And here's another glaring fact to remember: several of the southern-most towns of Ulster were annexed to Orange in 1798. This included the town of Pine Bush, which today literally sits on the Orange side of the county line. And just up the road on the other side of the county line is Walkill, which I had thought was in Orange, but no it's in Ulster, and in fact Walkill is part of a town (what I call a township) called Shawangunk (pronounced sho-gum). All of these places were THE residential heart of what I have called "The Pine Bush Gillespie's" whose family elders were Samuel Gillespie and Esther Rainey, purportedly from County Armagh, and to whom we so far have not been able to connect.
The point here is that records pertaining to Gillespie's might have been recorded in and subsequently stored in Ulster County, even though certain family members may have later moved to Orange County, which might have been exactly what happened just before the family migration to Michigan. So I have decided to look more carefully at Gillespie's who were in Ulster County. As a heads-up, I am especially interested in a James Gillespie family who lived in Rochester, Ulster, NY (not to be confused with the bigger city of Rochester, NY) from 1810-1830. This James Gillespie was also probably the one in Hurley in 1800, just outside of Kingston, which is another clue for us. I have no documentation yet beyond census data, but I feel a little excited about the possibilities of a connection to this family. Here's why:
- From the looks of this James Gillespie's family makeup from 1810-1830, this family *might* have had a male who would qualify as our Thomas Gillespie Jr., the one in our family who later married Ellen McClung in MI and whose daughter Sarah married William McKinney; Thomas Jr. was also the one whose death certificate says his father's name was James Gillespie. There were also females in the household of James Gillespie from Rochester who were of the age to be Isabella and/or Mary Ann Gillespie, characters in our story who we have so far been unable to place.
- Another family in the exact area at that time was SLOAT. There was a Sarah Gillespie married to a Cornelius Sloat in New Hurley (Walkill area) and their daughter Elizabeth was christened at the church in Rochester, Ulster, NY. Suffice it to say, this is the area where Henry P. Sloat was born in 1816, his parents being James Sloat and Phebe Upright and his grandparents being Cornelius Sloat (different person from previously mentioned) and Elliner McKinney. Henry P. would later marry Mary Ann Gillespie and become the guardian of Thomas Gillespie Sr. when he was declared incompetent shortly before his death.
- Alexander Gillespie: Clinton, Dutchess, NY. This guy has showed up in my research previously. He was in the same area and church records as James and Jane Greer in Pleasant Valley, NY. I believe he moved to NYC from Dutchess in the late 1820s.
- Mary Gillespie: Goshen, Orange, NY. She was the widow of James Gillespie who died 1817. To my knowing, their children included a daughter named Eliza (possibly Isabelle's full name), but no son Thomas.
- John D. Gillespie: Marbletown, Ulster, NY. This person is of additional interest because he appears to have had a wife named Sarah Smith. However, he was still living in Marbletown in 1840, after our Gillespie's migrated to Michigan, and the young male in his household still appears to be there.
- James Gillespie: Rochester, Ulster, NY. If our Thomas' father was named James, then this would seem the most likely possibility for the home of our young Thomas Gillespie.
We'll see what more research uncovers. The story of our Gillespie's in New York is still a very tangled web, but the trick is to keep looking for connections. One of these days, I feel confident we'll see the whole picture, or at least more of it. I think the story we learn about is going to be a good one.