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APPENDIX C - THE GREGORYS
by Jay W. & Muriel (Gregory) Sterner, 1970
It appears, by comparison, that most of the first part of this particular
section comes from the book Ancestors and Descendants of Henry Gregory,
by Grant Gregory, published in 1938. Grandpa (Jay Sterner) must have used
that book to research his wife's line. It appears he must have put together
the first part - perhaps as a means to encourage her to put SOMEthing together
on her own line, and had Muriel compose the rest from Allan Hall Gregory on.
There's an obvious change in "personality" in the writing from that point, to
one actually kinda negative and unflattering - which, unfortunately, was
Muriel's way of looking at life. I don't really like putting up such
unflattering accounts up on the web; however, since Muriel is now gone, and
there is noone left who remembers - this is ALL that we have left.
It is interesting to note that a lot of Grant's research on our side of the
family line apparently came from Eleanor (Gregory) Roome. (Dau. of Luther
E. and Anna R. Gregory; m. George Roome.) While Eleanor is not mentioned in
here, Muriel apparently did keep in touch with her. While we have no real
photos of Eleanor (except by a newspaper article from a 1969 Asbury Park
Evening Press), we do have some old family newsletters that Eleanor's family
was putting out at the time. One day I'll have to find out where the Roome's
went to and get in touch with them to see if they have photos of the other
family members, and perhaps of Abel Belknap, that we don't. Then I can put
them up on the web, too.
Please note: Regarding the above-mentioned book (Ancestors and Descendants
of Henry Gregory), I have photocopies of ONLY those pages relating to MY
family line. If you are a Gregory researcher, please do NOT request me to
try to look up your line in that book. I do not have the book itself, nor
do I have the pages which would be relevant to your lines. Thanks.
When the book was originally printed, there were only 200 copies made by
Tuttle Publishing Co. in Rutledge, VT. Copies are still being printed by
them on request. Unfortunately, no...I do not have their address; but it
should be easy finding by using a search engine. You can also get a copy
from Higginson Book Company. Be
aware, however, that this book comes with a hefty price tag: $75.00. But
if you really want that book, please talk to either of them.
He was born in Nottinghamshire, village of Highhurst
(now called Higher Barnes). He came to Boston in 1636
and settled in Agawam (now Springfield) shortly thereafter
- took up land there January 16th 1638. The house he
erected there was of wattle and daub, thatched, chimney
of clay-daubed timber. He was a shoemaker. He moved to
New Haven, probably in 1643 when he sold his land to his
son Judah. In 1648 we find him settled in Stratford.
Here he was sued for making "14 dozzen prs. defective
shoes". He probably died in 1655 for in that year, June
19th, his will was probated and we find an inventory of
He had ten children, the second born being
JUDAH (1618 - 1689)
He too was born in Highhurst and presumably came to
Agawam [Springfield] with his father. He first appears
in the records as follows -
January 13th 1642 - "Henry Burt complains against
Judah Gregory in the action of the case of Breach of Cov-
enant in molesting him in his daughter Sara Burt".......
"Judah Gregory was 3 tymes caled by the Constable to an-
swer the action abovesaid & he appeared not." However,
we later find - "Judah Gregory was joyned in marriage to
Sarah Burt - 4 month, 20 day, 1643" so obviously he done
right by Sarah, under sufficient compulsion.
That same year he must have followed his father to
Connecticut for he was not listed among the residents of
Agawam in that same year.
Judah too was a contracting shoemaker. He had two chil-
dren, Sarah and Samuel. He died at Stratford early in 1689.
SAMUEL (1646 - 1702)
He was born in Stratford in 1646 and was a Sergeant
(perhaps in King Phillip's War or merely in the train-
bands). He is listed as a freeman and husbandman (farmer)
in 1669. He was one of ten organizers of the Church of
Christ of Stratfield (now Bridgeport) in 1694. He may
have been in the Indian War for Tom, an Indian Captured
in the Great Swamp Fight, was bound to him as a "sarvant
for lifetime". In 1691, after three years of service, "hav-
ing behaved as a sarvant should doe", Tom was freed.
Administration granted June 18 1702 on estate of
"Sarjt. Samuell Grigory of Stratfield" - inventory value
£701-13-2. The shoe business must have done pretty
well for Samuell.
He had eight children of whom the youngest was
EBENEZER (1696 - 1750)
He was baptized 6th December 1696. He was a cooper
and Sergeant of Stratfield - which suggests that "Sergeant"
might be just a town office. He married Mary Odell. They
had eight children of whom the youngest was
JEDEDIAH (1729 - 1783)
He married Rhonda Fairchild 21st March 1757. About
1762 he moved to Morris County, New Jersey and acquired
a farm in the "Old Ark" on what is now Speedwell Ave.,
Morris Plains. Morris Plains Asylum now (1935) owns it.
Jedediah's will dated 18th April 1782 has an inven-
tory total of £254-8-7, including £7-4-10 in "Q.M. Cer-
tificates" which suggests he furnished supplies to the
Colonials when Washington had his headquarters at Morris-
He had ten children of whom the youngest was
JEDEDIAH, Jr. (1779 - 1854)
Jedediah's father, in the will above mentioned, left
ten pounds "to bring up and educate Jedediah" who, at the
time of his father's death, was apparently only two.
Jedediah married Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Marsh
a soldier in the Revolution, on the 19th August 1802.
Like his grandfather before him, Jedediah was a cooper.
He lived in Morris Plains and he and Elizabeth produced
nine children of whom the next to the youngest was
ABEL BELKNAP (1824 - 1909)
[NOTE: The rest of this document was apparently submitted to Jay
by his wife, Muriel Elaine (Gregory) Sterner (photo),
and thus explains the sudden change in the usage of pronouns from this point
on. A forewarning...Muriel is kinda negative. -Todd]
He married twice, first to Margaret Johnson (no issue
mentioned) and then to Susan Elizabeth Montrose. Abel
Belknap was a wheelwright and lived at Speedwell and
Gregory Avenues, Morris Plains. Later he moved to
Littletown and then to Newark. From this second marriage
came four children of whom the eldest were twins,
your Aunt Elma, who died while you were in Australia; and
Allan Hall Gregory, whom you always knew as "Papa".
[NOTE:: Regarding Abel Belknap's first marriage, the following
entry can be found on page 25 of WHO'S WHO IN
THE GRAVE YARD by THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN MORRISTOWN, which is kind
"Gregory, Margaret B.--10/29--Eldest Child of Alfred & Sarah Johnson and Wife
of Belknap Gregory, b. 28 Nov 1828, d. 29 May 1857. [Ed. Note: CR119 show
Margaret, Daughter of Alfred & Sarah (Baker) Johnson, Baptized 5 Jun 1829,
m. Belknap Gregory. CR90 show Margaret Baker Gregory, Daughter of
Belknap, d. 29 May 1857, age 28. CR301 i.e., in the Addendum, show Belknap
Gregory m. Margaret, daughter of Alfred Johnson. No children found in The
[So is this saying somebody erred in the documenting? or is there a
daughter? I'm assuming that somebody just erred. -Todd (02/15/2002)]
ALLAN HALL (1858 - 1956)
Allan Hall Gregory, twin brother of Elma C. Gregory,
was born on November 25th, 1858 in Parsipanny on a farm
which later became the site of the Morris Plains Hospital
(overlook). Allan and Elma were the oldest of four chil-
dren, the other two being Luther and the youngest, Everett.
Luther, after graduating from Columbia University as a
Civil Engineer, was chosen by the Navy and eventually be-
came a Rear Admiral in charge of building all the Yards
and Docks in the United States for a period of eight
years. He laid out the Naval Air Station here at Lake-
hurst and he designed a pontoon bridge which became the
standard till superseded by other designs. Eventually
Luther retired and he died at Olympia, Washington. Eve-
rett died ignominiously at an early age - history says
of pneumonia caused by alcoholism. Elma, Allan's twin,
died an old maid at the age of 93, a bitter and discon-
tented person who grudgingly allowed herself to be
saddled with the five children of Luther when their mother
Anna died giving birth to Ruth (now Mrs. Harold Wheeler).
Elma brought them up but never let the world forget her
Allan, your grandfather, was a plodding and patient
soul - neither gifted with the brilliance of his brother
Luther nor cursed with the immature bitterness of his
sister Elma. Actually he was just as bright as Luther
but had always shouldered the responsibility of support-
ing his parents and taking care of Everett - and putting
brother Luther through college. Luther paid him back
eventually but the years of self-sacrifice left Allan
where he started - poor and a mis-fit in the jungle world
of business. A little selfishness and belief in his own
personal worth would have given him insight into his own
need for higher education - he had finished High School
and had taken a course in book-keeping at a business
school - which was fairly good for those days. But book-
keepers make little money. His meticulous honesty and
his character would have made him a fine Certified Public
Accountant - a job in which he would have been very happy
and successful, as I now look back upon it. But such was
not to be.
He had made an unfortunate early marriage of which
we never talked and which I never mentioned to him, but
Mother had told me of it when I was grown. He divorced
this girl, a servant type, and she died soon after; also
the child of this union. Not having good insight into
character and being somewhat naive and credulous, it was
always inferred that he had been "taken in" by her, at
least that is how Mother and Aunt Elma put it. Perhaps
this experience was the basis for his philosophy of life
which he expounded to me from a very early age - "It's
not what people say - it's what they do that counts.
Never believe what a person says - watch them - see how
they act when they don't know you are watching - and this
will tell you their true character." Over and over again
he warned me in this way - to train me to be highly se-
lective in choosing my friends and companions. ...But to
Allan was a book-keeper and office manager for many
years with the Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machine Company -
about twenty years, I think - when he met and married
your grandmother. His store was on Broad Street, Newark,
on the corner, or next to the corner of Orange Street;
and a door or two from the North Reformed Church which I
joined when I was thirteen years old and in which your
father and I were married in 1936.
Allan, or "Papa" as you girls called him, had been
managing this store for many years when Grandma applied
for a position there as an instructor, and he hired her.
She taught customers how to use the sewing machines (and
how she hated sewing). Anyway, after a year or two, they
were married on April 25th, 1905 - had a honey-moon at
Niagara Falls - and settled down to married life in a
house on 13th Street, Newark, which Papa had bought with
his savings. Soon after I was born on January 7th, 1908,
the Singer Sewing Machine Company bought out Wheeler &
Wilson and put their own men in the managerial positions
so that Papa was demoted to salesman and had to take a
big salary cut - which infuriated Grandma to no end as you
can well imagine. So Grandma encouraged Papa to leave
Singer's and go into business for himself - a fatal mis-
take for Papa did not have the personality to survive in
At first he went into Real Estate - in which Grand-
ma's was the guiding hand - in partnership with our family
doctor Richman developing and building the Vailsburg sec-
tion of Newark. The good doctor was no businessman either
for he went bond, unbeknownst to my parents, to the amount
of $50,000.00 for a friend of his, a very famous and re-
spected lawyer in Newark at that time - whose name escapes
me at the moment. This lawyer skipped bond and disappear-
ed, presumably abroad for he was never apprehended or ever
heard of again. It killed Dr. Richman who had to pull his
money out of his business with Dad to make good on the
bond and to do this they had to sell their properties for
what they could and this forced Dad into bankruptcy. Thus
ended episode number one in the green jungle.
Episode number two started when mother had gotten
a position as a social worker with the Red Cross, and fi-
nanced Dad in opening his own sewing machine business.
She provided him with stock out of her own salary, new
and second hand sewing machines, and they rented a store
at 62 Main Street, East Orange. He started in, repairing
and refinishing sewing machines to make them like new. I
remember Grandma's impatience with Papa many times. He
would spend days refinishing a cabinet or cleaning and
oiling a machine and replacing parts - only to sell it
for a song when we needed the money for food. He would
do such a thorough job on a machine that it would last a
life-time and folks would never have to come back for re-
pairs. Mother couldn't speed him up - she would try to
get him to "slick them up" a bit and not put so much of
himself into them - but his integrity wouldn't allow him
to do this. He was proud of his thoroughness and his rep-
utation - but we were quite hungry sometimes and often
she would send him to Elma for money to buy food - which
was always given with such a tongue lashing that he cring-
ed and would have starved himself rather than ask her.
For us he did this. Grandmother from her job as a case-
worker paid it all back. However, I remember, poor as we
were Papa always had a penny to give me for candy when I
would ask him - even though Grandma would make him account
for it and would scold us for our extravagance.
Finally, when my Grandmother (Lydia Tolmie, Grandma's
mother) died in 1922, she left Grandma her house at 54
Abbott Ave., Ocean Grove, which Grandma had helped pay for.
Grandma came down here, sold it, and bought our present
house at 80 Abbott. She convinced Papa that there was
nothing in the sewing machine business for him (he was
then about 64 years old). They moved down here where they
proceeded to borrow money and remodel this building into
the first apartment house in Ocean Grove.
Papa worked for several years about this property
and another at 29 Webb which they also purchased on a "shoe-
string". After a few years he got a position as time-keeper
at the Berkley-Carteret Hotel, a position he kept until 1935,
when he was 77.
He often spoke with nostalgia of his boyhood on the
farm in Parsippany. He hated city life and was much hap-
pier down here at the shore - never much detail, but oc-
casional references which told us of the "good life" back
in his boyhood in that country house in Parsippany.
Papa lived for twenty years more after his retire-
ment from the Berkley-Carteret. His death certificate
said - "Arterio Sclerotic heart disease" which he no
doubt had - but he had been losing weight rapidly during
the final months - never complaining - and finally became
bed-ridden after a rectal hemorrhage. He survived only
a week after this and died peacefully as he had lived,
giving no trouble, above what was to be expected, in his
final days. Everyone who knew him loved him and admired
his calm, even disposition and his kindness and thought-
fulness to all.
[`SHEESH, Grandma!' Not the most FLATTERING of accounts, there! -Todd]
o Todd Sherman's Genealogy Page
o our GREGORY Descendancy Chart
o our GREGORY Family Photo Album.
o our DISBROW Family Photo Album
o our STERNER Family Photo Album
o our TOLMIE Family Photo Album
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Last Updated: October 1, 1995, February 15, 2002.
Todd L. Sherman (genealogy at alachuaskywarn dot org)
© Copyright 1995-2002 by Todd L. Sherman.
All Rights Reserved.