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The Breese Branch


Sidney Breese Descendants

Sidney Breese (1709-1767)
+ Elizabeth Penkethman (1710-1779)

[This Old Monmouth of Ours]
Sidney Breeze was born at Shrewsbury, in the county of Salop, wales, in 1609. He came to this country before 1723, as a purser in the English Navy. In the Homeland he had been a strong supporter of the Pretender. He married, in the year last above written, Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Pinkethman, also of the British Navy, and at the time stationed in New York. Sidney Breeze remained a purser, an office that had many prequisites, as late as 1754. In 1763 he was Master of the Port of New York. He subsequently took up mercantile pursuits and was called, " a popular and hospitable man and a merchant of integrity." He died, 6-8-1767, and is buried in the yard of Trinity Church.

[The Breese Family]
This Sydney Breese was a Welsh gentleman distantly related to the Watkins Williams Wynn family, the present head of it being a very wealthy baronet of Wales. In political sentiment this Sydney was what was called in his day a Jacobite, that is an adherent of the Stuart family, and at the time of the rebellion in 1745, was about mounting his horse to join the Pretender's army when he heard of the defeat of the Pretender by the Royal army, under the Duke of Cumberland. Some years after this event he received from the government the appointment of purser of a man-of-war, and in that capacity continued for a number of years, but disliking the rservice he resigned his commission in the navy and emigrated to the City of New York, where his remains now rest in old Trinity churchyard.

He settled in New York about 1756, married Elizabeth Pinkerman, and opened a large fancy store, the first of the kind ever opened in the city. He was a remarkably handsome man, of great humor, somewhat eccentric, as his epitaph made by himself clearly shows; gave good dinners, sang a good song, and was in the largest sense, a bon vivant.

Elizabeth Breese Elizabeth Breese

The wife of Sidney Breese, whom he married Feb 14, 1733-34, was Elizabeth daughter of Captain Penkethman, a British officer, by a lady who, according to tradition, was a natural daughter of Lord Camden(1), born in England. She is said to have left her native country, before marriage, "secretly, on board a merchant-ship sailing for New York. Her family" it is further said "were wealthy, and her brothers tried to propitiate her with costly presents, which she would not receive" -- all of which suggests the possibility of a runaway match.

After the death of Captain Penkethman, the mother of my great grandmother Breese was married to Dr. Richard Ascough, a Surgeon in the British Army; and had a daughter Sarah, who became the wife of Col. William Malcolm(2), USA, and had children -- these children were, of course, cousins of the half blood to my grandfather Breese. By a former marriage, Dr. Ascough had a daughter Ann, who married Joshua Sands, the father of my cousin Elizabeth (Breese) Sand's husband William Malcolm Sands(3); and Mrs. (Penkethman) Ascough was married, for the third time, to John Carpender (who will be spoken of later, in another connection). There exists a letter of heres signed "Elizabeth Carpender," which refers to an account, dated May 25, 1771, received from London; and in which she speaks of condoling "the loss of [her] good friend the Duchess of Gordon."

(1) The first Lord Camden was born in 1714; so that, if there is any truth in this tradition, it must have been one of his family -- the Pratts, of an earlier generation, who was father to the wife of Captain Penkethman. See Debrett's Geneal. Peerage of Great Britain and Ireland ... By Henry Collens Esq. London, 1844, p. 125.

(2) Of Scotch descent, by profession a lawyer, an officer in the Revolution, who raised and commanded a regiment of artillery in the state of New York, having Aaron Burr for his Lieutenant." See, also History of the City of New York By Mrs. Martha J. Lamb New York and Chicago [1880], ii. 90, 279.

(3) The History of Long Island By Benjamin F. Thompson New York, 1843, ii. 468.

Samuel Finley Breese Morse

Morse was born in Charlestown, MA on 27 April 1791. A painter of some note, Morse was also Yale-educated in chemistry and through a random conversation became obsessed with the practical possibilities of the newly discovered relationship between electricity and magnetism. He obtained funds from the U.S. government for an experiment and from the results, his fame was assured. He died in New York City April 2, 1872 after a lifetime filled with honors and awards.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC is seeking information regarding small oil portrait studies done of each legislator by Samuel Finley Breese Morse for his painting "The House of Representatives" for a potential exhibition.
Morse painting
All but 2 of the 88 studies executed by Morse for the large painting are unaccounted for. Each is approximately 4 by 6 inches.

If you have any information, please contact:

Guy Jordan, Graduate Curatorial Intern
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Washington DC
(301) 639-1737

Colonel Samuel Breese (1737-1800)
+ Rebecca Finley (1745-1767)
+ Elizabeth Anderson (1743-1832)

Arthur Breese (1770-1825)
+ Catharine Livingston (1775-1808)
+ Ann Carpender (1809-1857)

Samuel Livingston Breese (1794-1870)
Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans

Samuel Livingston Breese, naval officer, was born at Utica, N.Y., in 1794. He began his naval career as a midshipman in 1810, was commissioned Lieutenant in 1816, and captain in 1841. In 1845 he was attached to the Mediterranean squadron in command of the frigate Cumberland, and during the Mexican war took part in the capture of Tuspan, Tabasco, and Vera Cruz. He was assigned to special duty on the great lakes in 1848; had command of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard from 1853 to 1855; of the Mediterranean squadron from 1856 to 1859; and of the Brooklyn navy yard from 1859 to 1861. In July, 1862, he was commissioned commodore. He was created rear-admiral on the retired list in September, 1862, and appointed light-house inspector. In 1869 he was port admiral at Philadelphia, and died at Mount Airy, Pa., Dec. 17, 1870.

[The journals of Samuel L. Breese for the U.S. Sloop of War Albany (1846) and the U.S. Frigate Cumberland (1844) are preserved in the Kane Collection of the American Philosophical Society.]

Sidney Breese (1800-1878)
Courts and Lawyers of Illinois

Sidney Breese, who was prominently identified with the early legal and political history of Illinois, was born July 15, 1800, at Whitesboro, Oneida County, New York. He received a thorough classical education at Union College, Schenectady, New York, from which institution he was graduated in 1818. Elias Kent Kane, who was also one of the prominent early lawyers and statesmen in Illinois, was reared in the family of Breese, and educated in the same school. Sidney Breese Kane, who was the senior of Breese, removed to Illinois Territory in 1816, settling at Kaskaskia, where he entered upon the practice of law. Soon after Breese graduated from Union College he accepted an invitation from Kane to join him and enter upon the study of law in Kane's office. In 1820 he was admitted to practice and began his professional career at Brownsville, Jackson County.

In his first attempt to conduct a case before a jury Breese was unsuccessful, and his defeat so affected him that he decided to abandon the profession of law and take up some work for which he might be better fitted. He was appointed postmaster at Kaskaskia in 1821, and shortly after his defeat in the first law suit apparently soon thereafter changed his mind and decided to engage again in the practice of law, for in 1822 he was appointed by Governor Bond attorney of the Second Circuit, a position which he retained for five years.

Breese's first and most prominent contribution to the profession was the preparation and publication of the first volume of decisions of the Illinois Supreme Court, which is said to be the first book published in the state. This volume is not only noteworthy as a collection of the early decisions, but it possesses many unusual features, among them being the foot notes to many of the decisions containing interesting and valuable comments by the compiler.

In 1832 Breese enlisted and served as lieutenant-colonel in the Blackhawk war, and upon its conclusion resumed the practice of law, in which he continued until 1835, when the Legislature established the Circuit Court system, and he was chosen judge of the Second Circuit Court, which position he retained until 1841, when he was elected one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the state.

In the following year, 1842, he was elected for a full term to the United States Senate, upon expiration of which he was defeated for re-election by Gen. James Shields. Upon retiring from the Senate he practiced law for nearly a year, and in 1850 was elected to the State legislature from the district comprised of Bond, Montgomery and Clinton counties, and was elected speaker of the House at the forthcoming session of the Legislature.

When not engaged in his duties as a member of the Legislature Breese practiced law until 1855, when he was again elected circuit judge. Sidney Breese In 1857 upon the resignation of Chief Justice Scates he was returned to the bench of the Supreme Court, from the third grand division, in which position he remained until his death June 27, 1878.

During the long period of Breese's service on the bench, at a time when the problems confronting the court were not only complex, but often extremely irritating because of the constant conflict of the legislative, judicial and executive departments of the state, his deportment was invariably characterized by courtesy and impartiality. His opinions and judgments have received the highest commendation not only because of the integrity of the judge, but for his learning and ability.

While a member of the United States Senate Breese took decided ground in favor of the annexation of Texas, and advocated the title of the United States Government to Oregon up to line 54 degrees, 40 minutes; and strongly urged that the war with Mexico be carried into the heart of that country and the country finally annexed.

Prior to 1842 all lead mines in the country that had not been especially granted were owned by the Government, and leased to individuals. Senator Breese secured the passage of the bill providing for sale of such lands and thereby greatly facilitated the development of lead mining industry in Illinois, he also drafted the bill repealing the five years immunity from taxation after sale of public lands of the United States, Sidney Breese and providing that such lands should become subject to taxation immediately after sale. This latter act was of importance to Illinois, as within its boundary there was an extensive area of Government lands that were being rapidly disposed of and it provided immediately receipt of revenue by the state after the sale of such lands.

One of the most important legislative acts with which Breese was connected was the bill providing for the grant of land to aid in railway construction, a scheme originated in 1835, which while it doubtless resulted in unjustly enriching railroad promoters, still had the effect of creating means of transportation much sooner than would otherwise have been possible. Breese seems to have seen in the Government lands a valuable asset for the industrial development of the country, inasmuch as he is said to be been in addition to the originator of the bill providing for the immediate taxation from the sale of such lands, and for the grant of lands to railroads, the originator of a plan providing for grants of land for the construction of a railroad from Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean.

Like many of his contemporaries, he was a man of force, and of vision, and without such as he the phenomenal development of the great mid-west would not have been possible.

Kidder Randolph Breese (1831-1881)
Who Was Who in the Union, p. 45

Entering the navy at the age of 15, Captain Breese was a veteran of the Mexican War and voyages to Japan and South America by the time of the Civil War. His Civil War assignments included:

  • Midshipman, USN (since 1846)
  • Lieutenant, USN (ca. 1861)
  • Commanding - 3rd Division of Schooners, Mortar Division, West Gulf Blockading Squadron (April 1862)
  • Lieutenant Commander, USN (1862)
  • Commanding - Black Hawk (1852-63)
  • Fleet Captain - North Atlantic Blockading Squadron (1864-65)

In the attack upon Forts Jackson and St. Philip below New Orleans, he commanded six of the 19 mortar schooners under Commander David D. Porter. During the operations along the Mississippi, Breese was in command of Porter's flagship and later joined him as fleet captain on blockading duty.

He died, with the rank of Captain, on sick leave in 1881.



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Genealogy of Sidney Breese
Genealogy Swap Meet
Breese family
Breese family Genealogy Forum
Breese USA
Wishful Thinking? The John/Sidney Breese Connection
Edward Elbridge Salisbury's Breese Monograph


Photographs of Breeses in the Civil War
Immigrant Ancestors
Link List of Searchable Genealogy Sites

(Number of entries as of 12/29/97)
GENDEXs 98 Breese entries
Family Tree Maker many Breese entries
Ancestry World Tree 50 Breese entries
Social Security Death Index
Rootsweb Surname Searchers


Personal Reminiscences
General sketch of the American branch of the Breese family, by J. Montgomery. 73p. 1884. $15.00
BREESE Family of England & America, 1709-1875
E. E. Salisbury. 61p. 1885. $12.00


Photographs of Breeses in the Civil War
Bio. of Civil War Captain Randolph K. Breese
How to Request Civil War Military Records
How to Request General Military Records
Cyndi's List of Military Resources Worldwide

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