Colonel John Feudge was born in Waterford, Ireland, November 3, 1824. His parents came to the United States immediately after the inauguration of President John Quincy Adams. The subject of this sketch was first engaged assisting his father, who kept a market garden in the suburbs of New York City. When about sixteen years of age he was apprenticed and learned printing and stereotyping. He had worked some time, before becoming an apprentice, at type casting, by the old hand-mold method, and also as composing room devil, fly-boy, and wrapper-writer in the offices of the two great commercial papers of that day, the Courier and Enquirer, hand Journal of Commerce, both on Wall street, the presses then being turned by hand-crank. General James Watson Webb was editor of the former and “old Tom” Snowden business manager, two very prominent personages in those days; David Hale and Hallack being the editors and proprietors of the Journal. The first printing office entered by the subject of this sketch was the book and job office of Scatchard & Adams, 38 Gold Street, New York. This office was in the days of the old hand presses-before the introduction of the power press-the largest in the city, probably in the country. The firm was broken up by the sudden disappearance of Mr. Adams, whose remains having been cut up and packed in a box, were discovered by the carman who hauled the box to the wharf for shipment to a southern port, to which it was consigned or directed. In the trial which ensued, on which our subject was subpoenaed as a witness, the murderer was found to be a professional teacher of penman-ship and book-keeping, and brother of Colonel Colt, of patent fire-arms celebrity.
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At the beginning of the year 1851, Messrs. John and Henry Beach, of the New York Sun, in connection with P. T. Barnum, commenced the publication of the New York Illustrated News, the first illustrated paper published in the United States. Like its London prototype the chief engravings were full-page folios, and, in printing from the originals, the green boxwood warping, they cracked and split when submitted to the pressure of the press, thereby greatly disfiguring the publication. As yet electrotyping had not been introduced, nor had paper as a substitute for plaster in stereotyping, and to successfully cast a quarto page plaster mold was a very difficult matter, and a folio entirely out of the question. The publishers of the Illustrated News having been informed by the subject of this sketch that he was the inventor of a new method by which the largest page could be successfully and quickly cast, they at once awarded him the contract, at four dollars a page. Thereafter (from the third number), during its existence, the publication was entirely unmarred by any defect of the character here described. The new method was a complete success Going West shortly after the suspension of the Illustrated News, he visited the tract of 4,300 acres of land purchased by a New York colony, of which he was a member. This land lay in Mitchell and Howard counties, Iowa. After disposing of his interest in these lands to parties in Dubuque, he returned East and immediately went to Texas, where, at the outbreak of the Southern rebellion, he was engaged in merchandising, in the town of San Antonio. In the summer of 1861 he was a Union refugee from Texas. Because of his unswerving loyalty to the American flag and uncompromising fidelity to the Union, he was obliged to flee, after the deposition of the Union governor, General Sam Houston. Being harassed and threatened by the secessionists and the ordinances of the secession convention, he; was forced to abandon and sacrifice his business and property.
By the friendly assistance, as well as the official interposition in his behalf of the French consul, F. Gilbean, of San Antonio, he was enabled to make his escape in a small coaster, by running the blockade in the night, out of Sabine pass, a United States frigate standing off and on in the roadstead, in the Mexican gulf, blockading the harbor. On his arrival North, after many delays and dangers (twice being stopped and searched by secessionists in Berwick’s Bay, Louisiana, and again at Clarksville, Tennessee), he joined the Union army, as a citizen, at Louisville, Kentucky, in the Army of the Ohio, commanded by General Buell, and was assigned the duty of forage master, under the Chief Quartermaster, Captain Alvan Gillem. After the campaign of Corinth, and by the invitation of Colonel Gillem, he recruited for the First Regiment, Middle Tennessee Infantry (after-ward known as the Tenth), and served respectively as Captain and Lieutenant Colonel; commissions dated 1862 and 1863; was attached to the Fourteenth Army Corps; participated in nearly all the military operations in Tennessee till the close of the war; was honorably mustered out and discharged from the service, at Knoxville, East Tennessee, June 5, 1865. Commissioned Indian agent by President Johnson, for the Colorado River Indians, Arizona, 1865. At the close of Johnson’s administration he settled in San Bernardino, California. He owns and occupies a ranch of about 100 acres in the Warm Springs and Central districts, two miles east of town.
He was married in Nashville, Tennessee, at the close of the war, to Miss Susan Kenifeck of Cincinnati, Ohio. They have four children, viz: Henry E., who is United States Railroad Mail Agent to Oceanside; Teresa, John B. and Mary Ellen. He is a member of Cornman Post, No. 27, G. A. R., of San Bernardino, and also of the order of Good Templars