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.
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
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.
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.