Bathilda Neel1

(1846 - circa 1883)

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Relationship2nd great-grandmother of The 3 Tracys
Family Group:Tracy
Trees14 Generations of Our Ancestors
Our Tracy Family Pedigree
Our Descent From Lt. Thomas Tracy of Norwich Connecticut

Some Background

Bathilda Neel may have also known as Hildy Niel. Bathilda may have been called, "Beth" or "Hildy" (or "Hilda?"), by her husband and family. As noted elsewhere, the Neel surname is spelled in a variety of ways, but "Neel" appears to have been the spelling preferred by her father James.3
FatherJames William Neel2 (19 Dec 1803 - 6 Aug 1865)
MotherLydia Vanderpool (aft Aug 1815 - btwn 1846 - 1850)

Birth - Marriage - Death

ChildBathilda Neel was born in 1846, in Ray Co., Missouri. Her year of birth is calculated based on her ages as reported on census returns and remains consistent over the decades.
     Note that Family Tradition indicates that Bathilda was born in Ray Co., Missouri, and that her father was William Neal, NOT James. The Ray Co. location appears to be quite likely, however there are no William Neals found in this time frame that are unaccounted for; and none of those who are found would seem to qualify as being Bathilda's father. U.S. Census returns from the years up to her marriage consistently list Bathilda in what would appear to be a family with James Neal as the head of the household. It appears that Family Tradition is incorrect in this case.4,5,6
BrideHildy Niel married Henry Tracy, son of Enoch Tracy and Elizabeth Donham, on 15 April 1862 in Sacramento, Sacramento Co., California. Their marriage record shows, Henry Tracey married Bethildy Niel... which raises the possibility that Bathilda may have also been called "Beth" or "Hildy"( or "Hilda?") by her family.
     Bathilda would have been 16 years old, Henry about 25.7,8
DeceasedShe died circa 1883, probably in or near San Jose, Santa Clara Co., or Hollister, San Benito Co., California. Tracy Family Tradition relates that Bathilda died of "what was then termed 'galloping consumption'," (tuberculosis) shortly after her husband disappeared. Her eldest son, Henry (Harry), recalled that he was 16 years old when his mother died which would make the year 1879 as he was born in November 1863. However, guardianship records signed by Bathilda on 2 December 1882 indicate Harry would have been at least 19 years old when his mother died. The Newspaper article telling of the death of her daughter Minnie on 2 May 1892 indicates Minnie had been orphaned about 10 years earlier (so about 1882).9,10,11

Children with Henry Tracy:

Some Life Events of Interest

Bathilda Tracy was appointed guardian for the estate of her minor children by order of the Superior Court of San Benito County, State of California on 2 December 1882, in Hollister, San Benito Co., California
     Bathilda's in-laws, Enoch and Elizabeth (Donham) Tracy died in 1879 and 1884, respectively. Both had prepared wills leaving bequests to their son Henry and in Elizabeth's case "to my son Henry Tracy if living, if not his heirs". Except for his daughter Sarah Hancock who had predeceased him, Enoch's will did not specify that a child's portion should go to a deceased child's estate. Elizabeth appears to have been aware of Henry's disappearance as she makes clear his portion should go to his heirs if he were no longer living. This may explain why there seems to be only one estate settlement going to Henry's and Bathilda's children... and though it would seem that it should have been their legacy from the estate of Elizabeth (Donham) Tracy they received as it was clearly her intent that they should... however they appear to have been passed over at the time her estate was settled, and may have received only a very small portion of Enoch's. There is much about the settlements of these two estates that needs clarification and a further review of the probate papers is required.
     After posting a bond of $200, Bathilda was issued the relevant Letters of Guardianship. Bathilda had petitioned for her appointment as guardian of her minor children, Henry, 18 years old (when the process had been initiated - his birthday was 15 November and so was 19 when the process was finalized), Enoch, 17 years old; John A., 13 years old; 11 year old Elizabeth; 8 year old William; and 5 year old Minnie A. Tracy. The children "have estate within the State of Ohio which needs the care and attention of some proper person". According to probate records from Ohio, Bathilda, as the guardian for her husband's (Henry Tracy) heirs, was to have received $1093.65 upon the settlement of their grandfather's (Enoch Tracy's) estate in 1882. (A large sum of money for a mother who took in washing to earn enough to buy food to feed her children.) The petition for guardianship shows that she and Henry Tracy, whom "she is informed and believes... to be dead", were the parents of these six children.
     On that same 2nd of December 1882, Henry's brother, Dr. Lewis W.K. Tracy, M.D., executor of Enoch Tracy's estate, witnessed the signing of the bond by Bathilda, in Hollister, California. But the bond was set for only $200 dollars... for what L.W.K. said was a $150 legacy left to Henry's heirs by... it says an Uncle? Not a grandparent? Maybe this bond had nothing to do with the estate of Bathilda's father-in-law back in Ohio because L.W.K., as executor of the estate, was certainly in the position to know that the legacy should have been considerably more than $150. Perhaps the court was being kept in the dark regarding the actual value of the estate in order to keep the bond amount to a minimum? (L.W.K.'s sworn statement to the Clermont County, Ohio, Probate Court was that he paid $1,093.65 [about $27,000 in 2012 dollars] to Bathilda as the guardian of the heirs of Henry Tracy, deceased.) The standard of living for Bathilda's family apparently did not change much after her brother-in-law's visit... surely a sudden influx of that amount of money would have been something that would have been talked about for years by her children... but wasn't... if she received it that is. It would appear, perhaps unfairly and certainly from some distance in time, that Lewis W.K. Tracy may have misrepresented the facts to one, if not two, Probate Courts, and perhaps to his sister-in-law and her family as well. It should be noted that Bathilda signed all the documents pertaining to this probate proceeding with her mark... 'X', indicating that apparently though she had attended school on occassion, she had not learned to write her name.10

Emigrated

On 20 June 1850, Bathilda Neel emigrated from Crooked River Township, Ray Co., Missouri, with her father and her siblings. The family arrived at the City of the Great Salt Lake Thursday, the 19th of September, 1850, fourteen weeks (98 days) after having left Bethlehem, Mills Co., Iowa on the Missouri River, that place being the gathering location for wagon trains about to go west to Salt Lake City, Utah Territory.
     The family lived in Utah Territory for a few years before moving on... but by 1860 James and his family (including America Ann and her husband, though not James' niece Mary) had relocated to Cosumnes, Sacramento County, in California's "Gold Country" which had apparently been the family's destination from the beginning of their migration West.12,13,14,15,16

Occupation

a Home Maker, Washer Woman17

Residences and Censuses

She appeared on the 1850 Federal Census of Utah Co., Utah Territory, in the household of her father, James William Neel.18,19
She appeared on the 1860 Federal Census of Thomas McGee Household, Folsom, Granite Twp, Sacramento Co., California, in the house next door to her father's.5
She appeared on the 1860 Federal Census of Michigan Bar, Cosumnes Township, Sacramento Co., California, in the household of her parents, James William Neel and Amelia Neel.20
She and Henry Tracy appeared on the 1870 Federal Census of Santa Cruz Township, Santa Cruz Co., California, enumerated 23 August 1870. Their children Henry, Enoch and John were listed as living with them. The three children were born in California, Henry was born in Ohio, Bathilda was born in Missouri. Henry is shown as a Lumberman (as are most of the other heads of family on the page). He shows his piece of land had a value of $400 and his personal estate was valued at $100. It notes that Bathilda could apparently read but not write.21
From c. 1865 to 1872, Bathilda and Henry Tracy lived in the upper San Lorenzo Valley, Santa Cruz Township, Santa Cruz Co., California. Their children Harry Lorraine Tracy, Enoch Tracy, John A. Tracy and Elizabeth B. Tracy were living with them.
     Henry staked a claim to 160 forested acres on the eastern side of the upper San Lorenzo Valley, about five miles below the Saratoga Gap at Summit Ridge and three or four miles above the Waterman Gap. He established a homestead for his family on the land and began cutting trees to fill the demand for firewood and lumber needed for construction down in the Santa Clara Valley. He sold the property in May of 1872 to William Hall who was building a toll road from Saratoga to Santa Cruz.
     The entire homestead is now within Castle Rock State Park, and the park's Skyline to the Sea Trail crosses the land. The State Route 9 junction with Beekhuis Road, and the Toll Road Trail head is located within what was the homestead's boundaries.22,23,24
She appeared on the 1880 Federal Census of Hollister, San Benito Co., California, enumerated 29 June 1880. Neither her husband, Henry Tracy, nor their eldest son, also Henry, are enumerated with the family in Hollister, nor any other place that has been found to date.. Her children Enoch, John, Elizabeth, William and Minnie were listed as living with her. Bathilda is shown as having been born in Missouri, her father in Kentucky and her mother in Missouri. All of her children were born in California, and their father was born in Ohio.17

Sources - Citations

  1. [S169] James Neel household, 1850 Utah Territorial Census, Utah Co., Utah, Utah Territory, population schedule, Sheet 134 (Stamped) 267 (Written), dwelling 209, family 209; Washington: National Archives. Utah became a U.S. territory in September of 1850. Its federal census took two months to complete and was not begun until April of 1851. Therefore, the “1850” U.S. Census for Utah Territory is actually an 1851 enumeration.
  2. [S743] McGee - Thompson - Boyce households, 1860 U.S. Census, Sacramento Co., California, population schedule, Folsom, Granite Township, Sheet page no. 248 - written in both top corners of the page, dwelling 2289, 2290, & 2291, family 2174, 2175, & 2175, Washington: National Archives. Some members of James' family occupy first three dwellings on this page, James in first, Bathilda in second, America Ann in third. James and other members of his family are also included on 1860 census for Michigan Bar, Consumnes Twp, same county & state - Source #744, names, ages, place of birth.
  3. [S443] Henry Tracey + Bethildy Niel marriage, 15 April 1862, in California, County Marriages, 1850-1952: Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  4. [S169] James Neel household, 1850 Utah Territorial Census, Utah Co., Utah, Utah Territory, gives age as 4 years old.
  5. [S743] McGee - Thompson - Boyce household, 1860 U.S. Census, Sacramento Co., California.
  6. [S321] Henry Tracey household, 1870 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz Co., California, population schedule, Santa Cruz Township, Sheet page no. 34, dwelling 310, family 310; Washington: National Archives.
  7. [S443] Calif. Co. Marriages 1850 -1952: Family History Library, pg. 89.
  8. [S98] C. Maxine Ohlheiser Tracy, Compiler, "Henry R. Tracy Sr. Family Group Sheet", c. 1985 (Saratoga, California). Compiled from a variety of sources [none of which were primary sources] and from her recollections of conversations with and stories told her (over the course of her 50 plus year marriage) by her husband, Charlie W. Tracy, her father-in-law, Harry L. Tracy, and her sister-in-law, Ada Tracy Berry.
  9. [S80] Recollections of Ada Tracy Berry (Arroyo Grande, California). Unknown record type, Paper Files of Sean C Tracy (Tracy Home Office). Very little of the information provided in this source can be verified... in fact, some of it has been disproven. However, as a compilation of memories and stories passed down to Ada, the daughter of Harry L. Tracy and Fanny Ada (Baugh) Tracy, it has been the starting point for much of the current research and reflects the basics of the 'Tracy Family Lore' as accepted until c. 1975.
  10. [S77] Bathilda Tracy, Probate File for Guardianship of Henry Tracy, et al - Minors, Packet No. 39, Register 1, Superior Court San Benito Co., Calif., Clerk of the Superior Court, 440 Fifth Street - Room 206, Hollister, San Benito Co., California.
  11. [S1000] "Young Orphan Girl Suicides", Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, Sacramento Co., California, 3 May 1892.
  12. [S167] "Summary of Company Reports: Justus Morse Company (1850) and Shadrach Roundy Company (1850)", 3 April 2016, Sean C. Tracy (e-mail address); Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office.
  13. [S799] Luke William Gallup, “Reminiscences and diary 1842 May-1891 Mar : ppg 122 - 141 : MS8402,” Digitized Copy of Manuscript, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church History - The Overland Travel Database: ( https://history.lds.org/overlandtravels ); Accessed: 2 April 2016.
  14. [S800] Jno H. Krause, “Captain S. Roundy’s company report, 1850 September,” Digitized Copy of Manuscript, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church History - The Overland Travel Database: ( https://history.lds.org/overlandtravels ); Accessed: 2 April 2016, gives details of James and John Neal equippage.
  15. [S169] James Neel household, 1850 Utah Territorial Census, Utah Co., Utah, Utah Territory, places family in Utah.
  16. [S743] McGee - Thompson - Boyce household, 1860 U.S. Census, Sacramento Co., California, places family in California.
  17. [S333] Bathilda Tracy household, 1880 U.S. Census, San Benito Co., California, population schedule, Hollister, Enumeration District 60, Sheet No. 76 D., dwelling 615, family 621; Washington: National Archives.
  18. [S169] James Neel household, 1850 Utah Territorial Census, Utah Co., Utah, Utah Territory, Line #6.
  19. [S168] Stuart Dee Neel, "Stuart Neel eMail - 7 March 2005," e-mail message from PRIVATE to Sean C. Tracy, 7 Mar 2005, ANCESTORS - Genealogy\\Digital Copies of Sources\\eMails\\Neal.
  20. [S744] James Neil household, 1860 U.S. Census, Sacramento Co., California, population schedule, Michigan Bar, ConsumnesTownship, Sheet page no. 117 written in left top corner, no. 401 stamped in right top corner of the page, dwelling 1014, family 983; Washington: National Archives. James and some members of his family are found at this location. James and other members of his family are also included on 1860 census for Folsom, Granite Twp, same county & state - Source #743.
  21. [S321] Henry Tracey household, 1870 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz Co., California, names, events, dates, relationships, locations.
  22. [S102] U.S.G.S., Big Basin Quadrangle, California, 7.5 Minute Series (Topographic), shows homestead location with Beekhuis Road junction.
  23. [S101] Castle Rock Historical Assessment, Planning Documents - Castle Rock Advisory Committee, 21 Dec 1997, Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office; History of upper San Lorenzo Valley - Saratoga Toll Road.
  24. [S398] Recollections of Charles W. Tracy Sr. (Saratoga, California), information given to Libby Gragg. Recorded Oral History, Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy (Tracy Home Office). Three recorded sessions, first tape.
Last Edited8 Dec 2017

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