The post-war lives of Maryland’s revolutionary soldiers

First Maryland Regiment Retaking British Field Artillery at Guilford Court House, North Carolina. Courtesy of Art.com.

An Irish-born man named Robert Ratliff, a Baltimorean named William Marr, a Marylander likely born in Cecil County named George Lashley, a Charles County man named John Plant, another man from the same county named John Neal, another Marylander likely born in Cecil County named John Lowry, and one Marylander likely born in the same county named William Dawson all have one thing in common: they had fought in the Maryland Line. While Ratliff was a five foot, eight inch tall man who was part of the Seventh Independent Company, which recruited from the Eastern Shore, just like Dawson, Marr and Lashley were part of the Col. Nathaniel Ramsey’s Fifth Company, mustered at Whetstone Point (present-day Fort McHenry), part of the First Maryland Regiment. [1] As for the other Marylanders, Plant and Neal were part of Captain John Hoskins Stone‘s First Company of the First Maryland Regiment, enlisted in Port Tobacco, Maryland, while Lowry was part of  Captain Peter Adams‘s Sixth Company of the First Maryland Regiment. [2] Even with arguably shared military experience, their lives after the revolutionary war were different and tell us about the lives of Maryland soldiers in later years.

After the war, Dawson returned to Cecil County. On December 29, 1780, he married a woman named Elizabeth Graves, with the matrimony affirmed by minister William Thomson of an Episcopal Church in Elkton, Maryland. [3]The same year, on February 27, Neal stayed in  Somerset County, where he had been discharged, marrying a local woman named Margaret Miller in Boundbrook, New Jersey. [4] They had two children named Benjamin (b. 1781) and Theodocia (b. 1802).

As for Lowry, in 1783, he was living as a single man in Harford County’s Spesutia Upper Hundred. [5] The same year, Dawson was in a similar predicament. He was described as a pauper, living on the land, which was likely rented, with nine other inhabitants. [6] While Dawson was granted 50 acres of bounty land in Western Maryland after the war, it sat vacant. He may have felt with fellow veteran Mark McPherson who said the land, located in a remote mountainous area of Western Maryland, was “absolutely good for nothing . . . unfit for Cultivation.” [7] Plant was also settling down after the war. Living in Charles County, he became a well-off small farmer and slaveowner who owned two horses, one cattle, and one enslaved black child. [8] The same was also the case with Ratliff, who settled down in Cecil County. In 1783, he lived with his relative, James, who owned four horses and 150 acres of land. [9]

Three years after Marr ended his war service, he settled down and his life changed. On June 14, 1784, Airey Owings married Marr in Baltimore County at St. Paul’s Parish, with the ceremony conducted by Reverend William West. [10] Marr and Airey lived in Baltimore County, raised “a family of children,” including a son named William, and he worked as a reputable farmer. [11] It is possible that Marr’s farm was among the 45.6% of Maryland dwellings that we not taxed, explaining its absence from the 1783 tax assessments. [12] At this time, Baltimore County had a varied economy with ” furnaces, forges, cotton mills, and wollen factories,” even by the early 19th century, while Baltimore was gaining importance as a commercial center. [13] One “William Marr” is listed in the 1810 US Census as the head of household along with his wife and three children: one male child under 10, one male under 16, and one female under age 10. [14]

Coming back to Neal, while he was living in New Jersey, he served in the militia in Somerset County, which fought off British incursions in New Jersey until the end of the war, serving at least one four-month term. [15] In the county, called the “crossroads of the revolution” by some, the destruction of the war had dissipated by the 1780s, with industry and commerce thriving in the final years of the war even as militiamen decried depreciation of Continental currency. [16]

On October 13, 1787, Ratliff married Mary Kirk. [17] A few years later, on December 23, 1800, he married another woman named Anne Husler. [18] The reason he remarried is that his wife died. At some point, Anne died and he married a third time to woman named Elizabeth, who survived him. [19] He had two children named James and Elizabeth, but the mother’s name is not known.

As for Plant, on June 15, 1788, he married an eighteen-year-old woman named Mary Ann Davis. [20] He later reminisced about his revolutionary service with his cousin, William Stewart, who said that Plant had “strict integrity” and good character. [21] Sadly, more recounts on his memories on his war service other than a few pages of his pension cannot be found.

At some point before 1788, while living in Harford County, Lowry married a woman named Hannah Finney. [22] In the spring of 1788, Finney’s mother, Manassah, died, and willed ten acres of her farm to Finney and Lowry to use until 1789. [23] This bequest reaffirmed a lease Lowry and Manassah made in 1783 that the farm was near Welles Swamp, and was given under certain conditions. [24] Likely the farm was on one of the two tracts owned by Manassah in Harford County’s Deer Creek Middle Hundred, named Giles and Webster’s Discovery, a tract of land that spanned 70 acres in total. [25] While Lowry was called to testify against his brother-in-law, James Barnett, who was the executor of her estate, in 1791, he later received money, along with his wife, when assets of the estate were distributed in 1809. [26]

By 1790, John Lowry was living with his wife, and possibly two children, in Cecil County’s Elk Neck. [27] They were possibly living on a 100-acre land tract, which he had leased to a wealthy Cecil County man named Samuel Redgrave in February 1781. [28] The tract was called Tedart and sat on the west side of the Elk River. The tract had been owned by his father, James, before his death.

In the late 1790s, Ratliff and his wife were living in Kent County, Maryland. [29] In 1802, still living in Kent County, he bought land in New Castle County, Delaware, preparing for the next stage of his life. [30]

Years later, in 1805, he was living in Harford County and received compensation for his revolutionary war service. [31] However, in the early nineteenth century, Lowry bought land in Fells Point, Baltimore, called Leasehold, some of which he leased, and lived in Baltimore County until his death. [32] At that time, he was staying with his second wife, Elizabeth Maidwell, who he had married on October 22, 1801. [33] In the fall of 1804, she leased him land in the town of Baltimore, for the next 99 years, which had part of the estate of her former husband, Alexander Maidwell. [34] The fate of Lowry’s first wife, Hannah, is not known.

In later years, Plant and his wife moved to what became Washington, D.C. At the time, it was a largely rural and sparsely populated area which had thriving ports at Georgetown and Alexanders, in addition to the federal town of Washington City, which had about 8,200 inhabitants. [35] Slavemasters and over 7,900 enslaved blacks living in the area were an important part of D.C.’s society. [36] Plant died there on November 14, 1808. [37]

As for Dawson, in later years, he lived in the Bohemia Manor area of Cecil County, Maryland, staying there until 1810, with his wife Elizabeth and one child whose name is not currently known. [38] In 1808, he petitioned the Maryland House of Delegates saying he had served in the Revolutionary War and prayed “to be placed on the pension list.” [39] The House of Delegates endorsed his plea and in 1810, Dawson, a “meritorious soldier in the revolutionary war,” in an “indigent situation” because of his old age, was paid the half pay of a private. [40] He was paid a state pension for years to come. Sometime in the fall of 1815, before September 6, John Lowry died in Baltimore County without a will, and his estate was administered by Cornelius Willis. [41]

In 1810, Ratliff was living in St. George’s Hundred, in the same county of Delaware, with his wife, children, and two enslaved blacks. [42] A few years later, in 1813, he was a farmer in Delaware’s Appoquinimink Hundred, on a plot of land with his wife. [43] He was well-off, owning a walnut dining table, small looking glass, 3 cows, 7 sheep, and a few horses. [44] Being very “weak in body,” Ratliff wrote his will on April 5, 1813, making his “beloved wife” Elizabeth his executor, manumitted an black enslaved woman, named Jane, and distributed his land to his children. [45] He died sometime between the writing of his will and collection of testimony on November 3, 1814.

Dawson moved from state to state. In 1810, he was living in Glasgow, New Castle County, Delaware, with his wife and a young child. [46] Eight years later, he was living in New Castle’s Pencader Hundred, in Delaware, just over the Maryland line. [47] Two years later, he moved back to Cecil County and settled in Elkton, Maryland. [48]

Neal, like Dawson, also had moved out of the state. By 1810, he and his family had moved to Ovid, New York, in the northern part of the state near the Finger Lakes, where they lived. Once there, he filed for his Federal veterans pension in 1818. [49] Two years later, he lived in the adjoining town of Covert, New York on a half-acre of land, with a wooden clock, a chest, and some cookery, a shabby wagon, small pigs, one cow, and eight sheep. [50] In his pension application, he claimed to be in “reduced circumstances” and that he had lost his discharge papers or any other paper records proving his service in the First Maryland Line, an appeal that was successful.

After the war, Lashley continued to live in the state of Maryland. On April 25, 1816, Lashley married Jane Bashford, a 41-year-old woman, in Cecil County. [51]

In 1819, one year after Marr began collecting his pension and one day before July 4, he died in Baltimore at the age of 66. [52] He died without making a will and left Airey a widow, who never remarried, allowing her to receive pension money at his death. [53] She lived to April 1843, aged 79, working to collect some of the pension in the 1830s and 1840s given due to her late husband’s military service. [54] At his death, while he may not have been well honored by people within the military and different levels of government, his story is still one worth telling.

In September 1820, when Lashley began receiving his federal pension, despite losing his discharge papers, he was living in the same county with his wife and had no children or heirs. [55] Since his memory was failing him, he originally said he was part of the Second Maryland Regiment, but later corrected himself and two long-time residents recalled seeing him march “away with the said [Ramsey’s] Company.” [56]

In Dawson’s 1820 application for his Federal veterans pension, he said that his wife was sixty years old and “infirm,” just like himself. [57] Additionally, he noted that a young grandchild living with him whom also had to support. He also owned three dollars worth of farm animals (a cow and a calf) and was living in “reduced circumstances” with twenty dollars of debt. His “infirmities of old age,” which had “disabled him in “his left arm and leg,” led him to be classified as an “invalid.” [58] Despite the fact that his discharge papers had been lost, his pension was granted in the fall of 1820. [59]

Dawson’s life after this point is unclear. While final payment vouchers say that payments to him ended in 1820, he did not die that year. [60] Instead, he died on July 11, 1824, and his state pension payments were sent to his administrator, Jane Dawson, possibly his second wife. [61] The following year, another soldier passed away. On July 22, Neal died in New York State. [62]

In November 1823, members of Ratliff’s family agreed that Ratliff’s son, James, should own his father’s estate in Delaware. [63] A few years later, James negotiated to buy his father’s land in Delaware. [64] By the 1850s, the Ratliff family was still living in Appoquinimink Hundred. [65]

As for Lashley, in 1827, he received payment from the State of Maryland equal to half pay of a private as a result of his service in the Revolutionary War. [66] He continued to receive payments quartetly until his death on March 4, 1831 at the age of 76. [67] Five years later, his declared legal representatives, Mary Sproul and Nancy Lashley, received the money that was due to him before his death in 1831. [68]

Mary Ann, the wife of Plant, fought to receive her husband’s pension payments. In February 1835, she asked for “remuneration” for her husband’s military service from the U.S. House of Representatives, and following year asked the same from the U.S. Senate. [69] By 1838, at sixty-eight-years-old, she petitioned the federal government for pension benefits. However, because Plant either had no official discharge papers or had lost them, Mary Ann had trouble receiving money. [70] Her fate is not known.

Notes

[1] Lashley enlisted in the company at a public house called Battle Swamp tavern, near present-day Woodlawn, Maryland.

[2] Pay Role of Prisoners taken on Long Island from 27th August to the 10th Dec. 1776, Maryland State Papers, Revolutionary Papers, MdHR 19970-19-02 [MSA S997-19-2 01/07/03/15]; Journal of the House of Representatives of the United StatesAt the Second Session of the Eighth Congress, in the Twenty-ninth Year of the Independence of the United States (Washington City: Samuel Harrison Smith, 1805), 242; Henry C. Peden, Abstracts of the Orphans Court Proceedings 1778-1800: Harford County Maryland (Westminster: Family Line Publications, 1990), 38-39. Lowry was grievously injured in the groin and was taken prisoner by the British after the Battle of Brooklyn, then released from British custody in December 1776.

[3] Marriage of William Dawson and Elizabeth Graves, 1780, Cecil County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9435, p. 23 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38]; Collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia: John Pennington and Henry C. Baird, 1853), 338-389.

[4] Pension of John Neal; Ronald V. Jackson, Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp. New Jersey Census, 1643-1890. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. It is likely that he knew Miller before he married her in 1780, possibly from his militia service.

[5] Record of John Lowry, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, p. 54 [MSA S1161-67, 1/4/5/49].

[6] William Dawson record, 1783, Cecil County Fourth District, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, p. 6 [MSA S1161-39, 1/4/5/47].

[7] Westward of Fort CumberlandMilitary Lots Set Off for Maryland’s Revolutionary Soldiers (ed. Mary K. Meyer, Westminister: Heritage Books, 2008), 21, 103; William Dawson’s lot in Western Maryland, Land Office, Lots Westward of Fort Cumberland, MdHR 17302, p. 27 [SE1-1]; Pension of Mark McPherson and Widow’s Pension of Mary McPherson. The National Archives. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files. NARA M804, W 2144. 1-73. From Fold3.com. His lot was number 273.

[8] John Plant assessment record, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, CH, Seventh District, General, p. 9 [MSA S1161-52, 1/4/5/48]. The child was male and under age eight.

[9] Record of James Ratliff and Robert Ratliff, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, p. 7 [MSA S1161-37, 1/4/5/46].

[10] National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of fold3.com; Marriage of William Marr and Arrey Owings; “Part IV: Marriages proved through Maryland pension applications,” Maryland Revolutionary Records, pp. 118; Bill and Martha Reamy, Records of St. Paul’s Parish Vol. 1, xi, 39, 150.

[11] National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of fold3.com.

[12] Shammas, “The Housing Stock of the Early United States: Refinement Meets Migration,” 557, 559, 563.

[13] McGrain, From Pig Iron to Cotton Duck: A History of Manufacturing Villages in Baltimore County; Vol. I, 2; Hall, Baltimore: Its History and Its People; Vol. 1, 39, 56; Hollander, The Financial History of Baltimore; Vol. 20, 17.

[14] Third Census of the United States, 1810. (NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls). Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[15] Pension of John Van Tuyl, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2451, pension number W.22483. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Service Card of John Sebring, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 93, Roll 0641. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Folkerd Sebring, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2147, pension number W. 24926. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Abraham Sebring, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2147, pension number S. 22972. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of John Van Tuyl; Pension of John Haas, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1150, pension number S. 1,012. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Isaac Manning, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1624, pension number W. 7400. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of David King, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1428, pension number S. 13655. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Jacob Mesler, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1717, pension number R. 7143. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of John Swaim, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2326, pension number W. 2486. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Abraham Sebring; 2nd Battalion of Somerset rolls, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, Record Group 93, NARA M846, Roll 0063, folder 60. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of William Durham, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 0874, pension number R. 3160. Courtesy of Fold3.com; James P. Snell and Franklin Ellis, History of Hunterdon and Somerset counties, New Jersey, with illustrations and biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers (Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1881), 83, 98. Census records show a “John Neale” living in Burlington County in 1790 and 1800, but it cannot be confirmed this is the same person as John Neal.

[16] William A. Schleicher and Susan J. Winter, Somerset County: Crossroads of the American Revolution (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 1999), 7-8, 17-18, 22, 24-25, 34; Multiple authors, Somerset County Historical Quarterly Vol. VII (Somerville, NJ: Somerset County Historical Society, 1919), 18-20, 31, 79, 104, 170-172; Abraham Messler, Centennial History of Somerset County (Somerville: C.M. Jameson Publishers, 1878), 69-71, 74, 77-78, 81, 101, 109-110, 112-113; Richard A. Harrison, Princetonians, 1769-1775: A Biographical Dictionary (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980), 28-29, 80-81. It may have been called the crossroads because competing Continental and British armies maneuvered in the county and Morristown was also located there.

[17] Marriage of Mary Kirk and Robert Ratliff, 1787, Cecil County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9435, p. 45 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[18] Marriage of Anne Husler and Robert Ratliff, 1800, Cecil County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9435, p. 127 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[19] Will of Robert Ratliff, 1813, New Castle County Court House, Wilmington, Delaware, Register of Wills, Book R 1813-1823, p. 40-41. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Probate of Robert Ratliff, 1814-1815, New Castle, Register of Wills, Delaware State Archives, New Castle County Probates, Record Group 2545. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Indenture between Robert Ratliff, Elizabeth, and Sarah Baird, June 13, 1799, Kent County Court, Land Records, Liber TW 1, p. 214-216 [MSA CE 118-31].

[20] Pension of John Plant.

[21] Ibid. Sadly, the specifics of what Plant told his cousin are not known.

[22] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 18, 661; Will of Manassah Finney, 1788, Harford County Register of Wills, Wills, Liber AJ 2, p. 206-207 [MSA CM599-2, CR 44758-2]. Sometimes her last name is spelled Phinney or Finny.

[23] Will of Manassah Finney.

[24] Lease of John Lowry and Manassah Finney, 1788, Harford County Court, Land Records, Liber JLG H, p. 435 [MSA CE 113-8].

[25] Record of Manasseth Finney, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, p. 90 [MSA S1161-67, 1/4/5/49]; Patent for Manassah Finney, 1774, Land Office, Patent Record, MdHR 17455, Liber BC & GS 44, p. 395-396 [MSA S11-145, 1/23/4/9]; Patent for Manassah Finney, 1772, Land Office, Patent Record, MdHR 17461, Liber BC & GS 50, p. 70 [MSA S11-151, 1/23/4/18]. This assessment record lists Finney as owning two tracts of land: Giles and Webster’s Discovery (75 acres) and Renshaws Last Purchase (50 acres). Other records show that Renshaws Last Purchase was considered part of Baltimore County at one point, so it is unlikely the farm was on this land.

[26] Peden Jr., 42; Distribution of Manassah Finney’s Estate by James Barnett, June 27, 1809, Harford Register of Wills, Distributions, Liber TSB 1, p. 88-89 [MSA CM557-1, CR 10960-1].

[27] Census for Elk Neck, Cecil, Maryland, First Census of the United States, 1790, National Archives, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 3, page 323, image 553. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[28] Lease of John Lowrey and Samuel Readgrave, February 3, 1781, Cecil County, Land Records, Liber 15, p. 88-89 [MSA CE 133-17]; Record of Samuel Redgrave, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, Cecil County Fourth District, p. 1, 10 [MSA S 1161-4-2, 1/4/5/47].

[29] Indenture between Robert Ratliff, Elizabeth, and Sarah Baird.

[30] Record of Robert Ratliff, June 1802, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 440, 442. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Session Laws, 1824, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 629, 44. Ratliff owned land near John Zillefro/Zilerfrow. This man was the first husband of Rachel Ozier, who was living with her second husband, Maryland 400 veteran Andrew Meloan, and their children, in Montgomery County, Kentucky at the time.

[31] Journal of the House of Representatives of the United StatesAt the Second Session of the Eighth Congress, in the Twenty-ninth Year of the Independence of the United States (Washington City: Samuel Harrison Smith, 1805), 242.

[32] Purchase of land by John Lowry from Elizabeth Mains, October 10, 1803, Baltimore County Court, Land Records, Liber WG 78, p. 363-365 [MSA CE 66-128]; Deed and Gift of land to John Lowrey from Joseph Lambert, December 1803, Baltimore County Court, Land Records, Liber WG 78, p. 365-366 [MSA CE 66-128]; John Lowry lease to John Griffith, April 11, 1805, Baltimore County Court, Land Records, Liber WG 84, p. 412-413 [MSA CE 66-134]; List of Letters Remaining at the Post-Office, Baltimore, June 6, 1800, Federal Gazette, Baltimore, June 7, 1800, Vol. XII, issue 2040, p. 2. Two men named John Lowry are recorded as living in Baltimore in 1800.

[33] Marriage of John Lowry and Elizabeth Maidwell, October 22, 1801, Baltimore County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9122, p. 59 [MSA C376-2, 2/14/14/12].

[34] Elizabeth Maidwell lease to John Lowrey, November 1, 1804, Baltimore County Court, Land Records, Liber WG 84, p. 410-412 [MSA CE 66-134]; Marriage of Alexander Maidwell and Elizabeth Winnick, April 27, 1795, Baltimore County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9121, p. 143 [MSA C376-1, 2/14/14/11]. Elizabeth Maidwell, whose maiden name was Winnick, had only married Alexander Maidwell, her first husband, in April 1795.

[35] J. D. Dickey, Empire of Mud: The Secret History of Washington, DC (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), ix, xiv, xvii, 1, 3, 4, 7-9, 12, 14-15, 17, 19-22, 24-25, 28, 31; Tom Lewis, Washington: A History of Our National City (New York: Basic Books, 2015), xx, 1, 10, 14, 20, 24. The estimate of population comes from data assembled by Social Explorer for the 1810 census.

[36] According to data assembled by Social Explorer for the 1810 census, the rural Washington County, a jurisdiction within D.C., had only about 2,300 residents, a county Plant may have lived in. This data also shows 7,944 non-white persons, excluding Indians, living in D.C. in 1810.

[37] Pension of John Plant.

[38] Census for Bohemia Manor, Cecil County, 1790, First Census of the United States, 1790, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 3, page 320. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Census for Bohemia Manor, Cecil County, 1800, Second Census of the United States, 1800, NARA M32, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 10, page 53. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[39] Journal of the House of Delegates, 1808, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 556, 16, 31, 73.

[40] Session Laws, 1810, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 599, 100.

[41] Bond of Cornelius Willis, Edward Vernon and William H. Lenox, September 6, 1815, Baltimore County Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, MdHR 11644, Liber 11, p. 76 [MSA C264-11, 2/28/12/35]; Administration Docket of John Lowry, 1815, Baltimore County Register of Wills, Administration Docket, Liber 6, p. 171 [MSA CM130-6, CR 10674-2]. This means none of the three invalid pensioners named John Lowry listed on the 1835 pension rolls are him.

[42] Census of St. Georges Hundred, New Castle, Delaware, 1810, Third Census of the United States, 1810, National Archives, NARA M252, Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 4, Pagw 287. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[43] “Ratliff’s land,” 1813, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 435. Courtesy of Ancestry.com

[44] Probate of Robert Ratliff. He also owned a young enslaved black male who was only two years old.

[45] Will of Robert Ratliff.

[46] Census for Glasgow, New Castle, Delaware, 1810, Third Census of the United States, 1810, NARA M252, Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 4, page 261. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[47] Pension of William Dawson.

[48] Pension of William Dawson; Census for Elkton, Cecil County, 1820, Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, NARA M33, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll M33_40, page 135. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[49] Pension of John Neal; Tacyn, 318; Pension of Abraham Sebring; Third Census of the United States, 1810, Ovid, Seneca, New York; NARA M252; Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives; p. 252; Image: 00160; Family History Library Film: 0181390. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. Ovid included a town and village of the same name which was still small even in 1850 and to the present-day. A number of men named “John Niles” were living in the town of Oneida, as recorded by the 1800 census, which is about 81 to 96 miles away from Ovid, but it cannot be confirmed this is the same man as John Neal.

[50] Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, Covert, Seneca, New York; NARA M33; Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, p. 298, Image: 61. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. Covert was a town formed from part of Ovid.

[51] Marriage of George Leslie and Jane Bashford, 1816, Marriage Licenses, Cecil County Court, MdHR 9435, p. 247 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[52] Index to Selected Final Payment Vouchers, compiled 1818 – 1864, Record Group 217, roll box06_00007, pensioner William Marr, July 3, 1819. courtesy of fold3.com; National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of fold3.com; United States Senate.The Pension Roll of 1835. 4 vols. 1968 Reprint, with index. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992; “Persons on the Pension Roll Under the Law of the 18th of March, 1818, Maryland,” Pension List of 1820, pp. 547.

[53] National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of fold3.com; Adminstration Docket of William Marr.

[54] Ibid; Archives of Maryland, vol. 214, page 717.

[55] George Lashley Pension; Marriage of George Leslie and Jane Bashford, 1816, Marriage Licenses, Cecil County Court, MdHR 9435, p. 247 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[56] George Lashley Pension.

[57] Pension of William Dawson. Dawson had been applying for pension benefits since 1818.

[58] Pension of William Dawson.

[59] Dawson specifically accused Lieutenant John Sears of losing his discharge, saying that “this despondent cannot produce the said discharge, having sent by Lieutenant John Sears to Annapolis” after he was discharged.

[60] Final Payment Voucher for William Dawson, 1820, Final Revolutionary War Pension Payment Vouchers: Delaware, National Archives, NARA M2079, Record Group 217, Roll 0001. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Final Payment Voucher for William Dawson from General Accounting Office, 1820, Index to Selected Final Payment Vouchers, 1818-1864, National Archives, Record Group 217, box05_00005. Courtesy of Fold3.com. It is clear that William Dawson is not the same as a Justice of the Peace in Talbot County.

[61] Record of pension payment to William Dawson, Treasurer of the Western Shore, Military Pension Roll, MdHR 4534-4, p. 31 [MSA S613-1, 2/63/10/33]; “Sheriff’s Sale,” American Watchman, Wilmington, Delaware, June 5, 1827, page 3. He may have died in Delaware but this cannot be confirmed. By 1827, his heirs may have been living in Delaware, as a sale by a local sheriff in Wilmington, Delaware, mentions “heirs of William Dawson.” However, it is not known if this the same as Dawson, who may have moved back to Delaware before his death.

[62] Pension of John Neal; Letter about John Neal, September 18, 1895. New York County, District and Probate Courts. Administration, Vol C-D, 1815-1883, p. 136. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Seventh Census of the United States, 1850, Hector, Tompkins, New York, NARA M432; Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives; p. 420A, Image: 441. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. His wife, Margaret, was the administrator of Neal’s estate after his death. Years after his death, his wife re-married to a man named John Benjamin Smith. She continued to fight for Neal’s pension payments until at least 1850, living in the small town of Hector, New York, only about 16 miles away from Ovid, with another family. She died in the 1850s, the exact date not known.

[63] Indenture between James Ratliff and Hannah, Thomas Ratliff and Mary, and Henry Webb and Elizabeth, November 23, 1823, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 4-6. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Session Laws, 1824, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 629, 44; Indenture between James Ratliff and Jacob Hornes (Colored Man), May 26, 1826, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 300-301. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. These members of his family included his son James and his wife Hannah in Cecil County, Thomas Ratliff and his wife Mary in Butler County, Ohio, and Elizabeth Webb, his daughter, and Henry Webb. They all received some part of the estate.

[64] Indenture between James Ratliff and Jacob Hornes (Colored Man).

[65] Indenture between Thomas Ratliff and Ann Ratliff, October 9, 1854, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–1947, Delaware Public Archives, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011, p. 59-62. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[66] Session Laws, 1826 Session. Archives of Maryland Online vol. 437, 253.

[67] George Lashley Pension; State Pension of George Lashley, Treasurer of the Western Shore, Pension Roll, MdHR 4534-4, p. 36, 48 [MSA S613-1, 2/63/10/33].

[68] Session Laws, 1835 Session. Archives of Maryland Online vol. 214, 754. While his pension says he has no heirs, this legislation says “the heirs and legal representatives of George Lashly.” It is possible that this language is just a formality, but there is no explanation as to why Lashley had heirs by his death or if the legal representatives are his children.

[69] Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States: Being the Second Session of the Twenty-Third Congress, Begun and Held at the City of Washington, and in the Fifty-Ninth Year of the Independence of the United States (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1835), 390; “Twenty-Fourth Congress First Session,” Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, D.C., April 26, 1836, Vol. XXIV, issue 7240, p. 3.

[70] Pension of John Plant. As one ancestor put it years later, this situation led to Mary Ann almost being “deprived of a pension.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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