Researching Downeast Maine and Maritime Canada Families Together
Ellen A. Crooker was born 20 March 1840 in Maine, the daughter of Isaiah and Mary (Benner) Crooker. Her paternal grandparents were Zacheus and Polly (Merritt) Crooker. Her maternal grandparents were Jacob and Nancy Hoffses (Bowley or Bowles) Benner.
She collected autographs from friends and relatives from the Bath, Maine area in the 1850s. Nested in the autograph book are several pieces of school ephemera and the following newspaper clipping, presumably from a contemporary newspaper at Bath, Maine.
LOCAL TRADITION ROMANTIC BUT IS LACKING IN TRUTH
Genealogy of the Crooker Family in Preparation
By Henry W. Owen, Jr.
Man people in this locality will no doubt be interested to know that a genealogy of the Crooker family is in preparation, which will include the Bath branch represented by the descendants of Isaiah Crooker, who settled in Bath about 1750, founding a family which has played an important part in local history. The gentleman who has undertaken this task is William A. Walter, 35 Livingston Street, Bridgeport, Conn., who is himself a Crooker descendant, though not of Bath's Isaiah.
One important result already of Mr. Walter's research is proof of the error of a local tradition which was romantic indeed, but for many reasons seemed improbable. This old story was to the effect that five Crooker brothers emigrated from Scotland to Cape Cod, whence three of them sailed in company for Maine, but after being shipwrecked on or near Seguin, became separated, Isaiah settling in Bath and the other two elsewhere. An incredible feature of the story was that Isaiah, who had barely if at all attained his majority, arrived with $10,000 in his pocket.
In-so-far as the origin of the Crookers is indicated by evidence, it was Welsh, and not Scotch. Moreover, Isaiah, instead of himself having been an immigrant into New England, belonged to the fourth generation of the family in New England.
The original immigrant was one Francis Crooker, born in Britain about 1622, who settled in Marshfield, Mass. His wife was Mary Gaunt, and of three known sons, one was born about 1654 and named Jonathan.
Jonathan Crooker, the son of Francis, lived his life in Marshfield, where he married Mary Burroughs and they had a family of 10 children of whom the fifth in seniority was named Francis for his grandfather. This second Francis married twice and his second wife was Patience Childs, whom he wed in March, 1723. This family were in Marshfield up to 1750, after which Francis' name disappears from the records. Mr. Walter has not as yet located him elsewhere, but thinks it likely he removed to Maine. The eighth of 11 children of Francis was Isaiah, whose birth Jan. 28, 1729/30, is recorded in Marshfield. This coincides with the age at death of Isaiah Crooker of Bath as recorded on his tombstone in the old cemetery at Witch Spring. The concensus of the best opinion is that it was this son of Francis who came to Bath to make his home.
It seem probable that the romantic wreck at Seguin resulted from a remarkably similar event which befell in the same place some of the Harding family to which Isaiah's second wife belonged.
Mr. Walter has a probably complete list of the children of the sons of Isaiah Crooker of Bath, and of the children of all but one of Isaiah's daughters, also most of the grandchildren (Continued on Page Four.)
LOCAL TRADITION LACKING TRUTH
(Continued from Page One)
and has been able to follow some of the lines down to date. As in the case of most old families, there have been in the course of two centuries intermarriages with many other families, so that there are doubtless today as many if not more descendants of Isaiah Crooker wearing other family names than those to whom the male lines have transmitted the original sur-name. Many of the descendants in the distaff lines, as well as those in the male lines, are well known in local history.
Some of the Bath families into which Crooker daughters or granddaughters have married and now have descendants are to mention a few: Whitmore, Lunt, Webb, McCobb, Babb, Foster, Hodgkins, Scholfield, Sewall, Bosworth, Blaisdell, Jackson. It is an endless task for a genealogist to make contact with representatives of such families now living, many of whom might have records or other data which the genealogist would like to have, to supply the want of adequate public records.
Another difficult is that genealogical data collected by some known previous worker in the field have become lost to view. One such case that Mr. Walter has encountered is that of one Zenas Crooker of Waterville, who is known to have gathered Crooker family data years ago, recent search for which has been entirely fruitless.
No doubt Mr. Walter would welcome communications from any person who have any genealogical date which ought to be Crooker family.
In 1866 at Bowdoin, Maine, Ellen A. Crooker married Hiram C. Cornish, who was born 26 February 1844 at Bowdoin, Maine, the son of Elbridge Gerry Cornish and his wife Abigail B. "Abbie" (Small) Cornish. His paternal grandparents were Cyprian Cornish, born in England, and Catherine (Potter) Cornish. His maternal grandparents were Nathaniel and Hannah (Card) Small.
Ellen and Hiram lived in Bath, Maine, for most of their lives, it appears, though I did find them in Boston in the 1870 Census, about four years after their marriage, where Hiram was working as a cooper. I found at least three children for them:
Below are family trees for Ellen A. Crooker and Hiram C. Cornish.
If you have any corrections, additions or insights regarding any of the information presented here, please leave a comment or contact Todd House directly.