Friday, November 8, 2013

Edward Church -IV

Anna Church Strobel (Mrs. Daniel Strobel, Jr.),
with son George, ca 1799
by John Vanderlyn, American, 1775-1852,
crayon on white paper, 8 3/16 by 6 1/4", Collections,
Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Anna Church Strobel (Mrs. Daniel Strobel, Jr.,
ca 1830, watercolor on ivory, 2 3/4 by 2",
by her daughter, Louis Catherine Strobel,
1803-1883, Collections,
Metropolitan Museum of Art.

   Edward Church remained as US Consul at Lisbon, Portugal until 1796 or 1797 since his successor was appointed on July 10,1797. He then moved to Paris and over the next eighteen years or so, divided his time between Paris, London and Liverpool. He continued in business as a merchant and sometime at the end of the eighteenth or, more likely, the beginning of the nineteenth century, he entered into partnership with Daniel Strobel, Jr, as the firm of Strobel and Church, in Liverpool, England.

Daniel Strobel, Jr. ca 1799, by John Vanderlyn,
Collections, Metropolitan Museum of Art
   Daniel Strobel, Jr. was the son of Daniel Strobel, who was born in 1735 in Prussia and emigrated to Charleston, S.C. in 1752 where he became a merchant and owned a tannery. Prospering as a prominent member of the German-American community in Charleston, he had twelve children, of which Daniel, Jr. was the oldest, born in 1758 in Charleston. Precisely when Daniel, Jr. met Edward Church or where or what the precise nature of their business relationship was, is unknown. We do know that Daniel, Jr. married Edward's daughter Anna (Ann) in Charleston. About 1800, Daniel, Jr., and Anna moved to France, in order to link up with  Edward Church and his family. Presumably, the firm of Strobel and Church prospered, at first, but the outbreak of  the Napoleonic Wars created hardships for trade and the firm had financial difficulties. Since Daniel Strobel, Jr., later became partners in the firm of Strobel and Martini in Bordeaux, France, one must assume that the firm of Strobel and Church was either completely taken over by Edward Church or dissolved. Strobel late became U.S. Consul at Bordeaux and died in New Haven, CT at the age of 72. Edward Church remained in the mercantile trade and, seems to have done rather well for himself.
    Little is known about Edward Church after 1800, until his son, Edward Church, Jr. wrote to Secretary of State James Monroe requesting appointment as US Consul to Ostend. Edward Church, Jr. was in the United States purchasing land in Kentucky and had traveled northward through Washington, D.C., where he met Secretary Monroe on his way to Philadelphia.
   Philadelphia, 30th August 1815
          ...I have lately received an additional excitement; my Father has had an attack of apoplexy and subsequently a paralytic stroke, which has deprived him of the use of one side, he is in London and expresses in a few words, which he wrote with the utmost difficulty, his extreme anxiety to see me before he goes hence....
   In a subsequent letter to Monroe, dated 29 July 1816, and written from Jessamine County, Kentucky, Edward Church Jr., informed him:

           ...By a letter received from Mr. Strobel, I am informed of the melancholy event of  my Father's death in London...I am now preparing to move thither with my Family.
   But Edward Church's story does not end with his death; for, on April 18, 1816, his will, dated February 3, 1815 was filed for probate in London. There is no record of the family's reaction to it, but one can only speculate, for Edward Church named one Mrs. Sarah May of Adam Street, London, his mistress, with whom he is presumed to have been living, as the executrix and a primary beneficiary of his estate. Adam Street is located in the Adelphi area of London and in 1815 was a prosperous area.
In the name of God Amen. I Edward Church of Adam Street, in the Adelphi London...I give and bequeath to my worthy friend Mrs. Sarah May of Adam Street, above mentioned, the sum of Five Hundred Pounds sterling, in consideration of the many obligations which I am under to her, and as a token of my esteem and regard I likewise give to the said Mrs. May, such articles of furniture and wearing apparel as are now with me, or maybe at the time of my decease. I further give and bequeath all my Property in the Funds to the said Mrs. Sarah May, in trust to pay my debts, and funeral expenses, and after that, she should divide, and apportion Four Thousand Pounds three per cent annuities being part of the same or what it may produce when sold in equal shares among my four daughters and Son. ...It is my further will that if any Property should remain after the above dispositions, it should be equally divided between my Wife and my friend Mr. Taylor...and having the utmost confidence in my good friend Mrs. May it is my desire that she shall not be molested or impeded in the execution of the above trusts; Under my hand the Third Day of February, in the year of Our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fifteen...Edw Church
          Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of us, who at his request, have witnessed the 
           same. Thos. Adcock Grindall ...James Miller Church...

           A Codicil to be added to and be part of the within Will and Testament of Mr. Edward Church, as made yesterday. hereby revoke so much of the within Will as gives the residue of my Estate, after payment of the Legatees mentioned in my Will between my Wife and Mrs. Sarah May equally share and share alike; and I do further appoint the said Sarah May sole Executrix of my said Will...(this 4th day of February 1815) Edw Church.
           Witnessed by Thos Adcock Grindall, James Miller Church and Jno. Worthlin. 

     Wow! You have the same questions that I have. Unfortunately, I have no answers. There is nothing in the various family histories that shed any light as to what prompted the apparently very bitter break between Edward and his wife Hannah; nor do I have any information as to what other financial resources Hannah may have had access to. Her son was in America but her daughter and son-in-law may have been in England. Edward could have appointed his son or son-in -law as executor but he was sending a very strong message in appointing Mrs. May.

   Thomas Adcock Grindall was a London distiller who merited an Esquire after his name and died, childless, in his eighties in 1828, living an estate valued over L100,000 that was subsequently fought over in the courts. One of the contesting heirs was a nephew who was on half pay as an officer in the London Militia.

The Adam Brothers' Adelphi (1768-72) was London's first neo-classical building. Eleven large houses fronted a vaulted terrace, with wharves beneath.

A Prospect of London seen from the Earl of Cassili's privy garden with Waterloo Bridge beyond. Alexander Nasmyth, 1826. The Adelphi can be seen to the left of Waterloo Bridge.

  The other witness to Edward's will was his nephew, James Miller Church, son of his brother Dr. Benjamin, Church, Jr. In 1815, James Miller Church was serving as a surgeon in the West Middlesex Regiment, a London militia regiment, and thus could have been acquainted with Mr. Grindall and his nephew. And his uncle Edward could have named him Executor of his estate.
   The Church family -  interesting and fascinating.
   One last thing before I end this post. Louisa Catherine Strobel, Edward Church's granddaughter, was a rather talented, amateur miniaturist whose work is in several museums in the United States. Below is a miniature, water color on ivory, 2 3/8 by 1 3/4'' she did of her father circa 1830. It is now in the Gibbe Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina.


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