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Mrs. John H. Freligh
(Susan Rebecca Ruland)
Capt. John H. Freligh

Find A Grave
Age 73. Cause of death: Old Age and/or bronchitis. Married.
Elmwood Burial Records and Register of Deaths

He was born in Plattsburgh, New York, in 1812, the son of George

Freligh of New York.  The title of Captain was not military, but the

rank he held as a riverboat captain plying the Mississippi River - a

title he kept for his entire life

He came West in early life and became identified with river interests, running packet boats between New Orleans and St. Louis and all stops in between. For nearly forty years preceding the war, he was well known in river and mercantile circles. He was a survivor of the great Natchez tornado which sank his steamboat.  He was the Captain of the steamboat Elba which was wrecked and a total loss in 1841. It is probable that during one of his stops in St. Louis, he met and, shortly thereafter in 1843, married Susan R. Ruland, the former Mrs. Heisen.  She was the daughter of General John Ruland, affiliated with William Rogers Clark.  He would become the Clerk of the St. Louis Court. 


Captain Freligh was the number two officer on the Bulletin No. 2 when destroyed by fire above Vicksburg in 1855.  At the risk of his life, he saved the papers, money, and other valuables in the safe, for which he was presented with a set of silver by the merchants of Memphis.  At the breaking out of the war, he was a member of the firm of Hutton & Freligh, which was publishing the Southern Monthly.

About 1852, the Captain and his family would relocate from his home base in St. Louis to Memphis. Capt. Freligh settled down in Memphis after his long steamship career and went into business as a partner of the Hutton & Freligh Co. printers of note in Memphis.  During the war, among other items, they printed currency for the Confederate State.  He espoused the Southern cause and sacrificed his property and interests.  After the war and facing economic disaster, Capt. Freligh and his family, including his wife's widowed sister  (Elisa Clark Ruland Kerr) and her two sons, relocated to Rio de Janeiro Brazil, where, among other things, was the owner and editor of the newspaper, Brazilian Times.  They would stay in Brazil for about three years before making the move back to Memphis.  He would again be elected to serve on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, as he had prior to his relocation.


On his return, he settled down to a very quiet life.  He had a strong literary taste and was a close student of natural philosophy and political economy, and he contributed frequently to the daily papers.  He was a man of the strictest integrity and of refined feeling and had but few intimate friends.  With those, he was exceedingly genial and companionable and by them, he was fully appreciated.

He died in Memphis in 1885, leaving as survivors, his wife and only two of his eight children.



St. Louis Journal  Sat. Fri. Feb 27, 1841  page 4







Wisconsin Enquirer (Madison) 3 Jun. 1840  Wed.  page 2

(Reprinted from The Natchez Free Trader, May 8)


About one o'clock on Thursday, the 7th inst., the attention of the citizens of Natchez was attracted by an unusual and continuous roaring of thunder to the southward, at which point huge masses of black clouds, some of them stationary, and others whirling along with undercurrents, but all driving a little east of north.  As there was evidently much lightning, the continual roar of growling thunder, although noticed and spoken of by many, created no particular alarm.

The dinner bells in the large hotels had rung a little before two o'clock, and most of our citizens were sitting at their tables, when, suddenly the atmosphere was darkened, so as to require the lighting of candles; and, in a few moments afterwards, the rain was precipitated in tremendous cataracts rather than in drops.  In another moment the tornado, in all its wrath was upon us.  The strongest buildings shook as if tossed with an earthquake; the air was black with whirling eddies of house walls, roofs, chimnies, huge timbers torn from distant ruins, all shot through the air as if thrown from a mighty catapult.  The atmosphere soon became lighter, and then such an awful scene of ruin as perhaps never before met the eye of man, became manifest.  "The greatest part of the ruins was affected in the short space of from three to five minutes, although the heavy sweeping tornado lasted nearly half an hour.  For about five minutes it was more like the explosive force of gunpowder than anything else it could have been compared to.  Hundreds of rooms were burst open as suddenly as if barrels of gunpowder had been ignited in each.

As far as the eye can reach, the first traces of the tornado are to be seen from the Natchez bluff down to the river about ten miles, bearing considerably west of south.  Swooping across the Natchez island, it crossed the point below the plantation of David Barlund. Esq., opposite the plantations of P.M. Lapice, Esq., in the Parish of Concordia.  It then struck the Natchez bluff about a mile and a half below the city, near the mansion called "Briars," which is but slightly injured, but swept the mansion late of Charles D. Green, Esq., called "Bellevue," and the ancient forest in which it is embosomed, into a mass of ruins.

It then struck the city through its whole width of one mile and included the entire river and the village of Vidalia on the Louisiana shore-- making the path of the tornado more than two miles in width.  At the Natchez landing on the river, the ruin of dwellings, stores, steamboats, flatboats, was almost entirely from the Vidalia ferry to the Mississippi Cotton Press.  A few torn fragments of dwellings still remain, but they can scarcely be called a shelter.

In the upper city or Natchez on the hill scarcely a house escaped damage or utter ruin.  The Presbyterian and Methodist churches have their towers thrown down, their roofs broken and walls shattered.-- The Episcopal Church is much injured in its roof.  Parker's great Southern Exchange is level with the dust.  Great damage has been done to the City Hotel and the Mansion House, both being unroofed, and the upper stories broken in.  The houses of Sheriff Izod have not a timber standing, and hundreds of other buildings are nearly in the same situation.  The Court House at Vidalia, Parish of Concordia, is utterly torn down, also the dwelling house of Dr. McWhorter and Messrs. Dunlap and Stacy, Esqs. --  The Parish jail is partly torn down.

But now the worst remains to be told.--

Parish Judge Keaton of Concordia was instantly killed while at dinner at the house of Mr. Stacy.  He was a noble and esteemed man.  No other person was killed in Vidalia although some others were hurt.  At the Natchez Landing out of fifty or sixty flatboats, only six are now afloat.-- Those best with acquainted suppose, as many as one hundred flat boatmen were drowned in the river, which swelled instantly to the height of six or eight feet.


The steamboat Hinds, Prairie and the St. Lawrence were destroyed and sunk at the Landing, and the Vidalia ferry boat on the river-- more or less persons being lost in the two first-named boats.


From the ruins of the Steamboat Hotel, Mr. Alexander, the landlord, his lady and barkeeper, were dug out alive, and also Timothy Flint, the historian and geographer, and his son from Natchitoches, La., besides Dr. Talliaferro and many others.  Mrs. Alexander is considered dangerously injured.  Two of her children were killed in her arms.  As many as nine dead bodies have been dug from the S. R. Hotel.


The number of burials which have taken place today is about fifty, and many are still in a dangerous and dying condition.  As soon as possible we shall publish a list of the names of the killed, wounded, and those missing whose bodies have not been found.


Meanwhile, we beg the indulgence of our kind friends and patrons for a few days, in which time we shall be able to get our office in some order.  The Free Trader office has been crushed in and much shattered.--  We are all in confusion and surrounded by the destitution, the houseless, the wounded, and the dying.  Our beautiful city is shattered as if it had been stormed by all the cannon of Austerlitz.  Our delightful China trees are all torn up.  We are peeled and desolate.


A public meeting has been held by the citizens in the courthouse today, at which Col. James C. Wilkins presided, and F.L. Claibourne, Esq. was Secretary.  .  Addresses were delivered by J.M. Hewitt and J.M. Duffield, Esqs., and resolutions offered by the latter gentlemen and others appointed relief committees, etc., etc.    

The City Hotel, through the kindness of the proprietor, Noah Barlow, Esq., has been thrown open to the wounded.  Doctor Pellard, with his usual promptitude, has taken the Tremont House for an additional hospital, Samuel Duncan, Esq. having generously offered to be responsible for the rent.

The neighboring planters are generously sending in large gangs of slaves to assist in clearing the streets and digging the dead from the ruins.

Mr. Ruffner and S.J. Boyd, Esqs, have been at the trouble to go over the whole extent of the city, and make a practical and careful estimate of the damages, which we endorse, as far as our observation extends, and present to our readers......

Total damages  $1,260,000 

From the passengers in the Chester, we learn some further particular.  The Chester passed the wreck of the Prairie 150 miles below Natchez, lying to, in tow of the Meteor.  Capt. Freligh was spoken, from whom it was ascertained that about five persons only were lost from this boat.--  The cabin furniture and chimneys were swept away-- but the hull was not much damaged, and as our informant understood, Capt. Freligh, the cargo was all safe.


The estimate of the number of lives lost by intelligent men from Natchez is from 500 to 1,000-- but it was impossible to ascertain the number with anything like certainty until the rubbish is cleared away, which will require several weeks.


It has been ascertained that there were 104 flatboats at the landing, only seven of which were saved.  At the principal hotel, the boarders to the number of 60 or 80, were at dinner, and only 7 or 8 have been seen since!  At the Steam Boat Hotel under the hill, about sixty were at dinner,-- only sic have been found alive.

The estimate of the destruction of property, as contained in the above extra, was regarded as greatly below the real value.  It was nearer THREE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.  A letter from the Captain of the Prairie states, that all the money was saved.  Five persons were killed-- one of them a young man by the name of Blanc, lately a student at the St. Louis College.



From the Natchez Free Trader of the 11th.

What we wrote on Friday, the day after the calamity, has since proved far too low a computation and far too faint a sketch of the ruin which has befallen our noble spirited, yet devoted city.

The estimate of a little more than a million and a quarter of dollars for the damage done to the buildings merely may be nearly correct for the compact part of the city; but to cover the loss of merchandise, provisions, goods of various kinds and furniture destroyed there should, in the opinion of some of our practical and clear head-men, be at least, four millions more added, making the entire loss of property in the city of Natchez more than five million dollars

This estimate we believe to be strictly within the bounds of moderation.  The immense quantity of pork, bacon, butter, lard, and vegetables lost at the landing, sweat in the deep and oblivious river would astonish anyone not acquainted with the nature of our trade.  Many of our large warehouses and furnishing stores, having lately been crippled and restricted in their operations the most of the supplies for city, county and the adjacent counties have been derived from the Natchez Landing.  These now, with a very few exceptions, are whelmed in the ruin or lost in the waters.

At numerous dwellings in the lower as well as upper city, every piece of furniture, and clothing, and ornament, was given to the gyrations of the whirlwind and lost irrevocably.  Many ladies lost elegant wardrobes, and were dependant on friendship for the initial vestiments with which they covered themselves after they had been reduced to a state of almost entire nudity by a tornado which was writhing "in the sweat of its agonY," and leaping from tower to tower "with delirious bound."

The beautiful and splendid villa of Andrew Brow, Esq., at which place the most gorgeous and splendid fete ever given ib this city to the city guests from Vicksburg last year, is totally ruined.  The cost of its rection was sixty or seventy thousand dollars.--The mansions of Peter Little, Esq., and Mrs. Linton on the bluff, fronting each other at about a mile distant, outrode the storm, being built of massive materials, and escaped with the loss of chimneys and the dismantling of some of the friezes and architectural ornaments.

The Natchez theatre is a pile of shapeless ruins, beyond recovery.  The entire square, surrounded by the walls, and partly covered by the pile of the Rail Road Depot, late one of the largest and noblest edifices, of the kind in any city in the Union, is covered with the wreck of the tower, walls, and roofs.  From this immense mass of rubble several wounded persons and dead bodies have been dug, and the work of removing the huge pile of brick and timber has just commenced.

From the immense ruins of Parker's Southern Exchange, Messrs Farish and Bemis were dug out alive after a confinement of an hour or two, and the dead body of Moses, a most valuable servant; it is possible that there may be one or two more bodies still in these ruins.

The Planter's Hotel formerly called "OurHouse," situated on the brow of the bluff was blown down the precipice.  Many men were known to have been in this house at the time; and it has become painfully evident to the scene, that the rapid decomposition of flesh is going on under the timbers of that house.

Eleven dead bodies have been taken from the ruins of the Steam Boat Hotel, which have all been removed by the gangs of slaves of Colonel Surgeant, Mr. Crossgrove, and others, generously sent in by those wealthy planters.


The Second Deadliest in United States History

The Great Natchez Tornado, 1840
This tornado struck Natchez, Miss., on May 7, 1840, and holds the record of the only massive tornado in the U.S. to have killed more people than it injured. The death toll was at least 317, with the majority of casualties being on flatboats sunk along the Mississippi River. The death toll was likely greater because the deaths of slaves would not have been counted in this era. "There is no telling how widespread has been the ruin," wrote the Free Trader across the river in Louisiana. "Reports have come in from plantations 20 miles distant in Louisiana, and the rage of the tempest was terrible. Hundreds of (slaves) killed, dwellings swept like chaff from their foundations, the forest uprooted, and the crops beaten down and destroyed." No records of how much money was lost.

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Daily Republican Banner (Nashville) 

Mon. Dec. 7, 1840  page 2


Capt. Frekigh, of steamboat Elba, arrived in town last night from the wreck of his boat.  She was snagged on the 21st inst. at half-past 9 o'clock in the morning, at the head of Island No. 25.

The boat filled and sank to the cabin floor, in one hour from the time she struck.  The boat and pricipal part of her cargo is a total loss.  The furniture, etc. was saved, and has been broght to this port by steamer Marmion.  The Elba was about 18 months old-- a good boat of her class-- and was owned by Messrs. L. & A.G. Farwell, Carstens, Anglerodt & Co. Russell & Lindsey, and Capt. Freligh.  The cargo was a valuable one-- part of which was insured in New Orleans.



Salt River Journal, (Bowling Green, Missouri) Sat  Feb. 27, 1841  page 4



In The Circuit Court for May Term 1841

Susan Christy Heisen Complainant,

By her next friend, Israel Ruland

VS. Ferdinan S. C. Heisen

The complainant, Susan C. Heisen, by her next friend, Israel Rukand, having on the 6th day of January 1841, filed in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the county and state aforesaid her petition against the said defendant, stating that on the 16th of May, 1839, she was lawfully married to the said defendant-- that the next day after their marriage he commenced a course of cruel and inhuman treatment towards her and continued the same while she continued to live with him;--that she lived with said defendant only about six weeks; that although she was entirely innocent, he charged her with incontinancy and impeached her virtue so crually as to make her miserable and her life a burden; that he gave her drugs to extort from her a confession of the crime with which he charged her; that from the effect of the drugs or some othercause, she considered her life in danger and left him; that said defendant has left the county, and that she can not in safety trust her life in his hands.  And prays to be divorced from the bonds of matrimony.  And. it appearing that said Ferdinan is not a resident of this state, it is ordered that unless said defendant appears on or before the first day of the next term of said court to be begun and held at the courthouse in Troy, in said county, on the first Monday in May next, and file his answers to said complainant's petition, the same will be taken for confessed against him, and that this order be published in some newspaper printed in this state eight weeks successively, the last insertion at least four weeks before the next term of said court.  


Given under my hand and seal of office in vacation of said court, this 6th day of January 1841.

Francis Parker, Clerk  

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Memphis Daily Argus, Thu. Jan. 24, 1861  page 3

Our old friend, Capt. J.H. Freligh, who was interested in the Memphis and New Orleans line of packets for a long period, has turned politician and is now preparing a pamphlet on the "True position, interest, and policy of the South; Union or Secession, which is the best!"  This work is now in the hands of the printers, Mssrs. Hutton & Co., and will be out in a few days.  We learn that Capt. Freligh takes strong grounds in favor of secession.  His many friends will pursue it with interest. 



Memphis Daily Argus  Tue. Mar. 5, 1861  page 3

Southern Job Office-- Hutton & Freleigh-- The popular, because the prompt and accurate firm of Hutton & Co., has changed its style to Hutton & Freligh.  Captain J.H. Freligh having become a partner in the firm,  Universally popular and generally esteemed, Captain Freligh will scarce fail to increase the already high standing of the firm to which he has attached himself.



The Memphis Daily Avalanche, Mon. Apr. 15, 1861  page 2

Secession Envelopes-- Capt. Freligh, of the firm of Hutton & Freligh, at their Southern Job office, on Second street, has gotten up a very neat envelope bearing the Confederate flag, and a business card.  He has our thanks for a sample, with the card of the Avalanche neatly printed upon it.

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Hutton & Freligh Company

Printed Confederate States of America currency



The Missouri Republican (St. Louis) Sun. Jul. 19, 1868  page 4


..... The last is from the pen of Mrs. Capt. Freligh, late of Memphis, Tenn., and well known in the South for her unbounded hospitality to sick and wounded Confederate soldiers and banished Missouri citizens.  She writes under date, 

Rio de Janeiro, April 24, 1868.

Col. H.C. Thompson (son of Manilius V. Thompson, of Kentucky and late of Cass County, Missouri.)  boarded with us several days.  He is now on an island in the bay, with a Gen. Hawkins. (Why do all the Generals and Colonels come and none of the privates?"  is often asked, for whom he is working, and I believe doing very well.  When Gen Hawkins comes to town he eats with us.  He will soon have a fine crop of fruits and vegetables for markets, and I shall be glad to get some, for our Americans can raise a superior article, particularly of tomatoes.  Nature is so beautiful here that the Brazilians do not consider it necessary to cultivate anything, so the tomatoes are usually small. Dr. Danereau, of La., has raised as fine sweet potatoes as I have ever saw from California seed, he brought out here.  The Brazilians plant once and then let them grow for several years without cultivation, and they are not so good.

Tomorrow is the day for the nuptials of a Brazilian niece of Mr. Nathans, to a wealthy gentleman, and there will be the great state I suppose.  I do not know them.  My son Ruland is gone on a tour up the Rio Doce and will see all our party who accompanied us to this place.  Two Northern gentlemen are with him.  They are going to Menas Geraes to see about the gold and diamonds there, and also to find out about the meat business, as they expect to cure it by the new process for salting.  Ruland is offered in that case a place with them.  We got a letter from Warwick Miller, formerly a China merchant in St. Louis, and now of Pennsylvania.  He complains of hard times and may come to Brazil about this meat question. 


There are plenty of English here who make fortunes and go home to spread them.  But Brazil does not want this, she wants settlers.  Our fall has commenced and we are having delightful weather.  The summer we have just passed through has been nothing like as hot as any I ever spent in St. Louis, and as evidence of it the gentlemen dress in black cloth all year round; sometimes varied by white vests and pants, the whitest I ever saw.  But they generally wear black vests with handsome jeweled buttons or fancy ones.  So that with their tall stove-pipe hats they always look in full dress.  Our folks are known afar off by their nankeens, linens, and blue pants or striped.  We have become so accustomed to see these and Brazilian gentlemen that it looks odd to us to see ours.    Today as we looked from our high balcony down the street, Lizzie observed with a smile: "There comes an American," and sure enough, the blue coat and blue pants of linen, with slouched hat and unblackened shoes went into Mr. Nathan's office opposite.  A Brazilian, no matter how poor, always had his shoes blacked, and by one of the numerous boot-blacks who are always to be seen on every street.  The change is so little and it is done well, I suppose is the reason.

At home, on their balconies, I see them often in linen coats, but rarely in shirt sleeves.  We thought when we came here we would never wear anything but lawns and muslins, but we found that woolens and silks would have been more comfortable.  The ladies wear silk skirts with the richest white waists as well as plain ones all the summer, and I rarely saw a lawn.  They dress very stylishly, in the latest Paris fashions.



Memphis Daily Appeal, Sat. Aug 28, 1869  page 4


Letter from Capt. J.H. Freligh.

A letter has been received from our old friend Capt. J.H. Freligh, who is now a resident of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the proprietor and editor of the Brazilian World, a weekly paper published in English, and delivered to subscribers in all parts of the world at $5 per annum, payable in gold, in advance.  The many friends of the Captain will be glad to know that he bad his family are enjoying good health, and after much of trouble incident to settlement in a new country, are doing well.  We quote from his interesting letter:

"And now as to my opinion of this country.  Naturally, a large portion of it as to climate and soil is one of the finest in the world.  The coastline only is much settled, and that is by far the poorest and least desirable for Americans from the North to settle in.  After passing the coast range of mountains the whole interior of Brazil represents a climate many degrees cooler than the latitude indicates, it being an elevated plateau or tableland varying from 2,000 to 3,500 feet above sea level, and as about 300 feet in altitude give one degree of latitude you can see at once the difference really from what the latitude would show as respects heat.  Again, the interior is richer in its soil, immense tracts being as rich as even the Mississippi bottom, but of a different character. 


Americans are already beginning to go far west of where Brazilian settlements are, content to encounter hardships and privations for a few years in the prospect of "making it tell" by and by.  The Province of Sao Paulo is just now attracting their attention more than any other.  There, under their influence, schools and Protestant Churches are rising up, and already some neighborhoods have their weekly Sabbath assemblage of farmers from twenty miles around.  In Rio, till within a few years, but few of our countrymen were in business, but now we have quite a show.  Merchants, doctors, dentists, ferry owners, street railroad owners, city transfer companies, etc., etc.-- the Brazilians saying that the Nord Americans are smart in getting the things that pay best,"



Memphis Daily Appeal  29 Sep. 1869  Wed.  page 4

--W.S. Bruce & Co. have our thanks for a file of the Brazilian World, the paper published in Rio de Janeiro, by our old friend and confrere Capt. Freligh.  The copies before us bare evidence of the Captain's handwriting and industry, and are really creditable specimens of journalism.  We hope the Captain is as successful as he deserves, and that a big future will be his reward.






























Weekly Public Ledger (Memphis) Tue. Mar. 1, 1885  page 2

In the death of Captain J.H. Freligh, which occurred on the 5th last, a good man passed away, who in his time exercised a large influence in his sphere of life and was highly esteemed and respected.  He was one among the last of a former generation, and although he took an interest in public affairs and appeared on the streets almost daily until a few weeks ago, he was but little known to the new generation that has come upon the stage since the war.  He was born in Plattsburgh, New York, in 1812.  

He came West in early life and became identified with river interests, and for nearly forty years preceding the war was well known in river and mercantile circles.  Captain Freligh was an officer on the Bulletin No. 2 when destroyed by fire above Vicksburg in 1855.  At the risk of his life, he saved the papers, money, and other valuables in the safe, for which he was presented with a set of silver by the merchants of Memphis.  At the breaking out of the war, he was a member of the firm of Hutton & Freligh, which was publishing the Southern Monthly.

He espoused the Southern cause and sacrificed his property and interests.  After the war, he removed to Brazil with his family and remained there for three years.  On his return, he settled down to a very quiet life.  He had a strong literary taste and was a close student of natural philosophy and political economy, and he contributed frequently for the daily papers.  He was a man of the strictest integrity and of refined feeling and had but few intimate friends.  With those, he was exceedingly genial and companionable and by them, he was fully appreciated.




The Daily Memphis Avalanche, Wed. Oct. 7, 1874 page 4

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The Commercial Appeal, (Memphis)

Thu. Apr. 23, 1896 page 5.


The Kansas City Times, Sat. Apr. 16 1896  page 7


John Henry Freligh


BIRTH 1812 • Plattsburgh, Clinton, New York, USA

DEATH 5 MAR 1885 • Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA

Married:  26 Oct 1843 • St Louis, Missouri, USA

Susan "Rebecca" Ruland


BIRTH 25 NOV 1821 • near O'Fallon, St Charles, St Charles, Missouri, USADEATH 24 APR 1896 • Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri, USA



Charlotte Beaumont Freligh


BIRTH 28 JUL 1844 • St Louis, Missouri, USA

DEATH 11 JAN 1845 • St Louis, Missouri, USA

Died as infant


John Ruland Freligh


BIRTH 5 JUN 1847 • 30 Collins St, St Louis, Missouri, USA

DEATH 30 JAN 1885 • Calico, California, USA


Sarah Ruland Freligh


BIRTH 1849 • St Louis, Missouri, USA

DEATH 22 JAN 1850 • St Louis, Missouri, USA

Died as young child


Elizabeth Kerr Freligh


BIRTH 30 JULY 1851 • St Louis, Missouri, USA

DEATH 2 FEB 1937 • Sierra Madre, San Diego, California, USA

Married : 1870 • Campinas, San Paulo, Brazil

William Francis "Frank" Shippey


BIRTH 18 APR 1844 • Pensacola, Escambia, Florida, USA

DEATH 24 JUL 1899 • Kansas City, Wyandotte, Kansas, USA


The Pasadena Post, Fri  Feb. 19, 1937  page 5


Mother of Newspaper Columnist, Author Widely Mourned

Mrs. Elizabeth Kerr Shippey, the mother of the Sierra Madre author and columnist and who as a small girl aided the cause of the Confederacy by running the Union blockade with medical supplies, died yesterday at her Del Mar, Calif., home.  Mrs. Shippey was born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1851 and shortly afterward moved with her family to Memphis, Tenn., where her father, J.H. Freligh became active as a steamboat owner.  Mr. Freligh was part owner of a line running from New Orleans to Memphis and became a close friend of Jefferson Davis, later elected president of the ill-fated Confederacy.


Loyalties To The South

Mr. Davis on many occasions was a visitor to the Freligh home and Mrs. Shippey cherished many memories of him. When the Civil War started, the Freligh's were wholeheartedly with the Southern cause.  The blockade laid down by the Union Army made importation of war materials, including much-needed medical supplies, impossible through normal channels and the blockade with supplies.


Hidden In Buttons

 Mrs. Shippey, although a young girl at the time took an active part with her mother in bringing in medical supplies to ease the suffering of the wounded Confederate soldiers.  Mother and daughter dressed in specially made fitted garments with wooden buttons, made many trips through the Union lines to sources in the North.  Here the buttons would be taken apart, filled quines, then put back together while other medicines and supplies would be hidden in other secret places in the garments.


Mother and daughter, veritable "angels of mercy,"  to the wounded Southern soldiers then would make the return trip through the lines unsuspected.  Mrs. Freligh became so active in her work in the Confederate cause that she was arrested and imprisoned for aiding prisoners to escape.   


Fled To Brazil

 After the war, the Frelighs, as did many Southern families, went to Brazil to rebuild their fortunes in the new country.  Here, the southern belle met Capt. William Francis Shippey, who as a naval cadet had learned engineering and was aiding in constructing the first Brazilian railroad.  They were married and Mrs. Shippey lived for many years in engineering camps far removed from civilization.  Six of her children were born in remote Brazilian camps, several when no medical care was available.

Railway Treasurer

Upon returning to the United States, the Shippeys moved to Kansas City where Capt. Shippey became treasurer of the Kansas City and Northern Railroad. Mrs. Shippey moved to California eighteen years ago and for five years lived in Sierra Madre, moving to Del Mar only two years ago.


Funeral services will be held tomorrow at 1:30 o'clock from the Church of the Ascension, Episcopal, in Sierra Madre where Mrs. Shippey was a member during her residence in that community. Services will be conducted by Dean Arnold G. Bode and the interment will be at Sierra Madre Cemetery.  Grant Funeral Home is in charge.  In addition to her son, Lee Shippey of Sierra Madre, Mrs. Shippey is survived by two daughters, Miss Louisa Shippey and Mrs. Virginia Davis of Del Mar, and another son, C.S. Shippey of Neodesha, Kansas. 




Alice Gertrude Freligh


BIRTH 20 JUN 1853 • Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA

DEATH 7 JUN 1854 • Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA

Died as infant


Henry George Freligh


BIRTH 17 JAN 1856 • Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA

DEATH 17 JAN/OCT 1865 • Grenada County, Mississippi, USA

Died at 9 years old


William Violette Freligh


BIRTH 24 MAY 1858 • Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA

DEATH BEF 1930 • Rio De Janerio, Brazil

Married 1st:

Helena "Nellie" Grace Florence Nightengale Dillon



DEATH Unknown


Married 2nd:

Katherine Keep Doherty


BIRTH 12 FEB 1868 • Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge,

Louisiana, USA

DEATH 29 MAY 1957 • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Daughter of CONFEDERADO Samuel Lumm Doherty and

Minerva Ann Hornsby




Emma-or-Ella Rebecca Freligh


BIRTH 29 JUN 1860 • Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee

DEATH 26 JUN 1862 • Grenada, Grenada, Mississippi, USA

Died as young child


Katherine Doherty "Katie" Freligh


BIRTH 1 AUG 1899 • São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

DEATH FEB 1986 • Buried at Cemiterio Do Bonfim, Belo Horizonte,

Menas Gerais, Brasil

Married:  17 Oct 1944 • Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

William Eric Knefeli


Charles Doherty Freligh


BIRTH 10 FEB 1901 • Belo Horizonte, Brazil

DEATH 2 JAN 1990 • Pinehurst, Moore, North Carolina, USA

Married 1st:  23 Mar 1926 • São Paulo, Brazil

Hermengarda O Rodrigues


BIRTH ABT 1903 • Jundiahy, Brazil

DEATH 10 JAN 1988 • Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Married 2nd:

Yolanda Nazzani


BIRTH 21 NOV 1905 • London, England

DEATH 10 APR 1973 • Falls Church, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA

Daughter of Joseph and Filomena Nazzani


Ignez Freligh


BIRTH 24 JUNE 1902 • Bello Horizonte, Brazil

DEATH ABT 15 APRIL 1977 • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Married:  16 Jun 1923 • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

John Vass Fisher


BIRTH 21 MAR 1886 • Leuchars, Scotland

DEATH 12 JAN 1931 • Buchanan, Missouri, USA

Son of Alexander Fisher and Catherine Vass


Mary Ann Sterling Freligh


BIRTH 28 MAY 1905 • Bello Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

DEATH 9 JAN 1949 • Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Married:  1924 • Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

James Joseph Enright


BIRTH 20 JUN 1901 • Akron, Summit, Ohio, USA

DEATH 20 JAN 1978 • Akron, Summit, Ohio, USA

Son of James Samuel Enright and Catherine H. Doran




Ruland W Freligh


BIRTH 2 MAR 1908 • Bello Horizonte, Brazil

DEATH 22 SEP 1925 • Brazil


Nancy Jean Enright


BIRTH 13 JUN 1925 • Akron, Summit, Ohio, USA

DEATH 6 OCT 2010 • Chandler, Maricopa, Arizona, USA

Married:  7 Jun 1947 • Franklin, Ohio, USA

Thomas Link Paffenbarger


BIRTH 23 AUG 1925 • Columbus, Ohio

DEATH Unknown


Doris "Anne" Enright


BIRTH 21 OCT 1934 • Akron, Summit, Ohio, USA

DEATH 16 OCT 2005 • Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, USA

Married:  11 Feb 1956 • Aires , Argentina 

George Andrew Carlisle III


BIRTH 1 SEP 1932 • Ohio, USA



Louisa Rebecca "Lulu" Shippey


BIRTH 2 JUN 1871 • Campinas, Sao Palo, Brazil

DEATH 13 DEC 1963 • San Diego, San Diego, California, USA

No record of marriage


Virginia "Jennie" Lee Davis Shippey


BIRTH 6 JUL 1873 • Tennessee, USA

DEATH 11 OCT 1955 • Ventura County, California, USA


Mr. Davis


Charles Stuart Shippey


BIRTH 23 JAN 1876 • Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA

DEATH 17 MAR 1953 • Independence, Doniphan, Kansas, USA

Married:1st:  16 Oct 1900 • Leavenworth, Kansas, USA

Margrett Elizabeth O'Donnell


BIRTH ABT 1885 • Kansas, USA

Married 2nd:

Marie Street


BIRTH 21 MAY 1895 • Neodesha, Wilson, Kansas, USA

DEATH 13 APRIL 1973 • Neodesha, Wilson, Kansas, USA


Mary Shippey


BIRTH ABT 1879 • Florida

DEATH Unknown


Henry Lee Shippey


BIRTH 26 FEB 1884 • Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA

DEATH 30 DEC 1969 • Del Mar, San Diego, San Diego, California, USA

Married 1st:  20 Aug 1908 • Missouri, USA

Mary Blake Woodson


BIRTH MAY 1886 • Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri, USA

DEATH 5 NOV 1936 • Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri, USA

Daughter of Blake Lynch Woodson and Nora Delaney




                Henry Lee Shippey

                AKA Blake Lynch Woodson


                      BIRTH 20 MAY 1909 • Kansas City, Missouri, USA

                      DEATH 26 AUG 1988 • Mission, Kansas, USA

                      Married:  6 Mar 1937 •  Missouri, USA

                 Julia Eleanor Rice


                      BIRTH 1915 • Kansas City, Missouri, USA

                      DEATH 18 JUN 1996 • Carrollton, Collin, Texas, USA


Married 2nd:  15 Oct 1921 • Mexico, Distrito Federal, México

Madaline Babin


BIRTH 11 JULY 1898 • France

DEATH 20 OCT 1978 • Weaverville, Trinity, California, USA




Henry George Shippey


BIRTH 8 MAY 1920 • Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri, USA

DEATH 25 MAY 1978 • Sterling Heights, Macomb, Michigan, USA


Marjorie Hesse

Married 2nd:

Ellen Corinne Davey


BIRTH 8 OCT 1914 • Negaunee, Marquette, Michigan, USA

DEATH 3 SEP 1999 • Southfield, Oakland, Michigan, USA


Charles Stuart Shippey


BIRTH 1 AUG 1922 • San Diego, San Diego, California, USA

DEATH 22 MAY 2015 • San Diego, San Diego, California, USA


Mary Margaret "Elaine" Spacek


BIRTH ABT 1929 • Portland, Multnomah, Oregon, USA

DEATH 20 APR 2011 • Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, California, USA

Daughter of Charles Spacek and Pauline M. Novak


Lt. Col. John James Shippey


BIRTH 7 JAN 1924 • San Diego, California, USA

DEATH 28 MAR 2013 • Henagar, DeKalb, Alabama, USA

Married: 01 Apr 1949 • Jefferson, Alabama, USA

Opal Mae Kerby


BIRTH 17 MAY 1925 • Henagar, DeKalb, Alabama, USA

DEATH 19 OCT 2009 • Henagar, DeKalb, Alabama, USA

Daughter of James Melvin Kerby and Nacy Ann "Lizzie" Hulsey


Francis Robert Shippey


BIRTH 7 JAN 1925 • San Diego, San Diego, California, USA

DEATH 16 JUN 2011 • Ventura, Ventura, California, USA

Married:  5 Aug 1948 • Sierra Madre, California, USA

Osefa O. Martinez


BIRTH 15 SEP 1924 • New York, USA

DEATH Unknown

Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Juan Carlos Martinez


Sylvia Georgette Shippey


BIRTH 6 SEP 1927 • San Diego, San Diego, California, USA

Married:  6 Feb 1946 • Sierra Madre, Los Angeles, California, USA

Robert Earl Thomas


BIRTH 22 APR1926 • Los Angeles, California, USA

DEATH 26 OCT 1957 • San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California, USA

For details on the SHIPPEY Family



For details on the DOHERTY Family



Notes on the Freligh -  White Families  In Process for verification

Re: Colonel White in Brazil after Civil War

By user October 30, 2001 at 12:06:43

Wilson County Public Library
Floresville, Texas

I do not know if you are still looking, but it appears that you are seeking the same White family...
I believe my Thomas Bannister White, Doctor Juris, who lived in Fazenda do Funil, Limeira, Distrito de Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil, might be the Colonel you are looking for. TB WHITE married my widowed gg-grandmother Eliza Clark [Ruland] Kerr in his very farm, on 3 April 1870.

Eliza had no issues with Col White, but they both had children from previous marriages.

It could be another Colonel you are looking for, but since I do not know much about the Whites before they went to Brazil, here is my "half" of the Whites in Brazil; the one [or two] White family who went to Brazil in 1867.

Thomas Bannister White, Doctor Juris of the Fazenda do Funil, Campinas, SP, Brazil [b.Abt 1807 Georgia, USA-d25 January 1877, Cantagalo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil] was the son of JosephWhite and Avarella Bannister from Georgia, USA.

Eliza C [Ruland] Kerr [b.9 May 1827, St. Charles County, MO., US - d.27 August 1884, Cantagalo, RJ - Br- At age 57 "na residencia de seu filho, Warwick"]was the daughter of Gen John Ruland[bApril 1789, River Raisin, MI-d 1 Jan 1849 St Louis, MO] of the Militia of Territory of MO, and Ann Farrar Wells[b21 October 1799Jeferson Co. KY - d.24 June 1845 ST Louis, MO]. Ann F Wells was the daughter of General Samuel Wells[b.cir1754/60 VA., died 25 July 1830 St Charles MO]and Mrs. Mary Spear. Saml Wells of the KY Militia and Colonel of the 17th US Infantry of KY; 3 times House Representative, KY; and legislator in St Charles, MO after 1817; Lieut Saml Wells[then] saved the life of Col Floyd [Capt, then] during an Indian battle; Saml also founded "Capt. Wells' Station" in Shelby County early after the survey at Licking Fork, KY [cir 1774-1784]. Too many historical entries are available here, before, during and after the war of 1812 in the NW, to justly show all the good Samuel Wells did for his country.

One of Saml's young brothers was Capt. William Wells of Fort Wayne, who was kidnapped as a child by the Maumee Indians [see. Chief Little Turtle's Tribe- at the Maumee, OH], and raised with them until adulthood when he returned to live with the white civilization under Gen. Winchester command, at Fort Wayne, IN [after "St Clair's Defeat"].

One of Eliza C Kerr's maternal aunts was Mrs. Rebecca [Wells] Heald [b. cir1790 Louisville, Jefferson Co., Ky - d. Abt 1857, St . Charles, MO] wife of Major Nathan Heald [b.24 September 1775, New Ipswich, New Hampshire-US - d. 27 April 1832, O'Fallen, St. Charles County, Missouri; buried in the Family lot.], the Commander of Fort Dearborn [survivals of the Fort's massacre on 15 Aug 1812].  For more sources see: Draper Mss. 24U75 and 24U79. Letters- Eliza to Rebecca[1851 -#75] [aunt Rebecca letter to Eliza [1855 -#79]. See also: Gen John Ruland letter to LC Draper, on Draper Mss. 44J84. See Draper Mss 24U29for assorted Heald Family's papers and Draper Mss 24U38,
for more Heald Family notes.

I have Lucio [Luke] A. White noted as Thomas' son from a previous [US] marriage but I still have to verify this.
This is [age average] a much older family than the typical family migrating to Brazil between 1866-1868.
The children here are not so young.TB White was 63 on 3 April 1870 when he married my widowed gg-grandmother Eliza C. [Ruland] Kerr in Campinas County, SP, Brazil. They had no issues. They moved from Rio, in 1870, where Eliza lived, to "Fazenda do Funil" [ie. farm's name], where
"Col White" had much land, in Limeira, Distrito de Campinas, Sao Paulo - Brazil.
Col White apparently also had land in Sorocaba, where my mother was born.

My widowed gg-grandmother Eliza C Kerr set sails to Brazil with the Keye's Family, her sister, and husband, Capt. Freligh, and her two young Kerr sons, all in the S.S. Marmion in April 1867, from New Orleans, LA., among other families from all over the US and some families from Europe as well. This was in a land tract acquisition program the Emperor of Brazil Dom Pedro was offering at the time to everyone in the US and Europe, not exclusively to American confederates. Although many families were from the South of the USA or were geographically coming via the South of the US, the Civil War was long over. Most families were definitely not interested in confederalism in Brazil, the least --In the long term, most families returned to the USA. Only a few families acquired their own lands in different places [such is the case with the KERRs], mostly in the Southeast of Brazil. Sao Paulo has ever since been the most successful and profitable State in Brazil with its economy, particularly with farm animals and agriculture. Obviously, most Americans who settled in that very area, a flourishing urban area surrounding the city of Sao Paulo, were prone to succeed, versus all the other American colonies that attempted but failed to expand in Brazil's wild, virgin and harsh forests of the state of Espirito Santo and Para.

I do not know what happened to Lucio, but reports from Jennie's Diary suggest that he was going[1868-69] to Argentina with Samuel C. Kerr, Eliza's first son from first marriage to Kerr. Samuel never did go to Argentina, or if he did he returned to Brazil shortly after, for he died in Rio de Janeiro in 1873 of Yellow Fever. Eliza's sister, Susan Rebecca[Ruland], married Capt John Henry Freligh[St Louis, MO 1843], had several children, including John Ruland Freligh b5 June 1847, St. Louis, MO - d30 January 1885, Calico, California, at 11 PMin his 38th year[see: Jennie's Diary for more mentions of Ruland Freligh and-see: "FREELY, John H.", or "KERR, James D., Jr.", in US FED Census 1850 St Louis, MO, the Freligh Family and the Kerr household all living together at the time]; Eliza ("Lizzie" in Jennie's Diary) Kerr Freligh b.3 August 1851, St Louis, MO - d.8 February 1937-San Diego Co, CA, USA, buried in Sierra Madre Pioneer Cemetery[married William Francis Shippey d.1899 Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri; Burial-Episcopal Cemetery, Ks City, Jackson, MO]; andWilliam V. Freligh b1858 Memphis, TN-d1920, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [also noted as Freleigh in Brazil] among other cousins. Much of this is News to Genealogy as a whole.

The source of all of this comes from researches I have conducted with DATA gathered from my Eliza C Kerr's Bible, US Newspaper announcements, military and consular documents, US Fed Census, Court and vital records' documents, several different historical publications, pictures, oral history and other church records., all about these families.

A picture of Samuel C Kerr along with the Millers [Family who went to the Rio Doce in 1867] is also published in one of the Alabama Historical Society Magazines of 1930 with part of the article about "Jennie's Diary". The rest of this article was to be continued, but somehow the magazine seized its publication only to resume its publication 10 years later.  "Jennie's Diary" was initiated as a diary by Jennie's mother, Julia Hentz Keyes, a granddaughter of the American novelist Caroline Lee Hentz.
Julia handed the diary to her daughter, Jennifer ["Jennie"] Keyes, once they arrived in Brazil so that she would continue to narrate many of their adventures during their short stay of a few Years in Brazil(1867-1870+). Later in 1874, Julia, already back in the USA, sorted all writtings to publish her story as "Our Life in Brazil" [see more on "Our Life in Brazil"- ] - [I have a copy of the complete "Our Life in Brazil" if you need me to check for other people].

A recently-discovered cousin of mine, namely Anne [Fisher] Ahlert, is a direct living descendant of William V. Freligh.Anne5 [Malcolm Fisher4, Ignes Freligh Fisher3, William Violette Freligh2, Capt JH Freligh1]lives in Illinois Today with her husband and a beautiful newborn daughter -an avid researcher of the genealogy [the best contact for the Frelighs Today, that I know]. Another new finding during my researches is the descendants of Eliza Kerr [Freligh] Shippey who live in California [Today], being the children of Henry Lee Shippey[ie. the writer aka "Henry Lee"3, Eliza Kerr Freligh2, Capt JH Freligh1] -Some great living proof of evidence for the Shippeys who went to Brazil and returned back to the
The USA safely during 1867-1870/2.

Lizzie [Eliza Kerr Freligh] was named after her aunt, my gg-grandmother, while they[Frelighs and Kerrs] lived together in 1850 in St Louis, MO.

Eliza Clark Kerr's [Mrs. Kerr in Jennie's Diary] only other son from the first marriage was Warwick Stephen Kerr[b.4 January 1852 at Uncle John Henry Freligh's home Sunday, 3 AM in Memphis, TN-USA- d.12 July 1912, Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil], my great grandfather, who stayed in Rio de
Janeiro after his mother re-married leaving Rio in 1870 to Fazenda do Funil with then-new husband Thomas B. White.

Some cousins and uncles carry the family name "Ruland Kerr" to this day -see: Adml L. Ruland Kerr4 -alive in Rio, Brazil [Rev. Wm C. Kerr3, Warwick S Kerr2, Eliza&James D Kerr, Jr1].
One of my 2nd cousins, Eliza White Kerr4[b 1909- alive; -- Emil3, Warwick2, Eliza&James D Kerr, Jr.1], was named after her great grandmother Eliza C Kerr and her, then, new husband Col. T. B. White. Most of my KERR family still lives in the Campinas area, Sao Paulo city, and Rio de Janeiro to this day. A few cousins are scattered in the USA.

Many relatives were born in Macaeh, Rio de Janeiro, others in Cantagalo, Rio de Janeiro, or Sao Paulo, Campinas, among other cities in the state of Minas Geraes, Brazil.

I have the original marriage certificate of Thomas with Eliza at Fazenda do Funil in Limeira, Campinas SP, Brazil, where it reads that Col. P. Hardeman and Wm Turner were witnesses at the wedding while Rev G Nash Norton performed the ceremony under the authority of the Evangelical Church of
Brazil. I am not sure but it could be that both Thomas and his father Joseph were called by, in Brazil, the title of "Colonel" as it was customary to treat respectful families that way back then. To a certain extent, this is still a commonly used practice in the countryside of Brazil, Today.
[See also the overextended use of the pronoun "Doctor", applied often to non-doctors in Brazil, to this day].

The so-called "American society" in Americana used to gather at my great grandmother and Dr. White's home, in Fazenda do Funil, every afternoon for a friendly reunion. Eliza and Thomas' marriage certificate reads [note about the ceremony]: "In the Fazenda do Funil, at the house where the American society used to gather at 2 PM".  The KERRs in Brazil did not arrive from TX, but from DC and MO. Capt JH Freligh was from Plattsburg, NY. And the Whites were from Georgia, USA.
Does any of this close any connection gaps?

Answering here also to a previously posted request of David Asprey on the "History of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil": this is a book in my family's library, as my grandfather Rev William Cleary Kerr, Presbyterian, was rector of the Presbyterian Seminary of the SE of Brazil, Campinas, SP, where Rev. Julio Ferreira also taught Theology for years. I have a cousin checking Rev Emerson entries - I will let Mr. Asprey know as soon as I get the results if he does not have this yet. On an important note, Rev Julio Ferreira, who was a close friend of our family and a Pastor in our local Presbyterian Church of the Jardim Guanabara, Campinas, SP, has passed away just two weeks ago, on 11 OCT 2001, in Campinas, SP., where he resided with his wife. He was also a close friend of my parents and myself as well as a much-loved pastor in our whole Brazilian community, an important teacher for the history of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil.

Flavio Kerr

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