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Edgar Mandlebert Gregory

Gregory's life

before the war

during the war

Freedmen's Bureau

the end of his life

sources


Edgar Gregory, in uniform

Before the war, and his family

Edgar Gregory was born on 1 January 1804, in Sand Lake, Rensselaer County, New York, to Justus Abram Gregory and Clarissa Downs.(A1)

When he was 18, he went to Deposit, Delaware County, New York.(A8) He worked there as a lumber merchant, first for his brother, and eventually for himself.(A8)

When he was 30, he became an elder in the Presbyterian Church.(A8)

While in Deposit, he served as Colonel of a militia regiment.(A8)

He married Ellen Young, of Deposit, New York. According to the 1850 census, she was 44 in 1850, and had been born in Pennsylvania. They had three children:(A2)

Francis Henry Gregory (born 27 July 1828/29, New York)

Sarah Augusta Gregory (born 30 May 1834, born New York), who married Samuel I Wright(A7)

Justus Abram Gregory (born about 1836)

In 1833, a Gregory, in Deposit, New York, told William Wheeler that Russell Kelsey had been talking about the Allegheny River being a good place for a lumber company. (I do not know whether this is Edgar Gregory.) Later, Wheeler, Deacon Ezra May, Edgar Gregory, Henry Dusenbury, and Russell Kelsey formed a lumber company (named 'Dusenbury, Wheeler, May, and Company'), and Wheeler started lumber operations in February 1834. (Henry Van Bergen bought Kelsey's interest about a year later.) In 1837, Dusenbury, Wheeler, May, and Company (in Portsville, New York) started a lumber yard in Cincinnati, Ohio. Edgar Gregory and VanBergen were in charge.(A11) (In 1840, the firm was named Vanbergen, Ross, & Company.(A17))

Gregory and family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, from Deposit, in 1840. (I do not know whether this date, which comes from his obituary, is accurate.(A16)) In Cincinnati, he was in lumber, banking, and the railroad business, "incidentally" helping runaway slaves escape to Canada. McFeely describes him as a "radical Abolitionist"; perhaps his actions in Cincinnati earned that description.(A3) His obituary claims he "had always been a determined and outspoken anti-slavery man", and an 1866 letter describes him as having had "twenty-five years of Anti-Slavery life".(A10)

In September 1841, a mob attacked Negroes in Cincinnati. In his Reminiscences, the abolitionist and underground railroad leader Levi Coffin quotes a newspaper account of the attacks, since he was not yet living in Cincinnati. But he adds a note in his own voice, claiming that the students of Lane Seminary "formed a militia company under command of E M Gregory" to defend the seminary against the mob, who regarded it as the "d--d abolition hole". The mob started to attack the seminary, but retreated because of "the warlike preparation of the students".(A12)

In 1842, he was living on Elm Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets, Cincinnati, Ohio. He was with the firm Ross, Gregory, & Comany, lumber merchants, at the corner of 8th and Plum.(A17)

In approximately 1843, he formed the firm of Gregory + Burnet, with William Burnet, George Dusenberg, and William F. Wheeler. They were a lumber company. In approximately 1845-1846, Gregory and Burnet bought out Dusenberg and Wheeler.(A28)

In 1843, he was living in Mt Auburn. He was still with the firm Ross, Gregory & Company, at the same location.(A18)

He seems to have become a vice president of the State Temperance Society in 1844.(A13)

In 1846, he was still living in Mt Auburn. The firm was now named Gregory, Burnet & Company; they were still lumber merchants, at the northwest corner of Plum and 8th Streets.(A19)

In 1849, he was living on the south side of Richmand, east of John. He was still with Gregory & Burnet, lumber dealers, at the same place.(A20)

Paper of Gregory + Burnet first went to protest about November-December 1849. The firm failed because they lost money in stocks and in business by bad debts. They continued to do business, but never really recovered.(A28)

In 1850, he was a lumber merchant, living in the first ward of Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife Ellen, his children Francis, Justice (sic), and Sarah, and a Caroline Gregory, 19 years old. Since Caroline was born in Connecticut, she may not be his daughter. The three other people living in the household were presumably boarders or lodgers.(A4) He was living at 86 east 4th. His company was now named Gregory E M & Company; it was still at the same location. He was also a director and the president of the City Bank.(A21)

About 1850-1852, he and L D Ingalsbe formed the firm of Gregory, Ingalsbe, + Company, Bankers, in Cincinnati.(A28)

In 1851, he was President of City Bank, in Cincinnati, and one of its Directors. He was also President, and on the Board of Directors, of the Washington Life Insurance Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. He was on the Board of Directors of Farmers' College. And he owned one or more paintings by George W Phillips. (A6) He was living at 86 east 4th, and was still with the firm EM Gregory & Company, along with two other men.(A22)

While living in Cincinnati, "he was prominent in every good work". He was president of the Young Men's Bible Society for sixteen years.(A8)

In 1853, he could not attend the State Temperance Convention, but sent a letter explaining his absence and agreeing to support whatever was adopted.(A14) He was living at 13 west 3d, and was the president of the Washington Life Insurance Company.(A23)

In 1854 or 1855, both of his firms (Gregory + Burnet, and Gregory Ingalsbe and Company) went broke, because of a general economic downturn, with almost all banks suspending payment. They paid small debts and made partial payment on others. Gregory surrendered all of his private property to their creditors, except for some household furniture and other small items.(A28)

In 1855, he was living at 107 Pike. He was with the firm Gregoryy, Ingalsbe & Company, bankers.(A24)

In 1856, he was living at 298 West 7th. His office was at 13 West 3rd. His sons are also listed in the city directory, living with him.(A25)

In 1857, he was living at 298 West 7th, with an office at 70 West 4th.(A26)

In 1858 and 1859, he was living in College Hill, and working at 13 West 3rd Street.(A27)

He moved to Philadelphia early in 1860.(A9) One late report claims he moved because he had "failed in business" in Cincinnati.(A9)

In 1860, he was again a lumber merchant, living in the 13th ward of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 13th ward extended from 6th to 8th Streets, and from Vine to Poplar Streets. He was living with his wife Ellen, and four other people--two were presumably boarders; the other two were domestics (35 and 12! years old); whether they worked for the Gregory's can't be determined from the census.(A5)

In 1860 he formed the firm of Gregory + Company, with his daughter Mrs Sarah A Sheldon, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They were a lumber firm. He put $4,000 into the firm. Sarah Sheldon put nothing into the firm; he had expected she would receive money from her husband's estate, but she did not.(A28)

In fall 1860, he was living at 876 North 6th Street (just south of Poplar Street); he was a lumber merchant at 924 Richmond Street (about 3.3 miles away, according to Google).(A15)

Gregory + Company failed in July 1861, because the business was unprofitable.(A28)

Personality

Thomas Walter, who served under him in company A of the 91st Pennsylvania infantry, describes him as 'pious', but also as a friend of Robert Gray, who was very unlike him, and frequently needed Gregory to get him out of scrapes (perhaps like Walter himself). General OO Howard described Gregory as 'well reputed for the stand he always took in the army in favor of clear-cut uprightness of conduct' and as 'fearless of opposition or danger'.(B1)

In a 'Letter from a radical on the Freedmen's Bureau' published in 1866, Gregory is described as "a sharp Calvanist [sic]", who "is fixed in the faith, and diligent in the forms of his church". However, unlike another Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, he refused to remove an effective administrator of the Freedmen's Schools (EM Wheelock) merely because he was a Unitarian. It also claims that he had "twenty-five years of Anti-Slavery life". (B2)

A pseudonymous letter in 1862 claims he was kind, but required strict obedience. "With a heart large enough to study the comfort of an entire regiment, and tender enough to feel with almost the same anguish the sufferings of his followers, he shrinks from no danger and fears to meet no foe, and more than all, he is a Christian." (B3)


Notes

A1. Grant Gregory, Ancestors and descendents of Henry Gregory; 'Obituary' [for Edgar Gregory], Philadelphia Inquirer 8 November 1871 page 2; death certificate, E M Gregory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 7 November 1871. According to the 1850 Ohio census, he was 48 in 1850. According to the 1870 PA census, he was 64. The Mustain-Gregory gedcom has his birth information and parents. Hunt & Brown, Brevet brigadier generals gives the date and place of birth. According to the Field and staff muster-in roll summary in the Compiled service record, he was 56 when he was mustered in on 4 December 1861.

A2. Grant Gregory, Ancestors and descendents of Henry Gregory; 'Obituary' [for Edgar Gregory], Philadelphia Inquirer 8 November 1871 page 2. According to the 1850 Ohio census (Edgar Greggary), Francis, Sarah, and Justice (sic) were born in New York. Francis was 24, Sarah was 17, and Justice was 20--note the difference even in the order. The 1850 census also has a Caroline Gregory, 19, born in Connecticut, in the household; I do not know how whether or how she is related to Edgar Gregory. According to the 1870 Pennsylvania census, Sarah was 36.

A3. Grant Gregory, Ancestors and descendents of Henry Gregory; 'Obituary' [for Edgar Gregory], Philadelphia Inquirer 8 November 1871 page 2. Hunt & Brown, Brevet brigadier generals gives his occupation as "lumber merchant and banker"; as does his obituary. radical abolitionist: William S McFeely, Yankee stepfather: General O.O. Howard and the freedmen, page 68. Unfortunately, McFeely cites only three sources here. One is Howard's autobiography, which McFeely quotes from in this sentence, but which says nothing about abolitionism. A second is Gregory's death notice in the New York Times, which also says nothing about abolitionism. The third is 'Freedmen's meeting in Washington', New Orleans Tribune, 25 July 1865, which reports Gregory as giving an address to the National Colored Monument Association on 4 July 1865, along with many other people.

A4. 1850 Ohio census (Edgar Greggary).

A5. 1860 Pennsylvania census (Edgar M Gregory). Ward location: Philadelphia maps, 1682-1982: Townships--Districts--Wards, The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Special Publications no. 6, 1999 (reprint of Genealogy of Philadelphia County Subdivisions (1966).

A6. Cist, Sketches and statistics of Cincinnati in 1851, pp.89, 97, 273, and 127.

A7. In 1880, a Samuel Wright (43, born NY) was living in Manhatten with his wife Sarah Wright (43, b.NY), and four other (unrelated) people; he was an importer, and she was a housekeeper (FHL 1254894, NARA T9-0894, Manhattan, NY, NY, page 197C). Another Samuel R Wright (45, born in New York, occupation banker, both parents born in Connecticut) and S Augusta Wright (45, born in New York, father born in New York, mother born in Pennsylvania) were living in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey (5th ward, district 2). Two children were living with them, Daniel G Wright (9, at school, born Pennsylvania) and Mary W Wright (6, born Pennsylvania), and a servant, Julia Maraga (29, born Ireland). (1880 census extract, from www.familysearch.org (citing National Archives microfilm T9-0800, page 253D). Another

A8. 'Obituary' [for Edgar Gregory], Philadelphia Inquirer 8 November 1871 page 2

A9. 'Obituary' [for Edgar Gregory], Philadelphia Inquirer 8 November 1871 page 2. The Free Library of Philadelphia did not find an Edgar Gregory in the Philadelphia city directories from 1850 through 1859. He is not listed in Williams' Cincinnati directory, city guide and business mirror ... [1860] Tenth annual issue. reason for leaving: 'General Edgar M. Gregory' (Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, 9 November 1871, page 4)

A10. 'Obituary' [for Edgar Gregory], Philadelphia Inquirer 8 November 1871 page 2; 'Letter from a radical on the Freedmen's Bureau'. Flake's Bulletin 1 July 1866 page 1

A11. Wilhelm, Samuel A. 'The Wheeler and Dusenbury Lumber Company of Forest and Warren Counties'. Pennsylvania History 19 (October 1952) 413-420. Available at http://cip.cornell.edu/DPubS/UI/1.0/Journal?authority=psu.ph&issue=1133209639 (viewed November 2006)

A12. Levi Coffin, Reminiscences of Levi Coffin (Cincinnati, Ohio: Western Tract Society, 1876), pages 527-534 at page 533

A13. 'Ohio State Temperance Convention'. The Sandusky Clarion (Sandusky OH), 28 December 1844, page 2.

A14. 'Proceedings of the State Temperance Convention'. The Athens Messenger (Athens OH), 29 April 1853, page 3.

A15. 1861 Philadelphia city directory, (published by C Sherman and Son), page 376.

A16. The Cincinnati, Covington, Newport and fulton directory for 1840, by David Henry Shaffer

A17. The Cincinnati directory, for the year 1842 (Charles Cist, compiler; Cincinnati: E Morgan and Co)

A18. The Cincinnati directory for the year 1843 (Charles Cist, compiler; Cincinnati: R P Brooks, 1843)

A19. Robinson & Jones' Cincinnati directory for 1846, p.183

A20. Williams' Cincinnati directory and business advertiser for 1849-50

A21. Williams' Cincinnati directory and business advertiser for 1850-51

A22. Williams' Cincinnati directory and business advertiser for 1851-52

A23. Williams' Cincinnati directory, city guide, and business mirror; or Cincinnati as it is in 1853 illustrated

A24. Williams' Cincinnati directory, city guide, and business mirror; or Cincinnati as it is in 1855 illustrated

A25. Williams' Cincinnati directory, city guide and business mirror; or Cincinnati in 1856 illustrated

A26. Williams' Cincinnati directory for 1857

A27. Williams' Cincinnati directory, city guide, and business mirror; for 1858. Eighth annual issue. Williams' Cincinnati directory, city guide and business mirror, for the year 1859. Ninth annual issue.

A28. 'Examination by Assignee before Register', in bankruptcy file, Edgar M Gregory, National Archives (Mid Atlantic Region), Record Group 21, US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, case #1042, 1869.

B1. T[homas] F Walter, 'Personal recollections and experiences of an obscure soldier', Grand Army Scout and Soldiers' Mail volume 3 number 51 page 2. Oliver Otis Howard, Autobiography of Oliver Otis Howard (New York: The Baker & Tayler Co., 1907), volume 2, page 218. See also 'Another Union meeting in behalf of the soldiers' (Philadelphia Inquirer 14 December 1861 page 5). Re his courage, see among others 'Texas' (Philadelphia Inquirer 31 March 1870 page 2). See also, but do not trust, Buell, Augustus, The Cannoneer. Recollections of service in the Army of the Potomac (Washington DC: The National Tribute, 1897), especially pages 320-321 and 321-322.

B2. 'Letter from a radical on the Freedmen's Bureau'. Flake's Bulletin 1 July 1866 page 1. See also (among other sources) Pennsylvania Infantry. 155th Regt., 1862-1865, Under the Maltese Cross, Antietam to Appomattox. The loyal uprising in Western Pennsylvania 1861-1865 (Pittsburg [sic], PA: The 155th Regimental Association, 1910), page 220

B3. 'Letter from the Ninety-first', Philadelphia Inquirer 5 February 1862, page 2


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revised 19 Aug 12
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