Stella Mae Jones

Jones_Mary_StellaMay_imageThis week on #52ancestors I am writing about Mary “Stella May” Jones.  She was the ninth child of Benjamin (1833-1896) and Mary Elizabeth Carrell (1840-1922) Jones, born on 22 June 1881.  My great grandfather Arthur Wells Jones was her older brother.  I am not sure exactly why or when she became “Stella May” but that is the name she went by most of her adult life.

The first time I found her in the census was in the 1885 New Jersey state census, where she is called May.  I thought it might have been a misspelling of Mary.  But in the 1895 NJ Census, she is also called May.  In 1900, She is living with her mother and two sisters and is identified as Stella Mae.  Marriage notices in local papers used this spelling as well:

Ayres_Jones_wedding_The_Freehold_Transcript_and_The_Monmouth_Inquirer_Fri__Apr_18__1902_

Stella Mae and Oscar lived most often in Freehold in Monmouth County but seem to have come back to Pemberton regularly.  Oscar appears to have worked with his father as a monument maker but also is listed in various Census and military draft records as a clerk, railroad worker and as a motor delivery man for the Courier-News.

Ayres_Mae_grave_PembertonMethodistCemeteryThey had a little girl in 1909 named Mae Ayres, who died shortly after birth and is buried in the Methodist Cemetery in Pemberton.  They do not, however, appear to have been active in the Methodist Church.

According to her obituary and other newspaper articles I found, Stella Mae does not appear to have been robustly healthy towards the end of her life.  She may have suffered from complications from an appendectomy.  Estella Mae Ayres died on 18 December 1946 at Seaside Park, NJ at the home of her nephew Arthur Rue after a stroke.  She is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery.Ayres_EstellaM_grave_1946_MountHollyCemetery

Names can evolve over a person’s lifetime.  This can present a challenge when trying to determine if the record you are viewing is, in fact, the person you are researching.  The trick, I think, is being open to the fact that your ancestor may have used different names in different contexts.  My own mother could slide fluidly back and forth from Anne Tompkins Jones to Mrs. Barclay G. Jones to Annebo, depending on the circumstances.

Chandler Prince

BradfordCountyMapThis week in #52ancestors I once again come up against that age old genealogical principal of looking for one record and finding not that record but another that solves a different mystery.
I can track back to George Mortimer Prince (born Bradford Co. PA 1837, died Federalsburg, Md. 1909) with great assurance but the leap to George Washington Prince (1808-1888) is more difficult and further back is going to require feet on the ground in Massachusetts doing hard research.  If I am correct in my conclusion that George Washington Prince is the father of George Mortimer, then Chandler Prince is an uncle.  Confused much?
Jonathan (1769-1831) and Patty Vinton (1770-1831) Prince had nine children, all born in Massachusetts, the first five in Oxford and the last four possibly in Sturbridge.  The fourth child in birth order is Chandler Prince, born 14 June 1797 in Oxford, MA, and the eighth is my ancestor, George Washington Prince, born 17 July 1808 in Sturbridge.
  • Chester Prince (1792-1867)
  • Lydia Prince (1793- )
  • John Prince (1795- )
  • Chandler Prince (1797-1852)
  • Dolly Prince (1799-1866)
  • Sanford Prince (1803-1872)
  • Merrick Brainard Prince (1805-1862)
  • George Washington Prince (1808-1888)
  • Julia Prince (1809- )
I find Chandler as the head of household with a family in the Census in 1830 in Orwell, Pennsylvania as well as in 1840 and 1850.  From this I draw the conclusion that Chandler married Sally [possibly Lovette] prior to 1825, but I have not been able to find a marriage record yet.
PresbyterianChurchOrwelChandler and family appear to have been involved in the Presbyterian Church, as on 14 January 1845, Chandler Prince puts up $5.00 toward the building of a Presbyterian church in Rome, Pennsylvania.
The next time I find mention of Chandler is in the burial inscriptions from the Orwell Valley Cemetery, Bradford County, Pennsylvania: Chandler H. Prince, died 9 Feb 1852, aged 55 years.
No will or estate is listed in the index to Registers for Chandler Prince but I did discover that the Index to Register’s Docket is up online through  FamilySearch.  And there, nestled between Chester and Ermina Prince is none other than George W. Prince’s will.  Now I am off to write the Bradford Clerk of Courts for a copy of that will, which appears to have been executed by none other that George M. Prince.
Bradford_County_Index_to_Registers_Docket_p601_Prince_crop

Mary Sleght Brown

2007_03_Mary_Sleght_lock-of-Hair_Magazine-1Mary Sleght Brown is a recent discovery and an excellent reminder to return to people every few years for whom you have had no success.  For some time I knew that Abraham V.W. Tompkins had married a Caroline Brown, but I could find no firm information about where she came from.  Then one day I returned to Abraham, thinking surely by now, someone has put up some record on this family.  I searched Ancestry.com and beautiful digital images of the Brown family bible and the John Sleght family record appeared.  There were also two primers, one of which contained a lock of Mary’s hair.  What a legacy!  And there was Caroline, daughter of John Dusenbury (1788-1875) and Mary Sleght (1785-1856) Brown.
Brown_JohnDusenbury_FamilyBible_Marriages_cropAccording to the bible, Mary Sleght was born on 4 June 1785 and married John D. Brown in 1812.  Oddly, the bible gives detailed dates for all but this event.  The couple then had six children: John S. (1813-1893), Caroline (1818-1878), Martha Jane (1819-1911), Eliza (1821-1875), and a set of twins Ann and Rachel born in 1825.
This information gave me enough ammunition, so to speak, to go looking for church and burial records.  I found death and burial information in the church records of the Pleasant Valley Freedom Plains Presbyterian Church.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnfortunately the church records do not start until 1827, so still no marriage date.  The bible record and the church record agreed on the date for Mary’s death on 19 September 1856. And I was then able to find an image of the grave marker.
These two family bible records have probably been out there for some time but I did not have the clues necessary to connect all the dots.  It really pays to loop back to ancestors that are not completely fleshed out.  New information and digital documents are being added to archives daily.  This #52Ancestors challenge has been really helpful in reminding me of this!

Emmet Van Syckel

VanSyckel_Emmet_grave_ProspectHillCemeteryEmmet Van Syckel was my very first lesson in “never assume people stay in one place.”  Emmet was the third of four children of Chester (1838-1907) and Mary Jane Mount (1844-1917) Van Syckel and the only boy.  His father was a prominent Flemington, NJ lawyer and he is mentioned in his father’s obituary in the New Jersey Law Journal (v. 30, 1907): “Emmet, who is engaged in the general merchandise business in the State of Washington.”
Emmet lead me a merry chase because he did not remove from New Jersey to Washington, nothing so simple.  Emmet was born 1 June 1873 in Flemington and appears with the family in 1880.  In 1887 he is baptized at the Flemington Baptist Church.  In 1900, he is nowhere to be found in New Jersey.  Luckily, he is not a Smith.  After much searching, I ran him to ground in Diamondville, Uinta County, Wyoming, where he is employed as a clerk in a clothing store.  I then found a newspaper article from October 1903 that said he had recently come from Pueblo, Colorado to work for the Washoe Company of Montana.  However, on 3 May 1906, he accepts the position as postmaster of Finley, Benton County, Washington and he holds this position through 13 January 1908.  I next found him in Idaho, where he is employed as a general merchandise salesman at a store in Buhl, in Twin Falls County.

I know he goes back to visit his family in the east because the Flemington newspapers also cover his comings and goings from 1903 to 1916.

Emmet next appears in Detroit, Michigan where he fills out a draft card on 12 September 1918 and appears in the census.  And here he stays for at least twenty years, so the Census tells me. His sister Mary Van Syckel visits him in Detroit in 1925, where according to city directories, he is running a grocery store.
Louise Tompkins remembers that she and her sisters received a small legacy from him when he died, but she was not sure where he was living at the time.  I eventually tracked him down to Tampa, Florida and wonder if this is where he retired.

The little family of five is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Flemington with a small marker for each person.  The family name marker is not so small and sedate and appears to have been placed long after Chester died in 1907.