Below is a photo of my great-grandfather Edward Boles‘s youngest brother Benjamin Boles, who was born on 28 February 1871 in Fingreagh, Inishmagrath, Co. Leitrim, Ireland, and Benjamin’s wife Mary Galbraith. They had one child, a son, James Newton Boles, who was born on 14 September 1898, in Tipperary. Mary died in childbirth and, from what my mother has told me, after Mary’s death, Benjamin, a shopkeeper, renounced all of his worldly possessions in order to become an evangelist in a religious movement that had recently gotten underway in Ireland.
Benjamin never remarried, as far as we know, and his son was raised by Benjamin’s sister Jane and Jane’s husband William Pearson. I don’t know when Benjamin passed away; I have a photo of him that was taken in 1943, so it was sometime after that. I imagine the photo below was taken on the occasion of Benjamin and Mary’s marriage given that her one glove is off and she appears to be wearing rings. Or perhaps on the occasion of their engagement since he is ring-less. I also have this lovely photo of Mary all by herself, and this undated photo of father and son.
To close out the week, I will leave you with four recipes left us by Violet Boles, my mom’s 1st cousin (once removed). Violet was born in Knocknagrally, County Laois, Ireland, in 1904. According to my mother she worked in the hotel industry on the Isle of Wight for a number of years. She emigrated to the US after her marriage to James Newton Boles (b. 1898, Tipperary, Ireland) in the early 1960s. Ordinarily I would not write about folks in the family tree who lived so close to the present day, but Newton (who went by his middle name) and Violet had no children; so, I hope they would not mind me sharing a bit about them here.
My mom’s father William Boles was very close to Newton, his cousin six years his junior. William, who emigrated to the US in 1912, was at least some of Newton’s inspiration to do the same, according to my mother. Newton emigrated in 1925 to Ontario, Canada, and from there made his way to Detroit, where he worked for Uniroyal for many years.
Newton and Violet eventually retired to 800 20th Avenue North in St. Petersburg, FL, tending their backyard fruit trees and enjoying the warm temperatures and steady sunshine. I remember them showing us their avocado and orange trees—an exotic sight for us. They were wonderfully kind and caring people; both had a twinkle in their eye, and Newton especially had a terrific sense of humor. He was a very fun-loving man. My mother thought the world of him.
I’ll never forget visiting them in February 1975 or 1976 when Newton was already in his 70s, and how Newton took us up I-4 to ride on Disney’s newly opened ‘Space Mountain’ roller coaster. We were amazed that he took the roller coaster with us and that he seemed to take it all in stride. Newton was a rather wild driver, so between the journey itself and the nerve-shattering, vertebrae-jarring ‘Space Mountain’ ride, we had a very memorable time!
Violet’s banana bread recipe is the best one I’ve ever come across. I’ve made it many times (I love the typo: ‘chapped walnuts’!) The date loaf is delicious, too (that recipe is cut off at the end, but you just add the remaining ingredients, mix, and bake at 350 for 50-60 min., depending on your altitude).
I’ve yet to try the carrot and cranberry breads, but know I will get to them eventually.
So enjoy these, if you are so inclined, and let me know how things turn out. Have a good weekend!
(Note: Newton died in 1983 at 84, and Violet in 1993 at 89. They were interred at St. Petersburg’s Memorial Park Cemetery.)
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.
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’).
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.
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.
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!
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
I recently found in a box of old papers an ‘In Memoriam’ article about my great-grandmother Sarah Boles Nixon that appeared in September 1938 in the Irish Christian Advocate newspaper, an Irish Methodist publication in existence from 1883-1971. The clipping (right) is a wonderful testament to Sarah’s character and faith in God. She passed her faith on to her children, as many who knew them personally would attest. They were wonderfully kind and caring people.
(Note: Some of the below info has appeared in past posts.)
Sarah was born in County Leitrim, Ireland, on 26 May 1855 to William Nixon and Rachel Millar (perhaps, ‘Miller’). This is 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 Sarah’s exact location in this Nixon family tree.
Supposedly Sarah was one of 14 children. I’ve come across birth dates for 11 of the 14, and so far, age-wise, Sarah appears to have fallen somewhere in the middle of the pack.
According to our family records, on 26 July 1888, at the age of 33, Sarah married Edward Boles, a farmer—also 33, at the Drumkeeran Methodist Church, Drumkeeran, Co. Leitrim. Edward was the oldest of the eight children of James Boles of Fingreagh Upper, Co. Leitrim, and wife Jane Payne. (See the Rootsweb page Boles of Leitrim for a partial family tree.)
Edward and Sarah lived in Clooneen, which is a rural area located about a half mile to the northeast of the small village of Drumkeeran. Between 1889 and 1896, Sarah gave birth to six children: Jane (“Jennie”) Kathleen, John James, William Robert, Edward (“Ben”) Benjamin, Beulah Sarah, and Mary (“May”) Elizabeth. Beulah (Ben’s twin) died in 1900 at age 6; May died of TB in her early 30s. John died in December 1935 in a car accident (a “huge blow” to the family, according to my mother). He was in his early forties.
As I’ve mentioned before, my grandfather William emigrated to the US in 1912. He was sponsored by Sarah’s brother Robert, a silk salesman, who had emigrated in 1879 and was living in Summit, NJ. That left just Jennie and Ben in Ireland. Both outlived their parents—in fact, Jennie lived to the age of 92.
On a visit to Ireland in July 1935, my mother got to meet Edward and Sarah for the first and only time. She was twelve and remembers walking with Edward through the fields around the Follistown house counting sheep and chatting with him, but having a hard time understanding him through his Irish accent. He was very tall and seemed a giant to her. Sarah she remembers as being super petite and ‘absolutely ancient-looking’ from a 12-year-old’s perspective. She also found Sarah hard to understand through her accent. (Sarah sent my mom a gold coin every Christmas; of course, my mom’s mother took them immediately for ‘safekeeping’ and then when WWII hit, they all disappeared to contribute to the war effort. Mom understood but was pretty unhappy about that!)
But, back to Edward & Sarah—eventually (early 1930s?), the family purchased land in Follistown, Navan, Co. Meath (about an hour’s drive to the northwest from Dublin); a house was built and sons John and Ben took charge of farming the land. The farm was left to Ben to run after John died.
Edward and Sarah spent their final years at the house in Follistown. Sarah died in September 1938 and Edward in October 1940.
They and son John were laid to rest in Kentstown Cemetery, Co. Meath. To go to the grave site photo, click here.
Now, on a side note, something I find very interesting is that Sarah’s parents and most, if not all of her siblings, emigrated to the United States, but Sarah chose to remain behind.
According to information I received earlier this year from a descendant of Sarah’s brother, Benjamin Nixon, the parents moved to NYC in 1869, when Sarah would have been about 14. I presume she would have stayed behind with relatives, but I have no idea with whom that could have been. I’ll have to try to find her in whatever records survived or weren’t affected by the Four Courts fire of 1922.
In recent months, I’ve learned a bit more about the Nixon family in the US, so more about them in a future post. As always, comments, additions, and corrections are welcome.
(*Fermanagh is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland.)
CLICK to ENLARGE the below images:
As someone with some Leitrim Co., Ireland, roots I was glad to come across Alan Stewart’s post about the upcoming (September 2013) Leitrim Roots Festival. Sounds like a lot of fun and wish I could go. Alan has a great blog, by the way, with tons of great information for those researching their English and/or Irish roots.
Apart from those photos posted in the previous post on the Edward Boles family, these are the only other early photos I have. Standing in the rear of the first photo are May Boles and her father Edward Boles. The pretty young woman with the headband on the right is Sophie Boles, a niece of Edward’s (daughter of Edward’s younger brother Robert). Seated in front is Sophie’s mother (Jane Stuart Boles, wife of Robert Boles), Jennie Boles (another of Edward’s daughters), and Sarah Nixon Boles (Edward’s wife and mother of Jennie & May). I don’t have a date for the photo, but it was taken before July 1928, which is when May died.
The second photo is of Sophie Boles with her brother Robert Boles (children of Robert and Jane Boles, who had one more child – James Herbert), and on the right is cousin Jennie Boles (Edward Boles’ daughter, my grandfather’s sister).
My great grandfather Edward Boles was born on June 4, 1855, in Fingreagh Upper, Co. Leitrim, Ireland, to James Boles of Fingreagh and Jane Payne. The couple had seven children: Edward, Robert, James, Jane, Alexander, William and Benjamin. Edward died on October 26, 1940, in Dublin. His wife, my great grandmother, was Sarah Nixon. She was one of 14 children of William Nixon and Rachael Millar: Edward, James, William, Elizabeth, Rachael, Jane, Mary, Sarah, Kate, Mark, Benjamin, John, Thomas, and Robert. Supposedly there were two sets of twins. I’m not sure whether they all survived to adulthood, but supposedly, of those who did, Sarah was the only one (or one of the very few) who did not end up emigrating to the US. I have yet to figure out if that was really the case.
Edward (a farmer) and Sarah Boles had six children: John James, Jane Kathleen (“Jennie”), Mary Elizabeth (“May”), William Robert (my grandfather), and Edward Benjamin (“Ben”). Ben’s twin Beulah Sarah died young. My grandfather William R. Boles was 20 when he emigrated to the US (Oct 21, 1912, from Londonderry via the ship Columbia), and I suspect the one photo below was taken on the eve of his departure. It was his Uncle Robert Nixon (one of Sarah Nixon Boles’ brothers), living on Elm Street in Summit, NJ, with wife Blanche, who sponsored him when he initially came to the US.
In the last few years I’ve been taking college classes in science and math, including classes in anatomy and physiology. Bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons and how they all move together (or don’t, in some cases) is pretty fascinating.
So I was quite surprised to come across the below poem on the bones of the human body stuffed into the drawer of an old dresser. It was penned, or so I thought, by my grandfather’s sister, Mary (‘May’) Elizabeth Boles, who died in her early 30’s of TB. She was one of six children of Edward and Sarah Boles of Clooneen, outside Drumkeerin, Co. Leitrim, Ireland. What she was doing studying osteology, I don’t know. Was this something she had to learn in school? Maybe. I wondered whether this was a poem she created, but then I googled one of the lines and discovered its publication in The Medical World, pub. 1898, Vol. 16, p. 36, so that idea was squashed, unfortunately — I’d secretly been hoping this was her own handiwork.
My grandfather William Boles emigrated to the US in 1912, when May was about 16. My mother recalls hearing about how lovely and sweet May was, and how devastated the family was when she was unable to recover from the ravages of tuberculosis. She worked in her uncle’s department store in Boyle for many years; She passed away at the family home in Cloneen.
More on the Boles family in future posts. Meanwhile, here’s to remembering May, a great-aunt I never had the pleasure to meet, regrettably. Such a great shame, but happy to know she brought so much light to others.
William Boles, who emigrated to the US from Drumkeerin, Co. Leitrim, Ireland, in the early 1910s, enlisted in the US Army for service in WWI. He was still a British subject at the time. Below are some photos from his service in the 29th Division, 112th Heavy Field Artillery. There are many more photographs in the album; when I have time, I will scan the rest and post them here. CLICK ON ONE PHOTO SO YOU CAN VIEW THEM AS A SLIDE SHOW.