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Markoe family papers


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Markoe family was originally from St. Croix. Abraham Markoe (1727-1806) was born there to a wealthy sugar planation owner and provincial governer of the island, then part of the Dutch West Indies. He married Elizabeth Rogers and had two sons in St. Croix, Peter and Abraham Jr.

After his wife died in 1770, Markoe moved to Philadelphia, where he traded with his plantation in St. Croix and established a wealthy merchant company. He re-married in 1773 to a woman named Elizabeth Baynton, and had seven more children.

Markoe was a staunch patriot and established the first volunteer militia in what would become the United States: the Philadelphia Light Horse militia, later known as the First Troop, Philadelphia City Cavalry. The Dutch crown ordered him in 1776 to cease and desist all revolutionary activities or see his holdings in St. Croix confiscated, so he retired from active service. But he continued to support the cause until his death in 1806. He is buried in Christ Church Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Little is known about much of the rest of the Markoe family. Markoe's eldest son Peter moved to America with his father and became a lawyer in New York City. His son Abraham Markoe, Jr. (circa 1755-circa 1824) remained in St. Croix and managed the family's sugar plantations. He reportedly died in a duel with Baron Lucas de Bretton.

Elizabeth Markoe, Markoe's daughter by his second wife, married a man named Samuel Hazlehurst, and their son apparently ran the St. Croix plantations following Abraham Jr.'s death in 1824. Another daughter, Mary, married Daniel Holsman.

General John Markoe (1840-1893), perhaps a grandson of Markoe's, was a brigadier general in the 71st Pennsylvania Volunteers. Gen. Markoe enlisted in 1861 and quickly advanced through the ranks of the military until, at 23, he was one of the youngest generals in the Union Army. He was injured in 1863 after he successfully led his troops in the Battle of Fredericksburg. After his retirement, he became a successful banker until his death in 1893.

The Markoe family papers are a highly miscellaneous assortment of correspondence, estate papers, deeds, photographs, and other papers from a variety of family members.

Notable materials include Abraham Markoe, Jr.'s letters to his father and occasionally to his brothers, John and Peter, on the operation of the plantations in St. Croix (Box 1, folders 6-7; Box 2, folders 1-3).

Estate papers from various Markoe family members detail their land holdings in both St. Croix and Philadelphia. The family members represented include Daniel Holsman, who married Mary Markoe; James Brown Markoe; John Markoe; Matilda Markoe; and Sarah Markoe.

General John Markoe's papers include his Civil War correspondence, including outgoing family correspondence and incoming official correspondence; and documents on his service in Virginia, his imprisonment at Richmond, 1861-1862, and his role at the battle of Fredericksburg. Flat File 3 contains oversized military papers, including an 1862 appointment signed by Abraham Lincoln.

There are also six volumes in this collection. A letterbook of Daniel Holsman (Volume 1) discusses primarily business and makes particular note of the French confiscation of a ship and its cargo and on efforts to recover the vessel. There is also a report by Gerald Holsman, civil engineer and vice-president of the Investment Company of Philadelphia, on the building of the Guayaquil and Quito Railway in Ecuador. Three volumes contain photographs of Markoe and Holsman family members, as well as European royal family members. This collection also includes James Markoe's diary (Volume 6), detailing his travels in Italy.

This collection was processed using the More Product, Less Process model, and is not arranged into series. Materials are arranged alphabetically by title.

Bierce, Ambrose. “1802-1825 Abraham Markoe Junior Saga.” Markoe Offshore. (accessed 8 August, 2010). Dodge, Russ. “John Markoe.” Find A Grave. (accessed 8 August, 2010). “Markoe, Abraham.” Profiles of Outstanding Virgin Islanders, Patriots. The University of the Virgin Islands Library. (accessed 8 August, 2010).

This collection was a gift from Mary Dewitt Pettit in 1966.

Some correspondence was originally bound in two volumes. Miniature prints in Box 2 were deframed.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Willhem Echevarria and Amanda Fellmeth
Finding Aid Date
This collection was processed as part of the Digital Center for Americana pilot project, funded by the Barra Foundation and individual donors.
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Fisher, Elizabeth estate papers, (1884).
Box 1 Folder 1-2
Holsman, Daniel and Mary Markoe estate papers, (1905).
Box 1 Folder 3-5
Markoe, Abraham, Jr. correspondence, (1773-1789).
Box 1 Folder 6-7
Markoe, Abraham, Jr. correspondence, (1790-1808).
Box 2 Folder 1-3
Markoe family correspondence, (1881-1894, undated).
Box 2 Folder 4
Markoe family correpondence, (undated).
Box 2 Folder 5
Markoe family deeds, (1807-1888).
Box 2 Folder 6-8
Markoe family miscellaneous, (1865-1916, undated).
Box 2 Folder 9
Markoe family photographs/prints, (undated).
Box 2 Folder 10
Markoe, James estate papers, (1834-1905, undated).
Box 3 Folder 1-2
Markoe, James Brown estate papers, (1902-1921).
Box 3 Folder 3-4
Markoe, John estate papers, household receipts, (1835-1921).
Box 3 Folder 5
Markoe, John correspondence, (1861-1862).
Box 3 Folder 6-9
Markoe, John correspondence, (1862-1893, undated).
Box 4 Folder 1-6
Markoe, Matilda and Stephen estate papers, (1837-1840).
Box 4 Folder 7
Markoe, Sarah estate papers, (1867-1905, undated).
Box 4 Folder 8-10
Holsman, Dan letterbook, (1810-1812).
Volume 1
Holsman, Gerald Report on Railroads in Ecuador, (1902).
Volume 2
Markoe family photograph album, (undated).
Volume 3-5
Markoe, James diary, (1825).
Volume 6
Map of Virginia, (1862).
Oversize flat file 1
Markoe family Civil War newspaper clippings, (1861-1865).
Oversize flat file 2
Markoe, John military papers, (1862-1865).
Oversize flat file 3

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