Jonathan Robert Storms was born in Vergennes, VT to Primus Storms, Jr and Anna Ayres around 1850. He was part of the third generation of land-owning Black farmers in Addison County, Vermont. His free grandfather and enslaved grandmother traveled from Fishkill, NY to Vermont in the late 1700s with Platt Rogers.
Jonathan worked as a horse jockey until moving to Worcester with his wife, Orphia Mason, and daughter, Hattie. A second daughter, Margaret was born in Worcester but died before her 2nd birthday. Once settled in Worcester, Jonathan worked as a laborer before becoming a driver of his own hackney – the taxicab of that era. Orphia and Jonathan married in 1871 but by 1880 were living apart. The 1880 federal census for the city of Worcester, shows Jonathan living with a Mary Storms. It is probable that this is the same Mary that he officially married in 1891 and whose death was immortalized in the news clipping above.
It turns out that Mary Storms was not murdered but instead had a violent seizure. The room she was found in looked as though items were thrown about and a window shade had been torn down. Authorities decided that this was due to Mary thrashing about. Her death was ruled to be by natural causes.
Jonathan continued to work as a driver until his death on 23 April 1905. He is the only ancestor that I know of that once raced horses for a living. How different was the life that the Storms families lived in Vermont from what they faced in Worcester and Boston.