Sometimes you come across a picture that helps you find a person. This week’s #52ancestors #52familyphotographs started out with just that discovery. I have already written about Philip H. Prince and his wife Gertrude, but I really knew very little about her. I came across this photograph and thought, hmm, I didn’t know she was a nurse.
So I went looking and low and behold, there on the 1920 Census, Gertrude Williams is employed as a nurse and is living at St. Mary’s Hospital, on Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia. That lead me to wonder where she got her nursing certificate (Pennsylvania would have registered her at that time) but I was unable to determine whether she trained at the hospital or elsewhere.
I wonder if she met Philip H. Prince while nursing?
This year for #52Ancestors I am going to focus on family photographs. I have so many and I think others will get as much amusement and interest out of them as I do. So ring in 2019 with #52FamilyPhotographs !
I just love this image: the car positioned across the street, the outfits on the ladies in the back seat, the chauffeur’s cap on the driver. The photograph identifies Harlow Buttles as the bearded gentleman in the front seat.
Harlow was born in 1834 in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. He was a farmer and the postmaster of South Hill, Pennsylvania. He married Susan Amelia Hill in 1862. They had two daughters, Hellen and Alma Dolly. He died in 1924 and is buried in South Hill Cemetery, Orwell.
This week in #52ancestors finds me back in Bradford County, Pennsylvania looking into my great, great grandfather James Edwin Hine and his family.
James Edwin Hine was born 28 April 1837 in Orwell to Henry W. (1806-1868) and Mary Craw Frost (1808-1889) Hine. He and his siblings Erasmus and Harlow were baptized on 8 August 1847 by the Reverend John Iveson of the Presbyterian Church of Rome. He does not appear in 1850 with his family, or even with close relatives. However, after paging through 32 pages of the 1850 Census for Orwell, Pennsylvania, I found a possible match in Edwin Hines, 13 years, living with a Uri Cook. Two of the entries on the page, James O. Frost and Chauncey Hill are distant relatives (James being the son of Aaron and Polly Craw Frost and brother to Mary Hine). Perhaps he was hired out to work for as farm hand having expressed an interest in farming. His father was a tailor and his brother a shoemaker, so agriculture might not have followed naturally. Oddly, in 1860 he appears in Willet, New York living with a farmer named Orleans Brigham. If there is a relationship there, I must not have all the pieces.
In 1862, he is back in Bradford county where he married Catherine Tyrrell on 30 December 1862. Catherine or Kate was born on 13 May 1842, the daughter of William Tyrrel (1813-4 Aug 1852) and Lucy Charlotte Doane (1820-1887). James and Kate Hine had two children:
Martha Eliza “Mattie” Hine (1864-1913)
Minnie Arabella Hine (1866-1931)
Sadly, Kate Hine died on 18 May 1868. James later married a second time, on 1 April 1870 to Ann E Phillips (1859-1929). James and Ann Hine had one child, a son Arthur T. Hine (1874-1962). I had the pleasure of knowing Arthur’s daughter Edith, but I digress.
James Edwin Hine appears to have gone by Edwin within the family but as James in more formal situations, which makes finding him a bit of a challenge. He appears to have spent most of his life’s work on his farm, appearing in Census records and little more that I can find. James died on 23 March 1915 and is buried at Tioga Point Cemetery.
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)
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.
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.
This 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)
Alma 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.
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.
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. His 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
Francis 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.
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)
Elijah 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.
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.