If there were a household I could go back in time to visit, it would probably be the one headed by Richard Jones. This week in #52Ancestors I would like to explore the life of a person who oddly intimidates me from the grave and for whom my brother and I have many heirlooms passed down through the generations.
Richard Jones was born 21 February 1812, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Benjamin (1767-1849) and Mary Howell (1778-1836) Jones. His birth is recorded in Quaker meeting records as one of the first five of what would ultimately be seven children. Benjamin was in the iron business and rose from iron monger to gentleman, if city directories have any real say in the matter. The family appears to have divided their time between Philadelphia and Hanover, New Jersey. Burlington county is across the Delaware River from Philadelphia but my mind boggles at the idea of transporting a crowd of children back and forth using whatever transportation was available.
Richard married his first wife, Susan Ellis Gibbs (1814-1837) on 13 June 1833 and they had two boys, Benjamin Jones (1833-1896) and Joseph Gibbs Jones (1834-1895). Sadly, Susan died in 1837. Richard then married Alice Woodmansie Davis in 1841 and they had five children.
Although Richard appears to have gone to work early in the family foundry business at Hanover, NJ, he also seems to have been interested in diversifying the family holdings. He and his brother Samuel Howell Jones established and dissolved several businesses in Hanover, Florence and Trenton between 1845 and 1870. The pipes used in the Boston Water Works in 1847 came from Hanover Furnace. In 1850 Richard was a principle in the New Jersey Exploring and Mining Company. He established the New Jersey Zinc Paint Company, most likely as a result of his experiments with and eventual patents on zinc oxide extraction (1854 and 1869). Richard was definitely something of a chemical genius but I am not sure about his business expertise. The iron industry in the 19th century was a risky business. with many smaller operations failing due to pressures of the economy and production expenses.
By the mid 1870’s, Richard and Alice Jones are back in Philadelphia, residing at 1818 Delancy Street. Richard died here on 29 October 1890, and is buried in the churchyard cemetery at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Mount Holly, New Jersey. Many items have come down through the family, including three lovely chairs, part of what was probably a much larger set. I think of the dinner parties and other conversations that those chairs have witnessed over the years and wonder…
My challenge this for this weeks’ #52Ancestors is Ellsworth Lewis, my great, great grandmother’s brother. The Lewis family is for me, one of those family lines that comes to you rife with stories and suppositions but very little fact. I have, in an earlier blog, written about Moses K. Wells who married Florence Lewis. Florence was one of six children and her younger siblings all have great names that should make it so easy to find them in records.
I had a birth date for Ellsworth but nothing else. According to the Census, he spent his entire life in Pemberton, Burlington County, New Jersey. Sadly, I discovered that his story abruptly ends in 1890. On 15 May 1890, he married Keziah Platt in the First Methodist Church at Mount Holly. And by 14 August 1890, he is dead. Someday on a trip to the New Jersey State Archives, I will look up his death certificate and find out what happened and where he is buried. That is for another day.
Interestingly enough, the part that really caught my attention was the difficulty most of my search engines and databases had with variant spellings of Ellsworth (Ellesworth, Elsworth). It is important to remember that not all databases work the way Ancestry does. If at first you don’t get any hits, try again. Many locally produced systems operate on a “what you type is what you get” system which can be frustrating for those used to Ancestry’s algorithms.
The prompt for this week’s #52ancestors was invite to dinner. Hmmm, I think I would invite Ellsworth and his new bride Keziah and gently grill them on all the local gossip!
I chose Elizabeth for my second #52Ancestors because I had life dates for her but little else and she had what for the Jones family is an unusual name. I thought I would learn all there was to know just by stringing her census records together, since she apparently never married. Little did I know.
Elizabeth Brightly Jones was born in Brooklyn, NY on 9 January 1887, to Richard Woodmansie and Elizabeth Walsh Brightly Jones. Sadly, her mother appears to have died later in January of complications from childbirth. Although Richard Jones remarries in 1904, Elizabeth kept variations of her mother’s name as she grew to adulthood, which helped me to find her; one of the hardest names to research is Elizabeth Jones.
Elizabeth trained as a nurse at Bryn Mawr Hospital, graduating in 1912 and working in New York, Missouri and Pennsylvania. She served during World War I at the American Red Cross Military Hospital in Paris, France. There is great information about this in both her passport application, which contains letters from her employers vouching for her credentials, but also in her Veterans Compensation application, which details her training and work history. Of note is also the article that appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle welcoming her home after the war.
Interestingly enough, it is through these and other records that I found evidence that she used a hyphenated version of her name, Brightly-Jones as well as spelling out her middle name. Perhaps this was a way of honoring her mother.
I feel a sense of connection with Elizabeth because in 1990 when I broke my ankle in a riding accident (the horse bucked on purpose but I fell off by accident), I was taken to the Bryn Mawr hospital emergency room and later had surgery at that hospital to pin the ankle back together. This Veteran’s Day I will make it a point to honor her service during World War I. Happy Birthday Elizabeth Brightly-Jones!
Annie Wells was born on 2 December 1878 at Pemberton in Burlington County, New Jersey to Moses K. and Florence Wells. She married Arthur Wells Jones (1875-1936) on 3 July 1900 at Pemberton. The couple had one child, Barclay Gibbs Jones, born 30 May 1902. Annie died in 1962 and is buried in the Odd Fellows cemetery in Burlington County.
In the 1880 census, Annie is listed with her parents in Pemberton. In 1900, Annie was living in Camden, N.J. as a boarder in the Stacy Gibbs household. She and her sister, Mattie Horner, are working as “sewing operators.” Arthur is also living in the household and is listed as a cousin to Stacy Gibbs. By 1920, Annie and Arthur had settled into their home on north 40th St. in Camden. After Arthur’s death, Annie moved back to Pemberton and appears in the 1940 Census at 20 Hough St., the home of Florence Wells.
I don’t know much more about Annie. Where was she employed as a sewing operator?
I recently had a wonderful visit with a cousin on my dad’s side. She shared some fun stories about her memories of my father and then asked some questions. This blog is my attempt to put what I know about Moses K. Wells and his descendants into perspective. Please comment if you have additional information, and help me find the sources that would illustrate his story.
Moses K. Wells was born on 4 June 1854, probably in Pemberton, New Jersey to Samuel and Abigail D. Wells. He married Florence Virginia Lewis (b. 13 October 1859, d. 1947) on 8 January 1877 at Birmingham, in Burlington County. According to the census, he was a tinsmith. He died on 12 August 1925 in Pemberton and is buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery. The gravestone marks both his and Florence’s resting place.
Moses and Florence had four children: Anna Mary “Annie” Wells, Harvey S. Wells, Willard K. Wells and Mattie Wells. I am descended from his daughter Annie.
I don’t know a lot about Moses, partly because the records are no online. What was his position in the community of Burlington County? Did he own property? Run a business? Where did he live and is the house still standing? Are there pictures, if not?