|Death: ||Jun. 18, 1896|
The son of Baltimore hatter, John Wagoner Bloomer and his wife Catherine Eaton, William Edward Bloomer was born at Baltimore about 1841. The 1850 census shows the family with William and his parents, as well as elder brother Frederick, aged 19, as a mariner, and three other siblings, Mary, Anderson and John. By the 1860 census, William was still residing with his parents and siblings, and had also joined his father in the business as a hatter. A statement in his pension application, filled out some years after the war indicated that he had also been an office boy and civil engineer, and that his address for the four years prior to his enlistment had been at number 97 Aisquith Street, Baltimore.
When the Civil War commenced, William decided to do his part for the Union, and enlisted as a landsman in the United States Navy, on May 24, 1861 (his own statements, in his pension application give two separate dates of enlistment, as May 16 and 19, 1861), at Baltimore, and was sent aboard the receiving vessel there, the Alleghany, for basic induction into the service as a seaman. After the short period of training, he was then sent aboard the USS Princeton for two days, November 21st and 22nd, 1861, before being sent aboard the U.S.S. Wissahickon, on November 23rd, 1861, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The vessel was assigned for duty on the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, and was involved in the action against the forts, Jackson and St. Philip, below New Orleans, Louisiana, in April, 1862. In mid-May, 1862, she steamed up to Vicksburg, and was involved in operations against the city, for the rest of the month, and then, in early June of that year, she assisted in the attack upon Grand Gulf, returning to the waters below Vicksburg, by late June. Because the southern region of the United States is prone to warm weather, and because of the abundance of diseases relative to the area, Bloomer came down with dysentery and diarrhoea, as well as malarial fever, in July, 1862. Fortunately, on July 17, 1862, Flag Officer David G. Farragut ordered commander John De Camp to take his vessel, the Wissahickon, in its disabled condition, with the USS Winona, in tow, first to New Orleans, and then to proceed to New York for repairs. The USS Wissahickon, though, did not quite make it to New York, as, when arriving off the capes of Delaware, her starboard boiler suddenly cracked, forcing her to make for the nearest port, Philadelphia. Thus Bloomer was able to return north, and was then sent to the Naval Hospital at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to which he was admitted, aboard the United States Receiving vessel, Princeton, on September 1, 1862, and was discharged, at his own request, from the service five days later, and with the approval of the Secretary of the Navy. In Bloomer's later application for a pension, one of the doctors treating him, at the time of his incapacity in the Navy, stated that Bloomer had been confined to bed with chronic dysentery, and under medical treatment for fourteen days in the latter half of August, 1862, had returned to duty after that, but was, very soon, disabled once more by his broken health. The doctor stated that medical care and treatment, for Bloomer, had continued from September 20, 1862 until the end of November, 1863, indicating that his bad health had warranted treatment for months after his discharge from the service. He was described as having, at the time of his discharge, blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion, and stood five feet, eight and a half inches tall. It was during this period of recuperation that William married his first wife, Annie W. White, at the English Evangelical Lutheran Church, at Baltimore, Maryland, on August 17, 1863.
For that period of time, until November, 1863, he was totally unable to do any kind of work, but then was employed as a sutler's clerk at the capital, Washington, D.C. until March of 1864. He remained employed as a sutler's clerk, but worked at Annapolis, Maryland, and its vicinity, from April, 1864 until February, 1865. Bloomer then took up the occupation of a photographer, at Goldsboro and Wilson, North Carolina, from February, 1865, until April, 1866, after which he returned to Baltimore, when he was once again disabled by his diseases, and remained in a state of prostration until January, 1867. After that date he was able to return to his occupation as a photographer, and practised this employment at Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, but, because of the nature of his disease, he had to eventually sell out the business in September of that same year. Returning to Baltimore, he started employment as a brakeman and conductor on the North Carolina Railway in November, 1867, and was able to keep that line of work until April, 1869, when he was once again prostrated with the same problem, until November, 1869. He then took up the occupation of a travelling salesman until the end of 1870, and then, from January of 1871 until May, 1872, he was employed as a book keeper and collector. His health problems returned to him from then until the end of the same year. In January 1873, he was employed as a conductor on the Railway, at which employment he states that he remained until August 31st of that same year, when he was then employed as an advertising and ticket agent at Baltimore, on the Railroad. The United States census of 1880 shows him, together with his first wife Annie, residing at the home of Doctor Walter D. White and his family, in Baltimore, Maryland, with his occupation shown as a ticketing agent on the railroad.
William Bloomer had already been allotted a disability pension for chronic diarrhoea, commencing from September 7, 1862, the day after he was discharged from the Naval service, at the starting rate of four dollars a month. A declaration, amongst his pension papers, includes the signed statement of Dr. Edward W. White, a practising physician of Baltimore, who had known William Bloomer from childhood, having been the family physician, and Dr. White states clearly that William's health had been good. It was only after his Naval service that problems began to develop. His health problems were further enhanced when he contracted rheumatic gout, about September, 1882, while residing in Sydney, New South Wales. However, while still residing in Baltimore, after the war, he was involved in some criminal activity, which saw him sent to prison for a year. In December of 1877 he was put on trial, together with one Upton W. Dorsey, both charged with conspiring to defraud the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad of $200,000 in the scalping business. He was sent to prison, but was pardoned by Governor Carroll of Maryland in March, 1879.
Whether William had deserted his wife, Annie, and then came to Australia, or whether she had passed on is not currently known, but his arrival in Australia was indicated to have been about 1881, and he seems to have resided, throughout his final years, in the state of New South Wales, having moved around through Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. He is shown, in January of 1881, as having a hair dressing saloon at the New South Wales country town of Maitland, in the Hunter River region. On the 17th of September, 1881, he is shown as having left Sydney, aboard the steamship, City of Adelaide, and arrived in Melbourne three days later. In late September of that same year Bloomer had instructed an auction house, in Sydney, to sell off, by public auction, a large amount of his possessions, indicating that he was leaving the colony. The sale items included "the whole of his superior and magnificent household furniture, comprising exhibition L. and G. easy chairs, in green satin taberette…..superior pianoforte and Austrian music stool…..a splendid collection of massive oleographs….Brussels carpets…", etc., indicating that he was quite well to do. However, it seems that he decided to continue to remain in Australia. He married Hannie Josephine Carden at St. Matthias' Church, Sydney, on April 26, 1894, and, although the couple never had any children of their own, Hannie was the mother of at least one child from her first marriage. His wife was the widow of the late T.C. Carden, of Clifton, England. Bloomer's occupation was shown as a general importer, but he had been declared insolvent in 1886. At this point in time he was shown as a resident of 323 Crown Street, Surry Hills, and his business was then indicated to be as a dealer in fancy goods. Yet, in 1892, he was already still involved in the importing business, as he is shown advertising imported goods for auction, including such items as American buggies. On October 11, 1895, William is shown as a passenger on the steamer Arawatta, having arrived in Brisbane, from Sydney, and, on October 20, 1895, he is shown as a passenger aboard the steamer Aramac, departing Brisbane for Sydney and Melbourne. After having suffered from phthisis pulmonalis for three years, William finally succumbed to the disease on June 18, 1896, and was buried the next day in the Anglican section of the Rookwood Cemetery, in Sydney, grave number 0001559.
1850 United States census for Baltimore, Maryland.
1860 United States census for Baltimore, Maryland.
1880 United States census for Baltimore, Maryland.
Argus dated Wednesday, September 21, 1881, page 4 and Monday, October 17, 1881, page 4.
Brisbane Courier dated 12 October, 1895, page 3 and 21 October, 1895, page 3.
Chicago Tribune dated Sunday, December 9, 1877, page 2: article titled THE RAILROADS – WAR AGAINST THE SCALPERS; and Thursday, March 13, 1879, page 2: article titled PARDONED.
Maitland Mercury dated January 22, 1881, page 4, and Saturday, March 6, 1886, supplement, page 13.
New South Wales Births, Deaths and Marriages; online index.
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, series 1, volumes 18 and 19; originally published at the Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1904; reprinted 1987 by Historical Times, Inc.
Pension file for William Edward Bloomer.
Rookwood Cemetery "Interment Search" online at http://rookwoodcemetery.com.au/deceased-search.html
State Records Authority of New South Wales; web site at http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/indexes-online/
Sydney Morning Herald issues dated Tuesday, 27 September, 1881, page 9, Friday 2 April 1886, page 4, Monday 9 August 1886, page 5, Monday 29 March 1886, page 3, Saturday, 13 February, 1892, page 14, Saturday, 23 June, 1894, page 1 and Saturday, 18 June, 1898, page 1.
The Queenslander dated 26 October, 1895, page 815.
Mrs. Virginia Crocker, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
"Family Search" web site.
Original research of the late Roy Parker, Barry Crompton, Bob Simpson, Len Traynor and Terry Foenander, and published in the volume, CIVIL WAR VETERANS IN AUSTRALIA, edited by Mrs. Virginia Crocker, 2000.
New South Wales, Australia
Created by: Terry Foenander
Record added: May 15, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19390410