The Caretaker

Mary Anne Walder Brown (1825-1904)

There’s always one child who winds up being the caretaker. Often it’s the daughter with no children of her own who the rest of the family seems to gravitate to. In this family that child was Mary Ann.

Mary Anne Walder Brown was born about 1825, presumably in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth or christening record for her . She uses the name Mary A. or Mary A.W. throughout life, and her will provided the name Walder. She arrived with her family in New York on 11 Apr 1835, and I can account for her (based on age) on the 1840 census.

In about 1845, Mary Anne married Robert William Pringle (abt 1825-1895). More on him and the Pringles in a bit.

Here are the records I found for Mary Anne
-1855 – NY census, her mother Elizabeth is residing with her.
-1865 – NY census, her mother, brother James and nephew Wm are living with her.
-1968 – Mother Elizabeth dies
-1870 – Fed. census, it’s just her and Robert – who is listed as out to sea.
-1875 – NY census, her nephew William Brown b.1858 Kings NY is living with them.
-1880 – Fed. census, Hugh and Thomas Nevin are residing with them but are not relation.
-1892 – Thomas Nevin is still residing with them.
-1895 – 7 Feb husband Robert died.
-1900 – Fed census, with sister-in-laws Elizabeth Pringle b. Apr 1821 and Charlotte (Pringle) McEndow b. Aug 1828

Mary Anne died 11 April 1904. She was interred in Green-Wood Cemetery with her husband in Lot 27263, Sec 135. Her will was written on 3 Oct 1901, but wasn’t proven until 16 Nov 1904. She names her niece Ruth Reed (daughter of sister Frances), niece Hattie Knox (daughter of brother Edward), brother Edward Brown, and sister-in-law Eliza Pringle in her will.

Let’s talk about the damn Pringles for a minute. I will generally look at a spouse and attempt to determine who their parents were. In this case, that turned into a bit of an exercise in confusion. On the 1900 Census, Elizabeth Pringle and Charlotte McEndow are both listed as sister-in-laws to the head of household Mary Anne, indicating they are both sisters of Robert W. Pringle.

I went in search of what I presumed were the Pringle sisters.
Eliza Pringle’s 1906 death certificate stated she was born in 1821 in Ireland, the daughter of Hamilton Pringle and Jane McEndon [sic].

Charlotte McEndow’s 1907 death certificate states she was born in 1827 in Ireland, the daughter of James Pringle and Ann Montgomery.

I noticed they were both buried in Green-Wood cemetery so I checked plot records. Charlotte is buried with her son Joseph Hamilton McEndow (1863-1888). Eliza is buried with Margaret P. Bryan (1822-1897) and her husband. Margaret’s death certificate states she was born in 1822 in Ireland, the daughter of Hamilton Pringle and Jane McEndow.

To complicate matters further, buried with Mary Anne and Robert is William Thomas Pringle (1840-1893) who was born in England, son of James and Elizabeth Pringle.

I found three Pringle girls arriving in New York on 18 Sep 1839 – Margaret b.1821, Eliza b. 1823, and Charlotte b. 1826.

With a lack of adequate records, and being unwilling to expend the many hours it would take to sort out the 65 Pringles in Green-Wood Cemetery, can I just make up my own story here? Margaret and Eliza are the sisters of Robert and the children of Hamilton and Jane (McEndow) Pringle. Charlotte is their younger Pringle cousin who married one of their McEndow cousins and is more sister than cousin to the girls. William Thomas is the son of one of Hamilton’s brothers who went to England. How’s that? *sigh* Yeah… I’ll be unable to leave them alone either. It’s the name and the potato chip syndrome – I’ll have to sort them out. I’ll be back…

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