You Say Salphenus, I Say Sylvanus

You Say Salphenus, I Say Sylvanus


Brief story of the life of Sylvanus Brown Corey and possible connection to Sir Francis Drake

Stories about You Say Salphenus, I Say Sylvanus

Are These Two One and the Same?

  • Aroostook County, Maine, USA

My great great great grandfather was a gentleman named Sylvanus Brown Corey. According to pension records obtained from the National Archives, he was not a large man being only 5' 6 1/2". He was of fair complexion, had gray eyes, and in his youth, brown hair. He was a harness maker by trade.

Sylvanus was born June 25, 1835, in Aroostook County, Maine. By 1857 he had made his way to Canton, Illinois, where he married my great great grandmother, Sarah E. McBain (cited at least once in records as McBane), on April 4, 1857. The ceremony was conducted by one Reverend Caleb Foster. Their only child, Frank Elsworth Corey, was born June 9, 1861, amidst the growing hostilities that would become known as the War of the Rebellion or, more commonly, as the American Civil War, Fort Sumpter having been attacked April 12 of that year.

In August of the following year, Sylvanus said goodbye to his family as he traveled to Chicago and enlisted in Company F of the 88th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He would serve for almost three years before mustering out in June of 1865.

My great great grandfather would live long life, passing into the hereafter on July 27, 1914, in Elmwood, Illinois.

I told you that so I could tell you this.

It is part of the family lore that we are related to the navigator and privateer Sir Francis Drake. I have an unattributed abstract of the estate of the admiral which traces various lines of descent from his brothers as he had no children of his own. And, no, it doesn't appear as though I'm coming into any money as a result of my lineage. What is if value though is the wealth of genealogical information contained in the abstract.

Our alleged line of descent would come from Francis' brother, Thomas. At some future time I'll describe the details of the line, but for now suffice it to say that Elizabeth Drake married Thomas Corey on February 15, 1748. They had four children-Ester, Daniel, Gideon and William. That's where the abstract ends with respect to the Drake and Corey lines. Given that Sylvanus was born in 1835 and there is no mention of his parentage in the information I have, there has been somewhat of a gap to fill in.

Searching the web, I stumbled across a website that picks up where my information leaves off. If one goes to the page for Elizabeth Drake one sees that she had 7 children by Thomas Corey. The one of interest is Gideon Elisha Clark Corey born 1757. He married Abigail Hannah Clark on 1783 and they had 11 ( =:o ) children. One of their sons, Stephen Corey was born April 4, 1797. He married Sarah Cyphers Brown September 8, 1818. According to this website, they also had 11 children between approximately 1820 and 1841. One of the children born after 1830 is Salphenus Brown Corey.

I'm leaving the GeneaNet information for now. If one does a little research on the web, it becomes apparent that the Drakes and Coreys connected in Rhode Island. Within a few generations the family has located in New Brunswick, Canada. Aroostook County, Maine, has a common border with this Canadian province. During the 1830s there were disputed claims over territory between Great Britain and the United States.

I think a strong cse can be made that Sylvanus and Salphenus are the same person. Could the variance be merely the mistake of a clerk who simply spelled it as he heard it or is there something more going on here. I'd be interested to know where the name of Salphenus Corey was originally recorded either in official records such as a census or in family papers.

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IainMacLachlainn -Contributions private
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