Edward Henry Wildey and Victoria Maria Weeks

Edward Wildey spent his life as a wanderer; first as an immigrant accompaning his parents, later as a boatman, untethered by the loss of his wife. Edward Henry2 Wildey (Thomas1 Wildey) was born on 28 February 1829 in Camberwell, Surrey, England. [1] He was baptized there in the Anglican church of St. Giles on 23 August of the same year. [2] The family emigrated to North America when he was a small boy, and he found work as a boatman in Rome, Oneida County, New York where he was enumerated with his parents in 1850. [3] He presumably worked on the Erie Canal, as the Black River Canal did not open until 1852.

Soon Edward married Victoria Maria Weeks, probably in 1852, as their eldest daughter Ella was born on 25 August 1853. [4] Victoria was the second daughter of John Weeks and Lucy Maria Smith, born in 15 April 1835 [5] in New York, shortly after her family relocated there. [6] Edward and Victoria apparently married between 1850, when both were enumerated with their parents, and 1855, when Edward's name no longer appeared with the Wildey family in the New York state census. [7]

In 1860 the little family was prospering and growing. Edward continued to work as a boatman, with personal property of $500. He and Victoria had been blessed with three children, all girls. [8] Two more children came, Susan and Francis. [9]

On 28 November 1864 came the blow that shattered the family: Victoria died. Her funeral was held at the Court St. Methodist Episcopal Church, [10] and she was buried in Rome Cemtery. [11] As a boatman, Edward was ill-equipped to care for a family of five young children, and perhaps he was too distraught by his wife's death to make the effort. In any case, he left Rome, and the children were scattered. His obituary states: "After her death [Victoria's] Mr. Wildey left this city and resided in various places, finally going to Lockport to pass the last days of his life." [12]

Although his death certificate describes him as a retired farmer, [13] Edward Wildey has not been found in the Ancestry.com or FamilySearch indices of the 1870, 1880, or 1900 federal censuses, or the New York states census for 1875, 1892, or 1905. This, the wording in his obituary, and his absence during much of his children's lives after his wife's death suggest that he may have worked as a farm laborer with no steady place of residence. He may hae been the Edward Wildey who appeared in an 1899 court case in the District Court of New York, Hall et. al. vs. Witter. This Edward Wildey purchased the steam canal boat "Hugo Keller" for $6,000 in 1893 and owned the boat until December 1897. He apparently failed to pay many of the maintainance costs for the boat, creating legal difficulties for the previous owner. [14] If Edward continued to work as a boatman on the Erie Canal, it would explain his prolonged absence from the census records, as it would have been difficult to enumerate a man with no more permanent home than his boat. Edward seems never to have regained his footing after the loss of Victoria. This may reflect the depth of their devotion, or perhaps merely weakness of character on his part.

It is unclear who brought up the Wildey children, aside from Frank, adopted by his aunt Harriet and her husband Archibald Farr. The other children have not been found in the 1870 census. In 1875 Ella was working as a domestic in the household of Jasper H. Crawford in Rome. [15] Susan was living with her widowed grandmother, Amelia Wildey, also in Rome. [16]

Edward maintained some ties with his children, as he at the home of his daughter Susan in Lockport, Niagara Co. NY on 17 April, 1910. He was 81 and suffered from chronic bronchitis. His body was returned to Rome for burial with his wife in the Rome Cemetery. [17]

Edward Henry Wildey and Victoria M. Wicks had the following children:

+ 5 i. Ella A. Wildey was born in Rome, Oneida County, New York on 25 August 1853. [18]
+ 6 ii. Celia M. Wildey was born in New York c. 1855. [19]
7 iii. Adelaide L. Wildey was born in July 1858 in New York. [20]
+ 8 iv. Susan Beatrice Wildey was born 29 August 1861 in Rome, Oneida Co. NY. [21]
+ 9 v. Francis Edward Wildey (later Farr) was born 26 October 1864 [22] in Rome. [23]

Return to Once Wildey: A Farr Genealogy

Last updated on 21 December 2011
This web site created by Janice Sebring.
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