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Colonel Michael Nourse, 1778-1860

Posted: January 30, 2011, 11:01:43 am by jim

My Great-great-great-great-great Grandfather

Colonel Michael Nourse, 1778-1860

Born September 1, 1778 in Frederick Co., VA
Died December 6, 1860 in Washington, DC

From his obit

In early youth he gave his heart to God, and devoted himself to His service. For fifty-three years he was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian church. The father of a large family, he had the pleasure of hearing three of his sons preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. A man of the strictest integrity, truthful and upright in all his dealings, he commanded in the highest degree the respect and confidence of all who knew him. For fifty-seven years he was connected with the Treasury Department of the United States. Into all the relations of life he carried the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit; but his crowning glory was his faith in Christ and devotedness to his cause. His closing hours were radiant with a light from heaven. Preparation to die had been the prayerful work of his life, and when the pins of the earthly tabernacle began to be removed, and the structure seemed just ready to fall, his soul was kept in perfect peace. His last words were: “Do come, dear Lord Jesus, and take They redeemed servant home.”


Mary Rittenhouse, born September 2, 1779
Married on June 21, 1800 in Washington, DC


Elizabeth, born January 5, 1802 near Washington, DC
John Rittenhouse, born September 1, 1803 near Washington, DC
James Nourse, born April 30, 1805 near Washington, DC
Benjamin Franklin, born April 15, 1807 near Washington, DC
Mary Phillips, born April 12, 1809 near Washington, DC
Sarah Harriet, born January 20, 1811, near Washington, DC
William, born October 23, 1812 near Washington, DC
Anna Josepha, born October 21, 1814 near Washington, DC
Charles Howard, born December 1, 1816 near Washington, DC
Joseph Everett, born April 17, 1819 near Washington, DC
David Boyd, born October 29, 1820 near Washington, DC
Henry Michael, born September 25, 1824 near Washington, DC
NOTE: Michael and Mary had three other children who died unnamed


James Nourse, born July 19, 1731
Sarah Fouace, born 1735

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James Nourse, 1805-1854

Posted: January 30, 2011, 11:01:32 am by jim

My Great-great-great Grandfather

James Nourse
born April 30, 1805 near Washington, DC
died July 5, 1854 in Salem, IA

Was an A.B. Jefferson College, 1823; A.M. same college; for further instruction he attended Dickerson College one year, and while there united with the church under the care of Rev. Dr. Duffield; and at once determined to enter the ministry.

James studied theology at Princeton, New Jersey; was licensed by the presbytery of the District of Columbia, of which his uncle, Joseph Nourse, was then a member, who in writing to his sister Elizabeth (Nourse) Chapline, July 1827, said: “I was gratified more than I can tell you at his trial; he was unanimously accepted.”

The history of James Nourse is that of an accurate and laborious scholar, an humble and devoted Christian and faithful preacher of the Gospel. After nearly twenty years’ service as pastor of the Presbyterian church at Milroy, Pennsylvania, he resigned on account of a serious bronchial infection, and returned to Washington, DC in 1849.

James edited with great care and labor ‘The Paragraph Bible’ (the first edition of a Paragraph Bible published in the United States); prepared for the press a critical commentary on the ‘Epistle to the Galatians;’ and an abridgment of Lowth’s lectures on Hebrew poetry. He also wrote several tracts, one of which, entitled ‘messiah and His Family,’ was received by scholars with universal approbation. ‘Uncle Hugh; or, Twenty Years Ago,’ a temperance story, was from the pen of Rev. James Nourse, whose talents and influence were used with success for the promotion of temperance reform. He believed in total abstinence to the extent of not even taking stimulants when ill. He became principal of Central Academy, a school for boys, combined with a book store, on the northeast corner of Tenth and E streets, Washington, DC, in 1850, and was assisted by his son, Joseph Harvey Nourse. In 1854 he visited Iowa, with a view to a settlement as pastor, and his sudden death at Salem from cholera filled many hearts with grief.

Susan Nourse Peterson transcribed the following newspaper article that was included with a scrapbook of Nourse letters collected by Reverand James Nourse.

RESPECT TO A DECEASED PASTOR.---It will no doubt be interesting to many readers of the Organ, to learn that the remains of Rev. Jas. Nourse, who left this city last July, on a visit to the southern part of Iowa, and there died of the cholera, after an illness of two hours, have been exhumed by two delegates from the congregation of the Presbyterian Church, Milroy, Mifflin county, Pennsylvania.

There are many interesting circumstances connected with the exhumation of the remains. The committee appointed by the Church consisted of but two. On arriving at Salem, the place of his death, one of them was taken sick. The other still persevered. The citizens of the place were terror stricken at the thought of raising the body, and could not be induced to lend their aid for love or money. So this gentleman alone, with tools that he bought for the purpose, (for he could borrow none,) the second night after his arrival, dug down to the coffin. The next day, by paying an exorbitant price, he obtained the necessary help to raise the coffin, and place it in a zinc case prepared for it; but then no one could be found in the place, who would solder the top. At last a man was sent for from a distant town, who fastened on the top and encased all in a wooden box. Then the citizens hastened to pay the deceased every respect in their power. On the boat coming down the Mississippi, in a fearful gale, the coffin came near to being swept from the boat, but one of the delegation threw himself on it, and held it down till it could be secured.

He now rests in the burying ground which surrounds that church. This act was voluntary on the part of his congregation, and the expenses amounting to $170, were cheerfully contributed by them. He had been their pastor up to the time he removed to Washington, in 1849, for nearly twenty years. In this city he was known as a faithful instructor of the young--and the present prosperity of the Central Academy is due to his exertions. It is seldom that we meet with such a tribute of respect to one after death, as that paid to Mr. Nourse by his former charge. Truly this people loved him, who, after an absence of five years, was still considered as belonging to them--as theirs--although he expected to settle in Iowa, where he fell a victim to the cholera and build up a new congregation.


Sarah North Harvey on October 1, 1829 in Germantown, PA


Joseph Harvey, born July 7, 1830 in Washington, DC
Elizabeth Rooker, born June 8, 1832 Milroy, PA
Mary Anna, born December 25, 1833 in Milroy, PA (died at age 11 on September 5, 1844)
Margaret McClay, born December 11, 1835 in Milroy, PA
Sarah Harriet Nourse, born October 23, 1837 in Milroy, PA
Eva Maria, born November 28, 1840 in Milroy, PA
James Michael, born May 14, 1840 in Milroy, PA
John Thomas, born February 24, 1845 in Milroy, PA
Mary Rittenhouse, born September 29, 1847 in Milroy, PA
Ann Caroline, born June 9, 1854 in Washington, DC


Michael Nourse, born September 1, 1778
Mary Rittenhouse, born September 2, 1779

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Mildred D. Nourse Obit

Posted: July 11, 2010, 02:07:13 am by jim

My grandmother...

July 08, 1990
The Morning Call

Mrs. Mildred D. Nourse, 86, of 114 E. Wayne Ave., Easton, and Pine Run Community, Doylestown, died Saturday in Easton Hospital. She was the wife of Robert S. Nourse, who died in 1982.

Born in Woodmere, Delaware County, she was a daughter of the late Hugh G. and Pearl (Hobson) Dickinson.

Survivors: Son, Robert H., with whom she resided; daughter, Joan V., wife of Robert Martin of Bow, Wash., six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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John Thomas Nourse

Posted: May 19, 2008, 17:05:22 pm by jim

This is my great-great grandfather


Born: Milroy, Pennsylvania PA February 24, 1845
Died: Presidio of San Francisco February 17, 1933

John Thomas Nourse, 88, Called By Death

A veteran of the Civil War, who when a boy of 16, talked about the war with President Lincoln at the White House, answered the last roll call yesterday. He was John T. Nourse, for many years an active member of Lincoln Post, G.A.R., of this city, who passed away at Letterman Hospital, aged 88.

Shortly after war was declared in 1861, the lad left his mother's home in a little Pennsylvania village and went alone to WAshington, to ask for an oppointment to the Naval Academy. When he arrived at the White House the cabinet was in session, but Lincoln sent word by an attendant to have the boy wait.

After the cabinet session, he was ushered into the study, and Lincoln sat beside him on an old-fashioned hair sofa and began talking earnestly about the great civil conflict. The President was particularly eager to find out what the boys of that age thought about the war.

The young man was so fired with enthusiasm by Lincoln's talk that he forgot to ask for the appointment; he returned home and enlisted, first in the Thirteenth Pennsylvania Calvary, and later in the Twentiety Calvary, serving throughout the way.

Son of the Reverend James Nourse, a Presbyterian clergyman, Nourse was born in Milroy, Pennsylvania., February 24, 1845. He was said recently to be the oldest living graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, having received his law degree there in 1867. He practiced in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In 1886 he moved to Santa Ana, California and in 1890 was appointed postmaster of that city by President Harrison. In 1899 he moved to San Francisco.

He was a lifelong Republican and was identified with the Progressive movement in California. He belonged to the Masonic order and several years ago was presented with a gold button signifying fifty years of membership in the order.

His children were Sarah Harvey, deceased; Major Joseph P. Nourse, James R. Nourse, John T Nourse., Jr., and Bayard E. Nourse.

There are fourteen surviving grandchildren.

A sister, Mrs. Annie C. Marks resides at Chico.

John T. Nourse, 88, Who Talk Over War With Lincoln, Dies

SAN FRANCISCO, February 15 -- (Bee Bureau) -- John Thomas Nourse, 88, father of several well known Californian's, died yesterday from the infirmities of old age at Letterman General Hospital.

His Children are: Judge John T. Nourse of the California Appellate Court; James R. Nourse, editor of the San Francisco Examiner; Mrs. Annie C. Marks of Chico; Major Joseph P. Nourse, principal of the Galileo High School here, and Bayard Nourse of Alameda. He had fourteen grandchildren.

TALKED WITH LINCOLN -- He was a veteran of the Civil War and one of the most active members of the Grand Army of the Republic. He served as senior vice commander for the department of California and Nevada. When a boy of 16 he talked about the war with President Lincoln at the White House.

He went to Washington shortly after the war was declared to ask President Lincoln for an appointment tot he naval academy, President Lincoln asked him what the boys of the nation thought about the war.

Nourse was so excited that he forgot to ask for the appointment, but returned to his home at Milroy, PA., and enlisted in the cavalry.

He was said to be the oldest living graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He came to California in 1886, settling in Santa Ana. In 1899 President Harrison appointed hiim postmaster there.

Nephews and nieces included George N. Marks, Aberdeen, WA; Will J., James Harvey, and Miss Anna L. Marks, Chico, and Mrs. Reba W. Goodwin, Sacramento.

Services will be held at 10am Thursday at Gray's funeral parlors, Post and Divisadero Street, San Francisco>

Eleanor Maclary Pomeroy, born February 15, 1848 in Concord, Franklin Co., PA
Married on June 7, 1871

Sarah Harvey (Sally), born July 2, 1872 in PA
Joseph Pomeroy Nourse, born November 15, 1873 in Academia, Juniata Co., PA
James Rittenhouse, born August 19, 1875 in Academia, Juniata Co., PA
John Thomas Nourse, born March 3, 1877 in Academia, Juniata Co., PA
Bayard Everhart Nourse, born January 10, 1880 in Academia, Juniata Co., PA

Reverand James Nourse
Sarah North Harvey

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Joseph Pomeroy Nourse

Posted: May 21, 2008, 11:05:29 am by jim

My Great-Grandfather...


Born November 15, 1873 in Academia, Juniata Co., PA
Died February 17, 1954 in San Francisco, CA

From the San Francisco Public Schools Bulletin
Vol. XXV No. 22
February 23, 1954

Joseph Pomeroy Nourse, superintendent of San Francisco's Public Schools from 1936 to 1943, died last Wednesday at his home, 345 Arguello Boulevard, after a lengthy illness. He was 80 years old and his health had been failing for some time.

He was appointed superintendent of schools in 1936, succeeding Dr. Edwin Lee, who resigned.

Mr. Nourse served the school department for 42 years, retiring 11 years ago in 1943.

A mild-mannered, soft-spoken scholar, Mr. Nourse has commanded the respect and admiration of both parents and pupils in San Francisco since he entered the schools here as a regular teacher. Mr. Nourse was first invited to join San Francisco's School System in 1901 to teach Latin and Greek at Lowell High School. Eight years later he was appointed head of the classical languages department there.

His interest in military training have been strong from the time he chose Stanford instead of an appointment to West Point, Mr. Nourse organized the Lowell unit of the High School Cadets in 1915, and two years later was invited to command the entire San Francisco organization of cadets.

With his return to school duty after the Armistice ended his service with the Officers' Training Camp at the Presidio here, Mr. Nourse believed the time had come to organize an R.O.T.C. unit in San Francisco high schools. In 1919 his request, sanctioned by the Board of Education, to the War Department was granted, as well as a further request for a regular army officer as director. Major Winfield S. Overton was detailed to the command, and together, Mr. Nourse and Major Overton organized San Francisco's R.O.T.C. with the High School Cadets as a nucleus.

At this time Mr. Nourse wished to return to his chosen field as a teacher, and asked – his only personal request for appointment – to be sent to Humboldt Evening High School where he gained valuable experience with evening high schools and the field of adult education.

Mr. Nourse's fourth proffered appointment was to the High School of Commerce as vice-principal, where he remained until September, 1920, when he was named principal of Poly-technic High School during James E. Addicott's absence.

With Mr. Addicott's return, Mr. Nourse was immediately asked by the Board of Education to become principal and organizer of the proposed Galileo High School, which opened in 1921 in the old Red Cross Buildings in the Civic Center.

Mr. Nourse was born and received his early education in Academia, Pennsylvania. Coming to Santa Ana, California, with his family as a boy, he was graduated from Santa Ana High School, and then attended Stanford University, where he received his degree in 1897.

He returned to Santa Ana to teach three years, and then went to the University of California to study Greek preparatory to joining the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. It was while at the University of California that Mr. Nourse was given his first appointment by the San Francisco Public Schools and made his first decision in favor of teaching young people rather than studying ancient customs.

He served as president of both the San Francisco Teacher's Association and of the San Francisco Principals' Association. He was a member of the Affiliations Committee of the California Secondary School Principals' Association.

In addition to his wife Minnie, Mr. Nourse is survived by three children: Colonel Robert S. Nourse, now with the Army in Panama; Mrs. Frank Goodell of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Joan Nourse of San Francisco; two brothers: Bayard Nourse of Oakland, and Justice John T. Nourse of the State District Court of Appeal; and four grandchildren.

Funeral services were held last Thursday at N. Gray & Co., Divisadero and Post Streets.


The First Principal of Galileo


Joseph P. Nourse was appointed Principal of Galileo High School on December 10, 1920. He was asked by the Board of Education to become Principal and organizer of the proposed Galileo High School. Galileo High School opened in 1921 and was housed in the temporary Red Cross Building in the Civic Center.

Prior to being appointed Principal of Galileo High School, Major Nourse taught Latin and Greek at Lowell High School. Next he was appointed Vice Principal at Commerce High School, followed by being appointed Principal of Polytechnic High School. Major Nourse was the main organizer of the JROTC program for the San Francisco School District.

Students moved into Galileo on January 2, 1924. Major Nourse's most important instructions regarding the new school were: "Do not mar our school. Do not remain in the building after school hours; and don't pull up the surveyor's stakes in the adjoining lots or “You'll have a baseball diamond that looks like a pretzel!” Soon after students and faculty moved into Galileo High School, Nourse was very active in working with the architect to plan the layout of the addition to Galileo, namely the Polk Street Building.

Major Nourse believed in the value of shop training and it paid off well for him. One summer he journeyed down into the Central Valley. While there he called upon a certain young lady whom he thought was a little bit nicer than any other young lady he had met. During his visit the young lady's father was having trouble with an old fashioned clock. The father asked Joseph if he could fix the clock. Joseph fixed the clock, but went back home without the young lady. The following summer he visited the young lady and her father was most enthusiastic that the clock had kept perfect time all year. This time Joseph returned home with the young lady, who became his life long wife. Major Nourse encouraged all male students to take advantage of the shop classes.

Major Nourse resided in San Francisco on Arquello Boulevard. While he was Principal of Galileo High School, he lost both of his parents. His mother passed away at the age of 73 on November 4, 1928. His father lived until February 14, 1933 and was 88 when he died. Major Nourse's father frequently came to Galileo High School to share his Civil War escapades with the students. He met President Lincoln shortly after the Civil War began in 1861.

On March 22, 1933, Major Nourse joined the "Royal Order of Grandparents," with the birth of his first grandchild, Robert Hugh Nourse. In October 1924, Principal Nourse had the honor of hosting a group of visiting school superintendents who were in San Francisco for a conference.

On November 13, 1924, the Galileo Faculty hosted the 4th annual Birthday Party for Major Nourse. The faculty planned the party and the highlight was "sentencing" the principal to spend the rest of his life at Galileo High School. Major Nourse sat at the head of the table behind a large cake with the candles burning brightly. In front of 60 faculty members, just after he was sentenced to eternal life at Galileo, he replied, "I hope that when you become, in the words of a newspaper article recently, a 'little grayed-haired man with a one-sided smile' you will have such friends about you as I have now." Toasts during the evening praised Nourse's great qualities of leadership, great abilities, will and generosity.

Major Nourse was said to know all of the students after the first several months of school. He admired the brilliant students and befriended the boy or girl who may not be doing so well. He knew the accomplishments and failures of each of his 1100 students. He understood young people and their problems and gained the admiration and respect of the students. He was said to remember the best in everyone and forget all else.

Darrell Dounell, a noted radio commentator in San Francisco described Nourse as "the man who reaches for the stars but keeps his feet on the ground. Students were heard to say, "What will we do without Major Nourse?" One of his chief characteristics was that of modesty.

On May 12, 1936, Major Nourse was appointed Superintendent of Schools in San Francisco after 16 years as Principal of Galileo High School.

Ed. Note: I am indebted to Bettie Grinnell at Galileo Academy for providing us with this history of Major Nourse. Her tireless efforts to research and prepare this biography are greatly appreciated. Bettie will be writing the histories of all the Principals, and we will publish them in each issue of The Observer. The story of Major Nourse is an inspiration to all high school Principals. It is a gift for all Galileo students, faculty and alumni. Nourse Auditorium on Van Ness Avenue was named after Major Nourse. It is now the home of the San Francisco Unified School District offices.


Social Asset

Monday, Sep. 23, 1940
Time Magazine

In San Francisco high schools, one of the most popular extracurricular activities is contract bridge. Last year parents of students at Marina Junior High School got up a petition and persuaded School Superintendent Joseph P. Nourse, against his better judgment, to give bridge official standing: as an "experiment," Marina pupils were permitted to form a bridge club, spend one school period a week in practical study of their subject. The bridge club shortly became the biggest in the school.

Last week Superintendent Nourse, decreeing that "the common playing card" was not an educational material, unceremoniously ended the experiment. His decree threw San Francisco's school system into a furor. Indignant parents formed a committee, circulated petitions, marched to Mr. Nourse's office and demanded that contract bridge be made a part of the curriculum. Besides teaching youngsters 1) citizenship, 2) mathematics, 3) how to think, they declared that contract bridge was necessary to their children's vocational training. Explained Mrs. D. R. Minton: "I feel contract bridge is a social asset for my daughter's later life."


Minnie Sylvester, born June 3, 1878 Married on April 6, 1901

Robert Sylvester, born October 9, 1902 in Palo Alto, CA
Barbara Elizabeth, born January 1, 1905 in Berkley, CA
Joan, born November 9, 1909 in Palo Alto, CA

John Thomas Nourse, born February 24, 1845 in PA
Eleanor Maclay Pomeroy, born February 15, 1848 in Concord, Franklin Co., PA

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Colonel Robert Sylvester Nourse

Posted: May 16, 2006, 17:05:28 pm by jim

My Grandfather...


Born 9 OCT 1902 in Palo Alto, CA
Married: Mildred Dickinson
Died 22 MAY 1982 in Greenbrae, Marin County, CA.

Robert Hugh Nourse (b. 1933)
Joan Nourse

Buried in USMA Cemetery, West Point, NY
(formerly buried San Francisco National Cemetery, Presdio of San Francisco)

Attended Stanford University 1922-1923
Graduated West Point, 1926
Adjutant General, 1st Army, World War II
Retired, US Army June 29, 1956 at Presidio of San Francisco

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Posted: May 16, 2006, 17:05:28 pm by jim

My Great-Grand Father's Brother...


Judge Nourse was born in Academia, a small village in Juniata county, near the center of the state of Pennsylvania, on March 3, 1877, and he is son of John Thomas and Eleanor (Pomeroy) Nourse. After completing the public school courses, he matriculated at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and in 1900 this institution conferred upon him the degree of Bachelor of Arts. For a period of one year thereafter, he studied law in Stanford University, and in October, 1901, entered the law office of Major C. L. Tilden, noted San Francisco attorney. Supplementing his university training with this practical experience and observation, he passed his examinations and was admitted to the California state bar in March, 1902. He then became an assistant in the office of Percy Long, who was city attorney of San Francisco, and in this capacity Judge Nourse conducted legal affairs relative to the Hetch-Hetchy water rights and the right of the city to operate municipal railway lines over certain streets. He was assistant city attorney of San Francisco in the periods of 1904-06 and 1908-11. From 1911 until 1917, he served as deputy attorney-general of the state of California, and as such conducted all of the school and state bond issues and public land litigation. He was also adviser to Governors Johnson and Stephens. Judge Nourse first went upon the bench as a justice of the superior court of San Francisco in 1917, and retained this position until 1919, in which year he was appointed justice of the California district court of appeals. That his selection met with the favor of the voters is indicated in his regular election to this position in 1920 for a term of twelve years. In 1930, he was further honored by being chosen as presiding justice of this court. Judge Nourse’s record in the state judiciary has been unassailable. It had given him a permanent place of merit in the history of the state's courts and of prestige among his fellowmen. His decisions have always been subject to the most favorable criticism, for they have been based on a most comprehensive knowledge of the law and wide experience in the practice of the legal profession. He holds the profound respect of his contemporaries, and is an influential figure at the San Francisco bar.

Judge Nourse was married June 11, 1908, to Miss Ruth Hoppin, of San Francisco, daughter of Henry and Luella Hoppin. Judge and Mrs. Nourse are the parents of two children, John Lincoln and Elizabeth, and now reside at 666 Tennyson street in Palo Alto.

The political affiliation of Judge Nourse is with the republican party. He is a trustee of Stanford University, his alma mater, and is a member of the Masonic fraternity, of the Masonic Club, and the Commonwealth Club. He has been consistently attentive to his duties as a citizen of San Francisco, and has lent his cooperation and influence in numerous local movements of benefit to the community welfare.

Source: Byington, Lewis Francis, "History of San Francisco 3 Vols", S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1931. Vol. 2 Pages 182-186.

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