Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Halsey Comes to a Quick Halt

James Youngs’ wife Ruth Halsey, my 4x great-grandmother, was born in 1758, another Morristown, NJ ancestor.  Her father was Judge Benjamin Halsey and her mother was Sarah Pruden. James’s father David died shortly before James’ birth in 1752 and Ruth’s mother, Sarah Pruden, died in 1760 when Ruth was only two.  After David's death, James' mother Bethiah married Benjamin Halsey between 1760-1764 so the children were still young and likely raised as brother and sister.  Nevertheless, in 1775, Bethiah, in addition to being Ruth’s stepmother, became her mother-in-law.

Benjamin Halsey was born in 1721, married his first wife, Sarah Pruden, in 1747 and died of insanity in 1788.  (I’m not sure how insanity is a direct cause of death, unless they meant something like Alzheimer's.)  Earlier in his life he seems to have had some prominence in the community.  Given that he was a judge and is in the DAR database, I was surprised I haven’t been able to uncover more specific details about him or links to his ancestors. 

In History of Southampton published in 1886, it states that the Halsey family is from England and implies that Remington Halsey is the first immigrant who settled in NY in the 1600s, along with his three sons, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Then later it states:

Thomas Halsey, who came from Great Gaddensden, England, and was living at Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1637.  He was one of the founders of the town of South Hampton, Long Island, in 1640, the first English town in the state of New York.  The family remained in South Hampton for nearly one hundred years, when Recompense Halsey  moved to Morris county.

I suspect that Benjamin is descended from Thomas, but the two Halsey genealogies I need are not available digitally.  Even though I've read that the above mentioned book has errors, I’ll be adding these to my Library of Congress list.  I hope there is a connection, because it would be interesting to visit Thomas' home, which is still standing.

Another reason I’m surprised about the lack of information on Benjamin is because he and other Morris County justices exchanged correspondence with George Washington in 1780.  I was pleased to find that digitized in The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress.

The Justices wrote to make him aware of how poorly some members of the Army had treated the local inhabitants and their property (licentiousness, plundering, stealing) after these citizens had willingly offered assistance to the troops in desperate need.

Washington replied, thanking them for the support and assuring them that the perpetrators would be stopped and punished.

So there you have it--just two generations of Halseys and I'm at a dead end.

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