Metius, Henry Otto

Paymaster, Officer

Henry Otto Metius was born in Saxony, Germany during December 1844 to Johann Christian Gottlieb Metius and Rosine Marie Metius and the whole family immigrated to the U.S. in 1852 to Philadelphia Pennsylvania by way of New York.

Henry Otto Metius married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Mesner who was born in Pennsylvania on 19 January 1854 and died 9/21/1940 in Pensacola Florida. Her parents were also from Germany. Henry and Lizzie were married in 1882. At the time of his death they had been married 23 years. She obtained a widows pension especially when their daughter Amy was at home and only 12 years old at the time. The eldest of his two daughters was Bessie Francis, 19 years old (11/13/1885-4/18/1909), who sadly died 4 years after her husband and her Dad in a kitchen explosion from a gas stove that resulted in burns all over her body. Secondly, his youngest daughter, Amy Metius Bruda was 12 years old at the time of his death (9/1892). Amy grew up and married Lt. Commander Guild Bruda and they lived in Orlando Florida. She later had children and those children added another generation giving her grandchildren and so on.

Henry’s death added to the trauma of the family as they had just lost his daughter Bessie’s husband, George W. Francis, on July 14th and the funeral was on July 17th.

Full Name – Metius, Henry O

Conflict Period – Civil War (Union)

Military Branch – Civil War Navy

Pension Type – Dependent Pension Application (WO)

State/Organization of Service –

Served For – United States of America/Union***


Muster Rolls for US Marine Corps

Henry Otto Metius

Muster: June 1865

Enlistment Date: 12 Aug 1862

Station: USS N. Carolina


His Service career started in the U.S. Marines:

“USS North Carolina was a 74-gun ship of the line in the United States Navy authorized by Congress on 29 April 1816. Since her great size made her less flexible than smaller ships, she returned to the New York Navy Yard in June 1839 and served as a receiving ship for troops during the Civil War until placed in mothballs in 1866.”****


After the Civil War during the Centennial Celebration in 1876 he transported items from France. In 1881 it is noted that he was on the USS Constitution. At the time of his death he had served for 41 years in the Navy and Marines combined and was set to retire in two years.

Henry Metius was a Paymasters Clerk, US Navy and served during the Civil War in the United States Marines/Navy. He died of wounds incurred in the boiler explosion of the gunboat “USS Bennington” on July 21, 1905 in San Diego Bay, California.

The report about Henry was strange but he literally died of internal injuries and trauma caused by the explosion. The report is as follows in the San Diego Union:

“San Diego, Cal., July 26. – The list of the Bennington dead now number 62. At 9:30 o’clock tonight Metius, Pay clerk, passed away. The cause of Metius is peculiar. He was able to walk up town after the accident and was thought not to have been badly injured. After his wounds had been dressed he was out on the streets. Suddenly he collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital on a stretcher. It is supposed that the shock and a weak heart were the causes of his death. *

The body of H. O. Metius, paymaster’s clerk on the ill-fated gunboat Bennington, is expected to arrive at the family home, next Tuesday. The sadness of the blow that has stricken the family is accentuated by the fact that it is the second to fall within five weeks, Metius’ son-in-law having died last month of typhoid fever.**

Metius died of scalds received during the explosion. He was 60 years old and had served in the navy for forty-one years. Among the vessels on which he was stations was the historic Constitution. He went through the Civil War in the naval service. During the Centennial he had charge of bringing a number of exhibits from Paris. He had expected to retire from the navy in two years and to spend his remaining days with his family.

Henry Metius died on July 26, 1905. His wife Elizabeth Metius survived him. He is buried in the Mount Peach Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”

Because of this incident and the service that Henry had contributed during War and peacetime there was a report that was generated by the Paymaster of General of the Navy.

“In the annual report of the Paymaster General of the Navy he strongly recommends the creation of a retired list for paymaster’s clerks in that branch of the service. The present anomalous position of paymaster’s clerks in the Navy could not be more aptly illustrated than by the sad case of Henry O. Metius who lost his life in the Bennington disaster. No right to pension, no hope of retirement, none of the privileges which pertain to all other officers-just hard work is their lot, absolutely nothing to look forward to except to wear out or rust out, or perchance to die in the line of duty, leaving no provision for dependent ones.”


Evening capital (Annapolis, MD) 31 October 1905, page 4 GenealogyBank

The Missoulian (Missoula, Montana), Thu., Jul. 27, 1905, Page 9*
The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Sat., Jul. 29, 1905. Page 1**

Fold3 – Metius, Henry O and H.O.: Service records*** several Census records: 1850 – 1940

Wikipedia: USS North Carolina****

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