Lisa Oakley and the saga of John Plant

On June 26, I received a voicemail message from Lisa Oakley, a family eldercare coach in California, about her Maryland ancestor, John Plant, a member of the Maryland 400. [1] This blog aims to address her email, adding new information to John Plant’s story. I begin by using content from existing blogposts: “The post-war lives of Maryland’s revolutionary soldiers“; ““Ready to march Southward”: The story of the Maryland Extra Regiment”; “The story of the Extra Regiment’s ordinary soldiers: From McCay to Patton“;  and ““…the new Regiment now raising”: Continuing the story of the Extra Regiment.” All copyrighted material used falls under the fair use exception to U.S. copyright law as it is used for educational purposes here.

John Plant was a Charles County man who had fought in the Maryland Line, specifically part of Captain John Hoskins Stone’s First Company of the First Maryland Regiment, enlisting in Port Tobacco, Maryland. In 1781, as an experienced soldier, he served as an ensign, then lieutenant in the new Maryland Extra Regiment. He likely resigned in January 1782 as he could not retain this rank in the new unit. Still he returned as a “supernumerary” to Annapolis, beginning to receive payments after his military service eventually resulting in a pension years later.

After the war, he lived in Charles County, becoming a “well-off small farmer and slaveowner who owned two horses, one cattle, and one enslaved black child.” On June 15, 1788 he married an eighteen-year-old woman named Mary Ann Davis, with some recalling his military service in later years.Later on, Plant and Mary lived in Washington, D.C., which was then a “largely rural and sparsely populated area which had thriving ports at Georgetown and Alexanders, in addition to the federal town of Washington City, which had about 8,200 inhabitants,” with slavemasters and over 7,900 enslaved blacks being an important part of society. Plant died in DC on November 14, 1808. Many years after his death, his widow, Mary, tried to get John’s pension payments but had trouble doing so, leading her to almost be “deprived of a pension.”

What new information does Ms. Oakley add to this story? Well, John Plant’s bio managed by the Maryland State Archives, which I originally wrote back in 2016, reflects some changes, but not all. She says that he went to Prince William County, Virginia after the war as a “tenant farmer,” with a witness to his will being a “tavern owner just to the south side of the Occoquan River.” The will she attached is transcribed below, which was  tough due to the quality of the image she sent of the will (likely because it was taken on a cell phone). However, by  happenstance, someone else had transcribed this already (which I stumbled upon), so I’ll reprint their transcription, with bolding being my  emphasis:

JOHN PLANT Will

Prince William County Will Book I, pg. 3414 [sic, 414?]

10 Nov 1808; proved 5 Dec 1808

In the name of God Amen I JOHN PLANT of County of Prince William and State of Virginia being sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory knowing it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God that gave it and my body I recommend to the Earth to buried in decent Christian bureal at the discretion of my Executrix nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate wharewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life.  I devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.  First I give and bequeath to MARY PLANT my loving wife al my estate real and personal for and during her life and at her death to be equally divided between my two daughters GRAYSON and SARAH to them and their heirs forever.  I constitute my loving wife MARY PLANT my sole Exetrix of this my last will and testament.  In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this tenth day of November in the year 1808.

JOHN PLANT {seal}

Witness

ZACH WARD

DAVID JOHNSTON

At a Court held for Prince William County Decemr. 5th 1808

This last will and testament of JOHN PLANT decd was presented to the Court by MARY PLANT the Executrix therein named who made oath to the same according to law and being proved by the oaths of ZACHARIAH WARD and DAVID JOHNSTON is ordered to be recorded and the said Executrix having performed what is usual in such cases certificate is granted her for obtaining a probate thereof in due form.

Teste

J.WILLIAMS  Ct. Cur.

I tried to look for another version of this on Family Search and Ancestry, but was sadly unsuccessful.We do know from this that he died between November 10 and December 5th. According to his pension, we know he died on November 14. Finding his cemetery may be extremely hard, as there are no results for the name Plant in Prince William County, Virginia and Find A Grave lists 279 cemeteries in that county! We know that Prince William County sits right on the Potomac and is 36 miles away from the heart of D.C. Still, possible candidates  for where he could be buried includes Woodbridge, Sudley Springs, or elsewhere. Yet, the family narrative, noted at the end of this post claims he is buried in Charles County, Maryland. But no results come up for Plant in that county either. Some sources seemed to say he had land in the county.I looked at MDLandRec to see if I could find anything. I found a listing for Horatio Plant in 1814, interestingly enough:

He is listed on Liber 213, no. 10, p. 519

I looked further, finding a James Plant in 1755 (Liber A, no. 1 1/2, p. 345) and 1757 (Liber G, no. 3, pp 129, 157). On the next page there were no listings for any individuals with the Plant surname at all! Looking at it in another indice gave me the same exact result:

Should be IB, not JB

I tried to look for Liber A, no. 1 1/2, p. 345 but no results came up. The link to it in the Guide to Government Records did not work when I tried it. I looked at pages 129 and 157 of Liber G, no.  3. It shows James Plant owning a piece of land called St. Michaels, which was 100 acres in 1757. Other records that year show Plant buying even more land, related to the Saint Michaels tract, from Richard Coffer. The next set of records are in 1814. Its between George Bradley Stewart of D.C., Horatio Plant and his wife Mary Cassandra Plant of Montgomery County, MD, Mary Eleanor Stewart of Montgomery County, MD, and William Dement of Charles County, MD. George, Horatio, Mary, and Mary paid William Dement $500 for a tract of land called South Hampton which is between tracts owned by John Thurman Stoddert (later a congressmember who would introduce Mary Ann’s pension claim), and Mary  Truman Fendall. And that’s it!

I checked on Plats to see if there was anything on Saint Michaels. It turns out there was an entry, but it was back in 1664. But, it doesn’t seem to be on Plats. I did find South Hampton however. It was unpatented in 1799. There is a long history, with the specifics of the land. The land itself is basically a set of rectangles and squares, nothing to write home about:

Courtesy of plats.net

The family trees on Ancestry aren’t very reliable on this subject, claiming that John was born in England in 1755,  with debate on whether he died in  Charles, Maryland or Prince William County, Virginia, USA. I seem to think that he died in the latter place. [2] The one Ancestry user, Adam Perry, writes that “John lived for a time in Northern Virginia in Prince William County based upon his will and my ability to locate one of the witnesses to the will.” Both of these trees cite the U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 database, which is notoriously unreliable, having no source for their information put reprints, some pages from his  pension:

Through Ancestry’s Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files database, I  was able to find the whole pension, which I have uploaded as a PDF onto this website (I eliminated the pages with little or no content, as they are irrelevant).

But, saying he lived in Washington, D.C., as my old bio said, was not totally wrong, as it says now: “By 1808, the family had settled in Prince William County, Virginia, not far from Washington, DC.” [3] This connects to the fact that 6 months before he died (in November 1808), ” he apprenticed his sons Nathaniel and John to business people in DC.” The records are shown below:

In her third point, she writes that “John Plant had a sister Sarah Ann Plant Stewart Jones” with her obituary she was “able to determine that she attended St. Ignatius Parish prior to moving to DC in 1795. It states that she was born in Charles County.” That record, from page 3 of the National Journal on September 26, 1829, is shown below:

On her fourth point, she says that “Mary Ann Davis, [as] 2nd wife to John Plant,” living out “the rest of her life in DC with her youngest daughter Sarah Ann Plant Hay and son in law.” She adds that Mary Ann died in 1841 with a “burial location is the now- abandoned St. Patricks Church cemetery in DC” (as also evidenced by the Find A Grave she put up) with “notes written up by Agnes Plant who was the great-granddaughter of John Plant of Revolutionary War.” Mary’s obit is shown below, and after it is from the notes written by Agnes Plant.

Courtesy of Newspapers.com

Interestingly, we find (abstracted from John’s pension) that “William Stewart, age about 62, deposes that when he was about 12 years old, he recollects hearing of the marriage of the said Mary Ann and John Plant in Charles County, Maryland that the said John Plant was his mother’s brother and this deponent lived near them.” This being the case, it means that William is a grandson of John, with William’s mother being a sibling of John. William’s mother is Sarah, who was talked about earlier in this post.


Notes

[1] In 2017, she had emailed me in saying that she believed that “Horatio Plant d. 1840 (son of Ann Shepard) was also the son of John Plant. I believe that Ann was his first wife and may have died in childbirth,” going onto say that “Ann is the sister of the famous Francis Shepard, their family has been written about at Port Tobacco and the property there that was handed down from their father John Shepard”  and that she has “a copy of John Plant’s Will, however, he only names his two daughters Grace and Sarah.” She was, at the time, looking for anything that named “Horatio Plant, or have some advice to give on finding it.” Later that year, she appreciated my transfer of John Plant’s virtual grave to her, and said that connecting to Owen Lourie helped, adding that “both Horatio, and John Plants other known son Nathaniel were in the same regiment for the war of 1812. Nathaniel is the one who took/picked up the pension paperwork for May Ann Davis.”

[3] The last paragraphs of the bio now read: “Plant settled in Charles County after his military service, at least for a few years. He was a modest farmer, who probably did not own any land, although he did have one slave. On June 5, 1788, he married Mary Ann Davis (b. ca. 1770) in Charles County. They had four children together: Grace (sometimes called Grayson), Sarah, John, and Nathaniel. [5] By 1808, the family had settled in Prince William County, Virginia, not far from Washington, DC. Plant apprenticed his sons to masters in the city that spring. John was indentured to William Worthington, a cabinetmaker, and Nathaniel to a cordwainer, or shoemaker, in Georgetown. Only six months later, in November or December, John Plant died. In 1835, Mary Ann applied for a Federal veteran’s pension as the widow of a Revolutionary War soldier, and she eventually was awarded $95 per year. She died in 1841. [6]” I posted  the older version on academia.edu.

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Writing for the Maryland State Archives

From May to November 2016, I worked at the Maryland State Archives as a researcher on the Finding the Maryland 400 Project. While there I wrote a number of blogposts, which are as follows:

    1. Col. Gaither: Seven years on Georgia’s frontier (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu). I expanded upon that blogpost in my post on this blog titled “From the Revolutionary War to the 1790s: the Creek Nation in the Southern Gulf Region
    2. Col. Barton Lucas: more than a military man (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    3. Sickened Marylanders and the Philadelphia Bettering House (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    4. Persecuted in Revolutionary Baltimore: The Sufferings of Quakers (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    5. A “little groggy”: the deputy sheriff of Baltimore and his “bowl of toddy” (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    6. The political climate of Baltimore in 1776 (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    7. A “dull place” on the Patapsco: Baltimore and the Marr Brothers (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    8. “Flecking the hedges with red”: Palmer’s Ballad on the Maryland 400 (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    9. “The misfortune which ensued”: The defeat at Germantown (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    10. A Short Fight on Hobkirk’s Hill: Surprise, Blame, and Defeat (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    11. British “masters of the field” : The disaster at Brandywine (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)

Many of these posts were noted in a SAR report

I also wrote 91 biographies of Revolutionary Marylanders. They were on the following individuals:

  1. Hezekiah Foard (bio re-posted on this blog and academia.edu)
  2. Barton Lucas (bio re-posted on this blog and academia.edu)
  3. John Mitchell (bio re-posted on this blog and academia.edu)
  4. John Sears (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  5. Henry Mitchel (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  6. William Dawson (bio re-posted on academia.edu and Find A Grave)
  7. John Lowry (full text of bio re-posted on academia.edu since previous bio was not archived) [since been been changed by current researcher Natalie Miller, current changed version here]
  8. John Neal (bio re-posted on academia.edu and Find A Grave), and his wife Margaret, adapted from that.
  9. John Hardman (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  10. John Plant (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  11. George Lashley (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  12. Andrew Meloan (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  13. Robert Ratliff (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  14. William Marr (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  15. Solomon Slocum (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  16. Henry Chew Gaither (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  17. Samuel Goslin (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  18. Josias Miller (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  19. Matthew Murry (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  20. Michael Nowland (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  21. Ezekiel Pearce (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  22. Benjamin Ford
  23. Charles Smith
  24. John McGlaughlin
  25. Neal Dearmond
  26. Thomas Donolan
  27. Richard Doyle
  28. John Gorden
  29. William Grimes
  30. Thomas Hamilton
  31. John Haney
  32. Thomas Holland
  33. William Martin
  34. James Matthews
  35. William McGlaughlin
  36. Thomas McGuire
  37. Edward McKinzie
  38. Joseph Mongomery
  39. Charles Pritchard
  40. James Reed
  41. Patrick Reed
  42. Samuel Thomas
  43. Joseph Dixon
  44. Edward Ford
  45. Alexander McConaughey
  46. James Murphey
  47. John Harris
  48. Isaac Buttrim
  49. John Callenan
  50. Christian Castler
  51. Richard Cheaney
  52. Samuel Elliott
  53. James Garner
  54. Godfrey Gash
  55. William Hammond
  56. Philip Harley
  57. James Hogg
  58. George Horner
  59. Thomas Hunter
  60. Nicholas Marr
  61. James Marr
  62. John McCoy
  63. Alexander McMunn
  64. James Mutton
  65. Mathew Neeley
  66. William Nevitt
  67. John Reed
  68. Thomas Reed
  69. William Rogers
  70. Charles Turner
  71. Thomas McLanhlan
  72. Thomas Stern
  73. John Read
  74. John Redman
  75. Richard Goldin
  76. Edward Marr
  77. Thomas Certain
  78. Patrick McCann
  79. James McHendricks
  80. John Marr
  81. John Porter
  82. Richard Pursel
  83. Benjamin Quimby
  84. William Stibbings
  85. William Thompson
  86. Barnet Turner
  87. Stephen Videto
  88. William Wright
  89. William Holmes (since been revised/fixed up by current researcher Natalie Miller)
  90. Samuel Jones
  91. Robert Harvey

The Society of John Gaither Descendants praised my work on the Henry Chew Gaither biography, writing

“It is timely during our celebration of our nation’s independence, that SJGD member Sue Gaither Vanzant alerted us to an updated and expanded biography of Revolutionary War Captain, Colonel Henry Chew Gaither. The biography and an excellent account of Colonel Gaither’s life written by Burkely Herman[n] is located on the Maryland State Archives site dedicated to the Maryland 400. Mr. Herman[n] is a 2016 Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow. The blog and biography provide valuable insight into the times in which Colonel Gaither lived and his service to our country…Society member, Sue Vanzant, through her own research, played an important role in expanding the biography of Colonel Gaither [which I wrote].

I used the information of varied Marylanders to write two following blogposts:

My series on the Extra Regiment, which are listed below, also sprung from my work at the Maryland State Archives:

I also wrote “From Alexander McMunn to Hezekiah Foard: Maryland soldiers in Cecil County after the revolutionary war” which I put up on academia.edu, which was based on the bios of Alexander McMunn and Hezekiah Foard.

My other posts on this blog were somewhat inspired by the work I did at the Maryland State Archives but not directly connected to the work I did there:

Then the most recent two posts are basically about genealogy, inspired by what I wrote on Packed With Packards:

That’s all of what I have wrote and put together.


I also re-posted bios of the Archives’ project on Find A Grave, which I didn’t write, but posted in hopes of ancestors finding them:

  1. Peter Brown
  2. Edward Blacklock
  3. William Chaplin
  4. Thomas Connor
  5. Elisha Everit
  6. Jacob Holland
  7. Philip Jenkins
  8. Henry Leek
  9. Elizabeth Cox
  10. Margaret McCane
  11. Monica Kennedy
  12. John McClain
  13. John McClain (other)
  14. Mark McPherson
  15. James Mitchell
  16. James Murphy
  17. David Plunket
  18. Patrick Nowland
  19. Francis Osborn
  20. Nathan Peak
  21. Daniel Rankins
  22. Basil Ridgely
  23. Robert Sapp

“I never forgot that I was an American”: the story of the Maryland Loyalist Regiment

One of the books that talks about Marylanders who sympathized with the British Crown (people like Robert Alexander), which the governments of MD and DE tried to suppress.

In March 1783, Major Walter Dulany, in the Maryland Loyalist Regiment, wrote to Sir Guy Charlton, saying that while he still saw “miseries” of American independence, and “acted with the great zeal, against my rebellious countrymen,” he never “forgot that I was an American.” A such, he said that if the war still continued after independence was granted he would resign, as he could not ” act either directly or indirectly against America.” Some have called this “an excellent declaration of principles and demonstrates just exactly what Loyalists had to put themselves through to serve the British. Not only a material risk, but one which troubled many a conscience.” [1] It is this spirit which informs a discussion about the sympathizers of the British Crown (often given the moniker of “loyalist” which obscures their role in this historical context) that joined the “Maryland Loyalist Regiment,” people who groups, like the Daughters of the American Revolution (and undoubtedly the Sons of the American Revolution), automatically dismiss as being “patriots,” treating them as noting better than “traitors.” As such, it is worth telling their story.

In come the Marylanders

While the Maryland Loyalist Regiment (also called the Col. Chalmer’s Corps, the First Battalion of Maryland Loyalists or the Maryland Loyalist Corps) is one of the 38 “loyalist” regiments which lasted from 1777 to 1783, very little information is available on those that served in their ranks. [2] However, we do know that the regiment was headed by a man named James Chalmers, who became the lieutenant colonel and had drafted a pamphlet called Plain Truth which was opposed to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the previous year.

Chalmers advocated for the creation of the regiment, which was granted in October 1777, arguing that control of the Delmarva Peninsula was important for success in the war, which turned to be correct in historical terms. [3] One of the other major generals in the regiment was man by the name of Philip Barton Key, who was Francis Scott Key’s uncle. According to his account, in December 1777 he met Chalmers in British-occupied Philadelphia where he commissioned him a Lieutenant while William Howe “permitted the enthusiastic Key to raise his own company, which proceeded to make dangerous forays into the countryside to recruit more loyalists.” [4] Due to his success as a “natural leader, [who was] brilliant and brave,” on March 1, 1778, he was promoted to the rank of captain.

The story of Barnet Turner, who I wrote about while working at the Maryland State Archives, gives a good general context of the regiment:

…The unit was created by British general William Howe after the British capture of Philadelphia in the autumn of 1777. Recruiting started around the captured American capital and later expanded to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The unit was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Chalmers, a Kent County planter. After training from November 1777 until spring 1778, the soldiers marched up to Long Island. The unit stayed there until the end of 1778. It later saw action in West Florida until its surrender after the Spanish siege of Pensacola in 1781. They were later sent back to New York.

Other officers would be Philadelphia native Walter Dulany, the commissary general for Maryland, whose son Grafton served with the regiment in Florida, “where he died in 1778” and William Augustus Bowles (1763-1805), a Frederick County, MD “adventurer who had first lived among the Creeks after he was cashiered from the Maryland Loyalist Corps that had been sent to Pensacola in December 1778.” Bowles, also known as Estajoca, organized “Native American attempts to create their own state outside of Euro-American control” and convinced the Creeks to “support the British garrison of Pensacola against the Spaniards, but the garrison fell when its ship was hit by artillery fire from the Spanish ships” while Bowles, after the battle in Pensacola “was reinstated in the British Army, and went to the Bahamas.” Beyond that, he would establish “a trading post along the Chattahoochee River,” have two wives which he used “as the basis for his claim to exert political influence among the Creeks,” and later received and seen as a powerful leader “for Creek and Cherokee Nations.” I’ve written before about him, and his connections with the British.

Another officer was a man named Daniel Dulany Addison, a captain for the regiment in 1782, and a major in the corps in 1783. Beyond that, John Stewart and William Stirling were ensigns, John Stirling and Levin Townsend were lieutenants. [5] Also among them was a paymaster named Anthony Stewart who held that position in January and March 1783 at least. Other commissioned officers included Captains Patrick Kennedy, Grafton Dulany, Alexander Middleton (for a short time), Walter Dulany, Caleb Jones (former sheriff of Somerset County), Isaac Costin, James Frisby, and Major John McDonald. Eventually, captains of the regiment were eventually divided between the Eastern and Western shores of the Chesapeake Bay (I’m taking some of this text from my biography on Barnet Turner which I’ll talk about later).

In following years, the regiment would fight in Pensacola for the British (in 1778 and 1779), joined by other British “loyalist” regiments, all part of the British army as a whole. [6] The regiment was, when it marched “out of Philadelphia along with the rest of the British Army in June 1778,” consisted of “370 officers and men,” making it second in size “only to the Queen’s Rangers amongst the Loyalist units leaving the city.” In December 1778, in Pensacola, the Marylanders were joined by their “brothers” to the north: “183 Pennsylvania Loyalists commanded by Lt. Colonel William Allen.” [7] Unfortunately for the Marylanders, the British never fully trusted them, with Chalmers’ soldiers shipped to the war’s periphery, fighting “gallantly” in Pensacola, with captured survivors paroled, waiting out the rest of their lives in New York City. This included men such as John Noble, a corporal, who “was held as a prisoner of war in Havana and eventually repatriated to New York City.” By the end of 1779, the Maryland and Pennsylvania “loyalist” groups merged temporarily, later breaking apart due to the battle at Pensacola. [8] Their “motley” group, fought for years to come in this part of West Florida for the British Crown. By February 1781 the united MD and PA soldiers “contained only 300 rank-and-file members” likely because Marylanders were some of those who took the offensive against the Spanish in previous months but were repulsed. [9] By May the number had shrunk even more: the “combined strength of both the Maryland and Pennsylvania Loyalists” was only 160 men.

By 1782, Chalmers, the gentleman in “his neighborhood,”did not have a full roster of recruits since the regiment was “very deficient in numbers.” [10] While officers paid for rations, by April there were only 137 in the Maryland unit, and 68 in the corresponding one from Pennsylvania. Even so, abstracts of pay show that depending on the number of officers 591-623 pounds were paid out, the equivalent to approximately $86,800 to $91,400 today. [11] That is a sizable amount to say the least. This proves what one historian writes about the regiment: that it was one of the only pro-Crown regiments that was “regularly organized, officered, and paid.” [12] Even so, over the years, the soldiers in the regiment, dressed in “tatters and rags instead of uniforms” (in the summer of 1779), with many killed by smallpox in Pensacola, and the unit suffered a huge problem with desertion.

What the Library and Archives Canada can tell us

While there are varying resources, such as this page by the Loyalist Institute or the Orderly Book of the regiment from June to October 1778, the original records, specifically muster rolls, tell more of the story. [13] Unfortunately they basically begin in mid-1782 as attested on a spreadsheet I put together using microfilm from here and here, within this collection, on enlisted men and their officers in the Maryland “Loyalist” regiment. I can’t thank enough the Josée Belisle of the Registration and Reprography Unit at the Library and Archive Canada, telling me, after I requested copies that

The material you have requested above is already digitized and available online. There is no charge for material available on our website. Please note that you have to do your own research within the microfilm link to find the appropriate document. To make sure your reference matches the document, you have to rely on the page number on the document itself, not on the pagination provided from the microfilm link. Please note that any material provided online by LAC is restricted to research purposes or private study only. Users wishing to use the copies for any other purpose should inform themselves of Copyright regulations.

I would say this article falls under the “research purposes” and “private study” restrictions without a doubt.

By April 1782, Patrick Kennedy’s company, of which James Chalmers and Walter Dulany were part of, consisted of a small number of individuals, seemingly only numbering 29 individuals, three of which were prisoners of the Spanish. These three people were: Frederick Beehan, James Cummins, and John Ratcliff, while other documents listed William Wells, Thomas Clay, and Patrick Hervey as prisoners (who were in different companies). Otherwise, the rest of the company was intact.

Fast forward to June 1782. The names of 19 or 20 officers within the regiment was recorded as was the subsistence (money) due to the officers (non-commissioned and commissioned) and the regular soldiers. Also there was, likely that month, a listing of the men with the companies of Kennedy, Jones, Key, Frisby, and Addison, along with the Abstract of Subsistence due one Corporal and Six Private Men to the 24th of June 1782 Inclusive. These documents showed that there were six companies within the regiment, composed of the following officers:

Captain Patrick Kennedy — 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, 17 soldiers (privates)

Caleb Jones — 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, 18 soldiers (privates)

Philip Barton (B.) Key — 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, 16 soldiers (privates)

James Frisby — 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, 24 soldiers (privates)

Daniel D. Addison — 1 sergeant, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, 6 soldiers (privates)

The Vacant Company — 1 sergeant, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, 14 soldiers (privates)

Additionally, apart from Chalmers as the Lieutenant Colonel, Walter Dulany was the major, Levin Townsend and John Sterling as Lieutenants, William Sterling, John Henley, William Bowles, and John Stewart as Ensigns while John Patomon was chaplain, James Henby was adjutant, Thomas Welch was quartermaster, and William Stafford was Surgeons Mate.

October 1782

By October 1782 the muster rolls for all the companies, all of which were clearly not at full capacity, likely from fighting the Spanish and because they were at the “edge” of the British empire meaning that it was hard to get new recruits. They could keep getting pay for the Officers and Private Men but that wouldn’t change much about the loss within their ranks.

Starting with Patrick Kennedy’s company, none deserted that month, but those who had been prisoners with the Spanish rejoined the company. One man, John Patterson (same as John Patomon listed earlier), the Chaplain, was in Newton, while soldier James Orchard was in the hospital and soldier John Urguhart was sent to serve in James Frisby’s company. A reprint of that muster roll showed no differences among the enlisted men from the original.

Then we move onto Caleb Jones’s company. The original muster roll, and the reprint later on, showed just about everyone staying in the regiment, with one individual considered to be promoted (corporal Robert Harris) but it never happened. More significant were the five individuals who deserted in October: James Start, Darby Riggan, Thomas Pittut, Nathaniel Luign, and Joshua Townsend. Interestingly, two of them deserted on October 9 (Start and Riggan) and three on October 15 (Pittut, Luign, and Townsend), making it seem that there was a plan to desert, not just a singular instance. Perhaps they were deserting and giving information to the enemy (the Spanish) or were tired of fighting on the “edge” of the British empire. We will never know their true reasons. It is clear however that this desertion likely would not qualify them to be “patriots” under the existing DAR standards since they would have to either assist the cause of independence in some other way possibly by enlisting in the Continental line.

From there, we move onto Dulany Addison’s company. Again, the original muster roll and the reprint, don’t show much out of the ordinary. In the month of October one man, Ephraim Tilghman, likely a member of the Tilghman family of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, deserted, while James Coland died on August 11, 1782, ensign John Stewart was on leave in New York, and Lieutenant John Sterling moved to Frisby’s company.

The same month, those in James Frisby’s company were also recorded. The original muster roll and reprint tells an interesting story. Apart from the five soldiers who deserted during the month (James Lowe, Daniel Jones, James Murray, James Tindell, and Barnard Foster), and the two “on guard” (John Cauh and John Cayton), the captain, Frisby, seemed to be in some trouble. He was under arrest! It is clear that Frisby had testified to a court-martial before, but now he was taken away in hand cuffs. Already, according to M. Christopher News’s Maryland Loyalists in the American Revolution, other captains such as Sterling would be vying for his company, so he may have been under some pressure. He had been a captain of his company since 1777 and was a native to Kent County, Maryland. While varied sources mention him, most often only as one of the many “loyalists,” nothing more about his case is known.

Philip B. Key’s company had a different story even with its dwindling number of soldiers as attested by the original muster roll and reprint. During the month of October perhaps the soldiers were more disciplined as there no desertions. However, Captain Philip B. Key was sick, George Fettiplace was reduced in rank from serjeant, private Matthew Bennett was sick in camp, John Ink and John Henderson were on guard with Colonel James Chalmers, John Stephens was working with Captain Key, and Christian Smith was on guard. If you subtract the five privates who had other duties, there were only 11 privates in the company, undoubtedly short of their full capacity.

Finally there is the “vacant company” which was given that name due to the death or absence of a captain. The original muster roll and reprint, recorded in either October or November, showed the company without a captain or ensign but effectively commanded by lieutenant Levin Townsend. Like Key’s regiment, there were no desertions but two soldiers (George Wilkerson and Joseph Tallant) were on guard while James McGuire and John Synder were prisoners “with the Spaniards.” That left only 14 soldiers within the company, which again is a number lower than the full capacity of a company.

To end this section it is worth looking at the pay rolls for October 1782. These documents listed Ephraim Cunningham as injured, and listed all of the deserters:

Ephraim Tillman, Darby Riggan, James Start, James Lowe — October 9, 1782

Barnard Foster — October 10, 1782

Nathaniel Ledger, Thomas Pettit, Joshua Townsend, James Murray, James Tindell, and Daniel Jones — October 15, 1782

That’s a total of 11 deserters in October! The pay accounts also delineated the six companies and amount that was paid to those in each rank.

That brings us to the ranks from August to October 1782 document showing that the Lieutenant Colonel is paid the best and so on, with 591 pounds distributed among the men and their officers. Other documents made it clear that there was only 85 soldiers in the regiment, well short of the number to make a full and complete regiment.

December 1782

In December, the muster rolls of two companies were recorded: the “vacant company” and the other led by Caleb Jones. While the dates on both say “25 December 1783” it is clear these muster rolls really mean to say December 1782, with an error by the person writing it. For the “vacant company” little is said other than that Levin Townsend is going to England and that Daniel Fisher is in the hospital. The same goes for Caleb Jones’s company noting the enlistment of a new person as a soldier: Thomas Steeples on November 1, 1782 (further proving this muster roll is really in December 1782).

Interestingly neither muster roll shows desertion from the ranks of the respective companies. Perhaps this is due to some level of discipline within the ranks of the companies or that people had more dedication to the British crown in these companies than elsewhere.

February 1783

Lets start with Caleb Jones’s company. By February 24, 1783, nothing had changed among his ranks. But with other companies the story was different. For the “vacant company,” Daniel Fukes, a soldier, was in the general hospital while Levin Townsend, the captain, was in England.

For Dulany D. Addison, his company was very small. It only had eight individuals in all, half of which were soldiers. One man, Lewis Barrens? deserted on November 24, 1782. This likely hurt the morale in the existing company. Then there’s James Frisby’s company. Within his company, Ephraim Cunningham was promoted from serjeant to corporal, a step up in rank and pay. While no one deserted, John Coah died on February 13, 1783.

Then we get to Patrick Kennedy’s company, which had all sorts of problems. For one, Jacob Rogers and William Kelley were in the general hospital while James Orchard and James Cummins died on November 15, 1782. Additionally, Thomas Gray and Mark McNair deserted on November 24, 1782. So, his company was facing some hard times to be frank.

Finally there is Philip B. Key’s company, showing that Philip Key was still in England while George Fettiplace, then a soldier, was sick in New York. Also John Ink was apparently not working with Col. James Chalmers anymore and two individuals deserted:

James Henderson — November 3, 1782

Christian Smith — November 24, 1782

April 1783

In April there was a broad collection of muster rolls for varying companies in this regiment. Let’s start with Caleb Jones’s company. While Robert Laws and Joseph Newbourne were “on duty,” Robert Harris was promoted to serjeant, likely from his rank of private. Nothing else seems to have changed about Jones’s company by April.

As always, there is the “vacant company.” Again there were no desertions. However, Levin Townsend was in England while Ambrose Miles and Lawrence Messit were in the “general hospital.” Then there is Patrick Kennedy’s company. Apart from showing Nicholas Branch from the New Jersey volunteers (as was shown in February), Jacob Rodgers and William Kelley were in the “general hospital” while there was at least one desertion, the name(s) of which aren’t known because the paper is cut off at that point.

From here we move to muster rolls which both end in April. One covers a series of months and ends on April 24.

The first of these worth examining is for Dulany D. Addison‘s company. It again shows Lewis Barrens’s desertion and is a bit similar to the one from February, with little change. However, the second muster roll shows Jacob Ramson on duty, with no other changes.

The second of these is the muster roll of James Frisby’s company. While James Frisby was sick and Ephraim Cunningham was promoted, John Coah is noted as dying on February 13, 1783. No other changes from the previous muster roll is noted here. However, the second muster roll issued later that month notes that James Frisby resigned in March as a captain. As the previous search for Frisby turned up almost nothing, so it unlikely there are any writings, available online, about his resignation.

Finally there is Philip B. Key’s company. Again, little has changed from the previous muster roll as Philip B. Key is still in England and George Fettiplace is sick in New York. However, John Ink is again working with Col. James Chalmers but “present on parade.” The muster roll later that month is slightly different. It shows William Wells and Samuel Woodward “on guard” while John Ink is still with Col. James Chalmers, and George Fettiplace is restored to being a serjeant (by order of Col. Chalmers) even as he is still sick in New York. Nothing else seems to be changed as Philip B. Key is still in England.

June 1783

There is only one muster roll that falls into this category is for Patrick Kennedy’s company. It shows Lt. Col James Chalmers and Chaplain John Patterson in New York while William Kelley is in the “general hospital.” No other changes from the previous muster roll can be found.

Those pesky Continentals

From my research, mainly relying on articles by other scholars, there are (at least) five individuals (all soldiers) who seems to have deserted from their regiments in the Continental Army and joined the Maryland “Loyalist” Regiment.

On November 6, 1777, two men from the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment joined the MD regiment (Jacob Ringler and John Kelley), along with another man likely on that date from the same PA regiment: John Sullivan. Interestingly John Ringler deserted on February 27, 1778 from the MD Regiment and rejoined his old regiment the following month, from which he deserted in May 1778. A wild story if you tell me.

Then there’s Daniel Gill who deserted from his original regiment, and sailed with the MD regiment for Pensacola, West Florida. However, once in Jamaica, he deserted on December 16, 1778. While he did not rejoin his original regiment, he joined battalion of New Jersey Volunteers attached to provincial light infantry and proceeded to desert again on January 27, 1781.

Last but not least is Barnet Turner, whose bio I quoted earlier, talking about his possible service in the regiment:

Barnet Turner was born in 1749, in Ireland. In early 1776, at age 27, Turner enlisted as a private in Edward Veazey’s Seventh Independent Company. He was five feet, five and half inches tall…Turner served with his company at the Battle of Brooklyn in late August 1776…Turner’s fate at the Battle of Brooklyn is not known. On December 25, 1777, a man with the same name as Turner joined the Maryland Loyalists Regiment…If Turner had served in this regiment, he was there for only a short time, deserting on August 6, 1778, when it was en route to the eastern part of Long Island. Ultimately, further facts about Turner’s life cannot be ascertained.

After the war

With the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the Maryland “Loyalist” Regiment was disbanded. Many of the members of the regiment embarked for Nova Scotia (specifically New Brunswick) from New York on a ship called the HMS Martha. However, the ship wrecked in the Bay of Fundy after the captain refused to lower lifeboats until he could row away on his own, with over a hundred killed, with only 72 of the 137 Marylanders surviving. [14] As the survivors came to Nova Scotia with nothing left but promises of land and the clothes they were wearing, “cold, wet, hungry, and exhausted” while some historian declared years later: that this is “the price that came with being on the wrong side of history.” Todd W. Braisted wrote about this shipwreck specifically in the Journal of the American Revolution, telling more of the story:

…Five years later [in 1783], after campaigns primarily against the Spanish forces invading West Florida, the corps mustered less then ninety enlisted men. With preliminary articles of peace in the spring of 1783, their days as soldiers were coming to an end. And if they desired to remain living under His Majesty’s government, then they would need new homes…Those not wishing to leave received their discharges the first week of September, including sixteen of the Maryland Loyalists…Among them were 122 men, women and children from the Maryland Loyalists on the transport Martha, John Willis master…Besides the Maryland Loyalists, the Martha carried part of another Provincial regiment, DeLancey’s Brigade..,It would appear that the officers and men of the Maryland Loyalists and DeLancey’s were not the first survivors of the Martha to make it ashore…The troops from DeLancey’s would settle amongst the parishes of Northampton and Southampton, while the Maryland Loyalists drew lots on both sides of the mouth of the River Nashwaak, a tributary of the Saint John.

With this, the survivors settled in New Brunswick, specifically on the “east side of St John” and another grand near “the present town of Marysville.” [14] These who survived included Captain Caleb Jones, Philip Barton Key, “whose nephew was Francis Scott Key,” Captain Jonathan (John) Stirling who lived until age 76, dying in “St. Mary’s, York County, New Brunswick” just like his wife.

At the same time, Walter Dulany “returned to Maryland from England with his new wife, Elizabeth Brice Dulany,” in 1785, a woman who was the “widow of his uncle, Lloyd Dulany.” His wife even visited George Washington’s Mount Vernon that year, with Washington describing one of his guests as “Mrs. Dulany wife to Waltr. Dulany, lately from England came to Dinner, & stayed all Night.” I guess the fact they were on different sides during the war didn’t matter to Washington in 1785. As for James Chalmers, he was no longer welcome in the US, so he fled into exile, returning to England just like Dulaney Addison, a captain in the regiment. [16] There he rejoined the military, served as inspector general in the West Indies, did some writing and died in London in 1806, with Addison dying in the same place in 1808.

James Frisby likely went to Nova Scotia too. But he may have returned to Kent County by 1808 as a Richard Frisby, in Kent County, bought “seven negro men from James Frisby for five shillings” in 1802. In a note worth mentioning, Philip Barton Key returned to the United States and his seat in the Tenth Congress was contested since he was an “officer in the Maryland Loyalist Regiment” but he defended himself in a manner which might show a “changed viewpoint” [17]:

He said that his constituents knew the very circumstances of the follies of his early life, and his enemies had represented to them that, having been over twenty years ago in the British army, he was not a proper person to represent them. The people scouted the idea; they knew me from my infancy; but I had returned to my country, like the prodigal son to his father; had felt as an American should feel; was received, forgiven, of which the most convincing proof is my election to this house.

A conclusion

There are many other sources I could have used in this article including page 149 of Washington’s Immortals, page 49 of “Loyalists and Redcoats: A Study in British Revolutionary Policy,” and page 57 of Cliff Sloan and David McKean’s The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall, and the Battle for the Supreme Court (New York: PublicAffairs, 2010), among many others. [18] Clearly the Wikipedia pages for the “Maryland Loyalists Battalion” and James Chalmers are utterly worthless. The Maryland Historical Society has a number of records relating to Maryland sympathizers of the British Crown, as noted here, to name some of the important ones:

Fisher Transcripts – Maryland Loyalist Papers, 1771-90: transcriptions of Loyalist claims (MS360)

American Loyalist Claims (E277.C688)

Frederick County Treason Papers: Loyalist insurrection plot (MS576)

Maryland Loyalist Muster Rolls (MS548)

Meyer and Bachman, “First Battalion of Maryland Loyalists,”  Maryland Historical Magazine. Vol. 68, pp. 199-210 (MF176.M18)

Orderly Book of the “Maryland Loyalist Regiment”, June 18, 1778-Oct. 12, 1778 (MF185.M39)

Scharf Papers: Loyalist political activity during Revolution (MS1999)

Perhaps the Dulany Family Papers has something as well.

This is just a start on the Maryland Loyalist Regiment but it is something that definitely needs to be written. I look forward to your comments as always.

Update:

Searching about the Maryland “Loyalist” Regiment once again, I found another individual who has switched from a continental regiment to this regiment: John Jasper, a Marylander. He was said, as noted by research fellow Natalie Rose Miller, that he deserted from the First Maryland Regiment in early 1778 and enlisted in this regiment in May 1778, meaning that he undoubtedly fought with the regiment at Monmouth ad later at Pensacola. Apart from this, I also found one site noting the general history of the regiment:

Garrisoned Philadelphia and New York; 26 August 1776, Battle of Valley Grove Long Island; 1779-1781, Garrisoned Pensacola; 9 March-8 May 1781, Besieged at Pensacola Defeated and Surrendered to Spanish General Bernardo de Gálvez

Finally, I found a blog which chronicles the “Genealogy of United Empire Loyalists in New Brunswick, Canada” which has pages on the following members of this regiment:


Notes

[1] Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, 422; Stuart Salmon, “The Loyalist Regiments of the American Revolutionary War 1775-1783,” Ph.D Dissertation, 2009, University of Stirling,p.94.

[2] Salmon, “The Loyalist Regiments of the American Revolutionary War 1775-1783,” pp iii-vii, 55.

[3] David W. Guth, Bridging the Chesapeake: A ‘Fool Idea’ That Unified Maryland (Blomington, IN: Archway Publishing, 2017), 64.

[4] Sina Dubovoy, The Lost World of Francis Scott Key (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 53; <Sabine, The American Loyalists, 410.

[5] Sabine, The American Loyalists, 633-634, 650; Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, 336, 423, 428.

[6] The latter link cites James Moody, Lieut. James Moody’s Narrative of his Exertions and Sufferings in the Cause of Government, since the Year 1776, Richardson and Urquhart (London, 1783), 8-9.

[7] Siebert, Wilbur H. “The Loyalists in West Florida and the Natchez District.” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, vol. 2, no. 4, 1916, pp. 473;Guth, Bridging the Chesapeake, 64-65.

[8] René Chartrand, American Loyalist Troops 1775–84 (US: Osprey Publishing, 2008), 8, 14, 16; Siebert, “The Loyalists in West Florida and the Natchez District,” 474. Seibert talks about PA Loyalists at entrance to harbor

[9] Siebert, “The Loyalists in West Florida and the Natchez District,” 476.

[10] Sabine, The American Loyalists, 204; William Odber Raymond, The United Empire Loyalists, 36; Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Vol. III (Hereford: Anthony Brothers Limited, 1907), 87, 107, 280; Siebert, “The Loyalists in West Florida and the Natchez District,” 481.

[11] “Subsistence Due the Commissioned and Non Commissioned Officers and Private Men from 25th June 1782 to the 24th of August, all days included being 61 days,” August 1782, British Military and Naval Records (RG 8, C Series) – DOCUMENTS, p. 8. Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada; “Abstract of 61 Days Pay for the Commissioned Staff and Noncommissioned Officers and Private Men from the 25th of June to the 24th of August 1782, inclusive,” August 1782, British Military and Naval Records (RG 8, C Series) – DOCUMENTS, p. 9. Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada. This calculation comes from 2016 US dollars according to Measuring Worth.

[12] Lorenzo Sabine, The American Loyalists: Or, Biographical Sketches of Adherents to the British Crown in the War of the Revolution; Alphabetically Arranged; with a Preliminary Historical Essay (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1847), 60-61; Robert S. Allen, Loyalist Literature: An Annotated Bibliographic Guide to the Writings on the Loyalists of the American Revolution (Toronto: Dundurn Press Limited, 1982), 44. Other units created at the same time included the Roman Catholic Volunteers unit and the First Pennsylvania Loyalist Battalion/Regiment.

[13] For more see Ford, Paul Leicester, ed. Orderly Book of the “Maryland Loyalists Regiment” . . . 1778. Brooklyn: Historical Printing Club, 1891. The book is also mentioned here, here (full book), and here.

[14] Siebert, “The Loyalists in West Florida and the Natchez District,” 482; Guth, Bridging the Chesapeake, 65; William Odber Raymond, The United Empire Loyalists (St. Stephen, N.B.: Saint Croix Printing and Publishing Co., 1893), 38. The Provencal Archives of New Brunswick, Canada adds that “one unfortunate ship, the Martha, having on board detachments of the Maryland loyalists and of de Lancey’s third battalion, was wrecked on a ledge of rocks near Yarmouth, and out of 174 souls about 100 were lost. The other vessels arrived safely after a voyage of from ten to twelve days.”

[15] Sabine, The American Loyalists, 62, 634; Theodore Corbett, Revolutionary Chestertown: Loyalists and Rebels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2014), 120; William Odber Raymond, The United Empire Loyalists, 43.

[16] Guth, Bridging the Chesapeake, 65; Sabine, The American Loyalists, 118.

[17] Maryland in Prose and Poetry: Recitations and Readings Pertaining to the State, pp 222-223.

[18] Other sources include: Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (New York: Random House, 2016, paperback), 113-114, 155, 165, 182, 204, 215; issue 68 in 1973, article in Maryland Historical Magazine by Mayer and Bachmann titled “The First Battalion of Maryland Loyalists”); Murtie Jane Clark, Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1981), 16-17; Mary K. Meyer and Virginia B. Bachman, “Genealogica Marylandia: The First Battalion of Maryland Loyalists,” Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. 68, No. 2, summer 1973, 199, 209; M. Christopher New, Maryland Loyalists in the American Revolution (Centreville, Maryland: Tidewater Publishers, 1996), xi, xii, 20, 45-46, 49-51, 57-58, 63, 65, 82-83, 89-95, 100, 151, 148; Albert W. Haarmann, “The Siege of Pensacola: An Order of Battle,” The Florida Historical Quarterly 44, no. 3 (1966): 193-199; Timothy James Wilson, “”Old Offenders:” Loyalists in the Lower Delmarva Peninsula, 1775-1800″ (PhD diss., University of Toronto, 1998), 116, 179-180, 182-183; Richard Arthur Overfield, “Loyalists of Maryland During the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1968), 207, 214-215, 234, 237-238, 243; Robert Mann, Wartime Dissent in America: A History and Anthology (New York: Palgrave Macmillian, 2010), 15-17; David H. White, “The Spaniards and William Augustus Bowles in Florida, 1799-1803,” The Florida Historical Quarterly 54, no. 2 (1975): 145-155; Major Walter Dulany, Maryland Loyalists to General Carleton, New York 13 April 1783, PRO 30/55/10078; nd Major Walter Dulany, Maryland Loyalists to General Carleton, New York 13 April 1783, PRO 30/55/10078. Sadly I can’t access this, this or this.

“Just a rifleman”: Fusiliers and “fusees” in the Continental Army

Courtesy of page 20 of Bill Guthman’s article on arms and armaments during the Revolutionary War period. The bottom musket is a fusil.

Recently at my job as a genealogist, I found a Revolutionary War soldier who listed himself as a “fusilier” in his pension. One of the former military men at the place I work said something like (and I’m paraphrasing), “oh, that’s just a rifleman” and as a result, I didn’t add it to the description of the service performed by this soldier, who had served in the Continental Army. But it is more than something to be dismissed just like that. From looking at this site and that (dictionary sites mostly), I came up with a rough definition of a fusilier:

A soldier or infantryman with a light flintlock musket (fusil). European in origin, especially British, something just a private or British soldier of low rank. Can also refer to a rifleman or light infantry.

Still, this, and of itself does not tell about the story of fusiliers in the Continental Army, a story which is different from what I’ve previously written. Those who served in the British line, French Line (also see here and here) or “Hessian” line (also see here) are more extensively documented.

Information on fusiliers scarce but rewarding

Some have written that for the 30,000 “Hessian” soldiers fighting on the side of the British crown, “infantry troops and elite fusilier units participated in almost every campaign of the war.” But what about the continental line? The Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Army only notes that in the 1700s, a “basic infantryman replaced the four varieties of infantrymen that existed previously: pikeman, musketeer, fusilier, and grenadier” but says nothing about the Continental Army. Letters on Founders Online seem to only mention the term “fusilier” in reference to the British line (also see here) or Hessian line. Only one reported letter, other than a passing reference to a “Fusilier” company in 1775, from French Colonel Armand, called Charles Armand Tuffin, marquis de la Rouërie, to George Washington, which had a plan for “…two fusilier companies” among others as part of an organizational plan for a military corps. One website seems to hint at more involvement of fusiliers in the war against the British, saying that “German colonists in Charleston, South Carolina formed a fusilier company in 1775.” No other details are provided. Another website, reviewing a book about British fusiliers, interestingly notes that fusiliers were used by the British as shock troops, almost, against the rebelling colonists during the Revolutionary War:

Many Fusiliers — a unit name derived from fusil, a type of early flintlock musket — were trained to perfect these shock tactics that combined quick movement with a volley followed by a bayonet charge overwhelming the enemy before they could reload their muskets…the Fusiliers and other Redcoats could outfight the Rebels…Romances with American women helped take away more Fusiliers from the ranks than battles with the Continental Army…It took the influence of a former Fusilier officer, Henry Calvert, an aging Cornwallis and other British officers to reintroduce light infantry tactics.

Two pensions of soldiers who fought within the continental line name the participants as “fusiliers.” Sometimes it was even spelled “Fuzileers.”

The first is a man names James Starr living in Baltimore County, Maryland, noting that he would a fusilier in the French line. His pension says that he was a corporal “in the fusiliers in the First Partisan Legion, under my [C armand M’qis dela Rouerie] Command” and later a witness testified that he was a “Corporal in the Company Called Fusiliers stationd at York during the winter previous to the disbandment of the Revolutionary Army” commanded by a French officer. The second is for a man named John Matthews, saying he was also a part of the “company of fusiliers.”

Other records, even for the word “fusil” don’t seem to turn up relevant results, just sales of “fusils,” here, there, and everywhere. There is also other mentions of it as well. The term fusil became fusel or fuzee in English, coming from the French word of fusil as one site reports.The reality actually seems that “fusil, fuzil, and fusee are corruptions of the Italian word fucile, meaning flint.” Using the alternative spellings, it is clear that a fusil was carried by Captain John Mott when crossing the Delaware River in 1776:

Courtesy of Stryker’s The Continental Army at the Crossing of the Delaware River

It seems that at least within the Continental line those who were officers carried fusils, meaning that to call oneself a “fusilier” seemed to indicate a level of rank, specifically those who were non-commissioned officers or “noncom,” as some abbreviate it for short. Even major general John Sullivan was quoted as saying that “fusees for the Officers would be proper” but none were available at the time. They were prized enough that there is even a time when supporters of the British crown stole the “fusee” of a Continental Army general, Gold Sellick Sillman. George Washington even ordered, reportedly, the seizure of counterfeit “fusees” from France as some Continentals (and even militia) seemed to use those of Spanish manufacture.

While some describe fusils as something that was captured, the Society of Cincinnati succinctly describes them as a “smoothbore shoulder arm that was lighter and shot a smaller caliber ball than muskets in use by many British and American troops during the Revolutionary War” with officers buying fusils from France specifically.

Without going any further, it seems clear that within the Continental line there was no unit of “fusileers”/”fuzileers” but officers carried fusils (fusels, fusees and fuzees). That is what the next section is about.

Fusees in the Continental Army

Fusees were mentioned in varying revolutionary-era documents, apart from their mentions in lines other than among the continentals. David Hackett Fischer even mentions fusees, writing in Washington’s Crossing that “American troops were not properly intimidated by this weapon [Lochaber axe], and it was replaced by carbines or fusees in the New World,” with the Maryland State Archives noting that Scottish-born Maryland soldier William McMillian may have fought against his kinsmen in such regiments.

In November 1775, a Committee Report on Petition from Nova Scotia declared that fusees were among the weapons to arm two battalions:

That Said Battalions, shall be armed in the following Manner, vizt. a light Fusee, fitted for Slinging, a large Hatchet with a long Handle, and a Spear, with thirty two Rounds per Man of Ammunition.

The following year, in 1776, fusees would be among the ordinances wanted for the Continental Army. In the same document, it would declare that “if the above port-fires, tubes, and fusees can be procured ready fitted, then the articles of saltpetre, antimony, and brimstone, mentioned above, might be omitted.”An orderly book the same year would talk about the “proper Quantity of fusees.” Also, in an account of Alexander Graydon, who observed the building of Fort Washington, in 1776, said that when opposing the attack of a ruffian, that he, “clubbing his fusee, and drawing it back as if to give the blow, I fully expected it, but he contented himself with the threat.” In evacuating Fort Washington, Continental officers even dropped their fusees and cartridge boxes as they fled.

By 1777, an orderly book for the Pennsylvania State Regiment described how “the Captains and subalterns [would be] standing with their Fusees over their left arms, are to bring them to an order and take off their hats.” The same year, the new Pennsylvania government looked to disarm supporters of the British crown, with weapons including “Musquetts, Carbines, fusees, rifles, & other fire arms, & for swords & Bayonetts.”

Alexander Dow, a soldier in the Continental line, recalled his use of a fusee while fighting alongside Colonel Aaron Burr in 1777:

Our whine the moon was down, and by full consent of Officers maid seekret and sudant atack / Emagining them to be one hundred strong Coll Burr proportenad our difrent atacks in platuns, he pitched [mine?] to Enter first without aney alarm and Chalange the whole to serender which I dide that moment finding them both Brave and Obestinat, as they flew to ther arms I droped three of them with my Baynet on the musel of my fusee by this time one stout felow atackted me in the same manor But I parried him off and in his Indevering to disarm me he Bit sevral holes in the Baral of my fusee, whilst my worthey [Serjt.?] Williams Cam[e] to my releff and stabed him Dead, I then turned on another full armed who beged for mercy I bid him serender his arms to me which he did into my hand, by this time the rest of our partey had dun ther part and taken one moar prisner, with which we finding no moar Live men we Cam[e] of[f] living sixten on the Ground which had a still moar Grand Efect for by ten Oclock in the morning the whole of the Enemy were Gon [?] in Great fright / thiss was on the 13th Day of Septr 1777

Ethen Allen of the Green Mountain Boys also recalled encountering a person with a fusee, writing that “I found a sentry posted, who instantly snapped his fusee [trigger] at me; I ran immediately toward him, and he retreated through the covered way.” Israel Putnam also reportedly used a fusee as well. One account of New Jersey regiments notes that “two other officers rushed in with fusees” and another talks about Continental soldiers facing up against British who had fusees in 1775. Apparently some of Benedict Arnold’s men were also armed with fusees. George Washington even mentioned mentions “fusees” in a letter from Middlebrook, New Jersey in May 1779. Two years later, officers, who were prisoners, had to give up their “fuzees.”

Recounting the travels of Dr. Paleg Longfellow, reportedly grandfather of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Thacher wrote about the use of fusees:

The party rushed suddenly on the sentinel, who gave the alarm, and one of his comrades instantly opened the door of the kitchen, and the enemy were so near as to enter with the sentinel…General Wadsworth was provided with a pair of pistols, a blunderbuss and a fusee, which he employed with great dexterity, being determined to defend himself to the last moment. With his pistols, which he discharged several times, he defended the windows of his room, and a door which opened into the kitchen. His blunderbuss he snapped several times, but unfortunately it miss-fired. He then seized his fusee, which he discharged on some who were breaking through one of the windows, and obliged them to flee. He next defended himself with his bayonet, till he received a ball through his left arm, when he surrendered, which terminated the contest.

One magazine, Postscripts, gives a broad overview of the use of armaments by the Continentals during the Revolutionary War. It is noted that

..the Continental soldier had a motley assortment of weapons: muskets, musketoons, rifles, carbines, fusils, pistols, wall guns and artillery, with a wide variety in each type…During the 17th century a light flintlock musket or fusil had been developed for artillery guards and for the light infantry (called “fusiliers”). These were similar to their bigger counterparts in every respect except size. Infantry officers–more often in the British Army–sometimes carried such guns, however. George Washington thought that guns diverted an officer’s attention and made him less able to capitalize on the swiftly changing fluid situations that developed during a battle…In the years before the American Revolution infantry officers of every army carried the spontoon until it was supplanted by the fusil

Conclusion

Apparently a number of those within the Continental line, specifically among Washington’s officers, carried espontoons rather than fusils. They were even mentioned in article 27 of a proposed treaty with France in 1778 as “fuzees.”

Fusees would later be used in the war with Britain between 1812 and 1815, weirdly called the “war of 1812,” as one soldier, John Roads, recounted.

In the end, the story of the fusil and fusilier says something about the Continental Army and the Revolutionary War. It is an evolving story.

Milton Township and the story of the Saratoga County Almshouse in 1900

Saratoga County Alms House served Saratoga’s paupers for almost ninety years. Women lived in the east wing, men lived in the west wing, and administration operated in the center. Possibly salvaged from the 1827 Poorhouse, was a two-story frame house. Barns and farm outbuildings were located to the north. The Almshouse was demolished in 1960. Today, on the site, are located both the Saratoga County Jail and Sheriff’s Department, along with the Saratoga County Highway Department. Photograph is courtesy of the Saratoga County Historical Society. Here is a related postcard.

Recently as I was doing research updating genealogy of my mom’s family by my grandfather, using varied resources on the internet and photographs I have at my disposal, I stumbled across a list of “inmates” in Milton Township, within New York’s Saratoga County. These men were part of the “Saratoga County Alms House.” The 1900 U.S. Federal Census gives an opening into this history of this facility, telling more of the story.

This census shows 62-year-old married man named Charles Spaulding as the superintendent of the house, along with his 36-year-old wife Carolina as a matron. He is also living with his daughter Elizabeth (age 22), a dress maker, his son Charles G. (age 16) at school, a 27-year-old named Edward Lapoint as Assistant Superintendent, Florence Morehouse as a 28-year-old cook, Margaret Willis as a 31-year-old housekeeper and her recently born daughter, Edith M. Most of these individuals, with the except of Spaulding, were born in New York, who was born in Vermont.

Then we get to the 70 inmates of this poorhouse/almshouse. Most of them, apart from five Black Men, were White. The majority of those in this facility were also male (46 of them), but a significant number were female (23 of them). In terms of their age, of those whose age was known, they averaged at 66 years old, if you round down. [1] Of the eight individuals whose year of immigration was known, they generally came in approximately 1851 to the United States. The facility, however, consisted of many foreign-born individuals:

*only includes those whose birthplace is known.

In 1864, this same almhouse was crowded, with “lunatic inmates” with some in restraints, a supply of water but “no bath tub” along with no “ventilation or uniformity of heat in winter” and the house is “old and badly dilapidated” with rooms that are “out of repair, and the air in the sleeping rooms most foul and noisome” but it is is “kept in as good order as possible.” This same assessment said that there was no improvement between 1857 and 1864. It is known how much these conditions changed or stayed the same between 1864 and 1900. The placed seemed to change, since one 1907 article titled “Supervisors in Session” declared that the facility is one the best in New York State, saying:

“the general air of the almshouse is homelike and not institutional, and the institution is managed economically and thoughtfully.”

Add to this a 1907 report by the State Board of Charities of New York State notes the facility sits on a 127 acre farm and has a capacity of 150 people. This report notes that the facility consists of varied buildings, with recent improvements, steam heating, electric lighting, and adequate ventilation. Buttressing this a 1904 note that the facility was exhibited by the State Board of Charities. Being that the case, it was not “hellish” like it had been in 1864. Other reports add that there were many persons they considered “feeble-minded or idiotic” (whether they were accurate or not in this assessment is not known) within the facility, but that this is not the majority. This facility was also different than that in 1864 because this almhouse replaced the one is disrepair in 1876, the same one described as horrible in a paragraph noted above.

Other than this, little is known about the almshouse. It clearly occupied a “central position” in Millston, aiming for the “accommodation of the poor of both towns” with an “agent resident in the house, who keeps an account of all disbursements which he is to render to the overseers.” A 1910 table of the U.S. Census table of “Paupers in almhouses” lists 100 individuals as within, an increase from 70 in 1900, in the Saratoga County Almshouse. One photograph of the almshouse in 1903 makes it seem desolate but tidy, if that makes sense:

Courtesy of Harvard College.

 

Even though little is known, with not many hints on genealogical websites, the historian’s office of Millstone, New York, Ballston Spa Public Library’s collections, even a back-and-forth discussion on an ancestry.com forum gives some clues, but doesn’t provide much. There is no doubt that those who were considered “different” like those who were transgender but seen by medical and enforcement bodies as having “mental issues.” However, if the facilities were anything like the almshouse in Schenectady County, the keeper of the poor house (in this case  the superintendent) provided “food and clothing for the inmates” and there were weekly examinations of “the management, condition, and usage” of the area by inmates. These facilities were also, like those in Maryland, “primary public institution[s] for the destitute,” lasting for many years. This facility was undoubtedly different than the Philadelphia Bettering House in which sickened Maryland soldiers spent time during the Revolutionary War. Virginia Commonwealth University succinctly summarizes poorhouses or almshouses, while relating it to New York in a sense:

In 1824, New York State enacted the County Poorhouse Act, a measure that directed each county to erect one or more poorhouses to care for the “worthy poor.” Expenses for building and maintaining these institutions were to be paid by tax funds levied by the county government. About the time the Civil War ended, a number of state institutions were being erected to care for specific populations deemed unsuitable for being cared for in county poor houses, e.g., the insane, the disabled, children, women.

That does not mean that the facilities were always in the best interest of these individuals but they served a societal purpose to those who wanted to keep “different”/”unsuitable” people off the streets. In that way, it pushed away social problems to a place where people couldn’t see them, allowing them to ignore glaring inequities and inequalities in their societies.

While the New York Censuses of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses from 1830-1920 could contain valuable information about the Saratoga County Almshouse (like this entry), in this case, it is better to look at the census itself. [2] This census shows that those in the town were working class. They were lumbermen, saw mill laborers, teamsters, farm laborers, farmers, miller, ice taker, and so on. This article is only dipping one’s toe into the sea of research, but it provides a start into this important topic.

Notes

[1] If you round down from 66.3555555555555556.

[2] Then historian of Saratoga County, Lauren Roberts, even found “a book of the county’s poorhouse records dating back to mid-1800s. The book is kept in a basement vault with other irreplaceable records and lists the names and vital information of hundreds of children who were left at facilities in Saratoga County and surrounding areas because their parents died or were unable to care for them.” Sadly, this cannot be used here as it is in the wrong time period, but is worth study in the future. However, one ledger of “Paupers Admitted to the Poor House” of Saratoga from November 1893 to October 1935 has been given to the county historian of Saratoga County. That could add more information about this facility’s inmates.

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

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

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

John McCay and William Simmons: brothers-in-arms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The wild story of Philip Huston

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

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

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

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

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

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

William Elkins, non-existent discharge papers

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

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

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

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

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

John Shanks and William Groves of Anne Arundel County

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

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

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

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

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

Jesse Boswell of Port Tobacco and Giles Thomas of Charles County

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Gadd of Queen Anne’s County

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

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

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

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

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

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

The story of John Newton

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

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

The post-war years, 1790-1800

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

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

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

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

Into the 1810s

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

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

Courtesy of Google Maps.

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

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

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

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

The year of 1818

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ohioans: William Elkins  in 1820

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

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

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

The Virginians: Giles Thomas and William Patton in 1820

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of New River Notes.

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

The Pennsylvanians: Philip Huston/Houston in 1820

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

Map of Buffalo township. Courtesy of Google Maps.

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

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

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

Continuing the story of Jesse Boswell

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Family Search

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

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

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

John Shanks, Kentucky man

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

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

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

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

McCay in Ohio and Thomas in Virginia in 1830

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

Map of Warwick Township. Courtesy of Google Maps.

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

Giles Thomas, a Virginian, and Thomas Gadd, Marylander

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

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

Courtesy of Find A Grave

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

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

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

Hence, he could have died in 1834 after all.

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

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

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

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

Map of Wythe County Virginia. Courtesy of Google Maps.

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

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

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

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

Concluding words

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond the pension

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The mid-1810s and into the 1820s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jumping forward to the 1830s

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

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

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

The second paragraph is where Middleton is mentioned.

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

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

Into the 1840s

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

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

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

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

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

After his death

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

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

Notes

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

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

[3] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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