By Bjarne Fibiger, January 2001
- The origin and introduction
- Mathilde Fibiger
- Johannes Fibiger
- Col. Christian Febiger
- Admiral John Carson Febiger
- Col. George Lea Febiger
- 1st Lt George Lea Febiger
1. The origin and introduction
The Fibiger (or Fiebiger or Febiger) family history has been traced back to 1520 in Löbau in Germany. From there some migrated south, first to upper Saxony and later even further south to northern Bohemia. Later, they migrated north into Denmark, and since then they have spread to all over the world.
The Czechs are slavic people whereas the name Fibiger is not a slavic name at all but is of German origin. It derives from the original “fieweger” a person who was appointed by the villagers, and who was responsible for leading the cattle, cows (thus the word “fie”) to the common pasture via the “fieweg” or the cattle path. This was a common practice in villages in northern Germany. This supports the theory that the Fibiger family origins from Germany.
The Bohemian Fibigers were concentrated in and around the town of Bakov n/J. (the n/J in czech means “on the river Jizera) – see map of Bohemia. This Bakov is located very close (10 km) to a larger city called Mlada Boleslav, which is then about 100 km north of Prague.
One of the “local” decendents is believed to be Zdenek Fibich. Together with B. Smetana and A. Dvorak, Zdenek Fibich is the most significant representative of the founding Czech music generation of the second half of the 19th Century. Today, there are decendents around the world, typically in Denmark under the name Fibiger, in the US, Germany and Austria under the (origin) name Fiebiger, and in the Czeck Republic under the names Fibech, Fibich and Fibach.
Fibiger (or Febiger or Fiebiger) in America
In the US, I have found two main branches of the family tree, namely Febiger and Fiebiger.
The Febiger branch decends from Col. Hans Christian Fibiger (1749-1796), and the family includes Admiral John Carson Febiger (1821-1898)
Further, under the name Fiebiger there are many decendents. As appers from the Fiebiger-Seydler family tree (PDF), there would seem to be living decendents under the name Seydler in the US, who may be related to the present living Fibigers in Denmark and elsewhere.
The missing link (my theory)
It still needs to be explored, if there is a direct link between Georg Fiebiger in Löbau, Germany 1520, and the brothers who came from Bohemia to Denmark around 1700. If anybody have any information about this, please do not hesitate to come forward. My theory is based firstly on the geograpical facts that would indicate a connection. See the map of Bohemia. Secondly the fact that if one compares the first names in the Fibiger family history in Denmark, and the first names in the Fiebiger-Seydler family going back to 1520, there are many first names identical. For instance Friedrich, Gottfried(Gotfred), Christian and Johan(Johannes and Johanne) – these names appear again and again, no matter where you look in the world.
Fibigers in Denmark
The living Danish Fibigers are decendents of the brothers Gottfried Fibiger, Adolf Fibiger, Christian Fibiger (1667-04.05.1720) and Johan Friedrich Fibiger (o.1680-1738) and maybe a fifth brother Wolf Adam Fibiger. The brothers came to Denmark around 1700 to work as musicians at the Royal Danish court. See the Fibiger-Dagnæs Family Tree (PDF) for further details.
The reason why that we in Denmark have extensive knowledge about our ancestors is that around 1920 the rumor was that a Fibiger had struck gold in the US and that there were a lot of money to be inherited. This motivated the family to explore our family history. However, no rich uncle in the US turned up, but we got a lot of knowledge about the family history in stead.
Here is a list of the most known members of the Fibiger family. In Denmark, streets and trains are named after some of these relatives:
Johann Friedrich Fibiger – Composer & Musician (1680-1738)
Johan Friederich Fibiger was employed in the Royal Chapel after F. Hartmanns death in 1703, but already in 1698 he had become employed as Guitar Master for three years, and was most likely also a lutenist. He was the teacher of Princess Charlotte Amalie, Fredrick IVs daughter, in lute and guitar playing.
Mathilde Lucie Fibiger – Writer (1830-1872)
She initiated the Women’s Rights Movement in Denmark through her book Clara Raphael. She was particularly aware of the “inner emancipation”. Daguerreotype 1853. (The Royal Library). After Clara Raphael there followed several refutations.
Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger – Scientist (1867-1928)
He was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1926, for his work on cancer.
Jørgen Nis Fibiger (1867-1936) Master of Engineering, participating in several important constructions, such as the harbours of Hirtshals and Hanstholm. His genius was equally employed on the Faroe Islands, in the lignite pits of Jutland and within the Danish State Railways (DSB). He was involved, too, in the coast protection projects along the west coast of Jutland and the land tongues of the Limfjord. Jørgen Fibiger worked as projecting and directing engineer and contractor until his death in 1936 in Hirtshals.
2. Mathilde Lucie Fibiger (1830-1872)
“Our position in society is pitiful, and why? What right do men have to oppress us? Because we are subjugated, even if the chains are gilded.”
Thus wrote the young debutant author Mathilde Fibiger in her epistolary novel Clara Raphael. Twelve letters, which was published in Copenhagen in 1850 with a foreword written by the well-known man of letters J.L. Heiberg. The book gave rise to a literary controversy that has achieved an established place in the history of the route of Danish women towards liberation. Perhaps too well established, for there were also others who took up the condition of women, but the significant fact was that a well-known man, who otherwise represented tradition, exceeded ordinary limits and recommended a text that loosened the mental stays in which most girls were encased throughout their whole upbringing, and which later in life became even more tightly laced for many.
The battle to loosen corset and chain is a subject that bears the stamp of the Danish political and cultural climate, but parallels and models always existed outside Denmark, and the capital – Copenhagen – served as the gateway for feminism imported from abroad. In the pioneer period of the second half of the nineteenth century the new tendencies often spread from the Copenhagen bourgeoisie to the provinces.
Civil rights and women
The French revolution in 1789 influenced the condition of women and raised demands for equal rights in several countries. In England, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792, which quickly was translated to many languages, Danish among them. But the new openness did not lead to the suffrage, not even in France. It was first after the revolutions and revolts in 1848 that steps were taken in the direction of the liberation of women in Europe and the United States. To begin with socialist programs often included the rights of women, but often they were forgotten in the heat of the class struggle.
In the United States a group of women with connections to evangelical circles and the anti-slavery struggle took on the battle for women’s rights. In 1848 they declared at the famous meeting in Seneca Falls that the “all men” of the Declaration of Independence also included women. Most men did not share this opinion. Concurrence in this interpretation occurred first much later, but their initiative meant that in the United States the issue of women’s rights in society reached the public agenda early. From the very beginning arguments were stub bornly and emphatically made for rights within marriage and the right to education. A thread back to the period of the French Revolution was thus picked up and served as inspiration to women in other countries.
The assemblies of the Danish estates in the 1840s included a few men who thought that widows should have the suffrage and a legal status equal to men with rights of majority, but this was not included in the Constitution of 1849, in which women are not even mentioned. Certain bonds were, however, loosened through laws and regulations in the period during which the absolute monarchy was abolished in Denmark. The difference between inheritance rights of sons and daughters was reduced in 1845, and in 1857 the difference was eliminated, as had been done in France immediately after the revolution.
Access of women to education beyond the elementary grades remained a difficult issue throughout most of the nineteenth century. A minor break-through was achieved in 1845 though, when it became possible for women to take the examination for heads of schools. This provided Danish women for the first time with the chance to take an examination in pædagogy, an opportunity that due to certain strong-minded women led to better teaching and education of a minority of girls.
Aside from this, it was in the areas of production and trade that the earliest break-throughs took place. Widows in Copenhagen were allowed after 1800 to receive the permission of the municipality to sew and sell clothing for women and children, and in 1827 the right to produce and sell homemade clothing and millinery was extended to all women who lived “decently”. This system aimed primarily at solving the welfare problems of the city, but resulted also in a small step towards economic equality. The trade law passed in 1857 pushed in the same direction. That same year a law was passed that gave unmarried women over 25 of age right of majority, though with a guardian, a male, in reserve. Married women were the losers with regard to civil rights.
In Denmark the word “emancipation” had an inciting effect on both men and women around 1850. When the character Clara Raphael claimed that women were not automatically born to trival work, and that she would ” strive and live for what I understand to be the emancipation of women,” there were numerous persons with opinions that had to be made public, and the literary controversy was underway. The author and periodical editor Aron Meïr Goldschmidt took an active part. He was totally without sympathy for the emancipation of women and made this statement: “Our era has in principle given woman all the freedom that is in harmony with her nature.” And that was that!
“A young girl. Full name: Clara Raphael. Age 20 years. Appearance: lovely. Religion: freethinker. Position: Governess for an estate manager. Character: original, which is testified to by she, herself, and by her girlfriend Mathilde.” This is in all its unamiability the beginning of Kierkegaard’s intended review of Fibiger’s Twelve Letters, which appeared under the pseudonym of Clara Raphael in 1850. As one of the first manifestations of women’s liberation, the book started a true “Clara Raphael feud,” during which otherwise broadminded people such as Frederik Drejer and Goldschmidt let loose their satirical guns. That Grundtvig was among the few men who were for, only made Kierkegaard become even more against.
Source: The Royal Library Copenhagen
3. Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger (1867-1928)
Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger was born at Silkeborg (Denmark) on April 23, 1867. His father, C. E. A. Fibiger, was a local medical practitioner and his mother, Elfride Muller, was a writer. Fibiger gained his bachelor’s degree in 1883 and qualified as a doctor in 1890. After a period of working in hospitals and studying under Koch and Behring he was, from 1891 to 1894, assistant to Professor C. J. Salomonsen at the Department of Bacteriology of Copenhagen University. While serving as an Army reserve doctor at the Hospital for Infectious Diseases (Blegdam Hospital) in Copenhagen from 1894 to 1897 he completed his doctorate thesis on «Research into the bacteriology of diphtheria». He received his doctorate of the University of Copenhagen in 1895, and was subsequently appointed prosector at the University’s Institute of Pathological Anatomy (1897-1900), Principal of the Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology of the Army (1890-1905), and (in 1905) Director of the Central Laboratory of the Army and Consultant Physician to the Army Medical Service. After studying for some time under Orth ad Weichselbaum, Fibiger was appointed Professor of Pathological Anatomy at Copenhagen University and Director of the Institute of Pathological Anatomy (1900).
Fibiger fulfilled a large number of official missions and took part in the direction of numerous institutions. He was First Secretary, and later President of the Danish Medical Society, Consultant to the Council of Forensic Medicine, member of the Planning Commission for the Construction of the Medical Institutes of the National Hospital; Vice-President, and later President of the Danish Medical Association’s Cancer Commission, member of the National Radium Committee, member of the Administrative Council of the Rask-Ørsted Foundation, of the Northern Society to Promote a Biological Station in the Tropics, of the Pasteur Society; he was a founder-member and joint-editor of the Acta Pathologica et Microbiologica Scandinavica, co-editor of Ziegler’s Beiträge zur pathologischen Anatomie und zur allgemeinen Pathologie, member of the International Commission for Intellectual Cooperation with Other Countries, representing his country at numerous congresses and meetings, and member of a great many academies and societies, both Danish and foreign. Fibiger was also Vice-President, and afterwards President, of «Die internationale Vereinigung für Krebsforschung», member of the Royal Academy of Science and Literature of Denmark, of the Swedish Medical Association, of the Finnish Medical Association, corresponding member of the «Association française pour l’Étude du Cancer», of the «Société de Biologie» of Paris, of the Helmintological Society of Washington, founder-member of «Van Leeuwenhoekvereeniging» for cancer study by experiment, honorary member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium and of the «Wiener dermatologischen Gesellschaft», member of the Royal Society of Physiography of Lund and of the Royal Society of Science of Uppsala, honorary doctor of the Universities of Paris and Louvain, etc. Fibiger was the winner of numerous prizes, among which should be mentioned the Nordhoff-Jung Cancer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, 1927, for his work on cancer.
Fibiger died on January 30, 1928, at Copenhagen after a short illness (cardiac failure with multiple emboli and massive pulmonary infarcts; cancer of the colon: caecostomy), survived by his wife Mathilde, née Fibiger, whom he married in 1894.
Investigations on Spiroptera carcinoma and the experimental induction of cancer.
It is obvious that going back to around the year 1500 there must be a link between the present Fiebiger and Fibiger surnames. Both families can be traced back to the German/Czech/Polish border area (see map of Bohemia). Therefore, information about both names is included on this site, hereunder the description of the emigramtion of the Fiebiger family to America.
This is one of the stories of Fiebigers emigrating to America Beginning in the early 1850s, numerous families left their ancestral villages in the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia in the Austrian Empire to start new lives. Some families moved to the German-speaking cities and towns of the Austrian Empire or the German principalities. Others traveled to distant countries such as the Russian Empire, South Africa or America. This is the story of some of these emigrants from the district of Landskron, Bohemia who decided to make new lives for themselves in the Midwestern United States, in particular in the state of Wisconsin.
Landskron in the Czech Republic
The district of Landskron (Czech: Lanskroun) is named after the town of Landskron. The town and district of Landskron are about 80 miles south of present day Wrocaw (Breslau) and about 115 miles north of the then-capital of the Austrian Empire, Vienna.
Landskron, the district, consisted of the town of Landskron and forty-two bordering villages. (1) In the 1850s, Landskron-town contained about 5,000 inhabitants and was connected by rail to the rest of the Austrian Empire. Second in importance to the town of Landskron was Cermná (Böhmisch Rothwasser), a Czech village of about 3,000 inhabitants. Historically, Cermná had market rights not granted to the other villages. Cermná’s lower half was mostly Catholic and its upper half was mostly Protestant. (In 1936, it was split into two villages – Dolní Cermná and Horní Cermná). The other forty-one villages in the district of Landskron varied in size from a few hundred people to about 1,500 inhabitants. Roads connected the villages to the town of Landskron. Three-quarters of these villages were predominantly German, and the majority of both ethnic groups were of the Roman Catholic faith.
The inhabitants of these villages, both Czech and German, were divided into three broad social groups – the “large farmers” (German: Bauer, Czech: sedláci), the “small farmers” (Feldgärtner or zahradnici) and the day laborers (Taglohner or podruzi). The “large farmers” generally had farms over ten hectares (a hectare is 2.471 acres). They usually owned horses, cows and numerous smaller farm animals. These farmers were engaging in commercial farming and were able to ship produce to market in nearby towns. The “small farmers” had only a few hectares. They usually had a few cows and a number of smaller farm animals. The day laborers worked for small or large farmers as field laborers, stable hands and kitchen and house servants. In addition, some worked as weavers, carpenters, coopers or blacksmiths. Some of the day laborers, called “cottagers” (Häusler or chalupnici), owned a small house with enough land around it for a small garden and a few small farm animals such as goats. Most of the area’s population consisted of day laborers scratching out a marginal subsistence.
Typical of the Landskroner village of the area was Ober Johnsdorf (Horní Tresnovec), located just north of the town of Landskron. Ober Johnsdorf contained about 1,000 inhabitants in the 1850s, most of them German-speaking but with a significant Czech-speaking minority. The neighboring villages to the north, Cermná and Nepomuky (Nepomuk), were predominantly Czech. The other nearby villages, Jokelsdorf (Jakubovice), Michelsdorf (Ostrov), and Nieder Johnsdorf (Dolní Tresnovec), were predominantly German. Ober Johnsdorf was comprised of 1,108 hectares, which is about four and one-quarter sections of land, or 2,738 acres. The average landholding in Ober Johnsdorf was about seven and a half hectares, with over half the farms smaller than five hectares. Only a dozen farms had more than 20 hectares. Since the town of Landskron was three miles distant, it is likely that excess grain from Ober Johnsdorf was transported by horse or ox-cart for shipment by rail to the cities of the Austrian Empire. Apart from farming, Ober Johnsdorf in the early 1850s had no church and only a basic school. For church services and any advanced schooling, Ober Johnsdorf’s villagers traveled to Landskron-town. Given the limited educational opportunities available at the time, many of Ober Johnsdorf’s inhabitants had only primitive reading and writing skills.
In sharp contrast to farming in America, Landskron-district farmsteads were not separate from its villages. Farm buildings were located on both sides of a road, and farm fields stretched straight back from the buildings until they bordered another village’s farms. Farms might also end at the woods or at an untillable hill. Generally, farmers in Ober Johnsdorf cultivated contiguous fields, unlike the practice in other areas of Europe. It could, however, be a considerable distance from the farm buildings to each farm’s property limits. Also, farmland that was wooded or low provided natural barriers separating tillable parcels within the farm.
Ober Johnsdorf’s farm buildings also showed a distinctive configuration. Generally, the living quarters were physically connected to the farm buildings. More elaborate farmsteads were set up in a U-shape or square with a courtyard in the middle. The latter square form probably developed in an attempt to provide some protection against thieves and foreign soldiers, and it also allowed the farmer to secure his animals and harvested crops from marauding animals.
1848 – Year of Revolution
Until 1848, the people of the district of Landskron were still subject to feudal restrictions limiting their ability to move and requiring them to provide certain services to the local ruling class. As was typical of the time, a Landskroner’s social position was determined more by birth than by personal accomplishments. In 1848, revolutions rocked much of Europe. When the Revolution of 1848 began in the Austrian Empire, the landless peasants hoped there would be a land reform that would give them land. Unfortunately for them, the land reforms that followed the Revolution only vested full title to land to the farmers who already had a limited title to land. These farmers received title free of feudal restrictions, which was a great benefit to them. The key benefit to the landless of the Revolution was receiving the right to emigrate from the Empire. Within a few years, they started to avail themselves of this right.
Early Emigration – 1851-1857
By the mid-1800s, improved food and sanitary conditions had caused such a population explosion that there were limited opportunities for young people, and people were crammed into small one-room houses. It is estimated that in Horní Cermná there were twenty-six houses holding ten or more occupants, and four similar families with a total of twenty-one people lived in one house in Nepomuky. There was little virgin land in the area, and subdividing the existing farms would have made them unprofitable. There was little local industry to provide work for the excess farm population. This lack of opportunity was a main reason why many individuals and families who had roots in this area stretching back hundreds of years decided to emigrate.
Another reason why people emigrated was to escape the effects of imperial wars. The Austrian Empire was involved in frequent wars, resulting in increasing taxes and the drafting of young men sent to fight in distant locations.
By the 1850s, numerous sources encouraged European peoples to emigrate to America. “How-to-emigrate” books extolled America’s virtues, especially the freedom and cheap land available in America. (2) Rail and shipping interests made emigration sound very attractive in an attempt to increase their business. American states, such as Wisconsin, sent agents to European ports to encourage emigrants to settle in their states.
Emigration from Bohemia began slowly as word spread that it was possible to legally emigrate. (It has been suggested that the official statistics should be doubled to account for illegal emigration and record keeping defects). Once word spread that emigration was possible, there was an early rush to emigrate, peaking in 1854. The departure of these emigrants undoubtedly improved the economic chances of those who remained behind, causing emigration to taper off. It dipped sharply in 1859 for two reasons: word of America’s economic crisis, the Panic of 1857, had filtered back by then and diminished America’s economic appeal and the Austrian Empire’s war with Italy in 1859 curtailed emigration opportunities. Further emigration slowed in the early 1860s due to the impact of the American Civil War, but it peaked again in 1867, following the Austrian Empire’s humiliating loss in the Austro-Prussian War.
The first sizeable emigration from the district of Landskron occurred in 1851 and consisted of Czech Protestant day laborers primarily from the villages of Cermná and Nepomuky. These emigrants had little to lose by emigrating, given their low social status in Landskron-district — they were poor, they were Czech speakers in an empire having a German ruling class, and they were Protestants in a country where the ruling class was ardently Catholic.
The first group of German Catholic emigrants left Landskron in in the spring of 1852. This group sailed from Bremen in April, 1852 for Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. They arrived in the United States at Buffalo, New York in July of 1852 and arrived in southern Wisconsin by mid-July. Although there are no ship manifests for this group, other sources indicate this group consisted of at least the following: the John Doubrawa family from the village of Rathsdorf (Skuhrov), the Anton Fiebiger family from the village of Jokelsdorf (Jakubovice), the Joseph Pfeifer and Franz Langer families from the village of Michelsdorf (Ostrov), the Franz Veit family from Knappendorf (Knapovec), and Adolph Bartosch with his wife Amalia and her children from a prior marriage to John Gregor. (Franz Langer’s grandson was William Langer, Governor and U.S. Senator from North Dakota). John Doubrawa and Joseph Pfeifer both bought land on July 14, 1852 near present-day Waterloo, Wisconsin, which is just west of Watertown. They also applied for citizenship that day, as did Adolph Bartosch and Franz Veit. From this humble beginning sprang the Island community outside of Waterloo, Wisconsin. (5)
The second group of Landskroner emigrants to southern Wisconsin arrived later in 1852. The records of the Jason, which arrived in New York on December 7, 1852, from Bremen, show about sixty people from the Landskron district on board: the Johann Blaschka and Johann Klecker families of Hertersdorf (Horní Houovec), the Ignatz Yelg, Wenzel Blaschka and Johann Blaschka families of Tschernowier (Cernovír), the Joseph Veit family and Anton Wawrauscheck, Philip Zimprich and Ludwig Zimprich of Knappendorf (Knapovec), the Anton Fiebiger family of Jokelsdorf (Jakubovice), the Johann Fischer family of Riebnig (Rybník), the Joseph Zimprich family of Rathsdorf (Skuhrov) and the Wenzel Fuchs family of Hilbetten (Hylváty). Also on board were the following persons, whose place of origin may be the district of Landskron: the Wenzel Blaska and Anton Kobliz families, Barbara Detterer and Franz Meidner. The Jason added significantly to the nucleus of the Landskroner community on the Island.
The Waterloo community
Villages represented in Waterloo include Cermná (Böhmisch Rothwasser), Dreihöf (Oldichovice), Hertersdorf (Horní Houovec), Jokelsdorf (Jakubovice), Knappendorf (Knapovec), Michelsdorf (Ostrov), Rathsdorf (Skuhrov), Riebnig (Rybník), Rudelsdorf (Rudoltice), Tschernowier (Cernovír) and Zohsee (Sázava). The list of Landskroner families settling in Waterloo include the following: Barta, Bartosch, Benisch, Betlach, Binstock (Binenstock), Blaschka, Fiebiger, Filg, Haberman, Huebel, Jahna, Janisch, Klecker, Koblitz, Langer, Leschinger, Maresch (Mare), Mautz, Melchior, Miller, Motl, Neugebau, Peschel, Pitterle (Peterle), Rotter, Tilg (Yelg), Tomscha, Schieck, Schiller, Skalitzky (Skalitzka), Springer, Stangler, Veith, Wovra, Wurst, Zalmanová and Zimbrich (Zimprick).
In generel, reading on Ancestry.com about the emigration to the US, it would seem that the name Fiebig is originating from Poland and Germany.
On Ancestry.com, the following information appears about Amelia Anna Fiebig, born to Johann and Wilhelmina Fiebig in Zabartowo, West Prussia, north of Bromberg in 1857. She married Julius C. Oelke in Klein Bartelsee, near Bromberg, Posen (Poznan in Poland) in 1876, and had three children before emigrating to Montague, Michigan in 1881. She had two brothers, Hermann and Wilhelm, who remained in Germany. One of Hermann’s children was Otto Fiebig who married Erna Weber and raised a family in Leverkusen, Germany
Zabartowo is 4 miles SE of Wiecbork (Vandsburg in German).
To find the connection between the Febigers in America and the Danish branch of the family, and the present living Fibigers in Denmark, we have to go back to (Jorgen) George Fibiger (16xx – 8.5.1689). He was a musician and related to the five brothers who moved from the Check Repuplic to Denmark around 1700. The brothers were all mucisians at the Royal Danish Court.
The American family branch starts with Col. Hans Christian Fibiger (1749-1796), who went to America and today a number of americans decend from this branch of the family.
Danish-American family tree
The relation back to (Jorgen) George Fibiger (16xx-8.5.1689) is as follows. George was married to Abel Jorgensdatter Sibbern. They only had one son, Matthias.
Matthias Jørgensen Fibiger 1675-14.3.1741), Mayor of Nyborg (on Funen). Married three times and had nine childred. With Karen Treven the first wife (1679-2.6.1723) he had seven children, one of them was Jørgen Mathiesen Fibiger.
Jørgen Mathiesen Fibiger (1705-?), School Headmaster, married with Dorthea Pedersdatter had nine children, number four was (Hans) Christian Fibiger.
Col. Christian Febiger (1746 Denmark – 20.09.1796 Philadelphia, Pa.) married to Elizabeth Carson (19.02.1754 – 05.01.1817). “Old Denmark” went to the US and started the american branch of the family. He was often called “Old Denmark,” and was one of George Washington’s most trusted officers during the American Revolution.
Christian Carson Febiger (5.1.1787 – 22.01.1829 Cincinnati, Ohio), the second of the married sons of Dr. John Carson, was adopted by his uncle and aunt, Colonel Christian and Elizabeth (nee Carson) Febiger, and by Act of Assembly, his name was changed to Christian Carson Febiger. He was born January 5, 1787, married February 3, 1817, Hannah Gibson Lea of Wilmington, Del., removed to Pittsburg, and later to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he died in 1829. Mrs. Febiger, who was born in 1794 died in 1881. Four children were born to them, to wit: Christian, John Carson, George Lea and Elizabeth Lea.
Christian Febiger (1817-1892)
Children: Christian Febiger (25.12.1817 Cincinati, Ohio – 15.01.1892) married to Sarah Tatnall Lea Febiger (28.05.1819 Pittsburg, Pa. – 4.10.1823 Cincinati, Ohio) Admiral John Carson Febiger 14.02.1821 Pittsburg Pa. – 9.10.1898 Londonderry, near Easton Maryland) Col. George Lea Febiger (8.12.1822 – 22.01.1891), married to Frances Pleasants, Annie Fisher and Caroline A. Smith. Elisabeth Lea Febiger 04.03.1825 – 17.09.1888)
Christian Carson Fibiger (2.4.1844-?). Son of Admiral John Carson Febiger. Married 5.6.1877 Kathrine Sellers with whom he had five children, Christian, Mary Elisabeth, Kathrine and William.
First Lieutenant George Lea Febiger (? – 1900) First Lieutenant, United States Army, was killed in action during the Philippines Insurrection. Buried in Section 7 of Arlington National Cemetery. Son of Col. George Lea and Frances (Pleasants) Febiger; grandson of Christian Carson and Hannah Lea (Carson) Febiger; great-grandson of John and Agnes (Hunter) Carson; great2-grandson of William Carson, private, Bradford’s Battalion Penna. Associators.
Col. George Lea Febiger Jr. (31.10.1890 – 09.03.1967). Son of First Lieutenant George Lea Fibiger. Buried at Section 7 Site 10042ES Arlington National Cemetery. Married to Georgene Butler, died 19.05.1933.
7. Col. Christian Febiger (1749-1796)
Hans Christian Febiger, soldier, born on the Island of Funen, Denmark 19 October 1749; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 20 September 1796. Most Danish immigrants to North America from colonial times until 1850 were single men, and quickly blended into the general population. Rarely, with few exceptions, does the name of a Danish immigrant appear in the historical annals of this period. Hans Christian Febiger or Fibiger (1749-1796), often called “Old Denmark,” was one of George Washington’s most trusted officers during the American Revolution.
Col. Febiger, though he was later titled Brigadier General, was born on Funen Island in Denmark in 1749. After receiving a military education in Europe (possibly in Copenhagen), Febiger journeyed with his uncle, somewhere in the late 1750s or 1760s, to the Danish possession of Santa Cruz (now known as St. Croix), where the latter had been appointed governor. Febiger is next known to have traveled through the American colonies engaged in several trades and businesses when war broke out. Febiger quickly joined with the Massachusetts Militia following the Lexington Alarm and fell under the command of Col. Samuel Gerrish.
Revolutionary War Service
He joined a Massachusetts regiment on 28 April 1775, became its adjutant shortly afterward, and distinguished himself at Bunker Hill. He was in Arnold’s Quebec expedition, was taken prisoner at the storming of that City on 31 December 1775, and was sent to New York with other prisoners in September 1776. On 13 November 1776 he was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia line.
After taking on a role as a recruiter in Virginia, the now Lieutenant Febiger, having been promoted by the Virginia House, is called upon by Gen. Washington to march his regiment to Headquarters in N.J. to begin preparation for deployment. Febiger is next seen fighting with the Continental Army in the Philadelphia campaign before moving on to other engagements. He eventually accompanies Washington through Princeton, Bridgewater and Bound Brook, New Jersey, near the Middle Brook encampment before fighting in the Battle of Brandywine. Following his performance at Brandywine Febiger received his appointment as Colonel on September 26, 1777 and took command of the 2nd Virginia Regiment, a post he held until the end of the war (though it is speculated that he did not accept his Colonelcy until after the battle of Germantown.
He was on the right of Greene’s wing at, Germantown, led 4,000 men, with two guns, at Monmouth, and commanded the right column in the attack on Stony Point, where he distinguished himself, taking the British commander prisoner in person. He was sent to Philadelphia on 1 September 1780, to forward stores to the army, and was afterward on recruiting duty in Virginia, though he was in the field at intervals, and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis. He retired from active service on 1 January 1783, was brevetted brigadier general on 30 September and then settled in Philadelphia, where he engaged in business. During his military service Febiger bore the sobriquet of “Old Denmark.” He was treasurer of Pennsylvania from 13 November 1789, until his death.
As with most of his military service, Febiger distinguished himself as master of the stores and transport of much of the Continental supply.
Febiger’s military career for much of the rest of the War was engaged in his recruiting and oversight efforts, however, he was present at the Battle of Yorktown and the official surrender of General Cornwallis.
Colonel Febiger finally retired from active duty, following eight years of service to the Revolutionary cause, on January 1, 1783. He was officially discharged from the Continental Army on November 30th. During that period, the Continental Congress conferred to Febiger the rank of Brigadier General by brevet. Febiger, however, never truly assumed that title saying, it is “more to one’s business advantage’s in America to be known as ‘Colonel.'”
Later life Foll
After the war, “Old Denmark” settled in Philadelphia and engaged in several business ventures, many of which proved rather successful. Febiger also joined the Virginia branch of the Society of the Cincinnati, but later switched his affiliation to the Pennsylvania group. After briefly serving as Auctioneer of the Northern Liberties of Philadelphia (succeeding David Rittenhouse), he eventually came to hold the post of Treasurer for the Commonwealth of Philadelphia, and was appointed to that post for every successive year until he died in 1796 (the cause of death is not quite clear). According to the Sons of the American Revolution, Pennsylvania Society, website, Febiger is buried in the historic Mount Vernon Cemetery in Philadelphia.
Personal life and trivia
Col. Febiger was married to the former Miss Elizabeth Carson and though they had “no issue” by this marriage, they adopted Mrs. Febiger’s nephew, Christian Carson Febiger (son of Dr. John Carson, a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania).
Febiger is listed in a February 1942 newspaper article under the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! section as having been the “only soldier who took part in every important battle of the Revolutionary War from Bunker Hill to Yorktown.”
Febiger was the grandfather of the Civil War hero, Admiral John Carson Febiger who later became Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard and is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
References: Wikipedia http://famousamericans.net/christianfebiger/ http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Bu-Dr/Danish-Americans.html
8. Admiral John Carson Febiger (1821-1898)
John Carson Febiger (grandson of Christian Febiger), naval officer, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 14 February 1821, entered the navy from Ohio as a midshipman, 14 September 1838, and was in the “Concord,” of the Brazil squadron, when she was wrecked on the eastern coast of Africa in 1843.
He became passed midshipman, 20 May 1844, and lieutenant, 30 April 1853. He was on the “Germantown,” of the East India squadron, in 1858’60, and on the sloop “Savannah ” in 1861, and on 11 August 1862, was commissioned commander, and assigned to the steamer “Kanawha,” of the Western gulf blockading squadron.
After commanding various vessels in that and the Mississippi squadron, he was given the “Mattabeset,” of the North Atlantic squadron, in 1864, and in that steamer took part, on 5 May 1864, in the fight between the little fleet of wooden vessels, under Captain Melancton Smith, and the Confederate ram “Albemarle,” in Albemarle sound, N.C.
In this engagement the ram was defeated, and her tender, the “Bombshell,” captured, and Febiger was commended for his ” gallantry and skill” by Captain Smith and Rear Admiral Samuel P. Lee. He commanded the “Ashuelot,” of the Asiatic squadron, in 1866’8, and on 6 May of the latter year was promoted to captain. He was inspector of naval reserve lands in 1869’72, was made commodore, 9 August 1874, was a member of the board of examiners in 1874’6, and commandant of the Washington navy yard in 1876’80. He was promoted to rear admiral, 4 February 1882, and on 1 July 1882, was retired on his own application, having been in the service over forty years.
Arlington National Cemetary
9. Col. George Lea Febiger (1822-1891)
Col. George Lea Febiger (8.12.1822 – 22.01.1891), married to Frances Pleasants, Annie Fisher and Caroline A. Smith.
Lea Febiger relaxing in the bachelor quarters at Fort Union, Indian Territory in the 1880s.
Orbituary, New York Times 23.01.1891: Col. George Lea Febiger, retired Assistant Paymaster General af othe United States Army, died last evening at his home in New Have, Conn., of hear failure. Col. Febiger was born in Philadelphia in 1822 and was educated at William and Mary College. He entered the army in 1861 and remained in the Paymaster’s Department until 1886, when he was retied. He was a memeber of the Knights Templar and Loyal Legion. He leaves a wife, one son, and two daughters.
10. First Lieutenant George Lea Febiger (? – 1900)
His private momument in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery reads:
33rd Volunteer Infantry 1876-1900 Killed In Action October 24, 1900 At Consoous Philippine Islands While In Command Of One Hundred Men Against Four Thousand Insurgents.
FILIPINOS DEFEAT TROOPS 1,400 Rebels Attacked By bout 100 Americans Lieutenant G. L. Febiger Killed American Casualties 18, Insurgent Loss About 150 Troops Return To Narvican
WASHINGTON, October 26, 1900 – The War Department today received a dispatch from General MacArthur giving an account of a fight in which a small detachment of the American troops attacked a much superior force of Filipinos. The dispatch follows:
Manila, October 16, 1900 – First Lieuetnant Febiger, with forty men of Company H, Thirty-third Regiment, United States Infantry Volunteers, and Second Lieutenant Grayson V. Heidt, with sixty men of Troop L, Third Cavalry, attacked the insurgents fourteen miles east of Narvican, in Ilocos, Province of Luzon. They developed a strong position occupied by about 400 riflemen and 1,000 bolomen under thecommand of Juan Villamer, a subordinate of Timos.
A desperate fight ensued, which was most credible to the force engaged. Although under heavy pressure from overwhelming numbers, our troops were compelled to return to Narvican, which was accomplished in a tactical orderly manner.
Acting Assistant Surgeon Bath and a civilian teamster, captured early in the fight, were released by Villamor. According to their accounts, the insurgents were much stronger than reported herein, and their loss at a moderate estimate was over 150. Our loss killed: First Lieutenant George L. Febiger, Charles A. Lindenberg, and William F. Wilson, Company H, Thirty-third Regiment, UnitedStates Volunteer Infantry; Andrew T. Johnson, farrier; Guy E. McClintock; Troop L, Third Regiment, United States Cavalry.
General MacArthur gives, in addition, a list of nine men wounded, most of them slightly, and four men missing.
Lieutenant George Lea Febiger was one of the youngest officers of the Army, being in his twenty-fourth year. He was a native of New Orleans, and served as First Lieutenant, and afterward as Captain, of the Ninth Volunteer
Infantry during the Spanish-American War. In the following July, he was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Thirty-third Volunteer Infantry and because of his military proficiency, was promoted to a First Lieutenancy
August 24, 1899, and accompanied his regiment to the Philippines in the following month.