This week in #52Ancestors brings me to my namesake, Louise Tompkins. Emma Louise Tompkins was the youngest daughter of Samuel D. and Gettianna Vreeland Tompkins. She was born 11 October 1881 in Jersey City, New Jersey. She lived with her parents at 533 Communipaw Ave. and there are many newspaper articles describing her participation in family trips and Jersey City social events. She may also have been something of a singer, as there is a Louise Tompkins who is listed as soloist for various church and social gatherings. She appears to have preferred Louise to Emma when she had the choice but occasionally there will be a record that refers to her as Emma. All the family stories I heard growing up referred to her as “Aunt Lou.”
One such record is her marriage to John J. Voorhees on 23 November 1918. John J. or Jack as he was called, took over his father’s company, the Voorhees Rubber Company. He was born on 9 April 1876 and had been educated in Jersey City at the Lafayette College. He married first Florence Eliot Voorhees (no relation) who was the daughter of Abraham and Martha Voorhees of New Brunswick, New Jersey. They had one daughter, Florence Eliot Voorhees (1908-2000). Florence died tragically in a carriage accident on 16 July 1910. The family was traveling in a horse drawn carriage when a train rattled through on the tracks below the street. The horse bolted and dragged the carriage over the embankment. Florence was killed and her husband and daughter were both injured.
Louise and Florence lived together after the death of Jack on 23 December 1948. At some point they moved out of the house on Duncan Ave. and moved across the street to the apartment building on the opposite corner. Louise Voorhees died 13 February 1971 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery.
This week in #52Ancestors I continue to add to my knowledge of the Hine family. Isaac Hine Sr. appears to have moved himself and his children from Connecticut to Greene County, New York. His son, Isaac Jr., took his family the next step to Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
Isaac Hine, Jr. was born 4 Oct 1765 to Isaac (1730-1809) and Ann Bristoll Hine. He was the fourth of seven children.
An early history of the Hine family remarks that Isaac Sr. removed from Connecticut to Cairo but does not mention a year. One clue that the date might be earlier than 1800, is a mention of the early forge in Cairo, which was erected by an Enoch Hyde and a Benjamin Hall of Litchfield, Connecticut ca. 1788. Cairo was formed in 1803 by merging several villages (Coxsackie, Catskill and Freehold into the town of Canton. In 1808 the town was renamed Cairo.
Although Isaac Sr. does die in Greene County, I think it is possible that he traveled simply to be near his sons Benjamin and Isaac, as it is their names that appear in the early records of town history. As early as 1803, Benjamin Hine is listed as one of the first town officers and in 1804 he served as one of the inspectors on the election results. Isaac Hine Jr. was one of the incorporators of the Canton Bridge Company, formed in 1805.
The History of Greene County also mentions that the Hine family was involved in the establishment of Calvary Episcopal Church in Cairo, with Hiram Hine and Horatio Hine both serving as early vestry.
Isaac Hine Jr. married Rhoda Wright, possibly in 1791 but I have not been able to find a marriage record. The couple had twelve children. I am not sure where the dates of birth on the children come from but several sources corroborate these dates. However, I am not sure how one has a child on October 1st and then on December 25 of the same year. I think it is more likely that Henry W. was born in 1805 as most of his Census entries agree with this date. Henry goes on to Bradford County, PA and is my ancestor, his brother Hiram appears to have stayed in Greene County, NY, dying on 16 May 1841 and leaving a wife Sally and son Revillo Charles Hine who settle in Wisconsin.
Isaac appears to have made his living as a carpenter. I do not know if this translated into furniture making but his estate (he appears to have died without a will) shows 12 Windsor chairs in the “East Front Room” around the dining room table and 12 chairs in the “West Front Room.” Well, you had to have somewhere to seat yourself and your twelve children! I do think that household inventories are fascinating. A list of things which, in 1825, were considered worth counting against the overall worth of a person. In this case, there is nothing too surprising, as this family is comfortably well off and has an agricultural base of support to assist with the carpenter skills of Isaac Hine. I have been able to find out that the “brittania tea pot” referred to on page 2 is a pewter teapot but would love to know more about the “Liverpool plates.”
Isaac Hine died 23 March 1825 and is buried in the Cairo Cemetery. Rhoda followed him on 11 October 1826 and she is buried next to him.
I don’t feel I know enough about this branch of the family tree. I would like to know more about Rhoda and where she came from. I would like to know more about their experience in Green County. Someday, I may get to the local archive and be able to find more personality to go with what must have been an amazing settlement experience. One thing that popped up unexpectedly and needs some followup is the fact that Isaac’s oldest son Lewis Hine is the grandfather of the famous photographer Lewis Hine. How cool is that?!?
This week in #52Ancestors I took the opportunity to put several people into context, as George Grant Tennant is one of the few Tennant children who lived to adulthood.
George Grant Tennant was the son of Thomas and Hannah Cardiff Tennant, born 1 Feb 1869 in Jersey City. He was baptized at St. Mark’s Chapel, Jersey City. George was educated in the public schools, namely Public School No. 1 and later the High School, from which he graduated in 1888. He graduated from Columbia University Law School in 1891 and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1892 as an attorney and as a counselor in 1895. He went into practice with John W. Queen.
George Tennant married Zora McBurney (1863 or 1869-1895) on 1 June 1893. She died shortly after the birth of their son Donald McBurney Tennant (5 June 1895-22 January 1896). Both mother and child are buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
George married again on 12 April 1898 in Jersey City to Anne Van Syckel daughter of Chester and Mary Jane Mount Van Syckel. Anne Van Syckel was born 23 Aug 1870 in Flemington, New Jersey and baptized in 1883 at Flemington Baptist Church. She attended Vassar College and graduated in 1893. We have wonderful photographs of her playing a part in a Greek play, which I have now learned was Antigone.
George Tennant was a member of the New Jersey House of Assembly from 1900 to 1902. His candidate bio in the Jersey Journal in 1899 stated that he was one of the most popular young Democrats in the Ninth Ward. At that time he attended the First Presbyterian Church, where he taught Sunday School. A year later, when he ran again, the paper was a little less supportive, as an article appearing in the Jersey Journal of 1 November 1900 spent two columns shredding Tennant and everything he had stated in print that year. He served as the president of the Jersey City Board of Education from 1908 to 1913.
Tennant was a friend of Jersey City Mayor H. Otto Wittpenn and assisted in the nomination of Woodrow Wilson for President in 1912. In 1913, George Tennant was appointed a Common Pleas judge by Governor James F. Fielder, serving from 1913 to 1918. Towards the end of his lift he became a member of the Old Bergen Reformed Church and was active in the Everyman’s Bible Class there. He was also a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Scottish Rite.
Anne Tennant was active in the Jersey City College Club and was a member of the Odd Volumes Club, a sort of social book club to which many of the Tompkins women also belonged. George and Anne vacationed in Dorset, Vermont.
Anne died at home (613 Bergen Ave.) on 9 March 1938 and is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. George died at Lea Haven, a nursing home in Madison, NJ while recovering from an appendectomy on 3 February 1948 and is also buried in Green-Wood.
Once again I select a name for my #52ancestors essay so unusual that I should have no trouble picking up the thread of his life story. And once again, I re-learn the lesson about common words in names and geographic location. This time I picked Francis Mumford Gibbs.
Francis was born on 17 September 1898, most likely in Burlington County, NJ but also possibly Monmouth as that is where the family is living in 1895, to Barclay White (1868-1957) and Elizabeth Watts Jones (1873-1900) Gibbs. He was the youngest of three children but the only one to see his thirtieth birthday. His sister Mattie J. Gibbs was born in 1892 but died in 1919 and his brother Elton Russell was born in 1894 but died in 1917. Their mother, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jones Gibbs died in 1900.
The family moved to Philadelphia, where Barclay worked as a machinist and there Barclay married Jennie S. Greenwood on 12 November 1902. Ten years later the family is living in York, PA where Barclay Gibbs was employed by Gulf Gas and Oil as a manager. It is in York that the family lost both Mattie and Elton, Mattie to tuberculosis and Elton to a heart defect. Francis married York native Margaret Elmira Herman sometime around 1925. Francis also seems to have moved around a lot as each of their four children are born in different places:
William Bruce Gibbs (1926-1954) b. Philadelphia
Francis Mumford Gibbs Jr. (1930-2012) b. Michigan
Barclay White Gibbs 2nd (1933-2010) b. Camden, NJ
John H. Gibbs (1936- ) Trenton?, NJ
Francis eventually settled in Trenton, NJ where he worked for a company called Thermoid, which made rubber brake pads. The children all appear to have come of age in Hamilton township.
Francis died suddenly from a heart attack on 25 April 1959. He is buried in Ewing Cemetery and shares a headstone with William Bruce, who tragically died in an automobile accident in 1954.
The most complicated part of investigating this story was the family name: the Gibbs family is an old and fertile family in New Jersey and many of the branches named their children after other branches. The name Barclay, for instance, pops up all over the place, most likely because it too is a place name. Most concentrated in Burlington and Camden counties, which made parsing out this line more difficult than I expected. Also, I came to realize that Francis Mumford Gibbs may have gotten his name from his mother’s sister Susan Gibbs Jones, who married Francis Mumford, whom I know absolutely nothing about. But that is for another essay.
When I started this year of #52Ancestors I focused on the birthdays, hoping it would give me some way to focus on who to write about. I only had on person with my birthday in common and that was me! Now, after 9 months of research and writing, I find voila! that I have three relatives in common.
The first is a sad one: and infant son born on 7 August 1816 to Nicholas and Elizabeth Van Ripen Vreeland. He died in 1817, and I suspect that he was buried in the Vreeland plot at the old Bergen Burying ground in Jersey City but those burials were moved early in the 20th century and I do not know where he was moved to. In fact, this poor soul really only shows up in an old family history: The History and Genealogy of the Vreeland family.
The second shared birthday is with Leroy “Roy” Rue (1878-1941). He married one of Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Carroll Jones‘ daughters, Rebecca Clevenger Jones. He was for 37 years an employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad and he was a member of the Jr. OUAM and the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen.
The third shared birthday is with Earl Goodman Jr. (1925-2008). I know very little about him. The Goodman surname joins my tree via the Lewis family. I am descended from the oldest daughter of Samuel and Sarah Herr Lewis (Florence). The second daughter Josephine married a Harry Goodman. Their son Earl is the father of my birthday mate, Earl Jr. He was a veteran of World War II having served in the Navy. I believe that he died in Vineland, NJ in 2008 but this line definitely needs more work.
This week in #52ancestors I celebrate the man who left New York for New Jersey and made it possible for me to spend every spring break of my childhood shopping at the Short Hills Mall. And the theme for Week 36 is “Work” which I am going to interpret as “creating the family business.” I still have wooden Smooth On crates in my house which are so useful for so many storage needs.
This is yet another story with a lot of questions, but here is what I have:
Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins was born 12 Dec 1838 in Hyde Park, NY. He was the oldest child of Abraham Van Wagenen (1816-1869) and Caroline Brown (1818-1878) Tompkins. They went on to have eight more children, which probably helped with the work on the small farm Abraham owned in Dutchess County. For several years I have been searching for corroboration of the marriage date of Abraham and Caroline. The family bible notes that the marriage occurred on 22 Feb 1839. This makes the date of birth of the first child in 1838 a bit sticky. Thank goodness for the New York State Historic Newspapers project! I found a marriage notice in the Poughkeepsie Eagle for 9 March 1838 which names all the right people and gives the marriage date as 21 Feb 1838.
Samuel’s obituary mentions that he came to Jersey City when he married Gettianna Vreeland, daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth Van Riper Vreeland. They were married 2 January 1868 in Bergen, NJ at her parents’ residence by Rev. B. C. Taylor. The couple had seven children, five of whom lived to adulthood.
Grace Elizabeth Tompkins (1869-1964)
Vreeland Tompkins (1870-1956)
Abraham Van Wagnen Tompkins (1870-1870)
Samuel Edward Tompkins (1875-1876)
James Haviland Tompkins (1877-1942)
Emma Louise Tompkins (1881-1971)
Harold Doremus Tompkins (1888-1951)
In fact, the couple lived with Nicholas Vreeland and family in Bergen for the first few years of their marriage. They are enumerated there in the 1870 Census and Samuel appears in Jersey City directories as early as 1872 with the occupation “storage.” This aligns with a newspaper article which describes the complete loss of a New York city warehouse in 1872, resulting in the loss of stored cotton, grain and tobacco. By 1876, Samuel is listed as a real estate broker, although the residence is still listed as Communipaw n Vreeland. In the 1880 Census, Samuel and family have been joined by brother James L Tompkins, down from Dutchess County, NY.
In 1895, Samuel founded the Smooth-On Manufacturing Company to manufacture a chemical iron compound by that name. I have always been told that Samuel was the businessman and backed the company with his own money and experience, while his son Vreeland was the chemist and the creator of Smooth-On. Evidence, however, indicates that he was involved in inventing and designing as early as 1885, as he was the one who filed for a patent for the design for a radiator in 1885 with John Matlock. And in 1905, his patent for a boiler patch states that he is the inventor. He is also listed in 1895 as the treasurer of the A. A. Griffins Iron Co. in Jersey City. Diverse holdings makes for good business.
Samuel Tompkins was active in the Bergen Reformed Church and was listed as deacon from 1912 to 1914. He was also a member of the Free and Accepted Masons Zeredatha Lodge No. 131. His grown children were active in Jersey City social events and he, as well as his daughters, entertained regularly according to the Jersey Journal.
Samuel D. Tompkins died at home on 1 January 1926. His funeral was held at his home, 533 Communipaw Ave. He was buried in the family plot of the burying ground opposite the Old Bergen Church. Later, due to the cemetery being demolished, the burials of Samuel and his wife Gettieanna were removed to Arlington Cemetery, in Kearny, NJ.
This week in #52Ancestors I wanted to work on the Brown family, a branch that I discovered, in part due to the family bible digitized by another descendant. That bible gave me just enough information to go back to census and church records and allowed me to build out this biography. Along the way, I came across what I think may be 19th century vanity.
John Dusenbury Brown was born 26 August 1788, one of four children born to John (1760-1836) and Jane Dusenbury (1770-1845) Brown: William Henry Brown (?-1881), Sarah Brown (1785-1807), John D. Brown (1788-1875), and Charles I. Brown (1790-1860).
Although the name John D. Brown appears in numerous military and militia records, I do not believe that this John served in any military unit. On 24 July 1812, he married Mary “Polly” Sleght at the First Presbyterian Church, Pleasant Valley, NY. They had six children together:
John Sleght Brown (1813-1893)
Caroline Brown (1818-1878)
Martha Jane Brown (1819-1911)
Eliza Brown (1821-1875)
Ann Brown (twin 1825-1928)
Rachel Brown (twin 1825-1911)
In 1827, John D. Brown along with eight other men established the Presbyterian Church of Freedom Plains. He remained active in this congregation until his death and is buried in the church burial ground.
In 1850, John D. Brown, age 62, is enumerated in LaGrange NY with Mary age 62, John S. age 36, Jane, age 26 and Eliza age 24. I think John S. is mislocated because his wife Fanny and daughter Mary E are next door. Jane and Eliza have the correct ages here but not on the next two Census.
In 1860, John Brown age 71, appears in the Census as a Farmer on $21,000 worth of real estate. He is living with Jane age 26 and Eliza, age 25. Living next door is John S. Brown with wife Frances, children Mary E. 10, Ruth 9, and George 7. And yes, I too wondered how Jane and Eliza could be the same age they had been ten years before. But wait, there’s more!
An 1862 deed shows that John D. sold the farm to his son in 1862 with the condition that he could live there until the end of his life, profiting from the produce and livestock raised there.
John D. Brown married for the second time on 31 January 1865 to Hannah Maria Van Dyne (1804-1874), herself a widow of James Dates. In the 1865 NY census, taken on 7 June 1865, John and Hannah (age 56) and his two daughters Martha Jane (46) and Eliza (44) are living with John S. Brown Jr. in La Grange. However, five years later in the 1870 US Census, John D. Brown appeared living in LaGrange with wife Hannah and two young women Jane, aged 26 and Eliza aged 24! I know it is the right family because he is living next to John Brown age 50 who with wife Fanny is raising Mary, Ruth, George and Nellie. But how did his two unmarried daughters suddenly lose 25 years off their lives? It’s a miracle!
31 Jan 1865 m. Hannah Maria Van Dyne b. 11 June 1804 to Daughter of Garret and Maria (Montfoort) Van Dyne Hannah was the widow of James Dates. whom she married on 18 Jan 1832. She died 5 Aug 1874
John D. Brown died 20 March 1875, but I am not sure if this happened at La Grange or Poughkeepsie. He is buried in Freedom Plains Presbyterian Church, Pleasant Valley.
In his will, written on 10 August 1874, he makes bequests to each of his children, but not to his second wife as she died 5 August 1874. Clearly this is a new will but it has several interesting points: one must be careful not to read between the lines but I would give much to be a bug on the wall of his lawyer’s office during that discussion! He leaves $1500 to Martha Jane, Eliza, Anne Brown Haviland and Rachel Brown Velie. A condition then states that if there is not enough to pay these amounts, then what there is is to be divided evenly amongst these four. Then he states that if there is anything left over it is to be divided between these four and Caroline Brown Tompkins. He then appoints his son in law, James Haviland and his grandson Samuel D. Tompkins executors.
John D. Brown Will p 275
John D. Brown Will p 276
I understand why John S. Brown is not mentioned, as the farm and all that property have already been sold to John S. Brown. But why leave Caroline so little? Was the relationship between the two broken or was there perhaps an earlier transaction? This is an area where more research needs to happen!