Dakota War of 1862

The Dakota War of 1862, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux (also known as eastern Dakota). It began on Aug 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota. It ended with a mass execution of 38 Dakota men   in Mankato, Minnesota.  This event took place 150 years ago this month (December 26, 1862), and was the largest mass execution in American history.

The U.S.-Dakota War was largely overshadowed by the Civil War raging to the south.  It is mostly unknown today. In an American Life Story, Ira talks to John Biewen about how remarkable it is that he could grow up in a town and never learn about the most significant event in its history.

“Execution of the thirty-eight Sioux Indians at Mankato, Minnesota, December, 26, 1862.” Milwaukee: The Milwaukee Litho & Engr. Co., 1883. Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1883 by John C. Wise in the office of the librarian of Congress at Washington


Little Crow is notable for his role in the negotiation of the Treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota of 1851, in which he agreed to the movement of his band of the Dakota to a reservation near the Minnesota River in exchange for goods and certain other rights. However, the government reneged on its promises to provide food and annuities to the tribe.

Throughout the late 1850s, treaty violations by the United States and late or unfair annuity payments by Indian agents caused increasing hunger and hardship among the Dakota. Traders with the Dakota previously had demanded that the government give the annuity payments directly to them (introducing the possibility of unfair dealing between the agents and the traders to the exclusion of the Dakota). In mid-1862 the Dakota demanded the annuities directly from their agent, Thomas J. Galbraith. The traders refused to provide any more supplies on credit under those conditions, and negotiations reached an impasse.

The Dakota War took place in the Minnesota River Valley


On August 16, 1862, the treaty payments to the Dakota arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota, and were brought to Fort Ridgely the next day. They arrived too late to prevent violence. On August 17, 1862, four young Dakota men were on a hunting trip in Acton Township, Minnesota, during which one stole eggs and then killed five white settlers. Soon after, a Dakota war council was convened and their leader, Little Crow, agreed to continue attacks on the European-American settlements to try to drive out the whites.

Taoyateduta known as Chief Little Crow (~1810 – 1863)

On August 18, 1862, Little Crow led a group that attacked the Lower Sioux (or Redwood) Agency. Andrew Myrick was among the first who were killed. He was discovered trying to escape through a second-floor window of a building at the agency. Myrick’s body later was found with grass stuffed into his mouth. The warriors burned the buildings at the Lower Sioux Agency, giving enough time for settlers to escape across the river at Redwood Ferry. Minnesota militia forces and B Company of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment sent to quell the uprising were defeated at the Battle of Redwood Ferry. Twenty-four soldiers, including the party’s commander (Captain John Marsh), were killed in the battle. Throughout the day, Dakota war parties swept the Minnesota River Valley and near vicinity, killing many settlers. Numerous settlements including the Townships of Milford, Leavenworth and Sacred Heart, were surrounded and burned and their populations nearly exterminated.

Settlers who’d fled the Dakota attacks in 1862. Source: Adrian J. Ebell, Minnesota Historical Society

Confident with their initial success, the Dakota continued their offensive and attacked the settlement of New Ulm, Minnesota, on August 19, 1862, and again on August 23, 1862. Dakota warriors initially decided not to attack the heavily defended Fort Ridgely along the river. They turned toward the town, killing settlers along the way. By the time New Ulm was attacked, residents had organized defenses in the town center and were able to keep the Dakota at bay during the brief siege. Dakota warriors penetrated parts of the defenses enough to burn much of the town.  By that evening, a thunderstorm dampened the warfare, preventing further Dakota attacks.

Regular soldiers and militia from nearby towns (including two companies of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry then stationed at Fort Ridgely) reinforced New Ulm. Residents continued to build barricades around the town.

During this period, the Dakota attacked Fort Ridgely on August 20 and 22, 1862. Although the Dakota were not able to take the fort, they ambushed a relief party from the fort to New Ulm on August 21. The defense at the Battle of Fort Ridgely further limited the ability of the American forces to aid outlying settlements. The Dakota raided farms and small settlements throughout south central Minnesota and what was then eastern Dakota Territory.

Minnesota militia counterattacks resulted in a major defeat of American forces at the Battle of Birch Coulee on Sep  2, 1862. The battle began when the Dakota attacked a detachment of 150 American soldiers at Birch Coulee, 16 miles from Fort Ridgely. The detachment had been sent out to find survivors, bury American dead and report on the location of Dakota fighters. A three-hour firefight began with an early morning assault. Thirteen soldiers were killed and 47 were wounded, while only two Dakota were killed. A column of 240 soldiers from Fort Ridgely relieved the detachment at Birch Coulee the same afternoon.

Further north, the Dakota attacked several unfortified stagecoach stops and river crossings along the Red River Trails, a settled trade route between Fort Garry (now Winnipeg and Saint Paul  in the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota and eastern Dakota Territory. Many settlers and employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company and other local enterprises in this sparsely populated country took refuge in Fort Abercrombie, located in a bend of the Red River of the North about 25 miles  south of present-day Fargo, North Dakota. Between late August and late September, the Dakota launched several attacks on Fort Abercrombie; all were repelled by its defenders.

In the meantime steamboat and flatboat trade on the Red River came to a halt. Mail carriers, stage drivers and military couriers were killed while attempting to reach settlements such as Pembina, North Dakota, Fort Garry, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and Fort Snelling. Eventually the garrison at Fort Abercrombie was relieved by a U.S. Army company from Fort Snelling, and the civilian refugees were removed to St. Cloud.

Due to the demands of the  Civil War, the region’s representatives had to repeatedly appeal for aid before Pres. Abraham Lincoln formed the Department of the Northwest on Sep 6, 1862, and appointed Gen. John Pope to command it with orders to quell the violence. He led troops from the 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment and 4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The 9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment and 10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which were still being constituted, had troops dispatched to the front as soon as Companies were formed.

After the arrival of a larger army force, the final large-scale fighting took place at the Battle of Wood Lake on Sep  23, 1862.   After brief fighting, the forces in the skirmish line charged against the Dakota (then in a ravine) and defeated them overwhelmingly.


Most Dakota fighters surrendered shortly after the Battle of Wood Lake at Camp Release on Sep  26, 1862. The place was so named because it was the site where the Dakota released 269 European-American captives to the troops commanded by Col. Henry Sibley. The captives included 162 “mixed-bloods” (mixed-race, some likely descendants of Dakota women who were mistakenly counted as captives) and 107 whites, mostly women and children. Most of the warriors were imprisoned before Sibley arrived at Camp Release. The surrendered Dakota warriors were held until military trials took place in Nov  1862.

Little Crow was forced to retreat sometime in September 1862. He stayed briefly in Canada but soon returned to the Minnesota area. He was killed on July 3, 1863, near Hutchinson, Minnesota, while gathering raspberries with his teenage son. The pair had wandered onto the land of white settler Nathan Lamson, who shot at them to collect bounties. For killing Little Crow, the state granted Lamson an additional $500 bounty. For his part in the warfare, Little Crow’s son was sentenced to death by a military tribunal, a sentence then commuted to a prison term.

There has never been an official report on the number of settlers killed, although as many as over 800 settlers have been cited. Over the next several months, continued battles between the Dakota against settlers and later, the United States Army, ended with the surrender of most of the Dakota bands. By late Dec 1862, soldiers had taken captive more than a thousand Dakota, who were interned in jails in Minnesota.

Our 1862 Minnesota Ancestors, Uncles and Cousins

Our Settlers

Guilford Dudley Coleman, Anoka, MN ca. 1880. Blacksmith –  Predates “Fear the Beard” Brian Wilson of the SF Giants by 130 years).

In the 1860 census, my 2nd Great Grandparents Guilford Dudley COLEMAN (1832 – 1903) and  Ellen Celeste WEBBER (twin of Emma) (1835-1881) and their son Dana were living in Anoka, Anoka, Minnesota where Guilford was a blacksmith.

G.D. and Ellen emigrated from Maine to Anoka, Minnesota in 1856.   G.D. was a blacksmith and an owner and driver of fine horses.   He could drive his horse , Tony, by simple, quiet tones as “Turn to the left, Tony”, or “Turn to the right, Tony”.   He wrote in 1900 (age 68) that he couldn’t shoe 200 horses in four weeks like he used to.

Ellen  was educated in a New England “Female Seminary” and wrote beautifully and expressed herself elegantly. Since her family disapproved of her marrying Guilford Dudley, my grandmother believed they eloped when they emigrated to Minnesota. He was young and poor.

Ellen Celeste Coleman ca. 1870

Ellen came to Minnesota as a bride with several nice dresses.  Ellen’s sister Esther sent her a dress of her own, the beauty of which is rarely seen.  It was a changeable silk of grey and pink made in the mode of that period, tight bodice with very full skirt, flowing sleaves with fringe of the same shade.

Ellen Celeste Webber Coleman. About 1880.

Ellen had excellent taste and she loved nice things, but she didn’t have them in Minnesota as she had had as a girl in Vassalboro.  Guilford Dudley was a good man and did the best he could to provide for his family.

1 Dec 1862 Anoka, MN, Extract of Letter from Ellen to her mother Abigail.  Ellen wrote beautifully and expressed herself elegantly, though it appears frontier life didn’t entirely agree with her.

The prices of dry goods and groceries in short, everything, we need are really frightfully high.  Common factory cloth is 35 cents a yard, prints $0.23, flannel $0.75 delaines $0.35 and $0.40, etc.

But business is very good and wages high.  Guilford had 40 dollars per month offered him to drive a horse team this winter in the pinery, but concluded he could do much better to attend to his own business.

We have no fears of the Indians now.  About 200 of the Sioux are at Fort Snelling now, think we shall go down and see them this winter.  Many of them have been tried, found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, but the President will not give his consent.  Petitions are being sent asking him that justice should be done if the civil authorities do not execute them, the people are determined to sweep them from the face of the earth.  An old acquaintance of ours, now a soldier, stopped two days with us two weeks ago.  He was just from the Indian Country and of course we made many questions to ask, he says there have been 2000 people killed by them and Oh they have been so cruel.

Blue Earth River Basin

The Minnesota River valley and surrounding upland prairie areas were abandoned by most settlers during the war. Many of the families who fled their farms and homes as refugees never returned. Following the Civil War, however, the area was resettled. By the mid-1870s, it was again being used for agriculture. I’m not including our numerous Anoka, Stillwater and Minneapolis relatives.  Some of the kin below were in the war zone  in 1862 and the rest were certainly there in the early 1870’s.

Seth RICHARDSON II’s granddaughter Mary “Polly” Richardson (1799 in Attleborough, Mass. -1888 Owatonna, Steele, Minnesota) ; m. 1 Sep 1822 in Vassalboro, Kennebec Co., Maine to Serenus A. Farrington ( 1799 Maine –  1888 Minneapolis)

In the 1860 census, Mary and Serenus were farming in Otisco, Waseca, Minnesota, 35 miles southeast of Mankato.  They were two of the early settlers of Otisco in 1857, where they lived thirteen years. He then moved with his wife to Owatonna.

Seth RICHARDSON III’s son Ira Richardson (1819 Vassalboro, Maine – 1910 Lacomb, Oregon) In the 1860 census, Ira was a shoemaker in Otisco, Waseca, Minnesota, 35 miles southeast of Mankato.

Isaac MILLER’s daughter Hannah was born 3 May 1820 Northampton New Brunswick, Canada. She married John Grant.  Hannah died died 30  May 1885  Kasota Hill Cemetery, Le Sueur County Minnesota (25 miles north of Mankato)

The Grants lived in Canterbury,New Brunswick before immigrating to Wisconsin and Minnesota by covered wagon in 1848. John was a Tanner and farmer. It was reported that two of his sons were such large men, they were obliged to make their own boots. On their journey westward, John and Hannah visited for some time with her mother, Harriet, and stepfather Tristram Hillman in Utica, NY.   Tristram and Harriet are found on the 1850 census of that town.All of Hannah’s brothers and sisters also moved to the U.S. about this time. The Grants second stop was at Lemonweir Wisconsin before moving on to Winnebago, Martin County, Minnesota in 1862.  Winnebago is 35 miles south of Mankato.

Canterbury NB  Mile 0
Utica NY Mile 638
Lemonweir WI  Mile 1578
Winnebago, MN Mile 1813

Joseph COLEMAN’s granddaughter Mercy Ann Sturges (830 in Vassalboro, Maine -1904 in Lewiston, Maine) married  18 Jul 1888 Age: 57 Madelia, Watonwan, Minnesota to Manoah Delling (1819 Madelia, Minnesota – 5 Nov 1892) He first married Hester Eliza Vought (b. ~1818 in New York – d. 1886 in Madelia) Madelia is 25 miles west southwest of Mankato.

Manoah and Hester Delling ca 1870

Joseph COLEMAN’s granddaughter Hannah Jennie Sturges ( 1832 in Vassalboro,  Maine – 1909 in Augusta  Maine) married  22 Dec 1869 Age: 37 Androscoggin, Maine to Harrison Pullen Gilbert (1816 in Kingfield,, Maine –  1898 in Madelia, Watonwan, Minnesota)

In the 1860 census,  H P Gilbert was farming in Madelia, Brown, Minnesota 25 miles west southwest of Mankato.

In the 1880 census, Hannah J and Harrison were farming in Madelia, Watonwan, Minnesota.

Isaac MILLER’s granddaughter Mariah Grant (1841 in Canterbury, New Brunswick – Aft 1880 census) m1. 1865 in Minnesota to Frank Durant (1844 – ); m2. Henry (Elias) Belnap (b. 1820 New York)  In the 1870 census, Mariah Durant was living next to her father John Grant in Nashville, Martin, Minnesota with three small children and no husband at home,  Martin County is on the Iowa border 50 miles southwest of Mankato.

Abraham ESTEY’s and  Isaac MILLER’s grandson Colin John Estey ( 1849,  Winnebago, Wisconsin – 1902 Pocahontas, Iowa;) first married 3 Apr 1874  in Mankato, Blue Earth, Minnesota to Henretta C. [__?__] (b. 1839 Pennsylvania- d. Aft 1910 census ); m2. abt 1900 to Minnie C [__?__] (b. Jan 1872 Iowa) Her father was born in Denmark and her mother in Illinois.

Isaac MILLER’s granddaughter Albertha J. Grant ( 1851 New Brunswick, Canada –  1948   St. Paul, MinnesotaO) married  29 Nov 1874, Blue Earth Co., Minn to Millard Boyden (1845, in Rochester, NY –   1903 in Cumberland, Wisconsin.)

Isaac MILLER’ grandson Leonard Jarvis Grant ( 1845   Canterbury, New Brunswick –  1926   Prairie, Montana); m. 10 Jun 1873 in Kasota, Le Sueur, Minnesota to Alwilda “Polly” Shaw.    Leonard  came to the United States in 1859 and to Minnesota in 1862

Our Soldiers

Dudley COLEMAN’s son-in-law  Milton David Lapham  (1827 in Minot, Maine – 1899 in Anoka, Minnesota)   enlisted as a Sargent in Company C, 1st Minnesota Volunteer Cavalry Regiment  the “Mounted Rangers” on 17 Oct 1862.  He mustered out on 31 Oct 1863.

First Cavalry.–Col., Samuel McPhaill; Lieut.-Col., William Pfaender; Majs., John H. Parker, Solomon S. Buell, Orrin T. Hayes. This regiment was made up of twelve companies, organized in the fall of 1862 and was composed largely of men who had lost their wives, children or relatives in the Sioux massacre the previous August and September.

The first battalion of three companies was sent out as soon as organized for guard and patrol duty. In the spring of 1863 nine companies under Col. McPhaill assembled at Camp Pope for the campaign of the Missouri, the other three companies remaining for patrol duty. The regiment was in the Battle of Big Mound., where the 1st battalion led the attack. It fought its way up the steep hill, put the Indians to flight and followed them for 15 miles. The regiment was in the Battle of Dead Buffalo Lake, and was at Stony lake, when the Indians attacked in great force. It reached the Missouri July 29, and returned to Fort Abercrombie. Col. McPhaill, with several companies of cavalry, was sent to Fort Ridgely, which place he reached Sept. 1. The 1st battalion was sent to Fort Ripley and the various companies of the 1st cavalry were mustered out during the fall and winter of 1863-64.

Hendrik TURK’s grandson-in-law Harvey Terpenning (1820 Cortland, NY –  1899 in Geneva, Ashtabula, OH)  enlisted in Company I, Iowa 6th Cavalry Regiment on Feb 2 1863 and mustered out  Oct 17 1865 at Sioux City, IA.

Moved to Sioux City, Dakota, March 16-April 26, 1863. Operations against hostile Indians about Fort Randall May and June. Moved to Fort Pierre, and duty there until July. Sully’s Expedition against hostile Sioux Indians August 13-September 11. Actions at White Stone Hill September 3 and 5. Duty at Fort Sully, Fort Randall and Sioux City until June, 1864. Sully’s Expedition against hostile Sioux Indians June 26-October 8. Engagement at Tah kah a kuty July 28. Two Hills, Bad Lands, Little Missouri River, August 8. Expedition from Fort Rice to relief of Fisk’s Emigrant train September 11-30. Fort Rice September 27. Duty by Detachments at Fort Randall, Sioux City, Fort Berthold, Yankton and the Sioux and Winnebago Indian Agencies until October, 1865. Mustered out October 17, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 1 Officer and 21 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 74 Enlisted men by disease. Total 97.

William LATTA’s son Dr. William Story Latta (1826-1903) was a Physician,  Army surgeon,  President National E. Medical Association,  President State Medical Association,  Dean of Medical Facility,  Professor of Pathology and Microscopy at Nebraska Christian University and Dean of Medical Faculty at Cotner University at Lincoln, Neb.  Editor Nebraska Medical Journal in 1891.   He went to Stockton, Calif. October 7, 1904.

William Story Latta MD

William was mayor of Rock Bluff Nebraska when Sidney and Calista MINER moved there.  He came to Plattsmouth, Neb., April 17, 1857, locating at Rock Bluff, Cass County, where he resided sixteen years, excepting two that he served in the army.

He was also a member of the Sixth Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Nebraska, which met in Omaha in December of 1859.

When the Civil War broke out, Dr. Latta enlisted as a private in the 2nd Nebraska Cavalry, and was commissioned Assistant Surgeon for the Second Nebraska Cavalry Regiment . He was chief surgeon over all the territory from Brownville, Nebraska north through the Dakotas. In 1862 he established the first military hospital at Omaha, and in 1863 went into active field service.  He was mustered out in 1864.

The unit was initially organized at Omaha, Nebraska on October 23, 1862 as a nine-month regiment, and served for over one year. They were attached to General Sully’s command, who was in a campaign against Indians in Western Nebraska and Dakota, who were forced to move south from Minnesota following the Dakota War of 1862.

The 2nd Nebraska participated in the Battle of Whitestone Hill,   (Dakota Territory
Present-day Dickey County, North Dakota)  which began on September 3, 1863 when General Sully’s troops engaged upwards of 2,000 warriors under Chief Two Bears of the Yanktonai Sioux. Of the 20 US troops killed in the battle, seven were from the Second Nebraska.  Fourteen from the unit were also wounded in the action. The regiment was mustered out December 23, 1863. A number of its veterans were re-enlisted in the 1st Battalion Nebraska Veteran Volunteer Cavalry, which served until 1865 when it was merged with the 1st Nebraska Cavalry Regiment.

Operations Against the Sioux in North Dakota

The Battle of Whitestone Hill was the culmination of operations against the Sioux Indians in Dakota Territory in 1863. Brigadier General Alfred Sully attacked a village September 3–5, 1863. The Indians in the village included Yanktonai, Santee, and Teton (Lakota) Sioux. Sully killed, wounded, or captured 300 to 400 Sioux, including women and children, at a cost of about 60 casualties.

William Story Latta was a regimental army surgeon at the Battle of White Stone Hill

On the day of the battle, Sully arrived about 6 p.m. on the ridge overlooking the large, much dispersed Indian encampment. He estimated that only 600 to 700 of his men were present. He saw the Sioux packing up their tipis and departing and concluded that the Indians were more inclined to flee than fight. Sully’s objective was to “corral” the Indians and he deployed his force to cut off their escape routes and to advance on the village. He sent Colonel Wilson and the 6th Iowa to his right flank and Colonel Furnas and the 2nd Nebraska to his left to occupy several ravines which offered the Sioux an opportunity to conceal themselves from the soldiers and escape. Covered on both flanks, Sully with three companies and artillery advanced into the encampment without serious opposition. Two chiefs, Little Head and Big Head, and about 150 of their followers surrendered. Because of the close quarters and chaotic nature of the battlefield, Sully was unable to use his artillery.

Many of the Sioux were caught between the Sixth Iowa and the Second Nebraska, with the Iowa soldiers advancing on foot and pushing the Sioux into the arms of the Nebraskans who exchanged fire with the Indians at a range of only 60 yards. With darkness approaching, however, Colonel Wilson of the Sixth Iowa ordered an ill-advised mounted charge with one battalion. However, in his haste he failed to order some of his men to load their weapons and heavy fire from the Sioux caused the cavalry horses to bolt and the charge to break down. The battalion fell back and took up defensive positions on foot.

On the left, Colonel Furnas also withdrew his Nebraskans to a defensive position, fearing friendly fire and losing control of his soldiers in the increasing darkness. The soldiers spent a harrowing night, “the Indians pillaged the battlefield and scalped the dead soldiers; squaws were screaming and wailing” and a wounded soldier screamed for help but the soldiers thought he was a decoy to lure them out of their defenses. They found him next morning, still alive but dying from lacerations inflicted by the Indians.   The Sioux escaped in the darkness.

The next morning the camp was empty of Indians except for the dead and a few lost children and women. Sully sent out patrols to attempt to locate the fleeing Sioux but they found few Indians. Sully ordered all the Indian property abandoned in the camp to be burned. This included 300 tipis and 400,000 to 500,000 pounds of dried buffalo meat, the winter supplies of the Indians and the product of 1,000 butchered buffalo

Union casualties were approximately 22 killed and 38 wounded. Some probably resulted from friendly fire. No reliable estimates of Sioux killed and wounded are available, with estimates ranging from 100 to 300, including women and children. Captured Sioux totaled 156, including 32 adult males. Indian sources often call Whitestone Hill a “massacre” with Sully attacking a “peaceful camp” and killing a large number of women and children. One of Sully’s interpreters, Samuel J. Brown, a mixed-blood Sioux, said “it was a perfect massacre” and “lamentable to hear how those women and children was massacred.” The contrary view is that Sully had a “long demonstrated concern for the Indians and a spotless record of honor and integrity.” The substantial casualties of the soldiers demonstrate, in the opinion of some historians, that Whitestone Hill was a battle, not a massacre.

Due to the poor condition of his horses and mules and his lack of supplies, Sully was unable to pursue the Sioux. About 600 Sioux, mostly Santee, took refuge in Canada after the battle. They were followed by 3,000 more in 1864. Minnesota expelled all Sioux, including those who had not participated in the Dakota War of 1862 and, also, expelled the friendly Winnebago. The State confiscated and sold all Sioux land in the state. Soon, only 25 Santee, steadfast friends of the whites, were allowed to live in the state.

After mustering out with the 2nd Nebraska in December 1864, William Story Lattta returned to his practice at Rock Bluff, where he remained for sixteen years. There he acquired an excellent reputation, and performed many major operations.

William L LATTA’s  grandson Judge Samuel Nichols Latta (1818 in Lattasville, Ohio – 1880 – Leavenworth,, Kansas) was a leader during the Bleeding Kansas series of violent political confrontations involving anti-slavery Free-Staters and pro-slavery “Border Ruffian” elements, that took place in the Kansas Territory and the neighboring towns of Missouri between 1854 and 1861  During the summer of 1855, he was recognized as a leader of the Free State party, and, in the fall of that year, was elected a member of the convention which framed the Topeka constitution.

After the success, of the Free State and Republican party, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln, recognizing the services of Judge Latta in behalf of freedom, appointed  him agent of the Indians of the Upper Missouri, in which capacity he had charge of the seven tribes of Sioux Indians, the Arickarows, Mandans, Growvouts,  Assinibones and Crows, extending up the Missouri river from Fort Randall, Dakota, to near Fort Benton, Montana, holding the office from 1861 till  the fall of 1866.

Joseph COLEMAN’s grandson-in-law Leonard Mooers (1818  Maine –  1890 in Minnesota) enlisted in Company D, Minnesota 10th Infantry Regiment on 21 Aug 1862. Company D, Captain W.W. Phelps; Company D, under Captain Phelps was stationed at Henderson MN.  Mustered out on 21 Mar 1865 at Keokuk, IA.

The 10th Minnesota  had troops dispatched to the Dakota War front as soon as Companies were formed.

Two years later, the 10th Minnesota’s charge up the slope and capture of Shy’s Hill was a turning point in the  Battle of Nashville Dec 15-16 1864   It was one of the largest victories achieved by the Union Army during the war, representing the end of large-scale fighting in the Western Theater of the Civil War and  largely destroying Hood’s army as an effective fighting force.


In early December, 303 Sioux prisoners were convicted of murder and rape by military tribunals and sentenced to death.   Some trials lasted less than 5 minutes. No one explained the proceedings to the defendants, nor were the Sioux represented by a defense in court. President Abraham Lincoln personally reviewed the trial records to distinguish between those who had engaged in warfare against the U.S., versus those who had committed crimes of rape and murder against civilians.

Henry Whipple, the Episcopal bishop of Minnesota and a reformer of U.S. policies toward Native Americans, first wrote an open letter and then went to Washington DC in the Fall of 1862 to urge Lincoln to proceed with leniency.  On the other hand, General Pope and Minnesota Senator Morton S. Wilkinson told him that leniency would not be received well by the white population. Governor Ramsey warned Lincoln that, unless all 303 Sioux were executed, “[P]rivate revenge would on all this border take the place of official judgment on these Indians.” In the end, Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 264 prisoners, but he allowed the execution of 39 men.

Lincoln wrote to state leaders that he was “anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak … nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty.”

This clemency resulted in protests from Minnesota, which persisted until the Secretary of the Interior offered white Minnesotans “reasonable compensation for the depredations committed.” Republicans did not fare as well in Minnesota in the 1864 election as they had before. Ramsey (by then a senator) informed Lincoln that more hangings would have resulted in a larger electoral majority. The President reportedly  replied “I could not afford to hang men for votes.”


The lithograph below was printed on the 20th anniversary of the execution, in 1883; newspaperman John C. Wise, who founded several papers in Mankato, claimed the copyright. It’s unclear how this image would have been distributed, but it seems fair to assume that Wise would have sold copies for wall display in Mankato.

The subject of the scene is less the execution itself and more the orderliness of the troops and citizen onlookers ranged around the execution platform. Before the execution, the governor of Minnesota had to beg his people to forswear vigilante justice against the prisoners; the arrangement of the scene served as proof that this entreaty worked.

Several witnesses mentioned that the Sioux held hands as they were executed. If you zoom into the lithograph, you can see that this detail didn’t make it into the visual record; the figures stand, arms stiffly held at their sides.

The mass execution was performed publicly on a single scaffold platform. After regimental surgeons pronounced the prisoners dead, they were burieden masse in a trench in the sand of the riverbank. Before they were buried, an unknown person nicknamed “Dr. Sheardown” possibly removed some of the prisoners’ skin,   Small boxes purportedly containing the skin later were sold in Mankato.

At least two Sioux leaders, Little Six and Medicine Bottle, escaped to Canada. They were captured, drugged and returned to the United States. They were hanged at Fort Snelling in 1865


The remaining convicted Indians stayed in prison that winter. The following spring they were transferred to Camp McClellan in Davenport, Iowa, where they were held in prison for almost four years. By the time of their release, one third of the prisoners had died of disease. The survivors were sent with their families to Nebraska. Their families had already been expelled from Minnesota.

1864 Little Crow’s wife and two children at Fort Snelling prison compound.

During this time, more than 1600 Dakota women, children and old men were held in an internment camp on Pike Island, near Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Living conditions and sanitation were poor, and infectious disease struck the camp, killing more than three hundred.

1862  Dakota Internment camp at Pike Island on the Minnesota River below Fort Snelling, Minnesota Photographer: Benjamin Franklin Upton (1818-)

In April 1863 the U.S. Congress abolished the reservation, declared all previous treaties with the Dakota null and void, and undertook proceedings to expel the Dakota people entirely from Minnesota. To this end, a bounty of $25 per scalp was placed on any Dakota found free within the boundaries of the state.  The only exception to this legislation applied to 208 Mdewakanton, who remained neutral or assisted white settlers in the conflict.

In May 1863 Dakota survivors were forced aboard steamboats and relocated to the Crow Creek Reservation, in the southeastern Dakota Territory, a place stricken by drought at the time. Many of the survivors of Crow Creek moved three years later to the Niobrara Reservation in Nebraska.

After suffering a long internment at Fort Snelling, the Dakota and Winnebago peoples were forcefully removed,  precipitating the near destruction of the area’s native communities while simultaneously laying the foundation for what we know and recognize today as Minnesota.

Fort Snelling located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers as seen from the east shore of the Mississippi River bottom in 1867

An act of Congress banished thousands of Dakota from Minnesota. The law, though now unobserved, remains on the books.


Because of high demand for cadavers for anatomical study, several doctors wanted to obtain the bodies after the execution. The mass grave was reopened in the night and the bodies were distributed among the doctors, a practice common in the era. The doctor who received the body of Mahpiya Okinajin (He Who Stands in Clouds), also known as “Cut Nose”, was William Worrall Mayo.

Mayo brought the body of Mahpiya Okinajin to Le Sueur, Minnesota, where he dissected it in the presence of medical colleagues.  Afterward, he had the skeleton cleaned, dried and varnished. Mayo kept it in an iron kettle in his home office. His sons received their first lessons in osteology from this skeleton.  In the late 20th century, the identifiable remains of Mahpiya Okinajin and other Native Americans were returned by the Mayo Clinic to a Dakota tribe for reburial per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

By the late 1920s, the conflict began to pass into the realm of oral tradition in Minnesota. Eyewitness accounts were communicated first-hand to individuals who survived into the 1970s and early 1980s. The stories of innocent individuals and families of struggling pioneer farmers being killed by Dakota have remained in the consciousness of the prairie communities of south central Minnesota.

Little Crow’s skull and scalp were put on display in St. Paul, Minnesota. The city held the trophies until 1971, when it returned the remains to Little Crow’s grandson.

In 1972, the City of Mankato  removed a plaque that had commemorated the mass execution of the thirty-eight Dakota from the site where the hanging occurred. In 1992, the City purchased the site and created Reconciliation Park.   There is purposely no mention of the execution, but several stone statues in and around the park serve as a memorial. The annual Mankato Pow-wow, held in September, commemorates the lives of the executed men, but also seeks to reconcile the European American and Dakota communities. The Birch Coulee Pow-wow, held on Labor Day weekend, honors the lives of those who were hanged.

Among the 38 hung was a man named Chaska, who experts now agree was mistakenly executed. The noose used to hang him is the one in the historical society’s archives.

A doctor’s wife, Sarah Wakefield, had testified that Chaska protected her and her children when they were taken captive. But Chaska wound up on the gallows anyway. A soldier named J.K. Arnold stole the noose right after the hanging and hid it for seven years, according to his letter in the archives, violating orders to ship all the nooses to Washington.

The Chaska noose is now in the  Minnesota Historical Society’s collection which makes some angry.

The history center invited Dakota and settlers’ descendants to join separate panels to respond to plans for the anniversary exhibit and events. They showed the groups the noose and other items this month, but refused a Star Tribune request to photograph or see it. They did not  include it when the 1862 exhibit opened last summer.

“Partly out of sensitivity to the Dakota people, we feel strongly that the noose would tend to overwhelm the whole story and it would just become the noose exhibit,” said a spokesman for the historical society. “It would detract from what we really want people to understand, which is this whole chain of events that leads to this war, and if there’s culpability people can see it.”

Republican state Rep. Dean Urdahl has introduced resolutions to pardon Chaska and to urge Congress to repeal the Dakota Exclusion Act. Even those efforts have aroused controversy.

Some Dakota oppose the pardon as an attempt to “assuage white guilt” by clearing a Dakota who helped a white woman instead of the other 37 hanged warriors, who they say  were patriotic Minnesotans protecting their homeland from intruders.

Find Out More

This American Life “Little War on the Prairie Broadcast Nov 23, 2012

North Country: The Making of Minnesota by Mary Lethert Wingerd 2010


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Francis Brown & the Dartmouth College Case

Our ancestor Francis BROWN’s (1716 – ) namesake grandson Francis Brown played a pivotal role in a  landmark decision from the United States Supreme Court dealing with the application of the Contract Clause of the Constitution to private corporations.  He won the case, but the strain of the high stakes fight led to his early death.

Brown was removed from his presidency at the College as part of the actions that resulted in the Dartmouth College case, but was reinstated following the 1819 decision in favor of the College.

The statesman and leading Senator Daniel Webster was famous for his eloquence and was the greatest orator of his day.   His speech in support of Dartmouth (which he described as “a small college,” adding, “and yet there are those who love it”) was so moving that it apparently helped convince Chief Justice John Marshall, also reportedly bringing tears to Webster’s eyes.

I’ve included my favorite American history movie scene of all time, in which Daniel Webster bests Satan in a jury trial to save the soul of New Hampshireman Jabez Stone from  The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941).

Francis Brown (1784-1820)

Our branch of the Brown family became New England Planters in New Brunswick (see my post) who immigrated to the wilderness in the 1760’s.  Many of the cousins who stayed behind became illustrious members of northern New England Society in Newbury, Mass. Maine and New Hampshire.

Rev. Francis Brown was born 11 Jan 1784 in Chester, NH,,  He married 11 Feb 1811 to Elizabeth Gilman daughter of Rev. Tristram Gilman of Yarmouth, Maine, a lady of fine intellectual powers and devoted Christian character. Francis died 27 Jul 1820);

Francis (wiki) served as the president of Dartmouth College from September, 1815 to July, 1820.

Francis graduated from the College in 1805 and from 1806–1809 held a tutorship there. He also served a pastor in a Congregational church in North Yarmouth, Maine.. Brown was removed from his presidency at the College as part of the actions that resulted in the Dartmouth College case, but was reinstated following the 1819 decision in favor of the College.

A pastor from North Yarmouth, Maine, he presided over Dartmouth College during the famous Supreme Court hearing of Trustees of Dartmouth College v. William H. Woodward or, as it is more commonly called, the Dartmouth College Case.

Dartmouth College Shield

Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 518 (1819), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case dealing with the application of the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution to private corporations. The case arose when the president of Dartmouth College was deposed by its trustees, leading to the New Hampshire legislature attempting to force the college to become a public institution and thereby place the ability to appoint trustees in the hands of the governor. The Supreme Court upheld the sanctity of the original charter of the college, which pre-dated the creation of the State. The decision settled the nature of public versus private charters and resulted in the rise of the American business corporation.

The contest was a pivotal one for Dartmouth and for the newly independent nation. It tested the contract clause of the Constitution and arose from an 1816 controversy involving the legislature of the state of New Hampshire, which amended the 1769 charter granted to Eleazar Wheelock, making Dartmouth a public institution and changing its name to Dartmouth University. Under the leadership of President Brown, the Trustees resisted the effort and the case for Dartmouth was argued by Dartmouth alumnus  Daniel Webster, before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818.

Daniel Webster Pleads Dartmouth Case –  Displayed in Thayer Dining Hall   Robert Burns painted it in 1962 in acccordance with the will of Col. Henry Nelson Teague 1900

Webster argued the college’s case against William H. Woodward, the state-approved secretary of the new board of trustees. Webster’s speech in support of Dartmouth was so moving that it apparently helped convince Chief Justice John Marshall, also reportedly bringing tears to Webster’s eyes.

Dartmouth College Case Stamp Issued 1969

Webster’s legendary claim, “This, sir, is my case! It is the case not merely of that humble institution; it is the case of every college in our land! … [I]t is, sir, as I have said, a small college, and yet there are those who love it,” earned him a national reputation and Dartmouth a clear victory.

The Dartmouth case helped establish Daniel Webster’s reputation for eloquence and persuasiveness.   A scene from the classic movie, The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), based upon the short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, in which Daniel Webster bests Satan in a jury trial to save the soul of New Hampshireman Jabez Stone.   In this scene Daniel Webster addresses a jury of the damned, all villains of American history.  Tellingly, Jabez was also accused of breach of contract, though of the Faustian kind.  I have always thought this speech one of the most eloquent statements of what it means to be an American.  Go here to read the passage in the Stephen Vincet Benet’s short story.

The jury of the damned in the film is slightly altered from the original, as revealed in the following dialogue:

Scratch: Captain Kidd, he killed men for gold. Simon Girty, the renegade; he burned men for gold. Governor Dale, he broke men on the wheel. Asa, the Black Monk, he choked them to death. Floyd Ireson and Stede Bonnet, the fiendish butchers. Walter Butler, the king of the massacre. Big and Little Harp, robbers and murderers. Teach, the cutthroat. Morton, the vicious lawyer. And General Benedict Arnold, you remember him, no doubt.
Webster: A jury of the damned.
Scratch: Dastards, liars, traitors, knaves.
Webster: This is monstrous.
Scratch: You asked for a jury trial, Mr Webster. Your suggestion – the quick or the dead.
Webster: I asked for a fair trial.
Scratch: Americans all.

In the original story, Webster regrets Benedict Arnold’s absence, but in the film, he is present and Webster objects, citing him as a traitor and therefore not a true American. His objection is dismissed by the judge.

Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the historic decision in favor of Dartmouth College, thereby paving the way for all American private institutions to conduct their affairs in accordance with their charters and without interference from the state. In a letter following the proceedings, Justice Joseph Story explained “the vital importance to the well-being of society and the security of private rights of the principles on which the decision rested. Unless I am very much mistaken, these principles will be found to apply with an extensive reach to all the great concerns of the people and will check any undue encroachments on civil rights which the passions or the popular doctrines of the day may stimulate our State Legislatures to adopt.”

It was not a popular decision at the time, and a public outcry ensued. Thomas Jefferson’s earlier commiseration with New Hampshire Governor William Plumer stated essentially that the earth belongs to the living. Popular opinion influenced some state courts and legislatures to declare that state governments had an absolute right to amend or repeal a corporate charter. The courts, however, have imposed limitations to this.

After the Dartmouth decision, many states wanted more control so they passed laws or constitutional amendments giving themselves the general right to alter or revoke at will, which the courts found to be a valid reservation. The courts have established, however, that the alteration or revocation of private charters or laws authorizing private charters must be reasonable and cannot cause harm to the members (founders, stockholders, and the like).

The traditional view holds that this case is one of the most important Supreme Court rulings, strengthening the Contract Clause  and limiting the power of the States to interfere with private charters, including those of commercial enterprises.

While the outcome was a tremendous victory for Dartmouth, the turmoil of the four-year legal battle left the College in perilous financial condition and took its toll on the health of President Brown. His condition steadily deteriorating, the Trustees made provisions, in 1819, for “the senior professors…to perform all the public duties pertaining to the Office of President of the College” in the event of his disability. Francis Brown died in July 1820 at the age of 36.

Francis Brown Monument – Burial: Dartmouth College Cemetery, Hanover, New Hampshire,

Francis’ Curriculum Vitae

Installed as pastor of the Congregational Church, North Yarmouth, ME, Jan 11, 1810; elected Professor of Languages in Dartmouth College the same year, but declined; married Feb 4, 1811; elected President of Dartmouth College in August, 1815, and inaugurated Sep 27, 1815; he died at Hanover, NH, Jul 27, 1820. The Presidency of Hamilton College was offered him under date of Mar 17, 1817, but declined, May 28th. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from both Hamilton and Williams Colleges in 1819. For contributions to the literature of his profession he had little time or strength. Several of his addresses and sermons were published, viz.: Address on Music, delivered before the Handel Society of Dartmouth College, 1809; The Faithful Steward; Sermon at the Ordination of Allen Greeley, 1810; Sermon on the Occasion of the State Fast, 1812; Sermon before the Maine Missionary Society, 1814; Sermon at the Ordination of Jonathan Greenleaf, at Wells, Me., 1815; Calvin and Calvinism, 1815; Reply to the Rev. Martin Ruter’s Letter Relating to Calvin and Calvinism, 1815; Sermon before the Convention of Congregational and Presbyterian Ministers of New Hampshire, Concord, N. H., 1818.


Francis’ son and grandson were “wikipedia famous” in their on right.

Francis’ son Samuel Gilman Brown (1813–1885) was an American educator. He was born in North Yarmouth, Maine, and graduated at Dartmouth in 1831 and at Andover Theological Seminary in 1837; was professor of oratory and belles-lettres in Dartmouth from 1840 to 1863, and held the chair of intellectual philosophy and political economy from 1863 to 1867. From 1867 to 1881 he was president of Hamilton College. Among his published works are Biographies of Self-Taught Men (1847) and an excellent and authoritative Life of Rufus Choate [American lawyer, Senator  and orator]  (two volumes, 1862).

Samue Gilman Brown (1813–1885) Bowdoin College faculty

Francis’ grandson Rev. Francis Brown (Theologian) ( 1849 – 1916) was a Semitic scholar

The younger Francis graduated from Dartmouth in 1870 and from the Union Theological Seminary in 1877, and then studied in Berlin. In 1879 he became instructor in biblical philology at the Union Theological Seminary, in 1881 an associate professor of the same subject, and in 1890 Davenport Professor of Hebrew and the cognate Languages.

Dr. Brown’s published works won him honorary degrees from the universities of Glasgow and Oxford, as well as from Dartmouth and Yale; they are, with the exception of The Christian Point of View (1902; with Profs. A.C. McGiffert and G.W. Knox), almost purely linguistic and lexical, and include Assyriology: its Use and Abuse in Old Testament Study(1885), and the important revision of Wilhelm Hendrik Gesenius, undertaken with S.R. Driver and C.A. Briggs — Brown Driver Briggs,   He also contributed to the Encyclopaedia Biblica

Francis’ crowning acheivement Brown Driver Briggs is still in print today

Brown Driver BriggsA Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (1891–1905). or BDB (from the name of its three authors) is a standard reference for Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, first published in 1906. It is organized by (Hebrew) alphabetical order of three letter roots. It was based on the Hebrew-German lexicon of Wilhelm Gesenius, translated by Edward Robinson. The chief editor was Francis Brown, with the co-operation of Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, hence the name Brown–Driver–Briggs. Some modern printings have added the Strong’s reference numbers for Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic words





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Battle of Hampden and the Castine Fund

Francis BROWN II‘s (1716 – ) son-in-law Josiah Hooke (b. 21 Oct 1774 in Salisbury, Essex, Mass.  – d. 18 Mar 1827 Castine Cemetery, Castine, Maine) Josiah served for 35 years as collector of the port of Castine, Maine on the mouth of the Penobscot Riber and was in charge of procurements for the fort there.  In those days, the position was appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.

Castine Map

In the War of 1812, the British captured the village of Castine in September 1814 and occupied it  for the rest of the war. The Treaty of Ghent returned this territory to the United States.  When the British left in April 1815,   they took 10,750 pounds obtained from tariff duties at Castine. This money, called the “Castine Fund”, was used  to create a military library in Halifax and  establish  Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Castine Detail Map

The Battle of Hampden, though a minor action of the War of 1812, was the last significant clash of arms in New England.  Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, led a British fleet out of Nova Scotia and defeated the New Englanders, naming the district “New Ireland” and occupying it for eight months.

Sir John Coape Sherbrooke (1764-1830) lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, was the overall British commander at the Battle of Hampden,

The subsequent retirement of the British expeditionary force from its base in Castine, Maine back to Nova Scotia ensured that eastern Maine would remain a part of the United States. Lingering local feelings of vulnerability, however, would help fuel the post-war movement for Maine statehood (Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1820). The withdrawal of the British eight months later represented the end of two centuries of violent contest over Maine by rival nations (initially the French and British, and then the British and Americans).

 Capture of Castine

On August 26, 1814, a British squadron from the Royal Navy base at Halifax, Nova Scotia moved to capture the Down East coastal town of Machias, Maine. The force consisted of four warships, HMS Dragon, 74 [guns], HMS Endymion, 50, HMS Bachante, 38, HM Sloop Sylph, 18, a large tender, and ten transports carrying some 3,000 British regulars (elements of the 29th, 60th, 62nd, and 98th regiments and a company of Royal Artillery). Under the overall command of Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, then lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, Major General Gerard Gosselin commanded the army and Rear Admiral Edward Griffith Colpoys controlled the naval elements.

The intention of the expedition was clearly to re-establish British title to Maine east of the Penobscot River, an area the British had renamed “New Ireland“, and open the line of communications between Halifax and Quebec. Carving off “New Ireland” from New England had been a goal of the British government and the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (“New Scotland”) since the American Revolution.  En route, the squadron fell in with HM Sloop Rifleman, 18, and learned the USS Adams, 28, Captain Charles Morris was up the Penobscot River undergoing repairs at Hampden. Sherbrooke changed his plan and headed for Castine at the mouth of the Penobscot.

Commodore Charles Morris (1784-1856) by Southworth & Hawes, circa 1850

He rendezvoused off Matinicus Island and added HMS Bulwark, 74, HMS Tenedos, 38, HMS Peruvian, 18, and HM Schooner Pictou. The formidable force entered the cove at Castine on September 1. The local militia melted away at the awesome sight and a 28-man U.S. Army contingent under Lieutenant Andrew Lewis spiked their four 24-pounders, blew the magazine, and withdrew to the north trailing a pair of field pieces.

As the first order of business, Sherbrooke and Griffith issued a proclamation assuring the populace if they remained quiet, pursued their usual affairs, and surrendered all weaponry, they would be protected as British subjects. Moreover, the British would pay fair prices for all goods and services provided. Next, Gosselin crossed the bay with most of the 29th to occupy Belfast, Maine and protect the left flank of the major operation to follow. Locals did not challenge the occupation, although some 1,200 militiamen gathered three miles outside of Belfast to await developments.

Battle of Hampden

Griffith assigned RN Captain Robert Barrie the task of going after the “Adams.” Barrie proceeded up the Penobscot with the DragonSylphPeruvian, the transport Harmony, and a prize-tender. The ships carried an armed contingent of some 750 men drawn from the four participating regiments, the artillery company, and Royal Marines. During the war, Barrie was one of the few British officers in America to acquire a loathsome reputation. He was about to reenforce this distinction.

Sir Robert Barrie (1774-1841)

When Morris entered the river late in August he moved past Buckstown (now Bucksport, Maine) and anchored at the mouth of the Sowadabscook Stream in Hampden, Maine on the west bank of the Penobscot some 30 miles inland. Anticipating an attack, he placed nine of the ship’s guns in battery on a nearby hill and fourteen on the wharf next to his crippled ship. Morris, commanding a crew of 150, called for help from Brigadier General John Blake, commander of the Eastern Militia at Brewer, Maine. Blake responded with some 550 militiamen and formed the center of a defensive line running along a ridge facing south, or towards Castine.   Lieutenant Lewis showed up with his two dozen or so regulars and two field pieces. Adding a carronade, he went in line to the right or west and commanded the north-south road, the expected route of British attackers.

Late on September 2, Barrie landed his force at Bald Head Cove three miles below Hampden and waited for morning. Early on the third, in rain and fog, led by Lt. Colonel Henry John, the British moved on Hampden. Skirmishers met with resistance at Pitcher’s Brook, primarily from the guns directed by Lewis. But John sent reinforcements, and the British stormed across the bridge. In short order, the full force was in position to continue against the American defensive line on the hill. The sight of the oncoming disciplined Redcoats, bayonets glistening, rattled the untrained militia. The center broke and fled to the woods toward Bangor, Maine. Morris on the left and Lewis on the right found themselves in untenable positions. About to be overrun, Morris spiked his guns and ignited a train leading to the Adams. With colors flying, the ship blew up before the British could intervene. Lewis likewise spiked his guns and withdrew to the north. Morris and his navy band made it to Bangor, crossed west through rugged country to the Kennebec River, and around September 9 arrived at their base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. After two weeks, every sailor reported – not a man missing – a source of great satisfaction for Morris. 

At this point, Barrie detailed 200 men to take control of Hampden while he and the balance of his force pursued the Americans in the direction of Bangor. Eighty prominent men of the Hampden area spent a night as prisoners. Most were paroled the next day.

Sacking of Bangor and Hampden

Supported by three of his ships, Barrie entered an intimidated Bangor at midday. He called for unconditional submission. Provisions and quarters were demanded and readily turned over “since the commodore, who was a churlish, brutish monster,” according to a correspondent, “threatened to let loose his men and burn the town if the inhabitants did not use greater exertion to feed his men.”  Although Barrie ordered a ban on liquor for his troops, some men managed to acquire brandy by the bucket. Accordingly, Barrie ordered an officer to destroy all liquor in the town. This set off a wave of plundering. Six stores fell to the mob and $6,000 worth of property was damaged. Many citizens fled to the woods.  “We are alive this morning,” wrote a newspaper correspondent, “but such scenes I hope not to witness again. The enemy’s Soldiery … have emptied all the stores and many dwelling houses – they break windows, and crockery, and destroy every-thing they cannot move.”

During the night of the third, the British burned 14 vessels across the river in Brewer, Maine. Before the raiders could ignite Bangor vessels, the town’s selectmen made a deal. Fearful burning would lead to a conflagration, the selectmen offered Barrie a $30,000 bond and agreed to complete four ships on the stocks and deliver them to him in Castine. Barrie accepted the arrangement and carried away a packet, four schooners, and a boat. Before moving back down the river on the 4th, Barrie and John paroled 191 locals considered prisoners, including General Blake. Bangor selectmen estimated losses and damages totaled $45,000.

By no means did the Bangor diversion end the difficulties for Hampden. Barrie decided to spend more time in the town. Redcoats terrorized the village, killing livestock for sport and destroying whatever met their fancy, including gardens, furniture, books and papers. Two vessels off the town were burned. The rampage prompted a town committee to appeal to Barrie to treat the place with a little humanity. His shocking reply summarized his approach.

“Humanity! I have none for you. My business is to burn, sink, and destroy. Your town is taken by storm. By the rules of war we ought to lay your village in ashes, and put its inhabitants to the sword. But I will spare your lives, though I mean to burn your houses.”

Barrie did not follow through on his threat to burn houses, but he did secure a $14,000 bond on several incomplete vessels on the stocks in town. The terms required the completed vessels be delivered to the Royal Navy in Castine by November 1. In the end, the town estimated the value of its losses to total $44,000. The British slipped down to Frankfort, Maine and demanded considerable livestock and surrender of all arms and ammunition at that place. The locals were slow to comply, and before he moved along on the 7th, Barrie promised to return and make the town pay for its delays. The captain did not make good on this threat, and except for some nuisance sniping at the British as they passed Prospect, Maine, the Battle of Hampden was at an end.


Sherbrooke declared “New Ireland” (Eastern Maine) a province of British North America (Canada) and left Gen. Gosselin in Castine to govern it. For the next 8 months (from the fall of 1814 to the spring of 1815) the Penobscot River was essentially an international boundary. That Hampden and Bangor were on the wrong (American) side might have contributed to their rough treatment,

With the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in Dec. 1814, however, the British claim to Maine was effectively surrendered. The British were forced to evacuate Castine on April 25, 1815, and the pre-war boundary was restored. The final boundary between the inland, wooded portion of Maine and Canada would remain open to dispute until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.

Political Aftermath

Local memory of this humiliation contributed to subsequent anti-British feeling in Eastern Maine, which would find outlet again in the Aroostook War of 1838-1839. It would also contribute to the post-war movement for Maine’s statehood (given that Massachusetts had failed to protect the region) and to the building of a large, expensive granite fort (Ft. Knox) at the mouth of the Penobscot River starting in the 1840s.

Fort Knox Maine by Seth Eastman 1870– built from 1844-1869. It is located on the western bank of the Penobscot River in the town of Prospect, Maine, about 5 miles from the mouth of the river. It was the first fort in Maine built of granite (instead of wood).

Gen. Blake and two other officers, Lt. Col. Andrew Grant of Hampden and Maj. Joshua Chamberlain of Brewer, grandfather of the later Civil War general, were court-martialed in Bangor in 1816 for their part in the defeat. Blake and Chamberlain were both exonerated, but Grant was cashiered.

(The elderly Blake was court-martialed first and cleared of charges. He in turn brought charges against his two subordinates in perhaps a move to clear his name. Grant was found guilty of actions unbecoming an officer before the enemy and banned from being re-elected as a militia officer. One report claims he ran from battle and changed out of his uniform into civilian clothes before eventually being captured and identified.)

Castine Fund

The British left in April 1815, at which time they took 10,750 pounds obtained from tariff duties at Castine. This money, called the “Castine Fund”, was used  to create a military library in Halifax and  establish  Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Cambridge Military Library Rebuilt in 1886

In the far corner of the Royal Artillery Park in Halifax, a diminutive red brick building, is the Cambridge Military Library. This building was the social and literary centre of military Halifax. The Library opened in 1817 at Grafton Street, as an alternative to the more notorious choices of city entertainment. It moved to its present location in Royal Artillery Park in 1886 and was renamed Cambridge Military Library in 1902. The library was funded in part from Customs receipts gathered during the War of 1812 at the Battle of Hampden.

Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dalhousie is a coeducational university, with more than 18,000 students. Their varsity teams, known as the Tigers, compete in the  Atlantic University Sport conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

Dalhousie was founded as a result of the desires of , George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, to establish a non-denominational college in Halifax. The financing of the college had largely come from customs duties collected by John Coape Sherbrooke, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia during the occupation of Castine, Maine during the War of 1812, who invested  £7000 as the initial endowment and reserved  £3000 for the physical construction of the college.   The school was established in 1818, structured after the University of Edinburgh, which was located near Ramsay’s home in Scotland.  The college was allowed to falter however after Ramsay left Halifax shortly after its establishment to serve as the Governor General of British North America.  In 1863, the college reopened for its third time and was reorganized by another legislative act, which also added the word university into the school’s name, changed to “The Governors of Dalhousie College and University.

Dalhousie University

With his 35 year career, Josiah Hooke must have been the Customs Officer both before and after the war,

Josiah Hooke Customs Officer – Source: Annals of the United States 1824 Vol. 5

Josiah Hook Customs Collector, Catine, Maine. Josiah’s brother Benjamin Hook (1783 – 1862 ) was Deputy Collector and Clerk.  The figures were dollars and cents.

Castine After the War

With the growth of the postwar economy, the town became a prosperous place: the seat of Hancock County and a center for shipbuilding and coastal trading. By the 1820s, it had become a major entrepot for American fishing fleets on their way to the Grand Banks. It also prospered from the lumber industry, in which eastern Maine dominated the rest of the country before the Civil War.

121 ships, many owned and commanded by local people, were launched from Castine shipyards. Local ropewalks, sail lofts and ship chandlers provided all necessary goods and services for maritime trade that was carried on primarily with the West Indies and England. A salt depository supplied the Grand Banks fishing fleets. At times, hundreds of ships were anchored in Castine Harbor.

Castine Maine

During this period of growth and prosperity, many of the handsome Federal and Greek Revival style mansions that still grace the village’s streets were constructed.

Castine from Fort George, 1856, by Fitz Henry Lane

But Castine declined after the Civil War. Its fleet, which once sailed the globe, now carried coal, firewood, and lime to coastal ports, competing with railroads and steamships. Ambitious young people sought their fortunes elsewhere. The Hancock County seat moved to Ellsworth in 1838

Castine Downtown Today

By the 1870s, however, Castine’s quaint old architecture and cool summer air attracted “rusticators” — well-to-do urban families seeking rest and recreation. Its charms also drew cultural luminaries, including Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose writings romanticized its past. By the 1890s, wealthy families from Boston, Hartford and Chicago were buying up old farms and sea captains’ houses. Hotels and inns opened as Castine became a flourishing summer colony.  In 1897 a golf course was added to Castine’s summer attractions, designed by the well-known Scottish course designer Willie Parks, Jr.

But in the 1930s, Castine reached its economic nadir. The Great Depression  and the automobile had killed off the hotel trade, the steamship lines that had linked coastal towns and islands, and the local fishing industry. Its fortunes did not revive until the 1960s, with the rediscovery of the town’s charms by a new generation of summer people.

The population was 1,343 at the 2000 census. Castine is the home of Maine Maritime Academy, a four-year institution that graduates officers and engineers for theUnited States Merchant Marine and marine related industries.

More than 100 historic markers can be found in this town characterized by its 18th century architecture. Major landmarks include Fort George, built by the British in 1779 and partially restored as a state memorial, and Fort Madison, earthwork remnants built by the Americans in 1811, occupied by the British during the War of 1812 and reconstructed during the American Civil War.

Posted in History, Storied | 1 Comment

Samuel Colman – Hudson River School

A 2nd Cousin is a bit more of a distant relative than I usually feature, but the Hudson River School is one of my favorite genres and I wanted a page to highlight a few of his paintings.

Samuel Colman was one of the leading artists of the Hudson River School’s second generation, creating luminous landscapes of near and distant lands.

Storm King on the Hudson (1866) is one of Colman’s best known works and one of the iconic images of Hudson River School now in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

Samuel Colman  (wiki) was born 4 Mar 1832 in Portland, Maine.  Although our Coleman ancestors spelled their name with an “e,” his family spelled the name “Colman.  His parents were Samuel Colman (1799-1865) and Tamelia “Pamela” Chandler (1799 – 1865). His grandparents were Dr. Samuel Colman (1759  – 1810) and Susan Atkins (1762-1827). His great grandparents were our ancestors Deacon Benjamin COLEMAN (1720 – 1797) and Ann BROWN (1724- 1776).  He married 1863 Newport, Rhode Island to Ann Lawrence Dunham (b. 6 Nov 1832 in Manhattan, New York City). Samuel died 26 Mar 1920 in Portland, Cumberland, Maine.

Samuel’s second cousin (also Benjamin’s great grandson) was our ancestor Dudley COLEMAN (1805 – 1865)

Samuel’s father moved his family from Portland, Maine to Greenwich Village, New York City and opened a fine-arts bookstore on Broadway, attracting a literate clientele that may have influenced his son Samuel’s artistic development.  At the age of eighteen, Colman trained under Asher B. Durand; he began exhibiting at the National Academy of Design that same year.

In the 1850 census, Samuel Colman Sr. (1799 – 1865) was a Book Dealer in Ward 15 Western half, New York City. His son Samuel Jr. age 18 was already listed as an Artist.

In the 1850 census, the Colman family lived in the Western Half of Ward 15. Here is a 1852 map.

Samuel went abroad in 1860, studying in Paris and Spain ; was made a member of the National Academy in 1864 ; president of the American Water Color Society in 1866 : resigned in 1872 and went abroad spending some years in the principal cities of Europe.

Samuel Colman Jr. (1832-1920)

He is believed to have studied briefly under the Hudson River school painter Asher Durand, and he exhibited his first work at the National Academy of Design in 1850.  By 1854 he had opened his own New York City studio.   The following year he was elected an associate member of the National Academy, with full membership bestowed in 1862.

Near Cro’s Nest on the Hudson, NY by Samuel Colman Oil on academy board

Colman spent the summer of 1856 in Jackson, NH, sharing a studio with his brother-in-law, Aaron Draper Shattuck.  The Crayon of that year noted: “Mr. Colman has made wide advances on all his previous studies … He has a study of Mote [sic] Mountain and the Ledges at North Conway, with a wheat-field in the foreground.”

In addition to his exhibits at the  National Academy of Design, he was also a frequent exhibitor at the Boston Athenaeum and the Brooklyn Art Association.

Colman began painting in the pastoral mode of Durand, before a trip abroad in the 1860s unlocked a more instinctive feeling for natural scenery. He soon became one of the most widely-traveled painters of the period, capturing the beauty of the American West, British Columbia, the Gulf of Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Egypt, Morocco, and Japan. Shifting between oil painting, watercolors, and etchings, Colman developed a fluid, graceful style—emphasizing nature’s quiet harmony over its epic scope.

Looking North from Ossining, New York, Samul Colman 1867 Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York

In 1866 he helped found the American Society of Painters in Water Colors and was its first president.  He became interested in etching in 1867 and, in 1877, at the founding of the New York Etching Club, exhibited a number of landscape etchings.

His landscape paintings in the 1850s and 1860s were influenced by the Hudson River school, an example being Meadows and Wildflowers at Conway (1856) now in the collection of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. He was also able to paint in a romantic style, which had become more fashionable after the Civil War.

Rainbow on the Hudson by Samuel Colman, oil on canvas

In 1867, Henry Tuckerman wrote of Colman, “to the eye of refined taste, to the quite lover of nature, there is a peculiar charm in Colman’s style which, sooner or later, will be greatly appreciated.”  Implicit in Tuckerman’s statement is his observation of a strong individualism in Colman’s style.

Finish—First International Race for America’s Cup, August 8, 1870 Samuel Colman New York Metropolitan Museum — This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 774

Colman was an inveterate traveler, and many of his works depict scenes from foreign cities and ports. He made his first trip abroad to France and Spain in 1860-1861, and returned for a more extensive four-year European tour in the early 1870s in which he spent much time in Mediterranean locales.

The Hill of the Alhambra, Granada 1865 by Samuel Colman New York Metropolitan Musuem of Art – This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 737

He visited Spain and Morocco and painted scenes in a combination of pastel and gauche. Colman often depicted the architectural features he encountered on his travels: cityscapes, castles, bridges, arches, and aqueducts feature prominently in his paintings of foreign scenes.

Solomon’s Temple, Colorado 1888 Samuel Colman Oil on canvas

In 1870 and again in the 1880’s he journeyed to the western United States, painting western landscapes comparable in scope and style to those of Thomas Moran.

Late November in a Santa Barbara Cañon, California – Samuel Colman

In the aftermath of the Civil War, watercolor painting became more popular. In 1866, Colman was one of the founders of the American Watercolor Society, and he became its first president from 1867 to 1871. Colman also became skilled at the medium of etching. He was an early member of the New York Etching Club, and published popular etchings depicting European scenes.

Ruins of a Mosque, Tlemciem, Algeria, Etching by Samuel Colman 1887 National Gallery of Art Washington DC

Colman’s artistic activities became even more diverse late in life. By the 1880s he worked extensively as an interior designer, collaborating with his friend Louis Comfort Tiffany on the design of Samuel Clemens‘ Hartford home, and later on the Fifth Avenue home of Henry and Louisine Havemeyer.  He also became a major collector of decorative Asian objects, and wrote two books on geometry and art:   “Nature’s Harmonic Unity a treatise on its relation to proportional form“1912 and “Proportional Form: Further Studies in the Science of Beauty” 1920

Cover “Nature’s harmonic unity” by Samuel Colman 1912 with 302 illustrations by the author, the mathematical analysis by the editor

For a time he was a member of the Century Association but resigned in 1884.  Colman’s paintings are represented by the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art,  the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Union League Club, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Portland Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in Madrid.

Samuel Colman Jr. (1832-1920)





Posted in Artistic Representation, Storied, Wikipedia Famous | 1 Comment

Church & State Fighting Antidisestablishmentarianism

Joseph BALCOM’s (1705  – 1787) son Elijah played an interesting role in constitutional history.  Ronald Balkom sent me the story in a PDF image. Tiny, tiny type in all caps. It took skilled touch typing (which I don’t have) to transcribe because one glance away and you lose your place, but it’s in and enhanced with links, pictures and commentary.

The church that Elijah didn’t want to pay for was founded 300 years ago today, November 12, 1712.  Happy 300th  to the First Congregational Church of the Attleboroughs!!

Church and State

This post concentrates on Elijah’s constitutional court case. For his complete story including his minuteman days as a drummer and fifer and his wife and children, see his father’s page.

Elijah Balcom was born 2 Sep 1752 in Attleboro, Bristol, Mass. He married 30 Nov 1786 Attleboro to Marcy Daggett. Elijah died 7 Jan 1796 in Attleboro.

Do you remember learning in elementary school that  Antidisestablishmentarianism  was the longest word in the English language?   I never knew what that word meant. Turns out it was the ideology opposing Elijah in 1781.

Edited from Robert E Bolkom’s of Lakeland Florida Dec 1984 Newsletter — In the night of Dec 17, 1781 Elijah Bolkcom 28 years of age and unmarried was at home with his father Joseph, now 75,  in Attleboro, Mass.  Although Elijah was baptized and raised in the Congregational Church, he changed in May of 1780 to the Baptist Society which was led by Job Simmons.  This church had begun 11 years earlier and were Calvinists in theology and though Elijah attended regularly and supported the church, he did not yet enjoy full membership.

Constable Wilmarth chose this night to place Elijah under arrest for non payment of his religious tax.  On the way to the jail at Taunton, Elijah had second thoughts about leaving he aging father at home alone and agreed to pay the 17 shillings, sixpence and 3 farthings and was released.  [remember 20 shillings to the pound]

Attleboro, like most Massachusetts towns was predominantly Congregationalists and the new state constitution provided for a religious tax on every male inhabitant in order to maintain a “standing church” in each town or parish.  Since Congregationalists were in the majority, the “standing churches” were almost always Congregational.

Following approval by town meetings, the Massachusetts Constitution was ratified on June 15, 1780, became effective on October 25, 1780. It remains the oldest functioning written constitution in continuous effect in the world and was the model for the Constitution of the United States of America, drafted seven years later.

Massachusetts Constitution  PART THE FIRST
A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

In the summer of 1779, delegates were elected to a constitutional convention, which met in Cambridge in September 1779.  The convention chose a committee of thirty members to prepare a new constitution and declaration of rights, which in turn named a  subcommittee of  John AdamsSamuel Adams, and James Bowdoin.   The subcommittee in turn assigned the task of preparing a first draft to John Adams alone, a “sub-sub committee of one,” as Adams later referred to it. For the new declaration of rights, the committee of thirty members assigned the drafting directly to John Adams. However, the articles on religion was referred to Calvinist Congregational Clergy who guided the orthodox Puritan outcome.

John Adams wrote most of the Massachusetts Constitution himself, but the sections on religion were delegated to the clergy.

Perhaps the most famous line in Adams’s draft declaration of rights was this: “All men are born equally free and independent….” This was slightly revised before being adopted by the constitutional convention: “All men are born free and equal…

Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

In 1781,  Article 1 was the subject of a landmark case Brom and Bett v. Ashley  which outlawed slavery in Massachusetts.

In 2004,  the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that it was unconstitutional under the Article 1 of the Massachusetts constitution to allow only heterosexual couples to marry.

Same Sex Marriage Cartoon

It’s inspiring that John Adam’s work of 233 years ago is still bringing justice today, but back to Elijah and Article 3.

Article 2 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights said

” no subject shall be hurt, molested or restrained in his person, liberty or estate for worship of God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience for his religious profession of sentiments”,

but Article 3 asserted that every town or parish had the right to make suitable provision at their own expense for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality.  This meant that compulsory religious taxes were still to be laid in the new state.

The fourth paragraph allowed non-Congregationalists to pay the tax to their own pastor, but the courts construed this clause so narrowly that in practice it exempted only members of an incorporated Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist or Universalist Church. A member of one of these bodies who resided too far from his church to attend, or a non-church goer had to pay to support a Congregational minister ( unless he lived in Boston where the voluntary system prevailed.) In Elijah’s case, he had to pay because he had not yet been accepted as a full member of the Baptist church.

In December of 1780, Attleboro had authorized renovation of its Congregational church in the amount of 23,000 pounds and was aggressively raising funds.  At least four of Elijah’s neighbors who refused to pay had a cow siezed and sold at public auction to satisfy the requirement.  Anyone who refused to pay was called “A Certificate man” which meant that they were probably a Quaker, Baptist or Episcopalian. The Baptists in Massachusetts had been fighting to dis-establish the standing church concept for over 100 years.  By disestablishment, they meant the abolishing of religious taxes.

I’m not sure if the Church Elijah didn’t want to pay for his the 1st or 2nd Congregational Church of Attleboro.   Maybe the funds went into one pot and were divided.  I was corresponding with the First Congregational Church of North Attleboro (Oldtown)  and their historian found in  Second Church’s History by Ted Moxham (who is still the historian) that when their first meeting house was built (work began in 1743, but took several years to finish) and that pews were not installed until about 1786 . It then says that they were installed with funds collected to defray the cost.   They said “Sounds like that might be the funds that you are looking for!! :) ”

Second Congregational Church of Attleboro Today

I’m still checking with the 2nd Attleboro Congregational Church for a picture of the Church began in 1743 and finished about 1786, but here’s what the current church looks like.  This Facebook Page from the New England Church Project has over a hundred beautiful pictures of the current church.

First Congregational Church of Attleboro.   The current Meetinghouse was completed in 1825, so it is probably not the one that Elijah didn’t want to pay for.

The First Congregational Church of North Attleboro (Oldtown) Facebook Invitation to  their 300th anniversary celebration.  The church was founded 300 years ago today, November 12, 1712.

Just a reminder tomorrow is our 300th Anniversary Celebration!!!!
All are welcome!!!
Worship is at 10am, fellowship and fun to follow from 11-1pm and then an Oldtown Chicken BBQ at 1pm. (not 1:30 like the Friday email said)
Please wear your 300th t-shirt if you have one. If you don’t we have lots of extras!!! See you tomorrow!!!

First Congregational Church of Attleboro Interior – Congratulations on your 300th Anniversary!

By Feb 2, 1782 Elijah, with counsel, had filed suit against the assessors Wilkerson, Wilmarth and Richardson and was in the Justice of Peace Court at Norton (held in Justice Holmes’ house).  He stated that because he was a member of the Baptist Society, regular attendance and financally supporting it, that he was not liable for the religious tax.  He claimed that the assessors were in full knowledge of this and that the arrest was arbitrary, illegal and vexatious.   The ruling went against Elijah.  He filed an appeal in the Inferior Court of Common Pleas at the Bristol County Courthouse in Taunton and the review was set for the March term.  His case was based on the claim that Article 3 was unconstitutional.

Article 3 was a compromise which attempted to satisfy those who wanted to continue the old Puritan tradition of an established tax supported church and those who wanted a voluntary church system.  It satisfied neither group and was the most controversial and hotly debated issue at town meetings which preceded the ratification of the constitution.

Isaac Backus (1724-1806) argued Elijah’s appeals case

Massachusetts officials recognized Elijah’s appeal to be an ideal test case and the Attorney General personally appeared to argue for the defendants.  Elijah was suppoted by Isaac Backus, spokesman for the Baptists and other minority  sects whho were closely watching the case progress.  The defendants tried to get a trial by jury, but Elijah realizing the difficulties to seat an impartial jury and because of the complexity of the isses insisted that it be heard by competent judges.  Decision by judges also would enhance the legal precedent and potential for future impact.

Elijah claimed that his relationship with God was purely between he and his creator and the government had no right to intervene.  He argued for a separation of church and state in order that each individual could worship and support the church of his choice.  The court ruled in his favor and awarded him six pounds, eighteen shillings and sixpence court costs and recovery of the tax and penalty.

The Baptists and minority sects (and even some Congregationalists) were overjoyed and the case was appropriately publicized.  Isaac Backus even had tracts printed explaining the expected impact of the decision.

Government and Liberty by  Isaac Backus, Boston: Powars and Willis, 1778
Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University

Isaac Backus (1724-1806) was the leader of the New England Baptists. In this response to Payson’s Election Sermon, Backus forcefully states the Baptists’ opposition to state support of the churches. This opposition was grounded in the Baptists’ reading of the New Testament and also of ecclesiastical history which demonstrated, that state support of religion inevitably corrupted the churches. Backus and other Baptist leaders agreed with their clerical adversaries in believing that religion was necessary for social prosperity and happiness but they believed that the best way for the state to assure the health of religion was to leave it alone and let it take its own course, which, the Baptists were convinced, would result in vital, evangelical religion covering the land.

The joy at winning Elijah’s case turned to sorrow two years later when Baptist Gershin Cutter of Middleboro found himself in a similar plight as Elijah.  This time the local court ruled in his favor, but on appeal against him.  For the next fifty years Massachusetts authorities did their best to make the religious tax stick until 1833 when the constitution was amended to eliminate it.

While the Bolkcom case was being enjoyed in Massachusetts, Virginia was in the throes of fiery debate on the same subject.  George Washington, Patrick Henry and Richard Lee argued for the general assessment bill with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Mason opposed.

George Washington in Support of Tax Supported Religion Source: Library of Congress

In this Oct 3, 1785 letter George Washington informs his friend and neighbor, George Mason, in the midst of the public agitation over Patrick Henry’s general assessment bill, that he does not, in principle, oppose “making people pay towards the support of that which they profess,” although he considers it “impolitic” to pass a measure that will disturb public tranquility.

In 1786 the bill was defeated and Jefferson became recognized as the author and initiator of the separation of church and state in the new nation. A close look at Jefferson’s argument reveals that his opposition was based upon a fear that religious influences would creep into government much as they had in Europe and impose their will on the people through government.  An effective philosophy which is as important today as  it was in 1786.

Separation Of Church And State Xmas Police

Elijah’s argument  that religion was prior to all states and kingdoms of the world and could not in its nature be subject to human laws was different from Jefferson’s.  How different might our posture be today towards prayer in schools and federal aid to education if his reason for separation had been accepted rather than Jefferson’s.

Find Out More

Understanding the Separation of Church and State - We need to look at three parts of the Constitution: Article VI section 3, the 1st Amendment & the 14th Amendment.

Religion and State Governments Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

Thirty Quotes from the Founding Fathers on the Separation of Church and State

Posted in Dissenter, Historical Church, History, Storied | 8 Comments

Battle of Sacket’s Harbor

I just finished a War of 1812 story where two of our cousins were captured by the British and an uncle (their father and from the same company) was captured a year later and died in a Quebec City POW camp.  (See my post Battle of Frenchman’s Creek Nov 28, 1812)

Today, I found another cousin who was captured by the British in the War of 1812.

Benjamin COLEMAN’s grandson Charles Colman  (b.  8 Aug 1782 Newburyport, Essex, Mass – d. 12 Sep 1849 Brookfield, New Hampshire of consumption)  enlisted as a sergeant in the 21st US Infantry Jan 2 1813 in Wakefield New Hampshire for 18 months under company commander Capt. Lemuel Bradford (b. 1 Dec 1775 -d. 14 Sept 1814 of wounds received during the War of 1812)  Note: Sep 14 1814 was the day Francis Scott Key saw that “Our Flag Was Still There” at Fort McHenry.

According to his enlistment, Charles was 5′ 11 1/4″  or 6′ 0″ [Very tall for those days].   Blue eyes, Red Hair, Light Complexion; Yeoman or School Master; Newburyport or Boston.

Charles was in the roll of American prisoners of war arrived in schooner Lignan at Salem, Mar 16, 1815 captured at Sixtown Point, Henderson Bay on May 28, 1813.  M.R. Captain James Green Jr’s. detachment Fort Pickering March 20, 1815.  Present – Book 569; Discharged May 1, 1815

Map of New York, the red dot is Sackets Harbor

The Battle of Sacket’s Harbor, (Also called the 2nd Battle of Sacket’s Harbor) took place on May 29, 1813.  A British force was transported across Lake Ontario and attempted to capture the town, which was the principal dockyard and base for the American naval squadron on the lake. They were repulsed by American regulars and militia.

Isaac Chauncey (1779-1840 ) commanded US naval forces on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812

The British force set out late on 27 May and arrived off Sacket’s Harbor early the next morning. The wind was very light, which made it difficult for Captain James Lucas Yeo (commander of the British naval force on the Great Lakes) to manoeuver close to the shore. He was also unfamiliar with the local conditions and depths of water. Shortly before midday on May 28, the troops began rowing ashore, but unknown sails were sighted in the distance. In case they might be Captain [later Commodore] Isaac Chauncey‘s fleet, the attack was called off, and the troops returned to the ships. The strange sails proved to belong to twelve bateaux carrying troops from the 9th and 21st U.S. Regiments of Infantry from Oswego to Sackets Harbor.   The British sent out three large canoes full of Native American warriors and a gunboat carrying a detachment of the Glengarry Light Infantry to intercept them.

Charles Coleman’s 21st Regiment was being transported from Oswego to Sackets Harbor when it was intercepted by the British on May 27, 1813

The British force caught up with the convoy off Stoney Point on Henderson Bay. As the British opened fire, the Americans, who were mostly raw recruits, landed their bateaux  (barges) at Stoney Point and fled into the woods. [Google Maps Directions from Stony Point to Sackets Harbor 13.5 Miles - 25 minutes] The Natives pursued them through the trees and hunted them down. After about half an hour, during which they lost 35 men killed, the surviving United States troops regained their vessels and raised a white flag. The senior officer rowed out to Yeo’s fleet and surrendered his remaining force of 115 officers and men including Charles Coleman.  Only seven of the American troops escaped and reached Sackett’s Harbor.

Another account:  On May 28, 1813, a flotilla of British warships appeared at the mouth of Black River Bay. The weather was miserable, however, with visibility poor and the lake calm. This prevented the British fleet from being able to tack into the harbor. So they waited. Through the fog they noticed barges loaded with reinforcements, elements of the 9th and 21st US Infantry from Oswego, headed for the harbor. The British dispatched their Indian allies to overtake the barges, who fearing for their lives pulled ashore at Stony Point. Pursued by Indians, many of the soldiers were hunted down and killed. Other boats that witnessed the carnage pulled directly for the British fleet, rather than take their chances on shore against the Indians. This skirmish is known as the Battle of Stony Point.

On May 28, 1813 Sir James Lucas Yeo, Commander of the Royal Navy on the Great Lakes, captured  115 American troops including Charles Coleman.

This delay nevertheless gave the Americans time to reinforce their defenses.

I found a book on archive.org published in 1879 by Charles Colman’s cousin’s wife Sarah Ann Smith (b. 1787 – d. 1879) titled Reminiscenses of a Nonagenarian.

This book has many interesting and amusing anecdotes about the Colman family which I”ll be sharing. Here’s what she has to add to the story of Charles Colman and the Battle of Sackett’s Harbor.

Charles was taken prisoner, held as a hostage, and confined in the jail at Quebec. With two others he escaped. Having stolen a calf, which they managed to dress and roast, they made the best of their way through the woods for several days, but were so blinded by mosquito bites they were unable to proceed, and were recaptured. Afterwards Mr. Colman was taken to Halifax. At the disbanding of the army he returned home, where he learned that at the time he was taken prisoner a Colonel’s commission was on the way to him, which he failed to get. But later he received the deed of one hundred and sixty acres of land, as other soldiers.

Back to the Battle of Sacket’s Harbor

The next morning, 29 May, Prevost resumed the attack. The British troops landed on Horse Island, south of the town, under fire from two 6-pounder field guns belonging to the militia and a naval 32-pounder firing at long range from Fort Tompkins. They also faced musket fire from the Albany Volunteers defending the island.  Although the British lost several men in the boats, they succeeded in landing, and the Volunteers withdrew. Once the landing force was fully assembled, they charged across the flooded causeway linking the island to the shore. Although the British should have been an easy target at this point, the American militia fled, abandoning their guns. Brigadier General Brown eventually rallied about 100 of them.

The British swung to their left, hoping to take the town and dockyard from the landward side, but the American regulars with some field guns gave ground only slowly, and fell back behind their blockhouses and defenses from where they repulsed every British attempt to storm their fortifications.

2010 Reenactment Battle of Sackett’s Harbor

Yeo had gone ashore to accompany the troops, and none of the larger British vessels were brought into a range at which they could support the attack. The small British gunboats, which could approach very close to the shore, were armed only with small, short-range carronades which were ineffective against the American defences.

Sacket’s Harbor during the War of 1812

Eventually one British ship, the Beresford, mounting 16 guns, worked close in using sweeps (long oars). When its crew opened fire they quickly drove the American artillerymen from Fort Tompkins. Some of the Beresford’s shot went over the fort and landed in and around the dockyard. Under the mistaken impression that the fort had surrendered, a young American naval officer, Acting Lieutenant John Drury, ordered the sloop of war General Pike which was under construction and large quantities of stores to be set on fire. Lieutenant Woolcott Chauncey had orders to defend the yard rather than the schooners, but had instead gone aboard one of the schooners, which were engaging the British vessels at long and ineffective range.

The “enemy” ship, Fair Jeanne, fires at Sackets Harbor — The 110 foot Canadian Brigantine Fair Jeanne travels the world. This Tall Ships training program has graduated over 2,000 young sailors.

By this time, Governor General of Canada, Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost was convinced that success was impossible to attain. His own field guns did not come into action and without them he was unable to batter breaches in the American defenses, while the militia which Brown had rallied were attacking his own right flank and rear. He gave the order to retreat. Prevost later wrote that the enemy had been beaten and that the retreat was carried out in perfect order, but other accounts by British soldiers stated that the re-embarkation took place in disorder and each unit acrimoniously blamed the others for the repulse.

The Americans for their part claimed that had Prevost not retreated hastily when he did, he would never have returned to Kingston. The U.S. 9th Infantry had been force-marching to the sounds of battle, but the British had departed before they could intervene.

The British defeat at Sacket’s Harbor compared badly with the victorious American opposed landings at York and Fort George, even though the odds at Sackett’s Harbor were slightly more favourable to the defenders. The chief reason was probably that the attack was launched without sufficient preparation, planning and rehearsal. The troops were an ad hoc collection of detachments, which had not been exercised together. This applied to the American regulars also, but since they were fighting from behind fixed defences, this mattered less.

Sacket’s Harbor Today

Another account of the end of the battle and aftermath —  The British commanders at the same time began to notice a rising plume of dust to the west of the village. They had learned from Americans captured at Stony Point that a column of Tuttle’s 9th Infantry had marched from Oswego the previous morning. Fearing these to be fresh reinforcements who would arrive on their rear, the British commander, Sir George Prevost, sounded a retreat. Tired and beaten, the British broke ranks and ran back to their landing boats, not even stopping to gather their wounded and dead. Once the landing party was safely back to the British fleet, they sent a representative under a flag of truce to ask that a landing party be allowed to tend to the casualties. The Americans refused.

In the aftermath of the battle, the fires in the Navy Yard were extinguished, but not before more than $500,000 worth of supplies and materials had been consumed. The new ship was saved with only minor damage. The wounded soldiers were taken to several homes in the village for care. One of these homes was the Sacket Mansion. The British were also tended to, while the dead were placed in an unmarked grave south of the village. The location of this grave has yet to be found. In all, the Americans lost 21 dead, 84 wounded and 26 missing. The British fared far worse for their effort: 48 dead, 195 wounded, and 16 missing.

So who won the battle? The British object was to destroy the Navy Yard and recapture supplies taken from York [today's Toronto] and Gananoque. Thanks to some panicked Americans, they succeeded in destroying the Navy Yard and refusing the Americans use of their stores.   Although the new ship was saved, the loss of rigging and sails in the fire delayed her commission for months and gave the British clear reign on Lake Ontario. The 250 or so Americans left at Fort Tompkins were beaten, and would not have held out long against an all-out British assault. The Americans, for their part however, inflicted disproportionately heavy damage on the British, something that Sir George Prevost would have to answer for in the coming months.

Sackets Harbor just after the War of 1812 by 19th-century artist William Strickland

[Based out of Hamilton, Ontario, the 21st U.S. (Treat's Company) seeks to recreate the life and times of a Soldier of the United States during the War of 1812]

They Built Things Better in the Past?

The ships the British and Americans were fighting to destroy and protect left something to be desired in the quality department.  Here’s an historical note about their poor workmanship by Dr. Gary M. Gibson:

When something breaks shortly after you bought it, you might complain that “they built things better in the past.” However, if the past was Sackets Harbor during the War of 1812 and the items were warships, you would be well to prefer today’s models.

Between 1812 and 1815 the United States and Great Britain engaged in a war of ship carpenters. Although there were no major naval battles on Lake Ontario to compare with the actions on Lake Erie in 1813 and Lake Champlain in 1814, the shipbuilding efforts on Ontario far surpassed those on the other lakes. Workmen at the American shipyard at Sackets Harbor and the British shipyard at Kingston, Upper Canada, competed to be the first to build enough warships to gain and maintain control of Lake Ontario.

This competition led to hasty work. On the Atlantic, building a 44-gun frigate could easily take two or three years. At Sackets Harbor that feat was accomplished in two months. Even the first warship built at Sackets Harbor, the 24-gun [corvette]USS Madison, was ready to launch in only 45 days.

All this construction required skilled ship carpenters, and at Sackets Harbor there were never enough of them. The gap was filled by hiring common house carpenters. Unfortunately, you did not build a wooden warship like you did a barn. The shipwright at Sackets Harbor, Henry Eckford., had to compensate for this by altering the design to make the vessels easier (and faster) to build.

This nearly lead to disaster. In September 1814, the 22-gun brig USS Jefferson encountered a fierce gale on Lake Ontario and the vessel, rolling heavily and “twice on her beam ends” began to come apart. To save the ship, the captain, Charles G. Ridgeley, had to lighten the load on deck by throwing ten of her cannon overboard.

In January 1815 construction began on two huge warships, the 106-gun New Orleans and Chippewa.

[The  first-rate ship-of-the-line, New Orleans was designed to carry a crew of 900 and was enclosed in a huge wooden ship house to protect it for future use, but in 1817, the Rush-Bagot Treaty between the United States and Great Britain limited all naval forces on the Great Lakes.  The treaty provided for a large demilitarization of lakes along the international boundary, where many British naval arrangements and forts remained. The treaty stipulated that the United States and British North America could each maintain one military vessel (no more than 100 tons burden) as well as one cannon (no more than eighteen pounds) on Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain. The remaining Great Lakes permitted the United States and British North America to keep two military vessels "of like burden" on the waters armed with "like force". The treaty, and the separate Treaty of 1818, laid the basis for a demilitarized boundary between the U.S. and British North America.]

[In 1816, a year after construction began] , with the war now over, a British foreman of shipwrights, John Aldersley, visited Sackets Harbor and inspected the incomplete New Orleans. He saw “the most abominable, neglectful, slovenly work ever performed …the timbers are in many instances thrown in one upon the other, without even the bark of the tree being taken off.” Aldersley noted that the New Orleans’ gun ports were created after the ship’s sides were completed, “the same as the doors and windows are cut out after a log house is framed.”

The incomplete USS New Orleans in 1883, the year she was sold for scrapping.  She remained on the stocks, housed over, until sold on 24 September 1883 to H. Wilkinson, Jr., of Syracuse, New York.

Built quickly out of green wood, few of these warships survived for long. By the early 1820s most were reported to be “sunk and decayed.” The only exceptions were the incomplete New Orleans and Chippewa, which remained in good condition only because they had expensive shiphouses built over them. As a result, the New Orleans, slovenly construction notwithstanding, was still considered useful as late as the American Civil War, a half century later.

The Great Rope — One Last Fun Story

In May 1814, 84 men carried a ship’s cable weighing five tons from the mouth of Sandy Creek to Sackets Harbor, a distance of 20 miles.   It took two days and they were left battered and bruised, but they did the job “can-do” American style.

The serpentine line of cable-carriers passed from village to village during the 20-mile journey where they were met with growing enthusiasm, refreshments, and replacements for those too exhausted or injured to continue. Mats of woven grass were fashioned to protect the shoulders of cable-carriers but all had large bruises. It was said that some carried the callous or mark on their shoulders the rest of their lives.

The Great Rope was the main anchor cable for the “Superior”, a frigate launched May 1, 1814 from Sackets Harbor under the command of Issac Chauncy. When armed, she was to carry 66 guns. The rope, under guard in Oswego, was 22 inches around and weighed 9,600 pounds. Although the rope traveled by boat most of the way, due to heavy fighting on Lake Ontario, the last leg of the trip was made over land on the backs of men. Here’s the complete story “.Events Surrounding The Battle of Big Sandy and the Carrying of the Great Rope in 1814 and the Ensuing 185 Years.” by Blaine Bettinger.

This reenactment rope  is undersized. Plus the locals were the ones who pitched in and they wouldn’t have had hats with feathers.       The original ships’ cable would have been four times as thick and heavy as the one depicted here.





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Our New Brunswick Loyalists

When I was growing up, I thought all our American/Canadian/American ancestors were Loyalists, but my research has discovered most just went to Canada  in the 1760’s for an opportunity.  These strict Puritans were overwhelmed when the Loyalists arrived in 1783.   See my post New England Planters in New Brunswick.   

While we had 15 ancestral families who immigrated to and from Canada, Nathaniel and Jonathan PARKS were our only direct ancestors who were actually resettled Loyalists. There were several cousin and in-law Loyalists, however.

Jonathan’s Uncle Peter even had his 3 Durham Boats, 1 Skiff, a chain and crowbar, 16 setting pole irons, 8 pair of oars, pots, axes, chest etc. confiscated in December 1776 and maybe used by  Washington’s to cross the Delaware on Christmas night.

Here’s our Loyalists’ story.

Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to Great Britain (and the British monarchy) during the Revolutionary War. At the time they were often called ToriesRoyalists, or King’s Men. They were opposed by the Patriots, those who supported the revolution. When their cause was defeated, about 20% of the Loyalists fled to other parts of the British Empire, in Britain or elsewhere in British North America, especially Ontario and New Brunswick, where they were called United Empire Loyalists. Most were compensated with 200 acres of Canadian land or British cash distributed through formal claims procedures.

Loyalist Landing in Parrtown – The Harriet Irving Library at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, N.B. is a repository of Loyalist resources which is unique in Canada. The Loyalist Collection is a special collection on microfilm of North American colonial and early Canadian primary sources from approximately 1760 – 1840. The chief focus is directed toward the American Revolution and the early years of Loyalist settlement in British North America

Historians‘ best estimates put the proportion of adult white male loyalists somewhere between 15 and 20 percent. Approximately half the colonists of European ancestry tried to avoid involvement in the struggle — some of them deliberate pacifists, others recent immigrants, and many more simple apolitical folk. The patriots received active support from perhaps 40 to 45 percent of the white populace, and at most no more than a bare majority.

The largest number of loyalists were found in the middle colonies: many tenant farmers of New York supported the king, for example, as did many of the Dutch in the colony and in New Jersey. The Germans in Pennsylvania tried to stay out of the Revolution, just as many Quakers did. Highland Scots in the Carolinas stayed loyal to the king. [Our recently arrived Scotch/Irish ancestors in South Carolina were Revolutionaries - See my post Carolina in the Revolution]

The Loyalists rarely attempted any political organization. They were often passive unless regular British army units were in the area. The British, however, assumed a highly activist Loyalist community was ready to mobilize and planned much of their strategy around raising Loyalist regiments. The British provincial line, consisting of Americans enlisted on a regular army status, enrolled 19,000 loyalists (50 units and 312 companies). Another 10,000 served in loyalist militia or “associations.” The maximum strength of the Loyalist provincial line was 9,700 in December 1780 . In all about 50,000 at one time or another were soldiers or militia in British forces, including 15,000 from the main Loyalist stronghold of New York.

During and following the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783, Loyalists (especially soldiers and former officials) could choose evacuation. Loyalists whose roots were not yet deeply embedded in the New World were more likely to leave; older people who had familial bonds and had acquired friends, property, and a degree of social respectability were more likely to remain in the US.

Approximately 10 to 15 % left (about 62,000 white Loyalists, or about 2 % of the total US population of 3 million in 1783). Many of these later emigrants were motivated by the desire to take advantage of the British government’s offer of free land, but many also were disillusioned by the continuing hostility to Tories and eventually decided to leave the new Republic.

The Coming of the Loyalists by Henry Sandham showing a romanticised view of the Loyalists’ arrival in New Brunswick

About 46,000 went to British North America. Of these 34,000 went to Nova Scotia [which included New Brunswick at the time], 2,000 to Prince Edward Island and 10,000 to Ontario.   7,000 went to Great Britain and 9,000 to the Bahamas and British colonies in the Caribbean.  The 34,000 who went to Nova Scotia, where they were not well received by the residents who were mostly descendants of New Englanders settled there between the Acadian expulsion (1755-1763) and the Revolution. In 1784, the colony of New Brunswick was separated from  Nova Scotia for the 14,000  loyalists who had settled in those parts.

With the arrival of the Loyalist refugees in Parrtown (Saint John) in 1783, the need to politically organize the territory became acute. The newly arrived Loyalists felt no allegiance to Halifax and wanted to separate from Nova Scotia to isolate themselves from what they felt to be democratic and republican influences existing in that city.

On May 18, 1785 the two towns of Carleton and Parrtown amalgamated to form the City of Saint John – Canada’s first incorporated city.

They felt that the government of Nova Scotia represented a Yankee population which had been sympathetic to the American Revolutionary movement, and which disparaged the intensely anti-American, anti-republican attitudes of the Loyalists. “They [the loyalists],” Colonel Thomas Dundas wrote from Saint John, New Brunswick, Dec 28, 1786, “have experienced every possible injury from the old inhabitants of Nova Scotia, who are even more disaffected towards the British Government than any of the new States ever were. This makes me much doubt their remaining long dependent.  These views undoubtedly were exaggerated but there was no love lost between the Loyalists and the Halifax establishment and the feelings of the newly arrived Loyalists helped to sow the seeds for partition of the colony.

The British administrators of the time, for their part, felt that the colonial capital (Halifax) was too distant from the developing territories to the west of the Isthmus of Chignecto to allow for proper governance and that the colony of Nova Scotia therefore should be split. As a result, the colony of New Brunswick was officially created with Sir Thomas Carleton the first governor on Aug 16, 1784.

New Brunswick was named in honour of the British monarch, King George III, who was descended from the House of Brunswick (Haus Braunschweig in German, derived from the city of Braunschweig, now Lower Saxony). Fredericton, the capital city, was likewise named for George III’s second son, Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of York.

The choice of Fredericton (the former Fort Anne) as the colonial capital shocked and dismayed the residents of the larger Parrtown (today’s Saint John). The reason given was because Fredericton’s inland location meant it was less prone to enemy (i.e. American) attack. Saint John did, however, become Canada’s first incorporated city and for a long time was one of the dominant communities in British North America. Saint John also found itself home to the American traitor Benedict Arnold; whose questionable local business dealings meant that the local Loyalists also came to despise him.

Our Loyalists

In Canadian heraldry, Loyalist descendants are entitled to use a Loyalist coronet in their coat of arms. 

Loyalists military coronet

Loyalists civil coronet

Peter Parlee Sr.

Peter’s father Jean PERLIER III was born 5 Sep 1703 in Staten Island, New York. His baptism in the French (Huguenot) Church in New York City on 19 Sep 1703.  His father and grandmother were Protestant refugees from La Treamblade, Charante, France.

He married Abagail JONES on 13 Jun 1734 in Edison, Bergen, New Jersey. He moved to the Jersey settlement in North Carolina between 1750 and 1760 and became John Purlear. Possibly, he married Ann [__?__] and had seven more children. John died in 1771 in Davidson North Carolina.

Jean Perlier was baptized in the Huguenot Church New York City – “Saint-Esprit”, the French Reformed Church on Pine Street, New York,

Jean’s son Peter Parlee Sr. was baptized “Pieter Parliez” 13 Jun 1736 in St. Andrews Church, Fresh Kill, Staten Island, NY. Peter was a Loyalist and died in 1821 in Sussex Vale, Kings County, New Brunswick.

Parlee Brook Ice Falls near Sussex, New Brunswick.  —  Peter left dozens of grandchildren in the area.  Parlee Brook is named for the family.

Peter had five boys and at least 45 Parlee grandchildren, so they were able to found the hamlet of Parlee Brook all on their own.

Parlee Brook is one of the ice climbing meccas in New Brunswick. Nestled in a hidden canyon, lies several (12) ice lines ranging from WI 2 to 4+. The ice begins to form around mid December.  More pictures of ice climbing at Parlee Brook.

Directions: Make your way to Sussex, then to Waterford (follow the blue signs to the Poley Mountain ski area). Before you reach the ski hill, turn right onto the Parlee Brook Road. The road is paved but becomes dirt. Once you see “The Abbey” take the road before it called Arnold’s Hollow Road. The province maintains this road but it can get pretty rough or washed-out near the bottom. Head up the hill, then down the hill and park opposite the camp. Walk for about 5 minutes until you come to an area on the left that has been logged. Go past a very “burly” spruce tree on your left (see pics) and look for a very small stream that crosses the road. Turn left up this stream; it will lead you into the amphitheatre.

Peter’s second wife Lydia Robbins was born in 1735 in Amwell, Hunterdon, New Jersey. Her parents were John Robbins and Eleanor [__?__]. Lydia died 21 Mar 1820 in Sussex Vale, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada  John Robbins’ farm was an original land grant to the Robbins family from the descendants of William Penn. It is now know as “Robbins’ Nest Farm.” John and Eleanor’s children were: John Jr., Cornelius, Job, Anna, Mary, Elizabeth, Hannah, Jane, Rachel, Lydia and Catherene.

Peter  met and married Lydia Robbins in Amwell Township, Hunterdon, New Jersey, the same place Elizabeth met Nathaniel PARKS, as the Robbins family lived there also.  He is located in Durham Township, Bucks Co., PA before the American Revolution. His name also appears on several Muster Rolls for the 2nd New Jersey Volunteers, an Artillery Battalion. At the close of the War, his land was confiscated and he resettled in Sussex, New Brunswick, after being captured by American forces at least twice. Peter was married twice, but his first wife’s name is not known. His second marriage was to Lydia Robbins (married between 1764 and 1774).

Peter was a British Loyalist.  By 1740, Pennsylvania had become the nation’s first melting pot.  The 1775 tax records show Peter owned a large farm of 164 acres in Durham Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which was directly across the Delaware River from Kingwood Township, Hunterdon County New Jersey, where his sister Elizabeth lived with her husband, another Loyalist who relocated to New Brunswick Nathaniel PARKS. Nathaniel owned land in both Hunterdon County NJ and in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

One of the most informative documents is Peter’s claim for losses submitted to the British authorities in 1786″

” Peter Parlier, late of Bucks County in the province of Pennsylvania,  but now of York County in the Province of New Brunswick, begs leave humbly to represent, that at the commencement of the unhappy dissensions he was possessed of a real estate for which he had honestly paid and expended in improvements the sum of three hundred pounds Pennsylvania currency. And that he also possessed various other property as enumerated in the annexed schedule.

That your Memorialist in consequence of his loyalty to his Sovereign and attachment to the British Goverment, has suffered a loss of all the said property by its being taken and destroyed or confiscated and sold by the Americans.

That your Memorialist joined the British Army in April 1777 after suffering grevious persecutions and abuses. He immediately enlisted as a private solider in the 2nd Battalion of the New Jersey Volunteers commanded by Lieut. Col. Allen, in which batttalion he continued to serve until the same was disbanded.

That in April 1779 he was employed in the recruiting service and was taken prisoner and robbed of forty pounds.

That in 1781 he was taken prisoner again and confined three months and was at the expense of at least thirty pounds. That your Memorialist exerted himself to the best of his ability in the King’s service and was frequently employed in dangerous and arduous services, as he can make appear.

That he is now with a wife and five children reduced to poverty. He therefore humbly hopes that the Commissioners will take his case into consideration allow him to produce evidences of the facts herein set forth when they shall arrive in the Providence of New Brunswick and otherwise relieve him. And as in duty bound, Peter Parlee. “

The attached summary of his losses provides the following information:

” Schedule of property belonging to Peter Parlier, taken from him in December 1776 and destroyed to prevent the British Army from crossing the river Delaware. [Peter lived just a few miles from Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, which occurred on the night of December 25–26, 1776]

3 Durham Boats
1 Skiff, a chain and crowbar
16 setting pole irons
8 pair of oars, pots, axes, chest etc.

Captain Thatcher, Daniel Shannon, Joseph Parks, Thomas Simmons

Durham boat used in a reenactment of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River

The Durham boat was a large wooden boat first produced by the Durham Boat Company of Durham, Pennsylvania, starting in 1750. They were designed by company owner Robert Durham to navigate the Delaware River and thus transport the products produced by the Durham Forges and Durham Mills to Trenton, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  From about 1803 – 1820, a larger version of the Durham boat was crucial to operations on the waterway connecting the Hudson River to Lake Ontario via the Mohawk River.

They were flatbottomed boats – provided with keels – with high vertical side which ran parallel to each other up to a point 12 to 14 feet  from the boat’s ends, where they then tapered. The boats were constructed of 1.25-inch   thick planks and measured up to 60 feet  long by 8 feet  wide by 42 inches   deep. They displaced a draft of 3.5 inches when light and 28 inches when fully loaded. Since both ends were tapered, either end could serve as the bow of the boat since the heavy steering gear, called a “sweep.” could be shifted to either end. As a result, the boat could go in either direction depending on the placement of the steering sweep and the movement of the poles or oars.

They were designed to be able to carry a maximum load of 17 tons while traveling downstream and two tons while traveling upstream. Thus they could carry 150 barrels  of flour or 600 bushels of corn. It took three or four men, plus a steersman, to operate the boats. Moving downstream they used 12-foot  to 18-foot  long “setting poles” mainly for steering and when moving upstream they used these poles to push the boats upriver. The crew walked back and forth on “walking boards” built into the sides of the boats. Some were later fitted for the use of oars.

From 1803-1820, Durham boats were the watercraft of choice on the waterway for traffic between the Hudson River and Lake Ontario via the Mohawk River. The eastern terminus of this waterway was in Schenectady, New York, and the Durham boats were also known as Schenectady boats in this region.  The waterway was the major one connecting the eastern seaboard of the United States to the continental interior. The improvements to it that made the use of Durham boats practicable were an important prelude to the construction of the Erie Canal. Durham boats aren’t designed as canal boats, and their era on the waterway along the Mohawk largely ended with the canal’s opening in 182

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanue Leutze 1851

Socorro at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art — May 29, 2012  This is the second version that Leutze painted.  The first version was destroyed in the bombing of Bremen in World War II.

Back to the list of Pete Parlier’s losses:

February 1778
Taken for fines levied for not turning out against the King’s Army
2 Cows
1 Horse
Cornelius Parlier and Peter Parlier Jr.

Taken by James Morgan from the wife of Peter Parlier by order of Congress – November 1779
25 Bushels Buckwheat
30 Bushels Rye
5 Stocks Bees
Cornelius Parlier and Peter Parlier Jr.

Peter stated that he was on actual service with the King’s Army until October 24 1783 and after that he resided in the Province of New Brunswick. Records show that his property in Bucks County Pa. was sold at public auction the 28th day of June 1780, for the sum of 6600 pounds.

The New Jersey 2nd Battalion served as artillery men. The inception of the corps can be traced to its commander, Lieutenant Colonel John Morris , joining the refugees from Monmouth County on the first arrival of the British fleet off New York in late June of 1776.

Morris, a half-pay lieutenant of the 47th Regiment of Foot who had previous military service, convinced Brigadier General Cortlandt Skinner and the British that he could raise a battalion, and therefore declined serving under Elisha Lawrence. With the British entry into New Jersey in late November of 1776, his plans commenced.

Morris competed directly with Elisha Lawrence in seeking recruits from his home area of Monmouth County. As quickly as he raised men they were thrown into action. On 2 January 1777 four of his men were killed in battle and as many as thirty others captured near Monmouth Court House in Freehold.

The next month they worked in conjunction with the British 26th Regiment of Foot in surprising a large body of militia between New Brunswick and Perth Amboy. In addition to the troops at New Brunswick, there was a detachment in garrison at Sandy Hook, providing a guard for the important light house there.

This would be the sum of their operations while in garrison at New Brunswick until 30 April 1777 when they were ordered to New York to commence immediate service with the Royal Artillery Regiment.

Attaching the 2nd battalion to the Royal Artillery was a stop-gap measure designed to make up for a shortfall in regular artillery men from England. It was suggested that Sir William Howe, the British Commander in Chief, might raise a new Provincial regiment of 300 men to fill this need. Needing the men for immediate service though, Howe could not wait for the amount of time it would take to recruit that many men.

General Sir William Howe made the 2nd New Jersey an Artillery Battalion

The 2nd battalion, roughly the number of 300 men, was therefore chosen as a mark of honor for their service to that point. They would have to learn the trade of artillery on the job, as the bulk of the battalion set sail in July of 1777 with Howe and thousands of British, German and Provincial soldiers to do battle with Washington and capture Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Campaign was a successful one, both for the British and the 2nd battalion. While losing perhaps only one man total through the bloody battles of Brandywine and Germantown, they were swarmed with new recruits, many of them deserters from the Continental Artillery at Valley Forge.

Others were Loyalists from the lower counties of New Jersey on the Delaware, while a whole company under Captain Donald Campbell was added from Major William Stark’s corps of New Hampshire Volunteers. Despite the name, this company had been raised in Philadelphia, being added to the NJV in January of 1778.

The men enjoyed their stay in comfortable quarters in Philadelphia. Their main duties, when not being instructed in the artillery exercise, involved gathering and stacking firewood, sometimes forming detachments to make incursions for this purpose in the countryside.

They formed a part of the army under Lt. Colonel Charles Mawhood that located and destroyed two militia outposts at Quintin’s and Hancock’s Bridges in South Jersey. Some of the men were given to the different British brigades to help serve the battalion guns attached to them. They were augmented later in the spring by the rest of the battalion from New York, minus Lieut. Colonel Morris who was in ill health.

With the evacuation of Philadelphia, the battalion marched with the Royal Artillery back to New York. Before reaching Sandy Hook, their point of embarkation to the city, they fought in the largest encounter of the war, the Battle of Monmouth.

The past year’s training came into great use, as the artillery was engaged heavily throughout the contest. An indication of the fierceness of the fighting and their forward role in it is their loss of four men killed serving the guns while the Royal Artillery lost none. The Battle of Monmouth would prove the last time they would fight with the entire battalion present.

Once returned to New York, the men were divided up among every outpost on the lines and every brigade in the army. While the men did their duty, it proved of little service to the officers. Since the men were doled out in fives and sixes, these detachments were too few in number to be commanded by a commissioned officer.

With no other duties to attend to, the officers’ chief function was to sit on whatever court martial might present itself, an unglamourous duty indeed and hardly one for which they would have signed on.

The duty with the artillery would continue through 1779 and lead to a bizarre incident involving Brigadier General Skinner and Lt. Col. Morris. Skinner had lost touch with the battalion while in Philadelphia and had exerted little control over them after their return.

Wishing to correct that, he asked for bi-monthly states of the battalion which Morris refused, claiming he was not under Skinner’s command. Morris was eventually placed under arrest and tried for disobedience of orders, found guilty and sentenced to minor punishment. Even this, though, was remitted by Sir Henry Clinton, who had replaced Howe as Commander in Chief.

The 2nd battalion was finally given its freedom from the artillery in November of 1779 and was once again allowed to consolidate and act as a battalion of infantry.

To their dismay, the many months of artillery service had bled them of manpower. Virtually no recruiting had been done since Philadelphia, and there were no men to replace the many desertions, deaths and discharges that had occurred since.

When they made their way to their various posts on Long Island (Jericho, Jerusalem and finally Lloyd’s Neck), they barely numbered 150 officers and men. Thankfully for them, they were able to recruit a goodly number of Rebel deserters (and possibly a few prisoners of war) to help bolster the ranks.

While at Lloyd’s Neck the battalion saw little or no action. Their main duties there were to provide guards for the various woodcutting parties and shipping. For the latter duty they served as marines on board various armed brigs and sloops of the Quarter Master General’s Department, a task performed by NJV from almost every battalion at some point during the war.

For more action there was always the post at Sandy Hook, where a detachment from the 2nd battalion did duty after June of 1780. Often going out in small parties with armed refugees into Monmouth County, they proved a great nuisance to the countryside, occasionally capturing prisoners, the most notable of whom was Captain Joshua Huddy.

Taken by a party commanded by Lieutenant Josiah Parker, Huddy would be exchanged, only to be captured again and hanged in 1782 by Captain Richard Lippencott of the Associated Loyalists, formerly an officer in the 1st Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers who had several kin in the 2nd battalion.

The post at Lloyd’s Neck was due to be turned over to the Associated Loyalists in June of 1781. With no further need of Provincial forces there, the 2nd battalion commenced its march to Brooklyn, where they would be ferried across to Staten Island. Once there, their career as a battalion was finished, and they were drafted into the 1st and late 4th battalions, one company to the former and three to the latter.

Lieut. Colonel Morris would finish the war uneventfully upon half pay, not having really commanded the battalion since 1777 due to the artillery duty and his later illness. Some of his fellow officers would join him on half pay, while Samuel Richard Wilson , disgraced by a court martial in 1780, found a home in the Royal Garrison Battalion, and Ensign LeGrange joined the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot.

After the war the bulk of the 2nd New Jersey Volunteers arrived at Saint John, Canada on the ship ” Duke of Richmond “. The soldiers received grants of land in a block along the St John River when the regiment was disbanded for their service of the King. Peter settled near Long Creek, Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada on July 29 1785. Later Peter Parlier received a grant from the British Government for land in Sussex Township, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada on the north bank of the Big Salmon River.

Footbridge over Big Salmon River

Abiel Peck

Thomas SKINNER’s son-in-law Abiel Peck and daughter Ruth Skinner came to New Brunswick in 1783 as Loyalists and settled in Hopewell Parish, Albert County.

The Peck grant was taken up by Abiel Peck, great-great grandson of Joseph PECK who emigrated from England to Attleboro, Mass. in the year 1636. Abiel Peck was born in 1730 and married Ruth Skinner of Attleboro. He came to Cumberland at the time of the Revolution and shortly after to Shepody where he obtained a large tract of land from the government said to contain 6,000 acres. The most of this land is still owned by the Peck family.

A tombstone in the old Peck burying ground bears this inscription ‘Here lies interred the body of Abiel Peck, a native of Boston, and one of the first settlers of this place, who, on the 16th of Dec., 1802, unfortunately perished in a boat, in the 73rd year of his age, leaving upwards of three score descendants to lament his melancholy fate.’ During his life the country was a comaparitive wilderness with no roads nor means of communication with the different settlements along the shore, except by water. It was upon one of these occasions, while attempting to cross the Bay from Dorchester to his own place in an open boat, that he lost his life. The boat was picked up in a cove near the Joggin, now known as Peck’s Cove. The elder Peck had eleven children.

One of these, Rachel Peck, married Thomas Calhoun, grandfather of George Calhoun, now Registrar of Deeds for Albert Co. The grant was for the most part divided among his immediate family, the last side of the grant, when he had first settled himself, being given to his son Abiel. The next lot, the only one that went outside of the family, was sold to David Hoar from Colchester, N.S. The next farms were occupied by his sons Elisha Peck and Thomas Peck and his sons-in-law, Nicholas Pearson, John Edgett, Oliver Stiles and Joel Edgett.

Nathaniel Parks

Nathaniel PARKS (1738-1818) was Alex’s 6th Great Grandfather; one of 128 in this generation of the Miller line.  While we had 15 ancestral families who immigrated to and from Canada, the Parks were the only clan who were actually resettled loyalists.  When I was growing up, I thought all our American/Canadian/American ancestors were loyalists, but most just went to Canada for an opportunity.   See my post New England Planters in New Brunswick.

Nathaniel and his son Joseph fought in South Carolina against some other of our ancestors.  Almost all our ancestors are northerners, but we do have one group of Scotch/Irish Presbyterian Seceder ancestors who immigrated to  Ninety-Six District, later Abbeville County, and Chester County South Carolina in the late 1700′s, just in time for the Revolutionary War.  Our branch followed their minister Alex. Porter to Preble County, Ohio in the early 1800′s, supposedly to avoid contact with the institution of slavery, but before they left, the second generation fought in the Revolution.   For more details, see my post Carolina in the Revolution.

Nathaniel Parks was born c. 1738 in Kingwood Township, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey His parents were Jonah PARKS and perhaps  Elizabeth PARLEE . He married Elizabeth PARLEE in 1760 some sources say in Canaan, Connecticut.    Nathaniel and his son Joseph enlisted in the loyalist 3rd Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers (known as Skinners Greens) on 6 June 1778.  Nathaniel was 40 when he enlisted and his son was 18 years old.  The N.J. Volunteers were relocated to Canada arriving in Parrtown New Brunswick  in Oct 1783 aboard the Duke of Richmond (Parrtown was renamed Saint John in 1785.  “Saint” is written out to distinguish it from St. John’s Newfoundland.).Both Nathaniel and Joseph are on the battalion land grant list for King’s County, New Brunswick on 14 July 1784.Nathaniel died in 1818 in New Brunswick, Canada

St John

Elizabeth Parlee was born in 1740 in Hunterdon, New Jersey.  Her parents were Jean PERLIER III and Abigail JONES. The Perlier family were from Staten Island, but, after the father’s death in 1723, the family, like many of their neighborns removed to New Jersey. They came by way of Perth Amboy, the Raritan and Millstone Rivers, and thence the branches of said rivers into Hunterdon Co. The Perliers were found in Amwell Township, and this probably is where Nathaniel met and married Elizabeth Perlier.  Her brother Peter Perlier, also, met and married Lydia Robbins in Amwell, as the Robbins family lived there also.  Elizabeth died in 1815 – Saint Martins, New Brunswick, Canada

Nathaniel Parks was a sergeant in Captain Thatcher’s company of the 3rd Battalion of the New Jersey Volunteers, which was commanded by Lt. Col. Isaac Allen. (The battalion was redesignated as the 2nd Battalion after a regimental reorganization in 1781.)  This battalion served in the New Jersey/New York area until it was ordered south to join in the Southern Campaign. Col. Allen’s battalion served with distinction at the siege of Fort Ninety Six, South Carolina, and later participated in the bloody battle of Eutaw Springs, SC.

Nathaniel’s eldest son, Joseph, served in the same outfit as his father and attained the rank of Corporal. For his service he was granted 200 acres in Sunbury County, New Brunswick, on 24 Feb 1785. Along with his father, Joseph was one of the 73 participants in the four acre St. John River island rights grant.

Nathaniel Parks Timeline

Before the War – Nathaniel Parks was found living on a 50 acre plantation in Kingwood Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey with his father Jonah Parks who also had 50 acres.  It is quite possible the children were all born there.

1760 – Nathaniel Parkes married Elizabeth Perlier/Parlee.

1767 – Nathaniel and Elizabeth living in West Jersy. Jonathan’s petition for land states he was born in West Jersey.

1777/78 – Nathaniel Parkes paid taxes on land in Kingwood Township, but, no deed has been found. However, he may have had a deed, not registered, and as a result of Nathaniel joining the King’s army his property would be confiscated. see Nov. 22, 1777 ‘Congress recommended the confiscation of all Loyalist estates.’

1778 – Nathanile Parkes joined 2d NJ Vol., as a Sargent. Joseph Parkes, eldest son of Nathaniel Parkes joins the same regiment on the same day.

6 June 1778 – Nathaniel Parks was enlisted by Captain Peter Campbell for his company in the 3rd Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers (known as Skinners Greens) on  Joseph Parks enlisted as a sergeant in the same company and battalion and on the same date, except that he was enlisted by Lieutenant Bartholomew Thatcher. Both Campbell and Thatcher were from Hunterdon County, New Jersey and the dates of enlistment of the men in their company suggest that the men were enlisted during the British march from Philadelphia to Sandy Hook.

1778 – Sargent, Capt. Bartholomew Thatcher’s Co., 3rd NJV commanded by Lt. Col. Isaac Allen, Staten Island.

In the muster of 31 Aug 1778 however, Nathaniel Parks is listed as the sergeant and Joseph Parks as a private, in now Captain Bartholomew Thatcher’s Company. This was the same company as before, except Peter Campbell did not have the command, as there was much confusion over his eligibility for rank.

Oct 1778. Sargent, Capt. Bartholomew Thatcher’s Co., 3rd NJV commanded by Lt. Col. Isaac Allen, Staten Island.. Staten Island.

29 Dec 1778 – Both Parks sailed with the expedition to take Savannah, Georgia  They subsequently took part in the Franco- American Siege of that city in Sep/Oct 1779.

29 Nov 1779 – They were both listed as sick in quarters, Joseph now promoted to corporal, both still serving in the same company and battalion. Sargent, Capt. Bartholomew Thatcher’s Co., 3rd NJV commanded by Lt. Col. Isaac Allen, Staten Island.. Savahnah.

Both Parks continued in this situation through 1780 and into 1781.

July 1780 – The battalion march in  from Savannah to Augusta, Georgia, and shortly thereafter to Ninety Six, South Carolina. At Ninety Six there were numerous small expeditions and skirmishes, which they may have taken part in. Ironically, another of our ancestors, James McCAW lived in the Ninety Six area and fought for the American side in the South Carolina campaign, see his page for an account of the battles.

May and Jun 1781 – Nathaniel and Joseph took part in the Siege of Ninety Six by the Rebel forces under [our possible relative] General Nathanael GREENE  , and the immediate evacuation of that post after the lifting of that event.

8 Sep 1781 – They also took part in the very bloody Battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina,.  Though half the British forces were killed, wounded or captured, the Parks survived apparently unscathed. At this time they were serving in the same company but the battalion had just been renumbered to the 2nd. This was due to the “old” 2nd battalion being under strength and drafted into the 1st and late 4th battalions.

25 Oct  – 24 Dec 1781. Sargent, Capt. Bartholomew Thatcher’s Co., 3rd NJV commanded by Lt. Col. Isaac Allen, Staten Island.. Charlestown.

25 Apr  – 24 Jun 1782. 2nd NJV. Capt. Bartholomew Thatchers Co.

The two Parks were in their same situation, company and battalion at Charlestown in the April 1782 muster. They would continue there until the city was evacuated by the British in Dec 1782, when they sailed back to the British garrison at New York. Joseph Parks was sent with an advance party of the battalion to Nova Scotia with the fleet in the Spring of 1783.  There he remained until joined by Nathaniel and the rest of the battalion that did not take their discharge at New York.

24 Jun  – 27 Aug 1783. 2nd NJV. Commanded by Major Robert Drummond. Sick in quarters.

25 Aug – 24 Oct 1783. 2nd NJV. Commanded by Lt. Col. Isaac Allen.

10 Oct 1783 – The battalion was disbanded and they were discharged on that day.

A Plaque that represents the Landing of the Loyalists which is at the mouth of the St John River in St John New Brunswick. At the time of the landing this area was known as Nova Scotia.

Oct 1783 – Came to Canada on ship, ‘Duke of Richmond’.

Parks, Nathaniel Source: LLC w: Elizabeth Parlee. Child: John, Jonathan, David, Mary, Nathan, Sarah, Rachel. Fr: New Jersey ? Stl: St. Martins, NB, CA Reg: Sargent in 2nd, NJ Volun.

The N.J. Volunteers arrived in Parrtown in Oct  1783 aboard the 865 ton warship Duke of Richmond, captained by Richard Davis.

14 Jul 1784. – Both are on the battalion land grant list for King’s County, New Brunswick.

New Brunswick Counties

21 Jul 1784 – Grant #113, Kingsclear, Sunbury Township, Block 2 (for NJV).

1784 – Loyalist Settlement List Return of People, near Long’s Creek, 2nd NJV:

Parks, Nathaniel: 1 man, 1 woman, 6 children over 10, 1 under 10.

24 Feb 1785 – Nathaniel received a grant of 600 acres in Sunbury County, NB on He was also one of 73 individuals who were granted four acres, designated as “Island Rights”, on an island in the St. John River, NB. This grant was dated 08 Aug 1789. I believe the island in question is in the vicinity of Frederickton.

1 Feb 1788 – Petition #282, land purchased from William Mills lying between Thomas Nay and Phillis Creek.

3 Aug 1789 – Grant #201, islands in Saint John River, Fredericton. Grant recalled and regranted 1 Feb 1793.

23 Oct 1790 – purchased lot #10, Dibbles Survey, 3rd range, Queens County. Witnessed by David Parke.

4 Oct 1799 – Grant recalled and regranted.

9 Jan 1802 – sale of lot #10 Dibbles Survey, 3rd range.

26 Feb 1823 – Named in petition #1121, John MacDonald, regarding land on road to Belleisle from Washademoak.

Joseph Parks

Nathaniel’s oldest son Joseph Parks (~1760 New Jersey- ? New Brunswick)

1778 – Nathaniel Parkes joined 2d NJ Vol., as a Sargent. Joseph Parkes (age 18), eldest son of Nathaniel Parkes joins the same regiment on the same day.

6 Jun 1778 – Nathaniel Parks was enlisted by Captain Peter Campbell for his company in the

3rd Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers (known as Skinners Greens) . Joseph Parks enlisted as a sergeant in the same company and battalion and on the same date, except that he was enlisted by Lieutenant Bartholomew Thatcher. Both Campbell and Thatcher were from Hunterdon County, New Jersey and the dates of enlistment of the men in their company suggest that the men were enlisted during the British march from Philadelphia to Sandy Hook.

In the muster of Aug 31, 1778 however, Nathaniel Parks is listed as the sergeant and Joseph Parks as a private, in now Captain Bartholomew Thatcher’s Company.

Oct 1778 – Joseph Parks participated in the successful raids on Egg Harbor, New Jersey under Captain Patrick Ferguson and the subsequent surprise of Pulaski’s Legion.

Both Parks sailed with the expedition to take Savannah, Georgia, which was effected on 29 Dec  1778. They subsequently took part in the Franco- American Siege of that city in Sep/Oct 1779. They were both listed as sick in quarters on Nov  29, 1779, Joseph now promoted to corporal, both still serving in the same company and battalion.

Both Parks continued in this situation through 1780 and into 1781. During that period the battalion march in July of 1780 from Savannah to Augusta, Georgia, and shortly thereafter to Ninety Six, South Carolina. At Ninety Six there were numerous small expeditions and skirmishes, which they may have taken part in. Ironically, another of our ancestors, James McCAW lived in the Ninety Six area and fought for the American side in the South Carolina campaign, see his page for an account of the battles. Nathaniel and Joseph took part in the Siege of Ninety Six by the Rebel forces under [our possible relative] General Nathanael GREENE through May and June of 1781, and the immediate evacuation of that post after the lifting of that event. They also took part in the very bloody Battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina, on 8 Sep 1781, surviving apparently unscathed. At this time they were serving in the same company but the battalion had just been renumbered to the 2nd. This was due to the “old” 2nd battalion being under strength and drafted into the 1st and late 4th battalions.

The two Parks were in their same situation, company and battalion at Charlestown in the April 1782 muster. They would continue there until the city was evacuated by the British in Dec 1782, when they sailed back to the British garrison at New York. Joseph Parks was sent with an advance party of the battalion to Nova Scotia with the fleet in the Spring of 1783.  There he remained until joined by Nathaniel and the rest of the battalion that

did not take their discharge at New York. The battalion was disbanded on 10 Oct 1783 and they were discharged on that day.  Both  are on the battalion land grant list for King’s County, New Brunswick on 14 Jul 1784.

Along with his father, Joseph was one of the 73 participants in the four acre St. John River island rights grant.

Nothing more about Joseph has been published. Perhaps he died soon after.

Josiah Foster

Nathaniel PARK’S son-in-law Josiah Foster  was born 11 Jun 1758 in Elizabeth, New Jersey (this may be a baptism as he is given as b. in St. John’s Church). His parents were Ebenezer Foster (b. 1731 Woodbridge, New Jersey – d. 10 Dec 1787 Kings, New Brunswick) and Mary Beach (b. 1729). He married Sarah Park in Mill Cove, Queens County, New Brunswick in 1783 or shortly before as Sarah’s 1838 petition says she came to NB with her husband . Josiah died 9 Nov 1833 in Waterborough Parish, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada..

Ebenezer was of Dutch descent.  He was a Loyalist. His property in Middlesex Co., New Jersey was confiscated 1 May 1787. He obtained land on an island in the Long Reach called the ‘Isle of Pines’. This later became known as Foster’s Island.’ “Ebenezer Foster was a member for Kings county in the first house of assembly.”

Owned lots 3,4,5 Mill Cove, Parish of Waterborough, Queens Co.

Josiah was a Corporal in the 2nd New Jersey Volunteers, came to New Brunswick with his regiment on the Duke of Richmond bound for the River Saint John.  According to one of Sarah’s petitions for widow’s benefits, he served for seven years. He received a grant of land above Fredericton, only to have it escheated ( a common law doctrine which transfers the property of a person who dies without heirs to the crown or state). Josiah Foster, Nathaniel Parks and Joseph Parks in a list of names of officers and men of the 2nd Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers, who received grants of land in King’s County, New Brunswick. Dated 14 July 1784

Josiah married Sarah Park and had nine children so states her petition for assistance in 1839, this was a pension given to ‘Old soldiers and widows of the soldiers of the Revolutionary War’. (RS566 I2/1 1839)

Josiah later received three lots of land on the Grand Lake, very near to where some of the Parke family settled. This property had a nice stream running through it, so Josiah built the firs saw mill in the area and the village became known as ‘Mill Cove‘. The saw mill later burned and then Josiah built a grist mill on the same site.

Josiah and Sarah’s family scattered and the property was sold, the will probate only lists five children. Some may not be living at that time

17 Jan 1838 – Petition of Sarah Foster, widow of the late Josiah Foster who ???? with Revolutionary War pray my for Legislation aid. Discharge and certificate of character enclosed.

To His Excellency Major General, John Harvey RCH and CB Lieutenant Govenor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick, To the Honorable President and Member of Her Majesties Legislative Council and the Humble Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly. Humbly herewith,

That your Petitioner is the widow of Corporal Josiah Foster who served for the term of the Seven Years in the 2 Batt NJ Volunteers during the American Rebellion as by reference to the annexed discharge will more fully appear that your Petitioner came to this Province with her Late husband with the Loyalists, that she had reared a family of nine children, that she is now upwards of seventy four years of age and is living on the affectionate bounty of one of her sons. She therefore humbly trusts that the liberality of the Legislature will be extended to her that may be afforded to ???? in her situation and as in duty bound with every way. Sarah Foster. X for her mark.

I hereby certify that my mother has lived with me since the death of my late father and belive that the above petition to be correct. Signed John Foster

Henry Belyea

Nathaniel PARKS’ son-in-law  Henry (Hendrick) Belyea was born 1766 in Cortland Manor, Westchester, New York. His parents were Hendrick Belyea and Engeltje Storm. He married Mary  Parks about 1799 in Oromocto, York, New Brunswick. Henry died 1851 in Greenwich Parish, New Brunswick.

Bilyea, Belyea, Bulyea are just three of the family names of descendants of Louis Boulier (born 1672 in Saintonge, France), a French Huguenot who fled religious persecution in France and ended up becoming part of the early Dutch community in what is now New York. We know very little about Louis, other than that he may have lived in the Netherlands before coming to North America.

Henry’s grandfather, father and brothers were tenant farmers at Philipsburg Manor in Tarrytown NY. Philipsburg Manor is open to tourists today.

Henry and his four brothers served with the British Army during the American Revolution. One of them was taken prisoner. The family lost all of its property and farms in New York because they sided with the losing forces, so the British paid to resettle them in Canada.  He arrived on April 26, 1783, with a fleet of twenty ships carried 7,000 Loyalists from New York City to Nova Scotia.

A legacy of the family lives on in New Brunswick in the form of “Belyea’s Cove” [covered with ice in this Google Maps Satellite View]. in the Saint John River Valley on Washademoak Lake. There is also a Belyeas Point in NB. Belyea’s Point Lighthouse, an 11 metre tall landfall lighthouse located along the Saint John River, near the community of Morrisdale, was built in 1881.

Henry owned land in Parish of Greenwich, Kings Co.

Silas Titus

Nathaniel PARKS’ son-in-law  Silas Titus was born 1765 in New York. His parents were Benjamin Titus and Ruth Bryan.  He married Rachel Parks 27 Dec 1794 at the Anglican Church, Gagetown, New Brunswick.  Silas died in 1817 in New Brunswick, Canada.

When the Loyalists drew lots in 1784, Silas Titus received 100 acres of land at Lorneville, Saint John County, but he did not settle on his grant and it reverted to the government. Instead he followed his family to Queens County and in 1794 he married Rachel Parks at St. John’s Anglican Church, Gagetown.

Early in 1794, Silas Titus and Thomas Creighton were sued by Reuben Williams for an unpaid debt of £10, and appears to have lost the suit. Shortly thereafter Silas Titus sold Lot 25 on Greater Musquash Island, which belonged to his father, probably to pay his debt. After his father went to Canada, in 1802 Silas Titus filed a petition for Lot 8 on the southeast side of the Washademoak Lake, but because the government was not issuing grants during that period, the petition stalled. It is likely that Silas and Rachel Titus lived during the early years of their marriage in proximity to her family near Fredericton. Titus appeared in court records again in 1813, when he was sued by Alexander Nevers and Ezekial Sloot of Fredericton for a promise of £22.

Johannes and Nicholas Emigh

Jonas DeLANGE’s grandchildren Johannes and Nicholas Emigh were Loyalist Soldiers relocated to Canada.

Johannes Emigh was a Loyalist and served in the Revolutionary War on the British side. John Emigh, also seen as John Amey, was born in 1747 in Dutchess Co, New York, and died in Ontario, Canada. He married Evah Stover, daughter of Jacob. Evah was born in 1751. John changed his name to Amey at some point.

Nicholas Emigh was born 1 Dec 1748 in Dutchess Co, New York. He married Margaret Stover. Margaret was born in 1749 in Dutchess Co, New York. Nicholas served in the Revolutionary War (Loyalist).

Abraham Beselie

Robert Willemze’s grandson Abraham Beselie was a scout for Gen. Burgoyne’s troops in the Hudson Valley. At the time that the British troops were escaping or surrendering in the vicinity of Saratoga, Abraham contracted small pox and died.  Several Philipsburgh Beselies moved to Brooklyn.

On 15 July 1783  Abraham’s wife Catherine fled to New York City and on Sep 24, 1783 embarked for Annapolis, Nova Scotia, with two of her sons, Francis and William, on The Peggy mastered by Abraham’s brother, James.

Annapolis Nova Scotia the 5th of January 1786
A true statement of the Estate of Catherine Beasley
Late of the Province of New York Taken and Confiscated in
Consequence of the Deceased Husband[s] loyalty and attachment to the British Government &c &c &C

…To the Honorable Commissioners appointed by His Majesty for looking into the losses and Confiscations of Loyal Subjects, &c &c  &c

Catherine Beasley late of Westchester County in the Province of New York but now of Annapolis in the Province of Nova Scotia, Maketh Oath and saith that She resided in the City of New York from 15th of July 1783 till the 24th of September. Then embarked for Nova Scotia…

The Memorial of Catherine Beasley Widow of Abraham Beasley of Westchester County and Province N York, who became a Guide to Some of General Burgoyns Army making their Escape in N York, at various times, by which means your Memorialists Husband, took, the small pox and leaving her; in the greatest want, and destitute of any help, to assist her, and two helpless Children, your Memorialist, having four sons Grown to the state of Manhood, all entered into His Majesties Service, two of whom was taken by the Rebels, and can not hear whether they are living or dead, the other two, since the Peace Came to this place, where your Memorialist took refuge to–as She could not remain Peaceable, upon her own possessions, Most humbly begs that She may be assisted by His Majestys Most Gracious Act &c &c &c

And she will ever Pray
Catherine  X  Beasley (Her Mark)
Annapolis [Nova Scotia]  January 19th 1786

Elizabeth’s claim for assistance was rejected by the Crown. The hardships in Annapolis were more than she could endure. She returned to New York, accompanied by Francis and William, on the same vessel Peggy

Elizabeth’s claim for assistance was rejected by the Crown. The hardships in Annapolis were more than she could endure. She returned to New York, accompanied by Francis and William, on the vessel “Peggy“, again mastered by James Beselie. They settled in Brooklyn to rebuild their lives, living, it appears from the 1790 census, in the household of her son, William and his wife, no children. The 1800 census shows William (under 45), and suggests his wife and mother (both over 46), a daughter and a son both under ten. The 1810 census indicates the absence of William and his mother, but his widow and two daughters are listed.

David Currie

Zebulon ESTEY’s son-in-law  David Currie was born 29 Apr 1767 in Peekskill, New York. Curry can be spelled Currie, Currey, Corey, or Corry. His parents were Joshua Currey and Eunice Travis  David married Dolly Estey 9 Jan 1791 Gagetown Anglican Church By Rev. Richard Clarke.  His nephew Joshua married Dolly’s sister Phoebe. He left Peekskill with his loyalist parents, sailing to Gagetown in 1783. David died 12 Aug 1827 in Upper Gagetown, New Brunswick, Canada.

When the American Revolution broke out, Joshua Curry took up arms for the British. His neighbors were on the side of independence, and he had to flee from home under cover of night. Three hundred miles lay between him and the nearest British camp; however, he reached there in safety, and enlisted as a soldier. Before long he was promoted to Lieutenant. His family supposed he was dead as they did not her from him till the war was over. In the fall of 1783, rather than be disloyal to England, he, with his family, left his beautiful home in Peekskill New York and went to New Brunswick, landing at the mouth of the St. John river, in November. They spent the winter there, and in the spring went up the river and purchased land in the parishes of Gagetown and Canning.”

David and Dorothy took up their abode in Canning, and God prospered them exceedingly. They owned nearly two thousand acres of land on both sides of the river. There were born to them ten sons and two daughters. The fifth son, whose name was John, and who was born in 1788, married Ann Upton and had nine children. He carried on a large tanning business and was quite wealthy. He died in 1876. His brother George is the only surviving member of the family (1897) and he has lived to see seven generations, both ancestors and descendants.

George Adkin Hartley

Richard ESTEY II’s son-in-law George Adkin Hartley was born 1759 in Newcastle, Northumberland, England or Canterbury, Kent, England, He married Abigail Estey in Sunbury County in 21 Apr 1788, but moved to Woodstock, Carleton County. George died 2 Sep 1812 in Burton Parish, Sunbury County, New Brunswick. Abigail lived for 32 more years.

George was a Sergeant in the King`s American Regiment. George was wounded several times while fighting as a Soldier in King George’s Guards during American Revolution. Granted Regimental land in Canterbury Parish, York County, New Brunswick, Canada.

The Regiment was raised in New York in December, 1776 by Colonel Edmund Fanning as the Associated Refugees. This one regiment served in six major campaigns across the length of the eastern seaboard. They fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, ending their service by being placed on the regular British Establishment, an honor bestowed on but a handful of Loyalist units.

It served in the attacks on Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery. It took part in relief of Newport, raids in Virginia and operations in Georgia and East Florida. It was taken into the American Establishment on March 7, 1781 as the 4th American Regiment. It was taken into the British Establishment on December 25, 1782, possibly as the 110th Regiment of Foot and disbanded in Canada in 1783.

Gathering for the Parade, Loyalist Centennial, Saint John, New Brunswick in 1883

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