Solomon Andrew Vrooman

ID # 1594, (1829-1913)
FatherSolomon Secord Vrooman (1783-1874)
MotherMary Brown (1790-1846)
BirthSolomon Andrew Vrooman was born on 11 September 1829. 
MarriageHe married Martha Moore on 18 March 1856 at Dixon, Lee County, Illinois.
We take the date of marriage for Solomon Andrew Vrooman and Martha Moore from page 163 the 1949 Vrooman Family book. Another source confirming this date has yet to be found. Page 160 does show that Walter R. Vrooman of Clyde, New York, was a source for at least some of the family history.
DeathHe died on 14 November 1913 at Niagara Township, Lincoln County, Ontario, at age 84. 
BurialHe was buried at Victoria Lawn Cemetery, St. Catharines, Ontario. 
NoteAt the time of the 1851 census Solomon Vrooman Jr. is shown as age 23 and living with his father and siblings in Niagara Township.

By the time of the U.S. census of 1860, Solomon is married to Martha Moore and living in Dixon, Lee County, Illinois. He is shown as age 30, born in Canada and a shoemaker. Martha is shown as age 20, born Pa., Mary E. is age 3, born Canada, and Walter is age 1, born in Illinois.

In 1871, he is back in Niagara Township and his father, Solomon Vrooman Sr., is living with him and his family. In this census, young Solomon is shown as age 41. Martha is 31, Mary and Walter are 14 and 12. Now with the family are Albert, age 9, born in the U.S., and Nettie and Stella, ages 7 and 5, born in Ontario.

Death reg. 020759-14 Niagara Township, Lincoln Co.
Solomon Vrooman, age 84, died November 14, 1913. Born Niagara Township, place of death Niagara Township. Gentleman. Married. Parents Solomon Vrooman and Mary Brown. Informant's name rather illegible, but appears to be Calara Lerith of Queenston.
(Solomon's attending physician was Dr. Trimble. In the 1911 census in Niagara Township, apparently at Queenston, in the household enumerated immediately prior to the Trimble household was a Clara Levitt and she probably conveyed Solomon's death information to the township clerk.)

Page 163 of the 1949 Vrooman Family book provides some history for Solomon that may have some accuracy, but also has some problems.

It tells that he married twice and that one of his wives, reasonably his first, was Caroline Loretta Sill. It goes on to say that they had a daughter Ida and that she married a C.M. Tuttle and that they lived in Portland, Oregon. This is possible, and, considering that the 1949 book is fairly accurate, at least for this immediate family, may well be correct. The 1900 U.S. census in Portland does show an Ida Tuttle with husband Charles M. Tuttle. It shows her place of birth and that of her parents as being New York State. We have some confirmation of this, for when Charles Tuttle died on January 26, 1920, his death notice on page 13 of The Morning Oregonian, Thursday, January 29th, 1920, describes him as the husband of Ida Vrooman Tuttle.

Page 163 of the book also says that Solomon married Martha Moore on March 18, 1856, in Dixon, Illinois. No other evidence for this date and place of marriage has been found, but it is at least credible and, again, given the accuracy of the records shown for the rest of Solomon's immediate family, is accepted here.

The 1949 book also states that Solomon served in the Union Army during the Civil War and received 75 acres of wooded land. No confirming evidence for the grant of land has been found. Volume 4 of The Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Springfield, Illinois, 1901, shows Solomon A. Vrooman as a sergeant in Company K of the 65th Infantry. His 'Date of Rank or Enlistment' is given as May 15, 1862. His date of muster is shown as May 15/62 as well. Under the column for remarks it is shown that he deserted April 16, 1862 (Yes, it says that he deserted before he enlisted.)

Ancestry has a file 'U.S., Civil War Soldiers, Records and Profiles, 1861-1865'. This shows that Solomon A. Vrooman mustered out on 16 April, 1863, probably the date intended in the above typographical error, and of course contradicts the statement about desertion. Certainly, we may say that he was back in Niagara Township by 16 May, 1863, for on that date he purchased property from his father (see transaction nbr. 13618, microfilm GSU170181 Solomon Vrooman to Solomon A. Vrooman, witnessed by Adam Brown Vrooman and Alpheus S. St. John) so the latter explanation to the effect that he mustered out of the Union Army in April of that year is credible.

It seems that there is more to the story and perhaps a brief item that appeared on page 20, Buffalo Evening News, Thursday, November 20, 1913, is closer to the truth. (This is courtesy of Old Fulton New York Post Card's web site.)

Solomon Vrooman Last Surviving Workman Who Assisted in its Construction is Dead
St. Catharines, Ont. Nov. 20
Solomon Vrooman, the last surviving workman, who assisted in the construction of Brock's Monument at Queenston Heights, is dead at the little village below the Heights, in his 85th year.
He was the son of a United Empire Loyalist, but went to Illinois when the Civil War broke out. He joined the Union Forces and was a member of the regiment every man of which was captured at Harpers Ferry. He escaped and returned to Canada where he remained.

When reading the following, please keep in mind that this researcher is no Civil War expert.

Certainly the Illinois 65th regiment was a part of the surrender at Harpers Ferry, so the above story, while simplifying the narrative, is basically true. At least at this stage of the Civil War there was a system of 'parole' wherein the prisoners might be returned to their own side but still have to endure prison camp conditions, conditions similar to that which they might have experienced in enemy hands, and there they would remain until a prisoner exchange was effected. Some 8000 of the Harpers Ferry's prisoners went to Camp Douglas which was actually back in Chicago, there to wait for the 'exchange', at which time they were released from their parole. Just from where Solomon Andrew Vrooman 'escaped', per the Buffalo Evening News story, we will probably never know, however, since the Union defeat and surrender at Harpers Ferry happened on September 15, 1862, the statement that he mustered out on 16 April, 1863, makes some sense. Certainly, conditions in Camp Douglas were grim. There were problems with diet, disease, shelter, and, ultimately, riots on the part of the inmates. The government decided to relieve some of the pressure by allowing the inmates temporary leaves so that they might see their families.

What we may say with certainty is that after Solomon Andrew Vrooman mustered out of the army, he packed up his family in fairly short order and headed for Canada. As mentioned above, he was back in Niagara Township, undoubtedly in his father's house, by May 16th, 1863.

(For something of the story of Camp Douglas, see A History of Camp Douglas Illinois, Union Prison, 1861-1865, by Dennis Kelly, August, 1989, in PDF format. Keep in mind that while this is likely where Solomon Andrew Vrooman was interned until parole, certain evidence has not been found. If Solomon was indeed interned elsewhere, similar conditions probably existed.)

A further note about the Buffalo Evening News obituary for Solomon mentioned above. It tells that Solomon was the last living man who worked on the construction of Brock's Monument. Recall that Solomon was born in 1829. Work on the first monument was begun in 1823 and completed in 1824. This first monument was badly damaged by a gunpowder explosion in 1840, the charge being detonated by a man with Fenian sympathies. It seems that there was much dithering in making plans for the rebuilding of the monument, but the cornerstone was finally laid in 1853, though the official inauguration was not until 1859. Given these dates, we may safely say that Solomon Andrew Vrooman was involved in the construction of the second monument, the one that stands today at Queenston Heights. 

Children of Solomon Andrew Vrooman and Martha Moore

Last Edited23 Sep 2018