The Methvin-Cunningham-McManus-Swartz Family:Information about Samuel Myers Hyams, Sr.
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Samuel Myers Hyams, Sr. (b. 09 Jun 1766, d. 30 May 1843)Samuel Myers Hyams, Sr. (son of Moses Hyams and Judith Isaacks) was born 09 Jun 1766 in London, England407, and died 30 May 1843 in Natchitoches, LA.He married Miriam Levy on 1795 in Charleston, SC, daughter of Eleazur Levy.
Notes for Samuel Myers Hyams, Sr.:
The following biographical information about Samuel Meyers Hyams (1766-1843) and Miriam Levy was found in the form of a typewritten "Memorandum for myChildren" written by Henry M. Hyams, Lt. Governor of Louisiana (1860-64).The paper was found in the Cunningham Collection, a non-public collection of the papers of my grandparents, William Peyton Cunningham, Sr. and Mildred Hill Cunningham, on March 22, 2002.I later found the origin of the memorandum:in the book, "Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Statesman" by Robert Douthat Meade (Oxford University Press, 1943), Meade utilizes quotes from the memorandum, and states in a footnote on p. 381, fn. 9 to Chapter 1: "From original memorandum of Lieut. Governor Henry M. Hyams, Sr. of Louisiana, written in a family Bible about 1860.Copy through courtesy of Hyams's granddaughter, Mrs. Judith Hyams Douglas of New Orleans. . . "
[My grandfather's collection is located in the archives of the Natchitoches Genealogical & Historical Museum, 2nd floor of the Old Courthouse Building in Natchitoches, LA.]
"My father, Samuel Hyams emigrated from England to Charleston, S.C. about the year 1765 or 66, and married my mother [Miriam/Eliza Levy] a year or so afterwards.She was the daughter of Eleazer Levy of Holland, who was a man of great education and highly instructed in the Hebrew, Greek and Latin languages and literature of that day.The family in Holland had some connection with the introduction and discovery of Vaccine distribution of the Government organization, from which it presumed and obtained the soubriquet of "Coo," which was familiarly attached afterward to a sister, said to have been of great beauty and a dashing woman in the Court of Holland, and she became the wife of a very opulent Spanish merchant named De Mendoz [NOTE: Miriam's sister Eva married Solomon de Mendes; it was this couple's daughter, Rebecca de Mendes, who was the mother of Judah P. Benjamin].The issue of this marriage was the mother of J. P. Benjamin, who became later the Attorney General of the Confederate States, but prior to that, he was a distinguished United States Senator from the State of Louisiana, and at this writing, is a prominent member of the Bar of England, being a Queen Councillor and having at all times a retainers fee of from 100 to 500,000 pounds English money.
During the time [of] the Hyams family, residents of both Spain and Portugal, their women were considered the most beautiful women and naturally attracted the attention of both the Grandees of Portugal and Spain, and intermarriage became [came] naturally between the Portuguese Grandees and the Tadasequa, who were the first of all the army of Spain and considered the first of any note in all Europe, as it is a matter of history that at that day the educated rich and the proud Spanish Grandees, Jews exiled as they were, held in all the Capitals of Europe a social position high above the native Jews and especially in Holland and Germany.From the family and the intermarriage between these Portuguese and the Tadasequa are traced the family of Hyams, which means "the peace ofGod be always with this family," are traced the name of Montijo, which means the same thing as the "Hyams," and was changed because these people became Catholics to save their property and values, and which the Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon the Third, is now considered the head.
My father's mother was supposed to be German, though her father's father was a Polish officer, the family was either of Riga or Wilna.An insurrectionary and unsuccessful revolt in which he was involved and said to be the Commander of the Revolution, sentenced him to death, commutation, however, to expatiation or rather banishment caused him to be sent at once as a refugee over two centuries ago, 1650, to Ireland.His eldest son was born and raised there, as a printer and publisher, which was considered at that time the highest of positions to any one who was not of the purple born.A daughter Catherine, my father's sister, also born in Ireland, who received a finished education, as a linguist and musician at the Convent of Irelandaises in Paris.She was known as the beautiful little Kitty Hyams, afterwards as the pretty little Kittie "Hyde," having been adopted by Lord Hyde, and sent to this country to be educated and converted to Catholicism.In the after years she was attached to the unhappy household and fortunes of the unfortunate Princess De Lamballe and Marie Antoinette.She was the Maid of Honor to the Princess and she performed many secret missions for the royal house.She was especially the favorite of Marie Antoinette and was the confidante during all of her troubles.She was written the memories of the Princess Lamballe and also the secret memories and last moments of Marie Antoinette.She also wrote a work entitled, "Venice under the yoke of France and Austria." * At the age of 86 years she visited the United States to visit her brother, Samuel M. Hyams, of New Orleans, Louisiana.He was the father of Lt. Gov. Henry M. Hyams and Samuel M. Hyams of this state.Her style of writing was forcible, and attracted the attention of all the European Governments of that time, caused her to be an exile and driven into Italy, where later on she died.Although residing in foreign lands nearly all of her life, she was exceedingly English in her views and politics; hating Napoleon above all things on earth; in all her writings she fully shows this hatred.She is known as the Marochiness de Solari.
My father's three brothers all emigrated to South Carolina and died there.All being soldiers in the Revolutionary War; portions of whom now reside there and in Louisiana.Some of my grandfather's family went to the northern portion of the United States locating in Quebec and Montreal, those being known as the Catholic portion of the family, having emigrated from France and being converted to Catholicism during the reign of Catherine de Medici.I remember when as a child being told by my father that his father the Polish General, an exiled soldier, removed from Ireland to England and was considered well read in all the historic law, and especially the Jewish laws known at that time, and was of the ten others who were ordered to visit Lord George Gordon in the tower when Jewish ceremonies required the presence of ten persons and it being well known that this eccentric nobleman had embraced Judaism.The true word of our name was Haim, "The staff of life," from this word it means "Eternal Life."Some ancestors Anglicized it to its present orthography, the same word Montijo means the same translation in Spanish.In France there are many who spell the same name Hein, but from all knowledge we have the name comes from either Portugal or Spain.
(Signed)Henry M. Hyams
Lt. Gov. of Louisiana
[NOTE: This memorandum is undated, but since he signed as "Lt. Governor of Louisiana" and held this office only between 1860 and 1864, presumably this was written during that time frame].
* NOTE:The first book was published under the name "Catherine Hyde, marquise de Govion Broglio Solari, (1755/6-1844)," and is entitled "Venice under the yoke of France and of Austria, with memoirs of the courts, governments, & people of Italy; presenting a faithful picture of her present condition, and including original anecdotes of the Buonaparte family. By a lady of rank." (London, G. and W. B. Whittaker, 1824).
The second book was published in 1901, sixty years after Catherine's death.It is entitled, "Secret Memoirs of Princess Lamballe, Being Her Journals, Letters, and Conversations During Her Confidential Relations with Marie Antoinette," edited and annotated by Catherine Hyde, Marquise de Gouvion Broglie Scolari, M. Walter Dunne, Publisher, 1901.The author has a copy of this book.
"There are several references to a Hyams family in The Civil War Diary of Clara Solomon by Elliott Ashkenazi. On 2 occasions the author states that the Hyams family were of Sephardic origin: " Like other Sephardic Jews, Henry Hyams's family came to the United States from England in the 1790's. His father Samuel married Miriam Levy soon after his arrival."
Immigrated to Charleston, SC, in 1795 or 1796.
Per Bill Groce:My wife is descended from Samuel M. Hyams b. 1766 London, Eng m. Miriam Levy 1795 Charleston, SC, d. 1843 Natchitoches, La. His children included Moses Kosciusko, Henry Michael, Samuel Myers, Judith. Samuel was brought to NY with his parents, Moses Hyams and Judith Isaacks, in 1767 and to SC in 1795.
Excerpts from “The Jewish Confederates,” by Robert N.Rosen, pp. 90, 145, et seq.:
Jewish officers were accepted into the Confederate ranks and were well respected by both their superior officers and their subordinates.Lt.Col.Samuel M.Hyams Sr.was beloved by his men.Proskauer successfully led his regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg.Ezekiel Levy became captain of the elite Richmond Blues * * *
* * *
Henry M.Hyams’s brother Samuel Myers Hyams, who was also born in Charleston, moved to New Orleans in 1830.He later settled in Natchitoches (pronounced Nak-uh-tish), whwere he was the U.S.deputy surveyor and then clerk of the district court.In the Mexican War, Hyams raised a company in the 5th Louisiana Volunteers and served as captain, although the unit mustered out before going to Mexico.He was elected sheriff and served six years before becoming U.S.Marshal of the Western District of Louisiana and register of the Land Office.He was also a successful planter.His plantation, Lac des Mures, was located on the Red River above Grand Ecore and Natchitoches.
When the war began, Samuel Hyams was forty-eight years old and the head of a large family.He was nominated for secretary of the Louisiana secession convention, but was not elected.He raised a company of men, the Pelican Rangers, and became its captain.The Pelican Rangers was the largest company in the state.It traveled 479 miles to the enlistment rendezvous in New Orleans, where it was divided into two companies, the Pelican Rangers No.1 and No.2.Samuel Hyams retained command of No.1.The two companies became a part of the 3d Louisiana, which mustered into service on May 17, 1861.
Hyams became lieutenant colonel of the 3d Louisiana under Col.Louis Hebert when it was mustered into service in the Confederate army in May 1861.He led the regiment to Arkansas that same month.Despite the crippling effetcs of chronic rheumatism and a kick from a horse, Lt.Col.H yams successfully led half of his regiment at the Battle of Oak Hills (Wilson’s Creek).His command captured five of six guns in a Federal battery and, according to Tunnard’s account, was “with the regiment on the march, in their ambuscades, and through the battle, coolly and calmly directing the men.”
Hyams was a popular officer, affable, gregarious, and hospitable to a fault.Hyams loved a horse race and participated enthusiastically in the regiment’s races.His son, Samuel M.Hyams, Jr., raced his horse in these races.On one occasion, a mysterious-looking wagon happened into camp with a keg of whiskey, which was promptly seized by the officers as contraband.“The Lieutenant Colonel did not, then and there, spill the whiskey,” Tunnard recalled.“Not he.He had too keen an appreciation of what was good for a soldier on a cold day.”Instead, the men were called to Hyams’s quarters and everyone given a drink of the “forbidden nectar.”The popular lieutenant colonel was vociferously cheered for his thoughtfulness toward his men.
But his good humor was not equaled by good health, and Hyams was forced to retire in early 1862.He returned to Natchitoches, wehre he served as provost marshal, enforcing martial law.He did not, however, forget the men of his old command.When the regiment traveling by boat came by his plantation in August of 1864 to land a passenger, Hyams appealed to the men to sustain his authority while he prepared a feast in preparation for the whole regiment.Of course, he was upheld in these proceedings.Tunnard recalled: “The Captain was indiscriminately stuffed with a bushel of peaches, washed down with some excellent ‘firewater’ from a Confederate distillery; then followed a cart-load of melons, grapes ad infinitum, milk, fine gumbo, barbecued pork, beef, mutton, etc. – the men being likewise provided for.They bowed most gracefully to the exacting demands of the Colonel and a scene of hilarity, joy and freedom from restraint ensued such as was seldom witnessed during the late warlike times.”
Samuel Hyams had two sons in the 3d Louisiana, one in the Mississippi Cavalry and one in the Missouri Cavalry.Samuel Myers Hyams Jr.rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel before the war ended.Samuel Jr.was born and raised in Louisiana and joined the Pelican Rangers No.2 (Company D), 3d Louisiana on May 17, 1861, as the junior second lieutenant.He served as adjutant in the summer of 1861 and was cited by Col.Louis Hebert for his actions at Wilson’s Creek (Oak Hills), where “he left his horse and fought bravely on foot.”
Hyams was also at the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern in March 1862, where he was commended by Col, Elkanah Greer, the acting division commander.By June 1862 he was aide-de-camp to now Brig.Gen.Hebert.He was again commended for gallantry in leading troops in battle at Courtland, Alabama, in July 1862, and was promoted to captain in 1863.In 1864 he was promoted to llieutenant colonel and was to assume command of the 2d Missouri Cavalry.His appointment, however, did not suit the men of the 2d , as they felt their major was entitled to the promotion.Hyams agreed to be bound by a vote of the men, which went against him, and gracefully accepted their decision.Hyams was then assigned to the command of the 1st Mississippi Partisan Rangers at Tupelo, Mississippi (later redesignated as the 7th Mississippi Cavalry).He participated in the defense of Mobile in the fall of 1864.In February 1865, Hyams reported to Brig.Ge.James Ronald Chalmers, commander of Gen.Nathan Bedford Forrest’s 1st Division.In early March 1865, on his way to Jackson, Mississippi, where he was sent to “hurry up” and assist Gen.William Wirt Adams in organizing his brigade, Hyams delivered a message and other orders from General Forrest to Lt.Gen.Richard Taylor.Hyams likely accompanied Forrest’s command into Alabama, where it surrendered in May 1865.
More About Samuel Myers Hyams, Sr.:
Immigration 1: 1767, Parents brought him to NY.408
Immigration 2: 1795, To United States.409
Moved: 1795, To Charleston, SC.
Office Held: U. S. Marshal, Western District of Louisiana.
More About Samuel Myers Hyams, Sr. and Miriam Levy:
Marriage: 1795, Charleston, SC.
Children of Samuel Myers Hyams, Sr. and Miriam Levy are:
- Moses Kosciusko Hyams, b. 08 Apr 1798, Charleston, SC, d. 18 Aug 1836, Pointe Coupee Parish, LA409.
- Judith Hyams, b. 13 May 1800, Charleston, SC, d. 10 Aug 1840, Barcelona, Spain409.
- +Caroline Hyams, b. 18 Aug 1802, Charleston, SC, d. 11 Oct 1878.
- +Henry Michael Hyams, b. 04 Mar 1806, Charleston, SC, d. 25 Jun 1875.
- Eliza Hyams, b. 10 Mar 1808, Charleston, SC, d. 09 Jul 1860, New Orleans, LA.
- Eleazer Levy Hyams, b. 26 Sep 1810, Charleston, SC, d. 09 Jul 1860, Natchitoches, LA.
- +Samuel Myers Hyams, b. 16 Sep 1813, Charleston, S. C., d. 14 Sep 1869, Natchitoches, LA.
- Andrew Jackson Hyams, b. 29 Jan 1818, Charleston, SC409, d. 1870, New Orleans, LA.