Friday, November 27, 2020

#52Ancestors, published Letter from Dr. Louis DeBarth Kuhn, 1856

Another post in the year-long challenge, #52Ancestors by genealogist Amy Johnson Crow. I am behind, but every post is another post! Today I am sharing a letter from my great-grandfather (on my mother's paternal line), Dr. Louis DeBarth KUHN. It was published in The Republican Compiler, Gettysburg, Adams, Pennsylvania, Monday Jun 9, 1856, and is stated to be - not the entire letter - but extracts from a personal letter shared with the publisher. See newspaper banner, here. 

At this time in 1856, Dr. KUHN had already graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Medicine and separately in Pharmacy, by 1852. He travelled at some point after his graduation to Washington Territories, settling in Port Townsend [Fort Townsend]. On January 17, 1864, he married the eldest daughter of one of the four earliest settlers of Port Townsend, Amelia "Millie" PETTYGROVE, her father Francis W. PETTYGROVE.  

The letter follows: 


We have been politely favored with the perusal of an interesting letter from Dr. KUHN, of the Navy, (a native of our County [Adams]), dated on board the U.S. Revenue Cutter “Jefferson Davis,” Seattle, Puget Sound, Washington Territory, April 3d, from which we cull the following extracts:

    Here I am, safe and well, thank God, at the “seat of war,” after a pleasant voyage of a dozen days from “Merry San Francisco,” whence we sailed on the evening of the 8th of March.

        The scenery along the Sound is wild and beautiful in the extreme; the dense forests of Fir and Pine extend from the water’s edge, as far as the eye can reach, until the snow-covered mountains of the “Coast Range” look decidedly pleasant and cool in the distance.

        My first visit ashore was at Clallam Bay, where the sub-chief, “Captain Jack,” came off to tell us that his “Mamma and Papa,” as well as a number of his tribe were sick, and to ask the “Boston Doctor” to come to see them, and to give them some “medicine,” that they might get well.  I went along with him on sight, with a great deal of pleasure, and we were met on the beach by such a lot of squaws and papooses as I never saw together.

         The old chief led the way with quiet dignity to his own “wigwam,” where his wife and parents were, and afterwards to all the others; they had a number of sick, though none very seriously so, and they brought them out in the greatest confidence that the “Medicine Man” would cure them all; I wish to Heaven I could.  They live in large wooden lodges, as comfortable as they know how, and as nearly in a perfect state of nature as possible; they are very kind to each other, especially to their parents, and live upon game, fish, clams and wapatoes --(potatoes) and very good they are too.

        They are a fine looking race of men, of a light tan colour, and dark hair and eyes; the young women are handsome enough, but the old ones are anything else in the world; they do all the work and look tired and care-worn as possible. 

        I did not forget to bring my pipe and tobacco with me, and after my duties were over we had “a great smoke.”  I cannot tell you what a pleasant and interesting time it was to me, and how perfectly at home I felt in that “wigwam”; they are all “flatheads,” and I saw one little fellow about half a dozen moons old, with his head as flat as a flounder; after playing with it for a while, I asked her (the mother) if she would give it to me? but she folded her arms convulsively around it and looked as though she “could not” and would not for all the world.  “Nature is true to herself,” and she was a mother, though she was an Indian.  I would have remained longer, though it was as dark as pitch and raining like all out of doors, but it was time to go on board; they gave me some arrows, pointed with shell, that they use for shooting ducks, and with many shakes of the band, I bade good-bye to my new Indian friends.

        We passed along within sight of the British Possessions of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and anchored at Port Townsend on the 22nd. 

        This consists of about 20 wooden houses and a blockhouse, built upon the beach, and a steep bank 80 feet high, behind it -- the level of the Forest and Prairie, as far as the eye can reach, and is rather a pretty place.  There are a number of Indians here under their Head Chief, the “Duke of York,” by far the most noble specimen of his race that I have seen yet; I paid him a visit at his “wigwam,” and we soon became friends for a lifetime at least.

        The soil is good, and I went around looking at everything, and it was as pretty a sight as I ever witnessed, for it is early spring, and all nature was putting on her holiday clothes and trying to look her prettiest. 

        As I was going along, wondering why I came to such a “wooden country,” I met a man with his arm in a sling, who told me that in firing off a cannon board of a vessel, about six weeks ago, it exploded, breaking his arm, and mangling his hand, while a piece of it took off the top of his scalp, and then cut its way half through the foremast -- close shaving that.

        I asked him what had been done for his arm, and he said “Nothing.” -- I then asked to look at it, saying, “that’s my trade,: and found him about to have a useless and crippled limb for life, as I told him.  He begged me to attend to it, and I went to work, got some splint and bandages, &c.  Next morning (Easter) I went ashore, taking the Carpenter and my German friend Shrotter, to assist me.  I knew it would be very painful, and put him under the influence of chloroform; but when I began, Shrotter cleared out, swearing that he could not “stand it.”

        It was all over very soon, and I put the bones to right while he was dreaming of fighting the Indians over again, and applied the bandages.  When he awoke he cried like a child, poor fellow! and I felt very sorry for him; and his young Indian wife sat by, looking very sorrowful in her quiet grief. -- He is an intelligent, fine-looking fellow, and has lived here four or five years.  When he was more cheerful, I left him to go on board to breakfast, as the Cutter was ready to sail for this place, where we anchored on the night of the 24th.

        All the news here is about the Indian hostilities.  This town was attacked by the Indians some time ago; and, after going over the battle ground a few days ago, the wonder to me is, that they did not take the place, for they were concealed and sheltered by the timber, within gun-shot of the town, and only dislodged by the shot and shells thrown among them by the “Decatur,” after a fierce battle during an entire day.  They fight fiercely and cunningly, and are not much afraid of the “Bostons,” as they call all the Americans.

        There are a number of friendly Indians, under the care of Agents, and their Chiefs, who are fed and clothed by the government, and kept out of harm’s way upon the “Reservations,” not engaged in the war.

        This is a town containing about fifty or sixty houses, situated upon the Sound, and surrounded by the forest.  Lately this has been cut down for some distance, and a breast-work thrown around the place; and with several ships of war at anchor, ready for action at a moment’s warning, I think the Town of “Seattle” is safe.

        I think I never lived better: this is the greatest place for fish of all kinds that I have ever seen.  At one sweep of the seine, our men caught over 200 codfish.  You know I was never very fond of fish-women or fish; but a fresh salmon, or codfish, smoking before a man, ten minutes after he was swimming alongside, is sufficient to make a hungry man forget his prejudices, and forgive all his enemies.

        There are two steamers and one sloop of war here, and the officers, among whom are four surgeons, are fine fellows, and our time is spent as pleasantly as possible.

        Whilst I am writing there are twenty-five large canoes full of Indians coming across the Sound.  I think they are friendly Indians, for they are coming straight-forward, in confidence; and, if otherwise, they had better not come -- that’s all.

        On Sunday, a poor Indian scout shot himself in the arm, accidentally.  He refused to have it amputated; and is gone to the hunting-grounds of his fathers.  Poor fellow! he was brave and patient, and died without a groan.” 
                                    = / = / = / = / = / = / = / = / = / 

This ends one of the few personal writings I have seen to date of my great-grandfather, Dr. Louis DeBarth KUHN. The other is his will, which he wrote in October 1889. Other writing covered part of his first letter...Louis DeB. Kuhn.
                                    === / === / === / === / === / === / === 

If these are your ancestors, I am happy to share what little I have on these ancestors. And if there are errors, please do let me know, via calewis at telus dot net, or in the Comments below and I will get back to you either by email or in the Comments. I appreciate the opportunity to correct any issues in these family trees.

Blogger - or my computer - is still not letting me "reply" to your comments, for some unknown reason. If I don't reply to your Comment, please know that I'm totally thrilled you came to read my post and commented!  You truly make my day!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

WWI Roll Call, 1914-1918

 "WWI Roll Call" with basic details of the three relatives who died in "The Great War" 1914-1918. Two relatives (great-uncles) are on my GILLESPIE-BUNN side, the other on the LEWIS-RICE line.  The photo on the right is #1 below, George Armstrong Gillespie, aged 28.

1.  George Armstrong GILLESPIE, b. 1886, Barrow in Furness, Lancashire, England, d. 8 Aug 1916, France.  
The 4th and last child of George GILLESPIE & Catherine ARMSTRONG, a bachelor, he was living with his unmarried older sister, Mary, and his parents, at 44 Earle Street, Barrow, at the time he entered military service in 1914. His older two brothers, including my grandfather, were living in Canada at this time.  
George A. Gillespie died August 8, 1916, aged 32; his identifying number is R/3245, attached to the 11th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps. He is buried in Hebuterne Communal Cemetery, France.  His headstone carving, as requested by his parents, is the following:

2.  Thomas BUNN,  b. 12 Dec 1886, Barrow in Furness, Lancashire, England, d. 8 Oct 1917, Belgium.  
Thomas was the 4th child (of 9) of George BUNN & Sarah Elizabeth WHITEHOUSE, the brother of my grandfather Gillespie's wife. Thomas lived for a short time in Canada, following his older brother George who had immigrated in 1910.  He is a bit of a mystery and there is a story that he married or lived common-law with a woman while living in the Maritimes in Canada.  However, when war was declared, he returned to Barrow and enlisted there.  He joined the Royal Army Medical Corp, 23rd Field Ambulance, (the 7th Division). He was killed in action on 8 Oct 1917, in Belgium, and is buried in Tyne Cot Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. His name may be seen on Panel 160. (The link shows the cemetery ringed by Panels filled with approximately 35,000 names of casualties...)  

3.  Arthur Aiken LEWIS,
b. 16 Apr 1887, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada,
d. 8 May 1917, Vimy Ridge, France.

Arthur was the eldest of 8 children of Isaac Charles LEWIS & Alma Jane AIKEN. Arthur worked as a Surveyor, on Vancouver Island,as seen on 1911 Census. His CEF - Canadian Expeditionary Force - papers show he enlisted 26 Oct 1915, service number #61710, 22nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry.  There is some confusion re his death date, as the Vimy Memorial certificate provides date of death as 15/09/1916 (Sept. 15, 1916); but the official notification of his death is May 8, 1917, "in the trenches south of Acheville" which is by Vimy Ridge. The confusion has not been reconciled at this point.  

The Canadian Vimy Memorial is a remarkable construction, sitting on the Ridge itself. You can read of its design, construction, and more by clicking on this link.  

So many young men were killed in World War I.  

Lest We Forget...   


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis