Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gillespie Most Wanted

Here is a list of Gillespie's that seem to have a part in my family story, but so far we can't quite connect the dots. These are people whose parentage cannot currently be established. I list them here from oldest to youngest.

  1. James Gillespie, b. 1772 Ireland, d. unk. This person appears on the 1850 census of Bloomfield along with all our other Michigan pioneers. He is living with an 11-year-old named Margaret. I have not been able to trace either character before or after this moment in time.
  2. Thomas Gillespie, Sr., b. 1777 Ireland, d. 1859 Michigan. He was the second husband of Nancy Gillespie, and quite probably a cousin to her. In 1855, when a petition was brought to have Thomas declared incompetent, it was stated that he had only a niece and nephew alive as heirs. My conjecture has been that would be Isabella and Thomas, Jr., who follow on this list.
  3. Isabella Gillespie, b. 1813 Ireland or NY, d. 1891 unk but buried in Michigan. Isabella was the wife of John Greer, and the mother of 15 children, one of whom was Belle Greer who married James H. Gillespie.
  4. Thomas Gillespie, Jr., b. 1816 NY, d. 1899 Michigan. His death certificate said his father was James Gillespie, possibly the first person in this list?
  5. Mary Ann Gillespie, b. 1816 Ireland or NY, d. unk. This person was the wife of Henry P. Sloat, who had property very close to our Michigan pioneers, and who was to become the guardian of Thomas Gillespie, Sr. when he was declared incompetent.
  6. James Gillespie, b. abt. 1820, d. 1866. This person has a gravestone with the other Michigan pioneers, although I've not been able to account for him in any other documentation. His gravestone has a flag carved into it, which implies he was a soldier (and in fact Franklin Cemetery lists him as a veteran but I haven't yet determined the source of their information). I have tracked down every James Gillespie from Michigan who served in the Civil War, and none seem to be this James Gillespie. So either he served with a different state (I've looked at NY, but had no luck there), or he served in a different war (the Mexican American War?).

All of these family groups seem to have come to Michigan from the Orange County, NY area, although I am trying to keep an open mind about that assumption (some might have come to Michigan directly from Ireland?). My current thinking is that the two older characters (James and Thomas, Sr.) were cousins to my John-Gillespie-First-Marriage-Children, who were Nancy, Thomas, Jane, and Elizabeth. This would mean we are now looking for a brother or brothers of John Gillespie. Could this get any more interesting?

Maybe it's time to look one more time at the Pine Bush Gillespie's (these are Gillespie families who lived in the Orange County, NY area but who seem to have arrived pre-Revolution and thus I have not been able to tie them to our Gillespie's who I believe arrived around 1810). On my website (see link on upper-right of my blog), there is a document in my library called "Early Gillespies" which talks about some of my research into the early NY Gillespie families. I have other notes on the subject so I'll try to compile and summarize that research in another post soon.

In the meantime, maybe I should offer a reward for information leading to the capture of my most wanted. What reward, I wonder, could possibly compare to the satisfaction in finally knowing the true story of those who came before?

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