Picture of Henry Youmans Sexton

Henry Youmans Sexton


My great-great-great grandfather Henry Youmans Sexton (1797-1863) (his middle name also appears as Youman and Yeoman) was born on June 22, 1797 in New York City, New York. He was the son of William Sexton and Martha Youmans Sexton of New York. I do not know the ancestry of William Sexton.

William Sexton served in the Revolutionary War. His granddaughter Jane Ann Sexton recalled her father Henry declaring in a meeting that "he (Henry) was the only man there present whose father had served in the War of Independence."

Martha Youmans was born or baptized on October 5, 1768 in Clarkstown, Rockland County, New York. She was the daughter of Jonathan Youmans and Maria Smith. Martha was a descendant of Christopher Youmans and his wife Hannah. Christopher Youmans was born about 1638, possibly in Middlesex, England, and immigrated to New Haven, Connecticut about 1656. All of Christopher and Hannah's children were born on Long Island, New York.

I have not yet located a marriage record for Martha Youmans and William Sexton, but presumably they were married around 1788. They had at least six children:

The biography of Henry's son Charles says Henry was born in New York City. However, the baptismal records list William and his children as living in Bergen Township, Bergen County, New Jersey. This is only about twenty five miles from New York City. All the census records for Henry Youmans Sexton list him as born in New York State.

Henry Youmans Sexton married Roxa Adams in the First Lutheran Church of Albany, New York on June 14, 1823. Roxa Adams was the daughter of Williams Adams, Jr. and Orpha Cossitt of Waterbury, Connecticut. Orpha Cossitt was a descendant of French Canadian immigrant René Cossitt and his wife Ruth Porter. William Adams was the son of William Adams, Sr. and Susanna Bronson. The ancestry of William Adams Sr. is unclear, although it is possible that he was a descendant of Jeremy (Jeremiah) Adams of Hartford, Connecticut and his wife Rebecca. The Bronsons were an old and well-known family in Waterbury. Susanna was the daughter of Ebenezer Bronson and Mary Hull.

Henry and Roxa made their home in Waterbury, Connecticut where they produced at least three children and possibly five:

Roxa Adams Sexton died December 29, 1829, shortly after Charles was born. She probably died of complications resulting from childbirth. Henry later married Minerva Peat , daughter of Jehiel Peat, Jr. and Lois Manville, on October 21, 1831.

Henry may also have been married briefly to Elizabeth Ellison. A Henry Y. Sexton married Elizabeth Ellison on March 26, 1822. The wedding took place in the Dutch Reformed Church on Sugar Loaf Street in New York City. This Henry Y. Sexton's father is given as William, while his wife Elizabeth's father is given as John. In this case Elizabeth would have been Henry's first wife; Roxa his second; and Minerva his third.

Henry was a mechanic. He worked for seven years in a clock factory (presumably in Waterbury, Connecticut). He also worked as a shoemaker for a number of years. That is his listed occupation in the 1850 U. S. Census record for Henry Youmans Sexton which was taken down shortly before the move to Michigan. Henry continued to ply his trade of shoemaker and boot dealer after moving to Duplain, Clinton County, Michigan. Henry and John Meacher were the first two shoemakers in what would become the village of Elsie, Michigan. Henry was also township treasurer in Elsie.

Henry and Minerva Peat produced five children:


Children of Henry Youmans Sexton

Four children of Henry Youmans Sexton.
Left to right: Ellen Eliza Sexton, Jane Ann Sexton, Caroline Maria Sexton, Charles Sexton.

The original photo was labelled with the names Ellen Eliza Sexton, Caroline Sexton, "and their parents." Since another picture of Charles Sexton shows him to be the person on this picture, not Henry, and another photo of Jane Ann Sexton reveals her to be the older woman in this photo, I believe my revised attributions are correct.

Henry and Minerva moved to Medina County, Ohio about 1836 settling on a farm there. It was while the Sextons lived in Brunswick that Henry's daughter Jane Ann Sexton met Franklin James Tillotson. Franklin and Jane Ann were my great-great-grandparents.

Henry and Minerva moved their family to Duplain, Michigan in the fall of 1850. The area was an unbroken wilderness and they carved out a farm about one mile east of what would later become the town of Elsie, Michigan. Charles actually built the Sexton farm in Elsie as Henry was already 53 years old when the Sextons moved to Elsie. Charles was also involved in other building projects in Duplain, including farms, residences, barns, and other outbuildings. In 1852, Henry's daughter Jane Ann and her husband Franklin James Tillotson followed the Sextons to Duplain and were instrumental in establishing the town of Elsie, Michigan.

Henry remained married to Minerva until his death on the family farm on May 25, 1863. He was buried in Elsie. Minerva died on October 30, 1874 and was also buried in Elsie. The family farm passed to Jane Ann's brother Charles Sexton and his first wife Nancy Lewis.

Portrait of Henry Youmans Sexton courtesy Wayne L. Caswell and JoEllen Lathwell.
Family group photo courtesy Wayne L. Caswell and William Tompkins.
Crow children courtesy Thomas Tompkins.


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Last modified by pib on March 9, 2015.