Courtesy of the United States Geological Survey Terraserver.Michael brought this French coffer with him to Dedham when he emigrated from Norfolk, England, to Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1637. The coffer may have belonged to his father. It's made of spruce or fir, and lined in red leather. The outside is covered in a decorated leather and bound with iron straps. Michael probably used the coffer for his books since he was the schoolmaster of Dedham. Such coffers date back to at least the late medieval period.
Courtesy of the Dedham Historical Society. The coffer is displayed in the Society Museum from which this description is taken.This is Michael's "Great Chair."
Courtesy of the Dedham Historical Society. The chair is displayed in the Society Museum.The Old Fairbanks House, Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1899. This was the childhood home of Mary Fairbanks, the author's seventh-great-grandmother, the wife of Michael Metcalf, son of Michael the immigrant. This was Mary's home from its construction in 1636 until her marriage in 1644. The house is open to the public today.
Courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress' Prints and Photographs Division.Oren Metcalfe, the author's great-great-grandfather. Oren was born on Sunday, 28 January 1810, in Enfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, the twelfth and last child of Thomas Metcalf and Sybil Chapin. He was the grandson of Sgt. Samuel Metcalf, a Minuteman who marched on the Lexington Alarm of 19 April 1775.
Oren spent the latter part of his youth in Chardon, Geauga County, Ohio, to which his parents had removed about 1819. He removed to Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi, in 1833, joining his brother Asa. There he married Zuleika Rosalie Lyons (1822-1870) on Thursday, 12 April 1838. They had twelve children: Joseph Albert (1839-1840), John Thomas Winn (1841-1863), Julius Oren (1843-1880), James Bard (1846-1924), Charles (1848-1849), William Lyons (1849-?), John Inge (1853-1863), Zuleika Rosalie (1855-1937), Medora (1858-1867), Anna (1861-1936), Belle (1864-1865) and Richard Inge (1866-1908).
In 1857 Oren and Zuleika purchased Ravenna manor house in Natchez where they lived the rest of their lives. (Ravenna was built in 1835. The author's grandmother was born there in 1882. Today it is employed as a guest house.)
Oren was a prominent merchant in Natchez, and later owned and operated an insurance brokerage. He served as Sheriff of Adams County (1851-1864), and as an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Natchez (1855-1895). He was also a trustee and treasurer of Jefferson College (1850-1895).
Oren died on Wednesday, 20 November 1895, in Natchez, age 85 years, 9 months and 23 days. ". . . for his many Christian qualities, his kindness, charity and love for his fellowmen, his friends are numerous and his enemies extremely few."Will Metcalfe, the author's great-grandfather. William Lyons Metcalfe, called Will, was born on Sunday, 30 September 1849, in Natchez, the sixth child of Oren and Zuleika Rosalie (Lyons) Metcalfe, and younger brother of Tommie and James. He was baptized in the First Presbyterian Church of Natchez on Friday, 30 May 1851.
When the War Between the States broke out, Will was eleven years old, much too young to serve. He trained for the law. In 1872 he was an Assistant in the Chancery Court Clerk's Office in Natchez. Several years later, Will married Mary (Mamie) H. Roche of Washington, D. C., on Tuesday, 1 March 1881, in St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Francisco, California. She was the 18-year old daughter and fifth child of Maj. James R. Roche, U. S. Army. Will was 31 years old. James was stationed in San Francisco at the time and Will was probably practicing law there.
Will and Mary had two children: Hibernia Trabue Metcalfe, later known as Bernice Roche Metcalfe (the author's grandmother), born on Sunday, 19 February 1882, in Natchez, and John Rousseau Metcalfe, later known as Jack Barber (after his stepfather), born on Friday, 11 September 1885, in New York City.
While Will was a Protestant son of the Confederacy, Mamie was a Catholic daughter of a Union officer. It wasn't a successful marriage, ending in divorce in the last half of the 1880s, and Will was subsequently noted as a lawyer in Oregon in 1891. It is not presently known whether he remarried nor when or where he died.
Mamie married second Lemuel J. Barber in 1891 by whom she had no children. Listed as a resident of Bethel, Connecticut, Mamie died Saturday, 21 June 1919 in Washington, D. C., and was buried there in Glenwood Cemetery on the Wednesday following.
Photograph courtesy of John Pond.Cpl. Tommie Metcalfe, one of the author's grandmother's uncles and Will's brother. John Thomas Winn ("Tommie") Metcalfe was born on Thursday, 20 May 1841, in Natchez, the second (and eldest surviving) child of Oren and Zuleika Rosalie (Lyons) Metcalfe. He was baptized in the First Presbyterian Church of Natchez on Sunday, 12 December of that year.
When the War Between the States broke out, Tommie volunteered for service—on Saturday, 18 May 1861, at age 19 (two days short of his 20th birthday), he enlisted in Natchez for the duration of the War, as a Private in what became Company A (the Adams Troop) of the Jeff Davis Legion, Mississippi Cavalry. He fought in many of the numerous campaigns which occupied the Legion almost continuously. The Legion fought their first engagement in late 1861 and from then on fought in most of Lee's campaigns as a part of the Army of Northern Virginia.
On 15 March 1863 Tommie went home to Natchez on furlough to procure another horse (Confederate cavalrymen were required to supply their own horses). While he was gone, on 15 April, he was promoted to Corporal. He rejoined his unit on 15 June. On Friday, 10 July, a week after the Battle of Gettysburg (3 July), he was "Killed in Battle near Funkstown, Md.," age 22 years, 1 month and 20 days. He was "fighting nobly when he fell . . . shot through the head." He was buried in the Presbyterian churchyard at nearby Hagerstown, Maryland, by the local minister.
Two of Tommie's brothers also served in the War: Julius Oren Metcalfe of the Point Coupee Battery of Louisiana and Lt. James Bard Metcalfe of the 10th Mississippi Cavalry, Breckinridge's Brigade. Distant cousins from Natchez who fought with the Adams Troop include Andrew, Charles, Henry, Orrick and Volney Metcalfe.
Photograph courtesy of William Allen Adams and Margaret Metcalfe Hassin.Retouched closeup of Tommie. Lt. James B. Metcalfe, another of the author's grandmother's uncles and Will's brother, was born on Thursday, 15 January 1846, in Natchez, the fourth child of Oren and Zuleika Rosalie (Lyons) Metcalfe. He was baptized in the First Presbyterian Church of Natchez on Sunday, 29 November of that year.
He volunteered for service with the Confederacy in the 10th Mississippi Cavalry at the age of sixteen. He served in the War with Breckinridge's Brigade from May 1862 to April 1863. He joined Breckinridge's escort that April and was detailed out in September 1864.
At some point he was captured and made a daring escape at the Battle of Franklin, swimming the Duck River and rejoining the Confederate forces in Murphreesboro. He was again captured at the Battle of Fort Tyler on 17 April 1865, at the end of the War. He was released and went home, having attained the rank of Lieutenant by the age of nineteen.
After the War, in 1870, he was a clerk in a bank in Natchez. He studied law and by 1877 had moved to San Francisco, California, where he married Louise Boarman on Monday, 25 June of that year. They moved to Seattle in the Washington Territory before 1889 (the year the territory became the 42nd state). In 1891 he was noted as having earlier served as Attorney-General of the territory and then as the head of the legal firm, Metcalfe, Turner & Burleigh.
James and Louise had two sons, Thomas Oren and James Vernon, the latter of which joined him in the practice of admiralty law in Seattle by 1916. He died at Fernhurst in Suquamish,Kitsap County,Washington, on 9 July 1924.Bernice Metcalfe, the author's grandmother. Bernice Roche Metcalfe was born Hibernia Trabue Metcalfe at Ravenna manor house in Natchez at 7 p. m. on Sunday, 19 February 1882, first child of William (Will) Lyons Metcalfe and Mary (Mamie) H. Roche. Bernice was baptized at Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez on the Satudrday preceding Easter, 8 April 1882.
After her parents divorce in the late 1880s, Bernice spent the rest of her childhood in Los Angeles, California, with her maternal grandfather, Maj. James Richard Roche and his second wife Eliza Lee Mitchell. Trained as a pianist, Bernice left home in 1900 and toured Europe giving concerts. It was on tour in Germany that she met Richard Maria Wilhelm Oberwinder, a German journalist, born on Sunday, 9 August, 1874 in Vienna, Austria. Bernice and Richard were married in Dresden, Germany, on Thursday, 8 October 1903, and had four children—John, Elizabeth, James and Andrew.
In February, 1914, shortly before the Great War, Bernice left Richard and returned to the U. S. with the three older children, arriving that month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from Bremen, Germany, aboard the Brandenburg. They continued aboard to Galveston, Texas, where Bernice and the children joined her mother, Mamie Roche, and her stepfather, Lemuel J. Barber. In 1919 Bernice divorced Richard in absentia. Son Andrew immigrated to the U. S. in July 1922, and Richard in December of that year.
The children all adopted their mother's surname, Metcalfe. John was the father of the author and his sister Marcia. Elizabeth became a nun. James was the father of James, Donald and Kristina. Andrew had no children.
Bernice died from pneumonia on Sunday, 27 January 1952 and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, on the west side of Los Angeles. Richard died from cancer the next year, on Wednesday, 29 July 1953, in Chicago, and was buried in Beverly Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois, on the south side of Chicago.William Van Wyck Reily, son of William Reily and Ellen T. Roche and the author's first cousin thrice removed, was born on Monday, 12 December 1853. He was said to be named for his father's best friend and classmate, William Van Wyck. He died with General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana on Sunday, 25 June 1876. (The author, as a young boy of five and six, met and remembers William's younger brother Paul.)
The picture was taken about November 1875 with William in his full dress cavalry uniform in St. Louis when he was assigned as an officer to the 10th US Cavalry, a Black regiment (the "Buffalo Soldiers"), prior to his transfer to the 7th US Cavalry. [Courtesy of Brian Pohanka.]
William's military biography follows, from Kenneth Hammer, Men with Custer, Biographies of the 7th Cavalry, 25 June 1876 (Fort Collins, Colorado: The Old Army Press, 1972), pp. 115 and 118:
REILY, WILLIAM VAN WYCK, Second Lieutenant
Killed with Company F in the Custer battalion on June 25. Born December 12, 1853 in Washington D. C. Attended Georgetown College with two years in school in Germany. Appointed to the Naval Academy on September 22, 1870; resigned on October 17, 1872. After leaving the Academy he was on a surveying expedition in Nicaragua for eight months and for two years, prior to commissioning in the army, he superintended the breaking up of old monitors. He was appointed a Second Lieutenant, 10th Cavalry on October 15, 1875, and was transferred to Company E, 7th Cavalry, effective January 26, 1876 to occupy the vacancy created by the promotion of Lieutenant William Craycroft. On May 17, 1876, he departed with the 7th Cavalry from Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota, to participate in the Sioux expedition. His remains were interred on the battlefield on June 28 and exhumed in July 1877 and re-interred at Washington, D. C.
It was noted that only a few of the men of Company E could be recognized, one identified only by a single sock left on his foot with his name on it.
But most officers, like William, where left by the Indians mostly intact.The photograph is of the Custer battlefield site at the Little Bighorn in Montana, at the place where Custer dismounted and William died. The photograph was taken during a reenactment at the tenth anniversary of the battle, with small groups of soldiers in line formation discharging their rifles. Photograph of William's grave in Mount Olivet Cemetery in northeast Washington, D. C. [Courtesy of Brian Pohanka.] The birth date is a year later than given in his military record.