Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Harrison Jewell & his disappearing act....

Harrison Jewell, my 4x Great-Grandfather, is little more than a name on my pedigree.... According to the 1850 census, of Tamworth, Carroll Co, New Hampshire, he was born in approximately 1830, in New Hampshire. He was the son of Anna Jewell, who according to her headstone was the wife of Mark Jewell.

At some point, between 1850 & 1856, Harrison and Anna moved from New Hampshire and settled in Linn County, Iowa.... On March 16, 1856 he was married to Elmira Sanford Sawyer... In October of that year, Anna Jewell died. [Anna's grave is located here-]

According to a biography of Elmira (Sawyer) Jewell, written by her Granddaughter, Harrison and Elmira met when he was a traveling dulcimer instructor. It is certainly a quaint family story, but my research has found that it is unlikely they were unknown to one another-- as in 1850 Robert Mitchell & his children were living with Harrison & Anna Jewell... Robert was the widow of Phebe Sawyer... Elmira's older sister.  Up to this point I have been unable to make any other connection between the Jewell & Mitchell families, but perhaps they were related in their own right?!

On December 10, 1858, Harrison & Elmira had a daughter- Viola Sybil Jewell. By 1860, Elmira & Viola are living with Elmira's parents- James & Elizabeth Sawyer. Family lore says that Harrison had went West for the California gold rush... which doesn't entirely make sense, because gold was discovered in 1848 and the rush pretty much ended by 1855.... This family lore went on to say that when he left, Harrison didn't know Elmira was pregnant with their son Clarence. This is interesting because Clarence was born April 22, 1864... So either Harrison somehow missed the 1860 census and returned later to father Clarence before leaving again, for good... Or, Clarence's Father isn't Harrison at all!?  Sadly, Clarence died as a young man in 1889 and his two sons in infancy-- so there are no descendants of Clarence to have a vested interest in his true paternity.

The New Hampshire Jewell's are a fairly old and well documented family... but I have yet to connect Harrison to any of them... nor can I find any Anna married to a Mark Jewell. There are a number of Jewell's in Tamworth in 1850, but their relationship to Harrison is a mystery. It is also interesting to note that Anna is about 44 years older than Harrison, which leads me to believe that there are probably a number of other Jewell children in the family... Or even that Anna could be the Grandmother of Harrison... I've never actually seen her listed as Mother only that they are in the same household?!  Hmm... Anna, who are you?

And ultimately, what happened in the early 1860's when Harrison ran off to the 'gold rush'.... or just plain ran off, it seems??


  1. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"

  2. What a great name for a genealogy blog!

    Welcome to Geneabloggers!


    1. Thank you! My favorite genealogy book was the inspiration for my name!

  3. I have had people 'disappear' - but I later found two of them...with another woman. One had created a whole new background story for himself and raised a 2nd family after disappearing from his first family.