Benjamin Brand and Abigail Baker King Finding a Better Life in America

Benjamin Brand (1802-1882) and Abigail Baker King (1830-AFT 1850)

The first Brand to come to America

Benjamin Brand, the son of John Brand and Margaret Head of Acton, Suffolk County, England arrived in New York City with his wife and two small sons, Benjamin and Baker, on the Brighton on 26 Mar 1827. He listed his occupation as a butcher. He had been born in 1802 in Suffolk County, England.

It is not known why Benjamin left England, but presumably it was for the same reasons that many left: to find a new and better life. Benjamin’s father was still alive, but it is not certain if and when his mother died. It is unlikely that he ever saw them again, as a return trip would have been costly, and Benjamin struggled to take care of his growing family. He also did not remain near the east coast, but moved steadily west as the decades passed.

A new Life with Wife and Children

Benjamin married Abigail Baker King before 1826 in England. She was the daughter of William King and Abigail Baker. She was born in Suffolk County, England in 1803, but very little is known about her parents.

Benjamin and Abigail had seven children, two born in England and five in the United States. They were:

First in Albany, New York; then Wisconsin

Benjamin and Abigail and their two sons apparently settled first in Albany County, Albany, New York. In the 1830 Census it indicates they have three boys under the age of 5 (Benjamin, Baker, and Garret). But there is also a 15-20 year old male listed; perhaps this was a boy who was helping Benjamin.

There is a Benjamin Baker in the 1840 Census in Ionia, Michigan, but it is unclear if this Benjamin and Abigail. The 1850 Census, however, is very clear. Benjamin, age 48, and Abigail, age 47, are living with their children in Taycheedah, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Benjamin lists himself as a butcher. Living with them are their children: Benjamin Jr, 28; Garrett, 16; Sarah, 10; Susan, 8; Oliver, 6; and Elizabeth, 5. Taycheedah was, and still is a very small town located in the far northeast section of the county. What drew Benjamin to this particular spot is anyone’s guess, but it is assumed he could make a living as a butcher. He remained there for 20 years.

A new Wife and Family and More Moves

Abigail gave birth to their last child, Elizabeth, in 1845, and she is in the 1850 Census. But by 1860, Benjamin is married to another woman, so Abigail died between 1850 and 1860.

In the 1860 Census, Benjamin is no longer a butcher and lists his occupation as a farmer. He declares his real estate to be worth $4000, so he must have bought a farm with the money he earned as a butcher. He claims $300 in personal property. His new wife, Sarah Ann Bixby, is 41, seventeen years younger than his 58 years of age.

Sarah is clearly the new mother to Benjamin and Abigail’s children. Still living with them are Sarah, 20; Susanna, 18; Oliver, 16; and Elizabeth, 15. Oliver is working as a labourer, probably helping his father, and a young man of 12 years of age, Joel Williams, is living with them. Possibly this is Sarah’s son from a first marriage.

Ten years later, in 1870, Benjamin and Sarah have moved to Richland, Rice County, Minnesota. Three years before, in 1867, Benjamin’s son, Baker, and his wife and family had moved to this area, so no doubt Benjamin and Sarah decided to follow. Benjamin is 68 in 1870, still farming, and claiming his real estate at $600, a considerable loss from ten years before. Sarah is 52. Living with them are their daughter Sarah, 30; Joel Williams, 22; and a servant, Eliza, 20.

The end in Minnesota

Benjamin and his second wife, Sarah, remained in Rice County, Minnesota, but by 1880 they had moved to Fairbault. Perhaps they could no longer live on a farm and had moved to a town setting. Benjamin is 78; Sarah Ann, his wife, is 61. Benjamin’s daughter from his first marriage, identified as Sarah M., is 40 and living with them.

Benjamin died 3 Dec 1882 in Rice, Minnesota. He was 80 years old. He is buried in Maple Lawn Cemetery. The date of his second wife’s death is not known.

This page written and researched by Susan Overturf Ingraham, wife of Robert Philip Ingraham, a descendant of Benjamin Brand and Abigail Baker King. Page last updated on December 16, 2011.

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