This will be a short description of my g-g-g-g-grandmother Phebe Foye, who was another of my Nantucket grandmothers who migrated from Nantucket to the Cincinnati area in the early 1800s. There isn’t a lot of information readily available about Phebe beyond the vital records that show her birth, marriages, and death. These come from a handwritten page in a family Bible (I think written by her daughter Susan Wilcox Justice), from the Vital Records of Nantucket to 1850 (available online at Ancestry.com to subscribers or the NEHGS website) and the Eliza Starbuck Barney Genealogical Record at the Nantucket Historical Association Research Library & Archives which has been made into a searchable database and is available online through the NHA website here. Unfortunately the church records from the Society of Friends and 2 other collections of private papers referenced in the Vital Records to 1850 are not available online but only on Nantucket. So what I have is indexes and extractions from letters published other places to go on at this point. I’m starting to dream about a research trip to Nantucket!
The vital records that are available for Phebe do not agree with each other as to dates of events, and often do not report the place of the event. So, I have three different dates of birth ranging from 1770 to 1776 and either September or November as the month of birth. It is agreed that she was born in Nantucket to Abigail Marshall and Joseph Foye. Depending on which of these years is correct, Phebe was between 12 and 17 years old when her mother Abigail died in 1788. It is difficult to pin down dates for her father Joseph, but it seems likely that he was not born in Nantucket and probably died a widow in 1798 (listed in the Vital Records to 1850 for Nantucket). He doesn’t seem to have remarried, suggesting that the children were all old enough that there wasn’t pressure for him to provide another mother for them.
Phebe married Reuben Wilcox (or Willcocks) sometime between March and October of 1795. A private collection of papers on Nantucket gives the March date and the family Bible gives October as the date. Reuben died about 2 years later, leaving Phebe with an infant daughter (Susan) in 1798. She had a mother-in-law and a married sister who may have been helpful to her and she did not marry again for 4 years. She married Thomas Myrick in 1802.
Phebe and Thomas Myrick had 3 children between 1803 and 1808 which was also a difficult time in Nantucket economically. The island community was hit very hard by the Revolutionary War during which it struggled to stay neutral and was raided by both the English and the American rebels who stopped Nantucket ships and took both sailors and goods. Between the Revolution and the War of 1812 there was increased conflict on the island based on religious differences and growing political ones. By the time the War of 1812 looked inevitable, many Nantucketers were ready to leave and seek more prosperous places to live.
Phebe and Thomas Myrick reportedly migrated, likely with the Cyrus Coffin family, in 1811 to the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Farm land was available, with lower prices the further from Cincinnati you went, and Thomas seems to have bought land in Clermont county. He is listed as being a property holder by 1826. Phebe had died in 1815 by report, although there are no official records found to support this information, and no other, more anecdotal evidence to describe how or why she died at the relatively young age of 43. Perhaps if I make it to Nantucket to do some research I will find a letter or other evidence to fill out some of the glaring gaps I see.