Barton Lucas: well-off Cadet, Ensign, and Captain

Battlefields of the Seven Years War, courtesy of this website.

Reposted from Academia.edu. I originally wrote this biography when I was working at the Maryland State Archives for the Finding the Maryland 400 project.

Barton Lucas, a captain of the Third Company of the First Maryland Regiment, was born, according to some sources, in 1730, in Prince George’s County. His father was Thomas Lucas and mother Anne Keene. Barton had four siblings named Basil, Margaret, Thomas, and Sarah. [1]

Lucas served in the Seven Years’ War (1754-1763) which had Britain, France and indigenous people as combatants, resulting in transfer of northern parts of America and Canada from France to Britain. [2] In 1758, he signed on as a cadet, a military officer in waiting, in Joshua Bell’s Company and he soon was a ensign in Captain Alexander Beall’s Maryland Company, for which he received modest pay. [3] Maryland troops fought at the battle of Fort Duquesne in September of that year, joined by South Carolinian troops, to fend off indigenous attacks, but the English were defeated and Marylanders covered their retreat. [4] During these military engagements, Lucas was injured. [5]

In 1762, Lucas married Priscilla Sprigg, whose last name changed to Lucas after their marriage. His “beloved wife” Priscilla, “Prisey,” was born in 1735 to Osborn Sprigg, a Maryland legislator, and Rachel Belt, and was one of five siblings. [6] In 1756, Lucas’s father died, willing 112 acres and his plantation to Lucas. [7] In the 1750s and 1760s, Barton bought and sold enslaved blacks for his plantation. [8]

During the Revolutionary War, Lucas, a prominent community figure and combat veteran, served in the military. He was recommended as a field officer to a Battalion “on the upper part of the Patuxent” in 1775, however, he likely never served in this capacity since he was chosen in January of the next year as a Captain of the Third Company of Col. William Smallwood‘s Maryland Battalion. [9] In the summer of 1776, this Maryland regiment marched to New York and was put under the command of Gen. George Washington.

At the Battle of Brooklyn, the First Maryland Regiment, especially companies led by Lucas, Daniel Bowie, Peter Adams, Benjamin Ford, and Edward Veazey, later called the Maryland 400, held off the British while the rest of the Continental Army escaped Long Island to safety. While Lucas’s company played a key role in the Battle of Brooklyn, on August 27, 1776 with sixty percent of his company killed, Lucas was ill and could not participate in the battle itself. [10] John Hughes, a private in his company, said years later that “Capt. Barton Lucas became deranged in consequence of losing his company.” Still listed as ill, after the battle, Lucas was returned home and later resigned on October 11, 1776. However, Lucas rejoined the military as a colonel in the Prince George’s County Militia from 1777-1778. [11]

After his military service, Lucas settled down to his plantation in Prince George’s County. Existing records show that enslaved blacks, plantation tools, and farm animals were part of his overall property. [12] At his death, sometime between April 8, 1784 and May 16, 1785, in Prince George’s County, he was still called a colonel and much of his property value consisted of enslaved blacks. [13]

– Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016.

Notes

[1] Will of Thomas Lucas, 1765, Prerogative Court, Wills, Liber BT2, p. 114, MdHR 1308-1. [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038].

[2] John Frost, Pictorial Life of General Washington: Embracing a Complete History of the Seven Years War, the Revolutionary War, The Formation of the Federal Constitution, and the Administration of Washington (Philadelphia: Lery, Getz & Co., 1860), 52, 65, 106.

[3] Letter to George Washington from Captain Nathaniel Ewing, 9 March 1779. Founders Online. National Archives; Orderly Book, 10 November 1758. Founders Online. National Archives; Letter to George Washington from Robert Stewart, 25 February 1762. Founders Online. National Archives; Archives of Maryland, vol. 61, pp. 392; Archives of Maryland vol. 59, pp. 54, 159, 170, 173, 196-7, and 251; “French and Indian War: Roster of Maryland Troops, 1757-1759 [Calvert Papers].” Maryland Historical Magazine 5, no. 3 (1910): 281; Maryland State Papers (Scharf Collection). 1759-1801. Certification of military service on the frontier [2/19/1767]. S1005 [MSA S1005-57-2, 1/8/5/44].

[4] Joshua Dorsey Warfield, The founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland: A genealogical and biographical review from wills, deeds and church records (Baltimore: Kohn & Pollack, 1905), 213; “French and Indian War: Roster of Maryland Troops, 1757-1759 [Calvert Papers],” Maryland Historical Magazine 5, no.3, (1910): 272; Mary K. Meyer, “Genealogica Marylandia: MARYLAND MUSTER ROLLS 1757-1758.” Maryland Historical Magazine 70, no. 2 (1975): 225; Mary K. Meyer, “Genealogica Marylandia: MARYLAND MUSTER ROLLS 1757-1758.” Maryland Historical Magazine 70, no. 1 (1975): 107.

[5] Archives of Maryland vol. 61, page 392.

[6] Effie G. Bowie, Across the Years in Prince George’s County: Genealogical and Biographical History of Some Prince George’s County, Maryland and Allied Families (Richmond: Garrett and Massie, Inc., 1947), 595; “Sprigg Family,” Maryland Historical Magazine. 8 (1913): 80; Edward C. Papenfuse, Alan F. Day, David W. Jordan, and Gregory A. Stiverson. “Sprigg, Osborn.”  A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789. Vol. 2: I-Z (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1985), 763; Special Collections, Legislative History Project Collection, Osborn Sprigg (ca. 1741-1815) [MSA SC 1138-001-1160/1177, 2/11/12/72]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1765, Liber TT, p. 0338-9 [MSA CE65-19, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET].

[7] Will of Thomas Lucas, 1765, Prerogative Court, Wills, Liber BT2, pp. 114, MdHR 1308-1. [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038].

[8] Will of Thomas Lucas, 1765, Prerogative Court, Wills, Liber BT2, pp. 114, MdHR 1308-1. [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1765, Liber TT, p. 0338-9 [MSA CE65-19, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1759, Liber PP, p. 0093, 0144, 0321-2 [MSA CE65-17, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1772, Liber BB 3, p. 0068, 0085 [MSA CE65-22, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1775, Liber CC 2, p. 0135 [MSA CE65-23, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET].

[9] “Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution,” Archives of Maryland vol. 18, pp. 9; Archives of Maryland vol. 78, pp. 67 and 93; Archives of Maryland vol. 12, pp. 16; Archives of Maryland vol. 11, 92, 169, and 406.

[10] Fragments of letter of an Unknown Patriot Soldier (September 1, 1776), The Sprit of ‘Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants (ed. Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris. New York: Harper and Row, 1967), 440 [0/60/3/35]. Fully reprinted in Henry Onderdonk, Revolutionary Incidents of Suffolk and Kings Counties (New York: Levitt & Company, 1849), 147-8.

[11] “Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution.” Archives of Maryland vol. 18, pp. 333; Archives of Maryland vol. 16, pp. 532.

[12] Prince George’s County Commissioners of the Tax, Assessment Record, Rock Creek Hundred, personal property, MdHR 40220-24 [MSA C1162-10, 1/21/10/011]; Will of Barton Lucas, Prince George’s County, Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, October 1785, MdHR 9791 [MSA C1146-4, 1/25/08/003].

[13] At her death in October 1785, Priscilla’s will listed one enslaved black woman and named her next of kin. Will of Priscilla Lucas, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, October 1785, MdHR 9791 [MSA C1146-4, 1/25/08/003]; Inventories of Precilla Lucas and Col. Barton Lucas, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Inventories, Liber ST, pp. 337-40, MdHR 9799 [MSA C1228-9, 1/25/09/001]; Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Administration Accounts, 1791, Liber ST 1, p. 376, MdHR 9805 [MSA C1144-4, 1/25/10/015]; Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Administration Accounts, Liber ST 2, p. 6, MdHR 18865 [MSA C1144-6, 1/25/10/017]; Will of Barton Lucas, 1784, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Wills, Liber T1, p. 216, MdHR 9725-1 [MSA C1326-3, 1/25/07/004]

John Mitchell: long-time military man and magistrate

Map is courtesy of FamilySearch.

This is a verbatim reposting from Academia.edu and the bio I wrote while at the Maryland State Archives working on the Finding the Maryland 400 project.

John Mitchell was born in 1760 in Charles County, Maryland, to Scottish settler Hugh Mitchell and his wife, Anne Hanson. [1] Mitchell had two sisters named Katherine and Jenet. [2] In early 1761, Mitchell’s father, a well-off planter, merchant, and landowner, died. He willed his daughter Katherine and wife land in Charles County, divided his estate among his children, including the sixteen enslaved blacks working on his plantation. [3] Unlike Katherine, John was not willed anything specifically by his father. However, as the eldest son he would have gained control over 373 acres of land divided up into three tracts: Shaws Folly, Cains Purchase, and Moberly. [4]

On January 24, 1776, he enlisted as a sergeant in Captain John Hoskins Stone‘s First Company of the First Maryland Regiment, commanded by William Smallwood. [5] Mitchell, like many of those in the First Company, was recruited from Charles County. The company trained in Annapolis until they departed for New York. [6] As Mitchell got his first taste of battle, he would begin his “career of glory” and fight under “the command of the gallant Smallwood.” [7]

A sergeant, like Mitchell, had an important role in the Maryland Line. As non-commissioned officers, their duties included maintaining discipline within their company, and inspecting the new recruits. [8] Their other duties included carrying sick soldiers to the hospital as needed, reporting on the sickness of men within the ranks, and leading groups of men to guard prisoners or supplies if circumstances required it. [9] For these services they were paid more than corporals in Maryland, who they oversaw, and worked with, to keep order in place in the company, including breaking up disputes between soldiers. [10] In order to get in this position, however, their field officers or captains had to recommend them for promotion. [11]

The First Maryland Regiment were the first troops Maryland raised at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Maryland was more than willing to do its part to recruit the men needed to fill the Continental Army’s depleted ranks. [12] A few days after independence was declared, the First Maryland Regiment were ordered to New York so it could join the forces of General George Washington. The regiment arrived there in early August, with the Battle of Brooklyn set between the Continental Army and the British Army, joined by their Hessian allies.

Mitchell served with 26-year-old Stone and his company at the Battle of Brooklyn in late August 1776. Unlike the companies of Barton Lucas, Daniel Bowie, Peter Adams, Benjamin Ford, and Edward Veazey, only 15 percent of the First Company were either killed or captured, with these other companies suffering heavier losses. Few were killed, while the company’s ensign, James Farnandis, was captured by British forces. [13] Even so, the loss of life by the other companies confirmed the assessment of the British Parliament’s Annual Register which described how “almost a whole regiment from Maryland…of young men from the best families in the country was cut to pieces” even as the battle brought the men of the Maryland 400 together. [14]

The Battle of Brooklyn, the first large-scale battle of the war, fits into the larger context of the Revolutionary War. If the Maryland Line had not stood and fought the British, enabling the rest of the Continental Army to escape, then the Continental Army would been decimated, resulting in the end of the Revolutionary War. This heroic stand gave the regiment the nickname of the Old Line and those who made the stand in the battle are remembered as the Maryland 400.

Mitchell survived the Battle of Brooklyn like most of the company. In December 1776, Mitchell re-enlisted in the First Maryland Regiment and was promoted to second lieutenant. [15] He only occupied this position for six months, as his rank increased to first lieutenant in June 1777. [16] He would stay in this position for almost two years, serving in Henry Chew Gaither‘s company. During this time period, he served with his company in the battles of Trenton (1776), Brandywine (1777) and Germantown (1777). He likely did not participate in the Battle of Monmouth because he was put on furlough in the summer of 1778 and may have lived in Charles County’s Port Tobacco West Hundred during that time period. [17]

In May 1779 he became regimental adjutant of the First Maryland Regiment, and chief administrator of the unit. [18] In this position he kept one of the orderly books for the regiment as they wrote down the orders of the regiment every day. [19] Adjutants tried to maintain discipline, and at times this could include overseeing executions of soldiers convicted of wrongs. [20] These officers inspected guards and soldiers of the regiment while in camp. [21] They also rode along the regiment’s flank to observe regularity in marching.

He did not have this rank for long. In July 1779, he was promoted once again to the position of captain. [22] As captain, he led his company in numerous military engagements. While there were quartermasters, he received the normal supplies for his soldiers, including gallons of rum and coffee. [23] In the summer of 1779, he signed a statement, along with 95 other Maryland officers, including John Gassaway and Gassaway Watkins, and co-signed by William Smallwood, to ask for support from the state legislature because of depreciated Continental currency, a plea which was successful. [24]

On January 1, 1781 he was transferred to the Fourth Maryland Regiment and retained his rank as a captain. [25] In this capacity, he fought alongside his company in the battles of Camden (1780), Cowpens (1781), Hobkirk’s Hill (1781), Eutaw Springs (1781), and Yorktown (1781), serving until his retirement in April 1783. [26] During the battle of Camden, Mitchell was hit with a musket ball in the chest, and, as the story goes, his gold watch key deflected the ball, saving his life. [27] In November 1783, he joined the Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland, meaning he was one of the Society’s original members along with John Hoskins Stone and Mordecai Gist. [28]

Many years later, he served as a vestryman of Charles County’s Durham Parish from 1791 to 1795, in 1797, and 1799 to 1801. [29] For the first two years of his service, Smallwood was a fellow vestry member until his death in February 1792. Mitchell had been a member of the parish since the 1770s, like Smallwood, and remained a member until the end of his life. [30] He petitioning the legislature for money to repair of the parish’s church, called Old Durham Church or Christ Church, and building a chapel. The church, near the current town of Ironsides, was built in 1732 and visited by George Washington in 1771. [31]

After the war, Mitchell settled down in Southern Maryland. He may have owned 62-acre plantation located in the adjacent Calvert County named Thatcomb along with seven horses and six enslaved blacks. [32] However, it is clear that Mitchell lived in Charles County from 1790 to 1810, with his wife and children, and owned an average of about twenty-two enslaved blacks. [33] By 1810, he owned the 732-acre plantation in Nanjemoy, Charles County, named Holly Springs, along with twenty-five to thirty enslaved blacks, where he grew tobacco. [34] He also owned two other small tracts containing about 90 acres, one near Port Tobacco, Maryland and another in present-day Washington D.C. [35] He also had about 200 acres in Western Maryland and thousands of acres in Federal land beyond the Appalachian Mountains. It is not known when he obtained the plantation since the previous owner, Walter Hanson Harrison, rector of Durham Parish, resided there until his death in 1798. [36]

While living in Charles County, he married Lucinda “Lucy” Heaberd Truman Stoddert. They had one child named John Truman Stoddert Heaberd Mitchell, who Mitchell later called his “eldest son.” [37] Nine years later, in 1800, Mitchell, with his nine-year-old son, sued John and Priscilla Courts for control of Smallwood’s estate. He was able to file as a co-heir to Smallwood because his wife Lucy, was the niece of William Smallwood. [38] As for the Court family, Smallwood’s sister, Prescilla, married John Courts, creating another familial tie. [39] The resolution of this case is not known.

After the death of Lucy Stoddert, Mitchell married a woman named Catherine Barnes. [40] Mitchell and Catherine had four children: Walter Hanson Jennifer Mitchell (1801-1870), Richard Henry Barnes, Mary Ann Mitchell and Elizabeth Mitchell. [41]

Mitchell held numerous public offices after the war. From 1794-1797 he served in the Maryland militia. [42] He first served as lieutenant colonel of the Forty-Third Regiment of Maryland militia in Charles County. He later served as Brigadier General, and he carried the title “General John Mitchell” for the rest of his life, of the Fifth Brigade of Maryland militia. When this term of service ended, in 1797, he was appointed as commissioner of the tax for Charles County by the state legislature. [43] A few years later, from 1801 to 1802, he was a magistrate in Charles County. [44] Interestingly, he was appointed as a magistrate by Governor John F. Mercer, a Continental Army officer during the Revolutionary War.

Mitchell was a supporter of the Republican Party. He ran as a presidential elector in 1796 and 1804 but lost to Federalist candidates both times. [45] In later years, he again ran as a presidential elector and for the U.S. House of Representatives, but he earned fewer than ten votes in each election, losing to Federalist and other Republican candidates. [46] This political allegiance puts his letter to Thomas Jefferson in 1810 in more context.

In 1810, Mitchell wrote Jefferson, former President of the United States, calling himself “a decided friend & supporter of the [Jefferson] Administration.” [47] He also said that he had been swindled out of about two thousand dollars and asked Jefferson to assist him. In closing, Mitchell said that his wife, “two lovely Daughters…2 promising Boys & himself” would “call him blessed” if Jefferson lent him money.

On October 11, 1812, Mitchell died in Welcome, Charles County. [48] He had become a well-off planter, slaveowner, and gentleman. He willed his six enslaved blacks to his sons, John, Walter, and Richard, and daughter, Elizabeth and his plantation to his wife, Catherine. [49] He also equally divided his property among his children. He paid for a funeral after his death, and asked that his wife be paid whatever is necessary for her support and to continue education of his sons and daughters. [50] At the time of his death, he ran a plantation, worked by seventeen enslaved blacks, which grew wheat, tobacco, and cotton. [51] It also had farm animals such as cows, pigs, and sheep. As for Mitchell, he was very well-read, possessing books on geography, English history, and an “old world map.”

After his death, his wife Catherine was appointed as executor of his estate. [52] She tried to pay off creditors and address Mitchell’s debt. This was only the beginning of battles over his estate. From 1819 to 1851, the Barnes and Mitchell families fought over his estate, arguing in a huge legal case, that each of them had valid claims to John Mitchell’s property. [53] The main points of contention in this case were over ownership of land and enslaved blacks. While the Barnes family administered the estate of Catherine in 1814, John Mitchell’s son, Walter H.J. Mitchell, managed the estate until 1822 when the property passed into the Barnes family, adding fuel to the ongoing legal case. [54] Before the case, the Barnes family served as Walter’s guardians after his father passed away. [55] It was not until 1851, 39 years after Mitchell’s death, that the fight over his estate would end.

On October 30, 1812, the Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Advertiser, a Baltimorean paper with Federalist leanings, wrote a glowing obituary for John Mitchell. [56] They declared that he valiantly fought for his country, which was proud to serve for, and that he was not adequately compensated for his services. [57] They also said that Mitchell was born when “heroism and love of country were common virtues,” that his “heart beat high with liberty” when he joined the Continental Army but that by the end of the war he “was rich in fame but poor in worldly circumstances.”

The Gazette also claimed that Mitchell “lived to feel the ingratitude of his country and to witness her disgrace.” This is likely a reference to the attack on a fellow Federalist paper, the Federal Republican, published by Alexander Contee Hanson, by a group of angry Baltimoreans four months before, leading not only to a “riotous temper” in the town, but the first casualties of the war on the streets of Baltimore. [58] The Gazette, which often reprinted selections from the Federal Republican, also declared that the War of 1812 was “Madison’s War,” protesting the new taxes to fight the war, the “horrors of war,” and the fight to acquire Canada. [59]

Despite Mitchell’s different political viewpoint, the Gazette likely wrote the obituary because they wanted to harken back to the Revolutionary period and further oppose the War of 1812. [60] Their eulogy ended on a high note, saying that with his death he had found “a refuge in the silence of the tomb and he trust his patriotism will now be rewarded. Light lie the sod that covers the breast of a solder. Honored be his memory.”

– Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016.

Notes

[1] “John Mitchell to Thomas Jefferson, 26 February 1810,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified July 12, 2016; Will of Hugh Mitchell, 1761, Charles County Register of Wills, Wills, MdHR 7285, Liber AD 5, p. 180-181 [MSA C681-5, 1/8/10/5]; George A. Hanson, Old Kent: The Eastern Shore of Maryland (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002, reprint), 114-115, 117, 119-120; Swepson Earle, Chesapeake Bay Country (Baltimore: Thomsen Ellis Co., 1929), 116; Capt. John Mitchell gravestone, Find A Grave, updated November 12, 2012, accessed September 7, 2016. Some sources say he was born in 1756, but he said that he was a seventeen year-old when he enlisted in the Continental Army in his letter to Thomas Jefferson, creating some ambiguity about his birth date. Some sources say he was born in Saint Mary’s County but this cannot be confirmed. Mitchell’s father had a brother named John Mitchell which must be kept in mind when reading his two-page will.

[2] Hanson, 119; Will of Hugh Mitchell; Inventory of Hugh Mitchell, 1761, Charles County Register of Wills, Wills, MdHR 7299, Liber 4, p. 299-302 [MSA C665-4, 1/8/10/19].

[3] Deed of Hugh Mitchell to George Huton, 1757, Charles County Court, Land Records, Liber G 3, p. 97-98 [MSA CE 82-32]; Deed of Hugh Mitchell to Ralph Shaw, 1759, Charles County Court, Land Records, Liber G 3, p. 290-292 [MSA CE 82-32]; Deed of Hugh Mitchell to Alexander McPherson, 1760, Charles County Court, Land Records, Liber G 3, p. 412-413 [MSA CE 82-32]; Deed of John Mitchell (his brother) to Hugh Mitchell, 1760, Charles County Court, Land Records, Liber G 3, p. 435-436 [MSA CE 82-32]; Deed of John Smoot to Hugh Mitchell, 1760, Charles County Court, Land Records, Liber G 3, p. 437-439 [MSA CE 82-32]; Sale of Hugh Mitchell to Leonard Mitchell, 1761, Charles County Court, Land Records, Liber G 3, p. 525-527 [MSA CE 82-32]; Hanson, 119; David Dobson, More Scottish Settlers, 1667-1827 (Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., 2005), 54; Harry Wright Newman, The Maryland Semmes and Kindred Families: A Genealogical History of Marmaduke Semme(s), Gent., and His Descendants (Westminister, MD: Heritage Books, 2007, reprint), 270; Harry Wright Newman, Charles County GentryA Genealogical History of Six Emigrants – Thomas Dent, John Dent, Richard Edelen, John Hanson, George Newman, Humphrey Warren (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002, reprint), 237, 252; Will of Hugh Mitchell; Administration account of Hugh Mitchell, October 1764, Charles County Register of Wills, Administration Accounts, MdHR 7312, p. 126-129 [MSA C650-4, 1/8/10/32]; Inventory of Hugh Mitchell, 1761, Charles County Register of Wills, Inventories, MdHR Liber 4, p. 299-301 [MSA 7299, 1/8/10/19]. Mitchell’s plantation had farm animals such as horses. As for Mitchell himself, he was well read enough to have books on history of the Portuguese, the Bible, and many other books. Also, Anne later remarried to a man named Samuel Stone. Additionally, records also show that the estate of Hugh Mitchell was not fully settled until three years after his death in 1764.

[4] Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1760, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17673-4, Liber 14, CH, p. 7 [MSA S12-77, 1/24/2/14]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1763, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17674-2, Liber 15 (1763), CH, p. 1 [MSA S12-80, 1/24/2/15]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1764, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17674-3, Liber 15 (1764), CH, p. 1 [MSA S12-81, 1/24/2/15]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1765, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17674-4, Liber 15 (1765), CH, p. 1 [MSA S12-82, 1/24/2/15]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1766, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17674-5, Liber 15 (1766), CH, p. 1 [MSA S12-83, 1/24/2/15]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1767, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17675-1, Liber 16 (1767), CH, p. 1 [MSA S12-84, 1/24/2/16]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1768, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17675-2, Liber 16 (1768), CH, p. 1 [MSA S12-85, 1/24/2/16]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1769, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17675-3, Liber 16 (1769), CH, p. 1 [MSA S12-86, 1/24/2/16]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1770, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17675-4, Liber 16 (1770), CH, p. 51 [MSA S12-87, 1/24/2/16]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1771, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17675-5, Liber 16 (1771), CH, p. 34 [MSA S12-88, 1/24/2/16]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1772, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17676-1, Liber 17 (1772), CH, p. 48 [MSA S12-89, 1/24/2/17]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1773, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17676-2, Liber 17 (1773), CH, p. 60 [MSA S12-90, 1/24/2/17]; Entry for Hugh Mitchell, 1774, Land Office, Debt Book, MdHR 17676-3, Liber 17 (1774), CH, p. 47 [MSA S12-91, 1/24/2/17]

[5] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 5; Roster of regular officers in Smallwood’s battalion, January 1777, Red Books, MdHR 4573, Red Book 12, p. 66 [MSA S989-17, 1/6/4/5].

[6] Mark Andrew Tacyn “’To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 21.

[7] Federal Gazette, Baltimore, October 31, 1812, Vol. XXXVIII, issue 5734, p. 3.

[8] James Thacher, A Military Journal During the American Revolutionary War, from 1775 to 1783 (Boston: A Richardson and Lord, 1823), 458, 468-470, 473, 475, 483-484, 520; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, July 7-December 31, 1776 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 12, 145; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 335.

[9] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 343; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, July 7-December 31, 1776 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 12, 125, 255; Journal of the Maryland Convention July 26 to August 14, 1775 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 11, 50; Proceedings of the Conventions of the Province of Maryland, 1774-1776 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 78, 23; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, August 29, 1775 to July 6, 1776 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 11, 439; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 334.

[10] Thatcher, 45, 73, 476; Proceedings of the Conventions of the Province of Maryland, 1774-1776 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 78, 92.

[11] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 71.

[12] Arthur Alexander, “How Maryland Tried to Raise Her Continental Quotas.” Maryland Historical Magazine 42, no. 3 (1947), 187-188, 196.

[13] Return of the six Independent Companies and First Regiment of Maryland Regulars, in the service of the United Colonies, commanded by Colonel Smallwood, Sept. 13, 1776, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 93, Roll 0034, courtesy of Fold3.com; Return of the First Regiment of Maryland Regulars in the service of the United Colonies Commanded by William Smallwood, Oct. 11, 1776, p. 92-93, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 93, Roll 0034, folder 35, courtesy of Fold3.com; Tacyn, 95. Stone was sick, and one musician, a drummer or fifer, was needed to complete the rank-and-file of the company in the fall of 1776.

[14] Tacyn, 4.

[15] Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the U.S. Army Vol 1 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), 395; Service Card of John Mitchell (First Maryland Regiment), Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 93, roll 0398. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 136. This lists Mitchell as becoming captain in July 1777 but this does not align with other records and is incorrect.

[16] Heitman, 395; Service Card of John Mitchell (First Maryland Regiment); Pension of Adam Addams, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 0008, pension number S. 34,623. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[17] Service Card of John Mitchell (First Maryland Regiment); Tacyn, 15, 139, 209; Port Tobacco West Hundred, March 1778, Charles County Court, Census of 1778, MdHR 8167-2, Liber X 3, p. 630-632 [MSA C654-1, 1/7/7/27]. The census says that he was one of the men living in Charles County that was older than 18 which would align with his birth record. To read more about the battle of Brandywine see the “British “masters of the field”: The disaster at Brandywine” on the Finding the Maryland 400 blog.

[18] Heitman, 395.

[19] Patrick O’Kelley, Unwaried Patience and Fortitude: Francis Marion’s Orderly Book (West Conoshocken, PA: Infinity Publishing, 2007), iii.

[20] Harry M. Ward, George Washington’s Enforcers: Policing the Continental Army (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2006), 193; George W. Mitchell, Memoir of Brigadier-General John Dagworthy of the Revolutionary War (Wilmington: Historical Society of Delaware, 1895), 7, 58-59. This duty was also shared by the corporal and sergeant, who they likely worked with in keeping order.

[21] Robert K. Wright Jr., The Continental Army (Washington D.C., Center of Military History, 1983), 18, 176; Frederick Stueben, Regulations for Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, Part I (Philadelphia: Styner and Cist, 1779), 132-134.

[22] Heitman, 395; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 70, 137, 229, 286, 346, 364, 380, 382, 476, 480, 602, 615, 641; S. Eugene Clements and F. Edward Wright, The Maryland Militia in the Revolutionary War (Silver Spring, MD: Family Lien Publications, 1987), 104, 154, 166, 171, 172. This rank in July 1779 makes it clear that he is not the same as John Pugh Mitchell who is a captain in the Fourth Maryland Regiment in 1779, a deserter in Somerset county, a private in a number of different regiments or other members of the Continental line.

[23] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 118, 163, 223, 322.

[24] Daniel Wunderlich Nead, The Pennsylvania-German in the Settlement of Maryland (Lancaster, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, 1914), 255-259; Hanson’s Laws of Maryland, Session Laws 1779, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 203, 214. See “An Act relating to the officers and soldiers of this state in the American army, and other purposes therein mentioned” for specifics of the law which passed.

[25] Heitman, 395; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 370, 458. Some letters indicate that there was a Captain John Mitchell in the First Maryland Regiment, but this contradicts the record as laid out by Heitman.

[26] Heitman, 395; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 521; “John Mitchell to Thomas Jefferson, 26 February 1810,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified July 12, 2016. Some sources say he served until November 1783 but this is not supported by the available evidence. For more information on the battles of Brandywine and Hobkirk’s Hill, see “British “masters of the field”: The disaster at Brandywine” and “A Short Fight on Hobkirk’s Hill: Surprise, Blame, and Defeat” on the Finding the Maryland 400 research blog.

[27] Charles County Bicentennial Committee, Charles County, Maryland: A History (So. Hackensack, NJ: Custom Book Inc., 1976), 311.

[28] Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland, Register of the Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland Brought Down to February 22nd, 1897 (Baltimore, Order of the Society, 1897), 95.

[29] Margaret Brown Klopter and Paul Dennis Brown, History of Charles County Maryland (La Plata: Charles County Tercentenary, 1958), 73-74; William Smallwood gravestone, Find A Grave, updated July 28, 2007, accessed September 13, 2016; Durham Parish Vestry Minutes, 1776-1777, 1791-1811, Special Collections, Durham Parish Collection, p. 47-49, 51, 53-58, 61, 63, 65-66, 68-73, 76, 78, 83, 91, 93, 95, 113-114, 119, 122, 129-131, 133 [MSA SC 2604-1-1, SCM 9950-1 (scanned)]. Since he is not listed in many of the records after this point, it is hard to know if he was still considered a vestryman between 1795-1797, and 1797-1799 since his attendance record was not, in those years and afterwards as consistent as it had been between 1791-1795, possibly because of other civic duties. Interestingly, after 1800, he was called Gen. John Mitchell, likely because of service in the militia. His son, John H.T.S. was later a member of the vestry from 1808 to 1811.

[30] Session Laws, 1811 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 614, 74; The Laws of Maryland from the End of the Year 1799 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 192, 1183, 1184; “John Mitchell to Thomas Jefferson, 26 February 1810,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified July 12, 2016; Durham Parish Vestry Minutes, 1791-1811, Special Collections, Durham Parish Collection, p. 8-9, 12 [MSA SC 2604-1-1, SCM 9950-1 (scanned)].

[31] “[Diary entry: 30 May 1771],” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified July 12, 2016; Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, “Old Durham Parish Church historic marker,” CH-851 [MSA SE5-30950]; Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, “Old Durham Church (Christ Episcopal Church),” CH-63 [MSA SE5-7900].

[32] Thatcomb land tract, 1783, Assessment of 1783, CV 2nd District, p. 20 [MSA S1161-3-2, 1/4/5/46 (scanned)]; Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, “Linden,” CH-48 [MSA SE5-7882]; Earle, 115-16, 119; Christopher R. Eck, Southern Maryland’s Historic Landmarks (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2016), 101. This farm was not Linden as some sources have indicated since a wealthy merchant in Port Tobacco, Henry Barnes, owned the property at the time. Walter Mitchell would not occupy the property until much later. Some claim that John Mitchell built the property of Linden but this cannot be confirmed.

[33] Census of 1790 for Charles County, U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland Census Record, p. 576 [MSA SM61-7, SCM 2053-1 (scanned)]; Census of 1800 for Charles County’s Durham Parish, U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland Census Record, p. 495 [MSA SM61-28, SCM 2055-3 (scanned)]; Census of 1810 for Charles County, U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland Census Record, p. 315 [MSA SM61-48, SCM 2060-4 (scanned)]. This average comes from these records: 21 enslaved blacks in 1790, 24 enslaved blacks in 1800 and 16 enslaved blacks in 1810. Other census information shows that in 1790 two white people over the age of 16, one free white male under age 16, and three white females lived in the household. The 1800 census on the other hand shows 32 people, in total, living in the household, including two free white males under the age of 10, one free white male under the age of 16, two free white males under age 45, two free white women under the age of 10, and one free white woman over the age of 45. This could mean that Mitchell had indentured servants or other wage-workers at his plantation. The final census used here is the 1810 census which lists one white male under age two, one white male up to age 10, one white male above age 45, one white woman age 10 or older, one white woman under age 20, and one white female of age 45 and older.

[34] “John Mitchell to Thomas Jefferson, 26 February 1810,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified July 12, 2016; Durham Parish Vestry Minutes, 1776-1777, Special Collections, Durham Parish Collection, p. 57 [MSA SC 2604-1-1, SCM 9950-1 (scanned)].

[35] “John Mitchell to Thomas Jefferson, 26 February 1810,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified July 12, 2016; Westward of Fort Cumberland: Military Lots Set Off for Maryland’s Revolutionary Soldiers (ed. Mary K. Meyer, Baltimore: Heritage Books, 1994), 4; Indenture of John Mitchell to Thomas Crackell, 1780, Charles County Court, Land Records, Liber V 3, p. 480-481 [MSA CE 82-36]; Indenture of John Mitchell to George Noble Lyles, 1803, Charles County Court, Land Records, Liber IB 5, p. 326-329 [MSA CE 82-43].

[36] Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, “Holly Springs,” CH-109 [MSA SE5-7941]; Peter Kolchin, American Slavery: 1619-1877 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2003, reprint), 34; Jeffrey Richardson Brackett, The Negro in Maryland: A Study of the Institution of Slavery Vol. 6 (Baltimore: N. Murray, 1889), 49, 52. He was the brother of Samuel Hanson, a member of the lower house for Charles County. This means that Mitchell was among many of the white households of the Maryland and Virginia tidewater region who owned enslaved blacks, many of whom, in Maryland, lived in Calvert and Charles counties. Other counties with large enslaved black populations were Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties.

[37] Gen. John Mitchell Will, November 14, 1812, Charles County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 7326-15 [MSA C651-16, 1/8/11/34]; Hanson, 119; Genealogies of Virginia FamiliesFrom Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine Vol. 1 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007), 119; Will of John Mitchell, February 1812, Charles County Register of Wills, Wills, MdHR 7294, Liber HBBH 13, p. 192, 194 [MSA C681-14, 1/8/10/14]; Genealogies of Virginia Families: From Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine Vol. 1 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007), 118. He was born with the name of John Truman Stoddert Heaberd Mitchell or John T. S. Heaberd Mitchell for the short, with Heaberd sometimes spelled as Heberd. He is not the same person as John Truman Stoddert who was born to different parents.

[38] John Herbert Truman Stoddart Mitchell and John Mitchell vs. John Courts and Priscilla Courts in the case of William Smallwood’s estate, 1800, Chancery Court, Chancery Papers, MdHR 17898-3602 [MSA S512-3720, 1/36/3/65]; Pension of William Smallwood, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2202, pension number B. L. Wt. 656-1100. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Harrison Dwight Cavanagh, Colonial Chesapeake Families: British Origins and Descendants Vol. 2 (Bloomington, IN: XLibris, 2014), 189; Genealogies of Virginia Families: From Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine Vol. 1 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007), 118.

[39] Pension of William Smallwood; Papenfuse, Edward C., et. al. “William Smallwood,” in A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789, vol. 2:  I-Z. Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979, pp. 741. John Courts may have been related to William Courts.

[40] Catherine Barnes Mitchell gravestone, Find A Grave, updated November 24, 2012, accessed September 7, 2016; Will of John Mitchell, 193.

[41] John Barnes petition for letters of the estate of General Mitchell, October 12, 1814, Charles County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 7326-17 [MSA C651-17, 1/8/11/36]; Will of John Mitchell, 193; Gen Walter Hanson Jennifer Mitchell gravestone, Find A Grave, updated June 8, 2011, accessed September 7, 2016. He would later serve as a Confederate general in the Civil War.

[42] Appointments of John Mitchell, 1794-1796, Adjutant General, Militia Appointments, MdHR 5587, Militia Appointments Liber 2, p. 90, 94 [MSA S348-2, 2/6/5/10]; Earle, 116. This resource is also scanned at SR 2332. This confirms Earle, among other sources, that claim that he was in charge of state militia in Charles County before his death.

[43] Session Laws, 1797 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 652, 93.

[44] Appointment of John Mitchell, 1801-1802, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1900 [MSA S1082-3, 2/26/4/40]; Resignation of John Mitchell, 1802-1803, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1901 [MSA S1082-4, 2/26/4/40].

[45] Maryland 1804 Electoral College, District 1 election, A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825, Tufts University, accessed September 14, 2016; Maryland 1796 Electoral College, District 1 election, A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825, Tufts University, accessed September 14, 2016.

[46] Maryland 1808 Electoral College, District 1 election, A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825, Tufts University, accessed September 14, 2016; Maryland 1808 U.S. House of Representatives, District 1 election, A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825, Tufts University, accessed September 14, 2016.

[47] “John Mitchell to Thomas Jefferson, 26 February 1810,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified July 12, 2016.

[48] Capt. John Mitchell gravestone, Find A Grave, updated November 12, 2012, accessed September 7, 2016.

[49] Will of John Mitchell, 191-195; John Barnes petition for letters of the estate of General Mitchell. The enslaved blacks included four male children named Pegy, Phil, Allen, John (given to him by Richard Barnes) and Davie, one female child named Anney, and Sophia, the mother of Davie. Interestingly, he said his son John was entitled to 1/6 part of the enslaved black child, named John.

[50] He allowed for his sons Walter and Richard to own his plantation if his wife died. In the event that his sons died, then the ownership of his plantation would be transferred to his daughters Mary and Elizabeth.

[51] Gen. John Mitchell Will; Inventory of John Mitchell, 1813, Charles County Register of Wills, Inventories, MdHR 7306-1, p. 104-108 [MSA C665-15, 1/8/10/26]; Gen. John Mitchell Inventory, June 11, 1813, Charles County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 7326-16 [MSA C651-16, 1/8/11/35]. Mitchell owned books such as Volume 1 of John Marshall’s Life of Washington, Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia, and David Hume’s Eight Volume History of England, a volume of John Locke’s works, and Newton Principles of Philosophy. His inventory also shows that he was a “gentleman” planter, and that his plantation had cotton, spinning wheel, plows and wheelbarrows, among other possessions.

[52] Catherine Mitchell Petition, June 9, 1813, Charles County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 7326-16 [MSA C651-16, 1/8/11/35]; Catherine Mitchell petition for a process, December 9, 1812, Charles County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 7326-14 [MSA C651-14, 1/8/11/33].

[53] Inventories of John and Catherine Mitchell, 1824, Charles County Register of Wills, Inventories, MdHR 7309-1, p. 454-455, 457-460, 468-474 [MSA C665-18, 1/8/20/29]; Inventories of John and Catherine Mitchell, 1821, Charles County Register of Wills, Inventories, MdHR 7308-1, p. 386-389 [MSA C665-17, 1/8/20/28].

[54] John Barnes vs. Walter H.J. Mitchell with an injunction against execution of judgment, 1836, Chancery Court, Chancery Papers, MdHR 17898-6518 [MSA S512-6577, 1/37/3/40]; Walter H. Mitchell vs. John Barnes on the issue of the estate of Mary B. Barnes and an enslaved black named William, 1836, Chancery Court, Chancery Papers, MdHR 17898-9458 [MSA S512-9373, 1/38/5/3]; Catherine Mitchell Testamentary Bond, December 8, 1815, Charles County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 7326-18 [MSA C651-18, 1/8/11/37]; Gen. John Mitchell Testamentary Bond, November 14, 1812, Charles County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 7326-15 [MSA C651-15, 1/8/11/34]; John Mitchell Administration Bond, December 8, 1814, Charles County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 7326-17 [MSA C651-17, 1/8/11/36].

[55] Walter H.J. Mitchell Guardian Bond, December 8, 1815, Charles County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 7326-18 [MSA C651-18, 1/8/11/37].

[56] Federal Gazette, Baltimore, October 31, 1812, Vol. XXXVIII, issue 5734, p. 3; Edward L. Larson, A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America’s First Presidential Campaign (New York: Free Press, 2007), 147; Philip I. Blumberg, Repressive Jurisprudence in the Early American Republic: The First Amendment and the Legacy of English Law (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 42; Bruce Ackerman, The Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy (London: Belknap Press, 2010), 320; Religion and the American Presidency (ed. Mark J. Rozell and Gleaves Whitney, New York: Palgrave Macmillian, 2007), 48-49; Eric R. Schlereth, An Age of Infidels: The Politics of Religious Controversy in the Early United States (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 124; L. Marx Renzulli, Maryland: The Federalist Years (Madison: Fairleigh University Press, 1972), 183; Cheryl C. Boots, Singing for Equality: Hymns in the American Antislavery and Indian Rights Movements, 1640-1855 (London: McFarland and Symbol Company, 2013), 82; John C. Nefane, Violence Against the Press: Policing the Public Sphere in U.S. History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 70; Frank A. Cassell, Merchant Congressman in the Young Republic: Samuel Smith of Maryland, 1752-1839 (Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1971), 72, 83, 89; A. Rachel Minick, A History of Printing in Maryland 1791-1800 (Baltimore: Enoch Pratt Free Library, 1949), 42, 43, 44. They also took a position in favor of church property, against deists, and carried an obit of a black preacher, Richard Allen. John Hewes, editor of the paper, was called a “federalist editor” by Eric R. Schlereth.

[57] Federal Gazette, Baltimore, Dec. 7, 1811, Vol. XXXV, issue 5455, p. 2. It is not known whether they were right about Mitchell not being adequately compensated but he did petition the state legislature in 1811, along with Robert Halkerstone of Charles County, for relief as a late revolutionary officer.

[58] Testimony of John Worthington and Nicholas Brice on “the attack on the Federal Republican Office,” 1812, Maryland State Archives, Accession Problems and Miscellaneous [MSA T68-14-2, 2/4/2/14].

[59] “Important Letter from France. From the Federal Republican,” Federal Gazette, Baltimore, June 3, 1812, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5608, p. 2; “From the Federal Republican,” Federal Gazette, Baltimore, April 15, 1812, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5566, p. 2; “The “6257”. From the Federal Republican,” Federal Gazette, Baltimore, May 9, 1812, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5587, p. 3; Federal Gazette, Baltimore, March 12, 1812, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5537, p. 3; “From the Federal Republican. Disbursement of Public Money,” Federal Gazette, Baltimore, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5500, p. 2; Federal Gazette, Baltimore, December 2, 1812, Vol. XXXVIII, issue 5761, p. 3; Federal Gazette, Baltimore, October 21, 1812, Vol. XXXVIII, issue 5725, p. 3; “Congress of the United States,” Federal Gazette, Baltimore, June 17, 1812, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5620, p. 3; Federal Gazette, Baltimore, June 9, 1812, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5612, p. 2; Federal Gazette, Baltimore, June 19, 1812, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5622, p. 3; “Letter of Edwin Gray,” Federal Gazette, Baltimore, June 5, 1812, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5610, p. 2; “Philadelphia, June 15,” Federal Gazette, June 16, 1812, Vol. XXXVI, issue 5619, p. 3.

[60] Michael Schudson, Discovering the News, Key Readings in Journalism (ed. Elliot King and Jane L. Chapman, New York: Routledge, 2012), 16. The Gazette was also, like many papers before the 1830s, was trying to gain a “readership of commercial elites.” Additionally, the paper was changing ownership with longtime editor, John Hewes, selling the paper to thirty-seven year-old William Gwynn, who would remain the paper’s editor until 1833. The paper’s publishers likely also changed, who were also federalist, named Leonard Yundt and Matthew Brown as noted by the Library of Congress. Hewes’s letter discussing the sale is also available as part of the William Allen Blankenship, Jr., Collection.

Sickened Marylanders and the Philadelphia Bettering House

Reposted from Academia.edu. I originally wrote this when working at the Maryland State Archives on the Maryland 400 project. There is one slight change of names, from Abigail Smith to Abigail Adams.

An illustration of the Philadelphia Bettering House in 1828, courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which is likely what it looked like in 1776 and 1777 as well.

On April 13, 1777, John Adams described the spread of disease in Philadelphia and the fate of the sick soldiers in that city in a letter to his wife, Abigail Adams. In his letter, he mentioned a local institution, called the Philadelphia Bettering House. He told her that

“I have spent an Hour, this Morning, in the Congregation of the dead. I took a Walk into the Potters Field, a burying Ground between the new stone Prison, and the Hospital, and I never in my whole Life was affected with so much Melancholly. The Graves of the soldiers, who have been buryed, in this Ground, from the Hospital and bettering House, during the Course of the last Summer, Fall, and Winter, dead of the small Pox, and Camp Diseases, are enough to make the Heart of stone to melt away. The Sexton told me, that upwards of two Thousand soldiers had been buried there…To what Causes this Plague is to be attributed I dont know…Disease has destroyed Ten Men for Us, where the Sword of the Enemy has killed one.” [1]

The Bettering House, built in 1766 or 1767, sitting on south Spruce street, was an important part of the city’s landscape. At the time, it was an almshouse, where fever-stricken patients were cared for by nuns and fed warm meals. [2] The house offered monetary and spiritual “relief” to the poor. [3] In the main building, the first floor consisted of offices, the second floor was where a steward, governor, and doctors stayed, the third floor housed the sick, the fourth housed people deemed “insane,” and the fifth floor was for other sick individuals. The “paupers” were divided by gender, with men in one side and women on the others, staying in the building’s left and right wings.

By late 1776, the Bettering House had been commandeered by the Continental Army. Months earlier, in September 1776, managers and attendants of the house opposed Continental militia, sick with dysentery, sent there to recover because their presence would endanger the health of those others staying in house. [4] It was only one of the many places in the city where sick and wounded soldiers were housed in the winter of 1776-1777. An estimated 500 soldiers with a variety of aliments were sheltered in Philadelphia, including at least thirty Marylanders in the Bettering House. [5] Some of these soldiers slept on hard floors in stores and private homes that had been quickly turned into hospitals. Due to the amount of men housed in the city and poor conditions, some of those in the Maryland Flying Camp were even sent out of the city and back to a Baltimore hospital in order to receive the best care for the soldiers. [6]

Members of the Maryland 400, Michael Nowland, John Booth, and John Price were some of the invalids housed in the city’s Bettering House, then run by a military surgeon of the Continental Army, Bodo Otto. During this period, a college-educated doctor, John White, and surgeon’s mate at a local hospital, likely tended sick and wounded soldiers, and was almost killed by fever himself. [7] Nowland was described as “convalescent,” meaning that he was recovering from his sickness. As for Booth, he was “walking about, but weak” while Price had “slow fever & deafness,” with slow fever referring to typhoid and deafness perhaps coming from gunfire during the battle. [8]

Of the 98 soldiers housed in the Bettering House, half were convalescent, weak and recovering, or “fit for duty.” Of the other soldiers, they suffered from wounds received on the battlefield, swelling, fever and related illnesses, the digestive disease of jaundice, rheumatic diseases that affect muscles and joints, and other pains in the body. [9] There were also three listed without conditions, one of whom pleaded for a discharge from the house.

From 1777 to 1778, after the British victories at Brandywine and Germantown in the fall of 1777, the British occupied Philadelphia, and took over the Bettering House, using it to care for their own soldiers. [10] By that time, the Continentals were still suffering from diseases, illnesses, and war wounds, but they were sent elsewhere or cared for in camps in Morristown, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware, used by the Marylanders in subsequent winters.

Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016.


Notes

[1] John L. Cotter, Daniel G. Roberts, and Michael Parrington, The Buried Past: An Archaeological History of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994, reprint), 206; Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 13 April 1777 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.

[2] Louise Stockton, The Bettering House and Other Charities, A Sylvan City: Or, Quaint Corners in Philadelphia Illustrated (Philadelphia: Our Continent Publishing Co., 1883), 398, 404, 408-410, 418, 422-423, 426; Priscilla Ferguson Clement, Welfare and the Poor in the Nineteenth-century City: Philadelphia, 1800-1854 (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985), 40, 81, 83-85. It was not the same as the Blockley Almshouse.

[3] Gary Nash, “Poverty and Politics in Early American History,” Down and Out in Early America (ed. Billy G. Smith, University Park, PA: Philadelphia, 2004), 16-17; Simon Newman, “Dead Bodies: Poverty and Death in Early National Philadelphia, Down and Out in Early America (ed. Billy G. Smith, University Park, PA: Philadelphia, 2004), 55; Karin Wolf, “Gender and the Political Economy of Poor Relief in Colonial Philadelphia,” Down and Out in Early America (ed. Billy G. Smith, University Park, PA: Philadelphia, 2004), 163, 166, 174, 177, 179, 181-182, 184; Michael Meranze, Laboratories of Virtue: Punishment, Revolution, and Authority in Philadelphia, 1760-1835 (Chapel Hill: Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1996), 152-153; Steven Rosswurm, Arms, Country, and Class: The Philadelphia Militia and the “Lower Sort” During the American Revolution (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1989, reprint), 27-28. 

[4] Philadelphia Hospital Reports Vol. 1: 1890 (ed. Charles K. Mills, Philadelphia: Detre and Blackburn, 1891), 4-5.

[5] Richard L. Blanco. “American Army Hospitals in Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War.” Pennsylvania History vol. 48, no. 4 (1981), 347, 349, 352, 354; Mary C. Gillett, The Army Medical Department 1775-1818 (Washington D.C.: Center of Military History, 1981), 70. The influx of sick soldiers led Philadelphia to have a vital role to the Continental army as a smallpox inoculation center, while it was   a medical center of the United States at this period. This ameliorated George Washington’s concern about the “threat of contagion” and complimented his attempt to establish hospitals in locations that did not lead to further spread of illness. Philadelphia. As for Maryland soldiers, Thomas Hamilton may have stayed in the Bettering House, but due to conflicting names this cannot be confirmed.

[6] After the battles of Brooklyn and White Plains, many of the soldiers of the Maryland 400 were transferred to hospitals. Some were sent to North Castle, New York, like William Marr, due to their wounds on the battlefield, while others, such as John RileyValentine Smith, and possibly James Garner, were sent to a military hospital in Annapolis. Later in the war, Walter Muse, then captain of the Second Maryland Regiment, later supervised a hospital as part of his duties. Another man, George McNamara, who enlisted in the Fourth Independent Company, deserted before the Battle of Brooklyn, and was left in a hospital by his new company. Later, James Hindman, his captain, asked that McNamara receive a discharge due to his swollen leg.

[7] Colonial And Revolutionary Families Of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1 (ed. John W. Jordan Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004, reprint), 326, 872-873; Richard A. Harrison, Princetonians, 1776-1783: A Biographical Dictionary (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1981), 210; Gillett, 44, 70.

[8] “List of Sick Soldiers in Philadelphia, December 1776.” Pennsylvania Archives Second Series Vol I. (ed. John B. Linn and Wm. H. Egle M.D., Harrisburg: Benjamin Singerly State Printer, 1874), 528, 531-532.

[9] “List of Sick Soldiers in Philadelphia, December 1776,” 528-532.

[10] Philadelphia Hospital Reports Vol. 1: 1890 (ed. Charles K. Mills, Philadelphia: Detre and Blackburn, 1891), 5-7; Gillett, 109. After the Continentals re-occupied Philadelphia, the Bettering House was again used to house sick soldiers.

Persecuted in Revolutionary Baltimore: The Sufferings of Quakers

Reposted from Academia.edu. I originally wrote this when I was working for the Maryland State Archives on the Finding the Maryland 400 project.

“Quaker Lady detaining the English General.” This engraving refers to Mary Lindley Murray who, as legend has it, delayed Sir Henry Clinton and his officers by treating them to food and drink, tempting them with her charms, while the Americans under the command of Israel Putnam escaped after the disastrous Battle of Kip’s Bay in September 1776. This cartoon counters the feelings of some revolutionaries by making Quakers seem favorable to the revolutionary cause.

In March 1777, revolutionary leader John Adams wrote an angry letter to his wife, Abigail. He declared that Baltimore was a “dull place” where many of the town’s remaining inhabitants were Quakers, who he described as “dull as Beetles” and a “kind of neutral Tribe, or the Race of the insipids.” [1] This article continues the series about Baltimore Town by focusing on the Baltimorean Quakers, also called the Society of Friends. These Quakers were living in a town where religious beliefs interlinked with political events. You can read our other posts about Baltimore during the Revolutionary War period here.

Adams clearly misrepresented the role of Quakers in Baltimore Town. [2] The Quakers were controversial in the public arena because of their dedication to pacifism resulting in refusal to pay war taxes, assert loyalty to the colonies, or lend supplies to the Continental Army.

Even though some Maryland Quakers raised money to feed the people of Boston in 1775, revolutionaries still saw them as supporting the Crown, rather than taking a neutral position. [3] Revolutionary pamphleteer Thomas Paine, the son of a Quaker, even declared that “were the Quakers…influenced by the quiet principles they profess to hold, they would…be the first of all men to approve of independence” because it gives the opportunity of “carrying their favourite principle of peace into general practice, by establishing governments that shall hereafter exist without wars.” [4] Others thought that the Quakers engaged in espionage for the British, were treasonous to the revolutionary cause or partook in illegalities. [5]

The negative perception of Quakers by revolutionaries led to fines, looting of their property, imprisonment, and numerous other forms of discrimination. [6] However, they didn’t stay silent. One letter to the Maryland Journal, in 1777, by a presumed Quaker named ‘Pacifius’ defended neutrals, like Quakers, saying “let us remember our duty, as Christians, to love our enemies” and that the Maryland legislature should repeal “acts, which create disqualifications, or impose a tax on…neutrals.” [7]

The Maryland Committee of Sufferings recorded acts of Quaker persecution in the turbulent revolutionary environment. This committee, similar to Meetings for Sufferings created in the Northern colonies in the early 1770s, petitioned the state government of Maryland about discrimination against them, pushed for exemptions to military service, and generally advocated on behalf of Quakers. [8]

In October 1778, the Committee of Sufferings in Kent County, the first of its kind in Maryland, told fellow brethren that Quakers experienced long terms of imprisonment and banishment. [9] They endured the consequences of not wanting to comply with “human injunctions and institutions.” [10] Their reasoning was laid out in detail in an appeal to the Maryland General Assembly in October 1778 by this committee. In the letter they declared that they were resolute in their principles and opposed their Revolutionary War:

“…we behold…the devastation occasioned by the present war…we believe it to be our indispensable duty to abstain from all wars & combat which have the tendency to destroy the lives of men….we cannot, consistent with our religious principles, join with either of the contending parties….constrained from entering into solemn engagements of allegiance with either….in consequence thereof, we have been brought under great sufferings…[the state] government will not derive any advantage from…continuing our sufferings…we charitably hope the Legislature of Maryland would…avoid…the imputation of persecution…we…desire to live peace with all men, and should of any of our members now deviate from our…principles by joining in war, entering into plots…against the government…the guilt of such will most assuredly be on themselves” [11]

The war caused divisions in the Quakers community. Some Quakers wanted to give their oaths of allegiance or otherwise join the revolutionary cause. [12] This concerned those on the committee because this action went against established principles since it constituted participating directly in the war’s bloodshed. Other “concerned Quakers” made munitions for the Continental Army, worked for the Army, or gave starving soldiers food and supplies. [13] Later in the war, in Philadelphia, some joined the “Free Quakers,” and took up weapons against the British.

Still, the majority of Quakers adhered to their pacifist principles and disowned such dissident forces, charging them with disobedience. If someone was disowned they would be forcibly renounced or no longer accepted in the Quaker community, which could result in exile.

The story of a Cecil County man, named Jeremiah Brown, shows discrimination that Quakers faced and how the Quaker community stuck together. On March 24, 1778 he admitted his wrong at the Brick Meeting House in Calvert, Cecil County:

“…when my wagon and team came back, which were forcibly taken to carry military stores, [I] did receive wages for the same and was paid for one of the horses which were lost in the journey, which compliance has not been easy to mind, being convinced that the testimony of truth is against such, I do not hereby acknowledge my weakness therein, hoping and desiring for the future to give closer attention to the inward principles which preserve the error.” [14]

This was against Quaker rules because it constituted complicity in the war. While the meeting was unhappy that a member of Brown’s family went to check to see on the care of their impounded horses, Brown could have felt “weak” since he been a loyal Quaker for many years. [15] Interestingly, there is no record that Brown was exiled from the Quakers since he was an active member for years to come. [16]

Actions similar to Brown’s admission either didn’t happen or were downplayed in the Baltimore meeting. This was proven to be the case when in 1781, the Baltimore Yearly Meeting declared to fellow members that “most Friends appear to be careful in maintaining our testimony against war by refusing payment of taxes.” [17]

The Baltimore meeting of Quakers was politicized by slavery. Throughout 1776, they discussed slavery in their quarterly meetings. [18]. By 1777, Maryland Quakers, under the jurisdiction of the Baltimore meeting, were threatened to be disowned if they manumit their enslaved blacks. [19] From February 1776 to November 1777, a report was prepared by Henry Wilson, Benjamin Howard, and other brethren, on those Quakers who kept slaves. The meeting recorded the manumissions of sixty-two enslaved blacks owned by fellow members and continued to assist their fellow brethren in other matters. [20] However, manumissions were not an end to slavery. The use of manumissions in Baltimore Town, for example, sustained and expanded slavery for years to come. [21] Compounding this reality was the vital role the town played in the regional slave trade, which it had largely siphoned off from Philadelphia. [22]

In November 1777, the report, strongly condemning the practice of slavery, was released to the Baltimore quarterly meeting. The committee reported that

“…they have carefully visited nearly all the families of friends that are involv’d in the oppressive practice of Slave-keeping & have with sorrow to observe the backwardness that prevails with too many Elders in society, to do Justice to that oppressed people…Testimony should be maintain’d against this oppressive practice.” [23]

While Quakers were seen by revolutionaries as siding with the British Crown, they took sides when it came to the moral issue of slavery.

In the turbulent revolutionary environment, Quakers in Baltimore Town survived through a war which would change the new United States as the British imperial system was removed and the colonial elite structures remained.

Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016.


Notes

[1] Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 7 March 1777 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.

[2] It is possible that Adams was factious in this letter.

[3] Indian Spring Monthly Meeting: Minutes (Sandy Spring), 1772-1817, 27 October 1775 [MSA SC 2978 SCM 638-1]. The Indian Spring meeting specifically, as some have noted, “even indirectly contributed to the war effort by raising money in 1775 for the inhabitants of faraway Boston after the start of the Revolution.”

[4] Thomas Paine, “The American Crisis Number III,” Maryland Journal, May 6, 1777, Baltimore, Vol. IV, issue 182, page 2.

[5] Maryland Journal, May 13, 1777, Baltimore, Vol. IV, issue 184, page 1; Maryland Journal, September 16, 1777, Baltimore, Vol. IV, issue 202, page 1-2.

[6] J. Saurin Norris, The early Friends (or Quakers) in Maryland (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1862), 25; Camila Townsend, Tales of Two Cities: Race and Economic Culture in Early Republican North and South America: Guayaquil, Ecuador, and Baltimore, Maryland (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000), 105. In Maryland, the General Assembly, even in 1747, passed a law to condemn public drunkenness outside Quakers houses of worship among other laws in 1718, 17481752, 1757, and 1765. Even so, they continued to meet in a Baltimorean private dwelling, a meeting place since about 1700. Starting in the 1770s, Quaker millers, who lived in Philadelphia, were displaced by the Revolution and settled near Baltimore. It is worth noting that a general meeting of the Quakers for the state of Maryland was not held in Baltimore until 1787.

[7] Pacificus, “To the Public,” Maryland Journal, June 16, 1778, Baltimore, Vol. V, issue 242, page 1. This is not the same as Alexander Hamilton, a man who took the pseudonym ‘Pacificus’ and debated with framers of the Constitution.

[8] Arthur Mekeel, “The American Revolution: New York Divided,” Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings (ed. Hugh Barbour, Christopher Densmore, Elizabeth H. Moger, Nancy C. Sorel, Alson D. Van Wagner, and Arthur J. Worrall, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1995), 51-61; David Cooper, “For the Testimony of Truth,” American Quaker War Tax Resistance (ed. David M. Gross, second edition, ebook: CreateSpace, 2011), 216-217; “Conclusion of the Piece Begun in the Maryland Journal Extraordinary of the 6th of November,” Maryland Journal, December 3, 1782, Vol. IX, issue 483, page 1. Based on the types of persecution that Quakers endured in later years it is possible to infer the conditions that they lived through in that fateful year of independence. Even with their outspoken beliefs, the Quakers were still worshipping in a meeting house in Baltimore by the end of the war, along with the town’s other religious denominations.

[9] Baltimore Yearly Meetings, Meeting for sufferings 1778-1841, October 1778, p. 2-3 [MSA SC 2400, SCM 556-2].

[10] Baltimore Quarterly Meeting: Minutes, 1710-1822, 1776, Quarterly Meeting for the Western Shore Collection, Special Collections, p. 132 [MSA SC 3123, SCM 571-1].

[11] Baltimore Yearly Meetings, October 1778, Meeting for sufferings 1778-1841, p. 4-5 [MSA SC 2400, SCM 556-2].

[12] Baltimore Yearly Meetings, October 1778, Meeting for sufferings 1778-1841,  p. 4-5 [MSA SC 2400, SCM 556-2].

[13] Peter Brock, Pacifism in the United States: From the Colonial Era to the First World War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968), 223, 228; Maryland Journal, November 4, 1777, Vol. v, issue 209, page 4; Maryland Journal, April 21, 1778, Vol. V, issue 233, page 1.

[14] Brock, 39, 223; Bi-centennial of Brick Meeting-House, Calvert, Cecil County, Maryland (Lancaster: Wickersham Printing Company, 1902), 55. This text also notes that Brown was born in Little Britain, Pennsylvania, which had its own meeting of Quakers was associated with the East Nottingham meeting in Maryland, which was in Cecil County’s East Nottingham Hundred.

[15] Brock, 223; Grace L. Tracey and John Philip Dern, Pioneers of Old Monocacy: The Early Settlement of Frederick County, Maryland 1721-1743 (Baltimore: Genealogical Printing, 1989), 82; Bi-centennial of Brick Meeting-House, 46, 53, 56. It is possible that some of these Jeremiah Browns could have been his father.

[16] Bi-centennial of Brick Meeting-House, 66, 70.

[17] Brock, 212; “The Examination of Joseph Galloway, Esq; before the House of Commons,” Maryland Journal, November 23, 1779, Baltimore, Vol. VI, issue 322, page 1; “A Further Extract from the Examination of Joseph Galloway, Esq; by a Committee of the British House of Commons,” Maryland Journal, December 7, 1779, Baltimore, Vol. VI, issue 324, page 1. It is likely that Quakers lived under similar conditions in 1776, especially after the Declaration of Independence. During the British occupation of Philadelphia after 1778, the British reported that one-fourth of the population were Quakers and that they refused to carry arms.

[18] Baltimore Quarterly Meeting: Minutes, 1710-1822, 1776-1777, Quarterly Meeting for the Western Shore Collection, Special Collections, p. 131, 133-134 [MSA SC 3123, SCM 571-1]. They also discussed slavery in their yearly meetings, of course.

[19] Herbert Aptheker, “The Quakers and Negro Slavery.” The Journal of Negro History 25, no. 3 (1940): 352; Jennifer H. Doresey, Hirelings: African American Workers and Free Labor in Early Maryland (London: Cornell University Press, 2011), 40; David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 25; David W Jordan, “”Gods Candle” within Government: Quakers and Politics in Early Maryland.” The William and Mary Quarterly 39, no. 4 (1982): 653. In earlier years, Quakers in Baltimore had “participated integrally in the local and provisional life of the colony,” even engaging in acts of civil disobedience.

[20] Baltimore Quarterly Meeting: Minutes, 1710-1822, 1777, Quarterly Meeting for the Western Shore Collection, Special Collections, p. 135-137 [MSA SC 3123, SCM 571-1]; Baltimore Yearly Meetings, Miscellaneous Contents, 1677–1901, Advice (General), p. 6-7 [MSA SC 2400, SCM 551-1].

[21] Stephen Whitman, “Diverse Good Causes: Manumission and the Transformation of Urban Slavery.” Social Science History 19, no. 3 (1995): 334.

[22] Jean R. Soderlund, Quakers and Slavery: A Divided Spirit (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), 57.

[23] Baltimore Quarterly Meeting: Minutes, 1710-1822, 1777, Quarterly Meeting for the Western Shore Collection, Special Collections, p. 137 [MSA SC 3123, SCM 571-1]. In that meeting, the investigation of fellow brethren who held enslaved blacks was continued, with a report scheduled for the next quarterly meeting.

A “little groggy”: the deputy sheriff of Baltimore and his “bowl of toddy”

Reposted from Academia.edu. I originally wrote this when I worked at the Maryland State Archives on the Finding the Maryland 400 project.

Photograph of two hot toddy drinks
On December 21, 1776, Sergeant John Hardman of the Edward Veazey‘s Seventh Independent Company arrived at a public prison in Baltimore Town with captured British soldiers. [1] He was there escorting the British prisoners from Philadelphia. That night, Hardman ordered a “bowl of toddy” for the prisoners. Toddy, a popular drink originally adopted by the British, consisted of rum, hot water, and sugar.
Two other men, Daniel Curtis, the Baltimore County Sheriff, and John Ross, his deputy, asked for a “bowl of liquor.” [2] Ross, also a keeper of the town’s poor house, engaged in a friendly conversation with the prisoners, amongst whom Hardman was sitting. [3]
What happened next made people uneasy. Ross lifted the bowl of toddy, meant for the prisoners. He offered a toast, drinking to “damnation to General Washington & his army” and success “to Lord Howe & his army,” as well as to Lord Dunmore. [4] It was not unusual that he made a toast. [5] However, guards, likely Continental soldiers, saw his loyalty as antagonistic to the revolutionary cause. Since the Stamp Act in 1765, British royalty were praised less than the American colonists in toasts. This was magnified after independence.
Ross’s toast was particularly inflammatory in Baltimore. In 1775, Dunmore, then Governor of Virginia, declared that enslaved blacks and indentured servants who joined British ranks would become free. While few servants and enslaved blacks responded to his proclamation, the order echoed through the Chesapeake Bay as Dunmore formed the “Ethiopian Regiment.” [6] When Ross toasted to Dunmore, the prison guards were sure he was a sympathizer of the British Crown.
By the second toast, Ross, appearing a “little groggy,” asked the prisoners to drink “the same toast.” [7] The prisoners refused and Ross became belligerent. He drank the toddy, declaring that “they should not drink his toddy,” and that the prisoners should get a bowl for themselves. Then, appearing to “be a little in liquor,” he changed his allegiance. Ross “drank damnation to General or Lord Howe.” [8] Afterward, Hardman “challenged the said Ross,” saying he “would mark him” down for his disturbing conduct. Later, Hardman asked several people about Ross’s identity. [9]
James Calhoun, Chairman of the Committee of Observation for Baltimore Town, a provisional government in Baltimore, compiled depositions about the event in January 1777. [10] Ross was told to attend the next meeting of Maryland Council of Safety. On January 27, Ross appeared before the Council to directly address Hardman’s complaint, but Hardman was not present. [11] This was likely because he had enlisted in the Second Maryland Regiment and was not in the state at the time. The Council told Ross to appear before the Maryland General Assembly the following month on February 10. The resolution of this incident is not known. [12]
Drunken outbursts were common during colonial times. In 1770, every American over age 15, drank an average of about six shot glasses of whiskey, which is about 40 percent alcohol, every day! [13] With drinking alcohol as an important past time, it was viewed as pleasant and useful by fellow colonists. While public drunkenness was illegal, drinking played a central role in social activities, with taverns and public houses serving as places to drink and forums for revolutionary ideas. [14]
The Revolutionary War also changed Americans’ drinking habits. Americans settled on whiskey as a substitute for molasses and rum which were limited by the British naval blockade. [15] During the war, troops of the British and Continental armies were issued rations for alcohol but both armies prohibited drunkenness. [16] After the war, alcohol consumption declined slightly, but increased after 1790. [17] The spike in alcohol consumption ended with the success of the temperance movement in the nineteenth century, with more Americans criticizing alcohol use. [18]

– Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016.

Notes

[1] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 4748; Deposition about the statements of John Ross, Sub-Sheriff in Baltimore, December 23, 1776, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, Red Book 13, MdHR 4575-179 [MSA S989-19, 1/6/4/7]; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1766-1768, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 61, 14, 8687, 185299, 308310, 361368, 387, 389390393442, 520; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1769-1770, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 62, 126; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 7172; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1771 to June-July, 1773, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 63, 37282; Correspondence of Governor Sharpe, 1757-1761, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 9, 421; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, October 1773 to April 1774, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 64, 199, 337; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 374. The British soldiers, recruited in North Carolina, may have been captured at the Battle of White Plains. Hardman was under the command of Levin Winder, who had recently been appointed as a captain.

[2] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 47. When Hardman describes Ross as a “sub-sheriff” this means that Ross is an assistant or deputy sheriff.

[3] Deposition about the statements of John Ross, Sub-Sheriff in Baltimore; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1769-1770, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 62, 387, 403; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 47; Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The rise of a sovereign profession and making of a vast industry (USA: Basic Books, 1982),105; Seth Rockman, Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 1, 194-196, 199-200, 203, 205-208, 210-212, 337; Camilla Townsend, Tales of Two Cities: Race and Economic Culture in Early Republican North and South America: Guayaquil, Ecuador, and Baltimore, Maryland (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000), 37, 39, 122, 283-284; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1766-1768, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 61, 96; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, October 1773 to April 1774, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 64, 23; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 178, 267, 581; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1789-1793, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 72, 347; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 150; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, October 1773 to April 1774, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 64, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268269. Interestingly, no hard liquors were allowed in the poor house. The poor house, also called an almshouse, on the outskirts of Baltimore Town, was created to serve as “relief” for the poor. It aimed to “reform” the poor to not be disorderly and engage in “meaningful” work.

[4] Deposition about the statements of John Ross, Sub-Sheriff in Baltimore; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 46. The prison guards may have also been suspicious of him considering that he never praised the Continental Army and George Washington in any of his toasts.

[5] Peter Thompson, “”The Friendly Glass”: Drink and Gentility in Colonial Philadelphia.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 113, no. 4 (1989): 553, 557-558, 560; Richard J. Hooker, “The American Revolution Seen through a Wine Glass.” The William and Mary Quarterly 11, no. 1 (1954): 52-77; Thaddeus Russell, A Renegade History of the United States (New York: Free Press, 2010), 5. Not all of those who are toasted were praised. Hardman suspected Ross as “a Tory.”

[6] Gary B. Nash, Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early North America (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000, fourth edition), 274-275; Ray Raphael, A People’s History of the American Revolution (New York: Perennial, 2002, second edition), 309-311, 316, 320-327, 331-332, 335, 342, 355, 358, 385, 397; Ronald Hoffman, A Spirit of Dissension: Economics, Politics and the Revolution in Maryland (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), 184-185. This regiment fought in the Battle of Great Bridge (1775) near Chesapeake, Virginia before many of those in the regiment succumbed to smallpox. In later years, every time British ships would come down the Chesapeake Bay, runaway slaves would flock to the incoming ships. Enslaved blacks renounced their owners and flocked to British lines, with some fugitives attacking plantations of their former masters on the Eastern Shore. Not surprisingly, desperate slaveowners in Maryland appealed to the state government, originally the Maryland Council of Safety, asking them for assistance.

[7] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 4647.

[8] Deposition about the statements of John Ross, Sub-Sheriff in Baltimore.

[9] Deposition about the statements of John Ross, Sub-Sheriff in Baltimore. This is interesting considering that earlier prisoners had told Ross who Hardman was.

[10] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 4647. These people made depositions: Elizabeth Dewit, wife of prison guard Thomas Dewit, prison guard Constantine O’Donnell, John Hardman, sergeant of Edward Veazey‘s company, Ross’s associate Daniel Curtis, and civil servant William Spencer.

[11] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 59, 60, 83.

[12] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, April 1, 1778 through October 26, 1779, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 21, 568. Ross appears again in October 1779 asking for, along with a number of others, a recount in an “unfair” county election of sheriffs, but the Council of Maryland refused to do that, saying that the election was “valid & effectual.”

[13] Jessica Kross, “”If You Will Not Drink with Me, You Must Fight with Me”: The Sociology of Drinking in the Middle Colonies.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 64, no. 1 (1997): 28; W.J. Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), 10; Russell, 6-7; Alcohol and Drugs in North America: A Historical Encyclopedia, Vol 1: A-L (ed. David M. Fahey and Jon S. Miller, Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2013), 84; W. J. Rorabaugh, “Alcohol in America.” OAH Magazine of History 6, no. 2 (1991):17. Americans drank whiskey that “80 proof,” referring to the weight of an average spirit and indicating the drink is 40 percent alcohol. Historian Jessica Kross said that this number “might well understate beer consumption and assumes women drank more than men” which was echoed by other scholars. Americans, of all ages, guzzled three and half gallons of alcohol per year, on average. They drank rum and cider at every meal.

[14] Kross, 43; Peter Thompson, “”The Friendly Glass”: Drink and Gentility in Colonial Philadelphia.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 113, no. 4 (1989): 549; Russell, 20, 26; Christine Sismondo, America Walks Into A Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), xv, 54, 78-79; Peter Thompson, Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 13, 20, 75, 143, 145. Taverns were also places for revolutionary recruiting and organizing. Politicians even fished for votes among inebriated citizens.

[15] Rorabaugh, 17; Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin, Drinking In America: A History (New York: The Free Press, 1987), 31. At the same time, rum consumption declined since rum became associated with Great Britain.

[16] Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin, Drinking In America: A History (New York: The Free Press, 1987), 32; Eric Burns, The Spirits of America: A Social History of Alcohol (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004), 16; Sarah H. Meachan, Every Home a Distillery: Alcohol, Gender, and Technology in the Colonial Chesapeake (Baltimore: JHU Press, 2009), 5, 95. George Washington specifically hated alcohol abuse even though he ordered alcohol for his men, as a morale booster.

[17] Rorabaugh, 10; Korss, 48; Thompson, 549; Russell, 28, 30, 33; Sharon V. Salinger, Taverns and Drinking in Early America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 246, 252, 282; Rorabaugh, 21, 25, 36, 67, 136, 149-150, 167, 219; Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin, Drinking In America: A History (New York: The Free Press, 1987), 38, 46; The Concise Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History (ed., Michael Kazin, Rebecca Edwards, and Adam Rothman, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2011), 405. Americans continued to drink in huge quantities, despite the failed efforts of temperance advocates, like Benjamin Rush, to limit consumption in taverns, inns, and drinking houses.

[18] Peter McCandless, Slavery, Disease, and Suffering in the Southern Lowcountry (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 196, 272; Drugs in America: A Documentary History (ed. David F. Musto, New York: New York University Press, 2002), 3; Scott C. Martin, “Introduction: Toward a Cultural Theory of the Market Revolution,” Cultural Change and the Market Revolution in America, 1789-1860 (ed. Scott C. Martin, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005), 3;  Mitchel P. Roth, Crime and Punishment: A History of the Criminal Justice System (Second Edition, United States: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010), 112; Marvin Kitman, The Making of the President 1789: The Unauthorized Campaign Biography (New York: Grove Press, 1989), 40.

The political climate of Baltimore in 1776

Reposted this from Academia.edu. I originally posted this while working at the Maryland State Archives as part of the Finding the Maryland 400 project.

An illustration from 1777 drawn by British printmaker Matthew Darly. It is captioned: “Poor old England endeavoring to reclaim his American children and therefore is England marred and forced to go with a staff.” Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Baltimore Town was more than a diverse and pre-industrial port town that sat on the Patapsco River. It had numerous sentiments, ranging from the pro-revolutionary, some of which were militant in their beliefs, to support for the British Crown. This article continues the series about Baltimore Town by focusing on the town’s political climate in 1776. You can read our other posts about Baltimore during the Revolutionary War period here.

The structures governing the town’s 6,700 inhabitants included a board of commissioners which were handpicked by the general assembly in Annapolis, a development which irked Baltimoreans. [1] This was countered by a powerful alliance between merchants and mechanics on efforts for increased local independence for the town and united in the town’s Whig Club. [2] The Baltimore Whig Club was an organization fanatically dedicated to the revolutionary cause and made up of officers of the First Maryland Regiment, mechanics and merchants. Ultimately, inhabitants of Baltimore Town were allowed to vote for representatives of Baltimore County in the Convention of Maryland. [3] Demands for local independence were so strong that state elites gave the town two seats in the assembly, just like the city of Annapolis. [4]

While Baltimore was a “Whig stronghold” and the First Maryland regiment was also stationed in the town, like Annapolis, there were numerous differences. [5] Annapolis, within the rich Anne Arundel County, had a established planter gentry and served as a huge marketing center for the state’s agriculture. [6] The Revolutionary War gave the merchant community an advantage since it became a distribution center for military supplies, and an armed camp, with troops stationed in the city throughout the war. [7] By 1776, the merchants allied with the British Crown had left or were pushed out, leaving Annapolis to give determined and concentrated support to the revolutionary cause. [8]

Baltimore and Annapolis had a feud which was not healed by 1776. For instance, Baltimoreans were mad that the state assembly perceived them as a backwater village.[9] Relatively, Annapolis had a higher level of affluence than Baltimore and not only were merchants “flush with wartime profits” by the end of the war but the city’s maritime culture prospered. [10]  In this commercial and bustling port city, delegates, as part of the Convention of Maryland, met and declared that Marylanders have “no security for their lives or liberties” under the rule of the British Crown. [11]

The Whig Club, which absorbed and represented much of the pro-revolutionary sentiment, was not the only organization with same sentiment in town, or even the first. For example, the Sons of Liberty existed in the town at the same time. [12] As for the Whig Club, its activities ended in April 1777, but it became a manifestation of a new order in Baltimore and set the stage for the post-war environment.

In 1775, the precursor to the club was created by town mechanics. These mechanics were skilled laborers in the clothing, construction, food, and shipbuilding trades. [13] The group was called the Baltimore Mechanical Volunteers. It was the descendant of the Baltimore Mechanical Company, the “closest thing that Baltimore had to representative town government” in the 1760s. [14] The Volunteers was an organization which allowed mechanics to gain confidence in themselves, “their abilities to command and their right to be heard” in the political scene in Baltimore Town. [15]

These Volunteers transformed again as the war progressed forward. In 1775, Baltimoreans proudly organized a Baltimore Mechanical Volunteer Company, a group of militia to defend the town in case of a British invasion, and many of the company’s members were mechanics themselves. [16] This not only politicized the town’s mechanics but the company provided many of the officers who later became part of the Baltimore Whig Club. [17] Later in the war, Baltimorean mechanics also fought as part of the Continental Army.

There were also sentiments favoring the British Crown despite the strong bloc of revolutionary sentiment. Even David McMechen, a member of the town’s Whig Club and a soldier in the First Maryland Regiment, wrote in 1776 that he could not “stay in such a violent place” as Baltimore since he had “too many enemies.” [18]

It is interesting that McMechen said this because in late 1776, supporters of the Crown took up arms after being harassed by the Baltimore Whig Club. [19] British supporters were pushed back until they received support from “the town’s free Negroes who offered protection in their quarters,” and they remained there until they could depart secretly and safely to New York. [20] Still, McMechen could be partially correct. In July 1776, Samuel Purviance, an eminent merchant, wrote that restrictions on trade with Britain were viewed less favorably in Baltimore County, which the town was then part of, than elsewhere. [21]

In the early months of 1777, Baltimore was shaken by disruptions to public order. On January 11, Captain Alexander Furnival complained that his soldiers, including William Grimes, had the “hard duty” of keeping guard in Baltimore Town “over the public Stores,” meaning supplies. [22] As a result, some of the local militia were used to take the place of Furnival’s men. Seven days later, the Baltimore County’s Committee of Observation ordered that the artillery companies commanded by Nathaniel Smith and Alexander Furnival, and William Galbraith’s Company of militia in the Baltimore Town Battallion be put on guard to preserve stability in the town. [23] The Committee gave these companies the duty of ending “all Riots and Tumults within the said County, or Baltimore Town” if necessary. [24] Around this same time, three soldiers of Smith’s Company, two of whom were named David Welsh and a drummer named Harry, searched the house of a wealthy merchant, who favored favoring the British Crown, named Melchior Keener. [25]

In line with the tactics used by militant revolutionaries in the town, the soldiers allegedly came in with muskets and bayonets drawn, searching the house in a “Riotous manner, and were guilty of divers irregularities.” [26] Not long after, the Council of Safety wrote to the Committee, describing the following:

“We are much concerned that we have cause again to trouble you on behalf of Melchior Keener, who hath lately been very ill used as he alleges, by some Soldiers of Capt. Nathl Smith’s  Company, and others who came without any authority or war- rant that he knows of, to search his house, and committed divers irregularities, two of the Soldiers were David Welch [or Welsh] and Harry the drummer…the Whig club…had no hand in this riot. We wrote to Capt Smith, and request you would with his assistance inquire into the affair and see that the peace is preserved. If Keener be guilty of any offence, let him be prosecuted according to law…We must observe once for all that mobbing men of doubtful principles is not the way to gain friends to the cause of America…What you tell us of the people framing a petition to Lord Howe and the Riots complained of in Baltimore Town have induced the Council of Safety to pass an order…inclosed to you and to each of the Captains.” [27]

While David Welsh’s name does not reappear in Volume 16, it is likely that he is the same as David Walsh, one of the 74 enlisted men who said they were committed to defending “libertys of the country.” [28]

Keener, president of the Baltimore Mechanical Company before the war, had experienced similar treatment. In the fall of 1776, The Whig Club had branded him a traitor and faced with their threats, Keener fulfilled their demands, returning to the town that December. Keener was not the only one threatened in this blazon manner. In March 1777, William Goddard, a well-off printer who rhetorically battled with the Whig Club, was “forcibly haled out of his own House and taken down the street to Mr. Rusk’s Tavern” by a pro-revolutionary mob. [29] The militia of William Galbraith, who were supposed to stop this, allying themselves with these militant revolutionaries, who were part of the town’s Whig Club.

In this contentious environment in Baltimore, the Continental Congress, still sitting in the town, ordered that signed copies of the Declaration of Independence be printed. These copies were printed by publisher and bookseller Mary Katherine Goddard and distributed across the thirteen colonies. The political climate in Baltimore was undoubtedly lively despite the disappearance of the Whig Club in mid-1777. For example, the mechanics, who had worked with the Whig Club, were forming a “new collective identity.” [30]

As the war continued, Baltimore Town changed with the establishment of a new political order, and gained an important economic position, which situated it well in the postwar environment.

Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016.


Notes

[1] Charles G. Steffen, The Mechanics of Baltimore: Workers and Politics in the Age of Revolution, 1763-1812 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1984), 4, 10.

[2] Ibid, 11; Paul Kent Walker, ‘Business and commerce in Baltimore on the eve of independence,’ Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. 71, no. 3, fall 1976. pp. 296, 300-301; Tina M. Sheller, ‘Freeman, Servants, and Slaves: Artisans and the craft structure of Revolutionary Baltimore Town,’ American Artisans: Crafting Social Identity, 1750-1830, ed. Howard C. Rock, Paul A. Gilje and Robert Asher (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 22-23.

[3] Robert Purviance, A Narrative of Events Which Occurred in Baltimore Town During the Revolutionary War (Baltimore: Jos. Robinson, 1849), 43.

[4] Steffen, 10-11, 72.

[5] Purviance, 61; Keith Mason, “Localism, Evangelicalism, and Loyalism: The Sources of Discontent in the Revolutionary Chesapeake.” The Journal of Southern History 56, no. 1 (1990): 24.

[6] Alice Hanson Jones. Wealth Estimates for the Southern Colonies About 1770 (Chicago: Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians, 1973), 34; Steffen, 9, 122; Edward C. Papenfuse. In Pursuit of Profit: The Annapolis Merchants in the Era of the American Revolution, 1763-1805 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), 6. It is also worth noting that in 1776, there was a large amount of British-held debt in Maryland as Papenfuse notes on pages 40-41.

[7] Papenfuse, 2, 78, 80, 86, 83; Rosemary F. Williams, Maritime Annapolis: A History of Watermen, Sails & Midshipmen (London: The History Press, 2009), 24; Elihu S. Riley, “The Ancient City”: History of Annapolis, in Maryland (Annapolis: Record Printing Office, 1887), 182. On July 10th, six companies of the first regiment of Maryland troops commanded by Col. Smallwood headed up the Chesapeake Bay and were joined by three companies in the same regiment stationed in Baltimore.

[8] Papenfuse, 50-51; Williams, 88; Riley, 165.

[9] Steffen, 10, 24, 60, 63.

[10] Papenfuse, 2.

[11] “A Declaration of the Delegates of Maryland July 6,” July 7, 1776, Maryland Journal Vol. III, issue 135, Baltimore, Maryland, pp. 539.

[12] Steffen, 66.

[13] Ibid, xiii, 14, 27, 95-96, 112, 171. Most of the mechanics were propertyless. Like other laborers, mechanics were divided by class position, with some with more wealth than others.

[14] Ibid, 53-54, 57, 171.

[15] Ibid, 53. It is not known if the mechanics, rejected the “selfish principles of corrupt oligarchy” as strongly as the mechanics in the city of New York in June 1776 as noted in the Address of the Mechanics of New York City (June 14, 1776) to the Colonial Congress Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America (Reprint, ed. Hezekiah Miles, New York: A.S. Barnes & Co. Publishers, 1876), 176. In later years, the Volunteers would be a militia unit that defended Baltimore from British invasion during the War of 1812 as noted by the National Park Service, the Historical Marker Database, and other sources. There were other companies of the same name in the 1820s and 1840s. They also were well-honored enough to be mentioned in laws passed by the General Assembly in 1792, 17931797 along with laws passed in 1758, and in 1768.

[16] Ibid, 61.

[17] Ibid, 61, 63, 66, 69. Apparently, some Baltimoreans went further, taking matters into their own hands, possibly engaging in acts of violence, since they felt “pinned between a tyrannical [British] government abroad and a submissive one” in the state itself.

[18] Dunlap’s Maryland Gazette Annapolis, July 9, 1776 Vol. II, issue LXII, pp. 3. For these reasons and others, there was a new police force, made up of adult males, in Baltimore created around the same time which had night watchpersons to preserve “the good order and peace” (Clinton McCabe. History of the Baltimore Police Department (Baltimore: Allied Printers, 1907), 15-16).

[19] Ronald Hoffman, A Spirit of Dissension: Economics, Politics and the Revolution in Maryland (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), 184.

[20] Ibid. John C. Rainbolt adds on page 435 of his “A Note on the Maryland Declaration of Rights and Constitution of 1776” (Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. 66, no. 4 (Winter 1971)) that later on in 1776 the committee pushing for independence removed a section from the Maryland bill of rights which made a declaration against the slave trade, proving that there was greater reception for newer political values than “racial and religious values of the enlightenment.” This was likely influenced by the fact that the Black community on the Eastern Shore, thanks to Dunmore’s Proclamation, allied with those favoring the British Crown, participating in an insurrection that was put down by “organized military force” (Hoffman, 184-185). As  Donald Marguand Dozer put it in Portrait of the Free State, “in Baltimore…the Whig Club assumed the authority of government and drove the Tories out of Town” (pp. 259). Other writers claim their were “battles” in Baltimore between the Whig Club and “armed loyalists” but never explain if these battles were ideological or pitched street fights (Robert J. Brugger, Maryland: A Middle Temperament, 1634 – 1980, 123).

[21] Purviance, 61.

[22] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 40, 41.

[23] Heitman, 340, 505; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 363, 384; Steffen, 70, 72.

[24] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 58. By August of that year, there is still discussions of whether supplies can be left in Baltimore Town safely “or removed to the Fort” (Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 325). The worries about security in Baltimore continued to even December 1777 (Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 436).

[25] Steffen, 60, 69.

[26] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 58.

[27] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 59, 60.

[28] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 73, 74. All of these men are asking to be discharged, then re-enlist a second time as long as they receive rations they need, have higher wages, and bounty “given in other Companys.” Later on, Smith said his troops were “troublesome” but he was keeping them in order (Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 139).

[29] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 89190, 225; Steffen, 65, 70-74, 90. The tavern, where Goddard was brought to “stand trial,” was owned by David Rusk who not only was committed to pro-revolutionary sentiment and a member of the Mechanical Company (Steffen, 71-2; George Washington McCreary, The Ancient and Honorable Mechanical Company of Baltimore (Baltimore: Kohn & Polleck, 1901), 25-26). The Whig Club also had meetings in the house of Rusk, who was a member of the club at the time. Goddard bated radicals throughout the war in his newspaper. Due to this environment it isn’t surprising that the Council of Safety said that Scottish prisoners should be removed from Baltimore as soon as possible, that a jailkeeper named Thomas Dewitt was arrested, likely because he was seen as allied with the British Crown, and that there was “an Insurrection in the upper Part of that [Baltimore] County” suppressed, in part, by Andrew Buchanan (Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777 Archives of Maryland Online vol. 16, 229, 231, 246, 272, 388, 389, 390). It is important to note that Goddard is not the same as the Massachusetts printer who has the same name.

[30] Steffen, 70-71, 276. In 1800, the next organization of the mechanics dissolved and they moved into the political arena with candidates (Steffen, 172).

A “dull place” on the Patapsco: Baltimore and the Marr Brothers

Reposted from Academia.edu. I originally wrote this when I was working for the Maryland State Archives on the Finding the Maryland 400 project.

In 1776, Baltimore’s population was just over 6,000. This zoomed-in version of a map, courtesy of the Library of Congress, shows how Baltimore was portrayed in 1776.

In May 1776, the Revolution had been raging for almost a year with skirmishes between the British imperial army and the rag-tag revolutionaries. William Marr, probably with his brothers Nicholas and James, enlisted in the Continental Army in Capt. Nathaniel Ramsey’s Fifth Company, a section of the First Maryland Regiment, at Whetstone Point. [1] It was not uncommon for multiple men of the same immediate family to enlist in the Revolutionary War. Many company members were young and residents from the Baltimore area. The Fifth Company included the Marr brothers at Whetstone Point, fortified with 38 cannons and earthworks, two miles below Baltimore, to defend it from British attack. [2] They were joined by Daniel Bowie’s Fourth Company and Samuel Smith’s Eighth Company, as we have noted on this blog in the past. The Marr brothers and members of the three companies of the First Maryland Regiment would have seen a Baltimore that few of us can imagine today. This article is the beginning of a series about Baltimore.

In 1776, Baltimore was a small, pre-industrial town on the Patapsco River. It was officially called Baltimore Town until a city charter was received in 1797. [3] The Revolution caused difficulties by ending trade of exports such as wheat, flour, and tobacco with the British West Indies, but due to the war, Baltimore still grew economically and by population beyond 6,000 residents. [4] John Adams, in his stay in late 1776 and early 1777 as part of the Continental Congress, described the town as “very pretty” with revolutionary sentiments, but having dirty, mirey, and foul streets, a “monstrous price of things,” unhealthy air and a “dull place” not even worth defending from the British. [5] Still, Baltimore Town was a bustling and growing commercial port with a job market open to immigrants containing more than 500 dwellings. [6]

Baltimore Town was not as big as Philadelphia, in terms of population. However, the seventy-four enlisted soldiers in the Fifth Company would have seen people of varying backgrounds. There were people from many trades ranging from blacksmiths, shipbuilders at Fells Point, cabinetmakers, bricklayers, shoemakers, among others. [7] Many of these local artisans supplied common amenities and engaged in craft services in Baltimore and neighboring counties, working in a town economy “dominated by commerce.” [8]

Many of these craftspeople relied on unpaid labor such as indentured servants, mostly comprised of male English convicts, thousands of whom were trafficked into the Chesapeake Bay from the early 1700s up until 1776. [9] However, convict trade was brought to a halt due to ending of trade between Britain and colonial America as a result of the beginning of the Revolution. The enlistment of servants to the Continental Army created a labor shortage addressed by an increase of slave importation by master craftspeople. [10] At the time, others entering Baltimore included those of a “middling sort,” German immigrants, and Irish immigrants. [11] In describing Baltimore, John Adams once said that there were a few planters and farmers, who were also merchants, with lands cultivated and trades exercised by convicts and enslaved Blacks. [12] He further described these planters and farmers as having “little public spirit” as they held their enslaved Blacks and convicts “in contempt” and thought of themselves “a distinct order of beings.” [13] It is possible Adams thought lowly of these planters and farmers because they were not contributing to the revolutionary cause as much as he wanted. Still, the attitudes and actions of the planters and farmers was not unique to Baltimore.

Throughout and after the war, Baltimore Town continued to expand. Evidence suggests the Marr brothers likely settled in the Baltimore area, among other surviving soldiers. Meanwhile, Baltimore Town continued to grow by population and export of commodities, such as wheat, although there were price increases, and became an important market. [14] Despite increases in trade and availability of agricultural products, many of the tradespeople could not afford to become property owners as the town was building its unique identity. [15] As 1800 approached and Baltimore developed into more of a maritime city, the town continued to change demographically. [16]

– Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016

Notes

[1] National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of fold3.com; Order to give back pay of Nicholas Marr, William Marr’s brother, to Lewis Lee. MdHR 19970-05-01-07 [MSA S997-5-7, 1/7/3/11].

[2] Neal A. Brooks and Eric G. Rockel. A History of Baltimore County. Towson: Friends of the Towson Library, 1979. pp. 85, 101; Richard C. Medford. Book Review: ‘Mirror of Americans,’ Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. XXXIX, March 1949, no. 1. pp. 90; S. Synthes Bradford. ‘In Fort McHenry 1814: The outworks in 1814,’ Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. 52, no. 2, June 1959. pp. 188-189, 191; Christopher T. George. ‘Book Review of Fort McHenry,’ Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. 9, no. 6, 1996. pp. 224; Hamilton Owens. Baltimore on the Chesapeake. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1991. pp. 85. Years later, in 1814, Whetstone Point, like during the during the Revolution, then the site of Fort McHenry (‘Notes and queries: The President visits Maryland, 1817,’ Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. XLIX, June 1954, no. 2. pp. 168), held off the British destruction of the “”very pretty town.”

[3] Charles Francis Adams. Familiar Letters of John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams During the Revolution with a memoir of Mrs. Adams. New York: Hund and Houghton, 1876. pp. 296; Charles G. Steffen, The Mechanics of Baltimore: Workers and Politics in the Age of Revolution, 1763-1812. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1984. pp. 3; Kathryn Allamong Jacob. ‘The Women’s Lot in Baltimore Town: 1729-1797.’ Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. 71, no. 3, fall 1976. pp. 263.

[4] Edward J. Perkins. The Economy of Colonial America. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988, 135; Steffen, The Mechanics of Baltimore, 4; Matson, Cathy. “The Atlantic Economy in an Era of Revolutions: An Introduction.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 62, no. 3 (2005): 360; US Census. A Century of population growth from the first census to the twelfth. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909. pp. 30; Paul Kent Walker, ‘Business and commerce in Baltimore on the eve of independence,’ 296; Jacob Harry Hollander. The Financial History of Baltimore vol. 20. Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1899. pp. 17; Arthur M. Schlesinger. ‘Maryland’s share in the last intercontinental war.’ Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. VIII June 1912, no. 2. pp. 125; Sherry H. Olson. Baltimore: The Building of an American City. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. pp. 15; Henry C. Ward. The War for Independence and Transformation of American Society: War and Society in the United States, 1775-85. New York: Routledge, 1999. pp. 152.

[5] Owens, Baltimore on the Chesapeake, 110; Charles Francis Adams. The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States Vol. III. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851. pp. 25, 198; Tina M. Sheller. ‘Freeman, Servants, and Slaves: Artisans and the craft structure of Revolutionary Baltimore Town.’ American Artisans: Crafting Social Identity, 1750-1830 (ed. Howard C. Rock, Paul A. Gilje and Robert Asher). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995. pp. 26; Adams, Familiar Letters of John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams During the Revolution with a memoir of Mrs. Adams, 237; Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 18 February 1777Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society; Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 7 March 1777Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society; John Adams diary 28, 6 February – 21 November 1777Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society (entry for Feb. 9, 1777); Jacob, ‘The Women’s Lot in Baltimore Town: 1729-1797,’ 291.

[6] Lawrence C. Wroth, ‘A Maryland Merchant and his friends in 1750,’ Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. VI, Sept. 1911, no. 3. pp. 215, 219; Sheller, ‘Freeman, Servants, and Slaves,’ 18; George W. Howard. The Monumental City, Its Past History and Present Resources. Baltimore: J.D. Ehlers and Co., 1873. pp. 20.

[7] Daniels, Christine. “”WANTED: A Blacksmith Who Understands Plantation Work”: Artisans in Maryland, 1700-1810.” The William and Mary Quarterly 50, no. 4 (1993): 760-761, 766; Mariana L.R. Darlas. Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in the Eighteenth Century Americas. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008. pp. 90; Adams, Familiar Letters of John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams During the Revolution with a memoir of Mrs. Adams, 18; Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 10 February 1777Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society; Sheller, ‘Freeman, Servants, and Slaves: Artisans and the craft structure of Revolutionary Baltimore Town,’ 18, 25.

[8] Sheller, ‘Freeman, Servants, and Slaves: Artisans and the craft structure of Revolutionary Baltimore Town,’ 19-20.

[9] Daniels, ‘Artisans in Maryland, 1700-1810,’ 752; Morgan, Kenneth. “The Organization of the Convict Trade to Maryland: Stevenson, Randolph and Cheston, 1768-1775.” The William and Mary Quarterly 42, no. 2 (1985): 203, 205, 211, 217; M. Darlas. Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in Eighteenth Century Americas. pp. 40-41.

[10] Morgan, “The Organization of the Convict Trade to Maryland: Stevenson, Randolph and Cheston, 1768-1775,” 202, 222; Darlas, Black Townsmen, 75; Ward, The War for Independence and Transformation of American Society, 215; Sheller, ‘Freeman, Servants, and Slaves: Artisans and the craft structure of Revolutionary Baltimore Town,’ 27.

[11] Eugene Irving McCormac. White servitude in Maryland, 1634-1820. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1902. pp. 32; Middleton, Simon, and Smith Billy G. “Class and Early America: An Introduction.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 63, no. 2 (2006): 219; Allan Kulikoff. Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1986. pp. 425; Olson, Baltimore, 15.

[12] John Adams diary 28, 6 February – 21 November 1777 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society (entry for Feb. 23, 1777).

[13] John Adams diary 28, 6 February – 21 November 1777 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society (entry for Feb. 28, 1777).

[14] Brooks and Rockel, A History of Baltimore County, 107; Hunter, Brooke. “Wheat, War, and the American Economy during the Age of Revolution.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 62, no. 3 (2005): 510, 516, 522, 524; Cometti, Elizabeth. “Inflation in Revolutionary Maryland.” The William and Mary Quarterly 8, no. 2 (1951): 230; George W. Howard. The Monumental City, Its Past History and Present Resources. Baltimore: J.D. Ehlers and Co., 1873. pp. 25; Steffen, The Mechanics of Baltimore, 10-11; Olson, Baltimore, 10; Shammas, Carole. “The Space Problem in Early United States Cities.” The William and Mary Quarterly 57, no. 3 (2000): 505-506, 509.

[15] Steffen, Charles G. “Changes in the Organization of Artisan Production in Baltimore, 1790 to 1820.” The William and Mary Quarterly 36, no. 1 (1979): 103, 113.

[16] Mark N. Ozer. Baltimore: Persons and Places. Baltimore: Garden Publishing, 2013. pp. 37; Olson, Baltimore, 10.