Hubbard County, MN

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by Ira Benham

I have always been interested in family history. When I was a youngster I enjoyed listening to my father's reminiscences of people and events of early Hubbard and of his childhood in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. I heard them often and I thought they werethings I would never forget; however, with making a living and the passing of time much has been forgotten.

My mother was not as inclined to talk of earlier events but she remembered much and I have found that her memories were very accurate. She gave me information about her father, Warren, her grandfather, Nathaniel, and her great grandfather, Darius. Most of this has been verified by later research.

It was she who brought to my attention one of the Reader's Digest book length articles about the Salem Witchcraft Delusions. Especially of interest was the part involving a Wilkins Family; particularily the account of a stern old puritan, Bray Wilkins, and his belief that a grandson, John Willard had bewitched him and caused him severe illness and great pain, and that earlier Willard had bewitched another grandson to death. In spite of Willard's appeal for help, Bray would not and did not lift a finger to save him from the gallows.

We speculated as to whether we were descendants of that Wilkins Family. Mother was doubtful, her father was born in the Potsdam, New York area and as far as she knew his family had lived there for some time.

Years later, research showed that we are indeed descendants of that same Bray Wilkins! Three different ways!

Mother's youngest sister, Laura, cared for her mother in her last years. The winter before Grandma died they lived in Park Rapids, I boarded with them while I went to school. I often heard Grandma telling Aunt Laura about life and relatives in Ireland. Aunt Laura knew more about the Lawn Family than did any of the other children. I have never ceased to regret that I did not pay attention to her accounts.

A letter from Norma Benham Carle inquiring about Benhams and Benham relationships did much to start my intrest in genealogy. Then I read an account of the black man, Alex Haley, and his efforts to trace his ancestry back into Africa. The story of his succes, at what was seemingly an impossible task, sparked thousands of white Americans, including me, into genealogy.

I made a trip back East. I visited the Eastern Townships of Quebec and several State Historical Society Libraries. My findings were not great but I did learn things about both sides of my ancestry. The most important discovery was a book, "The Family of Bray Wilkins of Salem, Massachusetts.", by William Carroll There were many named Wilkins in the Windsor County, Reading, Vermont area. Indications are that they were all related, the ancestry of many can be traced by document to Bray Wilkins. however I have yet to find a written record to prove #477, Darius and the Darius of Reading, Warren's grandfather were the same person, but there is considerable reason to believe they were.

Vermont Vital Records and Reading Township Records list Darius Wilkins as the father of the following children:
1. Semor Wilkins, born, Feb.29,1796. mother, Salla.
2. Nathaniel Wilkins, born, Apr.19,1798. mother, Salla.
3. Lois Wilkins, born, Jun.24,1800. mother, Sally.

There are records of another younger Darius who married Abiah Hummet, September 25, 1820. They had two children born in Reading; Benjamin Seymoure Wilkins, b. Jul.9,1821 and Cynthia Maria Wilkins, b. Mar.23,1823.

I could find no record of his birth or parentage but he seemed to be a part of that family. He was probably an older brother. He may have been born before Darius and Salla came to Reading.

I have made a great effort to learn more about Salla or Sally Wilkins. Sally and Salla are pet names for Sarah, which was probably her first name. No search has disclosed any thing about her other than the register of these three children in the Reading Township Register.

Records show that Nathaniel Wilkins and Philinda Grandy were married Nov.23,1820, also that Philinda had a sister Lucinda who married William Wikkins, Dec.23,1823. Several of their children moved to Iowa. What blood relation William may have been to Nathaniel I have never found. His descent from Bray Wilkins is shown in "The Family Of Bray Wilkins".

In the eighteen thirties many people left Reading for St Lawrence County, New York including both Wilkins and Grandy families. I do not know when Nathaniel and Philinda moved but Warren was born there, 15, Jan.1838. The 1840 census lists Nathaniel Wilkins as the head of a household in Stockolm Township with 1 male under 5, 3 males 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 49-50, 1 female 15-20 and 1 female 30-40. I do not know if the 1 female 15-20 was a member of the family or only someone staying with them when the census was taken I have never heard of any girls in the family. They must have moved soon after that to Green Lake County, Wisconsin. I do not know how long they remained there but in 1860 they were living in Eau Claire County, Brunswick Township, Wisconsin. Warren was the only one of the children with them. Ely was married and living in the same township with a family of seven children. His twin brother, Levi was also married with three children and living in adjoining Half Moon Township.

Much of the information of the Grandy Family is from the book Robert Grandy of Boston and Roxbury", by Phyllis Richards Kyle, Lakeland, Ohio. Mrs. Kyle is a great great granddaughter of Philinda's Aunt Bethia Grandy, a sister of Philinda's father, Samuel Grandy, who married Azubah Bishop.
The main sources of information on the Bishop line came from "The Bishop Families in America", by Ira Ellmore Bishop and "Families of Ancient New Haven", by Donald Lines Jacobus.

One of the main sources of the authors mentioned is the records of The New England Historic Genealogical Society. It is also one which I have used myself.

William Carrol Hill, author of "The Family of Bray Wilkins", was of the tenth generation from Bray and Hannah. He was an editor and publisher and in 1943, the time of the publication of the book, was the editor of The New England Historical & Genealogical Register.

The book is not well documented and I have found some errors. It has nevertheless been of great help and can usually be checked from other sources. I do not know of any place that has it for sale but it is in most large genealogical libraries including the Minnesota Historical Society Library. 

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    Last Updated:  03.08.2016