Francis Mumford Gibbs

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Elton, Francis and Mattie Gibbs with others

Once again I select a name for my #52ancestors essay so unusual that I should have no trouble picking up the thread of his life story.  And once again, I re-learn the lesson about common words in names and geographic location.  This time I picked Francis Mumford Gibbs.

Francis was born on 17 September 1898, most likely in Burlington County, NJ but also possibly Monmouth as that is where the family is living in 1895, to Barclay White (1868-1957) and Elizabeth Watts Jones (1873-1900) Gibbs.  He was the youngest of three children but the only one to see his thirtieth birthday.  Gibbs_ElizabethWatts_Jones_burial_1900His sister Mattie J. Gibbs was born in 1892 but died in 1919 and his brother Elton Russell was born in 1894 but died in 1917. Their mother, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jones Gibbs died in 1900.

The family moved to Philadelphia, where Barclay worked as a machinist and there Barclay married Jennie S. Greenwood on 12 November 1902.  Ten years later the family is living in York, PA where Barclay Gibbs was employed by Gulf Gas and Oil as a manager.  It is in York that the family lost both Mattie and Elton, Mattie to tuberculosis and Elton to a heart defect.  Francis married York native Margaret Elmira Herman sometime around 1925. Francis also seems to have moved around a lot as each of their four children are born in different places:

  • William Bruce Gibbs (1926-1954) b. Philadelphia
  • Francis Mumford Gibbs Jr. (1930-2012) b. Michigan
  • Barclay White Gibbs 2nd (1933-2010) b. Camden, NJ
  • John H. Gibbs (1936- ) Trenton?, NJ

1947 THERMOIC XXH3377Francis eventually settled in Trenton, NJ where he worked for a company called Thermoid, which made rubber brake pads.  The children all appear to have come of age in Hamilton township.

 

Francis died suddenly from a heart attack on 25 April 1959.  He is buried in Ewing Cemetery and shares a headstone with William Bruce, who tragically died in an automobile accident in 1954.

The most complicated part of investigating this story was the family name: the Gibbs family is an old and fertile family in New Jersey and many of the branches named their children after other branches.  The name Barclay, for instance, pops up all over the place, most likely because it too is a place name.  Most concentrated in Burlington and Camden counties, which made parsing out this line more difficult than I expected.  Also, I came to realize that Francis Mumford Gibbs may have gotten his name from his mother’s sister Susan Gibbs Jones, who married Francis Mumford, whom I know absolutely nothing about.  But that is for another essay.

August 7 birthdays

Happy-Birthday-Write-On-Ballon-GraphicWhen I started this year of #52Ancestors I focused on the birthdays, hoping it would give me some way to focus on who to write about.  I only had on person with my birthday in common and that was me!  Now, after 9 months of research and writing, I find voila! that I have three relatives in common.

The first is a sad one: and infant son born on 7 August 1816 to Nicholas and Elizabeth Van Ripen Vreeland.  He died in 1817, and I suspect that he was buried in the Vreeland plot at the old Bergen Burying ground in Jersey City but those burials were moved early in the 20th century and I do not know where he was moved to. In fact, this poor soul really only shows up in an old family history: The History and Genealogy of the Vreeland family.

The second shared birthday is with Leroy “Roy” Rue (1878-1941).  He married one of Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Carroll Jones’ daughters, Rebecca Clevenger Jones.  He was for 37 years an employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad and he was a member of the Jr. OUAM and the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen.

The third shared birthday is with Earl Goodman Jr. (1925-2008).  I know very little about him.  The Goodman surname joins my tree via the Lewis family.  I am descended from the oldest daughter of Samuel and Sarah Herr Lewis (Florence).  The second daughter Josephine married a Harry Goodman. Their son Earl is the father of my birthday mate, Earl Jr.  He was a veteran of World War II having served in the Navy.  I believe that he died in Vineland, NJ in 2008 but this line definitely needs more work.

Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins

Tompkins_Samuel_Dusenbury_portraitThis week in #52ancestors I celebrate the man who left New York for New Jersey and made it possible for me to spend every spring break of my childhood shopping at the Short Hills Mall.  And the theme for Week 36 is “Work” which I am going to interpret as “creating the family business.”  I still have wooden Smooth On crates in my house which are so useful for so many storage needs.

This is yet another story with a lot of questions, but here is what I have:

Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins was born 12 Dec 1838 in Hyde Park, NY.  He was the oldest child of Abraham Van Wagenen (1816-1869) and Caroline Brown (1818-1878) Tompkins.  They went on to have eight more children, which probably helped with the work on the small farm Abraham owned in Dutchess County.  For several years I have been searching for corroboration of the marriage date of Abraham and Caroline.  The family bible notes that the marriage occurred on 22 Feb 1839.  This makes the date of birth of the first child in 1838 a bit sticky.  Thank goodness for the New York State Historic Newspapers project!  I found a marriage notice in the Poughkeepsie Eagle for 9 March 1838 which names all the right people and gives the marriage date as 21 Feb 1838.

Tompkins_Abraham_marriagetoCarolineBrown_Poughkeepsie_eagle_9March1838_p3_col1_crop

Samuel’s obituary mentions that he came to Jersey City when he married Gettianna Vreeland, daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth Van Riper Vreeland.  They were married 2 January 1868 in Bergen, NJ at her parents’ residence by Rev. B. C. Taylor.  The couple had seven children, five of whom lived to adulthood.

  • Grace Elizabeth Tompkins (1869-1964)
  • Vreeland Tompkins (1870-1956)
  • Abraham Van Wagnen Tompkins (1870-1870)
  • Samuel Edward Tompkins (1875-1876)
  • James Haviland Tompkins (1877-1942)
  • Emma Louise Tompkins (1881-1971)
  • Harold Doremus Tompkins (1888-1951)

In fact, the couple lived with Nicholas Vreeland and family in Bergen for the first few years of their marriage.  They are enumerated there in the 1870 Census and Samuel appears in Jersey City directories as early as 1872 with the occupation “storage.”  This aligns with a newspaper article which describes the complete loss of a New York city warehouse in 1872, resulting in the loss of stored cotton, grain and tobacco.  By 1876, Samuel is listed as a real estate broker, although the residence is still listed as Communipaw n Vreeland.  In the 1880 Census, Samuel and family have been joined by brother James L Tompkins, down from Dutchess County, NY.

Tompkins_Samuel_Patent_1885In 1895, Samuel founded the Smooth-On Manufacturing Company to manufacture a chemical iron compound by that name.  I have always been told that Samuel was the businessman and backed the company with his own money and experience, while his son Vreeland was the chemist and the creator of Smooth-On.  Evidence, however,  indicates that he was involved in inventing and designing as early as 1885, as he was the one who filed for a patent for the design for a radiator in 1885 with John Matlock. And in 1905, his patent for a boiler patch states that he is the inventor.  He is also listed in 1895 as the treasurer of the A. A. Griffins Iron Co. in Jersey City.  Diverse holdings makes for good business.

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Samuel Tompkins was active in the Bergen Reformed Church and was listed as deacon from 1912 to 1914.  He was also a member of the Free and Accepted Masons Zeredatha Lodge No. 131.  His grown children were active in Jersey City social events and he, as well as his daughters, entertained regularly according to the Jersey Journal.

Samuel D. Tompkins died at home on 1 January 1926.  His funeral was held at his home, 533 Communipaw Ave.  He was buried in the family plot of the burying ground opposite the Old Bergen Church.  Later, due to the cemetery being demolished, the burials of Samuel and his wife Gettieanna were removed to Arlington Cemetery, in Kearny, NJ.