John Alden



Proof Of John Alden

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sarah.jpg (5765 bytes)      My paternal great-grandmother was pictured as a dour-faced woman. Despite her grim countenance in rare old photographs, Sarah Silence Scribner McPherson raised eight children and two grandchildren. She and her husband, David, endured the rigors of life on several frontiers -- the Michigan woods, Missouri when land was cheap and the dusty plains of Kansas.
     Sarah started life as one of 11 children of Silence Leland and John Scribner, probably in a small rented shoddy house, on May 10, 1822, in Marlboro Township, Delaware County, Ohio. When she was only three years old, her mother died at age 43, possibily giving birth to another child. Thus Sarah's upbringing was placed in the hands of older sisters.

     When one of her sons in later years asked her about her background, she didn't have good memories. She said her mother was a daughter of proud Yankees, and her father was an Irishman fond of his cards and rum. She said that her father "stole" her mother away from her parents. Yet, intensive research has shown that her grandparents were from Massachusetts, but her father was an Englishman born in New Hampshire. And they were the first couple married in tiny Schroon Lake, Essex County, New York, around 1800. The exact date has escaped researchers, because records were practically non-existent then. Sarah may not have known that her grandmother, Anna Batchellor Rawson, was descended from John Alden, one of the leaders aboard the Mayflower, the first English vessel to reach America in 1620.

     Sarah somehow grew to womanhood. As a child, she herded the cows for her brother-in-law, Herold Gillet, who she claimed wanted "to get rich." Gillet was a prosperous farmer in Marlboro Township until his death in 1880. He married Permelia Scribner, who was one of Sarah's older sisters, perhaps the one who raised her. Sarah told her son, M. L. (Lafe) McPherson that she didn't get much schooling as she had to walk so far. And she was needed at home to work. Her only companion as she took care of the cattle was an old dog who kept the panthers and bears away from her as she traversed the woods.

     An 1850 publication, The Leland Magazine, traced the descendants of Henry Leland, from the 17th century. John Scribner and Silence Leland were listed under Thomas Leland and Anna Rawson, Silence being one of 14 children. About all that was said about them was they lived in "Boone, Ohio, and had 11 children." An exhaustive search for Boone failed to find such a town in Ohio, although there were towns of that name in West Virginia and in Kentucky.

     Research tells us that John brought his family to Franklin County, Ohio about 1805 when his father, Samuel Scribner Jr. came from Schroon, New York. In 1808, Delaware County was formed from Franklin. Samuel Jr. died in 1810. John bought some land in 1806 and sold it after mortgaging it. He never bought any more land, but he lived in the county until at least 1850. The Scribners probably rented land in Marlboro Township in Delaware County before 1820. They were enumerated between Thomas Brown and Jehiel Wilcox, possibly as tenants on one of the other's land. Not far from the Scribners was Joseph Gillet, who came to Delaware County in 1817 from Connecticut. When the 1820 census was taken in Delaware County (formerly Franklin), a Silence Scribner was enumerated with a family like this:


FWM under10 FWM 16-26 FWF under 10 FWF 10-16 FWF 16-26    FWF 26-45
          1          2           3         2         1          1

     John wasn't listed because he was serving a year in prison for biting off the nose of a man named John Welchel. Silence was counted as Solonee. The only birthdates found for the children are Emily, 1807; Permelia, 1808; Luke, 1810; Elizabeth, 1814; Ursula, 1820, and Sarah, 1822. Other Scribner children related to this family have not yet been identified. In fact, finding proof of the relationship of the children to the parents is vital to establish a link to the Mayflower.

     Ten years later, John Scribner was enumerated in Delaware County like this:

  FWM 10-15     FWM 60-60      FWF 5-10     FWF 10-15
            1                   1               3              2

    1 FWM 10 to 15 (Luke, 13), 1 FWM 50 to 60 (John, 52), 3 FWF 5 to 10 (Ursula, 9; Sarah, 8 and someone, 6 or 5) and 2 FWF 10 to 15 (Elizabeth, 14 and unknown, 15). The older sisters, Emily and Permelia were married.

     In 1840, John Scribner was located in Thompson Township of Delaware County with his second wife, Charlotte, and John is back in Delaware County with his second wife in the 1850 census. In fact, he is enumerated just below Herold Gillet, his son-in-law. On the 1849 plat map, there is no John Scribner living next to Gillet, so apparently John was living on Gillet's property.

     Gradually, the names of some of John and Silence's children have surfaced. In his manuscript in 1935, Lafe stated that some of Sarah's sisters married Herold Gillet, Absalom Mann and Willie Houseworth who had been witnesses at her wedding. Permelia Scribner Gillet was born in 1808 in Delaware County, she has stated, although a Delaware County history book said that "Pennelia Scribner was born in 1810 in Vermont where her parents were from."

     Researchers believe that the Scribners may have lived for a short time in Vermont from the time they left New Hampshire and started West. John Scribner's oldest brother, Peter, died in Poultney, Vermont. About 1797 when Silence was 15 years old, the Lelands were among the first settlers in Schroon Lake, New York, a lovely area just west of Vermont in the Adirondack Mountains. Leland Sr. started moving further west about 1804. It was reported that he followed his pioneering children across New York state. Finally, in about 1826 Leland Sr. arrived in Medina County, Ohio, settling down alongside his son, Aaron, who had arrived about 1818. Leland Sr. died in Medina County in 1849 at the age of 91. Many of his children predeceased him.

     Sarah and her husband visited her sisters after the Civil War. This might have been between 1865 and 1868 before the McPhersons moved to Missouri. Sarah remembered that the sisters were prosperous and doing well. After she moved to Missouri and later to Kansas, it isn't known if Sarah ever saw her sisters again. Ironically, her father, John Scribner, was alive but didn't attend the wedding. Conversely, he may have been ill and unable to travel. At present, we don't know what happened to either John Scribner, his wife Silence Leland Scribner or even John's second wife, Charlotte. We haven't found their final resting places.

     Three of Sarah's sisters' graves have been located. Permelia is buried with her husband Herold Gillet in Wyatt Cemetery in Marion County. Emily is buried with her husband Absalom Mann in Blair Fork North Cemetery in Morrow County. Ursula is buried with a son and other Houseworths in Waldo Cemetery in Marion County.

     Sarah died just before her 83rd birthday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Alice  Floyd in Kansas City, Mo., on 17 April 1905. She is buried with her husband in Wilmot Cemetery in Cowley County, Kansas.