Mary Boorem


Mary Boorem was born 26 June 1828 in Paradise Valley, Monroe county, Pennsylvania, and was baptized at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paradise Valley, founded in 1825, later that year. She was the fifth child of John Boorem and his wife Elizabeth Nauman. In the mid-1820s her parents and older brothers and sisters had relocated from Nazareth township in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, to the untamed wilderness of Paradise Valley in what would become Monroe County. Like all of the early settlers of Paradise Valley, the Boorems were farmers, and the old family homestead was located on Paradise Creek across from the new Evangelical church that was built in 1852.

Family tradition maintains that in the mid 1840s, Mary's father John Boorem died as the result of an accident in the woods, leaving the family without its primary provider. Despite this loss, Mary's older brothers, through hard work, were able to maintain the Boorem farm thereby keeping the family together. Our first glimpse of the Boorem family is from the 1850 census, however by this time, oldest son Joseph had married and so, apparently had Mary, and therefore are not included in the Boorem household in 1850.

Circa 1850 Mary Boorem married Henry Masters (1830-1898). Henry was the son of Stephen and Cornelia Masters of New York who migrated to Pennsylvania in the 1830s. We know a little about the lives of Henry's parents from a short biography on their son Charles A. Masters (Henry's younger brother) on page 1035 of a book titled, Commemorative Biographical Record of N.E. Pennsylvania, J.H. Beers Co., 1900, as follows:

"After a varied but successful career the subject of this sketch finds rest and contentment in looking after his general merchandise business at Gravity, Wayne County. He was born at Dundaff, Susquehanna Cp., Penn., September 22, 1835, a son of Steven and Cornelia (Snyder) Masters, both natives of New York State, where they were married.

"About 1830 Steven Masters migrated westward and settled in Susquehanna county, where, as a laborer, he made a home for his family. In politics he was a determined Democrat, and during the War of 1812 served his country as a private for six months, at the end of which time he re-enlisted in the regular army and served five years. He died December 18, 1865, at the advanced age of seventy seven years, two months, and sixteen days, and his good wife passed away at the age of seventy, and was buried in Jefferson township, Lackawanna Co., Penn. In their family were the following children: Henry, who was a farmer and lumberman in Salem township, married Mary Borum, and died August 10, 1897; Charles A. is our subject; Joseph Bloomfield, a liveryman at Elmhurst, Lackawanna Cp., Penn., has been twice married, first to Sarah Forest, and second to Lydia Compton; Maria is the widow of Joseph LaFrance, a farmer of Lackawanna Co., Penn; James, who married Sarah Hinds , is superintendent of breakers for the Pennsylvania Coal Co. Both the father and mother of this family (Steven and Cornelia) were twice married. By his first wife Mr. Masters had children as follows: Oren, deceased; Elias, a farmer of Connecticut; Steven, a watchman at Carbondale, for the Delaware & Hudson Co.; Lydia Ann, now Mrs. Stiles, of Carbondale, Penn. Mrs. Masters first married a Mr. Madison, and by this marriage had children as follows: George, last heard of in the army: Mary, who married Martin Houghtaling, both are now deceased; Matilda, who married Elisha D. Wightman, both are now deceased. Our subject's grandfathers both served in the Revolutionary War, his paternal grandfather being a native of France, his maternal grandfather of Germany."

At this point in time I have been unable to find Henry and Mary Masters in the 1850 census, however Mary's absence from her mother's household is perhaps the best indication that they were already married by that time. We don't see them until the 1860 census, however a clue to their possible whereabouts earlier is provided by the Keokee Chapel cemetery in Paradise Valley, which is the aforementioned second Evangelical church that was constructed in 1852. In the cemetery lies the badly worn grave marker of Henry and Mary's daughter Matilda Masters who died 14 March 1858 at the age of four. The fact that their daughter was buried here in 1858 is perhaps an indication that Henry and Mary were still in Paradise Valley before moving north into Wayne county.

Henry and Mary Masters were the parents of seven known children, six of whom lived to maturity, as follows: William Masters (1851-1895) was the first born child. He married a woman named Marilla and raised a family of five children. William and his wife are buried in Maplewood Cemetery, Lake township, Wayne county, Pa;. The aforementioned Matilda Masters (1854-1858) died before her fourth birthday and is buried in Keokee Chapel cemetery in Paradise Valley; James H. Masters (1857-1939) married a woman named Mamie and had three children, although daughter Bessie died at age one. They too spent much of their life in Scranton, and are buried in Maplewood cemetery; Carrie Masters (1859-1935), married Jacob Gromlich and raised a family of eight children in Dunmore (near Scranton), Lackawanna county, Pa.; Alma Masters ( married a man named Hanner and had three children. Nothing else is known of this family; Elmira Masters ( married Alfred Pace of Scranton, where they raised a family of four children; Mary L. or Mamie Masters (1873-1945) married twice and had five children, three by her first husband Keller, and two by her second husband Williams. She is also buried in Maplewood cemetery.

In the 1860 census we find Henry & Mary Masters living in Salem township, along with their children William and Caroline, Henry's occupation being listed as railroad hand. This return is significant because it tells us that Mary Masters was called "Polly," and that daughter Carrie's name was Caroline. The return also indicates that Henry Masters owned the land on which he lived, which was valued at $500.00 and personal property valued at $380.00.

The 1870 census shows that the Masters were still living in Salem township in Wayne county. By 1870 children Alma, Elmira (Almina) and James had been born. Henry's occupation is listed as "car runner," and the value of his real estate has increased to $1,000.00, personal property to $1,500.00. This increase may have been the result of Henry inheriting a portion of his father Stephen's estate, who died in 1865.

By 1880 Henry & Mary's son William had married and was living next door to his mother and father in Salem township. The census for that year tells us that the Henry Masters household included Henry, Mary, Carrie (who had already married Jacob Gromlich), Elmina, James, and the new member of the family, Mary L. Masters, known as Mamie. Henry Masters is again listed as a car runner. The three returns from 1860-1880 reveal, that, despite the biography of Charles A. Masters above stating that Henry was a farmer and a lumberman, he also worked for the railroad.

This would be the last census appearance for Henry. The 1890 census was destroyed by fire, and Henry died before the next census was taken in 1900. Although Mary Masters died in 1902, I have been unable to locate her in 1900 census. According to his tombstone, Henry Masters died on August 10, 1898, at age 68. He was buried at Maplewood Cemetery in nearby Lake township, joining his son William who died in 1895 at the young age of 43. Henry's wife Mary died four years later on June 25, 1902, and was buried beside her husband. They were eventually joined by their son James and other descendants. Today a large tombstone marks their grave, however, although the stone itself is still quite strong, the inscriptions on the stone have become very worn in the last hundred years, to the point that they will unfortunately probably be illegible in the near future.

The Boorem family held its first annual reunion in 1921 for the descendants of John Boorem and Elizabeth Nauman, and we know that descendants of Henry and Mary Masters at one time attended these reunions. They are mentioned in a newspaper notice advertising the 1932 reunion, that names some of the descendants of each of the Boorem children:

"Mary Boorem married Henry Masters, another daughter married a Hauser, and still another married Floyd Cornell. Carrie married a Gromlich, and Mary Masters married a Keller."

Today the descendants of Henry Masters and his wife Mary Boorem are numerous, although it is doubtful that many know much about the history of their family. It is my hope that this essay along with other information found at my Boorem family web site, will help some of these individuals discover more about their ancestors who lived not so long ago. Please feel free to contact me at the e-mail address below if you have any corrections or additions to this record. Thank you!

Jeffrey L. Thomas
March 2004

Below: beautiful Maplewood cemetery in Wayne Co., Pa., final resting place of
Henry & Mary Boorem Masters, photographed October 2003.


Below: The Henry & Mary Masters stone (right foreground) with son William's stone (obelisk)
in the background. Son James Master's stone is also in this section.


Genealogy of the Masters family. The line of Stephen Masters (Acrobat .pdf file)
Return to the John Boorem II page
Return to the main page at the Boorem Family Web Site

Text and photographs copyright 2003 by Jeffrey L. Thomas, with all rights reserved