Brown, John Henry - portrait of Mary Morgan Destouet

A visitor to the website has sent me a photocopy of this miniature, together with a little information about the sitter and is keen to know more, if any other visitor has any relevant comments to add.

The miniature is of Mary Destouet nee Maria Morgan, and was painted by John Henry Brown in 1860.

I have checked the list of twenty portraits he painted in 1860 and this one was painted immediately after he painted his miniature portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Brown describes it as being based on a daguerreotype. This usually implies the sitter had already died when the miniature was painted, although that cannot have been the case here as Mary Destouet was still alive for the 1870 census.

Mary only looks to be about 45 in the miniature and perhaps 1845-1850 was the date of the daguerreotype, with Mary feeling she did not want the miniature to record her looks at age 57, as she was in 1860.

It is interesting to compare it with another miniature painted several months earlier in 1860 by Brown and which is in this collection, see View That is of Maria Charlotte Gouverneur Cadwalader and her dress is almost identical, varying only in the fine details of the lace. I think Brown must have used the Cadwalader miniature as a model for the Destouet dress, as even the way the bottom of the lace caps are draped on the two sitter's shoulders is identical.

This perhaps seems unusual, but it may be the clothing fashion worn in the Destouet daguerreotype was several years out of date and hence Brown posed Mary Destouet in the fashion of 1860, as worn by Maria Cadwalader.

There is not a lot of information about the Destouet family available on the Internet, but immigration records show that Saturnius Destouet (sometimes Destouit) arrived in the USA in 1817 and was naturalised on 6 Jun 1817.

According to a note which the miniature owner acquired with the portrait, Destouet was a Marquis by rank and possibly fled from France a couple of years after Napoleon's defeat. A miniature portrait of him is shown here.

The marriage of Saturninus Destouet (also Saturnius Destouet) and Mary Morgan is recorded in Philadelphia on 3 Jun 1820. On 19 Sep 1828 they returned to New York from Le Harvre, France with Mary giving her age as 26, together with William H Destouit aged 31 (1897-?), on the ship "Charlemagne".

In the 1825 Directory S & B Destouet are recorded as merchants at 209 High d. h. Chestnut, one door below the Academy of Fine Arts. Destouet Bros are recorded as importers and dealers in silk goods. Saturnius Destouet is listed in the 1830 census as living in the South Ward of Philadelphia.

In the 1860 census for the 8th Ward of Philadelphis, they are wrongly recorded under the name Destoalet, but are Sartain Destouet and Mary M Destouet. Confirmation of this, is that John E Destouet aged 63, possibly a brother of Sartain, is resident in the same house.

At the 1860 census, Sartain aged 67 (1893->1866) and Mary 56 (1803-?) have five daughters; Eloise 30 (1830-?), Delia 25 (1835-?), Mary 23 (1837-?), Julia 21 (1839), and Eliza C 18 (1842-?). Sartain gives his occupation as Gentleman, his assets as $50,000 and his place of birth as France. Also in the household are a coachman and four other servants, all from Ireland and so undoubtedly emigrants escaping from from the Irish potato famine of 1845-1850.

S Destouet is mentioned in the tax records for 1863 when he was taxed at the rate of 3% on income from all sources of $5000, a total of $150. In 1864 it appears he was living at 1309 Walnut St with income of $5000. He paid tax of 5% on the first $4400 of income and 10% on the next $600. He also appears to have been taxed $2 for owning a piano (!) and at the rate of 5 cents per ounce on the value of silver that he owned, some 290 ounces. (Owners of watches seem to have been taxed $1 per watch, and owners of carriages $1 per carriage, and of a billiard table $10.) Thus his total tax in 1864 had risen to $296.50, despite his income remaining the same. However, for 1865 his income and tax remained the same as for 1864. Mary Destouet also paid tax on trustee income of $800 in 1864 and 1865.

By the time of the 1870 census on Nov 15, Mary Destouet aged 70 is living in Walnut Street Philadelphia, with only two daughters; Ellie 28 and Caroline aged 32. However, they still have five servants.

Although referred to as Delia in the census, it appears that the proper name of the second daughter was Zelie Zanade Destouet and she married Thomas Treves-Barber. Their son Thomas Henry de Treves Destouet Barber married Winifred Riddly, both of whom died in Johannesburg, SA but Thomas Destouet Barber was a doctor and the author of "Treatment of Varicose Veins of the Lower Extremities by Injection."

There seems to have been some connection between Delia or Zelie Zanade Destouet and Grand Duke Alexis in the right photograph, as the rear is inscribed by hand "To little Zillie from Wildcat".

Grand Duke Alexis (1850-1908), the fourth son of Tsar Alexander II visited the United States in 1871-72, where he was a great attraction, here being photographed with General Custer, see The Grand Duke Alexis At that time, Delia would have been aged around 45.

It seems possible however, that the inscription on the photograph may even be by General Custer himself and given as a memento to Delia, as in 1867 Custer had an embarrassing hunting experience when he thought he was shooting at a beaver, but in fact shot a wildcat. Thus the inscription may relate to this event.

A comparison of the inscription with Custer's handwriting may clarify the authorship, see The Custer Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Life of George ... - Google Books Result

The New York Times of Jun 11, 1870 refers to the marriage on Jun 8 of E Caroline Destouet, daughter of the late S Destouet of Philadelphia and T Hammersley Morgan, with the ceremony being conducted by Rev Brockholst Morgan of Chicago. It is possible that these Morgans' were relatives of Mary Destouet, as her maiden name was Morgan.

There is a Nov 5, 1905 obituary for Marie Hackley, widow of the late Victor Mayo Hackley of NY and daughter of Heloise Destouet and Moreton Stille who were married on Oct 10, 1850. Thus she was a granddaughter of the Mary Morgan Destouet in this miniature. Dr Moreton Stille was a well thought of doctor who died only four years after his marriage. There is an account of his life at Summary of the Transactions of the College of Physicians of ... - Google Books Result

Otherwise it has not yet been possible to expand on the Destouet family of Philadelphia.

Later, a kind visitor has advised;
1- The portrait miniature of 'Mrs Geo W Morgan - Grandmother
Tessiere's mother' is of Hester Leib, wife of George Washington
Morgan. George Washington Morgan was born in 1776; he was the son of
Gen Jacob Morgan of the American Revolution. The Morgans were
merchants and heavily involved in shipping and the West Indies (sugar)
trade. George Washington Morgan and Hester Leib had 4 surviving
children: Eliza Caroline (m.Anthony Teisseire), Mary (m.Saturnius
Destouet), Harriet Adelaide (m.Thomas Ashton Morgan), and George Leib
Morgan (m.Lucretia Elizabeth Hamersley).

2- The Destouet family ('portrait of Mary Morgan Destouet').
Saturnius Destouet and his two brothers, Bartholomew & John E, were
merchants in Philadelphia under the name 'Destouet Brothers'. Bartholomew may have
died or returned to France by the late 1820s; only Saturnius and John
E show up in the later records. Their father's name was John; there
were also two sisters, Adele and Zelie, born about 1802 and 1807
The father, John, along with Adele and Zelie, left the United States
in 1831 to travel in Europe; I haven't found any record of their
return to the US. Eliza Caroline Destouet, daughter of Saturnius & Mary
(Morgan) Destouet, married her 1st cousin, Thomas Hamersley Morgan,
son of George Leib & Lucretia Elizabeth (Hamersley) Morgan. The Rev Brockholst
Morgan who married them was Thomas' brother.

3- The wives of John Ringgold Wilmer ('portrait of Antoinette
Teisseire') were cousins. JRW's first wife was the daughter of
Anthony and Eliza Caroline (Morgan) Teisseire. JRW's second wife, Marie Jeanne Nathalie
de Chazournes, was the daughter of Felix and Marie Louise (Brugiere)
Marie Louise (Brugiere) Chazournes was the daughter of Charles and
Marie Antoinette (Teisseire) Brugiere. Marie Antoinette (Teisseire)
Brugiere was the sister of Anthony Teisseire.

Charles Brugiere originally worked for the firm 'Tarascon Brothers,
James Berthoud & Co'. They were Philadelphia merchants who later
established the town of Shippingport, Kentucky. After the Teisseire family's
arrival in Philadelphia in about 1800, Charles Brugiere and Anthony
Teisseire established the firm of Brugiere and Teisseire.

In about 1843, Charles and Marie Antoinette (Teisseire) Brugiere's
son, William, married Mary Morgan, daughter of Thomas Ashton and
Harriet Adelaide (Morgan) Morgan, thus completing the circle of Morgan,
Teisseire, and Brugiere.

One additional note - Thomas Ashton Morgan and his wife, Harriet
Adelaide Morgan were also cousins. Thomas' father, Benjamin, was a
brother of Gen Jacob Morgan. Gen Jacob Morgan was Harriet Adelaide's grandfather.


Keith said...

In all your research on the Destouet family could you tell me what part of France Saturinus or John Destouet were from??

Don said...

Sorry, I do not known which part of France, the only references I have seen, just say France as their place of origin.

Don said...

Keith, If you see this further reply, you will see I have now added a portrait of Saturinius Destouet which has just been sent to me.

dcprowler277 said...

Thanks alot for the photo, he does seem to resemble the Destouet's from Louisiana. I don't know if your a genealogist or not but there was a Jacques Destouet b. 1828 that came from France to Louisiana in 1857. Family stories say he had relatives up north but was caught up in the war and settled in New Iberia, LA. Have you found any connection between these two Destouet's in your work??

Don said...

I did see there was a Louisiana family, but have not tried to connect them. There appeared to be two brothers in the same Philadelphia house at one stage, Sartain (aka Saturnius?) and John (aka Jack?). The former seems to have married and had five daughters, but for the latter I did not see any marriage records etc. He or another relative may have gone south?
Your Jacques Destouet seems to be too young to be one of the two brothers, but quite likely he is related.

PamBurlington said...

this may be a repeat. Researching the Destouet girls who attended St. Mary's Hall, Burlington NJ in 1855-56. I am fluent in French if I can help find out where the family originated. Julia and Eliza caroline attended the school. Still open now as a coed day school, Doane Academy, named for the founder, a Bishop of NJ.

Keith said...

PamBurlington, I have doing research on the family for quite some time, not that exact line but I'm familiar with them. Please contact me at for any assitance with your research.

Anonymous said...

Mary Morgan Destouet was a sister of Eliza Caroline Morgan, wife of Anthony Teisseire/Tesseire. A third sister was Harriet Adelaide Morgan. Harriet married a cousin, Thomas Ashton Morgan.