Friday, July 30, 2010

The semblance slays me. Pops and Samuel.

My grandfather Benjamin Hyde Cory (1896-1983). Born in Fresno, Ca.
Here he is as a young man, most likely during his undergrad years at Princeton. He later graduated from Harvard Law and returned to California. Add about 20 years, turn his face in the same direction as Meeker.
The lips, the nose, the forehead, the sleepy lidded eyes. Bit of a wave to the hair. His great great grandmother was Phoebe Meeker, twin sister of Samuel.

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 4th, 1811: "The first regiment of the Pennsylvania Cavalry--always ready in the defence of their country's rights!"

In my everongoing sleuthing on my ancestor Samuel Meeker, I have discovered that most likely he left the family home of the Westfields NJ for residence in Philadelphia as early as 1787, when he was 24. Why? Possibly to join the army! I now know that in that year he was a private in the 'First Company, Second City Battalion, Colonel James Read.' Within 6 years he started his own business (surely with the help of family money, his father [aka Captain Samuel Meeker] could be considered wealthy as he owned a travelling chair--no easy bank lending back then!), a partnership with Alexander Cochran who was the husband of Samuel's twin sister (my gt gt gt gt grandmother) Phebe.
Phebe was married to Mr. Alexander Cochran on Feb. 26, 1792 in the prominent “Second Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia.”
Notably the marriage, as many marriages of well-to-do citizens in Philadelphia at this time, was recorded in the “Centinel.”
Who knows which came first, Phebe's divorce or the breakup of this partnership, but in September of 1797 the Meeker Cochran business was dissolved. (I am descended from Phebe's second marriage to Brookfield). A new business partnership Meeker, Denman & Co was formed and located at No. 20 South Front St, Philadelphia.

Yet during all of these busy and tumultuous years, Meeker rose through the ranks to finally become captain of the Third City Troop, or "Volunteer Greens"--part of a voluntary cavalry consisting of nearly three hundred men, and a proud remnant of the revolutionary army. By the summer of 1811, with war against the mother country looming on the horizon (War of 1812, recall that Stuart's portrait of Washington was saved from being burned by the British by Dolly Madison!), the air was electrified with a military spirit. On the 4th of July, 1811, Captain Samuel Meeker proudly proclaimed in a toast in front of the troops:

"The first regiment of the Pennsylvania Cavalry--always ready in the defence of their country's rights!"

The Second Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry W. A. Newman Dorland
The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 54, No. 2 (1930), pp. 175-185


Friday, July 16, 2010

Mrs. Andrew Sigourney (the random monthly pick)

Mrs. Andrew Sigourney
Gilbert Stuart, Boston c.1820
copied from Lawrence Park volume IV

from Lawrence Park:
Mrs. Andrew Sigourney

She was Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Howell Williams (q.v.) of Roxbury and Noddle’s Island, Massachusetts, by his wife, Elizabeth Bell. She married in 1797 Andrew Sigourney (1766-1820) of Boston.

Boston, c. 1820. She is shown nearly half-length, seated, slightly turned to the left, with her gray-blue eyes gazing at the spectator, in an Empire armchair upholstered in a figured stuff of brownish-green tones. Upon her head, which is tipped slightly forward, is a large turban of white dotted muslin, beneath which is a mass of tight curls of dark brown hair covering her temples and the sides of her forehead. Her face is thin, with delicate features and high cheek bones, and her complexion is pink and fair. The right ear does not show, but in her left is an earring of two carnelians, one hung above the other, and both encircled with small pearls. Her black silk, long-sleeved dress is open at the throat, and edged with black silk ruffles, while the neck opening is filled in with a white starched ruffled fichu. A red shawl, fallen from her shoulders, surrounds her. The hands are not shown. The background is plain and of amber-tones.

In full color!

I was not able to find much about this self-confident looking lady. Her husband seems to have been active as a Freemason, and involved with the Boston theatre. Note that this portrait was done some 17 years after Meeker's, Stuart has simplified the background (no drapery, sky) and dropped the hands. Makes (dollars &) sense, since I don't think he liked to paint hands.

Most widely held works by Andrew Sigourney
Constitution of the Grand Lodge of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. : Adopted anno lucis by Freemasons( Book )1 edition published in 1811 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Receipt book of Andrew Sigourney, 1803-1811
by Andrew Sigourney in English and held by 1 library worldwide Account book with hand written notices dated and signed by Andrew, Daniel or Elisha Sigourney stating that they received the rent for the lobby of the Boston Theatre. The rent by paid by Stephen North from 1803 to 1809 and by Eben Oliver from 1809 to 1811.

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