JOHN VARGASON (Vergason, Vergison, Vergson) was born in 1694 or1695, according to his death notice in the Norwich Packet in 1782, which stated his age as 87.
The first mention of him in the Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848 was the birth announcement of his daughter Elizabeth, born to John and his wife Elizabeth, on June 3, 1726. The births of his other children were not recorded here.
Norwich was founded in 1659, when a group of Puritans from Saybrook bought property from the Native Americans. John purchased property here in 1739, buying and selling parcels throughout his lifetime. The Vargason property was northwest of town, in an area that later became known as Bean Hill. (Some stories say it’s named after the popular dish of baked beans.) Bozrah was established from a portion of Norwich in 1786 (after John’s death) and included this area.
There is a street here named after John and his descendants who remained in Bozrah/Norwich. It is a gently winding and hilly street lined with well-kept homes and yards of mature trees and flowering shrubs. The area is similar to home sites later chosen by Ezekiel Vargason in Pennsylvania and by Uriah Vargason in Michigan.
John was baptized as an adult on August 2, 1741, at the First Congregational Church of Norwich, according to its records of 1699-1917. On the same date, his children John, Elizabeth, Thankfull, Anne, Ezekiel, and Elijah were baptized along with him. Daughter Martha was baptized there on December 9, 1744.
The church records do not mention wife Elizabeth. It is likely that she died at some point after the birth of her children, because an entry in the Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848 states that “John Vargeson of Norwich and Hanna Amos of Groton were Joyned to Gether in marriage on ye 27th of December. 1748. by me Isaac Huntington Justice of Peace Entred Decemr 28th 1748.”
John died February 23, 1782, per the Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848. He left a will, naming his wife Hannah, children John, Ezekiel, Elizabeth, Thankfull, Anne, and Martha, and his grandson Elijah. See blog posts of May 22 and 24, 2013, for more detailed information about his will.
Hannah died January 3, 1788, in the area now called Bozrah, according to the Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934 on Ancestry.com.
CHILDREN OF JOHN & ELIZABETH VARGASON:
JOHN, JR. was baptized on August 2, 1741, along with his father and siblings, at the First Congregational Church of Norwich, according to its records of 1699-1917.
On March 24, 1755, he married Ann Ford at the Bozrah Congregational Church. They had two daughters: Hannah was born June 26, 1757, and Elizabeth was born July 4, 1757, according to the Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848. From the same source comes the sad report that Ann died July 16, 1759.
John, Jr. “owned the covenant” at the Bozrah Congregational Church and had his children baptized on August 19, 1759, per the records of this church for 1737-1845. There is a note stating that he “turned Baptist” sometime after this date.
He married Susannah Jones of Norwich, on September 10, 1759. Susannah was the sister of Sarah, who was married to John, Jr.’s brother Ezekiel. (See below.) The Vital Records of Norwich do not list the children born to John and Susannah. However, the 1790 census shows John, Jr. in New London County, Connecticut, with a household of 1 male 16 or over, 1 male under 16, and 4 females. By 1800, his household had diminished to 1 male and 1 female, both over 45.
Susannah died in October 1815. A note in the Bozrah Congregational Church records states that she was “old.” John died March 24, 1823. The church record shows his age as “about” 97.
ELIZABETH was born June 3, 1726, according to the Vital Records of Norwich. She was baptized at the First Congregational Church of Norwich on August 2, 1741, along with her siblings and father, per church records of 1699-1917.
Elizabeth married Daniel Roath on February 13, 1744/45 at the First Congregational Church of Norwich, according to the Vital Records of Norwich. Daniel was a grandson of Robert Roath, a long-time resident of the Norwich area who came from England. From the History of Norwich, Connecticut by Frances Manwaring Caulkins, we learn that Robert Roath married Sarah Saxton in October, 1668. In 1672, they were living in Norwich near the Shetucket Ferry. They had three sons, John, Daniel, and Peter, all of whom became heads of family. From findagrave.com, we learn that Robert’s considerable land holdings were divided among his three sons at the time of his death. Son Daniel married Elizabeth Andrews, and they became the parents of our Daniel.
Although it is believed that Daniel and Elizabeth raised a family, no records after their marriage have been located to date.
THANKFULL was baptized on August 2, 1741, along with her father and siblings, at the First Congregational Church of Norwich, according to its records of 1699-1917.
Benjamin Hendrak (Hendrick/Hendricks) was born to Thankfull on April 19, 1749, per the Vital Records of Norwich. His name is listed as Benjamin Vergesion in some transcriptions of the records.
The Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848 also show that on July 26, 1758, Thankfull married Benjamin Jones. Their children are recorded there as Hannah (born June 20, 1759), Elizabeth (born November 13, 1761), Lydia (born April 17, 1765), Thankful (born August 14, 1767), Mary Ann (born April 18, 1770), and David (born July 18, 1772.)
ANNA (or Anne) was baptized on August 2, 1741, along with her father and siblings, at the First Congregational Church of Norwich, according to its records of 1699-1917. According to her father’s will, Anna was the mother of Elijah Simons/Simmons.
EZEKIEL forms part of the direct lineage of this family. Scroll down to read his story.
ELIJAH is listed as a child of John Vargason in the records of the First Congregational Church of Norwich. He is included among those baptized August 2, 1741. Elijah is not recorded in John’s will, first written in 1777. It is possible that the boy baptized in 1741 was actually John’s grandchild. Or, it is possible that he was John’s child, that he passed away sometime between 1741 and 1777, and that sister Anna honored him by naming her child after him. Since there were other Elijah Vargasons at the time, further research is needed.
MARTHA was baptized at the First Congregational Church of Norwich on December 9, 1744, according to the records of that church. Nothing more is known of her.
THE NEXT GENERATION
EZEKIEL VARGASON (Vergison, Vergeson, Vurgison) was baptized, along with his father and siblings, on August 2, 1741, at the First Congregational Church of Norwich, according to its records of 1699-1917.
He and Sarah Jones, “both of Norwich, were married March 26, 1758,” according to the Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848. From the same source, we are told that Sarah is the daughter of Daniell Jones and Susanna Spisor, both of Norwich, who were married March 24, 1736. Sarah was their first child, born November 1, 1738. Sarah’s siblings were Susanna (born September 4, 1740), Daniel (born June 6, 1743), Amos (born March 9 1745/46), Hannah (born September 22, 1750), John (born August 15, 1752), Jonathan (born September 17, 1754), and Eunice (born November 3, 1757). Their father, Daniel Jones, died June 29, 1762, and their mother, Susannah, died April 14, 1772. Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, 1770-1800, Vol. 1, by Clement Heverly, informs us that the Jones family was of Welsh descent.
Also in 1758, Ezekiel served in the French and Indian War, Third Connecticut Regiment under the command of Colonel & Captain Eleazer Fitch, Fifth Company under the command of Captain Johathan Latimore, Jr. In 1755, the Connecticut General Assembly ordered the mustering of colony men to fight in the war between France and Great Britain in North America. 1758 was the year that turned the tide from French to British victory.
On May 31, 1760, Ezekiel purchased 8 acres, 110 rods of land in New Concord (the area later called Bozrah, northwest of Norwich) from his father. The land, which adjoined his father’s land, was described as follows in the property record: “Beginning at a black oak tree at the North Easterly corner; thence running South five degrees West forty-five rods by Isaac Huntington’s land to a heap of stones; thence running East six degrees South twenty-eight rods to a birch straddle with stones about it; thence running North three degrees East forty-six rods to a birch tree with stones about it; thence North nineteen degrees West seven rods to the first mentioned…bound…” He paid 8 pounds for this land.
Ezekiel and Sarah Vergison had “twelve children, all sons,” per Pioneer and Patriot Families. Ten are listed in the Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848 as having been born in Norwich, New London, Connecticut: Elijah (born April 15, 1760), Daniel (born March 5, 1763), Andrew (born November 24, 1765), Solomon (born July 4, 1768), Ezekiel (born March 6, 1769), Rufus (born July 16, 1771), Jabez (born April 5, 1773), Isaac (born December 16, 1774), David Gilbert (born July 26, 1776), and Amos (born November 9, 1779).
On June 28, 1769, Ezekiel and Sarah sold Norwich property inherited from her father Daniel Jones, receiving 15 shillings. On December 24, 1772, they sold all or most of their New Concord land, now described as 5 acres, 112 rods. They received 7 pounds, 3 shillings. Perhaps they farmed the aging John Vargason’s land after this time.
In 1791, Ezekiel and Sarah and several of their sons and their families moved from Connecticut to Pennsylvania. According to Pioneer and Patriot Families, they “first stopped at Sheshequin, 1791, afterwards removing to Standing Stone.” Standing Stone is located in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, and is named after “a gray sandstone monolith that stands erect on the southeast bank of the North Branch Susquehanna River 6 miles southeast of Towanda, Pennsylvania” per the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Ezekiel’s farm was in the hills above the river.
The family was the first to locate upon and make improvements to the farm, later known as the “Henderson Roof Farm,” because it was owned by Mr. Henderson Roof. After him, Mrs. B. B. Cooley and then Mr. David Rinebold owned the farm, per Vergason Cemetery on the “Henderson Roof Farm,” a paper in the Bradford County Historical Society’s files. Today, the farm is located along Keen Summit Road in Standing Stone.
This strip of land across northern Pennsylvania, in which the farm is located, has a unique and convoluted history that impacted the decisions of this family for at least two generations. In short, King Charles II granted the land to Connecticut in 1662; in 1681, he granted the same land to Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna Company was formed in 1753 to begin settling these lands granted to Connecticut. Pennsylvania also sold the same property under its grant, often to land speculators in Philadelphia as well as to settlers. Controversy to try to sort out the rightful owners continued for years. A court decision at Trenton, December 30, 1782, made the following decision: “We are unanimously of opinion that Connecticut has no right to the lands in controversy,” but other laws recognized claims of Connecticut settlers and then repealed such recognition.
What would motivate Ezekiel to move into such a region? First, the land was good, much better than the rocky New England soil. The Susquehanna Company was making renewed efforts at the time to bring in new settlers, and there were many eager applicants for lands. And, it is likely that purchasers of the Connecticut claims were not well informed of the situation and often not given proper title to the land.
It is assumed, since Ezekiel was a Connecticut resident, that he settled here under Connecticut title. According to the Vergason Cemetery paper at the Bradford County Historical Society, those who held Connecticut title eventually had to either repurchase their property from the Pennsylvania landholder or forfeit their land. It is likely that Ezekiel did not live long enough to straighten out the titles, and this task fell to his son David. (See his story below.)
For detailed information on the Connecticut/Pennsylvania Land Controversies in this area, see Craft, The Reverend David. 1770-1878 History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, originally published 1878 by L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia. Reprint edition published by Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice. Retrieved from www.joycetice.com/craft/landcont.htm 2 Sept. 2012.
Meanwhile, L. H. Everts’ History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, published in 1878 in Pensylvania, confirms that Ezekiel and his sons, Solomon and Rufus, are among 128 taxables in Wysocks in 1796. All 128 taxpayers together had 1,007 improved acres and 13,032 unimproved acres, with a combined value of $35,515.70. Total combined tax due was $179.12 plus 3/4 cent.
The 1800 census for Wysock Township included “Ezekial Vorguson” with a household consisting of 3 males and 1 female aged 16-25, 2 males 26-44, and 1 male and 1 female over the age of 45 (assumed to be Ezekial and Sarah.) Rufus Vorguson’s household included 2 males and 1 female under 10, 1 female 16-25, and 1 male 26-44. Ezekial Vorguson, Jr.’s household consisted of 2 males and 2 females under 10, 1 male 10-15, and 1 male and 1 female 26-44. Solomon Vorguson’s household consisted of 3 females under 10, 1 female 16-25, and 1 male 26-44. Census data is from Tice, Joyce M. Tri-Counties Genealogy and History. 1800 Census, Luzerne County, PA, transcribed by J. Kelsey Jones (Retrieved from www.joycetice.com, 1 Sept. 2012).
Ezekiel does not appear by name in the census records after 1800. However, since no names, other than the head of household, and only numbers of residents by age were listed in those days, he could have been included in the household of son David or son Rufus in 1810 and 1820. According to the Vergason Cemetery paper from the Bradford Historical Society, even after an extensive search, no death date for Ezekiel or Sarah has been found.
We are told, however, in Pioneer and Patriot Families, that “both he and his wife, Andrew and Jabez, died upon the Roof farm and were buried there.” From the Bradford Historical Society’s Vergason Cemetery paper, “From what can be learned today of that farm, there was at one time an old house standing amid a grove of apple trees. The trees are still standing but the house is long since gone, it having been abandoned many years before the memory of those living now. Eventually a pond was made where the old house foundation stood. No one recalls there ever having been any gravestones on this property, nor do the old residents ever recall their folks speaking of any. The only mention of it is from statements that our old historians made. Undoubtedly there were never any sort of monuments to mark the graves of Ezekial Vergason Sr, his wife, Sarah Jones and their two sons Andrew and Jabez.”
CHILDREN OF EZEKIEL & SARAH VARGASON:
ELIJAH stayed in Bozrah, New London, Connecticut. He served in the Revolutionary War, married, and had a family. In the 1800 census, his family consisted of 2 males under 10, 1 male and 1 female 16-25, and 1 male and 1 female 26-44. Family files at the Bradford Historical Society suggest that he was married twice, first to Marjory Mason, aka Molly, and later to Mary Roath. These are sometimes interpreted as the same person. Elijah died April 27, 1821, in Bozrah, New London, Connecticut. Marjory M.M. Vergason applied for a widow’s pension for his military service.
DANIEL served in the Revolutionary War. He married Phebe Beckwith in Bozrah, New London, Connecticut on October 8, 1786. According to Pioneer and Patriot Families, he moved to Pine Creek, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. In the 1840 census, he is shown as a 76-year-old Revolutionary War pensioner who is insane at private charge. He died January 27, 1844, in Lycoming County. According to testimony in the Court of Common Pleas at Williamsport, Lycoming County, dated September 1853, Phebe died March 21, 1846, leaving Eunice Runell as her sole surviving child and heir.
ANDREW moved from Connecticut to Pennsylvania with his parents and several siblings, died young, and, per Pioneer and Patriot Families, is buried on Ezekiel Vargason’s Pennsylvania farm.
SOLOMON is noted in Pioneer and Patriot Families as “the man who never had any teeth.” He was with his father and brothers in Wysocks, Pennsylvania, in 1796 and at the time of the 1800 census, as shown above. In 1808, he moved to Candor, Tioga County, New York, according to Leroy W. Kingman’s Our County and its People: a memorial history of Tioga County, New York, Elmira, N.Y.: W.A. Fergusson, 1897, retrieved from HeritageQuest online. Later, he “removed to Owego where he died,” according to Pioneer and Patriot Families. Owego also is located in Tioga County, New York.
EZEKIEL, JR. married Eunice Beckwith in Bozrah, New London, Connecticut, on September 28, 1784. He moved to Pennsylvania with his father and brothers and is included in the 1800 census for Wysock Township as shown above. He is shown in the 1810 census in Wyalusing, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, (www.joycetice.com) with the following household members: 4 males and 1 female under 10, 2 males 10-15, 1 female 26-44, and 1 male 45 and over. The Bradford County Historical Society’s Vergason Cemetery paper says, “They lived in various places in Asylum Township, Monroe and was last known to be living in Albany Township…” Pioneer and Patriot Families tells us that Ezekiel “settled in Terry township.” The Vargason Family Files at the Bradford County Historical Society lists his death as occuring on April 31, 1821, (Of course, there is no 31st day of April, but we may assume that this is close.) in Terry Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
RUFUS moved from Connecticut to Pennsylvania with his father and brothers. Per Pioneer and Patriot Families, he “married Elsie Shoemaker of Kingston.” Kingston is located in nearby Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. His family is included in the 1800 census for Wysocks Township as shown above. He is included in the list of Wysox Township taxpayers for 1812, and he is listed in the Wysox Township assessment books, located at the Bradford County Historical Society, for the years 1812-1842. In the 1810 census for Wysox Township, his household is shown to include 4 males and 1 female under 10, 2 males age 10 or over but under 16, 1 male age 16 or over but under 26, 1 female age 26 or over but under 45, and 1 male age 45 or over. In the 1820 Wysox Township census, his household is shown to include 3 males and 1 female under 10, 2 males over age 10 and under 16, 1 male and 1 female 16-18, 2 males 16-26, and 1 male over 45. In 1830, his Wysox household included 1 male and 1 female 10-15, 2 males 15-20, 3 males 20-30, and 1 male and 1 female 50-60. In 1840, the Wysox census shows his household including 1 male 20-30, 1 female 60-70, and 1 male 70-80. Census data is from Tice, Joyce M. Tri-Counties Genealogy and History. Tri-Counties Census Transcription. (Retrieved from www.joycetice.com, 2 Sept. 2012). Pioneer and Patriot Families states, “He spent his days at Wysox, where he died at the age of 78 and his wife at 95 years. Their children were: Elijah, William, Benjamin, Joseph, Gilbert, James, Obadiah (died young), Robert, Claracy, and Seth T., the last named, born August 4 1816, living (1912), is the oldest surviving veteran of the Civil war from Bradford county.” The Vargason Family Files at the Bradford County Historical Society list his year of death as 1849.
JABEZ moved from Connecticut to Pennsylvania with his parents and several siblings, died young, and, according to Pioneer and Patriot Families, is buried on Ezekiel Vargason’s Pennsylvania farm.
ISAAC was Polly Vargason’s father and forms part of the direct lineage of this family. Scroll down to read his story.
DAVID GILBERT moved from Connecticut to Pennsylvania with his parents and several siblings. Per the Vergason Cemetery paper by the Bradford County Historical Society, “his marriage to Abigail Bruster (Brewster) on 10 August 1809 in Asylum, was published in a Luzerne County newspaper.” The Vargason Family Files at the Bradford County Historical Society show that Abigail’s parents were James Brewster and Anna Foster, and the 1850 census tells us that she was born in New York.
David is included in the 1812 list of taxpayers of Wysox Township. In the 1820 Wysox Township census, David’s household consisted of 3 males and 3 females under 10, 1 male and 2 females 10-under 16, 1 male 16-18, 1 male 16-26, 1 female 16-26, 1 male and 1 female over 45. The 1830 Wysox Township census lists 1 female 5-10, 1 male and 2 females 10-15, 2 males 15-20, and 1 male and 1 female 40-50. His Wysox household in 1840 consisted of 2 females 15-20, 1 male and 1 female 20-30, 1 female 50-60, and 1 male 60-70. Census data is from Tice, Joyce M. Tri-Counties Genealogy and History. Wysox Township Census Records. (Retrieved from www.joycetice.com 3 Sept. 2012).
We are told in the Vargason Cemetery article from the Bradford County Historical Society that “David Vargeson’s first recorded transaction was in December of 1826 when he purchased land of Amelia E. Dupont under PA title. No township was listed. He did not have this land recorded however, until November of 1842, in Book 21 page 248. David and his wife Abigail also sold property in Standing Stone Township to Joseph H. Ellis in August of 1842, recorded also in November of 1842 in Bk. 21 page 243 and 244. I do know that David lost at sherrif’s sale, 143 acres to Charles Roof in 1840. The deed reads in part…’154 acres and 3 perches intending to convey the so-called David Vargason farm sold at Sheriff’s sale by Guy Tozer, sherrif deed dated Sept. 13, 1837 and also in fulfillment of a contract with Charles Roof dated 28 July 1840.’ This was found in a deed of Amanda Roof et al in Book 328 page 175.”
72-year-old David and 69-year-old Abigail are included in the 1850 federal census for Standing Stone, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. The value of their real estate is $1,000. Living with them are Luther and Lucretia Vargason, possibly a son and daughter-in-law or a son and a daughter. David passed away August 19, 1854, and Abigail died January 21, 1866, at Standing Stone, per the Vargason Family Files at the Bradford County Historical Society.
AMOS moved from Connecticut to Pennsylvania with his parents and brothers. According to the Vergason Cemetery paper by the Bradford County Historical Society, he “married Patty Benjamin and removed to the Lake Country in New York State. The first recorded purchase of PA title for the Vergason family was in August of 1839 when Amos J. Vargeson had land recorded in Wysox Township, purchased of Samuel Meredith’s heirs. It would also appear that Amos had more than one wife.”
THE NEXT GENERATION
ISAAC VARGASON was born to Ezekiel and Sarah Jones Vergison on December 16, 1774, in Norwich, New London, Connecticut, according to the Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848. We know from Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, 1770-1800, Vol. 1, by Clement Heverly that the family moved from Connecticut to Sheshiquin, Pennsylvania, in 1791 and then to Standing Stone, Pennsylvania. Isaac was with them, and we can assume that he was one of the 16-25 year-old males living in his father Ezekiel’s household in 1800.
Isaac married Sarah (Sally) Shores about 1800. Born about 1783, she was the daughter of Samuel and Polly Stephens Shores of Sussex County, New Jersey, according to Pioneers and Patriot Families. Samuel Shores, “served in the Revolutionary War, removed with his family from Sussex county to Wysox (Bradford County, Pennsylvania), 1795. He at first located on the Piollet flats, where he lived two years, then removed to the hills, settling the farm now owned by J. F. Patterson.” From History of Bradford County 1770-1878 by The Reverend Mr. David Craft, retrieved from www.joycetice.com, Shores’ Hill was “covered with white-pine timber, and water-power was abundant. His Connecticut title failing, he bought his land of Dorrance and Shepard.” Again from Pioneer and Patriot Families, “He was a noted hunter and the abundance of game back in the wilderness was the incentive that led him to take up lands on the hills. He erected a log house and moved in with his family, being the first settler in all the Shores Hill region. Then commenced the battle with the wild woods and big game. Panthers, bears and wolves he killed many of, and deer without number. He generally kept his larder supplied with venison by his morning hunts before breakfast. Only a portion of his time was devoted to hunting, for he and his sons cleared nearly the whole of a large farm.” Samuel and Polly had eight children: William, Joshua, Betsy, Sarah, Caleb, Nathaniel, Anthony King, and Polly. Samuel “died on his farm about 1825, aged about 70 years, and his wife, 1835, aged 78 years. Both are buried in Post cemetery.
Isaac was included in the 1812 list of taxpayers for Wysox Township, along with his brothers David and Rufus. Samuel Shores and his sons Caleb, Joshua, Nathaniel, and William are also included, per Joyce M. Tice’s Tri-Counties Genealogy & History. Wysox Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, 1812 Taxpayers. Retrieved from www.joycetice.com 4 Sept. 2012.
In the tax records for Wysox Township, located at the Bradford County Historical Society, Isaac was shown to have 4 acres of improved land, 46 acres of unimproved land, and 1 cow in 1812. In 1813, he had 5 acres of improved land, 46 unimproved, and 1 cow. In 1814, he had 5 acres of improved land, 40 unimproved, and 1 cow. No further land is recorded in his name, but he continued to own 1 cow until 1819, when he had 2. In 1827, for one year only, there were 3 cows. In 1820 and 1829 and after, no property was shown for him. Pioneer and Patriot Families tells us that he lived on Pond Hill.
The Wysox tax records also include a list of children whose parents could not afford schooling. (The Free Schools Act was passed in Pennsylvania in 1834, and, before that time, all education was private.) In 1812, Isaac’s children listed here were Betsey (9), Moses (7), and Polly (5). No children were listed in 1813. In 1814, Moses (9) and Polly (7) were listed. No children were listed in 1814, 1816, or 1817. In 1818, only Polly (9) was listed. In 1819, the list included Polly (11), Hiram (10), and Hannah (8). In 1820, Hiram (11), Hannah (8), and Israel (5). In 1821, Hannah (8), Israel (6), and Daleaus (Delos) (5). In 1822, Hannah (9), Israel (7), and Delaius (Delos) (6). In 1823, Israel (9), Delans (Delos) (7), Harriett (5). None of his children are listed 1824-1827. In 1828, Harriett (9) and Albert (7) are listed. In 1829, Harriett (10), Albert (8), and Darling (5). In 1830, Harriett (11), Albert (9), and Darling (6). In 1831, 1832, and 1833, Nelson is listed as age 8, 9, and 10. (Darling and Nelson are probably the same child.) Pioneer and Patriot Families lists the children of Isaac and Sarah as John, Moses, Hiram, Albert, Israel, Hannah, Harriet, Nelson, and Delos. Note that John is not included in the Wysox lists, and Betsey and Polly are left out of the Pioneer and Patriot Families list, so it is necessary to combine the two lists to find the names of all of the children.
The land controversies between the hard-working people who settled under Connecticut claims versus the wealthy Pennsylvania claim-holding speculators reached the boiling point in the 1830’s, with many land meetings taking place throughout Bradford County. The following words from a meeting held in Columbia Township on June 26, 1835, and quoted in Pioneer and Patriot Families, sums up the grievances of the settlers. “The pioneers of Northern Pennsylvania depended generally upon their own industry and economy to subdue their lands, pay the purchase money and provide for the wants of their families. Thus situated they were in the power of the few professing to own the land. Under these circumstances, what has been the course of conduct pursued by our lordly European and American landholders towards the first Settlers of Northern Pennsylvania? Have they carried out the benevolent intentions of the government of Pennsylvania, parting with their lands at small prices, thereby placing it in the power of the industrious settlers to pay for their land and become freeholders instead of tenants at will? For otherwise, the relentless landholders disregarding the intentions of the legislature, availed themselves of the necessitous condition of the Settlers, they sold them their lands at prices greatly disproportioned to its value; and after 30 years experience (in many cases) of the most untiring industry and rigid economy, the fact is established beyond contradiction, that it is morally impossible for the people to pay for their lands, thereby placing the Settlers of Northern Pennsylvania in the degrading situation of tenants at will to a landed aristocracy, without the least ray of hope or rational expectation of ever becoming freeholders.” It was in the spirit of these times that the land holdings of several of the Vargasons and their neighbors were remanded. In fact, in 1837, 18 people were removed from the tax rolls of Wysox Township, many moving West.
We are told in Pioneer and Patriot Families that Isaac moved to Michigan. No further records in his name have been located to date. However, Isaac may have been the male, aged 50-60, in son John’s home in Napoleon, Jackson County, Michigan, in 1840, even though he would have been 66 years old at the time.
It appears that Sarah either returned to Wysox Township soon after the move to Michigan (This might indicate Isaac’s death before 1840.), or she did not move at all, opting instead to stay in Wysox Township, Pennsylvania, with her son Delos. In the 1840 census, a woman aged 50-60 lived with Delos. In the 1850 census, she was listed by name, Sarah Vergason, 67, and in the 1860 census, she was listed as Sally Vergison 78, living with her unmarried son. She did not appear in the 1870 census, and it may be assumed that she passed away prior to 1870.
CHILDREN OF ISAAC AND SARAH VARGASON:
JOHN was born about 1801 in Pennsylvania, according to various federal census records. In 1821, he was “examined and propounded for communion” in the Presbyterian Church of Wysox, along with future brother-in-law Simon Dolton (Dalton), per Detty, Victor Charles, Pastor. History of the Presbyterian Church of Wysox, Pennsylvania, 1791-1836. Wysox, PA. Published by the author, 1837.
Justice Harry Morgan married John and Elizabeth “Betsey” Dolton (Dalton), also from Wysox Township, on December 26, 1822, per Pioneer and Patriot Families. Betsey was born about 1803, according to later census records, or August 15, 1804, in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, per the Bradford County Historical Society’s Vargason Family Files, to John Dolton and Elizabeth Cooker Dolton. From Pioneer and Patriot Families, “John Dolton came to Wysox with his family in or before 1811, settling on the Little Wysox above the Schultz place, his location being known as ‘Dolton Hollow.’ In the family there were Henry, John Jr., Charles, Simon, Elizabeth, Anna, Harriet, Peggy and Jemima.” Betsey is included in the Wysox Township list of children whose parents could not afford schooling for the years 1812, 1813, and 1816.
John Vargason appears in the 1830 federal census for Wysox Township with a household of 1 female under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male and 1 female 20-30, and 1 male 30-40. In 1830, the children of John and Betsey Vargason were baptised at the new Towanda Presbyterian Church, according to Detty’s History.
The land controversies, no doubt, impacted John and Betsey’s next move. We are told in Pioneer and Patriot Families that the Dolton family moved West in 1835 and that John’s father, Isaac Vargason, moved to Michigan. The 1840 federal census shows John in Napoleon, Jackson County, Michigan, with a household of 1 female under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male and 1 female 10-15, 1 male and 1 female 30-40, and 1 male 50-60. John’s brothers Moses and Hiram, married to Betsey’s sisters Jemima and Harriet were also there.
According to Betsy Vargason’s obituary (Retrieved from http://www.findagrave.com 4 Oct 2013), they lived near Racine, Wisconsin, from about 1842 to 1849.
According to the History of Buchanan County, Iowa: with illustrations and biographical sketches (Retrieved from www.ancestry.com 5 Sept. 2012), “John Vargason and James Bigelow came to the county also that summer (1850), and McClure tried to induce them to settle in Independence, offering to give them any lots they might select, if they would build on them and remain there; but the inducement was not sufficient, and they settled five miles north.” Indeed, the 1850 federal census shows them in District 11, Buchanan, Iowa. In their household, now listed by name, were John 46, Elizabeth 44, Lyman R. 18, Emily V. 16, Sarah E. 12, John M. J. 8, and George B. 4. The 1850 census also reveals that John could not read or write.
The 1856 Iowa State Census (www.ancestry.com) shows the following household members in Washington, Buchanan, Iowa: John 54, Betsey 53, Lyman 24, John 14, George 10, Emily 22, Eveline (Sarah E. above) 19, and Mary M. 4. The 1860 federal census for Washington, Buchanan, Iowa, shows John with real estate valued at $2,400 and personal property of $400. In the household were John 59, Betsey 57, Emily 25, John 19, George 13, Mary 8, and Betsy 5.
The 1870 federal census for Washington, Buchanan, Iowa, confirms that John could neither read nor write. His real property was valued at $2,800 and personal property at $616. In his household were John 69, Betsey 67, George B. 24 (with personal property of $700 and working as a farm laborer), Mary 18, Emily Vaughn (married daughter) 38, William S. Vaughn 2, Evaline Curtiss (married daughter) 36, Ertian A. Curtiss 10, Orman H. Curtiss 5, and Polly Howe (John’s sister) 64. Son John M. 27 and wife Almena 19 lived next door.
The family continued to live in Washington, Buchanan, Iowa, and their household in 1880 consisted of John 79, Betsey 77, Emily (again using the last name Vargason) 46, and grandchild William Vaughn 12. Both John and daughter Emily checked the box “cannot write.” Nearby is widowed daughter Evaline Sarah Curtiss 40, with her son A. Ethan 20 and daughter Orena 15. Also nearby is son Harry Morgan (M. Harry) 57, his wife Maryetta 54, sons H. George 20 and Melvin 15, a servant, and boarder. Son R. Lyman 47 and wife C. Margaret 37 are nearby, too, along with their children: son M. Erwin 17, daughter E. Carrie 14, daughter C. Nettie 11, son R. Elmer 8, daughter Hattie 6, daughter C. Jesse 3, and son D. Archie 10 months. Also nearby is son John 38, his wife Almena 29, and their children: daughter Martha 10, son Freddie 8, daughter Sheilla 6, son D. John 4, and daughter B. Etha 7 months.
Per www.findagrave.com, John’s death occured June 26, 1883, and he is buried at Fontana Cemetery in Hazelton, Buchanan, Iowa. Betsey died January 28, 1892, in Hazelton, Buchanan, Iowa, according to the Vargason Family Files at the Bradford County Historical Society.
BETSEY was born in Pennsylvania about 1803. She was included, as a 9-year-old, in the 1812 Wysox Township list of children whose parents could not afford schooling. No further information has been found about her.
MOSES was born in Pennsylvania about 1805 according to the 1850 and 1860 federal census records and the Wysox Township list of children whose parents could not afford schooling. 1870 and 1880 census records state his date of birth as 1807. The Minnesota Territorial Census conducted September 21, 1857, estimated his year of birth as 1803, and the Minnesota State Census conducted May 1, 1875, estimated 1785, almost certainly not accurate. Moses could not read or write, per the 1860 federal census, and that, no doubt, made recordkeeping difficult.
Pioneer and Patriot Families informs us that Moses married Jemima Dolton (Dalton), younger sister of Betsey Dolton (Dalton), who married his older brother John.
Moses is included in the 1830 federal census for Wysox Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. His household consisted of 1 male and 1 female under 5 and 1 male and 1 female 20-30.
The 1840 census shows that his family had moved to Napoleon, Jackson County, Michigan, along with the families of his brothers John and Hiram, who were married to Jemima’s sisters Betsey and Harriet. Moses’ household consisted of 1 female under 5, 2 females 5-9, 1 male and 1 female 10-14, and 1 male and 1 female 30-39.
Instead of moving to Iowa with older brother John, Moses and Hiram moved their families from Michigan to Wheatland, Kenosha, Wisconsin, where they are found in the 1850 census. Now listed by name, Moses’ household consisted of the following members: Moses 45, ‘Mima 41, Nelson 23, Polley 20, Caroline 18, Sophia 16, Catharine 13, Jenette 6, and Fidelia 3.
Sometime between 1850 and 1854, Moses lived in Waukon, Iowa, according to the History of Mower County, Minnesota: together with sketches of its towns, villages, and townships, educational, civil, military (retrieved from www.ancestry.com.) Then, in 1854, he moved to Mower County, Minnesota. To quote this source, “Vargason was a native of Pennsylvania, coming from Waukon, Iowa, to this place. He pre-empted the west half of the southeast quarter of section 33. He lived there about ten years, then sold out and bought land on section 35…”
Indeed, the Minnesota Territorial Census, conducted on October 5, 1857, shows Moses in Mower County, Minnesota. He was 54 years old. In his household were Jemima 50, Sophia 22, Jenette 13, Phidelia (Fidelia) 10, Adeline 5, (daughter) Caroline Jackson 26, and (son-in-law) James Jackson 28. Next door were son Simon 28, his wife Rosetta 23, and their son Charles, aged 9 months.
At the time of the 1860 census, the family continued to live in Mower County, Minnesota, with the town now listed as LeRoy. Moses owned real estate valued at $1,000 and personal property valued at $250. He reported his age as 55. Along with him, living in the household were ‘Mina 51, Sophia 25, Idelia (Fidelia) 13, and Adeline 8. Simon 35, Rosetta 23, Charles 3, and Ida 1 also lived in LeRoy.
They continued to live in LeRoy, Mower County, Minnesota, at the time of the 1870 census. By now, Moses held real property valued at $1,100 and personal property valued at $1,200. He reported his age as 63. Jemima 62 and Adeline 18 continued to live in the household.
www.findagrave.com provides his date of death as April 28, 1879. This is confirmed by History of Mower County, which states that he died on his property in 1879.
Jemima continued to live in LeRoy, Mower County, Minnesota, at the time of the 1880 census. With her were daughter Adeline 28 and granddaughter Ella Vargason 8. A Minnesota State Census was conducted on June 13, 1885, when 77-year-old Jemima lived with son Simon (63) in Leota, Nobels County, Minnesota. Also in the household were Simon’s wife Rosetta 50, Charles P. 28, Mina C. 17, Stephen R. 15, and Ara 9. The next available census was in 1900, and Jemima was not included in Simon’s household. It may be assumed that she passed away between 1885 and 1900.
POLLY forms part of the direct lineage of this family. See her story, along with that of her husband Horatio Howe, here.
HIRAM was born about 1809 or 1810, according to the Wysox list of children whose parents could not afford schooling and the 1860 and 1880 census records. The 1870 census estimated his birth year as 1811, and the 1850 census estimated it as 1817, almost certainly not correct. Like his brothers John and Moses, he could not read or write, per information provided in the 1850 census.
From Pioneer and Patriot Families, we know that Hiram married Harriet Dolton (Dalton), daughter of John and Elizabeth Cooker Dolton and sister of Elizabeth and Jemima, who married Hiram’s brothers John and Moses Vargason. Harriet appeared on the Wysox Township, Pennsylvania, list of children whose parents could not afford schooling in 1819 (age 5) and 1822 (age 7). From this and the 1860 and 1880 census records, her birth year can be interpreted as 1814. The 1870 census estimated 1813, and the 1850 census 1816. Harriet was baptised in the Old Presbyterian Church of Wysox on April 1, 1832, per Pastor Detty’s History.
In 1840, per the federal census, Hiram and his family lived in Napoleon, Jackson County, Michigan, along with brothers John and Moses and their families. In Hiram’s household that year were 1 male under 5, 1 female 5-9, 1 male and 1 female 20-29, and 1 male 30-39.
When Hiram moved to Wisconsin, it is probable that he (and possibly Moses, as well) settled first in Racine County, because a land sale to Hiram on July 1, 1848, states that he is from Racine. On that date, he purchased 40 acres in Kenosha County, “the North East Quarter of the South East Quarter of Section 6, in Township 1, North of Range Nineteen East, in the District of Lands subject to Sale, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, containing forty acres.”
In the 1850 census, Hiram resided in Wheatland, Kenosha, Wisconsin, as did his brother Moses and his family. Hiram’s household in 1850 consisted of himself (listed as age 33), Harriet 34, Amanda 15, Charles 14, Elizabeth 5, and (mother-in-law) Betsey Dalton 83. Hiram’s real estate was valued at $400.
On June 15, 1854, Hiram, now said to be from Buchanan County, Iowa, purchased 80 acres in that county: “The North West quarter of the South East quarter and the South East quarter of the North West quarter of Section twenty one in Township ninety, North of Range nine West, in the District of Lands subject to sale at Dubuque, Iowa, containing Eighty acres.” Of course, older brother John and his family also lived in this county.
On November 2, 1859, Charles, the 23-year-old son of Hiram and Harriet, died, leaving a young wife (Cordelia Merrill Vargason) and 5-month-old son (Charles H.) At the time of the 1860 census, in Hiram’s household in Superior, Buchanan County, Iowa, were himself (age 50), Harriett 46, daughter-in-law ‘Delia 21, and grandson Charles H., now 11 months old. Hiram had real estate valued at $1,200 and personal property of $375.
Hiram’s descendants remembered, in L. R. Adley’s History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota: its people, industries, and institutions (published in Indianapolis, Ind. B.F. Bowen, 1916), that Hiram owned 120 acres in Buchanan County. Another land sale and purchase may have taken place before the 1870 census, which placed them in Hazelton, Buchanan County, Iowa. Hiram’s real estate had grown to $2,400 and personal property to $735. Continuing in the household were Hiram 59, Harriet 57, Cordelia 30, and Charles H. 11. They held a steady course and lived in the same location at the time of the 1880 census. Hiram was 70, Harriet 66, Cordelia 41, and H. Charles 21.
In the History of Otter Tail County, Hiram was also remembered as an “active anti-slavery advocate.”
Hiram died January 7, 1883, and was buried in the Fontana Cemetery in Hazelton, per www.findagrave.com. Grandson Charles H. became the head of the household, and in the 1885 Iowa census, Harriet continued to live with Cordelia and the young family of Charles H. Harriet died August 23, 1896, and also was buried in the Fontana Cemetery in Hazelton, Buchanan County, Iowa.
HANNAH was listed in the Wysox Township records of children whose parents could not afford schooling. In 1819, 1820, and 1821, she was shown as 8 years old. She was listed as 9 years old in 1822. According to the Vargason Family Files at the Bradford County Historical Society, she married Philip Keyser in Asylum, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, on July 12, 1832. Children born to them were George and Frederick, both of whom probably died young. Mary E. was born September 6, 1833. Edward W. was born December 11, 1835. And, Melvin was born in April 1836. Uncle Delos was sent to get the midwife when Melvin was born.
Hannah died in 1836, presumably as a result of childbirth. Two of her children, Mary and Edward, were adopted by Simeon Decker after Hannah died. The Bradford County Historical Society has never discovered with whom Melvin lived, but it apparently was not his father, who remarried and had another family in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Son Melvin died of Civil War wounds in Washington D.C. on April 21, 1862, and it is said that his father moved back to Bradford County in his old age and applied for a pension on the basis of Melvin’s Civil War record.
ISRAEL was born about 1815 in Pennsylvania. He was included on the list of children whose parents could not afford schooling in Wysox Township for 1820 (age 5), 1821 (age 6), 1822 (age 7), and 1823 (age 9).
According to the Vargason Family Files at the Bradford County Historical Society, he married Ann (Anna, Anne) Hoover, born about 1822-1826 in Pennsylvania. Per the census records, in 1840, his household in Wysox Township consisted of one male and one female 20-30. By 1850, in addition to Israel 36 and Anna 28, the family had grown to include daughters Frances 7 and Emmeline 3. No records have been located between 1850 and 1870. It is possible that more children were born.
We also don’t know exactly when they moved to Iowa, but, by the time of the 1870 census, they lived in Auburn, Fayette County, Iowa, the same township in which Israel’s sister Polly lived with her husband Horatio Howe from 1854 to 1867. Israel 54 and Anne 44 were empty nesters in 1870, working at farming. They held real estate valued at $800 and personal property of $200.
Ann died August 28, 1883, at the age of 63 years, 9 months, and 19 days, per her tombstone in Oak Lawn Cemetery, Fayette County, Iowa, retrieved from the Iowa Gravestone Photo Project at http://iowagravestones.org on Sept. 11, 2012.
Israel was shown as widowed in the 1885 Iowa state census for Auburn, Fayette, Iowa. He was 74 years old, assisting with farming. He lived with Oscar Smith 38, Frances Smith 39 (assumed to be his daughter Frances), and Fredrick Smith 6. No further records have been located.
DELOS was born about 1816, if calculated from the Wysox Township list of children whose parents could not afford schooling. He was listed as Deleus 5 in 1821, Delaius 6 in 1822, and Delans 7 in 1823. His year of birth on census records varies between 1820 and 1824.
He lived his entire life in Wysox Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. He was included in the 1840 census there as a male of 20-30. The other member of his household was a woman of 50-60, revealed in later census records to be his mother, Sarah (Sally). His age was given as 29 in the 1850 census record, and his mother, age 67, was listed as Sarah Vergason. Delos was a farmer with real estate holdings of $500. In the 1860 census, his age was given as 36, and his mother was listed as Sally Vergison 78. Delos held $2000 in real estate and $500 in personal property.
Based on information in the 1860 census, it may be assumed that, between 1860 and 1870, Delos’ mother passed away and he married. In 1860, continuing to live in Wysox Township, he gave his age as 50. Living with him was Jane, age 45. His wealth had grown to $3000 in real estate and $2000 in personal property. In 1880, Delos gave his age as 56. Jane was listed as his wife, age 55.
A descendant of Delos’ sister Hannah, writing on Rootsweb, remembered Delos as the Chief Clerk of Bradford County in the late 1800’s. One might wonder, because Delos could not read or write, per the 1870 and 1880 census records. He consistently listed his occupation as farmer.
No records after 1880 have been located.
HARRIET was listed among the Wysox Township children whose parents could not afford schooling for the years 1823 (age 5), 1828 (9), 1829 (10), and 1830 (11). From this, we may assume that she was born about 1819 in Pennsylvania. Pioneer and Patriot Families includes a record of marriage for Harriet Vargason to Sabins Scrivens on August 27, 1827, in Asylum, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Even with the early marriages of the day, that seems a very young age to be married. Perhaps the transcription into Pioneers and Patriots is faulty, or perhaps there was a second Harriet Vargason in the area. If, indeed, she did marry Mr. Scrivens, it appears that they were about the same age and continued to live in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. The 1850 census for Wilmot, Bradford, Pennsylvania, includes Aaron Scrivens 43, Harriet 39, Benjamin 16, Emily 13, Unis 10, Uriah 7, Celinda 5, and Charles 2.
ALBERT was born in 1821 or ’22 in Pennsylvania. He was listed in the Wysox Township records for children whose parents could not afford schooling for 1828 (7 years old), 1829 (8 years old), and 1830 (9 years old.) At the time of the 1850 census, 28-year-old Albert lived with the Suffacool family in District 11, Buchanan County, Iowa, very near his brother John and family. Albert worked as a laborer.
Various family trees on www.ancestry.com suggest that he was married to Nancy M. King in 1860 or 1861 and had two children, George A. and Susan M.
He enlisted as a private to serve the Union in the Civil War on August 23, 1862, giving his age as 32. He joined Company F, 38th Infantry Regiment of Iowa on November 4, 1862. He transferred Company K, 34th Infantry Regiment of Iowa, on January 1, 1865, and he mustered out as a private on August 15, 1865, at Houston, Texas. He died December 23, 1865, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Fremont Township, Fayette County, Iowa.
NELSON was born about 1824. He was included in the Wysox Township records of children whose parents could not afford schooling under the name of “Darling” for the years 1829 and 1830 (ages 5 and 6.) In 1831, 1832, and 1833, he was listed as Nelson (ages 8, 9, and 11.) It is possible that, being the baby, Nelson was the darling of the family, but Darling also was the name of a prominent family in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
More than one person bearing the name Nelson Vargason with a birth date of about 1824 exists. It has not been possible yet to attribute accurate records to him.
THE NEXT GENERATION
POLLY VARGASON married Horatio Howe. Read their story here.
THE NEXT GENERATION
URIAH HOWE VARGASON, son of Horatio Howe and Polly Vargason, took the name of his mother. Read his story and the story of his siblings here.
THE NEXT GENERATION
RAYMOND GRANGER VARGASON was the youngest son of Uriah Howe Vargason and Eliza Thomas Cook Vargason. A brief story of his life is included in his father’s story, on this page. He is the last of the generations to be discussed on this web site.