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.

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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)


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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 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.


Posted in History, Storied, Veteran | 3 Comments

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

Posted in History, Immigrant - North America, Storied, Veteran | 3 Comments

Dudley Coleman Extra Pix

Many of these pictures are from the Gilbert family homestead, thought lost forever and recently rediscovered.

Dudley COLEMAN (1805 – 1865) was Alex’s 4th Great Grandfather, one of 32 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Dudley Coleman was born 17 Nov 1805 in  Vassalboro Maine. His parents were Joseph COLEMAN and  Mary CROSS. Dudley married Cynthia Maria RICHARSON 29 Oct 1829 in China, Kennebec, Maine.   Dudley died 25 Sep 1865

Cynthia Maria Richardson was born 18 May 1811 in Vassalboro, Maine and died 9 Mar 1899 at the residence of her daughter Susannah  Hathaway in  Stillwater, Washington, Minnesota and is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Stillwater.

Children of Dudley and Cynthia:

8. Elvira, 7.  Charles,  6. Eliza and sitting  1.  Cynthia Maria Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Coleman Children August 1906

Coleman Children August 1906
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

1908 —  9. Seth Coleman standing, 4. Roxanna Coleman Lovejoy, 6. Eliza Coleman, 8. Elvira Gilbert, on step, Belle and Eleanor lill Sholes, Emma Coleman and Etta
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Dudley Coleman Children Aug 16, 1906: Standing 9. Seth & Emma, Sitting 8. Elvira, 4.  Roxanna
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

1. Cynthia Maria Eastman Coleman (1830 – 1897) m.   1 Dec 1857 Augusta, Maine to Daniel Foster

2. Guilford Dudley COLEMAN (See his page)

3. Susannah Richardson Coleman(1834 – 1916) m. 23 Jun 1852 Vassalboro to  Calvin Hathaway

Children of Susannah and Calvin:

iv. Effie and v. Addie Hathaway in Stillwater, MN
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

i.  Elbridge C. Hathaway  (1853 – bef. 1860)

ii. Alice H. Hathaway (1854 – 1856)

iii. Willis Hiram Hathaway (1859-1929)  m. Mary Josephine Woods.

Mr. and Mrs. Willis Hathaway
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Willis’ daughter Carrie Belle Hathaway 3 years  — birth Feb 21 1897 Stillwater, MN
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Willis’ son Franklin “Frank” Woods Hathaway b. 26 Sep 1899 in Minnesota
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

iv. Elizabeth B. ” Effie” Hathaway (1863-1917); m. 6 Jan 1890 Stillwater, Minnesota to John Burnham Northey

Effie Hathaway age 19 years May21, 1882
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

v. Adalide “Addie” Eastman Hathaway  (1866-1921)  Adalide didn’t married and lived her whole life in Stillwater.

Hathaway Stillwater, MN
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

vi. Harry Lincoln Hathaway (1869-1935)  m.7 Nov 1893 Minnesota to Emma Herrn

vii. Calvin Hathaway (1871-bef. 1880)

viii. Annie Shakespere Hathaway  (1874-1882)

4. Roxanna “Roxie” Parmenter Coleman  (1835 – 1926) m1.  20 Apr 1854 to Augustus Plummer; m2. 5 Sep 1863 Kennebec, Maine to Charles R. Church; m3. 22 Aug 1869 to Marcellus Lovejoy

5. Judith Coleman (1836 – 1898) m. bef. 1863 to Milton Lapham

6. Eliza Ann Coleman (1837 – aft. 1930) m. 1858 Edward Lang

Eliza Coleman Lang
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Eliza Ann Coleman Lang
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Eliza Ann Coleman Lang
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Eliza Coleman Lang Studio at 513 Congress St
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Eliza Ann Coleman Lang in her 90’s
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Eliza Coleman Lang,  he daughter Belle Lang Cropley, Lill Dunham Shales

Eliza Coleman Lang, her daughter Belle Lang Cropley, and her granddaughter Lill Dunham Shales

Children of Eliza and Edward

i. Rosetta Hotten Lang (1859-aft. 1920)  m1. 14 Nov 1877 to John F. Dunham; m2. Oscar Franklin Skillings; m3. 20 Mar 1920 in Westbrook, Main to her cousin  Seth Elison Gilbert

ii. Edward M. Lang  (1865-1932) ; m. 1888 to Ella M. Freeman

Edward Lang Jr

Edward Lang Jr
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

iii. Charles Elden Lang (1872-1961)  m. 12 Sep 1894 to Ruth E. Merrill

Ed and Charley Lang

Ed and Charley Lang
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

C E Lang age 20 1892

C E Lang age 20 1892
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

iv. George Burnnham Lang  (1873-1970)   m. 3 Jun 1896 to Fannie Foster Cobb

George and Fanny Lang

George and Fanny Lang
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

 v.Eliza Belle Lang (1876-aft. 1960) m. 16 Sep 1896 Alton Irving Cropley

Belle Lang Cropley
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Belle Lang Cropley
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Belle Lang Cropley
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson


7. Charles Richardson Coleman (1841 – 1911) m1.  25 Nov 1865 Vassalboro to Mary E. Gardiner; m2. 12 Jun 1904 Vassalboro to Augusta “Abbie” Stewart

Charles Richardson Coleman

Charles Richardson Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Charles R Coleman 57 years taken Dec 21, 1897

Charles R Coleman 57 years taken Dec 21, 1897
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Charles R Colman ninety years - 1

A Poem Charles R Colman wrote to celebrate his ninetieth birthday

Charles R Colman ninety years - 1
Charles R Colman ninety years - 2

Children of Charles and Mary

i. Effie Hathaway Coleman (1866 – 1937)  m. 8 Jan 1887 in Augusta Maine to Duncan Christopher Walker

Effie Walker and children: left to right  Nellie Edna Walker, Ralph Waldo Walker and Elsie May Walker  May 12, 1917 Newton, Mass.
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Effie Coleman Walker taller women
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Ralph Waldo Walker (1895 – 1935)
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Mr. and Mrs. (the former Rosa Marie Shurll) Ralph Walker — Boston July 1924
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

ii Lillian May Coleman (1869 -1946)   m. 21 Sep 1889 to Charles F. Connor

Lillian Coleman Connor
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Lillian and Charles F Connor and their daughter Aline – June 1906
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Charles, Aline and Lillian Connor June 14, 1913
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

iii. George Weston Coleman (1876 -1923)

George Weston Coleman 21 yr 1 mo 29 days taken Dec 21 1897

George Coleman, Mr Whitney,  Stella Perry — At Camp Meeting July 1913

iv. Harvey Alexander Coleman (1879 – 1880)

8. Elvira Brown (Alvira, Vi) Coleman (1845 – 1930) m. 25 Nov 1865 Vassalboro to William Wallace Gilbert

i. Infant son Gilbert

ii. Flora M. Gilbert (1866 – 1867)

iii. Edward Leslie Gilbert (1868 – 1939) m. 2 Aug 1899 to Carrie Viola Johnson

Edward Leslie Gilbert

Edward Leslie Gilbert

iv. Seth Elison Gilbert (1869 – 1939) m. 5 Dec 1892 to Elizabeth (Lizzie) M. Jones

Seth Ellison Gilbert

Seth Ellison Gilbert

v. Jesse Stevens Gilbert (1872 – 1940) m. 15 Dec 1897 to Estella Blanche Sherman

Jesse Stevens Gilbert

Jesse Stevens Gilbert
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Left to Right Estella (1879 – 1931),   Claire (1900 – 1987),  Doris (1902 – 2001) and Jesse Gilbert

Left to Right Estella (1879 – 1931), Claire (1900 – 1987), Doris (1902 – 2001) and Jesse Gilbert before 1909 when Perry was born

Gilbert kids: Perry (1909 – 1978), Ivan (1920 – ), Claire, Alice (1918 – 2001), Doris in Vassalboro.

Gilbert kids: Perry (1909 – 1978), Ivan (1920 – ), Claire, Alice (1918 – 2001), Doris in Vassalboro.

Gilbert Siblings: Perry, Ivan, Claire, Doris, Alice

Gilbert Siblings: Perry, Ivan, Claire, Doris, Alice
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

9. Seth Richardson Coleman (1847 – 1936) m. 2 Jun 1871 Cedar, MN to Emma Theresa Miars

Seth Coleman

Seth R  and Emma Miars Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Jul 4 1907 — Picture of Seth R with Cow and Minneapolis friends by Old Mississippi River
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Seth and Emma Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Seth R Coleman 4 of July taken with horse and Minneapolis friends

Seth R Coleman May 18 1909 age 80 years
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Seth R Coleman Dec 14 1911 (See postcard description)
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

Seth R Coleman Postcard – No Whiskers!

Seth and Emma Coleman from a postcard

1922 Seth R Coleman and intended grandaughter Champlain taken in Minnesota Jul 4

Children of Seth and Emma

i. Lula May Coleman (1873 – 1952) m. 19 Jan 1893 to James Edward Henry

ii. Hale Sylvester Coleman (1875 – 1955) m1. Isabella Armstrong; m2. Edith Hagen; m3. Mary Houtte\

iii. Vernon Pratt Coleman (1888 -1946) m. 16 Aug 1922 Minnesota to Alice Christine Gagnelius

Seth and Vernon Coleman

Seth and Vernon Coleman
Photo Courtesy of Margaret Gilbert Peterson

10. Eleanor Coleman (1850 – 1861)

Posted in -6th Generation, Line - Shaw, Storied | Tagged | 1 Comment

Battle of Frenchman’s Creek – Nov 28, 1812

This story is action packed with our relatives achieving their objective Navy SEAL Team 6 style, only to be betrayed by their inept General Alexander Smyth.  Result: our brothers spent two years in POW camp.  Their father  Roger Parke was captured in an action a year later and died a POW.   On the other hand, the General was later elected to Congress and even had a county named after him: Smyth County, Virginia.

Canadians interpreted the commando raid as the direct assault and celebrated the victory.  In the United States, the story is largely forgotten.

After arguing with Brigadier General Peter B. Porter, Alexander Smyth challenged him to a duel, but both men went unscathed. The historian John R. Elting wrote of the duel, stating “Unfortunately, both missed.”

Alexander Smyth (1765-1830)

To be fair, maybe Smyth was a better economist than he was a general.  In The Old Republicans, Norman K. Risjord cites a speech delivered by Virginia Rep. Alexander Smyth on Thursday January 30, 1823 as “the first time it was openly asserted on the House floor” “that the protective tariff was unconstitutional.” Rep. “Smyth maintained that the power to lay and collect taxes was for purposes of revenue only; Congress had no power to protect domestic manufactures”:

The 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Frenchman’s Creek is coming up in a few weeks.   The operation was conceived as a raid to prepare the ground for a larger American invasion of Upper Canada (Now Ontario). The Americans succeeded in crossing the Niagara and landing at both of their points of attack. They achieved one of their two objectives before withdrawing but the invasion was subsequently called off, rendering useless what had been accomplished.

Frenchman’s Creek National Historic Site, Niagara Boulevard, Fort Erie, ON

Two of our cousins,  George and Joseph Parke, were captured  and sent to a Quebec POW camp.  They remained there until the War was over in 1815. Their father Roger Park was captured 5 Sept 1813 and died a few weeks later 6 Nov 1813 buried at The Anglican Cathedral in Quebec City, Canada.

The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City became the first Anglican cathedral built off the British Isles, when it was completed in 1804

Roger Parke, the son of our ancestor Jonah PARKE (1716 – 1785) was born 1755 in Huntingdon, New Jersey.  Ironically, Roger’s older brother Nathaniel PARKS (1738 – 1818) was a sergeant on the Loyalist side and was our only ancestor who was relocated to Canada after the British were defeated.  The Parkes were also our only ancestral family where brothers fought on opposite sides.   Nathaniel and his son Joseph enlisted in the loyalist 3rd Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers (known as Skinners Greens) on Jun 6 1778. (See his page for his side of the story)

Roger was married to Elizabeth Dallas on the 6th day of September, 1774 by Rev David Griffin of Shelburne Parish, Loudoun Co., VA. They were listed for 9 years in Loudon Co., paying tithes to Cameron Parish from 1774-1783. Roger Parke was living beside William Parke and Andrew Buckalew in Cameron Parish.

Roger and his family lived in Loudon County, Virginia

1777 – 1783 – 4th Regiment of Virginia; Roger (Rodger McPark, pvt, later records, Roger M Parke, Corporal.) Muster Roll & Pay Roll served with Capt Abraham Kirpatrick’s Company on the 3rd-4th-8th-12th Cont Line.

The 4th Virginia Regiment was raised on Dec 28, 1775 at Suffolk Court House, Virginia for service with the Continental Army. The regiment saw action at the Battle of TrentonBattle of PrincetonBattle of BrandywineBattle of GermantownBattle of Monmouth and the Siege of Charleston. Most of the regiment was captured at Charlestown, South Carolina on May 12, 1780 by the British and the regiment was formally disbanded on January 1, 1783.

Roger had a 400 acre land grant ca 1785-1796 (the Monongalia Co., Court House Burned in 1796). In 1803 Monongalia Co., records, Roger Parke sold 400 acres, on Indian Creek, to James Williamson who later sold to Charles Boyes.

In the War of 1812, at the age of 57, Roger enlisted in Capt. Willoughby Morgan’s 2nd Company Monongalia Co., VA/WV. He was captured Sep 5, 1813 and POW records show he died two months later on Nov 6, 1813 from wounds received at Ft Erie, NY on the Canadian border.  He was buried at the Anglican Cathedral in Quebec City, Canada.

Roger Parke is buried at Holy Trinity the Anglican Cathedral in Quebec City

Roger was probably captured in one of the last Skirmishes at Ball’s Farm, Upper Canada (July 8 – September 6, 1813): A series of skirmishes that occurred just west of Niagara, Upper Canada, between the American and British lines during the blockade of Fort George (July 1 – October 9, 1813).

Blockade of Fort George, Upper Canada (July 1 – October 9, 1813): A British attempt to reoccupy Fort George following their victories at Stoney Creek (June 6, 1813) and Beaver Dams (June 24, 1813). There were frequent skirmishes (Ball Property) and raids (Black Rock) during this period. The blockade was lifted in order to redeploy troops in response to developments elsewhere along the American-Canadian border, especially Wilkinson’s Campaign on the St. Lawrence, which began in October, and the British defeat at Moraviantown in Upper Canada, which occurred on October 5.

1813 – POW Roger Parke Quebec Canada Source: The Anglican Cathedral in Quebec City, Canada.

Monongalia Co., VA/WV court records 1821, Roger Parke’s son in law, Jehu Lash, is assigned as administrator to his estate.

Roger Park Revolutionary War Grant 15 Sep 1823

1823 Coshocton Co Oh Court records, two sons of Andrew Buckalew swore in Court they knew Roger Parks, father of George Parks, personally.

1823 Recorded list of heirs of Roger Parks were named; John, George, Joseph, Jonas, Mary/Polly Lash, Deborah, David, Jonathan & Joshua Parks

Roger’s sons George and Joseph enlisted in the War of 1812 Monongalia Co. VA/WV under Capt. Willoughby Morgan at the same time with their father.  Younger brother Jonathan enlisted Monongalia Co. in 1814 after his father’s death.  George and Joseph were captured at the Battle of Frenchman’s Creek at Ft. Erie 28 Nov 1812 and sent to a Quebec POW camp along with his brother Joseph. They remained there until the War was over in 1815.

Story of the Battle of Frenchman’s Creek

Old Fort Erie as it was imagined in 1814

During the war, the Americans launched several invasions into Upper Canada (present-day Ontario). One section of the border where this was easiest (because of communications and locally available supplies) was along the Niagara River. Fort Erie was the British post at the head of the river, near its source in Lake Erie.

Fort Erie Today

In 1812, two American attempts to capture Fort Erie were bungled by Brigadier General Alexander Smyth. Bad weather or poor administration foiled the American efforts to cross the river.

The Battle of Frenchman’s Creek took place in the early hours of November 28, 1812, in the Crown Colony of Upper Canada, near the Niagara River. The operation was conceived as a raid to prepare the ground for a larger American invasion. The Americans succeeded in crossing the Niagara and landing at both of their points of attack. They achieved one of their two objectives before withdrawing but the invasion was subsequently called off, rendering useless what had been accomplished. The engagement was named, “the Battle of Frenchman’s Creek” by the Canadians, after the location of some of the severest fighting. To contemporary Americans, it was known as, “the Affair opposite Black Rock”.

Stephen Van Rensselaer (1764-1834) Smythe’s commander officer and later 2nd Lieutenant Governor of New York

Failure to spike the British batteries was a major contributor to the earlier American defeat Oct 13  1812 at the Battle of Queenston Heights.  Despite their numerical advantage and the wide dispersal of British forces against an invasion attempt, the Americans, who were stationed in Lewiston, New York, were unable to get the bulk of their invasion force across the Niagara River due to the work of British artillery and reluctance on the part of the undertrained and inexperienced American militia. As a result, British reinforcements were able to arrive and force those Americans on the Canadian side to surrender.

After this defeat, command of the U.S. Army of the Centre on the Niagara Frontier passed from Major General Stephen Van Rensselaer of the New York Militia to his second-in-command, Brigadier General Alexander Smyth of the Regular U.S. Army.  Van Rensselaer, despite having held high rank in the militia for several decades, was, like most American militia officers at the time, virtually untrained and inexperienced.  The Van Rensselaers were the original patroons of Albany New York (See The Manor of Rensselaerswyck).  Clearly, Van Rensselaer was not a good choice to command an entire American army, but politics as much as military tactics dictated many of the military appointments of the day.

Smyth had deeply resented being subordinated to a militia officer and this was the opportunity for which he had been waiting. He immediately planned to invade Canada with 3,000 troops. Assembling his forces at Buffalo, he directed a two-pronged attack in advance of his main invasion. Captain William King, with 220 men, was to cross the Niagara and spike the batteries at the Red House, beside Fort Erie, in order to enable Smyth’s main invasion force to land without facing artillery fire. At the same time, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Boerstler, with 200 men, was to land in Canada between Fort Erie and Chippawa and destroy the bridge over Frenchman’s Creek in order to hinder the bringing-up of British reinforcements to oppose Smyth’s landing.

Two of Roger Parke’s sons were captured at the Battle of Frenchman’s Creek

The British commander-in-chief in North America, Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost, had forbidden any offensive action on the Niagara Frontier. This left the local British forces with no alternative but to wait for the Americans to make the first move and try to counter any attempt at invasion. The regular troops were distributed among the defensive outposts and supplemented with militia and Native American forces.

In a floridly worded proclamation, published on 10 November and addressed “To The Men of New York”, Smyth wrote that, “in a few days the troops under my command will plant the American standard in Canada” and he urged New Yorkers not to “stand with your arms folded and look on in this interesting struggle” but to “advance…to our aid. I will wait for you a few days.”

British Forces

General Smyth had so long and loudly proclaimed his designs against Canada, and had so fairly indicated his probable point of invasion, that the authorities on the other side were prepared to meet him at any place between Fort Erie and Chippewa. Major Ormsby, of the Forty-ninth, with a detachment of that and the Newfoundland regiment, was at the fort. The ferry opposite Black Rock was occupied by two companies of militia under Captain Bostwick. Two and a half miles from Fort Erie, at a house on the Chippewa road, was Lieutenant Lamont, with a detachment of the 49th Regiment of Foot , and Lieutenant King, of the Royal Engineers, with a three and six pounder, and some militia artillerymen. Near the same spot were two batteries, one mounting an eighteen and the other a twenty-four pound cannon, also under Lamont. A mile farther down was a post occupied by a detachment under Lieutenant Bartley; and on Frenchman’s Creek, four and a half miles from Fort Erie, was a party of seventy under Lieutenant McIntyre.   Lieutenant Cecil Bisshopp was at Chippewa with a part of the 41st (Welch) Regiment of Foot Regulars, some militia and military artillery, and near him was Major Hatt with a small detachment of militia. The whole number of British troops, scattered along a line of twenty miles, did not, according to the most reliable estimates, exceed one thousand men.

United States Forces

Captain William King of the 13th U.S. Regiment of Infantry was detailed to attack the Red House with 150 troops and 70 U.S. Navy sailors under Lieutenant Samuel Angus. King’s soldiers came from Captain Willoughby Morgan’s company of the 12th U.S. Regiment of Infantry [the Parke brother's company] and Captains John Sproull and John E. Wool’s companies of the 13th Regiment.

John Ellis Wool (1784-1869) was later the oldest General in the Civil War

The Parke family’s company commander Willoughby Morgan (1785 – 1832) was the son of the famous Daniel Morgan (1736 – 1802) an American pioneer, soldier, and Congressman from Virginia. One of the most gifted battlefield tacticians of the American Revolutionary War, he later commanded troops during the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.  Willoughby went on to a successful military career of his own, negotiating Indian treaties and rising to the rank of Lt. Col.

Joseph Parke named his son born 26 Apr 1828 “Willoughby” after his commanding officer.  Willoughby Parke (1828-1900) was a blacksmith in Burning Springs, West Virginia.  He enlisted July 1861 as a private in Company C 1st West Virginia Volunteer Calvary Regiment and was discharged Oct 1861; length of service, 3 months.  Discharged for Disabilities.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Boerstler was directed against Frenchman’s Creek with 200 men of his own 14th U.S. Regiment of Infantry. Colonel William H. Winder, commander of the 14th Regiment, was in reserve, with 350 of his own regiment.

Waiting to Start the Attack – Battle of Frenchman’s Creek Reenactment June 24, 2012  Source:

The Action

Captain King’s force landed at the Red House under fire from the defenders and charged Lieutenant Lamont’s detachment of the 49th Regiment. Angus’s sailors, armed with pikes and swords, closed in for hand-to-hand fighting. Lamont’s troops drove back the attackers three times but King made a fourth assault which hit the British left flank and overwhelmed them; capturing Lamont and killing, taking or dispersing all of his men. The victorious Americans set fire to the post, spiked the guns and set off back to the landing-point, where they expected their boats to have re-landed in order to evacuate them. However, in the moonless darkness, King’s force became dispersed and split into two parties: one led by King and the other by Lieutenant Angus. Angus returned to the landing-point and found only four of the party’s ten boats there. Unaware that the six missing boats had not in fact landed, Angus assumed that King had already departed, and he re-crossed the river in the remaining boats. When King’s party reached the landing-point, they found themselves stranded. A search downriver found two unattended British boats, in which King sent half of his men, and the prisoners that he had captured, over the Niagara while he waited with his 30 remaining men for more boats to come from Buffalo and pick him up.

Another Version of the Parke Brother’s Action [from 1869 Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812]

Before the appointed hour on the morning of the Nov 28th, the boats were in readiness under the general superintendence of Lieutenant Angus, of the navy, at the head of a corps of marines and seamen, assisted by Lieutenant Dudley, Sailing-master Watts, of Caledonia fame, and several other naval officers. It was a cold and dreary night. At three in the morning the advanced parties left the American shore for their respective destinations.

One, under Lieutenant Colonel Boerstler, consisted of about two hundred men of Colonel Winder’s regiment, in eleven boats; and the other, under Captain King, was composed of one hundred and fifty regular soldiers, and seventy sailors under Lieutenant Angus, in ten boats.

King’s party were discovered upon the water a quarter of a mile from the shore, and were so warmly [violently] assailed by volleys of musketry and shot from a field-piece at the Red House, that six of the ten boats were compelled to return. The other four resolutely landed in good order, in the face of the storm of bullets and grape-shot from flying artillery; and before King could form his troops on the shore, Angus and his seamen, with characteristic impetuosity, rushed into the hottest fire and suffered considerably.

King formed his corps as quickly as possible, and the enemy were soon dispersed. He then proceeded to storm and take in quick succession two British batteries above the landing-place, while Angus and his seamen rushed upon the field-pieces at the Red House, captured and spiked them, and cast them, with their caissons, into the river. In this assault Sailing-master Watts was mortally wounded while leading on the seamen.

Angus and his party returned to the landing-place, with Lieutenant King, of the Royal Artillery, wounded and a prisoner. Supposing the other six boats had landed (for it was too dark to see far along the shore), and that Captain King and his party had been taken prisoners, Angus crossed to the American shore in the four boats. This unfortunate mistake left King, with Captains Morgan and Sproull, Lieutenant Houston, and Samuel Swartwout, of New York, who had volunteered for the service with the little party of regulars, without any means of crossing.

King waited a while for re-enforcements. None came, and he went to the landing-place for the purpose of crossing, with a number of the British artillerists whom he had made prisoners. To his dismay, he discovered the absence of all the boats. He pushed down the river in the dark for about two miles, when he found two large ones. Into these he placed all of his officers, the prisoners, and one half of his men. These had not reached the American shore when King and the remainder of his troops were taken prisoners by a superior force.

Battle of Frenchman’s Creek Reinactment The big Commemoration is coming up November 28, 2012

Lieutenant Colonel Boerstler made for Frenchman’s Creek but four of his eleven boats, “misled by the darkness of the night or the inexperienced rowers being unable to force them across the current, fell below, near the bridge and were forced to return”. Nevertheless, Boerstler’s seven remaining boats forced a landing, opposed by Lieutenant Bartley and his 37 men of the 49th Regiment. Boerstler led the attack, shooting with his pistol a British soldier who was about to bayonet him. Bartley’s outnumbered force retired, pursued to the Frenchman’s Creek Bridge by the Americans, who took two prisoners. Boerstler’s men were then attacked by Captain Bostwick’s two companies of Norfolk Militia, who had advanced from Black Rock Ferry.

Battle of Frenchman’s Creek Reinactment June 24, 2012 – British Fire Back Source:

After an exchange of fire in which Bostwick’s force lost 3 killed, 15 wounded and 6 captured, the Canadians retreated. Boerstler now encountered another problem: many of the axes provided for the destruction of the Frenchman’s Creek bridge were in the four boats that had turned back and those that were in the seven remaining boats had been left behind when the Americans fought their way ashore. Boerstler dispatched eight men under Lieutenant John Waring to “break up the bridge by any means which they could find”. Waring had torn up about a third of the planking on the bridge when it was learned from a prisoner that “the whole force from Fort Erie was coming down upon them”. Boerstler quickly re-embarked his command and rowed back to Buffalo, leaving behind Waring and his party at the bridge.

Another Version of the Boerster’s Party [from 1869 Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812]

Boerstler and his party, in the mean time, had been placed in much peril. The firing upon King had aroused the enemy all along the Canada shore, and they were on the alert. Boerstler’s boats became separated in the darkness. Seven of them landed above the bridge, to be destroyed, while four others, that approached the designated landing-place, were driven off by a party of the enemy. Boerstler landed boldly alone, under fire from a foe of unknown numbers, and drove them to the bridge at the point of the bayonet. Orders were then given for the destruction of that structure, but, owing to the confusion at the time of landing, the axes had been left in the boat. The bridge was only partially destroyed, and one great object of this advance party of the invading army was not accomplished. Boerstler was about to return to his boats and recross the river, because of the evident concentration of troops to that point in overwhelming numbers, when he was compelled to form his lines for immediate battle. Intelligence came from the commander of the boat-guard that they had captured two British soldiers, who informed them that the whole garrison at Fort Erie was approaching, and that the advance guard was not five minutes distant. This intelligence was correct. Darkness covered every thing, and Boerstler resorted to stratagem when he heard the tramp of the approaching foe. He gave commanding orders in a loud voice, addressing his subordinates as field officers. The British were deceived. They believed the Americans to be in much greater force than they really were. A collision immediately ensued in the gloom. Boerstler ordered the discharge of a single volley, and then a bayonet charge. The enemy broke and fled in confusion, and Boerstler crossed the river without annoyance.

It was sunrise when the troops began to embark, and so tardy were the movements that it was late in the afternoon when all were ready. General Smyth did not make his appearance during the day, and all the movements were under the direction of his subordinates. A number of boats had been left to strand upon the shore, and became filled with water, snow, and ice; and as hour after hour passed by, dreariness and disappointment weighed heavily upon the spirits of the shivering troops.

Meanwhile the enemy had collected in force on the opposite shore, and were watching every movement. At length, when all seemed ready, and impatience had yielded to hope, an order came from the commanding general “to disembark and dine!” The wearied and worried troops were deeply exasperated by this order, and nothing but the most positive assurances that the undertaking would be immediately resumed kept them from open mutiny. The different regiments retired sullenly to their respective quarters, and General Porter, with his dispirited New York Volunteers, marched in disgust to Buffalo.

In response to the attack, Major Ormsby advanced from Fort Erie to Frenchman’s Creek with his 80 men of the 49th Regiment, where he was joined by Lieutenant McIntyre’s 70 light infantrymen, Major Hatt’s Lincoln Militia and some British-allied Native Americans under Major Givins. Finding that Boerstler’s invaders had already gone, and being unable to determine any other enemy presence in the pitch dark, Ormsby’s 300 men remained in position until daybreak, when Lieutenant Colonel Bisshopp arrived from Fort Erie. Bisshopp led the force to the Red House, where they found Captain King and his men still waiting to be evacuated. Outnumbered by ten-to-one, King surrendered and the Parke brothers were captured.

When the news arrived in Buffalo that King had spiked the Red House batteries, General Smyth was overjoyed. “Huzza!” he exclaimed, “Canada is ours! Canada is ours! Canada is ours! This will be a glorious day for the United States!” and he dispatched Colonel Winder with his 350 men across the river to evacuate King and the rest of his force. Winder collected Lieutenant Waring and his party and then landed. However, he had only disembarked part of his force when Bisshopp’s 300 men appeared. Winder ordered his men back to their boats and cast off for Buffalo but his command came under a severe fire as they rowed away, costing him 28 casualties.

According to U.S. Army records, Captain King’s troops had 15 killed and wounded; Lieutenant Colonel Boerstler’s command had 8 killed and 9 wounded; while Colonel Winder had 6 killed and 22 wounded

In spiking the guns at the Red House battery, the Americans had accomplished the more important of their two objectives: an invading force could now land between Chippawa and Fort Erie without facing artillery fire. However, subsequent events would render their service useless.

Female American Soldier Battle of Frenchman’s Creek Reinactment June 24, 2012 – Source:

With the Red House batteries out of action, Smyth immediately pressed on with his invasion plans. However, attempts to embark his 3,000 men ended in chaos; with only 1,200 men managing to board because of a shortage of boats and the artillery taking up an unexpected amount of space on board. Amid torrential rain and freezing cold, a council of war headed by Smyth decided to postpone the invasion pending more thorough preparations that would enable the embarkation of whole force.

On November 31, Smyth tried again, ordering his men to embark two hours before dawn in order to avoid enemy fire. This time, the embarkation was so slow that, two hours after daylight, only 1,500 men were on board. Rather than attempt an amphibious landing in broad daylight, Smyth once again postponed the invasion.  By this time, morale in Smyth’s command had plummeted: “all discipline had dissolved; the camp was a bedlam”. This, and widespread illness among the troops, persuaded a second council of war called by Smyth to suspend all offensive operations until the army was reinforced.

After arguing with Brigadier General Peter B. Porter, Alexander Smyth challenged him to a duel, but both men went unscathed. The historian John R. Elting wrote of the duel, stating “Unfortunately, both missed.”

The Army of the Centre went into winter quarters without attempting any further offensive operations and General Smyth requested leave to visit his family in Virginia. Three months later, without Smyth resigning his commission or facing a court-martial, his name was dropped from the U.S. Army rolls by President James Madison.

Alexander Smyth (1765-1830)

Another version of Smyth’s delays [from 1869 Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812]

It was sunrise when the troops began to embark, and so tardy were the movements that it was late in the afternoon when all were ready. General Smyth did not make his appearance during the day, and all the movements were under the direction of his subordinates. A number of boats had been left to strand upon the shore, and became filled with water, snow, and ice; and as hour after hour passed by, dreariness and disappointment weighed heavily upon the spirits of the shivering troops. Meanwhile the enemy had collected in force on the opposite shore, and were watching every movement. At length, when all seemed ready, and impatience had yielded to hope, an order came from the commanding general “to disembark and dine!” The wearied and worried troops were deeply exasperated by this order, and nothing but the most positive assurances that the undertaking would be immediately resumed kept them from open mutiny. The different regiments retired sullenly to their respective quarters, and General Porter, with his dispirited New York Volunteers, marched in disgust to Buffalo.

Smyth now called a council of officers [November 28.]. They could not agree. The best of them urged the necessity and expediency of crossing in force at once, before the enemy could make formidable preparations for their reception. The general decided otherwise, and doubt and despondency brooded over the camp that night. The ensuing Sabbath dawn brought no relief. Preparations for another embarkation were indeed in progress, while the enemy, too, was busy in opposing labor. It was evident to every spectator of judgment that the invasion must be attempted at another point of the river, when, toward evening, to the astonishment of all, the general issued an order, perfectly characteristic of the man, for the troops to be ready at the navy yard, at eight o’clock the next morning [November 30.], for embarkation. “The general will be on board,” he pompously proclaimed. “Neither rain, snow, or frost will prevent the embarkation,” he said. “The cavalry will scour the fields from Black Rock to the bridge, and suffer no idle spectators. While embarking, the music will play martial airs. Yankee Doodle will be the signal to get under way. . . . The landing will be effected in despite of cannon. The whole army has seen that cannon is to be little dreaded. . . . Hearts of War! to-morrow will be memorable in the annals of the United States.”

“To-morrow” came, but not the promised achievement. All the officers disapproved of the time and manner of the proposed embarkation, and expressed their opinions freely. At General Porter’s quarters a change was agreed upon. Porter proposed deferring the embarkation until Tuesday morning, the 1st of December, an hour or two before daylight, and to make the landing-place a little below the upper end of Grand Island. Winder suggested the propriety of making a descent directly upon Chippewa, “the key of the country.”

This Smyth consented to attempt intending, as he said, if successful, to march down through Queenston, and lay siege to Fort George. Orders were accordingly given for a general rendezvous at the navy yard at three o’clock on Tuesday morning, and that the troops should be collected in the woods near by on Monday, where they should build fires and await the signal for gathering on the shore of the river. The hour arrived, but when day dawned only fifteen hundred were embarked. Tannehill’s Pennsylvania Brigade were not present.

Before their arrival rumors had reached the camp that they, too, like Van Rensselaer’s militia at Lewiston, had raised a constitutional question about being led out of their state. Yet their scruples seem to have been overcome at this time, and they would have invaded Canada cheerfully under other auspices. But distrust of their leader, created by the events of the last forty-eight hours, had demoralized nearly the whole army. They had made so much noise in the embarkation that the startled enemy had sounded his alarm bugle and discharged signal-guns from Fort Erie to Chippewa.

Tannehill’s Pennsylvanians had not appeared, and many other troops lingered upon the shore, loth to embark. In this dilemma Smyth hastily called a council of the regular officers, utterly excluding those of the volunteers from the conference, and the first intimation of the result of that council was an order from the commanding general, sent to General Porter, who was in a boat with the pilot, a fourth of a mile from shore, in the van of the impatient flotilla, directing the whole army to debark and repair to their quarters. This was accompanied by a declaration that the invasion of Canada was abandoned at present, pleading, in bar of just censure, that his orders from his superiors were not to attempt it with less than three thousand men. The regulars were ordered into winter quarters, and the volunteers were dismissed to their homes.

General Porter’s Residence Black Rock

More on Smyth vs. Porter [from 1869 Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812]

This order for debarkation, and the fact that just previously a British major, bearing a flag of truce, had crossed the river and held an interview with General Smyth, caused the most intense indignation, and the most fearful suspicions of his loyalty in the army, especially among the volunteers, whose officers he had insulted by neglect.

The troops, without order or restraint, discharged their muskets in all directions, and a scene of insubordination and utter confusion followed. At least a thousand of the volunteers had come from their homes in response to his invitation, and the promise that they should certainly be led into Canada by a victor. They had imposed implicit confidence in his ability and the sincerity of his great words, and in proportion to their faith and zeal were now their disappointment and resentment.

Unwilling to have their errand to the frontier fruitless of all but disgrace, the volunteers earnestly requested permission to be led into Canada under General Porter, promising the commanding general the speedy capture of Fort Erie if he would furnish them with four pieces of artillery. But Smyth evaded their request, and the volunteers were sent home uttering imprecations against a man whom they considered a mere blusterer without courage, and a conceited deceiver without honor.

They felt themselves betrayed, and the inhabitants in the vicinity sympathized with them. Their indignation was greatly increased by ill-timed and ungenerous charges made by Smyth, in his report to General Dearborn, against General Porter, in whom the volunteers had the greatest confidence.

His person was for some time in danger. He was compelled to double the guards around his tent, and to move it from place to place to avoid continual insults.  He was several times fired at when he ventured out of his marquee. Porter openly attributed the abandonment of the invasion of Canada to the cowardice of Smyth.

A bitter quarrel ensued, and soon resulted in a challenge by the general-in-chief for his second in command to test the courage of both by a duel. In direct violation of the Articles of War, these superior officers of the Army of the Centre, with friends, and seconds,   and surgeons,   put off in boats from the shore near Black Rock, in the presence of their troops, at two o’clock in the afternoon of the 12th of December, to meet each other in mortal combat on Grand Island.

They exchanged shots at twelve paces’ distance. Nobody was hurt. An expected tragedy proved to be a solemn comedy. The affair took the usual ridiculous course. The seconds reconciled the belligerents. General Porter acknowledged his conviction that General Smyth was “a man of courage,” and General Smyth was convinced that General Porter was “above suspicion as a gentleman and an officer,”

Thus ended the melodrama of Smyth’s invasion of Canada. The whole affair was disgraceful and humiliating. “

What wretched work Smyth and Porter have made of it,” wrote General Wadsworth to General Van Rensselaer from his home at Geneseo, at the close of the year. “I wish those who are disposed to find so much fault could know the state of the militia since the day you gave up the command. It has been ‘confusion worse confounded.’ “

The day that saw Smyth’s failure was indeed “memorable in the annals of the United States,” as well as in his own private history. Confidence in his military ability was destroyed, and three months afterward he was “disbanded,” as the Army Register says; in other words, he was deposed without a trial, and excluded from the army. Yet he had many warm friends who clung to him in his misfortunes, for he possessed many excellent social qualities, He was a faithful representative of the constituency of a district of Virginia in the national Congress from 1817 to 1825, and again from 1827 until his death, in April, 1830.

After the war, Smyth resumed the practice of law, and again became a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1816, 1817, 1826, and 1827. He was elected to the Fifteenth United States Congress and reelected to the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Congresses, serving from March 4, 1817 to March 3, 1825. He was elected again to the Twentieth and Twenty-first Congresses, serving again from March 4, 1827 until his death.

Smyth died in Washington, D.C., and was interred in the United States Congressional Cemetery. Smyth County, Virginia is named after him.

In 1813, the Americans won the Battle of Fort George at the northern end of the Niagara River. The British abandoned the Niagara frontier and allowed Fort Erie to fall into American hands without a fight. The Americans failed to follow up their victory, and later in the year they withdrew most of their soldiers from the Niagara to furnish an ill-fated attack on Montreal. This allowed the British to recover their positions and to mount raids which led to the Capture of Fort Niagara and the devastation of large parts of the American side of the Niagara River.

A Commemoration of thew Battle of Frenchman’s Creek is planned for November 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm. More details to come. Contact for more info.

Frenchman’s Creek Monument

The Monument Reads:

In an effort to regain the initiative lost at Queenston, the Americans planned a general invasion for November 28th 1812. Before dawn advance parties crossed the Niagara River to cut communications between Fort Erie and Chippawa and to silence the British shore guns. The attackers failed to destroy the bridge over Frenchman’s Creek and the batteries they had overrun were soon retaken by British reinforcements. After confused fighting the advance parties returned to the American shore. The main assault failed to materialize. The fiasco ended American hopes for victory on the Niagara Frontier in 1812.

After being released, George and Joseph both returned to Virginia and started their own families. On April 12, 1816, George W. married Margaret Morris in Monogalia Co., VA[WV]. Thier first child Roger, born January 11, 1819, was named after George’s father. Zadock Parke, their second child, was born February 1820 and was named after Margaret’s father, Zadoc Morris, b 1759 Monongalia Co., VA.

The War of 1812 and the death of their Father had a strange effect on this family. George changed the spelling of his last name to Parks moved to Coshocton Co OH in 1820, receiving 160 acres for his Fathers service in the War of 1812. Joseph always spelled his name Park and moved to Wood/Wirt Co in 1819.



1812 News ~ Honoring The War Of 1812 —- War of 1812 re-enactors recall a forgotten invasion: The Battle of Frenchman’s Creek  This page has some great photos.

Fort Erie Bicentennial Celebration – 200 years of Peace.–re-enactors-recall-a-forgotten-invasion-the-battle-of-frenchman-s-creek – Alexander Smyth’s later career

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