|Birth: ||Dec., 1823|
|Death: ||Apr. 10, 1902|
He died on April 10, 1902, and 40 later years to the day, his great granddaughter, my biological mother, was born.
Born in Delaware County Pennsylvania, William Storkey III is part of the father-son chain of William Storkey-s. The above year of birth for him is surmised based on records stating he was 78 at time of death. William was about age 44-47 at the time of his son's birth - the son being William Hamilton Storkey IV (b. 12-21-1868). He is William Hamilton Storkey III. That makes him my grandpa's grandpa, or my great great grandpa.
Our family name seems to have been spelled both Starkey and Storkey in the 1700's and 1800's, stablizing with the latter spelling in the late 1800's.
In 1840, his father heads the household in Aston, Delaware County. This is the last census where household members were not enumerated and named, so I can only assume young son William, age 17 is there. Here they are indexed as Starkey.
As an adult of 27, this William heads his own household #127 of the count, in 1850 in Thornbury, Delaware County Pennsylvania with his Ohio-born wife Barbara (age 20) and their daughter Georgeanna who is not yet a year old. His parents live in the same town, at house #132, laborer William and wife Mary, ages 58 and 43 respectively.
The 1856 MacElroy city directory shows us that by that year (and probably earlier), he had made the leap from Delaware County up to Roxborough, living then on Wissahickon avenue as a farmer. It's been said he received land in Roxborough from his wife's parents, inducing the relocation. His first wife, Barbara was noted on the previous census as having been born in Ohio, so how it was her family owned land in Roxborough is a search for another day.
The 1860 census shows him as a farmer, age 37 in the 21st ward (Manayunk/Roxborough section) of Philadelphia (no address, just household number 216, and no street is given). He lives with his then-wife, his first wife, Barbara, age 30. Their children are Georgeanna Storkey (age 10) and Mary E. Storkey (age 8). Mary Hiess, age 36 is also present, and believed to be his wife Barbara's sister. Barbara would die a few years later, in 1864, the same year she had her last daughter, so possibly she died in childbirth, or of complications relating to it.
A single man raising three girls alone in the 1860's? Not a chance. William would marry again a few years later, on March 7, 1867; I can say this with certainty having seen his marriage certificate, the paperwork and marriage performed by A. W. Milby, Minister of the Gospel. His wife is listed as "Mrs. Mary Ann Lehman". Whether she had been married before or the good pastor wrote this erroneously is yet to be investigated.
But backing up a bit... without doing a search of land records, it was hard to say where this land was that William farmed in Roxborough. 1863 Civil War records (showing registration, not that he served) show him as a 40 year old farmer on Paper Mill Road which is in the Roxborough part of Philadelphia.
In 1870 William again is in Philadelphia's 21st ward working as a farmer, and the family is indexed as "Starkey". William appears with his second wife Mary. The household is comprised of himself (age 49), new wife Mary (35), daughters Anna (Georgeanna from the last census, age 20 who would go on to marry into the Swaincotts), Elizabeth (Mary E from the last census, age 18 who would marry into the Weirs), and Ella (age 14, who would marry into the Adairs). Father William's daughters are all working in a paper mill. Along with the girls in the home, are son William (age 2 and thus the child of William's second wife) and a 69 year old Christoph, who was the uncle of the elder William, and brother of William II who stayed behind in Delaware County. Family lore is that the muzzle-loading musket that has been handed down the generations came from an Uncle Chris who "came up from down South" with it.
If this William had been waiting for a son, he finally got one with his second wife, when he was near age 47, 12 years after the birth of his youngest daughter. It is this 12 year difference which accounts for why all of my great grandpa's cousins are older than him. My great grandpa then went on to have his son in 1910 when he was in his forties too, just like his father, which is why my grandpa had the same issues, only compounded by the previous generation. My dear grandpa was truly the baby of the family, separated from them by two successive men who were fathering late in life. In any case, kudos to this William for his son, because that son ensured the continuance of the family name for three more generations before it petered out, to be enjoyed by him, his son my great grandpa, my grandpa and my uncle.
The 1880 census shows William as a laborer, age 58, living with his second wife Mary Storkey, age 47, and son Willie H. Storkey, by now age 13. The girls have all married and left. Again, there is no address listed except that theirs was the 8th home on Ridge Avenue to be enumerated. You have to skim a few pages more to house number 27 to see the household of Benjamin Brey, whose daughter Alice would become the wife of young Willie.
The 1883 directory of Manayunk, Roxborough and Falls of Schuylkill shows a listing for "Storkey, William, coachman, Ridge ave below Ship lane, Roxborough". It is assumed to correspond to our subject here, as his son of the same name would have been only age 16- an age some boys might indeed have been working, but the listings usually correspond to a head of household, so it is probably the father who was indeed still alive at the time. This would represent a career change for him, from farmer to laborer to coachman, and might be a result of his advancing years and need for a less strenuous line of work. He would have been about 59 at this time.
A sidebar paragraph - Where he lived in 1883, at the intersection of Ridge and Ship is today Ridge and Port Royal due to a street name change. Also at that corner is Roxborough Presbyterian church and graveyard, where no Storkeys seem to have attended or been buried... though many years later my grandpa and his bride would marry in the manse (pastor's quarters). Also on this corner was The Ship tavern (after the street name, or perhaps the street was named for that tavern). My great grandpa, our subject's son, had some involvement in tavern keeping known only because of his acquisition of a tavern in downtown Philadelphia, and his appearance on the 1910 census as a bartender in New Jersey, so I wonder if his early years had him in contact with The Ship. Anyway, while time has faded details, I once knew this area well, having lived nearby for about 3 years after college, and it floors me to know now that I walked every day where my ancestors did, an oddity when you consider I was not from the area, and raised about 50 miles north.
Normally there would be a big gap in time here in William's narrative, because the 1890 census has been lost. New information came to light in November of 2013, however, and it tells us when William got his last home. In the "Whitemarsh" column, the Conshohocken Recorder reported on April 1, 1892:
"Calvin Hart, the popular farmer for W. C. Hamilton has removed to Marble Hall (Note: next to Barren Hill), where he is farming for himself. Mr. Storkey, another employee, will in a few days move to his own home, on Shawmont avenue."
This item is a curiosity to me for another reason; the middle name of "Hamilton" has been said to be part of the name of the string of William Hamilton Storkey-s, yet I can find no evidence of anyone using it other than my grandpa, and his father (who is this gentleman's son). Was the middle name conferred to my great grandpa in 1867 because of the Storkey affiliation with the W. C. Hamilton farming operation? My initial thought was "I need to find more about W. C. Hamilton of Whitemarsh" but then I realized I already knew him, as he is the same man whom I thought my great grandpa's sisters worked for, as they are recorded on the 1870 census as working at a mill and are only a few households away from Mr. Hamilton's. He is here. When I look for information about William C. Hamilton, results all deal with his paper mills, not farming. More to search later. But this move of 1892 means William Storkey was getting up in years, about 68, and he may have been thinking of his new place as his retirement home or the place his son would inherit.
And one more thing... an 1896 New York Herald article about William's employer Mr. Hamilton covers his golden anniversary and states that his home was at Ridge and Port Royal, which is exactly where William Storkey had earlier lived before he moved in 1892, so this all fits. (This article has been placed on Mr. Hamilton's memorial.)
One other point: this new land and home transaction is in the Philadelphia land grant books, recorded as two transactions between buyer/grantee William Storkey and seller/grantor C. J., C. T. or C. F. Jones. One wonders why it was two transactions because it was two land parcels.
William makes his last census appearance in 1900, and his occupation is grimly listed as "invalid". He is listed as born December 1823, age 75, Mary age 67. They show as being married 55 years (a mistake for sure, probably reflecting when William was first married) and have one child at home, their only child in common, last child William. Mary herself, who had been married before, and had brought her child Ella to the marriage and then had a son with our William, here reports having given birth to only one, and reports that child alive. That seems a mistake or misunderstanding. Perhaps the question seemed to be "How many children are in this home?" or "How many children did you have together?" In any case, that child at home is William (my great grandpa) who is with them, age 31, with his wife, Sarah, age 29, and they have been married 11 years with no children. No address is listed for the home, only Shawmont appears in the margin, and the house is about 10 households away from the Roxborough Poor House which is known to have been one half mile east of Ridge avenue, on Shawmont. This was a small true poorhouse which did not care for the mentally ill, and had a real potter's field. Ridge and Shawmont is also the home of Ridge Avenue Methodist Church so the family again was neighboring a house of worship, though whether they had active memberships there is not known. It is where my great grandpa, their son was baptized when he was age 5, which suggests some participation, if only getting the boy "done".
Sadly, William's second wife Mary A. Storkey (right age, same street of residence, Shawmont, same doctor and undertaker, and burial in same cemetery) died March 12, 1902, so he followed her not even a month later. Paralysis was listed as his cause of death, suggesting possibly a stroke.
Both of William's wives are interred at Leverington Cemetery in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. It's known from family knowledge that he is as well, but no stone has been found for him yet. Both of his wives have marked graves that have been found, but he does not appear to be with them, at least he has no stone. His wife who died shortly before him has one; perhaps it was taxing financially to the family to pay for another.
Of his death, the Ambler Gazette of April 17, 1902 had this to say on page 4, referencing his daughter Georgeanna:
Broad Axe (PA). Mrs. William Swaincott and family spent Monday in Roxborough attending the funeral of her father, the late Mr. William Starkey.
Appearances in Philadelphia Directories:
55 - Starkey, Greentree la bel Ridge av
56 - Starkey, Wissahickon lane
57 - Starkey, Wissahickon Lane
60 - Storkley, Wissahickon Pike
William Storkey (1794 - 1861)
Mary Storkey (1798 - 1882)
Barbara Kiess Storkey (____ - 1864)
Mary Ann Keely Storkey (____ - 1902)
Mary E Storkey Weir (____ - 1928)*
Georgeanna Storkey Swaincott (1850 - 1924)*
William Hamilton Storkey (1867 - 1937)*
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Jun 21, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14667493