Biography of John Edward Stewart
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The business world of New England and the manufacturing stationers’ trade suffered an irretrievable loss in the passing of one of Springfield’s most substantial citizens, John Edward Stewart, president of the printing company which bears his name, a veteran officer of the Civil War, prominent Grand Army man and highly esteemed throughout the community for his personal worth and by his business connections for his high sense of honor and unimpeachable integrity. The city of his adoption and scene of his successful labors could ill afford to part with such a forceful character, loyal friend and kindly neighbor, who was in the best sense of the term a constructive element in the body politic.
Mr. Stewart was blessed with an ancient and honorable ancestry, the surname Stewart being one of the oldest and most distinguished in Scottish and English history. Its members in all generations have been among the builders of the States where they have resided, contributing in valued measure to the economic, moral, social, and political foundations of England, Scotland and the United States, to which latter country pioneering representatives of the family came at a very early date. The Stewart line is traced to the time of Cromwell, to a branch of the family as ancient as the Clan Stewart of Scottish history. At the time of the Protectorate a branch of the family in the direct line was represented by Adam Stewart, then living in the North of Ireland, who was born in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1756, of Scotch parents, and came to Pennsylvania in 1776, and by his grandson, Theodore Stewart. who removed to Chautauqua County, New York, in the nineteenth century.
This fine Scotch ancestry had its nearer representative in the person of John Stewart, grandfather of John Edward Stewart, who was born in New York State, June 17, 1761, and married, August 31, 1795, Keturah Davidson, born October 25, 1772. They had children: Huldah Ann, born August 22, 1796; Louis, born September 15, 1798; Dorothy, born October 20. 1800; John Milton, born December 21, 1805; Emeline, born March 23, 1814; Edward, of whom further; James W., born December 21, 1812; Sarah, born May 10, 1816; Asa B., born May 11, 1819.
Edward Stewart, sixth child of John and Keturah (Davidson) Stewart, born in Ridgeway, Orange County, New York. August 6, 1810, died in Arlington Heights, New Jersey, November 15, 1896, at the age of eighty-five years. He attended the public schools of his native district, meanwhile assisting his father with the work on the farm. His school years at an end, he set himself to learn the carpenter’s trade, which he combined with farming, following both activities for a period in Middletown, Orange County, New York, where he was a contractor and builder. In his younger married life he caught the “western fever,” and moved with his family to Iowa, locating at Muscatine, where he pursued his business of carpenter and builder. On their return to the East, the family lived in Brooklyn, New York, for several years, going thence to New Jersey, and making their residence in Arlington Heights, where he passed the rest of his life. His body rests in Hillside Cemetery, Plainfield, New Jersey. Mr. Stewart merited the right regard in which he was held for his marked ability and large capacity for successful business conduct. He was a staunch Republican, and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, having been an elder of the Brooklyn body of that denomination, and occupying the same office in the church at Arlington Heights. He was devoted to the highest ideals of Christian living. He was deeply respected for his sterling qualities, and was known throughout the communities of his residence for his fondness for children, who were attracted to him in numbers by his kindly disposition and genuine interest in them. In the domestic circle he was the ideal husband and father, devoted to his wife and family. He married Maria Hoyt, of Stamford, Connecticut, who died at her home in Arlington Heights, New Jersey, in 1896, aged eighty-three years, and is buried in the family plot in Hillside Cemetery, Plainfield, New Jersey. Mrs. Stewart was a member of the Presbyterian Church at Arlington Heights, being a sincere Christian woman and a most exemplary wife and mother. Children: John Edward, of whom further; and William Lewis, born August 18, 1843, was a soldier in the Civil War; lived at Arlington Heights, where he died in June, 1913; his wife was Lydia Burt.
John Edward Stewart, elder son of Edward and Maria (Hoyt) Stewart, was born in Middletown, Orange County, New York, August 19, 1840. His early education was received in the public schools of his native town and of Muscatine, Iowa, to which place his parents removed when he was in his teens. Thence he entered the Delaware Literary Institute, Franklin, New York, where he finished his studies. During his school years, when out of class, and during his vacations, he assisted his father with the management of the farm. After he completed his education, he was employed as a clerk in a store for some time.
Shortly after the Civil War broke upon the nation, Mr. Stewart, still a student at the Delaware Literary Institute, was fired with a patriotic zeal to enlist for service in the Union Army. Like a dutiful son, he wrote back to his parents in the Iowa home, begging their consent for him to heed the call of President Lincoln for volunteers, but with the full intention of enlisting anyway. The permission forthcoming, young Stewart enlisted on September 11th, 1861, in Company D, 44th New York Volunteer Regiment. He made a notable record as a soldier for bravery and efficiency and was awarded a commission as first lieutenant by President Lincoln himself, through his Secretary of War, Edward M. Stanton. His career in the army was marked by the stirring events in which he had a part.
He enlisted as a private and by meritorious work advanced to the rank of corporal in his company. Indeed, he did much work of a commissioned officer as he served for some time as acting adjutant of the regiment. During the time he was with the 44th New York Volunteers he took part in the following major engagements, besides many other smaller affairs: Yorktown, Hanover Court House, Gaines Mills, Savage Station, Malvern Hill, Groveton, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.
He had been in the Volunteer service but early in 1863 he had been marked for promotion into the United States Regular service but his regimental work was of such a character that he could not resign from the Volunteer service until after the Battle of Gettysburg. The lull in active work after this battle enabled him to resign from this service to enter the Regular United States service. He was appointed first lieutenant of the 9th Regiment, United States Colored Troops, November 10, 1863. While with the regulars he was in the following battles : Rappahannock Station, Mine Run, Laurel Hill, The Wilderness Campaign, Spottsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg.
In both the Volunteer and Regular Army enlistment’s he served with distinction from September 11, 1861, to December, 1864, the date of his honorable discharge.
One of the most highly prized documents left by Mr. Stewart in the possession of his family was that containing the commission of President Lincoln. appointing him first lieutenant in the 9th Regiment of United States Colored Troops as a reward for his efficiency and courage at the Battle of Gettysburg. The appointment signed by Secretary of War Stanton, follows:
March 5, 1863.
Sir:-You are hereby informed that the President of the United States has appointed you First Lieutenant of the Ninth Regiment of United States Colored Troops, in the service of the United States, to rank as such from the first day of November, 1863.
Immediately upon receipt hereof please communicate to the Department through the adjutant-general of the army your acceptance or non-acceptance, and with your letter of acceptance, return the oath herewith enclosed, properly filled out, subscribed to, and attested, and report age, birthplace, and your permanent residence. You will report for duty in person to Major General R. C. Schenck. commanding Middle Department, Baltimore, Maryland.
(Signed) EDWARD M. STANTON. LIEUTENANT JOHN E. STEWART,
9th Regiment, United States Colored Troops.
Again turning his attention to the business world, Mr. Stewart accepted a position with Andrews, Sanford & Smith as bookkeeper, the firm being engaged in the manufacture and importation of millinery in New York City. In 1869 he organized the firm of Stewart, Haring & Warren, manufacturing stationers, having their place of business on lower Broadway, New York, Mr. Stewart making his residence in Brooklyn. Subsequently the name of the firm was changed to Stewart, Warren & Company, and their headquarters were moved to Howard Street, New York. This partnership continued in force until 1905, in which year he disposed of his interest in the concern, and removed from Plainfield, New Jersey, to which he had transferred his residence from Brooklyn, to Springfield, Massachusetts.
Upon locating in Springfield, Mr. Stewart organized the John E. Stewart Company, with its offices and plant at No. 213 Worthington Street, subsequently removing to the present location at No. 367 Worthington Street, where the company for more than twenty years has continually enhanced its reputation as high-class manufacturing stationers and printers, its work being classed at the very forefront of products of that trade. Mr. Stewart was president and treasurer of the company, and its guiding spirit, until the time of his death, at his home on Avon Place, Springfield, October 10, 1925. His body was conveyed to Plainfield, New Jersey, for interment in the Stewart family plot in Hillside Cemetery.
Despite his numerous business responsibilities, and the demands made upon his attention and energy by other associations, Mr. Stewart gave himself with fine cooperative spirit to the various interests that carried their appeal successfully to his heart. He was patriotic to the depths of his being; a Republican in political faith, but never the politician-a strong admirer and supporter of Lincoln, Grant and Roosevelt. He kept fresh the memories of his Civil War, service by active membership in the Grand Army of the Republic, having been affiliated with E. K Wilcox Post, No. 16, Springfield, of which he was a past commander, and a former member of Winfield Scott Post, No. 73, Plainfield, New Jersey, of which he had been adjutant and quartermaster. He also belonged to the Loyal Legion, New York Commandery, composed of members who were officers in the Civil War. His religious fellowship was with the Old First (Congregational) Church of Springfield, whose historic and spiritual atmosphere he cherished and enjoyed.
John Edward Stewart married, August 7, 1867, at Binghamton, New York, Rev. Charles Keyser officiating, Lina (Paulina) Elizabeth Bromley, born in Whitestone, New York, August lo, 1839, died at her home in Springfield, Massachusetts, May 15, 1920. daughter of Roswell Avery Randall and Mary (Budd) Bromley. She was descended from Luke Bromley, who came from England and settled in Warwick, Rhode Island, afterward removing to Westerly, Rhode Island, where he made his residence. His son, Luke, born in 1665, married Harriet Stafford, of Warwick, and married (second) Tamson Packer. His son William, born September 12, 1693, married, November z6, 1714, Elizabeth Dewey, daughter of Israel Dewey. William Bromley, son of William and Elizabeth (Dewey) Bromley, was born February 8, 1719, and died at Stoningham, Connecticut, October 21, 1775. He married Elizabeth Brown, and their son, Simeon Bromley, born in Westerly, Rhode Island, February 17, 1752, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and a member of the State troops of Rhode Island, being a pensioner on the United States government under the act of 1831. He married, February 2, 1775, Ann Burdick, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Babcock) Burdick, of Westerly, Rhode Island. Their son, Squire P. Bromley, was a soldier in the War of 1812. He married Maria Randall, daughter of Oliver and Dolly (Avery) Randall, of Norwich, New York. Their son, Roswell Avery Randall Bromley, born July 17, 1815, who died near Whitestone, New York, March 25, 1843, was a cloth dresser. He married, November 8, 1835, at South Berlin, New York, Mary Budd, born in Ohio, May 7, 1819, died near Whitestone, New York, February 23, 1843, leaving three children: Elnathan, born September 15, 1837; Lina (Paulina) Elizabeth, born August 10, 1839, who married John Edward Stewart of this review; and Mary L., born February 17, 1843, died in Iowa in 1881. Mrs. Stewart was one of those charming women in all the circles in which she moved-cultured, of refined tastes and devoted to her home, loyal to her friends-who leave a precious memory as the richest legacy of their lives. She enjoyed her fellowship with the people of the Old First Church, and numbered her friends by the hundred, who were drawn to her by her Christian character and womanly qualities. Her body reposes by the side of her husband in beautiful Hillside Cemetery, Plainfield, New Jersey. Children: 1. Jessie Maria, born in Brooklyn, New York; married Ira H. Evans, a well known real estate operator, and a veteran of the Civil War, died in San Diego, California, April 19, 1922. 2. Edward William, born in Brooklyn, New York, has devoted his life to the management of ranches in Colorado and other sections of the West; married Albina R. Hottin, of Springfield, daughter of Sanford and Emma R. (Holt) Hottin, and has one child, Lina Virginia. 3. Robert Bromley, born September 7, 1878, at Plainfield, New Jersey, died in Washington, District of Columbia, May 24, 1887. Mrs. Jessie (Stewart) Evans and her brother, Edward W. Stewart, are making their home temporarily in Springfield following the death of their father.
Men identified with the progressive business interests and the general forward movement of the city of Springfield have been pleased to acknowledge that the stay of John Edward Stewart among them was all too short. His high standard of business ethics, his personal charm, left their benign influence upon the commercial, social and religious sides of the community, which he loved as a good citizen worthy of the name.