The week 17 theme for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge was Prosper. My Great Great Grandfather, Hiram Serviss, must have been seeking prosperity and a better life when he left the farmlands of Montgomery County, New York.
Hiram was the son of James and Catherine Serviss. Born in 1837, he was their eldest child. He is found in the censuses with his parents in US census for 1850 and New York State census for 1855. (The 1840 census did not enumerate every name, just heads of households.)
Hiram likely relocated to the Brooklyn/Queens New York about 1858, his death certificate says he was a resident of the city of New York since that time. In 1861, he married Maria Mott in Brooklyn, New York. More about their marriage and family together can be found in the Week 9 post for Maria Mott. In 1864, Hiram A Serviss was drafted to the New York State militia at Jamaica, New York. There has been no further record found of any military service. Although I have not been able to find Hiram in either the 1860 US census or 1865 New York State Census, news accounts of his draft, marriage and city directories all give clues to where he lived in the 1860’s. Hempstead, New York was at that time a part of Queens county and Hiram is found there in the earlier half of the decade, in the later half he is in Brooklyn where he will remain for the rest of his life.
Hiram worked at various occupations. In 1867 he was a brick maker, in 1870 a clerk in a store, then later a lumber dealer, timekeeper and foreman. By the later 1870’s he was working as a conductor. He seems to have remained in that line of business, with occupations such as conductor, driver and motorman.
Hiram’s first wife, Maria died in 1874. He remarried to the widow, Emma (Whitney) Bryant.
She and her young daughter Everlina Bryant joined Hiram and his 5 children in about 1876. With Emma, Hiram fathered 4 more children. The blended family had 10 children in total all born between 1862 and 1887.
While it is certain that Hiram did not enjoy the type of prosperity of a Vanderbilt or a Carnegie, it appears he was reasonably well known and regarded among his peers and neighbors. In the 1903 wedding announcement for his son, Hiram is described as a “well known resident of Greenpoint”.
Hiram was also a Junior Deacon, an appointed officer position, in the Long Island Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. Most of all, it appears that Hiram enjoyed the company of his family.
Hiram died in 1903. He is buried at the Trinity Cemetery in Hewlett. His wife, Emma (d. 1915) is buried beside him.