Continuing on about my brick walls, The Three Sarahs, let me introduce the next Sarah.
She has eluded me for years.
Sarah Tuttle, the wife of Philip Hess Bender, Sr., was born 7 Apr. 1831 in Pennsylvania, according to her death certificate and this date roughly matches her age given in census records.
She died in 1914, nearly a decade after Pennsylvania began requiring civil registration. So finding out the names of her folks should have been no problem, since parents’ names, if known, were recorded.
But, of course, it wasn’t as simple as that.
The trouble with death records
Sarah’s maiden name was given as Tuttle on her children’s death certificates.
On her own death certificate, however, Sarah’s parents are listed as “Chas. Bender” and “Sara Tutle”. These names were provided by the undertaker, who acted as the informant.
It seems obvious that he got the information wrong.
My guess is that the undertaker handled the informant duties for the grieving family. Maybe they were asked for their grandfather’s name and someone confusedly gave the name of the paternal grandfather, Charles Bender. Perhaps the next question asked was, “Mother’s name?”, meaning Sarah’s mother but they confusedly thought he was asking for Sarah’s maiden name.
Missing marriage record
She and Philip H. Bender were married in late 1850 or early 1851, but exhaustive searches in Philadelphia church marriage registers of all denominations at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania have not yielded any record of their union.
This may be because they likely married in the defunct First Presbyterian Church of Northern Liberties, whose records have been lost.
That might also explain why I’ve found little record of the few Tuttle families in Philadelphia – who primarily lived in the Northern Liberties and lower Kensington neighborhoods (Fishtown).
The only records I’ve found for those Tuttle households are city directories, early census records and early Philadelphia physician death returns. I’ve ruled out most of those Tuttle families by comparing the 1840 households with a female aged around years and the same households in the 1850 census.
As for early record of Sarah, it appears as though she was a domestic in the Joseph and Ann (née Hoffman) Armbruster family just prior to marrying Philip, according to the 1850 census. She does not seem to be related to them.
Tuttle as a surname could be from a number of origins.
There is a fairly well documented Tuttle family line from New England, but I have not found a connection to any of those lines.
Tuttle, could be an Irish or even German surname – perhaps indicating that Sarah’s family were immigrants?
The Tuttle families in Philly have really left me with little to go on – lack of wills, deeds, church records – it’s so very frustrating. There are three Tuttle men (Richard, William and Samuel) who show up in the city directories and then disappear after 1833. Was one of these guys Sarah’s father?
The only other clue I have is that a 63 year-old Eliza Perkins was enumerated with Philip and Sarah’s family in the 1860 census. Was she a relative, boarder or a domestic? Interestingly, 10 years earlier an Elizabeth Tuttle, born around the same time, was enumerated with 24-year old John Perkins. Is this the same woman? And, if so, how is she related to Sarah? I have not been able to locate her death record, so she, too, remains a mystery.
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