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Biography of Samuel Stewart

Samuel Stewart was born in 1801, the youngest son of William and Mary. He emigrated to America between 1815 and 1826 and became a builder and some say an architect. He would later employ some of his nephews as apprentices.

In 1834 he married Marguerite Nsidida Giquel, a Frenchwomanl They had a very large family. Their eldest son, Seymour Alexander was tragically drowned during a storm at Last Island while celebrating his twenty-first birthday. When he was found he was identified by papers in his pocket and twenty one gold dollars his mother had given him for his birthday. More is known about Samuel than any other Stewart as he became the "father figure" in America and was loved and respected by all. His brothers and nephews thought very highly of him. He was a very kind and generous man and the number of relations and others he helped must have been a legion. His love for Ireland never grew dim and right to the end in 1868 his thoughts kept returning to Bright. He even had ideas of buying or renting a farm there but death intervened. He had a great reverence for his departed parents and relations and spent a good deal in erecting tombstones for them and repairing those that needed it. He did this for his parents and brothers buried in Ballee and Bright churchyards. Samuel erected tombstones for his brother George, in Downpatrick parish church, his brothers in America and his nephew William in New Orleans. His son Alcee William carried on the tradition and worked hard to preserve the family's memory and history as did his grandsons Seymour and Floyd. It is thought that Samuel made at least two trips home to Ireland. It is known that he went in 1852 with his wife and elder children. They also visited France to look up his wife's relations. It was probably during this time that he brought his children to visit the Baroness and her villa in France, where it is said they brought eighteen trunks with them. Alcee Stewart (Samuel's son) apparently told his grand-daughter (Dorothy) about it. There is a story that while staying at the Down Hunt Hotel, Downpatrick, some friends and relations from Bright came in to see him. To their delight he ordered a bottle of whiskey and then, to their chagrin proceeded to bathe his feet in it, saying that all the walking he was doing in the country was hard on his feet!

Three of his sons fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. The war dealt a severe blow to his business, built up over forty years, and this must have hastened his end as his letters after the war were generally depressing. His son John James carried on the business after he died. In spite of his losses his and his widow's estate was assessed at $142,000, the widow's portion being $66,000. The real estate was valued low, at $85,000, probably to avoid taxes. His widow died in 1887, aged 73. Samuel left her well provided for and in 1871 she left her house at 205 Camp Street, New Orleans to the U.S. Government for $3,000, a year and went to live on Baronne and Josephine Street. In 1885 she bought a "2 story cottage" at 255 Louisiana Avenue with a basement. It had immense rooms, some 20' by 24' feet a dining room, and a library etc. The cottage had wide galleries. The frontage was said to be 150' and a depth of 260'. It ran through to the next street. Samuel's son Alcee William moved to St. Louis in the seventies and it is likely that his firm supplied timber for the Worl's Fair held there in 1904. The 1904 World's Fair was the first of its kind. It is interesting to note that a great great grandson of his father's brother, George (the one who married Margaret Christie) namely Michael Hilliar, had an exhibit in the Irish Pavilion at the World's Fair of 1964, in New York. Some of Samuel's Stewart's accomplishments included the building of the noted Pontalba Apartments in New Orleans. The apartments flank Jackson Square on St. Peter and St. Ann Streets. The Baroness Pontalba, daughter of Don Almonasti-Micaela requested Samuel Stewart contruct the buildings. The original Ironwork was ordered directly from France, but was lost at sea. The baroness sued Samuel Stewart, however, she lost because the Judge declared that Samuel Stewart could not control the weather as it was an "Act of God." Later, the parties made up and he visited the Baroness in France.

Owner of originalPaul Shipp
Linked toSamuel Stewart

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