Family Ties – Kilpatrick Part II

28 04 2008

In this post I told you about some of the noteworthy descendants of the Class of ‘61’s Hugh Judson Kilpatrick.  Continued research at the prompting of friends Jim Morgan and Teej Smith has turned up some more info on the progeny of Kil-Cavalry.  Strap yourself in, things could get a little bumpy…

Of course these forays into family histories need some sort of Civil War background, so let’s start with Kilpatrick’s role as the commander of a cavalry brigade in the Army of the Potomac during the Gettysburg Campaign.  In particular, during the pursuit of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia after the battle, Kilpatrick was involved in a night-time fight in Monterey Pass, on the grounds of the Monterey Inn at Blue Ridge Summit.  You’ll be able to read all about it in One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863, by Eric Wittenberg, J. D. Petruzzi and Mike Nugent.  Now, keep this fight in mind for later.

Judson and his Chilean wife Louisa had a daughter, Laura, who married US diplomat Harry Hays Morgan. Harry Hays Morgan was the son of Philip Hicky Morgan, a Louisianan who remained loyal during the war and was rewarded by the Republicans afterwards with various state and Federal positions including the ministry to Mexico.  Philip was the brother of Sarah Morgan, whose writings were published as The Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman (AKA A Confederate Girl’s Diary), and also of James Morris Morgan, author of Recollections of a Rebel Reefer.  For some reason, Philip is listed as buried here in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Cemetery, though he died in New York and as far as I’ve been able to learn never lived in the Steel City (see update here).  I couldn’t find any images of Philip, but here are Sarah and James:

 

Laura and Harry had four children, including the twins, Gloria and Thelma (at left), Consuelo, and Harry Hays Morgan, Jr.  Harry Jr. was a non-descript film actor in the 1940’s.  Gloria, as discussed, would marry into the Vanderbilt family and give birth to Little Gloria of tight blue jeans fame.  Thelma would eventually marry Marmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness and chairman of a shipping company.  This 7 year marriage gained Thelma the lifelong title of Viscountess Furness, though she was also known as Lady Furness.  She dabbled in film acting and producing, and also in rich men.  More on her later.

Consuelo, like Thelma, also married well and often.  She married a French Count and a president of Colonial Airlines who was also a Democratic National Committee bigwig.  But it is another of her marriages that at least gives a hint as to why Consuelo’s grandfather Morgan wound up in Pittsburgh (again, see update here).

One of Consuelo’s husbands was diplomat Benjamin Thaw, Jr., of the Pittsburgh coal family.  His father, Benjamin Thaw, was a member of the now notorious South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club.  The club was comprised of about fifty super-wealthy Pittsburgh families like the Carnegies, the Mellons, and the Fricks (here’s a member list).  The club purchased an abandoned reservoir in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania on the Little Conemaugh River near the town of South Fork.  The South Fork Dam formed Lake Conemaugh, the centerpiece of the Club’s secretive retreat of cottages.

On May 31, 1889, after days of heavy rain, the South Fork Dam burst, sending an estimated 20 million gallons of water down the Little Conemaugh River to the point where it joined with Stony Creek to form the Conemaugh River.  At that confluence was a steel producing settlement of 30,000; Johnstown, PA.  Over 2,200 people perished.  Many survivors blamed the catastrophe on the changes made to the South Fork Dam by the South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club.  Read about the Johnstown Flood here.

Consuelo’s father-in-law also had a brother by the name of Harry Kendall Thaw (left).  Harry was the black sheep of the family, having attended Western University (the future University of Pittsburgh) and Harvard with little distinction, unless you count his expulsion from the latter institution as noteworthy.  Mentally unstable and a drug abuser, Harry really, really liked women, particularly showgirls – though he treated them very, very badly.  This led to an infatuation with a transplanted Pittsburgher and Broadway chorus girl (and Gibson Girl) named Evelyn Nesbit. 

Harry pursued Evelyn (right), against the protestations of his family.  Evelyn enabled the pursuit, against the advice of her powerful friend and sometimes paramour Stanford White, the famous architect who had designed the second Madison Square Garden.  (As a setting for his lavish libidinous escapades, White had a tower apartment at The Garden which featured numerous mirrors.  He had another “love nest” that showcased a red velvet swing.)  By this time, White had moved on to other conquests but appears to have maintained a fatherly relationship with Evelyn.  Evelyn moved on to the actor John Barrymore and Harry Thaw.  After a stormy continental courtship, Evelyn and Harry were married on April 4, 1905.

Apparently Evelyn’s past physical relationship with White (left) ate at Thaw, and either out of rage over that past or suspicions of an ongoing affair on June 25, 1906, in the rooftop theater of Madison Square Garden, Harry K. Thaw fired three pistol shots into the face of Stanford White, killing him instantly, to the tune of I Could Love a Million Girls.  The typical high profile socialite New York murder trial ensued.  Thaw was committed to an asylum, but was judged sane and set free by 1915.  Read about the murder & trial here and here.  Listen to a PBS American Experience clip here.

The affair has been the subject of Hollywood films such as The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, starring Joan Collins as Evelyn, and Ragtime, which was based on the E. L. Doctorow novel of the same name.  I read that book and also liked the movie, which featured James Cagney in his final film role, the late Howard Rollins in his finest, Elizabeth McGovern (a big crush of mine back then) as Evelyn, and Robert Joy as the insane Thaw, shouting his mantra: I’m Harry K. Thaw, of Pittsburgh!  Even later, Doctorow’s book was the basis for a Broadway musical.

OK, back to the wife of Harry’s nephew.   Consuelo Morgan Thaw and her sister Lady Thelma Furness were, as well as I can figure, living in England when the stock market crashed in 1929.  Another American woman who, like Thelma and Consuelo, married well and often was living there, too.  She was Bessie Warfield, the wife of the half-American shipping magnate Ernest Aldrich Simpson, and through Consuelo she became friends with Thelma.

Also around this time, Lady Thelma had taken up with a happy bachelor by the unlikely name of Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David.  Everybody called him The Prince of Wales, or simply Royal Highness.  Things were going along smoothly enough, and on January 10, 1931 Thelma introduced Bessie Warfield Simpson to her boyfriend, the Prince.  In 1933 Lady Thelma took a trip back to the States, and Bessie, whom everyone called by her middle name, Wallis, swooped in to fill the void in the Prince’s life.  The rest, as they say, is history. 

Prince Edward became King Edward VIII of England in January, 1936, watching his accession ceremony in the company of his married girlfriend, Wallis Simpson.  Edward made known his plans to marry Wallis as soon as her divorce was finalized.  But the British government, headed by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, opposed the union, in part because the position of the Church of England – which one could argue was born to facilitate divorce – opposed remarriage after divorce.  Presented with the prospects of abandoning his love or accepting the resignations of the governments of the United Kingdom and the Dominions, Edward chose Wallis and a third option, abdicating his throne on December 10, 1936.  The two lived out the remainder of their lives as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  Here’s a wonderful Philippe Halsman photo of the Windsors jumping (for joy, I suppose):

One other thing: Bessie Wallis Warfield was born on June 19, 1895 (or 1896), in Square Cottage at Monterey Inn, Blue Ridge Summit, PA (below), the very ground on which Hugh Judson Kilpatrick – the grandfather of the women who led Wallis to the love of her life – had fought a night battle in July, 1863.

en-simpson-birthplace

It’s funny how these things work out.

UPDATE: See Part III here.

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Family Ties – Kilpatrick Part I

21 04 2008

Some of the more intriguing threads I like to pull are the ones that link well known figures by blood or marriage – family ties.  I’ve explored this before in the case of Peyton Manning (establishing that such a link probably doesn’t exist, see here, here and here), and you probably know the story of how a descendant’s relationship to First Bull Run Medal of Honor recipient Adelbert Ames led him to a memorable and often repeated encounter with the 35th President of the United States (if not don’t fret, I’ll talk about it later).  Today let’s take a look at one of Ames’s classmates who had not one, but two descendants who are household names in the US today.

In May, 1861 Hugh Judson Kilpatrick graduated from the US Military Academy 17th out of his class of 45.  Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st US Artillery on May 6, 1861, three days later he accepted a captaincy in the 5th New York Infantry, Duryee’s Zouaves.  He was with that regiment in the expedition to Big Bethel in June, and in the battle there on June 10th he was severely wounded but did not retire from the field until too weak from loss of blood.  Later he organized the 2nd NY Cavalry and by Dec. 1862 had risen to the colonelcy of that regiment.  In June of 1863 he became a brigadier general of volunteers in command of a division of cavalry in the Army of the Potomac.  He was hand-picked by Sherman to lead his cavalry in Georgia and the Carolinas, and ended the war a Major General USV and Brevet Maj. Gen. USA.  After the war he twice served as US envoy to Chile, and he died in that country in 1881, of Bright’s disease at the age of 46.

Today, he serves mainly as a punch-line for Civil War authors working backwards from their conclusions and assumptions regarding his character.

Kilpatrick and his Chilean wife Luisa had a daughter, Laura Delphine, who married an American diplomat named Harry Morgan (no, not that Harry Morgan, though a like-named son would become an actor).  Laura and Harry had a daughter named Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan, who married Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune.  The fruit of that union was Gloria Laura Vanderbilt, the poor little rich girl who became the centerpiece of a bitter custody battle between her widowed mother and the powerful Vanderbilt clan.  Eventually, her name graced the butts of hundreds of thousands of women in the 1970’s and ‘80’s.  Little Gloria Vanderbilt is the great-granddaughter of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick.

Little Gloria’s fourth marriage, to Wyatt Emory Cooper, produced two sons.  Older brother Carter committed suicide in 1988, jumping from the window of the family’s 14th floor apartment before his mother’s eyes.  Kilpatrick’s other great-great-grandson, Anderson, pursued a career in journalism, and today has his own news program on CNN.  See the resemblance?

 

By the way, another CNN talking head is named Campbell Brown.  She gets her first name from her mother’s side and her last from her father’s.  So it seems she’s not related to the stepson of Richard S. Ewell, a Confederate brigade commander at First Bull Run.  That Campbell Brown wrote a Century Magazine article on his step-dad at Bull Run that can be found in Volume I of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, and also published The First Manassas: Correspondence between Generals R. S. Ewell and G. T. Beauregard in further defense of Ewell in the face of Beauregard’s unfairly critical recollections.  This book is a collection of his Civil War related writings.

See Part II here.

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Kirkland’s Grave – Oh, The Things We Find

18 05 2007

 Well, I’m off to throw away my money at Pimlico.  Hopefully it won’t take an eventual mortal injury in the feature for me to break even this year.  I’ll have my computer with me while in Baltimore, but I doubt I’ll have internet access.  So this post will have to do until I get back on Sunday.  Sometimes we manage to hit a Civil War site on the ride home – last year it was Monocacy.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

I mentioned here that I learned an interesting tidbit on William Whedbee Kirkland as a result of my visit to Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown a couple of weeks ago.  Since I have a little time before we hit the road, let’s get it out of the way.

kirkland.jpgAt First Bull Run, Kirkland was colonel of the 11th North Carolina Volunteers, part of Brig. Gen. Milledge Luke Bonham’s First Brigade of Beauregard’s Army of the Potomac.  This apparently simple information can be confusing, however, since the 11th NCV was later designated the 21st North Carolina Infantry.  There was a later change to the regimental numbers, as well as designations of units as either North Carolina Infantry (NCI) or North Carolina State Troops (NCST).  It’s confusing, but when this change happened the NCV units had to change numbers, and those who became NCI regiments did so by changing their NCV number by ten.  It’s similar to the difference between the numbering of Pennsylvania Reserve regiments and their eventual PA volunteer infantry numbers, which you can figure out by adding 29 to the reserve number.  Confused?  If so, you get it.  But if you’re looking for the biography of the 11th NCV in a reference work like Crute, you need to look at the 21st NCI.  That’s the case for all of the NCV units, 2nd through 15th, except for the 10th, which became the 1st Artillery. 

Now, give me a minute while I try to remember my name.

You may recall from this earlier article that the later General Kirkland was related by marriage to Lieut. Gen. William J. Hardee.  When Hardee’s son Willie was gravely wounded in the late war Battle of Bentonville, his father sent him to the Kirkland home in Hillsboro (now Hillsborough), outside of Raleigh, NC.  It was there that young Willie died, and it was in the Kirkland family’s churchyard that he was buried.

After the war, Kirkland worked in the “commission business” in Savannah, GA.  The famous Broadway star Odette Taylor was actually Kirkland’s daughter, Bess, and her father eventually moved to New York where he worked for the post office.  Bess married another actor, one R. D. MacLean, whose real name was R. D. Shepherd of, you guessed it, Shepherdstown, WV (the acting couple are buried in Hollywood, CA, where they had moved to work in silent motion pictures – she was in Buster Keaton’s The Saphead; he seems to have had more success).  Apparently the elder Kirklands were tight with the Shepherd family, as Mrs. Kirkland – who at some point divorced her husband – is buried in the Shepherd family lot.  Kirkland, due to infirmity, spent the last 15 years of his life in the Washington, DC Soldier’s Home.  When he died in 1915, he was buried in Elmwood in what Ezra Warner wrote in 1959 was an unmarked grave. 

To bring the thread full circle, Kirkland’s burial plot (below, from my trip) was restored in 1990 by the citizens of his hometown, Hillsborough, NC.  I am not sure if the Susan Wilkins next to whom Kirkland is buried is his ex-wife, second wife, or what.  But check out the inscription on Kirkland’s stone.  Click on the thumbnail for larger pictures. 

 kirklandgrave1.jpgkirklandgrave2.jpgkirklandgrave3.jpg

I’m getting a sort of rakish vibe from Kirkland.  I don’t know if it’s because of his divorce, his post-war wanderings, his Hollywood connections, or the fact that after he dropped out of West Point he became a U. S. Marine.  Regardless, I’m looking forward to doing his bio sketch.  Any info you readers can provide is appreciated. 





Cross-Media Pollination

14 05 2007

acw-july-07.jpg

I’m back on the news stand, again in the pages of America’s Civil War magazine.  You can find my news article titled Are These Mannings Kin? on page 17 of the July issue.  It’s a very short piece that summarizes the blog posts I made here and here.  Of course, after the magazine went to press I received a note from Bruce Allardice informing me that there are apparently no close ties between the two Mannings (see here), and Bruce was kind enough to send a letter to the editor that will appear in a future issue of the magazine.  Hopefully from all of this we may at least learn the origin of the Super Bowl MVP’s unusual first name.  It still seems like one heck of a coincidence, if that’s all it is.

Just a note: the small windows that appear when you move your cursor over a link or photo on this page can be opened by simply left clicking.  Photos will appear in their own windows at their full size.





More Manning Moniker Madness

11 04 2007

allardice.jpgAn update on the previous posts regarding the relationship (if any) between Peyton Manning the quarterback and Peyton Manning the Confederate staff officer (if you have not read the posts, go here, here, and then here): Bruce Allardice, author of More Generals in Gray, sent me this note:

I’ve done some research and Major Peyton Manning and the QB Peyton Manning are NOT closely related. The two descend from different Manning families and the name Peyton is a recent addition to the family of Elisha Archibald “Archie” Manning.

I responded:

Thanks for the info. Where were you when I needed you two weeks ago? A bit on this will be published in a national CW magazine in the near future, with the disclaimer that a positive link has not been established. Do you happen to know if there is any link between Archie Manning and Eli Peyton of the 3rd MS?

Unfortunately, the upcoming issue of that magazine has already gone to press.  It would have been nice to include the information provided by Bruce.  But these things happen, I guess.

Bruce Allardice’s book More Generals in Gray is a must-have for the reference section of your personal Civil War library.  While you can’t see it in the photo, my copy of the book sits on the lower shelf seen here. 

UPDATE: Bruce contacted me again today with a little more info.  It seems that Archie Manning’s family has its roots in South Carolina, so there is likely no close link to the 19th century Alabama/Mississippi Mannings.  However, there is still a possible Bull Run thread here, in that former SC governor J. L. Manning was a volunteer ADC to P. G. T. Beauregard during the battle.





A Tale of Two Peytons

12 02 2007

 ptmanning.jpgpm2.jpg

Wow!  I’m still getting responses to the Peyton Manning posts; and good, productive responses at that.  Over the weekend I was contacted by an individual who had just attended a program at the Chicago Civil War Round Table in which the presenter showed a photo of James Longstreet staffer Peyton Manning.  That led me to the Bull Run Civil War Round Table and Dan Paterson.  It turns out Dan is a direct descendant of General Longstreet, and was giving a presentation based on ‘Ol Pete’s photo album (if you’re interested in booking Dan for your RT let me know and I’ll drop him a line).  Dan directed me to the photo in Volume 5 of William C. Davis’s The Image of War – The South Beseiged.  And another comment was sent by a member of the Longstreet Society which implies that the testimony of Francis Dawson quoted in A 100 Pound Quarterback may be tainted.  She also mentioned that the Society has attempted to contact the Manning family to clarify any relationship but has never received a response.  Please see the comments section of that post for these messages.

Up top you see comparative images of the two Peytons.  I don’t know if I see the resemblance because I want to see it, or because it really exists.  You decide. Click on the b-w photo for a larger image.

Peyton Manning is not the first NFL quarterback with a (possible? potential?) connection to a historical figure.  Steve Young and his great-something-grandfather Brigham look uncannily alike to me.  See below (the color photos are from Google images and attributable to several different sites).

b-young.jpgsteve-young.jpg





Affirmation, Baby?

3 02 2007

Today I listened to Pete Carmichael, author of Lee’s Young Artillerist and The Last Generation, on carmichael200.jpg Gerry Prokopowicz’s Civil War Talk Radio program recorded Feb. 2.  (That’s Pete’s photo from the UNC Greensboro site to the left.)  During the idle banter preceding a fascinating interview on aspects of southern society before and after the war, Gerry asked Pete where his loyalties lay for Super Bowl XLI.  Pete – a fellow Penn Stater whom I met on an alumni tour of Fredericksburg a few years ago – plead allegiance to the Colts.  He also said that Colt quarterback Peyton Manning was indeed named for the James Longstreet staffer featured in A 100 Pound Quarterback?

Pete’s statement was made with no qualifiers, no “may have beens”.  I hope that he may stumble across this blog one day and see fit to expound on this.  While I find the circumstantial evidence highly suggestive, I stop short of being certain.   I looked for an autobiography authored by Archie and Peyton when I was at Barnes & Noble the other day, but had no luck.

I do agree with Pete in his assertion that many modern studies of Civil War soldiers’ motivations inappropriately downplay the role of ideology.  In fact, at the end of the above referenced tour a discussion in Fredericksburg National Cemetery along these lines became a little heated, with Pete taking the minority position that the role of Union soldiers in “sacking” the town in December, 1862 was in large part politically, or ideologically, motivated.  I found his argument convincing, but I admit to a predisposition to do so – I thought those arguing against his position were perhaps too hung up on the motivations of 20th century American soldiers.  I guess I’ll have to move The Last Generation up on my “to read” list.








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