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Genealogy of a Poinsett Family - page 37 / 84





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in PA, was 33, Rebecca was 11, Charles was 9, Thomas was 6, and Sarah was 3. Thomas is shown (incorrectly) as born in New York, as is Sarah (correctly). Living with the Poinsetts was a 16 -year -old girl, Sarah Haur, from Germany. According to The Sharples Genealogy, Thomas Gabriel conducted business in Buffalo under the name of “Poinsett and Canady." In the Buffalo city directories for 1851-52 he is listed as a pianoforte maker for Keogh & Co. and living at 31 Seventh. The 1854 Buffalo directory curiously lists “Rosina Poynsett” as the widow of Thomas G., living on Terrace near Genesee. In 1855 and 1856 he is resurrected and is listed as piano tuner for J. Sage & Sons at 55 E. Seneca; in 1857, 1859 and 1860 his residential address is 65 Eleventh and he is listed as piano tuner; Thomas G. is not listed in the city directory for 1858.

They moved to Missouri in 1860. Thomas G., Rosina, and the two sons, Charles, age 18, and Thomas, age 17, appear in the 1860 census for Cape Girardeau Co (but not Rebecca Ann, then 21, and the four youngest children; perhaps they were left behind in Buffalo to finish school that year or remained behind in the care of Rebecca Ann until the new place was settled). Thomas G. is listed as 47 years of age; his profession is stated as cabinetmaker. Wife Rosina was 44. They lived near the western edge of Cape Girardeau Co, and affiliated with St. John's Catholic church (that parish was established in 1856) in Leopold (then called Vinemont), in the adjoining Bollinger Co. 3 Based on numbering sequence in the 1860 census, the Poinsetts resided on a property next to that of Daniel R. Proffer - 64 and near that of Jackson Redman Proffer - 66, in Liberty Township, Cape Girardeau Co, MO.

Southern Missouri in the Civil War years, 1861 - 1865, was a very dangerous place, subject to harassment and violence from border gangs and raiders. Some communities were so regularly violated that they were abandoned. As noted later, my great-grandmother's first husband was killed by a renegade band during this terrible time. It is a curiosity as to why a piano maker who had lived in cities all his life would have moved to a very rural MO. I believe the reason may relate to the wealthy Mifflin family of Philadelphia, into which Rosina's sister had married. There are real estate transactions involving the Mifflins and Poinsetts, and Thomas may have taken his family to MO to occupy Mifflin land.

In the 1870 census Thomas Gabriel lists his profession as musician. He appears to have prospered well, having real estate worth $3,000 and personal property worth $2,500, substantial sums in those times. Listed as living with Thomas Gabriel and Rosina in 1870 are Ephraim, age 17, and Junius, age 14; both are shown as born in New York. This is surely a mistake for probably only James (in Latin “Junius”) Ephraim, age 16 (b 1852) was living with the family then; the two sons listed are probably the one son only.

At Jackson, MO, there are several recorded property transactions involving Poinsetts. The first land purchase I could find for Thomas Gabriel is 7 Mar 1865, when he bought


Bollinger Co was created largely from the western part of Cape Girardeau Co in 1851.


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