Nashville Banner, Feb. 13, 1895. Biographical Sketch of a Well Known.
Mr. Edward Dunscomb, who died a few days ago, was born in Bermuda in 1806. His ancestors were driven from England under the persecutions of Mary, the daughter of Henry the 8th. On their voyage to America they encountered pirates and suffered from their depertations. They were wrecked near the island of Bermuda, where they landed and remained.
One of Dr. Dunscomb's ancestors was taken prisoner during the crusades, and sent to Constantinople. As he was a marshal of France, a great ransom was asked for him, but he preferred to remain in captivity rather than to have his family despoiled. He was a prisoner for some years. He became acquainted with a distinguished Arab, the principal physician of Saladin I, whom in order to beguile the time, he requested him to instruct him in his art. He consented to do so, under the condition that he would bind himself with an oath to practice medicine, and that his eldest son, and the eldest son of his descendants in a direct line from generation to generation, should do the same. This promise has been literally kept up to this time, and it was for this reason that Dr. Dunscomb studied medicine and practiced it in New York City. He was afterward a large ship-owner, but subsequently through the mismanagement of others, it is said, while he was absent in Europe, he lost his fortune, spending all his ample personal property to pay the debts and make good the name of his firm.
Dr. Dunscomb possessed wide and varied information on many subjects, which he was always ready to communicate. He was a man of fine presence, even in the weakness of old age. He was exceedingly kind-hearted, especially to the laboring classes. But his greatest possession was his faith in God and his devout spirit. This was known best to those who intimately (sic) connected with him, who saw his marked Bible and who heard his prayers in the family circle, morning and evening. After years of ailment and infirmity, it is a comfort to know that he rests in the Paradise of God.
New York Times, February 11, 1895 - Page 5, Part 1:
Dunscomb - In Nashville, Tenn. - on the evening of Feb 6, Edward Dunscomb, formerly of New York, in the 91st year of his age.
Edward Dunscomb died Friday at Nashville, Tenn. Mr. Dunscomb was born in Bermuda, in 1804, and spent his boyhood there, and in Georgia, where his father owned a large plantation. He entered Columbia College, and was a classmate of Hamilton Fish. On leaving college he established himself as a commission merchant, and for many years was one of the most prominent merchants in this city, having his office in Broad Street. The first locomotive consigned to this country - the "Stourbridge Lion," built in England for the Delaware & Hudson Company, came to him on May 17, 1829.
Mr. Dunscomb withdrew from business about 1849, went abroad with his family, and was gone for several years. His wife, who was Miss Seon of Bermuda, died while they were staying at Nuremburg, and her grave is next to that of Albert Durer. He married again in 1858, and his widow survives.
Mr. Dunscomb never returned to New York, but finally settled at Nashville, Tenn., where he lived a quiet life. He was a man of great force and character. He made up his mind very early that to hold negroes in slavery was an unrighteous thing, and the day he became of age he manumitted 106 on his Georgia plantation. Preceding and during the Civil War he was a staunch Unionist, and was at all times outspoken in his beliefs on the subject. He was a most scholarly man, and his knowledge of the Spanish people and literature was so thorough, that Secretary Fish strongly urged him to come out of his retirement and be appointed Minister to Spain. He declined to have his name suggested. Lately the infirmities of great age rendered him very helpless. He was a man of imposing presence, and, when with those he liked, of fascinating conversational powers. He left six children - Mrs. Harris Colt and Mrs. Joseph Darling of this city, Mrs. Joseph Ibbotson of Richfield Springs, N.Y., Edward Dunscomb of Glenwood Springs, Col., John G. Dunscomb of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Daniel Dunscomb of Toledo, Ohio.
Article from New York Daily Tribune, Sunday, February 10, 1895:
In an obituary notice of Colonel Benjamin Aycrigg, published a few days ago, it was stated that he was, before his death, "said to be the oldest living graduate of Columbia College." A classmate of his in the class of 1827 was, however, still living, although for some years marked with "the fatal asterisk of death" in the Columbia catalogue. This was Edward Dunscomb, of Nashville, Tenn., who was thus the last survivor of the class of 1827. A private dispatch just received in this city announces the death of Mr. Dunscomb, on Friday last, at Nashville, where he had lived for more than forty years. He was born in Bermuda in 1804, and his great age made him very feeble during the last few years of his life. Mr. Dunscomb was a most scholarly man, and was a great favorite of Hamilton Fish, who desired him to take the office of Minister to Spain during the time that he (Fish) was Secretary of State. But Mr. Dunscomb was always averse to holding political office, and would not listen to the proposition. Secretary Fish knew that his thorough knowledge of the Spanish language, which he spoke fluently, and his acquaintance with that country's history would enable him to fill the office with success. Mr. Dunscomb inherited in Georgia a plantation with many slaves, and the day he came of age emancipated every one. He always had a peculiar horror of slavery, and in spite of his early life in Bermuda and Georgia always looked upon it as a curse. He was always an ardent Union man, and never hesitated to speak out his views, no matter how hostile his audience. A crayon portrait, taken about eight years ago, shows a venerable and strikingly handsome face. He leaves six children: Mrs. Harris Colt and Mrs. Joseph Darling, of New York; Mrs. Joseph Ibbotson, of Richfield Springs, N.Y.,; Edward Dunscomb, of Glenwood Springs, Col.; John G. Dunscomb, of Brooklyn, and Daniel Dunscomb, of Toledo, Ohio.
Inquiries to the Georgia Dept. of Archives & History, Duke University, and the Bertram Trial Regional Library failed to reveal any information on the plantations mentioned in these obituaries. The Bertram Trail Library is located in Washington, Georgia. Edward's son John wrote a letter from Washington, Georgia, leading me to think there might be some connection (see notes under Edward's son John for the text of the letter).