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With brief sketches of General George Wash- 
ington, John Paul Jones, General George Weedon, 
James Monroe and Mrs. Mary Ball Washington, 
who were friends and associates of General Mercer 
at Fredericksburg; also a sketch of Lodge No. 
4, A. P. and A. M., of which Generals Washington 
and Mercer were members; and a genealogical 
table of the Mercer family. 




Nbw Yobk k Washinoton 



/ : -i ZA--'\ 

)m^M4A ^ 

COPTBiaHT, 1906, Bt 


''General Hagh Mercer FranHspieee 

opposm PAoi 
^ Hugh Mercer as a conntry doctor in Pennsylvania . 26 

^The office and apothecary shop of Hngh Mercer, 

Fredericksburg, Va 83 

vThe Quaker Meeting House, Princeton, N. J 63 

^'The battlefield of Princeton 64 

^'The Clark House, Princeton, where Gten'l Mercer 

died 66 

vThe monument to General Hugh Mercer at Fred- 
ericksburg, Va. 68 

^The grave of General Mercer in Laurel-Hill Ceme- 
tery, Philadelphia, Pa., monument erected by 
St. Andrews Society 70 

V The Rising Sun Tavern, Fredericksburg, Ya 76 

^Kenmore, at Fredericksburg, where Major Lewis 

lived 78 

^ John Paul Jones 83 

v*'The Sentry Box" the home of Mercer, Fred- 
ericksburg, Va 88 

"^The home of Mary, the mother of Washington, 

Fredericksburg, Va 93 

^ The monument to Mary, the mother of Washington, 

Fredericksburg, Va 98 

^ General George Washington as a mason and mem- 
ber of Lodge No. 4 A. F. and A.M., Fredericks- 
burg, Va 100 


This book is affectionately dedicated to 
my wife, a great-granddaughter of George 
Mason, who was an intimate friend and 
associate of General Hugh Mercer. 



An INTEODUCTION is only necessary to 
this Life of Mercer in order to return 
thanks to others for what I have herein ob- 
tained from them, as well as to disclaim 
any very marked originality for some 
things herein written. For instance, I 
could not and do not claim any great origi- 
nality for the brief description of the 
battles of CuUoden or of Princeton. Both 
have been described so often and by so 
many writers, that there is ** nothing new 
under the sun'* to be said about them. I 
only introduce them here that I may give 
a full and complete history of the life of 
Mercer ; without them I could not have done 
so. I return thanks and acknowledge my- 
self under obligations to James D. Law, 
Esq., of Germantown, Pa.; Eev. J. Lindsay 
Patton, Ashland, Va.; Judge Beverly E. 
Wellford, Eichmond, Va., and Corbin W. 
Mercer, Esq., Eichmond, Va., for some 
things that I have embodied in this small 
volume, and which appear with quotation 


10 Introdnction 

I was constrained to write of General 
Hugh Mercer because I thought that such a 
life as he lived, and such a death as he died, 
should be written about; and should be 
written about by some one who is identi- 
fied with Fredericksburg, the honie of Mer- 
cer. How perfectly or imperfectly I have 
performed the task which I have voluntar- 
ily undertaken, I submit to the charitable 
criticism of my readers. 


John T. Goolbick. 

Fredericksburg, Va., March 1, 1906. 


The Highlands of Scotland, land of 
brown heath and shaggy wood — **land of 
the mountain and the flood '^ — ^has always 
been celebrated in song and story. Its 
stem and wild mountains, its dark and si- 
lent glens, its deep-lying lodis beneath the 
shadow of the hills, its silent, whirling 
mists and sudden storms, are the scenes of 
strange romance and ghastly tragedy. It 
is a very playground for the novelist's ex- 
cited imagination and the poet's wildest 
fancy. But withal, so barren in soil and 
harsh in climate, that the inhabitants of the 
Highlands early gave themselves up to the 
delights of the chase, or the dangers of the 
sea, the pursuit of arms, or the joy of 

Picturesque in costume, splendid in mus- 
cular development, trained in the use of 
arms, proud of their race, loyal to their 
clan, they boasted their fidelity to their 
friends, and that they never turned their 
backs to a foe. Eestless, inclined to travel, 
quick to adapt themselves to new surround- 


12 The Idf e of General Hugh Meroer 

ings, file Highlanders of Scotland sought 
their fortunes abroad, rising to fame and 
wealth in many a Continental country, be- 
coming the leaders in trade and commerce, 
in Colonial enterprise and in war, in all 
parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Fru- 
gal, industrious, persevering and brave, 
success rewarded their undertakings. 
Characterised beyond all else by loyalty to 
their King, they were the most devoted of 
the adherents of the ill-fated house of 
Stuart, and they gathered around that fatal 
standardrwith romantic devotion. To their 
loyalty this land is indebted for not a few 
of its best citizens and noblest heroes. The 
land of the Highlanders — Bonnie Scotland 
— has given to the world in all departments 
of life, great men who have taken conspicu- 
ous parts in its history in war and peace. 
The men from the land of Bobby Bums 
have made their impress on the age and on 
the people among whom they have lived, 
and none occupies a higher niche in its Hall 
of Fame than General Hugh Mercer. 

Hugh Mercer was bom in Aberdeen, 
Scotland, in the year 1725. He descended 
on his paternal side from a long line of min- 
isters of the Church of Scotland. The Eev. 
William Mercer, his father, was in charge 
of the Manse at Pittsligo, Aberdeenshire, 

.Jk i.J'^^Ai.:*.M^:j _^- 

The life of General Hugh Meroer 13 

from 1720 to 1748, and although some biog- 
raphers of Mercer give the date of his birth 
as 1721, the records of this church show 
that he was baptised in 1726 ; it is therefore 
thought now, that more accurate history- 
should place his birth in the year 1725. 
On his mother's side he was closely related 
to the Munro family; her name being Anna 
Munro, daughter of Sir Eobert Munro, who 
fought with conspicuous distinction in the 
British Army at Fontenoy, on the Conti- 
nent, and elsewhere; and who, ordered 
home to oppose the young Pretender, was 
killed in 1746 while commanding British 
troops at the Battle of Falkirk. 

Mercer matriculated in the School of 
Medicine of Marschall College in the year 
1740, graduating in the year 1744. He had 
hardiy commenced the practice of his pro- 
fession ere Prince Charlie made his **dash 
for a throne'' which startled and, for a 
while, stupefied the British by its daring 
and brilliancy, but which was very ephem- 
eral in its existence. The Scotch, espe- 
cially those from the Highlands, were al- 
ways loyal to the House of Stuart, and 
**Wha shaU be King but Charliel" as 
it was played on the bagpipes by the kilted 
Highlanders, his admiration for the people 
whom the Pretender represented, and his 

14 The Life of General Engli Merottt 

convictions of the justice of his canse, 
stirred up the martial and patriotic spirit 
of Hugh Mercer, who joined Charles Ed- 
ward's Army as an Assistant Surgeon. 
History and tradition are both silent as to 
when Mercer ** linked his fortune and his 
fate'' to the cause of the Pretender. 
Whether he was on the fatal field of Fal- 
kirk on January 17, 1746, we have no rec- 
ord; but on April 16, 1746, at Culloden, 
near Inverness, he is found in the army of 
Prince Charles. The Duke of Cumberland 
was on that day in command of the Eoyal 
forces against the Highlanders, and when 
the sun went down on the field of carnage, 
Mercer shared with his chieftain the gloom 
of his defeat — a defeat that marked the end 
of the ambition of the Pretender and the 
hopes of the Stuarts. The victorious shouts 
of the army of the Duke sounded a veritable 
dirge to a cause that was then irrevocably 
lost. The last grand stand had been made, 
and all was over. 

Sir Walter Scott, with his splendid 
genius for picturing and portraying, in the 
** Tales of a Grandfather,'' gives a graphic 
account of the Battle of Culloden; an ex- 
tract from which may not be inappropriate 
to embody in this sketch. After narrating 
the events of importance that led up to the 

The Life of General Hugh Meroer 15 

battle^ the marching and the connter- 
marching of the armies of Prince Charles 
and tiie Duke of Cumberland, and especi- 
ally the unsuccessful night attack on April 
15th by the Army of the Pretender, Sir 
Walter Scott wrote: 

** As the lines approached each other the 
artillery opened their fire by which the 
Duke of Cumberland's army suffered very 
little and that of the Highlanders a great 
deal, for the English guns being well served 
made lanes through the ranks of the enemy, 
while the French artillery scarcely killed a 
man. To remain steady and inactive under 
this galling fire would have been a trial to 
the best-disciplined troops, and it is no 
wonder that the Highlanders showed great 
impatience under an annoyance peculiarly 
irksome to their character; some threw 
themselves down to escape the artillery, 
some called out to advance, and a few broke 
their ranks and fled. 

**The cannonade lasted for about an 
hour; at length the Clans became so impa- 
tient that Lord George Murray was about 
to give the order to advance, when the 
Highlanders from the centre and right 
wings rushed, without orders, furiously 
down, after their usual manner of attack- 
ing, sword in hand, being received with 


16 The life of General Hugh Meroer 

heavy fire both of cannon and grape-shot. 
They became so confused that they got hud- 
dled together in their onset, without any 
distinction of Clans or regiments. Not- 
withstanding this disorder, the fury of 
their charge broke through Munro's and 
BurrePs regiments, which formed the left 
of the Duke of Cumberland's line; but that 
General had anticipated the possibility of 
such an event, and had strengthened his 
second line so as to form a steady support 
in case any part of his first should give 
way. The Highlanders, partially victori- 
ous, continued to advance with fury, and al- 
though much disordered and partly dis- 
armed (having thrown away their guns 
on the very first charge), they rushed on 
Sempill's Begiment, in the second line, with 
unabated fury. That steady corps was 
drawn up three deep, the first rank kneel- 
ing, and the third standing upright. They 
reserved their fire until the fugitives of 
BurrePs and Munro's broken regiments 
had escaped round the flanks and through 
the intervals of the second line. By this 
time the Highlanders were within a yard of 
the bayonet point, when Sempill's battalion 
poured in their fire with so much accuracy 
that it brought down a great many of the 
assailants, and forced the rest to turn back. 

The Life of General Hugh Xeroer 17 

A few pressed on, but unable to break 
through SempilPs Begiment were bayon- 
eted by the first rank. The attack of the 
Highlanders was the less efficient that on 
this occasion most of them had laid aside 
their targets, expecting a march rather 
than a battle. 

**While the right of the Highland Une 
sustained their national character, though 
not with their usual success, the MacDon- 
nalds on the left seemed uncertain whether 
they would attack or not. It was in vain 
Lord George Murray called out to them, 
* Claymore,' telling the murmurers of this 
haughty tribe *that if they behaved with 
their usual valor they would convert the 
left into the right and that he would in fu- 
ture call himself MacDonnald.* It was 
equally in vain that the gallant Keppoch 
charged with a few of his near relations, 
while his Clan, a thing before unheard of, 
remained stationary. 

**The Chief was near the front of the 
enemy and was exclaiming, with feelings 
that cannot be appreciated, *My God, have 
the children of my tribe forsaken meV At 
that instant he received several shots, 
which closed his earthly account, leaving 
him only time to advise his favorite nephew 
to shift for himself. 


18 The life of Ckneral Hugh Merecr 

**The three regiments of the MacDon- 
nalds were by this time awaxe of the rout 
of their right wing, and retreated in good 
order upon the second line. A body of 
cavalry from the right of the Bang's army 
was commanded to attack them on their re- 
treat, bnt was checked by a fire from the 
French pickets, who advanced to support 
the MacDonnalds. At the same moment 
another decisive advantage was gained by 
the Duke's army over the Highland right 
wing. A body of horse making six hundred 
cavalry, with three companies of Argyle- 
shire Highlanders, had been detached to 
take possession of the Park walls ; the three 
companies of infantry had pulled down the 
east wall of the inclosure and put to the 
sword about a hundred of the insurgents to 
whom its defense had been assigned- They 
then demolished the western wall, which 
permitted the dragoons, by whom they were 
accompanied, to ride through the inclosure 
and get out upon the open moor to the west- 
ward, and form so as to threaten the rear 
and flank of the Prince's second line. 

** Gordon of Abbachie, with his Lowland 
Aberdeenshire regiment, was ordered to 
fire upon these cavalry, which he did with 
some effect. The Campbells then lined the 
north wall of the inclosure and commenced 

The life of Ckneral Engh Xercer 19 

a fire upon the right flank of the Highland- 
ers* second line. That line, increased by 
the MacDonnalds, who retired upon it, still 
showed a great number of men keeping 
their ground, many of whom had not fired a 
shot. Lord Elcho rode up to the Prince and 
eagerly exhorted him to put himself at the 
head of those troops who yet remained and 
make a last exertion to recover the day and 
at least die like one worthy of having con- 
tended for a crown.** 

But air this was too late — ^the Pretender 
had been defeated; and his army, broken 
and shattered, fled from the field, hotly pur- 
sued by the Duke of Cumberland and his 
army. Of the treatment of the fallen and 
their allies. Sir Walter Scott thus writes : 
**The soldiers had orders to exercise to- 
wards the unfortunate natives the utmost 
extremities of war; they shot, therefore, 
the male inhabitants who fled at their ap- 
proach; they plundered the houses of the 
chieftains; they burnt the cabins of the 
peasants; they were guilty of every out- 
rage against women, old age, and infancy, 
and where the soldiers fell short of these 
extremities it was their own mildness of 
temper or that of some officer of gentler 
mood which restrained the license of their 

20 The life of General Hugh Meroer 

And in conclusion^ in his discussion of 
this battle, its causes and its results. Sir 
Walter Scott wrote: ** Looking at the 
whole in a general point of view, there can 
be no doubt that it presents a dazzling pic- 
ture to the imagination, being a romance of 
real life, equal in splendour and interest to 
any which could be devised by fiction. A 
primitive people, residing in a remote quar- 
ter of the empire and themselves but a 
small portion of the Scottish Highlanders, 
fearlessly attempted to place the British 
Crown on the head of the last scion of those 
ancient kings whose descent was traced to 
their own mountains. 

**This gigantic task they undertook in 
favor of a youth of twenty-one, who landed 
on their shore without support of any kind 
and threw himself on their generosity. 
They assembled an army in his behalf with 
men unaccustomed to arms, the amount of 
the most efficient part of which never ex- 
ceeded two thousand; they defeated two 
disciplined armies commanded by officers 
of experience and reputation, penetrated 
deep into England, approached within 
ninety miles of the capital, made the Crown 
tremble on the King's head, and were only 
suppressed by concurrent disadvantages 
which it was impossible for human nature 

The Life of General Hugh Xercer 21 

to sunnount. It is, therefore, natural that 
this civil strife should have been long the 
chosen theme of the poet, the musician, and 
the novelist/^ 

In his flight, the Pretender was like a 
hare hunted by hounds. Flora MacDon- 
nald, a Scottish maiden, foiled his pur- 
suers ; and at length he reached France in 
safety. His loyal and loving followers 
found refuge in any way possible, hunted 
down, mercilessly butchered when caught. 
The terrible tragedy of the battle was as 
nothing compared to the butchery of these 
fugitives by the relentless and implacable 
Duke of Cumberland. Historians may dif- 
fer as to the right and righteousness of the 
cause of Prince Charles Edward. None 
can deny that William, Duke of Cumber- 
land, has rightly written his name as in- 
famous by his treatment of the fallen foe. 
Campbell sweetly though sadly sang of 

Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day 
When the Lowlands shall meet thee in 

battle array; 
For a field of the dead rushes red on my 

And the Clans of Culloden are scattered in 



22 The life of Oeneral Hugli Xeroer 

They rally, they bleed, for their kingdcNtn 

and crown; 
Woe, woe to the riders that trample them 


For dark and despairing my sight I may 

But man cannot cover what God would 

'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical 

And coming events cast their shadows 

I tell thee, Culloden's dread echoes shall 

With the bloodhounds that bark for their 

fugitive king. 


Having, as has been before stated, fallen 
under the shadow of a great sorrow by the 
disastrous ending of tiie Battle of Culloden, 
and having eluded the vigilance of the min- 
ions of the ''Bloody Butcher,'' Dr. Hugh 
Mercer, in the fall of the year 1746, em- 
barked at Leith for America, landing a few 
weeks thereafter at Philadelphia. He did 
not remain long, however, in that city, but 
made his home on the western borders of 
the State of Pennsylvania, near what was 
then known as Qreencastle, now Mercers- 
burg. And for some years he practised his 
profession as a physician and, what was 
customary in those days, as an apothecary. 
In that then sparsely settled section, the 
territory over which he rode, dispensing 
calomel and using the lancet, was very 
large. Among the varied experiences of 
this eventful and heroic life, none proved 
more helpful and beneficial than the ardu- 
ous, unselfish years spent as a country doc- 
tor in Colonial times on the frontier of civi- 
lisation in Pennsylvania, a profession for 



24 The Life of General Hugh Xercer 

which he was well fitted by education and 
training, and by the high qualities of en- 
durance, patience, skill and courage. For 
the country doctor ^s life of that day needed 
all the strength of body and of brain, the 
stead&st will and tireless energy. It was a 
wild and busy life in an unsettled region of 
scattered homes ; distance and danger were 
daily encountered, for the Indians still hov- 
ered upon the frontier, and life and liberty 
were often imperiled by their unexpected 

To this strange chance of fate and for- 
tune came the soldier-surgeon of CuUoden, 
and here he lived and labored for many 
years, amid privation and peril, dauntless 
and devoted; friend, healer, counsellor, 
benefactor to all witiiin the circle of his 
far-reaching ministry of comfort and cure 
— ^the country doctor of the past. How shall 
we picture a life, a man, so worthy of repro- 
duction and remembrance f 

**God gives to every man 
The virtue, temper, understanding, taste. 
That lifts him into life, and lets him fall 
Just in the niche he has ordained to fill.^' 

Known to all the inhabitants of the re- 
gion round about, loved and welcomed 

The life of General Hugh Xercer 25 

everywhere, believed in and looked up to 
as one who not only healed the sick, but one 
who strengthened the weak, comforted the 
weary, and cheered the sorrowing, Hugh 
Mercer's life as a country doctor day by 
day in active duty, with saddle-bags filled 
with remedies for human ills, the old-fash- 
ioned medicines and the ever-ready lancet 
for bloodletting, was a splendid prepara- 
tion for the hardships and privations he 
was in the future called upon to endure. A 
life of hardship ennobled by duty well done, 
and consecrated by self-sacrifice. 

It was a rough school, but a thorough 
one, in which the country doctor learned 
the lessons of life. As he rode amid the 
forest solitudes, vigilant, alert, or visited 
the waiting homes to which his presence 
brought succor and relief, his memories of 
the past merged in duties of the present, 
with only faith and fortitude as guides 
upon the way, his life might have seemed 
unsatisfying to a nature less hopeful, less 
heroic. All honor to this man, and the 
many like him, whose daily round of sym- 
pathetic toil is brightened by the approval 
of his conscience and the benedictions of 
suffering humanity. The country doctor's 
lasting monument lives in the hearts that 
loved and reverenced him; and no higher 


26 The Life of General Hagh Xercer 

tribute to his memory can be written than 
the tender and inspiring words of heavenly 
recognition and reward, *'I was sick and ye 
visited me/' 

It was a history-making era, that of the 
year of 1755 — ^the time of Braddock's dis- 
astrous defeat by the Trench and Indians, 
in his attempt to capture Fort Duqueene, 
There and then George Washington's 
splendid career began, and there Mercer 
made his first public and prominent ap- 
pearance as a Captain in the ill-fated army 
of Braddock, conspicuous for his bravery 
on the memorable July 9, 1755, of which 
has been said, **The Continentals gave the 
only glory to that humiliating disaster/' 
''History,'' says another, ''furnishes few 
pages so replete with instances of official 
incompetence and consequent failure as 
that expedition, yet in the list of its Colo- 
nial heroes, the name of Hugh Mercer 
stands ever bright." In this engagement, 
Mercer was severely wounded; and, having 
been left behind by his own army in its 
panic-stricken flight, after a perilous tramp 
through a trackless wild, he at length re- 
joined his comrades and again commenced 
the work of healing the sick at his old lo- 

The Indians with their Trench allies be- 

Hugh Mercer as a Country Doctor in Pennsylvania 


The life of General Hugh Xercer 27 

coming very aggressive and warlike, its 
residents for self -protection formed them- 
selves into military associations of which 
Colonel Armstrong was made Commander. 
In one of these companies Hugh Mercer 
was made Captain. His commission as 
such is dated March, 1756, and he was given 
the supervision of a very large territory, 
with Bridgeport (then called McDowell's 
Tort) as his headquarters. 

During all this time he practised as a 
physician among the people and as surgeon 
to the garrison. In one of these Indian 
fights he was again wounded and aban- 
doned to his foes. * ' Closely pursued by his 
savage foes," says a very interesting his- 
torian, **he providentially found a place of 
safety in the hollow trunk of a tree^ around 
which the Indians rested and discussed the 
prospect of scalping him in the near future. 
When they had taken their departure, he 
took out in another direction and com- 
pletely outwitted them.'' Sick with his 
wounds and worn out with his recent strug- 
gles, he began a lonely march of over a hun- 
dred miles through an unbroken forest. To 
sustain existence, he was compelled to live 
on roots and herbs, the carcass of a rattle- 
snake proving his most nourishing and pal- 
atable meal. He finally succeeded in re- 

28 The Life of General Hugh Xeroer 

joining his command at Tort Cnmberland. 
He was in command of one of the com- 
panies which captured an Indian settle- 
ment at Kittanning in 1756, but was again 
wounded. In recognition and appreciation 
of his services, sacrifices and sufferings in 
these Indian wars, as well as his deeds of 
daring, the Corporation of Philadelphia 
presented him with a note of thanks and a 
splendid memorial medal. 

Mercer was placed in command of the 
garrison at Shippensburg in the summer of 
1757, and was promoted to the rank of Ma- 
jor in December of that year, and placed in 
command of the forces of the province of 
Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna. In 
that year, 1758, he was in command of a 
part of the expedition of General Forbes 
against Fort Duquesne. Whether Hugh 
Mercer met George Washington at Brad- 
dock's defeat, or at the headquarters of the 
Forbes expedition against Fort Duquesne, 
there seems to be some conflict of opinion 
and statement among his biographers. The 
time and place of that meeting is of no very 
material moment. One thing seems to be 
absolutely certain, that they did meet, and 
an attachment sprang up between them 
which lasted as long as Mercer lived. And, 
further, that as a result of that meeting and 

The Life of General Hugh Xeroer 29 

that attachment, on the advice and at the 
suggestion of Washington, Virginia be- 
came the home of Hugh Mercer, and the 
State of Pennsylvania lost him as a citizen. 



Some time after the end of the French- 
Indian wars on the western borders of 
Pennsylvania, Hugh Mercer moved to 
Fredericksburg, Virginia; and during his 
residence in that town another Scotchman 
lived there, a fellow-citizen, one whose 
name was destined to '*go down the ages, 
sung by poets and sages '* — John Paul 
Jones! John Paul had only one home in 
America, and that was Fredericksburg. 
There his brother, William Paul, lived and 
died. There he lies buried. It was while 
John Paul was in Fredericksburg that he 
added Jones to his name, and from there 
he went forth as a Lieutenant of the Con- 
tinental Navy. These two illustrious 
Scotchmen, Hugh Mercer and John Paul 
Jones, no doubt often met and talked of 
the land of their birth beyond the seas. 
Both, however, became illustrious in the 
cause of the Colonies in their struggle to 
be free from the domination of Great Brit- 
ain, even though Scotland was one of its 
constituent territories. In Fredericksburg, 


II i III! liiiMi hill 1 

The life of Oenenl Hagh Xeroer 31 

Mercer commenced the practice of his pro- 
fession as a physician, his residence for a 
number of years being a two-story frame 
house on the comer of Princess Ann and 
Amelia streets. His office and apothecary 
shop was located in the building now stand- 
ing at the comer of Main and Amelia 

An English traveller in 1784 published an 
account of a visit that he had made to Tred- 
ericksburg during the Revolution, and 
made this statement : 

*'I arrived in Fredericksburg and put up 
at an inn kept by one Weedon, who is now 
a general officer in the American Army, and 
who was then very active and zealous in 
blowing the flames of sedition. In Fred- 
ericksburg, I called upon a worthy and inti- 
mate friend. Dr. Hugh Mercer, a physician 
of great eminence and merit, and, as a man, 
possessed of almost every virtue and ac- 
complishment. Dr. Mercer was afterwards 
Brigadier-General in the American Army, 
to accept of which appointment I have rea- 
son to believe he was greatly influenced by 
General Washington, with whom he had 
been long in intimacy and bonds of friend- 
ship. For Dr. Mercer was generally of a 
just and moderate way of thinking and pos- 
sessed of liberal sentiments and a generos- 

32 The Life of General Hugh Xercer 

ity of principle very tmcommon among 
those with whom he embarked/' 

The inn to which this traveller referred 
was ''The Rising Sun Tavern/' now stand- 
ing on upper Main Street; and Weedon, 
who he said was actively engaged in blow- 
ing the flames of sedition, was brother-in- 
law of Mercer. This intensely loyal son of 
Great Britain was evidently a great ad- 
mirer of Hugh Mercer; while he character- 
ised the so-called disloyal colonist as want- 
ing in that generosity of principle with 
which Mercer, he said, was greatly en- 

Life in the quiet town of Fredericksburg 
during these years was uneventful. Mer- 
cer pursued the even tenor of his way as a 
country doctor, always a welcome guest in 
the hospitable homes of its people; he at- 
tended the meetings of Lodge No. 4, A. F. 
& A. M., of which he and George Washing- 
ton were members, and occasionally paid a 
visit to the future ' ' Father of his Country" 
at Mount Vernon. 

Some time in the spring of 1775, a horse- 
man suddenly dashed up the quiet streets 
of his town with the startling news that Vir- 
ginia 's Eoyal Gt)vemor, Dunmore, at Wil- 
liamsburg, the capital, had removed the 
Colonial store of gunpowder from the mag- 





The Life of General Hugh Hercer 33 

azine to the British man-of-war Magdalen. 
This tyrannical and aggressive act upon the 
part of Dunmore only intensified the mnt- 
terings of discontent already existing in 
the colony, and added fuel to the flames 
that were already burning. Messengers 
were at once dispatched to the adjoining 
counties urging decisive action, and the 
horsemen and footmen came pouring in. A 
meeting was then called, and an organiza- 
tion perfected of which we have this 

'* Election of officers of minutemen and 
regulars for Caroline, Spotsylvania, King 
George and Stafford counties, Virginia, 
September 12, 1775. At a meeting of the 
select conunittee for the district of this 
county, the counties of Caroline, Stafford, 
King George and Spotsylvania, the follow- 
ing officers were elected : 

* ' Minutemen — ^Hugh Mercer, Colonel ; 
Mordecai Buckner, Lieutenant-Colonel; 
Eobert Johnson, Major. 

' ' For Spotsylvania — Lewis Willis, 
George Stubblefield and Oliver Towles, 
Captains; Eobert Carter Page, Larkin 
Chew, Francis Taliaferro, Lieutenants; 
Henry Bartlett, Eobert Dudley and Wins- 
low Parker, Ensigns.'' 

And ^^ Mercer '3 Minutenjeii'' CommQuced 

34 The Hit of General Hugh Hercer 

the march to Williamsburg. Before pro- 
ceeding very far, it is said that George Ma- 
son and others urged them to reconsider 
and wait for further and fuller information 
and not to act too hastily; and the cooler 
counsels of these advisers prevailed. Of 
this, Alexander Spotswood, in a letter to 
George Washington of date April 30, 1775, 

' 'I am extremely glad to inform you that 
after a long debate it was agreed that we 
should not march to Williamsburg. '' 

Four days later, George Washington set 
out from Mount Vernon for the Continen- 
tal Congress. The abandonment of the un- 
dertaking may have been brought about by 
the want of ammunition, as Mercer wrote 
to Washington on April 25, 1775: 

**We are not sufficiently supplied with 
powder; it may' be proper to request of the 
gentlemen who join us from Fairfax and 
Prince William to come provided with an 
over-proportion of that article.** 

Returning to the town, they appointed a 
Committee of Safety and adopted a set of 
resolutions in which they pledged their sa- 
cred honor to resist all attempts against 
their rights and liberties, from whatever 
quarter they might be assailed, and agreed 
to be in readiness to defend the laws, the 

i I lYiiitiiiifiiiiriiii i 

Tlie Lif of General Hngh Hexoer 35 

liberties and the rights of this or any sister 
colony from unjust and wicked invasion by 
force of arms, concluding with, *'God save 
the liberties of America/' It is claimed 
that this Declaration is prior in time to 
that of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, as it 
is to that of the Continental Congress at 

A thoughtful writer defines history 
as ''philosophy teaching by example/' If 
this be so, historic Fredericksburg ranks 
high in the role of great names and great 
deeds. Of the men who made our history 
in Colonial days, before and during the 
Revolutionary War, many were identified 
with that old town, visited there, met to- 
gether in friendly converse or earnest coun- 
sel, and discussed the grave questions of 
the hour — England's oppressive measures 
and the resistance of the Colonies, the 
rights involved, the liberties invaded, and 
the crisis inevitable. George Washington 
was often there; Fredericksburg was the 
home of his mother. Hugh Mercer lived 
there as a physician; James Monroe, law- 
yer (who later led the advance of the 
Americans in the battle of Trenton and af- 
terwards became President), also resided 
there; John Marshall, afterward Chief Jus- 
tice, and George Mason of Gunston Hall, 

36 The Life of General Hngh Heroer 

leaders of thought, patriots of action, all 
found Fredericksburg a pleasant and con- 
venient meeting place in those days, omi- 
nous of threatening strife and deadly con- 

In September, 1774, the General Con- 
gress of the Colonies met in Philadelphia, 
the assembled delegates representing the 
best and wisest, the most determined and 
patriotic men of the land. Peyton Ran- 
dolph, of Virginia, was chosen president; 
and a declaration of rights and a series of 
resolutions were adopted which *'for solid- 
ity of reasoning, force of sagacity, and wis- 
dom of conclusion'^ have never been ex- 
celled. The session ended on the 26th of 
October, and it was recommended that an- 
other Congress meet in May, 1775. The 
war-cloud was lowering. 

In March, 1775, the Virginia Convention 
assembled in St. John's Church, Richmond, 
and Patrick Henry's magnetic eloquence, 
his splendid rallying cry of ''Liberty or 
death," stirred all hearts to decision and 
action. During these months of hesitation, 
anxiety, possible compromise, yet contin- 
ued aggression, we can imagine this group 
of patriots in Fredericksburg keenly alive 
to the hazardous trend of public affairs 
which culminated in open hostilities at hex- 

The life of Oeneral Hngh Hercer 37 

ington and Concord. The Rising Sun tav- 
ern was then the centre of public entertain- 
ment; and its genial host was Mr. George 
Weedon, who afterwards became a Major- 
General in the Continental Army. The 
cosy apartments of the inn, its bright wood 
fires and comfortable surroundings, in- 
duced good-fellowship and free exchange of 
opinions. There was no need of argument, 
as all were true patriots. It was surely as 
picturesque a scene as history ever painted 
— those men in conversation at the *' Rising 
Sun!'' Washington, wise and calm; Mer- 
cer, with patriotic power and battle memor- 
ies surging in his heart; impetuous Paul 
Jones, eager for the fray; young Monroe, 
summing up the wrongs of the Colonies, 
and ready to avenge them; Marshall, the 
learned jurist, the great advocate of jus- 
tice, and George Mason, one of the great 
lights of history, whose genius illuminated 
the cause and established its principles. 
Can we not see them all, great men, whose 
example lives still, whose names are blaz- 
oned on *'the roll-call of the immortals.'' 

Madam Washington, as she was called, 
lived not far from the Rising Sun tavern, 
and would have enjoyed the earnest dis- 
cussions therein (which no doubt George 
reported to her), as her sterling good sense 

38 Tho Xdf of General Hugh Heroer 

and keen observation made her opinions of 
decided weight and influence. 

After the removal of the powder, above 
referred to, the news of unjustifiable acts 
of aggression by the Crown in other Colo- 
nies came thick and fast. Events with 
startling rapidity followed one after an- 
other. Concord and Lexington had been 
heard from; Virginia's Patrick Henry had 
uttered the words that were heard around 
the world; and the Revolution was inaugu- 
rated. Three regiments were formed. 
Henry was made Colonel of the First, 
elected over Hugh Mercer by one vote in a 
contest for the colonelcy. 

William Woodford of Caroline County 
became Colonel of the Second, and Mercer, 
Colonel of the Third Eegiment, of which his 
brother-in-law, Weedon, was the Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel; and Thomas Marshall of Fau- 
quier County, the father of John Marshall 
who afterwards became Chief Justice, was 
the Major. About this time, Mercer, who 
had married Miss Isabella Gordon, daugh- 
ter of John Gordon, resided in what is 
known as **The Sentry-Box,'' on lower 
Main Street, a house which is still in good 
condition and well preserved. 

The election of Mercer to the colonelcy 
of this Third Regiment was a veritable case 

Tlie lif of General Hugh Here«r 39 

of the ** office seeking the man,'* for when 
the storm-cloud of war first appeared, Mer- 
cer made an offer of his services to the Vir- 
ginia Convention in these expressive but 
brief words : ''Hugh Mercer will serve his 
adopted country and the cause of Liberty 
in any rank or station to which he may be 
assigned,'* words which found their echo 
in what he said later. 

''We are not engaged,'* said he, "in a 
war of ambition, or I should not have been 
here. Every man should be content to 
serve in that station in which he can be 
most useful. For my part, I have but one 
object in view, and that is, the success of 
the cause; and God can witness how cheer- 
fully I would lay down my life to secure 

William Wirt, in his Life of Patrick 
Henry, has this to say in connection with 
Mercer's appointment: 

"Three Eegiments of one thousand men 
each was first determined on, and Patrick 
Henry's friends nominated him for Colonel 
of the First Eegiment, it having been de^ 
termined that this officer should be the 
Commander-in-Chief of the forces to be 
raised. The opposition united on Dr. Hugh 
Mercer of Fredericksburg, who had served 
with great distinction under Washington 

40 The Life of General Hugh Heroer 

in the French and Indian War of 1755. It 
is no wonder that men, with so much at 
stake, should have hesitated to place in 
command of their entire forces a man of 
no military experience (Patrick Henry), 
however great his abilities as a civilian. 
The first ballot stood for Hugh Mercer 41, 
for Patrick Henry 40, for Thomas Nelson 
8, and for William Woodford 1. 

* ^ The second ballot between the two high- 
est resulted in the election of Mr. Henry, 
although Mercer and Woodford were offi- 
cers of experience and ability. Nothing 
but the conviction of the majority that the 
qualities which made Mr. Henry a great 
political leader would also make him a good 
Colonel can explain their action in prefer- 
ring him (Patrick Henry) as the Comman- 
der-in-Chief of the Virginia forces. Mer- 
cer was objected to for being a North 
Briton. In answer to this objection it was 
admitted that Mercer was bom in Scotland, 
but that he came to America in his early 
years and had constantly resided in it from 
his first coming over; that his family and 
all his other connections were in this col- 
ony; that he had uniformly distinguished 
himself as a warm and firm friend of the 
rights of America; and what was a princi- 
pal consideration, that he possessed great 

The Life of General Hngh Hercer 41 

military as well as literary abilities. Mr. 
Nelson acknowledged Mercer's military 
abilities, declared he would not oppose his 
appointment, and hoped that he himself 
would not be voted for. Mr. Woodford, 
who was not at that time a member of the 
Convention, spoke much in favor of Mer- 
cer, declaring that he was willing to serve 
under him, as he knew him to be a fine 

Mercer's election is thus recorded in 
the proceedings of the Virginia Conven- 

*^ Wednesday, January 10, 1776, Conven- 
tion proceeded by ballot to the appointment 
of a Colonel of the Third Eegiment, and 
there was a majority of the whole Conven- 
tion in favor of Hugh Mercer. Eesolved, 
therefore, that the said Hugh Mercer be 
appointed Colonel of the Third Eegiment." 

When the Committee of Safety heard of 
Mercer's appointment, it passed these reso- 
lutions : 

**The committee of the county, to express 
their approbation of the appointment of 
Col. Mercer, and to pay a tribute justly 
due to the noble and patriotic conduct 
which that gentleman has uniformly pur- 
sued since the commencement of our dis- 
putes with the Mother Country, which was 

42 Tk» Ufa of GoAertl Hngh Hereer 

so strikingly displayed on that occasion, 
entered into the following resolve: 

*' Resolved, That the thanks of this com- 
mittee be presented to Colonel Hngh Mer- 
cer, Commander-in-Chief of the Battalion 
of Minute Men in the District of this 
County, and the counties of Caroline, Staf- 
ford, and King George ; expressing the high 
sense of the importance of his appointment 
to that station, and our acknowledgements 
of his public spirit in sacrificing his pri- 
vate interest to the service of his Country. 
^ ^ Alexandeb Dick, Clerk. ' * 

And Colonel Mercer, at the head of his 
regiment, with his fife and drum, marched 
away from his adopted Virginia home, bid- 
ding good-by to his wife, children, and 
friends — *Vhom God ordained and the 
fates decreed" he should never, in this 
world, see again. 


Colonel Meecee was ordered at once to 
report to Williamsburg — ^then the capital of 
Virginia — ^where there was a considerable 
encampment of troops. A writer in a very 
old periodical gives ns an interesting ac- 
count of Mercer while there, from which we 

**The commencement of the American 
Revolution found him in the midst of an 
extensive medical practice, surrounded by 
affectionate friends, and enjoying in the 
bosom of a happy family all the comforts 
of social life. Stimulated to action 
by a lofty spirit of patriotism, he 
broke from the endearments of do- 
mestic life, and gave to his country 
in that trying hour the energy and 
resources of a practiced and accomplished 
soldier. In 1775 he was in command of 
three regiments of minute men, and early 
in 1776 we find him zealously engaged, as 
Colonel of the Army of Virginia, in drilling 
and organizing the raw and ill-formed 
masses of men who, under the varied names 


44 The Life of General Hugh Heroer 

of sons of liberty, minutemen, volunteers, 
and levies, presented the bulk without the 
order, the mob without the discipline, of 
an army. To produce obedience and subor- 
dination among men who had entered 
into the war unpaid and unrestricted by 
command, was a severe and invidious 

The courage, the fortitude, the self-pos- 
session of Colonel Mercer quailed not at 
these adverse circumstances, and, by the 
judicious exercise of mingled severity and 
kindness, he soon succeeded in reducing a 
mutinous soldiery to complete submission. 
Tradition has preserved the following an- 
ecdote, illustrating, in a striking manner, 
his characteristic promptitude and brav- 

Among the troops which arrived at Wil- 
liamsburg, then the metropolis of Virginia, 
was a company of riflemen from beyond 
the mountains, commanded by Captain Gib- 
son. A reckless insubordination and a vio- 
lent opposition to military restraint had 
gained for this corps the sarcastic name of 
* ^Gibson's Lambs. ^* They had not been 
long in camp before a mutiny arose among 
them, producing much excitement in the 
army, and alarming the inhabitants of the 
city. Freed from all command, they roamed 

The Life of General Hugh Hercer 45 

through the camp, threatening with instant 
death any officer who would presume to ex- 
ercise authority over them. In the height 
of the rebellion an officer was dispatched 
with the alarming tidings to the quarters 
of Colonel Mercer. The citizens of the town 
vainly implored him not to risk his life and 
person amid this infuriated mob. 

Reckless of personal safety, he instantly 
repaired to the barracks of the mutinous 
band, and directing a general parade of the 
troops, he ordered Gibson's company to be 
drawn up as offenders and violators of law, 
and to be disarmed in his presence. The 
ringleaders were placed under a strong 
guard, and in the presence of the whole 
army he addressed the offenders in an elo- 
quent and feeling manner, impressing on 
them their duties as citizens and soldiers, 
and the certainty of death if they continued 
to disobey their officers and remained in 
that mutinous spirit, equally disgraceful to 
than and hazardous to the sacred interests 
they had marched to defend. Disorder was 
instantly checked, and, after a short con- 
finement, those under imprisonment were 
released; the whole company was ever after 
as exemplary in deportment and conduct as 
any troop in the army. 

QjX June 5,. 1776^ Mercer was promoted 

46 The life of General Hugh Hercer 

and made a Brigadier-General in the Con- 
tinental Army, of which the following cor- 
respondence gives evidence: 

'^President of Congress to General Mer- 
cer, Philadelphia, June 6, 1776. Sir: I 
am directed by Congress to inform you that 
they yesterday appointed you a Brigadier- 
General in the armies of the United Colo- 
nies, and that they request you will imme- 
diately on receipt hereof set out for head- 
quarters at New York; for which purpose 
I am commanded to forward you this by 
express. Should you take Philadelphia in 
your way, I must beg you will do me the 
favor to call at my house, as it is highly 
probable I shall have something in charge 
from Congress ready for you at that time. 
I do myself the pleasure to enclose your 
commission; and have the honor to be, sir, 

**Your most obedient and very humble 

^* J. Hancock, President. 

**To Brigadier-General Mercer, Vir- 

*' Williamsburg, June 15, 1776. 
*^Sir: I had the honor yesterday to re- 
ceive your letter of the 6th inst., together 
with a commission, appointing me a Briga- 

The life of Oen«ral Hugh Kenmt 47 

dier-General in the army of the United 

''Give me leave, sir, to request of you to 
present to the honorable Congress my most 
grateful acknowledgements in this distin- 
guished mark of their respect, 

' ' I was on duty with part of my regiment 
before Gwinn's Island, where Lord Dun- 
more has taken possession, when your in- 
structions reached me; in consequence of 
this I shall use ray utmost diligence, after 
settling the accounts of my regiment, to 
wait on you in Philadelphia. I have the 
honor to be, sir, 

''Your most obedient, humble servant, 

"Hugh Mebceb. 

"To the Honorable John Hancock, Es- 

General Washington soon afterward ap- 
pointed him to take full command of the 
troops at Paulus Hook, and charged him 
with the duty of directing the movement of 
a large detachment of Pennsylvania Militia 
and of protecting that point against a 
threatening invasion by the enemy from 
Staten Island. The latter part of the year 
1776 the Colonists, with bated breath, 
feared the end of their struggle for libedy 
had come. New York and Bhode Island 

48 The life of General Hugh Xercer 

had been left in the hands of the British. 
Washington slowly withdrew from New 
Jersey, stubbornly disputing every effort 
to bring on an engagement; he crossed the 
Delaware; as the Eoyalists approached he 
retreated; at last he took refuge beyond 
that river, and for a distance of many miles 
he withdrew all the boats on its shores to 
its right bank, in order to impede Comwal- 
lis in case he attempted to cross. The army 
of the Colonists was poorly clad, many of 
them barefooted; without tents, with few 
blankets, and very scantily fed, they were 
confronted by Cornwallis with a splendidly 
equipped army, well provisioned and 

The British Hessians were then in pos- 
session of Trenton, and had to a large ex- 
tent the practical control of the State of 
New Jersey. Sir William Howe boasted 
that Philadelphia would fall when the Del- 
aware became frozen. At this critical junc- 
ture, on Christmas night, Washington 
crossed the Delaware amid a blinding storm 
of snow and sleet. His passage became 
much impeded by floating ice, but with the 
rallying cry of ** Victory or death, '* he 
executed that brilliant movement on De- 
cember 26, at Trenton, which caused 
the loyal though much depressed ^ 

The life of General Hugh Xeroer 49 

triots to renew their fast-wasting cour- 

By this coup-de-main, Washington cap- 
tured in the battle fought in Trenton about 
one thousand stands of arms, one thousand 
prisoners, and many stores of ammunition, 
with a large amount of provisions and 
clothing. This, with a bounty of ten dol- 
lars in gold to his troopers, restored fresh 
confidence in his rank and file, and caused 
the Continentals whose term of enlistment 
was about to expire to remain under the 
new flag of the Colonists for some weeks 
longer. For this brilliant victory histori- 
ans, with one accord, give credit and glory 
to Mercer. Major Armstrong, his aide-de- 
camp, who was present at a council of oflS- 
cers, and who was with Mercer at the cross- 
ing of the Delaware, is authority for the 
statement that Mercer suggested this ex- 
pedition, fraught with so much peril and 

General Howe, who was amazed at 
Washington's intrepid boldness, and 
stunned by his great success, immediately 
ordered Comwallis by a forced march to 
stop this onward advance. About five thou- 
sand men were pushed to Trenton, while a 
larger body of men was held in reserve; 
and on January 2d they met thfe advance 

50 The life of General Hugh Xeroer 

line of the Continental Army at Laurens- 
ville. The British drove them back, and 
about sunset of that day reached Trenton. 
Washington, having carefully guarded the 
ford and bridge, drew up his army beyond 
the Assanpenk, This skirmish caused a 
great loss in killed and wounded, and the 
fate of the struggling Colonies was held 
tremblingly in the balance. Had Comwal- 
lis forced the fight that night with his vastly 
superior and much better equipped troops, 
it is possible that the fate of the Colonists 
would have been sealed. He was urged to 
make the attack, but refused, giving as an 
excuse the fatigue of his troops, saying 
**that he had the old fox just where he 
wanted him, and would catch him in the 
morning, *' a morning which never came to 
him, so far as catching the *'old fox" was 
Washington was now confronted with 
great peril. The army of Comwallis in 
front and the Delaware in the rear, retreat 
was impossible; an open engagement was 
nearly certain to result in defeat; and de- 
feat at this pivotal point in the life of the 
Colonies meant the destruction of their 
government and death to their hope for 
that liberty for which they longed and had 
suffered and sacrificed so much. At a coun- 


*' .^RiS^HEhI 

■4^V9^|r ^^~~»^ "'^'^'^^■Ui^^^MSB^HEb 

Uljr /U^C^^S^H 








f i - f ) .ij^^^^^^d^d 







y the 
ed to 
•Ill be- 
ll was 

«»r the 






\ bile he 

I by the 

' a Brit- 

' should 

He was 

1 on the 

: marked 

lis firing, 
ania Mi- 
:ie assist- 
Ihe flight 
:, and the 
r pursuit, 
igton ap- 

52 The life of General Hugh Xeroer 

rise when he reached Stonybrook, about 
two miles from Princeton. He formed his 
column at the Quaker meeting house, which 
is still well preserved, at Princeton. The 
van and rearguard was composed of Con- 
tinental soldiers who had bared their 
breasts to many a storm of shot and shell ; 
the center was composed of troops who 
were first baptized with fire at Trenton. 
Washington ordered forward a detachment 
of about four hundred men under Mercer, 
consisting of the First Virginia Regiment, 
Shamwood's Eegiment from Maryland, and 
Colonel Haslett's Delaware Regiments, 
with Neal's Battery, to seize a bridge at 
Worth's Mill. This detachment marched 
to the left from the road that leads along 
the brook, while Washington took a by-road 
to the right, in the rear of the Clark house ; 
this road led directly to Princeton. 

The Seventeenth, the Fortieth, and the 
Fifty-fifth British regiments, and three 
troops of Dragoons, had slept that night at 
Princeton, and had already begun their 
march to Trenton. The night had been 
dark and dreary, and the morning was se- 
verely cold ; the Seventeenth Regiment hav- 
ing crossed the bridge, occupied a hill be- 
yond it. 

Mercer's presence was revealed at day- 

The Life of General Hugh Xeroer 53 

break, and Mawhood at once connter- 
marched his regiment and crossed the 
bridge at Worth's Mill before Mercer could 
reach it, each side being surprised by the 
presence of the other. Each army tried to 
gain the high ground west of Clark's house. 
The Colonists reached it first, and from be- 
hind a worm fence opened fire, which was 
quickly responded to by the British. 

The British troops charged after the 
third volley, and the Colonists were driven 
back in disorder before a bayonet charge 
from a force vastly superior in numbers. 
At this point General Mercer dismounted 
from his horse, which had been disabled, 
and tried vainly to rally his men; while he 
was doing so, he was knocked down by the 
butt-end of a musket in the hand of a Brit- 
ish trooper, who demanded that he should 
surrender, which he refused to do. He was 
then bayoneted and left for dead on the 
battle-field. (This spot has been marked 
by the erection of a white pillar.) 

As soon as Washington heard this firing, 
he ordered forward the Pennsylvania Mi- 
litia and Moulder's Battery to the assist- 
ance of Mercer; thus reinforced, the flight 
of the Continentals was stopped, and the 
British were made to halt in their pursuit. 
At this critical moment Washington ap- 

54 The life of General Hugli Xeroer 

peared in person, and taking in the situa- 
tion of affairs at a glance, he waved his hat 
and cheered on his troops, Washington 
was now between the firing lines of both ar- 
mies, and was in great danger and great 
peril. Moulder's Battery poured volley af- 
ter volley into the ranks of the enemy, and 
the roar of musketry followed, as the brave 
Rhode Islanders and the Virginia Seventh 
swung, with other Continentals, into line, 
causing the enemy to break and fly, fol- 
lowed by victorious shouts from the Amer- 
ican Army. 

As the smoke of battle cleared away, it 
revealed Washington unharmed. Colonel 
Fitzgerald, his aide-de-camp, galloped to 
his side and said, *' Thank God, your excel- 
lency is safe!'' Washington replied, 
*^Away, my dear Colonel, and bring up the 
troops; the day is our own." 

The rout of the British was complete. 
Mawhood escaped with some of his scat- 
tered and shattered troops to Maidenhead. 
Some fled up Stonybrook; many were cap- 
tured by a body of cavalry from Philadel- 

General St. Clair met on this retreat the 
Fifty-fifth Eegiment of British soldiers and 
quickly put them to flight; a portion of the 
Fortieth Begiment, which had not been in 



The life of Qeneral Hugh Xeroet 55 

the engagement, took refuge in Nassau 
Hall, Princeton, and were captured. 

And thus on the morning of January 3, 
1777, the Battle of Princeton, which was of 
short duration, but momentous of great re- 
sults, was fought and won; and the shout 
of victory that commenced there was not 
hushed until at Yorktown the end came— 
an end which marks the beginning of our 
Republic, which is to-day the wonder of the 

It is needless and unnecessary in this bi- 
ography of General Mercer to recount the 
further movements, marches, and counter- 
marches of Washington and his army. In 
this battle General Mercer, **who seems to 
have excited the brutality of the British by 
the gallantry of his resistance, *' was 
stabbed by their bayonets in seven different 
parts of his body, and they inflicted on his 
head many blows with the butt-end of their 
muskets, only ceasing this butchery when 
they believed him dead. 

As soon after the battle as possible. Gen- 
eral Mercer was removed to an adjacent 
farmhouse, owned by Mr. Clark, where 
Mrs. Clark and her daughter tenderly 
nursed him, being assisted by Major Lewis, 
who was delegated by General Washington 
to go there for that purpose. Dr. Bush, of 


56 The life of General Hugh Xercer 

Philadelphia, and Dr. Archibald Alexan- 
der, of Augusta County, Virginia, who was 
then a surgeon of the Virginia troops, were 
at Mercer ^s bedside doing everything pos- 
sible to alleviate his sufferings, which were 
intense and acute. Their services and min- 
istrations were without avail, for on Janu- 
ary 12, 1777, he died in the arms of Major 
Lewis, The angel of death wooed him to a 
brighter and better land, and the recording 
angel wrote in the great book, *'Well 

He had willingly sacrificed his life for the 
liberties of the people of his adopted land. 

**For whether on the scaffold high. 
Or in the battle's van. 
The noblest death that man can die 
Is when he dies for man. ' ' 







Dbsibing to give the full benefit of what 
others thought and said of General Mercer 
and the great value of his services to the 
struggling Colonies, it cannot be thought 
inappropriate for me to reproduce here 
what has already been written of him, es- 
pecially by those who were near him in the 
times of which they wrote. Among those 
was General James Wilkinson, who says : 

''The first fire was delivered by General 
Mercer, which the enemy returned with a 
volley and a sudden charge; many of our 
men being armed with rifles, were forced, 
after the third round, to abandon the fence, 
and fled in disorder. On hearing the fire, 
General Washington directed the Pennsyl- 
vania Militia to support General Mercer, 
and in person led them on, with two pieces 
of artillery under Capt. Wm. Moulder, of 
the city of Philadelphia, who formed a bat- 
tery on the right of Thomas Clark's house; 
the enemy pursued the detachment of Gen- 
eral Mercer as far as the brow of the de- 
clivity, etc. At the time General Mercer en- 


58 The life of General Hugh Heroer 

gaged the Seventeenth Eegiment, nnder 
Colonel Handy and endeavored by a right 
movement to turn the enemy's left flank, 

In this affair our numerical loss was in- 
considerable — ^it did not exceed 30, and only 
14 were buried in the field; but it was of 
great magnitude in worth and talents. 
Colonels Haslett and Porter, Major Morris, 
and Capt. Wm. Shippen were respected in 
their corps; Captains Fleming and Neal 
presented fair promise of professional ex- 
cellence; but in General Mercer was lost a 
chief who, for education, experience, tal- 
ents, disposition, integrity and patriotism, 
was second to no man but the Commander- 
in-Chief, and was qualified to fill the highest 
trusts of the country. The manner in which 
he was wounded is an evidence of the ex- 
cess to which the common soldiery are li- 
able in the heat of action, especially when 
irritated by the loss of favorite oflScers. His 
way being obstructed, when advancing, by 
a post and rail fence in front of the or- 
chard, it may be presumed that the General 
dismounted voluntarily, for he was on foot 
when the troops in the front hesitated, be- 
came confused, and soon gave way, while 
the few regulars in the rear could not 
check the dastardiv retreat. Ere the for- 

The Life of General Hugh Meroer 59 

tune of the day was changed and victory 
perched on the patriot standard, the heroic 
Mercer fell. Rushing forward to rally his 
broken troops, and stimulating them by 
voice and example, his horse was shot from 
under him, and he fell, dangerously wound- 
ed, among the columns of the advancing 
enemy. Being tiius dismounted, he was in- 
stantly surrounded by a number of British 
soldiers, with whom, when they refused him 
quarter, he fought desperately with drawn 
sword until he was completely overpow- 
ered. Excited to brutality by the gallantry 
of his resistance, they stabbed him with 
their bayonets in seven different parts of 
his body, and inflicted many blows on his 
head with the butt-ends of their muskets; 
nor did they cease their butchery until they 
believed him to be a crushed and mangled 
corpse. Nine days after the battle, he died 
in the arms of Major George Lewis, of the 
army, the nephew of General Washington, 
whom the uncle had commissioned to watch 
over the last moments of his expiring 
friend. His latter hours were soothed by 
the skillful and affectionate attendance of 
the distinguished Dr. Bush. He complained 
much of his head, and frequently remarked 
to his surgeon that ^^ there was the princi- 
pal danger, '' and Dr. Bush, in speaking of 

60 The life of General Hugh Heroer 

his patient's suffering, always ascribed his 
death more to the blows on the head than 
to the bayonet wounds, although several of 
these were attended with extreme danger. 

In a small house not far distant from the 
blood-red plain of carnage and death, but 
far away from the soothing consolations of 
domestic affection, tiiis distinguished mar- 
tyr of liberty breathed his last. 

The mangled body was removed under a 
military escort from Princeton to Phila- 
delphia, and exposed a day in the Coffee 
house, with the idea of exciting by that 
mournful spectacle the indignation of the 
people. The Pennsylvania Evening Post 
for January 18, 1777, has thus recorded his 
death and funeral obsequies: **Last Sun- 
day evening, died, near Princeton, of the 
wounds he received in the engagement at 
that place on the 3rd instant, Hugh Mercer, 
Esquire, Brigadier-General in the Conti- 
nental Army. On Wednesday his body was 
brought to this city, and on Thursday bur- 
ied on the south side of Christ Church, 
with military honors, attended by the Com- 
mittee of Safety, the members of the As- 
sembly, gentlemen of the army, and a num- 
ber of the most respectable inhabitants of 
this city. The uniform character, exalted 
abilities, and intrepidity of this illustrious 

The life of General Hugh Heroer 61 

aflScer will render his name equally dear to 
America, with the liberty for which she is 
now contending, to the latest posterity/* 

The battles of Trenton and Princeton, in 
which General Mercer fought and bled unto 
death, were the most brilliant and fortunate 
victories won in the War of the Revolution. 
The question of our independence was now 
no longer a matter of doubt. General Mer- 
cer's elevated character, lofty heroism, and 
brutal murder excited a deep and aflfection- 
ate sympathy throughout all the Colonies. 
General Washington, in an official letter to 
the Continental Congress, thus alluded to 
Generals Mercer and Warren, Congress 
having, on April 7, 1777, resolved that a 
monument should be erected at Boston to 
the memory of General Warren, and one at 
Fredericksburg to General Mercer : 

''The honors Congress has decreed to 
the memory of Generals Warren and Mer- 
cer afford me the highest pleasure. Their 
character and fortitude had a just claim 
to every mark of respect, and I heartily 
wish that every officer of the United States, 
emulating their virtues, may by their ac- 
tions secure to themselves the same right to 
the grateful tributes of their country.'' 

On Januarj'' 15, 1777, Washington wrote 
to Mr. Joseph Reed : 

62 Tlie life of General Hugh Heroer 

**When you see General Mercer, be so 
good as to present my best wishes f o him — 
and congratulations (if the state of his 
health will admit of it) on his recovery 
from death. You may assure him that 
nothing but the confident assertion to me 
that he was either dead, or within a few 
minutes of dying, and that he was put into 
as good a place as I could remove him to, 
prevented his seeing me after the action 
and pursuit at Princeton/' 

When that letter was written the hero 
of Princeton had passed to the Great Be- 
yond. A further evidence and expression 
of the high estimation in which General 
Mercer was held by Washington is found 
in a letter from the latter to General Liv- 
ingston, dated from headquarters, July 6, 
1776, 5 o'clock p. m., in which he wrote : 

* * General Mercer has just set off for Jer- 
sey. In his experience and judgment you 
may repose great confidence. He will pro- 
ceed to Amboy after conferring with you. 
You \iill please to keep me constantly in- 
formed of the proceedings of the enemy, 
and be assured of every assistance and at- 

In the Journal of the Continental Con- 
gress for June 3 and July 19, 1776, 
what was known as the Flying Camp was 

The life of General Hugh Heroer 63 

constituted of ten thousand men, to be put 
under the command of such a Continental 
officer as General Washington should di- 
rect, and by his direction they assembled 
at Amboy, New Jersey, under the conmiand 
of General Mercer. 

General Washington, in another letter to 
General Livingston, of date July 5, 1776, 
referring to Mercer said: **His judgment 
and experience may be depended on;** and 
on January 5, 1777, in his official report to 
Congress, of the Battle of Princeton, after 
describing the battle and the capture of 
prisoners, etc., he said: '^This piece of 
good fortune is counterbalanced by the loss 
of the brave and worthy General Mercer,*' 

Nothing is needed further to show how 
the great Washington regarded Hugh Mer- 
cer, and to this I will add what was said of 
him by Lafayette on his last visit to this 

The conversation in a brilliant company 
turning on the prominent men of the Eevo- 
lution, one of the company observed to him 
that he. General Lafayette, was, of course^ 
acquainted with General Mercer, not recol- 
lecting that Lafayette did not arrive in the 
United States until after the Battle of 
Princeton. '^Oh, no,** said the General, 
'^you know that Mercer fell in January, 

64 The life of General Hugh Hercer 

1777, and I reached the United States in 
the ensuing spring; but on my arrival I 
found the army and whole country so full 
of his name that an impression has been 
always left on my mind since that I was 
personally acquainted with him. ' ' 

At Princeton the high tide of the Eevolu- 
tion was reached. Before then, gloom had 
settled on the cause of the Colonies. The 
Tories, with their *'I told you so,'^ pre- 
dicted and prophesied a humiliating defeat, 
and the loyal Colonists began to doubt and 
despair. After that battle the bright sun- 
shine of hope settled on this fair land of 
ours, and from that point the army of 
Washington fought to conquer; for the vic- 
tory of Princeton not only encouraged the 
doubting and despairing rebels, as the Col- 
onists were called, but it brought to them 
the recognition and alliance of France. 
That victory, however, was dearly gained, 
for amidst the exultant charge of our vic- 
torious legions could be heard the dying 
groans of that pure patriot — ^the brave and 
gallant Mercer. 

**^Tiat death could finer laurel buy! 

What grander ending can there be 
Than for a noble man to die 
To help to make his country free! 

The Life of General Hugh Hercer 65 

AlthoughL the day was dearly bought, 
'Twas there the Tyrant's doom was 

And not in vain the fight was f onght 
When Mercer fell on Princeton Field. 

**His sword will waste away with rust. 
And tho* 'twere wrapped in doth of 
Within the grave his precious dust 

In time will mingle with the mold; 
But he, himself, is canonized, 

If saintly deeds such fame can give. 
For long as Liberty is prized 
Hugh Mebceb's name shall subely 



On Januaby 31, 1777, the Continental 
Congress passed the following resolution: 
**That a committee of four be appointed to 
consider what honors are due to the mem- 
ory of General Mercer, who died on the 
12th instant, of wounds received on the 3d 
of the same month, in fighting against the 
enemies of American liberty, near Prince- 
ton/^ The members of that committee were 
the Hon. Messrs. Bush, Heynard, Page, and 
S. Adams. On April 8, 1777, that com- 
mittee reported '^That a monument be 
erected to the memory of General Mercer 
at Fredericksburg, in the State of Virginia, 
with the following insQriptiw: 


The Life of General Hugh Hercer 67 

Sacred to the memory of 


Brigadier-General in the Army of 

The United States. 

He died on the 12th of January, 1777, 

of the wounds he received on the 

3rd of the same month, 

Near Princeton, in New Jersey, 

Bravely defending the 

Liberties of America. 

The Congress of the United States, 

In testimony of his virtues and their 


Have caused this monument to be erected.'* 

The report of the committee was, how- 
ever, never executed. Under that resolu- 
tion no monument was ever built ; why, no 
one knows. Nations, like some individuals, 
soon forget. For more than a century did 
this Eepublic fail in its duty to the memory 
of the gallant Mercer. At last the con- 
science, as well as the sense of justice, of 
the nation was aroused. Hence by an act 
of Congress, approved June 28, 1902, the 
resolution of 1777 was directed by Congress 
to be carried into effect, and at Fredericks- 
burg, in the State of Virginia, there has 
been a monument erected to perpetuate the 
fame and name of Hugh Mercer. And it 

68 The Life of General Hugh Hercer 

is well, ^'lest we forget, lest we forget/' 
The same epitaph is engraved on this mon- 
ument that was prescribed in the resolu- 
tions of 1777. The City of Philadelphia 
paid the memory of Mercer a great tribute 
by giving his remains a public funeral, 
which it is said 30,000 people attended. He 
was buried in the graveyard of Christ 
Church. In 1817 his son visited his grave; 
the old sexton — a Mr. DoUey — ^who had at- 
tended the funeral of the General, was 
there alone. Under the grass on the south 
side of the brick enclosure was found a 
plain and unadorned marble slab, inscribed 
* * Gl. M. In memory of Gen '1 Hugh Mercer, 
who fell at Princeton, January 3rd, 1777.** 
The St. Andrew's Society afterward re- 
moved his remains to the Laurel Hill Ceme- 
tery and erected a monument to his mem- 
ory, which was dedicated with imposing 
ceremonies on Thursday, November 26, 
1840; on which occasion Wm. B. Beed, 
Esq., grandson of Adjutant-General Eeed, 
of the Revolution, delivered a beautiful ad- 
dress. General Mercer had joined the St, 
Andrew's Society in Philadelphia^ in 1757. 
On the front die of this monument, etc., is 
the following inscription: 

The Monument to Gen. Huj^h Mercer at Fredericksburg, Va. 


The Life of General Hugh Meroer 69 

Dedicated to the memory of 


Who fell 

For the sacred cause 


Human Liberty 


American Lxdependence, 


The Battle of Princeton. 

He poured out his blood for a generous 


Left-hand side of die : 

The St. Andrew's Society 

of Philadelphia 
Offer this humble tribute 
To the memory of 
An illustrious brother. 
When a grateful posterity shall bid the 
trophied Memorial rise to the martyrs who 
sealed with their blood the Charter of an 
Empire's Liberties, there shall not be want- 
ing a monument to him whom 
Mourned as **The Worthy and Brave 

70 The life of General Hugh Xeroer 
Right-hand side of die: 

General Mercer, a physician of Freder- 
icksburg, in Virginia, was distinguished for 
his skill and learning, his gentleness and 
decision, his refinement and humanity, his 
elevated honour and his devotion to the 
great cause of civil and religious liberty. 

In the historical paintings of the Battle 
of Princeton by Peale, at Princeton, and by 
Trumbull at New York, General Mercer is 
given a prominent position. And the states 
of Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia, and 
New Jersey, have by solemn and appropri- 
ate acts of their respective Legislatures, 
named a county *^ Mercer" in his honor. 
On October 1, 1897, a bronze tablet was 
unveiled in Princeton, bearing this inscrip- 
tion : 

*^To the memory of General Hugh Mer- 
cer, the revered martyr of American Inde- 
pendence. Born in Scotland in 1720 ; edu- 
cated as a physician; emigrated to America 
in 1747 ; was appointed by Congress, June 
5th, 1776, a Brigadier-General in the Amer- 
ican Army; was mortally wounded at the 
Battle of Princeton, January 3rd, 1777 ; and 
died in the house now standing near this 
spot January 12th, 1777. This tablet was 




The Grave of General Mercer in Laurel Hill Cemetery, 

Philadelphia, Pa., with Monument Erected 

by St. Andrew's Society 


The Life of General Hugh Meroer 71 

erected by the Mercer Engine Company No. 
3 of Princeton, N. J., October 1st, 1897, at 
the semi-centennial celebration. '^ 

On this occasion Judge Beverly B. Well- 
ford, of Bichmond, Va., and Dr. Henry C. 
Cameron, of Princeton, made eloquent and 
appropriate historical orations. 

In November, 1899, the Hon. Henry W. 
Green, of Trenton, N. J., presented a hand- 
some portrait of General Mercer to the 
Mercersburg Academy of Pennsylvania; 
and in doing so, among other things, said: 

^*His life record shows him as a soldier, 
brave and courageous; as a physician, 
learned in his profession; as a scholar, well 
read and of generous attainments ; as a pa- 
triot, pure and impulsive; as a Christian, 
self-sacrificing and true. Few lives illume 
the page of national history with kindlier 
glow than that of Mercer. Fortunate the 
town with such a namesake; honored the 
school that bears his name; glorified the na- 
tion in whose cause he laid down that most 
precious of his possessions — ^his life.'' 

Hugh Mercer was an alumnus of Mar- 
schal College and the University of Aber- 
deen, Scotland, and this university recog- 
nizes him as one of its most illustrious stu- 
dents. In its annual list of honored alumni, 
he is one of the three chosen to represent 

72 The life of General Hagh Mercer 

the profession of arms ; the other two being 
Field-Marshal James Keith, the distin- 
guished officer in the service of Frederick 
the Great, and Sir James Outram, the 
** Bayard of India." 

Congress, on motion of Thomas Jeffer- 
son, in 1784 made an appropriation for the 
education of General Mercer's youngest 
son, Hugh, who died at his residence, ^^The 
Sentry Box," December 2, 1853. Another 
son, John, a distinguished lawyer, died 
September 30, 1817; and his only daugh- 
ter, Anna Gordon, who married Robert Pat- 
ton, died in Fredericksburg, Va., May 12, 
1832. General Hugh W. Mercer, of Savan- 
nah, Ga., a gallant officer in the Confeder- 
ate Army, was a grandson of General Mer- 
cer, and the late John M. Patton, another 
grandson, was a member of Congress from 
the Fredericksburg District under Jack- 
son's administration, and was acting-Gov- 
ernor of Virginia in 1840. 

Now as the end of the story of the life 
of Hugh Mercer in this work approaches, 
by way of recapitulation it behooves us to 
ask. What were the most attractive and po- 
tential elements of that life? We would 
say. Fidelity to principle, fixedness of pur- 
pose, faithfulness in the discharge of the 
obligations imposed by citizenship, with a 

The life of General Hagh Mercer 73 

fearlessness that knew no limitation when 
duty and obligation joined in demanding 
energetic action. To realize that this is 
true, the reader need only be reminded of 
what was accomplished by Mercer, and how 
that accomplishment was brought about. 
We find him at Culloden obeying every in- 
spiration of loyalty to Scotland and Scot- 
tish traditions when he championed the 
cause of the Pretender. To have done oth- 
erwise would have been contrary to every 
dictate of duty as it was impressed on Scot- 
land itself. When he became a resident of 
America, on the frontier of Pennsylvania, 
he felt himself obliged by the very highest 
and holiest obligations of citizenship to im- 
peril his life in many Indian wars in order 
to preserve the lives and protect the homes 
of the people among whom he lived. When 
the tocsin of war sounded, and the Colo- 
nies ^* struck for liberty'' and for freedom 
from the intolerable and tyrannical aggres- 
sions of Great Britain, being impressed 
with the right and righteousness of the 
cause of the Colonies, he at once offered his 
services in their behalf, gave up his life for 
the cause which he espoused, and died that 
liberty might live. 

His life was a strenuous one, full of ex- 
acting and unselfish work for others : As a 

74 The life of General Hugh Mercer 

country doctor, ministering to the sick and 
comforting the suffering; as a Mason, 
teaching by precept and by example the 
cardinal doctrines of the craft, the father- 
hood of God and the brotherhood of man ; 
as a member of the church, expressing by 
his walk and conversation the faith he felt 
in the Savior of men, whom he humbly fol- 
lowed; as the head of his home, in the God- 
given capacity of husband and father, ever 
directing its affairs and executing its du- 
ties, making his home life spotless and 
stainless ; as a citizen, evading no obligation 
and avoiding no demand imposed upon that 
citizenship. He was a soldier always, vigi- 
lant, obedient and loyal; an officer whose 
tactics were of the onward, never backward 
order, counselling against evacuation of 
strategic positions, even though it seemed 
impossible to retain them, with judgment 
that could be always relied . on, said the 
great Washington. When confronted by 
seemingly insurmountable obstacles, he 
suggested movements by which superiority 
in numbers could be overridden by superi- 
ority in forethought and decisive action. He 
was brave without being desperate ; he was 
a good disciplinarian without being a mar- 
tinet. In his vocabulary there was no such 
word as * ^ surrender. ' ' He was willing * * t% 

The Life of General Hugh Xeroer 75 

do, dare or die** for the flag under which he 
enlisted; he unsheathed his sword in honor, 
and never was it dishonored to his dying 
day; he was the hero of Princeton, with no 
one to pluck that laurel from his brow, and 
is entitled to the glory that came from that 
victory which resulted in a Confederatian 
of States that has made the Western Hem- 
isphere the admiration and the wonder of 
the world. He is entitled to the gratitude 
of all liberty-loving America. His life was 
beautiful and complete in its symmetry, 
and was both a benediction and benefac- 
tion. The memory of such a man cannot 
perish from the face of the earth, but shall 
be as eternal as Truth. 


This narrative would not be complete 
without a short story of the friends of 
Hugh Mercer at Fredericksburg — ^his daily 
associates, who communed with him at the 
sessions of the Masonic Lodge; who sat 
Around the old open fireplace at the Rising 
Sun tavern and talked with him about the 
gossip of the town; who watched and waited 
with him, in front of the post-office, for the 
coming of the rumbling, rattling old stage 
with its weekly mail and its belated news 
from Williamsburg. It is not, however, my 
purpose to write a biography of these peo- 
ple, but only a short sketch of them as their 
lives touched that of Mercer's, and as these 
distinguished people were connected and 
associated with Fredericksburg; and, as 
Washington stands in the forefront of this 
nation's life, so he stands, peerless and 
high above all others, in the life of this 






The Life of General Hngli Mercer 77 


He who was '* first in war, first in 
peace, and first in the hearts of his country- 
men" was a very small boy when his 
father, Augustine Washington, died on his 
place, since called **The Washington 
Farm," opposite Fredericksburg. He went 
to school in that town, and in after-life 
referred to it as the town of his youth and 
maturing manhood. Just before the com- 
mencement of the Eevolution, his mother 
and her family moved into the town. Wash- 
ington, in his maturer years, visited his 
mother there frequently. He and his bride, 
en route from Williamsburg to Mount Ver- 
non, came by Fredericksburg to receive, no 
doubt, his mother's blessing and benedic- 
tion. He was the owner of several lots in 
the town. After the surrender of Comwal- 
lis at Yorktown, Washington, impelled by 
the love and adoration which he had for 
her, determined that his first visit should 
be to his mother at Fredericksburg, and he 
came to her without delay. On that visit 
he was received with expressions of joy 
and gratitude by the people of the place, 
and was presented with an address of wel- 
came and congratulations by the Town 
Coimcil, On that occasion a grand ball was 

78 The Life of General Hugh Mercer 

given in his honor, which he attended, ac- 
companied by Lafayette and other distin- 
guished officers. In those days the ball com- 
menced at early candle-light. His aged 
mother, whom he escorted, left at nine 
o'clock. After seeing her safely home, he 
returned and danced the stately minuet 
with one of the Gregory girls, who was his 

Washington was a member of Lodge No. 
4, A. F. and A. M., the records of which 
lodge show that he was made a Mason No- 
vember, 1752. On that date there was re- 
ceived from George Washington, for his 
entrance fee, two pounds and five shillings. 

When in Fredericksburg he attended the 
services of St. George's Episcopal Church. 
It is related that on one of his visits after 
he had become great and famous, while at- 
tending the services of this church, it be- 
came overcrowded, that the old frame 
building gave evidences of being unsafe, 
and that a panic was only averted by the 
coolness of Washington himself. 

His only sister, Bettie, who married 
Fielding Lewis, lived at a place called 
*^Kenmore," then on the outskirts of the 

Parson Weems locates Fredericksburg as 
the place where the great Washington 



The Life of General Hugh Meroer 79 

threw a silver dollar across the Bappahan- 
nock River, and the farm just across the 
river and immediately opposite Fredericks- 
burg as the place where the cherry tree 
and hatchet incident occurred. Alliiaugh 
tradition says Washington read this life 
of himself by Weems, history does not re- 
cord what he said about it. Perhaps he 
thought if he (Washington) could not tell 
a lie, the parson could, and did. 

Mercer and Washington were close and 
intimate friends from the time they first 
met on the frontier of Pennsylvania until 
the death of Mercer at Princeton. They 
often met in old Fredericksburg, at the 
home of Washington's mother, in the lodge 
room, and at the old Rising Sun tavern. 
He who enters the town is constrained to 
stand reverently, with uncovered head, on 
ground around which cling holy memories 
of its most illustrious citizen. 


John Paul was bom July 6, 1747, 
in the parish of Kirkbean, Scotland. His 
brother, William Paul, had resided in Fred- 
ericksburg some time prior to 1760, and 
kept a grocery store in a house now stand- 

80 The life of General Hugh Mercer 

ing at the corner of Prussia and Main 

The will of William Paul is recorded in 
Spottsylvania Comity, dated March 22, 
1772, and probated November 16, 1774. In 
his will he wrote: **It is my will and 
desire that my lots and houses in 
this town be sold and converted into money, 
which I give and bequeath to my beloved 
sister, Mary Young, and her two oldest 
children, in the Parish of Kirkbean, in 
the stewarty of Galloway, North Britain, 
Scotland.** And as tMs Mary Young 
was also sister of John Paul, it cannot 
possibly be doubted that William and John 
Paul were brothers. William Paul died 
in 1773, and is buried in old St. Gteorge*s 
churchyard. Over his remains there is still 
standing a moss-covered stone, with the 
simple inscription : * * William Paul, 1773. * * 

Seven cities claimed Homer, dead, and 
three contended for Virgil; a greater num- 
ber of American cities claim that John Paul 
had his home within their gates, but the 
record is against them. Fredericksburg, 
Virginia, was the one and only home of the 
great admiral in this country. One of his 
many biographers, as far back as 1823, lo- 
cates him at Fredericksburg, at the homo 
of his brother William, 

The life of General Hngh Mercer 81 

During the Eevolution he wrote to Baron 
Von Copelan: ** America has been the 
country of my fond election since I was 
thirteen, when I first saw it.'* His first 
visit, therefore, to Fredericksburg was 
about 1760, and after remaining there for 
nearly four years he went back to Scot- 
land. In ' ' The National Portrait Gallery, ' ' 
published in 1833, it is stated, *'In 1773 we 
find him (John Paul) in Fredericksburg, 
arranging the estate of his brother Will- 
iam, who had settled in Fredericksburg.'' 
In addition, the traditions and history of 
the town establish the unimpeachable fact 
that the illustrious hero of the sea had only 
one home in America — ^Fredericksburg. It 
was while living there that he added Jones 
to his name. The reason that moved him 
to do this is not known. Speculation and 
guesses abound, and authorities differ. 
There must have been some strong impel- 
ling cause, but it is locked in the mystery 
of a long silence. 

While a resident of that town he received 
his commission as lieutenant in the Conti- 
nental Navy. The splendid achievements 
of John Paul Jones are already so well 
known to the world that I will not attempt 
in so brief an article as this to narrate them 
or to give the story of his brilliant career. 

82 The life of General Hngh Mercer 

His hand was the first to unfurl the Stars 
and Stripes on the high seas. As the com- 
mander of the Bon Homme Eichard, his 
story is the pride of every boy in America. 
He was the only man who ever gave battle 
to the English on English soil. These 
things are within the knowledge of all. It 
is of his life in Fredericksburg that I 
write, and strive to redeem from the past 
those years of which so little has been writ- 

Mercer and Jones, both Scotchmen, were 
residents there at the same time, and it can 
scarcely be drawing on the imagination to 
picture these men of the Clans of old Scot- 
hand often meeting in social intercourse 
to talk of the land of their birth, being 
drawn together as friends and associates 
by the strong bond of their mother-country. 

It was from Fredericksburg that Mercer 
went forth to make his name immortal, 
fighting the battles of the Colonies on land; 
and it was from there that John Paul Jones 
went to become illustrious by his great vic- 
tories on the sea. The memories of both 
these great and illustrious men are cher- 
ished by old Fredericksburg, and will ever 
be cherished by her as long as the story 
of their lives shall live and Fredericksburg 
shall last. 



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John Paul Jones 


The life of General Hagh Meroer 83 


George Weedon was the ^'mine host** of 
the Rising Sun tavern at Fredericksburg, 
whom our English traveler, heretofore 
mentioned, said was over-zealous in stir- 
ring up sedition in the Colonies. He was 
also postmaster there. The post-office was 
kept in the tavern. Weedon was appointed 
lieutenant-colonel of the regiment of which 
Mercer was the colonel, was promoted to 
its colonelcy on August 17, 1776, and was 
made a brigadier-general on February 24, 

In the Battle of Brandywine, Weedon 
rendered conspicuous and valuable service 
while commanding a brigade in Greene's 
division, which checked the pursuit of the 
British and saved our army from utter and 
complete rout. He was a brave and bril- 
liant commanding officer at the Battle of 
Germantown. In consequence of some dis- 
satisfaction about rank, he left the army 
at Valley Forge, re-entering it in 1780 ; and 
in 1781 he was given the command of the 
Virginia Militia at Gloucester, which posi- 
tion he held at the surrender of Comwal- 
lis at Yorktown. 

General Weedon was the first president 
of the Virginia Branch of the Society of 

84 The life of General Hugh Mercer 

Cincinnati, and was a member of Lodge 
No. 4, A. F. and A. M., of which lodge Mer- 
cer was at one time the Master. After the 
death of his brother-in-law, General Hugh 
Mercer, General Weedon occupied **The 
Sentry Box" on lower Main street; and 
was appointed by the Court the guardian of 
Mercer's children. He died in Fredericks- 
burg in the early part of the last century. 

The General wrote a song, entitled 
*' Christmas Day in 76," which was sung 
at his festive board at each recurring 
Christmas. A very interesting account of 
this was given in a letter dated February 
8, 1837, from Hugh Mercer, Esq., the son 
of the General, to the grandfather of Judge 
Beverly Wellford, of Richmond, and no 
apology is offered for reproducing this 
song in this memoir. 


On Christmas Day in seventy-six 
Our ragged troops, with bayonets fixed, 

For Trenton marched away. 
The Delaware ice, the boats below, 
The light obscured by hail and snow. 

But no signs of dismay. 

The life of General Hagh Mercer 85 

Our object was the Hessian band 
That dare invade fair Freedom *s land. 

At quarter in that place. 
Great Washington, he led us on, 
With ensigns streaming with renown, 

Which ne'er had known disgrace. 

In silent march we spent the night. 
Each soldier panting for the fight. 

Though quite benumbed with frost. 
Greene on the left at six began, 
The right was with brave Sullivan, 

Who in battle no time lost. 

Their pickets stormed; the alarm was 

The rebels; risen from the dead, 

Were marching into town. 
Some scampered here, some scampered 

And some for action did prepare; 
But soon their arms laid down. 

Twelve hundred servile miscreants. 
With all their colors, guns, and tents, 

Were trophies of the day. 
The frolic o'er, the bright canteen 
In center, front, and rear, was seen, 

Driving fatigue away. 

86 The life of General Hngb Meroer 

Andy brothers of the cause, let's sing 
Our safe deliverance from a king 

Who strove to extend his sway. 
And life, you know, is but a span; 
Let's touch the tankard while we can. 

In memory of the day. 

** Written by General George Weedon, of 
the Eevolutionary Army, who was in the 
action at Trenton, and had charge of the 
Hessian prisoners after the victory, which 
prevented his being at Princeton a few 
days after and taking part in that glorious 

''My uncle and second father. General 
Weedon, went through the whole Eevolu- 
tionary War, commanding the American 
troops on the Gloucester side of York River 
during the siege of York and the surrender 
of the British Army at that memorable 
place. The brilliant victories at Trenton 
and Princeton were won at the most gloomy 
period of the great struggle for our inde- 
pendence ; it was the crisis of the war, and 
turned the scale in favor of our bleeding 
country. H. Mebceb." 

'*My dear Sir: I have had much pleas- 
ure in writing out for you, as you request- 
ed, the patriotic song of 'Christmas Day in 
76.' For many years after the Revolution 

The Life of General Hagh Mercer 87 

my uncle celebrated at *Tlie Sentry Box* 
(his residence, and now mine) the capture 
of the Hessians, by a great festival — ^a jubi- 
lee dinner, if I may so express myself — at 
which the Revolutionary officers then living 
here and in our vicinity, besides others of 
our friends, were always present. It was 
an annual feast, a day or so after Christ- 
mas Day, and the same guests always at- 
tended. ' 

*' Your father was, of course, a standing 
guest. I was young, and a little fellow, and 
was always drawn up at the table to sing 
^Christmas Day in 76.* 

''Two young servant boys he was bring- 
ing up as waiters in the family were posted 
at the door as sentinels, in military cos- 
tumes, with wooden muskets on their shoul- 
ders ; one he called Corporal Killbuck and 
the other Corporal Killdee. It was always 
a joyous holiday at 'The Sentry Box.* 

"I am, my dear sir, 

"Most truly yours, 



James Monroe was bom in Westmore- 
land County, Virginia, April 28, 1758. He 
was educated at William and Mary College, 

88 The life of General Hugh Mercer 

graduating in 1776. On leaving that col- 
lege he took up law for a profession; but 
being inspired by the martial fire that was 
then filling the breasts of the young men of 
that time, at the conmiencement of hostili- 
ties he offered his services and sword in 
the cause of the Colonies. He was made a 
lieutenant in the regiment which was com- 
manded by Hugh Mercer, and was with 
Washington and Mercer when they crossed 
the Delaware. On December 26, 1776, he 
was wounded in the shoulder at Trenton, 
while leading the van of the army. On re- 
covering from his wound he was appointed 
as an aide-de-camp on the staff of Lord 
Sterling, and was in the battles of Brandy- 
wine, Germantown and Monmouth. 

After the war he again took up his resi- 
dence in Fredericksburg. Under the laws 
then in force, in order to vote and hold of- 
fice it was necessary to own property; and 
to meet that qualification, an uncle of Mon- 
roe, who was also a resident of Fredericks- 
burg, made him a gift of a town lot, and 
thus he was enabled to exercise the great 
and inalienable right of an American citi- 

Monroe was at that time a member of 
the Fredericksburg Town Council, and a 
vestryman of St. George's Episcopal 







Hie Life of General Engh Hercer 89 

Church. When only twenty-four years of 
age he was sent to Congress for the district 
of which Fredericksburg constituted a part. 
So it was brought about that Monroe, in the 
Town Council of Fredericksburg, com- 
menced a career which culminated in his 
election to the Presidency. 

Monroe was a continuous oflfice-holder, 
ha^'ing been a town councilman, a member 
of the Virginia Legislature, Governor of 
that State, member of Congress, minister 
to two foreign courts, senator, cabinet offi- 
cer and President. And, what is to his 
everlasting honor and credit, he executed 
the trusts of these various and varied sta- 
tions with faithfulness and efficiency. He 
did his duty, and did it well, and has en- 
shrined his name in Americans history as 
a patriotic citizen, and as a conscientious, 
conservative and able officer. 

The result of his life in dollars and cents 
was that his poverty was to him a badge 
of honor. 

Monroe was much younger than Mercer, 
but he doubtless was found on the outskirts 
of the assembled and much excited patriots 
around the old open fireplace at the Rising 
Sun tavern, which tradition locates as a 
meeting place of these worthies *4n ye old- 
en time** for the discussion of the removal 

90 The life of General Eugli Heroer 

of the powder at Williamsburg by Dun- 
more, and other acts of England's intol- 
erable tyranny, as well as to formulate 
methods and means to stop and stay the 
onward march of Great Britain's aggres- 
sions against the rights and liberties of the 
Colonies. And when the cry **To arms I'' 
rang out over the land, young Monroe 
showed his faith by his works when he en- 
Usted in the regiment of which his friend, 
Mercer, was colonel. 

He was, however, destined to play a 
greater and more prominent part in the 
drama of life than Mercer. From a lieu- 
tenant he became the Commander-in-Chief 
of the army; from a member of the council 
of the town of Fredericksburg he became 
the Chief Executive of the Republic. Who 
knows how potential was the influence of 
Mercer on the life of Monroe, and how 
much, and how far, that influence shaped 
and molded his character, and thus 
brought about the illustrious career of 
Monroe? We only know that they were 
true and loyal friends. 

The Life of General Engh Mercer 91 


After the death of her husband, Augas- 
tine Washington, ** Madam Washington, *' 
as she was called by her neighbors and 
friends, moved to Fredericksburg, and 
lived and died in the house now standing 
on the corner of Charles and Lewis streets. 

The world pays its tribute to the memory 
of the mother of the ** Father of His Coun- 
try. ' * President Andrew Jackson said that 
**the character of Washington was aided 
and strengthened, if not formed, by the care 
and precepts of his mother, who was re- 
markable for the vigor of her intellect and 
the firmness of her resolution.** 

Mrs. Washington was left in early life a 
widow, with the burden of a young and 
large family, and to the task of guarding 
and governing them she unselfishly devoted 
herself. She was a woman of much busi- 
ness ability, for her farm she managed with 
great skill and with profitable results. Tra- 
dition says she was rather inaccessible and 
somewhat exclusive, for she was in no sense 
a society woman. Mrs. Washington was in- 
tensely religious, a consistent member of 
St. George *s Episcopal Church, and very 
charitable to the poor. Her hospitable home 

92 Tlie life of General Eugli Hercer 

was always open to her friends, among 
whom was Hugh Mercer, who was a fre- 
quent visitor there. 

When Washington found himself the lau- 
rel-crowned hero of the new Republic, he 
came first to pay his homage and filial de- 
votion to his revered mother. On that visit 
he was accompanied by Lafayette and a 
number of other distinguished military 
men. She received him as a devoted moth- 
er should receive a dutiful son. In that 
reception Washington the hero, to her, had 
no part. She was proud of her great son, 
proud because of his greatness, but prouder 
still, no doubt, as she remembered her part 
in making that son great. 

He escorted her to the Peace Ball before 
mentioned. At nine o^clock she said it was 
time for old people to go home, and she 

Washington sent a special messenger to 
his mother, it is said, to give her the glad 
tidings of the surrender of Cornwallis, An 
old gentleman once told the writer of this 
brief memoir that when that messenger 
dashed up the deserted streets of Freder- 
icksburg a Mr. Keiger, then a very young 
but precocious boy, was urged by some 
older ones standing on the street corner to 
go up to Madam Washington and get the 





The Life of General Engh Mercer 93 

news. Keiger went ; Mrs. Washington was 
in her garden; he watched and waited until 
she had opened the letter with a pair of 
scissors attached to her waist by a cord, 
then turning, she said, **My young man, 
what is it you want?'* He told her. She 
said, **Tell the gossips that George has 
sent me word that Lord Comwallis has sur- 
rendered at Torktown.** 

Lafayette, on his visit, called on the 
mother of his illustrious chief; he wrote 
home to France quite a lengthy account of 
that visit. Mrs. Washington met him at 
the door of her residence; he introduced 
himself. **Walk right in,'* said the Madam. 
**I am glad to see you, for George has told 
me all about you.** He was ushered into 
the parlor, and refreshed the inner man 
with her home-made ginger cake and her 
home-brewed rum punch ; and he went from 
that simple country home declaring that he 
was glad to say he had seen in her a splen- 
did old Virginia matron. 

In appearance, Mrs. Washington was of 
medium height, and rather stout in her old 
age, but carried herself with great dignity. 
For a number of years she suffered from 
a very painful disease. On August 25, 1789, 
she died. In her last illness she was at- 
tended by Doctors Mortimer and Hall. The 

94 The Life of Oeneral Engh Mercer 

funeral ceremonies were held in St. 
George *s Episcopal Church, August 28, 
1789. On the day of the funeral all busi- 
ness was suspended in the town; the church 
bells tolled. The whole population wended 
its way solemnly and reverently to pay its 
last sad tribute to the memory of a friend 
and neighbor. She was buried on the Ken- 
more farm, then owned and occupied by 
her daughter, Mrs. Fielding Lewis, in a 
spot she herself had selected for that 
purpose, near what are now known as 
the Oratory Bocks, where she frequently 
sat with her grandchildren and read her 

When the sad tidings of her death was 
conveyed to Congress, resolutions of sym- 
pathy for President Washington, and a 
tribute to her memory, were passed. This 
deeply touched Washington, who respond- 
ed in a note of thanks, adding: **I attribute 
all of my success in life to the moral, intel- 
lectual and physical education which I re- 
ceived from my mother.** No grander 
tribute was ever paid by a great man to 
his mother than that, and the world, well 
knowing how much was accomplished by 
him, can readily pay its homage to the 
memory of this great and good woman, 

The Life of General Hugh Heroer 95 

'^Methinks we see thee as in olden tdmey 
Simple in garb, majestic and serene, 
Unmoved by pomp and circumstance, 
Inflexible, and with a Spartan zeal 
Repressing vice, and making folly 

In 1833 the erection of a monument over 
the grave of this most illustrious of Ameri- 
can women was commenced, but never com- 
pleted. Congress was importuned, but 
failed to act, although it had promised in 
1789, by solemn resolution, to build a mon- 
ument to mark the spot where sleeps the 
mother of Washington. 

On October 21, 1889, the following appeal 
was made by the wife of this writer: 

''an appeal in behalf op the maby 
washington monument 

**Amid great pomp and ceremony the 
corner-stone of the monument to the mem- 
ory of Mary Washington, the mother of 
'The Father of this Eepublic,' was laid in 
1833. The erection of the monument over 
the grave of this most illustrious of Ameri- 
can women was voluntarily undertaken by 
a philanthropic and patriotic citizen, Silas 

96 The Life of General Hugh Mercer 

Burrows, of New York. Mr. Burrows died 
before its completion. It is now in an un- 
finished and dilapidated condition. 

** Congress has been again and again ap- 
pealed to and importuned. Favorable leg- 
islation has been promised, but this incom- 
plete monument crumbles and decays. Shall 
the memory of the mother of the great 
Washington longer be neglected I In every 
State of this Union monuments mark with 
emphasis the veneration with which George 
Washington is held by a grateful republic, 
and at the Capitol of the nation there is 
one that towers above all the rest; but no- 
where is there recognition made of the 
mother. Her very grave at this place is 
marked only by an unsightly pile of marble. 
Shall this neglect continue! 

**Mrs. Washington was an uncommon 
woman. It is recorded of her that *she 
was of strong will, splendid judgment, un- 
tiring energy, and without pretension,* and 
from these elements she molded her great 
son, taught him to become great, equipped 
him with attributes essential to great- 

**She lived, during the Revolutionary 
War, in Fredericksburg; died, and was bur- 
ied here at the spot she herself had selected 
for that purpose. Shall the grave of Mary 

The Life of General Engh Mercer 97 

Washington be allowed to remain longer 
in a condition which is the reminder of the 
forgetfulness, rather than the gratitude, of 
our people? Remember that the grave of 
Washington himself is held as a very Mecca 
to which all liberty-loving people can make 
their pilgrimage — ^the work of the faithful 
and devoted women of this land. And it is 
proposed that an organization shall at once 
be formed, having for its object the erec- 
tion of a monument over the grave of 
George Washington's mother at this 

**Will the women of this Eepublic 
respond to this appeal? Are they 
not willing to undertake this patriotic 

**To the end that steps may be immedi- 
ately taken, it is intended to obtain a 
charter of incorporation of the Mary Wash- 
ington Memorial Association, to have a 
president, one vice-president in each State, 
and other usual and necessary oflficers, all 
women. It is also suggested that the ladies 
of America, on February 22, 1890, shall in 
every State make some organized effort to 
raise the necessary funds. The writer of 
this requests that the papers give circu- 
lation to this appeal, and she will be glad 
to hear from any ladies who desire to 

98 The Ufa of Ckneral Hugh Xereer 

take an active interest in this patriotio 

''Mbs. John T. Gk)OLBioK* 
"Fredericksburg, Va., Oct. 15, 1889.'' 

In response, largely to that appeal, or in 
part at least as a result of it, the National 
Mary Washington Monument Association 
was organized, composed of patriotic 
women of America, and a stately, imposing 
monument stands sentinel over the grave 
of Mrs. Washington. On one side of it is 
inscribed, '* Erected by Her Country- 
women.'' Just here it will not be irrele- 
vant to record an incident. A verdant 
woman visited this monument and read 
* ' Erected by Her Countrywomen. " " Thank 
the Lawd!" she said, **that no city wimen 
had nothing to do with this monument. ' ' On 
the other side of thia splendid granite shaft 
is inscribed in raised letters this epitaph : 

"Mary, the Mother of Washington." 

LODGE NO. 4, A. F. AND A. M. * 

Past Master Bro. S. J. Quinn, of Fred- 
ericksburg, has compiled a very interesting 
history of this Lodge. From it we find 
that it was organized September 1, 1752. It 









The life of General Engh Mercer 99 

has had among its membership many good 
men and true, many who became illustrious 
besides George Washington, Hugh Mercer 
and George Weedon, of whose membership 
in that Lodge we have heretofore made 
mention. Its records are quaint and curi- 
ous, and as an illustration of this, we ex- 
tract from its proceedings as follows : 

**0n December 19, 1755, it was resolved 
by unanimous consent of the Lodge, that 
the treasurer shall, at his discretion, pur- 
chase on account of this Lodge six lottery 
tickets, and the numbers of them to be re- 
turned to the Lodge and made a minute 
of/' And tradition says that these tickets 
were signed by the illustrious brother, 
George Washington, who was president of 
the company. 

On April 15, 1769, **on motion of Broth- 
er Alexander Woodron, it was resolved, 
that the Stewarts of this Lodge, for the 
time being, shall for the future provide 
liquors, candies, and all other necessaries 
for the use of the Lodge. ' ' About this time 
two demijohns, one called **Jachen,'* full 
of Jamaica rum, and the other called 
**Boaz,'' full of Holland gin, with an old- 
fashioned loaf of sugar, were kept in the 
ante-room for the refreshment of the breth- 
ren; and tradition hath it; that some of the 


100 The Life of General Hugh Keroer 

brothers were content to tarry in the ante- 
room and never got any farther. 

**0n December 27, 1756, being the anni- 
versary of our Patron Saint John, the 
Lodge assembled, attended by several vis- 
iting brothers, and went in procession to 
the church, where we heard a most excel- 
lent sermon preached by our worthy Broth- 
er James Marye, after which we returned 
in procession to the Lodge, where our wor- 
thy Master returned the thanks of the 
Lodge to our worthy Brother James Marye 
for so good a sermon. 

**The Lodge being closed, the evening 
was spent very agreeably with a Ball.'* 

On the second Sunday in December, 1799, 
after the death of General Washington, 
Lodge No. 4 met in a Lodge of sorrow. The 
Grand Master of Virgima, who was a mem- 
ber of that Lodge and citizen of Fredericks- 
burg, Benjamin Day, made an address, 
from which we quote in part : 

**We are now, brethren, assembled to 
pay the last sad tribute of affection and re- 
spect to the eminent virtues and exemplary 
conduct that adorned the character of our 
worthy deceased brother, George Wash- 
ington. He was early initiated in this ven- 
erable Lodge, in the mysteries of our an- 
cient and honorable profession, and having 

General George Washington as a Mason and Member of 
Lodge No. 4, A. F. and A. M., Fredericksburg, Virginia 

OPPOtlTC P. 100 

The Life of General Hugh Kercer 101 

held it in the highest and most just venera- 
tion, the fraternal attention we now show 
to his memory is the more incmnbent 
upon us/' 

After these memorial exercises in the 
Lodge room, the Lodge went in procession 
to St. George's Episcopal Church, where 
religious services were held. 

On Sunday, November 28, 1824, General 
Lafayette, with his son, George Washing- 
ton Lafayette, and Colonel La Vassem, vis- 
ited that Lodge. Lafayette on this occasion 
was made an Honorary Member, and in re- 
sponse to an address of welcome the Mar- 
quis said: 

**The pleasure I ever feel in our frater- 
nal meetings cannot but be enhanced by the 
consideration, that in this city the first les- 
sons of childhood, and in this Lodge the 
first lessons of Masonry, were conferred 
upon the man who was first in all our 
hearts.'' * * * 

This old Lodge has many valuable relics 
and mementos of the old times; among 
them, a portrait of Washington painted 
from life by Sully, and the Holy Bible upon 
which Washington, Mercer and Weedon 
were obligated as Masons. 

This historic Lodge, the Alma Mater in 
Masonry of distinguished and illustrious 

102 The life of General Hugh Keroer 

men, feels proud of its record, as well as 
of its roll of honor; for it has always been 
faithful and true to the sacred principles 
and tenets of the order, ever practicing 
and proclaiming as its holy mission the ele- 
vation and ennoblement of mankind. 

Genealogical Notes on the Descendants 



John Mercer 1 was minister of Eannel- 
Ian in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, from 1650 
to 1676, when he resigned (in Jnne) be- 
cause of infirmity. He died August 7, 1677. 
John Mercer of Einnellan married lilias 
Bow. She was the great-granddaughter of 
John Bow, the Beformer. (See The 8 cat- 
tish Nation by William Anderson, Vol. IH, 
p. 380.) 

The children of John Mercer (1) and 
Lilias Bow, his wife, were: 

1. John Mercer 2. Baptized January 
8, 1654, at Old Machar. Died young. 

2. Agnes 2 (or Annas). Baptized Janu- 
ary 20, 1656. Polled, 1696, at Todlay, Par- 
ish of Alva. 



104 The Life of General Hugh Kercer 

3. Thomas Mercer 2. Baptized January 
20, 1658. Palled, 1696. He was married 
twice. His first wife was Anna Baite. The 
marriage contract is dated July 13, 1681, 
His second wife was Isabel. 

The children of Thomas Mebceb 2 (5) 

1. Lilias Mercer 3. PoUed 1696. 

2. John Mercer 3. PoUed 1696. Mar- 
ried Isabel Martin. 

3. Margaret Mercer 3. Polled 1696. 

4. Janet Mercer 3. Polled 1696. Mar- 
ried June 1, 1704, at Fyvie, to Eobert Eait 
of Micklefalla. 

5. Thomas Mercer 3. Baptized April 
25,1693. Polled 1696. 

6. Christian Mercer 3. Baptized June 
4,1695. PoUed 1696. 

7. William Mercer 3. Baptized March 
25, 1696. Married Anne, daughter of Sir 
Eobert Munro of Foulis. 

The children of John Mercer 3 (9) and 
Isabel Martin, his wife, were : 

1. Elizabeth Mercer 4. Baptized De- 
cember 10, 1710. Married Eev. James Wil- 
son, minister of Glowerie, May 27, 1735. 

The Life of General Hugh Kercer 105 

2. John Mercer 4. Baptized March 27, 

3. Thomas Mercer 4. Baptized Octo- 
ber 17, 1721. 

4. Isabel Mercer 4. Baptized June 15, 

5. Agnes Mercer 4. Baptized May 20, 

The children of William Mebceb 3 (14) 
and Anne Muneo 3 (15), his wife, were: 

1. Margaret Mercer 4. Baptized June 
8, 1724. 

2. Hugh Mercer 4. Baptized January, 
1726. Emigrated to America and married 
Isabella Gordon of Virginia. Wounded at 
Princeton, January 3, 1777, where he died 
on January 12th of the same year. 

3. Isabel Mercer 4. Baptized October 
30, 1735. Married George Mercer of Marl- 

The children of Gen. Hugh Mebceb 4 
(23) and Isabella Gobdon (24), his wife, 

1. Anna Gordon Mercer 5. Married 
Eobert Patton of Fredericksburg, Va. In 
a letter from Mrs. Dunbar, who was Eli^a- 

106 The Life ef Oeneral Hugh Kercer 

beth Gregory Thornton, to her sister, Mrs. 
Frances Thornton of Fall Hill, nee Miss 
Innes, daughter of Judge Innes of Ken- 
tucky, she wrote of this marriage: ^^But if 
I go on so fast I will not have time to tell 
you about Miss Ann Mercer's wedding. 
Well, Polly and myself were drawn forth in 
our best airs on the occasion, last Thursday 
was a week, and saw Miss M. give her hand 
to the delighted Mr. Patton. You may be 
sure she looked infinitely lovely; her dress 
was white satin and muslin; her necklace, 
earrings and bracelets were very bril- 

2. John Mercer 5. Bom 1772. Died 
September 30, 1817. 

3. William Mercer 5. Died unmarried. 
He was deaf and dumb. 

4. George Weedon Mercer 5. Died un- 

5. Hugh Tenant Weedon Mercer 5. He 
was a child in arms at his father's death. 
He was educated at the expense of the na- 
tion by act of Congress of 1793. He mar- 
ried Louisa GriflSn 5, daughter of Judge 
Cyrus Griffin by Lady Christina Stuart. 

Col. Hugh Mercer 5 (31) was bom in 
Fredericksbuxgj August 4, 1776, died at 
the ** Sentry Box,^^ Fredericksburg, De- 
cember 1, 1853. His wife, Louisa Griffin 

The Life of General Hugh Keroer 107 

Mercer 5 (32), died December 28, 1859, 
aged 80 years. These dates are taken from 
the tombs in the Masonic Cemetery in Fred- 

The Descendants op Bobebt Patton and 
Anne Gobdon Mebceb 

EoBEBT Patton 5 (27) was a Scotchman. 
He emigrated to Virginia some time before 
the Eevolutionary War, settled in Fred- 
ericksburg, Va., and there married Aknb 
Gobdon Mebceb 5 (26), only daughter of 
Gen. Hugh Mebceb 4 (23), about 1793, but 
prior to November 25th of that year vide 
will of General Weedon. 

The children of Eobert Patton and Anne 
Gordon Mercer 5 (26), his wife, were: 

1. Eobert Patton 6, a distinguished law- 
yer of Fredericksburg, Va. President of 
Farmers' Bank. He died, unmarried, at 
about the age of thirty-five, in 1830, in 
Spottsylvania County, Va. 

2. Hugh Mercer Patton 6. Died un- 
married in 1846. 

3. John Mercer Patton 6. Bom August 
10, 1797. Died October 29, 1858. He was 
for many years the acknowledged leader of 
the Eichmond Bar, a Representative in 
Congress from Virginia, and for a short 


108 The life of General Hugh Keroer 

time Governor of the State of Virginia. He 
married on January 8, 1824, Margaret 
French Williams 6, by whom he had twelve 

4. Eleanor Anne Patton 6. Bom , 

1805. Died June 24, 1890. She married on 
March 24, 1825, John James Chew 6. Bom 

, 1806. He was Clerk of Courts of 

Fredericksburg. Died January 23, 1870, 
at Fredericksburg, Va., and had six 

5. William * Fairlie Patton 6. Bom 

. Died . He married Harriet 

Shepherd Buck 6 and had five children by 
her. ^ 

6. Margaretta L. Patton 6. Bom , 

1810. Died July 2, 1852. She married, on 
April 18, 1835, John Minor Hemdon 6. 
Born May 14, 1808. Died September 19, 
1871, and had three daughters. 

Eobert Patton 5 (27). Died in 1827 or 

See report of Commissioner Thomas D. 
Banson in suit of Patton ^s Exec, against 
Patton ^s creditors in Circuit Court of Au- 
gusta County, Va., of 1871. 

The Life of General Hugh Kercer 109 

The Descendants of Bobebt Patton and 

Anne Gordon Meecbe 

The children of the Honoubable John 

Mebceb Patton 6 (35) and Maegabet 

Fbench Williams 6 (36), his wife, were: 

1. Eobert Patton 7. Bom October 10, 
1824. Died, unmarried, June 13, 1876. 

2. John Mercer Patton 7. Bom May 9, 
1826. He married first on November 11, 
1858, Sallie Lindsay Taylor 7, daughter of 
Alex. Taylor of Orange, Va. She died on 
December 28, 1872. He married, second, 
Lucy Agnes Crump, born April 29, 1846, 
by whom he had two children, both girls. 
Died on October 9, 1878. 

3. Isaac Williams Patton 7. Bom Feb- 
mary 4, 1828. Died February — , 1890. 
He married Fanny Elizabeth Merritt 7 on 
February 29, 1855. He held many promi- 
nent positions in New Orleans. There were 
three sons by this marriage. 

4. Lucy Anne Patton 7. Born Novem- 
ber 7, 1829. Died October 31, 1831. 

5. Hugh PhiUp Patton 7. Born July 7, 
1831. Died April 2, 1832. 

6. George Smith Patton 7. Bora June 
26, 1833. Died September — , 1864. He 
settled as a lawyer in West Virginia, volun- 
teered in the late war between the States, 
became a Colonel and was killed at the 


110 The life of Oeneral Hugh Keroer 

battle of Winchester, near the close of the 
war. He married Snsan Glassell 7, Novem- 
ber 8, 1855, and had by her four children^ 
Mrs. Patton afterwards was married to 
Col. George Hugh Smith of Los Angeles, 
Cal. He was the son of the Eev. George 
Archibald Smith of Alexandria, who mar- 
ried Ophelia Williams, sister of Margaret 
French Williams. There were two chil- 
dren by this second marriage : a girl, Anne 
Patton Smith, who married Hancock Ban- 
ning of Los Angeles ; and a boy, who died, 
full of promise, quite young. 

7. Waller Tazewell Patton 7. Bom 
July 15, 1835. Died July 21, 1863. He was 
Colonel in the Southern Army and Senator 
in the Virginia Legislature. He was mor- 
tally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg, 
July 3, 1863, and died a few days later, un- 

8. Mary Mercer Patton 7. Bom April 
14,1837. Died August 29, 1841. 

9. Eliza Williams Patton 7. Bom 
February 22, 1839. Married on Novem- 
ber 15, 1860, to John Gilmer 6, bom 
January 13, 1826, of Chatham, Va. He 
died March 12, 1894. They had several 

10. Hugh Mercer Patton 7. Bom April 
6,1841. Married Fannie Bull 7, of Orange, 

The Life of General Hugh Keroer 111 

Va., on October 19, 1870. They had several 

11. James French Patton 7. Bom 
September 19, 1843. Died while Judge of 
the Supreme Court of West Virginia, at 
Wheeling, on March 30, 1882. He married 
on April 6, 1869, Melinda Caperton 7, 
daughter of Senator Caperton of Union, 
Monroe County, Va., and had by her two 

12. William Macf arland Patton 7. Bom 
August 22, 1845. Died May 19, 1905. He 
studied engineering, and while Professor 
of Civil and Military Engineering at the 
Virginia Military Institute, he married 
Miss Annie Jordon on January 7, 1875, by 
whom he had several children, all girls. 
She afterwards married Judge Bingham of 
the Supreme Court of District of Columbia. 

The children of Col. Jno. Mercer Patton 
7 (44) and Sally Lindsay Taylor 7 (45), his 
first wife, were: 

1. Jno. Mercer Patton, Junior, 8. Bom 
August 30, 1859. He married on June 28, 
1890, Julia Mattem. They had two chil- 

a. Catherine 8. Bom April, 1891. 

6. Jno. Mercer Patton (9), Jr. Bom 
April, 1892. 

112 The Life of General Hugh Keroer 

2. Alexander Taylor Patton 8. Born 
April 19, 1861. He married Miss Beatrice 
Chandler of San Francisco in June, 1901. 
Died November, 1904. No issue. 

3. Sadie Lindsay Patton 8. Bom Feb- 
ruary 7, 1863. She married on September 
19, 1888, Capt. Arthur Jno. Hutchinson 8 
(R. A.), who was born August 31, 1846. 
Their children are : 

a. Mary Lindsay Hutchinson 9. Bom 
August 4, 1890. 

b. William Nelson Lindsay Hutchinson 
9. Bora December 7, 1892. 

c. Arthur John Lindsay Hutchinson 9. 
Bom August 18, 1896. 

4. George Tazewell Patton 8. Bom 
December 25, 1864. He was married on 
December 10, 1890, to Virginia (Jennie) 
King Pemberton 8. Bom February 1, 
1864. They have children : 

a. Mary Pemberton Patton (9). Bom 
December 3, 1893. 

6. William Eives Patton (9). Born May 
5, 1898. 

c. George Tazewell Patton (9). Bom 
January 31, 1902. 

5. James Lindsay Patton 8. Bom No- 
vember 20, 1866. Married June 28, 1890, 
to Fanny Kean Leake 8, daughter of Judge 
W. J. Leake of Ashland, Va., and later of 

The Life of General Hugh Hercer 113 

Richmond, Va. He was a minister of the 
Episcopal Church and Missionary to 
Japan. Their children are : 

1. John Mercer Patton (9), Jr. Bom 
June 7, 1891. Died July 1, 1892. 

2. Sadie Patton 9. Bom July 5, 1893. 

3. Martha Callis Patton 9. Born Octo- 
ber 5, 1896. 

4. James Lindsay Patton 9. Bom De- 
cember 13, 1900. 

5. William Josiah Leake Patton 9. Bom 
July 28, 1902. 

6. Fanny Leake Patton 9. Bom March 
10, 1905. 

7. Robert Williams Patton 8. Born 
February 18, 1869. Married on January 1, 
1900, Janie Slaughter Stringfellow. Born 
August 15, 1876, daughter of Rev. Frank 
Stringfellow of Raccoon Ford, Va., and 
Emma Francis Green, bom 1843, of Alex- 
andria, Va. Issue: 

Alice Lee Patton 9. Bom July 25, 1901, 
near the Meadows in Albermarle County, 

8. William Rives Patton 8. Born April 
3,1871. Died May 29, 1897. Unmarried. 

9. Alfred Slaughter Patton 8. Bom 
October, 1872. Died July 28, 1873. 

114 The life of General Eugli Xeroer 

Thx Dbscbndakts of Akke (}obdok Mebceb 


The dhildren of Col. Jno. M. Patton (44) 
and Lucy Agnee Cnimp, his second wife, 

9. Susan French Patton 8. Bom Sep- 
tember 11, 1884. 

10. Apies Parke Patton 8. Bom Feb- 
raary 19, 1887. 

The children of Col. Isaac Williams Pat- 
ton 7 (46) and Fanny E. Merritt 7 (47) 

1. William Thomas Patton. Bom 
March 18, 1856. Died July 4, 1896. 

2. Mary Mercer Patton. Bom March 9, 
1861. Died August —, 1864. 

3. George Tazewell Patton. Bom No- 
vOTiber 14, 1864. 

4. Mercer Williams Patton. Bom Oc- 
tober 26, 1867. Married. 

The Descekdahts of Bobebt Pattok and 
Akne Oobdok Mebceb 

The children of George Smith Patton 7 
(50) and his wife, Susan Thornton Glassell 
7 (51), were: 

George Smith Patton. He married Buth 

The Life of General Hugh Mercer 115 

Wilson of California. They have two chil- 

2. Ellen Thornton Patton. She mar- 
ried Tom Brown, Esq., of Los Angeles, Cal. 
He died about 1895. They have three chil- 

3. Andrew Glassell Patton. 

4. Susan Glassell Patton. Married 1904. 

The Descendants of Eobebt Patton and 
His Wife, Anne Gordon Mercer 
The children of Eliza Williams Patton 
7 (54) and John Gilmer 7 (55), her hus- 
band, were: 

1. John Patton Gilmer. Bom Septem- 
ber 9, 1861. Married on October 16, 1895, 
to Lucy Dabney Walker. Bom October 10, 
1872. They have one child. 

2. William Wirt Gihner. Born May 21, 
1863. Unmarried. 

3. Tazewell Gilmer. Bom March 30, 

4. Mary Eidgeway Gilmer. Born Au- 
gust 9, 1866. 

5. Francis Walker Gilmer. Bom May 
23, 1868. Died November 7, 1879. 

6. Mercer Williams Gilmer. Bom De- 
cember 30, 1869. Unmarried. 

7. James Carrington Gilmer. Bom De- 
cember 7, 1871. 

116 The Life of General Hugh Xeroer 

8. Lindsay Gilmer. Bom July 7, 1873. 

9. Isabel Breckinridge Gilmer. Bom 
December 26, 1879. 

The Descendants op Bobebt Patton and 
Anne Qobdon Meboeb 
The children of Hugh Mercer Patton 7 
(56) and Frances Dade Bull 7 (57) were: 

1. Marguerita French Patton 8. Bom 
September 22, 1871. She married on June 

9, 1895, George Harmer Gilmer 8, bom 
December 19, 1864, son of Judge George 
Henry Gilmer of Chatham, Va. They live 
in Lynchburg, Va. Issue : 

a. Helen Mercer Gilmer 9. Bom Janu- 
ary 8, 1896. 
6. Rita Carrington Gilmer. Bom July 

10, 1899. 

2. Sally Lindsay Patton. Bom Sep- 
tember 15, 1872. Died . 

3. Frances Payton Patton. Bom May 
4, 1876. 

4. John Mercer Patton. Bom January 

11, 1878. 

5. Marie Louise Patton. Died in in- 

6. Mabel Blair Patton. Born June 27, 

The life of General Hugh Mercer 117 

7. Helen Lee Patton. Bam October — , 

8. Marcus Dade Patton. Died in in- 

9. Clayton Lorenzo Patton. Bom Au- 
gust 11, 1892. Died in infancy. 

The Descendants op Bobebt Patton and 
Anne Gobdon Mebceb 
James French Patton 7 (58). Married 
Melinda Caperton (59) and had issue: 

1. Harriet Echols Patton. Bom Au- 
gust 25, 1870. Married 1903. 

2. Allen Gilmer Patton. Bom Decem- 
ber 1, 1871. Married 1903. 

William Macfarland Patton 7 (66). 
Married Annie Jordon 7 (61) and had 

1. Sallie Taylor Patton. Bom April 
26, 1877. Married on August 28, 1905, at 
Blacksburg, Va., Prof. . 

2. Margaret French Patton. Born Au- 
gust 13, 1878. 

3. Virginia Mercer Patton. Bom Sep- 
tember 21, 1880. 

4. Nannie Maria Patton. Bom July 6, 

118 The life of General Hugh Xereer 

5. Agnes Lee Patton. Bom September 
30, 1884. 

6. Lucy Williams Patton. Bom De- 
cember 20, 1886. 

7. Elizabeth Jordan Patton. Bom 
January 1, 1876. Died July 13, 1876. 

The Descendants of Bobebt Patton and 
Anne Goedon Mebceb 

The Chew Family 

Eleanor Anne Patton 6 (37). Married 
John James Chew 6 (38) of Fredericks- 
burg, Va., who was for many years a Clerk 
of the Courts of Fredericksburg, and had 
issue as follows : 

1. Anne Mercer Chew 7. Bom Febru- 
ary 26, 1826. Died May 13, 1896. She mar- 
ried, on October 14, 1851, Frank Thornton 
Forbes. Bom January 11, 1826, and died 
December, 1905, and had issue as follows : 

The Forbes Family 

a. John James Forbes 8. Bom Septem- 
ber — , 1852. Died May — 1855. 

6. Sallie Innes Forbes 8. Bom August 
17, 1854. 

The life of General Eugli Xeroer 119 

c. James Fitzgerald Forbes 8. Bam 
July 14, 1856. 

d. Eliza French Forbes 8. Bom Sep- 
tember 19, 1858. 

e. Ellen Patton Forbes 8. Bom Novem- 
ber 25, 1860. Married Dr. William Wayne 

Owens of Savaimah, Ga., on . Issue: 

William Duncan Owens 9. Bom June 22, 

/. Anne Mercer Forbes 8. Bom Febru- 
ary 4, 1864. 

The Chew Family. 

Bobert Stanard Chew, bom October 3, 
1828. Died August 17, 1886. Unmarried. 
Succeeded his father as Clerk of the Courts 
of Fredericksburg, graduated in medicine, 
and was Colonel of the 30th Virginia Begi- 
ment, C. S. A. 

3. Ellen Patton Chew. Bom Septem- 
ber 17, 1837. Died May 22, 1896. Unmar- 

4. Hugh Patton Chew 7. Bom Septem- 
ber . Died January 30, 1873. He mar- 
ried Bessie Bainbridge 7 on , and had 

three children: 

a. Eleanor Patton Chew 8. Bom No- 
yember 13, 1868. 

b. John James Chew 8. Bojcn January 


120 The Life of General Hugh Mercer 

c. Bessie Mason Bainbridge Chew 8. 
Bom August — , 1873. Died . 

Mrs. Bessie Bainbridge Chew was mar- 
ried on , 18 — , to William M. Grafton, 

and now resides (May, 1899) at Sewickley, 
near Pittsburgh, Pa. 

The Crutchfield Family 

5. Elizabeth French Chew 7. Bom 
June 13, 1843. 

She married, on January 13, 1865, Edgar 
Cratchfield (born March 1, 1840) of Fred- 
ericksburg, Va., and had issue: 

a. Eleanor Patton Crutchfield 8. Bom 
May 6, 1866. 

She married, on November, — , 1892, 
Clement Bead Carrington 8, bom July 25, 
1854, and died , and had issue: 

1. Abram Cabell Carrington 9. Bom 
January 26, 1894. 

2. Elizabeth Crutchfield Carrington 9. 
Bom June 30, 1896. 

6. Stapleton Crutchfield 8. Bom Au- 
gust 24, 1868. Died . 

He married on September 12, 1893, Mary 
Lee Van House, bom December 12, 1873, 
and had issue by her: 

1. Elizabeth Mercer Crutchfield 9. Bom 
March 18, 1895. Died July 7, 1896. 

The Life of General Hugh Mercer 121 

2. Joy Mantlebert Crutchfield 9. Bom 
December 23, 1896. 

c. Susan Gatewood Crutchfield 8. Bom 
December 23, 1870. 

Married on October 24, 1895, to Daniel 
Shriver Russell 8, and had issue: 

1. Elizabeth Mantlebert Russell 9. 
Bom August 14, 1896. 

2. Eleanor Blain Russell 9. Born Oc- 
tober 26, 1898. 

d. Anne Minor Crutchfield 8. Born Feb- 
raary 14, 18—. Died May 22, 1898. 

e. Margaretta Taylor Crutchfield 8. Bom 
November 7, 1876. 

/. Elizabeth French Cratchfield 8. Bom 
Febmary 3, 1879. 

Married Mr. John Minor Gatewood of 
Boston, June 1, 1905. 

g. Mercer Forbes Crutchfield 8. Bom 
August 15, 1881. 

6. Margaretta Hemdon Chew 7. Bom 
April, 1846. 

She married, on January 28, 1873, Ar- 
thur Taylor (bom October 13, 1844) of 
Fredericksburg, Va. They have issue as 
follows : 

122 The life of General Eugli Xeroer 

a. Robert Chew Taylor 8. Bom October 
7, 1879. 

b. Fanny Mackall Taylor 8. Bom Oc- 
tober 4, 1881. 

c. Margaretta Mercer Taylor 8. Bom 
AprU 15, 1885. 

The children of William Fairlie Patton 6 
(39) and Harriet Shepherd Buck 6 (40) 

1. Anthony Patton 7. Bom . Died 

January 21, 1905. 

He married Virginia Bernard Coakley 
on ,18 — . No issue. 

2. Mary Patton 7, twin of the above. 
Bom . Died . 

She married Richard Henry Catlett 7, 

bom , of Staunton, Va. They have 

three children. 

3. William Fairlie Patton 7. Died . 

4. . Died in infancy. 

5. Anne Gordon Patton 7. Bom . 

She married, on , 18 — , Gen. Jno. 

Rogers Cooke. Bom June 10, 1833. Died 
April 10, 1891, and had eleven children. 

6. Fairlie Preston Patton 7. Bom 
March 10, 1851. 

The life of General Eugh Xeroer 123 

He married Winnie T. Branham (bom 
AprU 18, 1853) on April 18, 1875. They 
have five children. 

The children of Mary Patton 7 (163) and 
Eichard Henry Catlett 7 (164) are : 

1. Charies Catlett. Bom August 18, 

He married, on November 6, 1890, Eliza^ 
beth Marye Hunton, daughter of James 
Innis Hunton of Warrenton, Va., and had 
issue by her as follows : 

a. Lucy Hunton Catlett. Bom Septem- 
ber 26, 1891. 

h. Eichard Henry Catlett. Bom Octo- 
ber 19, 1892. 

c. Elizabeth McNemara Catlett. Bom 
June 22, 1895. 

2. Eichard Henry Catlett. BomNov«n- 
ber 27, 1868. 

3. William Fairlie Catlett. Bom Au- 
gust 8, 1871. Died November — , 1872. 

The Cooke Branch 

The children of Anne Gordon Patton 7 
(167) and Gen. Jno. Eogers Cooke 7 (168) 

1. Jno. Eogers Cooke (8), Jr. Bom 
March 29, 1865. 

124 The life of General Hugh Xeroer 

2. Fairlie Patton Cooke 8. Born May 
2, 1867. 

Married October 26, 1904, to Miss Mary 
Edmonia Eogers of Eichmond, Va. 

3. Ellen Mercer Cooke 8. Bom . 

She married, on November 14, 1895, Aus- 
tin Brockenbrough 8. Bom April 18, 1862, 
and had issue: 

a. Austin Brockenbrough. Bom July 6, 

b. Anne Gordon Brockenbrough. Bom 
April 27, 1903. 

4. Philip St. Geo. Cooke 8. Bom No- 
vember 3, 1871. 

5. EstenCooke8. Bom March 10, 1873. 
Died ,1873. 

6. Wilt Cooke 8. Bom March 10, 1873. 
Died , 1873. 

7. Eachel Cooke 8. Bom June 16, 1874. 

8. Harriet Shepherd Cooke 8. Bom Au- 
gust 10, 1876. Married, on March 27, 1900, 
to Mr. William Jefferson Wallace. Bom 
, 18 — . Issue: Virginia Gordon Wal- 
lace. Born March 12, 1903. 

9. Nanny Gordon Cooke 8. Bom Octo- 
ber 5, 1878. Married, on October 24, 
1905, Stafford A. Parker, of Eichmond, 

10. Stuart Cooke 8. Bom December 8, 
1879. Married, on January 22, 1903, to 

The life of General Hugh Heroer 125 

Miss Martha Ann Lundy (bom July 18, 
) of Eichmond, Va. 

The children of Fairlie Preston Patton 7 
(169) and Winnie T. Branham 7 (170) are : 

1. Fairlie Clifton Patton. Bom Decem- 
ber 4, 1876. 

2. Sterling Hume Patton. Born De- 
cember 19, 1878. Died December 28, 1878. 

3. Robert Antony Patton. Born De- 
cember 13, 1879. 

4. Mary Alice Patton. Bom May 8, 

5. Eugenie Virginia Patton. Born April 
24, 1886. 

6. William Henry Patton. Bom Decem- 
ber 22, 1887. 

7. John Mercer Patton. Born Febru- 
ary 9, 1891. 

8. Winnie Baidie Patton. August 6, 

9. Hugh Peyton Patton. October 26, 

The Herndon Family 

The children of Margaretta Patton 6 
(41) and John Minor Hemdon 6 (41) were: 

1. Ellen Mercer Hemdon 7. Bom April 
29, 1836. Died January 29, 1888. 


126 Hie life of Oeneral Hugh Xeroer 

2. Nanny Gordon Herndon 7. Bom 
^,1838. Died AugTist 1, 1862. 

3. Elizabeth Fairlie Hemdon 7. Bom 
1841. Died January 3, 1892. 

She married, on , 18 — , Seth Barton 

French 7 (bom October 5, ), who is a 

prominent financier in the city of New 
York. They had three children : 

a. Margaretta Patton French 8. Bom 
July 25, 1857. Died November 30, 1878. 

b. John Hemdon French. Bom August 
4, 1859. 

He married, on November 14, 1888, 
Sarah Ann Spies Cockrane 8 (bom Febru- 
ary 18, 1865), by whom he has children : 

1. Seth Barton French, Jr. Bom Au- 
gust 17, 1889. 

2. Hilah Cockrane French. Bom Janu- 
ary 28, 1891. 

3. Ellen Mercer French. Born March 
8, 1896. 

4. John Hemdon French, Jr. Bom 
Febmary 26, 1898. 

c. George Barton French 8. Bom Feb- 
mary 12, 1864. 

Married Adela Lesher on April 29, 1886. 
No issue. 
He next married Miss of Denver. 

d. Nannie Gordon French 8. Bom 
March 25, 1866. 

The life of Oeneral Eugli Xeroer 127 

She married, on April 21, 1885, Chaxles 
Steele 8 (bom May 5, 1857), who is a mem- 
ber of the firm of J. P. Morgan & Co., 
bankers. New York City. They have 
children : 

a. Eleanor Hemdon Steele 8. Bom Jnly 
12, 1891. 

6. Nancy Gordon Steele 9. Bom Octo- 
ber 11, 1894. 

c. Catheryn Nevitt Steele. Bom March 

The Descendants op Col. Hugh Mbboeb 
AND Louisa Gbipfin 
The children of Col. Hngh Mercer 5 (31) 
of the ** Sentry Box,*' Fredericksburg, 
Va., and Louisa GriflSn 5 (32), his wife, 
were : 

1. Hugh Weedon Mercer 6. Bom No- 
vember 27, 1808. Died June 9, 1877. He 
settled in Savannah, Ga. Married, first, 
Mary Stiles Anderson 6 (bom September 
17, 1812; died Febraary 3, 1855) of Savan- 
nah, Ga., on Febraary 5, 1834, and had by 
her six children. He married, second, Mrs. 
George A. Cuyler 6 {nee Steenberger) of 
Virginia, and had one child, a daughter. 

He was Major-General in the Confeder- 
acy, and died at Baden-Baden, Germany. 

2. George Weedon Mercer 6. Bom 

128 The Life of General Hugh Mercer 

January 3, 1816. Died September 9, 1858, 

3. Julia Weedon Mercer 6. Bom . 

Died December 10, 1883. 

She married, on May 12, 1825, Dr. Eob- 

ert Page Waller 6 (bom ; died July 21, 

1872) of Williamsburg, Va., and had issue. 

4. John Cyrus Mercer 6. Bom at Fred- 
ericksburg, May 12, 1810. Died March 26, 
1884. He practiced medicine in Williams- 
burg, Va.; was appointed Surgeon in the 
U. S. Navy; resigned; appointed Surgeon 
in the Confederate States Navy; with the 
Marine Hospital, Norfolk. 

He married Catherine Waller 6, died 
May 24, 1892, daughter of Dr. Eobert Page 
Waller, and had issue. 

5. Louisa Mercer 6. She married Rev. 
Dr. John Leyburn 6, a Presbyterian min- 
ister. Born . Died . No issue. 

Miss Julia Weedon Mercer was the sec- 
ond wife of Dr. R. P. Waller, his first wife 
being Eliza Corbin GriflBin. 

The children of Gen. Hugh Weedon Mer- 
cer 6 (211) and Mary Stiles Anderson 6 
(212), his first wife, are: 

1. George Anderson Mercer 7. Bom 
Febraary 9, 1835. 

He married, on October 23, 1861, Nanny 
Maury Hemdon 7 (died June 16, 1885) of 

Tlie life of General Hugh Mereer 129 

Fredericksburg, Va., daughter of Dr. Bro- 
die Hemdon, and by her had issue : 

1. Nannie Hemdan Mercer 8. Bom 
January 8, 1866. 

She married^ on April 24, 1889, Joseph 
Muir Lang 8 (bom February 4, 1861) and 
has issue: 

a. George Mercer Lang. Bom July 13, 

2. George Anderson Mercer. Bom 
March 2, 1868. 

He married, on April 19, 1892, Mary 
Walter 8 of Savannah, Ga. (bom October 
8, 1872), and has issue: 

a. George Anderson Mercer. BomFeb- 
raary 7, 1893. 

b. George Walter Mercer. Bom April 
20, 1897. 

3. Lewis Hemdon Mercer 8. Bom 
March 4, 1870. Settled in New Toric. 

4. Bobert Lee Mecrer 8. Bom Novem- 
ber 24, 1871. 

He married, on October 27, 1896, Kath- 
erine Mackay Stiles 8 of Cartersville, Ga. 
Bora April 29, 1870. 

5. Edward Clifford Anderson Mercer 8. 
Bora November 13, 1873. 

He married, on June 8, 1898, Josephine 
Freeland 8 of Charieston, S. C. Bom 
March 4, 1875. 


130 The Life of General Hugh Merper 

6. Hngh Weedon Mercer 8. Died in in- 
fancy, February 3, 1871. Bom August 25, 

7. Brodie Hemdon Mercer 8. Bom 
, 1876. Died in infancy, June 13, 1878. 

3. Hugh Weedon Mercer 7. Bom 
March 3, 1846. Died June 7, 1847. 

2. William Gordon Mercer 7. Bom 
May 26, 1843. Died November 26, 1844. 

4. Robert Lee Mercer 7. Bom July 10, 

5. Mary Stuart Mercer 7. Bom Janu- 
ary 12, 1842. 

She married, on February 5, 1863, Gen- 
eral Henry Harrison Walker of Sussex 
County, Va. (bom October 15, 1833), and 
has issue. General Walker ^s father was 
John Harrison Walker of Sussex County, 
Va., and his mother was Marie Louise Car- 
gill, also of Sussex County. They had ten 
children, of whom General Walker was 
second child. 

6. Georgia Anderson Mercer 7. Bom 
September 6, 1851. Died December 5, 1878. 

She married, on January 15, 1874, Rob- 
ert Apthorp Boit of Boston, Mass. (Bom 
April 29, 1846.) She died at the birth of 
her second child, leaving two daughters. 

1. Mary Anderson Mercer 8. Bom 
September 5, 1877. 

The Life of General Hugh Mercer 131 

2. Georgia Mercer 8. Born November 
25, 1875. 

The child of Gen. Hugh Weedon Mercer 
6 (211) and Mrs. George A. Cuyler 6 (nee 
Bessie Steenberger) (213), his second 
wife, is : 

1. Alice. 

The children of Gen. Henry H. Walker 7 
(251) and Mary Mercer 7 (250) are: 

1. Mary Mercer Walker 8. Bom May 
29, 1864. 

She married, on September 17, 1890, 
George Evelyn Harrison 8 of Brandon-on- 
the-James-Eiver, Va. 

2. Lonise Cargill Walker 8. Bom Sep- 
tember 25, 1869. 

3. Henry Harrison Walker 8. Bom 
January 11, 1872. 

4. Hugh Mercer Walker 8. Bom April 
17, 1876. 

5. Alice Stuart Walker 8. Bom Novem- 
ber 24, 1877. 

She married, on January 7, 1899, Edwin 
A. Stevens Lewis of Castle Point, Hobo- 
ken, N. J. 

The children of Dr. Bobert Page Waller 
6 (216) and Julia Weedon Mercer 6 (215) 


132 The Life ef General Hnirli Xereer 

1. Hugh Mercer Waller 7. Born De- 
cember, 1829. Died May 30, 1896. 

2. Laura Page Waller 7. Bom July 31, 

She married, on October 15, 1846, Dr. 
William Sylvanus Morris 7 of Lynchburg, 
Va. (bom March 17, 1821; died December 
20, 1893), and had issue: 

3. Louisa Mercer Waller 7. Bom Feb- 
ruary 7, 1826. Died October 30, 1856. She 
married Captain J. B. Cosnahan of South 

Carolina 7 (bom 1821, died 1862) on , 

1843, and had issue : 

4. Julia WeedoH Waller 7. Bom No- 
vember 23, 1836. Died October 30, 1860. 

5. Isabella Stuart 7. Bom 1833. Died 
May 15, 1855. 

Kate Page Waller 7. Bom November 
15, 1840. 

She married, on July 3, 1861, Charles 
Scott Langhome 7 (bom January 23, 1836; 
died March 31, 1896). 

(Issue: page 95 of Notebook of Meroer 

The children of Dr. William Sylvanus 
Morris 7 (280) a^d Page WaUer 7 (279) 

The Life of General Hugh Mercer 133 
1. Mary Mercer Morris. Bom 

She married, on , Mr. Nowlin of 


2. Charles Morris. 

3. Eobert Page Waller Morris. He 

Judge of United States District Court of 
Minnesota, appointed by President Eoose- 
velt, and late Member of Congress from 

4. John Speed Morris 8. 

He married, on February 19, 1882, Pattie 
Cary Kean 8 (bom April 11, 1858) and had 
issue : 

a. Robert Morris 9. Bom , 1883. 

6. Mary Randolph Morris 9. 

c. Page Waller Morris 9. Bom July 1, 

d. William Sylvanus Morris 9. Bom 
May 6, 1888. 

5. Lou Belle Morris 8. 

She married, first, Mr. Langhome of 
Lvnchburg, and had issue: 
'l. SaUie. 

2. Bessie. 

She married, second, on , Robert 

Stanard 8, and left issue: 

1. Virginia. Bom . 

2. . Bom . 

134 Tlie Life of General Hugh Mercer 

The children of J. B. Cosnahan 8 (282) 
and Louisa Mercer Waller 8 (281) are: 

1. Boberta Ould Cosnahan 9. Bom 
April 29, 1844. 

She married, on December 25, 1871, 
Charles Camm 9, bom April 18, 1844, and 
had issne living: 

Florence Waller Camm. Bom March 9, 

Edward Camm. Bom February 28, 1876. 

Louise Page. Bom September 2, 1879. 

3. Mary Mercer Cosnahan 9. Bom Oc- 
tober 5, 1850. 

She married, on December 22, 1869, Prof. 
Thomas Jeffres Stubbs 9 of William and 
Mary College (bom September 14, 1841), 
and had issue living: 

a. Annie Waller Carter Stubbs 10. Bom 
January 7, 1872. 

6. J. T. Stubbs, Jr., 10. Bom December 
11, 1879. 

c. Lucy Taliof erro Conway Stubbs. Bom 
October 11, 1882. 

d. Mary Mercer Stubbs. Bom June 1, 

The children of Dr. John Cyrus Mercer 
6 (217) and Mary Catherine Waller 6 (218) 
were : 

The Life of General Hugh Meroer 135 

1. Robert Page Mercer 7. Died in in- 

2. Mary Lonisa Mercer 7. Bom June 

She married, on January 3, 1867, Bev. 
Daniel Blain 7 (bom November 20, 1838) 
of the West Hanover Presbytery, Va., and 
had issne : 

3. Eliza Christina Mercer 7. 

She married, on November 26, 1861, Dr. 

Beverly St. George Tucker 7 (bom ; 

died December, 1896), and had issue : 

4. Thomas Hugh Mercer 7. Born in 
1845. Died 1864. Unmarried. Lieutenant 
C. S. A. 

5. Corbin Waller Mercer 7. Bom April 
2, 1845. 

He married, on November 25, 1885, Fan- 
nie Burwell Nelson 7 (bom July 16, 1848), 
daughter of William Nelson of Yorktown, 
second grandson of Governor Nelson, and 
had issue: 

6. Catherine Stuart Mercer 7. Bom at 
Williamsburg, 1847. 

She married, on November 26, 1873, Wil- 
liam Stuart Wall (died in Durham, N. C, 
1891), and had issue: 

7. John Leyburn Mercer 7. Bom Au- 
gust 2, 1849. 

He married, on March 31, 1875, Jean Sin- 


136 The Life of General Hugh Meroer 

clair Bright 7 (bom December 20, 1850), 
daughter of Samuel Bright of Williams- 
burg, and had issue: 

8. Blakely Carter Mercer 7. Died in in- 

9. Robert Page Mercer 7. 

He married Sally Tourman 7, and they 
have issue: 

10. Isabella Stuart Waller Mercer 7. 
Bom September 29, 1858. She married on 
October 18, 1888, Charles McGary 7 (bom 
November 12, 1858), of Durham, N. C, and 
have issue. Charles McGary was son of 
Captain P. McGary of the U. S. Navy, and 
was bom in Buenos Ayres. 

2. George Weedon Mercer 7. Bom 
June 4, 1863. 

He married Elizabeth Butterworth 7 
(bom September 9, 1872) on January 5, 
1893, and has issue : 

The children of Rev. Daniel Blain 7 (328) 
and Mary Louisa Mercer 7 (327) are: 

1. Rev. John Mercer Blain 8* Bom 
April 30, 1869. 

He went as a missionary to China and 
there married, on August 24, 1897, Claude 

The life of General Hugh Mercer 137 

Lacy Grier 8 of North Carolina. They have 
issne : 

a. Daniel Blain 9. Born December 17, 

6. Mary Grier Blain. Bom October 27, 

c. Margaret Gary Blain. Bom October 
14, 1903. 

2. Randolph Harrison Blain 8. Bom 
January 12, 1871. Married Jean Throck- 
morton Forman, August 23, 1899. Issue: 
(1) Mary Louise. Born August 14, 1900, at 
Coresville, Va. (2) Stanton Forman. Bom 
in Louisville, Ky., July 22, 1902. 

3. Samuel Stuart Blain 8. Bom Octo- 
ber 18, 1872. 

4. Hugh Mercer Blain 8. Bom Decem- 
ber 26, 1874. Married, at Waynesboro, Va., 
Mary Moore Winston, June 26, 1901. Is- 
sue: (1) Elizabeth Winstoiu Bom Novem- 
ber 28, 1902. (2) Hugh Mercer. Bom Au- 
gust 14, 1905. 

5. Daniel Blain 8. Son of Rev. Daniel 
Blain and Mary Louise, his wife, nee Mer- 
cer. Bom November 23, 1877. Died Octo- 
ber 28, 1879. 

6. Robert Waller Blain 8. Bom June 
18, 1879. 

7. Gary Randolph Blain 8. Bom March 
11, 1882. 


138 The life of General Hugh Xeroer 

The children of Dr. Beverly St. G. 
Tucker 7 (330) and Eliza Christina Mercer 
7 (329) are: 

1. John Speed Tucker 8. 
He married. 

2. Dr. Beverly Tucker 8. ' 
He married. 

3. Eliza Christina Tucker 8. Bom . 

She married. 

4. St. George Tucker 8. 

5. Hugh Mercer Tucker 8. 

6. Henrietta Elizabeth Tucker 8. 

The issue of Corbin Waller Mercer 7 
(332) and Hannie BurweU Nelson 7 (333) 

1. William Nelson Mercer 8. BomS^- 
tember 27, 1888. Died April 2, 1889. 

2. Waller Nelson Mercer 8. Bom No- 
vember 3, 1891. 

The children of William Lewis Wall 7 
(335) and Catherine Stuart Mercer 7 (334) 

1. Mary Stuart Wall 8. Bom Dec^n- 
ber 17, 1875. 

She married, on June 1, 1898, William 
Guthrie 8 (born January 12, 1874). 

The Life of General Hugh Mercer 139 

2. Catherine Mercer Wall 8. Bom 
March 7, 1882. 

3. William Lewis Wall, Jr., 8. Bom 
September 21, 1887. 

The children of John Leybnm Mercer 7 
(336) and Jean Sinclair Bright 7 (337) are: 

1. Jean Christine Mercer 8. Bom De- 
cember 23, 1875. 

2. Mary Waller Mercer 8. Bom Octo- 
ber 13, 1877. 

3. Thomas Hugh Mercer 8. Bom No- 
vember 6, 1879. 

4. John Leybum Mercer 8. Bom Octo- 
ber 11, 1881. Died July 16, 1882. 

The issue of Robert Page Mercer 7 (340) 
and Sally Tourman 7 (341) is: 

1. Hugh Mercer 8. Bom August 4, 
1893. Died October, 1904. 

The issue of Charles McGary 7 (343) and 
Isabella Stuart Waller Mercer 7 (342) are: 

1. . Bom September 17, . 

Died before being named. 

2. Mary Mercer McGary. Bom Janu- 
ary 29, 1891. 


140 The Life of General Hugh Xeroer 

3. Annie Bell McGary. Bom February 
20, 1893. 

4. Isabel Stuart McGary, Bom March 
15, 1895. 

The issue of George Weedon Mercer 7 
(344) and Bessie Butterworth 7 (345) is : 

1. Linden Waller Mercer 8. Bom Au- 
gust 19, 1893. Died June 2, 1896. 


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