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…

The Disappearing Brown

Edward Brown (1819-1906)

My second Brown sibling who drove me to distraction was Edward. He was born 6 Oct 1819 in Suffolk, England, and arrived in 1835 with his family. His birth date came from his obituary;1 I have not yet located a birth or christening record for him. He married Ann Burnett (1819-2 Jun 1897) on 1 Jun 1839 (date and maiden name from his obit). Several trees state that Ann’s parents were William and Rachel (Durrant) Burnett, but I’ve found no real evidence of that. There are numerous Ann Burnetts born 1819-1820 in England. I’ll check the image of her death record when in Salt Lake City to see if it provides any other information, but until someone comes up with a definitive record from New York, I’ll leave that block empty.

The Edward Brown family pulled a great disappearing act. I could not locate Edward between the 1835 passenger list and the 1900 Census.2 I could not locate his son Edward A. after 1868 when he signed his grandmother’s death certificate. There were death dates for Edward and Ann on several online trees and, as usual, not a single damn source for the information. Using the dates online, I went in search of death records and obituaries. I first found Ann’s death record and a death notice, but it provides no help with her parents.3Edw Ann 3 Jun 1897 Thu BDE p7 c2Ann (Burnett) Brown was interred on 5 Jun 1897 in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Sec 4, Lot 605, grave 4. The plot was owned by John Mason, father-in-law of Ann’s daughter Elizabeth (Brown) Mason.

In the end it really only took two records to open up the Edward Brown family for me.

First: Edward’s 1906 obituary. At the time of his death, Edward was living with his daughter Elizabeth Mason (born in Canada)- she was the only child that I knew at the time.Edw 12 Apr 1906 Thur BDE p3c1 The obituary provided the name of two sons: Edward (the doctor previously mentioned) and Dr. Charles B. Brown of Sycamre, Ill. Charles is well documented in Illinois records, including a death record which named his birth location of Drummondville, Ontario, Canada.4 This was the first time I had a province to work with.

Second: In the will of Edward’s sister, Mary Anne Walder Brown Pringle, she named niece Hattie L. Knox.5

Fourth, I give to my niece Hattie Knox in trust for her father (my brother) Edwin[sic] Brown one half of all my Real Estate and at his death the same shall go to my niece Hattie Knox.”

Finally with another lead to chase, I worked on Hattie (Harriet) and found she was born in Canada in 1860. With several dozen Edward Browns in Canada in 1861, it was much easier to search for a one-year-old child named Harriet Brown. Thanks to these records, I was able to name the previously unnamed daughters from the obituary and discovered two more children who were already deceased at the time of Edward’s death.

Edward’s first three children were born in New York. In 1846, he moved to Canada where he was found on the 1861 Census of Canada in Stanford, Welland, Canada West [Ontario] with his family.6 His profession was as a baker, which was unique enough to help when tracking him. He and Ann are on the 1871 Census of Canada in Woodhouse, Norfolk South, Ontario, along with four of their children: Charles, Annie, Emma, and Hattie. They state their religion as Presbyterian.7 Edward and Ann returned to the US and lived for a time in Rhode Island before returning Brooklyn.8 He lived with daughter Elizabeth (Brown) Mason in Brooklyn after his wife Ann’s death. He died 6 Oct 1906 in Brooklyn9 and was buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery in the Brown-Frith family plot in grave 17 with his younger brother Marshall.10

His 8 children as I currently know them:
1. Dr. Edward A. Brown, MD was born in 1840 in New York. He was mentioned in his father’s obit as being an early graduate of Long Island College Hospital. I found him listed as alumni in a history of the college. He signed Elizabeth Heriott Brown’s death certificate in 1868 and appears in the 1868 and 1869 Brooklyn City Directory as a physician with an address on Skillman. He died in January 1871 at the age of 30 in Woodhouse, Norfolk South, Ontario, Canada, from consumption.11 His profession is listed as surgeon.

2. Robert S. Brown was born Jun 1843 in New York. He appears on the 1861 Canadian Census in Stanford, Welland, Canada West with his parents and siblings. In the same location as his parents in 1871, there is a Robert S. Brown with wife Eliza and son Charles.12 I believe this is our Robert based on his U.S. birth and his occupation as baker, but I found no marriage record and both Eliza and Charles seem to disappear after this record. I don’t know if they divorced or if his wife and child died. Robert next appears on the 1880 Federal Census in Canadaigua, Ontario, New York with wife Jane (Cross) Limmer Brown (1846-1928) and her two children from a previous marriage.13 Based on later records, it appears that he and Jane married in about 1876, but I have not found a marriage record for them in Canada or New York. Both of her children from her previous marriage were born in Canada, and she later states an immigration date to the U.S. of 1876, so it is probable that she and Robert met and married in Canada before he returned to the U.S.14 The family removed to Kansas in the early 1880s and he was next found in Leavenworth in 1885 with Jane and her sons. He was found again in 1895 with wife Jane and their child Lloyd Ellsworth Mitchell Brown (1891-1964).15,16 Robert died 8 Nov 1901 and was buried in Mount Muncie Cemetery, Lansing, Leavenworth, Kansas.17 Jane died 29 Apr 1928 in Peoria, Illinois, and was buried 2 May 1928 in Mount Muncie with Robert.18

3. Josephine W. Brown was born in 1845 in New York. An unsourced file in FamilySearch states her date of birth as 16 June 1845. She was found on the 1861 Canadian Census in Stanford, Welland, Canada West with her family. She married George N. Smith on 23 Jun 1868 in Norfolk, Ontario, Canada.19 George was born in 1844 in Wales, the son of David and Mary (Williams) Smith. They moved first to Wisconsin before settling in Utica, Oneida, New York, where they remained until their deaths. George died in 1883 and Josephine in 1896.20,21 They had 4 known children: Harriet B. b. 1868, Alice C. b 1870, Arthur b.1874, and Josephine b.1877.

4. Dr. Charles Benjamin Brown was born 25 Dec 1847 in Drummondville, Ontario, Canada and died 9 Nov 1928 in Sycamore, DeKalb, Illinois. He was found on the 1861 Canadian Census with his family. He states his immigration year as 1864, but he was on the 1871 Census of Canada with his family, and his stated occupation at that time was dentist. The Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929, states he attended the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine: University of Buffalo School of Medicine, 1876.22 He married Annette Bacon (1850-1915) in about 1877 and relocated to Sycamore, DeKalb, Illinois in 1878 where he remained. According to the article in the paper, they had five children together – I know of four: Stella Brown 1879-1879, Edward B. Brown 1882-1884, Marguerite Brown 1884-1974, and Helen Gertrude Brown 1888-1954.Charles p17 c4

5. Elizabeth Brown was born in Jan 1850 in Ontario, Canada and died 7 May 1908 in Brooklyn.23 She was found on the 1861 Canadian Census in Stanford, Welland, Canada West with her family. She married William Mason (1834-1903) on 18 Jan 1870 in New York.24 The newspaper excerpt stated “Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Brown of Port Dover, Canada.” William Mason (1834-1903) was the son of John Mason and Harriet Ann Bull and was also the nephew of William Mason (1805-1873) who had been married to Edward’s sister Sarah. She stated 1870 as her immigration date on the 1900 census. Elizabeth died 7 May 1908 and was buried in the Mason family plot in Cypress Hills Cemetery. Elizabeth and William had seven known children: Harriet Ann L. 1871-1953, Anna M. 1873-1908, Frederick W. 1875-1900, Edward 1877-1877, Dora G. 1877-?, Nellie Daisy 1879-?, and John D. 1882-1913..

6. Annie S. Brown was born about 1852 in Ontario, Canada. She was found on the 1861 Canadian Census in Stanford, Welland, Canada West with her family. She is on the 1871 Census of Canada (age 19) with her family. I was not able to locate a marriage or death record for Annie. Based on her father’s obituary (4 surviving daughters) I know she is still alive in 1906, but do not know who she married..

7. Emma F. Brown was born about 1856 in Ontario, Canada. She was found on the 1861 Canadian Census in Stanford, Welland, Canada West with her family. She is on the 1871 Census of Canada (age 15) with her family. Once again, I found no marriage or death record for Emma. Based on her father’s obituary (4 surviving daughters) I know she is still alive in 1906, but do not know who she married.

8. Harriet “Hattie” L. Brown was born Apr 1860 in Ontario, Canada, and died 12 May 1956 in Madison, New Haven, Connecticut.25 She was found on the 1861 Canadian Census in Stanford, Welland, Canada West with her family. She is on the 1871 Census of Canada (age 11) with her family. She immigrated to the US in 1880, settling in Brooklyn. On 6 Jan 1884 she married George W. Knox (1854-1935) in Brooklyn26 and they remained there through 1915. By 1920, she and George had relocated to Connecticut along with her son. She was interred in West Cemetery with her husband George.27 She had two known children: Chester A. Knox, 1885-1966, and Emma J. Knox, 1887-?.

Annoyingly, I still don’t know who Annie and Emma married so the most I can say is that they died after 1906.



1. “Edward Brown,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 12 Apr 1906, p. 3, col. 1; digital images(accessed 10 Nov 2015).
2. 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 23, Kings, New York, enumeration district (ED) 386, p. 2A, dwelling 17, family 32, Edward Brown, Oct 1819, 80, England, with daughter Elizabeth Mason; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 17 Nov 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1060.
3. “BROWN-On Wednesday, June 2, ANN BURNETT, wife of Edward Brown.,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 3 Jun 1897, Thursday, p. 7, col. 2; digital images(accessed 17 Nov 2015).
4. “Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947,” database, Ancestry.com (accessed 17 Nov 2015), Chas Benjamin Brown, birth 25 Dec 1847, Drummondville, Ontario, Can, death 9 Nov 1928 Sycamore, DeKalb, Illinois, Physician, Edward Brown, Ann Burnette, Sussex England, spouse Annette Bacon.
5. Mary Ann Walder Brown, Will dated 3 Dec 1901, Probate 16 Nov 1904 New York Wills and Probate Records, Ancestry.com; digital images(accessed 17 Nov 2015).
6.1861 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Stamford, Welland, Canada West, Canada, district 5, Township of Stamford, p. 57, Brown: Edward 42, Ann 48, Edward A. 21, Robert S. 17, Josephine 16, Charles B. 14, Elizabeth 12, Annie E. 9, Emma F. 5, Harriet I. 1; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com (accessed 10 Nov 2015).
7 1871 census of Canada, district 11, sub-district d, Woodhouse, Norfolk South, Ontario, p. 53, dwelling 205, family 207, Edward 51 England Baker, Anne 51 England, Charles 23 O Dentist, Annie 19 O, Emma 15 O, Hattie 11 O; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com (accessed 17 Nov 2015).
8. 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, enumeration district (ED) 38, p. 93C, dwelling 145, family 240, Brown, Edward 60 England Carerer, Ann 60 England, Hattie 20 Canada; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 17 Nov 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1212.
9. “New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1848,” database, New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1848 (accessed 12 May 2014), Edward Brown, age 86, died 10 Apr 1906, Kings, Cert #7367. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
10. Cypress Hills Cemetery (Brooklyn, Queens, New York), Plot Records, Edward Brown, interred 12 Apr 1906, grave 17, Sec 2, Lot 161, Brown-Frith family plot.
11. 1871 census of Canada, district 11 Div 01, sub-district D, Woodhouse, Norfolk South, Ontario, Canada, p. 1 Death Returns, Line 20, Brown, Dr. E.A., 30, Presb, born United States, Occupation Surgeon, Unmarried, died January 1871, Consumption; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com (accessed 10 Nov 2015).
12. 1871 census of Canada, district 19 division 02, sub-district J, Stamford, Welland, Ontario, p. 88, dwelling 337, family 353, Brown, Robert 27, US Presby, Baker; Eliza 28 Ont Presby; Charles 5 Ont Presby; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com (accessed 12 Nov 2015).
13. 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Canandaigua, Ontario, New York, enumeration district (ED) 118, p. 93B, dwelling 425, family 468, Brown, Robert S 37 Baker NY, Jane C 37 England, William and George L Limmer; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 Nov 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 908
14. 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Kansas City Ward 8, Jackson, Missouri, enumeration district (ED) 80, p. 7B, dwelling 86, family 169, Brown, Robert S. Jun 1843 56 m24 NY Baker, Jane Oct 1847 52 m24, 3/2 children England, imm 1876, Lloyd E.M. Jun 1889 10 Kansas; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 Nov 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 863.
15. Kansas, population schedule, Leavenworth, Leavenworth, Kansas, p. 1, KS 1885 72, dwelling 8, family 10, line 16, Brown, Robert S 40 Baker, J.C. 37, Limmer W.L 19, Limmer Geo L 17; digital images, Ancestry(accessed 12 Nov 2015).
16. Kansas, population schedule, Leavenworth, Leavenworth, Kansas, p. 4 Roll v115 76, dwelling 573, family 585, line 3, Brown, R.S. 52, Lloyd 6, J.C.54; digital images, Ancestry.com (accessed 12 Nov 2015).
17. “Leavenworth County Cemetery/Burial Database,” database, Leavenworth County.org ( accessed 12 Nov 2015), Brown, Robert S. 1844-8 Nov 1901, Mount Muncie Cemetery.
18. “Death Index,” database, Ancestry (accessed 10 Nov 2015), Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947, Jane Cross Brown, 10 Dec 1848,, 29 Apr 1927, Peoria, Illinois, Burial 2 may 1928, Leavenworth, Kansas, FHL Film 1614420
19. “Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928,” database, Ancestry.com (accessed 10 Nov 2015), 23 Jun 1868, Josephine N. Brown, 23 US, George N. Smith 24 Wales.
20. Find A Grave, digital images (findagrave.com: accessed 12 Nov 2015), Memorial #112030890, George W. Smith, b. 1843 d. 1883, Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica, Oneida, New York.
21. Find A Grave, digital images (findagrave.com: accessed 12 Nov 2015), Memorial #112030775, Josephine W. Brown Smith b. 1845, d. 1896, Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica, Oneida, New York.
22. Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929; Charles B. Brown; JAMA Citation 91:1911
23. “New York Death Records,” database (accessed 17 Nov 2015), Cert #9329, Elizabeth Mason b. 1850, died 7 May 1908 Brooklyn, 58, Widowed, buried 10 May 1908 Cypress Hills, Edward Brown, Ann Burnett.
24. New York Marriage Newspaper Extracts, 1801-1880, (Barber Collection), “Rev Hiram Hutchings: William Mason of City to Elizabeth Brown dau Edward of Port Dover Canada,” Tuesday, 18 Jan 1870; digital images(accessed 17 Nov 2015).
25. “Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2012,” database, Ancestry.com (accessed 19 Nov 2015), Harri L. Knox, death 12 May 1956, age 96, spouse Geor, State File #08188.
26. “New York, New York, marriage Indexes 1866-1937,” database(accessed 19 Nov 2015), Certificate #53, 6 Jan 1884 Hattie Brown and George W. Knox.
27. Find A Grave, digital images (findagrave.com : accessed 19 Nov 2015), Memorial #130490469, Harriet L. Knox, Apr 1860 Ontario Canada, 12 May 1956, Madison, New Haven, Connecticut, West Cemetery.

More on the Brown Children

Sarah Brown Mason

I honestly have no idea what makes me focus on any particular person in a family, but it frequently happens. I always try to work the family as a group. So I worked by great-great-grandparents Frances Brown and William Frith along with with their children. Then I move back and worked Frances’s parents and her siblings. While it’s a great genealogical technique to develop more information (children’s birth and death certificates often provide middle and maiden names), it can lead to strange emotional attachments. My usual plan is to look at the siblings, figure out who they married and then simply try to establish who their children were. I rarely dig too deeply into all the kids and their marriages, but sometimes, especially on these older families, I get caught up in them. Before I know it, I’ve spent a week trying to figure out the maiden name of my second great grandmother’s nephew’s wife or who the parents were of her niece’s husband. Collateral family can be just as contagious as ringworm.

Some of Frances Brown Frith’s siblings passed quickly across my desk without much information to help my search. The fact that there was a family plot helped tremendously when dealing with a family named Brown in New York City and Brooklyn in this era. Determining which William Brown or James Brown was ours often came down to who disappeared after one of them wound up in the plot. Three of Frances’s siblings drove me to distraction as I worked through the list of ten. I simply couldn’t let these three kids or their families go until I chased them down. Sarah – the oldest, Edward – the disappearing, and Mary Anne – the caretaker. I’ve spent a ton of time on them because they wouldn’t let me walk away. I’m going to tell you all I know and believe about these three because that always seems to be how I find out more.

First up – Sarah Brown Mason – the oldest. She was born in 1811 in Sussex, England. As with most of her siblings, I haven’t yet found a christening record for her. She and her siblings are on the top of my research list when I go to Salt Lake City this spring.

She married William Mason in St Nicholas Church, Brighton on 19 Sep 1830.1 William was born about 1805 in Lewes, Sussex, England and worked as a coach maker or coach trimmer. They, along with their two small sons, William born 1831 and Henry born 1834, immigrated to New York on the Henry Thompson with her parents and siblings and arrived on 11 Apr 1835.2 I did not find a William Mason on the 1840 Census that fit the known family parameters, but that’s not uncommon for that census record. Sarah died about 1849 and was interred in Cypress Hills Cemetery on 14 Jan 1849.3 Based on her listed age at death (38) and her birth year from the passenger record, it is probable that her death prompted the timing of the relocation of her siblings. She shares grave 17 in lot 161, Sec 2, with two of her siblings.

The search should have ended there – daughter born, died, and burial location noted. But I couldn’t leave it alone. What happened to her husband and children? Why the hell couldn’t I locate William and his sons on the 1850 Census? If they were dead that soon then they would have been in the family plot, so they had to still be alive.

It annoyed me that I was struggling to locate them five years ago, so when I revisited the family this year I went into “Break out the coffee and energy bars – it’s now a quest!!” mode.

I believe that their youngest child Henry probably died very young. I found no evidence of him after his arrival and he’s not in the family plots. It is possible he left home and went west, but I simply can’t tie anyone I’ve found to this family.

As is often the case, I only found William Mason Senior after I quit searching for him and switched my focus to Junior. I have no idea why this happens when the two men have the same name, but sometimes the Search Gods just like to mess with me. Truthfully, I thought they might have left New York after Sarah’s death and even looked at the possibility of them returning to England. But then I found a U.S. Passport Application for William Mason of Brooklyn, New York, who had been born 13 Dec 1831, is Lewes, Sussex, England4 – the same location that one of Sarah’s brothers had claimed as his birth location. In the details, William Mason stated he’d arrived aboard the Henry Thompson in March 1835 (close enough) and that he’d been a resident of the New York since his arrival. That record led me to many other records, and I was finally able to trace some of his father’s records through him. I worked completely through William Junior’s life (and his children) before going back to his father. I was only able to locate some records for Senior based on the information found on Junior’s documents.

I believe that William Senior and Sarah’s youngest child Henry died very young. I have found no evidence of him after his arrival and he’s not in either of the family plots.

William Senior and Junior did remain in New York City and Brooklyn after the death of Sarah. While I still have not yet located them on the 1850 Census, I did find them together on the 1855 New York State Census.5 Senior appears to be married to a woman enumerated as Barbery A. born about 1819 in England, who states she’s been in the city one year, placing their marriage date around 1854/55. I have found no other record for her yet. I presume she passed away prior to his next marriage.

I did not find Senior in 1860 or 1870, however I did locate him on the 1865 New York State Census6 – God bless those mid-decade census records. By 1865, Senior is 60 years old and married to Ann who’s born about 1824 (19 years younger than him) from England and there is a six year-old daughter named Alice. Truth be told, I hadn’t found William until I searched for Alice after learning of her existence when she showed up with William Junior on the 1880 Census named as his sister.7 That didn’t help for the 1870 Census though as I haven’t located Alice or William Senior yet. Because I haven’t found William or Alice in 1860 and have not yet found any marriage records for William or a birth/christening or marriage record for Alice, I can’t be sure whether she is Ann’s daughter or if she was Barbery’s.

William Senior was found in Junior’s family plot in Cypress Hills Cemetery. He died 15 Jul 1873 in Brooklyn and was interred on 17 Jul 1873.8,9 Once I had the family plot records with the interment date, I was able to locate William in the FamilySearch death records. Now that I have a certificate number, I’ll look for the image of his death record when I’m in Salt Lake City to see what other information it may contain. Neither Barbery nor Ann were interred with him in this plot. Nor have I been able to figure out what became of Alice after 1880. I found no will or probate records for William Mason Senior, nor did I find a death notice or obituary for any of them.

William and Sarah Mason’s surviving son William Mason, Junior, was born 13 Dec 1831, in Lewes, Sussex, England.10 He has an actual birth record stating his place of birth, his mother’s maiden name, and his grandfather’s name and occupation. He arrived in New York with his parents on 11 Apr 1835. In about 1853, Junior married Isadore Germain Wanser (1838-1890). They had eight known children:
Sarah Isadore Mason Binns (1854-1929)
Mary Emma Mason Mannering (1857-1933)
Anna Louise Mason Ludman (1860-1914)
Ida May Mason Mott (1862-1938)
William Henry Mason (1866-1869)
Lottie Mason (1869-1869)
William Mason (1870-1870)
Alfred Wanser Mason (1871-1872)
On 22 Mar 1892, at the age of 60, Junior married Margaret “Maggie” E. Heulls (1855-?).11 Maggie appears to have been his housekeeper for many years and appears on several census records with the family.

Junior died 22 Jan 1895 in Brooklyn, Kings, New York. He was interred in Cypress Hills, in Sec 17, E-1/2, Lot 78, grave 2, with his first wife and 6 of his children.12,13 At the time of his death 4 of his daughters were still alive and 3 contested his will, which left everything to his 2nd wife Margaret. The will was upheld as valid. The probate file is available on Ancestry.



1. Marriage Record, Sara Brown to William Mason, 19 Sep 1830, Family Search. Cit. Date: 9 Jun 2014.
2.”New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images(accessed 12 May 2014), manifest, Henry Thompson, 11 Apr 1835, William Brown and Family. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
3. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, Sarah Mason, age 38, interred 14 Jan 1849 at the same time as her brothers John and George.
4. “U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925,” database and images, Ancestry.com (accessed 9 Nov 2015); William Mason born 13 Dec 1831, Lewes, Sussex, England, arrived 1835, a resident of New York City and Brooklyn since arrival, appliction dat 5 Apr 1892, Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
5. 1855, New York, population schedule, New York City, Ward 20, New York, New York, p. E.D.2, family 614, line 19, William Mason 50, Barbery A. Mason 36, William Mason 24; digital images, Ancestry(accessed 10 Nov 2015).
6. 1865 NewYork State Census, Brooklyn, Ward 9, Kings, New York, p. 44, family 288, line 9, William Mason 59, Ann Mason 41, Alice J. Mason 6; digital images(accessed 10 Nov 2015).
7. 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, enumeration district (ED) 238, p. 418B, dwelling 171, family 192, Wiliam Mason 45, Isidor Mason 18, Louise A. Mason, 18, Ida Mason 16, Alice Mason 20; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 10 Nov 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 856.
8. “New York Death Records,” database(accessed 10 Nov 2015), William Mason, 15 Jul 1873; citing Death, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,323,704.
9. Cypress Hills Cemetery (Brooklyn, Queens, New York), Plot Records, William Mason Sr., interred 17 Jul 1873, E 1/2, Lot 78, Sec 17.. Cit. Date: 10 Nov 2015.
10. England, birth certificate for William Mason, Son of William and Sarah Mason, born 13 Dec 1831; Lewes, Sussex, England registration district, Non-Comromist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970, Piece 4674: Dr Williams’ Library, Index to Birth Certificates, 1828-1837 sub-district. Cit. Date: 9 Nov 2015.
11. “New York, New York, marriage Indexes 1866-1937,” database(accessed 13 Nov 2015), Certificate #1039, William Mason to Margaret E. Heulls 22 Mar 1892, Kings.
12. “New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1848,” database, New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1848 (accessed 10 Nov 2015), William Mason, age 63, died 22 Jan 1895, Kings, Cert #1701.
13. Cypress Hills Cemetery (Brooklyn, Queens, New York), Plot Records, E 1/2, Lot 78, Sec 17, William Mason, interred 27 Jan 1895, grave 2.

Chasing the Elusive Brown Kids

Easier Now Than in 2010

Here’s where I’m at with the children of William and Elizabeth (Heriott) Brown:

1. Sarah Brown was born in 1811 in Sussex, England. She married William Mason in St Nicholas Church, Brighton on 19 Sep 1830.1 William was born about 1805 in Lewes, Sussex, England and worked as a coach maker. They, along with their two infant sons, immigrated to New York on the same ship with her parents and siblings and arrived on 11 Apr 1835.2 Sarah died about 1849 and was interred in Cypress Hills Cemetery on 14 Jan 1849.3 There will be more in the next post about Sarah’s family.

2. John Brown was born about 1814 in Sussex, England. He was christened 18 Sep 1814 in St. Anne, Lewes, Sussex, England.4 He did not immigrate at the same time as his family, however he did die here (at the age of 33) since he was buried in the family plot on 14 Jan 1849 and shares grave 17 with his sister Sarah and younger brother Robert. His age at death was 33, making his death date in 1847.5 I have found no death notice, obituary, or probate record. I do not know if he married.

3. Frances Brown was born about 1815 in Sussex, England. I haven’t yet found her christening record. I covered her and husband William Frith’s lives in the More Darn Friths post 30 Oct 2015.

4. William Brown was born about 1816 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth/christening record for him. He arrived with his parents and siblings on 11 Apr 1835.6 The last definite record I have located for him is the previously discussed 1850 Federal Census. He is not buried in the family plot.

5. Edward Brown was born 6 Oct 1819 in Suffolk, England, and arrived in 1835 with his family. His birth date came from his obituary; I have not yet located a birth or christening record for him. He married Ann Burnette on 1 Jun 1839 (date from his obit) and they had at least 8 children. He died 6 Oct 1906 in Brooklyn and was buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery in the Brown-Frith family plot in grave 17 with his younger brother Marshall. His obituary was published on Thursday, 12 Apr 1906 in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on page 3, col 1. I’ll be dedicating an entire post to Edward and his family. I will cover Edward and his family (along will all the sources in a later post – another fascinating family.

6. Marshall Brown was born about 1822 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth or christening record for him. He arrived with his family in New York on 11 Apr 1835.7 I was unable to definitively locate him on the 1850 Federal Census. He was interred in the Brown-Frith family plot on 10 Apr 1851 in grave 17. His age at death was 29, matching the age from the passenger list.8 I have found no death notice or records yet.

7. Catherine Brown was born about 1824 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth or christening record for her. She arrived with her family in New York on 11 Apr 1835. I have found no records after that date to help me locate her. At the time of the 1840 census, she would have been 16 years old. It is possible that she was married, but much more likely she had died prior to 1840. She is not located in the family plot.

8. Mary Anne Walder Brown was born about 1826 in Sussex, England. I have not found a birth or christening record for her yet. She uses the name 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 1849, Mary Anne married Robert William Pringle (b.1830 Ireland) and resided in Brooklyn throughout her life. Mary Anne died 11 April 1904. She was interred in Green-Wood Cemetery with her husband in Lot 27263, Sec 135. More on Mary Anne, including the sources, in a later post.

9. James Brown was born about 1829 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth or christening record for him. He arrived in New York with his family on 11 Apr 1835. I have accounted for him on the 1840 Federal Census. In 1865 he’s with his sister Mary A. Pringle and mother Elizabeth in Brooklyn.9 On that census he states he was married once and is now a widower. William Brown (b. 1857) is also in the home and is probably his son. William is back with his aunt Mary A.W. Brown Pringle in 1875. James was interred on 30 Oct 1870, in the Brown-Frith family plot in grave 13 with his parents. He was not found in the New York City death index so it’s probable he died outside of the city.10 I have not yet found a death notice or death record for him.

10. George Brown was born about 1831 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth or christening record for him. He arrived in New York with his family on 11 Apr 1835. I believe that he is mis-enumerated as a female on the 1840 Federal Census. My reasoning is that he was 15 when he died, placing his death in about 1846. He would have been alive in 1840. He was interred with his siblings Sarah and John on 4 Jan 1849 in grave 17 of the Brown-Frith family plot.11 Based on his listed age at death of 15, he would have died in 1846. I have found no notice or record of his death.



1. Marriage Record, Sarah Brown to William Mason, 19 Sep 1830, Family Search. Cit. Date: 9 Jun 2014.
2. “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images(accessed 12 May 2014), manifest, Henry Thompson, 11 Apr 1835, William Mason and Family. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
3. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, Sarah Mason, age 38, interred 14 Jan 1849 at the same time as her brothers John and George.
4. “Family Search,” database(accessed 10 Nov 2015), John Brown, 18 Sep 1814, son of William and Elizabeth Brown; citing Lewes, Sussex, England, reference; FHL microfilm 1,468,906.
5. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, John Brown, age 33, interred 14 Jan 1849 at the same time as his sister Sarah and brother George.
6. “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images(accessed 12 May 2014), manifest, Henry Thompson, 11 Apr 1835, William Brown and Family. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
7. ibid.
8. 5. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, Marshall Brown, age 29, interred 10 Apr 1851.
9. 1865 NewYork State Census, Brooklyn Ward 2, Kings, New York, p. 59, family 422, line 33, James Brown 32, Brother, England, Laborer, married once, widower; digital images(accessed 13 Nov 2015).
10. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, James Brown, age 40, interred 30 Oct 1870. Not found in NY Death Index. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
11. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, George Brown, age 15, interred 14 Jan 1849 at the same time as his sister Sarah and brother John.

Chasing a Family Named Brown in New York

Just Kill Me Now!

WILLIAM BROWN and ELIZABETH HERIOTT

I was led to William and Elizabeth through their daughter Frances (Brown) Frith (1815-1854) who was interred in Cypress Hills Cemetery. My distant cousin Chris Beal had sent me a good bit of information, but with even more information online now it was important to take a second look. In hopes of learning more, I retraced some of Chris’s steps (he’s an excellent genealogist so it was easy to go down the path he had blazed) and contacted Cypress Hills to request a plot listing for Frances and those interred with her in the Brown-Frith plot, Sec 2, Lot 161. I received an interment list with 21 more people on it. Of those 21, I’ve been able to establish the familial relationship between Frances (Brown) Frith and 17 of those individuals, including her parents William and Elizabeth Brown.1 Many are William and Elizabeth’s children and grandchildren.
interments

Page 2 of the interment record which provided the "age at death" and interment date.

Page 2 of the interment record which provided the “age at death” and interment date.

There was also a major “breaking down the brick wall” moment with this family when I really paid attention to the 1868 Certificate of Death record of Elizabeth Heriott Brown.2
Eliz dc 1868 - Copy
In the summer of 2010, I found this record in Salt Lake City, but there was nothing else to help me at the time. I didn’t know where to look in Sussex, so I just tucked the file away and went to work other lines. This year, I decided to revisit each of my lines and write about them. In writing about a family your perspective changes and you have to go back and look for things you may not have looked at before. There has been an explosion in “searchable” online records in the last few years and suddenly the things I most needed began to fall into place.
The clues and questions in my file from 2010:
1. Her name – DUH! I didn’t really miss this one. Heriott had to be a family or maiden name. But 5 years ago, I found no records for an Elizabeth Heriott – NONE, NADA, ZIP, ZERO. They simply weren’t online in 2010.
2. The completeness of this record – records from this era are notoriously lacking in detail and normally would only give an age in years or say England. Why is this record so complete with a full name, age, and location of birth?
3. The address where she died. The address meant nothing at the time, but it factored in this time when I did a search and worked with the address.
4. The name of the doctor and his address. I knew that she had a son named Edward, but he wasn’t a doctor, and he wasn’t living in Brooklyn then. His address meant nothing to me in 2010, but by the time I revisited the family in 2015 it would mean more – half the damn Brown/Frith/Brimlow clan lived and worked with walking distance of this location.

Here’s what I now know about the family and how I know it.

WILLIAM BROWN was born about 1790 in the vicinity of Lewes, Sussex, England. I have used his birth year from the earliest found document that William would have provided the information for, which was an 1835 passenger list. Big surprise, there are several William Browns in that area of Sussex, and I have not yet determined which birth or christening record might be his.

ELIZABETH HERIOTT was born 6 May 1791 in Sussex, England. This information came from her 1868 death record which provided her age at death in days, months, and years along with her maiden name and place of birth. While this information is often suspect, I’m now comfortable accepting the information as I have discovered the person who created the 1868 death record was her grandson, Dr. Edward A. Brown, MD. Based on this information, I can now extend the research. While I’m fairly sure I’ve nailed her parents down, I’ll wait until I can look at the actual records to see if I can gather more information before declaring them here.

WILLIAM and ELIZABETH married on 23 or 25 Jul 1809, in Saint Nicholas Church, Brighton, Sussex, England. 3 Two marriage listings were found on FamilySearch and Elizabeth’s name is listed on both as Betty Herryott. I’ll be looking at the images for these records in Salt Lake City this spring before making a final determination. This could simply be a transcription error, or there may be some other reason for the two dates. I can at least say they were married in July of 1809. As stated in previous posts, people often married at the main cathedral rather than in their home parishes simply to save a bit of money. There was the standard fee to marry in your town, plus an added fee to the city or county for registration. If you went the main church, you only had to pay the fee for the city you were in.

While I haven’t yet located all the children’s baptism records, some of the family members appear to have been baptized in St. Anne’s in Lewes, and Lewes is about 10 miles outside of Brighton in the farmlands. I’ll be going through the films for the churches in Lewes on my next trip to Salt Lake City.

How did I know to look in Lewes? William Mason (son of William and Elizabeth’s oldest daughter Sarah) stated in his 1892 passport application that he was born in Lewes, and I found his birth was registered there.4 The birth registration also states that his mother and grandfather are from there, so it is reasonable to continue researching the Browns and Heriotts in this location.5
Wm 1931 Birth - Copy
William and Elizabeth had ten known children, all of whom were born in England. All of their children immigrated to New York – eight sailed aboard the Henry Thompson with William and Elizabeth, arriving on 11 Apr 1835.6 Oldest daughter Sarah’s husband William Mason and their two children, William and Henry, were also on that ship. Daughter Frances (Brown) Frith arrived in 1837 with husband William. I have not been able to determine exactly when son John Brown arrived.

The Brown and Mason families are at the bottom of the image.

The Brown and Mason families are at the bottom of the image.


The ten children as I currently know them:
Sarah Brown Mason (1811-1849) m. William Mason
John Brown (1814-1848)
Frances Brown Frith (1815-1854) m. William Frith
William Brown (1816-1856) m. Harriet (Unknown)
Edward Brown (1819-1906) m. Ann Burnett
Marshall Brown (1822-1851)
Catherine Brown (1824-????)
Mary Ann Brown Pringle (1826-1904) m. Robert William Pringle
James Brown (1829-1870) m. Unknown
George Brown (1831-1846)

From the time of arrival until their interment we’re reasonably able to trace William and Elizabeth. There is an 1840 Federal Census, 5th Ward, Brooklyn, Kings County that fits, but is typical of the 1840s – hardly perfect.7
1 Male 50-59 (1780-1790) William (b.1790)
1 Female 40-49 (1790-1800) Elizabeth (b.1791)
1 Male 20-29 (1810-1820) William (b.1816) or John (b.1814)
1 Male 15-19 (1821-1825) Marshall (b.1822)
1 Male 10-14 (1826-1830) James (b.1829)
1 Female 10-14 (1826-1830) Mary Anne (b.1826)
1 Female 5-9 (1831-1835) No known daughters this age, but there is a son George not accounted for who was born in 1831. Of note – Son Edward was married in 1839 so he doesn’t appear on this record. Daughter Catherine b. 1824 would have been 16 in 1840. It is possible, but not probable that she had married. It is also possible that she was simply missed in the numbers. However, it is much more likely that Catherine died prior to the 1840 census.

William’s occupation on the passenger list was farmer, which hardly seemed to mesh with someone coming to New York or Brooklyn. However, on the above shown birth record, his daughter Sarah states she is the daughter of “William Brown, pork butcher” of Lewes, Sussex.8 An 1844 New York directory lists “Brown, William, butcher, b.r. 343 Grand.”9

He was interred in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, Kings, New York, on 12 Aug 1848.10 His interment record lists his age at death as 63 (1785), but it’s not known who provided that information, nor is it known if William actually died in August 1848 or if he died earlier and was reinterred from elsewhere. I have not been able to locate a death record or obituary for him.

Locating Elizabeth between William’s 1848 death and her own death 20 years later was a real challenge. I first located her with her son William in 1850 in Ward 10 of Brooklyn.11 I have listed the family here in the same way they are listed on the record:
William Brown, 31 -1819, England, Painter
Elizabeth, 61 – 1789, England
James, 16 – 1834, Ireland, Painter – not our James who would be 5 years older
Harriet, 29 – 1821, England –
Charles, 4 – 1846, Pennsylvania
James, 3 – 1847, Pennsylvania
Margaret, 1 – 1849, Pennsylvania
There are also two borders who have no occupations and do not yet appear to be related.

In 1855, Elizabeth Brown, age 56 (1799) was found living with her youngest daughter Mary Ann and her husband Robert William Pringle in Brooklyn.12 She remained with Mary Ann and Robert for the remainder of her life. Elizabeth’s son James is with them in 1865, as is grandson William Brown.13

Elizabeth died from general debility compounded by pneumonia on 29 Jan 1868 in Brooklyn, Kings, New York, and was interred in Cypress Hills Cemetery on 31 Jan 1868.14 A death notice for Elizabeth appeared in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Thursday, 30 Jan 1868, pg 3, c2 “BROWN – On Wednesday, Jan 29th, at the residence of her son-in-law, R.W. Pringle, 114 Franklin ave, ELIZABETH BROWN, wife of Wm. Brown, deceased, of Sussex, England. In the 77th year of her age.” I found no will or probate records for Elizabeth. There are no stones or monuments in the family plot.
LOT cypress hills
The next post will be about their 10 children.



1. Interment Records, Cypress Hills Cemetery Plot Record for Lot 161 in Sec 2. Elizabeth H. Brown, age 76 interred 31 Jan 1868. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
2. New York death certificate 647 (1868), Elizabeth Heriott Brown, died 29 Jan 1868, born 6 May 1791 Sussex, England. Cit. Date: 9 Jun 2014.
3. Marriage Record, Saint Nicholas Church, Brighton, Sussex, England, William Brown and Betty Herryott, Marriage, St Nicholas’ Church Brighton, Brighton, Sussex, England, 25 Jul 1809; citing 00264, West Sussex County Record Office, Chichester; FHL microfilm 1FamilySearch.org. Cit. Date: 9 Jun 2014.
4. “U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925,” database and images, Ancestry.com (accessed 9 Nov 2015); William Mason born 13 Dec 1831, Lewes, Sussex, England, arrived 1835, a resident of New York City and Brooklyn since arrival, appliction dat 5 Apr 1892, Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
5. “U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925,” database and images, Ancestry.com (accessed 9 Nov 2015); William Mason born 13 Dec 1831, Lewes, Sussex, England, arrived 1835, a resident of New York City and Brooklyn since arrival, appliction dat 5 Apr 1892, Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
6. “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images(accessed 12 May 2014), manifest, Henry Thompson, 11 Apr 1835, William Brown and Family. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
7. 1840 U.S. census, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, p. 620, line 16, William Brown; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 289. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
8. England, birth certificate for William Mason, Son of William and Sarah Mason, born 13 Dec 1831; Lewes, Sussex, England registration district, Non-Comromist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970, Piece 4674: Dr Williams’ Library, Index to Birth Certificates, 1828-1837 sub-district. Cit. Date: 9 Nov 2015.
9. 1844 Brown, William (p. 54) City Directories – New York – Fold3
10. Interment Records, Cypress Hills Cemetery Plot Record for Lot 161 in Sec 2. William Brown interred grave 13, 12 Aug 1848. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
11. 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 10, Kings, New York, p. 188B, dwelling 1115, family 1845, Elizabeth Brown; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 9 Nov 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll M432 520. Cit. Date: 9 Nov 201.
12. 1855, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, E.D.1, Kings, New York, dwelling 345, family 446, line 34, Elizabeth Brown; digital images, Ancestry(accessed 9 Nov 2015).
13. 1865 NewYork State Census, Brooklyn Ward 2, Kings, New York, p. 59, family 422, line 31, Elizabeth Brown; digital images(accessed 9 Nov 2015).
14. Interment Records, Cypress Hills Cemetery Plot Record for Lot 161 in Sec 2. Elizabeth Brown interred grave 13, 31 Jan 1868. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.

A Few More Friths

Ruth Frith Reed (1846-1907) and Mathew Taylor Frith (1850-1929)

Ruth Frith was born in August of 1846, the fifth child of William and Frances. She married Samuel E. Reed in about 1864. Samuel, born about 1839 in Brooklyn, had served for two years in the Civil War with Hawkins’ Zouaves. Ruth provided a statement for her sister Susan Wynn Frith McLean when she applied for her widow’s pension. The family is tracked fairly easily through the census records as they remained in Brooklyn throughout their lives. Samuel died 16 Aug 1894 and Ruth passed away 5 Mar 1907. Both are interred in Cypress Hills Cemetery along with several of their children.
1. Frances Eleanor Reed (1865-1942) m1 Edward Avery (1866-?) m2 James J. Dow (1863-1923)
2. Charles E. Reed (1868-1870)
3. Samuel M. Reed (1870-1870)
4. Edward Milton Reed (1872-1930) m. Catherine C. Toal (1874-1924)
5. Ruth Frith Reed (1874-1900) m. Frederick F. Hoeg (1870-1906)
6. William Maxwell Reed (1876-1939) m. Anna Augustina Boshch (1882-?)
7. Minnie E. Reed (1880-1959) m. Charles Wesley Clark (1880-1967)
8. Susan May Reed (1883-1886) appears as Mary Reed in interment records

Matherw Taylor Frith was the seventh child of William and Frances. He was a painter by trade as were his brother and brother-in-law. He married Mary Louisa Hamill in about 1869. Mary was the daughter of Robert Fulton Hamill (1802-1876) and Mary Louise George (1826-1887). Mary died on 8 May 1917 and was interred with her family in Green-Wood Cemetery. Mathew died 5 Jun 1929 and was interred in a separate plot in Green-Wood.

Mathew, niece Nettie (Frith) McLean Abell, Alfred Abell, Mathew's daughter Fannie (Frith) Seely

Mathew, niece Nettie (Frith) McLean Abell, Alfred Abell, Mathew’s daughter Fannie (Frith) Seely


They had five known children together:
1. Sarah P. Frith (1870-1870) Cypress Hills Cemetery with Mathew’s parents.
2. Fannie E. Frith (1872-1928) m. Welling Seely (1874-1931), one child Raymond Frith Seely (1899-1901) all three are in the Hamlin family plot in Green-Wood with Mary.
3. Mabel Virginia Frith (1876-1961) m. James M. Gormley (1885-1992) both are in Green-Wood with Mathew.
4. Susan Edna Frith (1879-1922) m. Perry L. Ward (1878-1909, on child Doris Mildred (Ward) Oed (1898-1956). Susan and Doris are with Mathew in Green-Wood. Perry’s location is not known.
5. Ruth A. Frith (1883-1912) m. Anderson Reid (1858-1920) Ruth is in the Hamill family plot with mother Mary. Anderson Reid died in San Francisco, burial location unknown.

The headline from The New York Times 14 Nov 1912, p1, c5.

The headline from The New York Times 14 Nov 1912, p1, c5.

Ruth A. Frith Reid was interesting because of the unusual circumstances of her life and death. It seems that on the evening of 13 Nov 1912, Ruth was involved in a car crash in which she died. She was 27 years old and her husband was 54, although one paper wrongly stated he was 76. Ruth was in the car with four men, two of whom fled the scene. The other two were with Ruth when the police arrived. One of the men who fled, apparently called her sister Mabel to tell her of the accident. Mabel hurried to the police station where Ruth had been taken. She found that her sister’s jewelry was missing. The jewelry was found in the coat pocket of one of the men who’d been the car with her. The man was arrested on the spot for grand larceny and both men were arrested on suspicion of homicide. The morning paper had a field day with the news, making it sound as though Ruth were a wild young woman who was stepping out on her older husband with some shady character.
The headline from the Marion Weekly Star, Marion, Ohio, 16 Nov 1912, p1, c4.

The headline from the Marion Weekly Star, Marion, Ohio, 16 Nov 1912, p1, c4.

By the afternoon of the 14th the real story had emerged. The shady characters were old family friends and well-known to Anderson Reid. He had encouraged his wife to go with them to a party at another friend’s home as he had to work that evening. Ruth’s jewelry was actually in a small chamois bag and one of the men had simply picked it up, along with her purse, and put them in his pocket so they wouldn’t get lost. Both Reid and Mabel Frith came to his defense and all the charges were dropped at a hearing on the morning of the 14th. In the afternoon article, the family went to great lengths to make it clear that Ruth and Reid had been married for nine years and Ruth was an active member in her church and even taught Sunday school. They stated they also knew the names of the two men who’d fled but refused to divulge them as enough damage had been done to everyone’s reputations.

Frith Strong

Frances C. (Frith) Bagwell Maxwell Maddern

I previously spoke about how strong of a woman Susan Wynn Frith McLean was in managing life with Civil War veteran Peter B. McLean. However, strong women appear to run in the family, including older sister Fanny.

Fanny C. Frith was born 11 Oct 1837 in Brooklyn, Kings, New York, the oldest daughter of William Henry Frith and Frances Catherine Brown.1 Her parents had both passed away before her 18th birthday and as the oldest, Fanny no doubt felt responsible for the care of her younger siblings who ranged in age from 16 down to less than a year. I have not been able to locate Fanny or her siblings definitively on the 1855 New York (NY) State Census.

Searching for Fanny proved difficult at times, but it all came down to marriage records, newspapers, and death and cemetery records. Thank goodness for those cemetery records. When looking at the records for the Brown/Frith Family Plot in Cypress Hills the name William E. Bagwell stood out. Not a Frith or Brown, he had to be the husband of one of the girls. He was interred at the age of 28 on 26 Nov 1863. A search of the 1860 Federal Census turned up William E. Bagwell born about 1835 in New York with wife Fanny C., born about 1937, living in Brooklyn.2 A painter by trade, it is probable they met through her sister Susan’s husband Peter B. McLean who owned a painting business in Brooklyn.

It appears she married William E. Bagwell in about 1858-59. No marriage record has yet been found and it is not known who his parents are. He’s on his own in the 1850 Census,3 but I have not yet been able to locate him on the 1855 NY either. I’ll look into pulling his actual 23 Nov 1863 death certificate4 on my next trip to Salt Lake City in hopes of finding out his parentage. [Update – shown at end of paragraph.] What I did find was a news article about his death.5 William was painting the side of a ship when another ship, under tow, collided with his ship. He was crushed between the two ships. The article is below. I followed the story by searching for information on the ships and learned that the captain of the “propeller” Liberty (tug/push boat) was indeed arrested and charged with recklessness and believed to be intoxicated at the time.
Bagwell BDE tue 24 Nov 1863 p1c1William’s probate records revealed he had a daughter, Annie Elizabeth Bagwell.6 I searched for Fanny and Annie Bagwell in the 1865 NY State Census but had no luck. However, in the 1870 Federal Census, daughter Annie E. Bagwell showed up in with mother Fanny C. Maxwell in the household of William Maxwell. Once I had his name, I easily found the family on the 1865 NY. Annie Bagwell was enumerated as Maxwell.7

1863 Coroner's findings/death certificate for William Bagwell

1863 Coroner’s findings/death certificate for William Bagwell

William H. Maxwell was born about 1840 in Glasgow, Scotland and worked as a carpenter, builder, and a foreman in the Department of City Works in Brooklyn. He’d served in the 84th NY Infantry, Co. H and was injured at Bull Run in 28 Aug 1862 and discharged with a disability on 13 Jan 1863. Once again, it is probable that Peter B. McLean introduced Fanny to her future husband as both men were veterans who’d been injured in the Civil War and were both in the construction industry.8 Fanny and Annie can be found with William Maxwell through the 1880 Census.9

Max Thu 28 Jun 1883 p3Something went terribly wrong in the evening hours of 27 Jun 1883 and William H. Maxwell shot himself in the head at his home. The circumstances of the event were unclear as noted in the article SUICIDE OR ACCIDENT from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle the following day.10 He succumbed to the wound 13 days later, 10 Jul 1883, remaining at home in the care of his wife and doctor during that time. They were unable to remove the bullet and his death came from traumatic meningitis. He didn’t fall unconscious until three days before his death.11,12Max Tue 10 Jul 1883 BDE, p4 c3 Due to the questionable circumstances, the coroner held an inquest on 11 July and the jury found that the shooting was accidental.13
Max Wed 11 Jul 1883 BDE p4 c8
I’m still fascinated by the fact that in the first article, Fanny refused to let in the police or their surgeon, but surrendered the weapon to them. William Maxwell appeared to be well-liked and respected in the family as step-daughter Annie used his name throughout her life, and Fanny’s sister Ruth and her husband named son William Maxwell Reed for him. Almost twenty years after the death of her first husband, Fanny buried her second husband. William was laid to rest in Green-Wood Cemetery on 13 Jul 1883.14

Meanwhile, Fanny’s only child had married Ernest Albert (1857-1946) in about 1882. Ernest was a distinguished theatrical and scenic set designer, and it is probable that Fanny met her next husband Richard H. Maddern through him. Richard was a well-known musician and orchestra leader and both men were working in the same theaters during this time.

On 29 Jun 1885, Fanny married Richard Henry Maddern.15 Richard was born 18 Dec 1839, in England, the son of Richard and Grace (Thomas) Maddern.16 According to information found in an obituary for his niece, Minnie Maddern Fiske, the family ran a touring theatrical company known as the Maddern Family Band. On 2 Aug 1861, he enlisted in the Union Army from Keokuk, Iowa, and was mustered out on 16 Aug 1862 in Memphis, Tennessee, having served as the band director in Band 6 of the Iowa Infantry. He applied for and received an invalid pension on 13 May 1905 for that service.17 According to one of his obituaries published in New York, “Mr. Maddern for many years was successively in charge of the orchestra of the Grand Opera House and Pope’s Theater, St Louis, the Chicago Opera House and later that at Daly’s in this city.”18 Richard passed away on 24 Dec 1917 in the Bronx and was laid to rest 27 Dec 1917 in Woodlawn Cemetery.19

Fanny passed away 11 Feb 1918 in the Bronx and was buried the following day in Woodlawn with Richard.20 Her passing was noted in The New York Tribune.21Fanny NYTrib 12 Feb 1918 p13c7



1. New York City of New York death certificate 1177 (1918), Fanny C. Maddern, 11 Feb 1918. Cit. Date: 26 Jun 2014.
2. 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, p. 395, dwelling 616, family 1120, William Bagwell, 26, Fanney Bagwell, 20; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll M653 774. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
3. 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Williamsburg, Kings, New York, p. 403B, family 1091, Wm Bagwell, 16, New York; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 30 Oct 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll M432 522.
4. “New York Death Records,” database, Certificate #7018, William E. Bagwell, died 23 Nov 1863, age 30, buried Cypress Hills Cemetery.
5. “FATAL ACCIDENT AT THE NAVY YARD,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 24 Nov 1863, p. 1, col. 1; digital images(accessed 13 May 2014). Cit. Date: 13 May 2014.
6. William E. Bagwell, 19 Dec 1863, Kings, New York, Letters of Administration for widow Fanny C. Bagwell, also named daughter Annie Elizabeth Bagwell; digital images.
7. 1865 New York State Census, Brooklyn, Kings, p. 51, family 371, line 1, William Maxwell, 26, Scotland, Builder, Frances Maxwell, 27, Wife, Kings, Anna E. Maxwell, 6, Child, Kings; digital images (accessed 30 Oct 2015). Cit. Date: 30 Oct 2015.
8. New York State Archives, Cultural Education Center, Albany, New York; New York Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900; Archive Collection #: 13775-83; Box #: 353; Roll #: 122-1228
9. 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, enumeration district (ED) 224, p. 78B, dwelling 25, family 58, Maxwell, William H., Fanny C., Bagwell, Annie E.; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 855. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
10. “SUICIDE OR ACCIDENT,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 28 Jun 1883, p. 3, col. 3; digital images (bklyn.newspapers.com : accessed 30 Oct 2015).
11. “New York Death Records,” database(accessed 30 Oct 2015), Certificate #7332, William Maxwell, died 10 Jul 1883, age 43, buried Green-Wood.
12. “IT PROVED FATAL,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 10 Jul 1883, p. 4, col. 3; digital images (bklyn.newspapers.com : accessed 30 Oct 2015).
13. “WILLIAM H. MAXWELL’S DEATH,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 11 Jul 1883, p. 4, col. 8; (bklyn.newspapers.com: accessed 30 Oct 2015).
14. “New York Death Records,” database (accessed 30 Oct 2015), Certificate #7332, William Maxwell, died 10 Jul 1883, age 43, buried Green-Wood.
15. “New York, New York, Marriage Indexes 1866-1937,” database (accessed 13 May 2014), Fannie Maxwell to Richard H. Maddern, 29 Jun 1885, Kings, Cert #1990. Cit. Date: 13 May 2014.
16. “New York Death Records,” database(accessed 30 Oct 2015), Certificate 8372, Richard Henry Madder, b. 18 Dec 1839, d. 24 Dec 1917, parents Richard Maddern, Grace Thomas, buried 27 Dec 1917 Woodlawn.
17. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
18. “MADDERN. – Richard H. Maddern,” The Drama Mirror, 4 Jan 1917, p. 28, col. 4;
19. “New York Death Records,” database (accessed 30 Oct 2015), Certificate 8372, Richard Henry Madder, b. 18 Dec 1839, d. 24 Dec 1917, parents Richard Maddern, Grace Thomas, buried 27 Dec 1917 Woodlawn.
20. New York City of New York death certificate 1177 (1918), Fanny C. Maddern, 11 Feb 1918. Cit. Date: 26 Jun 2014.
21. “MADDERN.–” The New York Tribune, 12 Feb 1918, p. 13, col. 7;

More Darn Friths

The Family of William Frith the Immigrant Ancestor

I have a love/hate relationship with William Frith. He’s an open book and yet annoyingly devoid of records that would lead me further or provide much help in an ancestor search. He rudely dies in 1855 so there is only one census record to work from and no death notice or death certificate.

William Frith was born in England about 1806. One of William’s children stated his full name was William Henry Frith1 and the name William Henry appears frequently in this line, including his oldest known son. However, both are common names of the time. His oldest definitive record with a birth year is the passenger list from the Hampton which arrived in New York on 14 Jul 1837. His stated age is 31.2

On 15 Aug 1836, William Frith married Frances Brown in Saint James, Westminster, London, England.3 I have not yet looked at the original record to see if it provides further information such as parents or a birth location for William. [Update May 2016 – the source record provided no further information.]

Wm Frith 1837 Pass - excerpt On the Hampton’s passenger list, William states his profession as “Gentleman.” He is accompanied by wife Frances, age 23. They are not accompanied by any children; however, based on the 11 Oct 1837 birth date of daughter Fanny C., Frances was pregnant at the time of their immigration.

The 1840 census is consistent with his known family and also states that one person (has to be him) is involved in manufacturing or trade.4 On the 1850 census, William’s occupation is stated as “Hardware.”5 He never appears in the New York or Brooklyn City Directories, although there are several Friths of about the same age from England who work in trade jobs such as cabinetmaking and steel. I have not been able to tie any of these Friths together yet.

Frances Frith 1854 probate 1 - CopyFrances (Brown) Frith died 20 Feb 1854 in Brooklyn, and on 9 March William filed for Letters of Administration for her estate.6 In that application, he named their eight surviving children. She was interred in grave 8 of the Brown/Frith family plot, Sec 2, Lot 161 in Cypress Hills Cemetery.7 Sadly, youngest daughter Anna died only a few months later in Jul 1854 at the age of 7 months and was interred with her mother.8 There are no headstones in the family plot.

William passed away in April 1855 and was interred with his wife on 17 April in Cypress Hills Cemetery in grave 12.9

William and Frances (Brown) Frith had eight known children together:
Fanny C. Frith Bagwell Maxwell Maddern (1837-1918)
Susan Wynn Frith McLean (1839-1915)
William Henry Frith (1841-1858)
Ellen E. Frith (1844-1857)
Ruth Frith Reed (1846-1907)
George Richard Frith (1848-1903)
Matthew Taylor Frith (1850-1929)
Anna Frith (1853-1854)

Even though he left behind 7 children under the age of 18, I have not yet found a probate file for him. It appears that the children were taken in by Ellen Winn (1784-1860). Ellen and William Winn (d. bef 1850) traveled with William and Frances from England aboard the Hampton and is most likely a relation, but I have not yet figured out how. The Winns were close enough that William and Frances named second daughter, Susan Wynn Frith for one of them. I have not been able to locate Ellen or any of the children on the 1855 New York State Census, but in 1860, Ruth, George, and Matthew are enumerated under the name Winn in Brooklyn with Ellen.10 Unfortunately, the 1860 does not prove relationships. [Update May 2016 – A search of films of guardianship records showed no entries for the Frith children or Ellen Winn.]



1. “New York Death Records,” database(accessed 29 Oct 2015), Mathew Taylor Frith, died 5 Jun 1929, buried 7 Jun 1929 Greenwood, parents: William Henry Frith and Frances Katherine Brown. Cit. Date: 29 Oct 2015.
2. “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images(accessed 12 May 2014), manifest, Hampton, 14 Jul 1837, William Frith, 31, gentleman. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
3. Marriage Record, England Select Marriages, 1538-1973, Ancestry, William Frith/Frances Brown, 15 Aug 1836, Saint James, Westminister, London, England. FHL Film #1042320. Cit. Date: 5 May 2014.
4. 1840 U.S. census, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, p. 652, line 26, Wm Frith; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 289. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
5. 1840 U.S. census, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, p. 652, line 26, Wm Frith; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 289. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
6. New York, Probate, Frances Frith, Application for Letters of Administration by William Frith, stating Frances Frith died 20 Feb 1854, Brooklyn, Kings, minor children: Fanny, Susan, William, Ellen, Ruth, George, Matthew, Ann; digital images, Ancestry(accessed 29 Oct 2015). Cit. Date: 29 Oct 2015.
7. Interment Records, Mrs. Frances Frith, age 38, interred 23 Feb 1854, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
8. Interment Records, Anna Frith, age 7 mo., interred 12 Jul 1854, grave 8, William Brown Family Plot, Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery. Cit. Date: 14 May 2014.
9. William Frith, age 48, interred 17 Apr 1855, grave 12.William Brown Family Plot, Lot 168, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery.
10. 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Brooklyn, Kings, New York,, p. 403, family 1194, George Winn [Frith] with Ellen Winn, Ruth Frith, Mathew Frith; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 29 Oct 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll M653 774.

Those Darn Friths –

The George Richard Frith Family

In an earlier series of posts, I talked about Henrietta “Nettie” Ella (Frith) McLean and the fact that she married her first cousin George E. McLean (1867-1915). I’ve also covered much of the McLean line and in that process, I wrote about George’s mother, Susan Wynn (Frith) McLean (1839-1915). Now I need to do a quick clean up on the rest of Frith line before moving on to the Browns and Brimlows.

For those who need a reminder of who’s who, here’s a link to the MacLean, Frith, and Brimlow Pedigree Chart. Today we’re going to take a look at the family of person #6 on this chart, George Richard Frith. The next post will be about the family of William Frith and Frances Brown.

George FrithGeorge Richard Frith was born 7 Jan 1848 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Kings, New York.1,2 He was the second son, and sixth known child of William Frith and Frances Brown. His parents were both deceased prior to his seventh birthday and until the age of eleven, he and his siblings were taken care of by Ellen Winn. Her exact relationship to the family is not yet known; however, she traveled to New York with William and Frances and is buried in the Brown/Frith family plot in Cypress Hills Cemetery. It is not known where George and his siblings lived after Ellen’s death.

12Around 1868, George married Henrietta F. Brimlow, born 7 Sep 1847, daughter of George Brimlow and Elizabeth E. Weeks. Henrietta and George’s first known child was born and died in early January of 1870. The baby appears on the interment record at Cypress Hills Cemetery as “Inft of G&H Frith, no age, interred 8 Jan 1870.”3 With no name and no death record for an infant found, it is probable that this child was a stillborn. Six more children would follow, but only two would live to maturity. Two of their children, Ruth and Matthew, died within 10 days of each other in August of 1882 and were buried in Sec 6, South ½ of Lot 596 of Cypress Hills.4,5

Hen Frith d. 1884Henrietta F. (Brimlow) Frith died on 26 Dec 1884 from pneumonia and asthma.6 She was pregnant at the time and the child was stillborn. They were buried together in George’s family plot. George filed an application for and was granted Letters of Administration on his wife’s estate, in which he named their surviving children as: Nettie E. about 10 years of age, Ada M. about 8, and Cornelia about 2.7 More research would be required to find out what her estate consisted of. Daughter Cornelia died 14 Mar 1886 and was interred with her mother.8

George worked as a grainer and painter throughout his life as did his brother-in-law Peter B. McLean, and it is likely they worked together at times. George and younger daughter Ada moved to North Hempstead to be near Peter B. and Susan and were enumerated there in 1892.9 Daughter Nettie remained in Brooklyn, living with maternal grandmother Elizabeth (Weeks) Brimlow. After Peter B. McLean’s death, both George and his sister Susan moved in with their married children George E. and Nettie (Frith) McLean and are enumerated there on the 1900 census.10

George Richard Frith died of cirrhosis of the liver on 15 Mar 1903 in Roslyn, Nassau, New York, and was interred on 18 Mar 1903 with his wife in Cypress Hills Cemetery.11 While my initial inclination was to say he drank, it is probable that his liver issues came from spending his life working with lead-based paints.

George and Henrietta’s children were:
Infant Frith (Jan 1870)
Ruth E. Frith (1873-15 Aug 1882)
Nettie Ella Frith McLean (2 Mar 1875-21 Dec 1963) m. George E. McLean
Ada May Frith Penny (Apr 1878 – 27 Mar 1943) m. Andrew “Jack” Penny
Matthew Frith (1880 – Aug 1882)
Cornelia Maria Frith (26 Mar 1883 – 14 Mar 1886)
Stillborn Frith (26 Dec 1884)



1. Death Certificate, County of Nassau-State of New York, Registration #3270, George Richard Frith, Date of Death 15 March 1903, Age 54 y 2 mo 8 d., Father William Frith, mother Frances Brown. Cit. Date: 14 May 2014.
2. 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, p. 265B, dwelling 1202, family 2135, George Frith, age 2; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll M432 522. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
3. Cypress Hills Cemetery (Brooklyn, Queens, New York), Plot Records, Sec 2, Lot 161. Plot record states infant child of G & H Frith – no age. Cit. Date: 13 Aug 2010.
4. Kings County, New York, death certificate no. 10652 (15 Aug 1882), Ruth Frith; FHL microfilm 1,323,775. Cit. Date: 3 Aug
5. Cypress Hills Cemetery (Brooklyn, Queens, New York), Plot Records, Matthew Frith, interred 25 Aug 1882, Child. Sec 6, Lot 596, South 1/2. Cit. Date: 3 Aug 2010.
6. Kings County, New York, death certificate no. 13911 (26 Dec 1884), Henrietta F. Frith; FHL microfilm 1,323,798. Cit. Date: 2 Aug 2010.
7. New York, Kings County, Probate Administration Records; Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (Kings County); Probate Place: Kings, New York, Henrietta F. Frith, 29 Dec 1884.
8. “New York Death Records,” database(accessed 27 Oct 2015), Cornelia M. Frith, 14 Mar 1886, Brooklyn, Kings, burial Cypress Hills.
9. New York, population schedule, No. Hempstead, Queens, 2 E.D., p. 2, line 16, George Frith; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 14 May 2014). Cit. Date: 14 May 2014.
10. 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, No. Hempstead, Nassau, New York, enumeration district (ED) 711, p. 4B, dwelling 77, family 82, McLean, George E.; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 11 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1079. Cit. Date: 11 May 2014.
11. Death Certificate, County of Nassau-State of New York, Registration #3270, George Richard Frith, Date of Death 15 March 1903, Age 54 y 2 mo 8 d., Father William Frith, mother Frances Brown. Cit. Date: 14 May 2014.

Brick Wall… What Brick Wall?

Hunting the Family of Margaret Swasey (1806-1854)

Margaret Swasey b. abt 1806 in Massachusetts is the proven wife of Peter Charles McLean based on census records and being named in her daughter Sarah Amelia’s death records. Margaret was our brick wall for many years. We knew that Margaret had married Peter circa 1829/30 based on the age of their first child Charles Edward born 1830/31. Peter C. McLean was found on the 1830 Federal Census in Ward 7 New York as a male 20-29 with a female 20-29 presumed to be Margaret prior to the birth of Charles. Everything I knew about Margaret was posted on 24 Jun 2014.

With the release of the wills and probate on Ancestry, I did a routine search for the name of Swasey in New York prior to 1860. Margaret Swasey McLean died in 1854 so I was hoping to find a father who had named her or her children in a will.

In an application for Letters of Administration on the Estate of Nathaniel K. Swasey (deceased 28 Jul 1845; filing dated 22 Aug 1845) Sarah Swasey (signed Sarah Swasy) named herself as the mother of Nathaniel and states she and the following siblings of Nathaniel survive:
Stephen Swasey of Albany
Margaret wife of Peter C. McLean
Rebecca wife of David Bruce Jr
Sarah Swasey
Each of the children (and husbands) signed documents giving their rights up to Sarah.1
[Click on the image for full size]
Sarah Swasey
Based on the information found in that will and probate file, I researched each of the named children, spouses, and mother Sarah to reach the following conclusions:

Margaret Swasey McLean’s mother was:
SARAH “SALLIE” LEIGH
Born 26 Apr 1784 Essex, Massachusetts
Died Sep 1854 Brooklyn, Kings, New York
Interred 11 Sep 1854 Cypress Hills Cemetery

Her father was:
SAMUEL SWASEY
Born 23 Feb 1781 Essex. Massachusetts
Died aft 1825 New York
Interred Unknown

Her are the facts:
1803 – 23 Feb 1803 Sarah “Sallie” Leigh and Samuel Swasey marry in Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts.2 There are multiple records for their marriage on 14 Jul 1803, but the record from the New England Genealogical Society is the one with the earlier date and is consistent with the recorded birth of their first child Stephen in Dec 1803. Examination of the original record is now on my To-Do list.
1810 – Samuel is found (Sam Swasy) on the 1810 Federal Census in Albany, New York.3 [Daughters Sarah E. b. abt 1811 and Rebecca b. abt 1814 both claim Albany as their birth county on later NY State Census records.]
1813 – Samuel appears in The Albany Argus, 2 July, page 1, column 3 as a partner in business as a morocco dresser (a specialized process for kid (goat) leather). [Son Stephen Swasey is also listed a morocco dresser on later census records. Son Nathaniel is a leather dealer in a city directory.]
1814 – Samuel offers $20 reward for a runaway indentured apprentice, Albany Argus, 7 Jan, p4.
1815 – Samuel’s property is sold by the Sheriff at auction in Albany – Albany Gazette, 20 Feb, p4.
1817 – Samuel Swasey appears in the New York City list of letters – National Advocate for the Country, 3 Jan, p2.
1820 – Samuel Swasey appears in the list of letters in New York City – New York Columbian, 1 May, p4. [Samuel was not found on the 1820 census, but if he was living in a boarding house or with someone else he would not appear as this census only listed the heads of households.]
1822 – Mrs. Sarah Swasey appears in the list of letters – Albany Argus 4 Oct 1822 p3.
1823-24 – Samuel Swasey appears in the New York City Directory as a morocco dresser at 38 Spruce.4
1825 – Samuel Swasey appears in the city directory as a morocco dresser at 4 Ferry. [This is the last record I found for Samuel.]
1829 – Sarah Swasey first appears in the city directory running a boarding house in New York City.
1830 – Sarah Swasey is found on the 1830 Federal Census in New York Ward 45 – the city directory of the same year indicates she is running a boarding house.6 This is the same ward that daughter Margaret McLean is living in.
1834 – Daughter Rebecca Swasey married David Bruce Jr. in New York City.7
1840 – Samuel Swasey (age 20-29) along with an older woman (40-50) is found in Ward 7 – this is the same Ward as Peter McLean. The age is appropriate for Sarah.
1848 – Rebecca Swasey Bruce gives birth to daughter Sarah Leigh Bruce.8
1850 – Sarah Swasey is found on the 1850 Federal Census in Williamsburg (Brooklyn), Kings, New York with Rebecca Bruce and her family.9
1854 – 11 Sep – Sarah was interred in the Bruce family plot at Cypress Hills. I have not yet found a death notice or certificate for her. 10

When I received the plot list for the Bruce family plot in Cypress Hills it noted that Nathaniel Swasey (age 28) was interred in this plot along with Samuel Swasey (age 29) and John Bruce (age 42) on 28 Apr 1848. No death dates were shown, but we know that Nathaniel died in 1845, so these 3 individuals were obviously reinterred from elsewhere. We also know this Samuel must be a son, as the father Samuel b.1781 would have been about 44 when last found in 1825.

The Samuel and Sarah (Leigh) Swasey family (based on the above information) is up on Ancestry and FamilySearch now. Seeing all the Bruce names now explains where some of the names used by both Peter Charles and Peter Byron McLean came from. They had a ton of Bruce cousins and the family was very well off.

There is much more research to do in proving the line back, but at least I know where to look now. And all because of this one document. Happiness is surveying a pile of rubble that was once a brick wall.



1. Letters of Administration for Nathaniel K. Swasey named mother Sarah Swasey, sister Margert McLean, Rebecca Bruce, Sarah Swasey, and bother Stephen Swasey of Albany; digital images (accessed 12 Sep 2015).
2. Marriage Record, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston: vol 0943, p64. The New England Historic Genealogical Society. 23 Feb 1803 Samuel Swasey – son of Stephen Swasey & Abigail Knapp to Sarah Leigh father Benjamin Leigh. Cit. Date: 12 Sep 2015.
3. 1810 U.S. census, Albany, Albany, New York, p. 62, Sam Swasy; digital images (accessed 12 Sep 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M252, roll 26.
4. City Directory, Swasey, Samuel, morocco dresser, New York: p.472; digital images accessed 12 Sep 2015.
5. 1830 U.S. census, New York Ward 4, New York, New York, p. 216, line 13, Sarah Swasey; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 Sep 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M19, roll 96. Cit. Date: 12 Sep 2015.
6. City Directory, , Swasey, Sarah, boarding-house 209 William, New York: p.572; digital imagesaccessed 12 Sep 2015. Cit. Date: 12 Sep 2015.
7. U.S., Newspaper Extractions from the Northeast, 1704-1930, New York Evening Post.
8. Burial Record, Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn, Lot 226, Sec 2, Owner David Bruce Sr. Interment #187370 Sarah Leigh Bruce 1 Nov 1924.
9. 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, p. 307B, dwelling 1631, family 2772, Sarah Swazey in home of David Bruce; digital images, Ancestry (accessed 12 Sep 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll M432 522. Cit. Date: 12 Sep 2015.
10. Burial Record, Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn, Lot 226, Sec 2, Owner David Bruce Sr. Interment #5249 Sarah Swasey 11 Sep 1854.