Abigail Warner

Welcome to the family, Abigail.  I apologize for misidentifying you as Abigail Russell Davis and squirreling down rabbit hole after rabbit hole looking for you. I’m sure Abigail R. Davis was a perfectly nice woman but she’s not my relative. Lesson learned yet again about taking time to follow each lead to its natural end. #52ancestors or bust!

FamilytreeimageI have already written about my great, great grandfather Moses K. Wells. This post is about his mother and father: Abigail Warner Wells and Samuel Wells.  However, this is also a work in progress as I know very little about the Wells family and even less about the Warner line.

Abigail Warner appears to have been born in 1824, possibly in Atlantic County, New Jersey. She married Samuel Wells before 1853.  I have no idea how they met, as Samuel is living with his parents Samuel and Mercy Wells in the 1850 census in Southampton, Burlington County.  However, when the 1855 NJ state census is taken five years later, Samuel and Abigail have settled in Weymouth Township in Atlantic County and have two small boys, Michael and Moses, living with them. The complete list of their children is:

  • Michael M. Wells (1851-1937)
  • Moses K. Wells (1854-1925)
  • John H. Wells (1857-1920)
  • Samuel J. Wells (1859-1936)
  • Sarah Ann Wells (1861-1934)
  • Mary E. Wells (1863-1943)
  • Margaret A. Wells (1865-)

The family seem to have moved back to Burlington County by 1860 however, and stay there.  Although Abigail appears to have died in Cumberland County on 6 October 1884, she is possibly buried in Methodist Cemetery in Pemberton. Samuel Wells is living with son Michael and his wife Jennie Leeds Wells in 1900.  Samuel died shortly after that census on 9 October 1900 and is possibly buried in the Methodist Cemetery in Pemberton.

This was one of those essays I almost did not write. I know so little about these two and it would have been so easy to just put it off until later.  However, on the theory that people don’t know I am looking if I don’t tell them, I am putting this out there in the hopes that someone can help fill in the blanks.

 

 

Family group including Florence Lewis Wells and Helen Grace Wells

This week in #52ancestors and #52familyphotographs I thought I would try to crowd-source the identities of all the people in this photograph.

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Florence Wells and family

This image is pasted into a photo album created by my grandmother Kathryn Prince Jones Preston.  The accompanying notation says Florence Wells and family.  Most of the images in this album date from the first year of her marriage, 1924. With that clue, and a list of Florence and Moses Wells‘ children:

The only grandchild who could have been the right age for this picture would be Helen Grace Wells, b. 1916, daughter of Willard and Grace Hewlings Wells. I have no idea who the two men and the younger woman are.  Florence is on the left. Possibilities are Mattie and Samuel Horner and Willard K. Wells.  I am hoping that my Haines cousins will have some insights.

Mary Elizabeth Carrel Jones, Alice W. Jones Wills and Mary Wills

This week in #52ancestors I bounce back to my father’s family with a picture of three generations of women on the Jones side of things.  This weeks #52familyphotographs looks at a photograph of Mary Elizabeth Jones (1840-1922) standing next to her daughter Alice Jones Wills. To Alice’s left is a young woman whom I believe to be Alice’s youngest child, known as Polly.

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Mary Elizabeth Jones, Alice W. Wills and Mary Wills

Alice W. Jones was born 29 April 1871 in Pemberton, NJ.  on 30 September 1891 she married Charles Colkett Wills (1868-1936).  They lived in Vincentown, NJ where they had three children:  Horace Wills (1892-1943), Helen Wills (1898-1901) and Mary Wills (1906-1927).  Alice died on 23 June 1937, and is buried in the Mount Holly Cemetery.

The photograph isn’t dated but Polly appears to be about 11 or 12 so I guess this is about 1918.  The women are posing at the bottom of the steps to the side porch to 133 Main St. Vincentown, NJ.  If you look carefully, you can see that the porch mill work is original.

133 main st vincentown

Benjamin Jones

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Benjamin Jones (1833-1896)

This week in #52ancestors I dedicate this photograph of Benjamin Jones, Civil War veteran and beloved father.

Benjamin was born 12 December 1833, at Hanover Furnace (Burlington County, NJ) to Richard and Susan Ellis Gibbs Jones.  He was educated by a Mr. Gibbs who ran a school in nearby Plattsburgh, a small village that appears to have ceased to exist.  He worked for his father and uncle Samuel Howell Jones and also appears to have taught school.  In 1861, like many of the young men in his generation, he joined the Union Army and went off to war.  Sadly, his experience as a soldier appears to have destroyed his physical health and he returned from the war in 1862 a broken man.

He married Mary Elizabeth Carrell Taylor on 20 October 1862 and they eked out an existence in Pemberton, New Jersey.  Benjamin’s post-Civil War pension and other military documentation is voluminous, giving repeated evidence that he could no longer support himself and family doing hard physical labor such as farming or iron work.  He appears to have gotten employment as a lamp lighter, and done other odd jobs in the community.

Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Jones had eleven children together, two of whom died before reaching adulthood.

  • Susan Gibbs Jones (1864-1895)
  • William Carroll Jones (1865-1937)
  • Lillie Jones (1867-1946)
  • Elwood Andrew Jones (1869-1940)
  • Alice W. Jones (1871-1937)
  • Elizabeth Watts Jones (1873-1900)
  • Arthur Wells Jones (1875-1936)
  • Horace Jones (1878-1884)
  • Mary “Stella May” Jones (1881-1946)
  • Rebecca Clevenger Jones (1883-1963)
  • Martha Evans “Mattie” Jones (1885-1891)

Benjamin Jones died on 7 October 1896 and is buried in the United Methodist Church Cemetery in Pemberton.

Francis Mumford Gibbs

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Elton, Francis and Mattie Gibbs with others

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.  Gibbs_ElizabethWatts_Jones_burial_1900His 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

1947 THERMOIC XXH3377Francis 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.

Lillie Jones

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Lillie Jones

I like to find ancestors with my birth date. It doesn’t happen very often but this week in #52Ancestors I get to come pretty close with Lillie Jones Weest.  I also got to follow leads presented when the person I was searching for disappeared from one census family and appeared in another.

Lillie Jones was born on 6 August 1867 to Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Carrell Jones in Pemberton, New Jersey. She was baptized in 1868 at Grace Episcopal Church in Pemberton.

In 1870, she is living with the Jones family in Pemberton but in 1880 she is living with someone who gives me a clue about her mother’s family!!!!

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She is listed with a Joseph and Anna P. “Scraggy” and she her relationship to them is niece.  I don’t know how I missed this the first time around but thank you #52Ancestors!  This time I followed the lead as the Jones family is not linked to the Scraggy family.  It turns out it is the Scroggy family.  And Joseph is a Civil War veteran married to Anna P. Carrel.  Could this be Mary Elizabeth’s sister?   Joseph Scroggy is also enumerated in the 1885 New Jersey census with Annie P. and Lillie Jones.

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I am not sure why Lillie is not living with her birth family but I can’t argue with the records.  She is also with them in 1895.  Thank goodness for state census records!  They really fill the gap caused by the absence of the 1890 Federal Census. And this one presents another clue to the Carrel family: Eliza Carrel (aged over 60) is living with the Scroggy family as well as Lillie!  Mary Carrell Jones’ mother’s name was Eliza.

Now a little sleuthing work because Lillie Jones disappears.  A few newspaper leads on other family members lead me to the discovery that she married a man named George B. Weest.  This name really confounds many database searches which seem to have been programmed to ignore double vowels: I got a lot of unrelated West returns.  Lillie Weest appears in the 1910 Census in Pemberton living with husband George B. and daughter Mary.  They are living with George’s mother and sister.  Mary is noted as born in New York but I view this with suspicion as the record also shows her father is born in New York when two lines up he is clearly born in New Jersey.

Weest_George_advertisement_The_Fair_Haven_Era_Thu__Jun_7__1900_I did find George in the 1900 Census, living alone in the town of Hampton, NY.  This is right across the Vermont border from Poultney where a newspaper search shows that George has acquired a business.  A little more sleuthing unearths the news that 1910 marked the return of the family to New Jersey from Vermont.  In focusing on that I found that Mary was born in 1901 in Vermont according to her death certificate (dated 1957 in Pennsylvania from a brain tumor).

The family settled in Pemberton where George opens a machine shop.  George died in 1937 about a month after their 37th wedding anniversary.  I have yet to find a marriage record but a newspaper story confirms this date.  Jones_Lillie_marriage_The_Fair_Haven_Era_Thu__Feb_8__1900_And the newspaper is one of the best sources of information on Lillie, other than the Census.  Mary was apparently active in the Burlington County community, attending her friends weddings and holding parties.  Lillie is often noted as attending as well.  In the 1940 Census their household consists of Lillie, Mary and a boarder named William Sullivan and in 1941 he married Mary.

Lillie Jones Weest died 2 January 1946 and is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery in Pemberton.

I was able to fill in many blanks as I worked on this entry for #52Ancestors but I still have questions, which is probably why this exercise is so important.  I will continue to search for Lillie but one of my New Jersey relatives probably has several clues that will help fill in the blanks and now with this blog, they know what I want to know:

  • why did Lillie go to live with her aunt and uncle?  Too many Jones mouths to feed? Or was Anna frail and in need of help?
  • did the marriage of George and Lillie occur in NY or Vermont?
  • is there a better death notice than the tiny one that appears in the Philadelphia Inquirer?
Weest_Family
George B. Weest, Lillie Jones Weest and their daughter Mary Weest

Samuel Howell Jones

This week in #52ancestors will celebrate one of my few Kentucky connections: Samuel Howell Jones.  Like his brother Richard Jones, Samuel was into a bit of everything but unlike Richard, he appears to have traveled extensively.

Samuel Howell Jones was born on 30 June 1818 to Benjamin (1767-1849) and Mary Howell (1778-1836) Jones.  He was the seventh of their eight children and although I have not been able to prove it, I believe he was born in Philadelphia because his birth is recorded in the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting minutes, along with the information that he was disowned in December 1850, likely due to marrying outside the faith.  He spent a year at Haverford College from 1833 to 1834.

Jones_Lydia_Bishop_grave_1860Samuel married twice.  He married Lydia H. Bishop (1828-1860) on 7 March 1849 but they had no children. They are enumerated in Philadelphia in the 1850 Census along with several of Samuel’s siblings: Mary B Jones Tobey and husband Samuel, Harriet Jones.   Samuel is listed with the occupation of merchant.  By 1860, the family has relocated to Burlington County, where Samuel and Lydia maintain a household that contains most of her family: Nathanial Bishop (cultivator of cranberries) and Harriet Bishop.  Samuel’s occupation is “manufacturing” and his personal worth is $50,000.

Jones_SamuelandKate_grave_LouisvilleThen he married Eliza Catherine Jacob (1835-1864) on 1 May 1862.  They had one child, a son named Samuel Howell Jones (1862-1894).  Sadly, “Kate” died in 1864.  I do not know what took him to Kentucky but I strongly suspect that it might have something to do with all the Louisville & Nashville Railroad stock in his estate accounts.  Either Samuel was an investor or he was diversifying the family assets out of iron pipes to iron rails. A review of the family archive at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will be necessary to complete this chapter.

The next time I find Samuel is in 1870 where he and his son are living at the southern tip of Lake George in the town of Caldwell.  Their next door neighbor is a Mary Bishop, who may be a sister-in-law.  By 1880, the pair have returned to Philadelphia but are living in a hotel or boarding house.  They both appear in the 1882 Philadelphia city directory as living at 1010 Spruce St.  When Samuel Sr. dies in 1883, the pair have retired to St. Lucie, Florida due to Samuel’s poor health.

According to his obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Samuel held property in Louisville, KY as well as over 25,000 acres in New Jersey.  The final statement says it all:  “He was a man noted for his quiet and unostentatious liberality in many public and private channels, and although excessively retiring in his disposition, was much beloved by the limited circle of friends who both knew and esteemed him.”Jones_SamuelH_obit_The_Philadelphia_Inquirer_Mon__Jan_29__1883_

A review of Samuel H. Jones’s Will and estate provides further enlightenment on the myriad things that Samuel was involved in and also gives some pause as to the family dynamics.  The will establishes right off an annuity to be paid to brothers Richard and Benjamin W. Jones.  The rest of the estate, including the lovely description “remainder of my estate real, personal and mixed whatsoever and wheresoever in possession, reversion, or remainder” was put in a trust to benefit the children of his son Samuel H. Jones Jr.  The person responsible for maintaining this trust was Anthony Jones Morris, Samuel’s nephew.  There is a considerable amount of money and assets at stake here and I would imagine that Anthony J. Morris was busy juggling the demands of family for some time.  However, in 1887 he appears to have petitioned the courts to request that the trust be administered by the Camden Trust Company.

 

 

Samuel appears to have felt that his brothers, especially, needed looking after.  I imagine that the demands of family life were a trial for this quiet man.  I especially like this description of him from an agriculture writer: