From the Revolutionary War to the 1790s: the Creek Nation in the Southern Gulf Region

A map of indigenous nations before the ‘Trail of Tears’ courtesy of Pinterest.

Where we last left off, I wrote [link to last post] about how Gaither, a veteran of the Maryland 400, had served “seven years on the Georgian frontier, and two years in the Mississippi Territory as a U.S. Army officer” in which he was involved in numerous incidents on the frontier of Georgia, with disputes between the Creek Nation (Muskogee), other indigenous nations, and Georgian inhabitants. Specifically I told the stories of an incident in 1793 at the fork of the Tallahatchie River, reports of  robbery and murder of two Whites on the St. Mary’s River later that year and anger among the Creek Nation after James Seagrove, US Ambassador to the Creek Nation, called for retribution. Beyond this, I told the story of Major General Elijah Clarke’s failed expedition to invade Spanish territory in Louisiana in mid-1794, alarming even George Washington’s government, and Gaither at the end of his life, serving on the Mississippi River, and dying in 1811, at age 61 on a Washington D.C. plantation. A relatively new book by Early American/”North American borderlands” historian Kathleen DuVal titled Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution sheds light on the Creek Nation, which is even reviewed positively in the New York Times by Woody Holton and the post-war environment on the new frontier.

Before the revolutionary war, the Creek, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Nations spread from the Gulf Coast into the interior of the North American continent. [1] While these nations dominated the Southern Gulf (of Mexico) Coast region, the Choctaws likely had the biggest population, numbering, likely, twenty thousand by the early 1700s, in contrast to the five thousand Chickasaw and ten thousand Creek at the same time. [2] By the 1770s, Payamataha, chief of the Chickasaw, had made peace with the Choctaws, Cherokees, Catawbas, Creeks, and Quapaws, other nearby indigenous nations, while Creek-Chickasaw peace, starting in 1760s, continued to flourish. [3] As for the Creeks, the main focus of this story, they had a unique form of government. Living in the river valleys in a region that would become the present-day states of Alabama and Georgia, the Creeks, divided into the Lower Creeks and Upper Creeks comprised a loose confederation of 60 towns which had their own farms and lesser towns in their jurisdiction, with limited consultation on foreign policy and defense. [4] While this meant that each town or clan had the decision to go to war, engage in diplomacy, or create new towns,with a broad spread of governance, most of those in the towns spoke “related languages” and had “similar cultural practices and beliefs” to fellow members of the society. [5]

One man, named Alexander McGillivray, tried to change this. McGillivray, born into a matrilineal Creek society, with his mother, Sehoy Marchand, and maternal uncle, Red Shoes, was multi-racial because his father was a Scottish highlander and trader named Lachlan McGillivray. [6] He soon tried to gain an important role in the world of Creek politics and society. However, he had trouble persuading the Creek people as a whole to succeed against the British not only because “no one could dictate foreign policy to even one Creek town of clan, much less the loose Creek Confederacy” but he was not a Creek headman and proven warrior. [7] Additionally, the British, seemed be fighting against the Continental Army and pro-revolutionary individuals, but not against settlers, leading certain US individuals to try and sway the Creeks, complicating McGillivray’s attempts at diplomacy and persuasion of the Creek people. Apart from this changing aim, the Creek-British alliance seemed to go forward despite failed efforts at British-indigenous coordination, especially in 1778, leading to tension among the indigenous nations such as the Creeks and Chickasaws who fought alongside the British. [8] Additionally, the minds of the Creek people were taken off the war for a number of reasons. For one, the spread of smallpox across the continent limited the ability of the Creeks to contribute especially since they quarantined fellow indigenous (and British) towns infected by smallpox, and the involvement of the French and Spanish in the revolutionary war led to less inclination to be involved in an inter-empire conflict. [9]

By 1781, as the siege of Pensacola, then a town within colonial British Florida, seemed imminent, with the approach of a Spanish fleet, people’s hopes were scattered, depending on the groups of people affected. For McGillivray, who “hoped for personal glory and Creek victory,” he had trouble getting the Creeks to fight the Spaniards but succeeded by stressing stressed Creek interests in the war and “opportunities for glory on the Gulf coast.” [10] Not everyone was convinced, however, as some Creeks went to the Spanish as a show of strength and attempt an alliance, but this failed not only because of the unification on foreign policy, like the Chickasaws, and because the two parties (Spanish and Creek) could not come to an agreement. [11] In a united front, January 8, 1781, Maryland and Pennsylvania loyalists fought alongside hundreds of Lower Creeks and Choctaws on an attack on a Spanish post at the “Village, which was on the other side of bay from Mobile. [12] In the attack, ending in a clear Spanish victory, Daniel Higgins of Maryland Loyalist Regiment, could have been among those who fought, along with many other loyalists from Maryland and Pennsylvania. [13] There were two other complicating factors. For one, despite the fact that about 1,700 soldiers under the command of General John Campbell, who had been in British West Florida since 1778, the city’s defense depended on warriors from the Chickasaw, Creek, and Choctaw nations since reinforcements had not arrived. [14] The other factor was that many Creeks were tired of the British treating them poorly, with some questioning McGillivray’s motives, since he was paid as a British agent, but he was successful yet again in countering them by saying that “cultivating interdependence with the British would facilitate Creek protection of their eastern border, where the British were fighting the Creeks’ most hated enemies, Georgians and Virginians” as DuVal notes. [15]

On May 8, the Spanish, helped by the French, were victorious in their siege, as the city of Pensacola surrendered. Generally this meant that “the British had lost a colony that had not rebelled” and it would lead to a British decision to  “recognize American independence before things got any worse.” [16] As Ray Raphael has pointed out, even after the Battle of Yorktown, resulting in the British surrender of Lord Cornwallis’s almost 7,000 troops, on October 17, the war was far from over despite what “conventional wisdom” says. Not only was King George III not ready to capitulate, but Washington was worried of future British advances, and peace was not even proposed by British military commanders until August 1782, with a preliminary peace treaty signed on November 30 of the same year. [17] Compounding this was a total of 47,000 British soldiers stationed in New York, Canada, South Carolina, Georgia, and the West Indies, “four times as many as those serving in the Continental Army.” [18] It is worth also noting that Washington was worried about a separate peace treaty between British and France, dooming the colonies, that over 300 revolutionary soldiers dying after Yorktown, the global nature of the American Revolutionary War, the “strategic retreat” rather than surrender by the British, which tells more of the story than acting like the battle at Yorktown was the end of the war. [19]

For the Creeks the was also not over. As the Creeks left Pensacola before Spanish victory, they instructed Alexander Cameron to describe Creek commitment and bravery during the siege, especially the “details of Creek and Choctaw participation,” in a letter to the British in Georgia. [20] Apart from this, the Creeks and their allies fought even harder. Hundreds of Continental soldiers were killed until the final peace agreement in 1783 and the fight against US settlers moving westward intensified as the British were pulling out of their colonies. [21] While the British, Spanish, French, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, had seemed like bigger players in the war in the Southern Gulf region than the revolutionaries/”rebels,” the postwar arrangement would change all that. [22]

The Treaty of Paris, actually negotiated, in part, in the Versailles Palace, was signed by the US and Britain, with France and Spain begrudgingly accepting it. Angriest of all were the Creeks, Chickasaws, and Cherokees. In a letter to the Spanish King,these indigenous chiefs, brought together by McGillivray, said that the Treaty was not valid. They argued that the British ceded land they never possessed and that the Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee were nations of indigenous people who had independence and natural rights. [23] To complete this insult, the US government under the Articles of Confederation, made a broad assertion. They declared that indigenous nations between the Appalachians and Mississippi were not sovereign nations but aggressors in the war. [24] Essentially, this denied “independent sovereignty” of indigenous nations, which had been accepted by the British and Spanish in their negotiations with such nations, especially during the Revolutionary War.

In the years after the war, there were a number of changes. For one, McGillivray  went back to the town his mother was living, staying there with his family as his   British connections had become irrelevant. [25] Around the same time, Hoboithle Miko, also called the Tame King, Tallassee King, and Halfway-House King, the latter which recognized his role in negotiating good terms for those on both sides, of Great Tallassee, an Upper Creek town, and Niko Miko of Cussita, a Lower Creek town, led the negotiations with North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia since the British gave St. Augustine to the Spanish, along with broadly removing themselves from the region. [26] In terms of diplomacy, McGillivray led the way, helping push forward an alliance and trade with the Spanish, at a time that large numbers of Americans settling in lands claimed by Spanish and indigenous people. [27] The Creeks also experienced the unfriendly nature of the new United States first hand. When Hoboithle Miko and Niko Miko attended a meeting of the Georgia legislature, in 1783, to try and maintain good relations with the United States, a treaty was quickly negotiated. [28] While Georgians thought it was valid, Creeks from only a few towns out of the 60 were there, meaning that it held no weight, but the Georgians did not realize this, possibly because of their ignorance of Creek customs, leading to tension. On the same token, while the idea of “advantageous independence,” which DuVal defines as people trying to “establish a balance in which they might have more control over dependent relationships,” expressed itself most strongly in the postwar period, just like during the war, a planter culture developed. [29] This culture, in which Creeks were slaveowners, created a disparity in the Creek Nation which hadn’t been seen before despite its existence in the nation for many years before.

In the following years, McGillivray tried to steer the Creek Nation in a more nationalist direction. First off, an alliance between the Creek and Spanish  recognized sovereignty on both sides and “mutually beneficial trade,” giving the Creeks a “European ally.” [30] Secondly, McGillivray tried to centralize the foreign policy of the Creek Nation, recognizing that  it would be more effective if this was implemented in “conjunction with other southeastern nations and even Indians to the north,” trying to create a Southern Confederacy, even as this proved exceedingly difficult. [31] Thirdly, McGillivray presented to the world, but especially to the Europeans and Americans, a strong nationalist statement. While he didn’t want the Creek Nation to become a U.S. state, he did develop “a language of independent nationhood that carried particular weight with late-eighteenth century Europeans and Americans” with his explicit claims that the Creeks governed their “own independent nation.” [32] This went beyond the arrangement in the past were issues of Creek governance were debated internally instead of projected to other governments.

As Western expansion continued, Creeks began to be nervous. With Georgians encroaching on Creek hunting lands, and they were harder to remove, the Creek National Council took up arms in their defense, along with beginning to engage in small-scale raids into Georgia starting in 1785. [33] Not only did this lead to tension, but the Georgians seemed aloof by the attacks, not understanding their role and they attempted to negotiate. Adding to this was the complications that Spain faced in white US settlers entering disputed lands in Creek Country since it was not technically Spanish land, and Georgians had major claims, even as they secretly funded the actions of the Creeks. [34]

Tension between the Spanish and Creek Nation began to grow. When the Spanish welcomed immigration from the newly-created United States of America, with the Creeks seeing no value in this. [35] McGillivray was hurt by these developments as he worked on gaining connections in the United States, gaining a truce with Georgia, along with other diplomacy to force the hand of Spain. Due to these strained relations, the Creeks were glad to hear that the British were involved in the region again. As a result, they tried to gain British connections, with supplies to the Creek nation, but this faltered due to the false promises by William Augustus Bowles, a former member of the Maryland Loyalist Regiment. [36] By 1788, the situation had changed as the Spanish had reversed their previous decision. They had begun to supply the Creeks with weapons. They sent  weapons, which helped them wage “wars against the United States through the War of 1812 and beyond.” [37] It is worth noting that the Creek Nation was by no stretch a colony of the Spanish or the British, but engaged in their own independent foreign policy, like the other indigenous nations at the time.

By the 1790s, the McGillivray’s influence in the Creek Nation seemed to waning. While the Creeks continued truce with US [38], until a new government was inaugurated in 1791 with the end of ratification, McGillivray signed a Congressional treaty. The document set the the border between the Creek Nation and Georgia at the Oconee River which many Creeks thought was too much of a compromise, as did Georgians about the terms put forward by the administration of George Washington. [39] There was additional tension. In 1791, a Creek and Cherokee delegation to London said that the Creeks and Cherokees were united into one with the Chickasaws and Choctaws also swayed by the Council’s measures. [40] However, the Choctaws and Chickasaws did not agree, leading to increased friction among the indigenous nations. On February 17, 1793, he died  in Pensacola, with his first and second wives mourning him and his plantations distributed among his children. [41]

DuVal’s book, in terms of historical narrative, basically ends there, with some exceptions. She notes that by 1814, few Creeks came to defend Pensacola because “a few months earlier Jackson’s forces had fought alongside one Creek faction to defeat another in a disastrous civil war.” [42] She also adds that in 1834, which may have seemed unthinkable in 1793, the US “forcibly removed most Creeks across the Mississippi” with the Chickasaws only held out a few years longer. [43] Near the end, she says that the remove of Creeks and Chickasaws from their homelands “in the 1830s took their county but not their nationhood” but that Native American sovereignty has had a resurgence in recent years. [44]

Some readers may be wondering how this all ties to Henry Chew Gaither, a revolutionary war veteran and Marylander who was a major of the First Regiment of the U.S. Army from 1791 to 1792 and Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the Third Sub-Legion from 1793 to 1802. The truth is that he likely never met McGillivray, since he died in the sixth month of Gaither’s deployment. Even so, the history of this article is directly relevant to the experience of Gaither while spent time on the Georgian frontier, until he went to Fort Adams, which sat alongside the Mississippi River in 1800, staying until 1802, when he finally retired from the military for good. In the end, even though Gaither is not part of this story, the connections to the Maryland Loyalist Regiment and expansion of the history of the Southern Gulf Region makes DuVal’s book valuable for understanding the Early American period while informing the happenings of the present.

Notes

[1] Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (New York: Random House, 2015), xvii.

[2] Ibid, 9, 13.

[3] Ibid, 17, 19.

[4] Ibid, xviii,  xxii, 9, 25-26. The Upper Creeks lived “along the Alabama, Coosa, and Tallapoosa rivers in present-day Alabama” and the Lower Creeks  near “the Chattahoochee River, the present-day border between Alabama and Georgia” as DuVal notes.

[5] Ibid, 25-27.

[6] Ibid, xviii, 24-25.

[7] Ibid, 77-81.

[8] Ibid, 85-87, 99, 115.

[9] Ibid, 165-166, 176.

[10] Ibid, xxv-xxvi, 177-178.

[11] Ibid, 181, 185-186. DuVal writes that among the Choctaws there was broad disagreement with some joining the Spanish and others the British.

[12] Ibid, 167, 182.

[13] Higgins was related to Peter Higgins of the Fourth Independent Company, which had Archibald Anderson as its First Lieutenant and James Hindman as its Captain. While it is possible that Barnet Turner, a veteran of the Maryland 400, was part of the Maryland Loyalist Regiment, he had deserted in 1778, three years before the fighting near Pensacola. Looking this up more in-depth, the Maryland Historical Society seems to have the muster rolls of the Maryland Loyalist Regiment in 1782, the Canadian Archives seems to have some records, there’s a 1778 Orderly Book of the Maryland Loyalists (along with other Ancestry databases here and here), relevant documents on the regiment transcribed here, this muster list, parts of this book, this orderly book, bits and pieces noted here, some results in the Journal of the American Revolution, and so on.

[14] Ibid, 194, 196, 205; George C. Osborn, “Major-General John Campbell in British West Florida,” The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 4, p. 318, 332, 339.

[15] Ibid, 206-208.

[16] Ibid, 218.

[17] Ray Raphael, Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past (New York: The New Press, 2004), 211-214.

[18] Ibid, 214.

[19] Ibid, 215-225.

[20] DuVal, 217.

[21] Ibid, 228-229.

[22] Ibid, 128.

[23] Ibid, 236.

[24] Ibid, 236-237.

[25] Ibid, 246-247.

[26] Ibid, 247, 251.

[27] Ibid, xv, 248.

[28] Ibid, 250-253.

[29] Ibid, xxi, 249.

[30] Ibid, 257-258, 260.

[31] Ibid, 295-296.

[32] Ibid, 254-255.

[33] Ibid, 298-301.

[34] Ibid, 310-311.

[35] Ibid, 323, 326-327.

[36] Ibid, 327-329.

[37] Ibid, 341.

[38] Ibid, 332.

[39] Ibid, 342.

[40] Ibid, 304.

[41] Ibid, 343.

[42] Ibid, 340.

[43] Ibid, 343-344.

[44] Ibid, 350.

Col. Gaither: Seven years on Georgia’s frontier

Reposted from Academia.edu and originally written when I worked at the Maryland States Archives on the Finding the Maryland 400 project, with some changes and revisions in this version.

Map, courtesy of the Library of Congress, that shows Georgia’s frontier in 1795.

A biography I wrote about Henry Chew Gaither, a Revolutionary War captain of the First and Fourth Maryland Regiments, expands on previous descriptions on the blog of the Maryland 400 project. [1] On the eve of the Battle of Brooklyn, he served as a witness for Daniel Bowie’s will. Unlike most Revolutionary War veterans, Gaither remained in the military after the war, serving two years in Ohio [2], seven years on the Georgian frontier, and two years in the Mississippi Territory as a U.S. Army officer. [3] In August 1792, Gaither, 41 years old at the time, received nine pages of instructions for his service in Georgia from Secretary of War Henry Knox, telling him to obtain a “healthy” place for his troops, be cordial to the Spanish and Georgian governments, and avoid a “heated” incident with their governments. [4]

Gaither was involved in many incidents in Georgian frontier [5] which involved the inhabitants of Georgia, the Creek Nation (Muskogee), and other indigenous nations. The Creek were divided into the Lower Creek, who intermarried with Whites, and the Upper Creek who were traditional and “less effected by European influences.” In one such incident, in the first months of 1793, inhabitants of Georgia’s upper frontier drove cattle to the fork of the Tallahatchie River. [6] Interpreter Timothy Bernard, a US Army major and the son of Timopochee Barnard, the chief of the Creek Nation, wrote Gaither, worrying that since the cattle would likely be driven away and killed by local indigenous people, including the Creek, bloodshed would result if the cattle were not withdrawn. [6] Despite this warning, Georgians continued to move cattle near the Tallahatchie River’s forks and the King of the Cussetah, part of the Creek Confederacy, blamed the Coweta, also part of the Confederacy, for stealing horses of Georgian inhabitants. [7]

In April and May 1793, Gaither relayed reports to Knox of the robbery and murder of two Whites on the St. Mary’s River and that James Seagrove, the Agent/Ambassador to the Creek Nation demanded retribution from the Creek Nation. [8] Hoboithle Micco, the Halfway House King, of the Upper Creek, and his loyal warriors responded to Seagrove’s demand for the supposed Creek perpetrators to turn themselves over to the appropriate authorities with a call to kill Whites, resulting in Gaither telling Georgia militia officers to stand guard. [9] Despite this call from the Upper Creek, Bird King, a chief of the Creek Nation, told Gaither that the “bad” town of Halfway House King caused trouble and that the Creeks did not want war. [10] Bernard confirmed this to Gaither, saying that three-quarters of the Creek Nation favored peace but he feared that some White men would not discriminate between innocent and guilty Creek people in an attempt to enact retribution. [11] While it seemed, at the time, that blood spilled across the frontier meant a “general war with the Creek and Cherokee Indians,” Gaither was still told by Knox to take efforts to “calm every attempt to raise a storm.” [12] Ultimately a war didn’t break out, and a treaty was signed three years later, in 1796, between the Creek Nation and the United States, with Gaither as a witness.

In mid-1794, Major General Elijah Clarke tried to launch an expedition to invade Spanish territory in Louisiana. [13] Letters show that Gaither, then established as lieutenant colonel commandant, was notified of this by Knox who told him to work with Georgia Governor George Matthews to suppress this “illegal combination of men.” Later, Clarke was apprehended after he refused to move his soldiers from the banks of the Oconee River, apparently in preparation for his expedition. [14] This incident was serious enough to merit concern from Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton and have it addressed publicly by President George Washington. In May, Washington told members of the House and Senate about “certain hostile threats against territories of Spain in our neighborhood” and that the expedition, “projected against the Spanish dominions,” was relinquished. If Clarke’s expedition had succeeded, it is possible that Spain may have not signed Pinckney’s Treaty the following year which dropped duties on “American trade passing through New Orleans” and voided “Spanish guarantees of military support…to Native Americans in the disputed region.” This treaty ended the supposed instigation of indigenous nations such as the Cherokee by “Spanish agents” in earlier years and served as a motivation for White settlers to continue their expansion westward. [15]

Our story ends by tying together loose ends. In 1800, Gaither was ordered to replace Senior Army Officer James Wilkinson at Fort Adams, on the Mississippi River, where Gaither served as a witness to a Treaty with the Choctaw in 1801 and gave a valedictory address to soldiers at the Fort the same year, until 1802, when he was honorably discharged. [16] In 1811, Gaither died, at the age of 61, on a plantation in present-day Washington, D.C., owning a few enslaved Blacks, and having a funeral procession in the city. [17] As for the indigenous nations, they didn’t fare as well. The Creek were defeated at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814 by Andrew Jackson, forcing them to acquiesce much of their land, and were forcibly removed in the brutal ‘Trail of Tears,’ along with other indigenous peoples. In the end, it is clear that Gaither was part of a history of indigenous people in North America and a post-revolutionary early republic.

Notes

[1] Gaither was stationed or are mentioned in the 76 letters I looked at, at a number of locations in Georgia, some of which are highlighted in this post.

[2] The National Archives. M233. Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914. NARA Record Group 94 National Archives Catalog ID: NARA M233. Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914. Roll: MIUSA1798_102864. Roll Number: 5. Fold 3. In his two years in Ohio, he served in one of the final phases of Little Turtle’s War (1785-1795), included participating in the disastrous “St. Clair’s Defeat” in November 1791 in which an army led by Arthur St. Clair, assisted by the Choctaw and Chickasaw, was defeated by the British-allied Western Confederacy, later memorized in a ballad of the same name.

[3] June 7, 1792, The Federal Gazette and Philadelphia Daily Advertiser. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, page 2; “To George Washington from Henry Knox, 24 September 1791,” Founders Online, National Archives.

[4] “Orders for Deployment to Georgia,” Henry Knox to Henry Gaither, 11 August 1792, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[5]  It is worth remembering that the State of Georgia originally “claimed its western boundary extended to the Mississippi River” which includes the upper parts of the present-day states of Mississippi and Alabama.

[6] “A warning about the effect of white settler encroachments on Indian land,” Timothy Bernard and Henry Gaither, 18 February 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[7] “Letter from Timothy Barnard [Bernard] to Major Henry Gaither regarding translator Mr George Cornells, son of Joseph Cornells,” Timothy Bernard and Henry Gaither, 4 March 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Letters that appear in searches for the terms Buzzard’s Roast, Tullapatchee River and Tallahatchee River reveal what happened next.

[8] This action by Seagrove divided the Creek Nation. “Letter from Major Henry Gaither to Secretary of War Henry Knox regarding murder and robbery at Traders Hill on St Marys,” Henry Gaither to Henry Knox, 7 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Letter from Major Henry Gaither to Secretary of War Henry Knox on the robbery and murder at Traders Hill St Marys,” 17 April 1793,  Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[9] “To George Washington from Henry Knox, 18 April 1793,” Founders Online, National Archives; “His Warriors are Determined to Spill Human Blood,” Henry Gaither to Henry Knox, 19 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Letter from Major Henry Gaither to Secretary of War Henry Knox on the robbery and murder at Traders Hill St Marys,” Henry Gaither to Henry Knox, 19 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; According to pages 90, 158, 215-216 of Andrew K. Frank’s Peculiar breed of whites“: race, culture, and identity in the Creek Confederacy, Micco was originally a mixed individual and pioneer named James McQueen who later changed his name after integrating himself enough with the Creek.

[10] “Letter from Bird King Cussetas King to Major Gaither on trouble caused by Halfway King,” Bird King to Henry Gaither, 13 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Also referred to as Bird Tail King.

[11] “Letter from Timothy Barnard [Bernard] to Major Henry Gaither regarding meeting with Cussetahs, scalpings, robbery and murder at Robert Seagrove’s store Traders Hill on St Mary’s River, Spaniard Dons,” Timothy Bernard to Henry Gaither, 8 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Letter from Timothy Bernard to Major Gaither regarding Major James Seagrove’s demands in aftemath of violations,” Timothy Bernard to Henry Gaither, 20 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[12] U.S. Senate. Report by Mr. Elliott to the Military Committee. 17th Cong., 1st Sess. (S.Doc.64). Washington: Gales & Seaton, April 15, 1822. pp. 3. (Serial Set 60); “Conducting the Security of the Frontier in Georgia,” Henry Knox to Henry Gaither, 29 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Letter from Major Henry Gaither to Secretary of War Henry Knox on Indian theft and murder,” Henry Gaither to Henry Knox, 6 May 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. John Elliott was a U.S. Senator representing Georgia at the time.

[13] Correspondence of Clark and Genet: Selections from the Draper Collection in the Possession of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin to Elucidate the Proposed French Expedition Under George Rogers Clark Against Louisiana, in the Years 1793-94. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1897, 936-943; “To George Washington from Henry Knox, 14 May 1794,” Founders Online, National Archives; “Extract of a letter from the Secretary of War, to Lieut. Col. Gaither, dated 14th May, 1794,” Henry Knox to Henry Gaither, 14 May 1794, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Suppressing the Illegal Combination of Men,” Henry Knox to Henry Gaither, 14 May 1794,  Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[14] “From Alexander Hamilton to George Mathews, 25 September 1794,” Founders Online, National Archives.

[15] Report by Mr. Elliott to the Military Committee, 2.

[16] The Territorial papers of the United States: The Territory of Mississippi 1798-1817 (vol. 5, ed. Clarence Edwin Carter). Washington, DC: GPO, 1937. 124-5.; “To Alexander Hamilton from James Wilkinson, 25 February 1800,” Founders Online, National Archives; “To Alexander Hamilton from James Wilkinson, 7 March 1800,” Founders Online, National Archives.

[17] Assessments of 1793, 1795, 1796 and 1797, Montgomery County Commissioners of the Tax, Assessment Record, MdHR 20015-1-1, p. 115-116, 159, 228, 256, 268 (MSA C1110-1, 1/18/14/17); Assessments of 1813 and 1816, Montgomery County Commissioners of the Tax, Assessment Record, MdHR 20015-3-1, p. 53, 99, 130 (MSA C1110-3, 1/18/14/19); Assessments of 1798, 1801, 1802, 1804, 1811, Montgomery County Commissioners of the Tax, Assessment Record, MdHR 20015-2-1, p. 94, 33, 138, 146, 151, 163, 205, 265, 406, 424 (MSA C1110-2, 1/18/14/18); General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Records, 1783, 3-4, 18 (MSA S1161-78, 1/4/5/51).

Hezekiah Foard: A high-ranking military officer and well-known public official

1877 map of Cecil County, courtesy of Accessible Archives.

Reposted from Academia.edu. This was originally written when I was working at the Maryland State Archives for the Finding the Maryland 400 project.

Hezekiah Foard was born in early 1752, likely in Cecil County. [1] He had one brother named Josiah.

At age twenty-four, in early 1776, Foard enlisted as a sergeant in Edward Veazey‘s Seventh Independent Company. [2] He was a five foot, ten inch tall man. Many of those in the Seventh Independent Company were recruited from Kent and Queen Anne counties, and were in their mid-twenties. [3] Overall, the average age was about twenty-five, but soldiers born in America were younger than those from foreign countries. [4]

Sergeants, like Foard, had important roles in the Maryland Line. As non-commissioned officers, their duties included maintaining discipline within their company, and inspecting the new recruits. [5] Their other duties included carrying sick soldiers to the hospital as needed, reporting on the sickness of men within the ranks, and leading groups of men to guard prisoners or supplies if circumstances required it. [6] For these services they were paid more than corporals in Maryland, who they oversaw, and worked with, to keep order in place in the company, including breaking up disputes between soldiers. [7] In order to get in this position, however, their field officers or captains had to recommend them for promotion. [8]

The independent companies, early in the war, had a different role than William Smallwood’s First Maryland Regiment. They had the role of securing the Chesapeake Bay’s shoreline from British attack. Smallwood’s regiment, on the other hand, were raised as full-time Maryland soldiers to be part of the Continental Army, and were divided between Annapolis and Baltimore. The Seventh Independent Company was stationed in Kent County’s Chestertown and Queen Anne County’s Kent Island. [9] During this time, Veazey was uneasy that they did not receive “arms nor ammunition” until June. [10]

While the independent companies were originally intended to defend Maryland, three of them accompanied the First Maryland Regiment when it marched up to New York in July 1776. The transfer of the independent companies to the Continental Army showed that Maryland was more than willing to do its part to recruit the men needed. [11] The independent companies and the First Maryland Regiment arrived in New York in early August, with the Battle of Brooklyn set between the Continental Army and the British Army, joined by their Hessian allies.

Foard served with his company at the Battle of Brooklyn in late August 1776. Along with the companies of Daniel Bowie and Peter Adams, which suffered heavy casualties, sixty-eight percent of Veazey’s company were killed, wounded or captured. Captain Veazey was “killed at his [Foard’s] side,” while Second Lieutenant Samuel Turbett Wright and Third Lieutenant Edward De Coursey were captured. [12] As a result of Veazey’s death, First Lieutenant William Harrison took charge of the company. After the battle, only about 36 men remained out of the original force of over 100. [13] The loss of life confirmed the assessment of the British Parliament’s Annual Register which described how “almost a whole regiment from Maryland…of young men from the best families in the country was cut to pieces” even as the battle brought the men of the Maryland 400 together. [14]

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

Foard survived the Battle of Brooklyn and was not taken prisoner. In the fall of 1776 and early 1777, he joined other Marylanders at the battles of White Plains, Trenton, and Princeton.

By the spring of 1777, the command of the Seventh Independent Company was uncertain since Wright and De Coursey were prisoners, Veazey had been killed, and Harrison had resigned. [15] As a result, the company, among with the other independent companies, became part of the Second Maryland Regiment. Likely in early 1777, Foard reenlisted in the Second Maryland Regiment, where he remained a sergeant until September 1777. [16]

He was promoted to ensign on September 1, 1777, and served until at least May 1780, mostly in the regiment’s sixth and seventh companies. [17] In April 1779, while serving in the regiment’s sixth company, he was furloughed. [18] In the summer of 1779, he signed a statement, along with 95 other Maryland officers, including John Mitchell,  John Gassaway, and Gassaway Watkins, and co-signed by William Smallwood, to receive all the money that was owed to them. [19] Their plea was ultimately successful.

In early 1780, Foard was accused of disobeying an order to march the Second Maryland Regiment to parade, a time when the movement of soldiers is limited by marching or drilling. He also was accused of relating orders different from “those he had received.” [20] He was supposed to march the company, but by disobeying the orders, he was engaging in “conduct unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman.” Furthermore, he was said to have “contempt” for the orders given to him by Colonel Thomas Woolford of the Fifth Maryland Regiment. Despite this accusation, he was “acquitted with honor” by the officers overseeing the court-martial and was released from arrest, as approved by George Washington himself. This incident could be why, in May 1780 he was absent with leave, from the service. [21]

Ensigns, like Foard, were the lowest rank of commissioned officers. They were mainly responsible for carrying the flags of their unit on the battlefield and reported to the colonel of the unit. [22] Additionally, they were charged with maintaining cleanliness of the soldiers, inspecting their clothes when the company paraded, and otherwise observing them. [23] Ensigns also had the duty of examining the conduct of the company’s non-commissioned officers, such as sergeants and corporals, and carrying the company flags in order to keep the unit organized. [24]

During his service, he marched to South Carolina in spring 1780 and participated in the Southern Campaign. [25] During his term as an officer, he also fought at Brandywine (1777) and Monmouth (1778). [26] He likely fought at White Marsh (1777) and Germantown (1777) as well.

On August 16, 1780, Foard returned to the First Maryland Regiment as an ensign. On the same day, he participated in the battle at Camden. During the retreat he was attacked by a determined British soldier:

“…he was attacked hand to hand by a stout athletic Englishman; others were advancing on them [the Continentals]–in the scuffle [Foard] threw [the British soldier], the enemy holding [Foard] by his hair; [Foard] having nothing but his long espontoon he shortened the handle and pinned [the British soldier] to the sand; as the Englishman relaxed his hold he extricated himself, and finding his weapon fast beyond recovery, he fled without it.” [27]

After the Battle of Camden, Foard was promoted to lieutenant, filling the role Edward Duvall, who was killed in the battle. [28] Foard served in that role until January 1, 1783.

Foard fought at “the defeat of Tarlenton at Cowpens,” in January 1781, as part of Gates’s Continental Army. [29] Due to his service in these two battles, he likely fought at Hobkirk’s Hill (1781) and Yorktown (1781). Before he was discharged in 1783, he was promoted by brevet to captain. [30] He was likely discharged in November since he was one of the founding members of Maryland’s chapter of the Society of Cincinnati, along with Henry Chew Gaither and Mordecai Gist [31]

After the Revolutionary War, Foard returned to Cecil County. On December 14, 1785, Foard married a woman named Sarah Lawrensen. [32] They had three children named Hezekiah Jr, Richard, and Josiah.

In 1787, Foard and his brother Josiah bought six horses, a few cows, two sheep, and other amenities needed for their farm sitting on Bohemia Manor. [33] For the next 46 years, he continued to live on the manor with his children, wife, and a couple of enslaved black individuals, along with necessary supplies to keep the farm up and running. [34]

Foard acquired and negotiated transfers of huge amounts of land in the county. On August 4, 1789, he also was issued 200 acres of bounty land west of Fort Cumberland, divided into four lots, due to his military service. [35] Since he did not claim it, his land sat vacant. Foard likely left his land alone because the bounty land was “absolutely good for nothing . . . unfit for Cultivation.” [36] In later years, Foard helped sell the 586 acre estate of Cecil County resident, Thomas Richardson and obtained “letters of administration” for Lilburn Williams’s estate. [37]

By 1818, Foard was living in Cecil County and was called a “general” despite the fact he never attained that rank. [38] However, he did serve in Cecil County as a major in the 49th regiment of the Maryland militia, from 1794 until 1799, when he resigned. [39]

In 1821, Foard was granted half-pay of a lieutenant for his “meritorious services” by the Maryland General Assembly. [40] In his Federal veterans pension application, in 1828, Foard, still a farmer on Cecil County’s Bohemia Manor, claimed that he was a lieutenant in the Second Maryland Regiment. [41] On August 29, 1828 his pension was granted.

Foard held numerous civil positions in Cecil County. He was commissioner of the tax for two three-year terms, lasting from 1797 until 1806. [42] He was later appointed as justice of the peace by the Governor of Maryland, serving for nine years in total, over the years, a position he held until his death. [43] Additionally, he served as a justice on the Levy Court, which handled tax allotment, for five years in the early nineteenth century. [44]

Foard’s political affiliation is clear. In April 1821, he was the chairman of a “very large and respectable meeting of the democratic republicans of Cecil County” at a house in Elkton, Maryland in order to pick electors for the upcoming Maryland Senate election. [45] At the meeting they also recommended candidates for the Republican Party in the autumn elections and published proceedings of the meeting in Baltimore Republican papers. In the autumn, the Republicans were victorious in a landslide in elections for state senate’s electoral assembly. They garnered fourteen of the open electoral positions, while the Federalists only gained four electoral positions. [46]

As chairman of a meeting of Republicans, Foard held an important role. A few years later, the same group of individuals welcomed General Marquis de Lafayette to the United States, preparing inkeepers in Elkton for his accommodations. [47]

Foard lived until February 16, 1833, dying at age 81, at Bohemia Manor, then owned by his son. [48] Obituaries for him appeared in papers across the Eastern seaboard of the United States. [49] The Brattlesboro Messenger in Vermont praised his fighting “during our struggle of independence, while the Salem Gazette in Massachuetts declared that “another pillar of the American Revolution had crumbled to the dust!” [50] The Daily National Intelligencer in Washington, D.C. remembered him affectionately, saying that he was “beloved and lamented by all who knew him.” [51]

At the end of his life, Foard was relatively well off. He had possessions such as a carriage and harness, a walnut desk, and a looking glass. [52] In his will, Foard appointed Josiah and Richard as executors of his estate, with the money not distributed until 1835. [53] By 1837, his son, Hezekiah, had helped establish property lines, and sold off the manor to the Bayard family. [54] Foard gave his grandson, William Freeman, one hundred dollars, his son Richard a silver watch, and divided his estate evenly between his three sons. [55] Since his wife was not mentioned in his will, she presumably had already died.

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

Notes

[1] Descriptions of men in Capt. Edward Veazey’s Independent Comp, 1776, Maryland State Papers, Revolutionary Papers, MdHR 19970-15-36/01 [MSA S997-15-36, 1/7/3/13]. In the descriptions of men in Veazey’s company, Foard is described as age 24. Based on his obituaries (which list him as age 81 and 82), it means he was born in 1752. While his last name is sometimes spelled Ford, the name Foard is used here as it is consistent with vital records during his lifetime.

[2] Descriptions of men in Capt. Edward Veazey’s Independent Comp; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 18, 28; Mark Andrew Tacyn, “’To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 34; “Mortuary Notice,” Salem Gazette, Salem, Massachusetts, March 1, 1833, Vol. XI, issue 18, p. 3. An obituary by the Salem Gazette claims that Foard entered the army as a private, but this is not supported by available evidence.

[3] Tacyn, 24-25, 97.

[4] For more information, see “Demographics in the First Maryland Regiment” on the Finding the Maryland 400 research blog.

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

[6] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 343; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, July 7-December 31, 1776, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 12, 125255; Journal of the Maryland Convention July 26 to August 14, 1775, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 11, 50; Proceedings of the Conventions of the Province of Maryland, 1774-1776, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 78, 23; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, August 29, 1775 to July 6, 1776, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 11, 439; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 16, 334.

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

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

[9] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, July 7-December 31, 1776, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 12, 4; Tacyn, 33-34.

[10] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, August 29, 1775 to July 6, 1776, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 11, 318, 468; Tacyn, 37, 39.

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

[12] “Mortuary Notice,” Salem Gazette, Salem, Massachusetts, March 1, 1833, Vol. XI, issue 18, p. 3.

[13] Revolutionary War Rolls, NARA M246, p. 92, From Fold3.com; Tacyn, 98.

[14] Tacyn, 4.

[15] List of Regular Officers by Chamberlaine, December 1776, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, MdHR 4573, Liber 12, p. 66 [MSA S989-17, 1/6/4/5].

[16] Rolls of the Second Maryland Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Roll 0033. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 108; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 16, 244.

[17] Service Card of Hezekiah Ford (Second Maryland Regiment), Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 93, Roll 0399. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Service Card of Hezekiah Ford (First Maryland Regiment), Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 93, Roll 0397. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Rolls of the Second Maryland Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Roll 0033. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Rolls of Various Organizations, 1777, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Roll 0034. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 108; Service Card of Hezekiah Foard (Second Maryland Regiment), Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 93, Roll 0399. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, April 1, 1778 through October 26, 1779, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 21, 567. Some sources say he was commissioned as an adjutant in June 1779, but this unclear.

[18] Service Card of Hezekiah Foard (Second Maryland Regiment).

[19] Daniel Wunderlich Nead, The Pennsylvania-German in the Settlement of Maryland (Lancaster, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, 1914), 255-259; Hanson’s Laws of Maryland, Session Laws 1779, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 203, 214.

[20] Attorney General Scammell’s Orderly Book Dec 15, 1779-Mar 21, 1780, Vol. 34, Numbered Records Books Concerning Military Operations and Service, Pay and Settlement of Accounts, and Supplies in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, National Archives, NARA M853, Roll 0005, p. 117-118.

[21] Service Card of Hezekiah Foard (Second Maryland Regiment).

[22] Frederick Stueben, Regulations for Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, Part I (Philadelphia: Styner and Cist, 1779), 54.

[23] Stueben, 143.

[24] Stueben, 143-144.

[25] Pension of Francis Freeman, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1022, pension number S. 35951. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Neals Jones, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1443, pension number S. 36,023. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[26] “Mortuary Notice,” Brattleboro Messenger, Brattleboro, Vermont, Vol. XII, issue 8, page 3.

[27] “Mortuary Notice,” Salem Gazette, Salem, Massachusetts, March 1, 1833, Vol. XI, issue 18, p. 3; Weekly Messenger, Boston, Massachusetts, March 7, 1833, page 4.

[28] Service Card of Hezekiah Ford (First Maryland Regiment); Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 362, 365, 378, 435, 476, 477, 478, 520; Pension of Hezekiah Foard, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 0993, pension number S. 47187. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[29] “Mortuary Notice,” Brattleboro Messenger, Brattleboro, Vermont, Vol. XII, issue 8, page 3.

[30] “Mortuary Notice,” Salem Gazette, Salem, Massachusetts, March 1, 1833, Vol. XI, issue 18, p. 3; “To George Washington from William Smallwood, 29 November 1783,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified October 5, 2016.

[31] Register of the Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland Brought Down to February 22nd, 1897 (Baltimore: Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland, 1897), 88.

[32] Marriage of Hezekiah Ford and Sarah Lawrensen, 1785, Cecil County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9435, p. 42 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[33] Dwight P. Lanmon, Lorraine Welling Lanmon, and Dominque Coulet du Gard, Josephine Foard and the Glazed Pottery of Laguna Pueblo (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007), 3, 204; Bill of sale by Joseph Taylor to Hezekiah and Josiah Foard, 1787, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber 16, p. 119 [MSA CE 133-18].

[34] Census for Bohemia Manor, Cecil, Maryland, 1790, First Census of the United States, 1790, National Archives, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 3, page 320. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Census for Election District 1, Cecil, Maryland, 1820, Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, National Archives, NARA M33, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll M33_40, page 123. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Census for District 1, Cecil, Maryland, 1830, Fifth Census of the United States, 1830, NARA M19, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, roll 56, page 14. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Manumission of Hannah Ann by Hezekiah Foard, 1823, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 20, p. 313-314 [MSA CE 133-47]; Hezekiah Foard, Elizabeth Logue, James Foard, Eliza Logue, and Francis Reynolds’s petition to sell Bohemia Manor, February 17, 1796, Chancery Court, Chancery Papers, MdHR 17898-1798 [MSA S512-1873, 1/36/1/91]; Bill of sale of John S. Vandergift to John Rawlins and Hezekiah Foard, 1832, Cecil County Court, Land Records, JS 30, p. 381-382 [MSA CE 133-57]. Other supplies included ploughs and household furniture. In 1796, Foard and other members of his family petitioned to sell the estate and plantation at Bohemia Manor, but nothing else of this case is known.

[35] Pension of Hezekiah Foard; Westward of Fort CumberlandMilitary Lots Set Off for Maryland’s Revolutionary Soldiers (ed. Mary K. Meyer, Westminister: Heritage Books, 2008), 3, 156; Hezekiah Ford’s lots in Western Maryland, Land Office, Lots Westward of Fort Cumberland, MdHR 17302, p. 319, 320, [SE1-1]. His lots were 3265, 3274, 3275, and 3276.

[36] 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.

[37] American Watchman, Wilmington, Delaware, July 22, 1812, Vol. IV, issue 309, page 4; “Notice,” Aurora General Advertiser, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 27, 1804, issue 4156, page 4.

[38] Pension of Francis Freeman; Pension of Neals Jones.

[39] Appointment of Hezekiah Ford, 1794, Adjutant General, Militia Appointments, MdHR 5587, Militia Appointments Liber 2, p. 95 [MSA S348-2, 2/6/5/10]; Appointment of Hezekiah Ford, 1794, Adjutant General, Militia Appointments, MdHR 1349, Militia Appointments Liber 1, p. 12 [MSA S348-1, 2/8/3/13].

[40] Journal of the House of Delegates 1821 (Dec. 3 – Feb. 23), Archives of Maryland Online, 87 [MSA SC M 12329]; Session Laws, 1821, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 626, 176.

[41] Pension of Hezekiah Foard.

[42] Session Laws, 1803, Archives of Maryland Online, Vol. 560, 61; Session Laws, 1797, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 652, 93.

[43] Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1792, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1899 [MSA S1082-2, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1833, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1924, p. 44 [MSA S1082-24, 2/26/4/41]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1832, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1923, p. 35 [MSA S1082-23, 2/26/4/41]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1831, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1922, p. 22 [MSA S1082-22, 2/26/4/41]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1831, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1921, p. 22 [MSA S1082-21, 2/26/4/41]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1829, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1919, p. 36 [MSA S1082-19, 2/26/4/41]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1828, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1918, p. 35 [MSA S1082-18, 2/26/4/41]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1828, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1917, p. 45 [MSA S1082-17, 2/26/4/41]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1827, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1916, p. 41 [MSA S1082-16, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1826, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1915, p. 48 [MSA S1082-15, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1825, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1914, p. 48 [MSA S1082-14, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1824, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1913-2 [MSA S1082-13, 2/26/4/40];

[44] Memoranda of Maryland…, 1828, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 561, 97, 98; “Appointments by the Governor and Council of Maryland. January 1822,” Republican Star, Easton, Maryland, January 22, 1822, Vol. XXIII, issue 22, page 3; “A List of Justices of the Peace, in Cecil County,” Baltimore Patriot, Baltimore, Maryland, September 7, 1815, Vol. VI, issue 842, page 2; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1823, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1911, p. 57 [MSA S1082-11, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1821, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1909 [MSA S1082-10, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1811, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1902 [MSA S1082-5, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1802, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1901 [MSA S1082-4, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1801, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1900 [MSA S1082-3, 2/26/4/40].

[45] “Cecil County,” Baltimore Patriot, Baltimore, Maryland, May 3, 1821, Vol. XVII, issue 2565, page 2.

[46] Federalists won in Alleghany, Dorchester, Montgomery, and Somerset counties. Republicans won in cities such as Annapolis and Baltimore. They also won in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Prince George, Queen Anne, Talbot, Washington, and Worcester counties

[47] “Reception of La Fayette in Cecil County, Md,” Easton Gazette, Easton, Maryland, September 18, 1824, Vol. VII, issue 40, page 2.

[48] Pension of Hezekiah Foard; Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. 3: Southern States (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1968, reprint from 1835), 69; “Mortuary Notice,” Salem Gazette, Salem, Massachusetts, March 1, 1833, Vol. XI, issue 18, p. 3; Helen West Ridgely, Historic Graves of Maryland and the District of ColumbiaWith the Inscriptions Appearing on the Tombstones in Most of the Counties of the State and in Washington and Georgetown (New York: The Grafton Press, 1908), 229. Some said he died in 82.

[49] “Mortuary Notice,” Spectator, New York, March 6, 1833 , Vol. XXXVI, issue 46, page 4; “Mortuary Notice,” Commercial Advertiser, New York, March 1, 1833, page 2; Newark Daily Advertiser, Newark, New Jersey, February 28, 1833, page 2; “From the Cecil Republican,” Easton Star, Easton, Maryland, March 5, 1833, page 3.

[50] “Mortuary Notice,” Brattleboro Messenger, Brattleboro, Vermont, Vol. XII, issue 8, page 3; “Mortuary Notice,” Salem Gazette, Salem, Massachusetts, March 1, 1833, Vol. XI, issue 18, p. 3.

[51] “Mortuary Notice,” Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, D.C., February 28, 1833, Vol. XXI, issue 6258, page 3.

[52] Inventory of Hezekiah Foard, March 1833, Cecil County Register of Wills, Inventories, MdHR 16577-1, p. 678-679 [MSA C620-26, 1/11/12/42].

[53] Administration account of Hezekiah Foard, 1835, Cecil County Register of Wills, Administration Accounts, MdHR 16595-1, p. 264-266 [MSA C586-15, 1/11/13/20]; Administration bond relating to Hezekiah Foard, 1833, Cecil County Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, MdHR 16562-1, p. 464 [MSA C589-10, 1/11/14/1]; Estate of Hezekiah Foard, 1833-1835, Cecil County Register of Wills, Estate Papers, MdHR 16607-36 [MSA C645-36, 1/12/6/48].

[54] Indenture of Hezekiah Ford, Jr., 1830, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 28, p. 30-33 [MSA CE 133-55]; Indenture between Hezekiah Ford, Jr., and Thomas Miller, Jr., 1834, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 28, p. 311-312 [MSA CE 133-55]; Indenture between Hezekiah Ford, Jr., and Thomas Miller, Jr., 1832, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 28, p. 313-315 [MSA CE 133-55]; Indenture between Hezekiah Ford, Jr., Albert C. Byran, and Martha W. Byran, 1832, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 28, p. 315-317 [MSA CE 133-55]; Establishing property boundaries between lands of Foard, Hudson, and Bayard families, 1831, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 29, p. 438-441 [MSA CE 133-56]; Indenture between Benjamin Harris and Hezekiah Ford, Jr., 1834, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 34, p. 91-92 [MSA CE 133-61]; Hezekiah Ford, Jr. selling enslaved black George Holland to James Hyland, 1835, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 35, p. 79-80 [MSA CE 133-62]; Selling of Bohemia Manor from Foard to Bayard family, 1835, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 35, p. 83-84 [MSA CE 133-62]; Marriage of Hezekiah Foard Jr. and Mary Ann Hyland, 1828, Cecil County Court, Marriage Licenses, MdHR 9435, p. 334 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38]. According to marriage records, Foard’s son would marry a woman named Mary Ann Hyland in 1828. His son was, like his father, a slaveowner.

[55] Will of Hezekiah Foard, 1833, Cecil County Register of Wills, Wills, MdHR 16556, p. 411-412 [MSA C646-7, 1/11/14/14].

Meloan and Slocum: Two Young Marylanders go off to war

Courtesy of this website.

In early 1776, two men enlisted as privates in Edward Veazey’s Seventh Independent Company, part of the Maryland Line: 17-year-old Solomon Slocum, a foot feet, two and half inches tall man, and 21-year-old Andrew Meloan, who was five feet, seven inches tall. [1] There is evidence asserting that Meloan was likely born in Cecil County, but for Slocum, his exact birth place is not known but he likely was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. [2]

Many of those in the Seventh Independent Company were recruited from Kent, Cecil, and Queen Anne counties, and were in their twenties. [3] The average age was about twenty-five, but soldiers born in British America were slightly younger than those from foreign countries. [4]

The independent companies, early in the war, had a different role than William Smallwood‘s First Maryland Regiment. They had the role of securing the Chesapeake Bay’s shoreline from British attack. Smallwood’s men, on the other hand, were raised as full-time Maryland soldiers as part of the Continental Army, and were divided between Annapolis and Baltimore. The Seventh Independent Company was stationed in Kent County’s Chestertown and on Kent Island in Queen Anne County. [5] During this time, Veazey was uneasy that his company did not receive “arms nor ammunition” until June. [6]

While the independent companies were originally intended to defend Maryland, three of them accompanied the First Maryland Regiment when it marched to New York in July 1776. The transfer of the independent companies to the Continental Army showed that Maryland was more than willing to do its part to recruit the men needed for the revolutionary cause. [7] The independent companies and the First Maryland Regiment arrived in New York in early August, with the Battle of Brooklyn set between the Continental Army and the British Army, joined by their Hessian allies.

Meloan and Slocum served with his company at the Battle of Brooklyn in late August 1776. Apart with the companies of Daniel Bowie and Peter Adams, which suffered heavy casualties, sixty-eight percent of Veazey’s company were killed, wounded or captured. Specifically, Captain Veazey died on the battlefield while Second Lieutenant Samuel Turbett Wright and Third Lieutenant Edward De Coursey were captured. As a result of Veazey’s death, Lieutenant William Harrison took charge of the company. After the battle, only about 36 men remained out of the original force of over 100. [8] The loss of life confirmed the assessment of the British Parliament’s Annual Register which described how “almost a whole regiment from Maryland…of young men from the best families in the country was cut to pieces” even as the battle brought the men of the Maryland 400 together. [9]

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

By the spring of 1777, the command of the Seventh Independent Company was in disarray since Wright and De Coursey were prisoners, Veazey had been killed, and Harrison had resigned. [10] As a result, the company, among with the other independent companies, became part of the Second Maryland Regiment.

Both Meloan and Slocum survived the Battle of Brooklyn and were not taken prisoner. In the fall of 1776 and early 1777, they joined other Marylanders at the battles of White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, and elsewhere. After this point, both of them re-enlisted. Slocum, on January 25, 1777, reenlisted in the Fifth Maryland Regiment as a private, only staying until May 10, when he was discharged. [11] Likely not long after this, he enlisted in the Second Maryland Regiment for a three-year term as a private. [12] He served in a company commanded by Maryland 400 veteran John Hardman, until the fall of 1779. [13] In early 1780, he re-enlisted. During his military service, he was sick multiple times, including one time in the early spring of 1778 and another time in early 1779 which required his hospitalization. [14]

As for Meloan, on January 10, 1777, he enlisted as a private in Captain Samuel T. Wright’s company of the Second Maryland Regiment and had the duty as a waggoner for a short time. [15] On February 1, 1778, Meloan became a corporal in the Second Maryland Regiment. He stayed in the regiment until he was discharged on January 10, 1780. [16] Meloan fought at Staten Island (1777), Brandywine (1777), Germantown (1777), Monmouth (1778), and Stony Point (1779).

As a non-commissioned officer, Meloan would have shouldered some of the responsibility for ensuring order in camp and on the battlefield. The job of the corporals was to instruct their troops, keep order in their regiments, including breaking up disagreements between soldiers, and taking roll call every morning. [17] If corporals fell down on their tasks, they were “severly punished.” [18] During battles, corporals were responsible for keeping the companies lined up and together so they could effectively fight against British or forces loyal to the Crown.

Coming back to Slocum, in the summer of 1779, along with Maryland 400 veterans Patrick McNemar and Henry Mitchel, he served in the Corps of Light Infantry. [19] This was an elite, agile unit developed for quick military response. [20] On July 16, 1779, the light infantry stormed the British fort at Stony Point, on the west side of the Hudson River. [21] According to a recollection from Connecticut corporal Stephen Army, the army crossed the river “in the night with muffled oars to prevent the British on board of some English ships of war” stationed nearby from hearing their movements. [22] Once on land, they engaged in a surprise nightime bayonet attack, reportedly without loaded guns, with men chopping through the enemy’s half-completed fortifications. After the battle ended, over 500 British soldiers were captured, and the Continentals took possession of the fort.

After September 1780, Slocum deserted to the British and then re-joined the Second Maryland Regiment not long after, purportedly as a spy. [23] In the spring of 1781, the Continental Army tried Slocum, convicted him of spying and deserting. On March 25, he was executed. Sergeant-Major William Seymour of the Delaware Regiment wrote:

“On the twenty-fifth instant was tried and found guilty one Solomon Slocum, of the Second Maryland Battalion, for desertion to the enemy, joining with them, and coming in as a spy in our camp; when agreeable to his sentence he was hanged on a tree by the roadside in full view of all that passed by.” [24]

When Slocum was hanged, he was only age 22. No other information about Slocum’s life is known. Meloan had a much different life after he was discharged from his military service in January 1780 as noted earlier.

In the years following, Meloan settled down in Maryland. In 1781 or 1782 he married a woman in her late twenties, named Rachel Zilerfrow, in Cecil County. [25] This was Rachel’s second marriage, as she had three children with her first husband, John Zilerfrow. Through the following years, Andrew and Rachel would have eight children: Permelia (1782-1839), Thomas (b. 1784), Elizabeth (1786- 1869), Andrew Jr. (b. 1788), Izabel (b. 1790), Obediah (1792-1859), Alexander (1794-1798), and Perry O. (1797-1833). [26] They lived in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in the 1790s, and Meloan owned a 60 acre plot of land, near McDowell Creek, by June 1799. [27] By the early 1800s, they moved to Kentucky.

In 1810, Meloan, Rachel, and their children, were living in Montgomery County, Kentucky and were small slaveowners and farmers, owning three enslaved blacks. [28] They lived there until at least 1830 and continued to be small slaveowners. Meloan owned four enslaved blacks in 1820 and six enslaved blacks in 1830. [29] The county, during this time period, was majority white, but had a significant minority of enslaved blacks, an average of about 2,233 living in the county, from 1810 to 1830. [30] Other aspects of their lives, during this time, are not known.

Meloan and his son Obediah were active members of the Republican Party, at a time that the party was dissolving. In 1828, they signed a letter which criticized President John Quincy Adams. It was among those assembled by a member of the Republican Party and former U.S. Representative David Trimble to prove statements he had made in 1824 and 1825. [31]

Sometime after 1831, Meloan, his wife Rachel, and their children, moved across the state and were living in Murray, a town in Calloway County, Kentucky, a county of about 5,100, which was over 91 percent white. [32] Meloan applied for his Federal veterans pension in 1832, when he owned enslaved blacks, which was granted the same year. [33]

On August 14, 1834, Meloan died in Calloway County. [34] After his death, his wife, Rachel, fought for her husband’s pension money. The pension was granted, and she continued to receive it until her death on July 29, 1839. Twenty-one years after her death, her children Thomas, Elizabeth, and Obadiah applied for their father’s pension benefits. [35] At this point, these were the only children of Rachel and Meloan who were still living. By 1894, the Meloan family was still living in Calloway County on the lot that Meloan had bought years ago, and had a “burying ground” in a local cemetery in the city of Murray. [36]

Notes

[1] This post combines sources from each of their respective biographies. Meloan was born on February 18, 1754. Since he was listed as twenty-one-year-old, this means he enlisted before his birthday in February.

[2] Descriptions of men in Capt. Edward Veazey’s Independent Comp, 1776, Maryland State Papers, Revolutionary Papers, MdHR 19970-15-36/01 [MSA S997-15-36, 1/7/3/13]. Pension of Andrew Meloan, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land-Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1709, pension number W27972. Courtesy of Fold3.com. Since Meloan he enlisted in Cecil County, it is possible he was born in the same county. His name is sometimes spelled Melone, Malone, Maloan, Melawn, Milean, Meloon, and Miloan. Slocum’s is last name is also spelled Slocome.

[3] Mark Andrew Tacyn, “’To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 24-25, 97; Descriptions of men in Capt. Edward Veazey’s Independent Comp.

[4] For more information, see “Demographics in the First Maryland Regiment” on the Finding the Maryland 400 research blog.

[5] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, July 7-December 31, 1776, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 12, 4; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, August 29, 1775 to July 6, 1776, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 11, 245, 272, 547, Tacyn, 33-34.

[6] Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, August 29, 1775 to July 6, 1776, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 11, 318, 468; Tacyn, 37, 39.

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

[8] Revolutionary War Rolls, NARA M246, p. 92, From Fold3.com; Tacyn, 98; “Mortuary Notice,” Salem Gazette, Salem, Massachusetts, March 1, 1833, Vol. XI, issue 18, p. 3.

[9] Tacyn, 4.

[10] List of Regular Officers by Chamberlaine, December 1776, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, MdHR 4573, Liber 12, p. 66 [MSA S989-17, 1/6/4/5].

[11] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 18, 290.

[12] Service card of Solomon Slocum, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 93, Roll 401. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Muster rolls of the Second Maryland Regiment, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, Roll 0033, Folder 15. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[13] Service card of Solomon Slocum.

[14] Service card of Solomon Slocum; Muster rolls of the Second Maryland Regiment, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, Roll 0033, Folder 15. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[15] Pension of Andrew Meloan; Service Card of Andrew Melawn, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, NARA M881, Record Group 93, Roll 0400; Second Maryland Regiment, 1778, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783; NARA M246, War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, Record Group 93. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[16] Service Card of Andrew Melawn; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 18, 138, 405; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1789-1793, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 72, 239; Pension of Andrew Meloan; Second Maryland Regiment, 1778, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783; NARA M246, War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, Record Group 93. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. In his pension application, Meloan said he left the service in 1780, meaning that Andrew Mallone who enlisted in the Fifth Maryland Regiment in 1781 was not him.

[17] Frederick Stueben, Regulations for Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, Part I (Philadelphia: Styner and Cist, 1779), 6, 82, 98-100.

[18] Stueben, 72.

[19] Service card of Solomon Slocum; Muster rolls of the Second Maryland Regiment, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, Roll 0033, Folder 15. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[20] Todd W. Braisted, “Light Infantry Never Surrender!,” Journal of the American Revolution, May 19, 2015. Accessed November 11, 2016; John W. Wright, “The Corps of Light Infantry in the Continental Army,” The American Historical Review 31:3 (Apr. 1926), 455-457.

[21] Tacyn, 5, 173, 186, 196-197, 205-209, 210, 295, 311; Pension of David Moore, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1753. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Samuel Ferguson, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1038. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Robert Humphries, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1367. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of John Trotter, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2414. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Abram Acherson, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 6. Courtesy of Fold3.com; David Schuyler, Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists, and the Hudson River Valley, 1820-1909 (London: Cornell University Press, 2012), 154; Joseph Plumb Martin, Ordinary Courage: The Revolutionary War Adventures of Joseph Plumb Martin (ed. James Kirby Martin, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2013), 107; Jeremy Black, Crisis of Empire: Britain and America in the Eighteenth Century (New York: Continuum, 2008), 160; Michael Schellhammer, George Washington and the Final British Campaign for the Hudson River, 1779 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2012), 138-153; George C. Daughan, If by Sea: The Forging of the American Navy – From the Revolution to the War of 1812 (New York: Basic Books, 2011, paperback), 191; Arthur R. Bauman, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne & The Battle of Fallen Timbers: A Look at Some Key Events in the Life and Times of General Wayne (Blommington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2010), 4-6; Ithiel Town, Detail of Some Particular Services Particular Services (Beford, PA: Applewood Books, 1835), 88. Reportedly Anthony Wayne, leading the attack, told George Washington, that he would “storm hell” if Washington planned the attack.

[22] Pension of Stephen Avery, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 96. Courtesy of Fold3.com. The wife of Virginia soldier David Moore, Jane, recalled her husband saying that “they were made to go into battle with unloaded guns” made him suspect that was only what he and his fellow soldiers were told.

[23] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 18, 162.

[24] Charles Patrick Neimeyer, America Goes to War: A Social History of the Continental Army (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 211; Robert Kirkwood, The journal and order book of Captain Robert Kirkwood of the Delaware regiment of the continental line Part I: A journal of the Southern campaign, 1780-1782 (Wilmington: The Historical Society of Delaware, 1990), 15; Hugh F. Rankin, The North Carolina Continentals (Chapel Hill: Univesity of North Carolina Press, 2005, updated), 314; Lawrence E. Babits and Joshua B. Howard, Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse (Chapel Hill: Univesity of North Carolina Press, 2009), 179; William Seymour, “A Journal of the Southern Expedition, 1780-1783 (concluded).” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 7, no. 4 (1883): 379.

[25] Pension of Andrew Meloan; Parish register 1694-1784, St. Stephen’s Church Collection, p. 131 [MSA SC 2507-1-1, 0/8/4/14]; A Calendar of Delaware Wills New Castle County 1682-1800 (New York, NY, USA: Frederick H. Hitchcock, 1911), 87; Jacob Ozier as a witness, 1796, Delaware, Land Records, 1677–194, p. 346, Recorder of Deeds, New Castle County, RG 2555, Subgroup 000, Series 011. Delaware Public Archives, Dover, Delaware. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. Rachel’s maiden name, before her first husband was Ozier. She was born on May 23, 1753 in Cecil County’s St. Stephen’s Protestant Episcopal Church in North Sassafras Parish to John Ozier, who died in 1777, and Sarah. She also had a brother named Jacob Ozier, born on November 22, 1754, who was living in Delaware in 1796. Her Find A Grave says she was born in 1763 but this is clearly a mistake.

[26] Pension of Andrew Meloan; Kentucky. Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records – Microfilm (1852-1910). Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky. Courtesy of Ancestry.com. Permelia later married Robert Caldwell, Obediah married Emily W. Shruggs, and Elizabeth married Andrew Lackridge Jr. Meloan’s son.

[27] “Clarification,” Murray Ledger & Times, May 31, 2006. Accessed October 11, 2016; Grant for Andrew Meloan, June 2, 1799, grant number 154, book 105, page 31, North Carolina Land Grants, Microfilm publication, 770 rolls, North Carolina State Archives. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[28] Census for Montgomery, Kentucky, 1810, Third Census of the United States, NARA M252, Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 7, Page 365. Courtesy of Ancestry.com;

[29] Census for Montgomery, Kentucky, 1820, Fourth Census of the United States, NARA M33, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll M33_25, Page 255, 257. Courtesy of Ancestry.com; Census for Montgomery, Kentucky, 1830, Fifth Census of the United States, NARA M19, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 40, Page 17. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

[30] Census of 1830 for Montgomery County, Universe: Total Population, Social Explorer Dataset, Social Explorer. Accessed October 11, 2016; Census of 1820 for Montgomery County, Universe: Total Population, Social Explorer Dataset, Social Explorer. Accessed October 11, 2016; Census of 1810 for Montgomery County, Universe: Total Population, Social Explorer Dataset, Social Explorer. Accessed October 11, 2016. Data shows the number of enslaved blacks in the county growing from 1810 to 1830.

[31] “From the Kentucky Argus: David Trimble,” United States Telegraph, Washington, D.C., October 27, 1828, Vol. III, issue 125, p. 2; United States Telegraph, Washington, D.C., October 25, 1828, p. 4.

[32] Census of 1830 for Calloway County, Total Population (SE:T025_001), Social Explorer Dataset, Social Explorer. Accessed October 11, 2016.

[33] Pension of Andrew Meloan.

[34] Record of Andrew Melone, 1834, United States Revolutionary War Pension Payment Ledgers, 1818-1872, Kentucky, United States, NARA T718, roll 8; FHL microfilm 1,319,388, p. 242. Courtesy of Familysearch.org; Record for Andrew Melone, Final Payment Vouchers Index for Military Pensions, 1818-1864, Index to Selected Final Payment Vouchers, 1818-1864, National Archives, Record Group 217, roll: box06_00008. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[35] Pension of Andrew Meloan. Obediah, Andrew’s son, was the administrator of Rachel’s estate after her death.

[36] Will of P.O Meloan, 1894, Kentucky County, District and Probate Courts, Calloway, Kentucky, Wills, Vol D-G, 1885-1961, p. 108-110. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

 

“Flecking the hedges with red”: Palmer’s Ballad on the Maryland 400

Editor’s note: this is an article I posted on September 28, 2016 on Finding the Maryland 400. Reposted from Academia.edu.
A photograph of John Williamson Palmer who wrote ‘The Maryland Battalion’

In the past, we have written about poems and songs relating to the Maryland 400. [1] They were celebrated years after and during the Revolutionary War, with newspapers often containing poems and songs. Such poems included one about William Sterrett in 1776 and a song by Tom Wisner titled “The Old Line.” Poems and ballads, which are narrative poems, not only appeared in newspapers but also in books. This post analyzes the 1901 ballad titled “The Maryland Battalion in the Battle of Long Island” and its author. [2]

The ballad’s author was a native Baltimorean named John Williamson Palmer. He was a physician by profession, but later became a journalist, and served as a New York Tribune correspondent in Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War. [3] He traveled across the world to India and elsewhere in East Asia, worked for the East India Company, and warned acclaim after contributing to numerous periodicals. [4] During the Civil War, Palmer wrote the well-known ballad titled “Stonewall Jackson’s Way” during the Battle of Antietam in 1862. [5] This ballad became one of the South’s most popular lyrics. This is not surprising because Palmer joined the Confederate Army and later served on the staff of John C. Breckinridge, the Secretary of War of the Confederacy. [6] After the Civil War, he published a book of folk songs and numerous other books of note. He had become, as his former employer, the New York Tribune, called him, “a veteran balladist” who will “be long remembered” because of his good verse. [7] By the early twentieth century, some claimed that he become a writer with “vigorous lyric faculty.” [8]

“The Maryland Battalion” was originally printed in a 1902 book titled Every Day in the Year. The book was a “poetical anthology” which commemorated “the most striking events in history” and the men and women who “have left an imprint on their day and generation.” [9] The ballad was printed with an introduction making it clear it was about the Battle of Brooklyn. [10] His ballad fits with those he wrote about Stonewall Jackson and the Battle of the San Jacinto in 1836 by exhibiting a patriotic theme, from his point of view. [11]

The text of this ballad is reprinted below [12]:

Spruce Macaronis, and pretty to see,
Tidy and dapper and gallant were we;
Blooded fine gentlemen, proper and tall,
Bold in a fox-hunt and gay at a ball;
Prancing soldados so martial and bluff,
Billets for bullets, in scarlet and buff—
But our cockades were clasped with a mother’s low prayer
And the sweethearts that braided the sword-knots were
fair [13]

There was grummer of drums humming hoarse in the hills,
And the bugles sang fanfares down by the mills,
By Flatbush [14] the bagpipes were droning amain,
And keen cracked the rifles in Martense’s lane [15];
For the Hessians were flecking the hedges with red [16],
And the grenadiers’ tramp marked the roll of the dead

Three to one, flank and rear, flashed the files of St. George [17],
The fierce gleam of their steel as the glow of a forge.
The brutal boom-boom of their swart cannoneers
Was sweet music compared with the taunt of their cheers—
For the brunt of their onset, our crippled array,
And the light of God’s leading gone out in the fray.

Oh, the rout on the left and the tug on the right!
The mad plunge of the charge and the wreck of the flight!
When the cohorts of Grant [18] held stout Stirling [19] at strain,
And the mongrels of Hesse [20] went tearing the slain;
When at Freeke’s Mill the flumes and the sluices ran red,
And the dead choked the dike and the marsh choked the dead!

“Oh, Stirling, good Stirling, how long must we wait?
Shall the shout of your trumpet unleash us too late?
Have you never a dash for brave Mordecai Gist [21]
With his heart in his throat, and his blade in his fist?
Are we good for no more than to prance in a ball,
When the drums beat the charge and the clarions call?”

Tralára! Tralára! Now praise we the Lord
For the clang of His call and the flash of His sword!
Tralára! Tralára! Now forward to die;
For the banner, hurrah! and for sweethearts, good-by!
“Four hundred wild lads!” May be so. I’ll be bound
’T will be easy to count us, face up, on the ground.
If we hold the road open, though Death take the toll,
We’ll be missed on parade when the States call the roll—
When the flags meet in peace and the guns are at rest,
And fair Freedom is singing Sweet Home in the West. [22]

At the time, the ballad was positively received. Noted writer Rossiter Johnson said it reminded him of classic lyrics of another balladist, while the Chicago Tribune said that the ballad, along with his other writings, had become “familiar to the American people.” [23] The St. Louis Republic called it “blood-stirring” and the Baltimore Sun said it had no less “dash and ring” than his other ballads and would, which “rouse the blood to action and enthusiasm.” [24] Acclaimed poet Charles D. Roberts even praised it, calling it a “splendid piece of work, inevitable and unforgettable.” This flattery is not surprising because the ballad was written in style of that time by catering to a Victorian appetite for heroes and legends and preserving the Maryland 400’s story, while cultivating Maryland pride.

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


Notes

[1] Another post on this blog also put the ‘Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’ into context as it relates to Maryland.

[2] Alan, a volunteer at the Baltimore County Historical Society, gave me a copy of this ballad this summer when I made a trip to this historical society. In order to be consistent, the word ballad is used even though some refer to it as a poem.

[3] Henry E. Shepard, The Representative Authors of Maryland: From the Earliest Time to the Present Day With Biographical Notes and Comments Upon Their Work (New York: Whitehall Publishing Company, 1911), 100; American History Told by Contemporaries: Welding of the Nation 1845-1900 (ed. Albert Bushnell Hart, Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific, 2002, reprint of 1921 edition), 282.

[4] Rand Richards. Mud, Blood, and Gold: San Francisco in 1849 (San Francisco: Heritage House Publishers, 2008), 201; Shepard, 100; American History Told by Contemporaries282.

[5] Richards, 86, 101; Southern Life in Southern Literature: Selections of Representative Prose and Poetry (ed. Maurice Garland Fulton, New York: Ginn and Economy, 1917), 259-261.

[6] American History Told by Contemporaries, 282; “Words of the Hour”: A New Anthology of Civil War Poetry (ed. Faith Barrett and Cristanne Miller, Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005), 389; Herman Melville, Correspondence (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1993), 516; Women reading Shakespeare 1660-1900: An anthology of criticism (ed. Ann Thompson and Sasha Roberts, New York: Manchester University Press, 1997), 110; Shakespeare: The Critical Tradition. The Merchant of Venice (ed. William Baker and Brian Vickers, New York: Thoemes Continuum, 2005), 86; Shepard, 100-101; Southern Life in Southern Literature, 259. Before the war, in 1855, he married Henrietta Lee, a Baltimorean who was a prolific writer and reader of Shakespeare. Palmer also had correspondence with the acclaimed novelist Herman Melville after the Civil War.

[7] “A Southern Poet.” The Evangelical Episcopalian. Vol. 14, no. 1. March 1902. pp. 464; Every Day in the Year: A Poetical Epitome of the World’s History (ed. James L. Ford and Mary K. Ford, New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1902), v. Others called him “one of America’s real poets,” before his death in 1906.

[8] John Wanamaker, Book News: A Monthly Survey of General Literature. Vol. 19 (Philadelphia: John Wanamaker, 1901), 684.

[9] Every Day in the Year, 289.

[10] Ibid, 133, 157-158.

[11] Poetry of the People (ed. Charles Mills Gayley and Martin C. Flaherty, Boston: Ginn & Company Publishers, 1904), 238-239; The Home Book of Verse: American and English 1580-1918 Third Edition (ed. Burton Egbert Stevenson, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1918), 2429; Index of Current Literature (ed. Edward J. Wheeler). Vol. 40. New York: The Current Literature Publishing Company, Jan-June 1906, 449-450.

[12] The tune of this ballad is not known.

[13] “Scarlet and buff” is a reference to the uniforms Smallwood’s soldiers and said to have worn. In actuality they did not wear these uniforms. Instead, they wore white linen or hunting shirts, leather breeches, leather belts, stockings, leather shoes with buckles, and felt hats.

[14] General Sullivan was driven back by the Hessians, hired soldiers fighting for the British, and flanked by Clinton’s forces in Flatbush.

[15] Martenese’s lane was a road that was the Greenwood cemetery’s southern border in Brooklyn

[16] As a private of the Maryland  William McMillian put it in his description of the battle, “We were surrounded by Healanders [Scottish Highlanders] on one side, Hessians on the other.”

[17] The “files of St. George” are British soldiers.

[18] A British general named James Grant commanded the left wing during the battle.

[19] Lord Stirling, or William Alexander, was a veteran of the Seven Years War, and was a brigadier general during the battle.

[20] Refers to Hessians.

[21] Mordecai Gist was a native Baltimorean and commanded the Marylanders during the Battle.

[22] The last lines are saying that people should fight at any cost for their freedom and is challenging readers to fight and not be weak.

[23] The Missionary Review of the World vol. 24, part 2. Funk & Wagnalls, 1901, 160.

[24] The Missionary Review of the World, 115, 160, 181-182; The Literary Digest Vol. XXII, no. 25. June 22, 1901, 1A2.