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However incomplete Grandma Hannah’s descendant list, I’ve learned a lot from it. We’d wondered about our Aunt Clarissa Caroline Wheeler, the younger sister whom Harriet would later mention to Orson Whitney. Until this summer (2009), except for that mention, I’d seen no evidence of Clarissa’s existence. Knowing that Harriet invented, however vaguely, a fictional Welsh ancestry for herself, we were left to wonder whether Clarissa Caroline might also have been a fruit of her fecund imagination.

But now…we rejoice in a poignant and authoritative if sketchy biography. Assuming Hannah’s accuracy, Clarissa Caroline Wheeler:
  • Was born about 1810 in Salem (though I’m not altogether sure of my source on this)
  • Made an uncle (for us) of a man named Sawyer around 1829, in time to give him four children (our 4C1R) whom Grandma Hannah listed as living in 1856:
    • Malvina Sawyer, born about 1830, married about 1849 to Azro A Jaquish, residing in Michigan by 1856
    • Oliver Sawyer, born between 1831 and 1856, residing in Michigan by 1856
    • Andrew Sawyer, born between 1831 and 1856, residing in Michigan by 1856
    • George Sawyer, born between 1831 and 1856, residing in Michigan by 1856
  • Died by 1856.

Cousin (by marriage) Azro Jaquish’s stone in the Sowle Cemetery…
And further investigation has turned up enough details of Clarissa’s career, kin, and neighbors to justify an entire separate section about her and hers.

Thanks to their blessedly uncommon names, it has been easy to find Azro and Malvina Jaquish in other records of the time. They show up
  • in the 1850 Census as relative newlyweds, aged 31 and 21, respectively, with 8-month-old Emily, living in Freedom, in the household of Benjamin and (interestingly) Malvina Cagwin (that’s how the indexers rendered it; it’s hard to read).
…in the town of Essex, Clinton County, Michigan.
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