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Lucinda Davis Family Mysteries

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Location: Ballston Spa, Saratoga, New York, USAmap
Surnames/tags: Davis Sprague
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Doris White Mills - Maternal DNA It has long been believed by descendants that Lucinda Davis, Doris’s 3rd great grandmother, was a Mohawk Indian child, possibly adopted by Dr. John Davis following the Revolutionary War. Nancy Machuga, a 4th cousin to Doris summarized what is known about Lucinda in “The Elusive Lucinda”.

The Elusive Lucinda by Nancy Machuga Every genealogist hits the proverbial brick wall when researching his or her ancestry and I have reached that point when trying to find out details about an early Mohawk Indian grandmother who has remained the elusive Lucinda to this day.

Lucinda Davis was born in Saratoga County, N.Y. on 26 September 1786, probably in or near Balls Town, present-day Ballston Spa. It is not known if the Davis surname was that of her Mohawk father or that of an adoptive white father. It is speculated that his name was John Davis as she named a son John Davis Andrus who was born during her marriage to Charles Andrus.

Charles Andrus was the son of Samuel and Annice Murray Andrus of Stillwater, N.Y. This elder Andrus family moved to the Ballston area by 1797. In 1799 Samuel and Annice Andrus and several of their children were baptized in Christ Church (Episcopal) in Ballston. It is believed that Charles met Lucinda in this town and married her there too in 1801.

Early church records confirm that Charles and Cynthia (Lucinda?) Andrus were sponsors at the baptisms on 31 December 1806 for the first three children of their marriage: Susannah Malinda born 1802, Charles Benjamin born 1804 and Samuel born 1806.

After 1807 this young couple and their children moved to Schenectady County, N.Y. where Lucinda gave birth to two daughters, Lucy in 1808 and Lucinda in 1810. By 1812 Charles and Lucinda Andrus had moved on to Onondaga County, N.Y. and 4 more children were born to them there: Ruth born in 1812, James Henderson in 1814, Laura Ann born 1816 and John Davis in 1818.

By 1820, Charles and Lucinda and their brood headed west to Steuben County, N.Y. where Charles's father Samuel had settled on a one hundred acre farm near the village of Prattsburg. Samuel, who had been a soldier of the Revolution many years earlier, had served in the Sullivan Expedition into western N.Y. and had been impressed by the beauty of the countryside. When he received a land grant of 100 acres from the government for his war time service, he headed into the Steuben County area.

It was in Steuben County that the last four children of Charles and Lucinda Davis Andrus were born. Annice was born in 1822, Ira Stephen was born in 1825, Susannah Malinda II was born in 1828 being named for her older sister who had died in 1827 at age 25, and John James Graham born in 1833.

The elusive Lucinda; was a full-blood Mohawk but little is known of her. (My grandmother Dora Aldrich Hazen spoke of Iroquois blood in the family. It was because she looked like she had some Native blood in her that I readily attempted to prove this story.)

After careful research and pouring over census records I found Lucinda listed on the 1860 N.Y. census for Steuben County, Town of Addison. She was residing, apparently, as a widow with her son James Henderson Andrus, his wife, and his children. There was no information about her husband Charles and, since I could not find him on any census, I surmised he had died previously.

On this 1860 census record, Lucinda was 73 years of age. She did not appear on the 1865 NYS census for Addison although her son and his family were listed. Charles and Lucinda most likely were both dead by 1865 and Addison was probably their last home.

In Maple Cemetery off Maple Street in the Village of Addison, there is a small Andrus Plot. Cemetery records are lacking the pertinent data as to exactly the number of burials there and the names of many of the deceased. However, the Andrus Plot has five gravestones on it; one is a large stele, two are medium-sized limestone markers and 2 are small marble markers. Three of the stones are engraved with the names of James Henderson Andrus and his first wife Hester Mariah Van Patten Andrus and his second wife Hannah Andrus. There remain two stones, the larger stele having the name ANDRUS engraved on it. The small stone is illegible. I believe that Charles and Lucinda Davis Andrus are buried in this family plot but no record exists to prove it.

The elusive Lucinda; the Mohawk; who were her parents? Was Davis a surname adopted by her Native father or was it the name of an adoptive white father? Does she rest for eternity in Maple Cemetery?

It is interesting to note that six descendants representing six separate lines of descent from Charles and Lucinda all say that Lucinda was a full-blood Mohawk yet no one can definitely prove it. Mitochondrial DNA is passed down from mother to daughter virtually unchanged over many generations. Since Doris is a direct maternal descendent of Lucinda, we decided to have a mitochondrial DNA test to hopefully determine if, in fact, Lucinda was a Native American. The mitochondrial test results indicated Doris’s DNA as haplogroup T2b2. consistent with European, not Native American lineage. It is difficult to accept that the widely held family belief that Lucinda was a Mohawk child does not have some factual basis. A possible explanation may be that either Lucinda, or possibly, one of her maternal ancestors was adopted into the Mohawk tribe sometime after the first Dutch settlers arrived at Fort Orange about 1630, and her mitochondrial DNA was passed down to Lucinda, and subsequently to Doris, through her female ancestors.

An Ancestry.com Autosomal DNA test placed Doris in both the Charles Andrus and Lucinda Davis DNA Circles, confirming the genetic link to Lucinda Davis. Jacob Wyckoff Wheaton, Samuel Wheaton, and Fansilla Van Voorhees are maternal ancestors James Denton, Deborah Gerow, and John Hildebrant are paternal ancestors.



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Categories: Family Mysteries