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Josiah K. Rockwell (1808-1886) of Erin and Horseheads, N.Y. [R232 in the 1st and 2nd editions of the book, R235 in the 3rd]

Can anyone produce a document that gives Josiah's full name, spelling out what his middle initial stands for? Mark S. Rockwell has the theory that it's "Knapp," which would point to his parents being Samuel and Polly (Knapp) Rockwell. Similarly, they had a son named Philo K. Rockwell. Can this "K" be documented to mean "Knapp"--or something else?

In the entry for their son William, I have two errors regarding the census. William and wife Chloe were in Erin in 1860, not 1850, and it was 1870 when they were in Austin, Mecosta Co., Michigan. Their known children were:

  1. Sarah, born ca. 1865-66 (4 in 1860, 14 in 1870);
  2. Francis, born ca. 1867-68) (2 in 1860, 12 and called "Frank" in 1870); and
  3. Albert, b. ca. Dec. 1869, as he was 6.5 months old at the time of the 1870 census (Their page is dated June 30, 1870).
How many wives did William have? Chloe was 35 in 1870, while his wife in 1880, Mary C., was only 31, and a Michigan native as well. In 1900 his wife was Melvina W., 50, and they had reportedly been married for 21 years, suggesting that she was the same as Mary C. Rockwell of 1880. Melvina had reportedly had 3 children (presumably be a previous marriage), and none of them were still living. But if this is so, who is the lone child in the 1900 household: Liddie S. Rockwell, 17, a daughter of William, born in October 1882? This suggests an alternative: Possibly, Liddie was the child of Mary, who died after her birth, after which William married Melvina. This depends upon the length of this third marriage being incorrect.

I have found a death record for first wife Chloe, in "Michigan deaths, 1867-1897," on FHL Film #2363664, frame 806; now online via the FHL Library catalog record. It says she was 39 (est. birth year 1837) when she died on 20 Sept. 1876 at Aetna, Mecosta County. Her husband isn�t named but her parents were Joseph and Sarah Frederick. I didn't find a similar record for Mary C., however. Nor does a search in a similar database, "Births records, 1867-1902," yield a daughter born in October of 1882.

Further investigation into county vital records sheds more light on this case: Albert Rockwell was born on 6 December 1869 in "Iowa," to William and Lucy Rockwell of Austin. He must have been the same as "Berty Rockwell," who died on 19 May 1875, aged 6 yrs, 5 mo., 15 days. He was born in Iowa to William and Chloe Rockwell, and died at Aetna, Mecosta County. The cause: "Burned--clothes took fire from fire in the street." From this record we see that Chloe may also have been known as Lucy. [Mecosta deaths, Book A, p. 30; FHL Film #1004846]

Chloe Rockwell's death was recorded as well; she died 20 Sept. 1876, age 30 years, at Aetna. Cause: "cancer in breast." There was no space for spouse's name in these records, but her parents are listed: Joseph and Sarah Fredinburg. [Mecosta deaths, Book A, p. 30]

The Mecosta marriage records include the remaining children of William and Chloe: On 3 January 1883 at Aetna, Sarah A. Rockwell (26, native of N.Y.) married Wilbur H. Buck (33) of Aetna. Officiating was William H. Hicks, Justice of the Peace, and the witnesses were Ira B. Chadwick and Mary C. Rockwell of Aetna, surely Sarah's stepmother. And on 25 December 1884, at Morley, Francis O. Rockwell of Luther (age 26, b. NY; occupation: "shingle man") married Carrie L. Harding (20, b. Mich.) of Morley. Officiating was C. W. Smith, Minister; and witnesses were Will and Millie Tyler of Greenville, Mich. [Mecosta marriages, vol. B, p. 99 and 132; FHL Film #1004849]

No record of a death for Mary C. Rockwell is found at Mecosta County. Next I turned to Lake County, and in their death records (Book 1, p. 56; FHL #945594), I found her: she died 5 May 1901, age 51 yrs, 11 mo., 1 day, of "cancer of womb." Her parents are listed as Philo Curtis and Mary Tracy. This means that "Melvina" of the 1900 census listing really was Mary. It is also interesting to compare this to the 1880 census, when that her mother was called "Lidia" and going by her maiden name. (I had read the name of William's mother-in-law in the 1880 household as Lydia "Tyney," but I see that indexes her as a "Tracy." Reviewing the script, I can see that this may be so--and the daughter's death record confirms it.) Finally, the question of Liddie of 1900 remains. Was she adopted? She could still have been a child of William and Mary/Melvina, given the evidence below that Mary had at least one living child in 1900.

Lake County also records the death of son Frank on 21 March 1929, age 69 years, 9 months, 19 days. He had been a merchant, and he died of "cerebral hem." While the parents are called "unknown," he was of Luther, which matches his and his parents' known residence. [Lake Co. deaths, 1:100]

Finally, I note that Lake County's marriage records (FHL Film #945595) show more family members:

  1. On 26 March 1893, Dora A. Rockwell, 17, of Luther, married Phillip E. Atwood, 26, of Luther. Her parents are given as W. R. Rockwell and Mary M. Curtis. This is most interesting, as she is another child of William but was not found in the 1880 household. Also, if she was 17, she was born before Chloe's death. So is this record correct about her mother (vs. Mary being a stepmother), or was she really younger, and born after William's second marriage? Finally, the middle initial of Mary may be "Melvina," resolving the conflict between the 1880 and 1900 census listings. (Lake Co. marriages, Book B, p. 21) Dora was still alive in 1900, living with husband Phillip Atwood and 3 children at Richmond, Osceola Co., Michigan.
  2. On 23 January 1913, at Tustin, Delos A. Rockwell, 26, of Luther, married Leota Bailor, 21, of Luther. His parents were: Frank Rockwell and Carrie Harding. (Lake Co. marriages, Book B, p. 80)
  3. On 29 Sept. 1918, Francis William Rockwell, 19, of Luther, married Pearl Alice Smith, 19, of Luther. His parents were: Francis O. Rockwell and Carrie Harding. Lake Co. marriages, Book B, p. 97)
  4. Later, there are two daughters of Delos who married, in 1936 and 1940.

Now, back to other children of Josiah:
Some careless wording on the grave of child 8, Everett. It's in the Old Baptist Cemetery at Breesport, near the grave of Josiah's wife Mary--not "near his parents' grave." Josiah was buried in a different cemetery, as I clearly stated in the main entry for Josiah, prior to the child list.