Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Now it is on to a solid outline and then the first draft. Things are moving on at a good pace since I took the week off work to do this! Here is a short time line of David Vicker's life:
Timeline of David Vicker's Life
1840 DV born-Camden NJ
1858 DV enters DMA
     DV graduates DMA
     1LT Co. B, 3rd NJV Infantry May 25, 1862
     Promoted Capt Co A June 6, 1861
    July/Aug Typhoid Fever
    November - resigns for 3 NJV- recommended for dishonorable discharge - denied
1863 Various campaigns in Virginia including the "Mud March" & Fredericksburg
    April - recruitment duty & draft command
    Misses Chancellorsville & Gettysburg
    September - Promoted Major and assigned 4th NJV Regimental Adjutant
    May 6 taken prisoner at the battle of the Wilderness
    Libby Prison in Richmond
    Camp Oglethorpe, Macon, GA
    Charleston Jail, SC
    Camp Sorghum, Columbia, SC
    Camp Asylum, Columbia, SC
    February, Goldsboro, NC
    March paroled
       Promoted to Col of 4 NJV
       Dept of War overrules due to being paroled not exchanged.
       Finally exchanged in 26 March-no room for a COL in 4 NJV
       "shows him suffering from General Disability following chronic diarrhea."
     May discharged from Army
     June Promoted to Brigadier General for "meritorious service."
    December, leaves Philly w/ Gen. Kilpatrick for Chile
    November marries Amelia (niece of future president of Chile)
    Late November returns to Philly
    David II born
    Helen E. Tyson born
    DV engaged in various enterprises causing him to be away from family
1873 Hamilton Vickers born
1874 Affiliated with Freemasons in Camden
1875 Appointed Commissioner to an International Expedition of Chile--family moves to Chile
    March daughter Maria Amelia born in Santiago
    September DV leaves Chile for US
1877-80 Editorial writer of West Jersey Press & possible NY Tribun
1878 Expelled from Freemasons for nonpayment of dues
1880 Letter to Dr Frelinghuysen (Sec of State) for nonpayment of support
1881 Appointed US Consul in Matanzas
1884 DV sends last letter to wife Amelia
1885 Suspended on the "grounds of bad moral character" from position.
    Returns to Camden lives with Aunt
1888 Marries Helen E. Tyson - seventeen
    Immediately leaves Philly for the west
    Appointed Inspector General w/ rank of Major of Idaho Natl. Guard for Sp Am war
    July becomes ill at camp Chickamauga, GA
    Nov honorably discharged
    January arrives in Boise - ill
    February diagnosed with heart disease
1900-1907 Extremely ill, mostly bedridden
1908 June 27 David Vickers dies

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I am working almost non-stop on coalescing my research.  I came across a very interesting assessment of David Vickers by a special examiner ordered to investigate his past upon his death and thougt I woudl share segments of it here:

"I have not been able to obtain anything more than a fragmentary history of soldier's life.  There are none of his relatives living in Camden….All had heard that he had married a Chilean wife and had left her, or she him.  The letter from his half sister, Mrs. Bates, gives one version of the separations.  There were various rumors that I heard, the one most common being that after losing his diplomatic post he had no means to support her, and he either left her on her sister, or she had to go to here sister for support.  One rumor had it that she left him in Philadelphia after he had purloined and disposed of some of her jewelry."

"Soldier is said to have been a very bright, intelligent, fine-looking , and fascinating man. But he was a high-roller & free-spender, one of the kind who would blow in forty or fifty dollars for a wine supper to friends, if it took his last dollar and he did not know where the next was to come from.  He was also a confirmed rouĂ© (A man devoted to a life of sensual pleasure; a debauchee; a rake), and I was told broke up at least two families in Camden while living there.  One man said he heard of his receiving three inheritances two of them running into the tens of thousands but he went through them in a  hurry.  As to whether he would have committed bigamy, there is a difference of opinion among his acquaintances.  It is conceded that the moral features would not have given him concern.  Some say that he would have been reckless enough while others say they think it improbable that a man of his experience and standing and knowing that tropical temperament of his wife, would have laid himself liable to the charge." 

"Of the Idaho claimant, none of his acquaintances had ever heard except his cousin, and he knew nothing as to her identify.  I made a careful search of the Philadelphia marriage records, and also the license records in Philadelphia & Montgomery Counties, but the name of David Vickers does not appear in the indexes. The stated license law, making obtaining of a license compulsory, went into effect in 1885.  The claimant does not hown whether a license was obtained and cannot produce even a marriage certificate. I thought is was worth while to look into her antecedents, and found her mother one of the most ignorant and unintelligent Pennsylvania Dutch women I ever came across.  I asked her if she was a widow, and she replied "No, she had never been married," and told me that Amos Tyson, whom claimant named as her father, was her mother's father."

"Coming from such a house and parentage, and a soldering being the kind of man he was, it is not too violent a strain on the imagainat8ion to suppose, in absence of proof to the contrary, that there was no marriage ceremony between them (By the way, her mother says her name is Ella not Helen). She must have been an intelligent, adaptable, woman to have fitted into the life of a man like Vickers who, whatever his faults, would have required a woman of brains to hold him loyal for twenty years."

I'll leave it to you to determine why entitled this harum-scarum

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good News!!!

Well, I am just about finished compiling my research.  Other than the VA Pension records it is all in.  Turns out that Vickers was far more complex than I first thought-soldier, diplomat (with some renown), and businessman (both in Chile and in Idaho).  He blew at numerous inheritances and was married twice-at the same time, it turns out! His last years were quite rough as he was bedridden with heart and liver disease.

His rather bizarre actions for the rest of his life after the war are quite interesting.  The key question is how much did his time as a POW during the Civil War impact his post-war behavior?  I have yet to determine that to my satisfaction.

Hopefully in the next few weeks I can sort that all out.  I have almost none of his writings and no letters of his.  Quite a bit different that Robinett as his letters were a window into his soul.