Abraham W. Brink 1820-1898
Curious about what made my great-grandmother Mary Brink the kind of woman she was , I am excavating through the murk of official records to discover her father Abraham Brink and other relatives.
I wrote about Mary Brink previously and her fortitude in the face of losing a husband to become a single mother with a farm and two young boys to care for. I have since added and corrected information in that piece, so you might want to read it before proceeding. Before she married my great-grandfather Joseph Anderson, Mary lived on the prosperous farm of Abraham and Dorcas Middaugh Brink in Killbuck Township, Holmes County, Ohio.
Abraham Brink Arrives and Marries
Like so many of my ancestors of that generation, great-great grandfather Abraham Brink, known as “Abe”, was born in Pennsylvania. In 1820, Ohio was still developing from territory to state. It was the promised land of abundant rich land to farmers who were beginning to feel crowded by development in neighboring Pennsylvania.
Although I don’t know exactly when he made the move from Pennsylvania, it appears that his entire family may have migrated around 1840 from Pennsylvania. I know that “Abe” married Dorcas Eliza Middaugh in November 1844 in Ohio, when he was twenty-four years old and she was nineteen.
In the first five years of their marriage, Abraham and Dorcas had two sons and two daughters. They experienced their first loss when the second son died when he was two weeks old.
The Farm Grows as the Family Grows
Meanwhile in 1850, Abraham was cultivating 40 acres on a farm that totaled 80 acres and was worth $1000 (roughly $30,000 today). Nearby, three other Brink farms of similar size measured similar worth according to the farm schedule of the United States Census of 1850. Who were these other Brinks? I will explore that in a future post. Although I cannot say for sure at this moment, it is a pretty sure bet that they are all related.
In 1860, one Brink farmer is three years younger than the 39-year-old Abraham, one nine years older and the other 16 years older.
In the next ten years(1850-1860), two sons and three daughters were born, including my great-grandmother Mary (1858). Meanwhile, Abraham’s farm continued to grow. In the farm schedule in 1860, he said he had 90 acres of improved land and 75 acres of unimproved, for a total increase of 44 acres. And the total value had gone up to $2000.
As a little girl, Mary was living on a farm with some cattle and sheep, fields of wheat, rye, hay, buckwheat, oats and corn. Her father also grew five acres of potatoes. Perhaps this descendant of Dutch immigrants was still enjoying hutspot, the Dutch recipe I shared with you earlier.
A Bad Decade
The years between 1860 and 1870 were tumultuous for the Brink family, and not just because of the Civil War (for which Abraham registered in 1863 at the age of 41). A son was born in 1862. In July, 1864 a daughter was born, but died a week later. Then some kind of epidemic must have swept through the countryside, because between March 1865 and May 1865, the family lost a 3-year-old son, a 16-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son.
My grandmother, Mary Brink, would have been six to seven years old when she lost three siblings plus saw an infant die. It is reasonable to assume that other members of the family might have also been ill and if she herself was not sick, she probably had to help care for those who were ailing.
The birth of baby daughter Ada in 1867 provided the only bright spot in that dreary decade. That and the farm.
Abraham had the farm to occupy his mind during this time of trial, and it continued to grow. By 1870 he owned 145 acres and the total worth of the farm had climbed to a whopping $5400. This year’s farm census no longer shows the other Brink families that were living in the neighborhood on the earlier ones, but now his oldest son Jeddiah Brink owns a farm next door worth $1500 (The same value that Abraham’s land had in 1850 when Abraham was 30). At twenty-six, he has been married four years, and so far has only improved twenty-six acres of his holdings. We know that Jeddiah purchased forty acres in 1867, but do not know where the additional acreage comes from. Since it is immediately adjacent to his father in the 1870 census, it probably is part of family land that his father has given or sold to him.
Abraham’s valuable farm grew by another twenty acres by the 1880 census, to 164 acres (100 under cultivation). He was fifty-nine years old and only his youngest daughter remained at home.
Abraham Brink Plans for His Family Future
In July 1892, Abraham thought it prudent to write his will. He left everything to his wife Dorcas, but also gave instructions for the splitting of the property after her death.
By 1892, Abraham has outlived all but six of his twelve (or eleven) children. There is one census entry that has me puzzled. Those offspring remaining are Jedediah/Jeddiah who “Abe”makes the executor of the will; Alfred, who has already “received his share”; my great-grandmother Mary Brink Anderson and her sister Sarah Jane Brink Anderson who married the brother of Mary’s husband; Catharine Brink Turner; and the youngest daughter, Ada Brink Allison.
My grandfather, Leonard Guy Anderson, would have known all of these aunts and uncles, but the only one that I have evidence of close ties to is Ada, whose son worked on the family farm and is in the family picture taken in 1909. He also would have known his grandfather Abraham Brink, who died when Guy was twenty years old.
The Abraham Brink Connections in the Anderson-Stout family picture
Daughter: Mary Brink Anderson, long a widow, stands just slightly to the left of the porch pillar, above the infant held by my grandmother Vera. At the time, Mary was living with Guy and Vera on the Anderson farm that had belonged to Joseph Anderson, her husband.
Grandson: Leonard Guy Anderson standing in center back with white shirt and dark tie.
Daughter and Son-in-law: Ada Allison, Abraham and Dorcas’ youngest daughter is in the far left of the middle row beside her husband in a dark suit–DeSylva Allison.
Grandson: Errett Allison, son of Ada Allison stands beside his wife Nettie behind the seated man holding two young children. Errett is wearing a necktie. He and his wife both worked on the farm when my grandmother and grandfather lived there.
Plus, the children and infants in the photo are great-grandchildren of Abraham Brink.
(Want to know who everyone else is? See this Identification post.)
Unlike many of my ancestors, Abraham was forward-thinking enough to write his will before his final illness. He survived for another six years. In 1898 he died and was buried where so many of the Brinks rest, at the Wolf Creek Cemetery in Holmes County.
How I Am Related
- Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
- Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
- Leonard Guy Anderson, who is the son of
- Mary Brink Anderson, who is the daughter of
- Abraham W. Brink.
Notes on Research
United States Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, Killbuck Township, Holmes County, Ohio
United States Census Non Population Schedule (Agriculture) Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998, Abraham W. Brink, August 1, 1898, Case Number 1020, Will records Vol. 4, 1894-1911.
U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau, Abraham Brink, July 1, 1863.
Find a Grave, Abraham W. Brink, Plus information and photo from Jim and Susan Brink.
Other information and photos from my personal collection.