I glanced at all the material I still have to share about John B. Jaques, and decided I’m not up to it this week. Sorry to those of you who may be waiting for the next installment! Instead, this week, I’d rather focus on another member of the Isaac Jaques’ family — John’s sister, Jane F. Jaques.
I’d discovered Jane quite by accident doing a bit of surfing on the Family Search website. I mentioned finding her in a post that dates back to May 21 of this year. In that post, I mentioned finding a marriage record for her (dated 27 December 1836) that mentions Isaac Jaques of Elizabeth, NJ, as being her father. I have since found a bit more information about her and the John F. Birch family she married into, and I’ll take this opportunity to share.
But first a disclaimer: there was a Jane Jaques born in Woodbridge, NJ, on 16 May 1814, to an Isaac Jaques (1778-1861) and Elizabeth Jones (22 December 1801). I’ve found no further information about that Jane nor do I have any information suggesting that that Isaac spent time in Elizabeth, so I feel pretty confident that these two Janes were separate individuals for several reasons: 1) the marriage record specifies Isaac Jaques of Elizabeth, 2) the marriage took place at the Second Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, the church Isaac’s funeral was held in, so I am assuming this was the church the family attended, 3) census records indicating “my” Jane was born in New York, whereas the Woodbridge Jane was born in NJ. But I can’t be 100% sure without proof of the birth to Isaac and Wealthy Jaques. So I just wanted to get that “out there.”
With that said, on with this post! Provided “my” Jane was part of the Isaac and Wealthy Jaques family, she was likely the oldest child. A funeral notice for her, found while visiting the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives (made available by the Brooklyn Public Library), shows that she did not live long. Sadly she died at the young age of 29 (which means she did not get to witness her younger brother’s John’s troubling antics). From the obituary, I’ve estimated that she was born in 1813/4, before her sister Wealthy Ann who appeared in 1815.
The funeral notice, which appeared on August 2, 1843, stated: In this city, Aug. 1st, Jane F., wife of John F. Birch, and daughter of Isaac Jaques, Esq., in the 30th year of her age. The friends of her husband, and those of her father and father-in-law, George L. Birch, are respectfully invited to attend her funeral from her late residence, Smith st near Mill st, on Thursday morning at 10 o’clock.
John and Jane Birch had one son named William Mabury Birch (b. Brooklyn, September 1839) who is mentioned in his father John F. Birch’s obituary dated 14 Mar 1872 (also in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle): On Tuesday night, March 12, John F. Birch, in the 59th year of his age. The funeral will take place on Friday, March 15, at 2 1/2 o’clock P.M. from the residence of his son, Wm. Mabury Birch, 130 Gold Street. The relatives and friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend.
William’s 1900 & 1920 Census records state that his mom Jane was born in New York (the 1910 record says New Jersey). Isaac Jaques moved to Elizabeth, NJ, from New York between 1830 and 1840 (in 1830, the family is in Brooklyn Ward 4 on Smith Street; in 1840, they are in Elizabeth, NJ; Jane and Wealthy Ann were married in Elizabeth, NJ — 1836 & 1839, respectively) so it seems likelier that Jane was born in New York (as her other siblings were). More on William below.
As for John F. Birch’s father, George L. Birch, an interesting bio appears on him in the 1884 book (p. 1170), The Civil, Political, Professional and Ecclesiastical History, and Commercial and Industrial Record of the County of Kings and the City of Brooklyn, N. Y., from 1683 to 1884 (available as a free eBook – see my “Links” page):
George L. Birch, born in Limerick, Ireland, August 15, 1787; came to this country in 1798, with his parents, who settled first in Providence, R. I., then in Brooklyn. After completing his education, he was bound apprentice to Messrs, Arden & Close, shipping merchants of New York; afterwards became a bookkeeper for a large distiller, and then first clerk in the Columbian Insurance Company. At the dissolution of this company, he became the cashier and business manager of the National Advocate, a leading Democratic newspaper, edited by the late M. M. Noah, in partnership with whom he afterwards started a printing office. Shortly after, he became printer to the Common Council and to the Custom House, both of which positions he held until 1828. In 1819, he was an active member of the Kings County Agricultural and Domestic Manufacturing Society, and, on the 17th of March, 1821, he issued the first number of the Long Island Patriot, a weekly family newspaper. In October of the same year he joined the fire department, with which, as foreman of Engine No. 2, he was identified for a long period. On the 31st of December, 182., he received the appointment of Postmaster of Brooklyn, which office he occupied for four years, being succeeded by Thomas Kirk. In 1822, he established a monthly, the Minerva, in New York, and during this year, at his suggestion, a branch of the Columbian Order, or Tammany Society, was established in Brooklyn. He was a member the Mechanics’ and Tradesmen’s Society of Brooklyn, the Mechanics Society New York, and was also largely instrumental in the organization of the first Sunday-school in the village; the Erin Fraternal Association, the Apprentices’ Library, and various other valuable institutions, which have greatly contributed to the welfare of Brooklyn. In 1829, he received an appointment in the Custom House, and sold out the Patriot. In 1843, he became the custodian and librarian of the U.S. Naval Lyceum, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which position he retained until his death, which occurred on the 27th of July, 1864. In all his relations of life, he was respected and beloved.
On p. 1170, I found the below blurb about George L. Birch’s newspaper activities. And page 1171 had a brief mention of John F. Birch, who also dabbled briefly in the newspaper business after Jane’s death, founding the short-lived Brooklyn Morning Post on October 25, 1844.
So Jane, who was from a very well respected family, obviously married into one that was equally impressive in the contributions it was making to society.
From 1870 census records, I learned that John F. Birch went on to remarry — an English woman named Francis. They had a son — George L. Birch who was born in NY circa 1856 and would have been roughly 16 years of age when his father died in 1872.
As for John and Jane’s son William Mabury Birch, he was born in Brooklyn in September 1839 and would have been about 33 when his father died, just 4 when his mother died. William lived a good long life. I’m not sure when he died, but I found him in census records as late as 1925 (NY State Census) so he lived to be at least 85.
William married Elizabeth C. de la Flechelle circa 1864. Elizabeth’s father was Alphonse P. M. de la Flechelle who came from France with Elizabeth’s mother. Elizabeth herself was born in NJ in May 1845. She died on July 13, 1900. A funeral notice appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on July 15, 1900: At Woodhaven, L.I., on July 13, ELIZABETH C., beloved wife of William M. Birch and daughter of the late Alphonse P. M. de la Flechelle. Funeral services to be held Sunday, July 15, 2 P.M. at the Church of the Epiphany, Belmont and McCormick avs. Ozone Park, L. I. Relatives and friends invited.
William and Elizabeth had 5 children in all and 4 of them were still alive at the time of the 1900 census taken in June, shortly before Elizabeth died. I don’t have all the details about the five children, mostly just their approximate birth dates: Marion N. (cir. 1862); Maybury W. (cir. 1864); Zulma (1867; have also seen her name listed as Zuluna, Julia, Zulima, Zulina– she married a John Eckert and had a son named Harry); Florence (b. cir. 1867/8); and Alphonse (b. cir 1870). Alphonse appears in the 1870 census. A “John” of the same age appears in the 1875 NY Census–so perhaps John and Alphonse were one in the same.
On a final note, I am wondering how the Birch family with its Irish roots may be related to the de la Flechelle family of France. The marriage record for Jane and John Birch’s 1836 wedding lists his name as “J. D. La Fletcher Birch”. A newspaper clipping I found lists him as “John W. De La Fletcher Birch.” There appears to be some similarity between “De La Fletcher” and “de la Flechelle” — perhaps these families were somehow related. Otherwise it would seem too much of a coincidence.
Update: Regarding Alphonse P. M. de la Flechelle, I’ve since learned that he and his wife Elizabeth Burton Fitzgerald de la Flechelle (m. Sept 1825), together with three young daughters, are buried in the churchyard of the First Presbyterian Church of Woodbridge, NJ. A book on the history of that church (History of the First Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, New Jersey 300th Anniversary May 25, 1975 (published 1975) says that they investigated who this Frenchman was and discovered that he was the late deputy consul from the court of France to the US. He served as Chief Secretary of the French Embassy in Dublin, Ireland, in 1814, and later in the same capacity in NY (1825) and Boston (1837). They have no idea why he came to Woodbridge and speculate that he or his wife may have had relatives there. Their children that I know of were: Elizabeth Edmire (d. 20 Mar 1834, Woodbridge, age 7 1/2), Zelma Catherine (d. 19 Mar 1834, Woodbridge, age 6 1/2), Louise M. (d. 14 Mar 1837, Woodbridge, age 3 weeks), Elizabeth C. (b. 1845, m. Wm Mabury Birch), Alphonse E. W. (m. Georgiana Sheldon 13 May 1857), and Alexandrine (d. 4 Apr 1902, Hempstead, LI, m. Joseph Van Winkle). Page 80 of the above book (click link for online reading options) shows a photograph of some de la Flechelle graves in the churchyard cemetery. UPDATE 7/5/13: See latest post for more on the de la Flechelles.
That’s all for today! Have a great weekend!
IMAGE CREDIT: Both from The Civil, Political, Professional and Ecclesiastical History, and Commercial and Industrial Record of the County of Kings and the City of Brooklyn, N. Y., from 1683 to 1884