This post will deal specifically with Nancy J. Beatty’s father James. Mother Rebecca will be in the next post.
The family, based on the few records I found:
James Beatty born abt 1830 in Ireland
Rebecca Beatty born abt 1826 in Ireland
Elizabeth Angeline Beatty born Dec 1849
Jane Isabella Beatty christened 18 May 1851, d. before the 1860 census.
Nancy M. J. Beatty born 9 Aug 1853
Caroline Beatty born about 1859
William J. Beatty born about 1861
James and Rebecca appear together on the 1850 and 1860 census records.1,2 These are the only two census records on which I can definitively locate James Beatty. I have listed his birth based on the oldest record.
As for his place of birth – this is an ongoing controversy among the few people researching this line. On the two census records, James, or his wife, list his place of birth as Ireland. Beginning in about 1880, his adult children consistently begin to list his place of birth as Canada. The family trees provided on Ancestry are a real mixed bag when it comes to James.
One researcher, Don C. Beatty (now dec’d) spent years working this specific family group and proposed the following in a 1999 email, “Beatty name may be assumed after the war to hide true identity. He may have been the son of a British sailor who deserted after the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813 (or 1812) and lived in Ontario Province, Canada. James Beatty was born in Canada in 1829, and therefore was NOT a son of Andrew, but rather the son of a British sailor who deserted after the British lost the Naval Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. There are records of a least two Beatty’s who deserted, descendants of some settled in Ontario, and later North Eastern Ohio.”3
I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusions that Don has drawn; although, it is possible. James Beatty may indeed have been an Irishman born in Canada, or he might simply have been an Irishman who immigrated through Canada. I would like to see all the evidence involved in this before I make a decision. Until then, I’m leaving him as born in Ireland based on records that were created while James was still alive.
As for his death – this one I’m comfortable with for a couple reasons. Prior to beginning my research, my father-in-law provided me a basic family tree and then as we went through that tree he related family stories. His mother Viola had told him that Anna Mary Beatty Shaffer told her, that her grandfather (Anna’s) had been hit by a train. I found the following article from the 12 November 1861, Indiana Register:4
Warning – graphic content!
RAILROAD ACCIDENT. MAN KILLED. On last Thursday about 4 o’clock, as the evening train on the Branch was going South, a man named JAMES BEATTY was run over by the cars near Reed’s Station. The deceased had been in town during the early part of the day, and became intoxicated, and attempted to walk between the rails to his home three miles down the road. As the engineer neared the station he blew the whistle and looked back to get the signal from the conductor if he had passengers for the station, and on turning around he discovered the man within about thirty yards lying on the track. He immediately whistled down the brakes and reversed the engine, but it was too late–the train passed over the unfortunate man, crushing him badly; his bowels and liver being torn out and strewn along the road, and the body litterally cut in two above the hips. JAMES E. COULTER, ESQ., immediately summoned a jury and hastened to the spot, attended by Dr. St. Clair, who made a post mortem examination and dressed up the body. After the examination had been made and testimony taken, the jury returned a verdict in accordance with the facts above stated. No blame whatever is attached to the company of the employees on the train. This is the first accident of the kind that has ever occured on the Branch between this place and Blairsville.
No family information was provided in this article, nor have I found any other information regarding his funeral or his interment. My best guess is that he is in the Plumcreek Presbyterian Church Cemetery in an unmarked grave, as this is where his children were baptized, and it is also the location of other family members who died during this time.
Further research is needed, and I plan on checking with Indiana County to see if there might be copies of the coroner’s jury paperwork or a death registration. I found no will for James.
1. 1850 U.S. census, Indiana, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Washington Twp, p. 220, dwelling 141, family 141, James Baty; digital images, Ancestry (http//www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 785.
2. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Burrell, p. 72, dwelling 258, family 251, James Beaty; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1116.
3. Email 6 Aug 1999 Don C. Beatty.
4. “Railway Accident – James Beatty,” The Indiana Register, 12 Nov 1861, p. 1; digital images, USGenWeb Archives (http://files.usgwarchives.org/pa/indiana/papers/indianaregister/registersepdec1861.tx : accessed 18 Dec 2011).