I’ll never read Arthur Miller the same way again

Thinking to explore newly available records about the Prince family, I set about building out the family and antecedents of Jonathan Prince. I came across numerous references and documents and then was stunned to read that Jonathan’s great-great grandmother was one of the accused in the Salem witch trials of 1692!

Robert Prince was an early settler of the Massachusetts Bay colony, and owned land in Salem Village (Danvers, MA today). When he died in 1674 his children were all under age but his will mentions sons James and Joseph and daughter Elizabeth as well as his wife Sarah (ne. Warren). Sarah could not manage the farm on her own and so she purchased the contract for a “redemptioner” named Alexander Osburn (or Osburne) to help her work the farm. Unfortunately for her, she eventually married him. Apparently, it was not a happy marriage and later accounts paint a dismal picture of both physical and mental abuse. Sarah Osburn became depressed and took to her bed. She was accused by the young women of Salem as a witch and was brought before the court and questioned. Although she denied the testimony against her, she was jailed and transported to Boston where she died two months later.

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Anyone wanting to read more can visit this online exhibit which reviews the available records of the witch trials http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/category/uph1wit.html.

Robert’s sons James and Joseph were able to reclaim their inheritance and prospered in Salem. James married a Sarah Rea and they had six children, of whom their fifth child was David Prince. David and wife Phebe Fuller (b. 1706) moved from Salem Village to Sutton where they raised five children.  David died very early at the age of 35 years and guardianship records for sons Stephen and John show them placed with James Prince and John Fuller respectively.

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Stephen Prince married Abigail Perkins (1736-1820) and they raised thirteen children in Sutton as it transitioned from a British colony to a town in America. Stephen appears to have fought for the colonies during the American Revolution but print resources are jumbled and further research is necessary to build out his service. At some point in the late 1780’s the family removed to the town of Oxford. Numerous printed sources state that Stephen died in either 1780 or 1800 but he appears in the 1810 census with his sons Stephen Jr. and David. Jonathan had already removed to Sturbridge. There are also several mix ups concerning Stephen Sr’s wife Abigail Perkins and Stephen Jr’s wife Abigail Pratt.

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1810 US Census Oxford, Worcester, Massachusetts

Jonathan Prince, born in Sutton, moved with the family to Oxford where he married Patty Vinton. Shortly before the 1809 birth of his daughter Juley, the family relocated to Sturbridge and from there to Orwell, Pennsylvania.

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Patty Vinton

Seven generations back on my father’s side gets to Jonathan Prince, the fellow who left Dudley, Massachusetts after 1809 to settle in Orwell, Pennsylvania. Jonathan married Patty Vinton and they had nine children that I know of, all born in Dudley. When I first started researching this line years ago, not much was available online for Dudley in the 1700’s. Now there is and this is what I learned by going back over my notes and looking for more clues.

Jonathan Prince (1769-1830) married Patty Vinton on 29 February 1792. Patty was the first child of John Vinton and Dorothy Holmes Vinton, born 17 October 1770. I tracked down the marriage record in the Dudley township records and it sent me down a rabbit hole: the record clearly states Mrs. Dorothy Holmes. So what was her maiden name?

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Long story short, Dorothy was 22 years old when she married and I believe that would have allowed her to be called Mistress Holmes, an old maid at the age of 22!

John and Dorothy Holmes Vinton had seven children:

  • Patty Vinton (1770-1831)
  • Lyman Vinton (1772-1841)
  • Joshua Vinton (1774-1842)
  • Phebe Vinton (1775-1775)
  • Huldah Vinton (1777-1778)
  • Huldah Vinton (1779-1835)
  • Susanna Vinton (1787-1851)

This allowed me to track back even further on several lines! Dorothy Holmes Vinton was the daughter of Ebenezer Holmes and Phebe Abbott. She was born 21 Apr 1745 in Woodstock (a town that ends up in Connecticut but at this point is still considered Massachusetts).

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Jeffrey’s 1755 Map of Massachusetts

John Vinton was the son of Joseph Vinton (1714-1795) and Hannah Baldwin Vinton (1715-1835). Interesting side note: Joseph Vinton was the son of John Vinton, Esq., making him Hannah’s step brother. I will get that generation sorted out later!

Gertrude H. Williams Prince

Sometimes you come across a picture that helps you find a person.  This week’s #52ancestors #52familyphotographs started out with just that discovery.  I have already written about Philip H. Prince and his wife Gertrude, but I really knew very little about her.  I came across this photograph and thought, hmm, I didn’t know she was a nurse.

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So I went looking and low and behold, there on the 1920 Census, Gertrude Williams is employed as a nurse and is living at St. Mary’s Hospital, on Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia. That lead me to wonder where she got her nursing certificate (Pennsylvania would have registered her at that time) but I was unable to determine whether she trained at the hospital or elsewhere.

I wonder if she met Philip H. Prince while nursing?

George R. Prince holding his son

If there is anything to be grateful about the change in family dynamics in the 20th century, it is that father’s could hold their babies and play with their children.  This is George Raymond Prince (1895-1939) holding either George Raymond Jr. (1921-2004) or Paul Everett Prince (1924-1991).  I live the casual informality here but my heart breaks a little as this photo is included in an album my grandmother Kathryn Preston put together for my father about his family.  Sadly, Barclay Gibbs Jones Sr. never got to hold Barclay Jr. this way.

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George Raymond Prince holding George Raymond Prince ca. 1921

George R. Prince, Philip H. Prince and Kathryn M. Prince were the children of George Cornell Prince.  They make up the New Jersey branch of this early Bradford County, Pennsylvania family.

George R. Prince, Sr. lived in Camden and worked the family business at Prince Concrete.  He married Clara about 1920 (would love more detail on this!) and they had five children: George R. Jr. (1921-2004), Alice Rae (1922-1922), Paul Everett (1924-1991), Joyce Eleanor (1926-2003) and David Roger (1924-2004).

Philip Hine Prince

In this #52Ancestors essay I am going to explore the life of a person I only remember dimly: Philip Hine Prince, the brother of my grandmother Kathryn Marie Prince Jones Preston.  He died when I was about 9, but I have a very vague memory of being with my family at my grandparent’s house at 22 Euclid Ave. in Merchantville, New Jersey and being told that this slight, spare man was my great uncle.  Not being well versed in genealogical terms, my young mind struggled to comprehend how someone so slight could be “great.”

Philip Hine Prince was born on December 3, 1896, to George Cornell and Minnie Arabella Hine Prince. While his older brother George Raymond Prince was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, Philip was the first child born in New Jersey after the family moved to New Jersey.  My grandmother came along several years later in 1904.

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1918 Philip and his mother Minnie Hine Prince

Both Raymond and Philip have Census entries marked for World War I service but I have only been able to document Philip’s service.  He joined up on 2 June 1918 at Fort Slocum, NY and was assigned as a private to Company B, 548th Engineers.  Before shipping out to France, Philip was promoted to sergeant.  The 548th was classed as an Engineer Service Battalion, and was  attached to the 20th Engineers. The 548th arrived in Cherbourg just as the Armistice was consummated, and were utilized in the great drive to keep the A. E. F. warm during the ensuing winter. Most of their service was in the northern districts and the upper Loire basin.

With his brother Raymond, Philip joined the family business, Prince Concrete Co.  On 3 February 1923, Philip married Gertrude Helen Williams (1893-1969), daughter of David C. and Martha Jane Reynolds Williams.  They had two children:

  • Phyllis Martha Prince (1926-1985) married John Howard Walter Perkins
  • Janet Rae Prince (1928-) married George W. Johnson
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Rosedale Baptist Church (image from Camden Courier Post

Philip and Gertrude were active in the Baptist church, attending and serving in many capacities at Rosedale Baptist Church.  I have quite a few memories of this church from summers spent with my grandparents Kathryn and Leonard Preston (Kay’s second husband.)  This was the first church in my memory that had a full immersion baptismal pool and I remember staring at it in wonder.  My grandfather carefully explained that it was not a swimming pool.  I had not, at the age of ten, ever seen anyone baptized, either infant or adult, so I am sure I pestered him with questions.

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Image from Rivertonhistory.com

Philip eventually rose to become vice president under his father at Prince Concrete.  He also served on the Pennsauken school board for two terms between 1954 and 1956, and then as president in 1957.

Philip Prince died 31 October 1974 at West Jersey Hospital in Camden and is buried at Bethel Memorial Park.

 

George Mortimer Prince and his two wives

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George Mortimer Prince

This week in #52ancestors I bring you quite the character: George Mortimer Prince.  He was born on 27 September 1837, the third of six children of George Washington (1808-1888) and Emmaline Terrell (1810-1884) Prince.

George M. served in the US Civil War in the 5th Regiment, New York Cavalry as a corporal in Co. G.  His dates of service are October 1861- November 1862. He is not mentioned in regimental histories and his military service was interrupted by a bad case of chronic diarrhea for which he was discharged.  But more on that later.

George M. Prince married Elizabeth Alma Buttles (1842-1906) on 5 March 1864. They had three children:

  • George Cornell Prince (1869-1959)
  • unnamed daughter (22 June 1875-23 June 1875)
  • Edna Mabel “Ted” Prince (1878-1947)
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George and Alma Prince

They lived in Bradford county, Pennsylvania until the late 1890’s when they relocated to Federalsburg, Maryland, bringing their daughter Edna Prince (Ted) with them.

Shortly after the death of his wife Alma (15 May 1906), George placed an advertisement in the York Gazette.  I find the summary of his story here somewhat confusing: he appears to have written to the postmaster stating that he had recently lost his wife by death and would “be pleased to correspond with a Hanover widow of forty-five or fifty years of age, with a view to matrimony.”  I don’t know if the rest of his letter explained his relationship with the people of Hanover, or if the postmaster simply assumed that a Civil War veteran writing fondly of Hanover must have fought in the battle at Hanover.  However, George Prince had already been discharged due to disability in November 1862, which to my mind would make it very tricky to take part in a battle that happened on June 30, 1863.  The 5th Cavalry was definitely there, engaged in hand to hand combat with Stuart’s cavalry, but George should have been at home by then.

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Hattie Duff Prince

He did, however, find a wife.  And this is where the story gets complicated.  My first inkling of this was in looking through a box of family photographs that came from my dad’s side of the family.  The photos all seemed to be identified by my grandmother, which made me wonder if my father had sat her down and made her look through them.  Among the Prince family images was a photo of a woman identified as “Hattie Duff, George M. Prince’s second wife?”  The question mark was part of her name.  When the dickens did he remarry?  Elizabeth Alma died in 1906 and George M. died in 1909 so this must have been a whirlwind romance, or something.

According to George’s Civil War pension record, George M. married Hattie E. Duff (ne Jessop, widow, aged 55 years (more likely 62 years)) on 10 November 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland.  Hattie Duff had apparently lived in Baltimore for some time with her first husband and children, but had been a widow since 1904.  George M. Prince died on 28 February 1909, leaving everything to his new wife.  She inherited everything, including his veteran’s pension.

This leaves me wondering just how his two surviving children felt about this.  Perhaps it is summarized in that question mark on the back of her photograph.

Here are two images of George Mortimer and Alma Buttles Prince at the end of their lives.

 

George Cornell Prince

PrinceConcreteAdvertisementI grew up hearing stories about George Cornell Prince.  Unfortunately, I did not ask the right questions of the people who knew him and I am left with a life story with a few holes in it.  Perhaps one of my cousins will read this #52ancestors essay and can help fill in the blanks.

George C. Prince was born on 23 Mar 1869 in Bradford County, Pennsylvania to George M. and Elizabeth Alma Buttles Prince.  He was one of three children but one of two who lived to adulthood.  George grew up near Potterville, a very small community in Orwell township.

On 9 July 1894, George married Minnie Arabella Hine.  They were both residents of Bradford County at the time, and their first child, George Raymond Prince was born there on 28 April 1895.  However, by the time their second child was born (Philip Hine Prince (3 Dec 1896-31 Oct 1974), the family was living in Camden, New Jersey.

They do not appear on a census until 1910, at which point they have three living children: George R., Philip H., and my grandmother Kathryn Marie (1903-1993).  I learned through the New Jersey birth index that there was a fourth child, Edwin Everett Prince who was born 9 June 1898 but who died 24 Feb 1899.

Prince_Concrete_Courier_Post_Mon__Dec_19__1955_So this is the first mystery:  why did they pull up roots in Bradford County and move down to New Jersey?  Philip is born there as are Edwin and Kathryn but the family does not appear in either the federal 1900 census or the 1905 New Jersey census.  And yet, in a 1955 Camden Courier-Post article, George C. Prince is credited with forming the Prince Concrete Company in 1905.

This article provided clues to George Prince’s public service: he served on the Camden City Council as well as the School Board.  Widening the search to include Philadelphia area newspapers found articles about his election as President of the Camden Baptist Church Extension Society as well as a member of the Bradford County Society of Philadelphia.  One intriguing article talked about the role Prince Concrete played in the construction of the new Camden High School, which opened in 1926.  My father Barclay Gibbs Jones attended that high school.

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George Prince died on 20 December 1959 at the home of Kathryn and Leonard Preston (22 Euclid Ave.).  His wife Minnie preceded him in death on 23 June 1931.  They are buried in the Prince family plot in Bethel Memorial Park in Pennsauken, NJ.  My grandparents Kathryn and Leonard still owned that property when I was a child and my cousin would terrify me with ghost stories about all the relatives who died in that home.  I was too young, and too modern, to realize that being able to die at home surrounded by family was probably the best way to go.

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