Abigail Norton Revisited

Abbie’s story, as I knew it to that point, was first published 28 May 2011, and can be reviewed at https://sooze471.wordpress.com/2011/05/  She was the daughter of John and Lina Norton, and had married and divorced Barney LaClair. I found a death record for her that listed her married name as Abbie Eliza Norton Davis, and parents as John and Delina Norton.  Her date of death was 28 May 1901, and “disease causing death” was written as P-    Sephenitis.  I still have not found out what that means.  This record was typewritten, so easy for me to read, although it might have been mis-transcribed when copied from the original Newport VT death records onto the index cards that were sent to the state. 

FamilySearch.org recently released their updated Vermont Vital Records 1760-1954 database, and I went back through looking for previously undiscovered cousins.  Looking for Abbie Norton, I began to find her name attached marriage records of children, with the father named Wilson Davis or Wilson Willington Davis.  I went back to the 1900 census in Newport VT, and found Wilson (occupation farmer) and Abbie Davis.  I probably looked at this record before, but discarded it because the birthdates were 20 years older than the Abbie I was seeking.  But this family had the same children who were getting married 10 to 20 years later, and naming parents as Wilson Davis and Abbie Norton.  When I studied the actual image, I saw that the census taker was mathematically challenged.  Although he recorded Abbie as 41, when he wrote her birth date, he wrote it as October 1838 instead of October 1858, which would have been more accurate.  He made the same error with Wilson, listing his birth year as 1842, instead of the 1862 which would have matched his true birth date.  Once I had the names of the children (Urma, Rufus, Lucias, and Eli) I was able to find other records that linked the family together. 

I still have not been able to find a marriage record for Abigail marrying Wilson Davis.  She married Barney LaClair in 1885, but I don’t know how long the marriage lasted.  The 1900 census records that she and Wilson have been married 21 years, but I suspect that was not true.    

The first child in the census was Urma (?)  V or U (?) Davis born Feb 1883.  When I was looking at one of the other children’s baptism records, I checked the previous page, and found a baptism record for Hermoine Eudora Davis, “born the first day of February Anno Domini eighteen hundred and eighty three of the lawful marriage of Wilson Davis of the township of Brome laborer and Abbie Norton, his wife.”  This record matched Urma in the census.    I have not been able to find any more records in Quebec or Vermont for this daughter.  I do note that she was born before Abbie married Barney LaClair.

The next child in the census was Rufus, born Feb 1889.  His baptism record says he was “born the fourteenth day of February Anno Domini eighteen hundred and ninety of the lawful marriage of Wilson Davis of the township of Brome, laborer and Abbie Norton his wife.”  Rufus married Daisy Unwin in Knowlton, Quebec on 7 July 1921, and that record also named his parents as Wilson Davis and Abbie Norton.  I have no more records for Abbie’s son Rufus.

The next child was Lucias born April 1892.  The baptism record says “This fifteenth day of October Anno Domini eighteen hundred and ninety three, I the undersigned baptized Luke son born the seventh day of April Anno Domini eighteen hundred and ninety two of the lawful marriage of Wilson Davis of the Township of Brome laborer and Abbie Norton his wife.”   Luke married Nina Damon on 11 May 1927, and his marriage record also names his parents as Wilson Davis and Abbie Norton. 

All three children were baptized on 15 October 1893 in Knowlton, Quebec, at the Anglican Church.  Any doubt that I had as to whether this was the right Abbie Norton went away when I turned the page and found three children of her older brother Charles Norton being baptized on the same day.  (Hint:  it pays to check the record before and after the one you are examining.)  All the Davis baptism records said that the parents were witnesses but could not write, but a witness, Frank Belknap Jr also signed with the minister.  Knowlton is about 35 miles northwest of Newport VT.

The last child in the census was Eli, born April 1895.  Although I have not yet found a birth or baptism record for him, his marriage record lists his parents as Wilson and Abigail.  He married Hazel Lafoe on 4 Jun 1914. 

The 1900 census says Abbie had five children, four still living, but I was not able to find a record for a child of hers who died before 1900.   

The next child born was Myrtle Mae Davis.  Her death record lists her date of birth as 23 May 1901, in Newport VT.  Note that Abbie died five days later, on 28 May 1901.  Was her cause of death related to her pregnancy?  Does the P in “P-  Sephenitis”  refer to pregnancy?  Myrtle married Charles Blake in 1919, and had at least one child with him – Jennie born 22 Feb 1921.  Myrtle married again, in 1925, to George Ambrose Allard.  They had seven children.  A son, Ralph Allard, married Louise Tulip, daughter of William Tulip and Bertha Labor (daughter of Louis Labor).  A daughter, Lizzie Allard, married Russell Humphrey, a son of the same Bertha Labor, and her first husband Wayne Humphrey.  I had not made the connection, but my Family Tree Maker software did, so I was able to link where these two families connected, rather than typing in all new information.  (No, I don’t own stock in FTM.)

Wilson remarried, to Mary Satwell, on 29 Aug 1904, in Newport, VT.  There is a record of Wilson crossing the border in 1914.  When Rufus was married in 1921, he also could not write, but signed with an X.  His father also signed the marriage record with an X.  This is the last record I have for Wilson Davis.

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