While going through my grandmother Zillah Trewin’s photo album, I came across these images taken in Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, during the summer of 1904 at what I presume was a small gathering to mark the placement of the gravestone for William Sargent (1861-1896) and his wife Sarah Jane Bowley (1849-1904) who died earlier that year, in January. What’s most interesting to me is the fact that the tiny elderly woman in the photo may actually be Mary Bowley Pitt, older sister of Sarah Bowley and second wife of William Sargent (Zillah’s grandfather and my 2nd-great-grandfather; 1st wife was Mary Wills, daughter of George and Mary Wills of Northamptonshire, England). You may recall the post where it was revealed that father and son (both named William) married sisters Mary Bowley Pitt and Sarah Bowley! Based on 1880 census records, Mary Bowley (1st marriage to ? Pitt) was born in 1839 in England; in 1904 she would have been 64, and I am trying to figure out if the mystery woman pictured could be around that age. Thoughts anyone?
Summer 1904 cemetery photos of family marking the placement of the headstone for Wm Sargent Jr. & Sarah Jane Bowley graves
A newly unearthed photo of my great-grandfather William Trewin (1847-1916) of Elizabeth, NJ, taken in September 1904 by his daughter Zillah (then age 21):
My great-grandfather William Trewin’s first marriage (1868) ended tragically on December 7, 1879, when his wife Edith H. Fry died in childbirth. He remarried and his two sons Bert and Clarence became the beloved sons of my great-grandmother Elizabeth Sargent. I’d never been able to find an exact date of William and Elizabeth’s marriage until earlier this summer when I found an envelope containing the original marriage certificate. The William Sargent listed as a witness was probably Elizabeth’s father rather than her brother who shared the same name. It appears that her brother Samuel, a Methodist minister, performed the ceremony. These new details, as few as they are, combined with images we have of these four, help paint a faint picture of the happenings of July 31, 1882, in the lives of these ancestors and those closest to them.
This is to Certify
That William Trewin of Elizabeth, NJ
and Elizabeth Sargent of Jersey City, NJ
were by me joined together in
in Jersey City according to the ordinance of God and the Laws
of the State of New Jersey on the 31st day of July 1882
Samuel Sargent, Minister of the Gospel
Leafing through my grandmother’s photo album, I came across this group photo showing my great-grandmother Elizabeth Sargent Trewin standing in the back on the right, and her daughter (my grandmother) Zillah Trewin in the rear on the far left, partially obscured by a gentleman’s hat. On the back, Zillah had written Mother’s class in [???] ‘Aliens or Americans.’ I was intrigued. I scanned it at high resolution to read what was written on the rear left door:
A million immigrants!
A million opportunities!
A million obligations!
Interesting! My great-grandmother, a devout Christian, was evidently a proponent of immigration (not the least bit surprising since she was an immigrant herself—from England in about 1870).
The quotation on the door appears to come from a book called Aliens or Americans (by Howard B. Grose) which was published in 1906 by the Young People’s Missionary Movement, New York. I think this is about the time this photo was taken (Elizabeth’s hair has still not gone the gray that appears in photos from the 1910s). The peak year of European immigration was 1907, so immigration was a very hot topic at that time, and the photo may be from a play that was performed in their Elizabeth, NJ, church (St. James Methodist) to highlight the church’s duty to engage in mission work by assisting newly arrived immigrants in the resettlement process.
I’ve pulled the author’s preface and Josiah Strong’s introduction to Aliens or Americans and have included them below to give a sense of what my great-grandmother and grandmother may have been experiencing and responding to. The book is available online through The Project Gutenburg (click the link in the previous paragraph). I have not had time to read it (it’s several hundred pages long), but glancing at the table of contents, it looks like it gives plenty of interesting insight into immigration at that time, the Ellis Island experience, etc. Anyone with ancestors who immigrated in the early 1900s may find something of interest here.
Have a good day, all. As always, thanks for stopping by.
PS: For interesting info and images of immigrants from that period visit: A Look at The People Coming Through Ellis Island, 1906 – Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives Website
It is not a question as to whether the aliens will come. They have come, millions of them; they are now coming, at the rate of a million a year. They come from every clime, country, and condition; and they are of every sort: good, bad, and indifferent, literate and illiterate, virtuous and vicious, ambitious and aimless, strong and weak, skilled and unskilled, married and single, old and young, Christian and infidel, Jew and pagan. They form to-day the raw material of the American citizenship of to-morrow. What they will be and do then depends largely upon what our American Protestant Christianity does for them now.
Immigration—the foreign peoples in America, who and where they are, whence they come, and what under our laws and liberties and influences they are likely to become—this is the subject of our study. The subject is as fascinating as it is vital. Its problems are by far the most pressing, serious, and perplexing with which the American people have to do. It is high time that our young people were familiarizing themselves with the facts, for this is preëminently the question of to-day. Patriotism and religion—love of country and love of Christ—unite to urge thoughtful consideration of this great question: Aliens or Americans? One aim of this book is to show our individual responsibility for the answer, and how we can discharge it.
Immigration may be regarded as a peril or a providence, an ogre or an obligation—according to the point of view. The Christian ought to see in it the unmistakable hand of God opening wide the door of evangelistic opportunity. Through foreign missions we are sending the gospel to the ends of the earth. As a home mission God is sending the ends of the earth to our shores and very doors. The author is a Christian optimist who believes God has a unique mission for Christian America, and that it will ultimately be fulfilled. While the facts are in many ways appalling, the result of his study of the foreign peoples in our country has made him hopeful concerning their Americanization and evangelization, if only American Christians are awake and faithful to their duty. The Christian young people, brought to realize that immigration is another way of spelling obligation, must do their part to remove that tremendous IF.
These newcomers are in reality a challenge to American Christianity. The challenge is clear and imperative. Will we give the gospel to the heathen in America? Will we extend the hand of Christian brotherhood and helpfulness to the stranger within our gates? Will we Christianize, which is the only real way to Americanize, the Aliens? May this book help to inspire the truly Christian answer that shall mean much for the future of our country, and hence of the world.
The author makes grateful acknowledgment to all who have assisted by suggestion or otherwise. He has tried to give credit to the authors whose works he has used. He is under special obligation for counsel and many courtesies to Josiah Strong, one of the modern patriot-prophets who has sought to awaken Americans to their Christian duty and privilege.
Howard B. Grose. Briarcliff Manor, June, 1906.
A million immigrants!
A million opportunities!
A million obligations!
This in brief is the message of Aliens or Americans?
In this country every man is an American who has American ideals, the American spirit, American conceptions of life, American habits. A man is foreign not because he was born in a foreign land but because he clings to foreign customs and ideas.
I do not fear foreigners half so much as I fear Americans who impose on them and brutally abuse them. Such Americans are the real foreigners.
Most of those who come to us are predisposed in favor of our institutions They are generally unacquainted with the true character of those institutions, but they all know that America is the land of freedom and of plenty, and they are favorably inclined toward the ideas and the obligations which are bound up with these blessings. They are open to American influence and quickly respond to a new and a better environment.
They naturally look up to us, and if with fair and friendly treatment we win their confidence, they are easily transformed into enthusiastic Americans. But if by terms of opprobrium such as “sheeny” and “dago,” we convince them that they are held in contempt, and if by oppression and fraud we render them suspicious of us, we can easily compact them into masses, hostile to us and dangerous to our institutions and organized for the express purpose of resisting all American influences.
Whether immigrants remain Aliens or become Americans depends less on them than on ourselves.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted my grandmother’s grammar school graduation photo (left), and then later discovered her high school graduation photo (right). She looks so elegant and beautiful in her frilly white dress and long sash, set against the painting in the background, which I presume was meant to symbolize the path to the future upon which she and her fellow graduates were about to embark. I wonder what she was thinking at the time. All were happy, I’m sure, to be leaving school behind. The future awaited. It was 1902—a new century full of new possibilities and new inventions. The Wright Brothers were to take flight at Kitty Hawk eighteen months later, and Ford’s Model-T was to come out five years after that. Grandmother was a working girl after high school and was one of the first women in Elizabeth, NJ, to have her own Model-T. She was very independent and quite the trailblazer. It was nearly two decades after this photo was taken that she finally found her soul mate William Boles, a dashing young Irishman, and settled into married life. And it’s a good thing she did because otherwise I would definitely not be here!
I just spotted this circa-1906 image in an old album that belonged to my grandmother Zillah Trewin. I believe it’s the only photo we have of her step-brother Albert Phillips Trewin and his first wife Georgie Duke, who died of influenza in 1917. I only recognized them because a while back a descendant of Bert’s generously sent me some digital images of that side of the family.
In this photo, Bert and Georgie are pictured with their two sons: Elmer Archer Trewin (b. 1902) and Albert Gray Trewin (b. 1905). Daughter Edith May was born in 1910.
My mother, now 93, remembers meeting Bert and his second wife Jessie Mallette Smith several times. She remembers when Bert & Jessie were visiting Elizabeth, NJ, from their home in Pittsburgh in 1934, and how she and her parents climbed in Bert & Jessie’s car to drive down to Asbury Park to see the Morro Castle shipwreck. Mom would have been 11 at the time. She recalls how old Bert looked, but when you’re 11, everyone looks old!
Anyway, I am glad I came across this image. The album is otherwise largely filled with people who are not labeled, so I have no idea who most of them are,and neither does my mother! 😦
Here’s a photo of my grandmother Zillah Trewin dated June 24, 1898. It was taken on the occasion of her graduation from grammar school in Elizabeth, NJ. She had just turned 15 earlier that month. She looks so much like her father William Trewin here. Zillah went on to graduate high school and attend business school. Eventually she landed the job of secretary to the director of the YMCA in Manhattan, across the river from her Elizabeth, NJ, home. It’s interesting to see her at this stage in life. Most images I have of her were taken quite a bit before and after this one. I “Photoshop-ped” it to give it more contrast. I love examining the details in dress, the diploma in hand, her expression, the furnishings, etc. It’s a wonderful snapshot in time.
Well, time marches on and I don’t always remember to do updates on previous posts and my ‘brick walls,’ so I will take the time to do this today, at least with regards to ‘grave’ news—no not bad news, just cemetery news!
Sargent / Wills: I have located the final resting places of William Sargent and his first wife (my second great-grandmother Mary Wills Sargent) and his second wife (Mary Bowley Pitt). Their surname was Slaymaker until they changed it to Sargent when moving to the US after the Civil War. I was correct to think that they were in or around Hudson County, New Jersey—they are in what is known today as Bayview-New York Bay Cemetery. I have requested photos on Find a Grave, but that can take time. (For a past post on the family: click here)
Trewin: Also located (no thanks to me) was the grave location for William Clarence Trewin (my grandmother’s step-brother): Locustwood Memorial Park, Cherry Hill, Camden County, New Jersey. According to the descendants who discovered it, the grave is unmarked. (For a past post mentioning William Clarence, click here.)
De La Flechelle: I was delighted that a volunteer found the time to photograph the De La Flechelle graves in the churchyard of the First Presbyterian Church in Woodbridge, NJ. I spent a lot of time researching this family (past post is here), so it’s nice to see them all together and permanently memorialized on Find a Grave.
Still looking for:
- John Romeyn Brodhead and wife – final resting place – this is the son of Andrew Jackson Brodhead and Ophelia Easton (not the historian John Romeyn Brodhead) – graves are possibly in Buffalo, NY area.
- Final resting place of Juebb (Jacob) Lewis — husband of Margaret Wait Lewis; father of Sarah Augusta Lewis who married Moses Martin.
These lovely elderly ladies are Louise E. Nixon and Jane ‘Jennie’ Bracken Nixon, nieces of my great-grandmother Sarah (Nixon) Boles of Co. Leitrim, Ireland, whose parents—William Nixon and Rachel Miller—and numerous siblings moved to the United States in the late 1860s. The ladies were my grandfather William Boles‘s cousins.
A previous post on Sarah Nixon Boles mentioned the fact that most, if not all, of her family relocated to New York after the US Civil War. This Nixon family is presumably part of the Nixon family of Fermanagh*—about which much has been written (e.g., The Families of French of Belturbet and Nixon of Fermanagh, and Their Descendants by Henry B. Swanzy, published in 1908). However, I have yet to figure out the family’s location in the larger Nixon family tree.
William and Rachel Nixon were about 67 and 51, respectively when they arrived in America in 1869 (the year given me by the descendant of Benjamin, one of their sons). Joining them were supposedly all of their children (I’ve found 11, although my mother’s records list 14) except for my great-grandmother Sarah: Mark Nixon (b. cir. 1839/1845), Edward Nixon (b. cir 1845); Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Nixon (b. cir. 1849); Jane Nixon (b. 1851); Thomas Nixon (b. cir. 1852); Sarah Nixon (b. 1855); Rachel Nixon (b. cir 1865); Mary Nixon (b. cir 1858); Benjamin Nixon (b. cir 1862); Robert Nixon (b. 1863); Catherine Nixon (b. 1864); the last three (whom I have yet to find a trace of) were James, John, and William.
The passenger list inset for the ship Caledonia , which set sail from Moville on Lough Foyle at the northern tip of Northern Ireland to New York on 14 September 1868, shows the names of some Nixons–the names seem to fairly well coincide with some of the Nixon children’s names & ages. If these indeed are ‘our Nixons’, it would indicate that the older children may have come ahead of the parents and younger children.
While researching the family, I found William, Rachel and a number of the children in the 1870 US Federal Census, living in NYC Ward 18. William is listed as a ‘farmer’, an answer based certainly on his past occupation in Ireland. The children in the household were: Edward (30), Thomas (20), Eliza (22), Jane (18), Rachel (15), Mary (10), and ‘Bennett’ (10, this was probably ‘Benjamin’).
William Nixon died before the 1880 US Federal Census, as Rachel Nixon is listed in that census record as a widow ‘keeping house’ and living at 203 16th Street, NY, NY. and living with children Edward, Lizzie, Thomas, Rachel, Benjamin, Robert, Mary, and Kate, and several lodgers. The census record indicates that family members were involved in the dry goods business. Son Thomas (28 and now widowed) is listed as being a ‘dry goods buyer’ as is son Edward, age 35 and single. Benjamin (20) is listed as a ‘dry goods clerk’ as is Robert (18). (The 1900 Census indicates that Robert emigrated in 1879.)
Looking at old newspapers, I found the following mortuary notice in the New York Herald, dated 11 Aug 1871: At his [Gramercy] residence, 346 East 17th Street, on Thursday, August 10, William Nixon, aged 69 years. Funeral will take place on Saturday, August 12, at one o’clock PM from Seventeenth Street Methodist Episcopal Church, between First and Second avenues. Relatives and friends are invited to attend.
Almost two decades later, I found a notice for a Rachel Nixon (New York Herald, 12 May 1890): On Saturday, May 10, 1890, Rachel Nixon, age 72 years. The relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the funeral services at her late [East Village] residence, No. 224 East 12th Street, on Monday evening, May 12, 1890 at eight o’clock. Interment in Green-wood.
A William Nixon (bur. August 1871, Find a Grave memorial #127997780) and a Rachel Nixon (bur. 5-13-1890; Find a Grave memorial #106845856) are buried in Green-wood Cemetery Lot 17245 Section 17, Grave 114. The grave is unmarked according to the Find a Grave photographer who kindly attempted to find the graves for me. I’m not yet certain that I have the correct Rachel and William, but hope to pin all this down at some point. Meanwhile I toss this info out there to my readers and future readers who may already have turned over these stones and arrived at some conclusions.
Son Edward Nixon and wife Anna (Bracken) Nixon, who emigrated from No. Ireland in 1883, had four children: Jane ‘Jennie’ (b. 1884), William (b. 1885), George (b. 1887), and Louise (b. 1889). The first two children were born in Manhattan. The second two were born in Bridgeport, CT. Edward died sometime between 1889 and 1900, as Anna is a widow as of the 1900 census. There is an Edward Nixon in the same plot at Green-wood Cemetery (Burial 1899-03-29, Lot 17245 Section 17, Grave 114; (Find a Grave #106846467), perhaps giving a bit more weight to the possibility that the Green-wood plot is indeed where our Nixon ancestors were laid to rest.
By the 1900 Census, Anna (Bracken) Nixon and her children (ages 16, 15, 13, 11), sister Mary J. Bracken, and a lodger are living at 160 Virginia Avenue in Jersey City Ward No. 8, Hudson Co., NJ, and it was there that the family remained for many years. Neither Jennie nor Louise ever married. Jennie devoted her life to working as a teacher in the Jersey City public school system, and Louise worked for many years as a stenographer and then executive secretary for the president or vice president of a company in NYC. Eventually the sisters joined forces with their brother William and his wife Marion to buy a large house at 680 Orchard Street in Oradell, NJ, where they spent happy years before moving into the Francis Asbury Manor Methodist rest home in Ocean Grove, NJ. Jane died in May of 1972, and Louise in October 1979.
Serendipitously it was during their years in Jersey City that Jennie and Louise befriended my grandmother Zillah Trewin who lived there with her parents William Trewin and Elizabeth (Sargent) Trewin. According to my mother, Zillah was great friends with the Nixon sisters, as well as their cousins (the children of Jane Nixon and Wm Elliott Roberts), and it was through that friendship that she ultimately met and married their cousin (my grandfather) William Boles who emigrated to the US in 1912 at the encouragement of his uncle Robert Nixon who sponsored him.
I remember Jennie and Louise well. They were very fun ladies—full of good humor and always had a twinkle in their eyes. I always enjoyed the times spent with them, and best remember our visits to their Ocean Grove apartment. As I recall, we would drive down to see them on Saturdays since the roads in Ocean Grove are closed to all traffic on Sundays. We always took them out to lunch, and I remember taking them down to some restaurant near the ocean in Spring Lake, a short drive to the south. They were two sweethearts and it was very sad to lose them. I would love to have them here now to have some family history chats with them. When I was a teenager that topic was far from my mind.
I’ll close this post with a couple of Louise’s recipes (‘Chocolate Flake Candy’ and ‘Date Balls’) I recently came upon while re-binding my mom’s old recipe notebook. I haven’t tried either of them yet as I am trying to shift a bit of weight. Such temptations would surely sabotage my results! But they will stay on my radar!
If you’ve made it this far in the post, I wish you a great day. If you have anything to add, share, correct, etc., please don’t hesitate to get in touch or leave a comment!
Jennie and Louise’s Nixon Tree Branch
1-William Nixon b. Cir 1802, Ireland, d. Bef 2 Jun 1880; possibly 10 Aug
1871 +Rachael Millar b. Cir 1818, Ireland, d. Possibly 10 May 1890, Manhattan, New
York, New York
|—–2-Edward Nixon b. Cir 1845, Ireland, d. Betw 1889 and 1900
| +Anna Bracken b. Aug 1847, Northern Ireland, d. After 1930
| |—–3-Jane Bracken Nixon b. 15 Apr 1884, Manhattan, New York, New York,
| | d. May 1972, Ocean Grove, Monmouth, NJ
| |—–3-William Thomas Nixon b. 24 Aug 1885, Manhattan, New York, New
| | York, d. Sep 1967, Suffolk, New York
| | +Marion Zoller
| |—–3-George Robert Bracken Nixon b. 12 Feb 1887, Bridgeport,
| | Connecticut
| | +May L. Swenarton b. Cir 1889, New Jersey
| | |—–4-George W. Nixon b. Cir 1914, New Jersey
| | |—–4-Frank L. Nixon b. Cir 1919
| |—–3-Louise E. Nixon b. 22 Jul 1889, Bridgeport, Connecticut, d. Oct
| | 1979, Ocean Grove, Monmouth, NJ
Merry Christmas, all! I stumbled on a few more Christmas cards—these from 1914… exactly 100 years ago! These were sent to my grandmother who was 31 at the time and still single. One from her dear friend Ruth Cheney. The others from senders unknown (to me). The themes? Charles Dickens’ first novel—The Pickwick Papers (published in 1836)—and his novella Cricket on the Hearth (published in 1845). Even in 1914, they were timeless classics. One bonus of finding these cards? My grandmother’s address in 1914: 135 Murray St., Elizabeth, NJ!
Well, back to those Christmas cookies! Have a magical day!