Alice Van Syckel Killgore

I think the thing that amazes me about Alice Van Syckel Killgore is that she had eleven children in fourteen years.  I realize that that is not a world record, or even the most children per union on my family tree, but can you even imagine? No multiples, fourteen pregnancies. I stand in awe. #52ancestors

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Found on Find a Grave

Alice Van Syckel was the third child of Aaron Van Syckel and Mary Bird Van Syckel.  She was born on 14 January 1822 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  On 3 January 1843 she married Robert James Killgore (1820-1898).  Robert Killgore, a Kentucky transplant to NJ,  owned a farm in Raritan township and held various clerical and public service positions in Bethlehem and Raritan township until October 1875, when he became the Editor of the Hunterdon County Democrat.  He is listed as a Justice of the Peace in 1863 and a Surrogate from 1869 to 1874, all of which probably gave him great insights into the citizenry of Hunterdon County.

Alice and Robert Killgore had eleven children, five of whom died young:

  • Mary Van Syckel Killgore (1844-1928)
  • Lucy Ficklin Killgore (1845-1860)
  • Louisa Graves Killgore (1846-1855)
  • Alice Killgore (1847-1928)
  • Robert Killgore (1847-1922)
  • Charles Killgore (1849-1940)
  • Jonathan Killgore (1851-?)
  • Lora Killgore (1852-1922)
  • Sylvester Van Syckel Killgore (1854-1855)
  • Anthony Killgore (1856-1922)
  • John T. Killgore (1858-1875)

Two of her sons went on to have careers as chemists: Robert was a druggist in Dover, NJ.  You can find bottles with his name on them. And Charles went to Utica, NY where he invented a machine that would compress powder into tablets. Charles later moved to New York City and retired to Short Hills.

Kilgore, Rob't. Druggist, Dover, NJ med (2)

Alice Van Syckel Killgore died of consumption in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 26 January 1875.  She is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, NJ.

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Arthur Wells Jones

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Arthur Wells Jones

Arthur Wells Jones is the subject of this week’s #52ancestors essay and one who benefited from the recent online publication of the Camden Courier-Post.  With all sorts of news to work through I was able to find an obituary; unfortunately the obituary was filled with information which conflicted with what I had documented.

Arthur W. Jones was born on 10 Dec 1875 at Pemberton, New Jersey to Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Carroll Jones.  He married Anna Mary “Annie” Wells on 3 July 1900.  She was the daughter of Moses K. and Florence Lewis Wells.  They lived at this time in Pemberton, but I am not sure when they moved to Camden. Arthur and Annie had one child, Barclay Gibbs Jones, born on 30 May 1901.

MikeMulliganandsteamshovelAlthough the obituary made it sound like a recent move, evidence in the 1910-1930 censuses show that the Jones family was in Camden as early as 1910. At that time he was a steam car engineer, possibly for the Pennsylvania/NJ Railroad.  Their home is listed as 136 Dudley St., Camden.  By 1915, the family has moved to 309 N. 40th St., and in this census Arthur is listed as a “portable engineer,” a job title which intrigued me.  According to the International Steam Engineer of 1914, this is “one who operates a boiler or machine which directly furnishes or transmits power for any machine, appliance or apparatus used on or in connection with building operations, excavations or construction work, but does not include an operator of a drill.”  A union newsletter gave a much more understandable description: “The steam or power shovel was first invented by William T. Otis in 1839, but it did not see extensive use until after the American Civil War, when it was developed as a railway workhorse. The men who operated the shovels were known as portable engineers, to distinguish them from the stationary engineers.”  Pretty cool to think of Arthur Jones as playing the role of Mike Mulligan in my favorite children’s book Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel.

In 1920, Arthur appears to have been employed as an engineer in a shipyard and it is not clear whether this is still railroad work or not.  By 1930, Arthur was retired from the steam shovel business and listed his employment as “salesman, tea and coffee.”  Family stories line up with this as operating a milk delivery route with a side line in groceries.

Arthur died at Cooper Hospital on 26 February 1936 and is buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Pemberton, NJ.

Jones_Arthur_gravestone_1936

 

 

 

George Mortimer Prince and his two wives

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George Mortimer Prince

This week in #52ancestors I bring you quite the character: George Mortimer Prince.  He was born on 27 September 1837, the third of six children of George Washington (1808-1888) and Emmaline Terrell (1810-1884) Prince.

George M. served in the US Civil War in the 5th Regiment, New York Cavalry as a corporal in Co. G.  His dates of service are October 1861- November 1862. He is not mentioned in regimental histories and his military service was interrupted by a bad case of chronic diarrhea for which he was discharged.  But more on that later.

George M. Prince married Elizabeth Alma Buttles (1842-1906) on 5 March 1864. They had three children:

  • George Cornell Prince (1869-1959)
  • unnamed daughter (22 June 1875-23 June 1875)
  • Edna Mabel “Ted” Prince (1878-1947)
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George and Alma Prince

They lived in Bradford county, Pennsylvania until the late 1890’s when they relocated to Federalsburg, Maryland, bringing their daughter Edna Prince (Ted) with them.

Shortly after the death of his wife Alma (15 May 1906), George placed an advertisement in the York Gazette.  I find the summary of his story here somewhat confusing: he appears to have written to the postmaster stating that he had recently lost his wife by death and would “be pleased to correspond with a Hanover widow of forty-five or fifty years of age, with a view to matrimony.”  I don’t know if the rest of his letter explained his relationship with the people of Hanover, or if the postmaster simply assumed that a Civil War veteran writing fondly of Hanover must have fought in the battle at Hanover.  However, George Prince had already been discharged due to disability in November 1862, which to my mind would make it very tricky to take part in a battle that happened on June 30, 1863.  The 5th Cavalry was definitely there, engaged in hand to hand combat with Stuart’s cavalry, but George should have been at home by then.

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Hattie Duff Prince

He did, however, find a wife.  And this is where the story gets complicated.  My first inkling of this was in looking through a box of family photographs that came from my dad’s side of the family.  The photos all seemed to be identified by my grandmother, which made me wonder if my father had sat her down and made her look through them.  Among the Prince family images was a photo of a woman identified as “Hattie Duff, George M. Prince’s second wife?”  The question mark was part of her name.  When the dickens did he remarry?  Elizabeth Alma died in 1906 and George M. died in 1909 so this must have been a whirlwind romance, or something.

According to George’s Civil War pension record, George M. married Hattie E. Duff (ne Jessop, widow, aged 55 years (more likely 62 years)) on 10 November 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland.  Hattie Duff had apparently lived in Baltimore for some time with her first husband and children, but had been a widow since 1904.  George M. Prince died on 28 February 1909, leaving everything to his new wife.  She inherited everything, including his veteran’s pension.

This leaves me wondering just how his two surviving children felt about this.  Perhaps it is summarized in that question mark on the back of her photograph.

Here are two images of George Mortimer and Alma Buttles Prince at the end of their lives.

 

Harold Doremus Tompkins

I never met either my maternal or my paternal grandfathers.  This week in #52Ancestors I attempt to get to know a man about whom I have only heard stories.

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ca. 1893 The Tompkins clan (from back left: Grace, Louise, Haviland, unknown lady, Vreeland, and Harold)

Harold Doremus Tompkins was born 17 February 1888 to Samuel D. (1838-1926) and Gettianna Vreeland (1841-1918) Tompkins.  He was the youngest child of seven, 5 of whom lived to adulthood.  As his oldest sister was born almost nineteen years before him, many of the stories I have heard are of the “darling little baby of the family” variety.  Certainly, this picture puts his position in perspective.  His siblings were literally adults by the time he was old enough to know what was what.

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Hasbrouck Institute In September 1893 the Hasbrouck Institute opened at the corner of Crescent and Harrison Avenues, now the site of Lincoln High School, with 305 students. The school first opened at 53-55 Mercer Street when it was founded in 1856. It then relocated to the Lyceum Classical School (1839-59) founded by William L. Dickinson at 109 Grand Street. Washington Hasbrouck (c. 1824-1895) established the private school with the goal to prepare young men in Jersey City for university and later public service. In 1880, the school became coed. The Jersey City Board of Education purchased the Hasbrouck Institute and grounds in 1912 and erected a new high school: Lincoln High School.

Harold was baptized at Lafayette Church in Jersey City, NJ and attended the local public school, and the Hasbrouck Institute for high school.  He took classes at Rutgers University, attending long enough to join Delta Phi fraternity like his older brother Vreeland.  He then went on to study mechanical engineering at Cornell University.  I am not sure how he had time as his senior yearbook also has him playing baseball, football, lacrosse, and being a member of the Mandolin Club.

After college he returned to Jersey City, where he was active in local activities, especially amateur sports.  He served with the New Jersey National Guard in the signal corps and I have seen one mention of his serving in the Mexican Expedition in 1916 but I have not verified that he actually went to Mexico to take part in the US response to Pancho Villa’s Mexican Revolution.

However, his service there does seem to have made it possible for him to get a commission as a lieutenant in Company C, 101th Signal Battalion, 29th Division.  As commonly occured during World War I, companies were reorganized constantly.  I found a mention of Harold in the History of the 29th Division which placed him in Company A, 104th Signal Corp, where he was in charge of the company that set up the communications net used to communicate the news each day.   He served in France and remained there after the war to take classes at the University of Bordeaux.

By 1920, he is back in Jersey City living with his father Samuel and working at Smooth-On.  He is 32 years old at this point and the family tells the story that his older brother told him that he needed to “grow up, get married and get out.”  As the baby of the family, I imagine this was received with due respect (ha, ha) but he managed to meet, get engaged to and marry Katharine Van Syckel Tennant, so he must have taken it to hear.  They were married 4 November 1922.

Tompkins_Tennant_wedding_Jersey_Journal_1922-11-06_8Harold and Katharine Tompkins had three children: Anne Van Syckel (1923-1994), Mary Vreeland (1925- ) and Louise (1928-).  By the 1930 Census, they are living at 132 Bentley Ave., close to family but on their own.  Shortly after 1940, the entire family moved to Summit, New Jersey to a large house at 160 Oakridge Avenue.  Many adventures occurred in this house, but I only knew about the house Granny moved into after he died, on Valley View Rd.

Harold D. Tompkins died on 27 November 1951 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Kearny, NJ.

Lillie Jones

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Lillie Jones

I like to find ancestors with my birth date. It doesn’t happen very often but this week in #52Ancestors I get to come pretty close with Lillie Jones Weest.  I also got to follow leads presented when the person I was searching for disappeared from one census family and appeared in another.

Lillie Jones was born on 6 August 1867 to Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Carrell Jones in Pemberton, New Jersey. She was baptized in 1868 at Grace Episcopal Church in Pemberton.

In 1870, she is living with the Jones family in Pemberton but in 1880 she is living with someone who gives me a clue about her mother’s family!!!!

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She is listed with a Joseph and Anna P. “Scraggy” and she her relationship to them is niece.  I don’t know how I missed this the first time around but thank you #52Ancestors!  This time I followed the lead as the Jones family is not linked to the Scraggy family.  It turns out it is the Scroggy family.  And Joseph is a Civil War veteran married to Anna P. Carrel.  Could this be Mary Elizabeth’s sister?   Joseph Scroggy is also enumerated in the 1885 New Jersey census with Annie P. and Lillie Jones.

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I am not sure why Lillie is not living with her birth family but I can’t argue with the records.  She is also with them in 1895.  Thank goodness for state census records!  They really fill the gap caused by the absence of the 1890 Federal Census. And this one presents another clue to the Carrel family: Eliza Carrel (aged over 60) is living with the Scroggy family as well as Lillie!  Mary Carrell Jones’ mother’s name was Eliza.

Now a little sleuthing work because Lillie Jones disappears.  A few newspaper leads on other family members lead me to the discovery that she married a man named George B. Weest.  This name really confounds many database searches which seem to have been programmed to ignore double vowels: I got a lot of unrelated West returns.  Lillie Weest appears in the 1910 Census in Pemberton living with husband George B. and daughter Mary.  They are living with George’s mother and sister.  Mary is noted as born in New York but I view this with suspicion as the record also shows her father is born in New York when two lines up he is clearly born in New Jersey.

Weest_George_advertisement_The_Fair_Haven_Era_Thu__Jun_7__1900_I did find George in the 1900 Census, living alone in the town of Hampton, NY.  This is right across the Vermont border from Poultney where a newspaper search shows that George has acquired a business.  A little more sleuthing unearths the news that 1910 marked the return of the family to New Jersey from Vermont.  In focusing on that I found that Mary was born in 1901 in Vermont according to her death certificate (dated 1957 in Pennsylvania from a brain tumor).

The family settled in Pemberton where George opens a machine shop.  George died in 1937 about a month after their 37th wedding anniversary.  I have yet to find a marriage record but a newspaper story confirms this date.  Jones_Lillie_marriage_The_Fair_Haven_Era_Thu__Feb_8__1900_And the newspaper is one of the best sources of information on Lillie, other than the Census.  Mary was apparently active in the Burlington County community, attending her friends weddings and holding parties.  Lillie is often noted as attending as well.  In the 1940 Census their household consists of Lillie, Mary and a boarder named William Sullivan and in 1941 he married Mary.

Lillie Jones Weest died 2 January 1946 and is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery in Pemberton.

I was able to fill in many blanks as I worked on this entry for #52Ancestors but I still have questions, which is probably why this exercise is so important.  I will continue to search for Lillie but one of my New Jersey relatives probably has several clues that will help fill in the blanks and now with this blog, they know what I want to know:

  • why did Lillie go to live with her aunt and uncle?  Too many Jones mouths to feed? Or was Anna frail and in need of help?
  • did the marriage of George and Lillie occur in NY or Vermont?
  • is there a better death notice than the tiny one that appears in the Philadelphia Inquirer?
Weest_Family
George B. Weest, Lillie Jones Weest and their daughter Mary Weest

George Cornell Prince

PrinceConcreteAdvertisementI grew up hearing stories about George Cornell Prince.  Unfortunately, I did not ask the right questions of the people who knew him and I am left with a life story with a few holes in it.  Perhaps one of my cousins will read this #52ancestors essay and can help fill in the blanks.

George C. Prince was born on 23 Mar 1869 in Bradford County, Pennsylvania to George M. and Elizabeth Alma Buttles Prince.  He was one of three children but one of two who lived to adulthood.  George grew up near Potterville, a very small community in Orwell township.

On 9 July 1894, George married Minnie Arabella Hine.  They were both residents of Bradford County at the time, and their first child, George Raymond Prince was born there on 28 April 1895.  However, by the time their second child was born (Philip Hine Prince (3 Dec 1896-31 Oct 1974), the family was living in Camden, New Jersey.

They do not appear on a census until 1910, at which point they have three living children: George R., Philip H., and my grandmother Kathryn Marie (1903-1993).  I learned through the New Jersey birth index that there was a fourth child, Edwin Everett Prince who was born 9 June 1898 but who died 24 Feb 1899.

Prince_Concrete_Courier_Post_Mon__Dec_19__1955_So this is the first mystery:  why did they pull up roots in Bradford County and move down to New Jersey?  Philip is born there as are Edwin and Kathryn but the family does not appear in either the federal 1900 census or the 1905 New Jersey census.  And yet, in a 1955 Camden Courier-Post article, George C. Prince is credited with forming the Prince Concrete Company in 1905.

This article provided clues to George Prince’s public service: he served on the Camden City Council as well as the School Board.  Widening the search to include Philadelphia area newspapers found articles about his election as President of the Camden Baptist Church Extension Society as well as a member of the Bradford County Society of Philadelphia.  One intriguing article talked about the role Prince Concrete played in the construction of the new Camden High School, which opened in 1926.  My father Barclay Gibbs Jones attended that high school.

Prince_GeorgeC_CamdenSchool_The_Philadelphia_Inquirer_Wed__Sep_29__1926_

George Prince died on 20 December 1959 at the home of Kathryn and Leonard Preston (22 Euclid Ave.).  His wife Minnie preceded him in death on 23 June 1931.  They are buried in the Prince family plot in Bethel Memorial Park in Pennsauken, NJ.  My grandparents Kathryn and Leonard still owned that property when I was a child and my cousin would terrify me with ghost stories about all the relatives who died in that home.  I was too young, and too modern, to realize that being able to die at home surrounded by family was probably the best way to go.

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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.

Burlington_county_1876

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.