William Henry von Eberstein Wiki
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Revision as of 19:11, 19 January 2009


Page 1

WHVE Memoir Rough 001.jpg
I, William Henry
My Family
youngest son of Ernst Ablrecht
Baron von Eberstein
I, William Henry, Baron von Eberstein,

was born the 15th day December, 1821,

at about 8 o'clock one Saturday night. I

was born in a large room in a stately

mansion, known as Bon Pastore, located

in St. Servan, France, where my father was British Vis?count?

The mansion was situated near where

the English colony worshiped according to the

Church of England

For the reason that I was dangerously

ill, and given up by three sisters, and

my parents did not want me to die without

being baptized, I was baptized by a

Roman Catholic priest named Papa. My

name was entered in the Mayor's office of?

St. Servan

In the month of August, 1822, when I

was eight months old, my mother, who

belonged to the Church of England, and

not satisfied with the Romanish baptism,

took me to her home on the Island of

Guernsey. There on the tenth day of

August, 1822, I was again baptized

according to the rights of the Church of?

England, in that good ancient church of

St. Peters. My sponsors were Richard

Flick Champion, my mother's ???? Francis

Pichard Champion von Eberstein, my ????


Page 2

WHVE Memoir Rough 002.jpg

brother, and Josephine Hyde Champion,

my mother's sister. After which I was taken

back to St. Servan, and brought up until

I attained the age of twelve years.

The family from which I am descended, on

both my father's and my mother's side, are

high aristocrats in Germany and in England.

That more may be known of my family,

I shall pause here to recon some of the

facts about them, before proceeding with

the account of my own experiences.

According to the factory and recons I

have read, my father's family date back to

the circa 900 A.D., and commenced with the

Counte von Eberstein, who resided? at the

Castle of Eberstein, in the ? duchy of Swabia,

about six miles southeast of the town

of Baden, in Baden.

When the Emperor Otto the Great acceeded

the thron in 936 A.D. he promptly attempted to

subordinate the dukes and counts of Germany

to his will. Under Otto's father, they had been

accorded the position and rank of ???

independent princes. Naturally the dukes and

counts resisted these efforts.

In 938 A.D. the Emperor Otto bleaguered

the castle of the Counts von Eberstein for the

space of two and three-quarter years,

and never was able to accomplish the

capture of the castle; the von Eberstein

being watchful as old Solomon, not to

Page 3

be caught sleeping instead of defending

their castle.

Having not acheived his goal militarily,

Otto resorted to chicanery. He g???

it out that a Grand Tournament would

be held at his court, and sent out

invitations to all the Nobles of Germany

far and near, friend and foe, to

attend. All should have safe conduct

to Otto's court and back to their own

fortress.

Though this invitation was to the

court of their deadly enemy, the Counts

von Eberstein accepted on the terms

proposed. At the tournament, the younger

of the brothers, ??? , count

Eberthard von Eberstein was the successfull

contestant, winning the title Baron of the Empire

After the tournament, the Emperor

Otto gave a grand ball in honor

of the comely, light haired winner,

Count Baron Eberhard von Eberstein.

During the ball, count von Eberstein

procured the hand of Princess Hedwig,

sister of the Emperor, for a dance.

Whilst dancing with the handsome

young Count, with whom she had become

enamoured, Princess Hedwig whispered

that soldiers of her brother, the Emperor, were

going to attack the Castle von Eberstein

in the absence of Count Eberhard and his brothers

Page 4

When the same was over, Count

Eberhard communicated to his brothers the

intelligence he had received? from Princess

Hedwig. They then secretly left the ball

room of the Emperor's palace and made

post haste toward the district o? castle.

They arrived there by daybreak, called

the men-at-arms and their retainers,

and put their castle in defense to

meet the assault.

The Emperor, finding the Counts had

left the ball room, and anticipated his

design, relinquished his traitorous plot for

the moment. Instead, he sent ambassadors,

who were to act as spies, to see if the

Castle Eberstein could withstand another siege.

The young Counts von Eberstein, suspecting

the Emperor's design, made preparation for

the receptio nof his ambassadors. Before

the ambassadors arrived and were admitted,

the young Coutns had their bins filled with

straw, and their cellars filled with

empty casks, so that the ambassadors

would go back to the Emperor with the

impression their bins were full of wheat and

their cellars full of wine.

The young counts were successful in their deception.

Upon the ambassadors' return, they reported

to the Emperor that the Counts von Eberstein

were prepared for any assault, and

Page 5

that they could withstand a siege for

three years or more.

When Emperor Otto found he could not

conquer the Counts von Eberstein, he decided

upon a plan that before and since, has

been instrumental in bringing the warring

houses of Nobility and Royalty together!

The Americans express this as a succinct

phrase: "If you can't lick 'em, join 'em."

First, the Emperor negotiated a

lasting peace with the Counts von Eberstein,

whom he was unable to conquer. After

the terms of the treaty were settled,

Emperor Otto gave his sister, Princess

Hedwig in marriage to the younger

brother, Count Baron Ebhard von Eberstein.

After this marriage there were great

feasts and holidays, attended by

all the leading Nobility of Germany, or their

representatives. In a great wedding

procession, the young Count von

Eberstein rode his charger beside

his bride's ornamental sedan.

The present Emperor of Germany

and the Grand Duke of Baden are

descendants of this Count von Eberstein

through the ?destoff line. Now the Grand

Duke of Baden owns Castle von Eberstein,

near Baden, and when he travels, he travels

as the Count von Eberstein.

Page 6

Other distinguished forbears of mine

includ General Fieldmarshall Ernst Albrecht,

Baron von Eberstein, born in 1605,

who distinguished himself in the Protestant

cause during the Thirty Years War. He

was awarded the Order of the Elephant,

by the King of Denmark. This is the highest

military award made by the Danes, and is

given only to royalty, and not more

than thirty knights.

My fathers great, great grandfather,

Christian Ludwig, Baron von Eberstein,

born 1650, died 1717 was also a

General Field Marshal in the Prussian

Army.

My father, also Ernst Albrecht, Baron

von Eberstein, was born, on August 18,

1780, at Dresden. He was the third son

of William, Baron von Eberstein, Counsellor

of the Courts Justice at Dresden.

He entered the Prussian army in 1795

and on May 2, 1798 was promoted to ensign

in the Prussian Thaddenchess Regiment,

and later promoted to lieutenant in the

same regiment.

In November 1800, while a lieutenant

in the Prussian army, he married Johanne

Elizabeth Funk. Their first child,

a boy named Wilhelm

Alexander Ernst, was born August 29, 1806

Page 7

in Halle on the Saale, in the Kingdom of

Prussia. This older half-brother now lives

at Buhla, his estate in Eichsfelde,

Kingdom of Prussia.

Shortly after his first son was born, my

father, being of an adventurous nature and

not liking the routine of Prussian garrison

life, resigned his commission in the

Prussian army and accepted a commission

in the British army, in the 2nd Battalion

of the 60th Regiment, also known as the

Royal American Regiment, his regiment having served

with distinction in America during the

American War for Independence.

On Feburary 27, 1808 he was promoted

to lieutenant, and shortly thereafter his

regiment was ordered to the Island

of Antigua, of the British Seeward

group, in the West Indie.

His wife, Johanne Elizabeth joined

him there a short while later.

Their second child, my half-sister

Antoinette Charlotte Albertina, was

born on the Island of Antigua on

December 3rd, 1808.

My father's regiment was active

in the conquest of the French islands

of Martinique and Guadeloupe in

1809 and 1810. While my father

was away from Antigua on this

expedition, his wife, Johanne Elizabeth

Page 7a

fell victim to the dread disease,

yellow fever, and died March 3, 1810.

In 1813, when the Islands of

Martinique and Guadeloupe were returned

to the French, my father's regiment was

returned to England. By then, he

had been promoted to Captain of the

7th Battalion of the 60th Regiment

Upon its return to England, the

60th Regiment was stationed on the

Isle of Guernsey; one of the Channel

Islands which lies about 30 miles

west of the coast of Normandy and

about 50 miles south of Porstmouth.

It was on the Island of Guernsey,

in the winter of 1813 about, about three and a half years

after his first wife had died,

that he met my mother. She was

then about eighteen, and he thirty-three.

Page 8

Having herad my mother tell the story

of how my father first made her acquaintance, I believe it is worthy

of recording.

Shortly after the 60th Regiment

arrived at the Isle of Guernsey, the

Governor of the Island gave a great

ball in honor of the officers of the

regiment and their ladies. All of the first?

ladies and gentlemen of the island were

invited to attend. The ball-room is

a very spacious one, with two ladies

dressing rooms and a refreshment

room.

My father, being the Officer-of-the Day,

and on duty, could not attend the ball.

While making his rounds to inspect

the guard, he heard the music and

thouguht he would go up stairs and

peep in on the dancers, to see how

they were amusing themselves.

Leaving his horse with a soldier

of his regiment, who was in attendance

at the ball, he slipped up the stairs

for his peep. He had been there but a few minutes when a young

officer of his regiment waltzed by

with a comely young lady. As

they whirled past, the long train

of her white satin dress caught on

Page 9

his spurt, and made a large rent

in the train of her dress. Chagrined? by the

damage he had done, and unable

to apologize as the dancers did not

stop, my father left the place

where he was standing and

proceeded to finish his rounds

of the guard.

The next morning he made

inquiries from the brother officer who

had had the honor to dance with

the young lady, and obtained her

name and her place of residence.

She was Miss Harriet Perchard Champion,

the daughter of Mr. Joseph Champion,

a customs officer, and one of the most influential persons

on the island and a very wealthy

personage. Their residence was in

Horn Street, just on the brow of the hill.

At 11 o'clock in the forenoon he

wended his way to the residence of

the young lady, rand the bell,

and sent up his card to Miss

Champion, with the request that she

see him.

When Miss Champion appeared, he

introduced himself and apologized

in a very polite and sorrowful

manner for the accident of the

Page 10

last evening. My father being a

comely? British officer, was in his

regimentals. This had the desired

effect and the apology was accepted

and consent granted for him to

call upon her whenever convenient.

This was the commencement of their

acquaintance and romance, which

culminated in their marriage a

ten months later, on Feburary 22, 1814.

My mother's family is from an

equally distinguished line. On her father's

side, she is a descendant of Richard Champion,

Viscount de Vire, of Normandy, whose estate

included the town of Vire, in the Province of

Calvados?. The Vicount de Vire was an intimate

friend of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, and accompanied

the Duke to England and was by his side

at the Battle of Hastings, in 1066 A.D.

She is also a descendant of Les Seigneurs

de la Sere of Montpelier, in the Province of

Herault?, which lies in the south of France,

on the Gulf? of Lions, about 100 miles from

the Spanish border.

Through her paternal grandmother,

she is also descended from Eleanor Hyde,

a sister of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarenden.

Lord High Chancellor of England, and

one of the original Eight Lord Porprietors

of Carolina, where I eventually established

Page 11

my residence. This Eleanor Hyde was

the great aunt of Edward Hyde's

grandaughter, Mary and Ann, both

of whom reigned as Queen of England.

In the summer of 1814, following my father's

second marriage, the 60th Regiment,

or Royal American Regiment, was again ordered

to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in British America.

There, early in November 1815, their first son,

Albert Ernest, was born.

Just before my mother was confined, my

father, then a Lieutenant-Colonel, was ordered

to Cape Breton Island, as Governor? of that

island. He delayed his sailing until after

her confinement, then left my mother

with her first bbay, to follow later.

Two or three weeks after his departure for

Cape Breton, my mother and her month

old child boarded a small commercial

vessel at Halifax, and sailed for Cape

Breton. It was necessary she go then,

or wait in Halifax until spring, as

the ice soon hardened to where those

small vessels could not penetrate.

The east coast of Nova Scotia and the

coast of the Island of Cape Breton are

lined with a myriad of small islands,

very dangerous to navigation, & here

there had been many shipwrecks.

On the 25th day of November, 181?


Page 12

my mother's ship was wrecked on a

little island named St. Pierre. On this

island is only one small fishing village,

populated entirely by native Indians.


Fortunately my mother survived the

wreck, and was rescude by the Indians.

Care for by an old Indian woman

and her husband, my mother lived? with

them in a small ???? for six weeks.

When the ice had hardened enough

for an Indian to cross, and go to

Cape Breton with a message for my

father, she was rescued. In the meantime

their son, Albert Ernst, unable to stand

the rigors, died. For some time after this trying ordeal,

my mother suffered poor health.

Their second son, Francis Richard,

was born in Sydney, Cape Breton Island

on January 29, 1816, where my father

remained as Governor.

Toward the end of the year 1817,

or early in the year 1818, my father

retired from the ? military service and

returned to England. There he was

appointed to the diplomatic corps

and assigned as British Vice-Counsel?

at St. Servan, in the Province of Ille-ct-ilaine,?

in France. There, on May 23, 1820,

my sister Harriet was born, and on

December 15, 1821, I, William Henry,

was born.

My father remained as Vice Counsul

at St. Servan until his death, January

27, 1838, when I was eleven

years of age. He was buried in the

cemetary at St. Servan, in the strangers

postion, set apart by

the Romish Church for foreigners.


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