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.

 

 

Gettianna Vreeland Tompkins

Gettie_Anna_Tompkins_wife_of_Sam_rabbiittt40This week in #52Ancestors Gettianna Vreeland Tompkins is the subject, but her essay would be very brief without a mention of the family surrounding her.  Gettianna, or Gitty Ann as she was sometimes called, was the youngest child and only daughter of Nicholas (1789-1873) and Elizabeth Van Ripen (1803-1889) Vreeland.

Nicholas Vreeland was married twice: first to Annatje Winner (1794-1832), with whom he had one child, a son named Nicholas who lived a year (1816-1817) and then to Elizabet Van Ripen (1803-1889), with whom he had three children.  Of Annatje Winner Vreeland very little detail is known beyond her marriage date of 15 March 1814 and her life dates.

Nicholas and Elizabeth Vreeland had three children: Nicholas Vreeland (1836-1837), John Van Ripen Vreeland (1837-1912) and Gettianna Vreeland (1841-1918).  John V R, as he was known, was educated at Rutgers and appears to have made a living as a florist/gardener.  He moved his family out to Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1887 and is listed in Jersey City directories as a florist and in Cheyenne as a gardener.  He died at the home of his daughter in Los Angeles, CA in 1912 and is buried in Angelus Rosedale Cemetery as is his wife Anna Maria who died in 1915.

Gettianna Vreeland was born 14 March 1841, most likely in Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey.  She married Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins at her parent’s home on 2 January 1868.  The couple lived with Nicholas and Elizabeth for the next few years, as they are together in the 1870 Census. As Samuel became more established in business, they moved to the house on Communipaw Avenue.  They had seven children:

The Tompkins family was socially very active in Jersey City.  The Jersey Journal rarely went more than a month or two without a mention of a social gathering that included one or more of them.  I also know that Samuel and Gettianna traveled within the United States and than Gettianna accompanied her daughters Grace and Louise to the British Isles.

Vreeland and Tompkins_membersLafayetteChurch_cropSamuel and Gettianna attended Lafayette Church around the 1884-5 period.  This church apparently started off as a Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in 1863 but may have merged with other churches towards the end of the century.

Tompkins_Vreeland_GoldenJubilee_Jersey_Journal_1918-01-09_2Gettianna and Samuel Tompkins celebrated their golden wedding anniversary about a month before she died on 9 February 1918 of pneumonia.  The article in the paper states that this happened in the same house they were married in but this bears further research as even as Jersey City consumed the village of Bergen, the addresses do not match city directories and census records.  It should also be noted that her youngest child, my grandfather Harold Doremus Tompkins was absent from the festivities due to his involvement in World War I.  His military training prior to shipping overseas took him to Camp McClellan, where his great grandson Barclay G. Jones IV also completed some of his extensive military training in 2017-18, about one hundred years later.

Gettianna and Samuel were initially buried in the Old Bergen burying ground but were moved to Arlington Cemetery when the old grounds were demolished.