One of my most elusive ancestors is Almira Parkhurst Fancher – my 4x Great-Grandmother. When I first began researching genealogy, I got information from my elderly Aunt and she had not only dates, but a lineage for Almira, going back several generations. Over the last 20 years, I’ve found very little documentation on Almira and have come to believe very little of that early data I received as fact.
Almira was born 14 February 1808, supposedly in Mexico, Oswego Co, New York – family lore has her the daughter of Col. Jonathan Parkhurst – but I can find no evidence of that – She was married to Caleb Fancher on 25 February 1829 – the Fancher family being well researched and documented, though nothing ever is written of Almira. They had three children: Harriet, Emeline, and Albert Nathan (A.N.) – before Caleb died on 11 July 1838 in Hastings, NY. Widowed at 30 years old, with 3 young children to support, I have no idea how Almira supported herself and her children. In the 1840 & 1850 census, Almira is listed as the head of household, with her children in Mexico, NY (though by 1850 Harriet has married).
In 1852, a
newspaper account has Almira committed to the Lunatic Asylum at Utica, NY – which is
one family story I was able to prove – I do not know why she was committed – or
for how long – I cannot find her in the 1860 census (perhaps she was still the
nut house?)… though by 1870 is out of the asylum and living with her daughter
Harriet Erskine in Pulaski, NY. Family records showed Almira died in
1881, though I have found newspaper mention of her death in 1879, which is also
the year her headstone gives. She is buried in the South Richland Cemetery in
Pulaski, in an Erskine family plot.
Nov 20, 1852
|second part of article|
|South Richland Cemetery- Pulaski, NY|
So other than a few scant facts and a bit of speculation, I have found out very little about Almira… The Parkhurst family has been well researched – though no one knows of Almira – I’ve posted many queries and contacted countless researchers over the years – to no avail. With only 5 granchildren who lived to adulthood, there are few descendants of Caleb & Almira around today. So I find the likely hood of uncovering a treasure trove family archive, unlikely…
I feel like Almira must have had a complicated, difficult life… and I just wish I knew something of it… Hopefully, one day, I will…