Early Life & Family

1850 Federal Census

The 1850 Federal Census lists Hannah Brackenridge as the head of household and names Lizzie along with three other children, presumably her siblings.

The 1900 Census, taken two years before Hannah's death at the age of eighty-one, listed her as a widow and mother of nine children, five of whom were living at the time and named in her will. Lizzie was 59 at the time and still living with the Wylie family in Bloomington. Hannah was living in Indianapolis when she died, beneath what is now the I-65/West Street junction. Her house no longer stands.

In 1901, a newspaper article in the Indianapolis Recorder Hannah's grandson, Willis O. Tyler, refers to her as having "charge of a station" of the Underground Railroad while she lived in Bloomington. For more information on Hannah and the Underground Railroad in Monroe County, visit the Monroe County Timeline compiled by the Monroe County Public Library. The Wylie family was also identified as “in on” the Underground Railroad by Walter Borland, a white man who grew up in Bloomington just after the Civil War.

Edmund Breckenridge

Aside from his marriage to Hannah, Edmund Breckenridge is not found in public records. The only other piece of information known about Edmund appeared in a news article about Lizzie’s service to the Wylie family, which reads: “Her father was an ex-slave, and coming North, married and settled down at Bedford, where for some time he was a shoemaker. In 1852, he moved his family to Bloomington.” It does not appear that Hannah and Edmund were still together by 1852 though. Hannah is listed as the head of household in the 1850 Federal Census and Edmund is not listed at all. The Lawrence County Marriage Book shows that Hannah married Henry McCaw on April 29, 1852,, and moved to Bloomington, thus undergoing another name change and relocation. The reason why the article mentioned Edmund moving to Bloomington is unclear. Perhaps this was an error on the part of the author, or there is more information on Edmund that has yet to come to light.

Early Life & Family