Filkins, Morgan L.

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Morgan Lewis Filkins was born in Berne 20 Aug. 1829 son of Richard Filkins and his second wife Catherine Angle. He was the twentieth of twenty-five children of his father.


Mr. Filkins received an academical education; studied medicine at Honesdale, Penn. In the 1850 federal census he single and a doctor in Berne.

Marriage & Children

Morgan Filkins married Henrietta Blackman and they had three sons and a daughter,[1]

  • Edward B Filkins b. 1854
  • Charles Filkins, b. 1857; he also became a doctor.
  • George L. Filkins b. 1858
  • Alida Filkins

Military Service

Residence: Native of Berne
Enlistment Date: 11 Oct 1862[2]
Enlistment Place: Albany, NY[2]
Enlistment Rank: Captain[2]
State Served: New York
Regiment: 177th Infantry [2]
Company: Company G[2]
Muster Out Date: 10 Sep 1863[2]
Muster Out Place: Albany, NY[2]
Additional Remarks: Enlisted at the age of 36 to serve 9 months. Commissioned captain, November 24, 1862, with rank from November 1, 1862. [2] Soldier applied for pension on April 15, 1891, his widow Henrietta A., applied on June 27, 1896.
Sources Used:, American Civil War Soldiers and CW Pension index; 1850 census, Berne, Albany Co., NY; 1890 Veteran's census, Syracuse, Monroe Co., NY, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York for the year 1905.


He engaged in the Patent Medicine business, being the inventor of Dr. Filkin's Sugar Coated Pills. After his marriage He became the proprietor and manufacturer of his father-in-law’s Blackman's Genuine Healing Balsam and Valuable Strengthening Plasters. He was Postmaster in Albany, NY 1871 -1877.[3] Member of New York state assembly from Albany County 2nd District, 1859, 1864.[4]


Morgan died on June 13, 1896 at Rochester, NY; his wife died on May 28, 1907 at Danbury CT, both are buried at Albany Rural Cemetery in Albany, NY.


ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 13—Dr.Morgan L. Filkins died this morning at his residence in this city, aged 70 years. He was formerly postmaster of Albany where his body will be taken for burial. He was prominent in G.A.R and Masonic circles of this State.

Albany Evening Journal, May 31, 1907
Mrs. Henrietta Blackman Filkins, widow of Dr. Morgan L. Filkins, who was at one time postmaster of Albany, died on Wednesday at the home of her niece, Mrs. M.C. Austin, of Danbury, Conn.
Mrs. Filkins lived in Rochester but had been visiting for the winter with her niece. She is survived by a son, Charles Filkins, of Rochester; by two sisters, Mrs. Henry R. Flansburg of Albany, and Mrs. Albert Thompson of Danbury, Conn., and by several nieces among whom are Mrs. Austin of Danbury, Conn., and Mrs. Harry G. Eyres of this city.
The funeral services were held in Danbury this afternoon and the body will be brought to Albany for burial tomorrow. Interment will be in the Rural cemetery.

Additional Research Notes

Additional Media



Mr. Filkins is the twentieth of twenty-five children, and was born in 1826, in the town of Berne, Albany county, N. Y., of English and Dutch descent. His paternal ancestors were originally from Dutchess county, and his father, who was a volunteer in the war of 1812, after living a while in Rensselaer, removed into Albany county, where he died in 1841. His maternal grandfather came to America as a soldier under Burgoyne, and after the latter's surrender, remained in the service till 1783, when he was honorably discharged at West Point. His mother is still living at the age of sixty-six. Mr. Filkins received an academical education; studied medicine at Honesdale, Penn,; and has since been engaged in the Patent Medicine business, being the inventor of Dr. Filkin's Sugar Coated Pills and the proprietor and manufacturer of Blackman's Genuine Healing Balsam and Valuable Strenghtening Plasters.

He was formerly a Whig ; since the organization of the American party has been among the most active, intelligent, and successful supporters of its principles ; and was elected to his present position by a combination of Republicans and Americans. Mr. F. was married in 1853, to Miss Henrietta A. Blackman, by whom he has three children ; attends the Baptist church ; and is one of the most valuable men in the House.

From the New York Daily Times

Albany Evening Journal article 30 Dec 1863: "The Dead of the One Hundred and Seventy Seventh/35 Bodies Ungraved - Arrival of Capt. M.L. Filkins." The text of this article is worth quoting:

The Dead of the One Hundred and Seventy-Seventh

Thirty-five Bodies Ungraved - Arrival of Captain M. L. Filkins

From the New York Daily Times 30 Dec. 1863

On Saturday Morgan L. Filkins, of Albany, Captain in the One Hundred and Seventy-seventh (Albany) New York Volunteers (Member of Assembly elect), arrived in this city from New Orleans, on the Mississippi, having in his charge nineteen of the bodies of members of the regiment which had fallen before Port Hudson, or died in the Department of the Gulf from illness. Sixteen bodies he had sent in advance on the Merrimac, which arrived earlier last week, and they were at once forwarded to Albany.

Some time after the return of the regiment to Albany, the friends of the dead united in an urgent request to Capt. Filkins to revisit the scene of their service and recover their bodies. He finally assented, without "fee or reward," and on the 18th of November left this port, arriving in New Orleans on the 29th. At once he set to work on his painful and embarrassing duty, receiving from the officers of the Department of the Gulf all assistance that was in their power. Before leaving Albany he had metallic coffins made, and transportation of these from New Orleans was given free of charge. Capt. Filkins first visited, for the purpose of disinterment, Baton Rouge, where a number of the regiment had died from illness and from wounds. Here he disinterred six bodies - those of F. Platto, J. Guardenier, M. Daly, H.C. Mosher, J.W. Kelaler and S.B. Shepard (Adjutant of the Ninety first).

He then proceeded to Port Hudson, were this regiment, Col. Ainsworth, of Albany, in command, had been engaged forty-eight days and nights in the siege. Here he visited the battle field, and disinterred ten bodies buried on the field, and, as they were outside of the lines, he had to expedite matters, because of the incessant danger from the guerillas hovering around. The bodies were those of Lieut. Roache, Eugene Bronk, J. O. Leibenaw, (Jesse D. Wood) J.D. Wood]], W. H. Vandenburgh, A.M. Carhart, S.G. Loomis, A.S. Billson, T.L. Hartness, Joel Wilson.

From here he returned to Bonnet Carre, and visited the Parade Burying Ground, disinterring seventeen bodies - those of C.H. Fredenrich, J.C. Bridgman, H.L. Chipman, A. Haswell (Arthur Haswell), Wm. Crounse, C.S. Hermance, F.C. Comstock, W.H. Lade, T.F. Ray, A. Vandenburgh, Wm. Ingraham, P.C. Clute, M. Wood, P.M. Stalker, W.H. Coons, G. Bailey, W.H. Barlow, G.W. Kilbourn.

On returning to New Orleans the body of J. McClaskey, Ninety-first regiment, who had died in hospital, was also disinterred. All the bodies were placed in metallic cases and transported to this city in the best condition possible.

Capt. Filkins had comparatively but little trouble in discovering the graves. He had been on the ground and witnessed most of the burials. As all the places head-boards had been placed bearing the names, except at Bonnet Carre and Port Hudson. Here he know that the body of W.H. Barlow had been buried and buried alongside a man named Zulman; he found the grave of the latter, marked, opened the adjoining grave, and recognized by the long dark hair the remains of Barlow. At the latter place the Captain had to open four graves ere he found one containing the body of A.S. Billson. On opening the last, he was enabled to recognize it as the right one by the rubber overcoat which was wrapped around the head of the deceased, and which bore his name. The body was placed in three cracker boxes, the intervening ends of each being broken out.

The bodies were all, of course, shockingly decomposed and the work of disinterment was one of horror. Capt. Filkins is a man who shrinks from no duty and he faithfully fulfilled this terrible one. His aids [sic] were contrabands [i.e., Negroes], who repeatedly shrank from the work. Many of the bodies were uncoffined; others were in rough boards, and a few in coffins, others in cracker boxes, and one in a gun-box. After opening the grave, the condition of the bodies was such, especially at Bonnet Carre, where the graves filled with water, that canvas had to be slipped under them, and they carefully raised on it, in order that they should not fall to pieces! Capt. Filkins nobly stood the ordeal. He opened every coffin and every box; he cut from twenty-eight of the dead locks of hair for the relatives, and the closed to all eyes the remains. All were buried in their clothes, and were wrapped in the soldier's shroud, their blankets.

At Port Hudson Capt. Filkins disinterred ten bodies and coffined them in two days. At Bonnet Carre he did the same with eighteen bodies in one day. At Baton Rouge he did the same with six bodies in a little over one day. When all the formalities and red tape are taken into consideration, to say nothing of the physical labor, for often had he to open the graves himself, and the horrors, this certainly exhibits extraordinary zeal and energy.

The friends of the deceased authorized Capt. Filkins an expenditure of $300 per day. He returns with them to Albany at a cost to the relatives of $50 each. This is pretty conclusive evidence that a generous heart and noble impulses were in the work, and that a painful duty, reluctantly undertaken, was truly a labor of love.

Of his regiment, which did much duty and won a proud name, some ninety yet lie on the banks of the Mississippi.

The bodies forwarded last week were placed in the cemetery built at Albany, to await the arrival of the others. They went up by the Hudson River Rail Road, which charged $3.10 for each, allowing no deduction from passenger fare. The nineteen others went up yesterday afternoon by the Harlem Rail Road, which not only generously forwarded them for nothing, by direction of Superintendent Burchard, but gave free passage to those in whose charge they were.

There will be a solemn scene in Albany when these thirty-five bodies of the devoted and the dead are consigned to the tomb. No city better appreciates such a sacrifice - none could so mourn the loss. It is the intention there to have a funeral pageant, and the occasion will be one of unprecedented significance and solemnity."

An Annotated Catalogue of the Edward C. Atwater Collection of American ...By Christopher Hoolihan

S-389.13, Dr. M. L. Filkins and Brothers

[Woodengraved portraits of the Filkins Brothers] Drs. Filkins Bros., Vegetable sugar coated liver pills. Warranted free from Calomel, all Mineral Substances and Poisonous Drugs...[Dr. M.L. Filkins & Bros., Rochester, N:Y: ca. 1885-89].

[2]p.; ports.; 17.5 x 14 cm.

In addition to their liver pills, The Filkins brothers were manufacturers of Dr. Filkins Bros.' Electric Catarrh Specific, Dr. Filkins Bros.' Valuable Kid Strengthening Plasters, Dr. Filkins Bros.' Genuine Healing Balsam, and Dr. Filkins Bros' Compound Tonic.

Filkins Bros. was a partnership consisting of Morgan L. Filkins (ca. 1827-1896), an 1875 graduate of the Eclectic Medical College of the City of New York; Welcome L. Filkins, also an 1875 graduate of the Eclectic Medical College of the City of New York; and Charles O. Filkins, an eclectic physician whose training is unknown. Filkins Bros. first appears in the 1882 Rochester city directory. Between 1882 and 1884, the firm consisted of M.L. and W.L. Filkins. Their younger brother, C.O. Filkins is listed in the 1883 and 1884 directories as a student. The 1885 Rochester city directory is the first to include all three brothers in the family partnership. Welcome L. Filkins' name last appears in the 1889 city directory. Whether he died or moved away from Rochester is not indicated in the 1890 directory. Filkins Bros. consisted of M.L. and C.O. Filkins until the former's death on June 13, 1896. Charles O. Filkins continued to operate the firm under the family name at least until 1903, the last year that the firm is listed in the Rochester City Directory.


  1. Berne Historical Project
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Annual Report of the Adjutant General or the State of New York for the year 1905
  3. Landmarks of Albany County
  4. Political Graveyard, The
  5. "Biographical sketches of the state officers and members of the Legislature of the state of New York"