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Monday, April 1, 2013

A Tower marries a Buck in New Brunswick

Edward Buck arrives upon the scene in Sackville, NB at about 1790. I have not found a ship’s list with his name on it nor have I found where he departed from in England.  Many of the Yorkshire immigrants had found their way to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the 10 to 20 years prior to Edward’s arrival. It cannot be stated with certainty that he came from Yorkshire, however family folklore handed down claims that was his place of origin. With no evidence to contradict this, I’ll keep Yorkshire as his place of birth and hope that someday, his true history can be found. To state the obvious, nothing is known of his background, his parents, his siblings or any other information that would round him out as a real person. He simply appears on the scene and becomes the progenitor of hundreds by the name of Buck and a similar quantity of non-Buck names as the female children and grandchildren married into the local families.

I don’t have any information on how Edward acquired his land. The information I do have comes from written histories of the Yorkshire emigrations. The histories indicate that the Yorkists came with money and purchased the lands of the New Englanders who wanted to return to New England. Most of the immigrants were tenant farmers and didn’t have a great deal of money as times were very hard in England. One of the histories stated that the Yorkists didn’t receive land grants and purchased their land when they arrived. It would seem that Edward Buck fell into this category as he owned land and was married by 1792 to Phebe Elizabeth Tower, the d/o Benjamin and Ann Finney Tower. The land he owned provided him with his occupation which was mining gypsum.

A short and simple science lesson, here, will help us to understand what gypsum is. The simple definition is that gypsum is a sedimentary rock and a crystalline mineral, which is soft and chalky. It can be found in beds or in layers of rock strata. It is found in many parts of the world, but one in particular is worth mentioning. In the Montmartre district of Paris, France, there is a large quarry of dehydrated gypsum. When water is added, after a short interval of time, it becomes regular gypsum again. This will then harden or set in ways which are useful to making molds or castings. We know this as Plaster of Paris.

Unfortunately, we don’t know what type of gypsum Edward Buck was able to mine from the quarries on his land.  There are several different ‘types’ which are used in a variety of ways. Plaster for walls and ceilings in the 1800’s would have been in great demand. Some gypsum is known as Alabaster and can be carved into decorative moldings or statues. Whatever form it took, Edward was able to make a comfortable living and had easy access to ports on the Bay of Fundy

By 1820, Edward and Phebe Buck were living in Dorchester, NB, which seems to indicate he had sold his land with the gypsum quarry on it. They were listed as 1 man, 1 woman and 6 children. The 7th child, the oldest, Edward Buck, Jr., aka as Ned, was married and living in Dorchester, too. The census showed him as 1 man, 1 woman and 1 child.
Edward Buck, Sr. (c. 1763 England–1826 NB) m. 1792 Phebe Elizabeth Tower                        (1777-1822)

Their Children: 
          1. Edward Buck, Jr., (Ned) (1797-1875) m. 1817 Mary Ann Finney (1800-                     1898) – 4 children
          *2. George E. Buck (c. 1798-1878) m. 1820 Phebe Palmer (c. 1801-1881)                               – 9 children
          3. Ann (1800-1882) m. 1819 Benjamin Simonton (1795 Portland ME-1883                               Cass Co. IA) – 16 children
          4. William (1801-1819)
          5. Thomas (1803-1819)
          6. James Richard (c. 1812-1874) m. 1836 Sarah Mitton (1812 Yorkshire                        Eng.- 1879 NB) - 8 children
          7. Phebe (1814-1881) m. 1834 Leighton Card (1809-1881) – 12 children

This represents the known children and grandchildren of Edward and Phebe Buck. Infant mortality was high so there’s a strong possibility of additional children who didn’t survive infancy.  Still this generation produced 49 grandchildren for Edward and Phebe.

My descent comes by way of George E. and Phebe Palmer Buck (*2 above).
Phebe remains an enigma because there is no certainty about her parentage. I firmly believe that she is the d/o Gideon and Catherine Harper Palmer. Yet there is not a speck of documentation to support that. She is not mentioned in Gideon’s will, a glaring omission when attempting to prove relationships. Yet, I have seen this in other cases where some rift has caused the parent to disown the child and the child’s name is removed from the will. Perhaps there was some unresolved dispute between the Palmers and the Bucks, either with George directly or George’s parents. The one thing I believe lends a tiny bit of credence to my theory is that Phebe had a son named Gideon and a daughter named Catherine. The other thing is that Gideon had an aunt named Phebe. Grasping at straws, this could indicate that if there was a rift, it came after those two children were born. Flimsy, yes, but there is no other Palmer family in the Dorchester/Sackville area who could claim her. Perhaps she came from further away where there were some Palmer families. Anything is still possible, although I have looked through many records and can’t find a Phebe that fits the time line. If anyone has the key to unlocking this little mystery, I’d be ever so happy to hear it.

Before I go into George and Phebe’s families, I would like to put forth the information I have on their other children. Starting with:

          A. Edward Buck, Jr., (Ned) (1797-1875) m. 1817 Mary Ann Finney (1800-1898)                  – 4 children. We know Mary Ann is connected to one of the Finneys who came to NB. I have not been able to determine which one. It is safe to say that she was most likely a cousin, of                          some sort, to her husband, since his grandmother was a Finney.
Their children: 
                    1. Phebe (1818-1904 Hartford CT) m. 1853 Middletown CT Frederick Bidwell (1815-?)                                 
                    2. Amelia (1821-1901) m. 1847 William Yates (1816-1901) – no children found for them                             
                    3. Edward (1823-1875) m. 1846 Mary Jane Tower (1824-1898) – 2 children                                      
                    They were 2nd cousins. After 1871 they were found living in MonctonNB Canada                      

                    4. Angel (1826-1894 in Hartford CT) m. 1849 in NB George Brown (1816-1896                              in Hartford CT)
                              Their daughter Matilda Brown (1853 CT-1919 CT) m. 1872
                              Charles Albert Buck (1848-1914), s/o James Richard and  Sarah Mitton                                .                             Buck. Matilda and Charles were both born in NB and both died in Hartford Ct.                                        
                              They were 1st cousins once removed. I found a census entry for 1880 for an
                              Angel Brown in Hartford saying she was divorced. The birth date and                           
                              location were exact, but still didn’t feel there was enough information to make                                                                                                                                                                                         
                              a positive identification. How many Angel Browns could there have been in 
                              Hartford CT in 1880?

Ann Buck, who married Benjamin Simonton, will take up quite a bit of space so I’ll cut this short and carry on next with the Simontons. Hoping everyone who celebrates Easter had a pleasant and enjoyable day.

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