Friday, June 28, 2013


© Kathy Duncan, 2013

The quest to identify Azariah Holcomb's parentage is ongoing. Azariah Holcomb was born in Missouri in 1800. According to his bible, Azariah married Susan on 20 April 1819, location unknown. He and his family are found in Newton County, Missouri on the 1840 census and McDonald County, Missouri on  the 1850 and 1860 censuses.

To date, no documentation has been found to link Azariah Holcomb to his parents despite the fact that many researchers link him to Azariah Holcomb and Christina Shephard. In the absence of any documentation to link Azariah with his parents, it becomes necessary to link him to his siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or in-laws in the hopes that these people will eventually lead to his parents.

For many years I suspected that James Pool, the blacksmith for the Senecas and Delawares, was Azariah's brother-in-law. Proximity suggested that Enoch and Nathaniel Holcomb who were also in the Elk Over Township of Newton County, Missouri might be his brothers.

As luck would have it, Enoch Holcomb died intestate and without a surviving wife or children so that his estate was divided between his siblings. That estate settlement was filed in the probate court of St. Louis County, Missouri in 1852, case #03827B, and is readily available on the Missouri Digital Heritage site in the Missouri Judicial Records.

The settlement lists Enoch Holcomb's siblings in the following order:

Isaac Holcomb, brother
Nathaniel Holcomb, brother
Azariah Holcomb, brother
Hannah wife of James Scagg, sister
Esther Jamison, sister - notation in margin reads "dead pay children"
Phoebe Pool's children - notation in margin reads "dead"

In addition to the sibling groups listed above, some or all of the Holcombs had a younger half-brother named James Brown.

Another page the probate papers provides locations for the Holcomb siblings:
"Isaac Holcomb brother of decd who resides in St. Louis County and Nathaniel Holcomb brother of decd who resides in California and Azariah Holcomb and Hannah wife of James Scagg and the children of Esther Jameson who was a sister of decd who reside in the South western part of the state of Missouri and the children of Phoebe Pool whose residence is unknown to me."

Research puts this sibling group in the following birth order (I will be opening links to each of these children, which will take you to more information. I will open them beginning with the siblings that I know the least about and work backward to those for whom I have the most information. The last to open will be pages for Nathaniel, Azariah, and Phoebe's husband James Pool):

Esther Holcomb b.c. 1796 in Tennessee
Enoch Holcomb b.c. 1799 in Missouri
Azariah Holcomb b.c. 1800 in Missouri
Isaac Holcomb b.c. 1803 in Missouri
Nathaniel Holcomb b.c. 1805 in Missouri
Phoebe Holcomb's exact birth year cannot be determine because she died prior to the 1850 census. On the 1840 census she is 30 - 39 years old which places her birth between 1801 and 1809. Since Phoebe married James Pool in 1824, her birth date would be closer to 1801, making her between 24 and 14 at the time of her marriage.
Hannah Holcomb b.c. 1812 in Missouri
James Brown  b.c. 1818 in Missouri

James Brown is named as a brother of Phoebe Pool's in a lawsuit brought against her children and James Pool after her death. Brown was also a guardian for her younger children. When Phoebe Holcomb married James Pool in Ste Genevieve County, Missouri in 1824, she married in the home of Benaja C. Brown, who was most likely her step-father.

James Brown, even though he was living at the time of Enoch Holcomb's death, is not named as his brother in Enoch's probate papers. This may be because James Brown was not his brother. This would happen if they had different mothers. The minimum five year gap between the births Nathaniel Holcomb in 1805 and Phoebe Holcomb who was born no earlier than 1810 suggests that their mother was either having a series of miscarriages or stillbirths, or it suggests the death of their father's first wife and a remarriage. The gap between Hannah Holcomb and James Brown's births suggests that Hannah's father died during or after 1812, and her mother remarried to Benaja C. Brown by 1817.

So who is the father of the Holcomb children? For starters, this group of siblings do not belong to Azariah and Christina (Sheppard) Holcomb, nor can Azariah and Christina Holcomb be placed in Missouri from 1799 to 1812. However, a Nathaniel Holcomb is in Missouri during that time period and is deceased prior to 1819 when Titus Strickland petitioned the U.S. Congress for confirmation for a title to land in Missouri on behalf of his guardians, who were the heirs of Nathaniel Holcum. This Nathaniel Holcomb is my best candidate.

I contacted the archives which houses the American State Papers and spoke to a researcher who checked all of the appropriate files and found no surviving documents from this petition. He stated that this was understandable since Congress took no action on the petition.

The next step in this search should be for documents that link Nathaniel Holcomb and his heirs. This might be through probate papers or the guardianship records between Titus Strickland and the minor children. Since Titus Strickland his their guardian, is he also a relative?  My hope is that this blog entry will bring together a collective of researchers who did not previously know we were connected to each other and that we can work together to solve this problem.

The Two Azariah Holcombs


  1. Kathy,

    Checked-out your blog - very nice - I agree with you that your Azariah is not the son of Azariah and Christina. That Azariah (born 1799) could very well exist, he is just not yours. One other comment, I wonder if it is possible that these siblings (Enoch and Azariah, for example) were actually born in Missouri in 1799 and 1800; only because that was still French territory. I have pioneers who ventured west from Virginia/Kentucky about that same time to Saint Clair County (about half of present day Illinois and then claimed by Virginia). They were very near Saint Louis but on the US side. From their story, I know that the area was very sparsely populated and if-fact, the first white settler there was William Scott and his party in 1797. I am speculating and you may have proof, but would your ancestors have settled in French territory at that time?

  2. I suspect the Azariah who was the son of Azariah and Christina was the Azariah in Warren Co., PA. My Azariah and his siblings, who were living in 1850 (except for sister Esther Jamison), reported their birth place as Missouri on the census. I think they were identifying the area of the French territory that became Missouri.