Friday, November 8, 2013

Ochmig Bird's Uncle John Oliver

I did a fair amount of hunting on the topic of Ochmig Bird (mentioned in a previous post here) while recently at FHL in SLC. I might be closer to determining how John Oliver, who died in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in 1869 and who is possibly my relation, could be Ochmig's uncle. Here is an update of my findings.

First, I was able to locate the deed in Luzerne, PA where Christian Oehmig Bird and his wife Ann sold the land that had been acquired for him in trust by Abram Bird. It noted that Christian O. Bird was of Wayne, Allen, Indiana. It seems obvious now, but it took me awhile to realize that Christian Oehmig Bird is our Ochmig Bird! Ochmig Bird married Ann Suttenfield in Ft. Wayne on 9 Oct. 1838. They sold their Luzerne county land to Henry Oakley on 7 Aug 1855. If there was any lingering doubt that this Ochmig Bird was named for Christian G. Ochmig of Kingston, I think that doubt has evaporated. But the question does still remain how Christian Ochmig was associated with the Bird family, a topic still worth investigating because for the Bird family to name a son for Mr. Ochmig means their connection must have been a close one.

So who was Abram Bird, the person who put the Luzerne County land into trust for Ochmig?  According to the Michael Shoemaker book (pgs. 723-724; thanks to fellow researcher K. for finding this reference), Abram was the son of John and Rebecca Bird, and his siblings were James, Thomas, Derrick (Richard), Sarah [Harding], John, Margaret [Swetland], Elizabeth [Shafer], Mary [Van Camp], Jane [Philips], and Rebecca [Goodale]. 

Two key things could be learned from the deed where Abram purchased the property he put into trust for Ochmig Bird.  One was the date of the deed:  29 Apr 1830. The other was that C. Oehmig Bird, the person the trust was for, was noted as being of Eceter.

So what Bird families were living in the area at that time? When looking at the 1820 census of Luzerne county, there were two Bird names of interest, both brothers of Abram:
  • Thomas Bird of Exeter; he had two males under 10 in his household.  He was married to Polly Hill in 1811 and he died 7 Jul 1828.
  • Richard Bird of Kingston; he had one male under 10 in his household. He was married to Elizabeth Space (we're not sure when), and he died 22 Aug 1831.
Ochmig seems most likely to be a son of Thomas Bird because: a) the land trust acquired for him by his uncle, Abram Bird, was acquired shortly after the death of Thomas and before the death of Richard, and b) Thomas Bird lived in Exeter, which is the town where John Oliver and wife Miranda Hutchins also lived. 

But how could John Oliver be the uncle of Ochmig?  I have been concentrating on the OLIVER side of this picture, guessing that maybe John Oliver had an older sister we didn't know about. That theory, however, was going to be very difficult to prove given the dates of the deeds found in New Jersey which listed names of the Oliver children who were heirs to the estate of Ernest Mann. But what if Ochmig's familial connection was to John Oliver's wife, Miranda HUTCHINS?

Here let me paraphrase what the Michael Shoemaker book has to say about Polly Hill, the wife of Thomas Bird, who I propose was Ochmig's father:  Polly was the daughter of Gamaliel (1770-1796) and Christanti Hill (1769-1810). The second husband of Christanti Hill was Henry Hutchins of Kingston township. [again my thanks to researcher K for pointing out this reference]

So hmmmm. If Henry Hutchins was the father of Miranda, wife of John Oliver, then Miranda Hutchins would be a half-sister of Polly Hill, who married Thomas Bird. In this case, assuming Ochmig Bird was the son of Thomas Bird and Polly Hill, Ochmig's maternal uncle and aunt would be John Oliver and Miranda Hutchins! We still have to find any kind of documentation to prove this theory, but at least this theory provides a framework that *might* actually be possible!

After all this, I should also add that my previous guess that Ochmig and James Bird, both of whom ended up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, were brothers has changed. If they were brothers, both orphaned when Thomas Bird died in 1828, wouldn't their uncle Abram have bought a land trust for them both? The fact that Abram set up a land trust for only Ochmig, suggests to me Ochmig and James were not brothers. Instead, James was probably a son of Richard Bird, and Ochmig and James were cousins. This agrees with data presented at (a great site, by the way).

And finally, the obit of John Oliver in 1869 also mentioned the name of William Lytle as being a close relation. The only Lytle (also spelling of Little) I could find in Luzerne deeds hailed from Hanover and Dennison townships. But again I must credit fellow researcher K for observing that Ochmig Bird died in his residence at 146 W. Berry in Ft. Wayne, the same residence as William Lytle!

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have comments and/or information that supports or refutes any of the suggested claims in this post!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

John Mann of Milford, MI - A Junior Jumble

I am researching John Mann of Milford, Oakland, MI believing that he could be connected to my Mann family tree. All the Michigan research done so far for my family accounts for the Mann's who migrated from New Jersey, but we did not fully realize how close those New Jersey residents were to Pennsylvania (just across the Delaware River), and that indeed some of our Mann family had moved across the river, specifically to Luzerne County. They lived there during the years of the early 1800s, and then, I believe, also followed the trek to Michigan.

There is more to be told in this story, if I can prove it to be so, but in the course of my research to determine if my theory is right or not, I hit a snag. The only reference to John Mann that I can find is in an Oakland County history book, which says he settled on section 5 in Milford and he was the father of Sarah O. Mann Honeywell. All other documentation I have found - which is to say deeds - refers to John Mann Jr. - lots and lots of reference to John Mann Jr., enough to confuse me to no end.  So this post presents my analysis and theory about the preponderance of John Mann Jr.'s in Oakland County from 1830-1860.

1.  Starting with the land patent in 1835, I think that John Mann Jr., of Washtenaw County, MI who acquired the patent in Milford twp. was the son of John Mann and Agnes of Luzerne, PA (see [B] in age chart below).  I am guessing that he came out to Michigan before everybody else to scope it out and he acquired the land in Milford at that point.  I am thinking he was born some time before Sarah Oliver Mann, which is probably 1795-1805. We don't know who his spouse was. Why he was listed as being from Washtenaw County is a subject I am still considering. He might have come with other Mann relations we don't know about or he might have stayed there temporarily because Washtenaw was a center of German culture in Michigan at that time. Research is ongoing on this point.

2.  As for the two other land patents acquired in 1837 by a John Mann Jr., I'm thinking they were made by John Mann, son of Earnest Mann and Catherine Cruts, 1814-1885. These people are ALL my New Jersey relations. See the following patents, all granted in Oakland County, Michigan:

Anna Mann 14 Aug 1837 5-N 11-E 32
Earnest Mann 10 Aug 1837 5-N 11-E 34
Earnest Mann 14 Aug 1837 4-N 11-E 4
John Mann 14 Aug 1837 5-N 11-E 32
John Mann 2 Nov 1837 5-N 11-E 29
Rebecca Mann 18 Aug 1837 4-N 11-E 3
George Mann 12 Aug 1837 5-N 10-E 19

All the patents listed here were made by siblings, children of EM and CC, all acquired within the same timeframe, all state they are "of Macomb County, MI" which is where their parents settled, and all patents were located near one another in the Oxford/Addison area of Oakland County.

The next question is WHY was the 1837 John Mann referred to as Junior since the NJ family did not have a John Sr.?? One possible explanation is that the NJ Mann family traveled out together with John Mann from PA (b. 1790s, see [B] in age chart below), and since he was the elder of their group, they had to differentiate. Certainly the Jr. designation did not always indicate father-son relationship at that time, only that there were both an elder and a younger person of the same name in the area at the same time.

3.  I maintain there was also a third John Mann Jr. involved in this story, born about 1819 in PA (see [C] in age chart below), but he would not yet have been old enough to be acquiring land patents in 1835 or 1837.

So now let me put aside the #2 John Mann Jr. associated with Oxford/Addison (he was not from PA, but NJ), and present a simple layout of the Pennsylvania John Mann's involved. It must be noted that this familial association is only a supposition at this point as we have no documentation that states the parents of [B] and [C] below.  With that said, their family tree MIGHT look like this:

[A] John Mann b 1775 + #1 Agnes + #2 Mary
[B] John Mann Jr b 1790 + ???
[C] John Mann Jr b 1820 + Adeline

Here are the ages of each John Mann starting with first patent in 1835:

1835 1840 1850 1860
[A] 60 65 75 85
[B] 45 50 60 70
[C] 15 20 30 40

So let's see how all this works out:


  • 1840 census of Milford fits for [B] (50-59) and [C] (20-29) - where was [A]? I think he did not migrate until later with his daughter Sarah's family.  The Honeywell family were still in Dallas, Luzerne, PA in 1840.
  • 1840 deed from [C] to David S. Mann - where was David before this - maybe he moved from PA later?


  • 1850 census of Milford fits for [A] (79), living near daughter Sarah's family
  • 1850 census of Highland fits for [C] (31)
  • 1850-51 deeds from [C] selling Milford properties
  • Have not yet been able to locate [B] in this census!


  • 1860 census of Milford fits for [B] (70), again near Sarah's family
  • 1860 census of Osceola, Livingston, MI fits for [C] (40)

Possible Scenarios:

1.  [A] died in PA and did not migrate to MI, in which case the Oakland Co. County History book is mistaken about Sarah Oliver Mann Honeywell's father - instead the reference would have to be to Sarah's brother.

OR  [A] did migrate to MI but probably after 1840. His daughter Sarah does not appear in Milford until 1850. [A] probably died in MI sometime after 1850.

2.  [B] is the guy who acquired the land patent in Milford 1835. He appears there in 1840 and 1860 - not sure where he was in 1850. We really don't know anything of him or his family (if he had one, but I am assuming that [C] was son of [B] because of deeds naming [C] and wife Adeline in the Milford area in 1850s). Also there could be some confusion between [A] and [B] in 1850 and 1860 census because the ages are off somewhat. This John Jr. deserves much more investigation.

3.  [C] appears throughout, and according to another family tree, he died in 1863, but so far no documentation of that.

Please contact me if you have feedback about this analysis, and especially if you have any documentation that might support or refute these ideas in any way!