Elizabeth Ann Russell

ID # 1702, (1826-1920)
FatherGeorge Washington Russell
MotherRachel Vrooman (1781-)
BirthElizabeth Ann Russell was born on 22 April 1826 at Stamford Township, Niagara District. 
MarriageShe married John Butler Jones on 9 October 1872 at Trinity Church, Chippawa.
Mrge reg Chippawa, Welland County
John Butler Jones, age 54, widower, tavern keeper, born Oxfordshire, England, residing Clifton. Parents John and Elizabeth Jones.
Elizabeth Ann Leak, 42, widow, born Lundy's Lane, Co. Welland, residing Clifton. Parents George and Rachael Russell.
Wit Gaspard Rosli and Sarah Rosli, both of Clifton.
On 9 October 1872, at Trinity Church, Chippawa, by D.F. McLeod.
The bride and groom were both Church of England.

John's place of birth appears on the record as Oxfordshire in England, but census information and his gravestone in Fairview Cemetery, Niagara Falls, show his place of birth as Gibraltar. Elizabeth's name on the marriage registration is presented as Leak. It may now be said with confidence that this was a problem of interpretation of the clergyman's handwriting by the clerk at Chippawa. The Niagara Pensinsula Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has published a transcription of the Holy Trinity Church marriage register. On page 2 of parish register C, it reads:

October 9, 1872 / John Butler Jones / w / Clifton / Elizabeth Ann Cook / w / same place / MacLeod / (witnesses) G. Searle, Sarah Bosli.

It appears that the transcribers had their own problems with the clergyman's handwriting. The name Rosli, not Bosli, for witness Sarah, is actually correct. Where on earth the name G. Searle comes from is anybody's guess! It does seem reasonable that the first witness was Gaspard Rosli, Sarah's husband.

Gaspard and Sarah (Dawson) Rosli were hoteliers at Clifton. John and Elizabeth Ann are shown as resident at Clifton. We do not know the relationship that led to the Roslis being witnesses for this marriage, but it is reasonable to believe that Elizabeth Ann had to support herself when she returned from England. She may have gone to work for the Gaspard and Sarah at their hotel. Of course, for the moment, that's a guess.

Gaspard and Sarah were certainly prominent in Clifton. Advertisements for the hotel appears in newspapers of the time. Sarah died in 1882 and Gaspard kept the hotel until his death in 1886. They are buried together in Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls, New York.

In 1855, Gaspard and Sarah purchased property for their hotel when what became Clifton was (briefly) named Elgin. The Elgin land transactions appear on microfilm reel GS2829. This reel is indexed and three consecutive transactions appear under the Rosli name. Elgin/Clifton was located near the then suspension bridge in Stamford Township.
MarriageShe married Thomas King on 6 July 1905 at Niagara Falls, Welland County.
Mrge reg. 019519-05 City of Niagara Falls, Welland County
Thomas King, 76, widower, clerk, Episcopalian, born Sherbrooke, Ont. (Sherbrooke Township in present day Haldimand County), residing Niagara Falls. Parents Squire Thomas and Mary Rhymer.
Elizabeth Ann Jones, 77, widow, Episcopalian, born Lundy's Lane, residing Niagara Falls. Parents George Russell and Rachel Vroman.
Wit. Jane Marshall, Niagara Falls, Bella Tucker, Lundy's Lane.
On 6 July 1905 by Rev. George B. Gordon.

The witness, Bella Tucker, was the grand daughter of Elizabeth Ann's sister Margaret.
MarriageShe married Charles Cook
DeathShe died on 17 April 1920 at Williamsville, New York, at age 93. 
BurialShe was buried on 20 April 1920 at Fairview Cemetery, Niagara Falls, Ontario. 
NotePage 107 of the Vrooman Family History, 1949, states that Elizabeth Ann Russell married Charles Cook. The book says that Cook was a military man and that the couple resided in England until his death at which point Elizabeth returned to Canada with two children, a son and a daughter. This is at odds with an interesting obituary that appeared in the April 19, 1920 issue of the Niagara Falls Gazette of Niagara Falls, New York, which states that she returned to Niagara Falls, Ontario, in 1870, after the deaths of her husband and children, a son and daughter. This latter statement is basically correct. One error appears in the obituary in that while it states correctly that she was a daughter of Rachel Vrooman, it goes on to say that she was the grand daughter of Colonel Vrooman who fought under General Brock in 1812-1814. Since Rachel's father, Adam Vrooman, died in 1810, this would appear to be a garbled memory of Rachel's brother Solomon Vrooman who is recorded as having been at the battle of Queenston Heights.

Elizabeth Ann Cook appears in England in the 1851 census at Chesterton, Cambridgeshire. She is shown as being born in Canada West, B.S (British Subject) and her son, Alfred, age 7, was born in Canada East. Elizabeth is shown as a seamstress and she and her son are shown as visitors in the home of John Vincent, no apparent relation.

From his marriage registration in 1865, we know that her son's full name was Alfred Charles Cook. He identifies his father as Charles Cook on this document.

In August of 1854, we find a birth registration for Elizabeth's daughter Elizabeth Ann and the child is registered under the name Cook. The given name of the father is not provided. In the 1861 census, again at Chesterton, she however identifies herself as Elizabeth A. Russell, unmarried, seamstress, born Canada, and her daughter Elizabeth A. is also shown with the name Russell. Son Alfred, born Canada, is said to be a private in the army in the 1861 census. He was enumerated with other army personnel at Colchester. (See notes for Alfred.)

We now know that Elizabeth's son Alfred Charles died in 1867. His widow Elizabeth Emily Sheppard remarried to a Walter Albert Donno in 1869.

Young Elizabeth Ann, age 17, died of dysentry on 8th March, 1871, at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. Her mother, identified as Elizabeth Ann Cook, was the informant. Shortly thereafter, Elizabeth Ann Russell is recorded in the 1871 UK census (begun 2nd April) at Chesterton. Her place of birth is given as Canada West, Falls of Niagara. This is our last record of Elizabeth Ann Russell Cook in England. Her obituary states that she returned to Canada in 1870, but 1871 will be the year.

Elizabeth Ann's grandson, Alfred Richard Cook, was born at Colchester in 1865. He was in Canada by 1889 per his marriage registration. We have further confirmation of his relationship to Elizabeth Ann according to a record we have for her crossing the border to Niagara Falls, New York, in 1919. She is destined to her grandson Alfred Richard Cook who undertakes to provide for her to the end of her days.

The 1949 Vrooman Family History book goes on to say that her second husband was Butler Jones and her third husband 'John' King (correct name Thomas King). Both these marriages are documented, but her marriage to Butler Jones is registered with Stamford Township under the name of Elizabeth Leak. The Niagara Peninsula Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society provides a transcription of Holy Trinity Church's marriage record and she is shown as Elizabeth Cook. The township's recording clerk mistranscribed the clergyman's handwriting.

Elizabeth King crossed the border from Niagara Falls, Ontario, to Niagara Falls, New York, on Oct. 28, 1919, destined to stay with her grandson, Alfred R. Cook, of 532 Fourth Street, Niagara Falls, New York. She gives her Canadian relative as her husband Thomas of Dunnville, Ontario. The back of her card states: Acc by grandson who guarantees home for her the balance of her life.

Elizabeth A. King, age 93, shown as born in Canada and coming to the U.S. in 1919, appears in the 1920 census at Niagara Falls, New York. The date of this enumeration is shown as being between the 2nd and 15th day of January. We do not have a death registration for Elizabeth, but have an excellent record of her passing on page 1 of the April 19, 1920, edition of the Niagara Falls Gazette of Niagara Falls, New York. There is both a death notice on page 1, almost certainly placed by her grandson, and an interesting obituary. It makes mention of her mother being Rachel Vrooman and says Rachel was the 'first white woman born at Queenston Heights'. It dates her birth to 22 April, 1826, and her death as Saturday, April 17, 1920, and says the funeral will be on Tuesday (April 20). Burial was to be at Fairview Cemetery, Niagara Falls, Ontario, and, according to the cemetery's records, she was indeed buried on the 20th. (The date of her birth, 22 April, 1826, as shown in her obituary may or may not be precise, for it is our one reference to her date of birth. Her year of birth, based on some census information, was most probably 1826. 1826 is shown as her year of birth on her gravestone.)

Elizabeth's border crossing record show her birth place as Stamford, Canada (Stamford Township). The obituary records her birth as being near Lundy's Lane. This will be in Stamford Township. The one error in the obituary is referring to Elizabeth as Mrs. King at the time she married John Butler Jones. Earlier comments do record her marriage to Charles Cook of the 43rd Light Infantry, an English regiment stationed at Lundy's Lane at the time.

It should be noted that Elizabeth's gravestone inscription dates the year of her death to 1919. This error would seem to indicate that the stone was not put up until some years had passed by after her death.

The gravestone for Elizabeth and John B. Jones shows an inscription to the side of the stone for Edward L. Draper, 1901-1964. Edward was the husband of Alexandra Cook, the daughter of Alfred Richard Cook and Carmenta Burnison. Alexandra is understood to have lived to a great age and to have died in Florida.

One final note, and this is entirely an opinion, but one the logic of which is difficult to escape.

When Elizabeth Ann Russell Cook returned from England, she almost certainly came back to her sister Margaret Henley. After all, on the evidence, her son Alfred Charles Cook was visiting with the Henleys and Coles when he died. Elizabeth's mother was dead by this time. This we know from brother Luther's Quit Claim of 1866 which states that she (Rachel Vrooman Russell) was deceased.

Still living, however, was Rachel's brother, Solomon Secord Vrooman. Margaret and Elizabeth must have spent some time with Solomon and his family. It seems the only rational explanation for what happened in later years. Indeed, once Alfred Richard Cook, Elizabeth's grandson came to Canada, he must have spent some time with his Vrooman cousins.

When Alfred's daughter Ruth married Harry Weir in 1922, Josie Vrooman was flower girl. When Ruth died in 1943, Harry then married Josie's sister Ila Vrooman. These young women were Solomon Secord Vrooman's great grand daughters by way of his son Henry Eugene and his grandson William Henry. It's difficult imagining this documentable connection travelling down through the decades if Elizabeth Ann Russell and, probably, sister Margaret had not maintained a family relationship with Solomon Vrooman's children. 

Children of Elizabeth Ann Russell and Charles Cook

Last Edited23 Sep 2018