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.