A daughter for Boston Shew
Boston Shew is The Legal Genealogist‘s fourth great grandfather… and the source of a whole raft of the family’s mysteries.
He was born around 1790 in North Carolina.1 He took out a marriage bond in Wilkes County in October 1816 to marry Elizabeth Brewer;2 later census records support the conclusion he and Elizabeth actually did marry.3
By 1850, Boston had moved his family to Cherokee County, Alabama. There, the census and other evidence lets us put names on the sons who had been so steadily recorded as tick marks in earlier years: Simon, the first-born, born around 1819 in North Carolina;7 Daniel, the second son and my third great grandfather, born around 1826 in North Carolina;8 John, the third and last son by his first wife, born around 1833 in North Carolina and still living at home in 1850.9
Family lore and research have put names on three of the girls: Deborah, born around 1817 in North Carolina, who married Lot Day;10 Mary, born around 1829 in North Carolina, who married Lewis Day;11 and Elvira, born around 1830 in North Carolina and still living at home in 1850.12
And the other two daughters… well, let’s just say that it’s really convenient when a relational database lets you enter offspring as Unknown Daughter 1 and Unknown Daughter 2.
Except that one of those unknowns may have a name now.
There’s a solid candidate for another daughter for Boston Shew: Delilah Sarratt.
Johnathan M. Sarratt was also living in Cherokee County, Alabama, in 1850, age 29, and born in North Carolina. His household had one adult female, shown as Dillila, age 27, born in North Carolina, and five children.13
Four of the five children included in their household in 1850 were boys, and the first three have verrrrrrrry interesting names: Boston, age 8; Simon, age 6; and Daniel, age 2.14
Now of course it could be a coincidence that the oldest boy was named Boston, born to a mother born in North Carolina, when I’m looking for a daughter born in North Carolina to a man named Boston who’d be this little boy’s grandfather. The fact that there’s only one other person named Boston in the entire county in 1850 and only five total in the entire state15 is just a detail.
And it could be coincidence that the other two boys have the same first names as the two oldest sons of that older Boston and who’d be his uncles, and his mother’s brothers, if this theory holds up.
What isn’t going to be coincidence is the DNA link between the descendants of Delilah Sarratt and the descendants of Boston Shew.
Looking just at Ancestry DNA results, there are numerous matches among and between these folks.
My mother’s brother David has 15 matches to descendants of Delilah and Johnathan Sarratt: two descendants of Boston Sarratt; 10 descendants of Simon Sarratt; and three descendants of Daniel Sarratt. The shared matches are that have been identified are generally to other descendants of Boston Shew, either in our line (down from Daniel) or that of one of Daniel’s siblings (Simon and Deborah most commonly).
I’m a generation further away, and I still have nine matches to this cluster, and again the shared matches that have been identified are generally to others who descend from Boston Shew.
So… a missing daughter born in North Carolina to a father named Boston Shew who moved his family to Cherokee County, Alabama before 1850. A woman living in Cherokee County in 1850 who was born in North Carolina and named her first son Boston. DNA matches among and between the descendants of both.
This is only evidence and not yet proof, of course. Some of the shared matches also point to another of our lines as the possible source of at least some of the DNA, and we haven’t verified the online trees of the Sarratt descendants.
But it’s sure giving me a likely candidate to focus on, isn’t it?
And a chance that we might end up changing one Unknown Daughter to … maybe, just maybe … Delilah (Shew) Sarratt.
Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “A likely candidate,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted date).
- See 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule, 26th District, p. 6(A) (stamped), dwelling/family 75, Boston Shew household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M432, roll 3. ↩
- Wilkes County, North Carolina, Marriage Bond, 1816, Boston Shew to Elizabeth Brewer; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh. ↩
- See, e.g., 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., 26th District, p. 6(A) (stamped), dwelling/family 75, Boston and Elizabeth Shew. ↩
- 1820 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, population schedule, p. 494 (stamped), Boston Shew household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M33, roll 83. ↩
- 1830 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, p. 335 (stamped), Boston Shew household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M19, roll 125. ↩
- 1840 U.S. census, Grayson County, Virginia, p. 305 (stamped), Boston “Shoe” household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication M704, roll 555. ↩
- 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., 27th District, p. 136(B) (stamped), dwelling/family 1054, Simon Shew. ↩
- Ibid., dwelling/family 1055, Danl Shew. ↩
- 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., 26th District, p. 6(A) (stamped), dwelling/family 75, John Shew, in the Boston Shew household. Note that there were two sons born by an apparent second wife much later in life. See Judy G. Russell, “An Arkansas mystery,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 18 Mar 2017 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 30 Nov 2019). ↩
- See ibid., p. 6(B), stamped, dwelling/family 75, Lot and Debora C Day household. ↩
- See ibid., p. 25(A), stamped, dwelling/family 335, Lewis and Mary Day household. ↩
- 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., 26th District, p. 6(A) (stamped), dwelling/family 75, Elvira Shew, in the Boston Shew household. ↩
- Ibid., p. 25(A) (stamped), dwelling/family 310, Johnathan and Dillila Surratt household. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- See Ancestry.com index search, 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule. ↩