Heirs of Alexander Barclay: James Barclay, a brother…

James A. Barclay, an heir of his brother Alexander, has given me quite a bit of trouble.  I have tried to learn more about him but it has been difficult and he remains a mystery.

I estimate he was born about 1838 and he died in early 1906 in Bridgeport, Connecticut but the census that I have collected varies from 1838 to 1852 for his birth year.  He died during the probate of Alexander’s estate sometime during 1906.

Streets & Trips - Connecticut

Streets & Trips – Connecticut

This is from the listing of heirs in Alexander’s estate:

 “James A. Barclay, aged 68 years, residing at 1444 Stratford Ave., Bridgeport, Conn. who is a brother.”

There is a possibility that James is in the 1850 U.S. census for Connecticut but I do not know for sure if it is him.

Source: 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Litchfield, Hartford, Connecticut, 30 July 1850 – Ancestry.com

Line 29, Dwelling 131, Family 144 Joshua D. Berry age 40 male, Epis Clergyman 120.00 born NH, Jane Berry age 28, F born Ct., James Barclay age 12 male, born Ireland.

The fact that he is born in Ireland could be a mistake instead of Scotland.  The other possibility is the family went to Ireland and then to the US. The age is right for James Barclay, John’s son and George and Alex’s older brother. The location is a bit farther from the rest of the other scattered children of John Barclay and Margaret.

However, the next time I find James Barclay is in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Southington, Hartford, Connecticut. He is living with his sister Mary J. Ford. He is 21 in this census which means he was born in 1849?

Line 27, 493 – Living with Ely, Adolph, 583 Ford, Jerome B., 24, M, W, Laborer all born Connecticut, 11, Jan. Ford Mary 27 F, W, Keeping House, Ford Rosaliee, 3, F, W. Barclay, James, 21, M, W, Laborer. 

Source: Jerome Ford Family, 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Southington, Hartford Co., Connecticut, pg. 65, enumerated 29 June 1870, Deenis P. Farch. 

Note:  Litchfield is northwest of Bristol and Southington is south of Bristol.  Mary and Jerome settled in Bristol later on.

Backing up in the census to 1860 there is a James Barclay living with a family in East Windsor by the name of William Cains.  This James is 12 years old born in Connecticut but they have him listed as Irish.  He is in East Windsor which is closer to other Barclay siblings.

In 1880 there is a James Barclay age 28 which means he was born 1852 and that is very different from my date of 1838.  He is with a Mary J. and Albert 8/12 yrs. He is a working in a clock shop.  In 1900 I have a Jam Barcley (50 yrs) living with a Mary J. and an mother-in-law Elizabeth Phelps.  He states he was born in Connecticut but his parents were born in New York and he is now a baker?   The following information maybe incorrect based on the census above but I have that James married a Maryanne Stewart? Well you can see that I am having trouble pinning James down.

When I visited Connecticut in May of 2011 I went back to the Connecticut State Library and I studied the probate records for Bridgeport, Connecticut but I could not find a probate for James Barclay.  I studied Film #1428182 but found the V. 113, 115, 116 and 118 and 119 missing for the time period I needed for James.  I even went an ordered the probate index.  They had me move to the special collections area of the library to view it. I did not have any luck figuring it out. James name was just not appearing in the records, nor where any Barclay’s in the records for Bristol in 1905, 1906 and 1907.  I will probably have to go directly to the Bridgeport courthouse to seek out my answers at some point.

At the time of Alexander’s probate process James was divorced and there was a little concern about the distribution of the funds by another sister Martha W. Ford written for her by her daughter Carrie Ford.  If that is him in the 1900 census he is not divorced yet?

In a letter dated June 1, 1900, Martha writes to Dr. H.N. Rogers the Administrator of Alexander’s estate from San Francisco to Dakota County,  Minnesota:

I did not know that brothers and sister of the half blood would inherit as against brothers and sisters of the whole blood.  I do not think that the widow of Jas. Barclay is entitled to enherit any portion of the estate because she was divorced long prior to the death of Alex Barclay…” she goes on to say that Mr. Rogers should do as he sees best.

James’s heirs did receive 1/10 share from Alexander’s estate. It appears that an N.B. [Girgen] was the administrator of James’ estate. I cannot read his signature to verify his name.  The file was so thick I had to put numbers on the some of the actions so this has #36 written on it.  Unfortunately, this is all the information I have about James A. Barclay.

So I have a little more digging to do with James. I have tried to find his obituary, the estate papers, his marriage and have not been successful at this time.  I also need to consider his divorce but everything is so vague about him it is difficult.

More Siblings in Connecticut 1850

George and his brother Alexander have been identified in the 1850 Connecticut census for Enfield and East Windsor. 

Things get even more interesting when a reference to an Agness Barclay is found.  She is living in 1850 in Enfield in close proximity to George and Alexander.  One of George and Alex’s sisters is named Sarah Agnes which was determined from Alexander’s probate file. 

1850 Census - Agnes Barclay

The family begins on line 5, Dwelling 429, family 641.  It is headed by an Alpheus Pease, age 65, married and a farmer with $3500 in real estate,  born in Connecticut. He is followed by Lois Pease age 61 born in Connecticut.  There doesn’t seem to be any children listed for this couple unless you look down below and you find on line 18 a Alpheus D. Pease age 35 with a wife and children named Pease.  On line 24 we have a Thomas C. Pease age 35 and family which you cannot see from the sample above. 

These names follow as best I can interpret them as they come after Lois Pease:

  • Maranda Stevens age 28, female
  • Luthara age 3/12 , female
  • Sarah L. Wilson age 13 female with a B by her name

Starting here is a line with the notation “Town Poor” and listed as “Pauper” from line 11 to line 17.

  • Line 10 – Betsey Chapin age 75, female
  • Line 11 – Gennett Earl age 74, female
  • Line 12 – Amy Mills age 74, female
  • Line 13 – Stephen Mills age 55,  male
  • line 14 –  Agness Barclay age 4, female, born in Connecticut
  • line 15 – James Lynch age 2 male, born in Scotland
  • line 16 – Robert Mollis/Hollis age 6 male, born CT
  • line 17 – Julia Wheeler age 4 female, born CT

As we continue to dig into the census we find several other interesting possibilities for George and Alexander’s siblings.

1850 Connecticut John Bartley

A  John Bartley is living with the Olmstead family in Enfield.  The spelling is slightly different.  I have seen this spelling version of the Barclay surname before in other documents.  The family starts on line 9 with an Obadiah Olmstead age 34 male, farmer with $4000 in real estate, born in Connecticut.  He is followed by Hannah age 30, [Sauranu] age 7 female and Frederick age 4 male.  John is on line 13.  This John is 16 years old which means he was born about 1834 and born in Scotland.  John is followed by a James Boyle age 28 farmer, born in Ireland.  This John Bartley is a strong possibility for the older brother of George and Alex. 

1850 Connecticut - James Barclay

The next possible sibling is James Barclay.  There is a reference in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Litchfield, Litchfield County, Connecticut on Line 29, Dwelling 131, Family 144 a family starting with a Joshua D. Berry age 40, male, Epis Clergyman with $10,000, born NH.  He is followed by Jane Berry age 28, F, born Ct.,  After her is the James Barclay age 12 male, born Ireland that is of interest.  The census states he is Irish but that could be an easy error?  This boy is born about 1838.  He is a possible candidate for another brother of George and Alexander.  Litchfield is to the west of the others so this James is suspect.

Mary J. Barclay 1850 Connecticut

Mary J. Bartley also appears in the 1850 census in East Windsor closer to Alexander and living with yet another family by the name of Rees.  The family starts on line 24 with 179/216 Lydia P. Rees age 62, with $2000 and born in Connecticut.  Under her is Lydia F. Rees age 31 and she is followed by Mary J. Barclay on line 26, age 10 and also born in Connecticut.  James [McDonahue] age 9 and born in Ireland is last.  So this is a strong possibility that it is a sister.

In review we have George, Alexander, Agnes, John, Mary J. and a possible James Barclay all about the right ages to be siblings living in the general vicinity of each other in 1850 in Connecticut.  I think it is too compelling to be ignored.   Hopefully, I have interpreted other census and Alex’s probate file correctly regarding the ages of his siblings.  So out of seven (7) siblings we find six (6).  We are missing Martha. 

We return to the quotation from the Logsleds to Snowmobile book (history of Pine River, Minnesota) makes this statement on pg. 105.

Sometime before the Civil War his mother died.  George and his brother Alexander were placed in different foster homes…”

The Barclay siblings are living with families with surnames of Berry, Pease, Olmstead, Barber, William and Rees.  Some of these names are very much a part of the history of Enfield, Connecticut.  The chances of them being family members is still a possibility but more likely they are taking in the “town poor” and caring for them.

The website an Historical Overview of the American Poorhouse System talks about the history of the poorhouse and how poor people were dealt with.  Other ways to care for the poor could include 1) outdoor relief provided by an Overseer of the Poor and 2) auctioning off the poor and 3) contracting with someone in the community for care of paupers:  http://www.poorhousestory.com/history.htm

From this and a few other articles looking in state records, selectman/overseer’s of the poor reports, town and meeting records of a specific town and then local newspapers for auction dates are possibilities for future research.