2A-L: Lillian Martha Guthrie

Lillian Martha Guthrie 1870NY – 1951NY
of Saint Lawrence, Franklin, and Montgomery Counties, New York, USA

Parents: George Guthrie 1830IRE-1873NY and Margaret Walker 1840ENG-1910NY
Birth: 29 September 1871
Birth Location: Hopkinton, Saint Lawrence County, New York, USA
Relationship: Eugene H Ferguson (about 1893-4)
Children: Edwin Julian Guthrie (1894)
Marriage 1st:  Michael Roddy on 17 August 1901 at Tupper Lake, NY (Ended in Divorce)
Marriage 2nd: B F Smith on 19 May 1905 (Ended bef.1915)
Marriage 3rd: Alfred Azro Palmer (Bet. 1912-1915)
Occupation: Hotel Cook
Death: 16 October 1951
Death Location: Amsterdam, Montgomery, New York, USA
Burial Location: Pine Grove Cemetery

1870NY – 1947NY
Eugene H Ferguson was born 10 Nov 1870 in Lyonsdale, Lewis, NY to Duncan and Pamela Ferguson. Dundas was a Canadian born farmer of Scottish ancestry. His wife and her parents were all born in New York. The 1892 NY Census lists Duncan & Pamelia Ferguson’s family as living in Martinsburg, Lewis, NY. Eugene was 23 and working as a laborer. Lillian’s sister, Calista, had married John M Schuyler in 1888 and moved to Lyonsdale in Lewis County. They were living there in 1892, which may have given Lillian the opportunity to meet Eugene Ferguson. No official documentation found listing Eugene as the father of Lillian’s son, Edwin Julian Guthrie, born 31 March 1894 in Port Leydon, Lewis, NY, but he is reported in a family tree. Eugene married on 18 July 1900 in Martinsburg, NY to Agnes L. Peebles. They had 1 son, Charles D Ferguson, born 1902. Eugene worked as a finisher in a paper mill. He died on 20 July 1947 in Madrid, New York, USA.

1874NY – 1918NY

Michael Roddy was living in Manlius, Onondaga, NY and working as a moulder at the foundry. The 1900 census lists him as a white male born Feb 1874, 26 years of age, single, born in NY with both parents of Irish birth. His address is listed on Pleasant Street where he was living as a boarder. That same year, Lillian M Guthrie (listed as Lillie Ford) was living in Waverly, Franklin, NY on Pleasant Street. Either there are lots of Pleasant Streets, or this one was very long! Michael and Lillian were officially married on 17 August 1901 at Tupper Lake, New York, USA. No identified children. This marriage must have ended in divorce because Lillian remarried in 1905 and Michael did not die until 28 January 1918 in Syracuse, NY.

18?? – 19??

This man is pretty much a mystery. B. F. Smith married Lillian Roddy on 19 May 1905 at St Regis Falls, New York. No identified children. B. F. Smith may have died, or there might have been another divorce. The marriage was over prior to 1915 when Lillian is documented as the wife of Alfred Palmer.

1857NY – 1918NY
Alfred Azro Palmer was the son of Elijah and Harriett Palmer of Dickinson, Franklin, New York. Elijah was a farmer born in Vermont while Harriet had been born in New York. He was listed as living with his parents during the 1880 census and married sometime after that to Augusta Anna (MNU). They had no children. The 1910 census lists them as living on Pleasant Street in Waverly, Franklin, NY, so they were neighbors of The Fords and Guthries. The 1910 census shows that Alfred and his wife had moved to Northwest Bay Road, still in Waverly. He his listed as a white farmer born in NY with both parents born in NY, owns his own home farm free of mortgage, married for 29 years. Augusta Anna Palmer died in 1911. Alfred and Lillian appear to have married sometime between 1912-1915. The 1915 NY State Census lists them living on Railroad Street in Waverly, Franklin, NY with Lillian’s sister, Evas C Guthrie.

Alfred died on 25 August 1918 at 61 years of age. His estate was probated in Franklin County, NY 7 Sep 1918 with Lillian assigned as the administrator.


Lillian was not yet born during the 1870 census, which is the only time her father, George Guthrie appears in the Census Records. He died about 1873. George was a white farmer of Scot-Irish heritage, while Margaret (Walker) Guthrie was either black or mulatto born to an African father and an English mother. Lillian’s race wavers in the official records usually depending on who is listed as the Head of Household ranging from black or mulatto to white.

The 1875 NY State Census:
Dickinson, Franklin County, NY
Log House (versus a Frame House)
Margaret Guthrie, 34, F, Black, England, (Listed as “now married” rather than “now widowed”) Day Laborer, Alien, Over 21 and not able to read/write
Evas C Guthrie, 14, F, Black, Daughter, Vermont, Single
Mary Ann Guthrie, 12, F, Black, Daughter, St Lawrence, Single
Wealthy J Guthrie, 9, F, Black, Daughter, St Lawrence, Single
Calista R Guthrie, 7, F, Black, Daughter, St Lawrence, Single
Martha L Guthrie 4, F, (Blank), Daughter, St Lawrence, Single
John Francis Guthrie, 1-8/12, M, (Blank), Son, Franklin, Single

Lillian’s mother, Margaret (Walker) Guthrie remarried to John B Ford. The baby of the family, John Francis Guthrie, took on the Ford surname and kept it throughout his life. Other than one (possibly fluke census) the daughters all retained their Guthrie surname.

The 1880 US Census:
Dickinson, Franklin, NY
FOARD, John B, white, male, 38, married, farmer, Self: Canada, Father: Ireland, Mother: Canada
———Margret, black, female, 39, wife, married, keeping house, Self: England, Father: Africa, Mother: England
———John F, mulatto, male, 6, son, single, Self: New York, (Step)Father: Canada, Mother: England
GUTHRIE, Evas C, mulatto, female, 19, boarder, single, Self: Vermont, Father: Ireland, Mother: England
———-Mary A, mulatto, female, 17, boarder, single, Self: New York, Father: Ireland, Mother: England
———-Wealtha J, mulatto, female, 15, boarder, single, Self: New York, Father: Ireland, Mother: England
———-Clista, mulatto, female, 12, boarder, single, at school, Self: New York, Father: Ireland, Mother: England
———-Lillie, mulatto, female, 9, boarder, single, at school, Self: New York, Father: Ireland, Mother: England
CLARK, Hiram, white, male, 22, single, laborer, Self: New York, Father: Vermont, Mother: Vermont
HANLY, John, white, male, 24, single, laborer, cannot read/write, Self: Ireland, Father: Ireland, Mother: Ireland

Lillian’s stepfather, John B Ford, died on 27 Sep 1897 at St Regis Falls, Franklin, NY, which made her only brother, John Francis (Guthrie) Ford the new head of the family. As a consequence, everyone in the household during the 1900 census, except for Phillip Schuyler, is listed with the Ford surname. Not sure if they all officially went by Ford for a time but the girls were all back to using the Guthrie name, as was Lillian’s son, by the next census.

The 1900 US Census:
Waverly, Franklin, New York
FORD, John, head, white male, Nov 1873, 26, married x1 yr, Self: New York, (Step)Father: Nova Scotia, Mother: England, farmer, owns house, farms
———-Dora, wife, white, female, Jan 1883, 17, married x1yr, 0 children, 0 living, Self/Father/Mother: New York
———-Margaret, mother, white, female, Apr 1839, 61, widowed, 8 children, 5 living, Self: England, Father: Africa, Mother: England, Year of Immigration to US: 1848, Number of Years in US: 52, housework, can read, cannot write
———-Evas, sister, white, female, May 1861, 39, single, S: Vermont, F:New York, M: England, Seamstress
———-Lillie, sister, white, female, Sept 1871, 29, single, S: Nw York, F: New York, M: England, housework
SCHUYLER, Phillip, nephew, white, male, June 1889, 10, S: New York, F: New York, M: New York, at school
FORD, Julian, nephew, white, male, Mar 1894, 6, S: New York, F: New York, M: New York

The 1905 NY State Census:
Waverly, Franklin, New York
(Lillian is not here in 1905, but her son Edwin Julian Guthrie is living here and attending school. I have not found Lillian listed anywhere in the 1905 NY State Census.)
FORD, John, head, black (white crossed out), male, 31, Nativity: United States, Farmer
—–Dora, wife, white, female, 22, Nativity: United States, house work
—–Frank, son, black, male, 5, Nativity: United States
—–Margaret, daughter, black, female, 2, Nativity: United States
—–Lawrence, son, black, male, 1, Nativity: United States
GUTHRIE, Eva, sister, black, female, 44, Nativity: United States, at home
SCHUYLER, Phillip, nephew, black, male, 15, Nativity: United States, laborer saw mill
FORD, Margaret, mother, black, female, 66, Nativity: England, 50 years in the US
Guthrie, Julian, nephew, black, male, 11, Nativity: United States, at school

The 1910 NY State Census:
Waverly, Franklin, New York – Main Street – Hotel
(Lillian Smith is listed within a large ‘household’ making up the hotel staff and their boarders. Note that she reported that she gave birth to a 2nd child, who died prior to 1910. This child, like son Edwin, could have been outside of marriage or within her marriage to either Michael Roddy or BF Smith.)
SMITH, Lillian, cook, female, white, 38, married x1, married 5 years, 2 children, 1 living, Self: NY, Father:Ireland, Mother: England, Cook / Hotel, not out of work this year, can read/write
Also in Waverly, Franklin, New York – Dickinson Center Road
(Lillian’s son Edwin Julian Guthrie is still living with his grandmother, Margaret, but now working as a stone mill laborer.)
FORD, Margaret, head, female, black, 72, widowed, 8 children, 6 living, S: England, F: Africa, M: England, Immigration Year: 1849, cannot read/write, BLIND
GUTHRIE, Evas, daughter, female, mulatto, 48, single, S: Vermont, F: Ireland, M: England, no occupation
—–Julian, grandson, male, mulatto, 16, single, S: New York, F: New York, M: New York, laborer, stone mill
SCHUYLER, Phillip, grandson, male, mulatto, 20, single, S: New York, F: New York, M: New York, culler, lumber yard

Lillian’s mother, Margaret (Guthrie nee Walker) Ford died later that year on 6 October 1910 at St Regis Falls, Franklin, NY.

Lillian Smith married widower Alfred Azro Palmer sometime between 1912 and 1915.

The 1915 NY State Census:
Waverly, Franklin, New York, USA – Railroad Street
Palmer, Alfred, head, white male, 57, born US, fireman stone mill
_____, Lillian, wife, white female, 44, born US, housework
Guthrie, Eva C, sister, white female, 54, born US, no occupation

After Alfred’s death in 1915, Lillian returned to her work as a cook. She is also listed in the 1920 census under her maiden name of Guthrie, perhaps because her son has that surname. By this time, her son Edwin, has also married and has a family.

The 1920 US Census:
Waverly, Franklin, New York – Spruce Street
GUTHRIE, Lillian M, Head, house owner, no mortgage, female, white, 48, widowed, reads/writes, Self:NY, Father:Ireland, Mother:England, Cook / Hotel.
(Edwin, wife Alice, their son, Eugene J, daughters Evas C and Dora R, and Lillian’s nephew. Phillip Schuyler, are also listed in the household. Everyone in the household is listed as white except for Phillip who is mulatto in contrast to the 1930 census where they are all categorized as negro (black).)

The 1930 Census:
Waverly, Franklin, New York – Spruce Street
PALMER, Lillian, Head, owns house (value 400) has a radio, not a farm, female, negro, 57, widowed, reads/writes, Self: New York, Father: Northern Ireland, Mother: England, Cook / Hotel
(Edwin Julian Guthrie’s family has continued to expand. He and Alice now have 7 children aged 2 to 14.

The 1940 Census:
Massena, St Lawrence, New York – Stoughton Avenue
PALMER, Lillian, servant, female, white, 65, widowed, highest education: grade 8, born NY, residence in 1935: St Regis Falls, NY, servant / private home.
(In 1940, Lillian has taken up employment as a private home servant in the household of Henry and Vera Hutt. By the 1950 census, Lillian is 58 years old and unable to work. She is back living with her son and daughter-in- law,)

The 1950 Census:
Amsterdam, Montgomery, New York, USA
PALMER, Lillian, mother, white, female, 78, widowed, born NY, unable to work.
(Son Edwin is now working as a plumber at a department store, wife Alice as a day worker at a rug mill, and their youngest daughter as a salesgirl in a retail department store. They also have a female lodger who works at the hotel as a bartender. This year the family is all classified as white again.)

Starting in October of 1850, Lillian’s heath began to decline after an accident. She was in and out of hospitals and convalescent homes for a year before her death on 16 Oct 1951. She was buried at Pine Grove Cemetery.

Y-DNA Project Participants: N/A – Female Guthrie
Autosomal DNA Participants: No