Adventure comes in many forms

This week in #52ancestors the theme is Adventure and I decided to write about the farthest flung family on my tree: the Negus family.  The Negus line hangs off the Van Syckel line in Hunterdon County, New Jersey as one of Aaron Van Syckel’s grandchildren (by Daniel (1790-1861)) Isabella Van Syckel married James Engle Negus of Philadelphia.

Negus_James_Engle_theft_Arkansas_Washington_Telegraph_Wed__Jun_21__1854_James Engle Negus (1809-1884) starts out in Philadelphia where he is a wealthy merchant and chief weight clerk at the U. S. Mint in Philadelphia. However, in June of 1854, Negus is exposed for short weighting gold at the Mint. He made immediate restitution (for tens of thousands of dollars, if the newspapers are to be believed) and flees with his family to England. He later returns to the US and settles with his mother Susan, his wife Isabella and daughter Susan Engle in Somerset County, New Jersey where he owned a great deal of farmland. This may explain why I cannot find the family in the 1860 Census, and then find them in Franklin township, Somerset, NJ in 1870. James apparently saw the error of his ways, as he becomes a successful gentleman farmer in Franklin. His mother dies there, as do Isabella and Susan.

James Engle Negus and Isabella Van Syckel Negus have four children: Robert Patterson Negus (1838-1884), Susan Engle Negus (1840-1915), James Engle Negus (1842-1903) and William Shippen Negus (1844-1914).  William S. Negus appears to have been in finance. James E. Negus served with distinction in the Civil War and settled in Greenville, Mississippi where he was a banker. Susan Engle Negus never married but was active in many women’s organizations including the DAR. Robert Patterson Negus is the traveler and the one who caught my eye when the topic of adventure came up.

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A group of Masons in front of the Oxford Hotel, Sydney, Australia. Robert P. Negus is in front with his right hand over his heart.

Robert Patterson Negus (1838-1884) was born and raised in Philadelphia. I have seen mention of his education in Europe as an engineer. He may have gotten the travel bug as the family flitted about England and Wales. He was in New Zealand in 1863 when he married Mary Ann Hargrave (1838-1881), daughter of Captain William Hargrave of Sandridge. They had seven children:

  • Mary Ann Isabella Negus (1864-1950) married David James Bardwell Smith
  • Susan Engle Emiline Negus (1866)
  • Charlotte Ernestine Negus (1868-1949) married Edward V. French
  • William James Hargrave Negus (1871) 
  • Selinda Parry Negus (1872-1959) married twice
  • Horatio Van Syckel Negus (1874-1966)
  • Virginia Louise Negus (1876-1956)

However, neither Robert nor Mary Ann Negus would live to see their 45th birthday. Mary Ann died in 1881 and Robert died 2 October 1884. This tragedy meant that four of the seven children needed a new home. Mary Ann Isabella Negus, while the eldest, could not take on the raising of her siblings. She married shortly after her father’s death, and was possibly courting David Smith when all this was going on. Courtship of a young woman is one thing, taking on a ready made family quite another. In any case, the four younger siblings are sent back to America to live with their grandmother Isabella VS Negus and aunt Susan Engle Negus.

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Interesting side note: the guardianship proceedings distinguish between Charlotte who is over 14 and the three children under 14. Each is noted as having about $500 to their name. James Engle Negus seems to have helped manage some of these proceedings but by my reckoning he is settled in Mississippi at this time with a wife and three children. However, William Shippen Negus appears to have settled in Bound Brook and so he may also have been involved in retrieving the children. Possibly their adventure was travelling by steamer across the world without an adult!

This line represents a fascinating side trip and I want to thank cousin Melanie Ealey for bringing it to my attention. Her email to me was exactly what I was hoping would happen when I started this blog!

Susan Emlen Jones

This week in #52ancestors closes the loop on a previous post. I posted pictures of Mortimer Oldham Heath, first husband of Susan Emlen Jones and now I want to finish her story.

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Susan Emlen Jones Heath ca. 1885

Susan Emlen Jones was the fourth child of Richard Jones and his second wife Alice Woodmansie Davis.  She was born 8 December 1855 in Florence, New Jersey.  After her first husband’s death she appears to have moved back to her father’s house at 1818 Delancey St., Philadelphia. In September 1901 the newspaper gossip columns in Philadelphia announced that Mrs. Mortimer Heath and George W. Carpenter, who had been visiting family in Ocean City, Maryland, had announced their engagement but not set a date for the wedding.  Carpenter was almost 20 years her senior and had daughters by his first wife who were married and settled. Susan and George married at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Germantown and then proceeded to travel extensively through Europe and the Caribbean.

Upon their return to Philadelphia, they resided at the Aldine Hotel. George Carpenter died in 1921 and Susan continued to live at the Aldine, where she died on 28 June 1925. She is buried at St. Andrew’s Churchyard in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

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George and Susan Carpenter ca 1910

 

 

Carrie Morton Mather

Mather_CarrieM_PassportApplication_1919_2_cropI discovered Carrie M. Mather on one of my subject forays into my family tree.  I was trying to find all the World War I service men and women, and so I was taking a hard look at anyone who was born between 1880 and 1900.  As I plugged names into Fold3 and Ancestry, I was careful to just look at military service.  I was able to document quite a few male veterans but I was shocked at the number of female veterans I had.  Carrie is descended from a Mount family line firmly entrenched in New Jersey.  And yet her story compels me.

Carrie Morton Mather was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on 26 October 1886 to Frank N. (1855-1921) and Sarah Elizabeth Applegate (1855-1944) Mather.  Frank and Lizzie Mather had two daughters, Caroline and Ida (1882-1949).  Carrie attended the New Jersey State Normal school, graduating in 1907. In the 1910 Census she living with her parents and is employed as a teacher.

Mather_CarrieM_PassportApplication_1917_2_CropIn December of 1917, she boarded the Espagne at the port of New York to sail to France to assist with YMCA Canteen work.

In 1919 I find her listed as a sophomore (non matriculate due to lack of course credit) at Pomoma College in California. Later she is listed in a University of California register as graduating early on 17 Dec 1920 from University of  California, Berkeley with a BA.

The California Alumni Monthly for 1922 reports that she is with the Girls’ Baptist Mission Dormitory in Iloilo, Philippines.  And the Annual of the Northern Baptist Convention for that same year reports that she received her appointment.

She appears to have left the Philippines on 9 January 1924, stopping in Houghon China and Japan before returning to the US.  That same year she marries Lawrence E. Blackman, a Canadian music teacher.  The actual record escapes me but a newspaper article in October mentions her recent marriage.  Lawrence and Carrie are living in Peoria, Illinois in the 1930 Census, where he is employed as a music teacher.  In 1944 the couple moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. where they become directors of the Dupont Community house.

After that I loose track of her, except that she appears to have been living in Silver Creek, NY when she died in January 1969.  It is possible that she settled there as I believe Ida Mather and her husband Harry Burton Skidmore lived in the area.

I would love to know more about her experiences abroad.  What made her give up a comfortable teaching position and strike out for a war zone?  And then return, shake off the dust and head in the opposite direction to the Philippines?  If it weren’t for her passport applications, I might never have found this clue.

Emma Louise Tompkins

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ca. 1893 The Tompkins clan (from back left: Grace, Louise, Haviland, unknown lady, Vreeland, and Harold)

This week in #52Ancestors brings me to my namesake, Louise Tompkins.  Emma Louise Tompkins was the youngest daughter of Samuel D. and Gettianna Vreeland Tompkins.  She was born 11 October 1881 in Jersey City, New Jersey.  She lived with her parents at 533 Communipaw Ave. and there are many newspaper articles describing her participation in family trips and Jersey City social events.  She may also have been something of a singer, as there is a Louise Tompkins who is listed as soloist for various church and social gatherings.  She appears to have preferred Louise to Emma when she had the choice but occasionally there will be a record that refers to her as Emma.  All the family stories I heard growing up referred to her as “Aunt Lou.”

One such record is her marriage to John J. Voorhees on 23 November 1918.  John J. or Jack as he was called, took over his father’s company, the Voorhees Rubber Company. He was born on 9 April 1876 and had been educated in Jersey City at the Lafayette College.  He married first Florence Eliot Voorhees (no relation) who was the daughter of Abraham and Martha Voorhees of New Brunswick, New Jersey.  They had one daughter, Florence Eliot Voorhees (1908-2000).  Florence died tragically in a carriage accident on 16 July 1910. The family was traveling in a horse drawn carriage when a train rattled through on the tracks below the street.  The horse bolted and dragged the carriage over the embankment. Florence was killed and her husband and daughter were both injured.

Louise and Florence lived together after the death of Jack on 23 December 1948.  At some point they moved out of the house on Duncan Ave. and moved across the street to the apartment building on the opposite corner.   Louise Voorhees died 13 February 1971 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

 

 

Lillie Jones

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Lillie Jones

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!!!!

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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.

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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.

Weest_George_advertisement_The_Fair_Haven_Era_Thu__Jun_7__1900_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.  Jones_Lillie_marriage_The_Fair_Haven_Era_Thu__Feb_8__1900_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?
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George B. Weest, Lillie Jones Weest and their daughter Mary Weest

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.

Grace Elizabeth Tompkins

AVTAlbum5.GraceETompkinsThis week of #52ancestors brings us to Grace Elizabeth Tompkins, eldest daughter of my great grandfather Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins (1839-1926).  I had the wrong birth date in for her but this entry gave me a chance to interview Louise Tompkins about her memories and so I am posting it on 4/10 as opposed to 10/4!

Grace Elizabeth Tompkins was born on 4 October 1869, in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Her parents, Samuel D. and Gettianna Vreeland Tompkins had married the previous year and were settled in residence with her parents, Nicholas and Elizabeth Vreeland.  Educated in Jersey City schools, Grace went on to Vassar College, graduating in 1892.  She returned home to the big family house on Communipaw Ave. where she is listed in the 1900 Census with no occupation, but the society pages of the Jersey Journal mention numerous fancy parties and entertainments both hosted and attended.  She was involved in Vassar alumna events as well as a group called the Odd Volumes which appears to have been a kind of book club.  Louise Tompkins shared her memory of the Odd Volumes: “everyone was a member, Florence (Voorhees), Aunt Lou (Louise Tompkins Voorhees), my mother and grandmother (Ann Van Syckel Tennant and Katharine Tennant Tompkins).  They reviewed books and that sort of thing.”

Diary_GlasgowI know Grace took one extended trip with her mother and sister Louise because she left a diary among her possessions and it has come down to me.  I do not know what year the trip is but it is some time before 1918 as it mentions her mother and Gettianna dies in February 1918.  I think it may be 1907 as the diary starts with a family send off and she mentions that she is sailing on the S. S. Carpathia.  Anyone familiar with the story of the Titanic knows this ship was probably busy in April of 1912 and Grace starts the diary on April 27th.  The diary gives descriptions of ship life, ports of call and also mentions land travel, especially in the British Isles.  I note especially that Grace attended services at Glasgow Cathedral on August 26th, the same cathedral visited by Louise Tompkins and myself over 100 years later on a never-to-be-forgotten visit to the Scottish Highlands.

USSCaroniaAfter her mother’s death in 1918, Grace traveled with her father as well as acting as hostess at various social events at the house on Communipaw Ave. Although I know that Grace traveled abroad extensively before this, one trip caught my attention because it was mentioned in the newspapers.  In 1927, Grace traveled abroad to Europe with an interesting intersection of female relatives: Louise Tompkins Voorhees, Florence Voorhees, Eleanor Tompkins (her niece) and Miss Ethel Hodsdon (a cousin from the Tennant side of the family).

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117 Bentley Ave.

After her father’s death Grace moved from the Communipaw Ave house to a smaller home at 117 Bentley Ave.  I don’t know why she is missing from the 1930 Census but 117 is skipped.  She was in town, as I have stalked her through the newspapers and she is either attending or hosting events in April, 1930 from 117 Bentley Ave. Again, talking to Louise Tompkins gave me a little insight: “Auntie Grace lived up the street from us in a house that was divided.  She had a maid and a chauffeur.  The chauffeur’s name was David, he was a Scotsman and very nice to us children.  We used to roller skate in the driveway because we didn’t have one at our house.” Louise Tompkins also remembered that Grace owned Cocker Spaniels and that she was a very astute investor, like her brothers.

Grace Tompkins eventually moved to 2600 Boulevard (called the Duncan then) to the same building as her sister and niece, Florence Voorhees.  Louise and Grace both had corner apartments on different floors with identical floor plans and sweeping views of the Meadowlands. I remember visiting Florence much later on and thinking she had a lovely view.  Grace died on 26 June 1964 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Kearny.  When my brother and I were children, my mother Anne Tompkins Jones and her sister Louise would take us to the cemetery each spring to clean up the landscape around the family plots.  It is a beautiful old cemetery with lovely monuments.  It is also a short drive from the Short Hills Mall but that is another story for another day.