Monday Musing: The husbands of Sarah Bow

We’ve been ruminating on the life of Sarah Bow for several years.  Here’s what we know:

Sarah was born 20 Jun 1662 in Middletown to Alexander Bow and his first wife Sarah.

In October 1674 we find her baptismal record:

April 10th, 1681 finds Sarah (Bow) Demmon admitting to fornication with the man who is now her now husband.

We find no record of her marriage to Jonathan Demmon (also Demming, Deming, Demmen, Demmon, Dimin, Dimon, Damen).  This isn’t unusual; marriage records for the colonial period can be spotty.

In July 1681 Jonathan sells the inherited Middletown land from Alexander Bow’s estate as Sarah’s husband.

This means we know Sarah and Jonathan are married before 10 Apr 1681 and have had a son, Daniel, before his baptism on Aug 21st, 1681.

Several published genealogies indicate Jonathan Deming married first Sarah Bow and second Abigail Filer (sometimes Fyler). Here is one example of a published Deming genealogy by Judson Keith Deming in 1904:

I believe these genealogies are wrong.

Here’s my reasoning and supporting evidence:

A Wethersfield, CT church record reads:

“Deming, Daniell, s. Jonathan, decd., d. Mar 3, 1704/5, Æ 24.”

The time between Daniel’s baptism in Middletown and death in Wethersfield at age 24 indicates we have the correct “Daniel son of Jonathan” but the incorrect Jonathan. I say this because the record clearly states Jonathan is deceased before Daniel’s death.

Also, two entries below Daniel’s death we have the birth of Daniel son of Jonathan and Abigail.  This is why I believe there are two separate Jonathans; one married to Sarah Bow and deceased by March 1704/5 and one married to Abigail Filer & had a son in 1709.

A search for birth records for a Jonathan Deming in Wethersfield who is close in age to Sarah Bow indicates two possibilities:

  1.  Jonathan son of Jonathan & Sarah born Nov 27th, 1661
  2.  Jonathan son of John & Mary born Feb 12th, 1663

Reading the records as they are transcribed:

Jonathan, born in 1663 to John & Mary, married first Martha Buck in 1687, had children with her through at least 30 Aug 1704, and married second Abigail Filer on 5 Jan 1708/9.

There is no marriage recorded for Jonathan born in 1661 to Jonathan & Sarah.  Maybe that’s because he was living in Middletown and married Sarah Bow there?

A further look at Wethersfield records reveal the following:

“DEMING, Sarah (Baer) of Middletown, w., of Jonathan, Jr., ch. mem. [church member] 1694; d. Dec 24th, 1754; she m. 2nd Abraham Waterhouse of Saybrook.”

Well well well, isn’t that interesting?  Here is another tantalizing entry in the same volume (Vol. 124, p 117)

WATERHOUSE, WATROUS, Abraham, of Saybrook, m. as 2nd hus. Sarah (Baer) Deming

and

Sarah (Baer) Deming, 1st wife of Jonathan, Jr., and w., of Abraham Waterhouse, Dec 24, 1754, d.

I believe the above church records outweigh any secondary or unsourced references. Sarah “Baer” doesn’t particularly bother me as I can see how Bow could be read as Baer, although I’d prefer to read the handwritten document instead of a typed transcript.

I believe the most reasonable Abraham Watrous of Saybrook to become Sarah’s second husband is the carpenter Abraham, son of Jacob, widower of Rebekah, and 20 years Sarah’s senior:

I believe it is highly unlikely Abraham and Sarah had offspring.

Working by process of elimination, how many women named Sarah from Middletown with:

  • a maiden name of Baer (or at least beginning with “B”)
  • first married a Jonathan Deming of Middletown and Wethersfield
  • second married an Abraham Waterhouse of Saybrook

I believe the evidence is clear: Sarah (Bow) Deming Waterhouse is the daughter of Alexander and Sarah Bow, is the wife of Jonathan Deming and of Abraham Waterhouse, had one child with her first husband, and lived to the grand old age of 92.

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