Abigail Warner

Welcome to the family, Abigail.  I apologize for misidentifying you as Abigail Russell Davis and squirreling down rabbit hole after rabbit hole looking for you. I’m sure Abigail R. Davis was a perfectly nice woman but she’s not my relative. Lesson learned yet again about taking time to follow each lead to its natural end. #52ancestors or bust!

FamilytreeimageI have already written about my great, great grandfather Moses K. Wells. This post is about his mother and father: Abigail Warner Wells and Samuel Wells.  However, this is also a work in progress as I know very little about the Wells family and even less about the Warner line.

Abigail Warner appears to have been born in 1824, possibly in Atlantic County, New Jersey. She married Samuel Wells before 1853.  I have no idea how they met, as Samuel is living with his parents Samuel and Mercy Wells in the 1850 census in Southampton, Burlington County.  However, when the 1855 NJ state census is taken five years later, Samuel and Abigail have settled in Weymouth Township in Atlantic County and have two small boys, Michael and Moses, living with them. The complete list of their children is:

  • Michael M. Wells (1851-1937)
  • Moses K. Wells (1854-1925)
  • John H. Wells (1857-1920)
  • Samuel J. Wells (1859-1936)
  • Sarah Ann Wells (1861-1934)
  • Mary E. Wells (1863-1943)
  • Margaret A. Wells (1865-)

The family seem to have moved back to Burlington County by 1860 however, and stay there.  Although Abigail appears to have died in Cumberland County on 6 October 1884, she is possibly buried in Methodist Cemetery in Pemberton. Samuel Wells is living with son Michael and his wife Jennie Leeds Wells in 1900.  Samuel died shortly after that census on 9 October 1900 and is possibly buried in the Methodist Cemetery in Pemberton.

This was one of those essays I almost did not write. I know so little about these two and it would have been so easy to just put it off until later.  However, on the theory that people don’t know I am looking if I don’t tell them, I am putting this out there in the hopes that someone can help fill in the blanks.

 

 

Fanny Van Syckel Leigh

Investigating women of the 19th century can be trying. Birth, marriage, children, death, burial are often all that can be found. This week in #52ancestors I continue with my quest to document each of the siblings of Chester Van Syckel.

Leigh_Fanny_VanSyckel_grave
photograph taken by Mark Alexander Oliver (FindAGrave)

Fanny Van Syckel was born 12 April 1824 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, most likely in Van Syckel’s Corners, the fourth child of Aaron and Mary Bird Van Syckel.  I do not know if she was formally educated. Really her life as documented by what was left behind starts on 11 January 1844 when she married John Taylor Leigh, a local farmer. Fanny and John produced seven children between 1845 and 1858, only two of whom died in infancy:

  • Sylvester V. Leigh (1845-1848)
  • Milton Leigh (1847-1862)
  • Bennett Van Syckel Leigh (1850-1929)
  • Mary V. Leigh (1852-1875)
  • Emily B. Leigh (1855-1937)
  • Charles W. Leigh (1857-1926)
  • John T. Leigh (1858-1888)

Fanny died of consumption shortly after the birth of her youngest son, on 8 March 1860, in Clinton, New Jersey where she and John T. Leigh had settled. I am not sure if she ever lived in the immense Leigh house John had built around 1860 but this is where her children grew up after her death.

 

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from the Bridgewater Courier News, 8 October 1929

John T. Leigh remarried after Fanny’s death to Mary Van Syckel, Fanny’s first cousin. They went on to have ten additional children bringing the total to seventeen. Again, two died in infancy.

Fanny is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, New Jersey.

Minnie Arabella Hine

Hine_Minnie
Minnie Hine Prince

This week in #52ancestors #52familyphotographs Minnie Arabella Hine takes center stage as a good example of incorrect information in a marriage record.  Corroborate, double check and check again! Minnie was my great grandmother and figuring out her real mother set me a merry chase.

Minnie was born on 1 August 1866 in Orwell, Pennsylvania.  Her father’s name was James Edwin Hine.  Her mother’s name was Catherine Tyrrel or Terrell.  She was the second of two daughters of this couple.  Martha or Mattie, her older sister, clearly lists her mother on her marriage record as Catherine but Minnie lists her mother as A. E. Hine.  James Hine married Ann E. Phillips in 1870 when Minnie was about 4, and she may not have had any memories of her birth mother.  Luckily, I happen to have James’ bible which records Catherine’s death and his remarriage.

Minnie married George Cornell Prince on 9 July 1894 up in Bradford County.  George was living in Philadelphia at the time, employed as a stenographer with the Philadelphia Typewriter Exchange.  I am not sure when he went down to Philadelphia, but he appears in city directories from 1895 to 1904.  The family lived in Philadelphia until 1897, when the directory notes that his home is in Rosedale, New Jersey.

Minnie and George Prince had four children, the first born in Philadelphia and the rest in Camden:

Hine_Minnie_Arabella3a
Minnie Hine Prince with George? and Philip?

I don’t know much about her life in Camden.  I know she went home to Bradford County occasionally as her visits are tracked in the local paper.  Her father and step-mother had one son, Arthur Hine and she appears to have visited him and her sister.

Minnie Prince died at home on 23 June 1931 and is buried in Bethel Memorial Park in Pennsauken, NJ.  Her obituary mentions her children and grandchildren but does not highlight any other activities.

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.

Carpenter_George_and_Susan_Emlen_Jones_002
George and Susan Carpenter ca 1910

 

 

Emily Van Syckel Bonnell

This week in #52ancestors I am faced once again with a woman, Emily Van Syckel Bonnell, who existed long enough to create six children and barely rates an honorable mention in her husband’s obituary.  Can genealogists be feminists? Telling stories and giving names!

Emily may have lived a largely uneventful life but today she gets to be the star of her own blog post!  Emily Van Syckel was born on 5 April 1832 in Union township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey.   She was the eighth child of Aaron (Jr., 1793-1874) and Mary Bird (1799-1863) Van Syckel.

Like many of her generation, Emily’s life was recorded either as daughter or as wife.  In 1850 she is living at home with her parents and the most surprising thing about that census record is that at 18 she is listed as attending school within the year.  And two years later, on 16 June 1852, she married Alexander Bonnell. I can find very little about Alexander, other than that he was a feed and seed merchant.  His obituary tells of his membership on the New York Produce exchange and his life as an exemplary citizen of Jersey City, NJ. I found traces of him in Newark and Bergen prior to Jersey City and I think he was in a part of Bergen that eventually just became Jersey City.

Emily and Alexander Bonnell had six children:

  • Sarah Bird Bonnell (1853-1914)
  • Catherine V. Bonnell (1855-1918)
  • Alexander Bonnell Jr. (1858-1888)
  • Frank Roe Bonnell (1860-1903)
  • Mary Deborah Bonnell (1862-1917)
  • Charles Van Syckel Bonnell (Feb 1864-Nov 1864)

Bonnell_Emily_VanSyckel_graveI don’t know whether complications from the birth of Charles lead to Emily’s death on 4 November 1864 but I think it likely there is a connection. Six children in eleven years in the mid 19th century would be a strain on anyone. She is buried in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Pattenburg, NJ, along with Charles.

Emily died so young and with such small children at home, she probably did not get to make many friends in Jersey City. As for Alexander, barely a year went by before he married Sarah Dumont of Interlaken, NY on 11 October 1865. She traveled with Alexander when he went down to the pines in North Carolina and died there as a result of a miscarriage 25 January 1878. By the 1880 census however, Alexander has married a third time to Sarah Jane “Jennie” Douglass, with whom he had a daughter Edith Bonnell. Alexander died 30 September 1886 in Jersey City but is buried back with his roots in Hunterdon County at Bethlehem Cemetery in Union, NJ.

This is often how it works: you start trying to document the life of a woman and end up finding stuff on the men.

 

 

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

Tompkins_Family_1891001
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.