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Charles Henry Fonde
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Birth: 1827
Death: Oct. 17, 1881

Charles Henry Fonde was an artist, a draftsman, an inventor, and an engineer, and this in spite of being cross-eyed and with a crippled or missing right hand. His father, John Philip Fonde, died when he was a small boy, but Charles remembered him "all dressed up with sword clanking" as a member of the Columbia Guards. He also remembered being taken to hear the great men of the day while he sat quitely beside his father as he recorded the proceedings of Congress. According to a letter written by his daughter Elizabeth, Charles Henry left home at the age of 15 or 16 and joined a panorama that was fitted out on a Mississippi river boat. His job was to help with the painting and renewing of the scenes. He ended up in New Orleans, where it is believed that his uncle Charles lived and worked. Charles Henry found a job as a teacher of art at Mandeville College on Lake Pontchartrain. He was a very large and strong man (6'6") and must have looked older than his age at the time. When the school met financial reverses and he lost this job, Charles was about 20 years old and for a time he resided with some of the "most reputable creole families of the parish of St. Tammany, and spent a year amongst the sylvan retreats of Bayou Lacombe and Bonfouca". He later moved to Mobile, Alabama where he married his first wife, Elizabeth McClester and had his first son, Henry. He invented and patented a dredging machine designed to deepen river channels and improve harbors. (Dredging Machine, Patent No. 10.668, March 21, 1854). Fonde's excavator or dredge was used by the city of Marseilles, France, to improve its harbor. It was also used in Nicaragua. The Civil War disrupted the income from his patent, and after the war was over he "went North only to find his patent rights invaded, and his original invention so disguised as to protect the plunderers, and after vain efforts to secure recognition of his rights, he returned to his family and the struggles of his early life." Obituary from Ancestors of Charles Henry Fonde website.

Rootsweb Link for this Person
Family links: 
  John Philip Fonde (1794 - 1831)
  Elizabeth Stewart Fonde (1796 - 1856)
  Camilla Welch Fonde (1836 - 1859)
  Lydia Stickney Wragg Fonde (1840 - 1930)
  Elizabeth R. McClister Fonde (1826 - 1853)*
  Henry Fonde (1852 - 1914)*
  Ida E. Fonde (1857 - 1858)*
  Sarah Hamilton Fonde (1859 - 1859)*
  Keith Fonde (1868 - 1902)*
  Gertrude Fonde Kilborn (1871 - 1961)*
  George Heustis Fonde (1873 - 1947)*
  Elizabeth Fonde (1873 - 1947)*
*Calculated relationship
Magnolia Cemetery
Mobile County
Alabama, USA
Created by: Mark Fonda
Record added: Aug 09, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 20858281
Charles Henry Fonde
Added by: Tim Childree
Charles Henry Fonde
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Thomas
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