New Ancestors: Magdalena Whitehead, James Jones and Joanna Meeker

The beautiful thing about genealogy is that, aside from all the hard work and fun of following clues in the records, every once in a while the genealogy goddess looks down upon you and smiles. Or more precisely, some complete stranger contacts you out of the blue with some wonderful information that you didn’t have before that helps piece together the puzzle of ancestors’ lives lived so long ago.

You may have noticed in the comment section after my article “Caleb and Joanna (Wade) Lewis musings,” that suddenly last month, two such contacts happened back to back. Boy! was the goddess smiling on me!

I had earlier found Timothy Whitehead’s 1779 will that named his daughter Magdalena Wade and his son-in-law Daniel Wade. I had also seen Daniel’s 1793 will that named his wife Temperance. The Stuart C. Wade book on the Wade genealogy mentions only two wives for Daniel Wade:  Elizabeth, who died in 1758 and is buried at Connecticut Farms (Union), NJ, and Temperance. Nowhere does he mention the middle wife, Magdalena. As a result, dozens of Wade researchers online do not mention her and have posted Temperance as the mother of several of the Wade children.

Yet, my Jacob and Sarah (Jones) Wade named their first-born daughter Magdalena. David and Esther (Wade) Baker named one of their daughters Magdalena. Naming patterns offer important clues.

Then, miraculously, Cousin Travis Whitehead left a comment on my blog post saying that I was correct in assuming Daniel had married three times. Travis had access to a Whitehead diary listing the five children of Timothy Whitehead, along with their birth and death dates, including my Magdalena (Whitehead) Wade, who died in 1783! Yay!

So here’s the timeline:

Daniel married Elizabeth, and they had some children together. She died in 1758. The Wade children born before 1758 belong to Elizabeth.

Daniel married Magdalena Whitehead, and they had some children together. Magdalena is mentioned in her father’s 1779 will. She died in 1783 according to her nephew’s diary. The Wade children born between 1759 and 1783 belong to Magdalena.

Daniel married Temperance, and names her in his 1793 will. It’s most likely they did NOT have children together, as Temperance was at least 50 years old when they married sometime after 1783. She is buried in the First Presbyterian Church Yard, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey: Temperance Wade died 5 Feb 1818, aged 86 years and 13 days.

Daniel Wade died in 1793.

My next project is to follow up on all of Daniel’s children to see which ones were born to Elizabeth and which to Magdalena. Some are obvious because of the birthdates supplied in the Stuart Wade book, but others he named without dates of birth.

Then, the SECOND miracle happened. Cousin Jane Sullivan had read that same blog post and left a comment regarding my musings about Sarah (Jones) Wade. The fact that Jacob and Sarah (Jones) Wade named their first-born son James J. Wade made me suspect that Sarah’s father might be named James Jones…. you know, those all-important naming patterns again.

Jane confirmed my suspicion! She descends from Sarah’s sister Mary Jones who married Jabez Thompson, who served in the Revolutionary War and survived long enough afterwards to apply for a pension from the U.S. Government. After Jabez died, his widow Mary applied for widow’s benefits. Thank heaven we 21st century researchers have the good fortune of easy access to pension files through Mary’s widow’s pension application contains affidavits from her sisters: Rebecca (Jones) Wade, married to Jacob Wade’s brother Robert, declared that she was a sister of Mary Thompson, and that they were daughters of James Jones of Essex County, New Jersey. Sarah (Jones) Wade declared that she was a sister of Mary Thompson and that although she was unable to attend Jabez and Mary’s wedding, her husband Jacob went to fetch the minister and was present to see the marriage. Hallelujah! The affidavit goes on to give nice detail about how Jacob and Sarah moved to Oneida County, New York in the mid 1790s, but more on that in another post.

So now we have three sisters, Rebecca, Sarah and Mary Jones, all daughters of James Jones. We don’t know if they were the only children. We also don’t know their mother’s name. Or do we?

Cousin Jane put me onto two other fantastic records:


Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, page 270
Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Vol. VI, 1781-1785 

1773, March 6. Meeker, Jonathan, of Essex Co.; will of. Wife, Sarah, 1/3 of moveable estate, and use of 1/3 of my land. Daughter, Johanah, the present wife of James Jones, the house in which she lives, which I bought of John Jewell, and 4 acres of land that join the house. Daughter, Sarah, the present wife of Jonathan Congar, £9. Daughter, Rebekah, £100. Son, Jonathan, rest of my estate. Executors—son, Jonathan, and my brother, Isaac Meeker. Witnesses—William Meeker, Josiah Meeker, Alexander Vance. Proved Aug. 19, 1782.
Lib. 24, p.2


From “Genealogies of New Jersey Families: Families A-Z, pre-American notes on old New Netherland families,” page 665

Meeker Bible

The following records are contributed by Mr. C. L. Wallace, and are from a Bible printed in Edinburgh by Robert Freebairn, His Majesty’s Printer, in 1734, and now in possession of Miss Belle Meeker, 54 Wakeman Avenue, Newark. 

Jonathan Meeker was born Novem’r ye 8th 1712 and he expired the 5th day of October 1782.
Rebekah the wife of Jonathan Meeker was born 10th day of Novem’r 1722 and they were married the 3d Day of March 1740. She expired January ye 12th 1746.
Sarah the wife of Jonathan Meeker was born June 26th 1714. They were married the 27th of March 1748.

Our Children’s Ages had by my first wife
Joanna was born Decemb’r ye 13, 1740.
Jonathan was Born February 21, 1744 (N.S.).

Children Ages had by my 2d wife
Obadiah was Born 17th August 1749 and he expired Septem’er 1, 1750.
Sarah was born July 28th, 1751.
Rebekah was born 26th February, 1754, and she Expired the 24th of May, 1777.

William Meeker deceast December the XXI Day in the year 17XLIV and in the 67 year of his age.

There you have it. Sarah (Jones) Wade has been a dead end in our family my whole life. Beyond recent speculation that her father may have been named James, I have never had one morsel of information on Sarah and where she came from. Then within days, all that changed and now we have Sarah (Jones) Wade’s parents, James Jones and Joanna Meeker. Not only that, but we have Joanna (Meeker) Jones’ parents, Jonathan Meeker and Rebekah, his first wife. AND did you catch the final entry in the Bible record? That William Meeker is Jonathan’s father, William, who died 21 Dec 1744.

This entry was posted in Jones, Meeker, Wade, Whitehead. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to New Ancestors: Magdalena Whitehead, James Jones and Joanna Meeker

  1. Jane Sullivan says:

    Hi Leslie, Glad to see that you have posted this Jones-Wade info on your blog. Maybe someone out there will see it and have more info for us. Maybe we will even find another child of James and Joanna.

  2. Russ Lewis says:

    A great account, Sis. Your enthsiasm is infectious. I should know! Thanks for all that!
    Thanks, too, for the account (illustrated, yet!) by my dad.

Comments are closed.