Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wells and Willis Family in Brookline in 1860

My 3rd great grandparents household in Brookline, Massachusetts as enumerated in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census. (Thomas' middle initial should be G not D.), database online. Year: 1860; Census Place: Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts;
Roll: M653_514; Page 747; Record for Thomas D. Wells [sic]

Thomas D. Wells is 54 years old, no occupation listed, and incorrectly listed as being born in New York. (He was born in New Hampshire.) $10,000 represents the value of his real estate and $3,000 represents the value of his personal estate.

His wife, Elizabeth S. Wells, is 49 years old with $150,000 as the value of real estate owned. This was a lot of money in 1860 (assuming it's not an enumerator error)! (See an interesting online calculator at MeasuringWorth.) And, yes, she is correctly listed as being born in Maine.

Their children are listed: Eliza (age 21), Henry (age 19, and a sailor, who died in 1864 - see Forest Hills gravestone), and Louisa (age 12, and in school) were born in Massachusetts, and Benjamin (age 4) was born in New Hampshire.

The next line is somewhat puzzling and I believe contains an error: Benjamin Willis, age 70, and born in Massachusetts, is listed as a servant. I believe this is Elizabeth's widowed father, who was listed in their household in Walpole, New Hampshire in the 1850 U.S. Census. I don't know why he is not listed as father-in-law to the head of household, Thomas. Benjamin was a successful merchant, as was his father before him, and the $150,000 value of real estate recorded under his daughter is likely due to their success.

Below Benjamin's name are the names of four individuals who are likely servants in this household: Canadian-born 30-year old Ann (?Cavers), 50-year old Hannah Sullivan, 16-year old Ann Maloney and 14-year old Patrick (Maloney?), all born in Ireland.

Note to family and long-time readers - this information means that the Wells family was much more financially comfortable in 1860 than either David Hunter McAlpin or James Pyle.

I descend from this couple as follows:

Thomas Goodwin Wells and Elizabeth Sewall Willis
(1804-1873)                     (1820-1900)
Eliza May Wells
Ethel May Greeley
Lowell Townsend Copeland
My mother

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