Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who was Mary Rowena Hoskins?

Mary, Mary, where were you born?   Who were your parents?  Mary Rowena Hoskins is my great, great grandmother on my matrilineal line.  Since I cannot find her parents, I can go no further back.  I have recently had my mtDNA full sequence test and I have a perfect match - but that lady can go back one less generation than I can so we are stuck at one of those brick walls.

Here is what I know.

Mary Rowena Hoskins was born 15 Sep 1815 in New York.  In 1880, she stated her parents were born in New York.  That is as specific as I can be for her place of birth.  Her husband was born in Ontario County, New York, and I know his Allen family well, but there don't seem to be any Hoskins that lived there.

Mary Hoskins married Peter B. Allen in Vigo County, Indiana, 28 Dec 1836, when she was age 21 and Peter was 25.  The Allens had been there since about 1820.  Peter's older sister Amanda married a Silas Hoskins, 14 Mar 1825, some eleven years earlier.  Silas was age 30-40 in the 1830 census - the only census he appears in because he was likely deceased by 1840.  That would make him born between 1790 and 1800 so it is possible he could have been Mary's father - especially if he was closer to age 40.  In that 1830 census, there were several older children including a daughter between the ages of 10 and 15 - the age of Mary Rowena in 1830, and they could not have been the children of Amanda Allen Hoskins because she was born in 1807, plus they were born before the 1825 marriage of Amanda and Silas.  Presumably Amanda was the second wife of Silas Hoskins.

But no record exists suggesting more about the relationship of Mary and Silas Hoskins.  Father/daugher, brother/sister, cousins, who knows...     In 1840, Amanda Hoskins was head of household, but there was a male age 40-50 present - strange, but true.  I've suspected that Silas had perhaps died that year, but the enumerator counted him as living past a certain date.  I've found no evidence of exactly when Silas died - no probate, etc.  I have found nothing to suggest where Silas Hoskins was born.  Amanda moved to Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, along with her brother's family and some of her children.  I have only been able to identify one child - Peter A. Hoskins born probably about 1826.  The 1840 census indicates others, including several daughters.  There are three Hoskins marriages in Vigo County, Indiana in 1848 - Clarissa married Andrew Newcomb, Eliza married William Mars, Martha Jane married Artemus Gilbert.  Were they daughters of Silas?   Are were some of them daughters of Joseph Hoskins who also lived in Vigo County at that time?

Here is the other Hoskins family in Vigo County.  They appeared just before Mary and Peter B. Allen married, circa 1835 or so.  Some researchers have assumed Joseph to be Mary's father, but I think not.  Joseph Hoskins was head of this household and he apparently lived out the rest of his life in Lost Creek Township.  He rests in the Hoskins Cemetery outside Seelyville along with what I believe was his second wife, and several children who died as infants or in young adulthood.  Joseph Hoskins was born 1796, making him about age 19 the year my Mary Rowena was born.  Joseph Hoskins alternately gave his place of birth as Tennessee or Kentucky but never New York.   I believe he was married at least three times:  (1) Nancy Thompson, 25 Feb 1817, Shelby Co KY  (2) Sarah Sweet, 20 Aug 1838, Vigo Co, IN   (3)  Nancy Morris, 13 Sep 1855, Vigo Co IN.  I believe he had children by all three wives, several of whom married in Vigo Co.  One of the daughters buried Hoskins Cemetery, married in Vigo Co in December of 1835, effectively placing the family there at that time.  Jos. Hoskins was in the 1830, Shelby Co KY census.    I've never found Joseph Hoskins in the 1840 census in Vigo, but I do believe he was there and just missed or has been indexed in some very obscure way - he is in the censuses 1850 through 1870 in Vigo Co.  He died 27 Oct 1870.

Because he was born in either Kentucky or Tennessee and did not marry until two years after Mary Rowena Hoskins was born in New York, I think Joseph Hoskins is not part of her family in any immediate way.  Joseph Hoskins and family did not live in the same part of Vigo County, nor did they interact with the Allens that remained there.

Mary Rowena Hoskins and Peter B. Allen left Vigo County soon after their marriage and moved to Arkansas.  They seemed to have gone on this adventure without benefit of friends and relatives, locating first on the Red River in Sevier County in 1839, moving two years later to Polk County, near the town of Cove where they spent the rest of their lives.  There were nine children.  None of the information that has survived in any of the families provides any hints about Mary's parents or birthplace other than "New York".

Mary died 15 Mar 1885, and is buried Pleasant Grove Cemetery, about 1/2 mile southeast of Cove, Polk County, Arkansas.  Peter Allen lived until 1901 and is buried beside her.

Are there any Hoskins, born in New York, out there?  Do you have any ideas that I could pursue?  Can you help me find Mary's parents?


  1. In the obituary of Peter B Allen (which is transcribed on your freepages site) it says of Mary Hoskins: "The deceased was married at the old house on the Preston place east of Terre Haute on December 26, 1836, to Mary Hoskins, a daughter of Gen. Hoskins, also a pioneer resident of Terre Haute dead many years." source: Terre Haute Evening Gazette, Saturday, 12 Oct 1901, page 1 A TERRE HAUTE PIONEER IS DEAD Peter B. Allen, Who Came Here in 1818 With His Father, Gen. P. B. Allen.

    Has that information about her father been part of your search? Since there is other inaccurate information in that obituary, that may not be wholly accurate either.

  2. Yes, that information has been part of my search. There is no indication of any General Hoskins ever living in Vigo Co IN at that time. I find no evidence of ANY General Hoskins. The most likely scenario is that Silas Hoskins who married Peter B. Allen's sister was her father. He was in Vigo Co quite early and was the only Hoskins I have found any record for in the early years. The early censuses also indicate he was old enough and had a daughter in his household, too old to be the child of his Allen wife, but the right age to be Mary Rowena. I have found a New York family that has a son Silas of about the right age, but cannot find out enough to prove him out of New York and on to Indiana. That family is the family of Samuel Hoskins and Lydia Presbrey. Samuel's will dated 24 Jun 1824, Cayuga Co NY, names a son Silas. I can find no records of Silas as an adult in New York so it is possible he left there. An old Bible record transcribed states that this Silas in New York was born 17 Oct 1791 - likely Granville, Washington Co NY, where Samuel Hoskins was then living.

    Believe me I am still searching! Appreciate the suggestion. When I wrote the article in 2011, I had not yet been to Fort Wayne to the Allen County Public Library. I was there last year and was able to go through many early Vigo County records. Everything points to Silas as the likely father and nothing suggests any other possible father for Mary Rowena. But so far, it is all circumstantial and not definitive enough for me to declare that I have found Mary Rowena's family.