We first see William C. Twiss in the United States in 1870 as a 25-year-old shoe-factory worker in Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut. He is boarding in the home of a 48-year old farmer named William H. Brown. Also in the home live Brown’s wife, 16-year old son, and three other male boarders:
- Gains Pease, 60, machinest
- Edward Brady, 30, works in iron foundry
- William Raymound, 30, machinist
William is mentioned to have $1800 in “real estate value” – about $38,000 in today’s dollars.
“Works in a shoe factory” is his stated profession. We’ll see William remained in the shoe industry his entire life, even being referred to as “the cobbler” in his later years in Norwalk.
I’ve traced William’s birth back to County Tipperary in Ireland, yet this census indicates William was born in Canada. Perhaps whoever answered the door for the census taker was unaware William emigrated from Ireland – or maybe William himself omitted this information. This first mention of Canada helped me locate William’s siblings, who also first docked in Canada before migrating to the United States.
- Did William travel from Ireland with his siblings?
- Why did William choose to leave Canada and head to Norwalk, Connecticut? Was he following a job opportunity in the shoe-making industry? Did any of his siblings come with him for any period of time? Did he spend any time in Upstate New York where it appears a few of his siblings set up their homes?
- Did he know the head-of-household, William H. Brown, or any of the other boarders before moving in?
- What is the real estate William owned?