Genealogical Record: Robert Smith Chew

Self Parents Grandparents GGParents GGGParents
Robert Smith Chew
Civil servant

*1811 11 04 VA, USA
+1873 08 03 Washington, DC, USA

[portrait from painting of signing of Alaskan treaty]

Brief biography listed in Appleton's 1886 Encyclopedia, is mentioned elsewhere for his roles as aide to Seward (was present at signing of Alaskan treaty in 1867, painted by Emanuel Leutze, an excerpt of which is shown above) and wartime special messenger for Lincoln.

1834 07: Joined State Department (according to sworn testimony, p. 117 of Congressional Globe, 40th Congress, 2nd Session at

1844 03 02: Is mentioned in National Intelligencer as an Assistant Marshal on horseback at the funeral for the late Secretary of State, the Hon. Abel P. Upshur, killed when a gun aboard the USS Princeton exploded during a demonstration.

1861 04 06: Carried a famous message (which survives, and can be viewed at from Lincoln to Governor Pickens at Charleston.

1866 07: Promoted to Chief Clerk of the State Department.

1868 04 04: Testified before Senate in impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson (

1880: widow listed in Washington, DC, USA census.

Should investigate Seward papers at U of Rochester.

Library of Congress has some correspondence with Hamilton Fish as part of the latter's archives (LC mm 78020602).

According to family lore, when his brother was captured in the Civil War, RSC negotiated his release into house arrest at RSC's home.


Robert Smith Chew
Court Clerk

*1779 09 26 Spottsylvania Co., VA, USA
+1826 11 02

Succeeded his father as Clerk of the Hustings Court for the Town and Corporation of Fredericksburg, some of whose signed certificates 1812 07 14-1820 02 26 survive.

Is listed at LDS IGI 442426.35.25657.

Month and date of birth and death from, which lists interment at Masonic Cemetery, Fredericksburg VA, is source of father-in-law's profession and gives date of marriage as 1802-10-20.

S. Bassett French confirms career. but gives date of death as 1825-11-23.

Dora C. Jett (see RBC 14139) gives the text of his tombstone, confirms his date of death, says his will was dated 1821-10-17 and left property to his wife, his sister and his sons RSC 10043, JJC 11661 and an unknown son George French Chew. I would very much like to see this will.

RLC 14093 gives year of marriage as 1802.

10051 <84:7

John Chew

+1806 02 12

Interred at Masonic Cemetery, Fredericksburg, VA, USA [; Dora C. Jett cf. RBC 14139]. Tombstone gives date of death and age (53) at death.

Jett adds that he was the first of four generations that held the post of clerk of the Hustings Court (a/k/a the General Court or Corporation Court) of Fredericksburg from 1787 to 1886. He was a vestryman in St. George's Church in 1803. His will dated 1805 mentions his wife ES 10068, his son RSC 10051, his daughter MBC 16260 and grandon JJC 11661 (who received "my gold watch and chain and gold seal in token of my love and affection for him").

The existence of a miniature portrait is mentioned in an article in the Free Lance-Post, which also mentions that he was clerk of the Fredericksburg Court 1787-1806.

USGenWeb mentions that he was succeeded as Clerk of the General Court on his death in 1806 by a Robert Hening.

Mentioned in S. Bassett French's biographical sketches.

A portrait, possibly the one mentioned above, can be found at, catalogued in the Frick Art Reference Library.

10067 <86:8

Robert Chew
1730-1778 04 28
10069 <127:9
John Chew
10073 <163:10 >33:19
Margaret Beverley
10074 <163:10 >13:4
Mary (Molly) Perrott
10070 <127:9
Henry Perrott
10075 >10:3
Elizabeth Smith

+1806 05 21

Interred at Masonic Cemetery, Fredericksburg, VA, USA [; Dora C. Jett cf. RBC 14139]. Tombstone gives date of death and age (47) at death.

10068 <86:8

John Morris Smith
John Smith
110427 >1:1
Mary Chew
Larkin Chew
10077 <94:10 >33:19
Mary Beverley
10078 <94:10 >13:4
Elizabeth (Betsey) French


10052 <84:7

George French

*1751 Scotland

According to an article in the Free Lance-Post, he was from Scotland, and was at one point mayor of Fredericksburg, VA.


? ?
? ?
Anne Brayne Benger



John Benger
10087 <87:9
Elliott Benger
Dorothea Brayne
10090 >12481:76
Elizabeth (Betty) Johnston
10088 <87:9
William Johnston
10091 <99:10 >2:2
Ann(e) (Nan) Mary Chew
10092 <99:10 >33:19


Elizabeth Ringold Smith

*1815 03 24 Washington, DC, USA?
+1899 02 23 Washington, DC, USA

Listed in 1880 Census of Washington, DC, USA as widowed, living with sons Robert, John and Walter, sister Louisa and servants Kittie Walker, Caroline Green and Elenora Buckner.

A portrait of her, painted by Charles Bird King, is in the online collection of the Smithsonian, their object #DC990444

Some sources spell her middle name Ringgold.

JJC 10005 had her birth year as 1818.

Buried at Chapel Hill, Lot 538, Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC.

10044 <2164:81

m. 1842 01 26
Richard Smith Chew

*1843 09 07 Washington, DC, USA
+1875 04 10 Washington, DC, USA

Listed in Appleton's 1886 Encyclopedia under father's entry, from whence most of the following.

1861: Graduated from Naval Academy.

1862 03 08-09: served aboard the frigate "Minnesota" during the famous battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack (Appleton misdates this in April, and misspells the ship Merrimac, but is not known for his accuracy).

1864 02 22: commissioned Lieutenant.

1866 07 25: Lieutenant-Commander.

1875 02 02: retired for disability

Another source gives his date of death as 1870.

Jim Cheevers of the USNA Museum confirms that RSC was in the Naval Academy class of 1859, which was ordered to active duty in May 1861 and was subsequently considered to have graduated in 1863. He also says that Midshipman Chew was serving aboard the steam frigate Minnesota in a published register of U.S. Navy officers dated 1862 09 01, and that it is safe to assume he was at the Battle of Hampton Roads.


Louisa Harrison Coffin
1848 04 09-1888 06 05

Some sources list her as Louise, but her grave at the Oak Hill Cemetery in DC, USA ( gives the correct spelling.


Louisa Harrison Chew

110376 >3:1

Elizabeth Smith (Bessie?) Chew

110378 >2:1

Elizabeth Ring(g)old Chew


Probably the same person identified on gravestone as Elsie French Chew 1845-1862 07 08


Harriet (Hallie) Patterson Chew

+1930 08 22 Jamestown, RI, USA

Had four children with first husband Joseph: Elizabeth Chew, Joseph F., Mary F., Robert Chew.

Buried at Arlington National Cemetery Section 1 Site 219

Gravestone gives birth in 1848.


Joseph D. Barnes
-1882 05 13


Francis Mackall Gunnell
1828-1922 06 10

11941 <267:29

Robert Smith Chew

*1848 10 10 Washington DC, USA
+1923 01 13 USA

Listed in 1900 Census, Washington Co., D.C., Roll 159 Book 1, Page 193a, Line 73; living at 1912 H Street, employed as a bank clerk.

(From JJC 10003) Started as a clerk at the Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C. Eventually became head of the credit department. Bought a 'cottage' in Jamestown, R.I. where his wife and children spent their summers growing up.

Listed in 1880 Census of Washington, see ERS 10044.


Mary Emott (Minnie) Cady
1862 09 14-1943 01 05

LDS: R8LZ-3P. Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC, USA; Chapel Hill Lot 538.

10034 <2043:81

m. 1886 04 28 Washington DC, USA
Robert Smith (Rob) Chew

10009 >11:3

Mary H. Chew


John James Chew

10005 >31:4

Richard Smith (Dick) Chew

10023 >7:3

John James Chew
State Department clerk

*1851 Washington, DC, USA

Listed in 1880 Census of Washington, see ERS 10044.


Lillian H. Coffey


Lillian Chew


Evelyn Chew


Louis Forsyth Chew



Walter Hill Chew

*1856 Washington, DC, USA

Listed in 1880 Census of Washington, see ERS 10044.


Leonard Covington Chew



Helen C. Wallace


Helen Wallace Chew


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