Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Birthdays

Robert Carter III, born February 28, 1727
Robert Carter III was born in Virginia in 1727, the son of Robert Carter II and Priscilla Churchill. He died more than 60 years before the Civil War, and all slaves in the United States were legally freed by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

John Rankin, born February 5, 1793
John Rankin was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee to Richard and Jane (Steele) Rankin. Rankin was 68 years old when the Civil War began.

Joseph Vann, born February 11, 1798
Joseph Vann was born at Spring Place, Georgia on February 11, 1798. Vann died 17 years before the Civil War began.

Albert Sidney Johnston, born February 2, 1803
Albert Sidney Johnston was in the village of Washington, Mason County, Kentucky. He was the youngest son of Dr, John Johnston, a physician, and one of the early settlers of that town. Johnston was 58 years old when the Civil War began; he was the commander of the U.S. Army Department of the Pacific in California. He resigned his commission as soon as he heard that the state of Texas had seceded. He joined the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles and they traveled across the southwestern deserts to Confederate territory.

Angelina Grimke, born February 26, 1805
Angelina Emily Grimké was born in Charleston, South Carolina to John Faucheraud Grimke, a wealthy Episcopalian lawyer, judge, planter, politician, slaveholder, Revolutionary War veteran and distinguished member of Charleston society. Angelina was 56 years old when the Civil War began; she was living with her husband, children, and sister, Sarah, in New Jersey. 

Abraham Lincoln, born February 12, 1809
Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, the second child of  Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln (née Hanks), in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky. Lincoln was 53 years old when the Civil War began; he was assassinated six days after the Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered.

Charles Lenox Remond, born February 1, 1810
Charles Lenox Remond was born free in Salem, Massachusetts to John Remond, a native of the island of  Curacao, a hairdresser, and Nancy Lenox, daughter of a prominent Bostonian, a hairdresser and caterer.  Remond was 51 years old when the Civil War began; he was living in Massachusetts with his family.

Edward Dickinson "Ned" Baker, born February 24, 1811Edward Baker was born in London, England in 1811 to schoolteacher Edward Baker and Lucy Dickinson Baker, poor but educated Quakers. He was fifty years old when the Civil War began.

Alexander Stephens, born February 11, 1812
Alexander Stephens was born on February 11, 1812. His parents were Andrew Baskins Stephens and Margaret Grier, who were married in 1807. The Stephenses lived on a farm near present-day Crawfordville, Georgia. Stephens was 49 years old when the Civil War began. By the time of the Civil War, Stephens owned 34 slaves and several thousand acres.

Samuel Phillips Lee, born February 13, 1812
Samuel Phillips Lee was born February 13, 1812 at "Sully" in Fairfax County, Virginia to Francis Lightfoot Lee II and Jane Fitzgerald. He was 49 years old when the Civil War began.

G. W. Logan, born February 22, 1815
George Washington Logan was born February 22, 1815 in Chimney Rock, Rutherford County, North Carolina. He was 46 years old when the Civil War began.

Richard Stoddert Ewell, born February 8, 1817
Richard Stoddert Ewell was born in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Ewell was 44 years old when the Civil War began.

Frederick Douglass, born February 1818
Frederick Douglass was born as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, a slave at Holme Hill Farm, Talbot County, Maryland. His mother, Harriet Bailey, was a field slave from whom he was separated during his infancy. Douglass never knew for certain whom his father was. He did know that his father was white, and he believed he was his master, Aaron Anthony. Douglass was 43 years old when the Civil War began; he and his family lived in Rochester, New York. He immediately began arguing for the organization of colored troops in the Union Army.

Isham Harris, born February 10, 1818
Isham Green Harris was born in Franklin County, Tennessee. He was the ninth child of Isham Green Harris, a slave-holding farmer and Methodist minister, and his wife Lucy Davidson Harris. Harris was 43 years old when the Civil War began; he was governor of Tennessee. Harris and the legislature were for secession and the Confederacy, but the Union Army invaded and occupied Nashville. Harris joined the Confederate Army.

William Tecumseh Sherman, born February 8, 1820
William Tecunseh Sherman was born in 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio. His father, Chalres Robert Sherman, a successful lawyer who sat on the Ohio Supreme Court, died unexpectedly in 1829. Sherman was 41 years old when the Civil War began; he was superintendent of the Louisiana State Semimary of Learning & Military Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He resigned as superintendent and became president of the Saint Louis Railroad in Saint Louis, Missouri, until he received a commission in the Union Army in June, 1861.

Theodore O'Hara, born February 11, 1820
Theodore O'Hara was born to notable educator Kane O'Hara and his wife in Danville, Kentucky on February 11, 1820. O'Hara was 41 years old when the Civil War began.

Susan B. Anthony, born February 15, 1820Susan Brownwell Anthony was born to Daniel Anthony (1794–1862) and Lucy Read (1793–1880) and raised in West Grove, Massachusetts. She was 41 years old when the Civil War began.

Francis Preston Blair, Jr, born February 19, 1821
Francis Preston Blair, Jr. was born in Lexington, Kentucky. He was the the third and youngest son of Francis Preston and Eliza Gist Blair. He was 41 years old when the Civil War began.

Mother Angela Gillespie, born February 21, 1824
Eliza Maria Gillespie was born near Brownsville on the Monongahela River in Washington county, Pennsylvania, on 21 February, 1824. She was 37 years old when the Civil War began.

John Logan, born February 9, 1826
John Alexander Logan was born in 1826 near what is now Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois. Logan was the son of Dr. and Mrs. John Logan, a prominent family in the area. Logan was 35 years old when the Civil War began; he was a Democratic Congressional representative. He fought at Bull Run as an unattached volunteer to a Michigan regiment, then resigned his congressional seat and and entered the Union Army as colonel of the 31st Illinois Volunteers, which he organized.

Sarah Anne Ellis Dorsey, born February 16, 1829
Sarah Anne Ellis was born in 1829 to Mary Malvina Routh and Thomas George Percy Ellis, both from wealthy planter families, in Natchez, Mississpippi. She was 32 years old when the Civil War began.

Elizabeth Hamilton Halleck, born February 9, 1835
Elizabeth Hamilton was born February 9, 1835 in Westernville, New York. She was 26 years old when the Civil War began.

Cornelia Hancock, born February 8, 1840
Cornelia Hancock was born in 1840 at Hancock's Bridge, Salem County, New Jersey to Thomas Yorke and Rachel (Nicholson) Hancock, she was the fourth child and third daughter in this Quaker abolitionist family. Hancock was 21 years old when the Civil War began; she became a nurse two years later.

William Harvey Carney, born February 29, 1840
He was born simply as "William," a slave in Norfolk, Virginia on February 29, 1840. He was 21 years old when the Civil War began.

James Edward Hanger, born February 25, 1843
James Edward Hanger was born at Mount Hope, his father's plantation near Churchville, Virginia. He was an 18-year-old sophomore when the Civil War began, and he decided to leave school and join the newly formed Churchville Cavalry, which was under the command of Captain Franklin Sterrett. 

Angelina Weld Grimke, born February 27, 1880
Angelina Weld Grimké was born in Boton, Massachusetts in 1880, 15 years after the end of the Civil War, to to a biracial family.

Rosa Parks, born February 4, 1913 - 100 YEARS AGO
Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama 48 years after the Civil War ended. She was born Rosa Louise McCauley to Leona (née Edwards) and James McCauley, a teacher and a carpenter, respectively.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

William Harvey Carney, born February 29, 1840

He was born simply as "William," a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, on February 29, 1840.   

His father, also named William, was either freed by his master or escaped to the north via the Underground Railroad,  

The family settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts.  Young William learned to read and write, and by age 15 he was planning to become a minister.

He was 21 years old when the Civil War began.
Recruiting Poster for the 
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
William enlisted with the Massachusetts Regiment in 1863, soon after the Union Army began recruited black men.  William said he met a white man named Carney, who gave him his last name so he could enlist. 

Carney served with the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first colored regiment in the North, as a sergeant.  He told the Liberator newspaper:
Previous to the formation of colored troops, I had a strong inclination to prepare myself for the ministry; but when the country called for all persons, I could best serve my God serving my country and my oppressed brothers.
Storming Fort Wagner
He took part in the July 18, 1863, assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South CarolinaFort Wagner on Morris Island guarded the entrance to the harbor of Charleston. The regiment's commander, Roger Gould Shaw, and the 600 men of the 54th Massachusetts would spearhead the Federal assault from a slim strip of sand on the east side of the fort, which faced the Atlantic Ocean. Federal land and sea artillery bombarded the fort all day long. By nightfall, orders were passed down and the 54th stood up, dressed ranks and attacked in two wings of five companies each. 

Carney with the flag in 1865
Carney eventually received the Medal Of Honor for saving the American flag and planting it on the parapet despite being wounded  in the head, leg and hip. Recognizing the troops had to retreat under fire, Carney struggled back across the battlefield. He eventually made his way back to the Union lines, and turned over the colors to another survivor of the 54th, modestly saying "Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground!

The 54th suffered 272 killed, wounded or missing out of the 600 in the battle. Colonel Shaw was among the dead. Total Union casualties were 1,515 out of about 5,000 in the assault force, while the Confederates had 174 casualties out of about 1,800 defenders.

Although the Union forces were repulsed and had to lay siege to Fort Wagner, which the Confederates abandoned two months later, the 54th was widely hailed for its bravery.  The regiment's heroism had a ripple effect, spurring thousands of other black men to join the Union Army. Edward Hallowell, Carney's commanding officer after Shaw's death, specifically mentioned Carney's courage under fire 
in his report on the assault,  .
Because of his injuries, Carney was discharged from the Army on June 30, 1864, a little more than a year after the battle,. Carney subsequently married Susannah Williams, also of New Bedford, on October 11, 1865. They had one child who later became an accomplished music teacher in New Bedford.

In 1866 William Carney was appointed superintendent of streetlights for the city of New Bedford. He then went to California to seek his fortune but returned to New Bedford in 1869 and took a job as a letter carrier for the Postal Service. He worked at that job for 32 years before retiring.  

Medal of Honor
On May 31, 1897, Carney carried the colors in a procession by the monument to Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th on the Boston Common.   

Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor May 23, 1900, nearly 37 years later. More than half such awards from the Civil War were presented 20 or more years after the fact.  His actions at Fort Wagner preceded those of any other black recipient. He was the 21st African-American to be awarded the Medal, the first recipient having been Robert Blake, in 1864. 

After retirement he was employed as a messenger at the Massachusetts State House, where in 1908 he would be fatally injured in an accident that trapped his leg in an elevator.  He died on December 8, 1908 at the age of 68. In December 1908, all the flags in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were lowered to half-mast in tribute to Sgt. William H. Carney. Never before had this honor been paid to an ordinary citizen and African American.

He was  buried in the family plot at Oak Grove Cemetery in New Bedford.  Engraved on his stone monument is a gold image of the Medal of Honor.
Robert Gould Shaw / 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial

Robert Carter III, born February 28, 1727

Portrait of Robert Carter III, painted in London, England
Robert Carter III was born in Virginia in 1727, the son of Robert Carter II and Priscilla Churchill. He was the grandson of Robert "King" Carter and was probably born at Corotoman, his grandfather's Lancaster County plantation.

His great-grandfather, John Carter, immigrated to Virginia from England in 1625 aboard the "Prosperous". His grandfather, Robert I, was speaker of the House of Burgesses, held 300,000 acres of land and nearly 1,000 slaves, and was one of the richest men in colonial America. Both of his grandfathers, the land baron Robert “King” Carter and William Churchhill, of Middlesex County, served on the governor’s Council.

Robert Carter III was four years old when his father died suddenly at the age of 28 in
Nomini Hall
May of 1732; his grandfather died in August of the same year. Until sometime after his father’s death, he lived at the mansion his father had built, Nomini Hall, in Westmoreland County. Nomini Hall was the center of a plantation consisting of 2,500 acres. 

Because Carter’s father died before his grandfather, it was necessary for his guardians to obtain a special act of assembly to enable him to inherit the portion of his grandfather’s estate intended for his father. The law of October 1734 entitled him to receive more than 65,000 acres of land and several hundred slaves when he reached age twenty-one.

Following his mother’s marriage to John Lewis sometime during the winter of 1734–1735, Carter lived at his stepfather’s Warner Hall plantation in Gloucester County until about 1737, when he entered the grammar school of the College of William and Mary. 

Little else is known about his youth until February 1749, when he received his patrimony and sailed for London, where he spent the next two years. On December 1, 1749, Carter was admitted to the Inner Temple to study law, but he returned to Virginia in June 1751 without being admitted to the bar.
Virginia 1751
Carter moved into Nomony Hall (as he nearly always wrote its name, although it is usually spelled “Nomini” or “Nominy”), the Westmoreland County mansion he had inherited from his father. He learned the business of a tobacco planter and exported to England as many as a hundred hogsheads each year. 

On April 2, 1754, Carter married Frances Tasker, of Annapolis, daughter of Benjamin Tasker, longtime president of the Council of Maryland. Of their thirteen daughters and four sons, eight daughters and all four sons reached adulthood.

Frances Ann Tasker Carter
Through the influence of his wife’s uncle, Thomas Bladen, who had served in Parliament, Carter received an appointment from the king on April 7, 1758, to serve on the governor’s Council. In 1762 he and his family took up residence at an imposing house next to the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg. He was friends with George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson, and Virginia Governor Francis Fauquier, enjoyed the city's intellectual life, and staked out a position as a political moderate in turbulent times.

At first loyal to his King, Carter expressed support for the Crown during the period of popular rejoicing that accompanied the news of George III's repeal of the Stamp Act.  However, further Parliamentary acts seen as obnoxious to colonial interests were passed into law. Carter resigned as Councillor in 1772 and left Williamsburg with his family to return to Nomini Hall.

Carter diversified crops and added manufactures such as milling, spinning, and weaving. About 1770 he purchased a one-fifth stake in a large Baltimore ironworks that his father-in-law had helped found.

Robert Carter customarily cultivated as many as a dozen large plantations at once. Though tobacco constituted the crop of first importance on his estate, entire plantations were sometimes devoted to producing grain stuffs and supplies needed at "Nomini Hall" and on the other plantations. From time to time, too, Carter sought to develop other money crops which might supplement the constantly dwindling profits from tobacco. He set up and equipped so many plantations that he resorted at one time to the signs of the zodiac for names for them.

In 1773 and 1774, the familoy's tutor, Philip Vickers Fithian, recorded a picture of the Carter household in the diary he kept at the plantation,.  He also copied into his journal a catalog of Carter’s extensive library.  The lower floor of the great house contained the master's library, a dining room, used also as a sitting room, a dining hall for the children, a ballroom thirty feet long, and a hallway with a fine stairway of black walnut. The upper rooms were used as sleeping quarters for members of the family and for guests. The older boys and their tutor slept above-stairs in one of the large offices that was also used as a schoolhouse. During the time Fithian was there, Carter arranged to convert one of the lower rooms of this office into a concert or music room. Here he proposed to place the harpsichord, harmonica, forte-piano, guitar, violin, and German flutes which were in the great house.

Seven of the nine surviving Carter children and the Councillor's nephew, Harry Willis, were placed under Fithian's care. Benjamin, the eldest son, was a quiet, studious boy of eighteen. Robert Bladen, two years younger, loved the out-of-doors and cared little for learning. John Tasker, only four, was too young for instruction. Priscilla, the eldest daughter, was an attractive girl of fifteen. Anne Tasker, called Nancy, and Frances, whom Fithian thought the "Flower of the Family," were thirteen and eleven respectively. Betty Landon was ten, and Harriot Lucy, a "bold, fearless, merry girl," was seven. Sarah Fairfax, the baby, was only a few months old at the time Fithian arrived.
Mr Carter is preparing for a Voyage in his Schooner, the Hariot, to the Eastern Shore in Maryland, for Oysters: there are of the party, Mr Carter, Captain Walker, Colonel Richd Lee, & Mr Lancelot Lee. With Sailors to work the vessel—I observe it is a general custom on Sundays here, with Gentlemen to invite one another home to dine, after Church; and to consult about, determine their common business, either before or after Service—It is not the Custom for Gentlemen to go into Church til Service is beginning, when they enter in a Body, in the same manner as they come out; I have known the Clerk to come out and call them in to prayers.—They stay also after the Service is over, usually as long, sometimes longer, than the Parson was preaching —

Almost every Lady wears a red Cloak; and when they ride out they tye a white handkerchief over their Head and face, so that when I first came into Virginia, I was distress'd whenever I saw a Lady, for I thought She had the Tooth-Ach!—

The People are extremely hospitable, and very polite both of which are most certainly universal Characteristics of the Gentlemen in Virginia—some swear bitterly, but the practise seems to be generally disapproved—I have heard that this Country is notorious for Gaming, however this be, I have not seen a Pack of Cards, nor a Die, since I left home, nor gaming nor Betting of any kind except at the Richmond-Race. Almost every Gentleman of Condition, keeps a Chariot and Four; many drive with six Horses—
The Revolution concluded the Council, which ceased to exist in July 1776. The following summer, Carter took an oath of loyalty to the new Commonwealth of Virginia. British ships raided his plantations near the Potomac River, and he was plagued in the postwar period by heavy plantation expenses and a shortage of cash in a stymied economy.

One of his cousins, Carter Braxton, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

A member of the Church of England from childhood, Carter became a vestryman of Cople Parish in Westmoreland County in November 1752. In June 1777 he announced his conversion to evangelical Christianity and soon allied himself with the Baptists. In 1778 Carter was baptized by immersion and joined Morattico Baptist Church. He regularly attended prayer meetings, provided financial support for numerous evangelical preachers, and became one of the denomination’s most influential adherents in Virginia.

A series of deaths in the family (an infant daughter, the eldest son Ben 1779, and finally, his wife in 1787) left Robert Carter on the brink of an emotional breakdown. In 1788, Carter discovered and quickly embraced the theology of the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg and switched his allegiance from the Baptists to the Church of the New Jerusalem.  Carter caused several of Swedenborg’s writings to be reprinted in America.

He began supporting anti-slavery efforts and by 1790 declared that the "situation of Blacks here [in Virginia] is my greatest difficulty". On August 1, 1791, he executed a deed of emancipation for more than 400 of his enslaved African Americans. It was the largest emancipation by an individual person in the United State. Because of Virginia’s restrictive laws, the emancipation was gradual, and the young slaves received their freedom when they reached adulthood. Carter spent his remaining years working out the details and schedule, an effort that embroiled his agents and executors well into the nineteenth century.

Carter moved with two of his younger daughters to Baltimore in 1793 in order to be closer to a center of Swedenborgian worship, and three years later he divided his Virginia estate among his surviving children and grandchildren, who drew lots for their portions. He spent his last years managing his investments.

Carter died suddenly in Baltimore on March 11, 1804, at the age of 77. He was buried in the garden at Nomony Hall in Westmoreland County.

Robert E. Lee's mother, Ann Hill Lee, was a great-granddaughter of Robert Carter I.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Angelina Weld Grimke, born February 27, 1880

Angelina Weld Grimké was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 27, 1880, 15  years after the end of the Civil War. Her father, Archibald Grimké was born a slave.  
He was the eldest of three sons of Nancy Weston, an enslaved woman of European and African descent, and her master Henry W. Grimké. They lived in a common-law relationship, and Grimké recognized his sons. Henry Grimké was a member of a prominent, large slaveholding family in Charleston. 

Henry had two sisters who had opposed slavery and left the South before he began his relationship with Nancy Weston.  Sarah and Angelina Grimké became notable abolitionists in the North before the Civil War.

Archibald Grimké was a lawyer, the second African American to have graduated from Harvard Law School.  Angelina's mother, Sarah Stanley, was European American from a Midwestern middle-class family. Grimké's parents met in Boston, where he had established a law practice. 

Archibald Grimke
Angelina was named for her father's aunt, Angelina Grimké Weld, who had died the year before Angelina's birth.  Her great-aunt would have celebrated her 75th birthday the day before Angelina was born.  Angelina Grimke Weld and her sister Sarah Grimké had brought Archibald and his brothers into her family after learning about them after their Henry died.
When Archibald Grimké and Sarah Stanley married, they faced strong opposition from her family, due to concerns over race. The marriage did not last; not long after Angelina's birth, Sarah left Archibald and returned with the infant to the Midwest. After Sarah began a career of her own, she sent Angelina, then seven, back to Massachusetts to live with her father. Angelina Grimké would have little contact with her mother after that. Sarah Stanley committed suicide several years later. 

Francis Grimke
Angelina's uncle, Francis J. Grimke, graduated from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, and Princeton Theological Seminary.  He became a Presyterian minister in Washington, D.C. He married Charlotte Forten, from a prominent black abolitionist family from Philadelphia.  

When her father served as consul to the Dominican Republic from 1894 to 1898, Angelina, who was 14 years old, lived with her Uncle Francis and Aunt Charlotte in Washington, D.C.

The Crisis Magazine - A Record of the Darker Races
Angelina wrote essays, short stories and poems which were published in The Crisis, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Her work was also collected in anthologies of the Harlem Renaissance. Her more well-known poems include "The Eyes of My Regret", "At April", "Trees" and "The Closing Door". The poet Georgia Douglas Johnson was one of her friends.
Georgia Douglas Johnson

Grimké wrote Rachel, one of the first plays to protest lynching and racial violence. She wrote the three-act drama for the NAACP, which had called for new works to rally public opinion against the recently released film, The Birth of a Nation in 1915. The film, directed by D.W. Griffith, glorified the Ku Klux Klan and portrayed a racist view of blacks.

Produced in 1916 in Washington, D.C., Rachel was performed by an all-black cast. It portrayed the life of an African-American family in the North in the early 20th century: each role expressed different responses to the racial discrimination against blacks at the time. Rachel develops as she changes her perceptions of what the role of a mother might be, based on her sense of the importance of a naiveté towards the terrible truths of the world her. A lynching is the spectre of the play.

Modern literary critics have revealed that Angelina Grimke was lesbian. Some critics believe this is expressed in her published poetry in a subtle way, but it was revealed after her death by scholars' study of her diaries and more explicit unpublished works. Some of her unpublished poems are more explicitly lesbian, implying that she lived a life of suppression, "both personal and creative.”

After her father died in 1930, Grimké left Washington, DC, for  Brooklyn, New York. She died in 1958.

What though I die mid racking pain,

And heart seared through and through by grief, 

I still rejoice for I, at least, have lived.

Angelina Grimke, born February 26, 1805

Angelina Emily Grimké was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to John Faucheraud Grimké, a wealthy Episcopalian lawyer, judge, planter, politician, slaveholder, Revolutionary War veteran and distinguished member of Charleston society. In 1784 he married Mary Smith, a descendant of Landgrave Thomas Smith, another family from the Charleston elite. Together they had a total of fourteen children, of whom Angelina Grimké was the youngest.  Both Mary and John Grimké were strong advocates of the traditional, upper class Southern values that permeated Charleston society. Mary would not permit the girls to socialize outside of the prescribed elite social circles, and John remained a slaveholder his entire life.

Nicknamed “Nina,” young Angelina Grimké was very close to her older sister Sarah Moore Grimké, who, at age thirteen, persuaded her parents to allow her to be Angelina’s godmother. They consented, and the two sisters maintained an intimate relationship throughout their lives, living together for most of that time, although with several short periods of separation.  Even as a child, Grimké was described in family letters and diaries as the most self-righteous, curious and self-assured of all her siblings. In the biography, 

When the time came for her confirmation in the Episcopalian Church at age thirteen, Angelina refused to recite the required pledge. Always an inquisitive and rebellious young woman, she concluded that she could not agree with the pledge, and would not participate in the confirmation ceremony. 

Angelina was 56 years old when the Civil War began; she was living with her husband, children, and sister, Sarah, in New Jersey.  During the Civil War, the sisters wrote articles supporting the Union. In March 1863, they penned "An Appeal to the Women of the Republic," which urged women to rally to the cause of the Union and hold a convention to support the war effort.

Charleston, North Carolina

By 1818, as Sarah turned twenty-six and Angelina entered her teens, their father had become deathly ill.  Sarah was sent alone to accompany her father to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in search of a cure. In June 1919, the two left Philadelphia for the Atlantic coast in hopes that the sea air would do the ailing man some good. But it was too late — Judge Grimké died in Bordentown, New Jersey, by his daughter's side.  During the months that Judge Grimké hovered between life and death, he leaned on Sarah heavily and drew upon her strength. The two grew so close that they "became fast friends indeed" and Sarah regarded this "as the greatest blessing ... that I have ever received from God" . She was also on her own for the first time in the big city of Philadelphia, and the trip was a major turning point in Sarah's life. It opened her eyes to life in the North, outside of slavery. It also introduced her to the Quaker religion.  Upon her return, Sarah found the South unbearable. Having spent nearly a year in the North, she realized she could no longer live in the presence of slavery, even if it meant she had to move away from her family. "After being gone for many months in Pennsylvania," she wrote, "when I went back it seemed as if the sight of [the slaves'] condition was insupportable, it burst my mind with new horror". Within a month of her return and against her mother's wishes, Sarah packed her bags and moved permanently to Philadelphia, joining the Quaker Society of Friends.
Angelina converted to the Presbyterian faith in April 1826, aged 21.  She was an active member of the Presbyterian church. A proponent of biblical study and interfaith education, she taught a Sabbath school class and also provided religious services to her family’s slaves—a practice her mother originally frowned upon, but later participated in. Grimké became a close friend of the pastor of her church, Rev. William McDowell. McDowell was a northerner who had previously been the pastor of a Presbyterian church in New Jersey. Grimké and McDowell were both very opposed to the institution of slavery on the grounds that it was a morally deficient system that violated Christian law and human rights. McDowell advocated patience and prayer over direct action against the system, which was unsatisfactory to the radical young Grimké.

In 1829, she addressed the issue at a meeting in her church and stated that all slaveholding members of her congregation should openly condemn the practice. Because she was such an active member of the church community, her audience respectfully declined her proposal. This incident led to Grimké’s loss of faith in the values of the Presbyterian church. With her sister Sarah’s support, Grimké adopted the tenets of the Quaker faith. The Quaker community was very small in Charleston, and Grimké quickly set out to reform her friends and family. However, given Grimké’s self-righteous nature, her condescending comments about their wasteful and flashy behavior served merely to offend those around her. Grimké’s behavior even led to her official expulsion from the Presbyterian church in 1829. Afterwards, Grimké became convinced that the South was not the proper place for her or her work, and so she relocated to Philadelphia.
Sarah Grimke
 In 1829, Grimké moved to Philadelphia to join her sister Sarah and together they attended  the Orthodox Meeting of the Philadelphia chapter of the Religious Society of FriendsFor a time, Angelina lived with her widowed sister, Anna Grimke Frost. Grimké was struck by the lack of options for widowed women – during this period they were mostly limited to remarriage or joining the working world – and realized the importance of education for women.  Over time, Grimké became frustrated by the Quaker community’s slow and passive response to the contemporary debate on slavery. She exposed herself to more extreme abolitionist literature, such as the periodicals The Emancipator and William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator (in which she would later be published). 
William Lloyd Garrison's "The Liberator"

Sarah and the traditional Quakers disapproved of Grimké’s new-found interest in radical abolitionism, but Grimké became steadily more involved in the movement. She began to attend anti-slavery meetings and lectures, and joined the newly organized Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1835.  In the fall of 1835, mob violence erupted over the controversial abolitionist George Thompson. William Lloyd Garrison wrote an article in The Liberator in the hopes of calming the rioting masses. Grimké had been steadily influenced by Garrison’s work, and this article inspired her to write him a personal letter on the subject. The letter stated her concerns and opinions on the issues of abolitionism and mob violence, as well as her personal admiration for Garrison and the values he symbolized. Garrison was so impressed with Grimké’s letter that he published it in the next issue of "The Liberator" without her consent. Garrison also praised her for her passion, expressive writing style and noble ideas. The letter put Grimké in great standing among many abolitionists, but its publication offended and stirred controversy within Orthodox Quaker meeting, which openly condemned such radical activism. Sarah Grimké even asked her sister to withdraw the letter, concerned that such publicity would alienate her from the community. Grimké, though initially embarrassed by the letter’s publication, refused, and the letter was later reprinted in the New York Evangelist, other abolitionist papers and was also included in a pamphlet with Garrison’s noteworthy Appeal to the Citizens of Boston
Appeal to the Christian 
Women of the South
In 1836, Grimké wrote her famous An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, which is often considered by scholars one of the best manifestations of Grimké’s sociopolitical agenda. Her letter to Garrison and Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, which was published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, led to Angelina being invited by the Society to come to New York City to be trained as an anti-slavery lecturer, or "agent." She and Sarah attended the training, the only women to do so, in the fall of 1836. There she met one of the leading trainers, Theodore Dwight Weld.

After lecturing in the New York City region, and nearby New Jersey, to increasingly large crowds, the the sisters were invited by the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society to give a series of talks around Massachusetts. First, however, the sisters and other leading women abolitionists from Boston and New York and Philadelphia organized the first anti-slavery convention of American women, held in New York City in May 1837.  The sisters spent the summer doing the lecture and grassroots organizing tour in Massachusetts, and stirring up both great support and opposition for a petition campaign among women to urge Congress, via state legislatures, to end slavery in the District of Columbia. Audiences of several thousands came to hear the sister speak.

Grimké’s lectures were critical of Southern slaveholders, but she also argued that Northerners tacitly complied with the status quo by purchasing slave-made products and exploiting slaves through the commercial and economic exchanges they made with slaveowners in the South. Though the Grimké sisters were strongly supported by some male abolitionists such as Weld and Garrison, they were met with a considerable amount of opposition – both because they were female and because they were abolitionists.

In 1831, Grimké was courted by Edward Bettle, the son of Samuel and Jane Bettrimké. Diaries show that Bettle intended to marry Grimké, though he never actually proposed. Sarah supported the match. However, in the summer of 1832, a large cholera epidemic broke out in Philadelphia. Grimké agreed to take in Bettle’s cousin Elizabeth Walton, who, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, was dying of the disease. Bettle, who regularly visited his cousin, contracted the disease and died from it shortly thereafter. Grimké was heartbroken and directed all of her energy into her activism.
Theodore Weld
Grimké first met Theodore Weld in October 1836, at the agent training convention. She was greatly impressed with Weld’s speeches and wrote in a letter to a friend that Weld was “a man raised up by God and wonderfully qualified to plead the cause of the oppressed.” In the two years before they married, Weld encouraged Grimké’s activism, arranged for many of her lectures and the publication of her writings. They confessed their love for each other in letters in February 1838. They married 14 May 1838 in Philadelphia.

She and Theodore were married in a very simple ceremony, with Theodore renouncing all claims to Angelina's property and Angelina omitting the line "to obey" from her wedding vows. Both black and white Americans attended the ceremony, including William Lloyd Garrison and black schoolteacher and abolitionist Sarah Mapps Douglass. 
The Philadelphia Society of Friends officially expelled Angelina for marrying a non-Quaker and Sarah for attending the wedding.
Within the next two years, Theodore, Angelina, and Sarah all moved to a farm in New Jersey. The sisters were determined to pay "scrupulous attention to domestic duties" and show that active women could be good mothers and efficient housekeepers without the help of slaves. After 1839, the sisters concentrated on raising Angelina's children and tending their farm and home. Sarah and Angelina tried to stay as active as they had been in civil rights causes before the marriage, but Angelina's ill health prevented it. The tour and subsequent bearing of children had severely weakened her. So instead of touring and lecturing, the sisters wrote articles and speeches for others to recite at antislavery and women's rights conventions. They also took as boarders a great many abolitionists who toured the East Coast, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her husband, Henry.  They operated a school in their home, and later at a boarding school at Raritan Bay Union, a utopian community. At the school, they taught the children of other noted abolitionists, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Before the Civil War, the sisters discovered that their late brother Henry W. Grimké (1801-1852) had had a relationship with Nancy Weston, an enslaved mixed-race woman, after he became a widower. They lived together and had three mixed-race sons: Archibald, Francis and John (who was born a couple of months after their father died). The sisters arranged for the oldest two to come north for education and helped support their nephews: Archibald and Francis J. Grimke.  In the years after the Civil War, they raised funds to pay for the graduate education of their two nephews . The sisters paid for Archibald and Francis to attend Harvard Law School and Princeton Theological Seminary, respectively. Archibald became a lawyer and later an ambassador to Haiti and Francis became a Presbyterian minister. Both became leading civil rights activists. Archibald's daughter, Angelina Weld Grimke, became a poet and author.
After the war the sisters and Theodore relocated to Hyde Park, a part of Boston, where they opened a coeducational school and continued to fight for minority rights. On March 7, 1870, when Sarah was seventy-nine and Angelina sixty-six, the sisters boldly declared a woman's right to vote under the fourteenth Amendment by depositing ballots in the local election. Along with forty-two women, Sarah and Angelina Marched in procession in a driving snowstorm to the polling place. They were jeered by many onlookers but, because of their age, were not arrested. 
Three years later, on December 23, 1873, Sarah died. Angelina suffered several strokes after Sarah's death, which left her paralyzed for the last six years of her life. She died on October 26, 1879, at the age of 74.  Theodore survived his wife by six years and died in 1885.

Monday, February 25, 2013

James Edward Hanger, born February 25, 1843

James Edward Hanger was born at Mount Hope, his father's plantation near Churchville, Virginia.  His parents were William Alexander Hanger and Eliza Hogshed Hanger. He attended local elementary schools and, in 1859, enrolled at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia to study engineering. 

He was an 18-year-old sophomore when the Civil War began, and he decided to leave school and join the newly formed Churchville Cavalry, which was under the command of Captain Franklin Sterrett. 
Phillippi, Virginia
Two of Hanger's brothers and four of his cousins were already enlisted with the company. James Hanger joined a group traveling to Phillippi, Virginia (now in West Virginia). He arrived on June 2, 1861, and after enlisting, spent the night in a nearby stable with a small group of Confederates. While on guard duty the next morning, Hanger heard gunfire, and ran into the stable to get his horse. At that moment, a Union cannonball ricocheted inside the stable, striking his left leg below the knee. This was the beginning of the Battrle of Phillippi.  Hanger later wrote:
The first two shots were canister and directed at the Cavalry Camps, the third shot was a 6 pound solid shot aimed at a stable in which the Churchville Cavalry Company had slept. This shot struck the ground, richochetted, entering the stable and struck me. I remained in the stable til they came looking for plunder, about four hours after I was wounded. My limb was amputated by Dr. James D. Robinson, 16th Ohio Volunteers.
Hanger's shattered leg was amputated about seven inches below the hip bone. This loss of limb was one of the first occurrences in a war that saw more than 50,000 additional amputations performed.

Hanger remained in Philippi for several weeks and then was sent as a prisoner to Camp Chase in Ohio.   In August 1861, after a prisoner of war exchange, he returned to his family home in Virginia.

Dissatisfied with both the fit and the function of his above-knee prosthesis, Hanger designed a new prosthesis constructed of whittled barrel staves and metal.  His design used rubber bumpers rather than standard catgut tendons, and featured hinges at both the knee and foot. 

Hanger patented his limb in 1871, and it received numerous additional patents for improvements and special devices which brought international reputation to the product. The Virginia state government commissioned Hanger to manufacture the above-knee prosthesis for other wounded soldiers. Manufacturing operations for J.E. Hanger, Inc., were established in the cities of Richmond and Staunton.  The company eventually moved to Washington, D.C.

Hanger married Nora McCarthy in Richmond in 1873. The couple had two daughters (Princetta and Alice) and six sons (James Edward, Herbert Blair, McCarthy, Hugh Hamilton, Henry Hoover and Albert Sidney). The family moved to Washington, D.C., in the 1880s, and their home near Logan Circle still stands today. All of Hanger’s sons worked in the family business as adults.  

Hanger retired from active management of the company in 1905, however he retained the title of president.  In 1915, he traveled to Europe to observe firsthand the latest techniques of European prosthetists. As a result, the company received contracts with both England and France during and after World War I. 

Hanger Gravesite
At the time of Hanger’s death in 1919, the company had branches in Atlanta, Georgia; St. Louis, Missouri, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; as well as London and Paris in
Hanger’s children and grandchildren, along with in-laws and cousins, continued operating and expanding the company. By the mid 1950s there were 50 Hanger offices in North America and 25 in Europe. 

In 1989, J. E. Hanger, Inc. of Washington, D.C., was purchased by Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. and became part of their wholly owned subsidiary, Hanger Proshetics and Orthocis.  According to the company's 2007 annual report, net sales for this patient care services segment were $571.7 million. As of 2008, Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics sees about 650,000 patients annually.