Friday, February 7, 2014

Stephen Piggott Truesdell (1841-1919) "52 Ancestors"

Ok, this is week 6 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge and I am already having problems thinking of new stories. I spent the week looking for information on a person to no avail. So I am falling back on an old name that I had researched several years ago. I asked my wife who I should write about this week and she said Katherine Churchill (1846-??) from South Carolina. I know almost nothing about Katherine but I do have a lot of information about her husband. So this week I will be writing about Stephen Piggott Truesdell (1841-1919), my wife's great-great grandfather.

Stephen Truesdell was the son of David B. F. Truesdell. David was born in New York but moved to Charleston, South Carolina prior to 1821 and was the single largest landowner on Sullivan's Island. David owned a plantation and interestingly enough, in 1837 while he was excavating some land on Sullivan's Island to build his house, he uncovered a Revolutionary War breastwork. The breastwork was believed to have been occupied by Colonel Thompson with 300 riflemen in his regiment, Colonel Clark with 200 regulars of the North Carolina line, Colonel Horry with 200 South Carolina militia, and was armed with an eighteen pounder and field pieces. The breastwork was instrumental in opposing the passage of General Clinton from Long Island while they were engaged with the fleet of Sir Peter Parker. After finding this breastwork, David Truesdell was able to collect approximately 50,000 bricks.

Advertisement for New York Oyster House
Charleston, SC (1823)
According to advertisements in the Charleston City Gazette, David Truesdell had started his own restaurant, known as the New York Oyster House at 32 Queen Street in Charleston by 1821. David applied for and received, a retail Spirituous Liquors license in 1823. By the 1840s David had started to farm oysters in the waters surrounding Sullivan's Island. In 1842, he submitted a petition asking for a grant to marsh land on Sullivan's Island but he was opposed by the town of Moultrieville which claimed ownership of those lands. In 1844, he was granted a plat for 400 acres of marsh lands on Bourons and Scotts Creeks. The town of Moutrieville continued to petition that the plat given to David Truesdell be revoked for many years. Finally on 28 April 1999 (yes, it was 1999) the town won it's battle when the General Assembly of South Carolina repealed the plat. In 1845, there is another plat for 645 acres of marsh lands on Scotts Creek granted to Stephen Piggott Truesdell. This is a little confusing since our Stephen would have only been 4 years old at the time. We haven't found another Stephen P. Truesdell in the area so I am not sure if it is for the same person or not. The oysters that the Truesdell family harvested were headed to one of the two restaurants the family owned. These restaurants were the New York Oyster House in Charleston and another in Columbia, South Carolina.

Now that I have set the stage for the family, we return back to the subject of this post, Stephen P. Truesdell. Stephen was born on 24 December 1841. We know of the following siblings; Jane Elizabeth, Francis W, and David B Truesdell. The 1850 census only lists D. Truesdell, age 60 as a tavern keeper. No children are included in this household. We do know that the tavern was associated with his oyster business. Additionally, the 1850 slave schedule lists twelve slaves owned by D. Truesdell. So, where are the children? I don't yet know.

In the 1860 census, Stephen (age 20) and his brother David (age 25) are living together in Christ Church, Charleston, South Carolina and are employed as oystermen. During the Civil War, Stephen enlisted in Company M, 1st (Gregg's) South Carolina Volunteers on 22 April 1861. He then joined the 1st Regiment, Company I, South Carolina Infantry (McCreary's 1st Provisional Army) on 20 July 1861. On 17 January 1862 he transferred to the Navy where he served as a Landsman, an inexperienced sailor, on the Confederate ironclad, CSS Virginia. On 18 March 1865, Stephen Truesdell's name is included on a report of Confederate refugees and deserters from the Gunboat Charleston, being captured and taking an oath of allegiance.

After the war, Stephen returned to South Carolina and married Mary Churchill (1848-??). They had the following children: George David (1866-1932), John F (1868-1902), Wyatt Akin (1870-1936), Stephen Wyatt (1875-??) and Joseph A (1877-1948). The 1880 census lists the family as living in Moultrieville and consisting of Stephen (age 39), Mary (age 32), George (age 13), John (age 11), Wyatt (age 10), Stephen (age 4), Joseph (age 2) and Catherine Churchill (age 15) sister-in-law. Stephen's occupation is listed as Marshall. Mary died sometime after the 1880 census and Stephen then married her sister Katherine Churchill (1846-??). Stephen and Katherine had the following children: Mary A (1881-1950), Jessie Edith (1883-??) and Estelle (~1894-??). Stephen's daughter, Mary Truesdell (Truesdale) was my wife's great grandmother. She married Frederick Henry Lexow (1875-1931) at No. 5 College Street, Charleston, South Carolina on 14 February 1898. Frederick Lexow and Joseph Truesdell worked together and are listed as the patent holders for patent #1,066,683, issued on 8 July 1913 for an excavating apparatus.

In 1900 Stephen is listed as being a fisherman and two of his sons, George and John are listed as being employed as carpenters. His wife is listed as being a housekeeper. Stephen died at the age of 78 years on 17 October 1919 at 1:30 pm at Sullivan's Island, Charleston County, South Carolina. His occupation was listed as fisherman. The cause of death is listed as senility. The funeral was held at his residence at 20 1/2 Sullivan's Island and was attended by a large number of family and friends from the island and Charleston. He was buried at 3:30 pm in the old burial grounds on Sullivan's Island on 18 October 1919. Members of his family have been working hard to encourage the upkeep of the cemetery where he is buried.

1 comment:

  1. According to their headstone first wife Mary died Jan 1 1889 :)