Bonnell

Century-old Brodhead wedding gift list offers family clues

Fannie Bishop Woodruff (1882-1965)

Fannie Bishop Woodruff (1882-1965)

When I first glanced at the list of my grandparents’ wedding gifts (Frank M. Brodhead & Fannie B. Woodruff) a number of years back, most of the names did not ring any bells. Now, six years into delving deeper into my family history, many of these names are familiar to me, and I even almost feel as if I know some of them, as odd as that may sound. Naturally, the list both offers clues and raises questions, but c’est la guerre when you’re peeling the six-ton onion that is your family tree.

The wedding took place in Hillside (adjacent to Elizabeth), NJ, at the Woodruff family home on Conant Street on 6 June 1908. For the 1900 census, the family was living at “258 Conant Street”, where today there is nothing but an empty field. However, I’d be willing to wager that 100+ years ago, the old Francis Woodruff home (built by Fannie’s grandfather Francis in 1845 and inherited by eldest son William–Fannie’s father—in 1883) was actually 258 Conant Street because it was a working farm until the land surrounding the home was sold for housing developments. So while I could be mistaken, I feel confident the Woodruff family lived in this home on Conant Street, which is still standing. I remember my dad taking us past this house as kids and telling us that that was where his mom (Fannie) and her sisters were born.

By the way, a brief mention of the Francis Woodruff home can be found in 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. [On a sad side note, brother Matthias died of yellow fever in St. Francisville, LA, in 1844, and never made it home to help Frank build his house.]

My grandmother was 17 at the time of the 1900 census and worked as a stenographer. Before she was married eight years later, she was working as a secretary for Mr. Edward D. Duffield, then president of Prudential Insurance Co.

Wedding gift list, 1st page

Wedding gift list, 1st page (CLICK to enlarge)

Unfortunately, we have no photos from the big wedding day, which is disappointing. I feel very wistful when viewing others’ late 19th- and early 20th-century wedding photos—I sure wish we had some.

Notably absent from the wedding would have been Ophelia Easton Brodhead, grandmother of the groom and wife of Andrew Jackson Brodhead. She died in 1904, just shy of her 82nd birthday, and her husband Andrew’s gift is noted as being given in her memory. Also absent was Calvin Brodhead, Ophelia and Andrew’s son, who passed away in 1907, but two of his children—Alex and Emily—were in attendance. The bride’s grandparents had all passed away by then, one before she was born (James W. Angus) and two when she was just one year’s old (Francis Woodruff & Mary Jane Trowbridge). She would only have had memories of her grandmother Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus who died when Fannie was not quite ten. (Ironically, Fannie is the only grandparent I have any recollection of; all my other grandparents passed away before I was born.)

The gift list contains 133 items, so I won’t scan in and post all the pages, but I will list some of the gift-givers who stand out to me as well as some I would like to figure out. For example, Aunt Fannie Bishop. Who was she?—I wondered. She must have been someone important since my grandmother was named after her! Upon checking census records, I did indeed discover a Fannie Bishop (b. Feb 1852) living with her husband and children (Samuel, William, and Charles) in that very same neighborhood, so perhaps “Aunt Fannie” was a childhood friend of my grandmother’s mother. In short, there are names to be explored here, and as time goes by, it may be possible to figure out who more of these folks are. The Earls are no doubt all cousins, etc., via William Woodruff’s grandmother Mary Ogden Earl (married John Woodruff in 1817), and I have done nothing yet to research that line, so I am sure once I do get around to it, some of these names will start to pop up. Likewise with the Cranes, a very old Elizabeth, NJ, family.

A. D. Brodhead (father of the groom)

A. D. Brodhead (father of the groom)

Margaret Martin Brodhead (mother of the groom)

Margaret Martin Brodhead (mother of the groom)

The parents of the bride and groom were: Andrew Douglas (A. D.) Brodhead and Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead, and William Earl Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff. The extended Woodruff and Angus families were very large, the former being among the original settlers of what became Union County. Andrew Brodhead, who hailed from Mauch Chunk, PA, and whose immediate and extended family was also very large, met and married Margaret Martin (a descendant of David Wait & Irene Bell) of Perth Amboy, NJ, and, after living for many years in that town, they and their children transitioned to Elizabeth.

Perhaps, you will find the name(s) of some of your ancestors on this list, and if you do, please feel free to give a ‘shout-out’ in the comment box. It’s fascinating to see so much family coming together for a big event, something that probably happened much more often back then given how enormous families were. Births, weddings, and funerals must have been quite common occasions.

Brodhead-Woodruff Wedding Announcement (Probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal) - from our family's private archives

Brodhead-Woodruff Wedding Announcement – CLICK to enlarge (Probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal) – from our family’s private archives

I’m including the wedding announcement, which I posted once previously on the blog, but I think it adds to this post so I am publishing it again. As for the necklace mentioned, I suspect it was sold to a new owner during the Great Depression; I never heard my Dad mention it or its whereabouts.

Well, here is the list! (As always, comments, corrections, additions, etc., are always welcome.)

  • Mr & Mrs Blakslee [sister and brother-in-law of father of the groom]—1 dozen silver knives
  • Mr. & Mrs. Alex Brodhead [son and daughter-in-law of the late Calvin Brodhead & Laura Leisenring; Calvin was father-of-the-groom’s older brother]—Berry set and silver spoon
  • Mrs. E. B. Earl—Silver tongs
  • Lizzie Earl—Sherbet glasses
  • Grace Earl—Picture
  • The Misses Crane—Doily
  • Miss Emily Easton Brodhead [daughter of the late Calvin Brodhead & Laura Leisenring; Calvin was father-of-the-groom’s older brother]—1/2 dozen orange spoons
  • Annie Earl—Cherry centerpiece
  • Florence Earl—Butter spreader
  • Mr. and Mrs. R. O. Van Horn [sister and brother-in-law of bride]—Old-fashioned chair
  • Mildred W. Woodruff [sister of bride]—Green (?)
  • Andrew J. Brodhead [ brother of the groom]—1/2 dozen sherbet glasses ivy leaf
  • Mr. Richard Brodhead  [brother of father of the groom] & family—cut-glass bowl
  • Mr. & Mrs. A. D. Brodhead [father and mother of groom]—Bread tray, mustard (?), and salt dish & cash
  • Aunt Vean & Elizabeth Booth [mother-of-the-bride’s younger sister Lavinia P. Angus Marthaler & her cousin]—Table center
  • Dr. G. Carlton Brown [future husband of Mildred W. Woodruff, sister of the bride]—Tabourette
  • Cal & Gertrude Brodhead [son and daughter-in-law of Garret Brodhead (father of groom’s brother) & Annie Kocher]—Gas Lamp
  • James E. Brodhead [brother of father of the groom] & family—$60
  • Mr. Charles C. Martin [brother of mother of the groom]—Cut-glass water pitcher
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Davidson [Likely a cousin of Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead, mother of the groom; the two shared a common great grandfather, John Oliver Wait]—cut-glass vase
Honeymoon photo, Frank M. Brodhead and Fannie Bishop Woodruff, married June 6, 1908

Honeymoon photo, Frank M. Brodhead and Fannie Bishop Woodruff, married June 6, 1908

The bride's parents: Wm Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus

The bride’s parents:
Wm Earl Woodruff & Wealthy Ann Angus

  • Mr. E. B. Earl—Cream & sugar (silver)
  • Mr. & Mrs. W. A. C. Earl—1/2 dozen spoons
  • Julia Crane —Salad bowl
  • Alice Crane—Glass vase
  • Fanny Crane—Cut-glass berry bowl
  • Mr. & Mrs. Walter H. Knowles [cousin of bride; son of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—Butter knife
  • Mr. & Mrs. Job W. Angus [mother-of-the-bride’s brother and sister-in-law Jeannette Tillou]—Cut-glass bowl
  • Mr. & Mrs. Morris Budd [parents of wife of Ogden Bonnell Woodruff, cousin of bride’s father]—cut-glass (?)
  • Aunt Fannie Bishop—China centerpiece
  • Aunt Edith & Uncle Walter [Walter Prince Angus and his wife Edith Marshall; Walter was the youngest brother of the bride’s mother]—Cucumber server
  • Celia Belle and Nell—Salt & pepper
Fannie Bishop Woodruff

Fannie Bishop Woodruff

Bertha Woodruff was maid of honor

Bertha Woodruff was maid of honor

  • Mr. & Mrs. John Woodruff [father-of-the-bride’s cousin, son of Ogden and Phebe Woodruff, and his wife Carrie Conover]—Sugar shaker
  • Aunt Annie Crane—Silver cream ladle
  • Mr. & Mrs. Scott O. Woodruff—Picture
  • Watts Knowles [cousin of bride; son of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—Silver sugar spoon
  • Mr. & Mrs. A. F. Knowles [Aunt of the bride–Mary Martha Winans Angus—and Austin F. Knowles]—Silver butter spoon
  • Gertrude Knowles [cousin of bride; daughter of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—Hand-worked towels
  • Lewis Brodhead [brother of the groom]—Knives – 2 dozen – 2 sizes; Carvers – 2 sets – 2 sizes; Pie knife, 1/2 dozen tablespoons, 1 dozen teaspoons
Categories: Angus, Ayers, Blakslee, Bonnell, Brodhead, Coleman, Crane, Dickinson, Elizabeth, Union Co., Jaques, Marthaler, Martin, Packer, Russum, Wait, Weddings, Woodruff | 2 Comments

Ogden & Phoebe Woodruff Family – update

Over the weekend, a kind volunteer for Find a Grave, took photos of Rev. Frank Stiles Woodruff’s resting place in Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ. Part of the inscription reads “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart.” (You may recall that a while back I did a post on the Reverend. He is the one who lived and worked in the late 1800s at what is now the American College in Beirut. To view that post, click here). The large family memorial stone is quite impressive. Frank’s small marker, bearing his initials, appears in the foreground on the right in the wide shot of the family plot. The inscription for Frank on the main monument takes up one of the four sides. Another side lists the names of his parents, Ogden and Phoebe (Asenath Bonnell) Woodruff, who lived to ripe old ages: he to 86 and she to 80. This side of the monument also lists two of his 11 siblings: Lucetta Crane Woodruff (never married, died at 79) and Mary Earl Woodruff (never married, died at 77). William Ring Woodruff (died at age 23), and Edward Earl Woodruff (died at 32) are listed on the side opposite that of the parents’. The remaining face lists Carrie Elizabeth Woodruff (never married, died at 92). (Another sibling, Ogden Bonnell Woodruff is on Find a Grave as well, but is evidently in a different location.)

I had an “a-ha” moment about Mary Earl Woodruff. It must be her dog that appears in this old photo. Actually, she may have simply been the one to order the photo. The reverse side lists her initials and surname and her presumed address at the time, 902 Salem Road.

Miss M.E. Woodruff’s dog, “Button,” in February 1910

You know, of all Ogden & Phoebe’s 12 kids (4 girls and 8 boys), only one of the girls, Fannie Meeker Woodruff, went on to marry (William E. Townley). And it appears only half the boys lived long enough to marry: John Woodruff (m. Carrie Conover and lived to 81); Ogden Bonnell Woodruff (m. Helen Budd and lived to 70); Irenus Prime Woodruff (the film Transformers comes to mind for some reason!), m. Ethel Viola Huff but died at 31; and Joseph Whitehead Woodruff (m. Bessie Scott Fry). The twelfth child, Henry Cooley Woodruff, born when Phebe was about 44, died in 1886 after surviving just two years.

I think the Ogden Woodruff family must have been quite close to the Francis Woodruff family, from whom I descend by way of son William Earl Woodruff. Francis had three brothers, and Ogden was the youngest. The other two died quite young: Matthias from yellow fever, contracted in Louisiana at age 24; and Enos at 46. Francis’ kids (born between 1846 and 1855) would have been older than Ogden’s (born between 1860-1884), but Francis’ youngest and Ogden’s oldest weren’t that far apart. A number of them probably attended school at the same time.

Old Salem Schoolhouse (?)

The book, The Woodruff Chronicles: A Genealogy, The Long Island-New Jersey Family of John Woodruffe the Immigrant Ancestor to America, Vol. II (Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1971), provides a couple more clues about some of the Ogden Woodruff children. Lucetta Crane Woodruff “lived in the Woodruff homestead (built before 1800) at 866 Salem Avenue, Hillside, with sisters Mary and Carrie Woodruff, the property once an 82-acre farm. Lucetta died there 3-27-1956.”

Youngest daughter Fannie, the only daughter to marry, is described as “beloved wife of William E. Townley II. A native of Hillside, she lived at 431 Jersey Ave., Elizabeth, NJ, where her husband was a retail merchant on Broad Street and later on Grand Avenue., Elizabeth. She died after a long illness, June 17, 1956, at age 74. Her husband and children and two sisters survived,… Mr. and Mrs. Townley collected family records and genealogical data for many years and a considerable portion of the Woodruff records in this Vol. II are the result of 35 years of joint effort with one of the compilers of this book [Ceylon Woodruff Newton and Maurine R. Herod] on Woodruff Newton and . The Townleys were fine upright citizens and Mrs. Townley a devoted wife and mother…” The book goes on to give a sketch of the Townley family. It is here that we can find the names of Fannie Meeker Woodruff and William Townley II’s children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren. For privacy reasons, I will only list the children in the S-Z tab above.

The lives of all the old Elizabeth families were heavily intertwined with each other. The surnames include those like Meeker, Stiles, Ogden, Earl, Crane, Lyon, and many others. You’ve stumbled upon many of these reading this blog, either as a first name, a middle name, or a surname. They say that if you scratch the surface of any present-day Russian, you’ll find a Tatar, owing to the invasion and occupation of Russia by Mongol hordes during the 13th to 15th centuries. Scratch the surface of some present-day Woodruff descendants, and you just may find a smattering of all those old Elizabeth families mixed in with all the rest.

UPDATE 3/29/2014: Below is a genealogy of the Stiles family from The History of Union County New Jersey, published 1897, pages 341-343. You can see quite a bit of intertwining between the Woodruffs, Stiles, Cranes, etc., all old families of that area:

stiles_1

stiles2

stiles3

Categories: Bonnell, Elizabeth, Union Co., Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, Stiles, Woodruff | Leave a comment

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