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January 25, 1793--August 16, 1872
Born: Krozingen, Baden, Germany
Buried: Erie, Pennsylvania
Spouse: Magdalene Gredler (February 17th, 1804--December 1st, 1861)
Sebastian Bliley Obituary
The following is a transcription of a newspaper obituary printed in the Erie, Pennsylvania newspaper. It was transcribed on a typewriter by his nephew, Frank Anderson Bliley, who was my grandfather.
Sebastian Bliley was born in Grotzingen, Baden, Germany, in either January or June 20th, 1794. He married Magdalen Gredler on February 17th. 1830, in Biengen, Baden, Germany. The date .of his wife's birth was February 17th, 1804, and that of her decease December 1st, 1861. Nine children by name: Daniel, Joseph, Theresa, Mary, Ferdinand, Roy, Ursula and twins, Mary and Catherine, who were the 5th and 6th born, came of this union.
DEATH OF ONE OF NAPOLEON'S IS "OLD GUARD."
Green Township this (Erie County, Pa.), yesterday witnessed the largest funeral it has seen for years, the burial of Sebastian Bliley, nearly seventy nine years of age, an old soldier who fought under Napoleon and witnessed the burning of Moscow. He was body guard for Napoleon.
Sebastian Bliley was born at Grotzingen, Baden, Germany, and went as one of the Baden contingent, 3rd Regiment, Company 1. He was very tall and well built, and was placed in the first company of the famous "Old Guard", serving in many engagements, accompanying Napoleon to Russia and taking the long winter march back, after the burning of Moscow. He fought at Leipsig, but was not at Waterloo.
After six years' service under the Emperor, he went back to Germany to live, and about thirty five years ago packed up his little worldly possessions and started for America, a much greater undertaking in these days than at the present time. He came to this (Erie) county and located in the "Beech Woods", Greene Township, where he raised a large family of stalwart sons. Eighteen years ago he was paralyzed and he has been bed ridden ever since. Ten years ago his wife died, and he has since resided at the name of his son, Ferdinand.
Although the old man lost the use of his limbs, his brain appeared to be unclouded and he loved to talk to visitors, recounting, when the subject was broached, his experiences under Napoleon whom he revered and loved with an enthusiasm that never abated.
Came to America in October 1834 and settled in "Beech Woods.* Died August 16, 1872.
The foregoing was copied in 1942 by Frank A. Bliley from a memorandum now in the possession of Charles F. Bliley, who resides at Hammett, Greene Township, Erie County, Penn., and who is a son of Ferdinand Bliley, who was a son of the above mentioned Sebastian Bliley.
======= in pencil ========
Sebastian Bliley was an uncle
of my father, Frank A. Bliley
- The "Old Guard" was formally known as the "Imperial Guard" and totaled almost a 100,000 men in 1812.
- Sebastian served in a "line regiment".
- Transcribed from a typescript found in the papers of Samuel Wagner by Wallace Venable, November 2003.
Reflections of Sebastian and Andrew Bliley by Joseph Mang in 1935
The following the transcription made by Frank Anderson Bliley, of Erie, Pennsylvania in 1939, of a newspaper article that appeared in a local Erie, Pennsylvania newspaper. It was discovered in 2010 in the Bliley family archives in Boulder, Colorado. There is no known reason for the transcription at this time other than Frank was an avid family historian who spent a considerable amount of time on family history during his retirement years.
Corrections to obvious errors noted by Frank or myself, are presented in brackets. A PDF version is available for download.
Charles A. Bliley
June 21, 2014
Transcription of Newspaper Article
ANDREW BLILEY and BROTHER, SEBASTIAN BLILEY
An interesting history as related by John Kelley in an article appearing in the Erie Daily Times, Erie, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, June 18, 1935.
One hundred twenty years ago today, June 18, 1815, was fought the Battle of Waterloo which ended the political and military career of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose chief aim in life, some writers assert, was to rule the world. Had Napoleon been the victor he probable would have achieved his ambition.
The historic engagement was fought in Belgium, about 12 miles south of Brussels. So decisive was the conflict in its crushing imperialistic ambitions that its name had come to signify in figurative usage any complete defeat of any selfish striving for a goal.
No One Left to Till
Whole libraries have been written about Napoleon, the man who had a chance to remake Europe on a splendid design, but chose rather to turn it into an armed camp and a field of slaughter. So many thousands of men in the day when Napoleon lived were swallowed up by the armies of France and its allies and adversaries that not enough were left at home to till the fields and harvest the crops. Therefore, there was not only warfare but stark famine throughout wide areas of continental Europe. Conditions reached such an acute state in 1817, due to the general crop failure, that a great number of French people starved to death.
One may think of the Napoleonic wars as being so remote as to bear no link to present with the events of Napoleon’s career through first-hand stories told him by a man who served under the French general and emperor.
Living on Wolfe rd. in Greene township with the family of George Wick is Joseph Mang, who last Sunday celebrated his ninetieth birthday. He was born in Harborcreek township, the son of Sebastian Mang, who emigrated from Germany in 1834. Two other families from the same place in Germany came over with him. They were Sebastian and Andrew Bleile, brothers, who later changed the spelling of their name to “Bliley”.
SERVED UNDER NAPOLEON
It was Sebastian Bliley who served under napoleon, and from whom Joseph Mang obtained stories which he related to this writer at the home of Mr. Wick. When a boy he listed avidly on many occasions to the stories told by Mr. Bliley, who was bedridden the last eighteen years of his life.
The Bliley brothers and Mr. Mang’s father were natives of the Grand-duchy of Baden. The nearest town of any consequence to their birthplace was Freiburg, on the famed Rhine. Sebastian was born in 1794 . At the age of eighteen he went with a Baden contingency. He was tall, lithe of limb and muscular, which qualified him for a place in Napoleon’s famous “Old Guard”. This was the army that in 1812 invaded Russia with such as disastrous results. He was not at Waterloo, having been invalided home before that battle was fought, but he visited the scene soon afterward and “knew the battle by heart”.
In 1830 Sebastian Bliley married Magdalena Gredler at Bingen-on-the-Rhine, a town made famous in song. Four years later they came to Erie county and settled temporarily in Harborcreek township, moving afterward to what was called “Beech Woods” in Greene township. Drive out the Wattsburg rd. to Hammett and you can see the little graveyard where Sebastian Bliley has been sleeping for more than sixty years. The only person living who knew him and talked about his soldiering days with Napoleon is the nonagenarian, Joseph Mang. The old gentleman is very intelligent, and his mind is alert as the average man of fifty. His memory of event is remarkable.
“Yes, I knew Sebastian Bliley,” said the patriarch, “and I often heard him tell about his soldiering days with Napoleon Bonaparte. The families of Sebastian and Andrew Bliley and my father came over to America on the same ship. All of them had children born in the old country. I am the youngest of a family of five girls and two boys, and the only one living. I never married, and maybe that’s the reason why I’m still here.” he added with a chuckle.
CUCUMBER WOOD COFFIN
“Andrew Bliley lived only a few weeks [five months] after his arrival in Erie county. He settled on a small farm near the old Cooper mill, and my father bought 14 acres adjoining. When Andrew died my father made the coffin in which he was buried. He was not a carpenter but he was handy with tools. The wood that he used in making the coffin was cucumber ["Cucumber Magnolia"/Magnolia acuminata]. The reason I speak of this, is that twenty-eight years after he was first buried the body was exhumed and the coffin was just as sound as the day it was put in the ground.”
“There was no Catholic burying ground in Erie county at the time, nor a Catholic church, and they buried Andrew Bliley on his farm. In 1892 a Catholic priest came out from Saint Mary’s church in Eire and the body was taken up and services held. The remains were taken into Erie and buried in the old St. Patrick’s cemetery, in that square where St. Vincent hospital now stands.”
“Sebastian Bliley was the father of nine children---five girls and four boys. Two of the girls died about forty years ago. Charles F. Bliley, a son of Ferdinand, has a garage and gas station near St. Boniface church.”
“Oh yes, I remember Sebastian Bliley well.”, continued the speaker. “For eighteen years he was a paralytic [paraplegic] and had to be lifted in and out of bed. He was a near neighbor of ours and I was a frequent visitor at the Bliley home. Although he lost the use of his limbs his mind was unclouded and he took great delight in relating his experiences under Napoleon. He died in August 1872, and is buried in the Catholic cemetery behind St. Boniface church. He is the only one of Napoleon’s soldiers who is buried in Erie county, at least I never heard of any other.”
Note: Ferdinand Bliley, referred to in the middle paragraph above, was the 7th child of Sebastian Bliley’s nine children, and Charles, referred to in the same sentence, is the 6th and last child of Ferdinand, and sill living in Hammett, Erie County Pa., at the time this is written, March 22, 1939.
Biographical Clippings from Erie, Pennsylvania Newspapers
The following are three undated newspaper clippings from Erie, Pennsylvania newspapers found in the Bliley Family Archives in the home of John Bliley of Boulder, Colorado in 2010. No dates or publisher are known. It appears the second and third portions are likely to be from one article. Possibly, the first one was associated, but that is speculation. These clippings were photocopied onto one page and not original.
Sebastian Bliley, nee Bleile, was born in. He was but eight, in 1794. He was but eighteen years of age when he joined a regiment to serve under Napoleon Bonaparte.
Sebastian Bliley was tall, well built and he was inducted into the famous “Old Guard” of the emperor. The Old Guard made history on the battle fields of Europe.
THE STORY of the service of Sebastian Bliley and others of German, Austrian, Polish, Italian and Swiss, who supplemented the French in Napoleon’s army is recalled by the family.
Bonaparte first concentrated on Wilna, and from there ravaged Lithuania, then part of Russia. The Russians, retreating before Napoleon’s army, deliberately wasted the country, and carried off all supplies, drawing Napoleon, further and further into Russia.
He lost a hundred thousand men in Lithuania.
The Russians destroyed Moscow, leaving what might have been a comfortable refuge for the French army, only smoldering ruins. The intense cold of the winter, the coldest in a hundred years was Russia’s greatest ally.
SEBASTIAN BLILEY was at Leipsig, but the rigors of the Russian campaign had so drained his strength that he was mustered out of the French army, because of disability, before Waterloo.
He was an ardent admirer of and shared the enthusiasm of all who served under the great Napoleon. He told his family many stories of his experiences in the French army, and these were handed down to this day.
He told with pride that Napoleon personally shared with him two potatoes, which was their only food at the time, just as Napoleon had decided to turn away from Russia to raise a new army.
SEBASTIAN BLILEY was 36 years of age when he married Magdalen Gredler. Four years later they came to America, settling in the “Beech Woods” in Greene Township.
The couple reared a family of nine children. The seventh was Ferdinand, father of the four brothers and sister present at the golden wedding anniversary Sunday.
Sebastian Bliley Died August 16, 1872, age 78 years. His wife, died in 1861 at the age of 57 years.
For eighteen years, prior to his death he was paralyzed and bedridden. After the death of his wife he resided with his son Ferdinand whose four sons, William, Alfred, John and Charles and their wives have completed fifty years of happy married life.
Transcribed, July 14, 2014
Charles A. Bliley
Rochester, NY U.S.A.
Children of Sebastian and Magdalene Bliley
Children of Sebastian Bleile and Magdalene Gredler are:
- Daniel Bliley, born March 27, 1831 in Biengen, Baden, Germany; died 1904.
- Joseph Bliley, born January 02, 1835 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA; died April 23, 1912 in Wesleyville, Erie Co., PA.
- Theresa Bliley, born 1836 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA; died 1864 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA.
- Mary Bliley, born 1838 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA; died 1838 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA.
- Mary Bliley, born 1840 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA; died 1843 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA.
- Catherine Bliley, born in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA; died Unknown in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA.
- Ferdinand Bliley, born March 26, 1842 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA; died September 25, 1886 in Erie Co., PA.
- Royal Bliley, born January 12, 1844 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA; died December 01, 1921 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA.
- Ursula Angeline Bliley Klick, born 1846 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA; died 1924 in Green Twp., Erie Co., PA.
Note: Individuals I believe are in the C1870 family photo are bolded.
Photos of Sebastian Bliley's Descendants
Photo previously labeled as Sebastian Bliley.
That is wrong!
PLEASE NOTE: The photographic identification of Sebastian Bliley previously presented on this Web site is highly questionable. Please do not use the photo at the left as one of him. It is more likely that of a son.
In November 2014, I received I have some information on my Great Great Grandfather's brother Sebastian, but until May of 2014, I had no photos of him or his family until I connected with Charles B. Bliley of Richmond, Virginia. Thanks to Charles in Richmond, Virginia. Charles provided me with a nice digital scan of a captioned photo that had a rear caption of the people in the photograph. The caption identified the man on the left as "Sebastian" and I was excited to finally have a photo of this elusive great uncle. I did an analysis of the people in the photo, but the one on the left identified as "Sebastian" did not look plausible. I published the photo on this page with a caviot, but many visitors took the ID as accurate and published in on their Ancestry.com Web galleries and family tree, and who knows elsewhere.
According to a Bliley family historian, Lyle Bishop, this individual is definitely not Sebastian, but rather Ferdinand Bliley. Later I was provided with the scan of another photo of this same period by Maggi Bliley Jones, of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her ID of this man was George Benjamin Bliley based on another photo of the same man with his son. A Third photo of one of the men in the first that dates the first one in the late 1900s.
All three of these photos are presented below for you to judge. I am still uncertain just who is the man previously identified as Sebastian. I now offer these photo for researchers to view and hopefully provide positive identification data of the people in the photo. So, who do you think it is? I know believe the photo below is solely of four of his children that were surviving in the late 1800s.
If you have provide identification information, please drop me a line.
Charles A. Bliley
June 7, 2017
Research Photo 1—Four Siblings, C1870
Here are two version of the children of Sebastian Bliley. One interesting point to ponder, is why the photo was taken, where and how.
The man on the left was previously identified as Sebastian Bliley. That is highly unlikely. If you read his obituary you will learn that Sebastian was a paraplegic for the last 18 years of his life. Getting him to the studio would have been a significant effort and he would not likely look as healthy as the man in the photo.
Family members in the photo include Sebastian's adult children, George Benjamin, Daniel, Joseph and Ursula Angeline Bliley Klich.
Click on any photo thumbnail to view a large-scaled image in a new window. Caution: Each photo file is approximately one megabyte.
Research Photo 2—John & George Bliley
There appears to have been a flurry of photography at the time the group of four was taken. I have no knowledge of the reason, but for us in the 21st Century, it is presents a puzzle as to the individuals' denies. Here are a couple of other photos that are closely related. Perhaps, it was for a family reunion.
Here is a photo provided by Maggi Bliley Jones of Virginia Beach, Virginia with its captions. It shows the same man as in the left of Research Photo 1. Note, he wearing the same jacket, watch lanyard, tie, and shirt. Also, his hands are equally weathered and his beard has the same straggly hairs on the left side as found in Research Photo 1.
I would also conclude, the chair appears to be the same as the one Joseph is sitting in the other photo.Note the back of the care is incredibly similar. My conclusion is that both photos were probably been taken on the same day. You be the judge.
Research Photo 3—Joseph Bliley and Sons
This is a photo of Joseph Bliley of Greene Township and his sons published in the local history booklet, "The Families of Greene Township, 1800-1995". I believe this photo was taken on the same day as the one of Sebastian's children in Research Photo 1.
Note that Joseph has on the same clothes and watch fob as in the Bliley children photo above. The white wicker chair is common to all three photos, but the backdrop is different. The backdrop could have been easily changed as they were like drape. The caption on this photo of 1910/11 contradicts my dating of the four Bliley children photo of C1870. In fact, the typewritten caption is somewhat ambiguous. Once again, you can be the judge of the commonalities of these three photos.
Saint Boniface Cemetery, Greene Township, Erie County, PA
Saint Benefice Cemetery is the burial place for several Bliley family members. The oldest part of the cemetery is located to the back of the church and has grown over the years with an additional "new" portion across the street. On this page are photos of the Bliley family plot headstone, and Sebastian's and Magdalena's headstone, all located in the old eastern section by the church.
Bleile Ancestors in Germany Prior to 1834
Five generations of ancestors of Charles A. Bliley, 1822-1906, Harborcreek, PA who was born in Krozingen, Germany. Prepared and Copyright 2005 by David Moufarrege, Rochester, NY, U.S.A. Based on LDS Family History Files.
Descendants of Joseph Bleule
Prepared and Copyrighted 2001 by Kim O'Neil Schneider (daughter of David O'Neil, son of Mary Grace Bliley, daughter of Joseph W. Bliley, son of Daniel Bliley, son of Sebastian Bleile)
Descendants of Andrew Coover, Sr.
The content of this file is the work of Ed Caudill as of March 16, 2001. It may be freely distributed to family researchers for not-for-profit purposes. Please send Ed Caudill and e-mail message with corrections, additions or comments on its content. Ed's e-mail address can be found within the file.
1876 Maps of Harbor Creek and Greene Townships, Pennsylvania
These maps were made from the original 1876 Atlas of Erie County, Pennsylvania and identify land holdings with family name and acreage whenever practical.
They were originally copied on a Xerox copier, then the copies scanned on the computer at 600 dpi for maximum clarity and saved in the Adobe Photoshop native format. Down-sampled versions of these master files are provided in TIFF and JPEG compressed versions. Photoshop-native formats are available on request.
The images are offered as is to historical societies or similar organizations to archive and for research purposes. Qualified users may offer copies in print or digital form for personal use by the historical/educational society members or others outside the society as long as they agree to the terms of this agreement. The images cannot be used for any other purpose without the permission of Charles A. Bliley.
Please direct any comments or questions to me.
The use of these images in any form, constitutes an agreement to the terms in this document.
This site and associated pages are Copyright 2014 by Charles A. Bliley, Webster, NY, U.S.A.
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