I was told quite some time ago, long before I had started on family history as a serious endeavor, that my mother’s great-grandmother was an Indian. When I started a serious quest for a family history a few years ago, I was given to understand that the great-grandmother who “was an Indian” most likely was a woman named Sarah Gilbert. But for the longest time I couldn’t find Sarah Gilbert. About 2 1/2 years ago, as I was looking for Ezekiel Johnson, I found Sarah Gilbert. According to the records of Clay County Missouri, Ezekiel Johnson and Sarah Gilbert were married on September 5, 1867. The 1880 census for Jackson County, Missouri, found Ezekiel and Sarah living in Kansas City, with their children Mary, 11; Henry, 10; Richard, 8; Ambrose (or Amos), 6; Robert, 4; and Mattie, 2. The oldest child Mary, was Mary Elizabeth Liza Jane Johnson, who in 1888 married James William Long, and eventually became my mother’s grandmother.
The 1880 census describes Sarah as 31 years old and born in Missouri. The 1880 census, along with the 1867 marriage records, are the only verifiable evidence of Sarah Gilbert Johnson that I can find. I’ve search for her in Clay County Missouri, since that is where the marriage took place. A few families named Gilbert lived in Clay County starting in about 1860, census records show. But none are named Sarah and none match Sarah’s demographics. And there is no way to connect any of the Gilberts in Clay County to Sarah Gilbert. So next I looked in Platte County, the next county south of Clay and north of Kansas City. There are a number of Gilberts in Platte County from the 1840s on. But again none match the demographics of our Sarah Gilbert. A possible match is 16 year-old Sarah Gilbert found in Ridgeley, Platte County, in 1860. But I’m not convinced that this is our Sarah Gilbert either.
I am intrigued, however, by something found in the pre-1910 Missouri State birth and death records database. According to that source, a child named Mildred Banks was born in Platte County on July 23, 1883. Her father’s name was Philip Banks and her mother’s maiden name was Rachel Gilbert. Philip is described as 60 years old, and his wife Rachel. By the time of the 1880 census, Philip and Rachel are living in Kansas City with their children Grover 29; Milly,15; Dolly, 14; and Bessie, 10. But after that, we pretty much lose track of the Banks family. Certainly there are no more clues which link Rachel Gilbert Banks to Sarah Gilbert Johnson. We have no confirmed parents for Sarah Gilbert and no confirmed siblings. So, the Gilberts are on the list of lost families.
September 2, 2006 Saturday at 5:30 am