Breaking Through a Brick Wall

Finding the Family of Libby Sharp

Part 7 – Addendum

When I last left off on the search for the family of Harriet Elizabeth “Libby” Sharp, I had found many sources of indirect evidence to support my hypothesis about Harriet’s parents and siblings. Since I last wrote, I was made aware of some non-indexed records for the state of New York on Family Search. I spent some time digging through the images of wills and probate for Jefferson County in New York and I was lucky enough to have found the probate record of Thomas Gordon – the man I had presumed to be the father of Susan Sharp and the grandfather of Harriet.

The file starts with a document in which Thomas and wife “Silva” [Sylvia King] have paid an amount of $2500 to their son Wilbur C Gordon in exchange for his agreement to care for them until the end of their days. The document is dated 8 April 1859. It would appear that Wilbur took over the property and cared for his parents until their deaths. Wilbur was also listed as petitioner for the estate of Thomas after his death in 1870 because no will was made. The petition was filed 23 Feb 1872 and states that Thomas died 5 March 1870. Sylvia was already deceased.

The petition also lists the remaining family members who have interest in the estate. The list includes Wilbur and the names and residences of all of the children of Thomas and Sylvia Gordon. Listed are the following:

Wilbur C. Gordon of Wilna, NY

Emily A. Peck of Champion, NY

Mary E. Donnelly of Syracuse, NY

Harriet E. Sharp of Easton, Ionia, MI [not our Harriet but her aunt who was married to George Sharp, a brother to Henry Sharp]

John M Gordon of Tower Hill, IA

Daniel Gordon whose “residence is unknown and cannot upon diligent inquiry be ascertained”

Also listed are: Martha J. Brown of Philadelphia, NY; Lydia A. Rawson of Blissful, MI; and Elizabeth Sharp of Saranac, MI – “children of Susan Sharp a deceased daughter of said intestate all of full age except said Elizabeth Sharp”

Names of all the children of Thomas and Sylvia Gordon from the probate file in Jefferson Co, NY

I could not have asked for a more perfect document to tie this family together! The hypothesis I had was correct and it is so wonderful to see these relationships in writing.

The only child of Susan who is missing is the youngest daughter, Susan, who disappears after the 1865 New York State Census. It would appear most likely that she died sometime between 1865 and 1872 when the petition was filed.

This makes the solid link from Harriet Elizabeth to her mother Susan Gordon Sharp and to her grandparents Thomas and Sylvia King Gordon. I can now be confident that I can add 2 more generations to my husband’s tree on that branch.

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