Family group including Florence Lewis Wells and Helen Grace Wells

This week in #52ancestors and #52familyphotographs I thought I would try to crowd-source the identities of all the people in this photograph.

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Florence Wells and family

This image is pasted into a photo album created by my grandmother Kathryn Prince Jones Preston.  The accompanying notation says Florence Wells and family.  Most of the images in this album date from the first year of her marriage, 1924. With that clue, and a list of Florence and Moses Wells‘ children:

The only grandchild who could have been the right age for this picture would be Helen Grace Wells, b. 1916, daughter of Willard and Grace Hewlings Wells. I have no idea who the two men and the younger woman are.  Florence is on the left. Possibilities are Mattie and Samuel Horner and Willard K. Wells.  I am hoping that my Haines cousins will have some insights.

Christiana Van Syckel McLenahan

This week in #52ancestors, I traveled through multiple family census records to try and track the orphaned daughter of Christiana Van Syckel McLenahan. This was a good reminder that when you don’t find someone where you think they ought to be, look sideways along your family tree.  Chances are the individual did not get missed, they are just not where you are trying to put them.

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Grave marker found on Find A Grave

Christiana Van Syckel was born on 23 February 1828, the sixth daughter of Aaron and Mary Bird Van Syckel. She appears in early documents as Christy Anna and Christian but by the time of her marriage she is simply Chrissie.

Christiana Van Syckel married Robert Mills McLenahan on 16 December 1852 in Jersey City at the First Reformed Church of Van Vorst. They had one daughter, Elizabeth, born in 1856.  McLenahan was a prominent physician in Lebanon, NJ.

Christiana McLenahan died 8 March 1856 and is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, New Jersey. Robert McLenahan married again almost immediately to Sarah Johnson on 1 February 1857 in Hunterdon County and in 1860 they reside in Lebanon, NJ with Elizabeth.

Sadly, Robert died in 1864 and daughter Elizabeth is placed under the guardianship of Daniel C. Titus (married Elizabeth Gertrude McLenahan). I found a very detailed accounting of the guardianship which was interesting but not very informative on her life experience. I also found interesting details through Find A Grave, as the person living in Dr. McLenahan’s house put up all sorts of interesting documents.

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Found on Find a Grave

Interestingly, Sarah and Lizzie do not appear to ever live together after the death of Robert.  Lizzie lives with Daniel’s family in 1870 and by 1880 she is living with her uncle Robert Killgore and his two daughters.  She married Paul A. Queen in December 1880 and lived the remainder of her life in Flemington, where Paul was a lawyer.

Susan Emlen Jones

This week in #52ancestors closes the loop on a previous post. I posted pictures of Mortimer Oldham Heath, first husband of Susan Emlen Jones and now I want to finish her story.

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Susan Emlen Jones Heath ca. 1885

Susan Emlen Jones was the fourth child of Richard Jones and his second wife Alice Woodmansie Davis.  She was born 8 December 1855 in Florence, New Jersey.  After her first husband’s death she appears to have moved back to her father’s house at 1818 Delancey St., Philadelphia. In September 1901 the newspaper gossip columns in Philadelphia announced that Mrs. Mortimer Heath and George W. Carpenter, who had been visiting family in Ocean City, Maryland, had announced their engagement but not set a date for the wedding.  Carpenter was almost 20 years her senior and had daughters by his first wife who were married and settled. Susan and George married at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Germantown and then proceeded to travel extensively through Europe and the Caribbean.

Upon their return to Philadelphia, they resided at the Aldine Hotel. George Carpenter died in 1921 and Susan continued to live at the Aldine, where she died on 28 June 1925. She is buried at St. Andrew’s Churchyard in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

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George and Susan Carpenter ca 1910

 

 

Bennet and Mary Elizabeth Sloan Van Syckel

Continuing on my journey through the siblings of Chester Van Syckel, this week in #52ancestors brings us to Bennet Van Syckel. Due to his having served on the state Supreme Court, Bennet is relatively easy to track.  His wife and children, however, were not documented as prominently.

yuw25wuy_originalBennet Van Syckel was born 17 April 1830 to Aaron Van Syckel and Mary Bird Van Syckel of Hunterdon County, New Jersey. He was something of a prodigy, entering Princeton at thirteen and graduating three years later with high honors. He then studied law under Alexander Wurts, of Flemington, but he was forced to wait to take the bar exam due to his being under 21 by some years. He practiced law in Flemington until 1858, when Governor Theodore Fitz Randolph  appointed him to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  At that time the Supreme Court was still a circuit court and Bennet covered Salem, Cumberland, Atlantic and Cape May, and I would be jealous of his shore time except I am pretty sure he was traveling by horse. When the districts were readjusted, he took over Union and Ocean counties. He was reappointed five times, retiring from the court in 1904 due to poor health. One of the more significant opinions he delivered had to do with race track gambling and this lead to a change in the state constitution.

Bennet married Mary Elizabeth Sloan (1839-1899) on 21 July 1857 in Flemington.  She was the daughter of William Henry and Caroline Imlay Sloan of Hunterdon County.  Sloan was a noted attorney in the area.  Bennet and Mary E. Van Syckel had five children:

  • William Van Syckel 1858-1939
  • Mary Van Syckel 1861-1882
  • Charles Sloan Van Syckel 1864-1963
  • Bessie Van Syckel 1871-1946
  • Bennet Van Syckel 1873-1873

William Van Syckel was an attorney in Trenton, New Jersey. He attended the Trenton Academy, Trenton Business College, and was a member of the Mercer County Bar Association.

Charles Van Syckel remained in Trenton, as well. According to a Princeton alumni publication “Charlie” prepared for Princeton at the Trenton Model School, entered college in the fall of 1882 and graduated in 1886.  After graduation he took a Continental trip and then became assistant superintendent of the Mercer Rubber Company at Trenton. By 1890, he was the treasurer of Greenwood Pottery Company and the Greenwood China Company. He was married October 11, 1888, to Isabel S. Stephens, of Trenton, and had four children: James Stephen Van Syckel, born September 5,
1889; Mary Elizabeth Van Syckel, born March 12, 1892, died August 24, 1910;
Isabel Van Syckel, born June 18, 1897, and Helen Van Syckel, born December
24, 1901.

Bessie Van Syckel lived for most of her life with William in their parent’s home on Greenwood Ave.  She was active socially in Trenton and involved with various heritage societies.

Elizabeth Watts Jones and Barclay White Gibbs

“It’s a family name.” That is what I always thought my brother/father/grandfather’s name was. And it is, just not the way I thought. So this week #52ancestors is dedicated to the man who brought “Barclay Gibbs” into the family.

Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Carrel Jones had eleven children and Elizabeth Watts Jones was number six. She was born in October of 1873, most likely in Pemberton, NJ and within the family was called Lizzie.

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Barclay White Gibbs and his second wife Jennie Greenwood Gibbs

On 23 December 1890 she married Barclay White Gibbs, son of Benjamin and Anna B. Gibbs, of Burlington County. Barclay was born on the family farm on 26 April 1868. Over the next ten years they had three children:

Around this time, the family is living in Neptune, NJ a lovely little seaside town in Monmouth County. However, at the turn of the century, Lizzie and the children are living with her mother and sisters in Pemberton.  Barclay may have gone off to find work elsewhere. Lizzie died on 28 August 1900 in Pemberton.

Barclay moved with the children to Philadelphia, where in 1902 he married Jennie Greenwood (1870-1947). Barclay worked in refineries in York, PA and in Camden, NJ, eventually becoming a respected auto mechanic in the Camden area.  He died in 1957, ten years after Jennie.

I don’t know how close they were in later life but at one point they were close enough that Arthur Jones named his only son Barclay Gibbs Jones.

 

Emily Van Syckel Bonnell

This week in #52ancestors I am faced once again with a woman, Emily Van Syckel Bonnell, who existed long enough to create six children and barely rates an honorable mention in her husband’s obituary.  Can genealogists be feminists? Telling stories and giving names!

Emily may have lived a largely uneventful life but today she gets to be the star of her own blog post!  Emily Van Syckel was born on 5 April 1832 in Union township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey.   She was the eighth child of Aaron (Jr., 1793-1874) and Mary Bird (1799-1863) Van Syckel.

Like many of her generation, Emily’s life was recorded either as daughter or as wife.  In 1850 she is living at home with her parents and the most surprising thing about that census record is that at 18 she is listed as attending school within the year.  And two years later, on 16 June 1852, she married Alexander Bonnell. I can find very little about Alexander, other than that he was a feed and seed merchant.  His obituary tells of his membership on the New York Produce exchange and his life as an exemplary citizen of Jersey City, NJ. I found traces of him in Newark and Bergen prior to Jersey City and I think he was in a part of Bergen that eventually just became Jersey City.

Emily and Alexander Bonnell had six children:

  • Sarah Bird Bonnell (1853-1914)
  • Catherine V. Bonnell (1855-1918)
  • Alexander Bonnell Jr. (1858-1888)
  • Frank Roe Bonnell (1860-1903)
  • Mary Deborah Bonnell (1862-1917)
  • Charles Van Syckel Bonnell (Feb 1864-Nov 1864)

Bonnell_Emily_VanSyckel_graveI don’t know whether complications from the birth of Charles lead to Emily’s death on 4 November 1864 but I think it likely there is a connection. Six children in eleven years in the mid 19th century would be a strain on anyone. She is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, NJ, along with Charles.

Emily died so young and with such small children at home, she probably did not get to make many friends in Jersey City. As for Alexander, barely a year went by before he married Sarah Dumont of Interlaken, NY on 11 October 1865. She traveled with Alexander when he went down to the pines in North Carolina and died there as a result of a miscarriage 25 January 1878. By the 1880 census however, Alexander has married a third time to Sarah Jane “Jennie” Douglass, with whom he had a daughter Edith Bonnell. Alexander died 30 September 1886 in Jersey City but is buried back with his roots in Hunterdon County at Bethlehem Cemetery in Union, NJ.

This is often how it works: you start trying to document the life of a woman and end up finding stuff on the men.

 

 

Alice Jones Monier-Williams

I have always been intrigued by Alice Jones but she became especially interesting when I discovered that she died on the Isle of Wight.  A childhood fascination with all things Victoria still lingers and I always wondered if Alice was ever in her company (as if everyone in England met her!). This week’s #52ancestors #52familyphotographs is dedicated to Alice Jones Monier-Williams.

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Left to right back to front: Cyril Monier-Williams, Mary Howell Jones, Richard Jones, Alice W, Davis Jones, Richard W. Jones, Susan Emlen Jones, Alice W. Jones

Alice Jones was the oldest daughter of Richard Jones (1812-1890) and Alice Woodmansie Davis Jones (1823-1899). Richard’s second wife Alice appears to have been quite a force and their five children appear to have lead very different lives from those of his first wife (Benjamin and Joseph).

Photograph of St Philip and St James' Church in Oxford [c 1930s-1980s] by John Piper 1903-1992
St. Philip and St. James’s Church, Oxford Copyright:(c) The Piper Estate / Photo (c) Tate
I know that for all of her youth and until 1870 Alice lived in her father’s household. In 1878 she married Cyril Faithfull Williams, son of Monier Williams. Sir Monier Monier-Williams, KCIE was the second Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University, England. However, at the time of their marriage, Williams was not yet knighted and the family name was Williams. I do not know how Alice got to England.  I believe that Cyril came to the United States in 1873 “for travel.” Possibly they met here or there.  Oddly, the marriage banns note that Alice is a resident of Oxford.

When Cyril is admitted to the Lincoln’s Inn in 1888, the admissions register notes his Oxford address.  By 1891, Alice and Cyril live in London where he is listed as a retired civil servant.  And in 1894 he is elected Registrar of the Courts at Port of Spain, Trinidad. This appointment does not work out well for him as three years later, in a fit of depression, he commits suicide.

I am not sure where Alice is during all of this.  She may be right there with Cyril but I have no proof.  I do know that by 1901 she is back in England, living with a clergyman and his family in South Luffenham.

The Monier-Williams clan owned a house on the Isle of Wight and I do not know if this is what lured her there because her sister Mary Howell Jones also lived there.  They are living at Salopia (a named house) in Ventnor in 1911.  Alice remains at Salopia, Ventnor, Isle of Wight until her death in 1933 and Mary H. dies a short time later in 1935.

I would love to know more about Alice and her life.  And where does Mary Howell Jones fit into the story? Another blog for another day.