Monday, September 12, 2011

To Arms Jimmy Boy! "Remember the Maine and to Hell with Spain!"

One afternoon, some time in the late 1970’s, I was sitting on the couch in my Grandfather’s living room. We were talking about his family. The surnames as far back as he could remember and family stories. The conversation was not planned, it just came up during my visit. At the time I was not into genealogy or family history. There was an empty envelope, from the days mail, on the coffee table. I decided to jot down some notes and names. I still have that envelope. The information got me off in the right direction, when I started my family tree. One of the names written there was Jim McQuaid. He was my Grandfather’s Uncle. My notes say he was in the Spanish American War. And, when he was older, he was in a Solders Home in Maine.
This post is his, Great Grand Uncle Jim’s, story.

First some historical back ground of the times;
  • In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine stated that further efforts by European governments to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas would not be accepted by the U.S., but Spain's colony in Cuba was exempted.
  • The delivery of the Brazilian battleship Riachuelo in 1883 and the acquisition of other armored warships by Brazil, Argentina and Chile shortly afterwards alarmed the United States government as the Brazilian Navy was now the most powerful in the Western Hemisphere. The Chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, Hilary A. Herbert, stated to Congress: "if all this old navy of ours were drawn up in battle array in mid-ocean and confronted by the Riachuelo it is doubtful whether a single vessel bearing the American flag would get into port.” The Navy Advisory Board, confronted with the possibility of hostile warships operating off the American coast, began planning for ships to protect it in 1884.
  • Maine, the first U.S. Navy ship to be named for the state of Maine, was a 6,682-long-ton (6,789 t) second-class pre-dreadnought battleship originally designated as Armored Cruiser #1.[20] Congress authorized her construction on 3 August 1886, and her keel was laid down on 17 October 1888, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She was launched on 18 November 1889
  • Americans had long been interested in Cuba (and Hawaii), since several U.S. presidents offered to purchase it from Spain (James Polk, Franklin Pierce and Ulysses S. Grant), and others expressed their hopes of future annexation.
  • McKinley sent the USS Maine to Havana to ensure the safety of American citizens and interests. The need for the U.S. to send Maine to Havana had been expected for months, but the Spanish government was notified just 18 hours before its arrival, which was contrary to diplomatic convention. Preparations for the possible conflict started in October 1897, when President McKinley arranged for Maine to be deployed to Key West, Florida,[27] as a part of a larger, global deployment of U.S. naval power to attack simultaneously on several fronts if the war was not avoided. As Maine left Florida, a large part of the North Atlantic Squadron was moved to Key West and the Gulf of Mexico. Others were also moved just off the shore of Lisbon. And still others were moved to Hong Kong.[28]
  • At 9:40 pm on February 15, Maine sank in the harbor after suffering a massive explosion. While McKinley preached patience, the news of the explosion and the death of 266 sailors stirred popular American opinion into demanding a swift belligerent response.

  •  After the Maine was destroyed,[31] newspaper publishers William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer decided that the Spanish were to blame, and they publicized this theory as fact in their New York City papers using sensationalistic and astonishing accounts of "atrocities" committed by Spain in Cuba. Their press exaggerated what was happening and how the Spanish were treating the Cuban prisoners.[32] The stories were based on truth but written with incendiary language causing emotional and often heated responses among readers. A common myth states that Hearst responded to the opinion of his illustrator Frederic Remington that conditions in Cuba were not bad enough to warrant hostilities with: "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war.”
  • Spain declared war on April 23. On April 25, Congress declared that a state of war between the U.S. and Spain had existed since April 21, the day the blockade of Cuba had begun.            

1858, 15 March, Birth, James McQuaid, Tyrone Northern Ireland

1880 Arrival USA between January and June- James McQuaid B1858 per 1900 USA Census, 1880 Census was taken 9, June.

1880 Census-USA-9, June, Thomas McQuade B1837, age 42, Occupation 'Wool Dyer', Cannot read or write, born in Ireland, both parents born in Ireland, lives in Monson Ma, with his wife Mary McQuade B1838, age 42, Occupation 'Keeping House', Cannot read or write, born in Ireland, both parents born in Ireland, with their children, Daughter Mary McQuade B1858, age 22, Occupation 'Wool Weaver', can read & write, born in Ireland, Son James McQuade B1856, age 20, Occupation 'Carder'. can read & write, born in Ireland, Daughter Rosa McQuade B1864, age 16, Occupation 'Wool Weaver', can read & write, born in Ireland, Daughter Margaret B1866, age 14, born in Ireland,  attending school, Daughter Katie McQuade B1868, age 12, born in Ireland, attending School, Son Patrick McQuade B1870, age 10, born in Ireland, attending school, Son Thomas J. McQuade B1871, age 8, born in Ireland, Daughter Bridget McQuade B1877, age 4, born in Ireland. Along with Mary McQuade's sister, Rose Barrett B1845, age 35, born in Ireland, Occupation 'Wool Weaver', can read & write.

1885, Dec 13,  Death Rosa McQuade B1864,  22 yrs old,  Cause of death  typhoid fever. James’s sister

1898, 15 July- Military Service- Camp Haven Conn. USA-Private Co. B, 3rd Conn. Inf. Spanish American War, Name spelt McQuard, James, on muster rolls.

Click here for a roster of the 3rd Connecticut Volunteer Infantry

With a typical admixture of patriotic fervor and apprehension, residents of Connecticut joined their fellow Americans in the conflict with Spain in 1898. Sympathy for the Cuban cause and the quest for adventure spurred Connecticut men to enlist in all branches of the United States' armed forces. Though none saw combat in 1898 (Massachusetts was the only New England state to furnish troops that saw action), many contributed to the defensive barrier hastily constructed on the northeastern coast of the United States. In subsequent years, Connecticut servicemen remained in uniform, advancing the new imperial endeavor.
3rd Connecticut Volunteer Infantry
The Third Connecticut Volunteer Infantry was mustered into service between July 2 and 6, 1898 at Niantic, Connecticut. At muster in, the unit consisted of 45 officers and 1,232 men. The unit was eventually sent south, ending its service at Savannah, Georgia, where it was mustered out. At the time of muster out, the unit consisted in 45 officers and 1,105 men. During its term of service, the unit had 15 men die from disease, and 9 men discharged for disability. The unit also had 11 men court-martialed and 51 men desert!
One of James McQuaid's comrades in Company K, Corporal Edward F. Sanderson, wryly recollected his unit's service in a poem titled;

"The Rippin' Roarin' Rookies of Comp'ny K":
                 We was planted in Niantic for to learn the blasted drill,
                 And the slashin' sweatin' sergeants gave each "rooky pup" his fill.
                 Then they shipped us off to Portland, 'cause they raised a beastly scare
                 'Bout Cervera bein' sneakin' up to -- only God knows where.
                 Our orders was to comfort in a sympathetic way
                 The weepin' Portland maidens while their lovers was away.
                 And we rippin' roarin' rookies never flinched.
                 We was sent to old Virginny for to guard a bloody field,
                 Till the hospitals was filled and half the rookies keeled.
                 Our bloomin' anger roused, till our tempers like to burst,
                 And ev'ry beggar sat around, and swore and sweat and curst.
                 And we vowed we'd shoot the colonel if we ever saw a scrap,
                 And we'd plunk the captain, too, if he didn't close his trap.
                 We rippin' roarin' rookies -- sizzlin' there.
                 But they shipped us off for home, and we've lost our troubles now.
                 And we greet the "Cap" and Colonel with a most pretentious bow..
                 We swore we'd smash the sergeant and noses we would pull,
                 But ev'ry man forgot his grudge -- when gov'ment "paid in full."
                 It would take a team of horses and a windlass and a rope
                 To get us in again, but we bear no grudge, I hope.
                 We rippin' roarin' veterans, Comp'ny K. 

1899, 20 March-Military Service-Savannah, Chatham, Georgia, USA- Discharge type listed as 'Mustered out' of Co. B 3rd Conn. Inf. No Disability at time of discharge.

1900 Census-USA-5 June 1900, Thomas McQuaid B1836 Dec, age 63, married 43 yr, born in Ireland, both parents born in Ireland, arrived 1880, Occupation "Day Laborer', unemployed for 12 of the last 12 mo, can read & write, rents & lives at 71 no Street, Monson Ma., with his wife, Mary McQuaid B1835 July, age 64, Married 43 yr, 9 children, 7 alive, born in Ireland, both parents born in Ireland, arrive 1880, no occupation, can read & write, and their children, Son James McQuaid B1858 March, age 42, single, born in Ireland, arrived 1880, occupation 'Woolen Mill Weaver', employed 12/12 mo. can read & write, Daughter Margaret McQuaid B1865 Sept, age 34, single, born in Ireland, arrived 1880, Occupation 'Trimmer at Hat Factory', unemployed 2/12 mo, can read & write, Daughter Katie McQuaid B1867, age 32, single, born in Ireland, arrived 1880, Occupation 'Woolen Mill Weaver', employed 12/12 mo, can read & write, Son Patrick McQuaid B1870 Feb, age 30, single, born in Ireland, arrived 1880, Occupation 'Woolen Mill Weaver', unemployed 6/12 mo, can read & write, Son Thomas J. McQuaid B1872 Feb, age 28, single, born in Ireland, arrived 1880, Occupation ' Woolen Mill Weaver', unemployed 2/12 mo, can read & write, Daughter Bridget T. McQuaid B1877 Nov, age 22, single, born in Ireland, arrived 1880, Occupation 'Trimmer in Hat Factory', unemployed 4/12 mo., can read & write.

1900, 27 Oct- U.S. Naturalization, James McQuaid, age 42, Born 15 mar, 1858, Place of Birth Great Britain, Address Monson Mass,  Hampden County District Court Palmer Mass,  Certificate # 173.

1901 29 April Marriage Mary Ellen Moriarty B1881 & John Thomas McQuaid B1871, James's brother.

1901, 31 Aug,  Death- Mary Barrett (McQuaid) B1835, Mother of James Mcquaid B1858, Cause of death 'Heart Disease'.

1903, 24 June, Marriage Bridget B1875 to Eugene A .Mason B1875, James's Sister

1905 Death 20 May,1905- Thomas McQuaid B1837,  Monson, Ma, age 68, Father of James McQuaid B1858, Cause of death 'Cirrhosis of the Liver'

1905, Feb 22, Death- Patrick McQuaid B1870,  Monson, Ma, age 34, brother of James McQuaid
B1855, Cause of Death Failure of the lungs, Secondary Over dose Veterinary cure, ill for 2 hrs.

1910 Census, Monson Mass finds James's sisters Margaret McQuaid B1865, age 44 and  Katie McQuaid B1867, age 42, living with their sister Mary McQuaid B1857 and her husband in Monson Mass

There is no record of James McQuaid B1858, between 1900-1923. Age 42-65,  Have checked, New England Historic Genealogical Society, and 

1923, 16 Oct-Admitted-National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Togus, Kennebec, Maine, USA, -
James McQuaid      Log  / Member # 18056

 Military History 
Time and place of Enlistment: July 15, 1898, Camp Haven, Conn.
Rank: Pvt.
Company and Regiment: B, 3rd Conn. Inf.
Time and Place of Discharge: Mar. 20, 1899, Savannah, Ga.
Cause of Discharge: Muster-out
Disabilities when admitted to the Home: Cardiac Arrhythmia, ‘Valvular heart disease’, Varicose veins, Amputation of the right index finger. Note, The finger was amputated between his discharge in 1899 and this admission in 1923.

Domestic History 
Where Born: Ireland, Age: 65 Height: 5-71/2, Complexion: Dark, Color Eyes: Blue, Color Hair: Gray, Religion: Cath., Residence Subsequent to discharge: Monson Mass, Married or single: Married, Name and Address of nearest Relative: Sister Miss Mary McQuaid Hampton Ave Monson Mass.
Home History
Rate of Pension: 15. , Date of Admission: Oct 16 1923, Conditions of Re-Admission: Admitted

General Remarks
Papers: Admission Paper: 1, Certificate of Service: 1, Pension Certificate: 1.192.781

No Discharge date or death date is on this log page. The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was taken over by the Veterans Administration in 1930 as part of the establishment of the VA. The branch cemeteries were also taken over by the VA and eventually became national cemeteries. The Veterans Administration upgraded the file system and the old log book was no longer used after 1930.

1828- Death Mary McQuaid B1857, sister of James McQuaid B1858, and nearest relative listed on James's admission  to the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.

1930- Census, 15 April, Chelsea, Kennebec, Maine, National Soldiers Home Eastern Branch, James McQuade, Inmate, male, white, age 75, single, can read & write, born Northern Ireland, Mother & Father born in Northern Ireland, arrived in USA 1880, is Nationalized, no ocupation, is a veteran of the 'SP' (Spanish American War)

1942- Death Catherine McQuaid B1867, sister of James McQuaid B1858

1944, 1 Dec., Death, James McQuaid, age 86, VA Medical Center VA Regional Office Center Togus, ME 04330, US ARMY, Togus National Cemetery, Section Q Site 4607 , unknown listed as relatives.

James lives 21 years 2 mo in the Soldiers Home. The existing records of his death, list unknown for relatives, his sister, Mary, who was listed on his records, had died before him. No one living today can say if any family members were notified or were there for his burial.

The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers  By Trevor K. Plante  (Notes from the National Archives, on the History of and what it was like to live in, The National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.)
James’s brother John Thomas, my Great Grandfather, pasted in 1953, he was 73 years old at James’s death,  and his sister Margaret McQuaid in 1968, she was 80 years old at James’s death.
The 1900 Census lists James as single, his 1923 Soldiers Home Log lists him as Married, but also lists his closest relative as his sister Mary. As stated above I have found no records for James between 1900-1923. If married his wife pasted before 1923. 

My Uncle Jack remembers stories about his Great Uncle James. He states, '”That his father got James into the Soldier's Home in Maine". I take this to mean that my Grandfather transported James to the home in 1923. My Grandfather was 21 years old that year, and did not marry until 1924, he was a clerk in the 5 & 10 on the 1920 Census. Jack also remembers that James had a missing finger. Either he visited James during the 1930’s, when he was old enough to remember or this memory is form stories told by my Grandfather, because, my Uncle was born in 1925. My Uncle Jack was in the Army, in Europe, WWII, from 1943-1946, when James died in 1944.

I have two suggested readings, if you would like to see how life was during this time period.
The War Lovers by Evan Thomas

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane , This is one of the best books I have read, in a long time. If you want to see what life was like in the USA  between 1900 and 1920,  Irish,  baseball, Boston,  revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power. 


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