29 March 2009

The Family of William H. Imlay, For Whom Imlay City, Lapeer Co., Michigan, Is Named

Who knew what lurked behind this article (partially reprinted below) in the Brooklyn Eagle (NY) newspaper, authored by Philo Hotchkiss?

Who was Philo Hotchkiss and why was he writing about Lapeer? Mr. Hotchkiss did mention that his father-in-law was a very wealthy man and that he " owned over 30,000 acres of Michigan land, all that the city of Lapeer is built on." Who was his father-in-law? To find out who his father-in-law was, I first discovered more about Philo Hotchkiss.

In 1850 Philo Hotchkiss was living with his parents and grandparents:
1850 CT New Haven, Meriden
Pratt, Philo, 55, manufacturer, b. CT
", Sarah, 50
Hotchkiss, Thomas, 39
", Louisa, 29
", Philo, 12
", Luther, 10
", Adeline, 6
(& 2 others)

A further search for Philo Hotchkiss revealed that he was living in Brooklyn with his wife, Georgianne and children Alice and George in 1880:

1880 NY Brooklyn, Kings
Philo P. HOTCHKISS Self M W 41 CT Merchant CT CT
Georgianne I. HOTCHKISS Wife M W 46 CT K'P'G. House CT NY
Alice I. HOTCHKISS Dau S W 15 CT At Home CT CT
Geo. I. HOTCHKISS Son S W 14 CT At Home CT CT

A lawsuit*, to which the Brooklyn Eagle article referred, identified Georgianne as the daughter of William H. Imlay. So William H. Imlay was Philo Hotchkiss's father-in-law. Imlay City and Imlay Township in Lapeer Co. are both named after William Imlay.

1850 CT Census - Hartford Co., Hartford City
Imlay, William H., age 70, retired merchant, $150,000, b. CT
", Mrs., age 57, b. NY
", Eleanor, 22, b. CT [b. Apr 1823]
", Georgianna, 20, b. CT
", Adelaide, 18, b. CT [1829 - 1851?]
", Isabella, 16, b. CT
", Alice, 12, b. CT [1836 - 1864]
", (Frederick) Clarence, 22, b. CT [b. 9 Dec 1827; d. 1 June 1915]
(and other unrelated persons)

William H. Imlay's wife was Phoebe Hicks, born 22 March 1783. They were married 3 Oct 1816; she died 4 Sept. 1858. [From the Hicks Genealogy] Mr. Imlay was born 15 Jan 1780 and died 4 Sept. 1858, son of William & Mary (Nevins) Imlay. See William H. Imlay's bio.

The lawsuit* also mentioned that eventually the trustee responsibility for Mr. Imlay's estate was transferred to Mr. Hotchkiss who married one of three heiresses, Georgianna, (Alice died w/o issue; Isabel died but left issue) of William H. Imlay of Hartford, CT. Why the other children weren't mentioned I do not know. Mr. Hotchkiss was convicted of grand larceny and sent to prison and therefore was removed as a trustee upon application of Alice Richards, daughter of Georgianna (Imlay) Hotchkiss.

The February 18, 1916, issue of the New York Times had a brief obituary for Mrs. Georgianna (Imlay) Hotchkiss, stating that she died at the home of her grandson, W. L. Richards. This death notice stated that she (the widow of Philo Pratt Hotchkiss) and died Wednesday, February 16, 1916.

Eleanor Imlay, another daughter of William H. Imlay, married George Taylor in New York on 13 February 1851; the family was in Washington, D.C., in 1870:

1870 District of Columbia Census
Taylor, George, 49, lawyer, b. VA, $100,000
", Eleanor, 43, b. CT
", Frederick W., 16
", Richard, 14
", Eleanor, 10
", Mary, 4**

There was a legal issue with George Taylor's estate in 1896 in Washington, D.C., and the heirs are listed. One listed , Mary Imlay Taylor, was an author. (**Read books by Mary Imlay Taylor online).

Imlay City will have an entirely different now that I know "the rest of the story."

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