Grant, Gen. Ulysses S.

Where life throws you curves… and waterfalls

Bald River Falls, Tellico Plains, TN (see tiny people mid-right)

Bald River Falls, Tellico Plains, TN (see tiny people mid-right)

I’ve just spent a week white-knuckling it as my hubby skillfully navigated the dozens of back roads crisscrossing the hills, dales, mountains, gorges, and tiny towns of SE Tennessee/SW North Carolina. He rarely let me drive, assuming that I might suddenly ‘zig’ when a ‘zag’ was needed. I can understand his concern—rarely did we see warning signs on approach to nasty sharp turns, and there were many of those, most veering around the edge of some exceedingly high cliff. He kept telling me to sit back and relax… hmmm, easier said than done. Toward the end of our vacation, he relinquished his iron grip on the driver’s seat, and after observing me behind the wheel for a while, he understood that I was just as eager not to go over any cliffs as he was!

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Not sure the name of this waterfall; it was a mile from where we were staying and involved a bit of a descent to get down to it.

So now we are back on the flat-as-a-pancake roads of south Florida, and I must say it’s a bit of a relief, though we will definitely venture forth again into that mountainous world. Next time, however, we’ll at least better know what to expect.

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One of the falls at Coker Creek Falls, TN

Two of the little gems we discovered were the town of Tellico Plains, Tennessee’s gateway to the relatively unknown but breathtaking Cherohala Skyway and home to the Tellico River and nearby Bald River Falls (and excellent trout fishing), and the tiny village of Coker Creek (also in Tennessee), which is nestled high in the southern Appalachian mountains, surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest. The latter was apparently a haven for panners of gold long before the California gold rush. You can still try your hand at it today; plenty of places, including the local visitor center, seem to sell the pans.

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Apalachia Lake, heading towards our landing area

We did some canoeing and kayaking on Apalachia Lake, a nine-mile-long wilderness lake in southwestern North Carolina. We rarely saw a soul out there and, apart from the birds, could only hear the occasional faint sound of an airplane going by overhead, somewhere high in the stratosphere. Day and night the waters were calm, apart from the occasional fish jumping.

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Apalachia Lake, North Carolina, a 9-mile-long wilderness lake

I saw plenty of cemeteries as we made our way around the area, and immediately thought of taking some photos of individual graves, but after checking the Find a Grave site, was amazed that all the cemeteries seemed to be registered there; and plenty and even sometimes all graves appeared to have been recorded. No need to feel compelled to grab the camera; those amazing Find a Grave volunteers had already ‘been there, done that’!

So having taken some time off, I have no family history post to share with you this week. But I do want you to see some reproductions of stage coaches and other now-obsolete wagons, all handcrafted by a Coker Creek craftsman. Two are on display outside the Visitor Center and a brochure shows you all the rest of the carriages available for purchase should you so desire. Fascinating!  Of course, what for us is an amazing and novel sight would have been common for many of our ancestors of the pre-automobile era. This was just the way you got around. Imagine climbing aboard that covered wagon and having it be your home for months on end, no matter what the weather…

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Coker Creek – covered wagon

As I stepped up to peek inside the stage coach, I could not help but think of my second great grandmother Wealthy Jaques Angus, who traveled over the mountains of Vera Cruz, Mexico, by coach in the early 1840s with her two small children in tow, to meet up with her husband, my second great grandfather James Winans Angus who had established a coach-making business in Mexico City. Who do you think she shared her stage coach ride with on that memorable journey? None other than a young Army lieutenant, the recently graduated Ulysses S. Grant! Imagine that!

More on that some other day. Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures!

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Handcrafted stage coach

Stage coach interior

wagons

All faithful reproductions, handmade by a Mr. Marvin Harper of Coker Creek, Tennessee

Peaceful trail

Peaceful trail

Gorgeous vistas!

Gorgeous vistas!

Apalachia Lake

Apalachia Lake

Categories: Angus, Famous Historical Figures, Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., Miscellaneous, Nature, North Carolina, Tennessee | 2 Comments

Civil War drummer boy John B. Jaques, Jr.: Mustered out 148 years ago today

Wounded Drummer Boy, oil on board, 1865-1869, by Eastman Johnson (In collections of San Diego Museum of Art*)

Wounded Drummer Boy, oil on board, 1865-1869, by Eastman Johnson (In collections of San Diego Museum of Art*)

In the midst of all that was going on in tailor John B. Jaques’ family, his namesake had the chutzpah to volunteer for service as a drummer boy in the closing months of the Civil War. The boys were supposed to be 18 to enlist, but as you can see from some of these images, boys much younger than that went into service.

John B. Jaques Jr. (b. 15 October 1848, Elizabeth, NJ) was 16 when he enlisted on 24 Feb 1865. You may recall from the last post that his dad was arrested twice (that we know of) that year, once in March for forgery and once in November for larceny. We don’t know John Jr.’s motivations–was he doing this for love of country and belief in the cause? Trying to escape a troubled home life? Looking for adventure? How proud (and worried) the family must have been. Sadly this brave decision did not seem to impact father John’s behavior.

Gen. Richard Busteed and drummer boy, US National Archives**

Gen. Richard Busteed and drummer boy, US National Archives**

Until discovering this detail about John Jr., and doing a bit of research on the role of drummer boys in the Civil War, I had no idea what an integral role these boys played. They actually required a great deal of training to learn all the various drum rolls and beats that could substitute for orders given vocally which were often much too difficult for troops to hear over the din of battle. And at battle’s end, they helped carry the wounded off the field to wherever care was being rendered.  Drummer boys accompanied commanding officers at all hours of the day and night and had to be ready at a moment’s notice to sound whatever drum roll was appropriate for the operation being initiated. These children were truly heroes, and apparently many of them went on to serve in the capacity of soldiers once their stints as drummer boys came to an end.

John B. Jaques, Jr. was mustered in on 2 March 1865, and mustered out on 13 July 1865 at Newark, NJ. He served in Company I, 40th Regiment New Jersey, which left New Jersey on 4 March 1865. According to the National Park Service website’s Civil War information about the 40th Regiment, John Jr. would have been part of the following: Siege operations against Petersburg December, 1864, to April, 1865. …Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Assault on and capture of Petersburg April 2. Pursuit of Lee April 3-9. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. March to Danville April 23-27, and duty there till May 18. March to Richmond, Va., thence to Washington, DC, May 18-June 3. Corps Review June 8. I found evidence that John spent some time in the hospital before being mustered out. The Newark Daily Advertiser listed him in the ‘Affairs at the Hospital’ section of the issue dated 19 June 1865: Patients have lately been admitted as follows: … Jno. B. Jaques, drummer, Co. I, 40th N.J…. It could not have been anything too serious as the 1890 Census of Union Veterans did not list him as having any disability.

Surrender at the Appomattox

Surrender at the Appomattox, 9 April 1865

I’m very impressed by John Jr. even though his stint in the Union Army was so brief at just 5 months and 7 days. It still took a lot of courage for a lad of 16. And to have been present at Appomattox must have been quite special as well as a huge relief for all concerned.

After the war, John Jr. went on to have a career in the jewelry industry. He first worked in a jewelry shop (1870) and then a jewelry factory (1880). On 19 January 1893, he applied in New Jersey for a Civil War pension (Application no. 1,144,113; Certificate no. 1025165). In 1910, the census record listed his profession as ‘jeweler.’ John Jr. appeared again on the Civil War Pension Index on 5 Dec 1910.

John Jr. married Katherine (Katie) Griffith on 14 Jun 1871, in Newark, Essex, NJ. They had four children born between roughly 1872 and 1877 — two girls and two boys: Mary F., Isaac, William S., and Ida. Imagine the stories he was able to tell his children and grandchildren! Hopefully his home life with Katherine was far less stressful than the one he endured in his childhood.

John died at age 62 on 13 June 1911 (exactly 102 years and 1 month ago). I found his date of death in US Army Veterans Administration pension payment records (Certificate No. 1025165). He was categorized as an “Army Invalid,” and he appears to have originally filed for that status on 29 November 1898.

That’s all I know for the moment about John Jr., so I will finish here. Be sure to click on some of the resource links below. There are some great images there.

Here’s to John B. Jaques Jr. for his bravery, dedication to country, and contributions to preserving our nation and putting an end to slavery. May he be resting in peace.

drummers

Resources:

*Wounded Drummer Boy, oil on board painting by Eastman Johnson, 1865-69, San Diego Museum of Art. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

**This file was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the National Archives and Records Administration as part of a cooperation project. The National Archives and Records Administration provides images depicting American and global history which are public domain or licensed under a free license.

Categories: Appomattox, Civil War, Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., Jaques, Lee General Robert E, Petersburg, VA, US Federal 1870, US Federal 1880, US Federal 1910 | 2 Comments

Isaac Jaques (1791-1880) – a family mystery solved?

(This post is a continuation of the previous post on Isaac Jaques.) A brief but interesting statement appeared in The Trenton State Gazette on April 13, 1880, celebrating Isaac Jaques’ longevity: Isaac Jaques, the oldest citizen of Elizabeth is 91 years of age. He has seen every President of the United States, except President Hayes. His age was not quite accurate, but nonetheless, this was a fun entry to come upon. If it’s true, he would have seen Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Munroe, Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Polk, Taylor, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln, and Grant! That’s pretty extraordinary to think about.

So what else do we know about Isaac? Well, according to US census records, in 1880, prior to his death, Isaac Jaques was living in his stately Elizabeth, NJ, home with his 2nd wife Rebecca (age 69) and two sisters-in-law: Angelina Wile (82) and Sarah Brown (80).

Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus, widow of James W. Angus, probably circa 1890

Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus, widow of James W. Angus, probably circa 1890

Isaac’s daughter Wealthy Ann Angus (widow of James Winans Angus, d. 1962) was living up the road with her three children who had yet to fly the coop (she and James Angus had 11 children in all): Walter (18, machinist), Job (23, machinist [and future superintendent of the construction of the Smithsonian Institution building in Washington, DC, and personal friend of President Lincoln]), and Charles (26, oil dealer). Next door to the Angus family lived Wealthy’s daughter Cecelia (25) and son-in-law Thomas B. Russum (30, draughtsman) and the Russum’s children Thomas (6) and Charles (1).

Cecelia Russum (left) and Thomas Russum (right)

Cecelia Russum (left) and Thomas Russum (right)

I would have liked the Memorial article in the last post or the obituaries I’ve seen to have included names of Isaac’s children. For some reason, our family tree for Isaac Jaques has always listed just one child for him and his first wife, Wealthy Ann Cushman: Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus, mentioned above. I’d long wondered whether that was correct. It’s been on my “to-do” list for a very long while. So today, I decided to do some digging and discovered one Ancestry tree (yes, I took the plunge after coming upon an enticing promo code) showing a son Walter (b. 1826, NYC) and a son Christopher P. (b. NYC, 1832). Although no sources were cited, I was very intrigued, so I took to the census records, and, lo and behold, in the 1850 record (available for free on Family Search), I discovered Walter (dentist) and Christopher P. There was also another son named Charles P. (b. cir 1834). Christopher and Charles (18 & 16) were working as clerks, perhaps in their father’s tailor shop. The census also showed a Catherine, age 20, and two small children (Isaac and Ann). I presumed Catherine may have been the wife of one of the son’s (Walter?), as the small children were a tad young to still be Wealthy’s. Turns out I was right–I found Catherine and her two children living with her parents (Samuel and Elizabeth Nichols) in 1860 in Elizabeth, NJ. What had happened to Walter? (5/21/13 Update: Walter must have passed away by then. I found a marriage record for Catherine on Family Search–she remarried Willet Stevenson on 22 October 1863 in Elizabeth, NJ.) (10/29/16 Update: Catherine was married to another son named Samuel.)

James W. Angus, older brother of Job W. Angus, father of Job W. Angus (b. 1856)

James W. Angus, older brother of Job W. Angus, father of Job W. Angus (b. 1856)

Wealthy Ann Cushman, Isaac’s first wife, passed away on April 13, 1856. A New York Times obituary for Wealthy [Cushman] Jaques was published on April 15, 1856: At Elizabeth, NJ, on Sunday morning, MRS. WEALTHY ANN JAQUES, wife of Isaac Jaques, in the 62d year of her age. The relatives and friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend her funeral, this (Tuesday) afternoon, at 3 o’clock, from her late residence. By the time of the 1860 census, Isaac (roughly 69) was married to Rebecca Robinson, a widow (age 49).

In summary, I am quite surprised never to have seen any mention made of Wealthy Angus’ siblings in any obituaries anywhere. Perhaps, indeed, they all predeceased her and her father, Isaac Jaques. I just truly find it odd that no family histories in my direct family line and the neighboring lines I’ve seen included any mention of anyone other than Wealthy Angus. Was it because she had been the most successful and the others not worthy of a mention? (I should hope not!) Or maybe they predeceased Wealthy and her father? Or maybe there are mentions of them out there that I simply have yet to come across.

This post has gone on way too long, so I will bid adieu for now. I have one other ‘bombshell’ to share, but I’ll leave that for next time! Maybe by then, I will have learned more about Isaac’s progeny.

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., Jaques, Lincoln, President Abraham, New York City, Obituaries, Russum, US Federal 1850, US Federal 1860, US Federal 1870, US Federal 1880, Washington, President George | Leave a comment

Appomattox: Our Links to a Major Historic Event

Surrender at the Appomattox, Palm Sunday, Apr 9, 1865 (Image in public domain)

Well, it’s almost a year ago that I was posting Civil War letters written by the Trowbridge brothers, Uzal (Company A, 1st New Jersey Volunteer Regiment) and his older brother Henry. Uzal did not make it; he was killed early on during the Battle of Gaines’ Mill in June of 1862, a brutal event that shook those present that day to the core of their beings. The loss of Uzal must have been a major blow to the Trowbridge family. Brother Henry entered service shortly after Uzal was killed, in August 1862, serving in the 14th NJ Volunteer Infantry. Somehow he made it through to the end, and went on to marry and have children. I’ll never forget that one letter of his in particular, from February 1864, in which he spoke of wanting to get home for what may be his last chance to see his loved ones. He equated going into battle with being part of a flock of birds under fire. Who lived and who died was all so random:

I am sorrow you cannot give me some excuse to get home. for this winter may be my last chance. if I do not get home this winter, I may never get home.  It is all chance. it is the same as if you shoot into a flock of birds and those you hapen to hit must fall and the rest go on untill the next time and leave you behind. they may bury you and they may not just as it happens and how much time they have to do it. but there is no use in talking we may as well laugh as to cry and base it as we have done so far.

Imagine being my great grandfather William Woodruff, to whom the letter was written. He was only 15 at the time. I know when I was that age, a letter like that would have made a huge impression on me. Without a doubt, such frank talk would have lingered in William’s mind for a long time. Thankfully Henry had a happy ending, though who knows what terrifying scenes must have stayed with him until his passing in 1898 at 63.

Well, why am I bringing this up again? Well, I discovered something very interesting recently. I subscribe to Genealogy Bank and was doing some digging in a Jersey City newspaper called The Jersey Journal. My great grandfather William Trewin lived in Jersey City as did his sister Emma. William met his wife Elizabeth Sargent in Jersey City, and that may well be where Emma met her future husband Francis C. (FC) Ludey. Emma and Francis made their home in nearby Bayonne. William and Elizabeth settled in Elizabeth, a bit further away. Genealogy Bank does not have many New Jersey newspapers, unfortunately. I had been hoping I could access the old Elizabeth Daily Journal, but that’s not on there. But, there is a ton of stuff from the The Jersey Journal, so I was trolling for articles on the Trewins, Sargents, and Ludeys. In the process, I stumbled on an obituary notice for FC Ludey (published 19 Jan 1918) and it mentions that he was present at the Appomattox Courthouse for Lee’s surrender to Grant.  And, as Francis served in the 14th NJ Volunteer Regiment with Henry Trowbridge, something I discovered a while ago and mentioned in this blog at that time, that means (of course!) that Henry was present for the surrender, too. And I thought that was pretty amazing. Talk about having a front row seat to history. Uzal could not be there to witness the end; but at least Henry got to do that for him. So this great historic connection has been there all along, and I am only putting two and two together now. Shame on me, but better late than never I suppose. Still, I cannot help hearing the words of my old high school physics teacher who used to say in response to such a statement: “Better never late.” But that is neither here nor there.

The text of Francis’ obituary reads as follows:
Funeral services for Francis C. Ludey, 73 years old were held at his late home, 75 West 42nd Street last night. Rev. M.Y. Bovard, pastor of the First M.E. Church, officiated. There were present delegations from Bayonne Council, Royal Arcanum, Odd Fellows, and a number of C.A.R. men. Mr. Ludey, being a veteran of the Civil War and present when Gen. Lee surrendered to Gen. Grant at Appomattox. James S. Coward, who was closely associated with Mr. Ludey in affairs of the First M.E. Church Sunday School, was among the mourners.

Francis C. Ludey; this may well have been taken for the Memorial Day event of 1917 at which he was a speaker (Personal Collection of Ruth Kirby Dean)

Included here is a photo of F.C. Ludey, courtesy of his 2nd great granddaughter Ruth Dean. I found an article describing Memorial Day celebrations in Bayonne in May 1917, and Francis was a featured speaker at that event. It may well be that this photo was taken on that very day.

For details of service for the 14th NJ Volunteer Regiment, click here.
For a list of NJ Civil War units, click here.
For the monument to the 14th NJ Regiment at Monocacy, click here.

Categories: Appomattox, Bayonne, Civil War, Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., Jersey City, Hudson Co., Lee General Robert E, Ludey, Memorial Day, Obituaries, Sargent, Trewin, Trowbridge, Woodruff | Leave a comment

Last letter by Henry Trowbridge, Civil War letter #6

This is the last letter I have that was written by Henry A. Trowbridge, 14th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers. Thankfully I can read his letters knowing full well that he survived the war and went on to get married and have children. William Earl Woodruff, his nephew, who was the recipient of the letter and just 14 at the time, did not have that luxury. Note: the abbreviation “inst.” is short for instante mense (Latin for “this month”).

Camp of the 14th Regt. NJV
Near Culpeper, Viriginia
Friday morning, April 8, 1864

Dear Willy,

I received your Welcom letter letter of the 8th inst. last evening and was glad to hear from you once more. It found me well and a kicking as usual. and I hope this may find you the same. I came in from picket yesterday we had the hardest time and have had all winter for it rained, hailed and snowed for two days and one night we got soaking wet through. we layed on the soft side of some split logs the first night. but when it stopped raining we went outside of the line to a secesh farmer and got some straw to lay on them. we could sleep as well as on a feather bed. The smoke nearly smoked my eyes out. oh who would not be a snoger. we are cooking some beans and pork for dinner. don’t you wish you was here to take some with us? you could enjoy yourself down here for some time very well. you could go out on picket with us for 3 days. and stand your post and watch for the rebels as a cat watches a mouse. They cannot get in without we see them. the Company have been out playing ball all the morning but I stayed in and boilt dinner. there is a theater [?] on near here by the soldiers those who have went say it is very good for the army. I have not had a chance to go yet. if the weather keeps dry we will move soon but where or how we cannot tell. grant will make the rebel army open their eyes I tell you he is the man to do it. they will tremble in there shoes when they see the army of the Potomac moving on them. he will have one solid corps of artillery to open on them at once. how the earth will tremble when they begin to fire. you say that you wish me to tell you about the furlough. Well Willy I have have applyed for one but it has not been sent in yet. nor is there any use to send it in for they all come back disapproved. so there is no chance all furloughs and all passes have been stoped. so I will not get home this time. But the time is comming when I can come if spared and stay there and let them go to thunder with their furloughs. that cracker of yours must have been good was it not. who sent do you know I would like to have some. Can’t you send some down? I should like very well to be there to dig your garden and hall out the manure but I rather think as how I can’t this year. for Uncle Sam has got a large grave to dig then I will come I hope. It will be as the fortune teller said. In 1860 the war was begun. In 1862 the war was half through. In 1863 the slaves was set free. In 1864 the war will be oer. With this I must close and get ready for batallion drill this afternoon at two o’clock. We have 5 [?] regts in our brigade now. They look like a small army so good bye to you all from your Uncle Henry A. Trowbridge

Categories: Civil War, Culpeper, VA, Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., Trowbridge, Woodruff | Leave a comment

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