An Anonymous Minisink Stone Cutter

Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Township, Pike Co PA, 1821

This anonymous artisan's work is found throughout the churchyards and burying grounds of the Minisink Valley from 1802 - 1838.  To date we have discovered no signature to identify him but the stone cutter's use of a distinctive ornament of branching leaves and similar lettering elements can be found on tombstones in all three states.

Richard Veit in New Jersey Cemeteries and Tombstones suggests researching estate records to aid in identifying stone cutters, so a bit more research is in order. Quite possibly this is the work of two stone cutters, perhaps father & son or master & apprentice.

Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis NY, 1820

The 1820 example for Benjamin Carpenter, at left, and that of Jane Van Etten, 1837, are located at Laurel Grove Cemetery.

Correction: Benjamin Carpenter was re-interred from the Carpenter farm burial ground.

Westcolang, Pike Co. PA 1836

The earliest marker located thus far is that of Nathan Whitlock, 1802, at the Magakamack Churchyard, Port Jervis, Orange Co NY. Additional markers bearing the ornament in this old burying ground include that of Joseph Van Noy, 1833, John Nearpass, 1834, Lydia Van Fleet, 1835.

It is possible that the Whitlock marker was carved some years later than 1802.  Viet cautions that wooden markers decayed and were often replaced by family members some years after the burial.  

Damascus, Wayne Co PA, 1837

Two examples can be found in the Damascus First Baptist churchyard  in Wayne County, PA - that of Elijah Pullis, 1837, at left, and Love Ross, 1833.

The John Ryerson marker located at the Cemetery on Bell Farm in Matamoras, Pike Co PA appears to be dated either 1811 or 1841.   

Montague Township, Sussex Co NJ, 1838

Perhaps the most accomplished of the tombstones to use this ornament is that of Blandinah, wife of Severyne Westbrook, in the family burial ground off the Old Mine Road in Montague Township.

Whether this stone was ordered & shipped with the lily frame pre-cut or a design element popular at the time and added by the stone cutter remains unknown. 

Numerous examples of the lily frame around a central circle exist without the added branching leaves ornament of the "Minisink Stone Cutter" during the 1830s and 1840s throughout the region. 



Delaware & Upper Smithfield Townships 1772 Tax Records

The Pennsylvania Provincial tax records on Ancestry (subscription) are fascinating for the information not available online from the State Archives. In an effort to untangle the sometimes confusing index dates & townships from Ancestry for 1768 - 1801, please note the added text from the Proprietary, Supply, and State Tax Lists of the Counties of Northampton ... for the Years 1772 to 1787Google eBook, W. H. Egle, W.S. Ray, State Printer of Pennsylvania, 1897

Proprietary Tax, Northhampton, 1772  Delaware Township records appear to include the area just below the present day Egypt Mills north to just below Milford. The Upper Smithfield records include the area from Milford north to Matamoras. Both sets of records are termed Duplicates, from an unknown date.
Click here to enlarge

Note "Negros & Mulattos" as taxable commodities, i.e. slaves, for the following slave owners: John Brink, 2; Henry Cortright, 1; Benjamin Decker, 1; John Rosencrance, 2; Bernardus Swartwood, 1; Adam ?, 1; John Van Etten, 1; Eli? Vanauken, 1; David Vanauken, 1.

Andrew (Andries) Dingman is not listed, Broer Decker (Brewer Dacker) and Joseph Rider (Joseph Reder) are.  Records for all three of these settlers are scarce. Rider, in 1784, was granted the Patent to the Quick's Mill tract along the Vandermark Creek in present day Milford.

Abbreviations for the State Archives text


*Original data:
Tax & Exoneration Lists, 1762–1794. Series No. 4.61; Records of the Office of the Comptroller General, RG-4. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Land Records - vs the State

While reading through the subscription's database of PA Land Warrants and Applications in search of 18th century records for Johannes Van Etten an interesting document came to light. The only words I put into this Ancestry search engine, due to the overwhelming number of transcription & indexing errors, were Northampton, Pennsylvania  - then it was just a matter of wading through the alphabet in ten page leaps until reaching the V section.

The index found Emmins (as given name) Von Gordon (as surname) together with Hoover (as given name) Nyce (as surname.)  A gold mine of the Minisink neighbors jumped from the next page: John Emmins, Jacobus Van Gordon, Emanuel Hoover, William Nyce, John Mushback & (adjoining) Emanuel Gonsalis, Gilbert Van Gordon and the Swartwoods, Peter & Barnardus.

Ancestry's original document film is a treasure but poorly indexed, while the Land Records of the PA State Archives online are limited to later transcripts, copied surveys and compiled warrantee township maps in pdf format. The Archives are cumbersome, possessing no search engine, but the index is trustworthy (given the surname variants & misspellings of the time.)

Jacobus Van Gordon/Gorden:
Index #44
Copied Survey

Feb 12, 1785 tracts for Emmins, Van Gordon, Hoover, Mushback & Nyce on the Warrantee Map for Lehman (formerly Delaware) Township (# 31, 38, 53, & 66 are smaller tracts described in the margins.)

Large editions of each of the Pike Co Township Warrantee maps are also available for research at the Deeds Department in the Administration Building, Broad St. Milford, PA.

Parent Counties:  Bucks Co was one of the original Pennsylvania counties formed on 10 March 1682; Northampton Co set off from Bucks County 14 October 1751; Wayne Co set off from Northampton Co 21 May 1798; Pike Co set off from Wayne Co 26 March 1814; Monroe Co set off from Pike and Northampton Counties 1 April 1836.

UPDATE: An automated, fully-word-searchable transcription of the Northampton County Warrant Register, transcribed by volunteer Marie Robinson, is now available online.

UPDATE:  Pennsylvania Residents have FREE access to PA Land Records on Ancestry providing they also have a free Ancestry account: Click the PA State Portal page for more information.  

Deciphering the 1830 Ennes - Westbrook bill for $2.13

While paging through the Ennes / Ennis family file at the Pike Co Historical Society I found the following original clipping from an old ledger found in the attic of a Tocks Island condemned building at Dingmans Ferry in Pike Co some years ago.  Said ledger clippings are distributed throughout the various holdings of family files at the Society and are available for copying, though the pages before and after the entry are, in consequence, a mystery.

click on the document to enlarge

1st line reads: Joseph Ennes  ?__  (an abbreviation?)
2nd line:  __ Solomon Westbrook ___ (Sr. or Dr.?)
3rd line: 1830
Subsequent lines by date:
June 2 + 3 __o 8 1/2 gills Brandy ?__-- $0.50
              4   "    3       gills Brandy 1/  --   0.37 1/2  
              5   "    1       gill       "      1/  --   0.12 1/2
              8   "    2       gills    Gin    1/ --    0.25
and so forth down to
July  14      "     2   cocktales ?       ?        0.12 1/2

for a total of $2.13, which is correct.

Now the questions are who is serving whom and what are the abbreviations:
Was Joseph Ennes the bar keeper or was Solomon Westbrook?
Is the word after Ennes Jr?
Is the word before Solomon To? And is that word repeated in the bill before 8 1/2 gills of Brandy on June 2 + 3?
And, finally, could the ledger keeper / barkeeper have meant cocktails for cocktales?

There was no Joseph Junior to the best of my knowledge and NJ Index of Wills Vol III lists a probate Inventory for Joseph Ennes in the year 1830.  He is known to have worked as a ferryman and to have kept a public house for the raftmen on the Jersey side of the river.

Wiki - The gill (pronounced[1] /ˈdʒɪl/) is a unit of measurement for volume equal to a quarter of a pint.[2] It is no longer in common use, except in regard to the volume of alcoholic spirits measures, but it is kept alive by the occasional reference...

Definition of COCKTAIL
a : an iced drink of wine or distilled liquor mixed with flavoring ingredients
b : something resembling or suggesting such a drink as being a mixture of often diverse elements or ingredients
c : a mixture of agents usually in solution that is taken or used together especially for medical treatment or diagnosis
: an appetizer served as a first course at a meal

Origin of COCKTAIL
probably from 1cock + tail
First Known Use: 1806

Thank you dear readers for your helpful responses to the questions posed in  Deciphering the 1830 Ennes - Westbrook Bill for $2.13. Quite useful was this supplied link to How to Read 18th Century British American Writing.

A summary of  the responses, my thoughts & additional research:

  • Solomon Westbrook is most certainly the bar / store keeper and the preceding word, carried down throughout the bill being To.  A quick visit to the Society and examination of another family file with clipping from the same ledger confirms Solomon Westbrook's record keeping in the 1830s.  Said records cover his General Store's worth of goods from barrels of dried apples & bushels of wheat to pins & fabric. 
  • On the abbreviation following Westbrook it was pointed out: When researching early accounting methods, which were handwritten, it was noticed that the terms “Debit” and “Credit” were sometimes written as “Dr.” and “Cr.”  See also 18th Century Handwriting Contractions, Dr in superscript for debtor.
  • The question of the word following Joseph Ennes, which might be Jun in superscript, remains open. As was noted by a reader, the letter J following Ennes is not formed as in June & July in the clipping, however the top half is a duplicate of that in June & July.... with less room for the J's tail flourish accounting for the difference perhaps? And (this is most interesting) per Index of Terms used in 17th Century Wills and Inventories, if it is a Jur not Jun,  the word might indicate juramento (abbreviated form 'Jur') which is latin - by the oath of. This seems quite logical - Joseph Ennes, Jur swears on oath To Solomon Westbrook (note the space) to honor as Dr. debtor the following ... How this might relate to the probate of old Joseph in 1830 is still a question.
 Multiple sources, as supplied by our readers, noted the origins of the word cocktail including this quite interesting quasi-medicinal version:   H.L. Mencken lists seven versions of its origin, perhaps the most persuasive is Fr. coquetier "egg-cup." In New Orleans, c.1795, Antoine Amédée Peychaud, an apothecary (and inventor of Peychaud bitters) held Masonic social gatherings at his pharmacy, where he mixed brandy toddies with his own bitters and served them in an egg-cup. The drink took the name of the cup, in Eng. cocktay.

Stone Cutter William Goodliff

for Rachel Davenport Persbacher, 1873, Shohola PA

We've been surveying tombstones in the field by the talented English stone cutter, William Goodliff, who settled in Barryville, NY around 1865. His beautifully carved & signed stonework can be found in cemeteries in Sullivan County NY and across the Delaware River in Pike Co PA through the late 1870s.

Click to enlarge the images.
for Elizabeth & George Hubschmann, 1871, Shohola PA

We noted Goodliff's signature over the past year but only recently, on a visit to German Hill Cemetery in Shohola PA, did we find two markers with the identifying place name of  "Barryville" in the lower right hand corner of the gravestone.

for Warney Quick, 1875, Eldred NY

The old Eldred Cemetery a few miles from Barryville has a number of tombstones signed by William Goodliff, including Hannah Eldred, William Kyte, 1872, Runyan Longstreet, 1873, Caleb Shotwell, 1873, and Jane Stewart Wallace, 1874, featuring symbols and emblems commonly found in 19th c. cemeteries.

for Leon Devnoge, 1857, Eldred NY

The date belies the actual work, as this marker must have been carved some years after 1857.  William and family arrived in the US around 1860.  He served briefly with the 36th Reg. NY State Volunteer Infantry, mustering out in 1862, and spent the next two years or so in Brooklyn with a possible relative, John Goodliff.

Brooklyn New York City Directory, 1864, p 178

36th New York State Volunteer Infantry

By 1865, after moving to Sullivan Co, tragedy would strike with the death of William and Maria's daughter, Mary, who is buried in Van Tuyl Cemetery, Pond Eddy NY. Her headstone is unsigned but William would use the same mourning ribbon & lamb motif for Mary Eckhart's signed marker in 1872 in Shohola PA.

Mary Goodliff, 1865
Mary Eckhart, 1872

Did William Goodliff order from a catalog, await the railroad shipment & and simply inscribe the name & date or did he shape and cut all aspects of the stone?

Stone Cutter Galen Bennet, in an 1875 ad for his marble yard in Port Jervis NY, states: "most of our designs are original." Peter Higgins' signature "Willow & Urn" motif appears on several differently shaped and sizes of headstones in cemeteries throughout the tri-states area.

Lumberland, Sullivan, New York State Census, 1875

 for Hannah, second wife of James Eldred, date unknown, Eldred NY

for Elizabeth & George Hubschmann, 1871, Shohola PA
Note Goodliff's quite distinctive numeral 7, and his use of a semi-colon after the 4.

Goodliff's Inventory of Works in New York & Pennsylvania.

Shortly before the 1880 Census, William Goodliff would move the family to Virginia where his sons William H & Harry would carry on the business after his death in 1882.  

Update: A brief notice in the 14 April 1877 issue of The Evening Gazette, Port Jervis NY:

An interested reader has supplied us with photos of the signature of Goodliff on the lower edge of the bottom half of a broken tombstone in the Micah Churchyard, Blanks Store, Charles City County, Virginia. This is the first example in my experience where the carved signature would have been purposely placed on an area of the stone intended to be below the surface and not visible to the public.