Dalmas and Associated Family Genealogy

Charles J. Dalmas

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A Brief Biography

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Charles Joseph Dalmas was born on November 26, 1820 to Joseph Charles Dalmas and his wife Jane Hayes of Spruce Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, their only child.  Little information about Charles' early years is available but family legend is that he was baptized and raised in the Catholic faith since his mother was Roman Catholic. Joseph and Jane apparently did not stay together long as husband and wife and Jane reportedly raised Charles alone later living on Weaver Street and then Wood Street. Nothing is known about his education but Charles (spelled Delmas) appears in the1845 McElroy City directory as a Carpenter living at 49 Wood Street in the Northern Liberties Community of Philadelphia.  His mother lived with him at this time. He remained a Carpenter until 1849 and then in the 1850 Federal Census his occupation is stated as a teacher.

 

In May of 1850 Charles became the Publisher and Editor of the Drawing Room Journal a weekly newspaper that was published from 32 South 3rd street (and later 263 Chestnut street) in Philadelphia. His father may have provided some or all of the funding for this venture. On February 27, 1851, Charles married Anna Bruner Little (daughter of Thomas Rowell Little and Anna Zimmerman Little) at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church Rectory in the Kensington Area of Philadelphia. Their first child Victor was born on April 20, 1852.  Early in 1853 the Drawing Room Journal folded.  Charles again returned to teaching and writing at 179 Chestnut Street, a profession that he continued into the 1860s.  

 

Charles saved a number of the letters written by his father from Eleutherian Mills (where he had returned in about 1839) in the 1840s and 1850s until his father's death in 1859.  These letters (where most of the originals exist in the collection of John P. Dalmas) gives some perspective into the relationship of father and son at that time in their lives and gives some insight into the choice of names for Charles' children.  There is only one letter existing to this writers knowledge from Charles to his father (as a transcript) and that is one telling of his mother's death in 1858 and asking his father to share in the cost of the funeral. The letters of 1853 are particularly interesting in that Joseph Charles is regularly complaining about the renovations to Eleutherian Mills at that time, and how noisy and dusty it is.  For a while he moved in with another family member.

 

Charles inherited two 40 acre parcels of land from his father (granted as bounty lands for his service in the war of 1812) after his father's death in 1859, one in Lawrence Kansas, and the other near Omaha, Nebraska.  He never visited or improved these properties and sold the Kansas property to a Martha Hutchins of NYC and the Nebraska property to John Bernent of upstate New York.

 

In the late 1850s, Charles moved his family to Budd Street in the 24th Ward 5th Precinct of Philadelphia that is located West of the Schuylkill River. They remained at this address until after the Civil War at which time they moved to Primos, Pennsylvania in Delaware County. During their stay in West Philadelphia, all of their children to that time were baptized in the Episcopal Church of the Savior nearby on Chestnut Street.  Their mother, Anna had been a lifelong Episcopalian. Their home in Primos,  purchased from Caroline Little an aunt of Anna Little Dalmas, was called The Beeches and was located at the Southeast corner of Providence Road and Oak Lane, only a short two block walk from  the Primos Station of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. (They also owned the unimproved property directly across Oak Lane from The Beeches. The two properties contained 7.7 Acres.) Sometime during the 1860s, Charles became a Investment and Real Estate Broker, with his office in downtown Philadelphia, a profession that continued until his death.  Their last and 10th Child, Felix, was born on Christmas day in 1873. In later years he shared office space in the Land Title Building on Chestnut Street in downtown Philadelphia with his son Louis.

 

Charles died at his home in Primos, PA on February 5, 1901.  He is buried in the Knowles Cemetery in Glenolden, PA.  His wife died a year later on March 8, 1902.  Upon the death of Anna, their home was sold to Edward A. Innes. Shortly after their deaths, son Louis honored them with a window over the Altar of Christ Church in nearby Ridley Park, PA.

 

This Biographical sketch was developed using information from Victor P. Dalmas Jr. and John P. Dalmas.  Information also obtained from Federal Census records from 1830 to 1900 and McElroy City directories for Philadelphia.  Property information also provided by the Delaware County Historical Society.

 

James E. Dalmas

December 2002

Last Revision 2/22/2012