A Blended Family in 1850
Listed in the 1850 Census for the 5th Ward of Kensington are John K Hammett, born 1833, and Thomas J Hammett, born 1835. They are living with the family of David and Elizabeth Gominger Hammitt Fow in the Northern Liberties section. The household of Elizabeth and David introduces us to a blended family of Hammitt, Gominger, Sutton and Carr family members. The 1850 Census didn’t identify relationships, making it easy to assume most of the residents are boarders. But a closer look uncovers family ties and clears up a few mysteries.
Elizabeth Gominger Hammitt Fow
A search for David Fow tells us he and Elizabeth Hammitt were married on May 23, 1841 in the Kensington Methodist Episcopal Church. Living with David and Elizabeth Fow in 1850 are their daughter, Eleanor (identified as Ellen), age 7; their Son-in-Law, Bartholomew Sutton and his 9-month old daughter, Margaret; Frances Carr, age 20; Catharine Gominger, age 22, and the Hammitt boys, John and Thomas Hammitt, ages 17 and 15. Elizabeth was 45 years old when the Census was done, old enough to have been the mother of John and Thomas. Her identity as Elizabeth Hammitt in the marriage record supports the theory of John and Thomas being her sons. A Christening record for Elizabeth Gominger, born 8 Jan 1805, identifies her parents as Josepha and Anna Gominger (believed to be Anna Freed). Her birth year recorded in the 1850 Census is also 1805. Frances Carr and Catharine Gominger have yet to be identified. However, the Gominger name appears frequently in the records associated with the family. William H Gominger, MD, was the physician named on the death certificates of several family members. Death records of Sarah Gominger state she was living at 1335 East Montgomery Avenue when she died in 1866. This is the same address as the Fow & Hammitt farm. William H Gominger, MD, was her attending physician.
Ann G Hammitt and Isaac Hammitt
This 1850 Census record helped us identify two additional Hammitt relatives, Ann G Hammitt, born 1825, and Isaac Hammitt, born 1823. They, along with John K Hammitt and Thomas J Hammitt, were the children of Elizabeth Gominger, believed to be the wife of Thomas J Hammitt. The family also brings to light the existence of another first born son named Isaac and a second son named John K. Their father, Thomas Jefferson Hammitt, was the third born son of Samuel Hammitt and Jane Simmons and the brother of our ancestor, Isaac Hammitt. It seems fitting he would name his third son after himself. The individual family members were not difficult to trace. Identifying them as descendants of Thomas J and Elizabeth G Hammitt was somewhat challenging.
The 1850 Census lead us to tax records confirming a business relationship between David Fow and his stepson, Thomas. Obituaries helped confirm names and additional family members, often providing addresses. Cross-referencing the addresses with city directory listings and occupations are what lead us to the relationships and families we’ll describe in the coming weeks.