Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Newest Arrival

Congratulations to Chad and Koran on the newest addition to their family, Lochlyn Elizabeth Bragg, born on December 25, 2010. Both Chad and Koran are Chiropractic Doctors in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, where they have operated Tranquility Specific Chiropractic since September 2001.

Congratulations are also in order for the Grandparents, Charles and Rebecca Bragg and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gurcak, Great-Grandparents Don and Mary Bragg, and Aunt Amber.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Did You Know? #35

His name would rank high on nearly anyone's list of America's greatest poets. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine on February 27, 1807, the son of Stephen and Zilpah Wadsworth Longfellow. For Henry, formal education began at the very early age of three and quickly distinguished himself as a proficient student. Stephen's aspirations for his son to follow in his own footsteps by becoming a lawyer never came to fruition. Instead, upon his graduation from Bowdoin College Longfellow was employed by the college as a professor in modern languages, a position he filled after some time off for a European tour.

A few years later, in 1834, Longfellow accepted a position at Harvard, after yet another tour of Europe this time accompanied with his new bride (he married Mary Storer Potter in 1831). Sadly, the new Mrs. Longfellow did not survive the trip. Heartbroken, he returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts to begin his teaching duties at Harvard. It was here that he met his second wife, Frances Appleton. All this time he immersed himself into writing poetry. Among some of his most famous productions were "Song of Hiawatha," "The Courtship of Miles Standish."

In 1854 Henry resigned from the Harvard faculty to devote himself more fully to writing. Just a few years later, as the nation was just entering the horrors of civil war, Longfellow suffered the loss of his second wife (in 1861). Many honors came to Longfellow in his final years (he passed away on March 24, 1882). "Of all the suns of the New England morning," says Van Wyck Brooks, "he was the largest in his golden sweetness."

Our family is connected to that of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by marriage. Dad's 3rd great-grand aunt Martha Hull (sister of his 3rd great-grandfather Platt Hull) married Joseph L. Longfellow, the second cousin 2 times removed of the great poet. The following charts illustrate the family connection.

Ezekiel Hull & Mary Denton
Platt Hull b.1787 Martha Hull b.1796 married ... Joseph L. Longfellow (see chart below)
Ezekiel Hull b.1813
Rebecca L. Hull b.1841
Frank Martin Bragg b.1867
Orval Bishop Bragg b.1895
Don C. Bragg b.1920

William Longfellow & Anne Sewall
William Longfellow b.1679 Stephen Longfellow b.1685
Jonathan Longfellow Stephen Longfellow b.1685
Joseph L. Longfellow (third wife was Martha Hull b.1796) Stephen Longfellow b.1723

Stephen Longfellow b.1750
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow b.1807

Maine Historical Society, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
American Poems, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Did You Know? #34

In reading M. William Phelps' biography of Nathan Hale, the patriot and Revolutionary War hero hung by the British for espionage. While most elementary school students should be familiar with the famed Hale, two important figures in the tragically short life of that patriot are certainly not household names, but have special connections with our family.

Just a few generations after his ancestor, Capt. Thomas Munson helped found New Haven, Connecticut and Yale University, Dr. Eneas Munson, a Yale graduate, would settle in New Haven where he would practice medicine for 66 years. [1]

Dr. Munson was known for "his wit and humor," but especially for having served as Nathan Hale's personal tutor prior to Nathan's entering Yale, along with his younger brother, Enoch, at the age of 14. [2] At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Dr. Munson would serve as an medical assistant in the Continental army, being present at Yorktown as the War drew to a close in 1781.

Our ancestry is traced through Dad's maternal grandfather, as is outlined in the chart below, and was Dad's second cousin, six times removed.

Dr. Eneas Munson
Samuel Munson & Martha P. Bradley
Theophilus Munson b.1675Samuel Munson b.1669
Benjamin Munson b.1711Solomon Munson b.1688
Dr. Eneas Munson M.D. b.1734Samuel Munson b.1717

Samuel Munson,Jr. b.1763

Isaac Munson b.1802

Joel Munson b.1846

Gladys Gilbreath b.1898
Don Cicero Bragg b.1920

One of Nathan Hale's closest friends was a fellow Yale graduate, two years older than Hale, was William Hull (1753-1825). William was one of the last to plead with Nathan to reconsider his voluntary mission behind enemy lines, and also one of the last to marvel at his friend's patriotism and valor. Hull would also be recognized for his courage by George Washington and the Continental Congress.

William Hull would survive the Revolutionary War and, having passed the bar in 1775, practiced law in his wife's hometown of Newton,Massachusetts. He served as a judge and state senator until appointed as governor of Michigan Territory in 1805 by Pres. Thomas Jefferson.

Hull would again see military service during the War of 1812, serving as brigadier general. Through a series of miscommunication and missteps would surrender Fort Detroit on August 16, 1812. For this William faced a court-martial, receiving the death penalty for cowardice and neglect of duty, but then pardoned by Pres. James Madison (based on his past military valor).

Here is how we are related to General Hull:

Thomas Hull & Joane Peson
General William Hull

Richard Hull b.1599George Hull b.1590
Dr. John Hull b.1640Lieutenant Cornelius Hull b.1628
Capt. Joseph Hull b.1667Cornelius Hull b.1655
Joseph Hull b.1694 Nathaniel Hull b.1694
Joseph Hull b.1728 Nathaniel Hull b.1726
Major General William Hull b.1753 Ezekiel Hull b.1765
Julia Knox Hull (b.1799) Platt Hull b.1787
Joseph Wheeler (b.1836) Ezekiel Hull b.1813

Rebecca L. Hull b.1841
Frank Martin Bragg b.1867

Orval Bishop Bragg b.1895

Don Cicero Bragg b.1920

This would make Dad General Hull's 5th cousins 6 times removed.

One other interesting connection should be noted. As the chart above illustrates, Major General William Hull's daughter, Julia Knox Hull (b.1799) was also the mother of Confederate General Joseph Wheeler (b.1836). Wheeler, a West Point graduate (class of 1859), resigned his commission in April 1861 to enter the Confederate Army as a First Lieutenant of Artillery. It was in this capacity that he served at the battle of Shiloh, commanding the Cavalry under General Braxton Bragg. Both Bragg and Wheeler would work together in Kentucky (prior to Wheeler's promotion to Major General, CSA in January 1863), the Battle of Chickamauga, September 18-20, 1863, and Lookout Mountain. Wheeler slowly retreated before Union General William Techumseh Sherman as he "marched to the sea."

During the Civil War Wheeler was wounded three times and had sixteen horses shot from under him, earning him the name "Fightin' Joe" Wheeler. After the war he moved to New Orleans, and then returned to his beloved Alabama. After the Civil War Wheeler served in the United States Congress and lead troops during the Spanish-American War in 1898. He is one of "only two former Confederate generals to be buried in Arlington" National Cemetery overlooking Washington, D.C. There, Wheeler is buried alongside his oldest son, Joseph Wheeler, Jr., [3] who also enjoyed an honorable military career both as in instructor at West Point and in domestic and foreign service (including service under his father in the Spanish-American War). The younger Wheeler received the Silver Star with Oak Leaf cluster (for gallantry).

This would make Dad and Gen. Joseph Wheeler 7th cousins 4 times removed, and Joseph Wheeler, Jr. 8th cousins 3 times removed.

Gen. JosephWheeler



[2] Wikipedia, Nathan Hale

[3] Arlington National Cemetery