Wills

G. S. V. Wills book now available on Archives.org

GSV Wills Family – image from my copy of the Jubilee souvenir book

Just a quick heads-up to let folks know that the book A Jubilee Souvenir: The Work of G. S. V. Wills and the Westminster College of Chemistry and Pharmacy is now available for viewing on Archives.org.

Some may recall that I uploaded all the pages to this blog a number of years ago. I guess I am free to delete those pages now!!!

For past posts on the George Sampson Valentine Wills family, please use the search box or click on “Wills” in the left column under “Surnames.”

 

 

 

Categories: England, London, South Croydon, London, Wills | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Sargent / Wills – quick update

In a recent post, I provided this update:

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)

Well, I may have been partly wrong about that. Mary Wills Sargent is indeed buried there in Grave no. 953, Row 6, Section O North, in a plot purchased for her by her husband William Sargent upon her death on 6 December 1877, but she is all by herself. The whereabouts of William and his second wife Mary Bowley Pitt are unclear. I suspect they are in that cemetery somewhere, but unfortunately I do not have death dates for either of them, and according to the pleasant lady I spoke with at the cemetery, the only way for them to do look-ups is with a death date. Apparently, a fire destroyed many of the older records, and a name is not enough. So (sigh) I am placing William and Mary II back on my “brick wall.”

I know it may sound strange, but I am a bit bothered by the fact that Mary Wills Sargent is alone in that plot. I’m very curious to learn whether there is a marker, and if so, what it says. If only Google Earth could zoom to that level. Fingers crossed a Find a Grave volunteer checks for me when they have time.

1919 map showing partial view of eastern side of Greenville Section of Jersey City along the Upper New York Bay, CM Hopkins & Co. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

1919 map showing partial view of eastern side of Greenville Section of Jersey City along the Upper New York Bay, CM Hopkins & Co. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Categories: Jersey City, Hudson Co., Sargent, Wills | Tags: , | 3 Comments

The grave situation

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.
Categories: Cemeteries, de la Flechelle, Sargent, Trewin, Wills | Tags: , | 6 Comments

One Sargent (Slaymaker) family mystery solved—thanks to note about a button hook

Wikimedia Commons: Early 20th-century steel button hook with an art nouveau cherub design sterling silver handle. Author Sobebunny; 2009-0118.

Wikimedia Commons: Early 20th-century steel button hook with an art nouveau cherub design sterling silver handle. Author Sobebunny; 2009-0118.

Zillah Trewin, 1907, several years after 'Aunt Jennie' passed away

Zillah Trewin, 1907, several years after ‘Aunt Jennie’ passed away

Don’t you just love those ancestors to pieces who had the presence of mind to sit down and record notes about your family history? How fabulous it is to have those records. Don’t think you have any? Well, maybe not, but if you inherited boxes of papers you have yet to go through, you may just come across some real gems. My advice is to share them and preserve them as fast as you can.

My grandmother Zillah Trewin is one such angel in our family tree. Bless her heart. And yesterday, I came upon a piece of paper in an old file folder. The tides of time and multiple moves over a half century or more had separated it from the other notes she left behind. This paper has resolved one family mystery that emerged for me two years ago. I spoke about it in the post Cemetery Reveals New Mysteries about Sargent Family.

In that post I was left pondering whether my 2nd great grandfather William (Slaymaker) Sargent and his son William (Zillah’s uncle) had married sisters after the elder William’s first wife Mary Wills (Slaymaker) Sargent (my 2nd great grandmother) died of stomach cancer on 6 December 1877—about seven years after the family changed their name from Slaymaker to Sargent and emigrated to New Jersey from Northampton, England. Yes, I know, that’s a lot to digest. I have to re-read genealogy blog entries several times myself to get the whole ‘who’s who’. So feel free to pause here!

So, yesterday I came upon a yellowed piece of paper with pencil writing that confirmed just that and more! I was over the moon.

Zillah Trewin notes

Zillah Trewin notes from our family’s private archives

The note mentioned a button hook (for doing up shoes, which were buttoned in those days) belonging to “Aunt Jennie Sargent” (Sarah Jane Bowley, wife of William the son):

Button hook belonging to Aunt Jennie Sargent, my mother’s youngest brother’s wife. She was born in 1849, died 1904. She lived with us [in Jersey City, Hudson Co.] winters from the time Uncle Will died in 1896 [of ‘debilitation of the heart’] until she died when with us January 6, 1904. Spent summers with her sister at Manchester VT. She had the button hook from my earliest remembrance. Uncle Will was 7 when mother’s mother died and mother brought him up and [they] were very dear to each other. Aunt J. was youngest sister of Grandpa Sargent’s 2nd wife so father & son married sisters—one oldest and one youngest of 5 girls [Mary Bowley Pitt, widow, b. 1839, and Sarah Jane Bowley, b. 1849].

Now, I still don’t know where Wm Sr. and his wives are buried (I am amazed that Zillah and her mom did not pass that info down), but at least I have had my ‘wild’ suspicions confirmed about the father & son marriages to the two sisters. I sure would like to know how all that transpired! Wm Sr. remarried between 1877-1880 and Wm Jr. married in 1890, so I suppose Wm Jr. and Jennie’s romance blossomed over a decade of family gatherings, and although the age gap is a bit eye-opening, I suppose it was not uncommon back then, just as it is not that uncommon today.

Elizabeth Sargent Trewin, Zillah's mother, undated

Elizabeth Sargent Trewin, Zillah’s mother, undated

In any case, it was good to hear how close William was to my great grandmother Elizabeth Sargent Trewin (Zillah’s mom), and that she was critical in overseeing his upbringing after their mother Mary died. And it was wonderful of Elizabeth and her family to take in Jennie after William’s death. Zillah’s timeline is off, however, in that William Jr. could not have been 7 when Mary died. My records indicate that he was about 15 (an age corroborated by his death record); Elizabeth would have been 23 at the time. But perhaps Mary’s illness was a very extended one and Elizabeth took a leading role in his care from a much younger age.

Now, if an old button hook turns up one day, I’ll know who it belongs to!  Keep checking those old files and boxes!

William Trewin, Zillah's father, taken in 1895

William Trewin, Zillah’s father, taken in 1895

William Sargent Sr. circa 1869/70

William Sargent Sr. circa 1869/70

Categories: Death, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, Jersey City, Hudson Co., Sargent, Trewin, Wills | Leave a comment

Rebuilding London’s Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace General view from Water Temple, 1854. Author: Philip Henry Delamotte, Negretti and Zambra (Wikimedia Commons: PD-Art, copyright expired 70+ years ago)

Crystal Palace General view from Water Temple, 1854. Author: Philip Henry Delamotte, Negretti and Zambra (Wikimedia Commons: PD-Art, copyright expired 70+ years ago)

I just read in The Telegraph of London’s plans to rebuild the famed Crystal Palace, which was built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and later relocated to South London. There in 1936, it was destroyed by a massive fire. To view the October 3rd online article & accompanying video clip, which includes animated schematics of the planned rebuild, click here.

You may recall that this blog mentioned the Crystal Palace once before. It was there that famous chemist George S. V. Wills‘ granddaughter Dorothy Hope Wills (m. Frederick James Warren) played piano with the Palace’s orchestra.

A Chinese investment firm is responsible for the redevelopment which will also include the restoration of the vast grounds and gardens. Work is expected to begin in winter 2015.

Once the reconstruction is complete, I imagine it will be extremely exciting for Dorothy’s descendants to visit and get a sense of the wonderful world in which she adored sharing her enormous musical talent with the visiting public.

Dorothy Hope Wills wedding to Frederick Warren, circa 1920

Dorothy Hope Wills’ wedding to Frederick Warren, circa 1920 (Photo from personal family collection of Colin Newton)

Crystal Palace interior during the Great Exhibition of 1851. (Wikimedia Commons: PD-1923 – published before 1923 and public domain in the US)

Crystal Palace interior during the Great Exhibition of 1851. (Wikimedia Commons: PD-1923 – published before 1923 and public domain in the US)

Plan of Crystal Park Palace in 1857 (Wikimedia Commons: Public domain in US; copyright expired 70+ years ago)

Plan of Crystal Park Palace in 1857 (Wikimedia Commons: Public domain in US; copyright expired 70+ years ago)

Categories: London, Wills | 4 Comments

Traces of Our Slaymakers in Northamptonshire

The Northampton Mercury, 26 January 1861

The Northampton Mercury, 26 January 1861

George Wills died in 1857 and his son-in-law William Slaymaker and daughter Mary removed to Northampton to head a stone masonry business there. With them were their daughter Elizabeth (my great grandmother) who would have been six at the time the above ad appeared; son Samuel who would have been about eight (he went on to be a well-known Methodist minister affiliated with Ocean Grove, NJ); and daughter Sarah (a.k.a. Sadie) who would have been just a baby. Son William appeared in 1861, probably after this ad was placed. I’ve done quite a few posts about them already. When they emigrated to the US in 1870, they changed their last name to ‘Sargent.’ The family settled in Jersey City, Hudson Co., NJ. I’ve found a few more traces of their Northamptonshire roots and will share them in future posts.

George Wills, 1793-856, Image from private family archives. George Wills' original portrait was inherited by his daughter Martha according to the will

George Wills, 1793-856, Image from private family archives. George Wills’ original portrait was inherited by his daughter Martha according to the will

William Slaymaker (changed last name to Sargent before moving to the US in 1870)

William Slaymaker (changed last name to Sargent before moving to the US in 1870)

Elizabeth [Slaymaker] Sargent Trewin

Elizabeth [Slaymaker] Sargent Trewin

Rev. Samuel Sargent PhD (image courtesy of Frances S. Cowles)

Rev. Samuel Sargent PhD (image courtesy of Frances S. Cowles)

Categories: Methodist, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Sargent, Slaymaker, Wills | Leave a comment

Sampson Wills’ accidental death in Wolverton, near Stony Stratford

 Commons

All Saints Calverton Church, Wolverton, Buckinghamshire (Attribution: Mr Biz, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons license)

Holy Trinity Church in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire, England (Attribution: John Salmon, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons license)

While perusing some old UK newspapers, I came upon a list of coroner’s inquests that included the accidental death of stone mason Sampson Wills, one of my 4th great grandfathers, father of George Wills, and husband of Ann Gadsden.

I’d mentioned Sampson’s tragic accident in a previous post; he had fallen supposedly while attempting to affix the pinnacle of the All Saints Calverton Church in Wolverton (Buckinghamshire, England). His great grandson chemist G.S.V. Wills had documented the accident in his memoirs. G.S.V. gave no exact date, but based on what he’d written, I’d estimated that the death occurred around 1830.

The newspaper article, published in London’s Morning Post* on Wednesday, 18 April 1827, provides more definitive details, thankfully. For one thing, it places Sampson’s death in or before April 1827. I don’t know how long after a death an inquest would take place, but I assume within weeks? Any ideas?

Copyright restrictions prohibit me from including a clipping of the article here, but in a nutshell, it confirms a fall from Calverton Church– specifically from the east pinnacle which had recently been erected. Sampson had been cleaning it when the scaffolding beneath him gave way. The 50-foot fall left him with a serious concussion, and he died two days later.

The article states his age as 63. Unfortunately that throws into question the birth and christening dates I have for him: 26 Dec 1867 and 20 Mar 1768 (at the Holy Trinity Church in Wolverton), respectively; presumed parents: Thomas Wills and Elisabeth Rainbow. As always, just when one question gets answered,  two more appear in its place!

*Note: The results of the coroner’s inquest were also published in the Northampton Mercury and Oxford Journal newspapers at roughly the same time.

Categories: Death, Gadsden, Obituaries, Rainbow, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, Wills, Wolverton, Buckinghamshire | 2 Comments

Martha Nunn Capon – Haploid Group V

Martha Nunn Capon (cir. 1761-1843)

Martha Nunn Capon (cir. 1761-1843)

Well, still looking for the “Pitt connection” mentioned in the last post, but it does seem highly likely that the previously unnamed sitter for this old silhouette was indeed Martha Nunn Capon, my 4th great grandmother and Mary Capon Wills’ mother. I’m pleased because this is the farthest I’ve managed to get back on my maternal line, and this discovery coincides with another one: that genetically, my maternal line is haploid group ‘V’, a subgroup of ‘R0‘. Coincidentally, Benjamin Franklin and Bono are also “Vs”.

According to information provided by http://www.23andme.com, the company through which I had my DNA test, this group “originated in Iberia during the Ice Age. After a last burst of cold conditions roughly 12,000 years ago, migrations carried the haplogroup northward along the Atlantic coast and through central Europe to Scandinavia. Today it is found in a wide variety of populations from the Basques of Spain to the Saami of Finland”.

While I’d always known of my predominantly English, Irish, Dutch, and to a lesser extent German and French ancestry, I could never have imagined that I could have ancestry from Spain or be genetically linked to the Saami.

Haplogroup V - 23andme.com

Haplogroup V – 23andme.com

The amount of information you receive from 23andme on your ancestry is actually quite overwhelming, especially when it comes to deciphering the “lingo” and digesting the list of those genetically related to you. However, none of the 750+ people listed are closer than 3rd-6th cousins. I’m hesitant to start sharing information with people until I have a full grasp of what I am sharing. Hopefully, some day, some closer connections will present themselves. And, by then, I hope I will understand all this a bit better!

I might add that the health information–both the positive and the negative–is also definitely worth having. Definitely take advantage of the $99 offer if you are even mildly interested. You really do find out an extraordinary amount of information. You may even have, as I did, some “a-ha” moments. While reading through some of my genetic traits, I could not help but react with a few “a-ha”s like having a high tolerance of caffeine.

Apparently the V group is relatively rare, found in just about 4% of Europeans, with the biggest concentration in Scandinavia with the Saami (59%).

Mari El Republic in Russia

Mari El Republic in Russia

One other thing that kind of blows my mind as someone who spent a lot of time studying, working, and living in Russia: about 10% of the Mari people of the Volga-Ural region are group V. I actually almost ended up in the vicinity of the Mari who are to the north of the city of Kazan. In the early 1990s, when buying a train ticket to visit friends in Ryazan (3 hours to the southeast of Moscow), the ticket seller thought I said “Kazan” (some 11 hrs to the east). I did not scrutinize my ticket until just before I was leaving. Nor did I scrutinize the price since back then travel was extremely inexpensive by world standards; thankfully I realized the mistake before I boarded the train—an 11 hour train ride would have been quite a rude awakening to say the least.  Now, 20+ years later, I’d actually quite like to go east to visit the home of the Mari. It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?

Categories: Capon, DNA, Franklin, Benjamin, Sargent, Wills | Leave a comment

George Wills’ wife’s family: The Capons of Newport Pagnell?

 Is this Martha Nunn Capon?

Is this Martha Nunn Capon?

Wills Family Tree

Wills Family Tree

Ages ago, I posted numerous entries on the George Wills family of Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England. (You can find them easily by clicking on the ‘Wills’ category under ‘Surnames’ in the column on the left of the page.)

2/15/1926 Obituary for Elizabeth Sargent Trewin

2/15/1926 Obituary for Elizabeth Sargent Trewin

As I’d mentioned previously, my mother had a silhouette passed down to her of a woman who was presumably Mary Capon’s mother. Mary Capon was married to George Wills, one of my 3rd great grandfathers. Information passed down to my mother indicated that Mary Capon’s mother was named Mary Pitt and that she (the mother) was a cousin of William Pitt. That’s the extent of the information we’ve had on the Capons. I’ve never found evidence of the Pitt connection, which was mentioned in my great grandmother’s obituary notice. Anyone reading this who knows of a Pitt link, please leave a comment!

Newport Pagnell proximity to Stony Stratford

Newport Pagnell proximity to Stony Stratford

Meanwhile, (using the Family Search website) I came upon a Capon family who lived in Newport Pagnell, a village that is just a stone’s throw from Stony Stratford: the father William Capon married the mother Martha Nunn on 13 July 1779 in Newport Pagnell. The couple had eight children that I know of. Two of them died as infants. There was a daughter named Mary whose date of birth (1789) could easily qualify her to have been George Will’s wife (George was born in 1793). Unfortunately, we’ve never had OUR Mary Capon’s DOB; if we did and the two DOBs matched, I’d have my answer.

I found wills on file with the National Archives for both William Capon and Martha Nunn. He died in spring 1801 and she survived until December 1843. I’ll provide transcriptions of the wills in an upcoming post. Sadly, they don’t help identify any relationship with the Wills family. However OUR Mary Capon Wills died in 1839, so the lack of a mention would be logical.

1-William Capon d. Bef 4 May 1801
+Martha Nunn b. 1761, d. Dec 1843, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England,
bur. 6 Dec 1843, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England

|–2-Mary Capon b. 8 Jun 1780, c. 6 Jul 1780, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire,
| England, d. 18 Feb 1781
|–2-William Capon b. 14 Jul 1781, c. 10 Aug 1781, Newport Pagnell,
| Buckinghamshire, England
|–2-Martha Capon b. 2 Oct 1783, c. 28 Oct 1783, Newport Pagnell,
| Buckinghamshire, England
|–2-Mary Capon b. 7 Mar 1789, c. 4 Apr 1789, Newport Pagnell,
| Buckinghamshire, England

|–2-Rebecca Catherine Capon b. 25 Nov 1786, c. 1 Jan 1787, Newport Pagnell,
| Buckinghamshire, England
|–2-Joseph Capon b. 16 Sep 1791, c. 6 Oct 1791, Newport Pagnell,
| Buckinghamshire, England, d. 12 Feb 1792
|–2-Ann Capon b. 4 Jun 1795, c. 26 Jun 1795, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire,
| England
|–2-Joseph Capon b. 26 Jan 1793, c. 22 Feb 1793, Newport Pagnell,
| Buckinghamshire, England

So is there a connection or isn’t there? At least one of George Wills and Mary Capon Wills’ children were born in Newport Pagnell (Phoebe, b. 1818). The names of George and Mary’s children include both a William (1st born son) and a Martha (4th daughter). Was this in honor of William and Martha Capon? Anyway, it’s all very curious! If anyone out there has any clues, please get in touch!

From A Dictionary of English Surnames by P.H. Reaney, Oxford University Press, 1997: Capon, Cappon: Simon Capun 1227 FFC; Thomas Capoun 1382 LLB H. OE capun ‘a castrated cock’, metonymic for a seller of capons.

Categories: Capon, England, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, Wills | Leave a comment

Final pages of GSV Wills’ Memoirs

The final pages have been added to the post containing George S. V. Wills’ self-published memoirs; click here to view.

Categories: Wills | Leave a comment

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