Amy Johnson Crow suggests “Close to Home” as the theme for week 9 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2015 challenge. Some weeks the themes are a slam-dunk for who I will choose to write about, others, well, not so much. Either way, I’ve found the optional themes helpful for guiding my writing. This week I’ve struggled with who I should highlight- do I choose the recently discovered New England ancestor, who was born closest to where I live now? Or do I choose the one born on Long Island, just like me? Neither of these choices had a wealth of information to share just yet. I decided to go with close to my “home” not close to where I live.
I was born on Long Island, New York. So was my great-great grandmother, Maria Mott. For a time, when I went to Hofstra University, I lived in Hempstead, Maria’s hometown. How I wish I had been interested in researching my ancestry when I was right there!!!
Maria Mott was born about 10 May 1841 in Hempstead, New York. Her parents were likely Caleb and Julia Ann Mott of Hempstead and she had an older brother, Lewis. The first census that Maria is found in is the 1850 Federal Census, where she is enumerated with Caleb, Julia, and Lewis.
It is unclear what happened to the family in the intervening decade. Caleb, Julia and Lewis have not been found in the 1855 or 1860 census. (Lewis has been found in later censuses, Caleb and Julia seem to disappear after the 1850 census.)
In 1855 a 13 year-old Maria Mott, born in Kings county was enumerated as a servant in the household of James Raymond in Manhattan. Maria was a resident of that county for 1 year per the census. Those that are familiar with present day Hempstead know that it resides in Nassau county New York. In 1841, Hempstead was part of Queens county New York. Nassau did not become a county until 1899. The age of Maria matches approximately to the Maria who is the focus of my research. Though Queens is the county that borders Kings, there is still the discrepancy in her place of birth, and it is unclear if this is in fact the same Maria, though it seems plausible.
An eighteen year-old Maria was enumerated with the Akerly family in Hempstead in 1860. Henry Akerly, the head of the family, was a coaster; he made his living from the sea, as did Maria’s father, Caleb. There is no known relation between the Akerly and Mott families.
In 1861, in Brooklyn, Maria Mott married Hiram Service [sic]. The marriage was announced in the Brooklyn Eagle and notes the Reverend Wm A Bartlett married them. Reverend William Alvin Bartlett was pastor of the Elm Place Congregational Church from 1858-1868. [I have not yet examined the church records to find the marriage but intend to attempt that search in the future. Marriage records available at the New York City Municipal Archives begin in 1866 for the borough of Brooklyn.]
Maria and Hiram lived in Brooklyn. There they had at least 5 children, William, Frank, Julia, Remson, and Maggie. The family (without Maggie, who was born about 1871) was enumerated in the 1870 census.
In the late fall and early winter of 1874, Maria was again pregnant. On December 9 she developed peritonitis puerperal – an infection that is often associated with childbirth. The infection further spread and a little over a week later she developed pleurisy. In the evening, on the 21st of December 1874, at her home, a two family house at 82 Spencer Street, Maria died.
Maria was buried in the Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, there is no marker.