Russum

Elizabeth, NJ, circa 1849: Life at the Angus home on Elizabeth Avenue

Yummy quince preserves from France found at our local Tuesday Morning store

A few days ago, I made an unexpected discovery at our local Tuesday Morning store: jars and jars of quince preserves, not a common sight here. And that reminded me of a very interesting post I’d planned to do a while back but never got around to.

Many descendants of the Angus family may already be familiar with the information I am about to disclose, but on the off-chance these details never found their way down your branch of the family tree, I will go ahead and share.

Lovett’s illustrated catalogue of fruit and ornamental trees and plants for the autumn of 1891. Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection.; J.T. Lovett Company. Credit: www. biodiversitylibrary. org/page/42764492

A while back, I did a post mentioning the fact that almost every yard in America within the right growing range would have once featured a quince tree; it was a fruit that was essential to the process of canning and preserving food. Well, a letter reveals that in addition to numerous other types of fruit trees, my/our second-great-grandparents Angus had a quince tree on their 927 Elizabeth Avenue, Elizabeth, New Jersey, property. I know this because I came across a copy of a letter that mentions the trees and a few more interesting things about the Angus family’s life in the mid-1800s.

Thomas F. Russum, son of Thomas and Cecelia (Angus) Russum and one of the many Angus grandsons, copied the letter on February 24, 1934, on his letterhead stationery (address 6 Seneca Avenue, White Plains, New York). The original letter had been written circa 1849 by a roughly nine-year-old Isaac G. de G. Angus to his godmother in Mexico. Thomas copied the letter before passing it on to Isaac’s son Addison Clark Angus, who was then living at 1833 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.

I surmise that Thomas must have found the letter among old family papers and decided to send the original letter—which evidently the godparents returned to Wealthy Angus after learning of Isaac’s 1885 death at age 45—to Addison, Isaac’s sole surviving child. (For some background on the Mexico connection, please refer to this past post.)

Angus family home at 927 Elizabeth Avenue, Elizabeth, New Jersey, from 1848-1871; the house was torn down a long time ago. A law office occupies this land today.

Isaac’s letter, though brief, is absolutely wonderful. Nowhere else have I ever seen/heard/read anything about the Angus household at that time. So, if you have never seen this letter before, I hope you will enjoy reading it. (I have retained the spelling but have added some punctuation for readability and some bracketed information.)

My dear Madrina [Godmother],

My Ma has just written you a letter so I think I will follow her example and write one too. We are all pretty well. We have another little brother. His name is George Welsh. I wish you could see him. He is a very nice little baby and we like him very much. My Pa and Ma wishes very much that you was here. They talk of you and Dona Margarita and Pepa everyday. Jacob [Jacob Baker Angus, 1844-1850] has forgotten all his Spanish and they are afraid that Jimmy [James Winans Angus Jr. 1841-1897] and I will too. Ma hears us read and gives us a lesson almost every day. Won’t you come and live with us. You would like this country. I like it very much. My Pa has got a big house and a very nice garden with apples, pears, plums, quinces and other fruit in it. And he has got a very pretty carriage and horse and some chickens and two little pigs. Give my love to Dona Margarito a Pepa. Tell my Padrino [Godfather] I think he might write me a letter if he ever thinks of me. Give my love to him and all my other friends such as Don Bernardo’s mother. We live in the next house to my Grandpas [Isaac Jaques] and we go there every day. I have no more to write now. You must answer this soon.

Your affectionate godson
Isaac Gabriel de Guadalup Angus

Still Life: Fruit, Bird, and Dwarf Pear Tree by Charles V. Bond, American, 1856

The letter was written after the birth of George Welsh Angus (13 May 1849) and before the death of Jacob “Jimmy” Baker Angus (8 June 1850 – scarlet fever).

The family had departed Mexico in early 1849, after a roughly seven-year stay, due to father James’s health issues. It seems likely that young Isaac wrote this letter in summer/fall when the thought of fruit trees would have been top of mind for a child.

Isaac writes about liking his new country. Even though he was born in Elizabeth, he’d spent the bulk of his life thus far in Mexico City. Returning to daily life in Elizabeth must have been a huge adjustment for him and his siblings. Certainly they must have enjoyed being next door to their grandfather Isaac Jaques and grandmother Wealthy Cushman Jaques who would have been in their mid- to late-50s at that time and, no doubt, delighted to have daughter Wealthy and her growing family back in their midst.

View Near Elizabethtown, N. J., oil painting by Régis François Gignoux, 1847, Honolulu Museum of Art

The contrasts between Mexico City (oldest capital city in the Americas, with a population probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000 by 1850) and Elizabeth (1850 population: 5,583) must have made a big impression on the family, as I’m sure did the difference in climate. New Jersey winters are usually cold and bleak. The painting on the left, painted two years before the Anguses returned home, shows just what wintry conditions may have awaited them. For Wealthy and James especially, their Mexico life and their adventures there during the US-Mexico War must have lingered in their minds for a very long time. And, until they’d fully acclimatized themselves, daily life in Elizabeth may have seemed a bit boring. Of course, the city of Manhattan, with its population of ~500,000 was close by, so perhaps they were happy to come home and get caught up on all the changes that had taken place in their absence. This was, after all, HOME.

I can’t help but wonder what kind of reception the family received from the community when they returned to live in Elizabethtown.  There must have been a lot of curiosity about these somewhat “exotic”” neighbors with their unique international experiences and ability to speak Spanish.

Bird’s-eye view of Mexico City as seen from convent of San Cosme (1847). Panorámica de la ciudad de México desde el convento de San Cosme (1847). Artist: N. Currier (Wikimedia Commons: In Public Domain in US (70 years) and Mexico (100 years)

From the letter, we can see that Wealthy was tutoring the children daily, trying to make sure the children would not forget their Spanish; young Isaac does not mention his younger sister Mary Martha who was probably about three at the time. (Another six children would make their appearances between 1850 and 1861, one of them being my great-grandmother Wealthy Ann Angus Woodruff.)

Photograph of Isaac G. de G. Angus, Princeton 1860 grad, from the collections of the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton, NJ. Reproduced here in low resolution with their permission. Call number AC-104, Box 117.

Obviously the family had warmly embraced their Mexican friends and now, with such distance between them, only had letter-writing as a way of remaining in touch. The fact that the godparents returned this letter to mother Wealthy Jaques Angus after Isaac’s death in 1885, some 35 years after they’d left Mexico, indicates that the families remained in contact.

It would be fabulous to know who these godparents and friends in Mexico were. Unfortunately I have not come across those details yet.

If anyone out there has more information about anything related to this post, please do share. Thank you.

 

 

 

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., Mexico, New Jersey, Russum | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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

Last group photos of the Woodruff sisters, early 1950s

My garage clear-out yielded these two group photos of my grandmother Fannie B. Woodruff and her five sisters, Jennie, Flora, Mildred, Cecelia, and Bertha—the children of William Earl Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus. The photos were damaged and faded, but some “Photoshopping” has helped to revive them a bit. Oldest sister Jennie died in October 1955 so the image was obviously taken sometime prior to that. Sister Flora Ulrich lived out in California, so maybe this photo was taken to commemorate her visit to New Jersey or to mark some other special/solemn occasion, perhaps even the death of one of their spouses. My grandfather died in May 1951 and Jennie’s in December 1953. The location I am not sure of; but I think it may have been my grandmother’s home in Scotch Plains, NJ. I think it’s somewhat sweet that in the top photo they are all looking in different directions as if trying to catch their best sides. In the photos I have of them in their much younger years, all heads were always pointed in the same direction.

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Front Row: Jennie Bell Woodruff Coleman, Fannie Bishop Woodruff Brodhead, Flora May Woodruff Baker Ulrich /// Back Row: Bertha Winans Woodruff, Wealthy Mildred Woodruff Brown, Cecelia Russum Woodruff Van Horn

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Front Row: Bertha (daughter #6) and Jennie (daughter #1) Back Row: Cecelia (daughter #3), Mildred (daughter #5), Fannie (daughter #4), Flora (daughter #2)

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Categories: Brodhead, Brown, Coleman, Elizabeth, Union Co., Hillside Union, New Jersey, Russum, Scotch Plains, Ulrich, Van Horn, Winans, Woodruff | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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

1918 Summons Notice – Angus & Jaques Family Clues

Portion of Plan of New York and Brooklyn. (Atlas of New York and vicinity ... by F.W. Beers ... published by Beers, Ellis & Soule, New York, 1868) - David Rumsey Historical Map Collection - link below.

Portion of Plan of New York and Brooklyn. (Atlas of New York and vicinity … by F.W. Beers … published by Beers, Ellis & Soule, New York, 1868) – David Rumsey Historical Map Collection – link below. ROSS STREET is in Ward 19.

Below is a Summons Notice that appeared multiple times in 1918 New York newspapers. It comes from the Brooklyn NY Daily Standard Union, Friday, 15 March 1918, and contains a ton of names of people who are in some way related to James W. Angus, one of my 2nd great grandfathers. He died of erysipelas (acute streptococcus bacterial infection of the upper dermis and superficial lymphatics) on 23 December 1862, over 50 years prior to this notice’s publication.

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James W. Angus

James Angus business card, side 2

James Angus business card, side 2

James Angus business card, side 1

James Angus business card, side 1

I am slowly chipping away at a lot of these names, partly thanks to the recent discovery of Jane Jaques Birch and John B. Jaques and their offspring. I have no idea what the kerfuffle was, who the plaintiff was, etc. It appears to have something to do with James W. Angus’s estate and property at 17 Ross Street, Brooklyn (visible in the upper left of Ward 19 in the attached map).

You may find some names of interest, too, if you are researching these families, so I am publishing the notice here. Thank you, Fulton History website, for allowing articles to be snipped and published elsewhere!

MAP LINK: Plan of New York and Brooklyn. (Atlas of New York and vicinity … by F.W. Beers … published by Beers, Ellis & Soule, New York, 1868) – David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

Categories: Angus, Apperson, Birch, Brooklyn, Jaques, Knowles, Legal, Russum, Seaman, Stansbury, Woodruff | 2 Comments

Isaac Jaques (1791-1880) – a family mystery solved?

(This post is a continuation of the previous post on Isaac Jaques.) A brief but interesting statement appeared in The Trenton State Gazette on April 13, 1880, celebrating Isaac Jaques’ longevity: Isaac Jaques, the oldest citizen of Elizabeth is 91 years of age. He has seen every President of the United States, except President Hayes. His age was not quite accurate, but nonetheless, this was a fun entry to come upon. If it’s true, he would have seen Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Munroe, Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Polk, Taylor, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln, and Grant! That’s pretty extraordinary to think about.

So what else do we know about Isaac? Well, according to US census records, in 1880, prior to his death, Isaac Jaques was living in his stately Elizabeth, NJ, home with his 2nd wife Rebecca (age 69) and two sisters-in-law: Angelina Wile (82) and Sarah Brown (80).

Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus, widow of James W. Angus, probably circa 1890

Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus, widow of James W. Angus, probably circa 1890

Isaac’s daughter Wealthy Ann Angus (widow of James Winans Angus, d. 1962) was living up the road with her three children who had yet to fly the coop (she and James Angus had 11 children in all): Walter (18, machinist), Job (23, machinist [and future superintendent of the construction of the Smithsonian Institution building in Washington, DC, and personal friend of President Lincoln]), and Charles (26, oil dealer). Next door to the Angus family lived Wealthy’s daughter Cecelia (25) and son-in-law Thomas B. Russum (30, draughtsman) and the Russum’s children Thomas (6) and Charles (1).

Cecelia Russum (left) and Thomas Russum (right)

Cecelia Russum (left) and Thomas Russum (right)

I would have liked the Memorial article in the last post or the obituaries I’ve seen to have included names of Isaac’s children. For some reason, our family tree for Isaac Jaques has always listed just one child for him and his first wife, Wealthy Ann Cushman: Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus, mentioned above. I’d long wondered whether that was correct. It’s been on my “to-do” list for a very long while. So today, I decided to do some digging and discovered one Ancestry tree (yes, I took the plunge after coming upon an enticing promo code) showing a son Walter (b. 1826, NYC) and a son Christopher P. (b. NYC, 1832). Although no sources were cited, I was very intrigued, so I took to the census records, and, lo and behold, in the 1850 record (available for free on Family Search), I discovered Walter (dentist) and Christopher P. There was also another son named Charles P. (b. cir 1834). Christopher and Charles (18 & 16) were working as clerks, perhaps in their father’s tailor shop. The census also showed a Catherine, age 20, and two small children (Isaac and Ann). I presumed Catherine may have been the wife of one of the son’s (Walter?), as the small children were a tad young to still be Wealthy’s. Turns out I was right–I found Catherine and her two children living with her parents (Samuel and Elizabeth Nichols) in 1860 in Elizabeth, NJ. What had happened to Walter? (5/21/13 Update: Walter must have passed away by then. I found a marriage record for Catherine on Family Search–she remarried Willet Stevenson on 22 October 1863 in Elizabeth, NJ.) (10/29/16 Update: Catherine was married to another son named Samuel.)

James W. Angus, older brother of Job W. Angus, father of Job W. Angus (b. 1856)

James W. Angus, older brother of Job W. Angus, father of Job W. Angus (b. 1856)

Wealthy Ann Cushman, Isaac’s first wife, passed away on April 13, 1856. A New York Times obituary for Wealthy [Cushman] Jaques was published on April 15, 1856: At Elizabeth, NJ, on Sunday morning, MRS. WEALTHY ANN JAQUES, wife of Isaac Jaques, in the 62d year of her age. The relatives and friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend her funeral, this (Tuesday) afternoon, at 3 o’clock, from her late residence. By the time of the 1860 census, Isaac (roughly 69) was married to Rebecca Robinson, a widow (age 49).

In summary, I am quite surprised never to have seen any mention made of Wealthy Angus’ siblings in any obituaries anywhere. Perhaps, indeed, they all predeceased her and her father, Isaac Jaques. I just truly find it odd that no family histories in my direct family line and the neighboring lines I’ve seen included any mention of anyone other than Wealthy Angus. Was it because she had been the most successful and the others not worthy of a mention? (I should hope not!) Or maybe they predeceased Wealthy and her father? Or maybe there are mentions of them out there that I simply have yet to come across.

This post has gone on way too long, so I will bid adieu for now. I have one other ‘bombshell’ to share, but I’ll leave that for next time! Maybe by then, I will have learned more about Isaac’s progeny.

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., Jaques, Lincoln, President Abraham, New York City, Obituaries, Russum, US Federal 1850, US Federal 1860, US Federal 1870, US Federal 1880, Washington, President George | Leave a comment

Two Angus Daughters, Early 1890s

(Photo from my family's personal archives)

(Photo from my family’s personal archives)

I just love this photo and wish I had more like this one. Thankfully it was labelled (but not dated) when I found it buried with all sorts of family papers. It was in bad shape so I spent a lot of time on Photoshop getting rid of distracting specks, spots, and tears. Seated are the moms, two of James and Wealthy Angus‘s daughters, Cecelia Bensey (Angus) Russum and Wealthy Ann (Angus) Woodruff. Standing are their spouses, Thomas B. Russum (left) and William Earl Woodruff (right). (Wealthy and William Woodruff were my great grandparents. William, son of Mary Jane Trowbridge and Francis Woodruff, was the one who was mentioned in previous posts as having received letters from his uncles, Henry and Uzal Trowbridge, during the Civil War.) The photo was taken in the early 1890s, perhaps on the occasion of Wealthy Ann Jaques Angus’ death in March 1892 (both sisters dressed in black). Little Bertha Woodruff was born in 1888; I’d say she looks about four here. Anyone with a stronger opinion on her age, please let me know your thoughts.

With the moms and dads are some of their children and some children of another Angus sister, Mary Martha (married to Austin F. Knowles). I have labelled the photo so I won’t repeat names here. Suffice it to say that I have quite an abundance of material on this side of the family and will be working to assemble it to include as much as possible of it in this blog in the upcoming year.

On a side note, I am probably going to be reducing my blog posting to once per week as other commitments will be taking up more of my time in the coming months. That may change when summer comes as I should have a bit more time on my hands.

I welcome hearing from any Angus descendants who have any information or photos to share or who simply want to get in touch.

Update 5/16/12: Photos have been added to the memorial on Find-a-Grave for Rev. William Russum, who appears in the photo as a small chubby boy.

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., Knowles, Russum, Woodruff | Leave a comment

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