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Looking for "Hard Proof" of Henry R. Hinkley's relationship to Gershom Hinckley
Posted by: Gary A. Beam (ID *****0803) Date: January 07, 2005 at 13:01:48
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My apologies (if necessary)in advance for what will surely be a rather l-o-n-g post....

As an SAR compatriot, I have spent the past several years attempting to "solidify" the lineage of my [proven] 3rd. Great-Grandfather - Henry R.(aka Harry R. Hinckley.) This, in an attempt to not only to prove a "supplemental ancestor," but to secure the integrity of my research for purposes of maintaining a "solid - proven" family database.

Note that although my Hinckley Family research has involved ancestors who names have nearly faded into antiquity, I have also conducted much of my research with a particular emphsis on those Hinckley pioneering famililies that moved from New York State(reportedly Parma, Monroe County) to Van Buren County, SW-Michigan in the mid-late 1830's.

Whereas a Jonathan N.(Niles)Hinckley (1772-1855) is well documented in several Van Buren County, MI. History Books, Probate Files, Land Plats and so on, my ancestor Henry has to date - only appeared in early (1840 & 1850) Federal Censuses for Antwerp Township, Van Buren County, MI. This, in addition to his Probate File (same location,) and on the Death Certificate of his Daughter Eliza N. Hinckley-Williams (a maternal 2nd. Great-Grandmother.)

After "digging around" for a bit, I have recently assembled a number of secondary proofs that compel not only myself, but 2 independant Certified Genealogists, to conclude that there is a 99.99% certainty that "my" Henry R. Hinckley is that same individual who is mentioned as the son of one Gershom Hinckley (1763-1848) in Robert's "History of Remsen County," (see below.)

The following verbage is a rather lengthy excerpt from the afore-mentioned source - a source considered to very credible, and so approved by both the SAR and DAR. Please note the mention of Henry R. Hinckley near the bottom of the excerpt........

from Roberts' "History of Remsen":
GERSHOM HINCKLEY, born in Stonington,Conn., August 28, 1763, was descended in the sixth generation from Samuel Hinckley, of Tenterden, Kent county, England, who emigrated with his family to America in the ship "Hercules," in the early spring of 1635. He settled at Scituate, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, where he remained until 1639, when he removed to Barnstable, being one of the first settlers there. He died in that part of Barnstable called Great Marshes, now West Barnstable, October 31, 1662. The line of descent from Samuel Hinckley--who is said to have been the progenitor in America of all bearing this surname--to Gershom Hinckley, a pioneer of Remsen township, is as follows: Thomas, John, Samuel, John and Gershom. The latter, a son of John and Elizabeth (Breed) Hinckley, was born September 4, 1730. He married Catherine Wightman, of Norwich, Conn., and removed to Pittstown, Renssalaer county, N. Y., in 1768, and thence to Rome, N. Y. Gershom, son of Gershom and Catherine (Wightman) Hinckley, came to Pittstown with his father's family, and, in 1789, married Prudence, daughter of Caleb Tennant, of Glastonbury, Conn., born August 8, 1770. He had served for a time in the revolutionary war.

Within a few years after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Hinckley moved to Remsen, settling at what was later known as Fairchild Corners as early as 1793 or 1794. He was the resident agent here of Henry Remsen, of New York city, proprietor of the Remsenburgh Patent, and being a land surveyor by profession, laid out the township into lots, and opened many of the earlier highways in the township. He was elected supervisor in 1799, which office he filled for ten years, and also was a justice of the peace for many years. He was an active member of the Masonic fraternity, and at one time was master of Rising Sun Lodge, before its removal to this place, when its meetings were held in Trenton. Both Mr. and Mrs. Hinckley were members of the Baptist Society of East Remsen, which was organized in 1809, and are said to have been "earnest Christian workers in the church." Their children were Daniel W., born February 11, 1790, died in infancy; John, born January 17, 1791, married Rhoda Ball, and removed to Silver Creek, Mich.; Anna, born February 7, 1793, married first, French Fairchild, second, Zebina Ball, and third, Jacob Stafford; Caleb, born October 20, 1794, died in infancy; Catherine, born January 15, 1798, married Mile Mitchell, of Remsen, in 1819, and died January 11, 1829; Harriet, born May 19, 1801, married Evert Dyckman; Daniel, 2d., born November 30, 1803; Henry R., born July 20, 1805; Hiram, born June 10, 1807, married Sarah M. Smith; Tennant, born January 13, 1810, married Malonia Stiles; Stephen, born March 29, 1814, married Emily Sears, of Schroeppell, N. Y.; and Moses, born January 20, 1812, married Maria Van Alstyne. In 1819 Mr. Hinckley removed to the township of Salina, Onondaga county, bought a farm on Seneca river, about three miles north of the village of Liverpool, where he died February 20, 1848. His widow died there April 3, 1852. Both are buried in the Liverpool cemetery.

Now.....having established beyond doubt, that Gershom Hinckley indeed had a son, Henry R. born July, 1805, I offer the follwing (additional) secondary proofs that he (Henry) is that same Henry R. Hinckley.

"My" Henry R. Hinckley's grave marker is still in place at the Harwick Cemetetery (formerly the "olde Van Antwerp" burying grounds) in Antwerp Twp, Van Buren county, Michigan. Using a genealogical date calculator to ascertain Henry's birthdate, as depicted in years, months, and days from his date of death (19 January, 1852,) I arrive at a birthdate of July, 1805 !! Just about a week away from the date of birth referenced in the Robert's source.

Furthermore, all documented references available, with regard to "my" Henry, also reference a July 1805, or simply 1805 birthdate, and New York as his place of birth.

One reference regarding Henry's place and date of birth wase discovered in his Probate File (on microfilm at the Van Buren County Office of Probates,) whereas his widow Lana (nee' Sheldon) petioned for guardianship on behalf of a gentleman named Joseph Gilman who is not known to be a relative.

Moreover, Henry Hinckley appears as Head of Household in the 1840 and 1850 Federal censuses for Antwerp Twp. - then, as expected, is "gone" in 1860.

The minor children mentioned in the Probate Petition for Guardianship (executed 3 years earlier) are ennumerated, as anticipated, as living with said Joseph Gilman in Antwerp, Van Buren Co, MI per the 1860 Federal Census.

Lana, Henry's widow, and mother to the "named" (known) Hinckley children are enummerated seperately -but- must have lived literally right next door as their ennumeration entry is directly below that of Mr. Gilman.

Although it would aid my research tremendously, I cannot locate a Death Certificate for Henry R. Hinckley as he died, as previously mentioned, 19 January, 1852 -and- Death Records for Van Buren County, MI do not include any entries prior to 1867.

In conclusion, I again offer the following summation as a basis for my assertion of Henry's relationship to Gershom Hinckley,(and Gershom's brother, Jonathan N. Hinckley:)

1) Henry's (calculated) year of birth is July, 1805. This date matches the date provided in the "History of Remsen" cite.

2) Henry did remove to Van Buren County, Michigan sometime before 1840 and lived (and died) in Antwerp Township, Van Buren County, MI. Per Census Records, Probate Files, and so on.

3) Henry's land was located in Township 3S, Range 13W, Section 4 i.e. Antwerp - an 1844 map of Antwerp Twp notes that an "H. Hinckley" lived on said land. Of particular note is the fact that a purchase for the identical "plat" is recorded as having been purchased by Jonathan N. Hinckley (brother of Gershom) in September of 1838. For the record, the majority of Jonathan N's other land purchases were made in the neighboring Township of Columbia, Van Buren County, MI. where he (Jonathan N.) is known to have lived and died.

4) Included among Henry Hinckley's children ennumerated in the 1850 Federal Census for Antwerp Twp, Van Buren County, Michigan is an infant (5/12 i.e. 5 months old) whose given name is Gersham (a female child.) Note that the infant child Gersham is presumed to have died before 1860 as no further mention of this child occurs with regard to any/all "solid" information relating to Henry. Recall that available Michigan Death Records do not go back far enough to "capture" a death certificate for the child - assuming any record was ever filed.

A male child "Tennant Hinkley," born 1852 in Antwerp (almost certainly after Henry's death) died 15 September 1859 in Antwerp Twp, Van Buren County, Michigan -and- is buried directly next to Henry R. Hinckley, in Harwick Cemetery. Recall (from the Remsen cite) that Gershom Hinckley's wife was Prudence TENNANT.

Identical names, birthdates, geography, timelime, migration to Van Buren County.....children named Gersham, Tenannt, and other more common names repeated for several precedent generations ??

Is it within the realm of possibility that "my" Henry R. Hinckley can be any Henry R. Hinckley other than the son of Gersholm ? I think not -but- I cannot produce a single hardcopy letter, document, certificate, ad nauseum, that "tie" the two together so as to establish a "formal" proof.

Am hoping that any/all experienced Hinckley Family researchers, CGs, or fellow compatriots will either concur with my conclusions -or- point out an error in my research or logic. I invite any informed party to do so please.

Or...... perhaps someone, somewhere, has access to, or knowledge of, that elusive proof that I so longingly seek.

My apologies once again for this extremly long post. Here's hoping to hear from someone via a follow-up or email.

With Warmest Regards,

Gary A. Beam

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