The plot thickens—Hattie Stetson was related to Ruth Brooks

The plot thickens—Hattie Stetson was related to Ruth Brooks

I have been working under the assumption that Herbert Stetson was playing the role of a kindly neighbor in his involvement in the affairs of Ruth P. Brooks and her son Joseph Daggett. 

Digging deeper into the Daggett family history, it turns out that Herbert—or more accurately his wife Hattie—was related to the elderly lady. They were both descendants of the Haskell family, which we previously encountered when tracing the Stetson family history back to the Mayflower. 

Remember Captain George Henry Haskell, who was Hattie's grandfather in Chautauqua County, New York, who later moved to North Bloomfield, Ohio? He was a prolific ancestor, having fathered at least 15 children by three wives. There were two daughters by a first wife born in Plymouth, and then, after her death, Haskell remarried to Elizabeth Betsy Howe. 

The new family started in Worcester, Mass, where Ruth P. Haskell was born in 1800. There would be three more children as the family migrated from Worcester to towns in Vermont. 

Betsy died in Middlebury, Vermont in January 1812. In August, George remarried Eliza Knapp, with whom he would have nine more children. (He managed this while also serving in the War of 1812, where he earned his sobriquet.) The first few children were born in Vermont but then the family resettled on a farm in Mina, Chautauqua County, New York. 

Martha Haskell was the fifth child by Eliza. She was born in Mina, then moved with her family to Ohio sometime after 1826. Her father died there is 1840 when he was 66. Martha was then 18 years old. Two years later, she married Josiah T. Smith in Trumbull, Ohio. Together they had seven children, of which Harriet E. Smith was the fifth, born in North Bloomfield, Ohio, in 1854.

Meanwhile, it seems that Ruth Haskell had moved with her father to New York and later Ohio. She married Otis Daggett in 1819 and their three children were born in New York and Ohio, towns unspecified. Otis died in 1832 and she later remarried someone named Brooks who is not now identified. 

Like other Daggett and Haskell family members, Ruth Brooks ended up in Iowa, first in Dubuque and then in nearby Earlville. She was 78 years old when her step-niece Hattie Smith took a job as a schoolteacher in Earlville, and later married fellow teacher Herbert Stetson.

Suddenly, Hattie's job placement in Earlville doesn't seem so random. Nor does Herbert's role as executor of the Ruth Brooks and Joseph Daggett estates seem like just a neighborly gesture.