The Havens Family

Our Little Cabin in the Big Internet Woods

George Havens

George Havens gravestone

By Michael Havens and Ross Havens

Born:     1810                       Father: Benjamin Havens (554)

Died:     1858                       Mother:  Penninah (Dixon?)

George (6127) was the youngest of seven children born to Benjamin Havens. George’s mother, Penninah, was his dad’s second wife, Benjamin’s first wife having died in 17931.  George was born in Benton, Ontario County, New York in 18102, 3.    It is not known exactly where or for how long the family lived there but by 1820 the family moved west to LeRoy, New York.  It is probable that they traveled the Genesee turnpike which was an old Indian trail running from Albany to Buffalo.  By the time George’s family traveled it, it had become a toll road for westward travel.  George, who was 10 by 1820, lived with his parents Benjamin and Penninah, brothers; Joseph (25), Rensselaer (20), and Benjamin (18), sisters; Peninnah (17), Lucretia?3, 4 (15), and an unknown girl between 16 and 25 years old5.

LeRoy is located southwest of what is today Rochester.  At the time George was growing up there, it was the frontier and had just been opened up to pioneers through the Holland purchase, a group of Dutch investment bankers who purchased more than 500,000 acres in western New York State for development.  It had been part of the large county of Ontario until 1803, when Genesee County was formed out of a portion.6  

George’s father, Benjamin, died just three years after the 1820 census at LeRoy, in 18237.  And in rather quick succession during this time frame, brothers Joseph, Rensselaer, and Benjamin, all left home to live on their own.  So, by 1830, George at 20 years old, was the head of household living with his mother, Penninah, and his sisters Peninnah (26) and Lucretia (25) and another girl, who was between 20 and 30 years old8.  George was either working the farm alone, or was involved in a temporary position elsewhere, leaving the farm dormant or letting out the land to other farmers.  Just one year later in 1831, George’s mother, Penninah passed away, and was buried in the Buell Cemetery next to her husband Benjamin9.   Also that same year his sister Peninnah left home to marry Hemen Buell.10  They moved to Akron in the Town of Newstead, Erie County, where he served as an early Mayor.

The run at the LeRoy farm was rapidly coming to an end.  George met and married Elizabeth Salisbury sometime between 1830 and 1832.  Elizabeth was from Rose, New York and her lineage could be traced all the way back to Charles the fourth11.  By 1833, when their first child, William Delos, was born, George and Elizabeth had left LeRoy and traveled the Genesee Turnpike about twenty miles further west, to Pembroke in Erie County12.  After oldest son William Delos, the next three children were born in 2 year intervals.  In 1835, daughter Elvira was born.  She was followed by second son Joseph in 1837, and then Rensselaer in 1839.  So by 1840 this was a family of six with four children seven and under13.  These were certainly busy, but altogether good years for George as the family established themselves in the Pembroke area.

But sadly, in 1844, Elizabeth died at the very young age of 3214.  How she died is not known.  If it was during childbirth, there is no record of a child being born at this time.  But her loss must have been devastating to the family, and it was fortunate that during this time the families of brother Joseph and sister Peninnah were in nearby Newstead for support, just as George’s family had been there to support Joseph’s family when his wife Polly passed away in 1835. 

Perhaps because of Elizabeth’s death, or driven by other factors, George moved his family just a few miles across the county line to the west of Newstead near to his brother Joseph and sister Peninnah.  It was at this time that George met and married a young woman by the name of Saphronia Brown15 and they were blessed with a baby boy, Horace, on June 9, 185016.  And so by 1850 this family of seven was living in Newstead17, probably along an area known today as Havens Road.  By now William Delos is old enough to be helping run the farm, along with a German farmer, Sebastian Lester, who appears to be a boarder working the farm with George.  So there are several hands along with the younger sons to work the farm. 

Another daughter, Helen, is born to George and Saphronia in 1854 and by 1855 William Delos, Elvira and Sabastian Lester have left and are living on their own18.  Joseph, Rensselaer, Horace and Helen remain at home with the two oldest boys now of sufficient age to help their dad run the farm.  However in those days, tragedy was never far off.  Sadly, George died in 185819. He was only 48 years old.  His youngest son Horace was only eight and his daughter Helen only five.  He is buried beside his first wife Elizabeth in Akron at the Ledge Lawn Cemetery on Route 5 very near to Havens Road, where brother Joseph, and likely George owned their farms20.   His little daughter Helen followed him to the grave three short years later and is buried next to him. 

There is an important note to be added to this biography that George’s brother Joseph named one of his sons George as well.  Thus this younger George is a namesake. Further,  George (the younger), born in 1839, continued to farm the land on Havens Road in Newstead long after his father Joseph had died.20  Because of the existence of these two George’s who both had farmed in Newstead, it can be easy to confuse the two, and their related, but separate histories. 




George was born in 1810.  The date is not recorded on his gravestone, but 1810 is supported by family records, and several census records. According to the 1855 NY State census he was born in Ontario County, New York.  His family, including stats that account for him,  is also found in the 1810 Federal census for Benton, New York

1820 LeRoy

The 1820 Federal Census shows a male 10-15 (George),  3 males 16-25 (Joseph, Rensselaer, and Benjamin Dixon), a female 10-15 (Lucretia) and 2 females 16-25 (daughter Peninnah and one more unknown girl) living in LeRoy, New York with his father Benjamin and mother Penninah.

1823 Father

George’s father, Benjamin, dies and is buried in the Buell family cemetery on Route 5 in LeRoy.

1830 Residence

1830 Federal Census shows 20 yr. old George as Head of mother Penninah’s LeRoy household, living there with older sister Peninnah (who will marry Hemen Buell the following year) and Lucretia.  His brothers, have grown up and left home.

1831 Mother

Mother Penninah dies on October 25 and she is buried next to her husband in the Buell cemetery.  The LeRoy family farm closes down, or is sold, and George prepares to marry and move to the Akron area.

1830-1832 Marriage

Sometime after 1830 but before the birth of their first child, George marries Elizabeth Salisbury and moves to farm the land in Pembroke, Erie County, just south and east of Akron.

1833 William Delos

Son William Delos is born in Erie County per the 1875 NY State Census. He grows up preferring the name Delos, though some censuses will list him as William D.

1835 Newstead

Based on data in the 1855 NYS census, It is possible that George moved the few miles across the county line from Pembroke to Newstead in this year. However, this is not in agreement with the 1840 census, which still has the family living in Pembroke (Genesee County).

1835 Elvira

Daughter Elvira is born.

1837 Joseph

Second son Joseph is born in (Erie County?)

1839 Rensselaer

Third son Rensselaer is born in (Erie County?)

1840 Residence

1840 Federal Census is the first record to verify at least temporary residence in Genesee county at Pembroke, just 3 or 4 miles to the east of Newstead in Erie County. Why the discrepancy exists between this record and children’s Erie County birth is not understood.

1844 Wife

Elizabeth tragically dies at the very young age of 32.

1845-1849 Re-marriage

George marries second wife Saphronia prior to the birth of George’s last son Horace in 1849.

1849 Horace

George’s youngest son, and first child with Saphronia, is born in Erie County.

1850 Residence

George is living in Newstead, Erie County, New York. It is not known at what time he made the move from Pembroke, but it seems possible to have been coincidental with his marriage to Saphronia.

1854 Helen

Youngest child Helen is born in Erie County.

1855 Residence

1855 NY State census for Newstead shows children Joseph, Rensselaer, Horace and Helen all still living at home with George and Saphronia. William Delos has left home. George says he has lived in Newstead for 20 years which, if true, means he moved there in 1835. Yet the same census states that all of the children, including Joseph and Rensselaer, were born in Erie County, not Genesee County, (see note 12 below for further explanation).  They owned their own land and lived in a frame house.

1858 George

George dies young at 48 years of age and is buried in Ledge Lawn Cemetery beside first wife Elizabeth.

1.        “History of the Havens Family of Suffolk County”, B.S. Havens, 1975 p. 29.  Benjamin’s first wife was Lucretia Payne with whom he had his first child Nancy-6121.  The Havens book also lists sister Lucretia-6122, brother Benjamin Dixon-6123, brother Joseph-6124 and three unknown children, presumably Peninnah-6125, Rensselaer-6127 and George-6126.

2.        1855 New York State census, Newstead, Erie, New York p. 12. This census also  lists Ontario County as George’s place of birth. It is presumed that his father, Benjamin, left Shelter island for upstate New York sometime between 1793 when Lucretia died and 1810 when George was born. It is unknown where and when he married George’s mother Penninah though it was before 1795 when his older brother Joseph was born.

3.        1810 Federal census, Benton, Ontario County, NY,  p. 1.  This census lists George’s father and family living in Benton, Ontario County. The record incorrectly lists Benton as being in Oneida County.  The 1855 census lists Ontario County as George’s place of birth.

4.        While Benjamin did have a daughter named Lucretia (B. Havens p.29), it is not known that this is that daughter.  Her birthdate is estimated based on the 1820 census data.  The case for her being Lucretia is that she has to be listed in the census somewhere and so an educated guess places her here where she fits in the census.  The case against this being Lucretia is that B. Havens lists her as the second child and this has her as the sixth.  Also there is a question of whether Lucretia was born of first wife Lucretia Payne since it seems unusual that Benjamin’s second wife Penninah would desire a child named after his first wife.  Therefore Lucretia is placed here but with reservations.

5.        1820 Federal Census, LeRoy  p. 7

6.        “Wikipedia”, History of Genesee County, New York.

7.        Benjamin’s Headstone in Buell Cemetery, Rte. 5, LeRoy, Genesee, NY

8.        1830 Federal census for LeRoy, Genesee, New York

9.        Penninah’s Headstone in Buell Cemetery, Rte. 5, LeRoy, Genesee, NY

10.     Sherard Willis (Sands Thru Our Hourglass) Family Tree, owner Peggy Sherard,

11.     “The Havens Family, Our Little Cabin in the Big Internet Woods by Robert F. Havens.

12.     1875 NY State census p. 18.  In this record William Delos claimed to have been born in Erie County, and the first residence found is in the 1840 Federal census, showing them living about 4 miles to the east of Newstead, just across the county line into Genesee County, in the town of Pembroke.  Yet, not only does son William Delos claim to be born in Erie County, but George himself claims that his second and third sons Joseph and Rensselaer were also born there. These sons were born in 1837 and 1839 respectfully.  Further evidence to support this is found in the same state census, where George claimed that he has been a resident there for 20 years, or back at least to 1835.  This denies any existence of the Pembroke residence at least until that time.  Thus, the Pembroke residence is somewhat of a mystery, although there is only a difference of a few miles between there and Newstead.  It is likely that George moved to Pembroke prior to 1833 when William Delos was born and remained there until at least 1840 when he is found in that year’s Federal census.  His statement in 1855 of living there for twenty years may have meant in that general area encompassing both Pembroke and Newstead, though the census clearly states, “how many years living in this city or town”.

13.     1840  Federal Census Town of Newstead, Erie, New York

14.     Elizabeth’s Headstone, Ledge Lawn Cemetery, Akron, Erie, NY

15.     Horace E. Havens Headstone, Find A Grave Index, This site lists Sophia (Saphronia) Havens’ maiden name as Brown.  According to the 1840 Federal census there was an Ebenezer Brown living in Newstead in 1840 who had two daughters between 20 and 30.  Saphronia was 28 at this time.  The 1850 census shows that both girls have left home. It is possible that while visiting brother Joseph or sister Peninnah in Newstead that he met Saphronia and it may also explain why he moved there from Pembroke.   It is possible therefore that Ebenezer Brown was Saphronia’s father, however Saphronia’s maiden name is still not definitively proven to be Brown. 

16.     Horace E. Havens Headstone, Find A Grave Index,

17.     1850 Federal Census, Town of Newstead, Erie, New York p. 19

18.     1855 New York State census, Newstead New York p. 12

19.     George’s Headstone, Ledge Lawn Cemetery, Akron , Erie, NY

20.     Personal conversation with John Eckerson, Akron Town Historian, 1999. Mr Eckerson was very aware of George (the younger, b 1839), but had no knowledge of the older George (the subject of this biography).  He indicated that the house from which George (the younger) had farmed was indeed on Havens road and that he continued to farm the land long after his father Joseph had died.  According to Mr Eckerson, the house is still standing on the west side of the road and is inhabited today.

Michael & Ross Havens 12/4/14 edition


Headstone Restored

George Havens repaired gravestone

Click image to enlarge.

Thanks to the effots of Michael Havens, the fractured headstone pictured to the left, has been repaired.

Havens Ancestry
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