Chester Van Syckel

This week in #52Ancestors I am writing about Chester Van Syckel, a well educated and well connected attorney of Flemington, New Jersey.  I fear he may not have been well liked but I hesitate to cast aspersions on my great, great grandfather without actual data to back it up.

Chester Van Syckel was born on 6 June 1838 at Van Syckel’s Corners, a tiny burg in Union township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey.   He was the tenth child of Aaron (Jr., 1793-1874) and Mary Bird (1799-1863) Van Syckel.   An early letter from Chester to his brother Sylvester talks a bit about what life in Van Syckel’s Corners was like:

Lafayette College Pardee HallHe appears to have been sent away to school as a teen, first to Dr. John Vandeveer’s school and then to Lafayette College, both in Easton, Pennsylvania.  A bit of map-stalking will show that Easton is due west of Bethlehem, NJ, where the family was located in the 1850 Census.  Chester also benefited from having a famous and well placed brother: Bennett Van Syckel studied law at Princeton University, graduating in 1846 and he went on to serve as a justice on the NJ Supreme Court from 1869 to 1904.  This may have been what made it possible for Chester Van Syckel to attend Princeton, where he earned a Bachelors degree in 1862.

F._Childs_Lithograph_ca._1860_AC177_Box_1Shortly after graduation, Chester was admitted to the bar as an attorney and five years later in 1867 he was admitted as Counsellor at law.

For two years he was in business with his
brother Bennett, and afterwards was a member of the successive law firms of Bird, Voorhees & Van Syckel and Voorhees & Van Syckel, later practicing alone. He was a special Master in Chancery and a Commissioner of the Supreme Court. His legal opinions were very highly esteemed.  His obituary in the New Jersey Law Journal also mentions his active participation in affairs in Flemington, serving on the village board of trustees.

Chester married Mary Jane (Jane) Mount on 19 December 1865 in Hightstown, New Jersey.  The Mount family was an established Mercer County family but I have no information on how they met or courted.  Possibly, Chester was working for a client or on a case in the area.

Chester and Mary Jane Van Syckel had four children:

  • Mary Van Syckel (1867-1953)
  • Anne Van Syckel (1870-1938)
  • Emmet Van Syckel (1873-1955)
  • Jean “Jennie” Van Syckel (1875-1952)

Chester had settled in Flemington by 1860 and remained there after marriage to raise his family.  In December 1906, he traveled to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for an operation and never recovered his health.  He died on 3 March 1907 and is buried in the family plot in Prospect Hill Cemetery.

VanSyckel_Chester_Gravemarker_1907

You may very well wonder why I might think that such a well respected man might not have been well liked.  There is a family story, one I am not sure I can corroborate with evidence, that makes me think he may have fit the bill of the late Victorian patriarch.  I have been told that one of his daughters tried to harm him at the dining room table one day as a result of her disappointment over a suitor her father turned away.  Other than this story, I have only the census record showing her stay in the state mental hospital in Trenton.  Whatever event put her there happened after 1895 (she is still at home in the 1895 NJ census) and before 1900 when she is in Trenton.  I would like to know more, if only to address the family memory.

Abraham VanWagnen Tompkins

Tompkins_AbrahamVW_portraitThis week in #52ancestors, I successfully resolved the questionable legitimacy of Samuel D. Tompkins by finding the correct marriage date of his parents, Abraham Van Wagnen and Caroline Sleght Brown Tompkins.

Abraham Van Wagnen Tompkins was born on 24 December 1816 in Dutchess County, New York to Michael and Rachel Schryver Tompkins.  I know very little of his early life and schooling.

On 21 February 1838, he married Caroline Sleght Brown (1818-1878), the daughter of John Dusenbury (1788-1875) and Mary Sleght (1785-1856) Brown.  It pays to keep asking the same question of different types of documents: I was able to more accurately pinpoint this marriage date which conflicts by a year and a day with the Velie family bible.  The Poughkeepsie Eagle printed a marriage notice for Abraham and Caroline on 9 March 1838 which made a huge difference in the legitimacy of their first child!

They went on to have nine children in total:

  • Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins (1838-1926)
  • John A. Tompkins (1841-)
  • Jane Ann (Jennie) (1844-1927)
  • Jacob M. (1846-1908?)
  • George Edward (1848-1869)
  • Frederick H. (1850-1897)
  • Mary Haviland (1852-1855)
  • Eugene (1855-1927)
  • James Lennard (1858-1944)

Abraham was a farmer.  Our branch of the family has very little documentation on him and I know of no object that was owned by him in the family holdings.  I did find him in the 1850 Agricultural census (Dutchess County, NY, 19 August 1850) which shows that he owned 100 acres of improved land and 27 acres unimproved.  The cash value of the farm was $7000, with an additional $300 worth of farm equipment.  He owned an unsurprising mixture of livestock and he was growing rye, corn, oats, potatoes, buckwheat and hay.  His dairy herd produced 400 lbs of butter, which was at the low end compared to other farmers in the area.

NY-Dutchess-County-New-York-1897-Map-Rand-McNally-Poughkeepsie
1897 Dutchess County atlas

In the 1860 federal census, Abraham had $10,000 worth of real estate and $1300 in property, which could show an improvement in his circumstances.  His eight surviving children are living in the household and they employ a woman named Mary Purdy, an African American domestic servant.  Also living in the house is a Catharine Sleight, aged 66, but I am not sure of her relationship to Caroline.  She is possibly an aunt, as her mother had a sister named Catharine.

Abraham died 7 January 1869, which is too early to get included in the 1870 mortality schedule.  It would have been nice to know who was living where at that point.  I await with bated breath the digitization of the Guardianship records for Dutchess County for 1869-1870, as these may answer some questions. As nearly as I can piece together, the children are scattered among the family, with one going here and another going there.  That is a puzzle for another day.

Tompkins_AbrahamVW_gravemarkerAbraham was buried 10 January 1869 at Freedom Plains Cemetery.  Caroline Brown Tompkins appears in the 1870 census to reside in the state asylum in Oneida and is still there in 1875.  She dies 1878 and is buried beside her husband.

Thomas Hiram Mount

This week in #52ancestors I got to explore guardianship records when an ancestor died intestate leaving minor children.  Thomas Hiram Mount was born on 11 April 1812 in East Windsor, Mercer County, NJ.  He was one of four children of Hiram (1786-1847) and Margaret Allen (1790-1865) Mount.

Mount_Thomas_H_house_

He lived in a house purchased by his father in 1834 (online information incorrectly names his father as Ejirain) on One Mile Road in East Windsor where he brought his wife Catherine Fisher when he married her 14 January 1835.  She was known as Kate.  They had twelve children, nine of whom survived them:

  • Rebecca Ely Mount (1836-1898)
  • Mary Elizabeth Mount (1838-1849)
  • Margaret A. Mount (1840-1900)
  • John Mount (1842-1871)
  • Mary Jane Mount (1844-1917)
  • Hiram Mount (1846-1920)
  • William Mount (1848-1923)
  • Addison Mount (1850-1851)
  • Susan Matilda Mount (1852-1918)
  • Thomas Addison Mount (1855-1935)
  • Catharine Fisher Mount (1859-1929)
  • George C. Mount (1861-1911)

Thomas operated a brickyard and kiln, Thomas H. Mount and Company, at “Buzzard’s Point,” the intersection of Dutch Neck Road and Stockton Street.

On the last Census taken before Thomas’s death, the household consisted of Thomas and Catharine, son Hiram (age 23), son William (age 21), son Addison (age 15), daughter Matilda (age 17), daughter Catharine (age 11), and son George (age 8).  There are also two female servants, Anna Dutchess and Dina Laning.

Kate Fisher died on 9 July 1872 and is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hightstown, New Jersey.  When Thomas died shortly thereafter (8 September 1876), he did not leave a will.  His son Hiram returned to New Jersey from Ohio and with his sister Rebecca E. Applegate and brother in law Vincent Van Nest, applied for letters of administration.  There are a few confusing pieces here as various documents seem to mix the identify of Thomas’s sister Rebecca with that of his daughter Rebecca.  Rebecca Mount (1814-1892) married and Abijah Ely and then married George Cox.  Thomas named his daughter Rebecca Ely Mount, after his sister.  That Rebecca married Enoch Applegate.  Both seem to be entered into various records as Rebecca Ely Mount, which is most confusing.

Mount_Thomas_H_Inventory_1876_BookF_p392-3_crop

Hiram requests a complete inventory of his father’s farm and holdings.  One intriguing bit is the “heap of mail” at the depot, making it sound as though no one made it into town to pick up the mail for some time before Thomas’s death. This is entirely possible as he died of a fever and the household may have been focused on nursing him.

Mount_ThomasH_death_1876

Although there is nothing in the estate record to point to a guardianship, there were two minor children:

  • Catharine Fisher Mount. She is assigned to Rebecca Mount Cox in the guardianship record but by 1880 is living with Rebecca Ely Mount, married to Enoch Applegate
  • George C. Mount.  His guardian of record is Hiram Mount, and he goes to live in Bethel Township, Miami County, Ohio with Hiram and Lucy Chamberlain Mount.

Thomas Hiram Mount buried next to his wife at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hightstown, NJ.  Three of his children appear to have moved west to Ohio (Hiram, Thomas Addison and George), the remainder stayed closer to home, most dying in Mercer County.

Carrie Morton Mather

Mather_CarrieM_PassportApplication_1919_2_cropI discovered Carrie M. Mather on one of my subject forays into my family tree.  I was trying to find all the World War I service men and women, and so I was taking a hard look at anyone who was born between 1880 and 1900.  As I plugged names into Fold3 and Ancestry, I was careful to just look at military service.  I was able to document quite a few male veterans but I was shocked at the number of female veterans I had.  Carrie is descended from a Mount family line firmly entrenched in New Jersey.  And yet her story compels me.

Carrie Morton Mather was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on 26 October 1886 to Frank N. (1855-1921) and Sarah Elizabeth Applegate (1855-1944) Mather.  Frank and Lizzie Mather had two daughters, Caroline and Ida (1882-1949).  Carrie attended the New Jersey State Normal school, graduating in 1907. In the 1910 Census she living with her parents and is employed as a teacher.

Mather_CarrieM_PassportApplication_1917_2_CropIn December of 1917, she boarded the Espagne at the port of New York to sail to France to assist with YMCA Canteen work.

In 1919 I find her listed as a sophomore (non matriculate due to lack of course credit) at Pomoma College in California. Later she is listed in a University of California register as graduating early on 17 Dec 1920 from University of  California, Berkeley with a BA.

The California Alumni Monthly for 1922 reports that she is with the Girls’ Baptist Mission Dormitory in Iloilo, Philippines.  And the Annual of the Northern Baptist Convention for that same year reports that she received her appointment.

She appears to have left the Philippines on 9 January 1924, stopping in Houghon China and Japan before returning to the US.  That same year she marries Lawrence E. Blackman, a Canadian music teacher.  The actual record escapes me but a newspaper article in October mentions her recent marriage.  Lawrence and Carrie are living in Peoria, Illinois in the 1930 Census, where he is employed as a music teacher.  In 1944 the couple moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. where they become directors of the Dupont Community house.

After that I loose track of her, except that she appears to have been living in Silver Creek, NY when she died in January 1969.  It is possible that she settled there as I believe Ida Mather and her husband Harry Burton Skidmore lived in the area.

I would love to know more about her experiences abroad.  What made her give up a comfortable teaching position and strike out for a war zone?  And then return, shake off the dust and head in the opposite direction to the Philippines?  If it weren’t for her passport applications, I might never have found this clue.

Jarvis Buttles

orwelmapThis week in #52ancestors addresses the Buttles family ancestor who moved from Connecticut to Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Although the original family appears to have spelled the name Buttolphs, by the late 18th century it had settled into the Buttles spelling.  This does not keep every index system in the world from corrupting that into Battles, Butler and Butter but hey this is all about discovery and having fun, right?

Jarvis Buttles was born 16 October 1800 in Hartland, Connecticut, one of nine children of Elihu and Lovisa Reed Buttles.  Elihu migrated from Connecticut to South Hill, Pennsylvania during the winter of 1817-1818, and according to the published county histories: “He settled at South Hill, put up a factory and engaged in the manufacture of wooden dishes. He died in 1823 and was succeeded in the business by his son Jarvis who occupied the homestead until his death, Oct. 5, 1890, aged 90 years.”  Whatever dishes they manufactured must not have a “Buttles” maker mark because I have scoured the world with no luck finding one of theirs.

Jarvis first married on 21 Oct 1828 to Alma Cowdrey (1805-1843).  The marriage occured in Hartland, Connecticut, but the Hartland town marriage record notes that his residence was Orwell, Pennsylvania.  It also noted that his occupation was “reverend.”  They had nine children:

  • Otis Jarvis Buttles (1830-1918)
  • Lester Franklin Buttles (1831-1885)
  • Emily Jerusha Buttles (1832-)
  • Harlow Jonathan Buttles (1834-1924)
  • Samuel Foster Buttles (1836-1884)
  • Eliza Melissa Buttles (1838-1894)
  • Juliana Buttles (1840-1860)
  • Elizabeth Alma Buttles (1842-1906) (my great, great grandmother)
  • Elihu Buttles (1843-1843)

Buttles_Alma_grave_1843Alma may have died as due to complications in the birth of her last child as her death is recorded as 2 July 1843.  Jarvis married a second time on 2 7 March 1848, to Sara Ann Horton (1816-1881).  They had two children: Louisa Buttles (1850-1902) and Elihu Buttles (1851-1901).  Louisa appears to have changed her name often over her short life.  I found her in various records as Ellen, Levisa, Louisa and Ida Louisa.

In addition to manufacturing wooden bowls and farming, Jarvis Buttles served as the postmaster of South Hill in Bradford county from 1853 to 1857 and then from 1858 to 1871.  The Post Office was then turned over to his son Samuel Buttles, who held the post until 1884 when Jarvis’s son Harlow Buttles took the post.  Harlow served until 1904 when the PO passed out of direct Buttles hands.

Buttles_Jarvis_Postmaster_Crop1Buttles_Jarvis_Postmaster_Crop2Buttles_Jarvis_Postmaster_Crop3Buttles_Jarvis_Postmaster_Crop4

According to the US Postal Service:

“The job of postmaster was an important one — candidates for the job were proposed by the outgoing postmaster, the local community, or local congressmen. Beginning in 1836, postmasters at the largest Post Offices were appointed by the President and usually received the job as a political plum. The Postmaster General continued to appoint postmasters at smaller Post Offices. The Post Office often was kept as a sideline to the postmaster’s primary occupation, such as storekeeper.”

Jarvis Buttles died on 5 October 1890 and is buried in South Hill Cemetery in Orwell, Pennsylvania.

 

Emma Louise Tompkins

Tompkins_Family_1891001
ca. 1893 The Tompkins clan (from back left: Grace, Louise, Haviland, unknown lady, Vreeland, and Harold)

This week in #52Ancestors brings me to my namesake, Louise Tompkins.  Emma Louise Tompkins was the youngest daughter of Samuel D. and Gettianna Vreeland Tompkins.  She was born 11 October 1881 in Jersey City, New Jersey.  She lived with her parents at 533 Communipaw Ave. and there are many newspaper articles describing her participation in family trips and Jersey City social events.  She may also have been something of a singer, as there is a Louise Tompkins who is listed as soloist for various church and social gatherings.  She appears to have preferred Louise to Emma when she had the choice but occasionally there will be a record that refers to her as Emma.  All the family stories I heard growing up referred to her as “Aunt Lou.”

One such record is her marriage to John J. Voorhees on 23 November 1918.  John J. or Jack as he was called, took over his father’s company, the Voorhees Rubber Company. He was born on 9 April 1876 and had been educated in Jersey City at the Lafayette College.  He married first Florence Eliot Voorhees (no relation) who was the daughter of Abraham and Martha Voorhees of New Brunswick, New Jersey.  They had one daughter, Florence Eliot Voorhees (1908-2000).  Florence died tragically in a carriage accident on 16 July 1910. The family was traveling in a horse drawn carriage when a train rattled through on the tracks below the street.  The horse bolted and dragged the carriage over the embankment. Florence was killed and her husband and daughter were both injured.

Louise and Florence lived together after the death of Jack on 23 December 1948.  At some point they moved out of the house on Duncan Ave. and moved across the street to the apartment building on the opposite corner.   Louise Voorhees died 13 February 1971 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

 

 

Isaac Hine, Jr.

NY-Greene-County-New-York-1897-Map-Rand-McNally-CatskillThis week in #52Ancestors I continue to add to my knowledge of the Hine family.  Isaac Hine Sr. appears to have moved himself and his children from Connecticut to Greene County, New York.  His son, Isaac Jr., took his family the next step to Bradford County, Pennsylvania.

Isaac Hine, Jr. was born 4 Oct 1765 to Isaac (1730-1809) and Ann Bristoll Hine.  He was the fourth of seven children.

Hine_IsaacSrcrop
Children of Isaac and Ann Bristoll Hine

An early history of the Hine family remarks that Isaac Sr. removed from Connecticut to Cairo but does not mention a year.  One clue that the date might be earlier than 1800, is a mention of the early forge in Cairo, which was erected by an Enoch Hyde and a Benjamin Hall of Litchfield, Connecticut ca. 1788.  Cairo was formed in 1803 by merging several villages (Coxsackie, Catskill and Freehold into the town of Canton.  In 1808 the town was renamed Cairo.

Although Isaac Sr. does die in Greene County, I think it is possible that he traveled simply to be near his sons Benjamin and Isaac, as it is their names that appear in the early records of town history. As early as 1803, Benjamin Hine is listed as one of the first town officers and in 1804 he served as one of the inspectors on the election results. Isaac Hine Jr. was one of the incorporators of the Canton Bridge Company, formed in 1805.

The History of Greene County also mentions that the Hine family was involved in the establishment of Calvary Episcopal Church in Cairo, with Hiram Hine and Horatio Hine both serving as early vestry.

Hine_Isaac2Isaac Hine Jr. married Rhoda Wright, possibly in 1791 but I have not been able to find a marriage record.  The couple had twelve children. I am not sure where the dates of birth on the children come from but several sources corroborate these dates.  However, I am not sure how one has a child on October 1st and then on December 25 of the same year.  I think it is more likely that Henry W. was born in 1805 as most of his Census entries agree with this date.  Henry goes on to Bradford County, PA and is my ancestor, his brother Hiram appears to have stayed in Greene County, NY, dying on 16 May 1841 and leaving a wife Sally and son Revillo Charles Hine who settle in Wisconsin.

Isaac appears to have made his living as a carpenter.  I do not know if this translated into furniture making  but his estate (he appears to have died without a will) shows 12 Windsor chairs in the “East Front Room” around the dining room table and 12 chairs in the “West Front Room.”  Well, you had to have somewhere to seat yourself and your twelve children!  I do think that household inventories are fascinating.  A list of things which, in 1825, were considered worth counting against the overall worth of a person.  In this case, there is nothing too surprising, as this family is comfortably well off and has an agricultural base of support to assist with the carpenter skills of Isaac Hine.  I have been able to find out that the “brittania tea pot” referred to on page 2 is a pewter teapot but would love to know more about the “Liverpool plates.”

 

Isaac Hine died 23 March 1825 and is buried in the Cairo Cemetery.  Rhoda followed him on 11 October 1826 and she is buried next to him.

I don’t feel I know enough about this branch of the family tree.  I would like to know more about Rhoda and where she came from.  I would like to know more about their experience in Green County.  Someday, I may get to the local archive and be able to find more personality to go with what must have been an amazing settlement experience.  One thing that popped up unexpectedly and needs some followup is the fact that Isaac’s oldest son Lewis Hine is the grandfather of the famous photographer Lewis Hine.  How cool is that?!?

Lewis Hine