Abraham VanWagnen Tompkins

Tompkins_AbrahamVW_portraitThis week in #52ancestors, I successfully resolved the questionable legitimacy of Samuel D. Tompkins by finding the correct marriage date of his parents, Abraham Van Wagnen and Caroline Sleght Brown Tompkins.

Abraham Van Wagnen Tompkins was born on 24 December 1816 in Dutchess County, New York to Michael and Rachel Schryver Tompkins.  I know very little of his early life and schooling.

On 21 February 1838, he married Caroline Sleght Brown (1818-1878), the daughter of John Dusenbury (1788-1875) and Mary Sleght (1785-1856) Brown.  It pays to keep asking the same question of different types of documents: I was able to more accurately pinpoint this marriage date which conflicts by a year and a day with the Velie family bible.  The Poughkeepsie Eagle printed a marriage notice for Abraham and Caroline on 9 March 1838 which made a huge difference in the legitimacy of their first child!

They went on to have nine children in total:

  • Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins (1838-1926)
  • John A. Tompkins (1841-)
  • Jane Ann (Jennie) (1844-1927)
  • Jacob M. (1846-1908?)
  • George Edward (1848-1869)
  • Frederick H. (1850-1897)
  • Mary Haviland (1852-1855)
  • Eugene (1855-1927)
  • James Lennard (1858-1944)

Abraham was a farmer.  Our branch of the family has very little documentation on him and I know of no object that was owned by him in the family holdings.  I did find him in the 1850 Agricultural census (Dutchess County, NY, 19 August 1850) which shows that he owned 100 acres of improved land and 27 acres unimproved.  The cash value of the farm was $7000, with an additional $300 worth of farm equipment.  He owned an unsurprising mixture of livestock and he was growing rye, corn, oats, potatoes, buckwheat and hay.  His dairy herd produced 400 lbs of butter, which was at the low end compared to other farmers in the area.

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1897 Dutchess County atlas

In the 1860 federal census, Abraham had $10,000 worth of real estate and $1300 in property, which could show an improvement in his circumstances.  His eight surviving children are living in the household and they employ a woman named Mary Purdy, an African American domestic servant.  Also living in the house is a Catharine Sleight, aged 66, but I am not sure of her relationship to Caroline.  She is possibly an aunt, as her mother had a sister named Catharine.

Abraham died 7 January 1869, which is too early to get included in the 1870 mortality schedule.  It would have been nice to know who was living where at that point.  I await with bated breath the digitization of the Guardianship records for Dutchess County for 1869-1870, as these may answer some questions. As nearly as I can piece together, the children are scattered among the family, with one going here and another going there.  That is a puzzle for another day.

Tompkins_AbrahamVW_gravemarkerAbraham was buried 10 January 1869 at Freedom Plains Cemetery.  Caroline Brown Tompkins appears in the 1870 census to reside in the state asylum in Oneida and is still there in 1875.  She dies 1878 and is buried beside her husband.

Thomas Hiram Mount

This week in #52ancestors I got to explore guardianship records when an ancestor died intestate leaving minor children.  Thomas Hiram Mount was born on 11 April 1812 in East Windsor, Mercer County, NJ.  He was one of four children of Hiram (1786-1847) and Margaret Allen (1790-1865) Mount.

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He lived in a house purchased by his father in 1834 (online information incorrectly names his father as Ejirain) on One Mile Road in East Windsor where he brought his wife Catherine Fisher when he married her 14 January 1835.  She was known as Kate.  They had twelve children, nine of whom survived them:

  • Rebecca Ely Mount (1836-1898)
  • Mary Elizabeth Mount (1838-1849)
  • Margaret A. Mount (1840-1900)
  • John Mount (1842-1871)
  • Mary Jane Mount (1844-1917)
  • Hiram Mount (1846-1920)
  • William Mount (1848-1923)
  • Addison Mount (1850-1851)
  • Susan Matilda Mount (1852-1918)
  • Thomas Addison Mount (1855-1935)
  • Catharine Fisher Mount (1859-1929)
  • George C. Mount (1861-1911)

Thomas operated a brickyard and kiln, Thomas H. Mount and Company, at “Buzzard’s Point,” the intersection of Dutch Neck Road and Stockton Street.

On the last Census taken before Thomas’s death, the household consisted of Thomas and Catharine, son Hiram (age 23), son William (age 21), son Addison (age 15), daughter Matilda (age 17), daughter Catharine (age 11), and son George (age 8).  There are also two female servants, Anna Dutchess and Dina Laning.

Kate Fisher died on 9 July 1872 and is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hightstown, New Jersey.  When Thomas died shortly thereafter (8 September 1876), he did not leave a will.  His son Hiram returned to New Jersey from Ohio and with his sister Rebecca E. Applegate and brother in law Vincent Van Nest, applied for letters of administration.  There are a few confusing pieces here as various documents seem to mix the identify of Thomas’s sister Rebecca with that of his daughter Rebecca.  Rebecca Mount (1814-1892) married and Abijah Ely and then married George Cox.  Thomas named his daughter Rebecca Ely Mount, after his sister.  That Rebecca married Enoch Applegate.  Both seem to be entered into various records as Rebecca Ely Mount, which is most confusing.

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Hiram requests a complete inventory of his father’s farm and holdings.  One intriguing bit is the “heap of mail” at the depot, making it sound as though no one made it into town to pick up the mail for some time before Thomas’s death. This is entirely possible as he died of a fever and the household may have been focused on nursing him.

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Although there is nothing in the estate record to point to a guardianship, there were two minor children:

  • Catharine Fisher Mount. She is assigned to Rebecca Mount Cox in the guardianship record but by 1880 is living with Rebecca Ely Mount, married to Enoch Applegate
  • George C. Mount.  His guardian of record is Hiram Mount, and he goes to live in Bethel Township, Miami County, Ohio with Hiram and Lucy Chamberlain Mount.

Thomas Hiram Mount buried next to his wife at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hightstown, NJ.  Three of his children appear to have moved west to Ohio (Hiram, Thomas Addison and George), the remainder stayed closer to home, most dying in Mercer County.

Jarvis Buttles

orwelmapThis week in #52ancestors addresses the Buttles family ancestor who moved from Connecticut to Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Although the original family appears to have spelled the name Buttolphs, by the late 18th century it had settled into the Buttles spelling.  This does not keep every index system in the world from corrupting that into Battles, Butler and Butter but hey this is all about discovery and having fun, right?

Jarvis Buttles was born 16 October 1800 in Hartland, Connecticut, one of nine children of Elihu and Lovisa Reed Buttles.  Elihu migrated from Connecticut to South Hill, Pennsylvania during the winter of 1817-1818, and according to the published county histories: “He settled at South Hill, put up a factory and engaged in the manufacture of wooden dishes. He died in 1823 and was succeeded in the business by his son Jarvis who occupied the homestead until his death, Oct. 5, 1890, aged 90 years.”  Whatever dishes they manufactured must not have a “Buttles” maker mark because I have scoured the world with no luck finding one of theirs.

Jarvis first married on 21 Oct 1828 to Alma Cowdrey (1805-1843).  The marriage occured in Hartland, Connecticut, but the Hartland town marriage record notes that his residence was Orwell, Pennsylvania.  It also noted that his occupation was “reverend.”  They had nine children:

  • Otis Jarvis Buttles (1830-1918)
  • Lester Franklin Buttles (1831-1885)
  • Emily Jerusha Buttles (1832-)
  • Harlow Jonathan Buttles (1834-1924)
  • Samuel Foster Buttles (1836-1884)
  • Eliza Melissa Buttles (1838-1894)
  • Juliana Buttles (1840-1860)
  • Elizabeth Alma Buttles (1842-1906) (my great, great grandmother)
  • Elihu Buttles (1843-1843)

Buttles_Alma_grave_1843Alma may have died as due to complications in the birth of her last child as her death is recorded as 2 July 1843.  Jarvis married a second time on 2 7 March 1848, to Sara Ann Horton (1816-1881).  They had two children: Louisa Buttles (1850-1902) and Elihu Buttles (1851-1901).  Louisa appears to have changed her name often over her short life.  I found her in various records as Ellen, Levisa, Louisa and Ida Louisa.

In addition to manufacturing wooden bowls and farming, Jarvis Buttles served as the postmaster of South Hill in Bradford county from 1853 to 1857 and then from 1858 to 1871.  The Post Office was then turned over to his son Samuel Buttles, who held the post until 1884 when Jarvis’s son Harlow Buttles took the post.  Harlow served until 1904 when the PO passed out of direct Buttles hands.

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According to the US Postal Service:

“The job of postmaster was an important one — candidates for the job were proposed by the outgoing postmaster, the local community, or local congressmen. Beginning in 1836, postmasters at the largest Post Offices were appointed by the President and usually received the job as a political plum. The Postmaster General continued to appoint postmasters at smaller Post Offices. The Post Office often was kept as a sideline to the postmaster’s primary occupation, such as storekeeper.”

Jarvis Buttles died on 5 October 1890 and is buried in South Hill Cemetery in Orwell, Pennsylvania.

 

John Dusenbury Brown

Brown_JohnDusenbury_FamilyBible_Marriages_cropThis week in #52Ancestors I wanted to work on the Brown family, a branch that I discovered, in part due to the family bible digitized by another descendant.  That bible gave me just enough information to go back to census and church records and allowed me to build out this biography.  Along the way, I came across what I think may be 19th century vanity.

John Dusenbury Brown was born 26 August 1788, one of four children born to John (1760-1836) and Jane Dusenbury (1770-1845) Brown: William Henry Brown (?-1881), Sarah Brown (1785-1807), John D. Brown (1788-1875), and Charles I. Brown (1790-1860).

Although the name John D. Brown appears in numerous military and militia records, I do not believe that this John served in any military unit.  On 24 July 1812, he married Mary “Polly” Sleght at the First Presbyterian Church, Pleasant Valley, NY.  They had six children together:

  • John Sleght Brown (1813-1893)
  • Caroline Brown (1818-1878)
  • Martha Jane Brown (1819-1911)
  • Eliza Brown (1821-1875)
  • Ann Brown (twin 1825-1928)
  • Rachel Brown (twin 1825-1911)

In 1827, John D. Brown along with eight other men established the Presbyterian Church of Freedom Plains.  He remained active in this congregation until his death and is buried in the church burial ground.

In 1850, John D. Brown, age 62,  is enumerated in LaGrange NY with Mary age 62, John S. age 36, Jane, age 26 and Eliza age 24.  I think John S. is mislocated because his wife Fanny and daughter Mary E are next door. Jane and Eliza have the correct ages here but not on  the next two Census.

In 1860, John Brown age 71, appears in the Census as a Farmer on $21,000 worth of real estate.  He is living with Jane age 26 and Eliza, age 25.  Living next door is John S. Brown with wife Frances, children Mary E. 10, Ruth 9, and George 7. And yes, I too wondered how Jane and Eliza could be the same age they had been ten years before.  But wait, there’s more!

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1860 US Census

An 1862 deed shows that John D. sold the farm to his son in 1862 with the condition that he could live there until the end of his life, profiting from the produce and livestock raised there.

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1865 New Jersey Census

John D. Brown married for the second time on 31 January 1865 to Hannah Maria Van Dyne (1804-1874), herself a widow of James Dates.  In the 1865 NY census, taken on 7 June 1865, John and Hannah (age 56) and his two daughters Martha Jane (46) and Eliza (44) are living with John S. Brown Jr. in La Grange. However, five years later in the 1870 US Census, John D. Brown appeared living in LaGrange with wife Hannah and two young women Jane, aged 26 and Eliza aged 24!  I know it is the right family because he is living next to John Brown age 50 who with wife Fanny is raising Mary, Ruth, George and Nellie.  But how did his two unmarried daughters suddenly lose 25 years off their lives?  It’s a miracle!

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1870 US Census

31 Jan 1865 m. Hannah Maria Van Dyne b. 11 June 1804 to  Daughter of Garret and Maria (Montfoort) Van Dyne Hannah was the widow of James Dates. whom she married on 18 Jan 1832.  She died 5 Aug 1874

Brown_John_Dusenbury_grave_1875John D. Brown died 20 March 1875, but I am not sure if this happened at La Grange or Poughkeepsie. He is buried in Freedom Plains Presbyterian Church, Pleasant Valley.

In his will, written on 10 August 1874, he makes bequests to each of his children, but not to his second wife as she died 5 August 1874.  Clearly this is a new will but it has several interesting points:  one must be careful not to read between the lines but I would give much to be a bug on the wall of his lawyer’s office during that discussion!  He leaves $1500 to Martha Jane, Eliza, Anne Brown Haviland and Rachel Brown Velie.  A condition then states that if there is not enough to pay these amounts, then what there is is to be divided evenly amongst these four.  Then he states that if there is anything left over it is to be divided between these four and Caroline Brown Tompkins.  He then appoints his son in law, James Haviland and his grandson Samuel D. Tompkins executors.

I understand why John S. Brown is not mentioned, as the farm and all that property have already been sold to John S. Brown.  But why leave Caroline so little?  Was the relationship between the two broken or was there perhaps an earlier transaction?  This is an area where more research needs to happen!

Samuel Tompkins

LittleCompton_1831_webI have to admit, after the DeWolfe media frenzy about that family’s discovery that they made their money in the slave trade, I was alarmed when I found that multiple generations of the Tompkins family had lived in Rhode Island during the height of the Atlantic slave trade.  Even if they were not involved in shipping, all the ancillary trades that go into supporting the shipping industry are tied to that profit source as well.  So for this week of #52ancestors I picked an ancestor whose life would have touched on this dark period in American history.
Samuel Tompkins, son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Waters Tompkins, was born 24 May 1681 in Little Compton, Rhode Island.  He was a middle child in a family of ten.  He married late for that time, he was almost 31 years old when he married Sarah Coe (1690-1741) in 24 January 1712.
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Samuel and Sarah produced twelve children over the next eighteen years.
  • Joseph Tompkins, b. 26 Oct 1712
  • John, b. 14 Sep 1714
  • Elizabeth, b. 8 Dec 1715
  • Christopher, b. 8 Dec 1715
  • Abigail, b. 28 Jan 1717
  • Nathaniel, b. 19 Nov 1719, d. 20 Jan 1724
  • Gideon, b. 19 Nov 1720, d. Mar 1774
  • Micah, b. 20 Jan 1722, d. May 1771
  • Benjamin, b. 26 Jan 1723
  • Augustine, b. 19 Mar 1725, d. 16 Feb 1747
  • Prescilla, b. 6 June 1726, d. 18 Aug 1739
  • William, b. 17 Oct. 1730, d. Nov 1768
Little_Compton_todayLittle Compton and the neighboring town of Tiverton were first established as part of Massachusetts in the middle of the 17th century.  In 1673, the town was plotted and twenty-nine settlers made claims, most of them Puritans.  Later in 1747, the state of Rhode Island formed and the towns became part of that.  A Colonial Census was done at that time and Samuel is listed in Little Compton, New Port County.
I have had a great deal of trouble finding records of Samuel but one of the most useful has been the will and estate papers for his father, Nathaniel Tompkins.  Nathaniel appears to have been a farmer  rather than a mariner, which I have to admit relieves me in many ways as many of the mariners in this part of Rhode Island were involved in the transatlantic slave trade.
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Nathaniel’s will is sent through probate in 1724 and names Samuel as the executor.  There is a very helpful inventory of the personal property held at the time of his death which includes one mare, five cows, one yoke of oxen and fifteen sheep.  There is also mention of one and a quarter acres of land.  This makes me wonder if land has already been given over to Samuel or one of his siblings, as that is too little land to feed all those animals.
I have also read through many years of the Town Records for Little Compton, which are a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives of a Puritan community in the 18th century.  I have found print sources that state Samuel Tompkins died in 1760 but the Town Records did not confirm this.  They did, however, document the response of the community to a small pox break out that year and I wonder if that is what caused Samuel’s death in May.
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But the real answer lies in Samuel Tompkins’ will.  Or does it?  I have reviewed all of the pages in the Town Records covering the Council minutes, the will, and the inventory done in June of 1760.  None of these records mention slaves or indentured servants.  However, my ancestor is his son Benjamin Tompkins, who receives very little in this will (compared to his siblings) and I don’t know if that means that he was given money or property before Samuel’s death and therefore gets little of the estate.  It is possible that Benjamin was given a slave or indentured servants were transferred to him before 1760.  I am not off the hook yet, I need to look hard at the next generation.
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Chester Van Syckel Dilley

This week my #52Ancestors post takes me deep into a side line of the Van Syckel family.  The Van Syckels test my genealogical mettle every time I try to organize them and they have taught me more about not following a straight line of succession than any other group.

In trying to get a handle on my great great grandfather Chester Van Syckel, I ended up researching all of his siblings, as many seemed to name a child after him.  Interestingly enough, he seems to have been a bit of a tartar and so this “honor” fascinates me.  This brings me to Chester Van Syckel Dilley.  Chester was the only child of Samuel (1827-1852) and Mercy Van Syckel Dilley (1820-1875). He was born on 25 March 1847, and raised in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  On 20 September 1873, he married Anna Besson Thatcher (1845-1925) and they proceeded to have five children: Mary Chester Dilley (1874-1946), Sylvester Van Syckel Dilley (1876-1950), Robert Thatcher Dilley (1877-1958), Samuel C. Dilley (1879-1880) and Joseph V. Dilley (1881-1933).

Dilley_ChesterV_obituary_The_Courier_News_Sat__Mar_29__1913_Chester appears to have suffered a heart attack on 26 March 1913 and died at home.  He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Clinton.  There is no will, and he was a relatively young man.  In 1915, the New Jersey state census puts his widow Anna living with her daughter’s family in North Readington.  Later this family will move to Elizabeth and Anna goes with them.  It is possible that the farm was sold, as the sons do not appear to have followed their father’s occupation.

Happy Birthday, Chester Van Syckel Dilley!

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Cornelius D. Vreeland

Where there’s a will there’s a way, right?  Well, this week’s #52Ancestors really was a slog through wills, the absence of wills, probate, estate records, land sales, etc.  But first, let’s start with the gentleman who inspired this blog: Cornelius Delos Vreeland.

Vreeland_CorneliusD_1882_cropCornelius D. Vreeland was born in Paterson, New Jersey on 4 March 1813.  At this time, Paterson was in Essex County but it eventually became Passaic County.  Young Cornelius was duly baptized at the First Reformed Church in Totowa, a small community just outside of Paterson.  On 29 September 1836 he married Rachel Beach and they settled on a farm in Wayne township. They six children: Josiah Pierson (1841-1895), Maria Mottear (1842-1844), Elizabeth Derrom (1846-1924), Adelia (1850-1893), Cornelius (1852-1854) and Jonathan Beach (1855-1911).

Cornelius D. dies at the Vreeland Homestead in Wayne on 6 July 1890, and is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Caldwell.  This is all quite straightforward.  However, apparently Cornelius did not leave a will and this is where the search gets interesting.  By 1870, the homestead is valued at $20,000 and the personal property at $7,000.  Tax records will tell us more but all of this leads me to wonder, why no will?  Josiah and Adelia are still in the area, Elizabeth has married and is out in California setting up a vegetable farm and Beach, as he was called, is in Charlotte, North Carolina due to his wife’s poor health.

Vreeland_Cornelius_AppointmentAdmin_1892_cropInterestingly, Beach is left to file the articles of administration, which speak to the need for the estate to be inventoried.  Although Passaic County has an online index, the case files themselves have not been put online, so a request for a paper copy has been made.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Cornelius Delos Vreeland!  You helped me delve into some records I propably would have avoided, left to my own devices. And thank you, @amyjohnsoncrow for challenging me to dig a little deeper.

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