Sunday, August 23, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; My Third Daniel

Daniel Comstock and wife Martha Brown had five children whose births are recorded in the Smithfield RI vital records. The second son was another Daniel, the third Daniel Comstock in successive generations - all my direct ancestors. When my first grandchild was born, his parents named him Daniel, because it was a name "not used anywhere else in the family". Little did they know!

My third Daniel was born 6 Jan 1745, and was only eight years old when his father died; I'm sure his stepfather, John Farnum, played a part in his upbringing. However, the will of John Farnum left bequests only to his own children. Uncle Azariah Comstock is recorded as selling land that had belonged both to his father Daniel and his brother Daniel to his fatherless nephews. I've not found the earlier deeds but I suspect Azariah may have bought his brother's property in order to provide income to Martha for her five Comstock children. One of the deeds does state, "200 acres, all of the lands Daniel Comstock, late of Smithfield, died seized of".

I have many records of my third Daniel - he lived a long an interesting life, but not an easy one. If he is your ancestor, please feel free to contact me. My primary purpose here is to correct errors in the Comstock books, not fill in all the detail. This Daniel was married twice - his first wife Patience Jenckes dying somtime between the date of a deed in 1778 and Daniel's second marriage to Sarah Fuller perhaps about 1782.

Patience, born about 1750, was the daughter of Dr. John Jenckes and Rachel Lawrence, her great, great grandfather Joseph Jenckes, an early immigrant, was an iron worker from London who continued in this business in Massachusetts. Patience's great, grandfather, also a Joseph Jenckes followed Roger Williams to Rhode Island, building a foundary and forge and continuing the family occupation. The surname is also found as Jencks and Jenks.

The deed, dated 17 Feb 1778, between Daniel and his wife Patience and Jacob [Daniel's brother] and his wife Abigail [nee Bennett] to their cousin Jonathan Comstock, is mentioned in the Comstock books, probably because this is likely when the brothers were leaving Smithfield. The tract described is the same 200 acres Uncle Azariah Comstock had sold to Daniel some years earlier. However in the books, the deed is said to have occurred in 1768 - apparently a typo that was simply recopied in all subsequent Comstock publications. A friend and fellow descendant read the microfilm and sent me a copy - there is no question the deed took place ten years later in 1778.

Daniel did serve during the Revolutionary War, probably about the time he lost his first wife. They had six children. The Comstock books all say that he moved to Providence after her death. This is the very tip of the iceburg. After the sale of land in 1778, Daniel and Jacob moved to Connecticut. Deeds and court cases are recorded in Pomfret, Thompson, Killingly, in Windham County, locations just over the state line from Rhode Island. The brothers also bought land in Rehoboth, MA, which included the right and title to Fuller's Ferry which crossed the River between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Apparent are financial difficulties of various sorts. The 1800 census reveals Daniel living back in Providence; in 1805, unclaimed letters as noted in the local newspaper suggest he had left Providence. Perhaps to seek a better way of life and leave his debts behind.

The first of the Comstock books about Samuel of Rhode Island quotes a descendant of this family. I did find the letter in the manuscript collection of John A. Comstock at NEHGS which includes the following:
"In the first settlement of Ohio he came west and brought Seth and William with him. [Seth & William were sons of Patience, probably the two eldest sons.] William settled in Hardin County, KY; Seth and Daniel returned to Providence. Five years after his son Lyndon moved to Lexington, Kentucky, Daniel, then over age 70, moved there with most of his family. Daniel, wife, most of their children buried there."
This from a letter written to Noah D. Comstock by Caroline Porter, granddaughter of Daniel.
[Caroline was a daughter of Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel and his second wife, Sarah Fuller.]

There seems to be truth in the letter. I've not discovered anymore about the first trip "west" except the letter did state in one place that William was the eldest son - a fact not reflected in print in the books. [I had suspected this to be the case from the records of the sons - William seemed to be the eldest.] William was my ancestor and he did settle in Breckinridge County which later became Hardin County Kentucky. His marriage was the 16th marriage recorded in Breckinridge Co, 1 May 1794. Daniel Comstock's father-in-law sold Daniel's son Seth Comstock 450 acres in Thompson, Massachusetts in 1794. In 1800, son Seth Comstock was living in Adams, Bershire County, Massachusetts - if he went west and then returned to Providence, he did not remain in Providence. As above, Daniel did appear in Providence in 1800, quite possibly leaving before 1805. Lyndon was the eldest son by Daniel's second wife - Lyndon's first record in Kentucky that I have found was jury duty in Breckinridge County Court, in July of 1805. Lyndon may have first joined his brother William in Kentucky. Lyndon appeared on tax rolls in Fayette County KY [location of Lexington] beginning in 1807 as a white male over age 21. In 1808, he had two white males over the age of 21 - quite possibly one of them was his father. In 1810, Lyndon Comstock was in the Fayette County KY census along with a male and female over age 45 and some young adults who were likely his siblings.

Although Daniel Comstock was given no date of death in any of the publications, I found an account which also substantiates that Daniel and family did indeed join Lyndon in Lexington and notes his funeral was held 7 Apr 1814.

From Kentucky Gazette 11 Apr 1814: "Daniel Comstock of Lexington, formerly of Providence RI died April, 1814.
From Kentucky Pioneer and Court Records, H. K. McAdams, 1929, p.297
"Mr. Daniel Comstock, formerly of Providence, R.I.; residence of N. S. Porter. Apr. 7, 1814."
[Nathaniel S. Porter was a son-in-law, married to Daniel's daughter Elizabeth in Fayette Co, KY, 8 Jan 1811.]
This section of the book begins on p.294. Says that in the Lexington Public Library there is a large book, pasted full of Funeral Notices. The inscription in the front of the book reads: These Funeral Notices were collected by an honest colored man, named Cyrus Parker Jones, who, at his death, bequeathed them to J. M. Duff, who donated them to the Lexington Library, 1 Jan 1900. These notices began with "You and your family are invited to attend the funeral of _______. " McAdams states that he only gives names and dates and reference to other relatives rather than repeat the entire statement each time. All are from Lexington unless stated otherwise.

The Comstock books state that Daniel married as his second wife, Sarah Fuller of Providence who was born 5 Aug 1761. There were six more children by Sarah; all of this second family did move to Kentucky. Nothing else is mentioned regarding Sarah. I believe I have identified her as a widow at the time of their marriage:

There is an intention to marry in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA for Daniel Comstock to Sarah Pearse, 8 Oct 1784. He was of Providence. I believe Sarah Fuller was the widow Pearse/Pierce at the time of their marriage. No earlier married has yet been found for Sarah, but this is the only marriage for a Daniel Comstock that seems plausible and is in the right time frame and right place. Daniel was well acquainted with her father Oliver Fuller, and his brother Caleb, and if not actually living in Bristol County at that time, he was just across the river. The Fullers were the original owners of Fuller's Ferry, bought by Daniel and Jacob Comstock in 1782, in Rehoboth.

I suspect Sarah was not "of Providence" - that was Daniel. Found in the Rehoboth vital records.

Listed in the Rehoboth Vital Records:
Sarah Fuller, born 3 Aug 1761. No parents listed [This is only slightly different from the Comstock books that say she was 5 Aug 1761 - 5's and 3's often difficult to distinquish.]
In databases online, a Sarah is listed as a daughter of the above Oliver Fuller.
There is a Rehoboth marriage:
Oliver Fuller and Sarah Smith, both of Rehoboth, married by Rev. John Greenwood Jan. 26, 1755. Int. Dec. 7, 1752.
Oliver's birth: FULLER Oliver, born Nov. 29, 1732

Daniel Comstock and wife Sarah sold two parcels in the town of Thompson, Massachusetts, to Oliver Fuller in 1786. Oliver Fuller also sold two paracels of land to Daniel's brother Seth Comstock in 1794 - the same property by description. Sarah Comstock Fuller, had a first cousin named Lyndon Fuller - quite likely the source of Lyndon Comstock's relatively unusual given name.