My garage clear-out yielded these two group photos of my grandmother Fannie B. Woodruff and her five sisters, Jennie, Flora, Mildred, Cecelia, and Bertha—the children of William Earl Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus. The photos were damaged and faded, but some “Photoshopping” has helped to revive them a bit. Oldest sister Jennie died in October 1955 so the image was obviously taken sometime prior to that. Sister Flora Ulrich lived out in California, so maybe this photo was taken to commemorate her visit to New Jersey or to mark some other special/solemn occasion, perhaps even the death of one of their spouses. My grandfather died in May 1951 and Jennie’s in December 1953. The location I am not sure of; but I think it may have been my grandmother’s home in Scotch Plains, NJ. I think it’s somewhat sweet that in the top photo they are all looking in different directions as if trying to catch their best sides. In the photos I have of them in their much younger years, all heads were always pointed in the same direction.
Summer 1904 cemetery photos of family marking the placement of the headstone for Wm Sargent Jr. & Sarah Jane Bowley graves
While going through my grandmother Zillah Trewin’s photo album, I came across these images taken in Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, during the summer of 1904 at what I presume was a small gathering to mark the placement of the gravestone for William Sargent (1861-1896) and his wife Sarah Jane Bowley (1849-1904) who died earlier that year, in January. What’s most interesting to me is the fact that the tiny elderly woman in the photo may actually be Mary Bowley Pitt, older sister of Sarah Bowley and second wife of William Sargent (Zillah’s grandfather and my 2nd-great-grandfather; 1st wife was Mary Wills, daughter of George and Mary Wills of Northamptonshire, England). You may recall the post where it was revealed that father and son (both named William) married sisters Mary Bowley Pitt and Sarah Bowley! Based on 1880 census records, Mary Bowley (1st marriage to ? Pitt) was born in 1839 in England; in 1904 she would have been 64, and I am trying to figure out if the mystery woman pictured could be around that age. Thoughts anyone?
Here’s a clipping about my great-grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration (William Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus), which took place on Saturday, 17 June 1922, at their home in Hillside, Union Co., NJ. The clipping, saved by my grandmother, is from the June 19, 1922, issue of the Elizabeth Daily Journal.
The accompanying photograph, one of our family history treasures, brings to life the article’s description of my great-grandmother’s outfit and all the various flowers on display. Lots of roses, of course!
Such articles usually offer new little clues and facts, and this one does not disappoint. For example, the Who’s Who of who was present, the name of the minister who married them, and the celebratory trip to Niagara Falls were news to me. According to the article, they left for the Falls the next day, Sunday, 18 June. Since their actual anniversary was June 20, Tuesday, they marked the date there.
I visited Niagara Falls for the first time about 10 years ago, but had no idea that this connection with the Falls existed in my family tree. I suppose if I’d known about it at the time, it would have impacted my experience in some small way. I definitely would have paid attention to historical images from that period.
William and Wealthy made the trip at ages 73 and 71, respectively. It must have been a tremendously exciting and memorable moment for them, one that they could look back on happily during their remaining five years together.
Wealthy passed away on 27 May 1927. My dad, who was six at the time, distinctly remembered the emotional tumult the family experienced upon losing Wealthy and the sadness that accompanied William’s passing the following year (18 October 1928). My dad’s parents, who lived in neighboring Elizabeth, took in William and Wealthy’s dog, but the dog kept running away back to the house in Hillside, and eventually got hit my a car. My dad was heartbroken; as he described it, the last link with his Woodruff grandparents was gone.
(Sorry to end the post on such a down note, but I think all these pieces help convey how beloved William and Wealthy were to their children and grandchildren.)
This blog is all about my desire to be collaborative and share family history information, and this post focuses on some collaborating we could do, but unfortunately, I can’t take the lead on this one at this time since I am my mom’s full-time caregiver. Embarking on distant travels is hard for me right now. My big July Oregon escape was just that: BIG. But, it was also RARE! 🙂 But, let’s get back to that ‘boots on ground’ research opportunity with regards to the Angus family:
If you visit the New Jersey Historical Society website and look up the ‘Angus Family’, you will discover that the Society has the following holdings in its archives:
No. 615. ANGUS FAMILY Papers, 1838-1969. 75 items. Correspondence, business records, genealogical material. Business records relate to Angus family companies in New Jersey and Mexico, I839-71. Of particular interest are the business records, 1849-71, of the Elizabethtown Steam Manufacturing Company, James W. Angus, Superintendent. Gift of Exchange and Gift Division, Library of Congress, 1964.
Seventy-five items! There’s bound to be something ‘new’ there. Perhaps, someone reading this has visited the Society and has gotten to see these items (or at least some of them) first-hand. If so, please consider sharing your findings and impressions via the ‘Comments’ section below. Or perhaps this post will inspire someone who lives in or near Newark to visit the Society to find out exactly what’s there (I believe you may need to call ahead). You can request copies, but not of the entire collection due to staff shortages. Since I don’t know what is there, I don’t know what to request. The contact details, if you are interested: 52 Park Place, Newark, NJ. Tel: 973.596.8500.
Some past posts on this family:
James Winans Angus (1810-1862): The Early Years
Isaac G. de. G. Angus (1840-1885)
Job Winans Angus & Lincoln’s Lost Ballroom
For additional posts, use the Search box in the left column.
On a positive note, my request for Angus records elsewhere was met with success, so I will be sharing information gleaned from them once I have had time to review them. They have yet to wend their way to my mailbox.
“Less is more”–in this case, fewer words from me and more photos for you! For this post, I thought it would be interesting to share some early photos we have of my grandmother, Fannie Bishop Woodruff (1882-1965), fourth daughter of William Earl Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus; sister to Jennie, Flora, Cecelia, Mildred, and Bertha. You can enlarge some of the photos by clicking on them.
Any descendants out there reading this who have information and old photos of this family, and would be willing to share them, by all means feel free to get in touch. I’d love to see them, and would even be happy to watermark them for you and post them here for extended family to enjoy and learn from. Have a great weekend!
Fannie’s Mom & Dad