Mary Elizabeth Carroll Jones

Carrell_MaryElizabeth_jpegThis essay was originally published on 1 May 2018.  It contained erroneous information and so I have updated and corrected it as of 2 June 2018.

I recently received the pension packet from the National Archives for Benjamin Jones and his widow, Mary E. Jones.  It added a great deal of information to what I now know about this couple.  It also presented the problem of how to update this essay.  Rather than start from scratch I am going to try to incorporate the new information into the original.

This week in #52ancestors I am going to write about a woman who fascinates me.  She is not someone famous, or who had a public talent that everyone talked about.  She was a wife, mother, daughter, neighbor.  Just an ordinary woman, and yet she intrigues me.  Possibly it is because of a family story about her, which I cannot prove or disprove.  Possibly it is because her children loved her so.

Mary Elizabeth Carroll (records also use the spelling Carrol, Currel, Curl, Carrel) was born on 1 May 1840 or 1841 in Juliustown, Burlington County, New Jersey.  Her parents were William Carrel and Eliza F. Cox.  William Carroll of Juliustown is proving to be elusive but I have now discovered that although the family does not seem to hit the Census very often, Mary E. appears to have been the middle daughter of three:  Anna P. (1839-1902), Mary E. and Martha (1843-1905).

Mary Elizabeth Carroll married Clayton Taylor (son of Samuel G. and Mary Ann Taylor), on 14 March 1861 at Columbus in Springfield township, NJ.  Clayton appears to have been born around 1833 in Recklestown, NJ.  Sadly, Clayton died later that year on 13 October when his dog bumped his hunting rifle.

Mary E. Taylor then marries Benjamin Jones, recently returned Civil War veteran, on 20 October 1863.  They were married by a Justice of the Peace.  This is the crux of a family mystery.  The story is that Benjamin Jones compromised a young lady in the employ of the family, a maid or laundress.  Having gotten her pregnant, he was forced to marry her and his father, Richard Jones, disowned him.  It’s a great story but the supporting factual details elude me. Having now found a marriage date, it does highlight that their first child was born 7 months later.  Benjamin returned from the war a broken man.  His pension application is filled with details of his inability to work at any manual labor for any length of time.  Mary E. seems to have helped support the family by “working out” which means she did cleaning and housework for pay.  It is possible that this is how she met Benjamin.

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And yet, apparently regardless of his ability to do prolonged manual labor, Benjamin and Mary proceed to have 11 children:

  • 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)

The couple lived in Pemberton apparently in a house held in trust for Benjamin and Mary (I need to find more information on this as it is outlined in the pension documents) to be used during their lives.  After Benjamin died in 1896, Mary lived at Egbert Street through the 1910 Census.  In 1915, Mary is living with her daughter Alice and son-in-law Charles Wills. After that, according to the 1920 Census, Mary moved in with daughter Lillie (married to George Weest).  For most of this time she is surviving on her widow’s pension and what “work out” she can get.

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Mary Elizabeth Carroll Jones, William Carroll Jones, Harley Roscoe Jones, Merie Vivian Jones (original photograph held by Louise Jones)

Mary Jones died on 29 May 1922 in Vincentown and is buried in the Methodist Cemetery in Pemberton.  Her passing received far more attention than Benjamin’s and several months after her death her children post a memorial to her in the newspaper:

Mount Holly Herald, 7 October 1922

In Memoriam: In loving memory of our dear mother, Mary Elizabeth Jones.  Four months have passed since that sad day, when one we loved was called away, God took her home, it was his will, but in our hearts she is living still.  Sadly missed by sons and daughters. 

I am still in search of many pieces of this story but the goal of #52ancestors is to get what you know down in print, so here it is.  I would love to find out more about Frank Earl, who is the trustee of the house where Benjamin and Mary live.  How did this come about?  And now that I know a bit more about Mary Carroll’s parents I can try to put together that part of the story.

Grace Elizabeth Tompkins

AVTAlbum5.GraceETompkinsThis week of #52ancestors brings us to Grace Elizabeth Tompkins, eldest daughter of my great grandfather Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins (1839-1926).  I had the wrong birth date in for her but this entry gave me a chance to interview Louise Tompkins about her memories and so I am posting it on 4/10 as opposed to 10/4!

Grace Elizabeth Tompkins was born on 4 October 1869, in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Her parents, Samuel D. and Gettianna Vreeland Tompkins had married the previous year and were settled in residence with her parents, Nicholas and Elizabeth Vreeland.  Educated in Jersey City schools, Grace went on to Vassar College, graduating in 1892.  She returned home to the big family house on Communipaw Ave. where she is listed in the 1900 Census with no occupation, but the society pages of the Jersey Journal mention numerous fancy parties and entertainments both hosted and attended.  She was involved in Vassar alumna events as well as a group called the Odd Volumes which appears to have been a kind of book club.  Louise Tompkins shared her memory of the Odd Volumes: “everyone was a member, Florence (Voorhees), Aunt Lou (Louise Tompkins Voorhees), my mother and grandmother (Ann Van Syckel Tennant and Katharine Tennant Tompkins).  They reviewed books and that sort of thing.”

Diary_GlasgowI know Grace took one extended trip with her mother and sister Louise because she left a diary among her possessions and it has come down to me.  I do not know what year the trip is but it is some time before 1918 as it mentions her mother and Gettianna dies in February 1918.  I think it may be 1907 as the diary starts with a family send off and she mentions that she is sailing on the S. S. Carpathia.  Anyone familiar with the story of the Titanic knows this ship was probably busy in April of 1912 and Grace starts the diary on April 27th.  The diary gives descriptions of ship life, ports of call and also mentions land travel, especially in the British Isles.  I note especially that Grace attended services at Glasgow Cathedral on August 26th, the same cathedral visited by Louise Tompkins and myself over 100 years later on a never-to-be-forgotten visit to the Scottish Highlands.

USSCaroniaAfter her mother’s death in 1918, Grace traveled with her father as well as acting as hostess at various social events at the house on Communipaw Ave. Although I know that Grace traveled abroad extensively before this, one trip caught my attention because it was mentioned in the newspapers.  In 1927, Grace traveled abroad to Europe with an interesting intersection of female relatives: Louise Tompkins Voorhees, Florence Voorhees, Eleanor Tompkins (her niece) and Miss Ethel Hodsdon (a cousin from the Tennant side of the family).

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117 Bentley Ave.

After her father’s death Grace moved from the Communipaw Ave house to a smaller home at 117 Bentley Ave.  I don’t know why she is missing from the 1930 Census but 117 is skipped.  She was in town, as I have stalked her through the newspapers and she is either attending or hosting events in April, 1930 from 117 Bentley Ave. Again, talking to Louise Tompkins gave me a little insight: “Auntie Grace lived up the street from us in a house that was divided.  She had a maid and a chauffeur.  The chauffeur’s name was David, he was a Scotsman and very nice to us children.  We used to roller skate in the driveway because we didn’t have one at our house.” Louise Tompkins also remembered that Grace owned Cocker Spaniels and that she was a very astute investor, like her brothers.

Grace Tompkins eventually moved to 2600 Boulevard (called the Duncan then) to the same building as her sister and niece, Florence Voorhees.  Louise and Grace both had corner apartments on different floors with identical floor plans and sweeping views of the Meadowlands. I remember visiting Florence much later on and thinking she had a lovely view.  Grace died on 26 June 1964 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Kearny.  When my brother and I were children, my mother Anne Tompkins Jones and her sister Louise would take us to the cemetery each spring to clean up the landscape around the family plots.  It is a beautiful old cemetery with lovely monuments.  It is also a short drive from the Short Hills Mall but that is another story for another day.

Clarence Brearley Mount

 

This week in #52Ancestors allowed me to correct a name spelling.  I selected Clarence B. Mount, whom I had mistakenly identified as Clarence Burnley.  One obituary and a few corroborating documents later, I had the correct name: Clarence Brearley Mount.

Clarence was born on 22 March 1876 in Hightstown, New Jersey to William (1848-1922) and Catherine Brearley (1853-1926) Mount. My family joins the Mount tree with Mary Jane Mount (1844-1917), my great great grandmother. Mary Jane and Clarence’s father William were siblings.

Clarence B. Mount was the oldest of seven children.  On 17 November 1898, he traveled to New York, NY to marry Fairy Mount (1879-1960).  They had two children: Erva Louise (1899-1971) and Carl F. (1903-1983).

When I first captured Clarence Mount, I found him either as Clarence B. or Clarence Bumley or Burnley.  I did not have a good read on his mother, other than that her name was Catherine.  Newly accessible resources such as the digital archive of the Trenton Evening Times allowed me to see the obituary for Clarence, which spelled out his full name, while other articles allowed me to see information about his wife and children that furthered my knowledge on the Brearley connection.

One detail about Clarence that I have not been able to gather is the fact that he married a Mount.  Fairy Mount to be exact.  Fairy Mount was also from Mercer County, and even from Hamilton township.  I tracked her back two generations from father David C. Mount to grandfather Samuel Mount and, as best I can determine, we are not tightly related, as neither of these appear on the list of Mounts we are related to, but it gave me pause, nonetheless.  Why did they travel to New York, if there was nothing to hide?  1898 is not a year known for its destination weddings.

Mount_Clarence_B_Trenton_Evening_Times_1953-05-11_4Unfortunately, the obituary (Trenton Evening Times) is how I learned the most about Clarence Brearley Mount.  He was involved in the insurance business, namely the Automobile Club of Central New Jersey and the Loyalty Group Insurance Company.  More locally, he was an overseer of the poor and a director of emergency relief in Hamilton Township.  He and his wife Fairy were actively involved in the Presbyterian Church, appearing in newspaper story after story about this church fete or that.  He was a member of several fraternal organizations: the Mount Moriah Lodge 28 (F&AM), the Knights Templar, the Masons, the IOOF, and the Railroad Square Club.  His funeral services reflect this as both Presbyterian and Baptist ministers officiated at his funeral and the Masonic Temple held a separate service.

As I add more names to the ever more complicated tree, it becomes more and more difficult to track back and fill in blanks.  Challenges like #52Ancestors are good prompts for second and third looks at branches of the tree.  Happy Birthday, Clarence Brearley Mount!

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Richard Jones

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.

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Richard Jones (original tintype held by W. Thomas Worrell)

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.

Jones_Richard_Patent_1869Although 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…

Happy Birthday, Richard Jones!

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Katharine Van Syckel Tennant Tompkins

This week for the #52Ancestors challenge I am writing about someone I knew: my Granny.  I only knew her for a short while but her daughters (Anne, Mary and Louise) kept her alive in my mind with their stories.  I have some of my own memories as well, although they have the haze of childhood about them.

0013_Tompkins_Katharine_1_resizeKatharine (with an A, thank you) VanSyckel Tennant was the first child born to Anne Vansyckel and George Grant Tennant.  She was born 15 February 1899 in Jersey City where her father and mother lead a fairly high profile life.  George Tennant was a lawyer, judge and member of the school board.  Their social life is tracked in the Jersey Journal quite regularly.

One of the first news articles about Katharine appeared shortly after her birth but was not a birth announcement.  “Miss Tennant’s Musicale” was her first according to the article in the Jersey Journal on 31 May 1899, and although it is remarked that she did attend, the evening was a pleasant one with violin, cello, piano and singing.

Lincoln_High_school_postcard_Large_JCFPLKatharine was soon joined by a brother George Grant Jr. (1900-1982) and a sister Jean Cardiff Tennant (1905-1990).  She and her siblings attended Lincoln High School, which their father was instrumental in establishing. Katharine went on to attend Vassar College, graduating with the class of 1920.  After college she met and married Harold Doremus Tompkins (1888-1951).  Their engagement and wedding were closely tracked by the Jersey Journal, and there seems to be disappointment in the tone of the articles reporting on the parties and ceremony attended only by family and close friends. They stopped in Bermuda on their wedding trip but I’m not sure where else they traveled to, as they were gone three weeks.

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132 Bentley Ave.

Harold and Katharine brought three little girls into the world: my mother Anne Van Syckel Tompkins (1923-1994), Mary Vreeland Tompkins (1925-) and Louise Tompkins (1928-).  They lived at 132 Bentley Avenue in Jersey City.  There were family vacations in Dorset, Vermont, and Central Valley, New York and work with various organizations to fill her time.  In 1940 the family moved from Jersey City to Summit, New Jersey to a big house on Oak Ridge Avenue.  Here Katharine joined the Central Presbyterian Church, the Summit College Club AAUW, the Fortnightly Club, the Vassar College Club and the YWCA.

After Harold’s death in 1951, Katharine moved into smaller quarters at 35 Valley View Ave.  This is the house I remember.  There was a large front yard with several big trees and after drawing a picture on a big white sheet of paper, we would go out to the front yard to collect fallen twigs with which we made a picture frame.  We also ironed pretty fall leaves between pieces of wax paper and other crafty activities.  I think my brother was off playing with some neighborhood boys and these were my consolation prizes.  I also remember tasting Fluffernutter spread here for the first time but my mother insisted that Granny would never have fed me such garbage, so I guess we’ll just have to disagree on that.

Katherine Tompkins died at home on 1 February 1972.  Her heart had never been strong and one night it just gave out.  The funeral on the 5th was at Central Presbyterian and she is buried next to her husband in Arlington Cemetery, Kearny.  I don’t remember the funeral but I do remember the trip to the cemetery which I thought very disturbing.  For over a decade after, every spring vacation was spent in Princeton with Louise Tompkins and we would trek up to the cemetery on the way to spring shopping at the Short Hills Mall.  The ivy growing on their grave was tenacious and we would trim and thin it (by we I mean my brother and I would watch my mother and aunt do this) and haul the cuttings to the trash.  It is my understanding that the ivy has been removed in the name of landscaping, and I can’t say I’m sorry.

Happy Birthday, Katharine Van Syckel Tennant Tompkins!

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Catherine Fisher Mount Perrine

Mount_Peter_Catherine_CemeteryMonumentOne of my most prolific lines in the Mount family.  This is an old, old, old New Jersey family, coming over from England before New Jersey was even a state.  They are also one of those families that had at least ten children per marriage and named each child after a beloved sister or brother, so the names circle around and around, and I have to chart out each person to figure just who they are and who their immediate kin are.  As part of my 2018 #52Ancestors challenge to do something on one person each week, I am inspired by Catherine’s birthday this week to look at her a bit more closely.

I have just the barest facts on Catherine.  She was born on 4 January 1859 to Thomas Hiram and Catherine Fisher Mount and was one of their twelve children.  She married Peter Voorhees Perrine on 2 January 1883 in Hightstown and they have two boys, Charles M. and Thomas A.  Sadly, Thomas A. comes into the world in 1891 and leaves it in 1892, a common occurrence in the nineteenth century, but it must have been devastating, nonetheless. She died suddenly on 8 January 1929 and is buried in the Cranbury Cemetery (also known as Brainerd Cemetery).

Census records can give a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors, but the five to ten year gaps between them are frustrating.  From the Census I can glean that Peter V. Perrine was a farmer, son of a farmer, trained his son to be a farmer.  Catherine was a farmer’s wife.  The 1910 Census tells me that she did indeed have two children, only one living by 1910.  But what about the in between times?  Here, I find newspaper archives to be more entertaining.  Small town, big city, rural community, whatever, newspapers are a treasure trove of the bits and pieces of our forebears lives.

It is from the Trenton Times that I discovered that Peter and Catherine were active members of the First Baptist Church in Hightstown.  In 1914, the church held a harvest celebration and Peter was on the decorating committee.  And in 1916, the Perrines lent their support to a lecture series through the Chautauqua on “Community Welfare.” A family birthday celebration in 1913 gives me a few more clues about siblings and relationships.  While it is odd to note what gets into the paper, if you look beyond obituaries and marriage notices, you can find all sorts of things.

This year’s challenge lead me to obituaries for both Peter and Catherine, giving me more information than I had previously had.  So Happy Birthday, Catherine!