Posts Tagged ‘Revolutionary War’

Thomas Chase: Last of Paul Jones’ Men

January 13, 2012

Image from the Revolutionary War and Beyond

The Last of Paul Jones’ Men.

To the Editor of the Whig & Courier:

During a recent visit to the County of Oxford, I found time to call on the venerable THOMAS CHASE, of Livermore, the last, probably, of Paul Jones’ men. Mr. Chase is now 88 years old, and, though the old hull is pretty much battered and decayed, his mind is clear, and his recollection of the stirring events of his youth, is distinct and vivid. He was born at Martha’s Vineyard; from which place he removed to L some fifty years ago, where he has since lived. He has ever enjoyed, and deservedly, the reputation of an industrious, intelligent, and thoroughly honest man. In fact, the name of “Uncle Chase” is the synonym of “honesty,” in the neighborhood where he lives.

He delights to tell the history of his early life — to relate the story of his numerous adventures and sufferings; but it is when he comes to speak of Paul Jones and his daring exploits — when he is describing, it may be, the engagement between the Richard and the Serapis, that his eye kindles and sparkles with unwonted brightness, and his voice, broken and almost inaudible before, becomes strong and clear, and he is ready to shoulder his crutch and show how ships were taken seventy years ago.

The outlines of his story, as near as I can recollect, are as follows: —

A Privateer came to the Vineyard in the early part of the Revolution, for the purpose of engaging a number of men to go out cruising on the coast. Chase, and about a dozen other young men joined them. After they had sailed they were, for the first time, informed that their destination was the coast of England. At this intelligence, they were a “good deal struck up,” though there were a few that were not displeased at the idea of going abroad, and among this number was Chase, who had a love of adulation and a strong desire to see foreign countries. —

They had not been long on the British coast before they discovered a British man-of-war, much too strong and powerful for them. As they were not noticed for sometime they had hopes of being able to escape, and tried to do so, — they were, however, seen, before they could get away, and were finally taken. In a few days the prisoners were put into another ship, and were shifted not less than three times in about four months. In one of the ships they suffered exceedingly — there were over 1400 souls, men, women, and children, Americans, French, &c. on board. The ship was dirty, the prisoners were dirty, sick and dying — large numbers died. At length the American prisoners were landed at Plymouth, and carried before two justices and a clerk and arraigned for treason. Witnesses were examined, and they were told that they would be committed to “Mill Prison,” on “suspicion of treason against his most Gracious Majesty, George the Third, and would there await their trial or His Majesty’s most Gracious pardon.” They were committed to this famous [or infamous] prison, and kept there twenty three months, during which time they underwent almost incredible privations and sufferings. At the end of twenty three months, (two years and a quarter after they were made prisoners) they were exchanged for British sea men and sent to France. They landed at a small town about ten miles below Nantes. Here they found a recruiting ship and were persuaded to enlist for the purpose of filling the crews required for the squadron, then fitting out at Le Orient, for John Paul Jones.

While at this place Mr. Chase very well recollects seeing John Adams on board the ship where he was. He was in his morning gown, walking the quarter deck when he saw him, and accompanied by his son, John Quincy Adams, then a boy some ten or twelve years old. Mr. Chase was one of the crew of the Alliance, Capt. Landais. His account of the celebrated engagement between the Bon Homme Richard, &c., the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough agrees in the main with that given by Mr. Cooper, though he differs with him in some respects. — He will not allow that the Alliance deserves all the left handed compliments paid to her by Mr. C. According to his account, it was the Alliance and not the Pallas, that disabled the Countess of Scarborough — that it was in consequence of the broadsides from the former that she struck — that the Pallas, coming up, rendered them valuable assistance, and was left in charge of the prize, while the Alliance went to the aid of Jones. And here, Mr. Chase says the Alliance also did good service — not to the enemy, as Mr. Cooper would have it, but to Jones.

When Jones sailed alongside of the Serapis, her commander hailed him — “who are you?’ Jones made no answer. The questions was repeated, “Who are you?” Tell me, or I’ll fire into you” “I will tell you when I get a little nearer!” roared Jones, in a voice that almost drowned the thunder of a simultaneous discharge of broadsides from the Richard and Serapis, which took place at that moment.

Chase was afterwards under Jones several months while he was in command of the Alliance, and became considerably acquainted with him. He was a man of great mechanical ingenuity, and an excellent worker of wood, and while at the Mill prison had beguiled many weary hours in whittling out some very curious wooden ladles, one of which he happened to have with him when Jones came to command the Alliance, and which so pleased Jones, that he gave him half a guinea for it for a punch ladle. He then employed him as a cabin joiner, and while in this capacity he saw a good deal of Jones, and had the vanity to believe he was quite a favorite.

Mr. Chase represents that Jones was liked by his own crew, but not generally by the crew of the Alliance. The crew of the Alliance were much attached to one of their Lieutenants, a Mr. Barkley of Boston, with whom Jones had a falling out, and who was sent below by Jones as the crew thought without sufficient cause. Jones tried to get him back, but he resolutely refused to stir without a Court Martial, Jones would not give him one and he did not go upon deck until Landais was reinstated.

He says Jones was a stern man — brave impetuous — a good man when the crew did well, but the devil if they did otherwise. He wanted everything done in its proper time and way, and everything in its place, and would have it. If his men did well, and took hold right he was kind and pleasant. He had a voice like a cannon, but which in ordinary conversation was rather thick and grum. He was of light complexion, and something, perhaps, below the medium stature. Chase speaks highly of his talents as a naval Commander, and says he always “liked Jones.”

En passant,]our friend is one of six revolutionary veterans (they are all Whigs,) now living in the fine old Whig town of Livermore. A year ago his son endeavored to persuade him to vote the anti-slavery ticket. “No, said he, “I was a Whig of ’76 — I am a Whig now — I have always been a Whig — I believe I shall die a Whig.”

X.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Sep 19, 1843

The Expedition:

Richard “Dick” Swete’s goal was to find, and preserve, all of John Paul Jones’ ships. A historian and underwater archaeologist, he spent years researching Jones and the American Revolutionary naval battle between the HMS Serapis and the HMS Bon Homme Richard. Gathering a group of volunteers, his own modest income and a great deal of perseverance, Swete laid plans to find Serapis.

Find out more HERE

“Conway Cabal” Against Washington

November 9, 2011

Thos. Conway “Cabal” Against Washington

A MIDDLE-aged, jolly, dashing soldier of fortune came to America in 1777 and offered his services to the patriot army. He brought along with him no great military skill, but a most amazing capacity for making trouble. The soldier was Thomas Conway, a British subject, who had lived since early childhood in France. There he had joined the army and risen to a colonelcy. when he came here he was joyfully received. The Revolutionists lacked expert officers and they made him a brigadier-general.

The man’s boasts and his dashing ways impressed the simpler statesmen. But George Washington read him at a glance, for a windy, vicious incompetent.

So when congress decided a little later to make Conway a major general the chief sternly opposed such a promotion and gave his reasons for doing so. From that moment Conway was Washington’s sworn foe. One active mischief-maker can sometimes work more harm than a dozen wise men can undo. Conway at once joined Washington’s opponents in congress and the army, and started a campaign for the chief’s overthrow.

He and his associates formed what was known as the “Conway Cabal,” and did all in their power to undermine Washington’s influence. In a series of anonymous letters Conway ridiculed the chief as a coward and as too feeble of mind as a leader. He suggested Gen. Horatio Gates as commander-in-chief in Washington’s place. Not only did Conway and his friends win Gates over to this scheme, but they induced several prominent congressmen to lend their influence to the movement.

It was the Revolution’s dark hour. New York and Philadelphia were in the hands of the British. Washington and his army were starving and freezing at Valley Forge after a summer and autumn of repeated defeats. Men’s hearts grew faint and their allegiance weakened. Conway’s crafty words at such a moment fell on ready ears.

The cabal waxed strong. But for a mere accident it might readily have ended by depriving Washington of power and of placing the command of the patriot armies in the hands of Gen. Gates. And with fussy, inefficient, cowardly old Gates at the head of the American troops American liberty would have been doomed. Here, in brief, is the story of the accident that saved our country:

Gates’ aid, Wilkinson, drank too much one night and babbled to a friend of the chief some of the contents of a letter from Conway to Gates in which Conway had spoken insultingly of Washington. The story was told to Washington, who called Conway to account. Conway rushed to Gates for aid, and Gates tried to get out of the difficulty by branding Wilkinson as a liar.

Wilkinson promptly challenged Gates to a duel. Gates wept on Wilkinson’s shoulder and implored him to withdraw the challenge, speaking of himself as a feeble old man who loved Wilkinson like a father. In this way the frightened old general wriggled out of fighting.

Title: Life of George Washington: Vol. III
Author: Washington Irving
Publisher: Bohn, 1856
Chapter CXIII page 922

Meantime, thanks to the first hint, Washington learned of all Conway’s anonymous letters and other treacheries. The facts were made known to the people.

The cabal was crushed under a storm of public disapproval.

But Conway was not to escape so easily. He was challenged to a duel by Washington’s friend, Gen. Cadwallader, who proceeded to shoot him through the mouth.

Conway, believing himself dying, wrote one more letter. This time to Washington, asking forgiveness for his villainies and declaring the chief to be a “great and good man.” Then he “conditionally” resigned his commission as an officer in the American service. Congress accepted the resignation, unconditionally, and Conway went back to France.

There he styled himself “Count de Conway,” and managed to win an appointment as governor of one of France’s Oriental provinces. He made such a mess of his diplomatic work in his province of the Orient that he almost wrecked the French interests there. He returned to France and became a general in the royal armies.

During the French Revolution he was condemned to death. He was saved only by an appeal to Great Britain (against which he had fought in the American Revolution), but was compelled to flee from France for his life.

After that Conway disappeared from history. He is supposed to have died about 1800 in poverty and exile.

The Gettysburg Times (Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 27, 1912

Image and excerpt quoted below is from the Lux Libertas website:

Most historians agree that the so-called “Conway Cabal” was not an organized effort to replace Washington with Gen. Horatio Gates, the victor of Saratoga or some other general.

But there were some in the Army who felt they were better qualified than the Virginian and several politicians were critical of his performance.

The so-called “cabal” was a lot of mutterings and niggling criticism that finally broke out in the open with the help of an arrogant Irish-born, French-reared soldier of fortune, Thomas Conway. He was recruited in France by Silas Deane and was granted the rank of brigadier general. Washington and many other American officers took an immediate dislike to the boastful Conway.

Read more at the Lux Libertas link above.

When Might Was Right

September 11, 2011

Image by Don Troiani at the Old Glory Gallery and Frame Shoppe  website

The Last Soldier of the Revolution.

Oh! where are they — those iron men,
Who braved the battle’s storm of fire,
When war’s wild hallo filled the glen,
And lit each humble village spire?
When hill sent back the sound to hill,
And might was right, and law was will?

Oh! where are they whose manly breasts
Beat back the pride of England’s might,
Whose stalwart arms laid low the crests
Of many an old and valiant knight?
When evening came with murderous flame,
And Liberty was but a name.

I see them in the distance form,
Like spectres on the misty shore,
Before them rolls the dreadful storm,
And hills send forth their rills of gore;
Around them death with lightning breath,
Is twining an immortal wreath.

‘Tis evening, and the setting sun
Sinks slowly down beneath the wave,
And there I see a gray-haired one —
A special courier to the grave;
He looks around on vale and mound,
And falls upon the battle ground.

Beneath him sleeps the hallowed earth,
Now chilled like him, and still and cold —
The blood that gave young Freedom birth
No longer warms the warrior old —
He waves his hand with stern command,
Then dies the last of glory’s band.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Oct 6, 1845

The Blacksmith at the Battle of Brandywine

June 15, 2010

THE BLACKSMITH AT THE BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE.

The hero of the following story was an humble blacksmith, but his stalwart frame, hardened with toil, throbbed with as generous an impulse of freedom as ever beat in the bosom of a La Fayette, or around the heart of mad Anthony Wayne.

It was in the full tide of a retreat, that follower of the American camp was driving a baggage wagon from the battle field, while some short distance behind a body of Continentals were rushing forward, with a troop of British in close pursuit.

The wagon had arrived at a narrow point of the bye road leading to the South, where two high banks of rocks and crag, arising on either side, afforded just space sufficient for the passage of his wagon, and not an inch more.

His eye was arrested by the sight of a muscular man, some forty years of age, extended at the foot of a tree at the very opening of this pass. He was clad in the coarse attire of a mechanic. His coat which had been flung aside, and with the shirt sleeves rolled up from his muscular arm, he lay extended on the turf, with his rifle in his grasp, while the blood streamed in a torrent from his right leg broken at the knee by a cannon ball.

The wagoner’s sympathies were arrested by the sight — he would have passed in the very instant of his flight and placed the wounded blacksmith in his wagon but the stout hearted mechanic refused.

“I’ll not get into the wagon,” he exclaimed in his rough way; “but I’ll tell you what I will do. Do you see yonder cherry tree on the top of that rock that hangs over the road? Do you think you could lift a man of my build up there? For you see neighbor,” he continued, while the blood flowed from his wound, “I never meddled with the Britishers until they came trampling over this valley and burned my house down. And now I’m all riddled to pieces, and haint got more than fifteen minutes life in me. But I have got three good rifle balls in my cartridge box, and so just prop me against that cherry tree, and I’ll give ’em the whole three shots, and then,” — he exclaimed, “I will die!”

The wagoner started his horses ahead and then with a sudden effort of strength, dragged the blacksmith along the sod to the foot of the cherry tree surmounting the rock by the road side.

In a moment his back was proped against the tree, his face was to the advancing troopers and while his shattered leg hung over the bank, the waggoners rushed on his way; while the blacksmith very coolly proceeded to load his rifle.

It was not long before a body of American soldiers rushed by with the British in pursuit.

The blacksmith greeted them with a shout, and then raising his rifle to his shoulder he picked the foremost from his steed with the exclamation, “that’s for Gen. Washington.”

In a moment the rifle was loaded, again it was fired, and, the pursuing British rode over the body of another fallen officer.

“That’s for myself!” cried the blacksmith.

And then with a hand strong with the feeling of coming death, the sturdy freeman again loaded, again raised his rifle. He fired his last shot, and as another soldier kissed the sod, the tear quivered in the eye of the dying blacksmith. “And that,” he cried with a husky voice which strengthened into a shout, “and that’s for mad Anthony Wayne!”

Long after the battle was pase, the body was discovered, propped against the tree, with the features frozen in death, smiling grimly, whilst the right hand grasped the never failing rifle.

And thus died one of the thousand brave mechanic heroes of the Revolution, brave in the hour of battle, undaunted in the hour of retreat, undismayed in the hour of death.

[Citizen Soldier.

The Experiement (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 3, 1844

*****

Read more about Brandywine:

Sons of the American Revolution website
“The Battle of Brandywine”

Images from the following book:

Title: On the Trail of Washington
(a narrative history of Washington’s boyhood and manhood, based on his own writings, authentic documents and other authoritative information)
Author: Frederick Trevor Hill
Publisher: Appleton, 1916 (Google book LINK)

Includes The Battle of Brandywine, pages 154-159.

Enoch and Daniel Stanton: American Patriots and Brothers in Arms

June 3, 2010

From the Stonington Yankee.

THE TWO BROTHERS.

The advantages which accrue to a people from development of patriotic courage, devotedness or individual prowess, are many and obvious to any intelligent mind; and the moral influence exercised by them on the rising generation, is worthy the consideration of every patriot and statesman. The little story which follows, speaks not of titled noblemen, or of renowned generals, skilled in the arts and tactics of war, whose maneuvres have turned the fate of some great battle. Yet it tells of those not the less worthy — those who possessed souls as brave and noble as ever breathed under ermine robes or glittering mail.

The honors paid to patriotism are considered beauties for future sacrifice; and the youth of our country, when incited by generous enthusiasms, to future defence of our field, or firesides, and our “star spangled banner,” will remember, that altho’ they cannot always act the general, the duke, or the prince, they can all imitate the American soldier.

On the 6th Sept. 1781, a day memorable in the annals of the revolution, and one whose consequences will long be felt by the inhabitants of the south east part of Connecticut, a youth, engaged in the field suddenly stopped — stood an instant in breathless anxiety, listening — and then threw down his implements of husbandry, and with an earnest and hurried step, moved to his father’s house.

He had been several minutes busy in preparing, before being noticed by his progenitor, who being deeply alive to the feelings which had called his offspring from the field, thus addressed him:

“Don’t stop to shave, my son — it will make you too late to render any assistance. Take your gun and hurry on, or the fort will be taken before you can arrive.” The young man threw down his razor, and seizing his musket, commenced putting it in order for the work of death.

The regular and continued peals of cannon as they bellowed from forts Trumbull and Griswold, loudly spoke the alarm of war. It was the signal for rallying the yeomanry of the surrounding country, to defend their rights and liberties; but more particularly at this time to repel the threatened attack on New London, by a body of British troops under the command of the infamous Benedict Arnold.

Alarm, at this period, had been so frequently sounded, and the people were so harrassed by the repeated and useless tramps that they were literally worn out, and consequently, but very few heeded the call at this time.

Our youth, however, hastily prepared himself, and with a firm and fearless step hurried towards Groton heights. It was the voice of his country that called, and he could not delay when she asked assistance. Young, ardent and full of enthusiasm, he soon travelled the twelve miles, and joined his brother in the fort, just before the gates were closed.

The first burst of fraternal affection, on the recognition of fraternal kindred, in such an hour, being past, after a hearty shake by the hand — side by side they commenced their dreadful strife — united in their exertions for their country, as they were in feeling and sentiment for her cause.

I shall not here attempt to account the gallant though unfortunate affair” “are not these things written in the chronicles of time,” as long as our country shall stand? As long as heroic deeds or valor are appreciated, it will be known as the spot where husband, father, and son, fearlessly braved the storm of war. The deeds of Ledyard and his associates cannot be easily forgotten. The name of Groton Heights shall be the watch word for every patriotic American, although their fathers yielded to the strong power of the foe. It was the altar of freedom which smokes with her dearest sacrifice.

It was a dreadful assault — and our youth soon perceiving that the odds were fearfully against the garrison, and seeing his brother (endeavoring to save the life of Capt. Amos Stanton, as brave a man as ever lived) fall beneath the sword of a ruthless enemy, fought with the strength of a Hercules.

Having spent his last shot effectually, he was seen with the butt of his gun resolutely beating down three bayonets, with which the assailants menaced his breast. While thus engaged, the butt broke — not disheartened, however, he continued bravely to defend himself with the barrel, which he still held in his hand, until another of the enemy, coming up on one side, ran him through the body.

The barrel of his broken gun fell useless at his feet — and the beautiful, the generous and noble youth breathed out his last, while pinned to the wall of fort Griswold by a British bayonet. Weep, O weep! sons and daughters of America! for this day made many an orphan and widow. The bravest and noblest champions here bled! and it saw the end of many of God’s noblest workmanship.

There is a moral sublimity in the unbending firmness with which the virtuous man struggles with the storm that lays his hope in the dust. It is easy to be resigned to suffering before the thunder has burst upon our heads; but to wrestle with the destroyer — to see link after link broken from the chain of our earthly stay — to stand on the dark shores of life with resignation and calmness, amid a providence so awful and heart-rending as now greeted the father, is to practice that lesson, “Thy will be done.”

Two days had passed since the dreadful conflict, when an intimate acquaintance called to see the patriarch, and offer him consolation. — He calmly took the hand of his friend and leading him to another apartment, with a tearless eye, pointed to a table, on which lay two coffins — they bore the name and age of his two sons. To look on death thus, in these we love, is more than mortal — his lip quivered when he broke the silence, and his voice trembled a little as he said, “They have left us; — there are only their mangled bodies; but I bow to an arm stronger than Britain’s. They have gone, but they died like American soldiers; — and although not in the lap of victory, their death is not the less glorious.”

The patriot stood in calm and dignified composure, by the side of that “narrow house” which was forever to hide his dear children from his sight, “like a r??ted tree in Lebanon;” unsubdued by the blow, he seemed nerved for the solemn duty. The clods of the valley rattled on their coffins. It was an hour of trial, and although he stood up firm and dignified, as if he spurned affliction’s blast, yet his faultering voice, as he once spoke, proclaimed that his soul was stricken, and that his unbending spirit was wrestling with the strong feelings of nature.

Years have passed since the last ??d duties were paid to their unconscious relics; and the two brothers, who in their youth so devoutedly offered up their lives on the altar of their beloved country; side by side, as they fought, in one grave have mouldered to their kindred earth. Their dust, like their blood on the platform of fort Griswold, has commingled together — and one common stone, which marks the place of their deposit in Stonington, is inscribed with the names of Enoch and Daniel Stanton.

YANKEE.

The Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jan 18, 1831

*****

The following pages (as well as the grave inscription above)  are from The Battle of Groton Heights, which I have linked below:

*****

Evidently, Enoch’s wife applied for a pension or some sort of compensation, but it was denied.  I believe she was left with seven children to raise. There are two more pages regarding Enoch Stanton in the book that follow these above.

Title: The battle of Groton Heights
Author: William Wallace Harris
Editor: Charles Allyn
Edition: revised (Google Book LINK)
Publisher: C. Allyn, 1882

*****

Not only were Lieut. Enoch and Sgt. Daniel Stanton patriots, they came from a family of patriots.

The following information was  found linked to several family trees on Ancestry.com:

Their father: Phineas Stanton

Phineas was an officer in the French War, 1745-1755, and in the Revolutionary War. In 1745 he was a lieutenant on a list of general and staff officers of French and Indian War rolls. He served as captain in the Cape Breton Campaign in the war with the French. In 1755 he was a captain in the 4th Connecticut Regiment at Crown Point and appointed Commissary March 1756. In 1758 he was Commissary of the 8th Connecticut Regiment. He was deputy to the General Assembly at New Haven in 1768 and was a member of the General Assembly 1778-1780.

Their grandfather: Daniel Stanton, Sr.:

Daniel was … an officer in the French War.

Their great-great grandfather:: Thomas Stanton has a rather amazing  life story:

From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register it is learned (vol. II, p. 113) that on January 2, 1635, Thomas Stanton took passage for Virginia in the merchantman “Bonaventure,” and that he recorded himself as being twenty years old. There was a John Stanton in Virginia prior to 1635, and from 1652 to 1658 there are records of a Robert Stanton, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and of a Robert Stanton, of Newport, Rhode Island, a Quaker, who died 1672, aged seventy-three years. His descendants are numerous in the United States, and many of them still adhere to the Society of Friends. Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln’s great war secretary, was a direct descendant of this Robert of Newport. There is no evidence that Thomas and Robert Stanton were related or even acquainted, or in fact that Thomas was related to any Stanton then in America. The records in New London that might have told who he was and from whence he came were destroyed in 1781 by Benedict Arnold when he sacked and burned that town. Thomas did not long remain in Virginia. In 1636 he is on record in Boston, Massachusetts, as a magistrate. He next appears in connection with the Pequot war. Miss Caulkins says: “The services of Mr. Stanton as interpreter during the Pequot war were invaluable.” In De Forest’s “History of the Connecticut Indians,” [i.e., John William De Forest’s History of the Indians of Connecticut from the earliest known period to 1850] [he says “Some time in April (1637) a small vessel arrived at the fort (Saybrook, then commanded by General Lion Gardner), having on board Thomas Stanton, a man well acquainted with the Indian language, and long useful to the colonial authorities as interpreter.” He was one of the magistrates in the trial of John Wheelwright at Boston, October 3, 1637. He [was] now married, and in February, 1639, is numbered among the one hundred and twenty-seven property holders of Hartford, Connecticut, with his father-in-law, Dr. Thomas Lord, who held the first medical license granted in the New England colonies. He came to America with Dorothy, his wife, April 29, 1635, in the ship “Elizabeth and Ann.” From this time Thomas is of frequent mention in the records as Stanton, Staunton and Steynton. The name is compounded of two Anglo-Saxon words — Stan, meaning stone, and Ton, meaning town: Stonetown, or Stanton. His name appears on all Indian deeds and transactions of that period between 1636 and 1670. He was required to be present wherever a court conference or treaty was to be held. In 1649 he had permission to erect a trading house on Pawtatuck, with six acres of ground and a monopoly of trade on the river for three years. He probably went to Pequot in 1651 and took up his permanent residence in Stonington in 1658. In March, 1652, he was granted three hundred acres laid out in a square upon the river, next his former grant of six acres. In 1659 Chief Cassawashitt deeded to him the whole of Pawtatuck Neck, and the small islands that lay near it, known as “The Hommocks.” This grant was confirmed by the court 1671. He removed his residence in 1658 to Wequetequock Cove, two and one-half miles from Stonington. He was the third settler there. This territory then belonged to the Massachusetts plantation, and was called Southington, Suffolk county, Massachusetts. In 1662 Charles II gave Connecticut a new charter that included Southington. In 1665 the name was changed to Mystic, and in 1667 the final change was made to Stonington. Perhaps the prominence and numbers of the Stantons had something to do with selecting a name so much like their own in etymology and meaning. In 1665 he was commissioner with authority to hold a semi-annual court at New London, the county seat. In September, 1666, the first court ever held in the county was assembled. The commissioners or judges were Major Mason, Thomas Stanton and Lieutenant Pratt. He was now continually in public office; the last honor to come to him was in 1666, when he was elected a member of the general assembly of Connecticut, to which he was re-elected each year until his death in 1677. He continued useful in Indian affairs, although largely superseded as interpreter by his sons, who all spoke the Indian dialect and were much in demand. He was a member of the First Congregational Church of Stonington, which he helped to organize. His son-in-law, Rev. James Noyes, was first pastor of that church. His long, active, useful and honorable life ended December 2, 1677. He is buried in the old family burying ground on the east side of Wequetequock Cove, about halfway between Stonington, Connecticut, and Westerly, Rhode Island. In 1637 he married Ann, daughter of Dr. Thomas and Dorothy Lord, of Hartford, Connecticut. She died 1688, surviving her husband eleven years.

Become the ‘Life Guards’ of Your Country!

March 30, 2010

TORY COMPLIMENTS TO GENERAL HARRISON.

“Harrison is a Federalist.” — Just what might be expected of the disciple of Jefferson.

“Harrison is a Coward and a Granny.” — What else could we expect the favorite pupil of that old Coward and Granny, Wayne, to be.

“Harrison was beaten at Tippecanoe.” — Yes, and the Indians ran away and killed themselves in a frolic.

“Harrison was not at the Battle of the Thames.” — Just so, and Proctor surrendered to a ghost.

“Harrison lives in a log cabin, and should be called the Log-Cabin Candidate.” — Fool that he was, not to take, when he had the opportunity, enough of the people’s money to build a fine house, and live RESPECTABLY in his old age. No Tory would have been so silly.

“Harrison, while he lived in Cincinnati, begat three Indian children at Prairie du Chien.” — Rather an unusual feat for a Granny. He must have gone as far and as often “a courtin” as the Ohio Fund Commissioners went “to raise the wind;” and he must have been more successful.

“Who ever heard of Harrison? Who is he?”

Of him, Col. Johnson, (Vice President) thus spoke in the House of Representatives whilst a member of that body:

“Of the career of Gen. Harrison I need not speak — the history of the West is his history. For forty years he has been identified with its interests, its perils, and its hopes.

Universally beloved in the walks of peace, and distinguished by his ability in the councils of his country, he has been yet more illustriously distinguished in the field. During the late war, he was longer in actual service than any other General Officer; he was, perhaps, oftener in action than any one of them, and never sustained a defeat.

But the Whigs must not quote him any more, for the Tories mean to cast him off. — His name is disagreeable to the British, with whom the Tories are in great feathers.

“Harrison abused Maj. Croghan.” It is true that Croghan said he did not; but then Croghan was a coward, and dared not resent ill-treatment from his superior officer.

We have not room for any more of these pretty things this week; but we intend to keep our readers informed of all the slanders that the malignity of the Tories prompt them to publish against the Father of the West.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Feb 4, 1840

An Eloquent Record.

WILLIAM H. HARRISON was born in Virginia on the 9th February, 1773.

In 1791, when 19 years of age, he was appointed by Washington an Ensign in our infant army.

In 1792, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant; and in 1793, joined the legion under Gen. Wayne; and in a few days thereafter, was selected by him as one of his aids.

On the 24th of August, 1794, he distinguished himself in the battle of the Miami, and elicited the most flattering written approbation of Gen. Wayne.

In 1795, he was made a Captain, and placed in the command of Fort Washington.

In 1797, he was appointed by President Adams, Secretary of the North Western Territory and ex officio Lt. Governor.

In 1798, he was chosen a delegate to Congress.

In 1801, he was appointed Governor of Indiana, and in the same year, President Jefferson appointed him sole commissioner for treating with the Indians.

In 1809, he was re-appointed Governor of Indiana by Madison.

On the 7th Nov. 1811, he gained the great victory of TIPPECANOE.

On the 11th September, 1812, he was appointed by Madison Commander-in-chief of the North Western Army.

On the 1st May, 1812, the siege of Fort Meigs commenced; lasted five days, and was terminated by the brilliant and successful sortie of Gen. Harrison.

On the 31st July, 1812, the battle of Fort Stephenson occurred.

On the 5th October, 1813, he gained the splendid victory of the THAMES, over the British and Indians under Proctor.

In 1814, he was appointed by Madison one of the Commissioners to treat with the Indians, and in the same year, with his colleagues, Gov. Shelby and General Cass, concluded the celebrated treaty of Greenville.

In 1815, he was again appointed such Commissioner, with Gen. M’Arthur and Mr. Graham, and negotiated a treaty at Detroit.

In 1816, he was elected a member of Congress.

In January, 1818, he introduced a resolution in honor of Kosciusko, and supported it in one of the most feeling, classical, and eloquent speeches ever delivered in the House of Representatives.

In 1819, he was elected Senator in Congress, and was appointed, in 1825, Chairman of the Military Committee in place of Gen. Jackson who had resigned.

In 1827, he was appointed Minister to Columbia, and in 1829, wrote his immortal letter to Bolivar, the deliverer of South America.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Feb 4, 1840

Another Tory Compliment to General HARRISON.

“Harrison, while a member of the Senate of Ohio, voted to sell poor white men into slavery.” — that is, he voted to have men who were convicted of small crimes, and of whom the costs of conviction could not otherwise be collected, compelled to WORK them out. — What a monster! If such were the law, the sufferings of jail-birds would be intolerable. Instead of spending a few weeks in jail, with a plenty to eat and nothing to do, they would have to work to pay the expense of their punishment. Why! thieves and leg-treasurers should all rise as one man and oppose Harrison for that vote!

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Feb 11, 1840

Valley Forge (Image from http://www.sonofthesouth.net)

A VOICE OF ’76.

The Newburgh Gazette brings us the following eloquent letter from the last of the “Life Guards of Gen. Washington.” Let the freemen of America heed the honest warning of this venerable patriot. Let all who are able to enlist for the war adopt the advice of this aged veteran, and enroll themselves as the Life guards of the country. —Alb. Adv.

To the Descendants of Revolutionary Soldiers:

An old soldier of the Continental Army asks for the last time to speak to his countrymen. During the suffering services of the Revolution I was in sixteen engagements, and was one of the little band who volunteered under Sullivan to destroy the “Six Nations of Indians.” I was one of that small company selected as the Life Guard of Gen. Washington — but two of us are now living. I was at the tough siege of Yorktown, at Valley Forge, Monmouth, and in thirteen other hard battles, and saw Cornwallis surrender to our old General. My service ceased only with the war.

After all this hardship and suffering, in the street when I go out in my old age to see the happiness I have helped to give you, I am pointed at as a British Tory — yes, a British Tory — I have said nothing when I have been told so, but have silently thought that my old General would never have picked out a Tory to form one of his Life Guard, nor would a Tory have suffered what I suffered for you. This abuse has been shamefully heaped upon one of your old soldiers because he is what he was when the war broke out, and what Washington told us we must always be when he shook HANDS with us as we all were going home.

I was a Whig in the Revolution, and have been one ever since, and am one now. As a Whig I enlisted for the whole WAR was in favor with the other whigs of Thomas Jefferson, went with the party for James Madison, was in favor of the last war, and to be consistent in my last vote, must give it for Gen. Harrison. He is a brave man, and was never known wherever he has been to take a penny from his neghbor or the Government, that was not fairly his own. — We have trod over the same ground fighting for liberty. His father, 9he was one of us in the Revolution) signed our Independence roll, and then we all went out together to fight for it, and we proved it was true.

It really appears to me that this cannot be the same government that our old soldiers helped Washington to put up here. We fought to have a government as different from any in Europe as we could make it. — Well, we done it, and until lately things have gone on smoothly and Europe was beginning to get ashamed of the way she made slaves of her subjects by making them work and toil for seven poor cents a day with a Standing Army over them to force them to it. But our President now tells the people that things have gone wrong since the Old War and that there are twenty-two miserable Governments in Europe where the Kings wear crowns, the rich people wear silks, and the poor people rags, that we must fashion after them if we want to be happy and prosperous! —

We had English laws here once and they were the best in Europe, but we could’nt stand them and we put them under our feet. We used to work for mere nothing then, and we cannot do it again. Working for a few cents a day may do for slaves, but not for freemen whose liberty cost more blood, than liberty ever cost before, why, the very first thing that started the old war, was the Standing Army, that the King kept quartered upon us, we told him that we wanted no soldiers over us in time of peace, but he refused to mind us, and I saw Lord Cornwallis surrender up a part of them to honest George Washington. Our President now proposes to have a standing force — what for? — Beware.

Thom’s Jefferson never asked for armed men to re-elect him, or elevate his successor. James Madison asked for them only, in the time of the late war, and warned the people when he left his office, to be careful about keeping soldiers in time of peace.

Our streets are filled with idle men who were active laborers once, when employment was to be had. The men of enterprise who once employed them have been ruined by government. And now these honest, but unemployed laborers are told by the government, that when they go to work again, they must do it for a few cents a day — that labor must be as cheap here, as it is among the slaves of Cuba, or the slaves of Europe. Ambition and ignorance on the part of our Government have shut up our shops and stores, scuttled our ships, filled our streets with idleness and bankruptcy, and given no encouragement to the farmer as he looks at his grain. Are not these things so?

You know they are, and I have no motive in saying what may be false — I am too far advanced for office, or any thing else but death — it will soon be here. — My little pension, and I thank you for it, will soon stop, and I go home with the rest of the Life Guards. —

There is but one remedy only for the safety of the country I have saved. Put other men to stand at the tiller, and round the cables, and you will soon be back on the old Constitutional track. Gen. Harrison is honest, he never deceived you, and he never lost a battle, and the People wont let him lose this. Accept my advice, and you all have my blessing — my advice is, that all of you become the Life Guards of your country, and my blessing is that your old age may have less fears for liberty than mine.

BENJAMIN EATON.
One of the two surviving Life Guards of George Washington.

NEWBURGH, N.Y. Aug. 28, 1840.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Oct 6, 1840

Nathan Hale

From the Newburgh New York Telegraph.
Gratitude, Gallantry and Feeling.

To record the incidents connected with the “old soldiers” of Washington — those few falling leaves of the tree of the revolution — is ever pleasing. But few of them remain. In a few brief years, the “last soldier of the revolution” will have died.

The following little incident, interesting and touching in its way, occurred here last week during the visit of that highly disciplined and soldier-like corps, the National Greys, of New York city.

One of their numerous marches, in the neighbourhood of our village, to receive the well-deserved hospitality of our citizens, was to Ettrick Grove, the beautiful seat of Mr. Hale, a mile below the village, taking in their way “Washington’s Head Quarters,” to which the company wished to pay a last visit before departure. The entire march was over consecrated ground. — Washington himself had known and traversed every foot of it — in the neighbourhood was the ground where the army was stationed, and in the ravine below, was the revolutionary cannon foundry, traces of which are still visible.

These were all pointed out, as also the remaining portion of the house (now Mr. Hale‘s kitchen) to which Washington was invited to an entertainment, in order to his betrayal by a band of conspirators against his life and his country’s hopes. These several reminiscences had each its interest; but the crowning incident of the march, and the one likely to live long in recollection was this:

On the outward march of the company, at a little distance in advance in the porch of a cottage, was observed the bowed and bleached head and wasted form of one of those immortals on earth, who shared the toils of war with Washington — it was BENJAMIN EATON, the last but one (Robert Blair, also of this village,) of Washington’s Life Guard.

The fact being announced to the officers of the corps, they eagerly advanced, in person, while the company uncovered, and thus all testified, in passing, their respect for the noble old Roman. On their return, the old soldier was escorted out, supported on either side by the Captain and Lieutenant, and the corps passed in review before him, uncovered, and with as profound respect and nice observance of military order as the old soldier in other days would have passed in review before his venerated Washington.

He was then escorted to the front and introduced personally to each member of the corps — and as each seized him by the hand and uttered the heart-felt “God bless you, General,” the gathering tear in the eye of each young soldier told the glow of gratitude and patriotism enkindled in his bosom. It was a moment and a scene to excite deep feeling. The eye of the veteran, dimmed by age, brightened again with pride and joy. The scenes and the forms of other days seemed reanimated and again brought to his view. But it was a transient vision, and came but for a moment to gladden the veteran’s heart.

Recollection but too soon recalled the realities of the present; and he was heard to murmur, “Alas! I have lived to be useless to myself and to the world!”

He told them, however, as a parting advice of an old soldier, to “remember their Great Commander.” He said he had been present in sixteen battles of the Revolution, and amid the dangers of them all had sought aid from above in prayer for himself, his country and his companions; and was himself a living witness, with the frosts of eighty-two winters upon his head, that these prayers were not in vain.

Benjamin Eaton has seen much service, and his country owes him much. He was in the battles and shared the dangers of Lexington, Monmouth, Flatbush, Brandywine, Harlaem Heights, &c., and served under the gallant Sullivan, in 1779, in his expedition against the “Six Nations” of Indians. Poor in every thing but spirit and merit, he has lived for years upon that evidence of coldest ingratitude — a pension of ninety-six dollars!!

Title    Hazard’s United States Commercial and Statistical Register, Volume 1
Editor    Samuel Hazard
Publisher s.n., 1840
pg 256

Benjamin Eaton - Rural Valley Cemetery

October 16, 1842.
Benjamin Eaton, said to have been the last survivor of Washington’s Life Guard, died at Cuddeback, Orange Co., N. Y., aged 85.
He joined in the pursuit at Lexington, and served till 1779, with an absence of only 20 days.

From: The New York genealogical and biographical record (Volume 102)
. (page 7 of 52)

Google Books LINK – You can read this book online.

John Kitts:Soldier of the Revolutionary War

January 30, 2009
John Kitts 1870 Census

John Kitts 1870 Census

A Man Over One Hundred and Four Years of Age.

Baltimore boasts one of the most remarkable cases of longevity in the country. Person who are in the habit of traversing Calvert street may have frequently observed at the corner of that and Mulberry street a very elderly gentleman, quietly seated on a chair or  promenading in the vicinity, regarding attentively every object which passes him, and though mostly reticent, yet prompt to reply to any remarks addressed to him. There he enjoys the quiety and repose of age, looking out upon the world more than a century older than when he was first ushered into it. Our ancient friend’s name is John Kitts.

Bloody Run, Pennsylvania

Bloody Run, Pennsylvania

He was born at Bloody Run, in Bedford County, Pa., in 1762, and is, therefore, now in the on hundred and fifth year of his age! In 1776, when fourteen years of age, he was a member of the First Pennsylvania Regiment of the Revolutionary War.

Battle of Yorktown

Battle of Yorktown

He was in the battle of Yorktown, and occupied at one time the position of errand boy or messenger to Washington and Lafayette. He retains a distinct recollection of the personal manners and habits of those illustrious heroes of our first struggle with Great Britain. He was too old to be drafted in 1812, but he entered the army, and remained about a year.

He has no constitutional disease; of course suffers somewhat with debility; but he moves about without assistance; has a dark, keen, observant eye; is quick and appreciative in his responses to queries; hears remarkably well; his eyesight is good; he never uses glasses; he says that “he is afraid they will injure his eyes.” He has a most excellent memory. Like most very old people, however, he remembers the events of his earlier years better than those of recent occurence.

Mount Vernon Rye Whiskey

Mount Vernon Rye Whiskey

On propounding the question as to whether our Methuselahian friend had practiced “total abstinance,” he replied, “No; I always drank whenever I felt like it, and enjoy a glass of old rye as much now as ever.”

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio) Sep 13, 1867

Marquis de Lafayette

Marquis de Lafayette

John Kitts, claiming to be 107 years old, and a soldier of the Revolution under Lafayette, has applied to the Baltimore City Council for an appropriation.

New York Herald (New York, New York) > 1869 > November > 16

Genral Nathaniel P. Banks

Genral Nathaniel P. Banks

A Soldier of the Revolution on the Floor of the House — A Hero of Two Wars Petitioning for a Pension.

John Kitts, a veteran, who served in the war of the Revolution, called at the Executive Mansion today to pay his respects to the President. He was received with much cordiality by the President, who questioned him concerning his history and invited him to remain for lunch. The old gentleman declined, because, he said, he was anxious to see Congress in session. The President ordered Mr. H.L. Fox, one of the messengers at the White House, to proceed with Mr. Kitts to the Capitol, and to remain with him while he staid there.

Upon reaching the Capitol he was taken on the floor of the House, General Banks stating who he was and asking that the privilege of the floor be granted him. He occupied Horace Maynard‘s seat, immediately in front of the Speaker’s desk, and received the congratulations of the members, who flocked around him in large numbers and questioned him about his age and the leading events of his life.

Mr. Kitts was born in Bedford county, Pa., in 1762, and is therefore in his 108th year. He served in the American army during the Revolutionary war, and was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. In the battle preceding the surrender Mr. Kitts was struck in the back of the head with a spent musket ball, and the indentation which it made is still visible. The old man points this scar with considerable pride, and is quite garrulous about the circumstances under which he received the wound.

When the was of 1812 broke out he was considered too old to enter the service as a soldier, but he went in as a messenger to carry the mails. He relates many interesting stories of the narrow escapes he had from being taken prisoner by the enemy’s scouts. On one occasion he was forced to leave his horses and take to the woods, so closely was he pursued. He was the bearer of important despatches, which he succeeded in carrying safely through. On being asked if he could read Mr. Kitts replied that he could not. When he was a boy, he said, there was very little reading done, and even if he had learned to read it would be of no use to him now. He had never found time to read until his eyesight failed him.

Although entitled to a pension both as a soldier of the Revolution and of 1812, he has never applied to Congress for it. He says until about seven years ago he had no occasion to seek aid from the government, because he was able to take care of himself. He thought the government had enough soldiers who fought in the rebellion to pension without giving anything to the “boys” who fought under Washington now. The old man is unable to do anything, and he asks a pension. He said he didn’t expect to remain long upon the rolls, and all he would draw out of the treasury would not be much. He has neither children nor grandchildren living, and when asked if he had any relatives he replied, “No; I am the last of the stock.”

General Banks and Mr. Ingersoll, of Illinois, started an impromptu subscription for the old man among the members of the House. The entire amount realized was eighty dollars, twenty of which General Banks gave himself. This is rather a small contribution among so many men, but some allowance must be made for the economic fit under which the House is just now laboring. General Banks will look after the old man’s petition for a pension, and there is reason to believe he will get it.

New York Herald (New York, New York) Feb 11, 1870

firstcon

JOHN KITTS. — We do not know how often the last Revolutionary soldier has died. On the average we think he has died twice a year for the last ten years. But it makes no difference. We are glad to see him alive and in full possession of his faculties once more. John Kitts is the prevailing representative of that former generation, and we think that John is a bona fide representative. He is one hundred and eight years old, and has a scar on the back of his head. Besides, he only claims to have helped to capture Cornwallis at Yorktown. He does not appear to have nursed Washington or to have shaken his hand and received his benediction in the true Washington style, which all the old negroes in the country claim to have done, and which at one time must consequently have been a very empty honor. On the contrary, old John Kitts seems to be a very worthy old soldier, and, although he never nursed Washington, he is fully deserving of a large pension.

New York Herald (New York, New York) Feb 14, 1870

Died at the Age of 108.
BALTIMORE, Sept. 19. — John Kitts, aged 108 years, the oldest citizen died last evening.

Chicago Tribune, IL Sep 20, 1870

— JOHN KITTS, aged one hundred eight years, died at Baltimore on Monday.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Sep 24 1870

–The venerable John Kitts, of Baltimore, is dead. He was born May 7, 1762, and was 108 years, 4 months and 11 days old at the time of his death. Last winter he visited Washington, and was granted the privilege of the floor of the House of Representatives.

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Oct 6, 1870