|Oliver III and Hannah Wheeler in Salem|
|Orson F. Whitney, a family friend and distinguished Utah historian, published several versions of Harriet’s life story. In one,1 he mentions by name three brothers and one sister. The three boys (our 4GU) appear in the IGI 2: Charles Oliver (b. Salem 21 Jun 1805), Henry Hammond (b. Salem 10 Oct 1806), and Benjamin Franklin (b. Salem 9 Jun 1808). The sister, 4GA Clarissa Caroline, died youngish (~1810-~1841), but not before marrying and producing four children We’ve just recently (2009) unearthed an installment on her story.3|
The IGI says that Charles Oliver died aged 3 months. Benjamin Franklin Wheeler shows up as a young paterfamilias in the 1835 New York State interdecennial census, as the next entry after his father Oliver’s household. Henry Hammond and Benjamin Franklin both appear in the 1850 and 1870 census as grocers in Akron, Ohio.
Only months later (29 June 1808 -- Benjamin was apparently three weeks old), George sold to Oliver (for $700) his interest in their shared property, describing himself in the deed4 as “George Ashby late of Salem in the County of Essex & Commonwealth of Massachusetts housewright...” and stating that “...the house has been since erected.”
We’d be most interested to know just when and why George and his family decided to move on.5 Was all the complicated joint tenancy primarily a way to get OliverAndHannah firmly planted in Salem, piggy-backing on George’s pre-existing status? Or had they really aimed at living together over the long haul, and it just didn’t work out? Not sure how to know.
To finance these real estate transactions, OliverAndHannah mortgaged6 the place to Edmund Johnson of Salem for $192 -- a small fraction, ’twould seem, of its value.
But the Wheelers didn’t prosper in Salem.
1Chronicles of Courage, Volume Two, p. 148. Daughters of Utah Pioneers (Salt Lake City:1991).
2International Genealogical Index (R) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Copyright (c) 1980, 2000, data as of January 2000. Batch #: 7319904, Sheet #: 18, Source Call #: 0822818. These entries mean only, of course, that somebody presented the three Wheeler boys for LDS Temple work, providing these birth data. They do not imply, alas, any primary research or real reliability.
3Until our third visit to Freedom at the end of May, 2009, my only evidence for her existence was Whitney’s report, doubtless derived from interviews with Harriet. As unreliable a witness/storyteller as Grandma Harriet has shown herself in other respects, I’d maintained skepticism about Clarissa Caroline. As will appear, however, we now have solid documentation on Grandma’s little sister.
4Essex County Deeds, Book 182, leaves 219-220
5George Ashby died 1850 in Bradford, Merrimack County, New Hampshire. About seven miles north of Hillsborough Center. Nancy Hartwell Ashby died 1873 in Northwood, Rockingham County, perhaps 30 miles to the east.
6Essex County Deeds, Book 185, leaves 135-136
7Essex County Deeds, Book 206, leaves 181-182
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