|Denison N. Stewart's gravestone by Brian Zoldak, 21012, used with permission|
The Early Years
As you learned yesterday, Denison was the oldest son in his family and because his father, Edward was a farmer, he probably worked by his father's side day to day doing farm tasks from dawn to dark.
When Edward died in 1837, as it happens in many New England families, Dension was automatically left as head of household. In the 1840 census, he is living with his younger brothers, Dudley Wheeler Stewart and Edward F. Stewart. His baby brother Cyrus previously died as a toddler, and his oldest two sisters married in 1828 and 1830 along with a younger sister in 1830.
His sister, Nancy, was 28 in 1840 and she and his mother Rebecca must have managed the house and helped the men on the farm. Nancy and Edward F. Stewart died in 1843 not long after Rebecca his mother died in 1842 at sixty years of age.
It took me quite a while to find Denison in the 1840 census, as he is listed as Denison Stuart.
Guided by a recent article (May/June 2012 p.26-30) from Family Tree Magazine, by Maureen Taylor, called A Full Accounting, I have been going back over the census years prior to 1850 to look at his farming family as a learning example. I am also using a older book called Your Guide to the Federal Census, by Kathleen W. Hinckley to help me with this task. (Incidentally, these two authors are close friends.)
On 18 April 1844, Denison marries Abby J. Starkweather of Preston, CT. To the best of my knowledge, she moves into the Stewart household and my ancestor, Dudley Wheeler Stewart moves to Norwich, CT before the 1850 census to be a clerk and then find a job.