George Wills died in 1857 and his son-in-law William Slaymaker and daughter Mary removed to Northampton to head a stone masonry business there. With them were their daughter Elizabeth (my great grandmother) who would have been six at the time the above ad appeared; son Samuel who would have been about eight (he went on to be a well-known Methodist minister affiliated with Ocean Grove, NJ); and daughter Sarah (a.k.a. Sadie) who would have been just a baby. Son William appeared in 1861, probably after this ad was placed. I’ve done quite a few posts about them already. When they emigrated to the US in 1870, they changed their last name to ‘Sargent.’ The family settled in Jersey City, Hudson Co., NJ. I’ve found a few more traces of their Northamptonshire roots and will share them in future posts.
Monthly Archives: July 2013
When we left off with the story of John B. Jaques (see Part III), it was 1870 and he was living in Newark with his wife Mary and sons Walter and John (Civil War veteran, former drummer boy highlighted in a recent post). John Sr. was still estranged from his father at this point, and had yet to seek help with his rehabilitation from a serious addiction to alcohol that had driven him to a life of petty crime and at least one stint in state prison.
In March of 1872, John was arrested for stealing some coats, as reported in the New York Tribune on the 28th of that month. Somewhere between then and his 1879 reunion with his father (documented in the past post, Wayward Jaques son returns home), he sought and found help to get sober and straighten out his life. He was in his late 50s by then.
After I read in the Oswego paper about the father-son reunion, my first thought was about whether John Jr. managed from then on to live in a permanent state of sobriety. His father died the following year; with dad gone, did John Jr. have the will and courage to continue coping with the numerous temptations that would naturally have come his way in normal, everyday life?
On 12 Jun 1880 (two months before his father Isaac’s death), John and Mary were living together alone on Court Street in Newark; the children were out of the nest, settled down, and married, and having children of their own. John reported his profession as “Tailor” but had experienced some unemployment that year as evidenced by the tick in box 14 of the record. At some point in the next six-plus years, Mary passed away (or divorced him, but I think the former is more likely). I found a marriage record showing John’s remarriage to someone named Margaret A. Wambeld, a lady some 26 years younger than he. The marriage took place in Newark on 14 September 1886. Did she help keep John on the straight and narrow, or did she serve as an enabler of his bad habits? (Or, was she into all those bad habits herself?)
One answer to that question came from a New York Times article published on 3 September 1892, about an Elizabeth, NJ, robbery of the Walter P. Angus home at 25 Reid Street, and I thank blog reader Mary Keenan for pointing the article out to me. John’s first name is never given, but it is crystal clear from the contents that it was he who perpetrated the crime. Walter P. Angus was one of John’s nephews, a child of John’s late sister Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus. This was the home Wealthy lived in until she died some six months earlier, so with “big sis” permanently out of the picture, little brother with the alcohol problem seized a moment when the family was on holiday in Ocean Grove (NJ) and Walter was at work in NYC to break in and rummage through the household. John walked off with roughly $200 worth of clothing and jewelry. The police were called and after a bit of discussion and investigation, it was determined that an old man named Jacques, a relative of the Angus family, who had been boarding in this city perpetrated the crime. The article went on to mention that John was wanted for a charge of forgery, having paid his latest board bill with a forged and worthless check. The search for John had thus far proven to be fruitless: They have been unable to find any trace of him, and he is supposed to have left the city. Jacques’s father many years ago was one of the largest real estate owners in the central part of the city, and one of the streets there is called after him. Jacques is supposed to be somewhere in New-York City.
So, no, sadly it appears that John fell off the wagon at some point and was engaging in the classic activities of an addict– either drinking or looking for a way to finance his next drink.
Final confirmation of John’s sad demise came in the form of his death record, which I received in the mail some two months ago: John died of stomach cancer on 19 Dec 1895, at the age of 73 (it’s rather amazing he lived that long, given his lifestyle). The death occurred at St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark, and prior to that, John had been living at the Newark Alms House (aka the poor house). According to the website The Poor House Story, Poorhouses were tax-supported residential institutions to which people were required to go if they could not support themselves. They were started as a method of providing a less expensive (to the taxpayers) alternative to what we would now days call “welfare” – what was called “outdoor relief” in those days. Evidently, Newark’s first alms house was a godforsaken place where the down-and-out and society’s deviants were dumped. The Old Newark website provides a description (click here). A glimpse of the situation for one poor soul who met his maker there in 1867 was described in this NY times article. Whether a new alms house was in existence by the mid-1890s, I don’t know. The census of 1880 gives an idea of the types of people who ended up here (visit the Newark Research website). Margaret may well have been residing there with John. I found a death record for a ‘Margaret Jaques’ for 31 December 1896 (just over a year after John’s death), and this may have been her; had she been an alcoholic, too, a death at 50 would have come as no surprise.
John B. Jaques was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ. If he was buried in his father’s plot, he is in an unmarked grave as no marker appears for him in that vicinity.
That is the extent of what I know about John B. Jaques Jr. He has numerous descendants “out there,” and I have managed to track down a few lines into the early part of last century. It still amazes me to think that John’s existence had been hidden from us until quite recently, and it took the Fulton History newspaper archives website to reveal him to me. I can now attest to the veracity of that site’s tagline: Finding the Angels & the Devils in the Family Tree since 2003!
1-John Barron Jaques b. Mar 1822, New York or New Jersey, USA, d. 19 Dec 1895, St. Michael's Hospital, Newark, Essex Co., NJ, bur. Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union, NJ +Mary F. Briggs b. Cir 1827, New Jersey, d. Bef 1886 |----2-Wealthy Ann Jaques b. Cir 1845, Pennsylvania, United States, d. Bef 8 | Mar 1918 | +John Seaman b. Cir 1842 | |----3-Mary Seaman |----2-Mary Jaques b. 1847, New Jersey |----2-John B. Jaques Jr. b. 15 Oct 1848, Elizabeth, Twp, Essex Co., New | Jersey, d. 13 Jun 1911, Newark, Essex Co., New Jersey | +Katherine Griffith b. Nov 1849, New Jersey, d. After 1910 | |----3-Mary F. B. Jaques b. Sep 1871, New Jersey, d. After 1920 | | +Horace E. Apperson b. 1869, New Jersey, d. After 1930 | | |----4-Charlotte Apperson b. Jun 1894, New Jersey, d. After 1920 | | |----4-Apperson b. 6 Jun 1894, Newark, Essex, New Jersey | |----3-Isaac Jaques b. Jan 1872, New Jersey, d. After 1910 | | +Ida E. b. Jun 1875, New Jersey, d. After 1910 | | |----4-William C. Jaques b. Mar 1894, New Jersey, d. After 1910 | | |----4-Russell Jaques b. 13 Jul 1894, New Jersey, d. After 1920 | | +Edna b. Est 1899, New York | | |----5-Joseph R. Jaques b. 13 May 1916, New York | |----3-William S. Jaques b. Aug 1874, New Jersey, d. After 1910 | | +Ann | |----3-Ida Jaques b. Cir 1877, New Jersey, d. Bef 1900 |----2-Margaretta Jaques b. 10 Jul 1851, Newark, Essex, New Jersey | +Sylvanus Stansbury b. 1854, New Jersey | |----3-Ella May Stansbury b. 1880 |----2-Walter M. S. Jaques b. 4 Nov 1853, Newark, Essex, New Jersey +Anna Corigan b. Cir 1856, New Jersey, d. Bef 1900 |----3-Jaques b. 7 Apr 1876, Newark, Essex Co., New Jersey |----3-Lillie B. Jaques b. Cir 1878, New Jersey, d. After 1900 |----3-Josephine Jaques b. Jan 1880, Rhode Island |----3-Catherine Jaques b. 4 Sep 1885, Newark, Essex Co., New Jersey +Margaret A. Wambeld b. cir. 1848, d. Poss 31 December 1896
Just a quick heads up, in case you did not know, that tomorrow night (9 PM ET) TLC is airing its first episode of this season’s series of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ — Episode One features Kelly Clarkson. For more information on who else is appearing and to view a trailer, click here.
This post features family cat, Rosie, whose photograph appeared a long time ago in a post on prized family pets through the decades.
Here in SW Florida, we see a variety of wildlife out our back lanai, especially in winter. But today, I was amazed to see a bobcat. I noticed him because Rosie, a stray we took in several years ago, was in the unique, highly attentive pose she goes into whenever she spots something intriguing. The bobcat was across the ditch which is filled with rainwater (we’ve had a ton of rain lately); it did not see Rosie, but it did see something else. I had no idea what — until I spotted a big old coyote walking through the backyard on this side of the ditch (kind of too close for comfort). And then, moments later, Mr. Bobcat went off in that direction. No idea if he and Mr. Coyote met, but no doubt this is a day that Rosie (and I) will not soon forget!
PS: People often ask me how we manage to contain a cat who was once a stray (quite feral, actually), hunting food and dashing about in the great outdoors — well, these cats are so grateful for a home once they manage to get one, you can’t get them to leave! An open door or window is no enticement. They simply won’t budge. And Rosie is a real sweetie. She’s skittish and will always be, but on her terms will happily be petted and cuddled. She has never tried to scratch or bite anyone. The lanai is her “entertainment center” where she happily spends many hours of the day.
After five decades of service, my mom’s 1957 Sunbeam Mixmaster stand mixer mixed its last batch of cookies. We reluctantly bid it adieu and sent it off to the appliance graveyard but not before taking some final photos and reminiscing. What fond memories we have of that mixer. Year in and year out, we kids gathered around it as Mom whipped up Christmas cookies and birthday cakes. We were always there on standby to grab hold of the beaters to lick them clean. And, boy, that thing was built to last. It was heavy and very reliable (obviously). And I loved how the dial was labelled. Selecting the right speed was a “no brainer.” The new Sunbeam Mixmaster is nice–but far from the quality of yesteryear. Lots of plastic. And the dial is just a bunch of numbers, so referring to the manual is essential at least until you get the swing of things. I definitely don’t see this one making it to 2069! (Of course, I’m not likely to either, but still…)
So, in honor of the late 1957 mixer, I am providing a recipe here for our all-time favorite (and supremely easy) Christmas cookie recipe. It belonged to my grandmother Fannie B. (Woodruff) Brodhead. Very light and airy, these cookies melt in your mouth and leave you coming back for more. So far, I have probably downed at least 500 of these myself. So, enjoy! Feedback always welcome.
Ice Cream Patties
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg well-beaten
1/8 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup walnuts/candied cherries (cut into quarters/eighths)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly. Blend in egg and vanilla. Mix flour and salt together and add to the creamed mixture, blending well. Measure small spoonfuls of batter (1/2 tsp) onto well-greased baking sheets. (If you use parchment paper, they don’t spread out as much and the edges are more widely browned). Place a piece of walnut/candied cherry in middle of each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned (as early as 6 minutes, especially if you are at a low altitude). Yield: 4-5 dozen patties.
Below is a Summons Notice that appeared multiple times in 1918 New York newspapers. It comes from the Brooklyn NY Daily Standard Union, Friday, 15 March 1918, and contains a ton of names of people who are in some way related to James W. Angus, one of my 2nd great grandfathers. He died of erysipelas (acute streptococcus bacterial infection of the upper dermis and superficial lymphatics) on 23 December 1862, over 50 years prior to this notice’s publication.
I am slowly chipping away at a lot of these names, partly thanks to the recent discovery of Jane Jaques Birch and John B. Jaques and their offspring. I have no idea what the kerfuffle was, who the plaintiff was, etc. It appears to have something to do with James W. Angus’s estate and property at 17 Ross Street, Brooklyn (visible in the upper left of Ward 19 in the attached map).
You may find some names of interest, too, if you are researching these families, so I am publishing the notice here. Thank you, Fulton History website, for allowing articles to be snipped and published elsewhere!
MAP LINK: Plan of New York and Brooklyn. (Atlas of New York and vicinity … by F.W. Beers … published by Beers, Ellis & Soule, New York, 1868) – David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
In the midst of all that was going on in tailor John B. Jaques’ family, his namesake had the chutzpah to volunteer for service as a drummer boy in the closing months of the Civil War. The boys were supposed to be 18 to enlist, but as you can see from some of these images, boys much younger than that went into service.
John B. Jaques Jr. (b. 15 October 1848, Elizabeth, NJ) was 16 when he enlisted on 24 Feb 1865. You may recall from the last post that his dad was arrested twice (that we know of) that year, once in March for forgery and once in November for larceny. We don’t know John Jr.’s motivations–was he doing this for love of country and belief in the cause? Trying to escape a troubled home life? Looking for adventure? How proud (and worried) the family must have been. Sadly this brave decision did not seem to impact father John’s behavior.
Until discovering this detail about John Jr., and doing a bit of research on the role of drummer boys in the Civil War, I had no idea what an integral role these boys played. They actually required a great deal of training to learn all the various drum rolls and beats that could substitute for orders given vocally which were often much too difficult for troops to hear over the din of battle. And at battle’s end, they helped carry the wounded off the field to wherever care was being rendered. Drummer boys accompanied commanding officers at all hours of the day and night and had to be ready at a moment’s notice to sound whatever drum roll was appropriate for the operation being initiated. These children were truly heroes, and apparently many of them went on to serve in the capacity of soldiers once their stints as drummer boys came to an end.
John B. Jaques, Jr. was mustered in on 2 March 1865, and mustered out on 13 July 1865 at Newark, NJ. He served in Company I, 40th Regiment New Jersey, which left New Jersey on 4 March 1865. According to the National Park Service website’s Civil War information about the 40th Regiment, John Jr. would have been part of the following: Siege operations against Petersburg December, 1864, to April, 1865. …Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Assault on and capture of Petersburg April 2. Pursuit of Lee April 3-9. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. March to Danville April 23-27, and duty there till May 18. March to Richmond, Va., thence to Washington, DC, May 18-June 3. Corps Review June 8. I found evidence that John spent some time in the hospital before being mustered out. The Newark Daily Advertiser listed him in the ‘Affairs at the Hospital’ section of the issue dated 19 June 1865: Patients have lately been admitted as follows: … Jno. B. Jaques, drummer, Co. I, 40th N.J…. It could not have been anything too serious as the 1890 Census of Union Veterans did not list him as having any disability.
I’m very impressed by John Jr. even though his stint in the Union Army was so brief at just 5 months and 7 days. It still took a lot of courage for a lad of 16. And to have been present at Appomattox must have been quite special as well as a huge relief for all concerned.
After the war, John Jr. went on to have a career in the jewelry industry. He first worked in a jewelry shop (1870) and then a jewelry factory (1880). On 19 January 1893, he applied in New Jersey for a Civil War pension (Application no. 1,144,113; Certificate no. 1025165). In 1910, the census record listed his profession as ‘jeweler.’ John Jr. appeared again on the Civil War Pension Index on 5 Dec 1910.
John Jr. married Katherine (Katie) Griffith on 14 Jun 1871, in Newark, Essex, NJ. They had four children born between roughly 1872 and 1877 — two girls and two boys: Mary F., Isaac, William S., and Ida. Imagine the stories he was able to tell his children and grandchildren! Hopefully his home life with Katherine was far less stressful than the one he endured in his childhood.
John died at age 62 on 13 June 1911 (exactly 102 years and 1 month ago). I found his date of death in US Army Veterans Administration pension payment records (Certificate No. 1025165). He was categorized as an “Army Invalid,” and he appears to have originally filed for that status on 29 November 1898.
That’s all I know for the moment about John Jr., so I will finish here. Be sure to click on some of the resource links below. There are some great images there.
Here’s to John B. Jaques Jr. for his bravery, dedication to country, and contributions to preserving our nation and putting an end to slavery. May he be resting in peace.
- Washington Post article, dated 21 Feb 2012, “Drummer boys played important roles in the Civil War, and some became soldiers”
- Collection of Civil War – Marvelous images in this UK Daily Mail article.
- Civil War Talk website – Terrific stereoscopic view of Drummer Boys at Fort Hamilton
- The Civil War Drummer – Wildcat Regiment Band
*Wounded Drummer Boy, oil on board painting by Eastman Johnson, 1865-69, San Diego Museum of Art. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
**This file was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the National Archives and Records Administration as part of a cooperation project. The National Archives and Records Administration provides images depicting American and global history which are public domain or licensed under a free license.
How do you spell “Aye-yai-yai-yai-yai”? I truly did an eye roll when I found out our buddy John Jaques, whose escapades have filled several blog posts already (Wayward Jaques Son Returns Home in 1879, Part I: The Early Years, and Part II: The ‘Infamous’ Brooklyn Case), had an alias. I mean, how many of us ever think of our ancestors as having aliases? (It’s hard enough trying to track them down using their real names!) Up until recently, it never entered my mind. Have you discovered any ancestors with aliases?!
I realize many people have reinvented themselves throughout history for many good and practical reasons, and that artists, writers, athletes, singers and others have stage names, pseudonyms, etc. Or maybe someone just wants to fit in; for example, Alphonse de la Flechelle’s son (also named Alphonse) may have used the alias ‘George Stanley’ to feel less foreign (although something like ‘Alfred Fletcher’ would have made more sense…). But when it comes to criminals, you just know reasons exist that are suspect to say the least.
What’s interesting, in fact, very interesting, about the case of John is that his alias matched his grandfather Samuel B. Jaques‘ middle name of ‘Barron.’ And that led me to believe that John’s middle initial ‘B’ very likely stood for ‘Barron’ as well. (Someday, we’ll figure out exactly where the Barron name* came from.) Did he resort to using Barron at the request of his Jaques relatives who must have grown very tired of the unwanted media attention and town gossip? Or did he come up with the idea on his own to spare his elderly father? At this stage, who knows? But, in a way, I was glad to discover the Barron alias, because it helps to further prove the family link between him, his father, and his grandfather.
Well, let’s dig into the 1860s to catch up with John. Last we left him it was February 1858, and he was involved in that nasty business in Brooklyn. In 1860, he was 37 years old according to the census taker and living in Newark, Essex Co., NJ, with his wife Mary (32), and four of their five children: ‘Weltheann’ (misspelling of ‘Wealthy Ann’) – age 15, Mary (13), John Jr. (11), Margaretta (9), and Walter (6).
Below is what I managed to find for John’s activities during the 1860s, and I have no idea how comprehensive my findings are. Suffice it to say, he was continuing along the same road as before, and probably worrying his family to no end.
I found the first indication of trouble in the Newark Daily Advertiser dated Wednesday, April 16, 1862: CAUTION! The PUBLIC are hereby cautioned against paying money to, or trusting or dealing with John B. Jaques, on my account. He is not in my employ, and will never be again. ROSWELL W. HOLMES, Cheap Mammoth Clothing Store, 844 Broad st. This must have killed any business John had left at that stage…
In March of 1865 he was arrested for forgery. The Newark Daily Advertiser carried a brief paragraph on the 16th of the month: ARRESTED FOR FORGERY – A tailor named John B. Jaques, residing in Broad St., has been going around among the brewers of this city in order to obtain money. He received $12 from Messrs. Lorenz and Hensler, and gave them a due bill signed “A.C. Smith per J. Nolan.” The bill proved a forgery, and Messrs. L. & H. had the man arrested. He is now under commitment.
I found another arrest for 1865, this one in November, and this is where the alias came in. On the 15th, the Newark Daily Advertiser published: LARCENY – John B. Jaques, alias John Barron, of this city, tailor, was arrested in New York yesterday by Officer McCafferty, of the Sixth Precinct, on a charge of stealing five cloth coats from John G. McGreggor, of No. 2 Bowery. The coats had been given to the accused to make up; instead of doing so, he sold them to Thomas Walker, of No. 36 Centre street. Committed by Justice Hogan.
The next article I found was in the New York Herald, dated October 4, 1867. This time it concerned a state prison sentence of six months for false pretenses (see 2nd to the last line in the below snippet). By now, daughter Wealthy Ann was married to John Seaman (8 November 1865) so she was no longer being subjected to the day-to-day stress that comes with having an unpredictable, out-of-control father. (Her wedding announcement was in the Newark Daily Advertiser on Wednesday, 15 November of that year: SEAMAN – JAQUES – On the 8th inst., by Rev. H. C. Fish, D.D., Mr JOHN SEAMAN, and Miss WEALTHY ANN JAQUES, all of this city.)
By the end of the decade, it looks like Mary and Margaretta, who would have been about 23 and 19 by then, respectively, had flown the coop as well. According to 1870 census records, the girls were no longer in John and Mary’s household. I found evidence that Margaretta married someone with the last name of Stansbury, but have yet to look into that further.
So by 1870, the household was down to four: John (48), Mary (43), John B. Jr. (21) and Walter (16). Both boys were working in a jewelry shop, so obviously they decided to avoid their father’s and grandfather’s line of business. Who knows what John’s reputation was by now, and it’s a shame, because nearly 20 years prior, it looks like he was really wanting to make a go of the tailoring profession.
Almost 20 years prior…
John placed an ad in the Newark Daily Advertiser during the summer of 1851. The ad evolved a bit over the summer months, but here is what it said on 9 June of that year:
J. B. JAQUES would respectfully beg leave to inform his friends and the public of Newark generally, that he has located himself in Bolies’ place, the first door from the corner of Broad, under Mr. Towle’s Dry Good Store, for the purpose of conducting the Tailoring business. He is now prepared to execute all orders in his line in the best manner, most fashionable style, and on the most reasonable terms.– Having had long experience in the Cutting department, he feels assured that his customers cannot fail of being well pleased. Gentlemen wishing to furnish their own material for making up, will please call on me before purchasing. I will take great pleasure in going with them to make the selection. N. B. Repairing done with neatness and despatch. We know of no individual who can take precedence of J. B. Jaques in skill and scientific requirements.
By August 19, 1851, he had relocated to work with the man who would — 11 years later — publicly warn his fellow Newark citizens about the hazards of interacting with John:
J. B. JAQUES, TAILOR, would respectfully beg leave to inform his friends and the public of Newark generally, that he has removed to the business stand occupied by Mr. R. W. Holmes, No. 323 Broad street, below the 1st Presbyterian church, and will continue the Tailoring business there–having exclusive charge of the Custom Department. He is now prepared to execute all orders in his line in the best manner, most fashionable style, and on the most reasonable terms.– Having had long experience in the Cutting department, he feels assured that his customers cannot fail of being well pleased. Gentlemen wishing to furnish their own material for making up, will please call on me before purchasing. I will take great pleasure in going with them to make a selection. N. B. Repairing done with neatness and despatch. Cutting carefully and punctually attended to.
I’ve found nothing to suggest that John was ever responsible for any major crimes. His run-ins with the law and misguided behavior stemmed from his problems with alcohol–at least that’s what I surmise, having read the 1879 temperance column. I feel most for John’s family who lived on tenterhooks, never knowing what he would get up to next.
There will be one more post on John, I think. And that should wrap things up.
*Re: the Barron family – from p. 61 of History First Presbyterian Church of Woodbridge, New Jersey 300th Anniversary (Carteret, NJ: Hoffman Printing Corp; 1975): Without a shadow of doubt, one of the most interesting of the early Woodbridge families is the Barron Family. The Barrons are descended from the Palatine Barons of Burnchurch, County of Waterford. Ireland. The patronymic name of the family was FitzGerald. The last branch of the FitzGeralds, who were Barons of Burnchurch, retained for several years a station of rank and influence in Kilkenny. When they became involved in the troubles of the times they were forced to abandon their native shire and settle in the bordering county of Waterford. To escape the rancor of persecution and elude its vigilance they assumed the cognomen of Barron instead of their patronymic, FitzGerald. The FitzGerald family can be traced back to the Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror to the year 1066. The earliest traceable individual member is Walter FitzOtho in 1086. The first member of this family, who now called themselves the Barrons as apart from Baron, who came to America, was Ellis Barron. He came to Watertown, Massachusetts in 1640 with his first wife Grace and their five children. A grandson of Ellis, Elizeus by name, born June 4, 1672 in Groton, Massachusetts, came to Woodbridge about 1690 and was considered as among the first setlers. Elizeus had a son. Samuel, born in 1711 and who died on September 1, 1801.
After publishing my June 28 post, I discovered more about Monsieur Alphonse Pierre Marie de la Flechelle, the Frenchman whose daughter Elizabeth C. de la Flechelle married Isaac Jaques’ grandson, William Mabury Birch (son of Jane Jaques and John W. de la Fletcher Birch, a.k.a. John F. Birch), on Christmas day 1860. Quite a mouthful, I know, but I confess to being very intrigued by the de la Flechelle connection.
This “de la Flechelle / de la Fletcher” business is peculiar; it occurred to me that, perhaps, “de la Fletcher” was some kind of Americanized version of “de la Flechelle” and that, perhaps, John was named in honor of a “de la Flechelle.” Before checking dates, I’d hoped that maybe Alphonse’s stay in Dublin coincided with the portion of life that John’s dad (an Irishman) lived in Ireland, and that maybe the two were friends and admirers. After all, it was not uncommon for middle names to come from the surname of someone a family admired. But that is impossible, because John’s dad — George L. Birch — emigrated from Ireland to the US in 1798, when Alphonse was kindergarten-aged and living in France. I’d love to figure this out, but maybe it’s just one of those unsolvable things. (On a side note, I discovered that George L. and John F. Birch, and Jane Jaques Birch are buried in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery.)Alphonse and his wife Elizabeth Burton Fitzgerald, 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, when doing research for the book, the church 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 NYC (1825) and Boston (1839). They had no idea why he came to Woodbridge and speculate that he or his wife may have had relatives there.
Well, I’ve since discovered (and the church probably has, too) that Alphonse had a country estate in Woodbridge, and between, during, and after his various postings, he resided there.
According to church records, Alphonse passed away on 14 October 1847, in his 56th year. An obituary published on Wednesday, October 20, 1847, in the Spectator, a NY newspaper (see Genealogy Bank), revealed that Alphonse had been in ill health, and had retired to live full-time on his Woodbridge estate for the several years leading up to his death. The obituary mentions his post in Dublin and then his appointment to the post of deputy consul for New York City. No mention is made of any post in Boston.
Interestingly, Alphonse spent his early years in the French Army, serving under Napoleon in Spain during the 1808-1813 Peninsular War, and from there marched east to take part in Napoleon’s failed 1812 invasion of Russia. After Napoleon’s dethronement [11 April 1814], Alphonse was appointed to his post in Dublin.
From the History of the First Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, New Jersey... book, we know Alphonse was in Dublin for a decade and started his NYC post in 1825 at the age of 32. The start of the New York post coincided with his marriage to Elizabeth Burton Fitzgerald (b. England**), and it was shortly thereafter that children appeared. I don’t yet know where they met and married, but I suspect it was after Alphonse relocated to NYC.The New York City post lasted 14 years, and then supposedly he was posted to Boston in 1839. The last four de la Flechelle children were born in New Jersey between 1840-1847-ish, so perhaps Elizabeth and the youngest of the children remained in Woodbridge while Alphonse was in Boston. Or maybe the Boston posting never actually took place due to illness or something else, as it is not mentioned in the obituary. A possibility for that “something else” occurred in 1838 and is mentioned further down this page.
Altogether 9 children (of whom I am aware) came from this union– eight girls and one boy. The oldest, Elizabeth and Zelma, died in early childhood, just a day apart in March 1834, and are buried in the Woodbridge churchyard– no doubt a crushing blow for the young family. The third child and fourth child, Alexandrine (b. Nov. 1829) and Alphonse Jr. (b. 1832), who were alive at the time of their older siblings’ passing, survived and lived to adulthood, married, had children, etc. A fifth daughter Louise died as an infant in March 1837 and is also buried in the Woodbridge church cemetery. Four more daughters followed from 1840-1847: Zulma, Elizabeth C. (eventually married Wm. M. Birch), E.A., and Mary E.
Once Alphonse passed away, his wife Elizabeth de la Flechelle was left to care for the brood herself; I found newspaper ads for a Mrs. de la Flechelle giving piano lessons in Brooklyn in the late 1840s; perhaps this was Elizabeth trying to earn some extra money for her young family. Tragically, she died just eight years after Alphonse — in January 1855 at 48 years of age.
Judging by the information contained within 1855 New York State Census records, the children still too young to be out on their own (Zulma Edmie (15), Elizabeth C. (12), E.A., (10) and Mary E. (7)) went to live in Brooklyn’s 10th Ward with their older sister Alexandrine de la Flechelle Brunel, who herself was just 25 and had four small children (Mary E. (7); Alexandrine (5); Louisa I. (3), and Frederick Alphonse (3 mos.)) with her husband Frederick A. Brunel, a distiller. Frederick’s mother Mary Brunel, who was born in the West Indies and was 77 years old at the time, must have been ready to run for the hills! Thankfully there were two household servants on board — for this was indeed an “all-hands-on-deck” situation.
Tragedy followed just over a year later when Frederick died at 38, leaving Alexandrine (just 26) alone with all those children. Zulma, the oldest of the sisters living with Alexandrine, who was probably her best helper, passed away two years later, at age 18.
Funeral Notice, New York Times, 28 August 1858: FLECHELLE – In Brooklyn, on Wednesday, Aug. 25, ZULMA EDMIE, daughter of the late Alphonse P. M. de la Flechelle in the 18th year of her age. The friends and family are respectfully invited to attend the funeral to-day (Friday) at 1 o’clock P.M. from the residence of her sister, Mrs. Brunel, No. 394 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn. Zulma was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Alexandrine Brunel remarried in 1869; her second husband was civil engineer Joseph Van Winkle (b. 1814, NY). In 1900, the pair were living in Hempstead, Nassau Co., NY, and providing a home to her son Frederick Alphonse Brunel (farmer), his English-born wife Agnes, and their three young children: Robert, Laura, and Adolph F. Alexandrine died in August 1902 at about 62. A New York Times death notice, published 4 August 1902, read: VAN WINKLE: Aug. 4, at Hempstead, L.I.., Alexandrine, wife of Joseph Van Winkle and daughter of the late Alphons P.M. de la Flechelle. She was also buried at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Her younger brother Alphonse E. W. de la Flechelle predeceased her by eight years, passing away in 1894 in Hempstead, Long Island, at the age of 58. A funeral notice was published in the New York Herald on the 21st of September of that year: DE LA FLECHELLE – At Hempstead, L. I., September 17, 1894, ALPHONSE DE LA FLECHELLE, son of the late A. P. M. de la Flechelle. French papers please copy.
Alphonse Jr. was born in 1832 and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. His card in the pension index reveals: “Gen. Serv. USA (1861), Unassd. 63 – NY Inf. (1864-65): Navy, Ship’s Corpl, Minn, N. C. Tacony, Brandywine (1863-1864), G [Company] 8 [8th Infantry] U.S. Inf. (1861-1863). ” His service extended beyond the end of the war. A record for August 1867 for Fort Columbus, New York Harbor (filed by Henry D. Wallen, Lt. Col. 14th Infantry, Brevet Brigadier General) shows Alphonse E. W. de la Flechelle in a list of those who appear to be awaiting trial or awaiting charges. Next to his name: Rank – Pvte, Regiment – 8 Inf., Company – C, When received at the post – 14 Aug 1867, Remarks – awaiting charges.
Alphonse Jr. was thrice married, and it was his third wife Caroline who filed for a Civil War pension as a widow on 7 Sep 1895. The card reveals that Alphonse Jr. had an alias — George Stanley. I found that very bizarre and wonder what that was all about unless it was a way to escape his very obvious French first and last names.
His first marriage was to Georgiana Sheldon. An announcement appeared in the Long Island Star on 13 May 1857: In this city, on the 7th of May, by the Rev. John A. Paddock, rector of St. Peter’s (Episcopal) Church, Alphonse E.W. DE LA FLECHELLE, only son of A.P. M. DE LA FLECHELLE, deceased, to Georgiana SHELDON, youngest daughter of the late Job SHELDON. Interestingly that marriage ended in divorce, not very common back then, so I wonder what went wrong.
He remarried on 20 March 1872 to Mary Catherine Farmington, and is listed as “Divorced” in the marriage record. Third wife Caroline de la Flechelle was roughly 26 years younger than Alphonse Jr. She was still alive in 1920, living in Brooklyn as a lodger in the household of Mamie and Gerald Johnson, and working as a seamstress for private families.
I found an 1897 newspaper mention of a lawsuit against Caroline and other de la Flechelles (perhaps children of Alphonse Jr.). No idea what that was all about or who the plaintiff was.
There definitely was an Alphonse III, a son of Alphonse E. W. de la Flechelle, as I discovered a notice for drunkenness and cursing in a September 13, 1896, newspaper– two years after Alphonse Jr.s death.
Several years later, an Edward de la Flechelle was advertising in the New York Press in 1889 and 1890 for a housekeeper to help him care for his small daughter. Was this Alphonse III (if his initial E. stood for Edward, and he went by that name?) or a different son of Alphonse Jr.?
But, back to Monsieur Alphonse P. M. de la Flechelle. I’d said that there was an incident in 1838, and I believe that incident may have initiated his transfer to Boston or sent him into an early retirement. News of this incident was published in newspapers as far away as Boston, Providence, Portsmouth, Baltimore, and St. Louis. On August 28, 1838, the New York newspaper, American for the Country, included the following, which will give you an idea of what the controversy was. It involved what appeared to be the illegally carried out arrest of two Frenchmen who had deserted a French ship called the Didon after carrying out acts of piracy. I found a number of articles on the topic through Genealogy Bank, but their copyright restrictions prohibit me from including them in full here. But this should give you an inkling of the matter:
Ultimately, a warrant was issued for Alphonse’s arrest. When first approached, he was standing out in a field of his Woodbridge estate. He refused to be taken on the grounds that a warrant was needed from NY state not NJ. So a requisition was then obtained from New York’s governor, but proved not to be needed as Alphonse turned himself in voluntarily and paid bail in the amount of $5,000.
A rather humorous (to me anyway) description of the attempt to arrest “Monsieur de la Flechelle” in his Woodbridge estate field appeared in several newspapers (all on Genealogy Bank). For example, in the New York Commercial Advertiser of Saturday, September 22, 1838, Alphonse is described as refusing to go with the officers. He threatened to blow out the brains of the first man that laid hands on him, and remarked, La France got all Algiers for one slap in de face, and la France will get dis country for dis. From what I could glean from the remaining articles I read, the indictment against Alphonse was found to be valid by a Grand Jury, but I don’t know beyond that what the repercussions were for him or his superior. The last article I found was dated October 4, 1838, in the St. Louis Daily Commercial Bulletin (Genealogy Bank): The Grand Jury of New York, it is stated in the Express have found a true bill of indictment against Thomas Mitchell Dronet… in addition, a bill was also found against M. Alphonse de la Flechelle…
Not the last, because I subsequently (2 years later) came upon this article on the Fulton History site which also mentions the guilty verdict:
So maybe this incident thrust him into early retirement at the age of 46, or maybe it facilitated a relocation to Boston. I’m sure there is much more I could find out if determined to do so. But, I don’t want to stray too far from my tree. I’ll leave it for Alphonse’s living descendants to sort out his fascinating life and the lives of his many interesting descendants, something they have probably done already, and hope to read about it all sometime in the future! (For a family tree, visit my “Names A-E” page.)
UPDATE (2015): Find a Grave contributor “Gone Gravin'” has kindly photographed the graves of the family members buried at First Presbyterian Churchyard, Woodbridge, Middlesex County, NJ — Plot: 291. Here is the Find a Grave link.
**See 1930 Census record for “Alexandra Van Winkle”, stating her mother was born in England.
Happy 4th of July, Everyone! In honor of all my great grandfathers who participated in the Revolutionary War, I am re-posting last year’s listing of my ancestors. There have been a few edits/additions made since then. Enjoy your celebrations!