United States

Calling card left for Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Jaques

Isaac Jaques (1791-1880) Courtesy of San Benito County Historical Society

A calling card left for Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Jaques by Mr. & Mrs. John A. Gunn. Given it is undated, the Mrs. Jaques could have been Isaac’s first wife Wealthy Ann Cushman (1793-1856; m. 1812) or his second wife, widow Rebecca Gold Robinson (1804-1886; m. between 1856-1860).

We know nothing of the circumstances, obviously, but after reading up on calling card etiquette, I believe this may have been an invitation to some sort of party / special social gathering. The envelope is quite decorative. Experts, feel free to weigh in.

I looked for a John A. Gunn and came up with one born in New York in 1820, so perhaps this was a friend of Isaac’s from his days in Manhattan where he was once a well-known and highly successful tailor before retiring across the Hudson River to his Elizabethtown country estate. (For more on Isaac, visit this past post.)

Below are some calling card etiquette resources, in case you want to brush up ūüôā — our ancestors who lived during the 19th century when they were in custom would have been well versed in all the nuances of their use. Personally I find it quite fascinating. It was indeed a much different time–no doubt they would find today’s varied forms of communicating and interacting rather head-spinning to say the least!¬† Bonne fin de semaine!

Calling Cards for LadiesMass historia website
Calling Cards for GentlemenMass historia website
The Gentleman’s Guide to Calling CardsThe Art of Manliness blog

Categories: Elizabeth, Union Co., Jaques | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

William Trewin & St. James Methodist Church in Elizabeth, NJ

William Trewin, b. 21 March 1847; son of John & Mary Ann Trewin; year unknown.

St. James Methodist Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey, celebrated its 80-year anniversary in 1957, and a church program I recently came across commemorating the occasion indicated that my great-grandfather William Trewin was one of eight people who were on the committee that agreed to found the church, which was the result of two churches (Elizabeth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church and St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church) coming together in a building that was acquired through an exchange with the Broad Street Baptist Church. The first service was held on April 15, 1877.

At the time of the committee meeting, October 23, 1876, my great-grandfather was 29 years old and married to his first wife Edith Fry with whom he was raising two sons, Bert and Clarence.  The commemorative program is included in this post for anyone curious about some of the history of the church during its first 80 years. Today, the building is occupied by the Haitian Bethany Baptist Church.

Image from City of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Illustrated, 1889

Categories: Elizabeth, Union Co., Methodist, New Jersey, Trewin | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

The special trees in our American landscape

In the Berkshires, 1850 РBy George Inness РColección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza en depósito en el Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21148368

A belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you. There seemed to be green everywhere yesterday, and speaking of green, today I have trees on my mind, not all trees, just a certain kind of tree…

Have you ever looked out on fields and seen a tree that was just massive? You can tell it has been there for a very long time. Was it standing alone like a lone sentry or providing vast swathes of shade to a centuries-old farmhouse? If the answer is yes, you may well have come upon what is known as a “first-growth tree,” a tree that is described so beautifully in Our Vanishing Landscape, a 1955 book by Eric Sloane.

Such trees provide first-growth timber, the strongest and best timber of all, timber that our American ancestors were blessed with in abundance as they took to settling the land and harnessing its natural resources. Per Sloan, this was “wood grown from untouched earth with the humus and peat and the natural rot of age-old forests.” He describes how, today, seemingly dilapidated centuries-old barns made of chestnut may actually still be in exceptionally good shape, the wood in even better condition than any new wood that could ever be found to replace it.

Morning by George Inness – Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11006350

As you can imagine, in many parts of America today, first-growth timber is quite rare. Certainly that’s true in the East. Many of America’s forests and woods were cleared to make way for agriculture. But, says Sloane, America’s first farmers would leave some first-growth trees dotting the landscape to serve as navigational markers, and often they would choose their home sites based on the fact that a first-growth tree stood nearby, for shade, and as a reminder, he says, that “into that tree went the memory of all the forests of great trees that had disappeared around it.”

I grew up in a farmhouse that was built in 1774, and I often think of that place and its beautiful surroundings, and my mind always wanders to a maple tree—a gigantic maple tree—that stood to the rear of the house on the left, alongside a babbling brook. It’s only after reading Sloan’s book that I realized a first-growth tree in the form of that maple had quite possibly been in our midst all those years ago, and perhaps that is why, subconsciously, my mind, without fail, wanders back to that tree… There is something about nature that pulls us, captivates us, calms us, and has the power to make us feel whole. That tree was magnificent. I’ve been searching for a photograph of it, and I’m sure we have one somewhere. The closest I’ve gotten so far, however, is an image with just part of the tree in the background.

Landscape by George Inness, 1878; Public domain, Wikimedia Commons

It’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like to be in a place where the majority of maples were that size. Unfortunately, history and human circumstances have denied us of the possibility to see such trees en masse in many parts of the country. We have to seek out our sequoias and redwoods and travel to mountain and forest places left largely untouched by human hands and natural disasters. We can dig into historical records to find traces of giant trees, and examine paintings by artists of previous centuries to catch glimpses of past American landscapes. As I look at paintings by 19th-century American artist George Inness (1825-1894), for instance, I see what I think must be at least the occasional first-growth tree dotting his landscapes. Whether they were there in reality or his imagination conjured them up, I don’t know. But, for instance, go back to the top of this post and look at the tree hiding in the background on the right in his painting In the Berkshires. That tree looks absolutely gigantic.

Credit: Flickr user Rocor, Hackensack Meadows, Sunset, 1859, by George Inness. Oil on canvas NY Historical Society. LACMA – Creative Commons non-commercial 2.0 generic license – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Interestingly, Sloane points out that it is documented that trees the size of California’s redwoods once existed in the East. He cites an 1841 record of a walnut tree that once stood in Forestville, New York, a mile above the mouth of a creek, named Walnut Creek after this tree. The giant tree was “36 feet in circumference at its base, gradually tapering 80 feet to the first limb. Its entire height was nearly 200 feet, and was estimated to contain 150 cords of wood, or 50,000 feet of inch boards. The bark was a foot thick. The tree was entirely sound when blown down in 1822…”

When I went on the Fulton History website to look into the existence of other giant trees reported in the press, I discovered an article in The Album of Rochester, New York, dated December 1, 1825: “An Elm in Hatfield, Mass. is supposed the largest tree in New England, It measures in circumference 34 feet at two feet from the ground; at the height of five feet, the smallest place in the trunk, the circumference is 24 feet 6 inches. There is a cut in the tree four feet from the ground, which tradition says was made by the Indians, for the highest rise of water in Connecticut river.”

By George Inness – The AMICA Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20146490

The December 12, 1826, issue of the Franklin Herald and Public Advertiser (Greenfield, Mass.) contained an article on large trees. Some excerpts include: “The Charter Oak in Connecticut ‚ÄĒ From the best information that we can obtain, says a Hartford paper, this tree is no less than four hundred years old; it is 23 feet in circumference near the ground, and at the height of 7 feet, it is 17 feet in circumference; the height of the tree, is about 70 feet; some of its branches extend 20 feet. […] In May, 1826, there was an Elm blown down in Wells, (Maine,) which measured 27 feet and 4 inches in circumference, making the diameter something over 9 feet; and was 40 feet from the foot to a crotch; from thence it was 20 feet to the first limb, running to the height of 60 feet from bottom before it had any limbs, when it expanded to an immense size. The exact height of the tree could not be accurately obtained, as the top was much broken, but was computed to be upwards of 100 feet. […] The Lexington, Ky. Public Advertiser says, that there now stands on the bank of the Ohio river, in the State of Indiana, opposite the mouth of Salt river, a Sycamore tree, which has stabled fourteen head of horses at one time, with ample room. It takes 75 long paces to go round its trunk, and you may with perfect ease turn a fourteen foot pole in the inside of its cavity.”

By George Inness – ArtDaily.com, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49327263

The New Jersey Fredonian on April 11, 1827, reported that a giant poplar in perfect health had [very sadly] been felled by a Mr. Moser on his land in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It was 117 feet high with a circumference at the base of 20 feet 7 inches. The first limb appeared at 64 feet off the ground. It was estimated to be at least 300 years old by those who examined it’s circles. The article’s author, lamenting the poplar’s demise, referred to it as the “largest solid tree” ever seen or heard of, and a “giant of the forest.”

Painting by George Inness; image uploaded by Noroton at en.wikipedia – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3051470

The Onondaga Register of Onondaga Hollow, New York, on 28 July 1827 included an article originally reported by the Allegany [sic.] Democrat of a massive sycamore tree that had provided a winter residence to a family of seven: “There is now on the farm of Mr. Andrew Beggs (painter) of Pittsburgh, a sycamore tree, in which a family of seven persons, resided all winter, having been detained by the freezing over of the river while ascending it. In this tree they found a comfortable asylum from the storms of a severe winter, with room for all the necessary furniture and cooking utensils, having a fire in the centre Indian style), the smoke of which ascended through a whole in the trunk occasioned by the breaking off of a large limb from the tree. This giant of the forest is about fourteen miles below Pittsburgh, and directly on the Ohio River.”

Then I came across this 1842 article (page 72 of the Farmer’s Monthly Visitor, Vol. 3-4) describing a gigantic maple, a tree very dear to my heart, as you know ;-). Perhaps, best of all, at the end it contains a list of the largest trees known to exist in the US at the time. (Bear in mind that at this point in history, the United States had only 26 states.) Scroll down for an image of what was probably the giant sycamore in Ohio with the 60-foot circumference, and an article that may refer to the New York sycamore.

One thing is for sure: if you see a BIG tree, it always leaves a BIG impression. And it’s clear that big trees made a big impression on our ancestors too!

So as you go about your travels, keep an eye out for any first-growth trees—elm, maple, sycamore, poplar, chestnut, oak, hickory, pine, etc.—you see (or think you see) in your neck of the woods. Feel free to report back here in the Comments box. Better yet, email me a photo, and I’ll post it here for others to enjoy and try to imagine the glorious age-old forests that greeted our early American ancestors. And/Or consider posting your find on the Monumental Trees website so that even more people can learn of your discovery. Let us treasure those giant trees in our midst and do everything we can to assure their survival.

Some amazing and memorable trees I’ve seen down here in the south:
The Big Oak, Thomasville, GA – 329 years old
The Angel Oak Tree, Charleston, SC – 400-500+ years old

The New York Herald, November 17, 1901 (Credit: FultonHistory dot com)

The Bolivar Breeze, December 21, 1922 (Credit: FultonHistory dot com)

Categories: Miscellaneous, Nature, Trees, United States | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Daguerreotype of brothers William Earl Woodruff and Matthias Woodruff, circa 1853

Sons of Mary Jane Trowbridge and Francis Woodruff, circa 1853

I was thrilled to come upon this old daguerreotype of my great-grandfather, William Earl Woodruff (b. 1848, right), and his little brother Matthias (b. 1851, seated on the left and holding what appears to be a rifle/sword). William has his hand on Matthias’s shoulder; apart from showing his brotherly love, he was perhaps doing his best to keep Matthias from fidgeting while the image was being recorded. Was having Matthias hold the rifle/sword a way to keep his hands still? I suspect so. This is the only image I have ever seen of Matthias, who eventually grew up to marry Mary S. Ayers and, in his 30s, headed out alone to the Dakota Territory to farm wheat. He died an accidental death in Chatham, New Jersey, when in his early 40’s.

Francis Woodruff

Francis Woodruff (1820-1883)

I think Matthias resembles his mother Mary Jane, while William looks more like his father Francis. From previous posts you may remember that the family lived in a farmhouse built by Francis on Conant Street in present-day Hillside.

For more posts on this family, enter ‘Francis Woodruff’ in the search box on the left. Enter ‘Matthias’ for those posts chiefly related to him. As always I recommend reading the posts in chronological order.

Mary Jane Trowbridge Woodruff

Mary Jane Trowbridge Woodruff (1820-1883)

On a different note, I have seen a few trees on Ancestry that show a son named John for this family, and Family Search corroborates this:

“New Jersey, Births and Christenings, 1660-1980,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FC1S-YHV : accessed 23 March 2015), John Woodruff, 27 Jun 1851; citing Union Twp., Essex, New Jersey, reference v 1 p 132a; FHL microfilm 493,712.

Francis’s father was John Woodruff (1795-1857; husband of Mary Ogden Earl) and¬† Francis’s older brother was Matthias Woodruff (1818-1844, died of Yellow Fever in Louisiana), so I can see where the names ‘John’ and ‘Matthias’ came from. I am however wondering whether there were two sons by those names or if there was one son named ‘John Matthias’ who was known by family and friends as ‘Matthias’. I have not yet found an exact birth date for Matthias but other information I have places him as being born in 1851 (1860 census, death certificate—aged 42 on day of death April 6, 1893, etc.) So, if there was a John, perhaps he was a twin who died very young? (He is absent from the 1860 census). Personally, I am much more inclined to think that ‘John’ and ‘Matthias’ were one in the same person. Blog readers, please feel free to weigh in!

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

Grandma’s Class of 1898: Battin High School, Elizabeth, Union Co., New Jersey

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Fannie Bishop Woodruff, HS graduation photo, June 1898

Another treasure has surfaced, this one found within a stack of extremely old newspapers and magazines. And I wanted to share it in the event it helps others locate an image of an ancestor (or two).

My grandmother, Fannie Bishop Woodruff, graduated from Battin High School in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey, on June 21, 1898, and the wonderful find is a fabulous and fascinating group photo of her with all of her classmates.

If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you’ll see that I have labelled it with the names listed by my grandmother on the reverse side. I have marked her with a little red heart. A second red heart appears on her cousin Frank W. Russum whose mother was Cecelia Angus, a younger sister of Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff, Fannie’s mother.

Every little detail makes this photo special—the expressions on the faces, the clothing, the architecture, the lettering on the sign followed by a period, the big wooden chair in the open window, the little flowers (dandelions?) on the lawn, the flower pot… A true slice of life from June 1898.

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Battin High School, June 1898

When it came to trying to match faces to the list of names, I was initially¬†somewhat confused with regards to the order in which she listed the young men (starting from the left, but from the top or the bottom? Same question for the right side).¬† I found a way to match them to her list by first finding photos of a handful of them in Rutgers College yearbooks (searching in the yearbooks for students from Elizabeth) and then matching the faces. That worked out well, so I feel quite confident that the young men are labelled correctly. (One young man – second from the left in the top row – is not identified—my grandmother left a space where his name should be; read further for my theory on him.)

By the way, those I found who went on to Rutgers were the following:

The yearbooks are available for free online via Rutgers (click the above links) and contain a wealth of information and images, Definitely worth a leaf through if you have time and are interested in getting a glimpse of college student life circa 1900, at what was once an all-male school.

Battin High School, Elizabeth, NJ - image featured in the book City of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Illustrated, 1889

Battin High School, Elizabeth, NJ – image featured in the book City of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Illustrated, 1889

With the ladies, identification was more cumbersome and not entirely successful. First, my grandmother refers to ‘rows’ with the 1st row being the top step and the 6th row being the bottom step. For me, it was difficult, if not impossible, to decide where rows 3, 4, and 5 start and end given the way the young women in those areas are not seated in neat rows. Second, you’ll notice that four are not labelled at all, and that is because my grandmother left empty space at the start of ‘row 5’ as if she planned to go back and fill in the names later. So, I have done my best guessing. (Names that are my best guess are in regular font; those I feel confident about are in bold.)

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Joseph Battin who donated his mansion to the city of Elizabeth for the high school – image featured in the book City of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Illustrated, 1889

Two names of these ladies (Edith Denman and Ethel M. Hall) don’t appear in the commencement brochure (shown below), but they DO appear in the Elizabeth Daily Journal article about the 1897 graduation (that article is also below). Why that is, I have no idea.

There are names in the commencement brochure that likely match five of the people in the photo:

  • Wilbur Van Sant Coleman* / Ora Kenneth Mizter / William John Millin / Richard Pollatschek / Ida Hand / Blanche Irene Hess* / Edna Winifred Lawson / Elizabeth Landrine Reeve / Elizabeth Winifred Roolvink* / Mary Elise ‘Sadie’ Fozard*

Pollatschek would have been a very unusual name for my grandmother to remember and write/pronounce, so perhaps the young man second from the left up top is Richard Pollaschek, who, I discovered, was born in Bohemia and emigrated from Austria to the US with his family.

To throw an additional spanner into the works, the above individuals marked with an asterisk also appear in the newspaper article for the previous year’s graduation… (as do names of some of the others in the photo)… Why that is, I don’t know. What makes things stranger is that Blanche Hess is listed as a participant in the ceremony in the 1898 brochure.

It occurred to me that the group photo could have been taken in 1897 when my grandmother was a junior, but that would not explain the presence in the 1897 newspaper article of so many names of people who aren’t in the group photo. If anyone out there has a theory as to the overlap, let me know.

Anyway, what matters most is that the photo exists, and we are still far ahead of the game of identification thanks to my grandmother who wrote down the names she did, and to my parents who kept the photo since her death in the mid-1960s.

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Prior to being known as Proctor’s, in 1898, this venue was known as the Star Theatre.

Grandmother’s graduation ceremony was held on Tuesday, 21 June 1898, at 7:45 p.m. at the Star Theatre (which later became Proctor’s Theatre and had numerous other names over the years; it was eventually demolished and replaced by the Ritz Theatre) located at 1146 East Jersey Street, less than a mile from the school. At the time she lived on the family farm on Conant Street, Hillside; this must have been a big night out for her parents and five sisters, and of course, for the many other families whose children had grown up together in, what was then, a quickly evolving city.

You can read the article about the 1897 graduation (credit: Digi-find) to get a sense of what the 1898 ceremony may have been like. Apart from the article, below you will also find the 1898 commencement brochure and an excerpt about Battin High School from the 1889 book City of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Illustrated which contains hundreds of interesting photos and descriptions of Elizabeth during that period.

You may have noticed the two young black students in my grandmother’s group photo—James Morris and Mattie Thomas.¬† James looks exceptionally scholarly in his spectacles and student attire. He is listed in the 1897 article as one of the students who was graduating. The article further stated: ‚ÄúAs the graduates went forward to receive their diplomas each received applause. There were two young colored people in the class, and they were especially favored with the expression of the delight of the audience.‚ÄĚ That was very gratifying to read and I have no doubt that Mattie and James were just as warmly received in 1898.

A-ha! Lightbulb moment! I noticed that James appeared in the 1897 list as a student in the Commercial Course and in the 1898 brochure as a student in the Regular Course. If I am not mistaken, the same appears to be true of the other students who appear to have graduated twice. So, perhaps, it was common for students to take an extra year to complete the regular course after graduating from the commercial course. That seems like a possible explanation.

I hope you find this post interesting and enjoyable. Please leave a comment if you have anything to correct, add, or share. Thank you!

Update: As luck would have it, I just came across the Elizabeth Daily Journal article for the 1898 graduation. It is included below at the very end. Unfortunately it is not entirely legible, but I can make out my grandmother’s name, and many of the others.

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

1948 Photo of Lavinia Pratt Angus Marthaler – age 88

Seek and ye shall find. That’s true, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stumbled upon something of value while seeking something else. Last week I was doing some more sifting and came upon a box of old slides from 1948. They were mostly scenes from my grandparents big train trip out west to California and the Pacific NW/Canadian Rockies. But there was a column of other miscellaneous photos, including one of my uncle Woodruff Brodhead and his family on Thanksgiving Day. My Dad was very fastidious about labeling and had terrific penmanship. Atop the slide were the unmistakable words ‘Aunt Vean.’ Having never seen a photo of her, I was thrilled to scan it in and get a look at her, albeit in her much later years (age 88) and with a hat obscuring part of her face. To her right is her housemate of many years, her cousin Elizabeth Booth. At this point they were sharing a home in Montclair, NJ. I still don’t know how they were related. And I don’t know where the photo was taken, but I presume it may have been in Elizabeth, NJ, at the Coleman residence, a distance not far from Montclair, and a home in which family and extended family were known to gather at the holidays. So, if you’re an Angus and have never seen a photo of Lavinia (‘Vean’) Pratt Angus Marthaler, youngest daughter of James and Wealthy Angus, here she is! (She lived to age 94.)

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Elizabeth Booth (cousin) and Lavinia Pratt Angus Marthaler, Thanksgiving Day, 1948

For more on Aunt Vean (Lavinia Pratt Angus Marthaler), visit these old posts:
Lavinia P. Angus (1858-1940s)‚ÄĒgeometry whiz; who knew?!
Lavinia Pratt Angus Marthaler outlived all 10 of her Angus siblings
Photo circa 1880: Jno. Philip Marthaler, husband of Lavinia P. Angus

Categories: Angus, Montclair Essex Co, New Jersey | Tags: , | 2 Comments

A Florida Friday: New Year’s Day at Silver Glen Springs

Happy New Year to you all; I am resurfacing after a pesky December health-wise, and a New Year’s Florida ‘staycation’ spent in and around the beautiful Ocala National Forest, north of Orlando. Today, I’m sharing a few scenes from the forest’s Silver Glen Springs at the south end of Lake George—its trails strewn with palmettos, its trees festooned with Spanish moss, and its crystal clear springs a steady 72 degrees F. year-round. Spectacular! I hope to gather steam as the month progresses and get back on track with some family history posts. Meanwhile, to all my many cousins (no matter how distant) among this blog’s readership, please feel free to write a guest post or submit information that can help me develop a post for you. Let’s get those stories ‘out there’!

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Rome Daily Sentinel, 7 March 1916 – The river being referred to is the St. John’s which starts down south near Melbourne and runs north through Lake George, eventually meeting the ocean at Jacksonville. (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

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Categories: Florida, Nature, Ocala National Forest | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Regarding the possible Mayflower connection & “Marcia Toocker Cushman Keney”

Anyone with an ongoing interest in things discussed in my last post (Wealthy Ann Cushman Jaques and the possible Mayflower Connection) should check out page 102 of The Ancestry of Jane Maria Greenleaf: Wife of William Francis Joseph Boardman, Hartford, Connecticut by William F. J. Boardman, a book that was privately printed in Hartford, in 1906. Scroll down to see my red arrow below indicating a Marcia Toocker (daughter of Joseph and Hannah Toocker) who was married to 1) Cushman and 2) Timothy Keney.

I believe this ‘Marcia Toocker’ is the ‘Mary?¬† Zooker/s?’ (married to ‘Eleazer Cushman’ and then ‘? Keeney’) mentioned in the last post and that this ‘Marcia’ and ‘Cushman’ are the same people mentioned on page 206 of Families of Early Hartford: ‚ÄúEleasur Cushman died Aug 9, 1795 ae 27 bur Center Church. Widow Mercy Cushman.”

The Cushman family website links this Eleasur/Eleazer buried in the Center Church Ancient Burying Ground to Seth Cushman (1734-1771) whose ancestry is documented back to Mayflower passenger Mary Allerton. The entry for Eleasur/Eleazer contains a bit of possibly conflicting info (e.g. place of death MA, not CT—states close together so the body could have been transported for burial in Hartford; and a wife named Sarah—she would have to have preceded Marcia/’Mercy’, spouse at time of death).

Referring back to the Toocker ancestry, we can see that Marcia was born between 1770 (birth of older sister Rhoda) and 1779 (birth of younger brother Joseph). Sibling Mary (aka Polly) preceded Marcia (‘Mercy’).¬† Marcia’s year of birth probably lies between¬† 1775-1777/8, perhaps closer to the latter if this is the ‘Mercy Keeney’ found in “Connecticut Deaths and Burials, 1772-1934” on FamilySearch:
Name:     Mercy Keeney
Birth Date:     abt 1779
Age at Death:     70
Death Date:     7 Jul 1849
Death Place:     Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut
Gender:     Female
FHL Film Number:     1313828

So it appears highly possible that timeline-wise, my third great-grandmother Wealthy Ann Cushman (m. Isaac Jaques), born 11 November 1793, in Hartford, CT, is the daughter of Eleasur (Eleazer) and Marcia (Mercy). Now to prove it!  Anyone with thoughts, ideas, please feel free to share. And if/when I make any headway on this, I will let you know.

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Jane Greenleaf Boardman, niece of ‘Marcia Toocker Cushman Keney’ and subject of this genealogical book

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Electa Toocker, Marcia’s younger sister and the mother of the subject of this genealogical book

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Categories: Angus, Connecticut, Cushman, Hartford, Mayflower 1620, Toocker | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Wealthy Ann Cushman Jaques and the possible Mayflower connection

View of Plymouth Harbor fall or spring of 1973

Happy Thanksgiving to all this blog’s readers! Thank you for your support and encouragement this past year, and thanks to all of you who have shared information, supplied material for guest posts, or written guest posts yourself.¬† I have seen this blog continue to help people connect with family members near and far, and for that I am also very grateful.

Today’s post may be of interest to descendants of Isaac Jaques and Wealthy Ann Cushman and it concerns the possible familial link between Wealthy and the youngest of the Mayflower’s 102 passengers—Mary Allerton. (Anyone out there with information on that link, please do get in touch via the comment box below or my email address which appears on the ‘About’ page.)

I had absolutely no idea when I visited Plimoth Plantation at age 12 that I may be related Mary Allerton. I recall wandering that open-air museum on a very cold and raw day, thinking about what it must have been like to get through just one day of life in the 1620s, let alone entire months and years. Brrr—just thinking about it makes me cold. (Ever see the episode of Colonial House where Oprah and her friend Gayle “go back in time” 400 years to experience life in a Maine settlement? See https://vimeo.com/2811969. Again, all I can say is Brrrrrrrrrrr….) Our foreparents were made of extremely tough stuff! (Four hundred years from now, they may be saying that about us, which is hard to imagine given how comfortable life is today, compared to 400 years ago.)

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Elizabeth Daily Journal obit for Job Winans Angus Jr.

Forward to 2016. You may recall that I was somewhat flabbergasted this past summer to come across an obit for Job Winans Angus Jr. in which it was stated that Job had an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower. A little hand-written note I found from Job’s nephew Thomas Russum seemed to confirm that this was indeed something worth exploring even if it was, perhaps, wishful thinking on their part. The ancestor on whom all this hinged was Wealthy Ann Cushman: wife of Isaac Jaques, mother of Wealthy (Jaques) Angus, and my third-great-grandmother. Thomas’s note mentioned a father Eleazer and a mother Mary Zooker/s with a question mark next to her first and last names. The year of death for Eleazer was given as 1792, again with a question mark. The mother “Mary? Zooker/s?” was noted as having remarried someone named Keeney and having had two children with him: Aaron and Jane. I did find a death record for a Mercy Keeney who was presumably born around 1779. If the circa 1779 birth date is accurate, she would have given birth at age 14/15, so this may be a red herring; if the date is off and she was older when Wealthy was born, this could be the correct Mercy.

I subsequently found, on page 206 of Families of Early Hartford, an Eleasur Cushman listed as having been buried in the Center Church Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford, Connecticut: “Eleasur Cushman died Aug 9, 1795 ae 27 bur Center Church. Widow Mercy Cushman.”¬† I believe this Eleasur may very well be the father of Wealthy Ann Cushman, who was born in Hartford, CT, on November 11, 1793, and that “Mary? Zooker/s?” was Mercy Cushman, but proving that is an entirely different thing. (Wealthy Ann Cushman married Isaac Jaques on Feb 4, 1812, and they named their second son Eleazer (b. 1820), which may be more than coincidence).

Another thing to prove is the link back from Eleasur Cushman of Hartford to his parents—possibly Seth Cushman (1734-1771) and Abiah Allen. They had a son named Eleazer, born July 17, 1768 in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. If you add 27 years to 1768, you come up with 1795, the year of death of Hartford’s Eleasur Cushman.

life_1904

Life Magazine 1904

The links between Seth Cushman and Mary Allerton (1616-1699; wife of Thomas Cushman, 1608-1691) have all been proven and are all documented.

So the challenge is to definitively connect Wealthy Ann Cushman with Eleasur Cushman and Eleasur Cushman to Seth Cushman. If those connections don’t exist, it will be back to square one. I contacted the Connecticut State Archives hoping for some clues about the Cushman family of Hartford, but they had nothing new to tell me. I also contacted the Mayflower Society (MS), but they had no information on anyone using Seth and Abiah Cushman’s son Eleazer to prove Mayflower ancestry. It is up to us descendants to do it. The MS was very helpful and supportive, so as time goes on, maybe they will help steer me in some fruitful directions.

I know from reading some letters that Wealthy’s daughter Wealthy (Jaques) Angus of Elizabeth, NJ, stayed in contact with Hartford relatives and visited them periodically, but I have found no new clues that would better ID them. Perhaps, someone out there has a box of old letters that contains some answers?

Anyway, we are standing before a brick wall of sorts and hopefully, we’ll figure it all out. Perhaps, in time for next Thanksgiving – 2017? It would be fun to be able to pass this info on to the little ones in the family. We shall see!

Again, best wishes to you all for a very blessed Thanksgiving 2016.

Categories: Angus, Connecticut, Cushman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Hartford, Jaques, Mayflower 1620, New Jersey | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

A Florida Friday: Mangrove tunnels

map

Cropped from Colton’s United States of America. Published in 1865 by J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York. Credit: http://www.davidrumsey.com

We recently took a canoe ride along a portion of the Blackwater River which starts at the 7,271-acre Collier Seminole State Park on the western edge of the Everglades and takes you out several miles through a vast mangrove swamp until you reach the Ten Thousand Islands. Were it not for the fact that the mangroves produce tannin, the water would be crystal clear (which would be much more comforting for the purpose of alligator spotting!). It’s an incredibly peaceful experience; just remember your bug spray and sunscreen and to stay in your canoe so you don’t bring home any physical souvenirs (or lose a limb!). We’ve done this trip several times, and the mangrove tunnels where the river narrows are (for me) the most special part of the journey. The water is like glass and the reflection of the mangroves on the water makes for some heavenly scenes. In winter there’s the added benefit of seeing lots of birds.

When you go through such uninhabitable terrain, it is easy to see why the Seminole Indians were never defeated, and also easy to see why the author of the below small article on the Ten Thousand Islands, published in 1886, found this part of Florida “desolate” and “gloomy” in comparison with the northern part of the state, which was fairly well inhabited and offered comforts that clearly would have been absent in south Florida at that time. Coming here in the hot and humid months of the year especially, one can be eaten alive by no-see-ums and mosquitoes and burnt to a crisp by a relentless and unforgiving sun. The article was printed in November, so hopefully the author escaped the worst of the bugs and weather—in any case, he lived to tell his tale!

Thankfully, we 21st-century South Floridians are able to enjoy these wild  environments by day and return to the comforts of our homes at night.

Have a tranquil weekend, all.

mangroves

Blackwater River mangrove tunnel, November 2016

Starting point for the Blackwater River with canoe/kayak launch area in distance

Starting point for the Blackwater River with canoe/kayak launch area in distance

ten_thousand_islands1Daily Alta California, Friday, November 12, 1886 (Credit: California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside - . All newspapers published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain and therefore have no restrictions on use.)

Daily Alta California, Friday, November 12, 1886 (Credit: California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside – . All newspapers published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain and therefore have no restrictions on use.)

Mango [sic] trees on the jungle trail, Palm Beach, Fla. - Detroit Publishing Company, 1910-1920 Credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Mango [sic] trees on the jungle trail, Palm Beach, Fla. – Detroit Publishing Company, 1910-1920 Credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Categories: Florida, Ten Thousand Islands | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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