Louisa Kirwan <I>Capron</I> Thiers


Louisa Kirwan Capron Thiers

Whitesboro, Oneida County, New York, USA
Death 17 Feb 1926 (aged 111)
Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, USA
Burial Kenosha, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, USA
Plot Block 30 1/2 Division: South East
Memorial ID 28974471 View Source
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"The Grand Old Woman of Milwaukee"

Louisa Kirwan Capron Thiers is believed to have been the last surviving Real Daughter of the American Revolution. When Louisa was born in 1814, her father Seth Capron, a Revolutionary War veteran, was 52 years old, and her mother, Eunice Mann Capron was 47. They already had four sons between the ages of 10 and 23. As a young girl, Louisa was called "the child born out of due time", and visitors came from miles around to see her.

She married David Bodine Tears (the spelling was later changed to Thiers) in 1847, and they had five children:

1. Ella Snowden Tears, who died in infancy.
2. Herbert Mann Thiers, who married Mary Gilda.
3. Emma Walden Thiers, who married Charles Quarles; four children: Louis, Charles, Henry, and Ethel.
4. Edward Capron Thiers, who married Mary Nicoll; one daughter, Helen.
5. Louis Thiers, who married Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" Lamb Stanbridge; one adopted daughter, Natalie.

Born during the War of 1812, Louisa lived to cast her vote for President for the first time after the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. At the time of her death at 111 years of age, she was the oldest living person in the United States.

From a 1922 publication of the Kenosha chapter of the DAR:

The subject of this interesting sketch was born in Whitesboro, New York, on October 2, 1814, the daughter of Seth Capron, who, when a boy in his teens, enlisted in Washington's army. Under the command of Lafayette he fought through the campaign at Newport, and served under Washington at West Point, where he was given command of his commander's barge. When Washington left West Point to bid farewell to his soldiers, Seth Capron was the last man to take his hand.

Lafayette's friendship for the young soldier grew out of an incident at Newport in 1780, when a bullet intended for Lafayette narrowly missed Capron. "One of my earliest recollections," said Thiers, is the departure of my father for West Point to meet General Lafayette when he returned to America for a visit. I recall very clearly the preparations for the trip, and knew, even though I was a little girl that my father was going to meet the French General, who had been his friend since the Siege of Newport."

She also remembers the opening of the Erie Canal, and recalls how wonderful it was to travel four miles an hour.

She rode on the first steam railway from Schenectady to Albany, and recalls how the train was let down with a stationary engine because the road was so steep. She has seen Halley's comet twice. The first time was in Baltimore in 1835, and she remembers how loud the people prayed, believing that the world had surely come to an end.

Many incidents are related by Madam Thiers of her early life in Southport, Wisconsin (now Kenosha), where she came with her husband, David B. Thiers, whom she married in New York City on April 6, 1847. In this pioneer city they reared their family of four children, sharing in the meanwhile with their new neighbors and friends the many privations and hardships incident to life in the middle west in the late forties.

She tells of the tallow dip and the open fires for cooking, and, in this connection, volunteers the opinion that "conservation" is not new, for she often saved time, energy and fuel by preparing the food for a week, roasts, beans, pies, bread, all in one baking.

This remarkable woman rejoices at the advent of the prohibition movement, and has approved and worked for woman's emancipation, showing her interest and enthusiasm by voting regularly as the elections occur.

Her interest in the late war was shown in her patriotic efforts to provide as many comfortable garments as her feeble hands could make for our boys in France. Her knitting was beautifully done and could have been offered as a sample for the younger to follow. She adopted as her godson a French soldier, Marcel Joy, who had been deeply stirred by reading of her interest in the war, and the one hundred pairs of socks she had knitted for the French babies.

The Thiers family are of French ancestry, and gave to France one of her presidents. [However, Louisa's husband, David Bodine Thiers, was born David Bodine Tears, and did not belong to this family.]

Madam Thiers has reached the age of 108 years, and enjoys life as evidenced by her intense interest in current events. She is a member of the household of her daughter, Mrs. Charles Quarles, 434 Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Madam Thiers has the distinction of being the oldest Real Daughter of the American Revolution, and her birthday is always observed by the Milwaukee Chapter, their tribute taking the form of a rose for each year of her life.

As to the secret of her long life, this is what she says:

1. "I attribute my long life and good health to a light diet, careful eating."
2. "Keeping alive my interest in life and daily events."
3. "Being happy myself and doing what I can to make others happy."

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