Saturday, October 3, 2015

MICHIGAN PIONEERS #3: Mortimer Winsor

WINSOR FAMILY CONNECTIONS:  New York to Michigan @ 1830

3rd GGF Mortimer Winsor (1807-1876) to daughter, Lydia Secord Winsor (1838-1885) to daughter and my great grandmother, Mae Louise Dort (1873-1964)

BACKGROUND: Mortimer Winsor was the great-great-great-great grandson of 1637 English emigrant, JOSHUA WINSOR and 1631 English emigrant (and founder of Providence, Rhode Island) ROGER WILLIAMS
Original Providence RI settlement
In the plat of Providence's original fifty-two home lots we find the immigrant ancestors of three interrelated Michigan pioneer families:  Gregory DEXTER (lot #1), Roger WILLIAMS (#14), and Joshua WINSOR (#35).  Two hundred years and many generations later, descendants of these three founding Rhode Island families would take part in the western migration to Michigan Territory.    

By 1802, Mortimer's family had moved from Rhode Island to Herkimer County in New York state.  
The family connections Winsor/Williams/Dexter are as follows:
  • First generation Americans, Samuel WINSOR (son of Joshua the Immigrant) married Mercy WILLIAMS (daughter of Rev. Roger Williams)
  • Their son JOSHUA WINSOR fathered two sons JOSHUA, JR. (whose mother was Mary Barker) and JOHN (whose mother was Deborah Harding)
  • Our direct Winsor lineage runs through the descendants of Joshua Jr. (1709-1796)
  • Our Winsor/DEXTER lineage runs through the descendants of Reverend John (1723-1808) whose daughter CANDACE married Samuel DEXTER, Sr., 3rd great grandson of immigrant Gregory Dexter.  (Their son Darius married Mehitabel WINSOR, Mortimer's older sister.  Another son, Samuel, Jr. led the "Dexter Colony" from NY to Ionia, Michigan in 1833. And a third son, John, married Sophia WINSOR, a relation I have yet to connect to Mortimer.)
MORTIMER'S STORY:  What little we know about my third great grandfather, Mortimer WINSOR is pieced together from the stories of others.  Mortimer was born in 1807 to Jesse and Mercy (Smith) Winsor after their relocation from Rhode Island to New York.  We know of four siblings, all of whom were born in Rhode Island and much older than Mortimer.  (Smith Winsor b. 1784, Mehitabel b.1787, David b. 1789 and Clark b. 1796)  This age gap would prove important for Mortimer whose mother died when he was only three; his father when he was ten.  So by 1817, Mortimer was an orphan and very likely taken into the family of an older brother or sister.  Married to Col. Darius Dexter, Sr., his sister Mehitabel was a newly-wed at the time of their mother's death and may have raised her little brother.  By the time of her father's death, the Dexter's were now living half-way to Detroit, in Chautauqua, New York.  Following Mehitabel's death in 1829 and his father, Samuel Sr.'s death in 1832, Darius Dexer moved his family west into the Illinois region where he lived out his life.  
Was Mortimer among this pioneer movement?   Undoubtedly.  He was already in Michigan (ahead of Samuel Dexter's founding of Ionia, Michigan in 1833) as evidenced by Mortimer's marriage to [Mary] Abigail Secord in Washtenaw County on 29 May 1830.  (Mary Abigail's family moved to Michigan from New York in 1821.) 
What records show:
  • 1837 Mortimer and Abigail purchased land in Unadilla, Livingston County, Michigan (Abigail's brother Lorenzo Secord was already a landholder there)
  • 1838 daughter Lydia Secord Winsor was born 9 Feb. in Dearborn, Michigan
  • 1841 son Oscar F. Winsor was born 
  • 1844 son Henry Mortimer Winsor was born
  • 1849 son Charles B. Winsor was born 
  • in the years following his wife "Polly's" death abt 1849, Mortimer was found in Dearborn with a stint in Cedar, Calloway, Missouri where he worked as a carpenter before returning to Michigan where he resided in Wayne County before his death on 5 Nov 1876 in Nankin.
  • Although his death information is in the records for Union Chapel Cemetery, Inkster, his gravesite is unknown. 
    Lydia Secord Winsor
    Daughter Lydia and her husband Andrew Jackson Dort are buried there along with a number of the Dort family. 
The name "MORTIMER" is not evident in our Winsor family prior to 3rd great grandfather Mortimer Winsor, but its legacy continued: 
~brother David named a son Mortimer David Winsor 
~brother Clark named a son Henry Mortimer Winsor
~Mortimer named a son Henry Mortimer Winsor (who had a daughter named Minnie born in 1870)
~Mortimer's wife's brother named a son Henry Mortimer Secord (who also had a daughter named Minnie born in 1870!)

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