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A few months ago, I resumed researching the Bartlett line of my family tree and wrote a piece analyzing the evidence I had collected to prove Gershom Bartlett’s inclusion in my family tree, my 6x great-grandfather, through his daughter Lucy that married Elisha Freeman (see “Appreciating Indirect Evidence in Colonial American Genealogy“). Genealogical sources state that Gershom married Margaret Darte, daughter of Daniel and Jemima (Shayler) Darte in Bolton, Tolland County (then Windham County), Connecticut on 1748. The couple had twelve children in both Bolton and Windsor. In the last phases of editing that post, I found a record of a marriage intention through the databases made available by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (AmericanAncestors.org), which I then added into a footnote for that post:

“12. Hans Depold, “The Bolton Art Colony & Gershom Bartlett”. The maiden name of Gershom’s wife Margaret should be treated with caution. A marriage intention was filed by Gershom Bartlett of Windsor and Margaret Herron of Hadley, Massachusetts 13 Feb 1747, published the following day. See Massachusetts Vital Records To 1850, Town of Hadley (Vol.1), 82: accessed on American Ancestors.org”

I could have commented on this fact and integrated more with the main body of the blogpost, but I was at a point where I had to stop adding content, so it remained an endnote. However, I was compelled to say that it should be treated with caution because two facts from this source made me question the validity of Margaret’s maiden name as Darte:

  • The residence of Gershom is listed as Windsor, which is undoubtedly Windsor, Connecticut. He had been known to reside in Windsor for a few years before returning to Bolton.
  • Hadley is a town that borders the city of Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. Gershom has a deep connection to this town; his great-grandfather Robert Bartlett was a founding settler of Northampton and Gershom was raised here in his early life by parents Samuel and Sarah (Ward) Bartlett.

Shortly after Gershom was born, the family moved down the Connecticut River to the newly incorporated township of Bolton,  Connecticut. Vital records for Samuel Bartlett’s family are recorded in Northampton, but also in the Registers of Rev. Thomas F. White, who was the second pastor in Bolton, Connecticut after the famed Jonathan Edwards.[1] Samuel and Sarah Bartlett were admitted into the Bolton church in 1725.[2]

My next steps were to:

  • Reassess the validity of the genealogical conclusion that Margaret’s name
  • Identify Margaret Herron
  • Rule out the possibility that this could potentially be a completely different couple

So far, I have looked through many online databases, which has allowed me to point out some potential mistakes or misinformed citations. Online family trees, including my own, indicate that Margaret Darte, daughter of Daniel and Jemina (Shayler) Darte was baptized 1725 in Bolton and it was referenced in the “New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 54.” The information Margaret’s gravestone does corroborate with her year of birth as 1725, indicating she died 20 Sep 1778 in her 53rd year.[3] I decided to seek out all the possible published sources containing early Vital Records from Bolton and found that they are accessible in several places:

  1. Vital Records of Bolton to 1854 and Vernon to 1852, (Hartford, Conn: Case, Lockwood, & Brainard Co., 1909): Accessed on Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/cu31924028842057)
  2. “A Copy of the Records of the Rev. Thomas WHITE, the First Pastor of the Church in Bolton, Conn. – Miss Mary K. Talcott,”: accessed at http://dunhamwilcox.net/ct/bolton_ct_records_white.htm. These records were copied from the series published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register
  3. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2013.)

The collective searching of these sources, while in many ways overlapping transcripts of the same records, would be necessary only because a search for a particular spelling could be hit or miss. This particular reference to Margaret Darte’s baptism in 1725 was not found, only a child born 50 years later with the same name to another couple.[4] Gershom is known to have lived most of his life and have his children in Bolton, Connecticut before moving to Norwich, Vermont in 1772. The Records of Rev. Thomas White and Bolton VRs hold the births of Gershom and Margaret’s children, but do not mention his marriage record to Margaret. There were close ties between the Bartlett family and the Reverend White; Gershom even carved the minister’s gravestone. What exactly sent Gershom miles away from home to marry someone?

Nevertheless, of course, the wrong information was shared, so almost all the ancestry.com and online family tree sites have this incorrect information. The identity of Margaret Herron remained unclear, preliminary searches have returned no further references to a women of this name from Hadley or even the recognition of a possible Herron family in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. Clearly, a few more pieces of this puzzle have to be pieced together to reach any sort of conclusion.

Although I quickly found out, in the middle of writing this post, that one researcher had made the same discovery. Users can utilize the internet to very easily locate what other researchers may have interest in my family. It is important to fine tune what we type in, considering how broad or narrow do we want our results. Curiously, when I removed the word “Bolton”, searching only “Margaret Darte” and “Connecticut”, I found an online family tree (adupree.com) that had addressed this same exact issue about Margaret’s last name. It was an important discovery because a citation on the webpage offered proof that Gershom’s wife was Margaret Darte.

[S13651] The New York genealogical and biographical record, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, v82-83.”Proof” of Margaret as a daughter of Daniel Darte is offered in 1 1768 Land Transaction in which Gershom Bartlett conveys to Jeremiah Dewey of Bolton “Land set to my father Daniel Darte deceased.”[5]

This new piece of evidence forced me to greatly reconsider the original theory. Now, just like the author of this page proposed, there is a good chance Margaret Darte married a man with the name Herron or possibly Herring that lived in the area of Hadley, Massachusetts and passed away before 13 Feb 1747, the date the intent of marriage between Gershom and Margaret was filed.

 

[1] “Gershom, born 19 Feb 1723.” “Vital Records of Bolton to 1854 and Vernon to 1852,” (Hartford, Conn: Connecticut Historical Society, 1909), 21: accessed at https://archive.org/details/cu31924028842057.: “Gershom , born 12 Feb 1722/3.” See Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850, Town of Northampton (Vol.1), 209: accessed at Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Online Database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2010).

[2] Mary K. Talcott, “A Copy of the Records of the Rev. Thomas White, the First Pastor of the Church in Bolton, Conn.” New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1898), Vol.52, page 420.

[3] Entry for Margaret Darte Bartlett, memorial no. 51570726. Accessed at Findagrave.com (online database: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=51570726)

[4] “Margaret Darte Daughter of Timothy Darte and Margaret his wife was Born the 6th of January AD 1777.” See Vital Records of Bolton to 1854 and Vernon to 1852, (Hartford, Conn: Case, Lockwood, & Brainard Co., 1909), 189: accessed at https://archive.org/details/cu31924028842057

[5] “Margaret Darte/Herron.”: accessed at http://adupree.com/wp/g/getperson.php?personID=I3529&tree=adupree, 11 Feb 2016.

 

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Copyright (c) 2016 by Jake Fletcher. All materials protected under the laws of copyright. Do not copy or reproduce without author’s permission.

Jake Fletcher, “Connecticut River Connections – Gershom Bartlett & Margaret Darte Herron,” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 11 Feb 2016:  https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/analyzing-margaret-darte-bartletts-genealogical-profile

 

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