Sometimes in genealogy you go sideways and squirrel off in a seemingly directionless research path that leads to fascinating discoveries. That’s what happened this week with my desire to post this lovely picture of Mortimer Oldham Heath. #52ancestors #52familyphotographs
I love his curls, the hat and the intense stare (which I know is probably due more to the discomfort of mid-nineteenth century photography than any message he is trying to send down the ages).
Mortimer O. Heath was born in Lytchett Maltravers, Dorset, England on 16 December 1853 to William Mortimer and Emma Heath. He emigrated to Littleton, North Carolina in 1872 where he lived among the vineyards in the area, sketching and drawing activities of those around him. In 1878, he returned to England for a short visit. In 1880, he returned to the US, landing in New York harbor. In perusing the passenger list, one also sees Miss Susan E. Jones, 26 year old spinster (as noted on the passenger list under occupation). Five years later on 25 November 1885, these two married at St. Clements’ Episcopal Church on Cherry Street in Philadelphia.
Susan Emlen Jones was the fourth of five children of Richard and Alice Woodmansie Davis Jones.
Sadly, Mortimer succumbed to tuberculosis on 27 April 1891 at a resort in Tryon, North Carolina. He is buried in St. Andrew’s burying ground in Mount Holly, NJ.
Apparently my grandfather was a genius at photographing children. In both of these photographs you see the joy in each person for the other. #52ancestors #52familyphotographs
Jean Van Syckel was born on 28 July 1875, probably in Flemington, New Jersey, to Chester and Mary Jane Mount Van Syckel. She was the youngest of their four children and the Flemington, She never married but the Flemington, Jersey City and Detroit, Michigan newspapers tracked her visits with her brother and sister. Louise Tompkins tells stories about the house and garden at 182 S. Main St. where she “vacationed” as a child. Mary and Jean kept a large garden and small orchard in the back yard of that house. Mary succumbed to dementia on Christmas day in 1952.
This week in #52ancestors I bounce back to my father’s family with a picture of three generations of women on the Jones side of things. This weeks #52familyphotographs looks at a photograph of Mary Elizabeth Jones (1840-1922) standing next to her daughter Alice Jones Wills. To Alice’s left is a young woman whom I believe to be Alice’s youngest child, known as Polly.
Alice W. Jones was born 29 April 1871 in Pemberton, NJ. on 30 September 1891 she married Charles Colkett Wills (1868-1936). They lived in Vincentown, NJ where they had three children: Horace Wills (1892-1943), Helen Wills (1898-1901) and Mary Wills (1906-1927). Alice died on 23 June 1937, and is buried in the Mount Holly Cemetery.
The photograph isn’t dated but Polly appears to be about 11 or 12 so I guess this is about 1918. The women are posing at the bottom of the steps to the side porch to 133 Main St. Vincentown, NJ. If you look carefully, you can see that the porch mill work is original.
This week of #52ancestors I want to give a face to a woman around whom there are many stories and #52familyphotographs gives me that opportunity.
Mary Van Syckel was born on 1 February 1867 to Chester and Mary Jane Mount Van Syckel. The family story says that she fell in love with a man whom her father would not allow her to marry. He then married her best friend (the height of perfidy) and she she attempted to stab her father to death. She does appear to have had a mental break, as in 1900 she is at the state hospital in Trenton, NJ. Her hospital records are very sad and bewildering as the staff describe her as quite insane (babbling, harming herself and them, unable to function in anyway) until one day her father comes to talk to her. After the visit she gets dressed and comes down to the dining room for mealtime and proceeds to act quite restored to her senses. Her parents come for her and the hospital staff agree to send her home. An astonishing recovery. I wonder what he said.
Mary was artistic and is rumored to have attended the Arts Student League in New York. Still working on documenting that. But she did make things. My cousin Susie grew up in a house where the rag rugs in the bathrooms were made by Mary. And my Aunt Louise tells stories about the way Mary and her sister put up all sorts of fruit and vegetables from their garden in Flemington, NJ.
Mary lived her entire life (minus the brief stay in Trenton) in Flemington, NJ. She died on 18 January 1953 at a nursing home in Chatham and is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery up at the top of the hill in Flemington.
This week in #52ancestors I dedicate this photograph of Benjamin Jones, Civil War veteran and beloved father.
Benjamin was born 12 December 1833, at Hanover Furnace (Burlington County, NJ) to Richard and Susan Ellis Gibbs Jones. He was educated by a Mr. Gibbs who ran a school in nearby Plattsburgh, a small village that appears to have ceased to exist. He worked for his father and uncle Samuel Howell Jones and also appears to have taught school. In 1861, like many of the young men in his generation, he joined the Union Army and went off to war. Sadly, his experience as a soldier appears to have destroyed his physical health and he returned from the war in 1862 a broken man.
He married Mary Elizabeth Carrell Taylor on 20 October 1862 and they eked out an existence in Pemberton, New Jersey. Benjamin’s post-Civil War pension and other military documentation is voluminous, giving repeated evidence that he could no longer support himself and family doing hard physical labor such as farming or iron work. He appears to have gotten employment as a lamp lighter, and done other odd jobs in the community.
Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Jones had eleven children together, two of whom died before reaching adulthood.