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.

 

Emmet Van Syckel

VanSyckel_Emmet_grave_ProspectHillCemeteryEmmet Van Syckel was my very first lesson in “never assume people stay in one place.”  Emmet was the third of four children of Chester (1838-1907) and Mary Jane Mount (1844-1917) Van Syckel and the only boy.  His father was a prominent Flemington, NJ lawyer and he is mentioned in his father’s obituary in the New Jersey Law Journal (v. 30, 1907): “Emmet, who is engaged in the general merchandise business in the State of Washington.”
Emmet lead me a merry chase because he did not remove from New Jersey to Washington, nothing so simple.  Emmet was born 1 June 1873 in Flemington and appears with the family in 1880.  In 1887 he is baptized at the Flemington Baptist Church.  In 1900, he is nowhere to be found in New Jersey.  Luckily, he is not a Smith.  After much searching, I ran him to ground in Diamondville, Uinta County, Wyoming, where he is employed as a clerk in a clothing store.  I then found a newspaper article from October 1903 that said he had recently come from Pueblo, Colorado to work for the Washoe Company of Montana.  However, on 3 May 1906, he accepts the position as postmaster of Finley, Benton County, Washington and he holds this position through 13 January 1908.  I next found him in Idaho, where he is employed as a general merchandise salesman at a store in Buhl, in Twin Falls County.

I know he goes back to visit his family in the east because the Flemington newspapers also cover his comings and goings from 1903 to 1916.

Emmet next appears in Detroit, Michigan where he fills out a draft card on 12 September 1918 and appears in the census.  And here he stays for at least twenty years, so the Census tells me. His sister Mary Van Syckel visits him in Detroit in 1925, where according to city directories, he is running a grocery store.
Louise Tompkins remembers that she and her sisters received a small legacy from him when he died, but she was not sure where he was living at the time.  I eventually tracked him down to Tampa, Florida and wonder if this is where he retired.

The little family of five is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Flemington with a small marker for each person.  The family name marker is not so small and sedate and appears to have been placed long after Chester died in 1907.