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Samuel Hanson,
Naval Purser (1804 - 1811)
Samuel Hanson's career began as appointee during Thomas Jefferson's presidency. Hanson's accusations regarding Commodore Tingey and other Washington Navy Yard employees led to an official enquiry. The Board of Enquiry found the charges without merit.

Samuel Hanson was removed from the Service by Direction of the Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton (See his letter of 22 March 1810).

Hanson unsuccessfully appealed his removal for many years to Presidents Jefferson & Madison.

Charles Washington Goldsborough
Charles Washington GolsboroughPhoto from :
Naval Historical Center, Department of Navy

Portrait of
Charles Washington Goldsborough
Chief Clerk of the Navy



Born in Maryland in 1793,
Charles Goldsborough joined the Navy Department which was then located in Philadelphia and moved to the new capitol with the Department and became the Chief Clerk of the Navy where he served until his death in 1843.

He is buried in Congressional Cemetery (R41/30).

His residence was on G Street West. He has been described as the Samuel Pepys of our navy, for his organizational and logistical skills. Charles Goldsborough wrote one of the first histories of the U.S. Navy the United States Naval Chronicle in eight volumes published 1824. For much of his early tenure he was the only clerk in the Department (which grew very slowly, in 1812 the Department employed a total of 12 clerks); Goldsborough due to his long tenure and talent became extremely influential often assuming duties as acting Secretary of the Navy, see his letters to Commodore Thomas Tingey regarding workers wages dated 14 March 1809. His son Lewis M. Goldsborough became a Rear Admiral and was later Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard 1870-1873. [Submitted by John Sharp]

 Josiah Fox

Drawn by Charles-Balthazar-Julien Fevret de Saint-Memin,
1770-1852,dated circa 1800

Josiah Fox (1763-1847) Naval Architect

by John Sharp

Josiah Fox became a noted American naval architect due to his extensive involvement in the design and management of the construction of the first significant naval warships at Gosport and Washington Navy Yards.i Fox worked with his senior colleague Joshua Humphreys on the design of these ships. The ships Humphreys and Fox built, helped lay the foundation for our navy and ensured the new service had the nautical assets to fight successfully in the Quasi-War with France, the Barbary Pirates, and the War of 1812.

Josiah Fox was born in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom in 9 October 1763, into a large and relatively prosperous ‘Quaker’ or Society of Friends family. Historically, the Friends have been known for their use of thee as an ordinary pronoun, refusal to participate in war, plain dress, refusal to swear oaths, and opposition to alcohol. While Josiah Fox wore plain dress, attended monthly meetings, and in general adhered to the Friends principles, he came into conflict with the group on a number of important matters of belief and practice. The conflict was such that Fox was formally “disowned” by the Friends Philadelphia Meeting for marrying a non-Quaker woman, and for “assisting in the building vessels of war.”ii In later years, Fox’s ownership of slaves and purchase of alcohol for his workers would also be questioned. Josiah Humphreys was similarly disowned by the Society of Friends for building ships of war.iii

Josiah Fox was born into a large family of thirteen children nine of whom lived to maturity. His surviving siblings consisted of four older brothers and four sisters. His parents John and Rebecca Fox and brothers John and Henry all had maritime business connections. His brother John Fox was a successful merchant and importer and his brother Henry was a merchant ship captain for G.C. Fox & Company. Josiah may have attended the Friends School at Tiverton where he was instructed in religion, geography French language, philosophy, and mathematics. In 1786 at the fairly late age of 23, Fox decided, despite some family objections, to pursue a career in shipbuilding. In a certificate dated 1787, Josiah Fox was described as being “of fair complexion, about five feet eleven inches, wearing brown hair and having a ‘molde’ on his left arm.” Josiah began his apprenticeship at a private dockyard in Plymouth owned by master constructor Edward Sibrell. At Sibrell’s yard he served for four years, learning his trade as shipwright, and in 1790 moved to the East India Dockyard in Deptford, where he gained wider experience working on a variety of merchant ships. In 1791, through his family connections, Fox was able secure a billet on the merchant ship Crown for a voyage to the Russian city of Archangel. Archangel (Arkhangelsk) was the chief seaport of Russia. In Fox’s day Archangel was still an important Baltic trading center for northern Europe. In November of 1791, he voyaged south this time with his brother Captain Henry Fox on a yearlong Mediterranean trading voyage to Venice and Cadiz Spain. In both his northern and southern voyages, Fox had time to experience and study a ship under sail and the opportunity to visit and learn from Russian, Italian, and Spanish shipyards, and naval arsenals.

On Fox’s return to England he became frustrated with the limited opportunities to make a name and career. In 1793 he traveled to the United States, at least nominally, to survey timber resources. In the States he was engaged to teach drafting to the sons of Jonathan Penrose, an American shipwright. In 1794 Josiah Fox married Elizabeth Miller (1768-1841) at the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The couple was very much in love and went on to have ten children with six surviving into maturity. While the Fox’s marriage outside of the Friends Meeting House, cause some tension within the Quaker community it was generally well received.iv

Through the influence of his wealthy and politically well-connected uncle, Andrew Ellicott, Fox was employed on 16 July 1794 by the U.S. Navy as a draftsman working under naval constructor, Joshua Humphreys, designer of frigates. Fox was ambitious and aware that he was the only formally trained shipwright in the country and he thought himself fully qualified as a designer. In fact Fox’s official position was that of War Department clerk although his duties and responsibilities were primarily to complete designs and models for naval constructor Humphreys. Fox’s career got off to rocky start with Humphreys by criticizing his designs. While Humphreys initially held Fox’s skills as draftsman in high regard, he later accused Fox of drafting the models according “to his own opinion so foreign to my own.” The older Humphreys became increasingly upset after Fox identified himself as a “Naval Constructor” and would only respond to Fox as “Mr. William Fox, Clerk of the Marine Department, War Office.”v Fox and Humphreys would continue to have a tumultuous relationship with significant disagreements over frigate design, the former believing that the vessels were too long and had too sharp a bow, among other problems.vi Their disagreement caused considerable animosity between the two men, with arguments over credit for the design continuing in the press as late as 1827.

Fox’s initial annual compensation at the War Department was fixed at $500 per annum substantially above that of a shipwright:

Mr. Josiah Fox

Sir,

You are hereby appointed a Clerk in the department of war, at the rate of Five hundred dollars per annum, to be appropriated at the present to the assistance of Joshua Humphreys who is constructing the models and draughts for the frigates to be built in the United States, and when that business shall be finished you will be directed to perform - your compensation to commission the 1st instant - vii

Not long after his disagreement with Humphrey, Fox was transferred to Gosport Navy Yard. The old yard was in a state of disarray and largely quiescent. Gosport was a working navy yard during the American Revolution. The ragtag navy created during the American Revolution was promptly dismantled after the war, and it wasn't until 1794 — in the face of threats to U.S. shipping from England, France, and the Barbary states of North Africa—that Congress authorized the construction of six frigates. Fox’s assignment to Gosport Navy Yard was to design and oversee the building of the frigate Chesapeake and other vessels then under construction at the new yard. Fox proudly stated “during the whole of the period [at Gosport], he was employed in building and equipping that frigate, he had the sole charge of conducting the business as no naval officer was assigned to that yard, which has been the only instance of the kind in the Navy Department.”viii Much of this time Fox acted as the shipyard superintendent. The old navy yard when Fox arrived was suffering from years of neglect. During the Revolution the Gosport shipyard was under the auspices of the State of Virginia, but with the end of that war had fallen into disuse. Fox was always an organizer and he quickly moved to draft regulations and to bring about greater economic efficiency and utilization of shipyard manpower.ix Like his predecessors, he employed slave labor extensively at Gosport and would later purchase slaves. The slaves Fox purchased were trained and employed at the shipyard with the profit from their labor going directly to him.x As a consequence of his performance at Gosport, Fox’s annual salary was raised to $750 per annum.xi

Writing to the secretary of War, Timothy Pickering, Fox stated: “The public Service Requiring the utmost Harmony should take place in the Naval Yard at Gosport (Virginia)” and went on to propose the first regulations for the governance of the navy yard. Fox’s regulations were written to correct what he perceived as serious deficiencies. Fox wrote he was particularly concerned with the negligent manner the shipyard clerk Samuel Shore displayed while conducting public business, especially, Shore’s insufficient attention to supervising the workmen and meddling in Fox’s affairs. Fox went on complain of the liberties management allowed Gosport workmen. Fox wrote that workers slept on the yard each evening and frequently quarreled. He later learned the reason laborers and mechanics slept at their workplace each night was there were no rooming houses near enough to the ship yard and what hotels or rooming houses that were available were so far away that the workers would have to have spent most of their day commuting.xii In the same letter, Fox went on to recommend that Gosport workmen be allowed their traditional rum ration.xiii In 1798, Fox was appointed Master Constructor of the frigate Chesapeake, which was to be built in Norfolk. Fox apparently altered Humphreys design to his own liking, though this may have been partially the result of a timber shortage. That same year in February, Josiah Fox became a naturalized citizen of the United States and later in the year, his salary was raised by the War Department to $900.00.xiv In 1798, The Department of the Navy was also created, and reacting to fears of French privateers seizing American merchant vessels, the Congress authorized additional naval vessels and revenue cutters. In 1801, in response to budget reductions, Fox was laid off from his government position, but, he continued to design vessels for the private sector.

In 1804, secretary of the Navy, Robert Smith sent for Fox to come to Washington, D.C. and convinced him to become the naval constructor at the Washington Navy Yard. At that navy yard Fox was to superintend the construction and repair of naval vessels. Commodore Thomas Tingey had overall charge of the yard and its employees, however, as naval constructor, Fox reported to the secretary of the Navy and directed the largest and most skilled group of mechanics and laborers.xv

Thomas Tingey, like Fox, was born England but in the city of London in 1750. His family moved to the town of Lowestoft, a small North Sea fishing town, and he later served in the Royal Navy. In the early 1770’s Tingey moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and took service with merchant vessels in the Caribbean. Through successful trading ventures he quickly became prosperous and decided to stake his future in new republic. In 1798, based on his Royal Navy and merchant experience, Tingey was appointed as a captain in the newly established federal navy.xvi

Fox ‘s salary as constructor for the Washington Navy Yard increased to a generous $2000.00 per annum with $500.00 additional allowance for housing, and the liberty of taking as many apprentices as he chose, placing his total compensation on line with Commodore Tingey.xvii Fox, by 1807 had seven apprentices; five white, whose families paid him a commission to teach their sons the difficult and lucrative trade of shipbuilding, and two of his own slaves. In the early federal shipyards all apprenticeships were signed indentures or private contracts between master mechanics and apprentice, but paid from public funds. All shipyard apprentices were paid a daily wage based on a percentage of the journeymen trade rate. The master mechanic typically signed and collected the apprentice’s wages passing this on to the apprentice or his parents after deducting an agreed tutorial fee. Slaveholders signed for a slave wage and made whatever provisions for the slaves support they deemed adequate.

At first the two men worked together; Fox’s assignment to Washington coincided with the beginning of serious construction at the navy yard. Among his first assignments was the repair of badly deteriorating frigates in ordinary; many of these ships that had seen years of hard service. Fox also supervised the construction of numerous gun boats, designed for the naval actions in the Mediterranean. Fox designed seven of these first gun boats. The boats were actually built at various cities on the East Coast. In April 1806, Congress authorized yet more gun boats and ten were built at Washington Navy Yard. These vessels were shallow draft boats, fifty to seventy feet in length, sloop or schooner rigged and armed with one or two guns. Fox compared them to Oyster boats, and questioned their utility. Most significantly during Fox’s tenure, the yard built its first proper ship, the sloop of war Wasp and major repairs to the frigates United States, President, and Essex.xviii

Despite the navy yard’s progress in building and repairing vessels, Fox’s relationship with Commodore Tingey deteriorated over time. As a military man Tingey believed in discipline, and deference to authority and he was a firm believer in the chain of command. Fox on the other hand considered his appointment by the secretary of the Navy sufficient to ignore yard policy when it suited. By 1806 each man was complaining to the secretary about the other. Part of the problem was their differing personalities and a substantial part of their dilemma their confusing reporting relationships. Tingey had overall charge of the shipyard but Fox was hired by and reported directly to the secretary of the Navy. One proof of the structural nature of the problem is that William Doughty (Fox’s successor), experienced similar difficulties in his dealing with both Tingey and the next Commandant Isaac Hull caused by the overlap of their duties and responsibilities.xix

Tingey had always run the navy yard with a sense of noblesse oblige, allowing the master mechanics a great deal of authority and discretion and his workforce certain privileges that Fox found unwise. Fox wanted to organize his workers in companies so that there was a clear chain of command. From his writing it is clear Fox hoped to promote economy, control costs, and discouraged the “too free use of Spirituous Liquors during the Hours of Work or the use of abusive language to any person whatever.” Fox’s caution regarding the use of “spirituous liquors” on the yard, were not simply those of a teetotaler, but reflects his genuine concern that alcohol was endangering workplace safety.xx In 1807 Commodore Tingey had also attempted to restrict alcohol usage which resulted in some of the workers complaining to the secretary of the navy.xxi

Fox wanted to control waste and pilferage and urged his master mechanics to be “careful to prevent the Timber Materials and other of the Public property in the Timber Materials and other of the Public property in the Carpenters Department from being improperly expended, Wantonly destroyed, Wasted, Injured or pillaged - He will not permit any alteration whatever to be made in any part of the Ships whilst under repair without express orders being given for that purpose.” Fox also cautioned his workers regarding the danger of fire. “He will take care that no Fires be made by the Carpenters and others attached to them to Bend their planks &c &c but at such places as may be deemed to be most proper for that careful purpose, and he is charged to see them all extinguished by Sunset.”

Fox even went as far as to caution his employees to remember and have care for their environment and to avoid throwing debris in the Potomac and Anacostia River. Fox urged his men: “When working afloat he is not on any authority whatever to throw over board into the River any Stage Plank & Spalls, or other useful materials, neither is he to throw any rotten stuff that will sink to the injury of the river.”xxii  Fox’s proposed changes were never implemented, and it is unclear if Tingey ever saw them, but it is most unlikely that he would have approved them. Fox’s management concerns with safety and the environment were in many ways profoundly modern. Tingey was more of a pragmatist ever sensitive to issues of morale and was reluctant to make too many changes, as they might only increase the mechanics distrust. Commodore Tingey like many of his workers found Fox eccentric and difficult to understand.

One issue that caused considerable friction was Fox’s training of two enslaved men, Edwin Jones and William Oakley, as shipwright apprentices. About 1804 Fox had purchased the two men and also purchased young Betty Doynes as a house servant.xxiii Many officers and senior civilians such as Commodore Thomas Tingey, Captain John Cassin, senior clerks, and master mechanics found that having the navy hire their slaves a profitable and easy arrangement. During the first decade of the navy yard’s existence about one third of the workforces were slaves. While some slaves worked as ship caulkers, a difficult and dirty job, most worked as laborers. Fox, however, had trained Edwin Jones and William Oakley as shipwrights, on the shipyard--an elite occupation. White mechanics apparently found Fox’s training of blacks as shipwrights, to be threatening to their sense of superiority and employment security.

Adding to the atmosphere of unease in 1807, Fox came to the defense of Peter Gardner a master mast maker. Gardner like Fox had purchased a young slave Davy Gardner and trained him with his white mast maker apprentices. Gardner was later accused of taking small items without proper authorization which eventually led to his dismissal. Fox perceived the charges and dismissal of Gardner as a subterfuge and pretext for Tingey removing a supporter.

In June of 1807 the final brake between the two men culminated with Tingey’s appointment of William Smith, Assistant Foreman of Ship Carpenters, and John Petheridge, Foreman Afloat, ostensibly to aide Josiah Fox. Fox vehemently objected and stating Tingey’s appointments was made with no consultation or notice. Fox particularly objected to Pethreridge’s appointment as he was “frequently intoxicated.”

Fox asked for a board of inquiry and stated he would not work until some action was taken. “Finding that John Petherbridge is upheld in his Conduct, which I conceive is contrary to every principle of Justice, and the regulations of the Yard and that Richard Sommers Shipwright is ordered to be discharged for candidly as plain fact in my Inquiries; I have thought proper to withdraw myself from the Navy Yard until due inquiry should be made into the circumstances of the case and ample justice done me.” In response Tingey wrote to the Secretary of the Navy stating that he would convene an inquiry into Fox’s charges and take statements from all witnesses, including Fox, under oath.xxiv

Economic clouds were also on the horizon, beginning in the Winter of 1807, the Embargo Act led to a tightening of the naval appropriations. In response, on 21 April 1808, secretary of the Navy, Robert Smith, gave Commodore Thomas Tingey direction to reduce his workforce at the Washington Navy Yard.xxv John Cassin acting for Tingey queried Fox as to the number of his employees and his proposed reductions. Fox replied on 25 April 1808: “If many of the frigates are to be equipped in the course of the present Summer that cannot be effected without a large force. ...Where repairs are protracted to any length of time that decay already taken place will not only diffuse itself more intensively but by causing destruction to the furrowing timber, render repairs more difficult and expensive. It must be well known to you that some of our finest Frigates at this time are almost perishing for want of repairs and daily getting worse.” Fox’s response reflects his continuing concern for timely maintenance and the welfare of his employees: “I am compelled to say that I should think any reduction in the number of workmen at this time to retrench expenses impolitic (unless the appropriations are found insufficient for that purpose) and would therefore recommend that the work be pursued by the present number of workmen” xxvi Despite the merits of Fox’s ideas, his perceived intransience and reluctance to be deferential to Tingey or understand his concerns proved his undoing.

At the beginning of the new administration of President James Madison, the new secretary of Navy, Paul Hamilton probably on Tingey’s recommendation “unceremoniously and perhaps unjustly” dismissed Fox.xxvii Hamilton again probably at Tingey’s bidding directed that all of Fox’s white apprentices be kept on the yard rolls if possible and the blacks dismissed.xxviii

Josiah Fox list of Apprentices 4/25/1808

After leaving government service, Fox manumitted his two enslaved apprentices Jones and Oakley and prospectively manumitted his house servant Betsey Doynes with an effective date of 1815. After examining his alternatives, Fox moved with his entire family west into Ohio territory where they settled. In Ohio Fox quickly became a highly successful landowner and businessman and leader in the Quaker community. The newly manumitted Jones and Oakley chose to accompany the Foxes west and remained in his employ as freemen for the next twenty five years. Sadly, Betsey Doynes died prior to her manumission.xxix

In 1811 Fox and his family experienced the great New Madrid earthquake. This quake, the greatest ever in the United States, shook the ground for months. The remainder of Fox’s long life was less eventful. During the war of 1812 the frigates and other vessels Fox designed contributed to American naval victories. Ironically, Fox himself strongly disapproved of the war and thought it wholly unnecessary. Fox’s beloved wife Anna died in 1841 at the age of 71. As he came to the end of his days, Fox’s legacy as naval architect of such vessels as the Crescent, Congress, Philadelphia, Chesapeake, John Adams, Hornet, and Wasp was secure. Modern historians may still debate the extent of Fox and or Humphrey’s contribution to the overall design of American frigate but all recognize their achievement.xxx Fox in spite of those who “resented his independent Quaker ways remained dedicated to serving the United States government to the best of his abilities.”xxxi Fox died on 17 November 1847 at the age of 85 and was buried in the cemetery near the Concord Friends Meeting House, near Colerain Ohio.

Endnotes

i Westlake ,Merle Josiah Fox 1763 -1847, Philadelphia : Xlibris 2003. Westlake’s recent biography is the only work in print devoted to Josiah Fox’s career as a naval architect and is particularly helpful for understanding Fox’s early career in England, his extensive and important family relationships and his association with the Society of Friends or Quakers. See also Merle Westlake Josiah Fox, Gentleman, Quaker , Shipbuilder, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 88, No.3 (Jul., 1964) pp. 316 -327,

ii Westlake, .43

iii Westlake, 1964, . 317

iv Westlake .30

v Toll, Ian W Six Frigates The Epic History of Founding of the U.S. Navy W.W, Norton & Co:. New York, 2008,, p.54.

vi Toll,52 -53.

vii War Department to Josiah Fox, 16 July 1794, NARA, Secretary of the Navy, Requisitions on the Treasurer, RG 45.

viii Westlake, 1964, .219

ix Dickow, Chis The Enduring Journey of the USS Chesapeake Navigating the Common History of Three Nations, The History Press, 2008,p. 26 -27

x Joshua Humphreys to Josiah Fox 14 Oct 1794 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA),RG45, “ I trust you will see to it…with the Negros they can procure “ For Fox’s ownership of slaves see , Dickow, 27. Westlake,149.

xi Pickering to Josiah Fox, 12 May 1795, Peabody Essex Museum, Josiah Fox papers.

xii Pennock to Fox 16 Nov 1795 Peabody Essex Museum, Josiah Fox papers.

xiii Fox to Pickering 24 Sept 1795, Peabody Essex Museum, Josiah Fox papers.

xiv Westlake,p.46.

xv Hibben, Henry B. Navy-Yard, Washington, History from Organization, 1799 to Present Day. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1890,.37

xvi Brown, Gordon S., The Captain Who Burned His Ships Captain Thomas Tingey, USN, 1750 -1829 Naval Institute Press: Annapolis,  2011. This superb biography of Thomas Tingey provides contains valuable new information regarding , the Washington Navy Yard work environment, Tingey’s background and his dealings with Josiah Fox and other senior managers at the Washington Navy Yard. For Tingey ‘s often troubled relationship with Fox see 76 -78

xvii Westlake, 64

xviii Brown, 76- 77 and 108.

xix Brown ,141 for Doughty’s relationship with Tingey and Maloney, Linda M. The Captain from Connecticut The Life and Naval Times of Isaac Hull, Northeastern University Press:Boston, 1986, 437 -438 for Doughty’s relationship with Commodore Hull.

xx Rorabaugh, W.J. The Alcoholic Republic an American Tradition Alcohol consumption peaked at over five gallons per person in the early 1800s as contrasted with approximately two gallons in 1970. A sharp drop occurred in the 1840s and the rate stayed around two gallons going forward. Data from the National Institutes of Health reflects current consumption rates peaked at only 2.7 gallons in the early 1980s and leveled off at 2.3 gallons in 2002. Even in our new millennium this early nineteenth century rate of 5 gallons per person still has the power startle modern readers.

xxi Blacksmiths Petition to the Secretary of the Navy 11 March 1807, NARA RG45 M125a.

xxii Fox wrote a series of proto position descriptions in which he listed the duties and responsibilities of his construction department employees. He organized his thoughts very similarly to that used in job descriptions by the modern federal government. These documents are unsigned and undated but are in Fox’s handwriting and archivist date them to circa 1804. NARA RG 45

xxiii Liber X, no 23 Folio 279 & 280 filed in the District of Columbia Deed Books, District of Columbia Archives.

xxiv Tingey to Smith 12 June 1807.

xxv Smith to Tingey 21 April 1808

xxvi Fox to John Cassin 25 April 1808

xxvii Brown, 78

xxviii Hamilton to Tingey 10 August 1809

xxix Westlake 89

xxx Toll 473, makes the case for Humphreys while Westlake views Fox’s contribution to frigate design as coequal

xxxi Westlake 147

 

BROWN, VIRGINA ALMIRA

First woman to work at the Washington Navy Yard
Furnished by : John Sharp

Virginia Almira Brown Almira Virginia Brown (nee Rudd) was born 8 August 1839 in Washington DC's 6th Ward. She was the first woman to work at the Washington Navy Yard and was employed at the yard for over fifty years. Her mother Elizabeth Rudd was widowed early and left with three young daughters of whom Elmira's was the eldest. On 20 April 1858, at Christ Church Washington DC, she married Francis C. Brown, age 22, a painter and plasterer and a native of Pennsylvania. Francis and Almira continued to live in the 6th Ward. Francis Brown went to work for the Washington Navy Yard on 15 March 1861 and was killed in a tragic explosion in the Yard's Ordnance Laboratory on 27 July 1861. Francis had been assigned to work in one of the most dangerous assignments in the 19th century Washington Navy Yard the “Rocket House.“ Here naval rockets and ordnance were armed. The arming process of placing gun powder and fuse together was fraught with peril; an errant spark or light could ignite stockpiles of rockets and ordnance. On at least three separate occasions, namely, 7 September 1841, 27 July 1861, and 21 October 1881, there were premature explosions of gun shells and rockets which resulted in fatalities. In each instance and investigation was conducted afterward.

Commandant John Dahlgren later described the 27 July 1861 explosion that killed Francis Brown and another workman as follows:

An accidental explosion in the Rocket House of the Laboratory on Saturday last by which two of the workmen killed and the building much destroyed.

I recommend that immediate provision be made to replace the building by several others of smaller size, so that several operators shall be separated as much as possible.

I also recommend that provision be made for the wives and children of those killed.

Respectfully

As Francis Brown was a civilian, no pension was available under the civil service regulations of the 19th century for his widow. Despite a plea, by then Commandant John Dahlgren that she be granted a pension, due the tragic service related death of her husband, her claim for a pension was denied as Francis Brown was “not in the (naval) service“ and there were no legal provision to pension a spouse of former civilian workers.

To sustain herself and her two children, a daughter, Mary E. Brown born 21 October 1859 and son William H. Brown born 15 February 1862 she was given employment as a seamstress the Yard in March 1864. According to the early yard payroll records, she was the first woman to work at the Washington Navy Yard. Mrs. Brown primary task was to sew powder bags for naval ships and she also made flags and ship pendants. After the death of her husband Francis, Almira Brown remained a widow and never remarried. Working the Yard she was able to buy a small house and to provide for her children.

In 1920, Almira Brown was 81 years of age. She had worked continuously at the Navy Yard since 1864. For over 50 years of those years she had continually sewed heavy canvass material using an industrial sewing machine where she had made thousands of canvass powder bags, flags and awnings for surface ships. In 1907 in a move to promote greater efficiency, the Navy Department, tried unsuccessfully to release Brown and about fifty other women who worked as seamstresses, by moving their work to another government arsenal. The yard seamstresses directly petitioned then President Theodore Roosevelt who reversed the decision and Brown managed to stay on (Washington Post, 11 January 1907, 4).

By 1920 she had become a fixture of the yard, she was one of the few employees on the yard payroll who had worked there in the civil war, she loved her job and even in her eighth decade and despite her poor health, she petitioned the Department of Navy that she desired to stay on working at the Yard. Her request to remain on the rolls however was denied due to the passage of the new Civil Service System of 1920. This new law which went into effect that year meant for the first time government employees were able to retire but the law also had a mandatory retirement age (70yrs). In her retirement she lived with her daughter and son in law and her seven grandchildren. Brown died 26 February 1926 at age 86. She is buried at Congressional Cemetery next to her husband Francis (Congressional Cemetery Records R-86/184.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sources: Official Personnel Folder ( OPF) , Brown, Almira V. National Archives and Records Service, St Louis Missouri

NARA Pension Application Brown , Almira V. # 2171

The Recreator 1920 Publication of the Washington Navy Yard Employees Asssociation

Sharp John G., History of the Washington Navy Yard Civilian Workforce 1799 - 1962 Vindolanda Press, Stockton 2005.

Records of the Congressional Cemetery, http://www.congressionalcemetery.org.


After Francis C. Brown was killed in an explosion at the "Rocket House" on the Washington Navy Yard July 27, 1861, his widow Almira V. Brown and their two small children were left with no resources and no pension. The attached documents from her file dated January 3, 1879 {Pension Application Brown , Almira V. # 2171 } reflect her unsuccessful efforts to gain some compensation for his tragic death.

The laws of the United States did not provide for workers compensation or pensions for the families of federal civilian employees killed in the line of duty until well into the next century. Essentially for public sector and private sector the day of a workers death was there last day on the roles in a pay status. Almira V. Brown was however more fortunate then most such widows, since, she was able to secure a position as a seamstress at Washington Navy Yard where she worked from 1864 to 1920.

Pension Application Brown , Almira V. # 2171
Image of Virginia Brown Pension

 

[Claim of Almira V. Brown filed January 3, 1879]

			Widows   Claim   for   Pension

District of Columbia 		}
County   of   Washington	}   S.S.

				On this 16th day of December 1878 personally appeared 
before me a Clerk of the Sup Court of a the Dist of Columbia of a court of record in and 
for the District of Columbia Almira V. Brown a residence of the city of Washington 
District of Columbia age 39 - years who being by me duly sworn make the following a 
declaration in order to obtain a pension provided for by the acts of Congress. -

That she is the widow of Francis C. Brown who was employed in the Rocket House in 
the United States Navy Yard at Washington D.C  and was instantly killed while in the 
discharge of his duty at his work in said Rocket House on the 27th day of July 1861 as 
set forth in the papers herein annexed. - That her maiden name was Almira V. Rudd.

That she was married to the said Francis C. Brown on or about the 20th day of April 1858 
at Christ Church in Washington D. C. by Joshua Morsell D.D. Rector of the said church 
and that there is recorded evidence of such marriage. 

She further declared that the said Francis C. Brown her husband died in the service of the 
United States as a presence at Washington DC on the 27th day of July 1861.- by an 
explosion in the "Rocket House" at the Navy Yard at Washington D.C. -

She also declares that she remains a widow ever since his death and she has not been 
engaged in or aided any rebellion against the United States, and hereby appoints W. S. 
Sincoln of Washington DC as her attorney to prosecute this claim and to receive her 
pension certificate.-

The following are the dates of birth and place of residence of all children of her deceased 
husband who were under sixteen years of age at the time of his death. First Mary E. 
Brown born Oct 21 1859 - resides in Washington D.C. - William H. Brown born 
February 15th 1862 - resides in Washington D.C. his post office address is No. 1111 n. 
street S.E. Washington D.C. 

She also declares that her said husband Francis C. Brown is the said worker reported 
killed as Frank Brown - That at the Navy Yard he was called Frank Brown but his first 
name is Francis C. Brown - 

			[Signed] Almira V. Brown 

Also personally appeared before me Joseph Lawrence and John W. Thompson residents 
of the Washington D.C. to me were known as credible persons who being duly swore 
declared that they were present and saw said Almira V. Brown sign her name to the 
foregoing declaration and that they have every reason to believe from the appearance of 
said applicant and their acquaintance with her that she is the identical widow she 
represents herself to be and represents that the said deceased recognized said applicant as 
lawful wife and that she was so recognized in the community in which they resided and 
that they have no interest direct or indirect in this claim. 

				[Signed]  Jos. W.  Lawrence 
				[Signed]  John W. Thompson 


Signed and subscribed before me this 16th day of December 1878 and I herby certify that 
I have no interest direct or indirect in the prosecution of this claim and that the contents 
of the foregoing memo mad know and explained tot he applicant and witnesses before 
signing -

			[Signed]   R. J. Wiley     Clerk of the Sup Court D.C. 
			[Signed] M. A. Clancy   asst Clerk 


[Annexed attachments]


				U.S. Navy Yard Washington
					   Commandants Office 
(COPY)
							July 30, 1861


	An accidental explosion occurred in the Rocket House of the Laboratory in 
the Yard on Saturday last by which tow of the workmen were killed and the buildings much 
damaged . 

	I recommend therefore the immediate provision be made replace the buildings by 
several operations of a smaller size, so that the several operations shall be repaired as 
much as possible.

	I also recommend that provision be made for wives and children of those killed. 

					Respectfully 

					[Signed]  J. A. Dahlgren 
						   Commandant 

Captain A.A. Harewod   U. S. Army 
			   Chief Bureaus of Ordnance &c
	



Ordnance Office 
NAVY YARD, WASHINGTON D.C. 

 
                                                    November 5, 1878
 
 
Extract from the records of the Ordnance Department Navy Yard Washington, D.C.

"Saturday July 22- 1861- Hands employed in the Laboratory The same as yesterday until 
3 - o'clock P.M.,  when a dreadful explosion took place in the Rocket House which resulted 
in the death of the estimable men Jno Ferguson and Frank Brown and badly burning of Jno 
Martin and Nicholas Ray. The house was shattered very much."

I certify the above to be a correct transcript from the records of this Department
 

H.S. Howison [signed]

Commander, U.S.N.





			Ordnance Office 



						      Navy Yard   Washington D.C. 

									January 11, 1879

Commodore Jno C. Febiger 
Commandant Navy Yard 
	Washington DC 

Sir

	In compliance with your order of the 9th instant, I have to report that the records 
of this Department show that Frank Brown was killed July 27th 1861 by an accidental 
explosion in the Rocket House of the Laboratory in this Yard.  The records do not show 
how long or in what capacity -he was employed.

	Mr. John W. Thompson, who was Quarterman of the Laboratory at the time the 
explosion occurred, informs me that the name of Frank Brown was born on the rolls of 
the Department of the Yards and Docks, and that Brown was detailed for duty in the 
laboratory as a laborer. 

			 I am Sir, your Obt Servt 
			[Signed] H.L. Howison  Commd, Supr of Ordnance 




				Incidental Matter 

Rejected as this man was a civilian employee of the U. S. Navy Yard and Killed by 
explosion in the Yard.  Atty informed 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sources:

Official Personnel Folder ( OPF) , Brown, Almira V. National Archives and Records Service, St Louis Missouri

National Archives and Records Administration, pension application: Brown, Almira V. # 2171 . This pension application for Almira V. Brown was filed under the War Department's provisions for widows and orphans claims for losses suffered during the War of the Rebellion ( Civil War).

The Recreator 1920 Publication of the Washington Navy Yard Employees Association

Will of Almira V. Brown :http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/wills/wills1.html#Almira_Virginia_Brown


DORSEY, Mrs. Anna Hanson, author, born in Georgetown, D. C., 16th December, 1816. She is descended on her mother's side from the De Rastricks of Yorkshire, England, from the noble house of Vasa of Sweden, from the MacAlpine MacGregors and the Lingans. On her father's side she descends from the McKenneys. John Hanson became a distinguished colonist in Maryland, rose to the rank of colonel, and founded a race which stands second to none in the annals of the country. His grandsons, Samuel of Samuel and John Hanson, were two of the most earnest supporters of the cause of independence, the latter being one of the signers of the Articles of Federation. His great-grandson, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, signed the Constitution. His great-great-grandsons, Thomas Stone and John H. Stone, were respectively a signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Maryland. The Lingans were among the early colonists from Wales, and held positions of trust in Maryland as early as the reign of William and Mary. Their noblest representative, Gen. James Lingan, the brother of her grandfather, after brilliant Revolutionary services, was murdered by the same mob in Baltimore, in 1812, that wreaked its savagery on Light Horse Harry Lee and Musgrove, his comrades in arms. Mrs. Dorsey's grandfather, Nicholas Lingan, was educated in St. Omers, France, where his kinsman, barrister Charles Carroll, had been sent in his youth, and he was the first man in the District of Columbia to issue manumission papers. His objection to slavery extended down his line to his latest descendants. Mrs. Dorsey declined to answer "Uncle Tom's Cabin," because, as she said in response to the demand made on her by public and publishers, "with the exception of the burning of the slaves hinted at" (of which she had never heard an instance), "everything represented as the inevitable result of the system of slavery is true, however kind and considerate of the slaves the masters might be." She was brought up under the influence of the old emancipation party of the border States, who were conscientiously opposed to slavery, but never made themselves offensive to those who were not. Her father, Rev. William McKenney, belonged to an old Eastern Shore family, which has been represented in the Legislature, the courts and on the bench for generations. In politics her race were all Federalists and old-line Whigs, and she was an ardent Unionist during the Civil War. Her oldest brother was one of the last men in the Senate of Virginia to make a speech against secession. Her only son served in the Union Army and got his death-wound while planting the Stars and Stripes on the ramparts at Fort Hell. In 1837 she became the wife of Lorenzo Dorsey, of Baltimore, a son of Judge Owen Dorsey. She and her husband are converts to the Catholic faith. She has devoted herself exclusively to Catholic light literature, of which she is the pioneer in this country, with the exception of two ringing war lyrics, "Men of the Land" and "They're Coming, Grandad," the latter dedicated to the loyal people of East Tennessee, who suffered such martyrdom for their fidelity to the old flag. She began her literary career by a touching little story called " The Student of Blenheim Forest," and this was followed rapidly by "Oriental Pearl," "Nora Brady's Vow," " Mona the Vestal," "Heiress of Carrigmona," "Tears on the Diadem," "Woodreve Manor," "The Young Countess," "Dummy," "Coaina, the Rose of the Algonquins," " Beth's Promise," "Warp and Woof;" "Zoe's Daughter," "Old House at Glenaran," " Fate of the Dane," "Mad Penitent of Todi," "A Brave Girl," "Story of Manuel," "The Old Grey Rosary," "Ada'sTrust," "Adrift," "Palms," and others. Her books have brought her the friendship of whole religious communities, prelates and authors, and across the seas the venerable Catholic Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady George Fullerton were among her warm admirers. "May Brooke" was the first Catholic book published in Edinburgh since the Reformation, and "Coaina" has been twice dramatized and translated into German and Hindustani. Pope Leo has twice sent her his special blessing, first by the Cardinal Archbishop James Gibbons, and the second time by her granddaughter, Miss Mohun, at a recent special audience. She has also received the gift of the Laetare medal from the University of Notre Dame for distinguished services rendered to literature, education and religion. Mrs. Dorsey is now an invalid, and is living with her children in Washington, D. C.
(American Women, Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, Volume 1 Copyright 1897.  Transcribed by Marla Snow.)

DORSEY, Miss Ella Loraine, author, born in Washington, D. C in 185-. She is the youngest child of Mrs. Anna Hanson Dorsey, the pioneer of Catholic light literature in America. Born a few years before the breaking out of the Civil War, her early childhood was spent amid the stirring scenes of border life. The entire kin on both sides were in the Confederacy, with the exception of her father and her only brother, who received his death wound on the ramparts of "Fort Hell," where he had dashed up with the colors, caught from the color-Dearer, and stood cheering his comrades to the charge. Miss Dorsey represents old and illustrious families of Maryland, counting among her kinsfolk and connections two signers of the Declaration of Independence, eight signers of the Act of the Maryland Convention of 26th July, 1776, two Presidents, seven Governors, thirty-six commissioned officers in the Continental Army, and a number of the young heroes of the famous old Maryland Line, who died on the field of honor at Long Island, Harlem Heights and Fort Washington. She began her literary career as a journalist and was for several years the "Vanity Fair" of the Washington "Critic," leaving that paper to take a special correspondence on the Chicago "Tribune." John Boyle O'Reilly and the Rev. D. E. Hudson, editor of the "Ave Maria," urged her into magazine work. Her first three stories appeared almost simultaneously, "The Knickerbocker Ghost" and "The Tsar's Horses," in the "Catholic World," and "Back from the Frozen Pole," in Harper's Magazine." "The Tsar's Horses" traveled round the world, its last reproduction being in New Zealand. It was attributed at first, because of its accuracy of detail, to Archibald Forbes, the war correspondent. Miss Dorsey's specialty is boys' stories. "Midshipman Bob" went through two editions in this country and England in its first year, and has been since translated into Italian. Scarcely second to it in popularity are "Saxty's Angel" and "The Two Tramps," while two poems printed in the " Cosmopolitan'' have been received with marked favor. Miss Dorsey is the Russian translator in the Scientific Library of the Interior Department, Washington, D. C. She is an enthusiastic member and officer of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and her latest work is "Three Months with Smallwood's Immortals," a sketch written for and read before the Washington branch of that society. Last year four sketches, "Women in the Patent Office," "Women in the Pension Office," and "Women in the Land Office,'' were prepared by her for the "Chautauquan." They attracted much attention and secured wide recognition for the brave ladies who toil at their department desks. Her home is on Washington Heights.
(American Women, Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, Volume 1 Copyright 1897.  Transcribed by Marla Snow.)

EWING, Mrs. Emma P., apostle of good cooking, born on a farm in Broome county, N. Y. in July, 1838. Since her marriage she has lived in Washington, D. C., New York City, Chicago, Ill., and other cities. In 1866 she became impressed with the belief that good food is an important factor in the development of the individual, morally, mentally and physically, and since then the leading aim of her life has been to improve the character of the every-day diet of the people by the introduction of better and more economical methods of cooking. Most of her culinary studies and experiments have been in that direction. In 1880 Mrs. Ewing organized a school of cookery in Chicago and conducted it in a highly satisfactory manner for three years, when she was appointed professor of domestic economy in the Iowa Agricultural College. That position she held until 1887, and then resigned to accept a similar one. at a largely-increased salary, in Purdue University, Indiana. In the fall of 1889 she resigned her professorship in Purdue University and went to Kansas City, Mo., to organize and take charge of a school of household science; but before she had been there a year the calls upon her from all sections of the country for lectures and lessons upon culinary topics became so incessant and urgent that she resolved to leave the school. Placing it in other hands, she devoted her entire time and energies to itinerary work, preaching the gospel of good cookery to larger and more appreciative audiences than she could possibly reach in schools and colleges. Some idea of the amount of missionary work that is being done by her may be gathered from the fact that during 1891 she gave nearly two-hundred-fifty lectures and lessons on the preparation of food. For several summers Mrs. Ewing has been in charge of the School of Cookery at the Chautauqua Assembly, and every season she delivers a series of lectures there on household topics. Her popularity as a lecturer and teacher is such that her services are in constant demand, many of her engagements being made a year in advance. On all subjects pertaining to household science Mrs. Ewing is a leading authority. In addition to her other labors Mrs. Ewing has written two books, "Cooking and Castle Building " (1880) and ''Cookery Manuals " (1886), and is now devoting her leisure time to the preparation of a text-book on cookery for schools and homes, to be entitled "The A B C of Cookery." Her home is in Rochester, N.Y.
(American Women, Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, Volume 1 Copyright 1897.  Transcribed by Marla Snow.)

FORNEY, Miss Tillie May, author and journalist, born in Washington, D. C., in 1861. She is the youngest child of the eminent journalist, John W. Forney, founder and editor of the Philadelphia "Press," a man who wielded an acknowledged great political and social influence. This daughter, having inherited many of her distinguished father's tastes and ambitions, became his almost constant companion after leaving Miss Carr's celebrated academy on the Old-York-Road, Pa. She had written for publication from early girlhood, and she then took up the task systematically and wrote regularly for prominent journals, besides acting frequently as her father's amanuensis, both in this country and in Europe. Under his experienced eye she received careful training for the work she preferred above all others. No accomplishment suitable to her sex was neglected in her education. She possesses a voice of unusual range and sweetness, and at that period it was her teacher's wish that all her interest should be centered on her musical talent, but it seemed impossible for her to drop her pen. She grows fonder of her literary duties every year, and is a constant contributor to New York, Philadelphia and western dailies, besides writing regularly for several well-known magazines. She resides with her widowed mother in the old family residence, on South Washington Square, Philadelphia.  She has been reared in a home of luxury, and the Forney library is one of the finest in Philadelphia.  Mrs. John W. Forney is an accomplished lady of the old school, and she and her daughter are both social favorites, although each has aims and tasks that are preferred to those of fashionable life.  Miss Forney’s progress in literature, though rapid, is evidently but the promise of what she is yet to accomplish.
(American Women, Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, Volume 1 Copyright 1897.  Transcribed by Marla Snow.)

BURNETT, Mrs. Frances Hodgson, novelist, born in Manchester, England, 24th November, 1849. She lived in Manchester until 1864, acquiring that familiarity with the Lancashire character and dialect which is so noticeable in her works of later years. Her parents suffered financial reverses in 1865, her father died, and the family came to the United States. They settled in Knoxville, Tenn., and afterwards moved to Newmarket, Tenn. Mrs. Hodgson took a farm, where her two sons and three daughters could work and earn their bread. Frances began to write short stories, the first of which was published in a Philadelphia magazine in 1867. She persevered and soon had a market for her work, "Peterson’s Magazine," and "Godey's Lady's Book," publishing many of her stories before she became famous. In 1872 she contributed to "Scribner's Magazine" a story in dialect, "Surly Tim's Trouble," which scored an immediate success. Miss Hodgson became the wife of Dr. Luan M. Burnett, of Knoxville, in 1873. They made a long tour in Europe and, returning in 1875, made their home in Washington, D. C., where they now reside. Her famous story, "That Lass o' Lowrie's," created a sensation as it was published serially in "Scribner's Magazine." It was issued in book form (New York, 1877), and it found a wide sale, both in the United States and in Europe, running through many editions. On the stage the dramatized story was received with equal favor. In 1878 and 1879 she republished some of her earlier stories, which had appeared in various magazines. Among those are "Kathleen Mavourneen," "Lindsay's Luck," "Miss Crespigny," "Pretty Polly Pemberton " and "Theo." These stories had appeared in a Philadelphia magazine, and had been published in book form, without her permission, by a house in that city, a proceeding which caused a controversy in public. Her plots were pilfered by dramatists, and all the evidences of popularity were showered upon her. Her later novels, "Haworth's" (New York, 1879), "Louisiana" (New York, 1881), "A Fair Barbarian " (New York, 1882), and "Through One Administration" (New York, 1883), have confirmed her reputation. But her greatest success, on the whole, has been won by her "Little Lord Fauntleroy," which first appeared as a serial in "St. Nicholas," in I886. It was subsequently published in book form and was dramatized, appearing on the English and American stages with great success. Mrs. Burnett is very fond of society, but her health is too delicate to enable her to give time to both society and literary work. She has been a sufferer from nervous prostration, and since 1885, has not been a voluminous writer. She has published "Sara Crewe" (New York, i888), "Editha's Burglar" (Boston, 1888), and "Little Saint Elizabeth" and other stories (New York, 189o). Mrs. Burnett is the mother of two sons, one of whom died at an early age. Despite her long residence abroad, she calls herself thoroughly American.
(American Women Fifteen Hundred Biographies Vol 1 Publ. 1897 Transcribed by Marla Snow)

CABELL, Mrs. Mary Virginia Ellet, educator, born at the "Point of Honor," Lynchburg, Va., the home of her maternal grandfather, Judge Daniel, 24th January, 1839. Her father, the eminent civil engineer, Charles Ellet, Jr., built the first suspension bridge in the United States, over the Schuylkill river at Philadelphia, presented the first plans for a bridge across the Mississippi river at St. Louis, and built the first bridge across the Niagara below the Falls. He first suggested and advocated a Pacific railroad, and his "temporary track" over the Blue Ridge, at Rock Fish Gap, was the most noted mountain railroad in the world. He was the author of the reservoir plan for the improvement of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. He invented the steam-ram and constructed and commanded the steam-ram fleet in the victorious battle of Memphis, where he was mortally wounded. Mrs. Cabell's education was directed by her father. At twelve years of age she had thoroughly read Gibbon, and at fifteen she had accomplished a remarkable course of reading, and was in fluent command of the French and German languages. She accompanied her parents to Cuba, remaining there some time. She spent nearly a year at Niagara, crossing the river repeatedly in the famous "iron basket" which first conveyed men and materials, and was the first female to view the Falls from the bridge before its completion. The years of 1854 and 1855 she spent in Europe, studying history and literature. She spent part of the winters of 1860 and 1861 in Richmond, Va., where, under the guardianship of her kinsman, Hon. A. H. H. Stuart and Hon. John B, Baldwin, the two Union leaders in the convention, she followed the proceedings and heard the views of the men who weighed the measure of secession. When the unhappy decision was reached which precipitated civil war, she returned to her family in Washington. After the battle of Memphis Mrs. Ellet and her daughter were permitted to join and nurse Col. Ellet, who sank rapidly from his wound. When the fleet moved to participate in the siege of Vicksburg, Charles Rivers Ellet, who had first hoisted the flag in Memphis, begged to accompany it. The decision was left to his sister, who sent the boy to his brief and glorious career. Col. Ellet died in Cairo, 21st June, 1862, his body was carried to Philadelphia, lay in state in Independence Hall, and was interred in Laurel Hill with military honors.  His wife survived him but one week.  Charles Rivers Ellet died 29th October, 1862, from exposure and fatigue.  The care of the two younger children and of their aged grandmother devolved upon the solitary young girl.  After the war Mary Ellet became the wife of William D. Cabell, of Virginia.  In 1888 they removed with their family of six children to Washington D. C., and opened a school for girls, Norwood Institute. In 189o Mrs. Cabell aided in organizing a society of the descendants of Revolutionary patriots, the Daughters of the American Revolution.
(American Women Fifteen Hundred Biographies Vol 1 Publ. 1897 Transcribed by Marla Snow)

BERGEN, Miss Helen Corinne, author and journalist, born in Delanco, N. J., 14th October, 1868. She belongs to the Bergen family that came from Norway and settled in New Jersey in1618, in the place they called Bergen. Her mother was the daughter of the Rev. Isaac Winner, D. D., one of the most eloquent preachers in the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her father was Colonel George B. Bergen. Helen is the oldest child and only daughter. She has written for the press ever since she was a child. She passed her youth in Michigan, and later moved to Washington, D. C. She has lived in Louisiana and Texas, and has traveled much. She wrote first for home papers in Michigan and then for papers in the South. She has served on the Washington "Post," and is that journal's free-lance, and children's department editor. She acts as reporter when necessary, and is an all-round newspaper woman. She writes poetry, sketches, criticisms and stories. She has a wide circle of acquaintances among the prominent people of the day. She believes in equal pay for equal work by men and women. She holds high rank as a musical and dramatic critic. She is building a permanent home in Washington.
(American Women Fifteen Hundred Biographies, Volume 1, Publ. 1897.  Transcribed by Marla Snow)

BRINTON, Mrs. Emma Southwick, army nurse and traveler, born in Peabody, Mass., 7th April, 1834. She was educated in Bradford Academy, and after the firing of rebel guns on Fort Sumter, she was on the alert to aid the cause and joined the corps of nurses in Mansion House Hospital, Alexandria. A year was spent there; then after a rest at home nearly another year was spent in Armory- Square Hospital, Washington. Then came service in the field at Fredericksburg, White House Landing and City Point. In 1873 she spent several months in the Vienna Exhibition, where so much interest was shown by all other countries and so little by the United States, that she resolved to take some active part in our Centennial in 1876 in Philadelphia. She applied for permission to illustrate the ancient life of New England by a log cabin and its accessories. At the same time she was invited by the State of Massachusetts to take partial charge of the office of the Centennial Commission in Boston, a position which she held a year. She then went to Philadelphia and spent six months in presenting to the multitude of visitors, inside her log house, a most interesting collection of furniture and domestic utensils, which ladies illustrated. In June, 1880, Miss Southwick was married to Dr. J. B. Brinton, of Philadelphia, and while there was an active member of the New Century Club, the Woman's Christian Association and the Woman's Hospital Staff. She has now a pleasant home with her mother in Washington, D. C., and is interested in the various activities of that city, and is a member of the Woman's National Press Association.  An enthusiastic traveler, she spends her summers, with various parties of ladies under her chaperonage, amid the highways and byways of the Old World.
(American Women Fifteen Hundred Biographies, Volume 1, Publ. 1897.  Transcribed by Marla Snow)

GOFF, Mrs. Harriet Newell Kneeland. temperance reformer and author, born in Watertown, N. Y., l0th October, 1828, of New England parentage. At sixteen she began to teach a public school in a country district, boarding among her pupils. During several years, teaching alternated with study, mainly in Grand River Institute, Ohio. At twenty-two she became the wife of Azro Goff, a young merchant and postmaster in the town of her residence. She entered the temperance lecture field in 1870, and has traveled throughout the United States, in Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, speaking more or less extensively in all, and under various auspices. In 1872 she was delegated by three societies of Philadelphia, where she then resided, to attend the prohibition convention in Columbus, Ohio, and there she became the first woman ever placed upon a nominating committee to name candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States. To her presence and influence was due the incorporation of woman's suffrage into the platform of that party at that time. She published her first book, "Was It an Inheritance?" (Philadelphia, 1876), and early the next year became traveling correspondent of the New York “Witness,” besides contributing to “Arthur’s Home Magazine,” the “Sunday-school Times,” the Independent” and other journals.  In 1880 she published her second book, of which she issued the sixth edition that year.  Her third volume was “Who Cares?” (Philadelphia, 1887). Adhering to the British branch in the rupture of the Order of Good Templars. Mrs. Goff was in 1878 elected Right Worthy Grand Vice-Templar, and the following year was re-elected in Liverpool, England, over so popular a candidate as Mrs. Margaret Bright Lucas, on account of her acceptable and still desired services in the supervision and secretaryship of the order in America. She joined and lectured for the Woman's Temperance Crusade early in 1874 in several States, was a leader in the organization and work of the Woman's Temperance Association of Philadelphia, afterwards rechristened the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She was a delegate therefrom to the first national convention of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Cleveland, Ohio, and again from the New York State Union to the convention in Nashville, Tenn.. in 1887. Her especial work from 1886 to 1892 was for the employment of police matrons in Brooklyn, N. Y., her place of residence for the past fourteen years, whence she removed to Washington, D. C. in 1892. As committee of the New York State Union she endeavored to procure such amendments of an ineffective law as would place every arrested woman in the State in care of an officer of her own sex. For this she has labored with her usual diligence, drafting and circulating petitions, originating bills, interviewing mayors, commissioners, councilmen, committees of senate and assembly, and individual members of those bodies, and governors on behalf of the measure, and by personal observations in station-house cells and lodging-rooms, jails and courts, originated or substantiated her every argument. She is a believer in the cause of woman suffrage.
(Source: American Women by Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, Vol. 1, 1897. Transcribed by Marla Snow)

HUGHES, Mrs. Nina Vera B., author, was born in Paris, Canada.  She was reared and educated in the United States, living in New York State and in Boston principally.  Her present work is entirely professional and instructive along the lines of ethical and metaphysical culture. Among her best known works are "Twelve Simple Lessons in Metaphysics," " Practical Home Thoughts," "Truth for Youth," "Office, In and Out," "Lecture-Room Talks," and "Guide to Health." Her home is now in Washington, D, C.
(Source: American Women, by Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, Vol 1, 1897. Transcribed by Marla Snow)


HUNTLEY, Mrs. Florence
, journalist, author and humorist, was born in Alliance, Ohio, and was graduated in the Methodist Female College, Delaware, Ohio. She became known to the public as the wife of the late Stanley Huntley, of New York, the author of a series of remarkably humorous sketches in which Mr. and Mrs. Spoopendyke are the characters. She met Mr. Huntley, and they were married in Bismarck, Dak., in 1879, at which time he was editor of the Bismarck "Tribune." They returned East in 1880. She suggested to her talented husband, who was a special writer on the Brooklyn "Eagle," the sketches which made him famous. They were used, at her suggestion, in his special department under the title of "Salad." This department was always written by Mr. Huntley on Friday. Mrs. Huntley was often said to be the author of the "Spoopendyke" sketches, but she disposes of the assertion by her acknowledgment that she wrote but one of them. She adopted the style employed by her husband, who was too ill to write or even to read a sketch, and the production went over the country as her husband's. While suggesting subjects to him, the work was done by him. Her husband was an invalid for two years before his death. Mrs. Huntley tells the story of her own entrance into the literary field as follows: "The people who laughed over the humorous things he continued to write would have felt tears burning in their hearts, if they could have seen this frail, delicate, nervous man, racked with pain and burning with fever, sitting bravely at his desk writing jokes to pay our board bills. Now and then, when I could not bear to see him working-thus; I prevailed on him to let me do it for him. In this way I wrote considerable for the ' Salad' column, paper. Three weeks after the beginning of ' Daddy Hoppler,' Mr. Huntley broke down completely and was ordered to sea by the physician. An increasing board bill and an unfinished contract stared us in the face and nerved me to the rashness of writing the next installment, for which I received twenty dollars. This encouraged me. At the end of five weeks Mr. Huntley returned, considerably improved, and found me with bills all paid and a new serial under way, and the gifted editor apparently none the wiser." Since that time Mrs. Huntley has written much in various lines, and her productions are in constant demand. Mr. Huntley died in July, 1886. Her first journalistic work after Mr. Huntley's death was that of political correspondent of the Minneapolis "Tribune" from Dakota Territory, in 1887. She then accepted an editorial position on that paper, doing regular social and political editorial, with the humorous paragraphing. She next accepted a position on the Washington, D. C, "Post," and remained there a year, having charge of a woman's page and regular editorial and humorous paragraphs. She then took charge of the political correspondence of the Hutchinson, Kans., "News," a daily giving support to Inealls in his last Senatorial fight. Besides this, she did much miscellaneous work for many papers, stories for the "National Tribune," specials for the New York and Chicago papers, and tariff papers for the "Economist." She has published one novel, "The Dream Child" (Boston, 1892). She has recently published two original Spoopendyke papers, and has been asked by the editor of a Chicago daily to resume the work. Mrs. Huntley makes her home in Washington, D. C.
(Source: American Women, by Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, Vol 1, 1897. Transcribed by Marla Snow)

GENERAL ALFRED PLEASANTON was born in the District of Columbia in 1824, entered West Point at the age of sixteen, and graduated in 1844, the seventh
of his class. He was commissioned second lieutenant in the second dragoons, November 3d, 1845, served in the Mexican war under General Taylor, and was
breveted for gallant and meritorious conduct at Palo Alto, and Resaca de la Palma. He became first lieutenant in 1839, adjutant of his regiment in 1854, and captain March, 1855. In 1856, he became assistant adjutant-general to General Haruey in the Department of the West. In February, 1862, he received the rank of major in the regular army, and served with such distinction in the Peninsula, in the regular cavalry corps, as to obtain two brevets. On the 16th of July, 1862, he was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, and was placed in command of a cavalry division under Stoneman. He was much distinguished during the Maryland campaign, and by a dash on Frederick, (September 12th,) drove the rebels from that place. His cavalry, on the 15th, in the battle of Boonesboro, gained a splendid victory. Many important reconnoisances were made by him, before the battle of Fredericksburg, and he was also actively engaged at Gettysburg. He was promoted to the rank of
major-general of volunteers, and, upon the appointment of General Stoneman to be head of the Cavalry Bureau, Pleasanton became commander of the cavalry corps of the army of the Potomac. (Source: A Complete History of the Great Rebellion of the Civil War in the U.S. 1861-1865 with Biographical sketches of the Principal actors in the Great Drama. By Dr. James Moore, Published 1875. Submitted by Linda Rodriguez
)

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