Military Monday – Bowen Family Civil War Sacrifice

At the start of the Civil War, William and Mary (Boynton) Bowen lived on their small farm in Perry, Maine with 10 children, including my 2nd great grandfather, Frederic Lowell Bowen (age 4). By the end of 1864, she has lost her husband, 3 sons and a son-in-law to the war effort. Her eldest son William Alonso had also died, but not in the war as far as is known.

In November 1861, William and son George Washington Bowen enlist with the Maine 1st Light Artillery Battery. They are initially stationed at Camp Chase, in Lowell, Massachusetts. In February 1862, George leaves with the unit for New Orleans but William, too sick to travel, remains in Lowell and dies on March 17th.

Lowell Daily Courier – Wed. Mar. 19, 1862

Death of the Last Occupant of Camp Chase.

When the soldiers evacuated Camp Chase, they left behind a man named William Bowen, who was confined to the hospital in consequence of an abscess.  He died on Monday last.  He was about forty-five years of age; it is understood he enlisted at Eastport, ME., and he leaves a family, and also parents probably in that vicinity.  His body was buried by Mr. A.P. Lesure, undertaker, of this city, with whom his friends can communicate, should they wish to take any action in relation to the removal of his remains.  Maine papers will confer a favor upon his relatives by publishing a notice of his death.

Baton Rouge National Cemetery
Photo courtesy of Jeanne O’Shea

A cousin, Jeanne O’Shea, and I have tried to find where William was buried in Lowell, but the 1862 book is missing from the cemetery where they likely buried him. He is probably in the unmarked section as it’s doubtful that Mary had the money to bring his body home.

Son George dies in Baton Rouge, LA just 18 months later, on 14 Sep 1863 and is buried in Baton Rouge National Cemetery.

Son Benjamin Franklin Bowen enlists with the District of Columbia Cavalry on 13 Jan 1864 and dies 6 months later, on 27 Jun 1864, killed in a skirmish at Roanoke Station Virginia.

Photo courtesy of Jeanne O’Shea

Son John Quincy Adams Bowen enlists with Company D, Maine 2nd Cavalry Regiment on 8 Dec 1863. John dies of tuberculosis 21 Oct 1864 in Barrancas, FL (near Pensacola).

Mary writes this letter to find out the details of John’s death:

Perry November 18th 1864

To the Adgedent generel

Dear Sir  I have been informed by Copral James Gallegar of the Second Maine Cavalry Company D John M. Lincoln Captain that my son John Q.A. Bowen, a private in that Company Died on the 19th of October 1864 but of what Decise I have not been informed  has his Death been reported to you or the Deceuse he died off  please let me know   it is the third Son I have lost in the army and I have lost a Husband and Son in law and I have one Son in Company E 17th Maine Reg Fort Preble Portland Maine, if you have the report of his Death please forward a Copy to me and you will oblige me I  have never received any of their bountys as yet and my Husband has been Dead three years next March  
yours with respect

Mary Bowen

Mary Bowen letter

I’m not sure who the other son is that she mentions is in Company E, 17th Maine. She does have 2 other sons that could have been there, but they are not listed in the roster of the 17th. The son-in-law she mentions is Samuel Collier, husband of eldest daughter Frances Ellen. Samuel enlisted with Company K, 18th Maine Infantry on 21 Aug 1862. The 18th is an interesting story, they spent most of the war stationed around Washington DC, guarding the capitol. In January 1863 the regiment designation was changed to the First Maine Heavy Artillery. In the spring of 1864, they were called to the front lines for Grant’s push into Richmond and saw some of the worst casualties of the war over the next year.

Samuel died at Spottsylvania, VA 19 May 1864, the first day that his unit saw fighting. For an excellent writeup of this unit, check out Andrew MacIsaac’s history thesis “Here the Reaper was the Angel of Death: The First Maine Heavy Artillery During the Overland Campaign” posted here.

In 1866, Maine passed the “Pension Act” into law, which would pay the family of a veteran up to $8 per month. Mary immediately applies. “I have lost a husband and three sons in the War of 1861″she wrote. She had still not received the US widows pension she had applied for 22 Jun 1863. Her letter must have had some effect, as of 25 Jul 1866 she was receiving $8 per month plus $2 per month additional for each child listed  (Silas M., Mary E., Frederick L., Lucy E., and Linnie W.)

Sunday’s Obituary – James Lucey, 87, Gonic Civil War Vet, Dies

Funeral Services for James Lucey, 87, of Gonic, were held Saturday morning at St. Mary’s church. Rev. John J. McNamara officiated. The services were widely attended by relatives, friends and members of military organizations of which he was a member.

Death put an end to a most interesting career with the passing of Mr. Lucey at the Wentworth hospital in Dover Thursday. Born in Queenstown, Ireland, 87 years ago, James Lucey came to America at the age of twelve, making his new home in South Groveland, Mass. There he learned the trade of carder in one of the textile factories.

With the event of the Civil war Mr. Lucey, although too young for actual duty enlistment, joined Co. M. of the Second Massachusetts Heavy Artillery as a drummer, and soon found himself a regular soldier, engaging in many of the principal battles of the war. He saved his money that he received for fighting and when he returned to his home he once more took up the trade of carder.

In 1879 he moved to Gonic, where he lived until his death. He was employed at the Gonic Manufacturing company mills for 54 years, first as a carder, then as overseer of the card room. Last March he retired to enjoy life at his home on Church Street, where he lived with his daughter.

He is survived by a sister, Mrs. Mary Fielding of South Groveland, Mass.; a son, James Lucey, Jr., of Gonic; and three daughters, Mrs. Anna Stevens and Mrs. Margaret Brown of Dover, and Mrs. Agnes Corson of Gonic.

A past commander of the G.A.R., Mr. Lucey was accorded a military funeral by the A.O.H. and the American Legion. He will be missed by his many friends, to whom he seemed a necessary part of the Memorial and Armistice day celebrations. Hervey Edgerly was in charge of the funeral.

From the Rochester Courier, front page, 21 Dec, 1934 edition. Transcribed by David Lucey.

Workday Wednesday – Gonic Mfg Co Carding Room Team

James E Lucey (1848-1934) was the “Boss Carder” at the Gonic Manufacturing Company in Rochester, NH for many years. This is a photo of him (in center) and the Carding Team. At a Woolen Mill, carding raw wool removes impurities and tangles, which prepares the wool for the next step in the process, spinning.

I don’t know who any of the other people in the picture are, but would love to find out. Please let me know if you recognize anyone in the photo.

Gonic Manufacturing Company, Rochester, NH. Carding Room Team.

Amanuensis Monday – 1896 Letter

Transcription of a letter from my 3rd Great Grandfather, John Cornelius Donoghue to his daughter Johanna (wife of James E Lucey). Johanna had been in America about 25 years at the time of this letter. Transcribed by me from a photocopy of the original letter.

Shronaboy Jan 7th 1896

Dear Daughter,

             I received your welcome letter and xmas present in due time for which I am more than thankful for.  I suppose I have not deserved as much from you as I never gave you anything but you know I thought more of you than any of the others and I tried to keep you with myself. 

            Johannah I am very glad to know that yourself, husband and family are in good health and going well a blessing which I hope you all will enjoy for many years to come. Now as for my going to America, I am too old and I suppose I would not live to reach you so I think it would not be worth my while to carry my old bones to a foreign country as I have not long to live, at best I am 80 years old.  I am thankful for your kind offer and there is nothing would please me better than to be with you but it is to(sic) late now.  I was glad to here (sic) that Hagerty is getting on well now.  I was sorry he should have met with any difficulties he was always kind to me and never forgot me.

            Now about your sister’s children the ages of Kate’s are from 20 years down to 9 and Norah’s about the same.  I will send you a more accuret (sic) account of them the next time I write you.  They are getting on nicely and if anything don’t occur that I am not aware of they will for some time to come.  This was a very good year for the farmer’s they had very good crops and a fair price for cattle and sheep butter is low but is bringing a better price lately. The country is the same as when you left is the people generally live better but everything else about the same.  Potatoes 2 shillings 6 pence per peck of 147lbs butter 1 shilling per lb meat 8 pence per pound for beef and mutton pork 6 pence flour 21 shillings per 224 lbs meal 15 shillings per bag of 280 lbs the prices of the different things are gon down and in many instances the rents are reduced some but not enough to corispond with the fall in prices.

            Now I cannot think of any more to tell you this time, hoping those lines will find all of you enjoying the New Year in good health and spirits

            I remain your fond father

                        John C. Donoghue

                        Shronaboy, Glenflesk, Co. Kerry Ireland

(Good bye write soon)


Those Places Thursday – The Lucey home

The Lucey home, 66 Church St, Gonic, NH

When James Edward Lucey, his wife Johanna and 3 sons moved to Rochester, NH from South Groveland, MA in 1879, this is where they made their home, 66 Church St. The house remained in the family through the next generation, not sure of the exact date (probably 1970’s). UPDATE – I found a “History of Gonic House” that Jack Ineson likely typed up in the 1980’s. In May 1981 the house was sold to Louis Gouptil by Mary C. Ineson.

The house had a tennis court in the 1920’s!

Around 2002 I visited the house and spoke to the current owner, who was nice enough to give me a letter that was found beneath the floor boards during a remodel. It was an Oct 1934 letter addressed to one of James’ daughters from a local attorney, Conrad Snow, offering condolences on the death of her father.

Mystery Monday – The death of JP Lucey

The father of James E Lucey (1848-1934) disappears between 1857 and 1860. In most records, he’s listed as James Lucey (marriage record and childrens birth records in Ireland), in 1857 he’s listed as JPL on the baptismal record of son David (Andover, MA) and he is missing from the 1860 census entirely.

Lucey's in the 1860 Census

Mary, John, James, Margaret and David in Andover, MA
1860

In 1861, his wife Mary marries John Hogan in Lawrence, MA.

There is an 7 Jun 1856 death record from Boston MA for a laborer named Patrick Lucey that is about the correct age, cause of death “burned”, no parents or additional info listed. Not likely him, since son David was born 14 Aug 1857.

I’ve ruled out other James and/or Patrick Lucey/Lucy’s in the Mass death records for this time frame. I could not find a mention of his death in the Andover newspaper but I did find a death notice for son John who died in 1860 at age 17, so it is something that could have been published.

Son John is buried in St. Augustine’s Cemetery in Andover, MA. Unfortunately there are no other headstones on the plot and the cemetery has no record of who is buried there. Maybe he didn’t die, but just left?

Coming to America, Part 1

One of the first things I wanted to know when I started working on my family history was when my family came to America. Of course, there is more than just one immigration to answer that question, so this will be a multi-part post covering each family line. First up, my 2nd great-grandfather, James Edward Lucey (1848-1934) who left Queenstown (Cobh) Ireland in 1853 with his mother and brother.

Mary, John and James, coming to America aboard the Meridian. They arrived on 12 Nov, 1853.

James came to America aboard the Meridian with his mother Mary and brother John in late 1853. Sisters Mary and Anne remained in Ireland. Mary came to America later, but Anne stayed in Cobh and married John Mann.

First record of my Lucey family in the U.S.

James, Mary and sons John and James in Brighton, MA 1855

This is the first and only record of James Edward Lucey (1848-1934, enumerated as James Lucy Jr) with both of his parents in the United States. By 1860, the family had moved to the Ballardvale section of Andover, MA.