Amanzel Deforest Whitford (1846-1921)
"A people without knowledge of their history is like a tree without roots."
Marcus Garvey


Amanzel Deforest WHITFORD was the third of eleven children born to Nathaniel WHITFORD and Rebecca BROWN. Amanzel was born 23 October 1846 at Warren County, Pennsylvania. Shortly after his birth, however, the family relocated to Chautauqua County,
New York. They were enumerated here in the town of Harmony in the 1850 federal census.
By 1854, the WHITFORDs had moved yet again - this time to Waverly, Van Buren County, Michigan.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Amanzel enlisted in the 13th Michigan Volunteer Infantry. He served as a private in Company "A."

Following Nathaniel WHITFORD's death (1864), Rebecca moved her brood briefly to Kansas, but settled eventually in Dixon County, Nebraska. Some sources suggest that the WHITFORDs were associated here with a church or now-extinct community called Springbank or Summerhill, near the town of Allen. There is a cemetery there today by that name.

On 11 October 1880, Amanzel D. WHITFORD wed Mary Emily ALLEN, the daughter of Matthew ALLEN and Sarah POLLOCK. Their marriage was solemnized in Dixon County, Nebraska. To this couple were born twelve children, as follows:
    • Mathew WHITFORD
      18 September 1881 - bef 1975
      A farmer, Mathew married Ruth Adalaide HILLER, daughter of
      Charles E. CHAFFEE and Janette ORUNDEL, on 27 April 1921 .
      [Source: Washburn County Marriage Records, Vol. 6, #181].
      Ruth was previously married to Roy HILLER on 09 April 1913. She and Roy divorced on 05 April 1915. Ruth was born 1893/1894 at Riceville, Iowa (on the Howard/Mitchell county line). They had the following children:
      Charles Deforest WHITFORD and Morris WHITFORD.
    • Ruth WHITFORD
      29 July 1883 - 1957
      Ruth married Archie WARD. They had two sons:
      Frederick "Freddie" WARD, who died in 1907, and Gerald Allen WARD.
    • Mary WHITFORD
      16 May 1885 - May 1977
      Mary's husband was Andy COLBETH.
      The family resided at Arlington, Sibley County, Minnesota.
    • Sarah WHITFORD
      04 August 1886 - 06 September 1886
    • Eva WHITFORD
      15 January 1888 - bef 1975
      Eva wed Maclane FENTON, nicknamed "Mac". They had the following children: Kenneth (born 18 October 1902; died April 1954, wife's name Winnie.
      Birth and death dates obtained from U.S. Social Security Administration
      Death File Index Social Security #398-03-8200);
      Iris, Morris, Virginia, Howard, Hugh, Willard (died of a malignant leg tumor), Bernhard, Blanche.
    • Alma WHITFORD
      28 December 1889 - 20 March 1890
    • Arthur D. WHITFORD
      12 February 1891 - 30 December 1975
      Arthur married Nettie Ethel BLOOD, the daughter of Nathan Sherman BLOOD and Ida May TOLL, on 30 June 1915 in Shell Lake, Washburn County, Wisconsin. In 1919, their family of four moved to Colorado, eventually settling in Fort Collins. Arthur was employed here for many years by the City Parks Service. He was buried at Grandview Cemetery, Ft. Collins, on 02 January 1976. Arthur and Nettie's children are discussed elsewhere in this web site.
    • Faye WHITFORD
      25 September 1892 - bef 1975
      Faye's husband was Joe DIETRICH.
    • John WHITFORD
      03 November 1894 - 16 March 1895
    • William McKinley WHITFORD
      18 October 1896 - 19 March 1898
    • Ruby WHITFORD
      18 February 1898 - June 1985
      Ruby married Harry WISNER, who died a few months after the birth of their youngest child. They had the following children: Irene, Rolland (born 12 October 1923, died January 1985 in Spooner, Wisconsin. Birth and death dates obtained from U.S. Social Security Administration Death File Index Social Security #396-14-0932; filed under "Roland WISNER"); Arthur, Gene, Mary Emily (nicknamed Dolly), Nina, Bob, Sylvia. Ruby died June 1985 in Spooner, Wisconsin. Birth and death dates confirmed from U.S. Social Security Administration
      Death File Index Social Security #398-52-2888.
    • Alice WHITFORD
      14 June 1900 - bef 1975
      Alice married George LIVINGSTON. They had the following children:
      Gilbert, Stella, Valerie, Shirley and Dudley.

According to the Nebraska Blue Book, A.D. Whitford served in the Nebraska House of Representatives from 1889 to 1891. The record shows his place of residence as Wakefield, Nebraska (on Allen County's southern line).

Sometime after 1900, Amanzel relocated his family to Washburn County, Wisconsin (more picturesque perhaps than extreme northeast Nebraska?). Here he and Mary Emily lived out their final years. Amanzel received a pension for his Civil War service, despite his tongue-in-cheek replies to the questions on the application forms.

Washburn County, Wisconsin Death Records
Volume 7, #388
Amanzel Deforest WHITFORD, farmer, born Pennsylvania
died 28 February 1921 (aged 74 years, 4 months and 7 days)
Cause of death - pneumonia
Father - Nathaniel WHITFORD, born Vermont
Mother - Rebecca BROWN, born New York
[parents' birthplaces reversed?]

Photo Gallery

Amanzel Deforest WHITFORD
13th Michigan Vol Inf. Co. "A"

Amanzel WHITFORD's Family, circa 1903.
L-R: Amanzel, Eva at his shoulder, baby Alice in front, Mary Emily, Ruby at her shoulder, Arthur sprawled on ground in front, Faye standing beside Mary (holding reins).

Amanzel Deforest WHITFORD, Nebraska State Legislature.
To be scanned and uploaded.

  1. Documentary Sources
    1. U.S. Census, 1850, Harmony, Chautauqua County, New York
    2. Archives of the Nebraska State Legislature
    3. Civil War Pension File, Amanzel Deforest WHITFORD
    4. Washburn County, Wisconsin Courthouse Records

  2. Family References
    1. Dorothy May WHITFORD BREWSTER
    2. William WHITFORD's "History of the WHITFORD Family" (1861)
      (Walter John Coates' 1939 typed transcript is on file with the library of the
      Vermont Historical Society; original manuscript's whereabouts unknown)
      reprints available from:
      Don E. Schaefer
      1297 Deane St., Fayetteville, AR 72703
      (501) 521-1229

  3. Related Links
    This web page was last updated:
    08 December 1999