Alexander Van Ransellar Thuey, Civil Engineer

Discussion in 'General Family History Queries' started by euryalus, May 28, 2016.

  1. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    About thirty years ago I was asked to participate in a local history project concerning the history of the Staines & West Drayton Railway, but the publisher sat on the resulting Ms. for over three decades. It seems that he now wishes to proceed, which presents a bit of a problem, insofar as family history has moved on since the 1980s. I have, in consequence, being trying to check our initial findings against various on-line resources which were not available when the original work was carried out, and have hit a “brick wall” in the case of Alexander Van Ransellar Thuey (1842-1902), a civil engineer, apparently of West Indian origin, who was heavily involved with the promotion, construction and opening of the railway during the 1880s.

    Sadly, he died in obscurity on Brighton Workhouse, but the “standard” family history sources reveal that he was born in Nassau in 1842, married Eliza Georgina Benson in 1877, and had eight children. The family lived in Stevenage, Notting Hill and, later, in 15 Sidney Road, Forest Gate, while Thuey's Office was given as Palace Chambers, Westminster.

    The problems relate to the West Indian connection: It is known that an Alexander Thuey emigrated from New York to the British West Indies, which offered greater opportunities for coloured people than the USA. It is tempting to conclude that this Alexander was the father of the engineer, but the two sets of records do not entirely add up. Alexander Thuey, a carpenter, married Phebe Van Rensellaer, and died in Nassau on 27 November 1861, aged 57, and he is buried in the Western Cemetery, Nassau. However, the online sources that I have consulted make no mention of a son called Alexander – so were there any links between the Thueys, or were there two separate familes living in Nassau at the same time?
     
  2. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Have you seen the image on Family Search.
    Immigration form Boston to Nassau on the 'Hudson' 1845
    Phelis Thuey 40
    Mary Theuy 15
    Elzabeth Thuey 5
    Alexander 3 (stated as female) born USA 1842
     
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  3. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Another passenger manifest from New York to Nassau on the 'Stenn Rumah' 14 June 1859. Alexander Thuey 50, builder states born Bahamas US Citizen, son Alexander Thuey age 16 born Bahamas and Phoebe, daughter 24 born Bahamas.
     
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  4. Bahama

    Bahama New Member

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    Western Cemetery, Nassau, N.P.
    Alexander THUEY Esq.
    Died 27 Nov 1861 Aged 57
    Pheobe Van RENSSELAER
    of County Van RENSSELAER, N.Y.
    His Wife
    Died 23 March 1862 aged 59
    [ Back side of Head stone]
    Erected By
    Their Son
    A. V. R. THUEY
    Assoc: Memb: Inst: C. E.A. F.G.S
    H.M.E.S
    India

    Bahama Herald - issue: 26 Mar 1862
    DIED, On Sunday morning the 23rd instant,
    Mrs. Phebe THUEY, aged 61, a native of Troy, NY
    and relict of the late Alexander THUEY Esq.
    ...She has left an affextionate son, three daughters...
     
  5. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you to those who have responded. It seems quite clear that there was just one family, and that Alexander Thuey CE was of therefore of mixed race - which makes his story all the more interesting.
     
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  6. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Alexander Thuey, carpenter, and his wife Phebe Van Rensselaer - free blacks residing in Troy, New York - supported "the elevation of the negro" through education and community activism.

    Alexander was a trustee of the Liberty Street Presbyterian Church; he and fellow church members invited Henry Highland Garnet to preach at their newly-formed church in 1840. The church hosted Underground Railroad committees because Troy's textile and shipping industry made it a natural destination for transporting freedom seekers to Canada.

    Alexander Thuey was also a member of a group called The Mental and Moral Improvement Society of Troy. Members of the Society included William Rich, George Baltimore, and Alexander Thuey (The Colored American, October 14, 1837). Subjects addressed by the Society included temperance and education. (The Colored American, October 21, 1837).

    Phebe herself was engaged in the activities of The African Female Benevolent Society of Troy, which was formed on February 12, 1833. The purpose of the Society, as stated in its constitution, was to use the intellect of its members to break down the barrier of prejudice and raise blacks to an equality "with those fellow beings who differ from us in complexion alone." Phebe Thuey served as president.

    Reverend Garnet, friend and mentor of the Thueys, was an influential supporter of the idea that the emigration of blacks to Mexico, Liberia, or the West Indies would provide blacks with more opportunities in life. To this end, he founded the African Civilization Society. The mission of this organization may well have inspired the emigration of the Thuey family to the Bahamas.

    Phoebe Van Rensellaer Thuey died 23 March 1862 in Nassau, Bahamas at 59 years of age and is buried at the Western Cemetery

    From Wiki Tree
     
  7. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Laws of New York. Chap 259, which incedently follows Chap 258, an act to abolish public executions.
    Passed May 9 1835
    The people of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do act as follows:
    1. Alexander Thuey of the city of Troy, in the County of Rensselaer, is nearby to take a conveyance of all that certain piece or parcel of land situated on the east side of Fifth Street in the third ward of the city of Troy, known and distinguished by the name of lot number four hundred and fifty six, bounded north by lots numbers seven hundred and seventy four, seven hundred and seventy five, seven hundred and seventy six, seven hundred and seventy seven, east by an alley, south by lot number four hundred and fifty five and on the West by Fifth Street containing twenty five feet in width and one hundred and thirty feet in length and may hold, dispose of and convey the same amply and in like manner as if he were a citizen of the United States
    Does that mean that Alexander was born elsewhere other that the US?
     
  8. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Alexander's headstone states 'of these islands'. So he was born in the Bahamas and moved to NY where he was accepted as a citizen of.
     
  9. Bahama

    Bahama New Member

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    ADDED NOTE:
    Alexander TUOHY
    born 27 Jan 1842 Nassau, N.P.
    bapt. 15 May 1842 St. Andrew's Presb. Church, Nassau
    Parents: Alexander TUOHY & Pheobe Von RANSELLAER
    SOURCE:
    Baptisms of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
    Nassau - New Providence, Bahamas
    for the period 1837 to 1884
    Minister for this Baptism: William Maclure
    Item #15

    Bahamas Land records
    Vol. N10: p.287 - dated 7 May 1904
    Alexander Van Ranseller THUEY 14 Bedford Road
    Guildford in the County of Surrey England Traveller
    Whereas Alexander Van Ranseller THUEY Senior
    formerly of Isl. of New Providence Civil Engineer
    died intestate 14 Nov 1902 leaving the said
    Alexander Van Ranseller THUEY his only son and
    heir at law......
     
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