February 15, 2015

A Bit of "Biddle-Mania" Part 2

Our last two posts concerned women who might have been the Jane Biddle named on the quilt block covering one of our stuffed bears.  (Refer to our prior posts of December 1, 2014, December 15, 2014, January 1, 2015, January 16, 2015, and February 1, 2015.)

We introduced you, last time, to Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, the daughter of John Craig and Margaret ("Peggy") Murphy Craig, and the wife of Nicholas Biddle.  This time we tell the story of Jane Josephine Sarmiento Biddle who married Jane's and NIcholas' eldest son, Edward Craig Biddle.

John Craig (1754-1807), the original owner of the Andalusia estate described last time and father of Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, had three sisters:  Anne born in 1757; Jane born in 1759; and, Catharine born in 1761.  John was a wealthy Philadelphia merchant in the import/export business who engaged in a number of mercantile ventures with Don Francisco Caballero Sarmiento - the husband of John's youngest sister Catharine.  Don Francesco was the Consul General of Spain who lived in Philadelphia and held concessions from Spain that enabled him to engage in trade with Mexico and South America.  His trading association with John Craig was lucrative for both.  However, John Craig terminated his business relationship with Don Francisco in the early 1800s due to a growing distrust of the man and his dealings.

Miniature of John Craig.  Source of image: The Craig Family Public Member Tree,
ancestry.com, owner jonathanmcraig.
 
Catharine Craig Sarmiento (1761-1841).  Source of image: The Craig Family Public Member
Tree, ancestry.com, owner jonathanmcraig.
 
We do not know when Catharine and Don Francisco married but they had a son in 1784 whom they named James ("Jim") Craig, presumably after Catharine's father.  Don Francisco proved unable to support even this small family.  Through various dealings he lost all of his money, prompting several creditor law suits against him.  He eventually left Catharine and his son, spent some time in debtor's prison, and was involved in at least one fight in a coffee house where he was badly beaten by a creditor.  Don Francisco was last listed in a Philadelphia Directory in 1818 as a colonel associated with the Spanish legation.  He returned to Spain soon after and was assassinated.
 
James Craig Sarmiento spent time in 1804 and 1806 traveling by sea and is described in  1804 on a U.S. Seamen's Protection Certificate as nineteen years of age, five feet eight and a half inches tall, "black hair, has a large scar on his left cheek, blind in his left eye, has a scar on his left hand between the forefinger and thumb, thin biceps, slender make [. . . ]."  His 1806 Certificate says he "has a scar on his face occasioned by a stab wound and in consequence thereof lost his left eye."
 
Seamen's Protection Certificate dated August 14, 1804 describing James Craig Sarmiento. 
Source::  ancestry.com.  Note that the document is signed by Clement Biddle as Notary Public.
 
A later portrait of James showed him "in hunting garb, with dog and gun, patch over one eye, and tall hat set rakishly on his head."  (Wainwright, 22.)
 
Mary Rogers Sarmiento, wife of James Craig Sarmiento.  Artist: B. Otis,
1816.  Source of image: The Craig Family Public Member Tree, ancestry.com,
owner jonathanmcraig.
 
Sometime between 1806 and 1816, James married Mary Rogers and had three children by her:  Ferdinand, Louis, and Jane Josephine (born 1816).  His marriage was described as an unhappy one and eventually James simply disappeared, never to be heard of again.  James' son Ferdinand was considered "a not very promising youth who conveniently died at the age of twenty-four."  His other son, Louis, was rumored to have "met with a violent death."  (Wainwright, 22.)  Jane Josephine, however, went to live with John Craig's spinster sisters, Anne and Jane Craig, after the family broke apart.  With them, she was raised under the influence of the Craig family in well-to-do circumstances, was tutored by Nicholas Biddle's wife, Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, and spent much of her time at Andalusia while she was growing up.
 
Nicholas B. Wainwright describes Jane Josephine Sarmiento as follows:  "The girl grew up to be one of Philadelphia's three most beautiful women, her beauty enhanced by her vivacity and charm of manner.  Her changing, expressive face and ready wit rendered her most attractive to young and old alike."  (Wainwright, 22-23.)
 
Jane Josephine Sarmiento (1816-1884).  Miniature by George Freeman, c. 1838.
Private collection.  Source of image:  Wainwright.
 
 
Jane married her cousin John C. Craig, the brother of Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, on Aril 29, 1833 at the age of sixteen.  On a trip to Europe during 1835-1837, Jane, her husband, and their infant son met up with her husband's 'second cousin, Edward Craig Biddle, in Italy.  (Edward was the son of Nicholas and Jane Margaret Craig Biddle.)  They spent time in Florence and then moved on to Milan where John C. Craig fell ill and passed away on April 18, 1837.  Edward Biddle assumed the sad duty of accompanying Jane Josephine and her son back to Philadelphia after John's death.
 

 
Edward Craig Biddle (1815-1872).  Source of image:  Wainwright.  Courtesy
of General Nicholas Biddle.
 

Five years later, Jane Josephine and Edward informed his parents that he and Jane wished to marry, thus producing another possible "Jane Biddle" inscribed quilt block identity.  This news was welcomed by the family who had watched Jane grow up and loved her dearly.  They married on June 21, 1842 and, after an extended trip to Europe, the couple spent their time at Andalusia, eventually taking up residence in the estate's cottage in 1854.  During this time, they produced six children of their own while raising Jane's son by her former marriage to John C. Craig.
 
Watercolor depicting the Delaware River façade of Andalusia.  Artist:  Thomas U. Walter,
c. 1834.  Source of image:  Wainwright.  Courtesy of Mr.and Mrs. James Biddle.
 
Jane and Edward departed for Europe in 1856 where they intended to take up residence for an extended period of time.  They returned that summer upon hearing of the death of Edward's mother, Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, stayed the winter in the estate's cottage, and by March of the next year planned to return to Europe for a lengthy residence.  Before they sailed, much of the contents of Andalusia were auctioned.
 
Jane and Edward lived for seven years in Geneva and Dresden before returning to Philadelphia and taking up residence in Germantown.  In 1865, Andalusia itself went on the auction block but no buyer came forward with sufficient funds to keep the estate intact.  Instead, it remained in the family and was shared equally by Edward and his five siblings.
 
Edward and Jane continued to live in Germantown until Edward died of pneumonia on March 12, 1872.  Jane moved to a house in West Philadelphia after Edwards's death and passed away of a stroke in that house on March 15, 1884.
 
Biddle grave marker.  All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery, Torresdale,
Pennsylvania.  Source: findagrave.com.
 
Was Edward Craig Biddle's wife, Jane Josephine Sarmiento Biddle, the woman represented on the quilt block that covers one of our bears?  We have no way of knowing.  She is, however, a possible candidate along with the other "Janes" we have researched and introduced to you.  We hope you have enjoyed a glimpse of their lives.  We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them.
 
Sources:
 
Ancestry.com Public Member Trees (especially The Craig Family tree owned by jonathanmcraig), census records, and U.S. Seamen's Protection Certificates.
 
 
Wainwright, Nicholas B.  "Andalusia, the Countryseat of the Craig Family and of Nicholas Biddle and His Descendants" in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 101, No. 1 (Jan. 1977), pp 3-69. 



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