John Henry Brown.

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he saw erected and established an institution that
promises to generations yet unborn the opportunities
of education perhaps denied himself.

" It was not ostentation upon the part of Henry
Rosenberg that prompted the act. He was not an
ostentatious man. On many an occasion, known
to the writer, Henry Rosenberg's purse was placed
at the disposal of the needy, but always upon the
principle that his left hand should not know what
his right hand was doing.' Upon an especially large
donation to a worthy object some years ago the
writer requested of Mr. Rosenberg permission to
make known the fact through the columns of the
News. 'No;' said Mr. Rosenberg, 'you will
offend me if you do. Whatever I do in this way I
do because I like to do it, but it would be no source
of satisfaction to me to find it paraded before the
public' Such was the man. * * * Peace to
his ashes wherever they may rest."

As the news of his death spread over the city it
was followed by a wave of universal sorrow that
embraced in its sweep the entire population. The
remains laid in state at the Rosenberg Free School
building, where they were viewed by thousands who
loved him well. Impressive funeral services were
held in Assembly Hall. The remains were taken
from Assembly Hall to Grace Church, where the
beautiful and impressive funeral service of the
Episcopal Church was read by the rector, Rev. J.
R. Carter, after which the body was temporarily
deposited in Payne vault in the cemetery at Gal-
veston, to await removal to Baltimore, Md. Mr.
Rosenberg had been consul for Switzerland at Gal-
veston for more than thirty years, and at the time
of his death wasfirst dean of the consular corps. A
message of condolence was received from the Swiss
minister at Washington and the consular corps met,
passed suitable resolutions and paid the last tribute


of respect to the memory of their friend and col-

The vestry of Grace Episcopal Church, of
which for many years he had been a mem-
ber, City Council, School Board, board of
trustees of the Rosenberg Free School, and
other civil bodies, took similar action and a
great mass meeting (presided over by some of
the most distinguished men in Texas), assembled
in response to a proclamation issued by the mayor
of the city to listen to suitable speeches and pass
appropriate resolutions. At this meeting was read
the following poem: —


" The freightage of the surf is many kind.

Both wreck and treasure ride the crested wave ;
And ever as it frets its force away

Against unyielding shores, it builds the strand
For men to walk upon and trade and thrive.

There, bleaching lie, the shells of myriad life
That throbbed but briefly in a stifling sea

And perished. And some, untimely cast ashore,
Lie festering upon the sun-kissed sands,

Abhorred and pestilent; while some are ripe
To death and but repose in welcome rest ;

And some are puny pygmies, sprawling prone,
And rudely crashed into forgetfulness

By hurrying heels of eager, searching crowds,
And some are of larger growth and stand erect,

Majestic emblems of a giant kind,
Impacted in the sands of time ; behold,

Nor wind, nor tide, nor jostling jealousy
Can shake their adamantine base — unmoved

Of all the mutable that throng the earth.

" And there are those, who, in their speeding day,

While youth and strength lent opportunity,
With frugal husbandry, wrought hard and fast

To garner yellow wealth in honest bins.
And when the sun shone golden in the West

And shadows deepened to the coming night.
They looked upon their stores and smiled to think

That Power now was minister to Wish,
And straightway loosed the locks and smote the bars

That old and young and mind and soul and beast
Might share thebleasings of a fruitful life.

And they live on. Along the pebbled way,
That stretches from the utmost to the end.

They mark the certain progress of mankind
And guide us up to Godlier destinies."

"The remains of Henry Rosenberg, the Texas
philanthropist," says the Baltimore Sun of June
1st, 1893, " were consigned to their final resting
place in Loudon Park Cemetery yesterday after-
noon. The body was brought to Baltimore from
Galveston, of which city the deceased was an hon-
ored citizen. The funeral services held there were
elaborate, the whole city testifying to the esteem in
which he was held. * * * The pall-bearers were



Judge David Fowler, G-eorge French, Howell Gris-
wold, Richard G. Macgill, Jervis Spencer, Dr. Guy
Hollyday, John Fowler and Patrick H. Macgill.
Among those present were Chas C. Tuvel, secretary
-of the Swiss legation at Washington, representing
•the Swiss government ; William Nichols, of Galves-
ton; Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cokelet, of New York,
who had been close friends of Mr. Rosenberg for
•more than forty years ; Dr. Chas. Macgill, of
Catonsville ; Miss Rouskulp, of Hagerstown ; Mrs.
Howell Griswold ; Mrs. Dr. Gibson ; Miss West ;
Miss Bettie Mason Barnes ; Mr. and Mrs. George
"Gibson ; Mrs. Drewry, of Virginia ; Davidge Mac-
gill, of Virginia; Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Gary; Miss
Fowler ; the Misses Carter, of Catonsville ; Miss L.
K. Spencer; Mrs. George French, Col. Robert
Smith, and others."

Hundreds of editorial notices appeared in lead-
ing newspapers throughout the country. The fol-
lowing extracts are made from a few that appeared
in Texas papers : —

Galveston .News: "Trite reflections upon the
•lives and ends of such men have little force beyond
■the circle of their immediate friends, but, many
will draw a serious lesson from that of the de-
ceased. * * * He was one of several who
accumulated large fortunes in Galveston and were
not spoiled by their possessions nor estranged from
those who had been less successful by the disparity
in their circumstances. He was regarded with
tender veneration by young ani old, rich and
poor. A stranger on the Market street car line
might have frequently observed a ruddy-faced and
cheery old gentleman getting on or off at Thirteenth
street, and on the outgoing trip the motorman
would generally bring the car to a stop on the near
side, though the rule would have taken it to the
other side. This was quietly done for Mr. Rosen-
berg, who always had a smile for the laborer and
t^ie poor. Coming down town in the morning he
was constantly nodding to his friends."

Waco Day-Olobe: "It was reserved for a Tex-
ian by adoption, a citizen who was born on foreign
soil, to make the first real practical move towards
honoring the memory of the fathers of Texas
liberty. In his will the late Henry Rosenberg,
of Galveston, born in Switzerland, bequeathed
$50,000 for the erection of an appropriate and
enduring memorial in honor of the heroes of the
Texas revolution. It may also be remarked that
this foreign-born citizen placed himself at the head
-of the all too small list of Texas philanthro-
pists. • * • In the disposition of the accumu-
lations of his lifetime Mr. Rosenberg dealt out his
•benefactions with an impartial hand. He seems

to have lost sight of creed or race. A profound
desire to benefit the human family was the ideal he
strove to reach and so sound was his judgment, so
broad and generous his impulses, that the money
he has left will bless his fellowmen through cen-
turies to come."

Hempstead News: "His name will go down to
after times as one of the best and noblest men of
his day. Oh ! if there were more like him, this
world would be a better world."

Surviving him he left a widow, but no children.
He had been twice married — marrying first, June
11th, 1851, Miss Letitia Cooper, then of Galveston,
but a native of Virginia. This estimable lady died
June 4th, 1888, and November 13th, 1889, he
married Miss Mollie R. Macgill, daughter of Dr.
Charles Macgill. She was born at Hagerstown,
Md., February 28th, 1839. At the time of
Miss Macgill's birth Mr. Rosenberg's first wife
was visiting the family of Dr. Macgill and in-
duced the doctor to promise the child to her
and afterwards made several offers to adopt her,
which, however, were not accepted, as the parents
would not agree to part with her entirely even to
please so dear a friend. In September, 1856, Mr.
Rosenberg brought Miss Macgill to Texas, where
she remained eleven months as a guest of Mrs.
Rosenberg. In the fall of 1860 Mrs. Rosenberg
again sent for Miss Macgill, who arrived in Galves-
ton in September expecting to remain two years,
but returned to her parents in April, 1861, on
account of the war, and remained with them until
the close of the struggle. Returning to Galveston
in March, 1866, she joined the family permanently
and, Mrs. Rosenberg, becoming an invalid, Miss
Macgill, who reciprocated the deep affection she
felt for her, assumed full management of the house-
hold and continued her tender ministrations until
Mrs Rosenberg's last illness, and was present at
her bedside when she quietly fell " asleep in Jesus "
Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg, with Miss Macgill,
paid annual visits to Miss Macgill's parents in
Richmond, Va. Miss Macgill's niece. Miss Minnie
Drewry, of Virginia, was with her during the
latter part of Mrs. Rosenberg's illness. The two
remained with Mr. Rosenberg, traveling during the
summer, and in the fall Miss Macgill and niecf re-

until the following July and then with him visited

we" 17%' "°''" ^-^ ^'^'"-"'^ -<^ ^-m t ere
went to the Springs and New York City, returning

rtr;^t:l^^5 - ^-^-°-bergan^

m marriage November

Miss Macgill were united

l^th 1889, at Grace Episcopal Church by Rev

Hartly Carmichael of St. Paul's Church, assiLdby



Rev. H. Melville Jackson of Grace Church, present
assistant Bishop of Alabama. Dr. Charles Macgill
was a native of Baltimore, Md. His grandfather
on the maternal side was Thomas Jennings, who filled
the position of King's Attorney under the Colonial
government of Maryland, and on the paternal side,
Rev. James Macgill, of Perth, Scotland, who settled
in Maryland in 1728 and was the first rector of
Queen Caroline Parish, Elkridge, Anne Arundel
County, Md. Dr. Macgill served as full surgeon
in the Confederate army during the war between
the States ; and was one of President Jefferson
Davis' family physicians. Dr. Macgill died in
Chesterfield County, Va., May 5th, 1881. Mrs.
Rosenberg's mother, now eighty-eight years of
age, lives with her at Galveston. Of Mrs. Rosen-
berg's brothers, Wm. D. enlisted at Palestine,
Texas, in Company A. , Second Cavalry, and, after the
battle of Sharpsburg, was transferred to the First
Maryland Cavalry, Company C, and died in
Baltimore, Md., August 25, 1890; Davidge en-
listed in the First Maryland Cavalry, Company C,
under Col. Brown in 1861, and served throughout
the war. Dr. Chas. G. W. Macgill was a surgeon
in Stonewall Jacks"on's brigade and James enlisted
in the Confederate army at sixteen years of age
and served in the same commands with his brother
Wm. D. until the close of hostilities. Dr. Chas.
G. W. Macgill and James Macgill surrendered with
the troops in Virginia as did their father Dr. Chas.
Macgill ; but Wm. D. and Davidge Macgill did not
surrender until April 20, 1865, as they managed to
get through the Federal lines and tried to make
their way to Johnston, who surrendered before they
reached him. A reader of the Birmingham Age-
Herald, living at Childersburg, Ala., in an interest-
ing and lengthy communication to that paper,
under date of October 11, 1890, contributes the
following: —

"In your issue of the 7th inst., under the
heading ' Some Persons of Prominence,' you
kindly give space to eulogizing Dr. Macgill and
family, formerly of Hagerstown, Md., and later of
Richmond, Va., but more especially of Mrs. Helen
E. Swan, from the announcement of her death,
which occurred on the 22d of September last, at
the home of her brother-in-law, Dr. S. A. Drewry
in Richmond.

" Among other things, you give prominence to
their many intellectual, physical and social graces,
together with their political prominence. * * *
Now it may be that you ' reckoned better than
you knew ' and that you did not know that
there were some ex-Confederates who were con-
stant readers of your valuable paper and in

your Immediate vicinity who have special cause to
honor and remember this illustrious and patriotic
family. I allude particularly to Capt. John
('Piney,') Oden, Company, K., Tenth Alabama
Regiment, Confederate Volunteers, who was severely
and, at the time, thought by his comrades to be
mortally wounded, on Wednesday, September 17th,
1862, at Sharpsburg, receiving a wound fourteen
inches long, reaching the whole length of the thigh,
from which he has been a permanent cripple and
great sufferer ever since. Besides he received at
the same time a painful wound in the left side from
a piece of bomb-shell. * * * He lay upon the
battle-field in that helpless condition for twenty-six
hours. When all other efforts for removal failed,
he made some Masonic characters upon a piece of
paper and requested that they be carried to the
general in command of the Federal army, he being
then within the Federal lines. Very soon six men
came for him with an improvised litter, an old
army blanket. They made a slip gap in the fence,
near which he lay, and ran across the hill to a field
hospital with him upon the litter, which was more
than once punctured with balls from his friends'
guns, they not understanding what was going on.
He was finally removed to the Hagerstown, Md.,
courthouse, which had been converted into a Federal
hospital. * » * Here he first met and learned
to love and honor the name of Macgill and the
members of the family, for the daughters that were
then at home came to the hospital and inquired
especially if there were any Confederate soldiers
among the wounded there. Capt. Oden being
pointed out, they began immediately to beseech, in
view of his condition, that he be paroled and they
be allowed to carry him to their private dwelling,
which request, at their earnest and importunate
solicitation, was granted. * * « por six
months the members of the family, including Dr.
Chas. Macgill, Jr., who was then at home, contin-
ued their ministrations. * * * At one time the
femoral artery sloughed in two and Capt. Oden's
life was despaired of, but every physical, and even
spiritual, aid was rendered him. Finally he rallied
and recovered, and lived many years thereafter to
call them blessed. Capt. Oden often said that he
was especially indebted to Miss MoUie Macgill,
now Mrs. Rosenberg, of Galveston, and named a
daughter Mollie Macgill Oden in honor and grate-
ful remembrance of her. The intimacy and friend-
ship between the Macgill and Oden families has
been kept up ever since the war by correspondence
and interchange of visits. * * * "

Capt. Oden died in Odena, Talledega County,
Ala., May 23, 1895. All this particularity of detail



has been entered into to show that all that could be
said in praise of the Macgill family is well deserved
and that indeed, thousands of ex-Confederates
have cause to remember them kindly, generally, and
some especially.

Through an interview published in the Macon,
Ga., Daily Telegraph, of June 24th, 1894, Mr.
Chester Pearce, a leading citizen and politician of
Georgia, adds his quota of grateful recollections to
that of Capt. Oden. Mr. Pearce took part in the
battle of Sharpsburg as a soldier in the Eighteenth
Georgia, Hood's Texas Brigade ; was shot entirely
through the body with a minnie ball ; laid on the
field many hours, and was finally carried to
Hagerstown, Md., nine miles distant, where he
was placed in the hospital at the courthouse.
Here the doctors declined to dress his wound,
saying that it was useless as death would soon
come to relieve him of his suffering. For two
days he lingered in this miserable condition with-
out nourishment, no one even showing him the
kindness to bathe his face and hands. Then a
committee of ladies visited the hospital, among
them the daughters of Dr. Macgill.

"These daughters of Dr. Macgill," says the
interviewer, "■ minis1;ering angels indeed, gave
guarantee bond for the return of the young sol-
dier, should he recover, and took him to their
elegant and palatial home. Here for the first
time he received medical attention. Dr. Chas.
Macgill, Jr., taking him in charge and dressing
his wounds. Miss Mollie Macgill, a beautiful
young lady, became his nurse. In two months'
time he was sufficiently recovered to go to Balti-
more, the military post. Here Mr. James Carroll,
a friend of Southern soldiers, gave guarantee bond
for his safe-keeping and he was finally exchanged.
He rejoined the Confederate army, took part in the
murderous charge of Round Top — at the battle of
Gettysburg ; later was again captured by the Fed-
erals and was sent by them to Fort Delaware ; made
his escape, but was retaken and carried to Fort
Henry, where he was thrown into a dungeon with
the vilest of criminals and remained until exchanged.
He then again hurried to the front and fought in

the lines until he surrendered with the other soldiers
of Gen. Lee's army at Appomatox. * * * In
the course of years, Miss Mollie Macgill, who had
so tenderly nursed back to life the boy-soldier,
married a Mr. Rosenberg, a wealthy banker of Gal-
veston, Texas. There she met Mr. and Mrs. Dan
Henderson j of Camilla, Ga., and told them the
story of the young soldier she had nursed, and re-
quested them to discover his whereabouts, if

"Not long since Mr. Henderson read in the
Macon Telegraph, that a Chester Pearce was a can-
didate for the legislature from Houston County.
Mrs. Rosenberg wrote to the candidate to know if
he could be the Chester Pearce whom she had
known in Maryland, sending her kindest regards,
and this was the letter that brought forth the ' war
record ' of Chester Pearce, — this was the letter of
which he so fondly spoke and that elicited from him
expressions of grateful remembrance, worthy of the
man and the kind friends who rescued him from an
untimely grave."

In peace and war, — through all the vicissi-
tudes of time and circumstance, the Macgills
have been the same true, generous and -chivalric
race. Mrs. Rosenberg's life has been spent in
an earnest, Christian effort to do all the good within
her power and to render all about her happy. She
has been a member of the Episcopal Church since
she was sixteen years of age. After her husband's
death, when it became known that his remains were
to find sepulture out of the State, she was petitioned
by thousands of people to allow them to be interred
in one of the public squares of Galveston. She,
however, carried out the wish expressed by him in
his lifetime and consigned them to earth in Loudon
park cemetery in Baltimore, Md., where his first
wife is buried and a costly monument now marks
the spot. Mrs. Rosenberg is a lady of rare brill-
iancy and strength of mind. Her" husband was
deeply attached to her. She was in full sympathy
with all his acts of beneficence and in every way
aided him to the full extent of her power in all his
undertakings. No lady in Galveston is more gen-
erally admired and beloved.


John Sealy





The late lamented John Sealy, during many
years a member of the famous banking house of
Ball, Hutchings & Company, of Galveston, Texas,
and an active promoter of the best interests of that
city, was born in the great Wyoming Valley at
Kingston, Luzerne County, Pa., October 18, 1822,
and when fourteen years of age entered a country
store as a clerk under an agreement to work for
board and clothes until twenty-one years of age and
tnen receive as further payment flOO.OOand an
extra suit of clothing. When he had reached eight-
een years of age his employer, although continu-
ing merchandising, engaged in developing coal
mines in addition thereto, and soon found that the
young employee was competent to look after these
outside interests and placed him in charge of them
as general manager, which position he continued to
fill, under the terms of agreement originally
entered into as to remuneration for personal ser-
vices, until he had attained his majority. He was
then retained on a salary until twenty-four years
of age, when he determined to cast his fortunes
with the people of the State of Texas. He arrived
in Galveston in 1846 with about seven hundred and
fifty dollars, saved from his earnings, and suc-
ceeded in securing employment as salesman in the
house of Henry Hubbell & Co., who were at that
time considered the leading dry goods merchants
in the city. He continued in this position for
about a year and during that time became ac-
quainted with, and an intimate friend of Mr.
J. H. Hutchings, bookkeeper for the firm. Mr.
Hutchings had also saved from his salary
about seven hundred and fifty dollars. The two
young men decided to combine their means and go
into business upon their own account and with their
joint capital of fifteen hundred dollars succeeded
in purchasing from Hubbell & Company, who had
the greatest confidence in their integrity and
capacity, a stock of goods, valued at several thou-
sand dollars, which they took to the town of Sabine
Pass, Texas, where they opened a store in 1847,
under the firm name of Hutchings & Sealy. They
soon won the confidence of the business community
and built up a fine trade, which they rapidly ex-
tended until they ranked as the leading merchants
of the section. They remained in business at
Sabine Pass, until 1854, when, having accumulated
about $50,000.00, they deemed it advisable to

close out there and change their base of operations
to some larger place. Accordingly they wound up
their affairs at Sabine Pass, took a few months
much needed rest, and moved to Galveston, where
they formed a copartnership with Mr. George
Ball, under the firm name of Ball, Hutchings &
Company, and embarked in the general dry goods
and commission business. The commission busi-
ness was sold out in 1860 and the dry goods busi-
ness in 1865, when the firm went regularly into the
banking business. Two years later Mr. George
Sealy was admitted to the copartnership, which
continued with this personnel until the death of the
subject of this sketch, Mr. John Sealy, August
29th, 1884. Mr. John Sealy's widow, Mrs.
Rebecca Sealy, has been allowed to retain the
partnership interest of her late husband in the
business up to the present time, 1896.

Mr. Sealy was married to Miss Rebecca Davis
of Bedford, Pa., in 1857. Two children, John and
Jane Sealy, were born of this union. The son
will succeed to his father's interest and become a
full partner in the firm. Mr. Sealy was identified
with, every important public enterprise inaugurated
in Galveston during his residence in that city and
was instrumental in originating many of them.

From the beginning he had a deep and abiding
faith in the continued growth and prosperity of the
city of his adoption and inspired all who came in con-
tact with him with like confidence. He was an officer,
or director, in nearly every corporation chartered
and doing business in Galveston, by reason of his
well recognized financial ability and the large stock
interests that he held. At the time of his death he
was the wealthiest man in Galveston, owning among
other property a landed estate sufficiently large to
form a good sized principality. Among other gen-
erous bequests in his last will and testament he
set aside a sum of money for the erection of a char-
ity hospital which has since been erected at a cost
of $75,000.00 and been of great benefit to the suf-
fering poor of the State, as people from all parts of
Texas are admitted free of charge. He did not
wait until he no longer had a use for the things of
this world to put his wealth to good purpose. His '
life was a long record of worthy deeds and silent
benefactions. As between himself and others,
whether friends or enemies, he kept the scales of
justice evenly balanped. No man could ever say



that he had treated him unfairly. He was incapa-
ble of a little, mean or unworthy action.

He started in the race of life penniless and with-
out friends, other than those he had won by his
energy, truthfulness, faithful discharge of duty,
adherence to correct principles and purity of
thought, speech and living. He resisted and over-

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 28 of 135)