Geographical Locations

Irene Bell Wait of Perth Amboy, New Jersey—my new theory

Irene Bell Wait (b. 1764) married my fifth great-grandfather David Wait (b. 1754, Edinburgh, Scotland) on 21 April 1874. They lived in Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey.

A recent comment left on my post Irene Bell Wait, one of my brick walls, which I wrote nearly 7 years ago, prompted me to go back and re-read it. You know, whenever I read my old posts, which isn’t very often, I kind of come away amazed that I managed to come up with so much information. Maybe some of you fellow family history bloggers feel the same way: “Did I write all that??!”

Anyway, that first post mentions an Andrew Bell, a witness to David Wait’s will, which was executed on October 29, 1810, shortly before David succumbed. His wife Irene Bell had died in 1804 at age 39, leaving him with 11 children, many of whom were still very young when he died. Twenty-year-old daughter Margaret was left a house in which she was to raise her younger siblings.

I wanted to try to connect Andrew Bell with Irene Bell as this was the first time I actually sensed I had a lead as to her possible identity, but my attempts to link the two failed.

My latest theory, and it’s only a very loose theory at the moment, was spawned by a reexamination of materials I’d already read and the discovery of a few new ones, and that is that Andrew Bell (b. 1757) and Irene Bell (b. 1764) were half-siblings.

This hinges on “Andrew Bell” being the Andrew Bell who was born in 1757, in Philadelphia, to English-born John Bell (cir. 1725-1778) and his first wife Hannah Smith, daughter of Frederick Smith of Philadelphia, hatter.* One other child, Cornelia Bell, was born in 1755. She eventually married William Paterson, one of the signers of the Constitution. She is mentioned on the website www.constitutionfacts.com under the heading “The Women Behind the Signers of the U.S. Constitution” (note: the birth and death dates are incorrect).

Andrew Bell and his father John Bell were Loyalists, while Cornelia was pro independence. How the family dealt with these divided loyalties is reflected in the numerous letters Cornelia wrote to her brother during the war years. You can read about this in the book Past and Present: Lives of New Jersey Women

At some point, the marriage between John Bell and Cornelia and Andrew’s mother Hannah Smith ended, and John Bell remarried on 27 April 1763, to widow Annaatje “Anna” Meyer Tilden (1731-1819, daughter of Johannes Pietersz Meyer and Elizabeth Pell**; Find a Grave memorial #16213136). Anna Meyer’s first husband Captain Richard Tilden had died in October 1762 in Philadelphia. They had been married for roughly 11 years and had had two children:

Richard, who died in infancy, and John Bell Tilden, December 1762-1838 (Find a Grave memorial #16213149). Obviously, given the second son’s name was John Bell Tilden, the Tildens had some very close connection to John Bell. And, clearly, John Bell did not hesitate to leave Hannah to go take care of the Captain’s widow and her infant son.

From p. 465-466  of Volume IX of The Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, we can read the following about Captain Richard Tilden and son John Bell Tilden (note that the latter’s birth year here is given as 1761; his tombstone says 1762):

The Tilden or Tylden family is one of great antiquity in England; as far back as the reign of Edward III. We find William Tylden paying aid for land in Kent, when the Black Prince was knighted. ( I ) The first Tilden of whom we have record in America was Captain Richard Tilden of England, who died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. October, 1762. He married Anna Meyer, born in New York, August 31, 1731, daughter of John Meyer and Elizabeth (Pell) Meyer, and granddaughter of William and Elizabeth (Van Tuyl) Pell. She bore him two sons: John Bell, see forward, and one who died in infancy. (II) Dr. John Bell Tilden. son of Captain Richard and Anna (Meyer) Tilden, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 9, 1761, baptized in the Episcopal church, and died July 31, 1838, in New Town, now Stephen City, Virginia. He was a student at Princeton College at the time of the revolutionary war and left college to join the Continental army, receiving a commission as ensign. May 28, 1779, in the Second Regiment Pennsylvania line, commanded by Colonel Walter Stewart. He was subsequently promoted to second lieutenant, his commission to date from July 25, 1780. His regiment left York, Pennsylvania, for the southern campaign in the spring of 1781, and he was present at the siege of Yorktown and surrender of General Cornwallis.  At the close of the war he was honorably mustered out of service, and became a member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati. During his entire service he kept a diary, which is now in the possession of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania. Dr. Tilden settled in Frederick county, Virginia, where he practiced medicine until the close of his life. Some time prior to 1824 he was ordained to the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal church, and during the agitation of the question of lay representation, he advocated the equal rights of the laity with the clergy in the legislative department of the church, for which he and other prominent members were expelled for so-called heresy. In 1872 the church admitted its error by adopting lay representation into its polity. Long before the subject of African slavery took a political shape, Dr. Tilden manumitted his slaves and sent them to Liberia with one year’s outfit. Dr. Tilden married August 9, 1784, Jane Chambers, born in York county, Pennsylvania, December 18, 1766, died May, 1827, (laughter of Joseph and Martha (McCalmont) Chambers, of York, Pennsylvania. [It goes on to list all the children and their progeny.]

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John Bell was 38 when he married Anna Tilden. She was 32, so it would have been highly plausible for her to have had more children. Was Irene Bell, one of my fifth great-grandmothers, a product of this union?

Irene Bell was born in 1764. When John Bell died in 1778 at his Bellfield Estate in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. Irene would have been about 14. The fact that she is not mentioned in John Bell’s will does not seem surprising to me given her age. Note to self to try to find Anna Bell’s will. Perhaps, Irene is mentioned in it.

John Bell’s will appears on page 40 of the New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817 (accessible via Ancestry website, and probably Family Search). In his will, John leaves the following:

  • $500 to wife Anna Meyer Tilden Bell;
  • $200 to ex-wife Hannah Smith;
  • “a negro” to stepson John B. Tilden, who was anti-slavery (as per the Virginia biographical info above) and surely would have freed this individual;
  • “a negro woman, Delia, and her son Rory” to daughter Cornelia Bell;
  • “house and fifty acres of land in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County” to son Andrew Bell;
  • “All my lands in Earls Colne, in County of Essex, England” to friend Mark Grime of Witham, County Essex, England;
  • Residue of Estate to Anna Bell, Cornelia Bell, Andrew Bell, and John Tilden.

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Last reflections:  Irene Bell married David Wait in 1784; it had struck me before that some of the names in their family Bible appeared to be the German/Dutch variants. If Irene’s mother was from a Dutch community and had a Dutch upbringing, as Anna Meyer did, this may explain why a few names in the family Bible sound Dutch. Also, her first two sons were named David and John. Perhaps, David’s father was also David.  If Irene’s father was John Bell, the name John would have been thoroughly appropriate for a second-born son.

In one of my past posts, I’d mentioned that there was some confusion as to which side of the Revolutionary War events David Wait was on. Given what I’ve learned recently—about Perth Amboy being a Loyalist stronghold during the War—the version of him coming to America as a member of the British forces and subsequently being captured now makes the most sense. It would also make sense that David felt comfortable marrying into a Loyalist family. The War had only officially ended a little more than six months prior to their marriage.

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If you have read this far, you are probably someone interested in this family line. Please let me know if you ever find anything that corroborates (or refutes) my “theory”; I will certainly keep chipping away at this. Hopefully we can all get this figured out some day!

PS: I will say that I am very confused by the fact that John Bell had two wives and took the second one while the first was still living. I’ve been doing some reading on marriage, etc. during the pre-Revolutionary Colonial period. Divorce was very uncommon. I will have to look into this some more, but from what I’ve read thus far, the laws in place would likely only have condoned divorce in cases of abuse, adultery, cruelty, or abandonment, and would not have awarded the guilty party the opportunity to remarry while the wronged party was still alive. So was Hannah Smith the guilty party here? Did her actions lead to a divorce and John Bell’s remarriage to Captain Tilden’s widow?

John Bell Tilden was born in December 1872, two months after his father Captain Richard Tilden died. Did Anna name the baby John Bell Tilden because John had been supporting her financially and morally? They married four months after the baby was born.

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*See page 40 of the New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817

**Ancestry.com. New York City, Compiled Marriage Index, 1600s-1800s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

Categories: Bell, Loyalists, New Jersey, Perth Amboy, Presbyterian, Revolutionary War, Wait, Woodbridge | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

New book published on General Daniel Brodhead’s daughter Phebe, her husband and their descendants

Author Curtis Dewees recently notified me that his book Joseph and Phebe Dewees of Grayson County, Kentucky and Their Descendants has just been published. It can be ordered from the Grayson County Historical Society, via their Facebook page.  Paypal is accepted; or the book can be ordered by mail at the Society’s address: Grayson County Historical Society, PO Box 84, Leitchfield, Kentucy 42755. The cost is $26.05, including state sales tax and shipping costs.

Congratulations, Curtis!

Categories: Brodhead, Kentucky, Miscellaneous | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

November 17, 1917: Wedding of Alvira Anness, niece of Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead

Last week, while browsing articles on Fulton History, I came across this one in The Yonkers Statesman (November 19, 1917) describing the wedding of Alvira W. Anness, daughter of Mary Marsh Martin Anness and the (then) late Winfield S. Anness, in the Anness family home at 223 Warburton Avenue in Yonkers, NY. The house still stands! Click here.

Winfield S. Anness (b. 1861, Stamford, CT) was a widower when he married Mary M. Martin. He had a son with his first wife Mamie E. Valentine (b. 1864): Harold W. Anness (b. 1885). Winfield died in November 1899. I don’t know anything about Harold. If he was still alive in 1917, he was not at this wedding.

My Dad always referred to Great Aunt Mary as “Aunt Mame”, and apparently she was quite a pistol. Born in 1863, she was a younger sister of my great-grandmother, Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead (b. 1859).  This wedding was in November; Margaret had lost her husband Andrew Douglas Brodhead six months before, in May. Margaret, Alvira’s aunt, is named in the article as one of the attendees.

Woodruff M. Brodhead, b. 1912, with his mother Fannie Woodruff Brodhead

Giving the bride away was my Dad’s Great Uncle Charlie (Charles Conrad Martin); my Dad’s older brother Woodruff, then age 5 1/2, wore a little sailor suit and carried white baskets filled with yellow asters.

Woodruff’s parents (my grandparents) were also present at the wedding, of course. To the left is a photo of Woodruff (“Woody”) and his mother Fannie Woodruff Brodhead. At that stage, he was their only child. He’s wearing a little sailor suit here, so perhaps this photo was also taken during that period. I’m a bad judge of ages, but I’d say he looks about 5 here?

According to the family tree information of Ancestry user “KrehT,” the newlyweds, Alvira and Walter Douglas Barry, eventually had two children: Alvira Martin Barry (b. 1920) and Walter Douglas Barry (b. 1923). Interestingly, this user shows Alvira’s middle name as “Woodruff,” but did not provide any clues as to where that middle name came from. I’d love to know since my grandmother was a Woodruff, one of the original Elizabeth, NJ, families.

Categories: Anness, Brodhead, Martin, New York, Weddings, Woodruff | 1 Comment

A Florida Friday: Arcadia — old rodeo town & antiques graveyard where resurrections occur daily

Last month we drove an hour northeast of here to visit the historic town of Arcadia (population about 8,000). We’d driven through there before on a few occasions, stopping for lunch but never sticking around to check out all the antique stores—something for which Arcadia is famous. I must say, I am not a big antiques shopper, but I have never in my life seen so many antiques and so many vintage items and so much crazy STUFF!

We got there pretty early and after perusing a few cavernous antiques malls, had a delicious lunch at Mary Margaret’s Tea and Biscuit Restaurant where the wait staff dresses in period outfits. When it was time for dinner, we stopped at the Magnolia Street Seafood and Grill Restaurant, which is the top-rated place in town. It did not disappoint; in fact, it was honestly some of the best seafood I’ve had; the hush puppies were amazing.

In our wanderings, I saw loads and loads of old unlabelled photos and CDVs—I know this is a common phenomenon all over the country, but that kind of thing saddens me to no end.

However, there was a bright spot in all this lost family history since I was able to reunite one massive mid-nineteenth-century family Bible that originally belonged to a Long Island Civil War veteran with a living descendant I tracked down via Ancestry.com.  I connected him with the shop owner, and for $50, this Bible (complete with loads of handwritten names in the middle under Births/Marriages/Deaths) was heading back into that family. I felt good about that, and it wasn’t hard to do, so I am glad I made the effort. The last family member to own it died in 1986, so it had been floating around “out there” in the universe for quite some time.

The only other thing I saw that was actually labelled was the below wedding photo of Mae and Victor Falsitta. I found someone I believe to be a descendant on Ancestry, but they never responded to my message. Perhaps, someone will find the photo here. I do remember which shop I saw it in, so any Falsitta family member reading this, feel free to contact me.

Plenty of people were shopping and buying, giving lots of old items a fresh start with a new owner. By and large, shoppers were on the older side, which is understandable. However, I could not help but wonder what will become of all this stuff once those of us over a certain age are no longer around. But that’s neither here nor there, really. Some other stuff will eventually replace all of this stuff or add to it. (Somehow I can’t imagine these places being even more packed.)

What did I buy? Just a few cookie cutters and a couple of kitchen gadgets that intrigued me. I learned that my grandmother’s mouli grater is not one of a kind, nor is my Dad’s old cake cutter. My grandmother’s old meat grinder that we use every Christmas to make cranberry and orange relish also has plenty of “siblings”… So anyone out there with a particular nostalgia about a certain item has a pretty good chance of finding it, or one like it, in Arcadia.

State of Florida; base map – 1940 (Library of Congress digital ID: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3930.ct000499)

Arcadia is packed with history, and all these antiques stores are mini-museums and an education in themselves. I would definitely recommend a visit; its an old town with that old Florida feel—something you don’t get to experience much when you stick to the coastal towns and cities in the southern part of the state. Arcadia is also famous for being a rodeo town. The first one took place in 1928 as a fundraiser to get a building constructed. The most recent rodeo event was held earlier this  month and attracts fans and competitors from all over the US. Perhaps, we will try to go next year just to have that experience.

Anyway, happy Friday, everyone! Here are some photos from our travels…

Categories: Arcadia, Florida, Memorabilia | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Continuation of January 9 post: More Woodruff farm photos from mid-1920s

I forgot I had these two other photos when I did my January 9th post on the Woodruff farm.

My great-grandmother Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff (5 August 1850 – 27 May 1927) with her grandsons, Charles Brodhead (my Dad) and Richard Angus Brown, outside the barn on the Woodruff farm off Conant Street in Hillside, New Jersey

I have no idea who these ladies and the little girl are, but I’m assuming they worked on the Woodruff farm as this photo was together with the other two.

I offer the below as a comparison; you can see the boys all grown up and ready to go to war. They appear in reverse order in the second photo.

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., Hillside Union, New Jersey, Woodruff | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

A Florida Friday: Watch out!

Undated image showing a man fishing in the pristine Blue Springs, Marion County, FL (public domain image – Library of Congress) – you can see how crystal clear the water is.

Undated image of settlers in Ocala, Florida- no plumbing, no AC, no electric

I often think about Florida’s earliest settlers and what it must have been like for them to experience the diverse and alien habitats within the peninsula. It was a harsh environment without all of today’s conveniences and navigational know-how. No signs to alert them to dangers that may lie ahead: alligators, bears, boars, panthers, fire ants, thorny plants, swamp land, poisonous snakes. No guidebooks. No weather alerts that a hurricane was coming. No hospitals. No experience with the tough and thorny flora.

On the other hand, these early arrivals got to see Florida in a pristine state, something denied most travelers today except those who venture into places that are protected by the state and/or hard to reach places that remain inhospitable and uninhabitable.

While you can enjoy Florida’s many beautiful state parks and national forests, which definitely have their pristine areas, you’re never far from signs of civilization and never far from help if you need it (which is a good thing, of course).

On a side note, a couple days ago I met a woman who grew up in the Everglades back in the 1950s and 1960s. Wow—the stories she can tell are unbelievable. She still spends time camping out in places 99.9% of today’s Floridians would never dare go. I admire her. A tough lady who has had a very unique life experience and knows the Ten Thousand Islands like the back of her hand.

I’ve been in Florida long enough to respect the land and wildlife habitats. Long enough to know to be wary of threats and dangers I may encounter along the way.

When I was very young, the The Yearling (Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman) made a deep impression on me for obvious reasons.  The film was on TCM a couple of weeks ago, and this time, seeing it through the lens of someone who knows Florida much better than I did 50+ years ago, it was still gut-wrenching during that one part of the film, but I marveled at the family’s fortitude, understood their decision making, and winced at Jody’s ability to run barefoot everywhere. I don’t know anyone who would attempt that today other than at the beach.

An 1839 map of the Florida territory shows just how sparsely populated Florida was, with virtually no development whatsoever south of Lake George.

For the entire map, with zoom option, go to: https://www.wdl.org/en/item/9598/view/1/1/

By 1895, things were much different, although south Florida, apart from its eastern edge, had yet to really be discovered. Below is a map from an 1895 publication called The Tourists’ and Settlers’ Guide to Florida.

From The Tourists and Settlers’ Guide to Florida, published 1895, Public Domain through the US Library of Congress.

Today with a 20 million+ population, there are plenty of signs around, telling us where to go and what not to do, which is not a bad thing. They no doubt deter many from engaging in reckless behavior. Sure you hear stories of people doing silly things from time to time, like the young man who thought he could swim across a stretch of Lake Okeechobee without any repercussions. Those types of things do leave you scratching your head.

Here are a few warning signs I’ve seen in my travels (and I’m happy they were there):

Sign by the Suwanee River – every morning we woke to the sound of giant jumping sturgeon pounding the water!

Saw this one somewhere in my travels – maybe in Winter Garden?

Swim with caution – is that an understatement or what? Not sure where I saw this one, but I think it was near one of the Florida springs

“Underwater hazards”… Really inviting, isn’t it? Seems to me I took this at Jonathan Dickinson State Park on the east coast of Florida.

Watch for turtles and skip the bare feet if you go in. I think I saw this one somewhere near Stuart, FL, but such turtle signs are a common site, not so much the one about the rocks.

By the Suwanee again… Do not enter. Wiser words have never been spoken.

Categories: Florida | 17 Comments

Brodhead Reunion in Kingston, New York, in June 1964

Some of you may remember the post I did several years ago on the 1964 Brodhead family reunion in Kingston, NY, which was held to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Daniel Brodhead and Ann Tye’s arrival in America. Click here to head back to it. Recently I found the below article and photo on Fulton History. I don’t recognize any of these folks, but I thought some of you may. Give a shout out in the comments section if you see one of your family members or want to comment on the reunion in general. Thanks!

Brodhead family reunion in 1964 – just a few of the many Brodheads present for the event

Categories: Anniversaries, Brodhead, Kingston, New York | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Fowler T. Brodhead (1828-1902), famed linguist and foreign language teacher to President Grover Cleveland

New York. Grand ovation to Governor Cleveland in the city of Buffalo, October 2nd. Scene on Main Street / From sketches by C. Upham. 1884. (Credit Library of Congress digital archives http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c07331); Cleveland was 28th Governor of NY (1983-1985) and prior to that had been Mayor of Buffalo in 1882.

While perusing some old papers on Fulton History, I came across several exceedingly sad obituaries for the very gifted and talented Fowler Thayer Brodhead, who at one point in his life had taught foreign languages to a young Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), but in later years seems to have completely withdrawn from society. He died at 75 from what appears to have been a great deal of self-neglect, in spite of having substantial financial means at his disposal. While the articles seize strongly upon what became of Fowler after his mother’s passing in 1885, an event that supposedly sparked his mental and physical decline, his gifts and talents cannot be denied and deserve to be remembered, especially by those of us who share his Brodhead DNA.

From the Illustrated Buffalo Express, February 16, 1902: “Fowler T. Brodhead, famed as a linguist, teacher of Grover Cleveland, later a hermit, was buried in the Brodhead family plot in Forest Lawn last Friday. […] The story of his life is a tale of sadness. His father came to Buffalo from Hudson in 1830, a lawyer and graduate of Williams College, whose wife was Miss Nancy Thayer of Lee, Mass. The first American Brodhead was Captain Daniel Brodhead of the Yorkshire Regiment that came from England in 1664 and wrested New Netherlands from the Dutch. The Brodheads lived at Washington and Huron streets in 1837 and for years thereafter. The father was a law partner of Judge Masten. Fowler Brodhead was born in Hudson in 1828. He attended Fay’s Academy at Washington and Huron streets and then went to Albany to study medicine. He returned to Buffalo without finishing his course and studied French and German. He taught in the high school and gave private lessons. He became known as a proficient linguist, speaking several languages fluently. It, was related of him that be once sat down with a Frenchman, German, Italian and Spaniard and conversed with the four, each in his own language, fluently, and with ease. He wrote poems in several languages and wrote a play, The Burning of Buffalo, for the old Metropolitan Theater.”

I checked the online records for Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo and found Fowler and his parents William W. Brodhead and Nancy Thayer Brodhead. I went ahead and created memorial pages for them on the Find a Grave website. The three are located in Section: BB Lot: 143-N PT Spaces 1, 2, 3.

Volume 4 of The Brodhead Family has William listed on page 303. William Wheeler Brodhead (F-401) was the son of Luke Brodhead (1777-1845); Luke was a son of Daniel Brodhead and Hester Wyngart and a brother of my fifth-great-grandfather Garret Brodhead. William was baptized on 10 September 1797 at Linlithgo RDC, Livingston, Columbia County, NY, and married Nancy Lucretia Thayer on May 25, 1825 in Westfield, MA.  William “lived in Red Hook, NY at the time of his marriage and later lived Buffalo, NY where he was an attorney in 1850 and a private school teacher in 1860.” Fowler is listed as G-1226, but no information is given for him.

The newspaper articles point to Fowler’s withdrawal from society as coinciding with the death of his mother Nancy in 1885; he died with $4,000 to his name which was a substantial sum in 1902 (about $111,000 today). He lived at 82 10th Street in Buffalo; where the house once stood is now a vacant lot.

A notice of sale that appeared in the Buffalo New York Courier on October 24, 1903, offers the names of several Brodheads: two of Fowler’s nieces and a great-nephew. Charlotte Brodhead and Mary Gertude Brodhead (b. 1829 and 1837 respectively) were daughters of James Oliver Brodhead (1803-1841; Brodhead Family F-404) and wife Caroline Wackerhagen. James Oliver Brodhead was the brother of William W. Brodhead. Francis Reynolds Brodhead (b. 1863) was a nephew of the two sisters via their brother Thomas C. Brodhead (1835-1877), son of James Oliver Brodhead.

As sad as Fowler’s end was, clearly his was a life well lived at least up to a certain point. I’m glad I came upon his story. I do not want him to be forgotten especially since he had no wife or children to pass his story down along the line to today’s generations.

Illustrated Buffalo Express – 16 February 1902 (Credit: FultonHistory dot com)

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Buffalo Morning Express, 12 February 1902 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

Buffalo Morning Express, 12 February 1902 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

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Buffalo NY Courier 12 Feb 1902 (Credit: Fulton History)

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Buffalo New York Courier, 24 October 1903

Categories: Brodhead, Cleveland Grover, Death, New York, Obituaries | Tags: , | 2 Comments

1872 obituary for Garret Brodhead, husband of Cornelia Dingman

Garret Brodhead (1793-1872), son of Richard Brodhead (1771-1843) & Hannah Drake (1769-1832) – Photo Credit: James & Barbara Brodhead

Cornelia Dingman Brodhead (1797-1885), daughter of Daniel Westbrook Dingman (1774-1862) and Mary Westbrook (1774-1851); Photo Credit: James & Barbara Brodhead

I recently came upon this obituary notice for my third-great-grandfather Garret Brodhead (d. January 8, 1872), husband of Cornelia Dingman and father of Albert Gallatin Brodhead, Daniel Dingman Brodhead, Andrew Jackson (A.J.) Brodhead (my second-great-grandfather), and Abram Coolbaugh Brodhead.  Much of what I’d known of Garret is contained in this post.  The obituary offers wonderful details—who wrote it, I have no idea, but it was someone who had been well acquainted with Garret and Pike County men of Garret’s generation.

Reference is made to Garret’s favorite book Modern Chivalry by Breckenridge; we find out he was living with son A.J. and family in Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe) for about a year before his death; we learn where he was during the War of 1812, that he was a Protestant in the Calvin tradition and a Democrat in politics; and we learn he was extremely interested in his Dutch roots.

Coincidentally, I, too, have been thinking lately about my Dutch roots in the sense that I feel like I need to learn much more about them, so it was interesting to me that Garret had a real preoccupation with them rather than his English roots which probably made up a good 50% of his DNA.

In any case, if you are a descendant and have not yet seen this obituary, I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did and that you’ll find out a few new things about our shared ancestor.

Port Jervis Evening Gazette – January 1872 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

 

Categories: Brodhead, Death, Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), Obituaries, Pennsylvania, Pike Co. | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

“Family” recipe Friday: 1904—Madame de Ryther writes about custards and blackberry pie

I’ve written so much about opera-singer-turned-food-writer Madame de Ryther, she almost feels like family, so I think it is safe to include her thoughts and recipes in this Friday’s post.

The Rome Citizen, October 1, 1884; Credit: Fulton History dot com

But before I do that, I wanted to mention that quite some time ago, blog reader Bill S., who also developed a bit of an obsession with Jule, alerted me to the fact that he’d come across information proving that Madame de Ryther had indeed once been married. Prior to that, I’d wondered whether she had adopted the name because it sounded somewhat exotic and would have been useful for her singing career.

Bill sent me a couple of obituaries for Jule’s husband John de Ryther, who died “at home” in his room at the Arlington Hotel in Rome, New York, on September 30, 1884. He was roughly 50 years of age. The cause of death was given as lung congestion and “asthmatic difficulty.”

The Rome Citizen article indicates that John had not been well for a number of years. I wonder whether a fall he’d taken in an elevator shaft the previous year had perhaps hastened his demise. Surely it could not have helped.

The Syracuse Sentinel, October 3, 1884; Credit: Fulton History dot com

The Utica Morning Herald, April 18, 1883, reported under the heading “Rome Matters”: “John De Ryther. who fell thro’ the elevator well at the Arlington yesterday, is much more comfortable this evening.” I found another article in the Rome Citizen dated July 13, 1883, that mentioned a little girl had fallen the same distance as John down an elevator shaft (24 feet), but that she came away unscathed, while he had been “disabled for weeks”. Such a fall certainly could not have helped someone who already had a history of health problems.

In any case, it’s clear from the obituaries that John was a highly beloved and popular citizen who had held many important positions. At the time of John’s death, Jule was in her late 40s and living in New York City, where her singing career was still going strong.

Bill also sent me a ton of links to loads of Jule’s food and recipe articles, and he even managed to find an image of Jule’s face in an old newspaper he found on Newspapers.com. Unfortunately, I cannot display it here until I find it on a website like Fulton History that places no restrictions on usage. Bill wondered why, given Jule’s success in life as an opera singer and food writer, that he could find no bona fide photos of her anywhere. I find that quite strange too. But hopefully one or more surface some day so I can include them here.

I found the two Jules De Ryther articles below on Fulton History; they are from 1904. The custard article, which includes instructions and ideas for custard pies and baked and boiled custards, would have been good to include in the post I did with my great-grandmother’s custard recipe, but, alas, that ship has sailed.

As for the blackberry pie recipe, it really sounds heavenly. I am going to give it a whirl when blackberries are in season and at their best (and the price is reasonable). Her recipe calls for 1.5 quarts per pie, and she insists that no lard be used for the crust and that the pie should be eaten immediately and never refrigerated.

Finally, for anyone planning to try Jule’s recipes that require baking, a reminder that oven temperatures were referred to differently back then:

  • Slow Oven = 325°F (163°C)
  • Moderate Oven = 375°F (191°C)
  • Hot or Quick Oven = 425 °F (218°C)
  • Bread or Pastry Oven = 360°F (182°C)

Happy Friday!

Custards_NY_Press_1MAY1904

New York Press, 1 May 1904 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

Blackberry_PIe_NY_Press_1904_FS

New York Press, 1904 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

Categories: Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Madame Jule de Ryther, New York, Rome | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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