Today I am going to analyze the Marden family correspondence found in the Annis Genealogy published in 1909. I don’t want to assume all the data is factual just because it comes from within the family. It is an important step in understanding what I know and what I still need to verify.
The first correspondence is actually a dialog recorded by the author, Dr. John Currier, dated “Nov. 1-4[sic]”, 1881” with Mr. & Mrs. R. H. Marden of Bristol., VT who were visiting with him.
As with any published materials, I always have to keep in mind that errors can creep into the work, no matter how careful a person is. At a minimum, errors can occur at the time of the original note taking, when creating a manuscript from the notes, and when type-setting the manuscript for publication.
My research shows “R.H. Marden” is Riley Hull Marden (1832 VT to 1900 MN), son of Joseph Annis Marden (1811 NH to 1901 WI). Joseph is the 2nd son of Edward Jr. (c1785 NH to c1870s? NH/VT or MN).
Riley is the grandson of Edward Jr. which should make his information reliable. But should I assume that without question? Did Riley actually have an opportunity to know his grandfather and all his aunts & uncles personally?
- I found Joseph in Albany VT as a head of household in 1830 where his father is also found as a head of household.
- Joseph remained in Vermont until sometime before the 1860 Census where I found him in Willow Creek, Wisconsin.
- Edward appears to have been in Albany VT from 1830 until just before his death sometime in the 1870s.
- Riley was born in Albany VT in 1832 where his grandfather was a resident about 47 years of age. Riley apparently did not go to Wisconsin with his father, for I find him in Brookfield, VT in the 1860 Census and he enlisted in the army from Brookfield in August of 1861. In the 1870 Census Riley is in Bradford, VT and at Bristol, VT in the 1880 Census.
- Riley moved from Vermont to Minnesota about 1882
It is clear Riley had ample opportunity to know his grandfather. He was an officer in the Army and later became a lawyer, so I have good reason to believe Riley was literate. I expect Riley has reliable knowledge of events that took place in his life time and of aunts and uncles that lived near to him during his lifetime. However, anything else he speaks of must be 2nd hand information passed along to him by others and requires validation before I rely on it as fact.
Riley tells me
- “Edward Mardin was born in Lyman, N.H. in 1779, died in Loyd, Wis., in about 1874.”
- Edward was a basket maker
- Edward m. Elizabeth Annis, eldest daughter of David Annis
- Edward & Elizabeth had 3 sons and 3 daughters
I have already discussed the evidence showing Edward Jr. was born c1785 most likely in Haverhill or Concord (Lisbon). Since Riley was not present at his grandfather’s birth, his information is second hand at best.
Sylvia Fitts in her Marden Genealogy did not believe the death information, but I believe it is very likely Edward spent his last year or two with his son in Wisconsin. Riley would likely know when and where his grandfather died since he was alive at the time of the event while Ms Fitts was not.
Riley lived near to his grandfather for most of his life so I believe he had solid first hand knowledge of his grandfather’s occupation.
In specifying the number of children Edward had, Riley is off by one. There were 4 sons, but one died in infancy. So here I see Riley is basing his information on his own knowledge of his aunts & uncles.
The second item of interest in the appendix of the Annis Genealogy is a letter dated 5-Mar-1884 from Joseph Annis Marden (age about 73) of Lloyd, Richland Co., Wis.
Joseph’s knowledge of his parents and siblings should be valid first hand knowledge, with a few exceptions. Obviously he was not present at the birth of his older brother and will not have clear memory of events that happened before the age of 5 or 6. On the other hand, he should know the names and the birthdays of his siblings as well as their ages.
Joseph provides the names, dates of birth, and birth location for all of his siblings including the child that died as an infant. This information should be valid, but we still have to verify it since this is not an original historical document. We always have to remember those pesky errors that can be introduced during the publishing process.
A few weeks later, Joseph writes again and states that his mother (Elizabeth Annis Marden) died in Albany, VT, but provides no year for the event. Joseph should know where his own mother died, but why he made no mention of the year is curious.
The final items found in the Annis Genealogy appendix are correspondence from a Charles S. Marden of Barnesville, MN dated in March of 1909. Charles S. Marden (1864 VT to 1920+ MN) was the son of Riley Hull Marden.
Charles is interested in joining the Sons of the American Revolution and is researching Edward Marden Sr., his great great grandfather. He mentions examining records at the State Historical Society and quotes information from the pension file of Edward Sr.. Charles does not provide any information that he would know first hand.
What I found most striking about the Annis Genealogy is the complete lack of information about prior or later wives for Junior or any half brothers. In his defense, this was an “Annis” family history. It is always possible descendants provided additional information the author of the genealogy choose not to publish.