Bell

Irene Bell Wait, one of my brick walls

On April 21, 1784, a woman named Irene Bell married my fifth great grandfather, David Wait (b. May 20, 1754).

Who was Irene Bell, born on October 20, 1764, and a resident of Perth Amboy, NJ? What was her background? Who were her parents? The few clues I have about her have been gleaned from a biographical sketch on her son James (b. 1824) that appeared in a book, Biographical and portrait cyclopedia of the Third congressional district of New Jersey, and that is that she David were active in the Perth Amboy Presbyterian Church and parents to nearly a dozen children. I found a separate source stating she was born in Connecticut (FamilySearch™ Ancestral File v4.19, AFN: 9TX4-0G), but no evidence was provided to substantiate that.

Irene died in Perth Amboy on May 31, 1804, at age 39, her last child having been born in 1801. David’s will, written in 1810 and mentioned in the last post, contains the name of Andrew Bell. I decided to research this Andrew to see whether he was in any way related to Irene.

I discovered an Andrew Bell who had been a loyalist and served in the NYC office of the British commander-in-chief during the Revolutionary War. After the war his loyalist ties did not have the impact on his future life that they may have had otherwise, likely because Andrew’s sister, Cornelia Bell, was married to William Paterson, a prominent patriot and attorney-general for New Jersey. Eventually Paterson served in the senate, as governor, and as a member of the Supreme Court. Andrew Bell, who had studied law in Perth Amboy before the war, returned to Perth Amboy after the war and began a new chapter in his life as a successful merchant. The NJ Historical Society’s biographical note describes him as having been appointed the collector of Perth Amboy’s port in 1800 for the final year of John Adams’ presidency.  During this time period, he was also the deputy surveyor general of the East Jersey Proprietors and for approximately thirty-five years, ca. 1806-1842, served as the surveyor general. The Historical Society has in its archives a fascinating collection of his personal papers, land surveys, financial records, maps, and letters.

So, I was intrigued; could Cornelia and Andrew have had a sister named Irene? Well, I discovered the answer unfortunately was “no”.  Cornelia is listed in a 1997 book on famous NJ women (**Burstyn, p. 33-35) and it is stated that she was the oldest child and only daughter of NJ landowner John Bell and his wife.  So while I think this Andrew Bell may very well have been a witness to David Wait’s will, he was not Irene’s brother. Could Irene have been related to him in some other way? A cousin, perhaps?

Another angle that occurred to me was that perhaps Irene was the daughter of German or Dutch immigrants who had changed their name from Behl, Bale, or Bel. The reason that crossed my mind is because in the Wait family Bible, daughter Margaret Wait’s name is not spelled “Margaret”; its spelling looks more like “Margratha,” and Irene’s own name does not appear to be spelled as “Irene.” It looks more like “Rinea” or “Irinea.” Could Irene have been an Americanized version?

I’ve searched every way possible on Family Search and have come up empty handed. I’ve searched the trees on World Connect to no avail. A lead came up with the Bel surname, but upon further investigation, those Bels, members of the Dutch Reformed Church in Hackensack, NJ, had no daughters named Irene or anything approximate to Irene. Their one son also had no daughters by that name.

I have also searched New Jersey Marriage Records, 1665-1800, and early Connecticut Marriages, and come up with nothing.  Bell was a prominent family name in early Connecticut history, but I could find no record of an Irene. Perhaps they were married in a different state? I tried early Pennsylvania records as that is where Andrew Bell was from, but found nothing there.

The next best step appears to be to try to access burial records for the Alpine Cemetery in Perth Amboy. The First Presbyterian Church yard does not appear to have any grave sites; I suspect if it ever had a graveyard, it was moved to Alpine to make way for encroaching city growth. In any case, Irene Bell Wait is my brick wall. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

 

**Burstyn, Joan N. (1997). Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women. Syracuse University Press.

Categories: Bell, Perth Amboy, Wait | Leave a comment

David Wait Family of Perth Amboy, New Jersey

One family line which we can trace back only so far is the David Wait family of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, David Wait settled in the town after the end of the Revolutionary War, married Irene Bell, and together they had 11 children. I have found two sources of biographical information about David Wait and his descendants online:

There is conflicting information about David Wait’s involvement in the Revolutionary War. The Wiley source says he came over to the Colonies as a British soldier, was captured and held a POW until after war’s end, and then eventually made his way to Perth Amboy via Sussex and Essex counties in NJ. The Mendenhall source says he enlisted in the Colonial Army, was captured and held by the British until the end of the war, and then went to Perth Amboy. I’m inclined to believe the former, but have not researched this further.

Perth Amboy on Map (US Census)

Presbyterianism in Perth Amboy, NJ describes the founding of the first Presbyterian Church in Perth Amboy by Capt. John Angus, David Wait, and John Lewis. The Wiley bio mentions David Wait as being a carpenter and his son John Oliver Wait, who married Elizabeth Crow (granddaughter of Col. Samuel Crow), as first working with David as a carpenter before starting his own successful baking business. John’s son, John Oliver Wait, entered into the business before striking out on his own at No. 24 Smith Street (until 1852) and No. 24 Smith Street (from 1852 onwards). Evidently he was extremely successful with his “breads, fine cakes, ice-cream and confections” as his resources allowed him to own a 130-acre farm in nearby Woodbridge.

Page 500 of the Wiley text

Page 503 of the Wiley Text (note: there was no text on pages 501-502)

If you go to the “Names S-Z” tab above, you will be able to see the family details I have thus far for David and Irene Wait and their descendents. I would love to know something about the pair’s ancestors, but so far have come up empty-handed. If you are extra attentive when reading the list,  you might notice something curious. Indeed, there is a bit of a mystery there. More about that in an upcoming post!

Categories: Bell, Crow, Martin, Perth Amboy, Wait | Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress.com.

Spared & Shared 2

-- rescuing history from old letters one page at a time

Parrotfish Journey

I travel , YOU should too...

TOWER AND FLIGHTS

In The Beginning Man Tried Ascending To Heaven via The Tower Of Babel. Now He Tries To Elevate His Existence Using Hallucinogenic Drugs. And, Since The 20th Century, He Continually Voyages Into Outer Space Using Spacecrafts. Prayer Thru Christ Is The Only Way To Reach Heaven.

London, Hollywood

I'm Dominic Wells, an ex-Time Out Editor. I used to write about films. Now I write them.

Uma Familia Portuguesa

A história da nossa família

Trkingmomoe's Blog

Low Budget Meals for the New Normal

The Good, the Bad and the Italian

food/films/families and more

dvn ms kmz time travel

This is all about my travels to the past... my reflections and musings about yesteryear, as I find the stories of a people passed away and learn how to tell them.

newarkpoems

350 years of Newark in verse 1666-2016

Russian Universe

Understanding Russia with a Russian

Bulldog Travels

Everything and Nothing Plus Some Pretty Photos

Dances with Wools

knitting, spinning, dyeing, and related fiber arts

Life After Caregiving

On caregivers, faith, family, and writing...

Why'd You Eat That?

Food Folklore for the everyday scholar. These are the stories behind the foods we eat.

Cooking without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

Circulating Now

from the historical collections of the world's largest biomedical library

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

Almost Home

Genealogy Research and Consulting

Old Bones Genealogy of New England

Genealogy and Family History Research

ferrebeekeeper

Reflections Concerning Art, Nature, and the Affairs of Humankind (also some gardening anecdotes)

Map of Time | A Trip Into the Past

Navigating Through Someplace Called History

Out Here Studying Stones

Cemeteries & Genealogy

WeGoBack

family research ... discover your ancestry

the Victorian era

Did I misplace my pince-nez again? Light reading on the 19th century.

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

This is the story of an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life during an extraordinary time frame, and the lessons they learn through experience.

The Civil War Gazette

Keeping the stories alive from the American Civil War

Moore Genealogy

Fun With Genealogy

Meeting my family

RESEARCHING MY FAMILY TREE

Shaking the tree

musings on the journey towards knowing and sharing my family's stories

Among My Branches

Exploring My Kernan, Lapham, Hamilton, & Sebok Ancestries One Branch at a Time

A Hundred Years Ago

Food and More

Scots Roots

Helping you dig up your Scots roots.

Root To Tip

Not just a list of names and dates

Food Perestroika

Adventures in Eastern Bloc Cuisine

My Aunt the WAC

Marian Solomon's midlife transition from the farm to the Women's Army Corps (WACs)

Being Em | From Busan to America

this journey is my own, but i'm happy to share.

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

The Daily Online Genealogy Newsletter

Irish in the American Civil War

Exploring Irish Emigration & Irish Involvement in the American Civil War

TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

Genealogy: Looking For "Dead People"!

Cemeteries of Brunswick, Maine

To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die. ~ Thomas Campbell

Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Zimmerbitch

age is just a (biggish) number) NUMBER

The People of Pancho

At Play In The Archive

TRACK

Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea

Rose of Sharon Healing

Healing for the Nations

DNAeXplained - Genetic Genealogy

Discovering Your Ancestors - One Gene at a Time

%d bloggers like this: