Henry Tracy1

(1836 or 1837 - before September 1880)

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Relationship2nd great-grandfather 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

Tracy Family Lore occasionally has referred to Henry as 'Henry R. Tracy.' The death certificate for his son, Henry L. Tracy, is the only official documentation seen showing his full name with a middle initial.3
FatherEnoch Tracy2 (24 Oct 1804 - 17 May 1879)
MotherElizabeth Donham (1 Aug 1806 - 27 Oct 1884)

Birth - Marriage - Death

ChildHenry Tracy was born in 1836 or 1837, in Monroe Township, Clermont Co., Ohio.1,4,5,6
GroomHe married Hildy Niel, daughter of James William Neel and Lydia Vanderpool, 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 25.7,3
DeceasedHe died before September 1880, probably in the vicinity of Santa Cruz Township, Santa Cruz Co., California; and probably before the 29th of June, 1880, as he was not with the rest of his family in Hollister when the census was taken there on that date. However, his death "was never established." Bathilda listed herself on that census as "Married" - not "Widowed," which was another option she could have chosen for her "Civil Condition." Probate Court records for San Benito Co. in December of 1882, reference her husband Henry who, "she is informed and believes... to be dead;" the application for the guardianship approved by the court was begun three months earlier, on the 26th of September.8,3,9

Children with Bathilda Neel:

Family Lore

As does almost every family, we have our share of stories that are passed from generation to generation... here is some Family Lore that pertains to both Henry Tracy's family and the family of his wife Bathilda Neel.10,11


Henry seemed always to have considered himself to be a Farmer, though at least at the time of the 1870 Census he called himself a Lumberman. And it appears that at times he applied himself to other income generating endeavors to supplement his bank account.12,13,14

Land and Property

Property TransferHenry Tracy sold his property in San Lorenzo Valley, Santa Cruz Co., California, on 3 May 1872. The homestead was sold to William H. Hall for "the sum Five Hundred dollars, Gold coin of the United States of America" (about $9,445 in 2012 dollars). Interestingly, the sale to Hall was not recorded until 23 Nov 1882, probably when Hall came to sell the land.15,16
Property AcquisitionOn 1 March 1873, Henry Tracy acquired the piece of property, the Family Homestead, located in the Upper San Lorenzo Valley, Santa Cruz Co., California. Henry and his family had been living, since about 1765, on this property which consisted of 160 steeply sloping, forested acres in the upper San Lorenzo Valley, not far below the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, crossed by the route of the Saratoga Toll Road (paralleling present day State Route 9). The year after he sold the land to William Hall, Henry finalized his purchase of the property from the United States government for $1.25 per acre, $200 (about $3800 in 2012 dollars) in total, using scrip as the form of payment.
The SW corner of the property is near/at the San Lorenzo River.
State: CA
Meridian: Mount Diablo
TWP: 8-S
Aliquot Parts: N1/2 S1/2
Section: 13
County: Santa Cruz.17,16

Residences and Censuses

He was probably the male under age 5 listed in the household of his father, Enoch Tracy, in the 1840 Federal Census of Monroe, Clermont Co., Ohio.18
He appeared on the 1850 Federal Census of Monroe, Clermont Co., Ohio, in the household of his parents, Enoch Tracy and Elizabeth Donham.19
He appeared on the 1860 Federal Census of Sacramento City, Brighton Township, Sacramento Co., California, enumerated 9 July 1860, Henry is listed as H. Tracy, a 23 year old farmer with no land, but a personal estate valued at $1200 (over $30,000 in 2012 dollars); he lists himself as being from Ohio. It appears as though he is living in a boarding house (or possibly a farm building housing farm workers?) with 18 other men - mostly day laborers, one teamster. The majority of the 40 individuals enumerated on the same page of the census are (when/if an occupation is listed) either members of farm families or are day laborers (i.e. the ones living in the same dwelling number as our Henry). In fact, the enumration of Brighton Township indicates that with no more than about a dozen exceptions, everyone living there was involved in some aspect of farming. (Those few exceptions were miners.) One might have thought that Henry came to this part of the country to take part in the very end of the California Gold Rush but this census listing would seem to suggest that he had come west with an eye to farming..20
In 1867, Henry Tracy was registered to vote in San Lorenzo, Santa Cruz Co., California.21
He and Bathilda 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.22
From c. 1865 to 1872, Henry and Bathilda 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.23,16,10
He relocated between 1874 and 1875 in Hollister, San Benito Co., California. Henry moved his family from the homestead in Santa Cruz Co., to the town of Hollister in San Benito Co.. L.L. Paulson's Handbook and Directory for 1875 - which includes both Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties - has an entry for Santa Cruz Co. that shows an H. Tracy as a farmer in San Lorenzo; the entry in San Benito Co. shows an H. Tracy on East Street in Hollister working as a laborer.24
In 1874, Henry Tracy was registered to vote in Hollister, San Benito Co., California. The 1874 voter registration listing says he was born in Canada about 1836. BUT a look at the Voter Registration for Hollister in 1875 clearly reflects the correct data for "our" Henry Tracy and the fellow from Canada is listed on the line above his. Whomever transcribed these records combined two lines of the original records in 1874, and the 1875 entries clear up the confusion.1
On 8 July 1876, Henry Tracy lived in Hollister, San Benito Co., California. Henry and his family celebrated the Centennial Independence Day in Hollister. An item in the 1876 July 8th issue of the 'San Benito Advance' noted: "A nephew of Henry Tracy dislocated his elbow by a fall on the Fourth. Doctor Howard reset it and he is now comfortable and improving." Unfortunately, we can only speculate as to the parentage of this nephew.25
He did not appear on the 1880 Federal Census of Hollister, San Benito Co., California, enumerated 29 June 1880. His wife, Bathilda (Neal) Tracy is shown as the head of the household which included all of their children but their oldest son, Henry. To date, Feb 2016, neither Bathilda's husband Henry, nor their son Henry, has been found in any indexes for the 1880 U.S. Census..26
A Henry Tracy appeared on the census in Township 1, Kern Co., California. On 28 Jun 1900 which may be of interest:
     In this census a Henry H. Tracy was enumerated in Kern Co., in southern California... a single white male born, in Ohio, in Oct 1838 (we don't know the year of birth for "our" Henry but have used c. 1837 as that coincides with his age as reported on some census returns), and showing both parents having been born in Ohio. He is listed with the occupation of "Woodman," the only woodman among the 28 adult males on the page... 25 of whom were Quartz Miners (the other two were a clerk and a teamster). (A woodman was the fellow responsible for shoring up the sides and ceilings of the mine shafts.)

     Bathilda's husband Henry had disappeared after July of 1876 (a newspaper account named him living in Hollister on July 4th) or at least after November of 1878 (when his father prepared a will naming him, as apparently still alive). He was known to have been missing as of May 1882 (when his mother prepared a will referring to him as "if living") and he was presumed dead by his family by September, 1882 (when guardianship proceedings were begun). He has not been found in any U.S. Census, in any state, for 1880. Census records for 1890 were destroyed and so cannot provide any evidence that Henry may have relocated himself.
     There are no newspaper accounts from around the time of his disappearance that have been located telling of the disappearance of a man carrying the payroll for the toll road construction crew (or for that matter of any large amount of money having gone missing), certainly a newsworthy event, one could think. This lack of "news" opens the unlikely but still possible proposition that Henry may have arranged his own disappearance.
     Following this line of speculation, public records have been searched, nationwide, for any possible "Henry" candidates to be our Henry in the years after 1876. To date, 2013, the only reasonable possibility is found in that 1900 census for Kern Co., California.
     Aside from the inclusion of the middle initial of "H." in this Henry's name, and the fact that our Henry's father was born in New York which our Henry must have known (although he did show Ohio as the Place of Birth for his father on the 1870 census), the rest of the profile of this gentleman fits our Henry fairly well. In fact, that it does fit our Henry so well may actually mitigate against them being one and the same person... presumably a man who had allegedly stolen a payroll would have done more to conceal his identity. However, a man who had merely abandoned his family might not.
     Of course, all of this is pure speculation and 61 year old Henry H. Tracy living in Kern Co. in 1900 may not have abandoned a wife and young children in northern California twenty years earlier; and our Henry may have indeed fallen off of a cliff or been waylaid by someone wanting a payroll he was carrying.27


Henry Tracy was named an heir in the will of his father Enoch Tracy, dated 15 November 1878 in Clermont Co., Ohio.28

Sources - Citations

  1. [S78] State of California, Great Registers, 1866–1898 (Sacramento, California: California State Library, unknown date) Digital copy of the Great Register page can be found in voter's digital folder for Registrations. Digitized by ancestry.com - subscription database.
  2. [S1021] Enoch Tracy will (15 Nov 1878), Enoch Tracy Will, Clermont County Wills; vol. M 1877-1881, pg. 215, Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office.Names, dates, relationships, locations.
  3. [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.
  4. [S317] Enoch Tracy household, 1850 U.S. Census, Clermont Co., Ohio, population schedule, Monroe Township, Sheet no. 30 - written at top of page, dwelling 219, family 219; Washington: National Archives. , 13 yrs old.
  5. [S320] E Olsen household, 1860 U.S. Census, Sacramento Co., California, population schedule, Sacramento City, Brighton Township, Sheet page no. 200 - written in both top corners of the page, dwelling 1820, family 1728; Washington: National Archives. Line no. 21, 23 yrs old.
  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. , 34 yrs old.
  7. [S443] Henry Tracey + Bethildy Niel marriage, 15 April 1862, in California, County Marriages, 1850-1952: Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, pg. 89.
  8. [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.
  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. [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.
  11. [S413] Mary Ann (Tracy) Jenkins, "Tracy genealogy - Wm Tracy's Family," e-mail message from e-mail address to Sean Tracy, 4 March 2001, eMail re: Ira Tracy's California trip.
  12. [S320] E Olsen household, 1860 U.S. Census, Sacramento Co., California, occupation: farmer.
  13. [S321] Henry Tracey household, 1870 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz Co., California, occupation: lumberman.
  14. [S99] Handbook and Directory of Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Mateo Counties: Including a Map of Each County (San Francisco: L.L. Paulson, 1875). reviewed at San Jose Public Library, Dec 1994, occupation: farmer and laborer.
  15. [S291] Santa Cruz County, California, Deeds Book 35 (Deeds 1872) pp 30, 31, Paper Files of Sean C Tracy, Tracy Home Office.
  16. [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.
  17. [S104] Henry Tracy, Land Patent Search, Document # 560, CACAAA 137981, Paper Files of Sean C Tracy,Tracy Home Office. Image online on Bureau of Land Management - General Land Office Records website at www.glorecords.blm.gov.
  18. [S384] Enoch Tracy household, 1840 U.S. Census, Clermont Co., Ohio, Monroe Township, page 207, line 1; Washington: National Archives.
  19. [S317] Enoch Tracy household, 1850 U.S. Census, Clermont Co., Ohio, names, events, dates, relationships, locations.
  20. [S320] E Olsen household, 1860 U.S. Census, Sacramento Co., California.
  21. [S78] State of California, Great Registers, 1866–1898, Birth date: abt 1840 Birth place: Residence date: 1867 Residence place: San Lorenzo.
  22. [S321] Henry Tracey household, 1870 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz Co., California, names, events, dates, relationships, locations.
  23. [S102] U.S.G.S., Big Basin Quadrangle, California, 7.5 Minute Series (Topographic), shows homestead location with Beekhuis Road junction.
  24. [S99] Directory of Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Mateo Cos., San Lorenzo pg. 227; Hollister pg. 165.
  25. [S100] "Nephew of Henry Tracy", San Benito Advance Weekly Newspaper, Hollister, California, 8 July 1876.
  26. [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. , names, events, dates, relationships, locations; family enumerated except for Henry (b.1837) and son Henry (b.1863).
  27. [S388] Henry H. Tracy household, 1900 U.S. Census, Kern, California, population schedule, Township 1, Enumeration District 19, Sheet no. 11, line no. 47, dwelling 270, family 274; Washington: National Archives.
  28. [S1021] Enoch Tracy Will Clermont County Wills; vol. M 1877-1881, pg. 215; names, dates, relationships, locations; Enoch (jr.) is not named among the children.
Last Edited8 Dec 2017

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