Wait

John Oliver Wait (1787-1876) of Perth Amboy

The Independent Hour, Woodbridge, NJ, Thursday, Dec 7, 1876

I stumbled on an obituary recently for my fourth great-grandfather, John O. Wait of Perth Amboy, NJ. It was in the 7 December 1876 issue of The Independent Hour (Woodbridge, Middlesex Co., NJ).

A carpenter, and later a baker, by trade, John lived to the very ripe old age of 89, outliving his wife Elizabeth Crow by 22 years, and his daughter (my 3rd-great-grandmother Margaret Wait) by nearly 25 years. At the time of his death, he was one of the oldest, if not the oldest, citizens in the town.

The obit is short and sweet but provides me with some new details:

  • He was “an undertaker for a number of years”, which makes perfect sense—I’m sure he was called on to make plenty of coffins anyway.
  • He died “at the residence of his son, James T. Wait” (b. 1824).
  • He was “an amiable and straightforward man, and filled many offices of trust and importance in the city.” While I’d known he was someone who’d had his fingers in many pies (sometimes, perhaps, quite literally!), it was pleasant to read those characteristics nonetheless. For a past post on John, click here.
  • “The funeral services were held in the Baptist Church, after which the remains were taken to the cemetery for internment.” This surprised me, since I’d have thought that any funeral would have taken place at the Presbyterian Church where his father had been a founding member.

baptist_church I can think of a few others in my/our family tree who made it to such a ripe old age, or even farther: Isaac Jaques (1791-1880); Captain Richard Brodhead (1666-1758); Andrew Jackson Brodhead (1822-1913); Daniel Westbrook Dingman (1774-1862); and there may be others. But as the blog I’ve linked to below points out, the average age back then, which was in the forties, was just that—an average. Many attained old age, and they did it without all the healthcare advantages we have today.

Well, that’s the morsel I am sharing today. Have a good weekend.

Resources:
Other blog posts on the Wait family: See: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4, Post 5 and Post 6
Passion for the Past – Blog: Post on 19th century Mourning Practices; Post on The Average Life Expectancy Myth

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Categories: Perth Amboy, Wait | Tags: | 4 Comments

The Wait Family Bible—the David Wait and John Oliver Wait families of Perth Amboy, New Jersey

In the nearly four years I’ve been doing this blog, I don’t recall anyone contacting me about thePerth Amboy, NJ, Wait family line—except for a gentleman from the Herriott Heritage Association who kindly alerted me to the link between the Waits and the Herriotts. The lack of contact surprises me a bit since the David Wait family was large as was John Oliver Wait’s. Surely there are other descendants out there, some of whom may hold interesting information. Perhaps folks are afraid I am going to take their information and publish it, which is definitely not the case. I’m very respectful of others’ wishes when it comes to the family history content that has remained within their family line for generations. I only share details people want me to share and give me permission to share. And I always give credit where credit is due.

Anyway, if you’ve been following this blog, you may recall that I’ve written a number of posts on the Waits. See: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4, Post 5 and Post 6. I have not done much more research on the family since my last post, which was back in 2013, but I hope to get back on track soon.

Meanwhile, I thought I would post these pages from the Wait family Bible. Descendants reading this blog are welcome to email me to request watermark-free images for their personal records. We can also compare family tree information, if you like. The Bible itself is not in great shape, as you can imagine, and I try never to open it any more than necessary. My great-grandmother Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead was its last owner, and she passed it down to my father who had a tremendous interest in family history.

Wait_Family_Bible_03

Wait_Family_Bible_04

Wait_Family_Bible_01

Wait_Family_Bible_02

My family’s line down from David Wait (b. 1754):

1-David Wait b. 20 May 1754, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, d. 11 Nov
1810, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ
+Irene Bell b. 20 Oct 1764, CT, d. 31 May 1804, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ
|—–2-John Oliver Wait b. 10 Jan 1787, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 23
| Nov 1876, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, bur. 24 Nov 1876, Alpine
| Cemetery, Middlesex Co., NJ
| +Elizabeth Crow b. 11 Sep 1792, Woodbridge, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 9 May
| 1854, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, bur. Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co.,
| NJ
| |—–3-Margaret Ann Wait b. 7 Mar 1817, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ,
| | d. 26 Mar 1851, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ
| | +Juebb (Jacob) Lewis d. After 25 Mar 1851
| | |—–4-Sarah Augusta Lewis b. 25 Nov 1836, Perth Amboy, Middlesex
| | | Co., NJ, d. 1900, bur. Alpine Cemetery, Middlesex Co., NJ
| | +Moses Martin b. 1833, d. 1883, bur. Alpine Cemetery,
| | Middlesex Co., NJ
| | |—–5-Margaret Lewis Martin b. Jun 1859, Perth Amboy, New
| | | Jersey, d. 1945, Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ, bur.
| | | Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union Co., NJ
| | | +Andrew Douglas Brodhead b. 17 Aug 1853, East Mauch
| | | Chunk, Carbon Co., PA, c. 6 Feb 1854, 1st
| | | Presbyterian Church, Mauch Chunk, Carbon Co., PA, d.
| | | 6 May 1917, At Home, Elizabeth, Union, NJ, bur.
| | | Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union Co., NJ
| | | |—–6-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

Categories: Family Bibles, New Jersey, Perth Amboy, Wait | 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

Margaret Ann Wait Lewis cause of death

Margaret Wait Lewis (b. Perth Amboy, NJ, March 7, 1817) is a 3rd great grandmother to me. She was the wife of Juebb (Jacob) Lewis and the oldest of three daughters of John Oliver Wait and Elizabeth Crow.

Margaret died in Perth Amboy on March 26, 1851, at just 34 years of age. I’d long wondered what took her, and so I sent off for her death certificate. It came in the mail today. Cause of death: consumption (a.k.a. pulmonary tuberculosis – an infectious bacterial disease of the lungs). Note: I’d always had her date of death listed as 26 March; the certificate says 25 March, but the entry in the Wait family Bible corroborates the 26th as being the date.

She is listed as “married” so her husband Juebb appears to have survived her—that’s the first morsel I’ve discovered about him. Anyone with more information, please get in touch.

Categories: Crow, Death, Death Certificates, Lewis, Wait | 3 Comments

A post of interest to John Oliver Wait & Elizabeth Crow descendants: The Herriott connection

Those descendants of John Oliver Wait (1787-1876) and his wife Elizabeth Crow (1792-1854) may find this post of interest. Ray Harriot of the Herriott Heritage Association contacted me recently to tell me about the link that they have established with the Crow family thanks to a tip that came from Scotland, and that is that Elizabeth Crow’s great grandfather Samuel Crow was married to Eleanor Herriot, a daughter of Elizabeth Lockhart and David Harriot.

1-Samuel Crow d. 1761 +Eleanor Herriot, daughter of David Harriot and Elizabeth Lockhart, b. cir 1716; d. 22 Apr 1749, Woodbridge, Middlesex, NJ

2-Col. Samuel Crow b. 1737, NJ; d. 15 Mar 1801, bur. First Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, Middlesex, NJ +Elizabeth Potter d. 6 Aug 1831, Woodbridge, Middlesex, NJ, bur. First Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, Middlesex, NJ

3-Ellis Crow b. 4 Jun 1765, d. 2 Nov 1824, bur. First Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, Middlesex, NJ,  +Martha Campyon b. 23 August 1768, NJ; d. 2 Dec 1851, Woodbridge, Middlesex, NJ

4-Elizabeth Crow b. 11 Sep 1792, Woodbridge, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 9 May 1854, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, bur. Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, +John Oliver Wait b. 10 Jan 1787, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 23 Nov 1876, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, bur. 24 Nov 1876, Alpine Cemetery, Middlesex Co., NJ

Quite a while ago, I did a blog post that included the will of David Wait, John’s father. Ray pointed out to me that his ancestor James Harriot (once the mayor of Perth Amboy) was listed as one of the inventory takers for the will. Pretty fascinating!  For more information on the Herriott family (note: a number of various spellings of the surname exist), click this link to the Herriott Heritage Association website. They publish a newsletter twice yearly, and you can subscribe to it via their site.

With their permission, I am posting the below pages from one of their recent newsletters that included mention of the discovery of the Crow-Herriott connection.

Herriott Herald Newsletter, published here with the permission of the Herriott Heritage Association

Herriott Herald Newsletter, published here with the permission of the Herriott Heritage Association

Herriott Herald Newsletter, published here with the permission of the Herriott Heritage Association

Herriott Herald Newsletter, published here with the permission of the Herriott Heritage Association

Herriott Herald Newsletter, published here with the permission of the Herriott Heritage Association

Herriott Herald Newsletter, published here with the permission of the Herriott Heritage Association

Categories: Crow, Herriott, New Jersey, Perth Amboy, Wait, Woodbridge | Leave a comment

Charles Conrad Martin (1866-1943)

Gift to my dad on his 7th birthday (1928) from his "Uncle Charlie"

Gift to my dad on his 7th birthday (1928) from his “Uncle Charlie”

Today I was delighted to come across a memorial page for Charles Conrad Martin (1866-1943) on the Find a Grave website. I was equally delighted to see that the contributor had linked him to his parents, Augusta Lewis (1836-1900) and Moses Martin (1833-1883). A photo of their shared headstone in Alpine Cemetery, Middlesex, NJ, appears on each page. Click here to link to Charles’. From there you can click to the other two pages. The appearance of the parents’ memorial pages allowed me to connect their daughter (my great grandmother) Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead (1859-1945) to them. (There were three other siblings: Mary (“Aunt Mame”), Frank W., and Merritt, and I’ve yet to discover their resting places)

Margaret and Charles were very close, in fact, my father was named after Charles Martin. In my late Dad’s memoirs, he wrote about celebrating his 7th birthday and receiving the Indian plate shown here as a gift from his Uncle Charlie: Uncle Charlie was a favorite of mine… He was general sales manager of Clark Thread Corporation. Lived in an old brownstone in Tottenville, Staten Island. He was an antique fancier and had at least 100 old clocks which all chimed at the same time. I used to love to visit there. He had an old friend, Tom Alexander (a Scotsman) who lived with him. We always had Uncle Charlie and “Uncle” Tom with us for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pop and I would go down to the Staten Island ferry terminal and pick them up. Uncle Charlie liked a little sauce now and then. So to celebrate, Pop would whip up the Brodhead cocktail: 1/3 orange juice, 1/3 dry gin, 1/3 rye whiskey, a dash of grenadine, lots of ice, shake it up and enjoy. Uncle Charlie was a tall, very distinguished-looking man. White mustache and white hair. Everything he bought came from the likes of Tiffany, Wanamaker, Van Cleef & Arpels, and the like. Uncle Charlie died right after I was sent to Parris Island, so I did not get to his funeral.

Charles had amassed a fortune in antiques by the time of his death, and his estate was auctioned off on October 12, 1943. A six-page booklet was prepared for the event by Jacques Noel Jacobsen. I remember my Dad saying that his parents went to the auction to bid on some of the items. Somewhere we have a news clipping on the event; if I come across it again, I’ll post it here.

Below is the only photo I’ve ever seen of Charles Martin, and it is from the personal collection of James Brodhead of Everett, Washington. I thank him for allowing me to publish it here. Charles is standing in the rear next to his sister (my great grandmother) Margaret. Margaret is next to my great grandfather Andrew D. Brodhead who died in 1917. I suspect this photo was taken in 1916/17 as the little boy in the photo was born in 1912. I am wondering whether perhaps Uncle Tom is the gentleman in the middle next to Charles. I’ve labelled one woman Fannie W. Brodhead although James and his family had her labelled as Ethyl Pike; but she looks so much like my grandmother (mother of the little boy in the photo who was my uncle). Maybe Ethyl is the lady behind Mr. Pike? My grandfather Frank Martin Brodhead (a brother of Andrew who appears in the photo) may very well have been the person behind the camera. It’s a fantastic photo, and I really treasure seeing the group together.

A family gathering circa 1916; PHOTO COURTESY OF James Brodhead of Everett, WA, personal family collection

A family gathering circa 1916, likely in Elizabeth, NJ; PHOTO COURTESY OF James Brodhead of Everett, WA, personal family collection

Categories: Brodhead, Lewis, Martin, Wait | Leave a comment

Irene Bell Wait, one of my brick walls

On April 21, 1784, a woman named Irene Bell married my fifth great grandfather, David Wait (b. May 20, 1754).

Who was Irene Bell, born on October 20, 1764, and a resident of Perth Amboy, NJ? What was her background? Who were her parents? The few clues I have about her have been gleaned from a biographical sketch on her son James (b. 1824) that appeared in a book, Biographical and portrait cyclopedia of the Third congressional district of New Jersey, and that is that she David were active in the Perth Amboy Presbyterian Church and parents to nearly a dozen children. I found a separate source stating she was born in Connecticut (FamilySearch™ Ancestral File v4.19, AFN: 9TX4-0G), but no evidence was provided to substantiate that.

Irene died in Perth Amboy on May 31, 1804, at age 39, her last child having been born in 1801. David’s will, written in 1810 and mentioned in the last post, contains the name of Andrew Bell. I decided to research this Andrew to see whether he was in any way related to Irene.

I discovered an Andrew Bell who had been a loyalist and served in the NYC office of the British commander-in-chief during the Revolutionary War. After the war his loyalist ties did not have the impact on his future life that they may have had otherwise, likely because Andrew’s sister, Cornelia Bell, was married to William Paterson, a prominent patriot and attorney-general for New Jersey. Eventually Paterson served in the senate, as governor, and as a member of the Supreme Court. Andrew Bell, who had studied law in Perth Amboy before the war, returned to Perth Amboy after the war and began a new chapter in his life as a successful merchant. The NJ Historical Society’s biographical note describes him as having been appointed the collector of Perth Amboy’s port in 1800 for the final year of John Adams’ presidency.  During this time period, he was also the deputy surveyor general of the East Jersey Proprietors and for approximately thirty-five years, ca. 1806-1842, served as the surveyor general. The Historical Society has in its archives a fascinating collection of his personal papers, land surveys, financial records, maps, and letters.

So, I was intrigued; could Cornelia and Andrew have had a sister named Irene? Well, I discovered the answer unfortunately was “no”.  Cornelia is listed in a 1997 book on famous NJ women (**Burstyn, p. 33-35) and it is stated that she was the oldest child and only daughter of NJ landowner John Bell and his wife.  So while I think this Andrew Bell may very well have been a witness to David Wait’s will, he was not Irene’s brother. Could Irene have been related to him in some other way? A cousin, perhaps?

Another angle that occurred to me was that perhaps Irene was the daughter of German or Dutch immigrants who had changed their name from Behl, Bale, or Bel. The reason that crossed my mind is because in the Wait family Bible, daughter Margaret Wait’s name is not spelled “Margaret”; its spelling looks more like “Margratha,” and Irene’s own name does not appear to be spelled as “Irene.” It looks more like “Rinea” or “Irinea.” Could Irene have been an Americanized version?

I’ve searched every way possible on Family Search and have come up empty handed. I’ve searched the trees on World Connect to no avail. A lead came up with the Bel surname, but upon further investigation, those Bels, members of the Dutch Reformed Church in Hackensack, NJ, had no daughters named Irene or anything approximate to Irene. Their one son also had no daughters by that name.

I have also searched New Jersey Marriage Records, 1665-1800, and early Connecticut Marriages, and come up with nothing.  Bell was a prominent family name in early Connecticut history, but I could find no record of an Irene. Perhaps they were married in a different state? I tried early Pennsylvania records as that is where Andrew Bell was from, but found nothing there.

The next best step appears to be to try to access burial records for the Alpine Cemetery in Perth Amboy. The First Presbyterian Church yard does not appear to have any grave sites; I suspect if it ever had a graveyard, it was moved to Alpine to make way for encroaching city growth. In any case, Irene Bell Wait is my brick wall. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

 

**Burstyn, Joan N. (1997). Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women. Syracuse University Press.

Categories: Bell, Perth Amboy, Wait | Leave a comment

David Wait Family of Perth Amboy, NJ: David Wait’s 1810 Will

City of Perth Amboy, 1823

Perth Amboy Presbyterian Church

Last year I wrote a couple of posts about the David Wait family of Perth Amboy, NJ. This past weekend, I came across details from David Wait’s will dated October 29, 1810, written 14 days before his death at age 56. As you may recall, David was a carpenter and was involved in the construction of Perth Amboy’s first Presbyterian Church. To read the previous posts about David and his family, click on Oct. 5 & 7, 2011, in the calendar/archives on the left side of this blog.

David’s immediate family tree looks like this:
1-David Wait b. 20 May 1754, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, d. 11 Nov 1810, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ
+Irene Bell b. 20 Oct 1764, CT, d. 31 May 1804, Perth Amboy, NJ
|–2-David Wait b. 15 Jan 1785, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 7 Nov 1825
|–2-John Oliver Wait b. 10 Jan 1787, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 23 Nov. 1876, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ
|–2-Isaac Wait b. 26 Apr 1788, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 25 Jun 1815
|–2-Margaret Wait b. 9 Jun 1790, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 4 Jun 1837
|–2-Joseph Thompson Wait b. 13 Oct 1791, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 12 Feb 1854
|–2-Kathrine (Catherine) Wait b. 18 May 1793, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 25 Jan 1813
|–2-Agnes Wait b. 16 Oct 1794, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 24 Mar 1859
|–2-James Wait b. 31 Jul 1796, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 31 Dec 1800
|–2-Sarah Matilda Wait b. 31 Mar 1798, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 21 Jun 1818
|–2-William Elias Riggs Wait b. 3 Jun 1800, Perth Amboy, NJ
|–2-Phillip Kearny Wait b. 30 Sep 1801, Perth Amboy, NJ, d. 25 Feb 1843, Savannah, GA

When the will was written, David’s wife Irene was deceased, having passed away six years previously at age 39, and the children ranged in age from 9-23. The eldest, David and John, were bequeathed all the tools and implements of my trade to be equally divided between them according to their value.(John is the son from whom I am descended).

Brindle cow
PHOTO BY Christian Bickel, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany

Daughter, Margaret, my brindle cow, bed, bedding, 2 chairs, 1 chest, 4 looking glasses (one of which is in trust for each of her sisters, Catherine, Agnes, and Sarah). Said daughter, Margaret, the house and lot in Perth Amboy, which I bought of the late Sophia Terrill, to be occupied by her as a home for herself and all of my younger children, to wit, Joseph, Catherine, Agnes, Sarah, William, and Phillip, until they reach age 21 or are married; and when youngest is 21, executors to dispose of said house and lot, and proceeds to be divided between children, or their heirs, equally. Executors to hold in trust the new house and lots belonging thereunto (in which I now live), to rent or to be sold and profits or proceeds used for support and education of my children.

English flintlock blunderbuss (Image in public domain. See http://www.nps.gov/history/museum/exhibits/revwar/image_gal/morrimg/blunderbuss.html)

All residue of estate to be divided equally between said children when youngest is 21. Executors–sons, David, John, and Isaac. Witnesses–Andrew Bell, Jas. Edgar, Jr., Lewis Arnold. Proved December 11, 1810. 1812, Jan. 18. Inventory [not totaled]; made by James Harriot, Thomas Griggs. Lists “one uniform Coat, Vest & Boots,” spy glass, case of drawing instruments, lot of architect books, other books, one blunderbuss. (NEW JERSEY, ABSTRACT OF WILLS, 1670-1817, FILE 10279 L; viewable in book Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Volume XII, 1810-1813, page 409)

Daughter Margaret certainly had her work cut out for her, but she had probably already been raising her younger siblings for some time given the tragic loss of mother Irene (Bell) Wait some years prior. One name here that stands out in particular is that of witness Andrew Bell. This may have been a brother of Irene’s. Irene’s ancestors have been a mystery to me so far, so maybe I can find something out by researching Andrew. Hopefully this is a promising clue!

Categories: Last Wills and Testaments, Lewis, Martin, Perth Amboy, Presbyterian, Revolutionary War, Wait | Leave a comment

David Wait Family of Perth Amboy, NJ: Puzzle in the John O. Wait Tree Solved

In the last post, I alluded to a puzzle in the tree of John Oliver Wait, son of David Wait. What I was referring to was the fact that the Wait family Bible lists two children in addition to John’s twelve children with wife Elizabeth Crow: Sarah Augusta Lewis and Charles Smith Lewis. Their dates of birth are such that they could not have been Elizabeth’s children as Elizabeth gave birth to other children around that time. This left me mystified as to whose children the Lewis kids were. It seemed odd that they had a different surname from Wait. I wondered if they belonged to one of John’s oldest daughters, but I dismissed that idea a bit since the eldest daughters were still quite young. Moreover, I would have expected to see a marriage to a Lewis listed for one of the girls. Then I read about the founding of the first Presbyterian Church in Perth Amboy by Capt. John Angus, David Wait, and John Lewis, and it occurred to me that those families and their  descendants were probably pretty intertwined. Perhaps the Lewis children were adopted by the Waits after some tragedy in the Lewis family.

Well, I finally came across some really convincing evidence two nights ago on what the real facts were. I’d often searched for a “Sarah A. Lewis” but had little success. This time I tried “Augusta Lewis” and was amazed to find her listed under the 1850 census at age 14, still in the John and Elizabeth Wait household. That on its own did not provide any revelations as to who her parents were, but I did not see Charles Lewis listed with her, so I thought–why not try to see what happened to him? I’d never searched his name before. Since Charles and Lewis are common names, I decided to throw in the Smith middle name. So I searched under the full name and year & place of birth, and was stunned to find a death record for a Charles Smitt Lewis in Blue Mound, Macon Co., Illinois, who died in 1921 at age 86. Yes, it was him, Sarah Augusta Lewis’s brother, “Smitt” misspelling and all.  Best of all, the record lists the parents: “Juebb Lewis” and “Margaret Waili”, and “Waili” certainly was a misspelling/”mistranscription” of “Waite” (a common and logical misspelling of “Wait”). [Note: Since writing this post, I have seen Juebb listed on a family tree as Jacob; given the crazy spelling of Waili, perhaps Juebb is indeed also a misspelling. ]

So, much like the blog entry Truin and Trewin, Thomas and Thos, this goes to show that it can really pay off to be creative with your searches. Who would ever expect to find Sarah A. Lewis, by using Augusta for her first name? Not me, anyway. (Incidentally, later records for her replace the “Augusta” with “Ann”.) And then for that misspelling to lead to another record with a misspelling of Smith, and then that to lead to Margaret Wait misspelled as Waili.

In summary, my original thought that the Lewis kids were children of one of John and Elizabeth’s daughters was correct. Margaret gave birth at age 16 and then 18. She was still living with John and Elizabeth when she was 34 (as per the 1850 census). Her surname is listed as “Waite,” not “Lewis,” so I don’t know what happened to “Juebb.” The 1850 census does not describe Margaret as a widow, but I assume he may have passed away. Margaret herself passed away in 1851 at the young age of 34.

Charles Smith Lewis married Nancy E. Lewis, an Indiana native. He was already in Macon Co., Illinois, in 1860, at age 25, according to census records. He is listed then as single. By the 1880 census, he is listed with Nancy, 7 years his junior, and three children: Margaret A., Sarah E., and Charles W. (18, 13, and 6, respectively). His occupation is listed as “lumber dealer.” The death record lists Charles Smith Lewis as being buried in Hall Cemetery in Blue Mound, Macon Co., Illinois. I searched Find a Grave’s website for any Lewises in Hall Cemetery and found C.S. Lewis and Nancy E. Lewis.  (I’d never have thought to search for him under “C.S.”–just one more bit of evidence to suggest creativity is vital when searching records.) May they rest in peace.

I’ll keep researching the Waits in Perth Amboy, but at least now, that one big puzzle has finally been solved!

Categories: Blue Mound, Macon Co., Census Records, Lewis, Perth Amboy, US Federal 1850, US Federal 1860, US Federal 1880, Wait | Leave a comment

David Wait Family of Perth Amboy, New Jersey

One family line which we can trace back only so far is the David Wait family of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, David Wait settled in the town after the end of the Revolutionary War, married Irene Bell, and together they had 11 children. I have found two sources of biographical information about David Wait and his descendants online:

There is conflicting information about David Wait’s involvement in the Revolutionary War. The Wiley source says he came over to the Colonies as a British soldier, was captured and held a POW until after war’s end, and then eventually made his way to Perth Amboy via Sussex and Essex counties in NJ. The Mendenhall source says he enlisted in the Colonial Army, was captured and held by the British until the end of the war, and then went to Perth Amboy. I’m inclined to believe the former, but have not researched this further.

Perth Amboy on Map (US Census)

Presbyterianism in Perth Amboy, NJ describes the founding of the first Presbyterian Church in Perth Amboy by Capt. John Angus, David Wait, and John Lewis. The Wiley bio mentions David Wait as being a carpenter and his son John Oliver Wait, who married Elizabeth Crow (granddaughter of Col. Samuel Crow), as first working with David as a carpenter before starting his own successful baking business. John’s son, John Oliver Wait, entered into the business before striking out on his own at No. 24 Smith Street (until 1852) and No. 24 Smith Street (from 1852 onwards). Evidently he was extremely successful with his “breads, fine cakes, ice-cream and confections” as his resources allowed him to own a 130-acre farm in nearby Woodbridge.

Page 500 of the Wiley text

Page 503 of the Wiley Text (note: there was no text on pages 501-502)

If you go to the “Names S-Z” tab above, you will be able to see the family details I have thus far for David and Irene Wait and their descendents. I would love to know something about the pair’s ancestors, but so far have come up empty-handed. If you are extra attentive when reading the list,  you might notice something curious. Indeed, there is a bit of a mystery there. More about that in an upcoming post!

Categories: Bell, Crow, Martin, Perth Amboy, Wait | Leave a comment

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