- I have edited the correspondence that remains from him and his wife. According to the 1880 census, he is a native, and his father was born in France, his mother in Cuba.
On his marriage record, he is named the son of "John DeGrange and Elisabeth."
in 1860, he is living with his wife in his father's household.
This is his Civil War record from Booth, though if his age when enlisted really was 25, he would have been born in 1836, not 1839:
De Grange, Joseph H., 1st Sergt. Pvt. 2nd Co. Battalion, Washington Artillery. Enlisted May 26th, 1861, New Orleans, La. Roll for July and Aug., 1861, Present. Reduced to ranks from 1st Sergt., June 27, order No. 9. Roll for Sept. and Oct., 1861, Absent on special duty at Manassas. Roll for Nov. and Dec., 1861, Discharged Dec. 10th, 1861, having obtained a substitute. Regtl. Return for Dec., 1861, Discharged by procuring a substitute, C. A. D. Thieneman. Occupation clerk, Res. New Orleans, La., age when enlisted 25, married. Present in following engagements: Bull Run, Va., 1861; Manassas, Va.; Munson's Hill, Va.; Lewinsville, Va.
In August and October of 1861, when he is reduced to ranks, both of his parents had died. I'd assume that he was absent and then left because he had to come home, and found a substitute to do so.
Also see Owen on the Washington Artillery; DeGrange appears twice in the volume. He is included on the Civil War page.
A turn-of-the-century picture of the Washington Artillery Hall is on the "New Orleans Histories" page. J.H. Degrange is also listed as a member of the association to build the statue to Gen. Beauregard, along with Alden M. Mclellan and William H. McLellan. DeGrange had apparently served under Beauregard at the First Battle of Bull Run (Beauregard and Johnston were the two Confederate generals at the battle). One would guess that his daughter Helen and Alden Miller's son Asahel met before or during the last decade of the century through this connection, perhaps at a function at this hall.
Early notices about him that appear in newspapers, in the later 1860s, refer to his work with the Jackson Fire Engine company and then, later, as a representative in the state legislature in the late 1860s. He also seems to have been a Mason and a member of other similar social clubs.
In the 1870 Census, Joseph H. and Ellen are living in the 2nd Ward, with "Hy," or Henry, "Ned," "Jo," "Ben," and Isabella (who is 1 and 1/2). Ellen McMillan is also living with them at this point, aged 10. This is the year that Joseph travels to New York and Boston, as recorded in their correspondence.
The letters by and to JHDegrange include many back and forth to Ellen on a trip to New York and Boston. Enclosed in one from Ellen is a newpaper clipping which mentions "Mr. Jos. H. Degrange, recently a member of the firm of Montgomery Bros., and also a Representative in the State Legislature, left yesterday evening for the North on a trip which he intends to combine business and pleasure. We trust his combination may be eminently successful." It is enclosed in a letter dated June 1869.
In 1881, he was in the procession for the funeral of James Garfield as a member of the Washington Artillery, Company B.
Note in the New Orleans Item, 10 Nov. 1891, page 2:
"MUNICIPAL MATTERS: the Board of Fire Commissioners Organized.
There was an executive session of the new Board of Fire Commissioners last evening in the Mayor's parlor. Mayor Shakepeare [sic] presided over the meeting. There were present: Messrs. Wellman, Fisher, Kuhner, Reilly, Noel, Simpson, Barker, DeGrange, and Pitard.
After the meeting had adjourned it was learned that Mr. J.H. DeGrange, member at large from the upper district, was chosen acting president of the Board. "
On August 31, 1913, appears this note in The New York Times:
"Col. Joseph de Grange of New Orleans, who has been in the American Hospital at Neuilly [France] for several weeks and undergone two operations, has arranged to leave Paris for America with his daughter, Mrs. A.W. Mclellan, by the Imperator on Sept. 11."
His funeral was at 1709 Prytania. He and his wife are buried in the DeGrange tomb in Metairie Cemetery. [1, 2, 3]