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.

Isaac Hine, Jr.

NY-Greene-County-New-York-1897-Map-Rand-McNally-CatskillThis week in #52Ancestors I continue to add to my knowledge of the Hine family.  Isaac Hine Sr. appears to have moved himself and his children from Connecticut to Greene County, New York.  His son, Isaac Jr., took his family the next step to Bradford County, Pennsylvania.

Isaac Hine, Jr. was born 4 Oct 1765 to Isaac (1730-1809) and Ann Bristoll Hine.  He was the fourth of seven children.

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Children of Isaac and Ann Bristoll Hine

An early history of the Hine family remarks that Isaac Sr. removed from Connecticut to Cairo but does not mention a year.  One clue that the date might be earlier than 1800, is a mention of the early forge in Cairo, which was erected by an Enoch Hyde and a Benjamin Hall of Litchfield, Connecticut ca. 1788.  Cairo was formed in 1803 by merging several villages (Coxsackie, Catskill and Freehold into the town of Canton.  In 1808 the town was renamed Cairo.

Although Isaac Sr. does die in Greene County, I think it is possible that he traveled simply to be near his sons Benjamin and Isaac, as it is their names that appear in the early records of town history. As early as 1803, Benjamin Hine is listed as one of the first town officers and in 1804 he served as one of the inspectors on the election results. Isaac Hine Jr. was one of the incorporators of the Canton Bridge Company, formed in 1805.

The History of Greene County also mentions that the Hine family was involved in the establishment of Calvary Episcopal Church in Cairo, with Hiram Hine and Horatio Hine both serving as early vestry.

Hine_Isaac2Isaac Hine Jr. married Rhoda Wright, possibly in 1791 but I have not been able to find a marriage record.  The couple had twelve children. I am not sure where the dates of birth on the children come from but several sources corroborate these dates.  However, I am not sure how one has a child on October 1st and then on December 25 of the same year.  I think it is more likely that Henry W. was born in 1805 as most of his Census entries agree with this date.  Henry goes on to Bradford County, PA and is my ancestor, his brother Hiram appears to have stayed in Greene County, NY, dying on 16 May 1841 and leaving a wife Sally and son Revillo Charles Hine who settle in Wisconsin.

Isaac appears to have made his living as a carpenter.  I do not know if this translated into furniture making  but his estate (he appears to have died without a will) shows 12 Windsor chairs in the “East Front Room” around the dining room table and 12 chairs in the “West Front Room.”  Well, you had to have somewhere to seat yourself and your twelve children!  I do think that household inventories are fascinating.  A list of things which, in 1825, were considered worth counting against the overall worth of a person.  In this case, there is nothing too surprising, as this family is comfortably well off and has an agricultural base of support to assist with the carpenter skills of Isaac Hine.  I have been able to find out that the “brittania tea pot” referred to on page 2 is a pewter teapot but would love to know more about the “Liverpool plates.”

 

Isaac Hine died 23 March 1825 and is buried in the Cairo Cemetery.  Rhoda followed him on 11 October 1826 and she is buried next to him.

I don’t feel I know enough about this branch of the family tree.  I would like to know more about Rhoda and where she came from.  I would like to know more about their experience in Green County.  Someday, I may get to the local archive and be able to find more personality to go with what must have been an amazing settlement experience.  One thing that popped up unexpectedly and needs some followup is the fact that Isaac’s oldest son Lewis Hine is the grandfather of the famous photographer Lewis Hine.  How cool is that?!?

Lewis Hine

 

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!

Mary Sleght Brown

2007_03_Mary_Sleght_lock-of-Hair_Magazine-1Mary Sleght Brown is a recent discovery and an excellent reminder to return to people every few years for whom you have had no success.  For some time I knew that Abraham V.W. Tompkins had married a Caroline Brown, but I could find no firm information about where she came from.  Then one day I returned to Abraham, thinking surely by now, someone has put up some record on this family.
I searched Ancestry.com and beautiful digital images of the Brown family bible and the John Sleght family record appeared.  There were also two primers, one of which contained a lock of Mary’s hair.  What a legacy!  And there was Caroline, daughter of John Dusenbury (1788-1875) and Mary Sleght (1785-1856) Brown.
Brown_JohnDusenbury_FamilyBible_Marriages_cropAccording to the bible, Mary Sleght was born on 4 June 1785 and married John D. Brown in 1812.  Oddly, the bible gives detailed dates for all but this event.  The couple then had six children: John S. (1813-1893), Caroline (1818-1878), Martha Jane (1819-1911), Eliza (1821-1875), and a set of twins Ann and Rachel born in 1825.
This information gave me enough ammunition, so to speak, to go looking for church and burial records.  I found death and burial information in the church records of the Pleasant Valley Freedom Plains Presbyterian Church.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Unfortunately the church records do not start until 1827, so still no marriage date.  The bible record and the church record agreed on the date for Mary’s death on 19 September 1856. And I was then able to find an image of the grave marker.
These two family bible records have probably been out there for some time but I did not have the clues necessary to connect all the dots.  It really pays to loop back to ancestors that are not completely fleshed out.  New information and digital documents are being added to archives daily.  This #52Ancestors challenge has been really helpful in reminding me of this!

Mary Craw Frost Hine

MA-Hampden-County-Massachusetts-1901-Cram-map-Springfield-Palmer-BrimfieldMary Craw Frost was born on 13 May 1808 to Aaron (1778-1855) and Polly Craw (1782-1860) Frost.  She was born in Wilbraham, a tiny burg in what is now Hampden County, Massachusetts.  Mary was one of twelve children, a fact that appears in conflicting documentation about their names and birth order.  Somewhere there is a bible…

Greene_County_NY_Cairo_town_highlighted.svgI also have conflicting information about how she and her parents end up in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Some records state that she married her husband Henry Hine while in New York, which would make it Greene County.  Cairo, NY is almost directly west from Wilbraham, so it is possible that on their way west they stopped off, or perhaps that was their destination, but when Hine moved on to Orwell, her parents went along as well.

I have quite a few sources that agree on 29 September 1830 for the date of marriage.  However, the place is a problem.  I have one source that says Orwell and one that says New York.  Henry Hine is listed in the 1830 Census in Greene County New York.  As is his father in law, Aaron Frost.  I have found a transcription of a church membership record in Greene County which shows Henry W. and Mary Hine moving from Cairo to Durham and being received by the First Presbyterian Church on 16 April 1835.  I am going to go with New York rather than Pennsylvania.  In 1840, I find both Aaron Frost and Henry Hine in Bradford County, which is a good thing, as that is where Henry’s children are being birthed.

Henry and Mary Hine had six children, the first two born in New York, and the last four born in Pennsylvania: my ancestor James Edwin Hine, was the first born in Orwell, Pennsylvania in 1837.  A complete list of their children includes: Ellen Augusta (1831-1903), John Henry (1834-1891), James Edwin (1837-1915), Erasmus Percival (1840-1862), Harlow A. (1842-1882), and Sabrina Arzilla (1845-1914) Hine.

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Hine_Mary_Craw_Frost_grave_1889Sadly, beyond the bearing of children, I have very little information about Mary C. Hine.  I know that she was a member of the Presbyterian Church in New York but switched to the United Methodist Church in the mid 1870’s possibly because her daughter Sabrina Hine Hines did as well.  Mary C. Hine lived with Sabrina and Joseph Hines after the death of her husband Henry W. Hine in 1868.  Mary Craw Frost HIne died on 10 August 1889.

Eugene Tompkins

Well, it took three weeks but I finally got Research Scope Creep.  You know what I mean.  That moment when you completely ignore the #52Ancestors project criteria (find one new thing on one person on your family tree) and gleefully go down the rabbit hole, gathering bits and pieces as you go.  Three hours later, you are banging your head against the desk and crying “I know I found three new census records, his marriage record and four city directory entries, but I WANT his obituary!”

It wasn’t pretty folks, but I pulled back, hunkered down and entered what I had into RootsMagic and called “time.”  So here goes:

Tompkins_Eugene_portrait2Eugene Tompkins was born in 1855 to Abraham Van Wangenin and Caroline Brown Tompkins.  Abraham and Caroline lived in Dutchess County, New York, on a farm outside of Hyde Park.  This family is another source of genealogical frustration for me as the Tompkins are rife in Dutchess County and the surrounding area and each generation named their children after their favorite siblings, creating confusing swirls of Michaels, Rachels, James, Anns, Gilberts and Johns.  To make it even more frustrating, Abraham dies at a relatively early age in 1869, and his children are dispersed throughout the Tompkins clan.  So I found Eugene easily enough in the 1860 and 1870 Census but I had let the search drop several years ago in the face of easier quarry.

My initial task for the #52Ancestors challenge was to find Eugene Tompkins in the 1880 Census.  I re-searched on Dutchess County with no luck.  I then broadened the search to include surrounding counties.  After weeding out all the wrong Eugenes, I was left with the question “did the census taker really get his information that wrong, or is he just not in New York?”  I went back to the sibling list and followed his oldest brother, my great, great grandfather Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins, to New Jersey.  At the time of the 1880 Census, Samuel is living in Jersey City, NJ with his wife and three children and his youngest brother James Tompkins.  But no Eugene.  So I followed one of Amy Johnson Crow’s “5 Online Search Strategies…” and searched on Eugene Tompkins, born NY in 1855, living anywhere and BINGO.  Top of the list is a guy living in Colorado.  Who knew?

Well, it turns out that several of Abraham’s sons went west to Colorado, but that is a story for another day and another blog.  This story is going to wrap up what I now know about Eugene.  Which is not everything I want to know but THAT IS NOT THE EXERCISE.

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I found Eugene living in Denver in the 1900 Census with his wife Arizona.  They have two children, Mabel and Percy both of whom are born in Colorado.  And potentially, they appear to be living with Arizona’s parents.  Mabel E. Tompkins was born in August of 1883, so I looked for a marriage in 1882 and found an entry in an index for 1882.  Eugene is employed as a shipping clerk, which was probably a good job to have on the frontier, as Denver still was in 1900.

By 1910, the family has added some new strings for me to follow up on:  Eugene is the  manager of a wholesale fruit company, Arizona and Percy are at home, Mabel has married and buried a husband named Warhurst and Arizona’s mother has moved in with them.  Ancestry coerced me into clicking on one of their leaves and I found a potential death date through a Find A Grave entry and most interesting of all, a city directory listing for Eugene and Mary A. Tompkins as President and vice president of a brokerage firm “Tompkins Brokerage Co.”

The Denver Public Library has an awesome newspaper obituary index up on their page and through this I was able to glean obituary information on Eugene.  He died at home on 26 October 1927 and is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.  Interestingly, Mabel is listed as Mabel E. Stewart, so perhaps another husband?

So many links and possibilities.  But time has been called.  I did not find Eugene in the 1880 Census.  I have some really good leads on where to go next and maybe next year I will do #52Ancestorfollowups but this year I am stopping now.  Happy Birthday, Eugene Tompkins!

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