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…
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.
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.
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.
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
- Mr. R. P. Brodhead [brother of father of the groom]—1/2 dozen tablespoons
- Mr. & Mrs. James A. Knowles [cousin of bride; son of Mary Martha Winans Angus and Austin F. Knowles]—picture
- Dan Brodhead [probably Daniel Dingman Brodhead, cousin of father of groom; son of Daniel Dingman Brodhead & Mary Ann Brodrick]—1/2 dozen teaspoons
- Mr. & Mrs. Franklin Burk [sister and brother-in-law of father of the groom]—Candlesticks
- Aunt Phebe Marsh & cousin Anna—1/2 dozen towels
- Grandfather Brodhead in memory of Grandmother Brodhead [Andrew Jackson Brodhead in memory of Ophelia Easton Brodhead]—1 dozen silver forks
- Cousin Sallie Whitehead [likely the daughter of Smith Winans Whitehead who married Johanna Thompson Woodruff, aunt of the father of the bride]—China salad bowl
- Mrs. Frederick Moon [sister of father of the groom]—Silver card basket
- Cousin Ida Smith—picture (fireplace)
- Mr. & Mrs. Richard S. Earl—1/2 dozen glass tumblers
- Jennie Coleman [sister of the bride]—2 pictures
- 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
- Aunt Celia & Uncle Tom [Celia Angus and Tom Russum–sister and brother-in-law of mother of the bride]—Cream & Sugar silver (exchanged for teapot)
- Anna and Mabel Dickinson [Daughters of the sister of the father of the bride; children of Emma & John Dickinson]—Silver pie server
- The Misses L. P. and M. E. Woodruff [Likely father-of-the-bride Wm Woodruff’s elderly, never-married aunts: Lucetta P. and Mary Elizabeth—Sugar tongs
- Ogden B. Woodruff & Edward E. Woodruff [father-of-the-bride’s cousins, sons of Ogden and Phebe Woodruff]—6 silver forks
- Mr. & Mrs. Ogden Woodruff [father-of-the-bride’s Uncle Ogden and Aunt Phebe]—2 soup spoons
- Lucetta C. Woodruff, Carrie E. Woodruff & Mary E. Woodruff—Silver knives
- Mr. & Mrs. Garret Brodhead [brother and sister-in-law of father of the groom]—Centerpiece and doilies
- Mr. & Mrs. Isaac J. Ayers & Family [brother-in-law and sister of father of the bride]—Art glass celery dish
- Mr. & Mrs. George Maxwell Earl—Picture
- 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
I know, I’m breaking my self-imposed vow of ‘blog silence until the New Year’, but once I’ve assembled enough information about someone, I just feel compelled to get it ‘out there’ as quickly as possible! So here I go again–
My dad occasionally spoke of his [Great] ‘Aunt Vean’ (short for ‘Lavinia’). Unfortunately, so much time has passed since his passing, I can’t remember the context. I only recall that whatever he ever had to say about her was complimentary and implied that she was quite a pistol.
Beyond that, until recently, I did not know much else about her. I only knew she was the youngest daughter of Wealthy and James Angus and that she had once been married to a gentleman with the surname Marthaler. Lavinia’s father James passed away when she was just a toddler so her memories of him would have been minimal. She had numerous older brothers and sisters (including my great grandmother Wealthy who was about eight years her senior) who would have helped raise her. (As an aside, one of her older brothers was Job Angus about whom I wrote a previous post containing a letter from Texas.)
With a bit of digging, more info about Aunt Vean has come to light, including the curious blurb entitled ‘Fast Mathematics’ that was published in 1875 in National Teachers’ Monthly, Vol. 2 (p. 192–see the accompanying image on this page). Lavinia, born in September 1858, would have been about 17 at the time, and obviously she was a very bright young lady. Somehow she managed to memorize in one night 17 geometry theorems of famed French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre, and then recite them all the next day in class in a record time of 1 minute 40 seconds. I looked up all these theorems (posted on this page as an image–click on it to enlarge) to see what was entailed, and indeed, her feat was incredibly impressive. While she never went on to attend college, it’s obvious if she had, she would have possessed the determination to succeed at whatever subject matter she put her mind to.
‘Aunt Vean’ married John Philip Marthaler in Elizabeth, NJ, on 24 May 1879. She was 21 at the time, and he was roughly 7 years older than she. The 1880 census shows a Lavinia and Philip ‘Morthala’ living at 163 Kent Street in Brooklyn with a young man named Hulet Valentine, whose occupation is listed as “Root beer”. Philip was working as a clerk in a store. Sadly the marriage did not last for long—Philip must have died sometime before 1885. The NJ state census of that year shows Lavinia back living with her mom Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus, and the 1900 and subsequent censuses list her as a widow. There is no indication that she ever remarried, and as far as I am aware she and Philip never had any children.
I found ‘Vean’ in all the Federal censuses taken between 1900 and 1940, and also in the 1905 NJ census. As you can see below, further down the page, her first and last names were commonly misspelled. She lived in Newark, NJ, until sometime before 1940 when she is shown to be living in nearby Montclair. She was most often shown as a boarder, and a woman named Elizabeth Booth (a decade younger than ‘Vean’) seemed to be a friend who appeared alongside her in a number of these records. That surprised me a bit considering Lavinia had so many siblings–I would have thought someone would have taken her in; but perhaps she inherited sufficient funds to stay out on her own or simply preferred to remain independent from the family. In 1900 ‘Vean’ was working as a stenographer; from 1910 onward, her occupation is listed as ‘none’. Her friend Elizabeth continued working until sometime between 1920 and 1930; in the 1930 and 1940 census she also reported no occupation.
‘Aunt Vean’ was listed as 81 in the 1940 census. I don’t have a date of death for her. I may find it in my dad’s memoirs—but he was off fighting in the Pacific for some of the 1940s and may not have made record of it.
The only physical memento we have of ‘Vean’ is a little vase that she gave to her niece (my grandmother), Fanny (Woodruff) Brodhead. Meanwhile, some of Aunt Vean’s letters may exist somewhere out there. The family history paper, One Line of Descendants of James Angus, written by Harriet Stryker-Rodda and published in 1969 (available in the Family Search Library–see my Links page) reported: Lavinia’s letters, written in her later years, have been preserved in the family because of her interest in the family’s history and the fact that she had a retentive mind even as she got older. Perhaps, those letters will come to light someday. It would be wonderful to know more of the family history from her recollections and to see what her relationships with others were like.
As always, corrections, additions, and comments welcome!!!
All of the below from the Family Search website:
|Lavinia P Marthaler Boarder United States Census, 1940||
|Lavinia Marthaler Boarder United States Census, 1900||
|Lavenea P Marthaler Boarder United States Census, 1930||
|Lavania Marthaler Head United States Census, 1920||
|Lavinia Marthalles Head United States Census, 1910||
|Lavenia Marthaler New Jersey, State Census, 1905||
|Lavinia Morthala Wife United States Census, 1880||