Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Wives of Charles Summers

Charles Summers was, apparently, a son of David Summers and Mary "Polly" Horn. David was one of the five sons of John Summers Esq. of New Jersey, and David died in NJ in 1825. His widow, Mary, removed with her four children to Michigan in the 1830s when the most of the other New Jersey Summers decided to relocate.

We have known, or thought we've known, that Charles Summers married Laura Tower, mostly by virtue of her gravestone in Michigan which states her maiden name. But recent correspondence from a Tower researcher has lead us to realize that Laura was probably the second wife of Charles Summers. We have located the marriage record of Charles Summers to Laura Gibbs in 1839 in Michigan (see familysearch), which seems to suggest that Laura Tower was previously married to somebody with the Gibbs surname (we don't know who). But it also appears from the 1850 census that there was a son in the Charles Summers household named Samuel who was born in New Jersey. This would mean that Charles Summers probably also had a first marriage in New Jersey.

And as long as we're on the topic of Charles Summers, it is worth noting that he is the one and only Summers who has SOME connection to the surname LONGSTREET. The Longstreet surname has long haunted us, because when I first started this Summers research, every crowd-sourced family tree out there claimed that my 6th g-grandfather, Georg Sommer, was married to Anna Barbara Longstreet. This claim is very widespread, but after years of hunting, I can find no source other than DAR/SAR applications. What the documentation does support is that Georg Sommer married Anna Barbara Rub in Freistett, Germany and they had several children prior to emigration to America in 1752. Georg died in NJ in 1785, and perhaps Anna Barbara remarried to a Longstreet, but so far, I've not found any documentation to support that idea.

But then three generations later comes Charles Summers. In 1828, Charles petitioned the Orphan's Court in New Jersey requesting William R. Longstreet as his guardian, and indeed in the 1830 census of Vernon, Sussex, New Jersey, we find William Longstreet enumerated with what appears to be a young couple, which could well be Charles Summers and a first wife? Speculation, to be sure. But it was not random that Charles Summers requested William R. Longstreet as a guardian. William R. Longstreet seems to have had connections with the Van Deren family, the family name of Charles' grandmother, Anna Van Deren. Hmmmm.....

So there we have it: Charles Summers requested William Longstreet as a guardian AND additionally, apparently, had a first marriage and a son in New Jersey before moving to Michigan. The Sommers surprises just keep on coming....

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