Polly Crannell née Selleck

Hello, my second identified tintype! Pleased to make your acquaintance, Mrs. Polly Crannell née Selleck!

The clues on this tintype are priceless: “Mrs. Robert Cran(n)ell, sister of Jonas Selleck”. Although spelt with one “n” on the tintype, the surname was easy to find and link with one Jonas Selleck. And thanks to the family trees of the Sellecks and the Crannells published online on MyHeritage, FamilySearch and Ancestry, I was able to piece together the different information on her.

Polly Selleck was born on November 27th, 1794, in Luzerne, Warren County, New York. Her parents Miles Selleck and Jemima (Mima) née Olmstead had altogether 12 (?) children. Brother Jonas, mentioned on the tintype, was 16 years younger than Polly, born in 1810.

Polly married Robert Crannell in 1819 in New York. Robert was a farmer. Robert had been born on June 17th, 1776, in Albany County, New York. So Robert was 18 years older than Polly and had five (?) children from his previous marriage: John, Theoda, Henry, Roswell Bernard and Abram Crannell. So Polly took on quite the task as a 25-year-old woman, when marrying the widowed Robert – she not just became a wife but a stepmom to minors!

Robert went on to have two more children with Polly:

James Crannell was born on March 10th, 1820. With his first wife Gratia Amelia née Kellogg, James had 8-9 children. Unfortunately the same tragic fate like his father’s hit James in 1862 when Gratia passed away and James was left to raise his young children. So in 1863, James married Sarah Marie née West and looks like the couple might have had another son. James was a farmer, like his father. James passed away in April 1891 at the age of 71 in East Aurora in Erie County, New York.

Polly and Robert’s daughter Selenda Crannell was born on September 10th, 1827. She married William Hartman some time before the 1850s. William was a farmer in Luzerne, Warren, like Selenda’s father Robert and brother James. The couple became parents to five (?) children: Alfaretta Conklin née Hartman (1850-1929), Arthur B. Hartman (1855-1919), Henry Hartman, Orlin W. Hartman (1862-1910), and Edwin J. Hartman (1867-1940). Unfortunately Selenda passed away in her 40s in 1874.

In 1850, Polly and Robert were still living in Warren, and in the 1850 Census Robert’s real estate valued at $900 (translates to about $32,000 today). Their son James and his family were living close-by, and James’ real estate was valued at $600 (about $22,000 today).

Polly herself passed away on June 15th in 1865 at the age of 70, just shortly after the end of the American Civil War. This tintype was probably done shortly before her passing. Polly was buried at the Hartman Hill Cemetery in Warren next to her late husband who had passed away a decade earlier.

I still can’t get over the fact that the person in this tintype was born in the 18th century! Polly’s family tree, published on MyHeritage, shows her paternal line to go back 10 generations, all the way to Overstowey, Somerset, England! I don’t have the means to cross-check the research, so I’m going to rely on this very extensive work already done on Polly’s family history which shows that Polly’s 4x great-grandfather David Selleck was the first Selleck in Polly’s direct paternal line to set foot on the British Colonial soil of Matomkin, Accomack in Virginia some time before 1644!

I wonder what kind of a family Polly was born into (definitely a big one!) and what shaped her own life and values and beliefs? Were his family members, with heritage ties to England, Loyalists or Patriots? I wonder how much was carried on of this rich family history to Polly and how much she really knew of that? When she sat down for probably this last tintype of her, did she look back at life with regrets and worry, or with joy and fulfilment?

I have added the tintype to FindAGrave and FamilySearch and hopefully I will be able to make contact with her direct descendants soon!

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