Loyal Legion Vignettes

(1838 Pennsylvania 1900 Pennsylvania)
Insignia Number 525, Original Member of the Pennsylvania Commandery
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

Keith G. Harrison, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief,
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and
Cary Randall Stone-Greenstein, Great Granddaughter of Henry Clay McIlvaine
(October 2006)

Chief Engineer Henry Clay McIlvaine
(During the Civil War) (Later in Life)
(Photographs courtesy of Cary Randall Stone-Greenstein)

Henry Clay McIlvaine was born February 20, 1838. He was the eldest son of John McIlvaine (1802 - 1865) and Elizabeth Rugan Matlack (1818 - ?). He was of Scottish decent from the Burns country; his ancestors having settled on Crum Creek, Ridley Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was educated at private schools (North West Grammar School in Philadelphia, Central High School, and the Philadelphia Polytechnic College). He served the full term of three years at the Pennsylvania Rail Road shops at Altoona; after which he entered the Baldwin Locomotive Works. During the same time, he was pursuing his studies at home in preparation for his admission to the Engineer Corps of the U.S. Navy. He passed his examination and was admitted to the U.S. Navy as 3rd Assistant Engineer February 17, 1860 at the age of 22 years.

His first cruise was made on the sloop-of-war USS Powhatan in the Home Squadron, to which he was ordered in May 1860. He subsequently served on the USS San Jacinto, East Gulf Squadron, in 1862 - 1863; and on the USS Augusta, North Atlantic Squadron, and USS Ticonderoga, South Atlantic Squadron, during 1863 - 1865. From 1865 - 1868, he served as an Instructor in Steam Engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy and also as Chief Engineer on the practice ship USS Winnipeg. His last service was on the USS Gettysburg as Chief Engineer 1868 - 1869. He resigned his commission on January 21, 1869.

USS Powhatan

USS Augusta

USS Ticonderoga

USS Gettysburg

Following his naval career, he entered the drug business in 1869 and was, at one time, President of the Drug Exchange of Philadelphia. He also was a member of the Union League of Philadelphia, Undine Barge Club, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Army and Navy Club of Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (Insignia #525).

On October 11, 1870, Henry C. McIlvaine married Fannie Nicholson Randall (March 19, 1848 - May 12, 1928). Before their first child, Alexander Randall McIlvaine, was born October 2, 1877, they had had seven miscarriages. When Alexander died on October 31, 1895, his mother went into mourning and wore black for the rest of her life. Henry and Fannie McIlvaine subsequently went on to have five other children:

Companion Henry Clay McIlvaine, throughout the U.S. Naval service and particularly within his own corps, was known as an ideal officer. His professional attainment, his readiness, and his scrupulous care in the accomplishment of what was required of him, made him beloved by all who knew him or who had the privilege of being his shipmate. He was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Companion McIlvaine died October 12, 1900 at the age of 62 at his residence in Philadelphia and was interred at West Laurel Hill.


Descendants of Henry Clay McIlvaine are eligible for hereditary membership in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS - founded by Civil War officers on April 15, 1865) and the Dames of the Loyal Legion of the United States (founded in 1899 as the auxiliary to the MOLLUS). For more information on either or both organizations, please visit each organization's national website:

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

Dames of the Loyal Legion of the United States


1) 1900. Memorial Tribute to Henry Clay McIlvaine, Chief Engineer, Pennsylvania Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.
2) 2006. Photographs of USS Powhatan, Augusta, Ticonderoga and Gettysburg. Wikipedia (
3) 2006. Personal communication from Cary Randall Stone-Greenstein to Keith G. Harrison.

Copyright © 2006 Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

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