Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another Pomeroy Mystery, by Alethea Connolly

Another Pomeroy Mystery
Sorting Out the Harriets of Syracuse, NY

It all started when a colleague and I, were trying to track down Canadian-born Pomeroys in Onondaga County, with the hope that some might link to our Eltweed ancestry. Particularly confusing was the family of Jeremiah/Daniel/James Pomeroy, who, according to the 1850 census, was born in Canada abt 1818, migrated to central New York, and was then living in Syracuse. He married a Harriet born in New York, but we didn’t know her maiden name. In 1850 they had six children living in their household. They stayed in Syracuse briefly, Jeremiah making a livelihood later as a boat captain in Verona, and in the 1860s as a butcher in Bridgeport.

Their third child, born in June 1850 in Syracuse, was named Harriet. She married John Pomeroy, whose father Lewis, was a native of Canada. Lewis, and his family settled in Oswego. Perhaps Jeremiah and Lewis were brothers, but Harriet by marriage remained a Pomeroy, and the trail got murky. Still finding Harriet might lead me back to clearer ancestral lines.

Enter the third Harriet! While searching through the www.fultonhistory.com newspaper website, I found a Supreme Court summons regarding the will of Dr. Samuel Healy published in the Syracuse Daily Standard in 1855, naming a Harriet S. Pomeroy, as well as John Henry Pomeroy, Ellen Adele Pomeroy, and a Julia Emma Pomeroy, a bunch of Higgins, Smith, Bliss, and Hargan names, as well as three Orphan Asylums in three cities1. What was the connection of all these people? Were they part of the Canadian connection?

Tracking Harriet S. Pomeroy, I came across a notice of appointment of guardianship for her for Harriet B. Cook. A trip to the Onondaga County Surrogate Office resulted in a copy of the guardianship papers dated 1855, indicating that Harriet S. Pomeroy, was “a minor child of Seneca G. Pomeroy late of the town of Genoa in the county of Cayuga. 2” Seneca G. Pomeroy (8003), the son of Reuben Pomeroy and Esther Bradley Pomeroy, is a descendant of the Eltweed line.

This Harriet was 17 when she applied for the appointment of a guardian, thereby protecting her legal rights and any entitlement to estate in the future. The application identified Harriet B. Cook as her guardian.

The 1850 Census for Syracuse, Ward 3, showed a 12 year old Harriet Pomeroy, living with a Harriet B/P Cook, with several seemingly unrelated young women 3. The 1860 census for Syracuse, Ward 6, showed her living with Harriet B. Cook, a family of Fosters, and several women in their twenties 4.

Our database showed that the four children of Seneca G. Pomeroy and Laura Ellis, Harriet (8587), John Henry (8585), Ellen Adele (8586), and Julia Emma (8588) were the Pomeroys listed in the Supreme Court summons.

All we knew of Laura Ellis at the time, was that she was 36 when she died in 1842, had been ill for some time, and was buried in the family burial grounds on Onondaga Hill 5. We did not yet know her parentage, nor did we know who Harriet B. Cook was.

One of Laura’s children, Julia E., was located in the 1850 census, age abt 10 years old in the household of a Mary C. Hargin in Auburn, Cayuga County 6. It is likely that this is Mary Caroline Hargin, who will later appear in this summary. Our own database revealed her son, John Henry Pomeroy (8585) had died, according to an obituary record in November 1865, “at the home of his aunt, H. B. Cook.” 7

This information pointed to the Ellis surname, and an Ancestry.com search revealed a family tree showing the many children of John Ellis (1764-1820) and Submit Olds 8. It showed that a Harriet Byron Ellis, born 1798, and Laura Ellis, born 1807, were sisters, born on Onondaga Hill, and that the Ellis family were among the early settlers of this region. There was a will for Harriet B. Cook at the Onondaga County Surrogate Office, and while there no was mention of a niece, Mrs. Cook identified her brother as James M. Ellis.9

Searching the Ellis connection provided some interesting details. A Syracuse newspaper article on Harriet B. (Ellis) Cook written in 1899, described her as “Syracuse’s First Milliner.” Mrs. Cook, who married Major William A. Cook, operated a millinery establishment on Fayette Street, Syracuse. No wonder there were several young women living, (and working, as seamstresses no doubt) in the household! The article goes on to say her father John Ellis of Onondaga Hill, was a great landowner, and identified a sister, Mrs. Charles Hargen, living in Syracuse, as a member of the Onondaga County chapter, D. A. R 10. An obituary, in the Syracuse Daily Courier, cited her death as November 4, 1875. 11

A third Ellis sister was identified in several articles as Mary Caroline Ellis Hargin. The 1894 Onondaga Standard celebrated her 82nd birthday under the title “She Saw Lafayette.” The article goes on to say, she “was born in 1812, the youngest of nine children of Maj. Gen. John Ellis and his wife Submit Ellis…Gen. Ellis…was born in Pittsfield, Mass, and at the age of 14 ran away from home and served in the continental army…[Mrs Hargin] married Charles B. Hargin in 1832, and with him came to the Burnet farm…Mr Hargin died in 1840. 12

Thirteen years later, when Mrs. Hargin was 97, the Syracuse Post Standard published even more about her pioneer history. Her husband’s death at 29 resulted from pneumonia, after he caught a cold when his store was flooded. It also notes that “the sword used by her father in the Revolutionary War …will some day, she says, become the possession of the Onondaga Historical Association.” 13

While the original task seemed to be finding more about Harriet Pomeroy and the Canadian connection, the direction it took was a profitable diversion. Now we know more about the maternal Ellis line, through Laura Ellis, the mother of four Pomeroy children. Through her sisters Harriet B., and Mary Caroline, we know more about the pioneering Ellis family of Onondaga Hill. And we know some of the reason why these Pomeroy children could not be found in their father’s household in the 1850 or 1860 census records.

Laura Ellis died December 21, 1842. Two months prior, Seneca G. Pomeroy was in some financial distress, and had filed a petition of bankruptcy as an individual, and as one of the firm of Pomeroy & Ellis, and Thorp & Pomeroy 14. He remarried, divorced, and at age 82 applied for his deceased son’s Civil War pension. He died in 1894. There might be more to learn about this man, who seems to have separated from his children. He left no will in Cayuga County where he died.

The death, and subsequent determination of the will, of Dr. Samuel Healy was the cause of the 1855 Onondaga County Supreme Court summons to members of the Pomeroy, Ellis, and Hargen families published on November 26, 1855 in the Syracuse newspaper cited earlier. It appears that Dr. Healy left money to individuals and orphan asylums in four counties, and there was some dispute of claims 15. His relationship to these named individuals becomes clear when we learned that his only child Henry, and wife Mitte Ellis Healey, were buried in the Ellis Family Cemetery, on Onondaga Hill, alongside her parents, General John Ellis and Submit Olds 16.

It is of interest that Harriet S. Pomeroy’s request to the Surrogate Court for legal guardianship, was made on August 14, 1855, after the court had notified parties to make claims upon the estate of her uncle, in late June 17. A lot might be learned from these estate decisions.

And there are still other unanswered questions about Seneca’s daughter, Harriet S. Pomeroy. She married Joshua L. Marsh on October 10, 1860 17. He was an elected official in Chicago, Ill in the 1870s, but her footprints have dimmed, and I’ve lost the trail. Has anyone seen Harriet?

And Jeremiah and Lewis Pomeroy who came to NY from Canada, are they brothers? And are they, and the Harriets of their families, in the Eltweed line, or just those “other Pomeroys”

If you can solve a few corners of the puzzle please let us know.



1 Supreme Court-Onondaga County, summons [contest re: will of Dr. Samuel Healy] Syracuse Daily Standard, November 26, 1855, pg 3. Fultonhistory.com, 0202 pdf

2 Onondaga County, Surrogate Office, Syracuse, NY, Guardianship Appointments, Harriet S. Pomeroy, Book D, p. 10, August 14, 1855.

3 1850 census, Onondaga County, City of Syracuse, Ward 3, Roll:M432_569; page 194A (76)

4 1860 census, Onondaga County, Syracuse, Ward 6, Roll: M653_830; page 936 (p. 80)

5 Mrs. Laura Pomeroy obituary, Onondaga Standard, Onondaga Hill, New York, 28 Dec 1842,

6 1850 census, Cayuga County, Auburn, Ward 3, Roll: M432_482; page 273A

7 Death, John Henry Pomeroy, Syracuse Library, compiler, Obituaries & Biographical Clippings of Residents of Syracuse Onondaga County...from 1860 to 1926 (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse Public Library, 1926)

8 Cook Family Tree (Ellis) http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/940662/person/-1069937113?ssrc=

9 Onondaga County Surrogate Office, Syracuse, NY, Harriet B. Cook, Wills, Book S , page 488-489.

10 The Evening Herald, (Syracuse) January 6, 1899. Onondaga Historical Association. Vertical Surname File folder, Hargin.

11 The Daily Courier (Syracuse), November 6, 1875. Onondaga Historical Association. Vertical Surname File folder, Cook.

12 The Onondaga Standard, June 6, 1894. Onondaga Historical Association. Vertical Surname File folder, Hargin.

13 The Syracuse Post Standard, September 8, 1909. Onondaga Historical Association. Vertical Surname File folder, Hargin. See also The Syracuse Herald, October 8, 1909, “Is Dead At 97 Years”, Onondaga Historical Association. Vertical Surname File folder, Hargin.

14 Onondaga Standard, October 26, 1842. Onondaga Historical Association. Index Card Surname File. Pomeroy, Seneca G

15 Syracuse Daily Journal of May 3, 1854 reported Dr. Healey Death. Fultonhistory.com, 0215 pdf

16 Ellis Family Cemetery, copied by Minnie L. C. Coleman, Daughters of the American Revolution Cemetery Records,” Vol. 21, pg. 56

17 Syracuse Daily Journal, July 9, 1855, pg. 3, fultonhistory.com, 0709 pdf

18 Syracuse Journal, October 12, 1860, p. 3. C. 6; Onondaga Historical Association, POMEROY: Harriet S., card index file