looking for my great-great grandfather

susiew's picture

Hi, I just found out there is a cemetery in Fishtown (Kensington) and through a google search found this site. I have been researching my family tree, in particular, my great-great grandfather, Richard Chamberlain Wilson, who was a shipbuilder in Kensington. He was born in 1806 (I think in New Jersey) but apparently lived in Kensington until about 1840-1844. I have a receipt log of his that mentions supplies for building a house on Palmer Street (about 1839). It also lists purchases of caskets for two of his children - one in 1835 (George W.?) and one in 1838 (Amanda G.?) His first wife was Susan Gominger (married June 1, 1828). She died in Bordentown in 1847 and Richard married her cousin Sarah Vanderbeck Imley(Emlay) in 1848.
I have not been able to find out much about any of these family names in Philadelphia. I have a notation that Richard's father's name may have been Joseph, but it is not confirmed. I have not found him in any census listings in Philadelphia, nor any church affiliations. There is a possible connection with the Unitarian church, but their records are not available. I know Richard had at least one brother (I have a letter), but I don't know his name.
If anyone can offer any suggestions to renew my search, I would be very grateful. I am particularly interested in tracing the family back through prior generations, but would welcome any tidbits about his life in Kensington and as a shipbuilder. Someone on the Palmer Cemetery message chain made reference to an LDS microfilm with listings of who is buried there. I would be interested in knowing the serial number of that microfilm. If his two children died in Kensington, it's possible that they are buried in that cemetery.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Susie W.

Ftown66's picture

I don't know who that was

I don't know who that was about the microfilm list but i want to tell you many records were lost in a fire years ago. So they are not complete. I have a great grandmothers who's exact location is unknown because the fire destroyed the plot location before the headstone was erected. It might have been HETRICKSJ. He has in the past done research into his family at the palmer cemetery.

ken215's picture

Are you positive that he was

Are you positive that he was born in 1806? what other factual information regarding dates do you have?

Have you seen the 1840 census? It does list a Richard Wilson, living in Kensington.

susiew's picture

Thank you both for the quick

Thank you both for the quick responses.
I am pretty sure Richard was born on July 16, 1806, although I also have a date of July 11, 1804. He died on July 16, 1884, age 78 (which supports the 1806 date). I remember an obituary saying that he died shortly before his birthday, but I moved a few years ago and I think I am missing a file. He married Susan Gominger (born Oct 9, 1811) on June 1, 1828. She died in Bordentown on Feb 12, 1847. He then maried her cousin, Sarah Vanderbeck Imley (Emlay) on April 2, 1848. She was born on Dec 4, 1813 in New Jersey and died in Bordentown on May 8, 1883.
There were nine children with Susan:
Joseph W. b: Feb 14, 1831, d: Sep 22, 1911
George W. b: Oct 31, 1832, d: Jun 8, 1835?
Anna G. b: Sep 25, 1834, d: after 1900
Amanda G. b: Sep 17, 1836, d: Apr 7, 1838?
William C. b: Nov 13, 1838, d: after 1884
Alexander W. b: Oct 17, 1840, d: after 1884
Joseph C. b: Jan 20, 1843, d: ?
Emma b: Sep 26, 1844, d: Jun 23, 1848?
I also have a reference to a John Uhler who may have been a son - if so, he would have been born before Jul 1, 1839, possibly before Joseph W. - and died before 1840.
I also think it odd that there were two Joseph's. It's possible that Joseph W. may have died young and Joseph C. survived his father.
There were three children with Sarah:
Susan G. b: Mar 28, 1849, d: as an adult
Robert D. b: Jan 29, 1851, d: 1860?
Richard I. b: Jun 14, 1854, d: Aug 12, 1905
There were 12 children in all. All the children before Alexander were born in Philadelphia, the rest were born in Bordentown. I'm not sure of the children's death dates. I have a receipt log of Richard's that lists purchases for coffins for children, but no names for any of them - just 'child deceased'. I'm pretty sure Emma died in 1848 - the obit says 'infant daughter' and she would be the only one that fits that description, even at almost 4 years old.
I did find the census for 1840 (and also for 1830). I have to look at the births and deaths of the children to see if they are the right Richard. If John Uhler was the first-born, the 1830 listing could be the right one. 1840 is going to take some study. My notes say that Alexander was born in Bordentown in Oct 1840, so it could be close. I definitely did not find a census for him in Bordentown in 1840 (the one that's there is not him).
Thanks for looking into this for me. Are there any local papers or other sources for the 1830's that might list the obituaries of his children? That could help me match up the dates I have. I understand that the records for the Kensington Burial Grounds for that period are lost.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

You might try the Free

You might try the Free Library of Philadelphia for copies of obits. The cost is nominal about $2 and they will send you a photocopy.

From doing my own genealogy, you might not find obits for the children. Also, you should know that there were many cemeteries in the area but are no more. For instance, Hanover Burial Ground was on Columbia Avenue at Thompson Street; it is now a playground. Cities were notorious for removing cemeteries.

Good luck in your quest.

NancyC's picture

I am a great great

I am a great great granddaughter of James Gominger, a brother to your Susan Gominger Wilson. I have death dates & other info for some of the children who were raised in Bordentown, also much Gominger info to share.

I wasn't aware that Sarah V Imlay was a cousin of Susan Gominger. The Gomingers were from Phiadelphia, and I assumed that Sarah was one of the Monmouth County NJ Imlays.