This week in #52ancestors and #52familyphotographs I thought I would try to crowd-source the identities of all the people in this photograph.
Florence Wells and family
This image is pasted into a photo album created by my grandmother Kathryn Prince Jones Preston. The accompanying notation says Florence Wells and family. Most of the images in this album date from the first year of her marriage, 1924. With that clue, and a list of Florence and Moses Wells‘ children:
The only grandchild who could have been the right age for this picture would be Helen Grace Wells, b. 1916, daughter of Willard and Grace Hewlings Wells. I have no idea who the two men and the younger woman are. Florence is on the left. Possibilities are Mattie and Samuel Horner and Willard K. Wells. I am hoping that my Haines cousins will have some insights.
“It’s a family name.” That is what I always thought my brother/father/grandfather’s name was. And it is, just not the way I thought. So this week #52ancestors is dedicated to the man who brought “Barclay Gibbs” into the family.
Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Carrel Jones had eleven children and Elizabeth Watts Jones was number six. She was born in October of 1873, most likely in Pemberton, NJ and within the family was called Lizzie.
On 23 December 1890 she married Barclay White Gibbs, son of Benjamin and Anna B. Gibbs, of Burlington County. Barclay was born on the family farm on 26 April 1868. Over the next ten years they had three children:
Around this time, the family is living in Neptune, NJ a lovely little seaside town in Monmouth County. However, at the turn of the century, Lizzie and the children are living with her mother and sisters in Pemberton. Barclay may have gone off to find work elsewhere. Lizzie died on 28 August 1900 in Pemberton.
Barclay moved with the children to Philadelphia, where in 1902 he married Jennie Greenwood (1870-1947). Barclay worked in refineries in York, PA and in Camden, NJ, eventually becoming a respected auto mechanic in the Camden area. He died in 1957, ten years after Jennie.
I don’t know how close they were in later life but at one point they were close enough that Arthur Jones named his only son Barclay Gibbs Jones.
This week in #52ancestors I bounce back to my father’s family with a picture of three generations of women on the Jones side of things. This weeks #52familyphotographs looks at a photograph of Mary Elizabeth Jones (1840-1922) standing next to her daughter Alice Jones Wills. To Alice’s left is a young woman whom I believe to be Alice’s youngest child, known as Polly.
Alice W. Jones was born 29 April 1871 in Pemberton, NJ. on 30 September 1891 she married Charles Colkett Wills (1868-1936). They lived in Vincentown, NJ where they had three children: Horace Wills (1892-1943), Helen Wills (1898-1901) and Mary Wills (1906-1927). Alice died on 23 June 1937, and is buried in the Mount Holly Cemetery.
The photograph isn’t dated but Polly appears to be about 11 or 12 so I guess this is about 1918. The women are posing at the bottom of the steps to the side porch to 133 Main St. Vincentown, NJ. If you look carefully, you can see that the porch mill work is original.
This week in #52ancestors I dedicate this photograph of Benjamin Jones, Civil War veteran and beloved father.
Benjamin was born 12 December 1833, at Hanover Furnace (Burlington County, NJ) to Richard and Susan Ellis Gibbs Jones. He was educated by a Mr. Gibbs who ran a school in nearby Plattsburgh, a small village that appears to have ceased to exist. He worked for his father and uncle Samuel Howell Jones and also appears to have taught school. In 1861, like many of the young men in his generation, he joined the Union Army and went off to war. Sadly, his experience as a soldier appears to have destroyed his physical health and he returned from the war in 1862 a broken man.
He married Mary Elizabeth Carrell Taylor on 20 October 1862 and they eked out an existence in Pemberton, New Jersey. Benjamin’s post-Civil War pension and other military documentation is voluminous, giving repeated evidence that he could no longer support himself and family doing hard physical labor such as farming or iron work. He appears to have gotten employment as a lamp lighter, and done other odd jobs in the community.
Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Jones had eleven children together, two of whom died before reaching adulthood.
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.
Although 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.
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!!!!
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.
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.
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. 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?
My challenge this for this weeks’ #52Ancestors is Ellsworth Lewis, my great, great grandmother’s brother. The Lewis family is for me, one of those family lines that comes to you rife with stories and suppositions but very little fact. I have, in an earlier blog, written about Moses K. Wells who married Florence Lewis. Florence was one of six children and her younger siblings all have great names that should make it so easy to find them in records.
I had a birth date for Ellsworth but nothing else. According to the Census, he spent his entire life in Pemberton, Burlington County, New Jersey. Sadly, I discovered that his story abruptly ends in 1890. On 15 May 1890, he married Keziah Platt in the First Methodist Church at Mount Holly. And by 14 August 1890, he is dead. Someday on a trip to the New Jersey State Archives, I will look up his death certificate and find out what happened and where he is buried. That is for another day.
Interestingly enough, the part that really caught my attention was the difficulty most of my search engines and databases had with variant spellings of Ellsworth (Ellesworth, Elsworth). It is important to remember that not all databases work the way Ancestry does. If at first you don’t get any hits, try again. Many locally produced systems operate on a “what you type is what you get” system which can be frustrating for those used to Ancestry’s algorithms.
The prompt for this week’s #52ancestors was invite to dinner. Hmmm, I think I would invite Ellsworth and his new bride Keziah and gently grill them on all the local gossip!