John F

John F. Breaky, Civil War Veteran

1.  (Unknown1).  This entry is recorded in rather an unusual manner because the name of the Breaky ancestor is unknown, yet documentation exists for six children. 

    2.     i.      John2 F. Breaky, b. County Monaghan, Ireland, 17 March 1825.

    3.     ii.      Isabella, b. Ireland, 1839

      iii.     Sarah, b. 1840; d. 1876 of TB. Buried Rensselaer Falls Cemetery, St Lawrence        County, New York.

      iv.     Andrew; no issue.

       v.     James, no issue. After living for a while in the United States, he returned to Ireland  to live  with a sister until he died

      vi.      Sister living in Ireland.

2.  John2 (unknown1) F. Breaky was born in County Monaghan Ireland, 17 March 1825.  It is not known when he came to the United States, but he was living in northern New York State as of 1864 when he enlisted in the service of the United States at Malone, NY on 6 Sept. 1864 for the war of 1861.  He was enrolled on 7 Sept. 1864 at Malone, NY in the 13th Regiment of New York Cavalry Volunteers, Co. F, commanded by Captain Taylor, and was mustered into service as a Private on that date.

War Department records report him received at Hart Island rendezvous, NYH 13 Sept.1864, and sent to 13th Regiment of NY Cavalry 20 October 1864.  Detachment delivered at Soldiers Rest, Washington, DC  6 Oct. 1864.  Muster Roll of the 13th Regiment reports him  (Brakey) absent on detached service permanently assigned as teamster to Co for RO #257, dated 28 Nov. 1864.  Muster roll records for January-April, 1865 show him present as a bugler.  Further documents from the Adjutant General’s Office, 11 October 1873 indicate “name sometimes borne as John Breaky.”  His personal description at enlistment was as follows: height, 5 feet 2 ¾ inches; complexion, light; color of eyes, blue; color of hair, light; occupation, farmer (Declaration for Pension  March 4,1907).

At the time John Breaky’s application for invalid pension was filed, 25 Nov. 1868, he was a resident of Canton (PO address: Rensselaer Falls, NY) in St. Lawrence County, New York.  The purported injury occurred on or about the 7 March 1865 during a charge on the village of Aldie in the state of Virginia. It is reported that his horse tripped and fell upon him while going on a full run.  Other horses then passed over and struck him while on the ground, causing the pummel of his saddle to press in against and a little above the left groin, producing a rupture just above the left groin.  Record of events on roll for March and April 1865 report that John Breaky’s company was attacked by a force of Mosby’s guerillas near Lewinsville, Virginia on 12 March 1865.

John F. Breaky was mustered out on 30 June 1865 at Fairfax Court House, Virginia; he was honorably discharged from duty at Washington, DC on 4 July 1865. Mr. Breaky’s application for invalid pension commenced in 1868 was resolved in 1904 when in accordance with the provisions of the Act of June 27, 1890, and as amended by the Act of May 9, 1900, the Bureau of Pensions noted that he was entitled to twelve dollars per month commencing the first day of October 1904. John F. Breaky was dropped from the pension rolls due to his death on 24 March 1907, last being paid twelve dollars to January 1907.

Family tradition shared by John Breaky’s grandson, Ivan Breaky, supports the war records as well as resolves the mystery surrounding the spelling of the surname.  Ivan relates: “My grandfather fought in the Civil War and his name on his “dog tag’ was John F. Breaky, without the “e.”  …In order to get his pension, he had to take it under the name John F. Breaky without the “e.”…so his children carried the same spelling.  But in the old deeds the name was spelled Breakey.”  (See author’s notes  (#1) at conclusion of the lineage.)

John F. Breaky married Jane Foster, born circa 1835, (alive on 23 Jan. 1908 when her name appeared in a General Affidavit received by the US Pension Office dated 25 Jan. 1908), and is listed as John Brakey in the 1880 New York State Census for St. Lawrence County with six of their nine children.  Missing from the census record are daughters Sarah Jane, Margaret, and Mary. 


i.            Sarah3 Jane, born 25 Dec. 1852; died 1937

ii.            Margaret Elizabeth, born 14 Feb. 1854

iii.                      Mary, born July 1856; died 1939

iv.           John F., born 7 April 1860; died 1936

4.         v.           Andrew, born 22 July 1862; died 1944

vi.                      Isabell, born 15 April 1864; died 24 Jan. 1966; married ? Tate

vii.                    Rachel, born 10 June 1867; died 1947; married Rich Fairbanks

viii.                  Eliza (Ella) born 10 April 1869

5.          ix.          Thomas James, born 11 October 1870; d. 29 Aug. 1966

3.  Isabella2 (unknown1) Breaky was born in Ireland in 1839/40; died 1905.  She married William Thompson, born Nov. 1835 in New York State; died in 1906.  Both are buried in the Rensselaer Falls Cemetery, St. Lawrence County, New York.  Most probably it was this William Thompson who witnessed John F. Breaky’s application for invalid pension dated 25 Nov. 1868. [John F. Breaky’s great granddaughter, Virginia Greene, recalls family stories that William Thompson and John F. Breaky went to war together.] 


6.         i.          William3 J. Thompson born May 1863 in NY

ii.                   Sarah Thompson born ca. 1865 in NY

iii.                  George Thompson, b. 1869; d. 1930

iv.                 John Thompson, b. 1867 NY; d.1941; md. Eva ? (1880-1930)

v.                   James Thompson, b. May 1871

4.  Andrew3 (John2, unknown1) Breaky was born 22 July 1862; died 1944.  He married Eva Allen.


i. Allen4, b. 20 Oct. 1885; d. 22 Feb. 1963

5.  Thomas3 (John2, unknown1) James Breaky was born 11 Oct. 1870; died 29 Aug. 1966 in Ogdensburg, NY.  He married Sarah Edith Wheater, b. 5 July 1875; d. 9 Jan. 1971.


i.                     John4 Wheater Breaky, b. 1902; d. 1978; md. Ella ?; no issue

7.         ii.          Ivan Breaky, b. 26 May 1904

8.        iii.           Bernice Breaky, b. 22 August 1912

9.        iv.           Hadwin James Breaky, b. 21 Jan. 1918

6.  William3 (Isabella2, unknown1) J. Thompson was born May 1863 in NY; d. 1919.  He married Bertha Barriger, b. 26 July 1878 Winchester, Dumas, Ontario, Canada; d. 1957; buried Canton, NY. 


10.       i.           Charlotte4 Thompson, b. 16 Oct. 1895 Potsdam, NY

ii.                   Lottie May Thompson

iii.                  Beatrice Mildred Thompson, b. 1903; md. 1921 Sherman Paro

iv.                 William, Jr. Thompson, b. 1897; md. 1921 Edith Brabaw

v.                   Charles Thompson 

vi.                 Lena Agnes Thompson, b. 1904, Canton, NY; md. 29 April 1920 Maitland Coffey

7.  Ivan4 (Thomas3, John2, unknown1) Breaky was born 26 May 1904; died 17 July 1994; buried in Huevelton, NY.  He married Doris D. born 21 Aug. 1905; died 14 May 1942.  He married second Pauline J., born 25 July 1903; died 10 Jan. 1995; buried in Gouverneur, NY.  They resided in Rensselaer Falls, NY.


i.          Virginia5 Ann

8.  Bernice4 (Thomas3, John2, unknown1) Breaky was born 22 August 1912.  She married Emmett ? and resided in Norwood, NY. 


           i.           Norma5  

                    ii.           Ronald 

                    iii.          Gary 

iv.          Phillip 

                    v.           Steven 

9.  Hadwin4 (Thomas3, John2, unknown1) James Breaky was born 21 Jan. 1918.  He married Gertrude.


11.    i.           Hadwin5 Lee Breaky

10.  Charlotte4 (William3, Isabella2, unknown1) Thompson was born 16 Oct. 1895 in Potsdam, NY; died 11 Jan. 1972; buried Jordan, NY.  She was married in Pierpont, NY on 31 July 1911 to Franklin Lewis Roberts, b. June 1890 Colton, St. Lawrence County, NY.  Franklin Roberts served in WW I, never returning from the war.  Charlotte married second ? Keller.


    .     i.          Frances5 Lottie Roberts b. 15 March 1912 Pierpont, NY 

          ii.                   Jeannette Roberts

          iii.                  Bertha Roberts md. Mr. Flieesh

          iv.                 Alfred Roberts


Author’s notes (#1):

            In view of the family tradition surrounding the spelling of the Breaky surname, I wish to provide several brief excerpts from the war records obtained from the National Archives in July 1982.

25 Nov. 1868:  Application for Invalid Pension

Within the document, the name John Braeky appears; however, the legal signature reads: John Breaky.  Witnesses to this document (legal signatures): William Thompson & John Spear.

11 October 1873:  Adjutant General’s Office

“It appears from the rolls on file in this office that John *Brakey was enrolled on the 7th day of Sept. 1864…”

“Name sometimes borne as John Breaky.”

*In front of name directs reader to bottom of the page that states: “See new report.”

1 October 1885:  Matter of Claim

Within the document appears the name John Breaky.

20 August 1886:  War Department, Adjutant General’s Office

“John Brakey, a pv’t (Re’t) of company F, 13th Regiment NY Cavalry…”

4 November 1895: Notarized Statement, County of St. Lawrence, State of New York

In the matter of a pension claim Henry Bucklin appeared before a Notary Public attesting to the fact that he had been personally acquainted with John Brakey since 1864.

21 July 1897:  General Affidavit

Affiant Julius Wohlfarth states he has known John Breaky since 1862.

21 July 1897:  General Affidavit

Affiant William Crane states he has known John Breaky since 1861.

29 September 1904:  Declaration for Invalid Pension

“On this 29th day September, A.D. one thousand and nine hundred and four personally appeared before me, a Notary Public within and for the county and state aforesaid, John Braky…”

Legal signatures:  John Breaky

Attest: Hollis J. Doty

            J. J. Whiteford

6 December 1904: US Department of Interior, Bureau of Pensions

“It is hereby certified that in conformity with the laws of the United States John Breaky who was a bugler, Co. F. 13th Regiment, New York volunteer Cavalry is entitled to a pension under the provisions of the Act of June 27, 1890.”

1 March 1907:  Act of February 6, 1907, Declaration for Pension

State of New York

County of St. Lawrence

“On this 1st day of March A.D. one thousand nine hundred and seven personally appeared before me, a Notary Public within and for the county and State aforesaid, John Braky who, being duly sworn according to law declares that he is 77 years of age, and a resident of Rensselaer Falls, county of St. Lawrence, State of New York; and that he is the identical person who was enrolled at Malone, NY, under the name of John Braky on or about 17th day of November, 1864 as a private first, then bugler in Co. F. 13th Regiment New York Volunteers in the service of the United States in the Civil War…”

Legal signature: John Breaky

Witnesses (legal signatures):

Hollis J. Doty

Robert McBride

Merrill H. Craig, Notary Public

On this document there appears two stamped notations:

  1. Validity accepted
  2. US Pension Office: dated 4 March 1907

23 January 1908:  General Affidavit

“In the matter of the claim of Jane F. Braky widow of John Braky deceased late of Co. F 13th NY Vol. Cav.,” a notarized statement by George A. Waters attesting that he had personally “known John Braky and his wife Jane Braky for forty years & have known that they have lived together as man and wife during all this time.”

In conclusion, I would like to add that the nineteen pages of war and pension records from the National Archives do not dispute the family tradition as shared by John F. Breaky’s grandson, Ivan Breaky: “My grandfather fought in the Civil War and his name on his ‘dog tags’ was John Breaky without the ‘e.’ And, so it was: John Braky.  Further, during those nearly forty years covered by the war and pension records, the legal signature of the Civil War veteran was always that of “John Breaky.”


Author’s notes (#2):

The reader might well ask, “Why so much documentation of the surname ‘Breaky?'  I have offered such details with the hope that, although no documentation exists for the progenitor of John F. Breaky, certain data in my files may one day facilitate another’s search.  In that vein I also wish to add the following:

1.  William Breaky of Rockcorry, County Monaghan, Ireland, and his wife, Jane Dale Breaky, resided in Farnham Center, Quebec, not so very far ‘as the crow flies’ from John and Jane Foster Breakey in St. Lawrence County, New York.  South of Farnham Center and to the northeast of Frelighsburg, which lies on the Quebec/Vermont border east of Lake Champlain, is Dunham, Quebec, where William Breaky sustained the fatal injury that led to his death.[1]

2.  The name of John Spears (see Application for Invalid Pension, 25 Nov. 1868) has been previously linked to the family of Breakey.  The following excepts are taken from Book I of The Memoirs of Thomas C. Breakey (1834-1914) of Drumskelt House as edited by Dr. Edward P. Breakey (p.11):

“Father’s uncle, Isaiah Breakey of Millmore House (as it is now called) had four sons.  John came first…George came next…Next to George Breakey came Andy”(p.11).  Dr. Edward P. Breakey states in a footnote:  “Andrew of Corryhagen House.  His son, Hans Denaston, came to Canada and settled on the Chaudiere River south of Quebec where he founded the lumber manufacturing and pulp wood business inherited and greatly expanded by his son John Breakey (born there 9 April 1846).  See Canadian Men and Women of the Time, 1912.  Breakeyville, situated about 10 miles south of Quebec, was named for this family.

3.  Thomas C. Breakey in his Memoirs (Book I, p. 12) continues:

“It was Captain Johnstone who gave the house its present name.  Isaiah Breakey called it Sallyvale, others Milford, and people this side Greenvale.  John Breakey, called “Whitehead,’ who lived in and built the house now occupied by John Spear, and his brother Billy the bon, built and lived in the house now occupied by William Douglas, went to America with their families when the Vernors raised rents to £1-12-6.”

4.  Public Record Office of Northern Ireland: Document D236/226 -

On 18 January 1812 an indenture was made between Philip Diamond, William Breakey and Isabella Breakey, all of Corryhagan, and William Verner of Church Hill in the county of Armagh.  This indenture was for “that part and parcel of the town and lands of Corryhagen now in their pofsefsion containing by estimation twenty acres and twenty-six perches Irish Plantation Measure.”

5.  The townland of Corryhagan lies approximately one and a half miles east of the village of Rockcorry, both locales being situated west of Ballybay (Peadar Murnane to author, 25 May 2000).

6.  .John F. Breaky had a sister named Isabella; he also had a daughter named Isabell.  That Christian name appears very seldom in my research files of Breakeys, if at all outside of this family.  Was this an example of the Irish naming custom?


Conclusion:  further research is needed to determine whether links exist between John F. Breaky (1825-1907) of St. Lawrence County, NY and William Breaky (1787-1845) of Farnham, Quebec, Canada and William and Isabella Breakey of Corryhagan, County Monaghan, Ireland.



Mr. & Mrs. Ivan Breaky

Mr. John Wheater Breaky

Mrs. Virginia Breaky Greene

Mrs. Carol Smith Ring

Mrs. Sheila Merner

Mrs. Margaret Mosher

1880 NY State Census for St. Lawrence County

National Archive Military & Pension Records

St. Lawrence County Historian Records

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Memoirs of Thomas C. Breakey

Marilyn J. Breakey

Harrington House

Baldwinsville, NY


May 2000


[1] Sheila Merner to author, 27 Sep 1979 ( I have enclosed a photostat of a page from the 7th Volume from the Historical Society):  “In 1840 the fair was held in Frelighsburg and again in 1841 Dunham had its innings and the fair was held on the third Thursday in September at 10 o’clock.  H. M. Chandler was the secretary but no mention was made as to who was the president.  It was at this fair, which was held on the land of Levi Stevens, a fatal accident occurred.  While Benjamin Wing was exhibiting his Arabian Stallion, William Breaky, of Farnham was kicked by the horse and died almost instantly.”