Dalmas and Associated Family Genealogy

Henry A. Dalmas
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A Short Biography

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H. A. Dalmas

Henry Alfred Dalmas, the son of Charles J. and Anna Little Dalmas was born on November 16, 1860 in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He was baptized at the nearby Church of the Savior (Episcopal) located at Chestnut and 39th street in Philadelphia.  When he was about 6 years old the family moved from their home on Budd St. in West Philadelphia to a home on Oak Lane at the corner of Providence in Primos, Pennsylvania located in Delaware County.  This home was called "The Beeches," and he lived there with his five brothers and four sisters into the early 1880s.  Henry loved horses and was an accomplished steeplechase rider in his youth.  While riding the famous horse Pandora he cleared a 5 foot 6 inch hurdle during a show near Philadelphia in 1884.  After studying at the Swarthmore College and the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, instead of pursuing an artistic career, he became a horse breeder and trainer.  He moved from Pennsylvania to Lexington, Kentucky to pursue his horse breeding and training career (Stock Farmer). On one of his excursions to Virginia on business he met Maude Maynard Walter of Linden, Virginia.  Family legend holds that her parents were not very impressed with the "dashing" Henry Dalmas and they thought that Henry was nothing more than a Carpetbagger. They tried to encourage her to have nothing to do with him, but Henry persisted, and on March 25, 1890 they were married by Hamilton W. Kinzer, a Methodist minister in Warren County, Virginia.  Their first child, Victor, was born July 24, 1891.  Henry continued breeding and training horses (hunters and jumpers) until the Panic of 1893 at which time he lost all of his money when buyers could not be found for hunters shipped to Boston. During the panic an unprecedented 15,252 American businesses went into receivership. By the winter of 1893 about 18 percent of the national work force was without jobs. The Panic of 1893 was a national financial crisis that began on 4 May when the New York Stock Exchange began a severe contraction. But Wall Street was less a cause of the problem than a barometer of it. The panic would last for about four years, and for a most of the duration he and Maude lived in a house on his brother Louis’ estate in Glenolden, Pennsylvania, but after 1896, he moved to a farm next door to his father-in-law, James E. Walter.  He did farming, primarily in the apple and peach orchards that were on the Walter farm, and worked in the James E. Walter general store. But James E. was not one to delegate authority and was inclined to do everything himself. On Aug. 11, 1903, while still residing in Linden, he received Patent No. 735,717 for a rock drill used for mining. Some time after 1903, Maude and Henry moved to Manassas, Virginia. Henry and a Mr. Palmer attempted to operate a Copper Mine but there was insufficient yield to compete with the much larger mines out West. Later during the years in Manassas he was a salesman for a mining equipment company.  By 1907 Maude and Henry were the parents of eight children.  Soon after the birth of their last child Henry and Maude separated and in 1914 they were divorced.  Henry then moved to Chester, Pennsylvania and eventually went to work for the Hog Island Ship Yards as a maintenance supervisor.  He worked there until the facility was shut down in the mid 1920s.  After retirement he move to his sister Sophie's place in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.  He did various remodeling tasks on her buildings there and enjoyed painting pictures of things of interest, particularly horses.  One painting he did was a so called "trick" picture where the horse would appear differently depending on how you viewed it.  He displayed his art works at several shows in the Wellfleet area while he was living there. In the early 1930's, at the beginning of  the great depression, Henry moved back to Chester, Pennsylvania where he lived until he died on May 13, 1940.  He is buried in the Knowles Cemetery in Glenolden, Pennsylvania not far from his boyhood home at Primos.

 

This biographical sketch is largely based on the memoirs of Victor P. Dalmas Sr. with additional information from John P. Dalmas, Federal census records for 1900, 1910 and 1930 as well as church records from the Church of the Savior in Philadelphia.  Marriage records and the divorce decree came from the Warren County Court house.

 

J. E. Dalmas

Feb 19, 2012

Last Update 2/22/2012