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.

 

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.

Buttles_Jarvis_Postmaster_Crop1Buttles_Jarvis_Postmaster_Crop2Buttles_Jarvis_Postmaster_Crop3Buttles_Jarvis_Postmaster_Crop4

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.

 

Francis Mumford Gibbs

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Elton, Francis and Mattie Gibbs with others

Once again I select a name for my #52ancestors essay so unusual that I should have no trouble picking up the thread of his life story.  And once again, I re-learn the lesson about common words in names and geographic location.  This time I picked Francis Mumford Gibbs.

Francis was born on 17 September 1898, most likely in Burlington County, NJ but also possibly Monmouth as that is where the family is living in 1895, to Barclay White (1868-1957) and Elizabeth Watts Jones (1873-1900) Gibbs.  He was the youngest of three children but the only one to see his thirtieth birthday.  Gibbs_ElizabethWatts_Jones_burial_1900His sister Mattie J. Gibbs was born in 1892 but died in 1919 and his brother Elton Russell was born in 1894 but died in 1917. Their mother, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jones Gibbs died in 1900.

The family moved to Philadelphia, where Barclay worked as a machinist and there Barclay married Jennie S. Greenwood on 12 November 1902.  Ten years later the family is living in York, PA where Barclay Gibbs was employed by Gulf Gas and Oil as a manager.  It is in York that the family lost both Mattie and Elton, Mattie to tuberculosis and Elton to a heart defect.  Francis married York native Margaret Elmira Herman sometime around 1925. Francis also seems to have moved around a lot as each of their four children are born in different places:

  • William Bruce Gibbs (1926-1954) b. Philadelphia
  • Francis Mumford Gibbs Jr. (1930-2012) b. Michigan
  • Barclay White Gibbs 2nd (1933-2010) b. Camden, NJ
  • John H. Gibbs (1936- ) Trenton?, NJ

1947 THERMOIC XXH3377Francis eventually settled in Trenton, NJ where he worked for a company called Thermoid, which made rubber brake pads.  The children all appear to have come of age in Hamilton township.

 

Francis died suddenly from a heart attack on 25 April 1959.  He is buried in Ewing Cemetery and shares a headstone with William Bruce, who tragically died in an automobile accident in 1954.

The most complicated part of investigating this story was the family name: the Gibbs family is an old and fertile family in New Jersey and many of the branches named their children after other branches.  The name Barclay, for instance, pops up all over the place, most likely because it too is a place name.  Most concentrated in Burlington and Camden counties, which made parsing out this line more difficult than I expected.  Also, I came to realize that Francis Mumford Gibbs may have gotten his name from his mother’s sister Susan Gibbs Jones, who married Francis Mumford, whom I know absolutely nothing about.  But that is for another essay.

Elijah Van Syckel

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Kennedy watercolor of 2nd and Market Sts. from the collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

This week in #52Ancestors I follow the trail of Elijah Van Syckel from Hunterdon County, New Jersey to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Elijah Van Syckel was the second child of Aaron (1764-1838) and Catharine Opdyke (1762-1851) Van Syckel.  The majority of his siblings stay in the Hunterdon County area but by the time Elijah turns thirty he is in Philadelphia with an established grocery on N. 2nd St. He married Sarah Belinda Smith (1799-1871) of Doylestown on 22 January 1818.  They had nine children:

  • Amanda G. Van Syckel (1818-1902)
  • Robert S. Van Syckel (1820-1855)
  • Mary S. Van Syckel (1822-1892)
  • James Janeway Van Syckel (1824-1858)
  • Emmett Armstrong Van Syckel (1827-1864)
  • Sarah Van Syckel (1829-1897)
  • Catherine Opdyke Van Syckel (1833-1839)
  • Alfred Van Syckel (1838-1839)
  • Helen Van Syckel (1841-1891)

VanSyckel_Elijah_Retirement_1849Elijah appears to have established his grocery and then expanded it to sell liquor.  He then gave up the grocery business and solely sold wine and liquor.  He appears in city directories and merchant listings fairly continuously from 1818 until 1850.  During the 1830’s he was in business with John Garrison but in 1835 this is dissolved and Elijah continues on alone, eventually adding his sons to the concern.  One curious discovery: in 1824, Elijah was granted relief from the US government because three hundred and fifty-two cases of sugar were destroyed in a fire in 1822, upon which $4217 in duties were due.   Elijah apparently appealed for aid in paying the duties as the sugar had not been insured.

Van Syckel_Elijah_politics_The_National_Gazette_Tue__Oct_9__1827_He also appears to have been active in local politics as he has an unsuccessful bid for election to the Common Council in Philadelphia in 1827.  In 1839 he  is appointed to a committee to examine and report on the state of the Schuylkill Bank.

Elijah retired in 1849 and left the business to his sons.  Several sources noted that the business was worth close to one million dollars at that time.

Elijah Van Syckel died on 11 February 1855 and was buried four days later in Laurel Hill Cemetery.VanSyckel_burials_LaurelHillCemetery_crop

Chandler Prince

BradfordCountyMapThis week in #52ancestors I once again come up against that age old genealogical principal of looking for one record and finding not that record but another that solves a different mystery.
I can track back to George Mortimer Prince (born Bradford Co. PA 1837, died Federalsburg, Md. 1909) with great assurance but the leap to George Washington Prince (1808-1888) is more difficult and further back is going to require feet on the ground in Massachusetts doing hard research.  If I am correct in my conclusion that George Washington Prince is the father of George Mortimer, then Chandler Prince is an uncle.  Confused much?
Jonathan (1769-1831) and Patty Vinton (1770-1831) Prince had nine children, all born in Massachusetts, the first five in Oxford and the last four possibly in Sturbridge.  The fourth child in birth order is Chandler Prince, born 14 June 1797 in Oxford, MA, and the eighth is my ancestor, George Washington Prince, born 17 July 1808 in Sturbridge.
  • Chester Prince (1792-1867)
  • Lydia Prince (1793- )
  • John Prince (1795- )
  • Chandler Prince (1797-1852)
  • Dolly Prince (1799-1866)
  • Sanford Prince (1803-1872)
  • Merrick Brainard Prince (1805-1862)
  • George Washington Prince (1808-1888)
  • Julia Prince (1809- )
I find Chandler as the head of household with a family in the Census in 1830 in Orwell, Pennsylvania as well as in 1840 and 1850.  From this I draw the conclusion that Chandler married Sally [possibly Lovette] prior to 1825, but I have not been able to find a marriage record yet.
PresbyterianChurchOrwelChandler and family appear to have been involved in the Presbyterian Church, as on 14 January 1845, Chandler Prince puts up $5.00 toward the building of a Presbyterian church in Rome, Pennsylvania.
The next time I find mention of Chandler is in the burial inscriptions from the Orwell Valley Cemetery, Bradford County, Pennsylvania: Chandler H. Prince, died 9 Feb 1852, aged 55 years.
No will or estate is listed in the index to Registers for Chandler Prince but I did discover that the Index to Register’s Docket is up online through  FamilySearch.  And there, nestled between Chester and Ermina Prince is none other than George W. Prince’s will.  Now I am off to write the Bradford Clerk of Courts for a copy of that will, which appears to have been executed by none other that George M. Prince.
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Benjamin Walter Jones

This week in #52Ancestors I am tracking Benjamin Walter Jones.  He’s the youngest brother of Richard Jones and frequently pops up on other people’s trees in the mistaken belief that he is Richard’s son Benjamin (1833-1896).  That would have made Richard a very precocious 9 year old but people don’t always do the math.
Benjamin Walter Jones was the youngest son of Benjamin (1767-1849) and his second wife Mary Howell (1778-1836) Jones.  He was born 29 May 1821 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but appears to have spent the majority of his life in New Jersey.  He attended Haverford College for one year in 1833.
On 1 June 1847 he married Harriet Woodmansie Davis (1827-1897) at Hanover, New Jersey. They had four children: Walter Moore Jones (1848-1849), Samuel Howell Jones (1849-1916), Ellen Emlen Jones (1854-1939), and Francis Woodmansie Jones (1852-1854).
Jones_Benjamin_W_business_Trenton_State_Gazette_1858-05-07_[2]I do not know much about Benjamin W. Jones’ business enterprises.  In the 1850 Census, he is listed in Philadelphia as a merchant with $15,000 in real estate.  He then appears in business with Richard Jones at Florence but that business dissolved in 1858.  In the 1860 Census, the family is living near Richard Jones in Mansfield, Burlington County, New Jersey and his occupation is listed as founder.  By 1870, Benjamin, Harriet and Ellen are living in Trenton, where his occupation is listed as none, with no real estate or personal property valued.  However, Harriet does possess $10,000 in real estate and persona”l property valued at $25,000.  In the 1880 Census, Benjamin is listed with Harriet and both children, and while his occupation is listed as travelling salesman, there is a check mark in the box marked “is the person sick or temporarily disabled so as to be unable to attend to ordinary business or duties.”
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Benjamin W. Jones served in the Civil War as a Captain and commander of Company I, 1st New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry, mustering in on 29 August 1861.  He was discharged due to disability on 20 September 1862.  It is possible that this was a lingering condition and effected his ability to work.
Benjamin W. Jones appears in Trenton city directories from 1870 to 1880, but these never list an occupation.  The house eventually gets and address of 365 W. State St.  Benjamin also attended church at Trinity Episcopal Church, where he serves as a Convention delegate in 1874.
Jones_Benjamin_Walter_grave_LaurelHillPhiladelphiaBenjamin Walter Jones died 15 December 1883 in Philadelphia and is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.  His death notice in the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that his brother hosted the funeral at his home at 1818 Delancey Place.  He left no will, which is not a surprise as his wife Harriet appears to have owned everything.

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.

Hine_Mary_Craw_Frost_1stUnitedMethodistChurchMembership_1873_crop

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.