Holidays & Festivities

Remembering President John Adams’ 1826 Independence Day toast

President John Adams (b. 1735) passed away on the 4th of July in 1826.

From the diary* of Reverend George Whitney, who on June 30, 1826, led a small delegation into the home of the 90-year-old feeble and frail former President:

“Spent a few minutes with him in conversation, and took from him a toast, to be presented on the Fourth of July as coming from him. I should have liked a longer one; but as it is, this will be acceptable. ‘I will give you,’ said he, ‘Independence forever!’” He was asked if he would not add any thing to it, and he replied, “not a word.”

John Adams, second President of the United States. Pendleton’s Lithography, ca. 1825-1828 (Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print)

*July Fourth Toast by John Adams, 30 June 1826,” Founders Online, National Archives, accessed April 11, 2019, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-8030. [This is an Early Access document from The Adams Papers. It is not an authoritative final version.]

Categories: Adams John, Fourth of July | 1 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

January 28, 1948: “Back from Gypsy Elopement”

Valentine’s Day is almost here so it seems appropriate to share this little snippet I found among the many newspaper articles my grandmother Fannie Woodruff Brodhead clipped and set aside for safekeeping.

The clipping is about her great niece’s elopement at age 16, to William Bull, 20, in Cape Charles, Northampton County, Virginia. I found the marriage record, which shows the lovebirds got hitched on January 28, 1948. They gave their ages as 21 and 22, respectively. A Newark newspaper picked up on the story with its photo “Back from Gypsy Engagement”.

Obviously this fun-loving couple had a wonderful sense of humor:

Back in Newark NJ] after elopement to Cape Charles, Va., are Abby Sommer Bull, 16, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Sommer of 156 Heller parkway, and William Bull, 20, son of Dr. and Mrs. Louis M. Bull of 92 Heller Parkway. Bridegroom still wears earrings which helped them tell gypsy fortunes to finance trip home after they ran out of cash.

Abby and William were neighbors as you can see from the addresses, so perhaps the families knew that something like this was afoot.

Funny enough, when “googling” William’s name, I happened upon a small article in the January 24, 1914, issue of Horticulture reporting the January 13, 1914, elopement of William’s father Louis M. Bull!

Horticulture by Massachusetts Horticultural Society; Horticultural Society of New York; Pennsylvania Horticultural Society magazine, January 24, 1914

Louis and his bride Gertrude Siebrecht, the daughter of a New York florist (which explains the article’s appearance in Horticulture), were the exact same ages as Abby and William at the time of their elopement–16 and 20. So something tells me that “family tradition” may have also been on young William’s mind as he planned his elopement with his young sweetheart.

And good news: Both marriages lasted a very long time!

Happy Valentines Day, all!

PS: A marriage ban was put into place in June 2018 in New Jersey that prohibited previously allowed marriages at age 16 with parental consent. In Virginia, until 2016, no minimum age for marriage had ever been set.

Another PS for family who may be wondering: Abby was a descendant of James and Wealthy Angus:

  • Her parents: Abigail Van Horn and George Sommer
  • Grandparents: Cecelia Russum Woodruff and Robert Osborne Van Horn
  • Great-grandparents: Wealthy Ann Angus and William Earl Woodruff
  • Great-great-grandparents:  Wealthy Ann Jaques and James W. Angus
  • Categories: Bull, New Jersey, Newark, Essex Co., Sommer, Virginia, Weddings | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

    George Henry Durrie, A Winter Party, oil painting, 1852 (Public Domain in US – created before 1923 – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:PD-US)

    Categories: Christmas, Miscellaneous | 6 Comments

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

    fbw_1898

    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.

    battin_hs_1898_labelled

    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.

    startheater_1146_e_jersey_st

    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.

    brochure1

    brochure2

    brochure3
    brochure4

    battin1battin2battin3

     

    edj_battin0

    edj_battin1edj_battin2edj_battin3edj_battin5edj_battin6edj_battin7

    edj1_1898

    edj2_1898

    edj3_1898

    edj4_1898

    edj4a_1898

    edj5_1898

    edj6_1898

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

    A Florida Friday: Enjoying our painted buntings’ return and treasuring Mom’s childhood Christmas decorations

    Well, I have been laid low with a nasty cold this past week and haven’t had the energy to do much of anything. So this will be a quick post. First, I’m happy to say that “our” painted buntings have returned from the Carolinas to winter with us. They are elusive little critters, but I catch them pretty regularly coming to the feeder. They always wait for all the other birds to disappear before making their dash to the seeds. Sometimes they try to compete with the cardinals but the latter usually swat them away.  Below is a little video of one of the males. And, second, I’m posting some photos of Mom’s surviving childhood Christmas decorations. They must be from the 1920s and 1930s. Her father used to build a little village out of them every Christmas that went up a ‘mountainside’ to the family Christmas tree in the house’s big bay window. Too bad no photos exist of that scene, but at lease some of the decorations have survived. Mom is enjoying seeing them on display again all these years later. Have a great weekend, all!

    xmas1

    xmas2

    xmas3

    xmas4

    Categories: Christmas, Miscellaneous, Nature | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

    1882 Marriage Certificate for William Trewin and Elizabeth Sargent

    My great-grandfather William Trewin’s first marriage (1868) ended tragically on December 7, 1879, when his wife Edith H. Fry died in childbirth. He remarried and his two sons Bert and Clarence became the beloved sons of my great-grandmother Elizabeth Sargent. I’d never been able to find an exact date of William and Elizabeth’s marriage until earlier this summer when I found an envelope containing the original marriage certificate. The William Sargent listed as a witness was probably Elizabeth’s father rather than her brother who shared the same name. It appears that her brother Samuel, a Methodist minister, performed the ceremony. These new details, as few as they are, combined with images we have of these four, help paint a faint picture of the happenings of July 31, 1882, in the lives of these ancestors and those closest to them.

    Marriage Certificate
    This is to Certify
    That William Trewin of Elizabeth, NJ
    and Elizabeth Sargent of Jersey City, NJ
    were by me joined together in
    Holy Matrimony
    in Jersey City according to the ordinance of God and the Laws
    of the State of New Jersey on the 31st day of July 1882
    Witnesses
    William Sargent
    Samuel Sargent, Minister of the Gospel

    Trewin_Wm_web

    William Trewin (1847-1916)

    Trewin_Eliz_web

    Elizabeth Sargent (born Slaymaker, but name changed to Sargent when emigrated to US after the Civil War) (1854-1926)

    Trewin_Wedding_Certificate_

    Trewin-Sargent Marriage Certificate

    William Sargent Sr. circa 1869/70

    William Sargent Sr. circa 1869/70

    Rev. Samuel Sargent PhD (image courtesy of Frances S. Cowles)

    Rev. Samuel Sargent PhD (image courtesy of Frances S. Cowles)

    Categories: Elizabeth, Union Co., Jersey City, Hudson Co., Methodist, New Jersey, Sargent, Trewin, Weddings | Tags: , | 4 Comments

    Happy Fourth of July

    Independence Day Celebration in Centre Square, Philadelphia, John Lewis Krimmel, 1819. Credit: Wikimedia Commons - US Public Domain image - published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US)

    Independence Day Celebration in Centre Square, Philadelphia, John Lewis Krimmel, 1819. Credit: Wikimedia Commons – US Public Domain image – published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US

    Have we improved upon our manner of celebrating the Fourth? Looking south on Broadway from corner of Cortlandt Street, 1834. Daniel Carter Beard, 1850-1941, artist; Illus. in: Harper's Weekly, July 7, 1894, p. 641. Library of Congress image - No known restrictions on publication.

    Have we improved upon our manner of celebrating the Fourth? Looking south on Broadway from corner of Cortlandt Street, 1834. Daniel Carter Beard, 1850-1941, artist; Illus. in: Harper’s Weekly, July 7, 1894, p. 641. Library of Congress image – No known restrictions on publication.

    The Glorious Fourth--sending up the fire balloon / C.S. Reinhart, del., 1871. Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication.

    The Glorious Fourth–sending up the fire balloon / C.S. Reinhart, del., 1871. Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication.

    The Centennial Fourth - illumination of Union Square, New York / drawn by Schell & Hogan. , 1876; Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

    The Centennial Fourth – illumination of Union Square, New York / drawn by Schell & Hogan. , 1876; Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

    The flag that has waved one hundred years--A scene on the morning of the fourth day of July 1876 / Fabronius ; E.P. & L. Restein's oilchromo, Phila.; National Chromo Co. pub., Phila., c1876; Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

    The flag that has waved one hundred years–A scene on the morning of the fourth day of July 1876 / Fabronius ; E.P. & L. Restein’s oilchromo, Phila. ; National Chromo Co. pub., Phila. , c1876; Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

    July 4th - F. A. Loumis, ca. 1906. Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

    July 4th – F. A. Loumis, ca. 1906. Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

    Fourth of July Scenes in celebration at Walter Reed; Harris & Ewing photographer; 1919. Library of Congress - No known restrictions on Publication

    Fourth of July Scenes in celebration at Walter Reed; Harris & Ewing photographer; 1919. Library of Congress – No known restrictions on Publication

    FOURTH OF JULY. GENERAL VIEW OF CROWD ON ELLIPSE FOR EXERCISES, 1919, Harris & Ewing Photographer - Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

    FOURTH OF JULY. GENERAL VIEW OF CROWD ON ELLIPSE FOR EXERCISES, 1919, Harris & Ewing Photographer – Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

    A Fourth of July celebration, St. Helena Island, S.C. Photographer Marion Post Wolcott; 1939; Library of Congress - No known restrictions on publication

    A Fourth of July celebration, St. Helena Island, S.C. Photographer Marion Post Wolcott; 1939; Library of Congress – No known restrictions on publication

    July 4th Fireworks. Washington DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall, with Washington DC’s monuments and the U. S. Capitol in the background, forms a beautiful and patriotic backdrop to America's Independence Day celebrations.

    July 4th Fireworks. Washington DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall, with Washington DC’s monuments and the U. S. Capitol in the background, forms a beautiful and patriotic backdrop to America’s Independence Day celebrations. – Library of Congress – No restrictions on publication

    Categories: Fourth of July | 6 Comments

    Photo circa 1880: Jno. Philip Marthaler, husband of Lavinia P. Angus

    Lavinia Pratt Angus, youngest daughter of James Winans Angus and Wealthy Ann Jaques, was married briefly to John Philip Marthaler, who went by his middle name. They wed in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on 24 May 1879. Lavinia (“Vean”) was twenty years old and Philip was about 28 at the time. I have come upon a labelled photograph of Philip who died sometime before 1885. It was taken at Bogardus’ Souvenir Card, at 872 Broadway in New York City. He was a very handsome fellow with very kind eyes, and I think this solves the mystery for me of who the fellow was in one of my past posts in which I thought perhaps the man shown was a Jaques family member. No, it’s Philip—sans beard! Now I just wish I could find a photo of Aunt Vean

    Marthaler_Phillip

    John Philip Marthaler

    Isaac Jaques

    The past post “mystery photo”

    Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., Marthaler, New Jersey, New York, New York City, Weddings | Tags: , | 2 Comments

    Merry Christmas!

    Eastman Johnson's Christmas Time -- The Blodgett Family, 1864, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Public Domain - Wikipedia)

    Eastman Johnson’s Christmas Time — The Blodgett Family, 1864, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Public Domain – Wikipedia).

    Well, Christmas is fast approaching—there are cookies that need baking and carols that need singing, so…

    Allow me to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support this past year and to wish you and your families a very peaceful Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.

    May 2016 bring new discoveries that excite, entertain, and educate us about the lives of our ancestors whose traditions & values have been passed down to us and remain woven into the fabric of who we are. I’ll leave you with a couple of quick, easy recipes for any last-minute baking. See you in 2016!

    ********************************************************************************
    Grandma’s Ice Cream Patties

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup shortening
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 egg well-beaten
    1/8 tsp. vanilla
    3/4 cup sifted flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/3 cup walnuts/candied cherries (cut into quarters/eighths)

    Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly. Blend in egg and vanilla. Mix flour and salt together and add to the creamed mixture, blending well. Measure small spoonfuls of batter (1/2 tsp) onto well-greased baking sheets. (If you use parchment paper, they don’t spread out as much and the edges are more widely browned). Place a piece of walnut/candied cherry in middle of each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned (as early as 6 minutes, especially if you are at a low altitude). Yield: 4-5 dozen patties.

    Cranberry-Walnut Pie

    Mix together:
    • One cup of cranberries
    • One cup of walnuts
    • One-half cup of sugar
    Put mixture in a greased pie pan.

    Then, mix together:
    • One cup flour
    • One cup sugar
    • One melted stick of butter
    • And two eggs
    Dump on top of cranberry mix and spread out.

    Bake at 325 degrees F. (163 degrees C.) for 50 minutes. Serve with large dollop of whipped cream.

    Categories: Christmas, Miscellaneous | 4 Comments

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