Monday, September 19, 2016


Continued from Part I , Part II, Part III, and Part IV

The Atlee Genealogy

The genealogy of the Atlees is set out in Genealogical record of the Atlee family, The descendants of Judge William Augustus Atlee and Colonel Samuel John Atlee of Lancaster County, Pa by Edwin Atlee Barber. The Atlees were proud of their ancestry and their closeness to national leaders in both England before the revolution and in American after that date. In Part IV we described the nine children of the first American Atlee. Of the three sons, only one is followed in this Part V, being William Pitt Atlee, born in 1772. Edwin Augustus Atlee, born in 1776, having been chronicled in Part IV. About the third son, little is known.

William Pitt Atlee (1772-1815), the eldest son, had been a young lad while his father and uncle took their places in the war of the revolution and within the new government they had fought to create. With both parents dead by 1793, however, as the eldest son, he became head of the family at only 21 years of age.

The man who was elected from 1799 to 1808 as governor had formerly been Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, Thomas McKean. Until his death in 1793, William Augustus Atlee had been the Senior Justice at the same court where McKean was Chief Justice of the circuit. It is McKean, Atlee's mentor, who is given credit for establishing the "spoils system" of political appointments in Pennsylvania, telling Thomas Jefferson in 1801 that "it is not right to put a dagger in the hands of an assassin." Even then, it seems, politics was a very personal affair. Not only did Governor McKean give his colleague's son-in-law the plum position of prothonotary in Cambria County, but he ensured that his own son, Joseph M. McKean, was appointed district attorney.

McKean had never been idle, having commanded a battalion which served in the Jersey campaigns of 1776-77, been a promoter of and signer of the Declaration of Independence, a member of the 1778 convention which framed the Articles of Confederation, President of Congress (1781), and in a delegate to the Pennsylvania convention to ratify the federal constitution in 1787. He was a member of the Pennsylvania constitutional convention of 1789-90, and under it became its second executive, filling the gubernatorial office three terms, from December 17, 1799, to December 20, 1808. He also was named a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and died in 1817.

His associate, William A. Atlee, before 1779, had also been named as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, then known as the College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia, which had been founded by Benjamin Franklin and William Shippen. The newly elected General Assembly formed and elected following independence, passed an Act which illegally attempted to place ownership into the hands of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, rather than the original proprietors who had established the College in 1740. That attempt was partially repealed in 1789, but other provisions remained as before. The U.S. Supreme Court held in a landmark decision in 1819, in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518, that a privately funded college could not be changed into a state university. The appointing of trustees must proceed as set out in the original charter.

The significance of this case to our study is that the choice of who would handle appointment of trustees for the University of Pennsylvania would remain in the hands of persons close to the man who was a direct ancestor of David Atlee Phillips, i.e. William Augustus Atlee. The purpose of this study is to determine whether that fact had any influence on what choices Atlee's infamous descendant made during his life.

Atlee was not above using his connections. As soon as the revolution was complete and the peace treaty was in the works, he had requested Judge McKean to use his friendship with John Adams, then a peace negotiator for the new federal government, to investigate whether Atlee's father had an inheritance in England. Adams replied to McKean, asking for funds to be sent to him, which he would then deliver to Dr. John Brown Cutting. A pharmacist in the Continental Army during the revolutionary war, Cutting had subsequently studied law under Judge John Lowell in Boston until 1786, at which time he made his way to London to study at the Inner Temple. Although the funds Cutting requested appear to have been received in London by Adams, there is no indication that Cutting ever actually investigated the property records for Atlee, nor that that was any estate remaining in the Atlee family.

The year before his death, Justice Atlee and his colleague, Thomas McKean, were named with others as Electors chosen to cast their votes in the Presidential election for George Washington's second term. This honor occurred only a few months before Atlee's death. Many of those electors named were also trustees of what was then called the College of Philadelphia.

William Pitt Atlee Branch
William Pitt Atlee was 26 years of age in 1798 when he married sixteen-year-old Sarah Light, whose New York born father, John Light, a Major during the revolutionary war, had settled at Lancaster in 1783, operating a pub. Major Light joined the St. James Episcopal church attended by the Atlee family. He was elected chief burgess in 1803, becoming a stalwart in Democratic politics, named as an elector on the ballot in 1824 in support the candidacy of William Crawford of Georgia for president and Albert Gallatin as vice-president. Sarah's father died in 1834.

Sarah Light Atlee had lost her husband in 1815 when he was only 43, leaving his wife to rear six minor children without his assistance. Like his father-in-law, William Pitt Atlee had served as a soldier, though not in the revolutionary war but in the War of 1812, attaining the rank of Colonel. During his life apart from the military he worked as a coppersmith, deputy sheriff and a marshal for the Lancaster district before the war, which possibly influenced his being placed in charge of British prisoners during the war. His wife, Sarah Light Atlee, who survived him by 35 years, watched as the eldest of their four sons followed in the footsteps of William Pitt's younger brother, Edwin A. Atlee. who was already on his way toward an eminent medical career before 1812, as shown in our previous post

The names below are the children of William Pitt and Sarah Light Atlee.
John Light Atlee
John Light Atlee (1799-1885), studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, married a daughter of Judge Walter Franklin and practiced gynecological surgery in Lancaster until his death there in 1885. Unlike his uncle, Edwin Atlee, John remained a member of the Episcopal Church.

Elizabeth Amelia
Elizabeth Amelia Atlee (1801-1848) married in 1824 Rev. Alexander Varian, an Episcopal minister and missionary to Vincennes, Indiana, who was transferred from the diocese in Ohio. Rev. Varian and his daughters, Sarah and Harriet, operated a boarding school for young ladies there in the 1850's.

William Lewis Atlee
William Lewis Atlee (1803-1880), the second son, may sometimes become confused with the youngest of the four Atlee sons of this generation because he used the initials W. L. for his name, which were the same as those of Washington Lemuel Atlee, five years younger, who, to avoid confusion, apparently tried to use his full name rather than only the initials. 

W. L. was married in 1828 in Gettysburg to Sarah Gilbert, a sister of his younger brother's wife, Delilah. William and Edwin Atlee went into business together in Gettysburg, making equipment for horse-drawn carriages as well as saddles and bridles. In 1840 much of the extended family of Atlees and Gilberts had also relocated to Athens, continuing in the same business begun in Gettysburg--manufacturing saddles, harnesses and other equipment used in horse-borne transportation. But they were no longer Episcopal or Quaker; all of this branch had become Methodists.

Their eldest daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Atlee, in 1847 married Rev. William Reynolds Long, and they reared twelve children in rural McMinn County, earning their living by farming. One of their children, Rev. Carroll Summerfield Long, however, served as a Methodist missionary to Japan after studying at East Tennessee Wesleyan. Arriving in Japan in 1880, Rev. Carroll Long served a total of eight years, mostly in Nagasaki, where he founded Cobleigh Seminary (1881), was presiding elder of the Nagasaki and Nagoya districts. He even founded a school for girls in Nagoya (October 1888) before his death in 1890.
    Edwin Augustus Atlee
    It is easy to confuse Edwin Augustus Atlee (1804-1868) with his uncle with the same name--the  youngest son of William Augustus Atlee. This second Edwin, however, was not a physician but a saddle and harness manufacturer. In 1826 he married Delilah Gilbert, a young lady who lived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (born 1809), whose father, Barnhart (Bernhart/Bernhardt) Gilbert, had owned a pub across the street from the courthouse in Gettysburg since 1812. The pub and its contiguous land was sold in 1827 to the Bank of Gettysburg (later called Gettysburg National Bank), of which Gilbert had been a founder and shareholder in 1814, also a director for four years. Delilah's younger sister, Sarah Gilbert, would marry Edwin's older brother, William Lewis Atlee two years later.

    Catherine Esther Atlee
    Catherine Esther Atlee (1806-1879) married Henry Pinkerton in 1825.

    Washington Lemuel Atlee
    The youngest son was Washington Lemuel Atlee (1808-1878), would also become a medical doctor, an 1828 graduate of Jefferson College. He practiced medicine in Lancaster, Pa. until 1845 when he moved to Philadelphia as chemistry professor at Jefferson's successor, the Philadelphia Medical College, later known as Pennsylvania Medical College. He resigned in 1852 to specialize in surgery to remove ovarian tumors. Dr. Washington L. Atlee was the last surviving member of the Pennsylvania Medical College where the surgical chair was in 1845 occupied by Dr. David Gilbert. Others in that department were Dr. William R. Grant, William Darrach, H. L. Patterson, and J. Wiltbank, besides Dr. Atlee.

    His wife since 1830 was Ann Hoff, granddaughter of a German clockmaker who had settled in Lancaster in 1765. Her father, John Hoff, was born in Lancaster the year the revolution began. Their first child, named George McClellan Atlee for the doctor who founded Jefferson College, died as an infant, but subsequent children did survive.
        • Eliza Varian Atlee (1836-1899) married John Foreman Sheaff in 1858.
        • Ann Catherine Atlee (1832-1882) married David Burpee, M.D.
        • Mary Louise Atlee (1833-1901) married Thomas Murray Drysdale, M.D. of Philadelphia, who served as Dr. Atlee's literary executor upon his father-in-law's death in 1878.
        • Margaret Atlee (1839-1917) married George A. Hoff in 1879.
        • Dr. Washington Lemuel Atlee, Jr. (1841-1900) married Anna M. West in 1864. 
    In Part VI, we will move the family to Texas, where the most notorious descendant lived out his life, his notoriety being the fact that he spent a career in the Central Intelligence Agency and has been documented to have been involved in not only setting up fellow Fort Worth resident Lee Harvey Oswald as the patsy blamed for killing President John F. Kennedy, but very likely was himself involved in planning that murder.

    Sunday, August 7, 2016

    The Story of DAVID ATLEE PHILLIPS (Part IV)

    Continued from Part I , Part II, and Part III

    Nine Children of William Augustus Atlee

    William Augustus Atlee's wife, formerly Esther Sayre, began having children in 1764. His mother, Jane Alcock Atlee, died in 1777 in Lancaster, where she had lived as a widow for more than thirty years. The same year his mother died, William A. Atlee had been named a circuit justice of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, established under a new Constitution, written pursuant to an expressed wish of the Continental Congress. The first four Atlee children were girls who, although they would not pass on the Atlee surname, did give their children traditional Atlee names, while their marriages connected them to eminent families.

    Elizabeth Amelia Atlee White
    The eldest child, Elizabeth Amelia Atlee, in 1786, married Major Moses White from Rutland, Massachusetts, an aide-de-camp during the war to his cousin, Brigadier General Moses Hazen. Their marriage resulted in her move to Massachusetts, where White worked diligently for decades as Executor of the Hazen estate. Moses White's mother, Miriam Hoyt Hazen, had been the widow of of Moses Hazen's brother, Richard Hazen,before her marriage to John White, in 1753. 

    Phillips founded Academy at Exeter and Andover.
    In 1803 Elizabeth Atlee White's younger sister, Charlotte Hazen Atlee, who had been four years of age when her sister married, was wed to Moses White's younger brother, Nathaniel. It is possible that she had moved to live with the Whites in Massachusetts after her parents died. 

    The White brothers were related by marriage to some of the most elite members of colonial society, including the person for whom the youngest child was named.

    Hazen's first was wife, Abigail White, daughter of  John and Lydia Gilman White, married Rev. Samuel Phillips of Andover, brother of John Phillips, who in 1781 endowed and chartered the elite Phillips Academy in Exeter, N. H. and in 1783 the Phillips Academy in Andover. In fact, three White siblings married Phillips siblings. See The Genealogy of William White, which shows the intermarriages between the White, Hazen and Phillips families.

    John Phillips, Exeter founder
    John and Lydia White's son, William, married John's sister, Sarah Phillips, while son Samuel White married Ruth Phillips. A daughter, Abigail White married General Moses Hazen, mentioned above. 

    One daughter, Elizabeth Amelia White, in 1824 married a son of Oliver Peabody, trustee of the Academy from 1794 until 1828, its treasurer from 1808. Elizabeth and her husband, Rev. William Bourne Oliver Peabody, had a son who, with her husband's twin brother, Oliver W. Peabody, helped found the investment firm Kidder, Peabody & Co.1
    Meanwhile the Phillips Academies founded in Exeter, New Hampshire, and at Andover, Massachusetts, were becoming among the schools where the most elite of the revolutionary patriots chose to have their sons educated for university preparation for college at Harvard and Yale. 

    Mary Rachel Atlee James
    The second daughter, Mary Rachel Atlee, married in 1798, several years after her parents died and just a year before her late father's close colleague, Judge McKean, became Pennsylvania's governor. McKean appointed Mary's husband, Edward Victor James, prothonotary for Cambria County, Pennsylvania, created in 1805, although Mary died before he could take office in 1808.

    Settlement had already begun to move westward, and Edward James had acquired a tract of land in the county and set out to develop the village of Munster, Pennsylvania, which he hoped would become the county seat once Cambria County was carved out. Munster unfortunately lost out to Ebensburg, almost twice its size. Also in the running was Loretto, the Catholic area dominated by a Catholic priest, Father Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, a Russian prince whose father had been Russia's ambassador to the Netherlands. Gallitzin was the sole priest at Loretto--the only Catholic church between Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and St. Louis, and he played another role as well, also leading drills for the 142nd Pennsylvania Militia, which would fight in the war of 1812. 2

    Jane Atlee Rigg
    Jane Atlee (born 1769) married Elisha Rigg, who had been sent by the Episcopal Church as minister to the St. James Church in Lancaster prior to marrying his young parishioner in 1790. By 1799 he and Jane moved to Queen Anne's County, Maryland, where he was transferred to St. Paul's Church to serve under America's first Episcopal Bishop Thomas John Claggett. Rev. Henry Lyon Davis was nearby in St. Mary's County and in Cecil County, serving under Bishop Claggett. Previously, while researching the Presidents Bush Walker family, we noted that Rev. Davis was the brother-in-law of Ann Mercer Davis, Harriet Mercer Walker's sister. Harriet had married George E. Walker in Cecil County and later moved to Illinois, where her son David Davis Walker was born. (See genealogy chart here.) After her husband's death in Maryland in 1804, Jane apparently returned to Lancaster with her children. 

    There were three sons who followed.

    William Pitt Atlee
    The first William Pitt Atlee (born in 1770) died at the age of two--the same year a second son was born and given his deceased brother's name. It is this second William Pitt Atlee whose branch will be followed in the next segment. It is from his branch that David Atlee Phillips is derived. For simplicity, a chart is inserted below to compare this branch (bracketed in red) with the other siblings, since the same names appear in various generations.

    Click here for pdf format file.

    John Sayre Atlee
    John Sayre Atlee (born 1774) was a craftsman who lived in Columbia, Pennsylvania, who made clock cabinets, and appears to have married Elizabeth Fritz in 1848 at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and died there in 1852, having little contact with the rest of the Atlee family.

    Edwin Augustus Atlee
    Edwin Augustus Atlee (born 1776) went to Dickinson College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1792 in the same class with future Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, who also had ties to Mount St. Mary's in Maryland. Edwin married in 1798 Margaret Snyder, whose uncle became Pennsylvania's third governor, Simon Snyder. Not officially elected to the governorship until 1808, Snyder had opposed McKean in 1805, when his Jeffersonian friends attempted to oust "the old patriot," by means of a plan hatched in a Lancaster tavern, described in the Gettysburg press as "sudden, daring and dangerous attempts to demolish the fabric of government and to overthrow the present Republican Administration."

    President's Residence in Philadelphia
    Returning to Lancaster after graduation from Dickinson, Edwin, a member of a Lancaster militia, was called up during the Whiskey Insurrection, 1791-1794, which required security to protect President George Washington in Philadelphia. During his military experience, Edwin witnessed the terrible consequences of a yellow fever epidemic in 1793, which resulted in his father's death, and likely was the stimulus for his change from a study of law to a career in medicine. 

    He then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania's Institutes of Medicine, which Dr. Benjamin Rush (page 131) had organized to give medical care to revolutionary soldiers and studied under Dr. Benjamin Barton (page 138), a boyhood friend from Lancaster. His son, Edwin Pitt Atlee, born in 1799, would also graduate from the University's medical institute and practice medicine in Philadelphia. 

    Dr. George B. McClellan
    Both Edwin Atlees (E. A. and E. P.) joined the Society of Friends, departing from the Atlees' tradition in the Anglican and Episcopal church. Both Drs. Atlee were in Philadelphia in 1817 at the time George B. McClellan (page 160) entered the city for his medical studies, and they would often be named with him as doctors who recommended certain patented medications, such as the hernia truss and Parker's Panacea. Dr. McClellan established his surgical practice in 1821 and, in 1824, sought and received the charter for the Jefferson Medical College. Edwin A.'s nephew, Dr. Washington Lemuel Atlee (sometimes known as Dr. Washington Light Atlee), was a private pupil of McClellan's and graduated in 1829. 

    It is most interesting here to note that Dr. (later civil war General) McClellan came to Philadelphia from Connecticut, where he had studied under Dr. Thomas Hubbard, the head of surgery at Yale. Hubbard's daughter married William Huntington Russell, co-founder of Skull and Bones. I have written about Hubbard and Russell previously here and here. Incidentally, Dr. James William Scanlan, nephew of Bush ancestor George E. Walker, received his medical degree from Jefferson during the same time Dr. Atlee was in Philadelphia. The pattern which is emerging indicates that both the Walker/Bush family and the Atlee family have a strong historical connection to the University of Pennsylvania, where America's medical establishment was founded.
    In 1829 Dr. Edwin A. Atlee moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was pastor of the First New Jerusalem Society (Swedenborgian denomination). His medical practice was at W. 4th and N. Main streets, while he also had the title of vice president at the First District Medical Society of Ohio. By 1832, his son, Dr. Edwin P. Atlee, had become a professor at the Ohio Medical College in Cincinnati as well as being pastor of the Cincinnati Society church.
    In 1822 Edwin Pitt Atlee was married to Margaret Collins Bullock, who gave birth to seven children. Following her husband's death in 1836, Margaret married William W. Longstreth., a hardware merchant whose interest coal transportation developed into his becoming president of the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1864.
    Edwin Pitt's younger sister, Esther Barton Atlee, married in 1839 Samuel J. Browne, a miserly pioneer of Cincinnati, who died very wealthy in 1872. Several months before his death, he killed a young boy who had gone into Browne's back yard to fetch a ball. The press had a field day, and a grand jury was in the act of voting an indictment against him at the moment he died.

    Browne had invested funds to buy stock in the Eastern Texas Railroad Company to be built in Texas at Sabine Pass, and a stepson, Edwin Augustus At Lee Barker, had moved to east Texas to oversee the investment for several years immediately prior to the start of the civil war. Barker's own two sons had, in fact, been born in Sabine Pass, Texas in the early 1860s.

    Unfortunately, the war had devastated that investment, and the rails, removed to hide them from looters, were then stolen by the Confederate army. Browne's will left the land grants, which he hoped would be paid by the State of Texas for building of this road, to the children of his daughter, wife of Dr. Jacob H. Hunt. The railroad was completed after the Civil War under a different name, Sabine and East Texas Railway. [See Sabine Pass at southeast corner of Texas on map.]

    You may recall from this blog that the Byrd family and G. H. Walker were involved in building railroads in southeastern Missouri and northern Mississippi, and that David Atlee Phillips' ancestor, Dr. Charles G. Young, had met his wife Mary in Cincinnati, Ohio, while there studying medicine. After Dr. Young completed his studies, he moved to Louisiana, where their first child, Caroline, was born in 1844. In about 1851 he began working to build a railroad between Shreveport and Vicksburg, and in 1855 sat on a committee with Albert Pike in a "commercial convention" in New Orleans. All that had happened before he brought his family to Texas where he continued building the railroad, and where he met his untimely death in 1871.
    Another sister of Edwin Pitt Atlee, Mary Patience Atlee (born 1806 in Lancaster), married George Africanus O'Brien, son of Richard O'Brien, consul in both Italy and Algeria during very earliest days of the U.S. State Department. George, born during his father's duties in Africa, married Mary in Philadelphia in 1827, and they would have nine children before Mary's death in 1862. The wedding took place in the midst of the "great separation" period, as reflected in the fact that the wedding ceremony was performed by Swedenborgian pastor, Rev. Manning B. Roche, who had been deposed as an Episcopal priest in 1822. Dr. Atlee was then living in Cincinnati, where he was a licentiate. One year after Mary's marriage to O'Brien, Rev. Roche would make "an evangelistic tour" to Cincinnati, where in 1829 Dr. Atlee became resident pastor. He resigned in 1832, and by 1835 he was back in Philadelphia, preaching at the "Free Quaker" meeting house. By 1847 he was a missionary. In a letter which mentions both Roche and Atlee, Atlee's role in the Swedenborgian movement was laid out:
    Atlee, Dr. Edwin Augustus (1776-1852) – prominent Philadelphia Quaker physician and religious activist. Born in Lancaster, he attended Dickinson College and was converted at a Methodist camp meeting – even serving as a Methodist pastor before turning to the simpler and more sacrificial lifestyle he saw in within the Friends. In 1825, letters were published between Atlee and Elias Hicks, leader of the 1827 Hicksite split in the Society of Friends. In 1826, Atlee embraced Swedenborgianism. After the original New Church congregation lost its temple, mainly due to the financial collapse of William Schlatter, Dr. Atlee and Manning Roche led separate societies that met in community halls. He resigned from the denomination in 1832 in a letter which reads in part: “Although I am fully persuaded and convinced that the doctrines of the New Jerusalem are Heavenly, and as a system perfect, yet I am equally convinced that by reuniting with Friends I shall best qualify myself for realizing in life the Divine Truths of the Word, and for usefulness in the vineyards of the Lord.”
    Esther Bowes Atlee
    Esther Bowes Atlee (born 1778) but died in 1781.

    Sarah Ann Atlee 
    Sarah Ann Atlee (born 1780) was left motherless at the age of ten when Esther Atlee died in 1790. A year later, Judge Atlee purchased a mill with 57 acres of land lived in the attached mansion with his daughters until his own death two years later when a yellow fever epidemic returned to Philadelphia after 30 years of absence. The youngest Atlee girls, ages eleven and thirteen when their father died, lost their home in 1795, when the Orphan's Court ordered it to be sold. A year after the mansion was sold, Sarah Ann Atlee, at the age of 16, married a wealthy surveyor named Thomas Vickroy who was more than twice her age. A widower with five children, he took his teenage bride west to Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, where his surveying business was centered, and together they had several more children. Familiar with her family's heritage, Sarah gave her children family names: Her first son was William Atlee Vickroy. Her first daughter was named Esther Amelia, but called "Hettie," who before 1823 married Jacob W. Slick. She died in 1861 after moving to Johnstown in Cambria County, where Jacob Slick died in 1879. Edwin Augustus Vickroy became a surveyor, like his father, and often ran unsuccessfully for county surveyor of Cambia County as a Republican.

    Charlotte Hazen Atlee
    Charlotte Hazen Atlee (born 1782)  was named for the wife of Brigadier General Moses Hazen, 
    Charlotte de la Saussaye, from Montreal, where he had married her in 1770. Following the war, Hazen was stationed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where the Atlees lived, while he was officer in charge of prisoner guard duty there. One of his decisions resulted in an incident, known as the "Asgill Affair," which drew President Washington into a diplomatic quandary. Hazen was in communication during the incident with Edward Hand, the doctor-turned-Army officer under whom William Augustus Atlee's youngest son Edwin eventually studied medicine. It appears quite likely, therefore, that Hazen's wife, Charlotte, had followed her husband to Lancaster and had become close friends with Esther Atlee, especially since she was present as a "sponsor" at the baptism of their youngest daughter on October 17, 1782. 

    As stated previously, Esther died in 1790, leaving Charlotte without a mother at the age of eight years. When her father also died three years later, it appears that Charlotte was taken into the home of either her godmother, Charlotte Hazen, or her eldest sister, who had married Gen. Hazen's paymaster and aide, Moses White. When Charlotte was 21, she married Nathaniel Hazen White, the half-brother of her sister's husband. Both he and her first child had died by 1805, and Charlotte turned to the Baptist church in Haverhill for solace, especially after her sister, Elizabeth Amelia White, died in 1808. A few years later she became a Baptist missionary chosen to accompany a missionary couple named Hough to Rangoon, India. In a letter to the mission board she explained what led her to that decision. While on the mission field in Serampore, she met and married Rev. Joshua Rowe. After his death in India in 1823, she was left with twin girls and an infant son. A narrative dated December 10, 1827, which appeared in the London Morning Herald, was reprinted in a New York newspaper in 1828.

    Thursday, July 7, 2016

    The Story of DAVID ATLEE PHILLIPS (Part III)

    Continued from Part I and Part II

    First American Atlee Ancestor
    by Linda Minor

    The importance of Phillips in the Kennedy assassination was first recognized by the House Select Committee investigator, Gaeton Fonzi, as shown in the following interview with Stephen Carter.

    It has long been stated that Phillips played a crucial role in setting up Lee Harvey Oswald as the "patsy," to take the fall when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Without assuming his guilt, our research merely inquires whether he had a family background that would have given him necessary contacts inside Mexico and in Texas to conduct a "rogue" operation to depose a world leader and replace him with his Constitutional successor--the same thing the United States had been doing for decades in other countries.

    The First American Atlee

    We begin with the most romantic tale imaginable. William Atlee, second son of Samuel Atlee of Fordhook House in Brentford, England, and private secretary to Sir Emanuel Howe (illegitimate son of George I), fell in love with Jane Alcock, then maid of honor to intellectual Queen Caroline, wife of the Prince of Wales, who became King George II, in 1727, when his father died. Although Jane was a court favorite, destined to marry among the royal court, she instead followed her true love to Bridgeton in the parish of St. Michael, Barbados, where their marriage took place in 1734. Two days following the ceremony, the newlyweds set sail for Philadelphia and lived for a year with Caleb Ranstead 2 in the heart of what was to become, not only a hotbed of revolution against King George III, but the seat of a new independent government.

    Eleanor Leslie, A Memoir

    A little background for readers who are not students of British history:
    • Subsequent to the "glorious revolution" of 1688, the ruling monarch was made subservient to the People's representatives in Parliament. In 1701, the line of succession of the monarchy was passed by Parliament's Act of Settlement, declaring that, in the event the Stuarts' reign produced no legitimate Protestant heir, the throne would pass to Sophia of Hanover (daughter of James I's daughter Elizabeth, who had married  Frederick V of Bohemia), or to Sophia's legitimate Protestant heir. It was thus Sophia's son who in 1714 became Britain's first Hanoverian king, George I, and his son, already married to Caroline since 1705, became Prince of Wales. The entire entourage, except for George I's repudiated wife relocated from the German court to England in 1714.
    • Lord Howe was also known as Sir Emmanuel Howe, whom William Atlee served in Barbados up until the year before Howe's death in 1735. Jane Alcock Atlee had been at the court of King George I at the same time as General Howe's father. As rumor has it,
      Emanuel Howe's mother was the lover of King George I, who was the grandfather of King George III. She became pregnant through an affair with George I and gave birth to Emanuel Howe. This made King George III William Howe's first cousin.
    Atlees in  Lancaster, Pennsylvania

    The newlyweds first made their way to Philadelphia, where their first son, William Augustus, was born in 1735. Not having an income, William lived at Caleb Ramstead's house in Philadelphia until he and a partner acquired a covered "stage waggon" that ran twice a week from Trenton to Brunswick, New Jersey, delivering merchandise, passengers, and messages. Unfortunately, William lived only ten years after their marriage, dying in Philadelphia, PA, in the spring of 1744 at the Ranstead home. (Note: Although the Atlee Genealogy, published in 1884, and Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, Vol. III, published in 1911, both state he was buried at St. Peter's church yard, his remains can, in fact, be found at Christ Church.1) His Will, witnessed by Caleb Ransted, left everything to Jane in the hope she could take care of their four children: William Augustus, Samuel John, Amelia Jane, and Joseph Edwin.

    After the untimely death in 1744 of William Atlee, his widow had quickly begun advertising for sale the stage wagon and other business assets, including almost ten acres in Trenton, which had still not been sold by late fall of 1745. Jane Atlee eventually loaded up the family and what remained of their possessions and moved the family to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where young William, then fourteen years of age (1747), worked as a clerk at the Recorder's Office.

    We do not know what it was that prompted Jane Atlee to settle with her four young children in  Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she remained until her death in 1777. Whether she disclosed to her children the intrigues that had gone on during her days at the British royal court is also not known. Did her sons, both of whom would take an active part in the revolution know their father's connection to the British General who had invaded Philadelphia the same year Jane died?

    Sayre Family--West Jersey to Philadelphia

    The branch of the Sayre family from which William Augustus's sixteen-year-old bride had sprung began in America with Thomas Sayre (born 1597), who brought his family, including three sons from their home in Leighton Buzzard, England, to Long Island, New York, pursuant to a royal grant issued around 1638. Unfortunately, this land was also claimed by Dutch settlers, forcing the Sayres to settle on the opposite side of Long Island, at Southampton, where Thomas died in 1671.

    Joseph Sayre (born 1630) "moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey, around 1665 and was named one of the proprietors in Elizabeth in a deed from Richard Nicholls, the Governor," and it was there that his son Daniel, Esther's grandfather, was born in 1685. Daniel's third son, John Sayre, also born in Elizabeth Town in about 1705, had lived for a time at 56 Broad Street in New York City, residing with his first wife, Esther Stillwell, daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth Stillwell. They lived next door to Francis and Rachel (LeChevalier) Bowes, with whom they were close friends. In 1735 John, a tailor doing business from his residence, was admitted as a Freeman of the city. Esther Stillwell Sayre, died, possibly during childbirth with daughter, Esther Bowes Sayre, in 1747, several years after the Bowes family had moved west to Philadelphia.

    Map shows where Atlee and Sayre families lived before marriage in 1763. Click to enlarge.
    Francis Bowes, at that time had become actively engaged in Trenton, West Jersey, in the sale--both wholesale and retail--of items of merchandise such as rum, sugar, indigo and London steel--according to notices published in  the Philadelphia Gazette which listed an address on Water Street in Trenton, Nevertheless, after his death occurred in 1749, his body would be interred at Christ Church cemetery in Philadelphia alongside Mary, his first wife, who had died in 1725.

    Two months after Francis' demise Rachel Bowes, still in Trenton apparently, attempted to sell off his lands and other goods by placing an ad in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1750. Possibly she contacted her former neighbor, John Sayre, to invite him to Philadelphia to take over the business left by his old friend, or perhaps he saw the notices and made his way to Philadelphia to ask about it. Nevertheless, John Sayre and Rachel Bowes renewed their friendship and were married on April 8, 1751. Only seven weeks later her three-year-old son, John Bowes, was laid to rest near his father. From that point on, the financial condition of the couple now living in Philadelphia improved significantly.

    Seven years later Rachel's daughter, Mary Bowes, was wed to John's son, John Sayre, Jr., at Christ Church, the same setting where, in 1763, William Augustus Atlee of Lancaster and Esther Bowes Sayre were married. Christ Church was the Episcopal church where Benjamin Franklin and other eminent founders of America in Philadelphia attended services. Rev. William Sturgeon, who peformed the Atlee-Sayre wedding, had first become rector in 1747, sent by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, the same group which directed the career of Rev. Sayre.

    Rev. John Sayre, Jr.
    John Sayre, Jr., who had been almost twelve years of age when his sister Esther was born, was sent back to New York and trained as a physician at King's College (now Columbia University) when she was still quite young. She was a girl of eleven years when her brother returned to Philadelphia in 1758 to marry his stepsister, Mary Bowes.

    Their first child, a daughter, was born there in 1759, followed in short order by John, James and another Esther Sayre. After birth of the fourth child in 1763, they left Philadelphia and moved to Lancaster, where John's sister, now Esther Atlee, was living with her new husband. Four years later Rev. Sayre was assigned by the Anglican Society to mission work in New York. Fireworks began not long after. The revolution had begun.

    John, wishing to "remain neutral" during the revolution, despite the fact that his brother-in-law back in Lancaster was an active participant in the planning of the rebellion, found himself accused of being a British Loyalist for refusing "to sign the articles prescribed by the Continental Congress," which would obligate the signer to oppose the King with "life and fortune," and to refuse charity to any who chose not to sign. Somehow Rev. Sayre became "one of the agents chosen to arrange for the resettlement of the Loyalists" in St. John, Nova Scotia. We will pick up again here shortly after a brief review of the men with whom Atlee had become associated.

    Patriots, Loyalists, or Spies?

    The same year Atlee died, a Philadelphia merchant "dealing largely in supplies for Indian traders" by the name of Edward Shippen (1703-1781), was elected Philadelphia's mayor. Eventually serving as  a judge of the court of common pleas in Philadelphia for five years, Shippen became chief clerk (prothonotary) for a similar civil court in Lancaster. It was in Shippen's law office in Lancaster, that William Atlee began a study of law, and he, too, would be admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1758, after learning the practice from Shippen.

    Shippen himself had studied law from his wife's father, Tench Francis, Sr., a lawyer in England prior to his emigration in 1720. After working as Lord Baltimore's attorney in Maryland, Francis relocated to Philadelphia about 1739 and became involved there in politics, elected first to the  Common Council of the city. Within two years he was named colonial attorney general, serving 14 years in that position, before being succeeded by Benjamin Chew in 1755. [See Note ** below.]

    Tench Francis, Jr.--brother of Edward Shippen's wife, Margaret Francis Shippen (married in 1753)-- continued to operate the store his father began out of his home on Second Street, which subsequently merged with another one on Front Street. They sold goods imported from Europe and the East Indies, including a large assortment of books. The two stores were apparently combined into a single location in 1755. With passage of the Stamp Act in 1765, however, Tench Francis, Jr. (his father having died previously) joined with other Philadelphia merchants who contractually resolved among themselves to boycott the importation of any goods from Great Britain.

    With his brother-in-law, Thomas Willing, he joined with Benjamin Chew and Robert Morris to established the Bank of North America, which would become the Bank of the U.S. The latter bank was "envisioned by" Alexander Hamilton, not born until 1755 in the West Indies, who learned finance from Robert Morris. Willing was the first president of Philadelphia's Bank of North America, originally located in the home of its first cashier, Tench Francis, Jr., at 307 Chestnut when it was chartered in 1781.

    At that time, all life revolved around THE revolution. Everyone was forced to take a side. Some, who chose loyalty to the British--possibly believing the rebels could never win over a superior force-- would eventually become a major embarrassment, if not more, to family members who were "patriots" to the revolution. Just as Peggy Shippen, wife of the famous traitor General Benedict Arnold, became such an embarrassment to the Francis and Shippen families with whom Atlee was closely associated, so would his wife's brother, Rev. John Sayre, Jr., become to the Atlee family.

    General Howe's headquarters were in Richard Penn's mansion, later leased to Benedict Arnold.

    The Philadelphia Mansion 

    Click to enlarge.

    When the elder Governor Richard Penn died in 1771, his son Richard Jr. succeeded him as governor, and the following year he married Mary (Polly) Masters. Polly's father had during colonial days operated a grist mill north of Philadelphia, possibly in connection with Governor Penn. After his death in 1760, the property was used "for two years as headquarters by Sir William Howe, and upon whose site Robert Morris afterward erected the house where President Washington resided."

    The Penns were married in London and soon began raising a family there, giving a power of attorney to Tench Francis, Jr. to lease their estates in Philadelphia. The house which Generals Howe and Clinton had used as British military headquarters, being the same one in which Benedict Arnold had lived with Peggy Shippen (aka Margaret Arnold), burned in 1780. Penn's power of attorney allowed Tench Francis, Jr., to sell the ruins to his banking colleague, Robert Morris, who then purchased the now unimproved land and constructed a residence for the new President of the United States. The location and description of the house were set out in a centennial address given by Nathaniel Burt in 1875.

    An ownership map which dates to 1777 shows the location of that residence originally built for the mother of Polly Masters, Mary Lawrence Masters, daughter of John Lawrence and wife of William Masters. By zooming in on the City of Philadelphia rectangle, we can also see the names of Willing, Shippen, Benjamin Franklin, and Benjamin Chew throughout the wards between Second and Fifth Streets, from Chestnut to Locust, where the revolution was headquartered, and where the Declaration of Independence was penned. Note, incidentally, the proximity to Ranstead Street, where the first Atlees had lived when he first arrived in Philadelphia from Barbados.

    The Atlees from Lancaster and the Banished Sayre

    As you recall, however, Jane Atee had taken her family to Lancaster, a newly created township in Pennsylvania, eighty miles west of Philadelphia, still part of the frontier, where her two sons grew up in association with Edward Shippen. By 1774 William Atlee's eldest son was named to a committee in Lancaster with Edward Shippen and others, to correspond with planners of the revolution in Philadelphia. By 1776 William Augustus Atlee was made chairman of Lancaster's Committee of Observation & Inspection, which oversaw payments to numerous militias raised to fight in the rebellion. He was also chairman of the Lancaster County Committee of Safety which stayed in contact with Benjamin Franklin and other organizers in Philadelphia. Colonel Samuel John Atlee, William's younger brother, was by then an officer in the military under General George Washington.

    After Esther Sayre's marriage to Atlee in 1763, her brother had also moved with wife and four children to Lancaster, and their next son, Francis Bowes Sayre, who became a medical doctor after completing study at the Univesity of Philadelphia in 1790, was born there in 1766 (died 1798).  Two more children would also be born at that location before John was assigned a mission outpost by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts in 1768 to an area recently changed to Newburgh from Quassaick. In 1769 he filed a petition requesting a charter addressed to the acting governor of that province. Once granted, this church was called St. George's. Rev. John, too busy to confine himself solely to Newburgh, requested a total of three church charters during his short missionary tenure, while he also preached at a fourth place called Warwick, 20 miles from where he lived at Bellomont, comprising a territory now in Orange County, bounded by the northeast part of Pennsylvania and northern counties of New Jersey.

    Rev. John Sayre abruptly abandoned the Newburgh mission and took up residence in Fairfield, Connecticut. According to James Shepherd in "The Tories of Connecticut," Connecticut Quarterly, Vol. 1 No. 2 April, May and June, 1895:
    On January 28, 1777, Rev. John Sayer [sic] of Fairfield was before the Governor and Council as a Tory that he might be ordered to some safe place for confinement. He was sent to the parish of New Britain to be under the care of Col. Isaac Lee, and not to depart the limits of said society until further orders. In July of the same year the wardens of the Episcopal church and others at Fairfield, with consent of the selectmen and committee of inspection, petitioned for his release and return to his people to remain within the limits of Fairfield and give bond with surety for good behavior, which petition was granted. He was probably the first Episcopal clergyman that ever resided in New Britain. In a letter he subsequently said: "I was banished to a place called New Britain, where I was entirely unknown except to one poor man, the inhabitants differing from me both in religion and political principles; however, the family in which I lived showed me such marks of kindness as they could, and I was treated with civility by the neighbors."
    At the time of his banishment Sayre was serving as rector of Trinity Church in Fairfield where he resided with his wife and eight children when it was invaded by British General Tryon and burned. The British fleet took him to the Long Island area of New York until in 1783 he applied for a land grant in New Brunswick, Canada. A brief history of Rev. John Sayre, Jr., is also set out in "United Empire Loyalists, Parts I-II," by Alexander Fraser:

    Anglican missionary John Sayre, Jr., British Loyalist to the end.

    The list of members that Claimant James Sayres supplied to the King, unsurprisingly, failed to include his sister-in-law/stepsister, Esther Bowes Cox (1740-1841), who, following the marriage of John Sayres and Rachel Bowes in 1751, is said to have made her home with sisters of her mother, the former Rachelle Le Chevalier:
    ...youngest daughter and child of Jean Le Chevalier, of the Huguenot colony in New York City, and his wife, Maria de la Plaine. Jean Le Chevalier was one of the most prominent of the French refugees of New York, and must not be confounded as he sometimes was with Jean, son of Pierre le Chevalier, of Philadelphia. Jean Le Chevalier, of New York, married Marie de la Plaine, in the Dutch Reformed Church, June 27, 1692, and had seven daughters but no sons. These children, all baptized in the French church. New York City, were: Marie, born June 6, 1693; Susanne, March 11, 1695; Esther, February 18, 1696; Marie (2d), baptized May 14, 1699; Elizabeth, born August 26, 1702; Jeanne, baptized March 7, 1704; Rachelle, born February 16, 1707, baptized February 22 following, married Francis Bowes, and after his death (second), as his second wife, John, son of Daniel and Elizabeth Sayre. The children of Francis Bowes and Rachel Chevalier were: Theodosius; Samuel; Mary, born March 5, 1739, married, September 28, 1758, John, son of John Sayre, her stepfather; John; and Esther, born January 6, 1741, died February 10, 1814, married, November 16, 1760, Colonel John Cox, of Bloomsbury....Colonel Cox himself was one of the celebrated men of his day, and rendered good service to the Continental army as assistant quartermaster under General Greene, the latter having made the appointment of John Cox and Charles Pettit to serve under him a condition of his acceptance of the position of quartermaster-general. Not only did Colonel Cox help to provision the patriot army, he also supplied it with a large amount of ordnance from his foundry at Batisto, New Jersey. At his home, "Bloomsbury," now "Woodlawn," the Warren street home of Edward H. Stokes, General Washington had his headquarters, and was entertained when he made his triumphal entry into Trenton, two of Colonel Cox's daughter's, Rachel and Sarah, being among the thirteen young ladies who sang the ode, "Welcome, mighty chief, once more," and another, Mary, being one of the six young girls who strewed flowers in the General's path over Trenton bridge. At "Bloomsbury," the Marquis de Lafayette and the Count de Rochambeau enjoyed the hospitality of Colonel Cox, and had the pleasure of conversing in their own language with Mrs. Cox's French aunts, the Demoiselles Chevalier, the youngest daughters of Jean Le Chevalier, referred to above....[Quoted from Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey, Francis Bazley Lee (
    The sister of Mary Bowes Sayre, Esther Bowes, who "played on the spinnet and organ, and was the only lady of the day who had mastered thorough bass," was selected as the bride of Colonel John Cox, to whom she was married on November 16, 1760, in Christ Church, Philadelphia. The Coxes then moved to Bloomsbury Court in Trenton, where Colonel Cox was Assistant Quartermaster under Major Nathaniel Greene. It has been suggested that Rev. Sayre's widow may have made her way to Trenton to stay for a time with her sister, Mrs. Cox. At any rate, that is where she died in 1789. [Anne Hollingsworth WhartonSalons Colonial and Republican (1900), which paints a vivid picture of life in Philadelphia while it was the seat of the new government.]

    Their daughter Mary Cox (born 1775) would later marry Colonel James Chesnut from Camden, S.C., while daughter Rachel was wed to John Stevens of Castle Point, Hoboken, founder of Stevens Institute, where, as I discovered several years ago, Prescott Bush's father, Samuel P. Bush, would be educated. Not then realizing that John Stevens was also related by marriage to ancestors of David Atlee Phillips, I wrote the following paragraph, excerpted from "Money and Gunpowder, Part One," posted at my blog, Where the Gold Is:
    Samuel’s before-the-turn-of-the-century education in mechanical engineering at Hoboken, New Jersey’s Stevens Institute—where he learned to design and build steam engines and locomotives—would become useful to America in building its “gunpowder” and other weapons so necessary in World War I’s mission to “save the world for democracy”.... Family papers reveal the closeness between John Stevens and the Founding Fathers in equipping the military forces during the Revolutionary War and in the country’s subsequent defense.
    Another daughter, named Esther but called "Hetty," married Matthias Barton, whose father had long been a clergyman in charge of the church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to which John Sayre, Jr. had moved around 1761, bringing us back full circle to the Atlee clan, whom in the next segment we will follow to Texas, where descendant spy, David Atlee Phillips was born.



    1. Intriguingly, Christ Episcopal Church would, some four or five decades later, become the venue for the wedding of Beau Walker's widow to Robert Hodgson in 1801.

    2. The street bissected by the Liberty Bell is called Ranstead Street, named undoubtedly for Caleb Ranstead (also spelled as Ransted), a furniture dealer, with whom William Atlee was residing at the time of his death in 1744. The house appears to have been quite close to the Philadelphia Bank Building (410 Ranstead/419-25 Chestnut); we previously noted that George E. Walker's "Uncle Tommy" worked at this bank , for many years. Coincidentally, Caleb Ranstead's name also shows up in the receipt book of Benjamin Chew, a man who was mentioned in Part Two of the Bush/Walker Genealogy:
    Chew, Sr. had moved to Philadelphia in 1754, set up a highly lucrative legal practice, and "owned an elegant town house on South 3rd Street. Here, he attended St. Peter’s [Episcopal] Church and associated with many influential people in the city. He became involved in other business interests, including iron works and land speculation."
    It was mentioned also that Chew had held the mortgage on the farm Harriet Mercer Bush inherited, and her husband's inability to repay that mortgage which precipitated their move to Illinois.