In discussions with "Susan H" about Thomas, his 2 wives and his children she presents some viable ideas to consider:  E-mails from her.

Hi Hank:

I'm looking over the Sherman family again and was wondering about something you have in your work regarding Catherine Shearman who married John Newman. Catherine was the mother of Morris Newman, Eden Newman, Gilbert Newman etc.

Your work shows that Catherine Newman was the daughter of Thomas Shearman b abt. 1783 (who was a brother of Theophilus). Is there something that proves that particular Thomas was her father, as opposed to Thomas Shearman b 1760 d 1840 (and the father of Theophilus, David, Benjamin, Thomas etc)?  In other words, you have her as the grand daughter of Thomas Shearman b. 1760 (and married Hester), and I'm wondering if she could be his daughter.

I ran across something from the Orphans Court Books 1785-1906---it was a division of property in Howell Twp, dated Oct 1843, and each person to receive 1/11  share. "The land was held as tenants in common by several people. Those entitled to 1/11 share each" were:

1) John Shearman (the petitioner for the division of the property)

2) Theophilus Shearman

3) Hester Shearman

4) Deborah Shearman

5) Mary Shearman

6) Phebe Shearman

7) Children of David Shearman, deceased
       Elizabeth Shearman
       Lydia Shearman
       Emeline Shearman
       David Shearman
       Margaret Shearman

8) Children of Catherine Newman, deceased, late Catherine Shearman
       Esther Newman
       Gilbert Newman
       Eden Newman
       Morris Newman
       Benjamin Newman

9) Children of Thomas Shearman, deceased, entitled to 1/11 share
        Ann Shearman
        Elisha Shearman
        Elizabeth Shearman
        Elijah Shearman
        Melvinia Shearman

10) Children of Mary Ann Brand, deceased, late Mary Ann Shearman
         Esther Brand
         Elizabeth Brand

11) Children of an unidentified heir 
         Charles Shearman
         Hannah Shearman
        Thomas Shearman
        Joseph Shearman
        Catherine Shearman
        Ann Bigling late Ann Shearman

(I think # 11 is Benjamin Shearman.)

Since Catherine Shearman Newman is listed here as one of 11 persons entitled to the property (# 8 on the list) and nine of those persons are siblings (the children of Thomas Shearman b. Nov. 1760 d. May 1840) does it seem reasonable to think that these 11 persons were actually the 11 children of Thomas b. 1760 d 1840?

Each of his grandchildren whose parent is dead only receives the dead parent's 1/11 share to divide among them...why would Catherine be entitled to her own 1/11 share, if she were a grandchild? The same question applies to Mary Ann Shearman Brand (# 10 on the list). So...I'm thinking that Thomas had sons David, Benjamin, Thomas, Theophilus, and John, daughters Phebe, Deborah, Hester and Mary, and two other daughters--Catherine and Mary Ann (# 10 on the list).


Hi Hank,

I'm with you, starting with Thomas and the children seems a logical place to begin, and I agree with sticking with your theory that Thomas had five sons. The more I read, the more I believe that Catherine and Mary Ann were also his daughters.  It just makes sense, and in every document we come back to the same thing, that the property was divided 11 ways, whether his sons were dead or alive didn't matter, each son got 1/11 and the dead ones' children got their dead parent's share. Catherine's and Mary Ann's children got that 1/11 share.

From your web-site (and also I think from some of what you've sent to me) the heirs of Thomas Jr. (as I'll call him, aka the brother of Theo) were living in Ohio. Elijha, Elisha, Ann, etc... so I was thinking, maybe Jr. moved to Ohio and died there.  I did find a Thomas Sherman of the right age, according to the Ohio censuses he was born 1780-1790. 

And in later Ohio censuses there's an Elijah Sherman b abt. 1819/1820. The 1880 census for Elijah says gives his parents' birth places as NJ. Also an Elisha Sherman married in the same county in 1850-something...they could be the sons of Thomas Jr. who were mentioned in the division of land as well as a June 1847 sale to Devine Allgor where they (the Sherman children) were all of Miami Co Ohio.


Hi Hank:

I've been thinking about the wives. One of the reasons I'm looking so hard into the children is to try to figure out the wives. It looks to me like Hester, the oldest daughter, was born about 1828 which fits perfectly for Thomas to be her father. She was 14 when Catherine applied for guardianship in 1842 or 43 and the 1840 census for Catherine has her with 2 f 10-15 (Hester, age 12 and Mary or Deborah age abt. 10) 1 f 5-10 (Phebe, born 1832, age 8) and 1 f under 5 (Mary or Deborah).

They all fit to be Thomas' daughters, and Phebe's death cert. seals that he was her father. On the other hand, we have the guardianship papers which state that the girls had no living brothers and sisters in 1843, and well, if Theo (very much alive) was their brother, how can this be? The only logical explanation is if the four girls were not Thomas' daughters but rather his step daughters...and this is territory which you know well!  You've explored
this question far longer than I have...but it brings me back around to the division of land, and it seems that they are his daughters when we look at that.

I think that Thomas may have had the two daughters with Hester as well as the five sons, and then when he married Catherine he had the four girls, but also possibly a son...or maybe the son was his last child with Hester...the 1830 census has him (again, IF I'm looking at the right guy) with a wife 30-40, 2 girls under 5, and a son 5-10. The son apparently died, since he's not on Catherine's 1840 census. Thinking about that, yes, the son would have
to be Hester's son, unless he was Catherine's by a first marriage. But, with 2 girls under 5 in 1830, and then those same girls being 10-15 in 1840 and two more younger ones added, clearly the two youngest girls (Phebe and Mary or Deborah) are Thomas' daughters. And I tend to lean toward the other two being his as well. It does seem strange for him to have fathered 5 sons (and maybe six, if we count the boy on the 1830 census) with one wife, and then father four girls with you've said, doesn't that seem...well, unlikely?

It also puzzles me how Thomas' sons could not know how many children that he had, in other words, how many siblings that THEY had? How strange! Even by his first wife, which would be Theo's full brothers and sisters, not to know how many there are is odd to me. I can almost see that if it was just about his second wife, because by then Theo was grown, and having his own family, and maybe not as in touch with his father as he should have been, but still, it just seems odd to me.


Hi Hank,

The document you found naming Catherine and John Newman's children but doesn't name Elizabeth, makes me wonder if she was the baby...maybe this document was done before she was born...otherwise I can't think of an explanation as to why she isn't there, but is later in the names of Catherine's children when Thomas died and the land was divided.

I do have some thoughts on why Catherine had to apply to be guardian of her own children... I've done tons of research on other lines in my family, and whenever I've gotten to the late 1700s, early 1800s, it's always the same thing--that guardianship issue. It seems that whenever a father died, the inheritance left to his children put the children in a position of needing a guardian to look out for the inheritance. It didn't matter how large or small the inheritance was, the child had to have a guardian appointed by the court to watch over their interests. If the child was of the age of 14 or older, he or she could ask to choose the guardian, and usually the request was granted, but if they were under the age of 14, the court simply appointed someone. I've seen many times where a mother had to ask the court to allow her to be the guardian of her own children. Once a guardian was appointed, the guardian then had to report back to the court periodically to account for how much money was being spent on the child, and the court had to approve the spending. If everything was in line, it was fine, but if the court did not approve, then the court would appoint another guardian. The guardians were also paid out of the inheritance...that may have been basically re-imbursing them for the money they spent on the child between court visits...I'm not sure about that, or it may have been a compensation for being the guardian. In any case, I've seen where the guardian of a child came into court, the court examined the records for the child, approved the records, and then said the guardian was due X amount at that court.

Since we know Phebe was born in April 1832, and she was the third daughter (using the censuses as our guideline on that), then the last daughter was born between 1833 and 1840. I'm betting she was born closer to 1833, since they had those first three girls one right behind the other, three girls born between 1828 and 1832. Sounds like one every two years, more or less.

What do you think?



I think the closest we'll ever come to connecting Mary Ann Shearman Brand to Thomas and Hester Shearman is the 1843 division of land. Since it names 11 persons, and nine of those 11 persons are clearly siblings, we have to take a leap of faith and believe that all 11 are siblings, and therefore all children of Thomas Shearman. Mary Ann must be a daughter of Thomas and his first wife Hester, based upon her approximate birth year of 1805.  Since she married Samuel Brand in 1825, guessing that she was 20 years old at the marriage, more or less, is not a far leap.


Hi Hank,

Mary Ann was not a daughter of Samuel Brand, she was his first wife. In the division of property in 1843 between Thomas Shearman's children, Mary Ann Brand, deceased, has her 1/11 share divided between her children Esther Brand and Elizabeth Brand. I'm looking at Mary Ann's children Esther
and Elizabeth to try to gain insight into Mary Ann--such as when she might have been born, and when she probably died.  From Monmouth Co. records we know that Mary Ann Shearman married Samuel Brand in 1825, and it looks like her daughters Esther and Elizabeth were born in 1826 and 1828. I believe Mary Ann died before 1830. If Mary Ann is one of Thomas Shearman's daughters, then I'm trying to place her into the birth order of his children. I'm guessing she was born about 1805, give or take a little, so she was probably one of his younger children. It looks to me like Mary Ann died before 1830 because her husband Samuel has married his second wife Jane by that year.


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