Sunday, January 26, 2014

52 Ancestors: #4 Rosel Belnap

In addition to writing about an ancestor born during the month of my blog post, I have also decided to rotate among the 4 lines of my children's grandparents: Norton, Palmer, Brooks and Hammon.  So this week we finally turn to my mother's side of the family, our Hammon predecessors.  That seemed like a good idea until I started combing the files for a January birthday.  It wasn't a popular month for some reason!

Finally I came upon Rosel Belnap, my 3rd great grandfather.  In order to make that understandable:

Rosel Belnap
Gilbert Belnap
Martha Jane Belnap - Levi Byram Hammon
Daniel Glenn Hammon
Jean Hammon Brooks
(my mother)

Rosel was born 4 January 1789 in Cayuga County, New York. His was a large family.  He appears to have been the 6th child of possibly 15 children. He married Jane Richmond, also of New York most likely prior to 1804. According to a copy of the family bible made in 1898, Rosel moved to Ontario, Canada in 1805.  This is an interesting parallel to one of Phil's ancestors,  the Pattisons. This area of New York and southern Canada was very interwoven and boundaries weren't firmly established until the late 1830's.  

Rosel appears in many census and tax records with a variety of spellings: Rosewell, Roswel, Belknop, Belknap, etc.  Spelling was obviously not important at that time. There is a family story that Rosel served in the War of 1812, but that seems unlikely as he is listed in a census in Hamilton Township, Ontario that same year. According to (undocumented) sources on the internet, Rosel's occupation was horse racing, particularly driving or carriage racing of trotter horses.  He died on 2 December 1832, apparently from an accident sustained during a race.  Sadly, his wife died three months later, leaving their large family of 8 children orphaned.

My 2nd ggf , Gilbert Belnap, was only 11 when his father died, but he did name his first born son, Gilbert Rosel Belnap.  I hadn't realized that Gilbert (the father) was born in Canada.  Gilbert made his way back to the states and eventually joined the LDS (Mormon) church.  Gilbert died in Utah in 1899, 67 years after losing his father. It amazes me how far this man traveled from his birthplace.  There are many Belnap descendants who have formed the Belnap Family Organization where you can learn more about their history.

Addendum:  Jessi asked a great question and I did find some information, mostly about our ancestor Gilbert Belnap.  After the children were orphaned, they were most likely farmed out to different relatives and even strangers.  Gilbert had already been indentured to learn the trade of wheelwright and wagon maker. The man he was apprenticed to was a heavy drinker and hard master.  They moved around, ending up in New York, where Gilbert learned that he no longer was bound by U.S. law as an apprentice.  After leaving his master, he returned to Canada seeking his siblings.  He learned that an elder brother had spent the inheritance and that the family was dispersed.  Gilbert took the youngest brother, Thomas (then 5 years old) back to the states.  He moved around extensively but did provide for this brother.  He reunited with his maternal grandparents in Pennsylvania and kept in touch with his siblings.  Of course, he eventually made his way west.  It will be interesting to learn the stories of the other children of Rosel and Jane.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! Do you have any information on what happened to the children after Rosel's death? Who took care of them?