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.

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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.

Sabrina Hine Hines

Hine_Sabrina_ArzillacropMy first introduction to Sabrina Arzilla Hine was in 1990 or so.  I was visiting Dad’s cousin Edith Hine in Athens, Pennsylvania, and she handed me an envelope and asked me to take good care of the contents.  Inside were some family letters to Sabrina from her brothers written during the 1860’s.  How cool! And how honored I was to receive such a gift.  And so it is with pleasure that I share these treasures this week of #52ancestors, especially as she is an aunt although not maiden one!

Sabrina Arzilla (or Arzeally) Hine, known as Brina, was born 4 April 1845 to Henry W. (1806-1868) and Mary Craw Frost Hine (1808-1889).  The Hines are from New York, but it’s the part of New York that is called the southern tier, and the boarder between Bradford and Tioga counties didn’t mean much to the farmers, loggers and merchants who settled the area.  Sabrina was the youngest of six children and the two closest to her age were Erasmus Percival Hine and Harlow Augustus Hine.  Wonderful names.

Camp SceneSabrina’s brother Percival joined the 141 Pennsylvania Volunteers at the start of the American Civil War, and served in Company D along with many friends and neighbors.  This was the war in which the Americans would learn that while on paper the idea of serving with your brothers and neighbors might look like it would inspire bravery, but in reality it destroyed whole communities when their young men were wiped out in a single battle.  Percy’s letters comment on his comrades, many of whom Sabrina knew, including their own father.

Although she lost her brother to typhoid fever on 30 Dec 1862, Sabrina was proud of her family’s military heritage.  I recently found the record of her Daughters of the American Revolution application under her maternal connection to Aaron Frost who served as a private in the Connecticut militia.

Sabrina married Joseph Hines, a local drug store owner in Athens, on 31 December 1863.  They had no children.  Sabrina died on 2 March 1914 and both she and Joseph are buried at Tioga Point Cemetery in Athens.

I hope that both Sabrina and Edith know that I am taking very good care of their legacy and that they would be pleased that I am sharing their story with you today.  Happy Birthday, Sabrina Hine Hines!

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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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Hermina Prince Eastabrook

Have you ever started out on a research journey and gotten distracted by one of the tools you found along the way?  Well, that happened this week in my #52Ancestors task.  My goal was to find and document a death date for Hermina Prince Eastabrook. Yes, I know the prompt for this week is to look in the Census but…

My father’s mother’s family has deep roots in northeastern Pennsylvania.  Namely Bradford County.  Apparently, a group of folks from Connecticut started out west in the late 18th century to prove Connecticut’s claim to a western boarder on the Pacific Ocean.  I find this bit of American history fascinating, especially when I was living in Ohio and often had to explain to people why the northeast corner of the state was called the Connecticut Western Reserve and therefore the land records are in the Connecticut State Archives.

The Prince family is one of my lines and as near as I can tell Jonathan Prince (1769-1831) bundles his wife and children up in a wagon and sets off shortly after his 1792 marriage to Patty Vinton.  They make it as far west as Bradford County and decide to stop.  But that is the very beginning of the story.  Let’s fast forward to his son George Washington Prince who has six children in Bradford County, one of whom is Hermina G. Prince, born on 29 January 1839.

I had found a burial record years ago, showing that Hermina and her husband Charles J. Eastabrook were buried in the Rome Cemetery in Bradford County.  At the time, I had no further information.  So my challenge this week was to try to find an obituary or death record.  I hit pay dirt when I discovered that Ancestry and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission have partnered to put the state death certificates online.  What a treasure trove!

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Thus began my OCD journey to search out every possible Pennsylvania death on my tree occurring between 1906 and 1964.  I will warn you that the indexing is very poor.  Apparently, there was no ability to use the printed index to connect with the original certificates.  If you decide to explore, search on the name and if no results, try just a first name and a death date or variations like that.  I found Eastabrook, Eastabrooks, Eastbrook, etc. when the written record quite clearly indicated Eastabrook.  Nevertheless,  I added ten new spouses, and scores of death dates and burial places to my database.  What a lovely, fruitful distraction.

Happy Birthday, Hermina Prince Eastabrook!

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