Who Was George Washington Boyer’s Mother?

One of the open mysteries in the Boyer family is who was George Washington Boyer’s (1848-1926) birth mother?

Wilbur R. Boyer (1923-2011) told me on several occasions that George Washington Boyer (GWB) had only half-brothers and sisters. Bill had an excellent memory for this type of detail passed on to him by his father and which was common knowledge in his family. Bill also remembered meeting GWB’s siblings, Aleah, Ann and John. ”Leah owned a farm in Richboro or Ivyland which was next door to her sister Annie’s farm. She ran the farm with her brother John Boyer.”

It is clear that Jacob Boyer married Margaret Merion and that Margaret raised GWB. Margaret is mentioned in several census records and in the death certificates of her daughters.

1845 Jacob Boyer m. Elizabeth Merion

A good possibility for the name of GWB’s birth mother is Elizabeth Merion. The thesis is that Elizabeth Merion and Margaret Merion were related – possibly sisters.

According to church records at St. James Church in  Kingsesslng, Philadelphia, Jacob Boyer married Elizabeth Marion on 3 July 1845. The key question of course is if this is “our” Jacob Boyer.

If Elizabeth died shortly after George W. Boyer was born, it would not be uncommon to re-marry her sister. The timing of an 1845 marriage fits with GWB’s birth in 1848 and with the 1850 Census showing that GWB is not married, but living in the same house with Margaret Merion.

The published genealogy “American Boyers” also says Elizabeth Merion was Jacob’s wife.

1848 – George Washington Boyer is born

We don’t have a birth or baptism record for GWB but his death certificate says born 21 Feb 1848 and died 16 Jan 1926. The interesting bit is that “Don’t Know” is entered on the certificate for the name of his mother. In contrast, the death certificates found for his siblings Sarah and Annie list Margaret Merion as their mother.

1850 US Census – Bristol Township, Philadelphia, PA

The 1850 census record for Jacob Boyer and his son is interesting for several reasons. It confirms that Jacob has no wife living with him at that time, and that he has a son George two years old.

The 1850 census also shows Margaret Merion is living in the same household. If she was married to Jacob she would be listed as Margaret Boyer as was the convention in the census. Also, Margaret would traditionally be listed second, and before GWB, if she was married to Jacob.

  1. Jacob Boyer, age 34, b. Pennsylvania, Occupation: Sawgrinder
  2. Gorge Boyer, age 2, b. Pennsylvania
  3. Margaret Merion age 21 , b. Pennsylvania. (if she was married to Jacob she would be listed as Margaret Boyer.)
  4. John Butler, age 32, b. Ireland, Occupation: Sawgrinder
  5. Elizabeth Butler, age 30, b. England

Its worth noting that the census data above was taken in Bristol Township which was dissolved in 1854 to become part of Philadelphia. It is today known as the Olney-Oak Lane section of the city, and an area where other Boyer ancestors lived.

Note the location of Bristol Township near Germantown and Oxford Townships.

September 1850 Jacob Boyer m. Margaret Merion

September 1850 is a guess for the marriage date based on the birth of their first child Anna Boyer on 16 April 1851. They were living in the same household but were not married in the 1850 Census which was taken on 28 Aug 1850.

March 1917 – Sarah Boyer and March 1933 – Annie Boyer death certificates

Sarah Boyer Chase’ death certificate lists her mother was Margaret Merion, b. Pennsylvania. Attested by her husband George W. Chase. Annie Boyer’s death certificate lists her mother as Margaret Merion. Attested by Brunner Boyer her brother.

Additional Thoughts

Could George Washington Boyer be adopted? This isn’t supported by the 1850 Census that shows Jacob had no wife but did have a two year old son. It is possible, but unlikely that a single young man, especially in that era, would adopt a child.

Could Margaret and Elizabeth be the same person? Perhaps Jacob’s wife was named Margaret Elizabeth Merion or Elizabeth Margaret Merion? It’s possible but not supported by the 1850 Census that shows Jacob had no wife but did have a two year old son. It may exist somewhere, but so far we have never found a document where her name appears this way.

Could Margaret be a nickname for Elizabeth? This doesn’t seem likely. Liz, Lizzy, Beth, Bets, Betsy, Betty, and Eliza are common nicknames.

Could the verbal family history be wrong? Possibly, but doubtful. Wilbur R. Boyer (1923-2011) on several occasions when I interviewed him was very clear that G.W. Boyer had only half brothers and sisters. He remembered meeting many of them, and going to their farms.

There are many other possibilities as well of course. I have am working with Susan’s cousin, Wendy Smythe to solve this little mystery – we are keeping an open mind so please stay tuned!

Boyer vs Boyer

According too the terms of John Boyer’s Will, all property went to his wife Mary, and then after her death to her children and grandchildren. Mary died in October 1834 and the Notice below was placed about one year later in September 1835. So it looks like there was a dispute regarding the division of the estate among the children and grandchildren.

John Boyer’s will dated 8 Jun 1812 and proved 29 Dec 1814 is summarized as follows:

Boyer, John. Bristol Twp. Co. of Phila. Yeoman. June 8, 1812. Dec 29, 1814. All estate to wife Mary and after her death unto his children and grandchildren.

Children: Gabriel, Peter, John, Jacob, David, Henry, Elizabeth now the wife of William Bowman, Sarah now the wife of Jonathan Quicksall and Mary now the wife of John Dewees, Jr.

Grandchildren: Mary now the wife of Thomas Norton, Rudolph Mower and John Mower, the children of late daughter Rebecca. Execs: Two sons Gabriel and Peter Boyer.

The Notice below is packed with our Boyer ancestors. It appeared on 24 September 1835 in The National Gazette, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Each person in the Notice is listed below, along with a guess (and link) as to how that person fits into our family tree. There are also links showing the relationship Wilbur R. Boyer (1896 -1985) “WRB”

PETER BOYER GROUP

  1. Peter Boyer (b. 1780-1866, age 55). Son of John Boyer “Rev. War” (1750-1814). Peter is the great uncle of WRB.
  2. Henry Boyer (b. 1790-1877, age 45), younger brother of Peter above. (Henry is the great uncle of WRB)
  3. Elizabeth Bowman “formerly Elizabeth Boyer”. Sister of Peter and Henry above and great aunt of WRB.
  4. Sarah Quicksell (d. 1845) “formerly Sarah Boyer who survived her husband Jonathan Quicksell” Sister of the Boyer’s named above.
  5. John Dewes “and Mary his wife and grantee of John Boyer” – Mary Boyer is sister of the Boyers named above. John Boyer is brother to the Boyers named above.
  6. Margaret Wilson Boyer (b. 1780, age 55) “widow and devisee [meaning: a person to whom real estate is left by the terms of a will] during widowhood of Gabriel Boyer” (1772 – 1827). Gabriel is bother to the Boyers named above.
  7. James Boyer (b. 1804, age 31) son of Margaret and Gabriel
  8. John Boyer ( b. 1796, age 39) son of Margaret and Gabriel
  9. Ann Boyer daughter of Margaret and Gabriel, and wife of Samuel Lawrence “in right of said Ann”
  10. Catherine Boyer, daughter of Margaret and Gabriel, and wife of James Thompson “in right of said Catherine”

JACOB BOYER GROUP

  1. Jacob Boyer – Brother to the siblings above.
  2. William Fisher “and Mary his wife, formerly Mary Norton who survived her husband Thomas Norton, in right of said Mary”. Mary is Mary Mower, daughter of Rebecca Boyer (deceased) and John Mower and granddaughter of Gabriel Boyer. Rebecca Boyer is the deceased sister of Jacob Boyer above. So – possibly William and Mary are the care takers for Jacob and his siblings in this group?
  3. Rudolph Mower – son of Rebecca Boyer and John Mower.
  4. Margaret Boyer (b. 1814, age 21) – daughter of Gabriel Boyer
  5. Rebecca Boyer (b. 1818, age 17) – daughter of Gabriel Boyer
  6. Jeanette Boyer (b. ~1820, age 15) – daughter of Gabriel Boyer
  7. Ann Jeanette Boyer – daughter of Gabriel Boyer

Howell – Read connection in New Brunswick

Howell – Read

Westmorland County, New Brunswick

A friends wife mentioned having Read ancestors from Westmorland County New Brunswick.  This is where our Hickman’s are from.  She also has Nova Scotia ancestors that were in the lumber business – same as our Davison family.

We must be related right?  So the hunt is on!

Thus far, I’ve found a Reed – Howell connection starting with the marriage of Annie M. Wells to Capt Benjamin A. S. Read  in 1822 .  Not sure where that leads  – more to follow.

The Umlauf’s of Germany to Jane E. Carter

Carter <-> Umlauf

Fan chart for Jane E. Carter Boyer

We are slowly filling in the blanks for Jane Evelyn Carter Boyer’s ancestors  This article discusses her Umlauf maternal line.

3x great grandparents, Johan Umlauf and Elisabeth Gräser, were from an area of Germany about 100 miles west of Frankfurt, near the French border.

Johann Jakob Umlauf (1776 – 1837) was born in Breitenbach, Germany.  At some point he moved to Hangard just a few miles away.  He married Elisabeth Gräser (1779 – 1849) who was born in nearby Wiebelskirchen.  She was 19 and he was 23 years old.  They likely had more than one child, be we know they had a son Henry.

Home of Johan & Elisabeth Umlauf.

2x Great Grandparents – Henry Umlauf I (1806 – 1852) came to America in 1852 with his wife Katharina Reiff (1810 – 1862) and their seven children.

Great Grandparents – Henry Umlauf II ( 1836 – 1920) was 15 years old when he came to America with his parents.   Henry was the eldest child.  In 1863 he married Dinah Raisbeck (1840 – 1925) born in England.  We assume they met in the United States.  They lived in Hollenback Township, Luzerne County Pennsylvania (southwest of Wilkes-Barre) where he was a coal miner.

Home of Henry and Dina Umlauf: Hollenback Twp. Pennsylvania

Henry and Dina had 13 children.

Grandparents – Charles R. Umlauf (1865 1930), Jane’s grandfather, was 3rd in birth order.  Charles married Martha A White (1870 – 1935) cir 1891 and they had 5 children.   Jane’s mother Olive was 4th out of 5 in birth order.  Olive’s younger sister Dorothy died at age four, which is why Olive referred to herself as the youngest in the family.

Parents – Olive Umlauf (1904 – 1988) married Edward William Carter, Jr. (1905 – 1964) in 1926.  He was 21 and she was 22 years old.  They lived in Philadelphia. Jane E. Carter was their first child.  Jane’s sister Dorothy died at birth.  Edward graduated from Drexel College after completing 8 years of night school, as an industrial chemist.  He worked for Penn Salt taking samples of chemicals arriving by rail.  He died suddenly while driving on 9th St at Vine, from a heart attack.

 

Henry Howell and Blanche Larzelere in Philadelphia

Howell <-> Hanano

Blanche Larzelere (1860 – 1923) was Henry Howell’s second wife.  We don’t know that much about her, so I thought I’d pull together what I’ve found so far in this post.

What a difference a generation makes.  Henry, a native of Georgia, his father a doctor in the Confederate Army, marries Blanche from Philadelphia, whose older brothers served in the Union Army.

After Henry’s return from Austria he moved to Philadelphia and opened a piano studio.  The reason Henry selected Philadelphia instead of a city in his home state of Georgia is not clear.

Blanche and Henry married in Philadelphia in 1908.  She was 47 and he was 42.  As far as we know, Henry was her only marriage and there were no children.  They lived at 165 Harvey Street in Philadelphia.

We know little about Blanche other than our family lore says she was a member of society, and a patron of the arts in Philadelphia, and therefore likely to have met Henry through his music.

Philadelphia Times, Friday August 8, 1902:  “Mrs. Rebecca Lazerlere and her daughter Miss Blanche Elder Lazerlere are at Belmar for the rest of the summer.”

Blanche was the youngest of six.  She had a sister Annie and four brothers: William, Washington Irving, Clifford Earle and Benjamin Franklin.  It would be interesting to hear from their descendants.

Some details about the Larzelere family emerge from Blanche’s mother’s obituary in The Churchman – Oct 13, 1906

Another obituary of unknown source…

Mrs. Rebekah Larzelere, Eldest daughter of the late Captain William T. Elder, of the artillery service of the War of 1812, and widow of William Larzelere, a merchant broker and a member of City Councils, died yesterday morning in her eighty-fifth year.

Mrs. Larzelere was prominent in church and charity work, being instrumental in the formation of two parishes, that of the Holy Cross of Germantown, now St. Michael’s and the Incarnation, whose church is at Broad and Jefferson sts. She was a lineal descendant of one of Philadelphia’s old shipping merchants, William Thomas Smith, a West India planter who came here before the Revolution. His wharves are still known as Smith’s wharves.

Mrs. Larzelere was actively engaged in charities for the soldiers during the Civil War, and especially interested in the Cooper Shop Hospital and the Volunteer Refreshment Saloon. Her two oldest sons were in the army then. She is survived by two sons–Clifford Earle and Washington Irving–and two daughters–Miss Blanche Elder and Mrs. Annie Elizabeth Haverstick.

Henry and Blanche were married for 15 years until her death in September 1923.

Her will, dated May 11, 1917, names Henry Howell executor.  A part of her will reads as follows:

I would like, if my husband so desires that my home be kept intact, and all contents to remain as they are during his lifetime. At his death, should my sister Annie, or my brother Clifford be living I desire that they should have and control the family silver, tea set etc., cut glass and old mahogany hall clock.

Within months of Blanche’s death Henry moved to Cuthbert, Georgia where he shared a home with his youngest brother Edward Lathrop Howell, and his two sisters, Mildred Eva Howell, and Bertha Howell Camp.  (Please also see: Cuthbert, GA – Home of Henry Howell)

Blanche is buried in the West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd.   It is the site of many notable burials, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Others in her family are buried a few miles away in the St. James The Less Episcopal Churchyard which is also in the National Historical Register.

According to the Dictionary of American Family Names, Larzelere is an Americanized form of French La Resiliere, which may perhaps be a habitational name from la Roussillière in Rhône.

 

Sarah Freeny / Freeney

The name “Sara” or “Sarah” appears regularly in the Freeney ancestors of Sara Marguerite Freeney (1911 – 1987). The tradition continues with her daughter Sara Ann.  Note the spelling of Freeny/ Freeney varies as well.

  • Sarah Freeny b. cir 1714 / 1725 (5x great aunt)

Please click on tree to enlarge

 

  • Sarah Freeny b. 1749 (4x great aunt)

  • Sara Freeny b. 1810 (First Cousin, 3 times removed)

  • Sarah Freeny b. 1850 (great aunt)

 

 

The Elusive Trotter Family Connection

McKeough <-> Stone

Cousin Darcy McKeough is trying to find the family connection between Thomas A. Stone (son of Flora Maude Campbell and Spencer Stone) and the Mr. Trotter mentioned as “Stony’s uncle” in John Birmingham’s biography “Memoirs My Guardian Angel Taught Me”.

There was a business relationship between Trotter and McKeough.  (In 1905 Samuel Trotter incorporated McKeough – Trotter Limited.)   On the other side, the McKeough’s and Stones (and Howell’s) are related through John Stone  and Mary Burns.

I will keep looking, (here is my list of Trotter’s) but so far I haven’t located the connection between Stone and Trotter.

Here is the section of interest from the biography:

“In 1911, when automobiles were the craze of the moment, Dad bought an EMF car. Not to be outdone, our neighbour Uncle Phil, also bought the same make and model. There were no such things as drivers; licenses then, but after some instruction, I was allowed to drive the car, and in fact to take it out alone to town for shopping errands, and that sort of thing. A desire to have a car of my own kept mounting as the years went by and by 1914, I decided it was time so start to build one.

Tommy Stone, as usual, was my partner. Stony’s father had an old buggy which had served its usefulness as a horse drawn carriage vehicle, so this was given to us as a starter. Stony’s uncle, a Mr. Trotter, owned a machine shop in Chatham which made gasoline engines. These were the two cycle type of marine engines used mainly for fishing boats. Experimentally, Mr. Trotter had built an air-cooled engine which was not a great success. Although it would run, there was no market for it, so Mr. Trotter gave the engine to Stony. It was about a three horse power engine and about three times the size of the modern present-day engine of that power.”

 

The Spinster and the Prophet

The Spinster and the Prophet: H.G. Wells, Florence Deeks, and the Case of the Plagiarized Text – Kindle edition

This is the dramatic tale of Florence Amelia Deeks (1864 – 1959), who sued H.G. Wells for plagiarism.

Florence Deeks brother was George Samuel Deeks, husband of Helen Ethel Campbell.  (Helen Ethel was the younger sister of Maude Campbell / Granny Stone.)

From Amazon.com

In 1920, H. G. Wells published his best-selling The Outline of History. Several years earlier, Florence Deeks had sent a similar work to Wells’s North American publisher. Deeks’s The Web was a history of the world with an emphasis on the role that women played. Her book was rejected. Upon publication of Wells’s massive opus (1,324 pages), which he completed in 18 months, Deeks discovered similarities between the two texts. The books had matching structures, scope, and even contained identical factual errors. From accounts of their contrasting lives (Wells was a philanderer and social progressive, and Deeks was a feminist who never married), personal memoirs, and courtroom transcripts — where Deeks fought her case of plagiarism — McKillop weaves the story like a legal thriller. Over 25 photographs add to this forgotten chapter in literary history.

From Publishers Weekly

When, in 1920, Florence Deeks finally received her rejected manuscript a feminist history of the world from Macmillan after eight months, she couldn’t understand why it appeared in such bad condition, the pages worn, torn and dog-eared. Later that year, when she read H.G. Wells’s new book, The Outline of History, published by Macmillan, she felt a chill. There were so many similarities to her own work: shared themes, organization, word choice, even the same mistakes. Florence made a dramatic decision she would sue Wells and his publisher for plagiarism. Years later, after a series of failed appeals, this reserved, dignified Toronto woman tried to bring her case to the king of England. It is a compelling story, part mystery, part legal thriller, always sympathetic to the intrepid Deeks, a woman trying to get a fair hearing in a man’s world. McKillop’s narrative directly challenges earlier accounts of Deeks v. Wells, which were all too eager to paint the plaintiff as a frustrated, obsessed spinster. The result is a wonderfully complex portrait of the two protagonists: Deeks, a shy, earnest, lionhearted woman; Wells, a bold, sexually promiscuous literary giant. The author handles the dual story line brilliantly, weaving together two opposing characters into one altogether gripping tale of literary theft. Photos. (Oct. 1) Forecast: Short-listed for several Canadian prizes and warmly received in Britain, this should be widely reviewed here and will appeal to readers of literary history and of women’s history and, more broadly, to the kind of readers who flocked to The Professor and the Madman.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From The Guardian

In The Spinster and the Prophet , Canadian historian A B McKillop combines these two themes. The phenomenon of the woman as an unacknowledged literary handmaid and the ethical issue of plagiarism join forces in a poignant and shocking story that aired publicly between 1930 and 1933. During this time, the Canadian Florence Deeks took on first H G Wells and his publishers, Macmillan, then the British privy council and the law lords. She finally attempted to petition King George V. In all these she failed. Legal and other costs came to around half a million dollars, paid by her brother and an unknown benefactor.

 

 

 

Betsy Cherry’s Clock

 Cherry -> Spencer -> Stone -> Howell

Peter Howell has this interesting heirloom clock made cir. 1864 in Connecticut by the S.C. Spring company.  This photo below taken by J. Spencer Howell during his last visit in 2010.
According to antiques.com which lists similar clocks:

“The company never issued a catalogue so its hard to know how many styles they made. Most of their clocks were sold to other clock manufacturers, so to find one with the S.C. Spring label in the case is a wonderful ‘find’ indeed…the image on the reverse-painted lower door glass reflects the type of work that was popular in that day…the clock features faux marble columns with gilded sections.”

Of special interest to our family: The clock has penciled service notations inside which often record the date and owner’s name such as “3.10.92 – Cleaned, Mrs. Spencer Stone” (Flora Maude Campbell Stone 1872-1969). Another notation refers to “Mrs. Spencer.” which could be interpreted to mean the aforementioned Mrs. Spencer Stone, but due to the age of the clock this could literally be Mrs. Spencer who was Betsy Cherry (1808-1893) who married William Spencer (1804-1846). Betsy Cherry Spencer outlived her husband William and daughter Adelaide Spencer (1833-1871).  After her daughter’s death, Betsy Cherry Spencer moved in with her widowed son-in-law Thomas Stone and raised her grandson, Spencer Stone (1869-1939) from age 2. (Adelaide Spencer married Thomas Stone (1827-1899) and they had eight children before her death)

So the likely provenance of the clock is: William & Betsy (Cherry) Spencer -> Spencer & Maude (Campbell) Stone -> John E. & Elizabeth (Stone) Howell -> Peter & Lee (Johnson) Howell.

Thomas & Spencer Stone’s Store in Chatham

Stone -> Howell
 
Darcy McKeough mailed a copy of John Rhodes’ article covering the history of the dry goods store once owned by Thomas and Spencer Stone.

 “It was, along with Eaton’s (Austin’s), one of the two anchor stores of King Street and for nearly 125 years it maintained that status.”

The article appears in the September 15, 2010 issue of “Chatham Today” and can be read by clicking on the image above.