Select Myers Miscellany



Here are some Myers stories and accounts over the years:

The Myers Origin in England


There was a place in Lancashire from the old Norse word Myrrkogr from which the original bearer of the surname Myers may have derived his name.  The name has also been spelt Myre, Mire, Mirers, and Myres.

Early records of the name mention Richard de Mirecroft, recorded in Lanashire in 1273, and David Mire, documented during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307).  Willelmus del Mire was listed in the Yorkshire poll tax of 1379.
 


John Myers and His Wives

John Myers was a man who started from a low beginning, acquired a large fortune.  He married four times and, through his fourth wife Alice (the widow of Anthony Wrightson), acquired Shipley Hall in Yorkshire.  He subsequently became a Justice of the Peace for Yorkshire.

In his convivial hours, when the number of bis wives was mentioned, he would jocularly say: "If I survive, I will have five."  Death, however, prevented his fulfilling his wish as he survived his fourth wife by only a few days.  He was living in  Cumberland when his fourth wife died in 1821 and he went to Yorkshire for the funeral.  He was taken ill on the way and died as soon as he reached Shipley Hall.


Myer Myers, New York's Colonial Silversmith

Myer Myers was born in New York City in 1723, the son of Solomon and Judith Myers.  The family lived one block away from Shearith Israel's synagogue on Mill Street, where Solomon and his sons were active members of the congregation.  After the traditional seven year apprenticeship, Myers became the first Jewish person in the British realm to establish himself as a working retail silversmith.

His renown as an artisan came from his ability to execute superb custom order work for the wealthiest patrons.  His New York workshop was one of the few that supplied such labor-intensive, richly ornamented forms as candlesticks, pierced bread baskets, covered jugs, and cruet stands, and stood alone in the production of such specialized work as Torah finials.  Myers' output was not, however, confined to these style-conscious forms.  From the mid-1750s his shop generated a steady income by satisfying the demand for more modest forms of hollowware and flatware from a larger, less affluent clientele.


The summer of 1776 brought his activities as a silversmith and entrepreneur to an abrupt halt.  George Washington had made New York his headquarters and British troops were besieging the city.  Myers and his family moved with other Jewish families to Norwalk, Connecticut.  However, in July 1779 a British force attacked and burned the town, leaving the residents homeless and Myers without his tools. The family then settled in Stratford, Connecticut for the remainder of the war years and, despite his losses, it is evident from extant objects that Myers continued to work as a silversmith.


Fort Myers and Abraham Myers

Fort Myers, built as a military fort in Florida in 1850, was named after Colonel Abraham Myers who had been stationed in Florida for the previous seven years.

Myers was a Confederate General during the Civil War but fell from grace after the Battle of Gettysburg.  The Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, removed him from office because of his failure to supply the southern armies with needed shoes, coats and blankets.  Myers felt humiliated by the termination and remained bitter for the rest of his life.

His wife Marion hadn't helped his cause.  Her sharp tongue had made her many enemies.  She had once said that the President's wife Varina Davis looked like "an old squaw."  There was sniping at her and her husband as Jews who they said owed their first loyalty to "the party of Moses" and "the tribe of Levi."

Blamed for losses on the battlefield and losing the war in the parlors of Richmond as well, Abraham Myers was passed over for promotion and replaced as Quartermaster General.  Between that and being on the wrong side in the Civil War, he pretty much lost everything.  But he would always have Fort Myers.


Myers and Related Names in America

Most Myers in America were probably of German, Swiss or Austrian origin, having anglicized their names in America.  There were 87,000 Myers and related names in the 1920 US census.

Surname
Numbers (000)
Percent
Most Common In -
Myers
       34
   39
Pennsylvania
Meyers
       13
   15
Pennsylvania
Meyer
       23
   27
New York
Mayer
         9
   10
New York
Maier
         2
    2
New York
Moyer
         6
    7
Pennsylvania


Reader Feedback - The Life of Hunter John Myers


This book
, entitled Leather and Silk, was written in 1854 by the writer John Esten Cooke whose brother was Phillip Pendelton Cooke.  His cousin was Secretary of the Navy John Pendelton Kennedy.  This Myers family was Catholic with ties to the Jewish Myer Myers family in Richmond, Virginia.  A study was done on this family by Stanford University in the mid 1930's.  

Whomever they are, they seem to be related to the Virginia Pendelton family, CSA Jeb Stuart, Thomas Jefferson then his grandson Confederate Secretary of War George W Randolph and CSA General Robert E Lee if not the writer John Esten Cooke himself. 

Another good book is Reflections in a Silver Spoon by Pittsburgh banker Paul Mellon since a Mellon relative did support research on Hunter John Myers.  John Esten Cooke was related to Jack Kent Cooke who married Barbara Jean Carnegie who was a close friend of Rachael Bunny Mellon.  Rachael married Pittsburgh banker Paul Mellon.  Jack Kent Cooke owned the Washington Redskins and is buried with the Pittsburgh Mellon family.  All these records are at the John Heinz Carnegie Mellon University on 5000 Forbes Street in Pittsburgh. 

Lawrence John Myers (versailles99@aol.com)



Napoleon Boneparte Myers


White Myers of Fort Blount, Tennessee was obviously a fan of the French Emperor.  He named his first son, born in 1846, after him.  When Napoleon grew up and married, he owned a house on 53 acres overlooking the Cumberland river in Granville.  It was a large and ornate house with stain-glass windows, gingerbread trim, and large hand-hewn stones for the foundation.  In the entrance hall was the mural of a pear tree bedecked with doves and with the names of everyone in the family.  Napoleon and his wife were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church in Carthage.

Some researchers have Napoleon's full name as Philip Napoleon Boneparte.  Perhaps he didn't like the Napoleonic connection.  According to the 1850 and 1860 censuses, he was listed simply as Philip.  All other records show him as Napoleon Boneparte or N.B.


David and Tsivia Mankunsky/Myers from Lithuania

David and Tsivia and some of their siblings came to England from Lithuania and Poland in the 1880's and 1890's.  They spoke no English.  David went to night school and learned to read and write.  His wife spoke Yiddish and only very poor English and was illiterate in that language all of her life.  They settled in Sheffield.  However, David caught tuberculosis from the terrible conditions in which they lived and worked and he died in 1910.  His widow was left without skills, with no communication outside of her own community, and with three small children.

The family moved to Leeds and she made a precarious and physically very difficult living selling poultry. Although illiterate her respect for education was enormous and both of her sons, Joshua and Charles, went to university. 
 


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