So before I tell you what I found, I have to make a comment. Most of my posts seem to be propelled by my need to move past the last post. Like, I'm so annoyed with my writing and sick of seeing it, that I hurry up and cobble something together to write about. Not that I don't want to get most of this stuff down, it's just I'm annoyed with how I do it, nearly every single time. Is this just how it goes? If I think back to the first few years of graduate school, I guess it was the same. Mediocrity and failure for years.
OK. This is cool, though, last paragraph notwithstanding. I found a letter in the Miscellaneous Taylor Family file. It was from a Mr. James H. Peters of Elberon, New Jersey. It was received by the Monmouth County Historical Society on October 22nd, 1935. I will transcribe it:
I read with great interest an article in the Asbury Park Press about the acquisition of the old Taylor house at Middletown.
My Grandmother Mary Taylor was born there about a hundred years ago. Among a number of papers handed down to me I have a very fine genealogy of the Taylor family that goes back to 781; a Taylor Coat of Arms, casted on an old fire-back for a fire place; a piece of tile from one of the Taylor houses that burned; some verry accurate maps or diagrams of the Taylor properties at Middletown showing the location of the Taylor houses and burying grounds, as well as other points of interest; together with written matter pertaining to the home life of the Taylors.
I will be very glad to show you the above if you will make an appointment with me for some Sunday, as my work takes me away from home durring the week.
Very truly yours,
James H. Peters
There is a note on the letter stating that an appointment was made for Sunday, October 27th. I'm very curious as to what happened. In the letter he refers to the Taylor house that burned. That was Phebe's house that became known as the Beekman House - the house on Ruckman Hill. I've read of that surviving tile somewhere before, but can't remember where. Anyway, I know where it was in 1935! I also found the "written matter pertaining to the home life of the Taylors" to be mouth-watering. What if they mention her? What if the mystery of why her gravestone is so simple and cold could really be solved? What if something really happened?
Another exciting thing is that I went onto ancestry.com when I got home and thought I'd get started trying to find this James H. Peters and I did! Pretty quickly, too! I matched his signature and everything - I'm such the detective today! He was born in 1896, he had a first wife named Alma, a second wife named Betty and a son named James H. Peters also. The son was born in 1917 and died in 1970. I didn't get further than that, but that's a lot. Senior's WWI Registration form is on file, as is a 1930 Census form that describes the household. Insanely easy.
I should be able to cyberstalk James Jr. some more and hopefully find out where those items are. Ooooh! Ooooh! Wills. Wills are public record, right? I can find if they willed that stuff to anyone. I can also ask the Historical Society if they have any record of that appointment.
A lot more to do. Honing in on Phebe from all sides. I believe I'll go to the MCHA library at least once a week from here on out. My happy place.
Until next time...