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The Mystery of Brigadier General Harry L. Haskell

Harry married late in life, to Mary E. Forrgeaud in San Francisco on 15 June 1881. He died in 1908 and was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery. His wife Mary died 5 Sept 1923 at 1482 Sutter Street, San Francisco.

The San Francisco Call database lists the deaths of Dr. Victor J. Forrgeaud and Ellen Walker Forrgeaud in the years around their daughter, Mary's, marriage. From the Call database:

Fourgeaud, Mary E. ... married in 1881 to Haskell, H.L., Lt. USA ... 1881M-1500
Fourgeaud, Victor J., Dr. ... died in 1875 ... age 59 ... 1875D-1097

Haskell, H.L., Lt. USA ... married in 1881 to Fourgeaud, Mary E. ... 1881M-1905
Fourgeaud, Ellen Walker ... died in 1883 ... age 72 ... 1883D-1622

We believe they are her parents, given the unique surname. About 233,000 people lived in San Francisco at the time. Since Harry and Mary were married in San Francisco, and Mary lived there before their marriage, it is likely that she returned to live in San Francisco on Sutter Street after her husband's death.

My g-g-grandfather, Guy Herbert Christy, obtained training as a welder in early 1917 at the Heald School in San Francisco at Sutter and Larkin. In October 1918, the family was living in the Glasgow Apartments at Turk and Larkin Streets in San Francisco. By 1920, Guy was an instructor in welding at Heald, and in 1921 he was head of the blacksmith department.

Solving the Haskell-Christy Family Relationship

From 1917 to 1923, Harry Haskell's widow, Mary Forrgeaud, and the Christy family lived within a few blocks of each other in San Francisco.

This places the two families within a few blocks of one another at the same time, as shown in the map at right. The Heald welding school was four blocks up the street from Mary E. Forrgeaud's residence. The Christy residence, where my grandmother Betty Phelps lived until she was married in 1920, was seven blocks south and four blocks west. San Francisco was not that big a city in 1920.

We believe that my g-g-grandmother Lizzy Christy knew Mary Haskell. They are of the same generation and approximate age. Presuming this is the connection we have been seeking, this solves the "how" of the medal coming into my family's possession. The"why" remains a mystery. We can only suppose that the families were very close. Mary Forrgeaud Haskell had no children. Perhaps when she died, grandmother Christy took care of her arrangements and her personal effects. The medal may have been a treasure my g-g-grandmother kept in rememberance of her friend.

Brian Phelps


Contributors

For information on Civil War Captain and later Brigadier General Henry Haskell, we are indebted to Jim McGraw, who contributed a very fine portrait, and Win Haskell of Germany, who sent us a number of documents telling us quite a lot about the Private, later Brigadier General, Haskell. Sgt. Vincent M. Jockimo, a member of the 125th N.Y. Volunteers reenactment group, told us about the badge itself and its meaning, and sent us portions of the regimental history. Stephen Schmidt send us Harry's enlistment record. And Jody Roberts sent us some info about Harry from the Sons of the American Revolution. Information on Harry's marriage, later military service, and his wife's family members is courtesy of Virginia Mylius.