The Searles Family of Rutland
Thomas J. Searles and Catherine Patrick
How the Searleses and Patricks met is a mystery to me. Catherine's family was from London, Ontario and moved to Lapeer County, Michigan about 1857 then to Sanilac County, Michigan about 1863.1 Thomas's family seems to have been from Bradford County, PA (Lena Clark and obituary) or south central New York (1820, 1850 and 1880 Censuses). Catherine's father, Richard Patrick, was born in New York State, so perhaps their families knew one another a generation or two earlier. Perhaps it was railroad or lumbering work that brought Thomas and one or more of Catherine's relatives to Michigan. In any event, Thomas was in Lapeer County with his wife Catherine and their new family for the 1860 census.2 Lena Clark and Lena Peters both gave their wedding date as October 18, 1855. It seems most likely they met and were married in Michigan, but since they were married before I have evidence that the Patricks moved to Michigan, they may have been married near London, Ontario. I've not found a marriage record for them. Thomas supported his wife and 8 children by working as a carpenter (1880 Tioga County, PA census), laborer (Tioga County, PA tax records and 1860 census for Lapeer County, MI), farmer (death record), and well-digger (Lena Clark).
Most of what we have on this family comes from Lena Clark, through a 10-page book she wrote and tape recorded conversations she had with her niece, Doris (Peters) Sykes in 1974. Catherine Searles spent quite a bit of time with Lena Clark's family. Since Lena is such a good storyteller, and these stories are most of what we have about this family, I'll just let her tell the stories. What follows is pretty much dictated from the tape recordings Doris made. I will only footnote what didn't come from Lena Clark.
Grandma Searles liked to go to bed early, and she used to say "you can bring the girls in," and we'd sit on the foot of the bed, and Grandma would be propped up in bed and she'd tell us stories about her childhood. See, she was brought up among the Indians. And Grandma knew a lot of the medical problems that the Indians had. She told us how to say a few Indian words, like "tie-eye-shockedy-kit" means "you're telling a lie" and things like that. When Catherine was little the Indians would come in at night and sleep in front of the fire. They lay on the floor. They never sat in a chair. And they'd help themselves to anything in the garden, but they'd only take enough for a meal. So that was nice. When the family had a new baby, they come out in the kitchen, and there was a row of Indians sitting round in a circle on the floor. They'd holler papoose! papoose! They wanted to see the new baby. So they showed them the baby, and they all got up and filed out. That was a welcome, I suppose.
Here's an extraordinary story Lena told about one family's relationship with nearby Indians. She wasn't sure which family on our tree this was, and I've been unable to verify the family, which Indians would've been involved, or the story itself. Nonetheless, many of these kinds of stories contain at least some truth, and Thomas and Catherine's families were living on the frontier and clearly had frequent interactions with Native Americans. Here's the story.
This family lived near the Susquehanna River, in the woods, almost a mile from anybody else. The little boy and girl used to play on the bank of the river, where there was a big tree that hung over the river. The little girl and boy used to climb that tree. Well, this was in the fall, when the ice was forming on the river. They climbed this big tree that hung over the river, and the little girl hollered that she was falling in the river. And the little boy got out there anyway, and he fell in. That Susquehanna is a big river -- I think it was quite a ways up from Harrisburg. The little boy disappeared in the chunks of ice going down the river. They got out searches, but of course he was gone. They thought he was dead.
He went down the river, floating with a branch of a tree that broke off among the ice. He went down that river for miles. There was an Indian wigwam, a city, or village. They always build their villages in the bend of the river so they can look two ways for enemies. Well they were out there doing something, and they saw that branch of the tree and the little boy. So they got out there some way on the ice and got him. And a squaw held him until he got warm, and wrapped him up.
He tried to tell them a lot of things. The Indians said we can't go up that river with our canoe, the ice would form, and we don't know where to take you anyway. So the Indians told the boy if you be good, we'll take good care of you, and when the leaves begin to come out on the tress, when the little flowers come in the ground, we'll build a big sturdy canoe, and we'll go and start up the river and we'll find your house.
Well he slept on the ground with furs wrapped around, and they made him moccasins. They taught him how to hunt, how to make arrows, and how to tan skins. All winter long they were so good to him, and the squaw would rock him to sleep in her arms on the ground in the wigwam. To make a wigwam, they get long poles, and near the end they tie leather straps around it, and then they spread it open like an umbrella.
One time the boy came running in as he saw something green. The squaw said we'll start building the canoe. They showed him how they put branches of some certain kind of wood in hot water, then they could bend them the way they want to bend them. When they got it cold, it'd stay that way. In the spring they picked flowers, and they put all the food in the canoe, and blankets, and they started up the river. They went all day and they never saw his house. So the slept on the bank of the river, and they had food. I forget what kind, but they showed him how to cook. When they planted anything they put some part of a fish with everything they planted. Anyway, they finally saw his house. Boy they was rejoicing! They got out and ran up to the house, but there was nobody there. So the Indians told him to put his head down on the ground, his ear to the ground, and you can hear hoof marks, or hoof sounds, almost 10 miles away if you listen long enough. And they heard those hoof marks, like somebody coming home. And they went and sat on the floor, and in come his father and mother and little sister. And you never saw so much huggin' and they brought their food in, and they were so happy. The Indians stayed awhile with them. And then they said each spring they were gonna come back. The family had even had the funeral service for the little boy. What a happy reunion! Now this is a true story, a beautiful story you can tell your grandchildren. Please tell it to them so it'll live on. This was the Susquehanna River, down in Bradford County where Grandpa lived. So they knew this was true. I wish I could remember the tribe. (Note: The Susquehanna River does go through Bradford County, but quite a ways further east than I have been able to locate the family. This story is probably about an earlier generation.)
Grandpa Searles was a well-digger. They moved quite often. Grandma told us, it was one place they moved to, the minute they'd go to bed, the rocking chair would start rocking. They could hear it on the wooden floor. And when they'd get up it'd stop rocking. As soon as they got in bed that rocker'd go, go, go. And sometimes they even saw the motion of that rocker. They were so scared they didn't stay: they moved. Wasn't that a funny one? You know in Grandma's days they believed in witches. And she used to tell us a lot of things about the witches. Aunt Tillie--that was one of the girls--Aunt Tillie died, you don't know her-- She said she had a baby and it cried all the time. One of these witches come and told Aunt Tillie to put out a pan of milk and let it get sour, and then cut it. You're hurting that witch just like that, and your baby will stop crying. And it happened! That baby got over what...if it was colic, I don't know. But it stopped crying all the time.
Lena Clark also gave us a glimpse of life with Catherine Searles. "We loved Grandma Searles, but Grandma Howard was full of fun. Not Grandma Searles -- she was a perfect lady. Why, she'd say your feet were always on the floor. We'd do this (cross your legs) and she thought that was terrible! It isn't good to cross your legs because it cuts circulation off, but that wasn't why. She was afraid you'd show your ankles. Grandma Searles was so dignified. She said one time to my mother (Della Howard) that a lady never leaves the kitchen with her apron on. I remember that. Now they don't even stop for an apron."
Thomas served briefly during the Civil War, and then deserted, apparently injured. He enlisted in Company H, Ninth Cavalry on March 8, 1863 in Lapeer. They mustered March 14th, and by May 18th Thomas "deserted" at Coldwater, MI.3 There's a record of an illiterate Thomas Searles, about the right age, who applied for a pension from Bradford County, Pennsylvania. In the application he stated that he enrolled March 1863 with Company F (rather than H) of the 9th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry as a private. In 1892 he was claiming he was wholly unable to earn support by manual labor by reason of a rupture or ____(?) which he contracted in service. He also reported disease of the lungs, old age, and general poor health. The record showed he was never discharged, however. Thomas reported that when he was hurt, he went home and sent a substitute, Wilson R. Cole, who served in his place.
Perhaps he was a simple man who saw a simple solution: "I'm hurt, I'll go home." Perhaps he thought better of his prospects in the War: his brother Andrew had been serving since November 1861. In the end, the War Department did not grant him a pension because they couldn't find the name of Thomas Searles on the rolls of Co. F, 9th Michigan Cavalry.4 Apparently he officially enlisted in Company H, so if he'd been literate or at least remembered that correctly, perhaps he'd have gotten a pension. Before judging Thomas too harshly, though, realize that it wasn't uncommon for men to desert, and if Thomas did send a substitute, he believed he fulfilled his duty.
Perhaps his desertion is what led Thomas to move his family back to Pennsylvania by 1880. I've not located him for the 1870 census, but it seems likely they were still in Michigan. Daughter Mattie’s death record and the 1880 census says she was born in Pennsylvania in 1876, but the Sanilac County clerk's marriage record says she was born in Saginaw, and the 1900 census for Lamotte, Sanilac Co, MI, says she was born in Michigan. The census and marriage records are more credible since Mattie may have provided the information herself for them. There were some Searleses in Hillsdale County, MI, near where Thomas "deserted," and they had ties to Bradford County, PA. It’s possible that Thomas and Catherine stayed with relatives there while they had most of their children.
Thomas's obituary says he "died peacefully as the sun sinks in the west on a calm summer evening."5 That was January 1, 1903 in Sullivan Township, Tioga County, PA. Catherine followed him on February 3, 1909.6 They are both buried at Lawrence Corners, north-east of Mansfield, PA.
(pictures of tombstone and cemetery)
1. Tax records, Elba 1857-62/1860 census, Lapeer, Elba, p. 998.
2. Census for Oregon Twp, Lapeer County, MI, p. 1012.
3. Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War 1861-1865, vol 39, Record, 9th MI Cavalry, Civil War 1861-1865, p. 89. Published under the authority of the Michigan Legislature, no date.
4. Civil War pension application #1132455, 24 Sep 1892.
5. Mansfield Advertiser, vol 8, 7 and 14 Jan 1903.
6. Death certificate, PA Division of Vital Records, File # 26830,
District # 859.
John and Mary Searles
I believe John and Mary to be Thomas's parents. Polly (a nickname for Mary) is Thomas’s mother according to information from Nellie Smith Shaw, and there is a tombstone for a Mary, wife of John Searles, in the Lawrence Corner Cemetery (but it’s not on the published transcriptions). It has dates but I don’t have it with me right now (I think 1851). Polly is 20 years older than John in the 1850 census (Bradford Co, PA, Wells twp).
It's possible that John's father was also named John. There is a land transaction in 1808 where John Searls of the town of "elictton?", County of Cayuga, NY bought the NW 1/4 of Township Lot #7 in Tioga County, NY for $400. And there's a John Searles family in Cayuga County, NY in 1800 (p.620) with 1 male over 45, 1 female under 10, 2 females between 16-26, and 1 female between 25-45.
If my best guesses are right, the family was in Cayuta Township, Tioga County, NY in 1821 with three children.(1) John was employed in agriculture on this land in south-central New York, just south of the land between the two largest finger lakes, Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. This had been an area of historical significance during the Revolution, and since both John and Polly were born in New York, it's possible that their parents or grandparent took part. (EXPLAIN)
In 1823 part of Cayuta became part of Tompkins County, and I believe this is where Thomas, and possibly a twin sister Sarah, were born.(2 -- Nellie's papers show Sarah b. Thompkins Co, 1826, LDS record, and 1850 and 1880 censuses say Thos and parents b. NY; This History of Cayuta, Cayuta Town Festival Committee, 1984, p.3) The 1825 census for New Field, Cayuta Township, Tompkins County, NY listed John Searles' family with 6 males (1 qualified to vote) and 5 females.
In 1830 the John Sarles family was in Hector Township, Tompkins County, NY (p. 420), and they now had 6 children. There were:
Males: 1 under 5 Females: 2 aged 5-10
1 aged 10-15 1 aged 10-15
1 aged 15-20
and 1 aged 30-40 and 1 aged 30-40
By 1840, the family moved about 30 miles south to the northwest corner of Bradford County, PA. Here John was employed in "manufacture and trade," and his son Isaac was just starting his family on a nearby farm. By 1850 John may have "retired" to farming since he was now listed as a farmer, but with substantial real estate worth $2000. From there I lose track of John for there are no death, burial, or other census records to be found.
By 1860, however, son Isaac had become quite successful, or perhaps he inherited his father's estate since his real estate was worth $4000 and his personal property worth $1500. By comparison, probable relatives J.A. and Gilbert Searl living nearby had no real estate and personal property worth only $100 and $150 respectively. Isaac's family suffered tragedy, though, for they buried all of their children of whom only one lived beyond the age of two (except John Aaron if he was theirs and not John and Mary's). Issac died an unusual death in 1868. He had hitched his mare to a rail fence and was trying to take the horse away when it jerked the rail from the fence. The rail hit Isaac in the forehead and "inflicted a mortal hurt" from which he survived only a few hours.(FN: Tioga County Agitator, Wellsboro, PA, 4 Nov 1868) Isaac is buried in the Daggett Cemetery with his wife Ellen Voorhees (1821-1883) and their children Charles O., Hellen S., Isaac E., and Frank C. J. Aaron Searles (1846-1919) and his wife Minnie Taber (1846-1916) are also buried there.
The Troy Gazette Register said on April 1, 1926 that John Aaron Searles died Friday (March 26) 1926 in Mosherville at age 86, and is buried at Daggett Cemetery. It mentioned sister-in-law Mrs. Della Searles (must be wife of Frank Searles -- she was a Hammond); nieces Mrs. Fannie Knapp and Mrs. Loah Benson of Elmira and nephews Ross C. Hammond of Elmira and Raymond F. Hammond, of Mosherville.
Thus far unconnected records of Searles:
1. There was a John Searle in Wilkes-Barre, Luzern County in the 1830 PA census index, p. 504. This is right on the Susquehanna which makes it intriguing for the Lena Clark story possibility. I made a note that I checked a John Searl in Luzern in Bradford County (which isn't a township on the current map) and noted that the ages & # of children is wrong. Also in the 1830 PA Census Index are Catherine, Henry, and William Searles all in Luzern; Cornelius in "Buck," and interestingly, Nathanial Searls in Wells Twp, Bradford Co. In the 1830 NY census index, there are several Searles (various spellings, many in Tioga Co) including Johns in New York City, "Wayn," "Wash," and "Grfe" counties as well as the one in Tompkins.
6. The Owego Gazette (Tioga Co, NY) noted there were letters at the post office for "Searle" on 5 October 1819 and for Richard Searls on 24 Jan 1826. It also said on 14 Sep 1849 that Richard Searle died on 9 Sep 1849, aged "96-6-" (probably 96 years, 6 months). He was a Revolutionary War soldier who lived in Flemingville. I copied this at the NY State Library in Albany, NY. The original is in the Tioga County Historical Museum, Owega, NY.
7. In the "History of Hillsdale County, MI, 1879 (p.5) there is this information. "Thomas Searles came from Putnam Co, NY in 1814 and settled where John Stilwell now owns (I note from Joyce Tice's records that John's daughter Mary married Clark Stilwell in 1827 in Hector, Tompkins Co). Henry Jeffries married Searles' daughter, and came with Searles and settled on the same farm Cornelius Jeffries, his son, now lives on, on the hill west of Kecklenburg." It continues: Garry Searls, b. Oct 24, 1824 in Seneca Co, NY married May 16, 1858. Ancestors descended from old Dutch Stock residing along the banks of the Hudson. he remained for six years on the home farm, and then removed to Bradford Co, PA and remained there four years. His parents then, following the course of emigration, came to Michigan and located in Hillsdale Co on the Chicago Turnpike, three miles west of Jonesville, the family of Mrs. Searls having moved from Dutchess Co, NY to Michigan in 1855. Resides on farm of 195 acres lying in Hillsdale and Cambria Trops(?). Children: Frederick, Garry Jr., Edward V., George W., Charles H., Anna M., Albert E." This record came from the Schuyler County, NY Historical Society, Montour Falls, NY.
8. Shuyler Co Historical Society also had some other notes:
a. A record of a query (undated) from Grace Searle to the Tompkins County DeWitt Historical Society in Ithaca, NY. She was seeking information about John R. Searle who may have come to Tompkins Co around 1816 and died there in 1837. The noted Tompkins County wills for Samuel Searl, Irene Searls, Walter Searles, James B. Searles, Nancy Searls, Marian, Celinda J., Nancy M., and Clara Searls.
b. In the Mecklenburg Cemetery, Searles, William, son of James and Polly, 1836-1837.
c. In the Reynoldsville Cemetery, Searles, Selah, d. 1/29/1877 (1795-1877); Ansenath, his wife, d. 2/2/1871 (1796-1871); Searles, Jason A. d. 10/21/1882 (1819-1882); and Emily, his wife, d. 3/19/1882 (1823-1882).
9. Tioga County NY Historical Society notes that Searlestown is a placename in Newark Valley, Tioga Co. It was a Methodist community on Rte 38 north of Owego, founded by Richard Searles, a Revolutionary War veteran, before 1790. In the Searlestown Cemetery in the Town of Owego are buried 20 Searleses, including Richard (d.1849 aged 96); Sarah, wife of Emmanuel, d. 1865 at age 70; Phebe, wife of Thadies, d. 1839 at age 53; Thadies, d. 1834 at age 48; Lot, d. 1852 at age 65; and Hannah, Lot's wife, d. 1843 at age 50.
10. Tioga County, NY land records list several Searles (and similar spellings) from 1808 on. They include some records involving a John Searles in 1808 and 1810 (and later) and Polly, who bought land in the town of Candor(?) in 1851. I did not have time to research more than a couple of these, and would be delighted if someone who has researched these records would inform me of their results!
11. There's a Robert Searles on the Rutland Twp, Tioga Co, PA tax rolls in 1829.
12. The July 2, 1885 Reporter-Journal had an article under "Wells Township" that included mention that "S.E. Ayres...occupies the place upon which John Searles began." and "C.M. Wylie...occupies the place upon which Isaac Searles began." In looking at the 1868 Atlas for Wells Twp, Bradford Co, S.E. Ayres and W.E. Wylie had farms very near one another in the extreme SW corner of Wells Two, along what is now Jennings Road, north of Hickory Road. This supports the idea that John and Isaac Searles were close kin. I copied this article (there was no page number) and the page from the Atlas at the Tioga Co, PA Historical Society. I wonder if the tombstones Lena Clark talked about playing teeter-totter on were those of John Searles and his wife on the farm here.
13. There are many records of early settlers named Searle, and also Searl and Searles. They relate particularly to John Searle who settled Springfield, MA in the 1630s; Robert Searle who died in 1717 in Dorchester, MA; Nathaniel Searle, b. 1662 and who lived in Corchester and Duxbury, MA and Little Compton, RI; and several Searles of Ipswich and Rowley, MA in the 1600s. I have not been able to tie "our" Searleses into these families, but it wouldn't surprise me if they do fit in somewhere. I have a pile of copies on these families that I obtained from many sources, like the extensive reprint of most of the "Searle Record" compiled by Rev. William Searle in 1897; A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (Vol I, p. 45); The American Genealogist (Vol XVI, No. 2, Oct 1939, pp. 88-95); New England Families, (Vol III, pp. 1497-9); Early Settlers of Rowley, MA (pp. 333-40); DAR Bible Records (Vol 32, 1935-6, p. 131 and Vol 38, 1936-7, pp. 181-2); and the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Vol CXXV, No 2, Apr 1971, pp. 138-9; and I think the reprint of the Searle Record was in several volumes of this as well. I think these are fairly easily gained at a good genealogical library, but if you'd like copies, please contact me. Definitely contact me if you can tie my Searleses into any of these families, please!!
14. Tioga Eagle Newspaper Abstracts 1839-41 include notice that Richard Searl married Lucina Mann of Tioga on 19 Oct 1840.
1. 1820 Census, Cayuta Township, Tioga County, New York. I've seen the original, and Solomon Searls is also listed there -- probably John's brother. Also LDS record.
File: Searles for Joyce Tice.doc (46592 bytes)
DL Time (32000 bps): < 1 minute
Hello again Joyce. It's been quite a while since I've been in
contact with you. I was just visiting your web pages and you've done
just an outstanding
job! THANK YOU!!!!
I'm afraid I haven't done that much on the Searles line in the past
year or two, so I thought I'd better just send you what I have now.
I can always
update later. I've excerpted the text on the Thomas Searles and John Searles families from the text I've been working on for a long time. My
target audience was family, so the Thomas Searles family might have too much extraneous info for your audience. Please feel free to edit. The John
Searles one is really rough, but there are research notes, so maybe someone else can benefit from that, or correct or add to it. If you think it OK to
post, please do. It's OK to include my contact information.
<<Searles for Joyce Tice.doc>>
I see you had a 1997 query on John Searles (b1807, must be from 1850
census, but note that if this is same John Searles from 1840 census, that
he was born 1790-1800). You show Mary as a sibling (b1810) and Isaac as a brother (b1818). May I ask where you got the info on Mary? This whole
family is confusing and the multiple sources only add to the confusion of mixing generations. I don't know if John, Isaac, and Mary were siblings; or perhaps John's birth year was wrong in 1850 and correct in 1840. If so, John and Polly would be closer together in age and could be Thomas and Isaac's parents. That does make Polly a little old for having George (b1835) though. (There's a John Searles with the Scofield family for the 1850 census in Wells, aged 52, and is a carpenter -- which is a vocation handed down to both Thomas, and Thomas' son George. Is this the same John Searles? Was he with the Scofields for work when the census taker came around, and whoever provided info on the family got a birth date wrong?).
If the birth years are right in 1850, John (b1807) could be father to Thomas (b1826), but not father to Isaac (b1818). Polly could be John's mother. I also note there are 4 John Searles mentioned in the 1850 census for Wells Twp, so there's plenty of room for confusion.
I haven't pieced together anything conclusive. If you see any logic flaws, or anything helpful you can tie into what I've got on these families, please do tell me! Also, can you please tell me how you know the Searles' came from Thompkins County NY? There were also Searles in Steuben, and my family oral history indicates family coming from somewhere along the banks of Susquehanna.
I hope all is well for you and your family. Thank you again for all the great work you've been doing on the web site!
39211 Iris Ct
Sterling Heights MI 48310
Much in into the local hsitory fo London, Ontairo, I noticed this form
your web site:
Specifcally - this quote
Thomas J. Searles and Catherine Patrick
How the Searleses and Patricks met is a mystery to me. Catherine's family
was from London, Ontario and moved to Lapeer County, Michigan about 1857
then to Sanilac County, Michigan about 1863.1
For what is is worth, famine and a severe economic
depression hit London,
Ontario (then called "Canada West") in 1857. Over the next coupel of
eyars, the official population fo our city dropped from around 16,000 to
around 11,000 people. My best guess is the Patrick family was oen fo many
that fled the area that year.
hope this helps