Dickinson

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

Francis Woodruff Family

The last ten days or so have had me turning my attention to the Francis Woodruff family. Seems like every now and then, a variety of circumstances come together and put the spotlight on one particular person or family line. So why Francis Woodruff and his wife Mary Jane Trowbridge? Well, it began when I heard from a Find a Grave volunteer photographer who notified me she had photographed the graves of their son William Earl Woodruff, his wife Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff, and one of William and Wealthy’s six daughters, Bertha Winans Woodruff (who has her own post in this blog). And, at roughly the same time, I heard from a descendant of Emma Woodruff, William’s sister, who discovered this blog and decided to get in touch. She was able to provide many details on Emma’s descendants. (All I had previously known about Emma was that she had married a dentist and lived with him in Brooklyn, NY.) A highlight of doing this blog, by the way, is hearing from distant relations; it is fascinating and enormous fun to meet cousins, no matter how many times removed, and compare information.

Francis Woodruff

Francis Woodruff

Francis Woodruff was a descendant of John Woodruff (b. 1637) who, in 1639, arrived as a toddler in Lynn, Massachusetts, from Kent, England, with his stepfather John Gosmer and mother Anne Gosmer (widow of John Woodruff (1574-1611) as well as Anne’s parents. The family settled the following year in Southampton, Long Island, making them one of the original families there. In 1664, John (the younger), by then married to Sarah Ogden of Stamford, Connecticut, and a group of Englishmen–the Elizabethtown Associates–from Eastern Long Island bought land in New Jersey from the Lenape sachem (the paramount chief), Mattano, and thus began settling the area now known as Elizabeth, NJ, then known as Elizabethtown. (To view a historical timeline for Elizabeth, click here). John and Sarah Woodruff’s son, John (b. 1665), was described in the Woodruff Chronicles (Vol. II, A.H. Clark Co., 1967, p. 27) as the “first white child” born in Elizabethtown. John Woodruffe the elder died in Southampton in 1670 and was buried in the old burial ground there.

View Near Elizabethtown, NJ, oil painting by Régis François Gignoux, 1847; Honolulu Academy of Arts (in public domain, copyright expired)

Of course, over the next 200 years, as the number of descendants grew, the size of land allotted to various descendents varied inversely. Still by the time of the 1870 census, Francis, then 50 years of age, listed his land value as $40,000 (in today’s money, that would be roughly $693,000), and his personal wealth as $12,000 (approx. $208,000 in today’s currency). So all things considered, Francis and family were doing quite nicely. Francis and Mary Jane Woodruff, as you may recall from previous posts [for Woodruff-related posts, click on Woodruff in the surname category on the right side of this page], had four children.

Mary Jane Trowbridge Woodruff, mother of Emma, William, Matthias, and Phebe

Mary Jane Trowbridge Woodruff, mother of Emma, William, Matthias, and Phebe

All of this prompted me to do a bit of digging on the Family Search website for Emma and William’s other siblings, Matthias and Phebe, and I found some descendants of theirs as well. Interestingly, Matthias and Phebe married two other siblings, Mary Agnes Ayers and Isaac Ayers, respectively. The latter were the children of Ezra Ayers (b. New Jersey) and his wife Mary (b. England). So, a number of upcoming posts will be about the Francis Woodruff family, the more immediate members of which appear below. The descendants of Emma Woodruff may help me put together a post about Emma and family. Stay tuned!

Francis Woodruff (1820-1883) and Mary Jane Trowbridge (1821-1883)

Emma W. Woodruff b. 1846, d. 19 May 1923, Hillside, Union Co., NJ
| +John W. Dickinson b. 1844, d. 9 Oct 1916, New York)
| |–2-John Woodruff Dickinson b. 1875
| |–2-Mary E. Dickinson b. 1877, New York, NY; d. betw 1910-1920
| | +William Chester Lamb b. 1878, New York, NY, d. 1946, New
| | York City, NY, bur. Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY
| | |–3-Edna S. Lamb b. 1900, New York, USA, d. 1994,
| | | Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ
| | | +Goddard
| | |–3-Florence A. Lamb b. 27 Mar 1903, New York, NY, d. Apr 1984,
| | | Irvington, Essex Co., NJ, USA
| | +John Mansel Britt b. 19 Sep 1896, d. 1970
| | |–4-Living Britt
| | |–4-Living Britt
| | |–4-Grace Adele Britt b. 1928, d. 1975
| |–2-Mabel T. Dickinson b. 1880, Brooklyn, Kings Co., NY, d. 1967
| |–2-Anne L. Dickinson b. 1886


William Earl Woodruff b. 4 Oct 1849, d. 18 Oct 1928
| +Wealthy Ann Angus b. 5 Aug 1850, d. 27 May 1927
| |–2-Jennie Belle Woodruff b. 24 Nov 1873, d. 20 Oct 1955, 17 Wilder St.,
| | Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ, bur. Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ
| | +Charles Clarence Coleman b. 25 Nov 1877, d. 28 Dec 1953
| | |–3-Jennie Belle Coleman b. 11 Oct 1914, Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ, d. 12
| | | Jun 1997, Cumming, Forsyth Co., Georgia, bur. Evergreen Cemetery,
| | | Hillside, Union, NJ
| |–2-Flora M. Woodruff b. Apr 1877, New Jersey
| | +Baker d. Bef 1920
| | |–3-Norman Baker b. 1909
| | +John Jacob Ulrich b. 19 May 1884, Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ
| |–2-Cecelia R. Woodruff b. Nov 1878, New Jersey
| |–2-Fannie Bishop Woodruff b. Jun 1882, New Jersey, d. 5 Sep 1965, Abbott
| | Manor Nursing Home, Plainfield, Union Co., NJ, bur. Evergreen Cemetery,
| | Hillside, Union Co., NJ
| | +Frank Martin Brodhead b. 5 Feb 1882, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, d.
| | 8 May 1951, Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ, bur. Evergreen Cemetery,
| | Hillside, Union Co., NJ
| | |–3-Frank Martin Brodhead Jr.
| | |–3-Woodruff Martin Brodhead b. 1912 d. 2004
| | |–3-Charles Douglas Brodhead b. 1921 d. 1992
| |–2-Wealthy Mildred Woodruff b. May 1884, New Jersey
| | +Dr. G. Carlton Brown b. 1865, New Jersey
| | |–3-Richard A. Brown b. 1920
| |–2-Bertha Winans Woodruff b. 28 Oct 1888, Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ, d. 1
| | Mar 1973, Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ

Matthias Woodruff b. 1851, d. 6 Apr 1892, Chatham, Morris Co., NJ
| +Mary Agnes Ayers b. 1854
| |–2-Frances Woodruff b. Abt 1875

Phebe M. Woodruff b. 11 Oct 1855, Union Twp, Essex, NJ
+Isaac J. Ayers b. Jan 1848, New Jersey
|–2-Anna W. Ayers b. Aug 1875, Newark, Essex Co., NJ
|–2-Charles S. Ayers b. May 1878, New Jersey
|–2-Amy M. Ayers b. Jul 1888, New Jersey
|–2-Isaac Ayers b. Abt 1880, Newark, Essex Co., NJ

Categories: Angus, Dickinson, Elizabeth, Union Co., Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, Lamb, Trowbridge, US Federal 1870, Woodruff | 5 Comments

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