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Sunday’s Obituary: John Springsteen

John Springsteen Obituary. Died 19 March 1867; obituary published in the Indianapolis Herald, 21 March 1867, page 1, column 5.
John Springsteen Obituary. Died 19 March 1867; obituary published in the Indianapolis Herald, 21 March 1867, page 1, column 5.

Helbling Family, Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

John Springsteen was the maternal great-grandfather of Anna May (Beerbower) Helbling, wife of William Gerard “W.G.” Helbling. He was born in New York per the 1850 US Federal Census, but also lived in Ohio and Indiana.

The obituary reads:

SUDDEN DEATH.– On Tuesday, the 19th,

about half past one o’clock, Mr. John

Springsteen, father of Abraham and Jeff.

Springsteen, died very suddenly. He was

sitting in his chair, conversing with his

grand-daughter. He remarked that he felt

strange, believed he was going to die, and

immediately expired without a struggle.

His funeral will take place from the resi-

dence of Jefferson Springsteen, 117 Spring

street, to-day at 3 o’clock P.M. The friends

of the family are invited to attend.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Obituary- Indianapolis Herald, 21 March 1867, page 1, column 5.

 

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Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
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Friday’s Faces from the Past: Curmudgeon Day

Benjamin Family, McMurray Family, Lee Family, Helbling Family (Click for Family Tree)

W. C. Fields (above) was a curmudgeon, and on the anniversary of his birth on 29 February 1880, we celebrate all the curmudgeons we know and love- or try to love.

What is a curmudgeon, you may ask? Generally described as a complaining, crotchety, critical old man, in the interest of equal rights we will include women as possibilities too. “Snarling contempt” is a good phrase that can describe the opinions, attitudes, and writings of curmudgeons. The very best curmudgeons, however, will add a bit of humor or dry wit to their scathing words, and give us an insight into the human condition; sometimes they even make a career out of it.

W. C. Fields is famous for many a curmudgeonly phrase, some from his movies, and some said on his own while in character (he was said to personally be a kind man). Many other quotes have been attributed to him but may not be really his words. Here are a few of his most famous:

 “I never vote for anybody, I always vote against.”
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.
If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.”
And the quote that sums up his character:
I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally.
Title page of the First Folio, 1623. Copper engraving of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout. Public domain, via Wikipedia.
Title page of the First Folio, 1623. Copper engraving of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout. Public domain, via Wikipedia.

The characters of William Shakespeare issued their share of curmudgeonly insults to each other long before- and now after- W. C. Fields:

There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.” (from Henry V)

Thine face is not worth sunburning.” (from Henry V)

Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.” (from As You Like It)

You are as a candle, the better burnt out.(from Henry IV, Part 1)

Nowadays, we may have to extend the definition of ‘curmudgeon’ to include cartoons (Lucy always complaining and nagging Charlie Brown), puppets (Oscar the Grouch), and even internet memes (Grumpy Cat). And when you put two together you get…

Isn’t the internet wonderful??

We all know some curmudgeons, and likely have a few in the family, though it is doubtful that any of our dear readers would fit into that category.  We won’t name (many) names, but we do have a few ancestors who are long gone that we could possibly honor as Curmudgeons on this very special day.

OK, OK, it’s not really that special a day, as any true curmudgeon would proclaim.

Samuel J. Lee in His Drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri, possibly 1940s or 1950s?
Samuel J. Lee in His Drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri, possibly 1940s or 1950s?

Samuel J. Lee (1879-1964) ran a drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri. As the neighborhood changed and got quite a bit rougher, it is understandable that he might have turned a bit curmudgeonly. Only apparently Sam sort of was that way even before. A nephew who worked for him said that it did not take much to get Sam upset. He actually had a peephole in the wall of the drugstore- something common to many stores so that an owner could truly ‘keep an eye’ on things. The nephew stated, however, that Sam would monitor his work performance through the peephole, to make sure he did not dish out too much ice cream to a customer at the soda fountain, or even worse, sample the ice cream himself.

Sam was a quiet man, according to another family member. He didn’t talk much, and in the evenings would just go sit in the sunroom of the house on Alamo, read his paper and smoke a cigar. So maybe he was more a quiet man, and people just took that silence as curmudgeonly?

Gerard William "G.W." Helbling in his garden in St. Louis, Missouri. Date unknown, likely 1920s.
Gerard William “G.W.” Helbling in his garden in St. Louis, Missouri. Date unknown, likely 1920s.

Gerard William “G. W.” Helbling (1882-1971) did not have the benefit of much formal education, but he was a brilliant man. That brilliance could drive some people crazy, though, like one of his daughters. She said he always had a criticism for a movie, an article, or whatever. He would explain how it could not really happen, why it wasn’t true, the facts that were missing, or how it was biased. He was most likely right, as he was a prodigious reader and knowledgeable about a whole lot of things. He would often guess what would happen next, and spoil the plot line.

He could be a very loving man, however, and the love he showed for his dear wife, Anna May (Beerbower) Helbling, was the kind of love women (ok, men too) dream about.

So maybe we can’t officially call him a curmudgeon? Maybe just a part-time curmudgeon, who was usually right.

Hannah Melissa Benjamin with her great-grandson, Edward A. McMurray, Jr., about 1926.
Hannah Melissa Benjamin with her great-grandson, Edward A. McMurray, Jr., about 1926.

We don’t really know enough about Hannah Melissa “Malissa” (Benjamin) McMurray (1854-1932) to officially proclaim her a curmudgeon. We don’t know that she was a complainer- her life was filled with work on the farm until her mid-fifties, and raising five children. She must have been a special woman to have endured it all, and some complaints, if any, should be excused.

But asking a descendant to identify the above picture was interesting. There was no name, and the informant was the young great-grandson pictured with Hannah Melissa (Benjamin) McMurray above. At first he did not recognize her through the fading lenses and memories of the 70+ years that had passed since that picture was taken. Then he looked up, in a somewhat taken aback fashion, when asked if it could be Hannah Melissa (Benjamin) McMurray. (Possibilities had been narrowed time-wise.) “Yes,” he replied. “She was VERY stern.” He was one who always gave people the benefit of the doubt, but apparently she curbed the enthusiasm of a toddler quite significantly, and he remembered it deeply when asked so many years later. He wouldn’t elaborate on whether that sternness was due to her complaining or just silently expecting him to toe the line; so maybe she was a pseudo-curmudgeon.

Headstone of Jonathan Benjamin (1738-1841) in Old Colony Burial Ground, Granville, Licking County, Ohio, with permission of photographer.
Headstone of Jonathan Benjamin (1738-1841) in Old Colony Burial Ground, Granville, Licking County, Ohio, with kind permission of photographer.

Jonathan Benjamin (1739-1841) was the third-great grandfather of Malissa (Benjamin) McMurray. Maybe Malissa got some of his ‘stern’ DNA.

The 1881 tome (816 pages!) compiled by N. N. Hill, Jr. called “History of Licking County, O., Its Past and PresentContaining a Condensed, Comprehensive History of Ohio, Including an Outline History of the Northwest, a Complete History of Licking County … a History of Its Soldiers in the Late War … Biographies and Histories of Pioneer Families, [and it goes on…]” tells Jonathan’s story the best:

Jonathan Benjamin was in some respects an extraordinary man. He was a person of rather coarse features, but of strong muscular powers, with a still stronger will. He was very determined in all his undertakings, and of an unforgiving temperament. Having passed through the French and Indian wars, and through the war of the Revolution, and having suffered much and long by Indian depredations, both in the loss of friends and property, the finer feelings of his nature had become blunted to such an extent that he seemed to have lost most of his sympathy for his fellow man. Still he was a man of religious habits, and of good morals, but was generally considered to be a man that was naturally morose and unsociable, and was not known through life to have expressed his forgiveness of the Indian race…. Mrs. Benjamin possessed social qualities that in great measure compensated for lack of them in her husband.”

Jonathan had lived through Indian wars in New York (and/or New Jersey), Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as in Licking and Fairfield Counties, Ohio. He witnessed his family members killed or carried off in Indian raids, and he had fought in military battles from at least the age of fourteen. He lived to be 102 years, 10 months, and 12 days old, and his demeanor never mellowed. His curmudgeonly attitude was likely fueled by the sorrows and hardships he had experienced in his long life. We can put on our psychiatrist hats and say maybe he was covering up the pain. Or maybe he was a quintessential curmudgeon?

It is hard to actually know if these folks were truly curmudgeons or not, as we only have a part of the story. They all had hard lives, so I do apologize to them if they were not curmudgeonly just for the sake of curmudgeon-ness.

So, who will you honor today on “Curmudgeon Day”??

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. W. C. Fields image via Warehouse 13 Wiki at http://warehouse13.wikia.com/wiki/File:W-C-Fields.jpg. CC-BY-SA license.
  2. Shakespearean insults from http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/resources/shakespeare-insults/
  3. The “remainder biscuit after voyage” refers to the saltwater-soaked, then dried out, wormy biscuits that are all that is left for sailors and travelers to eat at the end of a very long voyage on board ship.
  4. Jon Winokur wrote The Portable Curmudgeon and a variety of sequels which are just delightful if you enjoy this genre of humor and quotations.
  5.  Previous posts about Sam Lee include:
    http://heritageramblings.net/2014/10/05/sundays-obituary-samuel-j-lee/
    http://heritageramblings.net/2013/12/13/five-family-photos-for-friday-samuel-j-lee-of-st-louis-missouri/
    http://heritageramblings.net/2013/12/19/those-places-thursday-samuel-j-lee-and-son-pharmacy-st-louis-missouri/
    http://heritageramblings.net/2014/10/02/those-places-thursday-aiken-family-homes/
    http://heritageramblings.net/2014/07/02/wordless-wednesday-lee-family-clock/
  6. History of Licking County, O., Its Past and PresentContaining a Condensed, Comprehensive History of Ohio, Including an Outline History of the Northwest, a Complete History of Licking County … a History of Its Soldiers in the Late War … Biographies and Histories of Pioneer Families, Etc., compiled by N. N. Hill, A. A. Graham & Co., 1881 may be found at  https://books.google.com/books?id=_Xw8AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. Jonathan Benjamin bio on p. 602.
  7. Jonathan Benjamin obituary: “A Veteran”in  Hazzards US Commercial Statistical Register, Vol. 5, 1841/2, page 335, public domain. Heath Trust- http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044097928162;view=1up;seq=353

 

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Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
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Sunday’s Obituary: Sophie Broida of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Broida Family (Click for Family Tree)

We are not sure just who this Sophie (maiden name unknown) Broida is, nor her husband Max Broida. They are not known to any of the long-time Broida researchers, so if you have any clues, please let us know!

‘Broida’ is a fairly unique name in the United States- if you have it, you are most likely related. The Karklinsky family changed their name when they immigrated to the US, and the lines were very prolific so there are a lot of Broida descendants.

There are some folks who had the name Brode, Brodie, Broido, Broidy, etc., that have sometimes been confused with our Broida name. Not in this case, however, as we have found Sophie’s death certificate, which states her name exactly as in the obituary. It also indicates she was 65 years, 10 months, and 2 days old at her death on 17 February 1940, and she was born in Russia. The names of her parents were unknown but they too were born in Russia.

Sophie’s son Harry Broida of 2164 Dellwood, Jacksonville, FL was the informant on the death certificate. The death certificate also states that she was married to Max Broida- it does not list her as widowed. All this information correlates with the obituary.

Where to look next? A search on Find A Grave brought up a memorial for Sophie, and in the image a headstone for Max was slightly visible to the side. Checking for other Broidas in the cemetery, yes, there was a Max Broida, with his own memorial and stone next to Sophie’s. Sophie’s stone states “Beloved Wife and Mother” so we know she predeceased her husband and had children; the headstone for Max says “Beloved Father.” They were both buried in the Gates of Wisdom section of Shaare Torah Cemetery in Pittsburgh. (Click on the cemetery name in Find A Grave to learn about any old names for the cemetery, exactly where it is located, and contact information. That helped us to know that this was the correct Sophie and Max, even though initially the cemetery name seemed wrong.)

Next step? We now have the date of death- 24 Jan 1948- for this Max Broida, so back to looking for a Pennsylvania Death Certificate. Ancestry.com now has the PA Death Certificates, and here is the pertinent information for Max:

Section of death certificate of Max broida, who died 24 Jan 1948 in Pittsburgh, PA. From Ancestry.com, PA death Certificates 1906-1963.
Section of death certificate of Max Broida, who died 24 Jan 1948 in Pittsburgh, PA. From Ancestry.com, PA Death Certificates 1906-1963. (Click to enlarge.)

Let’s see what we can learn from the death certificate:

Wife Sophie, and predeceased him?

Residence 36 Vine in Pittsburgh? 

Birthplace Russia? 

( Lithuania belonged to Russia at various times.)

Informant known to us to have knowledge of the family? 

(Yes, it was their son Jacob Broida, who lived in West Virginia, who we know from Sophie’s obituary.)

And the best thing about this death certificate? It names Max Broida’s father as Abraham. That is a big clue.

Another big clue? The birthplace of Lithuania for both mother and father of Max, and the fact that Max was born there as well- our Broidas came from Lithuania which was also called Russia on many of their documents. There was a famous Rabbi in Lithuania which may be why our ancestors took the Broida name, and this could have been the case with this family as well. Or they could be descendants of the Rabbi, or even related to our Broida lines.

So back to the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project to find an obituary for this Max Broida:

Max broida obituary in American Jewish Outlook on 30 Jan 1948, page 13, column 1. With kind permission of the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project.
Max Broida’s obituary in the American Jewish Outlook on 30 Jan 1948, page 13, column 1. With kind permission of the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project.

Again, the obituary corroborates other information we have found, but disappointingly nothing new.

So where do we go from here?

A quick addition of these two persons to Ancestry.com generates some of the famous shaking leaves. In addition to the information already found, there is a 1932 Pittsburgh City Directory entry for them. Maddeningly, it does not list the occupation of Max, but he may have been retired by then. It does list Sophie as his wife, and notes they live at 36 Vine.

The leaves aren’t leading to censuses, so an Ancestry search can help us there. A 1930 census for the family in Pittsburgh shows daughter Florence living with Max and Sophie, but also a 19 year-old son named Albert, who is a salesclerk in a grocery store; Florence is a salesclerk in a department store. Albert is not listed as surviving in either obituary, so he may have died in his 20s. Sophie and Max own their home at 36 Vine which was worth $3,000, and they even had a radio. BUT- they are listed with the last name of “Brodie”- very clearly written, and indexed that way too. Both Sophie and Max spoke Yiddish according to the census, so maybe the two names sounded the same to the census taker, or a neighbor gave the information incorrectly?

So let’s keep on searching- the 1920 census is next as we move back in time. Max and Sophie BRODY are listed in Pittsburgh Ward 3, living at 32 Townsend. Max is listed as a tinner for the electric company, and there are 5 children living with them: Gilbert, Minnie, Harry, Florence, and Abe. (Two- Gilbert and Minnie- that we did not know about. Again, maybe they died as young adults since they are not noted in the obituaries.) The three oldest were born in Russia, with Florence and Abe born in Pennsylvania. Apparently Max immigrated in 1904, and the family followed in 1907; they all became naturalized in 1915.

We can’t find the family in 1910, although they all would have been in the US by then if the 1920 and 1930 censuses are correct.

So where are we with this family? Are they some of the folks who shifted their name from census to census, sometimes using our family name of “Broida,” or sometimes a similar version? Using more census records, city directories, and newspapers would be another way to learn more about this family, and we could possibly even find immigration records.

Focusing on the father of Max would be important- was Abraham related to our Broidas? Did he ever come to the US himself? Maybe following up on the children of Sophie and Max Broida might give us more clues, and maybe cousins. And that is part of the reason this blog was begun: cousin-bait.  Hopefully some of these Broida (we-don’t-think-are-) cousins might find this and help us learn they really are related to us.

Or not– sometimes knowing who is NOT related is important in genealogy too.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Obituary of Sophie Broida who died 23 Februrary 1940 in Pittsburgh, PA used with the kind permission of the American Jewish Outlook, page 13, column 1. Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project, http://digitalcollections.library.cmu.edu/portal/collections/pjn/index.jsp
  2. Thanks to Mitch and Ann, as usual, for their thoughts on this family.
  3. Intriguingly, there is a partial view of a stone next to that of Max on FAG that has the name of “Max B” showing, and the date of death starts with an “F” (for February?) Only Sophie and Max are noted as Broidas in the cemetery, but it would be interesting to see what the full name is on the adjacent headstone. (Research is like potato chips…)
  4. Find A Grave Memorials:
    Max Broida- http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=153070616
    Sophie (__) Broida- http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=153070616

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
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Military Monday: Henrich Horn on the March

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Henrich Horn: Military Career
1784 engraving showing the Hessians captured at Trenton being marched to Philadelphia, then the American capitol. via Wikipedia, public domain.
1784 engraving showing the Hessians captured at Trenton being marched to Philadelphia, then the American capital, via Wikipedia, public domain.

McMurray Family, Horn Family (Click for Family Tree)

When we last left our Hessian ancestor Henrich Horn and his fellow prisoners of war, they had been marched by General Washington’s troops about fifteen miles from Trenton, New Jersey to Newtown, Pennsylvania. It was the 26th of December, 1776, late in the by-then dark day after crossing the Delaware River, with the blustery, frigid weather of the northeast making their trek even more miserable. They were exhausted after many days of high alert, skirmishes, brutal weather, and their ill-fated Battle of Trenton that very morning. Once in Newtown, possibly their only meal of the day had been dropped from a hole in the ceiling of their hastily-thrown-togeher prison, and they felt they were being treated like animals. The Americans had left them to sleep, but it was likely not a very restful sleep with not knowing what was in store for them as POWs.

Our Henrich Horn was only about 16-18 years old at the time, and likely had been a soldier for less than a year. Thankfully he was in a large group of fellow soldiers, which would have been a bit less frightening than being by himself. Despite his shared woes, he must have been very frightened, angry at the mishandling of the battle by his Hessian superiors, and concerned for his life, so far from home.

The Americans after the Battle of Trenton, as well as the populace of Newtown, were eager to see what the hated Hessians looked like. They found they were just men, not the ruthless spawn of Satan, as some had feared. One American, a Sergeant Elisha Bostwick, had this to say about the Hessians:

“They are of Moderate Stature and rather broad Shoulders their limbs not of equal proportion light complexion with a blueish tinge hair cued as tight to the head as possible Sticking straight back like the handle of an iron skillet. Their [von Knyphausen’s Regiment’s] uniforms blue with black facings.”

[Could that blueish skin tinge possibly be due to the bitter cold and their clothes soaked from rain, snow, and the river?]

One researcher stated that their uniforms were purposefully made short and tight, to make it look like they were getting larger and more invincible. (True? Or just because the tailors wanted to save on cloth?)

George Washington decided that the hated Hessians would be paraded through Philadelphia, the capital of the colonies. He wanted to show off his triumph- he needed that to boost citizen morale as well as that of his soldiers and Congress, as the Americans had been losing battles and the enlistment of many of his soldiers was almost over; supplies and payroll funds were short, too. The American army had been teetering on the brink of destruction, and it was important to rally at that moment in time, or they would be defeated from within as well as without.

Washington wanted the people to realize that the Hessians were not invincible- they could actually be defeated, even captured, by his brave troops. So with hardly time to warm up and recuperate, the Hessian POWs were gathered into rows and columns on 30 December 1776 and marched to Philadelphia, about 30 miles southwest of Newtown. Google indicates that it would be an eight-hour walk today, but it would be interesting to know how long it took these sick, injured, and exhausted men in the snow and cold. The thought of another march must have been daunting to the captured as well as the capturers, after the exhausting few days they had just survived. But march they all did, as General Washington ordered.

Would the Hessians have been told of the plan, or their minds left to wander as to their next fate? Think about the language barrier, too, although there were German-American patriots who would have translated orders. The minds of Henrich and his comrades would have been teeming with fear of the possibilities: Would the Hessians be executed in another place? Would they be separated, as they had been from their officers right after the battle? Or would they be lucky enough to be a part of a prisoner exchange?

An angry mob had already gathered outside the city when the Hessians arrived at Philadelphia. By that time the Hessians had been told of what was to happen next. They were joined by their officers, who had been marched to different towns after the capture, and been wined and dined by American officers, as was often the custom. (Officers often treated each other very well and respectfully after capture or defeat, and some of the Hessian officers had actually dined with George Washington and discussed the tactics that had led to their defeat.)

The Hessian officers rode in covered wagons through the city which protected them, but the common soldier captives were hit, pushed, yelled at, etc. as they marched through the angry mob. The old women screamed at them that they had come as mercenaries to take away the freedom of the American people and they tried to strangle the men; dirt and rocks were thrown at them. The Americans hated the German auxiliaries, as for the past year, even before the Hessians had arrived on American shores, newspapers had whipped up terrible fears- one paper stated the Hessians were soldiers who:

“… will exhibit such a scene of cruelty, death, and devastation as will fill those of us who survive the carnage, with indignation and horror, attended with poverty and wretchedness.”

(Sadly, this had been often true earlier in 1776.)

It was recorded that some Americans brought brandy and bread for the captives, but the old women would not allow them to help the Hessians.

"Presidents House" at 524-30 Market St., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hessians would have paraded before this home which was built in 1767. Later, Presidents Washington and John Adams lived in this home.
“Presidents House” at 524-30 Market St., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hessians would have paraded before this home which was built in 1767. Nine months after the Hessian POW parade, the house would be lived in by General Howe during the British occupation of Philadelphia. Later, Presidents Washington and John Adams lived in this home. Wikipedia, public domain.

The Continentals paraded their prize of about 850 German POWs for all to see, down Market Street, Front Street, and then Walnut Street. The guards had been told to lead them throughout the streets of Philadelphia: “We became a spectacle for the entire city,” wrote one German captive. The Hessians must have been a sorry sight after their ordeals, and the Americans were therefore embarrassed that they had run in terror from “such vagabonds.”

Washington had ordered that the prisoners should be protected, and the escort realized that with such an angry mob around them, it was impossible to guarantee the safety of their charges. As the mob numbers and violence increased, the Americans cut short the path through Philadelphia and marched their prisoners to the city barracks rather than continue the dangerous parade. The American small escort had to fend off the townspeople while the German prisoners sat inside the barracks, listening to the cries for their death from the mob outside. Even though they were battle-hardened, well-trained troops, being so outnumbered in the midst of an angry enemy must have been very frightening, especially for a soldier no older than about eighteen, like Henrich Horn.

Why were the Americans so protective of their prisoners, especially when the Hessians were so hated by all, even British Loyalists whose homes and businesses had been raided by the Hessians on their fierce march through New York and New Jersey? One of the American plans was that the POWs would be paroled or exchanged, and go back to their Hessian regiments with stories of how well they were treated, and “sow the seeds of dissension between them and the British troops.” The Americans had even gone so far as to publish and distribute tracts in German offering land and money for desertion of the Hessian troops. Additionally, Washington was afraid of attacks on the prisoners alienating them, making them even more fierce opponents once they had been released.

Henrich Horn and his fellow POWs would have been quite relieved to have survived the march through an angry Philadelphia. They would have been wondering as to what would happen next in the saga of their capture.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Re: 1784 engraving showing the Hessians captured at Trenton being marched to Philadelphia, then the American capital. Translation is approximately:  “The Hessians captured by General Washington on December 25, 1776 at Trenton are introduced as prisoners of war in Philadelphia.” Note that the Battle of Trenton was on the morning of December 26, 1776, not the 25th as written in caption.
  2. Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett, 2004. Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for History, this tells the story of the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton, mostly from the American point of view. This is an excellent book, and very well-written.
  3. The Hessians and the other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War by Edward J. Lowell. Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York, 1884.
  4. AmericanRevolution.org: “The Hessians,” chapter VIII, an excellent read- http://www.americanrevolution.org/hessians/hess8.php
  5. Journal of the Fusilier Regiment v. Knyphausen From 1776 to 1783, possibly by Lt. Ritter? See http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/journal1.htm#navbar
  6. Henrich Horn http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/oh/hwardhorn.htm
  7. Hessians Remaining in America: http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~amrevhessians/a/amhessians10.htm#navbar
  8. Wikipedia articles:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President%27s_House_(Philadelphia)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trenton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_battle_of_the_Battle_of_Trenton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Knyphausen
  9. The Hessians. Mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution, by Rodney Atwood, Cambridge University Press, 1980.
  10. The Hessians and Other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, by Edward J. Lowell, Harper & Brother, New York, 1884 Republished by Forgotten Books, 2012.
  11. A Generous and Merciful Enemy. Life for German Prisoners of War during the American Revolution, by Daniel Krebs. University of Oklahoma Press, 2013.

 

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Wednesday’s Child: Harvey BURNELL- “Make no dependence on smiling infants”

Headstone of Harvey Burnell, Center Cemetery, Chesterfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts. Posted with kind permission of FAG photographer.
Headstone of Harvey Burnell, Center Cemetery, Chesterfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts. Posted with kind permission of FAG photographer.

McMurray Family, Burnell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Little Harvey Burnell was the second child of Joseph Burnell, Jr.(1756-1841) and Martha Gilbert (1761-1837). Harvey Burnell is a first cousin, at least 6 times removed depending on the generation of you, dear reader, but this inscription on the headstone is so poignant that it needs to be shared.

The first child born to Joseph and Martha Burnell was a girl, Elizabeth Burnell, born 24 February 1783 in Massachusetts, likely Chesterfield. They had been married for just over a year, and the anticipation of a large family was probably on their minds quite a lot. Of course, in those days a son was always the most desired, especially for a first child. They likely loved little Elizabeth dearly, but were anxious for a son to carry on the family name and inherit.

Little Harvey Burnell’s birth would have been eagerly awaited, and he appeared in this world on 18 June 1785 in Chesterfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts. Martha was 23, and Joseph 28, when they added to their family. Oh, the excitement there must have been, and how proud the parents! Joseph was a first-born son himself, so would have known what to expect for this new little one. Harvey was likely quite doted upon, and would be groomed for the future of the family to be placed in his hands as he got older. Like all parents, Joseph and Martha probably were filled with big hopes and dreams for this first-born son.

Those tiny little hands, though, were sadly not to become big hands that could guide the family and fulfill its dreams. Little Harvey only lived to be 13 months old. We don’t know if he was a sickly child or if an accident or sudden illness took him from his loving family. Whichever of these events, little Harvey left this world the next summer, on 21 July 1786 in Chesterfield. He was buried in Center Cemetery in Chesterfield, where over 20 of his ancestors and relatives are buried. The hopes, the dreams, and his future with the family were buried along with the little boy.

Headstone of Harvey Burnell, Center Cemetery, Chesterfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts. Posted with kind permission of FAG photographer.
Headstone of Harvey Burnell, Center Cemetery, Chesterfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts. Posted with kind permission of FAG photographer.

The inscription on the headstone reads:

Harvey

Son of Joseph

& Martha

Burnell

DIED

July 21 1786

Æ 13 Mon.

Make no depen-

dence on smiling

infants.

 

For anyone, but especially a parent who has lost a child, the last line of the inscription is likely to bring tears, and renewed heartache.

Martha and Joseph were probably more subdued with the next pregnancy, making no dependence on their dreams for this next child. This new Burnell was born on 23 March 1787, also in Chesterfield, and the babe was male; they named him Harvey Burnell. He thankfully was able to weather the perils of childhood in that century, and lived to be 47. Martha and Joseph were then blessed with their (probably) hoped-for household of children: Chester Burnell, born 1788; Asenath Burnell, b. 1791; Eli Burnell b. 1792, Newton Burnell b. 1794, Baxter Burnell b. 1797; Nancy B. Burnell b. 1798; Francis Burnell b. 1801; and Levi Burnell, b. 1803. They had a total of 9 sons, 8 surviving into adulthood, plus 2 daughters.

Martha and Joseph were, after all,  able to depend on the faces of those smiling infants, long into their later years.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records 1620-1988. These Ancestry.com records are typed (so transcribed from the original) and call the family “Burnal.” Harvey’s death is listed as found in Book 2, Page 2.

 

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Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.