroit in search of expert medical care. He stayed in the home of daughter and son-in-law Nettie [Mary Annette] and Daniel Bennett, but nothing could be done. Benjamin S. Gifford died 5 January 1897 at the home of daughter Nettie (Gifford) Bennett in Detroit, Michigan. His death certificate gives the cause of death as exhaustion and paraplegia.38 The attending physician wrote, "I do not hesitate to state that the condition of the lungs was the immediate cause of death."38 The cause of death, as recorded in Roscommon County death records, was nervous prostration.41 Benjamin was buried two days later in Woodlawn Cemetery, in Leslie, Ingham Co., Michigan.38 To date, two obituaries have been found for Benjamin S.Gifford. One appeared 15 Jan 1897 in the Leslie [Michigan] News and emphasizes his immediate family.49,37 The second appeard 3 February 1897 in the Mansfield [Pennsylvania] Advertiser. In keeping with this newspaper's location, this obituary emphasizes Benjamin Gifford's mother and siblings.50,19

     The photograph accompanying this article is an unidentified cabinet card photograph taken by G. F. Sterling, a photographer located in Bay City, Michigan. It was part of a collection once the property of Benjamin Gifford's granddaughter Lorene (Gifford) Goss. Although unlabelled, the time period of the photograph, photographer location and provenance made the identification likely. The remarkable resemblance between this man and Benjamin Gifford's mother, Eunice (Case) Gifford, strongly supports this identification.

Benjamin Gifford
signature, 1875.

     Julia Basset Rappleye was born 30 November 1831 in Covert Twp., Seneca Co., NY.39,35,51,36,52,40 She died 17 August 1916 in Noble Sanitorium, Detroit, Wayne Co., MI.52,38 She was buried on 18 August 1916 in Woodlawn Cemetery, Leslie, Ingham Co., MI.43,52,44,38 Julia Bassett (Rappleye) Gifford, unidentified
photograph, G.F. Sterling, Bay City, Michigan, photographer.

     No record of the birth of Julia Basset Rappleye has been found in the records of Covert Township, Seneca County, New York, her place of birth.38 Information on her death certificate, provided by her son, William, states that she was born 30 November 1831, the daughter of Hiram Rappleye and Rachael Bassett.52 This birth date is supported by all census information available. However, her parentage is in question. Although she was the daughter of Hiram Rappleye,38 the wife of Hiram was a woman named Rachael Chandler.37 Present information indicates that Julia was the daughter of Hiram Rappleye and Rachael Chandler. However, it is possible that Julia was the daughter of Hiram and an unknown first wife. (See discussion under Hiram Rappleye family).

     Unfortunately, Julia Rappleye is not shown residing in her father's household in the 1850 U.S. census of Covert Township. She is probably the Julia Rapplye, age 20, living as a domestic in the household of Anthony McFarley, a wealthy farmer with five children.51 However, Hiram Rappleye's 1840 household does include two females 5-10 years of age, one of whom could be Julia. She was then nine years old.11

     Julia married Benjamin S. Gifford in 1851 in Kidder's Ferry, New York. The couple lived in Julia's birthplace of Covert Township, Seneca Co., New York, for a few years, then migrated to Leslie, Ingham Co., Michigan. However, they returned within two years to Covert Township where they lived until after the Civil War.

     The Giffords returned to Leslie, Michigan, in 1868 after the death of Julia's father Hiram. Leslie was the home of Julia's mother, brother James, and several other Covert Township families. Here, Julia became a member of the Leslie Baptist Church.38 The family remained in Leslie until about 1875 when Benjamin decided to homestead in the Roscommon, Michigan, area. Julia's oldest son, William, had married and remained behind in Leslie, but the younger children reached adulthood in Roscommon where they all married. Julia ran a boardinghouse, probably for the lumbermen, in Higgins Township, Roscommon Co.39

     Julia was widowed in January 1897 at the age of 65. She filed for a widow's pension shortly thereafter and the various documents shed light on her life and on Roscommon County's economy at this time.

I own the following property. Lots 10 & 11& 12 Block 23 & lots 8 & 9 Block 23 This being my home. I also own the E½ of the NE¼ of Sec 30, Town 25 N R 2 W the first two description being in the Village of Roscommon & the last in Crawford County. I did own Lots 15 & 16 in Block 46 Village of Roscommon which I have sold for $70. These lots were assessed at $200.00. The value of the other lots where I live do not exceed in value to day two Hundred & fifty dollars and there is no sale at this price. The E½ of the NE¼ of Sec 30 I have offered at $1.00 per acre & have no buyers. This land is assessed at $80. The total value of my real estate does not exceed in value $330.00. I have no personal property as the $70.00 rec'd from sale of Lots 15 & 16 goes to pay last years & this year's taxes and other debts contracted since my husbands death. I have no other income in fact have no income. I have no one who is legally bound to furnish me any support. I have no stocks bonds mortgages notes, or any money. I am too old & feeble being 66 years old to support myself by my manual labor & have no other means of support.38
.

     After the death of her husband, Julia was supported by her younger son Arthur H. Gifford. However, Arthur's family lived in Colorado, and he wished to return to them.38 Julia moved to Toledo, Ohio, to live with her youngest child, daughter Cora (Gifford) Southard. She is listed as a member of her daughter's household in both the 1900 and 1910 U.S. census enumerations of Toledo, Lucas Co., Ohio.40 53 Both enumerations show her to be a widow with six children, only four of them still living.

     The Probate Court of Wayne County, Michigan, judged Julia Gifford incompetent and appointed William W. Gifford [Julia's son, then living in Detroit, Michigan] her guardian 9 June 1914.38 She was probably removed from her daughter's household at that time and committed to the Noble Sanitorium in Detroit. It was here that Julia B. (Rappleye) Gifford died 17 August 1916 at the age of 84 years 8 months 17 days.38 The cause of death as entered on her death certificate was arteriosclerosis with nephritis a contributory factor.52 She was buried beside her husband Benjamin Gifford in Woodlawn Cemetery, also known as the Leslie Village Cemetery, the next day. The tombstone which marks the grave does not include her date of death.54 Her obituary appeared in the Leslie Local Republican.55,38 This obituary states that Julia was survived by four of her six children [William, Mary Annette, Arthur, Cora], eight grandchildren, four great grandchildren and one brother [Francis M. Rappleye]. Its final comment on her life: "During the last five years age weighed heavily upon her until the close."38

Julia (Rappleye) Gifford
signature, 1897.

     The six known children of Benjamin S.3 Gifford and Julia Basset Rappleye were as follows:

     4. Julia Ann3 Gifford (William2, Benjamin1); born 16 May 1831 in Troy, Bradford Co., PA;6,20,14,15,16 married Plinn Davis, son of Captain Ezra Davis and Betsy (--?--), 1853 in Richmond Twp., Tioga Co., PA;6,19,61 she died 1 April 1906 in Mansfield, Tioga Co., PA;62,6,19,16 buried 4 April 1906 in Prospect Cemetery, Mansfield, Tioga Co., PA.63,19,16

     Before the proliferation of nursing homes and retirement communities, the younger generations, raised by their parents, cared for those elderly parents in return. Usually, this care devolved upon one member of that younger generation who, in recompense, received the parents' home or the lion's share of the parental assets. Julia Ann Gifford appears to have been the child designated to care for her parent. She was born 16 May 1831,6 16 probably in Troy, Bradford Co., Pennsylvania, her parents' residence until at least 1833.7 This information is supported by all evidence except two census returns. The 1860 census enumeration of Mansfield Boro lists her as "Julia A. Davis, age 27 [b. 1833], born in New York"22. Her birthplace is entered as New York in the 1880 census enumeration as well.15

     After the death of her father in 1849, Julia left New York and returned to Pennsylvania with her mother. She is shown living with her mother in the 1850 U.S. census enumeration of Richmond Township, Tioga Co., Pennsylvania.20 Her help was probably vital to a widow with a small child, Julia's brother Hiram, age 3 at the time. Julia's marriage to Plinn Davis, a Richmond Township farmer, took place in 1853.61 The Davis family initially remained in Mansfield Boro, but by 1870, the family had moved to a farm in Richmond Township, just west of the Boro.14

     Like her mother Eunice, Julia was a member of the Baptist Church. Her occupation is consistently listed as "keeping house." She raised a family of five children, three of whom survived her. Julia Ann (Gifford) Davis was widowed in February 1890 and it is likely that her mother, living on her own in 1880, was living with her daughter at that time. Eunice (Case) Gifford died in her daughter's home only two months later. The administration of Eunice's estate did not take place for more than two years and it generated few papers. Among those papers is a letter dated Mansfield, 23 Dec 1892, from Julia renouncing her right to administer this estate.

As I am not able to ride to Wellsboro was advised to write and say, that I am a daughter and D.C. Rumsey is a grandson of Eunice Gifford (diseased) [sic] - that we are the only direct heirs in the State. . .18
.

     Julia Ann (Gifford) Davis died of Bright's disease at her home on 1 April 1906. She was buried in the family lot in Prospect Cemetery, Mansfield, Pennsylvania.19 16 The tombstone is symbolic of the close interrelationship between Julia and her mother. The names of three generations: Eunice, daughter Julia, son-in-law Plinn, and the Davis grandchildren, are all inscribed on one stone in Prospect Cemetery. Her obituary appeared in the Mansfield Advertiser 4 April 1906.64,19

Julia Davis
signature, 1892.18

     Plinn Davis was born 3 April 1831 in Londonderry, VT.61,14,15,22,16 He died 5 February 1890 in Richmond Twp., Tioga Co., PA.65,16,61 He was buried in Prospect Cemetery, Mansfield, Tioga Co., PA.63,16

     Plinn Davis, born in Vermont in 1831, left with his parents as a young boy and settled in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, in 1838. His father ran a tannery, but Plinn made his living by farming.66 Captain Ezra Davis died in 1858 and it is possibly his North Main Street home that his son and daughter-in-law occupy in the 1860 U.S. census enumeration of Mansfield Boro. This census shows Plinn Davis, age 29, owning $1000 of real estate and $500 of personal property. It also states that he was born in Connecticut, the only census to do so.22 By 1870, Plinn Davis has moved to a farm just west of Mansfield Boro on Mulberry Hill. He is enumerated there in the 1870 U.S. census as "Pliny David," a farmer now owning real property valued at $3000.14

     Unfortunately, a thorough search of Tioga County court records has not been performed, but the only reference to sale of land by Plinn Davis through 1903 is a reference which, judging from volume number, details a transaction which occurred about the time of his marriage to Julia Gifford. Neither the original deed volume nor the grantee indexes have been searched. There is no service record for Plinn Davis listed in the index to Pennsylvania Civil War soldiers and the only man of that name to serve in the state of New York was a resident of Vermont. Plinn Davis died 5 February 1890 in his 59th year of "dropsy of the heart,"61 or congestive heart failure. He is buried in Prospect Cemetery, Mansfield, Pennsylvania.16 His obituary appeared in the Tioga Co., PA, 12 February 1890.67,61

     The five known children of Julia Ann3 Gifford and Plinn Davis were as follows:

     5. Mary M.3 Gifford (William2, Benjamin1); born 16 January 1836 in Covert Twp., Seneca Co., NY;6,22,74 married John Fralick circa 1860 possibly in Mansfield, Tioga Co., PA;6,74 she died 30 November 1922 in Thompsonville, Benzie Co., MI;75,76 buried in Thompsonville Cemetery, Thompsonville, Benzie Co., MI.76

     Mary M. Gifford was the source of the information found in the Erastus Ely Case manuscript on the family of William and Eunice (Case) Gifford. Her letter to Dr. Case, numbered by him as no. 6739, was dated March 1908, Thompsonville, Michigan, from Mrs. Mary Fralick.6 Her birthdate, as presented in this manuscript, was 16 January 1836, a date supported by all evidence found. The 1875 New York state census of Ridgeway Township, Orleans Co., lists Mary's birthplace as Seneca Co., New York.76 All other census listings confirm her state of birth as New York, so it is assumed that she was born in Covert Twp., Seneca Co., the residence of her family in the 1840 U.S. census. William Gifford's family at this time includes a female under five years of age, presumably Mary.11

     Mary would have been about thirteen years of age when her father died in 1849. Most of the Gifford children appear to have been scattered among relatives at that time. Mary was not listed in the 1850 U.S. census enumerations of any of her mother's relatives; therefore, it was assumed that she went to the home of a paternal relative. There is a Mary A. Gifford, age 14, listed in the 1850 census enumeration of Ovid in Seneca Co., New York.51 She is the only child in the home of David and Minerva Clermont. Also living in the household are Sylverius and Ruth Payne, age 89 and 84 respectively. Although it is likely that this is the correct Mary Gifford, there is no relationship apparent between her and the other members of this household. By 1860, Mary joined her mother's household in Richmond Township, Tioga Co., Pennsylvania. The federal census enumeration of the Eunice Gifford household includes "Mary Gifford, age 24, tailor."22 Like brother William Bradford, Mary's wages probably went to help support the household. She apparently continued in this profession as the 1875 New York state census enumeration of Ridgeway Township, Orleans Co., lists her as "Mary Fralick, age 39, b. Seneca Co., tailoress."76

     Clues to Mary's marriage originally came from two sources. Her mother's 1895 obituary includes the line "a daughter in Medina, N.Y."19 An affidavit dated 1 October 1863 attesting to William Gifford's date and place of death is signed by a "Mary M. Fralick."9 Information on the Fralick family found in the 1900 U.S. census enumeration of Medina, Orleans Co., New York, states that John and Mary Fralick had been married 40 years.74 As Mary was unmarried at the time of the 11 July 1860 census enumeration, she and John Fralick probably married shortly thereafter in Richmond Township, Pennsylvania.

     The Fralick family has not been located in the 1870 U.S. census. However, by 1875 they were living in Ridgeway Township, Orleans Co., New York.76 In 1880 they were living in District 2, Medina, New York. The U.S. census enumeration shows Mary, age 44, housekeeper, living with husband John and children Loyd S., age 15, foundry worker, and Lizzie, age 12. Both children were born in Pennsylvania, placing the family probably in Richmond Township as late as 1868.58 Son Loyd died before 1900 as Mary states in the 1900 U.S. census that she had given birth to two children, only one still living.74

     Hiram H. Gifford, Mary's brother, resided in Thompsonville, Benzie Co., Michigan, in 1900.77 At some time between her family's enumeration in the 1900 U.S. census of Medina, New York, and March 1908, the date of her letter to Dr. Erastus Ely Case, Mary also moved to Thompsonville. She died 30 November 1922 after a few days' illness with pneumonia at daughter Lizzie (Fralick) Snyder's house in Thompsonville, Michigan. She was buried in the Thompsonville Cemetery.76 Her obituary appeared in the Medina Daily Journal 11 December 1922.78,76

Mary M. Fralick
signature, 1863.

     John Fralick was born April 1831 in Herkimer Co., NY.74,76

     Little is known of John Fralick at this time. He was born April 183174 in Herkimer Co., New York.76 Both parents were also born in New York. By occupation he was a teamster,58 74 although the 1892 New York state census of Ridgeway Township in which the Fralick family appears calls him a drayman.76

     No evidence has been found to confirm any service by John Fralick in the Civil War. There is a service record for a private John Fralich, Pennsylvania, who enlisted in 1864, but the original record has not been examined. Although several men named John Fralick served from New York, none of them match this John Fralick. He did not apply for a pension.

     John Fralick and his family left Mansfield, Pennsylvania, at some time after 1868 and moved to Orleans Co., New York, where they are found in the 1875 New York state census enumeration of Ridgeway Township.76 They remained in the Orleans Co. region through at least 1900.74 John's wife and daughter are found residing in Thompsonville, Benzie Co., Michigan, in 1908;6 but there is no evidence that John himself went to Michigan. His date and place of death are presently unknown.

     The two known children of Mary M.3 Gifford and John Fralick were as follows:

     7. Matilda A.3 Gifford (William2, Benjamin1); born 23 January 1841 in Farmerville, Seneca Co., NY;6,14,79 married Charles M. Rumsey 27 March 1866 in Sullivan Twp., Tioga Co., PA;6,24,80 she died 30 May 1884 in Sullivan Twp., Tioga Co., PA;80,24 buried in Mainesburg Cemetery, Sullivan Twp., Tioga Co., PA.81,79

     Matilda A. Gifford was born in New York,14 probably Farmerville, Seneca Co., her parents' residence in 1840, the year before her birth. Her date of birth, 23 January 1841, is taken from the information in the E. E. Case manuscript provided by Matilda's sister, Mary M. (Gifford) Fralick in 1908.6 This date also corresponds to her age at death as entered on her tombstone.79 Matilda would have been eight years old when her father died. Like siblings Mary, William and Stephen, Matilda appears to have been placed with another family after his death. She has not been found in any 1850 U.S. census enumeration of her mother's relatives, nor has she been found in any Seneca Co., New York, Gifford household in the same time period. Her sister Mary and brother William had returned to their mother's home by the date of the 1860 U.S. census enumeration, but Matilda has not yet been found in that census.

     Matilda Gifford's first census appearance found to date is in the 1870 U.S. census listing of Sullivan Township, Tioga Co., Pennsylvania. She had married in 1866 and lives with husband Charles Rumsey and infant son Clark. She is 29 years old, which corresponds to her 1841 birth date, and owns real property valued at $6000.14 Assuming this information is not a mistake on the part of the census taker, how Matilda obtained such valuable property could give a clue to her whereabouts after her father's death. No member of her immediate family, male or female, owned this much in 1870. No record of this land's disposition has been found in Tioga County records, but a thorough search of those records has not been completed. It is also possible that the land was located in another county or state.

     The separation from her birth family at such a young age seems to have encouraged differences in Matilda. Unlike the rest of her family, most of whom were Baptists, she was a member of the M. E. Church and sang in the choir at the church in Mainsburg.82 Although deceased at the time, she is named as "Mrs. Charles M. Rumsey, of Sullivan" in the 1897 obituary of her brother Benjamin S. Gifford;19 but she is not mentioned in the obituaries of either her mother or her sister Julia. Evidence does exist to show continued communication between Matilda and her mother and siblings. She signs an affidavit in her mother's Civil War pension application attesting to the time and place of her father's death9 and the photograph of her mother, Eunice (Case) Gifford, now in possession of Julia (Gifford) Davis's descendants, may once have belonged to Matilda. The photograph, once owned by Matilda's namesake and grandniece, Mattie (Gillette) Phelps, is identified on the back as "Eunice Gifford Mother of Tilla." Within her family Matilda (Gifford) Rumsey was known as "Tillie."

     Matilda (Gifford) and Charles Rumsey were the parents of three children, only one of whom, D. Clark, survived his mother. Son Ralph died when only a year old in 1874.79 A second child, unnamed, died in infancy.24 Matilda herself died in May of 1884, but the exact day of death is in question. Both the family information provided by her sister and her tombstone give that day as 31 May 1884.6 79 However, her husband Charles states that she died 30 May 1884 in his 1915 Bureau of Pensions questionnaire.80 This is also the date used in the Charles M. Rumsey biography found in the 1897 History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania.24 She was buried in Mainesburg Cemetery, Mainesburg, Pennsylvania.79 The obituary transcribed below was originally taken from an unknown newspaper clipping. The newspaper was probably the Mansfield Advertiser as the obituary which appeared 3 June 1884 in the Wellsboro Agitator was not as thorough.82

Tillie A. Gifford
signature, 1863.9

     Charles M. Rumsey was born 30 July 1837 in Sullivan Twp., Tioga Co., PA, son of Noah Rumsey and Sally Gitchel.14,24,80,80 He married (2) after the death of his first wife Angeline A. Ely 17 February 1886 in Charleston, Tioga Co., PA, marriage performed by Rev. S. F. Mathews.80 He died 1 December 1929 in Mansfield Twp., Tioga Co., PA.83,80 He was buried on 4 December 1929 in Mainesburg Cemetery, Sullivan Twp., Tioga Co., PA.84,80

     Charles M. Rumsey enlisted on 14 October 1861, in Troy, Bradford Co., PA, private, Co C 7th PA Cav.80 At the time of his enlistment, Charles Rumsey was described as 5 feet 10 inches high, fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. Like his future father-in-law, he lists his occupation as shoemaker.80 In the 1897 History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania he describes his experiences in the Civil War. "At Lebanon, Virginia, May 5, 1862, his horse was shot from under him, and in falling broke several of his ribs. He was so severely injured that he was confined to the hospital three months, and never fully recovered.".24 He was discharged from military service on 1 November 1864 in Columbia, TN.80

     Charles Rumsey and Matilda Gifford were married 27 March 1866.80 The 1870 U.S. census enumeration of Sullivan Township, Tioga Co., Pennsylvania, includes the family and shows Charles to be a 32 year old farmer who owns real property valued at $3500 and personal property worth $1200. His wife Matilda owns real property valued at $6000! Their young son Clark, age six months, had been born the previous December.14

     Matilda's death occurred in 1884 at which time Charles Rumsey, a Democrat, was serving as County Commissioner.82 He was very active in community service and served Sullivan Township in the offices of supervisor, constable and collector.24 Charles married (2) Angeline Ely, daughter of Frederick and Sally Ely, 17 February 1886 in Charleston Township. The couple had no known children.80

     By 1912, Charles had moved his family to Mansfield, Pennsylvania.80 He died there 1 December 1929. The cause of death was chronic nephritis, with chronic myocarditis a contributory factor. He was buried with his first wife and children in Mainesburg Cemetery, Sullivan Township.80

     The three known children of Matilda A.3 Gifford and Charles M. Rumsey were as follows:

     9. Hiram Henry3 Gifford (William2, Benjamin1); born 19 February 1847 probably in Covert Twp., Seneca Co., NY;86,20,22,87,77 married Sarah (--?--) 20 February 1868 in Mansfield Twp, Tioga Co., PA;6,87,77 he died 12 August 1919 in Blair Twp., Grand Traverse Co., MI.88,89

     Although the Case Manuscript clearly states that Hiram was born 19 February 1846,6 almost all other evidence supports the birthdate of 19 February 1847. Census information in 1850 lists his age as 3 years.20 He is 13 in 186022 and in 1880 he is 33 years old.90 In 1910 his age is given as 63 years87 and in 1900 Hiram states that he was born in February 1847.77 In a letter to the U.S. Pension Bureau Hiram states that he "will be 62 years old February 19th 1909."91 However, his date of birth, as calculated from his age of 72 years 5 months 24 days at the time of death, is 16 February 1847. The death certificate is a transcription of the original record, so it is possible that the age at death could have been misread by the clerk.89 The only major discrepancy is the information found in the 1870 U.S. census listing of Hiram in Mansfield Boro. This census states that he was 25 years old and also is the only evidence stating that he was born in Pennsylvania.14 In reality, he was probably born in Covert Township, Seneca Co., New York, where his family lived from at least 1836 through 1849. Hiram was only two years old when his father died in 1849. He moved with his mother to Tioga Co., Pennsylvania20 and remained in Eunice's household until the mid 1870s when he and his family joined his brother Benjamin in Michigan.

     In his 1892 Declaration for an Original Disability Pension, Hiram H. Gifford states that he enlisted 1 June 1863 as a private in Capt. Warner Carnachan's Company B, 26th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. He was honorably discharged 14 October 1863 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.91 However, his pension was denied on the basis of insufficient service. Military records showed that he enrolled at Gettysbury 17 June 1863 in the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia and was discharged at Harrisburg 30 July 1863.91 92 The 26th Regiment Emergency Militia Infantry was organized at Harrisburg 22 June 1863 "for the protection of Pennsylvania against Lee's invasion."93 This militia unit consisted of about 750 teenage farm boys like Hiram, old men, shopkeepers, and convalescing army veterans. They were issued new uniforms, new rifles and new shoes and drilled for two days. On 24 June, the unit was dispatched to Gettysburg to "delay any Rebel advance into the town" and two days later they faced almost 2300 veteran Confederate soldiers at what is termed the action at Witmer Farm. Many of the new recruits had yet to learn how to load their guns. As might be expected, they did not fare well. Hiram's company of about 90 men was stationed as rear guard for the militia. They faced Colonel William French's 17th Virginia Cavalry and almost every terrified recruit was taken captive. In all, French's cavalry captured 176 men, marched them to Gettysburg's town square and relieved them of their guns and shoes. There, Confederate General Jubal Early bawled them out, paroled them and sent them home. The Confederate forces had not even bothered to pursue the rest of the fleeing 26th.94 The story is almost amusing, but at least the 16 year old Hiram did not suffer the fate of his three older brothers.

     No record of Hiram's marriage has been found. However, his sister Mary includes the exact date of the marriage in the family information she provided to Dr. Erastus E. Case. Hiram's is the only marriage in which the date is included. It is also the only marriage in which the name of the spouse is omitted.6 The young couple with their infant son resided with Hiram's mother Eunice for several years. Hiram and his family is enumerated in his mother's household in the 1870 U.S. census of Mansfield Boro, Tioga Co. Hiram is listed as a 25 year old laborer, born in Pennsylvania.14

     Hiram and his family were living in South Branch, Crawford Co., Michigan, by 15 May 1877. He began homesteading 80 acres of land described as the NW¼ of the NE¼ and the NE¼ of the NW¼ of section 30, township 25N, range 2W.47 This land almost adjoined that of his brother Benjamin and in fact formed part of the land owned by Benjamin's widow Julia in 1897. In his claimant testimony, Hiram describes himself as age 34, with a wife and two children. This is his description of his homestead.

My house was built in April & May 1877 and established my residence about the 15th of May. My house is 14 x 24 with an addition 12 x 24. My house has 4 doors & 7 windows. My barn is 14 x 24. I value my place at $800.00.47
He and his family are enumerated in the 1880 U.S. census of South Branch where Hiram is listed as a 33 year old farmer.90

     Hiram is listed in his mother's 1890 obituary as her son H. H. Gifford of Roscommon, Michigan.19 However, farming was not easy in that area of Michigan and lumber, the number one industry, was failing. The area was economically depressed and by 1892 the Hiram Gifford family was relocated in Thompsonville, Benzie Co., Michigan. In his pension application this year, Hiram describes himself as "45 years of age; height 5 feet 9 inches; complexion light, hair black, eyes grey. His long list of disabilities include "catarrh, bronchitis, and disease of lungs, chronic diarrhoea and piles, disease of kidneys, heart and vertigo."91 He also appears to have given up farming. The 1900 U.S. census enumeration of Thompsonville states Hiram's occupation as "deputy sheriff." Residing with him is his wife and his grandson, 8 year old Clarence Blackman.77

     By 1908, Hiram and family have moved again, this time to Traverse City, Grand Traverse Co., Michigan.6 The 1910 U.S. census of this city lists Hiram as a 63 year old self-employed house painter. His son William, now divorced, has returned to his parents' household, and the couple's six year old granddaughter Coral Blackman also resides with them.87

     Hiram H. Gifford died in Blair Township, Grand Traverse Co., Michigan, 12 August 1919. At the time, his occupation was that of engineer. The cause of death was listed as chronic interstitial nephritis. He was 72 years old.89 Sarah, his wife of 51 years, survived him by less than a year.

Hiram H. Gifford
signature, 1892.

     Sarah (--?--) was born 5 August 1848 in England.89 She died 14 January 1920 in Traverse City, Grand Traverse Co., MI.95,89

     Hiram Gifford's wife Sarah's maiden name is not yet known. She was born in England and the 5 August 1848 date calculated from her age at death is probably accurate. She has been found enumerated in all federal censuses from 1870 through 1920 and all but one support this date. That one census, the 1900 enumeration of the Hiram H. Gifford household in Weldon Township, Benzie Co., Michigan, states that she was born August 1851.77 Perhaps she wasn't ready to accept being 51 years of age. She immigrated in 1856, probably with her family, as she would have been about eight years old at the time.87

     Sarah and Hiram appear together in the 1870 through 1910 U.S. censuses and are living in different locations in each one. In 1870 the family resides with Hiram's mother Eunice (Case) Gifford in Mansfield Boro, Tioga Co., Pennsylvania.14 By 1880, the family has moved to South Branch in Crawford Co., Michigan;90 in 1900, the family is in Thompsonville, Benzie Co., Michigan;77 and in 1910 they reside in Traverse City in Grand Traverse Co., Michigan.87 Census information shows that she was the mother of three children, only two of whom were alive in 1900. Those two are known to be son William and daughter Edith. The third child does not appear in any census records and birth records were not recorded this early in Tioga Co., Pennsylvania. Vital records of Crawford Co., Michigan, have not been searched at this time. Currently, this third child is unidentified.

     Hiram died in August 1919 and Sarah survived her husband by less than a year. Although she lived long enough to appear in the 1920 U.S. census enumeration of Traverse City,96 she died nine days after the census taker's visit, 14 January 1920. The cause of death was entered as apoplexy on her death certificate. Her age was entered as 71 years 5 months 9 days giving the calculated birthdate of 5 August 1848. Unfortunately, the deach certificate lists her parents as unknown, does not include the burial place and does not give the name of the informant.89

     The three known children of Hiram Henry3 Gifford and Sarah (--?--) all born Mansfield Twp, Tioga Co., PA, were as follows:




Main Menu--> Bradford County Menu--> Gifford Table of Contents--> Back

Please mail comments and suggestions to Susan Johnston at Email me


Created with The Master Genealogist for Windows
Susan Goss Johnston, copyright June 2001, revised August 2002