I’m finally catching up. This is the 6th month and I am on the 6th family line.
The Fletcher line comes on the scene when Mary Ann Fletcher married Joseph Putnam, 28th of May in 1848. Mary Ann
was the eldest child of Benjamin F. Fletcher and Mary Ann Brown of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Benjamin was a carpenter and while being born in Westford Mass. he lived in Cambridge from at least 1830 up through 1870. Benjamin’s daughter had been living in Clements California since 1859. Benjamin and Mary Ann moved west some time after 1870 and before Mary Ann’s death in 1877.
So my question is why did Benjamin and Mary Ann (Brown) Fletcher move out to California after Benjamin was over 70 years old?
Looking to what was happening with the family in Cambridge Massachusetts may give us the answer. Benjamin and Mary Ann had 4 children. Mary A. was the oldest born in Cambridge 14 Feb. 1830.
Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr. was born in 1833 in Cambridge.
- 1840 US census he would be the 10-15 year old male in his fathers household
- 1850 US census he is 17 years old working as a clerk and living at home.
- 1855 Mass state census he is 22 living at home an working as a carpenter. Is father is also listed as a carpenter.
- 1856 Cambridge City Directory lists Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr at 99 Norfolk (his parents address)and listed as a carpenter.
- 1859 Cambridge City Directory list Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr brds (boards) at 99 Norfolk (his parents address)and listed as a carpenter.
- 1860 not found in the US Census for Cambridge. There is a B.F. Fletcher in Amador County California listed as a Miner from Mass and 27 years of age. Could be him.
- 1864 Benjamin marries Sarah F. Thurston basically the girl next door. They marry in Cambridge.
- 1865 Mass State census does not list a Benjamin and Sarah Fletcher. But the 1865 Cambridge City Directory list Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr h. Norfolk (his parents are at 99 Norfolk in the same directry)and listed as a baker n. Broadway.
- 22 Nov. 1865 son Charles Fletcher is born in Cambridge.
- 1866 Cambridge City Directory list Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr b. baker at 83 Norfolk (his parents address is still 99 Norfolk), near Broadway.
- 1870 US census finds Benjamin Fletcher 34 as a resident at McLean Asylum Somerville Massachusetts.
- 1870 Cambridge City Directory list Benjamin F. Fletcher Jr (Thurston, Hall and Co,) baker, 46, 48, & 50 Elm, h. 83 Norfolk (his parents address is listed above as 99 Norfolk).
- 12 June 1872 Benjamin Fletcher dies at the age of 39 years and 5 mos. cause of death Brain disease, occupation is listed as a baker, parents listed as Benjamin F. and Mary Ann.
We can see from the 188o US Census that Benjamin’s Father-inlaw (Daniel H. Thurston) is the Thurston in the Thurston, Hall and Co. Bakery and doing quite well. Benjamin’s wife Sarah is living at home and listed as a widow. She never remarries and is found in the 1890 US census living with a younger sister and her family.
So what happened to Benjamin? What happened to him from 1860 – 1864? Was he in the Civil War? What exactly was a Brain Disease? was it PTSD?
The second and third sons of Benjamin F, and Mary Ann (Brown) Fletcher were William Alfred Fletcher and then James or Joseph Fletcher.
Maybe we can figure this out together. Come on back next week as I continue to discover why a 70+ man from Cambridge Massachusetts would move out to California about 1871.