Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jacob Baisley

Jacob Baisley was the eighth child of James and Caroline Baisley[1]. I first discovered that Jacob Baisley was my great-grandfather in 1993 when I had a renewed interest in researching my family history. I have never met my paternal grandparents, both of them having passed on when my father was still a teen. My father told me that his grandfather's name was James Baisley and remembered visiting the Baisley farm in Wappinger’s Falls in Dutchess County, New York, when he was a boy. 

1900 US Census, Westchester County, Town of Cortlandt, New York
When I found my great-grandmother as the wife of Jacob Baisley enumerated on the 1900 census[2] , you can imagine my surprise—and my father’s surprise—and the numerous questions that followed. The census listed my grandmother, Edna, and her siblings, Fannie, Florence and Franklin. I immediately searched for birth records for my grandmother and her siblings in the Town of Cortlandt. Turns out, my great-grandmother, Jennette "Nettie" Baisley, née Lamb, had indeed had children with Jacob. My grandmother’s father was Jacob Baisley, not James Baisley[3].

The birth records created another mystery. I received records for four children, but Fannie’s wasn’t among them; instead I discovered a son, Alonzo Van R. Baisley[4], but he doesn’t appear on any census records; and Fannie never appears on another one after 1900; maybe she married or died. However Van Allen shows up in all of the later censuses, usually with his father and aunt. Was Alonzo Van R the same child as Van Allen? The date of birth for Alonzo Van R. Baisley is only one day off from that listed on Van Allen’s WWI draft registration card. I suspect Van Allen is a nickname for Alonzo Van R. Baisley.

Sometime between 1900 and 1910, Jacob and Nettie were no longer a couple. Nettie is the wife of James Baisley on the 1910 census[5], and all of Jacob’s children, except Van Allen, were living with Nettie, plus two more children were listed, Bessie, age 9, and Raymond, under one year old. Also noted on the census was how long they were married—2 years—and number of children born and still living. Nettie noted that she had birthed seven children and six were living. I suspect Fannie, who was Jacob and Nettie’s first child, died sometime between 1900 and 1910.

So who was this James Baisley?

A marriage record for James Baisley and Nettie Lamb[6] revealed that they were married in Oct 1910, stating this was the first marriage for both of them. If true, this means that my grandmother and her siblings were born out of wedlock. And it also means that they told the census taker they were only married for 2 years when, in fact, they were not married yet. I thought it interesting to note that Nettie was ten years older than James and she used her maiden name.  It also means that the father of Bessie and Raymond—Jacob or James— is in question until I can obtain their birth records. 

James’ birth record revealed that James Baisley was the son of George Baisley[7], whom I discovered was Jacob's brother[8]. Nettie Baisley had married her ex-husband’s nephew, James. I can only imagine the scenario at family gatherings. This may explain why most of his grandchildren never knew Jacob existed. Apparently he was estranged from the family, and one can hardly blame him; however, I have no idea what the circumstances were during that time in their lives. Maybe Jacob wasn’t a very good partner or an absent parent.

There is much I don’t know about my great-grandfather. Even his birth date is questionable. No one seemed to know exactly when he was born and so far I haven’t found any documentation of his birth. The census and his death record all give me different dates. The closest I have come to finding his date of birth is on a note included on Alonzo Van R.’s 1891 birth transcript[9] which states that Jacob was 23 and Nettie 18. This gives me a birth year for Jacob as 1868 and for Nettie as 1873, which is only a few years older than what is stated on their death records.

Photo courtesy of Albert Baisley, Peekskill, 1993.
Jacob Baisley (far right) on his farm in Montrose, NY, about 1937 [16]
I haven’t been able to find a marriage record for Jacob and Nettie, either. I can surmise that they might have married as early as 1888 since according to the 1900 census, Fannie was born in July 1889; but that would make Nettie’s marriage age at 15 to Jacob’s 20, which seems a little young for her.  I have wondered whether she and Jacob were even married, but I think it would be unusual for them to have lived together unmarried for over 10 years and have had five children.

My impression is that Jacob was a lonely man. After his separation from Nettie, he was living alone[10] until moving in with his son, Van Allen, and widowed sister, Jennie, in her home in Crugers[11]. He lived there with his son, even after his sister’s death in 1936[12]. He seems to have had little contact with his other children. His death in February 1943[13] is barely a one-line mention in the paper and only mentions he is survived by one sister, Mary Decker, and one son, Van Allen, even though all of his daughters were still living[14]. Jacob never remarried. He is buried in Cedar Hill cemetery[15] in Montrose, where I have yet to find his marker. He rests in the cemetery where his sisters and his parents are buried. It appears that even in death, his estrangement from most of his family remains. 




[1] Surrogate's Court, Westchester County, New York, Record Group 4 - Judiciary, Series 16, Estate Records 1775, 1782-1921, James Baisley estate inventory file no. 1897-16, Box A-0303(36)L, folder 7; Westchester County Archives, Elmsford.
[2] 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, New York, Westchester, Town of Cortlandt, p. 76B (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 57, sheet 39B, dwelling 638, family 790, Jacob Baisley household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Oct 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1,174.
[3] Town of Cortlandt Clerk's Office, Westchester County, New York, transcript, birth certificate no. 314892, local registration no. 3634 (1892), Edna Baisley; Town of Cortlandt, Town Clerk's Office, Cortlandt Manor, New York.
[4] Town of Cortlandt Clerk's Office, Westchester County, New York, transcript, birth certificate no. 314891, local registration no. 3178 (1891), Alonzo Van R. Baisley; Town of Cortlandt, Town Clerk's Office, Cortlandt Manor, New York. Clerk wrote a note attached to certificate stating mother, Nettie Lamb's age was 18 and father, Jacob Baisley's age was 23.
[5]1910 U.S. census, population schedule, New York, Westchester, Cortlandt, Peekskill, p. 100-B and 101-A (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 10, sheet 18, dwelling 284, family 383, James Baisley household; digital image,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Oct 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1,089.
[6]"New York, Marriages, 1686-1980", FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : 30 Apr 2012; database and image;   marriage record no. 5472, James Baisley and Jeanette Lamb, 1910; citing: New York Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, Albany. Microfilm of original records at the Municipal Archives of New York, New York City.
[7] New York, Department of Health, Birth Certificates, birth certificate no. 9923 (1884), James Baisley; New York State Department of Health, Albany.
[8]Surrogate's Court, Westchester County, New York, Record Group 4 - Judiciary, Series 16, Estate Records 1775, 1782-1921, James Baisley estate inventory file no. 1897-16, Box A-0303(36)L, folder 7.
[9]Town of Cortlandt Clerk's Office, Westchester County, New York, transcript, birth certificate no. 314891, local registration no. 3178 (1891), Alonzo Van R. Baisley.
[10] 1910 U.S. census, population schedule, New York, Westchester, Cortlandt, p. 232-A (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 18, sheet 9 (penned), dwelling 156, family 168, Jacob Baisley in George Albert household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Jul 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1089.
[11] 1915 New York state census, population schedule, Westchester County, Cortlandt, election district 14,  p. 22 (duplicate), line 30, entry for Jacob Baisley in Jennie Hennion household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed  8 Feb 2010).
[12]"Henion," (Peekskill, New York), The Evening Star, 1 Dec 1936, "Deaths" page, no page number; Field Library, Peekskill. The Field Library supplied photocopy of front page and obituary page.
[13] Westchester County, New York, death certificate (registered) no. 12 (1943), Jacob Baisley; Town of Cortlandt, Town Clerk's Office, Cortlandt Manor, New York.
[14] "Baisley--At Crugers, N.Y.," (Peekskill, New York), The Evening Star, 24 Feb 1943, no page number; Field Library, Peekskill. The Field Library supplied photocopy of front page and obituary page.
[15] Westchester County, New York, death certificate (registered) no. 12 (1943), Jacob Baisley.
[16] Jacob Baisley and Elmer Baisley family, ca. 1937; digital image, ca. 2012, privately held by Hiztorybuff. Albert Baisley, son of Elmer Baisley, gave a copy of the photograph to Hiztorybuff, his second cousin, once removed, with permission to scan it and use it in publications. The location and condition of the original is not known. Photo is of  (left to right) Albert Baisley, Willard Baisley, Thusnelda (Winkelman) Baisley holding Karl Baisley, and Jacob Baisley.

4 comments:

  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers! My husband and I both have family from Westchester County, NY. Mine are from Cortlandt (Fosters) and his resided in New Rochelle (Hendricksons). I look forward to following your blog and hearing about your discoveries!

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  2. I'll keep an eye out for your Fosters. All of my paternal grandmother's family are from Cortlandt, Westchester County. I'll be blogging more about them. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I'm jacob baisley. I found the same image of old jacob in our family history, along with images of "Jesse 'colt' baisley, a close personal friend of general Grant. Colt fought alongside Grant in most of the great battles of the civil war until he was struck down off his mount by a cannonball. He survived and started the baisley mine in Oregon after the war. I have loads more baisley info as my grandfather hired a historian to trace our past.

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    1. Jacob, Thank you for visiting my blog. I would love to compare research notes with you. Interesting that you have the same photo. How are you related to old Jacob Baisley in the photo? Do you know the identities of the others in the photo? I would like to know more about Jesse Colt Baisley. Feel free to email me.

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