This week of #52Ancestors lead me to Vincent Van Nest, whose birthday is 25 April 1837 and who joins the family tree by marrying Margaret Ann Mount, older sister to my direct ancestor Mary Jane Mount (1844-1917). The Van Nest surname can hide in records as Van Nest, VanNest and Vannest, making it a bit tricky to find them. Also I discovered this family marrying Mounts in many generations. But the really interesting discovery happened when I tried to document Vincent’s parents.
Vincent Van Nest, born 25 April 1837, was one of two sons of Abraham (1799-1871) and Harriet Chamberlin Dye (1799-1872) Van Nest. Vincent married Margaret Ann Mount (1840-1900) on 17 January 1861 at East Windsor and the couple had four children: Harriet, Hiram, Catherine, and Susan. Margaret preceded her husband in death on 12 February 1900, and Vincent died 12 November 1911. Vincent’s obituary remarks that he was “one of the best know and most respected me of this section” and he certainly had to take on quite a bit of responsibility at a young age.
Once I opened my searches to include all the possible variations on Van Nest, I was able to discover a bit more about Vincent’s family. His father was Abraham Van Nest, born 27 November 1799, in Hightstown, New Jersey (part of Middlesex County at this point). He married Harriet Dye (born 3 December 1799, nee Chamberlin), who was the widow of Vincent Dye. I find this naming pattern intriguing, as I don’t know many men who would willingly name their son after their wife’s dead spouse.
Abraham and Harriet Van Nest have two sons: Vincent D. Van Nest and Abram Bergen Van Nest. I am not sure what happens to Abram Van Nest. He appears in the 1863 Civil War draft records but by the 1870 Census his wife and son are living with Abraham and Harriet. And the wills of both these people are fascinating.
Abraham Van Nest prepares a will in 1868 in which he divides his estate between his “beloved wife” Harriet and his daughter in law, Sarah E. Van Nest and her son Richard. Everything is to go to his son Vincent upon the deaths of these two women. The language about Abram is odd, mostly directing Sarah E. to receive income only if she remains married, otherwise the money reverts to Richard W. and is controlled by Vincent Van Nest, son and executor. The will is probated on 15 February 1871.
Harriet Van Nest dies shortly after her husband on 1 November 1872. Her will disposes of various bequests and then leaves the bulk of her estate divided between her son Vincent Vannest and her daughter in law Sarah E. Vannest “now or late the wife of my son Abram B. Vannest.” She does not mention her grandson Richard W. Vannest at all, so possibly he has died.
This would be a case where the public record leaves me with little understanding of the family dynamics and there must have been some. But Vincent should be remembered on his birthday and so I wish you a Happy Birthday, Vincent D. Van Nest!