Mosey is an unusual American surname, with no obvious ethnic origin. But I have learned that it’s English in origin—Yorkshire, to be specific. My husband’s great-grandfather Robert Mosey was one of his “gateway ancestors”—an ancestor who came from elsewhere to settle in America.
Robert Mosey (1821-1884) was born in Bishop Wilton, a village in Yorkshire, England, to Richard Mosey and Sibby Johnson Mosey. From what I’ve been able to find out about Robert’s early history, his parents weren’t the cream of British society by any means… I see a baby born out of wedlock, a conviction for assault, and a “removal order,” for example. (A removal order occurred when a village sent a poor family back where they came from so that the local church parish wouldn’t have to support them.) I owe a debt of thanks to Denise Mosey, who still lives in Bishop Wilton, for helping with this information.
Robert eventually came to America (as did his father Richard), probably in the later 1830s. They both settled in Lorain County, Ohio, where Robert’s father Richard was naturalized and remarried (perhaps twice!) and died in 1872. Young Robert married a local girl named Elisabeth Bennet in 1842.
The 1850 census finds Robert and Elisabeth in Lorain County with their four children, Robert working as a laborer. But they continued to move west, probably to find affordable land... The 1860 census finds them in Elkhart County, Indiana, with seven children (two other sons, Lesven and Daniel, had died). Robert is a shingle-maker, and the census indicates that he still doesn’t own any land.
Robert and Elisabeth eventually settled near South Haven in Allegan County, Michigan, where they can be found in the 1870 census. Now Robert is a farmer and landowner, with land valued at $3,500 and personal property valued at $600. An 1873 land atlas shows him owning 160 acres. Quite a progression over twenty years! He farmed in Allegan County the rest of his life, with several of his sons purchasing farms nearby.
Robert Mosey passed away in Allegan County in 1888, and Elisabeth followed him in death in 1893. They and six or seven of their eight surviving children were buried at Stephenson Cemetery there. In a future post I’ll tell more about those eight children who survived to adulthood—Lewis, John, Francis, Jane, Maria, Martha, Richard, and Sarah Elizabeth.