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Hi, Mystery and History Lovers, it’s Velma! Your favorite family tree researcher. My last post was about Jennie and John Brander. Today I’m going to talk about Jennie’s Dad’s family…the Densmores, Dinsmores or possibly the Dinsmoors. They are a mystery I am trying to solve.
Per usual, I’m going to use the spelling as written on the documents I found. It changes…of course
Benjamin and Elizabeth
The furthest back I’ve been able to locate is Benjamin and Elizabeth Dinsmore. Benjamin was born in 1780 in New Hampshire, and Elizabeth was born in 1781 in New Hampshire per the 1850 New York Census. They were born during the American Revolutionary War before the USA was the USA.
They were living with their son, Moses Dinsmore and his wife, Lydia Allard Dinsmore, in 1850, per the 1850 Federal Census. The family was residing in Bangor, Franklin County, New York. (As was Lydia’s parents and siblings) Moses was born in 1814 in New Hampshire, and Lydia was also born in New Hampshire in 1823. They had been living in New York for at least 6 years at this point because their eldest Laura Ann was born in New York in 1844. Also living in the household was Caroline, born 1846, Phoebe E, born 1848, and Mary Elizabeth who was a month old. Moses is listed as a farmer, and both Laura and Caroline attended school that year.
I’m sure Ben and Liz had more kids, because that was how it worked back in the day. But I cannot find any proof of their other children. I also cannot find death records for either Elizabeth or Benjamin. Logic says they died in New York, but they could have also died on the way to Michigan with Moses or in Michigan. I am still looking into this, but have no evidence of their death. Maybe there is no death record because they are still alive at 235 and 236! I would love for this to be true and I would definitely want to spend time with them and hear their tale. But alas, I’m sure I just haven’t found the right location for their info.
Moses and Lydia
Moses Dinsmore married Lydia Allard, daughter of Henry Allard and Mary Elizabeth Fall, on 2 July 1843 in Bolton, Brome, English Canada (Ontario). Moses died 16 February 1866 in Detroit, Michigan. I have also found records that list Moses’s birth state as Vermont on the death records of some of his daughters. Lydia was born 15 August 1819 in Bartlett, New Hampshire and died 10 May 1904 in Detroit, Michigan.
I know that Moses left New York for Michigan with his family between 1850 and 1853, because his son Moses Densmore was born 26 May 1853 in Detroit, Michigan, and daughter Jane Lydia “Jennie” Densmore was born 18 January 1861 also in Detroit, Michigan.
The 1880 Census shows Moses (the son) and Jennie living with Liddie. Moses is a plasterer and Jennie works in a seed store. Liddie is listed as keeping house at 371 Crawford St, Detroit. Please see below map for the location. It’s now near the Fisher Fwy (I-75).
Here is the information I found on the children of Moses and Lydia:
Laura Ann Densmore was born 24 March 1844 in Bangor, New York, and died 6 May 1934 in Detroit. Laura married William Crawford.
Caroline Densmore was born in 1846 in Bangor, New York. Caroline married John McDoinell.
Phoebe E. Densmore was born on 10 June 1848 in Bangor, New York. She died 12 January 1916. She lived at 764 Williams in Detroit, Michigan in 1916.
Mary Elizabeth Densmore was born in May 1850 in Bangor, New York. She married Oliver M. Dicks on 11 February 1871 in Detroit. Their children: Emma was born in 1874. Emma married John Busha on 16 April 1898 in Detroit. Samuel, was born 24 February 1876, but isn’t listed on the 1880 Census. Herbert A, was born in 1876. He married Ida M. Seidel on 14 September 1905 in Detroit. Lottie May, was born 24 October 1878, and died 8 May 1880. Edward, born 10 Jan 1881 in Michigan. Edward married Clara Minnie Spurr in Fort Wayne, Indiana on 23 September 1940. Alexander, was born 25 April 1883 in Greenfield, Michigan, and died 2 December 1884. Alfred G, was born in 31 August 1884 in Greenfield, Michigan. He married Elizabeth Ridge on 10 October 1906 in Detroit. Moses, was born 2 December 1887 in Greenfield, Michigan, and died 24 July 1888. William J, was born in 1887.(Note: Dicks is also spelled Dix in a few documents, but it’s mostly spelled Dicks).
Moses Densmore was born 26 May 1853 in Detroit, Michigan and died 5 February 1910. According to the 1880 Census, he was a plasterer. Moses married Maggie Duncan on 30 June 1880 in Detroit, Michigan. She was born either in Couttern, Connecticut or in Canada on 19 June 1960. Maggie died 23 April 1936 in Detroit. She and Moses are both buried in Woodmere Cemetery. They had a daughter, May or Mary, born 1882. May married Charles Feole, son of August Teole and Caroline Cole on 28 June 1900. They also had a son, Charles H., born in 22 April 1884 and died 11 August 1947 in Detroit. Their daughter, Phoebe, born in 1885.
Last but most important to my life (as in I wouldn’t be here without her) is Jane Lydia “Jennie” Densmore was born 18 January 1861 also in Detroit, Michigan. Click on the Jennie and John link above to read about my 4x great-grandmother and her family.
I’ve also found information that there might possibly be 4 additional children, Twins Amanda and Maranda, James M, and John. It’s possible they were born between Moses and Jennie.
I have hit a wall geneology fans. No further information on Benjamin or maiden name for Elizabeth. Guess…I’ll have to work on a new branch for a while.
Later mystery lovers… xo Velma
PS: One last thing of note…I did notice that the Michigan records are all Densmore. Not Dinsmore, like the New York and New Hampshire records. Not sure why that is. But I wonder. It’s like Nickerson becoming Nicholson on Nantucket I guess…new place…new name.😉
Howdy folks! Velma here. I know. I know. I haven’t been around in a while. But I’m back today to talk about Jennie and John Brander. Jennie was a Detroit girl, and John was born to Scotish parents in Liverpool. And for a Michigan girl who loves Brits…this is simply fantastic!
Jennie was born Lydia Jane Densmore on 18 January 1861 in Detroit, Michigan, to Moses and Lydia Densmore.
Okay…I need to pause just a minute to say that as a Jane Austen fan…how awesome is her name?! Lydia Jane! YES!
Anywho…the lovely Jennie was born two months before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated, and three months before the Civil War broke out. Her father, Moses Densmore (or possibly Dinsmore/Dinsmoor as you know people in the old times weren’t sticklers for consistent spelling), was born in New Hampshire in 1814. He married Lydia “Liddie” Allard on 2 July 1843 in Bolton, Ontario, Canada. Lydia Allard was born 15 August 1820 in New Hampshire to Henry Allard and Mary Elizabeth Fall Allard. I can confirm that they had 6 children: Laura Ann, Caroline, Phoebe, Moses, and our dear Lydia Jane. But I have seen a fellow researcher post and additional 4 children: John, twins Amanda and Maranda, and James M.
John was born John Charles Brander on 31 August 1848 in
Liverpool, Lancashire, England to Colin George Brander and Agnes Fraser Brander. Queen Victoria had been reigning in England for 29 years when John Charles was born, and continued to do so until 1901. His father Colin was born 1 June 1813 in Auldearn, Nairnshire, Scotland to James Brander and Christian Munro Brander. His mother, Agnes Fraser, was born 27 June 1816 to William Fraser and Jean Mitchel Fraser. She was christened on 5 July 1816 in St. Andrews/St. Leonards in Fife, Scotland. Colin and Agnes were married 12 February 1836 in St Cuthberts Church in North Leith (Edinburgh), Scotland. They had 5 children James, Jane, Christeina, Agnes, and John. Sadly Agnes died when John was only 1 year old in September 1849.
John Charles left England on the William Penn. He arrived in New York, New York on 24 November 1868. He was 20 years old. He then made his way to Detroit, Michigan. His father, Colin, wasn’t on the same ship as John, so I’m not sure if he came first or later. But I found them them both listed in the Charles F. Clark & Co’s annual directory of the City of Detroit for 1871-1872. They are listed as owners of C.G. Brander & Son. They were liquor dealers. They lived and worked out of 20 Grand River Blvd. In the Hubbell & Weeks Annual Directory of the City of Detroit for 1872, and J.W. Weeks & Co’s Detroit Directory for 1873-74 and 1874-75, they are listed as having a saloon at 20 Grand River, and still living there too. But on the Detroit City Directory for 1885, Colin is listed as a capitalist living at 295 Harrison Avenue.
Family tales say that John Charles was an artist and was one of the artists who painted the interior murals and decor in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. I have yet to figure out how to verify this, but that’s what the family says.
Jennie had a job working in a seed store per the 1880 Census. Sadly for me, I don’t know much more about her than that. I do have pictures though. And you know I love those!!
I wish I knew how they met or what drew Jennie and John together…but alas the documents I have leave all the fun and juicy bits out. But I do know that they were married in Detroit, Michigan on 28 December 1882. They went on to have 7 children; Lydia May, Anna Victoria, Agnes Etta, Emma Florence, Margery Jean (my great-great grandmother), William Charles, and Carolina.
Their love story may be a mystery but I do know that Jennie died 22 January 1930 and John followed within a few days. They were buried together in Woodmere Cemetery after 47 years of marriage. This brings tears to my eyes as my Nana, Janice, Jennie’s great-granddaughter, died 11 March 2016, and her husband of 61 years, Harvey, followed 19 days later.
I guess after so many years of two being one…to live without the other was just too much.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my grandparents. It shows their silly side. I miss them. Every day.
Join us next time when I try to hash out the mystery of the Allards…or maybe the Densmores. We’ll have to see. XO Velma