Saturday, February 26, 2011

Samuel Denman (business partner of Samuel Meeker) & wife Anna Maria; and their terrible tragedy

Anna Maria [Hampton] Denman in detail

In the last entry, an advertisement for Meeker's firm “Meeker, Denman, & Co.” in the Philadelphia Gazette, October 23, 1797 was shown. Samuel Denman was Samuel Meeker’s brother-in-law. Samuel Meeker married Jane Hampton on March 3, 1792 in St. John’s Church Elizabethtown, N.J.

Recorded: 1792 Mar. 3 - Samuel Meeker, of Philadelphia, Merch't., to Jane daughter of Jonathan Hampton, Esq. of Elizabeth Town. Jane had a younger sister Anna Maria Hampton. Anna Maria married Samuel Denman (1774-1816) on December 10, 1801 by Rev. Henry Kollock, pastor of the First Presbyterian church at Elizabethtown.

Perhaps due to the divorce of Samuel’s twin sister Phebe from Alexander Cochran, Samuel’s first business partner, now Meeker dropped Cochran and joined forces with his brother-in-law Samuel Denman. So far as I know Anna Maria and Samuel Denman had two sons: tragically both died at a young age. Young Jonathan Hampton Denman died July 23 1804, age 4 months and three days, “at the Seat of Samuel Meeker Esq.” (Fountain Green.) Young William Denman passed away at age 4 years and 9 months, also at Fountain Green. This couple knew terrible tragedy, and father Samuel Denman also passed away at the young age of 42.

An eulogy to William Denman, age 4 1/2.

The vernal hope of lengthened life is crop'd

The opening blossom in the grave is dropt

Yet weep not, Parents, for his mouldering clay,

But rest your comfort on the judgment day.

For happy innocence, that knows no crime

Shall bloom eternal in the heavenly clime.

In an amazing bit of sleuthing, I found that images existed of the Denmans, preserved in miniature. You can imagine how thrilled I was, to discover images of Meeker's relatives, and to learn some of their story.

American Portrait miniatures

courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Watercolors on ivory in gilded copper case;

hair reserve 2 3/4" x 2 3/8"

artist: Edward Greene Malbone

Samuel and Anna Maria [Hampton] Denman, ca. 1801

The book "American Portrait Miniatures" is now available; by Carrie Rebora Barratt and Lori Zabar. The volume is the first complete catalogue of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of American portrait miniatures, "tiny, vivid miracles of the painter's art."

The Museum's holdings are the world's most comprehensive.

In a twist of family ancestry, my gt gt grandfather Ben Cory's grandmother was Susanna [Denman] Cory (1773-1851). Thus I have Denman blood, but not by Samuel, for remember, he gifted the portrait to his twin sister.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An advertisement for Meeker's firm in the Philadelphia Gazette, October 23, 1797: Meeker, Denman, & Co.

click on image for a larger view

Meeker, Denman, & Co
No. 22 South Front Street

Have received by the *** from Grenock, to N.
York, Cumberland, from Hull, Clothier and Sey-
mour from Liverpool, and William Penn from
Dry Goods and Hard Ware,
Which they now offer for sale on moderate terms,
for cash or the usual credit, viz.

Fine and Coarse broad-cloths
Plain and xxx cloths
Plain and printed cashmere

Colour’d and black silk handkerchiefs
Silk and cotton bandanas
An elegant assortment of callicoes
Silk, cotton

In 1797 Meeker was 34. It appears that by this time he had already been in Philadelphia, having left the Meeker family homestead in the Westfields NJ, for at least 10 years —(in 1787 he was listed as a private in the 'First Company, Second City Battalion, Colonel James Read' in Philadelphia.) Five years before (1792) Samuel’s twin sister Phebe (my direct ancestor!) had married Alexander Cochran in a prominent wedding in the “Second Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia”, and Meeker’s first business partner was his brother-in-law Cochran; the firm was known as Meeker Cochran & Co. Within five years the partnership was dissolved (and Phebe had divorced.) By 1797 Meeker was busily engaged in commerce with his next firm Meeker, Denman, & Co. Samuel Denman was also Samuel’s brother-in-law, through his wife. Jane [Hampton] Meeker was the sister of Anna Marie [Hampton] Denman. I have found the images of the Denmans, Samuel and Anna Marie, in miniatures at the Smithsonian, stay tuned! but today I will just show an advertisement in the Philadelphia Gazette & Universal Daily. [A friend found this, while researching one of his own ancestors!] The third partner in the firm seems to have been William Parsons Meeker, also painted by Stuart. This young fellow died a premature death in 1812. As he was their agent in England and was lost at sea, perhaps he was returning home over the seas and perished due in some way to the War of 1812. He was the first cousin of Samuel, their fathers were brothers.
Who better to trust, than family members!

William Parson Meeker by Gilbert Stuart, he was lost at sea in 1812
first cousin of Samuel Meeker and business partner
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