Century-old Brodhead wedding gift list offers family clues

Fannie Bishop Woodruff (1882-1965)

Fannie Bishop Woodruff (1882-1965)

When I first glanced at the list of my grandparents’ wedding gifts (Frank M. Brodhead & Fannie B. Woodruff) a number of years back, most of the names did not ring any bells. Now, six years into delving deeper into my family history, many of these names are familiar to me, and I even almost feel as if I know some of them, as odd as that may sound. Naturally, the list both offers clues and raises questions, but c’est la guerre when you’re peeling the six-ton onion that is your family tree.

The wedding took place in Hillside (adjacent to Elizabeth), NJ, at the Woodruff family home on Conant Street on 6 June 1908. For the 1900 census, the family was living at “258 Conant Street”, where today there is nothing but an empty field. However, I’d be willing to wager that 100+ years ago, the old Francis Woodruff home (built by Fannie’s grandfather Francis in 1845 and inherited by eldest son William–Fannie’s father—in 1883) was actually 258 Conant Street because it was a working farm until the land surrounding the home was sold for housing developments. So while I could be mistaken, I feel confident the Woodruff family lived in this home on Conant Street, which is still standing. I remember my dad taking us past this house as kids and telling us that that was where his mom (Fannie) and her sisters were born.

By the way, a brief mention of the Francis Woodruff home can be found in the six-page PDF Eight Colonial Homes, an undated publication put out by the staff of the Hillside National Bank: A third Woodruff house, while appearing to be the same vintage as the others, was erected about 1845. […] …it is frequently the subject of artists’ paint brushes because of its picturesque setting. It was built by Francis Woodruff, a descendant of Enos Woodruff. A letter from Mathias Woodruff in 1843 to his brother, another Enos Woodruff, comments that he is planning to return from Louisiana to help his cousin, Ezra Woodruff, erect a house for Frank. The letter jokingly said in part: “Frank will want him to put up a house next summer. I have advised him to find out from the neighbors what kind of house he wants, sort of architecture, on which side to put the kitchen, dog house, pig pens. If all parties are satisfied, it will save a great deal of talk.” Oddly enough it was constructed sideways to the road, but when the Westminster section was developed by Edward Grassman in the 1930’s, Revere Drive was placed in front of it, so today it faces a street. [On a sad side note, brother Matthias died of yellow fever in St. Francisville, LA, in 1844, and never made it home to help Frank build his house.]

My grandmother was 17 at the time of the 1900 census and worked as a stenographer. Before she was married eight years later, she was working as a secretary for Mr. Edward D. Duffield, then president of Prudential Insurance Co.

Wedding gift list, 1st page

Wedding gift list, 1st page (CLICK to enlarge)

Unfortunately, we have no photos from the big wedding day, which is disappointing. I feel very wistful when viewing others’ late 19th- and early 20th-century wedding photos—I sure wish we had some.

Notably absent from the wedding would have been Ophelia Easton Brodhead, grandmother of the groom and wife of Andrew Jackson Brodhead. She died in 1904, just shy of her 82nd birthday, and her husband Andrew’s gift is noted as being given in her memory. Also absent was Calvin Brodhead, Ophelia and Andrew’s son, who passed away in 1907, but two of his children—Alex and Emily—were in attendance. The bride’s grandparents had all passed away by then, one before she was born (James W. Angus) and two when she was just one year’s old (Francis Woodruff & Mary Jane Trowbridge). She would only have had memories of her grandmother Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus who died when Fannie was not quite ten. (Ironically, Fannie is the only grandparent I have any recollection of; all my other grandparents passed away before I was born.)

The gift list contains 133 items, so I won’t scan in and post all the pages, but I will list some of the gift-givers who stand out to me as well as some I would like to figure out. For example, Aunt Fannie Bishop. Who was she?—I wondered. She must have been someone important since my grandmother was named after her! Upon checking census records, I did indeed discover a Fannie Bishop (b. Feb 1852) living with her husband and children (Samuel, William, and Charles) in that very same neighborhood, so perhaps “Aunt Fannie” was a childhood friend of my grandmother’s mother. In short, there are names to be explored here, and as time goes by, it may be possible to figure out who more of these folks are. The Earls are no doubt all cousins, etc., via William Woodruff’s grandmother Mary Ogden Earl (married John Woodruff in 1817), and I have done nothing yet to research that line, so I am sure once I do get around to it, some of these names will start to pop up. Likewise with the Cranes, a very old Elizabeth, NJ, family.

A. D. Brodhead (father of the groom)

A. D. Brodhead (father of the groom)

Margaret Martin Brodhead (mother of the groom)

Margaret Martin Brodhead (mother of the groom)

The parents of the bride and groom were: Andrew Douglas (A. D.) Brodhead and Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead, and William Earl Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff. The extended Woodruff and Angus families were very large, the former being among the original settlers of what became Union County. Andrew Brodhead, who hailed from Mauch Chunk, PA, and whose immediate and extended family was also very large, met and married Margaret Martin (a descendant of David Wait & Irene Bell) of Perth Amboy, NJ, and, after living for many years in that town, they and their children transitioned to Elizabeth.

Perhaps, you will find the name(s) of some of your ancestors on this list, and if you do, please feel free to give a ‘shout-out’ in the comment box. It’s fascinating to see so much family coming together for a big event, something that probably happened much more often back then given how enormous families were. Births, weddings, and funerals must have been quite common occasions.

Brodhead-Woodruff Wedding Announcement (Probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal) - from our family's private archives

Brodhead-Woodruff Wedding Announcement – CLICK to enlarge (Probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal) – from our family’s private archives

I’m including the wedding announcement, which I posted once previously on the blog, but I think it adds to this post so I am publishing it again. As for the necklace mentioned, I suspect it was sold to a new owner during the Great Depression; I never heard my Dad mention it or its whereabouts.

Well, here is the list! (As always, comments, corrections, additions, etc., are always welcome.)

  • Mr & Mrs Blakslee [sister and brother-in-law of father of the groom]—1 dozen silver knives
  • Mr. & Mrs. Alex Brodhead [son and daughter-in-law of the late Calvin Brodhead & Laura Leisenring; Calvin was father-of-the-groom’s older brother]—Berry set and silver spoon
  • Mrs. E. B. Earl—Silver tongs
  • Lizzie Earl—Sherbet glasses
  • Grace Earl—Picture
  • The Misses Crane—Doily
  • Miss Emily Easton Brodhead [daughter of the late Calvin Brodhead & Laura Leisenring; Calvin was father-of-the-groom’s older brother]—1/2 dozen orange spoons
  • Annie Earl—Cherry centerpiece
  • Florence Earl—Butter spreader
  • Mr. and Mrs. R. O. Van Horn [sister and brother-in-law of bride]—Old-fashioned chair
  • Mildred W. Woodruff [sister of bride]—Green (?)
  • Andrew J. Brodhead [ brother of the groom]—1/2 dozen sherbet glasses ivy leaf
  • Mr. Richard Brodhead  [brother of father of the groom] & family—cut-glass bowl
  • Mr. & Mrs. A. D. Brodhead [father and mother of groom]—Bread tray, mustard (?), and salt dish & cash
  • Aunt Vean & Elizabeth Booth [mother-of-the-bride’s younger sister Lavinia P. Angus Marthaler & her cousin]—Table center
  • Dr. G. Carlton Brown [future husband of Mildred W. Woodruff, sister of the bride]—Tabourette
  • Cal & Gertrude Brodhead [son and daughter-in-law of Garret Brodhead (father of groom’s brother) & Annie Kocher]—Gas Lamp
  • James E. Brodhead [brother of father of the groom] & family—$60
  • Mr. Charles C. Martin [brother of mother of the groom]—Cut-glass water pitcher
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Davidson [Likely a cousin of Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead, mother of the groom; the two shared a common great grandfather, John Oliver Wait]—cut-glass vase
Honeymoon photo, Frank M. Brodhead and Fannie Bishop Woodruff, married June 6, 1908

Honeymoon photo, Frank M. Brodhead and Fannie Bishop Woodruff, married June 6, 1908

The bride's parents: Wm Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus

The bride’s parents:
Wm Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus

  • Mr. E. B. Earl—Cream & sugar (silver)
  • Mr. & Mrs. W. A. C. Earl—1/2 dozen spoons
  • Julia Crane —Salad bowl
  • Alice Crane—Glass vase
  • Fanny Crane—Cut-glass berry bowl
  • Mr. & Mrs. Walter H. Knowles [cousin of bride; son of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—Butter knife
  • Mr. & Mrs. Job W. Angus [mother-of-the-bride’s brother and sister-in-law Jeannette Tillou]—Cut-glass bowl
  • Mr. & Mrs. Morris Budd [parents of wife of Ogden Bonnell Woodruff, cousin of bride’s father]—cut-glass (?)
  • Aunt Fannie Bishop—China centerpiece
  • Aunt Edith & Uncle Walter [Walter Prince Angus and his wife Edith Marshall; Walter was the youngest brother of the bride’s mother]—Cucumber server
  • Celia Belle and Nell—Salt & pepper
Fannie Bishop Woodruff

Fannie Bishop Woodruff

Bertha Woodruff was maid of honor

Bertha Woodruff was maid of honor

  • Mr. & Mrs. John Woodruff [father-of-the-bride’s cousin, son of Ogden and Phebe Woodruff, and his wife Carrie Conover]—Sugar shaker
  • Aunt Annie Crane—Silver cream ladle
  • Mr. & Mrs. Scott O. Woodruff—Picture
  • Watts Knowles [cousin of bride; son of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—Silver sugar spoon
  • Mr. & Mrs. A. F. Knowles [Aunt of the bride–Mary Martha Winans Angus—and Austin F. Knowles]—Silver butter spoon
  • Gertrude Knowles [cousin of bride; daughter of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—Hand-worked towels
  • Lewis Brodhead [brother of the groom]—Knives – 2 dozen – 2 sizes; Carvers – 2 sets – 2 sizes; Pie knife, 1/2 dozen tablespoons, 1 dozen teaspoons
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Categories: Angus, Ayers, Blakslee, Bonnell, Brodhead, Coleman, Crane, Dickinson, Elizabeth, Union Co., Jaques, Marthaler, Martin, Packer, Russum, Wait, Weddings, Woodruff | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Century-old Brodhead wedding gift list offers family clues

  1. Kevin DePuy

    Hey there,

    Would you happen to have anything on a Mary Lesher being married to 1stLt Daniel Brodhead (son of Brig, Gen Daniel and Elizabeth DePuy Brodhead.  They would have been married around 1781 in and around Stroudsburg.  I came across a note on them and thats all I have.

    Thanks.

    Kevin C. De Puy

    Like

    • Hi, Kevin; Wow–that’s quite a coincidence—tomorrow’s post is on that same (very murky) topic. Please feel free to leave a comment on that post once you’ve had a chance to read it. Many thanks. Gail

      Like

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