Family Homes

112-year-old Brodhead family guestbook — Post I

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

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be publishing the pages of a guest book that was given to my grandparents when they moved into their new home at 736 Jersey Avenue in Elizabeth, Union Co., New Jersey, in June 1908.  Their minister Rev. William Force Whitaker of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth was the first guest who signed in, and his handwriting matches the handwriting you see here, so the book evidently was a gift from him. About 18 months’ worth of guests is recorded. Many of you will recognize the names of those who stopped by. I’m not publishing all the pages at once since I will have comments to make about certain names and want to research some others.

I am going to assume that the house number 736 is correct, however, a previous post I did on my grandparents’ wedding contained a newspaper announcement that gave the house number as 732.  It could be that parents (Andrew D. and Margaret Brodhead) lived at 732, since I have seen that as their address, and my grandparents at 736.  A visit to Google street view indicates that both those homes have been replaced (quite recently it appears) by a townhouse-looking structure, so, alas, the number discrepancy is neither here nor there—there shall never be real estate listings showing the inside of those two dwellings.

The pages below show a child’s scribbles, revealing that my Dad or his brother must have gotten his hands on the guest book at some point. Or perhaps the scribbles were made by the children of some visitors…

The first page shows the following guests — after the Reverend (who resided at 142 Stiles Street, Elizabeth, NJ):

The Van Horn Children: Abigail Van Horn, Frances Van Horn, and Robert Osborn Van Horn

In any case, I will welcome your comments as you see names you recognize. Please feel free to share any information you may know about the people behind them for the benefit of other family members who follow this blog. Thank you!

Categories: Baker, Barksdale, Brodhead, Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Family Homes, Heirlooms, New Jersey, Presbyterian, Townley, Woodruff | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

1869 – James W. Angus Estate Map – Elizabeth, New Jersey

The Knowles house at 924 Elizabeth Ave

Below is a map showing the estate of my second-great-grandfather James W. Angus, who died in December 1862 at the age of 52, leaving behind his wife Wealthy and 10 children, aged 11 months to 22 years. The map was drafted in 1869 as Wealthy sold off bits and pieces of the land to help make ends meet.

If you enlarge the map, you will see that daughter Mary Martha Angus and her husband Austin F. Knowles had two lots/homes on Elizabeth Avenue (924 is pictured on the left); daughter Lavinia Angus Marthaler had four; daughter Wealthy Angus Woodruff had one; and son Walter P. Angus had one.

I’m not sure who the Woodruff was at 928. Could have been Wealthy Angus Woodruff, I suppose. The other names I don’t recognize.

Angus family home

Written in red ink, the names must have been added later since Lavinia, the youngest daughter, did not marry until 1879, and her married name is included here.

The Angus family home from 1848-1871 was at 927 Elizabeth Avenue, across the street from the Knowles’ property.

Estate of James W. Angus, 1869

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., Family Homes, Knowles, Last Wills and Testaments, New Jersey, Woodruff | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Albert Gallatin Brodhead (1799-1880)

"Wheat Plains," the old Brodhead Homestead, Pike Co., Pennsylvania

“Wheat Plains,” the old Brodhead Homestead, Pike Co., Pennsylvania

The Albert Gallatin Brodhead of this post is the uncle of the Albert Gallatin Brodhead mentioned in the previous post. (I’ll refer to him here as Albert Sr. so as not to confuse the two.) Albert Sr., child #4 of twelve belonging to the Hon. Richard B. Brodhead (1771-1843), a Pike Co. judge, and Hannah Drake (1769-1832), was born at “Wheat Plains Farm” which was established by Richard’s father Garret Brodhead after the Revolutionary War. Albert’s oldest brother was my third great grandfather — also named Garret.

The family tree:

1-The Hon. Richard B. Brodhead b. 31 Jul 1771, Stroudsburg, PA, d. 11 Nov 1843, Milford, Pike Co., PA
+Hannah Drake b. 15 Nov 1769, d. 31 Jul 1832, Pike Co., PA
|—–2-Sarah Brodhead b. 12 Feb 1792, d. 21 Jan 1879,
|—–2-Garret Brodhead b. 2 Dec 1793, E Mauch Chunk Carbon Co PA, d. 18 Jan 1872,
|            E Mauch Chunk Carbon Co PA,
|—–2-William Brodhead b. 22 Feb 1796, d. 23 Oct 1880, Pike Co PA,
|—–2-Albert Gallatin Brodhead b. 16 Aug 1799, Wheat Plains Farm, Lehman Twp, Wayne Co., PA
|             d. 18 Jul 1880, Bethlehem, PA
|—–2-Anna Maria Brodhead b. 14 Feb 1801, d. 14 Mar 1868
|—–2-Rachel Brodhead b. 5 Jan 1803, d. 4 Apr 1864
|—–2-Jane Brodhead b. 13 Jan 1804, Lebanon Co., PA, d. 13 Nov 1867, Luzerne Co., PA
|—–2-Charles Brodhead b. 4 Aug 1805, d. 5 Sep 1831
|—–2-Richard Brodhead b. 5 Apr 1807, d. 16 Nov 1809,
|—–2-Elizabeth Brodhead b. 7 Feb 1809, d. 25 Nov 1809
|—–2-Hon. Richard Brodhead II b. 6 Jan 1811, Lehman Township, PA, d. 16 Sep 1863,
|           Easton, Northampton Co., PA
|—–2-Eliza Brodhead b. Feb 1814, d. 30 Dec 1814

Quite a bit can be found about various Brodhead family members in old books and newspapers—not to mention The Brodhead Family history volumes, copiously produced by diligent and dedicated members of the Brodhead Family Association—and Albert Sr. is no exception. Here, in Chapter 9 of the History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania, by Alfred Mathews (Philadelphia: R. T. Peck & Co., 1886), we find:

Wikimedia Commons: Northerly view of the Susquehanna River Valley from Council Cup Scenic Overlook, Conyngham and Salem Townships, Luzerne County. 14 October 2007. Upriver * Uploaded by User:Gary Dee

Wikimedia Commons: Northerly view of the Susquehanna River Valley from Council Cup Scenic Overlook, Conyngham and Salem Townships, Luzerne County. 14 October 2007. Author: Nicholas from Pennsylvania on Flickr. Uploaded by User:Gary Dee

Albert G. Brodhead, another son of Judge Richard Brodhead, was born at the old homestead, Wheat Plains, Lehman township, Pike County, (then Wayne), August 16, 1799. In 1823 he married Ellen Middagh, and removed to the village of Conyngham, in Luzerne County, Pa. He engaged largely in the mercantile and lumbering business, was elected four terms to the Legislature from Luzerne County, and during his residence there was probably as popular and respected a man as lived in the county. In 1838 he purchased the “Brodhead Homestead,” at Wheat Plains, from his father, where he resided, universally respected, until 1865, when he removed to Bethlehem, Pa., where his only son, Charles Brodhead, resided, and still lives, a popular, representative citizen of character and influence.

The Moravian Sun Inn, Bethlehem, PA (Wikimedia Commons - Jared Kofsky)

The Moravian Sun Inn, Bethlehem, PA (Wikimedia Commons – Jared Kofsky)

He is the owner [please see Ruth Bush’s guest comment below which appears to contradict this] of the Moravian Sun Inn, which was established in Bethlehem in 1758, the walls of which he has adorned with old and rare paintings. Here he resided until July 18, 1880, when he peacefully passed away, and is buried in the Moravian Cemetery in that place. [Actually, if he was buried here, he was eventually re-interred at the Nisky Hill Cemetery; see the Find a Grave entry here. Visit this National Park Service page for more on the Moravian Sun Inn, now a museum; click here for the Museum’s webpage]

And, below is an obituary from the Honesdale, PA, Wayne County Herald, 29 July 1880 (courtesy of I only found it by chance, searching for “Albert Gallatin Broadhead” on a lark, although it does contain a mix of Brodhead and Broadhead, so maybe I would have found it eventually anyway. But, as many of you know, larks can be very worthwhile!—I must always remember that!:

Honesdale PA Wayne County Herald, 29 July 1880

Honesdale PA Wayne County Herald, 29 July 1880

Honesdale PA Wayne County Herald, 29 July 1880

Honesdale PA Wayne County Herald, 29 July 1880

Honesdale PA Wayne County Herald, 29 July 1880

Honesdale PA Wayne County Herald, 29 July 1880

As always, comments, corrections, additions, etc. are very welcome!

Categories: Bethlehem Northamp Co, Brodhead, Conyngham Luzerne Co, Death, Family Homes, Middagh, Nisky Hill Cemetery Bethlehem, Obituaries, Pike Co. | 4 Comments

Old Woodruff Family Homestead: Witness to American History

View Near Elizabethtown, N. J., oil painting by Régis François Gignoux, Honolulu Museum of Art (Wikipedia - public domain)

View Near Elizabethtown, N. J., oil painting by Régis François Gignoux, Honolulu Museum of Art- 1847 (Wikipedia – public domain)

The city of Elizabeth, New Jersey’s birthplace and a crossroads of the American Revolution, celebrates its 350th anniversary this year. The GoElizabethNJ website is dedicated to the city’s 2014 celebrations which appear to culminate in an historical reenactment in October. They hope to attract to their celebrations many of those whose roots hail back to that era of New Jersey’s history. There are millions of us out here, and you may be one of them!

As I read about the celebration plans, I was reminded of an article we have about the home of Timothy Woodruff (1715-1798; DAR record #A128744) whose ancestors, hailing from Fordwich, Kent Co., England, were among the city’s founders. For some reason, the house is absent from the GoElizabethNJ‘s map of county historic sites, although they do include the Woodruff House and Eaton Store Museum, which was built on land owned by John Woodruff (1637-1691), a great-grandfather of Timothy. (For a map of Elizabethtown at the time of the Revolutionary War, click here.)

The Woodruff House at 866 Salem Avenue - present day

The Woodruff House at 866 Salem Avenue – present day

The Timothy Woodruff house article was published in the Elizabeth Daily Journal on 21 November 1964. In the event you are a Woodruff descendant, I am including it here. Published almost 50 years ago during Elizabeth’s 300th anniversary year, the article is probably hard to dig up online. So I will save you a trip to the Elizabeth library :-), where it is no doubt available in their archives. At the time the article was written, the house had been out of the Woodruff family for four years. Its last owner, my 2nd great grandfather Francis Woodruff’s niece Carrie Woodruff (89 yrs old in 1964, daughter of Ogden Woodruff and Phebe Bonnell, and a sister of Rev. Frank Stiles Woodruff) had moved out and gone to to live in a rest home in nearby Cranford.

For the benefit of my immediate family members who may read this, our descent from Timothy is as follows:

1-Timothy Woodruff b. 1715, d. 26 Apr 1798, Elizabethtown, NJ, bur. First Presbyterian Church yard of Elizabeth, NJ +Elizabeth Parsons b. 1712, East Hampton, Long Island, NY, d. 16 Sep 1776, Elizabethtown, NJ, bur. First Presbyterian Church yard of Elizabeth, NJ

2-Enos Woodruff b. 1749, Elizabethtown, NJ, d. 5 Dec 1821, Elizabethtown, NJ, bur. Stone 0599 (missing), First Presbyterian Church yard of Elizabeth, NJ +Charity Ogden b. 19 Aug 1753, d. 5 Sep 1828, Elizabethtown, NJ, bur. Stone 0598 (missing), First Presbyterian Church yard of Elizabeth, NJ

3-John Woodruff b. 27 Feb 1795, Elizabethtown, NJ, d. 6 Aug 1857 +Mary Ogden Earl b. 3 Jan 1794, Connecticut Farm, NJ, d. 24 Jul 1878

Francis Woodruff

Francis Woodruff

Mary Jane Trowbridge Woodruff

Mary Jane Trowbridge Woodruff

4-Francis Woodruff b. 30 Oct 1820, Elizabethtown, NJ, d. 8 Aug 1883, Conant Street, Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ, bur. 10 Aug 1883, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ +Mary Jane Trowbridge b. 20 Sep 1821, New Providence, Essex Co., NJ, d. 27 Feb 1883, Lyons Farms, Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ, bur. 1 Mar 1883, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union Co., NJ

Wm Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus

Wm Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus

5-William Earl Woodruff b. 4 Oct 1848, Elizabeth, NJ, d. 18 Oct 1928, Elizabeth, NJ, bur. Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union, NJ
+Wealthy Ann Angus b. 5 Aug 1850, d. 27 May 1927, bur. Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union Co., NJ

It goes without saying that there is much to glean from an article like this. I hope you will find it of interest, and if you have anything to add or share, please do. (For some links to online material pertaining to the Woodruffs, visit my Links page and scroll down to the bottom.) Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1864, p. 1.

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1964, p. 1.

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1864, p. 1.

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1964, p. 1.

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1964, p. 1.

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1964, p. 1.

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1964, p. 1.

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1964, p. 1.

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1964, p. 1.

The Daily Journal, Elizabeth, NJ, 21 November 1964, p. 1.

Categories: Anniversaries, Elizabeth, Union Co., Family Homes, Revolutionary War, Woodruff | 8 Comments

C. Clarence Coleman (1877-1953)

The C. Clarence Coleman family home at 17 Wilder Street, late 1930s/early 1940s (Standing, third from the left, is Jennie Woodruff Coleman; Clarence is the gentleman in the hat to her left. Their daughter is to Jennie's right. My dad, a nephew of Clarence and Jennie is standing by the door to the truck)

The C. Clarence Coleman family home at 17 Wilder Street, late 1930s/early 1940s (Standing, third from the left, is Jennie Woodruff Coleman; Clarence is the gentleman in the hat to her left. Their daughter is to Jennie’s right. My dad, a nephew of Clarence and Jennie is standing by the door to the truck)

Obituary notice

Obituary notice

I stumbled on an obituary for Charles Clarence Coleman and noticed that later this month will mark the 60th anniversary of his passing. Charles, who went by his middle name of Clarence, was married to Jennie Belle Woodruff—the eldest daughter of William E. Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff.  Both Clarence and Jennie passed away in the 1950s.

Growing up, I never knew much about my dad’s ‘Uncle Clarence’ other than that he had been a very successful banker and liked antiques, and that he and Jennie were married for ten years before they had any children. Just one child was born, a daughter. She spent holidays with us at our NJ farmhouse in the ’60s and ’70s.

The Coleman house in Elizabeth, which Clarence had built, was quite a grand place with a spiral staircase going up to the third floor, large grounds (by city standards) and a goldfish pond and rose garden out back. I remember the rooms being full of beautiful antiques. Clarence and Jennie’s daughter, who never married, continued living in the house well into the ’70s with one of Jennie’s sisters (Bertha) and a housekeeper Mrs. Morse. Some time after Bertha’s death, a new housekeeper appeared who encouraged Jennie and Clarence’s daughter to downsize. Sadly, the house was sold to make way for a run-of-the-mill apartment block. Indeed, it was a sad day when we drove past the bulldozed property on our way to the ‘new’ home–a fairly boring one-level brick house crammed between two others like it–not too far away. My dad was particularly upset by the decision as he had spent considerable time over his teenaged years at the Wilder Street house, helping Clarence and Jennie with household projects, and he was sure neither Clarence nor Jennie would ever have envisioned the grand old house being torn down. But, c’est la guerre.

Image from my family's private archives of  Jennie Belle Woodruff Coleman with her daughter, 1914

Image from my family’s private archives of Jennie Belle Woodruff Coleman with her daughter, 1914

For no real reason, apart from the fact that I’d never heard my dad’s cousin mention having any aunts or uncles on her father’s side, I’d always assumed that Clarence was an only child. Imagine my surprise to discover after a bit of research that just the opposite was true–he was one of nine! Perhaps, that explains why he wasn’t in a rush to have children himself.

Clarence’s father was a silver plate craftsman named Charles M. Coleman, who emigrated to the US at age one from England with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William R. C. Coleman. Charles M. Coleman married New Jersey-born Emily Chapman in about 1872. If my research is correct, below is a rudimentary tree for the family. Anyone able to flesh out more details, please feel free to get in touch.

Note: Clarence, Jennie and daughter are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Union Co., NJ. Visit Find a Grave to see their markers.

1-Charles M. Coleman b. Cir 1845, England d. Aft 1910 +Emily C. Chapman b. Cir 1850, New Jersey, USA d. Aft 1910
|—-2-William Sidney Coleman b. 14 Nov 1875, Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ d. Aft 1940 + Edna G.
|—-2-Charles Clarence Coleman b. 25 Nov 1877, Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ, d. 28
|      Dec 1953, Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ
|     +Jennie Belle Woodruff b. 24 Nov 1873, d. 20 Oct 1955, 17 Wilder St.,
|      Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ, bur. Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union Co., NJ
|—-2-Eleanor Coleman b. Cir 1879, New Jersey; d. aft 1910
|—-2-Grace Coleman b. Cir 1880, New Jersey, United States; d. bef. 1910
|—-2-Frances D. Coleman b. 1884, New Jersey, United States; d. aft 1910
|—-2-Mary E. Coleman b. Cir 1886, New Jersey; d. aft 1910
|—-2-John Coleman b. 15 Nov 1890, Middlesex Co., NJ; d. bef. 1910
|—-2-Oprah B. Coleman b. Cir 1890, New Jersey; d. aft 1910
|—-2-Andrew Altman Coleman b. Cir 1893, New Jersey; d. betw 28 Dec 1953 and 16 Nov 1958
|      +Olive Roberts b. 1898; d. 16 Nov 1958, Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ

Categories: Brodhead, Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, Family Homes, Obituaries, Woodruff | 6 Comments

More ‘skeletons’ in Jaques’ family closet?

Last month, in a post dated April 19, I was opining on the wealthy Elizabethtown, NJ, tailor Isaac Jaques (my 3rd great grandfather) and wondering why I had never known that he and his wife Wealthy Ann Cushman had had children other than my 2nd great grandmother Wealthy Ann Jaques (married James W. Angus). It seems bizarre because my Dad was really big on family genealogy so the fact that he never knew about this kind of mystifies me. I know in the overall scheme of things, this stuff is not all that important, but I know my Dad would have been really amazed to find all this out. In any case, the newly updated tree (updated after nearly 100 years, ha ha) as it “stood” last month looked like this:

1-Isaac Jaques b. 8 Aug 1791, Woodbridge Neck, NJ, d. 24 Aug 1880,
Elizabethtown, NJ
+Wealthy Ann Cushman b. possibly 1796, Hartford, CT, d. 13 Apr 1856,
Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ
|—-2-Wealthy Ann Jaques b. 15 Dec 1815, New York City, New York. NY, d. 7 Mar
| 1892, At Home, 25 Reid Street, Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ
|—-2-Walter Jaques b. Cir 1826, New York City, New York USA; d. probably before 1860 (see update in past post)
|—-2-Christopher P. Jaques b. Cir 1832, New York City, New York USA
|—-2-Dr. Charles P. Jaques b. Cir 1834, New York City, New York USA, d. 2 Nov
| 1866, Brooklyn, Kings Co., NY
+Rebecca Robinson b. Cir 1811, CT, d. After 24 Aug 1880

Needless to say all those new developments left me feeling a tad suspicious (where there’s smoke, there’s fire, as the saying goes). I figured even more children may have existed given the age gaps between the four known children. Was Wealthy really the only child until Walter appeared 11 years later in 1826? Was there no child born after that until Christopher appeared six years later in 1832? I’ve discovered the answer to at least one of those questions is “No.”

But, before I continue, I just want to mention that I went back to try to figure out why I was so positive Wealthy (b. 1815) was an only child. The answer came when I looked Wealthy up in the voluminous Jaques Family Genealogy (edited by Roger Jaques and Patricia Jaques for the Jaques Family Association, published 1995). There on page 457, concerning Wealthy Ann Jaques, I read: …only child of Isaac and Wealthy A. (Cushman) Jaques… I actually read that several times to make sure I was not hallucinating!

The clues that there were other children have come from different places. I now know of 2, possibly 3 other children, and there may well be more.

The first is a daughter named Jane F. Jaques. I came across her on Genealogy Bank website in a marriage announcement that appeared in the Newark Daily Advertiser on Friday, January 6, 1837: In Elizabethtown… Mr. John D. L. Fletcher Birch, of Brooklyn, to Miss Jane F., daughter of Mr. Isaac Jaques of Elizabethtown… Then, on the Family Search website, I found a marriage record for her from 27 Dec 1836. The groom was J. D. La Fletcher Birch. I later found his name in some foreclosure notices where his name was listed as John W. De La Fletcher Birch.

Second Presbyterian Church, where the Isaac Jaques family was known to attend

Second Presbyterian Church, where the Isaac Jaques family was known to attend

Jane’s wedding took place three years before Wealthy Ann Jaques married, so my guess is that Jane was around Wealthy’s age, possibly a bit older. So far I have not been able to find a birth certificate so I have yet to prove this is our Isaac Jaques’ daughter, but the fact that the wedding took place in the 2nd Presbyterian Church (Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ) where the Jaques family were known to attend, and an “Isaac Jacques of this town” is shown as the father all looks a bit too coincidental. (Another “tie-in” could be the fact that Isaac had a sister named Jane F. Jaques, p. 434 of Jaques Family Genealogy, mentioned above. That Jane was married to John B. Quinn.) However, I know one must not assume anything, so I will keep searching for a more solid link. If anyone reading this has evidence pointing in either direction, please let me know.

The marriage record

The marriage record

Angus family home in Elizabeth, NJ, from 1848-1871

Angus family home in Elizabeth, NJ, from 1848-1871

The next child I discovered was a son named Isaac Jaques. I have not yet found a birth certificate for him either, but his existence as a bona fide member of the Isaac Jaques (Sr.) family is mentioned fleetingly in genealogy papers published in 1969 by Harriet Stryker-Rodda: One Line of Descent of James Angus (1751-1806) (see page 11). In short, Wealthy Jaques Angus lived with her husband James at 927 Elizabeth Avenue in Elizabeth, NJ. (It was a grand home originally built by Moses Ogden in 1754.) The Anguses had purchased the home in 1848. James died in 1862, and Wealthy continued to live there …until Mrs. Angus sold it to her brother, Isaac Jaques, on 24 January 1871. I’ve tried finding out more about this Isaac, but so far “no luck”.

On a closing note, I’ve discovered one other child, so stay tuned. More to come!

[UPDATE 7/23/13: There have been many updates to this post. See posts:

Wayward Jaques son returns home in 1879

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

John B. Jaques – Part I – The Early Years

John B. Jaques – Part II – The ‘Infamous’ Brooklyn Case

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

John B. Jaques – Part III – The 1860s and an Alias, No Less

Civil War drummer boy John B. Jaques, Jr.: Mustered out 148 years ago today

1918 Summons Notice – Angus & Jaques Family Clues

Categories: Cushman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Family Homes, Jaques | Leave a comment

The Garret Brodhead house in all its glory

I was a bit premature to publish the last post because today I came upon a wonderful image of the Brodhead homestead tucked away in a box of old pictures. I’ve used Photoshop to remove the yellowing. The image must date back to the early 1900s/late 1800s when Robert Packer Brodhead owned it. Apparently, he added the third floor. So here is how the home and immediate surrounding would have looked all those years ago when the property was a very productive and busy farm. The stage coach would have passed right out front, beyond the white picket fence.

“Wheat Plains,” the old Brodhead Homestead, Pike Co., Pennsylvania, built by Revolutionary War veteran Garret Brodhead

Update, 8/9/13: Another great photo can be found in the book: Eastern Poconos: Delaware Water Gap to Bushkill (p. 126).  For a recent blog post that includes info on an archeological dig on the Brodhead farm site (aka Brodhead-Heller farm), click here.

Sadly, the 21st century is not treating the farm kindly. For more on that, click here.

Categories: Brodhead, Family Homes, Pennsylvania, Revolutionary War | 4 Comments

The current, sorry state of the Garret Brodhead house—“Wheat Plains”

I was very saddened to come across a March 2012 photo on the website Flickr showing the sad state of “Wheat Plains,” the old Brodhead homestead located in Pike County, Pennsylvania, 14 miles below Milford. The original home was built by Garret Brodhead (1733-1804) after he finished serving in the Revolutionary War, and it was added to over the years. To view the photo, click here.

Just two years previously, the home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, seemed to look quite a bit better:

2010 photo from Wikipedia (photo in public domain)

“Wheat Plains” was once a vibrant and busy farm. In 1791, Hon. Richard B. Brodhead Sr., one of Garret’s sons, moved to the farm and he resided there until a few years before his death in 1843. Richard’s son Albert Gallatin Brodhead was born on the farm in 1799, and purchased it in 1838 from his father, and Albert lived there until 1865, when he moved to Bethlehem where his only son Charles resided. The property left the Brodhead family in 1871 but came back into Brodhead hands when Robert Packer Brodhead bought the property in 1894. He was the son of Andrew Jackson Brodhead and Ophelia Easton, grandson of Garret Brodhead and Cornelia Dingman, great grandson of Hon. Richard B. Brodhead Sr. and Hannah Drake.

Robert Packer Brodhead

Robert Packer Brodhead

The home remained in Brodhead hands until the 1960s. I recall my parents saying they had met one of the owners at the Brodhead Family Reunion (celebrating 300 years since Captain Daniel Brodhead and his wife Ann Tye set foot on American soil) held in upstate New York in 1964. The house and surrounding land are now within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area which was established by President Johnson in 1965. Though apparently renovated in 2000 by the National Park Service, current owners, I can only assume that its now blighted condition is a result of this bad economy. There must not be any funds available to renovate it. Very sad. Were it in private hands, I suspect it would probably be in much better condition.

For a post showing the property in happier times, click here.

For more information on the house, lands and various structures, click here.

Update: This Flickr photo taken in winter 2013 indicates the house was still in disrepair, sadly.

Categories: Brodhead, Family Homes, Pennsylvania, Revolutionary War | Leave a comment

Freaky Friday

The old NJ farmhouse in 1963

OK, this is a bit of a digression from my usual postings, but I can’t resist. The other day we rented We Bought a Zoo from Netflix, and when we watched it, I had to do a double take. In one of the scenes where Matt Damon and daughter are touring the old house that’s for sale, they stop off with the realtor in one of the bedrooms. And that bedroom has wallpaper that looks exactly like the wallpaper that was in my old bedroom in the 1774 NJ farmhouse my parents purchased in 1958. We sent the DVD back, but I took a look at the trailer, and I swear it looks awfully similar! Check it out and see what you think. For the trailer, click Go to 2:29.

NJ farmhouse purchased in 1958; wallpaper in one of the bedrooms at time of purchase

Categories: Family Homes | Leave a comment

My great aunt Bertha W. Woodruff (1888-1973)

17 Wilder Street

17 Wilder Street, Elizabeth, NJ

You may recall the posts about William E. Woodruff, who as a teenager received Civil War letters from his uncles Uzal and Henry Trowbridge. Well, Bertha Winans Woodruff was the youngest of the six daughters William had with his wife Wealthy A. Angus. Bertha passed away in the early 1970s. I recall visiting her on a number of occasions as a child.

She lived in a big rambling house at 17 Wilder Street in Elizabeth, NJ, that belonged to her eldest sister, Jennie, and  Jennie’s husband, successful banker Clarence Coleman. Sadly, the house was torn down (in the mid 1970s) and replaced with a large brick apartment building called Wilder Manor.

I remember the old house had a spiral staircase so we could look down from the third floor all the way to the entry hall below. For a child, the house was quite magical; we enjoyed exploring it and playing hide-and-seek. There was a little fish pond in the backyard garden. I remember admiring the gold fish in it as well as the garden’s beautiful spring- and summertime  flowers.

In her younger years, Bertha had a very successful career in Manhattan as a quilt designer (visit this follow-up post), and she enjoyed watercolor painting. Her niece, Jennie Belle Coleman, inherited the bulk of her paintings. I only got a glimpse of them once, at the last house Jennie Belle lived in, which was on Colonia Road in Elizabeth, NJ, with her live-in helper/companion. Once Jennie Belle died, the executor of her estate must have sold/destroyed the paintings. Family was not consulted about them, or anything else for that matter. Not notified about the funeral until after it had taken place!

From what I heard Bertha very much enjoyed traveling and even ventured on a round-the-world journey. She never married, although she apparently came very close after meeting a nice single gentleman (supposedly a member of the South African Parliament) on her globe-trotting vacation. But, alas, that did not pan out, and she has no descendants to whom she could pass on details about her life. We have some wonderful photos of her as a young woman, so I thought I would post them here. I would not want her to be forgotten.

Categories: Angus, Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Family Homes, Woodruff | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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