Civil War

The Brodhead Mansion in Washington, DC

The Brodhead-Bell-Morton Mansion (Image from Wikimedia Commons – license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en; uploaded by AgnosticPreachersKid on June 27, 2008)

Brodhead family members, next time you are in our nation’s capital, stop by 1500 Rhode Island Avenue NW to have a look at the exterior of this Beaux-Arts-style mansion built in 1879 for Detroit-born John Thornton Brodhead (1851-1904) and his wife Jessie Maude Willis (1858-1929). A photo currently on eBay reminded me that several years ago I had come across a reference to the “Brodhead Mansion” in DC and had always meant to go back and research which specific Brodheads had once lived here. And now, I know.

The architect of the mansion was Scottish-born John Fraser; later renovations (1912) were overseen by architect John Russell Pope.  Subsequent occupants of the “Brodhead Mansion” included: Alexander Graham (and Mabel) Bell, US VP Levi P. Morton (President Benjamin Harrison’s administration), the Russian Embassy, and US Secretary of State Elihu Root (President Teddy Roosevelt’s administration). Beginning in 1939 and for many years thereafter, the National Paint and Coatings Association occupied the building. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building has served as the Embassy of Hungary since 2016.

Married in 1877, John T. Brodhead and Jessie Maude Willis did not live in this large home for very long. John, who had been actively serving in the US Marines at the time of his marriage, resigned his commission in 1881, after turning down a three-year assignment in China in order to stay in the US with his family. The couple, together with their three small children (more would follow), returned to Detroit where they both had family and John started a real estate business.

John T. Brodhead was a descendant of Daniel Brodhead and Hester Wyngart and their son, Revolutionary War hero Captain Luke Brodhead. His grandfather was Reverend John Brodhead (m. Elizabeth Harrison), and his father was Colonel Thornton Fleming Brodhead (1820-1862; m. Archange Macomb (1870-1891)) who was mortally wounded during the second battle of Bull Run in August 1862.  After his father’s death, John (age 11) was sent to Washington DC to live with his Uncle John Montgomery Brodhead (1803-1880), Thornton’s older brother who was then serving as Second Comptroller for the Army and Navy services. Perhaps his arrival in his Uncle’s household was a blessing given the uncle and his wife had already lost their two only children, Alfred, d. 1853, and Thomas, d. 1855. (Side note: Mary Rebecca Brodhead Pike, featured previously on this blog, was the sister of Colonel Thornton F. Brodhead and John Montgomery Brodhead.)

Some photos of John T. and  Jessie Brodhead appear on Find a Grave and Ancestry.com. I haven’t found any that I can use here without requesting special permission or paying a newspaper archive (e.g., Detroit Free Press). Scroll down for links to those pages and for a family tree showing John’s descent from Daniel and Hester Brodhead, who were among the original European settlers of Pennsylvania’s Minisink Valley.

I will leave you with the abundant biographical information on the John T. Brodhead family that is included in the below publication. You will learn that John’s wife and her family were equally as interesting and impressive.

Biographical information from pp. 600-606 of The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, Volume V, Illustrated (Detroit & Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1922): 

JOHN THORNTON BRODHEAD. The history of the Brodhead family is closely interwoven with the annals of Detroit, through connection with many of the prominent families of the city and with many, of the leading events which have shaped Detroit ’s record and marked her development. In the old home stead on Jefferson avenue, where once stood the Sacred Heart Seminary, John Thornton Brodhead was born on the 12th day of September, 1851. His father, General Thornton Fleming Brodhead, a colonel of the First Michigan Cavalry during the Civil war and an oflicer during the Mexican war and afterward owner and editor of the Detroit Free Press, was born at South New Market, New Hampshire, in 1820. There the old Brodhead homestead still stands. His father was the Rev. John Brodhead of the old Granite state and Thornton Fleming Brodhead was the youngest of a family of twelve children. He came to Detroit in 1816 and when a young man of twenty-six years was mustered into the military service of the country on the lst of March, 1847, as a member of the United States infantry, serving throughout the Mexican war under General Winfield Scott. Early in his military experience he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant and adjutant and on the 20th of August, 1847, was brevetted captain for gallant conduct and conspicuous bravery in the engagements of Contreras and Cherubusco, Mexico. On the 2nd of December, 1847, he was regularly commissioned captain and was mustered out with that rank on the 3rd of August, 1848. Again making his way to Detroit, he became postmaster of the city in 1853, under the administration of Franklin Pierce, then president of the United States and an own cousin of Mr. Brodhead. In the meantime he had purchased the Free Press and was the owner and editor of the paper for a number of years. He married the widow of William Abbott, son of Judge Abbott, her maiden name having been Archange Macomb, daughter of William Macomb, and a niece of General Macomb.

Colonel Thornton F. Brodhead – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA https://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print

Archange Macomb, wife of General T. F. Brodhead, First Michigan Cavalry, and mother of John T. Brodhead of Detroit, was born in the old homestead on Grosse Ile. She was the daughter of William Macomb, and granddaughter of Commodore William Macomb, the original owner of the island. She spent many years of her life in Detroit with her distinguished husband, after his death returning to the old home with her six young children, to spend her last days there. She died in 1891, at the age of seventy-one. Her life and her devotion to her children were most beautiful, as she was both father and mother to them. There were six children of this marriage, the eldest being the wife of Hon. William D. Balfour, M. P. for Ontario. Her son, Edward Blake Balfour, was a first lieutenant in the Canadian army in the World war and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, having saved a thousand lives of his country men by destroying a gun which was turned on the British and was in process of loading. Another son, Major Thornton Balfour, is still in the Canadian army. The second of the family of General Brodhead was John Thornton Brodhead of this review. The third of the family is Mrs. J. Kearsley Webster, whose late husband was a great-grandson of Major Samuel Kearsley, to whom George Washington presented his sword in appreciation of his bravery, at the time of Braddock’s defeat. This sword is now in possession of Mrs. J. Kearsley Webster. A notable fact is that since the sword was worn by Washington, it has changed hands but three times. Eleanor Macomb Brodhead was the fourth member of the household and with her sister, Katherine Julia Brodhead, was living in the old homestead on Grosse Ile until it was destroyed by fire in the summer of 1921. Because of the pleasant memories and the sweet associations arising from years of occupancy of the old homestead by the different generations of the family, the sisters are now erecting a bungalow on the site of the old home. In the garden there are pear trees which were planted more than a hundred years ago and are still in perfect condition, bearing fruit in the year 1921. The sixth member of the family of General Brodhead is Mrs. F. B. Howard, whose husband is a civil engineer of Detroit. Mrs. Howard has one son who served in the Marine Corps in the World war and was wounded at Belleau wood. The story of the brilliant advance of the American troops has been graphically told in the work published by the commanding oflicer there under the title, With the Help of God and a Few Marines.

Not only was General Brodhead closely associated with the military affairs of the country and with news paper publication in Detroit but also with the legislative history of the state. In 1855 he was state senator at Lansing and although a stanch democrat was a warm personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil war Mr. Brodhead organized the First Michigan Cavalry company of fifteen hundred Wayne county men, receiving his orders directly from President Lincoln because of his past military experience. He took his fifteen hundred men to Washington, where they were thoroughly equipped. Here he was joined by his little son, eleven years old, and together they rode through the battle of Harper ’s Ferry. He was made a brevet general for bravery but two weeks later was killed at the second battle of Bull Run, before his title had been confirmed. Following his demise his wife spent her last years on the old Macomb homestead on Grosse Ile. General Brodhead was but forty-one years of age when he passed away on the 30th of August. Laying down his life on the altar of his country, the last words of his dying lips were: “The old flag will triumph yet.” His son, John T. Brodhead, was a lad of but eleven years when his father died. He had been attending the public schools up to this time and afterward went to Washington to the home of his uncle, John M. Brodhead, who was a comptroller in the treasury department through appointment of President Pierce and served in that position through several successive administrations. In the national capital John T. Brodhead attended the public schools for a time and later was graduated from the Polytechnic School in New York city. He was then appointed to the Marine Corps of the United States Navy by General Grant and was assigned to duty at the Charles town navy yard at Boston. Later he was in service at Pensacola, Florida, and from there went to Annapolis, where he remained for but a brief period, having in the meantime been tendered the opportunity to join the Marine Corps with the rank of second lieutenant under Admiral Worden. He joined the Mediterranean fleet as officer on the flagship Franklin, and while the ship was stationed at Nice, France, he met Miss Jessie Willis of Detroit, who later became his wife. About this time the ship proceeded under orders to Spain to bring the notorious Tammany chief, “Boss” Tweed to New York. Lieutenant Brodhead had personal charge of Tweed on the trip and learned a good game of cribbage from him. Lieutenant Brodhead was the youngest oflicer on the flagship but at all times proved his capability in the faithful discharge of every duty devolving upon him.

New York Evening Post, 14 May 1877 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

In New York city on the 12th of May, 1877, he was united in marriage to Miss Jessie Willis, a daughter of Richard Storrs Willis, of Boston, who had settled in Detroit. He was a brother of the poet, N. P. Willis. Following their marriage Lieutenant and Mrs. Brodhead maintained their home in Washington, where three of their children were born, enjoying all of the charm and advantages of the brilliant Washington life in oflicial circles. An opportunity to go to China was offered Lieutenant Brodhead but since this would necessitate leaving his family for a period of three years he declined and resigned his government position, returning with his wife and children to Detroit, where resided both his own and his wife’s relatives. Here he established a real estate business and as the years passed he prospered in its conduct. He was very popular in social and business circles and was also a most devoted husband and father, his love for his mother and his consideration for the members of his immediate family being beautiful to see. His memory is fragrant with loving thought, free from every discord and of most kindly and generous acts. He was ever chivalrous, loving and tender to womankind and strong and manly among men.

Troy Daily Times, May 26, 1877 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)

The children of Mr. and Mrs. John T. Brodhead are as follows: The eldest daughter, Jessie, became the wife of Robert Wagner, a prominent California artist, and died leaving two children, Leicester and Thornton. The eldest son and second child of the family was Thornton Brodhead, who served as a member of the Naval Reserves during the Spanish-American war and won distinction in the battle of San Juan, when he and two others were summoned before their superior officer and complimented for their fine marksmanship in the handling of the gun of which he had charge. He was but nineteen years of age at the time and was under fire for the first time. Following the close of hostilities with Spain he was for three years in the service of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and he is now lieutenant commander of Michigan Naval Militia stationed in Detroit, holding the rank of lieutenant commander in the World war. He married Elise Moran, a daughter of John V. Moran of Detroit. Archange Macomb, the second daughter, is with her mother at the family home on Lodge avenue. John, affectionately known as Jack Brodhead, lives in St. Louis, where he is general manager of the Ford agency. He married Dorothy Farrish of that city. Alexandrine Cairns, became the wife of Duncan J. McNabb, a broker, who during the World war was in the Navy Aviation Corps. Willis, unmarried, the youngest of the family, is in St. Louis with his brother, being president of their concern. He is a graduate of the State University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, having taken an engineering course and during the World war was a captain in the Marine Corps.

The father of this family, John Thornton Brodhead, was a member of the Loyal Legion, also a member of the Detroit Club and his personal qualities made for popularity wherever he was known, causing his death, which occurred in 1904, to be greatly deplored by all who knew him. The old Brodhead home on Grosse Ile on the banks of the Detroit river was called Archdale, in memory of the mother, Archange Macomb. Mrs. J. T. Brodhead has presented a large crayon portrait of Colonel Thornton F. Brodhead to the post office to be hung in the gallery.

While the later generations of the Brodhead family have every reason to be proud of their ancestry in the paternal line, they have equal reason to cherish the records of their ancestors on the distaff side. The mother, Jessie Willis Brodhead, is the daughter of Richard Storrs Willis, a representative of an old and distinguished family, prominent in connection with early American annals, the name figuring potently in relation to events of national history as well as in the world of art and letters. One of his biographers has said of Mr. Willis: “He was possessed of the finest musical and literary talents and his scholarly attainments, as well as his patrician bearing and gracious personality, endeared him to all who knew him.” He was born in the city of Boston, February 10, 1819, a descendant of Nathaniel Willis, one of the Puritans, who came to America from England in 1626 and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he became a deputy to the general court in 1638. During succeeding generations the prestige of the family name has been maintained at the same high standard associated with that of the progenitor of the family in America. In 1776 the Independent Chronicle was first published by Nathaniel Willis, grandfather of Richard Storrs Willis, who occupied the same building that had been used by Benjamin Franklin when he was a printer. His son, Nathaniel Willis, Jr., and his wife, Hannah Parker Willis, were the parents of John Storrs Willis, who was n journalist of distinction and became the founder of three papers, the Eastern Argus of Portland, Maine, the Boston Recorder and that most universally popular and admirable periodical for young folks, the Youth’s Companion.

Richard Storrs Willis attended Channing Hall, a. preparatory school and later was a student in the Boston Latin school. In 1837 he entered Yale and soon became prominently identified with its literary and musical societies. He was elected president of the Beethoven Society and during his second college year wrote compositions for the college orchestra and choir and arranged the scores for many songs of German students. It was at this time that Mr. Willis composed the Glen Mary Waltzes, which enjoyed a long period of popularity. He was graduated from Yale in 1841, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Immediately afterward he went to Germany, where in the next seven years he perfected himself in harmony under Schuyler von Wurtensee and in counterpoint and instrumentation under the celebrated Professor Hauptmann of the Conservatory and conductor of the Thomas Schule. Mr. Willis had as friends and companions the leading literary and musical geniuses of the day. On a trip to Europe he was accompanied by the great Mendelssohn; Gutzkow, the dramatist; Freuligrath, the poet; Bayard Taylor, American author and traveler; and Professor Hofiman von Fullersleben, the poet. Mr. Willis learned to speak the German language quite perfectly and this enabled him to do considerable literary work for the reigning Landgrave of Hesse Darmstadt, who created and bestowed upon him the title and diploma of Doctor of Music. At the close of this seven year period of study in Europe, Mr. Willis returned to Yale, where he was instructor in the German language. Later he went to New York, where he became a contributor to the Albinon, the Musical Times, the Tribune and the Catholic World. About this time he founded a magazine devoted to the fine arts which he called, Once a Month. He also wrote an admirable treatise on church music, which was most favorably commented upon by many periodicals. Later he wrote many student songs, sacred songs, patriotic songs and lyrical compositions. This lyrical gift seemed to be a family trait since Nathaniel P. Willis, the well known poet, was a brother of Richard Storrs Willis and his sister was familiarly known to the public under the nom de plume of Fanny Fern.

The Little Church around the Corner – Postcard published before 1920 by The American Art Publishing Co., New York City; H. Finkelstein & Son (Wikimedia Commons: Public domain)

In 1854 Mr. Willis was married to Miss Jessie Cairns of New York, who died in 1858. At the time of her marriage she was singing in The Little Church Around the Corner, one of the famous old churches of New York, and Mr. Willis was organist under Dr. Houghten. Mrs. Willis’ mother was spiritually and financially one of the pillars of The Little Church Around the Corner, and she owned much property in that locality and gave Mr. Willis and his wife the old homestead just opposite The Little Church. There the three daughters of the family were born. They spent the summer months at their grandmother’s country seat on Long Island near the home of William Cullen Bryant, with whom the daughter, Jessie, afterward Mrs. Brodhead, was a great favorite. Mr. Willis, who in 1861 married Mrs. Alexandrine Macomb Campau, numbered among his intimate friends Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and their contemporaries. Later Mr. Willis took his family to Europe, when his daughters were grown and there they spent four years. The daughters attended the convent of the Sacred Heart at Orleans, France, and also the Sacred Heart convent just outside of Brussels. While sojourning at Nice his three daughters married officers of the United States flagship Franklin. Annie, the eldest, became the wife of Lieutenant Aaron Ward, who later was a rear admiral of the United States navy. Blanche became the wife of Lieutenant William H. Emory, who later commanded the Bear on the Greely relief expedition and was commander of the Yosemite during the Spanish-American war, while the third daughter, Jessie, became the wife of Lieutenant John T. Brodhead. After the marriage of their daughters Mr. and Mrs. Willis returned to Detroit, where Mrs. Willis had extensive property interests, owning one-third of Belle Isle. They built their summer home, Insulruhe, on Belle Isle and spend the winter seasons in New York. Mr. Willis passed away in 1900, while Mrs. Willis survived until 1910, both dying in the faith of the Catholic church, of which they had long been devoted members. Mrs. Brodhead has inherited much of the literary talent of her distinguished father and has made many contributions to periodicals, besides being the author of a number of published volumes. She is a Daughter of the American Revolution, prominent socially and is identified with many of the leading charitable organizations of the city.

Find a Grave Links
John Thornton Brodhead
Jessie Willis Brodhead

Tree Information
1-Capt. Daniel Brodhead b. 20 Apr 1693, Marbletown, NY, d. 22 Jul 1755,
Bethlehem, PA, bur. Old Moravian Cemetery, Bethlehem, PA
+Hester Gerritse Wyngart b. 1697, c. 14 Mar 1697, d. After 1743
|—-2-Capt. Luke Brodhead c. 22 May 1741, Shawnee RDC, Smithfield Twp (Monroe
| Co.), PA, d. 19 Jun 1806, Stroudsburg, Monroe Co., PA, bur. 20 Jun 1806,
| Shawnee Presb. Church Cemetery, Shawnee on Delaware, Monroe Co., PA
| +Elizabeth Harrison b. Cir 1745, Bridesburg, Philadelphia Co.,
| Philadelphia, PA, d. Bef 1797
| |—-3-Rev John Brodhead b. 5 Oct 1770, Lower Smithfield, PA, d. 7 Apr
| | 1838, Newfields, New Hampshire
| | +Mary Dodge b. 1789, d. 1875
| | |—-4-Col. Thornton Fleming Brodhead b. 5 Dec 1820, Newmarket
| | | (Rockingham County), NH, d. 2 Sep 1862, Alexandria, Alexandria
| | | City, Virginia, bur. Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne Co.,
| | | Michigan
| | | +Archange Macomb b. 1817, d. 30 Oct 1891, bur. Elmwood
| | | Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan
| | | |—-5-John Thornton Brodhead b. 12 Sep 1851, Detroit, Wayne,
| | | | MI, d. 1 Mar 1904, Detroit, Wayne, MI

The children of John T. and Jessie Brodhead were: Jessie Willis Brodhead (1878-1906), Richard Thornton Brodhead (1879-1947), Archange Macomb Brodhead (1881-1971), John Brodhead (1888-1970), Alexandrine Cairns Brodhead (1889-1971), and Ignatius Loyola Willis Brodhead (184-1977).

Categories: Brodhead, Bull Run VA, Civil War, Detroit, Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., Harrison, President Benjamin, Roosevelt President Teddy, Washington DC | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Image of Dr. Charles Berry Jaques, Civil War surgeon for Union Army

Surgeon, Harpers Weekly, July 12, 1862

Surgeon, Harpers Weekly, July 12, 1862

I just noticed that a Find a Grave contributor has uploaded a carte de visite of Charles Berry Jaques to that website. It is different from the other two images I have seen. To view the Find a Grave image, click here. You may recall I published a three-part series on Charles a while back. To view the first post, click here. That one will take you to the others.

Update 5.31.16: Permission granted by Find a Grave contributor Russ Kasper to include the image here. Thanks, Russ!

Jaques_Charles_B_2

Categories: Civil War, Jaques | 3 Comments

Mary Rebecca Brodhead Pike (1815-1922) — New Hampshire DAR member — achieved age 106

DAR Magazine Vol52, pub. 1918 This striking black and white image of Mary Brodhead Pike comes from Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, Volume 52 (Jan. 1918),  p. 678.

Mary, daughter of Reverend John Brodhead and Mary Dodge, died on May 17, 1922, at the age of 106, and was buried in Locust Grove Cemetery, Newfields, Rockingham Co., New Hampshire.

The photo was ...taken the day after her 101st birthday, and is a very good likeness, but it does not express the charm of this intellectual gentlewoman. For 101, she looks remarkable!

The article mentions a DAR meeting taking place at Mary’s house in July of Mary’s 103rd year. What an honor it would have been to be a guest in her home.

Volume 55, published several years later (December 1921), gives us an update on the amazing Mary Pike. The Granite Chapter reported:

Our July meeting was held at the home of our oldest member, Mrs. Mary R. Pike, widow of Rev. James Pike, of Newfields. […]

Mrs. Pike at the age of 106 years is active in mind, keen and witty in conversation and gracious in manner. A few years ago this Magazine published a likeness of Mrs. Pike which holds good. She seems not to have changed mentally or physically except that a recent fall has confined her to her room.

Her health is good, she is cheerful and strong in her faith in God, and in her love for humanity. Granite Chapter would like to know if any other Chapter can claim so old a Daughter.

I, for one, would have loved to have been among those who got to sit down with Mary in her later years to hear her discuss her life experiences. As a member of the DAR, she would have been someone extremely interested in family history and the history of our great country.

As is often the case, this is an image I came across while searching for information about someone else. I was intrigued, and wanted to learn more about her. As it turns out, much has been written about Mary’s Brodhead family line, and I won’t go into too much detail here; I’ll just try to give you a sense of where she is located in the overall family tree:

Mary was a granddaughter of Revolutionary War Captain Luke Brodhead (1741-1806), youngest brother of my fifth great grandfather, Lt. Garret Brodhead (1733-1804). (Luke and Garret were sons of Dansbury (East Stroudsburg) founders Daniel Brodhead and wife Hester Wyngart.)

Luke* was wholeheartedly devoted to the cause of independence and was a devoted friend to General Lafayette. Wounds received in battle and in prison eventually forced him to retire from active duty after spending the winter in Valley Forge.

Luke’s June 28, 1806, obituary in the Northampton Farmer & Easton Weekly Advertiser described him as being: …an active patriot in the 1st Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment which marched on Boston in 1775, in opposition to tyranny. He was wounded, and made prisoner on Long Island, where he experienced savage cruelty in a British prison ship [Jersey], and afterwards [he was exchanged on December 8, 1776] served his country with reputation… […] Justice and gratitude had induced his country to dignify him with an annuity for life, and his amiable simplicity of manners endeared him to his friends. He was a tender parent, and an affectionate husband, and an immatable friend...

Luke’s son Rev. John Brodhead**, an ordained Methodist minister, and Mary Dodge, were Mary Rebecca Brodhead Pike’s parents. In 1809, the parents ultimately settled in Newfields, New Hampshire, and that is where Mary was born.

Rev. John Brodhead served in the NH State Senate from 1817-1827, and was a member of Congress from 1829-1833. John and Mary Dodge Brodhead had twelve children: Daniel Dodge Brodhead, John Montgomery Brodhead, Elizabeth Harrison Brodhead, Ann Mudge Brodhead, Joseph Crawford Brodhead, Mehitabel Smith Brodhead, George Hamilton Brodhead, Mary Rebecca Brodhead, Olive Brodhead, Brevet Brigadier General Thornton Fleming Brodhead, Col. Josiah Adams Brodhead, and Almena Cutter Brodhead.

The Reverend was not the only parent who led a remarkable life. His wife Mary Dodge Brodhead’s September 5, 1875’s obituary in the New York Times stated that she conversed and shook hands with every President of the United States, from George Washington on down. With the martyr President Lincoln, she was on terms of great familiarity.

Brevet Brigadier General Thornton Fleming Brodhead, (1820-1862); Wikipedia (Public Domain--contributed by IcarusPhoenix)

Mary’s brother, Brevet Brigadier General Thornton Fleming Brodhead, (1820-1862); Credit: Wikipedia (Public Domain–contributed by IcarusPhoenix)

Of their children, Brig. Gen. Thornton Fleming Brodhead is particularly well known, for his service in the Civil War. He was mortally wounded at Bull Run after heroically leading his men into battle. George Hamilton Brodhead was once president of the NYSE. John Montgomery Brodhead served as second controller of the US Treasury, Joseph Crawford Brodhead was a Deputy Naval Officer, and Josiah Adams Brodhead was Paymaster in the US Army.

Mary Rebecca Brodhead (subject of this post) married Rev. James Pike***, who similarly to Mary’s father started out as a Methodist clergyman but later entered politics. James also served in the Civil War as a Colonel in New Hampshire’s 16th Infantry.

Mary and James had three children: James Thornton Pike (1841-1911), Anna Gertrude Pike Kendall (1844-1926), and Mary Brodhead Pike (1855-1855).

In closing, I’ll just say that there is a wealth of information available about this family line both online and in the Brodhead Family History volumes; I can’t really do justice to it here, and since it’s not my direct line, I don’t know how soon I will likely be returning to it. For anyone interested, the Brodhead Family History volumes may be available at your local library, particularly if you live in the Northeast, or through interlibrary loan. You can also purchase individual volumes from The DePuy / Brodhead Family Association (find them on Facebook).

Have a great day, all! As, always, comments, corrections, and additions welcome.

**************************************************************************************************************

*Source for Luke Brodhead & family: Vol. I of The Brodhead Family, published by the Brodhead Family Assn, 1986, pp. 80-84

**Source for Rev. John Brodhead & family: Vol. II of The Brodhead Family, published by the Brodhead Family Assn, 1986, pp. 143-153.

***Source for Rev. James Pike & family: Vol. IV of The Brodhead Family, published by the Brodhead Family Assn, 1986, pp. 311.

Categories: Brodhead, Civil War, Gen. Lafayette, Lincoln, President Abraham, New Hampshire, Obituaries, Pennsylvania, Revolutionary War | 8 Comments

Dr. Charles B. Jaques, assistant surgeon during the Civil War for 7th Regiment New Jersey (Post III)

Scan of the cover of my personal copy of the book

Scan of the cover of my personal copy of the book

In my first post on Charles B. Jaques, I wrote in paragraph #12 that the 1863 publication Report of Major-General John Pope. Letter from the secretary of war, in answer to resolution of the House of 18th ultimo, transmitting copy of report of Major General John Pope described Charles as being ‘missing’, last seen on the battlefield near Centreville, Virginia, tending to the wounded on August 29, 1862.

Well, I have since learned why Charles was described as missing thanks to the marvelous book Give It to Them, Jersey Blues! by John Hayward (Hightstown, NJ, Longstreet House, 1998, 355 pages—available on Amazon).

Page 69: “Assistant Surgeon Charles Jaques also returned after being captured at Bull Run. During the battle, Jaques had positioned himself just behind the firing line. When the Regiment withdrew, he elected to stay with the wounded who could not be brought back. … Lieutenant Colonel Francine thought that Jaques was wrong in staying behind, so he arrested the doctor upon his return. Francine felt that the doctor should have helped tend to the seventeen wounded men that had been brought from the field. No charges were ever brought against Jaques and he was released  after only a few days.”

Imagine positioning yourself just behind a firing line…I can’t imagine the courage that took.

Charles in mentioned fleetingly several more times in the book (pp. 91, 93, 151), and his photo appears on p. 209. (I have written to the publishers to request permission to include the image in this blog, but have not gotten a response yet.)

In one case (pp. 91, 93), Charles and Lt. Col. Price observe that Francine appears “so dry and parched that he could barely speak above a whisper.” On Charles’ advice, Francine turned the Regiment over to Price and moved to the rear.  In another (p. 151), when the number of sick men in the regiment was rising alarmingly, Charles is noted as expressing great concern about the lack of fresh water and fruits and vegetables for the men.

The book is a marvelous tribute to the men of NJ’s Seventh Regiment. It contains a wealth of information and a large photo gallery. If you have an ancestor who served in this regiment, you just may find their image here.

Categories: Civil War, Jaques, New Jersey | Leave a comment

Dr. Charles B. Jaques, assistant surgeon during the Civil War for 7th Regiment New Jersey (Post II)

I love middle names. They can be so helpful when researching family members who were actually given a middle name, a practice that started in the US in the first half of the 19th century. Even a middle initial can be very useful.

Once armed with the middle name “Berry” (see last post) for Civil War assistant surgeon Dr. Charles B. Jaques (my second great-grandmother Wealthy Jaques Angus’s youngest sibling), I was able to find his cause of death.

The book Catalogue of the Alumni, Officers and Fellow, 1807-1891, published by Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (NY: Bradstreet Press, 1891, p. 79) states that Charles (Class of 1856) died from cardiac disease. Born on Valentine’s Day 1834, Charles was just 32 at the time of his death. He’d saved many lives during his Civil War years with New Jersey’s 7th Regiment, yet his own life could not be saved. Perhaps, some childhood illness finally took its toll.

p. 37

(Note: they have a typo in his year of death, which was 1866 (vice 1876) according to his obituary notice and grave marker.)

If you would like to view a carte de visite of Charles, one is currently on display on the Heritage Auction website. Copyright restrictions prohibit me from showing the photo here, but you can view it yourself. Just click on this link—he is in the top row, third from the left.

Categories: Brooklyn, Civil War, Death, Jaques, New York City, Old Somerville Cemetery NJ | Leave a comment

Dr. Charles B. Jaques, assistant surgeon during the Civil War for 7th Regiment New Jersey (Post I)

Surgeon, Harpers Weekly, July 12, 1862 (Public domain due to expired copyright in the US)

Winslow Homer illustration of surgeons at work on the battlefield, Harper’s Weekly, July 12, 1862

Today, I’d like to highlight one of our family tree’s true heroes Dr. Charles B. Jaques, who was commissioned an officer in New Jersey’s Seventh Regiment on July 19, 1862. He was mustered in on July 31, 1862, and served as an assistant surgeon in Company F and Company S (NB: Staff officers were generally listed under Company S, per Wikipedia). As an assistant surgeon, his rank would have been the equivalent of captain.

7th New Jersey Infantry Monument, Gettysburg Battlefield. Final Report of the Gettysburg Battle-Field Commission of New Jersey (Trenton, NJ: John L. Murphy Publishing Company, 1891), opp. p. 104. (Public domain due to expired copyright in the US)

7th New Jersey Infantry Monument, Gettysburg Battlefield. Final Report of the Gettysburg Battle-Field Commission of New Jersey (Trenton, NJ: John L. Murphy Publishing Company, 1891), opp. p. 104. (Public domain due to expired copyright in the US)

During his 21-month term of service, Charles’s regiment took part in the battles at Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, among many others. For full regiment information, visit the National Park Service website.

Born 14 February 1834 in New York City to prominent Manhattan tailor Isaac Jaques and his wife Wealthy Ann Cushman, Charles was the youngest of  at least seven children. His siblings included Jane, Wealthy, Isaac, John, Walter, and Christopher. My second great grandmother, Wealthy Ann Jaques, was one of Charles’s two older sisters. She was nearly two decades his senior  and married James Winans Angus when Charles would have been just about five years old. Wealthy’s oldest son Isaac was born when Charles was just six.

By the time of the 1850 census, the family was living in Elizabeth, NJ, where Isaac Jaques had invested in real estate. Charles was 16 and working as a clerk.

At age 22, Charles graduated from the New York College of Physicians on March 13, 1856, according to a small announcement that appeared in the Newark Daily Advertiser the next day: The following Jerseymen graduated from the New York College of Physicians last evening: — LC Bowlby, JA Freeman, CB Jaques, CFJ Lehlback, JC Thompson.

Roughly six years later, at 28 years of age, Charles married Katherine Louise De Forrest, daughter of John L. De Forrest, on 26 March 1862, in Somerset, New Jersey.

Four months later, Charles had to bid goodbye to his wife and family and join his regiment. If you would like to view a carte de visite of Charles, one is currently on display on the Heritage Auction website. Copyright restrictions prohibit me from showing the photo here, but you can view it yourself. Just click on this link—he is in LOT #49487, third from the left.

Harpers Weekly, July 12, 1862

Harper’s Weekly, July 12, 1862 (Credit: http://www.sonofthesouth.net)

In its July 12, 1862, issue, published one week before Charles was commissioned, Harper’s Weekly carried the article and illustration (by Winslow Homer) included in this post about the life of the Civil War surgeon.

Given Harper’s Weekly was the most widely read publication of its kind during the Civil War, Charles himself may well have perused this issue.

How proud the entire family must have been of Charles and the life-saving role he was about to play in service to his fellow soldiers. But by then, the realities of the battlegrounds were well known, and their pride must certainly have been mixed with deep concern for Charles’s safety.

From p. 10 of the Register of the Commissioned Officers and Privates of the New Jersey Volunteers in the Service of the United States (image inset), we know that Charles served with Dr. Luther Foster Halsey. Halsey’s memorial appears on the Find a Grave website.

Charles’s name appears twice in the 1863 publication Report of Major-General John Pope. Letter from the secretary of war, in answer to resolution of the House of 18th ultimo, transmitting copy of report of Major General John Pope (see pages included below). He is described as missing (a condition that obviously proved to be temporary), last seen on the battlefield near Centreville, Virginia, tending to the wounded on August 29, 1862. Colonel Louis R. Francine, who signed one of these reports, was mortally wounded at Gettysburg the following summer.

Charles is mentioned in the diary of 7th Regiment NJ Private Heyward Emell (The Civil War Journal of Private Heyward Emmell, Ambulance and Infantry Corps by Jim Malcolm, pub. 2011 – see Chapter 5 “Second Bull Run”, p. 30): Camp near Ft. Lyon near Alexandria Va., September 4th [1862]. We have been in 3 battles since I last wrote, but I am glad to be able to say that Co. K had only one killed and two wounded in all of them. And we had one die of sickness on the march his name was Wm. Long & John Lyon was wounded at Bull Run & soon died. Charlie Johnson got wounded Bristow Station & so did Archer. Wm. Long was burried at Fairfax Court House. John Lyon was not dead when we left or we would have buried him. Dr. Jaques stayed with our wounded for several days & was paroled on account of his being a doctor & has just returned & tells that Lyon did not live long after the battle. I suppose this battle will be called Bull Run No. 2. …

Harper's Weekly

Harper’s Weekly, April 4, 1863, illustration by A. B. Waud – Wedding of Captain Hart and Miss Lammond

Another interesting thing we know about Charles is that he is listed as having been a witness at the March 12, 1863, wedding ceremony of Captain Daniel Hart and Miss Ellen (“Nellie”) Lammond at the 7th Regiment’s military encampment, then located in the vicinity of Falmouth, Virginia. Charles’s signature appears on the Harts’ wedding certificate, a copy of which is presently stored in the National Archives.

The October 12, 2006, issue of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia (pp. 3-5) has an interesting article about the event, and describes how Miss Lammond and her entire wedding party traveled down from Phillipsburg, NJ, to the encampment, since Captain Hart was unable to get leave to go home for the ceremony. To view a PDF of the newsletter, click here.

The wedding was highlighted by Harper’s Weekly in its April 4, 1863, issue. This blessed event must have been a rare moment of “normalcy” experienced by many of these men during the course of their service.

Civil War surgeon's kit, Wikimedia Commons image by 'quadell'

Civil War surgeon’s kit, Wikimedia Commons image by ‘quadell’

I can’t begin to imagine the day to day of what Charles and his fellow surgeons and soldiers went through, and I won’t make any attempt to describe it here. Instead, I will provide links to just a few of the resources available where you can learn more about the realities of a soldier’s life during the Civil War:
The Truth About Civil War Surgery by Alfred J. Bollet, published June 12, 2006
“Maimed Men: The Toll of the American Civil War” on the US National Library of Medicine website
“Medicine in the Civil War” on AmericanCivilWar.com
Winslow Homer Civil War illustrations
Civil War Rx – The Source Guide to Civil War Medicine
Civil War Surgeons Memorial website

Some old calling cards

Some old calling card envelopes addressed to Charles Jaques. The card from Mr. J. Besancomb came in the second envelope. The upper envelope was empty when I came across it.

Charles was mustered out on October 7, 1864, and returned home to his family. I wish I could tell you that he went on to live a very long and happy life–for he certainly deserved one. Unfortunately, for reasons I have yet to discover, he died on May 2, 1866, at home in Brooklyn, NY, where he and his wife must have settled after he got home. He’d been home just about 18 months and was only some 32 years of age.

Charles was buried in the Old Somerville Cemetery in Somerville, NJ. The Find a Grave site has images of the memorial that marks his resting place.

I am immensely grateful to Charles for his service. I hope by publishing this post here, other family members will learn of his life’s work and feel as proud as I do to have him in our family tree.

If anyone reading this has additional information to share about Charles or a photographic image of him, such as the CDV mentioned above, please get in touch.

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Charles’s Family

Charles and Katherine had one son Charles B. Jaques Jr. who was born on March 24, 1864. So obviously, Charles Sr. made it home on furlough some nine months prior to that. Charles Jr. would probably not have had any recollection of his father as he was just a toddler when Charles Sr. died. When Charles Jr. was eight, Katherine married a second time–to Rufus R. Sewall (January 2, 1872).

Sadly, on May 10, 1886, Charles Jr. died at just 22 years of age, in Enterprise, Florida, which is on the other side of Lake Monroe from Sanford, Florida. What he was doing there, I do not know. This was two years before an enormous yellow fever epidemic swept through the state, killing many. Perhaps a disease like that took him or some sort of accident (the 1880s was a time in Florida when there was major railroad construction going on, tourism was getting underway, and logging was big business). For whatever reason, it took six months before the family was able to have a funeral and bury him. He was interred at Old Somerville Cemetery next to his father on November 12, 1886.

According to http://www.sewellgenealogy.com/p473.htm#i1234, Rufus Sewall died on April 14, 1889. Katherine married a third time, to Charles E. Jenkins on June 2, 1891. She died on May 11, 1931, and was also interred at Old Somerville Cemetery.

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p. 10, Register of the Commissioned Officers and Privates of the New Jersey Volunteers in the Service of the United States (pub. 1863)

p. 10, Register of the Commissioned Officers and Privates of the New Jersey Volunteers in the Service of the United States (pub. 1863)

Report of Major-General John Pope. Letter from the secretary of War, pub. 1863; pp 178-179

CLICK TO ENLARGE – Report of Major-General John Pope. Letter from the secretary of War, pub. 1863; pp 178-179 (In public domain in US due to expired copyright)

Report of Major-General John Pope. Letter from the secretary of War, pub. 1863; pp 190-191

CLICK TO ENLARGE – Report of Major-General John Pope. Letter from the secretary of War, pub. 1863; pp 190-191(In public domain in US  due to expired copyright)

Harpers Weekly, April 4, 1863, illustration

Harper’s Weekly, April 4, 1863 (Credit: http://www.sonofthesouth.net)

Troy Daily Times, Tues. March 24, 1863 (Credit: www.fultonhistory.com)

Troy Daily Times, Tues. March 24, 1863 (Credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com)

Troy Daily Times, Tues. March 24, 1863 (Credit: www.fultonhistory.com)

Troy Daily Times, Tues. March 24, 1863 (Credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com)

Death Notices, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, November 3, 1866 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Death Notices, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, November 3, 1866 (Credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com)

NY Herald, May 13, 1886 (www.fultonhistory.com)

NY Herald, May 13, 1886 (Credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com)

NY Herald, November 11, 1886 (www.fultonhistory.com)

NY Herald, November 11, 1886 (Credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com)

Categories: Angus, Brooklyn, Bull Run VA, Chancellorsville VA, Civil War, Cushman, De Forrest, Elizabeth, Enterprise Volusia Co, Fredericksburg VA, Gettysburg PA, Homer, Winslow, Jaques, Old Somerville Cemetery NJ, Veteran's Day | 2 Comments

“Angus Family Records Reveal Civil War Prices”

I am including an article clipped from a copy of the Elizabeth, NJ, Daily Journal sometime during the 1930s. Unfortunately, the year was clipped off by whoever did the clipping, but it must have been before 2 April 1936. I say that because the article mentions Attorney Job W. Angus (1856-1936, son of James Winans Angus & Wealthy Ann Jaques) dropping off an assortment of old family records with an historian for future safe-keeping, and Job died of bronchial emphysema on 2 April 1936. So the article was published sometime before then. I am including the opposite side of the article so you can see what is visible of the date. (The prices on blouses and spring bags can’t help but amuse!) Click on the article if you need to enlarge the print.

Elizabeth Daily Journal, Jan 27, 193?

Elizabeth Daily Journal, Jan 27, 193?

Elizabeth Daily Journal, Jan 27, 193?

Elizabeth Daily Journal, Jan 27, 193?

Categories: Angus, Civil War, Elizabeth, Union Co. | 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

Monsieur Alphonse P. M. de la Flechelle (cir. 1792 – 14 October 1847)

Birch-de la Flechelle marriage, New York Evening Express, published 28 December 1860 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Birch-de la Flechelle marriage, New York Evening Express, published 28 December 1860 (www.fultonhistory.com)

frenchAfter publishing my June 28 post, I discovered more about Monsieur Alphonse Pierre Marie de la Flechelle, the Frenchman whose daughter Elizabeth C. de la Flechelle married Isaac Jaques’ grandson, William Mabury Birch (son of Jane Jaques and John W. de la Fletcher Birch, a.k.a. John F. Birch), on Christmas day 1860. Quite a mouthful, I know, but I confess to being very intrigued by the de la Flechelle connection.

This “de la Flechelle / de la Fletcher” business is peculiar; it occurred to me that, perhaps, “de la Fletcher” was some kind of Americanized version of “de la Flechelle” and that, perhaps, John was named in honor of a “de la Flechelle.” Before checking dates, I’d hoped that maybe Alphonse’s stay in Dublin coincided with the portion of life that John’s dad (an Irishman) lived in Ireland, and that maybe the two were friends and admirers. After all, it was not uncommon for middle names to come from the surname of someone a family admired. But that is impossible, because John’s dad — George L. Birch — emigrated from Ireland to the US in 1798, when Alphonse was kindergarten-aged and living in France. I’d love to figure this out, but maybe it’s just one of those unsolvable things. (On a side note, I discovered that George L. and John F. Birch, and Jane Jaques Birch are buried in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery.)

First Presbyterian Church and Cemetery [Woodbridge, NJ] Credit below

First Presbyterian Church and Cemetery [Woodbridge, NJ] Credit below

Alphonse and his wife Elizabeth Burton Fitzgerald, together with three young daughters, are buried in the churchyard of the First Presbyterian Church of Woodbridge, NJ. A book on the history of that church (History of the First Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, New Jersey 300th Anniversary May 25, 1975 (published 1975) says that, when doing research for the book, the church investigated who this Frenchman was and discovered that he was the late deputy consul from the court of France to the US. He served as Chief Secretary of the French Embassy in Dublin, Ireland, in 1814, and later in the same capacity in NYC (1825) and Boston (1839). They had no idea why he came to Woodbridge and speculate that he or his wife may have had relatives there.

Well, I’ve since discovered (and the church probably has, too) that Alphonse had a country estate in Woodbridge, and between, during, and after his various postings, he resided there.

According to church records, Alphonse passed away on 14 October 1847, in his 56th year. An obituary published on Wednesday, October 20, 1847, in the Spectator, a NY newspaper (see Genealogy Bank), revealed that Alphonse had been in ill health, and had retired to live full-time on his Woodbridge estate for the several years leading up to his death. The obituary mentions his post in Dublin and then his appointment to the post of deputy consul for New York City. No mention is made of any post in Boston.

The retreat of Napoleon from Russia, 3 November 1812, by Victor Adam - mid-19th century (Pennington Catalogue, p. 3005, McGill University Libraries (Public domain-Wikimedia)

The retreat of Napoleon from Russia, 3 November 1812, by Victor Adam – mid-19th century (Pennington Catalogue, p. 3005, McGill University Libraries (Public domain-Wikimedia)

Interestingly, Alphonse spent his early years in the French Army, serving under Napoleon in Spain during the 1808-1813 Peninsular War, and from there marched east to take part in Napoleon’s failed 1812 invasion of Russia. After Napoleon’s dethronement [11 April 1814], Alphonse was appointed to his post in Dublin.

From the History of the First Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, New Jersey... book, we know Alphonse was in Dublin for a decade and started his NYC post in 1825 at the age of 32.  The start of the New York post coincided with his marriage to Elizabeth Burton Fitzgerald (b. England**), and it was shortly thereafter that children appeared. I don’t yet know where they met and married, but I suspect it was after Alphonse relocated to NYC.

Honoré Daumier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (more info below)

“La Vue” [of the Brooklyn Bridge, I presume], circa 1839, by Honoré Daumier; lithograph on wove paper; Brooklyn Museum of Art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (more info below)

The New York City post lasted 14 years, and then supposedly he was posted to Boston in 1839.  The last four de la Flechelle children were born in New Jersey between 1840-1847-ish, so perhaps Elizabeth and the youngest of the children remained in Woodbridge while Alphonse was in Boston. Or maybe the Boston posting never actually took place due to illness or something else, as it is not mentioned in the obituary. A possibility for that “something else” occurred in 1838 and is mentioned further down this page.

Altogether 9 children (of whom I am aware) came from this union– eight girls and one boy. The oldest, Elizabeth and Zelma, died in early childhood, just a day apart in March 1834, and are buried in the Woodbridge churchyard– no doubt a crushing blow for the young family. The third child and fourth child, Alexandrine (b. Nov. 1829) and Alphonse Jr. (b. 1832), who were alive at the time of their older siblings’ passing, survived and lived to adulthood, married, had children, etc. A fifth daughter Louise died as an infant in March 1837 and is also buried in the Woodbridge church cemetery. Four more daughters followed from 1840-1847: Zulma, Elizabeth C. (eventually married Wm. M. Birch), E.A., and Mary E.

Brooklyn, NY, Daily Eagle, 21 Jun 1849 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Mrs. de la Flechelle giving piano lessons; Brooklyn, NY, Daily Eagle, 21 Jun 1849 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Once Alphonse passed away, his wife Elizabeth de la Flechelle was left to care for the brood herself; I found newspaper ads for a Mrs. de la Flechelle giving piano lessons in Brooklyn in the late 1840s; perhaps this was Elizabeth trying to earn some extra money for her young family. Tragically, she died just eight years after Alphonse — in January 1855 at  48 years of age.

Judging by the information contained within 1855 New York State Census records, the children still too young to be out on their own (Zulma Edmie (15), Elizabeth C. (12), E.A., (10)  and Mary E. (7)) went to live in Brooklyn’s 10th Ward with their older sister Alexandrine de la Flechelle Brunel, who herself was just 25 and had four small children (Mary E. (7); Alexandrine (5); Louisa I. (3), and Frederick Alphonse (3 mos.)) with her husband Frederick A. Brunel, a distiller. Frederick’s mother Mary Brunel, who was born in the West Indies and was 77 years old at the time, must have been ready to run for the hills! Thankfully there were two household servants on board — for this was indeed an “all-hands-on-deck” situation.

Tragedy followed just over a year later when Frederick died at 38, leaving Alexandrine (just 26) alone with all those children.  Zulma, the oldest of the sisters living with Alexandrine, who was probably her best helper, passed away two years later, at age 18.

New York Times, 27 Aug 1858 (www.fultonhistory.com); note: for a clearer image visit the NY Times online archives.

New York Times, 27 Aug 1858 (www.fultonhistory.com); note: for a clearer image visit the NY Times online archives.

Funeral Notice, New York  Times, 28 August 1858: FLECHELLE – In Brooklyn, on Wednesday, Aug. 25, ZULMA EDMIE, daughter of the late Alphonse P. M. de la Flechelle in the 18th year of her age. The friends and family are respectfully invited to attend the funeral to-day (Friday) at 1 o’clock P.M. from the residence of her sister, Mrs. Brunel, No. 394 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn. Zulma was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Alexandrine Brunel remarried in 1869; her second husband was civil engineer Joseph Van Winkle (b. 1814, NY). In 1900, the pair were living in Hempstead, Nassau Co., NY, and providing a home to her son Frederick Alphonse Brunel (farmer), his English-born wife Agnes, and their three young children: Robert, Laura, and Adolph F. Alexandrine died in August 1902 at about 62. A New York Times death notice, published 4 August 1902, read: VAN WINKLE: Aug. 4, at Hempstead, L.I.., Alexandrine, wife of Joseph Van Winkle and daughter of the late Alphons P.M. de la Flechelle.  She was also buried at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

NY Herald, published (Credit: www.fultonhistory.com)

NY Herald, published (Credit: http://www.fultonhistory.com)

Her younger brother Alphonse E. W. de la Flechelle predeceased her by eight years, passing away in 1894 in Hempstead, Long Island, at the age of 58. A funeral notice was published in the New York Herald on the 21st of September of that year: DE LA FLECHELLE – At Hempstead, L. I., September 17, 1894, ALPHONSE DE LA FLECHELLE, son of the late A. P. M. de la Flechelle. French papers please copy.

Alphonse Jr. was born in 1832 and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. His card in the pension index reveals: “Gen. Serv. USA (1861), Unassd. 63 – NY Inf. (1864-65): Navy, Ship’s Corpl, Minn, N. C. Tacony, Brandywine (1863-1864), G [Company] 8 [8th Infantry] U.S. Inf. (1861-1863). ” His service extended beyond the end of the war. A record for August 1867 for Fort Columbus, New York Harbor (filed by Henry D. Wallen, Lt. Col. 14th Infantry, Brevet  Brigadier General) shows Alphonse E. W. de la Flechelle in a list of those who appear to be awaiting trial or awaiting charges. Next to his name: Rank – Pvte, Regiment – 8 Inf., Company – C, When received at the post – 14 Aug 1867, Remarks – awaiting charges.

Alphonse Jr. was thrice married, and it was his third wife Caroline who filed for a Civil War pension as a widow on 7 Sep 1895. The card reveals that Alphonse Jr. had an alias — George Stanley. I found that very bizarre and wonder what that was all about unless it was a way to escape his very obvious French first and last names.

His first marriage was to Georgiana Sheldon. An announcement appeared in the Long Island Star on 13 May 1857: In this city, on the 7th of May, by the Rev. John A. Paddock, rector of St. Peter’s (Episcopal) Church, Alphonse E.W. DE LA FLECHELLE, only son of A.P. M. DE LA FLECHELLE, deceased, to Georgiana SHELDON, youngest daughter of the late Job SHELDON. Interestingly that marriage ended in divorce, not very common back then, so I wonder what went wrong.

Queens County Court news, Queens County Sentinel, 1897 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Queens County Court news, Queens County Sentinel, 1897 (www.fultonhistory.com)

He remarried on 20 March 1872 to Mary Catherine Farmington, and is listed as “Divorced” in the marriage record. Third wife Caroline de la Flechelle was roughly 26 years younger than Alphonse Jr. She was still alive in 1920, living in Brooklyn as a lodger in the household of Mamie and Gerald Johnson, and working as a seamstress for private families.

I found an 1897  newspaper mention of a lawsuit against Caroline and other de la Flechelles (perhaps children of Alphonse Jr.). No idea what that was all about or who the plaintiff was.

There definitely was an Alphonse III, a son of Alphonse E. W. de la Flechelle, as I discovered a notice for drunkenness and cursing in a September 13, 1896, newspaper– two years after Alphonse Jr.s death.

Queens County Sentinel, 13 Sept 1896 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Queens County Sentinel, 13 Sept 1896 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Several years later, an Edward de la Flechelle was advertising in the New York Press in 1889 and 1890 for a housekeeper to help him care for his small daughter. Was this Alphonse III (if his initial E. stood for Edward, and he went by that name?) or a different son of Alphonse Jr.?

New York Press, 1889 (www.fultonhistory.com)

New York Press, 1889 (www.fultonhistory.com)

New York Press, 10 Nov 1890 (www.fultonhistory.com)

New York Press, 10 Nov 1890 (www.fultonhistory.com)

But, back to Monsieur Alphonse P. M. de la Flechelle. I’d said that there was an incident in 1838, and I believe that incident may have initiated his transfer to Boston or sent him into an early retirement. News of this incident was published in newspapers as far away as Boston, Providence, Portsmouth, Baltimore, and St. Louis. On August 28, 1838, the New York newspaper, American for the Country, included the following, which will give you an idea of what the controversy was. It involved what appeared to be the illegally carried out arrest of two Frenchmen who had deserted a French ship called the Didon after carrying out acts of piracy. I found a number of articles on the topic through Genealogy Bank, but their copyright restrictions prohibit me from including them in full here. But this should give you an inkling of the matter:

American for the Country, 28 August 1838, 1st part of article (www.fultonhistory.com)

American for the Country, 28 August 1838, 1st part of article (www.fultonhistory.com)

American for the Country, 28 August 1838, part 2 (www.fultonhistory.com)

American for the Country, 28 August 1838, part 2 (www.fultonhistory.com)

Ultimately, a warrant was issued for Alphonse’s arrest. When first approached, he was standing out in a field of his Woodbridge estate. He refused to be taken on the grounds that a warrant was needed from NY state not NJ. So a requisition was then obtained from New York’s governor, but proved not to be needed as Alphonse turned himself in voluntarily and paid bail in the amount of $5,000.

New York - American for the Country, published 22 Sep 1838 (www.fultonhistory.com)

New York – American for the Country, published 22 Sep 1838 (www.fultonhistory.com)

A rather humorous (to me anyway) description of the attempt to arrest “Monsieur de la Flechelle” in his Woodbridge estate field appeared in several newspapers (all on Genealogy Bank). For example, in the New York Commercial Advertiser of Saturday, September 22, 1838, Alphonse is described as refusing to go with the officers. He threatened to blow out the brains of the first man that laid hands on him, and remarked, La France got all Algiers for one slap in de face, and la France will get dis country for dis. From what I could glean from the remaining articles I read, the indictment against Alphonse was found to be valid by a Grand Jury, but I don’t know beyond that what the repercussions were for him or his superior. The last article I found was dated October 4, 1838, in the St. Louis Daily Commercial Bulletin (Genealogy Bank): The Grand Jury of New York, it is stated in the Express have found a true bill of indictment against Thomas Mitchell Dronet… in addition, a bill was also found against M. Alphonse de la Flechelle…

Not the last, because I subsequently (2 years later) came upon this article on the Fulton History site which also mentions the guilty verdict:

Evening Post (NY), 2 Sept 1838

Evening Post (NY), 2 Sept 1838

So maybe this incident thrust him into early retirement at the age of 46, or maybe it facilitated a relocation to Boston. I’m sure there is much more I could find out if determined to do so. But, I don’t want to stray too far from my tree. I’ll leave it for Alphonse’s living descendants to sort out his fascinating life and the lives of his many interesting descendants, something they have probably done already, and hope to read about it all sometime in the future! (For a family tree, visit my “Names A-E” page.)

UPDATE (2015): Find a Grave contributor “Gone Gravin'” has kindly photographed the graves of the family members buried at First Presbyterian Churchyard, Woodbridge, Middlesex County, NJ — Plot: 291. Here is the Find a Grave link.

**See 1930 Census record for “Alexandra Van Winkle”, stating her mother was born in England.

Presbyterian Church Photo Credit: By Perrycart (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cartoon: Honoré Daumier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Brooklyn Museum of Art

Categories: 1st Presbyterian Woodbridge NJ, Birch, Brooklyn, Civil War, de la Flechelle, de la Fletcher Birch, Green-Wood Cemetery Brooklyn NY, Jaques, Napoleon, New York 1855, New York City, Obituaries, Presbyterian, Spain - Peninsular War (1808-13), War of 1812 (Russia), Woodbridge | 2 Comments

Gaines’ Mill Saved

The Civil War Trust met its $3.2 million fundraising goal to save 285 acres of the Gaines Mill battlefield. This is great news given that according to their website: Nearly 20 percent of America’s Civil War battlefields have already been destroyed — denied forever to future generations. Of those that remain, only 15 percent are protected as National Parks. There is only one National organization working to save all these battlefields: The Civil War Trust.

Gaines’ Mill is where one of my 2nd great grandmother’s brothers, Uzal Trowbridge, was killed in some of the war’s fiercest fighting, on June 27, 1862. This blog contains as much information as I have about him as well as some of the letters he sent home to his nieces and nephews (my great grandfather William Woodruff and his siblings) during his time of service. (For more on Uzal, you can click on the Trowbridge link in the categories column.) To learn more about Gaines Mill, click here.

The Trust is currently seeking help to save:

  • 69 acres at the Glendale, Malvern Hill, and First Deep Bottom battlefields near Richmond, Virginia.
  • 112 acres of the “forgotten flanks” of the Gettysburg Battlefield.
  • Fleetwood Hill, the key portion of the Brandy Station battlefield. This June 9, 1863 battle in Culpeper County, Virginia, marks the opening of the Gettysburg campaign.
  • Slaughter Farm at Fredericksburg, where 5,000 men fell in one bloody afternoon.
Categories: Civil War, Trowbridge, Woodruff | Leave a comment

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