Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Abijah Hitchings' Cow in 1799 - But which Abijah Hitching was it?


The Salem Gazette, Tuesday, 16 July 1799; Salem, Massachusetts; Volume XIII; Issue 829; page 4

This notice of a lost cow (above) appeared in the Salem newspaper in 1799.  I knew immediately that it was one of my ancestors because of the unusual name of Abijah Hitchings.  But which Abijah?  Can you believe that there are five Abijah Hitchings in my family tree, all living in Salem, Massachusetts between 1753 and 1910?  There may have been more that I don't know about, too! 

The first clue is Salem.  The advertisement is from the Salem newspaper, and it includes the wording "Salem, July 5".  Unfortunately, all my Abijah Hitchings lived in Salem, so that was not very helpful.

Next is the date of 1799.  I used the date to eliminate some of the Abijah's in my tree. 

My 5th great grandfather, Abijah Hitchings, lived between 1753 and 1826 

My 4th great grandfather, Abijah Hitchings, lived between 1775 and 1868

My 3rd great grandfather, Abijah Hitchings, lived between 1809 and 1864

My 2nd great grandfather, Abijah Franklin Hitchings, lived between 1841 and 1910. 

From these dates, I can guess that it was either of the two first Abijah Hitchings who lost the cow, since the rest were not born by 1799.  And my 4th great grandfather, Abijah Hitchings was just 24 years old in 1799, and had been married just three years, with one young child living at home (you guessed it - that child was Abijah Hitchings (1798 - 1803)).  His father, my 5th great grandfather, was 46 years old, married since 1775, with four children by two different wives still living at home.  Either one of these could have owned the lost cow.

I know from The Diary of William Bentley, Volume 2, page 468, that Rev. Bentley visited the elder Abijah Hitchings (my 5th great grandfather) often, and in March 1799 he mentioned the "small house on the Hitchens lot on Beckett Street".  This Abijah was veteran of the Revolutionary War, and a housewright in Salem. 

But, just two doors down (according to the 1810 census) Abijah, Jr. lived with his family.  He was a carpenter and a shipwright, and only married once. His first child was named Abijah Hitchings III, but he died young and they named their seventh child (out of eleven!) Abijah Hitchings in 1809 (my 3rd great grandfather).  Rev. Bentley also visited this family very often, and mentioned the visits in his diaries. When he died in 1868 he was the oldest man in Salem. 

Any guesses on who owned the lost cow?

For the truly curious:

Surname Saturday - My HITCHINGS lineage:    https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/10/surname-saturday-hitchings-of-lynn.html   

A blog post about Rev. Bentley's diary and the Hitchings family in Salem:    https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/09/amanuensis-monday-excepts-from-rev.html  

Click here to read all my blog posts that mention COWS!  LOL!    https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/search/label/cows


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Abijah Hitchings' Cow in 1799 - But which Abijah Hitching was it?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 23, 2024, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2024/04/abijah-hitchings-cow-in-1799-but-which.html: accessed [access date]). 

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