Category: New York and Updates and Additions – 14 Oct 2014

Sorry for the large gap. I’m in the process of doing some experimental performance of this site which has demanded much of my attention in the past couple of weeks. Finally, though, here are the and Updates and Additions to October 14, 2014. Updates and Additions Updates and Additions. and Updates and Additions.









New Zealand



United Kingdom

United States

Worldwide Updates and Additions






United Kingdom

United States

Transcription: War of 1812 Land Warrant Card for William B. Coon

Land Warrant Card of William B. Coon and David Coon.

Land Warrant Card of William B. Coon and David Coon. 

Below is my transcription of the War of 1812 Land Warrant Card for William B. Coon

No. 49954     40 acres.

ACT OF SEPT. 28, 1850.

Issued to Wm. B. Coon
Priv: Capt. Fillmore’s
Co., N. York, Ma.
War of 1812

Located at Menasha
40 Wis

Located by David Coon, ???

Patented April 15, 1856
Recorded Vol. 308
Page 31

Transmitted to
25 Feb. 1857
2 Sept – 1857


The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


My ‘must have’ list of top 10 genealogy websites.

This list of top 10 genealogy websites is a bit different than others because I have evaluated them based on the sheer quantity of data and sources I have found for my own personal research, regardless whether they are paid or free.
will of Richard Chatterton found on the UK Archives site.

17th century will of Richard Chatterton found on the UK Archives site, #9 on my top 10 genealogy websites list.

I will only subscribe to a site if I’m sure it’s worth it as I can usually find most other information on free sites with some effort.

It just so happens though, that my favorite site to conduct research is a paid site, while all the rest except one are free.

Ancestry ($)

Although this site requires a paid subscription, it is the one and only site I do pay for as I find I truly do get my money’s worth. No matter what location, type of record, or time period, I can usually find something of value on this site. The search feature is rather confusing and cumbersome. Just keep in mind it’s better to be as specific as possible and use the filters appropriately and you will get fairly accurate results.

Family Search

Over the past few years, Family Search has been quickly catching up to Ancestry because of the sheer quantity of transcriptions, images, and collections they continue to make available online. They have a very accurate and intuitive search.

Library and Archives Canada

I am Canadian, with roots in both French Canada (Quebec) and Acadia (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). Anytime I am researching a Canadian line, this is the first site I go to – even before Ancestry and Family Search.

Nova Scotia Archives

My Acadian ancestors form a rather specialized area of research, and the Nova Scotia Archives genealogy research site is the first place I go. Original records are available for a per unit price, but I’m quite happy just printing the transcribed records for the most part.

Internet Archive

My husband’s Welsh Quaker, British, royal and new world ancestors are the largest part of my research and this is the one site I go to when I’m unable to find original records or even transcriptions of records elsewhere. I’ve found numerous genealogy studies, articles, and books; history books, etc. that have provided detailed information. It is important to remember, however, that errors were not uncommon in these publications, and I do continue to try to find more concrete sources.

Foundation for Medieval Genealogy

I am fascinated by my husband’s medieval and royal ancestry and this site is a well-researched site. Any suspect information is clearly identified and there is a clear explanation of why. Original medieval sources are cited in detail, supporting all facts and conclusions.

University of Hull Royal Database

This is also a very well researched site providing invaluable information about the royal lineages of Britain and Europe. I usually consult this site in tandem with the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy site above. This helps to confirm some information to a certain degree.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

About 1750, my husband’s Welsh and British ancestors started arriving in the new world and the branches that took root there flourished to impact all areas of American life. Next to Ancestry, I find this site valuable for actual military files and numerous other archived documents. All requests, however, must be done by snail mail, in which case I try to avoid this site a lot. I’m definitely an instant gratification kind of person. Hopefully one day they’ll set up online access, even if it is paid. I’d certainly subscribe to this one.

UK Archives ($)

I have found some of the more interesting documents on this site, including numerous scans of original wills from the 16th to the 19th century. There is something about the old English script that I find very beautiful and it’s a suitable challenge for my puzzle oriented mind to transcribe them. There is a per unit price to download documents, but the price is very reasonable and I have no problem paying it, considering the high quality of the document scans.

World GenWeb

No one individual GenWeb site in this network is used all that much in my research, but if you consider all research found on any of the GenWeb sites, it definitely warrants a top ten position. I have listed the main World GenWeb site, which links through to the full network of other sites from other locations. By using the links, it is possible to drill down from the global and country levels to county and indeed township sites in some cases. and Updates and Additions – 21 Aug 2014

Following are the and updates and additions for these sites over the past two weeks. and Updates and Additions and Updates and Additions

I must apologize for taking so long this time. Although I don’t have a set schedule, I do normally do this post about once a week. Because I have to process each link individually, it’s very time consuming and with other maintenance tasks I’ve had to do, this post was delayed. Updates and Additions









New Zealand



United States Updates and Additions


United Kingdom

photo credit: meddie / aka Gramps via photopin cc

Transcription – The Spanish American War Diary of William Dennis Matthews Sr.

The following is a transcription of the Spanish American War Diary of William Dennis Matthews Sr.

Anything of which I’m not sure is in [square brackets].

PLEASE NOTE: This post is an exact transcription of the original document and contains language some readers may find offensive.


1873 - Martha and Elam Dennis Matthews (married 10-26-73)

William Dennis Matthews Sr. and his wife on their wedding day.

W. D. Matthews, Private
Co. “E”
1st Infy Ills. Vols.
transferred to
Co. “A” Prov. Engr. Corps.

Diary of time spent in Army.

Sunday, April 24th ’98.
Went to church this morning and heard a first class war sermon. Came home and decided to go to war with the First Regiment, I, N.G.

Monday Apr. 25 ’98
Bip, Fred, White and I went down to the armory this evening The Governor’s (Tanner) order, for all Illinois regiments to move to Springfield was read and great applause followed. Came home about 9 o’clock and packed up my belongings.

Tuesday Apr. 26
Spent most of the day at the armory. The whole town was stirred up, over the order to move and the armory and streets were packed with friends of the the boys. We marched to the Central Station (I.C.) about 6:30 P.M. and took the train for Springfield.
People were gathered at every station to bid us farewell.

Wednesday 4/27/98.
Arrived in Springfield about 6 o’clock this morning. Unloaded at the State Fair Grounds and took up quarters in Machinery Hall. All the Illinois troops are mobilized at this point.
The camp is known as Camp Tanner.

April 27th to May 18th.
In Camp at Springfield.

Excerpt from a Spanish American War Diary

Transcription – The Spanish American War Diary of William Dennis Matthews Sr.

Wednesday May 11th
Examination of volunteers held in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol Building. The exam was very severe but I came through with flying colors.

Friday May 13th ’98
First Reg’t was mustered into the U.S. service by Major Roberts of the U.S. Army.
We were mustered in by companies and afterward had the company picture taken by Watterman of Chicago.

Saturday, May 14th
Vaccinated by regiment physicians. Quite a few tumbled over.

Sunday May 15th.
Large crowd down from Chi.
Met Lan [worthy] of Armou[r]
Worked on muster rolls most of the morning.
At 11 oclock AM, Col. Turner read the order commanding him to report his regiment to General Brooke at Chickamauga at once.
Everybody cheers.

Monday, May 16th.
Sign muster rolls for an enlistment of two years unless sooner discharged.

Wednesday May 18th.
Break camp and start for Chickamauga on the I.C.
Patriotic demonstration at every station.
Reach E. St. Louis about 5 P.M. Every steam whistle within hearing seems to be blowing. Cross the Ohio River at Cairo, Ill about midnight.

Thursday May 19th.
Through Kentucky and into Tennessee. Reach Martin, Tenn. about 7 am, and transfer to the Chattanooga Nashville and St. Louis Ry.
Boys of Co “I” steal a razor back.
On to Nashville.
Fine scenery along the road.
Cross the Tenn. River – a very pretty stream. Large stock farms as we approach Nashville. Arrive in Nashville at 1 oclock P.M.
Entire regiment unloads and marches to Capitol Building (about 3/4 mile) where the Gov. of Tenn., delivers an address of welcome.
Inspect the building for a short time and return to depot. Day is very warm and some of the boys fall out. Leave Nashville for Chattanooga about 3 P.M. Pass through Murfreesboro – first evidence of late war.
Glimpse of the National Cemetery where the union soldiers are buried.
Young lady stands in cemetery and waves the stars and stripes.
See large stretches of country once in plantations – now cut up into little fields.
All stone fences and little log cabins from which all kinds of piccaninies emerge as train passes. Little coons and big coons in numbers ranging from 8 to 20 spill out of old cabins which in the north would do service for about four pigs – if they weren’t too large.

Friday May 20 ’98.
Arrived in Chattanooga very early this morning and staid in the switch yards until about 12 o’clock [M].
During the morning we got up on top of the coaches and took a look at Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, which is distant about 3 miles. There is a railroad up the side of the mountain and near the top is a hotel.
At noon we left for Chickamauga.
Unload at Lytle Station and march to the 15th Wisc. Cavalry monument. Rest for half an hour and take up the march to camp grounds. Four miles through the worst dust I ever saw, with the hot sun pouring down upon us. A large number of the boys fall out. Pitch our camp at the junction of the Alexander Road and the Jays’ Mill Road near the Alexander House and about 1/2 mile from Chickamauga Creek.
This is Camp Thomas. Regiments about us in the near vicinity are these.

On the East.
12th Minn.
9th Penn.
2nd Missouri
3rd Virginia
3rd Tennessee

On the North.
5th Ohio
157th Indiana
21st Kansas

Sunday, May 22
Chapel under the trees.

May 23rd to 27th
Extended order drill every day.

Saturday May 28
Monthly inspection by Major Tolman of the second battalion.

Sunday May 29th
Met Bennie Greer, formerly an Armour boy, later of Dartsmouth, this afternoon and had quite a chat.
At 7 o’clock the company leaves on detached duty. Capt. Sturges reports his command to the Brig. Gen’l and we are stationed at Alexander Bridge to gaurd a spring which according to reports was poisoned by Spanish sympathizers before our arrival in camp.

Monday May 30th
Had my arm dressed by “Doc” Meese this morning.
Sid’s arm plays havoc with him so that he is excused from duty. He goes sketching – falls by the wayside – picked up by a farmer and gets a good meal out of it.
Return to camp at 7 o’clock. P.M.

Tuesday May 31st
Preparing to move.

Thursday June 2
Breakfast at 5 am. Leave camp for Ringgold, Ga., at 7:30 am. Escorted out of camp by the 12th Minn. band. March fourteen miles through sand and heat. Several creeks and one nice spring on the way.
The heat is so intense that about 1/2 the regiment falls out and marches in their leisure. (I was one of them.)
Arrive at Ringgold about 5:30 PM.
Supper on beans, hard tack and coffee.
Board special train at 9 o’clock and start for Tampa.
Pass through some God-forsaken country. See large forests of pine. Saw mills at most every station in Florida.
All kinds of melon and sweet potato vines.

Saturday June 4
Traveled all day in Florida. Arrive at Tampa about 5 P.M. Coons and cubans to burn. Arrived in Port Tampa City at 6 o’clock. Unload and march about 1/2 mile south west. Camp on Tampa Bay.
Bathing is fine. Breezes from the sea cool the atmosphere which otherwise would be suffocating.

Thursday June 9th
Leonard and I went over to Port Tampa and got a hotel dinner.

Saturday June 11th
Pack up at 6 PM and march S-W 1 1/2 miles to Picnic Island, which for camping purposes is the best place that we have yet struck. Here we have lots of shade and good bathing facilities.

Sunday June 12th
On guard at the coal docks. Loaded guns with ball cartridges – first time since entering the service.

Tuesday June 14th
Went to Tampa with Sid and Ray Chambers.
Got two good meals and took in the Tampa Bay Hotel.
The hotel is quite an extensive concern. It is run by the Plant System and is one of Florida’s best winter resorts. It has accomodation for about four thousand guests. In connection with the hotel is a casino, with a nice swimming pool. The lawns are kept up in good shape and are covered with palms, orange trees, floers, ferns and etc. Two green houses filled with ferns and palms. Trains leaving for and arriving from Port Tampa run into the hotel grounds, where passengers may get on or off.

Sunday June 19th
On guard at the division hospital.
Returned to camp in the evening and found that first serg’t Chas. F. Leech and junior duty sergeant Jacob Judson had been reduced to the ranks for allowing private R. Porter Clarke to eat canned peaches when he was sick.

Saturday June 25
I was transferred to the Provisional Engr. Corps today.

Monday June 27th
Excused from duty. Slightly under the weather.

Tuesday June 28th
Orderly to Major Sackett of Engr. Corps.

Wednesday June 29
Pay day today. Great rejoicing in camp. Canteen closed up so that the boys could save their money.

Thursday June 30th
Regiment leaves for Key West on boats “City of Macon” and “Gate City”. Boys left behind felt pretty bad to see the others leaving them behind.

Sunday, July 3
On guard.

Monday July 4th
No work today.
Tonight we all gathered in the pavillion where the officers had prepared a little spread for us. We had lemonade, cakes, cookies and cigars.
Major Sackett, Capt. Brown, Capt. Looker, Lieut-Adj’t. Laramie, Lieut. Curran and Lieut. Smith made short speeches or told stories. Some of the privates including Hagarty of “A” and Stilson told stories and sung. A couple coons came in and gave us a few rags, after which we sang “America” and then retired. We had a very enjoyable time and all appreciated the kindness of the officers.

Tuesday July 5th
Private Howe and myself went to Tampa and Ybor City. Conductor on the up trip put a wench off the train because she persisted in riding in the first class coach and wouldn’t surrender her ticket for a ride in the second class.

Wednesday July 6th
Had pontoon and flotilla still this morning.
The mosquitoes have been eating us up alive today.

Thursday July 7th
Company received a dozen new tents this morning and we moved the company street. Have a swell place now with four in a tent.
Received orders tonight to report in Santiago de Cuba as soon as possible.

Sunday July 10 ’98
On guard, Company has been busy packing and loading. All hands went on board the [Lampasas] tonight. Got paid this afternoon.

Monday July 11 ’98
Went over to the Island this morning to police the company street and got dripping wet. The D.C. boys got paid today and the majority of them are on the bum.

Tuesday July 12
Finished loading the boat this morning and left Port Tampa about 12 o’clock. The sea is very rough and we are anchored at the mouth of the Gulf.

Thursday July 14th
We arrived in Key West harbor about 10 o’clock this morning. Find several war vessels including monitors, battleships, torpedo boats and torpedo boat destroyers anchored here together with any number of sailing vessels.
Saw five Spanish ships with prisoners pulling out for New York this evening.

Friday July 15 ’98
We all went ashore this morning and had rifle practice. Saw Fort Taylor and a new fort in course of construction also the old Spanish fort. Saw some [eveon] nut trees with green nuts on for the first time. This is the most like civilization of any place that I have seen in Florida so far. Took on board a slough of mail for Santiago tonight. Had a short talk on discipline by the Colonel this evening.

Saturday July 16
Left Key West about 6:30 this morning in company with the auxiliary cruiser “Hawk” and the transport “Nueces”. Tonight we are sailing without a light on ship and have strict orders against lighting matches for any purpose whatever.
This is to prevent any Spanish vessel from sighting us.

Sunday July 17th
We all went to church this morning and Capt. Brown officiated. Sighted the Flagship “San Francisco” this evening.

Monday July 18th
Have been sailing down the eastern coast of Cuba all day. We are close enough in toward shore so that we can see the mountains. There seems to be a chain of them extending the whole length of the island. Tonight about 9 o’clock we turned about Cape Maysi and are now sailing in a south westerly direction. The little “Hawk” chases everything that comes in sight.

Tuesday July 19th
Arrived in Santiago harbor about 1030 this a.m. passed in by Morro Castle, whose guns are now silenced and saw the American flag floating on high. Saw the Merrimac (sunk in channel by Lieut. Hobson) also a Spanish gunboat sunk in action.
Santiago (what we could see of it) is a very warm looking place. Houses are mostly wooden with roofing of spanish tile. Very few trees and most of those, some variety of palm. City is surrounded by hills. Vegetation scant. Didn’t get a chance to leave the boat. Left Santiago this afternoon at two o’clock and sailed east about 50 miles to Guantanamo Bay where we are anchored tonight. There are a large number of battle ships here and a few transports, but the most of the latter are at Santiago. Gen’l Miles is here on board the “Yale”.

Wednesday July 20 ’98
Got out this morning at 4 oclock and built a ponton bridge to shore for the purpose of landing the mules. The bridge is situated a very few rods from the place where the Marine Corps made their landing a few weeks ago and had scrimmage with the Spaniards. There is a cemetery at the end of the bridge and only a few feet from the waters’ edge Spanish soldiers of the twelve years war are buried here. There has been a stone wall surrounding it until a few days ago when the men in the “Marblehead” demolished it. The “New York”, Adm’l Sampsons flag ship came in this morning and anchored near us. Tonight at about time for taps we got orders to fall in and dismantle the bridge. We worked until 12 o’clock and got it up along side of ship but didn’t take it to pieces.

Thursday July 21 ’98
Got up at 4 and got orders to pur the bridge back in place. We did so and had most of the stock unloaded when the wind changed on us and pulled the bridge away from shore. Got it fixed this evening, loaded the stock and pontons and are already to sad away. I got an inscription off one of the crosses in the cemetery to carry back with me.

Friday July 22 ’98
Slipped anchor about 7 oclock this morning and started for Puerto Rico. Have been sailing along within sight of the coast of Haiti this afternoon.

Saturday, July 23
We caught up with the fleet, which left Guantanamo Bay Thursday evening, this forenoon. There are fourteen vessels transports, and one tug boat. We were issued machetes this morning. The whole fleet stopped this morning, while a funeral was being held on board the “Yale”.

Monday July 25 ’98
Made a landing at 10 o’clock this morning. The Gloucester threw a few shells up the street of Port Guanica then the marines made a landing followed by the engineer corps. When the cannonading began the citizens closed their houses up tight and got out. We formed a skirmish line on the beach and moved out about a mile. Serg’t Rutherford, private Patten and myself were sent out to protect the right flank. We found a house with a lot of bread and fresh milk. Took five prisoners. So soon as the regulars could get unloaded we were relieved and sent back to build a bridge. I am standing guard tonight over our rifles which were left on shore this morning. The signal corps has a line in operation for five miles out into the country. There is considerable firing going on at the outposts and the Red Cross people have gone out to attend to the wounded.

Tuesday July 26th
Moved our goods from the “Lampasas” to the “Comanche” this afternoon. The Red Cross people have monopolized the former boat, and it is filling up with wounded. Doing sentinel duty tonight on top of the big hill, to the west of the port. We have orders to shoot when we think necessary and there is lots of firing going on. Its reported that there are three Spanish Scouts in the woods to our rear. The Sixth Ill. boys are on a line at right angles to ours and to the left.

Wednesday July 17th
Unloading the boat today.

Thursday July 28th
Started a road up the hill this morning. I understand that a permanent fort is to be placed on top.

Friday, July 29th
The D.C. boys left the Comanche and this afternoon we pulled up anchor and came to Port Ponce. Have part of a a company of regular engineers with us now. Gen’l Miles came on board tonight and will make this boat his headquarters for awhile.

Saturday, July 31st
Working at the dock today arranging stores. The work consists chiefly in directing the Ponce fire men who have been hired by the gov’t to do stevedore work. They work very hard. Took a stroll around the port and saw the customs house and several of the consul’s headquarters. The houses here are small and almost bare within. The back streets are dirty and filthy, but are being cleaned since the Americans took possession. An American dollar is worth two of Spain today.

Monday, August 1st 98.
At the dock again today. Have been running around town most of the time. Got dinner and supper cost 50¢ and 35¢
in Spanish money. The coffee here is strong enuff to make a person bow legged. The boats crew went off and left us on shore. We got a ships’ crew to take us off, but found that the Comanche had moved so we had to row all over the bay to find it.

August 3rd Wednesday.
Went out to the place where we are going to camp, this afternoon. Its about 3/4 miles from Ponce near the road with a running creek and only a short distance from an ice factory.

Thursday, August 4th
Moved out to camp this evening.

Friday Aug 5th
Was up to Ponce today with a load of tools. Its quite a sight to see such a city. There is a railroad there, also a gas factory, electric light plant. Once sees such signs as this, “barber saloon”, “shaving and hair cutting saloon.”

Saturday Aug 6th
Twenty five of us with Capt. Brown and Col. Black started out this evening with tools for General Stone. We are camped about six miles from Ponce.

Sunday Aug 7th ’98
Started out early this morning and marched up hill all day except the last three miles.
Arrived at a town called Adjuntas at five o’clock. Came through a beautiful country. Camped tonight in the public plaza which is a regular garden of roses.

Monday Aug 8th
Resting in camp. Two companies of the 19th who had been camping here started for the front this morning.

Tuesday Aug 9th
Jones and McCoy who are sick started home with the wagons this morning accompanied by Colonel Black. We are waiting for orders.

Wednesday Aug 10th
Captain Brown got orders to proceed to Aricebo and report on the condition of the roads. We left Adjuntas this morning with pack animals carrying our goods. Sergeant Hooker, private Winsauer and myself were sent out as an advance guard. We took a different road from that of the company and had to retrace our steps part of the way so we arrived at camp about an hour later than the rest. Camp was pitched on the banks of the Rio Grande River just in the out skirts of Utuado.

Thursday Aug 11th.
Went down town this morning and looked around. Its quite a good sized little city and sports an electric light plant cathedral, public market & etc. The cathedral is situated on a slight knoll, across the street is a rose garden filled with the most beautiful roses I ever saw. From the garden one descends to the market which occupies a space of about 200 feet by 75 feet, and has a cement floor the level of which is about four feet above the street. To this market the natives come in the morning with their wares, such as fish, cheese, milk, bananas, plantains, candy, cakes & etc and there they stay until about noon. After dinner the place is swept and cleaned up and in the evening tables and chairs are brought in and coffee, wine, cigars & etc are the orders of the day. Eggs sell at 4 cents per (quatro centavos).
We left Utuado about 10 oclock this morning and have marched up hill all day, a greater part of the time through the rain. Camped tonight on a hill about 6 miles from our destination (Aricebo) and miles outside of our out posts. We were accompanied for a short distance this morning by a cavalry officer and three cavalry men, but word was received, where we stopped for dinner, that there werr 25 spaniards ahead of us lying in ambush and presto the regulars ducked – too dangerous.
The country through which we have passed simply defies description, an artist could find no better scenes for a stage setting than some of the mountains and valleys along the way, wiht the sparkling water dashing downward, the clouds hovering near, and the sun casting its mystic shades and shaddows. The natives treat us fine and we are living high on bananas, oranges, field corn etc while cigars are as plentiful as the falling drops of rain. Word has just arrived by courier from General Henry to Capt. Brown that 1500 Spaniards are returning from the coast and that they are marching in such a direction as to cut us off from any help unless we return at once. The whole company does outpost duty. I was posted in the road and had orders to stop every body and search them.

Fridday Aug 12th
Capt. Brown and six men went ahead to the first ford to ascertain its condition and immediately upon their return we started back. Got into Utuado about two o’clock. Went in bathing after dark tonight and the river rose so rapidly that I came near being carried away. Heavy rains in the mountains.

Saturday Aug 13th
Have been running around town most of the day. Visited the electric light plant which consists of two units of 120 volts and 75 amperes each, made in Germany (Berlin) by the Allgemeine-Elek’s. Geschallschaft. Have seen six corpses carried by today on shoulders of the natives. There is a cemetery just across the river from our camp. The bodies are buried about two feet under ground and when they have decayed sufficiently, the bones are dug up, thrown in one corner and another body takes its place. Quite a boneyard. The 6th Mass., General Henry and staff and some troops of the 1st US cavalry came in this afternoon. Was down to the plaza tonight and met a NY newspaper man who was throwing himself to some extent. News was received tonight that peace has been declared and Capt. Brown confirms the report.

Aug 14th Sunday
Chasing around waiting for orders. Climbed up on a big hill. Spaniards had dug up quite a hole on the top for placing a cannon. Its as good a place for fortifications as I ever saw, as it commands a view of every road leading into town.

Monday Aug 15th
Been digging sinks today in ground that was “Sanco” On guard tonight.

Tuesday Aug 16th
Packed up this morning and started back to the company. Roads were in terrible condition on account of heavy rains. Had nothing to eat from breakfast until 6:30 except two hard tacks. Capt. Brown bought us a supper at the restaurant, and to ssay that we enjoyed it after our hard days walk would be putting it very mild. Five of us pushed ahead of the company this afternoon and got in about an hour earlier. We were drenched with perspiration. Adjuntas looks about the same except some soldiers have gone and others came in. We are sleeping in an old building once occupied by spanish soldiers. The floor is the hardest that I ever had the misfortune to sleep on.

Wednesday Aug 17th
Started for Ponce at 7:30 this morning after attending mass held for one of the 19th boys who died yesterday. It rained nearly all the way but we pushed ahead and made the 24 miles in 7 3/4 hours. Great rejoicing in camp tonight over our return. The boys are telling their friends how it happened.

Thursday Aug 18th
Was up in Ponce today working on a road which we are constructing up a hill where a hospital is to be built.

Friday Aug 19th
Night. Guard at docks.

Saturday Aug 20
Got mail from home and a letter from Fred (dated July 10th). Was up to Ponce this evening. It looks very pretty by electric light.

Sunday Aug 21st
Wrote some letters today and laid around in the shade.

Monday, Aug 22nd
A whole day of rest. The first in many moons. Many rumors about going home, getting paide etc.

Tuesday Aug 23
Spent the day at the docks, supposedly to work, but didnt find much to do.

Wednesday Aug 24
On guard at the docks. Gathered a lot of shells on the sea shore this afternoon. Artificer Pyburn was arrested tonight for stealing and selling government supplies. Quartermaster Sergt. Buckley fired yesterday for indifference and Serg’t Wye put in his place.

Sunday Aug 28
Everything is very quiet here lately. The river rose so high and rapidly last Friday night that it carried the foot bridge, over which we pass in going to Ponce, away.
Col. Black has transferred our tools and engineering apparatus to the 1st Regt US Vol. Engr’s and has left us, so I think that we will be ordered home in the near future. I understand that the 6th Ill. has been ordered aboard transports. Have been writing some letters today.  Came off guard this morning. Had to guard the prisoners, Pyburn and Moore. Moore was arrested for refusing to roll up the 1st Sergt’s tent.
Tuesday Aug 30th
Down to the dock today on a working detail but didn’t do a stroke of work all day.
Was in swimming last evening. Monkeyed around on the bank so long that Serg’t Hooker got disgusted and pushed me in. I sank, came up and was pulled down again by the current. Scared the pants off the fellows on shore and put myself in a mild state of agitation. Finally reached the opposite shore and suffered no bad results.

Wednesday Aug 31st
Went on guard this morn. Being the last day of the month we were mustered and inspected. Had my hair cut and my beard trimmed by Comrade Patten. At Eleven thirty, Capt. Brown called the company together and read an order from Major Gen’l Miles to Brig. Gen’l Wilson commanding that the provisional battalion of engineers be sent to New York at the earliest opportunity for the purpose of being mustered out of the service; this news was followed by the greatest shout that ever went out from the company.

Thursday Sept 1st
Capt. Brown lined us up today and gave us fifty cents apiece. The D.C. company came in this afternoon, so I think we are soon to get out of this place.

Friday Sept 2
Nothing but rumors about going home.

Saturday Sept 3
On guard at the dox. I understand that we are to go home on the Alamo, now unloading in the harbor.

Sunday Sept. 4th 98
Had a great supper tonight. We all put two centavos into the mess and got banana dumplings and limeade. Lieut. Laramie presented us with five quarts – this added to the ade made it rather fine. We are putting our souveniers into a company box and will send them with the comissary.

Monday Sept 5 98
We got hold of a box of stuff belonging to the Iron Colonel (as Col. Turner terms himself). Found some hams, boxes of jelly, condensed milk, coffee, and a few other delicacies such as wine and lime juice. Strange that the Colonel fared so badly at Santiago if he lived on such things.

Tuesday Sept 6th
Got orders today to go aboard the “Alamo” tomorrow. Was up town tonight and had a dish of ice cream, just like home.

Wednesday Sept 7th
Broke camp this morning and came on board the Alamo about one oclock. We are quartered in the hold. I think we will be pretty badly crowded this trip, but as we are going home I guess we can stand it.

Thursday, Sept. 8th
The last of the troops came aboard this morning and at 5:45 oclock this evening we pulled out of the harbor accompanied by the “Concha”. We have aboard this ship three companies making about 700 men all told. We also have a couple young Ricans who the officers are taking home with them.

Friday, Sept 9th
The “Concha” left us early this morning, – she is a much faster boat than this. I have been sick all day as have the majority of the men on board.

Wednesday Sept 14
Have been moving along slowly, battling with the wind and trying to pass the time away. Pipes have been plentiful even on board ship and we are all wondering when we will get in and what will be done with us.

Thursday Sept 15.
Began to sight lights along shore about 630. Passed Barnegat light house shortly after supper. Got a good view of Sandy Hook revolving light.

Friday Sept 16
Quarantine officers came aboard this morning and allowed us to go. There was a heavy fog so we didnt get a very good view of the harbor. Passed quite close to the statue of liberty. Got a very hearty reception from the boats in harbor. Tied up to the Penn. docks about 10 o’clock. Went into train after a very short delay. Went to dinner at the Taylor Hotel and had a fine meal.
Left Jersey City at 6 o’clock in Pullmans over the P.R.R. Got coffee at Philadelphia.

Saturday Sept 17.
Stopped at Pittsburg for breakfast. Have been feeling very bad today.
Arrived in Chicago about 10:15 P.M. Fred, White, Bip, Sid and Gordon were at depot.
I’m staying at Bip’s tonight 3035 Prairie Avenue.

Sunday Sept. 18th 1898
We are now on a 60 day furlough. Bip and I were over to the club this morning. Everything torn up for house cleaning.

Sept 20th – Nov 2nd 1898
Hahnemann Hospital. Was brought to the hospital Tuesday Sept. 20th and put in the soldier’s ward. My case developed into typhoid fever and for a numb er of days I was dead to the world. Three weeks without any solid food caused me to get a trifle hungry. Had the best of care and attention. Many friends come to visit me, among which was my father. Had one relapse; nothing serious however.

Wednesday, Nov. 2nd
I pack my clothes and leave for fke house.

Wednesday, Nov 2nd – Nov 14th
Recuperating and copying last years’ notes.

Nov 14th 1898.
Start into school at A.I.T. My last year.

Nov 20th 1898
Report at Armory and sign pay rolls and health certificate. Meet comrades, officers and men of Co “A” Engineer Battalion.
Major J.W. Sackett, St. Augistine, Fla.
Capt. Taylor E. Brown, 6504 Ingleside Ave.
1st Lieut. F.B. Laramie, Windsor Park
2nd Lieut. John M,Curran, 112 Hartford Bvld.
Sergt. Bruce H. Summers, 747 – 63 St.
Jos. A. Nye, 185 Lincoln Ave.
Edwin S. Hooker, 283 Flournoy St.
J.E. Buckbee, Winnetka, Ill.
Sam’l A. Rutherford, 1605 Washington St., Kansas City Mo.
Edward G. Hodgkins, 84 LaSalle St.
Corp. H.J. Mickelson, Park Ridge, Ill.
Jos. W. Burns, 802 Larrabee St.
Chas. L. Wagner, 253 Bissell St.
Chas. Mueller Jr., 1635 N. Halstead St.
Archie E. Kinney, 7146 Lexington Ave.
Frank A. McCarthy, 1638 N. Halstead St.
Chester B. Reed, 4130 Lake Ave.
Martin E. Mayer, 3866 Lake Ave.
W.E. Isbester, 1711 – 90th Place.
Louis Rupplein, Metamora, Ill.
William H. Stuben, 68 Keenon St.
Noel E. Alspaugh, Naperville, Ill.
J.A. Reed, 6428 Parnell Ave.
W. C. Dayton Jr., 232 Hawkden Court.
R. Hartman, 268 S. State St.
H.L. Friedlander, 1241 S. State St.
Peter Perry, 963 Craig St., Montreal
R.R. Runciman, 667 W. Madison St.
Harry Bierma, 405 W. Erie St.
Samuel T. Patten, 111 S. Franklin St., Hotel Pleasants.
Stanley Guyton, Saratoga Hotel
C.B. Kleppe, Maywood Ill., c/o Norton Bros.
Clyde R. McCoy, 9017 Com’l Ave. So. Chgo.
Joseph M. Murphy, Maywood, Ill.
Ferdinand McDermid, 4032 Ellis Ave.
Fred. S. Bradley, 1326 Lice Ave.
Benj Franklin, 199 Bowen Ave.
Louis M. Winsauer, 113 Walton Pl.
Chas. S. Eakins, 6106 Butler St.
Alfred B. Chandler, 337 Washington Bvd.
Jos. A. Walrath, 1454 Michigan Ave.
John W. Briggs, 456 N. Clark St.
Jerome K. Grace, 709 Madison St., Topeka, Kans.
A.M. Reed, Oak Park, Ill.
Geo. A. Reding, 190 – 37th St.
Thos. Hanson, 30 Cherry Place
Burt F. Martin, 11 Oak Place.
Edward J Kelly, 126 – W. 67th St.
John W. Morrison, 32 S. Western Ave.
Elisha Morgan, 7042 Webster Ave.
Hugo Arnold, 340 Hawkden Court
F.L. Heckman, 56-94 La Salle St.
Ralph Howe, 5817 Emerald Ave., c/o A.N. Bollam.
Geo. S. Boyer, Reddick, Ill.
Frank N. Campbell, 197 – 47th St.
Frank Buck Bell, 327  – N 6th St.,  St. Jos. Mo.
Robt. K. Carver, Highland Park, 1st Nat’l Bank.
Louis Z. Marks, 2619 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis
W.S. Holderness, 417 S. Waller Ave., Austin, Ill.
W.A. Moore, 209 E. Ohio St.
James A. Wright, 2214 Wabash Ave.
Otho A. Fox, 5114 Jefferson Ave.
W.M. Maxwell, 162 N. State St.
C.H. Thorburn, 609 Rialto Bldg. 3728 Wabash Ave.
Wm. Babcock, 113 – W 39 St., Rock Falls, Ills.
Jno. A. Dignon, 2319 Dearborn St.
H.G. Lozier, U. of C.
J.A. Arnold, Maywood, Ills.
J.E. Vrooman, 9375 Burnside Ave.
Oscar L. Scallborn, 7030 Yale Ave.
H. Pyburn, 3346 Dearborn St.
Dwight D. Tallman, 8830 Eliz. St.


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Dame Emma Albani (Emma Marie Louise Cécile Lajeunesse) of Chambly, Québec

Emma Marie Louise Cécile Lajeunesse (known professionally as Dame Emma Albani), was a world-renowned soprano for most of the 19th century and into the early 20th century.
Emma Marie Louise Cécile Lajeunesse (Dame Emma Albini) at five

Emma Marie Louise Cécile Lajeunesse (Dame Emma Albini) at five years of age in about 1852.

She was also a harpist, pianist and teacher. Her birth date is commonly believed to be November 1, 1847 , although some believe she was born in 1848 or 1850. Emma was my fifth cousin, twice removed, as she was the fourth great granddaughter of my 7th great grandfather, Jean Jacques Labelle (1682-1748) of Île Jésus (Laval), Québec, Canada.

Chambly, Quebec

Emma’s birthplace, Chambly, Quebec.

In her own memoirs, Emma states her birth was in 1852 in Chambly, Québec, Canada to Joseph Lajeunesse (1818-1904) and Mélina Rachel Mélanie Mignault ( -1856).

Emma was the first Canadian singer to become internationally known and sought after. She performed operas composed by Bellini, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti and later, Wagner. Her audiences included such luminaries as Queen Victoria, Csar Alexander II, and Kaiser Wilhelm I.

Dame Emma Albani

Dame Emma Albini on her tours of Europe and North America, where she sang for Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm I and Csar Nicholas.

Emma Lajeunesse’s parents, both musicians, recognized their daughter’s wonderful talent very early. Although she studied first with her mother, her father took over her training when she turned five. He was a great musician in his own right and was skilled with the harp, violin, organ and piano. Her practice schedule was very busy and strict, in which she dedicated up to four hours a day. In 1856, shortly after his wife died, Joseph Lajeunesse was hired to teach music at the Religious of the Sacred Heart Convent in Sault-au-Récollet (Montréal), where Emma and her sister Cornélia (nickname Nellie) were boarders.

Royal autographs.

Autograph of Queen Victoria and other royals from Dame Emma Albani’s autograph book.

Emma attended from 1858 to 1865, and her talent was evident to the convent’s nuns, who were forced to bar her from the convent’s musical competitions so other children had a chance of winning.

At eight years old, Emma performed her first concert on September 15, 1856 at the Mechanics’ Institute in Montreal. The critics were amazed, and recognized her as a prodigy. She also sang in Chambly, Saint-Jean (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu), L’Assomption, Sorel, Industrie (Joliette), and Terrebonne, all in Québec.

Dame Emma Albani

Dame Dame Emma Albani in costume for her role as Amina.

Unable to finance a musical education in Quebec, where singing and acting were considered unsavory careers for a woman, Joseph Lajeunesse attempted to raise sufficient money to send her to study in Paris.

In 1865, Emma’s family moved to Albany, New York, stopping at several towns, including Saratoga Springs and Johnstown, where Emma and her sister performed. She became a popular singer in New York, and managed to save enough money for her studies.

Emma Albani in costume for Violetta

Dame Emma Albani in costume for Violetta.

In Albany, Emma was hired as soloist for the parish church of St Joseph, where she worked three years singing, playing the organ, and directing the choir. She also worked at composing scores, as well as musical pieces for harp, solo piano and two pianos.

With her father’s savings and financial assistance from well-wishers and parishioners, Emma was able to go to Paris to study at the ‘Paris Conservatoire’ with Gilbert-Louis Duprez, the famous French tenor. Not long after her lessons with him began, Duprez was heard to say about Emma, “She has a beautiful voice and ardor. She is of the kind of wood from which fine flutes are made.”

At the suggestion of her elocution instructor, Signor Delorenzi, she changed her name to the simpler Emma Albani, which sounded more European and happened to be a very old Italian family name. The closeness in sound of her new surname and ‘Albany’ in New York pleased her, as she had been treated so well there.

Emma continued to study in Milan, Italy for a year and with the assistance of eminent voice teacher Francesco Lamperti, she learned solid technique and, along with her rigid discipline, was able to maintain good vocal health. These techniques enabled her to perform a range of roles from light to dramatic.


Emma Albani in 1899.

Dame Emma Albani in 1899.

Emma’s funds diminished, and although she was not yet finished her training, she began to look for work during the 1869-70 season to help support her schooling. She found a position in Messina, and her operatic debut was on March 30, 1870, playing Amina in Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula. Her debut performance was very well received and she later stated, “I was literally loaded with flowers, presents, and poetry, the detached sheets of which were sent fluttering down in every direction on the heads of the audience; and among the numberless bouquets of every shape was a basket in which was concealed a live dove. They had painted it red, and the dear little bird rose and flew all over the theater.”

From the time of her debut in Messina, she realized that to portray historical characters, it was not enough to sing well and made a point of visiting museums and reading extensively.

She returned to Milan after her contract in Messina had expired and resumed her instruction with Lamperti. Meanwhile, more work offers began to pour in, including a role she accepted in Rigoletto, which was being performed in Cento. Other roles followed in Florence and Malta, with parts in Lucia di Lammermoor, Robert il Diavolo, La Sonnambula, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and L’Africaine.

After performing in Malta in the winter of 1870 to 1871, she auditioned for Frederick Gye, manager of Covent Garden in London. He was so impressed with her abilities, he signed her to a five-year contract. Before her London contract was to start, she returned to Italy to complete her studies with Lamperti.

Albani arrived in London in the spring of 1872 and her first performance under her contract was on April 2, 1872 at the Royal Italian Opera (the name taken in 1847 by Covent Garden in London) and was a great success. She was the first Canadian woman to perform in this opera house and would perform there until 1896.

Emma continued to perform in various roles and venues throughout Europe, Russia and the United States over the next five seasons. Her performances included that of Ophelia in Hamlet and the Countess in ‘The Marriage of Figaro’.

Queen Victoria later requested a private performance from Albani, who traveled to Windsor Palace in July, 1874 to perform “Caro Nome” from Rigoletto, “Ave Maria”, “Robin Adair”, and “Home, Sweet Home”. This was the first of many occasions on which Albani would perform for monarchs and other dignitaries, but it was also the beginning of a friendship and the two women would visit each other regularly until Queen Victoria died in 1901. Albani would also sing at the funeral of Queen Victoria.

Letter from Queen Victoria to Dame Emma Albani.

Letter from Queen Victoria to Dame Emma Albani.

Emma Albani toured the United States in the fall of 1874, visiting Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago and Albany.
In November 1874, Emma went on tour in the United States, where she performed her first role in a Wagner opera as Elsa in “Lohengrin” at New York’s Academy of Music. Her repertoire grew over the years.

After 1876, Emma’s sister Cornélia was always by her side. Cornélia was also a talented pianist and had studied in Germany, later teaching music to the children of the royal family of Spain. Cornélia worked her entire life as Emma’s accompanist and companion, dying soon after Emma.

Mr. Frederick Gye

Mr. Frederick Gye, father of Emma’s husband Ernest Gye.

Emma married Ernest Gye on August 6, 1878. He was the son of the director of the Royal Italian Opera and after his father died in an accident, he took over the position from 1878 to 1885. Their son, Ernest Frederick was born June 4, 1879, became a prominent diplomat and would die in London in 1955.

In 1880, as a result of playing Lucia in “Lucia di Lammermoor” and Gilda in “Rigoletto” at La Scala in Milan, Italy, Emma suffered a setback. The audience was already hostile to non-Italian singers in this theater, but she was not in very good voice, resulting in being unable to impress her listeners. Despite this, her career continued to grow since she performed in cities she had not previously visited.

Caricature from Punch, 17 September 1881: "MADAME ALBANI. A Thing of Beauty is a Gye for ever!"

Caricature from Punch, 17 September 1881: “MADAME ALBANI. A Thing of Beauty is a Gye for ever!”

In 1883, Emma and another singer, Adelina Patti, undertook a long tour in the United States, visiting Chicago, Baltimore, New York and Washington. She also gave three recitals in Montréal, for which appearance more than ten thousand people showed up to greet her, and poet Louis-Honoré Fréchette composed a poem in her honor which he read at a reception.

She remained attached to Canada and toured nine times to perform recitals from 1883 to 1906, traveling from one coast to the other. In1890 Emma performed in two complete operas at the Academy of Music in Montréal, Verdi’s “La Traviata” and “Lucia di Lammermoor”. Albani was always generous to charitable organizations and she supported and performed in a benefit concert in Montréal for Notre-Dame Hospital.

Albani became the first French Canadian woman to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on November 23, 1891 in “Les Huguenots”. That winter, she was in several other productions at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Albani retired from the Covent Gardens opera, and her final stage performance taking place in July 1896 at the Royal Opera House. To accommodate the changing tastes of the theater’s directors and the public, Emma had to show great flexibility and perform diverse roles. Emma received the royal Philharmonic Society’s gold medal or the “Beethoven Medal” in 1897.

Letter from Dame Emma Albani

Letter from Dame Emma Albani from her memoir titled “Forty Years of Song”.

Although retired, she still sang in recitals and in 1901 she traveled across Canada, traveling from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver, British Columbia. She then continued to go on tour in Australia (1898, 1907), South Africa (1898, 1899, 1904), Ceylon (Sri Lanka) (1907), New Zealand (1907) and India (1907). In 1906 she made her farewell Canadian tour. During this period she is said to have recorded nine titles (audio of one follows article) and some have since been remastered and are available today. Her ‘post-retirement’ career came to an end on October 14, 1911 when she gave her last public performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. That same year she released a book a book of her memoirs, “Forty Years of Song”.

She and her husband retired to Kensington where Emma’s last years were troubled by financial difficulties necessitating that she teach and occasionally perform in music halls. Her circumstances resulted from the war and poor investments, and in concern the British government voted her an annual pension of £100. Word of her difficulties reached Montréal, where “La Presse” sponsored a recital on May 28, 1925 in the Théâtre Saint-Denis. More than $4,000 was collected. Assistance was also sought from the Canadian and Quebec governments, who declined, stating that Albani had become more of a British subject than a Canadian citizen since she had resided in London since 1872).

Postage stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dame Emma's death.

Postage stamp issued by Canada Post in 1980 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dame Emma Albani’s death.

Dame Emma Albani died on April 3, 1930 at her home on Tregunter Road, Kensington, in London and was buried at Brompton, London, England.

During her lifetime, she received many awards, including the gold Beethoven Medal (given by the Royal Philharmonic Society of London) and the Medal of Honour commemorating Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1897. In 1925 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Of two streets that were named after Emma Albani in Montréal, the first was dedicated in the 1930s, but was later removed when the road was merged with another street, and the second was named Rue Albani in 1969.

Other honors included a postage stamp issued by Canada Post and designed by artist Huntley Brown. It was released July 4, 1980 and eleven million, seven hundred thousand copies of the stamp were printed. She is also immortalized in a stained glass mural at Montréal’s Place des Arts station.

Photo credits:

Wikipedia – Dame Emma Albani, online [].


  1. “Forty Years of Song,” by Emma Albani; Project Gutenberg Canada website; []
  2. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online []
  3. Les Labelles, Daniel Labelle online []
  4. Wikipedia – Dame Emma Albani, online [].