Thinking to explore newly available records about the Prince family, I set about building out the family and antecedents of Jonathan Prince. I came across numerous references and documents and then was stunned to read that Jonathan’s great-great grandmother was one of the accused in the Salem witch trials of 1692!
Robert Prince was an early settler of the Massachusetts Bay colony, and owned land in Salem Village (Danvers, MA today). When he died in 1674 his children were all under age but his will mentions sons James and Joseph and daughter Elizabeth as well as his wife Sarah (ne. Warren). Sarah could not manage the farm on her own and so she purchased the contract for a “redemptioner” named Alexander Osburn (or Osburne) to help her work the farm. Unfortunately for her, she eventually married him. Apparently, it was not a happy marriage and later accounts paint a dismal picture of both physical and mental abuse. Sarah Osburn became depressed and took to her bed. She was accused by the young women of Salem as a witch and was brought before the court and questioned. Although she denied the testimony against her, she was jailed and transported to Boston where she died two months later.
Robert’s sons James and Joseph were able to reclaim their inheritance and prospered in Salem. James married a Sarah Rea and they had six children, of whom their fifth child was David Prince. David and wife Phebe Fuller (b. 1706) moved from Salem Village to Sutton where they raised five children. David died very early at the age of 35 years and guardianship records for sons Stephen and John show them placed with James Prince and John Fuller respectively.
Stephen Prince married Abigail Perkins (1736-1820) and they raised thirteen children in Sutton as it transitioned from a British colony to a town in America. Stephen appears to have fought for the colonies during the American Revolution but print resources are jumbled and further research is necessary to build out his service. At some point in the late 1780’s the family removed to the town of Oxford. Numerous printed sources state that Stephen died in either 1780 or 1800 but he appears in the 1810 census with his sons Stephen Jr. and David. Jonathan had already removed to Sturbridge. There are also several mix ups concerning Stephen Sr’s wife Abigail Perkins and Stephen Jr’s wife Abigail Pratt.
Jonathan Prince, born in Sutton, moved with the family to Oxford where he married Patty Vinton. Shortly before the 1809 birth of his daughter Juley, the family relocated to Sturbridge and from there to Orwell, Pennsylvania.
Seven generations back on my father’s side gets to Jonathan Prince, the fellow who left Dudley, Massachusetts after 1809 to settle in Orwell, Pennsylvania. Jonathan married Patty Vinton and they had nine children that I know of, all born in Dudley. When I first started researching this line years ago, not much was available online for Dudley in the 1700’s. Now there is and this is what I learned by going back over my notes and looking for more clues.
Jonathan Prince (1769-1830) married Patty Vinton on 29 February 1792. Patty was the first child of John Vinton and Dorothy Holmes Vinton, born 17 October 1770. I tracked down the marriage record in the Dudley township records and it sent me down a rabbit hole: the record clearly states Mrs. Dorothy Holmes. So what was her maiden name?
Long story short, Dorothy was 22 years old when she married and I believe that would have allowed her to be called Mistress Holmes, an old maid at the age of 22!
John and Dorothy Holmes Vinton had seven children:
Patty Vinton (1770-1831)
Lyman Vinton (1772-1841)
Joshua Vinton (1774-1842)
Phebe Vinton (1775-1775)
Huldah Vinton (1777-1778)
Huldah Vinton (1779-1835)
Susanna Vinton (1787-1851)
This allowed me to track back even further on several lines! Dorothy Holmes Vinton was the daughter of Ebenezer Holmes and Phebe Abbott. She was born 21 Apr 1745 in Woodstock (a town that ends up in Connecticut but at this point is still considered Massachusetts).
John Vinton was the son of Joseph Vinton (1714-1795) and Hannah Baldwin Vinton (1715-1835). Interesting side note: Joseph Vinton was the son of John Vinton, Esq., making him Hannah’s step brother. I will get that generation sorted out later!
The nineteenth century is my comfort zone. I can read the handwriting. I know the records one can use to track people in places from state to state. The colonial period, not so much. I end up using a lot of printed materials as the original records are not always available in digital form. And I like manuscripts. I like originals. I don’t always trust the extent of the transcriptions. Also the place names changed as the American colonies became states with counties and townships. It makes the whole search more complicated but it can also be fun. You discover new types of documents, you have to analyse data differently.
Take Joshua Opdyke, for instance. He was the father of Catherine Opdyke, who married Aaron Van Syckel (1764-1838). He was born about 1713 and died in 1789, just as America was becoming, well, America. He was a farmer in Kingwood township in what is now Hunterdon County, New Jersey. What can I learn about his life, his family and his impact on his community?
Joshua Opdyke was the second son of Albert Opdyke. He married Ann Green (1717-) of Hunterdon in 1738. Between 1743 and 1774 he amassed considerable land holdings in and around Hunterdon County, in addition to the 298 acres he acquired from his wife’s father. The year he died, at the age of 76, he was a delegate to the Baptist Convention in Philadelphia. Apparently his father Albert Opdyke (1685-1752) broke with family tradition and became a Baptist.
Joshua and Ann Opdyke have a number of children:
Richard Opdyke (1740-1825)
Luther Opdyke (1750-1838)
Sarah Opdyke (175?-?)
Elizabeth Opdyke (175?-?)
Margaret Opdyke (175?-?)
Frances Opdyke (1757-1809)
Hannah Opdyke (1760-1821)
Catherine Opdyke (1762-1851)
Much of this information I found in published books such as The Op Dyck Genealogy by Charles Wilson Opdyke and the Genealogical and Family History of Central New York by William R. Cutter. And some of the information in one source conflicted with information in another. Was Joshua the son or grandson of Albert? Was Joshua born in New York like his father or in Hunterdon County. My heart yearns for bible records, correspondence, and really anything with his signature or written in his hand. Yes, I know the assumption of literacy in the 18th century is dicey but still. The closest I have come is his will record.
I did find church records of a Baptist church in Bethlehem, near Kingwood. They mention Joshua as someone trusted enough to write letters of dismissal and to represent the community in various ways. But his relationship with the church was apparently contentious, as I find him being censured in 1772 for criticizing the preacher and, being unrepentant, he was excluded from the meeting. He was reinstated in 1787 but his death is noted two years later on 28 February 1789.
I am honored to be related to these men and women. Some gave their lives in service, some returned home to struggle with wounds acquired during service. All were forever changed by their service. Thank you.
Jonathan Buttles, Connecticut; Capt. in the 18th Regiment CT Militia
Cornelius Carhart, Major 2nd Hunterdon Regt. and Captain, 3rd Hunterdon Regt. New Jersey
Moses Cowdrey, Connecticut; Private in the Old Continental Army
George Emlen, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Samuel Howell, (1722-1805), member of the Committee of Safety
Samuel Howell, (1748-1802), served as General Washington’s bodyguard and also as a private in the First Troop of cavalry
Samuel Leigh, Capt. John Hunt’s Co., 1st Regiment, Hunterdon Co., NJ militia
Richard Mount, Monmouth County, New Jersey
William Mount, private, Capt. Nixon’s Company of Horse
Isaac Roach, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; commissioned by Benjamin Franklin
Hartman M Vreeland, New Jersey
War of 1812
Isaac Roach, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; POW in Quebec, described by Henry Clay in speech on the new army bill in 1813
Samuel Foster Buttles was a member of the One Hundred and Forty-first Regiment, and received a gun-shot wound in the back, at the battle of Gettysburg, which finally caused his death in 1884.
Theron L.Cowdrey, 25th Regiment Connecticut Infantry, Co. E, served as a private
Charles J.Eastabrook, Pennsylvania; enlisted 28 May 1865, served as Com’s Sergt of 141st Pennsylvania Volunteers, wounded
Erasmus Percival Hine, Bradford, Pennsylvania. Served in 141 Regiment Co. D Pennsylvania Volunteers
Benjamin Jones, Private, Co. C, 10 New Jersey Volunteers
Benjamin Walter Jones, Civil War Union Army Officer. He served in the Civil War as Captain and commander of Company I, 1st New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry, being mustered in on August 29, 1861. On September 20, 1862, he was discharged due to disability.
Ivins Davis Jones, Became a Captain of Company C of the First New Jersey Volunteer Infantry and later as a Major in the 1st NJ Vol. Cavalry. Also enlisted in 1st Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry Cole’s Brigade, Co M
Anthony Jones Morris, Private, 1st Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers
Hiram Mount, New Jersey, United States; commissioned 1st lieutenant Co. C, 29th NJ Volunteers and mustered out in 1863
George Mortimer Prince, enrolled in Co. G, 5th regiment of NY Cavalry, medical discharge
James L.Prince, drafted at age 25 on Sept. 26, 1864, for 1 yr.; and mustered at Troy, Pennsylvania. He was assigned to Company A, 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and was discharged by General Order on June 28, 1865. dis. June 28, ’65.
Stephen Vreeland Van Ripen, enlisted in the 126th New York Infantry Co. J, taken prisoner at battle Sep 1862, paroled and discharged on medical disability.
John Vought, served in Company B of the 76th Pennsylvania Infantry
Nicholas D. Vreeland, served in the NJ Infantry, 22nd Regiment, Co. A
Spanish American War
George V Buttles, Spanish American War, Company M
Harold Doremus Tompkins
World War I
Francis Mumford Gibbs
Elizabeth Brightly Jones
George Dewey Lewis
Milton Pierson Lewis, WWI veteran – cpl US Army Co H 114th Infantry 29 Division
Robert Martin, Served in the Navy during WWI, quartermaster
Burns Wilson Mount joined Ohio National Co F 3rd Infantry, Co F 166 AEF
George Raymond Prince, served in the Navy
Philip Hine Prince, registered as a Pvt. in the Engineers, 2 Jun 1918, assigned to Co. B, 548th Engineers, promoted to sergeant 1 Oct. 1918, released 29 Jul 1919
Harold E Stackhouse, Mercer County, New Jersey
William Johnson Taylor
Henry Wolcott Toll
Harold Doremus Tompkins, served in the signal corps of the New Jersey National Guard in France; served as a lieutenant with the American Expeditionary Forces
Carl W. Vietor, Served in the Motor Transport Corps
Harold Van Pelt Vreeland, Served in the Medical Corps, July 1, 1918 to April 1919
Horace Wills, Lieutenant
World War II
Stanley Bernard Bean, Fort Dix, Burlington, New Jersey, United States
Drayton Cochran served from July 1941 to March 1946 in the Atlantic Theatre; commanding officer of USS PC-486 in the invasion of Amchitka, and commanding officer of USS Keith (DE-241) and USS Robert I. Paine (DE-578) in the Atlantic. He left the service as a lieutenant commander.
Earl Goodman, Navy 1943-1946
Barclay Gibbs Jones, drafted and served in Company E 379th Infantry 95th Division, POW
Elwood Oscar Jones, served aboard the USS Essex; served in the Navy
Clarence Paul Kinsley, battle medic
Wilbur Sherman served in Europe
Robert Stanton, served in the South Pacific; flight engineer flew with the Navy
William Dorus Stubenbord, served in the Navy’s Medical Corps, retiring as a captain
Gertrude Vreeland Tompkins, WASP, died in service
Samuel Emlen Howell Jones
Myron Percival Brown, Corporal, United States Air Service
The Gage connection is through the Buttles line and the generation is three “greats” back. I have a lot of photographs of this generation, cabinet card and carte de visite photographs that were apparently shared with family like trading cards. Sometimes the annotations on the back lead to clues about marriages and other name changes. Sometimes they just leave me wondering.
My three times great grandmother Elizabeth Alma Buttles shared part of her name with her niece by her brother Harlow J. Buttles, Alma Dolly Buttles was born 18 March 1866, most likely in Bradford County. She married Charles H. Gage on 6 September 1893. He listed his occupation at the time of his marriage as farmer but I found evidence through newspaper notices that he and Alma may have moved down to Camden for a short period around 1900. By 1905 the family is living in Broome County, NY, a stone’s throw away from Bradford County, PA. Charles and Alma Gage had three children but only one grew to adulthood: Harriet Gage (1894), Mary Eugenia Gage (1896-1941) and Karl Gage (1899-1900).
This photograph intrigues me for many reasons: who is Mary Fisher, who took the photograph and what are they sitting on?
Do you have a county boundary nemesis? I do, in the form of New Jersey. I have yet to come up with a one stop way to figure out where the Windsor townships are in any given year. Legally, I know that Windsor Township split into East and West Windsor on 9 February 1797 while these were in Middlesex County. The townships were incorporated in 1798 and their boundaries changed when Hightstown borough formed in 1853 and Washington Township formed in 1860.
Cartographically, the townships do not appear on Tanner’s 1836 state map of New Jersey, the one which shows Hunterdon, Middlesex, and Burlington Counties coming to a mash up right at Trenton. The 1845 state map shows the formation of Mercer County and shows Hightstown but now the mash up is complicated by the borders of Monmouth and Middlesex county changing to accommodate Mercer. And a call out to other New Jersey genealogists produced the suggestion from fellow researchers of John F. Snyder’s The Story of New Jersey’s Civil Boundaries 1608-1968. What a wonderful resource. Here is a chronology for East Windsor township:
1797 Formed from Windsor twp. in Middlesex Co.
1838 Most set off to Mercer Co.; part to South Amboy twp., Middlesex Co.
1853 Part to Hightstown bor. within twp.
1857 Boundary with Hightstown bor. changed.
1860 Part to Washington twp.
1894? Hightstown bor. set off from twp.
1913 Part to Hightstown bor.
1915 Part to Hightstown bor.
1927 Part to Hightstown bor.
When researching the early 19th century generation of the Mount family it pays to search in Monmouth, Mercer and Middlesex counties. I have already tracked my mother’s line back to my great-great-grandmother Mary Jane Mount, and I have written about Thomas Hiram Mount and his wife Catherine Fisher Mount. I wanted to flesh out some of the details of his parents, Hiram Mount (1786-1847) and Margaret Allen Mount (1790-1865). There are numerous Mounts in the area and figuring out which is which is proving complicated.
Hiram Mount was born on 10 August 1786 but where is proving difficult. The early census in New Jersey are missing or incomplete. The 1830 Census (Upper Freehold, Monmouth, NJ) is the first in which Hiram Mount appears and the household has the appropriate 5 people in the right gender/age groups. At some point before 1808 he married Margaret Allen, daughter of Thomas Allen and Mary Forman Allen. I have not yet found a marriage record for them. But in the one tax list I can find online, Iram (Hiram) Mount is paying taxes on two horses and two cattle and the column for “Single male with horse” is blank.
Hiram and Margaret had four children that I know of:
William Mount (1808-1817)
Thomas Hiram Mount (1812-1876)
Rebecca Ely Mount (1814-1892)
William H. Mount (1818-1877)
The three living children are mentioned in Hiram’s Monmouth County 1845 will and there is a clue there about how this Monmouth County family came to be in Mercer County. Hiram divides his land holdings between his two sons, mentioning that he leaves Thomas the “plantation or farm” in which he currently lives. I matched that with a house history I uncovered in doing Thomas H. Mount’s essay and Voila!
Thomas H. Mount moved onto this site soon after his father Hiram (d. 1847) bought it in 1834.
Upper Freehold is less than 10 miles from Hightstown, which was probably one of the closest towns of any size at this point in history. Once again #52ancestors challenges me to add up all the facts and write them down.
I have already written about the Buttles line of the family that made the move from Connecticut to Pennsylvania but as I mentioned there, Jarvis Buttles returned to Connecticut for his bride Alma Cowdrey. I’ve been working on this line lately and thought I would put it out into the genealogical stratosphere in the hopes that someone knows more than I do. The Cowdrey line is complicated due to the wild spelling changes that occurred during the 19th century as various branches of the family chose “their” spelling: Cowdrey, Cowdery, Cowdry.
Alma Cowdrey was the fifth child of Moses Cowdrey (1773-1858) and Zeruiah Phelps Cowdrey (1776-1861). The Cowdrey’s were settled in the north west corner of Hartland Township in Hartford County, Connecticut. Many of Alma’s siblings scattered across the midwest but a few stayed in Hartford and surrounding counties. Here is a breakdown of what I know of each:
Lester Cowdrey (1798-1813): lived just long enough to merit a death notice in the Hartford Courier.
Lucy Cowdrey (1800-1862): twin to Lydia, she married Samuel Gates and had four children: Infant (1819), Orson Cowles Gates (1820-1885), Unwin Cooper Gates (1824-1859) and Jemuel Clinton Gates (1829-1915). They appear to have stayed in Hartford. Samuel is involved in the settlement of Phelps Cowdrey’s estate.
Lydia Cowdrey (1800-): twin to Lucy, she married Lemuel Foster (born in Barkhamsted, Connecticut in 1799, graduated Yale Seminary in 1831). In 1832 Foster was commissioned by the American Home Missionary Society to Illinois, arriving in Jacksonville, Illinois on October 10, 1832. A journal (kept first by him, then by her) describes their home missionary experiences in Illinois during the mid 19th century.
Phelps Cowdrey (1803-1811): died young.
Alma Cowdrey (1805-1843): married Jarvis Buttles and moved to Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Interesting that the 1850 Census for Moses and Zeruiah includes Julina Buttles, daughter of Alma and Jarvis. She died young and I am not sure if she had been sent east for medical treatment.
Jerusha Cowdrey (1809-1838): married Samuel Jones Hayes in McLean County, Illinois. They both died very young with no issue.
Phelps Cowdrey (1811-1853): married Emily Holcomb and had four daughters: Zeruiah Miriam, Lydia Foster, Emily Jerusha and Alma E.Cowdrey. He died insolvent and without a will, a fact gleaned from his estate record and the notices appearing in the Connecticut Courant August 1853.
Lester Cowdrey (1814-1899): married Emeline Emmons, remained in Hartland his entire life. They had one daughter Sarah Jane Cowdrey Bushnell (1844-1918).
Julina Cowdrey (1816-1899): married Milo Hart (1811-1895) and settle on a farm in Watertown, Connecticut. They have six children: Melissa Hart, Lucius Hart, Rachel Janet Hart, Adaline Hart, Owen Hart, and Foster Hart.
Melissa Cowdrey (1817-1885): born when her mother was 43! Married Lucius L. Loomis and moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they had three children: Gertrude Loomis, Lysander Loomis and Luella Loomis.
This family scattered all over the place and I would imagine that they kept in touch by mail. However, I don’t have much beyond the record of marriages and deaths that Alma C. Buttles passed on to her children. If anyone has insights, please share.