Friday, February 28, 2014

52 Ancestors: #9-The Disappearing Daughters of Roland Sisson

This blog post was inspired by Amy Johnson Crow 's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge.  Learn more at her blog.


Sometimes interesting things happen when you start looking closely at data you haven’t seen in awhile.  Putting together documents from an entire family and making a timeline can bring out some interesting scenarios, for instance, the disappearing daughters of Roland and Elizabeth (Wright) Sisson. 

Roland and Elizabeth were both natives of New York, probably Herkimer county where they lived with Roland’s father after their marriage.  Roland was born in 1822, Elizabeth in 1825.  Their first child, a girl named Rebecca, was born and died in 1848, living just past 2 months of age.  Son James was born in 1849; he committed suicide at the age of 26, in 1875.  Three daughters were then born, Ann, ca. 1851; Adeline “Addie”, ca. 1852, and Alice, ca. 1855.  All presumably died before 18931.    
Sons Alvin and John were born next; both lived to adulthood.

Next, four more daughters were born:  Katie, ca. 1867-1872; Adelia/Alilia/Alelia, ca. 1869; Baby Girl, ca. 1874, and Sarah, birth year unknown, but d. 1861.  Since she does not appear in the 1860 census, I’m assuming she was born later in 1860 or 1861, and had a very short life.

The last two daughters, Adelia/Alilia/Alelia and Baby Girl, are difficult to sort out .  Are these two separate daughters, or are they the same person? The 1875 Minnesota Territorial census shows both of these girls as Adelia, 6 and Baby Girl, 1.  In 1880, only Alilia, 11, is listed, no mention of Baby Girl.  Five years later, in 1885, the older girl would have been 16, and the baby, 11.  Alelia, 16, is listed in that census.  It would appear that Baby Girl died before 1880.

The mother’s obituary (Elizabeth) says she died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Blanchard of Spring Valley, in 1900.  The census of 1900 has a Lela Blanchard living in Spring Valley with a birth date of Sept. 1868 – my Adelia/Alilia/Alelia was b. ca 1869.  This is probably her.  Besides her husband, she has two children, ages 9 and 7.  I’m assuming a marriage date of ca. 1890 or earlier.

Everything seems in order, until finding the 1895 Minnesota census of Elizabeth, then a widow, with daughter Luela in the household, age 21.  This age fits perfectly with the Baby Girl listed in the 1875 census.  The older sister, Mrs. Blanchard, would have been 26, and presumably married with both children born by then.  I was unable to locate Mrs. Blanchard in the 1895 Minnesota census.

I turned to the cemeteries for some additional help – Roland and Elizabeth are buried in Duff cemetery, a small but well-kept rural cemetery in the vicinity of their home.  Also in that same area is Bateman cemetery, where I found daughters Katie and Sarah buried.   I visited the cemetery in 2012, and found it in terrible condition, broken stones, in the middle of a corn field.  Someone visited the cemetery in 2009 and uploaded photos to Find-A-Grave.  The cemetery was mowed and green, and in much better shape.  Their reading showed no other Sissons besides Katie and Sarah buried there.

Sign katiesarah

Left: Bateman cemetery, 2012.  Right: The gravestone of Katie and Sarah Sisson.

I have been through numerous cemeteries in this general vicinity, and made note of the Sisson graves I found, but cannot account for the missing daughters nor the son James who committed suicide.  Obviously, they are buried somewhere, and more work needs to be done. 


1Their father’s obituary was published in 1893, and three children survived him, Alvin, John and Lelia.

1 comment:

  1. I had a similar 'missing children' issue. Look at relatives in the area. Check other censuses. In the early 1900's (in my case from 1910 to 1920) several children in my great-grandmother's family were sent to nearby farms and two daughters went from Maine to Massachusetts to live in a boarding house and work in the shoe factories there. They were 14 and 15 years old at the time.