Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Band of Gypsies

They didn’t have much, if any impact on Jefferson County, and they may have left no descendants in the area. But a band of gypsies that settled in Hanover by 1860 got more than their share of stories published about their brief sojourn in Jefferson County.


The group showed up in the town of Hanover when 81 persons identified in the 1870 census were shown as gypsies. They carried the surnames: Green, Youngs, Woods, Reynolds, Knobbs, Smythes and Bofo and included some distinct first names, such as Whyte Youngs and Pablo

Youngs. Thirty-seven bore the Young/Youngs surname and 12 were Greens.


The 1860 Jefferson County census doesn’t shown the surname Stanley, even though several sources show that Owen Stanley, reportedly the Gypsy King (there were probably many of them) and died in his wagon near Madison on Feb. 21, 1860 in his sixty-seventh year. There were supposed to be 200 in this group so the rest must have left by 1870.


Stanley was born in Reading, Berkshire, England, and his body was taken back to the Woodland Cemetery near Dayton, to be buried next to his wife, Harriet Warden, who died on Aug. 30, 1857, age 63. That's according to the History of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, published in 1909, whose author found their tombstones. This book claims Woodland was the first gypsy cemetery in the United States, but that’s one of those claims that should be immediately questioned.


T
he group appeared to have arrived at Dayton in 1856 from Canada (where they can't have stayed long), moved on to Indiana quickly, and most moved on quickly again. The best evidence of their emigration date comes from a transcribed tombstone in the cemetery that showed: “ daughter of Mary,Dangefo and Dovie Stanley; born in England, died December 11th, 1857, aged two years and fourteen days," …

The publications talking about them were kind, compared to some of the comments made about gypsies. Part of this seems to have been racial--the Stanleys were far more European looking than some of their darker brethren.

Owen Stanley
was succeeded as king by his son Levi Stanley, whose wife Matilda became queen. There is no indication they came to Indiana with the rest of the tribe and were shown in Troy, Miami County, Ohio, in 1860. There were 25 people shown as wanderers in Troy. The 1880 census shows none of these families remaining In Indiana--they apparently came together and left together.

1 comment:

Colleen Battin said...

I would love to know more about these gypsies. Where can more articles be found. I am quite sure the young /Youngs mentioned are my relatves. Collie7767@yahoo.com