Amherstburg Freedom Museum

Family Histories


Hurst Family (Washington)

A Full Family Tree – The Hurst Family (Continued through Washington’s line) – Part 1

Because there is so much information available on the Hurst family, we’ve decided to change things up a bit by continuing the Hurst family’s history into March, but this time through Washington Hurst, a relative of Ransom Hurst who was discussed in last month’s edition. There is no concrete evidence available that states who Washington’s parents were, but an 1823 land deed lists the names Soloman and A.L. Hurst, who purchased property and a coffin for Washington Hurst. It is certainly possible that Soloman and A.L. Hurst are his parents, but this is not a proven fact. The earliest record we have for Washington Hurst is the 1851 Census which lists Washington Hurst, a 54-year-old farmer (born circa 1797-1801), his wife, Jemima/Gemima Crosby (age 41), and children: Elizabeth (14), Urias/Uriah (13), Hannah (11), Jonas (8), Arminthy (6), Washington Jr. (3), and Alfonzo/Alphonzo (1). The Census for Colchester Township also lists Washington Sr., Gemima, Elizabeth and Urias as being born in the United States, while everyone else listed was born in Canada West (Ontario). According to family lore, Washington and Jemima left Virginia, with their oldest child, Elizabeth (born in Virginia circa 1838), due to the oppression against free Blacks and property owners. Along the way, they had their second child, Urias, in Ohio (circa 1839). Once the family arrived in Colchester, they purchased land on the 3rd Concession. The 1861 Personal Census lists the family again, apart from Elizabeth who likely married and was possibly living in another household. That same year, the Agricultural Census gives us further information on Washington who owned 24 acres of land in 1861 in Colchester and all 24 acres were under cultivation. Of his 24 acres of land, 15 acres was “under crop” and 9 acres was “under pasture.” The value of his land at that time was $480 and this farm was passed down through the generations.

As mentioned, Washington and Jemima/Gemima had at least seven children. There was little information available on four of their children: Elizabeth, Urias, Hannah and Arminthy, but based on the 1851 Census we can estimate their birthdays and birth place. Elizabeth was born circa 1838, Urias was born circa 1839, Hannah in roughly 1840-1842 and Arminthy circa 1845-1846. Elizabeth and Urias/Uriah were born in the US, while Hannah and Arminthy are listed as being born in Ontario. We were able to find more information on their three siblings: Jonas, Washington Jr. and Alphonso which we will discuss next.

Jonas was born in the 1840s in Colchester South and several documents list different years of birth. The 1851 Census lists his year of birth as 1843, while his obituary says 1844. Additionally, the 1901 census gives the exact date of October 8, 1847. According to their marriage record, Jonas Hurst and Harriet Marshall married on May 4, 1863 in Essex, Essex County. Harriet was the daughter of Alexander and Maria Marshall. Some records list Maria’s last name as Dayton, while others record the name Dontkee, or something similar, but the writing is difficult to read. According to Harriet’s obituary from September 1918, she had at least two brothers and one sister: David and Hezekiah Marshall of Colchester South and Mrs. Lucinda Mickens of Malden. Although born in Colchester, Harriet moved to Amherstburg around 1897 and remained there for the rest of her years. Harriet’s husband Jonas, a farmer, passed away several years before Harriet, in January 1902 and the Amherstburg Echo states that he was “one of the best known … men in Amherstburg.”

We have identified 13 of their 16 children: Albert, George, Jonas Jr., Edward, Gary, Ann, Norman, Charles, Early, Della, Hattie, Mina, and Elizabeth. We were lucky enough to find further details for nine of them: Albert, George, Gary, Norman, Early, Charles, Della, Hattie and Mina. The only evidence that we could find of Albert was his death record which states that he was the son of Hattie Marshall and Jonas Hurst, born in Colchester around 1878 and a 35-year-old labourer who passed away on May 18, 1913 in Amherstburg. Albert is also listed in his brother Gary’s obituary. Albert’s brother George was born in Malden Township circa 1875 and became a farmer. He married Nellie Hywarden, who was the daughter of Eli Hywarden and Elizabeth Marshall, on May 16, 1898 in Harrow. George and Nellie’s marriage record also says that Nellie was born circa 1881 in Colchester South.

George’s brother Gary is the next person to be discussed. He married a widow named Mamie Bow, the daughter of James Hughes and Catherine Stockley, on October 2, 1916. Gary was a 42-year-old labourer, while Mamie was a 40-year-old house keeper who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gary sadly passed away in December 1930, suffering from dropsy and lung trouble. His obituary says that he was born in Amherstburg and lived his whole life in the same neighborhood.

There are a few documents that list Gary’s brother Norman, including the 1920 Census for Toledo, Ohio. It lists Norman as a “Roomer” in the household of Joseph Miller. The census also lists him as a 53-year-old widow who moved to the US in 1919. He is listed as a labourer who did “General Work.” Norman’s obituary confirms that he lived in Toledo for a few years and that he married twice. Unfortunately, the names of his wives are not listed, but it does state that they pre-deceased him, explaining why he is listed as a widow in the 1920 Toledo Census. This document also mentions that he had a son (no name mentioned), who survived him, but it is possible that he could have had more children. Before his passing, Norman came back to Amherstburg because his death record lists Amherstburg as the location of his passing on March 3, 1924.

Early is the next in line. According to his death record from December 1932, he was born on February 28, 1877 in Colchester. He married Edith Thompson on March 21, 1906. Edith was the daughter of Royl Thompson (mother not listed) and neither Edith nor Early were previously married. Early was 29 at the time of their marriage while Edith was 24. The couple had a daughter named Margaret Elizabeth who was born on May 31, 1906 in Amherstburg. Margaret later married Stanley Allen in March 1922. Stanley was born in Colchester North and was the son of William Allen and Victoria Brooker. At the time of their marriage, Stanley was nineteen and Margaret was sixteen. Interestingly, both are listed as labourers on their marriage record, which is not often an occupation associated with women at that time, if an occupation is listed at all. Often women are listed as housewives or without an occupation, but Margaret demonstrates that women worked outside of the home and contributed financially to their families.

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. Thank you to those who contributed information to this family history. See you next week for Part 2.

A Full Family Tree – The Hurst Family (Continued through Washington’s line) – Part 2

Just like Early, there is quite a bit of information about his brother Charles Hurst who was born on June 16, 1882/1883. He married twice. His first marriage was to Della Lucas of Chatham, who was the daughter of Edward Lucas and Mary Richeson. The couple married in December 1910 in Detroit, Michigan, where they were both living. Their marriage record states that Charles was a teamster and 28 years old, while Della was 23. The couple had a least one daughter and her name was Edna Lucas Hurst. Edna later married Russell Hurst in August 1921. Both were 18 years old and Russell was from Amherstburg, while Edna was born in Chatham. At the time, Russell was a labourer, while Edna was a house keeper. Russell and Edna had 13 children: Pauline (married Freeman Dungy), Viola (m. Arnold Wilson), Russell Hurst (m. Anne), Edward (m. Yolanda), Leroy (m. Connie), Marvin (m. Josephine), Delphine (m. Eddy Hawkins), Barbara (m. Howard Shaw), Charles (m. Tina), Mary (m. Leroy Carmichael), Donna (m. James Elliott), Brenda (m. David Grant), and Peggy (m. Ron Goosby). Russell was also married to Margaret Elizabeth Johnson (mother of Shirley, Leonard, Janice, Ronald and Linda) and was remembered as a beloved crossing guard in Amherstburg.

Charles’ second marriage was on March 19, 1946 to Dorothy Jackson, the daughter of William Jackson and Effie Lee. Dorothy was born on April 1, 1910, making her 35 at the time of their marriage, while Charles was 63. Both lived in Amherstburg where Charles worked as a teamster and Dorothy was a “domestic.” Before their marriage Dorothy already had a son named Richard Jr. (birth father was Richard Noland) and Dorothy and Charles raised him together. The couple also had three other children: Charles Jr. (Vernon), Lorvendale and Harriet Noreen. Their father, Charles Sr., worked the family farm that was passed down to him giving everything he had to keep the farm going. He also represented the Amherstburg community with his dedication and long-time service to the church, serving as a pastor until his death at the age of 74. Following his passing, Dorothy resumed this service and never remarried.

Charles also had a sister named Della who married George Alton Scott in November 1916 in Amherstburg. George was born in New Canaan and was the son of Joseph Scott and Dina Galloway. At the time of their marriage George was 29 and a labourer, while Della was 26 and a “House maid.” Neither were previously married, and both were living in Windsor. Several years before her marriage to George, Della had two sons: Russell who was born on August 24, 1902 in Amherstburg and Clifford who was born on April 5, 1908, also in Amherstburg. Sadly, according to the Amherstburg Echo, Clifford Hurst passed away at the age of 32 years on February 17, 1941 in Amherstburg, while Russell passed many years later in 1984.

Della’s sister Hattie was born on October 28, 1890 in Malden, which later amalgamated with Amherstburg. On September 21, 1909, Hattie married Oswald Simpson in Amherstburg. Oswald was a 22-year-old labourer and the son of James Simpson, a farmer, and Matilda Brooks. The couple had at least one son named Clarence D. Simpson who was born on December 10, 1909.

Hattie’s sister Mina/Mima was also known as Jemima. She married Walter Mann who was born in Anderdon on April 18, 1874 and was the son of Maria Kersey and Hardy/Hartwell Mann. According to Walter’s obituary from the Amherstburg Echo, Hartwell escaped enslavement in the “US just before the Civil War and came by the underground railroad to this district which was a haven of refuge to so many of the oppressed colored people of the south. He began farming in Anderdon and was one of the well known Liberals of this district often speaking at meetings.” This was not Walter’s first marriage because he was previously married to Emma Jane Britton who was the daughter of Thomas and Milley Britton. The couple married on October 5, 1896 in Colchester North, but the marriage record for Walter’s second marriage lists him as a widower, meaning that Emma passed away some time before his second marriage to Mina. Mina and Walter married on September 22, 1906 in Amherstburg and they had a son named Charles.

Mina’s husband Walter sadly passed away on April 11, 1936 after an unexpected accident. According to the Amherstburg Echo, Walter had a sense of humour and wanted to play a prank on his co-worker and brother-in-law, Oswald Simpson. He told Oswald that he would beat him in a race to the town hall and each man took a different route. Walter reached the town hall first and decided to hide so that he could scare Oswald upon arrival. The Amherstburg Echo goes on to say “After waiting a few minutes he said, ‘I guest Oswald isn’t coming, and stepped out of his hiding place. As he did so he fell forward on his face and died instantly. His death removes one who had become almost an institution in Amherstburg and one who hadn’t an enemy in the community. Always ready to joke, he had a friendly greeting for everyone and his exuberant nature prompted him to demonstrate his remarkable ability at step-dancing which always delighted his audience.” Walter must have been a highly respected person in the community not only because of the words written about him, but how much space (several paragraphs) the Amherstburg Echo devoted to honouring Walter. The newspaper also mentions that “Walter began sailing after he grew up and sailed on many of the lake steamers. Twenty-nine years ago he entered the employ of the Corporation of Amherstburg and has been a faithful employee since. During that time he and his partner on the job, Andrew Boyd, were responsible for installing and maintaining the water and sewer main system of the town. They worked under the direction of Freeman McCaffrey and because of their difference in stature were often called ‘Mutt and Jeff.’” Walter’s wife Mina passed away several years later in 1945.

The last child of Harriet and Jonas Hurst to be discussed is Elizabeth. According to her death certificate, Elizabeth was born circa 1886. She later married Robert Day who was the son of Robert J. Day and Anne Mack on July 6, 1907 in Amherstburg. The couple’s marriage record says that Robert was born in Richmond, Ohio, but was living in Detroit at the time of their marriage. Robert was 22 and Elizabeth was 21, and neither were previously married. The couple had two children: Willie (born in 1910) and Gladys Marie (1918), but sadly both passed away shortly after being born. In Elizabeth’s obituary it does not list any children, so it is possible that the couple did not have other children.

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. Thank you to those who contributed information to this family history. See you next week for Part 3.

A Full Family Tree – The Hurst Family (Continued through Washington’s line) – Part 3

So far, we have looked at Jonas and Harriet’s children, but there is also information available on Jonas’ brothers, Washington Jr. and Alphonso Hurst. Washington Jr. was born circa 1852 and later married Annie Crosby on November 2, 1897 in Oakland, Michigan. According to their marriage record, Washington Jr. was a 45-year-old farmer and neither Washington nor Annie were married before. Annie was born in either the 1850s or 1860s and was the daughter of Caswell Crosby and Elizabeth Davis/Davies. According to Milo Johnson’s Book New Canaan: Freedom-Land Annie’s father Caswell was the son of Jonah Crosby who was born into slavery in Virginia in 1787. Jonah escaped and settled in Stark County, Ohio, but “Black Laws” that restricted the lives of African Americans forced him to leave Ohio and settle in Colchester Township in the mid-1840s. Jonah went on to marry a woman named Emma and the couple had three children: Mariah (1826), Caswell (1811) and Edmond (1821). They settled on a plot of land called Glebe, which was an area north of Colchester Village. Jonah and his sons Caswell and Edmond are all listed as farmers in the 1851 Census, but Emma is not listed which means that she likely passed away before the 1851 census was taken. Additionally, the 1851 Census lists Jonah as living in Caswell’s household, which was on the 4th Concession, lot 11 of Colchester Township. By 1861 Caswell’s farm consisted of 75 acres with 31 acres under cultivation. According to New Canaan: Freedom-Land Caswell and Elizabeth married while enslaved in Virginia. Caswell was also known as a respected citizen who was not only a farmer, but also a minister at the Harrow B.M.E. Church. Caswell and Elizabeth had nine children: Henry James (1834), Joshua Wright (1836), William (1841), John A. (1844), Ardon (1849), Elijah (1852), Theopolis (1855), Anne Elizabeth (1856) and Sylvester (1861).

Washington Jr. and Annie had at least one child, a son named Perle who, according to the 1901 Census was born sometime around September 1882. Perle lived to be roughly 53 years old, passing away in April 1935 in Walkerville (a part of Windsor) at Metropolitan Hospital (now Windsor Regional Hospital Met Campus). He is also listed as single and a labourer. Referred to as one of the best-known residents of the district, his obituary also states that he “was a good friend to everybody in Harrow and was a fixture about the town. He had a smile for everyone, and will be greatly missed by those who knew him best.”

In addition to Washington Jr. and Jonas there was also information available on their brother Alphonso and he will be the last child of Washington Sr. and Jemima Hurst to be discussed. Alphonso was born circa 1850 and was a labourer. He lived at Hillsville, Colchester South and toward the end of his life lost his sight; he was blind for roughly ten years of his life. Sadly, his luck did not improve because on New Year’s Eve 1929, a “sneak thief … rob[bed] him of $16.25 balance unspent of his first old age pension check for $20 … [Alphonso] could not identify the thief, though he thought he had on a rubber coat. He came in stealthily, man handled the old man as he lay on his couch, searched his clothing till he came to the back pocket, where the money was, and then hurriedly left the place.” Several months later he passed away in March 1930, but was described as a hardworking and thrifty man.

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for another family history.