1805/1806: Luke Brodhead and “The Battle of the Butcher Boys and Delaware River Raftmen”

"The City and Port of Philadelphia, on the River Delaware from Kensington". Frontispiece to The City of Philadelphia..., plate 2. Engraving, hand-colored. Wikimedia Commons: In public domain in US due to publication prior to January 1, 1923. (Image shown has been cropped)

“The City and Port of Philadelphia, on the River Delaware from Kensington”. Frontispiece to The City of Philadelphia…, plate 2. Engraving, hand-colored. Wikimedia Commons: In public domain in US due to publication prior to January 1, 1923. (Image shown has been cropped at the top)

Now here’s an interesting tale dating back to 1805/1806 about a memorable ‘David vs. Goliath’ brawl featuring one Luke Brodhead. I found it in The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, NY), dated Tuesday, May 28, 1878. The paper is one of thousands archived on the free Fulton History website.

Having checked some Brodhead family genealogies, I believe this Luke was probably the son of Luke Brodhead of Revolutionary War fame (my fifth great-grandfather Garret Brodhead‘s younger brother).  I could be wrong, of course, but there have never been that many Luke Brodheads in the family tree, and age-wise Luke Jr. (1777-1845) is a good fit. He would have been about 28 or 29 at the time of this incident, and still a bachelor. Luke Sr., who was left quite disabled by the war, passed away in 1806 at age 65.

On a side note, you may remember one of last July’s posts: “The 1868 murder of Theodore Brodhead of Delaware Water Gap.” Luke Brodhead Jr. was Theodore’s father. Luke Jr. was married to Elizabeth Wills (1789-1873), and together they had nine children—one girl (b. 1812) and eight boys (born between 1814 and 1831), all very tall in stature. Remember how Elizabeth joked that she had “48 feet of sons”?

Luke Jr. and Elizabeth ran an inn* at the Delaware Water Gap beginning circa 1820 to accommodate the influx of tourists to the area. From the “Theodore” post, you know that some of Luke Jr’s sons carried on this tradition, most notably Luke Wills Brodhead, who is deserving of a separate post of his own.

But, back to the story. It’s quite a tale, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It obviously stood the test of time to be featured in a newspaper article some seven decades later! As always, comments, corrections, suggestions are welcome.

The Evening Gazette. 28 May 1878

The Evening Gazette. 28 May 1878

— — — — — — —

MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER.
BATTLE OF THE BUTCHER BOYS AND DELAWARE RIVER RAFTMEN.
A HAND TO HAND CONTEST IN PHILADELPHIA OVER 70 YEARS AGO—HOW 10 RAFTMEN WHIPPED 30 BUTCHERS—DEATH OF THE LAST RAFTMAN ENGAGED IN THE FIGHT.

In the year of 1805 or 1806 a fierce fight took place in Philadelphia between about 30 butchers and 10 Delaware river raftmen. Some of the latter we have the names of. There was Major Ebeneezer Wheeler, his brother Joseph, Squire Holmes, John Weiss, Rock Run and William Tyler [**], Royal Warner, Luke Brodhead, and Captain C. Fennington of Delhi, N.Y.

Joseph Wheeler owned a very fleet black mare. The spring before the fight truth his horse had a race with one owned by the association of butchers. He won the race, but the butchers refused to give up the stakes, and it was finally agreed to have a second trial the following spring.

When the spring came around the race took place, and again there was a controversy as to which was the winning horse. This dispute led to the memorable conflict. Joseph Wheeler was challenged by the butchers to a single combat. This be declined to accept for the reason, as he said to his brother, that there was no prospect of fair play being shown him, the butchers outnumbering the raftmen three to one.

Ebeneezer Wheeler then stepped forward and accepted the challenge offered to his brother. He is represented to have been a man of wonderful strength and at the same time as fleet as a deer. He was just six feet two. Luke Brodhead was the same height, and was a man of great courage.

It was proposed by the butchers that the fight should take place with a rope between the combatants. To this Major Wheeler would not concede, saying: “Gentlemen, if I fight I fight to win, and want nothing between us.” An adjoining field was selected for the contest. The butcher who was to be Mr. Wheeler’s antagonist put one hand on the fence and as if to show his agility sprang over into the lot with a bound. The Major followed and jumped the fence without touching it.

Luke Brodhead and Mr. Weiss happened at the place by accident, not knowing any of the parties. They were mere spectators and not called upon to form a part of the ring around the fighters. The fight between the two men began. Mr. Wheeler’s antagonist fell at the first blow. He arose and the second blow from Mr. W’s big fist again sent him to the earth.

At this juncture Mr. Brodhead saw a butcher strike Wheeler with a heavy whip. (It afterward appeared that all the butchers were armed with loaded whips.) Mr. Brodhead went to one of the butchers and told him of the occurrence. He was thrust aside and told it was none of his business. But he persisted and said he would not stand by and see such foul play practiced. He had scarcely done speaking when he received a heavy blow on the head with a whip. The blow nearly stunned him.

Delaware River. An extract of an 1806 map of New Jersey, depicting the area around Philadelphia and Trenton. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Source: Source=http://maps.bpl.org/details_12444/?mti

Delaware River. An extract of an 1806 map of New Jersey, depicting the area around Philadelphia and Trenton. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Source: Source=http://maps.bpl.org/details_12444/?mti

In the mean time the fight in the field had progressed, and Wheeler had given his antagonist such a blow that it nearly killed him. Of course he retired at once from the contest.

But the fight now became general. The butchers used their loaded whips freely and the numbers being greatly in their favor gave them courage. Unfortunately, however, for the butchers every time one of them received a square blow from the raftmen he was forced to leave the field. Their numbers soon became less, none of them caring to risk a second blow. The contest thus steadily grew in favor of the raftmen, none of them becoming disabled. They stood their ground to the last, the butchers dropping away one by one until the field was cleared and the victory won for the sturdy raftmen, the butchers finally running from the field.

The mistake the butchers made was in using their whips instead of their fists. They were large, strong men, yet they could not strike the whip with sufficient force to prostrate one of the sturdy raftmen. Nevertheless some very severe blows were given them. Messrs. Wheeler, Brodhead, and Fennington were cut badly and were confined to their boarding-houses several days under medical treatment.

It is said that Mr. Eb. Wheeler and Brodhead each disabled five butchers from as many blows. Captain Fennington of Delhi was a giant in strength and rendered very efficient aid to the raftmen. Mr. Weiss was badly scared and climbed a tree when the fight became general. He was not to be blamed, however, for he was a little fellow and would not have stood much of a chance. Royal Warner also showed the white feather. Joseph Wheeler got over the fence to see the fight when he received the blow of a loaded whip. He picked up a new beaver hat and left.

Luke Brodhead and the Wheelers became warm friends after this fight. The latter insisted on his accompanying them home after their recovery, which he did and remained with them several months. He frequently visited them. They afterward presented him with a tract of land on the Delaware river in Delaware county, which he declined to accept.

Brodhead was one of the most peaceable of men, and was esteemed for his good character and sound judgment, integrity and love of justice. The characters of Mr. Fennington and the Wheelers were also beyond reproach. Rock Run Tyler, the last of the survivors of this fight, ever memorable among raftmen, died in November, 1877, at a very old age.

That part of the family tree

How we are related

*Better in the Poconos by Lawrence Squeri (Penn State Press, 2010), p. 23.

**I think they mean “William ‘Rock Run’ Tyler” judging from the brief bio about him on p. 634 in the book History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties by Alfred Mathews (Philadelphia: RT Peck, 1886)

Categories: Brodhead, Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Some descendants of the Nixon family of Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

Louise and Jennie Nixon, 1964

Photo from my family’s private collection: Sisters Louise (75) and Jennie Nixon (80) in 1964

These lovely elderly ladies are Louise E. Nixon and Jane ‘Jennie’ Bracken Nixon, nieces of my great-grandmother Sarah (Nixon) Boles of Co. Leitrim, Ireland, whose parents—William Nixon and Rachel Miller—and numerous siblings moved to the United States in the late 1860s. The ladies were my grandfather William Boles‘s cousins.

A previous post on Sarah Nixon Boles mentioned the fact that most, if not all, of her family relocated to New York after the US Civil War. This Nixon family is presumably part of the Nixon family of Fermanagh*—about which much has been written (e.g., The Families of French of Belturbet and Nixon of Fermanagh, and Their Descendants by Henry B. Swanzy, published in 1908).  However, I have yet to figure out the family’s location in the larger Nixon family tree.

William and Rachel Nixon were about 67 and 51, respectively when they arrived in America in 1869 (the year given me by the descendant of Benjamin, one of their sons). Joining them were supposedly all of their children (I’ve found 11, although my mother’s records list 14) except for my great-grandmother Sarah: Mark Nixon (b. cir. 1839/1845), Edward Nixon (b. cir 1845); Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Nixon (b. cir. 1849); Jane Nixon (b. 1851); Thomas Nixon (b. cir. 1852); Sarah Nixon (b. 1855); Rachel Nixon (b. cir 1865); Mary Nixon (b. cir 1858); Benjamin Nixon (b. cir 1862); Robert Nixon (b. 1863); Catherine Nixon (b. 1864); the last three (whom I have yet to find a trace of) were James, John, and William.

Passenger List - The Caledonia - sailed from Moville, Ireland to NY, NY on 14 Sep 1868 (Source Citation: Year: 1868; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm Roll: 301; Line: 22; List Number: 989.)

Passenger List – The Caledonia – sailed from Moville, Ireland to NY, NY on 14 September 1868 (Source Citation: Year: 1868; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm Roll: 301; Line: 22; List Number: 989.)

The passenger list inset for the ship Caledonia , which set sail from Moville on Lough Foyle at the northern tip of Northern Ireland to New York on 14 September 1868, shows the names of some Nixons–the names seem to fairly well coincide with some of the Nixon children’s names & ages. If these indeed are ‘our Nixons’, it would indicate that the older children may have come ahead of the parents and younger children.

While researching the family, I found William, Rachel and a number of the children in the 1870 US Federal Census, living in NYC Ward 18. William is listed as a ‘farmer’, an answer based certainly on his past occupation in Ireland. The children in the household were: Edward (30), Thomas (20), Eliza (22), Jane (18), Rachel (15), Mary (10), and ‘Bennett’ (10, this was probably ‘Benjamin’).

1870 Census Record ("United States Census, 1870," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M8X8-K4T : accessed 25 February 2015), Rachael Nixon, New York, United States; citing p. 34, family , NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,539.)

1870 Census Record (“United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M8X8-K4T : accessed 25 February 2015), Rachael Nixon, New York, United States; citing p. 34, family , NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,539.)

William Nixon died before the 1880 US Federal Census, as Rachel Nixon is listed in that census record as a widow ‘keeping house’ and living at 203 16th Street, NY, NY. and living with children Edward, Lizzie, Thomas, Rachel, Benjamin, Robert, Mary, and Kate, and several lodgers. The census record indicates that family members were involved in the dry goods business. Son Thomas (28 and now widowed) is listed as being a ‘dry goods buyer’ as is son Edward, age 35 and single. Benjamin (20) is listed as a ‘dry goods clerk’ as is Robert (18). (The 1900 Census indicates that Robert emigrated in 1879.)

Looking at old newspapers, I found the following mortuary notice in the New York Herald, dated 11 Aug 1871: At his [Gramercy] residence, 346 East 17th Street, on Thursday, August 10, William Nixon, aged 69 years. Funeral will take place on Saturday, August 12, at one o’clock PM from Seventeenth Street Methodist Episcopal Church, between First and Second avenues. Relatives and friends are invited to attend.

Wikimedia Commons: Manhattan neighborhoods (map); Author= Stilfehler; Oct. 15th, 2007

Wikimedia Commons: Manhattan neighborhoods (map); Author= Stilfehler; Oct. 15th, 2007

Almost two decades later, I found a notice for a Rachel Nixon (New York Herald, 12 May 1890): On Saturday, May 10, 1890, Rachel Nixon, age 72 years. The relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the funeral services at her late [East Village] residence, No. 224 East 12th Street, on Monday evening, May 12, 1890 at eight o’clock. Interment in Green-wood.

A William Nixon (bur. August 1871, Find a Grave memorial #127997780) and a Rachel Nixon (bur. 5-13-1890; Find a Grave memorial #106845856) are buried in Green-wood Cemetery Lot 17245 Section 17, Grave 114. The grave is unmarked according to the Find a Grave photographer who kindly attempted to find the graves for me. I’m not yet certain that I have the correct Rachel and William, but hope to pin all this down at some point. Meanwhile I toss this info out there to my readers and future readers who may already have turned over these stones and arrived at some conclusions.

Son Edward Nixon and wife Anna (Bracken) Nixon, who emigrated from No. Ireland in 1883, had four children: Jane ‘Jennie’ (b. 1884), William (b. 1885), George (b. 1887), and Louise (b. 1889). The first two children were born in Manhattan. The second two were born in Bridgeport, CT. Edward died sometime between 1889 and 1900, as Anna is a widow as of the 1900 census. There is an Edward Nixon in the same plot at Green-wood Cemetery (Burial 1899-03-29, Lot 17245 Section 17, Grave 114; (Find a Grave #106846467), perhaps giving a bit more weight to the possibility that the Green-wood plot is indeed where our Nixon ancestors were laid to rest.

By the 1900 Census, Anna (Bracken) Nixon and her children (ages 16, 15, 13, 11), sister Mary J. Bracken, and a lodger are living at 160 Virginia Avenue in Jersey City Ward No. 8, Hudson Co., NJ, and it was there that the family remained for many years. Neither Jennie nor Louise ever married. Jennie devoted her life to working as a teacher in the Jersey City public school system, and Louise worked for many years as a stenographer and then executive secretary for the president or vice president of a company in NYC. Eventually the sisters joined forces with their brother William and his wife Marion to buy a large house at 680 Orchard Street in Oradell, NJ, where they spent happy years before moving into the Francis Asbury Manor Methodist rest home in Ocean Grove, NJ. Jane died in May of 1972, and Louise in October 1979.

Jennie Boles with Louise and Jennie Nixon, spring 1964

Photo form my family’s private collection: Jennie Boles (75) of Ireland with her American cousins Louise (75) and Jennie Nixon (80), early spring 1964, New Jersey

Serendipitously it was during their years in Jersey City that Jennie and Louise befriended my grandmother Zillah Trewin who lived there with her parents William Trewin and Elizabeth (Sargent) Trewin. According to my mother, Zillah was great friends with the Nixon sisters, as well as their cousins (the children of Jane Nixon and Wm Elliott Roberts), and it was through that friendship that she ultimately met and married their cousin (my grandfather) William Boles who emigrated to the US in 1912 at the encouragement of his uncle Robert Nixon who sponsored him.

I remember Jennie and Louise well. They were very fun ladies—full of good humor and always had a twinkle in their eyes. I always enjoyed the times spent with them, and best remember our visits to their Ocean Grove apartment. As I recall, we would drive down to see them on Saturdays since the roads in Ocean Grove are closed to all traffic on Sundays. We always took them out to lunch, and I remember taking them down to some restaurant near the ocean in Spring Lake, a short drive to the south. They were two sweethearts and it was very sad to lose them. I would love to have them here now to have some family history chats with them. When I was a teenager that topic was far from my mind.

I’ll close this post with a couple of Louise’s recipes (‘Chocolate Flake Candy’ and ‘Date Balls’) I recently came upon while re-binding my mom’s old recipe notebook. I haven’t tried either of them yet as I am trying to shift a bit of weight. Such temptations would surely sabotage my results! But they will stay on my radar!

If you’ve made it this far in the post, I wish you a great day. If you have anything to add, share, correct, etc., please don’t hesitate to get in touch or leave a comment!

Nixon_Louise_recipe

Recipes typed up by Louise Nixon for my mother

 
Jennie and Louise’s Nixon Tree Branch
1-William Nixon b. Cir 1802, Ireland, d. Bef 2 Jun 1880; possibly 10 Aug
1871 +Rachael Millar b. Cir 1818, Ireland, d. Possibly 10 May 1890, Manhattan, New
York, New York
|—–2-Edward Nixon b. Cir 1845, Ireland, d. Betw 1889 and 1900
| +Anna Bracken b. Aug 1847, Northern Ireland, d. After 1930
| |—–3-Jane Bracken Nixon b. 15 Apr 1884, Manhattan, New York, New York,
| | d. May 1972, Ocean Grove, Monmouth, NJ
| |—–3-William Thomas Nixon b. 24 Aug 1885, Manhattan, New York, New
| | York, d. Sep 1967, Suffolk, New York
| | +Marion Zoller
| |—–3-George Robert Bracken Nixon b. 12 Feb 1887, Bridgeport,
| | Connecticut
| | +May L. Swenarton b. Cir 1889, New Jersey
| | |—–4-George W. Nixon b. Cir 1914, New Jersey
| | |—–4-Frank L. Nixon b. Cir 1919
| |—–3-Louise E. Nixon b. 22 Jul 1889, Bridgeport, Connecticut, d. Oct
| | 1979, Ocean Grove, Monmouth, NJ

Categories: Boles, Co. Fermanagh, Drumkeeran, Co. Leitrim, Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Green-Wood Cemetery Brooklyn NY, Ireland, Jersey City, Hudson Co., Manhattan, Methodist Episcopal, New York, Nixon, Trewin, US Federal 1880 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

1917 Valentine’s Day children’s party ideas, including recipes

A little glimpse of Valentine’s Day ideas from almost 100 years ago, including recipes for Frozen Cupid’s Pudding, Valentine Marguerites, heart candies, and more… The article below appeared in a popular syndicated column called “What Every Woman Wants to Know,” edited by Anne Rittenhouse. Anne’s column no doubt had its share of avid followers, some of whom may have been members of our own families who were alive and interested in such things at that time. So I usually read articles like this with my grandmothers and their mothers in mind. Some of you probably can’t help but do the same! FOR BETTER READING, CLICK EACH IMAGE OF THE ARTICLE TWICE TO ENLARGE

VALENTINE card - Girl with SlateFrozen Cupid’s Pudding – Cover 1/2 pound of seeded raisins and 1 cup of finely chopped blanched almonds with 1 pint of orange juice and let stand overnight. Cut some stale sponge cake into 1/2-inch slices, then put the slices into heart shapes. Place a layer of hearts in a mold then a layer of raisins and almonds then another layer of the heart cakes ans so on until the mold is nearly full. Pour over this one pint of hot custard. When cool, cover the mold and bind the seam with a strip of muslin dipped in melted suet, and bury in ice and salt. Let stand four hours. Cut little red hearts from candied cherries and sprinkle a few on top when serving.

(Courtesy of The Syracuse Herald, Sunday, February 5, 1917, p. 12; Credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com)
The Syracuse Herald, Sunday, February 5, 1917, p. 12 (www.fultonhistory.com)The Syracuse Herald, Sunday, February 5, 1917, p. 12 (www.fultonhistory.com)

The Syracuse Herald, Sunday, February 5, 1917, p. 12 (www.fultonhistory.com)

The Syracuse Herald, Sunday, February 5, 1917, p. 12 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Categories: Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Holidays & Festivities, Miscellaneous, Valentine's Day | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

More “Prized Pets”

Rosie, our adopted stray, trying to get a bit of shut-eye

Rosie, our adopted stray, trying to get a bit of shut-eye

Poor Rosie—I sympathize with her. I can’t sleep unless the room I am in is pitch black and so quiet you can’t hear a pin drop. Here she is waiting for us to turn the lights out one recent January night.

This photo really makes me smile, especially when I remember how Rosie once looked so sad, skinny, and desperate wandering the grounds of our community in search of the occasional hand-out. And now she’s comfy, pleasantly plump, and evidently very content (apart from that darn light that needs to go out NOW!).

She reminded me that I had some more ‘pet photos’ from ages past to add to the Gallery I started long ago. To view the updated (5 new photos added) ‘Prized Pets’ Gallery, please click here. OK, Rosie—Relax! Lights going out now!

Categories: Miscellaneous, Pets | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Frank Martin Brodhead (1882-1951)

Chips Off the Old Block:

Today is my grandfather’s birthday, so I am re-posting an earlier post about him that has evolved a bit over the last couple of years, and will no doubt be updated in the future. :-)

Originally posted on Chips Off the Old Block:

Frank Martin Brodhead portraitFrank Martin Brodhead portrait

This post is dedicated to my grandfather, Frank M. Brodhead, who was born on February 5, 1882.

I never got to meet him–he died a decade before I was born. Coincidentally, he and I almost share the same birthday; we’re just a day apart.

My father passed away many years ago, so I can’t ask him about his dad; if anyone out there has their own remembrances to share, please pass them along. The included newspaper obituaries provide a generous amount of information, but it’s always good to hear the personal stories.

Brodhead-Murphy Co. letterheadBrodhead-Murphy Co. letterhead showing the hardware store my grandfather had. A Google street view of the address today shows a much different looking building—sadly rather dilapidated!

Brodhead family plot, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, after my grandfather’s burial

21 May 1951, Elizabeth Daily Journal21 May 1951, Elizabeth Daily Journal

Obituary notice, 24 May 1951, Westfield Leader (New Jersey)

Brodhead Frank obitWestfield Leader…

View original 3 more words

Categories: Miscellaneous | 4 Comments

The Wait Family Bible—the David Wait and John Oliver Wait families of Perth Amboy, New Jersey

In the nearly four years I’ve been doing this blog, I don’t recall anyone contacting me about the of Perth Amboy, NJ, Wait family line—except for a gentleman from the Herriott Heritage Association who kindly alerted me to the link between the Waits and the Herriotts. The lack of contact surprises me a bit since the David Wait family was large as was John Oliver Wait’s. Surely there are other descendants out there, some of whom may hold interesting information. Perhaps folks are afraid I am going to take their information and publish it, which is definitely not the case. I’m very respectful of others’ wishes when it comes to the family history content that has remained within their family line for generations. I only share details people want me to share and give me permission to share. And I always give credit where credit is due.

Anyway, if you’ve been following this blog, you may recall that I’ve written a number of posts on the Waits. See: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4, Post 5 and Post 6. I have not done much more research on the family since my last post, which was back in 2013, but I hope to get back on track soon.

Meanwhile, I thought I would post these pages from the Wait family Bible. Descendants reading this blog are welcome to email me to request watermark-free images for their personal records. We can also compare family tree information, if you like. The Bible itself is not in great shape, as you can imagine, and I try never to open it any more than necessary. My great-grandmother Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead was its last owner, and she passed it down to my father who had a tremendous interest in family history.

Wait_Family_Bible_03

Wait_Family_Bible_04

Wait_Family_Bible_01

Wait_Family_Bible_02

My family’s line down from David Wait (b. 1754):

1-David Wait b. 20 May 1754, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, d. 11 Nov
1810, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ
+Irene Bell b. 20 Oct 1764, CT, d. 31 May 1804, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ
|—–2-John Oliver Wait b. 10 Jan 1787, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 23
| Nov 1876, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, bur. 24 Nov 1876, Alpine
| Cemetery, Middlesex Co., NJ
| +Elizabeth Crow b. 11 Sep 1792, Woodbridge, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 9 May
| 1854, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, bur. Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co.,
| NJ
| |—–3-Margaret Ann Wait b. 7 Mar 1817, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ,
| | d. 26 Mar 1851, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ
| | +Juebb (Jacob) Lewis d. After 25 Mar 1851
| | |—–4-Sarah Augusta Lewis b. 25 Nov 1836, Perth Amboy, Middlesex
| | | Co., NJ, d. 1900, bur. Alpine Cemetery, Middlesex Co., NJ
| | +Moses Martin b. 1833, d. 1883, bur. Alpine Cemetery,
| | Middlesex Co., NJ
| | |—–5-Margaret Lewis Martin b. Jun 1859, Perth Amboy, New
| | | Jersey, d. 1945, Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ, bur.
| | | Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union Co., NJ
| | | +Andrew Douglas Brodhead b. 17 Aug 1853, East Mauch
| | | Chunk, Carbon Co., PA, c. 6 Feb 1854, 1st
| | | Presbyterian Church, Mauch Chunk, Carbon Co., PA, d.
| | | 6 May 1917, At Home, Elizabeth, Union, NJ, bur.
| | | Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, Union Co., NJ
| | | |—–6-Frank Martin Brodhead b. 5 Feb 1882, Perth
| | | | Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 8 May 1951,
| | | | Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ, bur. Evergreen
| | | | Cemetery, Hillside, Union Co., NJ

Categories: Family Bibles, New Jersey, Perth Amboy, Wait | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Florida Friday: Napoleon’s nephew & Washington’s great-grand niece—love blossoms in Tallahassee

Camellias in Tallahassee's Maclay Gardens State Park (Credit: G. Kae, 2009)

Camellias in Tallahassee’s Maclay Gardens State Park (Credit: G. Kae, 2009)

Here’s an interesting story, especially for those of us who are interested in Florida history. I came across it quite accidentally while perusing an old 1919 issue of DAR Magazine, available on Internet Archive. By Clara Ryder Hayden, it gives a brief account of the fascinating life and times of Prince Charles Louis Napoleon Achille Murat (1801-1847), son of Joachim Murat, King of Naples, and Caroline Bonaparte—sister of Napoleon Bonaparte. Charles became an exile after the Napoleonic Wars and his father’s execution, and circumstances sent him on a trail of moves starting in Austria and ending in Florida in 1824, several years after Florida was acquired from Spain.

Initially Charles settled outside the city of St. Augustine where he purchased twelve hundred acres of land and was known by the locals for his rather eccentric behavior. The following year, he was encouraged by the Marquis de LaFayette (yes, that LaFayette) to purchase a 900-acre parcel to the east of Tallahassee which he subsequently named ‘Lipona’ (an anagram of ‘Napoli’ — the city his father had once ruled and which he himself had expected to rule one day).

Some of Tallahassee's iconic moss-festooned trees (these were in Maclay Gardens State Park)

Some of Tallahassee’s iconic moss-festooned trees in Maclay Gardens State Park (Credit: G. Kae, 2009)

Charles served as an alderman and as mayor of Tallahassee; and then as postmaster from 1826-1838. He also served as a Colonel in Florida’s Militia.

Those were pioneer days in Florida (statehood came later, in 1845), and Charles played an active role in the territory’s development. In 1826, the bachelor prince married the young 23-year-old widow Catherine Willis Gray (1803-1867), a great-grand niece of President George Washington. (Catherine had married at age 13, and became a widow that same year.)

A brief description of their activities together over subsequent years can be found both here in this DAR article and in numerous publications elsewhere (some links to resources are located below). Charles actually wrote several books about his life in America and view of the country and its people, but he did not achieve any literary success. Still, if you do a search on sites like Amazon, you will find his books among your search results. Sounds like they might make a curious read!

The couple spent some time back in Europe, but eventually returned to the US where they decided to try out life in New Orleans. But the Tallahassee environs seem to have held some sense of ‘home’ for them, for it was to there that they ultimately returned and there, at his plantation, that Charles died in 1847 at age 46.

Catherine outlived Charles by just over two decades and was able to live out her life very comfortably thanks to Napoleon III who had become very fond of her during her time in Europe. He ensured that she received both a lump sum upon Charles’ death and an annual lifelong stipend. Eventually she purchased her beloved Bellevue Plantation outside Tallahassee. She never remarried, but took on worthy causes such as the preservation of Mount Vernon. Though she freed her slaves after the Civil War, all chose to remain with her ’til her death. The devotion was mutual—she refused an invitation to return to Europe to live, saying she could not leave them behind.

DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919

Prince Murat portrait from DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919

Tallahassee’s Episcopal Cemetery holds the graves of this interesting couple (visit Find a Grave); their markers bear the following inscriptions:

Departed this life
April 18, 1847
Charles Louis Napoleon
Achilles Murat
Son of
The King of Naples
And
Caroline Murat
Aged 46
This Monument is Dedicated
By his Wife Catherine In
Perpetual Memory of
Her Love

DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919

Catherine Willis Gray, Washington’s niece (DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919)

Sacred
To the Memory of Princess C.A. Murat
Widow of
Col. Charles Louis Napoleon
Achilles Murat
And Daughter of the late
Col. Bird C. Willis,
Of Virginia
Who departed this life
On the 6th of August 1867
In the 64th year of her age
A kind and affectionate wife,
And sister,
A sincere and devoted friend.
None knew her but to love her
None named her but to praise.

The DAR article follows. Enjoy! And have a good weekend. Looking forward to getting back to some family history in my next post. See you then!

DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919

DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919, p. 602

DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919

DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919, p. 604

DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919

DAR Magazine, Volume 53, 1919, p. 606

Resources:
City of St. Augustine website
University of Florida Digital Collections
Article: “The Cracker Prince,” Tallahassee Magazine (Jul/Aug 2010)
Article: “The Florida Militia Napoleonic Connection,” Florida National Guard Department of Military Affairs
Bellevue Plantation

Categories: Florida, Miscellaneous, Prince Charles Murat, St. Augustine, Tallahassee, Washington, President George | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A little girl’s very busy New Year’s Day in 1850

Chips Off the Old Block:

Happy New Year, All!

I am re-blogging this post from Ephemeral New York–one of my favorite blogs. Having grown up near NYC, I have always had a fascination with the city’s past. In this post, one of the city’s youngest citizens comments on life in the mid-19th century at this time of year.

Originally posted on Ephemeral New York:

Catherinehavens1847“Yesterday was New Year’s Day, and I had lovely presents,” wrote 10-year-old Catherine Havens in her diary, which chronicles a year in the life of a privileged city schoolgirl, on January 2, 1850.

The diary is a wonderful artifact, describing her home on Fifth Avenue and Ninth Street, her favorite candy stores on Eighth Street, and the afternoons she spends rolling hoops and playing in Washington Square.

And it also gives contemporary readers a glimpse into what New Year’s Day was like for the city’s elite 165 years ago.

At the time, the colonial Dutch tradition of receiving male callers all day was in still full swing among upper class families, with smartly dressed gentlemen making short (often inebriated) visits to the ladies of a household.

Catherinehavensdiary

“We had 139 callers, and I have an ivory tablet and write all their names down on it,” wrote Catherine.

“We have to…

View original 178 more words

Categories: Miscellaneous | 6 Comments

100-year-old Christmas greetings

Merry Christmas, all! I stumbled on a few more Christmas cards—these from 1914… exactly 100 years ago! These were sent to my grandmother who was 31 at the time and still single. One from her dear friend Ruth Cheney. The others from senders unknown (to me). The themes? Charles Dickens’ first novel—The Pickwick Papers (published in 1836)—and his novella Cricket on the Hearth (published in 1845). Even in 1914, they were timeless classics. One bonus of finding these cards? My grandmother’s address in 1914: 135 Murray St., Elizabeth, NJ!

Well, back to those Christmas cookies! Have a magical day!

1914_card

1914_card3

1914_card2

Zillah Trewin, 1919 (age 36)

Zillah Trewin, 1919 (age 36)

1914_card5

1914_card4

Categories: Christmas, Elizabeth, Union Co., Holidays & Festivities, New Jersey, Trewin, Vintage cards | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Merry Christmas in vintage cards

Yours truly 50 years ago---looks like I'm vintage now, too!

Yours truly many moons ago—looks like I’m vintage now, too! Ho Ho Ho!

As Christmas approaches,
it’s fun to look back on vintage cards.
These probably date back to the 1920s & 1930s.
I especially like the one that says:
“When Santa comes and Santa goes,
may the things you want be in your hose”!
—Followed by the ominous:
“Now don’t you peek and try to see
The things upon your Christmas tree
‘Cause if you do, old Santa might
Decide to take them back tonight”!

As I’m unlikely to post again before the New Year,
I want to take this moment to wish you all
a very Merry Christmas
and all the joy and magic this holiday season brings!
Enjoy!

cards9 copy

cards5 copy

cards6 copy

cards7 copy

cards8 copy

cards1 copy

cards4 copy

cards2

cards3 copy

Categories: Christmas, Holidays & Festivities, Vintage cards | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

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