Keeper Bio: DePass, John Jacob

Date of Service: 1870

1826:  John Jacob DePass (half Spanish/Portuguese and half Negro) is born in London, England, to parents Abraham & Sarah DePass.

1860:  The U.S. Census shows John and his family living in New Orleans, LA.

1861:  John DePass enlists in Company E of the 1st Infantry Regiment Louisiana National Guard. DePass was commissioned to 1st Lieutenant in Company E, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, a regiment of “Free Colored” men that supported the Union cause.

1862: John DePass enlisted in the 73rd USCT and was mustered in as Captain of Company F.

1863:  The commanding officer of the 73rd USCT requests the resignation of all non-white officers. DePass resigned in February.

1866:  John marries Celestine Butt in Norfolk, VA. They had one son.

1870: John DePass is named Principal Keeper at Craney Island Lighthouse, VA., in May, where he remains until August 1870. (His wife Celestine DePass served as First Assistant)

1892:   John DePass died on June 3, at the age of 60 in Albany, NY. He is buried at the Albany Rural Cemetery, Albany, NY.

Sources: Chesapeake Chapter Keeper’s Database;;; Charles W. Davidson (g-g-grandson) and Mark Bodnar (ARC Trustee)




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