Fanny Van Syckel Leigh

Investigating women of the 19th century can be trying. Birth, marriage, children, death, burial are often all that can be found. This week in #52ancestors I continue with my quest to document each of the siblings of Chester Van Syckel.

Leigh_Fanny_VanSyckel_grave
photograph taken by Mark Alexander Oliver (FindAGrave)

Fanny Van Syckel was born 12 April 1824 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, most likely in Van Syckel’s Corners, the fourth child of Aaron and Mary Bird Van Syckel.  I do not know if she was formally educated. Really her life as documented by what was left behind starts on 11 January 1844 when she married John Taylor Leigh, a local farmer. Fanny and John produced seven children between 1845 and 1858, only two of whom died in infancy:

  • Sylvester V. Leigh (1845-1848)
  • Milton Leigh (1847-1862)
  • Bennett Van Syckel Leigh (1850-1929)
  • Mary V. Leigh (1852-1875)
  • Emily B. Leigh (1855-1937)
  • Charles W. Leigh (1857-1926)
  • John T. Leigh (1858-1888)

Fanny died of consumption shortly after the birth of her youngest son, on 8 March 1860, in Clinton, New Jersey where she and John T. Leigh had settled. I am not sure if she ever lived in the immense Leigh house John had built around 1860 but this is where her children grew up after her death.

 

The_Courier_News_Tue__Oct_8__1929_
from the Bridgewater Courier News, 8 October 1929

John T. Leigh remarried after Fanny’s death to Mary Van Syckel, Fanny’s first cousin. They went on to have ten additional children bringing the total to seventeen. Again, two died in infancy.

Fanny is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, New Jersey.

Sylvester Van Syckel

This week my #52ancestors continues the line of Chester Van Syckel’s siblings with Sylvester Van Syckel.

NJ-Hunterdon-County-New-Jersey-1905-Map-by-CramSylvester Van Syckel was the fifth child of Aaron Van Syckel and Mary Bird Van Syckel.  He was born 21 February 1826, most likely in Union township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Like his other male siblings, Sylvester was well educated and eventually made his way to the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), graduating with a BA in 1846.  He then went on to study medicine at New York University and worked at Bellevue Hospital. He graduated from NYU in 1849 and by 1850 he was back in Clinton, New Jersey establishing a medical practice.  Interestingly enough the medical association noted him as an allopath, which apparently means that he practiced traditional medicine rather than homeopathy.

Sylvester married Mary E. Carhart (1830-1917) on 24 March 1853 and they proceeded to have six children:

  • John Carhart Van Syckel (1854-1944)
  • George C. Van Syckel (1855-1860)
  • Chester V. Van Syckel (1858-1861)
  • William C. Van Syckel (1863-1942)
  • Lamar Van Syckel (1866-1948)
  • Mary C. Van Syckel (1868-1872)

The three little children have lovely grave markers in Riverside Cemetery in Clinton. The three boys who survived went on to have productive professional careers.

Van_Syckel_Sylvester_houseIn 1868 the family moved into the home on Center St. that remained in the family for forty years. Sylvester died in 1906 and his widow appears to have gone to live with William and his wife Elizabeth who had taken over the Carhart family farm outside of Clinton. Mary Van Syckel died 20 February 1917.  Both Sylvester and Mary Van Syckel are buried in Riverside Cemetery in Clinton.

I have childhood memories of driving down from Ithaca to visit my aunt Louise Tompkins in Princeton, New Jersey.  Most often our route was via the Delaware River Gap, which took us through Clinton.  It is a pretty drive and I seem to remember that there is a Stewart’s ice cream stand somewhere around there that we would stop at to refuel.