Elizabeth, Union Co.

Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus (1815 – 1892)

Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus – early in her marriage (m. 1839); image from my family’s personal collection.

Today’s post shares an obituary that must surely be familiar to many Angus descendants, but since some may never have seen it, I am including it in this blog. It was originally published in the Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal on March 7, 1892. My grandmother typed up the below copy for her two sons.

I have done numerous posts about the James and Wealthy Angus family, so if you are visiting this blog for the first time, you can use the directory on the side of the page to find all the posts relevant to the Angus family. You can also use the search box.

Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus, born on 15 December 1815, was the daughter of prominent Manhattan tailor Isaac Jaques and his first wife Wealthy Cushman. At age 23, she married 28-year-old James Winans Angus.

Piece of Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus’s wedding dress – plaid was quite common in those days. This dress would have been her “best dress” for only the most special of occasions. It was also worn by her daughter (my great grandmother) Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff (fabric and accompanying note from my family’s personal collection).

Roughly five years into the young couple’s marriage, his coach-making business took him from New Jersey to Mexico City. Eventually she and their two young children joined him, sharing part of the journey—the trip across the Vera Cruz Mountains—with a young Ulysses S. Grant, who had just recently graduated from West Point.

James’s coach-making business took a back seat when the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) broke out. Appointed a commissary by General Winfield Scott, James was responsible for providing supplies to the US Army. The obituary contains other exciting details from their life in Mexico, and I will let you enjoy reading them yourself.

Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus, widow of James Winans Angus, circa 1890; image from my family’s personal collection.

Wealthy was widowed at age 47 and left with 10 children to tend to. Of the 10, only two were over the age of 18. Without James, the family breadwinner, finances naturally became exceptionally tight. Yet somehow she managed to keep the ship afloat, selling off bits and pieces of real estate James had purchased during their married years, and no doubt relying on her older children, once working, to help out on the home front. Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus died of kidney disease* in 1892. She was 74.

Angus family home in Elizabeth, NJ, from 1848-1871. It stood at 927 Elizabeth Avenue.

My grandmother Fannie B. Woodruff Brodhead (Wealthy Angus’s granddaughter via daughter Wealthy Angus Woodruff) was fiercely proud of her Angus roots. Born 11 June 1882 (137 years ago tomorrow!), she was nearly 10 when her grandmother Angus died—old enough to have many memories of time spent visiting her grandmother at the big Angus house at 927 Elizabeth Avenue, Elizabeth, NJ.

Unfortunately, I was just a little 5-year-old when my grandmother died, so I never had a chance to ask her anything of importance. But, here I am a half century later, doing my bit to pass along family history details nonetheless; details she left behind in the hope someone would take up the mantle. Fortunately, someone usually does. I think she would be pleased to know this obituary still has an audience all these years later.

*One Line of Descendants of James Angus by Harriet Stryker-Rodda, Certified Genealogist, Elizabeth, NJ, 1969

Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus obituary – copied by my grandmother, a granddaughter via Wealthy’s daughter Wealthy Angus Woodruff, for her two sons.

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., Mexican-American, Mexico, New Jersey, Scott General Winfield | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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

Elizabeth, NJ, circa 1849: Life at the Angus home on Elizabeth Avenue

Yummy quince preserves from France found at our local Tuesday Morning store

A few days ago, I made an unexpected discovery at our local Tuesday Morning store: jars and jars of quince preserves, not a common sight here. And that reminded me of a very interesting post I’d planned to do a while back but never got around to.

Many descendants of the Angus family may already be familiar with the information I am about to disclose, but on the off-chance these details never found their way down your branch of the family tree, I will go ahead and share.

Lovett’s illustrated catalogue of fruit and ornamental trees and plants for the autumn of 1891. Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection.; J.T. Lovett Company. Credit: www. biodiversitylibrary. org/page/42764492

A while back, I did a post mentioning the fact that almost every yard in America within the right growing range would have once featured a quince tree; it was a fruit that was essential to the process of canning and preserving food. Well, a letter reveals that in addition to numerous other types of fruit trees, my/our second-great-grandparents Angus had a quince tree on their 927 Elizabeth Avenue, Elizabeth, New Jersey, property. I know this because I came across a copy of a letter that mentions the trees and a few more interesting things about the Angus family’s life in the mid-1800s.

Thomas F. Russum, son of Thomas and Cecelia (Angus) Russum and one of the many Angus grandsons, copied the letter on February 24, 1934, on his letterhead stationery (address 6 Seneca Avenue, White Plains, New York). The original letter had been written circa 1849 by a roughly nine-year-old Isaac G. de G. Angus to his godmother in Mexico. Thomas copied the letter before passing it on to Isaac’s son Addison Clark Angus, who was then living at 1833 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.

I surmise that Thomas must have found the letter among old family papers and decided to send the original letter—which evidently the godparents returned to Wealthy Angus after learning of Isaac’s 1885 death at age 45—to Addison, Isaac’s sole surviving child. (For some background on the Mexico connection, please refer to this past post.)

Angus family home at 927 Elizabeth Avenue, Elizabeth, New Jersey, from 1848-1871; the house was torn down a long time ago. A law office occupies this land today.

Isaac’s letter, though brief, is absolutely wonderful. Nowhere else have I ever seen/heard/read anything about the Angus household at that time. So, if you have never seen this letter before, I hope you will enjoy reading it. (I have retained the spelling but have added some punctuation for readability and some bracketed information.)

My dear Madrina [Godmother],

My Ma has just written you a letter so I think I will follow her example and write one too. We are all pretty well. We have another little brother. His name is George Welsh. I wish you could see him. He is a very nice little baby and we like him very much. My Pa and Ma wishes very much that you was here. They talk of you and Dona Margarita and Pepa everyday. Jacob [Jacob Baker Angus, 1844-1850] has forgotten all his Spanish and they are afraid that Jimmy [James Winans Angus Jr. 1841-1897] and I will too. Ma hears us read and gives us a lesson almost every day. Won’t you come and live with us. You would like this country. I like it very much. My Pa has got a big house and a very nice garden with apples, pears, plums, quinces and other fruit in it. And he has got a very pretty carriage and horse and some chickens and two little pigs. Give my love to Dona Margarito a Pepa. Tell my Padrino [Godfather] I think he might write me a letter if he ever thinks of me. Give my love to him and all my other friends such as Don Bernardo’s mother. We live in the next house to my Grandpas [Isaac Jaques] and we go there every day. I have no more to write now. You must answer this soon.

Your affectionate godson
Isaac Gabriel de Guadalup Angus

Still Life: Fruit, Bird, and Dwarf Pear Tree by Charles V. Bond, American, 1856

The letter was written after the birth of George Welsh Angus (13 May 1849) and before the death of Jacob “Jimmy” Baker Angus (8 June 1850 – scarlet fever).

The family had departed Mexico in early 1849, after a roughly seven-year stay, due to father James’s health issues. It seems likely that young Isaac wrote this letter in summer/fall when the thought of fruit trees would have been top of mind for a child.

Isaac writes about liking his new country. Even though he was born in Elizabeth, he’d spent the bulk of his life thus far in Mexico City. Returning to daily life in Elizabeth must have been a huge adjustment for him and his siblings. Certainly they must have enjoyed being next door to their grandfather Isaac Jaques and grandmother Wealthy Cushman Jaques who would have been in their mid- to late-50s at that time and, no doubt, delighted to have daughter Wealthy and her growing family back in their midst.

View Near Elizabethtown, N. J., oil painting by Régis François Gignoux, 1847, Honolulu Museum of Art

The contrasts between Mexico City (oldest capital city in the Americas, with a population probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000 by 1850) and Elizabeth (1850 population: 5,583) must have made a big impression on the family, as I’m sure did the difference in climate. New Jersey winters are usually cold and bleak. The painting on the left, painted two years before the Anguses returned home, shows just what wintry conditions may have awaited them. For Wealthy and James especially, their Mexico life and their adventures there during the US-Mexico War must have lingered in their minds for a very long time. And, until they’d fully acclimatized themselves, daily life in Elizabeth may have seemed a bit boring. Of course, the city of Manhattan, with its population of ~500,000 was close by, so perhaps they were happy to come home and get caught up on all the changes that had taken place in their absence. This was, after all, HOME.

I can’t help but wonder what kind of reception the family received from the community when they returned to live in Elizabethtown.  There must have been a lot of curiosity about these somewhat “exotic”” neighbors with their unique international experiences and ability to speak Spanish.

Bird’s-eye view of Mexico City as seen from convent of San Cosme (1847). Panorámica de la ciudad de México desde el convento de San Cosme (1847). Artist: N. Currier (Wikimedia Commons: In Public Domain in US (70 years) and Mexico (100 years)

From the letter, we can see that Wealthy was tutoring the children daily, trying to make sure the children would not forget their Spanish; young Isaac does not mention his younger sister Mary Martha who was probably about three at the time. (Another six children would make their appearances between 1850 and 1861, one of them being my great-grandmother Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff.)

Photograph of Isaac G. de G. Angus, Princeton 1860 grad, from the collections of the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton, NJ. Reproduced here in low resolution with their permission. Call number AC-104, Box 117.

Obviously the family had warmly embraced their Mexican friends and now, with such distance between them, only had letter-writing as a way of remaining in touch. The fact that the godparents returned this letter to mother Wealthy Jaques Angus after Isaac’s death in 1885, some 35 years after they’d left Mexico, indicates that the families remained in contact.

It would be fabulous to know who these godparents and friends in Mexico were. Unfortunately I have not come across those details yet.

If anyone out there has more information about anything related to this post, please do share. Thank you.

 

 

 

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., Mexico, New Jersey, Russum | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Isaac G. de G. Angus (1840-1885) – Part II

Photograph of Isaac G. de G. Angus, from the collections of the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton, NJ. Reproduced here in low resolution with their permission. Call number AC-104, Box 117.

In April 2015, I posted quite an extensive write-up on Isaac G. de G. Angus, which included a fair amount of information about his parents, my second-great-grandparents, James W. Angus and Wealthy Jaques Angus. For that post, please click here. I’m publishing this “Part II” today, not that it is a continuation of that post, but rather simply a bit more information about Isaac, including a photo, and his time at Princeton University, information I found while visiting Princeton University’s digitized online archives.

Due to ownership/copyright restrictions, it’s best that you go to the site yourself to view these items/request copies for your own files. (See links below.)  I did pay for a high-resolution version of the image, but I am not permitted to publish it here.

Princeton’s archives include a letter dated September 5, 1859, written by James W. Angus. Isaac must have had some behavioral issues that barred him from returning for his senior year. The letter pleads with Dr. John Maclean to allow Isaac to return, vouching that he (Isaac) much regrets his inappropriate behavior (which appears to have involved alcohol) and seems a changed person who is ready to get back to business at Princeton. If Isaac were to fail again, James promised not to bother Dr. Maclean any further. Obviously Princeton agreed to take him back since he graduated in 1860.

Also available via Princeton’s archives is a small note with accompanying envelope, both written by Isaac’s wife Susan Robinson on December 9, 1986, advising Princeton that her husband had passed away.

I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit about the Angus family. Have a great day!

P.S. I believe this image of Isaac may be on Find a Grave, perhaps in higher res.

Princeton Links:

http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/AC339/c0008

http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/AC104.02/c4758

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., New Jersey | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Inside the house Francis Woodruff built, circa 1845

Francois Gignoux, View near Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 1847

If you’re like me, you occasionally look up the addresses of ancestors to see if their homes are still standing; and if they are and they happen to be for sale or have sold in the not-too-distant past, you can get a glimpse inside, thanks to all those online realtor photos, many of which seem to linger long after the sale has been made.

Last fall I found a listing for the house my second-great-grandfather Francis Woodruff built circa 1845 in Elizabethtown, NJ, on what was then farmland and in what is now the town of Hillside. Frenchman Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882) painted the above scene around that time. As you can see, it must have been a very bucolic setting in the summertime; Francis and his family made a living off the land, something many living in that part of New Jersey today might find hard to imagine.

I contemplated flying up to NJ to take a look inside but scrapped that idea after all of us in the family contracted type A flu, an event we did not rebound from quickly. Of course, now I regret not getting up there—who knows when the house will be for sale again?

In any case, the house was sold, but many photos remain on Realtor dot com. To look inside, visit this link: Conant Street house. I wrote about this house once before in a post about my grandmother’s wedding in which I included this information from the six-page PDF Eight Colonial Homes, an undated publication put out by the staff of the Hillside National Bank:

A third Woodruff house, while appearing to be the same vintage as the others, was erected about 1845. […] …it is frequently the subject of artists’ paint brushes because of its picturesque setting. It was built by Francis Woodruff, a descendant of Enos Woodruff. A letter from Mathias Woodruff in 1843 to his brother, another Enos Woodruff, comments that he is planning to return from Louisiana to help his cousin, Ezra Woodruff, erect a house for Frank. The letter jokingly said in part: “Frank will want him to put up a house next summer. I have advised him to find out from the neighbors what kind of house he wants, sort of architecture, on which side to put the kitchen, dog house, pig pens. If all parties are satisfied, it will save a great deal of talk.” Oddly enough it was constructed sideways to the road, but when the Westminster section was developed by Edward Grassman in the 1930’s, Revere Drive was placed in front of it, so today it faces a street.

Having seen the interior photos, I can try to picture the family members living there and going about their daily lives. This is where Francis and Mary Jane Trowbridge raised their four children: William, Matthias, Emma, and Phebe. This is where William, who took over the farm, raised his six daughters with wife Wealthy Ann Angus. The house remained in the family until 1928, the year William (b. 1848) died. (Wealthy predeceased him.) By then the six daughters were married with children and living elsewhere. Farmland in Elizabethtown was becoming non-existent as the county’s towns expanded. The Woodruff farm was swallowed up and became part of a housing development in Hillside.

I now read some of my old posts in a slightly new light, better able to imagine the happenings inside the home—this is where Mary Jane got her small children up and dressed in the morning; these are the stairs the Woodruff children, grand-children and great-grandchildren ran up and down through the years; this in the fireplace Francis sat down next to to write his grown children letters while they temporarily lived elsewhere or where he retired to to read their letters—letters to and from William when he was out West sheep farming or letters to and from Matthias when he farming wheat in the Dakota Territory; this is the home in which a teen-aged William wrote letters to his uncles Trowbridge while they were serving in the Union Army; this is the parlor in which the family entertained guests and marked my grandmother’s wedding in 1908 and William and Wealthy’s golden anniversary in 1922, etc.

Of course, the house has been altered through the years, there’s no denying that, but original features remain as you can see in the photos—the wood flooring, the beams, the fireplaces, and the windows, including the diamond-shaped window in the attic.

It’s wonderful to see this house still standing after 170+ years. For that I thank all of its past and present occupants and all of those local citizens who through the decades have appreciated its important heritage.

Categories: Elizabeth, Union Co., Hillside Union, Woodruff | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

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 🙂 — 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

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:

  • Rutgers ‘02: Frank Winner Russum; Charles Ernest Pett; and Charles Warren Stevens Jr.
  • Rutgers ’05: Emil Eisenhardt Fischer and Frederick Alton Price, Jr.

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.)

battin5

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: “As 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.” 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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edj6_1898

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

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