Sunday, December 9, 2018

Lucinda Honstain's Civil War #3

Block from quilt by Lucinda Ward Honstain in the collection
of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Two men and two bottles. Perhaps drinking homegrown wine?

The public fights in the Honstain family, which began in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the summer of 1865, wound up again in the courts in March, 1866. John B. Honstain had agreed to return to his wife Lucinda Ward Honstain but family relationships were in terrible shape. Honstain had been living with neighbors the Dales but at this point he must have moved on.

More details of "This somewhat complicated and interesting case."
"Mrs. Honstain gave bond to keep the peace towards Mrs. Dale...(Eastern District) who had charged her with using abusive language and saying that Mr. Honstain had improper intimacy with her (Mrs. Dale's) daughter."
I believe Mrs. Dale was also suing Mr. Honstain over the improper intimacies....The cases drug on. At any rate we hope that court dates were the last that Lucinda saw of her husband.

Jonathan Gregory found a record of an Ohio divorce instituted by John Honstain in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in March, 1866. The 1870 census lists Lucinda as a widow, in which category she was classified for the rest of her life, a life that seems to have calmed down enough to escape the gossip columns in the Brooklyn Eagle. Lucinda's s best public record is probably in her quilt, which looks to contain many scenes around the family home on Leonard Street.

Lucinda's Ward family continued to maintain land and houses in Westchester County, where Lucinda was born, so some of the images may reflect the country home---although Brooklyn was rural at the time.

The quilt has one block dated November, 1867 when Lucinda's only grandchild was almost two and it seems likely the quilt was made for Hamilton Wesley Bingham with its pictures of sailors like his father, his grandmother's house and family, pets and the neighborhood businessmen selling ice cream and dry goods (his Uncle Thomas Ward.)

There are also images of current events, such as the end of slavery, 
Jefferson Davis and this man...

An officer in a top hat?

General William T. Sherman
Brady Studio, 1865

Perhaps General Sherman

Sherman's hat

Is the sailor a portrait of Wesley's father?

Hamilton Wesley Bingham (known as Wesley) was daughter Emma's only child and Lucinda's only grandchild. He married Charlotte Bailey and they had three children, Madeline (Ricard), Devoe and Hamilton III.

 Some sources indicate Emma and Lucinda raised 
Wesley Bingham in the 183 Leonard Street House.

Lucinda apparently remained in the Leonard Street/Devoe Street nighborhood until she died on February 15, 1904.

Daughter Emma's husband Hamilton Bingham (1835-1908) did not remain with the family long. By 1869 he was in Virginia where he married Jane Elizabeth McClintock. The story takes another strange turn when we see that Ralph Bingham, his eldest son by Elizabeth, achieved childhood fame as "The Boy Orator," quite a success from the age of six thanks to the management of his father. See a link to Emma's ex-husband's obituary at the bottom of the page.

The Boy Orator at 7; Wesley Bingham's
half brother.

1904 probate record for Lucinda's will,
which states she had no property worth more
than $1500. 

When Lucinda died in 1904 Emma gave her own address as 133 Devoe. (Note Emma's grandson was named Devoe Bingham.) Emma, her son and his wife Charlotte Bailey Bingham are buried in Chappaqua in Westchester County at Fair Ridge Cemetery and there is rumored to be a monument to Lucinda there. She is actually buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery with no monument.

 Cypress Hills Cemetery

From the gossip and the public records we learn a little about Lucinda Ward Honstain. She was probably fairly comfortable financially in her Brooklyn neighborhood. She helped raise a grandson, for whom she might have made a quilt. According to the mean-spirited article in the Brooklyn Eagle she was blond and fair "and cannot be called a good looking woman."

Why so mean? Perhaps the reporter had it in for her husband. More about HIM tomorrow.

Link to her son-in-law's obituary with information about his sailing career:

Picture of Hamilton Bingham late in life, published 1907.


  1. Enjoying this saga and the fabulous quilt blocks!

  2. Whatever else one may think about her, she was a wonderful quilter. Thanks for sharing this research.