Green-Wood Cemetery Brooklyn NY

Some descendants of the Nixon family of Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

Louise and Jennie Nixon, 1964

Photo from my family’s private collection: Sisters Louise (75) and Jennie Nixon (80) in 1964

These lovely elderly ladies are Louise E. Nixon and Jane ‘Jennie’ Bracken Nixon, nieces of my great-grandmother Sarah (Nixon) Boles of Co. Leitrim, Ireland, whose parents—William Nixon and Rachel Miller—and numerous siblings moved to the United States in the late 1860s. The ladies were my grandfather William Boles‘s cousins.

A previous post on Sarah Nixon Boles mentioned the fact that most, if not all, of her family relocated to New York after the US Civil War. This Nixon family is presumably part of the Nixon family of Fermanagh*—about which much has been written (e.g., The Families of French of Belturbet and Nixon of Fermanagh, and Their Descendants by Henry B. Swanzy, published in 1908).  However, I have yet to figure out the family’s location in the larger Nixon family tree.

William and Rachel Nixon were about 67 and 51, respectively when they arrived in America in 1869 (the year given me by the descendant of Benjamin, one of their sons). Joining them were supposedly all of their children (I’ve found 11, although my mother’s records list 14) except for my great-grandmother Sarah: Mark Nixon (b. cir. 1839/1845), Edward Nixon (b. cir 1845); Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Nixon (b. cir. 1849); Jane Nixon (b. 1851); Thomas Nixon (b. cir. 1852); Sarah Nixon (b. 1855); Rachel Nixon (b. cir 1865); Mary Nixon (b. cir 1858); Benjamin Nixon (b. cir 1862); Robert Nixon (b. 1863); Catherine Nixon (b. 1864); the last three (whom I have yet to find a trace of) were James, John, and William.

Passenger List - The Caledonia - sailed from Moville, Ireland to NY, NY on 14 Sep 1868 (Source Citation: Year: 1868; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm Roll: 301; Line: 22; List Number: 989.)

Passenger List – The Caledonia – sailed from Moville, Ireland to NY, NY on 14 September 1868 (Source Citation: Year: 1868; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm Roll: 301; Line: 22; List Number: 989.)

The passenger list inset for the ship Caledonia , which set sail from Moville on Lough Foyle at the northern tip of Northern Ireland to New York on 14 September 1868, shows the names of some Nixons–the names seem to fairly well coincide with some of the Nixon children’s names & ages. If these indeed are ‘our Nixons’, it would indicate that the older children may have come ahead of the parents and younger children.

While researching the family, I found William, Rachel and a number of the children in the 1870 US Federal Census, living in NYC Ward 18. William is listed as a ‘farmer’, an answer based certainly on his past occupation in Ireland. The children in the household were: Edward (30), Thomas (20), Eliza (22), Jane (18), Rachel (15), Mary (10), and ‘Bennett’ (10, this was probably ‘Benjamin’).

1870 Census Record ("United States Census, 1870," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M8X8-K4T : accessed 25 February 2015), Rachael Nixon, New York, United States; citing p. 34, family , NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,539.)

1870 Census Record (“United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M8X8-K4T : accessed 25 February 2015), Rachael Nixon, New York, United States; citing p. 34, family , NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,539.)

William Nixon died before the 1880 US Federal Census, as Rachel Nixon is listed in that census record as a widow ‘keeping house’ and living at 203 16th Street, NY, NY. and living with children Edward, Lizzie, Thomas, Rachel, Benjamin, Robert, Mary, and Kate, and several lodgers. The census record indicates that family members were involved in the dry goods business. Son Thomas (28 and now widowed) is listed as being a ‘dry goods buyer’ as is son Edward, age 35 and single. Benjamin (20) is listed as a ‘dry goods clerk’ as is Robert (18). (The 1900 Census indicates that Robert emigrated in 1879.)

Looking at old newspapers, I found the following mortuary notice in the New York Herald, dated 11 Aug 1871: At his [Gramercy] residence, 346 East 17th Street, on Thursday, August 10, William Nixon, aged 69 years. Funeral will take place on Saturday, August 12, at one o’clock PM from Seventeenth Street Methodist Episcopal Church, between First and Second avenues. Relatives and friends are invited to attend.

Wikimedia Commons: Manhattan neighborhoods (map); Author= Stilfehler; Oct. 15th, 2007

Wikimedia Commons: Manhattan neighborhoods (map); Author= Stilfehler; Oct. 15th, 2007

Almost two decades later, I found a notice for a Rachel Nixon (New York Herald, 12 May 1890): On Saturday, May 10, 1890, Rachel Nixon, age 72 years. The relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the funeral services at her late [East Village] residence, No. 224 East 12th Street, on Monday evening, May 12, 1890 at eight o’clock. Interment in Green-wood.

A William Nixon (bur. August 1871, Find a Grave memorial #127997780) and a Rachel Nixon (bur. 5-13-1890; Find a Grave memorial #106845856) are buried in Green-wood Cemetery Lot 17245 Section 17, Grave 114. The grave is unmarked according to the Find a Grave photographer who kindly attempted to find the graves for me. I’m not yet certain that I have the correct Rachel and William, but hope to pin all this down at some point. Meanwhile I toss this info out there to my readers and future readers who may already have turned over these stones and arrived at some conclusions.

Son Edward Nixon and wife Anna (Bracken) Nixon, who emigrated from No. Ireland in 1883, had four children: Jane ‘Jennie’ (b. 1884), William (b. 1885), George (b. 1887), and Louise (b. 1889). The first two children were born in Manhattan. The second two were born in Bridgeport, CT. Edward died sometime between 1889 and 1900, as Anna is a widow as of the 1900 census. There is an Edward Nixon in the same plot at Green-wood Cemetery (Burial 1899-03-29, Lot 17245 Section 17, Grave 114; (Find a Grave #106846467), perhaps giving a bit more weight to the possibility that the Green-wood plot is indeed where our Nixon ancestors were laid to rest.

By the 1900 Census, Anna (Bracken) Nixon and her children (ages 16, 15, 13, 11), sister Mary J. Bracken, and a lodger are living at 160 Virginia Avenue in Jersey City Ward No. 8, Hudson Co., NJ, and it was there that the family remained for many years. Neither Jennie nor Louise ever married. Jennie devoted her life to working as a teacher in the Jersey City public school system, and Louise worked for many years as a stenographer and then executive secretary for the president or vice president of a company in NYC. Eventually the sisters joined forces with their brother William and his wife Marion to buy a large house at 680 Orchard Street in Oradell, NJ, where they spent happy years before moving into the Francis Asbury Manor Methodist rest home in Ocean Grove, NJ. Jane died in May of 1972, and Louise in October 1979.

Jennie Boles with Louise and Jennie Nixon, spring 1964

Photo form my family’s private collection: Jennie Boles (75) of Ireland with her American cousins Louise (75) and Jennie Nixon (80), early spring 1964, New Jersey

Serendipitously it was during their years in Jersey City that Jennie and Louise befriended my grandmother Zillah Trewin who lived there with her parents William Trewin and Elizabeth (Sargent) Trewin. According to my mother, Zillah was great friends with the Nixon sisters, as well as their cousins (the children of Jane Nixon and Wm Elliott Roberts), and it was through that friendship that she ultimately met and married their cousin (my grandfather) William Boles who emigrated to the US in 1912 at the encouragement of his uncle Robert Nixon who sponsored him.

I remember Jennie and Louise well. They were very fun ladies—full of good humor and always had a twinkle in their eyes. I always enjoyed the times spent with them, and best remember our visits to their Ocean Grove apartment. As I recall, we would drive down to see them on Saturdays since the roads in Ocean Grove are closed to all traffic on Sundays. We always took them out to lunch, and I remember taking them down to some restaurant near the ocean in Spring Lake, a short drive to the south. They were two sweethearts and it was very sad to lose them. I would love to have them here now to have some family history chats with them. When I was a teenager that topic was far from my mind.

I’ll close this post with a couple of Louise’s recipes (‘Chocolate Flake Candy’ and ‘Date Balls’) I recently came upon while re-binding my mom’s old recipe notebook. I haven’t tried either of them yet as I am trying to shift a bit of weight. Such temptations would surely sabotage my results! But they will stay on my radar!

If you’ve made it this far in the post, I wish you a great day. If you have anything to add, share, correct, etc., please don’t hesitate to get in touch or leave a comment!

Nixon_Louise_recipe

Recipes typed up by Louise Nixon for my mother

Jennie and Louise’s Nixon Tree Branch
1-William Nixon b. Cir 1802, Ireland, d. Bef 2 Jun 1880; possibly 10 Aug
1871 +Rachael Millar b. Cir 1818, Ireland, d. Possibly 10 May 1890, Manhattan, New
York, New York
|—–2-Edward Nixon b. Cir 1845, Ireland, d. Betw 1889 and 1900
| +Anna Bracken b. Aug 1847, Northern Ireland, d. After 1930
| |—–3-Jane Bracken Nixon b. 15 Apr 1884, Manhattan, New York, New York,
| | d. May 1972, Ocean Grove, Monmouth, NJ
| |—–3-William Thomas Nixon b. 24 Aug 1885, Manhattan, New York, New
| | York, d. Sep 1967, Suffolk, New York
| | +Marion Zoller
| |—–3-George Robert Bracken Nixon b. 12 Feb 1887, Bridgeport,
| | Connecticut
| | +May L. Swenarton b. Cir 1889, New Jersey
| | |—–4-George W. Nixon b. Cir 1914, New Jersey
| | |—–4-Frank L. Nixon b. Cir 1919
| |—–3-Louise E. Nixon b. 22 Jul 1889, Bridgeport, Connecticut, d. Oct
| | 1979, Ocean Grove, Monmouth, NJ

Categories: Boles, Co. Fermanagh, Drumkeeran, Co. Leitrim, Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Green-Wood Cemetery Brooklyn NY, Ireland, Jersey City, Hudson Co., Manhattan, Methodist Episcopal, New York, Nixon, Trewin, US Federal 1880 | 2 Comments

More on the tragic Tracy family house fire of February 1890

Last April I did two posts on the Brodhead/Catlin/Tracy families (Post 1, Post 2). You may recall that Delinda Catlin Tracy, wife of Secretary of the Navy Benjamin F. Tracy, and her daughter Mary perished in a house fire at the Tracy residence on February 3, 1890. Delinda was the daughter of Nathaniel Catlin and Jane Dingman Brodhead.

I’ve come across a couple more extensive articles on the fire which are rich in biographical information about the family’s members. The articles were found on the Fulton History website, so thankfully, I am able to post them here. Another interesting article “Ladies of the Cabinet” was published the year prior, on 16 March 1889. It contains an interesting profile of Delinda Tracy and her family. However, I found it on Genealogy Bank so I am unable to include it here. Those with access to old Washington DC newspapers can find the article in The Evening Star on that date (page 7).

Article 1. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 4 February 1890 (credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com):

FOR BETTER READING, CLICK EACH IMAGE TO ENLARGE

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Article courtesy of www.fultonhistory.com

Article courtesy of http://www.fultonhistory.com

Article 2. The New York Herald, 4 February 1890 (credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com):

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Categories: Brodhead, Catlin, Death, Green-Wood Cemetery Brooklyn NY, Tracy, Tracy, Benjamin F. Sec Nav, Washington DC | 2 Comments

Monsieur Alphonse P. M. de la Flechelle (cir. 1792 – 14 October 1847)

Birch-de la Flechelle marriage, New York Evening Express, published 28 December 1860 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Birch-de la Flechelle marriage, New York Evening Express, published 28 December 1860 (www.fultonhistory.com)

frenchAfter 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.)

First Presbyterian Church and Cemetery [Woodbridge, NJ] Credit below

First Presbyterian Church and Cemetery [Woodbridge, NJ] Credit below

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.

The retreat of Napoleon from Russia, 3 November 1812, by Victor Adam - mid-19th century (Pennington Catalogue, p. 3005, McGill University Libraries (Public domain-Wikimedia)

The retreat of Napoleon from Russia, 3 November 1812, by Victor Adam – mid-19th century (Pennington Catalogue, p. 3005, McGill University Libraries (Public domain-Wikimedia)

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.

Honoré Daumier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (more info below)

“La Vue” [of the Brooklyn Bridge, I presume], circa 1839, by Honoré Daumier; lithograph on wove paper; Brooklyn Museum of Art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (more info below)

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.

Brooklyn, NY, Daily Eagle, 21 Jun 1849 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Mrs. de la Flechelle giving piano lessons; Brooklyn, NY, Daily Eagle, 21 Jun 1849 (www.fultonhistory.com)

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.

New York Times, 27 Aug 1858 (www.fultonhistory.com); note: for a clearer image visit the NY Times online archives.

New York Times, 27 Aug 1858 (www.fultonhistory.com); note: for a clearer image visit the NY Times online archives.

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.

NY Herald, published (Credit: www.fultonhistory.com)

NY Herald, published (Credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com)

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.

Queens County Court news, Queens County Sentinel, 1897 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Queens County Court news, Queens County Sentinel, 1897 (www.fultonhistory.com)

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.

Queens County Sentinel, 13 Sept 1896 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Queens County Sentinel, 13 Sept 1896 (www.fultonhistory.com)

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.?

New York Press, 1889 (www.fultonhistory.com)

New York Press, 1889 (www.fultonhistory.com)

New York Press, 10 Nov 1890 (www.fultonhistory.com)

New York Press, 10 Nov 1890 (www.fultonhistory.com)

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:

American for the Country, 28 August 1838, 1st part of article (www.fultonhistory.com)

American for the Country, 28 August 1838, 1st part of article (www.fultonhistory.com)

American for the Country, 28 August 1838, part 2 (www.fultonhistory.com)

American for the Country, 28 August 1838, part 2 (www.fultonhistory.com)

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.

New York - American for the Country, published 22 Sep 1838 (www.fultonhistory.com)

New York – American for the Country, published 22 Sep 1838 (www.fultonhistory.com)

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:

Evening Post (NY), 2 Sept 1838

Evening Post (NY), 2 Sept 1838

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.

Presbyterian Church Photo Credit: By Perrycart (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cartoon: Honoré Daumier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Brooklyn Museum of Art

Categories: 1st Presbyterian Woodbridge NJ, Birch, Brooklyn, Civil War, de la Flechelle, de la Fletcher Birch, Green-Wood Cemetery Brooklyn NY, Jaques, Napoleon, New York 1855, New York City, Obituaries, Presbyterian, Spain - Peninsular War (1808-13), War of 1812 (Russia), Woodbridge | 2 Comments

Oldest Jaques daughter: Jane F. Birch of Brooklyn, NY

Image credit below

Image credit below

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.

Image credit below.

Image credit below.

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.

page 1170 re: George L. Birch

page 1170 re: George L. Birch

Page 1071 re: John F. Birch

Page 1071 re: John F. Birch

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.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 5 July 1900 (www.fulton.com)

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 5 July 1900 (www.fulton.com)

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

Categories: 1st Presbyterian Woodbridge NJ, Birch, Brooklyn, de la Flechelle, de la Fletcher Birch, Death, Elizabeth, Union Co., Green-Wood Cemetery Brooklyn NY, Jaques, New York City, Obituaries, US Federal 1870 | 4 Comments

Jane D. Brodhead’s spouse dies; daughter & granddaughter perish in fire; President Benjamin Harrison comes to call

Coincidentally to yesterday’s post on Isaac S. Catlin, a grandson of Garret Brodhead (b. 1733), I discovered an obituary for Isaac’s father Nathaniel Catlin. Nathaniel was married to Jane Dingman Brodhead (1805-1876), daughter of Samuel Brodhead (b. 1779) and Hannah Shoemaker. Interestingly, Jane’s brother Daniel (b. 1798) was married to Nathaniel’s sister Phoebe.

Nathaniel outlived Jane by some 17 years, dying at the ripe old age of 97. What particularly struck me about the obit was the last line about his daughter Mrs. Benjamin F. Tracey having died several years before, perishing in a fire in Washington DC. That definitely piqued my curiosity. I managed to find a newspaper article describing the horrific tragedy which took her life and that of her daughter in February 1890. More below.

NY Herald Tribune, 28 September 1893 (permission from www.fultonhistory.com)

NY Herald Tribune, 28 Sept. 1893 (permission from http://www.fultonhistory.com)

Catlin_Nathaniel

NY Herald Tribune, 28 Sept. 1893 (permission from http://www.fultonhistory.com)

AN AWFUL CALAMITY, the headline about the deadly fire, appears on the front page of the Gloversville, NY, Daily Leader, of 4 February 1890. Nathaniel’s daughter (Isaac’s sister) Delinda E. Catlin (b. 1826) was married to Secretary of the Navy Benjamin F. Tracy who served in the administration of President Benjamin Harrison. The article describes how the Tracy home in Washington DC was consumed by fire, killing Mrs. Tracy, her unmarried daughter Mary, and a French nurse named Josephine. The home was located at 1684 I Street NW which would have placed it on Farragut Square. The cause of the fire was deemed to be a defective flue. Mrs. Tracy (Delinda), who jumped from a second floor window, could have survived the fire had she waited just moments more for the ladder that was being raised to her. The Secretary, who had evidently passed out in the room his wife had just leaped from, was rescued and carried through the window and down the ladder.

Tracy was taken to someone’s home to recover. He was called on there by President Harrison, and Harrison had Tracy removed to the Executive Mansion (the “White House”). It was Harrison who broke the news to Tracy about his wife and daughter. The entire article is included below.

Gloversville, NY, Daily Leader, 4February 1890 (used with permission of www.fultonhistory.com)

Gloversville, NY, Daily Leader, 4 Feb. 1890 (permission from http://www.fultonhistory.com)

Calamity, section 1

1

Calamity, section 2

2

Calamity, section 3

3

Calamity, section 4

4

Calamity, section 5

5

Calamity, Section 6

6

The article goes on to describe how, due to the tragedy, the President and his cabinet called off a planned visit to NYC. The Senate voted to adjourn out of respect. All in all, a terribly tragic story, and I was sorry to come across it. Without a doubt other family tragedies — some known and many still unknown to us — “adorn” our family trees; this is one of the most striking examples I have come across so far. May all those impacted be resting in peace.

Links to Find a Grave memorials:
Delinda E. Catlin Tracy
Mary Farrington Tracy
Benjamin Franklin Tracy
Emma Louise Tracy Wilmerding

White House in the Civil War era 1860s (photographer unknown; photo in public domain*)

White House in the Civil War era 1860s (photographer unknown; photo in public domain*)

President Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president (photo in public domain)

President Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president (Pach Brothers, 1896; photo in public domain*)

Calamity, section 7

7

*This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923. See [http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/public_domain/ this page] for further explanation. This image might not be in the public domain outside of the United States; this especially applies in the countries and areas that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works, such as Canada, mainland China (not Hong Kong nor Macao), Germany, Mexico, and Switzerland.

Categories: Brodhead, Brooklyn, Catlin, Green-Wood Cemetery Brooklyn NY, Harrison, President Benjamin, Shoemaker, Washington DC | 2 Comments

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