Monday, November 11, 2013

Harriette Howard Hart, Lieutenant Ezra Thompson Doughty, and Lafayette Again

Lafayette about 1820
Wikipedia Commons

Harriette Howard Hart, the second child of Richard Philip Hart and Betsey Amelia Howard Hart, was born on May 11, 1818 in Troy, New York. She, like her sister Mary, attended the Troy Female, but from 1827 to 1834. At the age of eighteen, on September 29, 1836, she married the naval lieutenant, Ezra Thompson Doughty, who was seven years her senior. They had three children, William Howard Doughty, born 1837, and it seems that the last two children were twins--Ezra Thompson Doughty Jr. and Richard Hart Doughty, both possibly both born on February 14, 1839. Harriette and Ezra appear to have made Troy their residence their whole lives. Ezra died at the young age of thirty-one on April 27, 1843, and Harriette passed away on September 10, 1870 at the age of fifty.

Harriette’s husband Ezra T. Doughty’s naval career is of interest to us for two reasons, first that he wrote a journal of his voyages, and that he was aboard the USS Brandywine when it transported General Lafayette back to France after his 1824/1825 visit to the United States.

Ezra’s diary is now located at the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan. According to the website, “Ezra T. Doughty's diary entries pertain to his experiences onboard the USS St. Louis and USS Grampus during the ships' voyages in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico in 1832 and 1833. Doughty, a midshipman who became sailing master of the Grampus in December 1832, recorded detailed descriptions of Haiti; Veracruz, Mexico; and Havana, Cuba, and reflected on several aspects of navy life”. It also gives the following biography for him:  “Ezra T. Doughty became a midshipman in the United States Navy on May 3, 1824, and was stationed at the Norfolk Training School in 1830. In the fall of 1832, he sailed on the St. Louis from New York City to Pensacola, Florida, via Haiti and Cuba. In December 1832, he became sailing master of the schooner Grampus for its cruise from Pensacola to Norfolk, Virginia, via Veracruz, Mexico, and Havana, Cuba. On March 3, 1835, Doughty was promoted to lieutenant, and he later served onboard the Vandalia”.

USS Brandywine about 1831
Wikipedia Commons

When Ezra was a midshipman in 1825, and aboard the USS Brandywine with the Marquis de Lafayette, he and the other midshipmen signed an address which was made to the aging general as he was about to disembark at Le Havre. Many of the of the sailors on board had apparently been chosen to be there due to one of their ancestors’ distinguished service during the Revolutionary War. Lafayette’s verbal response was as follows: “My dear young friends; I am unable to express my feelings towards you. Before I had the pleasure of your acquaintance, I considered it an honor to belong to the United States’ navy—since then my knowledge of you, as individuals, had added to my admiration of the chivalry of your profession, and rendered sanguine my expectations of its future achievements. Your country has reason to be proud of you; I part from you with regret—but should your duties or inclinations bring you again to France, remember that Lagrange is the home of every American. Farewell”.

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