Death Records of Scioto County, Ohio, 1803-1860 represents years of collecting, evaluating, and merging death record information from numerous primary and secondary sources. Also included are deaths in the area prior to the formation of Scioto County in 1803 and drownings in and along the Ohio River regardless of exact location or date. For example, see MonsieurAntionme who committed suicide upon fear of being captured by Indians along the Ohio River in 1791; Widower Fitzpatrick who was killed on the Ohio river about 1793 while traveling to Washington, Kentucky; or the newspaper account of George Grinder, a German drayman who was drowned in the Ohio River in 1850 while attempting to rescue his horse and dray which had backed into the river.
Most of the death records contained herein evolved from sources found within Scioto County. However, outside sources have proven valuable in completing death records which otherwise would be left incomplete. The death record of Samuel Scott Wilkinson is a good example. In Shoemaker's Early Court Records of Scioto County, Ohio, page 56, is reference to the will of Samuel Scott Wilkinson, written 8 October 1821 and filed for probate 4 December 1821. His entire estate is bequeathed to his unnamed mother, brothers, and sisters. No cemetery record was found in Scioto County for this man who would appear to have died in the fall or early winter of 1821. Evans' History of Scioto County, Ohio, page 278, mentions Nathan Kimball Clough of Portsmouth as having a law partner by the name of Wilkinson in 1820. This Mr. Wilkinson is otherwise lost to us and would not necessarily relate to Samuel Scott Wilkinson. Evans, page 583, refers to Samuel Scott Wilkinson as one of the first five vestrymen of All Saints Church in Portsmouth. Realistically this would be the same Wilkinson as in the probate records but not necessarily the same as the lawyer Wilkinson. Inter-State Publishing's History of Lower Scioto Valley, Ohio, page 209, only clouds the relation as the name of the vestryman is given as Samuel "L." Wilkinson.
A source outside Scioto County supplies the link between the lawyer Wilkinson and the vestryman Wilkinson. It also provides the actual dates and places of birth and death, viz: Historical Catalogue of Brown University, 1764-1914, page 83, which states Samuel Scott Wilkinson was born 27 January 1786 in Smithfield, Rhode Island; that he graduated from Brown University in 1809 and was admitted to the bar in 1812 and practiced law in Thomaston, Maine; and that he died in Portsmouth, Ohio, 12 October 1821. Obituaries were published in the "Providence Gazette" and "Providence Journal" but provided no additional information.
There is a wide range of accuracy and all-too-frequent lack of accuracy in many of our early records. The Brown University catalogue previously mentioned has proven accurate in most cases. However, when this compiler abstracted the Alumni Record of Wesleyan University, Middleton, Conn., 1883, it appeared to have been compiled with careless abandon. Unfortunately, Evans' History of Scioto County, a major and readily available source of historical background for Scioto County families, appears to have been somewhat casually assembled by the typesetters engaged by Mr. Evans. Later sources, particularly those compiled by the Scioto County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society and/or their members, have proven much more reliable.
The solution, and that used in constructing these Scioto County death records, is to cite all sources leading to the construction of each death record. Anyone locating a constructed death record of interest should always refer to the primary and secondary sources cited and in that way form their own conclusions. Specific care should be taken when a mother's name is referenced from marriage records as has been done frequently in this compilation. Generally there is no way to tell on the face of most earlier marriage records whether the name given is a maiden name or a former married name.
Contributed by: Vern Paul, Compiler
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