The History of Enfield, Connecticut

The book The History of Enfield, Connecticut, edited by Francis Olcott Allen, published in 1900 in 3 Volumes, has several references that are very interesting regarding John Barclay, Margaret Barclay and an Elizabeth.

Vol. 2, pg. 1751:  August 26, 1848 Margaret Barclay died. She was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Barclay.

Vol. 2, pg. 1734 has the birth of Margaret Barclay daughter of John Barclay and Elizabeth as Aug. 26, 1848. So she died the same day she was born see the first page listed above.

Pg. 1840:  John Barclay & Elizabeth Davidson both of Thompsonville were married on the 18th Nov. 1847.

Pg. 1852 gives the couple above ages as 30 and she was 26. He is an Engineer born in England and she was born in Scotland. They were married by Rev. Peter Gordon. First marriages for both.

The mother of George and Alex was listed by my Aunt Miriam as Margaret not Elizabeth. This couple is married after the births of Alex in 1842 and George in 1844. So I do not think this is the couple I seek. He is born in England and the John I seek was born in Scotland according to Miriam and other resources.

On pg. 1894:  Sept. 9, 1848 Margaret Barclay aged 36 yrs. born in Scotland. Died in Childbirth.

This reference to Margaret Barclay is about the right age for having seven (7) children.  She is born in Scotland and the date of death would be before the Civil War and before the 1850 census in which we find Alex and George living in other homes in Connecticut.

This is a very strong possibility of being the Margaret who could be my 2nd great-grandmother and John Barclay’s first wife.

Other listings for a James and John Barclay are scattered throughout the pages as follows:

Vol. 1, pg. 597-8 has a James Barclay not paying his taxes for 1841 and 1839.

The brother of George was named James.  James Barclay was born about 1838.  So this man who is referenced in the pages has to be a lot older. 

pg. 600 in April of 1842 a John Barclay was admitted as an Elector of the State with many other men. 

pg. 601 John Barclay is on a list showing he had not paid the 1842 taxes.

pg. 614 John Barclay is shown as not paying taxes in 1844.

Pg. 618 again 1842 taxes a John Barclay is on the list for the abatements.

In 1847 on pg. 637 a John Barclay is on the list again as not having paid his taxes.

Again on pg. 644 he is listed for the 1846 tax list. He is on the list again in 1849 on pg. 660.

Pg. 662 for the 1847 List he appears again.

On pg. 667 the name is spelled as John Barkley and he is on the 1848 list for abated taxes.

On pg. 670 he is on the list for 1848 again. The amounts are not great amounts.

The time frame is correct, the fact that he has not paid taxes indicates there were problems.  The references all stop by 1849 and there is no more mention of a John Barclay or James.  The 1850 Census does not show a John Barclay married to an Elizabeth living in the area of Enfield.    

Was it one person they are referring to or several John Barclay’s? 

Connecticut has an excellent vital records indexes such as the Barbour Collection and this was searched and it revealed no Barclay names.  The vital records cards at the Connecticut State Library were also search by me in person in 2007.  I have a list of names of Barclay for cemeteries and vital records but I cannot find John or Margaret although I did find one of the Barclay siblings. 

 Again a search of the 1840 and 1850 U.S. Federal Census has not revealed a John and Margaret Barclay that I can determine as the correct couple in Connecticut or for that matter the U.S.

John Barclay seems to have disappeared from Connecticut but he does appear in Minnesota in 1853 and I know that it is the John Barclay I seek.

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1850 Connecticut – George and Alex

In trying to verify the birthdate and find the birthplace of George Angus Barclay I tracked him back in the U.S. Federal Census to 1850 in Connecticut.   All evidence for census and other documents were pointing to Connecticut as his birthplace not Scotland or New Jersey.  A census search of 1850 does not reveal a George Barclay of this age born in New Jersey. 

The census does reveal a George Barclay living in Enfield, Hartford Co., Connecticut at the age of six years old.  He is living with an entirely different family and not with his parents.

1850 Enfield Census

It looks like George is part of  two households.  The family he is living with starts with a notation on line 15 and begins with a Lucy William age 65 with $4000 real estate value. Under her is Lucy M. William age 27. Then we start another family on line 17 with an Edwin D. William listed as age 26. Under him is Margret P. William age 26, born in NJ.  We follow with George Barclay 6 years old born.  He attended school within the year.  All the people listed have been born in Connecticut except Margret.

Running a census search for members of this Williams family in 1860 reveals no Lucy, Edwin or Margret living in the Enfield area or in Hartford County.  

So who are these people? 

I am suspicious about Margret.  The name is the same as the one given for George’s mother.  It might be coincidence.  The fact that she is born in New Jersey is interesting. It has been suggested by Aunt Miriam that George was born in New Jersey.  It is possible that the parents divorced?  Her age is maybe a little to young for being a mother of 7 children.   Is she John Barclay’s sister.  If John was born in 1801 as indicated on documents I have collected, he would be 49 years old.  So he is probably a little too old to be a brother.  Things are not looking good for this Margret William as a candidate for George’s mother, but we will remain open to all possibilities at this time.

Nearby in East Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut which is southeast of Enfield we find Alexander Barclay. He is living with yet another family and is about the right age for George’s brother.

The family we are interested in starts on line 20 with an [Alonso] Barber age 30 who is a farmer with $2500.  Next comes a Nancy Barber age 25.  We then have Alfred at 3 years of age, next is [Frederic] at 1 year of age.  [Lorain] Peas follows at age 17.  Last we find Alex Barclay at age 9 years.  All are born in Connecticut.  Alex has attended school in the last year. 

In running a census search for this Barber family in 1860, you can find them still living in Enfield.  They do not  have any children listed in their family group with a different family name.    These two families the Barbers and Williams have means and money. 

Where are John Barclay and Margaret? I have been unable to find any reference to John or Margaret in the U.S. census for 1850 or  in 1840 that fits.  All my Aunt Miriam knew about Margaret was that “she died before the Civil War.” 

With this information, I decided to write the Enfield City Hall to see if I could find a birth record for George.  They wrote back that they were unable to locate a birth record for a George A. Barclay. 

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…”

In the next post we will dig further into the Connecticut census and discover the possibility of other Barclay children nearby and living with other families in Hartford Co., Connecticut.