The story of “Black Confederates”

A Black cook tends to large kettles set over a fire. In parts of the picture cropped out, White Confederate soldiers enjoy leisure time. This again supports the assertion that Blacks served as laborers of varying kinds, not as soldiers for the Confederates.

The story of Black Confederates is one that needs to be told accurately and correctly. I first heard of it when I visited Richard Stewart’s Pocahontas Island Black History Museum some years ago. I come back to it again after writing about Blacks who supported the British Crown in last week’s post.

Images like this one of Marlboro Jones would be twisted by the distorters of history to support the claim that Blacks fought as soldiers in the Confederate lines, although he was a “manservant of Confederate captain Randal F. Jones of the 7th Georgia Cavalry,” only dressed in a Confederate uniform for that role. Hence, he was not free in any sense of the word.

The Civil War Trust makes it abundantly clear: there were no Black Confederate soldiers, considering that “Vast columns of escaped slaves followed almost every major Union army at one point or another” while Confederate armies captured and enslaved “free black people during their brief occupations of Northern territories.” They add that while “black soldiers made up 10% of the Union Army and had suffered more than 10,000 combat casualties” some Blacks aided the Confederacy, many who were “forced to accompany their masters or were forced to toil behind the lines” since they were prohibited from serving “combat soldiers in the Confederate Army.” Hence, they were “cooks, teamsters, and manual laborers” with no documentation for Black Confederate units of any type during the Civil War. While some black men may have fired at Union soldiers, such soldiers never encountered “an all-black line of battle or anything close to it.” In contrast, the Union Army had the United States Colored Troops, among other units, which fought as part of the said army.

The Civil War Trust adds that not only did no Confederate ever reference “black soldiers under his command or in his unit,” but did reference Black laborers, with the rejection of black combat units until March 13, 1865 when the Confederate Congress allowed Black men to serve in combat roles. However, this came with a caveat: “black soldiers would still be slaves.” With the end of the war three weeks after this law was passed, no evidence seems to indicate that “any black units were accepted into the Confederate Army as a result of the law.” No other primary source of Confederates “mentions serving with black soldiers.” [1] The Civil War Trust ends by saying that the “notion of widespread black combat service has only arisen within the past 25 years or so,” with the baseless claims that as many as ” 80,000 black soldiers” fought for the Confederacy.

The Civil War Trust is not the only one that has said this. When one author made a shotty claim that “thousands” of Blacks fought for the Confederacy they were derided when the sources for their book were web links all tied back to the pro-Confederate Sons of Confederate Veterans, and it was shown they didn’t know what they were talking about. Later they removed the badly sourced material. This is part of the general distortion of the topic. Claims by respected historians, whether their words or associated photographs with their work, are twisted to claim that Blacks fought for the Confederacy in large numbers. [2]

Separating myth from reality

The Root is a good place to continue this discussion. They note that most Civil War historians repudiate “the idea of thousands of blacks fighting for the South.” Adding to this, it seems evident that a “few blacks, slave and free, supported the Confederacy” and while The Root author estimates that “between 3,000 and 6,000 served as Confederate soldiers,” nothing seems to support that estimation if you use the sources cited by the Civil War Trust, as noted earlier. [3] However, it seems more evident, and more supported by evidence, that “another 100,000 or so blacks, mostly slaves, supported the Confederacy as laborers, servants and teamsters…[doing] the Confederacy’s dirty work.” Adding to this, the article notes how Frederick Douglass said that at the Battle of Manassas “among rebels were black troops, no doubt pressed into service by their tyrant masters,” although this account is highly disputed with Douglass’s sources on this subject likely faulty. It claims there are sources “proving” that Blacks fought for the confederacy at the battle, however, this seems to be suspect since no existing sources prove such claims as real. After all, it seems evident that “Confederates impressed slaves as laborers and at times forced them to fight,” putting guns in their hands, forcing them to fire on Union soldiers.

There was the Louisiana Native Guards. They were a black unit “accepted as part of the Louisiana militia in May 1862” but they “never saw combat while in Confederate service,” and were just for “public display” with the unit surrendering to Union troops in April 1862, later serving in the Union Army. So, that again, cannot be used to support a claim of Blacks fighting for the Confederacy. For those who were part of the Native Guards, they said that “By serving the Confederates, [they hoped] to advance a little nearer to equality with whites,” seeing that they would gain more rights. While later in the war, in 1863,  “masters increasingly refused to allow slaves to be impressed by the Confederacy” and Northern papers continued to print rumors of Blacks serving as soldiers.

There was another factor to keep in mind. There were “some partial companies of slaves training as soldiers discovered by Union forces after the fall of Richmond” but they never fought in a combat capacity since, until the end of the war, “the Confederate Congress expressly forbade arming enslaved African Americans,” for fears of a slave uprising. Still, it is accounts like this that are used to support the claim of Black soldiers on the side of the Confederacy by people such as John J. Dwyer. This is despite the fact that it was not “until March 1865—after a contentious debate that took place throughout the Confederacy—that the Confederate Congress passed legislation authorizing the enlistment of slaves who were first freed by their masters,” with such individuals re-enslaved after their service ended.

There are a number of other articles on this subject. A Civil War Era blog, Dead Confederates confronts this issue head on. In one post they write about how claims that Stonewall Jackson had a “regiment of negroes” to be faulty, a letter by a White Southerner saying that Blacks may “may be made an efficient body in this war of self-defence” while led by White officers, and claims that cannot be corroborated anywhere else. Then there are the false claims that Robert Small was a “Black Confederate,” a mess-up by the engravers that called a Black Union soldier a member of the Confederate Army, and disproving the claim that Crock Davis was a “Black Confederate.” This is only a small sampling of the posts he has written on the subject, which accompany those assembled in a post by historian Kevin Levin on Civil War Memory. [4]

Even some more sympathetic to the Black Confederate Soldiers idea note that “first-hand evidence abundantly demonstrates that black men were present in great numbers with Confederate armies at all times.” It is added that “a great deal of the cook­ing, wagon driving, tending wounded, and camp work was done by these men.” While they push the idea of Black Confederate Soldiers, which is dubious, they have to admit that the Blacks within Confederate ranks were basically laborers, with others noted earlier in this post. As Hari Jones, assistant director/curator of the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, DC., argued “calling slaves soldiers is propaganda, not history. The labor force of the Confederacy was a majority of African American enslaved persons. In order for [the Confederates] to fight the war, they had to use enslaved labor. The Confederate Army could not have moved one-tenth of its equipment without enslaved labor.”

There is more to the story. The National Archives points out that “on July 17, 1862, Congress passed the Second Confiscation and Militia Act, freeing slaves who had masters in the Confederate Army” and only “two days later, slavery was abolished in the territories of the United States.”Adding to this is that

Recruitment was slow until black leaders such as Frederick Douglass…encouraged black men to become soldiers to ensure eventual full citizenship…Volunteers began to respond, and in May 1863 the Government established the Bureau of Colored Troops to manage the burgeoning numbers of black soldiers. By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10% of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served in the Navy. Nearly 40,000 black soldiers died over the course of the war—30,000 of infection or disease. Black soldiers served in artillery and infantry and performed all noncombat support functions that sustain an army, as well. Black carpenters, chaplains, cooks, guards, laborers, nurses, scouts, spies, steamboat pilots, surgeons, and teamsters also contributed to the war cause. There were nearly 80 black commissioned officers. Black women, who could not formally join the Army, nonetheless served as nurses, spies, and scouts…Because of prejudice against them, black units were not used in combat as extensively as they might have been. Nevertheless, the soldiers served with distinction in a number of battles. Black infantrymen fought gallantly at Milliken’s Bend, LA; Port Hudson, LA; Petersburg, VA; and Nashville, TN…. In June 1864 Congress granted equal pay to the U.S. Colored Troops and made the action retroactive. Black soldiers received the same rations and supplies. In addition, they received comparable medical care…Although the threat generally restrained the Confederates, black captives were typically treated more harshly than white captives. In perhaps the most heinous known example of abuse, Confederate soldiers shot to death black Union soldiers captured at the Fort Pillow, TN, engagement of 1864.

The fact that Confederates treated Blacks within the Union Army as people to be abused, killed, or tortured, further punctures the idea of the Confederacy as “progressive” for letting (actually forcing) Blacks to serve in their ranks.

The present

To this day, debate continues on this issue, between those historians who want to revive the racist, pro-slavery Confederacy as “glorious” and the majority of Civil War historians who indicate that the Confederacy and slavery were wrong, telling the reality of the war. Even some, who are in the second group, seem to accept the idea of Black Confederate soldiers, saying historians like Levin are using “21st century standards” to determine what happened in the 19th century (if he is even doing this, which is debatable). It is silly to say this because historians in the present should not be required to use the standards of that time to make their historical interpretations, as that would limit them, and new standards allow them to avoid mistakes which were made in the past.

Such debates obscure the fact that Neo-Confederates today use the Black Confederate narrative to their advantage. While the black Confederate narrative may threaten assertions by such individuals “that the “southern nation” consists solely of “anglo-celtic” Christians,” it also seems to apologize for action by the Confederacy. While Blacks provided “physical and material support to the CSA throughout its existence by performing tasks normally associated with chattel slavery in that period, and in scattered instances toward the close of the war” they took up arms, the core truth is that “black Confederates were operating in a system of coercion and oppression where the penalty for non-compliance was corporal punishment or death.” So, to hold this up as an example is to mean that one has become an apologist for slavery. Hence, the idea of Black Confederates fighting as soldiers is clearly a myth. Adding to this is the fact stated by the Mariner’s Museum in a post on the subject:

There were of course no integrated units in the South…there may have actually been a few units of black troops that organized for the Confederates. Professor John Stauffer of Harvard has recently done research on just this subject, and estimates that there may have been a bit over 3,000 black soldiers formed on the Confederate side…many of these black soldiers were not accepted by the Confederate government and were not issued firearms: still more of these soldiers were coerced into joining the military, and others joined to escape miserable poverty….The greatest single example of black Confederate soldiers – the Louisiana Native Guards, composed of black and mixed-race men from the New Orleans area – was not accepted by the Confederate military despite their wish to fight for the south when the war broke out…As a result, when the Union took New Orleans in spring of 1862, the Louisiana Native Guards joined the Union when General Butler called for reinforcements. On a side note, over 4,000 black and mixed-race men joined the Union army in New Orleans that spring, which outnumbers those that may have joined the Confederacy over the course of the entire war.

Again, let us restate that Black men were not legally allowed to serve as combat soldiers in the Confederate Army, “they were cooks, teamsters, and manual laborers. There were no black Confederate combat units in service during the war.” Other sources confirm this reality.

For now, it seems this case is closed. It is better to focus on those Blacks who fought for the British Crown during the Revolutionary War, those who fought for the Union during the Civil War, or those who fought for the British during the War of 1812.

Notes

[1] The Civil War Trust says “whatever black combat service might have occurred during the war, it was not sanctioned by the Confederate government.” But, based on their own article, this sentence has no basis in reality.

[2] Ta-Nehisi Coates covers this briefly, linking to varying resources in his two articles on the subject in The Atlantic.

[3] The Root author seems to accept the idea of Black Confederate soldiers (why), saying that “the total number of black Confederate soldiers is statistically insignificant: They made up less than 1 percent of the 800,000 black men of military age (17-50) living in the Confederate states, based on 1860 U.S. census figures, and less than 1 percent of at least 750,000 Confederate soldiers.” But again, this is not supported by evidence.

[4] The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV)even has a whole page on their website titled “Black Confederates,” claiming that “over 65,000 Southern blacks were in the Confederate ranks,” citing books such as Charles Kelly Barrow’s Forgotten Confederates: An Anthology About Black Southerners, Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.’s Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia, Richard Rollins’s Black Southerners in Gray, accounts of Frederick Douglass, and Dr. Lewis Steiner, Chief Inspector of the United States Sanitary Commission, although the latter two cannot be independently verified, along with an “excellent educational video.” They claim that there were varying Black units (“Richmond Howitzers” (partially), a “non-commissioned officer” named James Washington, “skilled black workers”, “Black and white militiamen…at the Battle of Griswoldsville”, “Jackson Battalion” (partially), “Confederate States Colored Troops” (unknown number), “confederate supply train was exclusively manned and guarded by black Infantry”, “black seamen served in the Confederate Navy”, “180,000 Black Southerners, from Virginia alone, provided logistical support for the Confederate military”). Of these claims, these claims are undoubtedly. distortions of history but are using the numbers of those Blacks who served as laborers and claiming they are soldiers, which is not the case. They also seem to assume that when someone talks about Blacks joining the “ranks” of the Confederates it was down willingly and that they were soldiers rather than laborers. Similar claims are made by Walter E. Williams in “Black Confederates” (Jan. 21, 2000).

 

 

Favoring the British Crown: enslaved Blacks, Annapolis, and the run to freedom

This watercolour sketch by Captain William Booth, Corps of Engineers, is the earliest known image of an African Nova Scotian. He was probably a resident of Birchtown. According to Booth’s description of Birchtown, fishing was the chief occupation for “these poor, but really spirited people.” Those who could not get into the fishery worked as labourers, clearing land by the acre, cutting cordwood for fires, and hunting in season. Image and caption are courtesy of the Nova Scotia Archives, used within fair use limits of copyright law.

In 1777, William Keeling, a 34 year old Black man ran away from Grumbelly Keeling, a slaveowner on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, which covers a very small area. [1] The Keelings were an old maritime family within Princess Anne County. William, and possibly his wife Pindar, a “stout wench” as the British described her, would be evacuated July 1783 on the Clinton ship from New York with British troops and other supporters of the British Crown (“Loyalists”) likely to somewhere in Canada. [2] They were not the only ones. This article does not advocate for the “loyalist” point of view, but rather just tells the story of Blacks who joined the British Crown in a quest to gain more freedom from their bondage rather than the revolutionary cause. [3]

Black families go to freedom

There were a number of other Black families that left the newly independent colonies looking for freedom. Many of these individuals, described by slaveowners as “runaways,” had fled to British lines hoping for Freedom. Perhaps they saw the colonies as a “land of black slavery and white opportunity,” as Alan Taylor put it, seeing the British Crown as their best hope of freedom. [4] After all, slavery was legal in every colony, up to the 1775, and continuing throughout the war, even as it was discouraged in Massachusetts after the Quock Walker decision in 1783. They likely saw the Patriots preaching for liberty and freedom as hypocrites, with some of the well-off individuals espousing these ideals owning many humans in bondage.

There were 26 other Black families who passed through Annapolis on their way north to Nova Scotia to start a new life. When they passed through the town, they saw as James Thatcher, a Surgeon of the Continental Army described it on August 11, 1781, “the metropolis of Maryland, is situated on the western shore at the mouth of the river Severn, where it falls into the bay.”

The Black families ranged from 2 to 4 people. Their former slavemasters were mainly concentrated in Portsmouth, Nansemond, Crane Island, Princess Ann/Anne County, and Norfolk, all within Virginia, as the below chart shows:

Not included in this chart, made using the ChartGo program, and data from Black Loyalist, are those slaveowners whose location could not be determined or those in Abbaco, a place which could not be located. [5] It should actually have two people for the Isle of Wight, and one more for Norfolk, VA, but I did not tabulate those before creating the chart using the online program.

Of these slaveowners, it is clear that the Wilkinson family was Methodist, as was the Jordan family, but the Wilkinsons were “originally Quakers” but likely not by the time of the Revolutionary War. The Wilkinson family was suspected as being Loyalist “during the Revolution” with  “Mary and Martha Wilkinsons (Wilkinson)… looked on as enemies to America” by the pro-revolutionary “Patriot” forces. However, none of the “Wilkinsons became active Loyalists.” Furthermore, the Willoughby family may have had some “loyalist” leanings, with other families were merchant-based and had different leanings. At least ten of the children of the 26 families were born as “free” behind British lines while at least 16 children were born enslaved and became free after running away for their freedom. [6]

Beyond this, it is worth looking at how the British classified the 31 women listed in the Book of Negroes” compiled in 1783, of which Annapolis was one of the stops on their way to Canada. Four were listed as “likely wench[s]” , four as “ordinary wench[s]”, 18 as “stout wench[s]”, and five as other. Those who were “likely wench[s]” were likely categorized as “common women” (the definition of wench) rather than “girl, young woman” since all adult women were called “wench” without much exception. [7] As for those called “ordinary” they would belong to the “to the usual order or course” or were “orderly.” The majority were “stout” likely meaning that they were proud, valiant, strong in body, powerfully built, brave, fierce, strong in body, powerfully built rather than the “thick-bodied, fat and large, bulky in figure,” a definition not recorded until 1804.

Fighting for the British Crown

Tye Leading Troops as dramatized by PBS. Courtesy of Black Past.

When now-free Blacks, most of whom were formerly enslaved, were part of the evacuation of the British presence from the British colones from New York, leaving on varying ships, many of them had fought for the British Crown within the colonies. Among those who stopped by Annapolis on their way North to Canada many were part of the Black Brigade or Black Pioneers, more likely the latter than the former.

The Black Pioneers had fought as part of William Howe’s army, along with “black recruits in soldiers in the Loyalist and Hessian regiments” during the British invasion of Philadelphia. This unit also provided “engineering duties in camp and in combat” including cleaning ground used for camps, “removing obstructions, digging necessaries,” which was not glamorous but was one of the only roles they played since “Blacks were not permitted to serve as regular soldiers” within the British Army. While the noncommissioned officers of the unit were Black, commissioned officers were still white, with tank and file composed mainly of “runaways, from North and South Carolina, and a few from Georgia” and was allowed as part of Sir Henry Clinton‘s British military force, as he promised them emancipation when the war ended. The unit itself never grew beyond 50 or go men, with new recruits not keeping up from those who “died from disease and fatigue” and none from fighting in battle since they just were used as support, sort of ” garbage men” in places like Philadelphia. The unit, which never expanded beyond one company, was boosted when Clinton issued the “Phillipsburgh Proclamation,” decreeing that Blacks who ran away from “Patriot” slavemasters and reached British lines were free, but this didn’t apply to Blacks owned by “Loyalist” slavemasters or those in the Continental army who were  “liable to be sold by the British.” In December 1779, the Black Pioneers met another unit of the same type, was later merged with the Royal North Carolina Regiment, and was disbanded in Nova Scotia, ending their military service, many settling in Birchtown, named in honor of Samuel Birch, a Brigadier General who provides the “passes that got them out of America and the danger of being returned to slavery.” Thomas Peters, Stephen Bluke, and Henry Washington are the best known members of the Black Pioneers.

The Black Brigade was more “daring in action” than the Black Pioneers or Guides. Unlike the 300-person Ethiopian Regiment (led by Lord Dunmore), this unit was a “small band of elite guerillas who raided and conducted assassinations all across New Jersey” and was led by Colonel Tye who worked to exact “revenge against his old master and his friends” with the title of Colonel a honorific title at best. Still, he was feared as he raided “fearlessly through New Jersey,” and after Tye took a “musket ball through his wrist” he died from gangrene in late 1780, at age 27. Before that happened, Tye, born in 1753, would be, “one of the most feared and respected military leaders of the American Revolution” and had escaped to “New Jersey and headed to coastal Virginia, changing his name to Tye” in November 1775 and later joined Lord Dunmore, The fighting force specialized in “guerilla tactics and didn’t adhere to the rules of war at the time” striking at night, targeting slaveowners, taking supplies, and teaming up with other British forces. After Tye’s death, Colonel Stephen Blucke of the Black Pioneers replaced him, continuing the attacks long after the British were defeated at Yorktown.

After the war

Many of the stories of those who ended up in Canada and stopped in Annapolis are not known. What is clear however is that “an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 black Americans left the 13 states as a result of the American Revolution” with these refugees scattering “across the Atlantic world, profoundly affecting the development of Nova Scotia, the Bahamas, and the African nation of Sierra Leone” with some supporting the British and others seized by the British from “Patriot” slaveowners, then resold into slavery within the Caribbean sea region. Hence, the British were not the liberators many Blacks thought them to be.Still, after the war, 400-1000 free Blacks went to London, 3,500 Blacks and 14,000 Whites left for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where Whites got more land than Blacks, some of whom received no land at all. Even so, “more than 1,500 of the black immigrants settled in Birchtown, Nova Scotia,” making it the largest free Black community in North America, which is why the “Birchtown Muster of Free Blacks” exists. Adding to this, these new Black refugees in London and Canada had a hard time, with some of those in London resettled in Sierra Leone in a community which survived, and later those from Canada, with church congregations emigrating, “providing a strong institutional basis for the struggling African settlement.” After the war, 2,000 white Loyalists, 5,000 enslaved Blacks, and 200 free Blacks left for Jamaica, including 28 Black Pioneers who “received half-pay pensions from the British government.” As for the Bahamas, 4,200 enslaved Blacks and 1,750 Whites from southern states came into the county, leading to tightening of the Bahamian slave code.

As one historian put, “we will never have precise figures on the numbers of white and black Loyalists who left America as a result of the Revolution…[with most of their individual stories are lost to history [and] some information is available from pension applications, petitions, and other records” but one thing is clear “the modern history of Canada, the Bahamas, and Sierra Leone would be greatly different had the Loyalists not arrived in the 1780s and 1790s.” This was the result of, as Gary Nash, the “greatest slave rebellion of North American slavery” and that the “high-toned rhetoric of natural rights and moral rectitude” accompanying the Revolutionary War only had a “limited power to hearten the hearts of American slave masters.” [8]

While there are varied resources available on free Blacks from the narratives of enslaved people catalogued and searchable by the Library of Virginia, databases assembled by the New England Historic Genealogical Society or resources listed by the Virginia Historical Society, few pertain to the specific group this article focuses on. Perhaps the DAR’s PDF on the subject, the Names in Index to Surry County Virginia Register of Free Negroes, and the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada (UELAC) have certain resources.

While this does not tell the entire story of those Black families who had left the colonies, stopping in Annapolis on the way, in hopes of having a better life, it does provide an opening to look more into the history of Birchtown, (also see here) and other communities in Canada and elsewhere. [9]

Notes

[1] Grumbelly was related to Capt. Keelings (of Princess Ann/Anne County, VA), x of whose people in bondage ran away to join the British lines” Argyll (joined Roal Artillery Department) and Robert. Grumbelly is also within this book. It would make sense it is Virginia’s Eastern Shore rather than Maryland’s, although this cannot be confirmed. William was undoubtedly one of many who was part of a small plantation within this area.

[2] Other would be evacuated on the La Aigle. His bio says that “William Keeling is assumed to be the husband of Pindar Keeling. They travel near to each other on board the Clinton and despite the presence of other Keelings, they are not listed in the Birchtown Muster.” Perhaps they settled in a different area or died on the voyage North. Pindar was formerly bound to a Norfolk slaveowner named Willis Ball. One transcript of the manifest says  “William Keeling, 40, feeble fellow. Formerly the property of Grumbelly Keeling of the East Shore, Virginia; left him 6 years ago. GBC.” This being the case, then it makes sense that he cannot be found in Maryland records. It also clarifies that on 31 July 1783 the Clinton was Clinton bound for Annapolis [Royal, Nova Scotia] & St. John’s [Saint John, New Brunswick]. This means it was going to Nova Scotia ultimately. The GHOTES Genealogy and History of the Eastern Shore group on Facebook lists 38 enslaved blacks who had left New York, originally enslaved in the Eastern Shore (presumably Virginia’s).

[3] The word “loyalist” is used in quoation marks as it is an inexact term, and like Patriot it was used positively by those supporting the British Crown. Instead, the term supporter of the British Crown or any of its derivatives is used instead.

[4] Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016), 21-22; A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., In the Matter of Color: Race & The American Legal Process: the Colonial Period(New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 91-95, 98-99

[5] Specifically referring to Abbaco (John Rootes, Benjamin Guy), and unknown location (Solomon Slaughter, William Causins, Francis Wright, John Morris, Thomas Fisher. Here the locations of those included in the above chart: Norfolk, Virginia (John Hirst, Matthew Godfrey, Robert Gilmore, Samuel Bush [Boush], John Willoughby, David McClaurin, William Mallery, William EgersonJames Hunter, Edward Hack Moseley [Mozely], Joseph Mitchell, Thomas Newton Snr, Robert Barns, Charles Connor, Samuel Elliot Simon Hogwood, William Hancock, Archibald Campbell or Arthur Campbell., Thomas Hoggart/Hogwood, Mr. Scarborough, Stephen TankardWilliam Hogwood/Hopgood Sr.);  Nansemond, Virginia (Mills Wilkinson, Henry Burgess, Solomon Sheppard, Willis Wilkinson); Crane Island, Virginia (William Connor, George Robertson, Andrew Stewart [Stuart]); Portsmouth, Virginia (Willis Wilson, Andrew Sproule, Richard Brown); South Carolina (Captain Hullet, Bland Steward);  Princess Anne/Ann County, Virginia (Edward Moseley John Loveat); Pennsylvania (James Stewart); Mecklenburgh, Virginia (Richard Sweepston); Dismal Swamp (James Wright Moore); Petersburg, Virginia (John Holloway); Tanners Creek, Virginia (Anthony Walker [Walke]); Isle of Wight (Richard Jordan, Andrew Mckay); Suffolk, Virginia (Lambert Reddick); Greatbridge, Virginia (Alexander Foreman).

[6] The ten children born free were: Jonny, Patty, John Ceasor, Peter, Robert, George, Harry, Jonathan, Sally Nelis, and Agnes Reddick. The 16 born enslaved were: Sam, Ned, Lettius, Mary, Prudence, Edward, Valentine Nanny, Judy, Joseph ReddickElsey Reddick, Joseph, Jenny, AndrewPhebe,and Dempse.

[7] The “likely wench[s]” were Phillis, Seelah, Kitty, and Phillis Gordon. The “ordinary wench[s]” were Pleasant, Betsey, Molly (incurably lame of left arm), and Rose Wright. The “stout wench[s]” were Esther, Dorothy Bush, Mary Perth, Hannah Flemming, Fanny Brown (“Stout Lump of a Wench“), Wynce Gordon, Jane Halladay, Barbara Hancock, Peggy (“stout wench with 3 children 8, 5 and 4 months”), Rachel, Tilla Mosley, Patty Mosley (“stout wench,with child 2months“), Dinah Mitchell (“Stout healthy Negres with child in her arms. Left Charlestown from whence she was ordered by Dr. Humphry of the York Volunteers. then the property of Mitchel”), Jane Nelis, Nancy, Tamar Stewart (“stout wench, 3 small children“), Peggy Richards, Judith Johnson, and Dolly Wilkinson (“stout wench on her own bottom“). Patience was called a “likely girl,” Nancy Howard was called a “neat wench,” Chloe Johnson was called a “fine girl,” Nancy Sparrow was called a “feeble wench” and Mary Steel was called a “fine wench.”

[8] Gary Nash, Red, White & Black: The Peoples of Early North America (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000, Fourth Edtion), 276. On pages 274-279, Nash focuses on Black “Loyalists,” while on pages 280-284 he focuses on Blacks who stayed in America.

[9] The Nova Scotia archives has varied results when one searches for “Birchtown.”

The story of the Extra Regiment’s ordinary soldiers: From McCay to Patton

Map of where soldiers of the Extra Regiment enlisted. Some just said they enlisted in Kent or Queen Anne’s County but no town is specified, so that is not on this map. This map was created in Google Earth and shows the wide range of places soldiers of the regiment came from.

While the officers of the Extra Regiment are important, it is as vital to tell the stories of the ordinary soldiers. There are eleven who have pensions, and their stories are focused on in his post. This post uses the pensions of John (or Jon) McCay/McKay, William Simmons, William Elkins, John Shanks, William Groves, Jesse Boswell, Giles Thomas, Philip Huston, Thomas Gadd, William Patton/Patten, and John Newton [1] as sources, so any information not otherwise cited in this article comes from these pensions.

John McCay and William Simmons: brothers-in-arms

At age 14, a man named John (or Jon) McCay/McKay enlisted in George Town, within Maryland’s Kent County, in the Extra Regiment. Many years later, one of Baltimore City’s Associate Justices,James Richardson, would note that John enlisted in July of that year, the beginning of his three year term of service. [2] He was sent to Chestertown, Maryland that same month where a man named William Simmons, likely older than him, would enlist, joining his same company. In later years, Simmons would call John “a faithful Soldier.”

After leaving Chestertown, John went to Annapolis where he joined “Sheppard’s Company” as he termed it. This is an interesting description because the person this refers to is undoubtedly Francis Shepard/Sheppard, a man who was a lieutenant within the Extra Regiment but not a captain. Perhaps he took on the position of generally leading the company, so this could be why he called it this, and noted that Alexander Lawson Smith led the company.

William, John, and 18 others went to Philadelphia to “carry Horses” and supplies. They remained there and left with about 200 others who likely were marched up to Philadelphia from other recruiting areas. They then marched to Elkton, MD, then went by ship to Annapolis. It was there he joined his company, taking his clothing and marching with the regiment to Alexandria, then to Fredericksburg, Richmond and Petersburg. From there, they went to Hillsborough, joining a part of Nathanael Greene’s army, after “Gate’s defeat” or the Battle of Camden, and joined the main Continental Army at “Sharraw” or Cheraw Hills in January 1781 .John goes on to say in his pension that the Extra Regiment ”

detatched to Haleys Ferry on Pedee River [Pee Dee River], as a look out guard, from thence marched and joined the main army near Guilford Court House, crossed Dan river to near Prince Edwards Court House”

In early 1781, sometime before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, as the regiment was broken apart, ordinary soldiers transferred to other units and the original officers were sent home. He says he served under Lieut/Capt. Lane, who refers to Samuel McLane, a man who was a captain in the fall of 1781 but had been promoted to Captain by the following year. William was likely among his fellow soldiers, and if he was, he would have returned to Annapolis, joining troops under the command of William Smallwood. John at that point, received a furlough to go home possibly to Harford County. Later that year, he joined Francis Reveley‘s company, which was within Colonel Peter Adams‘ regiment, which was also called the First Maryland Regiment.

John marched south again in the fall of 1781. After moving to Williamsburg, where the unit joined the main Continental Army, he, with the rest of his unit, proceeded to “the seige of York after the surrender of Cornwallis” in October 1781. William was also at that same battle, possibly meaning that they would have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder. He marched further southward within a company of what he said was the 4th Maryland Regiment, but could have easily been another unit, like the 1st. In this position, his unit guarded “artillery and ammunition to supply General Green’s army at “Pond Pond” or Ponpon in South Carolina. Later on, they marched to “Bacons bridge” which was near Old Dorchester and then crossed over to James’ Island for wintering until “Charleston was illuminated for the ratification of peace.”

Courtesy of Google Maps. Currently James Island is a town near Charleston.

William had a bit of a different story. He said he was at a battle at “Blueford river.” This undoubtedly referred to Beaufort River, and could refer to this or this skirmish, or something else entirely.

As the war came to a close, in June 1783, John was aboard a vessel which. returned to Annapolis. He then received an undated furlough which was “left with a certain John Browning” but was then lost. It is possible he was scammed just like the soldier noted in the next section, Philip Huston.

The wild story of Philip Huston

Apart from William Simmons and John McCay, a young man named Philip Huston also enlisted in Kent County. In the summer of 1780, he enlisted in Captain Archibald Golder‘s company as a drummer. Just like James Murphey and Richard Goldin in the First Maryland Regiment, Philip likely played snare, side, or bass drums, and was a non-commissioned officer that received the same pay as corporals. Since music regulated the lives of soldiers in the Continental Army, and such musicians, including fifers, helped maintain discipline and efficiency within the Continental Army, he was vital. Such peoples sounded signals of the day and served the same purpose of the bugle in the 19th century but many duties focused on signaling. Additionally, drummers sometimes administered discipline, at times performing the unpopular duty of lashing or flogging of soldiers. Even so, the training of drummers like Philip likely caused disruption, leading to confusion and annoyance among the rank-and-file. Since fifes and drums worked in unison with standard musical units in the continental army consisting of group of at least one fifer and one drummer, and playing popular tunes during camps or long marches, he worked with the company’s fifer, whose name is not currently known, but could be discovered.

It is possible that the Extra Regiment was understaffed in this area, but documents cannot disprove or prove this assertion since they are relatively limited on this regiment. Philip was lucky in a sense since there was a high turnover of drummers and fifers in the Continental Army. Like the rest of the unit, he marched from Annapolis to Carolina and joined the Continental Army. However, as he describes it, the regiment was broken up to “fill up vacancies” with officers returning as “supernumerary.” He was one of those people, coming back with Captain Golder and Lieutenant John Plant to Annapolis. Once there, he joined Peter Adams’ regiment, the First Maryland and attacked to Francis Reveley’s company. From there, he again marched South, this time to Yorktown and fought at the battle there. Afterwards, he went further south, joining Nathaniel Greene until they stayed at Ashley Hills on the Ashley River. After that point, the unit was ordered to return to Maryland, and from then on, he went from Annapolis to Frederick Town. He ended up doing “garrison duty over the Hessians” until piece was declared. Interestingly, this means he may have rubbed shoulders with Mountjoy Bayly, who was the commanding officer in Frederick Town at the time, a former commander of the Extra Regiment!

Courtesy of American Rivers. Used under the fair use exception to copyright law. According to SCIWAY Net, Inc., this river winds through the lowcountry of South Carolina and was the first designated scenic river in that region of the state.

In August 1783, Philip gained an honorable discharge. He was advised to send his charge to Annapolis to try and get money from it, by selling or exchanging it. As he tells it, he sent it to…

one James McDonald who received about thirty dollars upon it from a merchant by the name of James Williams or Williamson, which was to be repaid to him when the certificate of soldiers pay should be given out. This man Williamson received the whole of my final settlement and retained my discharge in his possession. I called afterwards upon him but he refused to give me anything more than the thirty dollars I had already received; he however made me a present of a black silk handkerchief, and made me sign a receipt in full.

As a result, he noted that he was unable to send his “discharge agreeably to the requisition of the department of war.” Basically Philip got swindled by these scammers who wouldn’t give him back something which was rightfully his.

William Elkins, non-existent discharge papers

In July 1780, as William Simmons and John McCay were enlisting in Kent County, a young man named William Elkins enlisted at Frederick Town, now called Frederick, within Frederick County. He first joined the company of William Beatty, who was then in John Gunby’s regiment. Later on that summer, perhaps even later that month, he joined the Extra Regiment. According to his recollection, the regiment marched from Frederick to Annapolis, then to Elkton Maryland, then on to “Christein” (likely Christiana) and to Philadelphia. From there, his company went back to Annapolis and after sometime went South. Again, this list of events follows Johns’s pension saying that the regiment went to Alexandria, Virginia, then Pee Dee River, and joined Nathanael Greene. But, there is a difference between the stories.

Courtesy of Wikimedia. This means the Extra Regiment would have been, at that point, in North or South Carolina, although they were likely in the latter more than the former.

William Elkins, unlike William and John mentioned earlier, fought in other major battles in the Southern Campaign. He fought at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, possibly in the Second Maryland Regiment, at the short engagement at Hobkirk’s Hill, at the Siege of Ninety Six, and at Eutaw Springs. After this, he marched to James Island near South Carolina’s Charleston from where troops went by ship back to Annapolis. It was there he received a furlough, in 1784, after serving a term of three years and one month, but since he was absent from the regiment when peace was declared, he “neglected to obtain a certificate of his discharge” at the time.

William Patton was another man who enlisted in Frederick County at age 26. He claims he enlisted in 1776 in the regular army when he resided in “Creagerstown Destrict Frederick County” which refers to Creagerstown, Maryland, and also  enlisted there as well. He claims that he served with Captain Samuel Cock (one transcript of the pension says he enlisted with “James L. Cock” but this is incorrect) from 1776 until 1781, leaving the company three of four days before the “battle at gilford.” He goes on to say that General Greene then gave him his full discharge. But before all that, he relates how the regiment marched to Annapolis, then to Elk River, then to Baltimore Town (not mentioned by others), then to Philadelphia and to the Potomac River, and then southward. This is a bit jumbled, but he was recalling this when he was in his nineties! Anyway, he argues that he served over four years in the military service, which could invalidate his previous claims.

He even says that he did receive a discharge from his military service. However, his discharge wet while deer hunting and as a result, it got destroyed. He also says he may have served in a company of Capt. Mountjoy Bayly. Other records show that he was given payments for his service, $13.30 in fact, at the time.

John Shanks and William Groves of Anne Arundel County

Representation of the battle of Eutaw Springs. Courtesy of Wikimedia.

On August 1st, a 21-year-old man named John Shanks enlisted, as a substitute for Wilfred Neale, in Anne Arundel County. He joined the company of a middle-aged Captain named Charles Smith, a Maryland 400 veteran. But, once it reached headquarters in the Southern theater of the war, he joined the 2nd Maryland Regiment, then commanded by John Eager Howard, with Captain John Smith taking command of his company until the battle of Eutaw Springs when he was “badly wounded.” As he recalls, “he lost the fore finger of his right hand, and got the thick part of his thumb shivered and broken.” After that time he was put in a company with other wounded soldiers (called “invalids” at the time) which was commanded by Captain Nicholas Rickets and served until November 15, 1783.

William Groves was a bit different. A 25-year-old man, William enlisted under Samuel McLane, in Annapolis. He marched with the army to rendezvous in Montgomery County, then went to Philadelphia and then southward to the Continental Army commanded by General Nathanael Greene, where it was, “near the Cheraw hills.” He makes it seem that not long after this arrival the soldiers of the regiment were divided, and “the new officers were all sent home.” In later years, he was attached to the company of Mark McPherson of the Second Maryland Regiment, fighting at the battles of Hobkirk Hill, Eutaw Springs, Guilford Courthouse, and “continued in the army untill the end of the war, against the common enemy.” His wife, Mary, years later, claims that he was

wounded at the Battle of Guilford by a cutlass in the head, and was also wounded at the Battle of Eutaw in the left leg by a Ball…[and] did not leave the service of the United States till after close of the war of the Revolution, at which time he was honourably Discharged from the Service of the United States

She also claims he was at Cowpens although he never made that claim and that he drew a federal pension up to his death, with his pension certificate then “sent to the Agent for paying pensions in the City of Baltimore.” He may have also, later become an ensign, although this is unlikely.

Jesse Boswell of Port Tobacco and Giles Thomas of Charles County

Port Tobacco as noted on a 1795 map of Maryland. This town is slightly southeast of La Plata.

In July 1780, a 25-year-old man named Jesse Boswell enlisted in Francis Shepherd’s company in Port Tobacco, Charles County, for a three year term. However, when he “marched to the Southward” and jointed “Greens army” and the regiment split apart, his company came to be commanded by Captain James Bruff and Col. Benjamin Ford, and stayed in this regiment until was discharged in Annapolis. Before that time, he fought at the battles of Guilford Courthouse, Hobkirk’s Hill, Eutaw Springs, and the Siege of Ninety Six, but his discharge papers were lost in the process.

There was another man who enlisted in the Charles County. In 1780, this man, Giles Thomas, was reportedly 16 years old. He enlisted in the same company as John Shanks, and noted that Edward Giles was a major in the company. He also noted that he had three years of service from July 26, 1780 to Jul 26, 1783. He recalled that a few days before the battle of Guilford Courthouse,

the whole of the aforesaid regiment to which he belonged, was transfered to the Maryland continental line and the officers of the former regiment sent home

Giles adds that he later fought at the battles of Hobkirk’s Hill, Guilford Courthouse, at the siege of ninety-six, and part of James Bruff’s company, Mordecai Gist as the Brigadier General. Looking at the biography of Gist, it is surprising that Giles didn’t mention William Smallwood since the two high-ranking military men served together.

Thomas Gadd of Queen Anne’s County

In July 1780, Thomas, a 20-year-old man enlisted in Queen Anne’s County, likely in Wye Hundred where he was living in 1778. His company mustered in Chestertown, and he was, like, Jesse Boswell, William Simmons, and John McCay, part of “Captain Sheppard’s Company” which again is strange since records seem to indicate he was a lieutenant. Perhaps he was a Captain-Lieutenant. I’m not sure. Anyway, he notes, like many of the others, about the trip of a section of the regiment from Annapolis to Philadelphia, then back to Annapolis, and then marching southward. He seems to say that the regiment arrived at Cheraw Hills meeting General Nathaniel Green’s Army in South Carolina, but that by March the regiment has “broken up.” He goes on to say that he served in the company of James Bruff. But, he was “severely wounded in the head by a musket ball at the battle of Guilford Court House” and sent to Virginia’s Perkins Hospital. From there he still joined the regiment at the siege of ninety-six, but the deponent was transported to water to Annapolis in December 1782 and received ” and unlimited furlough, on or about the Month of July 1783″ which was proclaimed by George Washington himself.

Courtesy of Google Maps. As the town of Cheraw’s website puts it, “In January of 1781 Gen. Greene’s Continentals had a camp of repose just across the river. After the war, the devastation here was so great that it took many years for the area to recover.”

There are numerous documents making it clear that he did receive a pension for a wound “received in the Revolutionary war; entitling him to half pay” and that he served in the Maryland Line. Furthermore, it is clear that there was a claim for his injury and he was placed on the pension listed in April 1815.Then there is the report of two doctors in April 1815:

… we hereby certify that we have examined on oath Thomas Gadd a Soldier in the revolutionary war, who was wounded by a musket in the memorable battle of Guilford Court House on the 15th of March 1781, the citatrix [sic] 1 of which would now evidently appear on the upper part of the left parietal bone & from which wound he declares exfoliation of bone took place before it cured up. He further declares that ever since he received the wound he has been afflicted with pain and giddiness in the head from stooping down & from severe exercise, which symptoms frequently caused him to desist from his labor. He is now old, & further declares that he feels these symptoms increase with his years. We are of opinion that being in the situation he describes himself to be, he certainly must be considerably incapacitated from gaining a maintenance for himself & family by manual labor.

Other documents go on to say that James Bruff himself tells them that he received a “wound on his head while under his command and in the line of his duty and this deponent further saith that the said Thomas Gadd to the best of his knowledge served as a good and faithful soldier.” Then there is the deposition of Joseph Nabb of the same county who says he “was a Fifer in the second line of the Maryland Regiment in the revolutionary war in the service of the United States and that he hath been acquainted with Thomas Gadd of said County from a boy to the present time” and that he had complained about the wound for as many years as he can remember. It was further pointed out that Nabb was a soldier in Captain Perry Benson’s company within the Second Maryland Regiment, and that Gadd was “sometimes absent from the Army,” but he was still a “good and faithful soldier.” Adding to this, one judge noted that that wound Thomas received “brought his life into imminent danger” and that it prevents “him from exerting that manual labor so necessary for the support of himself and young family.” As a result of this, Thomas  was pensioned at the rate of $8 per month commencing April 14th, 1818, for service.

There is an open question whether Joseph Nabb was part of the Extra Regiment since he said he knew Thomas since childhood, but this is not currently known.

The story of John Newton

In 1780, John Newton enlisted in “Archibald Golder’s Company” after previous service. He had served with a Captain William Beatty (seemingly) in 1780, attached to Smallwood’s Regiment (1st Maryland), and then in another company. He notes, in his pension that once he reached North Carolina, he was attached to William Winchester’s Company, fighting in the South until the end of the war. He notes that he fought at the battle of Hobkirk’s Hill where he received three wounds in his right leg so he was taken to a hospital. He also says that he joined Thomas Price’s Company, and implies he was at the battle of Yorktown, recallin “Cornwallis…surrendered to Gen’l Washington after being besieged several weeks.” He adds that he served several months afterward, by which time he was discharged. Furthermore, further records attest he was on the payroll from Aug. 1780 to Nov. 1783.

There are some other facts which are partially puzzling. He says he was born in 1760, making him 20, which seems reasonable. But it is his enlistment date in June which is off. The Extra Regiment was not formed until later that year, so he couldn’t have enlisted in that regiment in June, unless he was transferred from somewhere else, which it seems had happened. He goes on to say he fought in numerous battles such as Guilford Courthouse, High Hills of Lantee, Camden, Cowpens, and the “siege of York” (Yorktown). From then, it is noted that he served in the 3rd Regiment of the Maryland Line, with dates unknown.

The post-war years, 1790-1800

Records after 1783 are hazy. In 1790, in the first federal census, a number of soldiers are listed. Two men named “William Simmons” lived in Anne Arundel County, while in 1800, one man named “William Simmons” lived in Anne Arundel County, and another man of the same name living in Delaware Lower Hundred of Baltimore in 1810. It is not known if any of these men are the same as William Simmons who submitted the federal veterans pension. The same is the case as John Newton. A person with his name was living in “Unknown Township, St Marys, Maryland” and two were living within Montgomery, Maryland. It is known if any of these men are the same as John Newton.

However, there are concrete records for Philip Huston and Thomas Gadd. Philip, called Phillip Huston in the census, was living in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania’s Hopewell Township with one son over age 16, and his wife, Mary, and no others. [3] The exact jurisdiction he lived in was called “Hopewell, Newton, Tyborn, and Westpensboro, Cumberland, Pennsylvania” on the census itself. By contrast, Thomas Gadd was living in Queen Anne’s County. He had a daughter and a wife but no enslaved Blacks. [4] Nothing else is known.

Courtesy of Google Maps. He lived somewhere in Cumberland county, perhaps in Hopewell Township, but perhaps not.

In 1800, few soldiers appear on the census. For instance, there is a John Newton living in “Anne Arundel, Maryland.” It is not known if this man is the same as John Newton. One “William Alkins” in 1800 Census is listed as living in Newtown, Washington, Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, it is not known if this is him. Giles Thomas was different than this. He was noted on the 1800 census as still living with his wife, along with a son under age 10, a son aged 10-15, a son aged 16-25, two daughters aged 10-15, and one daughter aged 16-25. [5] He also had five enslaved blacks living on his plantation.

Into the 1810s

Numerous soldiers were on the 1810 Census. Giles Thomas, was, at the time,s living in Christiansburg, Montgomery, Virginia, with six enslaved Blacks and eight free Whites. These Whites were one boy under age 10 (his son), three young men aged 10-15 (his sons), one young man aged 16-25 (his son), and one man over age 45, himself. There was also one young woman aged 16-25 (his daughter) and one woman over age 45 (his wife). [6] From this, one can see that Giles Thomas and his wife, whose name is not known, had six children. The maximum age of the children implies they were married in 1785 or sometime in the later 1780s, if they had children, as was the custom, after marriage.

Philip Huston was living in the same community! Within the household were two sons under age 10, Mr. Phillip Huston (aged 26-44), two daughters under age 10, and his wife, Mary (aged 26-44). [7] The fact they lived in the same community and were members of the same regiment suggests they could have been friends since they fought together on the battlefield.

Courtesy of Google Maps.

The same year, William Patton was living hundreds of miles away in Wythe County, Virginia. The census, which incorrectly spells his last name as “Pallon,” marks him as over age 45 in the census.It shows he is part of a 12-member household including his son under age 10, his son aged 10-15, his sons aged 16-25, two daughters under age 10, one daughter aged 10-15, three daughters aged 16-25, and his wife (aged 26-44). [8] No enslaved people are part of the household.

In December 1811, Thomas Gadd was given money by the Treasurer of the Eastern Shore, seeming to indicate he was still living in the state, specifically in Baltimore. The resolution in his favor is as follows:

Resolved, That the Treasurer of the Western Shore be, and he is hereby authorised and directed to pay to Thomas Gadd, or his order, late a private soldier in the revolutionary war, a sum of money in quarterly payments, equal to the half-pay of a private.

Years later, Philip, who later lived in Washington County, Pennsylvania, felt a “a tolerably stout man” and wanted to again serve his county. On June 22, 1812, he enlisted in the 22nd Regiment of U.S. infantry commanded by Col. Hugh Brady. He served until February 1, 1816 when he was discharged “at Sackets harbour in consequence of old age and rheumatish.” On his return home, with the icy weather, his “feet were frostbitten” as as a result, he lost his a large toe and smaller toe on his left foot, leaving him disabled for years to come.

The year of 1818

Map of Mount Pleasant, Jefferson County, Ohio. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Many of the soldiers whom we know of, were in “reduced circumstances.” John McCay was living in Baltimore County, 54 years old, showing he was born in 1764 and wad described as “very poor.” All the way across the county, in Mount Pleasant, within Ohio’s Jefferson County, William Elkins felt similar pressures. He described himself as 85 years of age, which means he would have been born in 1733 or 47 years old in 1780. More likely he is 63 or 65 years old. In 1818, a person named Marren DuVall, living within Warren Township in Jefferson County, Ohio, [9] said that in 1784 she

resided in Frederick county Maryland, – that the aforenamed William Elkins, in that year[1784] came to the house of my father, William Duvall, a captain of the [Frederick County] militia, who had served two tours of duty in the service of the United States, and that from the frequent conversations, between the said Elkins and my father and other revolutionary soldiers, I sincerely beleive that the said Elkins served more than one year in the United States service – I further testify that I have heard my father and many other Revolutionary soldiers, positively say, that they had known the said Elkins while in the service of his country

Furthermore, his pension noted that he was paid $78.40 for “pay from the First August 1780 to the 1st Jan’y 1782” and $80.00 of pay from Jan. 1, 1782 to Jan. 1, 1783, along with another $43.30 from Jan. 1, 1783 until Nov. 1, 1783 when his military service came to a close.

Furthermore, William Groves, living in Allegheny County that year, was 63 years old, meaning he was born in 1755. He said he was in “reduced circumstances” and that he was in “need of the assistance of his country for support.” The same was the case for Jesse Boswell. That year he as living in York, South Carolina and asked the “assistance of his country for support.” A few years later, he applied for a new pension certificate since the old one was destroyed when his home burned in November 1820.

Courtesy of Google Maps. York is in northern South Carolina, only 30-36 miles away from Charlotte, North Carolina depending on the route walked.

In 1818, Philip Huston was an “old man.” He described himself as “unable to work for my living and besides in extreme poverty so that I need the assistance of my country for support.” The same year, the land office of Maryland noted that he was a drummer in the Maryland Line and hence was entitled to “the Lands Westward of Fort Cumberland to Lot No. 402 Containing 50 acres.” He never claimed this land as records attest. There were similar circumstances for Thomas Gadd. He argued he was in “reduced circumstances” and needed the “assistance of his country for support” while living in Baltimore. While it is clear that Mr. Thomas Gadd lived in Anne Arundel County in 1810, and moved to Baltimore sometime before 1818, there are two Thomas Gadds within Queen Anne’s, Maryland and hence, it is hard to know which one is him.

The Marylanders: John McCay, William Simmons, William Groves, and John Newton in 1820

John McCay was in horrible circumstances. At age 56 in 1820, he was living in Baltimore without any family, was propertyless, and of ill health since he had to quit his occupation as a sailor, only obtaining “a bare subsistence by labouring about the country.” His pension further added that he was entered into a Maryland hospital and became “utterly incapable of labour” and needs to assistance of “his country or from private or public charity” due to his circumstances. Since his name is so common, it is not possible to use Federal census records in this instance. Despite that, there are people with his name consistently living in Baltimore from 1790 to 1820, and he is likely among them.

Fellow soldier William Simmons who had been at John McCay’s side, was living in Harford County in 1820. At 61 years of age, he only owned $47 dollars with of property. These included one Cow, one young Cow, four pigs, rush bottomed chairs, one pine table, two iron pots, and some trifle of “Crockery ware,” among little much more. He also purchased a horse for $20 and horse cart for $10 but neither is paid for and rented about 10 acres of land for $50 per year. His pension further explained that he was married to a thirty-year old woman named Elizabeth (born in 1790), and had three children with her: Joseph (born in 1810), James (born in 1813), and John (born in 1818). He argued that without the state pension he could not support himself since he was “greatly afflicted by Rheumatic pains.” Six years later, he had moved to Stark County, Ohio to “improve his situation.” Further records of Simmons are unclear.

Then there is William Groves. In 1820, he owned one old Spay Horse, one Cow, one Colt, and one Pot, even less than William Simmons or William Elkins. Living in Allegheny County at 50 years of age, he was a farmer but was “infirm and unable to do more than half work.” He lived with his 50-year-old wife, Mary, a son that was 14 years old, and another under age five. Following the census information, it is possible that William lived in Charles County after the war, as the 1790 and 1800 censuses indicate, specifically in Durham Parish, with his family. [10] Furthermore, records indicate he lived in District 4 of Allegheny, Maryland, specifically in Cumberland, Maryland. He was described as an 83-year-old veteran in 1840, meaning this says he was born in 1757, only two years off what he said in 1820, which shows that he was sharp even in his later life, which is impressive. [11] Other parts of his pension indicate that he lived in Allegheny County from 1812 to 1849, with his wife Mary was living there in 1853.

In 1820, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law to pay him for his military service in the Maryland Line. He was to be paid the half pay of a private in “quarterly payments” as the law indicated. [12] He also received land in Western Maryland for his military service. He specifically received lot 1744, which was, at most, 12.7 miles miles away from the Northern branch of the Potomac River, in the middle of Garrett County:

Using Google Maps, we can pinpoint the location of his land in present-day Garrett County. His land is, by straight shot, 35.5 miles from Cumberland.
This shows where his lot is in relation to the Potomac River. Black dot is where his lot was. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Zoomed in focus on his lot
This shows where he lot directly was located, what it looked like on a map.

Hence, he likely did not live on this land as looking at that approximate location shows no evidence of human habitation. There is only the vast expanse of forest and some new, modern houses.

In 1820, John Newton, age 60, was living in Prince George’s County.  He was a laborer who would be paid $40 per year for his pension. In his reduced circumstancs, . John Newton: writing he is “reduced circumstances” while writing in Prince George’s County in 1818. The census records are no help in this case, as he is not listed. [13] However, there is strong evidence he was living in Maryland that year. This is indicated by the pension list and legislation, although there are other records that must be weeded out. [14] He specifically received pay in 1818 from the state of Maryland for his revolutionary war service. The law which granted him this pay [15] was as follows:

Resolved, That the treasurer of the western shore be and he is hereby authorised, to pay to John Newton, an old soldier, or his order, during his life, a sum of money annually, in half yearly payments, equal to the half pay of a private, for his services during the revolution.

This petition was nothing new. He had petitioned the House of Delegates in 1805 and 1806 on the same issue. [16] In those, he stated he had been wounded in battle, serving from the year 1780 until the end of the war, saying that he was with his wounds,

together with the infirmities of approaching old age, he is rendered incapable of obtaining a maintenance for himself and family

Hence, he received payment at the time, but perhaps he felt it was necessary to apply again because it did not pass the Maryland Senate. It is also worth mentioning that he married Eleanor Callean in May 27, 1781 within Prince George’s County. [17]

The Ohioans: William Elkins  in 1820

Frederick County is at least 227 miles away from Jefferson County. Courtesy of Google Maps.

In 1820, William Elkins lived in Ohio’s Jefferson County but has previously lived in Frederick County, Maryland in 1780s. He was a pauper there supported by Mount Pleasant township within Ohio. Apart from his later descendants [18], he was living in Ohio, on the pension roll. [19] Hence, he was not the “first pioneer” who built a “log cabin and cleared land in what became Johnson Township” within present-day Indiana since he was living in Ohio.

Even though he was a 87-year-old pauper, William still had some possessions. He owned One Silver Watch (ten Dollars), One pot (one Dollar), One Skillet (one Dollar), One Axe (two Dollars), Two flour Barrels (25 cents), One chest (50 cents), One looking glass (two Dollars), One Shot Gun (three Dollars), which comes to a  total of $19.75. Using the historic standard of living value of his income, it would be worth $412 dollars (in 2016 US dollars) which would put him squarely within the ranks of the poor. That year, he told the federal government, in his pension application, that he was a farmer but that the township supported him for the past four years (1816-1820), only cooking food given to him, and was indebted to individuals for a sum of $20, more than his total property was worth.

The Virginians: Giles Thomas and William Patton in 1820

In 1820, the family of Giles Thomas was living in Newburn, Montgomery, Virginia. Within the household were five enslaved blacks, and four other household members: his unnamed son aged 16-25, Mr. Giles Thomas (over age 45), his unnamed daughter aged 16-25, and his unnamed wife (over age 45). [20] Also the enslaved blacks are divided as follows: two males under age 14, one male (aged 26-44), one female under age 14, and one female, aged 26-44, three of whom are “engaged in agriculture.”

The same year, William Patton was living in a county in a different part of the state: Wythe County. He was over age 45 and lived in a household with no enslaved laborers but had one son aged 10-15, one daughter under age 10, one daughter aged 10-15, two daughters aged 16-25, and his wife, over age 45. [21]  In this household, only two were engaged in agriculture. One family researcher argues that William Patton was in the 1782 tax list of the county in which he lived until his death in 1846. He further says hat he served 4 years in the Regular Army, that he had at least eight children (John, William, Henry, Isaac, Sally, Catherine, Polly, and Betsey), with a possible ninth named Peggy, all of which were born between 1785 and 1804 as existing records show. He also was reportedly part of the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, with a man named William Betten/Batton the same as William Patton. Yet no records show his wife’s name, although some assume it was Maria Catherine Shupe, but this could not be confirmed. This researcher also says that he gave all his land to his son, Isaac, in his will. To an extent, his observations are confirmed by the following, showing a James Patton and William Patton living in Wythe County:

Courtesy of New River Notes. This shows James Patton as owning five horses, and William as owning two horses.

There are also two possible daughters of him in 1818 and 1821:

Courtesy of New River Notes.

He could be the third section of this 1793 tax list, it is not online currently. There are those with the last name of Patton buried within the cemetery of the Zion Lutheran Church but he is not among them. He is also not mentioned within the Montgomery County, Virginia tax list, making it possible he was still living in Maryland. There are available deeds showing a “William Patton” living in Kentucky in the late 1790s but this is not him, and he is not related to this man profiled in the Washington Post. [22]

The Pennsylvanians: Philip Huston/Houston in 1820

In July 1820, Philip Huston, age 53 (an age which seems questionable), and resident of Buffalo Township, Pennsylvania, which is a town within Washington County, made another pension request. He had a wide array of property as his scheduled showed in 1820: 1 Cow, 1 chest, 1 table, 1 Cupboard, 4 chairs, 1 Spinning wheel & reel, 1 Pot, 1 Oven, 1 Tea Kettle, 1 looking glass, 1 Set cups and saucers, 1 Set plates, 1 Set knives & forks, 1 Tin bucket, One axe, 1 Old Tub & churn, 1 Bureau, 1 Taylors Iron & Shears, 1 Set knives & forks, 1 Tin Bucket. He also noted that he had “Revolutionary land warrant for 100 acres, now of little value” and that people owned him 16 dollars while he was “indebted to sundry persons ninety eight Dollars.”

Map of Buffalo township. Courtesy of Google Maps.

His family was wide-ranging. He was living with “unhealthy” wife named Mary, age 45 (born in 1775), a “healthy” daughter named Ann (born in 1804), an “unhealthy” son named John (born in 1806), a “healthy” daughter named Elizabeth (born in 1808), and a “healthy” son named William (born in 1810). He further added that he was, “a taylor” (tailor) by profession but could not follow it well because of “age and rheumatism” and recounter how h could not “walk without great pain” because he had lost two toes when he was discharged from Sacketts harbor. As a result, he, as he notes,

…lay consequence four months after my arrival at home under the Doctor’s hands, and became very much involid and would have suffered had it not been for the kindness of our neighbors who releived us in our distress.”

While some records are not clear, it is evident he was still living in 1820, as he was clearly on the pension list. [23] There are also related records. These records show numerous members of the Huston family living in Pennsylvania within the late 18th and early 19th centuries. [24] On November 8, 1829, Philip was gone. He had died, as recorded on the pension roll. [25]

Continuing the story of Jesse Boswell

Where we last left off, Jesse Boswell was living in York, South Carolina and asked the “assistance of his country for support.” In 1821, aged 66 years, Jesse was still a resident of York. In this reapplication of his pension, he noted that he has some positions of value: metal pot ($4.00), household furniture ($11.75), corn, cotton, and Fodder ($13.00), coming to a total of $28.75. All of this factored into his description to the federal government of his current lifestyle:

I am a farmer and not able to pursue it on account of old age and infirmities my family consists of myself my wife aged about 42 years & 3 children. 1 daughter aged about 10 years another about 7, & another about 5, & we are not able to support ourselves

Census information on Jesse is unclear. In the 1790 census there is a Robert Boswell in 1790 census in South Carolina, not sure what relation, if any. In the 1820 census there is a man named “Josse Boswell” (undoubtedly Jesse) living in a household with three members, including himself (White male over 45), a young White girl under age 10, and his wife, aged 26-44. [26] Some sites claim that he married two times, first to Elizabeth Carrington and later to Mary Kelough, the latter once he was living in South Carolina. He was said to have a son named John and daughter named Sarah. This information cannot be confirmed.

Through some digging, one can find numerous records of Jesse living in Charles County Maryland in the 1790s before he went to South Carolina. Specifically, he moved sometime before 1809and had three daughters, Nancy, Elizabeth, and Margaret. These records also show that he was the brother-in-law of Zachariah Low, a Charles County planter, and executor of his estate. [27]

On November 23, 1828, at age 73, Jesse died in South Carolina. This ended the ten years he had been on the federal pension roll. He had received $967.42 and no more, no less. By 1829, Polly Boswell would be administering his estate since he had died intrastate (without a will):

Courtesy of Family Search

There is only one page within this his probate and it is an administrative bond between Polly Boswell and Benjamin Chambers, showing her to be the administrator of the estate:

Courtesy of FamilySearch. If this seems to have issues with the image that is because this comes from numerous screenshots of the record which were put together in a photo editing program.

Many years later, in 1853, Mary Boswell applied for a pension for Jesse. She said that she married Jesse on Dec. 24, 1809, and that he died on Nov. 23. She also applied for bounty land with her maiden name was Kelough or Keler. By August 1865, the only children and heirs of hers, Nancy Garvin, Elizabeth Boswell, and Margaret Boswell, stated that she had died on November 12, 1863, and that they wished to collect a pension suspended during the civil war.

John Shanks, Kentucky man

In September 1836, John Shanks, a 67-year-old resident of Mead County, Kentucky, applied for his pension. He explained his military service and how he was originally “enrolled on the invalid pension list” but that he didn’t apply for this pension before because his children, who he was living with, had an “objection to his drawing from the Government any larger pension so long as he was able to live without it.” His property schedule was limited. He owned two horses ($40), three cows ($15), five young cattle ($20), seven sheep ($7), and household/kitchen furniture ($10). He also explains how in 1818 he leased a small piece of land and was dependent on labor of his children, with the property used to support his family. He further adds that he was “almost entirely dependent on his children for his support” and that his family consists of himself and his sixty-year-old wife, Ann, and that he is “unable to labour hard” with his support “derived principally from their children who have families.” Hence, he concludes the total worth of his property is $92. Using Measuring Worth, this be a relative value of $2,270 dollars (2016 US dollars).

Map of Meade County, KY. Courtesy of Google Maps.

The story is even more detailed than what has already been stated. He had moved to Kentucky by September 1826, because he was “dependent on his children for a support, and they removed to Kentucky & advised him to remove with them” and in 1827 he applied for “a new copy of his invalid pension certificate from Maryland in which he referred to “Dr. R. Pindell [Richard Pindell] in Lexington Kentucky, who was Sergeant of the Regiment at the time said Shanks received his wound at the Battle of the Eutaw Springs.” Census information is not altogether clear. There are two men named John Shanks in Kentucky as of 1810 census, and three in the 1820 census, and even the 1830 census has a man living in Brandenburg, Kentucky, a city within Meade/Mead County, but it is not him. He was also a witness to a will in 1805 and engaged in land transactions in Kentucky in the early 19th century. [28]

There was even a patent within Tellico Survey “to John Shanks for 300 acres on the West side of Fishing Creek, above Jarvis’s improvement, and was issued Nov. 9, 1803.” Existing land records also show a man named John Shanks granted 100 acres in Lincoln County, Kentucky in 1807, with the same for a piece of land within Pulaski County in 1801. It is not known if either of these men is John Shanks. In 1803 there was also a marriage between Henrietta Flower and John Shanks in August 1803 in Bourbon, Kentucky. It is not known if this was him. The same goes for a John Shanks living in Grayson County, Kentucky in 1810. Nothing else is known.

McCay in Ohio and Thomas in Virginia in 1830

In 1830, John McCay was living in Warwick, Tuscarawas, Ohio, a township within Stark County, confirming what he said in his pension. He owned no enslaved Blacks and there were four people in his household including two free White men, ages 20-29, one free White man, between ages 70-79 (him), and one White female ages 60-69 (his wife Elizabeth). [29] This was a change from 1820 when he was age 56 and living in Baltimore.

Map of Warwick Township. Courtesy of Google Maps.

The same year, the Thomas family was living in Christiansburg, Montgomery, Virginia. There were two “free white persons”: Giles Thomas (between ages 60-69] and his unnamed wife (between ages 60-69). The rest, six people, were enslaved laborers. [30] These laborers are divided as follows: 1 male aged 10-23, one male aged 24-35, two females under age 10, one female age 10-23, and one female aged 24-35. Nothing else is known.

Giles Thomas, a Virginian, and Thomas Gadd, Marylander

In August 1832, Giles Thomas appeared before justices of the court saying that he he was 68 years old, having no evidence of his service “except a certificate for a lot of bounty land of Fifty acres” and that his name “is not on the pension roll of the agency of any State.” He would be dead by 1850, as he is in censuses from 1810 to 1840. Living in Montgomery County, Virginia, he would die by 1842, with reports that he enlisted at the age of 16. Even a paperback book by W. Conway Price and Anne Price Yates titled Some Descendants of Giles Thomas, Revolutionary Soldier claims to go over his life story, and is available through the Virginia Tech University Libraries.

By 1840, Giles, age 76, was still living in Montgomery County as a census of pensioners made clear. Originally from Charles County, Maryland, he had at least one child with his wife Nancy:  a daughter named Elenor/Eleanor who had married into the Barnett family, living from about 1791 to 1853. Some within the DAR (Daughters of American Revolution) have clearly done research on him since he is represented by one member in a New York chapter. Then we get to his Find A Grave entry which says his spouse was Nancy Ann Wheeler (1762-1845) and that they had two children named William Jenkins (1796-1863), and Elias (1801-1877) and describes him as a person born on November 30, 1763 in Baltimore County, Maryland and married Nancy on June 04, 1786 in Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Virginia. On March 21, 1842, he died, with his gravestone describing him s a private within the Maryland line:

Courtesy of Find A Grave

Then we get to Thomas Gadd, who was born January 1760 in Baltimore and reportedly died in Rockcastle, Kentucky. Some say he died in 1832 (probably based on pages out of this book), but this is incorrect. His entry on Find A Grave says he died in 1834 and was put in an unmarked grave. In 1833, he was put on Kentucky Pension Rolls, and was age 74, living in Rockcastle County. [31] Other genealogical researchers seem to indicate that he had at least five children, including William. This cannot be further confirmed. [32]

However, a number of realities are clear. He seems to have been living in the county as early as 1810. Additionally,he was was alive as late as May 23, 1833 when he made the following deposition in Jesse Williams’s pension:

I Thomas Gadd state, that I was in the Revolutionary War, and served in the same Batalion mentioned by the above applicant [Jesse Williams] in his original declartion but under diferent Captains. but I was well acquainted with the officers named by said applicant. I was not personally acquainted with the applicant in the service, but from a long acquaintance with him since and from conversations with him years ago and having served the same kind of service myself I have no doubt but he has stated the truth in his declaration & that he served as he states. Given under my hand this 23d day of May 1833

Hence, he could have died in 1834 after all.

The 1830s and 1840s: William Elkins, Giles Thomas, and William Patton

In 1835, William Elkins was on the pension roll and was living in Jefferson County, Ohio. [33] Sometime later on, he was buried somewhere in Jefferson County, although the location is not altogether clear.

Five years later, Giles Thomas is still alive and breathing in Montgomery, Virginia. A census that year describes Giles as a revolutionary pensioner who is 76 years old, basically saying he was born in 1764, putting his age 16 when joining the extra regiment. [34]

Jump forward another five years. William Patton appeared before magistrates in Wythe County, Virginia, aged 90 years, 8 months, and six days, putting his birthday sometime in September 28, 1754 by my calculations. The following year he says he was age 91, meaning he was born in 1755, differing from what he said the previous year. Hence, his age is not fully clear.

Map of Wythe County Virginia. Courtesy of Google Maps.

The year of 1853: William Groves’s wife, Mary, and Allegheny County

On May 25, 1853, Mary groves appeared before a judge of the orphans court of Allegheny County, living in the Westernport District, and said to be 77 years old, which is slightly different. She described Groves’s military service, said that she married by Reverend Mayers in Prince William County, Virginia on November 20, 1796, with John Huff, Enoch Huff, Hannah Huff and & Rebecca McCune  present at the marriage. It is possible that these Huffs are related to those with the same last name in the Extra Regiment. She also said that she had four children with William: John (Dec. 1797-Sep. 1815), Rebecca (July 1800-June 1808), Jesse (b. June 17, 1803), and Dennis (b. Dec. 14, 1805). She also noted that William Groves died on Jan. 4, 1849, with the marriage taking place previous to Jan. 2, 180, and that she was a widow by 1783.

Other documents clarified the marriage date. On February 4, 1792, William Groves and John Hoff made a bond showing the marriage of William to Mary Spencer. In 1854 she said that her pension application she had misstated the time of the marriage since she knew that they were “married about two years or their about, before they “them ‘Whiskey Boys’ marched,” and from that she said that they were married in 1796 but she found out later that they marched in 1794. Hence, saying they married in 1792 is correct. She further explains that William wanted to go and fight against the rebels but she did not consent for that, and he did not go, with them not having any “child or children untill about four or five years after they was married.” Further records say that William and Mary brought with them Mary’s mother, Elizabeth Spencer who lived with them sometime before going back to a part of Virginia. The pension also says that William and Mary were married by Rev. William? Mayers, a Baptist preacher, after which the wedding party returned to his mother Elizabeth’s house “and took Dinner as Customary at that time.” Furthermore, the pension certificate notes that Mary died on September 5, 1856.

There is a Maryland law in 1853 which mentions the estate of “the late Thomas J. Gadd” in Caroline County. It is not known if this is related to Thomas Gadd previously mentioned or not.

Concluding words

There are numerous other sources I could have consulted for this article. However, I did look at genealogical and first-person sources on the topic. There is no doubt that this article, while it is put into sort-of vignettes on each person or groups of people, tells a coherent story of these 11 soldiers after the war. As always, comments are welcome.

Notes

[1] Pension of John Newton, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, S.35009. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[2] He claims John enlisted in the Eighth Maryland Regiment, but this is completely erroneous information.

[3] First Census of the United States, 1790, Hopewell, Newton, Tyborn, and Westpensboro, Cumberland, Pennsylvania, National Archives, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 8, Page 557. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[4] First Census of the United States, 1790, Queen Anne’s, Maryland, National Archives, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 3, Page 470. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[5] Second Census of the United States, 1800, Queen Anne’s, Maryland, National Archives, NARA M32, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 11, Page 342. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[6] Third Census of the United States, 1810, Christiansburg, Montgomery, Virginia, National Archives, NARA M252, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 70, Page 646. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[7] Third Census of the United States, 1810, Christiansburg, Montgomery, Virginia, National Archives, NARA M252, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 57, Page 59. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[8] Third Census of the United States, 1810, Wythe, Virginia, National Archives, NARA M252, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 71, Page 288. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[9] Also cited on page 476 of Henry Wright Newman’s Mareen Duvall of Middle Plantation: a genealogical history of Mareen Duvall, Gent., of the Province of Maryland and his descendants, with histories of the allied families of Tyler, Clarke, Poole, Hall, and Merriken and in page 60 of Adamson-Duvall and Related Families by Rae Adamson Fraelich.

[10] First Census of the United States, 1790, Charles, Maryland, National Archives, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 3, Page 563. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest; Second Census of the United States, 1800, Durham Parish, Charles, Maryland, National Archives, NARA M32, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 10, Page 65. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[11] Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, District 4, Allegany, Maryland, National Archives, NARA M33, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll M33_40, Page 12. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest; Fifth Census of the United States, 1830, Allegany, Maryland, National Archives, NARA M19, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 53, Page 30. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest; Sixth Census of the United States, 1840, District 4, Allegany, Maryland, National Archives, NARA M704, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 156, Page 59. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest. Likely no mentions in 1915 book titled A History and Genealogy of the Groves Family in America Descendants of Nicholas La Groves of Beverly, Mass.

[12] Session Laws, 1819, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 638, 118, 119.

[13] No John Newtons listed as living in Maryland in 1810 census. In 1820 there are two John Newtons living in the state: one in “Election District 4, Dorchester, Maryland” and another in “Baltimore Ward 3, Baltimore, Maryland.” It is not known if either of these men is the same as John Newton. In 1830 there is a man with the same name living in “District 8, Dorchester, Maryland.” It it not known if this is the same as John Newton. In 1840 there are two John Newtons living in the state: one in “Division 8, Dorchester, Maryland” and another in “Hancock, Washington, Maryland”

[14] Letter from the Secretary of War: Transmitting a Report of the Names, Rank, and Line, of Every Person Placed on the Pension List, in Pursuance to the Act of the 18th March, 1818, &c. January 20, 1820. Read and Ordered to Lie on the Table (Washington: Giles & Seaton, 1820), 548. Neither the Wikipedia page for “John Newton Soldier), this pension, this listing of those living in Talbot County’s Tuckahoe Hundred in 1721, within Norma Tucker’s Colonial Virginians and Their Maryland Relatives or this or this relates to him.

[15] Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, Maryland Records: Colonial, Revolutionary, County and Church from Original Sources, Set, Vol. 1 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993), 378.

[16] Journal of the House of Delegates, 1805, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 553, 4, 6, 38, 48, 49; Journal of the House of Delegates, 1806, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 553, 21, 29.

[17] Helen W. Brown, Index of Marriage Licenses, Prince George’s County, Maryland 1777-1886 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1973, reprint), 40.

[18] His descendants may have included William Elkins born on April 26, 1823 and died in 1897, who may have served in the war between 1812 and 1815 with the British. Other references are scattered.

[19] Letter from the Secretary of War: Transmitting a Report of the Names, Rank, and Line, of Every Person Placed on the Pension List, in Pursuance to the Act of the 18th March, 1818, &c. January 20, 1820. Read and Ordered to Lie on the Table (Washington: Giles & Seaton, 1820), 636.

[20] Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, Newburn, Montgomery, Virginia, National Archives, NARA M33, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll M33_130, Page 185. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[21] Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, Evensham, Wythe, Virginia, National Archives, NARA M33, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll M33_139, Page 221. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[22] May be in here, not confirmed, but is definitely not here.

[23] Daughters of the American Revolution, Report of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Vol. 17 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1915), 155, 412; Letter from the Secretary of War, Transmitting the Names, Rank, and Line of everyone played on the Pension List, In Pursuance of the Act of 18th March, 1818 (Washington: Giles & Seaton, 1820), 512. A person with his name was paid amounts varying from about $48.00 to over $84 dollars. Men with his name were listed as part of Fourth Maryland Regiment, of a Maryland regiment paid until Jan. 1782 [the extra regiment], and officers who are part of the New Hampshire Line. The first two could be him. A Philip Huston received money from PA’s auditor general. Is that him? Hustons living there, related.

[24] William Huston buying land in PA, Huston’s Pleasure in 1786. Related? A Joseph Huston same year, James Huston next year & 1788; major Huston family buying in 1788, some in 1789, 1791, 1792, 1793 as noted here. Land transactions of Hustons in 1794, 1795, 1798 courtesy of here. There were also Huston family purchases in 1802, 1804, 1805, and 1806 as noted here. Nothing relating to that family was found here. For further resources see “Vital Statistics Records” of Pennsylvania, indexes of patents in the early 19th century, overview of their land records, and homepage of the historical commission itself.

[25] “Pennsylvania Pension Roll,” Report from the Secretary of War (Washington: Giles & Seaton, 1835), 77.

[26] Third Census of the United States, 1810, York, South Carolina, National Archives, NARA M252, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 61, Page 677. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[27] This record also cites Charles County Land Records 1775-1782; Liber V#3; Page 426_ Bill of Sale. We, Ann Lowe and Jesse Boswell of CC, for 3000 £, sell to Walter Hanson Jenifer, the following Negroes: a woman named Monica and her children, Bett & Sam. Signed Dec 7, 1779 – Ann Low, Jesse Boswell. Wit – John Chattam. Recorded Dec 11, 1779.

[28] Harry Kennett McAdams, Kentucky Pioneer and Court Records: Abstracts of Early Wills, Deeds and Marriages from Court Houses and Records of Old Bibles, Churches, Grave Yards, and Cemeteries Copied by American War Mothers (US: Heritage Books, 2007), 51.

[29] Fifth Census of the United States, 1830, Warwick, Tuscarawas, Ohio, National Archives, NARA M19, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 141, Page 33. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[30] Fifth Census of the United States, 1830, Christiansburg, Montgomery, Virginia, National Archives, NARA M19, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 198, Page 98. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[31] Kentucky Pension Roll for 1835: Report from the Secretary of War (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009), 1833; Mary Verhoeff, The Kentucky mountains, transportation and commerce, 1750 to 1911: a study in the economic history of a coal field, Vol. 1 (Louisville, KY: John P. Morton & Company, 1911), 216; The Pension Roll of 1835: The Indexed Edition, Set, Vol. III, The Southern States (Baltimore: Clearfield Company, 1992), 43. A person with his name is also on 1835 pension rolls which note that his pension started on May 4, 1818, was age 72 in 1835, and his death date is not specified (Report from the Secretary of War in relation to the Pension Establishment of the United States (Washington: Duff Green, 1835), 1829). But this is not him.

[32] Reportedly there is information with Gadd Genealogy by Joseph Hayden Gadd in 1939 as well.

[33] United States War Department, The Pension Roll of 1835: The Indexed Edition, Set Vol. 1: The New England States (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992), 149.

[34] Sixth Census of the United States, 1840, Montgomery, Virginia, National Archives, NARA M704, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 567, Page 30. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

Benjamin Murdoch’s life after the war

1865 map of Frederick County by Simon J. Martenet. Courtesy of the Maryland State Archives‘ now-defunct Legacy of Slavery project.

Benjamin Murdoch/Murdock, born (and lived most of his life) in Frederick County, was a young man, twenty-one years old in 1780. In previous posts we have noted how Benjamin Murdoch was described by Mountjoy Bayly as an officer in the Maryland Line, the same year that Bayly’s first wife, Elizabeth, would die from a form of cancer. Beyond that, we have written about how he commanded the First Company of the Extra Regiment, with Theodore Middleton within the same unit, was promoted in September 1780, and is one of the 19 people in the unit with a pension. There is much more than these titillating tidbits suggest.

The final years of the war

Throughout the war, Benjamin held many military positions and was recruited from Frederick County. He was appointed 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th Maryland Regiment, commanded by Col. John Gunby, in April 1777 and continued in this position until May 1779. He returned home after “some difference arose respecting my Rank” which was settled and he returned home. In 1780, after the state created the Extra Regiment, he was appointed as a captain, “one of the oldest…in said Regiment,” which implies that the other captains were younger than 21 years, hence they were born after 1759. Other than describing officers such as Alexander Lawson Smith and Edward Giles, he goes on to describe the movement of the regiment to Philadelphia to report to Washington, then once equipped, they marched south to join Nathanial Greene. He adds, still within his federal veterans pension application, that he “left the service in the Spring of 1781 in consequence of the Maryland Line consisting of Eight Regiments being consolidated into Four” and that the officers of the Extra Regiment “were all sent home as supernumaries.” He also notes that he was at the Battles of Brandywine, Germantown where he was “wounded,” and the battle of Monmouth. Within the same document, Mountjoy Bayly certifies that Murdoch was a captain as noted previously on this blog.

Existing records confirm his account of service. Apart from the question of whether it was him who marched out to Washington County “with all deliberate speed” there is no doubt that he served as a Lieutenant in the Maryland Line and later as a captain. [1] Dr. David B. Boles, the founder of Bolesbooks, who has been publishing family ancestries since the 1980s also mentions Benjamin, writing:

“…A Capt. Benjamin Murdock was also mentioned. Of these the only one who completely checks out was Benjamin Murdock, who was a Lt. of the first Maryland Regiment of Continental troops in Mar 1779, and a Capt. in July 1780. Isaac said that in early 1779, Continental officer Capt. Benjamin Murdock performed enlistment duty in Fredericktown”

After the end of his war service, on December 22, 1781, he married a woman named Mary Ann Magruder in Seneca, Montgomery County, MD. [2] He would eventually have three children with her, named Richard, Eliza, and Anitta. The Magruder family, which were Royalists from Scotland back in the 1650s, had settled in Prince George’s County, amassing thousands of acres of land, and became prominent across Southern Maryland.

Little else is known about Benjamin’s life in the 1780s. However, it is clear that in 1787, Benjamin sold over 200 acres which had been given to him by his father, Reverend George, when he was only thirteen, in 1772. The above link claims he patented a tract called The Garden two years before. Searching available resources, it shows this is correct. He did patent it, but no more information is known currently as the record has not been scanned in:

Courtesy of plats.net. This was the same source the above link cited.

Looking through the same site, I found a number of tracts named Discovery. They range from 89 to over 173 acres. [3] It is not known which of these Benjamin owned later on in his life. Regardless, he later settled some of his deeds in Montgomery County in the Orphans Court with his relatives there reportedly. There is no doubt, however, that in 1778, a William Murdoch bought a part of a tract named Discovery from Moses Ouno. [4] This would be the land Benjamin would own in later years.  It is known also how Henry Baggerty and Charles Philips paid Benjamin, described as a planter, for Beall and Edmondson’s Discovery. [5] This could be found that this tract was 894 acres but no other information has been found:

Courtesy of Plats.net

Into the 1790s

Like the 1780s, little information is known about Benjamin and his family during this time period. While he is not mentioned in the 1790 federal census, a man named George Murdock Esquire was living in Frederick, Maryland with 19 enslaved Blacks, two men with the last name Murdock living in Montgomery, Maryland, and another man, named William Murdock living in Frederick, Maryland. [6] It is not known if any of these men are related to Benjamin. The following year a man named named John Murdock had a plat to a land tract called Friendship. This is the same man, who in 1783, owned over 2,000 acres of land in Montgomery County alone.

This was the time period, as briefly mentioned in his federal veterans pension application, he had a “few years residence in Montgomery County.” In June 1794, he was undoubtedly living in the county. The Maryland Gazette proves this by showing that he was made a major in the Montgomery County grouping of the Maryland militia, along with five other individuals:

From Maryland Gazette. Used photo editing software to add category titles from top of newspaper page to just include this county.

This was a far cry from his ancestors who were the first settlers of Western Maryland in 1730 and his father (possibly) who was committed and loyal to the British Crown. [7] Instead, Benjamin was loyal to the United States and the county he lived in, which at that time was Montgomery.

Moving onto the 19th century

For many years, the life of Benjamin is hazy. In 1800, a man named “George Mindock” (supposed to be Murdock) is listed as living in Frederick, Frederick, Maryland with nine enslaved people and another named William Murdock living in Emmitsburg, Frederick, Maryland with one enslaved person. It is not known whether these men are related to Benjamin.

However, there is concrete evidence he was living in the county. When George Fraser Magruder died on January 27, 1801, Benjamin, his son-in-law, became the executor of his estate. [8] Five years later, his sister, Eleanor died in the District of Columbia sometime before June 25, 1805. Within her will, she called Benjamin a “kind brother and friend”:

Source: “Wills.” The Washington Post (1923-1954): 1. Sep 01 1935. ProQuest. Web. 31 May 2017 .

There are other records that attest to his residency. In July 1800, Benjamin, Thomas Taylor of Pennsylvania, and Benjamin Huff Canby of Virginia, the latter two executors of the will of another individual, made an agreement. [9] Not only does this note that Benjamin was living in Frederick County, but that he paid Taylor and Canby six hundred pounds for a 200 acre land tract known as “Joseph’s Advance.” Two years later, in August 1803, Benjamin bought another tract of land. He paid a man named Abraham Plummer two thousand dollars for a tract of land known as Hickory Plains which was 454 acres. [10]

Sadly on Plats no image of the certificate or other information is available, but it is evident that the Hickory Plains tract was patented in 1752 by a man by the name of Samuel Plummer. The same is the case for the Joseph’s Advance tract. That piece of land was patented the same year by a man named Joseph Waters. Nothing else is known.

Coming into the 1810s

Benjamin petitions the House of Delegates about his military service. This is discussed later in this section.

In 1810, a man named C[harles?] Murdock was living in Frederick, Maryland with seven enslaved people. A W[illiam?] Murdock in living the same location with two enslaved people. It is not known if either of these men is related to Benjamin. There are also two tracts called Murdoch’s Mount Resurvey but it is not known if this is his tract or not. There, is, however, strong evidence, once again, that he was living in Frederick county.

In June 1811, Benjamin was paid $3,120 by Allen and Sarah Farguhar (if I have that spelling right) for the resurveyed Hickory Plains tract which is still 454 acres. As readers may recall, he paid Abraham Plummer $2,000 for this tract back in 1803, eight years earlier. [11] While the relative value of the $2,000 he had paid had decreased to $1,490 due to inflation and other factors by 1811, he still had gained a $1,120 above from the original amount, and $1,630 above the amount adjusted to values that year. Hence, he garnered an almost 200% profit from this transactions, using the adjusted figure, so he was more than willing to sell the land to the Farguhars.

Three years later, in 1814, he was appointed as commissioner, along with Edward Owings, Jesse Wright, Samuel Hobbs, and Ed Brashears, to “assess the damages” to Nicholas Hall’s land, which sat in Frederick County. The act specified the following aspects of this situation:

…[the] appointed commissioners…are hereby authorised and empowered to view and assess the damages if any, which in their judgment the said Nicholas Hull shall have sustained by the locating and making of a road through his lands…a road from near the old glass Works called New Bremen in Frederick county, to intersect the Baltimore and Frederick-Town turnpike road, at the town of New-Market in the said county, and…the said commissioners or a majority of them shall make out…a fair valuation of the damages

Nicholas was a man who was allowed by the Maryland General Assembly to raise money for a lottery for $2,000 dollars and noted that he owned land in New Market, Frederick County. Hence, it is possible that Benjamin knew this individual. It is also clear that this was not payment for “devaluation” of his land due to the British campaign in the military operations from 1812 to 1814 in the Chesapeake Bay but was rather a consequence of the changing nature of US society from an agrarian one to a more urban one, with “internal improvements.” Benjamin’s role as a commissioner could also imply that he was a Federalist since such individuals pushed forward this idea, and was later picked up by Henry Clay of the Whig Party.

A couple of years later, the Murdoch family gained additional land. More land was patented under the name of “Murdoch’s Fancy” which was not unusual as land had been patented under the names of “Murdoch’s Mountain Resurvey” and “Murdock’s Inheritance” years later. There is no record that Benjamin was involved in any of these land agreements, although it is possible he was somehow tied in.

In 1817, Benjamin petitioned the Maryland General Assembly to be paid for his war service, and the legislature agreed with him. Hence, he was to be paid the half-pay of a lieutenant until his death:

“That the treasurer of the western shore be and he is hereby authorised and directed, to pay, annually, in quarterly payments, to Benjamin Murdock, a lieutenant in the Maryland line during the revolutionary war, the half pay of a lieutenant during life.”

Almost a year later, Benjamin petitioned the Maryland House of Delegates over the same issue. His petition was reported favorably by Mr. Hawkins in the Maryland House of Delegates as the Maryland Gazette noted later that month.

And his petition related to his military payments as the journal of the House of Delegates makes abundantly clear:

It should be no surprise that it turns out that Mr. Hawkins, or Thomas Hawkins, was one of the four delegates representing Frederick County that year in the House of Delegates. The other delegates were Joshua Cockey, Thomas C. Worthington, and John H.M. Smith.

The blur of the 1820s

In 1820 there is a person Elemer Murdock living in Frederick, Frederick, Maryland, with eight enslaved people. It is not known if he is related to Benjamin. Some say he was in the 1820 Census for Frederick County. A search of the Census for District 2 within the county does not pull up any results other than the person mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. It is possible he is within a different district of the county or that this person is mistaken in their records. The reality is not clear. Even looking it up on Family Search only brings up one result, the 1830 census.

Other records of Benjamin this decade are scattered. In the 1820s, he is described as part of Zion Parish in Frederick County, reportedly. [12] And in 1824, he is mentioned in the will of William Murdoch. This may was Benjamin’s brother, as he laid out very clearly:

I desire to be buried in such Protestant burying ground as may be most convenient to the place of my decease and that my funeral may be conducted with the smallest intention”. I give and bequeath to: my brother, Benjamin MURDOCH of Frederick County, State of Maryland. my niece Eleanor POTTS, widow of Richard Potts late of Frederick Town in the State of Maryland and daughter of my late brother George MURDOCH, deceased. my niece Ann POTTS (wife of Richard Potts [Junior] of Frederick Town and sister of the said Eleanor Potts)”

Nothing else is known about this will or Benjamin, although this could be found by looking at the records of the Maryland State Archives.

In November 1825, Benjamin paid $5,475 dollars to Levi Phillips for land called Hope or Resurvey of Hope. [13] Eleanor, Levi’s wife, agrees with the transaction. The land tract has an interesting story. It originally was within Prince George’s County but with changing borderlines, it became part of Frederick County, with a 1797 agreement between varying individuals confirming the ownership by the Darnell family. [14] Within the said agreement, which spelled out the specific contours of the land, was a map of the land, which had been divided between numerous men of the Darnell family:

This map was reconstructed using images of the property on pages 43, 43a, and 43b. It is not perfect, but it does show the contour of the property. Map made using photo editing software to bring the pieces together into a coherent image.A gray background was added, as one can tell, to match with the map itself.

That same month, Benjamin paid Charles Fenton Mercer, of London County, Virginia, $4,410 dollars for his estate and tract within “The Hope.” [15] This could indicate that he started building a plantation there. Such purchases in the same month may indicate a certain level of wealth for Benjamin, since he made another purchase of land within the tract later that month from Robert Darnell, of the Darnell family mentioned earlier. [16]

The last four years

In 1830, Benjamin finally appeared in the Federal Census. He was living in Frederick County’s District 1 and was running a plantation with 27 enslaved Blacks and six “free white” individuals. [17] For the latter, one White male was aged 20-29 [Richard?], one White male was aged 40-49 [his son?], one was between ages 70 and 79 (himself). The other three were his daughter Anitta (under age 5), his wife Mary (between ages 20 and 29), and his daughter Eliza between ages 20 and 29. As for the enslaved blacks, the following chart suffices:

Made with Chartgo.

This means that the number of enslaved men and women were almost equally divided, with a simple majority for the women. The fact that only two were above age 36 shows that these enslaved individuals could have been from recent transactions, or show that he had a “changing” work force.

Two years later, he would apply for a pension from the federal government. [18] Within it he would say he was a resident of the county, born in the county in 1759, and was about 73 years old. On August 14, his pension money would begin flowing, with $1,200 received, with $400 each given annually, as noted in the Maryland Pension Roll of 1835. He would be described as a former “Lieutenant – Captain” who had served in the Maryland militia and said to be age 75.

From 1832 to 1833 he would engage in varied land agreements with individuals across Frederick County. On May 15, 1832, Benjamin made an agreement with Charles Johnson (executor), John H (or is it F?). Simmons, John Montgomery, Sebastian Sraff, Congo Doddoner, Elisha Beall, Plummer Simmes, and another Charles Johnson, a vestryman of a Protestant Episcopal Church. [19] In this agreement, lots 10 and 14 were granted by Charles Johnson (executor), in carrying out the will of William Johnson (presumably his father), to Benjamin, and all the others. Seemingly this was done to help with the Zion Parish, of which Benjamin and all others except the executor, were part of at the time. This means that Benjamin was an Episcopalian in faith. It also confirms the early listing of him in the 1820s as part of this parish. He likely was a worshipper at this church which has since been reconstructed since the original was burned down:

Courtesy of the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation. Used in accordance with fair use guidelines under existing copyright law.

Later that year, Benjamin was part of an agreement with the same individuals of the Zion Parish, agreeing to buy more lots for use of the church. [20] This would help with his standing in the county.  The following year, on April 20, he would again help expand the church’s land. [21] These transactions show how dedicated he was to the church and his faith.

The following year, he died reportedly (also see here) in Urbana, Maryland, a census designated place, probably a small to medium-sized town at the time. It is not known if he was alive in May 1834 when someone cited him as a character reference to support their claim for a federal pension

In his will, Benjamin granted his daughter Harretta 300 acres of  “the Resurvey on the Hope” which he had finished buying in nine years earlier, who had married a man named John F. Simmons, possibly the same man who mad made the agreement about the Zion Parish years before. This area would become the John F. Simmons farmstead or “High Hope” with a house in Greek Revival style built around 1835, with the house still standing:

The years after his death

In 1840, a man named Richard Murdoch, called “Richd Mardock” in the census, had eight enslaved individuals, and was living with nine White people in Buckeye, Frederick, Maryland. [22] This was Benjamin’s son.

Ten years later, in 1850, Richard, a farmer was living in Buckeystown, Frederick, Maryland. [23] He was age 58 (meaning he was born in 1792), with 11 other Whites, including his sister, Eliza, with Anitta not in the same household:

 

Anitta was likely living in Frederick, Frederick, Maryland with a man named John A Simmons, listed in the 1840 Federal Census. That same year, multiracial and Black individuals named “Harriet Murdock,” “Matilda Murdock,” and Rachael Murdock” were living in Frederick County. It is possible these individuals were former enslaved people owned by Benjamin.

Two years later, Richard B. Murdoch assigned power of attorney named William Peugh to obtain an increase in the pension or of bounty land for the service of his father. He claimed that he was the only son and that he had two surviving sisters: Eliza Murdoch and Anitta Simmons. Looking at the actual pension implies that Benjamin and Mary Ann, his wife, had more than three children:

Fast forward to 1887. That year, Eliza Murdoch, who was noted as born Jan. 1, 1800, and the youngest child of Benjamin and Mary Ann, implying that others were born before 1800, died. She died “near Sykesville” in northern Baltimore County, at the residence of her niece:

Source for image: “Obituary,” The Sun (1837-1991): 4. May 27 1887. ProQuest. Web. 31 May 2017. Obit also in this Westminster, MD paper, The Democratic advocate the same year.

Despite the fact it says that Benjamin served on the staff of Horatio Gates, no evidence suggests this to the knowledge of this researcher, even though he could have been a major. It is interesting to note that she was native to Frederick County and related to William Murdoch, a London merchant, suggesting some familial connection between Benjamin and this individual. I think they may confusing this person with the other Benjamin Murdock in Vermont, a private in a Massachusetts Regiment, this individual seemingly who died in Oct. 1833:

 

In 1908, a descendant of the same name as Benjamin died, showing that the family lineage still lived on:

Concluding words

While there are many gaps in the story of Benjamin, many can be filled by looking at land records. There many questions about how a person named Mary Magruder Tarr Willard, Marie Benjamin Murdock Brown, and Richard Bruce Murdock are related to Benjamin. Regardless, there are still questions to be answered about his life, but this is a good start to the topic and hopefully opens doors for many in terms of different areas of Maryland history. [24]

Notes

[1] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 43, 234; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 48, 144, 385, 387, 388, 494; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, April 1, 1778 through October 26, 1779, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 21, 321; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 16, 308.

[2] Genealogies of Virginia Families: From Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 1 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007 reprint), 596, 599; Roberta Julia (Magruder) Bukey, “The Magruder Family In Its Religious Affiliations” within Yearbook of the American Clan Society (ed. Egbert Watson Magruder, Richmond, VA: Appeals Press, Inc., 1916), 50-51; George Brick Smith, “Some Descendants of George Fraser Magruder” within Year Book of the American Clan Society (ed. John Bowie Ferneyhough, Richmond, VA, 1937), 60, 65. Mary may have been another daughter.

[3] One 89-acre tract patented by Thomas Beall in 1796 (Patent Record IC G, p. 707; Patent Record IC O, p. 85), a 119 acre tract patented by John Bradford in 1724 (Patent Record PL 5, p. 632; Patent Record IL A, p. 324), a 100 acre tract patented by James Halmeard, Jr. in 1748 (Patent Record PT 2, p. 293; Patent Record LG E, p. 564), a 100 acre tract patented by John Eason in 1752 (Patent Record Y and S 6, p. 244; Patent Record GS 1, p. 99), a 173 1/4 acre tract patented by Elizabeth Lashley in 1836 and similar by Arnold Lashley (Patent Record GGB 1, p. 616; Patent Record GGB 2, p. 630). There’s also a tract called “A Discovery” (36 1/4 acres which was patented by David Mitchell in 1784 (Patent Record IC A, p. 364; Patent Record IC B, p. 303) and this of which I’m not sure of the relevance to the land. There’s also a tract called Addition to Discovery but clearly Murdoch is not related to it.

[4] Deed between William Murdoch and Moses Ouno, Montgomery County Court, Land Records,July 13, 1778, Liber A, p. 195, 196 [MSA CE 148-1]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net. Not sure how pages of Liber D, 166 and 167 [MSA CE 148-4] relate to this topic as one source suggests.

[5] Deed between Benjamin Murdoch, Henry Baggerty and Charles Philips, Oct. 19, 1786, Montgomery County Court, Land Records, Liber C, p. 407, 408, 409 [MSA CE 148-3]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[6] This has been double checked, but NO person with the name of Benjamin Murdoch/Murdock, of any kind, is listed on the page with William Murdock and the same is the case for George Murdock, Esq. A look through the 61 pages of the census still turned up no results, even with the listing of two Magruders on one page (Samuel and William). The same was done for the 1800

[7] Folger McKinsey, History of Frederick County, Maryland: From the Earliest Settlements to the Beginning of the War Between the States, Vol.  2 (L.R. Titsworth & Co., 1910), 1278; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1758-1761, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 56, 74; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1757-1758, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 55, 219; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1764-1765, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 59, 180.

[8] Thomas Settles, John Bankhead Magruder: A Military Reappraisal (Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 2009), 450; George Brick Smith, “Some Descendants of George Fraser Magruder,” 65.

[9] Agreement between Benjamin Murdoch, Thomas Taylor of Pennsylvania, and Benjamin Huff Canby, July 4, 1800, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 20, p. 52, 53, 54 [MSA CE 108-40]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[10] Benjamin Murdoch purchases land from Abraham Plummer, Aug. 31, 1803, , Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 24, p. 702, 703, 704 [MSA CE 108-44]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[11] Deed between Benjamin Murdock, Allen and Sarah Farguhar, June 11, 1811, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 40, p. 77, 78, 79 [MSA CE 108-60]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[12] Journal of A Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Held in St. Paul’s Baltimore (Baltimore: J. Robinson, 1821), 103, 112, 114.

[13] Benjamin Murdoch purchases land from Levi Phillips, Nov. 2, 1825, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 23, p. 401, 402, 403, 404 [MSA CE 108-91]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[14] Agreement between William Pott, William Ballinger, Joseph Sweauinger, James Murphy, and Jesse Hughes concerning “The Hope” land tract and more, Nov. 27, 1797, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 16, p. 40, 41, 42, 43, 43a, 43b, [MSA CE 108-36]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net. Considering it was originally in Prince George’s County, this (and this) is NOT the same land. There is a land in Prince George’s County named Hope, but no details can be provided.

[15] Benjamin Murdoch purchases land from Charles Fenton Mercer, Nov. 11, 1825, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 23, p. 447, 448, 449, 450, 451 [MSA CE 108-91]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[16] Benjamin Murdoch purchases land from Robert Darnell, Nov. 28, 1825, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 23, p. 555, 556, 557, 558 [MSA CE 108-91]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[17] Fifth Census of the United States, District 1, Frederick, Maryland, 1830, National Archives, NARA M19, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 57, Page 15. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest. He is called “Benjamin Murdock” in this census.

[18] Pension of Benjamin Murdoch, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, S.9046. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[19] Agreement between Benjamin Murdock, Charles Johnson (executor), John H. Simmons, John Montgomery, Sebastian Sraff, Congo Doddoner, Elisha Beall, Plummer Simmes, and Charles Johnson, May 15, 1832, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 40, p. 114, 115 [MSA CE 108-108]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[20] Agreement between Benjamin Murdock, et al, Dec. 1, 1832, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 41, p. 3, 4 [MSA CE 108-109]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[21] Agreement between Benjamin Murdoch, et al, and Lloyd Keith, Dec. 1, 1832, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 42, p. 263, 264, 265 [MSA CE 108-110]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[22] Sixth Census of the United States, Buckeye, Frederick, Maryland, 1840, National Archives, NARA M704, . Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 166, Page 159. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[23] Sixth Census of the United States, Buckeystown, Frederick, Maryland, USA, 1850, National Archives, NARA M432, . Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll M432_293, Page 461-462. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[24] See here, here, and here for others who have tried to explore his story.

 

“A young man with some property”: the story of a former Maryland captain

This house is the 130-acre Samuel Cock Homestead located at 7701 Dance Hall Road. It was built by him sometime after returning from the war. Photograph is courtesy of the Frederick County Government. After looking this up on Google Maps, it was discovered that this place is called, at the present, “Dulany’s Overlook,” a wedding venue in Frederick County.

In our previous article about Mountjoy Bayly adding to the scholarship of the Maryland Extra Regiment, one man was among the regiment’s high ranking officers: Samuel Cock (called Samuel in the rest of this article). He was described as the captain of one of the regiment’s eight companies, the seventh to be exact, a “young man with some property and of a very credible family,” staying so until October, with payment to him indicating this reality. [1] In terms of scholarship, the return from Samuel’s company is the only complete list of men within the regiment’s companies that is known to exist. This article aims to expand the story of Samuel since it is integral to understanding more of the rich history of the state of Maryland.

Marriage and settling in

By 1783, a 29-year-old Samuel had completed his war service. [2] There was no more participation in the Frederick Town Battalion of Militia, within in Frederick County, as a first Lieutenant. That year, on December 15, he married an 20-year old woman named Mary Ogle. [3] Her father, Alexander Ogle, and now Samuel’s father-in-law, who had died nine months prior, on March 21, was a “lifelong miller” who would be paid a total of 66 pounds, eight shillings, and eight pence for supporting the revolutionary cause in his profession. [4] Had moved to the county many years before, in 1763, with his brothers Benjamin and Joseph. At that time, he purchased 250 acres of land on the Monocracy River’s West Bank, supplying flour to the troops during the revolution. [5]

The death of Mary’s father, led to a distribution of land. His wife, Martha, received some of his land holdings, but Mary received within her father’s 1783 will [6] were very specific:

To summarize, Mary inherits 320 acres, an enslaved black woman under certain conditions and land at the waters of the Buffalo River in Ohio County, Virginia which was sold after the Mary and her husband, Samuel made its home within the bounds of Frederick County.

In 1783, Samuel would require more land from a fellow farmer named Ezekial Beatty, described as from Loundon County, Virginia. Paying five shillings specie, he would gain a 600-acre tract named Middle Plantation, which had previously been given to a man named Thomas Beatty (undoubtedly relayed to Ezekial somehow possibly as a relative), who bought it from a man named John Hall; the tract of land was known as Middle Plantation. [7] The land just mentioned is over a century old, and was known for a long time as “Middle Plantation” and it sits within the village of Mount Pleasant, with its “beautiful horse farms” as one website puts it. The same day as he purchased the 600-acre land, he acquired even more, coming to another agreement with Ezekial. For 400 pounds specie, he bought 1000-acre land tract named Dulany’s Lott, which was previously owned by Ezekial’s father, Edward. [8]

This land agreement was no accident. Samuel’s father, Henry, was the brother of Susanna Cock, a person who married Edward Beatty. As it turned out, this individual “purchased 1000 acres of “Dulany’s Lot” on July 17, 1732.” [9] Hence he was buying land from his brother-in-law and the land-buying was, you could say, an inter-family transaction. It was around this time that Samuel, Mary, and the rest of their family may have been planting their roots in a homestead within Frederick County which would later come to be known as the “Capt. Samuel Cock Farmstead.” A map of where it is currently located is below:

It would be that year that the federal-style house, still standing, would be seemingly, built, with a central place in the farmstead. It is, as some sources have indicated, a 130 acre farmstead which sits within Frederick County which is set back from the main road, perched a hilltop on top of Mount Pleasant.

The Dulanys and inter-family connection

In 1765, Walter Dulany and his brother, Daniel, purchased thousands of acres in Frederick County. [10]  The Dulany family had become one of the biggest landowners in the county. They patented 6,731 acres between 1753 and 1765, the majority of which they claimed direct ownership in 1765. [11] A sampling of some of eight of land holdings are shown below:

Some of the lots the Dulany family owned. They vary in acreage: Johns Lot (upper left) is 50 acres, Mark Pater (upper right) is also 50 acres, Dry Plains (middle left) is 200 acres, Maple Bottom (middle right) is 100 acres, Reed Island (bottom left) is 100 acres, and Scotts Fancy (bottom right) is also 100 acres. Maps such of these, which are sampling from the 23 land tracts they patented, can be found by going here and clicking the scroll-down tab for “Column to Filter On” and selecting “description” then typing in Dulany in the “Filter Criteria” region of the page, after which you can go to specific land patents as needed.

By 1783, Walter was dead, but other Dulanys were living, holding onto the land, such as Daniel Dulany, Jr. Four years later, William Beatty, Samuel’s cousin would claim six acres of Dulany’s Lott, a land which would only be mentioned again in an 1811 court case. [12] In the later 1780s, Samuel’s ownership of land would be tied again to the Dulany family, interestingly.

On May 13, 1789, Samuel would patent a 280-acre tract of land, resurveyed for him, called Neighbours Agreed. It would brings together numerous tracts such as Sandy Bunn, Hoboon Choice, and Chestnut Hill. [13] It is clear that this land was not where he built his homestead, which was undoubtedly on Dulany’s Lott instead. The proof of this is the fact that in 1790, more than a year later, he would sell the Neighbours Agreed to a man named Walter Funderberg/Funderbergh, who paid him 1,400 pounds for the tract, which was described as having  buildings and improvements on it. [14] At this point, Walter had only a measly 50 acres, and seemed very dedicated to expanding his land holdings. So, it was mutually beneficial, with Mary, Samuel’s wife agrees with sale, possibly because of the money it brought the Cock family or some other reason.

Saying of this, here is a map of Neighbours Agreed which was within the document which proved that Samuel patented the land:

The same year, the State of Maryland would confirm  Samuel’s ownership of land, specifically Dulany’s Lott, along with other lands like Chestnut Hill. [15] This may have reinforced his social standing against others who wanted the land. Not surprisingly, the 50-acre Chestnut Hill and 50-acre Long Spring were patented to Daniel & Walter Dulany in 1765, because of the death of Daniel Dulany not long before. [16]

Establishing a farmstead and becoming a “successful man”

Samuel’s signatures in 1790 land transactions.

In 1788, there would be some clue into the possible development of his Frederick County farmstead. He would sell, to a man named John Miller, the following [17], among some other possessions:

  • one horse
  • one black mare
  • one colt
  • one pied or bridled cow and calf
  • one black and white cow
  • three stacks of wheat
  • all the tobacco in his possession
  • one cutting knife and box
  • two tables
  • two linnen and woolen spinning wheel
  • two iron pots
  • one Dutch Oven
  • all his “interest in the growing grain on Capt. Liburn William’s place” and John Marck’s place.

In the following decade, the original portion of the farmstead’s house was likely constructed. [18] In 1790, he was counted in the first federal census as living in Frederick County with his family. Living with him were two other white males over 16, a white male under age 16, and three white females, and seven enslaved blacks, indicating that he was becoming a “successful man.” [19] These six “free white persons” were likely the five children of Mary and Samuel, along with Mary herself. The same year, he wold sell land again.

He would sell a man named Sam Devilbiss (possibly spelled Devilbys), son of Casper and described as a farmer within the same county, a part of the Chestnut Hill tract, previously owned by Daniel Dulany as noted earlier. [20] John, at the time,  owned only 68 acres outright, with this transaction growing his holdings. Furthermore, it would not be until 1798 he would directly gain 794 acres and 22 years later an additional approximate 27 acres. Hence, while the Devilbiss family were moderate landowners, they were not wheeling and dealing as much as Samuel, indicating that John was more than willing to buy this land.

The fact that Samuel’s wife, Mary, agreed with the transaction, like many others seems normal. However, in this case there was, again, a direct familial connection. Two of Mary’s sisters, or Samuel’s sisters-in-law, Elizabeth and Rebecca, would marry into the Devilbiss family. [21] The latter lived along Monocacy River and marry John Devilbiss, undoubtedly the same one who bought a part of the Chestnut Hill tract! This means that yet again the land deal was an inter-family transaction.

Samuel’s signature on the below land transaction in 1791

In 1791, Samuel would sell a piece of land, with Mary’s agreement, known as “The Lost Tomahawk” to Thomas, Roger, Baker, and James Johnson. [22] This land was owned within the Cock family. In 1770, it was established that Samuel’s father, Henry had 150 acres of “The lost tomahock”/”Lost Tomahawk” tract, most of which had gone to Benedict Calvert, Charles Beatty, and Thomas Johnson. [23]

Four years later, in 1795, Samuel would buy land from Thomas Beatty, Jr. (whose father of the same name died in 1769), part of a tract known as “Final” which he sells years later; the unnamed wife of Thomas Beatty agreed with the deal. [24] This would be the second land transaction between between the Beatty and Cock families. No connection between Thomas Beatty and with Edward Beatty who married into the Cock family is known except for the fact that both Edward and Thomas were sons of Susannah Beatty, who had died in 1742. But, charting this information indicates that there is likely some relation between the two families.

As it turns out, the “Final” land tract that was patented for James Beatty and surveyed for Thomas Beatty only five years earlier. It is 264 and 3/4 acres [25]. A map of the said land tract is as follows:

It was around this time that some have said is the “beginning” of the history of Samuel’s farmstead since that year, he bought a parcel of land from Cock’s Orchard in February 1795. [26] While the domination form for the Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission County Register implied that Samuel had a fruit orchard with the farm’s field patterns with wood lots with crop cultivation, fruit trees, and a meadow, other documents show that he had farm animals of many types. In April 1795 he told the Frederick County Court that he was applying “marks” to his animals:

“The following are the Marks artificine [?] hitherto used still continued, and included to be imposed on my Cattle Hoggs and Sheep to wit – both ears clopt [?] and two slits in each ear” [27]

Hence, he could have still had an orchard with fruit trees, but he also had a working farm, with a small enslaved population picking the food, tending the animals, so he was an overseer perhaps.

Land transactions and a dearth of records

Samuel in an 1800 land transaction

In the later 1790s, Samuel would continue to buy and sell land. In 1795 he would buy from a county surveyor, Samuel DuVall, a tract of land that is part of Middle Plantation, with the number of acres not specified. [28] Priscilla Ann, DuVall’s wife, agreed with the transaction.  DuVall was, by this point, according to existing records of Frederick County land patents, the owner of 320 acre tract he had patented known as “Give and Take.” By 1798 he would have acquired two new tracts, “Hidden Treasure” and “Rights of Man” bringing his total number of acres directly owned/patented by him would be 822 and 1/2. This means that even when Samuel dealt with him, he was a relatively large landowner in the county.

In 1796, Samuel showed his political affiliation. In the 1796 election he was listed as a “Democratic-Republican” like his (possible) brother, William, while DuVall, with whom he had bought land from as mentioned in the last paragraph, was a Federalist. This could indicate that Samuel didn’t care about political affiliation of the person with whom he was in a transaction with when he bought or sold land. While records show that he never ran as a political candidate, this affiliation is important to note as it puts him in a certain political context.

Four years later, in 1800, Samuel was living in Liberty, Frederick, Maryland. With him was one white male ages 10-15 (likely his son), one white female aged 10-15 (likely his daughter), and one white female aged 26-44 (his wife Mary), along with nine enslaved blacks. [29] In another interesting development, in May of the same year, he sold land of the resurveyed  “Final” land tract to a man named Abraham Eader. With his wife Mary agreeing with the selling of land, he would would selling land he had only bought ten years before. [30] This indicates a level of wheeling and dealing in land transactions.

From 1800-1810 no records on Samuel or his family can be found. In 1810, he is listed within the US Census as “S Cock” living in Frederick, Frederick County with one white male under age 10, one white male between aged 26-40, one white female under age 10, one white female aged 10-16, and two white females over age 26 as corresponding the slashes with the census categories shows. There are also no other free white persons and seven enslaved individuals. While most of the “free persons” are undoubtedly Samuel and his family, but others are not known. Looking at other census information, it is all together possible that his children were Maria Cock (born in 1807), and Samuel, if some records are right.

In January 1814, Samuel would be a witness to the will of 40-year-old Abraham Haff Jr., who had died in December 1813. This likely meant he was a friend to this man, a person who had “considerable means and property” within the county, owning nine enslaved peoples, had an estate worth $5,000, and 535 acres of land which included, but not limited to, three plantations. [31] As it turns out, Abraham was also a Democratic-Republican elector in 1796 just like Samuel. So they may have had that connection as well. [32]

The final decade

Focus on Frederick County within Anthony Finly’s “Map Of Virginia And Maryland Contrusted from the Latest Authorities. 1825. (with) Plan Of Washington City & Georgetown.” Courtesy of Cartography Associates and used under fair use guidelines.

In 1820, he was living in Election District 8, Frederick, Maryland, United States. While the exact location is hard to pinpoint even on an 1825 map, it is clear from this rendering and the map of 1830 election districts here, that Libertytown/Liberty was located within the District. Hence, he could easily still be living within the district. While the first glance at the census would seem to indicate two people with the same name, “Saml Cock” and “Samuel Cocke,” the first is him, since the second (the same people as on the first) has a clear cross-out by pencil or pen. In this census, in which he listed along with Thomas W. Johnson it shows him living with one white male under 10, two between ages 16 and 26, two between ages 26-45, and one over age 45 (himself). [33] It is also indicates there is one white female aged 10-16, one aged 16-26, one over age 45 (his wife Mary), one un-naturalized foreigner (who is among the free white individuals) and varying people of color. Of these 13 enslaved peoples, the following was present in the farmstead:

  • five are enslaved black males under age 14
  • two are enslaved black males between the ages of 14 and 26
  • one is an  enslaved black male between the ages of  26 and 45
  • two are enslaved black females under age 14
  • one is an enslaved black female between the ages of 14 and 26
  • two are enslaved black females between the ages of  26 and 45

There are also one “free” black laborers, a male under age 14, who may be related to the above enslaved laborers. With such a number of enslaved laborers, it seems more and more that the farmstead acted like (and was) a plantation, although this has not been said elsewhere.

Six years later, on March 1, 1836, Mary would die at 63 years old, meaning that she was born in either 1763 or 1764. As a person who had been living with Mary for 43 years, most of his adult life, it is likely that Samuel was struck with grief, although we cannot know for sure and can only have a supposition about this. On June 26, four months and 25 days later, Samuel would die for reasons not known. His gravestone stays he died in the “72nd year of his age,” meaning he was born in 1754 or 1755. It is no surprise that he was older than Mary, as that is the custom of some men to marry those who are younger than them, even to this day. Samuel, along with Mary, would be buried at the Cock-Grahame (Beatty) in Ceresville, Frederick County, at his homestead, which sits today “near the corner of modern-day route 26 and 194.” [34] Reportedly, in his will, he left his farm to his daughter and granddaughter, whose names we do not know. Also, he reportedly stipulated that his enslaved laborers “be emancipated when they turned 25 years of age” although no record of this has currently been found by this researcher though. [35] This doesn’t mean the record doesn’t exist, but that it hasn’t been found currently.

Later years

A close-up of Wytheville, Virginia from an 1860s map of Wythe County, Virginia. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

In 1846, William Patton, a surviving veteran of the Extra Regiment, living in Virginia’s Wythe County wrote his federal veterans pension application. Within it, he mentioned Samuel, saying he had served as the captain of his company but also confirming the general story of the regiment even as his memory was ailing:

…he enlisted in Creagerstown Destrick Frederik County Maryland in the regular Army of the united States under Cap. [illegible] Cock Con’l. Green in one of the Extra regiments of the Maryland some time in the year 1776 77 the precise time I Do not recollect and served untill some time in March 1781 seventeen hundred and eighty one I was enguaged in the battle at Gilford some five or six day at the battle was decided I got my discharge which was signed by Genr’l. Green our march was a (follows) first to Annapolis Seat of government from there to Elk River from there Phillidelphia P.A. After leiving Philidephi for some time a gain returned to the head of Elk River and then back to Annaplis where the remained for some time afterwards marched through the State of Virginia and then on to North carolina and was at the battle of gilford in March 1781 my discharge I got wet wile Dear hunting is the way I got it Destroyed – about the above Name officers I may have been transfered in to Capt. Mountjoy Bailey Company as the all was transfered from [undeciphered word] to there”

This is the only known reference to Samuel Cock within a federal veterans pension application to the knowledge of this researcher.

The same year, Frederick County farmer Chester Coleman, possibly still living at the farmstead, asked for $125 for

…additional labor in securing our harvest, which is always a cash consideration among farmers here. Elaborating on farmhands’ ability to command higher wages and immediate payment during the preceding harvest, Coleman explained that “to obtain a day’s labor I must either pay in advance or as soon as the day is closed” because workers were “very scarce and difficult to obtain and consequently high in price.

This comes from a researcher who cited the Samuel Cock papers which are housed at the Maryland Historical Society.

Jump forward to 2015. That year, there was a recommendation for the farmstead to be put on the County Register for Historic Preservation. Some residents were not happy as they were concerned about the size of events allowed on the property itself as the Frederick News-Post reported

…At least one nearby resident spoke at a public hearing to consider the historic designation earlier this month. Ian Frank said he was concerned about the size of events allowed on the property — up to 300 people — under a special exception to allow functions on the property after historic designation. The property owner said the events, mostly weddings, would be held on weekends only, with music and other amplified sounds in a barn after 9 p.m.

This confirms what was said in the recommendation which says that the owner of the property (then called Joselene Hills) wants to use the existing farmhouse to host weddings, birthday parties, graduation parties, and other social gatherings with music/amplified sounds allowed indoors after 9 PM, and events no bigger than 300 guests. [36] While some question as to if the 1980 addition removed the integrity of the 18th century house, but it seems it has not, with the commission voting to put the property on the historic registry.

Concluding remarks

With little information added, I can’t say much more here. The application for the historic registry for the property did reprint other documents, but most of that information had already been integrated into this article. [37] There were also a number of sources that had to be rejected. That is because they were clearly not the same person. [38]

There are other sources I could consult, even using this and this, but that only gets you so far. This is a good starting point and hopefully is an interesting story which can be built on in the future.

Notes

[1] Samuel seemingly resigned his rank on September 1, 1780, which is interesting since he “requested to a captain in the regiment in July” of the same year. Still, this resignation seems to be meaningless (perhaps because he was re-promoted again) as indicated above. On October 24, 1780, the Council paid “Capt. Samuel Cock for stores” and paid him generally the same day as Maryland State Papers indicate. In January 1782, he was paid “three hundred and twenty pounds and nine pence” for his service as a captain in the regiment during which time he had been appointed captain, along with Murdock, Bailey, Gillispie within “in the Regiment Extraordinary” after applying to Colonel Alexander Lawson Smith for recruits raised, then marching them as needed.

[2] Age of 29 comes from his presumed birthdate in 1754.

[3] “Public Hearing – County Register designation of Capt. Samuel Cock’s Homestead; CR-15-03,” Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission County Register Nomination Form by Mark Lynch of Walkersville, MD and approved by the property’s owner, May 2015, p. 13-41 of PDF and pages 1-25 of the application form and within this document. The latter document also says she was born on Oct. 30, 1763. It also says she was married to man with the last name of “Cook” although his last name is clearly Cock. Hence, this is a typographical error.

[4] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 290, 291, 494. The Ogle family were huge landowners in Anne Arundel County, as Papenfuse’s biographies of Benjamin and Samuel Ogle attest. Buthe is not a part of that family or another with the same last name from Pennsylvania.  The Alexander Ogle of that family would go on to serve as a U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania, and would die in Pennsylvania’s Somerset County in 1832, many years after our Alexander Ogle died.

[5] “Public Hearing – County Register designation of Capt. Samuel Cock’s Homestead; CR-15-03,” Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission County Register Nomination Form by Mark Lynch of Walkersville, MD and approved by the property’s owner, May 2015, p. 13-41 of PDF and pages 1-25 of the application form; Grace L. Tracey and John Philip Dern, Pioneers of Old Monocacy: The Early Settlement of Frederick County, Maryland 1721-1743 (Baltimore: Geneaological Publishing Co., 1989, second printing), 331-332, 347.

[6] Curtis Older, “230. Documentation for Alexander Ogle (May 21, 1730 to Bef Mar 21, 1783) father of Jane Ogle (Sept 23, 1761 to Oct 07, 1836),” “The Documented Genealogy of Curtis Lynn Older,” 2010.  Since this the original document can only be found directly at the Maryland State Archives within their stacks, this will suffice for now. In this PDF, a number of sources are cited: (1) Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-23-29/71/7/5 (in this record undoubtedly) which has some of the records showing “Alexander Ogle providing wheat and flour from his mills to the Maryland Militia during the American Revolution; (2) Index to Marriage Licenses, Frederick County, 1778-1810; (3) Wills, Frederick County, Maryland, GM-2-25, signed February 20, 1783, and probated March 21, 1783, with the 25 referring to page 25 within this book either in paper or in microfilm; (4) Paxson Link, The Link Family (Paris, Illinois: [s.l.], 1951), p. 79, 80; (5) Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 62, page 203n and Vol. 60, page 343; (7) Francis Hamilton Hibbard, assisted by Stephen Parks, The English origin of John Ogle, first of the name in Delaware (Pittsburgh: n.p., 1967); (8) Sir Henry Asgill Ogle, Ogle and Bothal (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Andrew Reid & Company, 1902); (9) Curtis L. Older, The Braddock Expedition and Fox’s Gap in Maryland (Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1995), p. 98. It is worth noting that most of these sources, apart from (1)-(3) are genealogical books which should only be used if no other source is available and/or as secondary sources to backup primary sources. Also see this collection of transcribed wills and this page for reference ONLY.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Deed between Samuel Cock and Ezekial Beatty, June 21, 1783, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 4, p. 111-113 [MSA CE 108-24]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[8] Deed between Samuel Cock and Ezekial Beatty, June 21, 1783, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 4, p. 113-115 [MSA CE 108-24]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[9] “Public Hearing – County Register designation of Capt. Samuel Cock’s Homestead; CR-15-03,” Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission County Register Nomination Form by Mark Lynch of Walkersville, MD and approved by the property’s owner, May 2015, p. 13-41 of PDF and pages 1-25 of the application form. The pages of the PDF beyond this (p. 42-54) just have overall pictures and overlays along with documents about approval through the rules process.

[10] The Maryland State Archives claims, relying on Papenfuse for information, that within that year, they both “patented 1,950 acres in Frederick County in individual tracts of between 50 and 200 acres each” serving as part of “the acreage for which their father had received warrants, but which he had not patented.” However, actual information shows that this estimate is not correct.

[11] Almost half (3,350) of the acres were patented in 1753, another quarter patented  from 1760 to 1764 (1,700), with the majority patented in 1765.

[12] Part of Dulaneys Lott, William Beatty, 6 Acres; Rail Trap, Unpatented Certificate 185A, Apr. 13, 1787, Frederick County Circuit Court, Certificates, Unpatented, FR [MSA S1220-195].

[13] Deed between Samuel Cock and Walter Funderberg/Funderbergh, Nov. 23, 1790, Frederick County Court, Liber WR 9, p. 532-535 [MSA CE 108-29]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[14] Neighbours Agreed, Samuel Cock, 280 Acres, Patented Certificate 2807, May 23, 1789, Frederick County Circuit Court, Certificates, Patented, FR [MSA S1197-3334]. Courtesy of http://plato.mdarchives.state.md.us/pages/index.aspx.

[15] Deed between Samuel Cock and the State of Maryland (John Rogers on behalf of the state), Sept. 15, 1789, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 8, 629-630 [MSA CE 108-28]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net. Confirmed again by the state on pages 620-631 of the same land records. Hence, as J. Thomas Scarf noted in pages 374-377 of History of Western Maryland Volume 1, Samuel was the owner of 51 acre tract known as Chestnut Hill, 56 acre tract known as Long Spring, and 280 acre tract known as Neighbors Agreed, all in 1788 and within Frederick County. Scarf is not always a great researcher so his source is only mentioned as secondary backing.

[16] Chestnut Hill, Daniel and Walter Dulany, 50 Acres, Patented Certificate 826, Sept. 29, 1765, Frederick County Circuit Court, Certificates, Patented, FR [MSA S1197-890]. Courtesy of http://plato.mdarchives.state.md.us/pages/index.aspx; Long Spring, Daniel and Walter Dulany, 50 Acres, Patented Certificate 2502LL, Sept. 29, 1765, Frederick County Circuit Court, Certificates, Patented, FR [MSA S1197-2602]. Courtesy of http://plato.mdarchives.state.md.us/pages/index.aspx.

[17] Bill of Sale between Samuel Cock and John Miller, Dec. 11, 1788, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 8, p. 294-295 [MSA CE 108-28]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[18] Mr. Horn tells the County Council of Frederick County that the original portion of the house was likely constructed in the 1790s with a significant addition in the 1980s. He goes on to say that three 19th century farm buildings are clustered near the house while the addition is differentiated and distinct. Source is: “Public Hearing – County Register designation of Capt. Samuel Cock’s Homestead; CR-15-03,” Staff Report Concurrence Form from Denis Superczynski to Steven C. Horn, Frederick County, Maryland, December 2015, p. 1-11 of PDF. This mostly concerns the approval process of the property on the historic register throughout the year of 2015, from the Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission to the Frederick County Council.

[19] First Census of the United States, Frederick, Maryland, 1790, National Archives, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 3, Page 165. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest; “Public Hearing – County Register designation of Capt. Samuel Cock’s Homestead; CR-15-03,” Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission County Register Nomination Form by Mark Lynch of Walkersville, MD and approved by the property’s owner, May 2015, p. 13-41 of PDF and pages 1-25 of the application form.

[20] Deed between Samuel Cock and John Devilbiss, Nov. 23, 1790, Frederick County Court, Liber WR 9, p. 533-535 [MSA CE 108-29]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[21] Grace L. Tracey and John Philip Dern, Pioneers of Old Monocacy: The Early Settlement of Frederick County, Maryland 1721-1743 (Baltimore: Geneaological Publishing Co., 1989, second printing), 319, 332. The children Alexander Ogle had with his wife included: Elizabeth who married into the Devilbiss family of Frederick County (specifically George Devilbiss), while his other daughter, Rebecca lived along the Monocacy River marrying John Devilbiss, Alexander Ogle, Jr. marrying Mary Beatty, and Mary, who would mary Samuel Cook. This document  lists Alexander as marrying Mary Beatty but it notes the connection with the Devilbiss family yet again with the family that Elizabeth and Rebecca married into by 1783.

[22] Deed between Samuel Cock and Thomas Johnson, Roger Johnson, James Johnson, and Baker Johnson, Feb. 8, 1791, Frederick County Court, Liber WR 9, p. 614 [MSA CE 108-29]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[23] R. Winder Johnson, The ancestry of Rosalie Morris Johnson: daughter of George Calvert Morris and Elizabeth Kuhn, his wife (Wisconsin: Ferris & Leach, 1905, printed for private circulation only), 27; Provincial Court Land Records, 1765-1770, Volume 725, Page 550 as transcribed on Darrin Lythgoe’s website, “Early Colonial Settlers of Southern Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck Counties”; PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND WILLS; Liber T No. #1; 1784-1789; Folio 258 BENEDICT CALVERT 12/01/1779 02/18/1788 as transcribed on the Lythgoe’s website as well. Also, there are reports that the land grant, in 1764, for area known as “Lost Tomahawk” was “seized in fee from Henry Cock, now of George Frazier Hawkins,” which means it must have have given to him before 1770.

[24] Deed between Samuel Cock and Thomas Beatty, Feb. 17, 1795, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 16, p. 222-224 [MSA CE 108-36]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[25] Final, James Beatty, 264 3/4 Acres, Patented Certificate 1369, March 18, 1790, Frederick County Circuit Court, Certificates, Patented, FR [MSA S1197-1432].

[26] “Public Hearing – County Register designation of Capt. Samuel Cock’s Homestead; CR-15-03,” Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission County Register Nomination Form by Mark Lynch of Walkersville, MD and approved by the property’s owner, May 2015, p. 13-41 of PDF and pages 1-25 of the application form. The pages of the PDF beyond this (p. 42-54) just have overall pictures and overlays along with documents about approval through the rules process.

[27] Samuel Cock’s hogs, cattle, and sheep, Apr. 6, 1795, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 13, p. 192 [MSA CE 108-33]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[28] Deed between Samuel Cock and Samuel DuVall, July 30, 1795, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 17, p. 136-137 [MSA CE 108-37]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[29] Second Census of the United States, Liberty, Frederick, Maryland, 1800, National Archives, NARA M32, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 10, Page 214. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest. He is called “Samuel Cax” in the census but this is undoubtedly him.

[30] Deed between Samuel Cock and Abraham Eader, May 20, 1800, Frederick County Court, Land Records, Liber WR 19, p. 519 [MSA CE 108-39]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[31] Frank Allaben, The Ancestry of Leander Howard Crall (New York City: The Grafton Press, 1908), 67-68, 334-335.

[32] Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, Maryland Records: Colonial, Revolutionary, County and Church from Original Sources, Vol. 1 (Baltimore: Clearfield Publishing, 1993), 276, 281.

[33] Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, Election District 8, Frederick, Maryland, National Archives, NARA M33, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll M33_43, Page 230. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[34] “Public Hearing – County Register designation of Capt. Samuel Cock’s Homestead; CR-15-03,” Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission County Register Nomination Form by Mark Lynch of Walkersville, MD and approved by the property’s owner, May 2015, p. 13-41 of PDF and pages 1-25 of the application form. The pages of the PDF beyond this (p. 42-54) just have overall pictures and overlays along with documents about approval through the rules process.

[35] Ibid. Their deaths are also noted in page 218 of The Diary of Jacob Engelbrecht, 1818-1878, assembled by the Historical Society of Frederick County.

[36] “Public Hearing – County Register designation of Capt. Samuel Cock’s Homestead; CR-15-03,” Staff Report Concurrence Form from Denis Superczynski to Steven C. Horn, Frederick County, Maryland, December 2015, p. 1-11 of PDF. This mostly concerns the approval process of the property on the historic register throughout the year of 2015, from the Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission to the Frederick County Council.

[37] The document reprints a map of the current property, shows a 1790 census with him owning seven enslaved blacks and living in Frederick County, notes that land called Neighbours Agreed (why?) was surveyed for Samuel in 1788, patented in 1789, reprints his will (not great copy), reprints part of his father Henry’s will in 1777 (he died in 1779) saying that he gains two different land tracts (Turky which is part of many other areas at the time and The Lost Tomahawk), reprints genealogical index, and a number of other records.

[38] There is another Samuel Cock, a Quaker, a Cock family in New York, this person, a “Samuel Cork” who gave a deed of manumissionon March 22, 1825, which liberated a “negro woman named Milly and her children, Ann and William Bowen,” which was “confirmed and ratified” in March 17, 1835 (see here, here, and here). Also he is not this person (any of the Samuels within).

“A character for probity and honor”: the story of Theodore Middleton

A focus on Maryland, from John Churchman’s 1786 “…map of the peninsula between Delaware & Chesopeak bays.” Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Theodore Middleton was different than Alexander Lawson Smith and Archibald Golder (link when published on June 7). By 1781, he was a 23-year-old man, born in Charles County, Maryland, the son of Mary Hawkins and Smith Middleton. He had been, like the others mentioned, an officer in the Extra Regiment, but, different from them, a mid-level officer, who was promoted while others resigned their ranks.

Theodore was, when he joined the Extra Regiment, living in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he would live until at least the 1830s. While the record of his age was lost or destroyed, he remembered when applying for his federal veterans pension, that he was a “commissioned Officer” who performed “three Tours of survice” and was acquainted with Col Luke Marbury, also from the same county, commanding a “Regiment at the battle of Jermons town” or Germantown in Pennsylvania where he was taken prisoner. He also recalled that he was acquainted with Col. John Hoskins Stone and Col. Uriah Forrest, both of whom were wounded in the battle just mentioned, along with a person named General Francis Nash, who was killed at the same battle.He also remembered that he did receive a “commission from the Governor and Council of Maryland,” but it had been “lost or mislaid” by the 1830s. [1]

As one of the 19 within the Extra Regiment with a pension, what he has to say is further worth noting. In applying for his pension in February 1833, he noted that he entered the Maryland Line in April 1779 as a Lieutenant and later served in the Extra Regiment with Captain Mountjoy Bayly, Major Edward Giles [link when published on June 21], Alexander Smith, and Nathanael Greene. He also recalled that he marched with the regiment

from Annapolis to Philad’a where he remained two months. From there a short time he took shipping at the head of Elk River and came to Annapolis in the State of Maryland where he staid for some considerable time. This tour of service embraced fourteen months. He then marched from Annapolis to Alexandria, Fredg. [Fredericksburg] Richmond and Petersburg Virginia, Crossed over into the State of North Carolina, and was at the battle of Guilford C. H. in said state, March 1781 [Guilford Courthouse, 15 Mar 1781]

He then said that after that point, with the end of a “Southern tour of sixteen months” he returned to Maryland in October 1781 “as a Supermerary
officer by General Green” during which time he was commissioned immediately as a Captain. At that point hewas commanded by Col. Uriah Forrest to go to Annapolis, where he stayed a recruiting officer for nine months, until he was “discharged by Col. U. Forest.” While this story has some truth to it, the fact is that he started as a Second Lieutenant, would help organize the specifics of a company within the Extra Regiment. He would later be paid as part of the “late Extra Regiment” in March and April of 1781, and be appointed “Capt. Lieutt of a Company of Foot to serve in this State for one year” the same month. He would write Governor Thomas Sim Lee in September 1781, noting about gathering infantry to organize a defense of the Chesapeake Bay region:

As a considerable time has elapsed since I had the Honor of hearing from you, concerning the raising the compy of infantry for the defence of the Bay, I should be glad to know if you still propose that corps to be raised, If not, I must Sollicit your Excellency In an apointment in the first com.[company] that may be recruited.

While the information on Theodore is not as wide-spread as other officers, there is still a story worth telling.

Beyond the pension

Focus on Prince George’s County from J. Wallace’s 1795 map “of the State of Maryland laid down from an actual survey…” Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Scattered sources about Theodore do tell some parts of a story. On November 20, 1789, in Upper Marlborough, he married a woman named Julia/Juliana Huxton, and the following year he headed a household with two males under age 16, one female (Julia), and seven enslaved blacks. [2] With Julia he would have, ultimately, eight children. They would be named Sarah, Henry O., Theodore, Walter, Chloe Ann, Mary H. Charles S, and Susan.

Also in 1789, he was named as executor of Dr. Edward Semmes estate, possibly because of the close relationship between the two men. By April 1791 he was cited for not passing a final account on the estate but was allowed to sell a portion of the estate to meet the debts of Dr. Semmes. [3]

In later years, Theodore would still own enslaved blacks. In December 26, 1799, a woman named Ann would be described as  “natural daughter of Margis, slave,property of Theodore Middleton living in Prince George’s County.”

By 1800, would be living in “formerly part of Prince Georges MD, Washington, District of Columbia, United States,” but possibly didn’t move into the district, but rather where he was living became part of the federal capital. Three white males under age 10, one white male over age 45 (himself), two white females under age 10, and one white female under age 45 (his wife) would be living in the household. Of course, he would also own 15 enslaved blacks, more than anyone on either one of the corresponding census pages. The latter implies that he had a plantation of some type, although the location of this land is not known. Despite this mention of living in Washington, D.C., he would be noted as a resident in Prince George’s County through a number of land records, perhaps indicating that the area he lived was near the border line.

Twelve years later, in August 1812, Theodore would mortgage three enslaved black men to a man named Robert Bench. They would be: Joe, age 23, Daniel, age 21, Leonard, age 40, and Jim, age 15. [4] This business of mortgaging enslaved blacks, a “rent-a-slave industry” was a moneymaker for slaveowners, not only showing that “the legal treatment of slaves as property in the South” (the same goes for deeds of enslaved black people) but was, at the time, used to “solve” issues of ownership over such peoples. Furthermore, the acquisition of more enslaved blacks could be “financed by mortgages” with bonds sold to investors based on “value of those mortgages” leading to securities. The latter were “based on enslaved human beings” to create a “bubble” of such assets, leading to speculation which was like that on “home mortgage derivatives that helped cause the financial crisis of 2008” as some writers have pointed out. Even Thomas Jefferson (as did others) mortgaged his enslaved blacks, which was one of “rescues” the Jefferson family had “from a bad harvest,” keeping the “family afloat while a new and grander version of Monticello took shape” as Henry Wiencek writes in Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves.

This mortgage between Theodore and Bench was a bit ahead of the curve since widespread mortgaging would not occur until the 1830s. Historical scholar Edward Baptist explains this and how US finance grew on the back on enslaved labor in increasing intensity in the 19th century:

In the 1830s, powerful Southern slaveowners wanted to import capital into their states so they could buy more slaves. They came up with a new, two-part idea: mortgaging slaves; and then turning the mortgages into bonds that could be marketed all over the world. First, American planters organized new banks, usually in new states like Mississippi and Louisiana. Drawing up lists of slaves for collateral, the planters then mortgaged them to the banks they had created, enabling themselves to buy additional slaves to expand cotton production. To provide capital for those loans, the banks sold bonds to investors from around the globe — London, New York, Amsterdam, Paris. The bond buyers, many of whom lived in countries where slavery was illegal, didn’t own individual slaves — just bonds backed by their value. Planters’ mortgage payments paid the interest and the principle on these bond payments. Enslaved human beings had been, in modern financial lingo, “securitized.” As slave-backed mortgages became paper bonds, everybody profited — except, obviously, enslaved African Americans whose forced labor repaid owners’ mortgages. But investors owed a piece of slave-earned income. Older slave states such as Maryland and Virginia sold slaves to the new cotton states, at securitization-inflated prices, resulting in slave asset bubble. Cotton factor firms like the now-defunct Lehman Brothers — founded in Alabama — became wildly successful. Lehman moved to Wall Street, and for all these firms, every transaction in slave-earned money flowing in and out of the U.S. earned Wall Street firms a fee. The infant American financial industry nourished itself on profits taken from financing slave traders, cotton brokers and underwriting slave-backed bonds. But though slavery ended in 1865, in the years after the Civil War, black entrepreneurs would find themselves excluded from a financial system originally built on their bodies.

While what Baptist is saying is admittedly controversial to some, he helps put the mortgage between Theodore and Bench into context.

In later years, he would give away land for almost nothing. In 1814, two years after the previously mentioned mortgage, he would be one of five commissioners (the others named Josiah Moore, Thomas Bunch, James Beall Senior, and James Bealle Junior) who had gained lands after the death of Ignatius Handy in 1811. However, the courts said the lands should be divided without loss and injury to all parties, and the son of Ignatius, in 1812, received land, but not the commissioners so they advertised the real estate for sale and it was bought by Mordecai Ridgeway. [5] Perhaps due to legal wrangling they sold all of the estate to him, including numerous parcels of land such as Friendship’s Addition, Crichet Bat, and Lanhams Delight. By almost nothing I mean that they only received $5.00 from Ridgeway. This could be because all of the commissioners were good friends of his or that they wanted to be rid of the land and didn’t care what it sold for. Whatever the reason, Middleton was involved in the middle of it.

The mid-1810s and into the 1820s

Focus on Prince George’s County within T.l. Powman’s 1814 “…map of Virginia with Maryland, Delaware.” Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

By 1815, Theodore was buying and selling land with relatively large price tags, possibly showing his wealth. That year, he paid a man named Stanislaus Hoxton $2,176 dollars for two tracts which were named “Triall” and “Deer Pond Enlarged.” [6] This wasn’t the end of the story for those land tracts. In 1820, his son, Henry O. paid him $50 dollars for “10 parcels” of a land, which were part of the two above mentioned tracts. [7] The same year, George Semmes would pay him for these two tracts. He would pay $2,000. [8] Six years later, the tracts were sold again. Likely because of his role as an administrator of Semmes estate, he had regained ownership over the land, and sold it for $2,000 to a woman named  Sarah Folson of the same county. [9]

Some may say that Theodore lost money in these land dealings. After all, there was a negative 3.93% average inflation rate between 1815 and 1826, as noted by Measuring Worth, meaning that the relative value of the $2,176, which had had paid for the land, was now $1,400. Hence, you could take from this, he had a money loss, with his land worth less. However, he still gained, even when you factor in the lower relative value, he brought in $3,690 for the varied land sales in 1820 and 1826. [10] Hence, he garnered, approximately, a 69.6% profit from the transaction as a whole. This land dealing was noting new. Some his ancestors within the county had sold numerous tracts of land to willing buyers. [11]

In 1820, two men, Francis John Lobson and George Semmes, would buy $3,000 dollars worth of “goods” from Theodore. [12] He would grant them 12 enslaved blacks named Daniel, Phil, George, Lewis, John, Sam, Grace, Betty, Celey, Eliza, Grispey?, and Margarett. He would also give them the following:

“five head of horses, nine head of cattle, twelve head of hogs, thirty two head of sheep, and all the household and kitchen furniture which at this time belongs to me the said Theodore Middleton”

While the average price of enslaved blacks was definitely not $900.00 (if it was, they would have been paying $10,800 dollars) as it was in New Orleans at this time, they undoubtedly figured into his transactions. [13] Those involved in the transaction probably did not consider the dehumanizing effects of enslaved blacks being sold alongside livestock, only considering them another form of “property” as part of their wheeling and dealings.

Selling and buying of enslaved people ran in the Middleton family. His son, called Theodore Middleton, Jr. in land records, while he is called Theodore Middleton, Sr.,would pay General Semmes and Francis Tolson for a “young negro man named Sandy.” [14] One of his ancestors, Thomas Middleton Sr. of Piscataway, Prince George’s County, was a major player in the business as well. In February 1743, he sold an enslaved black woman named Lucy to John Lawrence for several thousand pounds, while the following year he would be paid four thousand pounds of tobacco for two enslaved blacks by James Gibbs. The first individual, a woman named Judith, he would pay three thousand pounds of tobacco, while the second was a man named Henry for which he would pay 1,000 pounds of tobacco. [15] Such tobacco not only determined a “man’s wealth” but it was a principal source of revenue for the colonial governments of Virginia and Maryland. After 1730, Marylanders became aware that Virginia’s inspection system gave the state “a great advantage over Maryland by raising the quality and reputation of its’ tobacco” so in 1747 the Maryland General Assembly “passed the Maryland Inspection Acts which remained a permanent feature of the trade in Maryland.” By the time Thomas engaged in this transaction, the price of tobacco has stabilized, avoiding wild price fluctuations that has been a feature in the past within the Chesapeake Bay region.

Jumping forward to the 1830s

By the 1830s, Theodore was bringing in $320 a year as the annual allowance of his federal pension, but it was noted that he was paid in the District of Columbia, which indicated where he lived.

In 1832, a Virginia man named Erasmus Gantt noted he served with Middleton in the spring of 1782, including on the Potomac River, ending his military service in Annapolis. [16] All that is known beyond this is that he was part of the defense of the Chesapeake Bay, and would appointed a Lieutenant.

The same year as Erasmus submitted his pension, another man named John Boone, of Charles County, a Lieutenant in the First Maryland Regiment would also mention Theodore. [17] In the pension, which would continue after his death, sometime before 1853, by his wife Mary Laud, it would note he served from May 1776 to October 1781, fought at the battle of Yorktown, still had his discharge certificate. Even with all of that, Theodore is mentioned only in passing, deep inside the pension:

The second paragraph is where Middleton is mentioned.

The same would seem, from a simple search, to be the case in the pension Henry Hill filed by Hester Hill, his wife. Apart from being a captain, Henry, who lived in D.C. in the 1830s, he would serve from 1777-1782, throughout the Revolutionary war, and be a native of Prince George’s County. [18] Unlike Boone’s pension, in 1841, Theodore would personally attest that Henry was a captain, commanding a company of Maryland militia at the Battle of Germantown (1777):

In 1838, five years after Captain Bayly, in Washington City attested to the fact that he and Benjamin Murdoch were part of the Extra Regiment, he would petition the US House of Representatives for relief. [19] In his petition, he would note his service as a lieutenant in the Extra Regiment, wanting five years pay for his service, and he would receive such pay accordingly.

Into the 1840s

By 1840, Theodore would still be living in D.C. while his son lived in Baltimore. Within the household would be two white males, one under age 5, the other between ages 30 and 40, and two white females, one between ages 5 and 10, the other between ages 20 and 30. With these individuals were undoubtedly his children, would be two enslaved blacks, one whom was a male between ages 5-10 and the other also a male but between ages 20 and 30. There would also be one “free” black woman living in the household between ages 10 and 24.

There a few other facts which are known about his life. [20] The Theodore’s wife, Julia, owned varying enslaved blacks and was well-off, to an extent, before her death in November 1842. When she died, eight children were left with only Theodore living until his death.

In terms of Theodore’s death, some sources seem to indicate that he died 85 years of age on January 28, 1844, Theodore died in Prince George’s County, but still within the bounds of Washington, D.C. seemingly. Others seem to think that he died in 1845 for some reason. [21] As it turns out, those that said he died in 1844 would be correct, as proved by the short death notice in the Baltimore Sun:

Source: “DIED.” The Sun (1837-1991): 2. Feb 06 1844. ProQuest. Web. 30 May 2017 .

It would be at this point that the Baltimore Republican & Daily Argus would call him “a character for probity and honor” from what we know. Other requests of the exact copy of the newspaper would be required to verify this quote, specifically from these institutions.

After his death

Hence, after his death, his heirs began to collect his pension benefits from the Federal government. Many of his descendants, including his son, had the same name, owning property in Prince George’s County which included a house of some kind. Also there are reports that his son Theodore served as a traveling agent in Baltimore for the Maryland State Colonization Society and possible mentions of him in within Daniel Boone Lloyd’s genealogy titled The Middletons and kindred families of southern Maryland. [22] Later, one of his descendants, James Middleton, would serve as a Confederate soldier while another would be sheriff in Harlon County, Kentucky in the early 20th century as numerous newspapers, ranging from the New York Times to Washington Post would attest.

In all, he would be honored by his family and part of the annals of Maryland history for years to come.

Notes

[1] He also said that in his present living area he was “personally acquainted with the Rev. Spencer Mitchell, George Semmes, Henry A. Callis, Henry Gantt, John Addison, Bazil Hatten, Notley Maddox…Henry Tolson Esqrs…Judge Key, and the Hon’le B. J. Semmes.”

[2] Henry Wright Newman, “Captain Theodore Middleton” within The Maryland Semmes and Kindred Families (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1956), 282. Later one of the Middleton family would marry into the Boone family.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Mortgage between Theodore Middleton and Robert Bench, Aug 12, 1812, Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, Liber JRM 15, p. 283, 284 [MSA CE 65-44]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[5] Deed between Theodore Middleton, Josiah Moore, Thomas Bunch, and Mordecai Ridgeway, Oct. 5, 1814, Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, Liber JRM 16, p. 208, 209, 210211 [MSA CE 65-45]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[6] Deed between Theodore Middleton and Stanislaus Hoxton, May 22, 1815, Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, Liber JRM 16, p. 362363 [MSA CE 65-45]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[7] Deed between Theodore Middleton and Henry O. Middleton, Mar. 14, 1820, Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, Liber AB 1, p. 412, 413 [MSA CE 65-48]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[8] Deed between Theodore Middleton and George Semmes, Aug. 29, 1820, Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, Liber AB 1, p. 413, 414 [MSA CE 65-48]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[9] Deed between Theodore Middleton and Sarah Folson, Sept. 13, 1826,  Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, Liber AB 4, p. 342, 343 [MSA CE 65-51]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[10] Originally he was paid $2,050 for such land in 1820, and $2,000 in 1826.

[11] [Deed involving Thomas Middleton and Catherine Plajay, Mar. 13, 1743, Prince George’s County, Land Records, Liber BB 1, p. 103, 104, 105 [MSA CE 65-12]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[12] Bill of sale by Theodore Middleton to Francis John Lobson, April 3, 1820, Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, Liber AB 1, p. 264 [MSA CE 65-48]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[13] “Average Price of Slaves, New Orleans, 1804-1862” within Edward Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (New York: Basic Books, 2014), 174, citing the New Orleans Sale Sample, 1805-1862, which was compiled by Robert W. Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman.

[14] Bill of Sale from Gen. Semmes and Francis Tolson to Theodore Middleton, November 12, 1821, Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, Liber AB 2, p. 33 [MSA CE 65-49]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[15] Bill of sale involving Thomas Middleton and John Lawrence, Feb. 24, 1743, Prince George’s County, Land Records, Liber BB 1, p. 85, 86 [MSA CE 65-12]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net; Bill of sale involving Thomas Middleton and James Gibbs, May 17, 1744, Prince George’s County, Land Records, Liber BB 1, p. 130131 [MSA CE 65-12]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net; Bill of sale involving Thomas Middleton and James Gibbs, May 17, 1744, Prince George’s County, Land Records, Liber BB 1, p. 131, [MSA CE 65-12]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[16] Pension of Erasmus Gantt, 1832, Survivor’s Pension Application File, S.10.727, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[17] Pension of John Boone, 1832, Pension Application File, S. 8076, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[18] Pension of Hester Hill for benefits of Henry Hill her husband, 1856, Pension Application File, W. 14,907, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[19] Middleton’s pension “includes a certificate by Mountjoy Bayly of the District of Columbia dated 27 Feb 1833, signed as shown, certifying Middleton’s service in words almost identical to those in the above application. On 11 March 1833 Theodore Middleton applied to have his pension payable in Washington, DC. A note by W. H. Middleton dated 25 Oct 1855 asks that the Commissioner of Pensions allow examination of the papers pertaining to his father, Theodore Middleton.”

[20] Reportedly there is information about him within this article and this newspaper although that cannot be confirmed.

[21] Newman, “Captain Theodore Middleton,” 283.

[22] “Reports of Traveling Agents,” Maryland Colonization Journal, Baltimore, Dec. 1856, Vol. 8, no. 19, 304. He is reportedly mentioned on pages 97 and 376 at least of Daniel Boone Lloyd’s The Middletons and kindred families of southern Maryland.

“A Gentleman of Maryland”: the short life of Edward Giles

Focus on what Christopher Weeks argues is the land within Harford Lower Hundred (“all the land drained by Romney Creek, Bush River, and Cranberry Run”), using an 1858 “map of Harford Co., Maryland.” Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Edward Giles was a gentleman that was different from the other officers of the Extra Regiment, who marched Southward just like him. After all, Edward had ancestors who were immigrants to Massachusetts in the 1630s and some of the “earliest settlers of Baltimore County,” specifically to “Old Baltimore.” His short life is worth noting, with its twists and turns, as it tells a story which has never been fully told in print.

In the final years of military service: 1780-1782

Edward was a major in the Extra Regiment as noted by fellow officer Theodore Middleton and a soldier named Giles Thomas. Remaining records of the Maryland Line would also show his military service within the regiment. [1] He held many other military positions. He was reportedly a captain in Hazen’s (2nd Canadian) regiment from 1778-1779, a major and aide-to-camp of General Morgan from 1779 to 1781, as he would note in a January 1781 letter. He was even made Brevet Major in Continental Army in March 1781 in honor of his role in the Battle of Cowpens, which he seems to have reported to Thomas Jefferson in a glowing account. [2] Until the close of the war, he served as an aide-to-camp of General Smallwood until the close of the war. Reportedly he also commanded Virginia militia in December 1780. [3] He was, undoubtedly, a “prolific correspondent” on the Extra Regiment.

In 1781, the Maryland General Assembly consider raising an all-Black regiment, similar to the state’s German Regiment, but did not do so. Even so, Edward wrote to Otho Holland Williams on June 1st arguing that

I wish the [Black] regiment would be raised. I am of the opinion that the Blacks will make excellent soldiers—indeed experience proves it…As to the danger of training them to Arms—tis the Child of a distempered Imagination. There are some people who are forever frightening themselves with Bugbears of their own Creation. [4]

The following year, Edward would be elected to the Continental Congress. However, he would not attend that year possibly related to his military service, but the true reason is not known. [5] The same year he would defend Samuel Chase, who then represented Maryland in the Continental Congress, from charges that he had used “secret congressional information to corner the market on flour,” knowing that the French fleet would be arriving in Maryland. Specifically he wrote to James McHenry saying that the evidence before the Maryland General Assembly had shown Chase innocent and urged the author of the “Publius” essays to retract their charges. As a letter from Alexander Hamilton to McHenry revealed (also implied in McHenry’s letter to Hamilton earlier that year), he was Publius, which comes as no surprise. Interestingly, Hamilton was angry that Edward had become a champion of Chase:

…You know that I can have no personal enmity to him, and that considerations of public good alone dictated my attack upon his conduct and character, influenced by a persuasion produced by the strongest authorities, that he was acting a part inconsistent with patriotism, or honor… I could not refuse it to my own feelings, to make him the most explicit and complete retribution…As to the discovery of my name demanded with such preposterous vehemence, by a volunteer in the dispute, I conceive myself under no obligation to make it…I have esteemed Major [Giles] character; and am sorry for his sake that he has so indelicately entered the lists; and made himself, not only the champion of Mr. Ch——e’s innocence in the present case, but of his virtues in general, certainly at best equivocal in spite of the Major’s panygerics. He should have recollected, that by an alliance with his family, he did not ally himself with his principles; and that he degrades Mr. Ch——e, as well as commits himself by unnecessarily taking up the glove for him…an apprehension of his, or any man’s resentment is a motive incapable of operating upon me or having the least share either in the concealment of my name or in the moderate return I make to his invectives.

In sum, Hamilton is saying that Edward is using formal speech (panegyrics) to defend Chase but that by doing so, he has made himself a champion of the latter’s values. He also suggests that he is degrading Chase by doing so and standing by his side, allying with the Chase family. Hamilton then worried about people guessing his motives so he decides to keep his name hidden.

The next year, 1783, the county assessment for Harford County would note Edward’s large landholdings, living in the same county as the former commanding officer of the Extra Regiment, Alexander Lawson Smith. He would own a total of 1,401 acres in Harford Lower Hundred. These acres were parceled out into seven land tracts:

  1. 90 acre tract called Mats Island
  2. a 50 acre tract called Hog Neck
  3. a 147 acre tract called Shepherds Choice
  4. a 770 acre tract called Rumney Marsh
  5. a 28 acre tract called Shepherds Adventure
  6. a two acre tract called Minorca
  7. 314 acre tract called Atkinsons Purchase.

Soon this would all change.

The last hurrah: A trip to Bermuda

A close-up of Bermuda within Joseph Smith Speer’s 1774 map of the 13 colonies, West Indies, and Caribbean. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

On January 30, 1783, Governor William Paca and the Council of Maryland would write to Admiral Robert Digby of the Royal Navy. Guided by the “Motives of Humanity” he would describe Edward’s condition:

…Mr Edward Giles, a Gentleman of Maryland, is reduced to such a State, by a Disorder in the Breast, that his Physicians advise a Change of Climate as the only probable Means of his Recovery. As he is too Weak to undertake a long Voyage, his Friends are extremely desirous that he should try the Salutary Air of Bermuda, and it is at their earnest Solicitations that we have the Honor to request the Favor of your Excellency’s Passport for a Vessel to carry him thither, with a Companion and two Slaves to attend him; and Provisions for the Use of the Crew and his Family. Candor requires that you should be informed, that Mr Giles has been an Officer in the American Army, and that he is, at this Time, a Delegate to Congress. We know not whether it is in your Excellency’s Department to grant Mr Giles Permission to reside in Bermuda until his Health be restored, but if it is not, we persuade ourselves, from your acknowledg’d Attention to the Rights of Humanity, that you will be so obliging as to recommend him, for this Purpose, to the Governor of the Island [William Browne].

With the above letter showing his wealth, with two enslaved Blacks and a companion (his wife?), it is partially revealing. The following day, Edward would write a letter to Washington mentioning the above letter, noting that he felt “highly obliged” and hoped he could use the latter’s influence to “obtain the Passport and Permission as soon as possible.” As he described it,

“…With your Letter please to have that of the Governor and Council transmitted. I hope the Admirals not being furnished with the name and tonnage of the Vessel and number of hands will not impede the Business. It is impossible to give him this Information accurately as the Vessell is yet to be obtained. Thus far however he may be assured, she will be chosen for her good Cabbin Accomadations and her hands will not exceed eight. I am sensible that was Admiral Digby (tho’ an Enemy) acquainted with my Situation, he would blush to throw any obstructions in my Way. Your Excellency’s Veneration for humanity fills me with undoubting hopes that you will leave no means unessayed to accomplish this interesting Business. It is the opinion of my Physicians, that the month of March and April in this Climate might so confirm my Disorder as to make it an [   ] for Life. My Fate hangs on every passing hour, a small Delay may prove fatal to my Existence. Excuse the Anxiety of an Invalid, and believe Me to be with Sentiments of real Regard”-

This desperate plea would not go unanswered by Washington. Twelve days later on February 12, Washington would remark that he had received the letter, noting that the application should have “gone thro Mr Morris as Agent of Marine” and not himself, but since a “delay in the transaction of this business might have been fatal to you.” As a result, he sent the Admiral a letter immediately, noting that any answer he receives shall be forwarded to him.

Sadly, he would not make it another month. On March 13, the Maryland Gazette would announce his death in a detailed obituary. They would describe him as a man with a “liberal education” and imbued “patriotism,” calling him a “virtuous citizen” and an “excellent young man”:

Quotes around this obituary seem to say it was reprinted from another paper which is not currently known.

Using the first line of the obituary, one can easily calculate that he died on March 10, 1783, with others coming to the same conclusion. [6]

Over 148 years later, on December 1, 1931, Samuel K. Dennis, J. Hall Pleasants, and J. M. Vincents, would write to the “gentlemen” of the Maryland Historical Society about whole episode. They would write about how the council requested that Admiral Digby, commanding the British fleet, issue a “passport to Edward Giles” who seems to have had “tuberculosis of the lungs” and noted “Giles died a week or two later before the request could be acted upon” with subsequent developments thereafter in “humane amenities…between the belligerents” when the main hostilities seemed to cease.

Beyond this, little information is known other than the fact that his death would be reported in British newspapers by June, and a possible federal veterans pension in later years. Due to his death in 1783, this means he would not be in any of the federal censuses and would have no direct federal pension records associated with him. Regardless, he would live on, in some way, shape, and form through his ancestors and scattered records in varied pensions of others.

 

Notes

[1] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 43, 234, 248, 306, 314, 341, 530; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 45, 45, 46, 100, 211, 334, 514, 541, 617; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 48, 98.

[2] Francis Bernard Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1783 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982), 248; John Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland from the Earliest Period Until the Present Day, Vol. II (Baltimore: John. B. Piet, 1879), 407-409.

[3] John Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland, 401.

[4] The Finding the Maryland 400 Project cites a letter from Major Edward Giles to Otho Holland Williams, 1 Jun 1781 within the Williams Papers, Maryland Historical Society which is quoted in Benjamin Quarles, The Negro in the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1961), 56-57.

[5] Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005: The Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and the Congress of the United States, from the First Through the One Hundred Eighth Congresses, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 2005, Inclusive (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2005), 35 or page 5 of this PDF.

[6] Scharf, History of Maryland, 436.