Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sent In Pursuit of Booth

Craig Manson's Weekend With Shades column, Appealing Subjects, will appear Sunday, March 29. It's going to be a very interesting look at a Spirit Photographer. Today we look at Addison Venelle Teeple, sent in pursuit of Booth.

"In Memoriam" - Sent In Pursuit of Booth

Death finds us: young or old, seasoned or green, ready or not (and we seldom are). For some it's lost its sting, for most it never does. We deny, rage, bargain, lament, accept, deny, rage . . . while adding our own nuances.

~ David L. Jacobs ~

In the Victorian Era, even death and funerals followed strict conventions. As soon as a death occurred the fact was made known to the world by closing all the blinds, or drawing the long linen shades at the front of the house. This announced to the outside world that a death had occurred.

The doorbell was muffled; and a servant was stationed in the front hall to open the door, give and receive messages, admit callers and cards and otherwise aid in preserving order and silence for the family. If the servant was a maid she would wear a black gown with a white collar and cuffs, white apron, and white cap with black ribbons. If a male servant, he would wear an all black livery.

If a death occurred in a sparsely settled area of the country it would be necessary to send a mounted messenger from house to house with black-bordered written or engraved funeral notices. This was soon supplanted by the newspaper column which became the acceptable medium to announce a bereavement to the world.

Often "In Memorium" cards were prepared to be handed to those who attended the funeral service and also mailed to family and friends who were unable to make the often long and arduous journey for the burial. These memorial cards took many forms. They generally announced the funeral, gave the date of birth and death of the deceased, and included a poem, hymn, or bible verse. With the advent of affordable photography, photographs were often added to the memorial card.

The "In Memoriam" shown here is more unique than those discussed above and the subject of the memorial, First Lieutenant Addison Venelle Teeple, is equally unique. This black bordered "In Memoriam" pamphlet was prepared by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), Minnesota Commandery. MOLLUS was founded as a veterans' organization for Union officers of the American Civil War. It later opened its membership to descendants of Union officers, and is still active today. Lieutenant Teeple was one of the organization's original Companions.

"In Memorium" Pamphlet
Thick Black Border Denotes Age of Deceased

Thin border for young person.

The information contained in this pamphlet is an excellent source for a family historian. Specifics of Teeple's military history are contained in the memorial as well as clues for finding other pertinent information.

The memorial reads in part:

An honored member of Minnesota Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion, departed this life September 3, 1892, in the forty-ninth year of his age.

Companion Teeple in an eventful and honorable war record illustrated the zeal and patriotism which so conspicuously distinguished the young men of his epoch. He enlisted as a private in the Eighth Regiment of Illinois Cavalry Volunteers, September 7, 1861, and was discharged as a corporal, December 31, 1863, for re-enlistment as a veteran, January 1, 1864. He was promoted to sergeant, April 1, 1864, and to second lieutenant, November 29, 1864. He was appointed first lieutenant, July 8,, 1865, and discharged with his regiment, July 17, 1865, by reason of the close of the war.

Mr. Teeple served in Stoneman's cavalry brigade of the Army of the Potomac during the peninsular campaign of 1862. He fought in the battles of Williamsburg, Mechanicsville, Hanover Court House, the Seven Days' Fight and Haxal's Landing, besides numerous skirmishes. He was wounded and captured at Boonsboro, Md., Sept. 15, 1862, and exchanged in March, 1863. He fought under Hooker at Chancellorville and under Meade at Gettysburg.

In April, 1865, he was a member of the detachment sent in pursuit of Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln. He was serving on the staff of General Bartlett, division commander, when mustered out.

Inside of Pamphlet

John Wilkes Booth
By the photographer
Alexander Gardner
See The Shades Article
"In Case Of Emergency - Break Glass"

Teeple had been a participant in one of the darkest chapters in our Nation's history. He was one of the men sent in pursuit of John Wilkes Booth. An event in his life so significant, it was part of the honor and memorial paid to him at his death.

This particular "In Memorium" is invaluable to the family history research of Addison Venelle Teeple and a very collectible item in its own right. It is the fortunate family historian who finds this type of memorial in their family documents.


On the top of the first page, someone (probably a member of Teeple's family) wrote "Please forward to Hattie." This would be Harriet E Potter (nee Gleason), a cousin of Teeple's and a relative of the husband of the woman from whom I purchased the memorial.
How could any family part with this?

Teeple Family History:

Addison Venelle Teeple's parents were Pellum Cartwright Teeple and Mary Amelia Gleason. Pellum and Mary were married in Rockfort, Illinois, 28 March 1841. Addison was born in Oxford, Ontario, May 25, 1843. He and his family moved to Illinois after the war and on 17 October 1867 he married Catherine M. Walkup in Chicago, Illinois. In 1872 he moved to Minnesota; was admitted to the bar; was attorney of Stevens county, 1872-4; settled in St. Paul, 1874; complied a handbook of the statutes of 1866; and edited the Building Association News, 1878-80.

Teeple had five brothers; Charles Gleason, Levant, Jared, Lester, and Frank; and four sisters Elmina, Elvira, Ruth L., and Lydia Mary.

Diaries belonging to Carrie Walkup are held in the Northwestern University Archives. The archives also contain letters and poems to Walkup from Teeple and her letters and poems to him.


Victorian Era (United Kingdom) - the period of Queen Victoria's reign from June 1837 to January 1901.

In Memorium - In memory of; as a memorial to. Used especially in epitaphs. [From Latin in memoriam, to the memory (of) : in, in, into + memoriam, accusative of memoria, memory.]

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States - "On April 15, 1865, as word of President Abraham Lincoln’s death spread throughout the country, three Union Army officer friends met in Philadelphia to discuss the tragic news. Rumors from Washington of a conspiracy to destroy the Federal government by assassination of its leaders prompted the three officers to call other officers and ex-officers together to form an organization that could help thwart future threats to the national government. A mass meeting of Philadelphia veterans was held on April 20, 1865 to pledge renewed allegiance to the Union and to plan for participation in the funeral arrangements for the President. The Philadelphia officers, who served as an honor guard for President Lincoln’s funeral cortegé, met again after the funeral was over to establish a permanent organization of officers and ex-officers patterned after the Society of the Cincinnati established after the Revolutionary War. The name they chose, The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, first appeared in a notice calling for a meeting on May 31, 1865 at Independence Hall. By 1899, the Loyal Legion has more than 8,000 Civil War officer members, known as Original Companions, on its roster. At its zenith, the Loyal Legion counted practically every prominent officer among its ranks. Among them were Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman; Lieutenant Generals Philip H. Sheridan, Nelson A. Miles and John M. Schofield; Major Generals George Armstrong Custer, Winfield Scott Hancock, George B. McClellan, Rutherford B. Hayes, David McMurtrie Gregg and Grenville M. Dodge; Real Admirals Bancroft Gherardi, and George W. Melville. In addition to Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes, Original Companions Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley served as President of the United States. Legion membership also included many other prominent persons of the time, such as Oliver Wendell Holmes and Stephen Vincent Benét."



Holt, Emily. Encyclopedia of Etiquette. New York: Syndicate Publishing Company, 1901.
Upham, William, comp. Minnesota Biographies 1655-1912. St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical
Society, 1912. Volume XIV, in Google Books, Accessed February 14, 2009.


Castle, Henry A. In Memorium, Addison Venelle Teeple. Minnesota: Loyal Legion of United States, 1892.

A derivation of this article originally published in the OnlineJournal of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits.


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