The Fate of Mary Wills (1829-1877), Part II

The lure of fortune in America was too much of a temptation for William. He sold his share of the business to John Simpson and decided to emigrate to the US in roughly 1868, shortly after the Civil War when the country was at its lowest, with Mary and three  of their four children: Elizabeth (14), Sarah (9), and William Jr. (7). The oldest son, Samuel, remained behind to finish school and lived with one of his aunts; eventually he left for the US as well.

Prior to leaving for America William had the family’s surname changed from Slaymaker to Sargent. We have no idea what prompted that decision or why he chose “Sargent”. Mary’s sisters were very much against the idea of Mary, who was pregnant at the time, leaving them, and argued with William about it. Mary, in her mid-thirties my then, did not want to go, but William was adamant. The family set sail across the ocean and ended up settling in Jersey City, New Jersey. The child Mary was carrying died shortly after they arrived.

Jersey City, NJ, marked with the red balloon

William Sargent went into the mason contracting business in Jersey City in a big way and lost everything he had including his sizable inheritance from George Wills. For some time the family was in dire straits, living off welfare with the oldest children, Samuel and Elizabeth, forced to find work of any kind. I believe Elizabeth worked as a household servant.

Mary died in 1877 at just 48 years of age. Elizabeth converted William to Christianity at that time–the lowest period in his life, a time when he had truly lost everything.


12/14/2011: Please see the update to this post.

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England, Jersey City, Hudson Co., Roade, Northants, Sargent, Simpson, Slaymaker, Wills | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Powered by

Hello Hygge

Finding hygge everywhere

Well, That Was Different

Travel Stories, Expatriate Life, Undiplomatic Commentary and Some Pretty Good Photos

Sketching Family

Urban Sketching


Terry's view on things

Giselle Potter



Politics, things that make you think, and recreational breaks

The Sketchbook


Smart Veg Recipes

Welcome to home made, vegeterian, healthy & kids friendly recipes

Jane Austen's World

This Jane Austen blog brings Jane Austen, her novels, and the Regency Period alive through food, dress, social customs, and other 19th C. historical details related to this topic.

Travels with Janet

Just another weblog

Do Svidanya Dad

Exploring Dad's Unusual Story From NJ to the USSR

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-


In The Beginning Man Tried Ascending To Heaven via The Tower Of Babel. Now He Tries To Elevate His Existence Using Hallucinogenic Drugs. And, Since The 20th Century, He Continually Voyages Into Outer Space Using Spacecrafts. Prayer Thru Christ Is The Only Way To Reach Heaven.

London, Hollywood

I'm Dominic Wells, an ex-Time Out Editor. I used to write about films. Now I write them.

Uma Familia Portuguesa

A história da nossa família

Trkingmomoe's Blog

Low Budget Meals for the New Normal

The Good, the Bad and the Italian

food/films/families and more

dvn ms kmz time travel

This is all about my travels to the past... my reflections and musings about yesteryear, as I find the stories of a people passed away and learn how to tell them.


350 years of Newark in verse 1666-2016

Russian Universe

Understanding Russia with a Russian

Bulldog Travels

Everything and Nothing Plus Some Pretty Photos

Dances with Wools

knitting, spinning, dyeing, and related fiber arts

Life After Caregiving

On caregivers, faith, family, and writing...

Why'd You Eat That?

Food Folklore for the everyday scholar. These are the stories behind the foods we eat.

Cooking without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

Almost Home

Genealogy Research and Consulting

Old Bones Genealogy of New England

Genealogy and Family History Research


Reflections Concerning Art, Nature, and the Affairs of Humankind (also some gardening anecdotes)

Map of Time | A Trip Into the Past

Navigating Through Someplace Called History

Out Here Studying Stones

Cemeteries & Genealogy


family research ... discover your ancestry

the Victorian era

Did I misplace my pince-nez again? Light reading on the 19th century.

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

This is the story of an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life during an extraordinary time frame, and the lessons they learn through experience.

Moore Genealogy

Fun With Genealogy

Meeting my family


Shaking the tree

musings on the journey towards knowing and sharing my family's stories

A Hundred Years Ago

Food and More

Scots Roots

Helping you dig up your Scots roots.

Root To Tip

Not just a list of names and dates

%d bloggers like this: