The curious case of Daniel Brodhead Jr. (1756 – 2 Feb 1831)

Brig. Gen. Daniel Brodhead Portrait

Brig. Gen. Daniel Brodhead Portrait

I’d written once before about Daniel Brodhead Jr., a child of Elizabeth DePuy and Brigadier General Daniel Brodhead of Revolutionary War fame. (The previous blog post on Daniel Jr. can be found here.) Different accounts of Daniel Jr.’s fate had been bandied about over the years. I’d always believed he’d died as an infant, as that is what our family tree had recorded. Then I found an account that he had been killed in the War. Later I found an account stating he settled in Philadelphia and started a business there. Thankfully, his fate was finally confirmed to me by the Brodhead Family Association which had positively identified him through Revolutionary War pension records. So, in short, I was pretty surprised to discover that Daniel Jr. had made it to retirement. (Surprised, too, to learn that he had a wife and six children.)

Daniel Jr. had two siblings: Ann Garton Brodhead (1758) and Phebe Brodhead (c. 1759), and had been excluded from inheriting any of the substantial holdings listed in his father’s will. Family bad boy was the first thought that came to my mind; why else would his father cut him off?

Well, coincidentally, a few days ago, I was looking through some articles on Genealogy Bank, and up popped the following little article from the Tickler, a satirical publication out of Philadelphia (1807-1813) whose writings attacked politicians and government. The article is dated Wednesday, 5 October 1808. It paints a terribly unflattering picture of the General’s son and makes some pretty damning allegations.

Genealogy Bank terms of use prohibit me from posting a snippet of the article here. I am allowed to transcribe small bits of it, but not too many bits (I am not supposed to do anything that will keep you from wanting to subscribe to their services). So here is a heavily chopped version:

Skeleton fresh from the closet

Skeleton in the Brodhead family closet?

There is a… fellow named Dan Brodhead, an illegitimate son of old general Brodhead, who cuts a very busy figure among the Snyderites. …procured goods to a vast amount, on his father’s credit… …married an amiable woman in Virginia, whose property he lavished on prostitutes… deserted by husband… …several small children to support. Does Dan know the same son, whose father called him one of the most infamous wretches, that had ever disgraced society….

Six children were born to Daniel Jr. and his wife between 1803-1814. Three of them (Ellen, Juliana, and Amanda) would have been alive at the time of this publication. (Note: Daniel Jr.’s wife’s name may have been Christian Abel, but I have yet to see verification of that.)

Something must have prompted the authors of the article to hurl such horrible accusations. Illegitimate son? That’s an interesting one. The General was still alive at the time of publication (he passed away on November 15, 1809), suggesting (to me, anyway) that the authors felt they had some facts to back their statements and weren’t particularly concerned about being accused of libel.

Interesting!

Update 6/20/13: There are more recent posts on this topic. Visit:
Daniel Brodhead Jr.: A Timeline of Life Events
Daniel Brodhead Jr.’s daughter, Ellen
 

Categories: Brodhead, Philadelphia, Scandal | Leave a comment

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