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

1 comment:

Taneya said...

Just FYI - you may be interested in knowing that the full-text of Volume 2 of the Munson Record book by Myron Munson has been added to the the Internet Archive. I blogged about it -