Rediscovering Both a Painting and a Face: Martina Louisa (Condict) Brandegee, by Cecilia Beaux c. 1903

They say there are several deaths. The death of your body. The death of the last person who could remember you when you were alive. And, the last moment anyone speaks your name.

I think we could add to this list, perhaps near but not at the end, the death that occurs when your actual appearance is forgotten.

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Grace Church, Utica, N.Y.


No description of John J. Brandegee’s life would be complete without a specific mention of the church he helped found, Grace Church, in Utica, N.Y.


A passage from the church’s history reads:

The cornerstone was laid on July 10, 1856, but by September 1859, it seemed as if the edifice might never be completed due to financial problems. However, the Rev. John J. Brandegee, third rector, was a man of great courage and experience and it was through his persistence that enough money was raised to finish the church and pay off the mortgage. On May 20, 1860, the first service was held in the new church and on Easter Day, 1864, the $30,000 mortgage was paid. The church was consecrated on August 16, 1864, but unfortunately, Dr. Brandegee died a week after presenting the last offerings which freed the church from its debt. Truly it may be said of him that “…his real offering was himself, and that the church is his enduring memorial.”

Today, the church is still going strong, and actually houses several portraits of Brandegee, a bust of him, as well as one of the few extant contemporary copies of his book of sermons.

[Note: I have extremely low resolution photos of these portraits, kindly sent to me in the mid 90s by the church’s minister or perhaps historian, which I debated putting up here. The reproductions really need to be redone from the originals, though, in good lighting, with modern camera technology; even an iPad would probably be fine. A project for another day, however.–LSL]




The location and contact details for Grace Church are as follows:


Website for the church is here.

Facebook page is here.

Wikipedia entry is here.

An online walking tour can be viewed here. Note there are some irritating pop-up ads with this, but I still enjoyed it.

Lastly, you can get in touch at:

6 Elizabeth St,

Utica, NY 13501

Tel: (315) 733-7575


Google Maps:



Rev. John J. Brandegee Marries Miss Martina L. Condict

I found this in  NYC Marriage & Death Notices 1843-1856, available here. It is a contemporary announcement of the marriage of Rev. John J. Brandegee to Martina Condict. Since the marriage took place in New Jersey, I presume the notice was placed for social purposes and has no legal value.







The text of the entry reads: “MARRIED 1852: On Tuesday evening, June 1st, at St. Peter’s Church, Morristown, by Rev. Charles W. Rankin, Rev. John J. Brandegee, Rector of St. Michael’s Church, Litchfield, Conn., to Miss Martina L. Condict, daughter of Hon. Lewis Condict, of this Town.”

I have to confess it was fun to find this. Why? Really, it’s just an entry of an old fact in a decrepit, crumbling, little book of old facts. Perhaps because it reminds me there was a time when their marriage was actually news. Nothing of their lives together was “written.” And people, hearing of this, felt hope and good cheer.

Rev. John Jacob Brandegee

The following brief biography of Rev. John J. Brandegee (Edward Deshon “Ned” Brandegee’s father) is taken from the book, Genealogical Record of the Condit Family, Descendants of John Cunditt, 1678 to 1885,  by Jotham H. Condit and Eben Condit, Newark, 1885, pp.233-4, available online here and in paperback here; also reprinted in Condits and Cousins: The Condits and Their Cousins in America, Vol.6, edited by Norman I. Condit, Owensborough, KY, 1980—LSL

[An additional note, you can read Brandegee’s collected sermons online, here. I also have a .pdf of them which I will eventually post.–LSL]



A sketch of Rev. John J. Brandegee.


MARTINA L. CONDIT (Condict) (of Dr. Lewis) married. June 1, 1852, Rev. John J. Brandegee, D. D., who was born at New London, Conn., July 25, 1823. He was the son of John and Mary Brandegee, one of whom was of Dutch and the other of French extraction. Both families had long previously settled in this country. Dr. Brandegee spent his early youth at New London, and in 1843 graduated at Yale College with a high reputation as a scholar. He was confirmed by Bishop Brounell at New Haven, at the age of 18. Before graduating he formed the purpose of studying for the ministry, and on Sept. 27, 1843, he entered the General Theological Seminary, at New York City, where he completed his course of preparation, and was ordained a deacon by Bishop Brownell, July 3, 1846, at Hartford, Conn. After his ordination he went with an invalid brother to the West Indies, where he labored for two years. On his return he was ordained to the priesthood, Jan. 24, 1849, by Bishop Henshaw, of Rhode Island, at New London, Conn. At this time he was laboring in the parish of St. Michael, Litchfield, Conn., where he continued until February 4, 1854. He then entered upon his duties as rector of Grace Church, Utica, N.Y., and remained there during life, though repeatedly invited to other attractive fields. In the ten years of service at Utica his labors were abundantly blessed, and to his efforts may be credited the erection of the beautiful edifice now occupied by the parish of Grace Church. The cornerstone was laid in July, 1856, but the church was not opened for divine services until May 20, 1860. The last two years of Dr. Brandegee’s labor was frequently interrupted by sickness, which finally resulted in his death April 6, 1864. In 1867 his widow published a volume of sermons which he had preached at different periods of his ministry of eighteen years. They indicate a mind of uncommon intellectuality and breathe a spirit of true devotion to the service of the Master.  She died Dec. 11, 1904.

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Martina Elmendorf’s Diary, 1802

In August of 1802, Martina Elmendorf (who would go on to marry Lewis Condict) started a diary… Perhaps diary is not the exact right word. It seems to be a combination of a calendar and a sort of serial acknowledgement/ recitation of what she was learning in school and church. But diary will suffice.

I confess at the outset, I have not read it in any detail. My main effort, so far, has simply been to get it reproduced and available to others, and hopefully ensure its survival – beyond the reach of fire and flood –  into the future.

Consider this a place holder. I’ll post more when I have it.






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The First Presbyterian Churchyard, Morristown, NJ

Lewis Condict and many of his family are buried in the graveyard of The First Presbyterian Churchyard  Morristown, NJ.

Contact information:



Phone 973-538-1776

Fax 973-538-7879

The Presbyterian Church in Morristown has two facilities:

  • Church on the Green – 57 East Park Place   [This is the one you want.]
  • Parish House – 65 South Street

Information on the graveyard itself:

Google maps:


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The Lewis Condict House in Morristown, NJ

The Lewis Condict House still stands at 51 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. White, with a large and spacious interior, it is home to The Women’s Club of Morristown.


A reddish plaque outside reads: “Dr. Lewis Condict House—1797—Dr. Condict, outstanding public servant, was first president of the Morris County Medical Society, congressman, and first president of the Morris & Essex railroad.” A letter on the wall of the main downstairs hallway  is from General Lafayette to Lewis Condict, thanking him for a speech given in his honor.

The website for The Women’s Club is here.

There is also a Facebook page, here.

or get in touch at…

The Woman’s Club of Morristown
51 South Street,
Morristown, NJ 07960, USA

Tel (973) 539-0467
Fax (973) 539-1505

GPS Coordinates and driving directions:


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