War of 1812 Biographies

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CHEW, THOMAS JOHN (1777-1846). Purser, United States Navy. Thomas Chew was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1777 to Samuel Chew and Lucy Miller, according to documents in the University of Michigan Library. The Chew family had long been established in Virginia.  Thomas’s uncle Joseph Chew, a prominent loyalist, fought against the Revolutionary forces and relocated to Montreal, Canada. Thomas’s father, Samuel, was captain of Resistance, in the Continental Navy, and was killed in action against the British letter-of-marque (a privately owned, armed, merchant ship) Grenville, in 1778. Thomas followed his father into the Navy in 1799. According to the information on his Seamen’s Protection Certificate (a document issued to American seamen as proof of citizenship), Thomas, age 21, was 5′ 7″ tall, with a dark complexion. Thomas left the Navy in 1802 for several years, sailing to the West Indies and captaining a civilian ship to Amsterdam. He engaged in trade in Europe before returning to the Navy in 1809 as purser on the USS John Adams. A ship’s purser is its onboard business agent. He keeps the accounts and payroll, procures provisions and other supplies, and runs the ship’s store, selling clothing and other items to the crew, often at a sizable profit. Thomas was a businessman on land and at sea, and did well for himself.

In May, 1812, he joined the crew of the frigate USS Constitution as purser, which had just become a commissioned officer rank, and served there until her memorable defeat of HMS Guerriere, when the ship earned her nickname, “Old Ironsides.”(A purser’s battle station was in the cockpit, assisting the ship’s surgeon. That is where Thomas was, presumably, during the battle with Guerriere.) Thomas was awarded a Congressional Silver Medal for his service aboard Constitution, and had a share in the $50,000 prize money for Guerriere’s capture, according to the USS Constitution Museum.

In September, 1812, Thomas married Abby Hortense Hallam in New London, Connecticut, according to American Mercury, the local newspaper. They would have six to eight children, many of whom are buried in Green-Wood along with Thomas and Abby.

After Constitution’s return to the Boston Navy Yard that same year, Thomas worked there as purser until he transferred to the USS Chesapeake. On June 1, 1813, during the battle against HMS Shannon, it was Crew, according to some reports, who supported the mortally wounded Captain James Lawrence, as he spoke his famous last words: “Don’t give up the ship.” Unfortunately, Chesapeake eventually was given up, and Thomas was taken prisoner. He was promptly traded back, though, and went on to serve on several other ships, including USS Oneida and USS Washington, which took him to service in the Mediterranean. “Don’t Give up the Ship” later became the motto of the United States Navy. And his eldest son, James Lawrence Chew, born in 1814, appears to have been named after Thomas’s captain on Chesapeake.

Back on dry land, from 1818 to 1832, Crew worked at the Navy Yard in Brooklyn, possibly as a civilian: conflicting records date his resignation from the Navy either in 1821 or 1831. Thomas also worked for the Protection Fire Insurance Company as its president, until 1830. He was the treasurer for St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn Heights from 1833 to 1837, according to documents in the University of Michigan Library. In 1840, the federal census recorded Thomas’s Brooklyn household as consisting of eight people, in addition to him: five were girls under the age of 20; two were white women between the ages of 20 and 49; one was an older, free, female servant of color; none was enslaved. In total, there were either two or three servants in the household. His son had died before the census date.

Crew died in July, 1846, at the age of 69, of “General Decay of Nature,” according to his burial record. His residence at the time was 94 Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights. Section 90, lot 1409.

Drawing of the death of Captain Lawrence aboard the Chesapeake.

CROLIUS, SR., CLARKSON (1773-1843). Colonel, United States Army. The son of Johannes (John) Crolius and Maria Clarkson Crolius, Clarkson Crolius Sr. was born in New York City in 1773 (according to New-York Historical Society records) or 1774 (per Wikipedia and Find A Grave), into a family of prominent stoneware makers, and was baptized on October 30, 1774. Clarkson’s grandfather Johan Willem Crolius, is said to have left Germany for New York, per Wikipedia, and established the first stoneware manufactory in the colonies. He ran a pottery, making all sorts of affordable storage pots and jugs on Reade Street, near Broadway, in lower Manhattan. John Crolius, William’s son and Clarkson’s father, acquired property on Reade Street, about one hundred feet west of Centre Street and just north of City Hall Park, where the family pottery and residence were maintained for many years. As per A. Brandt Zipp in his Commeraw’s Stoneware: The Life and Work of the First African-American Pottery Owner, published in 2022, the Crolius establishment, which Clarkson began running about 1799, was “the founding shop of the American stoneware craft.” Commeraw and four other members of his family had been enslaved by William Crolius; Thomas was freed, along with his family, in 1779, upon William’s death. The Croliuses, then living in New Jersey, and required by law there, then assumed responsibility for training Thomas in the stoneware craft. As Zipp ventures, once both Clarkson and Thomas were set up in business in Manhattan, “My guess is that he (Clarkson) was also his (Thomas’s) friend, and that the pair saw themselves more as business associates and comrades than warring competitors.”

According to Find A Grave, Clarkson Crolius removed the pottery works to No. 65 and 67 Bayard Street, in what is now Chinatown, with his home remaining on Reade Street. However, Zipp reports that “from 1814 onward, Crolius was using two different business locations at once, the old shop and a Bayard Street one.” Crolius sold his wares locally, into New England, and as far south as the Carolinas. In 1809 he issued what is believed to be the first American stoneware price list, which offered jugs, jars, pitchers, mugs, pots, kegs, churns, and ink stands, all made from clay. According to Zipp, the leading expert on American stoneware, Clarkson Crolius was “not only the most famous stoneware potter of this time period, but he remains one of the craft’s most hallowed names, the person identified early on by researchers and collectors as perhaps the most important subject worthy of study.”

Crolius married Elizabeth Meyer, daughter of Frederick and Lydia Meyer, on October 8, 1793, according to New-York Historical Society Museum & Library records. She was born about 1774, according to Wikipedia, or about 1773 per the New-York Historical Society and Find A Grave. Their son, State Senator Clarkson Crolius, Jr., who was born in 1801 (Wikipedia) or 1806 (Find A Grave) and died in 1887, took over the family business in 1838. In 1845, he discontinued the manufacture of stoneware on Bayard Street, and the pottery was afterwards demolished, as reported in Wikipedia. The couple had at least three other children, according to Find A Grave: Eliza Crolius Giffing, 1798-1890; William F. or William Austin Crolius, 1805-1882, who was also a stoneware potter; and George Clinton Crolius, 1812-1883.

National Archives records show that Crolius was appointed an ensign in the New York City militia in 1802, rising to captain in 1807. He served as a major in the 27th Regiment of the New York State Militia, but resigned his commission once the War of 1812 began and received an appointment to the same rank in the United States Army, per Find A Grave. He was assigned to Governors Island as second in command 1814-15, finishing the war as a colonel.

Clarkson was politically active. As noted by A. Brandt Zipp in his biography of Thomas Commeraw, Clarkson Crolius “lived contemporaneously with the Founding Fathers” and “had brushes with them:” “In 1819, Clarkson Crolius sent copies of a Tammany address ‘on the subject of national economy and domestic manufacturing’ to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, receiving replies from each.” Crolius held numerous local offices in New York City, including assistant alderman and alderman for many years, member of the Common Council, and city inspector and collector. He represented New York City for ten terms in the New York Assembly, 1806-07, 1816-22, and 1824-25, including being unanimously being elected as speaker in 1825. He was also, in the years 1825 and 1831, a leader, in New York City, of the National Republican Party, which had split off from the Democratic-Republican Party, and supported Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams and, later, Henry Clay of the Whig Party. In 1811 and 1819, Crolius was grand sachem of the New York Tammany Society, laying the foundation stone of the old Tammany Hall in Frankfort Street. He also officiated at the laying of City Hall’s cornerstone and was also vice president of the American Institute, a civic organization of inventors. Crolius was also active in the private sector; in 1830, he was one of the incorporators of the Canajoharie and Catskill Railroad.

As his October 4, 1843 obituary in the New York Tribune states, Clarkson Crolius died at his home at No. 1 Reade Street in New York City on October 3, 1843. However, the monument in Green-Wood memorializing the Crolius’s family lists his date of death as August 3, 1843. After his death, according to the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, his widow, Elizabeth Crolius, lived with her son Clarkson Crolius Jr. on Houston Street. She died on June 11, 1856, in New York City, according to Find A Grave. New-York Historical Society records also show 1856 as her year of death, and a newspaper death notice states she was 83 when she died, but the Crolius family monument in Green-Wood, where she is interred with her husband and other family members, lists July 27, 1854. Section 109, lot 9.

DAVIS, MARTIN (1786-1872). General, pioneer. General Davis was born in Morristown, New Jersey. An early settler in the Michigan territory, Davis served in the War of 1812, in which he “won honorable distinction, participating in several battles,” though it is not known if he received a commission to the general’s rank or if that was just an honorary title.

Davis, a high-ranking Freemason (the senior grand warden of the grand lodge of the territory of Michigan at one time), moved to Michigan in 1825 and thereafter achieved many of the area’s firsts: organizing a territorial militia, of which he was chosen captain; becoming the first justice of the peace in the county, and marrying the first couple; building the first frame and the first brick houses in the city of Ann Arbor; and bringing the first repeating rifle to the territory. Said rifle is said to have been an object of great awe and curiosity to the native population, who tried many times to steal it.

He enjoyed fishing as well as singing at parties (his obituary makes particular note of his rendition of “The Hunters of Kentucky,” performed at a fete celebrating Andrew Jackson’s inauguration). Davis is buried beside his wife, Mary, to whom he was married )for fifty-seven years, and one of their twelve children. Section 109, lot 10911.  

DELAFIELD, JOSEPH (1789-1875). Joseph Delafield, one of many siblings, was born in New York City into a wealthy family. His father, John Delafield, a merchant who settled in the United States from England in 1788, was the founder and director of the Mutual Insurance Company, and one of the wealthiest men in America. His father built a summer home on the East River in 1791 that was one of the largest and most beautifully decorated houses in New York City. After attending private schools, Joseph entered Yale College at the age of fourteen, graduated in 1808, then studied law.

Delafield was commissioned a lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of the New York State Militia, was promoted to captain, and raised a company of volunteers to fight in the War of 1812. A year later he recruited a regiment for the regular army, was promoted to major of the 46th Infantry on April 15, 1814, and was stationed on Governor’s Island in New York Harbor. He resigned his commission at the end of the war.

In 1817, Delafield served on the commission to establish the northwest boundary of the United States, pursuant to the Treaty of Ghent. From 1821 through June 1828, he was a full agent of that commission. The mineral curiosities that he collected on his trips to the frontier for the commission became famous both here and in Europe. He devoted his later years to science, serving as president of the Lyceum of Natural History and as a trustee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Ear and Eye Infirmary.

In 1829, he purchased 256 acres of land on the Hudson River, known as “Fieldston.” He built a lime kiln on the land which provided him a large income. On December 12, 1833, he married Julia Livingston whose family was very prominent in New York. They had four children. He was a brother of Civil War Major General Richard Delafield. Joseph died from pneumonia at 475 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, his New York City home. In 1965, Delafield’s grandson, Edward Coleman Delafield, donated a 13-acre remnant of the “Fieldston” property to Columbia University and renamed it the Delafield Botanical Garden at Columbia University. Section 36, lot 3977.    

Joseph Delafield

DOUGLASS, DAVID BATES (1790-1849). Civil engineer, landscape architect of rural cemeteries, soldier, and teacher. He was born in Pompton, New Jersey, and received his early education primarily from his mother. He graduated from Yale in 1813, went to West Point to train as an engineer, and later commanded that post. During the War of 1812, he commanded the sappers and miners there, commanded his company on the northern frontier, and took part in the Battle of Niagara. After the war he returned to West Point, where he taught philosophy and engineering at the Military Academy. He also worked on a survey of the defenses of Long Island Sound and as the astronomical surveyor to determine the border with Canada near Detroit.

In 1831, he resigned his professorship and left the Army to become engineer on the Morris Canal, where he introduced inclined planes, as an alternative to locks, to pull canal boats up hills. He later taught architecture and civil engineering at the University of the City of New York and designed its building on the east side of Washington Square Park (no longer there). In 1835 he became the chief engineer of the Croton Aqueduct, selected its watershed, located the route of the aqueduct, and determined the features of that system.

Douglass helped select the site for and laid out The Green-Wood Cemetery, serving as its architect and first president until 1841. He then resigned to become president of Kenyon College, but returned east four years later to lay out the rural cemeteries in Albany and Quebec. He also designed the supporting wall for Brooklyn Heights, the water system for Brooklyn, and some of the landscape features of Staten Island. In 1848 he became professor of mathematics at Hobart College, where he remained until his death. At the request of the board of trustees of Green-Wood Cemetery, his remains were brought there and interred in 1856. Section 50, lot 6521.  

ENGLISH, JAMES (1797-1884). Private, Captain David Gordon’s Company, New York State Militia, merchant. Born in Ballston Centre, New York, he was in his sixteenth year when the War of 1812 broke out, and he enlisted as a volunteer at that time, taking part in several battles of note (but seldom taking part in that war’s veterans’ reunions in later years). In 1824 0r 1825, he married Charity Higby, who was uncertain about the year of their marriage, as per her pension application.

As per his wife’s pension application, he was a private in Captain David Gordon’s Company in the New York Militia. The pension application indicates an enlistment date of September 8, 1814, and a discharge date of November 17, 1814. Information about “Bounty Land” is noted on the application; bounties were an important inducement for service. From 1775 to 1855, the United States granted bounty-land warrants for military service to both encourage volunteer enlistments and to reward veterans for service. In the War of 1812, soldiers or their heirs who served five years were entitled to 160 acres of land. Most applicants never moved to these lands or lived on them.

As per his obituary, “After the war, English moved to New York City and became a grocer, launching his own business on Fulton Street. English also owned ships engaged in the West Indian and Southern trades; these ships made him adequate profit to fund the “Baxter’s Blues” volunteer regiment during the Mexican War.” “Baxter” refers to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Baxter (see) of the First Regiment New York Volunteers who was mortally wounded during the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847. English’s obituary also records: “The oldest living member of the Tammany Society at the time of his death as well as a prominent Odd Fellow, English was a lifelong Democrat who was once selected as an Assistant Alderman of the Third Ward, but declined re-nomination after serving a single term. Tammany Hall, a New York City Democratic political organization, has a long and illustrious history, dating from its inception in 1789 until its termination in 1966.  In Thirty Years of New York Politics, Matthew P. Breen describes the events which led up to the selection of English as a member of the General Committee as follows:

In the meantime, primaries for the election of members of a new General Committee of Tammany Hall were held on January 6, 1872, but seemed not to have resulted very satisfactorily. The first meeting of the new Committee ended in a wrangle and a snarl; and it was evident to everyone that the only way to put new life into the old institution was by an entire reorganization. And so, when the Tammany Society met on February 20 to install Augustus Schell as Grand Sachem, the condition of the Tammany Hall organization was a subject of animated discussion; and it was resolved that the subject be referred to a Committee of Twenty (to be appointed by the Grand Sachem), to whom all matters relating to the Society and to the Tammany Hall General Committee should be referred. The gentlemen selected for this work were: Charles O’Conor, Oswald Ottendorfer, August Belmont, John Kelly, John J. Cisco, Andrew Mills, Manton Marble, Wm. B. Clark, John W. Chanler, Arthur Leary, George Law, James English, S. L. M. Barlow, George A. Jeremiah, S. F. Barger, Edwd. L. Donnelly, Thos. B. Tappen, Townsend Harris, Elijah Ward, Abram S. Hewitt, and Miles B. Andrews. These gentlemen arranged a conference with an equal number of members of the newly-elected Tammany Hall General Committee, which resulted in an enrollment of Democrats in the entire City under the direction of a Committee of Seven, of which John Kelly was chairman. Nearly nineteen thousand voters were enrolled. Upon the basis of this representation a new General Committee for so-called ” Regenerated Tammany ” was elected.

Find A Grave.com records that English had a spouse, Charity, and one son, George. The New York Times obituary states that he “lived at 65 Barclay Street, a former Whig headquarters often called ‘the City Hall,’ for 60 years, until a fire at the nearby Greenfield candy factory destroyed most of the city block.” The December 21, 1877 issue of the Brooklyn Union reports:

About ten minutes after five o’clock yesterday afternoon people in the vicinity of Barclay Street and College Place, New York, were startled by a loud explosion, and simultaneously the wall of No. 63 Barclay Street fell into that thoroughfare. In quick succession came flames from amid the ruins. Th explosion was that of a defective boiler in the cellar of the candy factory of E. Greenfield & Son, at 63 Barclay Street and No. 1 College place, the premises forming an L. The walls of this building and two adjoining structures were shattered. Three fire alarms were sounded, and although the responses were speedy, Nos. 61, 65, and 67 Barclay Street were already burning when the engines arrived.

English passed away on July 25, 1884. According to The New York Times, he died of “nervous prostration.” Charity English, his widow, died on April 17, 1885, nine months after her husband.  Section F, lot 18753.  

FLAGG, AZARIAH CUTTING (1790-1873). Lieutenant, 36th Regiment, New York State Militia. According to information from North American Family Histories, Azariah C. Flagg’s parents were Ebenezer Flagg (1756-1828) and Elizabeth Cutting (1768-1838). He was the second son, born on November 28, 1790, in Orwell, Vermont, and had ten siblings: Artemas, Gershom, Mary Ann, Semanthy, Keziah, Lucy, Eliza, Roana, Willard, and Thomas. The Flagg homestead was six miles from the village of Richmond, Vermont. At 11 years of age, Azariah started serving a five-year apprenticeship with his uncle, who was a printer in Burlington, Vermont. In a letter written by Flagg, and dated August 29, 1868, he explained that his father then arranged an apprenticeship with another printing-house where the young Flagg was encouraged to read after his daily task was done. From the age of 17 to 20, he also attended school for three months to improve his knowledge of arithmetic. He explained that he appreciated the valuable teachings of Dr. Benjamin Franklin and, in 1811, went on to Plattsburgh, New York, where he established his own weekly paper, the Plattsburgh Republican, from 1813 to 1826, per the Find A Grave website.

According to War of 1812 service records, as well as family records and histories, Flagg served in the War of 1812 as a lieutenant and quartermaster. His pension records show that he enlisted on September 1, 1814. A payroll record exists for Flagg, who served in the 36th Regiment, New York State Militia, showing he received payment of $13.00 for his service from September 1 through 13, 1814. The Battles at Plattsburgh by Keith A. Herkalo, detailing the British invasion of the Champlain Valley during the War of 1812, reveals that, on September 5, 1814, Flagg became a militia lieutenant in a small scouting detachment of teenage boys from the Plattsburgh Academy raised by Captain Martin James Aikin. Being too young to enlist, these underage soldiers were called the Aiken’s Volunteers, and the captain’s name as their sponsor was recorded instead in a muster roll. An article entitled “Capt. Martin Aiken Led Boy Soldiers Against British,” in the September 14, 2014 Press-Republican details how, on September 6, 1814, the company fought alongside an overwhelmed local militia and were repelled by the British. They then took up sniper positions in a mill on the east bank of the Saranac River, defending a bridge the British wanted to cross. Aiken had the planks removed from the bridge and, when the British tried to ford the river, Aiken and the teenagers picked them off. Only one of Aiken’s troops was killed, a 14-year-old boy. On September 11, 1814, the British left in disorder after losing the Battle of Plattsburgh and headed back to Canada. At that point, Aiken’s volunteers were disbanded. In 1826, Congress awarded each of them, including Flagg, “one rifle for their gallantry and patriotic services as a volunteer corps during the siege of Plattsburgh.”

Flagg was discharged from the military on September 13, 1814, according to his pension records. These pension records also show that Flagg married Phebe (or Phoebe) Maria Coe (or Cole in some reports) on October 20, 1814. She was born on April 5, 1788, at Cumberland Head, near Plattsburgh, New York, per her April 10, 1875 New York Daily Herald obituary. The couple had two daughters and a son: Maria Martha (1816-1890), Elizabeth (1818-1866), and Henry Franklin (1823-1854). None of their children married.

Flagg’s Find A Grave posting records his rise in New York State politics after the War of 1812. Both his war record and his newspaper made him popular in Clinton County and he was elected from that county to the New York State Assembly in 1823 and 1824. He was then elected Secretary of State of New York in 1826 and re-elected in 1829 and 1832, elected New York State Comptroller in 1833, and re-elected in 1836, 1842, and 1845. The Canandaigua New York Daily Messenger of May 13, 1947 looked back at how “in 1842, Azariah C. Flagg of Plattsburgh, the State Comptroller, saved the State from bankruptcy by his vigorous support of direct taxes, which had been abandoned and supplanted by borrowing.” After finally losing the comptroller’s position, Flagg became president of the Hudson River Railroad Company, was a treasurer of the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad, and served on several railroad boards. His final political office was as New York City Comptroller, a position he held from 1853 until November 1858, when he retired upon becoming blind.

At the start of his long political career, in the 1820s, Flagg was at first a member of the anti-Governor DeWitt Clinton Bucktails faction of the Democratic-Republican Party, then became a Jacksonian, a Democrat, and, per his November 26, 1873 New York Times obituary, then participated in the formation of the Barnburner Party. This was a member of the progressive faction of the New York State Democratic Party, which, in the late 1840s became the Free Soil Party and, subsequently, in the 1850s, in combination with the liberal element of the old Whig Party, formed the nucleus of the Republican Party. According to his obituary, he “took an active part in the agitation for the abolition of slavery.” Another obituary, in the November 25, 1873 Brooklyn Times Union, portrayed Flagg as one of the earliest opponents of slavery in New York State.

The 1850 United States federal census shows Flagg residing in New York City’s 16th Ward with his wife, their three adult children, and two servants, Mary Crosby, age 26, and Bridget Gratton, age 23, both originally from Ireland. Flagg’s profession is listed as “none,” while his 27-year-old son Henry’s occupation is listed as sailor. The 1855 New York State census shows the family living in New York City in the 16th Ward. Both daughters are listed, as are two servants, originally from Ireland: Mary Gaitly, age 24, and Anna M. Killyan, age 13. The 1860 federal census shows the family consisting of Azariah and wife, Phebe, plus their two daughters, still living in New York City’s 16th Ward, along with two servants, again from Ireland: Margaret Sweeney, 27, and Margaret Finnerty, 28. Flagg is listed as being disabled by blindness. His personal estate is recorded at $10,000. In the 1870 federal census, Azariah C. Flagg resided in Ward 16 of New York City with his wife and daughter Maria. His personal estate was valued at $3,000 and his home at $10,000. Three servants, originally from Ireland, also are listed: Ann McGowan, age 17; Lizy McClean, 19; and Margaret McCawley, 36. According to Flagg family records, for the last 14 years of his life, Flagg was totally blind, and was cared for by his wife and daughter.

According to Green-Wood Burial and Vital Records, Flagg’s last residence was 469 West 23rd Street in New York City. He died in New York on November 24, 1873, with the cause of death listed as peritonitis.

Just two days after his death, on November 26, 1873, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reflected on the lives and careers of two New York politicians: Flagg and William M. “Boss” Tweed who was being denounced for theft and corruption. Flagg was lauded as a principled and virtuous public official, while Tweed, the political boss of Tammany Hall, was termed as unprincipled, dishonest, and “a dog that would eat his own kind.” Both are interred in Green-Wood.

Phebe Flagg, per her April 10, 1875 New York Daily Herald obituary, died at the family home in Manhattan on April 9, 1875 of apoplexy. She had been in poor health since the death of her husband. Both are interred in Green-Wood, along with their three children. Section 106, lot 8112.

Azariah Flagg

GAMBLE, JOHN MARSHALL (1790-1836). Lieutenant colonel by brevet, United States Marine Corps. John Marshal Gamble’s parents were Major William Gamble, who served as an officer in the American Revolutionary War, and Elizabeth Tallman. His father was born about 1755 and died in 1833 in Washington, D.C, while his mother died in 1806. According to marriage records for New Jersey, 1683-1802, they married in 1776 in Burlington, New Jersey. William Gamble remarried in 1817. His second wife, Anna Lee, was born in 1761 and died in 1827.

John Marshall Gamble was born in Brooklyn on March 12, 1790. He had five siblings: Captain Thomas Tallman Gamble, born 1783; Lieutenant Francis B. Gamble, born about 1790; John Marshall Gamble, born 1790; Lieutenant Peter Gamble, born 1793; and Eliza, born 1795. Thomas Tallman Gamble commanded the USS Erie and died in a naval hospital in Pisa, Italy in 1818. Francis B. Gamble commanded the store ship Decoy and contracted yellow fever, dying on board it in 1824. Peter Gamble served on the USS Saratoga and was killed in the Battle of Lake Champlain in 1814. Eliza Gamble, John’s only sister, married John Pitcher and had three sons. She died in Indiana in 1829.

John Marshall Gamble is listed in the records of Officers of the Continental and U.S., Navy and Marine Corps, 1775-1900, as being appointed Navy midshipman on January 16, 1809, when he was 18 years old. He was later appointed to second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1809, then promoted to first lieutenant, captain, major by brevet, and lieutenant colonel by brevet. During the War of 1812, he was stationed aboard the 32-gun frigate USS Essex and quickly rose to the rank of captain. He remains the first and only United States Marine to command a Navy ship; he also commanded two separate prize ships, the USS Greenwich and the USS Sir Andrew Hammond. The mission of the USS Essex, under command of Captain David Porter, was to harass the British whaling industry in the Pacific. Several British ships were captured in early 1813 and put under United States Navy command. On July 14, 1813, Lieutenant Gamble, in command of the USS Greenwich, captured an armed British whaler Seringapatam, considered to be the biggest threat to American whalers in the South Pacific. In October 1813, Lieutenant Gamble, with a small detachment of Marines under his command, accompanied the USS Essex, in need of repair, and other ships, some of which were captured British whalers, to Huka Hiva, an island in the Marquesas. On December 9, 1813, the USS Essex, now repaired, set sail and Captain Porter left Lieutenant Gamble in Huka Hiva, in charge of three ships. On May 7, 1814, there was a mutiny among the garrison by the sailors who were British nationals and six prisoners were released. They took over one of the ships and escaped to Australia. Lieutenant Gamble was wounded in the heel of his left foot and set adrift in a small boat with four others. They were able to reach the American ship USS Sir Andrew Hammond and, with a crew of four and no charts, escaped on a 17-day voyage to the Hawaiian Islands.

About a month later, and with no medical aid for his wound, Lieutenant Gamble was captured by the British warship HMS Cherub and remained a prisoner for almost seven months. According to an Evening Post newspaper article, he was promoted to captain while still a British prisoner of war, effective June 18, 1814. He was put ashore in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 15, 1814, and transported back to the United States, arriving in New York on August 28, 1815. His unattended wound left him weakened, crippled, and unable to return to sea. He was appointed commander of the Marine garrison in Philadelphia, a position he held for ten years, and later held the same position at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and, finally, in New York. An April 4, 1825 Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article praised his heroics while in the South Pacific and referred to the issue of his request for compensation for the capture of the British whaling ship Seringapatam.

John Gamble married Hannah Letitia Lang, eldest daughter of John Lang, Esq., on January 4, 1817 or December 31, 1816, in New York City. Their daughter Sarah L. Gamble was born in 1817 and died five days later. Their daughters Elizabeth and Julia Rush were born in Philadelphia, respectively, on December 11, 1819 and February 25, 1820. Mary E. Gamble, another daughter, was born on January 15, 1822, in Brooklyn, followed by their son Edward in about 1825. Unfortunately, Edward died in 1827, when he was two years old. On March 22, 1825, William Marshall Gamble was born in Philadelphia. He served as a commander in the United States Navy until the end of the Civil War. Daughter Caroline was born in Brooklyn in 1828 and, in 1829, also in Brooklyn, Sarah Lang was born, but died at the age of 15 months on May 17, 1830, according to a New York Evening Post announcement of her death. The 1830 federal census lists another son, John Lang Gamble, born to John and Hannah. He attended West Point Academy and was a lieutenant. Another son, Thomas Tallman Gamble was born in 1833 in Brooklyn. He died in Auckland, New Zealand, where he was serving as vice-consul.

Lieutenant Colonel Gamble was listed in the 1830 federal census of United States Marine Barracks at the United States Navy Yard in Brooklyn. He was also listed as a trustee of the Brooklyn Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies in Brooklyn Heights, and four of his daughters – Elizabeth, Mary, Julia, and Caroline – were listed as students. The Evening Post newspaper reported, on December 17, 1833, the announcement of the officers for the New York Naval Yard’s Lyceum, a library, museum, and reading room, and John M. Gamble was listed as second vice president. Gamble retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1834.

John Marshall Gamble’s death, in Brooklyn on September 11, 1836, was announced the next day in the New York Evening Post. His funeral service was at his home on Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights. His wife, Hannah, died on May 3, 1876. 

The USS Gamble was a United States naval destroyer during World War I and was later converted to a mine layer in World War II. It was named for Lieutenant Colonel John Gamble and his younger brother, United States Navy Lieutenant Peter Gamble. John Marshall Gamble’s grandson, John Marshall Gamble (1863-1957), was one of Southern California’s foremost plein-air landscape painters.

In addition to John and Hannah Gamble, several of their children and their spouses are also interred at Green-Wood. Section 94, lot 4590.

.Circa 1920 photo of USS Gamble.

GILMAN, NATHANIEL (1775-1859). Privateer, leather merchant, father of the founder of A & P supermarkets. A Mayflower descendant born in Waterville, Maine, in 1775, Nathaniel Gilman Jr. owned vast acreage in Maine, and was a successful privateer and embargo runner during the War of 1812. He entered the New York City leather trade in the 1820s starting a tannery in an area known as “The Swamp” east of City Hall. Eventually his company operated three leather warehouses in the city and moved the tannery upstate. His son, George Francis Gilman, would become founder of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company.

When Nathaniel Gilman died in 1859, he left no will to provide for his estimated one million dollar estate. He had a widow and several children in Maine, and children from his first marriage in New York City, who fought over his estate. The litigation, not settled until 1891, was widely covered in the press, which pointed out that the legal fees had diminished the fortune over the thirty-year dispute. Section 81, lot 3228.  

GRAHAM, JOHN HODGES (1794-1878). Commodore, United States Navy. According to Biographies of Notable Americans from Ancestry.com, Graham was born on March 9, 1794 in Vermont to John Andrew and Rachel Freeman Hodges. Little is known about his childhood. However, as per Biographies of Notable Americans, he has a rich and illustrious heritage. His father was a well-known criminal lawyer and penned A Description of Vermont (1797) and Memoir of Tooke; and Proofs of his Identity with Junins (1827). He is the grandson of Dr. Andrew Graham, a surgeon in the Revolutionary War and the great-grandson of the Reverend John Graham who immigrated from Londonderry in 1718 and settled in Exeter, New Hampshire.  

There is some confusion as to when Graham enrolled in the Navy. According to the New-York Historical Society, he was sixteen when he joined. As per Ancestry.com and Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography, he enlisted on June 18, 1812 at the age of eighteen. During the War of 1812, he saw action as a midshipman under Commodore Chauncey on Lake Ontario. The article, “War on the Great Lakes in 1812,” from the Naval History and Heritage Command states:

At the start of the war, there were few United States military forces on the Great Lakes for either offensive or defensive actions . . . . The danger of the lakes now pressing, Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton sent Captain Isaac Chauncey, a talented and experienced officer to take control of Lakes Ontario and Erie . . . . On October 8, Lieutenant Jesse Duncan Elliott, who Captain Chauncey sent ahead to begin assembling ships and supplies, led a force of sailors and soldiers at night to capture two British vessels opposite Buffalo and Black Rock.

It was here that, according to Biographies of Notable Americans, Graham “made one of the party of twelve officers who directed the expedition against the British fort opposite Black Rock, New York. He was severely wounded and afterward suffered the amputation of his leg.” Despite his injury, Graham continued his career in the Navy and on September 11, 1814, now the commander of Commodore Macdonough’s flagship, engaged in a battle at Lake Champlain. According to Britannica, “On September 11, 1814, his (Macdonough’s) 14-ship fleet met the British in the harbor and, after several hours of severe fighting, forced the 16-vessel squadron to surrender, thus saving New York and Vermont from invasion.”

Graham continued his naval career and received several promotions after the War of 1812 ended: on March 5 1817, he was promoted to lieutenant and on March 7, 1849, he was promoted to captain. Graham was placed on the reserved list in 1855 and, after his retirement, was named commodore on April 4, 1867. 

Although Graham was a career serviceman, he also had a full personal life. As per Ancestry.com, on May 7, 1819, he married Lucy Inman in New York City.  Although no official documentation can be located, according the North America Family Histories on Ancestry.com, Catherine Ann Clason, a second wife, is listed. He and his third wife, Cornelia Milledoler, were married on February 28, 1833, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. According to the 1850 federal census, Graham and his wife, Cornelia, resided at Brooklyn Ward 3 in New York City. His occupation is listed as the United States Navy. From about 1859 until his death in 1878, he lived in Newburgh, Orange County, New York. This is verified by the 1870 federal census and the 1875 New York State census which document that he and Cornelia lived at Newburgh’s Ward 4.

The March 21, 1878 issue of The Osceola Sun reports that Graham passed away in Newburg on March 16 from apoplexy. An article in the New York Daily Herald, dated May 17, 1878, details the bequests from Graham’s will. The report states that his estate was worth approximately $300,000 (about $9 million in 2023 money), mostly in New York City property. He bequeathed half to his widow and the remainder to religious and benevolent organizations. An oil painting of Graham, donated by his niece, Cornelia Graham Britt, is in the collections of The New-York Historical Society. Section 100, lot 4084.   

JOHNSON, JEREMIAH (1766-1852). General, 5th Brigade, 2nd Division and mayor of Brooklyn. Johnson was born in Brooklyn into an old Gravesend family of Dutch descent, which was among the early settlers of Long Island. His entry on Wikipedia shows that he was born on January 3, 1766, but his obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle notes a birth year of 1765. That obituary indicates that the farm on which he was born was originally owned by the Remsen family, but having no heirs, the estate was willed to Barnet Jansen Johnson (1740-1782), Jeremiah’s father, who served at a captain in the Continenal Army during the Revolutionary War. His first wife was Abigail Remsen, whom he married in 1787; she was a cousin who sadly died at age 18 in 1788. In 1791, he married his second wife, Sarah Rapilyea, who died in 1825; they had ten children, two of their daughters married into the Wyckoff family. His marriages were into prominent Dutch families.

Jeremiah Johnson became a trustee of Brooklyn in 1796 and served in that capacity for twenty years. He was a supervisor of Brooklyn 1800-1840, served as chairman of its board, and was elected to the New York State Assembly. His obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that the men who served on supervisory boards were men of wealth who held the trust of the citizens and were stewards of the public; that obituary states that Johnson presided as chairman for many years and presided over meetings with a long pipe in his mouth.

He served during the War of 1812, rising from captain to colonel and then to brigadier general. His obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle notes that he took part in raising troops and was in command at Fort Green. After the war he was promoted to major general. As per his obituary in the Brooklyn Evening Star, the Headquarters of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Division, saw fit to honor him with a testimonial upon his death. That tribute notes that he had been a commandant of the Brigade District and was in command of the 5th Brigade during the War of 1812, earning universal regard from citizens and the government. Brigadier General H. B. Duryea noted:

Born before the Revolutionary War, recollecting well the incidents of that great struggle, endowed with strong natural powers, both of mind and body, he has lived beyond the ordinary measure of man’s existence; and now after a long career of usefulness, and standing long as a link between the past and present, connecting our national infancy with the wide-spread and rapid growth of the land, he has passed to another world, with the respect and approbation of three generations….

The third mayor of the City of Brooklyn, he was elected to that office three times, serving 1837-1839. He was expert in agriculture and was the chairman of the American Institute’s Board of Agriculture and the New York Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture. He was an active member of the Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn. In addition, he was the first president of the Saint Nicholas Society of Nassau Island (Brooklyn).

The 5th Brigade’s tribute in the Brooklyn Evening Star noted that although the brigade would have given Johnson all military honors at his funeral, Jeremiah expressed the wish that his family requested no military or civic escort. His obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which notes that he lived on the same estate his entire life, praises him as a man who was “temperate and honorable” and who was respected to the extent of very few men. His signed guide to Green-Wood is in the Collections of The Green-Wood Historic Fund. Section 94, lot 635.  

Jeremiah Johnson

LEVERIDGE, JOHN WILLIAM CHASE (1792-1886). Ordnance sergeant, 2nd New York Infantry Regiment, New York State Militia. John Leveridge was born on James Street in Manhattan, New York, on September 1, 1792, the son of John Leveridge, a native of New York City, and Ann Chase, of Wappinger’s Creek, New York, according to New York Genealogical Society records and an individual narrative by his descendent Tom Leverich dated October 15, 2019. Leveridge’s New York Times obituary of February 18, 1886, lists his date of birth as September 15, 1792. Leveridge had an older sister, Susan, a younger brother, Benjamin, and a younger sister, Ann Eliza; the family lived at 44 James Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. When John was about eight years old, he attended the commemorative service for the late former President George Washington, at New York City’s parade ground, now City Hall Park.

The Leveridge family claimed descent from the Reverend William Leverich (an alternate spelling of the family name), who had ministered in Massachusetts and Long Island, per New York Genealogical Society records.

John Leveridge was educated in a private school, studied law, and opened a law practice. He served in the War of 1812, enlisting on September 2, 1814, and was discharged on December 2, 1814. Initially serving as a private, he was later promoted to ordinance sergeant. He was a member of Captain William E. Dunscomb’s company, in the Second New York State Militia Regiment, commanded by Colonel Isaac A. Van Hook, as shown by War of 1812 payroll abstracts. He also served for several months in 1816 as an ensign in the 82nd New York Regiment of Militia. He received a pension during his later years for his service.

Per his obituary in the February 18, 1886 New York Times, John studied law in the office of John W. Mulligan, who had been secretary to Baron von Steuben of Revolutionary War fame. His law studies presumably took place from 1815 to 1816, between the time of his service in the War of 1812 and his listing in the 1816 New York City Directory, identifying him as attorney and counsel, 60 Cherry Street, in Manhattan. While he studied law, he lived over his offices on Cherry Street. He later lived on East Broadway, also in Manhattan.

Leveridge married Adeline Matilda Creemer, daughter of William Creemer of Woodbridge, New Jersey, on May 4, 1816 in Woodbridge, per a notice in the May 7, 1816, issue of The New York Evening Post. According to the New York Genealogical Society records, Adeline was born on February 28, 1797.

In the 1820 federal census, John Leveridge is listed as having five household members, including himself,. His eldest son, John William Creemer Leveridge, was born in 1817 and Charles William Creemer Leveridge, another son, was born in 1819. There was one other female, besides his wife, in the household, who was likely a nurse for the children or other household staff.

Adeline Leveridge passed away on October 25, 1823, at 26 years of age. That September she had given birth to a daughter, also named Adeline Matilda, born in 1823. The couple also had another son, Benjamin Chase Leveridge, born in 1821. John married Mary Jane Poillon, whose father was John Poillon of New York City, on July 17, 1826, in Manhattan. The couple had six children: Mary Jane Ann Leveridge, born in 1826; Cornelius Alexander Leveridge, 1829; George Poillon Leveridge, 1830; Gabriell Leveridge, 1832, who died at birth; Eleanor Eliza Leveridge, 1835; and Albert DeWitt, 1837.

The 1829-30 New York City Directory lists John Leveridge, an attorney, living at 145 Cherry Street in Manhattan. By the 1830 federal census, there were 13 people listed in the Leveridge household, including eight children: John Leveridge and four adult females, one of whom was his second wife. The 1850 census lists 13 inhabitants, including John Leveridge, a lawyer (the family name is written as “Leverins”), Mary J. Leveridge, his spouse, and several children: B. C. (presumably Benjamin), age 28; Lucretia, 24, Mary J, 23; George P., 20; Ellen S., 14; Albert D., 12; Adeline, 4; and Ann C. S., 1. Other household members may have been servants. The 1860 federal census included Leveridge’s wife, daughter, son-in-law, and two servants. Leveridge’s birth year is given as 1794.

Leveridge held the position of judge of the Seventh and Tenth Wards Court, according to New York Genealogical Society records. From 1844-1855, he was corporation council under Mayor James Harper. He was one of the founders of the Saint Nicholas Society and of the Public School Society. He also held the office of Elder in the Rutgers Street Presbyterian Church.

John Leveridge received federal land warrants based on his War of 1812 military service: warrant number 65,380 for 40 acres under the Act of 1850 and another for 120 acres under the Act of 1855. These two warrants were surrendered to the Commissioner of Pensions in exchange for a land warrant for 160 acres, granted on June 3, 1858, warrant number 81,084.

The 1880 federal census shows John Leveridge, retired lawyer, residing at 141 East 45th Street. The 1885 New York City Directory lists him as a lawyer at 229 Broadway, with his home at 141 East 45th St. According to Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1600-1889, he was said to be the oldest active member of the American bar, attributing his longevity to a “strong constitution, temperance, and activity.”

One of John’s great grandsons, William H. Owen, Jr, wrote a book that was published in 1939, I Remember, about his life and his family.  He recounted visiting his great grandfather, John Leveridge, and being told by him that he remembered New York City when it was little more than a large sized village. John also recalled fishing as a boy in the stream that ran through Canal Street.

The New York Times of December 13, 1885, contains this observation by Commodore Joseph Tooker about John Leveridge:

I will tell you one thing that you needn’t forget: the old Seventh Warders are famous for their longevity. One of them, who was born before the century began, is still living; is in full possession of his faculties; jumps off a street car while it is in motion, and bears the proud distinction being the oldest living native-born inhabitant of this city. His name is John Leveridge, and he is in his ninety sixth year (actually 93rd).

At the time of his death, Leveridge was a member of the Brick Church at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 37th Street. His February 18, 1886, New York Times obituary termed him “the oldest lawyer in this city” when he died at his home at 141 East 45th Street on February 17, 1886, while his New York Genealogical Society obituary stated that he was “probably our oldest native citizen.” He is said to have argued an important case in court only a few days before his death. Leveridge’s will, dated November 17, 1885, left everything to his daughter Mary Jane Ann Leveridge and assigned her as sole executor.

Eight of Leveridge’s children survived him, the oldest having been John William Chase Leveridge, a lawyer, of 22 Duane Street, Manhattan. John Leveridge’s father is also interred in Green-Wood as are other family members including three of his siblings and eight of his children. Section 32, lot 2986.

John Leveridge
Leveridge lived on Cherry Street during his lifetime.

LYNDS, ELAM (1784-1855). Major; prison warden. Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, his family moved to Troy, New York, where Elam grew up. He worked as a hatter for many years. According to the Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment of the State of New York, he also served as aide-de-camp to Major General Paul Todd, holding the rank of major. The War of 1812 Pension Files Index records that he served as a captain of the 29th United States Infantry from April 30, 1813, when he entered the service in Greenbush, New York, until July 1, 1815.  As per that record, he had not submitted a pension claim but had gotten bounty lands and was residing in Brooklyn in 1851.

When New York State opened its second prison, Auburn State Prison, in 1817, he was given the first principal keeper’s job under the leadership of Warden William Britten. Four years later, Elam was made warden of the prison. He is cited as employing the Auburn System of Imprisonment, a practice designed to suppress all communication among the prisoners. In 1824, with the prison population growing, it was proposed by the legislature that a new state prison be built. That legislation passed in 1825, and Elam was selected to head the construction, choosing an area near Ossining, New York, for it. Utilizing the Auburn system, 100 convicts camped, quarried marble, and constructed Sing Sing Prison.  

In The Hudson: A History, Tom Lewis wrote:  

In May of 1825, Captain Elam Lynds, a former hatter from Troy and a veteran of the War of 1812, and a party of one hundred shackled prisoners and thirty armed guards left Auburn Prison in upstate New York in a convoy of wagons and headed up the North Road. At Weedsport, a small village that thrived on business from the newly opened Erie Canal, they boarded two boats for the trip east to the Hudson River.  At the Hudson they transferred to a waiting steamer for the final leg of their journey.  

Elam Lynds was an impressive man with sinister features. Six feet one inch tall, lean and muscular in build, he liked to dress in a dark coat and tails, topped by a high beaver hat. He had a round, puglike face, small, deep-set eyes, a high forehead, and black wavy hair.  But Lynd’s most striking feature was a deep red scar that began at his left eye socket and followed a crescent-shaped path ending at the side of his mouth.  

By 1828, the prison was open with Elam as warden.  Elam was a strict disciplinarian, believing that prisons were places of punishment and that reformatory practices were a waste of time. In addition to applying the Auburn system during the day, the convicts were moved from one location to another by employing the lockstep (where each man’s arms were under those of the man in front of him, all faces turned to one side, and marching in unison). Another form of discipline he used was solitary confinement for all each night. Elam is also credited for introducing striped prison uniforms. He was interviewed by Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont from France regarding American prison systems. At first praised for his control of violent prisoners, he subsequently resigned in 1830 due to public outcry concerning his disciplinary methods. He returned to Auburn Prison in 1838 but was asked to leave a year later following the death of a prisoner. Sing Sing reappointed him in 1843 amidst public protests. Elam was fired in 1845 for receiving kickbacks and selling prison food for profit. He lived in New York City until his death. Lot 1289, grave 38.  

SNOW, ISAAC FREEMAN (1782-1864). First lieutenant and regimental quartermaster, 33rd Infantry Regiment, United States Army. Born to Doane Snow and Aphia Crocker on December 7, 1782, in Orleans, Massachusetts, Isaac Freeman Snow’s Massachusetts birth record lists him as Freeman Snow. Doane Snow was born in 1744 in Orleans, Massachusetts and Aphia Crocker was born on August 22, 1750 in Eastham, Massachusetts. They married on May 31, 1771, in Orleans, Massachusetts. Isaac Snow’s elder siblings were Joseph C., born 1772; Doan, 1774; Charles, 1777; Aphia, 1779; Simon, 1780; and a younger brother, Sullivan, born 1785.

Marriage banns were posted on December 3, 1807, for Anna Cleaves and Isaac F. Snow, both of Saco, Maine. Per the First Book of Records of the Town of Pepperellborough (now the city of Saco, Maine), they were married on December 20, 1807. On July 15, 1811, their son Charles Lee Snow was born in Saco, and their second son, Isaac Freeman Snow Jr., was born on January 22, 1815, also in Maine.

Isaac F. Snow enlisted on April 30, 1813, according to the United States Army, Register of Enlistments, with the rank of second lieutenant in the 33rd Regiment. He was appointed quartermaster for that regiment, headquartered in Saco, Maine, later that year. The headstone application for military veterans, filed on October 28, 1946, shows his discharge date as June 15, 1815, and his rank at discharge as first lieutenant. Isaac and his brother Joseph enlisted together, served in the same regiment, and were honorably discharged on the same dates, according to Heitman’s Historical Register of the United States Army, 1903.

Several records filed in 1815 with the office of the adjunct general in Saco, Maine charge Isaac Snow for “Unofficer and Ungentleman like conduct” in 1814. Witnesses accused him of fraud, and for not paying them for procuring recruits or returning deserters. No information could be found as to the outcome of these charges. 

Anna Snow died on March 10, 1831, per the First Book of Records of the Town of Pepperellborough. Isaac is listed as a resident of New York City in 1835, per New York Genealogical Records. On May 23, 1836, Isaac F. Snow married Margaret F. Ritch Rodman in New York City, according to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 1932, and the New York Evening Post, May 20, 1836. Margaret had been born on September 30, 1799, in Fairfield County, Connecticut. There were no children born from this second marriage, but Margaret had three children from her first marriage to Jesse Rodman: Mary, Georgiana, and Jesse Rodman. Margaret died on June 7, 1849, in New York, according to her death certificate.

Isaac worked as a lumber merchant with his sons Charles and Isaac Jr., as evidenced by records of the many lumber deliveries printed in newspapers over the years. By the 1850 federal census, Isaac, at age 67 and a widower, was employed as a lumber merchant and living with his son Charles, his stepdaughter Mary Rodman, his married stepson Jesse Rodman, and his stepson’s wife, Theresa. Two servants are also listed. The 1855 New York State census also lists Isaac, at age 72, still working as a merchant, and living with his son Charles and his stepdaughter Mary Rodman. Silas Davis is listed as head of the household; he is married to Isaac’s stepdaughter Georgiana Rodman, Mary Rodman’s sister. Silas and Georgiana’s three young children complete the household. The eldest, at age 10, is named Isaac Snow Davis.

In the 1859 New York City Directory, Isaac’s address is listed at 514 Water Street, New York, New York. His son Charles L. Snow lived at the same address as a merchant, while his younger son, Isaac Jr., is also listed as living in New York City and working in the lumber business. The 1860 federal census shows Isaac, at 77 years of age, working as a broker and continuing to live with his son Charles and stepdaughter Mary. Silas Davis, a widower; his three children also lived at that address.

Per the June 22, 1864 New York Evening Post, Isaac died on June 21, 1864. His last address, according to Green-Wood records, was 270 Madison Avenue in Manhattan and he died of heart disease. His sons and other family members are also interred in Green-Wood. Section 158, lot 15710.

SPENCER, WILLIAM AUGUSTUS (1792-1854). Captain, United States Navy. According to Find A Grave’s website, Spencer was born on January 6, 1792 in Albany, New York to Ambrose and Laura Canfield Spencer. As per the 1701-1970 United States Presbyterian Church Records, Spencer was baptized in 1793 in Albany. This document records his birth date as January 7, 1793, a one-day discrepancy from Find A Grave. His father, Ambrose, had an illustrious political life as detailed in Wikipedia. Ambrose was a member of the New Yok State Senate 1795-1804, New York Attorney General 1802-1804, Chief Justice of the New York Supreme Court 1819-1820, a presidential elector in 1808, mayor of Albany for two years, 1824-1826, and a United States Senator from New York 1829-1831. Spencer was one of eight siblings, one of whom died as an infant, and another, John Canfield, who would serve as Secretary of War under President Tyler from October 12, 1841 to March 3, 1843.

Recorded on Find A Grave, Spencer served as a lieutenant under Commodore Mcdonough during the War of 1812. He engaged in the Battle of Lake Champlain and won a distinction for his service. The article, “The Battle of Lake Champlain” (September 11, 1814) posted on the Naval History and Heritage Command website, states, “The last great naval victory of the War of 1812 happened at an unlikely place – the placid waters of Lake Champlain, in upstate New York – and at an unlikely moment, as the United States war effort, in its final stages, was faltering on all fronts…Macdonough’s victory at Lake Champlain constitutes the last great naval triumph of the war…” An additional article, “Battle of Lake Champlain,” on the same website, reports: “The Battle of Plattsburgh, also called the Battle of Lake Champlain happened September 6 to 11, 1814. It resulted in an important American victory that saved New York from a British invasion via the Hudson River Valley.”

After the war, Spencer continued his service in the United States Navy. He married Mary Ann Hill on January 31, 1816 in Massachusetts. A notice in the Columbian Centinel posts the marriage date and states that Spencer was a lieutenant in the United States Navy. A death notice in the New York Evening Post reports that Mary Ann passed away on December 17, 1822. According to FamilySearch website and a notice in the New York Evening Post, Spencer married Eleanor Lorillard in a ceremony performed by Reverend Berrian at Saint Paul’s Chapel in the Trinity Church Parish of New York City. The newspaper also notes that Eleanor was the youngest daughter of Pierre (Peter) Lorillard, an American tobacco industrialist.

On June 26, 1839, The Evening Post reports the “Capitulation of Tampico” and cites Spencer in the article. Military actions in Tampico date back to 1829 when Santa Ana stifled Spain’s attempt to re-conquer Mexico. Ten years later, during the Mexican Federalist War, insurgents under the command of General Escalada were overcome by Centralist forces under General Arista. Although Spencer was not in Mexico at the time, the newspaper reports:

The arrival at New Orleans of the United States sloop of war Warren, Commander William A. Spencer, brings intelligence of the surrender of Tampico to the forces under General Arista, on the 6th of June. On the 29th, an ineffectual attempt was made by the federalists to retake the Bar, which had fallen into the hands of the enemy. In consequence of this want of success, General Urrea, on the night of the 1st of June withdrew from the city in a way which excited the suspicion of his comrades, and destroyed their confidence in the ability of the city to hold out against the attacks of Arista’s forces. The commander of the launches, disgusted at the flight of Urrea, during the night of the 3rd ran away with the launches and delivered them up to General Arista. Colonel Escalado, who was left in command by the departure of General Urrea, finding that there was a want of ammunition and little dependence to be placed in the officers, proposed a capitulation.

The December 30, 1839 issue of the New York Daily Herald reports that “The United States ship Warren, William A. Spencer, Commander, arrived at Key West 7h instant, from Havana, officers and crew all well. She sailed again on the 12th for the same port.”

By 1841, Spencer was promoted to captain, as detailed in the Commercial Advertiser and Journal’s marriage announcement of his daughter, Mary C., to John R. Vernam. With the passing of his second wife, Eleanora, in 1843, Spencer married Catharine Lorillard, Eleanora’s older sister. The New York Evening Post’s marriage announcements reports that William A. Spencer of Westchester married Catharine on October 15, 1844 at St. Paul’s Church in East Chester.

William Spencer, now retired from the Navy, determined to give Catherine a fine home. He bought two lots at the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 16th Street from Gardiner G. Howland for $21,500 (about $880,000 in 2023 money). According to New York historian William Smith Pelletreau in his Early New Houses (1900), “Upon the lot thus purchased, Captain Spencer erected a mansion which for size and elegance surpassed anything on Fifth Avenue at that time.” In 1898, the mansion was demolished, replaced by a 13-floor commercial building.

According to Spencer’s United States passport, issued on March 23, 1853, his birthdate was January 7, 1793, the date that coincides with the Presbyterian Church’s baptismal records. The passport states that he was a captain in the United States Navy and is described as 5′ 10″ tall with a prominent nose, gray hair, round chin and a sallow complexion. A handwritten note on the passport records that he lived at 49 Chambers Street.

As per the New York Evening Post, Spencer passed away on March 3, 1854 at the age of sixty-two. New York City probate records list his wife, Catharine, and his son and daughter, as his heirs.

Spencer spent much of his life at sea. Sadly, his grandson and namesake, William Augustus Spencer (1855-1912) died at sea when the Titanic went down. According to The Kearney Weekly Times, dated May 3, 1912, when one of the ships that had retrieved victims of that disaster arrived in port,

A woman was the first mourner to arrive on the pier. She was Miss Eliza Lurette, a maid for Mrs. Augustus Spencer of New York. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer were passengers on the Titanic. Mr. Spencer went down; Mrs. Spencer was saved. The maid hopes to find her late employer’s body, although it had not been reported among those on the Mackey-Bennett.

Section 18, lot 14582.

William Spencer gravestone.
Gravestone of Spencer’s grandson who died in the Titanic disaster.

STEVENS, HORATIO GATES (1778-1873). Lieutenant colonel, Second Artillery, New York State Militia. A son of Revolutionary War General Ebenezer Stevens (1751-1823) of Massachusetts and his first wife, Rebecca Hogdon (1753-1783), Horation Gates Stevens was born in Samford, Connecticut, per geni.com. He was named after his father’s commanding officer, General Horatio Gates who became his godfather at his christening at the Continental Army camp in New Windsor, New York, late in 1778, as written in Find A Grave. His siblings were Rebecca Hodgdon Stevens (1780-1815) and George Alexander Stevens (1782-1827). Rebecca married John Peter Schermerhorn, from an old and prosperous New York family, while George died unmarried, lost at sea. Horatio also had several half siblings, the children of Ebenezer Stevens and his second wife.

According to North American Family Histories 1500-2000/ancestry.com, Horatio married Eliza Lucille Rhinelander, daughter of William Rhinelander and Mary Elizabeth Robert, in 1813. Eliza was from a very well-connected and wealthy New York family. They had three children: Mary Lucille Stevens, Eliza Lucretia Stevens, and John Rhinelander Stevens.

During the War of 1812, Horatio served in the Second Artillery of New York Army Unit, enlisting as a major and being discharged as a lieutenant colonel. His obituary in the June 20, 1873 Star Tribune, details that he commanded the fort at Castle Garden during the War of 1812.

The Evening Post on December 23, 1830, lists Horatio on the executive committee of the Washington Monument Association and also reported, on July 14, 1841 and July 12, 1848, on his election as one of the directors of the National Bank. The 1850 federal census showed Horatio, at about 70 years of age, retired and living in New York City with his wife Eliza, son John, son-in-law Albert Gallatin, daughter Mary (wife of Albert) and their young sons Albert Jr., Frederick, and James. All, except for Horatio, were born in New York. They also had five servants living with them: John Duffy, Mary Moulton, Charity Platt, Emma Brown, and Charlotte Carnes. John (listed as a waiter), Emma, and Charlotte were born in Ireland, while Charity and Emma were born in New York. The value of Horatio’s real estate was listed as $30,000.

By the 1860 federal census, Horatio was 81. He lived with his wife Eliza, son John, and four servants: Terance Boung, a coachman, Ann Lynch, cook, Maria Lynch, laundress, and Hannah Tomey, all born in Ireland. The value of Horatio’s real estate was listed as $40,000 and the value of his personal estate as $10,000 (a total equivalent to about in $1.85 million 2023 money). The 1870 federal census showed Horatio, at 90 years old, living with his wife, son John, Oliver Wood, a coachman, born in Scotland, and two female domestic servants born in Ireland.

Eliza died on June 16, 1860, in Manhattan. According to Green-Wood Cemetery records, Horatio died on June 16, 1873, in New York of epilepsy at age 94. He was then living at 16 East 14th Street in Manhattan. According to the June 20, 1873, Star Tribune, members of the Society of the Cincinnatus attended his funeral on June 20, 1873. He was interred at Green-Wood with his wife and many other Stevens relatives, including his father, in the family vault. Section 75, lot 10450.

Painting of Horatio Stevens, circa 1860, courtesy of the New-York Historical Society.

STEWART, ALVAN (1790-1849). Abolitionist lawyer. Born in South Granville, New York, on September 1, 1790, according to information from Appletons’ Cyclopedia of America Biography and Green-Wood, Alvan Stewart’s family moved to Crown Point, New York, when he was five months old. In 1795, his parents, Uriel Stewart and Anna Holgate Stewart, lost the title to their land and moved the family to a farm in Westford, Vermont. There were 11 siblings, as reported on Ancestry.com, the Dale Hunsberger Family Tree: Philetus (1785-1872), Ambrose (1789-1790), Lucy (1791-?), Ascenath Stewart Larkin (1792-1855), Rhoda (1795-1811), Martha Stewart Chase (1797-1879), Anna (1801-1812), Uriel (1804-1812), Sarah (1806-1861), and Elvira Stewart Bryant (1810-1889).

From the age of five, Stewart attended district schools in Chittenden County, Vermont. According to information from Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography, he began to teach and to study anatomy and medicine in 1808.  He attended the University of Vermont from 1809 to 1811 and supported himself by teaching in the winters and farming the remainder of the year. In 1812, after visiting Canada the preceding year, he worked as a teacher there, receiving a commission under Governor Sir George Prevost as professor in the Royal School of the Seigniory of St. Armand, in the British colony of Lower Canada. However, after war was declared later that year, he was accused of being a spy and was arrested and imprisoned by Canadian authorities.

Upon his release from prison, Stewart returned to the United States and settled in Cherry Valley, New York, where he studied law and had a lucrative law practice for 16 years. According to the University of Miami Libraries, where The Alvan Stewart Papers are housed, he acquired a reputation as a brilliant lawyer. He also served as mayor of Cherry Valley. Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography mentions that he was a persistent advocate of protective duties, internal improvements, and education.

The famous American statesman Henry Clay wrote a letter of introduction for Alvan Stewart to Thomas Jefferson, dated September 8, 1816, as follows:

“Dr sir

Mr. Alvan Stewart, who will deliver to you this letter, being desirous of the honor of your acquaintance, and of visiting Monticello, has asked of me a letter of introduction. Altho’ I am sure, with his objects, it is altogether unnecessary, I have no hesitation in Soliciting your favorable reception of him. I comply the more readily with his request as it affords me an opportunity of tendering to you assurances of my high respect and Consideration.                  

                                                                                                                                               H. Clay”

It was on this visit to the south in 1816 that Stewart witnessed the cruelty and corruption linked to slavery and became convinced that it needed to be attacked by means of the ballot.

According to information from Ancestry.com, the Verveer Familly Tree, Alvan Stewart married Keziah Holt, born in Cherry Valley, on November 26, 1817, at the First Presbyterian Church in Cherry Valley. She was a daughter of War of 1812 veteran Major Lester Holt and Catherine Clyde Holt. The Stewarts had five children: Catherine Stewart (1825-1830), Jane Stewart Marsh (1820-1887), Elizabeth Stewart (1824-1830), Alvan Stewart Jr. (1825-1856), and Mary Kezia Stewart (1830-1904).

The 1830 federal census found Stewart living in Cherry Valley, with his wife and two children. In addition to spending time in Paris, Kentucky, where he practiced law, Alvan embarked on a journey to Europe in May 1831. In his passport application, dated May 15, 1831, he described himself as 40 years of age, 6′ 2″ tall, with brown eyes, straight nose, mouth of common size, small chin, grayish hair, dark complexion, and long and full face. He planned to remain abroad for twelve to eighteen months but, due to an outbreak of cholera in Paris, was forced to return to the United States at the end of August 1831. During this journey, he wrote a 200-page diary of his travels through England and France, including descriptions of meetings with American James Fenimore Cooper and Frenchman General Lafayette.

In 1831, Stewart moved to Utica, New York, where he resumed his law practice. He also devoted time to temperance and anti-slavery causes. In 1834 he was burned in effigy by a Utica mob. By 1835 he founded and became president of the New York Anti-Slavery Society. He raised funds, organized meetings, and arranged public debates. This first state-wide abolitionist society linked New Yorkers to the larger national abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad.

Stewart’s first published speech against slavery was printed in 1835, under threat of an angry mob. He called for a state anti-slavery convention on October 21, 1835, in Utica, and that program had just completed when a mob violently dispersed the meeting. That night, due to his thorough preparations, the Stewart house escaped an expected attack.

Stewart was one of the first to call for the formation of a distinct political party to promote the abolition of slavery. He ran for governor of New York in 1842 and 1845 under the newly formed abolitionist Liberty Party but received only 2% (in 1842) and 3% (in 1844) of the vote. As revealed in the article, “Lavinia Goodell: The Private Life and Public Trials of Wisconsin’s First Woman Lawyer,” Stewart visited fellow abolitionist William Goodell and his family in 1842 in Utica and impressed and influenced three-year-old Lavinia Goodell so much that, in 1874, she followed him into the legal profession to become Wisconsin’s first woman lawyer. In 1845, he delivered the speech, “Legal Argument for the Deliverance of Persons from Bondage” to the New Jersey Supreme Court. During his years as an abolitionist, he gave numerous other speeches despite death threats and mob reactions and helped raise money to emancipate enslaved persons. He argued that slavery was in violation with the Constitution and should be abolished.

In his later years, Stewart retired to a more private life, although he remained a member of the New York Anti-Slavery Society. Per his May 5, 1849 obituary in the Brooklyn Evening Star, he was living in New York City for three years, in ill health, until his death there on May 1, 1849. He was interred in Green-Wood on May 14, 1850.

According to New York Wills and Probate Records, Alvan Stewart named his wife, Kezia Stewart, his son-in-law Luther Rawson Marsh, and his son, Alvan Stewart Jr. as executors. His widow and children – Jane Marsh, Alvan Jr., and Mary Dean – were listed as heirs, bequeathing to the four of them an equal share of income from his estate. Kezia Holt Stewart died on November 30, 1854, at age 59, and was interred in Green-Wood. The cause of death was a hemorrhage of the lungs, and her last residence was on East 29th Street in New York City. Their son Alvan Jr., daughter Jane Marsh, and Jane’s husband Luther Rawson Marsh are also interred at Green-Wood. Section 33, lot 3728.