Island was built in 1900 by Brigadier General/ Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief
of the Grand Army of the Republic Harry C. Kessler (Born March 18,
1844-Died September 10, 1907).
General Kessler at Bluff Island
Date March 18, 1844-September 10, 1907
Description Harry C. Kessler, Brigadier General in the Union army
and partner in the lithographic firm Breuker & Kessler, was
born on March 18, 1844 in the Northern Liberties, Philadelphia.
In 1861, at the age of seventeen, he enlisted in the Union army,
where he served as first lieutenant of the 104th Pennsylvania Regiment
of Volunteers, fought in the Amy of the Potomac, and oversaw the
return of confederate prisoners to Camp Curtain in Pennsylvania
before resigning in 1863.
In 1864 he
clerked in Jacob Haehnlen's lithographic establishment at 125 South
Third Street, where he met fellow lithographer and future business
partner George W. Breuker, Sr. Together in 1866, they established
the "practical" lithographic firm of Breuker & Kessler
at Seventh and Chestnut Streets. Kessler remained with the company
until the mid 1870s, at which time he joined his brother, Charles
Kessler (b. 1851), in Butte, Montana. Harry's two younger brothers,
J. Millard (b. 1848) and William S. (b. 1846), assumed Harry's portion
of Breuker & Kessler.
In Montana, Harry purchased and mined land, established a newspaper
entitled the Butte Miner, married Josephine Alden Dillworth (b.
November 1846), and had two children, Josephine (b. 1878) and Harry
C., Jr. (b. 1883). Kessler served as Silver Bow county commissioner
and county treasurer, and designed what would later become the state
flag of Montana. In 1889 he formed the First Montana U.S. Volunteer
Infantry, now known as the National Guard. President William McKinley
brevetted Kessler to the rank of Brigadier General for his service
in the Spanish-American War with the First Montana Volunteers. In
August of 1903 he was appointed junior vice commander-in-chief of
the Grand Army of the Republic.
By 1905, Harry returned to Philadelphia with his family, and served
as president of Breuker & Kessler, with his son Harry, Jr. (b
1883) as treasurer. He died two years later from complications of
several diseases on September 10, 1907 at Jefferson Hospital in
Is part of
Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary of Lithographers
References See Breuker & Kessler.
Call number Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary of Lithographers
Bibliographic citation American Civil War Soldiers
Anaconda Standard, September 11, 1907
Census 1850, 1860, 1880, 1900
Diary of George G. Shubert, Temple University, 1866
Philadelphia Inquirer September 11, 1907
Tribute to Brigadier General Harry C. Kessler (House of Representatives
- May 12, 1998), LOC
U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles
U.S. Passport application, January 25, 1892
Harry Clay Kessler
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally
published June 10, 2015.
It's 1898 and Col. Harry Clay Kessler is
molding a group of volunteers into the 1st Montana Infantry to fight
in the war against Spain.
The recruits at Fort William Henry Harrison
are given a 45-star U.S. flag to carry as their regimental colors.
But that, however, is not good enough for
Kessler, according to the www.montanakid.com website. He wants something
special to distinguish Montana from the others and commissions a
unique Montana silk flag, 60 inches by 44 inches embroidered with
the state seal. The seamstress is told to use whatever colors she
"Col. Kessler's Flag" left for
the Philippines in 1898 and received a grand welcome upon its return
in 1899 from the Spanish-American War.
By that time, members of the media (known
then as "newspapers") tout the banner as the unofficial
state flag. Kessler gives the flag to the governor, who displays
it around Montana. Today, that flag is at the Montana Historical
Society. According to the Montana Secretary of State's website,
it became the official state flag in 1905.
Montana's state flag has undergone some tweaks
in 1905, 1981 and 1985, but has largely remained unchanged.
According to the Secretary of State's website,
the flag represents the state's history of mining and farming as
it features a pick, shovel and plow. A sun rises over mountains,
forests and the Great Falls of the Missouri River. A ribbon contains
the state motto "Gold and Silver" in Spanish.
This is the original banner for Montana. USV stands for U.S. Volunteers.
The flag was originally designed for the Montana 1st Volunteers
who fought for two years in the Philippines during the Spanish-American
War. It was known as the Kessler Flag in honor of Col. Harry Clay
Kessler, the commander of the volunteers who had it made.
It's likely that Kessler would roll in his
grave (which is in Pennsylvania) if he were to learn his beloved
flag ranked 49th out of 50 in a recent online poll sponsored by
a group that knows a thing or two about flag design.
Michael L. DeRosa,
Licensed Real Estate Broker & Auctioneer
The International Building 45 Rockefeller Plaza 20th Floor, Suite 2000
New York, NY 10111 Office: 212-757-1550
c. 315.406.7355 p. 315.685.7400
6926 Owasco Road Owasco, NY 13021 MichaelDeRosa@TheInternationalExchange.us