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A loyalist gift to a queen.

Thadeus Empey, the son of Jacob William Empey and Mary Rombough of Osnabruck Township, Stormont, Ontario, was born on 24 May 1830. Thadeus was the grandson of the Loyalist, William Empey UE and his wife, Eve Von Hildenbrandt. He was also the great grandson of the Loyalist, Phillip Empey UE and his wife, Maria Elizabeth Barbara Schults. Both Phillip and William served in the King's Royal Regiment of New York. Thadeus Empey's great-grandmother, Maria Elizabeth Barbara, was brutally assaulted and beaten by the Rebels and then abandoned on the High Road near Schenectady, New York, during the American Revolution. She died a few days later from her injuries.

The 15 February 1901 issue of the Cornwall Standard, Cornwall, Ontario, indicates that "George. E. Miller of Morrisburg had the pleasure to run across Thadeus M. Empey while travelling as a commercial traveller through the American West. George indicated that no other man is better or more favourably known throughout the Pacific States and territories than Thadeus Empey. His anecdotes and descriptions of the ups and downs of the careers of others as well as himself would make a very large sized book were it put into print."

Thadeus left Dickinson's Landing for California on 24 March 1854. First he went to New York City. From there he took the steamer North Star to the Isthmus of Panama. He crossed the Isthmus to Aspinwall and then went by the steamer Yankee Blade to San Francisco. He was then in every important mining camp in California, Nevada, Arizona and along the Pacific coast.

Queen Victoria was born on 24 May 1830, the same day as Thadeus Empey. The 30 January 1901 issue of The Arizona Republican, Phoenix, Arizona, gives the following correspondence between Thadeus Empey and Queen Victoria's secretary:

"Tombstone Arizona May 10th 1865

Sir--Being a Canadian born and a loyal subject of the Most Gracious Majesty and having the good fortune to appear on this mundane sphere on May 24th 1830, I take the liberty specially at the present juncture of affairs in general of expressing my loyalty to and affection for my sovereign by forwarding to you for presentation to Her Majesty a small silver brick made from the ores of Tombstone mining district and earnest wish her that the birthday of my Queen will not be forgotten even in far off Arizona and wish my fervent prayer that Her Majesty may be spared to witness many anniversaries on our natal day. With every sentiment for respect I remain your most obedient humble servant.


Thadeus Empey

The Right Hon. Sir Henry Ponsoby Windsor Castle"

The reply reads as follows:

"Buckingham Palace June 5th 1865 Sir I am commanded by the Queen to thank you for the kind expressions contained in your letter, and for the silver brick which you have presented to Her Majesty. I have the honour to be,

Sir, Your obedient servant Henry Ponsoby Thadeus M. Empey Esq. Tombstone Arizona, United States of America."

Thadeus Empey kept this treasured correspondence securely locked up in his safe only showing it to a few select friends. After he died on 29 January 1901 in Phoenix, Arizona, a letter from his only surviving sibling, Sidney Empey, was found among his personal effects. This letter said that Sidney Empey was well-to-do and he extends an invitation to Mr. Empey to come home with him. As is so frequently the case, the letter came too late.

Prepared by George Anderson UE, based on information by Frank Cooper UE, a Past Dominion President. Both are descendants of Philip and Maria Elizabeth Barbara Empey.
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Title Annotation:Thadeus Empey's birthday gift of silver brick to Queen Victoria
Author:Anderson, George
Publication:The Loyalist Gazette
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 22, 2012
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