Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 23, 1862: Capt. Joseph Henry's Funeral

On February 22, 1862, Belvidere held its annual George Washington's Birthday Parade, but this time the parade had a duel function. The parade began at 9:00 a.m. with the Belvidere Coronet Band and the Belvidere Infantry Company in the lead. This time the parade stopped at the Belvidere-Delaware Railroad depot to honor Captain Joseph Henry, whose body was shipped to Belvidere by train.  The Belvidere Infantry and the Coronet Band escorted the coffin through Belvidere as the hearse traveled to Oxford Furnace to the house of his sister, Mrs. Charles Scranton. 

On Sunday, February 23, funeral services were held in the First Presbyterian Church of Belvidere.  Franklin Pierce Sellers, editor/publisher of The Belvidere Intelligencer, wrote in the issue of February 28, "The funeral was the spontaneous outburst of feeling of our whole country, not less than 1,000 to 1,500 persons from every part of the country attending.  Though a young man, and very little known among the people of the country, yet his character was so well established that everybody felt an interest in him.  He was the son of William Henry, Esq., formerly the esteemed and efficient manager and conductor of Oxford Furnace; schooled in the midst of us; of naturally a most amiable, quiet and retiring disposition, he was the last man you would have expected to offer his services in the defense of his country.  The disaster at Bull's Run, however, stirred the spirit within him, and he had no peace until he offered himself and was accepted as Captain of Company H of the 9th Regiment, NJ Volunteers, which he chiefly raised. 

"His company was comprised of our most respectable young men, and many of them devotedly pious; and it is but a feeble tribute to him to say that his Company all loved and esteemed him as an able, brave and devoted soldier; a devoted man to his God and his country, he had no fear about him and, of course, he was found among the foremost to land in the mud and water and face the enemy entrenchments."

Captain Henry, age 27, was buried in the Belvidere Cemetery in the Henry/Scranton family plot.

Copyright 1997-2012: Jay C. Richards

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