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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuckerton and the Abe Lincoln Connection

My genealogy buddy, Shirley Whealton, and I are working on clipping, digitizing, and organizing obituaries of family members from the Bass River-Tuckerton-Little Egg Harbor area. They cover eras from the late 1800's through the present day. So far we have collected in excess of 6,000 and are still clipping.

Every now and then we come across an obituary that is particularly interesting. Such was the case the other day, as an obituary of Alex Walton caught my attention. Walton passed away in August of 1937, shortly before his 97th birthday. Born in Tuckerton, he was one of the oldest residents of Ocean County. Alex led an interesting life, particularly his involvement in the Civil War and his relationships with Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley. 

I've inter-spaced some background information in the following August 19, 1937 news item from the Tuckerton Beacon which highlights some interesting aspects of Alex's life journey.

The Giffordtown neighborhood where Alex was born is in the area of the present day Acme shopping center and is commonly referred to as West Tuckerton today. Joel and Margaret's home can be seen on the following 1858 Kuhn-Janney map of Burlington County.

Alex was one of eight children born to Joel and Margaret (Adams) Walton who lived on Stage Road in the Giffordtown section of Little Egg Harbor. The 1860 Little Egg Harbor census lists the Walton family members with Alex at age 15.

Alex's whereabouts from a fifteen year old living in the Giffordtown section of Little Egg Harbor in the 1860 census until appearing in the 1930 Toms River census (see below) as a 77 year old stable hand is a mystery. I could find no mention of him in 1870 through 1920 census data. Anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere who can locate him during those in between years is invited to leave a comment.

Alex's connection to the Mathis family was through his oldest sister, Mary, who married Benjamin Churchwood Mathis in February of 1858. Mary doesn't show up in the Joel Walton household in the 1860 census, as she was already married and had moved out of the family homestead. Her husband, Benjamin, was the great-great-great grandson of the Great John Mathis through his son Job's line as follows: Job to Daniel, Sr. to Daniel, Jr. to Benjamin Churchwood. That would make Alex a relative of anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere who is a descendant of the Great John Mathis.

McKindley shot September 6, 1901
Died September 14, 1901

Based upon the fate of Alex's acquaintances, Lincoln and McKinley, I'm not sure I would be inviting him over for lunch to get better acquainted.

Well, that's the Lincoln connection to Alexander Walton, a Tuckerton native. I hope you have found his life as interesting as I have.

Pete S

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