Captain Lodge Colton

Captain Lodge Colton

(1837 – 1913) Member of the Vestry 1894 – 1913 Master’s Mate Being a riverfront Church, Gloria Dei has a rich history that involves many people who were involved with maritime related occupations. Captain Lodge Colton was no exception. At the age of 14 he became a mariner on the clipper barque “James Cornor.” (sp. Corner?) He served the CSN being appointed in Baltimore, Maryland. Lodge Colton wa a Master’s Mate on the CSS Rappahannch in 1864 and the CSS Shanandoah in 1865. The CSS Shanandoah crossed the equator four times. On April 16, 1868 he was married in Baltimore to Marian Watts. The next year they moved to Philadelphia. Although his service took him to ports of call around the world, they maintained sittings at Gloria Dei from 1870 on. In 1874 they settled in New Orleans. Captain Colton’s ship sailed between New Orleans and Havana, Cuba. In 1880 he became a captain in the Ward Line, making voyages between New York, Cuba, and Mexico. He moved to New York and became a senior captain in 1887. Due to failing health he retired from the sea in 1892 and worked as a Marine Surveyor for the Insurance Company of North America in Philadelphia until 1912 when he retired. He was a director of the Pennsylvania Nautical School, having been appointed by Governor Stone in 1899 and reappointed by Governors Pennypacker and Tener. He was a member of the Vessel Owners’ and Captains’ Association of Philadelphia, the Marine Society of New York and the Cassia Lodge, F. and A.M. of Baltimore. While on the Vestry he was a member of the Property Committee. He was buried in the Church cemetery. The Vestry Minutes of December 1, 1913 say in part “we have not only lost a most active and devoted member, but also such a genial friend and companion, one ever-ready and willing to speak the kind word, and do the kind act, that his death comes as a personal grief to each one of us, as we recall the loved associations of by-gone...

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John C. Hunterson

John C. Hunterson

(1841 – 1927) Civil War, Medal of Honor John C. Hunterson was born on August 4, 1841 in Philadelphia. Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He entered the Union Army on July 23, 1861, where he was mustered in as a Private in Company B, 3rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery June 5, 1862, a few days after the Battle of Fair Oaks. His citation reads “While under fire, between the lines of the two armies, voluntarily gave up his own horse to an engineer officer whom he was accompanying on a reconnaissance and whose horse had been killed, thus enabling the officer to escape with valuable papers in his possession.” He had been detailed that morning as an orderly to the engineering officer, who served on the staff of Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman, then commander of the Army of the Potomac’s III Corps. The officer had met with III Corps division and brigade commanders Brigadier General Joseph Hooker, Brigadier General Daniel Sickles, and Brigadier General Cuvier Grover, showing them detailed maps of the present disposition of Union forces. After the meeting they rode on, and were fired upon by Confederates in the area. The officer’s horse was shot and killed, and pinned him under it when it fell. Private Hunterson rescued the officer, and unhesitatingly gave up his mount so the maps can be brought to safety. Had they been captured, the defensive positions of the Army in that sector would be known by the Rebels. Private Hunterson was himself captured because of his brave act, but managed to escape later, much the surprise of his comrades, who all thought him destined for a rebel prison. Private Hunterson would serve a full three year enlistment in the field, and was honorably mustered out on August 24, 1864. His Medal was awarded to him on August 2, 1897. John Hunterson died on November 6,...

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Captain Morris Sheer

Captain Morris Sheer

Ship Captain (c. 1820-1859) During the 19th century, Philadelphia’s waterfront was lined with wharves which were operated by numerous shipping lines. Smaller vessels designed for domestic use, called packet boats, carried mail, packages, and a limited number of passengers to major cities across the Eastern seaboard. Morris Sheer, a parishioner at Gloria Dei, was one of the first captains of the line of packets that ran between Philadelphia and Charleston. A lifelong resident of Southwark, Sheer was born around 1820 to Sarah, a proprietor of a dry goods store located at 117 South Street. In 1840, he married Sarah Holderness at Gloria Dei Church in a ceremony presided over by the Reverend J.C. Clay. Sheer and his wife initially settled near 4th and Queen but records indicate that they had moved to 337 Wharton Street by 1850. The Sheers had at least six children including Francis (d. 1855) and George (1847-1851) who both sadly predeceased their parents. As a ship captain in the packet trade, Sheer often navigated A.J. Culin and Company’s “only regular packet” line between Philadelphia and Mobile. Described by his employer as “experienced in the trade,” Sheer made regular passage on his brig the Sea Flower, departing from 17 N. Wharves, located south of Arch Street. In 1850, a lawsuit filed against Sheer’s employer regarding Admiralty and Maritime Jurisdiction threatened the title and claim against the Sea Flower. However, the claim appears to have been dismissed by the district court of South Carolina. Toward the end of his life, Sheer contracted dropsy, an unnatural accumulation of fluid in the body which caused major swelling. Popular treatment methods of the time involved augmenting secretions or the mechanical removal of body fluids. Unfortunately, the acts of cutting, bleeding, leeching, and lancing did not always result in recovery. Captain Sheer, who died in his residence at age 46, may have succumbed to the treatment rather than the disease. He is interred at Gloria Dei Church with his wife and two of their...

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Pvt. Jacob Jackson & The War of 1812

Pvt. Jacob Jackson & The War of 1812

By A.William Bodine Director of the Pennsylvania Society of the War of 1812 Jacob Jackson was a native son of Pennsylvania and South Philadelphia in particular. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Jackson. Born in 1779, at age 33 Jacob joined the U.S. Navy and served as a Boatswain aboard the Little Adams and also the Scorpion with Capt. Jonathan Jones of the 1st Pennsylvania Militia directed by Col. Jeremiah Shappell. It is clear that Jacob had great courage because he served on only two of eighteen battle ships owned by the U.S. Navy compared to six hundred maned by the British whom the world recognized ruled the oceans. In fact, while the war was primarily a land war with small armies from both sides confronting each other in periodic and brutal skirmishes but with a low level of casualties, the fundamental issue of the war was freedom to navigate the seas. While little more is known about Jacob Jackson from his service, he military efforts contributed to a war which established some of America’s most enduring symbols including the USS Constitution, our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, and Andrew Jackson. It was also a remarkable war because Jacob was joined in his military war efforts by five men who would become President of the United States including James Buchanan, Zackery Taylor, John Tyler, William Henry Harrison and Andrew Jackson whose defense of New Orleans was the basis for his heroic and legendary status in American history. On a personal level, Jacob Jackson married Catharina Ohnmacht and fathered eight children. He lived a full life experiencing the joy and comfort of his large family and died at age 86 having also witnessed the Civil War from 1861 to the year of his death in 1865. This occasion also offers an opportunity to share some little-known facts about the War of 1812. First, for the British the War of 1812 was a side show. They were deep into fighting the French with their best military leaders while many of the British military and naval officers fighting in America and Canada against the Americans were second rate. In fact, Henry Patrick Proctor bungled the British defense so badly at the Battle of Moraviantown that he was court martialed as the record shows for his “deficiency in energy and judgment.” For Americans, the war became unpopular because it carried on for several years even beyond the official end of the war in the Treaty of Ghent signed on Christmas Eve in December 1815. In fact, the largest battle of the war was fought in New Orleans mainly because word of the peace treaty had not yet reached America. It was also...

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