Monday, October 26, 2009

End of the Line?

My great grandfather, Joseph Leman/Lehman/Davis, born c1840 in Pennsylvania, is a family conundrum of sizable proportions. In thirty years of searching I find him only in two records, the 1880 census for East Deer Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and in his father-in-law William Kennedy's Bible. In the Bible he is listed as Joseph Leeman (sic). Joseph is the end-of-the-line progenitor in my research on my Mother's (Naomi Alberta (Davis) Holt), male family line. His mother, it is believed, is Agnus/Agnes Leman, born in Ireland c1820. My Davis grandparents always maintained that Joseph's mother's name was Agnus Leman. There is only that and the entry in his father-in-law's Bible, cited above, as to the validity of the name Leman.

Joseph married Sarah Ann Kennedy in 1869 bringing with him his daughter, Laura, b1861, from a previous marriage, possibly to with Susan E. Potts, an immigrant from England. In the 1880 census cited above, he said his name was Davis, that he was born in Pennsylvania, that his father was born in Pennsylvania and his mother born in Ireland. Children listed were Laura 19, Martha 10, Annie 4 and Albert 3. Living next door was a Samuel Davis, born Pennsylvania and wife, Agnus, born in Ireland. Moving back in time on Samuel we find his wife's name to be Nancy in 1870 and 1860, both times shown as born in Ireland. In 1850, living with Samuel, 50, is an Agnus Leman, 20, born in Ireland, and Margareta Davis, 63, born in Ireland. In 1881, Samuel's wife Nancy is buried in Samuel's cemetery plot. In 1886, buried in Samuel's plot are a Rebecca Lehman 2, and two weeks later, a J. R. Lehman 46. Remember now, in 1880, the entire family was listed as Davis.

In the 1900 census, Sarah Ann is living with her now married daughter, Annie Wills, in New Brighton, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Sarah states she had 6 children and 5 were living. Remember, Laura is only her stepchild. We know of William Stevick (Wee Willie), a child born out of wedlock in 1865, Martha, Annie, Amy (lived only a few short months) and Albert. My guess is she must have been referring to Laura as one of her children also.

Now in 2007, the plot really thickened. A direct male descendant of Joseph's, a great grandson, had his DNA done and low and behold, most of the 37 marker individuals in that testing program have the surname Boyd. In the 1850 census living next door to Samuel Davis and Agnus Leman was the large family of John Boyd 83. John hailed from Ireland. And interestingly, Agnus's son Joseph, who would have been 9 or 10, is nowhere to be found. Indeed, I know of him only in the Kennedy family Bible, 1869, and in the 1880 census in Pennsylvania. I have no idea where Agnus was living in 1839 when she became pregnant. It could have been in Ireland or Pennsylvania or any place in between.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob, great work..However I am confused and have a question; If Agnus was age 20 in the 1850 census, that would have made her only 9-10 when Joseph was born??
    Is there any listing of any siblings with her in Ireland?? Could another sister have been the mother to Joseph and maybe died early, and she assumed the mother role??
    Really enjoy the blog! Mike Ratkovich