Early Documents for the Families of Sylvanus, Daniel and Gabriel Cornell

This page shares the one-of-a-kind records from the family of Gabriel Cornell which also mention the families of Sylvanus and Daniel Cornell. All were in the possession of Grace Thompson, a great-granddaughter of Gabriel, when she died in 1968. We can thank our late Cousin Ruth McKim for preserving and making them available.

The "Three Brothers" Note

Three Brothers...

The writer of the note remains unknown; however, the similarity of the above to the handwriting to that of the family charts below suggests it is contemporary with them. Probably the writer was a member of one of the Thompson families and of the same generation as Grace (1883-1968), and we can quibble about certain details:

The Gabriel Family Chart - Pages 1&2

Gabriel Chart Page 1

Gabriel Chart Page 2

The writer of these two pages was identified by handwriting comparison as Lucy Anzonetta "Netta" Thompson whose photograph is below. She also wrote a similar chart using the same kind of paper and black ink describing so many generations of her Fleming ancestors that the source had to be a genealogy. It was found, and the author acknowledged correspondence with "Nettie and Emma Thompson" of Canada. This book was published in 1903 and surely gives us a time frame for the Gabriel Charts.

While these two charts are not 100% accurate, consider the fact that two sons are included who emigrated to Illinois more than 20 years before Netta was born and she named them and some of their children correctly.

Some brief comments -- Page 1: The name below Moses (bottom left) is Owen. Jesse is the correct spelling, but his name was pronounced as "Jess." "Mrs. Moore" and "Mrs. Willard" (upper left) were his daughters Elizabeth and Eleanor. Page 2: Smith "came to Canada when 2 years old." Brothers Daniel and William seem to be combined; those are Daniel's children. Thomas (Page 1) and Gabriel (Cornwell) are the two brothers who emigrated to Illinois around 1845. The families closest physically to Netta were those of Smith (her grandparents), Moses and Jesse, and it's no surprise their descriptions are the most accurate.

The List of Waits, Cousins and Brothers

Cousins & Brothers

Netta Thompson also wrote the above note. On the left side are listed the children of Jonathan Wait who was Netta's great grandfather. His daughter Lucy (1805-1887) married Smith Cornell (1799-1861). Not all the children were included, but enough are that it's possible to confirm which family this is. At least Lucy (Ann) and Smith (J.) were still living when Netta was a young woman, and she surely knew them well. "Grandmother Mrs. S. Cornell" which follows Lucy was added by an unknown writer and in pencil. Grace Thompson added "Smith" atop the "S." with her fat blue pen.

The top right side contributes an even earlier generation, two sisters of Jonathan Wait, Mrs. Beam (Elizabeth) and Mrs. Gonder (Sarah Ann). The Waits lived at both Black Creek and Chippawa on the west side of the Niagara River after they arrived in Canada in 1817.

Beneath them are listed several men described as "brothers and cousins to Grandfather." These names have been studied at length, and only "Colonel Cornell" has not been identified. While some of the names can be found in several generations, only one has them all, that of Smith Cornell (son of Gabriel) who was Netta's grandfather. Interestingly, all three families had to be considered to find them. John A., Aaron (Capt. and perhaps exaggerated as "Colonel) and Enoch were the sons of Sylvanus. Benoni was Daniel's son. Samuel and William could be the sons of either Sylvanus or Gabriel, although proximity suggests the latter as more likely.

Lucy Anzonetta "Netta" Thompson


Netta was born in 1868 and died unmarried in 1952. She was the daughter of William Fleming Thompson and Mary Elizabeth Cornell and a nurse. She, her sister and their parents are buried together in St. George Cemetery near her grandparents, Smith and Lucy Cornell.

Netta, from all evidence, was the most knowledgeable member of her generation about the early family. Only she wrote anything about the three different families, those of Sylvanus, Daniel and Gabriel. And, until we had her two charts above, piecing together the family of Gabriel and learning of his New York origin were virtually impossible. We owe this dear lady a great debt of gratitude!

Sylvanus Cornell Military Record


The above record is for one of several enlistments of Sylvanus Cornell in the Dutchess Co. Militia. It identifies him as age 24 (in 1776), born in Westchester (Co.) and with an occupation of "cooper" (barrel maker). The year is missing but was confirmed by historian Frank Doherty who also told me where to find this record.

If you have any questions or comments about any of the family records shown here, please do write me. . . . . . Tom Cornell

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