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Benjamin Moore MCVICKAR

Male 1799 - 1883

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  • Born  12 Nov 1799  New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender  Male 
    Occupation  1859  Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Residence  1859  Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Van Buren and Division 
    _UID  F99364BF404740EAA584F11918E3EB3DB622 
    Died  4 Nov 1883  Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Person ID  I4193  OuthouseLine2014
    Last Modified  29 Aug 2004 

    Father  John MCVICKAR,   b. 26 May 1759, Larne, County Antrim, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 May 1812, New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Ann\Anna MOORE,   b. 11 Mar 1761, Newton, L.I. NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Apr 1833, New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  20 May 1781  Newton, L.I. NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F1564  Group Sheet

    Family  Isaphene Catherine LAWRENCE,   b. 5 Oct 1806, New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Sep 1868, Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  12 Nov 1825  New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
     1. John Lawrence MCVICKAR,   b. 12 Nov 1827, New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Cornelia Augusta MCVICKAR,   b. 19 Jun 1829, New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    >3. Anna MCVICKAR,   b. 7 May 1832, New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1915, Eastbourne, England Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Isaphene MCVICKAR,   b. 27 Sep 1834, New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    >5. Maria Elizabeth MCVICKAR,   b. 3 Nov 1838, New York City, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Jan 1920, Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified  29 Aug 2004 
    Family ID  F1567  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • S.R. Durand:

      "[My father's grandfather] Dr. Benjamin Moore McVickar owned an entire city block bounded by Van Buren, Cass, and State Streets, and Juneau Avenue. He was a great horticulturist with extensive gardens and orchards on his property, and employed several gardeners. He died in1883, when Dad was 15 years old."
      Benjamin Moore McVickar was born in New York City on November 12, 1799, at his parents' residence at 228 Pearl Street, then a fashionable residential part of the city. Today, lower Manhattan is a financial - business district with many tall skyscraper buildings. In 1801, the family moved to 231 Broadway. Benjamin McVickar was the youngest of seven sons and two daughters of John and Ann (Moore) McVickar. At the time of his birth, his father was one of the most eminent and wealthy merchants of New York, and a director of several insurance companies and banks.
      As a young boy, Benjamin McVickar was sent to a boarding school at Greenwich, Connecticut. One of his close friends at the school was William Whitehouse, who became the Episcopal Bishop of Illinois. Also, for a time, Benjamin McVickar attended school at Bloomingdale, near his parents' country estate, which school was conducted by an Irishman who had been a captain in Napoleon's army. There he learned French, which he read and spoke fluently throughout his life.
      His father died in 1812, when he was only twelve years old. At that time the family was living at No. 2 Vesey Street, having moved there from 231 Broadway. Benjamin's mother moved back to the mansion at 231 Broadway, which later became the site of the Woolworth building, the first high skyscraper in New York. His father left a large fortune, and Benjamin McVickar's inheritance made him well-off as a young man. Also, his next older brother, Nathan, died in 1820 and left Benjamin his entire estate. Benjamin studied medicine under the celebrated Dr. Valentine Mott at the old Medical College of Physicians and Surgeons, from 1816 through 1820. He received his M.D. in 1820, and for the next three years was the House Physician in the New York Hospital, on Broadway between Duane and Anthony streets, which had been founded in 1769. In 1824, Dr. Benjamin McVickar made a grand tour of Europe, as each of his older brothers had done. He crossed the Atlantic on the packet ship Cadmus, on its return voyage after bringing General Lafayette to the United States in July. He traveled extensively in Great Britain, France, Holland, and Belgium, and lived for several months at a time in both London and Paris. A letter dated April 24, 1825 from London to his older brother, Rev. John McVickar, described plans for the founding of the University of London.
      Old passports, which I have, reveal that he arrived in Dieppe May 18, 1825, from England and was in Amsterdam on July 4th and Antwerp, Belgium July 11, 1825. He was engaged to be married to Isaphene Catherine Lawrence during the year he was in Europe, and had made for them in France a set of sixty pieces each of chinaware of many sizes of plates, soup dishes, and cups and saucers, and also a large number of serving dishes and platters, all with the McVickar double-eagle crest in gold. These dishes, now [175] years old, are still being used as prized possessions of several families of his descendants.
      After spending more than a year in Europe, he intended to return on the Cadmus. However, in traveling from Brussels to Le Havre, the diligence broke down, delaying him. He found upon arriving in Le Havre that the vessel had sailed, the captain having left a note for him saying that he had waited as long as the tide would allow. Dr. McVickar was greatly annoyed at having missed the ship, but subsequently had reason to rejoice that he did: after leaving France, the Cadmus was lost at sea, never to be seen or heard from again.
      On November 12, 1825 [Dr. Benjamin McVickar's 26th birthday] he and Isaphene Catherine Lawrence were married by his brother, Rev. John McVickar D.D., at the home of her parents at 498 Broadway. She was the third daughter of Isaac Lawrence, who was at that time president of the United States Bank in New York, and of Cornelia Ann (Beach) Lawrence, a daughter of the retired assistant rector of Trinity Church, Rev. Abraham Beach, D.D. Dr. Benjamin and Isaphene McVickar made their home at 496 Broadway, next door to her parents' home, and their five children were all born in this home.
      Benjamin McVickar was a great lover of nature, fond of landscape gardening, and a very successful horticulturist. While in Europe, he had purchased many beautifully illustrated books on plants and wildlife, and had them sent to America. As a boy, these books fascinated me in my grandmother's collection. After he was married, he raised in the backyard of his New York home several varieties of grapes, beautiful peaches, and was noted for his lovely roses. Later, in 1836, when he established a country estate called Longwood, in Morrisania in Westchester County on the East River*, he sent to France and England for peach and pear trees, and had an orchard with a fine variety of fruits that had not been raised before in the vicinity. [*Morrisania is now part of the borough of the Bronx, which is no longer part of Westchester County. Most likely the estate was on what is now called the Harlem River.]
      Dr. McVickar practiced medicine with great success in New York for about 12 years. It was said of him that in serious cases he did not fear to use heroic measures, but in general he did not prescribe large doses of medicine. He believed in strengthening rather than debilitating a patient by assisting Nature. In the summer of 1832, he remained in the city all through the terrible cholera epidemic, devoting himself to the sick and the poor. Over 10,000 people died in the city of New York during that fearful epidemic.
      Dr. McVickar was named "Benjamin Moore" for Bishop Benjamin Moore, the second Episcopal bishop of New York, who was a first cousin of his mother. By both birth and education he was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and gave liberally of his means toward its support. When first married, he was influential in forming the parish of St. Thomas in New York. While this church was being built on the corner of Broadway and Houston Streets, the new congregation met in an upper chamber over Delavan's Hardware store on the corner of Broadway and Broome Street. He was warden of this church until 1840, when he retired to his country estate in Westchester. There, he was a vestryman of St. Paul's Church.
      Benjamin McVickar took an interest in all public enterprises calculated to advance the moral as well as the material interests of the city of New York. He was a member of the New York Historical Society, the Society Library of the American Institute, and a founding member of the New York Club, which, I believe, is now called the Union Club. Even though he was a modest, retiring private citizen, he always had a great interest in the city's welfare and a warm attachment to his many friends.
      In 1833, his mother died, and in 1841 his father-in-law died as well. As a result of inheritances and a successful medical practice, Dr. McVickar was very wealthy and became interested in real estate investing. He was influential in having Broadway opened up north of 8th Street to Union Square, and he built two blocks of fine residences on the west side of Broadway from 8th to 10th Streets. Also, in partnership with his brother-in-law Beach Lawrence, he built forty-two houses on Union Square. In 1842, because of his extensive interests in these real estate developments, he maintained a town house on Clinton Place at 8th Street.
      At about this time, speculation in western lands began in New York, since the opening of the Erie Canal a few years before had given a great impetus to western migration. Dr. McVickar and several of his wealthy friends made extensive "wildcat" speculations in the neighborhoods of St. Joseph and Monroe, Michigan. Dr. McVickar also bought large tracts of land near Portage, Wisconsin. He became interested in developing these land speculations, so he decided to go west. At the urging of an old friend named William B. Ogden, he planned to live near him in Chicago. A trip of two months in 1846 took him up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal, and by sailing ship through Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. Dr. McVickar and his family then settled in Milwaukee rather than in Chicago; he had found the latter mired in mud. He had been impressed with the high bluffs and river valleys when the ship stopped briefly in Milwaukee. He purchased an entire city block south of Juneau Avenue between Cass and Van Buren streets. As it turned out, he lost heavily in his land speculations in Michigan and Wisconsin, and soon gave up his plan to develop towns in the West. However, he was still wealthy, and did not again establish again a medical practice; he did act as a consultant to other doctors for many years in Milwaukee on serious cases, when they needed his expert advice.
      One year after settling in Milwaukee, he was a delegate in 1847 from St. Paul's Episcopal Church at the primary convention to establish a diocese. He was appointed by Bishop Kemper as one of a committee of five to report on a Constitution and Canons for the diocese. For the next 23 years Bishop Kemper has no wiser counselor than Dr. McVickar. From 1853 until 1862, he was senior warden of St. Paul's Church. He was influential in the purchase of land and establishment of St. Paul's Cemetery, now named Forest Home Cemetery. He resumed his great interest in horticulture, and had extensive gardens and orchards, employing three gardeners. He was noted for the great variety and beauty of his roses.
      Benjamin McVickar was five feet ten inches in height, and slight of stature. He had dark hair, beautiful brown eyes, and a complexion that all his family was noted for. He was a man of rare culture, and was deeply religious as well as very generous. Both he and his brother, Rev. John McVickar, were staunch supporters of Bishop Kemper's work in establishing the Episcopal church in the west. He wrote charming poetry, and had a deep sense of humor. In social life he was a refined, courtly gentleman, with an urbanity, and a dignity of manner and character that inspired affection and respect, while it repelled familiarity or rudeness. He was just and generous in his dealings, moderate in his censure, and charitable in his judgments. He was universally respected and esteemed, and tenderly loved by his close family and friends. Though never entering public life, he exercised a strong influence for good in the communities in which he lived. In politics he was a Whig, and afterwards a Republican. He gave freely of his substance to the support of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, though his fortune was much impaired. He was never an abolitionist; but when the South sought to destroy the nation, he approved of President Lincoln's emancipation proclamation.
      One daughter, Isaphene, died in May of 1848 at the age of thirteen. Cornelia married in 1853, to A. Galbraith Miller, an attorney in Milwaukee. They had five children. Anne married in 1854 Robert McCarter, and was widowed early in her married life. They had one daughter, Isaphene, who married a Mr. Eaton and was also soon widowed. She married second a Mr. Pond, an Englishman. After his death, she lived in Bournemouth, England, where I visited her in 1926, and again in 1931 with my wife. My grandmother, Maria Elizabeth, married Loyal Root Durand in 1866. John Lawrence, the only son of Dr. and Mrs. McVickar, was a man of rather poor health, a scholarly gentleman who should have been a professor. He was never successful in the lumbering or printing businesses his father established him in. He married Harriet Nazro in 1853. They had two children, both of whom died young. He died in 1877 at the age of 49. Dr. Benjmin McVickar's wife died in 1868.
      Dr. McVickar at the age of 75 became almost blind, but bore it with great fortitude. He died May 4, 1883 at the age of 84, and was buried in the McVickar family lot in Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee on May 7, 1883."

  • Sources 
    1. [S94] Rootsweb GEDCOM, 5.htm (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S125] DORAN-WOOD, Derek, (Derek Doran-Wood note: My Brother, Loyal Durand Jr., His Family and Ancestry, Author: Durand, Samuel Relf, Publication: Handwritten by author ca1977, transcribed ca1999 by Kemper B. Durand, Repository: personal collection of Derek Doran-Wood, Media: Family Archive CD).

    3. [S192] Milwaukee (WI) City Directory, Pg 152 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S94] Rootsweb GEDCOM, 4.htm (Reliability: 3).