At the conclusion of my last post, James and Margaret (Browning) Hoy had both died by 1870 in Crawford County, Illinois. (At least that's my assumption - it's possible that James Hoy just left his wife and children - but barring any proof to the contrary I'll continue to operate on the presumption that he'd died.)
I mentioned the couple's crazy kids. Let me explain.
Pinning down exactly how many children James Hoy and Margaret Browning had and where they went after their parent’s deaths has been a real challenge for me. One source I have that helps with this family is a transcribed family bible record written in 1925 by Ruhama (Cliff) Harris, the daughter of Emma Alice Hoy. The bible is in the possession of Emma's descendants. A copy of this typed transcription is to the right. While I know that a few things in the bible are inaccurate, confused, or just plain missing (the date of James and Margaret's marriage is off by one year, a fact I checked with the transcriptioner to make sure it wasn't a transcription error) and I can guess that a few other things are, I feel the bible record is for the most part a good starting point and a fair account of Emma's sisters and brothers. I used it, along with the only census of this family with names (the 1860) and the other two censuses without names (the 1855 and 1865 IL census) to try and reconstruct their family.
Follow along with me, for here's where it gets fun. Ha!
According to the bible records, James and Margaret had a total of seven children: Sarah Ellen, James Franklin, Emma Alice, Edward J., Mary Jane, Charley, and William. But is this true?
Well, the 1855 IL census (taken in October) shows the couple with two boys under ten and two girls under ten. At the time of this census, these children from the bible record would fit:
22 May 1851 Sarah Ellen Hoy (age 4.5 yrs)
19 Apr 1852 James Franklin Hoy (age 3.5 yrs)
3 Jan 1854 Emma Alice Hoy (age 18 months)
1 Apr 1855 Edward Jasper Hoy (age 6 mos)
So far so good, right?
Fast forward five years later, to July of 1860. Here we find the couple living with their children, a family that has expanded to six children. But we see some new names here and a lot of jumping around in ages. Emma is missing completely. Sarah has suddenly lost two years and James has gained two years. Who is Susan and how did she suddenly become nine years old? Edward's age coincides just fine. We've added two more children, a girl named Jane and a son named "Advickus." The bible record calls this child Charley, which will make a lot more sense when we learn later that his full name was Charles Victor:
22 Jan 1857 Mary Jane Hoy (aged 3 yrs)
13 Dec 1859 Charley (aged 1 yr)
Before we take to analyzing the data, let's go on to the 1865 census, also taken in July. This is the last census we have to look at the James and Margaret (Browning) Hoy family as a whole. In this census, there are a total of ten people in the household. Subtracting the two adults, that meant eight children -- four males and two females 10 and younger, and one male and one female over ten and under twenty. From this census, we can attach the listed children from the bible like so:
over ten-under 20
22 May 1851 Sarah Ellen Hoy (age 14 yrs)
19 Apr 1852 James Franklin Hoy (age 13 yrs)
10 and under
3 Jan 1854 Emma Alice Hoy (age 11 yrs) -- doesn't quite fit
1 Apr 1855 Edward Jasper Hoy (age 10 yrs)
22 Jan 1857 Mary Jane Hoy (age 8 yrs)
13 Dec 1859 Charles Victor Hoy (age 5 yrs)
26 Nov 1860 William D. Hoy (age 4 yrs)
c1863 (Zara Hoy, aged appr. 2 yrs)
Ah, but we have one more census to look at -- the 1870. This census was taken after the deaths of both James and Margaret (Browning) Hoy. This is the point where I wish that I could find some sort of guardianship records. Their children were apparently scattered to the four winds and it has been extremely difficult to find all of them. I've only found a few:
Mary HOY, aged 13, b. IL, living w/Thomas and Martha (Botts) Corbin in Palestine, Crawford Co., IL (personal est. valued at $300)
Edward HOY, aged 15, b. IL, living w/Dr. Nathaniel and Hannah (Kitchell) Steele in Palestine, Crawford Co., IL
Emma A. HOY, aged 15, b. IL, living w/John & Rachel (Browning) McConnell in Washington Twn., Harrison Co., OH
William HOY, aged 9 b. IL, living w/Roland & Elvira (Allison) Fuson in Honey Creek Twn., Crawford Co., IL
I've found one more, I think:
Sarah E. HOY, age 25 b. IL, William HOY age 8 b. IL, and Zarah HOY age 6 b. IL, all listed as paupers and living in the poorhouse that William Beers ran in Hutsonville, Crawford Co., IL
I haven't been able to locate James, Susan, or Charles in the 1870 at all.
To wrap up today's post, the bible record seems to fit quite well with most of the census records. There are a few exceptions to this -- a) Emma's age is just so slightly off in the 1865, b) Susan Hoy (mentioned in the 1860) doesn't appear at all in the 1865, and c) the number of children listed in the bible is off by one because Zara isn't mentioned at all. All that aside, though, the bible record does seem to fit well overall and it makes me feel comfortable with it as a decent recollection of the Hoy family.
The 1870 census brings up a few more questions. Why is Sarah Ellen suddenly so old? Why is William Hoy listed twice? Where are Charles, and James, and Susan? Who are the people the kids are living with? How can we be sure that Zara Hoy is even James and Margaret's child?
For this, the census isn't enough. We need more proof, more records. And next time we'll start asking some other questions.
5 hours ago