Monday, March 23, 2009

Madness Monday

The one that's got me currently pulling my hair out and gnashing my teeth are my great-great-great grandparents, Samuel S. and Mary "Polly" (Conkright) Roberts.

Can't seem to find a lot on either one of them and have never been able to figure out who their parents are or where they actually came from.

Research I have found so far has Samuel S. Roberts being born abt 1790 in either New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Ireland. Boy is that a wide variety of places. I'm tending to lean toward the New York location but have nothing that really supports that notion. I have his death as sometime before 1850 in Athens Co., Ohio, possibly in the town of Carthage. Do not know where he is buried so have not even been able to look for a tombstone. I found him in the 1840 census for Carthage, Athens Co., Ohio, but he does not appear in any subsequent census records so figure that he died before the 1850 census was enumerated.

I have Mary "Polly" Conkright born abt 1794 in either Ireland, New York or New Jersey. Again I'm leaning towards New York, because that's what the census records say. She apparently died in Colorado abt 1880 because she doesn't appear in the 1880 census. I also don't know where she is buried so have not been able to look for her tombstone either.

The one fact that I do know for sure is that Samuel S. Roberts and Mary "Polly" Conkright were married 25 Jun 1820 in Bath Twp., Steuben Co., New York. That's only because I found several newspapers articles regarding their marriage and found their marriage listed in a vital records listing (oddly enough they were listed in the Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636-1850).

Evidently the circumstances behind their marriage was such a novelty that articles about it appeared in the Boston Patriot & Daily Mercantile Advertiser, 19 July 1820; The American Paper, 21 Jul 1820; the Essex Register, 15 July 1820; the Manufacturers and Farmers Journal, Providence and Pawtucket Advertiser; the New Hampshire Sentinel; the New York Gazette and General Advertiser; the Otsego Herald; The Freemans Journal; The National Advocate; and The New York-Columbian.

The story goes: "In Bath, Steuben county, 20th June, Mr. Samuel Roberts to Miss Polly Conkright after a most unceasing, long, tedious, pleasant, interesting courtship of five minutes, - neither of the parties were before acquainted but by accident they met in a store, where the bargain was thus soon concluded."

Have not, however, been able to find a marriage license for them. I did a Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness inquiry of an individual who had a number of Steuben County history books but she was unable to find anything on Samuel or Polly.

So, here I am hitting my head against that proverbial brick wall!


  1. Southwestern NY is a tough area to research for this time period. I found it odd that such a wide spread Newspaper article was not referenced in 10,000 Vital Records of Western New York, as you'd have thought one of the local papers would have had it. There were other Roberts' families living in Bath. Perhaps if you look at them you'll find a clue. Maybe he was listed in a will.

    This is the only listing in my book specifically for Bath.

    #7338. Roberts, Catherine, about 70, relict of Joseph, d 8/12/47 in Bath (2-8/18)= Steuben Farmers Advocate, 18 Aug 1847

  2. Don't hit your head TOO HARD against that brick wall! Great post!