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Who was the widow Larrabee? A genealogical puzzle solved

Amos Tyler is a sixth-generation descendant of George Abbott and Hannah Chandler: Gideon Tyler (5), Hannah (Stevens) Tyler (4), Nathan Stevens (3), Elizabeth (Abbott) Stevens (2), George and Hannah (1). He was born at Brookfield in 1784 son of Gideon and Esther (Hill) Tyler.

On 5 December 1807, according to a transcription of a record for Pelham in Hampshire County, Amos Tyler of Hinsdale expressed his intention to marry the widow of “Phinius” Larrabee. Who was this woman and was she really the widow of Phineas Larrabee? A search of vital records of Brookfield in Worcester County, Hinsdale in Berkshire County, New York probate records, and Massachusetts probate records led to the identify of the widow Larrabee (referred to as Mrs. Latherby in the Tyler genealogy).

The Hinsdale vital records contain listings under Tyler for the death of Amos on 4 July 1838, the death of “William A., only s. Wid. Tyler, Jan. 2, 1848, a. 41, in New York City,” and “Lucy A., consumption, Mar. 4, 1842, a. 35. [w. William A., d. James Wing.]” These are the only deaths for Tylers in the Hinsdale records up to 1849. A search of New York probate records resulted in the file for William A. Tyler who died intestate. Persis Tyler of Hinsdale, Massachusetts, a widow and the mother of William, and Cyrus Curtis of the city of New York and a friend of William A. Tyler assumed administration of the estate with letters of administration dated 22 February 1848. With the first name of Persis, it was then possible to locate the death record for Persis in the Hinsdale records where she died 26 August 1853 at age 89 years 5 months. The names of her parents were not listed on the death record.

A probate record including a will was located for Persis Tyler. Her will was written 7 April 1850 and the probate was in 1853. She left $200 to her nephew John R. Nichols of Lebanon, Connecticut; her niece Sophia Stone of Enfield, Massachusetts $100; to the heirs of Jonathan Larrabee of the state of New York, town unknown, $400; and to her niece Martha Banister of Ohio, town unknown, $100. There are other bequests to Edwin Hinsdale, Elizabeth Hinsdale, the missionary society, and Jane Hinsdale. There is a last bequest that if any of her heirs or grandchildren appear within two years after her decease, that they will receive a bequest of one dollar each. The residue of the estate goes to William Nichols and John C. Nichols.

With these names, some additional searching led to the conclusion that widow Larrabee was not the widow of Phineas Larrabee but was Persis Nichols the widow of Jonathan Larrabee. A marriage record was located in Brookfield for Persis Nichols and Jonathan Larrabee on 13 January 1785: “Jonathan and Parsis Nickols, Jan. 13, 1785.” The Brookfield records also provide evidence for two sons from this marriage in the form of baptisms on 6 July 1800: “Francis, s. ––––– and Persis, bp. July 6, 1800; James, s. ––––– and Persis, bp. July 6, 1800.” Persis’s own baptism occurred 27 April 1800: “Persis, adult, bp. Apr. 27, 1800.” There are records for James Larrabee the son of Jonathan and Persis Larrabee who was born in Lansingburg, New York in 1789 and married and had a family there. He died in 1826. There is confusion related to Francis who is listed as a son in the baptism record but other sources say that the child was Frances a daughter. No records of any kind were located for someone named Phineas Larrabee, but there are birth and military records for Jonathan Larrabee.

Persis Nichols was born at Brookfield, 19 March 1764 daughter of James and Ruth (Rich) Nichols. The 1798 will of James Nichols includes a bequest to his daughter “Parcy” the wife of Jonathan Larrabee.

Now for the part relating to the descendants of George Abbott and Hannah Chandler. What became of the son of Amos Tyler? Based on his age at time of death, William A. Tyler was born about 1808. He married at unknown date, Lucy Allis Wing, born at Dalton, Massachusetts, 4 May 1806 daughter of James and Lucy (Allis) Wing. Lucy died 4 March 1842. There are no children known for William and Lucy (Wing) Tyler. It appears that this is the end of the descendants from George Abbott for this branch.


Berkshire County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1761-1900 Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2017. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives. Digitized images provided by Probate of Persis Tyler, 1853, case number 7932

Cutter, William Richard. 1912. Genealogical and Family History of Central New York, volume 3, New York, Lewis Historical Publishing, pp 1490-1491

Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1841-1910. (From original records held by the Massachusetts Archives. Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004.)

New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999, Letters of Administration (New York County, New York), 1743-1866; Index, 1743-1910; Author: New York. Surrogate's Court (New York County); Probate Place: New York, New York, Letters volume 046, 1846-1847

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