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. I 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 birdgenealogy.org (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!

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