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CAMBRIDGE, MASS., IN A. D. 1773 :" 




Entered according to act of Congress, in the year of our Lord, one 
thousand, eight hundred and fifty-two,by H. W. Derby & Co., in the 
Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Ohio. 

Morgan ,\- (h;-ur!. . 

P R E F A C V] 

This is the second vtdurnc of tlie Early History of Ohio, prepared by 
Dr. Ilildrclli of Marietta, and published under tlie auspices of tlie Ohio 
Historical Society. It i.i composed of a scries of Biographical Notices of 
the early settlers of Washington County, who were also the early settlers 
of Ohio. Among them arc sonic names celebrated in American history, 
'whose active life commenced amid the mo;:t stirring events of the Revolu- 
tion, and whose evening days v.'crc fini.-hca amid the frcs!i and forest 
scenes of a new and rising State. So vcrio-js and cvenlful lives as theirs 
have scarcely ever fallen to ilio lot cf n;::n. They v.cro born under a 
monarchy, — fought the battle of Indepenasnee, — as-ast^d in the baptism 
of a great republic, — then moved into a v.'ildcrness, — and hid th-Tfounda- 
tions of a State, — itself almost equaling an empire. These men not only 
lived in remarkable times, but were thoirisolves rcmni-kable men. Ener- 
getic, industrious, persevering, honest, bold, and free — they were limited 
in their achievements only by the limits of possibility. Successful alike 
in field and forest, — they have, at length, gone to tlieir rest, — leaving 
names which are a part of the fame and the history cf their coun'sy. 

Among the biographies of such men v.uli also be fourid notic:s of some 
v/omcn, whoso characters deserve to be perpetuated the memories 
of the State. The public and posterity will owe much to Dr. Iliidrcth for 
having so carei'uily preserved these memoirs of the early tirn'.s. The 
Historical Society deeply regrets that it lias no pov/er to do more than 
merely introduce this interesting^ volume to the pul)iic. 

Edw.\ri)I). Mansfielis 
President of the Oliio Historical Societv. 













































"The early history of the first settlements in the now great state 
of Ohio, not only ought to be preserved as an important epoch in 
the general history of our common country, but also the characters 
and public services of those men who were eminent in forming these 
settlements, have a claim to go down to posterity amongst the bene- 
factors of mankind. The influence of their morals and habits has 
had a lasting effect on society, and is now perceptible in the general 
character of the communities in which they resided. The facts thus 
preserved, will enable the future historian to account for many things 
in our history which otherwise might appear obscure. The origin 
of an orderly, well regulated society, in any given district, may often 
be explained by tracing back its history to the influence exerted 
over it by some one or more individuals, who have imparted this 
character to it in its commencement : while the example of a few 
dissolute men, may have done much in placing a stigma on the name 
of a place, that will remain for ages." The settlements of the Ohio 
Company, were fortunate in this respect ; all the leading and influ- 
ential men were on the side of good order, morality and religion ; 
and the impress of their character is seen and felt to this day, in the 
well regulated, quiet habits, of a New England community, worthy 
the descendants of their Puritan ancestors. While many of the early 
colonies in the West, were composed of the ignorant, the vulgar, and 
the rude, those of Washington coxmty, like some of the Grecian, 
carried with them, the sciences and the arts; and although placed 
on the frontiers, amidst the howling wilderness, and tribes of hostile 
savages, exposed to danger and privation^ there ran in the veins of 
Uiese little bands, some of the best blood of the country. They 
enrolled many men of highly cultivated minds and exalted intellect. 
There was at one time, in 1789, no less than ten of these, who had 


received the honors of a college course of education : a larger 
number than can now be found in the same district of country, if the 
professors in the Marietta College are excluded. The lion. William 
Woodbridge, in his remarks before the Senate of the United States, 
on the question of the annexation of Texas, against which the citi- 
zens of Marietta, with thousands of others in Ohio, loudly remon- 
strated, when presenting that paper, gave the following sketch of 
the character of the men who first founded that place : 

"It was on the 7th of April, 1788, that this settlement Avas first 
commenced ; it was then that the first stone, the corner stone, of 
this great state was laid ; and it was laid by these men, or by their 
immediate ancestors. The colony then consisted almost entirely of 
a remnant, and a most revered remnant, of your armies of the 
Revolution — of officers and soldiers, who, at the close of that seven 
years' term of privation, of suffering, and of battles, found them- 
selves let loose upon the world with their private fortunes, in gen- 
eral ruined, estranged almost from their own early homes, and 
with occupations gone ! If they were of any of the learned profes- 
sions, and there were many such, their professions were forgotten, and 
if their pursuits had been agricultural, commercial, or mechanical, 
why they had lost those business habits so difficult to acquire, but 
which are yet so indispensable to success ; and such of their pay, 
too, as they may have been enabled to preserve, being old conti- 
nental certificates, and become almost worthless in their hands, for 
all available purposes. In circumstances of so much gloom, the 
thought occurred of establishing themselves once more in a body, 
in the untrodden West. During many years they had camped to- 
gether, and eaten together ; they had fought and bled together ; there 
was something j^leasing in the plan of continuing still closer, their 
social and friendly relations. They had warrants which entitled 
them to public lands ; many of them had continental certificates and 
other evidences of claim, wliich would go far to enable them to make 
their purcli'ise. An association was formed ; negotialions with the 
old ContindUal Congress and with tlie Board of War were com- 
menced,, and during the year 1787, a purchase was eilected: and on 
the 7th of April, as I liavesaid, 1788, the first and principal detach 


mcnt of that interesting corps of emigrants, landed at the confluence 
of the Muskingum with the Ohio river. This was directly athwart 
tlie old Indian ivar path; for it was down the Muskingum and its 
tributary branches, that the Wyandotts, the Shawnees, the Ottawas, 
and all the Indians of the north tmid northwest, Avere accustomed to 
march, when from time to time, for almost half a century before, 
they made those dreadfid incursions, into western Virginia and wes- 
t-ern Pennsylvania, which spread desolation, and ruin, and despair, 
through all those regions. Being arrived there, they marked out 
their embryo city, and in honor of the friend of their country, the 
queen of France, called it Marietta. They surrounded it with pali- 
sades and abatis ; they erected block-houses and bastions. On an 
eminence a little above, and near the Muskingum, they constructed 
a more regular and scientific fortification. Thus did the settlement 
of that great state commence. Among these colonists were very 
many of the most distinguished officers of the Revolution, and of 
all grades. Gen. Rufus Putnam, and Gen. Benjamin Tuppcr, of the 
Massachusetts line, were there. Gen. Parsons of the Connecticut, 
and Gen. Varnum, of the Rhode Island lines, were there. Old Com- 
modore Whipple, of Rhode Island, for whom the honor is claimed 
of firing the first hostile gun from on board a ' Congress ' vessel of 
war, and who during the whole war, was another ' Paul Jones,' 
and as active and daring, found his grave there ; as did a near rela- 
tive of Gen. Nathaniel Green. The sons of the 'Wolf catcher,' 
Gen. Israel Putnam, and the descendants of Manasseh Cutler, were 
there. Col. Gushing and Col. Sproat, Col. Oliver and Col. Sargent, 
and multitudes of others, distinguished alike for their bravery, for 
their patriotism, and for their skill in war, were there. Some few 
there are, some very few, still alive, and whose names I recognize, 
who constituted a part of this wonderful band of veteran soldiers. 
The rest, one after another, have dropped off. Many of the things I 
have adverted to, I personally saw. I was a child then, but I well 
recollect the regular morning reveille, ;ind the evening tattoo, that 
helped to give character to the establishment. Even on the Sabbath, 
the male po])ulaLion were always under arms, and with their chap- 
lain, who was v.illing to share the lot of his comrades, Avere accus- 


tomed to march in battle array, to their block-house church. And 
I take this occasion to remark, that it was not until the memorable 
victory of Gen. Wayne, that the war of the Revolution really ended, 
and Gen. Harrison was right when he made that assertion." 

There is nothing more noble than to feel a deep interest in the 
honor of our country, our state, or the community in which we mingle. 
The history of these men belongs to the United States ; their breasts 
were often the bulwarks, which, in the "time of trial," saved us from 
the enslaving power of Great Britain, and we are endeavoring to 
preserve their names and their characters from oblivion, by erecting 
this Instoncal monument to their memory. For the materials on 
which it is founded, the author is indebted to many kind friends, 
generally the relatives of the persons, but in an especial manner to 
W. R. Putnam, Esq., Hon. Judge Cutler, Col. Joseph Barker, and 
William Slocomb : for Com. Whipple, to his grandson. Dr. Com- 
Btock, of Boston, John Kowland, Esq., of Providence, Rhode Island, 
and P, G. Robbins, M. D., of Roxbury, Massachusetts. The 
names of many other prominent men are omitted from a lack of the 
facts on which to found a written biography ; and the larger number 
of those here given were obtained with much laborious search, 
amongst old lettei-s, volumes of history, oral tradition, and numer- 
ous letters of inquiry written to the relatives of the deceased, in 
various and distant parts of the country. A full and well written biog- 
raphy of tlie late Gov. Meigs, who was one of the early settlers of 
Marietta, has been published in a posthumous volume of Sketches 
of the early Settlers of Ohio, by the late Alexander Campbell, Esq., 
and is not given hcre.^- The present work has many imperfections, 
but may be ihe means of preserving some facts not generally known, 
for the use of a future and more able historian. 

* That of General R. Putnain in the same volume, is a brief sketch taken from a 
newspaper notice at the time of his death ; and that of Paul Fearing, Esq., was 
written for ^Ir. Camphcll, by the author of this volume, and is now rcpuljlished 
with some additions. 


and was the cousin of EILsha Putnam, the father of Gen. 
Rufu3. At the death of his father, Mr. Putnam was seven 
years old, lie was now sent to live with his maternal grand- 
father in Danvers, and remained in his family until Septem- 
ber, 17-17 . During this period he was sent to school a portion 
of the time, and made some progress in reading. In the 
course of this year, his mother married Capt. John Sadler, 
of Upton, Massachusetts, and he went to live with him, and 
remained under his roof until his death, in 17o3. His mother 
was now again a widow. 

In 1752, when fourteen years of age, Rufus made choice 
of his brother-in-law, Jonathan Dudley, of Sutton, as his 
guardian, and the certificate is signed by the Hon. Joseph 
Wilder, judge of probate for Worcester county. Dm-ing the 
time of his residence with his step-father, all opportunities 
for instruction were denied him. Capt. Sadler was very 
illiterate himself, and thought books and learning of very 
little use, and not worth the time bestowed on their acquire- 
ment. The world is not destitute of such men to this day ; 
they think and act as if they believed that the body was the 
only part to be provided for, and that the mind needed no 
insti'uction, or food for its growth, except what is acquired 
by natural observation and instinct. But young Putnam 
felt that he had another appetite to supply, besides that of 
tlie body; that his mind craved food and instruction, and 
would not be appeased without it. Notwithstanding the 
ridicule and obstructions thrown in his way by his step-father, 
he sought every opportunity for study, and examination of 
the books that fell in his way. Having no school books of 
his own, and this parsimonious man refusing to buy them, 
he soon fell upon a plan to get them himself. Capt. 
Sadler kept a kind of public house, at which travelers some- 
times called for refreshment. By waiting diligently upon 
diem, they sometimes gave him a few pence. These he 


carefully laid by, until he could purchase some powder and 
shot : with this ammunition and an old shot gun, he killed 
parti'idges, or pheasants, and sold from time to time until 
the proceeds bought him a spelling book and an arithmetic. 
With these two invaluable articles, the foundation of all, 
even the most profound learning, he soon made considerable 
progress in the rudiments of education, without any teacher 
but his own patient ingenuity. In the same way he learned 
to write, and make figures in a legible manner, progressing 
in a short time to the rule of three, guided only by the 
directions laid down in the book. How delightful must have 
been his sensations when he could put his own thoughts into 
tangible sentences on paper, and understand the rules of 
calculation, so important in all the concerns of life. 

In March, 1754, when nearly sixteen years old, he was 
bound as an apprentice to the mill-wright trade, under 
Daniel Mathews, of Brookfield. He was a man who had 
nearly the same opinion of the inutility of learning, as ]\Ir. 
Sadler, and entirely neglected to send his apprentice to 
school. He, however, was more favorable in one respect, 
as he did not refuse him the use of candles for light, ^vhcn 
pursuing his studies in the long winter evenings. His atten- 
tion was chiefl}'- directed to the acquisition of arithmetic, 
geography and history ; while orthography, etymolog}-, and 
the rules of grammar were neglected. Having no books in 
these branches and no one to teach him, his attention was 
chiefly directed to that which would be more immediately 
useful in the common affairs of life. In penmanship he 
had no aid from those nice copperplate engravings, pub- 
lished in after years, nor any one to guide him in the art of 
neat handwriting, so that those two important branches, 
spelling correctly, and writing handsomely, did not receive 
that attention they otherwise would have done, and left liim 
during all his futiu-e life to recret his deficiencies in these 


respects. Could he have looked into futurity, or had the 
least intimation of the public stations of trust and honor 
which he was destined by Providence to fill in manhood, he 
would doubtless have been better prepared for their arduous 
duties. The greatest wonder of all is, that with the discour- 
agements and privations which environed him, he had the 
fortitude and perseverance to overcome these obstacles, and 
acquire so much really useful learning as he did. Ninety- 
nine boys in a hundred \vould never have made the attempt, 
but have lived and died in ignorance. 

During this portion of his life, from sixteen to nineteen 
years, he was busily occupied under Daniel Mathews, in 
acquiring the practical art of the mill-wright, and in working 
on his farm. It required some knowledge of geometry, to 
form perfect circles, divide them into numerous equal por- 
tions, and lay out the exact angles necessaiy in the frame- 
work of the mill; thus gradually enlarging his laiowledge 
of mathematics, for which he had naturally an ardent attach- 
ment, and a mind well fitted to comprehend. During this 
time his physical frame grew full as rapidly as his mind, so 
that w-hen he was eighteen years old, he possessed the 
brawny limbs, the muscular power, and the full stature of a 
man six feet high. In all athletic exercises, he was renowned 
for his great strength and activity; and thus eminently fitted 
for the fatigues and privations of the military life he was 
destined so early to enter. 

The war between Great Britain and France, in which 

the colonies were much more deeply interested than the 

mother country, commenced in the year 1754, when he 

entered on his apprenticeship. The accounts of the several 

battles, the defeat of Gen. Braddock, and the exploits of his 

martial relative, Capt. Israel Putnam, no doubt filled his 

youthful mind with ardor, and led him while yet only in his 

nineteenth year to enlist as a private soldier, in the company 


of Capt. Ebenezer Learned, consisting of one hundred men, 
many of whom must have been his acquaintances or asso- 
ciates. The term of senice was a httle short of a year, 
commencing the 15th of March, 1757, and ending the 2d 
day of February, 1758. By the 30th of April the de- 
tachment was ready for marching, and that day left Brook- 
field, on their route for Kinderhook, on the Hudson river, 
about eighteen miles below Albany, which place they reached 
on the 6th of May. 

In this and his subsequent campaign, he tm-ned the art of 
writing, which he had with so much difficulty acquired, to a 
useful purpose, by keeping a regular journal of the events 
which took place ; and without this precaution would have 
been lost or forgotten. He remarks tliat Capt. Learned 
prayed regularly, night and morning, Avith his men, and on 
the Sabbath read a sermon in addition — a proof of the gen- 
eral prevalence of piety amongst the New England people, 
and \vhich if more common in this day, would suppress much 
of the profanity and wickedness so universal amongst the 
soldiery of modern times. On the 18th of May, they left 
Kinderhook, and marched the same day to Greenbush, 
opposite the town of Albany. 

On the 21st of May, the company moved to Seaghticoke, 
a Dutch settlement on the banks of the Hoosack river, three 
miles from the Hudson. It was deserted by the inhabitants 
on account of the Indians, and now lies in the north-westerly 
corner of Renssellaer county. 

On the 9th of June, the detachment joined Col. Fiy's 
regiment, at Stillwater, a spot subsequently famous for the bat- 
tles at Bemis' Heights, which turned the tide of Burgoyne's 
success, and finally led to his surrender. On the 11th they 
marched to Saratoga, a place still more celebrated in military 
history, for the conquest of his army, thirty years after this 
time, in which Mr. Putnam a(?ted a conspicuous part. 


Oil ihc 14th of this month, Fry'.s regiment, composed of 
seventeen companies of provincial^:, decamped, and on the 
following day reached Fort Edward. This celebrated mili 
tary post, so often noticed in the events of the old French 
war, was built two years before this time, and was now in 
the pride of its strength. It stood on the east or left bank of 
the Hudson river, about fifty-two miles above Albany, and 
was constructed by a body of colonial troops under Gen. 
Lyman, and named after Edward, Duke of York, the eldest 
son of King George the Second, of England. It is thus 
described in Mr. Putnam's journal : " The river washed one 
side of its walls. The form was somewhat irregular ; having 
two bastions and two half bastions. The walls were high 
and thick, composed of hewed timber — a broad rampart, with 
casements, or bomb-proofs — a deep ditch with a draw-bridge — 
a covered way, glacis, &c." In an after note, he says, " I 
have been particular in this description, because in 1777, 
there was by no means so great an appearance of there hav- 
ing been a fortification here as we find in the ancient 
works at Marietta and other parts of the Ohio country." 
It stood at the head of the carrying place, between the Hud- 
son and Lake George, and also Wood creek, a tributary of 
Lake Champlain. The village of Fort Edward stands near 
the site of the old fort, and serves to perpetuate its name. 
The tragical fate of Miss McCrea happened in this vicinity 
in 1777. White Hall, at the head of the Lake, the port from 
which steamboats now run to St. John, in Canada, was, in 
the li evolutionary war, called Skenesborough ; and \va.a 
named after Moj. Skene, presently noticed by jNIr. Putnam 
in his journal. 

Being determined to see as much as possible of the adven- 
tures and hardships of a military life, he joined the corps of 
Rangers, as a volunteer, and on the 8th of July, marched on 
a scout under Lieut. Collins, with twenty-two men, to 


reconnoitre South Bay, the southerly extremity of Lake 
Champlain, distant about twenty-five miles from Fort Ed- 
ward. On the 9th, having approached, as they thought, near 
the bay, the main party was halted, and three men, of whom 
Mr. Putnam was one, sent forward to learn its situation. 
Supposing it would occupy but a few hours, they left their 
blankets and provisions with the men that remained in camp. 
It proved to be much further than they had anticipated, and 
after fulfilling their orders, it was nearly night \vhen tliey got 
ba,ck to the encampment. Much to their vexation and disap- 
pointment, they found that the lieutenant and his men, had 
left the ground, carrying with them their blankets and pro- 
visions. It seems that the leader had taken alarm at their 
long absence, supposing them either killed or captured by 
the Indians, and had hastily retreated in confusion. The 
deserted Rangers fired their guns, to give notice of their 
return, but no answering signal was heard. Two nights 
Avere thus spent in the woods, exposed, without their blankets, 
to the annoyance of gnats and musquitoes, which swarmed 
in vast numbers over this humid region. Tlic dress of the 
Rangers was similar to that of the Indians, leaving their 
thighs bare, and exposed to their attacks. They reached 
Fort Edward on the 11th, having been forty-eight hours 
without food, thus realizing a little foretaste of a rangers 
life. Lieut. Collins did not get in until tlic following 
day, and confessed that he heard their signal guns, but 
supposed them fired by the Indians. He, however, by vari- 
ous excuses, pacified j\Ir. Putnam and his comrades; yet he 
remarks on the transaction. "It was extremely unsoidier- 
like to leave us in the woods in the manner he did. ]i^ our 
long absence gave cause of alarm, he ought to ha\ e with- 
drawn but a short distance, placed himself in ambush, and 
posted two men under cover to watch for our return, or 
give notice of the approach of the enemy." 


On the 23(1 of July, about eight o'clock in the morning, a 
large party of Indians fired on the Carpenters', err Mechanics' 
Guard, within half a mile of the fort, and killed thirteen 
men, with one missing. This was the first view he had of 
Indian butchery; and says, "It was not very agreeable to 
the feelings of a young soldier, and I think there are few 
who can look on such scenes with indifi^erence." In the 
afternoon, two hundred and fifty men, under Capt. Israel 
Putnam, were sent out in pursuit. They followed the trail 
until sunset, when the main body was halted, and three 
men, of whom Mr. Putnam was one, sent forward a mile or 
more, with orders to secrete themselves near the trail until 
after dark, watching closely for any scout that might be 
sent back, "for," said the captain of the Rangers, "if they 
do not embark to-night in their boats, they will send a party 
back to see if they are pursued." They went as ordered, 
but made no discovery. He remarks, "It was a maxim I 
treasured up in my mind, as applicable, especially in the 
woods, whether you are pursuing, or are piirsued by the 
enemy," and was the beginning of his military knowledge. 

Capture of Fort William Hexry. 

The Marquis de Montcalm, who commanded the French 
forces in Canada, was a man of intelligence and vast enter- 
prise. After one or two ineflectual attempts to surprise the 
fort without the trouble of a regular siege, he finally con- 
cluded to collect all the troops in his power, and set about 
the work by regular approaches. This fort stood near the 
head of Lake George, distant fourteen miles from Fort Ed- 
ward, and seventy from Albany, and was built by Gen. 
Johnson in 1755, who named it after one of the princes of 
the reigning family. It was a square work, with four bas- 
tions. The walls were made of timber, filled in with earth 


with a ditch on the outside; and was able, for a time, to re- 
sist a cannonade or bombardment. Having arranged hi.s 
plan of operations, Montcalm came up the lake with a for- 
midable array of boats; and on the 3d of August, 1757, 
landed an army of ten thousand men, and a large body of 
Indians, with a heavy train of artillery ; and immediately 
commenced the siege. Col. Munroe, who commanded the 
fort, had arrived only the day before, with his regiment, fi'om 
Fort Edward, to reinforce the garrison. He was a brave 
man, and made the best defense in his power; but the 
ti'oops under his command were too few in number, to hold 
out long against so formidable an attack. ]Many of his can- 
non burst, and the ammunition failed. After a spirited de- 
fense of six days, a capitulation was entered into for the 
surrender of the fort and troops, on the 9th of August. 
"About half a mile east of the fort, separated from it by a 
swamp and creek, lay a body of fifteen hundred Provincials, 
encamped within alow breastwork of logs. On these Mont- 
calm made no serious attack; and they might at any time 
have made their escape, by forcing their way through the 
enemy posted In that quarter; but the next morning after 
the surrender, or the 10th of August, as the Provincials were 
paraded, to march to Fort Edward, agreeably to capitula- 
tion, the Indians attacked them, and a horrid butchery en- 
sued. Those who escaped with their lives were stripped 
almost naked; many were lost in the woods, where they 
wandered several days without food. One man, in particu- 
lar, ^vas out ten days ; and there is reason to belie\e, that 
some perished, especially the wounded. The number mur- 
dered, and missing, was some hundreds. 

"Gen. "Webb lay, all the time of the siege, at Fort Ed- 
ward, with not less than four tliousand men, and for a con- 
siderable part of the time with a larger numlier, by the 
coming up of the Xew York militia. He was informed, 


every day of the siege, by an express from Col. Munroe, 
of the progress of affairs at the lake, and knew that the 
enemy had made an attempt on the fortified camp of the Pro- 
vincials. It was the opinion of many ofiicers, that he might 
have relieved the fort, and that he was much to blame foi* 
not attempting it. The general opinion amongst the sol- 
diers was, that he was a co^vard ; for he took no care to 
bury the men butchered in the manner mentioned, or to seelc 
for the wounded, should there be any living among the dead. 
I was on the ground a sliort time after, and saw the d(\id 
bodies as much neglected as if they had been wild beasts.'' 
(Max. Jouu.) He remarks, that the Provincials lost all 
confidence in Gen. Webb, and many of them left the 
army, and returned home. lie Avas himself, at one time, 
being under great excitement at the dastardly conduct of 
Webb, on the point of leaving, but was providentially pre- 

On the 8th of October, the campaign being closed for that 
year, the Provincials, who composed the corps of Rangers, 
were discharged. He, however, continued to do camp duty 
eome days longer, and then attached himself to a company 
of artisans, who were employed, until the 10th of Novem- 
ber, in completing the defenses of Fort Edward. On that 
day, the remnant of Col. Frye's regiment, himself, and the 
larger portion of his men, having been captured at Fort 
William Henry, marched down to the Half-moon, a post 
twelve miles above Albany. His providcntiall}' joining the 
Rangers, no doubt, saved him from participating in tliis 
slaughter and captivity. 

On the ISth of November, three hundred and sixty men 
of the detachment were drafted into four companies, and 
ordered to different posts for winter quarters. This was a 
vexatious disappointment, as the Provincials expected to be 


discharged at the close of the campaign, although, accord- 
ing to their enlistment, they were to serve until the 2d day 
of February, 1758. 

Capt. Learned's company, to which Mr. Putnam be- 
longed, was ordered up to Stillwater, on the cast side of 
the Hudson; while he and several other mechanics were de- 
tained and employed in completing the king's works at the 
Half-moon, until the 29th of December. 

The 1st of January, 1758, was celebrated by the men in 
great festivity, with an earnest looking forward to Candle- 
mas, or 2d of February, as the period of their release fi-om 

From the movements of the commander of the stockaded 
garrison, Capt. Skene, afterward major, and proprietor 
of Skenesborough, they began to suspect he intended to 
retain them in service beyond the time of their enlistment. 
The Provincials were quartered in huts by themselves, a 
short distance from the post, which was guarded by a com- 
pany of British regulars. Having decided on making a 
push for home, as soon as they considered themselves fairly 
at liberty, previous arrangements were made for the jour- 
ney, by preparing snow shoes for each man, as there was 
no possibility of marching through the woods, where the 
snow was three or four feet deep, without this ingeniously 
contri\ed Indian apparatus, which had ])ocn adopted by the 
Xew Englanders from them. Capt. Learned, who had just 
returned from a furlough to Massachusetts, when made ac- 
quainted with the design of liis men, approved of tlu^ir plan, 
and said he would lead tliem, unless he could procure their 
regular discharge. ]Mr. Putnam observes on this transac- 
tion, lliat he thouglit well of the ca])tain at the time, but 
had since learned, that for an officer to desert his post is 

On the 2tl ol" February, Capt. Skene ordered the Provin- 

RUF us PUTNAM. 25 

cialri into the fort, and read a letter from Gen. Abercronibie, 
directing liim to persuade the Massachusetts men under las 
command, to tarry a few days, until he could hear from that 
government, and know their intentions in regard to them. 
To this they replied, that he is a good soldier who serves 
his full time, and that the province had no farther concern 
with them; neither would they remain any longer. Capt. 
Skene threatened them with death if they departed without 
a regular discharge, and ordered them back to their bar- 
racks, lie, however, took no forcible measures to detain 
them, nor did he search their huts for the snow-shoes, which 
they took the precaution to secrete under the snow. Their 
huts were sheltered by a high bank, out of sight of the fort, 
which screened their movements from observation. 

Firm to their purpose, about tlu-ee o'clock in the morning 
of the 3d of February, they marched off as silently as pos- 
sible, seventy in number, under the command of Capt. 
Learned and Lieut. Walker; leaving Lieut. Brown, and a 
few invalids, who did not choose to join them. After leav- 
ing their barracks, they had a level piece of intervale, bor- 
dering the Hudson, about half a mile wide to cross, exposed 
to the artillery of the fort, had they been discovered by the 
sentinels, which was the reason of their departure in the 
night. They did not fear any opposition from the men in 
the garrison in the open field, as they outnumbered them. 
As to provisions for the march, they had provided as well as 
they could, by saving a portion of their daily rations for a 
week or two previous, and had hoarded up in this ^vay, two 
or tlu'ee days' allowance. The distance to Iloosack fort, as 
it was called, a small stockaded garrison belonging to Mas- 
sachusetts, was thirty miles, and ^vas allotted for two days 
march. The snow in the woods was deeper than expected, 
and made the traveling laborious for the leading men of 
the flic, while those who followed after had a pretty firm 


path. The second day of the march was in a snow storm; 
nevertheless, they bore manfully on, directing their course 
for Hoosack river, which was to be tlieir guide to the fort; 
but during the snow storm they became bewildered; and fall- 
ing on a westerly branch, instead of the main stream, it led 
them far out of their course, and at night they encamped 
without reaching their desired haven. Two turkeys ^verc 
killed during the day, which aided their scant}^ stock of food. 
On the third day's march, they decamped very early, confi- 
dent of reaching the fort before noon, but mid-day passed 
by, and the night arrived without the sight of it. One tur- 
key was killed, and the camp formed with heavy hearts; 
which was done by kindling fires against a fallen tree, and 
lying down on the snow with their blankets, in the open air. 
Their provision was now nearly spent, and they were led, 
reluctantly, to believe, that they were actually lost in the 
woods. Several of the men, from the extreme severity of 
the weather, had frozen their feet ; and one had lost a snow 
shoe by breaking through the ice. 

On the fourth day the march was continued up the stream 
until noon, when they concluded to alter their course. This 
branch of the Iloosack, it seems, led up into the New 
Hampshire grants, afterward Vermont, where the town of 
Bennington was subsequently built. The direction of the 
march, by the advice of Capt. Learned, was now about 
south-east, over a hilly broken region, and the sun wont 
down as they reached the top of a high mountain, which 
appeared to be the water shed, or dividing ridge between 
the streams uhich fell into the Hudson and Connecticut 
rivers. The weather was excessively cold, and the snow 
five feet deep. On the morning of the fifth day, after a 
very uncomfortable niglit, thirty of the men, ^Ir. Putnam 
being one of them, In-eakfasted on a small turkey, ^vilhout 
salt or bread. After tra\ cling about five miles thev fell on a 

11 U F US P U T N A M . 27 

small branch, running, down vv liich they followed 
until several tributaries had enlarged it, by night, to a con- 
siderable river. All this day they had no food but the buds 
of the beech trees, and a few bush cranberries. At night 
they encamped, weary and faint, but not disheartened. 
The sixth day's march was continued along the course of 
the river discovered the day before, which none of them 
knew the name of, in a broken, hilly region, not very favor- 
able to the point of compass they wished to follow. The 
weather was cold and stormy, while the men were so feelile 
and lame from frozen feet, that only a few were able to 
lead the trail, and break the path in the snow. By march- 
ing on the frozen river, the lame men found a smooth path, 
or it is probable some of them would have perished. At 
night they encamped by tens in a mess. As it happened they 
had with them one dog, and only one. He was large and 
fat. At night it was concluded to kill him for supper. This 
was done, and his body divided into seven portions, or one 
part to every ten men, the entrails falling to the butcher as 
his fee; and as he belonged to Mr. Putnam's mess, they 
made their supper on the fat. On the morning of the sev- 
enth day, his men breakfasted on one of the feet, and a 
hind leg cut off at the gambrel joint, Vvhich being pounded 
and roasted in the embers, so as to separate the bones of 
the foot, made quite a palatable viand to a hungry stomach. 
That day tlie party confined their march to the river, and 
about noon came to a spot where some trees had been 
recently cut for some shingles. This was the fir^t sign of 
inhabitants they had seen, and it revived tlicir drooping 
spirits. At sunset one of the men noticed a small stream 
putting in on tlie left bank, which he recognized as Pclham 
brook, and that Hawk's fort, on Decrfield river, was not 
more than three miles distant. This latter river is a branch 
of the Connecticut. 

28 RUFL'S niTNAM. 

Their leader now ordered two men to go forward to tlie 
fort, and make provision for the arrival of the party in the 
morning-, which was a wise measure, and directed the most 
active men to make fires for the more feeble and lame ones, 
as they came up, which happily they all did by dark. That 
night Putnam's mess supped on the thigh bone of the dog, 
made into soup, with a small bit of pork and a little ginger, 
which made a very palatable dish. AYith respect to the 
flesh of a dog, he observes, "since the experience of that 
day, I have believed it to be very good meat, and could eat 
it at any time without disgust." This goes to confirm tlie 
experience of Lewis and Clark's men in their journey over 
the Rocky mountains, who lived on it for weeks, and pre- 
ferred it to any other meat. 

On the eighth day's march, which was the 10th of Feb- 
ruary, early in the forenoon, they met some men from the 
fort, coming to their relief with slices of bread and meat, to 
appease their appetites and enable them to reach the post, 
where they were received with great kindness. Many of 
the men were badly frozen, and nearly exhausted with 
hunger. As a proof of the vigor of his frame, ]Mr. Putnam 
carried the pack of a sick man in addition to his own, and 
was always one of the leaders in breaking tlie path : 
although he felt the cravings of hunger, }et never faihnl in 
vigor or activity. One cause of this he attributes to tlie 
use of a little honey, which one of his mess had in a bottle, 
about a pound v/eiglit. Into tliis lioncij hollJc. each man 
dipped tlie end of a rod and put to his mouth, and not like 
Jonntlian into a It'Jiifij mnih. 

On tlie l.lth of Fcl)i'nary, he ariived at his former lionie. 
very th.'snliful for has pi'cscrvntion amidst so many dangers. 
Capt. r.cai'nod was much censured for his conduct, and 
was not again commissioned during t!ie war. 

.'Vl'tci' pa>s,-ing tlie rcniaindiM" of the winter at home, and 


forgetting the sufTering.s of the last campaign, he again 
enlisted in the provincial service, for another tour of 
duty, in Capt. Joseph Whitcomb's company, and Col. Rug- 
gles' regiment. The war, thus far, had been a continued 
scene of disasters, and disgrace to the crown; one army 
after another had been defeated or captured, and the French 
were in a fair way of overrunning the British possessions in 
America; and although the number of inhabitants in tlie 
Canadas was not more than one quarter as great as that of 
the colonies, yet their military commanders were much 
more able and energetic than the British, and carried con- 
quest and victory wherever they turned their arms. 

The regiment to which he was attaclied, rendezvoused at 
Northampton, in Massachusetts, and marched for Albany 
on the 3d of June. On the Gth, they passed Pantoosac 
fort, a small post on the Iloosack river, then within the 
boundaries of the province of Massachusetts. This was 
the station that Capt. Learned expected to reach on the 
second day after his unmilitary and disastrous desertion of 
his post at Stillwater, on the 2d of February. On the 8th, 
the regiment arrived at Greenbush, opposite to Albany. 
" From Northampton street to this place Avas through a 
wilderness, with but one house in the whole distance, except 
the little fort above mentioned." This was in the year 
17^8; since that time vast changes have taken place in this 
region, and the railroad, in a few hours, Avould transport 
the whole regiment over the distance which occupied five 
days of steady marching. 

On the 12th of June, he was detached with al)out eighty 
other artisans from the regiment under Lieut. Pool, and 
ordered on to the head of Lake George to erect works, in 
advance of the army. On the oth of July, the troops being, 
assembled, embarked in batteaux, amounting to seventeen 
thousand men, under the command of Gen. Abercrombie, 


Lord Howe, the second in command, Gen. Gage, the third, 
and Col. Bradstreet, quarter-master-general. The com- 
mander-in-chief was an old man, and entirely unfit for the 
post, as was proved by the result of the campaign. The 
army had but little respect for his abilities; while on the 
contrary, Lord Howe was their idol, and in him they placed 
their utmost confidence. He was remarkably easy and 
affable in his manners, mixing familiarly with the mechan- 
ics and common soldiers, inquiring into their condition and 
wants, displaying a real interest in their welfare, very 
different from those generally in high authority. This won 
the regard of the troops, and they would undergo any sac- 
rifice at his bidding. Gen. Gage never acquired much rep- 
utation as a commander, and the furious Bradstreet was 
hated by all the army. The battcaux moved down the 
lake until evening, when the troops landed at Sabbath- 
day Point for refreshment, and then rowed all night. On 
the Gth tliey disembarked at the northern extremity of Lake 
George, in two divisions, one on each side of the outlet. 
On the approach of the division on the right bank, a 
detachment of the enemy stationed there, retired \vithout 
firing a gun. That division of the army on the left bank, 
was under the command of Lord Howe, and on its advance 
was met by a skirmishing party of the French, who, very 
unfortunately for the British, killed Lord Howe in the early 
part of the engagement. His death struck a damp on the 
spirits of the whole army, and no doubt had an influence 
in causing the defeat which followed. ]Mr. Putnam was 
left in charge of the boats, but soon volunteered his service 
in the attack on the works, and joined his regiment, which 
was posted with Col. Lyman's, of Connecticut, on the west 
of the mills, and was busily employed in erecting a breast- 
work. The attack on the fort at Ticonderoga, began at 
twelve o'clock, and was continued without intermission for 


several hours, without making any impression. At length 
the ammunition of the regular troops was exhausted, and 
a call was made on the Provincials to forward them a sup- 
ply. Mr. Putnam again volunteered in this service. W hen 
they approached the scene of action, they found that the 
attacked troops had been effectually repulsed in their 
attempt to storm the enemy's lines, but did not consider it 
a total defeat, as it finally proved to be. Col. Ruggles' 
regiment remained in their breast-work until midnight 
unmolested, and then retreated to the shore of the lake, 
where they had landed on the Gth. On the morning of the 
9th, Ruggles found his regiment in the rear of the army, 
which had retreated in the night, leaving them with the 
Rangers of the other regiment of Provincials near the 
French lines. In the forenoon of that day, all the troops 
embarked and returned to the south end of the lake, closing 
Gen. Abercrombie's expedition, which commenced with such 
high hopes, under a cloud of disgrace, and a loss of fifteen 
hundred men, in killed and wounded. Ticonderoga fort 
was protected on three of its sides by water, and on the 
other for some distance in front extended a morass; the 
remainder w^as fortified with a breast-work, eight feet high, 
and planted with artillery. In addition to which the ground 
for one hundred yards in front, was covered with abatis. 
After reconnoitering the works, the engineer sent on this 
important duty, was so stupid as to report to the commander 
that they might be carried by musketry. The difficulty of 
advancing artillery over the morass and broken ground in 
front, led to the adopting of this fatal advice, and the defeat 
of the army. The post was defended by about four thou- 
sand men, and although their actual assailants amounted 
to twelve or fifteen thousand, and the attack lasted for more 
than four hours, yet they could make no impression on the 
garrison. The loss must have been greater than actually 


estimated, as twenty-five hundred stands of arms were 
picked up by the French. Mr. Putnam remarks that " when 
he subsequently became acquainted with the strength of 
the works and the mode of attaclc, he considered it the 
most injudicious and wanton sacrifice of men, that ever 
came within his Ivnowledge or reading." 

Nothing further of an offensive nature was attempted in 
that quarter, by Abercrombie, this season. A fort wns com- 
menced on the ground occupied by the fortified camp of the 
Provincials, in 1757, dming the siege and captm-c of Fort 
William Henry, which was called Fort George, and stood 
half a mile east of that unfortunate garrison. On the 22d 
of July, the regiment to which he belonged was ordered to 
Fort Edward, and the men employed in repairing the roads 
from that post to Albany, until the 29th of October, when 
they were discharged. 

On the 9th of November, he arrived at Sutton, his native 
place, where he passed the winter. On this campaign, in 
after life, he has these remarks : " Tims was I carried through 
a second campaign, enjoying uninterrupted health, the fi-iend- 
ship of my officers, and never charged with a fault. But, 
alas ! in my journal, I cannot find any acknovdedgment to 
my divine Benefactor and Preserver, nor do I recollect that 1 
had any serious reflections on the subject." This is in accor- 
dance with the natm-al heart, but when it becomc>s touched 
with the influences of the Holy Spirit, it is ready and Avil- 
ling to acknowledge its obligations to its rightful Lord and 

On the 2d of April, 17rj9, he decided on again entciing the 
military service, and enlisted into Capt. John Fibley's com- 
pany, as a substitute for Moses Leland, who had been drafted 
into the army, but did not wish to serve. For this enlistment 
he received fourteen pounds, thirteen shillings, jMassachusetts 
cmTency, or forty-five dollars, fifty cents. The original receipt 


yet remains in the Leland family. He was finally transferred 
to Capt. William Page's company, of Ilardvvick, in the bat- 
talion of Lieut. Col. Ingersol, in Col. Ruggles' regiment; and 
was now advanced to the post of orderly sergeant; marching 
with the army by the old route, to the south end of Lake 

On the 21st of July, they embarked in batteaux under thp 
command of Gen. Amherst, " a sagacious, humane and ex- 
perienced commander." Mr. Putnam notices his kindness 
and attention to the welfare of the common soldiers, as 
highly commendable. On the 22d, they landed at the outlet 
of the lake, in nearly the same numbers, as of last year, 
without meeting with any opposition. The following day 
they took possession of the breastworks, where they were so 
signally repulsed the year before, with little opposition, 
and thinks the loss of so many lives in the previous attack, 
attributable to the rashness of Col. Bradstreet. On the 
24th, they began to open their trenches for a regular siege 
and bombardment of Fort Ticonderoga. This was a regu- 
lar, strongly built, stone fort, erected by the French in 1756, 
and capable of resisting any common attack. The French 
had kept up a regular discharge of artillery, since the 23d. 
while their enemies were erecting their w^orks for the batte- 
ries. That night, before any serious attack had been made, 
the garrison silently evacuated the fort, and embarked on 
the lake for Crown Point, a strong post, ten or twelve miles 
lower down on the west side of Lake Champlain. About 
three o'clock in the morning of the 27th the fort blew up. 
with a tremendous explosion. The French did not make any 
resistance at Crown Point, but proceeded on down the lake 
to Montreal. The cause of their sudden desertion of these 
strong posts, was the news of General Wolf's approach to 
Quebec, so that no aid could be sent them from below ; and 
rather than be captured they abandoned their positions. 


Thus terminated the third campaign, in which iNIr. Putnam 
Jiad been engaged, with the total demolition of the French 
power on the lakes George and Champlain, leading to their 
final expulsion from North America. This was a glorious 
conquest for the British arms, in which the Provincials 
shared largely ; but the greater good to them \vas the check 
it gave to the incursions of the savages, who for more than 
a century had invaded their frontier, assisted and encouraged 
with supplies of arms and ammunition from the French, 
plundering, murdering, and carrying into captivity thcii* 
exposed inhabitants, from jNIaine to Pennsylvania. 

As the army was about to leave Ticonderoga in pursuit, 
greatly to his disappointment and vexation, he was ordered 
by the brigadier-general to remain and superintend the 
building of a saw-mill, at the lower falls on the outlet of 
Lake George, where it debouches into a bay of Lake Cham- 
plain. After the mills were completed, he obtained a pass 
to go to Crown Point, where his regiment then lay. When 
he arrived there, instead of going into the lines, he was or- 
dered by Maj. Skene, the superintendent of the works then 
building for the enlargement of the garrison, to labor as a 
carpenter on the block-houses, promising him the full wages 
for such work. After a few days he was ordered back to 
oversee the operations of the saw-mills, and retained until 
the 1st of December, some months after the discharge of 
his regiment. The engineer of the army, whose name is 
not given, when he was finally discharged, would not allow 
him the dollar a day as had been promised by Col. Robin- 
son, the quartermaster-general, but turned him off with 
fifteen pence, the pay of a private soldier ; putting, no doubt, 
the extra pay justly due him into his own pocket. 

On the 1st, in company with Col. Miller, Capt. Tate and 
others, eleven in number, he embarked on Lake George, to 
go up to the southerly end, in two batteaux. Expecting to 


reach Fort George the next day, they took but Httlc pro- 
vision. But the wind faiUng them, they pa.ssed the night 
four miles north of Sabbath-day Point, a noted head-land. 
On the 2d, the wind arose to a perfect storm, with intense 
cold, so that they were confined to the shore, and could not 
move at all. On the 3d, their provisions were expended. 
The wind and cold continued, and their situation was be- 
coming alarming ; but in rambling along the shore one of 
the men found an old provision bag, with about a dozen 
pounds of salted pork, which, with some damaged flour, 
brought by Col. Miller to feed two horses he had on board, 
made into dumplings, served well for that day. The 4th 
day was calm and they again embarked, but one of the boats 
being leaky, the ice formed so thick and heavy in it, that it 
was abandoned and the whole party entered the single boat. 
This additional burthen loaded her down within two or tliree 
inches of the top of her sides, and the least agitation of the 
water would have filled her. But, providentially, it remained 
calm all day, and they reached the fort at sunset without 
any accident. From thence he returned to Brookfield, in 
Massachusetts, on the 16th of December. 

Disgusted with the treatment he had received in the ser- 
vice, in removing him from the duties of an orderly sergeant 
and placing him among the artisans, without any extra pay 
for his labor, he concluded not to engage any further in the 
army. The post of orderly sergeant is well calculated to 
improve the soldier in a knowledge of military duty, wliich 
appears to have been liis object and aim that he might finally 
be promoted. It was a good school to prepare him by these 
trials, for the life intended for him by Providence. Beginning 
thus in the ranks, when he finally became a commander, he 
knew well what to require from the private soldier. Nearly 
all the famous marshals of Napoleon rose to this distin- 
guished honor from privates, solely by their merit. He seems 


early to have acquired the respect and confidence of those 
under his command, and several anecdotes are related of 
their implicit obedience to liis orders. 

The winter of 1759 was passed in New Braintree, working 
on a small farm of fifty acres, which he had purchased 
from the avails of his wages and bounty. 

In March, 1760, orders were issued by the Provincial Gov- 
ernment to raise troops for another campaign. At the first 
muster of the militia he enrolled himself in the company of 
that town, and was by Capt. Page, presented with recruiting 
orders from Col. Ruggles. His well known character for 
braver)^ and soldierly conduct, enabled him to recruit very 
successfully. Wliile occupied in this service he received a 
commission as ensign, in Col. Willard's regiment, Ruggles 
having been promoted to a brigadier. On the 2d of June 
he left recruiting and set out for the army, taking with him 
one of the men as a waiter, and joined his company, which 
had marched some time previous, under Capt. Thomas Be- 
man, at Ticonderoga, on the 18th. Here he found four com- 
panies of Provincials. His own was stationed at the land- 
ing on the outlet of Lalce George, where they remained to 
the end of the campaign, and he was thus deprived of the 
honor of partaking in the fatigues of the siege and capture 
of the garrison at Isle au Noix, which opened the way for 
the junction of the three British armies before Montreal, and 
caused its surrender on the 8th of September, thus com- 
pleting the conquest of Canada. On the 19th of November 
his company was discharged at Ticonderoga, and on the 
•20th they crossed Lake Champlain, and began their march 
through the wilderness, by way of Otter creek, to Number 
Four, on the Connecticut river, a place often noticed in the 
early history of the countr}', and distant eighty miles from 
the lake ; which place they reached on the 25th. On the 1st 
of December he arrived at his home in New Braintree. 


In 17G1, there being no further call for military service, he 
resumed his old employment of building mills and farming, 
which he followed for seven or eight years. After wliich 
time, to the period of the Revolution, he was engaged in prac- 
tical surveying for the neighboring landholders in that and the 
adjacent towns. This art he acquired under the direction of 
Col. Timothy Dwight, of Northampton, the father of Presi- 
dent Dwight, of Yale College. The book chiefly, and perhaps 
only studied, was Love's Art of Surveying, printed in Lon- 
don in 17G8, and now in the family. He was one of the 
best writers on that subject. Geometry was acquired from 
the same source, to which he also added the study of navi- 
gation. His own natural mechanical cast of mind, and 
habits of close observation, soon enabled him to practice the 
art of surveying with great accuracy and deserved credit. 
Mr. Putnam was a practical, matter-of-fact man, in whatever 
branch he engaged. First a mill-wright, then a soldier, next 
a surveyor, and finally an engineer; the principles of all 
which he acquired from a very few books, with but little in- 
struction, and intent, close study of the subject before him. 
When a soldier, he stored his mind with military maxims, 
and a strict observance of discipline, which enabled him in 
after life to win the approbation of his superiors, and the 
love and good will of his equals, as well as of all under his 

In April, 1761, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Aycrs, 
daughter of William Ayers, Esq., of Brookfield, an exten- 
sive landholder, and one of the first families in the place. 
In November following his wife died in childbed, leaving to 
the sorrowing father a little son, which God in his providence 
saw fit also to remove the following year. Nevertheless he 
bore these privations without murmuring against his Maker, 
and was enabled to ascribe righteousness to the Lord. 

In January, 1705, he was again married to ]Miss Pcrsis 


Rice, daughter of Zebulon Rice, of Westborough, Massachu- 
setts, with whom he Uved in great harmony and happiness 
more than lifty-five years, and raised a numerous family of 
children. After this marriage he settled in the north parish of 
Brookfieid, on a small farm of fifty acres, where his family 
resided during the war, until the year 1780, when he pur- 
chased a large farm and capacious dwelling-house in the 
town of Rutland. It was one of those confiscated estates 
belonging to the Tories, who had deserted their country and 
joined in league with the enemy for the subjugation of the 
Whigs. However we may now consider the justice of the 
policy pursued by our forefathers in those turbulent days, 
there is no doubt they considered it strictly honest and right 
to devote to the use of the country, the property of those 
who had thus unnaturally deserted the land which gave them 
birth; and turned their hands, like parricides, against their 
own fathers and brothers. Many enormities were then prac- 
ticed by the Whigs as well as the Tories, under the excitement 
of party feelings, which time, and a more cool consideration 
of right and wrong, leads us to condemn. 

In the year 1772, Gen. Lyman, one of the Provincial 
ofilcers, returned from England, where he had been detained 
several years, in soliciting the British government for a 
grant of land to the colonial officers and soldiers, who had 
served in the late war against France. Soon after this, a 
meeting of the adventurers was notified to be held at Hart- 
ford, Connecticut, the same year. At this meeting the 
general informed them that an order was passed by the 
king in council, authorizing the governor of West Florida 
to grant lands in that province in the same proportion and 
manner as given to his majesty's regular troops. Soon 
after the war was closed, in the year 1763, three new gov- 
ernments, or provinces, were established in their newly 
acquired American possessions, called by the names of 


Quebec, East Florida and West Florida; and an order was 
passed by the king and council, giving to the British troops 
engaged in the war, grants of land in these provinces; and 
the governors were ordered to make the donations in the 
following proportions, of any unoccupied tracts, viz.: To 
a person of the rank of a field officer, five thousand acres; 
to a captain, three thousand acres; to a subaltern or staff 
officer, two thousand acres ; to a non-commissioned officer, 
two hundred acres; and to a private man, fifty acres. 
The same was also granted to the officers and men in the 
navy; but nothing was said of any grant to the Provincial 
officers and soldiers, many of whom had served during the 
whole war, and were as justly entitled to the benefit as the 
regular troops. But the crown seems always to have felt a 
coldness and want of regard for the interests of the colonists ; 
treating them much more like menials and aliens than real 
subjects and children of the realm. One reason of this 
might have been their great distance from home, and the 
consideration of their dissenting and Puritan principles, no 
way in accordance with the established religion of the king- 
dom. It was with reluctance that the promise was made to 
Gen. Lyman, or they would not have been so long in grant- 
ing it, and even then he brought no written document to 
substantiate the grant ; but his word was so far credited that 
the. meeting resolved to explore the lands, and appointed 
a committee for that purpose, of which Mr. Putnam was 

On the 10th of December he left home on the mission to 
Florida, passing through Brookline, Connecticut, to accom- 
pany Col. Israel Putnam, who was another of the exploring 
committee. They took shipping at A'orwich, and arrived at 
l^cw York on the 20th of the mouth. The 10th of January, 
1773, they sailed from the city on board the sloop Missis- 
sippi, chartered by the associates of The Military Company 


of Adventurers, as the company was stjded. The exploring 
committee consisted of Col. Israel Putnam, Capt. Enos, Mr. 
Thaddeus Lyman and Rufus Putnam, accompanied by Dan- 
iel Putnam, a son of the colonel, and a hired man. On the 
30th of January they arrived at Cape Nichola Mole, a 
port in the north-west part of the island of Hispaniola. 
The harbor is an open bay, exposed to the north winds. 
The town contained about three hundred houses, situated in 
a mountainous portion of the island, with no plantations 
near it. He gives no particulars of the voyage, from the 
effects of sea sickness. Leaving the port, they sailed to 
Montego bay, on the north side of Jamaica; and the 9th 
took their departure for the bay of Pensacola, steering a 
westerly course. On the 11th Mr. Putnam took an observa- 
tion of the latitude, and found it to be 19° 10' north. On 
the 12th, at night, they narrowly escaped shipwreck, by run- 
ning on to a low sandy island, called the Grand Command- 
ers. On the 18th, doubled Cape Antonio, the west end of 
Cuba, and steered north-west. From the 21st to the 25th, 
the weather was ver^^ stormy, and on the latter day extremely 
cold for this climate ; and when he returned to New England, 
found that this day was called " the cold Tuesday," showing 
the extensive range of this great depression of temperature. 
On the 28th they had soundings at forty-five fathoms, and 
soon after the first land made was their desired port, which 
was rather extraordinary after such tempestuous weather. 
On the 1st of March they entered the bay of Pensacola, and 
anchored at some distance from the town, the water being 
very shoal, and landed from their boat. Gov. Chester 
and his council treated them very kindly, but no order for 
granting lands to the Provincials had yet arrived. Tlii:^ v>as 
a discouraging circumstance, bat the hope that it might yet 
arrive, and a proposal being made of granting lands to the 
company on terms already within the governor's power. 


induced the committee to decide on proceeding to reconnoi- 
ter the country on the Mississippi, and make such surveys 
as they thought proper. For this purpose Mr. Putnam was 
commissioned by Gov. Chester, as a deputy surveyor of the 
province of West Florida, which commission is now in tlie 
possession of his son. The town of Pensacola, he says, 
contained about one hundred and fifty houses ; and the 
country around, when viewed from the top of the state- 
house, is covered with a pitch pine forest. The surface of 
the earth is a white sand, and a few miles back bears a 
scanty supply of scrubby oaks, walnut and sassafras. 

On the 18th of March they left the bay of Pensacola, and 
steered for the mouth of the Mississippi. As they approached 
the father of American rivers, the broad surface of turbid, 
clay-colored, fresh water, floating for many leagues on the 
top of the salt water, led them to think they were running 
on to a sandy beach. However, they soon discovered their 
mistake, and continued their course into the clay-colored 
water. The surface was fresh for several feet down, but on 
sinking the bucket beyond a certain depth it brought up 
salt water. On the 20th of March, at five o'clock, P. M., 
the sloop anchored just off" the mouth of the river, with the 
block-house, on Mud island, bearing north-west. In the 
night a gale from the north drove the sloop from her 
anchorage, and she did not regain her position under 
twenty-four hours. »Soon after a Spanish schooner anchored 
near them, and sent her boat on board asking for provisions. 
They stated that forty days ago, they were lying at anchor 
near where the sloop now lay, when a north wind drove 
them to sea as far as the bay of Campcche, and they had 
not been able to regain their lost ground until now. On 
this ho remarks, " IIow different our fortune ! In the passage 
from Cape St. Antonio to Pensacola, in crossing the same 
bay, we had to conflict with storms and contrary winds for 


five days, lying at the mercy of tlie currents to carry us we 
knew not wliitlier ; yet Providence conducted us directly to 
our desired port!" Thus acknowledging the kindness of 
that God in whom he trusted all the days of his life. 

On the 22d of March they entered the Mississippi river; 
and proceeded up about ten miles from the mud bank at 
the mouth of the ship channel, called the French Balize. 
On the bar they found twelve feet of water. Here they 
were wind-bound for several days, and Mr. Putnam occupied 
the time in surveying the delta at the mouth, with the several 
outlets. As it will be very interesting to compare this survey 
with the present condition of the delta, and see the encroach- 
ment it has made on the gulf in the period of seventy- three 
years, which is doubtless very great, a plan of that surve}' 
is annexed, copied from the one made by Mr. Putnam, and 
preserved among his manuscripts relating to that explora- 
tion. There is also a plan of the IMississippi, as high up 
as they ascended, taken by measurement of each day's 
progress, and the meanders of the river. His well known 
accuracy in surveys of this kind, would make his old sketches 
a valuable acquisition to science, to show the changes that 
have taken place in this ever wandering stream. 

On the 26th they passed the first plantation, thirty-five 
miles from the mouth, on the left bank. On the 28th, passed 
the plantation of Mens, de la Loira, about sixty-five miles 
above the mouth, which is the largest yet seen, and contained 
three hundred and twenty acres, French measure, and sixteen 
nc^gro slaves. This man, while under the French govern- 
ment, \ aluod his possession at twehe thousand pounds ; but 
now, under the Spanish rule, was not \vorth more than one- 
third of that sum. He ^vas seventy-two years old, and said 
he \vas tlio first man born in Louisiana. He also stated 
that the ]-i\cr at that place never rose or fell over eiglit feet, 
and commonly only live or six feet, but tliat liighcr up it was 


difierent. Mr. Putnam observed that the French inhabitants 
looked as healthy in this settlement as the people of the 
northern colonies. On the 30th of March, they passed the 
English reach, and came to against a high bank, three 
miles below New Orleans, where they found several English 
and other vessels, waiting for trade ; not being allowed by 
the Spaniards to lie at, or opposite the town. In coming up 
he took the courses and estimated the distances, making from 
the mud bank at the mouth, eighty-iive and three-fourth miles 
to the English reach, and from thence fourteen miles to 
New Orleans, which, added together, make ninety-nine and 
three-fourth miles. Thus far, he says, the river was about 
half a mile wide, with a gentle current. With the wind in a 
southerly quarter, a vessel could make the passage to Eng- 
lish reach in a short time. At this point the river was seven 
hundred and fifteen yards wide, and seventy fathoms deep. 
On the 8tli of April, the captain of the sloop refused to pro- 
ceed any further up the river, and the committee embarked 
in a small bateau; making use of oars, and a sail when the 
wind was favorable. lie still continued, as they proceeded, 
every day, to take the courses and distances as before. On 
the 11th, they reached the Acadia settlement, seventy-one 
miles above New Orleans. It was composed of the inhabit- 
ants of Nova Scotia, removed to this place by the English in 
1754, on the conquest of that country. They passed one day 
with the Acadians, and were treated hospitably. On the 
13th, passed an Indian village of twenty warriors. On the 
15th, they passed the river Iberville, so called in the treaty 
of 17G3, at the head of the island of Orleans; and is one 
hundred, eighteen and a half miles from the town of New 
Orleans. It is a small outlet of the Mississippi, and was dry 
at the time of their passage. In high water it fills, and runs 
eastward, discharging its waters, with the river Amite, into 
the lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, forming the island of 


Orleans. This outlet was subsequently called Bayou Man- 
chac. On the island side of the outlet was a Spanish 
garrison, with an officer and ten men. On the English side, 
called Manchac, was a small village, with good gardens, but 
no soldiers. A mile and a half above, \\ as a village of Ala- 
bama Indians, on the left bank. On the 18th they passed 
Baton Rouge, fourteen miles above Manchac. On the 19th, 
came to the fort and church of Point Coupee, a French set- 
tlement, extending about seven leagues on the river, and said 
to be as old, or older than New Orleans. On the 20th, passed 
a village of the Tonica Indians, of about forty huts. On the 
22d passed the outlet of the Opelousas, which flows into the 
Gulf of Mexico ; at that time it was about forty perches 
wide, and by Mr. Putnam's measurement, three hundred, fif- 
teen and a half miles from the balize, or mouth of the river, 
and ninet],'-seven and a quarter above the Iberville, or head 
of the island of Orleans. The mouth of the Red river was 
then three miles above the outlet of Opelousas, and ap- 
parently about two hundred yards wide. On the 23d, passed 
Loftus' Heights, now Fort Adams. The next day, a few 
miles above the mouth of the Homochitto creek, they coasted a 
curious bend in the river, of eleven and a half miles, wliich 
at the isthmus or neck was only forty-seven yards across; 
and by a water level he ascertained the fall in the river to be 
two and a half feet in that distance. Their average progi-ess 
against the stream was fi'om twelve to fourteen miles a day. 
On the 2Gth, they arrived at Fort Rosalia, at the Natches, 
and half a mile below, he notes, " is the first gravel stones 
we have seen on the shores of the river." Fort Rosalia, or 
rather its ruins, was seated on the margin of an elevated 
plain or bluff, nearly eighty perches from the river, and was 
approached by a winding road, not difficult of ascent. It 
was a regular heptagon, capable of containing four or five 
hundred men, built by the French in 1714. The English, 


after the peace of 17G3, kept a garrison here until about four 
years before this visit; since vvliich the barracka and out- 
buildings were burnt by the Indians in a drunken frolic. 
Here he took the latitude of the place with one of Davis' 
quadi'ants, and made the fort to be in latitude 31 dcg. 50 inin. 
N., and the variation of the needle 5 deg. E. The lands for 
several miles adjacent, appeared to be old, worn-out, Indian 
planting grounds. The buildings were only one trader's hut, 
near the old fort. How vast the changes since that period! no 
appearance of civilized man but one solitary trader's hut, where 
the large and flourishing town of Natchez now stands. It 
had formerly been populated with a numerous tribe of In- 
dians, who more nearly approached the Mexicans in civiliza- 
tion, at the time of the conquest, than any other tribe in 
North America, but they were totally exterminated by the 
French about the year 1729. On tlie 27th, the party visited 
a small settlement on Catharine's creek, three miles from the 
river, and were informed that on Homochitto creek, about 
twenty miles distant, were a number of settlers. 

They had now ascended the river by Mr. Putnam's esti- 
mate, tlu-ee hundred and eighty-eight miles, and in all that 
distance had seen no spring, or creek water, fit to di-ink. On 
the 28th they left the Natchez, and on the 3d of May, arrived 
at the mouth of Bine river, or Stone creek, forty-six and a 
half miles above. About eight miles below is the Petit gulf, 
where now is the village of Rodney. The river is bounded 
for nearly a mile by a solid rock, at an angle of forty-five 
degrees, and about three hundred feet high. All the valua- 
ble lands on the Mississippi, below Bine river, having been 
already located, they here commenced their reconnoissance 
of the country on the left bank, or east side of the river, for 
a tract of land suitable for farming. They ascended Stony 
creek in their boat, seventeen miles to the forks. The lands 
on the left side were low and subject to the river floods, and 


on the right broken, with soil rather thin and gravelly. 
About one hundred rods below the forks, thej- marked a tree, 
for the commencement of the location. On the 5th, they 
returned down the creek to the Mississippi. The town of 
Gibsonport now stands on this creek, which is known by the 
name of Bayou Pierre, and is in the midst of a rich, cotton 
growing country. The same day they ascended the river to 
Grand gtdf, to tlic residence of Thomas James, an Indian 
trader. The following day he engaged a Choctaw Indian to 
accompany them as a guide, and also to notify the Indians 
they might meet in the woods, who they were. Three miles 
above jNIr. James' station, was the mouth of the La Four- 
chetto, or Big Black river. At this point two of the committee, 
with the Indian guide, left the boat, and proceeded across the 
country to the Walnut hills, while the others in the boat pro- 
ceeded on to that place by water. The distance from Big 
Black, was estimated to be fifty-five and a half miles, and the 
boat reached there on the 8th of May. On the way up passed 
several high, handsome bottoms, as well as some that were 
flooded in high water. Here they met the party by land, 
who reported that their route was over a flat country, with 
some cypress swamps, and cane brakes so tliick that it was 
impossible to explore any distance from the path. On this 
camping ground is now located the commercial and thriving 
town of Vicksburg, the second for population and business 
in the state, and will probably soon be the first. On the 
9th, they proceeded on to the mouth of the Yazoo river, the 
same two gentlemen going by land as on the 6th, for the pur- 
pose of exploring the high grounds on this river, distance 
seventeen and a half miles. On the 10th, the boat ascended 
the Yazoo river nine miles to a high land, said to have been 
formerly a French post, where they met their companions, 
who had traversed the woods, at a fine spring, issuing from 
under the rocks. 



By calculation Mr. Putnam ascertained that they were 
now north of the provincial line of West Florida, which 
was further confirmed by the angry looks of several Indians, 
who had met them there, and disapproved of their visit; 
this induced them to return without further examination. 
The Yazoo, he says, is about twenty-five perches wide, a 
dead stream, abounding in alligators. The Mississippi in 
floods, backs high up this river. They descended that day 
six miles, and encamped. It was intended by Mr. Lyman 
and Col. Israel Putnam, to have gone by the Chickasaw path 
from Yazoo, across the country, to Big Black river, but their 
Indian guide refused to pilot them. From the 11th to the 
13th, they explored the lands on the left bank, or south side 
of the Yazoo, and on the latter day Col. Putnam, Mr. Ly- 
man and M. Putnam set out by land, to explore more care- 
fully the ridge of high land stretching from the old French 
post to Walnut Hills. They traveled as near the hills as 
possible, on account of the cane brakes, discovered several 
small streams issuing from the high grounds, and found the 
soil very rich. " In the afternoon they were taken up by a 
mighty cane brake. Here Col. Putnam climbed a tree, and 
saw high land about one hundred rods distant, which we 
were two hours in gaining, on account of the difliculty of 
getting through the cane." At this place, Mr. Putnam 
mounted a tree, and had a fine prospect of the country. 
The lands from the north-east round to the south, appeared 
hilly, but not mountainous or very broken. They descended 
part way down the hill, and encamped by a fine spring. 
This mount of vision must have been in the north-west por- 
tion of what is now Warren county, fifteen or twenty miles 
north of Vicksburg, in the midst of the present rich cotton 
plantations. On the 14th, they came, by a zigzag course, 
through the flat lands to their boat, wliich had descended to 
within one mile of the Walnut hills. This region was 



much injured by ponds, cypress swamps and overflouings 
of the river. The cane was cliiefly confined to the uplands. 
On the 15th, Mr. Putnam and Lyman ascended to the top 
of the hills, where the former climbed two trees, and found 
the country still rising toward the north, and toward the 
east and south-east, soil rich, and covered with cane on the 
highest ridges, which extended over on to Big Black. Some 
miles above the mouth, near the foot of the hills, are some 
cypress swamps and dead water, but no brooks or running 
streams. Having completed the exploration in that quar- 
ter, they dropped down the river, landing several times to 
examine the bottom lands. They had intended to send a 
part of the committee by land, across the bend of the Mis- 
sissippi above the mouth of Big Black, but were told it was 
impassable by reason of ponds and swamps. On the 16th of 
May the}' returned down the river to Mr. James' station, \vho 
spoke the Indian language, and through him their guide in- 
formed them, that on the Yazoo, he met two of his chiefs, 
Chickasaws, who were opposed to the whites exploring any 
of the country above the Big Black, and that was the reason 
why he had refused to pilot them from the Yazoo to that 
river. The following day. Col. Putnam, Mr. Lyman, and 
Mr. Putnam commenced a further survey of the lands on 
the Big Black, in reference to a location. They found this 
stream from six to eight rods wide, and ascended it twenty- 
five miles, with the boat, to a rocky rapid, over which the 
water falls about a foot, and is a good mill scat. They saAv 
much fine land on and near the creek, with several springs 
of water; on the left bank, it was hilly, but rich land. 

On the 20th, they returned again to Mr. James', and there 
found Capt. George, a Chickasaw chief, waiting to see them. 
He showed them his commission from Gov. Chester, in which 
he is called Mingo Oumee, or Snake head. He informed 
them, that at a congress of his people, it had been decided 



that no whites should settle on the Yazoo, but that they 
might do so on tlie Big Black, but not higher up the Miasis- 
sippi. The Chickasaws have their towns on the Yazoo, and 
the Choctaws east of them. On the 21st they left the Indian 
traders' post, on their return down the river, and on the 24th 
of May reached the Natchez, where Mr. Putnam again took 
the latitude, and found it as before, to be 31 deg. and 15 
min. N., and by an observation at sunsetting, found the 
variation of the needle to be 5 deg. and 30 min. E. Here 
they were told that the country on the heads of the Homo- 
chitto, now in Franklin county, Mississippi, were hilly, much 
broken, and badly watered ; therefore they did not explore 
that region, as formerly intended. 

On the 2d of June, arrived at Manchac, being delayed by 
explorations of the country at various points on the left 
bank of the river. A description of the region examined, 
is given by Mr. Putnam with minuteness. The climate in 
winter is so temperate, that cattle need no fodder, but live 
abroad all the season in the woods, and yet the summer 
heat is by no means great. The intervals or bottoms he 
describes as very rich, but subject to be overflowed, and in- 
terspersed with ponds and cypress swamps, which will be 
difficult to drain. That the uplands back of the bottoms, 
are rich, but broken, and from several views taken from the 
tops of trees, continue so for several miles into the country. 
The soil rather thin, but rich, based on clay; the under- 
growth cane. The timber hickory, and oaks of various 
kinds ; while on the bottoms he found locust, willow, cotton- 
wood, copalm?, ash, mulberry, the royal magnolia, or 
high laurel, with cypress in abundance. As to the streams 
of water, he saw but few small ones, and none suitable for 
mills ; and the only mill-seat he saw or heard of, was on the Big 
Black. The feathered race consists of some turkeys, plenty 

of ducks, and in winter, geese and wood pigeons (columba 


migratoria.) The wild game were deer and bears chiefly. 
Reptiles not abundant, and those he saw, harmless. Fish 
of various kinds were plenty in the rivers, the chief of which 
were catfish and sheep's-head. Alligators swarmed in the 
Mississippi, and were found in all the streams they visited. 
On the 3d of June they met the sloop, which brought them 
out three leagues below Manchac, and were detained until 
the 9th, by Mr. Ladle, the supercargo, in taking in lading. 

On the 12th, came to, at four miles above New Orleans, 
and remained until the 28th, repairing the vessel. On Thurs- 
day, the 1st of July, at 4 P. M., they passed the Balize, and 
sailed for Pensacola, but on account of head winds, did not 
arrive there until the morning of the 5th. 

On the Gth, the committee waited on the governor, who 
informed them that he had received letters from England by 
w^ay of Jamaica, since their absence, but nothing further re- 
lating to a grant of lands to the Provincials. The following 
day they presented a petition to Gov. Chester and council, 
with a plan of the townships they proposed to locate ; but 
so many objections were made to it, that the decision of the 
matter was laid over to the 9th. In the meantime, the sur- 
veyor-general requested Mr. Putnam to make out a new 
draft of the proposed townships. On that day the council 
presented the committee with their decision as to the lands, 
which limited the time of their taking actual possession, to 
the 1st of March, 1774. They appealed to the governor for 
an extension of the time, but w^ithout succei-s. On the 11th, 
they left the tow^n of Pensacola, and fell down to Rose island, 
from which place, on advice from Mr. Jones, one of the 
council. Col. Putnam and Mr. Lyman went up to town, to 
engage Mr. Livingston, the secretary, to make one more 
effort in council, for lengthening the time, but the result is 
not recorded. 

Owing to head winds, they did not sail until the 15th of 


July. The latitude as observed that day was 29 deg. 1 1 min. 
N. From thence to the 22d, he kept a regular journal of 
the progress of the voyage, giving the daily latitude, currents, 
&c., with the tact of an old navigator. On that day, he was 
so prostrated by sea-sickness, that the observations arc 
omitted until the 6th of August, when they arrived at New 
York. From thence he returned down the sound to Nor- 
wich, and from thence by land, to his home in Brookfield, 
having been absent over eight months. 

As to the result of this exploration, he says, " So favorable 
was the report of the committee, as to the quality of the 
land, climate, &c., and moderate terms on which the gov- 
ernor and council had engaged to grant them, that at a 
meeting of the military land company in the fall of 1773, 
at Hartford, they resolved to prosecute the settlement; and 
during that autumn, winter, and spring following, several 
hundred families embarked from Massachusetts, Connecticut, 
and other places, for the purpose of settling on the lands 
we had explored. But they were sadly disappointed. On 
the 6th of October of that year. Gov. Chester received an 
order from the king in council, prohibiting him from grant- 
ing any more lands, either on family rights, or on purchase, 
until the king's pleasure be further signified to him. Thus 
the land office was shut before the emigrants arrived, and 
indeed I believe before any of them sailed, and never 
opened afterward ." The poor Provincials were greatly 
disappointed, but were permitted to occupy any vacant land 
they could find. The emigrants of 1774 arrived generally 
so late in the season, that many of them sickened and died 
in this new climate, and the war which soon followed, put 
a stop to any further attempts to prosecute the settlement 
Thus early had that spirit of roaming and change of place 
infected the New Englanders, which appears to be natu- 
ral to their Saxon blood, descending from their Puritan 


forefathers, who wandered early in the seventeenth century 
from their native land to find a new home in North America. 

Mr. Putnam received only eighty dollars for all his ex- 
penses and loss of time in this ti'ip to the Mississippi. 

The annexed plan is an interesting relic of this afiair, and 
shows the boundaries and forms of the townships located for 
the company, which was drawn by Mr. Putnam, and ap- 
pended to the report of the committee. In his orders from^ 
Elias Dunford, Esq., the surveyor-general of West Florida, 
preserved amongst his papers, minute directions are given as 
to his manner of conducting the survey, requiring notices of 
important places on the river for landings, wharves, towns, 
&c. The townships were in no case to exceed in width one 
third of their length, so that their base on the water courses 
should not occupy an over proportion of their banks, which 
accounts for their unusual shape. They were nineteen in 
number, and intended to contain about twenty thousand 
acres each, making the whole grant from Gov. Chester 
amount to three hundred and eighty thousand acres. The 
cost to the company was no more than the fees claimed by 
the officers of the government, amounting to five pounds 
sterling, or eighteen dollars, twenty cents, for every thousand 

In the Boston Weekly News-Letter, of December 4th, 
1772, there is published a full account of the meeting of the 
Company of Military Adventurers, held at Hartford in No- 
vember, with the origin of the company, their previous 
doings, and the names of all the various committees. In 
the preamble to this meeting, it is stated that Gen. Phinehas 
Lyman was chosen as their agent to solicit the Court of 
Great Britain for a grant of land, in 17G3, and that he had 
been dctaim^d at that court for nine years, to the great 
expense of the company in obtaining the grant. This was 
a fiiir specimen of the manner in which the mother country 


dealt with her colonies; and even then the pretended gift 
was a delusion, as they promised Gen. Lyman that the order 
to Gov. Chester, authorizing the grant, should be sent out so 
as to reach him by the time he arrived at Boston. 

Several letters are preserved amongst Gen. Putnam's pa- 
pers, from the adventurers who went out to West Florida. 
Amongst them one from Capt. Michael Martyn, on the river 
Amite, August 17, 1774. He had settled forty-five miles up 
that stream. His family had been sick, but he was pleased 
with the country. Gen. Lyman, with several other families, 
had moved on to the Big Black river, in the surveyed terri- 
tory, and one man was about erecting a mill at the little 
falls on that stream ; but that the prospect of making money 
by shipping lumber to New Orleans was blasted by the 
Spaniards forbidding that trade. 

In the year 1802, the survivors of that company, about 
one hundred in number, re-organized themselves, and peti- 
tioned Congress for a confirmation of their old grant, but it 
does not appear that anything was done for them ; and thus 
ended this famous land adventure, which at the time caused 
a good deal of excitement in New England. 

The revolutionary storm, which had been gathering for 
several years, burst upon the colonies, the second year after 
liis return from this expedition. Ever active to the service 
of his native country, he joined the army in the capacity of 
a lieutenant-colonel, in the regiment of Col. David Brewer. 
His regiment was stationed at Roxbury, in Gen. Thomas' 
division of the army, soon after the afiair at Lexington. 

In a short time after the battle of Bunker hill, the general 
and field officers of the Roxbury division, met in council on 
the best course to pursue, in their present defenseless situa- 
tion, exposed at any time to the attack of the enemy without 
any better protection than a board fence. It was decided 


that lines should be thrown up for the defense of the town. 
When this was determined, the difhculty arose where to find 
a man capable of directing the works in a military manner. 
Engineers were rare amongst a people who had never car- 
ried on a war but under the direction of mother Britain, who 
filled such posts with her own sons. At length it was men- 
tioned to the general by some of Col. Putnam's friends, that 
in the late war against Canada, he had seen some service in 
this line ; but on being solicited by the commander to under- 
take the work, he frankly told him that he had never read a 
word on that branch of science, and all his knowledge was 
acquired by working under British engineers. The general 
would take no denial, and Col. Putnam reluctantly set about 
tracing out lines in front of Roxbur}', toward Boston, and 
various places in the vicinity, especially at Sewel's Point. 
It so happened that he was occupied at the latter post, when 
Gen. Washington and Gen. Lee, first came over to examine 
the situation of the troops, and state of the defenses on that 
side of Charles' river. The plan of the works met the entire 
approbation of Gen. Washington, and Lee spoke in liigh 
terms of that on Sewel's Point, when compared with those 
at Cambridge, which animated and encouraged him to per- 
severe in his efibrts. All the defenses at Roxbury, Dorches- 
ter and Brooklyne, were of his construction, and especially 
the fort on Cobble Hill. 

In the course of this campaign, at the request of Gen. 
Washington, he surveyed and delineated a map of the 
courses, distances, and relative situation of the enemy's 
works in Boston and Charleston, with the American defenses 
in Cambridge, Roxbury, &c., which must have been of great 
importance to him in arranging his plans for an attack on 
the former place. In December, he accompanied Gen. Lee 
to Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, and at the latter 
place planned a battery that commanded the harbor; also, 


a work on an elevation at Ilowland's ferry, which secured 
the communication of the island with the main land. In the 
new organization of the army, made in the fall of 1775, he 
was appointed a lieutenant-colonel in the twenty-second 
regiment, commanded by Col. Samuel Wyllis. He, however, 
did not actually join that regiment, but was continued in 
the engineer department. 

In the winter of 177G, Gen. Washington was deeply en- 
gaged in planning an attack on the British army in Boston, 
by crossing the troops on the ice, or else to draw them out 
from their stronghold, by erecting works on Dorchester neck, 
that would not only annoy the town, but destroy their ship- 
ping in the harbor. In constructing the latter work. Col. 
Putnam, with his usual modesty, and constant reliance on 
an overruling Power, in directing the affairs of man, thus 
speaks : " As soon as the ice was thought to be sufficiently 
strong for the army to pass over, a council of general offi- 
cers was convened on the subject. "What their particular 
opinions were I never knew, but the brigadiers were directed 
to consult their field officers, and they to feel the temper of 
the captains and subalterns. While this was doing I was 
invited to dine at head-quarters; and while at dinner. Gen. 
Washington invited me to tarry after the company had de- 
parted. When we were alone he entered into a free con- 
versation on the subject of storming the city of Boston. 
That it was much better to draw the enemy out to Dorches- 
ter, than to attack him in Boston, no one doubted ; for if we 
could maintain ourselves on that neck of land, our command 
of the town and harbor would be such as would probably 
compel them to leave the place. But the cold weather, 
which had made a bridge of ice for our passage into Boston, 
had also frozen the earth to a great depth, especially in the 
open country, like the hills on Dorchester neck, so that it was 
impossible to make a lodgment there in the usual way, (tha<- 


is, by excavating the earth.) However, the general directed 
me to consider the matter, and if I could think of any 
way by which it could be done, to make a report to him 

He then describes the events which he calls providential, 
and may evidently be referred to him who created, as well 
as rules the destiny of man, but which thoughtless and blind 
mortals attribute to the freaks of chance. "I left head- 
quarters in company with another gentleman, and on the 
way came by those of Gen. Heath. I had no thought of 
calling until I came against his door, when I said, let us 
call on Gen. Heath, to which the gentleman agreed. I had 
no other motive than to pay my respects to the general. 
While there I cast my eye on a book which lay on the table, 
lettered on the back Mullers Field Engineer. Immediately 
I requested the general to lend it to me. He denied me. 
I repeated my request. He again refused, saying, he never 
lent his books. I then told him that he must recollect, that 
he was one, who at Roxbury, in a manner compelled me to 
undertake a business on which, at the time, I confessed I 
had never read a word, and that he must let me have the 
book. After a few more excuses on his part, and pressing 
on mine, I obtained the loan of it." 

He arrived at his quarters about dark, but was so much 
engaged in receiving reports of the progress of the works 
until a late hour, that he did not examine Muller until 
morning. On looking over the contents of the book, he 
came to the word chandelier. This was a new phrase to 
him, but on turning to the page where the article was 
described, and reading it carefully over, he was soon ready 
to report a plan for making a lodgment on Dorchester 
heights. In a few minutes after he had decided on the fea- 
sibility of the plan, Col. Gridly, who had planned the 
works at Cambridge, and Col. Knox of the artillery, who 


had been directed to consult with Col. Putnam on this diffi- 
cult subject, entered his room and acquiesced in his plan. 
The report was approved by Gen. Washington, and prepa- 
rations immediately made to carry it into operation. The 
chandeliers were made of stout timbers, ten feet long, into 
which were framed posts, five feet high and five feet apart, 
placed on the ground in parallel lines, and the open spaces 
fitted in with bundles of fascines, strongly picketed together; 
thus forming a movable parapet of wood, instead of earth, 
as heretofore done. The men were immediately set to work 
in the adjacent apple orchard and woodlands, cutting and 
bundling up the fascines, and carrying them with the chan- 
deliers on to the ground selected for the work on the night 
of the 4th of March, and on the morning of the 5th, the 
British troops were astonished to see a formidable battery, 
erected by their industrious Yankee foes in one night, where 
the evening before no appearance of such a defense was to 
be seen. The ground was so deeply frozen that the intrench- 
ing tools made no more impression on it than on a solid 
rock, and their old mode of excavating trenches, and throw- 
ing up parapets of earth, was utterly at a nonplus. 

The providential visit of Col. Putnam at Gen. Heath's 
quarters, was both the remote and immediate cause of the 
sudden withdrawal of the British troops from Boston. On 
the first sight of this barrier, mounted with artillery and 
frowning defiance. Gen. Howe decided on landing troops 
and carrying it by storm, and would have probably been 
another Bunker hill adventure or something worse. The ice 
broke way soon after, and his boats being dispersed by a 
gale of wind, when the troops had embarked, he gave up 
the design, and sent word to Gen. Washington that he would 
leave the town with his army unharmed,' if he would not 
molest the shipping while the men and stores were remov- 
ing. The evacuation of the place, and the relief of the 


inhabitants from British thraldom and abuse, being all that 
Washington sought, the terms were complied with, and this 
desirable object accomplished without bloodshed. 

On the last day of March, 1776, he was ordered by Gen. 
Washington to proceed to New York, by way of Providence, 
Rhode Island, to aid Gov. Cook with his advice and 
assistance, in constructing works for the defense of that 
town. While on this tour of duty, he again visited New- 
port, and made additional defenses there. On the 6th of 
April he had an interview with Washingto i, at Providence, 
who felt a deep interest in his welfare, not only for his suc- 
cessful efforts on Dorchester hights, but also for the integ- 
rity, uprightness, and straightforward patriotism of the 
man ; and not only during the war, but during his whole 
life, treated him with marked respect and friendship. He 
reached New York about the 20th of April, and was imme- 
diately authorized as chief engineer, to lay out and oversee 
the works of defense during that campaign at ^cw York, 
Long Island, and their dependencies, with Fort Washington, 
Fort Lee, Kingsbridge, &c., the larger portion of which 
appears in the plan of New York island, attached to Mar- 
shall's Life of Washington. This was a service of great 
fatigue, as it occupied all his time from daylight in the 
morning until night, and sometimes all night. 

On the lOtli of July, Gen. Washington, in a letter to Con- 
gress, notices the services of Col. Putnam : '• Gen. Mercer is 
now in the Jerseys, for the purpose of receiving and ordering 
the militia coming for the flying camp, and I have sent over 
our chief engineer to view the ground in the neighborhood 
of Amboy, and to lay out some necessary works for the 
encampment, and such as may be proper at the different 
passes in Bergen Neck and other places." 

In August, Congress appointed him engineer, which was 
announced bv Gen. Washington to him, as follows : 


"New York, Au^st 11, 177G. 

Sir : I have the pleasure to inform you that Congress have 
appointed you an engineer, with the rank of colonel, and 
pay of sixty dollars a month. I beg of you to hasten the 
sinking of vessels and other obstructions in the river at Fort 
Washington, as fast as it is possible. Advise Gen. Putnam 
constantly of the kind of vessels you want and other things, 
that no delay that can possibly be avoided may happen. 

I am sir, your assured friend and sei-vant, 

G. Washington, 

P. S. — Congress have just sent two French gentlemen 
here as engineers. Will either of them be of use at Fort 
Washington or Kingsbridge ?" 

A vast deal of labor and expense was bestowed by the 
Americans early in the war, in placing obstructions in the 
North river, such as chains, booms, chevaux-de-frise, sunken 
vessels, &c., to prevent the ascent of the enemy's ships of 
war to the highlands ; but all of it was useless expenditure, 
for with a leading wind their large frigates and seventj'-fours 
could with ease break through any obstruction of this kind, 
and only excited their derision. After a year or tvv^ of trial, 
this mode of defense was abandoned. Their entire control 
of all our harbors and mouths of rivers by their vast fleets, 
gave them a great advantage over their foes, in the transport 
of troops, munitions of war, &c.,from one point to another. 

On the 8th of September, 177G, a council of general officers 
had determined on holding possession of the city of New 
York. On the 12th, by order of Gen. Washington, Col. 
Putnam went out with Gen. Mifflin to reconnoitcr between 
Kingsbridge and Morrisania, and on their return Washington 
met them near Harlem bights, where they made their report. 
This led to a council of general officers, in which it was decided 
to abandon the city, and this measure was based on their 


report, being the means of saving the army from total 

Col. Putnam remarks that his appointment by Congress 
as engineer, was wholly unexpected. That his first attempts 
in that department arose from pure necessity, in place of a 
better man, and that his continuance in that service was 
more out of respect to Gen. Washington, than a sense of his 
own qualifications. After his arrival at New York he had 
greatly improved his knowledge, by the study of writers on 
that subject; and his daily practice in that profound art for 
more than a year, had now made him a much more skillful 
engineer, yet his natural modesty had never led him once to 
think of being appointed to the first post in a corps of engi- 
neers. His observations on the deficiencies and difliculties 
which attended that department, led him, in September, to 
draw up a plan for a distinct engineering corps, which was 
presented to Gen. Washington, and by him laid before Con- 
gress, with the following letter, of November 5 : 

"I have taken the liberty to transmit a plan for establish- 
ing a corps of engineers, artificers, &c., sketched out by 
Col. Putnam, and which is proposed for the consideration of 
Congress. How far they may incline to adopt it, or whether 
they may choose to proceed on such an extensive scale, they 
will be pleased to determine. However, I conceive it a 
matter well worthy of their consideration, being convinced 
from experience, and from reasons suggested by Col. Put- 
nam, who has acted with great diligence and reputation in 
the business, that some establishment of the sort is highly 
necessary, and will be productive of the most beneficial 

In his letter which accompanied the project, Col. Putnam 
disclaimed all pretensions to being placed at the head of 
the corps, but expressed a desire to serve in the line of the 
army. In this modest rejection of so distinguished a post. 


he was, no doubt, in some measure influenced by the well 
known deficiencies of his early education, but his love of 
country being greater than the love of self, led him to prefer 
the appointment of some better educated man. His judg- 
ment and practical skill in this branch, was no doubt equal 
or superior to that of any other man in the army, while his 
knowledge of surveying and drafting, with his mechanical 
turn of mind and sound judgment, rendered him a far better 
master of this branch of science than he was willing to 

On the 19th of October the enemy landed their army on 
Pells point, and some skirmishing took place between a part 
of Glover's brigade and the advance of the British troops, 
near East Chester. The following morning Gen. Washing- 
ton directed Col. Putnam to reconnoiter their position. For 
this purpose he left Kingsbridge, in company with Col. Reid, 
the adjutant-general, and a foot-guard of twenty men. 
From the hights of East Chester they saw a small body of 
the enemy near the church, but could learn nothing from 
the inhabitants, as the houses were all deserted. Col. Reid 
now left him to attend to other duties, and Col. Putnam 
requested him to take back the guard, as he thought he 
Could better succeed in reconnoitering by himself. He then 
disguised his appearance as an officer, and set out for White 
Plains, a place he had never visited, nor did he know the 
road which led to that place. Directly a highway turned 
off" to the right, which he followed a short distance, and 
came to a house, where a woman informed liim that the 
road he was now on led to New Rochelle ; that the enemy 
were there, and had posted a guard at a house then in sight. 
He now turned his course, and proceeded toward White 
Plains, approaching within three or four miles of the place, 
when he discovered a house a little ahead with men about it. 
Before advancing, he carefully examined their appearance 


with his spy-glass, and ascertained that they were not 
British soldiers. He then advanced and entered the house, 
which was a tavern; calling for some oats for his horse, and 
sitting quietly down, listened to their conversation. He 
soon discovered that they were Whigs, and ascertained the 
following valuable facts, viz.: that the main army of the 
British were lying near New Rochelle, distant from White 
Plains about nine miles, with good roads and an open level 
country between, and that at the latter place was a large 
quantity of American stores under the guard of about three 
hundred militia. That a detachment of the enemy was 
posted at Mamaronec, only six miles from the Plains, while 
on the other side was the Hudson river, in which lay five or 
six of the enemy's armed vessels at a distance of only five 
miles, so that the main depot of provisions for the American 
army, which Gen. Washington had ordered here as a place 
of safety, was inclosed on three sides by his adversaries. 
Col. Putnam saw at a glance their hazardous position, and 
hastened back with his all important discoveries. The road 
from Ward's tavern where he then was, led across the Braux, 
and was the most direct route for his return, but it passed 
so near the positions occupied by the enemy that it required 
great watchfulness to avoid detection. As he approached 
the highland west of the little river Braux, he saw it was 
already occupied by armed men, but on applying his spy- 
glass, ascertained they were American troops, and on his 
arrival found, it to be Lord Stirling's division, who had taken 
a position there since he passed in the morning. He 
announced his discoveries to the general, refreshed himself 
and horse, and set out for head-quarters, ten miles distant, 
by the mouth of Saw-mill river, a road he had never traveled 
before, leading through a noted Tory settlement. It was 
now dark, but he dare not inquire the way, lest he should be 
arrested. An overruling Providence guided his steps, and 


he arrived in safety at Gen. Wasliington's quarters, near 
Kingsbridgc, about nine o'clock. He found him alone, and 
ready to receive his report, with a sketch of the country, 
which he hastily made, showing the relative positions of the 
different British detachments, and the stores at White Plains. 
This, like the clue of the labyrinth, at once led him to see 
the difliculties and dangers of his position, and the path by 
which he could be extricated. Gen. Washington complained 
very feelingly of the gentlemen of New York, from whom 
he had never been able to obtain a plan of the country : 
that it was by their advice he had ordered the stores to 
White Plains, as a place of safety. This was a serious dif- 
ficulty under which he labored through the first years of the 
war, the lack of correct topographical descriptions of the 
country in which he was acting, often leading liim into the 
toils of the enemy, when he thought he was escaping or out 
of danger. Such a man as Putnam was then an invaluable 
treasure; who was fearless, but cautious in scanning the 
positions of the foe, and could delineate on paper, what he 
had seen with his eyes, making his descriptions both intelli- 
gent and practical. Washington immediately sent a mes- 
senger for Gen. Greene and Gen. George Clinton, since Vice 
President of the United States. When the latter entered, 
Putnam's sketch and report were laid before him, and the 
question asked as to the correctness of the topographical 
sketch. He confirmed its accuracy. In a short time he was 
charged with a letter to Lord Stirling, and orders to proceed 
immediately to his camp, which he reached by the same 
route, about two o'clock in the morning. Before daylight 
his division was in motion, in full march for White Plains, 
where they arrived about nine o'clock on the morning of 
the 21st of October, " and thus was the American army saved 
by an interposition of Providence, from a probable total 


"It may be asked wherein this interposition of Providence 
appears ? I answer first, in the stupidity of the British gen- 
eralj in that he did not early in the morning of the 20th, 
send a detachment, and take possession of the post and 
stores at White Plains ; for had he done so, we must then 
have fought him on his own terms, and at such disadvan- 
tage on our part as must, in all probability, have proved 
our overthrow." "Again, when I parted with Col. Reid, on 
the 20th, I have ever thought I was moved to so hazardous 
an undertaking by foreign influence. On my route I was 
liable to meet with some British or Tory parties, who would 
probably have made me a prisoner, as I had no knowledge 
of any way of escape across the Braux, but the one by 
which I came out ; hence, I was induced to disguise myself, 
by taking out my cockade, lopping the sides of my hat, and 
securing my sword and pistols under my overcoat; and 
then had I been taken under this disguise, the probability 
is that I should have been hanged for a spy." 

It was as late as the 29th, before the enemy advanced in 
front of the American lines at White Plains. About 10 
o'clock, A. ]M., Col. Putnam had arrived on Chatterton 
hill, intending to throw up some defenses, just as they 
came in sight. As soon as they discovered the Americans, 
they opened a severe cannonade, but without much effect. 
GJen. ]\IcDougal now arrived with his brigade, and seeing 
the enemy crossing the Braux below in large bodies, placed 
his men in an advantageous position behind the stone walls 
and fences to receive them. They were twice repulsed with 
great loss ; but by bringing up fresh detachments, they so 
greatly outnumbered the Americans as to turn their right 
flank, and cause them to retreat. Our loss was great, but 
it was afterward ascertained that the British loss was much 
greater; they receiving the same pay as at Bunker hill. 
After the battle of the 29th, Col. Putnam was employed in 


examining the topography of the country in the rear of 
White Plains, toward North Castle, Croton river, &c., with 
a view to military operations, when, on the 5th of Novem- 
ber, he received the following letter from Gen. Washington : 
"Head Quarters, White Peains, Nov. 5, 177(5. 
Sir : You are directed to repair to Wright's mills, and 
lay out any work there you conceive to be necessary, in case 
it is not already done. From thence you are to proceed to- 
ward Croton bridge, and post the two regiments of militia 
in the most advantageous manner, so as to obstruct the 
enemy's passage to that quarter. You are also to give 
what directions you think proper to those regiments, re- 
specting the breaking up the roads leading from the North 
river eastward. After this you are to go up to Peekskill, 
and direct Lasher's detachment to break up the roads there ; 
you are likewise to lay out what works will be advisable 
there, and order them to be set about. 

Given under my hand, 

Geo. Washington. 
To Col. Putnam, engineer." 

On the 11th of November, Gen. Washington visited 
Peekskill, and Col. Putnam accompanied him to Fort Wash- 
ington. On the following day he crossed the North river, 
instructing him to ascertain the topogi'aphy of the country, 
with the roads and passes through the Highlands, which re- 
port he soon after made. A copy of this report is among 
his papers, and gives a minute description of the different 
passes ; pointing out such as would need protection, with a 
skeleton map, containing valuable information for the de- 
fense of the passes in the Highlands of the Iludsonjka point 
so important in the contest with Great Britain. On the 8th 
of December, he addressed a letter to the commander-in- 
chief, informing him that he had accepted the command of 
a regiment in the Massachusetts line, of the continental 


army, with his reasons for so doing, assuring him at tJie 
same time of his attachment and readiness to execute any 
serv'ice he should be ordered on. The following is an ex- 
tract from hi.i answer : 

"Bucks County, near Cayfll's Ferry, Dec. 17, 177G. 
Dear Sir: Your letter of the 8th, from Peekskill, came 
duly to hand. Your acceptance of a regiment, to be raised 
on continental estabhshment, by the state of Massachusetts 
bay, is quite agreeable to me, and I sincerely wish you suc- 
cess in recruiting, and much honor in commanding it. 

Your professions of attachment are extremely gratifying 
to, dear sir, your most obedient servant, 

Geo. Washington.'' 
In a letter to Congress, of December 20th, he thus speaks 
of Col. Putnam: "I have also to mention, that for want of 
some establishment in the department of engineciv^, agree- 
able to the plan laid before Congress in October last. Col. 
Putnam, who was at the head of it, has quitted, and taken a 
regiment in the state of Massachusetts. I know of no other 
man tolerably well qualified for the conducting of that busi- 
ness. None of the French gentlemen iNhom I have seen 
with appointments in that way, appear to knovv' anything 
of the matter. There is one in Philadelphia v.ho I am told 
is clever, but him I have not seen." 

After closing his accounts as engineer, in January, 1777. 
he returned to Massachusetts to recruit and fill up his regi- 
ment. In this he was quite successful. As early as May. 
three companies were filled, and marched from Vv'orccster to 
Pcekskill; and in June were ordered up the North river to 
Fort A]^n. OTf the 3d of July, Col. Putnam folloutxl with 
the rest of tne regiment, and joined his brigade, at a point 
four miles above Fort Edward. This gave Inm an opportu- 
nity to examine the condition of the old fort, whii-li he had 
so often visited and worked on in the former war. lie found 


that in the last seventeen years, it had greatly decayed, and 
was quite untenable as a work of defense ; nevertheless it 
was shortly after occupied by the troops of Gen. Burgoync 
for a few days, probably the last time the British flag will 
ever float near its walls. 

The campaign of 1777, was big with events deeply int(T- 
esting to the United States. Burgoyne with a large army 
had invaded New York from the north, pursuing the old 
route so often traversed in former years by the hostile bands 
of France and Great Britain. The hordes of savages which 
accompanied his army made the resemblance still more 
striking. A numerous body of men and shipping, under 
Clinton, assailed the same state on the south, by the way 
of the North river, intending to unite the invading armies 
at Albany, and thus divide the eastern from the middle and 
southern states. Ticonderoga, considered the key to the 
northern portion of the union, had fallen into the hands of 
the enemy ; but the lives and the liberty of the army which 
occupied it, were saved from the hands of the conqueror, by 
the good sense of Gens. St. Clair and Schuyler, who thought 
it useless to defend an untenable post, and thus served as a 
nucleus, around which to rally the militia and continentals, 
who hastened from all parts to arrest the progress of the 
enemy. New England was electrified at the threatened 
danger, and poured forth the thousands of her hardy yeo- 
manry from her granite hills, to meet the coming storm. 

Col. Putnam, with his brave iMassachusetts men, again 
traversed the grounds he had so often visited in the " old 
French war ; " familiar with every part from Fort Edward to 
Stillwater, while few if any of his officers or men had seen 
this part of the country before. Although he was busily 
engaged in all the military operations of September, in the 
contests with Burgoyne, his regiment being the earliest on 
the ground, yet he has left no record of these events, except 


to correct some misstatements made by the historians of that 
period, in relation to the storming the works of the German 
reserve, on the 7th of October, and a few other matters. 
In front of those works was an open field, bounded by a 
wood, at the distance of one hundred and twenty yards. In 
the skirt of this wood Col. Putnam was posted with the fifth 
and sixth regiments of the Massachusetts line, under his 
command. Both the right and left of their work was cov- 
ered by a thin, open wood, and the rear by a thick wood. 
The moment that orders were given to storm, he moved 
rapidly across the open field, amidst a murderous fire of 
grape and musketry, and entered the works in front, at the 
same moment that Learned's brigade, in which Jackson's 
regiment was stationed, entered on the left and rear. Col. 
Putnam immediately formed his two regiments, and moved 
out of the works, which were not inclosed in the rear, and 
advanced into the wood, toward the enemy's inclosed re- 
doubts, on the right flank of their main encampment. Gen. 
Learned, as soon as he had secured and sent ofi" the plun- 
der talcen in the German camp, withdrew all the other 
troops, without notifying Col. Putnam of his design, leaving 
him unprotected in the occupancy of the wood. Here he 
remained until toward morning, -when he was reinforced 
with three regiments from the right wing of the army, under 
Gen. Glover. 

The historian jMarshall's account, varies materially from 
this, lie says, "Jackson's regiment of Massachusetts, led 
by Lieut. Col. Brooks, turned the right of the encampment, 
and stormed the works."' In this account no mention is 
made of Brig. Learned, who stormed at the same time with 
the other corps of the brigade, as well as Jackson's ; nor of 
the two regiments under Col. Putnam, who stormed in front, 
under much greater exposure than Jackson. Again, Mar- 
shall says, " BrooLs maintained the ground he had gained;" 


which is entirely contrary to the truth ; for, except the two 
regiments commanded by Col, Putnam, the troops which 
entered the works were in great disorder, so far as fell un- 
der his observation ; nor did he see any of them formed in 
order for action, before he moved out with the fifth and sixth 
regiments, as above stated. 

At page 288, of the 3d volume, is a note from the histo- 
rian Gordon, who says that, "On the morning of the 11th 
of October, a report was spread in the American camp, and 
believed by the officers, that the main body of Burgoyne's 
army had marched away in the night for Fort Edward, leav- 
ing only a rear-guard in the camp, which was to march as 
soon as possible, leaving only their heavy baggage. On 
this, it was decided to advance, and attack the camp in half 
an hour; and the officers repaired to their respective com- 
mands. Gen. Nixon's being the oldest brigade, crossed the 
creek first. Unknown to the Americans, Burgoyne had 
formed a line behind a parcel of brushwood, to support the 
park of artillery', where the attack was to be made. Gen. 
Glover was on the point of following Nixon ; just as he en- 
tered the water, he saw a British soldier making across, 
whom he called and examined." This soldier was a de- 
serter, and communicated the important fact, that the whole 
British army was in their encampment. Nixon was imme- 
diately stopped, and the intelligence conveyed to Gen. Gates, 
who commanded the order for the assault, and called back 
the troops, not without sustaining some loss from the Britir^h 

Col. Putnam's account of this affair is as follows : " Nix 
on's brigade was put in motion, and marched in close col- 
umn to the creek, just as the fog broke away, when the 
whole park of British artillery opened upon us, at not more 
than five hundred yards distance. Finding we were halted, 
I rode forward to the head of the brigade, to inquire ^vhy ^\■e 


stood there in that exposed situation. But Nixon was not 
to be found, and Col. Greaton, who commanded the leading 
regiment, said he had no orders. I then advised the cross- 
ing the creek, and covering the troops under the bank, which 
was done. I then, at the request of Col. Stephens, advanced 
with my regiment across the plain, and posted them under 
cover of the bank of an old stockade fort, while Stephens 
advanced with two field pieces, to annoy the British, who 
were attempting to take away some baggage wagons stand- 
ing about midway between us and the British battery. We 
remained in this situation about an hour, when I had or- 
ders to retreat, and found Nixon near the church, and after 
some debate, obtained leave to send a party and cut away 
the British boats, which lay above the mouth of the creek. 
Capt. Morse, Goodale, and Gates, with seventy or eighty 
volunteers, started on this service, and effected it without 
any loss." This plain statement puts the affair in a differ- 
ent position, and shows that but for the promptness and 
bravery of Putnam in this unexpected dilemma, the loss of 
the Americans must have been much greater. The bold 
act of cutting loose Burgoyne's store-boats, in the face of 
his army, was of his suggesting, and accomplished chiefly 
through the fearless activity of Capt. Goodale, who was 
noted for daring exploits. 

Kosciusko, the philanthropic and brave Polandei', who 
volunteered his services in tlie cause of American freedom, 
was placed at the head of the engineering corps in Gates' 
army, and often consulted Col. Putnam in planning the 
works of defense and oH'cnse, so neccssaiy in the operations 
of liostile armies. lie remained in the nortliern departmcnl 
until the surrender of Burgoyne, which took place a few 
days after the last adventure, on the IGth of October; thus 
closing the career of this haughty Briton, who fancied lie 
could inarch his invinciblcs from Ticonderoga to Albany, in 

RUF us PUTNAM. 71 

defiance of all tiic efforts of "the rebels," the common name 
for the American?, and there unite his triumphant columns 
with those of Sir Henry Clinton. This was the most glo- 
rious e\ ent that had yet attended the arms of the United 
States, and infused new life into the desponding portion of 
the community. They learned, by actual experience, that 
British regulars uere not invincible, while their enemies 
were taught to respect a foe they had heretofore despised. 
After the cessation of hostilities in this quarter, Nixon's 
brigade, to which Col. Putnam belonged, went into winter 
quarters at Albany. 

In January, 1778, he received a message from Gov. Clin- 
ton and Gen. Israel Putnam, requesting him to repair to 
West Point, and superintend the fortifications proposed to 
be erected at this American Gibraltar. He declined the 
offer, unless his regiment was allowed to go with him, ex- 
cept at the express orders of Gen. Washington. A French 
engineer had been sent by Congress, to plan and execute 
the works proposed to be erected; but his views were not 
approved by Gov. Clinton and the general officers, as suited 
to what they deemed necessary, and hence arose the con- 
fusion and delay, noticed in Gen. Washington's letter to 
Congress, of the 13th of March, 1778. 

In February he succeeded Col. Greaton in the command 
of the troops in the northern department, who went home oii 
furlough. It seems that Congress, without consulting the 
commander-in-chief, had matured a plan for a winter 
campaign into Canada, which was now left in a manner, 
defenseless. The chief duty of Col. Putnam was to forward 
provisions and military stores to Coos, on the Onion river. 
by which route the army of invasion was to pass, as early 
as the 20th of February. The sound mind of the Colonel at 
once perceived the fallacy and impossibility of the project. 
The countiy was covered with a deep snow, and the soldiers. 


as usual, only half clothed, and entirely unprepared for a 
winter campaign. This was always a serious difficulty 
during the whole war ; our armies were never decently clad, 
and the poverty of the country was seen in their tattered 
garments and shoeless feet. When men were required by 
Col. Hazelet, the quarter-master-general, to open a road, 
he had the firmness to refuse him, on account of the inclem- 
ency of the weather, and the destitute condition of his men. 

About this time, the 10th or 12th of Februar^^, the Marquis 
Lafayette, who was to command the army of invasion, 
arrived at Albany, with the Baron de Kalb. After a careful 
inspection of the troops, he confirmed the views of Col. 
Putnam, and the expedition was abandoned ; and fortunate 
for the country was it that they did so, for this was not a 
war of offense, but of defense ; and whenever the Americans 
left their own soil, disaster and defeat followed their steps; 
but so long as they confined their operations to justice and 
to right, the God of armies and of justice was on their side. 

In March following, he was ordered with his regiment 
down to West Point, where his valuable services were re- 
quired to lay out and superintend the construction of fortifi- 
cations at that important place, and Gen. McDougal, who 
had been appointed to the command, arrived about tlie same 
time. Of all the foreign engineers who had been souglit out 
and employed, riot one had yet been found, with the sound 
judgment and practical skill of this untaught American. 
The strong mind and calm considerate reflection of Putnam 
took in at once the commanding points of the positions to 
bo fortified, and his practical skill soon accomplished what 
liis genius had projected. He found the foreign engineers' 
main fort laid out on an extreme point next the ri\ cr, and 
commanded by the adjacent high grounds. It \vas aban- 
doned for this purpose, and a simple battery placed there to 
annoy the enemy's shipping, should they attempt to turn the 


point and force the boom placed a little higher up As a 
defense against an attack by land, a chain of forts and 
redoubts was laid out on the high ground, bordering the plain, 
which forms the point that gives name to the place. Tlie 
principal fort was built by Putnam's own regiment, and 
named by Gen. McDougal, " Fort Putnam." It stands on 
an elevated rocky eminence, which commands both the plain 
and point. This rock slopes gradually on to the plain, on 
one side, while to the assailants it presents a mural front of 
fift}' feet perpendicular. It was subsequently strengthened 
with additional works and made a very formidable place. 
These defenses occupied him until June, when he joined the 
division of the army under Gen. Gates at Peekskill, and on 
the 24th of July united with the gi-and army under Gen. 
Washington, at Wliite Plains. By his orders he reconnoi- 
tered the country about Fredericksburg, Quaker hill, &c., 
making plans and sketches for the use of the commander. 
On the 16th of. September, the main army was broken 
into divisions and posted at different places. The division 
to which he was attached under Gen. Gates, marched to 
Danbury, Connecticut. While here he was directed by Gen. 
McDougal to examine the roads and passes from New Mil- 
ford, leading eastward, which service he accomplished, and 
made his report to him. Soon after this he received the 
following letter from Gen. Washington : 

'aiKAB Quarters, Oct. 9th, 1778. 
Sir: I have perused your report of this day to Gen. Mc- 
Dougal. You will continue your examination of the differ- 
ent roads, 6zc., recounoitcr the most convenient halting 
olaces on each; allowing the interval of one day's march 
from one to the other, and make report of the vv-hole to me, 
that I may be enabled to regulate the dificrent routes. The 
road toward Litchfield offers, from your account of it, to be 


worth attention, and Col. Hall should be directed to proceed 
on it accordingly. 

I am, sir, your obedient servant, 

G. Washington. 

Col. Putnam." 

In answer to this letter he made a lengthy and very par- 
ticular report, exhibiting his tact and sound judgment in 
such services, for which he was naturally constituted. 

Previous to making the final arrangements for winter quar- 
ters, he made a tour of reconnoisance with Gen. Greene, in 
the vicinity of the Hudson river. Late in December Nixon's 
brigade took up their winter station in the Highlands, on the 
road from Peekskill to Fishkill. Nixon left the brigade on 
furlough, and it was placed under Col. Putnam for the 
winter. Early in February the brigade was ordered to leave 
their quarters. Col. Putnam's regiment was directed to 
march to Croton river, and build a bridge across that 
stream, which was completed about the last of March, and 
was all extra service, for which no additional pay was given. 

At this time he had a furlough to visit his family, Avherc 
he had not been since December, 1777. This was an in- 
convenience under which the most useful ofliccrs labored ; 
they could not be spared from the service, while the less 
valuable procured leave of absence more readily. The 
families of many of the New England officers, high in com- 
mand, vvcre in poor circumstances, and rcquii'cd all the in- 
dustry and foresight of their calculating wives to keep theii' 
families in comfortable circvunstanccs during their absence. 
Mrs. Putnam and the children, the oldest not more than 
twelve or fourteen years, lived on a small farm of fifty acres 
of rather sterile land ; ^vhile so poor and uncertain was the 
pay of the soldier, and in 1779, so depresiatcd in value, that 
liad it not been for the assiduous application of the needle 


by this patriotic woman, her children would sometimes have 
been very poorly supplied with food. It was common in 
tlio.^e days, which tried the souls of women as well as of 
men, for females in some of the best families, to make gar- 
ments gratuitously for the soldiers sent from their vicinity, 
while many of them made also for their neighbors less 
skilled in the art, for which they received produce or conti- 
nental paper in exchange. Mrs. Putnam was one of this 
class; and let it be remembered to her honor and praise, 
that she labored diligently with her hands, both at the distaff 
and needle, like the virtuous woman of old, for the support 
of her household, while he who should have been their pro- 
vider was absent, devoting his time to the cause of freedom, 
and fighting the battles of his country. Many interesting 
anecdotes are yet remembered and related by the family, of 
the frugality and industry practiced during this cruel war, 
for their support. 

During his absence, Fort Fayette, on Yerplank's Point, 
was taken by the British. It was commanded by Capt. 
Armstrong, and surrendered to overwhelming numbers. 

Toward the last of June, Col. Putnam returned to camp, and 
in a few days received the following order from Gen. Heath : 
"Highlands, Daxforth's House, June 29, 1779. 

Sir: I am very desirous, if possible, to obtain the exact 
situation of the enemy on Yerplank's Point, and of the ves- 
sels in the river. As you are well acquainted with the 
ground on both sides of the river, I would request that you 
would, to-morrow, reconnoiter the enemy with due precau- 
tion, and make such remarks as you may think proj)er. 
You will take a part, or the whole of your own light infantry 
company as a guard. Your knowledge of the country, and 
abilities, render particular instructions unnecessary. 

Yours, &c., 

Wm. Heath. 

Col. Putnam." 


To execute this order, he had to march through the moun- 
tains about twenty miles, by an unfrequented route, and to 
prevent discovery, conceal liis men in the woods. This duty 
was successfully performed; but the report is mislaid. Soon 
after his retm-n, he received the following note from his ex- 
cellency, the commander-in-chief: 

" Col. Putnam has permission to take as many men as he 
chooses, of his own regiment, or any other, for special ser- 
vice, and to pass all guards. 

G. Washington. 

July 9, 1779." 

The "special senice" here intended, was to reconnoiter 
the posts on Verplank's and Stony Points, previous to the 
meditated assault on those places. For this purpose. Col. 
Putnam left Constitution island, opposite to West Point, in 
the afternoon of the 10th, with fifty men, and landed at 
Continental village about sunset. Soon after dark, he pro- 
ceeded, by a back road, to a point near the scene of his 
intended observations, and concealed his men, as before, in 
the woods. In a short time it began to rain, and continued 
all the next day, a part of which time they lay in a barn. 
On the 12th it was fair, but their ammunition was all wet, 
and he retired a little distance, to a deserted house, built a 
fire, and dried their powder, which occupied nearly all day, 
leaving the party, had they been attacked, entirely de- 
fenseless. That evening he approached nearer the works, 
concealed his men, and commenced reconnoitering their 
condition. With one or two soldiers, who were familiar 
with the location, he continued his labor until near morn- 
ing, creeping on his hands and knees, to avoid detection by 
the sentries, when very near the works. He ascertained the 
time of night by the aid of fire-Ilics, which are abundant 
at tliat season, and whose phosphorescent light enal)led him 
to distinguish the hours on his watch. By the approach of 


early dawn, he had completed his observations, and returned 
undiscovered to camp, on the 13th. The follou^ing day, a 
full and very intelligent report of the service was made to 
Gen. Washington; a copy of which is now among his manu- 
scripts, and no doubt contributed greatly to the success of 
the attack on Stony Point, which immediately followed. In 
relation to the statement made by Marshall, that " two brig- 
ades under the command of Gen. McDougal, had been or- 
dered to approach the enemy on the cast side of the river, 
&c.," — he doubts whether such an order was ever given, for 
the reason, that McDougal commanded the post of West 
Point, and would not be allowed to leave so important a 
station. He further says, that when he waited on Gen. 
Washington, to make his report of the reconnoisance on the 
14th, he told him that he had relinquished the plan of an 
actual attack on Verplank's, simultaneously with that on 
Stony Point, but intended only to make a feint; and for that 
purpose had ordered Nixon's brigade to march, that day, to 
Continental village. He then instructed Col. Putnam to 
take as many men from the brigade as he thought proper, 
and make arrangements to be on the ground, ready to fire 
on the enemy at Verplank's, the moment he discovered that 
Wayne had begun his attack on Stony Point. At the same 
time, he told him that no one was aware of the intended 
attack, but those who were intrusted with its execution, and 
that but one of his own family was in the secret. From 
some error in the orders, Nixon's brigade did not march as 
expected; but on the evening of the 15th, Col. Putnam left 
Continental village, with Lieut. Col. Smith, and a detach- 
ment of men, for Verplank's, and made the feigned attack, 
by firing on the outer block-house and the guard stationed 
at the creek, which alarmed the garrison of Fort Fayette 
for their own safet\', and prevented their turning their guns 
on the Americans in their attack on Stony Point. This was 


all that was intended to be done on that night. On the 
morning of the 16th, he remained in full view of the enemy 
until eight or nine o'clock, and then retm-ned to Continental 
village. In the com-sc of that day, Nixon's and Patterson's 
brigades arrived at the village, but without field pieces, ar- 
tillery men, axes, or tools. About ten o'clock at night, Gen. 
Howe arrived, and took the command. He called on Col. 
Putnam for information, who told him of the need of artil- 
lery, &c., to attack the block-house in advance of the main 
works, and that they could not cross the creek without re- 
building the bridge, which had been destroyed. On the 
17th, two twelve pounders arrived; but before any attack 
was made, the approach of a numerous body of the enemy, 
for the relief the post, caused the Americans to retreat, and 
Fort Fayette remained in the hands of the British. Stony 
Point was also abandoned in a short time, and fell into their 
possession; so that no advantage was gained, but the cap- 
ture of six hundred prisoners, and the glory of the victory. 
It infused fresh spirits into the country, and convinced their 
enemies that no danger was too great, or achievement too 
difiicult for them to overcome. 

In a short time after these events. Col. Putnam was ap- 
pointed to the command of a regiment of light infantry, in 
the brigade of Gen. Wayne, composed of four regiments. 
This body of men was the elite of the army, and the officers 
selected by the advice of Gen. Wayne, composing as effi- 
cient a corps as the world ever saw. He continued in ser- 
vice this year, until the army had generally gone into winter 
quarters, and did not reach the station in the Highlands, 
where liis regiment was cantoned, until Januarj-, 1780; 
marching through the ice and snow from near Newark, in 
^Q.\v Jersey, being a very tedious and fatiguing journey. 
During 1779, he was ordered on extra service, to erect a 
battery on the ground of old Fort Montgomery, for the 


annoyance of the enemy's ships on the Hudson; and again, 
in December, by order of Gen. Wayne, he reconnoitcrcd the 
position of a British fleet at South Amboy, accompanied by 
eight dragoons, to learn the time of their sailing. This 
was promptly performed amidst the cold and inclemency of 
December weather, and returned to camp l)y the way of 
New Brunswick. A number of letters from Gen. Wayne 
arc on his file. 

The latter part of the winter 1780, he had leave of ab- 
sence to visit his family, and returned to camp in April. As 
early as the 6th of May he was on command with an ad- 
vanced detachment on Croton river, w'atching the movements 
of the enemy. This was a fatiguing, hazardous duty, re- 
quiring the utmost vigilance in the commanding officer, and 
is only intrusted to men of tried courage and cautious 
watchfulness. It is considered an honorable post, and the 
officer selected by special appointment of the commanding 
general. During the early years of the war the Americans 
suffered severe losses in their detachments on this service, 
not only at Paoli, but at various other places, from the light 
dragoons under Tarlton and De Lancy, who acquired great 
honor by their surprisals of our advanced posts, although 
it was not a little lessened by their cruelty. The constant 
watchfulness of Col. Putnam saved him from any disaster 
of this kind, as may be seen in his correspondence with 
Gen. Howe, which is full, minute, and voluminous, and accompanied with plans and drafts, shouing tlie 
positions of the difi^erent detachments of the enemy. The 
following letter will serve as a specimen of his :',\\\c and 
manner in tliis line : 

";;urv:,* July 1, 1780. 

Dkar General: By an officer returned from scout last 

* This was a station on tlie east of the Hudson, near the Hiijlilauds. 


evening, and other intelligence, I am informed that the 
enemy some day this week advanced in force by land from 
New York, and are now encamped, having their left on the 
North river, one mile above Phillips', and their right on the 
road from Stephen Wards to Elberts. By this pot-ition their 
right and left wings are about five miles distant, and from 
the nature and situation of the country, their camps are 
detached or separated; their left division being on Phillips' 
hill between North river and Saw-Mill river; their center 
division on Valentine's hill, between Saw-Mill river and the 
Braux ; and their right division between the Braux and 
East Chester. A sketch of the country which I sent yoU; 
and what I have said, will give you a correct idea of their 
position. It is said, and I believe it to be a fact, that a 
number of wagons, with scythes for cutting forage, came 
out yesterday. I think if it be true that a French fleet is 
really in the way, Mr. Clinton has come out to give his troops 
an airing, after their fatigue and other suiferings in a southern 
climate ; and at the same time, has a design to secure or 
destroy all the forage in his power, which might otherwise 
be of advantage to us ; and I should not be sm-prised if he 
attempted a general ravage of the country as far as Salem 
or D anbury. 

I am, dear general, with respect, your humble servant, 

IluFus Putnam. 

To Gen. Howe." 

During the campaign of 1780, no great battle was fought in 
the northern department. The events along the North river 
v.cre mostly skirmishes. An invasion of New Jersey wa^ 
made in June, by Gen. Knyphausen, in which he was so 
valiantly opposed by the American troops, that he retired 
^vithout accomplishing much but the destruction of buildings 
and the murder of Mrs. Caldwell, the wife of a clergyman, 
which foul deed was done by some of the Tory troops of 


Gov. Tryon, who was in the expedition. Early in July, Sir 
Henry Clinton returned with his army from the conquest of 
Charleston, S. C, and made demonstrations of an attack 
on West Point, but nothing was accomplished. 

In September, the foul treason of Arnold took place, by 
which the enemy thought to obtain possession of this im- 
portant post, in a more easy way than by hard fighting, but 
not half so honorable. A kind Providence, which over- 
looked and directed the American affairs, caused this wicked 
plan to be discovered in time to prevent its execution ; and 
the country was thus saved from threatened ruin. Soon 
after this affair, Col. Putnam had leave of absence, and re- 
turned to camp early in December. On the 6th of July, 
1781, the French army, which had been sent to aid us, 
formed a junction with the Americans near Dobb's Ferry, 
preparatory to marching for Virginia. 

On the 21st of July, Col. Putnam was ordered by Gen. 
Heath to take the command of a detachment of three hun- 
di-ed light infantry. Col. Sheldon's legionary corps, with two 
companies of the New York levies, and one piece of light 
artillery, with which to cover that part of the country. On 
this duty he was continued until the last of October, and 
thus did not witness the sm-render of Cornwallis at York- 
town. While here employed, he received the following let- 
ter from Gen. Waterbury, of Connecticut : 

"Horse Neck, September 13, 1781. 

Sir : After my compliments, I w- ould inform you that I 
have received order.-? from his excellency, Gov. Trumbull, to 
build some places of security for my troops to winter in, 
and, at the same time, to ask the favor of your assistance, 
in counseling with me where to build, &c." 

This service he performed as requested. In November, 
he joined his regiment at West Point, and on the 14th of that 
montli, received the following order from Gen. McDougal : 


"Sir: Gen. McDougal requests you to repair to Stony 
and Verplank's Points, and examine minutely into their 
state in eveiy respect. The sentry boxes at those advanced 
works should be destroyed ; every building within cannon 
range of either of those posts, and any cover that would 
afford a lodgment for the enemy, must be taken down, and 
removed before you leave the ground. You will please to 
have the garrisons paraded, and note every person, and the 
regiments they belong to, unfit for tliis service, &c." 

This duty was faithfully performed, and was about the 
last of his military labors; as after this period, hostilities, in 
a manner, closed between the two nations, in the northern 
states. The capture of Lord Cornwallis, and the victories 
of Gen. Greene in South Carolina, discouraged Great Brit- 
ain from further attempts at the subjugation of the United 
States. He was, however, still busily employed, as agent 
for his brother oflicers, in interceding with Congress and the 
Legislature of Massachusetts, for a redress of their griev- 
ances, which had become very serious. For this duty, his 
stern integrity, candor, honesty of purpose, and Vvcll known 
character for usefulness in the service of the country, emi- 
nently fitted him. His first employment of this kind was 
in 1778. and on the following occasion : 

"At a meeting of the field and other officers of Gen. Xix- 
on's brigade, September 9, 1778, Col. Rufus Putnam was 
unanimously chosen representative, to meet in a general 
convention of the army, to state our grievances to the hon- 
orable Continental Congress, and endeavor to obtain redress 
of the same. 

Per order of the meeting : 

Tiios. Nixox, Col., Moderator." 

In the winter of 1778-9, the sufferings of the officers and 
men had become so intolerable, from the want of pay, 
clothing, and provisions, that the patience and patriotism of 


even the Massachusetts men, was put to so severe a trial, 
that they had well nigh failed under it. Gen. Nixon's brig- 
ade, then in winter quarters in the Ilighlandi^, had formed 
articles of mutiny, by which, on a certain day, they were to 
march off in a body. A copy of those articles was some- 
how obtained by Col. Putnam, and transmitted to j\Ir. Davis, 
a member of the Legislature, and an influential man in 
Boston. Finding his own personal efl^orts, and those few 
who assisted him, unavailing in checking this disgraceful 
design, Col. Putnam made a confidential communication to 
Gen. McDougal, of their intentio-ns, and requested him to 
order the several regiments composing the brigade, to sepa- 
rate, and occupy distant and distinct posts, toward New 
York. This the general immediately complied with, and 
thus put it out of their power to execute the plan they had 
formed, or at least not so readily as they could have done, 
when all in a body; and thus, by the integrity and faithful- 
ness of this honest and upright man, was this sad calamity 
averted ; and a foul blot on the fair escutcheon of his native 
state prevented. 

In the winter of 1780, while on a fiu-lough, the larger por- 
tion of his time was spent in Boston, soliciting the General 
Court, or Legislature of Massachusetts, for relief in aid of 
their troops, and especially for the officers who were prisoners 
on Loug island. For the latter a small sum was obtained, 
fur which he received their thanks in a letter of acknowledg- 
ment, through Col. Thompson, dated May 1st, 1780. While 
for the officers of the line no provision was made. For this 
reason, at the close of the year, a committee was appointed 
to repair to Boston and lay their claims before the Legisla- 
ture, with the following instructions, which are given, in part, 
that posterity may judge of the justice of their cause. 

After stating a number of their grievances, as to the man- 
ner of their pay, clothing, small stores, &c., under three 


distinct heads, they say, " You will pointedly represent to the 
Legislature, the great inconveniences and losses, accrued and 
accruing to great part, nay almost the whole, of both offi- 
cers and soldiers, from the notes we received the last year, 
not being negotiable in any manner for any kind of property, 
on which account many were, for want of almost every kind 
of clothing, obliged to sell their notes at a verj' great dis- 
count, from their nominal value when given ; and by this 
representation you will endeavor to procure an act that will 
make the notes already, and those that shall be given, a 
tender for the confiscated estates when sold; or that will in 
some way be equally beneficial to the army and state — make 
them of such value that those who wish it may convert them 
into current money without loss." 

The whole of these instructions fill two or three pages, 
and seem to have been signed by all the officers of the Mas- 
sachusetts line. It is dated West Point, January 1st, 1781. 
The names of the committee were as follows : Brig. Gen. 
Glover, Col. Putnam, Lieut. Col. E. Brooks, Col. H. Jackson, 
Col. J. Graton, Maj. Samuel Darbey, S. Larned and T. 

To fulfill this embassy the committee left West Point early 
in January and passed two or thee months in Boston, prose- 
cuting their claims. On their arrival, the recent alarm grow- 
ing out of the mutiny of the Pennsylvania and Jersey lines 
had created such an alarm in the minds of the General As- 
sembly, that they listened favorably to the committee and 
actually sent on two months' pay in specie to their line of the 
army, which was about the result of their efforts. It relieved 
their most pressing wants and pacified the distressed soldiers 
for a time, and the favorable prospects of a speedy termina- 
tion of the war closed any further serious difficulties with 
the Massachusetts men. 

In February, 1782, the state of New York having applied 


to Congress for remuneration for the forage consumed by 
the allied army in West Chester county, while encamped 
near Dobb's Ferry in 1781, he was appointed by Gen. 
Heath and Gov. Clinton one of the commissioners for set- 
tling the claim. It was a difficult and troublesome affair, 
but was closed in July, and shows the confidence of those 
eminent men in his character, for sound judgment and love 
of justice. After this, he obtained leave of absence for a 
short time, and while on furlough, heard of the intention of 
Congress to reduce the army. 

Being tired and disgusted with much of the treatment he 
had received in regard to promotion in the Massachusetts 
line, which had not been made in accordance with common 
usage in such matters, especially as to the brigadiers, two of 
which were vacant and neither of them filled, viz: Gen. 
Learned's in 1777, and Nixon's in 1780, added to which the 
desire he felt to be with his family which greatly needed his 
presence, he concluded to quit the service, and made an ar- 
rangement with Lieut. Col. Brooks, the youngest commander 
of a regiment in the line, and would of course be deranged 
in the reduction, to remain, and let Col. Putnam retire, a 
a mode of exchange heretofore practiced. Under these cir- 
cumstances he did not return to the army until the receipt 
of the following letter from Gen. Washington, who had been 
informed of his intentions by some of his friends. 

" Head Quarters, Newburg, Dec. 2, 1782. 

Sir: I am informed you have had thoughts of retiring 
from service, upon the arrangement which is to take place 
on the 1st of January. But as there will be no opening for it, 
unless your reasons should be very urgent indeed ; and as 
there are some prospects which ma}' perhaps make your 
continuing more eligible than was expected, I have thought 
proper to mention the circumstances, in expectation they 
might have some influence in inducing you to remain in the 


army. Col. Shepherd having reth-ed and Brig. Gen. Pat- 
terson being appointed to the command of the first brigade, 
you will of consequence be the second colonel in the line 
and have the command of a brigade, while the troops con- 
tinue brigaded as at present. Besides I consider it expedi- 
ent you should be acquainted, that the question is yet before 
Congress, whether there shall be two brigadiers appointed in 
the Massachusetts line. Should you continue you will be a 
candidate for this promotion. The secretary at war is of 
opinion the promotion will soon take place — ^ whether it will 
or not, I am not able to determine, and, therefore, I would not 
flatter you too much with expectations, which it is not in my 
power to gratify — but if upon a view of these circumstances 
and prospects, the state of your affairs will permit you to con- 
tinue in the present arrangement, (which must be completed 
immediately.) it will be very agreeable to 
Sir, your most obedient servant, 

G. Washington. 

Col. Putnam." 

On the receipt of this letter, and one from Gen. Potter, 
he repaired immediately to camp ; but being determined not 
to remain in a situation approaching disgrace, as some of 
his senior ofTiccrs had done, when Congress neglected to pro- 
mole them to actual vacancies, on his arrival he wrote a 
very interesting letter to Gen. Washington, explaining all 
his views and thanking him for the interest he took in his 
^velfare, but is too lengthy for insertion here. On the 8th 
of .January following, he ^vas commissioned as a brigadic]-- 
gt>neral in the army of the United States, and thru left 
without any excuse to leave the service until the declar;iiion 
of peace, which happily took place on the 0th of April, 

hi June the IMassachusetts line was reduced to tuo regi- 
ments of which, Gen. Patterson or the oldest oflicer took the 


command, and the officers and soldiers retired on furlough, 
and were finally discharged in November. 

During his continuance in the army, he shared largely in 
the confidence of Gen. Washington, who continued his 
fiicndship during his political life, appointing him to various 
posts of honor and profit, as will appear in the progress of 
this biography. 

During this year he was consulted by Gen. Washington, 
as to the best plan of arranging "■ a military peace establish- 
ment," for the United States. Into this subject he entered 
quite largely, drafting a system embracing about thirty- 
manuscript pages, giving in detail the whole arrangement, 
and must have been quite useful to the commander-in-chief 
in forming his final report to Congi-ess, In it is embraced, 
besides the regular troops, a plan for twenty-four regiments 
of continental militia, selected from the several states, of- 
ficered and armed like the standing troops, and ready to be 
called into service when needed. Also a plan for a chain 
of military posts, or forts for the defense of the frontiers, 
in the west, one of which is at the mouth of the jNIuskingum 
and was established in 1785. And, as in case of war with 
Great Britain, they would probably have the ascendancy on 
the northern lakes, he points out the most eligible routes for 
supplying the posts with provisions. It is an elaborate 
work and displays the genius of a great and calculating 
mind : the original draft of which is now among his manu- 
script papers. 

In June, 1783, before the final reduction of the army took 
place at New Windsor, the officers of the army, to the num- 
ber of two hundred and eighty-three belonging chiefly to the 
northern states, petitioned Congress for a grant of land in 
the western country, and Gen. Putnam, in their behalf, ad- 
dressed a letter to Gen. Washington on the subject, request- 
ing his influence with Congress in the matter. It explains 


the views and expectations of the officers, and the good 
results that would accrue to the* United States, in a clear 
and masterly manner, and being now a rare document is 
given in full as justly due to his character and name. 

"New Windsor, June 16th, 1783. 
Sir : As it is very uncertain how long it may be before the 
honorable Congress may take the petition of the officers of 
the army, for lands between the Ohio river and Lake Erie, 
into consideration, or be in a situation to decide thereon, the 
going to Philadelphia to negotiate the business with any of 
its members, or committee to whom the petition may be 
referred, is a measure, none of the petitioners will think of 
undertaking. The part I have taken in promoting the peti- 
tion is well known, and, therefore, needs no apology, when 1 
inform you, that the signers expect that I will pursue measures 
to have it laid before Congress. Under these circumstances 
I beg leave to put the petition in your excellency's hands, 
and ask with the greatest assurance your patronage of 
it. That Congress may not be wholly unacquainted with 
the motives of the petitioners, I beg your indulgence while I 
maJce a few observations on the policy and propriety of 
granting the prayer of it, and making such arrangements 
of garrisons in the western quarter, as shall give effectual 
protection to the settlers and encourage emigration to the 
new government, which, if they meet your approbation, and 
the favor not too great, I must request your excellency will 
give them your support, and cause them to be forwarded 
with the petition, to the President of Congress, in order that 
when the petition is taken up, Congress or their committee, 
may be informed on what principles the petition is gi-ounded. 
I ara, sir, among those who consider the cession of so great 
a tract of temtory to the United States, in the western 
world, as a very happy circumstance, and of great conse- 
quence to the American empire. Nor have I the least doubt 


but Congress will pay an early attention to securing the 
allegiance of the natives, as well as provide for the defense 
of the country, in case of a war with Great Britain or Spain. 
One great means of securing the allegiance of the natives 
I take to be, the furnishing them with such necessaries as 
they shall stand in need of, and in exchange receiving their 
furs and skins. They have become so accustomed to the 
use of fire-arms, that I doubt if they could gain a subsis- 
tence without them, at least they will be very sony to be 
reduced to the disagreeable necessity of using the bow and 
aiTow as the only means for killing their game ; and so 
habituated are they to the woolen blanket, &c., &c., that 
absolute necessity alone will prevent their making use of 

This consideration alone is I think, sufficient to prove 
the necessity of establishing such factories as may furnish 
an ample supply to these wretched creatures : for unless 
they are furnished by the subjects of the United States, 
they will undoubtedly seek elsewhere, and like all other 
people, form their attachment where they have their com- 
merce ; and then in case of war, will always be certain to 
aid our enemies. Therefore if there were no advantages 
in view but that of attaching them to our interest, I think 
good policy will dictate the measure of carrying on a com- 
merce with these people ; but when we add to this the con- 
sideration of the profit arising from the Indian trade in 
general, there cannot, I presume, be a doubt that it is the 
interest of the United States to make as early provision for 
the encouragement and protection of it as possible. For 
these, and many other obvious reasons, Congress will no 
doubt find it necessary to establish garrisons at Oswego, 
Niagara, Detroit, Michilimackinac, Illinois, and many other 
places in the western world. 

The Illinois, and all the posts that shall be established 


on the Mississippi, may undoubtedly be furnished by way 
of the Ohio, with provisions at all times, and ^vith goods 
whenever a war shall interrupt the trade with ]\ew Or- 
leans. But in case of a war with Great Britain, unless a 
communication is open between the river Ohio and Lake 
Erie, Niagara, Detroit, and all the posts seated on the great 
lakes, will inevitably be lost without such communication ; 
for a naval superiority on Lake Ontario, or the seizing on 
Niagara, will subject the whole country bordering on the 
lakes to the will of the enemy. Such a misfortune \vill put 
it out of the power of the L'nited States to furnish the na- 
tives, and necessity will again oblige them to take an active 
part against us. 

AYhere and how this communication is to be opened, 
shall next be considered. If Capt. Ilutchins and a number 
of other map-makers are not out of their calculations, provis- 
ions may be sent from the settlements on the south side of the 
Ohio, by the Muskingum or the Scioto, to Detroit, or even 
to Niagara, at a less expense than from Albany by the Mo- 
hawk, to those places. To secure such communication, (by 
the Scioto, all circumstances considered, ^vill be the best.) 
let a chain of forts be established : these forts should be 
built on the bank of the river, if the ground will admit, and 
al)out tu'cnty miles distant from each other : and on this 
])lan the Scioto communication \vill require ten or eleven 
stockaded forts, flanked by block-houses; and one company 
of men will be a sufficient garrison for each, except the one 
at the portage, whicli will require more attention in the 
con.- 1 ruction, and a larger numljcr of men to garrison it. 
]jut 1)esides the supplying the garrisons on the great lakes 
\vilh provisions, &c., we ought to take into consideration the 
protection that such an arrangement will give to tiie front- 
iers of A'ii'ginia. Pennsylvania, and New lork. I say ^ew 
Yoi-k, as we shall undoul)tcdlv extend our settlements and 


garrij^ons from the Hudson to Oswego. This done, and a 
garrison posted at Niagara, whoever will inspect the map must 
be convinced that all the Indians living on the waters of the 
jMohawk, Oswego, Susquehanna, and Alleghany rivers, and 
in all the country south of the lakes Ontario and Eric, vaW 
be encircled in such a manner as will cfTcctually secure their 
allegiance, and keep them quiet, or oblige them to quit their 

Nor will such an arrangement of posts, from the Ohio to 
Lake Erie, be any additional expense ; for, unless this gap 
is shut, notwithstanding the garrisons on the lakes, and 
from Oswego to the Hudson, yet the frontier settlers on the 
Ohio, by Fort Pitt to the Susquehanna, and all the country 
south of the Mohawk, will be exposed to savage insult, un- 
less protected by a chain of garrisons, which will be far 
more expensive than the arrangement proposed, and at the 
same time the protection given to these states, will be much 
less complete ; besides, we should not confine our protec- 
tion to the present settlements, but carry the idea of extend- 
ing them at least as far as the lakes Ontario and Erie. 

These lakes form such a natural barrier, that when con- 
nected with the Hudson and Ohio by the garrisons pro- 
posed, settlements in every part of the state of ISew York 
and Pennsylvania, may be made with the utmost safety' ; so 
that these states must be deeply interested in the measure, as 
well as Virginia, who will, by the same arrangement, have 
a great part of its frontier secured, and the rest much 
strengthened; nor is there a state in the Union, but will be 
greatly benefited by the measure, considered in any other 
point of view J for, without any expense except a small 
allowance of purchase-money to the natives, the United 
States will have within their protection, seventeen million, 
five hundred thousand acres of very fine land, to dispose of 
as they may think proper. But I hasten to mention some of 


the expectations which the petitioners have, respecting the 
conditions on which they hope to obtain the lands. This 
was not proper to mention in the body of the petition, es- 
pecially as we pray for grants to all members of the army, 
who wish to take up lands in that quarter. 

The whole tract is supposed to contain about seventeen 
million, four hundred and eighteen thousand, two hundred 
and forty acres ; and will admit of seven hundred and fifty- 
six townships, of six miles square, allowing to each town- 
ship, three thousand and forty acres, for the ministry, schools, 
waste lands, rivers, ponds, and highways ; then each town- 
ship will contain, of settlers' lands, twenty thousand acres, 
and in the whole, fifteen million, one hundred and twenty 
thousand acres. The land to which the army is entitled, 
by the resolves of Congress, referred to in the petition, ac- 
cording to my estimate, will amount to two million, one 
hundred and six thousand, eight hundred and fifty- acres, 
which is about the eighth part of the whole. For the survey 
of this, the army expect to be at no expense ; nor do they 
expect to be under any obligation to settle these lands, or 
do any duty to secure their title in them; but in order to 
induce the army to become actual settlers in the new gov- 
ernment, the petitioners hope Congress will make a further 
grant of lands on condition of settlement; and have no 
doubt but that honorable body will be as liberal to all those 
who are not provided for, by their own states, as New York 
has been to the officers and soldiers that belong to that 
state; which, if they do, it will require about eight million 
'of acres to complete the army, and about seven million 
acres will remain for sale. The petitioners, at least some 
of them, are much opposed to the monopoly of lands, and 
wish to guard against large patents being granted to in- 
dividuals, as, in their opinion, such a mode is very injuri- 
ous to a country, and gi-eatly retards its settlement; and 


whenever such patents are tenanted, it throws too much 
power into the hands of a few. For these and many other 
obvious reasons, the petitioners hope no grant will be made 
but by townships of six miles square, or six by twelve, or 
six by eighteen miles, to be subdivided by the proprietors to 
six miles square, that being the standard on which they wish 
all calculations to be made ; and that officers and soldiers, 
as well as those who petition for charters on purchase, may 
form their associations on one uniform principle, as to num- 
ber of persons or rights to be contained in a township, with 
the exception only, that when the grant is made for reward 
of services already done, or on condition of settlement, if 
the officers petition, with the soldiers, for a particular town- 
ship, the soldiers shall have one right only, to a captain's 
three, and so in proportion with commissioned officers of 
every grade. 

These, sir, are the principles which gave rise to the pe- 
tition under consideration; the petitioners, at least some of 
them, think that sound policy dictates the measure, and that 
Congress ought to lose no time in establishing some such 
chain of posts as has been hinted at, and in procuring the 
tract of country petitioned for, of the natives ; for, the mo- 
ment this is done, and agreeable terms offered to the set- 
tlers, many of the petitioners are determined, not only to 
become adventurers, but actually to remove themselves to 
this coimtry ; and there is not the least doubt, but other val- 
uable citizens will follow their example ; and the probability 
is, that the country between Lake Erie and the Ohio will be 
jillcd with inhabitants, and the faithful subjects of the United 
States so established on the waters of the Ohio and the 
lakes, as to banish forever the idea of our western territory- 
falling under the dominion of any European power; the 
frontiers of the old states will be effectually secured from 


savage alarms, and the new will have little to fear from 
their insults. 

I have the honor to be, sir, with every sentiment, 
your excellency's most obedient and very 
humble servant, 

Rurus Putnam. 

Gen. Washington." 

From the suggestions in this communication of Gen. Put- 
nam, originated the system of laying out and surveying the 
public lands in townships of six miles square, continued in 
all the surveys of United States lands to this day. The 
townships of six miles square, and subdivided among the 
proprietors, about the average size of the New England 
farms, as well as the provision made for the support of 
schools and the ministry, could only have originated with a 
Puritan mind ; although the latter was confined to the Ohio 
Company's and Symm's purchase, and not adopted by 

Gen. Washington, in a letter addressed to the President of 
Congress, advocated the measure strongly, as advantageous 
to the United States as well as to the petitioners. Nothing, 
however, was done by them in the matter as to making any 
additional grant for United States securities, farther than 
that of September, 177G, and this movement was finally the 
origin of the Ohio Company. 

After his discharge from the army in 1783, he joined his 
family in Rutland, jNIass., where they then lived, and re- 
sumed the occupations of farming and surveying. 

In April, 1784, he addressed the following letter to Gen. 
Washington, on the subject of the projected settlement to be 
made l)y the ofilccrs and soldiers of the arm}^ in the Ohio 
country, which subject seems to have entered deeply into 
his heart, and occupied a prominent place in his attention; 


he may therefore well be called the projector and father of 
the settlementri northwest of the Ohio river. 

" Rutland, April oth, 1781. 

Dear Sir: Being unavoidably prevented fi-om attending 
tlie general meeting of the Cincinnati at Philadel])hia, a.s I 
had intended, where I once more expected the opportunity in 
person of paying my respects to your excellency, I cannot 
deny myself the honor of addressing you by letter, to ac- 
knowledge with gratitude the ten thousand obligations I feel 
myself under to your goodness, and most sincerely to con- 
gratulate you on your return to domestic happiness ; to 
inquire after your health, and wish the best of Heaven's 
blessings may attend you and your dear lady. 

The settlement of the Ohio country, sir, engrosses many 
of my thoughts ; and much of my time, since I left tlie 
camp, has been employed in informing myself and others, 
with respect to the natm-e, situation, and circumstances of 
that country, and the practicability of removing ourselves 
there ; and if I am to form an opinion on what I have seen 
and heard on the sul)ject, there are thousands in this quarter 
who will emigrate to that country, as soon as the honorable 
Congress make provisions for granting lands there, and 
locations and settlements can be made with safety, unless 
such provision is too long delayed ; I mean till necessity 
turn their views another way, which is the case with some 
already, and must soon be the case with many more. You 
are sensible of the necessity, as well as the possibility of both 
officers and soldiers fixing themselves in business .-oixie- 
wherc, as soon as possible, as many of them arc unable to 
lie long on their oars, waiting the decision of Congress, on our 
petition ; and, therefore, must unavoidably settle themselves 
in some other quarter ; which, when done, the idea of re- 
moving to the Ohio country will probably be at an end, v/ith 
respect to most of them ; besides, the commonwealth of 


Massachusetts have come to a resolution to sell their eastern 
countiy for public securities ; and should their plan be 
formed, and propositions be made public before ue hear any- 
thing from Congress respecting our petition, and the terms 
on which the lands petitioned for are to be obtained, it will 
undoubtedly be much against us, by greatly lessening the 
number of Ohio associates. 

Another reason why we wish to know, as soon as possi- 
ble, what the intentions of Congress are respecting our pe- 
tition, is the effect such knowledge will probably have, on 
the credit of the certificates we have received on settlement 
of accounts : those securities arc now selling at no more 
than three shillings and six pence, or four shillings on the 
pound ; which, in all probability, might double, if no more, 
the moment it was known that government would receive 
them for lands in the Ohio country. From these circum- 
stances, and many others which might be mentioned, we are 
growing quite impatient; and the general inquiry now is, 
when are we going to the Ohio? Among others, Brig. Gen. 
Tupper, Lieut. Col. Oliver, and Maj. Ashley, have agreed 
to accompany me to that country, the moment the way is 
open for such an undertaking. I should have liintcd these 
things to some member of Congress, but the delegates from 
Massachusetts, although exceeding worthy men, and, in 
general, would v/ish to promote the Ohio scheme, yet, if it 
shoulfl militate against the particular interest of this state, 
by drahaing her of inhabitants, especially when she is form- 
ing the plan of selling the eastern country, I thought they 
would not be very warm advocates in our favor; and I dare 
not trust myself with any of the New York delegates, with 
whom 1 was acquainted, because that government are wisely 
inviting {he eastern people to settle in that state ; and as to 
the delegates of other states, I have no acquaintance with 
anv of them. 


These circumstances must apologize for my troubling 
you on this subject, and requesting the favor of a line, to 
inform us in this quarter, \vhat the prospects are with re- 
spect to our petition, and what measures have, or are likely 
to be taken, with respect to settling the Ohio country. 

I shall take it as a very particular favor, sir, if you will 
be kind enough to recommend me to some character in Con- 
gi'ess, acquainted with, and attached to the Ohio cause, with 
whom I may presume to open a correspondence. 

I am, sir, with the highest respect, 
your humble servant, 

RuFus Putnam. 

Gen. Washington." 

In June, he received the following reply from Gen. Wash- 
ington : 

"Mount Verxon, June 2d, 1784. 

Dear Sir : I could not answer your favor of the 5th of 
April, from Pliiladelphia, because Gen. Knox, having mis- 
laid, only presented the letter to me in the moment of my 
departure from that place. The sentiments of esteem and 
friendship which breathe in it, are exceedingly pleasing 
and flattering to me, and you, may rest assured they are 

I wish it was in my power to give you a more favorable 
account of the ofHccrs' petition for lands on the Ohio, and 
its waters, than I am about to do. After this matter, and 
information respecting the establishment for peace, were 
my inquiries, as I went through Annapolis, solely directed ; 
but I could not learn that anything decisive had been done 
in cither. 

On the latter, I hear Congress are differing about their 
powers ; but as they have accepted of the cession from Vir- 
ginia, and have resolved to lay off ten new states, bounded 
by latitudes and longitudes, it should be supposed that they 


would determine something respecting the former, before 
they adjourn; and yet I very much question it, as the latter 
is to happen on the 3d, that is to-morrow. As the Congress 
who are to meet in November next, by the adjournment will 
be composed from an entire new choice of delegates in each 
state, it is not in my power, at this time, to direct you to a 
proper correspondent in that body. I wish I could ; for per- 
suaded I am, that to some such cause as you have assigned, 
may be ascribed the delay the petition has encountered; for 
suni!/, if Justice and gratitude to the army, and general policy 
of the Union were to govern in this case, there would not 
be the smallest interruption in granting its ref^ucst. I really 
feel for those gentlemen, who, by these unaccountable de- 
lays, (by any other means than those you have suggested.) 
are held in such an awkward and disagreeable state of sus- 
pense ; and wish my endeavors could remove the obstacles. 
At Princeton, before Congress left that place, I exerted 
every power I was master of, and dwelt upon the argument 
you have used, to show the propriety of a speedy decision. 
Every member with whom I conversed, acquiesced in the 
reasonableness of the petition. All yielded, or seemed to 
yield to the policy of it, but plead the want of cession of the 
land, to act upon; this is made and accepted; and yet mat- 
ters, as far as they have come to my knowledge, remain in 
statu quo."' 

After speaking of his own lands on the Ohio and Ken- 
awha, he closes with, 

" I am, dear sir, with very sincere esteem and regard, your 
most obedient servant, 


The project of an immediate establishment in the wilder- 
ness, northwest of the river Ohio, having failed, he, on the 
2d of August of this year, left his home once m(n-e. to sur- 
vey a tract of land for the state of Massachusetts, bordering 


on tlic liay of Passamaquoddy, and returned from that t^er- 
A ice in November. 

In the course of this year, the Leicester academy, one of 
the earliest and most respectable in the state, was incorpo 
rated, and Gen. Putnam became one of its principal friends 
and benefactors; giving, for its support, one hundred pouiiil.-, 
or tliree hundred and thirty-three dollars, and thirty-three 
cents, a liberal sum for one in his circumstances. He was 
appointed one of the trustees, in company with the Hon. 
Moses Gill, Hon. Levi Lincoln, Joseph Allen, Seth Wash- 
burn, Samuel Baker, and several respectable clergymen of 
the vicinity; thus showing his regard for such institutions as 
would benefit his country. 

In 1785, the Legislature being well satisfied wdth his la- 
bor, and the correct, intelligent report, made to them, of his 
doings in the preceding year, appointed him on the committee 
for the sale of their eastern lands, and also superintendent 
of the surveys to be made this 5-ear. In June, while he was 
in Boston making preparations for the voyage, he received 
notice of his appointment, by Congress, as one of the sur- 
veyors of their lands, northwest of the river Ohio, recently 
ordered to be surveyed for sale, being seven ranges of town- 
ships, immediately west of the Pennsylvania line. As he 
could not honorably relinquish his engagement with ^lassa- 
chusetts, and also wished to accept the ofiice, he wrote to 
the secretary an afTirmative answer, and at the same time, 
a letter to the Massachusetts delegation, requesting them to 
get Congress to appoint Gen. Tupper temporarilv, in his 
place, until his present contract was fuKilled. This object 
was accomplished, and Gen. Tupper proceeded on to Pitts- 
burg, for this pur])ose, in 1785. On the 1 1th of June, he 
sailed, with his company of surveyors, from Beverly, and 
arrived at Blue Hill on the 20th. This season v.-as occupied 


in surveying the coast, islands, and towns westward of Pen- 
obscot bay, and laid the foundation for a correct chart of 
that stormy sea-board. He returned late in December, and 
spent the winter in protracting the results of his labors, for 
the use of the state. 

In January, 1785, a ti'eaty was made with the Indians 
claiming the lands now in Ohio, at Fort JMcIntosh, but with 
conditions so repugnant to the Delawares and Shawnoes, who 
considered themselves as cheated and deceived by the com- 
missioners on the part of the United States, that they threat- 
ened with death any w^ho attempted to execute the surveys, 
and were so manifestly hostile, that it was deemed impru- 
dent to make the attempt, and the work was abandoned for 
that year. 

When Gen. Tupper returned in the winter, he made a 
very favorable report of the fertility and beauty of the 
countiy, and as there was no expectation of Congress doing 
anything more favorable for the officers and soldiers of the 
late army than wsa contained in their ordinance of the 20th 
of May, 1785, Gen. Putnam concluded to join with Gen. 
Tupper in proposing an association for the purchase of lands 
in the western country. Accordingly on the ]Oth of Jan- 
uary, 1786, after nearly a whole night spent in conferring on 
this momentous subject, they issued a public notice ad- 
dressed to the officers and soldiers, as ivell as other good 
citizens disposed to become adventurers in the Ohio countr}', 
to meet at Boston, by delegates chosen in the several coun- 
ties, on the 1st day of March, for the purpose of forming an 
association by the name of '-The Ohio Company." P^'rom 
that night's conference of these two men, who had long 
been close and firm friends, on the 9th of January, 178G, 
proceeded the first germ of the present great state of Ohio. 
A full detail of the formation and progress of the company, 


will ))e found in " The History of the first Settlement of Wash- 
ington county, and the Transactions of the Ohio Company," 
a work Avhich precedes the volume of Biographies. 

h\ jMarch, 178G, the United States surveyors were ordered 
to proceed west; and as Gen. Tupper had been at very se- 
rious expense in the last year's journey, without any profit, 
Gen. Putnam kindly continued him as his substitute, while 
he occupied the summer in closing the business of the I\Ias- 
sachusetts lands. In addition to this, he was appointed by 
the state a commissioner, in conjunction with Gen. Lincoln, 
and Judge Paine, of Wiscasset, to treat with the Penobscot 
Indians, which was accomphshed in August and Septem- 
ber of that year. During the severe weather of January, 
1787, he joined Gen. Lincoln at Worcester, as a volunteer 
aid to suppress the Shay insurrection, and continued to as- 
sist him with his advice and personal presence during this 
trj-ing period, until the final dispersion of the insurgents at 
Petersham, in February. In April he was appointed a jus- 
tice of the peace by Gov. Bowdoin, and in May chosen by 
the town of Rutland, a member in the General Assembly, 
and attended the spring and autumn sessions of that year. 

In November, 1789, the directors of the Ohio Company 
appointed him superintendent of all their affairs relating to 
the settlement of their lands northwest of the river Ohio. 
The first division of their pioneers left Danvers, in ^lassa- 
chusetts, under the direction of Maj. Ilaffield White, on the 
1st day of December. The second assembled at Hartford, 
Conn., on the 1st of January, 1788, and were led by 
Col. Sproat ; Gen. Putnam being obliged to go by the way 
of the city of New York, on the business of the company. 
On the 24th of that month he joined the division at Swatarra 
creek, Pa., which they crossed with nuich difficulty, on ac- 
count of the ice. On that night there fell a deep snow, 
which blocked up the roads, and with their utmost exertions 


tliey could get their wagons no further than Cooper's tav- 
ern, now Straweburg, at the foot of tlie Tuscarawas moun- 
tain, on the 29th of January. Here they ascertained tha; 
no one had crossed the mountains since the last fall of 
snow, which, with that on the ground before, made about 
three feet. They therefore abandoned their \vagons, built 
four stout sledges, to which they harnessed their horses in 
single file, preceded by the men on foot, who broke a track 
for the teams, and thus, after two weeks of incessant lalK)!', 
they overcame the mountain ranges, and the numerous dif- 
ficulties of the way, reaching Simrel's ferry on the Ybugh- 
iogheny on the 14th of February, where they found the party 
under 3Iaj. \Yhite, who arrived the 23d of January. 

By the 1st of April, having completed their boats and 
taken in their stores of provisions, they embarked on the 
western waters for the mouth of the ^Muskingum, which 
place they reached on the 7th of April, and landed at the 
upper point, where they pitched theu- camp among the trees. 
The next day Col. Sproat and John jMathe\vs commenced 
the survey of the eight acre lots, and in a few days after the 
city lots and streets, of the town of ^Marietta. On his way 
out, CiCn. Putnam procured copies of the several treaties 
heretofore made vrith the western Indians, from which he 
became impressed, that they would not long remain at peace, 
^vhen they saw the ^vhites taking actual possession of tlie 
country north of the Ohio river, ^vhich had for many years 
been considered the ])oundary line between their lands and 
t]ios(! of the United States. For this reason he directly com- 
menc(^d the erection of a strong garrison on the mai'giu of 
the plain, near the ^luskingum river, for the protection of 
themselves and the emigrants soon expected to follow. 
This fort was called •• Campus ]Martius,"' and is fully de- 
scrii)ed in the ]>receding history. The pioneers that yenr 
planted about one hundred and thirty acres of corn, on the 


plain back of the garrison, after girdling tlio trees, and de- 
positing the seed, in the loose earth with a hoe, there being 
no under brush in the forests at this period. The season 
was propitious, and the yield about thirty bushels to the 
acre. lie notes, " We had no frost until winter ; I had Eng- 
lish beans blossomed in December." Previous to taking 
possession of their lands, the directors and agents of tlie 
company had no correct knowledge of the face of the coun- 
try, or the quality of the soil, on the Muskingum, at and 
near its conlluence with the Ohio, where they had determined 
on locating their capital, to cover, including commons, four 
thousand acres ; and contiguous to this, to lay off one thou- 
sand lots of eight acres each, for the convenience of the 

In June, Gen. Parsons and Gen. Varniim, two of the di- 
rectors, with a sufficient number of the agents, arrived, to 
form a meeting, on the 2d day of July. On examining the 
location of the eight acre lots, they were much disappointed 
to find that no one of them had drawn a lot so near the 
town as to make it prudent to cultivate them.. To remed}'- 
this evil, they voted to divide three thousand acres of the 
land reserved for city commons, into three acre lots; but 
this unwise division did not mend the difficulty : they were 
still as little accommodated as before. The project of laying- 
out eight acre lots had been opposed from the first by Gen. 
Putnam and a few others, who advocated the plan of laying 
off small farms of sixty-four acres of the best lands, to each 
share bordering on the Ohio or jNIuskingum ; of v.hich the 
first actual settlers might take their choice ; but they were 
overruled and the eight acre lots having been drawn, it ^vas 
too late to adopt the other plan. 

In July, Gov. St. Clair arrived, and a code of laws for the 
government of the territory promulgated. In September 
the Court of Common Picas and Quarter Sessions held their 


first session. Of the latter Gen. Putnam was the presiduig 
officer, and gave the charge to the grand jury, in a very ap- 
propriate and impressive manner. It was an august and 
cver-to-be-commemorated occasion — the first opening of 
the halls of civil justice in a region destined to be filled with 
millions of happy human beings. Much to the credit of the 
moral and peaceful habits of the first settlers of Ohio, no 
suit of a civil or criminal kind was entered on the docket of 
the session. 

In the course of the year 1788, in addition to the first 
forty-eight ^vho landed on the 7th of April, there arrived 
eighty-four men, with several women and children, embra- 
cing fifteen families, making at its close nearly two hundred 
souls ; and let it be remembered that at the beginning of 
the year 1789, there was not a single white faniily within 
the present bounds of Ohio, but those in this settlement. 
Col. Ilarmer and many of his officers were proprietoj-s in 
the Ohio Company. Judge Symmes passed down the Ohio 
during the summer, to his purchase, with a few families, but 
they spent the winter in Kentucky. The directors and agents 
early saw the necessity of providing some way to furnish 
actual settlers not proprietors, with lands, for the prosperity 
of the settlement. Emigi'ants were constantly passing down 
the Ohio river for Kentucky, many of ^^•hom were desirous 
of settling in the Ohio Company's purchase, if they could 
get lands. For this reason they resolved to donate one 
hundred acres from each share of la,nd, to any actual settler 
'\vlio uould take possession thereof; and a committee was 
appointed to rcconnoiter the purchase, and select suitable 
spots for the settlements. 

Ill 17S9, the a^dditions to the colony were one hundred 
and ilfty-two men, and fifty-seven families, and scttlciucnts 
were commenced at Belpre, AVaterford and AA'olf creek 
mills. In this year Gen. Putnam was appointoci, by tlie 

RUFUS PUT\A:\r. 105 

govornor, judge of probate, for tlic- county of Wa.-liiiigtou. 
Tli(^ insignia on his i^eal of ofiicc was a Ixihiucc ; fui emblem 
of the exact jur^ticc that ever Inilancecl his own mind. 

In 171)0, he was commissioned as a judge of t!ie I'nited 
States Court, lilUng the phice on tlic bench made vacant by 
the deatli of Gen. Parsons. In Xo\('ml)er of this year, he 
removed his family to jMarietta, consisting of his wife, six 
daugliters, two sons, and two grandchiklrcMi. iJuring the 
autunm the Frencli emigrants, nearly four hundred in num- 
ber, arri\ ed, and he was at a good deal of expense, on ac- 
count of Mr. Duer, of Ne\v York, in erecting houses and 
supplying tliem with provisions, which was never repaid. 

On the 2d of January, 1791, the Indians made their first 
hostile mo\cments on the settlements of the company, sack- 
ing and destroying the station at Big Bottom, killing four- 
teen persons, and carrying five others into capti\ity. The 
troops had been withdra\vn from Fort Ilarmer, in the unfor- 
tunate expedition into the country of the Shawnocs, ^vho 
were greatly exasperated, instead of humbled thereby; and 
now with the other tribes who sided with them, threatened the 
destruction of the new establishments on the Ohio and ]Mus- 
kingum. By the return of the muster rolls of the militia at 
the time, it appears that the whole force amounted to two 
hundred and fifty men, to which may be added thirty-seven 
old men and ci\ il ofilcers, all that could be mustered for the 
defense of the three settlements. In this trying emei'gency,the 
wisdom and experience of Gen. Putnam ^verc found to be 
of the utmost value. He, \vilh the other old ofilcers of the 
Tlevolution, devised the plan of erecting strong garrisons at 
Belpre and Waterford, \vhile those at ^Marietta were strength- 
ened with additional works; to all ^vhich the Ohio Company 
lent their ready assistance, and during the foiu' years of the 
war expended above eleven thousand dollars of their money 
in provisions, pay, clothing, &c.. for tlie militia, which was 


never repaid by the United States, althougli rightly and 
justly due them. The plan of appointing a company of 
rangers to scour the woods in the vicinity of the stations, 
was the suggestion of Cen. Putnam, -who had seen the wis- 
dom of the system in the old French war, and was one of 
tlic i)rincipal causes of so little loss hy the colonists. The 
principal events of the v/ar are detaihxl in the History of 
Washington county, and will not be recapitulated here. 

In i\rav, 1792, Avhilc in Philadelphia, on business for the 
Ohio Company, he was appointed by the senate a brigadier- 
general in the army of the United States, at the suggestion 
of his old and firm friend, Gen. Washington. This appoint- 
ment he accepted with great reluctance, as appears by his 
letter to the secretary of war. 

In a few days after, he received his instructions from the 
secretary ; one of the first duties of which Avas " to attempt 
to be present at the general council of the hostile Indians, 
about to be assembled on the ]Miami river of Lake Erie, in 
order 1o convince them of tlic humane di:-j)osilion of the 
United States: and thereby to make a truce; or peace Avith 
them."' lie arrived at Pittsburg on his Avay home, the 2d 
of June, and on the Sth sent a speecli to the hostile tribes, 
by two !Munsee Indians who had been taken prisoners, and 
whom he released for that purpose. 

The piu'port of the speecli was to notify tliem of the ob- 
ject of his mission, and ''to recpiest them to open a path to 
Fort .b'fi'erson, -where he expected to arri\e in about twenty 
days ; and that they should r-end some of their young men, 
witli Cai)t. Hendricks, to conduct him with a few friends to 
the ])lace they should name for their meeting." 

Frf)m unexpected delays, lie, however, did not arrive at 
Fort Wa.-liington, or Cincinnati, until the 2d of Jidy. wliere 
he Icaincd that on the '.ery day he had sent \vord to the In- 
dia)is he should be at }'\)rt .Jeflerson. a bodv of one hundred 


Indians, dressed in white shirts, and their leader with a scar- 
k^t coat, attacked a party of whites who were making hay 
in a meadow near the fort, and killed and carried into cap- 
tivity sixteen men. From the extraordinary dress of these 
Indians, there is reason to suppose they were sent out, or at 
least furnished with their clothing, ])y tlie British agent at 
their post on the Miami, for the express purpose of decoying 
and taking off Gen. Putnam, which was further strengthened 
soon after by the murder of Col. Hardy and Col. Trucman, 
who had heen sent out with flags of truce, and were to have 
accompanied him, but the Providential delays of the journey 
prevented his being killed or captured with them. From 
these events and other circumstances, he became satisfied 
that the grand counsel were determined on war, and there- 
fore it was useless to make any further efforts to induce 
them to treat of peace at present. 

By a letter from ^Maj. Ilamtramick, at Post Vincent, he 
was led to believe that the Wabash, and more western tribes, 
would, listen to his proposals of pea^ce. He, therefore, on 
the 24th, sent a speech to all the Avestern tribes, inviting 
them to meet him in council, at Post Vincent, on the 20th 
of September; assuring them that he should bring their 
friends and relatives with him. now prisoners at Fort Vv^ash- 
ington. On the IGth of August, he left that post, in his 
twelve-oared barge, under the escort of Capt. Peters, with 
two Kentucky boats, the Indian prisoners, sixty in number, 
Avith goods, provisions, &c., intending to ascend the Wabash 
in pirogues. He reached the mouth of that stream in about 
eighteen days, being retarded by the low stage of the water. 
Here he met a guard of fifty-one men, and four pirogues, 
with each a French voyageur, to conduct him to Post Vin- 
cent, sent on by ^laj. Ilamtramick, the commander of the 
post, where they arrived on the 13th of vSeptember. At 


the time he left the falls of Ohio, a large drove of cattle 
was sent across the country, under an escort from Fort Steu- 
ben, which stood at the head of the falls, intended to supply 
food for the Indians at the treaty, who were expected to 
number seven or eight hundred. The commandant at Vin- 
cennes had sent the commissioner's speech, of the 21th of 
July, to all the tribes on the Wabash, of which, he received 
notice, by letter of the 31st of August; and the prospect of 
a'full attendance at the treaty was very flattering. A reg- 
ular correspondence was kept up with Gen. Wayne and 
Gen. Wilkerson, some of which letters are very interesting, 
detailing the progress of events on the frontiers. One from 
Wilkerson, of the last of September, gives an account of a 
reconnoisance, just made by him, to the outposts on the 
Miami and heads of the Wabash, across the battle ground 
of Gen. St. Clair, Avhcre he found two brass field pieces, left 
on the field by the Indians. 

The treaty was opened on the 25th of September, and 
concluded on the 27th ; and was strictly a treaty of peace 
and amity, between eight of the Wabash tribes and the 
United States. It was signed by thirty-one of their kings, 
chiefs, and warriors. It contained seven articles; the pur- 
port of which was, that these tribes were taken into the pro- 
tection of the United States, who warranted to them, the 
peaceable possession of their lands, and promised never to 
take them from them, without their consent and a just equiv- 
alent paid therefor. Perpetual peace was to be maintained 
between the contracting parties. All the white prisoners 
and negroes in their possession, were to be delivered up at 
Fort Knox, or Vinccnnes, as soon as possible; and diey 
prom.ised to cease from stealing negroes and horses from 
the whites. It was witnessed by the officers of the post, 
and the interpreters WilUam Wells, Rene Codine, and the 


Rev. John Hackenwclder, who accompanied Gen. Putnam 
in hid journey from Marietta, and vva.s well known to man}' 
of the tribes. 

In the journal of the proceedings, several of the speeches 
of the chiefs are given ; some of which are quite sensible, 
but none of them equal to those made at the treaty of 
Greenville, in 1795, by the Shawanoes, Pottawatamies, and 
Wyandots. Turke, a Wyandot, said, " I now tell you, that 
no one in particular can justly claim this ground; it be- 
longs in common to us all; no earthly being has an exclu- 
sive right to it. The Great Spiiit above is the true and 
only owner of this soil; and lie has given us all an equal 
right to it." lie also said, " We will offer our acknowledg- 
ments to the Great Spirit ; for, it is Him alone who has 
brought us together, and caused us to agree in the good 
works \vliich liave been done," referring to the treaty. The 
New Corn, a Pottawatamie chief, and an old man, spoke 
at this treaty, and at the close, said, "My friends, I am old) 
but I shall never die. I shall always live in my children, 
and children's childi'en." A beautiful sentiment, and worthy 
the best days of Socrates. These few brief specimens of 
their speeches are given to show that they are not destitute 
of native genius, brilliant thoughts, and just sentiments. 

The treaty accomplished by Gen. Putnam was of essen- 
tial benefit to the country ; as it neutralized, and detached a 
large body of warriors from the hostile tribes, Avho lived near 
to the borders of Kentucky, and thus lessened the strength 
of our enemies. There were in attendance at the treaty, 
six hundred and eighty-six men, women and children; two 
hundred and forty-seven of which were warriors. After its 
close, a large quantity of clothing and ornaments was dis- 
tributed amongst them, which served to confirm their good 
intentions. On the IGth of September, nine days before the 


opening of the treaty, he is.suecl a proclamation, reminding 
the inhabitants of Post Vincennes of the lau' prohibiting the 
sale of ?pivituous Uquors to the Indians; and forbid any one, 
whether Kccnsed or unhccnsed, from selling any during the 
continuance of the treaty. This was a wise precaution; as 
when under the inducnce of its insane effects, no good could 
have been accomplished with the Indians. On the Sth of 
October, the inhabitants of the town made a ^vritten address 
to Gen. Putnam, through Maj. Vanderburgh, in v.hich they 
congratulate and thank him, for the happy manner in \vhich 
he had accomplished the treaty of peace, with a part of the 
hostile tribes, and the benefits which would result to the in- 
habitants of that territory, from it. Amongst other things, 
they say, " Your happy success in this arduous enterprise 
affords another proof, how much you merit the honors which 
government has conferred upon you, and will remain a me- 
mento of the justice of Congress, and of your integrity, to 
the latest times." It was signed by Paul and Pierre Gamclin, 
and the principal French and English inhabitants of the 
place, and remains a memorial of tlicir gratitude. To this, 
he returned a polite answer; and among other things, says, 
"It must give a man of sensibility, peculiar pleasure, to find 
that his manner of treating the Indians meets the approba- 
tion of a people so long acquainted with their customs and 
manners;"' and closes with wishing them happiness and 
prosperity, "under a wise administration and the blessings 
of peace." 

Amidst all this complication of business, he was suffering 
Vvdth severe illness, an attack of intermittent fever of the 
tertian type, on the 25th of September, the first dny of the 
treaty. This continued to harass him until the 6th of Oc- 
tober. On the 29th of September, ten of the Indian chiefs, 
whon'i he had invited to visit their father, the President of 


the United States, left Post Vincent, under charge of Lieut. 
Prioi' and Mr. Ilackenwelder, who accompanied them as iar 
as JMarietta. 

On the 10th of October, Gen. Putnam left the post, l)y 
water, being yet weak and feeble. From sickness and va- 
rious dehij's, he did not reach his home until the isth of 
December. On the way up, he encamped one night in com- 
pany \vith some hunters, who had a full suppl}- of b(\ar and 
other Avild meat. This was cooked in their camp-kettle, 
hunter fashion. Of this, he ate ver}- freely, contrary to the 
advice of his physician, who had forbidden animal food; and 
ascribed his recovery to that night's repast, as from that 
hour, his health was rapidly restored, and ague subdued. 
As soon as he was able to travel on horseback, he set out 
for Philadelphia, to make his report to the secretary of war, 
Henry Knox. Soon after this, he resigned his commission 
of brigadier-general, he being unfit for actual service, and 
not ^vishing to retain an office, the duties of which he could 
not fulfill with benefit to the government. On the 15th of 
February, the secretary of war addressed to him the following : 
"War DErART.-MEXT, Feb. 15th, 1793. 

Sir: Your letter of yesterday has been submitted to the 
President of the United States — while he accepts your resig- 
nation, he regrets that your ill health compels you to leave 
the army, as he had anticipated much good to the troops, 
from your experience as an officer. He has commanded me 
to tender you his thanks, for the zeal and judgment mani- 
fested in your negotiation with the Wabash Indians, and 
your further endeavors toward a general pacification. 
I am, sir, with great esteem, your oljcdient servant, 

H. Kxox, 

Secretary of War. 

Rrig. Gen. Rufus Putnam." 

In May, 1793, he was appointed by the directors of the 


Ohio Company, superintendent of the surveys of one hun- 
dred thousand acres of land, donated by Congress to actual 
settlers,in the purchase, in lots of one hundred acres to each 
man, on the 21st of April, 1792. For the encouragement 
of settlers, the surveys were actually begun and carried on 
in certain allotment;^, on and near the Muskingum, in the 
midst of the war, and it was so ordered that no accident 
befell the surveyors from the Indians, although constantly' 
liable to their attacks. 

In 179-1, a more safe and effectual mode of conducting the 
intelligence between the army assembling on the frontiers 
and the seat of government, than that by express through 
Kentucky and Carolina, or the chance and uncertain one by 
travelers up and down the river, had to be devised. Col. 
Pickering, the post master general, proposed that of send- 
ing the mails by water, in packet boats, which was submitted 
to Gen. Putnam, for his advice. He soon arranged a plan 
that was adopted, of light boats, manned with five men each, 
to run from Wheeling to Limestone, with regular relays, and 
stations of exchange, one of which was jMarietta. This 
system was put under the superintendence of Gen. Putnam, 
and found on experience to be very useful, safe, and expedi- 
tious. A full account of which is given in the History of 
Washington county. 

In 1795, he was appointed by ]Mr. Walcott, secretary of 
tlic treasury, to arrange the distribution and survey of the 
twenty-four thousand acres of land given by Congress to 
the French settlers at Gallipolis \vhich tract is known by the 
name of the •■ French CI runt." The President also, through 
^Ir. Walcott, confided to him tlie superintendence of the lay- 
ing out a nationfd road, located by Ebenczer Zane, from 
Wheeling in A'a.,to Limestone in Ky. 

In October, 179G, he was commissioned by the President 
(ien. \Yashiii2:ton. sur\ e\or-i2"eneral of the United States 


lands — n post of" great responsibility; requh'ing a thorough 
knowledge of the principles of sui'veying, and the higher 
branches of mathematics, astronomy, &c., to be able to de- 
tect any errors that might arise in the returns, of the field 
notes, plats, &c., of the subordinate surveyors. It also re- 
quired great industry and constant vigilance, in attending tv 
the duties of the office, which embraced large tracts of coun- 
try in the Northwest Territory, now first ordered to be sur- 
veyed. The lands granted to the officers of the army for 
military services were surveyed under his direction, and 
platted by himself. In this map the width of the streams is 
given, as well as their direction. The tract contains one 
hundred and seventy-four townships or sections, of five miles 
square, in twenty ranges. The lands given to the Moravian 
Indians, at Shoenbrun, Gnadenhutten and Salem, lie in this 
tract. This office he continued to hold, with great credit to 
himself, and entire satisfaction of the government, until 
September, 1803, when Mr. Mansfield u'as appointed to 
his place, by Mr. Jefferson. 

Mr. Jefferson, in his reply to a remonstrance of the New 
Haven merchants, for some of his removals in that place, 
says, " How are vacancies to be obtained ? Those by death 
are few : by resignation none. Can any other mode than 
removal be proposed? I shall proceed with deliberation, 
that it may be thrown as much as possible on delinquency, 
oppression, intolerance, and anti-revolutionary adherence 
to our enemies."' And yet he was well known to have turned 
out some of the firmest Whigs of the revolution. Gen. Put- 
nam consoled himself under this mortifying act, by saying, 
" I am happy in having my name enrolled with many otliers 
who have suffered the like political death, for adherence to 
those correct principles and measures, in the pursuance of 
which our country rose from a state of w^eakness, disgrace, 
and poverty, to strength, honor, and credit." 


In 1798, he devised a plan for erecting a building, by a 
company of proprietors, for the purposes of education, to be 
called the "Muskingum Academy," which is believed to have 
been the first in the state, for branches of learning higher 
than those taught in common schools. The stock amounted 
to one thousand dollars, of which he was one of the princi 
pal owners. A building was put up in front of the large 
commons on the Muskingum, which continued to be occu- 
pied for the purposes of education for more than twenty 
years. It also served for a place of public worship until 
the year 1808, for the first Congregational society, who were 
the principal owners. 

In 1801, he was appointed by the Territorial Legislature, 
one of the trustees of the Ohio University, established at 
Athens, and spent a great deal of time in bringing the lands 
for its support into available use ; and in forming rules and 
regulations for the government of the college. It was a 
subject in which he felt the deepest interest, and had been 
one of the principal movers of the plan, appropriating two 
full townships of land for its support, in the purchase made 
by the Ohio Company from Congress in 1789. This land, 
be it remembered, was not a gift of the United Stales, but 
a part of the contract made in the bargain by the agents 
of the company with the Board of the Treasury. The en- 
dowment of this institution, and seeing it put in actual oper- 
ation, were subjects which lay near his heart, and which he 
lived to sec fulfilled, and a number of young men, now 
among the most eminent in the state, there educated and 
receive literary degrees. 

In 1802, he was elected by the citizens of Washington 
county, then embracing a large territory, a mem])cr of the 
convention to form a constitution for the state of Ohio. It 
w-as an arduous and difficult labor, in which many conflict- 
ing views were to be harmonized, but was finally completed 


in tlio host manner the period and times would allow. A 
history of the parties, and the secret springs put in motion 
during the formation of this important document, which was 
to shape the destiny of future millions, for weal or woe, 
would now be a narrative of peculiar interest, and may be 
expected from the pen of one the few remaining living mem- 
bers of that convention, in an article for the Historical Soci- 
ety of Ohio. 

In January, 180G, the Rev. Samuel Priuce Robbins was 
pcttled as pastor over the church and congregation of which 
he was a member. In 1807, he drafted the plan of a large 
frame building for a church, which was executed under his 
superintendence, the funds being raised by the more wealthy 
members of the society and his own liberal subscription, 
amounting to fifteen hundred dollars. It was finished and 
occupied in 1808, and yet remains a monument of his devo- 
tion and zeal to the cause of religion. Thirty of the pews 
were reserved by him, and in his will, the annual rents de- 
voted to the support of the pastor, and a Sunday school ; 
equally divided between them. In his latter years, when he 
had retired from the active pursuits of life, his mind was 
much occupied in devising plans for the promotion of the 
gospel. In 1812, he was deeply engaged with several others 
in forming a Bible Society, the first that was organized 
west of the mountains, and subscribed very liberally for its 
support. It has continued to flourish until this day, and has 
been the means of spreading that blessed book amongst 
thousands of the destitute in this, and the adjacent counties. 

A correspondence, by letters, was kept up with his old as- 
sociates of the Revolutionary war, and in one of the letters 
from Gov. Strong of JMassachusetts, in 1812, he writes, "By 
your letter, I am convinced that your sentiments with regard 
to the present war, are similar to my own. Your old ac- 
quaintances, Gen. Brooks, (afterward Gov. of JMassachusetts,) 


and Gen. Cobb, are of the council. I read to them 
your letter, and they expressed in the warmest terms their 
friendship and respect for you." Such manifestations of the 
regard and friendship of his early associates, served to ani- 
mate and warm his heart, as old age approached, and 
console him for the great political changes which were con- 
tinually going on. 

]n his religious character, he was equally faithful and ener- 
getic, as in his military and civil. In the year 1810, a gen- 
tleman removed to Marietta from Massachusetts, who had 
been engaged as a teacher in Sunday schools, and well 
acquainted with conducting those seminaries of good prin- 
ciples, in which that state was ever foremost. At that period 
it was a new thing* in the west, and none were in operation 
in the valley of the Ohio. Gen. Putnam was quite anxious 
to have one established in Marietta, and made many in- 
quiries of the teacher as to the manner of conducting them. 
After one of these interviews, he sent for him one day, and 
related to him a dream he had the night before. lie thought 
he was standing by a window in a large public building, and 
saw a procession of children neatly clad, approaching with 
music. He asked a bystander the meaning of the show 
who answered, "These are the children of the Sabbath 
school.'" After this relation he remarked to the teacher that 
he thought he should live to sec the dream fulfilled. The 
following spring, a Sabbath school was commenced in the 
Muskingum Academy, and continued through the summer. 
The next year, or in 1818, three schools were opened in dif- 
ferent parts of the town. In the autumn, when the time for 
closing tlicm arrived, they then being laid aside in the winter, 
the three schools were assembled at the academy, and a 
})rocession formed, which marched from that building on to 
the bank of the Muskingum, and thence to the Congrega- 
tional church. As the teacher, before mentioned, entered 


the, Gen. Putnam was standing at the window from 
which he had viewed the approach of the procession, and 
as the tears flowed from his eyes, exckiimcd " Here is the 
fulfilhnent of my dream !'' 

Iji the spring of 1820, a revival of religion commenced 
in IMarietta, and frequent evening meetings were held for 
prayer, but being very old and infirm, he was unable to at- 
tend them. A friend remarked to him that he supposed it 
was a source of regret to him, that he could not meet with 
them at this interesting period. " I do meet \vitli you," was 
his prompt reply ; meaning by this, as A\as afterward ascer- 
tained, that he spent the whole time of the meeting in his 
closet, engaged in secret prayer. 

About the year 1821, a company of missionaries from 
New England, arrived at Marietta, on their way to the Osage 
Indians. Two young ladies, who stayed with Mr. William 
Slocomb, expressed a strong desire of seeing Gen. Putnam, 
and he accompanied them to his house. After many inqui- 
ries as to the prospects of the mission, and expressing his 
ardent desire for its success, he abruptly asked them if they 
had any fresh meat on board their boat? Finding they had 
none, he turned to Mr. Slocomb and said, " I now sec 
through the whole mystery ; I have an ox that has been fat- 
ting for more than a year, and for several months past have 
tried to sell him, but could not. I now understand the rea- 
son: the Lord has designed him for this mission family. J 
will have him killed and dressed by eight o'clock in the 
morning, and do you have barrels and salt ready at the 
boat, for packing ^vhat cannot be used fresh.'' All was done 
as he directed. 

For some time before his death, being unable to attend 
public worship, a duty he had never failed to perform, in all 
weather, while able to walk that distance, it was his weekly 
practice to rehearse in his own mind, the articles of the 


Assembly's Shorter Catechism, lest from not hearing the 
preached word, he might lose sight of the great principles 
and doctrines of the Christian religion : a practice well worthy 
the attention of modern professors. J\Iany other examples 
might be given of his devotion to the cause of religion, but 
these will suffice to show his habitual feelings on this mo- 
mentous subject. 

He lost his excellent and faithful wife in the year 1820; 
but his last years were made comfortable and happy by the 
unremitting and affectionate attention of his pious maiden 
daughter, Elizabeth. 

His final departure was like that of the righteous, and his 
last end full of hope and heavenly consolation. Although 
he was for many years the master of a lodge of jMasons, to 
which he became attached during the war, yet he enjoined 
it upon his son, as one of his last orders, that his burial 
should be conducted without any of the forms and ceremo- 
nies common at the funerals of those the world calls great, 
but in the most simple manner ever practiced on these oc- 
casions; choosing rather to be buried as a humble follower 
of Christ, than with the showy forms of military or 3Iasonic 
pageantry. He died in May, 1824, in the eighty-seventh 
year of his age. 

In person. Gen. Putnam was tall, nearly six feet; stout, 
and commanding: features strongly marked, with a calm. 
resolute expression of countenance, indicating firmne.-^s and 
decision, so peculiar to the men who figured in the American 
revolution: eyes grey, and one of them disfigured by an 
injury in childhood, which gave it an outward, oblique cast, 
leaving the expression of his face strongly impressed on thr. 
mind of the beholder. His manner was abrupt, prompt, 
and decisive; a trait peculiar to the Putnam family, but, 
withal, kind and conciliating. In conversation, lie was 
very interesting; possessing a rich fund of anecdote, and 


valuable facts in the history of men and things with which he 
had b(>en familiar; delivered in a straightforward, imprct^s- 
ive manner, very instructive and pleasant to the hearer. 
The impress of his character is strongly marked on the 
population of Marietta, in their buildings, institutions, and 
manners; so true it is, that new settlements, like children, 
continue to bear through life, more or less, the impressions 
and habits of their early childhood. 


Abraham WinppLE was a descendant of John Whipple, one 
of the original proprietors of the Providence plantations, 
and associate of Roger Williams, who is considered the 
founder of the colony. He was born in Providence, Rhode 
Island, in the year 1733. 

His early education w^as very imperfect; but possessing 
a naturally strong mind, and great resolution of purpose, 
he acquired in the course of the sea-faring life which he fol- 
lowed at an early period, sufficient knowledge of naviga- 
tion, and the keeping accounts, to conduct the command of 
vessels in the West India trade, with credit to himself and 
profit to his employers. The intercourse of the colonists 
was restricted by Mother Britain to that of her own posses- 
sions, with an exception in favor of the Dutch port of Surinam 
on the main, and the Danish island of St. Croix. This busi- 
ness he followed for many years previous to the war of the 
Revolution, and several letters from Nicholas Brown, one of 
the earliest merchants of Providence, and in whose employ 
he sailed, are on file amongst his papers, containing instruc- 
tions for the conduct of the voyage. Toward the close of 
the old French war, after the king of Spain had taken tip 
arms against England, he was employed as the commander 
of a privateer called the Game Cock.* During the cruise 

* The following notice of an early cruise of Com. Whipple, was procured for me 
by my friend Dr. P. G. Ilobbins, of Roxbury, from an old file of the Boston Post- 
boy and Advertiser, of February 4th, 17 GO, now in the Historical Society roomj, at 

"Last Tuesday returned to Pi'ovidcncc, after a successful cruise, Capt. Abraham 
Whipple, of the Game Cock privateer; who sailed from this place on the I9th of 
July last, having taken in said cruise, twenty-three French prizes, many of which 


he captured a valuable Spanish f-^hip, l)y running alongr^ide, 
and carried her by boarding without much resistance. 

It was during this period of his early life that the follow- 
ing event took place, while in the southerly portion of the 
Gulf of ]\Iexico, on his return from a West India voyage, 
in a large armed ship or letter of marque, the larger portion 
of whose gmis, however, were of wood, technically called 
" quakers." In a severe gale, he was obliged to throw over- 
board a part O'f his armament, especially a nmnber of his 
metal guns, leaving him in quite a defenseless condition. 
Soon after this event a French privateer appeared in chase. 
She was full of men, as he ascertained by his telescope, and 
far outnumbered him in guns ; although but for the late 
disaster, as his ship was much the largest, and pretty well 
manned, he might have made a stout defense, but under pres- 
ent circumstances his only chance for escape was by flight. 
Capt. Whipple, after sailing as close to the wind as possible, 
and trying the speed of the enemy on that course, found 
him constantly gaining on hixn, and that his hope of safety' 
must rest on a ruse de guerre, in which he was always ready. 
He directed his sailors to set up a number of handspikes, 
with hats and caps on them, looking at a distance like men 
at their stations ready for action, which, in addition to his ac- 
tual crew, appeared quite formidable. Being to the windward 
of the enemy, he directed the man at the wheel to put the ship 
about, and bear down directly upon him, showing his broad- 
side of quaker guns and deck full of men to great advan - 
tagp. The privateer was taken all aback; and thinking the 
former attempt at flight only a stratagem to entice her within 
reach of her shot, instantly put about, and with all haste 

were valuable. Capt. ^V. on his pa?fage home ou tlie 2Gih of January, spoke with 
Capt. Robert Brown, in a sloop from !Moatc Christo. bound to New York, in lat. 39 
dcg. 30 min., and lonj. 72 deg. 40 miu. in great distress for want of water and pro- 
visions, whieh he generously supplied him." 


escaped from her cunning antagonist. Capt. Whipple kept 
on the chase until the privateer had run nearly out of sight, 
when, with a shrug of the shoulder, and a hearty laugh at 
the success of his stratagem, he ordered the steersman to 
up helm, and bear away on the proper course for his des- 
tined port. 

His ready and prompt mind was never at a loss for expe- 
dients in all such emergencies, and generally succeeded in 
turning them to his own advantage, as will be seen in his 
after life. This exploit gained him a good deal of credit 
with his townsmen, and was doubtless the reason of his 
being selected a few years after to command the company 
of volunteers vrho captured and burnt the British schooner 
Gaspe, the tender of a ship of war, stationed in Narragan- 
sett bay, to enforce the maritime laws. These restrictions 
had become very odious and unpopular to the inhabitants 
of Newport and Providence: the Gaspe especially, com- 
manded by Lieut. Buddington, of the navy, with a crew of 
twenty-seven men, had become the terror of all the shipping 
entering these ports; not only by overhauling their cargoes, 
and confiscating tlic goods, but by pressing the men into 
the British service. At this time, the commerce of Newport 
and Pro\ idencc together, exceeded that of New York, whose 
retail traders often visited the former town, to purchase dry 
goods and other merchandise of the importers, as the smaller 
cities nov/ visit New York. Newport, next to Boston, owned 
a larger number of vessels than any other port on the coast. 
The atteni})ts of the king and parliament of Great Britian 
to enforce the old navigation act, with the stamp act, duties 
on tea, and quartering large bodies of troops on the colo- 
nists, to tame them into obedience, only served to rouse 
their jealousy, and excite their disgust. While the inhalnt- 
ants wei'c filled ^vith fears of coming e\ils, and the public 
mind I'ouscd up to resistance, an event took place in the 


waters of Rhode Island, which may be considered as the 
'■^ overt act,''^ to the llevokition which soon followed. 

On the 17th of June, 1772, a Providence packet, that plied 
between l^^cw York and Rhode Island, named the Hannah, 
and commanded by Capt. Linzce, hove in sight of the man- 
of-war, in her passage up the bay. She was ordered to bring 
to, for examination; but Linzee refused to comply; and 
being favored with a fresh southerly breeze, that was fast 
carrying him out of gunshot of the ship, the tender was sig- 
naled to follow. In pursuing the chase, the Gaspe was led 
on to a shoal, which puts out from Nanquit point, but which 
the lighter draught of the Hannah enabled her to pass in 
safety. The tender here stuck fast; and as the tide fell, she 
careened partly on to her side. The packet reached Provi- 
dence before dark, and soon spread the news of the chase, 
and the helpless condition of the hated Gaspe. A muster 
of the sailors and sea-faring people soon followed; wdio, 
after choosing Capt. Whipple for their leader, embarked, to 
the number of sixty, in eight row-boats. The men were 
without arms, excepting one musket, which was shipped 
without Whipple's consent, as he intended no harm to the 
crew, unless opposed by force, but only to board the vessel, 
land the crew, and then set her on fire. They, however, put 
into each boat a large quantit}- of pebble stones, intending 
them as articles of offense, if necessary. As they approached 
the schooner, about two o'clock in the morning, they ^vere 
hailed by the sentinel, and asked, "Who commands them 
boats?" Whipple instantly answered, "The sheriff of the 
county of Kent;" and, " I come to arrest Capt. Buddington." 
The captain was by this time on deck, and warned the boats 
not to approach ; which they not heeding, he fired his pistol 
at them ; at this moment, a boy who had possession of the 
musket, discharged it, and wounded the captain in the thigh ; 
a volley of pebbles followed the discharge, and Whipple, at 


the head of his men, boarded the schooner, driving the crew 
below. After securing them, they were taken on shore, and 
the Gaspe burnt. The party returned in triumph to Provi- 
dence, and knowing that their conduct amounted to treason 
against the king, no one said anything about it ; and, al- 
though the secret was confided to not less than sixty per- 
sons, so deep was the hatred and indignation of the people, 
that no one disclosed it, or let any hint drop that could be 
used as proof against their companions. This bold step 
naturally excited great indignation in the British officers, 
and all possible means were taken to discover the offenders. 
Wanton, the colonial governor of Rhode Island, issued his 
proclamation, offering a reward of one hundred pounds ster- 
ling, for the discovery of any of those concerned. Soon 
after, the king's proclamation appeared, offering one thou- 
sand pounds for the man who called himself the high sheriff, 
and five hundred pounds for any other of the party ; with 
the promise of a pardon should the informer have been one 
of the party. But notwithstanding these tempting ofiers, so 
general was the dislike of the community to their oppress- 
ors, and their patriotism so true, that '"no evidence uas ever 
obtained, sufficient to arraign a single indi\ idual ; although 
a commission of inquiry, under the great seal of England, 
sat in Newport from Januar}' to June, during the year 1773." 
Cooper's Xaval History. Capt. Whipple, however, soon 
after sailed on a trading voyage to the West Indies, and did 
not return until 1771, \vhcn the event was in a manner 

In the meantime, aggressions and restrictions were heaped 
on llie colonists, until they became insupportable, and reac- 
tion began to take place. After the Boston Port Bill was 
passed, by \vhich the commerce of that flourishing town was 
entirely destroyed, as an offset for the destruction of the 
tea chests of the East India Company, resistance became 


more open, c~*pecially subsequent to the passage of the act 
prohibiting the exportation of miUtary stores from Engkmd 
to the colonies. Fully aware of the approaching contest, 
and the destitute condition of the inhal>itants of the materi- 
als for resistance, they began, in many places, to seize upon 
the military stores of the crown. livery garrison, fort, and 
magazine, being in possession of the king's ofiicers, and 
many of the inhabitants destitute of arms, and still more so 
of ammunition, it was absolutely necessary to resort to vio- 
lence for the purpose of arming themselves. At Portsmouth, 
N. II., a quantity of powder was taken from the castle in 
the harlior, and the citizens of Providence seized on twenty- 
six guns at Fort Island, and carried them up to their town. 
It was to destroy a magazine of provisions and other stores, 
collected by the inhabitants for the coming contest, at Con- 
cord, jMass., that the British made their celebrated inroad on 
the 19th of April, 1775; and the war fairly opened by the 
slaughter of the militia at Lexington, From this point, the 
spirit of resistance flew, like an electric shock, from heart to 
heart, until it pervaded the land. 

The little colony of Rhode Island, ever foremost in the 
cause of liberty, within one year and one month after the 
blood shed at Lexington, renounced their allegiance to the 
kirig of Great Britain, by a solemn act of their Legislature ; 
thus preceding, by two mouths, the declaration of indepen- 
dence by the Congress of the assembled colonics. This 
simple, but resolute document ought to be preserved in let- 
ters of gold. It is styled, "An Act of ]May, 177G, renouncing 
allegiance to the king of Great Britain ; " and thus proceeds : 
" Whereas in all states existing by compact, protection and 
allegiance are reciprocal ; the latter being only due in con- 
sequence of the former: and whereas George the Third, king 
of Great Britain, forgetting his dignity, regardless of the 
compact most solemnly entered into, ratified and confirmed 


to the inhabitants of this colony, by his iUustrious ances- 
tors, and till of late, fully recognised by him; and entirely 
departing from the duties and character of a good king, in- 
stead of protecting, is endeavoring to destroy the good peo- 
ple of this colony, and of all the united colonies, by sending 
fleets and armies to America, to confiscate our property, 
and spread fire, sword, and desolation throughout our coun- 
try, in order to compel us to submit to the most debasing 
and detestable tyranny; whereby we arc obliged by neces- 
sity, and it becomes our highest duty, to use every means 
with \vhich God and nature have furnished us, in support 
of our invaluable rights and privileges, to oppose the power 
which is exerted for our destruction." They then go on to 
repeal a certain act of allegiance to the king, then in force, 
and to enact a law, whereby, in all commissions of a civil 
or military nature, the name of the king shall be omitted, 
and that of the governor and company of the English col- 
ony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, substituted 
in its place ; and in all oaths of ofhcc, the officers shall 
swear to be faithful and true to the colony. 

]\Ioved by the same feelings which produced this declara- 
tion in 17TG, the Legislature, in June, 1775, two days before 
the battle of Bunker hill, purchased and armed two sloops, 
one of twelve, and the other of eight guns, appointing 
Capt. Whipple to the command of the larger, and Capt. 
Grimes to the smaller, who ^vas to act under the orders of 
Whipple. The larger vessel was named the Providence. 
Tiie oliject of this armament was to clear the bay of the 
Britisli tenders to the frigate Rose, under the command of 
Sir James Wallace, who blockaded the mouths of the har- 
bors and rivers, preventing the getting to sea of numerous 
vessn's, and the entry of such as were coming into port. 
On the l.'^th of Jane, Whipple sailed, \vith his command, 
down the bay of Narragansct, and attacked two of the 


enemy's tenders, which he dirfjibled, and forced to reUre under 
the guns of the frigate, and took one other a prize ; while 
by tlie light draught of hi^ own vessels he could keep out 
of the reach of the man-of-war. By this bold act the; bay 
was cleared of these nuisances, and a large number of 
homeward-bound vessels entered the port. 

Much has been .said and written, as to whom was due the 
credit of firing the first f^un on the sea, at the British, in the 
opening of the Revolutionary war. After the above state- 
ment, which comes from the pen of Ca{)t. AYhipple himself, 
in a petition to Congress in the year 178G, little doubt need 
be felt as to the propriety of assigning to him that honor. 
It is true that an unauthorized attack was made on the British 
schooner oMargarctta, by the IMachias people in jMay, which 
for its spirit and bravery deserves great credit, but was a 
mere pri\ ate transaction; while Whipple fired the first gun 
liuder any k'gal or colonial authority. This daring deed 
was performed at a time, when no other man in the colony 
would undertake the hazardous employment, lest he might 
be destined to the halter by Capt. Wallace, who threatened 
to np})ly it to all who should be taken in arms against his 
majesty. The people were not yet ready for open resist- 
ance to the king, but expected that parliament would finally 
relent from their rigorous measures, and love and friendship 
be again restored between their re\ercd parent and her un- 
dutiful children. 

Since the prospect of an open rupture daily increased, the 
old ad'nir of the Ciaspc was no longer kept in tli(> dark, but 
the name of the leader in that daring exploit, came to the 
cars of Capt. Wallace, ^vho sent him the following plain, if 
not very polite note : 

"You, Abraham Whipple, on the 17th of .lunc^ 177-.3, burned 
his majesty's vessel, the Gaspe, and I v.ill hang you at the 
yai-d-arm. Jamks Wallace." 


To which the captain returned tliis laconic and Spartan 
answer : 

" To Sir James Wallace : 

Sir : Ahva}'s catch a man before you hang him. 

Abraham Whipple." 

Notwithstanding the^e threat.-, he continued to cruise in 
the Narragansct bay until the 12th of September; during 
which period he fought several actions with vessels of supe- 
rior force, beating them off, and protecting the commerce 
of the state. These spirited combats infused new courage 
into the inhabitants of the neighboring colonies, as well as 
his own, and demonstrated that the British were not invinci- 
ble on the water. Maritime events like these, with those con- 
ducted by Capt. Manly, led Congress to the consideration of 
defending themselves and the country on the ocean, as well 
as on the land; and in October, 1775, a marine committee 
was appointed to superintend the naval affairs. 

About the 20th of September, he was ordered by the gov- 
ernor of Rhode Island, to proceed, with the sloop Providence, 
to the island of Bermuda, and seize upon the powder in the 
magazine of that place; this article being greatly needed 
by the country, which depended altogether on foreign sup- 
plies, not yet having learned to manufacture for th(>mselves. 
This order was obeyed with due diligence and l^ravery, but 
was unsuccessful, from the circumstance of the powder 
having been removed before his arrival. While on this ser- 
vice, he narrowly escaped capture by two of the enemy's 
ships of war. which were on that station. lie, however, by 
his daring and nautical skill, escaped; and arrived at llhode 
Island on the 0th of December, and resumed his former 
employment of cruising in the bay, until the 19th of that 

While absent on the voyage to Bermuda, Congress di- 
rected the mai'ine committee to purchase two swift sailing 


vessels; the one of ten, and the other of twelve guns. Un- 
der this order the Providence was purchased. Still later in 
the month, the marine committee were directed to purchase 
two additional ships, one of thirty-six guns, and the other 
of twenty. In pursuance of this order, the Alfred and Co- 
lumbus were bought at Philadelphia, both of them merchant 
ships. To these were added two brigs, the Cabot, and the 
Andrea Doria, making a naval force of six vessels, belong- 
ing to the United States ; of which the little Providence was 
the onl}' one that had been in active service. 

At this period of the contest, no regular war ships had 
been built, and the government had to select such vessels 
as the mercantile service afforded, until ships of war could 
be constructed. In the month of December, 1775, Congress 
directed thirteen warlike vessels to be built, and the marine 
committee increased to thirteen, or one for each state. In 
177G, two navy boards, consisting of three persons each, one 
for tlie eastern district, and one for the middle district, were 
established, subordinate to the marine committee ; by which 
arrangement a large portion of the executive business was 
accomplished. Several letters from these boards will be re- 
ferred to in the course of this biography. 

On the 19th of December, Capt. Whipple received orders 
from the marine committee, to proceed with the Providence 
sloop, now under their direction, to Philadelphia. On his 
way out, he captured one of the enemy's vessels, and sent 
her into Providence. 

On the 22d of the, month, by a resolution of Congress, 
Dudley Saltonstall was appointed captain of the Alfred frig- 
ate, Abraham Whipple of the Columbus, Nicholas Diddle 
of the Andrea Doria, and .John B. Hopkins of the Cabot. 
Haysted Hacker, lieutenant of the Providence, was promoted 
to her command. Tiie celebrated .lohn Paul Jones was 

first lieutenant of tlie Alfred, and Jonathan Pitcher, of the 


Columbus : Esek Hopkins, an old man, commander-in-chief, 
as they chose to style the leader of their squadron. During 
the winter, the young flotilla, while fitting for a cruise, was 
frozen up in the Delaware river. Com. Hopkins, however, got 
to sea on the 17th of February, 1770, with seven armed ves- 
sels under his command, the largest of which was the Alfred 
of twenty-four guns instead of thirty-six, and bore away 
southerly, in quest of a small squadron under Lord Dun- 
more ; but not falling in with him, concluded to make a de- 
scent on the island of New Providence, for the purpose of cap- 
turing military stores. This service was performed under the 
conduct of Capt. Nichols, the senior officer of the marines, at 
the head of three hundred men, whose landing from the boats 
of the squadron was covered in gallant style, by Capt. Hacker, 
of the Providence, and the sloop Wasp. The attack was en- 
tirely successful, and possession was taken of the fortifications 
and the town. The main object of the attempt, a magazine 
of gunpowder, was in part secreted by the governor; but they 
brought away four hundred and fifty tons of cannon and 
other military stores, wdth the governor and some others as 
prisoners. Having accomplished this victory, they sailed 
on the 17th of jNIarch, for the United States. At one o'clock 
in the morning of the Gth of April, the squadron fell in with 
the Glasgow, British man-of-war of twenty guns, off the 
easterly end of Long Island. The little Cabot of fourteen 
guns, Capt. Hopkins, being the nearest to the enemy, ranged 
manfully along side, discharging her broadsides with great 
spirit, but was soon obliged to haul off from the superior 
fire of the Glasgow. The Alfred now came up to the rescue, 
but after a short running fight, had her wheel ropes cut 
a.way. and became unmanageable. The Providence, by this 
time, had passed under her stern, and fired a number of 
broadsides with great effect. Capt. Whipple, in the Colum- 
bus, could not get into action for want of wind, which was 


light and baflling, suflicicntly near to afTord much aid, or 
the Glasgow would have been captured. The darlvuess of 
niglit .<till continued, wlien seeing the approach of another 
antagonist, she spread all sail in flight, with tlie Columbus 
in ])ur?!uit, but was soon signaled by the commodore to give 
up the ciiase ; as they were approaching so near the harbor 
of Newport, ^v•here lay a large fleet, that the report of the 
cannonade would call them out to the rescue, and thus per- 
haps the whole American force might fall into their hands; 
as they were so deeply laden with the captured military 
stores, as to make them all dull sailers. On his way back, 
Capt. AYhipplc fell in with, and made prize of the bomb 
ship of the British fleet, which had long been a terror to the 
people of Newport. The fleet arrived safely into the harbor 
of New London ; but were soon after removed to Provi- 
dence by the commodore, the British having left the bay of 

The escape of the Glasgow from so superior a force, 
caused no small sensation, with a good deal of censure from 
the public. As Whipple commanded the second largest 
ship, and was not actually engaged with the enemy, he was 
accused of cowardice. This aroused the spirit of the vet- 
eran, and he demanded a court-martial to inquire into his 
conduct. It was held in Providence; and after a full exam- 
ination he was honorably acquitted; it appearing in evi- 
dence, that liis vessel, from the lightness of the wind and 
her leeward position, could not be brought into contact with 
the Glasgow, until after her flight, when he pursued her with 
all the speed in his power, until called off by Com. Hopkins. 

After the close of the trial, he was ordered to take com- 
mand of the Columbus again; while Com. Hopkins, on the 
IGth of October, was formally censured by a vote of Con- 
gress, and on the 2(3 th of JNIarch, 1777, dismissed from the 
service, for disobeying their orders. Capt. Hacker, of the 


Providence, was removed from her command, and the vessel 
given to John Paul Jones,* who, in the course of the summer, 
captured no less than sixteen sail of the enemy's ships. In 
the fall of that year, he was transferred to the Alfred, and 
sailed, in company with the Providence, on a cruise to the 
eastward, along the coast. Here they fell in with and cap- 
tured a number of prizes ; amongst them a transport for Bur- 
goyne's army, with ten thousand suits of soldiers' uniforms. 
The Providence was now commanded by Capt. Rathbone : 
and in 1778, again visited New Providence, unaccompanied 
by any other vessel, and took possession of the place and 
six ships lying in the harbor, one of which was a privateer 
of sixteen guns. On his landing, he was joined by about 
thirty American prisoners, making with liis own crew, eight}' 
men. He kept possession two days, and brought away 
many valuable stores and fom* of the prizes. In 1779, the 
little Providence was restored to her former master, Capt. 
Hacker, who took the enemy's ship Delinquent, of equal 
force, after a severe action. In July, with other vessels, she 
was ordered to convey a body of militia, under Gen. Lowell, 
to the Penobscot river, where the British had formed a mili- 
tary station. The expedition proved disastrous ; and the 
Providence, with the other ships, was lost, by the superior 
naval force of the enemy, the 15th of August. Capt. 
Hacker, to keep her from the hands of the enemy, after 
landing the crew, ordered her to be blown up. Thus per- 
ished in a blaze of light, the favorite vessel, and first love 
of Capt. Whipple. She had been one of the most success- 
ful cruisers that floated on the ocean, and made more prizes 
than any other vessel in the service; hurling defiance at 
Great Britain, in many a well fought action, from June, 
1775, to August, 1779. Her name was perpetuated in the 

• The history of the last years of the ProviJence sloop, is taken from Cooper's 
.\aval Ili.turv. 


navy, by the frigate Providence. In October, 1776, Capt. 
Whipple was recommended by the marine committee, to the 
command of the frigate Providence, of twenty-eight guns, 
then buiUling in Rhode Island, which was confirmed by 

In November of the same year. Congress " Resolved that 
a bounty of twenty dollars be paid to the commanders, of- 
ficers and men of such contbicntul ships, or vessels of war, 
as shall make prize of any British ship, or vessel of war ; 
for every cannon mounted on board each prize at the time 
of capture ; and eight dollars per head for every man then 
on board, and belonging to such prize." This was a wise 
and salutary provision, for the encouragement of our sailors ; 
but as it relates to Capt. Whipple, he says he never received 
any compensation for guns and munitions of war captured 
by himself. 

At the same time they passed the following order, regu- 
lating the comparative rank of officers in the navy with the 
land service; viz. "An admiral as a general; vice-admi- 
ral, as a lieutenant-general; rear-admiral, as a major 
general; commodore, as a brigadier-general; the captain 
of a ship of forty guns and upward, as a colonel; from ten 
to twent}* guns, as a major; a lieutenant in the navy, as a 
captain." This arrangement was not only for etiquette in 
their intercourse, but was also intended to apply in ex- 
changes of prisoners. The pay of the officers and men in 
the American navy, " under the free and independent states 
of America," was established as follows. "The captain of a 
ship of twenty guns and upward, received ^-ixty dollars a 
month; that of a ship of ten to twenty guns, forty-eight dol- 
lars a month; a lieutenant of the larger vessel, thirty dol- 
lars a month — the smaller, twenty-four dollars; a surgeon 
twenty-five dollars, and the surgeon's mate, iiftecn dollars, 
and so on in the descending scale to the common seamen 


whose pay was eight dollars a month." When we look 
back on those times of trial and adversity, we admire the 
prudence and economy, which pervaded every branch of 
the government : when we consider the poor apology for 
mone}^ in which they were paid, the officers might be said 
''to serve for nothing and find themselves.'' But if we re- 
flect on the deep poverty of the countiy, and that all the 
expenses were paid by a direct tax on the people, we arrive 
at the secret of this seeming parsimony. It was the prudent 
expenditure of the public money which enabled Congress to 
carry on the war at all; and as it ^vas, they were often 
bankrupt and on the verge of ruin. In these days when the 
public expenses are raised by a tarifl' on commerce, and 
money is plenty, the pay of naval officers is very different ; 
some of the older captains get three hundred and seventy- 
five dollars a month, and the younger captains of frigates, 
three hundred dollars — being just five times as much as 
they received in the Revolutionary war. 

On the 10th of August, 1776, he received orders from the 
navy board to sail on a cruise to the castu^ard with the Co- 
lumbus frigate, for the purpose of intcrccpiirig the home- 
ward-bound Jamaica fleet. In his passage out of the bay 
from Xcwport, he had to "run the gauntlet" through a num- 
ber of British sliips of war, which he fortunately escaped. 
Ofl' the coast of Xcnvfoundland he fell in willithe object of 
his search, and took five large ships laden with sugar. Two 
of his prizes reached ports, while the other three were re- 
taken, as Avas the fate of more than half of all the Ameri- 
can prizes, vvhicli they attempted to J'un into their ov,]i ports, 
the coast being closely guarded Ijy the enemy's ships. 

In October, Capt. \yhipplc returned, with the Columbus, 
to ri'ovidcnce, at which place Congress had directed two 
frigates to l)e built; the Warren, of thirly-two guns, and the 
r'rovidence. of twentv-eiirht iruns. On the 10th of that 


month, lie was rccommeiulod by the marine committee, and 
appointed, by Congress, to the command of the rrovidcnce, 
and directed to superintend the fitting out of both iVigatc'. 
While occupied in this employment, with hirf own ship 
nearly ready for sea, so rapidly had the work been prose- 
cuted, on the 7th of December, the enemy's fleet took pos- 
session of the harbor of Newport, where the Providence had 
been lying, and landed a large army. To preserve his ship 
from capture, Capt. AYhipple run her up the river to Provi- 
dence harbor, where several other vessels had retreated, pro- 
tected ])y the batteries and the army of Gen. Spencer, then 
assembled on the adjacent main, to guard the country from 
the inroads of the British troops. In this mortifying durance 
the new frigates were confined during the whole of the year 
1777. During this period, several plans were arranged for 
getting to sea, as appears by the letters of the eastern navy 
board, composed of James Warren and John Dcshon, of 
September 11th and October 28th. In March preceding, 
there was a plan for burning some of the British vessels by 
means of fire-ships, in which Capt. Wliipple was engaged; 
as by letter of Esek Hopkins, who was in command at Prov- 
idence, as late as the 9th of that month. From some cause, 
it was not successful, although Congress oficrcd large boun- 
ties to cfiect it. In October, under the order of Gov. Cook, 
he dismantled and saved the guns and stores of the ene- 
my's frigate Syren, which run on shore at Point Judith, 11. 1., 
and had been abandoned. AVhile at this employment, he 
fell over the side of the frigate, amongst the guns and oilier 
matters, receiving a serious injury, which caused a lame- 
ness all his life. On the 20th of 3Iarch, 1778, orders ar- 
rived, to fit the Pro\ idence for sea with all dispatch, being- 
assigned to carry important dispatches from Congress to 
our ministers in France. Capt. Whipple made up his crew 
from the men of the Warren, in addition to his own ship. 


selecting such as were known to be of tried courage, as the 
passage out to sea was blockaded by a numerous fleet, 
as well as the outlets of each of the three passages from 
Providence river, as the long, deep, narrow inlet was called, 
which connects Narraganset bay with the harbor of the 
town. They were guarded by frigates and a sixty-four gun 
ship, expressly stationed to watch these channels, for the 
American ships. All movements of any importance, about 
to be made by either of the belligerent parties, were certain 
to be known to the other within a short time after their con- 
coction, by means of spies, and secret intercourse constantly 
kept up by men employed for this pm*pose. The order for 
the sailing of the Providence was soon known to the British 
naval commander at Newport, and every preparation made 
for her capture. Capt. Whipple was perfectly familiar with 
all the channels, head lands, shoals, and windings of the 
outlets from his earliest youth ; so that no man could be 
better fitted to conduct this hazardous enterprize. Ilis well 
known character for courage and love of daring exploits, 
gave additional hope to his prospect of success. It could 
only be attempted in the niglit, and that night must be a 
dark and stormy one, adding still more to the grandeur of 
tiie exploit. After every preparation was made for sea, he 
had to wait until the 30th of April, for one of those gloomy, 
windy nights, attended witli sleet and rain, so conunon on 
ilic New England coast, at this season of the year. At 
length, on the last day of the month, such a night set in, 
A ith rain and wind from the northeast, cheerless and dispir- 
iting on all ordinary occasions, but now more prized than the 
brightest starlight, and entirely favorable to his wishes. In 
making his choice of the three outlets, he selected the wost- 
rv\y one, which passes down between the island ofConanicut 
and the Narraganset shore, which was guarded by the frigate 
l.ark, rated as a thirty-six, but actually mounting forty guns. 


This vr^j.sel was moored in tlu; channel against the island, 
with her stern up stream, and springs on her cables, ready to 
get under way at a moment's notice. Some distance below 
her, and nearer the outlet, was moored in the same manner, 
the Renown, a ship of sixty-four guns; while, in the Ijay 
beyond, lay ten or twelve ships and sloops of war, ready to 
lire u])on the Providence, should she by possibility escape 
the two ships above. The middle passage led through the 
harbor of ^Newport, occupied by the ships of the line, and 
the easterly one was crooked, and not passable in the night. 
William Jones, subsequently the governor of Rhode Island, 
was captain of marines under Whipple. He was a very 
gentlemanly, noble-looking, and brave man. To him was 
consigned the charge of the dispatches. As the gallant 
little frigate, under close reefed topsails, so stiif was the 
breeze, approached the Lark, every light on deck was ex- 
tinguished, and the utmost silence maintained by the crew, 
who were stationed at their guns with lighted matches, while 
the lanterns in the rigging of the enemy served to show ex- 
actly her position. Instead of sailing wide of his enemy, 
and avoiding a conflict, he run within half pistol shot, and 
delivered his broadside, firing his bow gims when against 
the stern of the ship, determined that she should feel her 
enemy, if she could not see her. At the same moment 
Capt. Jones, \\h\i his musketry, poured in a destructive 
lire on her quarter and main deck, killing and wounding a 
number of the crew. So sudden and unexpected was the 
attack, that before the Lark could make any return of the 
broadside, the Providence was out of sight, having by this 
well directed fire dismounted several of her guns, and killed 
some of the men. The report of Whipple's cannon awa- 
kened the sleeping crew of the sixty-four, wlio, hurrying to 
their quarters, filled the rigging with lights, 1-eady for the 
coming conflict. As the gallant ship came rushing on the 


wings of the wind, enveloped in the mist and darkness of 
the storm, Whipple, as he neared the Renown, to put his 
enemy well on their guard, bellowed forth \vith his speaking 
trumpet in a voice louder than the winds, as if addressing 
the man at the helm, "Pass her on the Narragansct side:" 
at the same time, as he stood close to the steersman, he bid 
him lull" ship and pass her on the larboard or Conanicut 
side of the vessel ; thus throwing his antagonist entirely off 
his guard, on the point he really meant to steer. The order 
was promptly obeyed, and while the crew were mustered on 
the Narraganset side of the sixty-four, read}^ for a discharge 
of their heavy guns, his starboard broadside was fired into 
her as he rapidly passed, with great effect ; several shot 
passing through the cabin, and one directly under the cap- 
tain's head, as he lay in his berth, knocking liis pillow out of 
place. Another shot unshipped the rudder, and before the 
Renown was ready to discharge her larboard guns, the Prov- 
idence was out of reach and out of sight. This very vessel 
was the leading, or admiral's ship, at the capture of Charles- 
ton, and the officers related the efiects of his fire in a fa- 
miliar conversation with Capt. V» hippie, after the surrender 
of the place, a)id he was tlicir prisoner. These two broad- 
sides aroused the crews of the fleet in the bay belo;v, and 
put them on the look out for the rebel frigate, and the Prov- 
idence recei\ed more or less of the fii-e from eleven diilerent 
sliips of war, before she reached the open sea. Like the 
king-])ird surrounded by a flock of vidtures, she glided 
swiftly among her enemies, \eering no\v to the larl)oard, 
and now to the stai'board, as fresh sliips opposed her ^\■av: 
returning their fire ^\■ith occasional shots, but anxiou- mainlv 
to escape too close a contact with any of her foes ; tlie ob- 
ject b{'ing to run, and not to fight. 

The day following this perilous night, when he had gained 
the open ocean, and thought all present danger past, he 


narrowly escaped capture by a seventy-four gun ship, wiiicli 
came directly across his course, but by superior management 
in sailing, luckily escaped. The damages to the rigging of 
the Providence, although considerable, were soon rej)aired, 
and the little frigate, with a flowing sheet, sped on her way 
to the ])ort of Aantz, where she arrived in twenty-six days, 
being on the 2Gth of May, 1778. 

On the voyage out, Capt. Whipple captured a British 
brig, laden with one hundred and twenty-five pipes of wine, 
nine tons of cork and various other articles, which arrived 
safe in port, near the same time. 

The names of the ofllcers who so nobly aided in sailing, 
and lighting the Providence, through that host of enemies, 
and may well be ranked among the most remarkable feats 
of bravery and daring, as u^cll as nautical skill that took 
place during the war of the Revolution, -were as follows : 
Thomas Simpson, first lieutenant, and soon after promoted 
to the command of the Boston frigate of twenty-four guns. 
Silas Devol, second lieutenant. He was the brother of Capt. 
Jonathan Devol, and the personification of bravery. In a 
year or two after, he was taken at sea, and perished miser- 
ably in the old Jersey prison ship, that den of wholesale 
murder to the Americans. Jonathan Pitcher, third lieuten- 
ant, George Goodwin, sailing master, William Jones, cap- 
tain of marines, and Seth Chapin, first lieutenant. 

On the third day of their voyage out, the lieutenants 
and other ofllcers presented a petition to Capt. Whipple, 
asking him to allow them to draw money for the purpose 
of purchasing proper uniform dresses, as \vithout them they 
could not maintaizi the dignity of their stations, and as they 
say, " That all may appear alike, as brothers united in one 
cause." From this circumstance it would seem, that no 
regular uniform for tlie navy had yet been established by 


The appearance of the Providence in the harbor of 
Nantz, excited a great deal of curiosity', as few if any 
American frigates had visited that port. On landing, Capt. 
Jones was charged with the dispatches to the American 
ministers at the court of Versailles, and proceeded on his 
way to Paris. Dr. Franklin introduced him to the king and 
the principal courtiers, who received him with great polite- 
ness. His noble personal appearance, gentlemanly man- 
ners, and rich, showy uniform, made him appear to great 
advantage and highly creditable to the American nation. 
Owing to unforeseen delays and the cautious policy of the 
French court, it was as late as August before a cargo was 
provided and the return dispatches of the American minis- 
ters ready for Congress. Strange as it may appear, the 
Providence frigate, was loaded with clothing, arms and 
ammunition, like a merchantman. Capt. Whipple, although 
as brave as Caesar, was not too proud to engage in any honest 
service, which would be useful to his country. He had 
spent years in the merchant line and felt not that repug- 
nance to turning Ms ship into a ti'ansport, so often expressed 
by the haughty Britons. The cargo was of immense value 
and more safe in a frigate than a common ship. On the 
13th of July, he received notice from the American commis- 
sioners, B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams, that they 
had ordered Capt. Tucker, of the Boston frigate, to join him 
on his return voyage. On the 16th, he received the follow- 
ing letter and order. 

"Passy, July 16th, 1778. 
Cait. Whippi.e : 

Sir: We have ordered Lieut. Simpson, to whom tlic com- 
mand of the Ranger devolves, by the destination of Capt. 
Jones, (John Paul.) to another service, to join you and obey 
your orders respecting his future cruises and voyage to 
America. We wish you to use all possible dispatch in 


getting to sea, with the Boston, Providence, and Ranger. 

You arc to use your utmost endeavors to take, burn, sink, 
and destroy all privateers of Jersey and Guernsey, and all 
other British cruisers within tlie command of your force, as 
you may have opportunity. 

We arc, sir, your most humble servants, 

B. Frankun, 
Arthcr Lee, 
John Adams. 

P. S. You are to leave all the prisoners in such place 
and in the custody of such persons as ]\Ir. Shwinghauser 
shall advise." 

Mr. Shwinghauser was the naval agent for the United 
States, making purchases, &c. ; a number of his letters are 
on file among Com. Whipple's manuscripts. From the time 
of the date of this letter, giving him the command of three 
public armed ships, he may fairly take the rank of commo- 
dore ; although he was, in fact, entitled to that distinction 
while cruising in the Narraganset bay, in June, 1775, with 
the two armed sloops under his orders. On the 2Gth of Au- 
gust, having loaded the Providence with arms, ammunition, 
clothing, and copper, on account of the United States, and 
taken on board a number of passengers, ordered by the 
commissioners, he sailed for America, touching at the har- 
bor of Brest, where he was joined by the Boston and Ranger. 
On their voyage out. they took six prizes, but how many got 
into port, is not ascertained. 

While on the banks of Newfoundland, in a dense fog, so 
common to that misty part of the ocean, he had a very nar- 
row escape from capture. The Providence being the lead- 
ing ship, for the purpose of notifying her consorts of her 
position, every five or ten minutes, a few blows were struck 
on the ship's bell. A British seventy-four gun ship, hearing 
the signal, bore up in the direction of the sound, and before 


the crew of the Providence had any notice of her approach, 
she was close along side. The first appearance of the frig- 
ate, with her ports all closed, and lying deep in the water, 
was that of a large merchant ship. On hailing the stranger, 
the captain, in the usual style of British naval officers, or- 
dered the " d d rebel to strike his colors, drop under his 

stern, and send the boat aboard."' It so happened, that his 
colors were not up at the time. Capt. \Vhipplc at once sav/ 
his danger, and knew that nothing but a bold maneuver 
could save him. lie, therefore, ans\vered the hail, as if in- 
tending no opposition, " Aye, aye, sir." With a readiness 
of thought which none but a master mind can call to his 
aid, in emergencies which admit of no delay, his plan was 
instantly formed, and sending some men aloft, to busy 
themselves with the sails, and prepare for striking the col- 
ors, as if about to comply with the order, he, at the same 
time, passed the word below to make all ready for a broad- 
side, as he passed under the stern of the seventy-four. As 
he was rather slow in complying with the order to strike, it 
was repeated by the Briton in a still more commanding 
tone, threatening to fire into him. AVhipplc answered, 
rather peevishly, that " he could not haul down liis colors, 
until he had run them up,"' at the same time swearing at 
the sailor for his bungling manner of performing the duty, 
having ordered him, when they were up, not to haul them 
down again, on pain of death. By the time the stars and 
stripes were fluttering in the breeze, the gunners were at 
their posts, the frigate had fallen off under the stern of the 
enemy, when, with a stamp of his foot on the quarter deck, 
the ports flew open, and a full broadside was fired into her 
cabin, the tompions of the guns going in with the shot, there 
being no time to remove them. When relating the incident 
in after life, the commodore used to say, he "heard a terri- 
ble smashing among the crockery ware in the cabin." The 


Briton suspecting no resistance, and being entirely unpre- 
pared for such an event, was utterly astonished, provoked, 
and confounded; but before he could make any preparation 
to avenge this " Yankee trick," the Providence was envel- 
oped in the fog, and out of sight on another tack. Whipple 
took good care not to tinkle his ])cll again, for some time, 
\vhile his consorts ])eing warned of their danger, by his 
broadside, escaped discoveiy, and all reached the harbor of 
Boston in safety. This, however, was accomplished in al- 
most a miraculous manner, having to pass through a squad- 
ron of the enemy's ships, which were blockading that port. 
The cargo thus saved by the presence of mind, and bold 
stratagem of Com. Whipple, was of immense advantage to 
the country; furnishing the army with several thousand 
stands of arms, ammunition, and clothing; articles of more 
value to the United States, at that time, than a ship-load of 

Soon after his arrival, which was the 13th of October, 
Capt. Jones went on to Congress with the dispatches, which 
were highly gratifying to that body. In November he re- 
ceived the following congratulatory letter from his excel- 
lency, Gen. Washington : 

"Head Quartees, Fkedericksburg, Nov. 25th, 1778. 

Sir: IMaj. Nicholas handed me your favor of the 12th 
inst. I am greatly pleased with the gallant circumstance 
of your passage through the blockaded harbor, and much 
o1)liged to you for the detail of your voyage. It was agree- 
able to hear of your safe arrival with the valuable; arlicles 
of yom* invoice. With my best wishes for yoiu' future suc- 
cess, I am, sir, your most humble servant, 

Ci:o. Washington. 

To Capt. Abraham Whipple, l^.sq., commander of tlic 
continental frigate Brovidence, at Boston." 


During this year tho influence of the American commis- 
sioners at the court of France was so great, especially with 
the queen, who had taken so deep an interest in the welfare 
of the young republic, and especially in Dr. Franklin, whom, 
on all occasions, she treated with as much respect as she 
could her own father, that the king finally came out openly 
on the side of the United States, sending a fleet of men of 
war to the American coast, which entered the harbor of 
Newport, and forced the enemy from Narraganset bay. 
Before their departure they sunk several of their ships, to 
keep them from the hands of the French. Among them 
was Whipple's old antagonist, the Lark. Near the close of 
the war some of these frigates were raised by the ingenuity 
of Griflin Greene, Esq. 

The winter following this never-to-be-forgotten cruise, 
was passed in refitting his vessel for sea, and in visiting his 
family. On the 9th of March, 1779, he received orders from 
James Warren and William Vernon, the navy board in the 
eastern department, to cruise with the Providence in Boston 
bay, for the protection of the navigation, and in quest of 
the enemy's cruisers, which were now numerous on the 
coast. On the 4th of April he returned to port, and re- 
mained until the 23d of June, when he again proceeded on 
a cruise with the Ranger and Queen of France under his 
command. On this occasion the following letter was ad- 
dressed to him, giving the outlines of tho cruise, and the 
general orders to be observed while at sea. : 

"N^AVY Board, Eastern 1)ki>artment, 

Boston, June 12th, 1779. 

To Ahraham Wiiu'i'LE, I'isq., commander of tlie ship 
Providence : 

Your ship being ready for the sea, you are to proceed 
with the ships Queen of France and Ranger, if the last be 


ready, on a cruise agaiurit tlie enemy. You l)eing the su- 
perior ofllcer, will, of course, command the whole : and ours 
will be, that they obey yours accordingly. You are to pro- 
ceed with these ships immediately, to the southerly parts of 
the banks of A^ewfoundland, and there to cruise ; and to the 
soutlnvard of said banks, as the most likely cruising ground 
to efl'ect the double purpose of intercepting the enemy's 
outward-bound transports for New York, &c., and the home- 
ward-bound West India ships. You will keep that ground 
steadily, so long as is consistent with your security : taking 
care to alter your station, when you have reason to suppose. 
from your long continuance on that ground, or other circum- 
stances, that the enemy may have gained intelligence of 
you ; in which case you will proceed to such places as you 
and the commanders of the other ships shall judge most 
likely to answer the purposes of the cruise: taking care, 
also, at proper times, to be on the banks, so that any 
ships we may hereafter send to join you, may be able to 
find you. During your cruise you are to take, burn, sink, 
or destroy as many of the enemy's ships as may fall 
in your way, directing to the continental agent of any 
port, such prizes as you may think proper to send in. 
You are to take proper care of your ship and her stores, 
and to cause proper returns of the expenditures of all pro- 
visions and stores, to be made on your return. You will 
observe the greatest frugality and strict discipline on board, 
taking care at the same time to use your officers and men 
well, and your prisoners with humanity. You arc to con- 
tinue ycnir cruise as long as your provisions and other cir- 
cumstances will admit, and then return into this, or some 
other convenient port of the United States, leaving you 
at liberty, nevertheless, if on consulting the other com- 
manders, it shall be judged practicable to intercept the 

hon;eward-bound ships from Hudson's bay, to proceed for 


that purpose toward the end of your cruise; and if you 
meet with little success and your ships should remain well 
manned, you may, when your provisions are near expended, 
proceed and cruise in the West Indies during the winter: 
Mr. Stephen Ceronia at Cape Francois, or Mr. William 
Bingham at JMartinico, continental agent, will supply you 
with the necessaries. On your way out you are to see this 
coast clear of the enemy's cruisers, and particularly range 
down the eastern shore, and if the Ranger do not sail with 

you, rendezvous at for a few days, where she will 

join you. You are to return lists of your men and stores 
on board, and at the end of the cruise cause proper retm-ns 
to be made of the expenditure. We wish you a successful 

And are yom* servants, &c., 

J. Warrex, 
Wm. Vernon." 
In pm'suance of the above orders he proceeded on to the 
eastern coast, to look for the enemy's cruisers, and spend- 
ing nearly four weeks in cruising on and off the coast of 
jXcwfoundland. lie, on the 24th of July, fell in with the 
homeward-bound Jamaica fleet, of nearly one hundred and 
fifty sail, convoyed by a seventy-four gun ship and some 
smaller vessels. He continued with them for two days, 
under British colors, pretending to be ships from Halifax, 
joining the convoy. From the first prize captured by board- 
ing in the night, he got possession of the signals of the 
commodore, and made use of them to keep up the decep- 
tion. Some of the prizes were taken possession of by 
inviting the captain of the Jamaica ship on board the Hali- 
fax vessels, and while he was below, sending his boat with 
tlicir own well manned to secure the balance of the crew, 
and man the ship with his own men, which was accom- 
plished without making so much noise as to attract the 


notice of the convoy. During the night each captured i^hip 
slackened sail and altered her course i~o much as to be out of 
sight of the licet in the morning. At night the i^eventy- 
four carried a light at her miz/.en-top, as a guide to the course 
to be pursued by the fleet. Whipple, taking advantage of 
this, hoisted one at his own mi/.zen, and thus decoyed seve- 
ral ships so far out of tlieir course as to be beyond the reach 
of aid in the morning, and then took possession of them. 
This could easily be done amongst one lumdretl and fifty 
sail, without their numlier being missed from the fleet. By 
these devices he managed to gain possession of ten large 
Jamaica ships, which were as many as he could man with 
American crews. Had he attempted their capture in an 
open manner, by daylight, he might have lost some of his 
own squadron, and taken less prizes, as he was unable to 
contend with the seventy-four gun ship with all his force. 
The merchant ships also carried a number of guns, and 
could have afforded considerable aid in beating him off. His 
object ever was, like a sensible man, to annoy the enemy as 
much as he could, with the least possible loss to himself, and 
gain by ingenuity what he could not do by open force. 
Eight of his prizes were brought safely into Boston uarbor, 
while two were recaptured. They had on board six thou- 
sand hogsheads of sugar, besides ginger, pimento, and cotton, 
b(ung valued at more than a million of dollars. The eight 
prizes were armed with an average of fourteen guns each, 
or one hundred and thirteen in the whole. Could these 
prizes have been sold at their real value. Com. AVhipple's 
share would have been one-twentieth of this sum; the 
rules adopted by Congress in the distribution of prize money, 
allowing this portion to the commander of a squadron, and 
two-twentieths to the captains of single ships, of those cap- 
tured by them when on a cruise. Yet, from the impoverished 
condition of the country, and the scarcity of money, it is 


not probable he actually realized more than a moiety of the 
amount. He, however, received sufficient to gi"eatly improve 
his present condition, which was actually that of a poor 
man. With the avails of tliis cruise he bought a handsome 
house and lot in Providence, and a fine farm in the neigh- 
boring town of Cranston. 

On the 20th of November, he received the following order 
from the navy board : 

" Navy Board, Eastern Department, 

Boston, November 20, 1779. 

To Abraham Whipple, Esq., commander of the ship 
Providence : 

Your ship being now ready for the sea, you are, as com- 
manding officer, to take under your command the ships Bos- 
ton, Queen of France, and Ranger ; and with them you are 
to embrace the first fair wind, and without any kind of de- 
lay, proceed to sea; and when the fleet under your com- 
mand are five leagues to the southward of the light-house, 
you are to open the orders inclosed, and follow the direc- 
tions therein given. If by any misfortune to you, the com- 
mand of the Providence should devolve on Capt. Hacker, 
now acting as first lieutenant, he will, as the eldest captain, 
take command of the fleet, and is to obey the orders given 
you. We wish you success, and are your servants, &c., 

Wm. Vernon, 
J. Warren." 

What those sealed orders were, does not appear on rec- 
ord; but doubtless were for him to proceed with all expedi- 
tion, to Charleston, S. C, and place himself and fleet under 
the command of Gen. Lincoln, who was charged with the 
defense of that place. On the 23d of that month, he sailed, 
with the shij)s under his command, and when united with 
those at Charleston, formed the largest American squadron. 
un(l( r tlie command of one officer, ever assembled during 


the war. The voyage out was rough and tempestuous, and 
his ships received considerable damage; nevertheless, he 
renchcd the destined port on the 19th oi" December. On 
the 20th of January, being weary of inactivity, he ap])!ied 
to Gen. Lincoln for liberty to make a cruise of observation, 
and ascertain the position of the enemy's (leet, which had 
been looked for, a considerable time, on its way from Xew 
York, with the army of Gen. Clinto?i, to invest Charleston. 
On the second or third day out, he fell in with the British 
fleet, and took four of their transports, laden with troops, 
provisions, &c., but was himself chased back into port, by 
four ships of war; and in a short time after, the enemy 
commfMiced their preparations for a regular siege of the city. 
This was his last feat on the ocean ; the brilliant sunshine 
of success, which had so long brightened his course, now set 
in clouds and gloomy disaster. Neptune, the ruler of the 
sea, had befriended him all his life, and when he forsook his 
service, and entered into battle on the solid land, his good 
fortune departed, and his beloved ships perished, or fell into 
the hands of the enemy. Amidst all his exposures and hair- 
breadth escapes in his numerous sea-fights, he was never 
wounded ; but, like Washington, bore a charmed life, not to 
be destroyed by his enemies. 

The defense of Charleston was the first attempt of the 
Americans to maintain a town against a besieging army; 
and its disastrous termination taught them, when too late, 
that their unwalled, open cities, were poorly calculated for 
defense. The winter of 1780 proved to be one of great 
severity, even at the south, and the cold near!}" as great as 
that common to the middle states. The sailoi's in Com. 
AVhipple's fleet had been shipped for a six months' cruise 
in a southern latitudo; and not knowing their final destina- 
tion, were entirely unprovided with clothing for the severe 
winter which followed. There was no clothina" for them in 


the vessels, and no other resource to relieve their wants but 
from his own funds. The generosity of their commander 
toward sailors was unbounded; and to alleviate their suffer- 
i'-"gs, he advanced several thousand dollars from his own 
funds, to cover their shivering bodies in garments suited to 
the season. These supplies were delivered to the pursers 
of the several ships under his command, and the amounts 
deducted from their wages, as is customar}' in such cases ; 
and yet, from the subsequent loss of the fleet, and perhaps, 
also, the books of the pursers, he had not, in 17SG, received 
a single dollar for this noble and generous expenditure in 
the cause of his country, nor did he ever obtain a tithe of 
the amount justly due him. 

During the siege an almost daily correspondence was 
carried on with Gen. Lincoln, who constantly consulted him 
in the disposition of the ships for the defense of the city, 
and the annoyance of the enemy. A large number of 
these letters are on the files of his naval manuscripts, pre- 
served with much care ; but as they relate to no very inter- 
esting or particular events, they will not be quoted, but the 
history of the siege given, as related by Dr. Kamsey. From 
the beginning to the end of this disastrous allair, Com. 
\Vhipple, with his officers and men, exerted themselves witli 
untiring assiduity and the greatest gallantry, in defending 
the place, as well after the destruction of their ships as before. 
The batteries erected from the ship's guns on the banks of 
the Cooper river, and manned by their crews, were very an- 
noying to the besiegers, and prolonged the investment until 
the expenditure of their provisions threatened them ^vith 
starvation, and did full as much toward their final surrc^ndcr 
as the guns of the enemy. 

'• Tlic British lleet, with their troops on board, six thou- 
sand ill num])er, under the command of Sir lleni-y Clinton, 
sailed from Xew York on the 2Gth of December, 1771). 


Their outward course was boisterous and disastrous, losinj^ 
nearly all their cavalry horses, and it was as late as the 1 1th 
of l'\'])ruary, 1780, before they landed at the distance; of 
thirty miles from Charleston. On the 21)th of Marcli, Clin- 
ton passed over Ashley river, and commenced erecting l)at- 
teries for the siege of the town. Gen. Lincoln constructed 
lines of defense across Charleston neck, from Cooper to 
Ashley river. On the 12th of April the British batteries 
were opened. Their fleet under Admiral Ar])uthnot, of eight 
ships, one a sixty-four, crossed the bar on the 20th of ^Nfarcli. 
and anchored in 'live fathom hole;' while the fleet under 
Com. Whipple, composed of smaller vessels, being unable 
to })revent their crossing the bar at the mouth of the harbor, 
retreated up to Charleston, where his ships were disarmed, 
and the crews and guns of all the fleet but one, were put 
on shore to reinforce the batteries." Although sailors are 
the bravest of men, whether fighting on the land or the 
water; yet when on shore they are deprived of their favor- 
ite element, and lose that esprit dc corps so peculiar to 
them on ship board. The commodore felt the want of sea 
room, and the fresh breezes of the ocean, by which to ma- 
neuver hi* ships, and to point his guns. \Yhen he reluct- 
antly abandoned his vessels and stepped on to terra firma, 
he was like an eagle with his wings clipped, unable to soar 
aloft, or pounce upon his prey; nevertheless, his men ])e- 
haved bravely, and did all they could for the defense of the 
town. " The fire of the British was much superior to that 
of the Americans ; the former having twenty-one mortars 
and royals, and the latter only two ; ^vhile their battering- 
cannon were much larger and more numerous, with three 
times as many men. During the siege Sir Henry Clinton 
received a reinforcement of three thousand men. making in 
all nine thousand land forces to oppose, while Gen. Lincoln 
had less than three thousand. By the Gth of May the 


provisions of the besieged were nearly exhausted, and the 
inhabitants of the town became clamorous with the Ameri- 
can commander for a surrender of the place, as they could 
sustain the siege no longer. On the 11th of May the town 
was smTcndered, and the brave defenders became prisoners 
of war to a man who proved to be a very ungenerous 
enemy, and treated his captives with all the rigor so preva- 
lent at that period, when the Americans were considered as 
rebels, and not a-s common enemies, and, therefore, not en- 
titled to the usages of the laws of nations." On the final 
results of the siege, he remarks, " I faithfully exerted myself 
to promote the interest and honor of my country ; and al- 
though the town was surrendered, American honor was 

After the capitulation, he made an arrangement with Ad- 
miral Arbuthnot, into whose charge the seamen luckil}^ fell 
instead of Sir H. Clinton, for their parole; agreeing that the 
seamen and marines should be exchanged, when an opportu- 
nity offered. But none, such occurred, as the British govern- 
ment decided on keeping in prison all the American seamen 
which fell into their hands, until the close of the war. Their 
depredations had been so severe on their commerce, that 
they considered this the only efltjctual mode of restraining 
them. While their seamen amounted to eighty- five thou- 
r-and, the Americans could at no time muster, probably, more 
than fi\ c thousand. The loss of so large a number of the 
continental ships, at the fall of Charleston, nearly ruined the 
American navy, and put a stop to any further effective oper- 
ations ])y sea. The presence of the French fleet on our coasts, 
.-upplied in some degree the loss of our own, and caused 
Congress to think there was not so much need of a navy as 
in the early years of the war, when they had to contend single- 
handed with the most powerful marine in the woi'ld. Ad- 
miral Arbuthnot was doubtless acquainted witli the name 

ABRAHAM ^V11I1'1>L1;. 153 

and character of Com. Whipple, and trlt more re^jxxt lor a 
brave man in nn.stortune than many of the enemy';^ com- 
manders in the land service, wiio were generally notorious 
for their criudty and ungenerous conduct to their American 
prisoners. Some delay nuist have taken place in carrying 
out the ea[)itulalion, ;is he did not reach Cliester in Pennsyl- 
vania, the place of destination for the seamen, until tlie last 
of June. ] )iscase prevailed extensivedy amongst hi:- men, as 
is almost universally tlie case in besi(>ged towns, esj)ecially 
the small-})ox, which continued to bo the scourge of the 
American troops, from the beginning to the end of the war. 
At Chester, no regular hospitals were provided for the sick, 
and with his characteristic generosity, Com. Whipple, hired 
a suitable house for their accommodation at his own ex- 
pense, furnishing them with all needed supplies for their 
comfort, whereby he saj's, " Many useful lives were pre- 
served to their country."' At this place he remained two 
years and seven months, a prisoner, the most dreary of his 
life, until at the close of the war, he was exchanged for Capt. 
Gayton, of tlie Romulus, a forty-four gun frigate. During 
all this period, he was deprived of the means of earning a 
subsistence; and himself and family were to be supported 
out of his former stores, so that at the declaration of peace, 
he was left in a destitute condition, at the age of fii\y years, 
a period when the energies and ambition of most men begin 
to fail. 

In 17S(j, he petitioned Congress for a redress of his griev- 
ances ; and that they would do him justice, l>y repaying the 
amount they justly owed him. At the clor-e of the })elition, 
after stating his services in the cause of liberty, (a paper 
which has afforded dates for all the interesting e\ ents of his 
life.) he says, •• Thus liaving exhausted the means of support- 
ing myself and family, I was reduced to the sad necessity 
of mortgaging my little farm, the remnant I had left, to 


obtain money for a temporary support. This farm is now 
gone; and having been sued out of possession, I am turned 
into the world at an advanced age, feeble and valetudinary, 
with my wife and children, destitute of a house, or a home 
that I can call my own, or have the means of hiring. This 
calamity has arisen from two causes; viz. : First, from my 
disbursing large sums in France and Charleston. In the 
former, I expended for the service of the United States, to 
the amount of three hundred and sixty French guineas ; a 
large part of that sum was appropriated to the pay of a 
company of marines; the other part for sea stores to ac- 
commodate a number of gentleman passengers, sent on 
board by the commissioners, to take passage for America, 
for which I have never been recompensed. And secondly, 
my having served the United States from the 15th of June, 
1775, to December, 1782, without receiving a farthing of 
wages, or subsistence from them, since December, 177G. 
My advances in France and Charleston amount, in the 
whole, to nearly seven thousand dollars in specie, exclusive 
of interest. The repayment of this, or a part of it, might 
be the happy means of regaining the farm I have been 
obliged to give up, and snatch my family from misery and 

This sum ^vith the interest would, in 1780, amount to at 
least ten thousand dollars ; add to this, six years' pay and 
subsi.-tcnce, at one tliousand dollars a year, and there was 
sixteen thousand dollars due him for time and money, ex- 
pended in the service of the United States. On the 10th of 
Octo])er, 1780, the commissioner of accounts in the marine 
department, to wliom was referred the petition, reported in 
its favor, when Congress directed him to refund the money 
advanced in France, but say notliing about the disburse- 
ments at Charleston. What the sum allowed to him was, 
is not stated, but in on application which he made in 1811, 


for a pension, he say.s he was paid in '• linal settlements, or 
United States securities, \vhicli, owing to his indij^ent cir- 
cumstances at that time, he was obhged to sell lor two shil- 
hngs and sixpence in the pound, or a discount of" more than 
eight}' per cent, lie had but two ciioices; cither to do this, 
or to let his family suffer for the necessaries of life." Thus, 
the government, instead of paying him in specie, or money 
equivalent to that \vhich he had advanced for them, paid 
him in their worthless paper, which, i)urporting to be val- 
uable for its face, was little better to him than so many 
rags. Owing to the low credit of the country, it fell into the 
hands of greedy speculators, who finally realized, and put 
into tlieir own pockets, the very money due to Com. Whipple. 
13ut he, generous man, ^vas not the only one who suffered 
from his country's poverty; hundreds of others, both of the 
army and navy, who had spent years in the service of the 
republic, received nothing in return Imt these '■'•final ccrilfi- 
cates,'" the mere shadow of a reality. Soon after his ex- 
change, he received permission from Robert Morris, one of 
the board of admiralty, to leave the service of the United 
States. It is as follows: 

"Marine Office, Pnn.ADELPniA, April 23d, 1782. 

Leave of absence is hereby granted to Capt. Abraham 
Whipple, of the American navy, to go into private service, 
until called upon. 

Robert jMorrls." 

lie now resided, like Cincinnatus, on his little farm in 
Cranston, and guided a plow instead of a ship. After the 
peace \vas ftdly established in 1781, the merchants of Provi- 
dence resumed their foreign navigation; and one of the first 
ships sent to Great Britain, was built and owned by John 
Brown, of Providence. She was called the •' General Wash- 
ington," and a fine figiire of his noble person graced her 
bows. The command of this vessel Avas given to Com. 


Whipple, and he had the honor of first unfurhng the Amer- 
ican flag on the river Thames. Her fine model and attract- 
ive name excited the notice of the cockneys, and hundreds 
of persons daily visited her, as a rare sight from the new 
republic. This notice was not a little flattering to the pride 
of the commodore, who fully sustained the dignity of his 
country, and answered their numerous questions ^vith pro- 
priety and kindness. 

After his return from this voyage, he continued to live on 
his farm, and during the stormy period of the paper-money 
war in Rhode Island, was elected a representative to the 
Legislature from the town of Cranston, in 178G. The ad- 
vocates of the paper-money system were then in power, and 
chose Othniel Gorton, a clumsy old man, for speaker. 3Ir. 
John Ilowland, who narrates the following anecdote, says, 
"It was the habit of Gorton to keep a large quid of tobacco 
in one side of his mouth, which pressed out one of his cheeks. 
The most of the debaters were on the opposite side of the 
hall from that on ^vhich the commodore sat, and the speakers 
face was generally turned that way. Once in the course of 
the debate, AYhipple had cogitated a speech, ^vllich he waited 
for a chance to deliver. At last, out of patience, he rose 
and called, 'JMr. Speaker!' The speaker, whose face was 
the other way, did not hear him. He then raised his voice 
to its utmost limit, ' ]Mr. Speaker!' The speaker started, 
and turning to the commodore said, 'I hear you, sir,' rather 
audibly. Whipple then began as follows: 'I wish, Mr. 
Speaker, you would shift your quid of tobacco from your 
star]:)oar(l to your larboard jaw, that it might give your head 
a cant this way, so that you could sometimes hear some- 
thing from this side of the house.' He then commenced his 
speech, which was not a long one, and when tlirough. sat 
down."' This anecdote is in character with the man, who 
often spoke in nautical phrases, and sometimes in language 


rough a.s the ocean's winds, amidst waves he had been 

On the formation of the OhioCompany, he emigrated with 
his wife and son to Marietta, in company with the family of 
Col. Sproat, who had married his daughter Catharine, lie 
was now lifty-live ycar.s old, when he left the land of his fore- 
fathers, to seek a new home in tlie valley of the Ohio. The 
fertility of the new world had been so much lauded by its 
advocates, that it conveyed to the mind the idea of a second 
Paradise. The first settlers, however, found that the "brier.5 
and thorns" of the curse were there, if not in reality, yet 
under the semblance of the tomahawk and knife of the In- 
dian. The first six years of his residence here, were passed 
in constant danger from the savage foe, although, from his 
age, he was not exposed so much to their attacks as younger 
men. He, however, once had a little taste of the feeling 
which attends the too near approach of the hostile Indian. 
Col. Sproat, with whom he constantly resided, during the 
war, had built a log-house about midway between the gar- 
rison at the Point and Campus Martins, and cleared a piece 
of ground for a garden. On this land Com. Whipple had a 
fine patch of melons, which somebody stole and cai'ried 
away for several nights. Supposing the boys of the garri- 
son were the depredators, he one moonlight night concluded 
to watch for the rogues, by standing sentry in the log-house, 
a few yards only from the melons. With his old musket well 
charged, he took his stand by one of the loop-holes in the 
logs. About midnight three Indians stepped over the fence 
and commenced searching for ripe melons. Not expecting 
depredators of this kind, he looked quietly on, in silence. 
He could have easily killed one or more of them, with liis 
well loaded musket; but he felt no enmity toward them; 
they had never injured him nor any of his kindred ; but on 
+he contrary, himself and countrymen were intruding on 


them, and taking the land of their fathers and themselves 
from them. And as to the melons they were not worth the 
life of a man, even of a savage. He resolved thus with 
himself. " If they do not attack me, I will not attack them." 
Had they been his old oppressors, the redcoats, and in 
time of war, as it then was with the Indians, his conduct 
would have been very different. He did not refrain from 
any fear of the result, for the report of his shot would have 
brought instant aid from the garrison, not one hundred rods 
distant, and the Indians would have fled without any attempt 
on the house, as they ^vould at once conclude it contained 
more than one man. When they had selected such melons 
as suited them, they retired ; and the commodore rested 
quietly the remainder of the night. At sunrise he returned 
to the garrison, but did not watch the melons again. 

After the peace in 1796, he moved with his wife on to a 
small farm of twelve acres, on the bank of the Muskingum 
river, two miles from its mouth. He was now in his sixt}'- 
tliird year, and had no other means of support than the 
produce of this land, cultivated with his own hands. On 
this scanty plantation he continued to live and to labor for 
fifteen years, raising barely sufficient of the most common 
necessaries of life to support him and his aged partner in a 
very frugal manner, but lacking the most of its comforts, 
especially comfortable clothing, which was scarce and dear 
in the nc^v settlements. He thus manfully struggled on, 
without murmuring or complaining, respected and honored 
by his acquaintance for his perseverance and industry. 

At length in 1811, when he was seventy-eight years old 
and the powers of nature has so far failed that he could no 
longer follow the plow, or delve the earth, he applied to 
Congress, urged thereto by his friends, for a pension. They 
granted him half-pay of a captain in the navy, or thirty 
dollars a month. This relieved him from any further anxiety 

A ]} RAH A M W H 1 1' P L E . 159 

as to a support in tlic last days of liis life, and rendered llie 
remaining years easy and free from care. 

Once daring this agricultural period, he was allowed to 
visit the sea, snufl' its salim^ bree/es, and again be lulled to 
sleep in his cot by the dash of the ocean's waves, strangely 
calling to mind the scenes of his early manhood. 

In the year IHOO, some of the enterprising men of ^laiietta, 
formed a company for building a small vessel, and actually 
built, rigged, and loaded with produce, a brig of one huiulred 
and four tons, named the St. Clair, in honor of the gov(!rnor 
of the nortlnvest territory. Her cargo was made up of jjoi'k 
and (lour, and she cleared from Marietta in ^lay, 1801, that 
town ha\ing been made a port of clearance. She crossed 
the falls of the Ohio in safety, and early in July was at Xcw 
Orleans, then in the occupancy of the Spaniards, where the 
brig lay some days anchored in the stream, from tlie extrav- 
agance of the port charges, while she took on board some 
stores for the voyage. In July he sailed for the town of 
Havana, with a crew composed chiefly of landsmen. His 
first mate was a good seaman, but entirely ignorant of navi- 
gation, not being able to take an observation, or ascertaiu 
the latitude, so that if any accident had happened to Com. 
Whipple, no one on board could navigate the vessel. 
'I'he second mate was Bennet Cook, a young, active man, and 
a goi>d sailor, but ignorant of navigation. I'lie St. Clair, 
howe\er, reached her destined port in safety. Provisions of 
all kinds were scarce and dear, aflording a fine market for 
her load. Tlu^ flour sold for forty dollars a b.'u'rel, l)ut was 
sul)j(>ct to a duty of twenty dollars. This port has always 
been noted for its high duties, which ser\ ed to enrich the 
government, but to impoverish the people. AA ith the ])ro- 
ceinls of the cargo, he bought a load of sugar. It was late 
in August before the brig left the port of Havana on her 
voyage to Philadelphia, ^vherc she was consigned and finall\ 


sold. In the meantime the yellow fever broke out in the 
place and attacked several of the crew, some of them several 
days after leaving the island. Fortunately for Com. Whip- 
ple, he found his son John, who had been several years on 
the sea, and a finished sailor, at this port, and engaged him 
for the voyage as his mate. His health remained firm, and 
with his aid the brig reached Philadelphia, in distress, from 
sickness and death amongst the cre^v. The voyage was a 
productive one to the owners, and encouraged the inhabitants 
of Marietta to continue the business. Com. Whipple re- 
turned to his home by land, but did not navigate any more 
vessels to the sea. The St. Clair was the first rigged vessel 
ever built on the Ohio river, and he had the honor of con- 
ducting her to the ocean. In after life he used to claim the 
distinction of firing the first gun at the British in the Revo- 
lutionary war on the ocean, and the navigating the first 
\essel built on the Ohio river, to the sea. On the latter oc- 
casion Capt. Jonathan Devol, who possessed all the imagina- 
tion of a poet, if he lacked the harmony of measm'e, wrote 
the following lines. 

The scene is laid at the mouth of the IMississippi, and as 
Com. Whipple entered the ocean with the St. Clair, Nep- 
tune and his Tritons are supposed to welcome him with 
military honors. 

"The Triton crieth, 
' Who Cometh now from shore 1 ' 

Neptune replieth, 
' 'Tis the old commodore.' 
Lon^ has it been since I saw liim before, 
In tlie year seventy-five from Columbia he came, 
The pride of the Briton on ocean to tame : 
And often, too, with his gallant crew, 
Hath he crossed the belt of ocean blue. 

On the Gallic coast, 

I have seen him tost, 


While his thuudcring cannon lulled my waves, 
And roused uiy nymphs from their coral caves; 
When he fought for freedom with all hij braves, 
lu the war of the Revolution. 

But now he comes from the western woods, 
Descendini,' slow with gentle floods, 
The pioneer of a mighty train, 
Which commerce hiings to my domain. 
I'p, sons of the wave, 
Greet the noble and brave ! 
Present your arms unto him. 
His gray hair shows, 
Life nears its close : 
Let's pay the honoi-s due him. 
Sea-maids attend with lute and lyre, 

And bring your conehs, my Triton sons ; 
In chorus blow to the aged sire, 
A welcome to my domiuious." 

For several years after this period, sliip-building was car- 
ried on with great spirit at Marietta; but Com. Whipple, 
having opened the way to the ocean, left the future guid- 
ance of the navigation to younger men. Not less than 
twenty ships, brigs and schooners, from one hundred and fifty 
to four hnndrcd and fifty tons burthen, were built up to the 
year 1808, besides some of ]Mr. Jefferson's gun-boats. Two 
or three of their number were lost in attempting to pass the 
raj)ids at Louisville, when the water was too low, but at a 
proper stage no difficult}' was experienced. Several of them 
took in cotton from the plantations on the Mississippi, for 
Liverpot)!, in addition to their other lading, as the cotton 
bales wcvv so loosely packed at that time, that a ship could 
not be fully loaded with that article. Owing to its bulky 
nature, ten cents a pound was charged for the freight. 

As has been observed, in 181 1, Com. Whipple received 
from Congress the half-pay of a captain in the service, or 



thirty dollars a month; which enabled him to cease from 
laboring with his own hands for the support of himself and ' 
W'ife, which he had been obliged to do for the last twenty- 
three years. 

In early life he married ]\Iiss Sarah Hopkins, the sister of 
Gov. Hopkins, of Rhode Island, a woman eveiy way worthy 
of him, and with whom he lived to enjoy the smiles, or to 
bear the frowns, of fortune, for more than fifty years. The 
fruits of this marriage were two daughters and one son. The 
oldest daughter was mamed to Col. Ebenczer Sproat, and 
the younger to Dr. Comstock, of Smithfield, R. I., where she 
resided after her father's removal to Ohio. John, his only 
son, continued to follow the sea, after leaving Marietta, and 
never married, so that the family name perished at the death 
of its illustrious founder. Several descendants of the female 
branches arc living in the states of jMichigan, Rhode Island 
and ^Massachusetts, under the names of Sibley, Comstock, 
and Fisher. 

In person Com. Whipple was rather short, thickset and 
stout, with great muscular strength in the days of his man- 
hood : eyes dark grey, with manly, strongly marked fea- 
tures, indicating firmness and intrepidity. He was fond of 
daring exploits, and the more hazardous they were, v.ith so 
much the greater alacrity he entered into them. For stern, 
rigid discipline, no man in the American navy exceeded him; 
and yet from numerous letters on his files addressed to him 
by his subordinates, he appears to have been loved and 
highly respected by those under his command. It was often 
noticed by the sailors, that in fair, pleasant weather, with a 
smooth sea, he was irritaljle and surly; but as soon as a 
se\ere gale or storm arose, and there was actual danger, his 
countenance brightened, while the most cliecrful, animated 
air, took possession of the man, diffusing life and courage 


into all around him, so that no crew could be cowardly with 
such a leader. AYlien in the greatcf^t dang:er, he was the 
most at his ease. His benevol(>nee and kind iVelini^^s for 
those under his cliarge were often i)ut to severe trials, and 
always shone with brilliant luster. Thousands of dollars 
were expended by him ro relieve their wants, which were 
never repaid by the government, and for which he suflercd 
years of privation and labor, at a period of hi.s life when 
want bears most heavily on the mind of man. It is pre- 
sumed that no other one amongst the military or naval com- 
manders of the Revolution, expended as much for the men 
under tlieir care, with the exception of that extraordinary 
and good man, the Marquis Lafayette. His success on 
the ocean was not exceeded by that of any other in the 
navy; and, although exposed to the greatest dangers and 
hazards, was never captured or wounded by his enemies, 
while at sea ; 1)ut when he stepped on to dry land, his good 
fortune forsook him, and at the surrender of Charleston, he 
became a captive for more than two years. His exploits 
and character will long be remembered by the inhabitants 
of Rhode Island and ^Marietta; while his name and portrait 
ought to occupy a distinguished place, instead of being 
passed by in silence, in The American Portrait Gallery, 
amongst the celebrated men of the Revolution. 

He died after a short illness, on the 29th of ]\Iay. in the 
year ISIO. aucxl eichty-five years, at a small farm, three 
miles from ^Marietta, where he had resided for several years, 
near his wid()A\ed daughter, ]Mrs. Catharine Sproat. whose 
soothing'; cares and teiidcr assiduities smoothed her parent's 
progress to the grave. His wife, ]Mrs. Sarah ^Vhipple, died 
in October, LS18. preceding him but a i'cw months, aged sev- 
enty-nine years. They lie buricnl side by side, in the lieau- 
tiful mound square at^Iarietta, and his tombstone l;ears the 


following inscription, written by the Hon. Paul Fearing, his 
warm friend and admu'er : 



dlommoiJore ^braljam iDljippU, 












" Two brothers of the name of Varniim, cmi^ated from 
Wales to Boston, just prior to the year KJGO, and from 
thence to Ipswich, where one died without issue. Samuel, 
the survivor, purchased a large tract of land of the Indians, 
in the town of Dracut, county of Middlesex, Mass., and 
settled on it in 1GG4. He had issue — five sons: John, 
Thomas, and Joseph, and two who were shot in a boat w^hile 
crossing the INIerrimack with their father. The descendants 
of John and Thomas reside in Dracut and elsewhere. Jo- 
seph ^vas colonel of the militia, and wounded in the Indian 
war of 1G7G. He erected a garrison house, which is still 
standing as the family mansion, in a good state of preser- 
vation. Joseph Varnum left two sons, Joseph and Samuel, 
who inherited a large estate from their father. Joseph had 
issue, and several families have descended from him. Sam- 
uel had four sons : Samuel, James Mitchell, Joseph Bradley, 
and Daniel Varnum. Samuel died in jMaine, about twenty 
years since ; Joseph B. in 1821 ; and Daniel in 1822, on the 
patrimonial estate, which has remained in the famil}' since 
the first purchase from the natives. Most of the brothers 
held prominent ofllcial stations in Massachusetts. Joseph 
B. was elected a member of Congress from his native district 
in 1705, and successively re-elected till 1811, and then 
elected senator one term, making his whole service in Con- 
gress twenty-two j'ears. From 1807 to 1811, comprising 

* The following sketch is chiefly extracted from a full and well written hiogra- 
phy of Gcu. Varnum, by Wilkius Updike, Esq., of Kingston, R. I., and published 
in the Memoirs of the Bar of Rhode Island, iu IS-IQ. 

106 J. M. VARNUM. 

two Congres^-ional terms, he was elected speaker of the 
House of Representatives. 

The subject of this memoir, James ]\Iitchcll Varnum, was 
born in Dracut, the residence of his ancestors, in 1749. lie 
entered Rhode Island College, now Brown University, then 
established in \yarren, and was in the first class that grad- 
uated from that institution, in 17G9, at the age of twenty. 
He received the first honors of his class, and in a forensic 
discussion, vindicated the rights of the colonists in their re- 
sistance to British taxation, with signal abilit}". He kept a 
classical school for a short period after he graduated, and 
always spoke highly of its benefit to a student, to plant 
deeply in the mind those elements acquired in the college 
hall ; and his whole life demonstrated that he had profited 
by it. He was deeply attached to mathematical science, 
and delighted in its pursuits. His whole life was an evi- 
dence that he was naturally a mathematician. His habits 
were those of intense study and boisterous relaxation. He 
was fond of exhibiting his skill in gymnastics, and ever 
ready to exercise in that ancient art with any one who 
would engage with him, noble or ignoble. Strong and ac- 
tive in frame, and ardently attached to such exercises, he 
gave his inclination for such sports, the fullest range, to a 
late period of his life. 

Soon after his college course he entered the office of Oli- 
ver Arnold, in Providence, then attorney-general of the col- 
ony. William Channing, Tliomas Arnold, John S. Dexter 
and himself, were students together, at the time of ?tlr. Ar- 
nold's death, in 1770; and in the succeeding year, Varnum 
was admitted to the bar. He settled at East Greenwich, 
where his talents acquired for him an extensive practice ; 
and he traveh^d the circuits of the state, rca})ing the honors 
and the rewards of his profession. 

^h\ \'arnum had a great taste for military life, and early 

J. M. varni;m. 107 

joined the Kentish Guards, and was appointed conimandfn- 
of that company in HT-l ; a company wliicli, from their ac- 
quirements in mihtary tactics, })ecame tlie nursery of so 
many distinf^iished officers during the Revokitionary war: 
Cen. Creene, Gen. Yarnum, Col. Greene, Col. Crary, jM.'ij. 
Whitemarsh, and others, making thirty-two in all, who en- 
tered the ]\cvolutionary army as commissioned oilicer.s 
from this company alone. The prominent part jMr. ^"arnum 
had taken in the colonial controversy, inspired an ambition 
to enter the military service of his country. The venerable 
John Ilowland, president of the Historical Society of this 
state, in a communication, states, that "When the news of 
the l^exington battle reached East Greenwich, Yarnum's 
company mustered, and marched to Providence, on their 
way to the scene of action. I recollect seeing them on their 
arrival ; Nathaniel Greene, of Coventry, afterward the gen- 
eral, was a private, with a musket on his shoulder; and 
Christopher Greene, afterward Col. Greene, who defended 
Red Bank, was also there, a private in the same company. 
They marched beyond Pawtucket, and hearing that the 
enemy had retired to Boston, they returned. The next week, 
the General Assembly convened, and resolved to raise three 
regiments of infantry and a company of artillery. J\lr. Na- 
thaniel Greene, then a member of the House of Representa- 
tives, was appointed brigadier-general, and^'arnum, colonel 
of the regiment to be raised in the counties of Kent and 
King's ; Daniel Hitchcock to be colonel of the regiment to be 
raised in Providence, and Church to be colonel of the regi- 
ment to be raised in the counties of Newport and Bristol. 
Yarnum took rank over Hitchcock and Church, from having 
commanded in the Kentish Guards, with the rank of colonel. 
The time for which these troops were called out, expired 
December 31st, 177."). The state raised two regiments for 
the year 177(5. Yarnum commanded the first, and Hitch- 

168 J. M. VAKNUM. 

cock the second. The officers of these troops afterward re 
ceived commissions from the president of Congress, when 
Washington was appointed commander-in-chief. They w-ere 
then styled continental troops. In January, 1776, the state 
raised a regiment called state troops, to be stationed in New- 
port. They remained there until the disastrous battle on 
Long island. This regiment, commanded by Col. Lippitt, 
was taken into the continental service, and ordered to join 
Gen. Washington at A"ew York; they arrived at Harlem 
after the evacuation of the city. This regiment composed 
part of the brigade commanded by Gen. John Nixon, which 
consisted of five regiments, commanded by Cols. Nixon and 
Little, of Massachusetts ; Yarnum, Hitchcock, and Lippitt, 
of Rhode Island. Toward the close of the year. Gen. Nixon 
was dispatched, by the commander-in-chief, on furlough, to 
Massachusetts, to urge the raising of new recruits for the 
army, to supply the place of those whose term of service 
would expire on the 31st of December; as without rein- 
forcements. Gen. Washington would be left without an army 
at the commencement of the succeeding year. Gen. Yar- 
num then succeeded to the command of the brigade. But 
the necessity of the case, and the perilous situation of the 
country, induced Gen. Washington soon after to send Gen. 
Yarnum to the Assembly of Rhode Island, for the same pur- 
pose ; selecting, for this all-important mission, those officers, 
for their known influence with their respective legislatures. 
The command of this brigade of five regiments then de- 
volved on Col. Hitchcock, as the senior ofilcer. He com- 
manded it at a period the most important in our Revolution- 
ary liistory, and led his brigade with courage and ability, in 
ihc memorable battles of Trenton and Princeton ; and for his 
signal gallantry, received the special thanks of Gen. Y ash- 
ington, in front of the college at Princeton, and which he 

J. M. VAIIXIM. 109 

was r(^(juc.-te(l to present to t!ic brigade he had so ably 

Ill I\'bruai'y, 1777, Col. A ariiuiri was jjromotcd by Con- 
ijress to the raidc of brigadier-<?eneral. The appointment 
was announced to him l)y Gen. \\'ashington, by letter, under 
(hate of March 'h\, of that year, u hich contains amj)lc I'vi- 
dence that his military bearing had met the full approbation 
of the eonimander-in-chiel". The General Assend)ly of this 
state in their December session, 177G, having' apj)ointed Gvn. 
A'arnum, conunander of the state; ft)rces, at their ]March ses- 
sion, 1777, entered the following honorable testimonial of aj)- 
probation on their journal : " Whereas, the appointment and 
conunission of Brig. C!en. James M. Varnum, in the service of 
this state, has been suspended by his being appointed ])y the 
honorable continental Congress, to the same rank in the 
continental army: this assembly do, therefore, in grateful re- 
membrance of his services, vote and resolve, that he is dis- 
missed from his said appointment, and that he be paid to 
the time his pay commenced in the continental service." 
" Under the latter appointment,"' continues Mr. Howland, 
"Gien. Varnum commanded all that body of troops on the 
Jersey side of the Delaware, when the British and Hessians 
took possession of Philadelphia. Gen. Washington's purpose 
was to prevent the passage of the enemy's shipping up the 
river, and for this j)iu-pose a strong fort \vas erected on Red 
Bank, and a regiment of ^larylandcrs on Mud island. Col. 
Christopher Greene conmiandcd the two Rhode Island regi- 
ments : Lieut. Col. Samuel Smith, on ]\lud island, and Var- 
num the whole line of the coast of Xew Jersey. In October 
the enemy made a determined attack; but the battery and 
foi't were so valiantly defended, that the invaders were de- 
feated and compi^lled to withdraw, and tempoi-arily abandon 
tlie enterprise. The gallant defense of Fort 3Iilllin, or Mud 

170 J. M. VARNUM. 

island, and the defeat of the Hessians at Fort JMerccr, on 
Red Bank, drew from Congress, then sitting at Yorktown, 
a resolution of thanks, and votes of elegant swords to Col. 
Greene, Lieut. Col. Smith, and Com. Ilazlewood, for their 
intrepid defense of these two forts." " But the British, re- 
solved on the capture of these posts, so important in their 
position, renewed the attack in A'ovember. They brought 
up their shipping, the Somerset, of sixty-four guns, and a 
number of floating batteries, to break up the chcvaux de 
frise, which extended across the river, and our forts opened 
their fire to prevent it. Col. Smith was wounded on the 
11th of November, and the command devolved on Lieut. 
Col. Russell, of the Connecticut line, who, exhausted by 
fatigue, and destitute of health, requested to be recalled. 
The moment was critical. The commander-in-chief. Gen. 
Washington, had no idea of defending the place through the 
campaign, but wished to retard the operations of the enemy, 
until the main army should be reinforced by the IMassachu- 
setts brigade, marching from the conquest of Saratoga, when 
he would be in sufiicient force to cover the country, or to 
meet the enemy's ^vhole force in the field. Upon the 12th, 
he signified his wish to Gen. Varnum, to defend the island 
as long as possible, without sacrificing the garrison. Gen. 
Yarnum, considering the imminent danger of the post, im- 
mediately convened the field officers of Red I'aiik fort, 
with a request that one of them would volunteer, as Ctcu. 
lYashington desired the island to be defended as long as 
possible, and take command of it in lieu of Smith, who had 
left. At this momentous crisis, M;ij. Simon Thayer imme- 
diately offered himself, to the inexpressible satisfaction of 
Gen. V^arnum. In the defense, to an officer knowing all 
the circumstances, nothing presented itself but death, or an 
improbable escape, without the possibility of contending on 
cwn terms. But Maj. Thayer gallantly defended it day and 

J. M. VARNUM. 171 

night from tlic r2th, to twelve o'clock at night on the KUli 
of November, when the breastworks were beaten down, and 
nt) cover left for his men, when the general ordered hiin to 
abandon it. By those unacquainted with the transaction, 
all tlie glory has been ascribed to Col. Smith. If heroic 
valor was to be rewarded, who should ha\e had tlie swoi'd? 
When the swords which were wrought in France, arrived, 
and were to be presented. Gen. A^arnum published a letter, 
dated at East Greenwich, August 3d, 17815, narrating all the 
circumstances attending the heroic defense of Mud island 
by Maj. Thayer. It is written in a natural, straightforward 
style, and in justice to the memory of this intrepid soldier 
of Rhode Island, and of his country, ought to be preserved 
in some durable form. Gen. Yarnum continued in active 
.service dming the year 1778, and commanded a brigade in 
Sullivan's expedition on Rhode Island. 

In 1779 he resigned his commission in the army, there 
being at that time more general officers in the service than 
were needful, in proportion to the men, and his talents being 
more congenial with political life than the duties of the 
camp ; although he was respected and esteemed as a good 
and gallant officer. The legislature of this state, in consid- 
eration of his national services, and efficctually to secure 
them in defense of the state, in jMa}", 1779, elected him ma- 
jor-general of the militia, to which office he was unani- 
mously re-elected during the remainder of his life. In April, 
1780, the people of the state, in grateful recollection of his 
eminent services in tlie cause of public liberty, and desirous 
to tlirow into the national councils, those distinguished tal- 
ents which could be spared from the field, elected him their 
delegate to the confederated Congress of that year. As 
that body sat with closed doors, his voice could not be heard 
by the public, but his name appears oftener in the published 
journals, than many others of that body." Mr. Ilowland 

172 J. M. VARNUM. 

continues to observe, " The old Congress under the confed- 
eration, had no power to raise money to cany on the war, 
either by taxes or imposts, and the states had enough to do, 
to furnish their own treasuries. Congress, on the 3d of 
February, 1781, requested the several states to grant them 
power to levy an impost of five per cent., ad valorem, on 
all imported goods; and all prizes and prize goods, to be 
appropriated to the discharge of principal and interest of 
debts contracted, or to be contracted, on the faith of the 
United States, for the support of the war. This was thought 
necessary to the salvation of the country, and to maintain 
our independence. The granting of this power to Congress, 
to raise a revenue, was a new question, and divided the pol- 
iticians in its discussion. To place the case, in its urgent 
necessity'', before the respective legislatures of the states, 
several of the best speakers in Congress requested, or 
thought proper to return home, and persuade the people to 
grant the power. Rufus King advocated it in Massachusetts ; 
Dayton left his seat to advocate the cause in I\ew Jersey; 
and Yarnum came to Rhode Island for the same purpose. 
The states which had little or no maritime commerce, readily 
granted the power. This question brought a new man into 
the field in Rhode Island. David Howell, knowing the im- 
porters would generally oppose the power, and that the 
people at large would unwillingly be deprived of a rich 
source of state revenue, at a crisis so distressing, came out 
in the Providence Gazette, and in all public places, with 
violent declamation against the five per cent., as it was 
called. He argued, if you once grant them five, they will 
soon take ten, then twenty, &c. Gen. Yarnum vindicated 
the grant, in the same paper, over the signature of ' Citizen;' 
Howell, over that of 'Farmer,' knowing the majority of 
every state were farmers. At length the question came be- 
fore the General Assembly ; Yarnum's speech occupied the 

J. M. VARNUM. 173 

forenoon, and, in sti-engtli of ar^ment and eloquence, had not 
been ecjualled since the settlement of the state. Howell occu- 
pied the afternoon ; the question was then taken, and decided 
in the negative. It was afterward ascertained, that a ma- 
jority had predetermined and agreed not to grant the power. 
Eleven of the states granted the five per cent, l^cw York, 
headed by George Clinton, never decided one way or the 
other; and Rhode Island refused. So Congress was defeated 
in the necessary source of revenue ; all the states not con- 
curring in the measure. 

After the war. Gen. Varnum recommenced the practice 
of law at East Greenwich, with increased reputation, and 
was promptly engaged in all the important causes in the 
state. At that period great and important cases arose, 
growing out of the new position in which the state and na- 
tion were placed. The great case of Trevett vs. Weeden, 
was one which stirred the community to its very foundations. 
Upon its issue was involved the destiny of thousands. Pub- 
lic feeling and anxiety were intense upon its result. The 
period succeeding the Revolution was the most eventful in 
our history. The crisis arose, and the experiment was on 
trial, whether the people were capable of self-government; 
and upon its issue depended the fate of the nation. The 
country was exhausted by a protracted contest ; and disap- 
pointed in the expectation of sufficient national resources, 
to meet the embarrassments produced by it; insubordination 
and misrule showed themselves everywhere. The army 
returned unpaid and discontented, with certificates upon a 
bankrupt treasury, instead of money, amidst a state popula- 
tion as impoverished as themselves. Tlie state itself was 
insolvent, and wholly unable to pay the bills of credit 
against it. The stock of the farmer was selling at the auc- 
tion posts, for the payment of taxes. The old Congress 
was as embarrassed as the states for pecuniary means to 

174 J. M. VAIINUM. 

discharge their engagements. They made requisitions in con- 
formity to the powers delegated to them under the confeder- 
ation : OAving to inabihty the states rejected them. The bills 
which Congress had negotiated in Holland for the payment 
of the army, were unpaid at maturity, and returned pro- 
tested : the damages alone amounting to the startling sum 
of six hundred and thirty-six thousand dollars. At this act 
of sovereign dishonor and disgrace of the new republic, our 
ambassadors, Franklin, Jay, and Adams, were in despair. 
Prompted by exorbitant profit, the merchants shipped to 
Em'ope, all the remaining specie that could be obtained to 
supply the country with fabrics, which the war had ex- 
hausted. iMassachusetts alone exported three millions of 
specie from the commencement of peace, to July, 1785 ; and 
v.-e can only judge, by estimation, of the vast amount ex- 
ported from other seaports for the same purposes : so that 
in a short period, all the gold brought by the French, and 
the silver imported from the Spanish West Indies, was 
drained from the country. The avaricious course pursued 
by the merchants compelled the borrower to pay ticcnty per 
cent, per annum, and some four per cent, per month. Such 
was the posture of affairs at this momentous crisis. The 
confederation was powerless. The veteran soldiers, who 
had exposed themselves to tempests and battles through the 
whole contest, and whom peace had dismissed with laurels, 
returned to their families, penniless and clamorous. Neces- 
sity and distress showed themselves by insurrections and 
commotions in every quarter. If Shays had possessed cour- 
age equal to his address and ability, he might have marched 
in triumph through the nation, gathering to his standard, 
spirits enough to have insured him victory; such was the 
porih)us condition of the republic. The state threw itself 
upon its reserved rights ; and the demagogues, who could 
best live and flourish in turbulent political waters, seizing 

J. M. VAIINIM. 175 

upon the a<,atat('d occasion, rou^^cd ihc distie^ij^cd ol' every 
class into a phrcnzy, and niach^ ihcni bciicx e, that ^Midas-lil^c, 
tlioy could touch paper, and convert it to gold. The })aper- 
nioney party obtained an overwhehniiig niajoiity, and ex- 
pressly instructed iheir representatives lor the })Ui"])()se; and 
in ^lay, 17S(), emitted the enormous sum ol' one hundretl 
thousand pounds in pajier bills. It was lurther enacted, that 
said bills ' should hv a good and lawful tender I'or the; com- 
plete payment and llnal discharge ol" all lines, forfeitures, 
judgments, and (Executions, that had becouu' due and re- 
covered, of every kind and nature whatsoever.' There was 
no time iixed when said bills were to be redeemed, nor was 
their ultimate payment charged upon any fund, nor was it 
designated how they were to be paid. They \verc to be 
loaned for fourteen years upon mortgage, pro rata, to all 
the people, at four per cent, interest for the first seven years, 
and to be repaid in the next seven years, in seven equal instal- 
ments, without interest, and then they v*erc ' to be consn,iicd 
by fur;'' thus intending to anniliilate the merchants, their 
iancied opponents, at a blow. These bills fell into imme- 
diate discredit, and those who had property chose rather to 
retain, than exchange it. They further enacted, that if any 
one refused to take it in place of specie, he should be fined 
one himdred pounds, and stand dir-lVanchised. E\ ery citi- 
zen was also to swear that he woukl use his endeavors to 
gi\ e it cui'rency equal to gold and silver, and sell their pro])- 
erly at the same prices for one, as the other Trials under 
the law could l)e had at a called com1, and the ciiljjrit was 
denied the privih^ge of a jury. 'J'hese curious mo\ emeuts 
of the pa])lic mind goto prove that • the lu(juisiiion " may 
exist in a republic, in ci\il affairs, as ^\-ell as in a Ivoman 
Catholic country, in mattei-s of religion. 

The paper-mone}" system gave rise to a celebrated law- 
suit, in which Cen. Varnum was engaged, and where he 

176 J. M. \ A II NUM. 

displayed his eloquence and law knowledge in a masterly- 
manner. John Trevett, of Newport, bought meat of John 
Weeden, a butcher, in the market, and tendered to him bills 
of the emission of May preceding, in payment, which Wee- 
den refused. From thence arose this trial, before a special 
court, in September, 1780. If the complaint was sustained 
by the judgment of the court, all the commerce and busi- 
ness of the state would be destroyed, and all previous obli- 
gations canceled by this irredeemable trash. The whole 
population were deepl}^ interested, and gathered, in vast 
numbers, at the court-house. Here Gen. Varnum displayed 
his vast powers, as an orator, in a manner never developed 
before, and came fully up to Patrick Henry's famous tobacco 
case, in exciting the applause and approbation of the 
people. 'The court adjudged the amended acts of the 
legislature, unconstitutional, and so void.' The fearless in- 
dependence of the bench overthrew the t3-rrany of the dem- 
agogues, and the state was saved. But it was eulogium 
enough on Varnum, that the power of these speeches 
wrought such a triumphant victory over public opinion, that 
the dominant party, to save themselves from political pros- 
tration, were compelled to repeal their arbitrary and uncon- 
stitutional acts, within sixty days from the time of their 
passage. Gen. Varnum was not cold and phlegmatic in his 
eloquence; his temperament was naturally ardent; and 
when excited or roused by the circumstances or events of 
his cause, was vehement. None can impait warmth or zeal, 
that have none of their own ; and to impress an assembly 
with the truth or sanctity of our cause, we must ourselves 
be convinced that it is true. 

In 1780, Gen. Varnum was again elected a representative 
to the old Congress, and was an efficient member. At the 
same session, the distinguished William Samuel Johnson 
was also a representative from Connecticut; an intimacy 

J. M. V A 11 NUM. 177 

was contractrd between them, which continued during their 
lives. Tiii.s circumstance is mentioned to fshow why Dr. 
Johnson t^poke of Cen. Varnum, in the case of Smith, of 
Connecticut, against John Brown, of Providence, in such 
favoral)ki terms. It was a prize cause, of magnitude, and 
from the ])arties concerned, and the eminence of the counsel 
engaged, it excited unusual interest. It was tried before 
Judge Fost(M', judge of the State Admiralty Court at Kings- 
town. Jess(! Hoot, after\vard chief justice of the Supreme 
Court of Connecticut, nnd compiler of Root's reports, opened 
the case in behalf of Smith, and William Channing, attor- 
ney-general of Rhode Island, and Gen. Varnum conducted 
the defense in behalf of Brown, and the distinguished jurist 
and Christian, Dr. Johnson, of Stratford, closed for the claim- 
ant. From the splendor of the talents of counsel, unusual 
attention was attracted to the scene. The neat, concise, and 
clear openings by Root and Channing, the brilliant language 
and thundering eloquence of Varnum, and the calm, placid, 
unostentatious and classical oratory of Johnson, furnished 
a legal and intellectual banquet, such as was never seen 
before, and probably never since, in Rhode Island. To sus- 
tain himself against such power, was victory enough; but 
Varnum did more ; he not only sustained the high expecta- 
tions of his friends, and the reputation of the Rhode Island 
bar. but drove his adversaries finally to a nonsuit. Dr. 
Johnson, wliose heart was too magnanimous for envy, be- 
side pa} iuir to Clen. Varnum, merited compliments in the . 
close, stated, nt a party in the evening, 'That he knew Gen. 
Varnum iu Congress, and that he was a man of uncommon 
talents, and of the most brilliant eloquence.' Ve feel as- 
sured that he was justly entitled to this eulogium. or Dr. 
Johnson would not have given it. The following is a de- 
scription of the pcrscui and dress of Gen. A'arnum at the 

bar : It was the fashion of that day to be very well, or 

178 J. M. VARNUM. 

rather elegantly dressed. ' Gen. Varnum appeared with a 
brick-colored coat, trimmed with gold lace; buckskin small 
clothes, with gold lace bands; silk stockings, and boots; a 
high, delicate, and white forehead; eyes prominent, and of 
a dark hue ; his complexion rather florid ; somewhat corpu- 
lent; well proportioned, and finely formed for strength and 
agility; large eyebrgws; nose straight, and rather broad; 
teeth perfectly white; a profuse head of hair, short on the 
forehead, turned up some, and deeply powdered and 
clubbed. When he took off his cocked hat, he would lightly 
brush up his hair forward, and with a fascinating smile 
lighting up his countenance, take his seat in court.' This 
was the last great effort of Gen. Varnum in Rhode Island. 
At what precise time this trial took place, cannot now be 
ascertained, as no record of that court can be found. That 
it was after the confederated Congress of 1787, is presuma- 
ble ; because he spoke of their intimacy while in Congress 
together; and Dr. Johnson and Gen, Varnum were not both 
members of the same Congress before that period. 

Gen. Varnum was a warm and unwavering advocate for 
a federal constitution ; he knew the inefficiency of the con- 
federation, and also the selfish considerations that governed 
the states. If an instrument cementing the Union, uas not 
speedily adopted, he ' felt that future eflbrts would be una- 
vailing.' The legal profession, with Gen. Varnum at their 
head, the mercantile, and the sound portion of the agricul- 
tural interests, urged the Legislature of Rhode Island, at 
their June session, 1787, in the strongest terms, to send del- 
egates to the federal convention, assembled at Philadelj)hia. 
But the advocates of the paper-money system, and ihe rev- 
enue accruing to the state from imposts, Rhode Island being 
then the second or third importing state, defeated the meas- 
ure. The minority in the Legislature, and those friendly to 
tlic federal constitution, addressed the convention on the 

J, M. VARNUM. 179 

subject, and inclosed it to Gen. Varnum, to be delivered to 
that body." 

Early in the year 1787, the Ohio Land Company was or- 
ganized in Bo.^ton; it was originated by the disbanded offi- 
cers of the late army, many of whom were stockholders, 
while the larger portion was made up from the citizens at 
large. The ordinance of Congress, establishing the North- 
west Territory, was passed the 13th of July, 1787; hi August 
of that year. Gen. Varnum was appointed one of the direc- 
tors of the Ohio Company. In September, Gen. Arthur 
St. Clair was appointed governor of the new territory, and, 
in October following. Gen. Varnum, Samuel H. Parsons, 
and John Cleves Symmes, judges of the Supreme Court. 
lie left his home in Rhode Island in the spring of 1788, on 
his route to the Northwest Territory, by the way of Balti- 
more, and arrived at Marietta early in June. Gen. Parsons 
was there on the 2Gth of May; Gov. St. Clair arrived on 
the 0th of July, at Fort Ilarmer, under the escort of Maj. 
Doughty, who went up with the garrison barge and a party 
of soldiers to meet him at Fort Mcintosh. On the 4th of 
July, the American independence was celebrated at Ma- 
rietta, by the citizens, and the officers of Fort Ilarmer, in a 
long bowery built near the upper point at the mouth of the 
Muskingum. Gen. Varnum was invited to deliver an ora- 
tion, which was done with his usual eloquence. "The ora- 
tion is short, but contains many beauties both in sentiment 
and language." '-It was published at Newport in the same 
year, bj- order of tlie directors and agents of the Ohio Land 
Company, to which is annexed the speech of Gov. St. Clair, 
and proceedings of the inhabitants." A copy of the 
speeches is attached to the appendix of this volume. 

His health was poor when he arrived at jMarietta, having 
for some time been threatened with a lung complaint. The 
long journey and change of climate, no doubt led him to 

180 J. M. VARNUM. 

expect would effect a favorable change in his disease ; but his 
health gradually declined after his arrival, so that by the set- 
ting in of cold weather, he was quite feeble, and evidently in 
a deep consumption. During the summer and autumn he was 
able to attend to the duties of a director in the meetings of 
that board, and no doubt his fine taste for the beautiful 
was exerted in promoting the resolution for the preservation 
of those ancient remains erected on the present site of Ma- 
rietta, as memorials of that departed race of men v\ho once 
inhabited the valley of the Ohio. He also had made prepara- 
tion for opening a farm; and a clearing of several acres, 
made by him, a mile or two east of the town, was, for many 
years, known by the name of Varnum's clearing, and now oc- 
cupies the center of one of the finest farms in this vicinity. 
He assisted Gov. St. Clair and Gen. Parsons in forming a 
code of laws for the government of the Northwest Territory, 
twenty-six of which were promulgated during his life ; the 
last of them being signed on the 21st of December. About 
this time he addressed the following letter to his wife. It is 
written with that entire truth, honesty, and deep sensibility, 
which all more or less feel at the approach of death; but 
which few have the ability to express in such fervent and 
beautiful language. It was published in 1791, in the Amer- 
ican Magazine, as a fine specimen of elegant composition ; 
but is now copied from his life, as a memorial of the heart 
and soul of Gen. Varnum. 


you from my sick chamber, and perhaps it will be the last 
hitter that you will receive from me. My lungs are so 
fai' afiVctod that it is impossible for me to recover, but by 
exchange of air and a warm climate. I expect to leave 
this pku^e on Sunday or Monday next for the falls of Ohio. 
]!' ] f(;( 1 myself mend ])y the tour, I shall go no farther; but if 
not, and my strength should continue, I expect to proceed to 

J. M. VAllNUM. 181 

New Orleans, and from thence, by the West Indies, to Rhode 
Ishmd. My physicians, most of them, think the chances of 
recovery in my favor; however, I am neitlier cheated nor de- 
pressed by tlic force of opinion, but shall meet iny fate; witli 
humility and fortitude. I cannot, however, but indulge; the 
hoj)e that I shall again end)race my lovely fi'iend in this 
world; and that we may glide smoothly down the tide of 
time for a fnv years, and enjoy together the more substan- 
tial happiness and satisfaction, as we have already the de- 
sirrdde pleasures of life. It is now almost nineteen years, 
since Heaven connected us by the tendcrest and the most 
sacred of ties ; and it is the same length of time that our 
friendship hath been increased by every rational and en- 
dearing motive ; it is now stronger than death, and I am 
linnly persuaded will follow us into an existence of never- 
ending felicity. But my lovely friend, the gloomy moment 
will arrive when we must part; and should it arrive during 
our present separation, my last and only reluctant thoughts 
will be employed about my clearest jMartha. Life, my dear- 
est friend, is but a bubble ; it soon bursts, and is remitted 
to eternity. When we look back to the earliest recollections 
of our youthful hours, it seems but the last period of our 
rest, and we appear to emerge from a night of slumbers, to 
look forward to real existence. When we look forward, 
lime appears as indeterminate as eternity, and we have no 
idea of its termination, but by the period of our dissolution. 
What particular relation it bears to a future state, our gen- 
eral notions of religion cannot point out; we feel something 
constantly active within us, that is evidently b(\\ond the 
reach of mortality : but whether it is a pait of ourseh es, or 
an emanation from the pure Source of existenc(\ or re-ab- 
sorbed when death shall have llnished liis work, human wis- 
dom cannot determine. Whether the demolition of the 
body introduces only a change in the manner of our being, 

182 J. M. VARNUM. 

or leaves it to progress infinitely, alternately elevated and 
depressed, according to the propriety of our conduct, or 
whether we return to the common ma-^s of unthinking mat- 
ter, philosophy hesitates to decide. I know, therefore, but 
one source from whence can be derived complete consola- 
tion in a dying hour, and that is the divine system contained 
in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There, life and immortality 
are brought to light; there, we are taught our existence is to 
be eternal, and, secure in an interest in the atoning merits 
of a bleeding Savior, that we shall be inconceivably happy. 
A firm and unshaken faith in this doctrine, must raise us 
above the doubts and fears that hang upon every other sys- 
tem, and enable us to view with a calm serenity, the ap- 
proach of the king of terrors, and to behold him as a kind 
and indulgent friend, speeding his shafts only to carry us, 
the sooner, to our everlasting home. But should there be a 
more extensive religion beyond the vail, and without the 
reach of mortal observation, the Christian religion is by no 
means skaken thereby, as it is not opposed to any principle 
that admits of the perfect benevolence of the Deity. My 
only doubt is, whether the punishment threatened in the 
JVew Testament, is annexed to a state of unbelief, which 
may be removed hereafter, and so a restoration take place; 
or whether the state of the mind at death, irretrievably fixes 
its doom forever. I hope and pray that the divine Spirit 
will gi\e me such assurances of an acceptance with Clod. 
through the merits and sufierings of his Son, as to brighten 
the way to immediate happiness. Dry up your tears, m}' 
charming mourner, nor sutler this letter to give too much 
in([uietu(le. Consider the facts at present as in theory; but 
the sentiments such as will apply whenever the change shall 
come. 1 know that humanity must and ^vill be indulged in 
its kcfmest grieis, but there is no advantage in too deeply 
anticipating our inevitable sorrows. If I did not persuade 

J. M. VAUNUM. 183 

mypolf that you would conduct with becoming prudence 
and fortitude, upon this occasion, my own unhappiness 
would he greatly increased, and perhaps my disorder too ; 
but 1 have so much confidence in your discretion, as to un- 
bosom my inmost soul. You must not expect to hear from 
me again, until the coming spring, as the river will soon he 
shut u}) with ice, and there will be no communication from 
below ; and if in a situation for the purpose, I will return as 
soon as practicable. Give my sincerest love to all those you 
hold dear; I hope to see them again, and love them more 
than ever. Adieu, my dearest friend; and while I fervently 
devote, in one undivided prayer, our immortal souls to the 
care, forgiveness, mercy, and all-prevailing grace of Heaven 
in time, and through eternity, I must bid you a long, long, 
long farewell. James M. Varnum." 

His fast declining health, and the rapid approach of win- 
ter, prevented his making the attempt to remove to a warmer 
climate. It was fortunate he did not, as he would have died 
amongst strangers, with no one on whom he could lean in 
his last moments ; while in jNIarietta he was surrounded 
with warm and devoted friends who did all in their power 
to alleviate his sufferings and make his final passage as 
easy as mortality will allow. He died on the 10th of Janu- 
ary, 1789, the day after the signing of the treaty with the 
Indians at Fort Harmer, which accounts for the attendance 
of the chiefs at his burial, and in less than eight months 
after his arrival. The funeral took place on the 13th, and 
was attended with all the ceremony and respect due to so 
distinguished a person. On this occasion Dr. Drowne from 
Rhode Island, delivered a funeral oration, a copy of which 
is attached to the appendix.* 

* The following order of procession is copied from the original manuscript, in the 
handwriting of Winthrop Sargeaiit, secretary of the territory, and found among the 
jiapers of Griffin Greene, iu 184G. 

184 J. M. VARNUM. 

''Early in life Gen. Yarnum married Martha, the eldest 
daughter of Cromwell Childe, of Warren, in Rhode Island, 
a family of very considerable distinction. Mrs. Varnum 
was an amiable, virtuous, and high minded lady, and one 
of the most cheerful, sociable, and best of wives. Slie sur- 
vived her husband forty-eight years, and died at Bristol, 
without issue, October lOth, 1837, at the advanced age of 
eighty-eight years. 

The career of Gen. Varnum was active, but brief. He 
graduated at twenty ; was admitted to the bar at tiixntjj-two; 
entered the army at ticcnty-sevcn ; resigned his commission 
at thirty-one; was member of Congress the same year; re- 
sumed practice at thirty-three, and continued four years, 

The Military. 
Marshals. Marshals. 

Mr. Wheaton, bearing tlio sword aud Mr. Lord, bearing the civil commissiou 
military commission of the deceased on on a mourning cushion. 
a mourning cushion. Mr. Fearing, bearing tlie insignia of 

Mr. Mayo, with tiie diploma and order masonry on a mourning ciishion. 
of Cincinnati on a mourniu"; cushion. 

Griffin Green, Esq., 
Judge TuppER, 
The Secretary. 


Judge Crary, 
Judge Putnam, 
Judge Parsons. 

Private INIgurners. 
Charles Greene and Richard Greene. 
Frederick Crary and Philip Greene. 

Doctor Scott and Doctor Farley. 
Deacon Story aud Doctor Drowne. 
Private citizens, two and two. 
Indian chiefs, two aud two. 
Tjie militia officers. 
Officers of the garrison at Fort Ilarmer. 
The civil officers. 
Tlic Cincinnati. 
The jMasous. 
Jlessrs. Clark and Leech, ^Nlr. Strattou aud ^Ir. Raich, were rcKjuejIcd to super- 
intend the order of the procession. In returning from the grave the order was the 
s;ime, preceded by the military under Capt. Zeigler. 

J. M. VARNUM. 1H5 

was I'k'ctcd to Congress again at thirtij-srvcn ; cnngratcd 
to llic west at, and died at the, early age of 
joiiij. l-'roin what researches have been niacU', it conscien- 
tiously can be stated that lie was a man of })oandles.4 zeal, 
of warm feelings, of great honesty, of singular disinterest- 
edness; and, as to talents, of prodigal imagination, a ^lex- 
trous reasoncM", and a splendid orator. He was a man made 
on a gigantic scale ; his v(>ry defects \vere nuiscidinc and 
powerful, ' and, we shall not soon look upon his like 



Maj. Gen. Sa:muel Holden Parsons was born at Lyme, 
in the county of New London, and state of Connecti- 
cut, May 11th, 1737, and was the third son of the Rev. 
Jonathan Parsons, a distinguished clerg}"man, who removed 
from Lyme to Newburyport, Mass., in 1746. Ilis mother 
was the sister of Gov. Matthew Griswold, of Lyme, Uneally 
descended from Henry Wolcot, of Windsor, the ancestor of 
all of that eminent name in Connecticut. 

lie graduated at Harvard College, in 1756; and after 
completing his professional studies in the office of his uncle, 
Gov. iMatthew Griswold, he was admitted to the bar of i\e\v 
London county, in February, 1759, and settled at Lyme in 
the practice of law. [Note A.] In September, 1761, he 
married the daughter of Richard Mather, of L3'me, a 
lineal descendant of the Rev. Richard blather, who was 
born in Lawton, Lancaster county, England, 1590, and set- 
tled as the first clergyman of Dorchester, jMass., Aug. 23, 
1636, where he died, April 22d, 1609. In 1762, at the age 
of tvrenty-fivc, he was elected a member of the General 
Asseml)ly of the colony of Connecticut, and ^vas succes- 
sively re-elected until his removal to New London in 1774. 
During this period he received repeated proofs of public 
confidence in various appointments of honor and tru.-t. 

In May, 1768, he was aj)pointed by the General Assembly, 
auditor, •■ to settle and adjust the colony accounts with the 
treasurer and all others who have received any of the moneys 
that belong to the colony." In 1769, the same appointment 

S. H. PARSONS. 187 

was continued, with " further povvcrd to renew, and better 
secure the moneys and ewtate due on mortgages, bonds, or 
other securities, belonging to this colony, which are in dan- 
ger of being lost." 

In October, 1773, under an act of the general court, '•con- 
cerning the western lands, so-called, lying westward of Del- 
aware river, within the boundaries of this colony," he was 
appointed and associated with the Hon. Matthew Gris- 
wold, I'^liphalet Dyer, Roger Sherman, Wm. Samuel John- 
son, Silas Dean, Wm. Williams, and Jedediah Strong, Esqrs., 
a committee with full power to assist his honor. Gov. Trum- 
bull, in stating and taking " proper steps to pursue the claim 
of the colony of Connecticut to said western lands ; and any 
three of said committee were authorized and directed to 
proceed to Philadelphia to wait on his honor. Gov. Penn, in 
the subject, and to treat with Gov. Penn and the agent or 
agents of the proprietaries of Pennsylvania, respecting an 
amicable agreement between the colony and the aforesaid 
proprietaries concerning the boundaries of this colony 
and the province of Pennsylvania, to agree upon and as- 
certain the boundaries between this colony, and the claim 
of said proprietaries, and such agreement to lay before 
the General Assembly for confirmation : but if said pro- 
prietaries shall prefer joining in an application to his 
majesty for commissioners to settle said line, then the 
said committee are directed to join in behalf of the colony 
in such application. The committee were likewise empow- 
ered to treat with said Gov. Penn with respect to the peace 
of the inhabitants who are settled upon said lands, and to 
agree upon such measures as shall tend to preserve good 
order, and to prevent mutual violence and contention while 
the boundaries between this colony and the said province 
shall remain undistiu'])cd." In January, 1774, the same 
committee were '• appointed and empowered to assist his 

188 S. H. PARSONS. 

honor, Gov. Trumbull, in collecting and preparing all ex- 
hibits and documents necessary to pursue and prosecute the 
claim and title of the colony to the lands lying within the 
boundaries of the gi-ant and charter of the colony west of 
the Delaware river, at the court of Great Britain, and to 
make a proper statement of said cause, to be transmitted to 
Great Britain for that purpose ; and to report to the General 
Assembly, from time to time, of their proceedings thereon." 
Mr. Parsons was an active member of this committee, and 
contributed materially by his abilities and unwearied dili- 
gence in promoting the important object of the appointment. 
In May, 1773, he was appointed by the House of Repre- 
sentatives of the Connecticut colony, one of the " Standing 
Conwiittce of Corres^pondcnce and Inquiry, to obtain all such 
intelligence, and to take up and maintain a correspondence 
wdth our sister colonies respecting the important considera- 
tions mentioned and expressed in certain resolutions of the 
patriotic House of Burgesses of Virginia in March last. 
[A'^oTE B.] Mr. Parsons was an energetic member of this 
committee, and entered zealously into the cause of the col- 
onies, lie had previously corresponded on these subjects 
with the prominent leaders of the sister colony of oMassa- 
chusctts. Among the number was the eminent patriot, 
Samuel Adams, who, says his biographer, (American Quar- 
terly Register, February, 1841, p. 2.) originated the sugges- 
tion of assembling the first Congress, which subsequently 
met at New York — an act which led, at a later period, to 
the continental Congress, to the confederation, and that 
great chain of events connected with the war of independ- 
ence. '-The writer of the preceding paragraph \vas not 
probably aware that among the manuscripts of Samuel 
Adams, (in the possession of Hon. Mr. Bancroft.) an orig- 
inal letter exists, written March 3d, 1773, by Samuel IJoIden 
Parsons to Mr. Adams, ori<rinatin'j: the suggestion above 

S. H. PARSONS. 189 

stated, the. honor of which has been heretofore attributed to 
Mr. Adains-a letter so full of fervent patriotism it may not 
be to insert entire, as follows : 

"Sir: When the spirit of patriotism seems expiring in 
America in general, it must aObrd a very sensible pleasun' 
to the friends of American liberty to see the noble efforts 
of our IJoston friends in the support of the rights of America, 
as well as their unshaken resolution in opposing any, the 
least invasion of their charter pri\ ileges. I was called to 
my father's on a very melancholy occasion, and designed to 
have seen you before my return, but some unforeseen diffi- 
culties pre\ ented. I therefore take the liberty to propose to 
your consideration whether it would not be advisable in the 
present critical situation of the colonies, to revive an insti- 
tution which had formerly a very salutary effect — 1 mean 
ail annual meeting of commissioners from (he colonics to consult 
on their general welfare. You may recollect this took place 
about the jear 103G, and was continued to 1G84, betu een 
the united colonies of IVew England. Although they had 
no decisive authority of themselves, yet here everything was 
concerted which will be easily suggested to your mind. If we 
were to take our connection with Great Britain into consid- 
eration, it would render the measure convenient, as at pres- 
ent our state of independence on one another is attended 
with very manifest inconvenience. I have time only to sug- 
gest the thought to you, who I know can improve more on the 
sulyect than is in my po\\cr, had I time. The idea of in- 
alienable allegiance to any prince or state, is an idea to me 
inadmissible; and I cannot see but that our ancestors, when 
they first landed in America, \vere as iiulependent of the 
crown or king of (jreat Britain, as if they never had been 
his subjects; and the only rightful authority derived to him 
over this people, was by explici*; covenant contained in the 

190 S. H. PARSONS. 

first charters. These are but broken hints of sentiments 
I wish I was at liberty more fully to explain. 
I am, sir, in haste, with esteem, 

your most obedient servant, 

Sam. H. Parsons. 

To Mr. Samuel Adams, in Boston. 
Forwarded by Mr. Howe." 

In November, 1773, he was appointed "king's attorney 
for New London county," and in May, 1774, was also ap- 
pointed by the General Assembly, " agent for the governor- 
and comjiany of the colony, to receive, sue for, and recover, all 
such debts or demands as were due to the governor and 
company of the colony, on bonds, notes of hand, or mort- 
gages, deeds, from persons residing in the county of New 
London ; as also to sue for and recover the possession of all 
such lands within said county of New London, that belonged 
to said governor and company and detained from them, with 
full power to appear before any court or courts of judicature, 
and represent said governor and company for the purpose 
aforesaid. All these duties were faithfully and satisfactorily 
performed. The limits of this brief sketch will just permit 
a detailed view of his arduous labors as a member of the 
committee of correspondence. 

The following letter, addressed to the committee of Bos- 
ton, on the 17th of May, 1774, (original among the manu- 
scripts of Samuel Adams,) evinces an eagle-eyed vigilance, 
and a fixed, determined spirit of resistance to oppression, 
and a bold, daring patriotism, peculiar to the times that 
tried men's souls. 

'Hartford, May 17, 1774. 

Ckntlemen: This moment a post from New York arrived 
here, on his road to Boston, with intelligence of the spirit 
and firmness with which the inhabitants of that city concur 

S. II. PARSONS. 191 

with the friends of America, in support oi" the of our 
country : we cannot suffer him to pass, without informing 
you, who immediately feel the effects of ministerial despot- 
ism, that the American cause, the state of the town of Bos- 
ton in particular, and the effect and operation of the late 
detestable act of an abandoned venal Parliament, were this 
day brought before our House of Assembly for considera- 
tion ; and, on discussing the matter, there is no reason to 
doubt a hearty, spirited concurrence of our Assembly in 
every proper measure for redress of our wrongs. A com- 
mittee is appointed to report proper measures to be pursued, 
and make drafts for the declaration of our rights, &c., which 
will probably be reported and passed this week ; a copy of 
which will be transmitted as soon as possible. We consider 
the cause the common cause of all the colonies, and doubt 
not the concurrence of all to defend and support you. Let 
us play the man for the cause of our country, and trust the 
event to Him who orders ail events for the best good of his 
people. We should not have written you at this time, and 
when no more of our committee are present, but that your 
distressed condition requires the aid of every friend for your 
relief. We cannot be warranted in having this made pub- 
lic, as from our committee, there not being a quorum present, 
but you are at liberty to use it, as from us personally, if it 
can, in the least, tend to strengthen the hands and encour- 
age the hearts of those in distress. 

We are, gentlemen, (the post waiting.) your friends and 
countrymen, the Committee of Correspondence at Hartford. 

Samuel H. Parsons. 


To the Committee of Correspondence, at Boston." 
[Superscribed to Samuel Adams, I'oston.] 
By a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 
colony of Connecticut, passed June 3d, 1774, the Committee 

192 S. II. PARSONS. 

of Correspondence were empowered, on application to them 
made, or from time to time, as might be found necessary, to 
appoint a suitable number to attend a congress, or conven- 
tion of commissioners, or committee of the several colonies, 
in Boston, America, to consult and advise on proper mea- 
sures for advancing the best good of the colonies ; and such 
conferences, from time to time, to report to the House of 
Representatives. [Note C] In pursuance of the above reso- 
lution, the Committee of Correspondence met on the 13th of 
July, 1774, at New London, and nominated the lion. Eli- 
phalet Dyer, the lion. Wm. Samuel Johnson, Erastus Wol- 
cot, Silas Dean, and Richard Law, Esqs., either three of 
whom were authorized and empowered, in behalf of the 
colony, to attend the General Congress of the colonies, pro- 
posed to be held at Philadelphia, the first day of September. 
Thi'ee of the above-named gentlemen, viz. : Messrs. John- 
son, Wolcot, and Law, by reason of previous engagements 
and the state of their health, declined the nomination. The 
committee met at Hartford, the ensuing month of August, 
[Note D,] and nominated, in their place, the Hon. Roger 
Sherman and Joseph Trumbull. The first-named gentle- 
man, with the Hon. Eliphalet Dyer, and Silas Dean, Esq., 
represented the colony of Connecticut in the first Congress, 
assembled at Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, September 5th, 

The passing of the above resolution was immediately 
communicated, by the Committee of Correspondence, to the 
committee at Boston and the House of Representatives of 
Massachusetts; they, therefore, on the 17th of June, adopted 
a similar resolution, upon the motion of Samuel Adams. 
[Note E.] To the colony of Connecticut, therefore, belongs 
the honor, (heretofore claimed by Massachusetts,) of first 
svf^frestin^, and first acting upon the important subject of the 
first National Congress of the American colonies. The first 

S. 11. PARSONS. 193 

siiggc-^tion having bcoii made by Mr. PansonH, in liis letter to 
Mr. Samuel Adams, March, 1773, and the first action taken 
by lh'' ('oun(^clicut Jjegi.^lature, June 3(1, 1771, of which 
Legi.-latuio iMr. Parsons was a prominent member. 

Believing that the possession of Ticonderoga and Crown 
Point, and the consequent command of lakes George and 
Chami^lain, were objects of essential importance in the ap- 
proaching conllict, jMr. Parsons, with a few Connecticut 
gentlemeji, formed the bold design of seizing the fortress 
by surj)ri>e. Accordingly, soon after the battle of Lexing- 
ton, they borrowed on their individual credit the requisite 
funds from the colonial treasurer to enable them to carry on 
the en1t>rprisc. As success depended upon secrecy and dis- 
j)atch, and it would be dilRcult to march any number of men 
through the country without discovering their plans, they de- 
termined to proceed with a small body of volunteers, whom 
they dispatched immediately on tlie 27th of April, under 
Edward JMott, of Preston, a captain in Col. Parsons' regi- 
ment. He proceeded to Bennington, where he met Col. 
Ethan Allen, a native of Connecticut, ^vho readily entered 
into their views, and agreed to conduct the enterprise. After 
having assembled at Castleton about two hundred and sev- 
enty men. Col. Allen assumed the command, and success- 
fully completed the whole plan; capturing the forts, and 
making prisoners of the garrison without the loss of a single 
man. This was the first blow — the first offensive blow struck 
by tlie colonies. At Concord and Lexington the Americans 
acted on the defensive, but this was the first act in which our 
countrytJien wvyq the assailants — the first attack planned 
and successfully executed — an enterprise highly important 
in its glorious results, and tending to inspire the Americans 
with additional confidence in themselves. It was planned 
by Connecticut, executed under her instructions, and paid 

for and maintained by her men and treasury. [Xoti: F 1 
13 '^ 

194 S. H. PARSONS. 

In 1770 Mr. Parsons was appointed major of the four- 
teenth regiment of militia; and on the 2Gth of April, 1775, 
was commissioned by the colony of Connecticut as colonel 
of the sixth regiment, raised " for the special defense and 
safety of the colony," and soon after marched to and con- 
tinued at Roxbury, until the British evacuated Boston, when 
he was ordered to New York. He was actively engaged at 
the battle of Long Island, August, 1770. In describing this 
battle, the historian Botta says, " Lord Percy came up with 
his corps, and the entire columns descended by the village 
of Bedford from the hights into the plain which lay between 
the hills and the camp of the Americans. Daring this time. 
Gen. Grant, in order to amuse the enemy and direct his at- 
tention from the events which took place upon the route of 
Flatland, endeavored to disquiet him upon his right: accord- 
ingly as if he intended to force the defile which led to it, put 
himself in motion at midnight, and attacked the militia of 
New York and of Pennsylvania who guarded it. They at 
first gave way, but Gen. Parsons being arrived, and having 
occupied an eminence, he renewed the combat and maintained his 
position until Brig. Gen. Lord Sterling came to his a^sistance 
with fifteen hundred men. The action became extremely 
animated, and fortune favored neither the one side nor the 
other. The Hessians, on their part, had attacked the center 
at break of day, and the Americans commanded by Gen. 
Sullivan, valiantly sustained their efi'orts. At the same time, 
the English ships, after having made several movements, 
opened a very brisk cannonade against a battery established 
in the little island of Red Hook, upon the right lianJc of the 
Americans, who combated against Gen. Grant. This, also, 
was a diversion, the object of which was to prevent them 
from attending to what passed in the center and on the left. 
The Americans d( fended themselves irith (xlranc gal/anl?-?/, 
i'jnorant that so much valor was exerted in vain, since victory 

S. H. PARSONS. 195 

was already in the hands of the enemy," &c. In INIrs. 
Williams' life of Olney, she says, " The militia of Xevv 
York and Pennsylvania were attacked by Percy, and about 
giving way, when Parsons arrived to their relief, and re- 
newed the combat, maintaining his position against fearful 
odds until Sterling came to his relief" President Stiles, in 
his diary, says " It was said that Grant, (British colonel,) was 
slain by our Gen. Parsons." 

In August, 177(5, he was appointed by Congress briga- 
dier-general, and was with the army at Harlem hights, 
Kingsbridge, and in the battle of White Plains. He was sub- 
sequently stationed at Peekskill with a portion of the army 
to protect the important posts upon the North river, and 
from thence was frequently detached on various expeditions. 

In 1777, about the middle of May, returning to Peekskill 
from Connecticut with a body of recruits, and learning while 
passing through New Haven that the enemy had collected 
a large quantity of forage and provisions at Sagg harbor, 
for the supply of their army at New York, Gen. Parsons 
determined to seize the same, and with that view dispatched 
Lieut. Col. Meigs with about one hundred and sixty men, who 
completely effected the object of the expedition, and also 
burnt one of the enemy's armed vessels, took ninet}' pris- 
oners, and re-crossed the sound without the loss of a single 
man. This was the most important operation of the cam- 
paign of 1777, and proves, by its successful results, great 
wisdom and judgment in its design, and consummate skill 
and vnlor in its execution. It was specially noticed by 
Congress and by Washington in a very complimentary 
manner, and is particularly described by ]Marshall, in his 
life of Washington, vol. iii, p. 9G, as well as in the follow- 
ing letter from Gen. Parsons to Gov. Trumbull, dated New 
Haven. r>Iav 30th, 1777: 


" I sincerely congratulate your honor on the success of 
our arms at Long Island. Col. Meigs left Sachem's Head 
on Tuesday, at one o'clock, P. M., with a detachment of one 
hundred and sixty men, officers included, and landed within 
three miles of Sagg harbor, about one at night ; and having 
made the proper arrangements ibr attacking the enemy in 
five different places, proceeded in the greatest order and 
silence within twenty rods of the enemy, \vhen they rushed 
on with fixed bayonets upon the different barracks, guards 
and quarters, while Capt. Troop, with a party under his 
command, at the same time took possession of the wharves, 
and vessels lying there. The alarm soon became general, 
and an incessant fire of grape and round shot was kept up 
from an armed schooner of twelve guns, which lay witliin 
one hundred and fifty yards of the wharves, for an hour; 
notwithstanding which, the party burnt all the vessels at the 
wharf, killed and captured all the men who belonged to 
them, destroyed about one hundred tons of hay, large quan- 
tities of grain, ten hogsheads of rum, and other West India 
goods, and secured all the soldiers who were stationed there. 
The prisoners are about ninety, among whom are oMr. Chew 
and Mr. Bell. I have the satisfaction of being informed 
that the officers and men, without exception, behaved with 
the greatest order and bravery, and not a man on our side 
cither killed or wounded. Eleven vessels, great and small, 
were destroyed in the above affair, and the prisoners taken 
were about onc-lhird seamen ; the others, generally Ameri- 
can recruits, are sent to Hartford."' See letter to Gen. 
Washington, May 25. 1777. [Xote C] 

In June, 1777, we find him in rSew Jersey, reinforcing the 
army of Gen. Washington, encamped at iMiddlebrook, an- 
ticipating an attack from Gen. Howe, who, it was supposed, 
had designs on Philadelphia. The following letter, ^v]•itten 

S. II. PARSONS. 197 

June 22, 1777, by Gen. Parsons, to his wife, describing the 
locality of a marching army watching the movements of his 
enemy, may not be uninteresting : 

" I have no way to tell you where I am, but by descriliing 
the place which has no name. Our camp is about two miles 
advanced in front of the mountain where the army is ported, 
on the road to Quibbletown, about one and a half miles 
north of that town, about two and a half miles northwest 
of Samptown, about three miles west of Browsetown, and 
about ten miles northwest of tSpanktown, about eight miles 
northeast from Brunswick, six miles from Middlebrook, 
about one mile from the stream called Bonn's brook, east- 
ward, bat furtlier distant from the village of that name. If 
you can find me by this description, I shall rejoice to hear 
from you. I expect to remove from this place very soon. 
Our neighborhood with the enemy gives us frequent skir- 
mishes, though nothing very material has occurred since the 
rascals retreated in so scandalous a manner from Somerset 
court-house to Brunswick. Their grand encampment seems 
now to be extended from Brunswick to Amboy. We are 
induced to believe they arc embarking for some other place, 
and this state will soon be clear of them ; however, this is 
at present not certain. I think their retreat must have an 
exceeding good effect in every point of view. If they advance 
to Millstone or Somerset to try the credit they may give 
their //-/tvic/.v, and see what number will join them, they must 
be greatly mortified to find almost every man who had re- 
ceived his majesty's protection and most gracious jiarcbm in 
arms against them. Xot the militia only of this state, but 
almost every man in it able to bear arms, have voluntarily 
flown to arms on this occasion. If they designed to pene- 
trate the country to I'liiladelphia. they are convinced it is 
impracticable. If they designed to turn the Hank of our 
arm}', and draw us from our strong grounds, they are 

198 S. H. PARSONS. 

The effect this maneuver will have on their army and our 
forces, and on the minds of the disaffected in the country, 
will probably be of great advantage to us. Our army is 
now respectable, but not such as that we incline to attack 
them in their strongholds at present; especially as delay is 
considered as fatal to them, if we prevent their penetrating 
the country. The general is very well, and in good spirits ; 
and our affairs have a more promising aspect, than since 
the war began. Where their next movement will be, is yet 
uncertain ; perhaps, if I live, I may see you sooner than I 
expected, when I left home. About one thousand of my 
brigade have joined us; more are expected every hour. 
Col. Butler and Maj. Sill are at Morris town ; I expect they 
will soon have orders to join their brigades. Every neces- 
sary of life is exceedingly dear; salt is from ten to twenty dol- 
lars per bushel, and other things very extravagant. I am in 
very comfortable circumstances myself, though not very well. 

Since writing the above, the enemy have evacuated 
Brunswick, with great precipitation and evident signs of 
fear, and are fled to Amboy. They left Brunswick at ten 
o'clock, and Gen. Gaines took possession by the time they 
were out. They left a considerable quantity of flour and 
other things, but I have not seen the return yet. We jmr- 
sucd them, and attacked their rear eindjlank, to Amhoy, u-hcrc 
they arc going on hoard their ships. This state is once more 
delivered from those pests of society; who will next be in- 
fested with them, is uncertain, but we are in high spirits, 
and ready to march to any part of the country. I expect 
orders to march, very soon, perhaps to the North river again, 
where I shall write you. 

I am, my dear, witli love to children, 

your affectionate husband, 

Sami:i:l II. Parsons." 

After the retreat of Gen. Howe from New Jersey, the 
brigades of Parsons and Yarnum were detached ii-oiv 

S. II. PARSONS. 109 

Middlcbrook to Peekskill ; and those continental troops at 
reckskill, whicli ha<l been ordered by Cien. Washington to 
join liim in New Jersey, and hml proceeded as far as Pomp- 
toii plains, now returned to their former station, with direc- 
tions to hold theniselves in readiness to move on the shortest 
notice. (Marshall, \'ol. iii, p. 119.) It was conjectured that 
the i]ritish Gens, ikirgoyne and Howe would endeavor to 
effect a junction of their two armies at* Albany. Orders 
were therefore given to Gen. Putnam, who commanded at 
Peekskill, to prepare for such an event, by concentrating 
at that post the militia of the country, and to guard against 
any sudden attempt from New York. The importance of 
defending the Highlands, and the necessity of large rein- 
forcements, was strongly urged by Gen. Parsons, in a letter 
to Gen. Washington, July 30, 1777. [Note II.] The result 
shows the wisdom and foresight which prompted the sug- 
gestion. Large requisitions were made on the militia of the 
adjoining states, but before effectual measures were con- 
summated, Gen. Clinton, with a large force, advanced up 
the North river, captured Forts Montgomery and Clinton, 
and proceeding above the Highlands, compelled Gen. Put- 
nam to evacuate the post at Peekskill, and Forts Inde- 
pendence and Constitution, and return to Fishkill. In the 
meantime, he visited Connecticut, to urge upon his country- 
men the importance of prompt and energetic action. The 
appeal was not in vain. Always ready in the hour of trial, 
that patriotic state had not forgotten that on the day suc- 
ceeding the battle of Long Island, eighty- four companies of 
her volunteers had marched to the relief of Boston : that she 
had struck the most offensive and effectual blow for liberty, 
and had sent one thousand of her brave sons to maintain 
the conquest of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, planned by 
her wisdom, and achieved by her valor: that more than four- 
teen thousand of her brave and hardy yeomanry composed 

200 S. H. PARSONS. 

the army of Wasliington at New York, in 177G; yet she 
was ready, ever ready, with her accustomed energy and 
undaunted spirit, to shed her best blood in defense of the 
rights of a bleeding country. A general levy was made, 
and two thousand men obeyed the call, marched to meet 
the enemy, and again planted the standard of liberty upon 
the summit of the Highlands. (P. 30.) 

Among the several military expeditions during the year 
1777, allusion is made by Gen. Parsons in a letter to Gen. 
Washington, dated December 29, 1777, to a descent on Long 
Island for the purpose of destroying the timber and boards 
prepared at the east end of the island, for barracks in Xew 
York — to decoy the fleet at Southhold from Rhode Island, 
loaded with wood, attack a regiment stationed about eight 
miles eastward of Jamaica, and remove or destroy whatever 
public stores should be found on the island at Shetocket. 
With this view Col. 3Ieigs was to have landed at Hempstead 
harbor, to attack the regiment near Jamaica — Col. Webb 
near Huntington to sustain Meigs, and aflbrd such aid to 
the division eastward as should be wanted, and destroy 
whatever was collected in that part of the county of Suffolk 
for the use of the enemy. The easternmost division under 
Gen. Parsons landed at a place called Ilockaback, about 
forty miles from the east end of tiie island. The licet, (ex- 
cept the Swan and Harlem sloops of war and four other 
vessels.) had sailed: one sloop had taken in her cargo of 
timber and boards ; the other three had taken none, but 
being light, hauled into the bay under cover of the anued 

The loaded sloop was captured, and all the limber ami 
boards prepared for A"ew Yoi'k; also a large (|uantiiy of 
'.vood cut for another fleet expected from New \ Oik. Tlic 
boats commanded by Capt. Ascough, of the ship Swan, 
were attacked within twenty yards of the shore; two of the 

S. II. 1' ARSONS. :^01 

ofliccrs, with their coniiu.iiider, badly wounded, ii:^ well as 
several t^oldiens, and eight kilh'd. Tin; euemy'ri t^hip.s kept 
a constant lire, but without execution. The (■ast(-'rn di\ ision 
under Cien. I'arson.s, at\er acconipUshing tlieir de.-igns, re- 
turned to the main again, with about twenty prisoners. 
Col. Meigs, who was to have crossed ironi Sawpits, through 
Uie roughness oi" the water, was unahh; to })asri over in his 
boats. The other two divisions laidcr Cul. U'ehb, sailed 
from \orwalk the e\ cning oi" the iUh instant, with fair pros- 
pects, but unfortunately the next morning, just befoi'c Hght, 
the sloop in which Col. Webb embarked, fell in with the 
British iVigate Falcon, on her passage from Xew York to 
Newport, was forced on shore near a spot called the Old 
Man's, and captured. 

This expedition was well planned, and would have been 
fully and most successfully accomplished, but for the adverse 
elements which prevented the embarkation of Col. ^leigs, 
and the unfortunate capture of Col. Webb by the frigate 
Falcon, circumstances which could not have been anticipated 
nor avoided. 

In November, 1777, Gen. Parsons learning that the enemy 
were practicing a system of warfare inconsistent with the 
common principles of humanity, by burning the duelling.-) 
and imprisoning the persons of peaceful and unofiending 
citizens, with many outrageous acts, addressed to Gov. Tryon 
a lettcn' remonsti-ating against such savage barbai-ity. It is 
written with eneriry. and that fervent patriotism peculiar to 
th(^, author, containing sentiments bold, dignilled, and un- 
answerable, while the reply of Gov. Tryon e\ inces a mind 
puerile, ignoble, base and cowardly. 

'• I\lAR(iM:rK, ?\ov. '2\<{, 1777. 

Sir: Adding to the natural hori'ors of war tlie most wan- 
ton destruction of properly, is an act of cruelty unknown to 
civilized nations, and unaccustomed in war until the servants 

202 S. H. PARSONS. 

of the king of Great Britain have convinced the impartial 
world, that no act of inhumanity, no stretch of despotism, 
are too great to exercise toward those they term rebels. 
Had any apparent advantage been derived from burning 
the houses in Phillips' manor last Monday, there would have 
been some reason to justify the measure ; but when no benefit 
whatever can be proposed by burning those buildings and 
stripping the women and children of apparel necessary to 
cover them from the severity of a cold night, and when 
captivating and leading in triumph to your lines, in the most 
ignominious manner, the heads of those families, I know- 
not what justifiable cause to assign for those acts of cruelt}-, 
nor can I conceive a necessity for your further orders to de- 
stroy Tarrytown. You cannot be insensible it is every day 
in my power to destroy the houses and buildings of Col. 
Pliillips and those belonging to the family of Delancey, each 
as near your lines as those buildings were to my guards; 
and notwithstanding your utmost vigilance, you cannot pre- 
vent the destruction of every house this side of Kingsbridge. 
It is not fear — ^it is not a want of opportunity has preserved 
those buildings; but a sense of the injustice and savagencss 
of such a line of conduct, has hitherto saved them ; and 
nothing but necessity will induce me to copy the examples 
of this sort, frequently set by your troops. It is not my in- 
clination, sir, to war in this manner, against the inhabitants 
within your lines, who suppose themselves within your king's 
protection. But necessity will oblige me to retaliate in kind 
upon your friends, to procure the exercise of that justice 
which humanity used to dictate, unless your explicit disa- 
vowal of the conduct of your two captains Eramerick and 
Barns, shall convince me that those houses were burned 
without your knowledge, and against your orders. 
I am, sir, your humble servant. 
Gov. Try on. Samuel II. Paesoxs." 

S. H. PARSONS. 203 

The following is Gov. Tryon's reply to the forcgohig: 
"KiNGSimiDGK, November 23, 1777. 

Sir : Could I possibly conceive myself accountable to a 
revolted subject of the king of Great Britain, I might an- 
swer your letter, received by the Hag of truce yeriterday, re- 
specting the conduct of the party under Capt. Emmerick's 
command, upon the taking of Peter and Cornelius Van 
Tassell. I have, however, candor enough to assure you, as 
much as I abhor every principle of inhumanity or ungener- 
ous conduct, I should, were I in more authority, burn every 
committee-man's house within my reach, as I deem those 
agents the wicked instruments of the continued calamities 
of this country ; and in order the sooner to purge this col- 
ony of them, I am willing to give twenty-five silver dollars 
for every active committee-man who shall be delivered up 
to the king's troops. I guess, before the end of the next 
campaign, they will be torn in pieces by their own country- 
men, whom they have forcibly dragged, in opposition to 
their principles and duty, (after fining them to the extent of 
their property) to take up arms against their lawful sov- 
ereign, and compelled them to exchange their happy con- 
stitution for paper-rags, anarchy, and disti-ess. The ruins 
from the conflagration of ISiew York, by the emissaries of 
your party last year, remain a memorial of their tender re- 
gard for their fellow-beings, exposed to the severity of a 
cold night. This is the first correspondence I have held 
with the king's enemies, on my part, in America; and as I 
am immediately undf^r tlie command of Sir Henry Clinton, 
your future letters, dictated with decency, would be more 
properly directed to his excellency. 

I am, sir, your most obedient servant, 

William Tryon, major-general. 

To Gen. Parsons." 

204 S. H. PARSONS. 

Gen. Parsons to the Hon. Mr. Laurens, President of 
Congress : 

" Sir : On the 18th ult., Gen. Tryon sent about one hundred 
men, under the command of Capt. Emmcrick, to burn some 
houses within about four miles of my guards, which, under 
cover of a dark night, he effected, with circumstances of 
most savage barbarity, stripping the clothing from the 
women and children, and turning them, almost naked, into 
the street, in a most severe night: the men were made pris- 
oners, and led, with halters around their necks, with no 
other clothes than their shirts and breeches, in triumph to 
the enemy's lines. This conduct induced me to write to 
Gen. Tryon upon the subject; a copy of my letter and his 
answer I have herewith sent you. As the practice of deso- 
lating villages, burning houses, and every species of unne- 
cessary distress to the inhabitants, ought to be avoided, I 
would not wish to retaliate in any instance, but where, in 
its consequences, the enemy may be injured, or one of our 
people saved by it. I am aware, if, in any instance, this 
shall be done, I shall subject myself to censure, unless it is 
in consequence of some general orders of Congress, by 
which I may be warranted. As these instances may be fre- 
quently repeated by the enemy, I wish to know in what, or 
whether in any instance. Congress will direct a retaliation. 

I am, sir, your obedient humble servant, 

Samuel II. Parsoxs." 

Gen. Parsons answer to Gen. Tryon's letter of 23d of 
November, 1777 : 

"FisfiK'n.L, January 1st, 1778. 

Si'r: Since I received yours of the 23d of Xovember, I 
have till now been employed in matters oi importance, which 
have not left me at liberty to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter before, and lest you slioukl think me wanting in 

S. 11. PARSONS. 205 

respect due to your character, I beg your acceptance of 
this h'tler, which closes our epistolary correspondence. It 
will ever be my design 'to dictate ^vith decency' any letters 
I may send, however remote it may be from my intention 
to co])y tiie examples of the persons my duty compels me 
to corres])ond with. As propriety and decency ought to be 
observed in every transaction, even with the most infamous 
characters, I never wish so nearly to assimilate mysc^lf to 
them, as to be found destitute of that respect which is due 
to my fellow-beings in every station in life. I should not 
have entertained a thought that you had been deficient in 
the duly you owe your king in every part of the globe, or 
that you did not inherit the spirit of his ministry, which has 
precipitated the present crisis, even if you had omitted to 
assure me this had been the first correspondence you had 
held with the king's enemies in America. The conllagra- 
tion of Xew York you are pleased to charge to Ameri- 
can troops, under the decent name of a parly. This de- 
serves no other answer than to assure you it has not the 
least foundation in truth, and that we are assured it gains 
no credit with officers whose rank and candor gives oppor- 
tunity to know and believe the truth. This, like many 
other occurrences, is charged to the account of those who 
were never believed guilty, to excite to rage, and direct the 
resentment of the ignorant and misruled against very im- 
proper objects. Perhaps I might with equal propriety and 
more truth suggest this unhappy event was brought about 
by your own party, fi-om the same motives which induced 
them in August, 1770, to mangle the dead bodies of some 
of the foreign troops, in a most shocking and inhuman 
manner, and place them in the most conspicuous parts of 
the road through which their brethren were to pass. 

A justifiable resistance against unwarrantable invasions 
of the natural and social rights of mankind, if unsuccessful 


according to the fashion of the world, will be termed rebel- 
lion, but if successful, will be deemed a noble stmggle for 
the defense of everything valuable in life. Whether I am 
considered as a revolted subject of the king of Great Brit- 
ain, or in any other light by his subjects, is very immaterial, 
and gives me little concern. Future ages, I hope, will do 
justice to my intentions, and the present to the humanity 
of my conduct. Few men are of talents so very inconsid- 
erable as to be unalterably excluded from every degree of 
fame. A Nero and Caligula have perpetuated their memo- 
ries. Perhaps 'twenty silver dollars' may be motives with 
those you employ to do great honor to your Machiavelian 
maxims, especially that which advises never to commit crimes 
to the halves, and leave lasting monuments of your princi- 
ples and conduct, which will hand your memory down to 
the latest posterity in indelible characters. We act on a 
different scale, and hold ourselves indispensably bound never 
to commit criynes, but to execute whatever is necessary for 
our welfare, uninfluenced by sordid, mercenary motives. In 
the field of conjecture I shall not attempt to follow you. You 
may have a better talent of 'guessing' than I can boast of. 
This satisfaction at least you may enjoy, that if you find 
yourself mistaken in one conjecture, you have an undoubted 
right to guess again. I shall content myself to wait until 
the event verifies your prediction, or shows you arc mis- 
taken, assuring you I shall never pursue your measures for 
restoring peace, whether ' my authority is greater or less,'' fur- 
ther than necessity shall compel me to retort the injuries 
the peaceable inhabitants of this country may receive from 
the hand of violence and oppression. 

I am, sir, your obedient servant, 

Samuel II. Parsons. 

Gov. Try on." 

During the winter of 1777, Gen. Parsons, suffering under 

S. II. PARSONS. 207 

feeble health, and a constitution broken down in the service 
of his country, expressed to the commander-in-chief a desire 
to retire^ temporarily from the active duties of the army, but 
in consecjuence of the urgent solicitation of (Jen. Washing- 
ton, he relin(juished the desire, as may appear by the fol- 
lowing letter, dated 

" IIu:iii,.vM)s, ox Hudson rivkr, February 18th, 1778. 

Dkar CJknhral: 1 had the honor of receiving yours of the 
10th of January about eight days since, at this place, where I 
have returned to take charge of my brigade. In the present 
state of the army, I shall continue in my command, lest a 
diflerent conduct may prove injurioi^s to the cause of my 
country, at this critical conjuncture of affairs. However 
my inclination may induce me to retire to the enjoyment of 
domestic happiness, I cannot think myself warranted to in- 
dulge my wishes at a time when so many ofllcers under my 
command arc desirous of leaving the toils of war for the 
pleasures of private life." 

About this time Gen. Putnam went to Connecticut and 
left West Point, and all the troops stationed at the High- 
lands, under the command of Gen. Parsons, with the addi- 
tional duty of constructing viilitary xmrks at West Point, which 
had been delayed in consequence of misapprehension in 
regard to the several resolves of Congress upon the subject. 
It seems that on the r>th of November, 1777, Congress ap- 
pointed (^en. Gates to command in the Highlands, connect- 
ing that post with the northern department, and empowered 
him to nuike obstructions in and fortifications on liie l)anks 
of the Hudson river, but as he -was made President of the 
Board of War, he never entered upon these duties. Again, 
on the 18th of February, Gov. Clinton was requested to 
take the superintendence of the \vorks, but the multiplicity of 
his civil employments made it necessary for him to decline 

208 S. II. PARSONS. 

the undertaking. Meantime, Gen. Putnam went to Con- 
necticut, and left the post in charge of Gen. Par.-;ons, 
who entered promptly upon the discharge of his arduous and 
perplexing duty. 

In a letter of 18th of February, to Gen. Washington, he 
remarks, "Almost every obstacle \vithin the circle of pos- 
sibility has happened, to retard the progress of the obstruc- 
tions in and fortifications on the banks of Hudson river. 
Preparations for completing them are now in a state which 
will afford a good prospect of completing them in April, and 
unless some difficulties yet unforeseen should prevent, 1 
think we cannot fail, by the forepart of that month, to have 
them in a good degree of forwardness. A'othing on my 
part shall be wanting to put them in a state of forwardness 
to answer the reasonable expectations of the country, as 
early as possible." 

Again, in a letter to Gen. Washington, dated 7th of 
March, 1778, explaining the perplexities arising under the 
resolves of Congress of the 5th of November, and 18th of 
February, in regard to Gen. Gates and Gov. Clinton, v.hosc 
powers were deemed strictly jKismud, he rcmarlcs, "1 shaJl 
exert myself to have the works in a state of defense as 
early as possible, by the due exercise of such directions as 
your excellency shall please to gi\ e me. Col. Radiere, find- 
ing it impossible to complete the fort and other def(?nses 
intended at tliis post, in such manner as to elfectually with- 
stand the attempts of the enemy to pass up the river early 
in the spring, and not choosing to hazard his reputation on 
works erected on a difierent scale, calculated for a short du- 
ration only, has desired l('a\ e to wait on your excellency 
and Congress, which I have granted him. In justice to Col. 
Radiere, 1 ought to say he appears to be a gent!(Miian of 
science and knowledge in his profession, and disposed to 

S. II. PARSONS. 209 

render us every service he is able to do. I shall expedite the 
building of such works as are most nccessarj' for immediate 

Again, in another letter, dated 

"Camp West Point, March 16th, 1778. 

On the 14th inst. I had the honor of receiving your letter 
of the 7th of March, and also one of the 8th, containing a 
copy of the 5th of iNIarch. I shall pay particular attention 
to forwarding the work of the boats designed for transport- 
ing over, as well as to those which are to be employed for 
defense on Hudson river. I have ordered all the boats and 
other crafts on the river to be collected in different places, 
and put in the best possible state immediately. When I 
was last at Poughkeepsie the gun-boats were in such a 
state as to give hopes of their being fit for use within a few 
weeks; and as Gov. Clinton has been kind enough to take 
upon himself the direction of them, I think we may 
hope to see them completed soon. I will send to Albany, 
and know the state of the boats there, and as the river will 
be soon clear of ice, I will order down such boats and other 
crafts as can be had there, fit for transportation over the river. 
If the chain is complete, ice shall be ready to stretch it over tlie 
river next week. A sufficient number of chevaux de frise to 
fill those parts left open last year, are ready to sink as soon 
as the weather and tlie state of the river Avill admit it to be 
done. 1 hope to have tiro sides and one bastion of the fort in 
some state of defense in about a fortnight. The other sides 
need very little to secure them. There is a prospect of 
having five or six cannon mounted in one of our batteries 
tliis week. I think the works are going on as fast as could be 
expected from our small number of men, total want of mate- 
rials provided, and of money to purchase them. We have 
borrowed, and begged, and hired money to this time. I have 

several times advanced my last shilling toward purchasing 

210 S. H. PARSONS. 

materials, &c.; and I believe this has been the case with 
almost every officer here. As ue still live, I hope we 
shall accomplish the works in the river in season, if the en- 
emy move with their accustomed caution and tardiness; 
when I hope Congress will repay what has been advanced, 
and cannot think us blamable if we have been compelled 
to save the public credit, and forward the business intrusted 
to our care." 

From the above correspondence it appears that the forti- 
iications at West Point, and upon the Highlands, were built 
under the superintendence of Gen. Parsons, where he was 
stationed the principal part of the years 1778 and 1779, but 
was frequently detached upon expeditions to protect the 
sea-coast of his native state, near Horseneck, Greenwich, 
New Haven and New London. Time and space, however, 
will not permit a full statement of his cervices. It appears 
also from his numerous opinions, recorded and preserved 
among the manuscripts of Gen. Washington, that he was 
frequently consulted in questions of great moment, and in 
critical times of public danger. 

On the 23d of June, 1779, Gen. Washington removed his 
head-quarters in consequence of the enemy having taken 
possession of Verplank's Point and Stony Point, from 
Smith's Clove to Isew Windsor, where he might be contigu- 
ous to the forts, and better situated to attend to different 
parts of the army on both sides of the Hudson river. The 
main body of the army was left at Smith's Clove, under the 
command of Gen. Putnam. The object now in view was 
to guard against an attack upon West Point. Gen. 31c- 
Dougall was transferred to the command of West Point. 
Three brigades were stationed on the east side of the river; 
Nixon's at Constitution island, Parsons'' opposite West Point, 
v.illi inslriictions to assist in constructing the xcorks, [Notk K,] 
and Huntington on the principal road leading to Fishkill. 

S. II. PARSONS. 211 

These three brigades were put under the command of Ccn. 
Heath, who had been recently ordered to repair from Boston 
to head-quarters. 

In July, 1779, Gen. Washington, understanding that Clen. 
Tryon had invaded Connecticut with twenty-six hundred 
British troops, immediately directed Gen. Parsons, (then 
stationed near the Highlands,) to hasten to the scene of 
action, with a view of giving confidence to his countrymen, 
and guiding their efforts. [Note L.] Placing himself at the 
head of one hundred and fifty continental troops who were 
supported by the militia under Gen. Erastus Wolcott, he at- 
tacked the British in the morning of the 12th, so soon as they 
had landed at Norwalk; and, although too weak to prevent 
the destruction of that fort, he harassed and annoyed the 
enemy throughout the day in such a manner that they re- 
embarked and returned to Huntington bay for fresh supplies 
of artillery and reinforcements of men; and soon after 
abandoned the undertaking of penetrating the Connecticut 
territory, returned to New York. [Note M.] Before in- 
vading Connecticut, Gen. Tryon addressed to Gens. Putnam 
and Parsons the following letter : 

"New York, June 18th, 1779. 

Sir: By one of his majesty's ships of war, which arrived 
here last night from Georgia, we have intelligence that the 
British forces were in possession of Fort Johnstone, near 
Charlestown, the first of June. Surely it is time for rational 
Americans to wish for a reunion with the parent state, and 
to adopt such measures as will most speedily effect it. 

I am your very humble, obedient servant, 

Wm. Tryon', major-general. 

To Gen. Putnam, or, in his absence, to Gen. Parsons." 

The following is Gen. Parson's reply: 

" Cami', Highlands, September 7th, 1779. 

Sir : I should have paid an earlier attention to your 

212 S. H. PARSONS. 

polite letter of the 18th of June, had I not entertained some 
hope of a personal interview with you, in your descents 
upon the defenseless towns of Connecticut, to execute your 
master's vengeance upon rebellious women and formidable 
hosts of boys and girls, who were induced, by insidious pro- 
clamations, to remain in those hapless places, and who, if 
they had been suffered to continue in the enjoyment of that 
peace their age and sex entitled them to expect from civil- 
ized nations, you undoubtedly supposed would prove the 
scourge of Britain's veteran troops, and pluck from you 
those laurels with which that fiei^y expedition so plentifully 
crowned you. But your sudden departure from Norwalk, 
and the particular attention you paid to your personal safety, 
when at that place, and the prudent resolution you took, to 
suffer the town of Stamford to escape the conflagration to 
which you had devoted Fairfield and Norwalk, prevented 
my wishes on that head. This will, I hope, sufficiently apol- 
ogize for my delay in answering your last letter. By letters 
from France, we have intelligence that his Catholic majesty 
declared war against Great Britain in June last; that the 
combined fleets of France and Spain, amounting to more 
than sixty sail of the line, having formed a junction with 
twenty-five thousand land forces, are now meditating a 
blow on the British dominions in Europe ; and that the 
grand fleet of old England find it very inconvenient to ven- 
ture far from their harbors. In the West Indies, Admiral 
Byron, having greatly suffered in a naval engagement, es- 
caped, with his ships in a very shattered condition, to St. 
Cbristopher's, and cov ered his fleet under the batteries on 
the shores, and has suffered himself to be insulted in the 
road of that island by the French admiral; and Count de 
Estaing, after reducing the islands of St. Vincent and Gren- 
ada to the obedience of France, defeating and disabling the 
British fleet, has sailed for Hispaniola, where it is expected 

S. II. PAKSONS. 213 

he will be joined by the Spanish fleet in those seas, and at- 
tack Jamaica. 

The storming your strong works at Stony Point, and cap- 
turing the garrison, by our brave troops ; the brilliant suc- 
cesses of den. Sullivan against your faiOif id friends and 
allies, the savages; the surprise of Paulus Hook, by Maj. 
Lee; the flight of Gen. Provost from Carolina; and your 
shamefully shutting yourselves up in New York and the 
neighboring islands, are so fully within your knowledge, as 
scarcely to need repetition. 

Surely it is time for Britons to rouse from their delusive 
dreams of conquest, and pursue such systems of future con- 
duct as will save their tottering empire from total destruction. 

I am, sir, your obedient servant, 

Samuel H. Parsons. 

To Maj. Gen. Trj'on." 

On the 29th of October, 1780, he was appointed, by Gen. 
Washington, one of the board of general officers at West 
Point, for the trial of Maj. Gen. Andre, of the British army, 
as a spy. 

In the same month he received from Congress, a com- 
mission as major-general, and succeeded Gen. Putnam in 
the command of the Connecticut line of the continental 

The defenseless inhabitants between Greenwich and New 
York, having been much annoyed, and suffered great losses 
by the frequent incursions of Col. Delancey's corps at Mor- 
risiana, Gen. Parsons determined to destroy the enemy's 
barracks, which could not be rebuilt during the winter; and 
thus afford some protection to the inhabitants in that vicinit}'. 
For this purpose, he advanced, with rapid marches, to West 
Chester and Morrisiana, with a few continentals, attacked 
the British troops, and effectually accomplished his object. 

Gen. Washington, in a letter addressed to the President 

214 S. H. PARSONS. 

of Congress, January 31st, 1781, thus alludes to this expe- 
dition : " Inclosed are two reports of Maj. Gen. Parsons and 
Lieut. Col. Hull, respecting our enterprise againt Delancey's 
corps at West Chester ; in which, with a small loss on our 
side, the barracks of the corps, and a large quantity of for- 
age were destroyed, fifty-two prisoners and a considerable 
number of horses and cattle brought off, and a bridge across 
Harlem river, under one of the enemy's redoubts, burnt. 
Gen. Parsons' arrangements were judicious; and the con- 
duct of the officers and men employed on the occasion, is 
entitled to the highest praise. The position of the corps, two 
or three miles within some of the enemy's redoubts, required 
address and courage in the execution of the enterprise." 

Congress passed a resolution directing Gen. Washington 
to present to Gen. Parsons and the oilicers under his com- 
mand, the thanks of Congress for his judicious arrangements, 
and for the corn-age displayed by the officers and men. 

In the year 1781, he was appointed by the governor and 
council of Connecticut to command the state troops and 
coast guards, raised for the protection of the state, and to 
dispose tliem in such manner as he should judge expedient 
to protect the inhabitants from the incursions of the enemy 
on the sea-coast. 

At the close of the war he resumed the practice of law 
in Middletown, whither his family had been removed during 
the Revolution, and frequently represented that town in tlie 

In the prosecution of measures for the formation of ]Mid- 
dlescx county, he was more engaged and more influential 
than any other man. He was an active and influential 
member of the state convention which assembled at Hart- 
ford, .January, 1781, and adopted the constitution of the 
United Stales. lie was a member and for some Ximc presi- 
(kvi of the society of Cincinnati, in Connecticut. 

S. II. PARSONS. 215 

In tho latter pai-t of the year 1785, he was appointed by 
ConjL^ress, a commissioner, in connection with Gens. Richard 
ButhM", of Pittsburg, and George Rogers Clarke, of Ken- 
tucky, to treat with the S/imvanoe Indians, near the falls of 
Ohio, for extinguishing the aboriginal title to certain lands 
within the Northwestern Territory. This treaty was held on 
the northwestern bank of the Ohio, near the mouth of the 
Great Miami, January 31st, 178G, and the Indians then ceded 
to the United States a large and valuable tract upon which 
the nourishing city of Cincinnati now stands. 

Under the ordinance of Congress of 1787, he was ap- 
pointed judge in and over the territory of the United States 
northwest of the river Ohio. The commission is dated Oc- 
tober 23d, 1787, and signed by Arthur St. Clair, president, 
and Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress. In 1789 he 
was nominated by Gen. Washington, by and u'ith the consent 
of the senate, chief judge in and over the same territory, 
then embracing the present states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois 
and Michigan, which office he held until his death. His 
associates were Gen. James Yarnum, of Rhode Island, and 
the Hon. John Cleves Symmes, of A'ew Jersey. In 1789 
he was appointed by the state of Connecticut a commis- 
sioner with Gov. Oliver Wolcott, of Litchfield, and lion. 
James Davenport, of Stamford, to hold a treaty with the 
Wyandots and other tribes of Indians, for extinguishing 
their claim, (the aboriginal title to the lands called the Con- 
necticut Western Reserve.) and in the fall of 1789 he visited 
that country with a view to preliminary arrangements for 
holding a treaty with them. While returning to his resi- 
dence at ^Marietta, he was drowned in descending the rapids 
of the Big Beaver river, the 17th of November, 1789, aged 
fifty-two years. 

Among the manuscripts of Gen. Parsons in the possession 
of his grandson, Samuel H. Parsons, of Hartford, are a 

216 S. H. PARSONS. 

journal of observations and occurrences when he first vis- 
ited the western country ; a communication to the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences in October, 1786, describing 
the western mounds, manners and customs of the aborigines ; 
original address to the Shawanoes tribes ; besides a volumin- 
ous correspondence before, during, and after the Revolu- 
tionary war, with the distinguished men of that period. 


Gen. Bknjamix Tlti-er was born at Staughton, Mass., in 
tliat part now called Sharon, in 1738, but the precise time 
is unknown to his descendants in this state. He was the 
youngest of eight children of his parents, seven sons and 
one daughter. Ilis brothers' names were Mayhew, Levi, 
Seth, Simjon, Reuben and Judah. His sister, Joanna, was 
married to Benjamin Estie, of Staughton. His brothers 
emigrated to different parts of the country. Mayhew went 
to New York, Simeon lived in Vermont, and with two of 
his sons, served in the Revolutionary army. Reuben died 
at Sharon, Judah came to Marietta with Gen. Tupper, where 
he died in 1793. Gen. Tapper's father died when he was 
quite young, and he was apprenticed to a tanner in Dor- 
chester by the name of Witherton, with whom he lived until 
he was sixteen years of age. After leaving Dorchester, he 
worked on the farm of Joshua Howard, of Easton, with 
whom he continued to reside the most of his time until he 
was married. 

At the commencement of the French war, he engaged as 
a private soldier in the army, and was connected with it the 
most of the time for two or three years, though absent from 
it during the winter, except in the winter of 1756-7, when 
lie acted as clerk of a company in the eastern army. Whether 
he was in any engagement during that war, is not known. 
He kept a district school in Easton two or three winters 
during the war or soon after. 

♦ The sketch of the life of Gen. Benjamin Tupfi' was written by his grandson, 
Anselm Tupper Nye, of Marietta. 


He was married at Easton, November 18th, 1762, to Hul- 
dah White, who resided in the same town, and with whom 
he had long been acquainted. She was a woman of no 
ordinary talents, and was eminently fitted for the trials and 
difficulties through which they were called to pass in the 
latter period of their lives. She died at Springfield, now 
Putnam, Ohio, on the 21st of February, 1812. She was 
well known to many of the now oldest inhabitants of jNIa- 
rietta, having survived her husband more than twenty years. 

They resided at Easton for a short time after their mar- 
riage, when they removed to Chesterfield, in Hampshire 
county, Mass., wliich continued to be the residence of his 
family until they removed to Marietta. 

At the commencement of our Revolutionary war, Gen. 
Tupper was a lieutenant of the militia, in Chesterfield. His 
first military duty during that war was in stopping the Su- 
preme Court acting under the authority of the crown, at 
Springfield. Under the command of Maj. Halley, of North- 
ampton, a body of men prevented the sitting of the court, 
thus manifesting the determination of the people of that 
state to resist the authority of the British government. 

In 1775 he held the rank of major of a regiment of six 
months men, serving near Boston. While there he collected 
a number of boats and men for an expedition to Castle 
island, in Boston harbor. They passed ^vith mufiled oars 
close to the British licet, then in the harbor, to the castle, 
burnt the light-house, brought ofi" considerable property in 
light articles, and returned safe to the main land without 
any loss of men, or perhaps with the loss of one man. The 
enemy repaired the light-house, and Maj. Tupper in another 
expedition with boats, burnt it the second time. After his 
return from one of these expeditions, he wrote the following 
letter to Gen. Ward: 


"Chelsea, Wednesday, 10 o'clock, P. M. 

Sir: By Lieut. Shepherd you will receive two horses and 
eleven head of cattle taken from the Governor's island. 
I obeyed my orders in burning the boat. If it should seem 
that I went too much beyond in burning the house, hope 
your honor will suspend hard thoughts until I am so happy 
as to see you. I was not so lucky as to find any of liberty ; 
was so unhappy as to leave a number of horses on the 
island, which I humbly conceive I can give a sullicient rea- 
son for. My party is all well, in good spirits : the wind very 
high : shall return to camp as soon as possible : mast 
humbly beg the favor of the sorrel horse, if you judge in 
your known candor that I deserve him. As the cattle too 
were not taken in the enemy's camp, I conceive they will 
belong to the party. 

I am, with the highest esteem, your honor's most obedient, 
humble servant, Benj. Tuiter, 

To the Hon. Gen. Ward." 

In Washington's Letters, vol. ii, page 20, the following 
account of one of these expeditions will be found : 

"August 4th, 1775. 

The other happened at the light-house. A number of 
workmen having been sent down to repair it, with a guard 
of twenty-two marines and a subaltern, Maj. Tupper, last 
Monday morning, about two o'clock, landed there with about 
three hundred men, attacked them, killed the oflicer and fom- 
privates; but being detained by the tide on his return, he 
was attacked by several boats ; but he happily got through, 
with the loss of one man killed, and another wounded. The 
remainder of the ministerial troops (three of whom are 
badly wounded) he brought ofl' prisoners, with ten Tories, all 
of whom are on their way to Springfield jail. The rifle- 
men, in these skirmishes, lost one man, who (we hear) is a 
prisoner in Boston jail." 


In the following winter, an incident occurred, which serves 
to illustrate the character of Gen. Tupper, for cool, delib- 
erate courage, which he possessed in an eminent degree. 
Three men in a boat had been out fishing; while out, the 
wind shifted, and blew the ice toward the shore, where they 
must land. The men attempted to return, but found their 
way completely blocked up with floating ice. Their situa- 
tion was one of great danger. All their efforts to get their 
boat through the ice were unavailing; nor were they able 
to turn back. The wind blew severely cold, and they were 
in a situation in which they must soon have perished, in 
view of thousands of spectators, full of consternation, but 
making no effort to relieve these perishing men. Maj. Tup- 
per learning their condition, instantly contrived a plan for 
their relief. Procuring three pair of rackets, or snow shoes, 
he repaired immediately to the shore, putting one pair on 
his own feet, and with a pair under each arm, made his way 
for the boat, over the floating ice. Fixing a pair of rackets 
to the feet of two of the men, and encouraging the other 
that he should be relieved in his turn, he succeeded in bring- 
ing them all to shore. 

In 1776, Gen., then Col., Tupper, commanded a regiment 
of six months men. With the other troops, they repaired 
to New York before the battle on Long Island. Tupper's 
and Nixon's regiments from ^Massachusetts, and Sage's from 
Connecticut, were placed on Governor's island in the har- 
bor. The next morning after the battle, the Roebuck man- 
of-war was ordered up to summon the garrison on Governor's 
island, to surrender. An officer, with a flag of truce from 
the ship, landed from a boat, and held up his flag. An of- 
ficer from the fort, Maj. Coburn, was dispatched to answer, 
that " the fort would not be surrendered at any rate." 
When these officers met, they found themselves to be old 
acquaintances, having served together during the French 


war. After shaking hands heartily, and some little conver- 
sation, the British ofiicer made known his errand; Coburn 
told him the fort would not be surrendered, and they parted. 
The ship soon opened her fire upon the American fort, which 
was returned by the fort, but to little purpose ; their work 
was not capable of being defended against the fire of the 
ship ; hence all were in alarm. During the previous night, 
the American troops on Long Island had been taken ofl' with 
boats, with all their baggage, light artillery, and entrench- 
ing tools. Under the superintendence of Col. Rufus Put- 
nam, acting then as chief engineer of the army, or of Gen. 
Israel Putnam, boats were sent to Governor's island, and 
Tupper's and Nixon's regiments were brought to the city of 
New York, but Sage's regiment was left behind. While the 
troops were thus landing in the city, the officer in command 
hoisted his flag to surrender; upon which the firing ceased. 
The boats were hurried from the city back to the island, 
and brought off Sage's regiment, with the loss of one killed, 
and one wounded. 

The next military event in which Gen. Tupper is known 
to have been engaged, was in August, 177G, when he was 
sent in command of a number of gun-boats, or galleys, up 
the North river. Near Fort Washington an engagement 
took place between these boats and several ships of war 
belonging to the enemy. Gen. Washington makes honor- 
able mention of this engagement, in his letter dated August 
5th, 1770, as follows : 

" The inclosed copy of a letter from Col. Tupper, who had 
the general command of the galleys, will inform Congress 
of the engagement between them and the ships of war up 
the North river, on Saturday evening, and of the damage 
we sustained. What injury was done to the ships 1 cannot 
ascertain. It is said they were hulled several times by our 
shot. All accounts agree that our officers and men, during 


the whole of the affair, behaved with great spirit and bra- 
very. The damage done to the galleys shows, beyond ques- 
tion, that they had a warm time of it." See Washington's 
letter, vol. ii, p. 176. In this engagement his eldest son, 
then thirteen years of age, was with him. 

In the campaign of 1777, Col. Tupper served with his 
regiment in the northern army under Gen. Gates. What 
part he took in the battle of Bemia' hights is not known; 
but he is mentioned by Wilkinson, in his memoir, as attend- 
ing a council with Gen. Larned, Col. Wilkinson, Col. Brooks, 
and others, the day after that battle, in regard to a retreat 
of the left wing of the American army, which had been pre- 
cipitated on the enemy when they held a strong position 
across the Fishkill. The left wing, according to the sugges- 
tion of Wilkinson, fell back half a mile, which position was 
held until the surrender of Burgoyne. 

In 1778, Col. Tupper served under Gen. Washington, and 
was in the battle of Monmouth, June 28th, on which occa- 
sion he had his horse killed under him. 

In 1780, he had charge of the work of preparing and 
stretching a chain across the Hudson at West Point. The 
work was completed in April, and placed in the river under 
his direction. 

In May, 1781, Col. Tupper returned to his family on fur- 
lough. While at home he took an important part in dis- 
persing a mob arising out of the arrest and trial of one 
Samuel Eli, for high treason, at Northampton. 

During the campaign of 1781, the Indian and Tory refu- 
gees threatened the northern frontier of New York, on the 
IMohawk and Lake George. A regiment from Massachu- 
setts was sent up into that quarter. In September or Octo- 
ber an action took place between these troops and some 
Tories and Indians, in which the major of the regiment was 
killed. After the action. Gen. Stark, who commanded on 


the northern frontier, sent out a scout to Lake George. The 
officers reported that they had discovered the camp of a 
large force, by tlieir fire. Stark immediately sent off 
an express to head-quarters for a reinforcement, and Col. 
Tupper's regiment, with Col. Kinston's, of New York, went 
up. While they were waiting for the enemy, tlie news 
from the main army reached them that Cornwallis had sur- 
rendered at Yorktown. With this event the war was in effect 
closed. Col. Tupper's regiment, however, remained at the 
north. About the close of the war he was promoted to the 
rank of brigadier-general by brevet. After the close of the 
war he returned to his family at Chesterfield, and soon after 
was elected by his town as their representative in the Legis- 
lature of Massachusetts. 

During the darkest period of the Revolutionary war, Gen. 
W^ashington had turned the attention of oflicers and soldiers 
to the valley of the Ohio, as a place of refuge to which 
they might retire, should the British army be successful 
against them. The result of that war rendered such a re- 
treat unnecessary ; notwithstanding, many of the oflicers 
and soldiers of the army looked to the west as a retiring 
place for themselves and their families, after a war of eight 
years. Among the most prominent of this class was Gen. 
Tupper. Indeed, in the foresight of Gen. Rufus Putnam 
and himself, the enterprise of the settlement at ]Marietta 
had it.s origin. 

The ordinance of 1785 provided for a survey of a portion 
of the lands nortlr.vest of the river Ohio. In the summer 
of that year the first regiment of United States troops, or 
one battalion of them, had taken post at the mouth of the 
Muskingum, under the command of 3Iaj. Doughty, and 
erected a fort, which received tlie name of Fort Ilarmer. 
In that year Gen. Rufus Putnam had been appointed to 
command the survey of a portion of the lands in Ohio, but 


being otherwise engaged, Gen. Tupper was appointed in his 
place. In the summer of that year he came as far west as 
Pittsburg. The condition of the Indian tribes prevented the 
execution of that work until the treaty made by Gen. Par- 
sons, and others, on the jMiami, in January, 1786. Gen. 
Tupper returned to Massachusetts in the winter of 1785-G, 
but left again for the west in June, 1786, with his eldest son, 
Maj. Anselm Tupper. That season the survey of the seven 
ranges was completed, under his direction. During that 
sea.son he visited Maj. Doughty, at Fort Harmer. 

On Gen. Tupper's return from his Jirst visit to the west, 
he visited his friend, Gen. Rufus Putnam, then residing at 
Rutland. In the language of another, "A night of friendly 
offices and conference between them, gave at the dawn a 
development to the cherished hope and purpose of Gen. 
Tupper. They united in a publication which appeared in 
the public papers of A'ew England, on the 25th of January, 
17SG, headed ' Information,' dated January 10th, 178G, signed 
Rufus Putnam, Benjamin Tupper." 

As the result of this conference and address, the Ohio 
Company was formed. Dr. M. Cutter, in connection with 
Winthrop Sargent, was appointed to negotiate a contract 
with Congress for land. At the third meeting of the com- 
pany at Boston, August 29th, 1787, Dr. Cutter reported that 
the contract had been completed. 

The spirit of disorganization which had manife.-ted itself 
in Massachusetts in 1781, was not entirely eradicated; on 
the contrary, it made its appearance in a more formidable 
and extensive manner in 178('»-7, in what is termed Shays' 
insurrection. The only officers of the Revolutionary army 
engaged in this affair were Shays, \vho had been a captain 
in (!cn. Putnam's regiment, Capt. Wiley, and Ensign Day. 
Eacli of tliom had a party, and their aggregate force 
aniounled to about two thousand men. When Gen. Tupper 


returned from the west, after completing the survey of 
the seven rangea, this insurrection had ai^sumed a formida- 
ble aspect. Immediately on his return he took an active 
part in putting it down. The duty of calling out the militia 
to suppress this rebellion, devolved on Gen. 8hepard, who 
acted under the orders of the governor. Gen. Tupper of- 
fered his services to him, and acted in the capacity of volun- 
tary aid. By his advice, and through his influence, the plan 
of calling out the militia by drafts or in mass was abandoned, 
and that of calling for volunteers adopted. This was a 
measure of the first importance, as it served to distinguish 
between the friends of the government and those who were 
secretly infected with the spirit of rebellion. Under tliis 
plan, out of a company in Chesterfield, fifteen to eighteen 
offered their services. In the northern part of Ilampsliire 
county, an entire regiment was organized for this service, 
to meet at Chesterfield. Gen. Tupper had been appointed 
a justice of the peace about two years previous. His ef- 
forts, in connection with an address to the people, which he 
had made a short time before, combined with the presence 
of the volunteers, had made a favorable impression on 
many persons of good standing. While the regiment raised 
in the northern part of the county were being assembled at 
Chesterfield, Gen. Tupper, as magistrate, administered the 
oath of allegiance, as prescribed by the laws of the state, 
to many of the people. This was also a measure which 
served to distinguish the friends of law from the mob. 

The immediate object of Shays and his party was to get 
possession of the arms and public stores at Springfield. At 
that point, therefore, the troops raised by the state ^vere con- 
centrated. Gen. Tupper, after his arrival at Springfield, 
acting under the orders of Gen. Shepard, took charge of the 
organization of the different companies as they arrived. 

He ordered the different fragments of companies into regular 


order, and ofHcered them out of the best officers on the 
ground. lie also organized a small troop of horse, under 
Capt. Buffington; and selected all who were in any man- 
ner acquainted with artillery duty, adding others to them, 
and had them all regularly trained every day. The men 
were all armed from the arsenal, the arms being there in 
good order, and all things were put in the best possible or- 
der for defense. Shays was not, however, in any hurry to 
make an attack, as he wished to increase his force. Gen. 
Shepard's orders from the governor, were simply to defend 
the stores; however, he made no effort to disturb any of 
Shays' men. The consequence was that Shays' different 
parties collected around Gen, Shepard's camp, and cut off 
his supplies from the country. In the meantime. Gen. Lin- 
coln had collected a body of men at Bristol, to aid Gen. 
Shepard. Two weeks elapsed before any movement was 
made by Gen. Lincoln. An express was sent to him, to in- 
form him of the situation of Gen. Shepard. When the 
express reached Gen. Lincoln, only a part of his troops 
were ready to march, but he immediately pushed on one 
division, by forced marches; but before they reached Spring- 
field, Shays had made his attack, and been defeated. By 
some means Capt. Buffington had intercepted a letter from 
Shays to some of his subordinates, directing the manner of 
attack. On obtaining this letter. Gen. Tuppcr took imme- 
diate measures to fortify the camp by log forts, commenced 
like block-houses, at each point of attack, and three brush 
forts as outworks. This was done ^vith great ])romptness 
and dispatch. In the meantime, the troops were supplied 
with pro\ isions by the people of Springfield. 

Shays finally advanced to attack Gen. Shepard. He was 
i-cpcatedly warned not to approach any nearer; but he 
treated all these messages not only with neglect, but con- 
tempt. Cannon were first fired over his column, but this 


was disregarded. At last, a field-piece was brought to })ear 
upon Shays' advance, and the first shot killed four of his 
men. This was a more effectual hint. Tliey immediately 
recoiled, broke their ranks, and fled. They were rallied by 
Shays, at Pelham, where he remained for awhile. In con- 
sequence of the interception of the letter from Shays to 
some of his ofllcers, which fell into tlu3 hands of Capt. Buf- 
fington, Wiley and Day, of Shays' party, were not engaged 
in the aflair at Springfield. Gen. Lincoln arrived from Bris- 
tol on the second day after the defeat of Shays, and took 
immediate measures to dislodge Day from West Springfield, 
and Wiley from Chickopee bridge ; but before the movement 
could be made, they had fallen back, and joined Shays at 
Pelham. Some of their men were taken prisoners at West 
Springfield. Such of them as would take the oath of alle- 
giance, were sent home, and the rest detained as prisoners. 
Shays retreated to Petersham, where his adherents were 
finally dispersed by Gen. Lincoln. Before this, however. 
Gen. Putnam made an inefi'ectual attempt to withdraw 
Shays from his party, but failed to accomplish his object. 
Shays himself appeared disposed to listen to the advice of 
Gen. Putnam, but he informed the general that his friends 
would not suficr him to leave them. 

Within a day or two after the defeat of Shays at Spring- 
field, Gen. Tupper was discharged, and returned at North- 
ampton, where he was visited by many of his old friends. 
Kno\vn also as having visited the Ohio country, many per- 
sons called upon him to inquire about the lands, rivers, (Szc. 
of the valley of the Ohio. In the spring he went to Worcester 
to sec Gen. Putnam, and concert measures to set forward the 
proposed emigration to Ohio. Dr. Cutler having completed 
the contract for lands, the first thing to be done was to raise 
the money necessary for their object. Many formidable dif- 
ficulties which attended the organization of the company 


were overcome, and Gen. Tupper began his own arrange- 
ments for moving to the Ohio in the summer of 1787, At 
that period wagon-makers were not common, even in New 
England. One, however, was obtained, and two wagons 
were built, one for the family, the other for their baggage 
With his own family, including that of Ichabod Nye, his son- 
in-law, that of Col. Nathaniel Gushing, and Maj, Goodale, 
they made their way to the Oliio river, which they reached 
at Wellsburg, then Buffalo, where they were joined by tiie 
family of Maj. Coburn and his son-in-law, Andrew Webster. 
These families formed, in fact, the first settlers of Ohio, and 
arrived at Marietta on the 9th of August, 1788. The men 
who came on with Gen. Putnam, had none of them famiUes 
with them, and had been previously discharged. 

After his arrival at Marietta, Gen. Tupper was actively 
engaged in promoting the plans and interests of the Ohio 
company, being intimately associated with Gen. Putnam in 
the management of its affairs. 

On the 9th of September, 1788, the first civil court in the 
Northwestern Territory was held at Col. Battelle's, in 
Campus Martins. This was the Court of Quarter Sessions. 
RiifiLs Putnam and Benjamin Tupper were justices of the 
quorum, assisted by justices of the bar. 

Judge Putnam gave the charge to the gi'and jury. After 
one or two sessions Judge Tupper presided, until his death, 
in June, 1792. 

At an early period in his life. Gen. Tupper made a pub- 
lic profession of the Christian religion, by uniting with the 
Congregational church at Easton. After his arrival at Ma- 
rietta, he did not forget his obligation. His efforts were 
directed to preserve to his family and associates the ben- 
efits of public and social worship of God. Before the 
arrival of the Rev. Daniel Story, the first minister, meet- 
ings for social worship were held on the Sabbath. The 


usual place of worship was the same room in which the 
first court was held, near the west corner of the stockade. 

Gen. Tupper had seven children, three sons and four 
daughters. His sons were Ansclm, Edward White, and Ben- 
jamin Tupper. 

Maj. Anselm Tupper died at Marietta on the 25th of De- 
cember, 1808. Col. Benjamin Tupper died at Putnam, in 
February, 1815. Gen. Edward W. Tupper died at GalHpolis, 
in 1823. His daughter, Miss Rosoma, who married Gov. 
Winthrop Sargeant, died at Marietta, in 171)0. Sophia, who 
married Nathaniel Willys, Esq., now of Conn., then of Mass., 
died in October, 1789. Minerva married Col. Ichabod Nye, 
and died at Marietta in April, 183G. The other daughter 
died young, before the family emigrated to Ohio. The 
only representative of the family bearing the family name, 
is Edward W. Tupper, of Putnam, son of Benjamin Tup- 
per, jun. 


Col. Ebexezer Sproat was born in Middleborough, Mass., 
in the year 1752. He was the son of Col. Ebenezer Sproat, 
a respectable yeoman, who owned one of the finest farms 
in that vicinity, with a large, commodious dwelling-house, 
which, for many years before, and during the Revolutionar}^ 
war, was occupied as a tavern. Like his son, he was an 
uncommonly tall and portly man. He was a colonel in the 
militia ; and the venerable John Rowland, from whom many 
of these facts were derived, says, that when the British took 
possession of Newport and a part of Rhode Island, he per- 
formed a tour of duty with his regiment in Providence. A 
brother of Ebenezer was a lawyer, and settled in Taunton. 

His early education must have been the best the schools 
afforded at that day, as he'was familiar with the principles 
and practice of surveying. During his boyhood and youth, 
he assisted his father in cultivating the farm ; and when the 
war of Independence commenced, it found him in the prime 
of manhood, with a frame invigorated by the toils of agri- 
culture, and fitted, by labor, to undergo all the perils and 
hardships of a soldier's life. lie entered the service as cap- 
tain of a company, and soon rose to the post of major, iu 
the tenth regiment of the Massachusetts line, commanded 
by Col. Shepherd. In 1778, Glover's brigade of four regi- 
ments was stationed at Providence, at wliich time he was a 
lieutenant-colonel, and said to be the tallest man in the brig- 
ade, being six feet and four inches high, with limbs formed 
in nature's most perfect model. In the duties of his station, 
he excelled as nmch as in size, being the most complete 


disciplinarian in the brigade. Win social habits, pleas- 
ant, agreeable manners, and cheerful disposition, render<Hl 
liiin a general favorite with the oflicers, as well as with the, 
private soldiers, who always followed with alacrity, wher- 
ever ho led. Of the dangers and perils of the war, Ik? 
partook largely, being engaged in the battles of Trenton, 
Princeton, Monmouth, and many others. ]Iis superior tact 
and excelhmce in discipline attracted the notice of Gen. 
Steuben, who appointed him inspector of the brigade, which 
office he filled with great credit to himself, and the entire 
satisfaction of the ])aron. 

Near the close of the war, he was engaged in the follow- 
ing affair, which is thus related by Dr. Thatcher, in his jour- 
nal of military events : "In the mutiny ^vhich broke out in 
January, 1781, in the Ncav Jersey line, stationed at Pomp- 
ton, in J^cw Jersey, a detachment of five hundred men was 
ordered out to suppress it. In this detachment Col. Sproat 
was second in command, and Maj. Oliver one of the ficld- 
ofTicers. The distance from the main encampment was 
thirty or forty miles, and the snow two feet deep ; it took 
nearly four days to accomplish the march. When they 
came in sight of the insurgents, Gen. Robert Iloue, the 
commander, ordered his men to load their arms; and as 
some of the officers distrusted the faithfulness of their own 
men, so prevalent was disaffection in the army, that, before 
making the attack, he harangued the troops on the licinous- 
ness of the crime of mutiny, and the absolute necessity of 
military subordination ; that the mutineers must be brought 
to an unconditional submission. The men entered fully into 
tlie patriotic spirit of their oflicers, and marching \vith the 
greatest alacrity, surrounded the huts so as to admit of no 
escape. Gen. Howe ordered his aid-de-camp to command 
the mutineers to parade in front of their huts, unarmed, in 
five minutes. Obser\ing them to hesitate, a second message 


was sent, when they instantly obeyed, and paraded in a line, 
unarmed, two or three hundred in number. The general 
then ordered three of the ringleaders to be selected for con- 
dign punishment. These unfortunate men were tried on 
the spot, Col. Sproat being president of the court-martial, 
standing on the snow, and they were sentenced to be shot 
immediately. Twelve of the most active mutineers were 
selected for their executioners. This was a most painful 
task, and some of them, when ordered to load their guns, 
shed tears. Two of them suffered death on the spot; the 
third one was pardoned, as being less guilty, on the repre- 
sentation of their officers. Aever were men more com- 
pletely humbled and penitent. Tears of sorrow and of joy 
streamed from their eyes, and each one seemed to congrat- 
ulate himself that his forfeited life had been spared. The 
general then addi-essed the men in a very pathetic and im- 
pressive manner : showing the enormity of their crime, and 
the inevitable ruin to the cause of the country, to which it 
would lead. They remained true and faithful soldiers to 
the end of the war." 

This was a sorrowful and heart-rending duty to Col. 
Sproat: with his tender feelings and love for all engaged 
in the cause of freedom, the effect must have been great. 
The time made it still more impressive : the depth of winter, 
the white snow, an emblem of innocence, crimsoned with 
the blood of his fellow-soldiers, shed by their own comrades, 
and not in battle, rendered the sight one not to be forgotten 
while life should last. But order and military subordination 
demanded this sacrifice to duty, and he could not retreat. 
These men had served their country faithfully, probably for 
three or four years ; had suffered hunger, and cold, and 
nakedness; had sometimes been without any food, and for 
weeks lived on a half or a tliird of a ration of the poorest 
kind of meat. Their wages were often withheld, and when 

EliENEZEK S I'll OAT. '233 

paid at all, wore in a dcprcciatetl govorninoiit paper, lliirty 
dollars of wliicli, at this time, were worth only one in H])(;cio, 
and there was little prospect of its being any better. Some 
of them had families at home suflering like themselves. 
That men should become desperate under such circumstances 
is human nature; the greatest wonder was that the whole 
army had not revolted and turned their arms against Con- 
gress until they had redressed their grievances. 

It is greatly to the credit of jVew England that no revolts 
or mutinies took place amongst her troops. The strict prin- 
ciples of obedience impressed in early childliood on her sons 
by their Puritan fathers, gave them a Spartan cast of char- 
acter, while the intelligence imparted to their minds by their 
common schools, gave the whole population a decided su- 
periority of intellect over the common soldiers of the mid- 
dle and southern states. Nearly every man was a patriot, 
and they suffered little or nothing compared with these 
states, from the effects of Tory principles, which were pro- 
ductive of more real suffering to the inhabitants, where they 
prevailed, than all the ravages of the British armies. Well 
might Washington exclaim, on those trj'ing occasions, "God 
bless the New England troops ! " A mighty debt of grati- 
tude is still owing to the memory of these patriotic men, 
who stood firm under all these trials, and accomplished the 
work of independence in spite of foes without and foes 
within. Their contests with poverty and want ^vere five 
times more severe than all their battles with the enemy. 

Having served through the war with credit to himself and 
the regiment to which he belonged, and witnessed the ac- 
knowledgment of the freedom of his country by the British, 
and the reception of the United States as an independent 
sovereignty amongst the nations of the earth, he retired 
satisfied, to the pursuits of private life. As a proof of his 
attachment to the common soldiers, and all who were or had 


been engaged in fighting the enemies of his country, the 
following anecdote is related. 

Col. Sproat was, all his life, fond of keen repartee, and a 
good joke, whenever an opportunity to exercise it occurred. 
At an early period of the war, while he was a captain, he 
was at home on a short furlough. His father, as has been 
before noticed, kept a house of entertainment, more espe- 
cially for eating than drinking. While there, three private 
soldiers, on their wa}' home from the army, called for a cold 
luncheon. His mother set on the table some bread and 
cheese, with the remains of the family dinner, which Eben- 
ezer thought rather scanty fare for hungry men, and espe- 
cially as the bones were already pretty bare. He felt a 
little vexed, that the defenders of the country were not 
more bountifully supplied. After satisfying their appetites, 
they inquired of him, ho^v much n-as to pay ? He replied 
he did not know, but would ask his mother; so, going to 
the kitchen door, where she was busy with her domestic con- 
cerns, he inquired, " jNIothcr, how much is it worth to pick 
those bones?" She replied, "About a shilling, I suppose." 
He returned to the room, and taking from the drawer in the 
bar. three shillings, with a smiling face, handed each man 
one, wishing them a good day and pleasant journey home. 
The soldiers departed, nmch gratified with their kind usage. 
Soon after they had gone, his mother came in, and asked 
Ebenezer what he had done with the monc}" for their din- 
ners? In apparent amazement, he exclaimed, 'Oloncy! did 
I not asli; you what it \vas ^vorth to pick those bones ; and 
you replied, a shilling? I thought it little enough for such 
a job, and lianded them the money from the till, and the}' 
are gone." It was such a good joke, and so characteristic 
of her favorite son, that she bore it without complaining. 

After the close of the war, he lived, for some time, in 
Pro\idcnce, employing liimsclf occasionally at surveying. 


Here he became acquainted with Miss Catharine Whijiple, 
the (hiui;hter of Com. Abraham Whipple, and was united 
with Iier in marriage. Her father pre.'^ented liei', as a mar- 
riage portion, his own dwelling-house and lot, in Westmin- 
ster street, Providence, and retired to his farm in Cranston, 
a few miles distant. 

Soon after this marriage, he entered into merchandise; 
purchasing a large store of goods from Nightingale and 
Clark, a noted importing liouse of that day. Being entirely 
unacquainted \vith mercantile affairs, fond of company and 
generous living, ^vilh the liberal habits of a soldier, in the 
full vigor of life, it is not to be wondered at, if he did not 
excel in trade, as he had done in military matters. Nothing 
can be more unlike than the two callings ; and out of hun- 
dreds who tried it, scarcely one succeeded. lie had no taste 
for hid new business, and in a short time he failed ; swal- 
lowing up his wife's patrimony, as well as his own resources. 

About this time, 178G, Congress ordered the first surveys 
of their lands, west of the Ohio river, to be executed. Seven 
ranges of townships, beginning on the Ohio, at the western 
boundary line of Pennsylvania, were directed to be pre- 
pared for market. Col. Sproat was appointed the surveyor 
for the state of Rhode Island, and commenced operations 
in the fall of that year. The hostilit}' of the Indians pre- 
vented the completion of the work, and his range was not 
finished until the following season. 

In 1789, the Ohio Company was formed, and he was ap- 
pointed one of the surveyors of their new purchases, for 
which his hardy frame and great resolution eminently fitted 
him. In the autumn of 1789, they resolved to send on a 
company of boat-builders and artificers to the head waters 
of tlie Ohio at Simrel's ferry, for the purpose of preparing 
boats for the transportation of the provision and men, to 
commence the colony in the spring. Col. Sproat led one of 


these detachmentg. On their way out the following incident 
occurred, to lighten the tediousness of the way : The party 
arrived at the house of a thrifty German farmer, near the 
foot of the mountains, on Saturday night. He received 
them with the greatest hospitality, supplying all their wants 
with cheerfulness, and when Monday morning arrived, wished 
them a favorable journey; and so pleased was he with his 
wayfarijig acquaintance, that he refused any pay. Col. 
Sproat not only returned him his sincere thanks, but felt 
grateful for his kindness. The hospitable German had a 
beautiful little dog, to which he was much attached and 
greatly valued. One of the laboring hands, named Danton, 
had the baseness to put him into the wagon, unknown to 
any one. When they stopped again for the night, a mes- 
senger placed in the hands of the colonel the following note 
from liis German friend: "Meeshter Col. Sproat, I dinks 
I use you well ; den for what you steal my little tog?" The 
colonel was much mortified and greatly enraged when the 
dog was found, but met with an opportunit}^ of sending him 
back the following morning, with a polite, explanatory note, 
to his master. Danton never outgrew the infamy of this 
nefarious act, but had it often cast at him in his future life. 
The detachment, after great fatigue, reached their desti- 
nation, and spent the remainder of the winter in building a 
large boat called the May-flower, in remembrance of the 
vessel that transported their forefathers to a new home, as 
this was to convey the pilgrims of the west to their home in 
the wilderness. The party arrived at the mouth of the 
Muskingum on the 7th of April, 1788. Col. Sproat imme- 
diately commenced his labors as surveyor for the company, 
and continued them until the breaking out of the war in 
January, 1791, when all further operations in the woods were 
suspended. Many of the savages visited the new settlement 
to see the Bostonians, as they were called, and to exchange 


their moat, skins, and peltr}', for goodB with the traders at 
Marietta and Fort Ilarmer. The tall, commanding person 
of Col. Sproat, soon attracted their attention, and they gave 
him the name of Iletuck, or Big Buckeye. From tliis, 
no doubt, originated the name of Buckeye, now applied to 
the natives of Ohio, as the phrase was familiar to all the 
early settlers of ^Marietta. 

On the arrival of Gov. St. Clair and the organization of 
the county of Washington, he commissioned him as sheriff, 
which post he held for fourteen years, or until the formation 
of the state government, when a change in the political 
measures of the administration threw him out of office. He 
was also, at the same time, commissioned as colonel of the 
militia. In the fall of 1790, just before the commencement 
of the attack on the settlements, he was authorized by Gen. 
Knox, secretary of war, to enlist a company of soldiers for 
the defense of the colony, appoint rangers, and superintend 
the military affairs of the United States in Washington 
county, with the pay of a major, wliich post he filled with 
fidelity, to the satisfaction of the settlers and the government. 
His experience in military matters, was of great advantage 
to the inhabitants, while his bold, undaunted manner, in- 
spired them with courage in times of greatest danger. 

His family arrived here, with Com. Whipple, in 1789. It 
consisted of his wife and one daughter. After the close of 
the war she married Solomon Sibley, Esq., of Detroit, who 
commenced the practice of law in Marietta. 

As sheriff of the county, he opened the first com't ever 
held in the territor}', now Ohio, marching with his drawn 
sword and wand of office, at the head of the judges, gov- 
ernor, secretary, (fcc, preceded by a military escort, from 
the Point to the northwest block-house of Campus Mar- 
tius, on the 2d day of September, 1788. It was an august 
spectacle, conducted with great dignity and decorum, making 


a deep impression on the red men of the forest, many of 
whom witnessed the ceremonies, and at this time bestowed 
on him the Indian name, by which they ever after desig- 
nated him. 

During the whole period of the war he performed his du- 
ties as superintendent of the military posts at Belpre, 
Waterford, and Marietta, and paymaster to the rangers 
and colonial troops. These certificates of dues for services 
rendered the Ohio Company — for they too kept up a mili- 
tary band at their own expense — as well as the United 
States, served in place of money, and formed nearly all tlie 
currency afloat during the five years of the war. They 
were generally for small sums, and taken in payment for 
goods at the stores, who received their cash for them in 
Philadelphia, and also passed as a tender between the in- 
habitants. Had it not been for these assignats, the suf- 
ferings of the settlers would have been much greater. It is 
said by Col. Convers, who resided at Waterford, that he did 
not believe that settlement, in 1792, could have raised ten 
dollars in specie'amongst them. They had little or nothing 
to sell, and experienced the greatest difficulty in producing 
the common necessaries of life. The Ohio Company ex- 
pended more than eleven thousand dollars of their funds in 
defending the settlements, which was never repaid them by 
the United States, as it in justice ought to have been. 

•In disposition and temperament, Col. Sproat was cheer- 
ful and animated; exceedingly fond of company and jovial 
entertainments; much attached to horses and dogs; always 
riding in hii5 long journeys over the countPy^ then embra- 
cing half the state of Ohio, some of the finest horses the 
country afforded, and generally accompanied by two or three 
large dogs, who, next to horses, shared largely in his favors. 
In executing the sterner requisitions of the law among the 
poorer classes of society, he has been often known to furnish 

E B E \ E z ]■; li S I' n A T . 1>39 

the money'ir for the payment of tlie dcl;t, ratlier 
than distress an indigent family. His lieart, althougli full 
of meniment and playfulness, overflowed with kindiiess. 
II (^ hail no enemies but those of a political kind, in per- 
i?onal appearance, he was remarkable for liis tall, majestic 
iigure, and exact j)roportions; towering like a Saul, a full 
liead above the hight of other men. 

The ollicc of sherilf \vas filled with great tlignity and 
pro{)riety, commanding by his noble p]-esenc(> and military 
bearing the strictest silence and decorum from the audience, 
while the court were sitting; and when on duty, w(\aring hi.s 
sword as an emblem of justice, as well as of e.\ecution in 
fulfilling the reipiirements of law. This badge of office was 
very appropriate, and was kept up in several of the states 
for many years after the war, but, like many other good and 
wholesome usages, has given way under the prevalence of 
ultra democratic principles. 

He was a Federalist of the old school, warmlv attached 
to his country and to the precepts taught by his venerated 
commander, Gen. Washington, in the times which tried 
men's souls. 

For several years of the latter part of his life he devotrd 
his leisure time to cultivating the eai'th, for which he ever 
retained a strong prediloctiim, formed in ear]\' youth, lie fond (>f the rougher kinds of labor, such as di'i\ isig a 
team of young oxen, r.nd in ascending a hill with a load 
beyond the strength of hi.; team, tlclighted in applying his 
shoulder to the wheel, and lielping them out of tlie diilicuUy. 
Gardening was anoth(>r favorite pinvuit. Tlie Itauk of 3Ia- 
rietta now occupies one corner of liis g;irden. \\ hidi covtnTd 
nearlv an ncre. It was laid ov;t in s([uai'es and spacious 
walks, very tastefully, em])racing ornamental sln-ubs, and 
all the varieties of fruits cidtivat(d in the middle states. 
An ancient pear tree is still standing, planted by his hand. 


The garden was kept in nice order by an old black woman 
named Suke, who outlived him many years, but always 
spoke of her kind, old Master Sproat, in terms of exalted 

The dwelling house is now owned by Capt. Daniel Green, 
and is a specimen of IS^ew England architecture very cred- 
itable to the period in which it was built, nearly fifty 
years ago. 

He died suddenly, in the full vigor of health, in February, 
1805, having his oft-repeated wish of a sudden exit full}- 
answered. His memory is held in grateful remembrance 
by all who knew him. 


Fr()>i the earliest ages, and even from the first invention 
of letters, it has been one of the most pleasing duties of tlie 
historian to record the lives and actions of distinguished 
and useful men. In this way a kind of immortality is given 
to their names, and they live again amidst the descend- 
ants of future generations ; their good deeds stimulating 
others to imitate their virtuous and praiseworthy examples. 
Abounding, as the first colony of the Ohio Company set- 
tlers did, with excellent men, in numbers and qualifications 
far exceeding those of any other settlement in the valley of 
the Ohio, yet few of them were more deserving than the 
Bubject of the following memoir. 

Jonatlmn Devol was born at Tiverton, in the colony of 
Rhode Island, in the year 175G. His ancestors were of 
French descent. His father settled in Rhode Island, and 
was a dealer in West India produce. The mother belonged 
to the sect called Quakers, who in that day composed a 
large portion of the inhabitants ; the mild sway of Roger 
Williams encouraging perfect freedom of conscience, and 
good-will to all nuiukind. The family was quite numerous, 
he being the youngest of seven sons. 

School- of learning, before the Revolutionary war, were 

of rare occurrence, and his whcde education was embraced 

in one year's scliooling. It fortunately happened that his 

father possessed a small library of choice books, from the 

perusal of which he reaped valuable instruction, and ac- 

c[uired a taste for reading that never forsook him in after 

lile. When quite v"oung he learned the trade of a rhij) 


carpenter, and in manhood became quite noted for his skill 
in constructing boats of beautiful model and rapid sailing. 
One of his boats took a purse of fifty guineas, in a 
race between some gentlemen amateurs of Newport and 
Providence, where this manly sport was brought to great 

When the war for independence broke out between Great 
Britain and the colonies, he took the side of his country, 
and before he was twenty years old, received a commission 
as ensign. In October, 1775, on the first call for troops for 
the interior defense of the colony, he marched with a part 
of a company of men, and joined the regiment to which he 
belonged, on the hights back of the town of Newport. In 
December following, he was appointed to the same rank, in 
a regiment enlisted for a year. In June, 1776, he was com- 
missioned as a lieutenant in the continental service. In 
December following, he was promoted to the adjutancy of 
the first regiment in a brigade raised to repel the British, 
who had invaded Rhode Island. 

In July, 1777, he resigned that post, in consequence of 
being superseded in the promotion of the adjutant of the 
second regiment, to the vacancy of brigade-major, to his 
wrong, and retired to private life, as any spirited man would 
have done, in a similar case. This disregard to the military 
rates of promotion, in the early years of the war, was a 
source of heart-burnings and of serious injury to the cause, 
until corrected by more just views of this important spring 
in the service. 

In September of the same year, he acted as a volunteer 
in the badly conducted expedition of Gen. Spencer, against 
tiie British in Rhode Island. After the evacuation of the 
island, in January, 1780, he retired to Tiverton, and was 
a])pointcd to a captaincy in the militia. WJiilc occupied in 
the busy scenes of that eventful period, he was often selected 

JON A T 1 1 A. N D Y. \' L . 2 13 

to conduct hazardous expeditions above liirf rank, and for 
several t^ervices of this kind, received tlie thanks of the com- 
manding general of the troops on this station. Amongst 
oth(M' dangerous exploits, was the following, of cutting out 
a IJritish brig from under the stern of a twenty gun ship, in 
the outer harbor of Newport. 

On the evening of the 11th of April, 1770, there arrived 
in the roadstead of Newport, a sloop-of-war of twenty guns, 
a transport-sliip of eighteen guns, with a brig and sloop a-s 
tenders ; the latter were moored directly under their sterns. 
A plan was soon arranged for making an attack on them 
with the row galleys then in port. To effect this, it was ne- 
cessary to procure a party of volunteers from the brigade, 
then quartered in the town of Newport. Lieut. Devol was 
at that time sick in bed, with an attack of the mumps; and 
nothing but the certain failure of the measure, from the 
want of his assistance, could have induced him to leave liis 
room. In a short time he procured twenty volunteers to 
accompany him in the hazardous attempt. They embarked 
on board the galley of Capt. Grimes, the commodore of the 
station, about eleven o'clock, in a dark, rainy night. She 
was worked with oars, and carried one long eightcen- 
pounder. The captain attempted to lay the galley along- 
side the brig, intending to carry her by boarding ; but the 
force of the tide, and the imperfection of the human vision 
in the darkness of the night, caused the galley to fall upon 
her quarter. Lieut. Devol, at the head of his boarders, who 
stood ready to spring up the side of the enemy, as soon as 
the \ essels came in contact, now mounted over her quarter, 
followed by only (i\o of his men, the others being prevented 
by the falling off of the galley, before they could get on 
board. AVhile in th*^ act of climbing o\ er the quarter, the 
sentinel on deck hailed, and fired his musket down among 
the as-ailants : the ball passed very near the head of ^Ir. 


Dcvol, who instantly retui-ned the salute with one of his 
pistols. Followed by his five brave men, he was soon on 
the deck of the brig, and, cutlass in hand, drove the midship- 
man who had command, with ten men, below, and instantly 
fastened the hatches down upon them. The next act was 
to cut loose the cable and get their prize under way. In 
performing this service, they had a tedious time; for the 
axe and the carpenter were both left in the galley, with the 
residue of the boarders. In this dilemma, rccom'se was had 
to a cutlass, and by repeated and strenuous hacks in the 
dark, they, at length, after thirty minutes, divided the four- 
teen inch cable by which she was moored, and the tide soon 
put her in motion. In the meantime, the twenty gun ship 
had got under way, and came down on her larboard side, to 
the rescue of the tender. The galley had now recovered 
her lost ground by the aid of her sweeps, and came up on 
the starboard side, just as the cable gave way, so that as 
the prize swung round she fell foul of the galley. The 
ship all this time kept firing into her, both with cannon and 
musketry, but from the darkness and confusion of the night, 
did but little damage, except to her rigging and spars, with 
the loss of one man mortally wounded. As soon as the gal- 
ley was free, she opened her fire on the ship with her long 
gun. The enemy soon gave up the pursuit, and the brig, 
with her crew, was brought in and moored at the wharf in 

This was as brave and gallant an exploit as was enacted 
during the war. Had the whole twenty men succeeded in 
hoarding the brig, it would have been a bold achievement, 
considering how near she lay to the twenty gun ship. But 
\vhen the number is reduced to five, to oppose ten men on 
their own deck, it deserves all our praise. iVnd then to 
stand for twenty or thirty minutes, hacking at the cable with 
>v.(:\i an inrfiicient tool, exposed to the constant fire of the 


enemy, required the utmost coolness and intrepidity. The 
efToctH ol* this night's exposure to the rain and cold, confined 
Mr. Devol to his bed for a long time, and laid the founda- 
tion of a disease from which he severely suffered for the last 
twenty years of his life. 

On tiio 1st of May, 1777, a party of British and Hessians 
were seen from the American look-out, at Battery hill, on 
the main land, about a mile and a half from their lines on 
the island, in search of deserters that had come off the night 
before. I.ieut. Devol, with twenty men, was ordered over 
across the inlet, near Ilowland's ferry, to attack them. 
He landed his party undiscovered. Two men were left in 
charge of the boats, and one sent to an adjacent eminence 
to give notice of any other body of their foes that might be 
in sight. With seventeen men he charged at full speed on 
the enemy. They immediately tied, and their commander, 
a lieutenant in the twent}'-second regiment, fell a prisoner 
into their hands. The party under his orders consisted of 
twenty-five men, as confessed by himself. They were hotly 
pursued as near to the lines as was prudent. Soon after 
the British took possession of Newport, a number of the 
disaffected inhabitants of Rhode Island, called Tories, joined 
them. These renegades from their country's cause, felt a 
greater inveteracy to the Whigs than the British themselves, 
and sought every opportunity to distress and destroy theiu. 
One dark night they fitted out a marauding party from New- 
port, in a swift sail-boat, manned with ten or twelve men, 
who were ^vell acquainted with the adjacent country along 
the shores and inlets of the bay which cmbo.^om the island. 
In this expedition they attacked and plundered the liousc of 
Job Amy, an old but very respectable citizen, robbing him 
of a part of his furniture, and considerable valuable plate, 
taking the old man also with them, hoping to extort money 
from him by way of ransom. His son Job, an active young 


man, was so fortunate as to escape by jumping out of a 
chamber window, and half-dressed as he was, hastened with 
all speed to Howland's ferry, where Mr. Devol then lived, 
krjowing that he commanded a party of men and one of the 
swiftest boats, for the purpose of rescuing the inhabitants 
and harassing the enemy. The distance he had to run was 
about ten miles, which he performed in an incredibly short 
time, along the sandy beach of the shores, lie reached the 
ferry about midnight, across which he had to swim, and a\vak- 
cning jMr. Devol, related the disasters of the night. He di- 
rected him to go and arouse the boafs crew, while he 
procured a keg of water and some provisions. In a few- 
minutes all were ready, and Job entered with them as a vol- 
unteer in the cruise. Knowing the course which the robber 
boat must pursue in her return to Newport, they concluded 
that if they could reach Sckonet Point, a noted headland, 
which she must pass, they could overtake them before they 
arrived within reach of the protection of the British shipping, 
and recover the plunder, as well as make prisoners of the 
crew, and release their own friends whom they had forced 
away ivith them. By great exertion in rowing and the ut- 
most skill in sailing, they hove in sight of the point just as 
the day dawned, and made out the robber boat a short mile 
distant. Bill Crowson, the commander of the Tory crew, a 
violent villain and robber, espied his pursuers at the same 
time; expecting that lie might, possibly, be intercepted froni 
the escape of Job Amy; and yet the distance was so great 
that he did not believe he could travel that far in so short a 
space of time as to bring Devol down upon him by day- 
light. ()ne of Cro^vson's prisoners, an active, bold man, as 
soon as he saw the pursuing boat jumped upon the thwai-ts, 
and swinging his hat, shouted with all his might, sa\ing he 
knew it was Devofs boat, one of the swiftest in all those 
waters, and they should surely ])e retaken. Bill d d 


him for an impudent rebel, and witli a terrible oath, swore 
if ho did not seat himself quietly in the boat, as the motion 
distuibed her sailing, he would shoot him on the sj)ot. lie 
boldly answered that he dare not do it, for his fri(MKls would 
shortly be up Avith him and revenge his death. His pi'cdic- 
tion was soon veiified. Devol's crew, by great exertions 
with their oars, as well as the nicely adjusted sails under his 
own care, soon ran along side, and on b(>ing ordered to sur- 
render in a tone that meant to be obeyed, they gave up with- 
out firing a shot, although manncnl by a more numerous 
crew. Knowing their cause to be a dastardly one, they 
could not defend it with the courage of men who have right 
and justice on their side. After the surrender, the young 
man who had been ill-treated and abused by Crowson, 
sprang at him with a sword \vhich he snatched from tlic hand 
of one of the men, and would have put him to death but 
for the interference of Mr. Dcvol, who could not suffer a 
prisoner to be injured, liowever mean and villainous he 
might be. The boat returned in triumph with her prize, 
although the British fleet lay at anchor within gunshot of 
the spot. Crowson was such a notorious rascal, that the in- 
habitants of Tiverton were with difficulty restrained from 
hanging him up without trial. lie was, however, sent off 
under a guard to Taunton jail, and confined as a British 
prisoner. Job Amy, the young man who gave the alarm, 
never recovered from the exertions of that night, but died of 
a consumption before tlie end of a year. 

In 177{), Capt. Dcvol married ]Miss Nancy Barker, the 
daughter of Capt. Isaac Barker, for many years a noted 
ship-master of Xewport. Her father was lost at sea some 
years before the war, and she, with her ^vidowed mother and 
several sisters, now resided on a farm, near the center of Jic 
island, on the road fVom Howland's ferry to Newport. When 
the British troops took possession of the place, many of the 


inhabitants were suffered to remain quietly in their houses. 
Mrs. Barker was one of this number, and three or four of 
the officers were quartered the winter following at her house. 
They, however, treated her and the young ladies very po- 
litely and paid her honorably for their board. The fiery 
and patriotic spirit of the young lieutenant could not brook 
the thought of his betrothed remaining in the society of the 
enemies of his country, lest their fascinating manners and 
rich dresses should lessen her devotion to the Whig cause. 
He accordingly, after giving her timely notice, planned an 
expedition on to the island with a party of men, and one 
dark wintry night, at the imminent hazard of his life from 
the sentries, brought off his intended wife in safety. Shortly 
after this event, they were married at the house of an elder 
sister, near Fairhaven. This union proved to be a very 
happy one, though checkered with many vicissitudes. She 
was the mother of thirteen children, and shared with him 
the dangers and privations of settling a new country in the 
wilderness, amidst the horrors of an Indian war. 

After the close of the Revolution, and he had witnessed 
the triumph of his country over her enemies, he settled down 
in quiet at Ilowland's ferry. Here he carried on the boat- 
building, and kept a small store of groceries. 

When the Ohio Company was formed in 1789, he became 
one of the associates. In the autumn of that year, he joined 
the little band of pioneers who preceded the actual settlers 
with their families, and spent the \vinter on the Yougliiogheny 
river, at Simrel's ferry. Here he was employed by Gen. 
Putnam to superintend the building of a large boat for the 
transport of the advance guard of the Ohio Company and 
their provisions to the mouth of the ^luskingum. She was 
named by the adventurers, the May-flower. This is said to 
have been the first decked boat that ever floated on the Ohio. 
She was built ^vith stout timbers and knees like a galley. 

J O N A T U A N D K \' L . '-iVJ 

with the bottom raking fore, and aft, and decked over with 
phiidcs. 'rh(; deck was sulliciently high for a man to walk 
upright under the beam?, and the .sides so thick as to resist 
a rilie bullet. The steersman and rowers were thus safely 
sheltered from the attack of enemies on the banks. She 
was forty-iive feet in length and twelve in l)readth. Subse- 
quently, gangboards were added on the outside, so that she 
could be pushed against the current -.vith poles, like a keel- 
boat; and was used in transporting a nund)er of the colonial 
families from Buffalo, above Wheeling, to jMarietta, in tlic 
summer of 17S8. It was at hrst supposed she could be 
worked up stream with sail, but the variable nature and un- 
certainty of the winds on the Ohio river, frustrated their 

After the pioneer corps had established themselves at the 
mouth of the iNIuskingum, he was actively engaged in the 
erection of the stockaded garrison, called Campus Martius. 
This imposing structure answered the double purpose of a 
fort and for dwelling-houses. Within these walls the col- 
onists were safe from the attack of Indians. The block- 
houses, as well as the dwellings which formed the curtains 
between, were built of planks four inches thick, and eighteen 
or twenty inches wide, sawed by hand from the huge poplar 
trees which gvcw near the ground occupied by tlie garrison. 
These were dovetailed together at the corners, and with the 
smooth surface left by the whip-savr, gave to the exterior a 
finished and beautiful aspect. The fort, as it may well be 
called, was a square of one hundred and eighty feet on eacli 
side, as figured in the preceding volume. The setth-rs ^vcre 
allowed to build a part of the dwelling-houses in the cur- 
tains for themselves, after the plan laid dov.n by Ccn Put- 
nam. Capt. Devol built one on las own account, forty feet 
long by eighteen wide, and two stories high, furnished with 


neat brick cliimneys, a kiln being made and burned the first 

Mrs. Devol, with five children, came on and joined him 
in December, as narrated in the Pioneer, vol. ii. The fol- 
lowing winter his house sheltered seventy persons, young 
and old, so few were the finished dwellings. The summer 
of 1789 was spent in completing the works at Campus Mar- 
tius, and in the winter he was employed with two others in 
exploring the lands of the company for suitable spots for 
mills, and to commence farming settlements. In February, 
1790, he moved his family to Belpre, and settled on a small 
farm, in company with other associates, united together for 
mutual assistance and protection, as the western tribes, 
notwithstanding the treaty with Gov. St. Clair, appeared 
to be hostile, and on the eve of a rupture. During the first 
six months of the year the settlers suffered very much from 
a want of food, as more fully noticed in the history of 

Early in January, 1791, the Indian war broke out, and 
the inhabitants were compelled to leave their improvements 
and go into garrison. The news of the massacre at Big 
Bottom reached Belppe the day after that event, at a time 
when nearly all the men, especially the heads of families, 
Vv'cre at Marietta, attending the Court of Quarter Sessions. 
Most wretched was the night following this news, to the 
women and children, as they watched with trembling hearts 
in the slender log-cabins in ^^hich they dwelt, the approach 
of the Indians, expecting -every hour to hear their terrific 
yells. Mrs. Devol directed her children to lie down with 
their clothes on, ready to rush into the woods at the first 
alarm. Tlie court was soon adjourned, and Capt. Devol, 
with the others, returned with all speed to their homes, ex- 
pecting to see their houses in flames, and their wives and 


children slaughtered or taken captives by the savages. A 
council of the leading men was promptly called, and it was 
decided to build a strong garrison three miles below the Lit- 
tle Kenawha, against the center of the island, since known 
as \ho island of Blennerhasset. This garrison contained 
thirt(M'ji large block-houses, ranged in two lines, about six 
rods apart, near the bank of the Ohio, and was very appro- 
priately called Farmers' Castle. The whole was inclosed 
with stout palisades, and made a formidable defense against 
the attack of Indians. It was forty rods long by eight rods 
wide. Two large gates were placed at the cast and west 
ends. \\ hilc two smaller ones led down to the river. This 
work was chielly planned and built under the direction of 
Capt. Devol, aided by the council of several old and expe- 
rienced ofTiccrs of the settlement, in an incredibly short 
space of time, and sheltered thirty or forty families, be- 
sides single men, during the war. \Yhen we consider the 
labor of cutting and hauling such a multitude of trees, to 
afford pickets lifteen feet long, with all the timber for eleven 
large block-houses, two stories high and twenty feet square, 
we are struck with admiration at the resolution and enter- 
prise of this handful of pioneers, about twenty-five or thirty 
in number. A considerable portion of this timber was 
dragged on to the ground by men (as they had but few ox 
teams, and no horses.) on sledges, the snow fortunately 
being a foot or more deep. All this was accomplished in 
about six weeks' time, and was acting over again the labors 
of the Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth rock. While at this 
work they had the protection of the two block-houses built 
on this ground the year before by Col. Battelle and Criflin 
Greene, and was the probable cause of their selecting this 
spot for their main gariison. 

During the first two years of the settlement, their meal 
was all ground on hand-mills, with great labor and fatigue. 


Soon after they were settled in the new castle, the active 
mind of Mr. Devol suggested a remedy for this inconven- 
ience. vSome time previous, in conversation with Mr. 
Greene, he learned that he had seen floating mills in Hol- 
land. He directly proposed a project for a grist-mill, to be 
built on boats, and anchored in the Ohio, at some ripple, 
within sight of the castle, where it would be safe from their 
savage foes. A few of the intelligent men joined, and a 
company was formed for executing the work, and in the 
course of the year 1791, a mill was completed and put in 
operation, which ground the meal used by the inhabitants 
during the war. It was built on two boats : one a large 
pirogue, formed out of an immense hollow sycamore tree: 
the other a large flatboat, made of planks fiftj' feet long and 
ten wide. This sustained the mill-stones, gearing, hopper, 
&c., while the other boat supported the outer end of the 
water-wheel shaft. The boats were connected by stout 
timbers, to keep them steady against the wind and current 
of the river, planked over so as to make a floor between the 
bow and stern of each. The open space was ten feet 
square, in which the water-wheel worked, and was similar 
in structure to those of a steamboat. The main boat was 
secured by a chain cable attached to a rock anchor; the 
other by a grape vine. The mill was stationed about thirtj^ 
yards from the shore of the island, nearly half a mile above 
the castle, as seen in the annexed plate. In a favorable 
state of the river, she could grind forty bushels in twenty- 
four hours. A small frame house stood in the main boat, 
and protected the machinery and grain, as well as the 
miller, from the rain. During winter it was taken nearer 
the shore, under some point for protection against the ice. 
Floating trees sometimes broke it loose from the moorings, 
but as there Avas usually some one on board, timely notice 
was i.':ivcn. and the inmates of the castle turned out and 


towed it back again. Finally, near the close of the war, it 
broke loose in the night, and lloatcd down the Ohio seventy 
miles, when the cliain cable got entangled in a rock, and 
brought it up. The distance was too great for towing back 
again, and it was sold to the French settlers at Gallipolis. 
This mill not only did the grinding for Belpre, but many 
canoe loads of grain were brought from Point Pleasant, 
Graham's Station, and Bclville. 

During the period of the war the small-pox and scarlet 
fever both visited the inhabitants. By the latter disease he 
lost his oldest son, a lad of fourteen years, and two other 
children. It was of a malignant type, carrying off from 
fifteen to twenty children, beside several with the small-pox. 

About this time he executed the work of a complicated 
piece of machinery, for Esq. Greene, who thought he had 
discovered the true principle of perpetual motion. The dis- 
criminating mind of Capt. Devol saw, at once, the fallacy 
of the principle, and so expressed himself to the inventor ; 
nevertheless, he was willing to assist him in the experiment. 
It proved a failure, like all other attempts of the kind. 

The inhabitants feeling the want of saccharine matter in 
their food, being cut off from their former supplies from the 
sugar maple, by the watchfulness of their savage foes, he 
constructed a mill, with wooden rollers worked with oxen, 
for grinding and pressing out the juice of the stalks of In- 
dian corn, in the manner lately proposed by the secrelaiy 
of the patent office. Many gallons of syrup were in this 
way made, that supplied the place of a better article not 
within their reach. The rich juice of tlie pum})kin was sub- 
jected to the same process, and afforded good sweetening 
for many uses. 

In 17t)"2, he built a twelve-oared barge, of about twenty- 
five tons burthen, for Gen. Putnam, of the wood of the red 
cedar. The materials were collected on the Little Kcnawha, 


a few miles aoove the mouth, at the hazard of his life, in the 
midst of the Indian war. For beauty of model and work- 
manship, she was said to excel any boat ever seen on the 

After Wayne's treaty in 1795, he moved his family to Ma- 
rietta, and cultivated the lands of Paul Fearing, Esq., who 
boarded in his family. Here he remained until 1797, when 
he purchased lands at Wiseman's bottom, five miles above, 
on the ]Muskingum river. At this place there was a ripple, 
or slight fall, vvdiich he thought a suitable site for a mill; his 
mind always running on some mechanical operation, that 
would be uscfal to the destitute colonists. In 1798 he built 
a floating mill at his new home, which for many years did 
nearly all the grinding for the inhabitants on the Ohio and 
jMuskingum rivers for fifty miles above and below the mill; 
the travel being in canoes and larger boats. In 1803 he 
built a larger mill, which ground a hundred bushels in twen- 
ty-four hours, and m.ade fine flour. In 1801 he built a ship 
of four hundred tons, for B. I. Oilman, a merchant of Ma- 
rietta. The timbers of this vessel were wholly made from 
the wood of the black walnut, which grew with great luxu- 
riance in the rich bottoms of the Muskingum, after which 
stream the ship was named. In 1802 he built two brigs of 
two hundred tons each; one called the Eliza Green, the 
other, Ohio. In 1804 the schooner Nonpareil was built, 
and her voyage down the river is described in the Pioneer, 
vol. i. In 1807 he built a large frame flouring mill on tlic 
spot v\-here the floating mill was moored. The water-wheel 
was forty feet in diameter, the largest ever seen in that day 
west of the mountains. During all these busy operations 
he was improving his farm, planting fruit trees, and making 
his home comfortable and pleasant. In 1809 he purchased 
and put in operation machinery for carding sheep's wool, 
v.hich article had now become so abundant as to need some- 

J N A T II A N 1) E VOL. 255 

thing inopc than hand cardrf for its domestic nianulacture; 
Bonic larnicrs owning flockrf of several hundred nheep. Slill 
further to aid in the (k)niestic manufacturer, he, in INOS, 
erected works for dressing ck)th and fulUng, both of wliich 
o})(>rations are l)eheved to have been the llrst ever carried 
on in this })art of Ohio, if not in the state. The machineiy 
for ck)th-(h-essing was procured at IMcConnelsville, on the 
Youghiogheny river; these art"ich:'s were not then manufac- 
tured in Ohio. 

Amidst the latter period of these operations, when about 
fifty years of ag(>, he began the study of the French km- 
guage ; and sok>ly by the aid of Boyer's dictionary, he in a 
short time k^arned to read, and translate as he read, witii 
ease and Iluency, any book in that tongue, especially works 
of history. When master of this subject, he commenced, 
in 1811 or 1812, the study of astronomy, and became quite 
familiar with this sublime branch of science. He had al- 
ways a relish for the mathematics, and entered readily into 
the elements of this deeply interesting study. With the aid 
of a celestial globe, he constructed a -plan of the path and 
course of the great comet of 1812, and sent it to Josiah 
jMeigs, Esq., then at the head of the United States land of- 
fice, for his examination. It excited his admiration at the 
genius and skill of Capt. Devol, in a branch of science so 
little understood by a great portion of mankind. Ills knoul- 
<>dge of geography was complete, and superior to that c;f 
any other man known to the writer of this memoir. For 
this h(> was partly indebted to his extensivt> reading, \vljich 
\vas always a('coii]])anied by a maj) of the region treat (^tl of 
in tlu^ book or newspaper before him. ]\rany years be foi'e 
steam* had come into gt^neral use as a iuo\ing po\v(M", he 
directed a letter to the secretary of the na\y, on the ad\ an- 
tages to be derived from steamships of war. A'evei'theless, 
he was a man of peace ; and often at the celebration of the 


Fourth of July was accustomed to say that the reading of 
certain portions of the Declaration of Independence ought 
to be omitted on that day, as it served to keep up the old 
ill-will and hatred, which, as the nations are at peace, ought 
to be forgotten. 

His house was open to all his friends and acquaintances; 
while the hospitahty of himself and good wife were prover- 
bial. So affable and kind were the manners of this worthy 
couple, that all visitors were made to feel how very welcome 
they were, and that their company was a favor bestowed on 
them, instead of a trouble. 

For many years preceding his death, he suffered greatly 
from a disease of the hip joint, the origin of which he traced 
to the night of his hazardous enterprise in the harbor of 

His powers of conversation on nearly all subjects, were 
unbounded, as well as his magazine of ideas and facts ; of 
course, when he visited Marietta, as he often did on business 
matters, he v.-as frequently delayed until long after bedtime, 
in conversations at the firesides of his friends; nevertheless, 
he could seldom be persuaded to tarry all night, but climb- 
ing, with much effort, into his little one-horse wagon, would 
jog cheerfully along, solitary and alone, the distance of 
five miles, all the while, if the night was clear, delighting 
his imagination with studying out the names, and classing 
the constellations of the heavenly hosts. 

He had six brothers, several of whom settled in Ohio 
An early example of his kindness may be seen in his treat- 
ment of the children of his brother Silas. This brother was 
a trader, and lived in Boston at the beginning of the war 
of Independence. He joined the infant navy of the coun- 
try, and acted as captain of marines, under Abraliam ^Whip- 
ple, during the first year of the war. He was at length 
taken prisoner, and died in the mm-derous British prison 


ships at New York, witli thousands of his countrymen. His 
wife and three children were k'ft destitute at Boston. Capt. 
Devol, altliough tluni poor, and supporting liis own family 
with his labor, brought the three children to his house, and 
fed and clothed them as his own, till the daughter was mar- 
ried, and the two sons old enough to take care of themselves. 

He used sometimes to try his skill in poetiy, a small sam- 
ple of which is given in the life of Com. Whipple, The 
ideas and imagination of the poet were not wanting, but he 
lacked one necessary qualification, harmony of verse. 

In person Capt. Devol was of a medium size and hight, 
muscular, and well-proportioned j quick and rapid in his 
motions like the movements of his mind ; a well formed 
head; light complexion; reddish-colored hair; blue, transpa- 
rent eyes, sparkling with good humor and intelligence; a 
well-proportioned nose, of a Roman cast; broad, positive 
chin, indicative of decision and firmness. In his youthful 
days, in the full, showy dress of the period of the Revolu- 
tion, he was said to have been, by one who knew him well, 
the most perfect figure of a man to be seen amongst a 

Mrs. Devol died in 1823, during the great epidemic fever 
which pervaded all the valley of the Ohio. 

He died in 1824, aged sixty-eight years, greatly lamented 
by all who knew him. 


Tins excellent man was one of the clioice spirits brought 
out by the stirring. times of the American Revolution, a sea- 
son which tried men's souls and purified their patriotism in 
the furnace of affliction. Some of the best blood of the 
Puritans warmed his heart, and inspired him at an early 
day to resist the oppressions of the mother country, and to 
preserve for himself and his posterity the civil and religious 
liberty purchased at so dear a rate by his forefathers, who 
had left their country and homes across the Atlantic to en- 
joy these rights in the wilderness of North America. 

The subject of this sketch was born at ]Middletown, Conn., 
in December, 1740. His early education was such as the 
public schools of that day afforded. He was a neat penman ; 
specimens of his writing are seen in the early records of the 
Court of Common Pleas of Washington county, Ohio, of 
which he was prothonotary. His knowledge of matlicmatics 
must have been considerable, as he was one of the sur\ ejors 
of the Ohio Company. The larger portion of the active 
and prominent men at the period of the Revolution, were 
bred to farming, or some useful mechanical occupation, 
■'.vhich gave tliom healthy, muscular, and vigorous, 
thinking minds. Col. ^leigs ^vas bred to that of a hatter: 
and the old sliop may now ])e >ecn in a plan of the ancient 
town, attached to Uarber's ni;-toiy of Connecticut. 

At the breaking out of tlie war. he was t]iii-ty-fi\e years 
old. a period in the life of man, \vli(m his pliysical and mental 
powers are fully developed. For one or two years })i-eceding. 
the peo])lc of .Middleto'.vn had noticed the gatheriiig storm, 

R. J. MEIGS. 2r)9 

and like others of their New Eni^lancl brethren, prepared 
themselves fur its coming by forming vohmteer military 
companies, and rolls of minute men, who had for inany 
months been trained in martial exercises. One of these 
was organized in this town, well armed and imiformed, 
whicii made choice of Mr. jMeigs for their captain. At the 
first news of the blood shed at Lexington, he marched his 
company of light infantiy to Cambridge, and ofiered hia 
services for the defense of the country. »^oon after this he 
was appointed a major by the state of Connecticut. En- 
couraged by the successes of Allen and Arnold, in their attacks 
on the British Canadian posts, and believing they had many 
friends amongst the French inhabitants, who had never be- 
come fully reconciled to the sovereignty of the English since 
their conquest by Gen. Wolfe, it was thought advisable by 
Gen. Washington and a committee of Congress, who visited 
the camp at Cambridge, to send a body of troops into Can- 
ada by the way of the Kennebec and Chaudiere rivers, to 
act in concert with the army of Gen. Montgomery, already 
in the vicinit}' of Montreal. Benedict Arnold, born in Xor- 
wich. Conn., in the same year with Col. ]Meigs, a bold, active 
man, was selected to lead the expedition, and commissioned 
by the commander-in-chief, as a colonel. About ele\en 
hundred men were detached from the main army, composed 
of ten companies of infantry from the Xew England stale-. 
and three companies of rillemen from Pennsylvania ;i;nl 
Virginia, under Cfipt. Dpaiicl Morgan. Tlic ficM diiictTs (>[' 
the iuf;intry wvrv Lirut. Col. C!u-istopher Gj-(M'ii. of iriiode 
Island. Licnit. Col. Ihios. and ?\Iais. Iligclow ;nid .Mciu-. 

The troops left ihe canii) near Cnuibridue. on the lltli of 
September, 177."). in hiuh spirits, lookin.g I'orward to a glori- 
ous result with hope ruid contldtMice, and e.rrived at .\e\v- 
buryport, where they were to embark the dny. Ou 
the ISth they entered on board ten transports, and ^a!hHl 

260 R. J. MEIGS. 

that evening with a fair wind for the mouth of the Kenne- 
bec, which place they reached the next day, without any 
accident, or meeting any of the enemy's ships. The vessel 
proceeded up the river to Coburn's ship-yard, opposite the 
present town of Gardiner, where the troops embarked with 
their baggage in two hundred bateaux, ah-eady prepared 
by carpenters, sent on from Cambridge, and proceeded up 
the river to Fort Western, opposite to the present town of 
Augusta. Before leaving this place, Arnold dispatched a 
party of eight men, with two guides, under Lieut. Steel, an in- 
telligent, faithful man, in birch-bark canoes, to mark out 
the carrying places and water-courses, to be pursued by the 
army. This was an arduous duty, but promptly executed, 
and the route marked out over to the head-waters of the 
Chaudierc, by the 8th of October, or in seventeen days, as 
appears from the journal of Judge Henry, of Pennsylvania, 
who was one of the exploring party. The main army did 
not reach this point in their march, until the 30th, a differ- 
ence of twenty-two days. Although every exertion was 
made, their progress was slow, not averaging more than 
ten or twelve miles a day. The constant recurrence of rip- 
ples, falls, and carrying places, across which it required the 
aid of all the men to carry their heavy bateaux, barrels of 
pork and Hour, with their own arms and baggage. One of 
these carrying places across a bend, from the Kennebec to 
the Dead river, a westerly tributary, up which the most 
direct course led, was iifteen miles, with two or three small 
ponds, which aided a little. Some of the carrying places 
were so boggy and deep, that causeways of logs had to be 
made ; while others \vere rocky and full of bushes and fallen 
trees. In these Herculean labors the officers were as deeply 
engaged as the men ; as where they led, the soldiers would 
follow. It was tlie most arduous and laborious enterprise 
peiforiiicd during the war, where the men suffered not only 

R. J. MEIGS. 2G1 

from cold and fatigue for nearly forty days, but for the last 
ten days from actual starvation. As they approached the 
heads of Dead river, the elevation of the countiy rendered 
the nights cold even in summer, and by the 29th of October, 
so cold as to cover the calm, shallow water, with a thin coat 
of ice. In proof of the elevation of this region, by referring 
to a map, it will be seen that the Connecticut, the Andros- 
coggin, the Kennebec, and the Chaudiere rivers all take 
their rise in this vicinity 

Near the head of the Dead river lived the remnants of an 
ancient tribe of Indians. The leading warrior was named 
Natanis. For some reason Col. Arnold concluded they were 
hostile to the Americans, and directed Lieut. Steel to cap- 
ture or kill him. He visited his cabin, a neat, small struc- 
ture near the bank of the river, but he had received notice 
of the intention, and fled. A few miles above his hut, a 
large westerly branch puts in, which the exploring party 
were about to ascend as the right course to pursue, when 
one of the men noticed a stake driven into the water's edge, 
on top of which was a piece of folded birch bark, secured 
in a split ; on examining this, it proved to be a map of the 
route over to Chaudiere, rudely marked on the bark, no doubt 
left there by Natanis for the benefit of the Americans, as he 
subsequently proved himself to be friendly, and several of 
the St. Francis Indians joined Arnold's troops. 

The progress of the troops and their laborious march, is 
fully described in the letters of their leader to Gen. Wash- 
ington and others, as published in the American archives, 
extracts from which follow. Fort Western was supposed to 
be only one hundred and eight}' miles from Quebec, but sub- 
sequently proved to be over three hundred. At this place, 
for the greater convenience of marching, the troops were 
separated into five divisions, with the distance of one day's 

262 E. J. MEIGS. 

travel between each. The first divi.sion was composed of 
three companies of riliemen, under Capt. Morgan, and was 
in advance ; second division, tliree companies of infantry, 
under Col. Christopher Green; third division, of four com- 
panies, under Maj. Meigs; fourth division, of two compa- 
nies, under ]Maj. Bigelow; fifth, of tin-ee companies, under 
Col. Enos, formed the rear-guard. Aorridgewock falls are 
fifty miles above Fort Western : a little below these falls, 
was once the seat of a Catholic mission to the Indians, un- 
der Father Ralle, so basely mm'dered in the old French war 
b}' a })arty of coloni::ts 

The river being so full of rapids and falls, together \vith 
the leakage, and throwing the water over the sides of the 
boats, caused great damage, and loss of provisions. Near 
the heads of the Dead river were many small ponds, 
abounding in salmon trout. The men caught large quanti- 
ties for food. They were so abundant that one person 
could take with a hook eight or ten dozen in an hour. In 
size, they averaged about half a pound, while in some of 
the ponds they were much larger. This region has within 
a few years past become a noted resort for sportsmen in 

On the table lands, between the Kennebec and Chaudiere, 
there was considerable fiat land, very wet and miry, the 
men sinking six or eight inches deep at every step. Dead 
river is described by Arnold as a line, deep stream, with i\ 
current hardly pei'ceptiljh', Ijetween the falls and ripples. 
Two or three log-huts were l)uilt on the way for the accoin- 
modation of the sick men, ten or tv>elve in number. Al- 
though tliey were constantly wet, and tlie labors of the 
march excessi\ e, yet very few of them fell sick. ?\o doubt 
the excitement and novelty of their pursuits in this wild, 
desolate rc^gion, gave a stimulus to their minds, whicii 

R . J . M K I G S , 2G3 

rmdcrrd iIkmii in a inarmcr insiMi.^iblo to bodily ailment. 
The inoosc-dccr were (juite plenty here, and numbers were 
killed by ^[organ's rillenien. 

'J'lie weather, to the jiiiddle of October, was very fine. 
\vhich aid(Ml the army in its i)rogress very much. On this 
river a lew Indians were found at their fall liunt, and on( 
of them, named llx ans. was sent by the commander with a 
lettiM- to his fi-iends in Quebec, notifying them of his ap- 
proach, of Avhich the enemy liad yet no suspicion. This 
Indian Ix^trayed his trust, delivering the letter to a Bi'itish 
oliicer. l)y the "JOtii of the month heavy rains set in, and 
raised the river so liigh as grcatl}^ to impede their progress. 
On th(^ "2 Itli they were thirt}' miles from Chaudiere, with a 
stock of provisions only sufficient for fifteen days. From 
tills i)oint he sent back all the sick and feeble men. About 
this p(>riod a party of twenty men were sent forward to clear 
the four mile portage from the head of Dead river over to 
Chaudiere, and make it easier to pass by the army. It lies 
across a mountain or high hill. Over this elevation Mor- 
gan's men carried all their bateaux ; while the other troops 
took only one for each company, for the transport of their 
baggage. Provisions the}' had none, or only five pounds of 
flour to each man, which was baked into cakes in the ashes 
of their camp-fires. 

The distance to Quebec from this portage, was one hun- 
dred miles. The Chaudiere, or Boiling Cauldron, as named 
])X the French, was too rapid and full of falls for na\iga- 
tion, and nearly all the ])oats were stove and sunlv in the 
first day's voyage, to the great peril of the men and loss of 
baggage. The first night passed on the Chaudiere, being 
the 31st of October, tliere fell four inches of snow, so that 
the men in tlu'ir bivouac were covered with it. v>hen they 
awoke in the morning. (Henry.) From this time food 
became more and more scarce. Previous to tliis, the rear 

264 R. J. MEIGS. 

division had advanced fifty miles up Dead river, where Enos 
overtook Col. Green's men, entirely out of provisions. Ar- 
nold had gone forth to seek an interview with the French 
inhabitants, and get them to furnish supplies for his men. 
Under these disheartening circumstances, it was concluded 
by the officers that Col. Enos' men should deliver all their 
provisions but rations for tliree days, to Col. Green's di- 
vision, and return back to the settlements, as they must 
certainly starve if all went forward. Those who returned suf- 
fered much from want of food; but those who went on, far 
more. Several died on the way, from starvation and fatigue, 
while others barely preserved life, by eating leather, bones, 
bark of trees, and soup made of the flesh of their dogs. 
Had not the commander gone on in advance, and purchased 
provisions of the French, who were very friendly, and got 
them to carry them up the river to meet the troops, many 
more would have died. 

In a letter to Gen. Schuyler, dated 8th of November, at 
St. Marie, two and a half leagues, from Point Levi, he says, 
"I was not then apprised, or indeed apprehensive of one- 
half the difficulties we had to encounter — of which I cannot 
at present give you a particular detail — can only soy, wc 
have hauled our bateaux up over falls, up rapid streams, over 
carrying places, and marched through morasses, thick woods, 
and over mountains, about three hundred and twenty miles; 
many of which wc had to pass several times to bring over 
our baggage. These difficulties the soldiers have, with the 
greatest fortitude, surmounted; and about two-thirds of the 
detachment are happily arrived here, and within two days' 
march, most of them in good health and high s]>irits. The 
other part, with Col. Enos, returned from Dead river, con- 
trary to my expectation, he having orders to send back only 
the sick, and those that could not be furnished ^vith provi- 
sions. The Chaudiere w^as amazingly rapid and rocky for 

11 . J . MEIGS. '205 

about twenty miles, where we had the niislbrlunc to .stave 
three of our bateaux and lose their provision.-!:, ticc, but 
happily no lives. 1 then divided the little stock left, and 
proce(Mled on with the two remaining boats and six men, 
and \ery fortunately reached the French inhabitants the 
3()tli of October, at night, who recei\ ed us in the most hos- 
pitable manner, and sent off early the next morning a sup- 
ply of fresh provisions, (lour, &c., to the detachment."' This 
timely aid, which saved many lives and encouraged the men 
to proceed, reached them on the 3d of November. 

In all these privations and hardships, Maj. Meigs bore a 
conspicuous part, suffering equally with his men. Several 
females, wives of the soldiers, bore the fatigues of this dreary 
march, wading through bogs and ponds of water coated wdth 
ice. (Henry.) Aaron Burr was a volunteer in this heroic, 
but calamitous expedition. On the 14th of A'ovember, in a 
letter to Gen. Montgomery, he says he crossed the St. Law^- 
rence with about five hundred and fifty men, between the 
hours of nine at night and four in the morning, without being 
discovered until they were nearly all over. This was effected 
in twent}' bircli-bark canoes, although the river was guarded 
by two vessels of war. About one hundred and twenty-five 
more men sub.-equently crossed, increasing his little army 
to six hundred and seventy-five. Nearly three hundred had 
returned witli Col. Enos, leaving one hundred and twenty- 
five as the nundK'r lost and left on the way by sickness and 
death, as the troops at Fort Western amounted to eleven 
hundred men. 

^Yith this small force of resolute soldiers, he immediately 
invested the walls of Quebec, hoping by cutting oil" the sup- 
plies to force them to capitulate. One of die o11ic(M"s from 
his camp wrote as follows : " The ditiiL-ulties that our de- 
tachment underwent in the woods are beyond description. 
For forty days I waded in the water, more or less; my feet 

260 R. J. MEIGS. 

constantly u-et, except nights ; the most of the time freezing 
weather. We were at an allowance of half a pint of flour 
a man for a fortnight, and half that time no meat; passing 
through morasses, cedeu- swamps and drowned lands, wading 
creeks and rivers at the same time. The number that we 
lost was small, not exceeding three or four, and these with 

The result of the attack on the city is well known. 3Iaj. 
Meigs, with his battalion, was attached to that portion of the 
army whicli penetrated within the town, where, with Morgan, 
Dear])orn, and others, he was taken prisoner. " The pris- 
oners within the city were kindly treated by Gov. Carlton. 
He sent out ^laj. Meigs for their clothes and baggage, al- 
lowed them to be supplied with monej' and other convcn- 
iencies by their friends; and after they were released, they 
bore a unanimous testimony to the humanity and good usage 
of the British commander." (Spark's Life of Arnold.) 

During the long and dreary winter which followed their 
captivity, Mr. Meigs did all he could to alkn date the suffer- 
ings of the men, ^vhich arose more from tlie lack of warm 
clothing than of food. To relieve their necessities, he, whh 
Col. Christopher Green, advanced money to the amount of 
two hundred dollars. This was justly chargeable to tlie 
Amei'ican Congress, but ^vas not repaid until three years 
after the cessation of hostilities, or nearly ten from the time 
of ad\ ancemcnt, when we lind on their journals the follow- 
ing resolution: 

"September ^Stli, 1*85: on the mt^norial of II. .1. ^Icig- 
and Job Ch-ecn, son and heir of Cliristopher Green, deceased. 

Resolved, That iIk^ Board of Treasury take order for 
pa}ing to 11. .1. ]Meigs. late a colonel in the service of the 
United States, and to the legal representati\ e of Christo])hcr 
Green, deceased, late a colonel in said service, the sum of 
two hundred dollars, the same having been expended fur 

U . J . MEIGS. 267 

the use and comfort of the unfortunate pri.sonerri in Queljcc, 
in the year 1770." 

In the eourse of tliis year he warf duly cxchanfi;ed, and re- 
turned lioine; soon after which he received from Congress 
the connnission of coh)nel, and was aulhoi'i/.ed to raise a 
regiment of choice men, whicli Avas aiterward known in 
Coimecticut as the Leather Ca]) llegiment. " Coh Meigs, 
having enhsted a part of his j-cgiment, marched to A'ew 
Haven, to carry into execution a plan j)rojected foi- the sur- 
prisal of a party of the enemy at Sagg harl)or, on Long 
Island, where a large amount of stores and forage had been 
collected for the army in A'ew York."' 

The following account of this transaction is from Mar- 
.'^hall's Life of Washington: "Gen. Parsons intrusted the 
execution of this plan to Col. Meigs, a very gallant oflicer, 
who had accompanied Arnold in his memorable march to 
Quebec, and had been taken prisoner in the unsuccessful 
attempt made on that place by Montgomery. He embarked 
with about two hundred and thirty men, on board thirteen 
whale-boats, and proceeded along the coast to Guilford, 
from whence he was to cross the sound. Here he was de- 
tained some time by high winds and a rough sea; but on 
the 23d of May, about one o'clock in the afternoon, he re- 
embarked one hundred and seventy of his detachment, and 
proceeded, under convoy of two armed sloops, across the 
sound to the north division of the island, near Southokl. 
The east end of Long Island is deeply intersected by a bay, 
on the north side of which had been a small ibraging jiartV; 
against which the expedition was in part directed; but they 
had marched to New York two days belbre. Here, how- 
ever, information was received that the stores had not been 
removed from Sagg har])or, which lies in the northern divis- 
ion of the island, and that a small guard still remained there 
for their defense. The boats were immediately conveyed 

268 E. J. MEIGS. 

across the land, a distance of about fifteen miles, into the 
bay, where the troops re-embarked, and crossing the bay, 
landed within four miles of Sagg harbor, at two o'clock in 
the morning; which place they completely surprised, and 
earned with fixed bayonets. At the same time, a division 
of the detachment secured the armed schooner and the ves- 
sels, with the forage which had been collected for the supply 
of the army at New York. These brigs and sloops, twelve 
in number, were set on fire and entirely consumed. Six of 
the enemy were killed, and ninety taken prisoners. A very 
few escaped under cover of the night. Col. Meigs returned 
to Guilford with his prisoners, having thus completely ef- 
fected the object of the expedition, without the loss of a 
single man, and having moved with such uncommon celerity 
as to have transported his men by land and water ninety 
miles in twenty-five hours. 

Shortly after this brilliant affair, Congress passed the fol- 
lowing resolution : 

"July 25th, 1777 — Resolved, That Congress have a just 
sense of the merit of Lieut. Col. Meigs, and the ofiicers 
and men under his command, who distinguished their pru- 
dence, activity, enterprise, and valor, in the late expedition 
to Long Island, and that an elegant sword be provided by 
the commissary-general of military stores, and presented to 
Lieut. Col. Meigs." (Jour. Congress.) 

Col. Meigs continued to sustain an active part in all the 
privations and sufferings of the American army, during the 
period of 1778 and 1779 ; and in the latter year was en- 
gaged in one of the most brilliant events in the course of 
the war — the capture of Stony Point. In this heroic adven- 
ture. Col. Meigs acted a conspicuous part, his regiment be- 
ing attached to the right column of the attacking forces. 

The following description of the locality, and events con- 
nected therewith, is from Marshall's Life of Washington: 

K. J. MEIGS. 269 

" Some miles below West Point, about the termination of 
the Highlands, is King's ferry, where the great road between 
the middle and eastern states crosses the iXorth river. The 
ferry is completely commanded by the two opposite points 
of land ; the one on the west side, which is a rough elevated 
piece of ground, is denominated Stony Point ; and the 
other on the east side, which is a flat neck of land, project- 
ing far into the water, is called ^^erplank's Point. The 
command of this ferry was important to either army : to 
the British, as it gave them the control of an extensive dis- 
trict of country in which to forage, and also the advantage 
of a strong post, which communicated with New York by 
water: to the Americans it was important, as it afforded 
a ready and safe intercourse with the stations on both sides 
of the river, and the loss of it would oblige them to seek a 
longer and higher route, through a rough and broken coun- 
try. The last of May, Sir Henry Clinton, strengthened by 
a large body of British troops from Virginia, under Gen. 
Vaughan, embarked his army from New York, on the river, 
and on the 31st landed a numerous division on the east side 
of the Hudson, eight miles below Verplank's Point, while 
tlie remainder landed on the west side, three miles below 
Stony Point. The works at this place being unfinished, 
were abandoned. The British, under Gen. Patterson, im- 
mediately took possession, and erecting a battery of heavy 
cannon and mortars, were ready next morning to open a 
fire on Fort Fayette at Verplank's Point. The river between 
the two points is about one thousand yards in width. The 
troops landed below, invested it by land, and some galleys 
stationed above, prevented the escape of the American gar- 
rison by water. Capt. Armstrong being unable to defend 
himself against this superior force, surrendered the post. 
They immediately proceeded to fortify their acquisitions, 
and especially Stony Point, in the strongest manner. When 

270 R. J. MEIGS. 

fully completed, Sir II. Clinton left strong garrisons in each, 
and returned to Aew York. The importance of these posts 
to the Americans, induced Gen. Washington to attempt 
their recovery. He also wished to achieve some important 
action to stimulate the courage of the army, and arouse the 
dormant energies of the country, sinking under a long 
course of disaster, from the depredations of the British in 
Connecticut. After carefully reconnoitering these posts, and 
getting all the information possible, he was satisfied they 
could onl}' be taken by surprise. His first plan was to at- 
tack both posts simultaneously ; but as such operatif)ns are 
very difficult of attainment, he decided to turn all his atten- 
tion to the attack of Stony Point. As the capture of this, 
from its elevated position, would give it command over the 
fort at A'erplank's Point. To Gen. Wayne, the commander 
of the American light infantry, was intrusted the conduct 
of the enterprise. Twelve o'clock on the night of the 15th 
of July, was chosen for the assault. Stony Point is a com- 
manding hill, projecting far into the Hudson, which \vashes 
three-fourths of its base; the remaining fourth is, in a great 
measure, covered by a deep marsh, over which there is only 
one crossing place; but at its junction with the ri\er is a 
sandy beach passable at low-tide. On the summit of this 
hill was erected the fort, furnished with an abundance of 
heavy ordinance. Several breast-works and strong Ijatterics 
v.cre advanced in front of the principal works; and about 
half way down the hill were two rows of abatis. The ])at- 
terics commanded the beach and the crossing place of the 
marsh, and could rake and enfilade any column approaching 
the fort from either of those points. Several vessels of war 
Vicre also stationed in tlie river, so as to command tlie 
ground at the foot of tlie liill. The fort was ganisoned by 
six hiuidi'ed men, under Lieut. Col. Johnson. At noon of 
the d;iy preceding the night of attack, the light infant rv 

K. J. MEIGS. 271 

commenced their march from Samly beach, distant lourteen 
mih's iVoin Stony Point, and })assin<^ over an exceeding 
rug<,'ed and mountainous country, arrived about eight o'clock 
P. y\., at Steel's spring, one and a halt" miles from the; foit, 
w here tiie dispositions for the assault were made. It \v:i.s 
intemh^i to attack the works on the riglit and left flanks at 
the same instant. The regiments of Febiger and ^leigs, 
with MmJ. Hull's detachment, formed the right column; 
and Butl(M""s r(~giment, with tiie companies under xMaJ. Mur- 
free. formed the left; one hundred and lifty volunteers led 
by Lieut. C(d. Fleary and Maj. Posey, constituted the van 
of the ]-ight ; and one liundred under 3Iaj. Stewart, composed 
the \ an of the left. At half past eleven, the two columns 
m(>\ ed on to the charge, the van of each with unloaded 
muskets and fixed bayonets. They were each preceded by a 
forlorn hope of twenty men, commanded b}" Licuts. Gibbons 
and Knox, \\hose duty it was to remove the abatis and other 
obstructions, to open a passage for the columns which fol- 
lowed close in the rear. Proper measures liaving been taken 
to prevent notice of their approach, the Americans readied 
the marsh undiscovered. Here some unexpected dilllculties 
arose, and the assault did not commence until twenty minutes 
after twelve. Both columns then rushed foruard under a 
tremendous fire of musketry and grape shot; surmounting 
every obstacle, they entered the works at the point of the 
bayonet, \\ ithout discharging a single piece, and obtained 
complete possession of tlie fort. The luunanity of lli'' ceii- 
(pierc'i's was not less conspicuous, nor less li()i>()!';d)]<\ i]i;iu 
their bravery ; not a sinicle individual su!iei-(\i t-i'lc- rc-lst- 
ance ceased.. All the troo'ps di<i»!ayed the gn';*l(vt c(i;i!'rige, 
and all distinguishiMl thems(d\es wlio-e situritioii enabled 
them to do so. (Jut of the tbrlorn hope, led Irv Lieut. Ciib- 
bons, se\enteen \vere killed oi' wouu'.hnl. 'i'lie lo-s (if tlic 
.'Vmeiicans \vas not in proportion to the apparent danger, 

272 R. J. MEIGS. 

and amounted to only about one hundred in killed and 
wounded. That of the British was one hundred and thirt)^- 
one, of whom rdxty-thrce were killed. It was intended to make 
an attack onYerplank's as soon as Gen. Wayne got posses- 
sion of Stony Point, but from some mistake that plan failed. 
Gen. Washington examined the position of Stony Point, 
and thought it not advisable to maintain it, as it would re- 
quire at least fifteen hundred men to garrison it, more than 
he could spare from the army without weakening his means 
of defense in the Highlands. It was, therefore, reluctantly 
abandoned. Sir H. Clinton directly took it in possession 
and fortified it stronger than before. 

The success of this enterprise infused new courage into 
the country, and revived the drooping spirits of the Ameri- 
can people. It was a proof that the bravery and enterprise 
of their soldiers was fully equal to that of their enemies, a 
fact which the British always stoutly denied, but were now 
obliged to confess. Col. Meigs shared largely in the honors 
and dangers of the assault, mounting the breast-work at 
the head of his men, and with his hand clasped in theirs, 
assisted man}' to gain tiie top of this formidable obstruction, 
who, with fixed bayonets, leaped down into the fort amidst 
their enemies. Every man engaged in it, through life, was 
noticed by his countrymen as one of the heroes of Stony 

From this period to the close of the war, he continued to 
serve his country with fidelity, and at the close shared in 
the honors and blessings of civil liberty, so dearly bought 
with the blood and toil of his countrymen. After the war 
he still lived at ]\Ii(ldl(>to\vn. 

On the formation of the Ohio Company, in which many 
soldiers of the Revolution engaged, he was appointed one 
of their surveyors, and in the spring of the year 1788 he 
landed at Marietta, and entered on the duties of his ofTice. 

R. J. MEIGS. 273 

" A government for the Northwestern Territory had been 
prepared by an ordinance of Congress, in 1787. Gov. St. 
Clair and the judge.s of the territory had not arrived. 
The emigrants were witliout civil laws or civil authority. 
Col. iMeigri drew up a concise system of regulations, which 
were considered by the emigrants as the rule of conduct 
and preservation, until the proper authorities should arrive. 
To give these regulations publicity, a large oak, standing 
near the confluence of the rivers, was selected, from which 
the bark was cut oft', of sufiicient space to attach the sheet 
on which the regulations were written ; and they were ben- 
eficially adhered to until the civil authorities arrived in July. 
This venerable oak was to the emigrants more useful, and 
as frequently consulted, as the oracle of ancient Delphos, 
by its votaries."* Soon after the arrival of Gov. St. Clair, 
he was appointed a justice of the peace, and one of the 
judges of the Court of Quarter Sessions. He was also 
commissioned as the clerk of this court, and prothonotary 
of the Court of Common Pleas. The first session of the 
latter was held on Tuesday, the 2d of September, 1788. 
This being the earliest court ever assembled in the North- 
western Territory, it was honored with all the ceremony due 
to so important an occasion. A procession was formed at 
tlie Point, composed of the inhabitants, with the United 
States otricers from Fort Harmer, who escorted the judges 
of the Court of Common Pleas, with the governor and su- 
preme judges of the territory, to the hall in the northwest 
block-house of Campus Martius, distant about half a mile. 
The procession was headed by the sherift". Col. E. Sproat, a 
man six feet and four inches high, and large in proportion, 
with a drawn sword in his right hand, and wand of office in 
the left ; the whole making quite an imposing appearance, 

Obituarv notice of Col. ilcii;;5, bv his son, the postmaster-general. 

274 R. J. MEIGS. 

and exciting the admiration of the friendly savages, a num- 
ber of whom were loitering about the new city. When all 
were assembled within the hall, the services of the day were 
opened with prayer by the Rev. Manasseh Cutler, one of 
the directors of the Ohio Company. The court was then 
organized by reading the commissions of the judges, the 
clerk and the sheriif, after which the latter opened it for 
business, by proclamation. The duties of clerk were exe- 
cuted by Col. Meigs, with accuracy and fidelity, for a num- 
ber of years. 

In 1789, he was engaged a part of the summer in survey- 
ing the meanders of the Ohio river, from the Muskingum 
down to the mouth of the Big Sandy, which was supposed 
to be near the line of the western boundary of the purchase. 
"While on this trip by water, in a large flatboat, then in use 
for traveling up as well as down stream, the Indians made 
an attack on John Matthews, who was sm'veying the west- 
ern range of townships, and killed seven men of his com- 
pany. He fled to Col. iNIeigs, who received him on board, 
and crossed over the Ohio river. A little below Twelve 
Pole creek he erected a small block-house, for the security 
of his men, until another party of surveyors, under Mr. 
Backus, could come in. This they did in a day or two; and 
having completed his survey of the river, they all returned 
to INIarietta. During the period of the Indian war. the la- 
bors of the surveyors were suspended: and for several years 
he suffered all the privations and dangers of that distressing 

During the treaty with the Indians at Greenville, in 1795, 
Col. jMeigs was appointed a commissary of the clothing de- 
partment; issuing the goods furnished to the Indians as well 
a:4 the troops. Here he exercised his benevolent feelings in 
behalf of the whites who were prisoners with the Indians, 
to see that all were delivered up, as stipulated in one of the 

R. J. MEIGS. 275 

articles. Amongst those who were known to have been 
captured, was Joseph Kelly, a lad taken from Belville, Va., 
in 171)1, and whose widowed mother now lived in jNIarietta, 
her husband being killed at the same time. In the autumn 
of 1795, the Indians had brought in and given up all tlieir 
prisoners ; yet no account could be had of young Kelly, and 
it was quite uncertain whether he was dead or alive, as no 
news had ever been received of him since his captivity. 
But as the Indians seldom or never put boys to death, after 
they were prisoners, it was probable he was yet living, and 
kept back by some family who had become greatly attached 
to him. Although nearly all hope had ceased of his recov- 
er)'', yet Mr. Meigs continued to inquire of every new In- 
dian face he saw at the store. At length two Indians said 
they knew of two white boys on the heads of the Auglaise 
river, who were kept back by their owners. Hoping that 
one of these boys might be the widow's son, he immediately 
applied to Gen. Wayne for a messenger to be sent for them. 
One of these Indians, as a guide, and a white man were 
sent out. Joseph had been adopted into the family of an 
old wamor, named Mishalena, who had lost five sons in 
the wars with the whites, and had now no child left but a 
daughter ; and yet he adopted this boy, the son of his mor- 
tal enemies, as his own, and ever treated him as such. 
What a lesson for the professors of Christianity ! ]Mr. Kelly 
says that the old warrior was one of the most kind and be- 
nevolent men that he ever met with in his life, as well as 
of a noble and commanding appearance. He was now too 
old for war, but in great favor with the tribe, as one of their 
most able counselors. His adopted motlier's name was 
Patcpsa. She ne^er accepted him with the hearty good- 
will and aftection of Mishalena, but always gave him 
plenty to eat, when she had it. Joseph was only six years 
old when adopted, but was now eleven. He parted with liis 

276 li. J. MEIGS. 

Indian parents and the boys of the tribe, witli nearly a.s 
much regret as he had formerly done with his white ones. 
He had lived with them so long, in the wild freedom of the 
forest, that he had forgotten his native language, and almost 
his former name ; for his Indian parents had given him a 
new one, Lalaque, but for brevity, spoken Lala. They 
accompanied him to Greenville, parting with him very re- 
luctantly, and poor Mishalena was now left in his old age, 
like a deadened forest tree, around whose roots no green 
shoot appears. As a parting gift he presented his son with 
a beautiful bow and arrows, made with his own hands. Tlie 
boy who accompanied him was named Bill, from Kentucky, 
whose family were all killed at the time of his capture. He 
had forgotten the family name, but had been adopted by a 
widow woman, who had no children. She loved liim wuth 
all the tenderness of a natural mother, and parted wdth liim 
in deep sorrow. On the arrival of the two boys at the fort, 
Col. Meigs sent for the tailor, and had them fitted out with 
new warm woolen dresses, after the fashion of the whites, 
and the blanket and leggins of the Indians laid aside. A 
short time before, he had written to Mrs. Meigs, that no dis- 
covery could yet be made of the widow's son, and that he 
greatly feared he was dead ; cautioning her not to let the 
afilicted woman know the worst of his fears. Joseph's mo- 
ther had described his hair, eyes, and looks, so accurately, 
that at the first glimpse of the two boys, he picked him out. 
Tlie Indian interpreter soon confirmed his opinion, by talk- 
ing with hiui in the tSliawanoe dialect. On being ques- 
tioned, he remembered the names of his brothers and sisters, 
and that his own name was Joseph Kelly. This satisfied 
him that he was the lost son of the sorrowing widow, who, 
for the whole period of his absence, had never omitted him 
in her daily prayers, or sat down to the table with her other 
children, without mentioning his name. So anxious was 

R. J. MEIGS. 277 

this good and kind-hearted man to restore him to the be- 
reaved mother, that he started, in February, across the 
swamps and pathless forests for Marietta. A young, active 
Shawanoc Indian, named Thom, guided the party, which 
consisted of six soldiers and six or eight horses, through the 
wilderness, without deviation, and struck the Muskingum 
river at Big Rock, a noted Indian landmark, twenty-four 
miles above Marietta. 

While on their journey, an incident occurred which places 
in a strong light the acuteness of their observation and tact 
in tracing their way through the woods. During a cloudy 
and snowy day, the party got bewildered in a thick beech 
swamp. Col. Meigs took out his pocket compass, and after 
examination, said the course lay east. Indian Thom pointed 
to the southeast. The colonel still insisting on the authority 
of the compass, and the known general direction of the 
route, the Indian became vexed, and shouldering his rifle, 
muttered in broken English, "D — n compass," and pursued 
his own com-se. In a few minutes travel, Thom's judgment 
proved to be right, and the colonel and the compass wrong. 

The party reached Marietta early in March, and the fer- 
vent, oft-repeated prayer of the widow for the restoration 
of her lost son, was at length answered, to the great joy 
and thankfulness of Col. Meigs, by whose unwearied exer- 
tions and perseverance it had been accomplished, as well as 
to the delight of the mother. 

In 1798, he, with Col. Robert Oliver, was elected by the 
people of Washington county, to represent them in the ter- 
ritorial Legislature, then assembled for the first time. In 
this body were several able and talented men. Col. Meigs 
was not excelled by any of them for sound sense or integrity, 
and performed his duties with credit to himself and to the 
people who had elected him. 

In 1801, he was appointed by President Jefferson. Indian 

278 R. J. MEIGS. 

agent amongst the Cherokees, where he resided until the 
time of his death, in January, 1823. The inhabitants of 
Marietta parted with him. very reluctantly, holding his per- 
son and virtues in the highest estimation. His upright, 
manly conduct, dignified manners and kind heart, had en- 
listed all in his favor. " During a long life of activity and 
usefulness, no man ever sustained a character more irre- 
proachable than Col. Meigs. He was a pattern of excellence 
as a patriot, a philanthropist, and a Christian. In all the 
vicissitudes of fortune, the duties of religion were strictly 
observed, and its precepts strikingly exemplifiedr, :' In the 
discharge of his duties among the Cherokees, he acquired 
their highest confidence. They loved and revered him as a 
father, denominating him, for his integrity and uprightness, 
the White Path." 

The family of Col. Meigs was not numerous. By his first 
wife he had two sons. Return Jonathan and John. The 
former was one of the governors of Ohio. Timothy was 
the son of a second wife, and accompanied his father to 

In person Mr. Meigs was thin and spare, of a medium 
hight, with a highly intelligent countenance ; nose Grecian, 
with a lofty, bold forehead ; eyes keen and black, sparkling 
with benevolence, but striking with awe the boldest heart, 
when bent in anger on the guilty or undeserving; active 
and graceful in all his motions, even in old age practicing 
the athletic sports of the young Indians with the buoyancy 
of youth. He died suddenly, at the age of eighty-three, 
full of the Christian's hope, surrounded by the sorrowing 
Cherokees, who mourned his death with deep and heart-felt 



Tin; little Htate of Rhode Island, so fruitful in eminent 
and brave men, was the birth-place of Mr. Greene, being 
born on the 20th of February, 1749, in the town of Warwick. 
His ancestors were from England, and settled in Rhode 
Island at an early day. Education, at that period, was a 
minor concern, and he received no other than such as was 
afforded by the common or public schools. At an early 
age he was bred to the smith and anchor-making business ; 
few men of that day being able to live without the aid of 
some handicraft or agricultural pursuit. It was the age of 
honest industry. Of his youth and childhood, little has 
been preserved. 

At a suitable time of life, he married Miss Sarah Greene, 
of the same town, but of a family not connected by blood 
with his own. There were many of this name in the state, 
who were all wealthy in lands, and ranked high amongst the 
first citizens of the colony, one of them holding the office of 
governor. His wife was a sister of Col. Christopher Greene, 
who commanded the noted black regiment, which was one 
of the most efficient and brave in the service. The commis- 
sioned officers were white men, and the privates negroes. By 
this marriage he had four children, who lived to manhood, 
viz. : Richard, Philip, Griffin, and Susan. The descendants 
of Richard are several of them living in Ohio : the others 
left no issue. 

Previous to the commencement of hostilities between the 
colonists and the mother country, Jacob Greene, a cousin, 
and himself erected a forge for the manufacture of iron. 
Before the discovery of steam-power, a stream of water was 


necessary to work the machinery, and for this purpose a 
spot was selected on the Pawtuxet, distant about five miles 
from the head of Greenwich bay, the nearest point where 
pigs could be landed from vessels. In addition to the ex- 
pense of wagoning them over a rough road to the forge, they 
had to be transported from the North river, and when man- 
ufactured into bar iron, returned to the village for sale. It 
was carried on during the war, and furnished cannon balls 
and wrought iron for the use of the country, at a period 
when such articles were scarce in the colony. The site of 
the old works is now occupied by cotton factories. 

At the breaking out of hostilities, he acted with his coun- 
trymen in throwing off the yoke of Great Britain, for which 
praiseworthy deed he was cast out of the synagogue of the 
Quakers, to wliich sect he belonged, at the same time with 
his cousin, Gen. Nathaniel Greene, and never returned to 
them again. During the war he became acquainted with 
many leading men of that day, wdth whom intercourse was 
kept up in after life. In 1775 he commenced his military 
career, by serving as commissary to the Rhode Island troops, 
although, in the previous year, he had been trained to mili- 
tary exercises, as a volunteer in the company to which 
Christopher and Nathaniel belonged, with many of the most 
active and prominent young men in the colony. In 1777 
he was paymaster to the regiment commanded by Christo- 
pher Greene, and during the attack on the fort at Red bank, 
was exposed to the shot of the eneni}', in taking a supply 
of powder to his countrymen. This act he performed with 
great intrepidity, although not in the line of his duty. 

In 1778, his cousin, Gen. Nathaniel Greene, Avith whom 
he had been brought up and lived in the closest inti- 
macy, working with him at the same forge in the manufac- 
ture of anchors, and also engaged with him in various 
mercantile pursuits connected with the iron business, Avas 

GUI VV 1 N (; K !•: KN K. 281 

appointed, by (.Ifii. \Va<liiii;,'ton, (jiiartcniiaslcr f^^ciu'ral of 
the army, lie loutul llie affairs of ihat dcpartinciil in the 
groatost (lisoi'dcr, and needing se\ cral deputies, his cousin 
GriOin Cireenc was selected as one of them. Inchr their 
eliicient control, in a {"cw months that branch of the j)ut)lic 
service, so important to the welfare of an army, was placed 
in complete order, greatly to the relief and satisfaction of 
the commander-in-chief. lie was employed in this business 
until near the time of Gen. Greene's appointment to the 
command of the southern army. Connected with liis pur- 
chases of provisions, he also entered into that of merchan- 
dise : many goods being needed for the use of the troops, 
large quantities were bought from Clark and Nightingale, a 
celebrated firm of that day. 

During the whole period of the war, a correspondence 
was kept up between him and the general : a number of 
the letters having been preserved among the family papers, 
extracts will be given, as interesting specimens of the thoughts 
of the master minds of that trying era. In them are many 
sensible remarks on men and measures, especially that trou- 
blesome one of the currency, which, in 1779, had fallen to 
its lowest ebb, and had well nigh destroyed the country. In 
April of that year, one specie dollar was worth twenty dol- 
lars of the paper-money of Congress. This depreciation 
of the currency, vrith the heart-burnings of the soldiery and 
people thereon, was one of the main reliances of the king 
and his counselors, for the subjugation of the colonies. 
Money and credit are the sinews of war, and of both these 
Qongrcss was destitute. Had it not been for the timely aid 
of France, it is more than probable that the independence 
of America would not, at that time, have been achieved. 

The policy of Congress in their finances, is thus com- 
mented on, in one of his letters, dated at camp, ]May ISth, 
1779: "The Congress should appoint a Board for this 


purpose; but they are very fond of reserving all their powers 
within their own ])ody. It has been ch?ar to me, for a long 
time, that the business of that House is too complex and 
multifarious to be digested into method and order. They 
are always in a hurry, and never bring anything to perfec- 
tion, until its advantages are lost. I mean not to arraign 
their intentions, but I am sure their ^^'o/d'c^^ is bad. Two things 
are essential to the interests of these states ; one is that the 
proceedings of Congress be more generally known ; and the 
other is that their authority be more generally acknowledged 
by the states." 

In a short time after this, a board of treasury was estab- 
lished, and by the aid of that eminent financier, and most 
excellent man, Robert iMorris, their monetary affairs were 
placed in a more propitious train. In the January preceding, 
Gen. Greene was in Philadelphia, and thus writes to Griffin: 
"The luxuries and extravagance of this city exceed any- 
thing you ever saw. There has been nothing going on here, 
but entertainments, assemblies, and balls. His excellency. 
Gen. Washington, has been here about a month, and the 
citizens have exerted themselves to make him as happy as 
possible. But I can truly say I feel serious amidst festivity, 
and gloomy amongst the most joyous. The extravagance 
of the times is very unfriendly to a republican government, 
and greatly enervates the national strength." How just 
and true, this sentiment; and not less true now, than then. 
The thoughts of Gen. Washington and this excellent man 
were too much occupied with their country's cares, to enter, 
with satisfaction, into the amusements of the careless and 
the gay. 

In April of this year, the French minister visited the 
American army in their camp at Middlebrook, and ^vas re- 
ceived w\i\\ great respect. He is represented as one of the 
most polite men of the age, and says, "The alliance with 


France is a most happy affair, and alleviates a tliousand of 
our distresses." 

In September, 1779, Mr. Greene engaged as a partner in 
a company for fitting out two brigantines as privateers, the 
coast at that time being pretty clear of British ships of war. 
They were called the Black and the Rattle Snake ; but be- 
fore the one had time to erect its head, and the other to shake 
its rattles, in defiance of the British lion, they were driven 
on shore at Sandy hook, in April, 1780, by the enemy's 
cruisers, and lost. This was the fate of many American 
privateers, and in the ultimate, it is probable, as much was 
lost as won, by the colonists, in this nefarious business. It 
is certain that the loss of these vessels was seriously felt. 

In the spring of 1780, he writes: "Our public affairs are 
under great embarrassments. The treasury' is entu-ely with- 
out money, and the public offices without credit. Our stock 
of provisions is next to nothing, and the troops frequently 
upon half allowance for a third part of the time, and many 
times entirely without. In a word, we ai'e on the high road 
to starvation, when there is plenty of everything in the 
country, and only want ways and means to draw it out. 
Our prospects at the south are in a disagreeable train, and 
I set down the certain loss of Charleston, unless some very 
providential intervention occurs, which we have no reason 
to expect in favor of a people not remarkable for i^ligion 
or piety." This prognostic proved correct, as the place sur- 
rendered a short time after. " Upon the whole, our situation 
in political life is not very eligible, neither will it be soon, 
unless there is more energy, consistency, and good policy 
pursued by our civil rulers. We want men of liberality, 
sound judgment, and attention to business, to conduct om' 
public affairs. Happy is that nation, which has wise and 
honest men to manage national matters." 

In July, the Marquis de Lafayette visited Rhode Island. 


The general wrote to his cousin Griffin and brother Jacob, to 
pay him every attention due to his rank and merit. " I hope 
the inhabitants of the state will exert themselves a little to 
convince the French officers that we give them a most cordial 
reception. But such is the state of human nature and the 
caprices of mankind, that it is ten to one if ever we part 
with the same good-will toward each other, that we came 

Although the treason of Arnold has been written by a hun- 
dred hands, here is a fresh account of it, not before published. 
"Camp Tappan, September 29th, 1780. 

Treason, treason ! of the blackest kind, has been most 
providentially discovered. Gen. Arnold, who commanded at 
West Point, was in contract with the British adjutant-gen- 
eral for delivering into the enemy's hands, all the forts and 
fortifications of that place. The plan was laid, the condi- 
tions settled, and the time fixed for the execution. Happily 
for the cause of America, the whole was discovered before 
the thing was ripe for execution. The adjutant-general had 
been up to King's ferry to see Gen. Arnold, and on his re- 
turn to New York, near the White plains, was taken up by 
three militia-men, who carried him prisoner to Maj. Jame- 
son, of Sheldon's light-horse; and on his being searched, 
plans of the works, the strength of the garrison, and a hun- 
dred other observations necessary to be known in order to 
favor an attack, were all made out in Arnold's own hand- 
writing. They were immediately sent to Gen. Washington, 
who was then on his return from Hartford. But unfortu- 
nately, Jameson, from a false delicacy, reported to Gen. 
Arnold, that he had taken prisoner one Anderson, which 
gave him time to just make his escape before Gen. Wash- 
ington got to the Point. The adjutant-general and one Mr. 
Joseph Smith, are now both prisoners in this camp, and 
(lou])tless will be hung to-morrow. We have only to lament 


that Arnold is not to grace the gallows with them. It aj)- 
peart', from an inquiry into Arnold's conduct, that he is the 
most accomplished villain in the world: nothing can excc^ed 
his meanness. I am called upon to attend a court-martial, 
and, therefore, cannot go further into this dark and wicked 
business. The militia lads that took hiin, (Mr. Andre,) de- 
serve immortal honor, and will be most liberally rewarded." 

Treason ! treason ! The sound of this most odious word 
and hateful act of Arnold, as it pealed through the nation, 
turned pale the cheeks of every true friend to his country. 
It was more dangerous to the cause of freedom than the 
loss of several battles. Washington knew not whom to 
trust in this alarming crisis, ignorant as he was of the ex- 
tent of the conspiracy. But a few days reassured him, and 
with such men as Greene, Putnam, and a host of others to 
rally around him, in whose patriotism he could safely trust, 
his confidence was restored, and the affairs of the army 
resumed their regular train. 

In a letter of October 20th, 1780, on occasion of some 
losses in Mr. Greene's mercantile business, he says, "We 
have one consolation, that good men are not always for- 
tune's greatest favorites. If we are not rich, we will be 
honest; and if we are not respected for our wealth, we will 
be for our industry. Your judgment is good in business ; 
your industry and attention unquestionable. Nothing is 
wanting but the smiles of fortune : without this all our en- 
deavors are in vain:" another name for a superintending 
providence that rules the affairs of men, and not the blind 
goddess of the Ilomans. ''I am appointed to the command 
of the southern army, and am now just setting forward on 
the journey. It is a most difficult command, and hitherto 
has proved a disgraceful one to all who have gone that 
way. I wish it may not be my lot. One thing I shall avoid 


if possible: that is, giving the public just grounds for 
censuring me. If I am unfortunate, that I cannot help." 
The result proved how justly he estimated the difficulties of 
that weight}- affair, and how nobly he conducted the south- 
ern campaigns, for his own and his country's glory. 

In July, 1781, from the High hills of Santee, he writes, 
"Thus far I am safe and in good health, though I have had 
several very narrow escapes. If I can get off with whole 
bones and a decent reputation, it is more than I expect. 
New England should rejoice that she has really felt nothing 
of the war. It rages here like a fire at large, and destroys 
everything before it. Such destruction and waste, such mis- 
ery and distress as this country affords, have not been seen 
in America. The burning of a town, or the plunder of a 
few farms, are nothing to the cruelties practiced here. But 
enough of this disagreeable subject." 

In one of his last letters, dated at Charleston, in May, 1783, 
he writes, "I beg leave to congratulate you upon the happy 
issue of the war. It affords me the highest satisfaction to 
find my judgment and opinions confirmed by experience. 
The Revolution has been important and successful, although 
not very promising, in the beginning. It has more than 
once been in doubt, but I always trusted for success in the 
general prejudices of human nature. It would have aggra- 
vated my own misfortunes, to have led my friends into ruin 
and disgrace, in the same manner as it now affords me 
pleasure in having contributed to their happy deliverance." 
At the close, he says, "Remember me affectionately to all at 
Potowamut:" the place where he worked at anchor-making 
before the war. " Don't forget my old friend. Master Max- 
well, and ask him what he thinks of 'the mighty power of 
Britain now?' " 

The handwriting of Gen. Greene was strong, nervous, and 

G R 1 1- F I N G R E E N E . 287 

bold; greatly resembling that of Cen. Washington, whom he 
more nearly imitated in vigor of mind and excellence of 
character, than any other of his generals. 

During the time of the war, while the British lieet was 
lying in the harbor of Newport, they were obliged to put 
suddenly to sea, on account of the French lleet threatening 
to blockade them. Some transport ships and a small frig- 
ate called the Flora, were sunk, to keep them from the 
enemy. They lay in rather shoal water, and at low ebb 
tides a part of their hulls was above the surface. In 1780, 
before the close of the war, the fertile mind of Mr. GrifTin 
Greene devised a plan for raising them from their oozy bed, 
in which his cousin Jacob assisted him. By the aid of a 
diving-bell, a man went down and closed up the holes by 
which they were scuttled. A powerful forcing pump, dis- 
charging twenty-five hundred hogsheads an hour, worked 
by horses in a flatboat alongside, enabled him so effectually 
to heave the water from their holds, that with the assistance 
of lighters, they rose to the surface, and once more floated 
on the ocean. After the close of the war, the commerce of 
the new republic being at a low ebb, and no demand for 
ships, he took the Flora to France for sale. This transac- 
tion detained him about two years, in which time he visited 
Holland and the adjacent countries. 

Soon after his return, the project for settling a New Eng- 
land colony on the banks of the Ohio, was matured by some 
of the officers of the Revolution, amongst whom were many 
of his acquaintance, especially Gen. Varnum, a leading man 
in carrying out the enterprise. After closing his partner- 
ship concerns, and selling out to his cousin Jacob, he joined 
the cOlnpany, and invested a part of his money in their 
lands. In 17S8 he moved his family to Marietta, loading 
three large wagons with his household goods, and all kinds 
of mechanical and agricultural implements. Amongst other 

^88 G K 1 1' FIN G 11 E E N E . 

items, was a large library of valuable books; knowing that 
the mind needed food, as well as the body, even when sur- 
rounded by a wilderness. The first anchors made on the 
Ohio river, Ibr the brig St. Clair, in the year 1800, were 
made under his direction. Soon after his arrival at Mari- 
etta, Gov. St. Clair commissioned him as a justice of the 
j)eace, and one of the judges of the Court of Quarter Ses- 
sions. In 1789 he was appointed, by the agents of the Ohio 
Company, a director, in the place of Gen. Varnum deceased, 
which post he continued to occupy until the close of their 
affairs. In 1790 he joined the colony at Belpre, and was 
a leading man in that settlement, solemnizing marriages, 
and settling civil disputes amongst the pioneers. 

In January, 1791, the Indian war commenced, by the de- 
struction of the settlement at Big Bottom, the news of which 
arrived while he was at Marietta, attending court, It was 
directly adjourned, and each man hurried home as fast as 
he could, expecting to meet the enemy on the way, and find 
their cabins and families destroyed. But fortunately the In- 
dians retreated without further mischief. In the erection 
of Farmers' castle, he took an active part, and lived there 
with his family five years during the war. For the whole 
of this period, he regularly attended the sitting of the courts, 
making his journeys up and down by water, in a canoe, ex- 
posed to tlie rifles of the Indians. 

His active mind could not be idle while confined to the 
castle, but was busily occupied in studying out useful and 
curious machinery. He assisted Capt. Uevol in planning 
the model of a floating mill, from the recollection of one 
he had seen in Holland ; probably moved by the tidal cur- 
rents, lie also spent more than a year in planning a self- 
moving machine, for perpetual motion, thinking it might be 
applied to the propulsion of boats on the Ohio river. When 
built, it moved with the accuracv and steadiness of a nice 

(; K 1 F F 1 x\ G li K K N E . 289 

time-piece, but after running a few hours, would finally come 
to a stand-still, in spite of the efforts of its inventor, being- 
bound 1)} the laws of gravitation, which it had not power 
to resist. Jt was reluctantly abandoned, and the curious 
wheels and le\ ers with \vhich it was made, were in being a 
few years since, lying in the garret of the old Mansion liouse 
in Marietta, amidst the dust and rubbish of by-gouc days. 

In 1701, when salt was worth six or eight dollars a bushel, 
he projected an expedition into the Indian country, near the 
Scioto river, for the discovery of the salt springs, said to be 
worked by the savages, near the present town of Jackson. 
At the hazard of his own life and all those with him, ten or 
twelve; in number, he succeeded in finding the saline water, 
and boiled some of it down on the spot, in their camp kettle, 
making about a table spoonful of salt. While here he 
naiTowly escaped death from the rifle of an Indian, who 
discovered them unseen by the part)-, and after the peace 
related the circumstance of his raising his rifle twice to fire 
at a tall man who had a tin cup strung to his girdle on the 
loins, and who was known to be Mr. Greene. As he might 
miss his object, being a long shot, and be killed himself, he 
desisted and hurried back to the Indian village, below the 
present town of Chillicothe, for aid. A party of twenty 
warriors turned out in pursuit, and came on to the bank of 
the Ohio, at Leading creek, a few minutes after the whites 
had left it with their boat, and were in the middle of the 
river. They were seen by the men in the boat, who felt 
how narrowly and provid(Uitially they had escaped. 

The right of this discovery was sold to a mercliant in 
Philadelphia for fifteen liundrcd dollars, and divided with his 

In 17'.);"), after the pcrj)etual motion had become an ac- 
knowledged failure, he turned his attention to the feasibility 

of applving steam to the moving of boats on tlie western 


waters, and invented an engine so perfect in its model as to 
attract tlie confidence of Mr. Elijah Backus, a man of dis- 
cernment, and owner of the island opposite to Farmers' 
castle, and since known as 131ennerhasset's. He became 
jointly concerned in the project, and about the year 1796, 
they visited Philadelphia and employed an ingenious me- 
chanic to build a steam engine. In this enterprise they ex- 
pended about a thousand dollars. The man proved to be 
unskillful or unfaithful, and the work was dropped without 
being finally put to the test. 

In January, 1802, he was appointed postmaster at Ma- 
rietta, where he had previously moved his family, in place 
of David Putnam, Esq., removed by G. Granger. This 
office he held until his death. In July, 1802, he was ap- 
pointed collector for the district of Marietta, under the 
revenue laws of the United States, by Thomas Jefferson. 
ile was also inspector for the port of Marietta, ships being 
built and cleared from that place. After his decease, his 
son Philip held the post-office to the period of his death, in 
1800, when it was given to Griffin Greene, jun. 

He died in June, 1804, aged fifty-five years, after a linger- 
mg illness which he bore with patience and fortitude, fully 
persuaded of a happy immortality. 

Mr. Greene was a man of intelligent aspect, quick appre- 
nension, and a ready, vigorous application of his mind to 
any subject before Inm. In person he was tall, of genteel 
and accomplished manners, having seen and associated 
with much refined company and men of talents. His dress 
was that of the fashionable days of the Ilevolution. and 
very becoming to one of his stature. As a man of genius 
and intellect, he ranked widi the first of the Ohio Company's 
settlers, abounding as it did u-ilh able men. 


Mr. FcARiNc. was born in Warcham, county of Plymouth, 
Mass., the 28th of February, 17()2, and was the .son of A'^oah 
and Mary Fearing. Ilis parents were industrious, hon- 
est people, with no pretensions to distinction above the 
class of common farmers, who formed the glory and the 
strength of the country, before and at the time of the strug- 
gle for independence. He had one brother older than him- 
self, and one sister younger. Lucy married Mr. Wyllis, an 
eminent attorney of Massachusetts. 

Of his early childhood but little is known; but as the boy 
is said to be the father of the man, he was doubtless an up- 
right, open-hearted youth. The minister of the parish pre- 
pared him for college, as was common in that day, which 
he must have entered before the close of the war, as he 
graduated in 1785, at a time when the resources of the 
country were at the lowest ebb. From some reverses in the 
fortune of his father, about the period of his graduation, he 
was unable to assist his son in the payment of the customary 
fee on that occasion, and young Fearing was in danger of 
missing the honors of the university, for the want of a small 
sum of money. At this unpleasant crisis, Joseph Barrel, a 
gentleman of Boston, heard accidentally of the circum- 
stance, and kindly proffered the loan of the requisite sum, 
which was gratefully accepted. Having decided on law, 
for a profession, he commenced the study in May, 178G, in 
the ofllce of E:=q. Swift, of Windham, Conn., where he re- 
mained ncarU' two years, and was admitted as an attor- 
ney in the courts of law of that state, on the 19th of Sep- 
tember, 1787, by Richard Law, judge of the supreme court. 


In July he was enabled to refund the money to Mr. Bar- 
rel, and notes in a brief journal of passing events, "I shall 
feel under obligation to j\Ir. Barrel, and am to pay the in- 
terest by forgiving fees to some poor client." This act still 
further elucidates the benevolent heart of his friend, and 
proves that he felt good-will toward all mankind. 

During this year the Ohio Company was matured, for es- 
tablishing a colony in the Northwest Territory, and was a 
general topic of conversation in New England. The glow- 
ing descriptions of the country and climate in the valley of 
the Ohio, caught the fancy of many young men, as well as 
older persons, and he decided on visiting that distant region. 
On the 1st of May, 1788, he bid adieu to his friends, and 
embarked at Boston in a vessel, by the way of Baltimore, for 
Muskingum, where he arrived on the IGth of that month. 
Here he put his trunk into a wagon, and commenced the 
journey across the mountains on foot. When he reached 
the little village of Fannetsburgh, at the foot of the first 
ranges, he \\as inoculated with the small-pox, having "been 
exposed to the disease in Baltimore. The eruption came 
out while he was on the journey, but it does not appear that 
he laid by, on account of it, although detained two or three 
days by the breaking down of the wagon. He reached 
Pittsburg the 10th of June, and embarked the same day, 
in a boat for iMarietta, where he arrived on the 16th. On 
the 1th of July, he says. Gen. Varnum delivered an ora- 
tion, and a public dinner was given in honor of the day. 
At this feast was ?cr\ed up a famous fish, called the Pike, 
that weighed a hundred pounds. The dinner was spread 
under a long bowery at the mouth of the Muskingum. 
Many patriotic toasts were given, and guns fired from Fort 
Harmer. About twenty families came on from New Eng- 
land, in the course of the summer and autumn. In May 
and .lune, Judges Parsons and Varnum, with Col. Sargent, 


secretary of the territory, arrived, and on the 0th, C!ov. St. 
Clair. The 15th of that month he delivered his inaugural 
addres.s, in presence of the judges, officers of the fort, and 
the assembled citizens of the territory. It was responded 
to, on the part of the people, by Gen. Rufus Putnam. On 
the 20th of July he listened to the first sermon ever preacherl 
in the English tongue northwest of the Ohio, by the Rev. 
Mr. Breck from Massachusetts. The jNIoravian missionaries 
had preached in the Delaware tongue, at Shoenbrun and 
their mission stations on the Tuscarawas river, as early as 
twenty years before this time. On the 2d of September, 
1788, the first Court of Common Pleas was held in the north- 
west block-house of Campus Martins, when he was admitted 
as an attorney, and on the 9th of that month, received the 
following certificate from two of the United States judges : 

"The undersigned, judges of the territory of the United 
States, northwest of the river Ohio, make known that they 
have admitted Paul Fearing, Esq., an attorney at law? of 
said court, and have given unto him permission to appear 
before^ and practice in, any and all the Courts of Record, 
and others that are or shall be erected in the said territory. 

Samuel II. Parsons, 
James M. Varnc.m. 

Marietta, September 9th, 1788." 

On the 9th of this month the Court of Quarter Sessions 
sat for the first time, and he was appointed attorney, or 
counsel, in behalf of the United States, for the county of 
Washington, which was the first organized in the territory. 
But little law business was done this year, the attention of 
the settlers, as well as that of jNIr. Fearing, being given to 
the clearing of lands, and making preparations for a per- 
manent home in the wilderness. 

In December the Indians of several tribes came in to 
Fort llarmer, to make a treaty of amity with the United 


States, under the superintendence of Gov. St. Ciair, who i.s 
styled commissioner plenipotentiary. It was a slow affair, 
the Indians being much divided as to the poiicy of the 
measure, some declining to treat at all, unless the Ohio 
river was made the boundary between their possessions and 
the whites; although, at former treaties, they had ceded to 
the United States a large portion of the present state of Ohio. 
They saw with feelings of anger and regret, the gTadual 
encroachments of the whites on their country, and that in a 
few years they would be driven beyond the Mississippi. 
They finally made a treaty, agreed to by a portion, only, of 
the tribes, and these did not adhere to it long. In the fol- 
lowing year their country on the ]Miami \va3 invaded by 
Gen. Harmcr, and the war actually commenced by the 
Americans. It \vas a disastrous campaign, and terminated 
in favor of the Indians. 

The last of January, 1789, jMr. Fearing set out on a jour- 
ney to xsew England, in company with several persons, 
amongst whom was Gen. Parsons. They went up the Ohio 
in a boat, but when about half way to AYhceling, the float- 
ing ice became so troublesome that they left the river and 
went up by land. The travel over the mountains ^vas ac- 
complished on horseback, in twenty-six days, from Wheeling 
to iMiddleborough, in Massachusetts, when at this time it can 
be done in three or four days, so great are the impro\ cments 
in travel. He returned in August, by way of Alexandria, 
and being a fine pedestrian, again crossed the mountains on 
foot. He reached Red Stone, a famous port for boats, on 
the i\Ionongahela, on the 1 llh of that month, and from the 
low stage of water, had to wait until the 20th of Xovember, 
for a rise in the river, whereas it was usually navigable as 
early as Septendjer. There was no road through the \\i\- 
derncss, nor an}' inhabitants, the larger portion of the \va\ . 
Whih^. waiting here in daily expectation of rain. Com 

PAUL ri;AUIN(,. ti'.)') 

Wliip|)l(^ oanie on with hi;-; family and that of liis soii-in- 
haw. Col. Spi'oat. \Yith thnii hv oiTibarked in a ^;nlalI boat, 
and reached JNlaiietta in four (hns, on the liOth of the 

Tlie foUowiiii;- year was pas.-ed in attending to his haw 
business, wliich began to increase some, as the emigration 
this season was very great, being the year before the war 
began on the Ohio Company settlements. In Novendjcr he 
\vas appointed a deputy contractor for supplying the troops 
at Fort Ilanner with fresh meat, at the low rate of thirteen 
dollars and thirty-three cents a month, and rations. Labor 
of all kinds was at a depressed state, a common hand on a 
farm getting only four dollars, and a private soldier three 
dollars. Money was very scarce. This post he held until 
the close of the war, and the avails of it aided much in his 
support, at a time when all were suflering under the pres- 
sure of want. 

From his first arrival in the country he kept a journal of 
the weather, freshets in the Ohio, &c., which are valuable 
in comparing our present seasons with those of the first 
settlement of the country. From his notes it is ascertained 
that the weather, previous to the assault on the block-house 
at Big Bottom, was very cold, and the Muskingum was 
crossed on the ice from the 22d of December to the 11th of 
•Tanuary, which gave the Indians every facility foi- making 
the attack. In the course of the summer of 1791, Gen. St. 
Clair invaded the Indian country, and was defeated on the 
1th of November, the news of which did not reach ^Marietta 
until the 4th of December, when it was brought by 3Iaj. 
Denny, on his way with dispatches to Philadelphia, so dif- 
ficult and slow was the intercourse between the settlements 
in the wilderness. There were no mails until 179 1, when 
packet-boats were established from Wheeling to Cinciimati. 


The Indians had full command of all the cormtry between 
the lakes and the river, and no dispatch could be sent 
that way. 

Ml-. Fearing's first attempt as an advocate before the 
Court of Quarter Sessions, was rather discouraging to his 
hopes as an orator. lie rose with great diffidence, being nat- 
urally modest, and was only able to say, " jMay it please your 
honors — may it please your honors" — another long pause, 
when he said, " I have forgotten what I intended to speak," 
and took his seat. This embarrassment vanished in his 
next trial, and he was able to deliver himself with fluency 
and fine effect. His frank, manly civility, and sound dis- 
criminating mind, soon made him a favorite with the peo- 
ple, as well as the courts, and he had at his command much 
of the law business of the county. The Hon. R. J. Meigs 
was his first competitor at the bar, and for the favor of the 
public. Many well contested battles were fought, and 
many knotty cases unraveled by these early combatants for 
fame. Mr. Meigs was the most prompt and witty, with a 
ready flow of language, and Mr. Fearing the most indus- 
trious and patient in investigation, so that, in final results, 
they were very well matched. They were the only attorneys 
until 1791. 

The following is a list of the lawyers who practiced at 
the courts of Washington county, with the time of their ad- 
mission, until the close of the territorial government, taken 
from the records of the courts : Paul Fearing, September, 
1788; R. J. Meigs, 1789; Dudley Odlin, March, 1791; Mat- 
thew Backus, June, 1793; William Littel, June, 1797; Sol- 
omon Sibley, September, 1797; David Putnam, autumn, 
1798; Edwin Putnam, 1799; Wyllis Silliman, June, 1801; 
Philemon Beechcr, March, 1802; Lewis Cass, ^vlarch, 1803; 
William W\)odbridge, 1804; Charles Hammond, 1804. The 

PAUL ¥ K A K 1 X G . 2*J7 

names of several of these early attorne^.s are idenliiied 
with the history ol' the country, holdinf^ public ])osts of the 
first importance. 

The Courts of Quarter Session and Common Pleas were 
held each four times in a year. The United States Court 
also held four ."sessions in a year, but at wide and distant 
places, viz. : at Detroit, the first Tuesday in May ; at Port 
Vincent, the second Tuesday in June ; at Cincinnati, the lirst 
Tuesday in October ; and at Marietta, the second Tuesday 
in November. Mr. Fearing attended regularly in this court 
at Marietta, and sometimes at Cincinnati, but the distance 
was so great, and the mode of travel so slow, that it was a 
tedious labor. 

In 179"J, he was admitted an advocate in the Com-t of 
Probate. The following is the form of the oath, preserved 
amongst his papers, in his own handwriting: "I swear that 
I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any, in 
the courts of justice; and if I know of any intention to 
commit any, I will give knowledge thereof to the justices of 
said courts, or some of them, that it may be prevented. 
I will not willingly or wittingly, promote or sue any false, 
groundless, or unlawful suit, nor give aid or consent to the 
same, and I will conduct myself in the office of an attorney 
within the said courts, according to the best of my knowl- 
edge and discretion, and with all good fidelity, as well to 
the courts as my clients. So help me, God. 

Pall Fkaring. 
Washington county, ss." 

•'Sworn to in the General Court of Quarter Session. ^larch 
12th, 17U3, before 

Juf:;:pi{ lui.MAN, commissioner." 

The spirit and letter of the above oath were always kept 
in good faith while he was an attorney, as well as in all his 


transactions of private jife. Honesty, candor, and fair 
dealing, were cardinal virtues which he never violated. 

When the troops left Fort Ilainier, ^laj. Doughty, an in- 
timate friend, made him a present of his dwelling-house, a 
well finished log building, standing in the southwest angle 
of the f )rt. To this was also added the contents of his garden, 
planted with fruit trees; amongst them was a fine peacli, 
still cultivated in jMarietta, and called to this day, the 
Doughty peach. During the war, Mr. Fearing and his father 
occupied this house, which aflbrded a safe retreat from the 
attacks of Indians, who frequently appeared on the hill 
back of the garrison, where they had a view of the cleared 
fields in the bottoms, and watch for any one who might be 
out at work, a distance from the walls. Several were shot 
at, and one or two killed, within a quarter of a mile. Peace 
was established in August, 1795. 

Late in November of this year, Mv. Fearing had a narrow 
escape from drowning. He was coming up from the settle- 
ment at Belpre in a canoe, which was the usual mode of 
travel for many years. Although a pretty skillful canocman, 
yet, having with him in the boat his future wife and her sister, 
his attention was taken up with them, or from some other 
cause, in passing by a fallen tree-top which projected several 
rods into the river, the canoe upset, and threw them all into 
the water. Xone of them could swim l)ut liis boy, Tousant 
Shocman, then about fourteen years old, vvho soon reached 
the land. In their attempts to hold on to the canoe, it would 
roll from their grasp. 3Ii:,:s Betsy Rouse, the sister of hi- 
intended wife, an acti\e. courageous girl, exerted hei-self so 
cflectually, that she soon rc^ached tho sfioi-e, after having 
been at tlie bottom once or tv.-iee. Cynthia, being clad with 
a large cairdet cloak, was more buoyant, and ke})t upon 
the surface, sometimes clinging to the canoe, and at others 

P A i: L F j; A U I N G . 299 

floating near it. After f^truggling along in this way f(jr sev- 
eral rods, j\lr. I'^earing encouraging her with his voice, and 
retaining fully his presence of mind, although unahh; to as- 
sist her in any other way, they both reached so near the 
shore' as to l)e ahlc to get hold of the willow bushes, and 
were hel])ed to the dry land by tlu^ boy, nearly famished 
with the cold, and exhausted with their struggles, as there 
was considerable ice in the river at the time. Fortunately, 
a large flatboat, laden with goods, came in sight, and at 
their recjuest landed and took them on board. By wrapping 
them in warm blankets, and giving them hot drinks, they 
were soon restored to comfort. The boat landed them at 
Farmers' castle; and their next attempt to reach Marietta 
proved more fortunate, taking with them an experienced 
canocman. AVhen we consider the rare occurrence of flat- 
boats, and especially one at this particular juncture, with 
everytliing on board necessary to the comfort of the ship- 
wrecked company, and that tlicre was no house between 
Belpre and ^Marietta, where they could receive aid, and the 
fact of their being enabled to escape from the watery ele- 
ment under such hopeless circumstances, the whole affair 
may be viewed as one of those plain and manifest interpo- 
sitions of Providence, in overruling and guiding the destinies 
of man, while a sojourner in this ever-changing world. 

On the *28th of this month jMr. Fearing was married to 
Miss Cynthia Rouse, at" his own house at Marietta. The 
ordinance was performed by the Hon. Joseph Gilman, one 
of the judges of the territory. The fruits of this marriage 
were a daughter and two sons. 

In the year 1707 he received the appointment of judge 
of probate, for Washington county, under the seal and com- 
mission of \Yinlhrop Sargent, then acting as governor of 
tlie territory. After the close of the v/ar the country filled 
up rapidly, and in 1799 the first legislatiu'e held its session 


in Cincinnati. In 1800 the second session was held, and in 
this he was a member. During this period he was chosen 
a delegate, to represent the territory in Congress, which post 
he filled for 1801 and 1802, with credit to himself and the 
entire satisfaction of the people. About this time, the two 
great political parties of Federalist and Republican were 
organized all over the United States, and even in this remote 
uilderness the voice of political strife was loud and boister- 
ous. He was attached to the Federal party, which at this 
time was the most numerous. 

After his return to private life he resumed the practice of 
the law, with increased reputation. His manly, open coun- 
tenance, with his well known character for uprightness and 
honesty, gave his pleadings great and deserved weight vvith 
a jury ; and he was often spoken of and named in a famil- 
iar manner, by the country people, as "honest Paul," a 
phrase which gave more weight and popularity to his opin- 
ions, than any high sounding title. 

On his farm, a little below the mouth of the Muskingum, 
he erected a neat dwelling-house, and planted an extensive 
orchard of the choicest fruits, of which he was an intelligent 
and successful cultivator. The garden was arranged with 
neatness and taste, and ornamented with shrubbery, flowers, 
&c., showing a relish for the beautiful as well as the useful. 

He was one of the first in Ohio who paid attention to the 
raising of merino sheep. His flocks embraced several 
hundreds of these valuable animals, propagated from a few 
individuals, bought at enormous prices, a single buck com- 
manding from six to ( ight hundred dollars, and a ewe from 
two to three hundred, and sometimes much more, lie en- 
gaged in the sheep cullun^ as early as 1808. and during the scur-on, passed juaii}' wvtvy and sleepk'ss nights 
(luring ih*^ cold winter weather, in watching and })r()tectiiig 
the \')\\v.l: lanil)< fi-om tlie elic-cts of frost, so iatal to ih'-in 


if long exposed to its chilling inllucnco. By his knowl- 
edge of their maladien:, and discretion in feeding and 
studying their habits, he became one; of the nio^^t succes.-^- 
ful growers of merinos, an animal diihcult to rear, and re- 
quiring a dillerent management fi-om that applied to the 
coaunon sheep of the country. His practical knowledge, 
acquired by actual experiment, wa;-; freely imparted to 
others, and was of great use to the farmers of this county. 
The growth of this valuable aninuil was for many years 
extensively conducted in this part of the state, and was j)rofit- 
ablc so long as the government, by protecting duties, en- 
couraged the woolen factories to work up the wool of the 
country, thereby not only making the nation independent, 
but the people rich. 

In 1810, he was appointed an associate judge of the Court 
of Common Pleas. The commission is signed by Samuel 
Huntington, then governor of Ohio. In this office he served 
seven years, with much credit as a sound jurist and impartial 
judge. At the expiration of that period, the leaders in po- 
litical affairs placed the office in other hands, more congenial 
to their views. In 1814, he received the appointment of 
master commissioner in chancery. 

From the first entering of the lands of the Ohio Company 
for taxation by the state, he acted very extensively as an 
agent for the shareholders in the eastern states, paying 
their taxes, examining and preparing their lands for sale. 
In this \vay, a large portion of his time, not devoted to the 
care of his farm, was occupied. 

In his disposition, Mr. Fearing was remarkably clieerftil 
and pleasant, much attached to children, and never hisppier 
than when in their company. He had great sympathy for 
the poor and the oppressed, and was ever ready to stretch 
forth his hand, and open his purse ibr their relief. 

He died the 21st of August, 182'.3, aft(M" a i'vw davs illnc.-s, 


a victim to the fatal epidemic fever, which ravaged the 
country for two or three years, in the sixtieth year of his 
life. His wife died the same day, a few hours after, in the 
forty -sixth year of her age. 


Joseph G^ilman was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, A. 
I)., 173G, and was the third generation of the descend- 
ants of John Gihnan, who emigrated from Norfolk, Eng- 
land, in 1037. He married Rebecca Ives, granddaughter of 
the Hon. Robert Hale, of Beverly, Massachusetts, one of 
the provincial council, and an intimate friend of Gov 

\Yhen the struggle for liberty commenced, he took an 
early and decided part on the side of the colonists. His 
high standing for iiitegrity, and honorable, upright character, 
soon attracted the notice and fa\ or of the Whigs, and he 
was appointed chairman of the Committee of Safety for 
New Hampshire, a post which none but the most able and 
influential men ucrc selected to fill. This station brought 
him into immediate intercourse with a number of the lead- 
ing men in the adjacent states, especially Massachusetts. 
In the early periods of tlu.' Bcvolution. these committees of 
safety were the most important public ])odies in the coun- 
try, transacting nmch of the business afterward done by 
the legislatures, in collecting and purchasing arms, ammuni- 
tions, and clothing for the state troops. Mr. Oilman, as 

J O S K P II Ci I L M A N . .'J 03 

chairin.'iii of tlurf committee, made lai'ge advances from liis 
own private purse, at a very pres.-inj^ jjcriod, tor the pur- 
chase of l)lani<ets for the Xew 1 Iaiiij)shir(; line, which was 
repaid in continental paper, and became a dead h)ss, en- 
tirely ruinini;- his family estate. In proof of the intense 
feeling and ardor infused into the minds of the leadinj^ men 
of the period, and the deep interest the}' took in the welfare 
of the country, it is stated that at the period of the disas- 
trous events which followed the retreat of the American 
army from New Jersey, when it seemed as if the cause of 
liberty was hopeless, Samuel Adams had occasion to visit 
jMr. Cilman at Exeter, for consultation on the best course to 
pursue, and to devise ways and means to raise supplies for 
tlie starving and naked soldiers. It so happened that Mr. 
Cilman was abroad, and Mr. Adams was received by his 
wife. After a few minutes conversation, observing the ab- 
stracted jnanner and downcast looks of her guest, she ceased 
any further attempt to engage his attention, and apj)lied 
herself quietly to her needle, an occupation then followed 
by females of the first families. jMr. Adams continued to 
walk rapidly up and down the room, too uneasy to sit qui- 
etly in a chair. After a few moments her attention was 
called to her visitor, by a deep sigh, amounting nearer to a 
groan. Casting her eyes on hi;, face, the tears \verc rolling 
down his cheeks, and wringing his hands in agony, he ut- 
tered with a broken voice the deep thoughts ^vithin him. 
" O, ///// Gild, must irc ^ivc it vp!'^ How intense must have 
been tlie feeling of tliat great mind, when the physical man 
thus I)o\ved beneath its sway. Happily for us, the friends 
of freedom were not long permitted to live in darlcness, but 
tlie brilliant events uhicli soon followed at Pj-inci^ton and 
Trenton, revived their desponding spirits, and covered 
Washington and his few brave followers with a mantle of 


When the Ohio Company was formed, Mr. Gilman be- 
came an associate, and moved his family, consisting of a 
wife and one son, B. Ives Gilman, to Marietta, in 1789. 
The country was then a wilderness, and those who entered 
it had to partake of the hardships, privations, and dangers 
which attend the forming of a new settlement several hun- 
dred miles beyond the borders of civilization. The journey 
was performed in safety, and the family settled down in their 
new home, established on the lower Point, near Fort Har- 
mer, determined to be contented, and do their best for the 
good of the country. 

In 1790 Mr. Gilman was commissioned judge of probate, 
in place of Gen. Putnam, resigned. lie also received com- 
missions from Gov. St. Clair, as judge of the Court of Quar- 
ter Sessions, and also of the Court of Common Pleas, which 
posts he continued to fill during the territorial period. In 
1796 he was appointed by Congress one of the United 
States judges for the Northwest Territory, and attended the 
sittings of this court at Post Vincent, Detroit, Cincinnati, 
and Marietta. The journeys to these remote points were 
made through the wilderness on horseback, attended with 
pack-horses to carry the baggage, in company with the 
other judges and lawyers, so that the ride through the woods, 
although tiresome and tedious, was not without many things 
to make it interesting. The trip to and from Cincinnati 
was usually made in a canoe or large pirogue, and occu- 
pied eight or ten days. They slept at night under a hut on 
the shore, and cooked their food in the woods, there being 
few cabins at convenient points, for a number of years after 
the war. 

lie was fi man whom e\ery body respected and esteemed, 
for his candor, honesty, good sense, and social qualities. As 
a jurist his reputation stood deservedly high. He \vas a 
carefiil student of the laws of nature, as well as those ol' 


his country, and kept a meteorological journal, which for that 
day was rather rare. He died in 180(5, aged seventy yearri. 
Mrs. Cilman was Rebecca Ives, the daughter of Benjamin 
Ives and Elizabeth Hale. Her education was far superior 
to that of most females of her time, being chiefly acquired 
under tiie direction of her grandfather, the lion. Robert 
Hale. By him her literary taste was highly cultivated, and 
a habit acquired for books and useful reading, that attended 
her late in life. She was familiar with the best British clas- 
gics of the days of Queens Ann and Elizabeth; could read 
French authors with facility and ease, and her acuteness 
was such in polite literature, that when any disputed point 
arose amongst the learned visitors and circles at her fire- 
side, she was often appealed to as umpire, and her decisions 
were usually decisive of the question, and seldom appealed 
from. This was often done by men of classical education, 
few of whom, in matters of history, pure English literature, 
poetry, or belles-lettres, excelled her in general knowledge, 
or critical acumen. Her early and youthful associates were 
generally men of superior minds and talents; amongst 
whom a favorite one was Timothy Pickering, a resident of 
an adjacent town, and a frequent visitor in the family. 
These acquirements gave a tone and cast to her conversa- 
tion, very fascinating and engaging to such cultivated minds 
as came within the sphere of her influence, and her society 
was much sought, and highly valued by all her acquaint- 
ances. In por.-on she was tall and commanding, with the 
most graceful and dignified manners : her countenance 
open, prepossessing, and intelligent. Children were much 
attached to her, as slie was fond of giving ihcin useful in- 
struction and advice, in such a pleasant and agreeable man- 
ner, as to win their attention, and impress it deeply on thcl 
minds. One of the early citizens of jNIarietta, whose pa- 
rents lived the ne.xt door to her in 1796, says, that he 

306 B. I. OILMAN. 

received, when a boy, more valuable advice from her, than he 
ever did from his own mother, and ghe was a woman of no 
ordinary capacity. In her domestic concerns she was a pat- 
tern to all good housewives, for industry, frugalit}^ order, 
and promptness of execution ; practices rather in lit- 
erary females. Her dress was always neat, but plain; indi- 
cating good taste, and purity of principle. After the death 
of her husband, she lived in her own house at ^Marietta, sur- 
rounded by her grandchildren, until 1812, when she moved 
with her son to Philadelphia, and died in the year 1S20, full 
of peace, and joyful expectation of a blessed immortality. 


I\Ir. Oilman was born in Exeter, Xew Hampshire, in the 
year 17G5. His early education was strictly attended to, 
and he had the advantages of the academy established in 
that place by JMr. Phillips. As his father engaged in 
mercantile pursuits, he was brought up to the same employ- 
ment. When a small boy, he received the instruction and 
advice of a very intelligent and highly educated mother, 
who, having but one eon on whom to bestow her care, his 
moral and intellectual culture were highly fini.-jhed, and his 
whole after life showed the training of this early period. 
Riclily was she rewarded for her labor of love, for no soii 
ever more venerated and respected a motlier than ditl ?>lr. 
Oilman. That "the boy is the father of the man," is an olri, 
but very true axiom; and nothing is more certain tlian tliat 
the impressions, whether for good or evil, made on tlie rnind 

J) . I . (; 1 L M A N . 'Mi7 

of youth, retain their hold during the remainder of life. 
Blessed is that son who has an educated, moral, and relig- 
ious mother: his hap{)iness for time and eternity dejiends 
veiy nuK'h on the instruction received while he is more im- 
mediately under her care. 

In 17S9 he moved with his parents to Marietta. In 17U0 
he returned to Aew England, and married Hannah llobbins, 
the second daughter of the Rev. Chandler llobbins, D. D., 
pattor of the first church in Plymouth, jNIass., the cere- 
mony being performed by her father. Soon after, in com- 
pany with his young bride, they returned across the moun- 
tains on horseback. At that early period, it was a se- 
rious and laborious journey, occupying from twenty-five to 
thirty days. The roads were very poor over the Allcghe- 
nies, and the accommodations for travelers scanty and 
coarse. From Red Stone, or Pittsburg, the passage was 
usually by water, in a flat, or Kentucky boat. 

About the year 1792 he commenced the sale of merchan- 
dise, in a store at Fort Ilarmer. From small beginnings 
his business was gradually enlarged to the most extensive 
in IMarietta. 

During the war Mr. Gilman several times narrowly escaped 
the rille and tomahawk of the Indians. About eighty rods 
from the fort, he had commenced a new clearing for agricul- 
tural purposes. One day, in the spring of the year 170 1, he 
was out in tliis lot at work with a hired man named Robert 
Warth. Robert had just cut off a log for rail timber, and was 
still standing on it, with the axe resting at his feet, when he 
spoke to ]Mr. Clilman, who was tliirty or forly yards distant, 
but more out of sight, inquiring further about the work. 
Before he had time to answer, the sharp crack of a rifle 
caused him to turn quickly in the direction of the shot, when 
he saw poor Robert falling dead from the log, and two In- 
dians in the act of jumping over a brush fence, close by. 

308 B. I. OILMAN. 

where they had lain concealed. Being unarmed, he in- 
stantly ran for the fort, with one of the Indians, in close 
chase, while the other was occupied in taking the scalp of 
Robert. An intervening fence gave his pursuer some hope 
of overtaking him, but he cleared it at a single leap. The 
Indian now stopped and fired at his flying foe, but happily 
missed his mark. The field was so near the block-house 
where he resided, that his wife and mother both heard the 
shots and the yell of the savages. Knowing the exposure 
of Mr. Gilman, they hastened to the window of the house 
to ascertain his situation, and as he came running up, 
eagerly inquired who was killed. The young wife of the 
backwoodsman was standing by the side of Mrs. Gilman, 
as he answered, *' Robert," and thus suddenly heard the fall 
of her husband. The Indians were instantly pursued and 
fired at by the rangers, as they ascended the side of the hill 
which overlooks the alluvions on which the fort stood, but 
they escaped, although it was thought one of them was 

In traversing the woods for strayed cattle, and in looking 
at the quality and boundaries of adjacent lands which he 
wished to purchase, he had many narrow escapes, but would 
never send a man where he was afraid to venture himself. In 
walking and running, few men could excel him ; and unless 
fired at from a hidden enemy, he did not fear a surprise, as 
he could escape by his own activity. 

After the close of the war he dealt largely in peltries, 
especially bear skins, having small trading stations on the 
Big Sandy and Guyandot rivers, where this animal abounded, 
and the chief employment of the inhabitants was hunting 
them for their skins, and the digging of ginseng, a plant 
which grew in wonderful abundance and great luxuriance 
on the rich hill-sides of this broken country. Both of these 
articles, from 1798 to 1S08, were in great demand for 

B. I. OILMAN. 309 

exportation, and many large fortunes realized by persons 
who dealt in them. 

Mr. Cilman was appointed clerk of the Court of Common 
Pleas of Washington county in the year 179(5, and continued 
in office until the territory became a state. In 1802, he was 
one of the delegates at the convention for forming a consti- 
tution, and was a very active and useful man in completing 
that instrument. 

In 1801, he commenced the business of ship-building, em- 
ploying Capt. Devol for the master-builder, and subsequently 
James Whitney. This was continued from that year to 1808, 
when the embargo put a stop to all mercantile operations, 
and ruined a number of the merchants of Marietta, who 
had embarked in this business. The ships when built were 
exchanged for merchandise in the Atlantic cities, and were 
the most profitable returns they could make; and, although 
the country was thinly peopled, yet the vessels were always 
loaded with flour, pork, and other produce, in their down- 
ward voyage, thus yielding a double profit on the investment. 
But the wisdom of JMr. Jefferson put a stop to all the en- 
terprising efforts of these western men, and overwhelmed 
several of them with ruin, especially such as had ships on 
hand, unsold in 1808. One man who had a ship in New 
Orleans at the time of the embargo, sunk over ten thousand 
dollars on her and the cargo. No town in the United States 
suffered so much as this, according to its capital, by this un- 
wise measure. Mr. Gilman escaped any serious loss, but 
all his plans were deranged, and the place where from four 
to six vessels were built in a year, giving employment to a 
large number of men, and increasing rapidly in population, 
was entirely paralyzed. Three extensive rope-walks, work- 
ing up large quantities of hemp raised in the country, and 
furnishing rigging for the ships, were put out of employ, and 
in a few years fell into ruins. The business of the town did 


not revive for many years; and in 1813, Mr. Gilman movecl 
his i\imi]y to Pliiladelphia and entered into merchandise, as 
a wholesale dealer. For this business his clear, calculating 
mind, enlarged views and industrious habits, eminently fitted 
him, and for a number of years it was prosecuted with great 
success. His business operations often called him to visit 
the valley of Ohio, for which he always felt a warm regard; 
two of his sons having settled at Alton, 111., and when on a 
visit to that place in 1833, he was attacked with a fever, and 
died at the age of sixty-eight years. 

In persoji, Mr. Gilman v.-as rather above the medium size, 
very erect, graceful and quick in his motions, with the man- 
ners and address of the most polished gentleman; eyes 
black, brilliant and expressive; nose slightly aquiline; fore- 
head broad and high; face full and without a fault. The 
impression made on a stranger, who saw him for the first 
time, ^vould be, that he was in the presence of a man of 
more than ordinary capacity and intellect. His powers of 
conversation vv'ere great and varied, and no one left his 
company without adding something to his stock of useful 

Mrs. Hannah Gilman was the second daughter of the Rev. 
Chandler llobbins, D. D., for many years the pastor of the 
first church in Plymouth, Mass. She was brought up with 
great care and tenderness by her venerable father, and re- 
ceived as good an education as was customary to bestow on 
females of the lij'st families in that day. She ^vas a girl 
of great sprightliiiess and vivacity; alwa3's checi'fu], and 
abounding in kindness to her associates, as well as to hei 
own family. A joyful, kind spii'it animated her frame 
through the whole course? of lier life. 

In Fe})ruary, 1790. she was married to B. I. Gilman, a 
man ever\' \vay \vorthy the hand and the heart of so excel- 
lent Jt woman. Nothing marred the jov of this festive 


occasion, l)iit the circumstaiicc of \wv hciiij^ removc^d to ho 
^n'cat a, (li:-tanre from her parents; the location oi'licr l"i;lurc. 
home bcinii; on tlie l)anks of tlu; Ohio, far towai'd ihc s<tting 
sun. 'riio .\o\v ling-landers at this time were an untraveled 
people: they had not then learnt to roam into all parts of 
th(^ eai-th. l)ut a joui-ney of a hundred miles was a j,n-eat 
event in the life (d'that primitive people, and seldom imder- 
taken by the pious, without the public pvayers of the church 
for its success. How formidable then must have seemed 
to the old people, this joiu'ney of eight hundred miles; ho 
far, that the expectation of eceing her again in this world, 
was almost hopeless, and the final adieu was affecting and 

The ancestors of the Robblns family were amongst the 
first settlers of Massachusetts ; their blood unmixed, and 
strictly Puritan. 

On their arrival at ^Marietta, she found many intelligent 
and kind friends, to greet her with a warm and hearty wel- 
come, while the society of her husband's mother, in \vhosc 
family the}" lived, v.-as itself sufiicient to make her home 
very pleasant, and the loneliness of the wilderness forgot- 
ten. From her she received all that love and tenderness 
she could have expected from her own mother, and which 
the affection of the female heart only knows how to bestow 
on a beloved daughter. Ijcfore many years, the cares of a 
growing family in some measure divided her regards be- 
tween her own household and that of her dear father and 
mother at Plymouth, so that the separation was more easily 
borne tlian at first. A frequent intercourse by kttei's also 
solaced her uneasy mind, so that she had often occasion to 
bless the happy in\ entor of this divine mode of an inter- 
change of thoughts, so wonderful in itself, and which struck 
vrith admiration, the savage and untaught mind of Pow- 
hattan, when he first saw the efiects of these mvsteriou? 


marks in a letter, sent by Capt. Smith to Jamestown, while 
a prisoner in his dominions. 

Many of her early letters to her brother, the Rev. Samuel 
Prince Robbins, while he was a boy, and when in college, 
also after his settlement as a pastor over the first Congrega- 
tional church in Marietta, have been preserved by his family. 
Some extracts from these will be given, to show her talents 
as a writer, and the amiable and pious feelings which per- 
vaded her heart, and made her worthy of the parentage of 
so excellent and noble a stock. The first is written in an 
easy, playful style, suitable to the subject, when her first 
child was about six months old, to her brother, then aged 
ten or twelve years, and dated Marietta, 16th of September, 
1791. It was in answer to one he had sent to his sister, 
with a specimen of his drawing: 

" I received the picture you sent me, and was much aston- 
ished to see how much you had improved in drawing. Did 
you do it all yourself? I can hardly believe it. I suppose 
by the time I visit Plymouth with your little niece, you will 
be able to take her picture. If so, and it is a likeness, it will 
be the prettiest picture you ever saw." 

To her parents she wrote regularly once a month, when 
there was an opportunity of sending a letter, which, until 
1794, was only by private conveyance. In 1798 her brother 
Samuel graduated at Cambridge University. Her younger 
brother, Peter Gilman Robbins, was then a freshman. 

In writing to Samuel, she speaks of the rapid passage of 
time in reference to Peter, who, she did not think, could be 
old enough to enter college, as she had been absent only 
seven years, and he was then a very small boy. "How fast 
time flies. The further you advance in life, the faster time 
will appear to fly. How important it is, that we improve it 
to the best purpose." In the same letter she sends a mes- 
sage to Peter, who was rather disposed to be a little wild; 


"charging him to refrain I'roiu going to the theater, as it 

would be injurious to hisi morals." At that period it wa.s a 

fashionable amusement, and practiced by nearly all classes 

of society. Her nice sense of propriety saw its hidden evils, 

and her voice was raised against it. 

After her brother had completed his college course, he 
studied divinity, under the care of the Rev. M. Hyde, of 
Stockbridge, in Connecticut. In the spring of 1805, at the 
urgent request of Mrs. Gilman. he visited Marietta, with an 
ulterior expectation that he might be settled in the ministry 
there, over the first Congregational church in this place. 
The Rev. Daniel Story, who had been their pastor for a 
number of years, from feebleness, and other infirmities, had 
resigned his charge, and they were now without a teacher. 
When he arrived, the society was so small, and the prospect 
of an adequate support so doubtful, that after preaching a 
few times he returned to Norfolk, Conn., where he was itin- 
erating. At that day there was no home missionary society, 
to aid feeble and newly formed churches, but they had to 
struggle into existence in the best manner they could. 

In August, 1805, she wrote to him a very feeling letter, 
urging it upon him as a duty to return. "For my own part, 
I feel as if I could not receive a negative answer from you. 
It was so long since I had been favored with such preaching 
as I once lived under, that when you were here I got roused 
up in some manner; but now we are all asleep, and myself 
among the rest. However, I desire not to trust too much in 
an arm of flesh : a sovereign God, who orders all events, ^vill 
provide." After mentioning the names of several of his 
acquaintances who had called to inquire after him, amongst 
whom were Gen. Putnam and Dr. True, she says, "I hope, 
my dear brother, you will write as often as possible, and 
O that you may be directed to the path of duty."' This 


prayer was soon answered, for the trustees of the society 
directly after sent him a call to he their pastor, to which lie 
returned a consenting answer, and the following January he 
was ordained over the first Congregational church and so- 
ciety of Marietta. Under his faithful and apostolic min- 
istry it was soon enlarged, embracing many from the 
adjacent towns of Belpre and Adams, where he pi'cached 
about one-third of the time. In 1807, chiefly through the 
efforts of Gen. Rufus Putnam, aided by the liberality of 
several other citizens, especially ?.Ir. Gilman, a large and 
handsome church was erected, at a cost of about seven 
thousand dollars: avast effort for so small a society ; and 
it yet remains a monument to their praise. This was 
the first house erected specially for public worship ; the 
Muskingum academy having been occupied for this purpose 
since the year 1799. No man was ever more diligent and 
faithful in his Master's service than Mr. Robbins, and his 
sister now felt an addition to her happiness of a spiritual 
nature, not before experienced. Earthly comforts had l>oen 
showered upon her in rich abundance. A most excellent 
husband, children "like olive plants sprung up around her 
table,"' ^vith all the \vealth she could desire, made her rich 
in this world's goods ; but the longings of the immortal 
spirit could only be satisfied ■with the bread of everlasting 
life. iJuring a revival in 1811, she united herself with liie 
church, under her brotliers care, and wliile she remained in 
JMai'iettn, ^a as one of its chief ornaments and supports. In 
1890, her soul v.-as tried with one of the soi'cst afllietions 
tiiat can befall poor hujuanity, in the loss of In^r iirst-boi'ii 
chihl. the ^vife of r^Ir, J). Woodbridge. This berea\emc.'it 
was sustained witli Cliri--tiau resignation, and l)y it her spir- 
itual graces v.-ere greatly qui(;kened and refined. The sym- 
path}' and prayers of her dear brother were now doubly 

n A N N A II G I L M A N . 31 

consolin;^, and from him she h:'ariu'ci that uncomplaining 
submission to the (li\inc will, no hard to l)e jjracticcd Ijy the 

In IfHlM, Mr. Gilman moved his family to I'liikuh li)hia, 
wluMi; he eould eidarg-e the sphere of his mercantile oj)era- 
tions, more in accordance witli his ca])aci()us mind, so highly 
titled for extensive and wide-spread operations. Neverthe- 
less, he quitted the scenes of his eai-ly maidiood with regret; 
the s])ot where his life had been often endangered, and the 
place where the foundations of his early wealth were laid. 
It was still more tr\ ing to his wile, who now bid adieu to 
the liome whei'C she had lived twenty-three years, amidst 
many dear and excellent female friends ; but, above all, to 
that brother beloved, whom she cherished with an ardor ordy 
known to those \vho, to a naturally warm temperament, feel 
the impulses of the Christian's lo\c, in addition to that of 
the natural heart. This is the love \vhich abideth and en- 
dureth when life itself vanishes a\vay. The first letter after 
her arrival, is dated October 20th, 1S13, and addressed to 
Mr. Robbins and his wife, who was a granddaughter of Gen. 
Putnam, and explains the references to persons in 3Iarietta. 

" We arrived here the 25th of September, all well. The 
dear children were never so hearty. O, what shall I render 
to the Lord for all his goodness? The city was so hcaltliy, 
we thought it best to come immediately in. But O, -what 
nois(> — what confusion. That evening they had received 
the intelligence of the victory gained on the lakes : the v.hole 
city was illuminated, and every mark of joy and mirth. 
I was ready to say, ' God is not in tliis j)lace.' Bat surely 
he is, for the heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot con- 
tain him: and 1 think 1 can say from sweet experience, since 
my arri\ al, • I Imve found Ilim whom my soul loveth," and 
I ha\ e seen his stately goings in the sanctuary." After de- 
scribing the public institutions of the tlie city, Bible society, 


Sunday school for the poor children, &c., she says, "So you 
see there must be some good people here, but I have not 
been introduced to many as yet. I have not found your 
good grandmother, your aunt Beti?y, your mother, and many 
others with whom I used to hold sweet converse. I feel at 
times exceedingly at a loss what to do about joining the 
church; I am much attached to our customs at Marietta, 
and feel unwilling to be dismissed from them. But there is 
no Congregational church here, and I feel alone : what 
shall I do?" It would seem that her brother advised her to 
unite with Mr. Skinner's church, which she did, and sat for 
many years under his teaching with great profit to her soul. 

In November following she writes, " I have received yours 
of October 20th, which was a cordial to me." Speaking of 
a dear Christian uncle who was on his death- bed, she says, 
" O, that it were possible I could see him ; he could teach me 
how to live, and slioio me how^ to die. O, that my last end 
may be like his. Surely never were religious privileges so 
great as those which I now enjoy." 

From this time to 1820, a regular correspondence was 
kept up with her brother Samuel. Her letters are filled 
with the reflections of a Christian and pious heart, and the 
most affectionate expressions for her brother Samuel and his 
family. In ]May, 1820, after a visit from one of her Marietta 
acquaintances, she writes: "jMr. Cram tells me that you 
have taken a few scholars. Does it not interfere with your 
studies? It appears to me that clergymen in general, ought 
to devote more of their time to the cause of Christ : else 
how can they expect that their preaching will be blessed to 
tlie souls committed to their charge?" He, good man, 
would have been very happy to have given all his time to 
the work of the go>pcl ; but the smallness of his salary, a 
mere pittance, and the increasing wants of a growing fam- 
ily, compelled him to this extra labor, for their support. 


But liis time was short, and in about three years after that 
period he received a summons from his divine Master, to 
enter into the joy of his Lord. 

From 18'JO to 1823 the corrcppondence is continued, aiu' 
woukl fill a small volume. They contain evidences of a 
constant growth in grace, increasing love for her family and 
all around her, and anxiety for their salvation. During this 
time many interesting events took place, such as the mar- 
riage of a beloved daughter, the arrival of her sons to man- 
hood, and entry into business, in wide and distant parts of 
the country. "We are all scattered, my dear brother; but, 
O, if we can all, through grace in the dear Redeemer, meet 
at last in heaven, what a mercy! When I think of the sep- 
aration between yourself, Isaac, and myself, it is a comfort 
to me that we do meet at a throne of grace." 

The epidemic fever which prevailed along the waters of 
the Ohio in 1822, again visited that region in 1823, with 
fatal severity. By this visitation Mrs. Gilman lost one of 
her sons, and also her dearly beloved and venerated brother 
Samuel, who died in August. Her letter to his widow is 
full of ardent piety and heavenly consolation, and breathes 
a depth of affection for the departed, and calm resignation 
to the divine will, which only the Christian can feel. Its pe- 
rusal cannot fail to soften the heart of the most obdurate un- 
believer, and soothe the sorrows of the desponding mourner. 
It is dated at Cincinnati, November 3d, 1823, where she then 
was, to attend on her husband in a dangerous illness. 

"With a heart filled with anguish, my dear sister, do 1 
now address you. My tears had not ceased lo flow for the 
best of sons, \vhen 1 was called in Pros idonce to weep 
afresh for the dearest and best of brothers. And is my be- 
loved brother Samuel gone forever? Shall I never more 
hear his pleasant voice ? Never more hear him pray ? Never 
more see him break the bread, bless the cup, and give us all 


to drink? 0, no! he has gone forever from our view, and 
the places wliich knew him shall know him no more, forever. 
The \o<i- to mc is great; but to you my beloved sister, and 
the dear fatherless children, is irreparable. Permit me then 
to tell you, how much we all sympathize with you, on this 
sorrowful occasion. But for your comfort, remember, that 
although the aiiliction is great, your heavenly Father is able 
to support you, and has said. He would never leave you, 
nor ever forsake you. He has promised to be the widows' 
God, and a father to the fatherless. Be grateful to Heaven, 
that you were blest v/ith his society, comforted with his ad- 
vice, and consoled by liis prayers so many years. You have 
now, my dear sister, a double part to act, that of a father 
and mother, to the children committed to your care. For 
their salces, sink not under this deep affliction. Spread all 
your u-ants and trials before your heavenly Father, who v.-ill 
never lay upon you more than you can bear, and will work 
all things for good to tliosc ^vho put their trust in him. The 
Lord will not forsake his dear children, and though He cause 
grief, yet will He have compassion according to the m'dti- 
tude of his mercies; for whom the Lord lovcth. He chas- 
teneth. 'The mountains shall depart, and the hills be 
removed, but my kindness shall Jiot depart from thee, neither 
shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord 
of hosts.' Take these precious v/ords of your God, my dear 
sister, to yourself They belong io you. Live upon them; 
and may our blessed Redeemer comfort you udth the conso- 
lations of his Holy Spirit. I am extremely anxious to hear 
the particulars of my dear Iji'olher s sickness and death. I 
want to l-inovv' every \\-ord that passed from his lips. What 
were his views in the near npproach of the king of terrors? 
Was hi-^ mind clear, or did he sink down under the v/eight 
of his disease, without feeling his situation and sufierings?" 
In February follo^ving, she writes, " 1 received your 


comimiiiioation, my dear sister, and lliaiik you kindly fen- it. 
Ikit (), my dear Patty, it was not half so particular as I 
uisli(Hl. 1 wanted you to write just as if you were talkinj,' 
with me. I feel very anxious about you, but desire to com- 
mend you to that merciful Being, who is husl)and of tlie 
wido\v, and falher of the orphan. Look daily to llim, my 
dear, for comfort under this severe and trying afiliction. 1 
wish you would begin a letter to me soon ; and if you re- 
collect anything of my brother which you have not told me, 
add it to the letter from time to time, until you have filled it. 
Kiss the dear children for their aunt, and tell them never to 
forget the advice, the prayers, and dying words of tlieir loving 
father. From your ever affectionate sister, II. Oilman." 

]Mrs. Kobbins was herself sick at the time of her husband's 
death, and, therefore, could not be so particular in lier ac- 
count of his last moments as ]Mrs. G. desired. 

The foregoing extracts arc sufficient to i^how the relig- 
ious and social character of this excellent woman. 

Before her own death, which took place at New York, in 
1836, she was called to mourn the loss of her dear husband 
and several of her children ; but that God whom she had so 
faithfully served and trusted in all her life, did not leave her 
in these trying moments, but was v/ith her and supported 
her, according to his promise. Like gold tried in a furnace, 
her Christian graces were puriiied, and shone brighter and 
])rigliter under every new affliction; and she has gone to in- 
herit that crown prepared for all those who love and obey 

In person, Mrs. Gilman was of a medium higlit, with a 
handsome, well-formed frame; her manners graceful and 
very attractive, combined with a dignity that always com- 
mnnch^tl respect; face full and round; features of the 
(^xactest proportions, with a naturally sweet expression; 
hair black; eves dark, and full of intelligence. AYhcn 


engaged in animated conversation, her face ana eyes were 
radiant with meaning, giving an interest to her expressions 
veiy striking and pleasing to the behokler. Her voice was 
full of harmony, while her powers of conversation were un- 
ri\alcd; having a volubility and flow of language which 
few could equal, whether male or female. Her love and 
cai'c for her husband and children were unbounded, and no 
sacrifice of personal comfort too great for their happiness. 
Her memory is still dear to many who knew her in Mari- 
etta, and the history of her life and Christian character, are 
the rightful heritage of that place. 


Amongst the early pioneers of INIarietta, were many excel- 
lent women. The times of the Revolution tried the temper 
and spirit of females, as well as the men, and they, by their 
example and encouragement in the common cause, often 
accomplished much good for the country. Some showed 
their patriotic spirit by manufacturing garments for the half- 
naked soldiers, while others nursed the sick and wounded, 
soothing the last moments of the dying by their merciful 
ministrations. The names of deserving females should be 
preserved with as much care and veneration as those of the 
men who fought their country's battles. The scripture bio- 
graphical sketches of Sarah, Deborah, Miriam, Susannah, 
and many others, may be ranked amongst the most inter- 
esting of that species of writing. 

Mrs. Mary Lake was a native of Bristol, England. Her 


father was a silk-wraver, and her maiden name Mary Bird. 
8hc was l)orii in 1712, and about the year 17G2 married 
Archibald J.ak(>, a sea-faring man, and moved to St. Johns, 
in Newfoundland. Here lie followed fishing on the Grand 
Bank, which, at that day, was a profitable calling, as the 
strict observance of lent in Catholic Europe caused a great 
demand for fish. When that place came into the po.5session 
of the French, he moved his family to A'ew York, and 
worked in the ship-yards. 

At the period of the American Revolution, he was living 
in the city, and embraced the cause of liberty. After the 
disasters of Long Island, when Gen. Washington evacuated 
the city, the family followed the army into their canton- 
ments up the North river. The general hospitals being es- 
tablished, first at Fishlvill, and then at New Windsor, she 
was employed as matron, to superintend the nm'sing of the 
sick, and see that they were provided with suitable nourish- 
ment, beds, &c., and the apartments kept clean. Here, 
under the direction of the surgeons, she became familiar 
with all the details of treating the diseased, in fevers, small- 
pox, and various other ailments, acquiring a tact and confi- 
dence that remained with her the rest of her life, and was 
of great use to the poor and destitute sick on the frontiers. 
The more poverty-stricken was the sick family, the greater 
was her obligation to wait upon them. 

Her meek, quiet spirit was once a little tried by a man in 
the gari'ison at IMarictta, whose \vife had sickened and died, 
notwithstanding her unremitting care of her. The family 
had just moved into the country, and was excessively poor, 
needing all the common necessaries of life to be supplied 
to them during her sickness, by her neighbors. In examin- 
ing an old family chest for articles to lay out the dead in a 
decent manner, Mrs. Lake discovered a large stocking leg, 

filled with silver dollars, several hundred in number. On 


questioning the man why he feigned such extreme poverty, - 
with all this money in his possession? he replied, quite un- 
concerned, " O, that is to buy land with." 

Her husband was appointed a deputy-commissary to the 
hospital, and ranged the adjacent country, providing vege- 
tables, and other necessaries suitable for the sick. It is well 
known that Gen. V/ashington often visited the hospitals to 
examine the condition of the sick and wounded soldiers, en- ^ 
courage those who were in despair by his voice and kind looks, 
and inquire into their wants, which were always supplied, 
so far as he had the power to direct. In these benevolent 
visits, Mrs. Lake more than once received his personal thanks 
in their behalf, for her tender, vigilant, and unremitting care 
of the sick ; an evidence that she richly merited praise ; for 
Washington flattered no one with undeserved commendation. 

After the peace, when the hospital vv'as broken up, and 
army disbanded, the family returned to New York, and her 
husband resumed his former occupation. 

She became pious when quite young, and united with Dr. 
Rogers' church, one of the oldest in the city, of the Presby- 
terian order, and at the close of the war it contained but 
two churches of this denomination. Iler early piety and 
religious feelings were no doubt the secret impulses which 
supported and urged her on in this uork of charity and 
mercy ; for lier pay while thus employed v,-as no better than 
that of all the others engaged in their country's cause — de- 
preciated, worthless, continental paper. But love for her 
di\ine jMaster, and charity for the sick and di::tressed, con- 
strained her, and she f It it a duty to do all in her power for 
their relief. 

After the u-ar, ship-biulding was a poor business, and 
liearlng accidentally from Gen. Putnam, of the new colony 
forming at iMarictta, in the rich country of the Ohio, they 
bccarac attracted by the glov.dng descriptions published, of 

MARY L A K R . .'{23 

its advantagOH and future prospcctn. Ilavin;:^ little, to expect 
where they were, hope pointed them to plenteous and happy 
dnys in the west. In 17H9, he moved, hirf family, consisting- 
of eiii;ht children, to ]\Iarictta. Three of the sons, James, 
Thomas, and Andrew, ^vere young men and able to assist 
in their support. The .^^pring after their arrival, the small- 
pox broke out amongst the inhabitants, who were chiefly 
.living in Campus Martins, in such close quarters that it was 
very difllcult to prevent its spreading by contagion. The 
larger number of the settlers had never gone througli with 
the disease, and were to be inoculated. This was done by 
the physician, and Mrs. Lake's skill as a nurse was now in 
full requisition, and was unsparingly applied. Her experi- 
ence was of great use, even to the surgeons, who were all 
young men, and had seen but little of this disease except in 
books, in directing the regimen and treatment during its 
course. Her services on this trying occasion, when several 
who took it by contagion died, were often spoken of by the 
inhabitants in after years, as well as at the time, with grati- 
tude. The kind, benevolent heart and Christian feeling of 
Mrs. Lake, led her constantly to endeavor to do good to the 
souls, as w^ell as the bodies, of her fellow-crcatu/es. 

Probably one of the first Sunday schools in America w as 
taught by her in 1791, and continued for several years during 
the Indian war, at Campus jNLartius, in JMarietta. Having 
brought up a family herself, and knowing the advantages of 
early religious instruction, she took compassion on the 
younger children of the garrison, who were spending their 
Sabbath afternoons in frivolous amusements, and cstahlir-licd 
a school in the single and only room occupied by the family. 
After the regular religious exercises of the day by ]\Ir. Story 
were closed, \vhich consisted of only one service, or half the 
day, she regularly assembled as many of the children as she 
could persuade to attend, and taught them the Westminster 


catechism, and lessons from the Bible, for an hour or more. 
The school usually contained about twenty. She was veiy 
kind and affectionate toward them, so that they were fond of 
assembling and listening to her instructions. Her explana- 
tions of scripture were so simple and child-like that the 
smallest of the little ones could understand them, and ren- 
dered very pleasant by her mild manner of speaking. The 
accommodations for the childi'en were very rude and simple, 
consisting only of a few low stools and benches, such an 
article as a chair being a rarity in the garrison. One of the 
scholars, then a little boy of four years old, says that one 
day, being scant of seat, he was placed, by the kind old 
lady, on the top of a bag of meal that stood leaning against 
the side of the room. The seed thus charitably sown in 
faith and hope, was not scattered in vain, as several of 
her scholars are now prominent members of the chm'ch. 
This school was kept in the lower room of the northeast 

Soon after the peace of 1795, she moved with the family 
on to a farm, eight miles up the Muskingum. 

She died in 1802, aged sixty years. 

Her children were all pious, and two of her sons, now- 
very aged men, are reckoned amongst the elders of Israel, 
adorning that religion instilled into their youthful minds by 
their pious mother. 


Soon after the organization of the Ohio Company at Bo.s- 
ton, in the year 1787, it seems that the enlightened men who 
directed its concerns, began to think of making arrangements 
for the support of the gospel, and the instmction of youth 
in their new colony, about to be established in the western 
wilderness. Having been and brought up in a land where 
more attention was paid to the religious, moral, and literary 
instruction of the people, than at any other spot on the 
globe, being the country* of the Puritans, and themselves 
the descendants of the Plymouth colonists, they naturally 
turned their attention to its vast importance to the settle- 
ment just budding into existence under their care. Accord- 
ingly a resolution was passed, at a meeting of the directors 
and agents, on the 7th of March, 1788, at Providence, R. I., 
for the support of the gospel, and an instructor of youth ; 
in consequence of which, tlie Rev. Manasseh Cutler, one of 
the directors, in the course of that year engaged the Rev. 
Daniel Story, then preaching at Worcester, iNIass., to go to 
the west as a chaplain to the settlement at Marietta. 

jMr. Story was born in Boston, in 17.55, and graduated at 
the Dartmouth College, in Hanover, N. II. He was an 
uncle of the late Judge vStory, of Cambridge, Mass. 

After a tedious and laborious journey over the Allegheny 
mountains, he arrived at ^Marietta, in the spring of 1789. and 
commenced his ministerial labors. The settlements were 
just beginning, and situated at various points, a consider- 
able distance from eacli other. Xevertlielcss. he visited them 
in rotation, in conformity with the arrangement of the di- 
rectors, by v/hich he was to preach about one-third of the 


time at the settlements of Waterford and Belprc. Ilis first 
visit to Waterford was in the summer of that year, and as 
there was no house large enough to contain all the people, 
lie preached under the shadow of a wide-spreading tree, 
near llie mills of Wolf creek, a temple not reared by the 
hands of man. 

During the Indian war, from 1791 to 1795, he preached 
the larger portion of the time in the noi'thwest block-house 
of Campus Alartius, in Marietta. The upper story in that 
building \vas fitted up with benches and a rude, simple desk, 
so as to accommodate an audience of a hundred and fifty 
or two hundred persons. It was also used for a school, 
which was first taught by Maj. Anselm Tupper. 

During this period, a committee appointed by the direct- 
ors, to report on the religious and literary instruction of the 
youth, resolved that one hundred and eighty dollars be paid 
from the funds of the company, to aid the new settlements 
in paying a teacher, with the condition that Marietta sup- 
port him for one year, Belpre seven months, and Waterford 
three months. If they complied with this arrangement, that 
sum ^vas to be divided amongst them in proportion to the 
time. Near the same period, twenty dollars were appropri- 
ated to pay Col. Battelle for his services on the Sabbath, 
already performed at Belpre. These testimonials sufficiently 
prove the interest the directors of the compan}' felt for the 
spiritual welfare, as well a.s the temporal comfort of the 

j\Ir. Story also ])reached occasionally at a large room in 
the upper story of a frame-house in the garrison at the 
Point, being at the junction of the ?iiuskingum ^vilh the 
Ohio on the lefl Ijank ; I'ort llarmer being on the I'ight l;ank. 
At peru)d- wlien tiie Indians were qiiiet, he \i,-iLed and 
preached at t'.ie ^eitlements of Belpre and Wiilerferd, fif- 
teen ;iud twenty mill's from ^larJetta. 'i"hese pastoral visit;^ 


were niiidn l)y water, in a log canoe, j)r<)pell(ul l)y tlie stout 
anus aiul willing hearts of llic piouf^^-.-'. There were no 
road- at that day, l)y which lie could travel by laud, and be- 
.ide there was l(\~s danger in this mode, than l)y the obscure 
])aths of \ho hunters. 

In the year 17!)(> he united and established a Congrega- 
tional church, couijiosed of members residing in ^farietta, 
Ikdpre, Waterford, and A'ienna in Virginia. In 1797 he vis- 
ited his nati\e state, and remained there until he received 
(/. call to the pastoral charge of the church he had collected 
in the rrihhriuss. lie was ordained on the 15th of August, 
1797, in Danvers, ]Mass., there being no clergyman to per- 
form that oflicc on the west side of the mountains, to the 
care of the church in ^Marietta and vicinit}'. It was com- 
posed of thirty-two members, nine of whom Avere ofhcer.s 
of the Revolution. The ordination sermon was preached 
by Rev. ^lanasseh Cutler, and printed at the time, a few 
copies of which are yet extant. This relation continued be- 
tween IMr. Story and the church until the 15th of IMarch. 
1804, when he was dismissed at his own request, his health 
being too much impaired for the performances of a pastor 
any longer. He died the 30th of December following. 

After the ^Marietta Academy was built in 1797, public wor- 
ship was held in that edifice, it being constructed and so 
finished as to answer for that purpose. 

]\Ir. Story wa=i in the ministry for some time before he 
came to ^larietta, and vvhcn selected by Dr. Cutler, the 
choice vras much approved by those who knew hiiu. In 
coming to ^larietta, then a wilderness, he saciiilced his in- 
terest and his comfort: but knowimx the necessities of the 
people, he was willing to part with many things for their 
good and the cause of his divine ^Master. AYhat little weallli 
he possessed was invested in new lands before coming out, 
with an expectation of a reasonable support from the Ohio 


Company, until the rents of the lands set apart for the sup- 
port of the gospel should be available; but this was pre- 
vented by the Indian war, and no money was raised from 
that source until the year 1800. The inhabitants were gen- 
erally much impoverished from the same cause, and most 
probably his receipts for preaching from 1789 to 1797, could 
not have paid for his board and clothing. He was obliged 
to draw upon his former earnings, by the sale of some of 
his lands. However, the hospitality of one or two kind 
Chi'istian friends, who gave him a welcome seat at their ta- 
bles during a part of this period, relieved him from some of 
his difficulties. At his death, the proceeds from the sale 
of his remaining lands were insufficient to discharge the 
debts incurred while laboring in the new settlements; so 
that, like a faithful servant, he spent not only his life, but 
all his substance in the service of the cause to which he was 

In person he was rather tall and slender; quick and active 
in his movements ; manners easy, with a pleasant address ; 
cheerful and animated in conversation; and always a wel- 
come guest in the families he visited. After the war he fre- 
quently \vent out to the new settlers, and sometimes spent 
a week at their houses, in the most familiar and pleasant 
intercourse. His sermons were practical; logically and me- 
thodically written after the manner of that day; and were 
said, in matter and manner, to be fully equal to those of the 
best preachers in New England. In prayer he was greatly 
gifted, both in diversity of subject, propriety and fervency, 
as well as in beauty of language. He was never married, 
but lived a single life after the manner and advice of St. 
Paul. Placed as he was, in the midst of a pco])le trembling 
lor their lives, and filled with anxiety for the support of thcii' 
families, in the midst of the careless habits and dissolute 
manners of the soldiery, it is not to be expected that much 

J A 13 E Z T K U E . 329 

could bo (lono, by a humblo minister of the gospel, in ad- 
vancini^ the spiritual condition of the people; nevertheless, 
he did what he eould for the support of the cause in which 
he was engaged, and his n.'iine is still held in grateful re- 
nictnhrance, by the few living remnants of the first settlers 
of ]\Iai'ietta 


Dr. Jabkz Trui; was born in Ilampstead, A'. II., in the 
year 17G0. His father was the Rev. Henry True, a native 
of Salisbury, Mass., and was for many years the pastor of 
a church in the former place, ^yhcn a boy he was a student 
at the old Dammer Academy, and completed his education 
at Cambridge Tniversity. In 1752, he was settled in the 
ministry after the Puritan order. In the French war he 
served as the chaplain of a brigade of the colonial troops 
at Ticondcroga and Fort Edward. He was a line scholar, 
of sound judgment and exemplary piety, "making llcvela- 
tion his guide, and Reason its companion," as is inscribed 
on his tombstone. 

It was the custom of that day, before many high schools 
or academies were founded, for the clergymen of Xew Eng- 
land to fit young men for college. I\Ir. True had a class of 
this kind before the \var of the Revolution, in which was his 
son Jabcz. He read a competent share of the classics to pre- 
pare him for the stud}' of medicine, ^vhich, in due time, he 
pursued under the instruction of Dr. Flagg, of Ilampstead, 


an eccentric man, but eminent in his profession, and highly 
esteemed by his friends. lie completed his studies some- 
time after the commencement of hostilities between the 
colonies and the mother country, when feeling the spirit of 
resistance sti'ong upon him, he engaged in the war as a 
surgeon on board a privateer-ship from Xewburyport, a 
small seaport in tlie northeast corner of Massachusetts, dis- 
tant about twelve miles from his home, and sailed for Europe. 
After a short cruise and limited number of captures, the pri- 
vateer v»a3 wrecked on the coast of Holland, thus abruptly 
terminating his hopes of a fortune. 

After about two years spent amongst the Hollanders, who 
were friends of the young republic, at the close of the war 
he returned to America in a merchant-ship. He now gave 
his attention to the practice of medicine, and commenced 
business in Gilmanton, N. H., Avhcre he remained two years. 

The Ohio Company was formed in 1787, and feeling a 
strong desire to visit the enchanting region along the shores 
of the Ohio, so admirably described by the writers and 
travelers of that day, he purchased a share of their lands, 
and concluded to leave the home of his forefathers, and 
come out to 3Iarictta in company with a family from A'evv- 
buryport. Tlic emigrants arrived at the mouth of the Mus- 
kingum early in the summer of 1788. The settlement at 
that time had but few persons in it; the country was covered 
with a thick forest, and there was more employment for 
able-bodied men in clearing lands and building log-cabins, 
than for pliysicians. 

In the following year several young men from Boston, 
who had become enamored with the country from the glow- 
ing descriptions of its ferltlity and beauty, came out to the 
city of 3tlarictta. Thc}' built a long, low log-calnn, in which 
they kept l)achclors' hall, on the corner where the Bank of 
Marietta now stands, and commenced cleai'lng some lamd. 

J A IJ E Z T R U i; . li'S 1 

It was a new l)nHinrt^s to those who had hocii hrouL,^lit iij) in 
a city, and when the novelty of the chan<2,'e liad siilj.-ri(h.'(], 
ihcy l)('j,^an to think of the. conifortabh; homes tiiey had h i"t, 
and to siii'h lor a return. The breaking out of the Indian 
war, i)ut a st(^p to any furtlicr progress of tlu; settlement for 
the pi'csent, and lea\ing all their improvemenis, returned to 
l)Oston. \ot so with Dr. True; he had eom<^ out with the 
intention of spending his life in the west, and nothing but 
imperious necessity could turn him from his piu-posc. Ilis 
steady habits and good character gained for him the favor 
of the inlluential men, and in the beginning of the Avar he 
was appointed a surgeon's-matc to the Ohio Company's 
troops, at a salary of twenty-two dollars a month, which 
uas a Avelcome and timely aid in tins season of privation. 

During this distressing, and often perplexing period, he 
Avas many times exposed to the attack of the Indians, as he 
passed up and down the Ohio in his visits to Belpre, and 
still lo\vcr on the river, to minister to the sick and wounded 
in the garrisons. During the continuance of the small-pox, 
and then again in the sickness of the scarlet fever, numer- 
ous trips were made in a canqe, accompanied, generally, by 
two men. The most hazardous of these, was one made to 
Flinn's station, or Belville, as it was afterward called, thirty 
miles below Marietta, the second year of the war, to \i<l[ 
]Mrs. Sherwood^ who v/as attacked b}' the Indians and scAcrcIy 
wounded, at the same time her husband was taken prisoner. 

Late in the spring of the year 1792, Stephen Sherwood, 
an inmate of the garrison, went out very early one morn- 
ing to feed his hogs, in a pen a few rods above th(^ station 
on the bank of the river. Ilis wife, a fearless, bold woman, 
who had always lived on the frontiers, about fifty years old, 
went out at the same time to milk a cow, standing ia the 
path near the corner of the upper block-house, about twenty 
yards from the gate. After tla'owing tlie corn into the peii. 


he stepped into the thicket by the side of the road to cut a 
stick for an ox-goad, intending to plow that day amongst 
the young com. While engaged in this employment, eight 
or ten Indians, who were lying in the bushes, sprang upon 
him and overpowered him, making him a prisoner. Two of 
them remained with him, while the others hurried down to 
the garrison, and seeing the old lady milking the cow, two 
of them seized upon her, intending to make a prisoner of 
her also; but she resisted their efforts so stoutly, and 
screamed so loud to the men in the garrison for help, that 
tliey abandoned that plan. One of them knocked her down 
with a blow of his tomahawk, while the other proceeded to 
take off her scalp. In the meantime, Peter Anderson and 
Joel Dewey had just risen from their beds, and were putting 
their rifles in order for a hunt. Anderson's gun was lying 
across his knees, with the lock in his hand, having just fin- 
ished oiling it, when, hearing the screams of Mrs. Sherwood, 
and readily guessing the cause, he clapped on the lock 
without fastening the screws, and sprang up the stairway to 
a port-hole in the block-house. As he was about to fire at 
tlie Indians, the lock dropped on to the floor, greatly to his 
vexation. At this instant, Joel Dewey, whose rifle was in 
better order, sprang to his side, and taking aim at the In- 
dian who was in the act of scalping his victim, shot him 
through the elbow of the very arm that wielded the scalping- 
knife, before lie could complete the operation. Fearing the 
effects of other shots, the two Indians retreated. Before 
they had time to rally and repeat the attempt, Anderson 
and Dewey ran out, and seizing the old lady by the shoul- 
ders and feet, brought her into the block-house, amidst a 
volley of rifle shots from the other Indians. It was a foggy 
morning, and tliey both escaped injury, although the bullrts 
were left sticl;ing in the logs on each side of tlie doorway. 
?ilrs. Sherwood remained for a Ion": time without sense, or 

J A B E Z T 11 IJ K . 333 

signs of life, from the stunning cfi'rcls of the blow, wliich 
gashed her head in the most shocking manner, whihj the 
settling of the elluscd blood about her eye.-i, gave h(^r a 
deadly aspect. After a considerable period, signs of re- 
turning sensibility appeared, and Joshua Dewey, the brother 
of Joel, offered his services to go to oMarietta for surgical 
aid. It may seem to us to have been a dangerous offer, but 
the old borderers knew there was far less danger immedi- 
ately after an attack of the Indians than at any other time, 
as they always left immediately, the vicinit}^ of their depre- 
dations, for fear of a pursuit or an attack on themselves. 
This journey was performed in a light canoe, with no 
companion but his trusty rifle, which he pushed to Marietta, 
a distance of thirty miles, the same day before nightfall, and 
returned by midnight with Dr. True, whose benevolent feel- 
ings and kind heart were ever ready to the calls of the dis- 
tressed. By his judicious treatment, she was finally restored 
to health, and lived many years with her husband, who 
eflected his escape from captivity in a short time. 

In after life he was celebrated for his sympathy for the 
sick, having himself suffered much from disease. So tender 
was he to the prejudices of his patients, that he seldom pre- 
scribed without first consulting tlieir opinion as to the medi- 
cine to be taken, and if they had any particular objection 
to the article which he thought proper, it was changed to 
suit their taste, unless it was really necessary in managing 
the disease, that the objectionable remedy should be taken. 
His attitude by the bedside of the sick was peculiar and 
striking. Leaning a little forw^ard in the chair, with his 
long slender legs crossed over each other, his compassionate 
but single eye intently fixed on the patient, having lost the 
use of the other irom a long and painful disease of the 
optic nerve, with one hand on the pulse and the other dili- 
gently employed in switching about a long cue, for he kept 


up the good old fashion of wearing the hair carefully dressed 
with a black ribbon. It was a habit he had insensibly fallen 
into when his mind was engaged on any subject of deep 
thought, and no doubt aided in fixing his attention. The 
result of his calm, deliberate judgment, was generally very 
correct, and his treatment of disease remarkably successful, 
which was, doubtless, in part, owing to its simplicity. It is a 
lamentable fact that many die from the cfFects of too many 
and often improper remedies, as well as from disease itself. 

After the close of the war, he built a small dwelling-house 
and office at the Point, and turned his attention, when not 
occupied with his profession, to the clearing and cultivation 
of a small farm, about a mile above the town. He still re- 
mained a bachelor, boarding for several years in the family 
of Mr. Moulton, with whom he emigrated to Ohio. He 
subsequently boarded with jNIrs. ]Mills, the widow of Capt. 
William Mills, a very amiable and excellent w^oman, udiom 
he finally married in the autumn of 1806. 

In the year 1799, he became united to the Congregational 
church in aJarietta, the earliest religious society in Ohio. 
Of this church he was for many years a deacon, fulfilling 
the duties of that sacred office with great fidelity and 

His charity for the poor, and especially the sick poor, was 
unbounded, and only limited by his scanty means, often be- 
stowing on them, in addition to his own services, the larger 
portion of the avails of his attendance on richer patients. 
It was many years after the close of the war before bridges 
v/ere built and roads opened bet^veen the settlements, and 
during this period he v.'as the principal physician in ]Marietta 
and for the country round. His rides often extended to 
twenty or thirty miles by bridle paths or old Indian trails, 
marked out Ijy blazes on the trees. The people were many 
of them poor and just beginning life in a new country — had 

jAiJi:z trim;. :jyrj 

but little to .'-pare for the services ot" the pliy.-ici;in. \\ ith 
him, howTNcr, it niaele no (UfrciTiicc wliclhci' ihc j)alir;tit wa.s 
poor or rich; he was always ready, when iiis health ])er- 
niitted, to attend to the calls, and to divide his last dollar 
with those who were in want. A practical ])roof of his 
ociuaniniity of temper, <,'encrosity and I'orgiNing disposition, 
even to those who had done him an injury, was related hy 
the transgressor himselt". 

The doctor was a lover of fine fruit, ai:d had cultivated, 
with much care, ;omc of the choicest \ai-ielies of apples 
and pears, in a small garden near his house. Amongst them 
was a tree of the richest kind of summer sweeting apples, 
to which the neighboring boys paid daily visits ^^hencvcr 
the doctor was out of the way. James Glover, a partially 
blind, near-sighted man, well known to the inhabitants of 
?.Jarietta, many years since, for his natural, ready, and keen 
wit, but then a .stout boy of fourteen or liftccn years of age, 
hearing the other lads tpeak of tlie fine apples in the doc- 
tor's garden, concluded he would also try them; so, one 
niglit, a little after bedtime, ho mounted the tree, and began 
filling his bosom and pockets with the fruit : making a rust- 
ling among the branches, the doctor happened to hear him, 
and coming out into the garden, peering up into the trees, 
he espied James, and hailed him. James was obliged to an- 
swer, and give his name. "Ah James is that you: why you 
are on the wrong trrc; iJuit one is the summer sweeting. 
Com.e down, come down, my lad."' This was indeed the 
iact. but in his hurry he had not yet made tlie disco\ cry of 
his mistake. James came dov/n very slowly, expecting rough 
treatment; and the kind language of the doctor ordy a ruse 
to get him within his reach. Bu.t he was very pleasantly 
disappointed. Instead cf using harsh words, or beating the 
aggressor, as most men would have done, he took a long 
pole and beat oif as many apples as he ccrJd carry, and 


dismissed him with the request, that when he wanted any 
more, to call on him, and he would assist him in getting 
them. James, however, never visited the tree again, and 
did all in his power to persuade the other boys to do so. 

As the country became more thickly settled, the roads better, 
and the people more wealthy, other physicians came in, and 
divided with him the medical business, which he bore with- 
out mm-muring or complaining, willing to see all prosperous 
and happy, even at his expense. For several of the last 
years of his life, he held the office of county treasurer, 
which afforded him a small remuneration without much toil, 
and enabled him to further extend his charities to benevo- 
lent societies, and other objects for the support of religion 
and morals, vv'hich came into use about thirty years ago, 
and of which he was a zealous promoter. Samuel J. Mills, 
the projector of foreign missions, and other benevolent so- 
cieties, spent two weeks at his house in 1812, when was 
formed the Washington County Bible Society, being the first 
in the valley of the Ohio. His house was the home of all 
traveling preachers of the Congregational or Presbyterian 
order, who visited the town, or were engaged in promoting 
the spread of the gospel. He was the Gaius of Marietta; 
although, for its population, it numbered many men who 
were zealous and liberal in all good works. 

In his domestic relations the doctor was very happy. His 
wife was a cheerful, humble, and sincere Christian, with a 
lively, benevolent temperament, ever ready to promote the 
happiness and comfort of her companion, and to aid him in 
all deeds of charity. By this union he had no issue; but 
the children of his wife were treated with all the love and 
kindness he could have bestowed on his own. In person 
Dr. True was tall, with simple, but not ungi-aceful manners ; 
his eyes grey and small, with full, projecting brows, nose 
large and aquiline; forehead rather low; face mild, and 


exprcpnix c of the benevolence of the mind and heart within. 
He was a man of whom no enemy couhl say hard things, 
and wliom every one loved and respected. 

He died, after a short illness, of the prevailin<^ epidemic 
fever of 1H"J:3. 

The memory of this good man is still cherished by the 
descendants of the pioneers, for his universal charity, sim- 
plicity of manners, and sincere, unaffected piety. 


The progenitor of the Danas was a French Huguenot, 
who fled from the Catholic persecutions to England, at the 
period of the edict of Nantz. Near the middle of the sev- 
enteenth century, Richard Dana, the son of William Dana, 
who was the sheriff of Middlesex, under Queen Elizabeth, 
came to Boston, and settled in that vicinity. He was the 
great grandfather of Capt. William Dana, the subject of 
this brief biography. From this man sprang all of that 
name in N'ew^ England. He was born at Little Cambridge. 
now Brighton, Mass., in the year 1745. He had three older 
brothers, Jonathan, Samuel, and Benjamin, and two younger, 
Josiah and Ezra, with three sisters. The latter settled in 
Amherst, N. H., where he held the first rank in society. His 
son Samuel was a lawyer, and a member of Congress from 
that state, in the year 1813, and held many public stations 
in the Democratic ranks. 

Capt. Dana married Miss Mary Bancroft, the daughter of 
Esq. Bancroft, of Peperil, Mass. She had but one brother, 


who was a stanch patriot, and entered the service of his 
country at the battle of Bunker hill, where he discharged 
his musket sixteen times ; and when the ammunition was 
all expended, came oIF with the retreating troops. That 
summer he died with the small-pox. After Capt. Dana's 
marriage, he resided in Charleston; but just before the bat- 
tle of Lexington, sold his house and lot, and moved his 
family to the vicinity of Worcester, where he was living, on 
the IMount Farm, at the commencement of hostilities. This 
is quite a noted place, and now owned by the Roman Cath- 
olic College. Here he was chosen captain of a company 
of artillery, and was stationed with his men a mile or two 
out of Charleston, at the time of the battle of Bunker hill. An 
express from Gen. Putnam, near its close, arrived, with orders 
to hasten on to the hill and reinforce the flagging provincials. 
lie started at full speed, but met Iris countrymen on Charles- 
ton neck, on theu' retreat. He continued in the service for 
two or three years, attached to the command of Gen. Knox, 
who was at the head of the artillery cori^s. Having a 
tempting offer, about the year 1778, he sold his possession 
for continental money, in which he had the fullest confi- 
dence. Before he could again invest it, the paper per- 
ished on his hands, leaving him, like many others of tliat 
day, in poverty. Having no means of supporting his young 
and growing family but his pay in the service, which would 
not even support himself, he reluctantly resigned his com- 
mission, and moved his family to Amherst, N. H. Here he 
rented a small farm, which required all his efforts, with the 
aid of his extra work as a carpenter, to supply his family wilii 
food; provisions being both scarce and dear. A portion 
of the time of his living here, from 1770 to 17SS, he was 
employed as a deputy-sheriff. 

In the spring of the latter year he decided on removing 
his rapidly increasing family to the banks of the Ohio, 

\VII.LIAM DANA. .'{39 

where the noil was more iortile, and the climate less severe 
than that of Xew Hampshire, llhher several of his mil- 
itary associates liad already i,^one. ].ea\in<,^ his wife and 
family at Amherst until he could visit Ohio, he, after a 
wearisome journey, arri\cd with his two oldest sons at 3Ia- 
rietta the last of .lime, and built a lo:^-cal)in on the corner 
of market-s([uare, where the post-olfice buildin;^,^ now stands. 
As it was too late in the season to plant a crop of corn, he 
cleared ofl' a small piece of ground on the land occupied 
by the female seminary, for a brick-3'ard, and made and 
burnt a small kiln that summer, which were the first bricks 
made in the territory. These were in demand for chimneys, 
and aided him in supplying his present wants. 

In 17S0, he moved out his family and joined the Belpre 
associates, and drew a lot of land in that wide, beautiful 
bottom on the Ohio river, just above the head of Blcnner- 
hassctt's island. The first labor was chiefly devoted to 
clearing the land of the immense growth of forest trees 
which covered it, shutting out the rays of the sun, and in- 
closing it with fence. This left but little time for the erection 
of a comfortable cabin, and the winter ^vas passed in a hut 
built like a large corn-crib, and so small that all the family 
could not be accommodated at night, and two of the oldest 
boys slept in a large covered road-wagon. The next year, 
or in 1700, he built a more comfortable house. That was 
the year of the famine, in which Capt. Dana's family suf- 
fered largely with the other settlers. During the Indian 
war, they lived in Farmers' castle. In a few years after its 
close, his land was cleared, a convenient frame-house built, 
orchards of fruit trees in bearing, and smiling plenty crowned 
his table, around which he could assemble eight sons and 
three daughters. 

In person Capt. Dana was tall, and in his manhood sus- 
tained the post and bearing of a sbldier. In disposition 


cheerful and social, and never happier than when suiTOunded 
by his old associates at the festive board. 

He died in the year 1809, and has left a numerous train 
of descendants, who rank in vigor of mind, intelligence, 
civil and moral usefulness, with the first families in the 


CoL. Nathaniel Gushing was a branch of the illustrious 
Gusliing family of Boston, which is classed with the first 
citizens of the cradle of liberty. 

He was born in Pembrook, Mass., on the 8th of April, 
1753. But little has been preserved of liis early life, by liis 
relatives, except that he received a good common school 
education. At a suitable age he served an apprenticeship 
to the trade of a house-carpenter, a common occm-rence 
among the New England yeomanry, who often added to the 
calling of a farmer that of some useful trade or handicraft, 
giving them vigorous health and strength of limbs, fitting 
them, to wield effectively the implements of war, as well as 
the tools used in their daily occupations. 

He married Mir^s Elizabeth Heath, in November, 1775. 
the year the struggle for independence commenced. The 
fruits of this union were twelve children, t^ix sons and six 
daughter.-;, several of whom are now living in Ohio, amongst 
the most respectable and wealthy of her citi/ens. I\Irs. 
Gushing was an accomplished, well educated lady, of refined 
manners, and accustomed to the best society of that day. 


At the commencement of the war he was hving in or 
near Boston, and offered hi.s services in defense of the 
country. In July, 1775, while the Americans were investing 
the town under Gen. Washington, he was commissioned by 
Congress as a lieutenant in Capt. Trescott's company and 
Col. Brewers regiment. In January, 177G, he was commis- 
sioned as first lieutenant in the same company, but in the 
sixth regiment of Massachusetts infantry, under Col. Whit- 
comb. In 1777 he was promoted to a captain, and in thid 
capacity served the remainder of the war, being at its close 
made a major by brevet. He was engaged in many battles 
and skirmishes, and noted as one of the most brave and 
successful of the partizan officers. By his kindness to those 
under his command, and watchful care for the best interests 
of his men, he became a great favorite with the soldiers. 
As a disciplinarian he was very strict, and the men often 
remarked that they could always depend on his word ; and 
whether it was to reward them for their good conduct, or to 
punish them for their faults, it was sure to be accomplished. 

In 1780 Capt. Cushing was attached to Col. Rufus Put- 
nam's regiment of light infantry, while the main army was 
stationed on the North river, and the enemy held possession 
of New York. At this time there was a large district of 
country between the contending armies, caUed the neutral 
ground, that was nearly deserted by the inhabitants, and 
ravaged by both parties, especially by the Tories, who, from 
this and the adjacent country, supplied the British in Neu' 
York with forage and fresh provisions. The Americans, to 
watch the incursions of the enemy, and keep the Tories from 
robl)ing the peacable inhabitants near tlie lines, kept strong 
outposts, or detachments of soldiers, on the borders between 
Kingsbridge and the Wiiitc Plains. It was a dangerous po- 
sition for the troops; and none but the most active and 
vigilant of the partisan officers were ordered on this service. 


They were not only liable to sudden and night attacks, from 
tiic })ands of Tories who \vere born and brought up here, 
and fanriliar with every road and l^y-path, but also exposed 
to a corps of light-horse, under the noted partisan officer, 
Col. Simcoe, who had cut off and destroyed several ad- 
vanced parties of American troops. To avoid the latter 
casualty, the order of the commanding general was, that 
they should not advance beyond a certain line into the neu- 
tral ground, but keep within their own defenses, lest they 
should be surprised by the light-horse, and cut to pieces. 

Amongst others ordered on this hazardous service, was 
Capt. Gushing, with a detachment of men in addition to his 
own company. Soon after arriving and taking up his po- 
sition, information was brought by some of the "Whig inhab- 
itants, that there was a considerable body of Tories posted 
at no great distance from him, on the road to New York. 
The opportunity thus ofiered, of distinguishing himself and 
the detachment under his orders, was too great to be re- 
sisted ; beside, if successful, would be doing a service to the 
cause, and wipe awa}' some of the disgrace attached to the 
defeat of other ofiicers ^vho had preceded him in this service. 
With the main body of his men, he early that nigiit com- 
menced a rapid march across the country, by an unfre- 
quented road, and about midnight surprised and captured 
the whole party. Col. Simcoe, with his mounted rangers, 
was posted in that \icinity, and received early notice of the 
event, by somf- friend of the British, and acting with liis 
usual iH'omptness, innncdialely commenced a pursuit, with 
the expect alien of c;i11Jri<i; to pieces the detachment, and 
releasing the prisDiicrs. C'jijjt. Cashing, witii all liastc. postrd 
off tlie c;ij--ti\e Tories in ad\nnce, undfr a sin.;\]l guard; 
cliai'.iring the oUii.'f!' to rush on^ toward the ]i;ifs ;\.< rapidly 
as p()s.-:i!)lr. A\ jjile he f()]io\^"^■(l moi'e lei-urely in the ]'ear, 
widi llie main ImkIv oi'ln.- troops. ]v\j)ecring a pursuit I'rom 

N A T 1 1 A N 1 1: L c \: sill X c . 3 13 

Simcoe. he marched in tliree ranks, and arranged the order of 
defense if they were attacked ])y the cavahy ; a kind of troop.s 
much more (h'caded by the; infantry than those of tlieir own 
class. WJKMi about half way l)ack, the clatterini,' hoofs of 
the rani^ers' horses \ver(^ heard in liot j)ui"suit. As they ap- 
proached, he halted his detachment in the middle of the 
road, ready to recei\c the charge. It fortunately happened 
that he found, in the house with the captured Tories, a num- 
ber of long spears or lances, sufTicient to arm the rear rank. 
^yhen called to a halt, and face the enemy, it brought the 
spearmen in front. Standing in close array, shoulder to 
shoulder, with one end resting on the ground, they received 
their enraged enemies on their points, while the other two 
raidvs poured upon them a deadly fire, leaving many of the 
horses without riders. This unexpected result threw them 
into disorder, and their leader directed a retreat. Gushing 
now renewed his march in the same order. Simcoe, enraged 
and chagrined at the failure of his charge, again ordered a 
fresh and more furious onset, but was received by his brave 
antagonist in the same cool and resolute manner, and met 
with a still more decided repulse, losing a number of his 
best men and horses. Not yet satisfied to let his enemies 
escape, he made a third unsuccessful attempt, and gave up 
the pursuit, leaving Capt. Gushing to retire at his leisure. 
He reached his post unmolested, with all the prisoners, and 
the loss of only a few men wounded, but none killed. The 
following day he was relieved by a fresh detachment, 
and marched into camp with the trophies of this brave 

The morning after his return, in the orders of the day, by 
the commander-in-chief, notice ^vas taken of this affair, and 
any similar attempt by the troops on the lines forbidden, 
thereby apparently censuring the conduct of Gapt. Gushing. 
This was rather a damper to the feelings of a brave ofllcer. 


who was peculiarly sensitive, and sustained a nice sense of 
military honor. Soon after the promulgation of the order, 
and he had retired to his tent, brooding over the event of 
the morning, and half inclined to be both angry and morti- 
lied at the nice distinctions of the commander, an aid of 
Gen. Washington entered with a polite in\itation to dine 
with him. lie readily complied with the request, and at the 
table was placed in the post of honor, at Washington's 
right hand. A large number of officers were present, in 
whose hearing he highly complimented Capt. Gushing for 
the gallant manner in which he conducted the assault on 
the Tories, and the bravery and skill with w^hich he defeated 
the charges of Simcoe; and that there were few, indeed, 
who could have conducted the retreat with the coolness and 
success he had done; but, at the same time, added that for 
the strict and orderly discipline of the army, it was neces- 
sary to discountenance every act that contravened the or- 
ders of the commander-in-chief. This satisfied all his 
mortified feelings, and increased his love and respect for his 
revered general. 

After the close of the war he lived in Boston, from 
whence, on the formation of the Ohio Company, he re- 
moved with his family to Marietta, in the summer of 1788. 
Soon after his arrival, in August, he was commissioned by 
Gov. St. Clair as a captain in the first regiment of territo- 
rial militia, and in 1797, by the same, as colonel of the 
regiment. When the Belpre colony was formed, in 1789, 
he joined the association, and was one of the most active, 
brave, and intelligent men, in arranging and conducting the 
military and civil afl^airs of that settlement. After the cap- 
ture of Capt. Goodale by the Indians, he was chosen to 
coiuiiiand the garrison of Farmers' castle. At the close of 
the war he settled on his farm, and pursued agriculture 
for the support of his family, and a \ cry successful 


cultivator. He paid great attcnl ion to tlie ccliication of lii.s 
chiklrcii, who now rank with the woithy aiul ii.^eful 
cili/.onri of Ohio. 

Thomas II. Cu.'^hing was a younger l)rother, and failii- 
fully served his country, not only in the war of 177(), but 
also in tiiat of ISl^*. In 1815 he was collector of the Unitcul 
States revenue in the port of A'ew London, Conn., which 
office he held until his death, in \822. lie is spoken of as 
a very excellent man. 

In person, Col. Gushing was rather short, but very mus- 
cular and stout-limbed ; eyes black, and of the keenest lus- 
ter, piercing and intelligent; face well formed, with an ex- 
pression of firmness and dignity seldom seen; manners 
gentlemanly and refined; very courteous and affable in 
his intercourse with mankind, \vhcther poor or rich. lie 
was highly esteemed by Mv. Blcnnerhasset, and both him 
and Mrs. Cushing treated with marked attention. 

They died in August, in the year 1814; but their names 
will be long cherished by the descendants of the early 
settlers, as amongst the most worthy of that heroic band. 


Maj. Joxathan IlASKicr.L was born in Roclicstcr, 3Ia>s., 
the 19th of j\Iarch, 1775. Like the larger ])ortion of tlic 
ISiCw Englanders of that da}', he was brought up on a farm, 
and received only a common scliool educalion, whicli fitted 
him for conducting the usiud concerns of life to which he 
might be called. 


At the commencement of the war of Independence, when 
he was twenty years old, he was engaged in agriculture. 
How early he entered the army is not known. In 1779 he 
was aid-de-camp to Gen. Patterson, of the iMassachusetts 
line, and was commissioned as a lieutenant. lie continued 
to serve until the close of the war, either as an aid, or in 
the line of the army. 

When the Ohio Company was formed, he became an as- 
sociate, and moved out there in company with Capt. Dcvofs 
family, in the autumn of 1788. In 1789 he united with the 
Belpre settlement, and commenced clearing his farm. On 
the breaking out of the Indian war, in January', 1791, he re- 
ceived the appointment of captain in the regular service, 
and went to Rochester, Mass., where he recruited a com- 
pany, and returned to Marietta in December; where he was 
stationed for the defense of that, and the adjacent settle- 
ments ; as the troops had been withdrawn from Fort Ilar- 
mer in the fall of 1790. After the defeat of Gen. St. Clair, 
he remained at jMarietta until March, 1793, when he was 
commissioned as a captain in the second sub-legion under 
Gen. Wayne, and joined the army on the frontiers that sum- 
mer. He was stationed at Fort St. Clair, where he remained 
until June, 1794, when he was appointed to the command 
of the fourth sub-legion, ranking as a major, although his 
commission ^vas not filled until August, 1795. In a letter 
to Griffin Greene, Esq., whose relative he man-ied, he gives 
a sketch of the campaign which defeated the combined 
forces of the Indians and closed the war. 

" Head Quarters, Miami of the Lake, August 29th, 1794. 

Sir : The 28th of July the army moved forward, consisting 
of about eighteen hundred regulars and fifteen hundred 
militia, from the state of Kentucky, passing by the way 
of St. Clair's battle-ground, now Fort Recovery. We then 
turned more to the eastward, and struck the St. ?.Iary's in 

J O N A T II A N 11 A S K F. L I. . 347 

twenty miles, where we erected a i^niall Tort, and left a .-iili 
altern'ri command. We then crossed the St. Mary's, and in 
four or ll\e days' marching found the Auglaize i-i\er, and 
continued on dowii that stream to its junction with the ^Ji- 
anii of the lake; distant one hundred miles from CJreenville, 
by the route we pursued. At this place w(^ built a garrison, 
and left a major to command it. The army then marched 
down the river forty-seven miles from the new garrison, and 
on the 20th inst., at nine o'cl6ck in the morning, came up 
with the Indians, ^vho had posted themselves in a position 
chosen as most favorable for defense. The troops charged 
upon them with tlic bayonet, and drove them two miles, 
through a thicket of woods, fallen timber, and underbi'ush, 
when the cavalry fell upon and entirely routed them. Our 
line extended two and a half miles, and yet it was \vith dif- 
ficulty we outflanked them. One of the prisoners, a white 
man, says the number of the Indians engaged ^vas about 
twelve hundred, aided by two hundred and fifty while men 
from Detroit. Our loss in the action was two ofiicers killed, 
and four wounded, with about thirty privates killed, and 
eighty wounded. The Indians suffered much; about forty 
or fifty of their dead fell into our hands. The prisoner was 
asked why they did not fight better? lie said that ^ve would 
give them no time to load their pieces, but kept tlicm con- 
stantly on the run. Two miles in advance of the battle- 
ground, is a British garrison, established last spring, ^\ hicli 
we marched round within pistol shot, and demanded a sur- 
render: but they refused to give it up. Our artillery being 
too light, and the fort too sti'ong to carry by stonn. it was 
not attacked; but we biu'ut their out-liouse-. dcr-tidved all 
their gardens, cornfields, and grass, within musket r-hot of 
the place, and all budow for eight or nine miles, without an}' 
opposition. On tlie 27 th we arrived at this ))lace, where \\c 
have a fort, and shall halt a few davs to rest. We have 


marched through the Indian settlements and villages for 
about sixty miles, destroyed several thousand acres of corn, 
beans, and all kinds of vegetables, burned their houses, with 
furniture, tools, &c. A detachment has gone into Fort Re- 
covery for a supply of provisions for the troops, and when 
it returns, we shall march up the INIiami sixty miles, to where 
the St. JNIary's unites with the St. Joseph's, and destroy all 
the corn in that country." 

This letter describes, in plain terms, the ruin and devasta- 
tion that marked the com'se of the American army. It 
might have been considered a idse policy to devote to de- 
struction the dwellings, cornfields, gardens, and in fact every 
species of property that belonged to the hostile savages, but 
it was also a most cruel policy. The British troops, in their 
inroads amongst the rebel settlements of the Revolutionary 
war, never conducted more barbarously. The Indian vil- 
lages on the Miami and the Auglaize, were snugly and 
comfortably built — were furnished with many convenient 
articles of house-keeping and clothing. They had large 
fields of corn and beans, with gardens of melons, squashes, 
and various other vegetables. Mr. Joseph Kelly, of Ma- 
rietta, then a boy of twelve years old, and for several years 
a prisoner with the Indians, who treated him kindly, and was 
adopted into a family as one of their own chikben, was 
living at this time with them at the junction of the St. jMary's 
and Auglaize, the spot where Maj. Haskell says the army 
Avould next go, to complete their work of destruction. Mr. 
Kelly v/as there ^vhcn an Indian runner announced that the 
American troops had arrived in the vicinity of the village. 
His friends had not expected them so soon, and with the ut- 
most haste and consternation, the old men, with the women 
and cliiklren, the -warriors being absent, hurried aboard their 
canoe.-; taking nothing with them but a few liettles and 
blankets, not having time to collect any provisions from 

EBENEZEK 15 A T T E L L E . 349 

their fields and gardens. The sun was only an liour or two 
high when they departed, in as deep soitow at the loss of 
their country and homes, as the Trojans of old when they 
evacuated their favorite city. Before the next day at noon, 
their nice village was burnt to the ground ; their cornlields 
of several hundred acres, just beginning to ripen, were cut 
down and trampled under foot by the horses and oxen of 
the invaders, while their melons and squashes were pulled 
up by the roots. The following winter, the poor Indians de- 
prived of their stock of corn and beans, which were grown 
every year and laid up for their winter food as regularly as 
among the white people, suffered the exti-eme of want. 
Game was scarce in the country they retreated to on the 
west of the jMiami, and what few deer and fish they could 
collect, barely served to keep them alive. It was a cruel 
policy; but probably subdued their Spartan courage more 
than two or three defeats, as for many years thereafter, until 
the days of Tecumseh, they remained at peace. 

After the close of the war, Maj. Haskell returned to his 
farm at Belpre, where he died in December, 1814. lie was 
considered a brave man and a good ofliccr. Several of his 
descendants are living in Wasliington county. 


CoL. Ehenkzer Battfj.lh was a descendant of the Puritan 
race, and the only son of Ebenezer Battclle, Esq., of Dedham, 
Mass. Uiri father was one of the industrious, honest yeo- 
manry of the good old bay state, who duly appreciated the 


value of learning, more farmers' sons bein^ liberally edu- 
cated in that state than in any other of the Union. At a 
suitable age he pursued a full college course at Cambridge, 
and graduated in the year 1775. He was intended for the 
ministry, as were a large share of the educated men before 
the Revolution; but the war breaking out in the last year 
of his com-se, his attention was diverted from the study of 
divinit}' to that of a martial nature. He held the commis- 
sion of a colonel under the governor of Massachusetts, in 
the militia, during or at the close of the ^var. 

In 1781, he commenced business in Boston, as the active 
partner in a bookstore, in company with Isaiah Thomas, of 
Worcester, a man who delighted in being useful, and assisted 
many 3'oung men in their commencement of life. He re- 
mained in this occupation six years; and during the time, 
married iMiss Anna Darant, the daughter of Cornelius Dar- 
ant, Esq., a rich merchant of that place. She was a woman 
of superior intellect, beautiful person, and great excellence 
of character, the impress of which descended to her children. 
This bookstore was the second one ever opened in Boston, 
the first being kept by Mr. Guile, to which was added a cir- 
culating library to aid in keeping up the establishment. 
While here he was elected to the command of the Ancient 
and Honorable Artillery Company, a noted band of military 
men, composed of officers of good standing and character. 
On the formation of the Ohio Company, he became an 
associate, and was appointed one of their agents. On the 
sixth of April, 17SS, the day before the pioneers landed at 
^Marietta, he left Boston in company with Col. John 3Iay 
and others, by water, for the mouth of the ^Muskingum, b}' 
way of Baltimore. After a six weeks' tour in crossing the 
mountaiiis, by almost impassable roads, \vith their heavy- 
loaded \vagon, they reached the place of destination the last 
of May. During the following summer he employed 

!■; B E N E Z i: II J} A T T E L L E . 'i 5 1 

in crc{;tlii<^ a dwelling-house, in the front curtain of Cainpun 
IMartius, for the r(;ception of liin family. The first Court of 
(Quarter Sessions, held the 9th of Seplenihor, was ojjtned 
in his house, as appears by the old records ol' that court. 
In October, 17S8, he recrossed \\a) mountains to meet his 
iamily at l]altimoi-e, and guide them o\er the AHeghenies. 
He Ibund them under llic care of Mr. Daniel ]\Iayo, a young 
gentleman who had recently graduated at Candjridge, and 
became a resident of A'^ewport, Ky., after the close of the 
Indian ^var. Their journey, at this late season of the year, 
was very trying to j\Irs. Battcllc, who had all her life been 
nurtured in the comforts of a city. At Simrefs ferry, a noted 
place of embarkation for emigrants, they met with several 
other New England families, amongst them, Isaac Pierce, 
Charles Green, and Capt. Zebulon King, who, the next 
spring, was killed by the Indians. The last of Xovembcr, 
eight families embarked in one boat, and that not a large 
one, and arrived at Marietta in December. Here they met 
with a hearty welcome from the five or six females and heads 
of families who had come on in August preceding. The 
winter was passed very pleasantly in Campus IMartius, in 
the company of such men as Gens. A'arnum, Parsons, and 
Putnam, with Gov. .St. Clair and the officers of Fort Ilarmer. 
The Indians were yet all friendly, and an abundance of vviki 
game, with a good stock of pro^ isions from Pittsbui-g, ren- 
dered this as delightful a season as any that occurred fov 
many years thereafter. 

That winter an association was formed for the settlement 
at Bclpre, composed almost entirely of the old officers of 
the continental line. Col. Battcllc united himseU" with 
these enterprising and intelligent men, and in tlu; spring of 
17 SO proceeded to clear his land and erect a stout block- 
house for the reception of his family. On the 1st day of 
May, one of the associates, Capt. King, from Rhode Island, 


was killed by the Indians, while peaceably at work on his 
new land. The following day Col. Battelle, with two of his 
sons and Griffin Greene, Esq., embarked at Marietta in a 
large canoe, with farming tools, provisions, &c. On their 
way down they were hailed by some one from the shore, 
and informed of this sad event. They landed and held a 
consultation on what was best to be done. Some were for 
returning; but they finally decided on proceeding. The 
block-houses of the two emigrants were near each other, 
and nearly opposite to the middle of Backus' island, on the 
spot afterward occupied by Farmers' castle. After landing, 
the other settlers came and joined them for mutual defense, 
and through the night kept up a military guard, in the old 
Revolii.tionary stjde, the sentinel calling out every fifteen 
minutes, "All's well," not thinking this would give the skulk- 
ing Indians notice where to find them. No enemy, how- 
ever, molested them during the night, and their fears of 
attack gradually subsided. They were not again disturbed 
until the winter of 1791. 

Early in April, before any families had moved on to the 
ground, a party of officers from Fort Harmer, with their 
wives, and a few ladies from Marietta, made a visit to the 
new settlement, in the officer's barge, a fine, large boat, 
rowed with twelve oars. These were the first white females 
who ever set foot on the soil of Belpre. On their return. 
Col. Battelle, with several others, accompanied them by 
water in a canoe, and another party by land. While on 
the voyage, a large bear was discovered swimming across 
the river. The landsmen fired at him u'ith their muskets 
and riflcfj, but without effect. The canoe then ranged along- 
side, vvhen Col. Battelle seized him by the tail, and when 
the bear attempted to bite his hand, he raised his hind parts, 
throwing his head under water, and thus escaped his teeth. 
One of hid companions soon killed him with an axe. He 


weighed over three huiuh-ed pounds, and aOorded several 
fine dinners to his captors. In 1790, owinj^ to early front.-* 
and ]al(^ plantint^ the year previous, the inhabitants were 
left without bread-.^tuff, corn being their chief dependence. 
Their tfuflerings were very great, until the crop of 1790 was 
gathered, which proved to be plentiful, and after that time 
they did not sufier again for food. During the Indian war 
hid family was sheltered in Farmers' castle, and all escaped 
injury, though often in danger. Several of the inmates 
were killed. 

In the plan of Farmers' castle, his block-house occupied 
the northeast corner. In their lower room of this building, 
regularly on the Sabbath, divine worship was kept up by 
the inhabitants. His son Ebenezer, a lad of fourteen years, 
was drummer to the garrison, and at the hour of service 
marched with his drum the whole length of the castle, sum- 
moning the people to worship. Col. Battelle officiated as 
chaplain, sometimes delivering his own discourses, and, at 
others, reading the sermons of a standard divine ; so that 
the Sabbath was honored and generally respected by the 

He died at the residence of his son, in Newport, Washing- 
ton count}', Ohio, in the year 1815. 

He left three sons and one daughter, Cornelius, Ebenezer, 

and Thomas. Cornelius and Thomas, at the close of the 

war, went to the West Indies, where a rich uncle put them 

into lucrative business. Thomas married the daughter of 

Gov. Livingston, of New York, and Cornelius the daughter 

of a rich planter. Louisa remained single, and Jived in 

Boston with her mother's relatives. Ebenezer settled on a 

farm in Newport, and has a numerous family of children, 

noted for their intelligence and respectability. 


Col. Israel Putxam was the eldest son of Gen. Israel Put- 
nam, of Pomfret, Conn., but was born in the town of Salem, 
Mass., in 1739. He had three brothers, Daniel, David and 
Schuyler, whose native place was Pomfret. His early days 
were passed on the farm, and he Avas bred to the noble art 
of agriculture, an art without which all other arts are useless. 
This gave him a vigorous, healthy frame, and fitted him for 
the turmoils of the camp or the labors of the field. 

His education was similar to that of the sons of the sm*- 
rounding yeomanry, equal to all the common concerns of 
life. As a proof that Gen. Putnam highly valued learning 
and the cultivation of the mind, he collected a large library 
of the most useful books ; embracing history, belles-lettres, 
travels, &c., for the benefit of himself and children, called 
the Putnam family library. After his death they were 
divided amongst the heirs, and quite a number of them 
found their way to Ohio, being brought out by his son and 

About the year 1764, he married Miss Sarah Waldo, of 
an ancient and honorable family in Pomfret, and a woman 
of excellent qualities, with whom he passed a long and happy 

On the 20th of April. 1775, when the news of the battle 
of Lexington arrived, flying on the wings of the Avind, his 
father, Col. Putnam, was plowing in the field with four oxen, 
lie left them standing in their yokes, and hastening to the 
stable, mounted one of his fleetest horses, without even 
changing his dress, and started for the scene of action. The 
distance was one hundred miles, which he accomplished by 


a relay of horses, in twenty-four hours. Shortly after his 
departure, hi.s son Lsrael raised a company of volunteers, of 
which he was the captain, and marched to Cambridge, where 
lie remained under his father's orders until tlie arrival of 
(.!en. Washington. Soon after this time, Col. Putnam was 
commissioned by Congress as a major-general, and on the 
22d of July, Capt. Putnam and Lieut. Samuel Webb were 
appointed his aids. He accompanied his father to New 
York, ^vhere he took command of that division of the army, 
and to the posts on the Hudson river. Having but little 
taste for military life, to which calling neither his address nor 
personal appearance fitted him, being diffident and awkward 
in liis manners, but naturally fearless and brave like all his 
name, after spending about three years in the army, he con- 
cluded to quit the service and devote his attention to the 
farm, for which he was eminently fitted, both by inclina- 
tion and practice. While absent from his home, his wife 
took charge of the family of six children. She was a woman 
of great spirit, and as firm a patriot as the general himself, 
hating, with all her soul and strength, the British oppressors 
of her countiy, who were technically called Redcoats, and 
loving with equal ardor the American soldiers, supplying 
them with food and clothing to the extent of her abilities. 
In the winter of 1770, when the patriot troops sufiered so 
much from the want of warm garments, she had spun and 
wove in her own house, a number of blankets made of the 
finest wool in the flock, and sent on for their relief. N^umer- 
ous pairs of stockings were also manufactured by her own 
hands, and contributed in the same way. No one at this 
day knows or can appreciate the value of the labors of 
American females in achieving our freedom. They wrought 
and suffered in silence, bearing many privations in common 
with their husbands and sons in the days which tried the 
patriotism of the colonists. She was a w^oman of elevated 


mind and great personal courage, worthy of. the family to 
which she was allied. In the absence of her husband, when 
the vultures and hawks attacked the poultry, she could load 
and fire his light fowling-piece at them, without dodging at 
the flash. 

While at Harlem hights, Col. Putnam purchased two fine 
bulls, to improve his stock of cattle ; one was black, and a 
full-blooded English animal ; the other, an American, of a 
mottled color. From these, crossed with his best native 
cows, was raised a very superior stock, celebrated for size, 
and their excellent qualities for the dairy. Oxen of this 
breed were brought out to Ohio in the year 1788, and cows 
in 1795, which were as famous for milk as the noted Dur- 
hams of this day. During the period of the Revolution, 
amidst all their other cares, intelligent American farmers 
found time to attend to the improvement of their farming 
operations, as well as to the calls of military duties. 

When the Ohio Company was formed, he became an as- 
sociate; and with two of his sons crossed the mountains, 
bringing a wagon load of farming utensils ; but left his wife 
and other children in Pomfret, until a farm was provided 
for their comfort in the wilderness. His team was composed 
of two yokes of oxen, sprung from this famous stock. The 
adventure in crossing the North river, related in the biogra- 
phy of his son Waldo, took place on this journey ; and his 
life was saved by one of these fine oxen. At the formation 
of the settlement in Belpre, in the spring of 1789, he joined 
that community, locating his farm in the broad, beautiful 
bottom on the Ohio river, opposite to the mouth of the Lit- 
tle Kenawha. Here he remained, clearing and fencing tlie 
land, until the fall of 1790, v>'hen he returned to Connecticut 
for his family. The Indian war broke out in January fol- 
lowing, and he did not return until after the peace of 1795. 

His wealth, although not great, yet gave him fixcilities for 


improving his lands and erecting l)uildings, rather Buperior 
to most of the other associates, who were generally in very 
moderate circumstances, lie was a practical and intelli- 
gent agriculturist, who, by his example and precepts, was 
the means of giving a correct tone to the progress oi' farm- 
ing in Belpre, thus conferring a direct benefit on the country. 
In all public improvements on the roads and bridges, so use- 
ful in new settlements, he was a leading and influential 
man ; also, in the support of schools and the gospel ; read- 
ing on the Sabbath, in their social meetings, when they had 
no preacher, the prayers of the Episcopal church, and a ser- 
mon from the work of some pious divine ; thus doing all in 
his power for the good of his fellow men. 

lie was the father of a numerous family ; five sons and 
three daughters, viz. : Israel, Aaron Waldo, David, William 
Pitt, and George Washington. These all settled in Ohio, 
and three of them as farmers. William Pitt Putnam was a 
physician, and came to Marietta in 1792, in the midst of the 
war, and practiced medicine. David Putnam also settled in 
Marietta, in 1798, as a lawyer, and is now the only survivor. 
The daughters married as follows : Sarah to Samuel Thor- 
nily, Mary to Daniel Mayo, and Elizabeth to Joel Craig; the 
two latter settled in Newport, Ky., opposite to Cincinnati, 
where their descendants now live. 

Col. Putnam was a man of sound, vigorous mind, and re- 
markable for his plain, common sense ; abrupt and homely 
in his manners and address, but perfectly honest and up- 
right in Ids intercourse with mankind. lie was a strict 
utilitarian; esteeming the useful much more highly than the 
ornamental. In his life he practiced all the Clu-istian vir- 
tues, and died in the full hope of a blessed immortality. 


Maj. Nathan Goodale was born in Brookfield, Mass., about 
the year 1743. His father died when he was quite young, 
and his mother married a Mr. Ware, of llutland, where he 
was removed to his new home, and passed his early years, 
to the time of manhood, on a farm, and in learning the trade 
of a bricklayer; thus laying the foundation for that vigorous, 
muscular frame, which enabled him to undergo the fatigues 
and exposures of a military life, at a time when the army 
afforded few facilities for the comfort of the soldier. No 
other set of men could have borne up under the trials of 
want, famine, and a lack of all the common necessaries of 
life, for several years in succession, as did the American 
soldiers, but such as had been inured like the Spartans, in 
childhood, to bear suffering with patience. His education 
was rather above that of the common schools of that day, 
for we find him, at an early period of the war, employed by 
Gen. Putnam as an assistant engineer. 

At a suitable age he married Elizabeth Phelps, of Rut- 
land, on the 11th of September, 17G5. About the year 1770 
he moved his family to Brookfield, where he purchased a 
farm two miles from the center of the town. His three old- 
est children were born in Rutland, as we learn from the 
town records. 

From this time to the rupture with the motlier country, in 
177;"), ho continued to labor on his farm, and to work at his 
trade of bricklaying; but as nearly all the houses of thai 
day were juade of \vood, his mechanical work was chielly 
confined to cliininoys. I-'or some time previous to the first 
hostilities, he had, with thousands of his countrvmcn, been 


preparing fur the day of strife, whicli every thinking rnan 
foresaw must soon arrive, by practicing mihtary exercises, 
and collecting arms and anmiunition. Many of these vol- 
unteer companies were aptly called, by the New Tingland- 
ers, who are never at a loss for a phrase to express exactly 
their meaning, "Minute men." They were, indeed, minute 
men, and when the first notice of alarm echoed from hill to 
hill, all over the country, at the bloodshed at Lexington, 
they were ready, at a moment's warning, to pour their thou- 
sands on thousands into the vicinity of Boston, the strong- 
hold of the British, uhich nothing but the lack of battering 
cannon and ammunition hindered them immediately from 
storming. iMr. Goodale here first saw the actual movements 
of military life, and immediately entered into the service of 
his country, as a lieutenant. It being uncertain how long 
he might remain in the army, the homestead of his early 
manhood was sold, and his family resided, during the war, 
in rented premises. With what spirit and enterprise he en- 
tered into the service, and how well his activity and talents 
were adapted to tlic trying exigencies of a partisan ofTicer, 
the most difficult of all military duties, will be best shown 
by a letter from Gen. Rufus Putnam to Gen. Washington. 
near the close of the war: 

"jMassaciiusett.s Huts, June 9th, 1783. 
Sir : I do myself the honor to inclose a letter I received a 
few days since from Capt. Goodale, of the fifth iMassacliu- 
setts regiment. I confess I feel a conviction of neglect of 
duty in respect to this gentleman; that I have not, till tliis 
moment, taken any measures to bring his services to public 
view, has been owing to the confidence I had, that Gen. 
Gates would have done it, as the most extraordinary of them 
were performed under his own orders, and as he gave re- 
peated assurances that they should not be forgotten. I am 


sorry that Gen. Gates is now out of camp, for welre he not, 
I should appeal to him on the subject, but as I a,m sure so 
worthy a character, and such important services, ought not 
to be buried in oblivion, or pass unrewarded, I beg your 
excellency's patience a few moments, while I give a short 
detail of them. Capt. Goodale was among the first who 
embarked in the common cause in 1775. He served that 
year as a lieutenant in the same regiment with me. I had 
long before known him to be a man of spirit, and his probity 
and attention to service soon gained him the character of a 
worthy officer. In 177G, he entered again as a lieutenant, 
but served with me the most of the jear as an assistant 
engineer, and the public are much indebted to him for the 
dispatch and propriety with which several of the works about 
New York were executed. In the dark month of November, 
1776, Mr. Goodale entered the service as a captain in the 
regiment under my command, and was in the field early the 
next spring; but, although he always discovered a thirst for 
enterprise, yet fortune never gave his genius fair play till 
August, 1777. It is well known into what a panic the 
country, and even the northern army, were thrown on the 
taking of Ticonderoga. When Gen. Gates took command 
in that quarter, our army lay at Van Shaick's island; and 
Mr. Burgoyne, with his black wings and painted legions, lay 
at Saratoga. The woods were so infested with savages, that 
for sometime none of the scouts who were sent out for the 
pm"pose of obtaining prisoners or intelligence of the enemy's 
situation, succeeded in cither. Gen. Gates being vexed at 
continual disappointments, desired an officer to procure him 
a man that would undertake, at all hazards, to perform this 
service. Capt. Goodale being spoken to, voluntarily under- 
took the business under the following orders from Gen. 
Gates. 'Sir: You are to choose out a sergeant and six 


privates, .•iiid ])r<)cee(l with them to the fiicmy's cam]), unlcHrf 
you h)se your life or arc captiu-cd, and not return until you 
obtain a lull kno\vlcd<^c of their situation.' 

Ca])t. Cloodalc, in his report of thi.s scout, says it was not 
perfornunl without great fatigue, as the party was much 
harassed by th(^- Indians, which occasioned their being in the 
woods three days without })rovisions. However, he suc- 
ceeded beyond expectation; fn-st throwing himself between 
their out-guards and their camp, where ho concealed his 
party until he examined their situation very fully, and then 
brought off six prisoners, which he took within their guards, 
and returned to Gen. Gates without any loss. This success 
induced Gen. Gates to continue him on that kind of service. 
A full detail of all the art and address which he discovered 
during the remainder of that campaign, would make my 
letter quite too long. It may be enough to observe that 
before the capture of the British army, one hundred and 
twenty-one prisoners fell into his hands. But as Capt. 
Goodale is no less brave and determined in the open field, 
where opposed to regular troops, than he is artful as a 
partizan of the woods, I beg your patience while I recite 
one instance of this kind. A day or two after jMr. Burgoyne 
retreated to Saratoga, in a foggy morning, Nixon's brigade 
was ordered to cross the creek which separated the two 
armies, Capt. Goodale, with forty volunteers, went over 
before the advance guard. He soon fell in with a Ihitish 
guard of about the same number. The ground was an 
open plain, but the fog prevented their disco\ering each 
other till they were \vithin a few yards, when both ])artics 
made ready nearly at the same time. Capt. Goodale, in 
this position reserving his fire, advanced inunediately upon 
the enemy, who waited \vith a design to draw it from him; 
but he had the address to intimidate them in such a manner, 
by threatening immediate death to any one that should fire. 


that not more than two or three obeyed the order of their 
own officer, when he gave the word. The event was, that 
the officer and tMrty-four of the guard were made prisoners. 
These, sir, arc the services which Capt. Goodale and his 
friends conceive have merited more attention than has been 
paid to them; and, at least, merit a majority as much a^ 
Maj. Summers' unsuccessful command of a boat a few 
months on Lake Champlain. But if the tables are reversed, 
and the ill luck of a brave man should be the only recom- 
mendation to promotion, Capt. Goodale, I believe, has as 
great pretensions as most men, for he is the unfortunate 
officer who commanded about forty white men, and being 
joined by about the same number of Indians, fought more 
than one thousand of the enemy below Valentine's hill in 
1778, until near two-thirds were killed, himself and most of 
the rest made prisoners. But I mention this not so much 
to show his bravery, for he takes no merit from that action, 
but always lamented the necessity he was under from the 
orders he received, to do what he did. In writing to me on 
the subject, he says: 'At this time a number of bra^ e men 
were sacrificed to bad orders: but, as they \vere not my 
orders, I hope the candid will not censure me.' Having 
stated thes^, facts, I beg leave to request your excellency 
will lay them before Congress, &c. He goes on to say, 
Gen. Washington forwarded my letter to the secretary of 
war; but as about this time Congress came to a resolution 
to raise the rank of all officers one grade who had not been 
promoted since their entrance into service, the 1st of January, 
1777, ]Maj. Goodale received promotion with the rest, and 
thus never had that justice done him vrhich he so highly 

Thus far Gen. Putnam testifies to the valuable services 
of this brave and noble-minded man. Had Gen. Glates, as 
in dutv bound, given notice to Congress of the heroic exploits 


of Capt. Goodalc, in collecting inlbnnation of the move- 
ments of Burgoyne, so essential to the welfare of the Ameri- 
can army, he would no doubt have received the promotion 
so justly his due. But Gates was a selfish, proud man, who 
cared little for the interest of others, j)rovided his own per- 
sonal wishes were accomplished. 

From another hand a more detailed account is given of 
the action at A alentine's hill. It seems that the commander 
of the troops to which he was attached, had ordered him to 
keep possession of a certain pass, important to the Ameri- 
cans, at all hazards, without any discretionary power as to 
contingencies. His command consisted, as above-stated, of 
about fort}^ light-infantry and a number of Indians, who 
stood the attack of a large body of the enemy and a com- 
pany of cavalry, until there were only seventeen men left 
alive out of the forty. iSear the close of the combat, the 
officer who led the charge rushed upon him with his sword. 
Capt. Goodale, with a loaded musket which he had probably 
picked up from one of his fallen men, shot the Briton dead 
from his horse as he approached. In a moment, another 
of the enemy, seeing the fall of his leader, sprung at him in 
desperation, with full purpose to revenge his death. The 
musket being discharged, the only resource was to parry the 
descending blow, aimed at his head, in the best manner he 
could, \vith the empty piece. It fell obliquely, being turned 
a little from its course by the musket, and instead of splitting 
the skull of its intended victim, glanced on the bone, peeling 
up a portion of the scalp several inches in length. The 
stunning ellects of t!ic blow felled him to the cartli, but di- 
rectly recovering, he rose to his feet, hi the meantime, the 
cavalry man, who had leaned forward in the saddle further 
than prudent to give a certain death-stroke, lost his lialance, 
when the heavy sword glanced from the skull and fell to the 
earth. The bayonet of Capt. Goodale instantly pinned him 


to the ground, and left him dead by the side of his leader. 
Thus two of the enemy fell by his hand in a space of time 
less than a minute. Seeing all prospect of further resistance 
useless, he retreated with the balance of his men to an open 
woodland, near the scene of action, and secreted himself 
under a pile of brush. An Indian had hidden under another 
heap, Avhere they might have remained in safety until dark 
and then escaped; but the savage having an opportunity to 
shoot one of the enemy who approached their hiding-place, 
he could not resist the chance of adding another scalp to 
his trophies, and shot him. The report of the shot revealed 
their hiding-place, and being discovered, were made pris- 
oners. How long he remained in durance does not appear 
from the imperfect memorials left of his military life. It is 
probable he was shut up in the old Jersey prison-ship at 
New York, as his children have a tradition that he was 
poisoned, from the fact of a long sickness he suffered after 
his return home. But it is more probable that the poison 
was that of human malaria, received in that pest-house of 
British cruelty, which killed more Americans than all those 
who fell in battle during the whole war, being estimated at 
twelve or fourteen thousand. It is one of the foulest stains 
on the English nation, that ever disgraced their character. 

During the war he received one other wound in the leg, 
from a musket or grape shot. Could all his adventures be 
collected they would make one of the most interesting of 
biographies; but time, and a lire which destroyed his papers 
at Belpre some years after his death, have put this matter 
to rest, and these scanty gleanings are all that are left of 
his military life. 

At the close of the war he entered into mercantile busi- 
ness, in company with Col. Cushing, a brother officer. Not 
succeeding in this to his expectations, he sold out. and 
bought a farm on Coit's hill, in the north part of the town 


of Brookficld. In the piirsuitrf of agriculture he uaa as 
much at home as in mihtary matters, having a natural taste 
for cultivation, and engaged in this primitive employment 
with his characteristic ardor and perseverance, at a time 
when improvements of all kinds were at a low ebb; the 
country during the war having retrograded, amidst the trials 
of that eventful period. Mr. Goodale was remarkable for 
his industry, and thorough, neat manner in which he con- 
ducted all the operations of the farm. The forecast and 
wisdom of the man may be seen before setting out on his 
jom-ney to Ohio, in the course he pursued in preparing for 
it. Knowing that a superior breed of neat cattle is all-im- 
portant to the farmer, and more especially to one beginning 
in a new country, instead of taking a team of oxen, or 
horses, as all other men did, to haul their wagons, he, after 
deciding on joining the new colony, selected tlu-ee of the 
best cows and one of the finest bulls to be found in that vi- 
cinity, and trained them to work together in a team. With 
this novel working power, he drew on the wagon, with a 
part of his family and household goods, to Marietta, per- 
forming the journey with as much ease, and in as short a 
time, as the best of oxen. He had also the profit of their 
milk for the use of the family along the road. The stock 
from this breed of cattle has been spread through the 
county, and is held in high estimation at this day, for their 
perfect forms, gentle dispositions, and great abundance of 
rich milk; constituting them, on all accounts, the best daiiy 
stock ever introduced to the country. They arc known as 
the " Goodale breed," still retaining many of their original 

Maj. Goodale arrived at the mouth of the Muskingum on 
the '2d of July, 1788, in company with several other families 
from ^Massachusetts, descending the Ohio, from Wheeling, 
in a (latboat. In August he was appointed, by Gov. St. 


Clair, who soon organized the militia, captain of a company 
of light-infantry, selected from amongst the most active men 
of the colony. This company held regular musters, until 
the commencement of the war, when each man was con- 
fined to the defense of his own garrison, in the settlement 
where he lived. His experience in military affairs rendered 
him a very able and efficient officer, familiar with all the 
details of actual service. 

In April, 1789, he moved his family to Belpre, being a 
leading associate of the colony. During the short period 
he was permitted to live in that place, he was considered to 
be one of the most industrious, persevering, and thoroughly 
educated farmers in the county; clearing his land in the 
most rapid manner, fencing and cultivating it in the best 
style. In the famine of 1790 his family suffered, with the rest 
of their neighbors, for wholesome bread-stuff. When the war 
broke out in 1791, he was one of the most active and reso- 
lute men in planning and erecting the fortified village called 
Farmers' castle, in which they all resided during the first 
two years of the war. In making the arrangements for the 
defense and military government of the garrison, he was the 
leading man; and the command was, by unanimous con- 
sent, given to him, as the most experienced in warlike mat- 
ters. In the winter of 1793 the place had become too strait 
for the numerous families congregated within its walls, and 
it was decided to erect two additional stockades ; one a mile 
and a half below, on Maj. Goodale's farm, and one on Capt. 
Stone's land, just below the mouth of the Little Kenawha, 
called the "Upper settlement." 

He had been but a week in his new garrison, when the 
colony met with the most serious loss it had yet sustained 
from their Indian enemies, in the captivity and death of 
Maj. Cloodale. On the first day of March, 1793, ho was at 
work in a clearing on his farm, distant about forty or fifty 


rods from the garrison, hauling rail tinil^rr with a yoke of 
oxen. It lay back of the firyt bottom, on the edge of the 
plain, in open view of the station. An Irishman, named 
John ]Magee, Avas at work, grubbing or digging out the roots 
of the bushen and email trees, on the t^lope of the plain, as 
it descends on to the bottom, but out of sight of 3Iaj. Good- 
ale. The Indians made so little noise in their assault, that 
John did not hear them. The first notice of this disaster, 
was the view of the oxen seen from the garrison, standing 
quietly in the field, with no one near them. After an hour 
or more thoy were observed to be still in the same place, 
when suspicion arose that some disaster had happened to 
Mr. Goodale. John was still busy at his work, unconscious 
of any alarm, when one of the men sent up from the gar- 
rison, passed him to inquire what was the matter. In the 
edge of the woods there was a thin layer of snow, on which 
the messenger discovered several moccasin tracks. It was 
now apparent that Indians had been there, and taken him 
prisoner, as no blood was seen on the ground. A small 
party followed the trail some distance, but soon lost it. The 
following day a larger body of men, with some of the rang- 
ers, were sent in pursuit, but returned without making any 
discovery. The Ohio river at this time, with many of the 
smaller streams, was at nearly full banks, and less dan- 
ger was apprehended on that account; it was also rather 
early in the season for Indians to approach the settlements. 
The uncertainty of his condition left room for the imagina- 
tion to fancy every thing horrible in his fate : more terrible 
to bear, than the actual knowledge of his death. 

Great was the distress of jNIrs. Goodale and the children, 
overwhelmed with this unexpected calamity. His loss threw 
a deep gloom over the whole community, as no man was 
so highly valued amongst them, neither was there any one 
whose council and influence were equally prized by the 


settlement. He was, in fact, the life and soul of this isolated 
community, and left a vacancy that none of his companions 
could fill. One of the early colonists thus speaks of him: 
" His memoiy was for many years fresh and gi'een in the 
hearts of his cotemporary pioneers, now all passed away, and 
is still cherished with respect and affection by their descend- 
ants." (Judge Barker's notes.) So greatly depressed were 
the inhabitants at his loss, that they awoke with new feel- 
ings in regard to their dangerous position on the outer verge 
of civilization. While he was living amongst them a cer- 
tain degree of safety was felt, that vanished at his loss. 

On the 14th of IMarch they forwarded a petition to Gen. 
Washington, whom they regarded with parental veneration, 
a copy of which has been preserved, setting forth their ex- 
posed situation and losses by the Indians. It is stated that 
six of their number have been killed, besides the recent loss 
of Maj. Goodale ; that one-third of their cattle, and produce 
of their lands, had been destroyed by the Indians, and they 
were fearful of a total breaking up of the settlement, unless 
the government afforded them a larger number of men for 
protection, their usual United States guard being only a 
corporal and four privates, detailed from the post at Mari- 
etta. The number of the settlers at the tlii-ee stations were 
fifty-two men, and one hundred and forty-nine women and 

At the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, when the captives 
were given up b}' the Indians, some intelligence was ob- 
tained of nearly all the persons taken prisoners from this 
part of the territory, but none of the fate of iMaj. Goodale. 
A deep myster}' seemed to hang over his destiny, never to 
be revealed. At length, about the year 171)9, Col. Forrest 
Meeker, since a citizen of Delaware county, Ohio, and well 
acquainted with the family of Maj. Goodale, and tlie cir- 
cumstances of this event, wlien at Detroit, fell in comi)any 

N A T II AN GOOD A L E . 309 

with Ihree Indians, who related to hini the parlicular.s of 
their taking a man prisoner at Belpre, in the .spring of 1793. 
Their de.scri})tion of hi.s per.<on k'ft no doubt on the mind of 
Col. Meeker, of its being jNIaj. Goodale. They stated that 
a i)arty of eight Indians were watcliing the settlement for 
mir^chief ; and as they lay concealed on the side of the hill 
back of the plain, they heard a man driving, or talking to 
his oxen, as they expressed it. After carefully examining 
his movements, they saw him leave his work and go down 
to the garrison, in the middle of the day. Knowing that he 
would return soon, they secreted themselves in the edge of 
the woods, and while he was occupied with his work, sprang 
out and seized upon him, before he was aware of their 
presence, or could make any defense, threatening him with 
death if he made a noise or resisted. After securing him 
with thongs, they commenced a hasty retreat, intending to 
take him to Detroit and get a large ransom for him. Some- 
where on the Miami, or at Sandusky, he fell sick and could 
not travel, and that he finally died of this sickness. A Mrs. 
Whitaker, the wife of an Indian trader at Lower Sandusky, 
has since related the same fact. She says the Indians left 
him at her house, where he died of a disease like the pleu- 
risy, without having received any very ill usage from his 
captors, other than the means necessary to prevent his 
escape. This is probably a correct account of his fate; 
and although his death was a melancholy one, amongst 
strangers, in captivity, and far away from the sympathy and 
care of his friends, yot it is a relief to know that he did not 

perish at the stake, nor by the tomahawk of the savages. 


Maj. Robert Bradford was born in old Plymouth, Mass., 
in the year 1750. He was a lineal descendant of Gov. 
Bradford, of about the fifth remove. His wife was Kezia 
Little, the daughter of Capt. Nathaniel Little, of Kingston, 
Plymouth county. 

He entered early, and with all his heart, into the service 
of his country dming the Revolutionary war, and for the 
larger portion of tliat period commanded a company of 
light-infantry. His mihtary life commenced at the battle 
of Bunker hill, and ended w4th the capture of Cornwallis at 
Yorktown, being actually engaged in nearly all the pitched 
battles fought in the eastern and middle states. With many 
others of the American officers, he received the gift of an 
elegant sword, from the Marquis Lafayette, as a mark of 
his esteem, which yet remains in the hands of his only sur- 
viving son, O. L. Bradford, of Wood county, Va. He also 
has in his possession, as family relics, some of the old fur- 
niture that came over in the May-flower. Amongst them 
w^as a pair of hand-irons, one only now being preserved; 
the other was destroyed accidentally a few years since. 
Being of an ardent temperament, and ambitious to excel in 
military exercises, and to do his whole duty, Lafayette one 
day witnessed the exactness of the evolutions of his com- 
pany, and spoke in the warmest terms of their merits. 
When he was in Marietta, in the year 1820, he inquired 
particularly after jMaj. Bradford; and when told that he was 
dead, he expressed his regret with much feeling. The 
of more than forty years had consigned the larger portion 


of his old comrades to their graves, and his inquiries after 
his Revolutionary associates, were often answered with that 
short and melancholy phrase, " He is dead!" 

At the close of the war he received an honorable dis- 
charge, and the brevet rank of major. With others of his 
brother officers, he suffered great loss by the depreciation 
of the United States securities, and the worthlessncss of the 
paper currency, in which his long and arduous services were 
paid. But the main object of his taking up arms was se- 
cured, the liberty of his country, which he lived to enjoy 
for many years. 

When the Ohio Company was formed, he became an as- 
sociate, and moved his family to Marietta, in the year 1788. 
In 1780 he joined the band of old officers who settled 13el- 
pre, where he suffered the privations of famine, and the 
dangers of the rifle and scalping-knife of the Indians, 
having several narrow escapes from these wily sons of the 
forest. During the prevalence of the putrid sore throat in 
1792, he suffered a greater loss of children than any other 
family. Out of four or five, all died but one, with that 

In 1794, during the Indian war, he went out into the Indian 
country, about eighty miles from the settlements, in com- 
pany with Griffin Greene, and others, to discover the site 
of the Scioto Salt Springs, of which vague rumors had 
been heard from the reports of white prisoners. After sev- 
eral days' search, they were found by following the Indian 
and buffalo paths which led to them, and by long use had 
been worn to a depth of more than a foot, for several miles 
in extent. Another indication was the remains of the fires, 
where the squaws had recently boiled the brine collected 
4 from a cavity in the rock, cut with their tomahawks, in the 
bed of the creek, and now full of saline water. On their 
return, they narrowly escaped pursuit from a large party of 

372 A. W. PUTNAM. 

Indians, who came in sight on the bank of the river, a few 
minutes after their boat had left the shore. Mr. Bradford 
and the inmates of Farmers' castle never expected to see 
them again amongst the living. 

He died in the year 1823, during the period of the great 
epidemic fever, which removed a number of the old soldiers, 
aged seventy-two years. 

Maj. Bradford was a man of a warm heart, cheerful, lively 
temperament, and sound judgment. He ranked with the 
most worthy cultivators of the soil in the settlement. In 
person he was rather tall, erect, and active; strongly marked 
and bold features, indicative of courage and resolution; 
with the bearing of a soldier. He was a man whose vu'tues 
and name are worthy of preservation, amongst the defend- 
ers of an infant colony, and the pioneers of the valley of 
the Ohio. 


Aaron Waldo Putxam, the second son of Col. Israel Put- 
nam, was born in Pomfret, Conn., the 18th of April, A. D. 

During his boyhood and youth he assisted his father in 
cultivating the farm ; the larger portion of that name being 
tillers of the earth. In the summer of 1788, wlien he was 
twenty-one years old, he accompanied his father on his long 
and tedious journey to Marietta, where the Ohio Company 
had just commenced a settlement. Col. Putnam did not, 
at this time, move his family, taking only a few household 

A. W. rUTNAM. 373 

goody, with agricultural implements and mechanical tools, 
the heavy load being transported by a team of two yoke of 
oxen, this patient but steady animal being well suited to the 
diflicult passes of the mountains, and when at the journey's 
end less likely to be stolen by the Indians than horses. 

In crossing the North river, at Fishkill, a serious accident 
happened, which served to display the coolness and pres- 
ence of mind of the Putnam race, in cases of unexpected 
danger. The oxen were crossed in a flatboat, separate from 
the wagon, under the care of young Waldo. The river is 
here a mile wide, or more. A sudden gale of wind raised 
such a sea, that the boat filled and began to sink. In this 
extremity, seeing that the oxen must leave the boat, he un- 
yoked them, that they might swim more freely, putting the 
iron pins of the bows carefully into his pocket. Being un- 
able to swim himself, he selected one of the most active of 
the oxen, and seizing him by the tail with one hand, and 
brandishing the whip with the other, he directed him, with 
his voice and an occasional touch of the lash, to the west- 
ern shore, distant full half a mile. The wind and the tide 
carried them down about a hundred rods below the landing, 
where they reached the solid earth in safety, after a voyage 
of more than a mile. The other oxen having no Lncnm- 
brance, made the land higher up. Finally all were collected 
without any loss of yokes, pins, or team. 

The rest of the journey to the Ohio was accomplished 
without further accident, but with immense labor and fatigue 
in crossing the mountain ranges, by roads ;vliich, in these 
days, would be called impassable; but the persevering, bold 
men of that day, overcame all diflicultics but absolute im- 
possibilities. The following winter was passed in Campus 
Martius, and in making preparations to begin the settle- 
ment in Belprc, where they moved the following spring. 
Waldo Putnam's land fell to him in the Middle settlement. 

374 A. W. PUTNAM. 

where he immediately commenced clearing and putting up 
a small log-cabin. In the fall of 1790, his father, Col. Put- 
nam, returned to Pomfret for his family. That winter the 
war began, and he did not return until after the peace. 

In 1791, the settlers had to leave their houses and go into 
garrison, which they all united in building for their common 
defense. In this Mr. Putnam passed the time during the 
five years that followed, boarding in the family of Judge 
Loring, and performing the duties of a soldier in the defense 
of the castle, every able-bodied man and boy of sixteen 
years being enrolled. During this period he became ac- 
quainted with Miss Bathsheba Loring and was united to her 
in marriage amidst the dangers and perils of the savages 
who constantly watched the garrison for prey. In the spring 
of the year 1791, for the better security of their cattle from 
the Indians, the settlers ferried a part of them across the 
Ohio into Virginia, above the head of the island, where they 
roamed in safety. 

On one of these occasions Mr. Putnam was in a flatboat 
with his negro boy Kitt, who had been brought up in the 
family, and two other men. The cattle became alarmed, 
and running to one end of the flat, sunk it. They directly 
swam to the shore without his having an opportunity to 
seize one by the tail, as on North river, leaving him and the 
others, as the boat party rose to the surface, standing up to 
their breasts in the water. A small canoe was sent out to 
their rescue that carried but two persons. The black boy 
became much alarmed, as the water was up to his chin, and 
was eager to go first to the shore, but to this the two whites 
objected. Between the circcts of the cold water and fear, 
Kitfs teeth chattered at a great rate, and he must have 
perished hnt for the stern rebukes and encouragement of Mr. 
Putnam, who bid him rise on to his toes, if the uater came 
too near his mouth, and that he must not disgrace the family 

A. W . i'UTNAM. 37.0 

name by any symptoms of fear, al though in the gr«;aU'.st 
extremity. At the third tri]), J\itt, exhausted, wa.s 
hfdped into the eanoe- with great dilliciilty by .Mr. I'litnam, 
who, now that the others had iel't him, lelt quite ^^afe, as t!ie 
boat became; more buoyant. He was iinally rebeved, after 
Heating two or three miles, without any harm but ihe chilling 
clfects of the cold water; and thus, by his calm, collected 
maimer, were all saved, while in similar circumstances, 
many timid men have been drowned. 

IMr. Putnam's improvement lay about half a mile l)clow 
the garrison. Here the stacks of grain and fodder for the 
cattle Averc deposited, and every day during the winter 
months he had to visit the yard to feed them, and to milk 
the cows. In these trips, one or more men usually went with 
him for the same object, and for greater safety. 

On one of these occasions, he had just sat do^vn to iriilk 
when Nathaniel Little, who was with him and on the look- 
out, caught sight of an Indian in the edge of the clearing, 
in the attitude of firing at him. He instantly cried out 
"Indians!" At the alarming sound, Mr. Putnam sprang to 
one side as the gun cracked, and the ball struck the ground 
a few feet from him, passing across the spot where he sat. 
They instantly fled to the garrison and escaped, though 
hotly pursued by two or three other Indians. 

At the second narrow escape, the year after, he was on 
the top of the stack, throwing down hay for the cattle. A 
small dog that they had with them began to growl and show 
signs of alarm. At this juncture, in the still calmness of a 
frostv morning, he heard the well-known click of a gun 
lock. Turning his head in the direction of the sound, he 
saw, at the distance of forty or fifty yards, an Indian behind 
the fence, in the act of re-cocking his gun, it ha-, ing missed 
fire. He instantly sprang to the ground and ran. The In- 
dian now fired, but missed his mark. AVith a tremendou.- 

376 A. W. PUTNAM. 

yell, he gave chase, in which two others joined from the 
edge of the woods, trying to cut them off at a ravine they 
had to pass on a log. The lleetness of the whites disap- 
pointed their hopes, and the log was crossed before their 
pursuers reached it. A sally was made from the garrison 
on the report of the Indian's rifle, and a gun fired at them 
by a spirited little fellow named Bull ; on which they re- 
treated back to the fodder-yard, and out of sheer spite at 
their defeat, shot down a fine large yoke of oxen belonging 
to Capt. Benjamin Miles, from Brookfield, Mass. These 
cattle were the pride of the settlement, being eight feet in 
girt, and of proportionate hight, vieing with the best breeds 
of modern days. 

Thus were the settlers in constant danger, and their lives 
in jeopardy, from a skulking, invisible foe, every time they 
left the walls of the garrison to follow the labors of the 
farm. In cultivating their crops, for the first years of the 
war, they worked in common, on each man's land, in parties 
of thirty or forty men, well armed ; and in the autumn di- 
vided the crop amongst the laborers, in proportion to the 
days' work done, of which a regular account was kept by a 
stated clerk. Generally, before the laborers left the gai-ri- 
son, the rangers made a circuit in the woods adjacent to the 
field, or scene of their labor that day. With this precau- 
tion, it was seldom that Indians came very near the set- 
tlement, without leaving some signs of their approach, 
discoverable by the rangers. 

In the spring of the year 1793, after the green feed had 
become good in the forests, the oxen and cows of Mr. Put- 
nam one night failed to come home as they usually did. 
The following morning he took his gun and sallied out into 
the woods in search of the absent animals. Expecting to 
find them in the adjacent hills, he did not ask the aid of any 
one to accojnpany him. After a little examination he 

A . W . 1' U I' N A M . 377 

discovered their trail, and followed it that day to Fort llar- 
mer, di.-;tant lifteen inile.s from I'arriH r.-' cattle. Jlerc he 
ascertained that tliey had been «een the e\ cnin*^ before, and 
par^sed the ni<^ht. In the niornin<,^ he again discovered their 
trail up the Muskingum, and Ibllowed it all that day, alone 
in the woods, not choosing to ask any one to risk his life 
with him in tliis dangerous enterprise. That e\cning he 
reached Tyler's block-house, at Waterford, twenty miles 
from JMarietta, where, to his joy, he found the strayed ani- 
mals. Here he passed the second night, very uneasy at the 
alarm and distress his young wife and friends would feel at 
his long absence. In the morning he took the precaution 
of removing the clapper from the bell of the leading ox, 
whose noisy tinkle might give notice of his approach to some 
watchful Indian, and commenced his return to the castle, 
across the country between the waters of Wolf creek and 
Little Hocking, by an obscm'c trail frequented by the ran- 
gers, and reached home, eighteen or twenty miles, just 
before dark. His long absence, three days and two nights, 
had caused him to be given up as a prisoner, or killed by 
the savages, his well known, daring character rendering the 
latter the most probable, and all the agonies of reality were 
suffered by his young and lovely wife, now the mother of 
one child, who, in the last sleepless night, had time to give 
full scope to her imagination, and picture all the cruelties 
practiced by the savages on tlieir foes. His return was so 
imlooked for and unexpected, that he was like one risen 
again from the dead, and all sorrow was turned into joy at 
his pro\idential presei-vation. 

After numerous difilculties and dangers, borne for live years 
by the stern pioneers of Farmers' castle, with the greatest 
fortitude and equanimity, peace was at length established; 
and in 1700 ]Mr. Putnam was permitted to resume the clear- 
ing and cultivating his farm, unmolested; a privilege which 

378 A. W. PUTNAM. 

none in these days can understand, or fairly appreciate. In 
a few years he had a large plantation under fence, and di- 
vided into fields, several acres of orchard, composed of the 
best varieties of the fruits of the New England and Middle 
states, sent out in 1795, by his brother Israel, who selected 
them with great care, and packed them with bees-wax, so 
that few, if any of the scions failed to grow. A young man 
named Waldo, and a relative, brought them over the moun- 
tains on horseback, in a large pair of saddle-bags. Fruit trees 
in the virgin soil of the Ohio bottoms, grew with astonishing 
rapidity, and in six or eight years were loaded with apples. 
The peach often produced the second year from the pit, bear- 
ing fruit of a size and quality not now seen in Ohio, The 
depredations of the peach insect, were unknown for more 
than twenty years, and the tree flourished and grew, undis- 
turbed by the yellows or any other enemy. Before temper- 
ance societies were known, large orchards of fifteen or 
twenty acres, were devoted to the manufacture of peach 
brandy, which bore a liberal price on the borders of the jNIis- 
sissippi, and was an article of export. As early as 1802, 
or 1803, the log cabins of several of the farmers at Belpre, 
were abandoned, and large, commodious houses of wood or 
brick, built in their place. Mr. Putnam was one of the first 
to make improvements of this kind; and his capacious, 
white house, surrounded by orchards, on the margin of the 
plain, or second bottom, became a conspicuous and beauti- 
ful object to travelers on the "Belle riviere," who saw little 
else but the wilderness and the log huts of the new settlers, 
from Pittsburg to Cincinnati. Belpre, at this period, was 
like an oasis in the desert, the only spot where the eye could 
rest with delight. A thriving dairy was added to his otlier 
operations, composed of the cows raised from his father's 
famous Harlem breed, and celebrated for their rich milk. 
A numerous family of boys and girls grew up around him, 

A. W. PUTNAM. 379 

and evciy thing prospered under his and thrifty admin- 
istration. After Mr. Bk^nnerhasKct .settled on tlie island, he 
became one of his most intimate and useful friends, giving 
him much valuable information in the management of hi.s 
new and untried farming operations. The genteel, easy 
manners, and beautiful person of Mrs. Putnam earl}' at- 
tracted the attention of jNIadam Blenncrhassett, and she 
became one of her most intimate associates, visiting each 
other with the familiarity of sisters. When tliis unfortunate 
woman, after the flight of her husband, in December, 1800, 
left the island in the midst of winter, he was the last to visit 
her in the boat, and furnished her with many necessaries, to 
make her voyage comfortable, denied her by the military 
posse from Wood county, who had taken forcible possession 
of her house. 

Mr. Putnam and his wife both died in the fatal epidemic 
of 1822, aged forty-five years, in the midst of his usefulness. 

In person he was of a medium size, with dark, expressive 
eyes, and a countenance beaming with intelligence and kind 
feelings. For public stations he had little inclination, the 
highest post being a major in the militia. His delight was 
centered in his domestic relations, and in his farm. The 
elder son, William Pitt, born in Farmers' castle, possesses 
the homestead. His children, six of whom are now living, 
are settled at various points in the valley of the Mississippi, 
and rank with the most reputable of its citizens. 


Capt. Jonathan Stone was born in New Braintree, jMass., 
in the year 1751. He was the son of a soldier, Francis 
Stone, who lost his life in the service of the king during 
the period of the colonial vassalage, while serving as a pri- 
vate soldier in the army of Gen. Wolfe, at the conquest of 
Quebec. Large numbers of the provincials sacrificed their 
lives for the good of their country during the period of the old 
French war, and especially at the seige of Havana in 17G2. 
His father was killed when he was eight years old. After 
the death of his parent, his mother married a Mr. Pearson, 
by whom she had several children. Francis, the elder 
brother, inherited the patrimonial estate, and pursued the 
occupations of farming and tanning leather, which had been 
followed by his father before him. 

The education of Jonathan extended only to reading, 
writing, and arithmetic, for which latter study he had prob- 
ably a decided relish, as in after life he became an accom- 
plished land surveyor. At a suitable age he was bound as an 
apprentice to his brother Francis. Connections of this kind 
between near relatives, are seldom fortunate or happy, and 
are much more likely to be agreeable with a stranger. Dr. 
Franklin has given us a sample of this kind, with its un- 
pleasant results, in his apprenticeship to an elder brother. 
There seems to be a disposition on one side to act the tyrant, 
and on the other to render obedience with reluctance, as it" 
the tender tie of relationship was severed when forced by 
the indenture of apprenticeship to perform certain dulies, 
whetlier willing or not. In this they conflicted so roui:hly 
with each other, that before the rxpiration of the tei'iu of 


service, Jonathan left his brother, and entered on board a 
whale-nliip at A^ewport, R. I., and was absent two years. 
What adventures he experienced in this voyage, are un- 
Jinown ; but, doubtless he learnt one salutary thing, that he 
must obey his new master, both in foul and fair weather; 
and that he could not leave the ship so easily as he did the 
house of his brother Francis. 

Soon after his return, hostilities commenced between the 
colonics and Great Britain, and he entered the service of his 
country as a volunteer, being an orderly-sergeant in Col. 
Learned's regiment. By his letters of the 29th of May, 
1775, he was then at Roxbury with the army, besieging the 
town of Boston, then the head-quarters of the king's troops 
in America. He seems to have possessed the true spirit of 
patriotism, for he says that himself and each one of the 
company to which he belonged, "Are animated with the 
glorious cause in which they are engaged, hoping to deliver 
the country from vassalage and slavery, tyranny and oppres- 
sion, that those blood-thirsty hirelings may not again be 
allowed to imbrue their filthy hands in the innocent blood of 
our neighbors," referring, no doubt, to the Lexington murders 
of the 19th of April, which had filled the whole country 
with the spirit of resistance and revenge. In August of this 
year he was sick with a fever, and he observes that the 
*' camp distemper," as the dysentery was called, prevailed 
amongst the troops, and extended into the country towns, 
as was thought by contagion from the sick soldiers. 

As a testimony of his bravery and good conduct during 
the year 1775, he was appointed a lieutenant, for on the 
11th of March, 1776, in writing to a female correspondent, 
he directs her to put Lieut, after his name, in Col. Learned's 
regiment. He also says, " We have had a great deal of 
cannonading lately. Last Saturday night I was on Dor- 
chester hights, and of our party, one surgeon and three 


soldiers were killed by one shot. They are now firing from 
Boston, and not less than thirty or forty cannon have been 
discharged since I have been writing this letter;" and it was 
but a brief one. It was at this time that the celebrated 
fascine battery was erected by Col. Putnam, on the hights, 
that soon after forced the British to evacuate the town, as 
the American guns commanded the inner harbor, and en- 
dangered the shipping. In all these stirring scenes, Lieut. 
Stone took an active part, but the particular incidents are 
not noticed in his letters, and none of his old comrades are 
living to narrate them. 

In the course of the year 1776 he was married to Susan- 
nah Mathews, of New Braintree, a young lady to whom he 
had for several years been attached. She was a daughter 
of Daniel Mathews, and her mother a sister of Gen. Rufas 
Putnam. She possessed an agreeable person, good, sound 
sense, plain, country manners, and industrious habits, being 
the child of a farmer. She displayed great energy of char- 
acter, and after her husband's death, in 1801, conducted the 
affairs of a large dairy farm with judgment and profit. 

On the 1st of January, 1777, Lieut. Stone was commis- 
sioned as paymaster in Col. Putnam's regiment. In Au- 
gust of that year he was with the army at Saratoga, and 
in September at Stillwater, quartering with Capt. Goodale, 
some of whose partisan exploits are noticed in his letters to 
his wife. He remained with the troops, partaking in all the 
dangers of the numerous engagements with the enemy, 
until the surrender of Burgoyne. In 1778 he was stationed 
at West Point, attached to Col. Putnam's regiment. In 1779 
he received a lieutenant's commission in the fifteenth regi- 
ment, and in 1781 that of captain, in which post he served 
to the close of the war. Several of these commissions are 
signed by John Hancock, in that strong, bold hand so 
conspicuous among the signatures of the Declaration of 


Indepondrncc. The Kcals attached are rcnnaikahhi f<;r hav- 
in<j a lui<,'(! rattlcriiiake ligured over the caj) of hbeity, as if 
threatening his enemies with death, and to defend it again-st 
all opposer.-^ ; the other emblems are iinpleincnts of war. 
Und(T tlu; new constitution, of 17N8, the United States se- 
lected the eagle to represent tlieir dignity and so\ereignty 
to the nations of the earth ; and if less terrific, is a much 
more beautiful and noble emblem of the grandeur and mag- 
nanimity of the republic. 

After the close of the war he returned to the peaceful oc- 
cupations of agriculture, and purchased a farm, with the 
remains of his seven years' hard service in the cause of lib- 
erty, in the town of Brookfield, Mass., then the home of Gen. 
Putnam, with whom he had been intimate during this long 
period. Having become f;imiliar with the science of lield- 
surveying, he was employed by Clen. Putnam, in 17S0 and 
1787, to assist him in surveying the lands of the state of 
^Massachusetts, on the eastern s]ior(^ of the District of Elaine, 
then a part of her territory. 

It was during the winter after the first year of this survey, 
or that of 178G, that he found, on his return, the adjacent 
counties deeply involved in an insurrection against their 
own government, commonly known as "Shays' insurrection." 
It was one of the strangest anomolies in nature, that a peo- 
ple who had just escaped from the thraldom of a tyrannical 
monarch, and had established a government of their own 
choosing, should so turn against it, and like the shark, or the 
alligator, devour their own progeny. So wide-spread and 
universal was this spirit of disaflcction, that nearly one-third 
of the inhabitants of the counties of Ilanipshire, Berkshire, 
and Worcester, were engaged in it, beside many in ail other 
portions of the state. The saying of our Savior in regard 
to the reception of the gospel amongst mankind, in the di- 
vision of families, households, and neighborhoods, was here 


exemplified, in relation to their political sentiments, the father 
being opposed to the son, and the brother against his brother. 
In the family of Capt. Stone, his brother Francis was a 
Shays man, and his wife's father was on the same side ; 
while he enlisted, with all his powers of body and soul, 
in aid of the government, in opposition to the principles 
of the insurgents. In support of the laws and good order, 
were found nearly all the officers of the Revolutionary army, 
and most of the well-informed and substantial citizens. 

The cause of this unnatural outbreak seems to have 
arisen from the general oppression felt from the immense 
load of public and private debt, contracted duiing the war. 
The debt of the state amounted to more than five million 
dollars, and their portion of the national debt, to nearly as 
much more. During the war stay laws had been enacted 
to prevent the regular collection of debts, by which the 
amount had greatly accumulated. Paper-money, their hope 
and stay durmg the war, had run down to a mere nominal 
value, and state bonds had depreciated to a few shillings on 
the pound. What specie the French troops had left in the 
country, was gathered up by the merchants, and sent to 
Europe, to purchase merchandise, of which the states were 
woefully destitute at the close of the war. The country was 
so much exhausted by their long struggle, that they had no 
produce to send abroad to buy either goods or specie. Their 
fisheries and whaleries, which, before the war, had brought 
millions into the provinces, were ruined by that event, and 
had not yet revived. 

In this wide-spread distress, a general clamor arose against 
the merchants, and against the courts ; but more especially 
against the lawyers who executed the decrees of the courts, 
in collecting the debts due to the more wealthy portion of the 
people. Private contracts, as early as 1782, had been made 
to give place to the payment of public taxes, from an idea 

J N A T II A N S r O N E . 385 

that the scarcit}' of specie did not admit of the payment ol' 
botli. The former, therefore, were made payabk^ in other 
property than money, by an act called "the Tender act." 
I5y this, executions issued for inchvidual demands, might be 
satisfied by neat cattle and other personal property, on an 
a})praisement by impartial men. This oidy suspended th( 
payment of debts ; as many would not collect under it, but 
waited for its expiration, in a year from its origin. It was 
the tirst signal for hostilities between creditors and debtors, 
the rich and the poor, the few and the many. 

Witli such high-wrought notions of freedom, in a people 
just escaped from the fetters of the motlier country, it was 
a difficult matter for their rulers to make laws that satisfied 
them. They, therefore, commenced holding conventions of 
the disaffected, in which they censured the conduct of their 
public officers. They voted the senate and the judicial 
courts to be gi-ievances, and called for a revision of the 
constitution, which they had so lately formed, and was con- 
sidered one of the best in the Union. Advantage was taken 
of these commotions to clamor against lawyers, and in their 
public addresses to sa}', that this class ought to be abolished, 
and none of them returned as representatives in the General 
Court for 178G. So far was this principle carried, that in 
the House of that year a bill was passed, '"to admit all per- 
sons of a moral character into the practice of the law, be- 
fore the judicial courts;" also to fix their fees, and oblige 
them to take an oath, previous to their pleading, not to re- 
ceive more than the lawful fees, of their clients. AVhcn the 
bill came to the Senate, they laid it over, for examination, to 
the next Assembly. As this body had continued to act with 
wisdom and dignity, o{)posed to the wild. Jacobin princi- 
ples of the disail'ected pro})le, they, at a convention of dele- 
gates from fifty towns in the county of Hampshire, held at 

Hatfield, on the '2-2d of August, pubUshed a statement of 


their grievances in twenty articles ; the first of which was 
"the existence of the Senate," as if this body was one cause 
of their troubles ; fifth, " the existence of the Courts of Com- 
mon Pleas and General Sessions of the Peace;" so that 
every man might do what was right in his own eyes. In the 
eighteenth they voted that their representatives be instructed 
to use their influence in the next General Court, to emit 
paper-money, subject to a depreciation, making it a tender 
in all payments, equal to silver and gold, to be issued in 
order to call in the state securities; thinking, no doubt, 
that an abundance of paper-money would relieve all their 
embarrassments. The state of Rhode Island was then try- 
ing this experiment, and its results only added to their trou- 
bles instead of relieving them. 

The last of August, a body of more than a thousand of 
these misguided people, led on by designing demagogues, 
assembled at Nortliampton, took possession of the court- 
house, and prevented the sitting of the court. The same 
thing was attempted at Worcester, and the courts adjoui'ned 
without doing any business. Amidst these scenes of com- 
motion and misrule, the inhabitants of Boston and several 
of the adjacent counties remained firm and true to their 
government, constitution, and laws; supporting their excel- 
lent governor, Mr. Bowdoin, in all necessary measures for 
the public weal, and advancing money from their private 
resources, when the time came for calling out an armed 
force in aid of the laws. 

A similar effort was made to put down the court at 
Springfield, by a body of men under Daniel Shays, but it 
was prevented by an assembly of six hundred well armed 
citizens, from the most respectable and influential inhabit- 
ants of the count}' of Hampshire, who took possession of 
the court-house, and protected the judges in their official 
duties, so that, although this was the stronghold of the 


insurrection, there was yet patriotism enough amongst them 
to save from utter ruin the forms of civil society. 

The General Court met at Boston in October, and finding 
that the opposition to the courts of law, and the necessary 
restraints of government were increasing, rather than di- 
minishing, they authorized the governor to call out the 
militia for their protection. Accordingly, four thousand four 
hundred men were assembled and put under the command 
of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, who marched to Worcester and 
protected the sitting of the court. Gen. Shepherd also col- 
lected nine hundred of the militia at Springfield, where was 
the arsenal of the state, and principal deposit of arms. On 
the 25th of January, Shays, with eleven hundred men, ^vcll 
armed, attempted to drive Gen. Shepherd from the town, 
but was defeated without any serious attack, by discharging 
one round of artillery amongst the insurgents, by uhich 
three men were killed and one badly wounded. Well know- 
ing the badness of their cause, the main body broke and 
fled. They were pursued by the state troops a short dis- 
tance, without overtaking tliem, and took up their quarters 
in the town of Hadley, from the inclemency of the weather, 
being in the midst of a severe winter. A company of 
men from Brookfield, amongst which was Capt. Stone, vol- 
unteered in putting down this rebellion, in which was en- 
gaged his brother Francis Stone, and some of the connections 
of his wife. " The morning after the arrival of the army 
at Hadley, information was received that a small number 
of Gen. Shepherd's men had been captured at Southamp- 
ton, and that the enemy's party still continued there. The 
Brookfield volunteers, consisting of fifty inon, commanded 
by Col. Baldwin, were sent in sleighs with one hundred 
horse, under Col. Crafts, to pursue them. They were soon 
found to consist of eighty men with ten sleighs, and at 
twelve o'clock the same night, were overtaken at Middlefield. 


They had quartered themselves in separate places, and 
about one-half of them, with one Luddington, their cap- 
tain, being lodged in a house together, were first sur- 
rounded. It was a singular circumstance, that among the 
government's volunteers happened to be Gen. Tupper, who 
had lately commanded a continental regiment, in which 
Luddington had served as corporal. The general, ignorant 
of the character of his enemy, summoned the party to sur- 
render. How astonished was the corporal at receiving the 
summons in a voice to which he had never dared to refuse 
obedience ! A momentary explanation took place, which 
but hightened the general's commands. Resistance was no 
longer made, the doors were opened, and a surrender was 
agreed upon. By this time the rest of the party had paraded 
under arms, at the distance of two hundi'ed yards, where 
they were met by a number of men prepared for their re- 
ception. Both sides were on the point of firing, but upon 
an artful representation of the strength of the government's 
troops, the insurgents laid down their arms, and fifty-nine 
prisoners, with nine sleigh loads of provisions, fell into the 
hands of the conquerors, who returned to the army on the 
day following."* 

The insurgents under Shays having taken a strong posi- 
tion on the hills of Pelham, were summoned by Gen. Lincoln 
to lay down their arms, and subscribe the oath of allegiance 
to the state, or he should be obliged to attack them and ap- 
prehend their leaders, thus occasioning much bloodshed. 
To this they replied that they were willing to disband, but 
could not until they heard from the General Court on the 
matter, to which body they had sent a messenger with a 

* Minot's History of the Rebellion. 


"On the next day three of tlic in^^urgent leaders came to 
head-quarters with the following letter: 

'Tin: IIoNdRABi.E Gi;y. Lincoln: Sir: Arf the ollicens of the 
people, now convened in defense of their rights and privi- 
leges, have sent a petition to tiie General Court, for the sole 
purpose of accommodating our present nnhappv affairs, we 
justly expect that hostilities may cease on both sides until 
we have a return from our Legislature. Your honor will, 
therefore, be pleased to give us an answer. 

Per order of the committee for reconciliation. 

Francis Stoni:, chairman, 
Daniel Suays, captain, 
Adam Wheeler. 

Pclham, January 31st, 1787.'"* 

To this communication, Lincoln returned a decided nega- 
tive. The Legislatm'c met on the 3d of Febiiiary, and de- 
clared the commonwealth in a state of rebellion, approved 
the governor's doings, and proceeded in earnest to put down 
the insurrection. The insm-gcnts did not wait for the return 
of their messenger from Boston, but on the 3d of February, 
left the hills and marched to Pelham, where provisions were 
more plent}'. They were pursued by Lincoln, through a 
tremendous snow-storm and excessive cold, to Petersham, a 
distance of thirty miles without halting, a march unequaled 
in the American annals. About one hundred and fifty were 
taken prisoners, and the rest dispersed over the country, 
some to their own homes, but the leaders and tlie most vio- 
lent of their followers, tied from the state into Xew York 
and Vermont. 

In both these states they found many al)cttors, and during 
the following spring, occasionally made inroads into the 

* Minof = Ilijtorv cf the Kcbcliiuu. 


commonwealth for pkmder and the capture of persons par- 
ticularly obnoxious to them. It was late in the year before 
order was entirely restored in the disaffected portions of the 
state. The leniency of the government finally pardoned 
nearly or quite all who were concerned in the rebellion, and 
thuri ended one of the most dangerous and singular insui'- 
rections that ever happened amongst a free people. 

On the formation of the Ohio Company, Capt. Stone sold 
his farm in Brookfield, and invested the proceeds in two 
shares of the Ohio Company lands, being about two thou- 
sand acres. To this he was doubtless the more readily in- 
duced from the ill conduct of several of his near connections 
in the late insurrection, and that he might still be favored 
with the society of such men as Gen. Putnam, Tupper and 
Goodale, with whom he had been so long and so intimately 
associated. In the fall of 1788, he visited Marietta and 
made preparations for the reception of his family. On the 
4th of July, 1789, he left Brookfield with a wagon drawn by 
fom- oxen, containing his household goods and three ohil- 
di'en. Two cows were driven on ahead, while his wife 
traveled the whole distance on horseback to Simrel's ferry, 
the western rendezvous for emigrants to Marietta. At Buf- 
falo, or Charleston, he bartered one yoke of the oxen for 
provisions to support his family until he could raise a crop 
himself. He reached Belpre the 10th of December, and 
put up a log-cabin on his lot, drawn the winter before, 
making the floors and doors from the planks of the boat in 
which he descended the river. His farm lay in the wide 
bottom, opposite and a little below the mouth of the Little 
Kenawha, and is now in the possession of his son, Col. John 
Stone. In the Indian war he moved his family- into Farmers' 
castle, and wa.s one of the most active and eliicient de- 
fenders of that garrison. In the spring of 179'], he, uith 
sc\ eral others, erected a palisade and several block-houses 


on his own farm, and remained there until the peace of 1795. 
In 1702, he was appointed treasurer of the county of 
itii:i:ton, by Winthrop Sargent, then actin;^ as governor of the 
Xortliwe.-^t Territory. After the peace h(; wa.s cmph)ycd by 
the Ohio Company, with Jeifery JMathew.son, to complete 
the Hurvcys of their lands, which wa.s done in a masterly 

He died after a short illness, on the "^uth of March, ISOl, 
aged fifty years. 

Capt. Stone was a man with a well-formed, agreeable 
person, gentlemanly manners and social habits. By his 
cotemporaries he was highly esteemed, and his early death 
greatly lamented. A number of his children and grand- 
children are living in Ohio, holding respectable stations in 


Col. Robert Ola-er was born in the vicinity of Boston, in 
the year 1788. His parents were emigrants from the north 
of Ireland. When he was quite young they moved to the town 
of Barre, Worcester county, Mass., and pm'chascd a farm. 
His early years were devoted to agriculture, which gave him 
a hardy, vigorous frame, fitted to meet and sustain the faligues 
of the camp. His education was good for that period, em- 
bracing reading, writing, and arithmetic, which, added to his 
naturally strong mind, prepared him for transacting any 
ordinary public business, as well as his own private affairs, 
in a creditable manner. 


About the year 1775, he married Miss Molly Walker, by 
whom he had a large family of children. 

At the commencement of the Revolution, he entered the 
service as a lieutenant, marching with a company of minute 
men to Cambridge, where he was advanced to a captaincy 
by the provincial government, in the third Massachusetts 
regiment. In 1777, he was commissioned as a major, and 
in 1779, promoted to a lieutenant-colonel of the tenth regi- 
ment, and at the close of the war a colonel by bre\et. In 
the campaign which humbled Gen. Burgoyne, he was en- 
gaged in all the principal battles, and especially in storming 
the German lines on the 7th of October, under Col. Rufus 
Putnam, to whose regiment he was attached. He was cele- 
brated as a disciplinarian, and for a time acted as adjutant- 
general of the northern division of the army. Baron Steuben 
highly applauded his superior tact in the discipline and 
evolutions of the troops. 

At the close of the war, having served through^he whole 
period, he returned to his family and purchased a farm in 
the town of Conway, Mass. Nearly eight years of the most 
valuable period of his life were spent in the service of his 
country, for which he received payment in final settlement 
securities, which, in the market, were worth about ten cents 
on the dollar. 

In the fall and winter of 1786-7, true to the cause of 
liberty and the country he had assisted in gaining its inde- 
pendence, he volunteered in suppressing the insurrection in 
Massachusetts, under Shays and others, which came nigh 
overturning the government, then barely established, in tu- 
mult and ruin. 

The Ohio Company was soon after formed, and he invested 
the remains of his property in two shares of their land, and 
moved liis family to Marietta in the summer of 1788, where 
he \vas united with many of his old friends and companions 

JiO BKRT () J, I V KK. UiKi 

in arms. In 1789, in conii)any with .Maj. Ilanicid White 
and Capt. John Dodgo, both MaHHachusctts hh-m, he crcctcfl 
a Haw and grist-iuill on U'olf crcik, in \^'al( rford, about a 
mih^ IVoiii its mouth. Those were llic lirst mills ever built 
in the present sial(^ of" Ohio. 'IMie situation is ver}- j)ictur- 
esque and beautiful, with solid linu^stone [)anks, overhanging 
cedar trees, and other evergreens, '['here is a considerable 
rapid, or lalls, at this spot, making a suitabh; site for a mill. 
The drawing which accompanies this memoir, is a good rep- 
resentation of the mills and scenery, with the log-cabin.s of 
the three proprietors as built in 1789. 

In 1790, after the death of Gen. Parsons, he was elected 
a director of the Ohio Company, and was a very active and 
efilcient member of that important board. In forming the 
settlements at Wolf creek and Waterford, he was one of the 
principal leaders, giving energy and zeal to these frontier 
establishments, and by his military knowledge, directing the 
best models for their works of defense against the attack.s 
of the hostile tribes. So formidable and strong was the 
post at Waterford, that the Indians did not ventm'c a serious 
attack upon it, but only killed their cattle and such of the 
inhabitants as they found outside of its walls. After the 
destruction of the Big Bottom settlement, in January, 1791, 
and the war was fairly commenced, he removed his family 
to ^Marietta, \vherc his services were constantly needed as a 
director of the company; who, for the first year or two of 
the war, provided the means, and were at all the expense 
of defending the country, so that their continual \vatchful- 
ness was as much required as that of the ci\il go\ernment 
of a province in tlie time of actual war or ia\ a.-ion. Some 
estimate nmy be formed of their duties, when it is stated 
that they expended upwards of eleven thousand dollars 
of the company funds in providing for and protecting the 


In the formation of the first territorial Legislature in 
1798, he was elected a representative from Washington 
county. Out of the assembled representatives, the gover- 
nor selected five men who were to act as a legislative 
council, performing the duties of a Senate. Col. Oliver 
was one of this number, and in company with Jacob Burnet, 
James Findlay, H. Vanderburg, and David Vance, was 
commissioned by John Adams, then president of the United 
States, on the 4th day of March, 1799. In 1800 he was 
elected president of the council, and continued in that post 
until the formation of the state government in 1803. When 
the standing and character of the men who constituted the 
council is considered, it was no ordinary honor to be elected 
as their presiding officer. 

Col. Oliver possessed a clear, discriminating mind, and 
was truly dignified in his manners ; had a perfect command 
of his passions, and was very amiable in his intercourse 
with his associates. He had a good fund of anecdote, 
which he related in a very interesting manner. 

After the close of the Indian war, he returned to his farm 
at the mills, where he resided until his death. He was ap- 
pointed by Gov. St. Clair lieutenant-colonel of the first 
regiment of territorial militia, and colonel of the second 
regiment, in 1795. He also appointed him one of the 
judges of the Court of Common Pleas in the same year, 
and made a very efficient magistrate. He was a man of 
great activity and usefulness, both as a civil and military 
officer. Soon after the territory became a state, the men 
whose eyes had grown dim, and their heads gray in their 
country's service, were " laid upon the shelf," if they difl'ered 
in political opinion from the ruling powers. Col. Oliver was 
a disciple of Washington, and followed his political pre- 
cepts ; therefore he received no more favors from the govern- 
ment. The inhabitants of his township, however, thought 

R B E 11 T OL I V E R . 395 

liim still a worthy man, and elected hun a justice of the 
peace, and kept liim in oflice as long as he lived. 

In person, he was about five feet ten inches hijt^h, stoutly 
built, and commanding appearance; face full, mild, and 
bland, with a pleasant expression when in conversation 
with his friends, but severe and terrible to the vicious and 
undeserving. His head was finely formed, but early be- 
came bald. Once, at Chillicothc, in a convivial party, one 
of the company, an infiucntial and noted man of that day, 
being rather full of wine, laid his hand familiarly and some- 
what roughly on the bald head of the colonel. With one 
of his stern looks he thus addressed him: " General, you 
must not lay your hand on my bald pate, which has many 
times stood where you would not dare to show your face." 

In early life he became a professor of religion, and 
although his calling exposed him to the dissolute habits of 
an army, and was not calculated to promote his growth in 
grace, yet he was always a consistent follower of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and at the formation of the first Congregational 
church in Marietta, in 179G, he was a member, and re- 
mained an ornament to the profession of a Christian. 

He died in May, 1810, aged seventy-two years. 

The impress of his character still remains on the early 
settlement he formed, and it is hoped will long remain for 
their best good. 


Maj. Haffield White was a native of Danvers, Mass. 

At the commencement of the war, on the 19th of April, 
1775, by the attack of the British troops on the miUtia, at 
Lexington, and the destruction of the stores at Concord, he 
%vas an officer in a company of minute men. The news of 
that attack was spread through the country with great rap- 
idity ; and men who in the morning were thirty miles from 
the scene of action, were on the ground before night, in time 
to harass the jaded and retreating Britons, from their first 
inroad into the possessions of the Massachusetts yeomanry. 
The result of that day taught them to be cautious in ven- 
turing far beyond the cover of the guns of their navy, into 
the land of these modern Spartans. The alarm reached 
Danvers in time for Lieut. White, with the company of 
minute men, to reach the flanks of the flying enemy, and, 
from behind the stone walls, thi'ow several destructive fires 
into the ranks of the British, His own men suflered con- 
siderably; losing eight killed out of the company. Soon 
after this affair he was commissioned as a captain, and 
raised a company of men, which was among the most effi- 
cient and active in the service, especially at the crossing of 
the Delaware, and battle of Trenton, in December, 17G1 : 
many of them being sailors, and very useful in manning the 
boats to cross the army. He was with Gen. St. Clair in the 
retreat from Tieonderoga; and under Col. Francis fonglit 
manfully at the battle of Hubbardstown ; tliereby checking 
the pursuit of the British troops, and enabling the Ameri- 
cans to reach Stillwater, and form the nucleus of that army 
v.'hich soon after conquered Burgoyne, and turned the tide 

II A F ¥ I ]■: L 1) w H I 'I' i: . :{H7 

of conquest against our foes. lie wan (.'iigagcd in many of 
the l)attlos that preceded thirf overthrow, and thuH ^^hared in 
the glories and triumphs of Saratoga, on the l.'Uh of Octo- 
tober, 1777. At the time of the retreat from Ticonderoga, 
he was paymaster of the regiment, and in that disastrous 
affair lost a large sum of money, which u as not allowed 
by the United States. Wlien Col. Pickering took charge of 
the connnissary department of the; army, being acquainted 
with the integrity and activity of Capt. White, living in the 
same town, he was selected for one of his assistants, and 
remained in that branch of the service until the close of the 
war, when he was made a major. 

At the formation of the Ohio Company, he became one of 
the proprietors, and was appointed, by the directors, com- 
missary and conductor of their first detachment of pioneers, 
which left Danvers in December, 1787. On their arrival at 
Marietta, he was continued as their steward for the first 
year; after which that office was no longer needed. His 
son Pelatiah was one of the forty-eight who landed from 
the May-flower at Marietta, on the 7th of April. In 1780 he 
engaged with Col. Oliver and Capt. Dodge, in erecting mills 
on Wolf creek. When the war with the Indians commenced, 
he left the mills, as they were much exposed to hostile at- 
tacks, and came to Marietta, where he remained until after 
the peace of 1795. He then resumed his possessions, a 
farm, near the mills, and lived with his son until his death. 

In person Maj. White was below the medium Av.c. but 
thickset and robust; very active, and brisk in his motions; 
prompt to execute any business on hand in the lU(>^t ex})('- 
ditious manner; coin})l(\\ion florid, and sanguine tcinpera- 
ment. He ^\•as a brave soldier, and a very useful and 
indu>ti'ious citizen. 


Dean Tvler, Esa., was a native of Haverhill, Mass., and 
liberally educated at one of the New England colleges. 
He possessed a brilliant mind, an agreeable person, and 
refined manners. 

In early life he formed an attachment to a young lady, 
who returned it with equal affection. But the wayward 
course of lovers sometimes crosses all their purposes; a 
misunderstanding occurred, which induced Tyler to embark 
for Europe, to flee from that which had really become 
necessary to his happiness. He took passage in a letter 
of marque for Bourdeaux. On the voyage out and back, 
he met with some fighting, some storms, and had sev- 
eral narrow escapes. These incidents probably helped to 
cure him of his jealousy, or whatever it was that caused 
him to go on this adventure. He returned with a full de- 
termination to confess his fault, and unite himself with her 
whom he had so abruptly parted from. But it was too late ; 
he had broken the heart of his loved one, and the first news 
he heard on landing, was, that she was dead— had died of a 
broken heart. The shock entirely overcame him; he was 
attacked with a violent illness, followed with delirium, and 
narrowly escaped that death he would willingly have suf- 
fered, could it atone for his error. His recovery was slow 
and tedious ; and it was a long time before he could attend 
to any business. 

As soon as he was able to travel, he joined the Ohio Com- 
pany adventurers, then in the opening of their enterprise to 
occupy the great west, and redeem it from the wilderness. 
He attached himself, in 1789, to the settlement of Waterford, 
and, with them, drc\v a donation lot of one liandrcd acres. 

WILLIAM G R A Y . 399 

He was a brave and active pioneer; exposing him.self to 
danger on eveiy occasion, and doing all he could for the 
benelit oi" the inhabitants. Daring th(; winter months, he 
taught school; and on the Sabbath ofliciated as chaplain, 
reading the sermons of some able divine, and conducting 
the public devotions, which were regularly kept up during 
the period of the war, as well as subseciuently. 

As a man, he was much respected by the pioneers, and 
the garrison built for their protection, was called Fort Tyler. 
He never married, but continued a bachelor to the end of 
his days. His habits were rather studious and sedentary; 
except when danger threatened the inhabitants from an In- 
dian attack, when he was alert and active. In his latter 
years he became rather intemperate, probably hoping to 
drown his melancholy reflections in the inebriating bowl. 
His name is still fondly cherished by the descendants of his 
pioneer companions. 


Capt. ^yu.LTAM Gray was born in Lynn, Mass., on tlic 2Gth 
of ^larch, 1761, 

Being of a warm, active temperament, and the sti'uggle 
for independence occupying the thoughts and conversa- 
tion of all around him, he became early inspired with the 
determination of doing all in his po\ver to aid the cause of 
his country, and entered the service of the United States, as 
a private soldier, at the age of seventeen years, or in tho 
year 1778, and served to the close of the war. At the 


attack on Stony Point, he had been promoted, for his good 
conduct, to a lieutenant, and was among the first who scaled 
the walls of that fortress. 

At the close of the war he returned to his home, and 
married Miss Mary Diamond, of Salem. His uncle, the 
rich merchant, William Gray, for whom he was named, lived 
at that time in Salem, and from a humble situation in life, 
being bred a shoemaker, rose to be one of the richest mer- 
chants in Boston. He treated his nephew with great kind- 
ness ; and for many years, even after he moved to Ohio, 
annually sent him a sum of money, sufficient to aid ver}' 
materially in the support of his family. Soon after his mar- 
riage he resided in Danvers, where his two oldest cliildren 
were born. 

In the autumn of 1787 he joined the Ohio Company, and 
had the charge of one of the wagons that transported the 
first band of pioneers on to the waters of the Ohio. On this 
wagon was written, in large letters, '■'■For Ohio.''' His family 
was left in Danvers, and did not come out until 17*J0, in 
company with Maj. Ezra Putnam, from the same place. 
He joined the settlement at Waterford, and when the war 
of 1791 broke out, was chosen commander of the garrison 
erected for its defense, called Fort Tyler. By his good con- 
duct and prudence, this fortress was preserved unharmed, 
although several times in great jeopardy. The situation 
was a very exposed one, on the extreme frontier. On the 
head waters of the IMuskingum, which washed its founda- 
tions, were seated numerous tribes and villages of the hos 
tile Indians, who, at almost any season of the year, could 
embark their whole force in canoes, and in fortj'-eight hours 
land at the garrison. Their approach might have thus 
been made in the most secret manner, without even the 
knowledge of the rangers, who constantly scoured the coun- 
ti'V, watchinir for signs of the Indians. But an overruling 


Providence diverted their attention to other quarters, and they 
papsed the four years of war with but Uttle loss of life, but 
much of property. Soon after the peace, and men could 
till the earth in safety, he bought a farm near the present 
town of Beverly, and lived there, highly re.spectcd, until the 
time of hiis death, in July, 1812. 

lie was the father of ten children, nearly all of whom 
married, and their descendants are living in thi.s county. 


Col. Stagey was a native of Massachusetts, and a propri- 
etor in the Ohio Company. He came early to the North- 
west Territory, and settled in Washington county. 

In the forepart of his life he lived on the sea- coast, proba- 
bly Salem, and was engaged in sea-faring business. Find- 
ing himself surrounded by a rapidly increasing family, he 
removed to New Salem, in the county of Hampshire, Mass., 
and entered on the life of a farmer. He was much re- 
spected by his fellow townsmen, and was promoted in the 
military service. In Barber's Historical Sketches of Mas- 
sachusetts, is the following notice of Col. Stacey, copied 
from the Barre Gazette. 

" Tlie news of the battle of Lexington flew through New 

England like wild-fire. The swift horseman with his red 

flag proclaimed it in every village, and made the stirring call 

upon the patriots to move forward in defense of the rights 

so ruthlessly invaded, and now scaled with the martyrs' 

blood. Putnam, it will be recollected, left his plow in the 


furrow, and led his gallant band to Cambridge. Such 
instances of promptness and devotion were not rare. We 
love the following instance of the display of fervid patri- 
otism, from an eye witness, one of those valued relics of 
the band of '7G, whom now a grateful nation delights to 

When the intelligence reached ISiew Salem, in this state, 
the people were hastily assembled on the village green by 
the notes of alarm. Every man came with his gun and 
other preparations for a short march. The militia of the 
town were then divided into two companies, one of which was 

commanded by a Capt. G . This company was paraded 

before much consultation had been held on the proper steps 
to be taken in the emergency, and while determination was 
expressed on almost every countenance, the men stood 
silently leaning on their muskets, awaiting the movement 
of the spirit in the officers. The captain was supposed to 
be tinctured with Toryism, and his present indecision and 
backwardness were ample proofs, if not of his attachment 
to royalty, at least of his unfitness to lead a patriot band. 
Some murmurs began to be heard, when the first lieuten- 
ant, William Stacey, stepped out of the line, took off his 
hat, and addressed them. He was of stout heart, but of 
few words. Pulling his commission from his pocket, he 
said, ' Fellow soldiers, I don't know exactly how it is with 
the rest of you, but for one, I will no longer serve a king 
that murders my own countrymen ; ' and tearing the paper 
in a hundred pieces, he trod them under his feet. Sober as 
were the people by habit and natural disposition, they could 
not refrain from a loud huzza, as he stepped back into the 
ranks. Capt. G still faltered, and made a feeble en- 
deavor to restore order, but they heeded him as little as 
the wind. The company was summarily disbanded, and a 
re-organization took place on the spot. The gallant Stacey 


was unanimously chosen captain, and willi a prouder com- 
mission than was ever borne on parchment, he led a small 
but resolute band to Cambridge. He continued in service 
during the war, reaching, before its close, the rank of lieu- 
tenant-colonel, under the command of Putnam." 

In 1778, Capt. Stacey had risen by his merits to the rank 
of a lieutenant-colonel, not in Col. Putnam's regiment, but 
in Col. Ichabod Alden's, of the Massachusetts line. 

The first of July, that year, the Indians and Tories sacked 
and destroyed the settlement of Wyoming, on the Susque- 
hanna river. They now threatened, and had partly de- 
populated, the settlement of Cheriy valley, which lies on 
the head waters of the eastern branch of that stream, fifty- 
two miles northwest of Albany, in the present county of 
Otsego, but then Tryon county, N. Y. It was a beautiful val- 
ley, noted for its fertility and picturesque scenery, being first 
settled as early as 1739, but greatly harassed by the Tories, 
who formed nearly half of the inhabitants of that county, 
and were friends to the crown, to which they were partly 
induced from the popularity and high standing of Sir Guy 
Johnson, who lived in the northern part of the county, and 
probably from respect to the governor of the state, while 
under the king, for whom it was named Late in the sum- 
mer of 1778, Col. Alden's regiment was ordered up to 
Cherry valley, for the protection of the inhabitants. A 
stockaded garrison had been previously built around their 
little church, and the regiment of about two hundred men 
took possession of it. Being rather straitened for quarters, 
several of the officers lodged at the houses of the adjacent 
inhabitants. Alden and Stacey, with a small guard of sol- 
diers, quartered in the house of a Mr. Wells, not more than 
a quarter of a mile from the garrison. On the Oth of \o- 
vembcr, Col. Aldcn received a letter from Fort Schuyler, nov,- 
in Oneida county, distant about fortv miles northwest, near 


the head of the Mohawk, saying that an Oneida Indian, 
whose tribe was friendly to the United States, had told them 
that the Indians and Tories, under a son of Col. Butler, 
were assembling on the Tioga river, a northerly branch of 
the Susquehanna, which passes through the country of the 
Seneca Indians, for the purpose of attacking the fort and 
settlement of Cherry valley. Butler had been a prisoner 
with the Americans, and confined in Albany jail, a short 
time before, but had escaped, and was now seeking revenge. 
Being notified of this intended attack, he sent out scouting 
parties to watch their approach, although he did not actually 
apprehend any danger, even after this timely warning. The 
inhabitants, better aware of their peril, made application 
to the commander to be admitted within the fort, but as it 
was only large enough for his own men, he declined, saying 
it would be time enough when they were certain of the ap- 
proach of the enemy. Being unacquainted with Indian 
warfare, he did not take shelter within the fort himself. 
The scout, which was sent down that branch of the river 
which waters the valley, having kindled a fire, were surprised 
in their camp and taken prisoners, so that they could not 
give the alarm of the advance of the Indians as he had 
expected. From these prisoners, Butler and Brant learned 
the condition of the settlement and the houses where the 
officers slept, being themselves familiar and acquainted in 
the valley before the war. 

Early on the morning of the 11th of November, an army 
of five hundred Indians and two hundred Tories entered the 
settlement undiscovered, and began the attack on the scat- 
tered dweUings near the fort. Before they reached Wells', 
the house where he quartered, a man on horseback gave 
notice of their approach. He was still persuaded there was 
only a small body of Indians, but on their coming in sight 
he directly ran for the fort, closely pur.-<ued by an Indian, 


who after calling on him to Furrender, which he refused, 
snapping his pistol at him, he threw his tomahawk, ptriJving 
him on the head and felling him to the ground. The Indian 
then scalped him, " and thus he was the first to nufler from 
his criminal neglect."* Before Col. vStacey could leave tlie 
house, it was surrounded by the Indians, and he was taken 
prisoner with a few of the guard, while all the women and 
children were killed. It was a damp, rainy morning, and 
the powder of the out-door guards was wet, so that their 
arms were useless, which was one reason of there being so 
little resistance. After a feeble attack on the fort, they de- 
parted with their scalps and prisoners, killing about forty of 
the inhabitants. Joseph Brant, who commanded the Indians, 
saved the lives of a number of families, making them pris- 
oners, while Butler and the Tories under his command, 
spared very few that fell into their hands. 

The Indians, in their return to their own country on the 
Genesee river, passed down the Cherry valley branch of the 
Susquehanna to its junction with the Tioga fork, and up 
that stream over to the Seneca lake, and onward to an In- 
dian town that stood near the present beautiful village of 
Geneva, distant more than two hundred miles, by the route 
they traveled, from Cherry valley. Here the revengeful 
savages who had taken Col. Stacey prisoner, after hokluig 
a council, decided on burning him at the stake. It has for 
ages been the practice of the Indians in their attacks, to 
take some prisoners for this purpose, that the young Indians 
and squaws may shore in their revenge on their enemies. 
Being devoted to this dreadful death, he \vas tied to the 
stake, the lire kindled, and he thoughi- his last hour was 
come. Seeing the noble-minded Brant in the throng, and 
having probably heard that he was a Freemason, he made 

*Annals of Trvou couiitv. 


the well known sign of the fraternity, which was instantly 
recognized by the quick eye of the Indian. His influence 
was almost unlimited amongst the northern tribes of New 
York, and he persuaded them to release their victim, thus 
adding one more to the number of lives saved by his 

Soon after this he was adopted into an Indian family. At 
the time of the invasion of the country of the Senecas in 
1779, by Gen. Sullivan, when their villages, orchards, and 
crops of corn, were totally destroyed, many of them retreated 
to Fort Niagara, then in the hands of the British. Amongst 
others, Col. Stacey was taken there by the family to which 
he was attached. While here, Mr. Campbell, the author of 
the history of Tryon county, from whom some of these 
events are copied, says, " Lieut. Col. Stacey, who had been 
taken prisoner at Cherry valley, was also at the fort. Molly 
Brant, the sister of Joseph, and former mistress of Sir Wil- 
liam Johnson, had, from some cause, a deadly hostility to 
him. She resorted to the Indian method of dreaming. She 
told Col. Butler that she dreamed she had the Yankee's head, 
and that she and the Indians were kicking it about the fort. 
Col. Butler ordered a small keg of rum to be painted and 
given to her. This, for a short time, appeased her, but she 
dreamed a second time that she had the Yankee's head, with 
his hat on, and she and the Indians kicked it about the fort 
for a foot ball. Col. Butler ordered another keg of rum to 
be given to her, and then told her, decidedly, that Col. Stacey 
should not be given up to the Indians. Apart from this 
circumstance, I knou" notliing disi'eputablc to Molly j'rant. 
On the contrary, she appears to have had just views of her 
duties. She was careful of the educatioji of lier children, 
and some of them wei-i; respectably married. 

Col. Stacey remained a prisoner over four years, and vvas 
th''ii 'xehanged. lie returned to his home in New Salem, 


and ill 17H0 moved witli his lainily, coii.-^istin^' of liis wile, 
five sons, and a son-in-law, with their families, to the Ohio, 
and settled in Marietta. Two of his sons, Joim and Phih;- 
mon, joined the settlement in B\<; Uoltom, formed in the fall 
of 171)0. The '2d of January, following, the block-house 
was taken by surprise, and fourte(>n of th(> inmates were 
killed; amongst the slain was his son John, while Philemon, 
a lad of sixteen years, was taken prisoner, and died in cap- 
tivity. Col. Stacey feeling anxious for the safety of the new 
settlement, and the welfare of his sons, visited the post the 
day before the attack ; and although the Indians pretended 
to be friendly, well knowing their wiles from former expe- 
rience, gave the young men strict orders to keep a regular 
guard, and strongly bar the door of the house at sunset, 
and not open it again until sunrise, even although it was 
the depth of winter. They neglected his advice, and per- 
ished. During the war he lived in a small block-house, 
at the Point in Marietta, on the bank of the Ohio, and is 
figured in the drawing of that place, in the preceding vol- 
ume. He had the charge of overseeing the construction of 
these works in January, 1791. Ilis remaining sons and son- 
in-law settled in this county, and left a numerous posterity, 
who still reside here. His youngest son, Gideon, settled in 
New Orleans, and established a ferry across Lake Pontchar- 
train, and was there lost. 

After the death of his first wife. Col. Stacey married Mrs. 
Sheffield, a widow lady from llhode Island, and owned four 
shares of land in the Ohio Company. She was the mother of 
the wife of Maj. Zeigler, JMr. Charles Green, and Isaac Pierce, 
Esq., a woman of highly cultivated mind, lady-like manners, 
and agreeable person. 

lie died in ^larietta, in the year 1804, and was a man 
greatly esteemed for his many excellent qualities. 





The Indian war, which was brought to a close by the 
treaty of Greenville, in August, 1795, had caused an almost 
entire stop to the wave of population, which, by the settle- 
ment of Marietta and Cincinnati, had begun to swell and 
move. It was not until 1797 and 1798, that the symptoms 
of what has astonished the whole civilized world, began 
again to appear in the west. In those years, that kind of 
boats to which the pioneers gave the cognomen of broad- 
horns, were seen continually floating down the Ohio. JMany 
of these contained the families of persons of strong, adven- 
turous minds, and hardy frames, but generally of little or 
no property. They of course sought for opportunities to 
locate themselves on lands that they could obtain on easy 

In the early part of 1797, Marietta was crowded with 
this kind of population, seeking for some place to make a 
home. It is well known that in the purchase of the Ohio 
Company's lands, they made it a condition that two town- 
ships of land should be conveyed which were to be forever 
for the use and benefit of a university. These lands were 
in the trust of the directors of the Ohio Company, and were 
thus to remain until they should resign that trust to the 
future Legislature. Gen. Putnam, who was the superin- 
tendent of the surveys of the land of the Ohio Company, 
had these two townships surveyed into sections in 1796. 

S K '1' T L i; M K N T () I" A '1' 1 1 i; N .S COT N T V . -lOl) 

The trustees were convinced that it uouki bo good poUcy to 
early make these lands productive, and thus provide a lund 
to commence an institution, which tiiey foresaw would soon 
be much needed, and if established, ])romised most import- 
ant results. They believed that the public interest would be 
served by encouraging substantial men to occupy these 
lands, make improvements, and wait until a more perma- 
nent title could be made to them by an act of Legislature, 
which, it was expected, would soon (as was the case.) be 
acquired as the second step provided for by the ordinance 
of 1780, providing for the government of the territory north- 
west of the river Ohio. 

These lands, with a large surrounding region, were one 
of the most favorite portions of the hunting ground which 
the Indians had surrendered in their several treaties ; and 
the treaty of 1795 seemed to close the last fond hope of 
ever after enjoying them. Yet the hunters living about 
Sandusky, and on the different branches of the jMuskingum, 
continued not only to visit there, but until the winter before 
the last war with Great Britain commenced, they were in 
large parties during the hunting season, coursing through 
that extensive range of country, comprising the lands watered 
by the Raccoon, Monday, Sunday, and the heads of Federal 
creek. It was here they formerly found the buffalo, the 
elk, and the bear. The buffalo and elk were not extermi- 
nated until the year 1800. The bear continued in consid- 
erable abundance until their last great hunt in tlie winter 
of 1810-11. That winter was a favorable season for them 
to effect the object they seemed to have in view, whieli was 
to destroy the game, the weather being cold, \vith several 
falls of snow. The carcasses of many deer were found in 
the woods bordering the settlements in Washington and 
Athens coimties, wliich appeared to be wantonly destroyed 
by the savages. A young buffalo, believed to be the last 


seen in this part of the country, was taken a few miles west 
of Athens, on a branch of Raccoon, in the spring of 1799, 
brought to the settlement, and reared by a domestic cow. 
The summer after it was tu'o years old, it was taken by its 
owner over the mountains, and for a considerable time ex- 
hibited from place to place. At first it was easily managed, 
but at length became ungovernable, and gored its owner, 
who cUed of the wounds, and the animal was then killed. 

Gen. Putnam probably would not, at this time, have en- 
couraged the commencement of this settlement, had he not 
foreseen that these lands would soon be occupied, and that 
it Vv-as important, in order to establish a peacable and re- 
spectable settlement, to select, from the emigrants already 
at Marietta, men possessing firmness of character, courage, 
and sound discretion. He accordingly gave every facility 
in his power, relating to the surveys, &c., to Capt. Silas 
Bingham, Judge Alvin Bingham, John \yilkins, Esq., Capt. 
John Chandler, John Harris, Robert Lindsey, Jonathan Wat- 
kins, Moses Hewit, Isaac Barker, William Harper, Barak, 
Edmond and William Dorr, and Dr. Eliphaz Perkins. Some 
of these individuals, with their families, and some others, 
made their way up the Hockhocking, in pirogues, early in 
the spring of 1797 ; and were the first in felling the inter- 
minable forest, and to erect dwellings. Immediately after 
the settlement commenced, as was anticipated, large num- 
bers came to take possession of these lands, many of whom 
seemed disposed to practice the principle that, might makes 
right; this soon occasioned a state of things which required 
much courage and prudence to counteract. Alvin Bingham 
was commissioned a magistrate, and Silas was appointed a 
deputy-sheriff. The cases of taking forcible possession of 
the land and improvements had commenced, and it required 
no common share of prudence and firmness to keep the 
peace, and give an effectual check to these outrages. Add 


to these, a Canadian Frenchman, by the name oi' Menour, 
who had resided with the Indians, was in the habit of .steal- 
ing horses from the savages, and bringing them into the set- 
tlement, on the college lands, where he had men ready to 
take them and convey them away to some settled region, 
and dispose of them. The Indians found no difliculty in 
tracing their horses to this point, but could follow them no 
further. They, of course with great justice, made their 
complaints. Menour had collected around him quite a num- 
ber who were well armed, and sliowed a determination to 
defend him. Judge Bingham issued a warrant for his ap- 
prehension, and intrusted it with Silas, who made an 
attempt to perform his duty, but found quite a party of des- 
perate characters in arms to protect him. He very adroitly 
retired; giving out the idea^ that he should not venture to 
arrest him, unless he could obtain assistance from Marietta. 
Menour's house was a strong building for those times; the 
only access to the chamber was a small opening in the ga- 
ble-end. Menour and his wife, who used it for a lodging 
room, ascended a ladder, then drew it up after them, and 
closed the aperture. The lower part of the house was, at 
this time, occupied by a large partj' of desperate men, horse- 
thieves, and outlaws, who slept on their rifles, and Avere 
ready at any moment to do their leader's bidding. In the 
meantime, Bingham, with the utmost secrecy and dispatch, 
collected the well-disposed citizens of Athens and Ames, 
and proceeded that night to make the arrest. The night 
was very dark, and they approached and surround* d the 
house, without being discovered by its inniatrs. I]. Culler 
burst open the door, and the citizens rush<J in upon the des- 
peradoes, and secured them before they were fairly awake. 
Robert Lindsey and lAhnond Dorr broke into the opening 
that formed the entrance to the chamber, aiul captured ]\Ie- 
nour; who was taken to ]Marietta, where he was convicted 


of the oflense, on the testimony of the Indians, and pun- 
ished; he, however, afterward went to Sandusky, and it was 
said, was there killed by an Indian. 

Judge Bingham was not lax in punishing breaches of the 
peace. Some cases of forcible entry and detainer took place, 
which required a jury and two magistrates to decide them; 
and at this time there were but two in this portion of the 
country. Judges Bingham and Cutler. These cases some- 
times showed a threatening aspect; a certain number of 
disorderly persons were always ready to attend such courts. 
At one of these trials the leaders of this class came forward, 
and threatened violence; the magistrates ordered them to 
leave the room ; they retired ; but expressed an intention to 
put a stop to such courts. The magistrates issued warrants, 
and ordered the sheriff to apprehend them immediately, and 
take them to Marietta. He was not slow in arresting them. 
It is not easy to conceive of men more frightened ; the idea 
of being taken to Marietta, to be tried by a court that had 
established its character for firmness and strict justice, filled 
them wuth terror. Silas Bingham, (who, to great shrewdness 
and dispatch in business, united an unconquerable love of 
fun,) did nothing to allay their fears, but told them the bet- 
ter way would be to come into court, and, on their knees, 
ask forgiveness, and promise amendment. The prominent 
man of the offending party replied, that " it was too bad to 
be compelled to kneel down, and ask forgiveness of two 
Buckeye justices;" but he would submit rather than be 
taken to JMarietta. This anecdote was often repeated by 
the facetious Col. Sproat and Bingham, and might have 
aided in fixing the cognomen on the state. 

The Binghams were natives of Litchfield comity', Conn., 
and although quite young, they were volunteers at the cap- 
ture of Ticonderoga, by Ethan Allen, in 1775. Silas was 
with the army which invaded Canada, and both served most 

settlemp:nt of at hens county. 413 

of the time during the Revolutionary war. Judge Bingham 
vva.s a substantial, clear-headed man, sober and dignified in 
hid manners, stern and uncompromising in his .sense of right. 
Silas was full of anecdote and humor, social and kind in his 
feelings, a man of excellent sense, and a terror to evil doers. 
The promptness with which these men acted in enforcing 
the laws and in protecting the rights of the weak, had the 
effect to rid the settlement of a large portion of this disor- 
derly population: and Athens, many years ago, established 
its character as an orderly and respectable community, em- 
bracing as much intelligence and refinement as any other 
town of equal size. For this happy result, it was in no 
small degree indebted to Dr. EUphaz Perkins. Few men 
were better calculated to introduce a mild and refined state 
of manners and feelings. He was a native of Norwich, 
Conn., born in 1753, graduated at an eastern college, and 
removed to Athens in 1800. the time when a disposition to 
trample on the laws prevailed. The services of a physician 
were greatly needed in the settlement, and Ida arrival was 
hailed with joy. By his attention to the sick, skill in his 
profession, and by his urbanity and kindness, he at once be- 
came popular. The influence thus acquired, he exerted in 
the most salutary and unostentatious manner, wliile he 
frowned upon every breach of law and decorum. His own 
deportment was a bright and living example of purity and 
benevolence. He was truly a patron of learning. He did 
much to establish and sustain common schools in that region. 
He contributed liberally to the Ohio University, was early 
appointed a trustee, and for many years was treasurer of 
the institution. He died, much lamented, on the ^Uth of 
April, 1828, in the lively exercise of that Christian faith of 
which he had been many years a professor. His descend- 
ants are numerous and highly respectable; seven of them 
have graduated at the Oliio University. 


Soon after the settlement of Athens and Ames, the ven- 
erable Elder Quinn, then a young man, found his way 
through the Wilderness, with little more than blazed trees to 
guide his steps, induring like a true soldier of the cross, ex- 
treme toil and privation. He may be regarded as the 
founder of the Methodist church in that county. 


" Maj. .Teryis Cutler was the son of the Rev. Manasseh 
Cutler, who for fifty-two years was pastor of the Congre- 
gational church in Hamilton, Mass. He was also the ne- 
gotiator with Congress in the year 1787, for the purchase 
of a million and a half of acres for the Ohio Company, by 
means of which the settlement of the now great state of 
Ohio was effected. From the year 1800 to 1804, Dr. Cutler 
was a, representative in Congress from the Lynn district in 

Maj. Cutler was born at Edgarton, on Martha's Vineyard, 
in the year 1768. Being educated for the mercantile busi- 
ness, he was placed, at the age of sixteen years, under the 
care of Capt. David Pearce, of Gloucester, who sent him 
on a voyage to Havre de Grace, in France. If the father 
deserves the credit of paving the way for the settlement of 
this then savage wilderness, the son is entitled to be con- 
sidered a pioneer of the settlement itt;olf. In the year 
1788, when only nineteen years old, he joined the little 
band of forty-eight, who emigrated from New England, 
under Gen. Rii.fus Putnam, and pitched their tents at 


Marietta, in the center of the Indian country. He lia.s been 
often lieard to say that he was tlie fir^t to \v:\p on shore at 
the rnouth of the jMuskingum, on the He\cnth of April, and 
actually cut the first tree to make a clearin;^ for a ludiita- 
tion in the new setihnnent. Of that little band of Lardy 
pioneers, not more than one or two are now li\ing." " 'l\he 
following summer he taught a schocd about four miUn from 
Simrefs ferry, on the Youghiogheny river, and was there 
when hi.-^ father made his vis^it to Marietta in Angu-t, 1788, 
In 1780 he returned to Marietta, and aided in forming the 
settlement of Waterford, being one of the first associates, 
but did not long remain there. 

In the autumn of that year he joined a party of the Oiiio 
Company land surveyors, not as a regular hand, but out of 
curiosity to see the country, who were running the cast and 
west township lines of the fourteenth and fiftcentli langes, 
between the Big Ilockhocking and Raccoon creek. It con- 
sisted of twelve, of whom faniel iMa}"o, of Boston, 
was one, and Benoni Ilurlburt, afterward killed by the Indi- 
ans, was the hunter. The following interesting sketch of 
his being lost in the woods, was taken from his own lips, 
about three years before his death, and is a specimen of the 
exposures to which the early settlers were all liable. 

Having quite a relish for hunting, and expert with the 
rifle, he one day went out with Ilurlburt in quest of provis- 
ions for the party, whose supply ^vas nearh; exhausted. lie 
ascended one side of a large creek, and his comj)anion ilia 
other, which would give them a chance for muturd ;\ssi.4- 
ance in killing the game, as it crossed from banic tc bard'C. 
Mr. Cutler, not being accustomed to the woods, pre^<•ntly 
left the main stream, and followed up a large branch. lie 
soon discovered his mistake, and retracf^d his steps, but 

♦American .\lrcau:\':, 1;!5. 


could find no signs of his trail. Just at night he met a fine 
bear, which he shot at and wounded. A small dog, now 
his only companion, gave it chase, but as the bear declined 
taking a tree, as they usually do, he soon gave up the pur- 
suit. Finding that he was actually lost, he fired his gun 
several times, in hopes the party would hear it and answer 
his signal of distress." Night now rapidly approaching, he 
prepared to encamp, and selected a dead, dry beech-tree, 
the top of which was broken off about twenty feet from the 
ground, against which he kindled the fire. He laid down 
on some leaves before it, and being excessively tired, 
dropped into a sound sleep. The flame soon ran to the top 
of the dry beech, and a large flake of the burning wood, 
aided by the current of air, dropped on to the breast of his 
hunting-shirt, burning his skin severely. With some effort 
he succeeded in extinguishing his burning garment, and 
slept at intervals during the night. He rose at daylight, 
directing his course eastwardly, with the hope of striking 
the Hockhocking, which he knew lay in that direction. All 
that day he traveled diligently, with the little dog by his side, 
without discovering the object of his search. That night he 
encamped near a small stream of water, but without fire, as 
he dreaded a repetition of the last night's accident; besides, 
he had nothing to cook for supper, and the weather was not 
cold. The night was passed quietly, with the little dog coiled 
up at his feet. The third morning he started early, and saw 
many signs of buffaloes, but no animals; and traveled all 
day without seeing any game. Toward evening the little 
dog, which seemed auare of his masters necessities as well 
as his own, ranged either to the right or left of the course, 
in search of game; and to^vard night, barked vehemently 
at something he had discovered. Mv. Cutler hastened up 
to the spot in expectation of at least seeing a fat bear, but 
only found a little, poor, starved opossum. Thinking this 


better than no meat, he killed and dressed it, roasting it by 
his camp fire. A part of it was offered to the dog, but he 
declined partaking such poor fare, and liis master consumed 
the whole of it. It was now three days since he left his 
companions, and this was his only meal. On the fourth 
morning, after a sound night's sleep by his fire, he felt quite 
refreshed, and pushed manfully onward, as he thought on an 
easterly course, but doubtless making many deviations from 
a right line. Soon after getting under way, his faithful 
companion started up a flock of turkeys, the sight of which 
greatly animated his spirits. His gun was soon leveled and 
discharged at one of the largest, not more than tlurty feet 
distant. In the agitation and eagerness of the moment, he 
missed his mark, and the bird flew unharmed away, much 
to the chagrin of the little dog, which looked quite astonished 
and mortified at his master. His first impression was that 
his gun had been bent or injured, and would not shoot with 
any accuracy. Despair now succeeded to his recent joy, as 
he thought he must inevitably starve before he could escape 
from the woods. After shedding a few tears over his hopeless 
condition, and resting awhile on a log, he carefully wiped 
out his rifle and loaded it with great nicety. In the mean- 
time the turkeys had all disappeared but a solitary one, 
perched on the top of a high tree. He now rested his gun 
against the side of a tree, and taking deliberate aim, he 
fired once more, and to his great joy the turkey came 
tumbling to the ground. A fire was soon kindled, the 
feathers pulled, and the bird roasted on the coals. A 
heart}' meal was then made, of which the little dog now 
readily partook. This food was the sweetest he had ever 
tasted, and put fresh courage into the wanderers. The 
remains of the turkey were stowed away in the bosom of 
his hunting-shirt, and he pursued his solitary way more 

cheerfully. Soon after, in passing up a ridge, a fine deer 


came round the point of the hill, which he shot. From the 
skin of the animal he formed a kind of sack, which he slung 
to his shoulders, with strips of leatherwood bark, filled with 
the choicest pieces of the meat. lie now traveled on quite 
cheerily, in which the little dog also participated, knowing 
he had food for several days, or until he could reach the 
settlements. That night he camped by the side of a little 
run, made a cheerful fire, roasted his venison, and ate his 
supper with a fine relish. After sleeping soundly, he awoke 
with renovated strength and spirits. This was now the fifth 
day of his wandering, and luckily, a little before noon, he 
came on to the Hockhocking, at a place which he at once 
recognized as being about a mile and a half below the 
point from which the surveying party had started out on 
their work. He felt so much animated at the successful 
termination of this adventure, that instead of going down 
stream to the cabin of John Levins, seven miles below, he 
determined to go up to the line of the surveyors, and follow 
that until he found them. It was easily distinguished by 
the blazes, or marks on the trees, and before night reached 
the camp they had left two weeks before, and found a little 
fire still smoking in a dry sugar tree, which retains fire 
longer than any other wood. Feeling weary and low spir- 
ited, he proceeded no further that night, but slept on the 
old camping ground. In the morning, knowing where he 
was, and freed from the harassing feelings known only to 
those who have been lost in the woods, he started with 
fresh vigor on the trace. Ilis little companion seemed to 
understand their more hopeful condition, and capered along 
ahead, barking heartily for joy. He now killed as much 
game as he needed, without leaving the trail, and on the 
eighth day of his solitary ramble, came up with tlic sur- 
veyors. There was great joy in the party at meeting their 
lost companion, but as they supposed he had gone back to 


the settlement, not being a regular hand, they were not so 
mueh alarmed at his long absence. 

>Soon after this adventure he returned to Kcw England, 
and resided for some time with his brother I'iphraim, at Kil- 
lingly. Conn., where lie married jMiss I'hiladelphia Cargill, 
the daughter of Benjamin Cargill, who owned, at that time, 
valuable mills on the Quinebog river, the site of the present 
Wilkinson factories and village in Pomfret. His roving pro- 
pensities led him to spend some months in Carolina and 
Virginia; but his brother having removed to Ohio, he came 
again to Marietta, in the year 1802, with the intention of 
establishing a tin manufactory ; but meeting with little en- 
couragement at that early day, he went to Chillicothe, and 
finally established himself at Bainbridge, on Paint creek, 
and engaged in the fur trade. 

In the years 180G and 1807 there was gi-eat excitement 
respecting Louisiana, and Aaron Burr's expedition ; the mi- 
litia were organized, and he was elected a major in Col. 
McArthur's regiment. His fine personal appearance, and 
some experience in military afiairs in Connecticut, enabled 
him to fill the post wdth great credit. When additional troops 
were raised for the purpose of taking possession of New Or- 
leans, he received the appointment of captain, and soon 
enlisted a full company of men. He was stationed at New- 
port, Ky., and for some time had the command of the post at 
that place. In the spring of 1809 he was ordered, with his 
company, to New Orleans. A French gentleman, engaged 
in the fur trade on tlie IMissouri, and toward the Rocky 
mountains, was taken on board his boat, as they dcf^ccnded 
the INIississippi, as a passenger. Being able to speak the 
French language fluently, he obtained from him much val- 
uable information, which he carefull}- noted down, respect- 
ing these regions. In 1812 he published a work, being a 
a topographical description of that country, including much 


of Ohio, with an account of the Indian tribes residing therein. 
His two subaltern officers, Jessup and Cutler, have since 
attained the rank of general officers in the army of the 
United States. At New Orleans he had a severe attack of 
yellow fever, which reduced his strength and health so much, 
that he left the army, and returned to New England, where 
he remained until 1818, when he removed his family to 
Warren, near Marietta. Here he lost Ms wife, in 1822. 

Two years after he married Mrs. Eliza Chandler, of Evans- 
ville, Indiana, and soon after moved to Nashville, Tenn., 
where he was engaged in engraving copper-plates for bank 
notes, for the banks of that state, and for Alabama. He 
possessed great taste for the fine arts ; sketched remarkably 
well, and made some very creditable attempts at sculptm'e. 
With much versatility of talent, he lacked that singleness 
of pm*pose, and perseverance in one pursuit, necessary to 
success. He possessed a well cultivated mind, and was an 
acute observer of men and things. 

He died at Evansville, the 25th of June, 1844, aged sev- 
enty-six years. 






In the summer of 1797, Ephraim Cutler, the proprietor of 
several shares in the Ohio Company's purchase, ascertain- 
ing that a considerable amount of his lands were situated 
on the waters of Federal creek, in the sixth township of the 
thirteenth range, accompanied by Lieut. George Ewing, ex- 
plored a way through the wilderness, and cut out a pack- 
horse path, twenty miles in length, fromWaterford to Federal 
creek. They returned, and accompanied by Capt. Benjamin 
Brown, made a second and more thorough exploration. 
They found the lands exceedingly fertile, with rich limestone 
liills and valleys, and chestnut ridges ; which afforded a plen- 
tiful supply of food for animals of every description, and 
promised an abundant reward to the labors of the farmer. 
The Indians had not yet quite exterminated the buffalo and 
elk ; the bear, deer, wolf, and panther abounded, while the 
wild turkeys were innumerable. ]Mr. Cutler proposed to fur- 
nish them with land, if they would unite with him in form- 
ing a settlement. They accordingly made their selection ; 
and about the 1st of March, 1798, Lieut. Ewing removed his 
family, and in April, 1799, Cutler and Brown went over to 
build their cabins, and make preparation for the accommo- 
dation of their families. On their wa}- back to Waterford, 
they found Wolf creek impassable, from recent heavy rains. 


They cut a large bitter-nut hickory tree, that stood on the 
bank, peeled thirty feet of bark from the trunk, sewed up 
the ends with leathervvood, and launched it upon the stream ; 
when themselves, with two young men, who accompanied 
them, embarked in this frail vessel. They had proceeded 
bnt a short distance down stream, when they discovered a 
large bear on the bank of the creek, which was shot, and 
taken on board. This Indian canoe, with its passengers 
and freight, performed the voyage of fifteen miles, to W?ter- 
ford, in safety. The goods and furniture of the two faniilies 
were put on board pirogues, and sent down the Muskingum 
and Ohio rivers, to the mouth of the Big Hockhocking and 
up that stream to Federal creek, a distance of eighty miles; 
while the women and children were taken on horseback, 
through the wilderness, and over the rough hills, to their 
woodland abodes. The creeks were much swollen, and dif- 
ficult to pass. One large stream was crossed on a raft of 
drift-wood, at great peril. They reached the place of des- 
tination on the 6th of May. About the year 1800, Deacon 
Joshua Wyatt and family, with Sylvanus Ames and his ac- 
complished and intelligent wife, joined them, making a very 
pleasant addition to the little colony. Other settlers also 
came, but the increase was small until 1804. 

After the arrival of Deacon Wyatt, public worship on the 
Sabbath was established, by reading a sermon, and prayer. 
The settlers very early entered into an agreement, not to use 
ardent spirits on any public occasion, such as raisings, 4th 
of .July, &c., which was strictly adhered to for several years. 
Schools of an elevated character were soon established. 
Two gentlemen, graduates of Harvard University, Moses 
Everett, son of the Rev. ]\Ioses Everett, of Dorchester, Mass., 
and Charles Cutler, taught successively for several years. 
During a number of years, the youth enjoyed no other means 
of acquiring knowledge. But one newspaper was taken, 

A M E S T O W N . 423 

the United States Gazette, and that, except by accident, did 
not arrive much oftcner tlian once in three niontlis. 

In the autumn of 1801, the setthn-rf of Dover, Sunday 
creek, and Ame.s were convened in public meeting, to devise 
means to improve the roads. At tliis meeting the intellec- 
tual wants of the t^ettlement became a subject of remark. 
In their isolated position, the means of acquiring informa- 
tion were extremely limited. It was suggested that a libraiy 
would supply the deficiency. But the difficulty of obtaining 
money, to make the purchase of the books, presented an 
insuperable obstacle. Josiah True, Esq., of Dover, proposed 
that they should collect furs, and send on to Boston, to ef- 
fect the object. This project was acceded to by acclamation. 
The young men of the colony had become expert hunters. 
Surrounded by a vast wilderness, with a boundless ocean 
of woods and prairies, inhabited by savages, who still re- 
garded it as their favorite hunting grounds, their fatherland; 
amidst dangers and privations, unknown in more cultivated 
regions, a hardy and adventurous character was early devel- 
oped. John Jacob Astor employed agents in this country, 
to purchase furs, especially bear skins. At the commence- 
ment of winter, the bear seeks a hollow tree, or a cavern 
amongst the rocks, for his winter's sleep. The entrance of 
those ca\ ities in which this animal takes refuge, is generally 
small. These were often entered by the hunters, and the 
bear dispatched, by shooting, or stabbing with the knife. 
In one instance the bear being wounded, determined to sur- 
render his fortress, aiid retreat. The young man ;vho had 
entered the narrow aperture, had no other resource than to 
lie flat upon his face, and let the animal squeeze his passage 
over him. At the outlet of the den, another hunter stood 
with his rifle, and shot him through the head ; young Brown 
soon crawled out, covered with blood from the wounded 


bear, saying, that " Bruin had given him a harder squeeze 
than he ever had before." 

In order to obtain the proposed Ubrary, the settlers, 
during tlie ensuing winter, procured a sufficient quantity 
of raccoon and other skins to make the desired purchase. 
Samuel Brown, Esq., who was returning to New England 
that spring in a wagon, took charge of the skins. He was 
furnished with letters to the Rev. Thaddeus M. Harris, and 
the Rev. Dr. Cutler, who accompanied Mr. Brown to Boston, 
and selected a valuable collection of books. It is worthy 
of note, that this was the first public library in Ohio, and per- 
haps the first west of the mountains, and certainly was the 
first incorporated in the state. It has since been divided, 
after accumulating several hundred volumes, and part taken 
to Dover. Both branches are still in a floui'ishing condition. 
About sixty youth have been reared under these influences, 
and gone forth to the w^orld with fully developed physical 
powers, uncorrupted morals, and well cultivated minds ; but 
as most of them are now in active life, it would appear in- 
vidious to mention them. It may perhaps be proper to say 
that ten of them have graduated at the Ohio University. 
Many others have received more or less instruction at that 
institution. Two have been professors in colleges, three 
ministers of the gospel, and five lawyers, of established 
reputation. All of them occupy respectable, and many of 
them responsible stations in society. 

The Hon. Ambrose Rice, son of Mr. Jason Rice, of Ames, 
attended the institution at Athens in its earlier stages. He 
manifested great aptness in mathematical science, solving 
the most difficult problems, almost by intuition. He settled 
in the northwest part of this state, where he occupied sta- 
tions of trust and profit. His reputation as a man of pro- 
bity and talent was high. He died leaving a large fortune. 

A M E S T O W N . 425 

The first physician in Amcr^ was Dr. Ezra Walker, a na- 
tive of Killingly, Conn. He still livef?, at an advanced age. 

Mrs. Cutler wa.s a woman of uncommon fortitude and 
great excellence of character. Though in feeble health, 
and reared amidst the (juiet and peaceful scenes of a A^ew 
England village, slie never shrunk from the dangers and 
hardships of frontier life. In the early days of the settle- 
ment the Indians were in the habit of encamping within a 
mile of her house. Her husband was obliged to be absent 
four times in a year, to attend the courts at Marietta. On 
one of these occasions several Indians came to lier house. 
Two hired men, or striplings, being alarmed, caught up 
their giins and ran over to Capt. Brown's, leaving her 
and the children unprotected. One of the Indians ap- 
proached Mrs. Cutler with threatening gestures, brandisliing 
his tomahawk, and pointed to a decanter of brandy upon the 
cupboard. She knew if they tasted the liquor her life was 
in danger. With the spirit of a veteran, she seized the fire- 
shovel and ordered him to set down the bottle and leave the 
house. The Indian told her, "She was brave squaw; he 
would give her some meat." They left the house and re- 
turned to their camp. She was much relieved by the speedy 
arrival of Capt. Brown, who came immediately on hearing 
of the unwelcome visit of the Indians. This incident is 
mentioned to show the trials and dangers to which the fe- 
males of this sctUcment were exposed. She was a member 
of the Congregational church in ^Marietta, and an exemplary 
Christian. She died of consumption, in 1800. 

i\Irs. Wyatt \va< an iutcUigcnt, pious woman. Her maiden 
name was Shaw. She died some years after ]Mrs. Cutler. 

Mrs. Ames was the daughter of a Xcw England clerg}-- 
man. She still lives, honored and cherislied by her numerous 
and respectable family. 

It may be proper to give some sketch of the lives of Lieut. 


Ewing and Capt. Brown, men whose history belongs to that 
of their country. It was the efforts of such men, under 
the blessing of God on their labors and daring, that brought 
our country into existence as a distinct nation of the earth. 
They have already been mentioned as the individuals who 
first commenced the settlement at Ames, a movement which, 
considering the attendant difficulties and perils, required no 
little courage and perseverance. It seemed like plucking 
an inheritance from the mouth of the lion, situated as it 
was, in the heart of the Indian hunting grounds, much valued 
and often visited by them in large parties until 1812: lit- 
erally a frontier settlement, isolated and unsupported. 

Lieut. George Ewing was a native of Salem county, N. J., 
and though but a youth at the commencement of the Revo- 
lutionary war, when liis native state was invaded, and the 
sound of battle heard, he took his stand to defend it to the 
last. He was soon noticed for his bravery and good con- 
duct, and received the commission of a first lieutenant in 
the Jersey line of the army, a proud mark of distinction 
thus to be placed in that noted corps, the Jersey Blues. He 
continued in the army until the retm-n of peace, when it 
was disbanded. He soon, with his wife and young family, 
left New Jersey for the west, and resided a few years near 
Wheeling, Va. In 1793, with other families of that vicinity, 
he removed to Waterford, the frontier settlement on the 
Muskingum, in the midst of the Indian war. They were 
entitled to lands on the tract donated by Congress to those 
who, at that period, ventured their lives to defend the 
frontiers from the savage foe, and made a selection about 
four miles above Fort Frye, at the mouth of 01i\e Green 
creek, on the bank of the Muskingum river. They prepared 
a stockade garrison, to which they removed, and commenced 
improving their lands. The Indians watched them closely, 
and one of their number was killed by them, but with 


prudence and vigilance they maintained their post without 
further loss. 

As a member of the new settlement of Ames,* Mr. Ewing 
was ever ready to promote schools, the library, and every 
measure calculated for the general good. He was fond of 
reading; was intelligent; possessed a fund of sterling sense, 
combined with lively wit and good humor. He sometimes 
indulged in a natural propensity for poetic and sarcastic 
descriptions: often served on juries at the freehold courts, 
held to settle the conflicting claims on the college lands at 
Athens. There were one or two individuals sometimes cm- 
ployed as advocates, demagogues, who frequently made sad 
havoc with the king's English. He could not help versifying 
some of these bombastic speeches, which he did in a mas- 
terly manner, but always in a vein of good humor. lie 
finally removed to Indiana, and died about the year 1830. 
He ^vas the father of the Hon. Thomas Ewing, well known 
for his talents and Ihe public stations he has held. 

* The name of the township was suggested by Gen. R. Putnam, in honor o£ 
Fisher Ames, of Massachusetts. It is now one of the richest farming townshi^a 
in the Ohio Company's purchase. 


Capt. Bexjamix BRO^VN was born in Leicester, Worces- 
ter county, Mass., on the 17th of October, 1745. He was 
the son of Capt. John Brown, who served with distinction 
among the colonial troops in the French war, and before 
and subsequently to the Revolution, for twenty years, rep- 
resented the town of Leicester in the General Court of 
the state. His grandfather, William Brown, while a youth, 
came from England to America, and was the first settler in 
the town of Hatfield, on the Connecticut, at the mouth of 
Deerfield river, and was often engaged in the Indian wars 
of that early period. The maiden name of his mother was 
Elizabeth Jones, a near relative of John Coffin Jones, a man 
somewhat distinguished during and after the Revolution. 
His father's family was large, numbering nineteen children : 
five by a former wife. 

At the age of twenty-seven, he married Jane Thomas, 
who survived him, and died at Athens, in 1840, aged eighty- 
six years. Soon after his marriage he settled on a farm in 
the town of Rowe, then in the northwest corner of Hamp- 
shu'e county, but now in Franklin, Mass. 

In February, 1775, he connected himself with a regiment 
of minute men, as they were then called, commanded by 
Col. Barnard, filling the post of quaster-mastcr. This regi- 
ment, under the command of Lieut. Col. Williams, of 
Northfield, at the first sound of war at Lexington, marched 
to Cambridge, on the 21st of April. Here he received a 

* The sketcli of Capt. Browu \Yas furnislied by his grandions. G. Brown and 
Ephraim Cutler, Eiqs. 


lieutenant's commission in Capt. Maxwell's company, of 
Col. Prescott's regiment and Massachusetts line, in which 
he continued until December, 177G. In June, 1775, he waa 
engaged with a party of Americans in a very hazardous 
service, removing the stock from Noddle's inland, in 13oston 
bay, to prevent their falling into the possession of the 
British, and also in burning the enemy's packet, Diana, 
ashore on Maiden beach. 

He took an active part in the battle of Bunker hill, on the 
17tli of June, where his commander, Col. Prescott, highly 
distinguished himself by his judicious conduct and bravery. 
In this battle his oldest brother, John Brown, who died in 
Adams, Wasliington county, Ohio, in 1821, aged eighty- 
seven years, was dangerously wounded in two places, by 
musket shots, one of which ranged the whole length of his 
foot, shattering the bones in a dreadful manner. He was 
borne from the field on the shoulders of his brother Pearly 
to a place of safety, showing the rare spectacle of three 
brothers engaged in this first of American battles. 

After the evacuation of Boston, in March, 177G,he marched 
with his regiment to New York, and was present in several 
engagements during the retreat from Long Island. At the 
battle of White Plains, where he took an active part, his 
brother Pearly was killed ; and his brother William died in 
the hospital at New York. On the 1st of January, 1777, 
he received a captain's commission in the eighth rGgimenl 
of the jMassachusetts line, of which JMichacl Jackson was 
colonel, and John Brooks, afterward governor of Massachu- 
setts, lieutenant- colonel, and William Hall, subseciut ntly 
governor of Michigan, major. He remained in this regi- 
ment until the close of the year 177i). In December, 177G, 
he assisted at the capture of Ilackensack, by Cen. Parsons. 
In the summer of 1777, his regiment was ordered to Albany 
to check the progress of the enemy under Gen. Burgoyne. 


About the middle of August, Col. Jackson, with his regi- 
ment, was detached with a body of troops under Gen. 
Arnold, to raise the siege of Fort Schuyler, and to check the 
advance of St. Leger's men down the Mohawk toward Al- 
bany, of which there was great apprehension, after the 
defeat of Gen. Herkimer at Oriskany, on the 7th of August. 
On his arrival at the German flats, he received information 
that at the stone house of Maj. Tenbreck, near \vhere he 
was encamped, IMaj. Walter Butler, a notorious Tory leader, 
had hoisted the British flag, and that the house and build- 
ings contained a large amount of military stores and pro- 
visions. Tenbreck held unlimited sway over the Tory 
inhabitants of that region, and all the disaffected were 
flocking to him for arms and provisions. It was known to 
be a place of great strength, and in addition to the other 
difficulties, it was said that Maj. Butler had with him a de- 
tachment of British troops, besides his Tory allies. But as 
it was of great importance to get possession of these two 
men, it was decided to make an immediate attack, before 
they were aware of the approach of their enemies. The 
colonel selected Capt. Brown, with a chosen corps, to pro- 
ceed in advance a little before the break of day. He 
marched with the utmost caution, until they came near the 
house, when, halting his men, he silently approached the 
sentinel, who, on his duty, advanced a few rods from the 
door, and then turning, marched back toward the house. 
Brown was a man of great strength and activity, and as he 
turned round he sprang upon him, securing his arms, and 
ordered his men to surround the house. He then with sev- 
eral of his trusty lads, tore some heavy rails from the 
fence, and using them as battering-rams, stove in the stout 
door and entered the building. He there met the two ma- 
jors, who surrendered the post without resistance, and when 
the regiment came up they had nothing to do but take 


possession, and thus, by this happy device, much bloodshed 
was prevented, and the troops proceeded without delay to the 
relief of Fort Schuyler, then in the most imminent danger 
from the army of Indians and Tories that surrounded the 
brave Cansevort and his gallant companions. On the ap- 
proach of Arnold, the siege was raised, and the garrison 

Soon after this c\ ent, his regiment returned to the vicinity 
of Saratoga, and was engaged in nearly all the battles 
which preceded the surrender of the army imder Gen. Bur- 
goync. At the storming of the German redoubts, on the 
7th of October, Capt, Brown was eminently distinguished. 
The events of this day sealed the fate of the British troops. 
The eighth regiment, under Col. Jackson, led the attacking 
column. Brown, being the senior captain, commanded the 
front division; on approaching the redoubt, he found an 
abatis in front of the works, formed of fallen tree-tops. 
Being a man of uncommon muscular strength, as was also 
his armor-bearer, or covering-sergeant, they together almost 
instantly cleared a sufficient opening for his men, and were 
the first to enter the redoubt. In doing this they received 
the full fire of the Germans, which killed his brave sergeant, 
his lieutenant, and several privates ; but he, with the re- 
mainder, and a free use of the bayonet, soon drove the enemy 
from the works, and closed this important dav* in triampli. 
Col. Breyman, the commander of the Germans, -.vas killed 
in this redoubt, and from concurrent circumstances, and his 
own confession, it is (pate certain that he lost his life iu a 
personal contest with Ca{)t. Brown, as he entered the works. 

After the surrender of Burgoyne, he was not present in 
any important battles, but was with the army until his resig- 
nation. The station of aid-de-camp to ijaron Steuben, was 
offered to him a short time before the battle of Camden; 
but he declined the honor, from a sense of his deficient 


education to fill the post with credit, being that of all the 
New England farmers of that period. 

During his absence in the army, his family, in common 
with many others, suffered severe privations, incident to the 
condition of the country. 

At the time of his resignation, in 1779, the continental 
currency had so greatly depreciated, that his month's pay 
would not purchase a bushel of wheat for his family, and 
he was thus forced to leave the service, and return home, to 
provide for their wants, by his personal efforts. About the 
year 1789, he removed from Rome, to Hartford, Washington 
county, N. Y., then a new settlement, where he remained 
until September, 1796; when, with several families, he left 
there, to seek a new home in the territoiy northwest of the 
Ohio river; the fertility and beauty of the country having 
spread, by the voice of fame, through the middle and east- 
ern states. He reached Marietta in the spring of 1797, and 
in 1799 moved, with Judge Cutler, to Ames township, and 
assisted in the first settlement of that place. In ISH, his 
health being much impaired, he went to live with his son, 
Gen. John Brown, in Athens. In 1818 he applied for, and 
received a pension. 

He was a professor of religion, and died, much lamented, 
in October, 1821, aged seventy-six years. 

The descendants of John and Benjamin Brown have 
multiplied in the west to hundreds. Some of them have 
occupied highly respectable public offices, with ability. 
Among the number is our late worthy member of Congress. 
P. B. Johnson, J\I. D., whose mother was the daughter of 
John Brown. Those two old pioneers may well be com- 
pared to the oaks of our forest, which nothing but the terri- 
ble tornado that levels all before it, can overthrow. 

The following is a copy of the certificate of Gov. Brooks, 
given to Capt. Brown on applying for a pension : 

JOSEPH 15 A U K E II . 433 

"Meuford, Mass., August 24th, 1818. 
This is to certify that Benjamin Brown was a captain in 
the hitc eighth Massachusetts regiment, commanded by Col. 
Michael Jackson — that he (Brown) ranked as such from 
January 1st, 1777 — that he was with me in the capture of 
Majs. Tenbreck and Butler, near German flats — in raising 
the seige of Fort Stanwix, and in the several battles which 
immediately preceded the capture of Gen. Burgoyne and 
his army, all in the year 1777, and that he always acted as 
a spirited and brave oflicer. The time of Capt. Brown's 
resigning is not within my knowledge, but he continued in 
service until after the 11th of September, 1778, at which 
time I left the eighth, being promoted to the command of the 
seventh regiment. I have no doubt of his having continued 
in service until the time he has mentioned in his declaration, 
J. Brooks, late lieutenant-colonel 

Eighth Massachusetts regiment." 


Col. Joseph Barker was a native of New Market, Rock- 
ingham county, N. II., and was born on the 9th day of Sep- 
tember, A. D. 17G5. His father was Ephraim Barker. The 
maiden name of his mother was Mary Manning, of Ipswich, 
Essex county, Mass. At the age of six years, he lost his 
mother, who left six children. A few years after her death, 
Joseph was sent to Exeter Academy, one of the earliest clas- 
sical seminaries in New England, and ranking with the best 
in reputation, for sound scholarship and correct discipline. 


He remained in the academy for a considerable time, and 
laid the foundation of a good English education, which, in 
after-life, by reading, a clear, discriminating mind, and close 
observation of mankind, enabled him to appear in the sev- 
eral posts he occupied, of a public nature, with honor to 
himself, and the credit of his patrons. 

His father having married again, in the year 1774, moved 
his family to Amherst, N. H., where he followed the occupa- 
tion of a house-carpenter, to which he was bred; few of 
the New England men of that day being without some in- 
dustrial pursuit. His oldest son, Jeremiah, was educated 
as a physician, and settled in Portland, Me., where he be- 
came one of the most eminent practitioners of his time; 
furnishing numerous articles on the diseases of that region, 
for the Medical Repository, from its first establishment 
by Drs. Mitchell and Miller, of New York city. This work 
was continued for many years, and was not only the first 
medical periodical published in America, but is said to have 
been the first in the world; opening the way to the vast 
amount of medical literature which is now sent forth to the 

Joseph was continued at Exeter until sometime during 
the war, probably until he was about fourteen or fifteen 
years old, when he returned to his father, and commenced 
the acquirement of the art of a house-joiner and carpenter, 
under the guidance of his parent. He was a youth of great 
spirit, courage, and activity; and many stories are related, 
of his pugilistic feats and wTCstling, not only with the boys 
of his own age, but with those much his superiors in years 
and size. His father lived near the court-house and jail, 
and Joseph became a great favorite of the sherifi' of the 
county, who was fond of such sports as were common daring 
the period of the Revolution, and encouraged him in the prac- 
tice. These athletic exercises invigorated and strengthened 

J S E r II BARKER. 435 

his muscular frame, and gave him that manly bearing and 
contempt of danger, which characterized his after-life. When 
a boy he possessed a rare fund of wit and humor, with a for the ludicrous, which was very amusing to his com- 
panions. One of his boyish feats was related, a few years 
since, by an old man of Amherst, to Mr. G. Dana, his bro- 
ther-in-law, while there on a vi.sit. 

In the spring of the year, it was common for the nice 
housekeepers in New England, to have their rooms and door- 
yards fresh whitewashed annually. Joseph had been set 
at this work, and when he had about completed the job, an 
old red mare, that belonged to a crabbed, ill-natured neigh- 
bor, came up to the gate, as she had been in the habit of 
doing for some time, giving him considerable trouble in dri- 
ving her away. The conceit immediately came into his 
head, that it would be a good joke to metamorphose the old 
mare, by giving her a coat of the whitewash. She was ac- 
cordingly tied up to the fence, and the operation commenced, 
of giving her a white masquerading dress over her red one. 
When finished, she was turned loose, and went directly home. 
The owner, seeing a strange horse at the stable door, threw 
stones at her, and drove her away, not once suspecting that 
this white horse could be his. The next morning, finding 
the strange animal still about his premises, he set his dog 
on her, in great anger, following her with many curses and 
brickbats, determined to break up her unwelcome visits. 
Several curious disquisitions were held, by the old man and 
his wife, on the pertinacity of the animal, while the marc 
was in the greatest wonder at the strange conduct of her 
master. One or two of the neighbors, who were in the se- 
cret, as the man was no favorite among them, enjoyed the 
joke exceedingly, especially when he began to make in- 
quiries after his own horse, which had somehow strangely 
disappeared. It was not until after two or three days, when 


the coat of white was rubbed off in patches, showing the 
natural red, that he could be convinced of her identity, and 
that he had been harassing and starving his own beast 
during all that time. This piece of fun was long remem- 
bered in the village, and gave Joseph no little eclat in the 
estimation of the real lovers of a little harmless mischief. 

After working a year or two with his father, he went to 
live with a relative of his mother in New Ipswich, where he 
perfected his knowledge of the carpenter's business, becom- 
ing a skillful architect. He followed his occupation for 
several years. In 1788 he worked as a journeyman car- 
penter in the erection of a meeting-house in New Boston, 
where he remained until 1789. 

In the latter year he married Miss Elizabeth Dana, the 
eldest daughter of Capt. William Dana, of Amherst, with 
whorri he had long been acquainted. His father-in-law 
having visited the Ohio country in 1788, and determined on 
moving his family there, Mr. Barker concluded to join his 
fortune to theirs, and embark with them in the enterprise 
of seeking a home in the far west. They left Amherst in 
September, 1789. The mode of travel was in wagons 
drawn by oxen. One favorite cow was brought with them, 
which furnished milk for the children on the way ; and on 
their arrival at Belpre, their future home was named Old 
Amherst, in remembrance of their former place of residence. 
The fatigues of a journey of seven hundred miles, and 
across the mountains, at that day, cannot be estimated by 
those born amongst the facilities of steamboats and rail- 
roads. Such were the difRculties in passing these lofty 
ranges, that sometimes the wagons were actually taken in 
pieces, and the separate parts carried by hand over the im- 
passable barrier of rocks and ledges. On the route one of 
their oxen became lame, and had to be exchanged for a 
sound one, and as is usually the case in such events, they 

JOSEril BARKER. 437 

were sadly cheated, the new ox being nearly valueless for 
the draught. But the resolution of Capt. Dana and Mr. 
Barker uas equal to any emergency, and surmounted every 
obstacle. The rugged mountains were finally passed, and 
in November the part^' arrived at Simrel's ferry, the grand 
embarking port of the New England emigrants in their de- 
scent of the Ohio river. As was usual at this early period, 
they were detained several days for a boat to be made ready 
for their use. No facilities of passenger boats of any kind 
were then known on the western waters, but every traveler 
furnished his own conveyance, or united with others, his 
companions, in procuring one. While waiting at this place, 
Isaac Barker, with his family, from Rhode Island, arrived, 
and they all lived under the hospitable roof of Thomas 
Stanley, a citizen of Connecticut then living at that place, 
and who subsequently became a respectable and valual)le 
citizen of Marietta, and after the Indian war in 1797, erected 
mills on Duck creek, in the present township of Fearing. 
As soon as the boat was prepared, the three families em- 
barked in their unwieldy craft, built after the fashion of a 
large oblong box, covered half its length with a roof to 
shelter the people and their goods from the weather, while 
the open space contained their teams and wagons. The 
water on the Youghiogheny and Monongahela, as it usually 
is at this season of the year, was low, and every mile or two 
the boat grounded on the sand-bars and rocks, requiring 
the voyagers to leap over the side into the cold water, and 
prj'' her off into the current, rendering the passage both slow 
and painful. When they reached Pittsburg, a favorable 
rise in the river accelerated their progress and rendered the 
rest of the voyage more comfortable. On their arrival at 
Marietta, where they proposed to pass the winter, they 
found the few houses then built so crowded with inhabitants. 


that they concluded to pass on to Belpre, a settlement just 
commenced, where Capt. Dana's land was located. 

The appearance of Marietta at that time, is thus described 
by one of the party now living. *•' On ascending the bank 
of the river to look at the town w^e had been nearly three 
months toiling to see, a very cheerless prospect was pre- 
sented to our view. A few log-huts were scattered here and 
there, raised only a few feet above the tall stumps of the 
sturdy trees that had been cut away to make room for them. 
Narrow foot-paths meandered through the mud and water 
from cabin to cabin; while an occasional log across the 
water-courses afforded the pedestrian a passage without 
wetting his feet". 

The people were very kind and hospitable to the new 
comers, to the extent of their ability ; but after waiting a 
day or two, Capt. Dana proceeded on with his boat to his 
future home, where he amved late in November. Much to 
his disappointment, he found that the log-house .he had 
built the spring preceding, by accident was burned up, and 
the family had to remain in the boat until another was 

Mr. Barker, who depended on the proceeds of his mechan- 
ical labor for the support of his family, concluded to stay 
for the present in Marietta, where carpenters were in de- 
mand, and immediately began putting up a cabin on the 
corner of the square where the postoffice building now 
stands. Early in January, 1790, the small-pox was intro- 
duced amongst the inhabitants by a moving family, and 
it was thought prudent for Mrs. Barker to go to Belpre 
and live in her fathers family, until the danger was passed. 
Mr. Barker not having had the disease, was inoculated 
about the middle of January, as were a large portion of the 
inhabitants of IMarietta. For pest-houses, several small 

J O S E r II BARK E II . 439 

log buildings were put up on the border of the plain. On 
the .'JOth of that monlli he wrote to his wife. " I am living in 
a little, clean log-cabin that is i^ix feet wide, seven feet long, 
and lour and a half high. We make out to .<it up, but can- 
not stand i-traight. We lodge very well." This show.-^ the 
narrow accommodations to which some of the inhabitants 
had to submit. Those in Campus Martius had larger 
rooms, but were also very much crowded. He passed 
through the disease favorably, but was not allowed to visit 
his wife at Belprc, on account of the danger to the inhabit- 
ants, until the forepart of March. > 

On the 28th of February, Mrs. Barker gave birth to a 
son, the present honorable Joseph Barker, of Newport. He 
was the first child born in that township, and has several 
times represented Washington county in the state Legislature. 
Some time in the spring of the year 1790, he moved his 
wife and little son to Marietta, where he remained until the 
autumn of 1798. 

The Indian war began in January, 1791, yet, notwith- 
standing the danger, he lived in his own house during a 
part of the time, retiring to the stockade at the Point 
when the rangers reported signs of Indians in the vicinity, 
and returning to his own domicil when the danger was at a 
distance. Soon after the war brolce out, he was appointed 
an orderly-sergeant, in the pay of the United States by Col. 
Sproat, who was the military agent, with the rank of a lieu- 

The condition of the Ohio Company's settlements at the 
time of his arrival, and for a year or two after, cannot be 
better described than in his own words. 

In November, 17S9, at the time of my arrival, ninety 
families had landed, and associations embracing two hun- 
dred and fifty settlers had been formed, and improvements 
had commenced in several of them. By iMay, 1790, there 


were very few lots in Belpre and Newbury without a settler. 
On a retui-n of all the men enrolled for militia duty in the 
county, made to the secretary of war in March, 1791, theu' 
number amounted to one hundred and ninety-five. But 
after that I think the number increased, and the one hundred 
thousand acres granted by Congress for donation purposes, 
induced many to remain, and many more to come in, to 
avail themselves of the terms of the donation. 

In January, 1790, a new arrangement was made in the 
militia, a company of artillery was formed, commanded by 
Capt. William Mills, of Marietta, Lieut. George Ingersol, of 
Belpre, and the late Gen. Joseph Buck, orderly-sergeant. 
The infantry company was commanded by Maj. iSathan 
Goodale, of Belpre, and Anselm Tupper. of Marietta, lieu- 
tenant. Early in the spring, some alterations were made, 
by which I was transferred from the artillery, and made or- 
derly-sergeant of the company of infantry, and it became 
my duty to keep a roll of every person amenable to militai-y 
service; to attend at the place of public worship, with my 
roll; call ever}' man's name, examine his arms and ammu- 
nition, and sec that he was equipped according to law. 1 
had also to note down and report all delinquencies. The 
territorial militia law made it the dut}" of the troops, to as- 
semble on Sunday morning, at ten o'clock, for inspection ; 
those who attended public worship, and there were few who 
did not, after the inspection, marched from the parade ground 
to the room where service was held, preceded by the clerg}'- 
man and Col. Sproat, the commandant at the Point garrison, 
with liis Revolutionar}- sword drawn, and the drum and fife, 
and by Gen. Putnam and Gen. Tupper, at Campus jMartius. 
The citizens generally fell into the ranks, and the procession 
moved, in military array, to wait on divine service ; the fife 
and drum supplying the place of the chm-ch-going bell, in 
the eastern states. In case of an alarm on the Sabbath, 


that porlioii of the congrci;3^atiou who wore armed, rushed 
out of the meeting, to faee the danm^'r, or pursue the Indians, 
which !>evcral times happened. After the war commenced, 
the troops under pay, were the special guard for the garris- 
ons, in the daytime, but were not connected with the citizens 
in their military dutic^s. The latter wvvv held in ])repara- 
tion, to be called on for .scouts and pursuing parties; while 
the guard was not allowed to lea\ <? the g.arrison, or the sen- 
tinel his post, but they were both inspected at the same 
liour by their respective oliicers, to see if they were prepared 
for action at all times. Before the arrival of the Rev. Daniel 
Story, who was the stated pastor, Thomas Lord, Esq., of 
Connecticut, who had been educated at Yale college, and 
studied theology preparatory to the ministry', ofllciatcd as 
clerg}'man for the settlement. Previous to the commence- 
ment of hostilities by this weekly inspection on the Sabbath, 
when the most of the people were at home, but absent on 
other days, the commandant was informed what proportion 
of them were armed and equipped to defend the settlement; 
emigrants frequently arrived without arms, so that the num- 
ber of guns fell short of the number of men, and the de- 
ficiency could not be made up in the settlement, and those 
persons only who were known to have arms, were proceeded 
against as delinquents. A short time previous to hostilities, 
Col. Sproat had been authorized by the secretary of ^var to 
enlist a company of men into the service of the United 
States, out of the settlers, to be employed in guarding and 
defending the settlements, and also to superintend and dis- 
tribute them at the posts which most needed their aid. lie 
was directed to appoint a commissary to furnish provisions to 
these troops, and employed Paul Fearing, Esq., Col. Sproat 
being commander-in-chief, his aid was solicited in procuring 
arms for the citizens, who were deficient. He immediately 
wrote to the commanding officer at Fort Pitt, who sent down 


about thirty old muskets which had been laid aside as unfit 
for use ; they were put into the hands of the blacksmiths, 
who repaired them as well as they could, and distributed 
where most needed. Powder and lead were furnished, and 
cartridges made to suit each caliber, and deposited in the 
block-houses ready to be distributed in case of an attack. 
In June, 1792, Col. Sproat received two boxes, containing 
twenty-five stands each of United States muskets with bayo- 
nets fresh from the factory. These were distributed to the 
soldiers and citizens on their signing a receipt to return 
them when called for, to Col. Sproat. The arms were never 
called for, and are still in the county. The inhabitants were 
now thought to be well armed ; many rifles were procured and 
brought into the country. The northern men, previous to their 
coming here, were imacquainted with the rifle and the woods, 
but by practicing on the example of those who had been edu- 
cated among the Indians and the forests, they soon became 
good hunters and expert woodsmen. Those who were well 
armed and good marksmen, were commonly selected as 
sentries for the working parties in the fields, and were 
always ready to start on any discovery of the enemy, or 
pursue an Indian trail. Thus, by being familiar with dan- 
ger, and inured to the hazard of a rencounter with their en- 
emies, they gained that confidence in themselves which 
promised, in case of meeting an Indian, the odds in their 
own favor. Several followed hunting continually : others 
were out with the rangers, or small parlies, so that it was 
difiicult for an Indian to make a track within five miles of 
a garrison without being detected. Thus a large portion of 
the inhabitants became fearless of danger from the Indians, 
and preferred some employment or enterprise abroad, to 
being confined in the garrisons, which is evident from the 
fact that nearly all the one hundred thousand acres of do- 
nation land had been taken up, surveyed and deeded away, 

JOSEPH B A II K E U . 443 

with improvements made on many of the lotr», previous to 
Wayne's treaty. Where the lots bordered on large streams, 
many had made considerable improvements during tlic war, 
and others ;vere ready to do so on the news of peace. yMI 
the lots settled along the Ohio river below the JMuskingum, 
belonged to the Ohio Company's purchase, It is an axiom 
with military men that rangers arc the eyes of an army. It 
proved true with respect to our settlements. The measure 
of employing rangers was adoj)ted previous to the com- 
mencement of hostilities, and they were stationed at ^lari- 
etta and Waterford three months before the massacre at 
Big Bottom ; and as the safety of the lives and pro})crty of 
the inhabitants depended much on the vigilance and honesty 
of these men, none were selected but such as possessed 
these qualities. Their pay, under the Ohio Company, was 
one dollar a day ; but under the United States, it was eighty- 
four cents, or twenty-five dollars a month. 

After naming and describing the persons of a number of 
the rangers, he says, "Two men, Benjamin Patterson and 
John Shepherd, from the state of New York, were employed 
as rangers three of the first years of the war, and then 
moved down the river. At the time of the controversy be- 
tween Pennsylvania and Connecticut relative to their con- 
flicting land claims on the Susquehanna river, the state of 
Pennsylvania appointed Timothy Pickering, of Salem, 3Iass., 
the honest old Federalist, to go upon the ground and meet 
others to adjust the dillercnce. While there, this same Ben- 
jamin Patterson was one of two or three men who took Picker- 
ing from his bed at night, and conveyed him three miles into 
the woods, and bound him fast to a white-oak sapling and 
left him there to starve to death; but after two or three days 
Patterson returned, and went and unbound him, setting him 
at liberty, for which outrage he fled from Wyoming to the 
state of Xew York, and from tliencc to ^Marietta. It \vas 


not uncommon for such characters to call at our settlement, 
but finding neither plunder nor speculation, and their char- 
acters soon pursuing them, they floated down the river. 

To the plan early adopted of employing rangers, may be 
attributed the general safety and success of the settlement 
of Washington county. It was first proposed by Gen. Put- 
nam, and afterward adopted by Congress. The Indians 
finding themselves so closely watched by men who were 
their compeers in their own arts of warfare, as well as more 
vigilant and untiring soldiers, became indifferent to enter- 
prises where they were liliely to meet with more loss than 
profit. The hope of reward is the great spring of human 
action. Men who a,re not paid, nor fed nor clothed, may 
make good partizans for a short emergency, but never make 
good soldiers. Their patriotism soon cools. The hope of 
plunder is the main stimulus with the Indians. Therefore 
they crossed the Ohio river below and above — passing by 
us, went a hundred miles beyond, on to the waters of the 
Monongahela, where there was more plunder and less watch- 
fulness. Revenge is sweet, but must not be bought too dear. 
Parties of fifty or a hundred, who came on to attack us, sel- 
dom remained about the settlements more than a week; 
and larger bodies of a thousand or more, such as attacked 
Gen. St. Clair and Fort Recovery, could not keep together 
more than four or five days, as they had no means to pro- 
vide food for the soldier or his family, when fighting the bat- 
tles of his tribe. It is estimated, that in the seven years 
previous to the war of 1791, the Indians, along the fron- 
tiers south of the Ohio river, killed and took prisoners, fif- 
teen hundred persons, stole two thousand horses, and other 
property to the amount of fifty thousand dollars. This was 
the declared object of the party who killed jMr. Carpenter 
and the family of Armstrong. 

The first physician who came to settle in Marietta, was 


Dr. Jabcz Fai'lcy, a son of Gen. Farley, of Old Ip.svvich, 
Mass. He had been educated for a physician, and studied 
medicine with old Dr. Ilolyoke, walking with him, a.s his 
friends said, three years in the streets of Salem. lie was a 
modest, amiable, young man; always ready to obey the calls 
of humanity, and had the good-will and confidence of all 
who knew him. But as there were but few people, and those 
young and healthy, (except the disease of an empty purse,) 
his practice was very limited. As he was not fitted for any 
other business, in the autumn of 1790, his mcdichlC being 
exhausted, he returned to Ipswich, and did not come out 

In the first settlement of the country, intermittent fever, 
or fever and ague, was the prevailing disease, among all 
classes, along the water-courses. It commenced about the 
1st of August, and continued at intervals, until sugar-making 
in February or March. Maple sugar was a valuable article 
of diet, in families who had little or no salt meat, as this 
food was scarce and dear. Sugar was a substitute for man}' 
things, and where they could get it, as most people could, 
who took the pains of making it, was used freely, and some- 
times exhausted their store, before the sickly season, in Au- 
gust, anived; when they were almost certain to be sick; 
while those who had more substantial and solid food, es- 
caped. Remitting or bilious fevers were not so common, 
until long after the war. Industry and temperance were 
preventives of most disorders, and a remedy for many more. 

Gen. Putnam used to relate an anecdote of his own expe- 
rience in the fever and ague. After concluding a treaty of 
peace with the Wabash and Illinois Indians, in September, 
1792, he was attacked with the fever and ague, and suffered 
severely with this disorder, on his voyage up, performed in 
a superb, twelve-oared barge, rowed by United States sol- 
diers. He had a surgeon on board, who prescribed for him, 


but debarred him from the use of stimulating food and drink. 
His disease continued unabated, under this course, until he 
reached this side of Gallipolis, when the boat landed at night- 
fall, at a camp of hunters on the bank of the Ohio. They 
had a profusion of bear meat, venison, and turkey. They 
feasted themselves, and made every person welcome; but 
the general was interdicted the savory contents of the camp- 
kettle, by his surgeon, the very fumes of which were quite a 
feast to a hungr}' stomach. He lay down on his blanket, 
before the camp-lire, and tried to sleep, but the thoughts of 
the rich contents of the camp-kettle, only a few feet from 
him, prevented. As soon as all around him were lost in 
slumber, he crept up to the side of the kettle, and feasted 
his craving appetite on the well-seasoned bear meat and 
venison, as long as he dared to indulge it. He had not a 
single return of the ague after this night; showing that all 
he needed, was more stimulating food than he had been al- 
lowed to use for several weeks preceding. 

As the Indians came into the treaty at Fort Harmer in 
the fall of 1788, they employed themselves in hunting and 
destroying the game, for which they had no use, (as they 
were supplied with rations from the garrison,) except for 
the skins of the deer. So great was their industry and per- 
severance, that in the fall and winter they brought in deer 
and turkeys, piling them up on the bank of the Muskingum, 
at the Point, like a stack of hay, until the inhabitants were 
obliged to assemble and throw them into the river, to abate 
the nuisance. They left the carcasses about the woods, 
which brought in the wolves and panthers, but destroyed 
all the deer. A man by the name of Bagley, who was a 
fiddler, and lived at Wolf creek mills, on his way to Mari- 
etta one cold, snow-stormy day in March, was attacked by 
a gang of wolves, who drove him up a tree, where he had 
to sit and play the fiddle for them all night, until they left 

JOSEPH h A U K E K . 447 

him in tho morning. When the Indians wore ar^kcd why 
the}^ destroyed and wasted the game in .such a manner, they 
answered they meant to destroy and starve out every white 
n\an north of the Ohio. They frequently alhided to the 
prospect of repossessing their lands, and recovering their 
good hunting grounds. One old Indian, when ho drew liis 
blanket at the treaty, threw it over his shoulders, .-aying he 
had got his cornfield on his back, but he would have it to 
walk on next year. It \vas said ther(^ were four hundred 
Indians, men, women, and children; and so thoroughly did 
they destroy the game within ten miles of Marietta, that 
scarcely a deer could be seen ; where, before, a good hunter 
could kill from fifteen to twenty in a day. 1 ha\ e heanl Ham- 
ilton Kerr say, that the hills between Duck creek and Little 
IMuskingum, were the best hunting ground he had ever seen ; 
that he could easily kill fifteen deer in a day, and frequently 
in a morning. The Indians, by burning the \voods every 
yeiir, kept down the undergrowth, and made good pasture 
for the game and good hunting for themselves.- The famine 
of 1790 was much aggravated by this destruction of the 
wild animals. 

Early in March, 1791, Capt. Josepli Rogers, one of the 
rangers, was killed by the Indians. He was a native of 
Pennsylvania, and about fifty years old ; a gentlemanly, 
brave, humane soldier, and had been an oflicer in Col. 
Morgan's ride corps at the capture of Burgoyne. IIa\ing 
served honorably through the Revolution, he, with many an 
old soldier, marched toward the setting sun, on t!ie forma- 
tion of the Ohio Company, in the hope of iiuding a new 
home in the west. He was in company with Edward Hen- 
derson, another of the rangers, on their return from a tour 
of duty, and was shot by a party of four Indians, on the 
side of a hill a mile north of Campus Martius. Henderson 


had several balls shot through his clothes, but made his 
escape after being chased several miles, and reached the 
garrison at the Point about twelve o'clock at night, where 
he was recognized by the sentinel on duty, and admitted at 
the gate on Ohio street. The commander was roused, 
the cannon fired, and answered at Campus Martius and 
Fort Ilarmer. The alarm ran through the garrison that 
Rogers was killed, and Henderson chased into the post by 
a large body of Indians, who were now at the gate making 
an attack. All was consternation in the darkness of night, 
but every one hastened to his alarm post. Some incidents 
occurred which marked the propensities of different individ- 
uals. The first person for admittance into the central block- 
house was Col. Sproat, with a box of papers. Then came 
some young men with their arms. Then a woman with her 
bed and children. Next old Mr. William JMoulton, from 
Newburyport, aged seventy, with his leather apron fall of 
old goldsmith tools and tobacco. Close at his heels came 
his daughter Anna, with the China teapot, cups and saucers : 
Lydia brought the great Bible; but when all were in, their 
mother was missing. Where was mother? She must be 
killed ! No, says Lydia, mother said she would not leave 
the house looking so; she would put things a little more to 
rights, and then she would come. Directly mother came, 
bringing the looking-glass, knives and forks, &;c. 

Messengers were soon exchanged with Campus Martius, 
and no appearance of hostilities was discovered. All re- 
turned to their homes in the morning, and peace was re- 
stored to the little anxious community. A strong party of 
men went out that forenoon, brought in the dead body of 
Rogers, and buried him in second street, near the brink of 
the plain." 

Mr. Barker, as orderly-sergeant, had charge of the block- 


house at the Point, where the inhabitants assembled at the 
alarm of Indians, and was an eye-witness of the scene 

During the continuance of the war, he was exposed to 
many dangers and trials, which he met with the fortitude of 
a brave man, and was ready at all times to lead or to follow 
wherever duty called him. Soon after the massacre at Big 
Bottom, he was on the ground with a party of volunteers 
from Marietta, and assisted in burying the burnt and mu- 
tilated bodies of his countrymen. Also in the autumn of 
1791, when Capt. Carpenter and four others were killed by 
the Indians seven miles above Marietta, in Virginia, he was 
early at the spot, and assisted in committing to the earth 
their mangled bodies, which was a dangerous service, as the 
savages might still be lurking in the vicinity of the place, 
watching for their approach. 

In August, 1793, the small-pox again visited Marietta, 
and to avoid the infection in his family, he moved to Stone's 
garrison, in the upper settlement of Belpre, built in the 
spring of that year. But this enemy of the human race, 
more subtle than the savage, could not be eluded, and Mrs. 
Barker took the disease in the natm'al way. It proved to 
be of the malignant, confluent kind, ahd she barely escaped 
with her life, bearing about her person the marks of its vio- 
lence the rest of her days. All the inhabitants of Belpre 
who had not previously had the small-pox, were now inocu- 
lated, turning their garrisons into so many hospitals. Be- 
tween the Indians without their u'alls, and disease and want 
within, they suffered extremely. 

In the spring of 1794, a family by the name of Armstrong, 
on the Virginia shore of the Ohio, in sight of Stone's garri- 
son, was attacked by the Indians, four killed and three taken 
prisoners. On this occasion he was one of the volunteers 

who, on the first alarm, turned out from the garrison to 



pursue the Indians, bury the dead, and give succor to such of 
the family as escaped by not being in the house at the time. 
These melancholy scenes were common during the war, 
and tried the courage and the hearts of the bravest of the 

In the winter of 1793-4, he taught a school in the garri- 
son. This post was about one hundred yards in length by 
fifty yards in breadth, and contained five block-houses, and 
six log dwelling-houses, with a school-house. The whole 
were inclosed with stout palisades. The inmates consisted 
of twelve families, and being generally prolific in children, 
averaging from three or four to eight or ten in a family, they 
could furnish a school of forty between the ages of four 
years and twenty years. The heads of families in this 
garrison were Capt. Jonathan Stone, Capt. William Dana, 
Capt. Elias Gates, Col. Silas Bent, Stephen Guthrie, Israel 
Stone, Simeon Wright, Isaac Barker, Joseph Barker, Wan- 
ton Cosey, Benjamin Patterson, and Stephen Smith. The 
school was an interesting one, and he spent the winter very 
pleasantly in teaching the young idea how to shoot. 

In February, 1795, the inhabitants of this little garrison 
were doomed to lose one of their own number by the Indians. 
Jonas Davis, an intelligent young man from Nev.- England, 
and at the time living in Mr. Barker's family, incautiously 
left the station one morning alone, and went about three 
miles up the bank of the Ohio, for the purpose of getting 
the boards and nails from a small boat he had discovered 
wrecked in the ice on the shore, as he came down from Ma- 
rietta the day before. Not returning that night, fears were 
felt for his safety. The following morning all the inhabit- 
ants of the garrison fit to bear arms, excepting Capt. Dana 
and Col. Bent, who were rather infirm, were mustered to go 
out in search of Davis. After cautiously rcconnoitcring their 
way, he was found killed and scalped near the mouth of 


Crooked creek, stripped of all his clothing but a shirt. Pre- 
parations were soon made, for bringing the dead body to 
the garrison, by lashing it with hickory withes to a pole. 

In the meantime, one of the party, unused to such scenes, 
became much alarmed at the sight of the dead and mangled 
body, together with the surmises of Patterson, the ranger, 
that the Indians were still lurking in the vicinity, watching 
their motions, suffered his fears to get the better of his rea- 
son, and started, full speed, for home. So much alarmed 
was the man, that he fancied an Indian in every bush, and 
thought he could see their dusky forms stalking from tree to 
tree, ready to intercept him. In the meantime, the inmates 
of the garrison were waiting, in anxious suspense, the return 
of the party, and to hear the result of their search. At 
length the person in the watch-tower gave notice of the ap- 
proach of a messenger, at his utmost speed. A general rush 
of the women and children, was made to the gate, to learn 
the tidings. The man, out of breath, and pale with affright, 
had hardly strength enough to relate that he had been chased 
by the Indians, who filled the woods, and barely escaped with 
his life, and he had no doubt the whole party were either 
killed or taken prisoners. The gates were immediately 
closed and barred, while every preparation in their power, 
was made for defense, by the two old veterans, Dana and 
Bent, who had both seen service in the American Revo- 
lution. Grief, anguish, and confusion, for a short time per- 
vaded this wretched group of mothers, wives, and children, 
at the false intelligence of the fate of their dearest friends. 
On more closely questioning the alarmed fugitive, as to the 
particulars of the fight with the Indians, from his incoherent 
account, they were led to hope the matter was not so disas- 
trous as represented, and quiet began to be restored, while 
they waited, in great anxiety, the return of the party. 

It was a slow and laborious task, to bring the dead body 


on their shoulders, and not regarding the flight of the run- 
away as of any importance, or that he might cause need- 
less alarm to their friends at home, they returned cautiously 
along, keeping a good look-out for theu' wily foes, if any 
were near. They, at length, to the great relief of the in- 
mates of the garrison, made their appearance with the dead 
body ; and as it was naked, they halted a few rods from the 
gate, and called for a blanket to cover it. The article re- 
quii-ed, was carried out to them by Mr. Barker's little son, 
Joseph, then only four years old, who, to this day, remem- 
bers that distressing scene, with the anguish and alarm of 
the occasion, with all the vividness of a recent event. This 
was the last ti-ial they had with the savages, as in August 
following, the peace of Greenville was completed with the 
western tribes. 

From the time of his first coming to Marietta, Mr. Bar- 
ker's intention was, to become the owner of a farm, but had 
thus far been prevented by the hostilities of the Indians. 
The donation lands of one hundred acres, had previously 
been distributed to actual settlers, and his lot fell in Wise- 
man's bottom, seven miles above Marietta ; to this he subse- 
quently added three other lots, making a fertile and valuable 
farm, of four hundred acres, the seat of his future home. 

In April, 1795, he left the garrison, in a canoe, with two 
of his wife's brothers, William and Edmond Bancroft Dana, 
to assist him in making the first opening on his wilderness 
farm, taking with him — , in addition to his cooking utensils, 
farming tools, and provisions — fifty young apple, and twelve 
cherry trees ; it being one of the first acts of the thrifty 
A'ew Englanders, to provide their families with fruit, as well 
as bread. The name of Wiseman's bottom originated from 
a backwoodr^man, who, while Virginia claimed the right to 
all the lands northwest of the Ohio river, had made an entry 
at this ypot, of iour hundred acres, called a settlement right. 


It was upon this little improvement, that Mr. Barker began 
his first clearing. There was yet considerable danger from 
the Indians, as peace was not yet concluded, and a man was 
killed by them about ten miles distant, on Wolf creek, in a 
short time after. Nevertheless, the adventurers proceeded 
up the Muskingum and commenced their labor. About the 
time of their arrival a block-house had been built at Rain- 
bow creek, on the opposite side of the river, by Gen. Put- 
nam, where he proposed to erect a mill, distant about a 
mile. In this building, during the time of their stay, the 
party took shelter every night, returning to their work in 
the morning with a gun on each one's shoulder, and an axe 
in the hand. While at their work chopping down the trees, 
one of the party was constantly kept on the lookout for 
danger. In addition to their own watchfulness, they had 
the aid of a faithful old dog, called Pedro, who accompanied 
them from New Hampshire, and had been with them during 
the war in Belpre. He would instinctively post himself on 
some elevation, such as a big log, or the stump of a tree, 
on the watch for the approach of an enemy, ready to give 
the alarm on the least sign of its appearance, whether from 
wild beast or savage. 

They were thus occupied for three weeks, and made the 
first permanent improvement in the Wiseman's bottom set- 
tlement, a tract embracing two or three thousand acres, and 
which subsequently became one of the most beautiful, well 
cultivated tracts, and intellectual community on the IMus- 
kingum river. During this time they had cleared about two 
acres of ground in the rich bottom, which was thickly cov- 
ered with immense trees of black-walnut and sugar-ma- 
ple, the labor of removing and burning which no one can 
tell, but him who has actually tried it. Holes were dug in 
the fresh virgin soil, and apple trees planted out amidst the 
gigantic sons of the forest, whose loftv heads were made to 


bow at the presence of civilized man. The cherry trees 
were not yet set, as they intended to remain a day or two 
longer; but old Pedro notified them one afternoon that 
danger was near. With the hair erect on his back, he would 
rush into the thick woods on the side of the clearing, threat- 
ening instant attack on some unseen enemy, but which his 
acute olfactories enabled him to detect; then returning to 
his master, seemed to say, " It is time to be off." This was 
repeated at intervals for several hours, until near night, 
when the party thought it would be more prudent to go. In 
the meantime, as the apple-trees were not all set, when the 
dog began his warning, two of the party stood on the watch 
with their guns ready, while the third one finished the work 
by setting the remaining trees near the bank of the river, 
further from the edge of the woods, and from the concealed 
danger, whatever it might be. They now stepped on board 
tlie canoe with their faithful watch-dog, just at evening, and 
by the aid of a rapid current and the vigorous application 
of their paddles, they reached Stone's garrison, a distance 
of nineteen miles, before ten o'clock that night. 

In May, Mr. Barker returned to his farm and cleared an 
additional piece of woodland, making in all about three 
acres, which was planted in corn. He visited the little field 
two or three times during the summer, to dress the corn and 
witness its progress. Once he came alone, and staid three 
nights, lodging as before in the block-house. These early 
fields were planted without plowing. The seed-corn being 
committed to the ricli, loose, vegetable soil, grew with as- 
tonishing vigor ; and where it received plenty of sunshine, 
yielded fine crops. His little field produced about one hun- 
dred and twenty-five bushels, which very fortunately escaped 
the ravages of the squirrels and raccoons, there being an 
abundant supply of food for them that year in the forest. 

The final arlicles of peace were signed in August, 171)5. 


As soon as the intelligence reached the garrisons on the 
Ohio and Muskingum, their inmates prepared to leave their 
rude fortresses, where they had sufTered much from the three 
greatest scourges of the human race, war, famine, and 

In December following, Mr. Barker, \vith his wife and 
three children, left the garrison and landed at his new home 
on the 18th of the month. The first thing that attracted 
the notice of little Joseph on their going ashore at the new 
farm, now the old homestead, was the fresh cut stumps of 
the small willow trees that lined the water's edge, the work 
of the half-reasoning beaver. These sagacious animals had 
a lodge behind an island about a mile below, and another 
a short distance above, at the mouth of Rainbow^ creek. 
They were the last families of the race seen in this part of 
the country, and were in a year or two after caught by that 
venerable old trapper, Isaac Williams. The new dwelling- 
house of the Barkers was a log-cabin sixteen feet square. 
One side of this was occupied by a corn-crib four or five feet 
in width, made of poles, containing the crop of the little 
clearing. On entering the future home of the family, in a 
cold December night, it may be safel}' said that no future 
visitors of the dwelling of Mr. Barker, ever met so cold a 
reception as they themselves did, on that long-remembered 
evening. The nearest neighbor was at Marietta, seven 
miles below: the next at Waterford, fifteen miles above. 
The fortitude and perseverance requisite to meet the hard- 
ships and privations of a settlement in the wilderness, were 
found centered in this family. -Mrs. Barker possessed pa- 
tience, resolution, industry, and good sense : all needed, in 
no small degree, in trials of this kind. During that winter 
the clearing was considerably enlarged, and two hundred 
peach-trees were added to the orchard in the spring. Mills 
for grinding were scarce and remote ; and the hand-mill at 


the block-house across the river, was theu' only dependence 
for meal; hut witli a good crib of corn, and this resource, 
famine was kept at a respectful distance. 

In the following year, or 179G, the families of Capt. J. 
Devol, John Russel, and Israel Putnam, moved into Wise- 
man's bottom, and lessened by their vicinity the sense of 
loneliness, as they were all social and well informed per- 
sons. During the year, he put up a convenient hewed log- 
house, with a brick chimney, a degree of refinement to which 
but few new settlers arrive short of several years. 

In January, a serious accident befell him, which was sensi- 
bly felt for a long time. The little cabin which they had 
recently left, accidently took fire, and was destroyed. It 
was occupied as a work-shop, store-house, &c., and contained 
a large stock of carpenter's tools, while in the loft was stored 
away the crop of well rotted flax, ready for dressing, and 
on which, before the introduction of cotton, the inhabitants 
depended for their domestic cloth, and was a very important 
article in every family. On one side of the building was 
the pen containing the fat hogs, and were saved from the 
flames with difliculty. In their fright they fled across the 
river on the ice, into the woods, and were not found until 
they were much lessened in value. All his bread-stufli' for 
the ensuing year was destroyed, as well as his tools brought 
from New England. The intrinsic value of the articles was 
not great, but to him was a serious afl^'air, as it took away 
his whole stay of bread and meat, with his main dependence 
for clothing, and was a more afllicting loss than the burning 
of a whole block of buildings, filled with goods, would be to 
a rich Wall-street merchant. 

To repair this disaster, Mr. Barker set to work at his trade, 
like a sensible, resolute man, and followed the business of 
a house-carpenter for several years in Marietta, erecting 
dwelling-houses for the lion. Paul Fearing, William Skinner, 

JOSEril I5ARKER. 457 

Rev. Daniel Stor>', and many others, witli the Muskin^im 
academy. In 1791) and 1800, he built the splendid mansion 
of Mr. Blennerhassett, on the island since called by his 

About this time, ship-building commenced at jNIarietta and 
on the Muskingum river, where many a tall oak which had 
flourished for ages on its banks, two thousand miles from 
the ocean, was destined to toss upon its waves, and to visit 
far distant lands. In this new business, Mr. Barker took an 
active part, and in 180t3, built two vessels at his farm. One 
was the Brig Dominic, for Messrs. Blennerhassett and 
Woodbridge, and named for Mr. B's. oldest son. The other 
was a schooner for E. W. Tupper, called the Indiana. In 
1803, he built a brig called the Louisa, for the same man. 

During the autumn of 180G, he was employed by Mr. 
Blennerhassett to build fifteen large batteaux, to be used in 
the famous Burr expedition. After having been so exten- 
sively employed, by the former gentleman, as an architect, 
and to his entire satisfaction, it was very natural for him to 
select Mr. Barker for this purpose, of constructing boats so 
necessary to the enterprise. They were calculated for the 
ascent of water-courses, and were doubtless intended to 
ti'ansport troops and munitions of war up Ilcd river, to 
Natchitoches, from which point a short land journey would 
reach Xew iMexico, then a province of old Spain. To revo- 
lutionize the ^Mexicans, was, beyond controversy, the object 
of that ardent, bold, and restless man, Aaron Burr. The 
result is well known to history. 

As early as 1799, Mr. Barker was commissioned, by Gov. 
St. Clair, as a justice of the peace, for Washington county, 
at that time embracing a large portion of the soutlicrn ter- 
ritory of Ohio. He also received a captain's commission 
from the same source, and was advanced, from time to time, 
through the various grades of promotion, to that of colonel 


of the regiment. These were offices of distinction and honor 
in those days, when every citizen deemed it his duty to ap- 
pear on parade, armed and equipped according to law. It 
was during this period in our hisstory, that the present sen- 
ator, in Congress, from Michigan, Hon. Lewis Cass was or- 
derly-sergeant in Capt. Burlingame's company of militia at 

Ill the year 1800 the House of Representatives in the ter- 
ritorial Legislature, issued an address to the citizens, re- 
questing them to assemble in county conventions, and 
instruct their representatives on the question of forming a 
state government. It was a subject on which there was 
great division of sentiment. At a meeting of the citizens 
of Adams township. Col. Barker was chairman of a com- 
mittee to report on this measure, at a subsequent assembly. 
He wrote a very full and able report in opposition to the 
question, which received the approbation of the committee. 
On the 17th of June, 1801, the delegates met at Marietta, 
as follows : for JNIarietta, Paul Fearing, and Elijah Backus; 
Belpre, Isaac Pearce, and Silas Bent; Waterford, Robert 
Oliver, and Gilbert Devol; Adams, Joseph Barker; New- 
port, Philip Witten, and Samuel WilHamson ; Middletown, 
(or Athens.) Alvin Bingham; Gallipolis, Robert Safibrd. 
Gilbert Devol was chairman, and Joseph Barker, clerk. Col. 
Barker presented his views in a well written argument, in 
opposition to the policy of entering into a state government; 
especially setting forth the injurious effects, of the measure, 
to the settlers in the Ohio Company's purchase. They had 
been struggling with the hardships of first opening the wil- 
derness, since the year 1788; and for a large part of the 
time, pressed by the merciless savage to the extremes of 
want, danger, and even death. The population was sparse, 
and generally poor. The expenses of government would })e 
heavy in proportion to the inhabitants, while the advantages 


of a state government, over the territorial, would be few, 
perhaps none, in their present situation. The taxes to sup- 
port it, would fall on the actual settlers and landholders, 
as the Ohio Company lands would all be brought on the 
tax list, while Congress lands, daily becoming more valuable 
by the improvements of the settlers, were to be free from 
taxation. These, with various other reasons, were used in 
support of the position taken, and were so satisfactoiy to 
the convention, that the report was unanimously adopted, 
and the following resolution passed : 

'•' Resolved, That in our opinion, it would be highly impol- 
itic, and very injurious to the inhabitants of this tcrritor}^, 
to enter into a state government, at this time. Therefore, 
we, in behalf of our constituents, do request that 5'ou would 
use your best endeavors to prevent, and steadily oppose 
tlie adoption of any measures that may be taken for the 

This, with the usual preamble, was signed by the chair- 
man, and sent to their representatives. 

In the Legislatm-e as well as among the people, there was 
a great division on this important question. Those who 
were fond of office and expected promotion, with a share 
of the loaves and fishes of the new dynasty, were the leaders 
in favor of the measure, and clamorous for its adoption, 
while the sober, judicious, and thinking men, were opposed 
to it. The advocates of the proposition, however, succeeded 
in rallying sufficient force in the Legislature, to carry the 
measure, and the eastern portion of the lenitor}' l)ecanie 
the state of Ohio. So anxious were the ambition^ men of 
tlie territory for the change, that they relin(|uished the right 
of taxing the lands owned by Congress until five years after 
they had been sold and in the possession of the purchaser ; 
when, in equity, they should have been lia])lc to taxation as 
soon as they were in his occupancy. The apprehensions 


of the evil results to the Ohio Company settlers, were soon 
realized, as the taxes for the support of the new government 
fell very heavily on them, and were very oppressive on the 
inhabitants of this district, as well as Symmes' purchase 
and the Connecticut reserve. This inequality remained 
until the year 1825, when the ad valorem system took place, 
and removed this long continued injustice. 

Although an unaspiring man, yet Col. Barker was called 
by his fellow citizens to hold many stations of trust and 
honor during his life. In 1818, he was elected a representa- 
tive for Washington count}% in the state Legislature. He 
served for a number of years as a county commissioner, and 
planned the model for the new court-house, built in 1822, 
which is considered both a convenient and beautiful edifice. 

He was often called on to deliver Fourth of July orations 
and agricultural addresses, in all which he acquitted himself 
with much credit. He possessed a good share of poetic 
genius, as well as imagination, and wrote a number of 
pieces quite well adapted to the occasion. One of these, 
for the Fourth of July, 1815, abounds in humor, and is well 
worth preserving as coming from the backwoods. It appears 
much better when sung than in simply reading. 



Will you hear Bie, Biy friends, if I jingle in rhyme "i 

On the day Uncle Sam was first out of his prime, sir, 

If I sing of the times, and the deeds he has done, 

How he dress'd, how he fought, how the hattle was won, sir? 

Hail to the memory of old Uncle Sam, 

Merry be the hirthday of old Uncle Sam 1 

The family was young, and the farm rather new ; 
They had their odd notions like us, not a few, sir. 


Had full faith in witches, gave conjurors devotion. 
And to the oldest boy they gave a double portion, sir. 

Proud be the birthday of old Uncle Sam, 

Long live the memory of old Uncle Sam. 

Our grandbires wore buckles on their shoes for to please ; 
Their jackets and their breeches both came to their knees, sir, 
^Yith a wig on the iicad and a cue tail so trim. 
Nine inches on a hat was a fashionable brim, sir. 

These were the boyish days of old Uncle Sam, 

Long live the memory of old Uncle Sam. 

Our grandmothers, too, were the patterns of good taste, 
Three-quarters of a yard was the length of a waist, sir ; 
A cushion on the head, and a cork on the heel, 
With a hoop in the gown quite as broad as a wheel, sir. 

Such were the minor days of old Uncle Sam, 

Long live the memory of old Uncle Sam. 

They were tenants at will of the famous Johny Bull, 
Who demanded high rents and collected them in full, sir; 
He tax'd them direct for each article they wore. 
While his army and his stamp act vci'd them very sore, sir. 

These were the sorry days of old Uncle Sam, 

Merry be the birthday of old Uncle Sam. 

"He'd a right to tas the colonics," so Johnny Bull declared, 
"In any case whatever." Uncle Sammy thought it hard, sir, 
But when he tried to make them pay a tax on their tea, 
*Twas stcep'd iu Boston harbor, for the fishes in the sea, sir. 

These were the spuuky days of old Uncle Sam, 

Long live the memory of old Uncle Sam. 

Then Johnny Bull was wrath, and to give his passion vent. 
He it'll on Uncle Sam, and at fisticuffs they went, sir, 
The squabble lasted long, and it proved very sore, 
For Johnny Bull was pelted both behind and before, sir. 

These were the fighting days of old Uncle Sam, 

Long live the memory of old Uncle Sam. 

Every farmer owned a short gun, and if he had good luck, 
Could brint; down a redcoat as casv as a buck, sir. 


And when they fell in with Burgoyne and his men, 
They took them as easy as turkeys in a pen, sir. 

Proud be the birthday of old Uncle Sam, 

Long live the memory of old Uncle Sam. 

Every boat was a ship, every ship was a fleet ; 
Every boy was a sailor, every fisherman a mate, sir ; 
And thea if the British but peep'd from their holes, 
They hook'd them as easy as cod from the shoals, sir. 

Proud be the memory of old Uncle Sam, 

Long live the memory of old Uncle Sam. 

Uncle Sam now obtained some allies and a fleet, 

Some bayonets and men, with some rations to eat, sir ; 

Then iu taking Cornwallis, so light was the job, 

That they shelled him as farmers do corn from the cob, sir. 

These were the proud days of old Uncle Sam, 

Long live the memory of old Uncle Sam. 

At length, Johnny Bull thought 'twas best to make a peace ; 
Eor in fighting for the feathers, he had lost all the geese, sir. 
Then each made a promise they would do no more harm, 
So he left Uncle Sam and his boys with the farm, sir. 

Proud be the birthday of old Uncle Sam, 

Long live the memory of old Uncle Sam. 

In the year 1830, Col. Barker was elected an associate 
judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and at the expiration 
of the term in 1837, was again re-elected, which post he 
held until his declining health led him to resign in 1842. 
The duties of this office were discharged with great dignity 
and propriety, while his intimate knowledge of the princi- 
ples of law enabled him to give correct and satisfactory 
decisions when his opinion was required. 

His acquaintance through the state of Ohio was extensive, 
and his friends numerous. In hospitality, he was unsur- 
passed; fond of social intercourse, gifted with a ready flow 
of language, and a mind well stored with historical facts, 
his conversation was both instructive and interesting. This 

JOSEPH B A II K E R . 463 

rendered hjs society very pleasing to both young and old. 
From the time of his settlement on the Muskingum, in 1795, 
to the period of his death, in 1813, nearly half a century, 
his house was open to receive the weary and destitute emi- 
grant, the transient traveler, or the familiar friend ; ever 
delighting in the opportunity of rendering a kindness to his 

He was the father of ten children, four sons and six 
daughters, who, all but one, were living at his death, and 
most of them have large families of children, making nu- 
merous descendants to bear onward the family name. 

Mrs. Barker died in 1835. 

Nearly all those with whom he had " stood shoulder to 
shoulder" during the Indian war, and the trials incident to 
a new countiy, had been called away before him, and he 
felt that he was somewhat alone in the world, but he still 
retained the vigor of mind incident to younger days. 

He died in September, 1843, aged seventy-eight years. 

In person, Col. Barker was tall and commanding, Avith a 
stout, muscular frame ; finely formed features, of rather a 
Roman cast, indicating manly firmness and intellectual 
vigor. His manners were easy, naturally graceful and gen- 
tlemanly, with the appearance and bearing of a man of 
superior mind and talents ; born to lead in the councils, 
and to command the respect of the community in which 
he dwelt. 


This bold, active, and enterprising borderer, was one of 
the spies, or rangers, employed for the defense of the Ohio 
Company settlements dm-ing the Indian war. He was a 
finished backwoodsman, an adept in all the wiles and craft 
of the hunter, as well as in the arts of partizan warfare. 
He possessed the coolness and caution of old Isaac Wil- 
liams, with the bravery and activity of Lewis Wetzel, having 
been trained under the instruction and example of both 
these noted pioneers. 

Matthew Kerr, the father of Hamilton, was of Scotch de- 
scent, from one of the northern counties of Ireland. He 
immigrated to America, before the Revolutionary war, and 
lived in Philadelphia, where his son Hamilton was born. 
Soon after the close of the war, he moved his family west 
of the mountains, and settled on Chartier creek, below Pitts- 
bm-g. After staying here a short time, he removed to Wheel- 
ing, and lived in the vicinity of the Wetzels for several 
years. In 1787 he transferred his residence to the island, 
just above the mouth of the Muskingum, and Hamilton, 
then in the prime of manhood, engaged as a hunter for the 
gan-ison of Fort Harmer, supplying them with wild meat. 

While living on Wheeling creek, he was often the compan- 
ion of Lewis Wetzel, the most famous hunter, and killer of In- 
dians, in all that region ; having killed, it is said, thirty-seven 
in the course of his life. Ilis athletic frame, and bold bear- 
ing when a boy, won for him the good-will of Lewis, and he 
promised to give him the first opportunity that occurred, of 
firing at an Indian, provided he felt certain that he could 
" draw a sight" at one, without trembling. The well-grown 
lad, then in his eighteenth year, answered, fearlessly, that 


he would. It was not long before Lewis, in one of his hunt- 
ing trips, fell on the trail of a party, and traced up their 
camp. He directly hastened back for his young friend, 
whom he found ready and willing for the attack. They crept 
silently up to within a sure di-stance of their camp fire, and 
at the dawn of day, each selecting his man from a party of 
five or six, who were sitting in a circle round the fire, having 
just risen from sleep, fired at the same time. Hamilton's 
victim was sitting on a log, eating a roasted goose egg, and 
fell dead, into the ashes ; while Wetzel's man was mortally 
wounded, but fled, and secreted lumsolf in a tree-top. They 
immediately rushed out from their covert, and with loud 
yells, calling out, "Come on, boys, come on; why don't you 
head 'em;" as if there were quite a number of white men 
in the attack. The remaining Indians took to flight, without 
waiting to count their foes, and secreted themselves in the 
thickets. After taking the scalp of the dead Indian, they 
left the ground; and coming out the next day with a larger 
party, traced the wounded Indian by his blood, and found 
him dead in the spot where he had hidden. This was Kerr's 
first adventure with the Indians, and might be construed as 
an omen of future success ; although his next rencounter was 
less propitious. 

The time of a large portion of the young men who lived 
on the frontiers, was occupied in hunting and trapping; lit- 
tle attention being paid to cultivation of the earth, beyond 
the wants of the family for bread, which was chiefly made 
from corn meal. There was no market for produce ; while 
there was a steady demand for skins and peltry, by the 
traders, who collected them at various points along the wa- 
ter-courses, and transmitted them, on pack-horses, across the 
mountains, to Baltimore or Philadelphia. This manner of 
dealing, made hunting a regular employment, like farming 

in these days. 


In the spring of the year 1784, before Fort Harmer was 
built, or any settlements made by the whites, between Ba- 
ker's station and the mouth of Big Kenawha, a party of 
young men left the post in a large canoe on a trapping and 
hunting expedition. It was composed of Lewis and George 
Wetzel, John Greene, Hamilton Kerr, and one other man. 
They dropped down the river as low as Muskingum island, 
where they encamped. The next day at evening they 
went over to the mouth of the jMuskingum, and set their 
traps for beaver, returning to the island as a safe place for 
their camp, against the attack of the Indians. The follow- 
ing morning they went down again, and thirty or forty rods 
above the mouth, landed two of their party to reconnoiter, 
and examine the woods for signs of an enemy, while the 
other three remained in the canoe, and went into the Mus- 
kingum to examine their traps. They directly discovered 
that several of them were missing, and immediately con- 
cluded that a party of Indians had discovered their marks, 
and stolen them. George Wetzel soon returned to the 
canoe, and reported that he had seen no Indians, but plenty 
of signs of bears, which had been wallowing and tearing 
:lown the weeds in several places. This confirmed their 
suspicions that they were in the vicinity of a large party of 
Indians. Taking George on board, they pushed up the 
Ohio, and had proceeded twenty or thirty rods on their re- 
turn, when four Indians stepped on to the bank, and from 
behind trees fired upon the men in the canoe. George Wet- 
zel was shot through the head, and fell dead into the boat. 
Kerr was shot in the left arm above the elbow, splintering 
the bone, and received a bullet at the same time through 
the fleshy portion of his side. His dog, a noble, large an- 
imal standing by his master, was also killed. The other 
two men escaped injury; and pushing out into the stream 
before they could reload, were soon out of danger. 


John Greene, who rambled farther into the woods tlian 
George, had returned to within a few rods of the bank, 
when the Indians fired, and hearing the report of their rides, 
rushed up to sec what his comrades had shot at. As lie ap- 
[proached within twenty yards of the bank, he saw an In- 
dian behind a tree, in the act of pushing down a bulh't in 
his rifle. Comprehending at once the condition of the par- 
ties, he instantly raised his piece, fired, and the Indian fell 
dead, tumbling headlong down the bank, near the brink of 
which he was standing, and rolled close to the water's edge. 
The other Indians, hearing the report of the shot, and see- 
ing their dead companion, came rushing upon their new 
enemy before liQ could reload. His only safety Avas now 
in flight; and running toward the swamp a short distance 
back from the river, in the windings and turnings of the 
pursuit, counted not less than ten or twelve Indians, whom 
the shots and the wa^'-cry of the savages had called into the 
chase. After wading in the water for some time, and seeing 
no chance for escape by flight, he secreted himself under 
the tops of a fallen tree, whose leaves and branches shel- 
tered him from observation. As a further precaution, he 
buried himself beneath the water, leaving only so much of 
his face uncovered as allowed of respiration. This was a 
common mode of eluding pursuit, practiced by the natives, 
as well as cunning white men. The Indians, a few rods 
behind, traced him by the turbid appearance of the uater, 
and walked directly on to the trunk, beneath whose top he 
lay concealed. Looking up through his leafy covert, he 
plainly saw his enemies, pe^-ing into ever}' crevice, and be- 
hind every twig for their victim, vociferating in angry tones 
their vengeful thoughts, and pointing with their gun-sticks 
to the recent signs of his flight. Greene lay prrft^ctiy (juict, 
hardly daring to breathe, fearing lest even the beating of 
his heart should agitate the water: watching with intense 


anxiety their movements, until finally, to his great relief, 
they gave up the search as hopeless. As soon as the dark- 
ness of night concealed his movements, he left his watery 
bed, wet, weary, and hungi-y. Having a long journey 
before him, he instantly commenced his march for home, 
thankful that he had been able to escape the scalping-knife 
of his foes. He traveled across the ridges, the nearest 
route, well known to the hunters of that day. In the course 
of his journey he passed no less than three deserted Indian 
hunting camps, so recently left that the fire was still burn- 
ing, without being discovered. So rapid was his march, 
that he reached Baker's before his companions in the canoe, 
who pushed up stream as rapidly as they could, and buried 
the dead man on an island twenty-five miles above Mari- 
etta, now known as Williamson's. This mournful work de- 
tained them some time, as they had no spades but their 
wooden paddles with which to dig the grave. The favorite 
dog of Kerr, whose dead body had made a pillow for the 
head of his wounded master, was buried at the same place. 

A few miles above this island at the head of the Long 
reach, a spot well known to old as well as modern boatmen, 
they discovered just at evening, during a heavy shower of 
rain, on the Virginia shore, a white horse tied to a stake 
near the ■water. On the top of the banlc they saw a hickory 
tree just stripped of the bark. The quick apprehension of 
the borderers instantly understood these signs as denoting a 
party of Indians who had stolen the horse, and were pre- 
paring a bark canoe for crossing the river. The shower 
coming on when they had finished it, the canoe was turned 
bottom up, and the Indians had crept under as a shelter 
from the storm. This prevented the whites from being seen. 
They directly crossed to the other shore, and pushed rapidly 
on until a turn in the river hid them from sight. 

Kerrs arm was several months in healin"-, the bone being 


splintered, and no remedies but slippery-elm bark and such 
other simples as the woods afforded. The injuries received 
in this excursion, kept Hamilton from any other adventures 
for some time. When able, he hunted deer in the neigh- 
boring hills and visited the stations at Grave creek, where 
Isaac Williams lived, and with whom he had become quite 
a favorite, making various short tours of trapping and 
hunting in his company, so that his house was as free to 
him and nearly as much his home as that of his own father. 

In 1785, the Indian depredations were frequent and de- 
structive. Notice having been received of a large war party 
fitting out for the attack of Grave creek, the settlement was 
abandoned, and Mr. Williams moved his family, with the 
rest of his neighbors, to Wheeling. Kerr also made this 
place his home with his father. It was during this period 
tliat he had a second narrow escape from death by the 

In the summer of 1785, in company with Thomas Mills 
and Henry Smith, he went up the Ohio a few miles, near 
the head of the first island above Wheeling, spearing fish 
by torchlight. While busily occupied with their sport, think- 
ing of no danger, in a quiet, shallow eddy near the shore, 
ten or twelve Indians who had been attracted by the light, 
rose up on the top of the bank, and fired a volley at them. 
Mills, who was in the bow of the canoe near the torch, re- 
ceived several balls in his body and limbs, and fell apparently 
dead, into the bottom of the boat. The others were un- 
harmed, but also fell down on the bottom of the boat, to 
screen themselves from a repetition of the shots. The In- 
dians seeing the effect of their fire, dropped their gims, 
rushed down the bank, and into the river, with the intention 
of dragging the canoe ashore, and securing the scalps of 
their dead enemies. The splashing of the water gave no- 
tice of their approach; when Kerr, who was in the waist of 


the boat, sprang into the bow, and brandishing liis fish-spear, 
made motions to stab the first man who came within his 
reach. The long, barbed points of the instrument, made it 
a formidable weapon to the half-naked bodies of the sav- 
ages, while the resolute bearing of the man who wielded it, 
made them cautious of approaching too near. Although 
he could have plunged it into several of them, he did not 
think it prudent to do so, lest they should seize it, and drag 
him ashore, or pull him out of the canoe. After one or two 
minutes spent in this mimic warfare, the boat gradually re- 
ceded, by the whirl of the edd}", into deeper water, and the 
man in the stern, having so far recovered his senses from 
the first shock, as to begin to apply his paddle, they were 
soon out of their reach. The Indians, now with loud yells, 
and aggravated rage at their disappointment and folly, in 
leaving all their guns on the top of the bank, rushed up to 
regain them, and running along the sandy beach ahead of 
the boat, waded into the water, breast-high, to bring them 
nearer the canoe, which was now in the middle of the stream. 
While exulting at the prospect of escape, a new enemy 
sprang up on the opposite side of the river. A party of In- 
dians on their own shore, hearing the firing and shouts of 
their countrymen, began to fire at them. The balls passed 
all around, and through the sides of the canoe, but missed 
the mark, a.s they generally dropped into the bottom, at the 
sight of the flash, and were hid by the sides of the boat 
After a pursuit of one or two miles, Kerr concluded that 
this slow progress would be their destruction, and pushing 
maufLilly ahead, regardless of their shots, was soon out of 
their reach. When the enragetl Indians saw that their vic- 
tims would escape, they fell to taunting them with insulting 
language and obscene attitudes. Kerr then keenly felt the 
vvant of his trusty ride, with \vhich he could have shot sev- 
eral of tlieni; but no one had taken his arms with him, not 


expecting to meet an enemy, or to liave u^e for anything, 
but the fish-spear. When they reached the garrison at 
^^ heeUiig, Mills was still alive, and taken into tin; town, 
where, luuler the care of jNIrs. llebecca Williams, and one 
other skillful matron, he finally recovered fiom his hopeless 
condition, having not less than twelve or fourteen dili'crent 
wounds, with an arm and a leg broken by the shots of the 
savages. On this occasion, the intrepidity and presence of 
mind in Kerr, no doubt saved their lives from the toma- 
hawk, and knives of the Indians; while his mode of defense, 
in tluur condition, was the only one that could have been 

The winter after this adventure was passed in Wheeling. 

Early in the spring of 178G, Kerr, in company \vith Isaac 
Williams and a Dutchman named Jacob, made a visit to 
the deserted plantations at Grave creek, to look after the 
cattle and hogs that had been left there. They passed the 
night in an empty cabin at Little Grave creek, about a mile 
above the larger stream. Soon after daylight in the morning, 
they heard a rifle shot in the direction of jMr. "Williams' farm. 
Not thinking of Indians, he attributed the shot to moving 
boatmen, who sometimes, when short of provision, landed 
at the deserted clearings and killed a hog. It so happened 
that a party of four Indians, who had been scouting on 
Wheeling creek, had that morning reached the Ohio with 
their plunder, one white prisoner and some horses; seeing 
iMr. Williams' hogs, they killed one with the rifle and put it 
into their canoe, which had been secreted in the mouth of 
the creek. Three of the Indians took possession of the 
canoe with their prisoner, while the fourth was busied in 
swimming the horses across the river. At this critical junc- 
ture, Kerr and his companions started at a rapid gait to 
arrest the marauders. Being in the prime of life and more 
active than his companions, he reached the mouth of the 


creek first, and looking down the bank, saw the three Indians 
standing in the canoe. At the feet of the one in the middle 
of the boat lay four rifles and a dead hog, while a fourth 
Indian was swimming a horse over the Ohio, a few rods 
from the shore, xln Indian in the stern had his paddle in 
the water, in the act of shoving the canoe from the mouth 
of the creek into the river. Before they were aware of his 
presence, Kerr shot the Indian in the stern, who fell into the 
river. The crack of his rifle had scarcely ceased when 
Williams came on to the bank, and shot an Indian in the 
bow of the canoe, who also fell overboard. At this time 
Jacob came up, and handing his rifle to Kerr as the better 
marksman, he shot the other Indian in the waist of the boat, 
who also fell into the water, but still held on to the side of 
the canoe with one hand. So amazed was the latter Indian 
at the fall of his companions, that he never offered to raise 
one of the rifles at his feet in self-defense, but acted like 
one deprived of his senses. By this time, the canoe impelled 
by the impetus given to it by the first Indian, had reached 
the current of the Ohio, and was some rods below the mouth 
of the creek. Kerr now reloaded his own gun, and seeing 
a man in the bottom of the boat, raised it in act of firing, 
when he, discovering the movement, called out, " Don't shoot, 
I am a v/hite man." He was directed to knock loose the 
Indian's hand from the side of the canoe, and paddle to 
shore. In reply, he said his arm was broken. The current, 
however, set it near some rocks not far from land, on to 
which he jumped and waded out. Kerr now aimed his rifle 
at the Indian on the horse, who was near the middle of the 
river. The shot struck close by him, splashing the water 
on to his naked skin. Seeing the fate of liis companions, 
the Indian, with the bravery of an ancient Spartan, imme- 
diately slipped from the horse, and swam for the abandoned 
canoe, in which were the rifles and ammunition of the whole 

II A II I LT N K K K R . 473 

party. This was in fact an act of ncces.^ity, as well as of 
noble daring, for he well knew he could not reach his country 
without the means of killing game by the way. There was 
also in this act but little hazard, as his enemies could not cro.«s 
the creek without a canoe, while the current had now set 
the object of his solicitude beyond the reach of rifle shot. 
lie soon gained possession of tiie canoe, crossed with it to 
the other shore, and taking out the arms and ammunition, 
mounted the captive horse, and with a shout of defiance, 
escaped into the woods. The canoe was turned adrift and 
taken up near Maysville, with the dead hog still in it, which 
had caused their discovery by their shooting, and been the 
source of all their misfortunes. 

The following year he moved with his father to Devol's 
island, near Fort Ilarmer, where the latter kept several cows 
and supplied the officers with milk, while Hamilton was 
employed as a hunter to furnish the garrison with buffalo 
meat and venison. Isaac W illiams and several other families 
also moved at the same time, being the spring of 1787, and 
opened a plantation in the forest, opposite the mouth of the 
Muskingum, on the Virginia shore. In the spring of 1791, 
after the death of Capt. Rogers, one of the Ohio Company's 
rangers, he was hired to supply his place, and was esteemed 
the most active and brave man in that hazardous employ- 
ment. He continued to serve during the whole war, and 
several Indians fell by his hand, as related in the preceding 
history of the Ohio Company settlements. During this 
period, his father's family left the island, and lived Avithin 
the walls of the garrison at the Point. The Indians killed 
his father early in the war, at the mouth of Duck creek, 
which still further sharpened his revenge and hate of the 
red men. 

At the close of the war he married Susannah, the daugh- 
ter of Col. John Nighswongcr, one of the heroes of the 


battle of Point Pleasant. She was well educated, and 
could read German and English, while Hamilton could do 
neither, having never been a day to school in his life. He 
owned a share of land in the Ohio Company, the purchase 
money for which was earned in the course of a single fall 
and winter hunt; so profitable was that business in early 
times to skillful hunters. With the most intelligent men 
amongst the Ohio Company's settlers, Kerr was a great fa- 
vorite, for his manly, upright conduct, vigilance, and bravery 
in guarding the settlements from the attack of the Indians. 

In person, he was of a full medium size, being five feet 
ten inches in hight, as ascertained from one of Col. Sproat's 
old pay-rolls, with limbs fashioned in nature's finest mould ; 
form erect, and movements agile as any red man of the 
forest; of a pleasant, cheerful temperament; light complex- 
ion, blue eyes, and reddish hair, denoting his Scotch descent; 
fine, full forehead, with all the marks of a superior mind 
and intellect. This had received no training but what his 
own remarks on men and things had produced ; but for re- 
flection and strong reasoning powers, was far superior to 
men of his class, causing him always to be looked up to as 
a leader in any dangerous emergency by his companions. 

He was born in the year 1764, making him twenty years 
old at the time the Indians wounded him at the mouth of 
the Muskingum. 

After the war, he settled on his land at the outlet of 
Leading creek; learned to read and write, became a sub- 
stantial farmer, a major in the militia, and highly esteemed 
by all his neighbors. He has been dead several years, 
leaving a large family of descendants, who live in Meigs 
and Gallia counties. 


To THosi: who arc now enjoying tlie bencfit.s of the toiln 
and dangers of the early explorers and j)ioneer.s of the 
valley of the Ohio, there ouglit to be no more jileasant em- 
ployment than that of recounting their exploits and preserv- 
ing the remembrance of their names. It is a duty we owe 
to their memory. Amongst that hardy list of adventurers, 
on the left bank of the Ohio, none are more worthy of pres- 
ervation than those at the head of this article. 

Isaac Williams was born in Chester county, Penn., the 
IGth of .Tuly, 1737. While he was yet a boy, his parents 
moved to Winchester, Va., then a frontier town. Soon 
after this event his father died, and his mother married 3Ir. 
Buckley. When he was about eighteen years old, the 
colonial government employed him as a ranger, or spy, to 
watch the movements of the Indians, for which his early 
acquaintance with a hunters life eminently fitted him. In 
this capacit}^ he served in the army of Gen. Braddock, 
during his short, but disastrous campaign. He was also 
attached to the party which guarded the first convoy of pro- 
visions to Fort du Quesne, after its surrendor to Gen. 
Forbes, in 1758. The stores were carried on pack-horses 
over the rough declivities of the mountains, coiuiiuuilly 
exposed to the attack of the Indians, for which the deep 
ravines and narrow ridges of the mountains aiforded every 

After the peace made with the Indians, in 17C."), by Col. 
Bouquet, the country on the waters of the ^Monongahcla 


began to be settled by the people east of the mountains. 
The fertility of the soil, and the immense growth of the 
forest trees, so different from that on the eastern side of the 
mountain ranges, gave a romantic charm to the new regions 
on the waters of the Ohio, and made it a desirable abode to 
the backwoodsmen, especially as it abounded with wild 
game. Amongst the early emigrants to this region were 
the parents of Mr. Williams, whom he conducted across the 
mountains, in 1768, but did not finally locate himself in the 
west until the following year, when he settled on the waters 
of Buffalo creek, near the present town of West Liberty, 
Brooke county, Va. He accompanied Ebenezer and Jon- 
athan Zane when they explored and located the country at 
and about Wheeling, in the year 1769. Previous to this 
period, however, he had made several hunting and trapping 
excursions to the waters of the Ohio, and was familiar with 
its topography. In returning from one of these adventurous 
expeditions in company with two other men, in the winter 
of 1769, the following incident befell him. 

Early in December, as they were crossing the glades, or 
table-lands of the Alleghany mountains, they were over- 
taken by a violent snow-storm. This is always a stormy, 
cold region, but on the present occasion the snow fell to the 
depth of five or six feet, and put a stop to their further 
progress. It was succeeded by intensely cold weather. 
While thus confined to their camp, with a scanty supply of 
food, and no chance of procuring more, one of his compan- 
ions was taken sick and died, partly from disease, and 
having no nourishment but the tough, indigestible skins of 
their peltry, from which the hair was first burned off and 
then boiled in their kettle. Soon after the death of this 
man his remaining companion, from the difficulty of pro- 
curing fuel to keep up their fire, was so much frozen in the 
feet that he could render no further assistance. He managed, 


however, to bury the dead man in the snow. The feet 
of the poor fellow were so badly frosted that he lost all his 
toes and a part of each foot, rendering him unable to walk 
for nearly a month. During this time their food consi.sted 
of their skins, of which they had a good .supply, boiled into 
soup with the water of melted snow. The kind heart of 
Mr. Williams would not allow him to leave his friend in this 
suffering condition, while he went to the settlements for as- 
sistance, lest he should be attacked by the wolves, or perish for 
want of food. With a patience and fortitude that would have 
awarded him a civic crown in the best days of the chival- 
rous Romans, he remained with his helpless companion until 
he was so far recovered as to be able to accompany him in 
his return home. So much reduced was his own strength 
from the effects of starvation, that it was several months 
before he was restored to his usual health. 

In 17G9 he became a resident of the western wilds, and 
made his home on the waters of Buffalo creek, as before 
noted. Here he found himself in a wide field for the ex- 
ercise of his darling passion, hunting. From his boyhood, 
he had discovered a great relish for the hunter's life, and in 
this employment he for several years explored the recesses 
of the forest, and followed the water-courses of the great 
valley, to the mouth of the Ohio, and from thence, along the 
shores of the Mississippi, to the banks of the turbid Missouri. 
As early as the year 1770, he trapped the beaver on the 
tributaries of this river, and returned in safety, with a rich 
load of furs. During the prime of his life, he was occupied 
in hunting, and in making entries of lands. This was done 
by girdling a few trees, and planting a small patch of com, 
which operation entitled the person to four hundred acres 
of land. Entries of this kind were aptly called tomahawk 
improvements. An enterprising man could make a number 
of these in a season, and sell them to persons, who, coming 


later to the country, had not so good an opportunity to se- 
lect the best lands, as the first adventurers. Mr. Williams 
sold many of the rights for a few dollars, or the value of a 
rifle-gun. which was then thought a fair equivalent; of so 
little account was land then considered ; and besides, lilie 
other hunters of the day, thought wild lands of little value, 
except for hunting grounds. There was, however, another 
advantage attached to these simple claims; it gave the pos- 
sessor the right of entering one thousand acres adjoining 
the improvement, on condition of his paying a small sum 
of money per acre into the treasury of the state of Virginia. 
These entries were denominated ^^Pre-emption Rights;'''' and 
many of the richest lands on the left bank of the Ohio river 
are now held under these titles. After the conquest of Kas- 
kaskias and Post Vincent, by Gen. Clark, in 1778, Virginia 
claimed the lands on the northwest side of the Ohio ; and 
many similar entries were made in the present state of 
Ohio, especially on the Muskingum river, as high up as 
Duncan's falls. One tract, a few miles above Marietta, is 
still known as Wiseman's bottom, after the man who made 
an entry there. 

While occupied in these pursuits he became acquainted 
with Rebecca Martin, the daughter of Mr. Joseph Tomlin- 
son, of Maryland, then a young widow, and married her in 
October, 1775. Her former husband, John Martin, had 
been a trader among the Indians, and was killed on the Big 
Hockhocking, in the year 1770. A man by the name of 
Ilartness, her uncle on the mother's side, was killed with 
him at the same time. As a striking proof of the venera- 
tion of the Indians for William Penn, and the people of his 
colony, two men from Pennsylvania, who were with them, 
were spared. The two killed, were from Virginia. The 
fact is referred to by Lord Dunmore, in his speech at the 
Indian treaty, near Chillicothe, in the year 1774. Mr. 

K E B E C C A ^\ I L L I A M S . -179 

Willianiri accoinpatiicd Duiimorc, in this campaign, and 
acted as a ranger until its close. 

By tills marriage he was united to a woman whose spirit 
was congenial to his own. She was born on tlie 1 1th of 
February, l?;')!, at WilTs creek, on the Potomac, in the j)rov- 
ince of ^Maryland, and had removed, with her two l^rothi rs, 
Samuel and .Joseph, into the western country, in 1771, and 
was living with them as their housekeeper, near the mouth 
of Crave creek; and for weeks together, while they \vere 
absent on tours of hunting, she was left entirely alone. 
She was now in her twenty-first year, full of life and ac- 
tivity, and as fearless of danger as the man who had chosen 
her for his companion. One proof of her courageous spirit 
is related by her niece, jNIr^?. Bakcy, now living near Mari 
ctta, in Wood Co., Ya. 

In the spring of the year 177 4, she made a visit to a sister, 
j\Irs. Baker, then living on the Ohio river opj)osite to the 
mouth of Yellow creek. It was soon after the massacre of 
Logan's relatives at Baker's station. Having finished her 
visit, she prepared to return home in a canoe, by herself, 
the traveling being entirely done by water. The distance 
from her sisters to Grave creek was about fifty miles. She 
left there in the afternoon, and paddled her light canoe rap- 
idly along until dark. Knowing that the moon would rise 
at a certain hour, she landed, and fastening the slender craft 
to the willows she leaped on shore, and lying down in a 
thick clump of bushes, waited the rising of the moon. As 
soon as it had cleared the tops of the trees, and began to 
shed its cheerful rays o\ cr the dark bosom of the Oiiio, she 
prepared to embark. The water being shallow near the 
shore, she had to wade a few paces before getting into the 
canoe: when just in the act of stepping on board, her naked 
foot rested on the dead, cold body of an Indian, wlio had 
been killed a short time before, and which, in the gloom of 


the night, she had not seen in landing. Without screaming 
or flinching, she stepped lightly into the canoe, with the re- 
flection that she was thankful he was not alive. Resuming 
the paddle, she arrived at the mouth of Grave creek without 
any further adventure, early the following morning. 

Walter Scott's Rebecca, the Jewess, was not more cele- 
brated for her cures, and skill in treating wounds, than was 
Rebecca Williams amongst the honest borderers of the Ohio 
river. About the year 1784, while living a short time at Wheel- 
ing, on account of Indian depredations, she, with the assist- 
ance of Mrs. Zane, dressed the wounds of Mr. Mills, 
fourteen in number, from rifle shots. He, with Hamilton 
Kerr and one other man, were spearing fish by torch-light 
about a mile above the garrison, when they were fired on 
by a party of Indians secreted on the shore. Mills stood in 
the bow of the canoe holding the torch, and as he was a 
fair mark, received the most of the shots. One leg and one 
arm were broken, in addition to the flesh wounds. Had he 
been in the regular service, wdth plenty of surgeons, he 
probably would have lost one or both limbs by amputation. 
These women, with tlieir fomentations and simple applica- 
tions of slippery-elm bark, not only cured his wounds, at the 
time deemed impossible, but also saved both his limbs. In 
a conversation many years after, she said her principal 
dressings were made of slippery-elm, the leaves of stramo- 
nium, and daily ablutions with warm water. j\Iany similar 
cures of gun-shot wounds are related, as performed by her 
in the first settlement of the country. 

Their marriage was as unostentatious and simple as the 
manners and habits of the parties. A traveling preacher 
happening to come into the settlement, as they some- 
times did, though rarely, they were married at her brothers 
house, without any previous preparation of nice dresses, 
bride-cakes, or bride-maids; he standing up in his hunting 


dress, and bhe in a short gown and petticoat of homespun, 
the common wear of the people. 

In llie summer of 1774, the year before lier marriage, .«hc 
was one morning busily occupied in kindling a fire prepar- 
atory to breakfast, with her back to the door, on her knees, 
puffing away at the coals. Hearing some one st(^p cau- 
tiously on the floor, she looked round and beheld a tall In- 
dian close to her side. He made a motion of silence to 
her, at the same time shaking his tomahawk in a threatening 
manner, if she made any alarm. He, however, did not 
offer to harm her, but looking carefully around the cabin, 
espied her brother's rifle hanging over the fire-place. This 
he seized upon, and fearing the arrival of some of the men, 
hastened his departure without any further damage. "While 
he was with her in the house she preserved her presence of 
mind, and betrayed no marks of fear; but no sooner had 
he gone than she left the cabin and hid herself in the corn- 
field until her brother Samuel came in. He was lame at 
the time, and Imppeued to be out of the way; so that it is 
probable his life was saved from this circumstance. It was 
but seldom that the Indians killed unresisting women or 
children, except in the excitement of an attack, and when 
they had met with resistance from the men. 

In 1777, the depredations and massacres of the savages 

were so frequent that the settlement at Grave creek, no\v 

consisting of several families, was broken up. It was the 

frontier station, and lower on the Ohio than any other 

above the mouth of Big Kenawha. This year the Indians 

made their great attack on the garrison and settlement of 

Wheeling. Mr. Williams, with his wife and the Tomlinsons, 

moved over on to the Monongahela river, above Red Stone 

old fort. Here he remained until the spring of the year 

1783, when he returned uith his wife's relations to their 

plantations on Grave creek. In the vear 1781 he had to 


remove again from his farm into the garrison at Wheeling. 
Some time in the spring of the succeeding year he had the 
following adventure with the Indians. 

John Wetzel, a younger brother of Lewis, the noted In- 
dian hunter and Indian hater, (having killed above thirty of 
them,) then about sixteen years old, with a neighboring boy 
of the same age, was in search of hoi'ses that had strayed 
away in the woods on Wheeling creek, where the father of 
John resided. One of the stray animals was a mare with 
a young foal, belonging to John's sister ; and she had offered 
the colt to John as a reward for finding the mare. While 
on this service they were captured by four Indians, who, 
having come across the horses in the woods, had taken and 
placed them in a thicket, expecting that their bells would 
attract the notice of their owners, and they could then cap- 
ture them or take their scalps. The horse was ever a fa- 
vorite object of plunder with the savages, as not only 
facilitating their own escape from pursuit, but also assisted 
them in carrying off the spoils. The boys, hearing the well 
known tinkle of the bells, approached the spot where the 
Indians lay concealed, and were taken prisoners. John, in 
attempting to escape, was shot through the arm. On their 
march to the Ohio, his companion made so much lamenta- 
tion on account of his captivity, that the Indians killed him 
with the tomahawk ; while John, who had once before been 
a prisoner, made light of it, and went along cheerfully with 
liis wounded arm. 

The party struck the Ohio river early the following morn- 
ing at a point near the mouth of Grave creek, just below 
the clearing of Mr. Tomlinson. Here they found some 
hogs belonging to Mr. Williams, and killing one of them 
with a rifle shot, put it into a canoe they had secreted when 
on their way out. Three of the IndiaiTs took posses^^ion of 
the canoe with their prisoner, v/hile the other Indian was 


occupied in swimming the horses acro-^s the river. It so 
happened, that JMr. William?, with Hamilton Kerr, and Ja- 
cob, a Dutchman, had come down from Wheeling, the eve- 
ning before, to look after the stock left on the plantation, 
and passed the night at the deserted calkin of Tomlinson. 
While at the outlet of Little Grave creek, about a mile 
above, they heard the report of a rifle shot, in the direction 
of his plantation. " Dod rot 'em," exclaimed Williams, "a 
Kentuck boat has landed at the creek, and they are shooting 
my hogs." Immediately quickening their pace to a rapid 
trot, they, in a few minutes, were within a short distance of 
the creek, when they heard the loud snort of a horse. Kerr 
being in the prime of life, and younger than W'illiams, 
reached the mouth of the creek first. As he looked down 
into the stream, he saw three Indians standing in a canoe ; 
one was in the stern, one in the bow, and one in the middle 
of the boat. At the feet of the latter lay four rifles and the 
dead hog ; while the fourth Indian was swimming a horse 
across the Ohio, only a few rods from shore. The one in 
the stern was in the act of shoving the canoe from the 
mouth of the creek into the river. Before they were aware 
of his presence, Kerr shot the Indian in the stern, \vho fell 
into the water. The crack of the rifle had barely ceased, 
when jMr. W^illiams came on to the bank, and shot the Indian 
in the bow of the canoe, who also fell overboard: .Jacob 
was now on the ground, and Kerr seizing his rifle, shot the 
remaining Indian in the waist of the boat. He ftll over 
into the water, but still held on to the side of the canoe, with 
one hand. The whole process did not occupy more than a 
minute of time. The canoe, impelled by the impetus given 
to it b}' the Indian first shot, had reached the current of the 
Ohio, and was a rod or two below the mouth of the creek. 
Kerr had now reloaded his gun, and seeing another Indian, 
as he thought, laying in the bottom of the canoe, rai-cd it 


in the act of firing, when he called out, "Don't shoot, I am 
a white man." Kerr told him to knock loose the Indian's 
hand from the side of the boat, and paddle it to the shore. 
He said liis arm was broken, and he could, not. The cur- 
rent, however, set it near some rocks not far from land, on 
to which he jumped, and waded out. Kerr now aimed his 
rifle at the Indian on horseback, who, by this time, had 
reached the middle of the Ohio. The shot struck near him, 
splashing the water on to his naked skin. He, seeing the fate 
of his companions, with the bravery of an ancient Spartan, 
slipped from the back of the horse, and swam for the aban- 
doned canoe, in which were the rifles of the four Indians. 
This was, in fact, an act of necessity, as well as of noble 
daring, as he well knew he could not reach his country, 
without the means of killing game by the way. He also 
vvas aware, that there was little danger in the act, as his 
enemies could not cross the creek to molest him. He soon 
gained possession of the boat, crossed, with the arms, to his 
own side of the Ohio, mounted the captive horse, which, 
with the others, had swam to the Indian shore, and with a 
yell of defiance, escaped into the woods. The canoe was 
turned adrift, and taken up near Maysville, with the dead 
hog still in it, which had led to their discovery by the shot, 
and was the cau3e of all their misfortunes. 

It has been stated that ]Mrs. Williams, before her mar- 
riage, acted as housekeeper for her brothers several years; 
in consideration of which service, Joseph and Samuel made 
an entry of four liundred acres of land on the Virginia 
shore of the Ohio river, in that broad, rich bottom, directly 
opposite to the mouth of the ^Muskingum river, for their 
sister; girdling the trees on four acres of land, fencing, and 
planting it with corn, and building a cabin, in the spring of 
the year 177.3. They spent the summer on the spot, occu- 
pying their time with hunting during the growth of the crop. 


In this time they had exhaut^tcd their small Ftock of salt 
and bread-stuff, and lived for two or three months on the 
boiled meat of tm-keys, which then filled the woodn, and 
was used without salt. So accustomed had Samuel become 
to eating his food without tliis condiment, that it was some 
time before he could again relish the taste of it; a fact that 
has often been verified in others under similar circum- 
stances; showing that the use of salt is acquired ]»y habit. 
The following winter the two brothers hunted on the (Jreat 
Kenawha, where bears and beavers greatly abounded. Some 
time in March, 1774, they arrived at the mouth of the river 
on their return, and were detained some days by a remark- 
abl}^ high freshet in the Ohio river, which, from certain fixed 
marks on Wheeling creek, is supposed to have been fully 
equal to that of February, 1832. This year was long 
known among the borderers as that of Dunmore's war ; 
serving as a date for domestic events, and noted for Indian 

The land entered thus early for Mrs. Williams still re- 
mains in the possession of her descendants, but was for 
many years contested, in law, by other more recent claim- 
ants, like all the Virginia western lands; causing great ex- 
pense and anxiety to the rightful owners. 

The renewed and oft-repeated inroads of the Indians, led 
!Mr. Williams to turn his attention toward a more safe and 
quiet home than that at Grave creek. Fort Ilarmer. at the 
mouth of the jNIuskingum, having been erected in 178(1. and 
garrisoned by United States troops, he decided on occupying 
the land belonging to his wife, which eml)i'aced a large 
share of rich alluvions, and was in sight of the fort. The 
piece opened by the Tomlinsons, in 1773, had grown over 
with young saplings, but could be easily reclaimed. He 
visited the spot, and put up a log- cabin in the winter, and 


moved his family thither the 26th of March, 1787, being the 
year before the arrival of the Ohio Company. 

Soon after the removal to his forest domain, his wife gave 
birth to a daughter; and was the only issue by this marriage. 
He was now fifty-two years old, so that she might be called 
the child of his old age. She was named Drusilla; and 
married Mr. John Henderson; but died when about twenty 
years old, leaving no children. 

Soon after the associates of the Ohio Company had set- 
tled at ^Marietta, a very friendly intercourse was kept up 
between them and j\Ir. Williams ; and as he had now turned 
his attention more to farming than hunting, he was pleased 
to see the new openings made in the forest, and the wilder- 
ness changing into the home of civilized man. From the 
destructive effect of an untimely frost in September, 1789, 
the crops of corn were greatly damaged; and where late 
planted, entirely ruined. 

In the spring and summer of 1790, the inhabitants in the 
new settlements of the Ohio Company, began to suffer from 
the want of food, especially wholesome bread-stuffs. Many 
families, especially at Belpre, had no other meal than that 
made from moldy corn ; and were sometimes destitute even 
of this, several days in succession. This moldy corn com- 
manded the price of a dollar and a-half, and even two dol- 
lars a bushel. \Yhen ground in their hand-mills, and made 
into bread, few stomachs were able to digest, or retain it, 
more than a few minutes. The writer of this article, has 
often heard Charles Devol, Esq., then a small boy, relate, 
with much feeling, his gastronomic trials with this moldy 
meal made into sap-porridge; which, when made of sweet 
corn meal, and the fresh saccharine juice of the maple, was 
both a nourishing and a savory dish. The family, then liv- 
ing at Belpre, had l)cen without food for two days, when his 


father returned from Marietta, just at evening,', with a i^canty 
supply of moldy corn. The hand-mill wa.s immediately 
put in operation, and the meal cookeil into sai)-])()rrii!ge, 
as it was then the season of sugar-making. 'J'hc famished 
children swallowed eagerly the unsavoiy mess, which was 
almost as instantly rejected; reminding us of the deadly 
pottage of the cliildrcn of the pi'ophet; but lacking the heal- 
ing power of an I'dijah to render it salutary and nutritiou.s. 
Disappointed of expected relief, the poor children went sup- 
perless to bed, to dream of savory food and plenteous meals, 
not realized in their waking hours. 

It was during this period of want, that Isaac Williams dis- 
played his benevolent feelings for the suflering colonists. 
From the circumstance of his being in the country earlier, 
he had more ground cleared, and had raised a large crop 
of several hundred bushels of good, sound corn. This he 
now distributed amongst the inhabitants at the low rate of 
fifty cents a bushel, when at the same time he had been of- 
fered, and urged to take, a dollar and twenty-five cents for 
his whole crop, by speculators ; for man has ever been dis- 
posed to take advantage of the distresses of his fellows. 
" Dod rot 'em," said the honest hunter, " I would not let 
them have a bushel." lie not only parted with his corn at 
this cheap rate, the common price in plentiful years, but he 
also prudently apportioned the number of bushels to the 
number of individuals in a family. An empty purse wa:^ 
no bar to the needy applicant, but his wants were equally 
supplied with those who had money, and a credit given un- 
til more favorable seasons should enable him to discharge 
the debt. 

Capt. Devol, heaiin:^^ of 3Ir. William's corn, and the low 
rate at which he sold it, made a trip to ^larietta, directly af- 
ter the adventure, with the sap-porridge," to procure some 
of it. The journey was made by land, and in the night, 


traveling on the ridges adjacent to the river, as the stream 
was so swollen by the spring flood, as to prevent the ascent 
by water in a canoe. He chose to come in the night, on 
account of danger from the Indians; and the intrepidity 
of the man, may be estimated, from his traveling this dis- 
tance, twelve or fom'teen miles, alone. He reached Fort 
Harmer at daylight; and Maj. Doughty, after giving him 
a warm breakfast, directed two soldiers to set him across 
the Ohio, in the garrison boat. Mr. Williams treated him 
with much kindness; and after supplying him with corn, 
also furnished him with his only canoe, in which to trans- 
port it to his home. Capt. Devol was unwilling to take it; 
but he urged it upon him, saying he could soon make an- 
other. In after years, when Capt. Devol owned a fine farm 
and mill on the Muskingum river, Mr. Williams used often 
to visit him, and pass a night or two at his house, which was 
the temple of hospitality, in the most social and pleasant 
manner, talking of the trials and sufierings of bygone days. 

He retained a relish for hunting to his latest years; and 
whenever a little unwell, forsaking his comfortable home, 
would take his rifle, and favorite old dog " Cap,"' accompa- 
nied by one of his black servants, retire to the woods, and 
encamping by some clear stream, remain there drinking the 
pure water, and eating such food as his rifle procured, until 
his health was restored. Medicine he never took, except 
such simples as the forest afforded. The untrodden wilder- 
ness was to him full of charms ; and before the close of the 
Revolutionary war, he had hunted over a large portion of 
the valley of the Ohio, sometimes with a companion, but 
oftener alone, leaving his favorite Rebecca to oversee and 
take charge of the little plantation, which was never very 
extensive, until he moved to his new home, opposite the 
mouth of the ]^.Iuskingum. 

From his sedate manners and quiet habits, the trapping 

I S A A C W I I, L I A M S . 489 

of the ])cavcr wan a favorite pursuit; and after he wa.s 
Rcventy years old, if he heard of the ^<igns of one being seen 
within lifty miles of his home, would mount his horse with 
his traps, and not return until he had caught it. This was 
a great art amongst the hunters of the west, and he who 
was the most successful in this mystery, was accounted a 
fortunate man. The proceeds of a few months hunt often 
realizing three or four hundred dollars to the trapper, lie 
stood high in this branch of the hunter's vocation, and no 
man could catch more beavers than himself; being eminently 
qualified for this pursuit, both by disposition and by prac- 
tice, lie was a close observer of nature ; taciturn in his 
manners, and cautious in his movements ; never in a hurry, 
or disturbed by an unexpected occurrence. In many re- 
spects he was an exact portrait of Cooper's beau ideal of a 
master hunter, so finely portrayed in the Pioneer, and other 
backwoods legends. 

During the Indian Avar, from 1791 to 1795, he remained 
unmolested in his cabin, a view of which is seen in the 
sketch of Fort Ilarmer, on the opposite shore of the Ohio, 
protected, in some measure, by the vicinity of that fort, as 
well as by the stockade around his dwellings, which shel- 
tered several families besides his own. 

lie seldom spoke of his own exploits, and when related, 
they generally came from the lips of his companions. 
There was only one situation in which he could be induced 
to relax his natural reserve, and freely narrate tlic romantic 
and hazardous adventures that had befallen him in his hunt- 
ing and war excursions; and that was when encamped by 
the evening fire, in some remote spot, after the toils of the 
day were closed, and the supper of venison and bear meat 
ended. Here, while reclining on a bed of fresh autumnal 
leave?, beneatli the lofty branches of the forest, with no 
listeners but the stars and his companion, the spirit of 


narration would come upon him, and for hours he would re- 
hearse the details of his youthful and hazardous adventures 
by forest, flood, and field. In such situations, surrounded 
by the works of God, his body and his mind felt a freedom 
that the hut and the clearing could not give. In this man- 
ner the late Alexander Henderson, a man of refined taste, 
and cultivated manners, has said that he passed some of 
the most interesting hours of his life, when hunting with 
Mr. Williams on the head waters of the Little Kenawha. 

In person, he was of the middle size, with an upright 
frame, and muscular limbs ; features firm, and strongly 
marked; a mild expression of countenance, and taciturn, 
quiet manners. In his youth he does not appear to have 
been addicted to the rude sports and rough plays so con- 
genial to most of the early borderers, but preferred social 
converse, and an interchange of good offices with his fel- 
lows. Although he lived at a time and in a situation where 
he was deprived of all opportunity for reUgious instruction, 
yet he appears to have had an intuitive dread of all vicious 
words or actions. The writer distinctly recollects hearing 
him reprove a keel-boatman, a class of men whose language 
was intermingled with oaths, in the most severe manner, for 
his profanity, as he passed the boat where the man was at 
work. Like Isaac and Rebecca of old, this modern Isaac 
and Rebecca were given to good deeds ; and many a poor, 
sick, abandoned boatman, has been nursed and restored 
to health beneath their humble roof. So intimately con- 
nected are their names with the early settlers of the Ohio 
Company, that they deserve to go down to posterity to- 
gether. Many years before his death, he liberated all his 
slaves, six or eight in number, and by his will left valuable 
tokens of his love and good feeling for the oppressed and 
despised African. 

Full of days and good deeds, and strong in the faith of a 

II A U M A N i5 L i; N N i; ]i II A S S F. T T . 41) I 

blessed immortality, Mr. WillianiB resigned Ids spirit to 
Ilimwho gave it, the 25th of September, is-JO.aged ei;,dity- 
four years, and was buried in a beautifid <rruvc, on his own 
plantation, surrounded by the trees he so dearly loved uhtii 




IIarman Blenneriiassett, Esq., was a descendant of a 
noble family of Ireland, in the county of Cork He was 
born in Hampshire, England, in the year 17G7, while his 
parents were there on a visit. The family residence was 
Castle Conway, in the county of Kerry, to which tliey 
shortly after returned. He was educated witli great care, 
and Avhen a boy attended the ^Ycstminster scliool, cele])ratrd 
for its classical excellence, completing his studies at Trinity 
College, Dublin, whose honors he sliared in company with 
his relative, the celebrated T. A. Emmitt. They read law- 
together at the King's Inn Courts, Dublin; were admitted Xo 
the bar on the same day in the year ITi'O, and bi t>\een 

* These celebrated iiiJiviiliuls, allhoiigli not attached to the (.>hic Curr.p:niy stttlera, 
yet came into the tcrri'iOry so early as to he ranked anioni: i'.~ j)ioucei-5. 'llity fill so 
large and interesting a space in the hi>tory of this re^^'ion. and did so for the 
pecuniary benefit of the country of tlieir adoption, tha'. they deserve a place au'.on^st 
the settlers of Washint^tou county. 


them existed ever after the warmest friendship. Having 
spent some time in traveling in France and the Netherlands, 
he returned and practiced at the bar in Ireland. Expecting, 
however, to fall heir to a large estate in a few years, he 
made but little effort to excel in the law, rather cultivating 
his taste for the sciences, music, and general literature. 

At the death of his father, in 1798, he became possessed 
of a handsome fortune; but on account of the troubles in 
Ireland, in which he became politically involved, he sold the 
estate to his cousin. Lord Yentry, and went to England, 
where he soon after married Miss Agnew, daughter of the 
Ueutenant-governor of the Isle of Man, and granddaughter 
of Gen. Agnew, who fell at the battle of Germantown. 
Lord Kingsale, and Admiral De Courcey, of the navy, both 
married sisters of Mr. Blennerhassett; who, expressing 
rather freely his republican principles, in opposition to his 
relations, finally concluded to visit the United States, and 
make that country his future home, where he could utter his 
sentiments, and enjoy the benefits of freedom, undisturbed 
by spies or informers. 

Before sailing for America, he visited London and pur- 
chased a large library of classical and scientific books, with 
a philosophical apparatus, embracing various branches, and 
arrived in New York in 1797. By the aid of his letters, 
wealth, and his own personal and literary merit, he became 
acquainted with some of the first families in the city.* 
Amongst others of his newly acquired friends, was Mr. Jo- 
seph S. Lewis, a rich merchant of Philadelphia, who became 
his business agent, and for many years his firm friend. Mr. 
Blennerhassett named his youngest son Joseph Lewis, in 
token of his regard for him. He was finally a considerable 
loser by this connection, and after Mr. Blcnnerhassett's 

* See Whig Review, 1844. Article by 'Mr. Wallaee. 


failure, and the destruction of his house and property, 
became the owner of the island. 

Ilia stay in New York was of only a few months' contin- 
uance; when, hearing of the rich valleys and beautiful 
country on the Ohio river, he crossed the mountains, and 
after spending a few weeks in Pittsburg, took passage for 
Marietta, in the fall of the year 1707. Here he passed the 
winter, examining the vicinity of that place for a spot on 
which to make his permanent residence. lie finally decided 
on purchasing a plantation on an island in the Ohio river, 
fourteen miles below the mouth of the Muskingum, within 
tlie jurisdiction of the state of Virginia. The situation 
was wild, romantic, and beautiful ; and as it was chiefly in 
a state of nature, a few acres only being cleared, he could 
reclaim it from the forest, adorn and cultivate it to his own 
taste. Its location also gave him the privilege of holding 
colored servants as his own property', which he could not do 
in the Northwest Territory. The island was, moreover, near 
tlie settlement of Belpre, composed chiefly of very iiitelli- 
gent and well-educated men, disbanded olRcers of tlie 
American army, whose society would at any time relieve 
him of ennui. The island itself was a picture of beauty, 
as well as all of its kind, at that early day, before the hand 
of man had marred its shores. The drooping branches of 
the willow laved their graceful foliage in the water, while 
the more lofty sycamore and elm, with their giant arms, 
protected them from the rude blasts of the storm, and gave 
a grandeur and dignity to these primitive landscapes, now 
only to be seen in the remoter regions of the west. 

The island at present known as " Blennerhassett's,"' was 
then called " Backus's,'' who had owned it since 1792. It 
is said to have been located by Gen. AVashington, as he 
owned a large tract of land immediately below, called 
"Washington's bottom,"' entered by him in the year 1770. 


It was first surveyed in May, 1784, on a land warrant, issued 
in 1780, and a patent made out by Patrick Henry, governor 
of Virginia, in 1786, to Alexander Nelson, of Richmond, Va.; 
who was a member of a mercantile firm in Philadelphia. 
By a bill in chancery, of the High Court of Virginia, pro- 
cured by Mr. Blennerhassett, to perfect his title, it appears 
that Elijah Backus, of Norwich, Conn., bought of James Her- 
ron, of Norfolk, Va., in the year 1792, two islands in the 
Ohio river; the principal one being the first below the mouth 
of the Little Kenawha, then in the county of Monongalia, 
containing two hundred and ninety-seven acres, for the sum 
of two hundred and fifty pounds, Virginia currency, or about 
eight hundred and eighty-three dollars and thirty-three cents. 
This island is of a very peculiar form, narrow in the middle, 
and broad at both extremities. 

In March, 1798, Mr. Blennerhassett purchased the upper 
portion, containing about one hundred and seventy acres, 
for the sum of four thousand, five hundred dollars, and soon 
after moved, with his wife and one child, on to his new pur- 
chase, living in a large old block-house, standing about half 
a mile below the upper end of the island, built in the time 
of the Indian war, by Capt. James. Here he resided while 
conducting the improvements near the upper end of the 
island, and building his island mansion, which was com- 
pleted in 1800. A good deal of labor and heavy expense 
was necessary in preparing the ground for his buildings and 
the gardens. It was covered, at this spot, with forest trees, 
which had to be removed, and stumps eradicated, so as to 
leave a smooth, level surface, with extensive landings up 
and down the banks on both sides of the river, for conveni- 
ent access to and from the island. Boats of various sizes 
were also to be procured, and a company of eight or ten 
black servants purchased, as waiters, gi'ooms, watermen, 
&c. His outlays, when the improvements were completed, 


amounted to more than forty thousand doUar.s. Thi.s sum, 
expended chiefly the mcchanicn, laborers, and 
farmers of this new region, where money was scarce, and 
hard to be obtained, was of very great advantage to their 
interests; and Mr. Blennerhassett may be considered as the 
greatest benefactor, in this respect, that had ever settled 
west of the mountains. 

The island mansion was built with great taste and beauty; 
no expense being spared in its construction, that could add 
to its usefulness or splendor. It consisted of a main build- 
ing, fifty-two feet in length, thirty in width, and two stories 
high. Porticoes, forty feet in length, in the form of wings, 
projected in front, connected with offices, presenting each a 
face of twenty-six feet, and twenty feet in depth, uniting 
them with the main building; forming the half of an ellipsis, 
and making, in the whole, a front of one hundred and four 
feet. The left-hand office was occupied for the servant's 
hall ; and the right for the library, philosophical apparatus 
study, &c. The drawing which accompanies this memoir 
is a correct likeness of the mansion, taken from the descrip- 
tion of Col. Barker, one of the principal architects. 

A handsome lawn of several acres occupied the front 
ground ; while an extended opening was made through the 
forest trees, on the head of the island, affording a view of 
the river for several miles above, and bringing the mansion 
under the notice of descending boats. Xicely graveled 
walks, ^vith a carriage-way, led from the house to the river, 
passing through an ornamental gateway, with large stone 
pillars. A fine hedge, of native hawthorn, bordered the 
right side of the avenue to the house, while back of it lay 
the flower garden, of about tu^o acres, inclosed with neat 
palings, to which were traced goo.-ebcrry bushes, peaches, 
and other varieties of fruit-bearing trees, in the manner of 
wall fruits. The garden was planted with flowering shrubs, 


both exotic and native; but especially abounding in the lat- 
ter, which the good taste of the occupants had selected from 
the adjacent forests, and planted in thick masses, through 
which wandered serpentine walks, bordered with flowers, 
imitating a labyrinth. Arbors and grottoes, covered with 
honeysuckles and eglantines, were placed at convenient in- 
tervals, giving the whole a very romantic and beautiful ap- 
pearance. On the opposite side of the house was a large 
kitchen garden, and back of these, orchards of peach and 
apple trees of the choicest varieties, procured from abroad, 
as well as from the Belpre nurseries. Lower down on the 
island was the farm, with about one hundred acres under 
the nicest cultivation ; the luxuriant soil producing the finest 
crops of grain and grass. For the last three or four years 
of his residence, a large dairy was added to his other agri- 
cultural pursuits, under the management of Thomas iVeal, 
who also superintended the labor of the farm. The garden 
was conducted by Peter Taylor, a native of Lancashire, Eng- 
land, who was bred to the pursuit, but under the direction 
of Mr. Blennerhassett, whose fine taste in all that was beau- 
tiful, ordered the arranging and laying out the grounds. 

The mansion and oflices were frame buildings, painted 
with the purest white, contrasting tastefully with the green 
foliage of the ornamental shade trees, which surrounded 
it. An abundance of fine stone for building, could have 
been quarried from the adjacent Virginia shore, but he pre- 
ferred a structure of wood, as less liable to be damaged b}' 
earthquakes. The finishing and furniture of the apartments 
were adapted to the use for which they were intended. The 
hall was a spacious room ; its walls painted a somber color, 
with a beautiful cornice of plaster, bordered with a gilded 
molding, running round the lofty ceiling; while its furniture 
was rich, heavy, and grand. The furniture of the drawing- 
room was in strong contrast witli the hall; light, airy, and 


elegant; with splendid mirrors, gay-colored carpets, rich 
curtains, with ornaments to correspond, arranged by his 
lady with the nicest taste and harmonious effect. A large 
quantity of massive silver plate ornamented the sideboards, 
and decorated the tables. Yet they had not entirely com- 
pleted their arrangements, when the destroyer appeared, 
and frustrated all their designs for comfort and future hap- 
piness. The whole establishment was noble, chastened by 
the pui'est taste, without that glare of tinsel finery, too com- 
mon among the wealthy. 

Their stjle of living was in unison with the house and 
fui'niture, elegant, easy, and comfortable. 

Mr. Blennerhassett was a highly intellectual man, greatly 
devoted to scientific pursuits, which his ample library and 
leisure time afforded every facility for pursuing. He was 
studious, and fond of experimenting in chemistry, electricity, 
and galvanism. His apparatus, though not extensive, was 
ample for such experiments as an amateur would wish to 
make. Asti'onomy was also a favorite study; for which he 
had a fine telescope to examine the constellations in their 
courses, and a solar microscope, to inspect the minuter 
bodies of the earth. In music, he possessed the nicest 
taste, and an uncommon genius, composing harmonious 
and beautiful airs, several pieces of which are now remem- 
bered and played by a gentleman, who, when a youth, was 
intimate in his family. His favorite instruments were the 
base-viol and violoncello, on which he played with admira- 
ble skill. The spacious hall of the mansion being constructed 
so as to give effect to musical sounds, the tones of his viol 
vibrated through it with thrilling effect, calling forth the 
admiration of his guests. Electricity and galvanism re- 
ceived a share of his attention, and many experiments were 
tried in both these wonderful branches of modern science. 

Amongst his trials in chemical operations, was that of 


converting beef into adipocere, large pieces of which were 
submerged in the beautiful little cove between the landing 
and the sand-bar at the head of the island. He fancied it 
might be used in place of spermaceti, for light; but the cat- 
fish and perch interfered so much with his trials, that he 
could never bring the adipocere to perfection. He was a 
good classical scholar, and so highly was he enraptured with , 
Homer's Iliad, that it was said he could repeat the whole 
poem in the original Greek. 

His manners were gentlemanly, and disposition social, 
hospitable, and kind, especially to those with whom he 
wished to associate, but rather haughty to others. In mind, 
he could not be said to be masculine and strong, but was 
rather wavering and fickle ; easily duped and deceived by 
the designing and dishonest. He had quite a taste for med- 
icine, and read many authors on that subject, which, with 
his natural propensities, often led him to think himself at- 
tacked with imaginary diseases, and it was sometimes diffi- 
cult to convince him they were merely ideal. To his sick 
neighbors and servants, he was kind and attentive, often 
visiting and prescribing for their complaints ; freely tender- 
ing his medicines, of which he always kept an ample sup- 
ply. His own heart being perfectly honest and free from 
deceit, he was unsuspicious of others, and very credulous 
in regard to their statements, which often led him into pecu- 
niary losses in his business transactions. 

In bargaining with a notorious cheat for a quantity of the 
shells of the river clam, which, in the early settlement of 
the country, before quarries of limestone were opened, were 
calcined in log-heaps, and used for plastering rooms, the 
fellow said it was a difficult matter to collect them, as he 
had to dive under the water where it was six or eight feet 
deep, and must charge fifty cents a bushel, wlicii, in fact, he 
could collect any quantity, where it was only a few inches. 


Thinking the man told the truth, he paid him the price, 
which was at least five times as much as they were worth. 

He was very kind and charitable to the poor and unfor- 
tunate backwoodsmen. A Virginian, who had lost his 
house and furniture by fire, was soon after invited, with his 
wife, to dine with him. This man owed him a considerable 
sum of lent money. After dinner he told him he would 
either cancel the debt, or give him an order on his store at 
Marietta for an equal sum, and let the debt stand. The 
sufferer was a man of honorable mind and just feelings. He, 
therefore, chose not to add to his present obligations, but 
accepted the canceling of the debt, which was immediately 
done. This man still lives, and related the incident in 
1846. Many such facts were known to have occurred while 
he lived on the island. 

His wife was still more charitable to the sick and poor in 
the vicinity, many of whom felt the benefit of her gifts. 

With all these kind acts fresh in their memories, several 
of these men were found among the banditti, who ransacked 
his house and insulted his wife, after he had been forced to 
leave the island from the hue and cry of treason, which 
maddened and infuriated the public mind in the valley of 
the Ohio. 

In person, Mr. Blennerhassett was tall, about gix feet, but 
slender, with a slight stoop in the shoulders. His motions 
were not very graceful, either as an equestrian, or on foot; 
forehead full, and well formed ; with rather a prominent 
nose, and good proportioned face ; eyes weak, and sight im- 
perfect; seeing objects distinctly only when near; so that 
in reading, the surface of the page nearly touched his nose. 
They had a nervous, restless agitation, which probably arose 
from weakness of the optic nerves, requiring the constant 
aid of glasses. Yet with this permanent and continual an- 
noyance, he was a great student and operator in experiments. 


He was also much attached to hunting, shooting quails, 
and other small gam.e on the island. To enjoy this sport, 
he had to call in the aid of some other person, whose vision 
was more acute than his own, who pointed the gun for him 
at the game, and gave the word when to fire. This person 
was often his wife, who, with the greatest kindness, attended 
him in his short excursions, and with the tact of an experi- 
enced sportsman, pointed out the object, leveled the gun, and 
stood by with the most perfect coolness, while he discharged 
the piece. 

His general habits were sedentary and studious ; prefer- 
ring the quiet of his library to the most brilliant assemblies. 
In conversation, he was interesting and instructive; confin- 
ing his remarks to the practical and useful, more than to the 

As a lawyer, his wife, who had probably heard his forensic 
eloquence, has been heard to say that he was equal to Mr. 
Emmitt ; and frequently urged him to enter as an advocate 
at the higher courts of Virginia and Ohio, instead of wast- 
ing his time in obscurity, at his philosophical pui'suits on 
the island. His library contained an ample supply of law 
books. A list of thirty volumes, loaned to James Wilson, 
a lawyer of Virginia, a few days before he left the island, is 
now among his papers in the hands of his agent at Marietta. 

Mr. Blennerhassett dressed in the old English style, with 
scarlet or bulT-eolored small clothes, and silk stockings ; 
shoes with silver buckles, and coat generally of blue broad- 
cloth. When at home, his dress was rather careless ; often, 
in warm weather, in his shirt-sleeves, without coat or 
waist-coat ; and in winter, wore a thick woolen roundabout, 
or short jacket. 

In this quiet retreat, insulated and separated from the 
noise and tumult of the surrounding world, amidst his 
liooks, with the company of his accomplished wife and 


children, he possessed all that seemed necessary for the 
happiness of man; and yet he lacked one thing, without 
which no man can be happy : a firm belief in the overruling 
providence of God. Voltaire and Rosseau, whose works 
he studied and admired, had poisoned his mind to the simple 
truths of the gospel, and the Bible was a book which he 
seldom or never consulted. At least this was the fact while 
he lived on the island ; whatever it might have been, after 
misfortune and want had humbled and sorely tried him. 

Mrs. Blennerhassett was more aspiring and ambitious ; 
with a temperament in strong contrast to that of her hus- 
band. Her maiden name was Margaret Agnew ; the daugh- 
ter of Capt. Agnew, a brave officer in the British service, 
and at one time the lieutenant-governor of the Isle of Man. 
Gen. Agnew, who fell at the battle of Germantown, in the 
American Revolution, was her grandfather, and a monu- 
ment was erected to his memory by his granddaughter, af- 
ter her arrival in America. She was educated and brought 
up by two maiden aunts, who took great care to instruct 
her in all the useful arts of housewifery, laundry, pastry, 
sewing, &c., which was of great use to her in after-life, when 
at the head of a family. They were led to this, in part from 
theu' own limited means, teaching them to be frugal, and the 
need there is, for every woman who expects to marr}-, to be 
acquainted with all the useful branches of housekeeping. 

In person, Mrs. Blennerhassett was tall and commanding, 
of the most perfect proportions, with dignified and graceful 
manners, finely molded features, and veiy fair, transparent 
complexion ; eyes dark blue, sparkling with life and intelli- 
gence ; hair, a rich, deep brown, profuse and glossy, dressed 
in the most elegant manner. When at her island-home, she 
often wore a head-dress of colored silk stuff, folded very 
full, something in the manner of an eastern turban, giving 
a npble and attractive appearance to the whole person. 


These were of various colors, but always composed of a sin- 
gle one, either of pink, yellow, or white, adjusted in the most 
becoming manner and nicest taste ; in which particular, few 
women could equal her. White was a favorite color for 
dress in the summer, and rich colored stuffs in the winter. 
Her motions were all graceful, and greatly hightened by the 
expression of her countenance. No one could be in her 
company, even a few minutes, without being strongly at- 
tracted by her fascinating manners. A very intelligent lady, 
who was familiarly acquainted with her in her best days on 
the island, and has since visited and seen the most elegant 
and beautiful females in the courts of France and England, 
as well as Washington city, says that she has beheld no one 
who was equal to her in beauty of person, dignity of man- 
ners, elegance of dress, and in short, all that is lovely and 
finished in the female person, such as she was, when " queen 
of the fairy isle." 

When she rode on horseback, her dress was a fine, scarlet 
broadcloth, ornamented with gold buttons ; a white beaver 
hat, on which floated the graceful plumes of the ostrich, of 
the same color. This was sometimes changed for blue or 
yellow, with feathers to harmonize. She was a perfect 
equestrian; always riding a very spirited horse, with rich 
trappings, who seemed proud of his burthen ; and accom- 
plished the ride to Marietta, of fourteen miles, in about two 
hours ; dashing through and under the dark foliage of the 
forest trees, which then covered the gi-eater part of the dis- 
tance, reminding one of the gay plumage and rapid flight 
of some tropical bird, winging its way through the woods. 
In these jom-neys she was generally accompanied by Ran- 
som, a favorite black servant, who followed on horseback, 
in a neat, showy dress, and had to apply both whip and 
spur to keep in sight of his mistress. She sometimes came 
to INIavietta by water, in a light canoe, (the roads not being 


yet opened for wheel-carriages.) navigated by IMoses, an- 
other of the colored servants, who was tlie principal water- 
man, and had charge of tiic boats for the transport of pas- 
sengers from the island to the main. Her shopping visits 
were made in this way, as she directed the purchase of gro- 
ceries, ike, for the family use, as well as for the clothing. 
She possessed great personal activity; sometimes in fine 
weather, choosing to walk that distance, instead of riding. 
In addition to her feats in riding and walking, she could 
vault, with the ease of a young fawn, over a five-rail fence, 
with the mere aid of one hand placed on the top rail, and 
was often seen to do so, when walking over the farm, and a 
fence came in the way of her progress. It was performed 
with such graceful movement, and so little effort, as to call 
forth the wonder and admiration of the beholder. 

She was passionately fond of dancing, and greatly ex- 
celled in this healthful and charming exercise, moving 
through the mazes and intricacies of the various figures, 
with the grace and hghtness of the "queen of the fairies." 
Her tastes in this respect were often gratified in the numer- 
ous balls and assemblies, given at that day in Marietta and 
Belpre, as well as at her own house; where the loft}- hall 
frequently resounded to the cheerful music and lively steps 
of the dancers. 

With all this relish for social amusements, Mrs. Blenner- 
hassett was very domestic in her habits ; being not only ac- 
complished in all the arts of housewifer}', but was also an 
excellent seamstress ; cutting out and making up with her 
own hands much of the clothing of her husband, as well as 
preparing that for the servants, which was then made by a 
colored female. At that period, when tailors and mantua- 
makers were rare in the western wilderness, this was an 
accomplishment of real value. She being willing to prac- 
tice these servile acts, when surrounded by all xhe wealth 


she could desire, is one of the finest and most remarkable 
traits in her character; indicating a noble mind, elevated 
above the influence of that false pride so often seen to at- 
tend the high-born and wealthy. 

She was a very early riser ; and when not prevented by in- 
disposition, visited the kitchen by early dawn, and often man- 
ipulated the pastry and cakes to be served up on the table 
for the day; when this service was completed, she laid aside 
her working dress, and attired herself in the habiliments of 
the lady of the mansion. At table she presided with grace 
and dignity, and by her cheerful conversation and pleasant 
address, set every one at ease about her, however rustic 
their manners, or unaccustomed they might be to genteel 

Her mind was as highly cultivated as her person. She 
was an accomplished Italian and French scholar ; and one 
of the finest readers imaginable ; especially excelling in the 
plays of Shakespeare, which she rehearsed with all the taste 
and spirit of a first-rate actor. In history and the English 
classics, she waa equally well read; and w^as often called 
upon to decide a disputed point in literature, under discus- 
sion by her husband and some learned guest. Her deci- 
sions were generally satisfactory to both parties, because 
founded on correct reasoning, and delivered in so gracious 
a manner. Few women have ever lived, who combined so 
many accomplishments and personal attractions. They 
strongly impressed, not only intellectual and cultivated 
minds, who could appreciate her merits, but also the unedu- 
cated and lower classes. One of the young men, a farmer's 
son, of Belpre, rented and cultivated a field of corn on the 
island, near the avenue leading from the house to the river, 
for the sole purpose of stealing a look at her beautiful per- 
son, as she passed by, on her way to ride or walk, as she 
was wont to do every pleasant day. Wirt's celebrated 


paneg}'ric on this lady was in no way undeserved; although 
in appearance so much like romance. 

Eight years had passed rapidly and happily away since 
they took possession of their island home. Two children, 
Ilarman and Dominic, had been added to their domestic 
blessings, whose lively prattle and cheerful smiles served to 
make life still more desirable. 

Parties of the young people from Marietta, Belpre, and 
Wood county, with occasional visits from more distant re- 
gions, whom the far-famed beauty of this western Eden had 
called to see and admire, often assembled at their hospita- 
ble mansion. Social parties of the older and more sedate 
portions of the community, were invited 1o visit them, and 
spend several days and nights on the island ; especially fe- 
males of the families where they visited themselves ; so that 
they were as abundantly provided with social intercom'se, 
as if living on the main land. A large portion of their vis- 
itors came by water, in row-boats, or canoes; as the coun- 
try was so new, and destitute of bridges across the numerous 
creeks, that carriages were but little used. If travelers 
came by land, it was on horseback. A gentleman of taste, 
who visited the island in 1806, describes it as "a scene of 
enchantment, a western Paradise, where beauty, wealth, 
and happiness, had found a home." The wild condition 
of the surrounding wilderness, and the rude log-cabins in 
which the inhabitants generally lived, by their striking con- 
trast, added greatly to the marvelous beauty of the im- 
provements on this remote island. Steamboats were then 
unknown, and traveling on the western rivers was slow and 
painful. Each man or family provided theu' own vessel; 
usually fitted for the temporary voyage in the rudest man- 
ner. A journey of one hundred miles was a long one ; 
more formidable than five hundred or a thousand at this 
day. The settlement of Belpre was the only one from 


Marietta to Cincinnati, that showed marks of civilization, 
in its well-built houses, nicely cultivated farms, and blooming 
orchards ; indicating an intelligent and refined population, 
who could appreciate the worth of their accomplished neigh- 
bors, A gentleman who once lived in Marietta, and was a 
great favorite in the family, from his many personal and 
mental attractions, says, " I was but a boy when they left 
the island, but I had been a favorite in the family for years, 
and had passed many of my happiest days in their society. 
My intimacy in the family of Blennerhassett, is like an 
oasis in the desert of life. It is one of those 'green spots in 
the memory's waste,' which death alone can obliterate ; but 
tlie verdure of the recollection is destroyed by the knowl- 
edge of their ruin and misfortunes." 

In an evil hour tliis peaceful and happy residence was 
entered by Aaron Burr, who, like Satan in the Eden of old, 
visited this earthly Paradise, only to deceive and destroy. 
"Like some lost, malignant spirit, going to and fro upon 
the earth, to harass and sneer at poor humanity ; was 
always so courteous, so polite and decorous; so interesting, 
nay, fascinating, when he strove to engage the attention, 
that it was impossible to resist his influence. It was the at- 
mosphere of his presence that poisoned all who came within 
its reach." 

In the spring of the year 1805, this intriguing and artful 
man first visited the valley of the Ohio, his mind restless 
and uneasy, a disappointed, vexed man, whose hands were 
still red with the blood of the great and noble-minded Ham- 
ilton. No ordinary occupation could satisfy the mind of 
such a being; but some vast, difficult, and grand scheme of 
ambition must be sought out, on which he could employ his 
exuberant faculties. Filled with his future project of found- 
ing a vast empire in the provinces of Mexico, with a portion 
of the valley of the Mississippi, then, as he had ascertained, 


ripe for revolution, (but the plan chiefly confined, at that 
time, under a cloud of mystery, purporting to be a set- 
tlement of the lands he had bargained for on the Washita 
river.) " He descended the Ohio in a boat, landing as a 
passing traveler, merely to see and admire the far-famed 
improvements of the island. Mr. Blennerhassett, hearing 
that a stranger was on his lawn, sent a servant to invite 
him to the house. The wily serpent sent his card, with an 
apology ; but Mr. Blennerhassett, with his usual hospitality', 
walked out and insisted on his remaining a day or two. 
He, however, made a visit of only a few hours ; long enough 
to introduce the subject of a splendid land speculation on 
the Red river, and to allude to the prospect of a war of the 
United States with Spain, and the ease with which the Mexi- 
cans might, with a little aid, tlirow off the foreign yoke 
which had so long oppressed them. He then proceeded on 
his way. 

A large portion of the following winter was spent by Mr. 
Blennerhassett and his lady, in Philadelphia and New York, 
on a visit to his old friend Emmitt, where, it is probable, he 
saw Burr again, and matm'ed the plan for a participation in 
the purchase of Baron Bastrop's lands on the Washita, as 
he had addressed a letter to him on that subject before leav- 
ing home, in December, wishing to become a partner in any 
purchase he might make of western lands : also oflering to 
aid in the Mexican enterprise, as was afterward ascertained 
in the trial at Richmond. 

The next August we find Aaron Buit at Pittsburg, in 
company with his accomplished daughter, JMrs. Theodosia 
Alston, on his way down the Ohio river. He again visited 
the island, with his daughter, where he spent several days ; 
he, in the meantime, taking up his abode at JMarietta, where 
several of the inhabitants received him with marked atten- 
tion; while others looked upon him with contempt and 


abhorrence, as the murderer of Col. Hamilton; especially 
the old officers, friends and associates of that excellent man. 
It was in September, at the period of the annual militia 
muster; the regiment was assembled on the commons, and 
Col. Burr was invited by the commander to exercise the 
men, which he did, putting them through several evolutions. 
In the evening there was a splendid ball, at which he at- 
tended, and was long after known as the Burr ball. 

Early in this month the contract was made for boats to 
be built on the Muskingum river, six miles above the mouth, 
for the purpose, as was said, of conveying the provisions 
and adventurers to the settlement in the new purchase. 
There were fifteen large bateaux; ten of them forty fcQt 
long, ten feet wide, and two and a half feet deep; five 
others were fifty feet long, pointed at each end, to push, or 
row up stream as well as down. One of these was consid- 
erably larger, and fitted up with convenient rooms, a fire- 
place, and glass windows; intended for the use of Mr. 
Blennerhassett and family, as he proposed taking them with 
him to the new settlement, and is an evidence he did not 
then think of any hostile act against the United States. To 
these was added a keel-boat, sixty feet long, for the 
transport of provisions. A contract for bacon, pork, flour, 
whisky, &c., was made, to the amount of two thousand dol- 
lars, and a bill drawn on Mr. Ogden, of New York, for the 
payment. The boats cost about the same sum, for which 
Mr. Blennerhassett was responsible. One main article of 
the stores was kiln-dried, or parched corn, ground into meal ; 
which is another evidence that the men engaged in the ex- 
pedition, were to march a long distance by land, and carry 
this parched meal on their backs ; of which, a pint mixed 
with a little water, is a day's ration, as practiced by the 
western Indians. Several hundred barrels of this article 
were prepared; some of which was raised on the island and 


parched in a kiln built for that purpose. The boats were to 
be ready by the Oth of December; rather a late period, on 
account of ice, which usually forms in this month; but they 
were tardy in making the contract. 

Col. Burr remained in the vicinity three or four weeks, 
making a journey to Chillicothe. Ilis son-in-law, Alston, 
came out and joined his wife at the island, and with her 
and Mr. Blennerhassett, who accompanied them, proceeded 
on to Lexington, Ky., early in October. jNIany young men 
in the vicinity of Marietta, Belpre, and various other points 
on the river, were engaged to join in the expedition ; of which 
Col. Burr was the leader. They were told that no injur}' 
was intended to the United States ; that the President was 
aware of the expedition and approved it; which was to 
make a settlement on the tract of land purchased by the 
leaders in the Baron Bastrop grant, and in the event of a 
war breaking out between tliis country and Spain, which 
had for some time been expected, they were to join with the 
troops under Gen. Wilkinson, and march into the Mexican 
provinces, whose inhabitants had long been ready for revolt, 
and prepared to unite with them. This was no doubt the 
truth, as believed by Mr. Blennerhassett, and those engaged 
under him, whatever may have been the ulterior views of 
Burr. Not one of all that number enlisted on the Ohio, 
would have hearkened for a moment, to a separation of the 
western from the eastern states ; and when the act of the 
Ohio Legislature was passed, to suppress all armed assem- 
blages, and take possession of boats with arms and pro- 
visions, followed by the proclamation of the President, they, 
almost to a man, refused to embark further in the enterprise. 

The bateaux were calculated to cany about five hundred 
men; and probably a large portion of that number had been 
engaged, expecting to receive one hundred acres of land for 
each private, and more for officers. As to their being required 


to furnish themselves with a good rifle and blanket, it was 
of itself no evidence of hostility; as it is customary, in 
making all new settlements, for men to be armed; as was 
tlie case with the forty-eight pioneers of the Ohio Company 
settlers, in 1788. 

In the meantime, a rumor had gone abroad, that Col. Burr 
and his associates were plotting ti-eason on the western wa- 
ters, and assembling an army to take possession of New 
Orleans, rob the banks, seize the artillery, and set up a sep- 
arate government west of the Alleghany mountains, of which 
he was to be the chief. From the evidence on the trial at 
Richmond, and other sources, it appears that Mr. Jefferson 
was acquainted with the plan of invading Mexico, in the 
event of a war with Spain, and approved it ; so that Burr 
had some ground for saying that the government favored 
the project. But when no war took place, and the parties 
had become deeply involved in building boats, collecting 
provisions, and levying men, to which the baseness and 
treachery of Wilkinson directly contributed, it was thought 
a fitting time to punish the arch-enemy of the President, 
who, by his chicanery, had well nigh ousted him from the 
chair of state, and had since taken all opportunities to vil- 
ify and abuse him. Another evidence that the government 
was supposed to favor the enterprise, is the fact, that nearly 
all its abettors and supporters in the west, imtil the procla- 
mation appeared, were of the party called Republicans, or 
friends of Mr. Jefferson, and was opposed by the Federal- 
ists, who hated and despised Burr and all in which he was 
engaged, as, from the character of the man, they thought it 
boded nothing good. 

By the last of October, rumor, with her tliousand tongues, 
aided by hundreds of newspapers, had filled the minds of 
the people with strange alarms of coming danger, to which 
the mystery which overshadowed the actual object of these 


preparations greatly adc'.ed, and many threats were tlirovvn 
out, of personal violence to Mr. Blennerhassett and Col. 
Burr. Alarmed at these rumors of coming danger, iMr.s. 
Blennerhassett dispatched Peter Taylor to Kentucky, with a 
letter requesting her husband immediately to return; where 
he had gone on a visit with Mr. Alston. The history of thid 
journey, as related by Peter in his evidence on the trial, is 
an amusing slvctch of simplicity and truth. lie was the 
gardener on the island for several years, and was a single- 
hearted, honest Englishman, who, after his employer's ruin, 
purchased a farm at Waterfo!^, in Washington county 
Ohio, where he lived many years, much respected for Ms 
industry and integrity. 

During the month of September, and forepart of Octo- 
ber, tliere appeared a series of articles, four or five in num- 
ber, published in the Marietta Gazette, over the signature 
of Querist, in which the writer advocated a separation of 
the western from the eastern states, setting forth the rea- 
sons for, and advantages of, such a division. These were 
answered in a series of numbers, condemning the project, 
over the signature of Regulus. They were well-written, 
spia-ited articles. The former were probably written by 
Burr; and the author of the last has remained concealed. 
The result, however, was unfavorable to the project, and 
roused the public mind in opposition both to the man and 
the cause he had espoused. Some of the articles by Reg- 
ulus were much applauded by the editor of the Aurora, a 
leading government paper of that day, who considered the 
w'ritcr a very able and patriotic man. 

The last of November, ]Mr. Jefferson sent out John Gra- 
ham, a clerk in one of the public offices, as a spy, or agent, 
to watch the motions of the conspirators in the vicinity of 
the L-land, and to ask the aid of the governor of Ohio in 
suppressing the insurrection, by seizing on the boats and 


preparations making on the Muskingum. While at Mari- 
etta, Mr. Blennerhassett called on the agent once or twice, 
talking freely with him on the objects of the expedition, and 
showed him a letter he had recently received from Col. 
Burr, in relation to the settlement on the Washita, in which 
he says that the project of invading Mexico was abandoned, 
as the difficulties between the United States and Spain were 
adjusted. He also mentioned his arrest and trial before the 
Federal Court, on charge of ''treasonable practices," and 
"a design to attack the Spanish dominions, and thereby en- 
danger the peace of the United States ; " of which he was 
acquitted. But all this would not satisfy Mr. Graham. He 
visited the governor at Chillicothe, laid before him the sur- 
mises of Mr. Jefferson ; and the Legislature, then in session, 
on the second day of December, with closed doors, passed 
an act authorizing the governor to call out the militia, on 
his warrant to any sheriff or militia officer, with power to 
arrest boats on the Ohio river, or men, supposed to be en- 
gaged in this expedition ; and might be held to bail, in the 
sum of fifty thousand dollars, or imprisoned, and the boats 
confiscated. One thousand dollars were placed at the dis- 
posal of the governor, to carry out the law. 

Under this act a company of militia was called out, with 
orders to capture and detain the boats and provisions on 
the Muskingum, with all others descending the Ohio, under 
suspicious circumstances. They were placed under the 
command of Capt. Timothy Buell. A six-pounder was 
planted in battery on the bank of the Ohio, in Marietta, and 
every descending boat examined. Regular sentries and 
guards were posted for several weeks, until the river was 
closed with ice, and all navigation ceased. jMany amusing 
jokes were played off on the miUtary during this campaign, 
such as setting an empty tar-barrel on fire, and placing it 
on an old boat, or a raft of logs, to float by on some dark. 


rainy niglit. The scntrieri, after hailing, and receiving no 
answer, fired several s^hots to enforce their order; but find- 
ing the i^upposed boat escaping, sent out a file of men to 
board and take possession, who, approaching in great 
wrath, were still more vexed to find it all a hoax. 

On the Oth of December, just before the order of the 
governor arrived. Comfort Tyler, a gentleman from the state 
of New York, landed at the island with four boats and 
about thirty men, fitted out at the towns above, on the Ohio. 
On the 'Jth, a party of young men from Belprc went up the 
Muskingum to assist in navigating the bateaux and pro- 
visions of parched meal from that place to the island. But 
the militia guard received notice of their movements, and 
waylaying the river a little above the town, took possession 
of them all but one, which the superior management of the 
young men from Belpre enabled them to bring by all the 
guards, in the darkness of the night, and reach the island 
in safety. Had they all escaped, they would have been of 
little use, as the young men engaged had generally given 
up the enterprise, on the news of the President's proclama- 
tion, and the act of the Ohio Legislature. 

Mr. Blennerhassett was at Marietta on the 6th of Decem- 
ber, expecting to receive the boats ; but they were not quite 
ready for dehvery. On that day he heard of the act of the 
assembly, and returned to the island, half resolved to 
abandon the cause; but the arrival, that night, of Tyler. 
and the remonstrances of his wife, who had entered with 
great spirit into the enterprise, prevented him. Had he 
listened to the dictates of his own mind, and the sugges- 
tions of prudence, it would have saved him years of mis- 
fortune and final ruin. 

In the course of the day of the 9th of December, he 

had notice that the Wood county militia had volunteered 

their services, and would that night make an attack on 


the island, arrest him, with the boats and men there as- 
sembled, and perhaps burn his house. This accelerated 
their departure, which took place on the following night. 
They had learned that the river was watched at several 
points below, and serious apprehensions felt for their future 
safety; although the resolute young men on board, well 
armed with their rifles, would not have been captured 
by any moderate force. The Ohio river, from the Little to 
the Big Kenawha, is very crooked and tortuous; making 
the distance by water nearly double that by land. 

Col. Phelps, the commander of the Wood county volun- 
teers, took possession of the island the following morning, 
and finding the objects of his search gone, determined not 
to be foiled, and started immediately on horseback across 
the country, for Point Pleasant, a village at the mouth of 
the Big Kenawha, and arrived there several hours before 
the boats. He directly mustered a party of men, to watch 
the river all night and arrest the fugitives. It being quite 
cold, with some ice in the stream, large fires were kindled, 
for the double purpose of warming the guard and more 
easily discovering the boats. Just before daylight, the men 
being well filled with whisky, to keep out the cold, became 
drowsy with their long watch, and all lay down by the fire. 
During their short sleep, the four boats seeing the fires, and 
aware of their object, floated quietly by, without any noise, 
and were out of sight before the guard awakened. They 
thus escaped this well laid plan for their capture, arriving 
at the mouth of the Cumberland, the place of rendezvous, 

On the 13th, Mr. ^Morgan Nevill and ]Mr. Ptobinson, with 
a party of fourteen young men, arrived and landed at tlie 
island. They were immediately arrested by the militia, be- 
fore the return of Col. Phelps. A very amusing account of 
this adventure is given in the "Token," an annual of 1S3G, 


written by Mr. Nevill, in which he clcscrihcs ihcir trial be- 
fore Justices Wolf and Kincheloc, as aiders and abettors in 
the treason of Burr and Blennerhassett. So far was the 
spirit of lawless arrest carried, that one or two persons in 
Belpre, were taken at night from their beds, and hurried 
over on to the island for trial, without any authority of law. 
This was a few days before the celebrated move in the Sen- 
ate of the United States, for tlie suspension of the act of 
habeas corpus, so alarmed had they become ; but was pre- 
vented by the more considerate negative of the House of 
Representatives After a detention of three days, the young 
men were discharged, for the want of proof. 

Mrs. Blennerhassett, who had been left at the island, to 
look after the household goods, and follow her husband at 
a more convenient period, was absent at ^Marietta, when 
they landed, for the purpose of procuring one of the large 
boats that was fitted up for her use, and had been an-ested 
at Marietta; but was unsuccessful, and returned the evening 
after the trial. 

The conduct of the militia, in the absence of their com- 
mander, was brutal and outrageous ; taking possession of 
the house and the family stores in the cellar, without any 
authority, as their orders only extended to the arrest of Mr. 
Blennerhassett and the boats. They tore up and burnt the 
fences for their watch-fires, and forced the black servants to 
cook for them, or be imprisoned. One of them discharged 
his rifle through the ceiling of the large hall, the bullet pass- 
ing up through the chamber, near where Mrs. Blennerhassett 
and the children were sitting. The man said it was acci- 
dental ; but being half-drunk, and made brutal by the whisky 
they drank, they little knew or cared for their actions. 

On the 17th of December, with the aid of the young men, 
and the kind assistance of ]Mr. A. AV. Putnam, of Belpre, 
one of their neighbors and a highlv esteemed friend, she. 


with her children, was enabled to depart, taking with her a 
part of the furniture, and some of her husband's choice 
boolvs. Mr. Putnam also furnished her with provisions for 
the voyage, her own being destroyed by the militia, in whose 
rude hands she was forced to leave her beautiful island- 
home, which she was destined never again to visit. They 
kept possession for several days after her departure, living 
at free quarters, destroying the fences, and letting in the 
cattle, which tramped down and ruined the beautiful shrub- 
bery of the garden, barking and destroying the nice or- 
chards of fruit trees, just coming into bearing; and tliis, 
too, was done by men^ on many of whom Mr. Blennerhas- 
sett had bestowed numerous benevolent acts. It is due 1o 
the commander, Col. Phelps, to say that these excesses were 
mostly perpeti'ated in his absence, and that on his return 
he did all he could to suppress them, and treated Mrs. Blen- 
nerhassett with respect and kindness. This spot, which a 
short time before was the abode of peace and happiness, 
adorned with all that could embellish or beautify its ap- 
pearance, was now a scene of ruin, resembling the ravages 
of a hostile and savage foe, rather than the visitation of 
the civil law. 

Before leaving the island, Mr. Blennerhassett, not expecting 
to return, had rented it to Col. Cushing, one of his worthy 
Belpre friends, with all the stock of cattle, crops, &c. He 
did all in his power to preserve what was left, and prevent 
further waste. Col. Cushing kept possession of the island 
one or two years, when it was taken out of his hands by 
the creditors, and rented to a man who raised a large crop 
of hemp. The porticoes and offices were stowed full of 
this combustible article; when the black servants, during 
one of their Christmas gambols, in 1811, accidentally set it 
on fire, and the whole mansion was consumed. The furni- 
ture and lil)rary. a portion of which only was removed with 


the family, were attached, and sold at auction at a great 
sacrifice, to discharge some of the bills indorsed by him for 
Aaron Burr, a few months after his departure. 

With her two little sons, Ilarman and Dominic, the one 
six, and the other about eight years old, she pursued her 
way down the Ohio to join her husband. The young men, 
her companions, afforded every aid in their power to make her 
situation comfortable ; but the severity of the weather, the 
floating ice in the river, and the unfinished state of her 
cabin, hastily prepared for her reception, made the voyage 
a very painful one. Late in December she passed the 
mouth of the Cumberland, where she had hoped to find her 
husband; but the flotilla had proceeded out of the Ohio 
into tlie rapid waters of the Mississippi, and landed at the 
mouth of the Bayou Piere, in the Mississippi territory. The 
Ohio was frozen over soon after the boat in which she was 
embarked left it, and was not again navigable until the last 
of February, tlie winter being one of great severity. Early 
in January she joined the boats of Col. Burr, a few miles 
above Natchez, and w'as again restored, with her two little 
boys, to her husband, who received them with joy and grat- 
itude from the hands of their gallant conductors. 

The whole country being roused from Pittsburg to New 
Orleans, and the hue and cry raised on all sides to arrest 
the traitors. Col. Burr abandoned the expedition as hopeless ; 
and assembling his followers, now about one hundred and 
thirty in number, made them a spirited speech, thanked 
them for their faithful adherence, amidst so much opposi- 
tion, and closed by saying that unforeseen circumstances had 
occurred, wliich frustrated his plans, and the expedition was 
at an end. All were now left, the distance of one thousand 
or fifteen hundred miles from their homes, to shift for them- 
selves. Several of the young men from Belpre, six or 
eight in number, returned in the course of tlie spring. 


Two brothers, Charles and John Dana, remained and set- 
tled near the Walnut hills ; purchased lands, and entered 
into the cultivation of cotton. 

Some time in January, Col. Burr and Mr. Blcnnerhassett 
were arrested, and brought before the United States Court, 
at Xatchez, on a charge of treason, and recognized to ap- 
pear in February. Blcnnerhassett did appear, and was dis- 
charged in chief; no proof appearing to convict him of any 
treasonable design. Burr did not choose to appear; but 
soon after the recognizance, he requested John Dana, with 
two others, to take him in a skiff or row-boat, to a point 
about twenty miles above Bayou Pierre, and land him in 
the night; intending to escape across the country by land. 
The better to conceal his person from detection, before 
starting he exchanged his nice suit of broadcloth clothes 
and beaver hat with Mr. Dana, for his coarse boatman';? 
dress, and old slouched white wool hat, which would effec- 
tually disguise him from recognition by his intimate ac- 
quaintance. He proceeded safely for some days ; but was 
finally arrested on the Tombigbee river, and with many 
taunts and insults taken on to Richmond, where he arrived 
the 26th of March, 1807. No bill was found by the grand 
jury, until the 25th of June, when he was indicted on two 
bills ; one for treason and the other for a misdemeanor. 
After a long and tedious trial, he was acquitted, on a verdict 
of ^^not guilly.'' 

Mr. Blcnnerhassett supposing himself discharged from 
further annoyance, some time in June started on a journey 
to visit the island, and examine into the condition of his 
property; which, from various letters, he was told was going 
fast to waste and destruction. Passing through Lexington, 
Ky., where he had many friends and acquaintances, he was 
again arrested, on a charge of treason, and for some days 
confined in the jail; as an indictment had been found 

n A R M A N B L E N N E U 1 1 A S S i; T T . f) 1 

against liitn, us well as iJurr, at Ivichiiioiul. He cniployed 
llrnry t'la}' as hirf counsel; who expressed deep indignation 
at the iih'gahl}' of his cUent's arrest, "lie had been dis- 
cliarged ah-eady in chief, and why should he be again ar- 
rested on the same supposed ofl'ense ?" But the govern- 
ment was unrelenting, and nothing but tluj con\iction of 
the o(rend(U' could appease tlieir wrath, lie was taken, with 
much ceremony and parade of the law, to liichmond, where 
he again met i'urr, the originator of all his troubles and 
misfortunes. The magnanimity of the man is well shown, 
in that he never recriminated or accused his destroyer ^vith 
deceiving him, inasmuch as he had entered voluntarily into 
his plans, and therefore did not choose to lay his troubles 
on the shoulders of another; although it is apparent, that 
if he had never seen Aaron Burr, he would have escaped 
this sudden ruin to his prosperity and happiness. The fol- 
lowing letter is from the pen of Mrs. Blennerhassctt, ad- 
dressed to her husband at Lexington, and displays her noble 
and elevated mind, as well as her deep conjugal allection. 
It is copied from the sketch of Mr. Blennerhassctt, by Wil- 
liam Wallace, published in vol. ii, of the American Review, 

"Natchez, August 3d, 1807. 
Mv DEAREST LOVE : After having exjierienced the greatest 
disappointment in not hearing from you for two mails, I at 
length heard of your arrest; which afilicts and mortilics me, 
because it was an arrest. I think that had you of your own 
accord gone to Richmond and solicited a trial, it would have 
accorded better with your pride, and you would have es- 
caped the unhappiness of missing my letters, which 1 wrote 
every week to Marietta. God knows what you may feel and 
suffer on our accounts, before this reaches, to inlbrm you of 
our health, and welfare in every particular; and knowing 
this, 1 trust and feel yom- mind will rise superior to every 


inconvenience that your present situation may subject you to ; 
despising, as I do, the paltry malice of the upstart agents of 
government. Let no solicitude whatever for us, damp your 
spirits. We have many friends here, who do the utmost in 
their power to counteract any disagreeable sensation occa- 
sioned me by your absence. I shall live in the hope of hear- 
ing from you by the next mail; and entreat you, by all that 
is dear to us, not to let any disagreeable feelings on account 
of our separation, enervate your mind at this time. Re- 
member that all here will read with great interest, anything 
concerning you ; but still do not tnist too much to yourself; 
consider your want of practice at the bar, and don't spare 
the fee of a lawyer. Apprise Col. Burr of my warmest ac- 
knowledgments for his own and Mrs. Alston's kind remem- 
brance, and tell him to assure her she has inspired me with 
a warmth of attachment which can never diminish. I wish 
him to urge her to write to me. God bless you, prays your 

M. Blexxeriiassett." 

On Burr's acquittal, Mr. Blennerhassett was never brought 
to trial, but discharged from the indictment for treason, and 
bound over in the sum of three thousand dollars, to appear 
at Chillicothe, Ohio, on a misdemeanor; "for that whereas 
he prepared an armed force, whose destination was the 
Spanish territory." He did not appear, nor was he ever 
called upon again; and thus ended this treasonable farce, 
which had kept the whole of the United States in a ferment 
for more than a year, and, like " the mountain in labor, at 
last brought forth a mouse." 

After the trial at Richmond, in 1807, he returned to 
Natchez, where he staid about a year, and then bought, 
with the remains of his fortune, a plantation, of one 
thousand acres, in Claiborne county. Miss., seven miles 
from Clibson Port, at a place called St. Catharine's, and 
cultivated it with a small stock of slaves. While here he 

H A U yi AN B L K N N j: lUI A S S E T T . 52 1 

continued his literary pur.suitH, leaving JMrri. Blcnnerha.«.-ett 
to superintend both in doors and out. The embargo destroyed 
all commerce, and the war which soon followed put a ^^top 
to the sale of cotton, and blasted his hopes of reinstating 
his fortune from that source. In a letter to his attorney, at 
Marietta, in IMOS, wherein he proposes the sale of his island 
for slaves, he says, that with thirty hands on his plantation, 
he could in five years clear sixty thousand dollars. Cotton 
was then in demand, and brought a high price. 

His lad}', with her characteristic energy, rose at early 
dawn, mounted her horse and rode over the grounds, exam- 
ining each field, and giving directions to the overseer as to 
tlie work to be done that day, or any alteration to be made 
in the plans, which circumstances required. They here 
had the society of a few choice friends in Natche/,, and 
among the neighboring planters. On this plantation tliey 
passed ten years ; in which time one son and daughter were 
added to the number of their children. The daughter died 
when young. Retaining still a fond recollection of his ]Ma- 
rietta and Belpre friends, he, in the year 1818, sent one of 
his sons to the college in Athens, Ohio, under the care of 
W. P. Putnam, the son of his old friend, A. W. Putnam. 

Here he remained a year, at the end of which time, find- 
ing his fortune still decreasing, and means much cramped 
by his indorsements for Col. Burr, amounting to tliirty tliou- 
sand dollars, ten thousand of which were re])aid l)y ^Ir. 
Alston, he in 1819 sold hLs plantation, and mo\ed his family 
to jNIontreal ; the governor of the province, an old friend, 
having given him hopes to expect a post on the bench, for 
which he was well <iualiHed. Misfortune havin<j marked 
him for her own, soon after his arrival his friend was re- 
moved from oflice, and his expect-ations frustrated. 

He remained here until the year 180-2, when he rem.oved 
his family to England, under an assurance of a post from 


the government, which was never realized, and resided in 
the town of Bath, with a maiden sister. 

It was at IMontreal, with the prospects of poverty and 
bhghted hopes thickening around her, that she wrote those 
beautiful and touching lines describing " The Island," and 
her once happy home, that may well be called her " La- 
ment," and are given below, as well worthy of preservation. 


Like mournful echo from the silent tomb, 

That pines away upon the midnight air, 
'^^ hilst the pale moon breaks out with fitful gloom, 

Eond memory turns with sad, but welcome care. 

To scenes of desolation and despair; 
Once bright with all that beauty could bestow, 
That peace could shed, or youthful fancy know. 

To thee, fair isle, reverts the pleasing dream ; 

Again thou risest in thy green attire ; 
Fresh, as at first, thy blooming graces seem ; 

Thy groves, thy fields, their wonted sweets respire ; 

Again thou'rt all my lieart could e'er desire. 
why, dear isle, art thou uot still my own ? 
Thy charms could then for all my griefs atone. 

The stranger that descends Ohio's stream, 

Charm'd with the beauteous prospects that ariie, 

IMarks the soft isles, that 'ueath the glistening beam, 
Dauce in the wave, and mingle with the skies; 
Sees also 07ie, that now in ruin lies. 

Which erst, iike fairy queen, towered o'er the rest, 

In every native charm by culture dress' d. 

There rose the seat where once, in pride of life, 
JMy eye could mark the queen of rivers flow ; 

In summer's calmness, or in winter's strife, 

Swoln with the rains, or baffling witli the snow ; 
Never again my licart such joy shall know. 

Havoc, and ruin, and rampant war, have past 

Over that isle with their destroying blast. 

H A R M AN B L E N N E II II A S S E T T . 523 

TIio black'niiig fire has sw(])t tliroiij^limil her halls, 
'J"hc winds fly wiii-jtliii;; through them, ami the wave 

No more in i-priiit:;-floods o'er the saiul-heaeh crawls; 
But furious drowns in one o'erwhelniing grave. 
Thy hallowed haunts it watered as a slave. 

Drive on, destruetivc flood ! and ne'er again 

On that devoted ijle let man remain. 

For many blissful moments there I've known; 

Too many hopes have there met their deeay, 
Too many feelings now forever gone, 

To wi-.h that thou wouldst e'er again display 

The joyful coloring of thy prime array. 
Buried with thee, let them remain a blot; 
AVith thee, their sweets, their bitterness forgot. 

And 0, that I could wholly wipe away 

The memory of the ills that work'd thy fall : 
The memory of that all eventful day, 

^Vhen I rcturn'd and found my own fair hall 

Held by the infuriate populace iu thrall. 
My own fireside blockaded by a baud, 
That once fouud food aud shelter at my hand. 

My children, (0, a mother's pangs forbear. 

Nor strike again that arrow through my soul,) 
Clasping the ruffians in suppliant prayer. 

To free their mother from unjust control ; 

^Vhilc with false crimes, and imprecations foul. 
The wretches, vilest refuse of the earth, 
^lock jurisdiction held, around my hearth. 

Sweet i^le ! methiuks I sec thy bosom torn, 

Again behold the ruthless rabble throng, 
That wrought destruction, taste must ever mourn. 

Alas, I see thee now, shall see th.ce long, 

Y'et ne'er shall bitter feelings urge the wrong ; 
That to a mob woulil give the censure due, 
To those that arm'd the plunder-greedy crew. 

Thy shores are warni'd by bounteous suns in vaiu, 
Columbia, if spite and envy spring 


To blast the beauty of mild nature's reign, 

The European stranger, who would fling 

O'er tangled woods refinement's polishing. 
May find (expended every plan of taste,) 
His work by ruffians rendered doubly waste. 

In addition to the expectation of office in England, he 
also had hopes of recovering an interest he held in an 
estate in Ireland. Both of these, however, failed. He ul- 
timately resided in the island of Guernsey, where he died 
in 1831, aged sixty-three years. 

Eleven years after his death, in 1842, when his widow and 
children were reduced to extreme want, she returned to New 
York with one of her sons, both of them in very poor health, 
with the purpose of petitioning Congress for remuneration 
in the destruction of the property on the island, by the 
Wood county militia, in December, 1806. The petition is 
couched in very feeling and appropriate language, in which 
she sets forth the outrages offered to herself and family, 
with the damages done to the house and property on tiie 

" Your memorialist does not desire to exaggerate the 
conduct of the said armed men, or the injuries done by 
them; but she can truly say, that before their visit the resi- 
dence of her family had been noted for its elegance and 
high state of improvement, and that they left it in a state 
of comparative ruin and waste; and as instances of the 
mischievous and destructive spirit which appeared to govern 
them, she would mention that while they occupied as a 
guard-room one of the best apartments in the house, (the 
building of which had cost nearly forty thousand dollars,) a 
musket or rifle ball was deliberately fired into the ceiling, 
by which it was much defaced and injured ; and that they 
wantonly destroyed many pieces of valua])lc furniture. 
She would iiho state, that, being apparently under no 


subordination, they indulged in continual drunkenness and 
riot, offering many indignities to your memorialist, and 
ti'eating her domestics with violence. 

Your memorialist further represents, that these outrages 
U'crc committed upon an unolTending and defenseless family 
in the absence of their natural protector; your memorial- 
ist's husband being then away from his home ; and that in 
answer to such remonstrances as she ventured to make 
against the consumption, waste, and destruction of his pro- 
perty, she was told by those who assumed to have the com- 
mand, that they held the property for the United States, by 
order of the President, and were privileged to use it, and 
should use it, as they pleased. It is with pain that your 
memorialist reverts to events, which, in theh' consequences, 
have reduced a once happy family from affluence and com- 
fort, to comparative want and wretchedness ; wliich blighted 
tlie prospects of her childi-en, and made herself, in the de- 
cline of life, a wanderer on the face of the earth." 

This memorial was directed to the care of Ileniy Clay, 
then in the Senate of the United States, enveloped in a let- 
ter from R. Emmitt, a son of the celebrated man of that 
name. He says, " She is now in this city, residing in veiy 
humble circumstances, bestowing her cares upon a son, 
who, by long poverty and sickness, is reduced to utter im- 
becility, both of mind and body, unable to assist her, or pro- 
vide for his own wants. In her present destitute situation, 
the smallest amount of relief would be thankfully received 
by her. Her condition is one of absolute icant, and she has 
but a short time left to enjoy any better fortune in this 

Mr. Clay presented the memorial to the Senate, with some 
very feeling and appropriate remarks ; having been formerly 
v;cll acquainted with the family, and employed as his attor- 
ney, when arrested at Lexington, Ky. It was taken up, and 


referred to the committee of claims ; of which the Hon. 
William Woodbridge was chairman. His report on the 
memorial is a very able and feeling document, in which he 
advocates the claim as just, and one which ought to be al- 
lowed, notwithstanding it had now been thirty-six years since 
the events transpired. He says, " Not to do so, would be 
unworthy of any icise or Just nation, that is disposed to re- 
spect, most of all, its own honor." This report sets forth 
all the circumstances attending the " Burr treason," as de- 
scribed in the foregoing biography. The documents which 
accompany the report are very interesting, especially the 
statement of Morgan Neville and William Robinson, jr., 
two of the young men who were arrested and tried on the 
island, as partizans of Burr, in December, 1806, and written 
for the future use of Mr. Blennerhassett, a few days after 
these events transpired. It is given as a correct history of 
the outrages on the island. 

State:ment of Messrs. Neville and Robinson, and affidavit 
OF Margaret Blennerhassett : 

"On the 13th day of December, 180G, the boat in which 
we were, was driven ashore, by ice and wind, on Backus's 
island, about one mile below JMr. Blennerhassett's house ; 
we landed in the forenoon, and the wind continuing unfa- 
vorable, did not afford us an opportunity of putting off until 
after three o'clock in the evening, at which time we were 
attacked by about twenty-five men, well armed, who rushed 
upon us suddenly, and we, not being in a situation to resist 
the fury of a mob, surrendered ; a strong guard was placed 
in the boat, to prevent, we presume, those persons of our 
party \\ho remained in the boat, from going off with her, 
while we were taken to the house of Mr. Blennerhassett. 
On our arrival at the house we found it filled with militia; 
another party of them were engaged in making fires, (around 
Uio house,) of rails dragged from the fences of Mr. Blenner- 


hassctt. At thiri time Mrs. BlcnncrhaHsett was Irom home. 
When she returned, (about an hour after,) slie remonstrated 
again!>t this outrage on the property, ])ut Nvithout efiect; the 
officerri dechired that while they were on inhmd, the pro- 
perty absokitcly belonged to them. We were informed, by 
themselves, that their force consisted of forty men the first 
night; and on the third day it was increased to eighty. 
The ofTiccr.s were constantly issuing the whisky and meat, 
which had been laid up for the use of the family; and when- 
ever any complaint was made by ihe friends of Mrs. Blcn- 
nerhassett, they invariably asserted that everything on the 
farm was their own property. There appeared to us to be 
no kind of subordination among the men; the large room 
they occupied on the first floor, presented a continued scene 
of riot aiid drunkenness ; the furniture appeared ruined by 
the bayonets, and one of the men fired his gun against the 
ceiling; the ball made a large hole, which completely spoiled 
the beauty of the room. They insisted that the servants 
should wait upon them, before attending to their mistress ; 
when this was refused, they seized upon the kitchen, and 
drove the negroes into the wash-house. W^e were detained 
from Saturday evening until Tuesday morning; during all 
which time there were never less than thirty, and frcqucntl}" 
from seventy to eighty men living in this riotous manner 
entirely on the provisions of Mrs. Blennerhassett. When 
we left the island, a cornfield near the house, in which the 
corn was still remaining, was filled with cattle, the fences 
having been pulled down to make fires. This we pledge 
ourselves to be a true statement of these transactions, as 
impression was made on us at the time. 


Wm. Robinson, Jr." 
Charles Fenton Mercer, Esq., also, in September, 1807, 
soon after the trial at llichmond, made a full statement of 


his knowledge of the events on which the accusation against 
Mr. Blennerhassett was founded ; as they transpu-ed between 
the 20th of September and 6th of December, 1800, having 
been himself at the island in November; with his opinion 
of the objects of the expedition, in which he fully clears 
Mr. Blennerhassett of any designs against the peace and 
quiet of the United States. Mr. D. Woodbridge, of Mari- 
etta, in a letter to the chairman, of the 2d of April, 1842,