This essay was originally published on 1 May 2018. It contained erroneous information and so I have updated and corrected it as of 2 June 2018.
I recently received the pension packet from the National Archives for Benjamin Jones and his widow, Mary E. Jones. It added a great deal of information to what I now know about this couple. It also presented the problem of how to update this essay. Rather than start from scratch I am going to try to incorporate the new information into the original.
This week in #52ancestors I am going to write about a woman who fascinates me. She is not someone famous, or who had a public talent that everyone talked about. She was a wife, mother, daughter, neighbor. Just an ordinary woman, and yet she intrigues me. Possibly it is because of a family story about her, which I cannot prove or disprove. Possibly it is because her children loved her so.
Mary Elizabeth Carroll (records also use the spelling Carrol, Currel, Curl, Carrel) was born on 1 May 1840 or 1841 in Juliustown, Burlington County, New Jersey. Her parents were William Carrel and Eliza F. Cox. William Carroll of Juliustown is proving to be elusive but I have now discovered that although the family does not seem to hit the Census very often, Mary E. appears to have been the middle daughter of three: Anna P. (1839-1902), Mary E. and Martha (1843-1905).
Mary Elizabeth Carroll married Clayton Taylor (son of Samuel G. and Mary Ann Taylor), on 14 March 1861 at Columbus in Springfield township, NJ. Clayton appears to have been born around 1833 in Recklestown, NJ. Sadly, Clayton died later that year on 13 October when his dog bumped his hunting rifle.
Mary E. Taylor then marries Benjamin Jones, recently returned Civil War veteran, on 20 October 1863. They were married by a Justice of the Peace. This is the crux of a family mystery. The story is that Benjamin Jones compromised a young lady in the employ of the family, a maid or laundress. Having gotten her pregnant, he was forced to marry her and his father, Richard Jones, disowned him. It’s a great story but the supporting factual details elude me. Having now found a marriage date, it does highlight that their first child was born 7 months later. Benjamin returned from the war a broken man. His pension application is filled with details of his inability to work at any manual labor for any length of time. Mary E. seems to have helped support the family by “working out” which means she did cleaning and housework for pay. It is possible that this is how she met Benjamin.
And yet, apparently regardless of his ability to do prolonged manual labor, Benjamin and Mary proceed to have 11 children:
- Susan Gibbs Jones (1864-1895)
- William Carroll Jones (1865-1937)
- Lillie Jones (1867-1946)
- Elwood Andrew Jones (1869-1940)
- Alice W. Jones (1871-1937)
- Elizabeth Watts Jones (1873-1900)
- Arthur Wells Jones (1875-1936)
- Horace Jones (1878-1884)
- Mary “Stella May” Jones (1881-1946)
- Rebecca Clevenger Jones (1883-1963)
- Martha Evans “Mattie” Jones (1885-1891)
The couple lived in Pemberton apparently in a house held in trust for Benjamin and Mary (I need to find more information on this as it is outlined in the pension documents) to be used during their lives. After Benjamin died in 1896, Mary lived at Egbert Street through the 1910 Census. In 1915, Mary is living with her daughter Alice and son-in-law Charles Wills. After that, according to the 1920 Census, Mary moved in with daughter Lillie (married to George Weest). For most of this time she is surviving on her widow’s pension and what “work out” she can get.
Mary Jones died on 29 May 1922 in Vincentown and is buried in the Methodist Cemetery in Pemberton. Her passing received far more attention than Benjamin’s and several months after her death her children post a memorial to her in the newspaper:
Mount Holly Herald, 7 October 1922
In Memoriam: In loving memory of our dear mother, Mary Elizabeth Jones. Four months have passed since that sad day, when one we loved was called away, God took her home, it was his will, but in our hearts she is living still. Sadly missed by sons and daughters.
I am still in search of many pieces of this story but the goal of #52ancestors is to get what you know down in print, so here it is. I would love to find out more about Frank Earl, who is the trustee of the house where Benjamin and Mary live. How did this come about? And now that I know a bit more about Mary Carroll’s parents I can try to put together that part of the story.