Sunday, January 26, 2014

52 Ancestors: #4 Betsey Brackley (1813-1891)

Betsey Brackley, my 3rd great grand aunt, was born on this date, in 1813, in Freeman, Maine, a small farming community in Franklin County. She was the second of six children born to William Brackley, Jr. and Anna Clayton, and their only daughter.

It is hard to imagine what life was like for a young woman growing up in rural Maine in the early 1800's. Martha Ballard, the diarist, offered a glimpse. Undoubtedly, Betsey remained at home as an essential contributor to the ever growing household.

At the time of the 1850 census, she was, at age 37, still at home with her aging parents and younger brother Howard (my third great grandfather).

Not until 7 years later did she marry a 46-year old widower, with 7 surviving children, Simeon Walker Weymouth. The mother of his children, Lucetta Getchell, had died a year earlier, so the assumption can be safely made that Simeon needed help caring for all these children.

By the 1860 census, Betsey was listed as Simeon's wife, along with her youngest four step-children, Almon (20), Virginia/"Jennie" (18) Albert (17), and Tobias D. (14).

But only 3 years later, Simeon filed for divorce.

There is no record of children from Betsey's marriage to Simeon. What is interesting, however, is that, at some point after the divorce, she assumed her maiden name.

Simeon went on to marry Phebe Elizabeth Mosher in 1864, so there is the possibility that there was infidelity in his second marriage. Simeon and Phebe had three children, Ulysses/"Ulie", Hortense/"Tensie", and Fred.

From the time of her divorce in 1863 until her death, nothing is known of Betsey Brackley's life in Freeman. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses she was listed as living there with a William Brackley, aged 15 and 25 respectively. possibly a nephew (the son of my third great grandfather and his first wife Hope). In the 1880 census she was listed as "widowed," the common nomenclature for a divorced woman, masking the stigma of a failed marriage.

Betsey Brackley died on December 2, 1891, at the age of 78. She is buried in the Starbird Corner Cemetery in Freeman. Her headstone reads BETSEY BRACKLEY.


1850 U.S. Census; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M432_253; Page: 229A; Image: 443.

1860 U.S. Census; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M653_435; Page: 846; Image: 261.

1870; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M593_543; Page: 78B; Image: 160.

1880; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: 479; Page: 438C; Image: 0633.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 26 Jan 2014), memorial page for Betsey Brackley (1813-1891), Find A Grave Memorial no. 123969226, citing Starbird Corner Cemetery, Freeman, Maine.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 26 Jan 2014), memorial page for Simeon W. Weymouth (unknown-1886), Find A Grave Memorial no. 103420387, citing Tuttle Corner Cemetery, Freeman, Maine. Maine, Marriage Records, 1713-1937 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Thompson, George A. and F. Janet Thompson. A Genealogical history of Freeman, Maine, 1796-1938, in three volumes. 3 vols. (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1996), 3:276,280.

"Maine Divorces, 1799-1903," database, Maine Genealogy ( : accessed 27 May 2013), entry for Simeon W. Weymouth & Betsey Weymouth, 1863, citing Maine Divorce Index, Maine State Archives.

"Maine, Marriages, 1771-1907," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 Jan 2014), Simeon W. Weymouth and Betsy Bruckley, 12 Feb 1857.


This is the fourth in a series, "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, " coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

You might also enjoy:

52 Ancestors #1: William Brackley, Jr. (1788-1873)
52 Ancestors #2: Stephen Morse (1803-1886)
52 Ancestors #3: Frederick James Dargavel (1901-1987)

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