Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Samuel Meeker was a "good gentleman" as described by the Wall St Journal today!

Apparently Philadelphia is incurring a shortage of Calvary soldiers, our military activities have depleted the ranks!  My 'good gentleman' ancestor Samuel Meeker of course participated in this Calvary; remember he was an exceptional horse rider, housing his horses at his country villa Fountain Green, and who was a member of the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club (according to the article, a source for members of the Cavalry).  All indications are that he was adept and vigorously active socially, it has been my own speculation that he threw a wonderful ball at his villa on his 40ieth birthday--most likely gifting the GS portrait to his twin sister during this bash.  It didn't hurt that my ancestor is good looking.  He and his sister were surely coveted guests at any social gathering!

more on the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club
The Gloucester Fox-Hunting Club—This pleasant association was composed of many highly respectable gentlemen, resident chiefly in Philadelphia…Elegant society was then comparatively limited; while the city Friend could give a delightful repast, the country Friend could promise good sport from horses, dogs, and a fox.  In 1800 there were about forty members, and it flourished until 1818, when Captain Charles Ross, the last master-spirit, died, and with him the club ceased to exist… 
The hunts usually lasted from one to five or six hours, and sometimes even for eight or ten hours. 
Usually about one-half of the club were habitual or efficient hunters.  Among the most enterprising and leading members were—Mr. Morris, president, and Messrs ….Davies, Price, Denman, …Humphreys, Harrison, S. Meeker
Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania: being a collection of memoirs by John Watson published Parry and M’Millan 1879 Philadelphia  pps 158-9

more on the Volunteer Regiment of Cavalry:
Samuel Meeker was the Lieutenant Commandant of "The Troop of VOLUNTEER GREENS" of the Third Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry.  The year was 1810, and war with the mother country was looming on the horizon. "...the air was electrified with the military spirit...all felt war was speedily approaching..." from THE SECOND TROOP PHILADELPHIA CITY CAVALRY by  W.A. Newman Dorland 1903

from the article "Philadelphia is Looking for a few Good Gentlemen" by M M Phillips Oct 15, 2014

"What Spc. Connell dreaded, however, was the horse-riding requirement, a fear put to the test when the soldiers gathered for a steeplechase at a trooper's horse farm in West Chester, Pa.  A highlight of the day was the cavalry skills competition, in which the troopers practiced attacking a watermelon with a saber.
      The expert riders, such as Sgt. Llewellyn Hunt, the descendeant of French generals and a student at Sciences Po in Paris, cantered past the post where the watermelon was mounted, slicing it neatly in two.
       Spc. Connell, who had never ridden before, was helped into the saddle of an easygoing horse, who ambled toward the enemy fruit.  Spc. Connell took a mighty swing and nicked off a piece as he knocked the melon to the ground.
     After Spc. Connell dismounted, the other troopers initiated him into one final cavalry tradtion: Opening a bottle of champagne with a saber...."

Meeker would have not have approved such LOW SKILLS as not being able to slice a watermelon in half, as well as the limited number of volunteers to this special Cavalry, .....but the final tradition....would have secured the pleasure of his evening!!

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