Title: Army Corporal, Spanish American War; police officer, watchmaker
Birthdate: March 21, 1860
Death Date: February 26, 1906
Plot Location: Section 52, Lot 19, SE Corner
Samuel was born in Philadelphia on March 21, 1860 to a blacksmith and his wife, their third child, and he would be a lifelong resident of the Wharton section of the city. Samuel’s father died when he was 10 years old, and when he was 19 he became both a married man and a father.
He and Mary would have eight children in 18 years, with two not surviving infancy. He was a watch case maker and then a conductor, followed by a career serving his city as a police officer for about ten years, starting in the mid-1880s.
Spain declared war on the United States on April 23, 1898 and Congress reciprocated with a declaration of war on April 25. Samuel may have felt persuaded to serve his country because of his family history. His sister Emma became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution because their great-great grandfather, Pvt John Clifton, was in the Delaware Militia and fought in the Battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777.
Samuel joined Company E of the 1st US Volunteer Engineers Regiment that sailed from New York to Puerto Rico on August 10. By the time they arrived an armistice was declared that ended the fighting, but they remained there for three more months.
Just before the regiment returned to New York on November 24, Samuel was promoted to corporal and, after they arrived, everyone was given a 60-day furlough. The Treaty of Paris officially ended the war on December 10, so after the soldiers returned on January 25, they were all honorably discharged. It wasn’t like a Caribbean vacation, but it wasn’t like being entrenched in combat either.
One Army record indicates Samuel may have signed up for another tour. It says he was in the Philippines guarding a wrecked steamer in 1900 with the 13th Infantry. Upon his return home he became a watchman, and five sons and a daughter were living with them. His sister Emma died of heart disease in January, 1906. Whether this was a contributing factor or not, Samuel took his own life on February 26. The official cause of death reads, “Pistol shot wounds self-inflicted while temporarily insane.”
He and his sister were buried in Section 52, Lot 19 with his second daughter, Caroline, who died in 1897. His mother, Margaret and her second husband, are listed first on this headstone, and Marion Price is last, whose relationship is unknown. Samuel’s wife, Mary, died in 1945 and was buried at Oakland Cemetery in Philadelphia.
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