“Ready to march Southward”: The story of the Maryland Extra Regiment

These brown-lined red coats were worn by the MD Extra Regiment. in 1780. Courtesy of Historic Art Prints.

Editor’s Note: This post uses information from biographies of Maryland soldiers John Plant, Josias Miller, Charles Smith, James Farnandis, and Samuel Luckett, assembled as part of the Finding the Maryland 400 research project of the Maryland State Archives. Three of these bios were written by yours truly, but one, Luckett’s, was written by the project manager, Owen Lourie, and the other by a previous researcher, Sean Baker. Content that is used here is used in correspondence with fair use requirements under copyright law and in the interest of promoting further historical scholarship. This post is part of a series about

The year was 1780. Maryland, one of the key states within the fledgling United States was called upon to alleviate the severe shortage of armed men for the Continental Army and reinforce it. This was because of casualties emanating from the battles as part of the Southern campaign. In the summer, Maryland’s generals, as ordered by the Council of Maryland filled the regiment, called the Extra Regiment, Regiment Extraordinary, or the New Regiment, with former deserters, “a detachment composed Chiefly of Men left at the Hospitals” and a few “Recruited for the old Regiments.” [1] Even though it comprised a motley crew, the regiment’s men still wore uniforms of red-lined brown coats.

This new regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Lawson Smith, a young man either in his 20s or 30s. Only one year earlier, he had been recommended for promotion by George Washington after receiving  recommendation from William Fitzhugh, a delegate representing Virginia in the Continental Congress. [2]

Samuel Luckett and Josias Miller, men in their twenties, a young man John Plant, mid-aged man Charles Smith, and a man named James Farnandis were among those in this new unit. These men were some of the remaining members of the “Maryland 400” who had fought in the Battle of Brooklyn so many years ago. In July, Luckett and Plant, both experienced soldiers, were made ensigns and later promoted to lieutenant in the fall. [3] While they experienced promotion, Miller joined the regiment as a lieutenant, and Smith as a captain, likely around the same time, or after, Luckett and Plant were promoted. [4] Still, becoming lieutenant, was, for Smith and Miller, a step up in rank from their previous positions in the Maryland Line. It is interesting that these combat veterans joined the regiment since it not only included former deserters, but also consisted of many who had little combat experience.

Regiment was slow to form. This was partially due to desertions from its ranks  and a lack of supplies. Before marching southward, the unit moved from Prince George’s County to Philadelphia, going to Head of Elk (present-day Elkton, Maryland), then going back down the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis to gain more recruits for the beleaguered unit. [5]

In August, Uriah Forest, a high-ranking military man of Maryland wrote to George Washington, describing the state of the regiment:

“[your letter] to the Commanding Officer of the Maryland additional Regt was put into my hands yesterday…they have assembled at this place…three hundred & thirty [recruits]—a hundred & fifty more are daily expected from the more distant Counties, Returns of which have already come to hand. The Gentleman appointed to Command this Regiment not having Joined, & the Men being entirely destitute of Cloathing of every kind, has render’d the Execution of your Excellency’s orders with regard to their Marching altogether impracticable. The State Clothier is now busily employed, in getting them fitted with Shirts, Overalls and Shoes…It is with Real Concern I observe to your Excellency that there is no Prospect of procuring Men to fill up the Regiments. Almost the whole of the Horses and some of the Waggons required of this State are Obtained. I have the honor to be with Perfect Respect”

From then onto to the early winter, the regiment stayed in Annapolis, the state capital, for a “considerable time.” In the fall, some portions of the regiment, with Charles Smith, a Captain, among them, fought a small battle with the British near modern-day Fort Washington, Maryland on the Potomac River. [6] This skirmish occurred at Digg’s Landing or Digges Point, land owned by John Digges, with Smith’s company of Continentals fighting a small group of British soldiers who severely wounded him in the face by a cannon ball, as the story goes, bouncing off a rock. [7] The British, not long after, set fire to Want Water, the nearby house of Colonel William Lyles. After marching about 3.5 miles to the house, the Continentals took several prisoners. [8]

The whole regiment, not just one company, like Smith’s, soon began to march southward. In December, after gaining the “necessary Clothing &c. to equip them for the March,” it began marching to join Horatio Gates and General Nathaniel Greene at the Continental Army’s headquarters, then in Hilsboro, North Carolina, to assist in the Southern Campaign. [9]

Once the unit arrived in North Carolina, in January, a number of problems developed. It refused to join the main Continental Army because of disputes over rank. [10] General Greene took the side of veteran officers, who took charge when commanders of the unit who had trained the unit’s soldiers, for the past six months, were dismissed. As a result, the unit changed into the Second Maryland Regiment before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781. As a result, many of the regiment’s senior members, including but not limited to, Luckett, Miller, Plant, Smith, and Farnandis, likely resigned in January since they could not retain their rank in the new unit. [11] Following this, these officers would , return home, away from the battlefront in the Southern United States. As John McCay put it, in his pension, “soon after the [extra] regiment broke up, the men transferred to fill other regiments and the Officers [from the extra regiment] were sent home,” an account confirmed by William Groves. With the officers leaving, the ordinary soldiers stayed in the 2nd Maryland regiment, fighting in the battle previously mentioned in this paragraph, and others that were part of the Southern campaign, with some discharged in Annapolis at the end of the war, ending their “public service.”

In the years that followed, after the dissolution of the regiment, each of the soldiers would go their separate ways. Plant, by 1783, would become a small farmer and slaveowner, owning two horses, one cattle, and one enslaved black child, while Miller would later live in Franklin County, Ohio, possibly on his bounty lands. [12] Smith, on the other hand, would be married to a sixteen-year-old woman, from Prince George’s County, Mary Bowling, and have three children named Benjamin, John, and Polly with her. [13] Farnandis also married and stayed in Charles County. However, he married for the second time after his first wife, Elizabeth, died, married a woman named Chloe McPherson. [14] Luckett also returned to his family. His wife, a woman named Monica Kennedy, whom he married before he left for war in 1776, he had two children with her, William and Francis H., before her death sometime in the 1780s. [15]

As for Alexander Lawson Smith, one of the co-founders of the Society of the Cincinnati, he had a similar, but different, story. He married a woman named Martha Griffith in 1792, the same year that his brother, Patrick Sim Smith, a well-off a merchant and legislator within the state, sold him eight enslaved blacks. [16] Eight years later, in 1800, he was still living in Harford County. He was with three young children under age 10 (two female, one male), and two young people aged 16-25 (one female, one male), along with 21 enslaved blacks, his with Martha likely among them. [17] He died in 1802. Later, he would be listed in many pension and bounty land warrant applications by those who were in his regiment during the war while his wife would get half-pay of a captain from the Treasurer of the Western Shore. [18]

Notes

[1] “To George Washington from Uriah Forrest, 17 August 1780,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017; Beverley Waugh Bond, State Government in Maryland, 1777-1781 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1905), 38; Journals of Congress: Containing the Proceedings from January 1, 1780 to January 1, 1781 (Philadelphia: David C. Claypoole, 1781), 341-342; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 216273; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 342, 361362;  Pension of Alexander Lawson Smith, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2208, pension number W. 4247. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 5.

[2] In the footnote, it describes Smith as from Maryland’s Harford County, serving “as a captain in Col. Moses Rawlings’s independent rifle regiment with a commission dating from July 1776.” It also says that “Smith later served briefly as lieutenant colonel commandant of a “Regiment Extraordinary” that Maryland raised and then disbanded in September 1780.” This sentence is erroneous, which is not mentioned in the only other letter on Founders Online with his name, as this posts shows. In his article in Volume 4, Issue 1 (p. 67) in the Maryland Historical Magazine, Christopher Johnson, in one of the articles of his genealogical series on the “Smith Family of Calvert County,” it cites the 1785 session of the House of Delegates, but since there are two sessions which cover that year, both were checked and no mention of information from Mr. Smith was given to the House of Delegates during this time.

[3] Order to pay Lt. Samuel Luckett, 17 October 1780, Maryland State Papers, Series A, box 22, no. 22/24, MdHR 6636-22-22/24 [MSA S1004-29-2635, 1/7/3/38]; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 234, 272, 273, 326, 327, 336, 337, 339, 340; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 58; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 445.

[4] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 234, 235, 272, 273; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, folder 28, roll 0034. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Josias Miller Service Card (Regiment Extraordinary), Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 15, Roll 0408. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Order to pay and recript by Josias Miller, February 21, 1782, Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-44-41/14 [MSA S1004-60-13467, 1/7/3/53]; Pension of Charles Smith; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 233, 234; Order to pay Captain Charles Smith, October 24, 1780, Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-22-24/40 [MSA S1004-29-8019, 1/7/3/38]; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 83.

As late as September 1780, the remaining roster rolls say that Miller had not joined the Regiment Extraordinary as an ensign. However, a pay receipt from 1782 shows that he was in this regiment and probably enlisted in October of that year. The pay order of Smith shows he was a captain in October 1780.

[5] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 24, 25, 56.

[6] Pension of Charles Smith, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, W 25,002, from Fold3.com.

[7] Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1732-1753, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 28, 553; Pension of Charles Smith; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 47, 192, 197, 198. The first phase of the battle was near present-day Fort Washington while the second phase was at the Lyles House on a tributary of the Potomac River, Broad Creek. The house was constructed by an influential protestant family in Maryland, the Addison family. The remains of this structure exist near Harmony Hall, which is still standing today. Interestingly, the only mention of the house being burned was in April 1781 when Governor Lee was told the following: “Yesterday a Sixteen Gun Brig appeared off Swann Point & sent a Boat with six hands to destroy a vessel on the Stocks near that place eight Militia under Col Harris attacked them and took the Boat & Crew, the Prisoners are Ordered to Annapolis. This morning all the enemys vessels which were above sailed down Potomack and were below Cedar Point at eleven O’clock — they have done no damage since I last wrote you, except destroying Col Lyles house of which you have no doubt been informed I expect we shall have frequent visits from these plundering Banditts & hope we will so well prepare as to repel their attack that they will find the business as unprofitable as it is disgraceful. We thank your Excellency and Council for your kind attention in forwarding the Arms.” No other mention could be found in the Archives of Maryland, meaning that this letter still does not invalidate the stories in Smith’s pension. Digges’s Landing could also be owned by George Digges, later a delegate in a Maryland House of Delegates for Prince George’s County.

[8] Pension of Charles Smith.

[9] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 335336; Pension of Josias Miller, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1728, pension number S. 40,160. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Josias Miller Service Card (First Maryland Regiment); Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, folder 28, roll 0034. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Theodore Middleton, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1720, pension number S. 11,075. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Resolutions, laws, and ordinances, relating to the pay, half pay, commutation of half pay, bounty lands, and other promises made by Congress to the officers and soldiers of the Revolutionto the settlement of the accounts between the United States and the several states; and to funding the revolutionary debt (Washington: Thomas Allen, 1838), 415-416, 490. Other Maryland 400 veterans included Matthew Garner, Samuel Hanson (whose father was undoubtedly Walter, who said this son, an officer, was a prisoner in April 1781),  Charles Magruder, Vachel Burgess, Francis Shepard, and John Bryan. Another man who was in the regiment was Jacob Bythe.

[10] Lawrence E. Babits and Joshua B. Howard, Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 70-71, 148; Robert K. Wright, Jr., The Continental Army (Washington D.C.: Center of Military History, 1983), 278; Patrick O’Kelley, Nothing But Blood and SlaughterThe Revolutionary War in the Carolinas Vol. 3: 1781 (Lillington, NC: Blue House Tavern Press, 2005), 504.

[11] Order to pay Lt. Samuel Luckett, 25 May 1781, Maryland State Papers, Series A, box 32, no. 109B, MdHR 6636-32-109B [MSA S1004-42-603, 1/7/3/46]; Order to pay and receipt by Captain Charles Smith, March 29, 1781, Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-32-65/2 [MSA S1004-29-8019, 1/7/3/45]; Order to Pay Captain Charles Smith, November 30, 1781, Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-33-112/3 [MSA S1004-44-12571, 1/7/3/47];

[12] 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]; Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awared by State Governments (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2005), xxii-xxiv; Cyclopedia of American Government Vol I (ed. Andrew Cunningham McLaughlin and Albert Bushnell Hart, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1914), 168; C. Albert White, A History of the Rectangular Survey System (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Land Management, 1991, reprint), 10; William T. Martin, History of Franklin CountyA Collection of Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of the County; with Biographical Sketches, and a Complete History of the County to the Present Time (Columbus: Follett, Foster, & Company, 1858), 12; Pension of Josias Miller, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1728, pension number S. 40,160. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Report from the Secretary of War (Washington: Duff Green, 1835), 58; Letter from the Secretary of War (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1820), 642; Letter from the Secretary of War (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1820), 642; Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. 4: Mid-Western States (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1968, reprint from 1835), 184; Mark Andrew Tacyn “’To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 318. Bounty lands were concentrated in Ohio and Kentucky. The child was male and under age eight.

[13] Pension of Charles Smith; Will of Charles Smith, 1788, Charles County Register of Wills, Wills, MdHR 7290-1, Liber AH 9, p. 549, 550, 551 [MSA C681-10, 1/8/10/10].

[14] Charles County, Court, Land Records, V3 p. 303 [MSA C 670-35]; Charles County, Register of Wills, Wills, 1788-1791, AI 10, p. 386 [MSA C 681-11]; Charles County, Register of Wills, Wills, 1791-1801, AK 11, p. 333 [MSA C 681-12]; Charles County, Register of Wills, Wills, AI 10, p. 386 [MSA C 681-11].

[15] Newman, 61-62; Pension of Samuel Luckett, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, S 36,015. From Fold3.com; U.S. Federal Census, 1790, Charles County, Maryland; U.S. Federal Census, 1810, Fayette County, Kentucky; U.S. Federal Census, 1820, Barren County, Kentucky.

[16] A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al., Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 426, 747, 748. This account of selling of enslaved blacks is further confirmed by the 1790 census which lists a Patrick Smith as owning three enslaved blacks and living in Hartford County (First Census of the United States, 1790, Harford, Maryland, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 3, page 98. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest). Reportedly, Across the Years in Prince George’s County” by Effie Gwynn Bowie, and Vol. I of ” Early Families of Southern Maryland” mention Smith, but these books cannot be currently accessed and even if they could, it would only be a mediocre secondary source.

[17]  Second Census of the United States, 1800, District 2, Harford, Maryland, NARA M32, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 11, Page 46. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest. The 1790 census has 34 entries for people with the last name of Smith living in Harford, Maryland. Hence, he could have been related to any of these individuals. the 1800 census, where he is only listed as “Alexander Smith” is more straightforward. Other than this, Smith’s ancestry is not although clear, but confirmed by the Biographical Dictionary cited in Note 16.

[18] While some accounts say that he died in 1801, like Founders Online and Find A Grave, Christopher Johnson in “Smith Family of Calvert County,” (p. 385), an article in Volume 3, issue 4 of the Maryland Historical Magazine, describes Smith as one of 10 children (all with the last name of Smith: Patrick, 1742-1792; Richard, Dr. Clement, 1756-1831; Dr. Joseph Sim, ?-Sept 5, 1822; John Addison, unmarried sea-captain; Mary Sim, married Henry Huntt of Calvert County; Susanna, unmarried and died in 1824, and Rachel, unmarried and died in 1824) of Dr. Clement Smith (1718-1792) and Barbara Sim. It also says that Smith was born in 1754 and died in January 1802. Those dates cannot be independently confirmed beyond this article. The only other place they are mentioned is in Johnson’s  article in Volume 4, Issue 1 (p. 67-68) in the Maryland Historical Magazine, one of the articles within his genealogical series on the “Smith Family of Calvert County,” in which he says that Smith was (1) born in 1754 and died in January, 1802, (2) was “commissioned Captain in the Maryland Line 13 July, 1776,” (3) “was promoted to major in 1778,” (4)  that after the war Smith settled in Harford County, buried there on Jan. 26, 1802 as noted by St. George’s Register which is undoubtedly within this, (5) he married Martha Griffith (Sept. 16, 1771-Aug. 4, 1847) who later married Samuel Jay, and (6) Smith and Martha had three children: Samuel Griffith Smith (Dec. 25, 1794-?) who was unmarried, Francina Frenetta Smith (Nov. 10, 1797-Feb. 10, 1860) who was unmarried, and Mary Matilda Smith (Jul. 1, 1799-Sept. 14, 1860) who was unmarried. There are numerous other sources that mention Smith. A search of Google Books shows him mentioned on: page 603 of The Papers of Henry Clay: The Rising Statesman 1815–1820, Volume 2; page 364 of The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript, Volume 14; pages 229 to 230 of Congressional Series of United States Public Documents, Volume 462; page 88 of United States Congressional serial set, Issue 343; pages 328, 552 and 555 of the Journal of the Proceedings of the House of Delegates of the State of Maryland in 1838; pages 105, 128, 129, 216, and 331 of History of Harford County, Maryland: From 1608 and many others of which one can only see snippets.

Col. Barton Lucas: more than a military man

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

A zoomed version of a 1754 map by Emanuel Bowen apparently showing English Plantations

In the past, we have written about Col. Barton Lucas, captain of the Third Company. Previous posts have focused on records kept by Lucas’s clerk about the clothing worn by members of the Maryland 400 and mentioned in passing that he was sick and missed the Battle of Brooklyn. We also recalled how John Hughes, a private in Lucas’s company, mentioned how the Battle of Brooklyn made Capt. Barton Lucas “deranged in consequence of losing his company” and about his other military duties in the rest of the war including his service as a militia captain. Rather than just reciting the recently expanded biography of Lucas, this post focuses on a number of aspects of Lucas’s life including his family relations and life as a slaveowner with a plantation.

According to some sources, Barton Lucas was born in Prince George’s County in 1730. Thomas Lucas was his father and Anne Keene his mother, and Barton had four other siblings named Basil, Sarah, Margaret, and Thomas. [1] In 1756, Lucas’s father died, willing his half of his 112-acre-plantation on land called “Hopeyard” or “Hope yard,” sitting on the Potomac River, to Lucas and the other half to his brother, Basil. [2] Six years later, in 1762, Lucas married Priscilla Sprigg, the daughter of Osborn Sprigg, a prominent Maryland legislator, whose last name changed to Lucas after their marriage. Prisey, his “beloved wife” was born in 1735 and, like Lucas, had four siblings named Lucy, Esther, Rachel, and Eliza. [3] In the 1750s and 1760s, Barton cemented himself as a well-off plantation owner and slaveowner like his father, buying and selling enslaved blacks for his farming plantation. [4]

When he inherited the land from his father, plantations were transitioning. During the 1740s Maryland slavery began to change with enslaved blacks developing immunity to diseases in the Americas and planters, seeing the advantage of a domestic, self-reproducing labor force, imported men and women so that ratio of enslaved men and women balanced out and they, as a result, relied less on the transatlantic slave trade. On Maryland plantations, this change definitely had an impact. [5]

In the years after the Revolutionary War, a time when Lucas returned as the overseer of his plantation, many planters shifted from tobacco to a mix of corn, wheat, hay, and livestock raising, among other products, with important markets of urban populations in Maryland cities and towns. [6] The list of his possessions, which showed that he possessed plantation tools, tanned leather, and sizable amount of wool, along with numerous farm animals and six enslaved blacks, could indicate that the plant sheered sheep, slaughtered and skinned cows for their leather, which could be used for leather shoes or belts, and killed pigs for their own consumption and sold to broader markets. [7] During the Revolutionary War, the previous trade exchange between Britain and the 13 colonies was disrupted, but commodities such as bread, flour, wheat and tobacco were sent to parts of the world, such as the West Indies, while vital supplies sent back to sustain the war effort. [8] In addition, livestock, in Charles County for example, had to be pastured and fed, beef and pork salted, and wheat grown to feed the Continental Army and other military forces despite a “war ravaged economy.” [9]

Lucas’s plantation falls into an existing historical context. Based on the list of his possessions after his death, which includes tablecloths, napkins, walnut chairs and tables, wine glasses, tea kettles, and pots, it is clear that he, a well-off planter, was part of a broader trend of eighteenth century Maryland plantations, in the pseudo-classic Georgian style, which came with “tea, china, and good manners.” [10]

When Lucas died in either 1784 or 1785, in Prince George’s County, with six enslaved blacks held collectively by his wife and himself, and much of his property value consisted of enslaved blacks. [11] Lucas’s brother-in-law, Osborn Sprigg Jr., who was a prominent figure in the revolutionary period, became executor of the estate because Priscilla Lucas died. [12] Lucas’s plantation stayed in the family with Sprigg sold the land in 1786 by a member of the Lucas family. [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, pp. 114, MdHR 1308-1. [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038].

[2] Ibid. The will of a well-off planter, a “John Smith,” who was “sick and weak in body,” wills all sorts of land to his descendants and 150 acres of a land called “Hopeyard” to “Thomas Lucas son of Thomas Lucas and to his heirs forever” (Will of John Smith, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Liber 1, p. 31-2, MdHR 9724-1 [MSA C1326-1, 1/25/07/002]; Inventory of John Smith, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Liber BB 1, p. 31-2, MdHR 9792 [MSA C1228-1, 1/25/08/038]

[3] 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; 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; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1765, Liber TT, p. 0338-9 [MSA CE65-19]; Special Collections, Legislative History Project Collection, Osborn Sprigg (ca. 1741-1815) [MSA SC 1138-001-1160/1177, 2/11/12/72].

[4] Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1775, Liber CC 2, p. 0135 [MSA CE 65-23]. Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1759, Liber PP, p. 0093, 0144, 0321-2 [MSA CE65-17]. Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1772, Liber BB 3, p. 0068, 0085 [MSA CE65-22]. Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1765, Liber TT, p. 0338-9 [MSA CE65-19]; Will of Thomas Lucas, 1765, Prerogative Court, Wills, Liber BT2, pp. 114, MdHR 1308-1 [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038]; 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].The slaveowning was basically a family affair as shown in the will of his father, Thomas Lucas, which gives his sons (Basil and Thomas) and daughters (Margaret and Sarah) a number of slaves named Amy, Hamilton, and James.

[5] Also see this report titled “Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War.” It is worth also noting the existence of Sotterley Plantation in Southern Maryland as well.

[6] Such Maryland towns included Baltimore, Fredericksburg, Frederick, and a number of towns in Virginia (Richmond, Norfolk, Alexandria, and Lynchburg). Lorena Walsh. “Slave Life, Society, and Tobacco Production in the Tidewater Chesapeake.” Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas (ed. Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan). London: University Press of Virginia, 1993, 191.

[7] As Jean B. Lee notes on page 173 of The Price of Nationhood, during the Revolutionary War, cowhide was used in shoes.

[8] Ernest M. Eller. “Chesapeake in the American Revolution.” Chesapeake Bay in the American Revolution (ed. Ernest M. Eller. Centreville, MD: Tidewater Publishers, 1981), 5. Myron J. Smith and John G. Earle. “Maryland State Navy.” Chesapeake Bay in the American Revolution (ed. Ernest M. Eller. Centreville, MD: Tidewater Publishers, 1981), 212, 215, 219.

[9] Jean B. Lee, The Price of Nationhood: The American Revolution in Charles County (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1994), 176-8. 180.

[10] Other possessions include “iron dogs” for holding firewood and feather beds, as noted in his will (Inventory of Col. Barton Lucas, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Inventories, Liber ST, pp. 338-40, MdHR 9799 [MSA C1228-9, 1/25/09/001]). In Prince George’s County, numerous plantation houses were constructed mostly in Georgian style and had a style of “strict symmetry” as noted by the Prince George’s County Planning Department report. Also see this set of reports by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

[11] 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]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1759, Liber PP, p. 0093, 0144, 0321-2 [MSA CE65-17]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1775, Liber CC 2, p. 0135 [MSA CE65-23]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1772, Liber BB 3, p. 0068, 0085 [MSA CE65-22]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1765, Liber TT, p. 0338-9 [MSA CE65-19]; Will of Barton Lucas, Prince George’s County, Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, October 1785, MdHR 9791 [MSA C1146-4, 1/25/08/003]; 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]; 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]; Will of Thomas Lucas, 1765, Prerogative Court, Wills, Liber BT2, p. 114, MdHR 1308-1. [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038]. In his final will, Lucas gave real and personal estate to his wife Prisey for “many considerations” and said that his estate would be administered by her.

[12] Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Administration Accounts, Liber ST 2, p. 6, MdHR 18865 [MSA C1144-6, 1/25/10/017]; 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), 764. The administrative account only says that Osborn Sprigg is an executor and accountant for the estate, not if he inherited the land.

[13] Will of Osborn Sprigg, 1815, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Estate Papers [C2119-81, 00/50/07/040]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, Liber HH, p. 0058-9 [MSA CE65-26]. His 1815 will, which says Sprigg passed down tracts of land to family members, may mention Hopeyard.

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]