In Climbing My Family Tree I share stories of my ancestors as I discover them, so the posts are sporadic. My family history is a work in progress, and I might have to backtrack occasionally if (when) I make mistakes, so if we share a branch or two I encourage you to double check the research sources rather than accepting mine wholesale. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit often to find new posts. I enjoy sharing them with you!
52 Ancestors: #37 William (1789 - 1871) and #38 Sarah [??] (1793-1882) Sharp – Who They Aren’t
Flag of New Brunswick
This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”
challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For
more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating
in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.
I don’t know all that much about who Lydia Sharp Wilcox's
parents, William and Sarah Sharp, are yet, but I’m finding out more about who
they aren’t. Not too bad considering I
just discovered them last week!
The Book of Wilcox (see Lydia’s story and the George Wilcox story for an explanation of the Book of Wilcox) said about Lydia: “Lydia Wilcox
born September 17, 1810 in King County Province of New Brunswick, Canada, moved
to Ontario November 1849, removed to Michigan March 1856. Maiden name Lydia Sharpf,
mar’d November 1833. (Emphasis added.)” A little further down on the same page,
William D. Wilcox describes Lydia as “a typical short, squat Dutchwoman” but
Lydia was not a Sharpf, and she was not Dutch. They may have inserted of the ‘f’ at the end
of Sharp because of their perception that she was Dutch.
I first discovered Lydia’s parents when looking for the
daughter the Book of Wilcox said she and Simon left behind in New Brunswick with Lydia’s
parents when the rest of the family moved to the portion of the unified
province of Canada (Canada West) directly above Lake Erie. The New Brunswick portion 1851 (taken in
1852) Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia on Ancestry.com
is improperly indexed (the indexer intermixed different families on opposing
pages into one)– you MUST click through to look at the original document to see
who is in a family grouping. I found Lydia’s daughter, Rachael Wilcox, in
Studholm, Kings County, New Brunswick, listed as “GD [granddaughter]” to the
head of household, William Sharp (61) and his wife Sarah (58). William
indicates he is of English descent, and is a farmer. Also living at home with
them are their children: Susan (27), William R. (22), and Charlott (20).
Wm & Sarah Sharp -1852 New Brunswick Census
I next found William and Sarah in the 1871 Census of Canada,
in the parish of Studholm, Kings County, New Brunswick. William was 81 and
Sarah was 78. William was a farmer. He indicates he is of English origin
and Sarah is of Irish origin. They both belong to the Church of England.
[Definitely not Dutch.]
In the 1881 Census I found Sarah, 88, living with her son,
William R.’s family, where, the census taker indicates he is Scotch and his
mother is German. Sarah is still shown as a member of the Church of England,
while her son’s family is Wesleyan Methodism. (I’m not going into a lot of
detail about William R. because I’ll be posting about him, #39, later this
week, as an example of finding details about a person by searching collateral
members of his family. [Still trying to catch up on the 52 Ancestors challenge –
this should be Week 41; I’m gaining on it.]). Sarah was listed as a widow.
Knowing that William had died before 1881, I started trying
to find when he died. Fortunately, the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick has
a searchable database of those people buried in the cemeteries in New Brunswick,
including those old ones no longer in use. Via that database I found that he
had died just a few months after the last Census, at age 82, on October 18,
1871, and was buried at the Church of the Ascension cemetery in Apohaqui, Kings County New Brunswick. Sarah was also
buried there after she died on December 25, 1882, at age 89. Knowing their ages at death and their death
dates gave be approximate birth years for William (1789) and Sarah (1793). Also
in that cemetery were a few other Sharps that other that Trees on FamilySearch
have included as William and Sarah’s adult children, two of whom where
daughters that the Provincial Archives indicates were married to the same man
(hopefully sequentially) who also had the surname Sharp – I have seen another
woman sequentially marrying two Sharps of different families in my research
(not helpful, guys!) so I was aware there was another Sharp family in the area..
I have included them in my tree but with a picture that indicates that I am not
sure they belong there (if I don’t find another connection I’ll be taking them
off the tree).
Sarah and William’s children are as follows (the ones marked
with an asterisk are children only mentioned in other Trees, to my current
knowledge: Lydia Sharp (1810-1893); Mary Sharp* (1812-1854); Elizabeth Sharp*
(1814-1883; Jacob Sharp* (1816 - ?); Bathseba Sharp* (1817-1862); Julia Sharp*
(1822-1900); Susen Sharp (1825 - ?); William R. Sharp (1829 - ?), and Charlott Sharp (1831 - ?).
Next I searched the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick to
see if they had anything else on the Sharps of New Brunswick, and they did! An
annotated monograph of The Sharp Family of New Brunswick! So I excitedly
printed it out to read a lunch at work. Sigh. They aren’t our Sharps – they live
in a different county in New Brunswick, descend from Alexander Sharp of
Edinburgh Scotland, by way of New Jersey, and they have entirely different
names repeating in their tree than we do in ours or than were in our Sharp
branch. The two counties were 235
kilometers (about 146 miles) apart, which was a huge difference in the 19th
century. [As an illustration, the Pony
Express had a route about 232 KM long from Halifax to Victoria Beach, Nova Scotia
in the mid-19th century that they rode, nonstop, changing to fresh
horses every 19 KM (about 12 miles), and changing riders halfway through the
trip. It took a minimum of eight hours.] Sigh.
So at least I know who they aren’t (too bad, that family had some fascinating stories).
The Pony Express
Ours will be equally fascinating when I find them. I have
found pedigree charts on FamilySearch.org that purport to take our Sharps back
to the 1600’s. It gives Sarah a last name, too, but I have been unable to find
it so far, on my own in any credible source. There are other pedigrees on line that purport
to be of our family that vary in certain was from those at FamilySearch. I’m
going to explore the information in the pedigrees charts and personal pages,
and see if I can find documentation to attach my people to theirs and to
confirm them. If this is our family, during the Revolutionary war we were
Loyalists who, after the war were among those offered free land by the British
in New Brunswick and moved en masse (about 33,000 people). It will be interesting to see if I can make
If you know any more and would be willing to share, I would
be so grateful. Please leave a comment or send me an email at the address in my
Contact Me page.
There’s a whole lot more I’d like to know about William and