I was doing a little research on my Slowey family this weekend and decided to check the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office (BLM-GLO) website to see if the patent images had been updated for my 2nd great grandfather, John Charles Slowey.  Lo and behold, there it was!  While I was poking around, I decided to download the original plat image of the entire township so I could map out all the patents to see where all the neighbors were. What you see above is the finished product.

While I was plotting out all the land patents, I came across a few strange entries.  They weren’t for my family, but they are the kinds that make you want to investigate further.  So I did.

The first was a joint entry for Mary McCabe and Richard Pinkham.  That caused me to raise an eyebrow because if they were married, wouldn’t the patent just be in the husband’s name?  So I looked at the patent image:

Mary McCabe land patentI noticed that the entry was for Bounty Land warranted to Richard Pinkham for his service in Capt. Moore’s Company of the Massachusetts Militia during the War of 1812.  Well that was exciting, even if these people aren’t related to me!

Richard Pinkham 2nd Reg't (Thomas) Mass MilitiaI was curious why Mr. Pinkham had assigned his warrant to Mary McCabe.  What was their relationship?  So I decided to do a little digging.

My first stop was to Fold3 to see if there were any records for Mr. Pinkham’s service during the War of 1812.  I found an entry for Richard Pinkham, a private … but in Thomas’ Regiment of the Massachusetts Militia.  Hmm.  Then I checked over on Ancestry and found two listings in the pension application index.  One was for Richard Pinkham, a private in Capt. David Johnson’s Company. His widow’s name was Eliza, and his card did not show any bounty land.  The second was for Robert L. Pinkham, a private in Capt. Adams’ Company and Capt. James Moore’s Company, both Massachusetts Militia.  His widow’s name was Lydia.  His card also showed no bounty land.  Good grief.  How many Pinkhams fought in the War of 1812?  Was it even likely that Richard and Robert could get confused in the records like that? (Note: I do not find an index entry for Robert Pinkham in the War of 1812 Index to Service Records on FamilySearch).

Richard Pinkham pension app index (A) (widow Eliza)Robert Pinkham pension app index (widow Lydia)Since all I have to go on is a name, I’m still not sure which of these, if any, are the correct Richard Pinkham.  So that’s a dead end for now.  I noticed that the patent was issued to “Mary McCabe, Junior,” which tells me that there is another, older, Mary McCabe in the area.  This patent is dated 1875, so I checked the 1870 U.S. Census and found nothing in Dakota Territory.  However, in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, I found a 27-year-old Mary McCabe listed with 32-year-old John, 25-year-old Ellen, and 60-year-old Mary.  In the 1880 U.S. Census, I found an entry for Mary McCabe, age 76, listed as the mother of John McCabe, and another Mary McCabe, age 34, listed as John’s sister.  Another sister, Allen (likely Ellen) is shown, as well as a nice named Allen (again, likely Ellen) Sloway, age 10, born in Wisconsin.  Now … hold on just a minute!  I have an Ellen Slowey in my tree, who was born in 1866 in Wisconsin.

If she is listed as John’s niece, that means that her mother would be John’s sister, giving her a maiden name of McCabe.  Funny thing that … I had no idea what Ellen’s mother’s maiden name was until now — if this is indeed the same Ellen Slowey.  Here’s what’s bizarre: I have an 1880 census for “Tp95 & 96 R55 & Tp96 R54” in Yankton County, Dakota Territory that shows Ellen, age 12 born in Wisconsin, living with her parents, Patrick and Katherine.  The family is listed on page 2 of ED 109, dated June 2.  The McCabes (above) are listed on page 8 of the same ED, dated June 9.  What are the odds that Ellen’s living arrangements changed during that week?  Is it possible that she lived with the McCabes all the time, but that one of the enumerators, her parents, or her uncle misunderstood the instructions and she accidentally got listed in both places?

I’ve been able to trace Patrick Slowey back to the 1855 Wisconsin state census, where it shows his household consisting of 2 males and 2 females in Lafayette County.  My calculations say this is likely Patrick and Katherine, and their two oldest children: Bernard and Kate.  I find several McCabes living in Benton, Lafayette County as well – two Marys, Ellen, Daniel, George, and Felix; but no John.  No ages are given, so I can’t determine whether these are even the same family.  I also found an R. Pinkham listed as head of household of 2 white males.  Again, no ages.   The 1865 Wisconsin census is all but destroyed, and I find no Sloweys and only 3 McCabes in the remnants that are available.  None of the names are familiar.

Patrick and Katherine were supposedly married around 1851-1852, and I have been unable to locate them together on the 1850 census; and since I’m not sure who their parents are or where they might have lived, it’s also making it quite difficult to locate them separately in 1850.  I also didn’t find any Richard or Robert Pinkhams living nearby.

Well this is definitely going to take some further research to figure out the relationship between Mary McCabe and Richard Pinkham, and the McCabe’s relationship (if any) to me.  I’ll be checking various records online (naturalizations in Wisconsin, Dakota, and Massachusetts), and will likely need to order some microfilm from the Family History Library. I’m completely unfamiliar with 1812 pension records, so any tips are more than welcome!  Incidentally, it would sure be helpful if these records were indexed … hey, you can help with that!  Go here: Preserve the Pensions.  If you do it before the walk next week (at the FGS conference in San Antonio), your donation will be matched first by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and then again by Ancestry.  A $25 donation will become a $100 donation, which saves about 400 pages of pension records from the War of 1812.

Wow, I didn’t even get to the other two mysterious entries in the land records!  Guess I’ll save that for next time.


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Oh Serendipity, You Scoundrel! — 2 Comments

  1. Oh I love finding double entries on folks (somehow balances out all the missing folks) Could it be she was visiting in Wisconsin or perhaps stayed behind for some reason. I have found some folks were too ill to travel so stayed behind and came later, children with & without adults & adults who should have been at the new place but were not. Seems visits were longer and often the visitors were counted in both places.
    Sidebar: back when I was going to college I lived with my grandparents in WI. My folks moved from Illinois to Kansas two weeks after moving me to Wisconsin. The next summer some sort of head count for something was done and I was listed as living in my folks home. I had spent 9 days in KS, including travel time, over the winter holidays and the university in Wisconsin said I was a resident there… my descendants are gonna love me!

  2. Yikes! The map appeared after I posted the above. Being nosy I started reading names… 3 of my here, there and nowhere this census names are on that map… If they are my peeps (research to be done) I may have a melt down. One I think is my dad’s mother’s paternal uncle, another is a cousin of this uncle & the third is a cousin of my dad’s father. My dad’s parents met in North Dakota about 1915… (she was born in Wis, he in Ind) Twilight Zone anyone? BTW this would not be the first time this has happened in my tangled tree. Yes, I could avoid this if I stuck to direct bloodline but that just won’t work
    Thanks for sharing this!

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