Two Wives

Have you ever tried to re-create your steps to a genealogy conclusion? As I’m working thru my research of my third grandfather, William G. Harding, I’m trying to re-create the research steps that has led me to conclude that he had two wives.

My research of William G. Harding’s family would have started with his daughter Julia. Researching Julia Harding Hutchinson is where my genealogy quest began. Her granddaughter, my grandmother, wanted to know where Julia was buried. Since my grandmother lost her mother at the age of 10, she knew very little about her mother’s family. The one piece of information that was recorded in the CURREY family Bible was that Winnie May (my grandmother’s mother) was born in 1871. The added location of birth was likely written in by my grandmother.

Starting with that lone piece of information, I began to learn about Winnie’s family and was able to identify her mother as Julia Harding Hutchinson. The 1880 census record for Mitchell county, Iowa shows a 9 year old Winnie Huchardson living in the household of Albert and Julia Huchardson. Julia was listed as a 40 year old born in New Brunswick. Back tracing, Julia and Albert were found on the 1860 census living in Black Hawk County, Iowa where they were married in 1859.

Julia’s place of birth was a key fact that helped me begin to identify her siblings and parents. Also living in Black Hawk county, Iowa in 1860 was the Wm G Harding family. Wm G Harding’s birthplace was listed as New Brunswick. The household also included:

  • Elizabeth Harding – age 38 and born in Scotland
  • Thomas Harding – age 21 and born in New Brunswick
  • Joseph Ponsford – age 19 and born in New Brunswick
  • Rachel Ponsford – age 16 and born in New Brunswick
  • Henry Harding – age 14 and born in New Brunswick
  • Walter Ponsford – age 13 and born in New Brunswick
  • Alexander H. Ponsford – age 10 and born in New Brunswick
  • Hattie Harding – age 3 and born in Wisconsin

Hearing about a genealogy of the Harding family of New Brunswick, I purchased a copy. This two volume work by Mrs. Raymond Caron and Brenda Caron is a descendancy of George and William Harding of New York and New Brunswick. In addition, this work provides a lot of historical information about these two men and how they became Loyalists during the revolutionary war and their eventual removal from New York to New Brunswick. While I had grand hopes of finding Julia Harding in this work, I was somewhat disappointed.

Below is the information for the only Julia Harding that could fit with what I already knew about Julia Harding Hutchinson.

Following the numbering system, I located the information for William Gillies Harding in the book.

While the book identifies a mother for Julia, it only indicates 2 children for William Gillies Harding. It also implies that the family left New Brunswick for Wisconsin shortly after 1830. Based on this information, I should have been able to find a Julia Harding in the household of a William Harding living in Wisconsin in 1850. Instead, the only census record of the time that I’ve found placing a young Julia Harding born in New Brunswick in the household of a William Harding is the 1851 census for Kings County, New Brunswick. That census record has the following living in the household:

  • William G. Harding – age 47
  • Caroline Harding – age 20
  • Abel Harding – age 18
  • Thomas Harding – age 16
  • Alijah Harding – age 14
  • Julia Harding – age 11
  • Isabella Harding – age 9
  • Henry Harding – age 5

While the 1860 census for William G. Harding has a potential wife, Elizabeth, listed in the household, the 1851 census does not list an Elizabeth as a potential wife. In addition, the 1851 census record does not list any female old enough to be the mother of all of the other members of the household.

Thus, additional records are needed to prove or disprove that the 1860 census, the information from the book and the 1851 census all piece together one family. The obituary for Mrs. Eliza Harding helps to explain the household found in the 1860 census.

Mr[s]. Eliza Harding, mother of Joseph and A. H. Ponsford, died at her residence, in Mt. Vernon twp., Monday morning at 6 o’clock, after a long sickness. Deceased was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1817, and came to this county with her husband, Wm. Harding, in 1858, and has resided on the same farm ever since. She leaves seven children, A. H. Ponsford, Mrs. W. H. Stickney, Minnie and Hattie Harding, all of this county, Jos. Ponsford and W. F. Ponsford of Kimball, and Mrs. Sarah Wilber, of Wisconsin.

“Deaths,” Iowa State Reporter (Waterloo, IA), 26 May 1887, page 7; digital image, NewspaperArchive ( : viewed online 5 August 2022).

Since several of the sons carry the PONSFORD surname, I believe that Eliza Harding’s marriage to Wm Harding was a second marriage. That would explain why there is an Elizabeth listed in the 1860 census but missing from the 1851 census.

During one of my trips to the Family History Library at Salt Lake, I discovered a deed that proves that the 1851 census and the 1860 census are the same family and that Eliza was the second wife!

Know all men by these presents; that Julia E. Flewwelling of
Nyack Rockland County New York have made constituted and
appointed and by these presents do make constitute and appoint
Abel Harding of Racine, State of Wisconsin my true and lawful
attorney for me and in my name, place and stead to sell my Farm
in Black hawk County, Iowa for the best price he can obtain for the
same either for all cash, or part cash and Bond and Mortgage
to secure the balance and to execute good and sufficient Deed to the
purchaser or purchasers thereof in my name and in my act an
Deed the proceeds of such sale to be divided into nine equal parts
and be distributed by my said Attorney as follows, one ninth to the wid
ow of William Harding of Waterloo Blackhawk County and one
ninth thereof to each of the eight children of said William Harding
viz: Caroline Spragg, Abel Harding, Thomas F Harding, Julia Hutch
ins, Isabella Palmer and Henry Harding (children by the first wife
of said William Harding) Hatty C Harding Minnie [T]Harding children
by his second wife
should a mortgage be taken by my said attorney, I
authorize and empower him to arrange with the said children to take
the same on account of their share in such proceeds or to convert said
mortgage in cash by assigning the same, as he shall deem best, giving
and granting unto my said attorney full power and authority to do

page 456
and perform all and every act and thing whatsoever requisite and
necessary to be done in and about the premises as fully to all intents and
purposes, as I might or could do if personally present, with full power
of substitution and revocation, hereby ratifying and confirming all that
my said attorney or his substitute shall lawfully do or cause to be done
by virtue hereof.
In Testimony, Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal the 22d
day of October in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty six
Julia E Flewwelling

W. S. Rev Stanit
$1.00 J E F Oct 22
Sealed and delivered in the presence of
W. Mackay
Rose S Maquire

State of New York
City and county of New York
I Charles Nettleson Commissioner for
Iowa in New York do hereby certify that on this twenty third day of October
A.D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty six it was satisfactorily
proved before me by the oath of W. Mackay personally known to me
to be a credible and disinterested witness and to be the person whose
name is subscribed to the within instrument as a witness thereto
that Julia E. Flewwelling now absent her residence being in Nyack,
Rockland County, New York is personally known to him to be the identical
person whose name is affixed to the within Instrument appointor
and that the same was executed by the said Julia E. Flewwelling
whose name is thereunto subscribed as appointer in the presence of said
W. Mackay who subscribed his name to such instrument as a witness
thereof at the date therein mentioned.
In Testimony Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed
my official seal this 23d day of October A.D. 1866
Charles Nettleson
Commissioner for Iowa in New York
Filed for Record Nov. 3d 1866 at 2 1/2 o’clock P.M.

Iowa, Black Hawk County. Deed records, 1853-1908. Film #1034556 DGS 795355. Julia Flewelling, 22 Oct 1866 Vol. Q: pages 455-456; digitized images, FamilySearch : viewed online 6 August 2022.

Thus, I believe the following:

  • William G. Harding had two wives. The first is likely Elizabeth Fowler as identified in the Harding Genealogy and the second is Eliza, mother of the Ponsford children.
  • The mother of Julia and her siblings Caroline, Abel, Thomas, Abigail, Isabella and William Henry, likely died before 1846 in New Brunswick and thus isn’t listed with the family on the 1851 census.
  • Elizabeth Fowler Harding is not buried in Black Hawk County, Iowa but likely buried in New Brunswick.

While the Flewwelling deed provides a wealth of information, more records are needed to support this family.


  1. Hiram Currey, Hiram Currey Family Bible (New York: American Bible Society, 1880); Marcia Philbrick, Seneca, KS, Family Record — Marriages “Hiram M. Currey and Angelina Jane Burke was married at Weston Missouri by the Rev. J. B. Write on the 3d day of August 1856”
  2. Mrs. Raymond Caron, author, Life and Times of George and William Harding: Newburgh, New York 767-1783 and Saint John, New Brunswick, Brenda Beryl Caron, 2 volumes (Westmont, Quebec: B. B. H. Caron, maybe 1980), Vol. 2 page 89 #2262 Julia Melinda.
  3. 1860 U.S. Census, Black Hawk County, Iowa, population schedule, Mt. Vernon Township, Black Hawk County, Iowa, page 118 Image 7 of 10, household 54, Wm G. Harding; digital image, ( : viewed online September 2016); NARA microfilm publication M653
  4. 1851 Canadian Census, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada, Canadian census, Westfield, Kings County, New Brunswick, 1851 Image 9 of 90, William Harding; digital image, ( : viewed online November 2017); Nova Scotia Archives and Record Management
  5. “Deaths,” Iowa State Reporter (Waterloo, IA), 26 May 1887, page 7; digital image, NewspaperArchive ( : viewed online 5 August 2022).
  6. Iowa, Black Hawk County. Deed records, 1853-1908. Film #1034556 DGS 795355. Julia Flewwelling, 22 Oct 1866 Vol. Q: pages 455-456; digitized images, FamilySearch : viewed online 6 August 2022.

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