Samuel Tompkins

LittleCompton_1831_webI have to admit, after the DeWolfe media frenzy about that family’s discovery that they made their money in the slave trade, I was alarmed when I found that multiple generations of the Tompkins family had lived in Rhode Island during the height of the Atlantic slave trade.  Even if they were not involved in shipping, all the ancillary trades that go into supporting the shipping industry are tied to that profit source as well.  So for this week of #52ancestors I picked an ancestor whose life would have touched on this dark period in American history.
Samuel Tompkins, son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Waters Tompkins, was born 24 May 1681 in Little Compton, Rhode Island.  He was a middle child in a family of ten.  He married late for that time, he was almost 31 years old when he married Sarah Coe (1690-1741) in 24 January 1712.
Tompkins_Samuel_MarriagetoSarahCoe_Originalrecord_1712_crop
Samuel and Sarah produced twelve children over the next eighteen years.
  • Joseph Tompkins, b. 26 Oct 1712
  • John, b. 14 Sep 1714
  • Elizabeth, b. 8 Dec 1715
  • Christopher, b. 8 Dec 1715
  • Abigail, b. 28 Jan 1717
  • Nathaniel, b. 19 Nov 1719, d. 20 Jan 1724
  • Gideon, b. 19 Nov 1720, d. Mar 1774
  • Micah, b. 20 Jan 1722, d. May 1771
  • Benjamin, b. 26 Jan 1723
  • Augustine, b. 19 Mar 1725, d. 16 Feb 1747
  • Prescilla, b. 6 June 1726, d. 18 Aug 1739
  • William, b. 17 Oct. 1730, d. Nov 1768
Little_Compton_todayLittle Compton and the neighboring town of Tiverton were first established as part of Massachusetts in the middle of the 17th century.  In 1673, the town was plotted and twenty-nine settlers made claims, most of them Puritans.  Later in 1747, the state of Rhode Island formed and the towns became part of that.  A Colonial Census was done at that time and Samuel is listed in Little Compton, New Port County.
I have had a great deal of trouble finding records of Samuel but one of the most useful has been the will and estate papers for his father, Nathaniel Tompkins.  Nathaniel appears to have been a farmer  rather than a mariner, which I have to admit relieves me in many ways as many of the mariners in this part of Rhode Island were involved in the transatlantic slave trade.
Tompkins_Nathaniel_Will_1724_05_crop
Nathaniel’s will is sent through probate in 1724 and names Samuel as the executor.  There is a very helpful inventory of the personal property held at the time of his death which includes one mare, five cows, one yoke of oxen and fifteen sheep.  There is also mention of one and a quarter acres of land.  This makes me wonder if land has already been given over to Samuel or one of his siblings, as that is too little land to feed all those animals.
I have also read through many years of the Town Records for Little Compton, which are a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives of a Puritan community in the 18th century.  I have found print sources that state Samuel Tompkins died in 1760 but the Town Records did not confirm this.  They did, however, document the response of the community to a small pox break out that year and I wonder if that is what caused Samuel’s death in May.
LittleCompton_TownRecords_1760_Illness_crop
But the real answer lies in Samuel Tompkins’ will.  Or does it?  I have reviewed all of the pages in the Town Records covering the Council minutes, the will, and the inventory done in June of 1760.  None of these records mention slaves or indentured servants.  However, my ancestor is his son Benjamin Tompkins, who receives very little in this will (compared to his siblings) and I don’t know if that means that he was given money or property before Samuel’s death and therefore gets little of the estate.  It is possible that Benjamin was given a slave or indentured servants were transferred to him before 1760.  I am not off the hook yet, I need to look hard at the next generation.
Tompkins_Samuel_Will_LCRItownrecords_p280_crop

Mary Craw Frost Hine

MA-Hampden-County-Massachusetts-1901-Cram-map-Springfield-Palmer-BrimfieldMary Craw Frost was born on 13 May 1808 to Aaron (1778-1855) and Polly Craw (1782-1860) Frost.  She was born in Wilbraham, a tiny burg in what is now Hampden County, Massachusetts.  Mary was one of twelve children, a fact that appears in conflicting documentation about their names and birth order.  Somewhere there is a bible…

Greene_County_NY_Cairo_town_highlighted.svgI also have conflicting information about how she and her parents end up in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Some records state that she married her husband Henry Hine while in New York, which would make it Greene County.  Cairo, NY is almost directly west from Wilbraham, so it is possible that on their way west they stopped off, or perhaps that was their destination, but when Hine moved on to Orwell, her parents went along as well.

I have quite a few sources that agree on 29 September 1830 for the date of marriage.  However, the place is a problem.  I have one source that says Orwell and one that says New York.  Henry Hine is listed in the 1830 Census in Greene County New York.  As is his father in law, Aaron Frost.  I have found a transcription of a church membership record in Greene County which shows Henry W. and Mary Hine moving from Cairo to Durham and being received by the First Presbyterian Church on 16 April 1835.  I am going to go with New York rather than Pennsylvania.  In 1840, I find both Aaron Frost and Henry Hine in Bradford County, which is a good thing, as that is where Henry’s children are being birthed.

Henry and Mary Hine had six children, the first two born in New York, and the last four born in Pennsylvania: my ancestor James Edwin Hine, was the first born in Orwell, Pennsylvania in 1837.  A complete list of their children includes: Ellen Augusta (1831-1903), John Henry (1834-1891), James Edwin (1837-1915), Erasmus Percival (1840-1862), Harlow A. (1842-1882), and Sabrina Arzilla (1845-1914) Hine.

Hine_Mary_Craw_Frost_1stUnitedMethodistChurchMembership_1873_crop

Hine_Mary_Craw_Frost_grave_1889Sadly, beyond the bearing of children, I have very little information about Mary C. Hine.  I know that she was a member of the Presbyterian Church in New York but switched to the United Methodist Church in the mid 1870’s possibly because her daughter Sabrina Hine Hines did as well.  Mary C. Hine lived with Sabrina and Joseph Hines after the death of her husband Henry W. Hine in 1868.  Mary Craw Frost HIne died on 10 August 1889.

Susan Ellis Gibbs Jones

Jones_Susan_Ellis_Gibbs_grave_1837This week in #52Ancestors I’d like to finish the other half of the Richard Jones story: his first wife Susan Ellis Gibbs, from whom I am descended.  She was born 9 May 1814, the second daughter of Joseph N. (1781-1865) and Elizabeth Ellis Gibbs (1785-1845).  She appears to have resided her entire short life in Burlington County, New Jersey.
Gibbs_JosephN_admittancetoMountHollyMonthlyMtg_8May_1817_cropThe Gibbs family appears in Quaker meeting records moving from Upper Springfield meeting to Mount Holly meeting in 1817, but the next time I find them is in 1835, when the entire family is being “disowned” by the Mount Holly meeting.  This may be due to the fact that Susan and her sisters seem to have each married outside the faith.  Gibbs_JosephN_disownmentduetoseparationofwholefamilyMountHollyMonthlyMtg_May_1835_cropThe marriage for Richard Jones and Susan Gibbs was performed by a justice of the peace in Burlington County on 13 June 1833.
Susan and Richard had two sons, Benjamin Jones (1835-1896) and Joseph Gibbs Jones (1834-1895).  Susan died 22 February 1837 and is buried at Juliustown, in Arney’s Mount Friends Burying Ground, as is her father Joseph N. Gibbs.  Although this cemetery is so named, there seem to be a number of “lapsed” Quakers buried there.
Mary_Ann_FurnaceWhile I know that Richard Jones lived at Mary Ann Furnace later in the 1840’s I do not know if this is where Susan E. Gibbs lived with him during their short marriage.  Because she entered and left the family history between two censuses and because her two boys had so little time with her, it is hard to find details.
This is the 1849 Map of Burlington County by A.W. Otley and E. Whiteford, which provides the most detailed view of Mary Ann Forge and its small village of worker housing.

 

Mary Elizabeth Carroll Jones

Carrell_MaryElizabeth_jpegThis 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.

Burlington_county_1876

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.

Carrell_MaryElizabethwithfamily_jpeg
Mary Elizabeth Carroll Jones, William Carroll Jones, Harley Roscoe Jones, Merie Vivian Jones (original photograph held by Louise Jones)

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.

Vincent Van Nest

Van_Nest_Vincent_burial_1911This 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!

Happy-Birthday-Write-On-Ballon-Graphic

 

 

 

Joseph Huddell Roach

This week in #52Ancestors another “oh, this one will be easy, look what a unique name he has!”

Joseph Huddell Roach was born 17 April 1822 to Isaac (1786-1848) and Mary Huddell (1788?-?) Roach.  He was raised in Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania between 1836 and 1840. He married Eliza Walter Jones (1820-1894, daughter of Walter Moore Jones) on 15 April 1846.  They had two children, Joseph Chandler Roach (1847-1888) and Mary Huddell Roach (1848-1912).

This was one research project that irritated.  It is hard not to project my 21st century sensibilities onto this family but the men were mostly coasting on the previous generation’s income and the women barely get mentioned in any records, including obituaries!  Mary Huddell Roach does not even merit a mention in husband Isaac’s death notice, although none of his children do, either.

stpeters-epis-yardJoseph Roach is listed in records as a merchant, but I can find little to document what and where he did business.

***2019 additional information: I did find him listed in an 1861 city directory as a merchant at 122 & 124 Chestnut St. after a cousin pointed me in that direction: that Roach was in business with another cloth wholesaler named Brooks. Interestingly enough that same city directory lists Jeremiah, Josiah and William Brooks as dry goods merchants at 122 & 124 Chestnut under the business name Brooks Brothers! But alas, it is not the famed New York haberdashery in which I spent many a black Friday following my father from the tie display to the sports jackets and gray flannel pants.

Joseph is more likely to get mentioned for his memberships in the Schuylkill Skating Club or the Social Art Club (later the Rittenhouse Club).  He also served in Captain John Cadwalader’s Artillery Company in 1844.  In 1876 he was elected to the vestry of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, but he died a month later on 16 May 1876.  He is buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard, but don’t look for his wife there.  After much searching, I discovered that she was Catholic and was buried in New Cathedral Cemetery, at 2nd and Butler Streets.  Although I found cemetery record books that show this and also show her buried near her son Joseph Chandler, he appears to have a monument near his wife, as well, in St. Denis Cemetery, Haverford.

Someday, I will pay a visit to a few archives in Philadelphia to fill in the blanks.  In the meantime, Happy Birthday, Joseph Huddell Roach!

Happy-Birthday-Write-On-Ballon-Graphic

Grace Elizabeth Tompkins

AVTAlbum5.GraceETompkinsThis week of #52ancestors brings us to Grace Elizabeth Tompkins, eldest daughter of my great grandfather Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins (1839-1926).  I had the wrong birth date in for her but this entry gave me a chance to interview Louise Tompkins about her memories and so I am posting it on 4/10 as opposed to 10/4!

Grace Elizabeth Tompkins was born on 4 October 1869, in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Her parents, Samuel D. and Gettianna Vreeland Tompkins had married the previous year and were settled in residence with her parents, Nicholas and Elizabeth Vreeland.  Educated in Jersey City schools, Grace went on to Vassar College, graduating in 1892.  She returned home to the big family house on Communipaw Ave. where she is listed in the 1900 Census with no occupation, but the society pages of the Jersey Journal mention numerous fancy parties and entertainments both hosted and attended.  She was involved in Vassar alumna events as well as a group called the Odd Volumes which appears to have been a kind of book club.  Louise Tompkins shared her memory of the Odd Volumes: “everyone was a member, Florence (Voorhees), Aunt Lou (Louise Tompkins Voorhees), my mother and grandmother (Ann Van Syckel Tennant and Katharine Tennant Tompkins).  They reviewed books and that sort of thing.”

Diary_GlasgowI know Grace took one extended trip with her mother and sister Louise because she left a diary among her possessions and it has come down to me.  I do not know what year the trip is but it is some time before 1918 as it mentions her mother and Gettianna dies in February 1918.  I think it may be 1907 as the diary starts with a family send off and she mentions that she is sailing on the S. S. Carpathia.  Anyone familiar with the story of the Titanic knows this ship was probably busy in April of 1912 and Grace starts the diary on April 27th.  The diary gives descriptions of ship life, ports of call and also mentions land travel, especially in the British Isles.  I note especially that Grace attended services at Glasgow Cathedral on August 26th, the same cathedral visited by Louise Tompkins and myself over 100 years later on a never-to-be-forgotten visit to the Scottish Highlands.

USSCaroniaAfter her mother’s death in 1918, Grace traveled with her father as well as acting as hostess at various social events at the house on Communipaw Ave. Although I know that Grace traveled abroad extensively before this, one trip caught my attention because it was mentioned in the newspapers.  In 1927, Grace traveled abroad to Europe with an interesting intersection of female relatives: Louise Tompkins Voorhees, Florence Voorhees, Eleanor Tompkins (her niece) and Miss Ethel Hodsdon (a cousin from the Tennant side of the family).

117BentleyAve
117 Bentley Ave.

After her father’s death Grace moved from the Communipaw Ave house to a smaller home at 117 Bentley Ave.  I don’t know why she is missing from the 1930 Census but 117 is skipped.  She was in town, as I have stalked her through the newspapers and she is either attending or hosting events in April, 1930 from 117 Bentley Ave. Again, talking to Louise Tompkins gave me a little insight: “Auntie Grace lived up the street from us in a house that was divided.  She had a maid and a chauffeur.  The chauffeur’s name was David, he was a Scotsman and very nice to us children.  We used to roller skate in the driveway because we didn’t have one at our house.” Louise Tompkins also remembered that Grace owned Cocker Spaniels and that she was a very astute investor, like her brothers.

Grace Tompkins eventually moved to 2600 Boulevard (called the Duncan then) to the same building as her sister and niece, Florence Voorhees.  Louise and Grace both had corner apartments on different floors with identical floor plans and sweeping views of the Meadowlands. I remember visiting Florence much later on and thinking she had a lovely view.  Grace died on 26 June 1964 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Kearny.  When my brother and I were children, my mother Anne Tompkins Jones and her sister Louise would take us to the cemetery each spring to clean up the landscape around the family plots.  It is a beautiful old cemetery with lovely monuments.  It is also a short drive from the Short Hills Mall but that is another story for another day.