John Van Syckel (1786-1864)

Rarely do I find a will which so clearly outlines family ties for two generations!  And details the location of the family graveyard on the homestead! This week’s #52ancestors find is a real treasure.

John Van Syckel was born 12 November 1786 in Hunterdon County, NJ. He was the oldest son of Aaron Van Syckel and Catharine Opdyke Van Syckel. On 20 October 1808, he married Rachel Larison (1791-1851). They had four children: Catharine Van Syckel (1809-1890), Keziah Van Syckel (1811-1884), Elijah Van Syckel (1814-1891), and Lucinda Van Syckel (1816-1895).

VanSyckelsCorners
from the Library of Congress: Cornell and Van Derveer, 1851.

He was a farmer with extensive land holdings in and around Bethlehem township. Three of his children settled nearby, and the reason for this appears to be that he loaned them the use of the farms on which they lived.

John Van Syckel died on 21 April 1864 in Hunterdon County, N.J. and is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg. His will (dated 1859, with codicils in 1864) is one of the best family tree outlines I have yet to see, showing once again that will records have many uses.

The will starts with the usual legal establishment of who the executors are: “Bennet Van Syckel and Joseph Van Syckel, sons of my brother Aaron.” The will goes on to distribute his land holdings, each time identifying the person and how they are related to him.  This is exceptionally helpful as the names are generously repeated through each sibling line: John Van Syckel my grandson, my son Elijah Van Syckel, my daughter Catharine wife of Adrian Kinney, my daughter Keziah Warn, my son in law Stephen Warn, my  daughter Lucinda wife of Peter S Sigler, my grandchild Hannah Phillips daughter of my daughter Keziah Warn, my grandson John Van Syckel, son of my son Elijah Van Syckel, John V Kinney and H W Kinney children of my son in law Adrian Kinney, Rachel Van Syckel and James Van Syckel children of my son Elijah, Rachel Sigler daughter of my daughter Lucinda, John V Sigler, son of my daughter Lucinda, and Phineas Van Syckel son of my son Elijah.

And then the piece de resistance: “I hereby except and reserve from that portion of my homestead farm devised to my son Elijah’s use all that grave yard in the orchard on said farm wherein my wife Rachel is buried…” Although now many of the family, including Rachel Larison Van Syckel, are buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, clearly there may have been a grave removal project at some time.

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John Van Syckel Will, Hunterdon County, 1859, p. 43

A codicil dated 19 March 1864, states that Adrian Kinney has departed this life. Yet another clue to follow up.

Joseph Van Syckel

The last of the siblings of Chester Van Syckel! This week #52ancestors lead me to Clinton, NJ. Joseph Van Syckel was the only one of Aaron‘s children to show a real interest in the store and farm established by his father.

 

 

VanSyckelsCorners
from the Library of Congress: Cornell and Van Derveer, 1851.

Joseph was born on 18 June 1818 on a farm near Norton, NJ in Hunterdon County. He was educated locally and began to work in the family store at Van Syckel’s corners. After buying out his father in 1853, he continued to operate the store for another five years. He also built up the farm where he was born, and appears to have branched out into bloodstock as I found a notation about him owning trotting horses: Lotta V. foaled 1885 by Bayonne Prince and the Mitchner Mare bred by Joseph B. Bird passed to Joseph Van Syckel, 1890.  He was also instrumental in the creation and management of the Clinton National bank (1856) and served as bank president from 1876 on.

VanSyckel_Catherine_graveOn 16 June 1842, Joseph Van Syckel married Catherine I. Smith (1823-1855), with whom he had three children: John Van Syckel (1843-1879), Helen Van Syckel (1849-1851) and Mary Van Syckel (1851-? died young?). After Catherine’s death, Joseph married Cyrena Martin (1830-1901) with whom he had two children: Frank Van Syckel (1859-1864) and Kate Van Syckel (1860-1943).

Joseph Van Syckel died on 19 February 1904 at home on the farm near Norton, NJ where he was born.  He is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery,  Pattenburg, NJ.

VanSyckel_Joseph_death_The_Courier_News_Thu__Feb_25__1904_P1

I was lucky enough to be in Hunterdon County last month and got the chance to explore the town of Clinton (beautifully situated on the south ranch of the Raritan River). Driving around the countryside gave me some insight into where this branch of the family came from and how settling in Bethlehem, Clinton, and Flemington probably allowed these sibs to stay in touch without sitting on top of each other.

Mercy Van Syckel Dilley Carter

This post is a fishing expedition: I know next to nothing about Mercy Van Syckel and her two husbands but I would like to know more. Help! #52ancestors

FindAGrave_Dilley_SamuelCMercy Van Syckel was born 14 April 1820, the oldest daughter of Aaron Van Syckel and Mary Bird Van Syckel. She married Samuel C. Dilley (1827-1852) in 1846 in Hunterdon County. She had one son by Samuel, Chester Van Syckel Dilley. However, after Samuel’s death in 1852, she appears to have married Henry Carter on 12 February 1861.  I find the marriage record in Greenwich, Warren County, NJ.

My questions:

  • What killed Samuel C. Dilley at such a young age.  He was a farmer in Hunterdon County, so it could have been anything.
  • Who is Henry Carter? Life dates?

In 1870, Mercy is living with Chester on land he is farming in Hunterdon County.  However, Mercy’s worth has increased from $2500 in 1860 to $17,000 in 1870.  That’s a jump by any standard. Then, Mercy died on 24 December 1875.  Details?  Inquiring minds and all that. If you can shed any light on this at all, please let me know!

Alice Van Syckel Killgore

I think the thing that amazes me about Alice Van Syckel Killgore is that she had eleven children in fourteen years.  I realize that that is not a world record, or even the most children per union on my family tree, but can you even imagine? No multiples, fourteen pregnancies. I stand in awe. #52ancestors

Killgore_AliceVS_grave
Found on Find a Grave

Alice Van Syckel was the third child of Aaron Van Syckel and Mary Bird Van Syckel.  She was born on 14 January 1822 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  On 3 January 1843 she married Robert James Killgore (1820-1898).  Robert Killgore, a Kentucky transplant to NJ,  owned a farm in Raritan township and held various clerical and public service positions in Bethlehem and Raritan township until October 1875, when he became the Editor of the Hunterdon County Democrat.  He is listed as a Justice of the Peace in 1863 and a Surrogate from 1869 to 1874, all of which probably gave him great insights into the citizenry of Hunterdon County.

Alice and Robert Killgore had eleven children, five of whom died young:

  • Mary Van Syckel Killgore (1844-1928)
  • Lucy Ficklin Killgore (1845-1860)
  • Louisa Graves Killgore (1846-1855)
  • Alice Killgore (1847-1928)
  • Robert Killgore (1847-1922)
  • Charles Killgore (1849-1940)
  • Jonathan Killgore (1851-?)
  • Lora Killgore (1852-1922)
  • Sylvester Van Syckel Killgore (1854-1855)
  • Anthony Killgore (1856-1922)
  • John T. Killgore (1858-1875)

Two of her sons went on to have careers as chemists: Robert was a druggist in Dover, NJ.  You can find bottles with his name on them. And Charles went to Utica, NY where he invented a machine that would compress powder into tablets. Charles later moved to New York City and retired to Short Hills.

Kilgore, Rob't. Druggist, Dover, NJ med (2)

Alice Van Syckel Killgore died of consumption in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 26 January 1875.  She is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, NJ.

Killgore_grave

 

Fanny Van Syckel Leigh

Investigating women of the 19th century can be trying. Birth, marriage, children, death, burial are often all that can be found. This week in #52ancestors I continue with my quest to document each of the siblings of Chester Van Syckel.

Leigh_Fanny_VanSyckel_grave
photograph taken by Mark Alexander Oliver (FindAGrave)

Fanny Van Syckel was born 12 April 1824 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, most likely in Van Syckel’s Corners, the fourth child of Aaron and Mary Bird Van Syckel.  I do not know if she was formally educated. Really her life as documented by what was left behind starts on 11 January 1844 when she married John Taylor Leigh, a local farmer. Fanny and John produced seven children between 1845 and 1858, only two of whom died in infancy:

  • Sylvester V. Leigh (1845-1848)
  • Milton Leigh (1847-1862)
  • Bennett Van Syckel Leigh (1850-1929)
  • Mary V. Leigh (1852-1875)
  • Emily B. Leigh (1855-1937)
  • Charles W. Leigh (1857-1926)
  • John T. Leigh (1858-1888)

Fanny died of consumption shortly after the birth of her youngest son, on 8 March 1860, in Clinton, New Jersey where she and John T. Leigh had settled. I am not sure if she ever lived in the immense Leigh house John had built around 1860 but this is where her children grew up after her death.

 

The_Courier_News_Tue__Oct_8__1929_
from the Bridgewater Courier News, 8 October 1929

John T. Leigh remarried after Fanny’s death to Mary Van Syckel, Fanny’s first cousin. They went on to have ten additional children bringing the total to seventeen. Again, two died in infancy.

Fanny is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, New Jersey.

Sylvester Van Syckel

This week my #52ancestors continues the line of Chester Van Syckel’s siblings with Sylvester Van Syckel.

NJ-Hunterdon-County-New-Jersey-1905-Map-by-CramSylvester Van Syckel was the fifth child of Aaron Van Syckel and Mary Bird Van Syckel.  He was born 21 February 1826, most likely in Union township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Like his other male siblings, Sylvester was well educated and eventually made his way to the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), graduating with a BA in 1846.  He then went on to study medicine at New York University and worked at Bellevue Hospital. He graduated from NYU in 1849 and by 1850 he was back in Clinton, New Jersey establishing a medical practice.  Interestingly enough the medical association noted him as an allopath, which apparently means that he practiced traditional medicine rather than homeopathy.

Sylvester married Mary E. Carhart (1830-1917) on 24 March 1853 and they proceeded to have six children:

  • John Carhart Van Syckel (1854-1944)
  • George C. Van Syckel (1855-1860)
  • Chester V. Van Syckel (1858-1861)
  • William C. Van Syckel (1863-1942)
  • Lamar Van Syckel (1866-1948)
  • Mary C. Van Syckel (1868-1872)

The three little children have lovely grave markers in Riverside Cemetery in Clinton. The three boys who survived went on to have productive professional careers.

Van_Syckel_Sylvester_houseIn 1868 the family moved into the home on Center St. that remained in the family for forty years. Sylvester died in 1906 and his widow appears to have gone to live with William and his wife Elizabeth who had taken over the Carhart family farm outside of Clinton. Mary Van Syckel died 20 February 1917.  Both Sylvester and Mary Van Syckel are buried in Riverside Cemetery in Clinton.

I have childhood memories of driving down from Ithaca to visit my aunt Louise Tompkins in Princeton, New Jersey.  Most often our route was via the Delaware River Gap, which took us through Clinton.  It is a pretty drive and I seem to remember that there is a Stewart’s ice cream stand somewhere around there that we would stop at to refuel.

 

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.

167392174_1469464420
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.