Genealogy Rabbit Hole #2- Sparks

The ancestry for the Baltimore and Anne Arundel County Sparks is hazy and tenuous. While many online trees give an ancestry that leads to the Fareham, Hampshire, England Sparks beginning with Richard Sparks (1658-1740) and then Thomas Sparks (1615-1693), I find that this Sparks Family Group probably came from Charles County and maybe St. Mary’s County first and were in Maryland much earlier, making it unlikely that Richard Sparks (c. 1658) is a direct ancestor. There is a consistent name repetition that might indicate this Family Group did come from Fareham but from an earlier ancestor.

I have few direct connections; however, there appears enough geographical proximity to call this a Family Group. My thinking is basically as wealthy landowners purchased and speculated in land in neighboring counties, the Sparks family migrated with these developments, working as tenant farmers. The family migrated from Charles County to Prince George to Anne Arundel and here the family splits: part going to upper Baltimore County and the other going to Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

The evidence I rely on is the repetition of names, especially the landholding class such as NEALE, COURT, BATCHELOR, and YATES.

As of now, the earliest record we have places the Sparks on the banks of the Wicomico in Charles County. The earliest record of a Sparks is in William Sparks’s court case of 1678. The one Sparks who we have in St. Mary’s County is Richard Sparks. I am not sure this Sparks is part of the Family Group. The first Sparks I am definitely placing in this Family Group is William Sparks

RICHARD SPARKS, born before 1658; died after 1681 Maryland

On 26 July 1673, “Then came Richard Sparkes of St. Mary’s County and proved Rights for 50 acres for his time of service performed in this province.”  Richard then assigned those rights to EDWARD CLARKE.

  • ST. MARY’S COUNTY (Court Records) Richard Sparkes  Book 17, pg 477.  26 July 1673.; see also Sparks, Paul E. “Immigrants Names Sparks Who Came to Maryland before 1675.”  Sparks Family Association. 18:4 Whole No. 72 (December 1970): pgs 1362-1363. Web.

When Maryland was first founded in 1634, those intrepid enough to go received 100 acres of land.  This was reduced to 50 acres by 1641.  Rich men gave indentured servants 50 acres of land at the end of their service.  Servants in turn paid for their transportation by signing over this 50 acres to their master.  It appears this is what the court record shows.  In addition to the land, a master gave his newly freed servant an ox, gun, two hoes and clothing.  Terms of service lasted from 2 to 6 years.

In an Administration record dated 10 May 1681, the estate of John Dabridgcourt paid Richard an unknown amount.  And this is the last we hear of Richard.

  • MARYLAND PREROGATIVE COURT (Inventories and Accounts) John Dabridgecourt, St. Mary’s County. 7B, 74 A # 4840. 10 May 1681. Others listed include: “John Steventon paid to Mr, Gardner, Magdalen Pean, Richard Sparks, Stephen Gough paid to Mr. Gardner, Richard Gardner, Thomas Dante.”
    • However tenuous, there is evidence through the reoccurrence names in the records. For instance PHILIP LYNES was indebted to EDWARD CLARK. JOHN COURT and JAMES NEALE act as jurors in William’s 1678 case.  Both John Court (probably a son) and James Neale would later lease land to a Thomas Sparkes.

CHARLES COUNTY 1657, 1674-1682

WILLIAM SPARKES, born before 1653; death after 1682 Maryland

A William Sparks lives in the Wicomico area of Charles County around the same time as Richard:

Upon peticon made to the Court by Wm Sparke a lame man It was ordred that Jno Lemaire receive him into his Custody and provided that the sd Lemaire doe make a pfect cure of his legg that then he bee pd two thousand poundes of tob out of the County Levye & in  case the sd Sparke doe remaine Sound one whole yeare & tht Jno Lemaire prsent him So to the Court then the sd Lemaire to be pd one thousand poundes of tob more the next Yeare, and if it Shall Soe happen that the sd Sparke Should dye wthin halfe a yeare that then the sd Lemaire be pd one thousand poundes of tob

  • CHARLES COUNTY (Court Proceedings) William Sparke 1671-1674. Liber E p. 180. 10 June 1674.; see Proceedings of the County Court of Charles County: 1666 – 1674. vol 60. ed. J. Hall Pleasants. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1943. 563. Web. It is uncertain if this is the same William, but Lemaire did have land on the Wicomico close to JOHN COURTS.

A William Sparkes sued PHILIP LYNES on 15 October 1678. The case reached an initial hearing on 14 February 1679. Philip had forced William, on 20 August 1678, from 150 acres in Charles County before his lease was expired.  William Harbert acted as the muscle and was initially named in the suit. Philip Lynes claimed part of the 150 acres of land was part of his tracts “Stumpdale” and “Watsons Land.”[4]

  • These tracts had been surveyed for a THOMAS BATCHELOR, of Cedar Poynt.  A court case involving Batchelor and an Edward Parks occurred almost 20 years earlier.  From what I can make of it, Batchelor had hired a servant from Edward Parks and, it was argued, agreed to pay Parks regardless of the health of the servant. In the transcription there is a Mr Sparks. I now think this is a scribal error. Mister was an honorific title and not used for servants. However, an examination of the original is needed.

Parks v.Batchelor- Deposit inter mr Parks & mr Batchelor: Richard Tarling aged twenty three years or thereabts Sworne and Examined upon his Oath Sayeth Concerning a Servant that mr Sparks hyred to mr Batchelor for the time of three weeks he did him Little or no worke, by reason of his nasty diseases the flux and the Scurvey, And farther this Deponent Sayth that mr Sparks Came to mr Batchelors house one day, and mr Batchelor desired the Said mr Sparks to take Some Course with him and gett him away for he had rather give him Six hundred pounds of Tobacco, then be bound to tend on him, by the reason he was So very nasty, And farther this Depont Sayth that it hindered most of this Deponents time and mr Batchelors to tend on him, and farther this Depont Sayeth not.               Signum Richard X Tarling

Proceedings of the Provincial Court of Maryland: vol 41 1658-1662. ed. Bernard Christian Steiner. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1922. 9. Web.; see also ST. MARY’S PROVINCIAL COURT (Proceedings) Liber B, No. 3. pg 370. 30 December 1657.

Getting back to William’s case, the court adjourned until after the land was surveyed, 11 May 1679. This was no easy feat finding an obscure boundary mark as the land dipped into swamp and morass. The tract was called Hardy’s Purchase and situated on the North side of the Potomac River.  It bordered property owned by John Lee, Richard Watson, and Thomas Batchelor. Batchelor’s Creek ran through a march, which spilled into a beaver dam on the property. William leased it on 1 August 1678 for a term of 3 years. William asked for 50 pounds sterling in damages as a consequence of being ejected. Robert Ridgely acted as attorney for William and Christopher Rousby acted for Philip Lynes. The suit was settled in William’s favor:

    Wm Sparkes Lessee of Henry Hardy


Philip Lynes

the Comand was given to the Sheriffe of Charles County that whereas at a Provinciall Court held at the Citty of St Maryes Eighteenth Day of ffebruary Anno Doni 168o before the Justices of the same Court in an action of Ejectment then and there Depending between William Sparkes Lessee of Henry Hardy plt and Philip Lynes def Itt was Considered by Our Said Justices that the Said William Sparkes Lessee as aforesaid Recover against the said Philip Lynes his terme Yett to come and unexpired of and in One messuage of One hundred and fifty Acres of Land lyeing in Charles County aforesaid Called Hardyes Purchase lately in the tenure & occupation of Thomas Peirsey decd wch the Said Henry Hardy to him the said Sparkes Demised for a terme wch is not yet past & likewise the Sume of Nine thousand One hundred sixty and Seaven pounds of tobacco for his Costs of suite by him the said William Sparkes in that behalfe Layd out and Expended Itt was therefore comanded the said Sheriffe that of the goods and Chattles of the Said Philip Lynes If they should be found in his baliwick he should Cause to be made the aforesaid Sume of Nine thousand One hundred Sixty and seaven pounds of tobacco: and When he had the same Soe made as aforesaid or any Part thereof the same in his Custody to keepe Soe that he Should have the Same here the Six and twentyeth day of September in the Seaventh yeare of the Dominion of the Right honoble Charles Lord Baltemore &c Annocp Doni 1682 to render unto the Said William Sparkes On wch Said Six & Twentyeth day of September in the yeare aforesaid Collonel William Chandler Sheriffe of the County aforesaid made returne of the writ afore said that by vertue thereof he hath made of the goods and Chattles of the Said Philip Lynes the Sume of Nine thousand One hundred Sixty and Seaven pounds of tobacco.

  • Proceedings of the Provincial Court of Maryland: vol 69 1679-1680/1 68, 136-137, 242-244, and 402-409; vol 70 1681-1683 Court Series. ed. Elizabeth Merritt. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1964. 291.; see also ST. MARY’S PROVINCIAL COURT (Proceedings) W. C. pgs. 63, 122-123, 216-218, 369-375, 633. 26 September 1682.


THOMAS SPARKS, born before 1682; died 1702 Charles County, Maryland

On 2 December 1702, William Sparkes acted as adminstrator for a Thomas Sparkes in St. Mary’s County. William placed a 100 pound bond and Thomas Blacman and Cornelius Dunivan acted as Security.

  • MARYLAND PREROGATIVE COURT (Testament Proceedings) Administration Bonds Exhibited. vol 19A, pg 129.St. Mary’s County,  2 December 1702. For some connection see John Bould Administration 1696, Cornelius Dunivan’s wife administers and payment is made to Anthony Neale, the landlord of Thomas Sparkes.

WILLIAM SPARKS, born before 1702; died after 1722 Charles County, Maryland

There is a Charles County Court Record for a William Sparkes that according to Maryland State Archives is now lost. The only record I have of it is in the land record index for Charles County. As best that I can make out the other party in the case is a Roach.

  • CHARLES COUNTY COURT. William Sparkes. vol. K 2 pg. 355. August 1722. The reference can be found here: CHARLES COUNTY COURT (Land Records, Index) , p. 0420, MSA_CE83_1.


This is where many trees take up the Family Group. The exact relationships are still tenuous. For instance in 1738 a land record shows a Thomas Sparks Senior, meaning there must have been another Thomas of adult age that we have not accounted for in Charles County at the time. Perhaps the inventory recorded in 1727 for Thomas Sparks refers to someone outside this Family Group.

THOMAS SPARKS, born about 1689

ELIZABETH —, born about 1691; died after 1729. Married 1707 Maryland

  1.    Thomas Sparks, 1711-1789
  2.    Matthew Sparks, born about 1715; died 1786

Matthew migrated to Pittsylvania, Virginia. Married Eleanor Brooks. Matthew had a son named Josiah.

In late 1748, Matthew Sparks purchased 68 acres, called “Bedfordshire Carrier” from William Fields for 3000 pounds of tobacco.  Matthew sold this land to Evan Jones 2500 pounds of tobacco.

In 1760, Matthew Sparks purchased the 109 acres of “Smith’s Neglect” for 5 shillings from Benjamin Beall.  In 1777, Matthew sold the property to Richard Beall, son of Ninian, Sr., for 100 pounds.

In 1763, “Mathew Sparkes brought Before me the subscriber a Small Black Stallion Colt about Ten hand high has a Small Stare in his forehead he Complains that he Trespasses upon his Inclosure.”

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COURT (Land Records) Book EE, pg 631. 13 December 1748.; Book RR, pg 67. 27 August 1760.; Book TT, pg 113. 25 November 1763.; Book CC2, pg 337. 15 March 1777.; FREDERICK COUNTY COURT (Land Records) Deed Book F, pg 1180. 4 November 1760. Witnesses for these deeds included: B. Young, L. Young, Morda Jacobs, Robert Tyler, Josa. Beall, Chrisr. Lowndes

In a will written on 1 April 1725, JAMES NEALE of Wolleston Manor in Charles County gives to his son Benjamin Neale 500 acres of land leased to Davies, Anthony Smith, John Castles, and Thomas Sparkes.

  • CHARLES COUNTY PROBATES (Wills) James Neale. vol 3 pg 217. 11 October 1727.; CHARLES COUNTY PROBATES (Inventory) James Neale. vol. 1717-1735 pg. 238. 31 October 1727.

A ROBERT YATES witnessed the inventory to the estate.  In documents related to Benjamin the tract of land is called either “Gill’s Tract” or “Giles Land,” and borders the Wicomico River.  It appears, if the connections are correct, that the Sparks family resided here, before 1725, and the next land record we have for them is in 1738 moving into Prince George’s County.

Probate Records for Anne Arundel show a Thomas Sparks died intestate in 1727.  An inventory was conducted on 20 April 1727.  Leonard Hollyday of Prince George’s County administered the estate.  The inventory states there are “no relations” in the province (women and children were excluded from this listing). This could refer to a transported prisoner to Anne Arundel named Thomas Spark -Paul E. Sparks writes in The Sparks Association that between 1716 and 1717 a group of political inmates were transported to Anne Arundel, and their number included one “Thomas Spark.” On arrival he was purchased by Philip Dowell. I am leaning towards the Thomas Sparks who died in Anne Arundel in 1727 not being part of the direct line if he is related at all.

  • “Sparks Family of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.” compiled by William Perry Johnson. Sparks Family Association. Whole No. 11 pgs 79-85. Web.; ANNE ARUNDEL (Inventories) Thomas Sparks. vol 12 pg 264. 1727.
  • Sparks, Paul E. “Thomas Sparks, Political Exile.” Sparks Family Association. 6:1 Whole No. 24a (December 1958): pgs 335-336. Web.

THOMAS SPARKS, born about 1711 Maryland; died 1789 in Pittsylvania, Virginia

ELIZABETH —, born before 1714

  1.   Josiah Sparks 1729-1765
  2.  Matthew Sparks, born around 1745; died after 1777

Matthew married Margery. Migrated to Pittsylvania, Virginia.  In 1775, Matthew purchased from James Beck 100 acres, called Pleasant Spring Enlarged for  50 pounds.  Matthew sold this tract to John Hamilton, Sr., for 80 pounds in 1777.

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COURT (Land Records) Book CC,. pg 136. 2 February 1775.; Book CC2, pg 396. 5 April 1777.; Witnesses to these deeds include: Jos. Beall, Chris. Lowndes,  Chris. Lowndes, Mary Henderson.

In 1730, Thomas Sparks of Charles County leased “that plantation he now lives on for the term of 15 years,” from BENJAMIN NEALE.  Thomas paid annually 700 pounds of tobacco, 2 barrels of corn, 4 hens or capons, and 4 days work.  Thomas could use the surrounding timber but could not sell it, and if Neale were to find fruit trees, Thomas was to plant and tend them.  Any violation, on either side, resulted in a fine of 1000 pounds of tobacco. R. YATES and John Howard witnessed the deed.

  • CHARLES COUNTY COURT (Land Records) M 2, p. 0237, MSA_CE82_25. 29 September 1730.

In the 27 March 1730, Thomas is listed under the “debts” column in the inventory records for a Samuel Ferson owing 3 schillings.  He was not listed in the “desperate” column.

  • CHARLES COUNTY PROBATES (Inventory) Samuel Ferson. Inventories 1717-1735, pg 198.  27 March 1730.

In 1738, Thomas Sparks Senior, planter, signed a 21 year lease with JOHN COURTS of Charles County, Maryland, Gentleman, for 250 acres of land lying in Prince George’s County near Rock Creek and known by the name of “Clean Drinking.”  ROBERT YATES and John B[r]iscoe witnessed the deed.

  • PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COURT (Land Records) T, p. 0682, MSA_CE65_10. 24 October 1738.

In the lease Thomas was to plant 150 apple trees and leave them in “good order” once the lease was expired.  Thomas was to have the first year rent free, but after pay 800 pounds of tobacco yearly. “Clean Drinking” lay near the first falls of Potomac River on Rock Creek.

  • In 1740, a lease from Charles Carroll, Esquire,  to Thomas, a planter from Prince George’s County, states Thomas was to pay 600 pounds of tobacco every March for twenty-one years delivered to the Eastern Branch of the Potomac, and not “Suffer more hands to work or till the demised premises than himself his wife and Children and in case his Children [are] uncapable to work then only to take in one able hand,” perhaps meaning Carroll did not want slave labor on the tract.  The land was called “Cloven Couse,” contained a 100 acres, and bordered Samuel Beall’s land.  Thomas was also required to improve this land with 100 apple trees.[14]  Daniel Carroll and Samuel Beall, Sr. witnessed the deed.
    • PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COURT (Land Records) Y, p. 0197, MSA_CE65_11. 25 June 1740 .

Thomas began to buy land in 1748 beginning with a plot of 162 acres called “Owings Range” in Anne Arundel from John White of Prince George’s County.  The purchase required 1200 pounds of tobacco and 3..7 pounds sterling. John Brice and Vachel Denton witnessed.

  • ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Land Records) RB 3, p. 0115, MSA_CE76_20. 30 November 1748.

In 1751, as executrix of Jacob Wood’s estate, Jane Wood settled an account with Thomas Sparks for 6 pounds 14 shillings and 6 pence.[16]

  • FREDERICK COUNTY (Administration Accounts) Jacob Wood vol 1 pg 12. 7 October 1751.

In 1752, Thomas purchased “Taylor’s Lott,” “Milford,” and “Cockey’s Addition.”  The first two parcels totaled 300 acres; “Cockey’s” contained 130 acres.  Thomas purchased the lots from William Woodward, a Goldsmith of London, Mary Holmes of Newington Butts, late Mary Woodward of Newington Butts, Benjamin Baron and Elizabeth, Cornelius Kehown and Sarah for 52 pounds.  These trustees purchased the land from Amos Garrett who purchased it from John Wood.  The deed was witnessed by John Moffatt and Philemon Young.

  • ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Land Records) RB 3, p. 0624, MSA_CE76_20. 10 March 1752.

In 1753, Thomas sold the 130 acres of “Cockey’s Addition” lying on the north side of the Maggotty(Magothy) River for 20 pounds to John Brice.  Benjamin Beall and Clark Rockhold witnessed the deed.

  • ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Land Records) RB 3, p. 0641, MSA_CE76_20. 22 November 1753.

On 24 January 1755, Thomas sold “Owings Range” to Bazil Barry for 42 pounds and 6 shillings.  The land had received its original patent in 1696 to Richard Owing.  On this land two creek branches came together, and John Mash established a mill at their confluence.

  • ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Land Records) BB 1, p. 0021, MSA_CE76_21.  24 January 1755.

On 29 July 1755, near the head of the north side of the  Maggotty(Magothy) River, Thomas purchased 100 acres for 16 pounds from George Conoway.  The land bordered the plots purchased in 1752 and was near Muddy Run or Bailey’s Branch.  Thomas, I presume, for a short time ran the “Maggoty Mill called Milford.”

In 1756, Thomas sold 50 acres of this lot named “Milford” and part of a tract called “Tailor’s Lott” to a James Norman for 9 pounds.  On the same day, he sold to Jacob Allwell for 20 pounds 150 acres of the same lots.  Recorded in this record are the following landmarks: “Carved Rocks” which is by the Magothy on the north side, Ketchenars Cove, a valley is mentioned as well.  Benjamin Beall, James Norman and Jacob Allwell witnessed the deeds.

  • ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Land Records) BB 1, p. 0164; BB 1, p. 0168, MSA_CE76_21. 27 March 1756.

It is believed that a few years after Thomas moved with his son, Josiah to upper Baltimore County. Josiah stayed in Baltimore, while Thomas and Matthew moved to Virginia.


Genealogy Rabbit Hole #1- McComas Family

The following is a genealogical post explaining connections I make for the ancestors of Jackson and Larkin McComas of the Hampstead and Manchester area of Carroll County Maryland.  The connections are speculative but appear to me to have the greatest probability. The evidence is geographical proximity and some land records. The structure of this post is first a synopsis of evidence in italics followed by brief annotations of sources and finally any counter-arguments or qualifications are mentioned in a bullet-point. This post would not be possible without the work of Mike Pierce and his “Map Maker” site.

First Connection:

Geographical proximity and name repetition- Larkin died in Manchester in 1843, Jackson lived in the 6th district Baltimore and died in Hampstead 1895. Both Larkin and Jackson would have a first born son named James.

Jackson is brother to Larkin and son to James McComas who was enumerated in the 1820 Census as being in 5th District Baltimore: 1 male under 10 (1810-1820); 1 male between 16-18 (1812-1814); 2 males 16-26 (1814-1794); 1 male 45 and up (at least 1775); 2 females 16-26 (1794-1814); 3 people in agriculture

This James is likely the same James listed in the debts of Shadrack Hurst for 3.75 dollars. Dated Dec. 14 1825. Also mentioned are David Kidd, Moses Kidd, Jacob Hurst, James B. Davis, Thomas Kell, and Phillip Keller. BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES. (Inventory) Shadrack Hurst. vol. 38. pg. 171. 7 November 1829. James B Davis is likely the same that lived in Hampstead in 1850. The Hurst family owned property in the 6th District.

Also of note is that Phillip KELLER, according to online trees and I believe a family bible record, was married to Elizabeth MCCOMBET (born c. 1800). In my quick searching I have not found others of this last name, McCombet, leading me to believe this is a phonetic spelling maybe of McComas. If so, Elizabeth may be one of James’s daughters.

  • As far as I am aware, only one other McComas family was active in the same area, that of Amos McComas (who intermarried with the Hurst family). He is likely the son of Aquila (3rd Generation), who was the son of Alexander (2nd Generation). There does not appear to be any likely candidates in this line – (James Preston McComas stayed in Harford County).

Second Connection:

Geographical proximity and corroborating census data- the ages, genders, and number match between the James of the 5th district in the 1820 census, and that of James McComas in the Mine Run Hundred of the 1810 census.

James McComas enumerated in the Mine Run Hundred District, likely on the Harford border near Joshua Kidd’s property “Timber Ridge”, 1 male under 10 (1800-1810), 1 male 10-16 (1794-1800), 1 male 16-26 (1784-1794), 1 male 26-45 (1765-1784), 1 female 10-16 (1794-1800), 1 female 16-26 (1784-1794), 1 female 26-45 (1765-1784), 1 female at least 45 (before 1765) – (James’s wife died before 1820 maybe; Jackson was born around 1815)

James McComas witnessed the will of Joshua Kidd on 13 January 1812, BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES. (Wills) Joshua Kidd. vol. 9. pg. 6 November 1813. This Joshua lived in the 2nd District south of My Lady’s Manor.

Larkin owed 7.25 to William Orrick from an open account dated 1828 to 1830. William Orrick was a physician in the 2nd District. BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES (Inventory) William Orrick. vol. 48 pg 306. 28 December 1838.

James owed 11 shillings and 2 pence to William Slade of Baltimore County (likely 2nd District) BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES (Inventory) William Slade. vol 17 pg 512. 27 June 1795.

  • A John Marche McComas would reside near My Lady’s Manor, but this was later in the 19th century. Online source give his father as Nicholas Day McComas who resided in the 4th District Harford County.

Third Connection:

Geographical proximity, Court Record, and seems to be the likeliest candidate. To further trace this James McComas I rely on the probability that he migrated from Harford County and that it was likely from the North part of the county where several McComas families had property in the Deer Creek area, specifically Federal Hill. The strongest evidence for this is the court record. Also, if you consider other families followed a similar migration path (see John Marche McComas and Amos McComas above for example) without stronger evidence this seems the likeliest option.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT. James McComas of Daniel. case number 76.06(18). 12 April 1808. Historical Society of Harford County. Bel Air, Maryland. This document establishes James McComas of Daniel’s residence in Baltimore county. The Court case involved Samuel Bradford’s lessee William McComas vs. Nicholas D. McComas, Frederick Amoss, and Alexander McComas. In the summons’s letterhead Harford County is crossed out and “Baltimore County” written in, meaning James McComas of Daniel resides in Baltimore County at least by 1808. This document also supports the “fourth connection,” that his father is Daniel.

  • There is a James Jr born to Colonel James whose birth and approximate death match the best dates I have for the 5th District James. However, it appears this James stayed in the Abingdon area of Harford and became a Justice of the Peace. There are online trees listing a marriage to Sarah Howard with children whose number and age do not match the 5th District family.

Fourth Connection:

Likeliest Candidate, above Court Record and Land Records. In this area I have found one James who may be the same of the 5th district. In several land records he is listed as James Junior, or James the Younger. His father was, however, a Daniel as a comparison of the land records shows. The James Junior who purchases 85 acres of “Hills and Valleys” is the same James of Daniel who later mortgages the 85 acres of “Hills and Valleys.” (This is confused by the alternating references to “Hills and Valleys” or “Hills and Dales” – “Hills and Valleys” is on the Federal Hill road. There is a “Hills and Dales” tract further West but James and Daniel never owned that tract. This is corroborated by the subsequent sale, after the land is seized, to Thomas Kell.)

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) JLG E, p. 0319, MSA_CE113_5. 21 February     1783.  On 21 February 1783, Daniel sold to his son, James, “Hills and Valleys” for 250 pounds. On the same day Daniel sold to James “two negro boys viz. Negro Samuel, aged fourteen years Negro William aged ten years also two horse hine, one Sorrel mare, the other a Brown horse, one feather bed, bed stead, two sheets, one boulster, two pillows, one blanket, and coverlid.” In exchange James gave Daniel the 160 acres of “Addition to Hills and Valleys.”

On 22 September 1785, purchased the lease for 247 acres of Reserve lands for 59 pounds 2 shillings and 4 pence. The greater portion of this land would become “Double Purchase.”

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) JLG K, pg 408. MSA CE 113-10. 22 August     1789. On 22 August 1789, “James McComass the Younger of Harford County planter” mortgaged the 85 acres of “Hills and Valleys” to Robert Smith for 35 pounds. James needed to pay the interest from 5 May 1786 before 22 August 1791.

HARFORD COUNTY (Land Records) James McComas of Daniel. “Federal Hill,” Unpatented Certificate 152. 6 June 1792. Witnesses: Jacob Bradenbaugh and James Tyrrell.  In 1792, James attempted to patent the 53.5 acres of “Federal Hill.” This tract stood on the road leading from “John Coxes Mill to Baltimore Town.” On 10 December 1805 James signed over his title and interest to Thomas Ayers.

HARFORD COUNTY (Land Records) John Cox. “Timonium,” Patented Certificate 817; Certificate IC L 495; Patent IC O 542. 6 June 1794.  Perhaps since John McComas of Daniel needed to transfer title to 4 acres this may have been their father Daniel’s dwelling plantation if not in “Ward’s Purchase.” The activity regarding the land may indicate Daniel died around 1794.

On 6 October 1794, James had 30 acres of “Timonium” surveyed for a patent application. On this same day a John McComas assigned his title of 4 acres, bearing the date of 26 March 1794, to James. The property line began on the “North East of a Run descending into Deer Creek called Daniel McComas’s Spring Branch.” “Timonium” also bordered “the Waggon Road leading past John Coxes Mill on Little Creek.” The title was transferred on 2 October 1795 to John Cox.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) JLG L, p. 0448, MSA_CE113_11. 22 June 1795. Witnesses: George Gallion and John Cox Jr.  On 22 June 1795, James mortgaged to John Cox for 16 pounds 15 shillings “one waggon and the Gears thereto belonging, one Roan or Grey Mare seven years old, one Horse Colt a bright Bay, one year old (the two colts came of the aforesaid two Mares.” James had till September to pay it off with interest.

HARFORD COUNTY (Land Records) John Cox. “Double Purchase,” Patented Certificate 236; Certificate IC N pg 346;Patent IC L pg 529. 21 February 1799.  On 4 December 1795 James had 187 acres of “Double Purchase” surveyed. “Hills and Valleys” was incorporated into this patent. Before the land was patented on 21 February 1799, the deed was transferred to John Cox.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) HD T, p. 209. MSA CE 113-19. 19 October 1807. Witnesses: Nicholas D. McComas and Thomas W. Ayres. On 19 October 1807:

whereas at a county court begun and held for Harford County on the fourth tuesday of November in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven a certain Daniel McComas by a judgment of the same court recovered against James McComas of Daniel late of Harford County yeoman the debt and costs in the said writ named whereof the said James is convict and that whereas the said Daniel McComas is since dead and James Madden is appointed administrator of the said Daniel McComas and that whereas since to wit at August term seventeen hundred and ninety-nine it was considered that the said James Madden administrator as aforesaid should have execution against the said James McComas for the debt.

On 11 February 1800, the sheriff Robert Amos was commanded to seize James McComas’s property including “one tract of leased land called Hill and Dales.” James Madden later placed a bid of 83 pounds 19 shillings and 80 pence.

After losing his property, James either worked on farms for wages or tenant-farmed. I think this because there does not appear to be any subsequent deeds in Harford or Baltimore for James or his descendants. It would make sense, too, in that neither Jackson or Larkin owned land. Between October 1807 and April 1808 James moved his family into Baltimore County.

Fifth Connection

Geographical proximity, land records and likeliest candidate- James McComas’s father, Daniel McComas of the Federal Hill area is the same who received “Ward’s Purchase” from the 2nd Generation Daniel McComas, who resided in Gresham’s College near Bush River.

BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT (Land Records) TB E, p. 0414, MSA_CE66_22. 15 April 1747. On 15 April 1747, Daniel McComas’s father first leased 190 acres of “Ward’s Purchase” for 15 pounds. In his will he would give Daniel the lease.

HARFORD COUNTY (Land Records) “Davises Lott” Patented Certificate 215. 11 August 1789; Richard Hope “Friendship Enlarged” Patented Certificate 285. 17 January 1787. On 9 March 1761, Daniel leased the 68.5 acres of “Daniel’s Lookout.” Daniel no longer leased it by January 1787.

BALTIMORE COUNTY PROBATES (Wills) Daniel McComas. Book 3 pg 19. 1765 : son James receives Greshams College; son Daniel “The land whereon my son Daniel McComas now Dwells called Wards purchase being in his Lordships reserve my will is that the land be equally divided between my two sons Daniel and John”

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) JLG E, p. 0319, MSA_CE113_5. 21 February 1783.  In 1765, Daniel leased 85 acres of “Hills and Valleys” from John Long.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) AL 1, p. 0454, MSA_CE113_1. 10 April 1769.  In 1769 Daniel transferred 95 acres of “Ward’s Purchase” to his brother William for 100 pounds.

HARFORD COUNTY COURT (Land Records) AL 1, p. 0456, MSA_CE113_1. 1 December 1774.  On 1 December 1774 it appears that Daniel Jr.’s brother John transferred his 95 acres to William as well for 100 pounds.

After Daniel sold to James “Hills and Valleys” it appears that Daniel and James had a falling out. In 1787, Daniel won a court case against James.

  • One other possibility that I am looking at is that William and James had different fathers named Daniel. A William (of 2nd Generation John) purchased “Collings First Shift” which is very close to “Federal Hill.” He also Proprietary leased “McComas Desire” which also borders “Federal Hill.” This William had a son Daniel born c. 1752 which could be the father of James although the birth dates are getting a little tight- James was born c. 1765-1775, and “Hills and Valleys” was first leased in 1765 by Daniel McComas. “Collings First Shift” was transferred to Samuel Jenkins by at least May of 1787 when he had it surveyed as part of a new tract “Spittle Craft.” Same with “McComas Desire” which became “Orrs Survey” in 1787.


Daniel then had one son: James.  John of Daniel I believe is the brother and not a son. Daniel likely died around 1794, but at least between 1785 and 1800. James then lost his land in Harford County and migrated first to Baltimore County near My Lady’s Manor and county border with Harford, and then to 5th District Baltimore near the area that would become the Carroll County border. James may have had 6 children (1820 census).  I believe Larkin, Jackson, and Elizabeth were 3 of his children.

“Blow Limerick to Hell”: The Baltimore Election Riot of 1857

Maryland State Archives

from Maryland State Archives “Documents for the Classroom”

This post attempts to use trial testimony to present the election riot of 1857 in Baltimore.  The dialogue comes from the transcriptions of courtroom testimony by Sun reporters.  While errors must exist, the reports still have immediacy and personality. On a side note, Joseph Enmart testfies of someone dying in Cuba – perhaps related to the Cuban filibuster expeditions of Narciso López.

In 1857, Baltimore had already suffered years of political violence at the hands of Nativist gangs: white Protestants organized in order to lash out at mostly Catholic immigrants.  In secretive circles, their movement ran under various monikers: Natives, Know-Nothings, The American Party.  At street-level, the movement pushed violently under the rallies: Plug Uglies, Rough Skins, Black Snakes and others.  In early morning of October of 1857, the city of Baltimore was certain of intimidation and violence.  Many Democrats fearfully withdrew their candidacy.  Anyone trouble the nests of thugs at the polls, someone would cry their rally slogan and chase the prize, “armed with new and bright barreled horse pistols….”

During city wide unrest in the October 1857 municipal election, the most pitched conflict took place in the Irish and German 8th Ward in an area also known as “Limerick.”  Nativist gangs ran out Democratic supporters from the 5th Ward, just South of the 8th.  A firefight began in the 5th Ward approaching French street.  8th Ward toughs retreated to Jackson Hall where they repulsed the Natives, killing Police Officer Sergeant William Jourdan and wounding several others.  It appears likely that the police were partisans with the Natives.

Twenty-four 8th Ward roughs stood trial either for Jourdan’s killing, rioting, or attempting to kill other officers of the law: Michael J. Grady, John B. Dalton, Henry Burns, John Burns, James Fawcett, James Rock (perhaps Roach), John Milan, John Powers (also reported Bowers), Milton “William” Ward, George Ely, James Murray, John Brady, and Michael Dougherty, William Quinn, Charles Rielly, Thomas Murray (perhaps the same person as James Murray), James McFarland, Thomas Kildock, Arthur Kildock, Patrick Fitzpatrick, John Carrigan, George Bradley, John Ryan, Michael Cox.  None were judged guilty.

The defense for Grady, who appears to have been the focus of the prosecution for Jourdan’s death, opened with the following: “The affray grew out of a bitter political pique.  If it should be proved that a party came from the fifth ward—breathing blood and terror to a whole neighborhood—amid the shrieks of women and children—and the firing was done under the influence of great excitement, or inebriation, and the heat and flame it engendered, and that the officers of the law took part with one of the parties, it would present a different state of things from that represented by the State.”

Site Map of 1857 Riot

Site Map of 1857 Riot

Busting the 5th Ward Polls

Officer Alex. H. Rutherford “Was at the fifth ward polls about 10 or 11 o’clock; saw Fawcett standing on the corner of High and Gay streets; that was the only time he saw him.”

Officer Steven Stevenson  “There was a little fighting; a man named Daniel Manes came up, got licked, and went away.”

Officer Joshua Mitchell  “Mr. Mains and E. Delcher had come there from the eighth ward and created a previous disturbance at the 5th ward polls, but there was no firing then; Did not see Mains or Delcher beaten; saw Delcher struck; did not see Mains struck…”

Officer Joseph Elliot “…did not see any body beaten at the fifth ward; did not see John Blecker nor Daniel Manes, nor Mr. King or any other person beaten; …witness was at Green’s corner, but heard no firing;…arrested the man for disorderly conduct; the man was drunk–that is all; it was not Patrick Reynolds he arrested; the man was not a ‘Patrick’ at all; the man was not flying from the fifth ward men when he arrested him.”

Omnibus Comes Up to 5th Ward Polls

Officer Steven Stevenson “The excitement was first in the fifth ward; where he was stationed; about 12 o’clock things were quiet; an omnibus came up…”

James King “Was at the fifth ward polls when the omnibus came up, about 15 minutes past 12 o’clock.”

Officer Steven Stevenson  “After the omnibus came up, he had considerable trouble … ….Some of the party in the ominbus had on grey roundabouts; did not know if they voted; …the omnibus party were going round just as they always do on election days; they were peaceable men”  did not know if they were ‘Roughskins;’”

Kalmus “ about 12 o’clock the omnibus came up; a man was on box with the driver; they were hallooing ‘Rough Skins,’ ‘Plugs,’ and making a great noise; the people all got frightened and left; …did not see them have arms; one or two men had on a blue knit shirt, one man was named Claggett; there were from ten to a dozen”

James King “…there were 14 or 15 came out of the omnibus…”

Isaac M. Denson “omnibus came up pretty well filled; they got out and halloed ‘Plugs,’ ‘Natives;’”

Joshua Vansant “…was judge of election at the fifth ward polls…[the omnibus] shouted, ‘O, you Natives,’ and they were responded to by persons on the sidewalk; …nearly all the democrats left;…..persons who had attempted to vote had been driven from the polls before the omnibus came; they were forced violently from the polls; Stevenson did not do his duty; recollects Benj. Sutton, of the fifth ward, had either a musket, rifle or pistol; also Charles Ogle; also McAllister, who shot himself accidently; Ogle offered to vote but was rejected; also John Hutchins, who was a private citizen at the time, but is now a police officer; recognized Abbess and Tobe Cook, but cannot say that Cook had arms; they had been notorious that day…”

Francis Elder  “the people of the neighborhood for two squares shut up their houses in a state of alarm; saw Tobe Cook with a pistol in each hand, rapping them against each other as a butcher would a knife; Tobe Cook is now a watchman at the penitentiary; saw Francis Abbett and Frank Hudgins there; there was a party called the ‘Rosebuds,’ …they have changed their name since to the ‘St. Lawrence Club.’ they were the ones who drove him and others away from the polls before the omnibus arrived; they stamped his feet so badly that his toe nails have never grown properly since…and two of them had things in their belts with a lump of iron on one end and a hook on the other, which were called ‘knock downs and drag outs;’ they rallied under the cry of ‘Babes’ and ‘Plug Uglies;’

Wm. P. Lightner “…heard a lady scream; looked around and saw a man, named Benj. Sutton, taking deliberate aim at the party with whom he was; officer Stevenson was standing along side of him, but made no attempt to arrest him…”

Candidates Flee

Kalmus “…they rushed by to the omnibus and returned with arms; which they must have got from the omnibus; they hallooed to the driver to turn the omnibus, which he did…”

James King “…remonstrated with Sergeant Evans for allowing arms; he said everybody had arms, and it did not make any difference…”

Kalmus  “…fifteen or twenty of those around the polls ran into his house for protection; they staid several hours; they were democrats of the fifth ward…”

Wm. P. Lightner “… he took refuge in Mr. Kalmus’ house; was a candidate for the city council; went home shortly after; he was requested to resign, as Mr. Vansant considered his life in danger…”

Isaac M. Denson  “…there was so much excitement and terror that he suggested that the candidates should withdraw in order to save life…”

Joshua Vansant “… left his seat as judge before two o’clock;…left from considerations of personal security…”

8th Ward Residents Batting Down

Catharine Smith “…Before the officers came, there was a rumor in the neighborhood that there was an omnibus coming to take Jackson Hall; the people of the neighborhood were all frightened and thought they were coming there to tear up the streets sure enough; the two drunken men when they came on halloed for eighth-warders ‘to come on;’  Catharine Smith “…there was no shooting immediately before they came up [the police for the first time]; she was gathering her children into the house at the time; …did not see a crowd from Jackson Hall go down High street…”

Jane Smith “..everybody was excited; heard people say that the neighborhood was to be sacked.”

Henry Staylor “…as he passed Jackson Hall heard a man on the corner say ‘We expect an attack on the ward every moment,’ this was about 15 minutes before the firing at the armory;….the whole neighborhood [of French street]  was in a state of alarm; he closed the doors of his house; his family went up in the second story; loaded his double barrelled gun to defend his castle…”

There was an objection by the state— “The defense portrayed the alarmed condition of the neighborhood at the time, the terror of the women and the children there, and urged that the defense should be permitted to give in evidence that such was the condition of that portion of the community, whose families and firesides were sought to be protected.”

Crowd at High and Hillen

Officer Steven Stevenson “…[after the omnibus arrived] in about two minutes a party came to the corner of Hillen and High streets, down Hillen; there was a large number of persons…”

John Delcher “Was at the corner of Hillen street, and on the day of the election with William Deal; was on the left hand side coming from Gay street; a few minutes after 12, saw six or eight young men; asked them where they were going; they said ‘they were just walking round; ‘ told them they had better not go to the fifth ward polls, as they had arms there; Joshua Mitchell stepped out and said, ‘Boys, you had better get away, there is going to be the biggest kind of a fight here;’ … —if an eighth ward man went to the fifth ward polls he was certain to be shot by the ‘Rosebuds’—his life was worth nothing; he got a tremendous rap across the head himself at the fifth ward.”

Officer Joshua Mitchell “Did not tell [8th] Ward that they had better move their children out of the way, that there was going to be a disturbance or fight,….Was stationed at the fifth ward polls; a few minutes after twelve o’clock he left for dinner, and saw Fawcett at the corner of Gay and High streets; saw a crowd coming round the corner of High and Hillen sts., and saw Peter Ward, Charles Reilly and Wm. Quinn among them; told them to go back and not make a disturbance—they told witness ‘to go to hell.’ … did not see either Ward, Reilly or Quinn have pistols… On the opposite corner saw William Deale and Delcher; saw Delcher previously cross over; saw some of the crowd telling some children to keep out of the way and saw them pushing them aside into another street.  The persons who had pistols in their hands at the corner of High and Hillen streets could have fired at the fifth ward polls; it was about 175 yards distant; some of the pistols were long; they could from that point see the crowd at the polls; they could shoot a man the[re]…”

Miss Ann Gott “Lived in Hillen street when Jourdan was killed; was on the corner of Hillen and High streets, saw a crowd of men coming down High street, from French; they stood on the corner of High and Hillen streets; making up plots to take the fifth ward polls; Charles Reilly, one of the prisoners, asked some one to give him a pistol, saying that he could use it better than he could; after the man gave Reilly the pistol Reilly asked if they were all armed and they said ‘yes;’ after a while an omnibus came along; one of them used bad language, and said ‘they would not have a bit of show down there; they were all Plugs in the omnibus; Delcher came over to the corner where the crowd was standing, and said ‘shoot down the police first, and then take the polls…”

John Delcher “…never told anybody ‘to shoot the police down first’…”

Miss Ann Gott “…some of them then said ‘stand behind the corner and as the omnibus comes up fire at them.’  Some one then said, ‘children, stand back, we are going to fire;’ witness went into the house, and immediately heard the pistols go off; the firing was near at hand.  Mitchell came up just before that, heard a good deal of firing; Quinn was also there—did not hear Quinn say anything.”

Sarah Haines “Was with Maria Gott on election day; heard the crowd making up a plot to take the fifth ward polls.”

James King “…saw at this time on the corner of High and Hillen streets, two men and half a dozen boys…”

Wm. Deale “Was on the corner of High and Hillen streets with Delcher; saw a party coming towards French street; went over and stopped them; told them not to go to the fifth ward polls, that there had been a disturbance there…”

Omnibus Party Moves Up Toward 8th Ward

Officer Joshua Mitchell “…after the quarrel of Delcher was over, some one said ‘let’s go up after the eighth warders,’ and buttoned up their coats and started after them;  heard S. Ely say, ‘Come, let us go up after the 8th warders,’ afterwards saw the crowd coming down.”

Samuel B. Davidson “…in a few minutes they went up towards Gay street; witness heard some of them say ‘Let us go up and take Jackson Hall; two of them were very much intoxicated; they were crying out ‘Plug Uglies,’ &c.”

Officer Joseph Elliot  “…was on duty at the fifth ward polls.  The polls were attacked by men from the eighth ward, who came down High street from French.  The party threatened to take the polls; it was about 12 o’clock;   the street was black with men with fire arms in their hand… were flourishing their arms; there was not more than ten persons; the assailants of the fifth ward were driven back by the police; …did not hear any shooting at the Grays’ armory; there was no firing in Humes st.; heard the assailants cry out ‘8th ward’ and ‘Limerick;’ thought that sufficient evidence of a riot.”

Joshua Vansant   “…the first crowd who left the polls said ‘let us go;’ …the  omnibus was there only five or ten minutes. …they and others moved up towards Gay street—towards the eighth ward; in about five minutes heard pistols from … the Gray’s armory; all the persons there left the polls and went towards the eighth ward; when they returned in about half or three-quarters of an hour they had fire-arms.”

Kalmus ”…the party went armed towards the Gray’s armory; Claggett had a pistol a foot or 18 inches long; several had guns, some rifles, and some one had a large knife; there were ten or twelve men carrying arms after that all day at the polls; it was a scene of terror and alarm; did not venture out till next day. …heard the omnibus party say, ‘Here they come,’ they rallied under the name of ‘Natives,’ ‘Black Snakes’, &c…”

Firefight at Greys

Officer Steven Stevenson “…the first shot was about the corner of High and Hillen streets, the same party that he first saw at the corner of High and Hillen he afterwards saw with muskets in their hands… there was some firing on both sides; there were from 250 to 300 persons at the corner of High and Hillen when the first pistol was shot;…”

Officer Joshua Mitchell  “…some one of them said ‘shoot;’ the one who said ‘shoot’ had on a velvet cap. …just as he got to his house, the second from the corner, the shooting commenced from that direction; do not know who they were firing at—it was the first firing he heard; saw some of them coming out of Hillen into High street—others in High towards French street; saw Ward with the crowd that was running up High towards French street”

James King “…the first shot that was fired was fired at them by Thomas Pierce, reputed to be a ‘Rough-Skin;’… Pierce came in the omnibus;…the party then commenced a general fire on the eighth ward— The eighth warders, when they commenced firing at the fifth ward party, turned out of French street; there were 8 or 10 of them.”

Francis Elder  “The two parties were shooting at each other in Hillen street; heard the omnibus party say, ‘Come on boys,’ when they went after their arms.”

Isaac M. Denson “…there was a muss up the street near the armory, and the persons at the fifth ward rushed up there; heard firing there and in Exeter street…”

Officer Joseph Elliot “….Grady was shooting round the corner; cannot say he had a crooked gun to fit the corner; he may have had a gun made for that purpose; there was no bloodshed on that occasion; witness was not excited, he always takes things very calm; do not know the interesting party known as the ‘Rough Skins,’ do not know the ‘Babes’ of the fifth ward…”

Dr. Reed “…at 12 o’clock, on the corner of Gay and High streets, saw eight or ten persons crossing Gay street, going down High street towards the fifth ward polls; they kept looking round; a party of men crossed the street crying ‘Roughskins,’ with a man in advance of them, who fired at them; it was near the pavement of Arthur McCourt’s house; he was reinforced and there was a general rush; the fire was returned; it became a general fight, and was kept up briskly for five or ten minutes; they were dressed in knit shirts; the one he saw had a belt around him; everybody in the neighborhood was frightened, and did not know which way to turn;…; there were eight or ten persons in the party who opposed them; saw eight or ten policemen on Charles B. Green’s corner, and a man standing in front of them loading his gun; they made no effort to stop him; the police could have stopped the whole thing if they had been disposed; saw a man arrested by the police, and in a few minutes the man was back again with a gun.”

Francis Elder  “…they went up Gay street; just before they got to the polls, near the armory, saw the first fire;…saw a smoke the other side of Hillen street; officers Stevenson and Bowers went up with them; Bowers arrested a man, but the man returned in fifteen minutes with a gun—it was Benjamin Sutton…”

Cap Hewell “…at the corner of High and Gay streets he saw 25 or 30 men running; when they got opposite the Gray’s armory they fired 20 or 30 shots at a party near Jameson’s, who run up Hillen street; witness recognized Benj. Sutton, —Miller, John Hudgins, Claggett and Tobe Cook, among them; when they came back witness told them they were a pretty set of fellows to attack defenseless men, and then run as soon as they got ready to defend themselves; Clagget had a pistol 18 inches long; Sutton was in a stooping position; two or three had guns; one man dressed in police uniform was running on the pavement with the party; when he returned home his house was in uproar; his wife did not get over it for several days.”

Dr. Bussy “…was on a visit at 15 Hillen street examining a wound; heard reports of fire-arms near the Gray’s armory; went to the front door; saw two men running around the corner of High and Hillen sts, with pistols in their hands, pursued by two others; one of the pursuing party stopped near where he was; the other said to him, ‘Now give it to him;’ he pointed his pistol at the man, but did not shoot; they went back; he afterwards saw, from the window, a man fall on the pavement…”

Joseph Enmart “…was shot at the corner of High and Hillen streets…saw the crowd proceeding up High street; recognized Grady with them; saw Grady with a musket near Greys’ armory; there were forty or fifty of them; they were all armed; did not see the police have muskets…some in their shirt sleeves and some disguised; there were shooting; made an attack on the fifth ward; [8th warders] retreated as soon as they saw the police come;….did not see the ‘Black Snakes’ there; thinks he knows them; did not see a man of them there, and knows the best part of them;  they followed down towards the eighth to see the excitement; witness knows what Mr. Preston [a defense attorney] alludes to when he talks about ‘Black Snakes;’ it is because he thinks he is one of them.  [The State told him not to answer the question if he was a Black Snake.]  when he followed up the party that retreated to French street; one of the men with him was shot in the jaw; his name was Miller; witness refused to answer the question if he was the man who killed Leyburn; …Schwartz is dead, they say; he went to Cuba.”

Dr. Bussy “[Enmart] was shot in front of the thigh, about midway; the bone was splintered by a large-sized ball, as if from a musket…a half dozen persons rushed by him; he pitched forward as though he had been running, and a weapon, like a large pistol, fell on the pavement at the time…”

Joseph Enmart “Had not a pistol in his hand or about his person.”

Lt. Solomon C. Wright “…started to go to the fifth ward; changed their purpose because he saw firing in another direction; saw a man named Enmart fall at the corner of High and Hillen streets, who is now in court, and lost a leg by the shot…”

Henry Staylor “…saw about ten policemen at the corner of French and High streets; five or six citizens came up with them to the corner, and one of them said, ‘Stop this is the place for us;’ the officers then fired three round Cape’s corner; one officer fired twice; they fired several times before; the fire was returned… saw five or six persons in front of Jackson Hall…. it was about ten minutes after he saw the omnibus.—There must have been fifty guns fired in the neighborhood of the armory; there must have been thirty shots fired from Cafe’s corner; Cafe’s corner is 58 yards from Jackson Hall…there were as many reports from towards Jackson Hall; saw the effects of the shots from the hall; they struck Mr. Glenn’s door and shutter; the officers fired three shots before it was returned.”

Officer Steven Stevenson “…the firing continued for sometime; in about ten or fifteen minutes they were repulsed and moved back by a party from the direction of the eighth ward; there was considerable firing, and one or two wounded at the time….”

James King “…the Babes and ‘Rough-Skins’ retreated first as far as Hillen street; the eighth warders beat them back; the eighth warders then returned to their own ward.”

Vansant  “…the party when they returned, were noisy and excited and flushed in the face; one had a revolver and a knife, did not see any police officer from the time the pistols were fired until he left the judges’ room…it was about one o’clock; …does not think he heard 20 shots.”

Police response

Lt. Solomon C. Wright “…he and his party went out to quell the riot; they had news that the eighth warders had come to take the fifth ward poll; they had only pistols…. ..while on his way to the polls did not see or speak to an amiable party of ‘Rough Skins’ in an omnibus….to his knowledge, when he came from the station-house; saw a party with guns, but took them to be eighth warders; never heard that the fifth ward nor the ‘Rough Skins’ were going to take the eighth ward polls…”

Captain Mitchell  “…news came to the station-house about half-past twelve that there was a riot in the fifth ward;…he went up Gay street; did not see many men at the fifth ward polls; saw no riot; saw men running down High towards Hillen st…”

Officer B. F. Cover “…the first man he recognized was Fawcett; as soon as he and Robert Miller saw witness, he said, ‘here they come, rally,’ and then went back with the crowd; they were on the corner of Centre and French streets; it was about twenty minutes past twelve; Fawcett had a gun or pistol in his hand—Fawcett was not five steps off the curb when he saw him;—Fawcett and party had the means of attacking them, but did not; there was nothing to prevent; did not know that the Rough Skins were coming down to attack the party he saw; could not tell whether the firing he heard was in French or High street; it came from that direction.”


Officer Joseph Elliot  ”… had nothing but a musket that day; it was loaded with a blank cartridge.  Lieut. Wright and party came up Hillen street and Capt Mitchell and party came up Gay street; it was then the eighth ward party retreated.  Witness stood at the corner of Gay street; the eighth ward party halted from three to five minutes after he warned them off; it was after 12 o’clock when Mitchell and Wright came up.”

Captain Mitchell “…there was a great deal of firing and [I] was much excited;…. he went up Gay street on his way to the fifth ward, but some of the officers scattered;…had some fifteen or twenty officers with him.”

Officer Simpson “…was one of the reserved police, and when he arrived at the corner of Hillen and French streets saw a party of men running in different directions…”

Lt. Solomon C. Wright   “ …soon as the persons who were firing at Humes street, on the left of Hillen, saw the officers, they ran; some of them were on High street, between Hillen and French; beckoned them to stop shooting; while the officers were going up High street they were shot at by them.”

Mrs. Fitzpatrick “…saw a man running down Hillen street towards Front; three policemen chased him; saw officer Jourdan with a pistol in his hand; two of the officers with him fired at the man, and hallowed ‘Natives;’ the other crowd hallowed ‘Rough Skins,’ the last crowd cried out, ‘Blow Limerick to hell.’— Thought the firing was up High street; Jourdan came out of the crowd that was firing; he turned round Humes’ corner as if from the Gray’s armory; it was about half past twelve o’clock.”

Bidget Toner “….saw two or three fellows come out and halloo to the eighth warders to ‘come on.’ and then threw bricks up French street; they hallooed that they were ‘natives;’ one of them threw a brick in the door of the house on the corner of High street and hallooed for them to ‘tear down the shanties.’”

Lt. Solomon C. Wright “…before he got to the corner of French and High streets saw two or three men with guns firing towards them…. There were quite a number of persons in front of Jackson Hall and at the windows.  …saw two men at one window—one with a check shirt and one with a white shirt; cannot tell how many shots were fired…. could only identify Michael J. Grady; Grady was on the pavement, near the pump;…Grady had a gun; he was shooting towards them; saw the flash of his gun; the guns were pointed and fired towards the police officers; saw five or ten guns, or perhaps more, pointed from the Hall; there was not a shot fired towards Jackson Hall to his knowledge…”

Captain Mitchell “… arrived at the corner of High and Gay streets he saw the crowd firing; there was a large crowd about Jackson Hall;..with muskets and rifles; they were firing on the police who were stationed on the corner of High and French Streets; …the rioters numbered some seventy or eighty persons and some were firing from the windows, others from the pavement…”

Officer Simpson “… proceeded in the direction of Jackson Hall; when they turned the corner of the street they were fired on by a party of men from the hall, the same as a charge of an enemy;….”

Officer Steven Stevenson “…he followed them down French street; …went to his house and came out in a few minutes, when the bullets were passing his house, cutting off limbs of trees before his door. …had to go into the alley to keep from getting shot himself.”

Mary A. Norman “…knows the prisoner Burns; she saw him in his shirt sleeves; he had a musket on his arm; he was in French street, about ten or fifteen steps from Jackson Hall; his musket was aimed towards High street; he had on a light cross-barred waistcoat and a cloth cap.”

Officer Denison “… saw [John Burns] point the gun at him; and when he pulled the trigger the gun flashed; witness knows the prisoner well, and identified him in court.  The prisoner was arrested in the house; he fired from a window in the second story.”

Mrs. Burns  “…mother of the prisoner, testified that he was in the house; saw a large force of police coming towards the house; they were three abreast; when they got near they fired on the house; her son was behind the bar, at work, and was not up stairs during the day.”

Wm. H. Brown “… saw a crowd at the corner of Buren and French streets; saw them go into Jackson Hall and bring out the guns and fire in the direction of High street; the party fired several minutes;…Rock went into his house, came out and fired repeatedly; other persons went into Dalton’s house, came out and fired again; Dalton was standing on his steps; did not see who they were firing at; they were firing from half to three-quarters of an hour before the police came up; the police were on French street fifty feet from High street when he first saw them; the crowd scattered when the police came up; thinks there was firing from Jackson Hall at the police after they turned into French street; all the firing was in the direction of High street;…the firing first commenced from Jackson Hall, thinks there were twenty or thirty persons standing about there at the time.

Jane Smith “Saw three officers and two men come up High street; one of the men wore a gray knit jacket, and both appeared to be drunk; the other wore a dark coat buttoned up; the man with a gray knit jacket had a bright musket in his hand; saw both of them throw bricks…”

Officer Alex. H. Rutherford “…saw a crowd of men in front of Jackson Hall, and men with guns at the windows; Jourdon called to him to come across the street, ‘or he would get shot;’ …”

Murder of Jourdan

Catharine Smith  “saw a crowd coming up High street; saw two drunken fellows throwing up their arms and coming out into the street, who were firing bricks; saw three of the officers firing shots along with those who were firing bricks. There were only three police officers on the corner of High and Hillen streets at the time Jourdan was shot and two drunken men; they were the only ones who did any thing; the three officers fired pistols; the two drunken men kept the middle of French street firing bricks at Jackson Hall”

Bidget Toner “…saw a low set, stout officer come up and fire three or four shots towards Jackson Hall, from a revolver, as quick as possible; …he stepped out and said, ‘pull in that drunken man;’ there were several shots fired at that time; several shots were fired from Lefferman’s alley—the last one shot Jordan; he put his hand to his heart.  is sure the shot was fired from Lefferman’s alley which killed Jordan; saw the fire and smoke”

Officer Thomas “Did not see Jourdan shoot a pistol on the corner of High and French streets; there was firing from the direction of Jackson Hall to the corner; one of the shots cut off his second finger.”

Captain Mitchell “ Lt. Wright was at the corner when he got there; witness was not over five minutes getting there.  …as soon as the police turned around the corner, Jourdan was shot; the firing came from the democratic headquarters at Jackson Hall”

Lt. Solomon C. Wright “…a man named Lynch came up to them after they got to the corner; he was intoxicated, and was shot in the shoulder and had his coat torn; Lynch had on arms, but picked up a stone, which was taken from him by the officer……did not go round the corner, because he did not want to be shot… he was in High street looking round the corner dodging the bullets….there were trees along there, and the limbs were being shot off…”

Officer Alex. H. Rutherford “…Jourdan had hold of a man who was shot in the shoulder…”

Henry Staylor  “…the man whom he tried to pull in cried out several times, ‘Hurra for the Rough-Skins.’”

Officer Deal “… It was a minute after Jourdan had dragged the man in from the pavement that he stepped out again and was shot.”

Catharine Smith “…saw officer Jourdan pull one of them in; at that moment heard a shot and saw the smoke of a gun from Lefferman’s alley; saw Jourdan throw his back up against the wall after he was shot.”

Officer Alex. H. Rutherford  “Jourdon was trying to pull the man back; saw Grady shoot twice toward them; he took deliberate aim at the corner and at the pump; it was not over a minute before Jourdon was shot;…they had pistols only; they were too far off to shoot….”

Henry Staylor “Jourdan was shot five feet from the corner, in High street…”

Dr. Reed “Jourdan was shot a little on one side of the medium line of the pit of the stomach.”

Mary A. Norman  “Was on the opposite corner from Jourdan when he was killed; she then ran home.”

Officer Lucas “…saw two men point muskets out a window fronting on French street; they fired; one shot struck Jourdan and the other came so near to witness’ head that he felt the wind as the ball passed….”

Jane Smith “…saw the officer put his hand to his breast, and heard a shot come from Lefferman’s alley.”

Officer Deal  “…all the firing he heard was from French street; if they had been shot from Lefferman’s alley, it would have killed them all …the officers were all exposed to fire from that direction…”

Lt. Solomon C. Wright “…he put his hand to his side and said he was shot; Jourdan walked off—went down High street towards Gay, to a drug store, where he died…”

Captain Joseph Mitchell “…Jourdan said he was shot; opened his bosom and showed witness the blood; most of the other shots he heard were up French street towards Buren street…”

Catharine Smith “…saw Jourdan put his hand on his breast; saw the two other policemen lead him down High street; the two drunken men went with them; there was nobody then left on the corner…”

Bidget Toner  “…saw three police officers with Jourdan when he was shot, and two people who had been firing brickbats; there was right smart more there about five minutes before Jourdan was shot, but they had got out of her sight; heard shots from Jackson Hall when they said ‘rack the shanties’”

Officer Steven Stevenson “…heard the report of pistols and guns, but do not know where they came from; saw Jourdan brought out of Williams’ dead in about an hour.”

Second Charge

Captain Mitchell “…when Jourdan was shot; he was taken away and the witness returned to the mayor’s office.”

Officer Simpson “…the police ran back to the mayor’s office, got arms and orders to take the hall and arrest whoever they found there…”

Catharine Smith “…there was no more shooting until the policemen came back from the watchhouse; the policemen had their bayonets screwed on their guns, and fired at Jackson Hall round the corner; saw no firing from Jackson Hall at the policemen; the crowd scattered when the policemen came…”

F. J. Wheeler “…followed the police officers from the station-house after the death of Jourdan; when he got at the corner of High and Hillen streets saw the officers apparently shooting at any persons seen in the street; ran up to the corner of Exeter and Hillen streets and took shelter in the house of Dr. Bussey, and while standing on the second story balcony of his house saw a man come out of a house about fifty yards up Exeter street with his back towards him, and also towards the police officers, who took deliberate aim at the men, and Dr. Bussey called to the officers, ‘for God’s sake, do not shoot that man,’ and they did not fire; saw persons in citizens’ dress mingling with the officers armed with short rifles.”

Burns at the Swivel

Wm. H. Brown “…Burns carried the cannon out, and the other man carried the block or something else; they carried them about 50 or 60 feet.  Michael Grady fire a gun repeatedly from near the corner of the street; saw men come out of J. B. Dalton’s house opposite the Hall and fire guns….”

Officer Joseph Elliot “….Capt. Brashears was in command of thirty or forty of them; went up French street, and just before they got to High street they commenced firing at them from Jackson tavern; there was a swivel in the street; he recognized the prisoners Burns and Faucett; Burns was in his shirt sleeves, at the swivel, and attempted to touch it off; the swivel was pointed down towards High street; saw guns in the street—could not tell how many; the persons had all fled; saw Grady with a gun, on the corner of Exeter and French streets, firing at them–at the men going up to Jackson Hall; they met fifty of them—the street was black with them…”

Officer Deal “…saw Burns at the swivel, in his shirt sleeves, trying to shoot it off; a man named Evans was trying to keep him from it.  saw Grady and Murray looking out of the alley; can’t say that Murray had a gun; Grady had a gun and shot at witness.  …shot at Burns with a blank cartridge; thinks if it had not been a blank cartridge he would have hit him; if the swivel had gone off it would have killed them all; Burns was the last one that ran from the swivel; could not see any fire in Burns’ hand; saw him stooping down over it;…; Fawcett had on a high cap and a frock coat; witness shot at Grady when he as about the length of the court room; he reloaded his musket opposite Jackson Hall, in French street, with ball cartridge; Grady would have killed him if he could, and he shot because he did not want to be killed himself; Murray had on a frock coat;..-Murray had no gun in his hand when he saw him….they were shooting in Exeter street when Marshal Herring was there.  …Had no muskets till after Jourdan was killed.”

Officer Deal “Saw John Claggett in the street, near Jackson Hall; did not see him have a gun; thinks he had a stick; did not see him heading a party, and noisy.”

Marshal Herring “…saw Claggett there; Clagget was very violent, and he ordered him to leave there; witness prevented him from making any demonstration”

Robert Mitchell “…was at Jackson Hall when Brashears came there; saw no firing from Jackson Hall when the officers came up; the firing was started from Jackson Hall; when they came out from there Grady was at the head of them.  Saw shooting from Jackson Hall and about there, down to the corner of High and French streets; saw Grady shooting, Burns and Fawcett at the swivel; also saw Ward and one of the Powers’; do not know if it was the one that was hung in Washington, or not;…saw Grady fire repeatedly and go to Dalton’s and James Rock’s and either reload or change his musket—he would come out and fire again; Grady went down further and took dead aim on a stoop; Ward had a gun……he might have gone to his father’s and asked if they had a gun, because he thought they might sack Constitution street, which was the headquarters of the natives…[Mitchell was an American Party sympathizer”

Cap Hewell  “…Saw a cannon in the street, and no persons around it; …one of the police officers stood behind a plug and aimed his gun at a boy 15 or 16 years of age; hallooed to him ‘not to shoot that boy;’ he then raised his piece; at that moment somebody at the corner of Buren and Exeter streets fired and hit the top of the hydrant: it must have been shot by a police officer.”

Officer Joseph Elliot “Marshal Herring came up ahead of them in his buggy and sided off in High street; got out of his buggy and came up behind them; he heard and saw the firing as they came up; got into a house in Exeter street; searched but two houses; Mr. Coster brought out of Jackson Hall the three rifles; the crowd ran when they came up; there were police officers there; saw some few persons there now and then”

Marshal Herring  “There was no rioting when he got to Jackson Hall; saw person retreating in different directions as he approached it. …It was nearly 2 o’clock when he was there; there was some excitement there, and a considerable crowd;; the first squad he took up there were armed with muskets, but they were not loaded; if they were loaded it must have been done by those who took them. Some of the muskets had buckshot in them, but not powder enough to do any harm; there was not powder enough in a dozen muskets to load one properly; it would not have thrown the shot across the court house. …saw a number of men standing about French street and some in the hall; saw one man who was trying to touch off a swivel about 2 feet long, which was planted in the middle of the street in front of the hall;…the swivel was mounted on something and pointed towards Bath street; it was loaded with nails and slugs…”

Officer Simpson “…returned and as they approached, saw a cannon or swivel planted in the street; made a rush and captured it; then broke into the hall and made some arrests; witness arrested Burns and captured a gun; took them to the station-house; the swivel was placed in Marshal Herring’s carriage and taken to the station-house; saw the charge drawn; it was loaded with glass which looked like broken bottles…”

Taking of Jackson Hall

John Lutz “Was at Jackson Hall about an hour or half an hour after Jourdan was shot; went to Capt. Brashears for protection for Jackson Hall; they told him ‘they would take him down’”

Officer Lucas “…found the prisoner about one half hour afterwards secreted in a closet in the third story of Jackson Hall; the door was closed and the closet dark; the prisoner asked the officer not to kill him, and witness said he should not be hurt; Mr. Coster discovered the prisoner in the closet; the lower part of the Hall is used as a bar-room, and witness did not hear any one say, ‘Let us kill the d—n son of a b—h,’ and no bottles were broken; but the prisoner did say, when the officers arrested him, ‘Don’t let them kill me.’”

Patrick Burns  “…was at Jackson Hall when [Patrick Fitzpatrick] came there; they were in the bar-room when the police came to make arrests; the witness and [Patrick Fitzpatrick] ran upstairs to hide; got in the closet and closed the door; the officers had muskets, and stamped the butts on the floor; opened the closet, and one remarked, ‘Let me kill the d—d Irish;’ and they begged the police not to harm them; the reason they ran to hide was because they were afraid of the police, for they did not belong to the same party; on that day every man opposed to the police in politics should be afraid of them.”

Captain Joseph Mitchell  “… saw Marshall Herring and other officers there before him; he found nothing, but saw a keg of cut nails, horse-shoe nails, a long iron spear, three or four rifles, and a musket or two; saw the nails in the house; saw the guns outside….”

Officer Steven Stevenson  “…went to Jackson Hall; was about the first, and went into the cellar; they took one man out of the cellar–an elderly man; he was not any of the accused…”

Officer B. F. Cover  “…did not step forward to an old lady there and say ‘damn it, give us something to drink;’ did not go behind the bar the hand out the liquor to John Claggett and others, and not pay for it; did not drink at the bar; did not see an old lady there; saw a young lady; had not been drinking; do not remember that he drank any spirituous liquor that day.”

Marshal Herring “…Jackson Hall was occupied as a public house; …there was no beds up stairs at the time; thinks everything had been taken out; …an officer was bringing out a man from the barroom. …there was a party of officers who wanted to rush into Mr. Dawkins house; he prevented it and searched the house himself, but found no arms there; did not see an old woman in the back part of Jackson Hall…”

John B. Dalton “…people were shutting up their houses; the general hue and cry was ‘the Roughskins are coming to rack us all out.’ Shut up his house and told his family to go up stairs; a ball then entered his house…”

James Ward “… saw officer Miller fire into Dalton’s house. Is a brother of the prisoner; had been at home three-quarters or an hour after Marshall Herring came up; heard forty or fifty reports in French street before he got to his house, No. 16 French street.”

John B. Dalton “…in about five minutes Marshal Herring came, and searched the house. [Here the witness exhibited the ball, and it was shown to the jury–it was a very heavy musket ball.] …Herring said, ‘gentlemen, there is a mistake about this house;’ Mitchell, who had a musket, then pointed his finger to witness and said, ‘we will have you to-morrow;’ told Mitchell ‘If he had done anything wrong he would be responsible to the law;’ no person came to his house to load their arms that day…”

Robert Mitchell “…was not with the officers at Jackson Hall with a gun on his shoulder; did not say to Dalton, ‘never mind, we’ll have you to-morrow’–cannot tell whether he did say so or not.”

Wm. H. Brown  “Marshal Herring….left for the station-house in his carriage; taking with him one prisoner, the cannon and a keg of cut nails.”

Officer Joseph Elliot “Grady was arrested in a frame house in Exeter street, near French, in about two hours; he ran in there when the officers pursued him….”

Once the verdict was read: “The wives, sisters and mothers of the accused gave vent to their emotions in tears of joy.”

Library of Congress

from Library of Congress


Baltimore Sun,15 October 1857. pg. 1

—. 28 October 1857. pg. 1

—. 19 March 1858. pg. 1

—. 2 February 1859. pg 1.

—. 3 February 1859. pg 1.

—. 4 February 1859. pg 1.

—. 5 February 1859. pg 1.


“A Sketch of the New Tragic Farce of ‘Americans shall rule America.'” Maryland State Archives “Documents for the Classroom.” MSA SC 2221-19-24 Brugger, Robert J. Maryland A Middle Temperament 1634-1980. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988, p. 261. Mayor Swann and anti-immigrant sentiment. <;

Robinson, Tom. “Paddy’s Fight with the Know-Nothings.” Andrews: New York, n.d. Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets.< >

Murder of the Marshall Girl: George T. Palmer’s Trial and Pardon

Wisconsin State Census: showing George T. Palmer enumerated in the Marshall household

1895 Wisconsin State Census: showing George T. Palmer enumerated in the Marshall household.  The family at this time was Oscar and Catherine Marshall with their daughter Hazel.

In 1920, Jessie Green (nee Palmer) passed away.  Besides her own family, her survivors included: “…Mrs. Frank Doucette [her mother] of this city and two sisters, Mrs. William Riebe of Wausau and Mrs. B.L. Weddle of South Bend, Indiana.” (Daily Record Herald, 20 May 1920).  The small obituary fails to mention George T. Palmer, and by so doing erases an understandably shameful chapter in the Palmer’s family history.  The brother to Jessie still lived: serving a life sentence for first degree murder. This post hopes to remember a crime that was committed over a hundred years ago using mostly the pardon documents of George T. Palmer.  It covers the events leading up to the murder, the trial, and the appeal process.  I hope to document, in part, this murder, but also speculate on the particular tone and avenues an appeal for clemency must have taken in the early 20th century.


The Saturday, October 31, 1896 edition of The Weekly Wisconsin reports a shocking crime in the farming community of North Bend:

” Filled with a desire to revenge himself on his employer for some slight grievance, George T. Palmer, a farmhand, enticed the 3-year-old, daughter of Oscar Marshall, a farmer at North Bend, into the barn last night and killed her with an ax. Palmer is 18 years old and had been adopted by Marshall from the state school for dependent children. North Bend is a hamlet with about seventy- five population, is thirteen miles east of here and is in Jackson county. Excitement runs high and it is feared that the youth will be lynched before the officers can get him in jail at the county seat in Black River Falls. Marshall is a well-known and highly respected resident of the southern part of Jackson county. He and his wife are both young and Hazel, the victim of last night’s tragedy, was their only child. It is two years since Marshall adopted young Palmer. The boy was bright and on the whole well-behaved, though he was always rather headstrong. Mr. Marshall was away last evening and Mrs. Marshall and the child were alone in the house, while Palmer was doing the chores around the barn. During the day Mr. Marshall had occasion to reprimand the boy, and at the time the latter showed some resentment, but it was thought the matter would end there But it seems that Palmer was consumed with a desire for revenge, and as the afternoon hours wore away he began making plans for a murderous attack on the family. It is believed that it was his intention to kill Mrs. Marshall and the child and then waylay and kill Mr. Marshall when he returned in the evening. Hazel was playing in the yard and it was an easy matter for Palmer to coax her into the barn. Then he seized an ax and dealt her several blows on the head, any one of which would have been enough to cause death. From the barn Palmer went toward the house, carrying the ax. He intended to kill Mrs. Marshall, but as he neared the house his courage failed him and he turned back, dropping. the bloody ax on the steps. Thoughts of the consequences of his crime then frightened him and he concluded to try to secure compassion by pretending to commit suicide. He smeared his lips with carbolic acid and went out to the icehouse to await the discovery of his crime. It was quite late when Mrs. Marshall missed the child and made a search which ended in finding the body lying in a pool of blood on the barn floor. The child was still breathing, but died a few moments later. An alarm was given and the farmyard was soon filled with neighbors, who began to search for Palmer, on whom suspicion fell at once. His suicide ruse and feigned-unconsciousness failed and he was roughly dragged from his hiding place in the ice-house. Then he was bound and held to await the arrival of the sheriff or some of his deputies. Palmer finally made a complete confession, relating the details as given above. He said that he had been reading stories of murders and admitted that he got his idea of securing revenge from one of these tales. Numerous threats of lynching were made, but better counsel prevailed and the officers were permitted to start with him from the county jail at Black River Falls. Galesville, Wis., Oct. 29.—[Special.]— George Palmer, the murderer of little Hazel Marshall at North Bend, escaped lynching only by the quick action of Constable John Haag in removing him to the county jail at Black River Falls. The constable quickly got the prisoner away at 3 o’clock in the morning and he is now behind the bars at the county seat. [….] Palmer’s mother lives at Wausau and his father is an inmate of the state hospital for the insane at Oshkosh, and has been for over five years. The boy is about 17 years of age, but does not look over 14. The funeral of his victim was held today. Black River Falls. Wis., Oct. 29.— Young Palmer is suffering from the effects of the carbolic acid mixture which he took with suicidal intent after the murder, and has been very weak. It is feared that inflammation of the bowels will set in. The common belief is that the boy is insane” (1).

The prospect of a lynching was very real as a later report during the trial shows:

“At the time of the murder, the whole country around North Bend became so aroused and excited over the affair, that if Palmer had not been taken to the county seat at once he would probably have been lynched. It was reported at the time that a movement had been formed by a large company to go to Black River Falls in the night for the purpose of taking him out of jail and lynching him, but on account of a heavy storm coming on at the time, it was abandoned.” (Alton Telegraph, 4 March 1897)


Lyle Pynn filed the complaint against Palmer on the 27th and 28th of October 1896  and swore: “George Thomas Palmer did wilfully and with malice aforethought kill and murder one Hazel Marshal, against the peace & dignity of the State of Wisconsin” It was Pynn and constable J. L. Haag who brought Palmer before Justice of the Peace Robert Crowley on the 28th of October to be charged with the crime.  When the court asked whether Palmer was guilty or not guilty, “He, the accused, did not seem to understand the question and the Court read the complaint to him again and asked him if he killed the little girl.  His answer was YES.” (Justice Court 28 October 1896; PP) An inquest was then held in which a jury examined the body, which laid at home, they examined the crime scene and listened to the testimony of Dr. J. W. Rockwell, William McAdam, John B. Patterson, and Mrs. O. B. Marshall.  The jury members were C.W. Chafey, M.K. Pynn, Fred Haag, Arthur Douglas, Peter E. Johnson, and John Emerson.  Many of these men would renew their efforts for the Marshall family when Palmer applied for a pardon.

Mrs. Marshall’s testimony was as follows:

“I saw the child first after it had been hurt lying ion[sic] the clover chaff on the barn floor.  She was lying on her back with its arms stretched out and her head was covered with blood. The child lived about an hour [Paterson testifies it was two hours] after I discovered it had been hurt.  The barn door was shut.  The child could not have shut the barn door.  It is all that I can do to shut it.” (PP)

Part of John B. Paterson’s testimony was as follows:

“The reason the accused gave for his deed was that he had been reading murder stories.  He made his confession voluntarily in the presence of Mr. S. P. Davis and Mrs. Davis and Bert Hubbard, Hugh Smith, Joseph Johnson and Dr. Rhodes, Will Solomon, John Haag and Lyle Pynn” (PP)

Part of William McAdam’s testimony was as follows:

“Dr. Rhodes examined the accused and said there was nothing the matter with him. I was present when Dr. Rhodes examined the child. Palmer told me where he left the ax after killing the child, and I found it where he said it was. There was light colored hair on the ax like that on the child. Dr. Rhodes asked the accused what was the matter with him and he said he was sick and accused said that he had took poison.” (PP)


The Court appointed J. Castle as defense attorney.  After the court read the charges and asked for a plea, Palmer, “…stands mute and refuses to plead and refuses to make any answer to said information to be entered…” (Circuit Court 1 March 1897, PP). An effort to claim insanity was immediately brought forward.  The trial began on March 2nd.  The jury members were William Sheffer, John Dittinger, George Shaw, J. W. Phillips, N. H. Nelson, J. R. Kutcher, Tollef Nelson, C. H. Mortiboy, A. N. Anderson, W. E. Abbot, Peter I. Peterson, and James Crosby.  J. P. Crosby served as foreman for the jury. The defense called the following witnesses: E. J. Austin, J. G. Forbes, James Livingston, David Barclay, A. Premo, Edna Austin.  E. J. Austin was the Deputy Sheriff and in charge of the jury.  My guess is the defense hoped to characterize the behavior of Palmer since the crime as strange and symptomatic of insanity. The prosecution called 12 witnesses including Mr. and Mrs. Marshall.  Besides Dr. Rhodes, three other doctors were called, presumably to establish the sanity of Palmer.  Of note, one was Dr. Walter Kempster, who testified in the 1881 trial of Charles Guiteau for the assassination of President James Garfield (Princeton Union, 4 March 1897).

The court recessed until the following day. In the afternoon of March 3rd, the jury found Palmer sane.  The prosecution then called four more witnesses, including John Haag and Lyle Pynn.  The state closed their remarks and the jury deliberated.  Court documents state the “Jury after being out a short time returned….” (PP), and found Palmer was guilty of murder in the first degree.  In addition to the life sentence, Palmer was to spend the first five days in solitary confinement.


Several events contributed towards George Palmer’s violent act.  George’s father, John T. Palmer, was a drunk and prone to epileptic fits after falling from a lumber car.  In late December 1890 the Wisconsin River Hospital reported: “We consider him insane and liable at any moment to violent maniacle [sic] excitement, which might result seriously”  (PP).  After a request from Janette Palmer, John’s wife, John was committed on 29 December 1890 by Judge Louis Marchetti.  About 10 months after John was committed, some of the children became “dependents of the state.”  Janette worked as a washer-woman in her efforts to support her children.  The evidence obviously shows the Palmers were already destitute and suffering from malnutrition: George appears very young for his age in the news reports, and John looked “emaciated” in his psychiatric examination. At least George Palmer was sent to the State School for Dependent Children in Sparta, Wisconsin on 9 October 1891. A report by the state school for the trial sheds further light on the Palmer family’s struggles:

“Children were not abandoned by said parents but lived with them under their care and control. Parents are unable to properly care for them, the father being disabled by sickness to earn the means for their support and that said father and said mother of said children were supported by the city of Wausau for the last two years to the extent of about ten dollars per month. Mothers character is good and works as much as her health will allow. Father drinks, is a painter by trade.” Judge Lyon of State Board of Control S.S. Landt, Sparta, Wisconsin  (PP)

Photo taken in Sparta

Either George Palmer or brother Charles.  Photo taken in Sparta

This may be a photo of George at the State School.  The photo was taken in Sparta and has similar facial features of the Palmer family.  The other possibility is this is George’s brother Charles, who may also have been at the school.  Charles was born in 1884 and would have been six when the father was committed and thirteen when George committed the crime.  This becomes difficult to determine when George is reported looking young for his age.  Charles also ran into trouble, being convicted of burglary in Wausau in the early 1900’s he spent a year with his brother in prison.  The three daughters, in stark contrast, seemed to have married well and led stable family lives.  The state census of 1895 showing Mrs. John Palmer with 3 girls is evidence that both boys were farmed out or state supported.


George Palmer first petitioned for clemency in the fall of 1926.  Palmer gives four reasons to Governor John J. Blaine for clemency.  Palmer says:

“…my trial was conducted in a manner which upon the face of the record indicates the strong influence of public sentiment, and the absence of any consideration for my tender years or my adverse rearing: secondly, the term I have served is sufficient by way of punishment and also sufficient to deter others from committing a similar crime; thirdly, my stage in life is now such that I can still work out my own livelihood and provide for myself in old age; lastly, my aged mother who has stood by me throughout is now in need and deserving of my best efforts for  her support and comfort, and I have a desire to live outside of prison, as my prison record shows I have lived inside, a good Christian life, and to become a useful and respectible [sic] citizen.” (PP)

Of these, it appears from subsequent documents that it was his age at the time of the crime and his desire to help his mother that gave his petition some strength.  Palmer then describes his version of the event.

“I was born in Canada and came to Wausau, Wisconsin as a mere child with my parents. Here the economic circumstances of my family resulted in my being sent to the state school at Sparta. A word of my parents: My mother worked as a scrub-woman and at other various jobs to help provide for our family. My father during our stay in Wausau was of little aid in providing for us because he used liquors excessively and since a fall from a lumber pile some years after my birth he had been an epileptic and the year before my entry to the state school at Sparta he had, upon my mother’s petition, been sent to the Northern Hospital for Insane. There is no other evidence of insanity in our family and it is my firm opinion, the opinion of medical examiners and the general belief of all who knew my father that h[i]s insanity was due to the accident which occurred after my birth. After one month at Sparta, I went to work on the farm of Thomas Rohem of Mauston, Wisconsin, where I remained eight months being sent back July 4, 1892. The reason I was returned to Sparta is that I had trouble with this family. While there I was bothered with involuntary bed wetting. This brought punishment upon me by way of whippings about the legs with switches but no medical treatment. When the situation became unbearable on their part as well as mine, I was returned. In the following January, I was next placed with John Jones of Sparta. I stayed there until July 29th following, when I ran away from the farm walking to Camp Douglas where I got a train to Sparta and returned to the school. I left Mr. Jones because the work he heaped upon me was that normally for a man of twice my age. I was forced to work from sunrise to nine and ten o’clock at night and scolded if all the work wasn’t done then. Over a year later, September 29, 1894, I was let out to Oscar Marshall of North Bend, Wisconsin, where I stayed until arrested October 27, 1896. My stay there was much better than at the other two places. The first two years I was treated fairly good and I preferred it to being at the state school. I had to work all the time when not actually in school, which was more than my school-mates and neighbor’s boys did, but it wasn’t so bad. During the last summer I was there, Mr. Marshall made me do most of the work. He had thirty acres of corn, which I had to cultivate alone and then do chores. Almost daily when I would get home from school at night, I would find the milk pan and pails dirty as left by the milk-man in the morning and would have to wash them before doing the evening chores. Then I had to do the chores and a scolding followed if I was late with chores. I also had to do other work about the place such as splitting wood. The last winter I was there Mr. Marshall used to send me out into the woods to haul in wood, which was covered with snow and frozen down. I had all I could do to get the wood loose from the frozen ground and if he thought it took me to [sic] long he would scold when I got home and say that I was lazy. In the summer when I couldn’t cultivate corn I had to split knotty and twisted oak and elm cobs. Mr. Marshall’s scoldings as time went on, became more frequent also more cuttingly sarcastic. On October 27, 1896, the day of the crime, I had been told to do the chores and then to split wood. At noon when Mr. Marshall came home he scolded because he said I had not given the hogs any water, when in fact I had, but they drank it all. When I came in the house he made fun of me saying my shirt must be wet seeing I had split so much wood. I know that it wasn’t much wood, but the cobs were all such hard, dry and twisted ones that I could hardly do anything with them. After I had finished eating, I went to doing noon chores and thought over the way Mr. Marshall was abusine [sic] me. Whenever I felt sick and complained, he said I was merely lazy and trying to get out of work. He hadn’t given me any underwear since I got there, but let me use, both winter and summer, two overalls which were dirty from doing chores. There and many other abuses and the lack of the pleasures and comforts of other boys filled my thoughts and made me nervous and besides myself as to what to do and what the future held for me. About mid-afternoon the pigs were getting out of the pen so I took the axe and went up near the barn and drove some stakes down to hold the fence. Hazel Marshall followed me and watched me. While doing this work, I heard a hen cackling in the barn. When I was through driving in stakes, I went to see if she had a hidden nest in the barn, Hazel following me into the barn. All afternoon I had been unnerved and upset by my lot in life and the abuse I was getting. I was only seventeen years old then. I worked and walked as in a dream and when I was in the barn before I realized what I was doing, I had hit Hazel with the axe. Seeing that she was dying, I hit her three times more and then went to the horse-stable where I took the blue-vitrol bottle and carbolic acid bottle, which we used for the horses and both of which were marked poison. These I mixed and drank a swallow or so of the mixture to kill myself. I went to the ice-house, away from everyone, and laid down to die. The next I knew someone was holding a lantern in my face. They got me up and asked me questions. I said, ‘I killed the girl’ and wanted to be left alone to die. All that evening and night at Marshall’s, at Mr. Haag’s and on the way to town they asked me questions, when I wanted to be left alone to die. I answered them the way they wanted them answered for that was the only way I could get any peace. Much the testimony, which convicted me at the trial was based on these statements made by me to these men.” (PP)

Palmer then goes into detail of each reason for his application.  This statement seems to contradict any notion that “murder stories” contributed to Palmer’s motive.


The pardon of 1926 met with strong community condemnation in Jackson County organized in part by Oscar Marshall.  Petitioners included the Jackson County Board of Supervisors, the North Bend Town Board of Supervisors, the County Officials of Jackson County, and “older residents” in the vicinity of the Marshall home.  The trial judge died before 1926.  Emery W. Crosby was the present judge of Jackson County and he gives this report to the governor:

“…I have spent sometime on the record in this matter and it would appear that this was one of the most atrocious crimes ever committed in that county. [..] The feeling in the community, as far as I have been able to determine, is that to pardon this man would be a travesty on justice. Under these conditions I cannot recommend a pardon and will leave the matter to your own good judgment after you have gone over the record in the case.” (PP)

A common sentiment in the petitions against Palmer is the esteem the community held for the Marshall family.  Vivian Elmer Tibbitts wrote:

“If Palmer were a man who had repented of his deed, the people hereabouts would not feel so strongly that he should serve his term, but indications of many sorts point to the fact that without a doubt upon his release he will eventually return to this part of the country for revenge, especially upon the Marshalls.” (PP)

The petitions, dated 2 November 1926, include similar language:

“At the time of the trial, he threatened the witnesses for the State [Pynn and Douglas], and since the trial as we are informed and do verily believe, has kept posted on their whereabouts and also kept posted as to the Marshall family…it is our belief that were he pardoned or paroled, he would seek vengeance upon the witnesses for the State and also upon the members of the Marshall family….” (PP)

Other petitions are muted regarding the fear of revenge.


In a letter dated 14 October 1926, George M. Popham, the prosecutor in Palmer’s trial, writes to Governor Blaine in favor of a pardon:

“His father at the time of trial was an inmate of the Hospital of Marathon County for the incurable insane, and as I recollect his record there showed that he was extremely alcoholic, which feature however was not brought out at the trial, and I think it appeared in the evidence in rebuttal, that the injury by fall from the load of hay occurred after the boy was born and therefore could not have been the cause of any insanity in the boy. However, it is very important for you to know that Dr. Walter Kempster of Milwaukee, who was the expert called for and paid by the state to testify impartially as to the boy’s mental condition, positively stated to Judge Bailey of Eau Claire (who presided at the trial) and to me, that if Wisconsin then had a hospital for the Criminal Insane, the boy should be committed to it and that if he while on the Witness stand had been asked the question as to the heriditary [sic] effect upon a child of excessive alcoholism or alcoholic insanity on the part of the parent, he would have testified that there are more cases of hereditary insanity due to excessive alcoholism on the part of the parent than to ANY OTHER CAUSE. Judge Bailey took a very humane view of the situation, but was compelled, in the interest of the public and to guard it against the danger of any future mental outburst on the part of this boy, (after a verdict of first degree murder had been returned by the jury) to, and he did sentence the boy to life imprisonment at Waupun, and at this time, it is my very best recollection he stated openly in the presence of myself and Mr. Castle and others, that if there was then in Wisconsin a hospital for the criminal insane, he would endeavor to so arrange that the boy be committed to it, there being no such institution, he felt compelled for the welfare of the public to commit the boy for life to the prison at Waupun. Some time, I think prior to the year 1910, I had some letters from young Palmer, written to me from Waupun, which were written with good penmanship and in good English.  They also seemed to indicate such good mental condition, that I began to feel, that the time had possibly come when some executive clemency might safely be exercised by the Governor in Palmer’s behalf.  I also felt that, while at the time of the trial Palmer had been dealt with justly for his own welfare and that of the state, nevertheless, it was my duty to determine whether the original sentence was at that later date operating with undue harshness upon Palmer, and if so, it was my duty to do what I could to relieve him of possible future injustice. Accordingly I went to the prison at Waupun to interview Palmer and on a Sunday was given an opportunity for a very full and satisfactory interview from which I came to the sincere and careful conclusion that Palmer was sane and of sound mind and that he could safely be trusted with his liberty without danger to the public from such an outbreak as that which had resulted in the death of Mr. Marshall’s little girl and Palmer’s imprisonment.  I came to this honest conclusion after having applied to Palmer every test I could think of for the purpose of testing his mental condition.  I am not an expert in mental diseases, nor as well qualified to determine his mental condition, as those who have been with him daily or as those physicians who may have examined him from time to time.  But I have successfully handled several very important criminal cases where the issue of sanity was involved, and I felt fully competent to make such tests as would satisfy my own careful inquiring mind, that I might make no mistake against the welfare of the people in any recommendation that I might subsequently make.  Upon my return to Chicago, I prepared and sent to Wisconsin Board of Pardons a carefully written letter in which I stated my opinion to the effect that I believed Palmer was sane, and I recommended some form of clemency such as parole, if the board upon its own examination should find that he could be safely entrusted with his liberty.  I could do nothing more than that. In my interview with Palmer at that time, he state that he had read the Bible through at least three times.  He talked very intelligently about the Bible and about religious and other subjects, and that led me to conversation and questions to ascertain whether there might exist any lurking religious frenzy.  I found no such indications.  Among many other tests applied, I discussed with him questions relating to his rights if in possession of liberty.  I told him a story of a case where a young fellow working for a farmer had been refused his wages and that he beat the farmer up.  His comment was that the man was wrong in assaulting the farmer.  I asked what he should have done.  He replied that he should have resorted only to the law, hired a lawyer and sued the farmer for his wages.  I said suppose the farmer had first struck the employee, should the latter strike back.  He said ‘no’.  I asked why,- he has the right to defend himself.  He said ‘Yes, by man’s law, but Christ said, – love your neighbor as yourselves and resist not evil with evil.’  It was really getting quite interesting, so I asked if that doctrine was not quite unnatural in the present day.  He said it might seem to be unnatural, bit if so, that was because we did not understand our real nature. I asked him to explain his views.  He said that Christ meant to prevent murder from the happening of the first blow; that if a person struck, struck back, the first assailant might strike back with a club which might be replied to with a knife or deadly weapon from which murder might follow.  He also said the man who turned the other cheek and refused to strike back, if not coward[ly] and if as strong and able to fight as the assailant, possessed greater bravery, manhood and courage than the assailant, and that if he did not strike back, the assailant would probably feel so ashamed of himself that the trouble would end to the glory of the man who obeyed Christ’s law. I asked if he could surely practice that doctrine if he were at liberty.  He said it might be hard, but he knew that he could, and he said that law, ‘Love they [n]eighbor as thyself,’ – was the greatest law ever written, – that ‘I love myself from birth and can intentionally do myself no wrong.  If I love my neighbor as myself I can do him no wrong, I can then commit no crime against him, so crime would disappear.’  He said millions of men had been worshipping [sic] Christ as the Son of God for nearly nineteen hundred years but that few had actually followed his teachings and it was time for the world to begin that practice.  These views were expressed of course in answer to questions and suggestions on my part, but his answers and conversation indicated a good intelligence.  It is my belief that if he is as sane today as he was at the time of that interview, he can be safely entrusted with his liberty. Other matters were developed at that interview which were not brought out at the trial.  I had no knowledge of them and I believe that his attorney, because of the short time allowed for preparation was without knowledge of the following facts.  The boy was an inmate of the dependent school at Sparta, that is for dependent children.  I think he had been apprenticed out several times, and claimed to have been mistreated.  Finally he was apprenticed to Mr. Marshall of North Bend, Jackson County, Wisconsin.  I do not wish to cast the slightest reflection upon Mr. Marshall was was regarded as an honest reputable citizen, and I’d not vouch for the truth of Palmer’s claim to the effect, that he had been compelled to get up winter mornings at 4:30, dressed only in overalls, without underwear, go out milk the cows, feed pigs while hes wet slimy overalls froze to this skin; that during the plowing season he worked so late at night that he could not see to plow a straight furrow; that he was given no money for holiday expenses and was deprived of the priveleges [sic] of other boys in the neighborhood.  I merely state these facts to show that had they been brought out at the trial, they would have had an important bearing upon the testimony of Dr. Kempster, and might have had some effect upon the result. To my mind the great question is, – what is Palmer’s mental condition at this time?  If he is sane and can be trusted with his liberty and if at liberty will not be a menace to the public, then I think he had been sufficiently punished, and should be allowed his liberty for the remainder of his days, if modern hum[a]n[i]tarian methods are to be applied. In such humanitarian matters, I often think of the story as told by some transcendent old poet, that when God Almighty design[ed] to create man, the various angles of his attributes passed in their order before him and spoke of his purpose, – they were truth, justice and charity.  Truth in passing the throne said, ‘Create him not Father, he will deny the sacred and inviolate truth, create him not!’  Stern justice in passing thundered, ‘Create him not, Father, he will desecrate Thy holy temple, he will fill the world with injustice and wrong; Aye, in the very first generation he will wantonly slay his own brother, therefore create him not!’  But gently Charity knelt before the throne and whispered, ‘Create him father, I will follow him in all his wanderings and by the lessons he shall learn from his own mistakes, I will bring him back to Thee, O God.’  I believe, Your Excellency, can now deal charitabley [sic] by the man, Palmer, who as a boy never had a chance, and that if now safe and sane he should be given the pardon requested.  I feel sure that his representatives are engaged in a noble enterprise in thus befriending this man, and that when their efforts are fully understood they will be highly commended by all good, justice-loving men. Yours very truly, [signed] George M. Popham  (PP)

What seems significant to me in this letter is the degree to which religion played a significant role in the judicial process.  One may question the sincerity of Palmer’s faith, but what is not in doubt is the value in professing a Christian value system.  If Palmer had confessed any doubts towards a Christian faith, his petition may have been structurally weak.

Regardless, the petition was unsuccessful.  On the 18th of November 1926, the governor denied the petition stating:

“His offense was no doubt due to mental morbidity, as well as moral depravity.  He had a very unfortunate heredity, and he belongs to that class of cases where there is little hope for the person, and it is really a custodial case, in order to segregate him from society.”

J. J. B.  (PP)


In 8 November 1927, Blaine’s successor Fred Zimmermann received a letter from George J.  Leicht asking for a new review of Palmer’s petition.  Palmer at the time was working at Camp Linger Longer in Tomahawk Lake, WI.  In Leicht’s letter he states,

“You visited the Tomahawk Lake Camp a short time ago and talked to this man.  Perhaps you remember it.  You intimated to a companion then that you thought he had served long enough.  He has no means wherewith to make another application. […]May I suggest that you look into the record of the former application with the view toward reopening it and acting favorably on it at this time”

[signed] George J Leicht  (PP)

Bruce T. Fleming was Officer in Charge at Camp Linger Longer.  He wrote to Zimmermann stating:

“[Palmer] has always been a very trusty prisoner, always doing the work assigned to him, and doing it as well as though he were working for himself.

I sincerely believe that should you feel like giving him his freedom you will never have came to regret it. He tells me that if released he would go back to his mother and try to make her happy in her last few days on this earth.” (PP)

These efforts too appear unsuccessful.  Palmer would spend another four years in prison before a process of parole was begun on March 4, 1931.  On 9 March 1937, Palmer was granted a conditional pardon by Governor La Follette.  An absolute pardon was granted on 16 February 1939 by Governor Julius P. Heil. The case still brought headlines in 1939. The Madison Wisconsin State Journal reports:

“In 1931 already 51 Palmer was paroled from Waupun. He returned to prison voluntarily.  He was paroled again in 1932 and of his own will returned once more to the penitentiary—his home the greater part of his life. Paroled a third time on June 19 1934, he went to work on a farm.  This time he did not return, worked steadily, and used several hundred dollars of his earnings to care for his 88 year old mother” (1).

Palmer’s parole according the the State Board of Control, “…has gotten along on parole unusually well….” (7 February 1939 PP).  At the time of his pardon Palmer lived in Janesville. In 1942, George Palmer lived and worked at the Deer Trail Lodge in Oneida for a J. W. Johnson.  He is in contact with his sister Jennie Ann.  George Thomas Palmer died on the 19 August 1962 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.  Palmer’s mother died on 28 September 1938. Mrs. Catherine Marshall, mother to Hazel, died in September 1939.  Mr. Oscar B. Marshall died in 1953.


Louis Marchetti from History of Marathon County

Louis Marchetti from History of Marathon County

Louis Marchetti, besides his role as a judge and mayor of Wausau, wrote the History of Marathon County.  The book mentions the Green Brothers who ran the baggage and passenger transport line.

“Mr.[George] Green was married in 1897, to Miss Jessie Palmer, then of Wausau, but a native of St. John’s, New Brunswick. She was two and one half years old when her parents, John and Janette Palmer, brought her to Wausau, where the latter yet resides, the former dying in 1898. He was a contract painter” (Marchetti 764-765).

Besides these broad biographical details, Marchetti possessed intimate knowledge of the Palmer family because he served as judge in the first case committing John T Palmer in 1890.  Interestingly, in 1893 Judge Marchetti urged the construction of the “Asylum for the Chronic Insane” in Marathon (Marathon County Asylum and Poor Farm).

George J. Leicht, the attorney for Palmer in the pardon process, is also mentioned in the History of Marathon County.  Leicht was very active in fraternal organizations (see biography by Hart).  Marchetti states that Leicht, “…politically is a Republican and fraternally a Mason.” (935),  Leicht at the time of the pardon process was a judge, appointed by Governor Blaine and “serving with acclaim in juvenile cases” (Marathon Historical Society, Bill Hart).

George M. Popham, was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a Mason, among other memberships (Proceeding 109; Chicagoans 546).  Marchetti, while it is not known if he was a Mason, was an Odd Fellow (Proceedings 134). 

George T. Palmer, then, was brother-in-law to George G. Green, who was a Mason and very active in the fraternal organizations.  What I am attempting to piece together is not a conspiracy theory but a possible network through which George Palmer, a destitute felon, may have begun an appeal.  Leicht lived and worked in Wausau and it seems very likely that he knew George Green through the fraternal organizations as did Marchetti.  And just as Marchetti knew the hard story of the Palmer family (and, of course, chose not to print it in his history), Leicht also knew.  George Palmer through his brother-in-law had access to the powerful men in Wausau, so, one would think, appeals, like water, seek the path of least resistance.  Leicht may have been interested in the case too, because of his special concern for juvenile cases, and Palmer was a juvenile when he committed the crime. It is less certain whether Popham knew the Marchetti or the other interested parties.  As part of the pardon process, a letter from the prosecutor must be sought, and this is likely why Popham wrote to the Governor in the petition.  However, George Palmer had begun his appeal prior to 1910 by writing to Popham.  And Popham seems to have given a considerable amount of time and thought to Palmer’s case.  How much this was due to Popham’s own sense of duty or to the appeals from certain corners will not be answered but is fascinating speculation.  After all, George T. Palmer’s case was remarkable in many ways.


I’d like to thank David Harper and L.M. Stockman for their help in this post.  Particularly, they provided transcripts of news articles that I was not familiar with.  These were the Princeton Union, and Alton Telegraph.  They’ve created a genealogical site that details Hazel Marshall’s family which can be found here <>

Works Cited

The Book of Chicagoans: A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men and Women of the City of Chicago. ed. Albert Nelson Marquis. A. N. Marquis: Chicago, 1917. Web. Mocavo. 23 May 2015.

Daily Record Herald 20 May 1920: 2 Web. Newspapers. 22 May 2015

Hart, Bill. “George J. Leicht.” Marathon County Historical Society.

“Innocent Child the Victim.” The Weekly Wisconsin October 31, 1896: 1. Web. Newspapers. 22 May 2015

“Insisting Upon Insanity.” The Princeton Union 4 March 1897.

Jailed in ’97, Killer gets Full Pardon.” Madison Wisconsin State Journal 18 February  1939: 1. Web. Newspapers. 22 May 2015

“Marathon County Asylum and Poor Farm.” < >

Marchetti, Louis. History of Marathon County Wisconsin and Representative Citizens 1913.

“Palmer is on Trial.” Alton Telegraph 4 March 1897: 12. Web. Newspapers. 22 May 2015

Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of the State of Wisconsin. Eau Claire: Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, 1903. Web. GoogleBooks. 22 May 2015

(PP) Wisconsin. Governor: Pardon Papers. George T. Palmer 7026. T369. Wisconsin Historical Society. Madison, WI. 1937.

Wisconsin State Census. 1895. Web. Familysearch.

The Slaves of My Lady’s Manor: The Sparks Family.


The following post attempts to trace the lives of former slaves owned by Josiah Sparks (1752).  Most remain anonymous.  Subsequent to this effort is a cursory examination of slavery in the area known as My Lady’s Manor of upper Baltimore County, Maryland. In 1850 there were approximately 1,968 slaves in the 2nd District of Baltimore County.

The Fugate House

Benjamin R. Fischler wrote a report, An Investigation into the History of the Fugate House, A Stone Ruin on the Marshall Farm along Troyer Road in Baltimore County, Maryland.  The Fugate House stood on Josiah Sparks’s property.  The house has previously been called the Fugate Slave House or the Sparks Slave House.  However, the Fugate family never housed slaves there.  The Sparks may have housed slaves there but there is no definitive proof.  Fischler’s research has revealed that if slaves were housed there it was most likely when a neighboring family, the Holmes, purchased land nearby and may have rented the house as seasonal slave quarters.  Fischler’s report was published by the Manor Conservancy.


Josiah Sparks Jr., a wealthy farmer in My Lady’s Manor, died in 1846. In his will he divides his household. Among his possession are nine slaves:

“My coulored woman Marenda. I leave to go free when I am no more. My black man Joshua, I leave to go free when I am no more. I give and bequeath unto my daughter Ruthy Pierce one black girl till she is 25 years of age and then to go free named Nelly to serve her till she is 25 years old and then to go free. I give and bequeath to Ellen Sparks wife of Frances Sparks one black girl named Sarah Ann to serve her till she is 25 years old and then to go free. I give and bequeath unto Aaron my son one black boy named James and one black girl named Elisabeth, to serve him till they are 25 years old and then they are to go free. I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Maze three black boys by name Nelson, John and Thomas to serve her till she is 25 years old and then they are to go free, the black boy Nelson to be taken by my son Frances when he arrives at 18 years of age and he is to pay the said Sarah Maze twenty dollars per year till he is 25 years old.” (Josiah Sparks’s Will 92)

In the Maryland Archives are Certificates of Freedom for Joshua and Marenda.  It should be noted that although I assume the Joshua in the will is the Joshua Johnson in the 1850 census based on name, age, and proximity to the Sparks family this is not a definitive link.  Many of the connections rely on circumstantial evidence.

Joshua Johnson (1816) freed 1846:


and Marenda (1814) freed 1846:

DSC02325 Marenda (1814) freed 1846

  • Marenda may possibly be enumerated in the household of Charles B. Gorsuch in the 1850 census for District 1 Baltimore County as Marinda Shaw (1810).


Josiah wrote his will in November of 1843,when he was about 90 years old.  Joshua Johnson had land surveyed in August 1844, and purchased it in 1845 (BCLR: AWB 365: pg 516).  Josiah died in January of 1846; Joshua reported the land purchase in May of 1846. Initially this presents an obstacle to linking Joshua of the will to the Joshua Johnson of My Lady’s Manor.  But according to Ben Fischler, while illegal, sale of land to slaves did happen when the white parties involved agreed to the sale (Personal Email 25 May 2015).  Joshua may have waited to report the land purchase to avoid any prying.  Moving forward on the presumption that they are the same man the deed reveals important details about the relationship between the two men.  If Joshua eventually learned that he was to be manumitted at the death of Josiah, he had started making preparations and looking for a plot of land for his family.  The years between 1843 and 1846 must have tried Joshua’s patience for Josiah’s death.

The deed also shows that Joshua was a wage laborer to some extent.  Wage labor for slaves was more common in Maryland as it was used as a deterrent against the free side of the Pennsylvania border (Grivno 24-25).  Josiah either hired Joshua out and gave Joshua a small percentage, or Joshua found his own work, maybe as a cobbler, and gave Josiah the larger share of the payment.  In any case, Joshua managed to save 64 dollars for the price of the eight acres, and whatever the cost of surveying conducted by John B. Henderson.  Such an amount must have been saved over the course of several years.

Joshua’s family fortunately possessed some stability; perhaps evidence of an attempt to reunite broken families.

  • In the 1850 Census Joshua’s children are George age 10 (1840), Rachel age 5 (1845), Hesta age 2 (1848).  His wife is Pelitia or Penelope (1816).  Elizabeth Mirn[sp] or Moore age 88 (1762) also lives with the family
    • Listed close by is Zebedee Annis age 52 (1798). He is a shoe maker, and Joshua would be listed as a shoemaker in 1860.  There may be a familial link or it may simply be neighbors sharing a trade.
    • With Zebedee are Henrietta age 52 (1798), James age 14 (1836), Mary Williams age 11 (1849).  Zebedee was a free man since at least 1840 where he is enumerated with one male 10-24, two male children under ten, a female 36-54(Henrietta), a female 24-35, and a female child under 10.  In 1860, Besides his wife, James (1837) and Jane (1845) live with him.  In 1870, the last year Zebedee is enumerated, Henrietta still lives with him, a Rachel Shively (1848) lives with him with children: Charles P (1858), Annie (1862), Frederick D (1865) and Mary E (1868).  This Rachel could be Joshua’s daughter Rachel (1845) strengthening a familial tie to Zebedee and the Joshua/Pelitia household.
  • In 1860 the following are enumerated with Joshua- Age 43 (1817)–Listed as Mulatto–Shoe Maker:
    • Pelitia– Age 44 (1816), James age 23 (1837), Elizabeth age 22 (1838), Alfred age 20 (1840), Joshua age 16 (1844), Jane age 15 (1845), Hennetta age 13 (1847), Rosana age 9 (1851), Nicholas age 8 (1852), Eliza age 8 (1854), Mary age 8 months (Jan 1860).
    • A George Jonston is listed next who is Joshua’s father, age 78 (1782), listed as a day laborer
      • with George are Rachel age 60 (1800), James age 11 (1849), Mary age 9 (1851)
  • In the 1870 census Joshua is listed as a farmer next to the household of Mathew Sparks (1817).
    • with him are Penelope (1815), Joshua T (1845), Nicholas T (1853), Eliza E (1854), Mary A (1860)


Nelson Gray (1831) (Sarah, Francis) freed 1856

Nelson Gray’s family appears to have suffered the tragic vagaries of death and collapse.

  • Nelson Gray (1831) In 1860 he is listed as a free man working for Francis.
  • The 1870 census shows Nelson, living in Baltimore City, married to Emily and with two children: Joshua(1862) and Emily(1863) His occupation is a porter.
  • In the directories there is an Emma or alternatively Eleanor Gray at 11 Edward as a laundress/seamstress with Nelson Gray.
  • In 1873 they moved to 91 Sterling: in 1875 170 n. Spring. Between 1875 and 1880, Emily dies.
  • In 1880, Nelson is a widowed “Huckster” living as a boarder with no relations.
  • The 1881 is the last directory record which mentions Nelson. He would have been around 50.

The following are the names of the enslaved with their approximate birth date, who they were willed to in the Sparks family, and their approximate emancipation date. Sarah Ann Smith (1835)–(Francis) freed 1860–In 1860 she is working for Francis as a free woman.  James (1827)–(Aaron) freed 1852– Elizabeth (1831) –(Aaron) freed 1856 John (1837-1842) –(Sarah Maze or Mays) freed 1862+ Thomas (1837-1842)–(Sarah Maze or Mays) freed 1862+ Nelly (1834)- (Ruth Pierce)–freed 1859

  • In 1830 Josiah is enumerated with 8 slaves: one male under 10, two between 10 and 23: three females under 10, one female between 10 and 23, one female between 24 and 35.
  • In 1840 one male under 10[John/Thomas?], two males 10-24[James,Nelson], one female under 10[Sarah], two 10-24[Elizabeth,Nelly], and one 26 under 54[Marenda?].



Laban Sparks (1782): nephew to Josiah Sparks through Thomas (1758)

  • In 1830 one slave was enumerated
    • 1 female 10-23 years of age
  • On 13 April 1839 Laban ran an advertisement in the Baltimore Sun for an escaped slave by the name of John Howard (1816).


  • In 1840 three Freed persons were enumerated
    • 1 male under 10 years of age
    • 1 male 10-23 years of age
    • 1 female 24-35 years of age
  • In 1850 Laban is enumerated with two slaves:
    • Male (1837) and a Male (1837)
  • In 1860 five slaves were enumerated
    • Male (1840), Female (1840), Male (1845), Male (1848), Male (1860)
  • In 1870 Shadrack Sparks, Laban’s son, is enumerated with:
    • Charles Howard (1842) and Miranda Howard (1845)

Aaron Sparks, a grandson to Josiah through Thomas

Enumerated with two slaves in 1850

  • Male (1820)
  • Female (1845) who, at only five years of age, is marked as a fugitive.

Francis Sparks

Again from Schweninger’s compilation we find this petition: “Francis Sparks vs. Elizabeth Given petition 27 August 1862 Apprentice was ‘incorigible, and of ill behavior, to the evil example of other children belonging to your petitioner, and your Petitioner is therefore desirous of being rid of her’; asked that indentures be canceled” (BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS, MSA SC 4239-18-83).


I am obviously indebted to the Legacy of Slavery Project of the Maryland Archives and Dr. Loren Schweninger.   I am very grateful to Ben Fischler for contacting me and sharing his research.  I recommend finding a copy of his published report.


BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT (Land Records) AWB 365, p. 0516, MSA_CE66_415. Joshua Johnson. 8 December 1845.

BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Certificates of Freedom) 1844-1849.  Joshua. MSA C3085-4-44. Annapolis, MD. 26 June 1847.

BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Certificates of Freedom) 1844-1849. Marenda. C3085-4-45. Annapolis, MD. 26 June 1847.

BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS (Petitions and Orders) MSA T1206-449. MSA SC 4239-18-83. Annapolis, MD.

BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS (Petitions and Orders). MSA T1206-449. MSA SC 4239-18-85.  Annapolis, MD.

BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS (Petitions and Orders) MSA T1206-449. MSA SC 4239-18-90. Annapolis, MD.

BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS. MSA CM188-26. Annapolis, MD. William Curtis. 26 May 1863.

Baltimore Sun. 16 April 1839. Legacy of Slavery Project

Baltimore Sun. 13 June 1840. Legacy of Slavery Project

Baltimore Sun. 2 June 1855. Legacy of Slavery Project

Grivno, Max. “There Slavery Cannot Dwell”: Agriculture and Labor in Northern Maryland, 1790-1860. Dissertation. College Park, Md: University of Maryland, 2007. Print. (Later published as Gleanings of Freedom: Free and Slave Labor along the Mason-Dixon Line, 1790-1860)

Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser. 1782 October 22. Legacy of Slavery Project.

Oakland Farm House. Maryland Historical Trust Inventory. Site No. BA-120. MSA. Annapolis, MD

Pearce, John B. Accommodations Docket. 18 May 1850. Legacy of Slavery Project.

Perdue, John. Accommodations Docket. 20 September 1849. Legacy of Slavery Project.

Schweninger, Loren. compiler. “Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks: Petitions to Maryland.” Web. <;

Simms, Maria. MSA C2064 Baltimore City & County Jail (Runaway Docket), 1832 – 1836, 2/72/4/19. 21 April 1834. Legacy of Slavery Project.

Slade, Thomas. Baltimore County Wills 1838-1840 vol 17. pg 142. MSA. Annapolis, MD. 22 November 1838.

Sparks, Josiah. Baltimore County Wills 1845-1847. MSA CM188-21. vol 21. pgs 91-93. MSA. Annapolis, MD. 19 January 1846.

United States Census, 1850, Baltimore county, part of, Baltimore, Maryland, United States; NARA microfilm publication M432. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.

United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1850 ,” Baltimore county, Baltimore, Maryland, United States; NARA microfilm publication M432, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.

United States Census, 1860, Election Dist No 10, Baltimore, Maryland, United States; NARA microfilm publication M653, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.

United States Census, 1870, Maryland, United States; NARA microfilm publication M593. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.

Waters, Henry. MSA C2065-1 Baltimore City Jail (Runaway Docket), 1854 – 1864, 2/72/4/21. 1851 March 13. Legacy of Slavery Project.

Williams, Peter. MSA C 2064-2 Baltimore City and County Jail (Runaway Docket), 1836 – 18502/72/4/20. 15 April 1837. Legacy of Slavery Project.

“He was at the Battle of Bunker Hill”: the Battle and the Greens of Massachusetts.

BunkerHill2014-05-21 This post focuses on two companies engaged in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Captain John Black’s Company part of Jonathan Brewer’s Regiment and Captain Abel Wilder’s Company part of Ephraim Doolittle’s Regiment. The post searches for the experience of the Green Family. Two brother’s, Israel and Nahum Green, had sons as part of the battle. Israel would reap a terrible toll from the field of Charlestown. The research centers on the following questions: How heavily were these two companies engaged, and where most likely did they stand? The description of the attack has been relayed time and again. Little time is spent on the movements of commanders, instead, focusing on the testimony of individual soldiers.  To give the briefest account of the battle, Peter Brown’s letter is the most compelling:

  Read a Letter dated Cambridge June 28, 1775, from Peter Brown of Westford to his Mother in Newport. He was in the Battle of Concord : imediately enlisted into Col Prescotts Reg[iment] is Clerk of a Comp[any] and was in the Lines on Bunkers hill in the Battle of Charlest[own]. He says : Frydy the 16th of June we were ordered to Parade at 6 o’clock with one Day’s provisions and Blankets ready for a March somewhere, but we did not know where. So we readyly and cheerfully obeyd, the whole that was called for, which was these three, Col. Prescotts, Frys & Nicksons Reg …. About 9 o’Clock at night we marched down on to Charlest[own] Hill against Cox Hill in B[oston] where we entrenched, & made a Fort of about Ten Rod long and eight wide, with a Breast Work of about 8 more. We worked there undiscovered till about 5 in the Morn and then we saw our Danger being against 8 Ships of the Line & all Boston fortified against us. (The Danger we were in made us think there was Treachery, & that we were brot there to be all slain, and I must & will venture to say that there was Treachery, Oversight or Presumption in the Conduct of our Officers. ) And about half after 5 in the Morn, we not having above half the Fort done, they began to fire, I suppose as soon as they had Orders, pretty briskly a few Minutes, and then stopt, and then again to the Number of about 20 or more. They killed one of us, and then they ceased till about 11 o’Clock and then they began pretty brisk again ; and that caused some of our young Country ppl to desert, apprehending the Danger in a clearer manner than the rest, who were more diligent in digging & fortify[ing] ourselves against them. We began to be almost beat out, being tired by our Labour and having no sleep the night before, but little victuals, no Drink but Rum . . . They fired very warm from Boston & from on board till about 2 o’Clock, when they began to fire from the Ships in ferry Way, & from the Ship that lay in the River against the Neck to stop our Reinforcem[ents] w[hich] they did in some Measure. One Cannon cut off 3 Men in two on the Neck of Land. (Our Officers sent time after Time after the Cannons from Cambridge in the Morn[ing] & could get but four, the Cap[tain] of which fired but a few times, and then swang his Hat round three Times to the Enemy, then ceased to Fire.) It being about 3 o’clock there was a little Cessation of the Cannons Roaring. Come to look there was a matter of 40 Barges full of Regulars com[ing] over to us : it is supposed there were about 3000 of them and about 700 of us left not deserted, besides 500 Reinforcem[ent] that could not get so nigh to us as to do any good hardly till they saw that we must all be cut off, or some of them, and then they advanced. When our Officers saw that the Regulars would land they ordered the Artill[ery] to go out of the fort & prevent their Lands if possible, from which the Artill[ery] Cap[tain] took his Pieces & went right off home to Cambridge fast as he could, for which he is now confined & we expect will be shot for it. But the Enemy landed & fronted before us & formed them selves in an Oblong Square, so as to surround us w[hich] they did in part, & After they were well formed they advanced towds us in Order to swallow us up, but they found a choaky Mouthful of us, tho’ we could do noth[ing] with our small Arms as yet for Distance, & had but two Cannon & nary Gunner. And they from B[oston] & from the ships a fir[ing] & throw[ing] Bombs keep[ing] us down till they got almost round us. But God in Mercy to us fought our Battle for us, & altho’ we were but few & so were suffered to be defeated by them, we were preserved in a most wonderful Manner far beyond Expectation, to Admiration, for out of our Reg[iment] there was about 37 killed, 4 or 5 taken captive, and about 47 wounded. … If we should be called into Action again I hope to have Courage & strength to act my part valiantly in Defence of our Liberties & our Country, trusting in him who hath yet kept me & hath covered my head in the day of Battle, & tho’ we have lost 4 out of our Comp[any] & our Lieutenant’s thigh broke & he taken Captive by the cruel Enemies of America, I was not suffered to be toutched altho’ I was in the fort till the Regulars came in & I jumped over the Walls, & ran for about half a Mile where Balls flew like Hailstones, & Cannons roared like Thunder. But tho’ I escaped then it may be my Turn next. So I must conclude with my prayers for your Welfare & wish’ you the best of Bless[ing] I still remain Your dutiful Son Peter Brown  (Brown qtd Stiles 595-596)

Below the Mystic River and above the Charles River, a spit of land presses out from the mainland held still by a narrow passway called a neck. Provincial forces moved onto the hills of Charlestown and began to dig. For some time they had been forming a redoubt, a place of piled earth and desperate hope. This occupied Breed’s Hill. To protect the left flank there was a “rail fence” of stone and rail, it was reinforced with freshly mown grass. This fence pointed toward the Mystic River which emptied into the bay. Men from Connecticut and New Hampshire, mostly, defended this portion. The space between the British landing and the defenses was various and uneven:

On its slopes were the stone walls, rail-fences, and orchards, that were used to such terrible purpose. The ground between it and the British landing-place was obstructed by other fences, a morass, and brick-kilns. These natural obstacles were more formidable than the redoubt. They broke the British advance, and in and about the brick-kilns the enemy’s loss was particularly severe. The stone and rail-fences, filled between with hay, proved the impregnable point of the American line. The British, after being twice repulsed, and with horrible carnage of the choicest troops on the field, abandoned the effort to carry it. It was the last portion of their line held by the provincials, and covered their retreat. (Drake 11)


Nahum’s sons, Uzziah Green and Irijah Green, belonged to Abel Wilder’s company (Mass 838 and 844 ).  Historians have made a cursory assumption of the extent to which Wilder’s Company’s participated: “The records tell us that 300 men or about 90 per cent of Col. Doolittle’s regiment commanded by Maj. Willard Moore of Paxton, Col. Doolittle himself being absent, were present at the battle of Bunker Hill. As Maj. Moore was himself mortally wounded we may well believe that the regiment was hotly engaged….” (Caswell 405). Uzziah makes explicit mention of Bunker Hill in his pension (Pension file S21776).  While Irijah does not mention Bunker Hill in his extensive pension, it is not uncommon to elide specific battles (Pension file S39630).  Sickness and guard duty are other possibilities.  While many accounts do not give any fatalities to Doolittle’s regiment (Stiles 587), they in fact lost three besides Major Moore (Memorial 96).

For Nahum’s brother, Israel, accounts differ as to how many sons fell. Family researchers in the 1850’s record two sons lost at Cambridge. Lucas and Zeeb Green were both part of Black’s Company in Brewer’s Regiment. Within Brewer’s Regiment seven were killed, eleven wounded. Lucas Green was among those killed.  Older research claims two other brothers fought. James Green is thought to have been a Major of “minute men;” he received a wound at Bunker Hill, which would later kill him. It was said Nathan Green fought along side his brothers, surviving Bunker Hill and rising to Lieutenant. He would die at the battle of Monmouth. I have yet to find a mention of James’s or Nathan’s deaths besides in the work of the genealogists Vinton and Greene. They are not mentioned in Memorial or Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors. A possible explanation for James is that he lasted long enough not to be included in the battle’s fatalities. Zeeb lived on through the war, the only son of Israel’s to do so.  Similarly to Irijah, Zeeb does not mention Bunker Hill himself, but the battle and the death of Lucas are mentioned in the pension by his widow, Sarah (Pension file W21211).  The fact that Sarah mentions Lucas but not James is the most problematic to past assertions.

Captain Black’s company along with Brewer’s regiment was between the redoubt and the “rail fence” to the North. It was the most exposed piece of ground in the defenses.  The following excerpts attempt to give some estimation of the various Companies’ exposure, as well as their position on the Hill:


Black’s Company

Basaleel Myrick, of Black’s Company, states”the whole Regement was employed in erecting the Works on said Hill and was engaged in the Battle” (Pension File W19904). Basaleel testifies in his brother’s pension: “I know that my said brother Joseph was present and engaged in said battle in which Capt. Black was wounded” (Pension file S9048). Joseph Myrick gives the most detailed account of part of Black’s company’s experience:

…in April 1775 an Expres came to Barry County of Worsester State of Massachusets to notify the minit men the next morning they marched to the comp which was formed at Cambrige which was the headquarters the greater part of the company inlisted to serve until january 1776 the next week the Capt came home to inlist men to fillup the company which was 62 men from said town comanded by Capt John Black in Coln Jonathan Brewers regament an intimate aquaint[ance] of General Putnam in the French war another Boto[Boston?] fiting man as himself the day of the battle on bunkers hill between twelve and one O clok we marched on the hill then Gen Putnam came and led us into the fort on Breeds hill to releave Coln Prescott whoo had erected it the night before about that time a floating battery went from the [Somenset?] a sixtyfour gun ship that lay in the ferry way she went up near the brig which was the only place our men cold go into charlestown or out General Putnam thought she might have men and guns to land to prevent our men from crosing orddered an officer of our company to take some volenteers to go and prevent it thirteen of us volenteerd and went with him to [march?] hear the ship kept a continual fireing at us and the men that were comeing on it is said in history that oing[owing] to the inatention of our army we let the Brittish in to set the town on fire it was not the case there was a boat sent from Boston to the end she imediately throwed a carkace on the roof of the meatinghouse which set the whole town on fire except some old building east end of the town they sent some boats from the ships which lay of their and set them on fire by hand after the buildings began to fall the ship made a signal for the floating battery to come back she did and went around Charlestown into Mystick river and joined two more who were fireing at the brig then our buisnes was done [we?] left there singlely and up on to the hill and there I met two men leading a wounded man unable to walk they wanted me to asist them and so as we had crost the brig our men were a coming down the hill and the British after them. (Pension file S9048)

John Hill of Black’s company: “I was in the Battle at Bunker Hill.” He goes on, “in the Regiment commanded by Col Jonathan Brewer the Lieutenant Colonel was Buckminster and He was wounded in his shoulder at the Battle of Bunker Hill June 17 1775” (Pension file S19333).

Whiting’s Company

In a detailed account of his service which included Lexington, James Gay as part of Daniel Whiting’s Company says, “he was marched from Prospect Hill to Bunker Hill to assist in building a Fort that while engaged in building said Forth the Battle of Bunker Hill took place in which your applicant was engaged” (Pension file W25617/BLWT89503-160-55). Aaron Whiting, as part of Daniel Whiting’s Company, mentions being at Bunker Hill. Aaron Whiting and Josiah Richards in Thomas Morse’s application only mention being stationed on Prospect Hill. Thomas Morse was in “no battle” (Pension file S30595, Pension file S17779).

Stubbin’s Company

Timothy Catlin, part of Stubbin’s Company, “was in the battle of Bunkerhill, went on the night before with Col Rapott, [assigned?] in throwing up the breastworks was in the [hottest?] of the battle, near Samuel Warren [was?] killed, saw him fall was wounded in my face, now was [then fear?]” (Pension file S16074) Susan Child, daughter of Reuban Childs, reports her father to have been “…wounded in the battle at Bunker Hill” as part of Stubbins Company (Pension file S29068). Daniel Rider-“at the time of Bunker hill battle Captain Joseph Stubbins company was detached during the battle to guard the neck below Charlestown and Cambridge” (Pension file S11302).

Harvey’s Company

Moses Clark part of Captain Harvey’s Company in Brewer’s Regiment: “I was on the march towards Bunkers Hill on the day that battle was fought we arrived there just after the battle ended, while our men were carrying away the wounded” (Pension file W16537).

Hastings’ Company

Eliphalet Hastings states he, “was in the battle of Bunker hill, commanded a company in Col Jonathan Brewer’s Regt in the Massachusetts line, had twenty-nine killed and eleven wounded besides myself out of seventy-nine in that action, had my right arm and collar bone shot to pieces” (Pension file S32788).

Bullard’s Company

Moses Hill was in Captain Bullard’s Company- “was in the Battle of Bunker or Breeds Hill I marched on to the hill while Charleston was in flame” (Pension file S16415). Nahum Wight served as a Seargent at the time of battle in Bullard’s Company- “at the battle of Bunker hill [Wight] was wounded by a musket ball in the thigh” (Pension file W26141). John Ware a Sergeant in Benjamin Bullard’s Company served with another brother, “was at the battle of Bunker Hill on the seventeenth day of June in the year aforesaid and was on the Hill before the British troops ascended in to the attack” (Pension file S18640). John Coolidge as part of Benjamin Bullard’s company, “I was in the battle of Bunkerhill on the 17th of June–Capt. Prescott was an active officer on said occasion,” he goes on, “Gen. Putnam was active on Bunkerhill–the Regiments were not regularly organized and I cannot name them” (Pension file S12546).

Gray’s Company

Robert Gray “was engaged in the battle of Bunker hill in some small skirmishes,” likely under Capt. Issac Gray (Pension file S18846).


    It is not known exactly where Wilder’s company was stationed, although Wheeler’s company of Doolittle’s regiment was on the extreme right flank, closer to Charlestown (Frothingham 39-40). Most likely Wilder’s company stood within the redoubt. The petitions for lost equipment gives some indication as to the proximity to action.  For a soldier to lose a gun, as will be seen with Zeeb and Lucas, is for that soldier to be in a desperate moment: 1BunkerHillMap

Jones’ Company

Captain John Jones lost, “one gun, two Blankets, two Coats, one Cutlas…” (qtd in Gardner 22).

Wheeler’s Company

According to Polly Flint, Asa Church under Wheeler was engaged in the battle :”I have frequently been told that the said Asa Church was in the battle of Bunker hill under Capt. Adam Wheeler , [ord]…after the Battle it was said, that said Wheeler was closely shot at, that the waistband of his small cloths[sp?] was shot off and the said Church tied them up and they removed the contest” (Pension file W22746).

 John Holden, Leicester, Doolittle’s Regt. Capt. afterwards in the army. In his statement and letter to the treasurer he says : — Early in the morning Putnam came to our Regt. stationed the night before near Prospect Hill, and ordered it on to the Hill by 9 o’clock. We went, and soon took post on left of Col. Stark by rail fence. During the action I often saw Gen. Putnam come up to our Regt. ; he appeared very actively engaged in the action. One of the Regt. got down behind a haycock ; Gen. Putnam rode up and cried, ‘Gods curse him ! run him through if he won’t fight !’ gave him one or two blows with his sword and drove him into the ranks.  (Swett “Notes to The Sketch of Bunker-Hill Battle” 11, Pension file S33323/BLWT927-200)

Captain Wheeler lost, “three Guns and one Coat” (qtd. in Gardner 24).

Wilder’s Company

William Clement, a resident of Royalston and in Wilder’s Company, testifies, “…the regiment were ordered into tents in Charlestown where he was stationed until the Battle on Bunkerhill which Battle he was in. Doolittle’s Regiment being the sixth that marched on to the Hill” Clement goes on, “Genl. Putnam he well remembers in the Battle of Bunker Hill” (Pension file W16910). John Norton, a resident of the town of Royalston, enlisted in Abel Wilder’s Regiment: “I was in the battles of Bunker Hill, Harlam Heights, Trenton, and Princeton” (Pension file S30004). Daniel Pike, again a resident of Royalston, states:

…on the morning of the 20th April 1775, the news arrived at said Royalston that the British troops had left Boston and were on their way to Concord that he together with about twenty of his townsmen immediately started and marched thirty miles that day and learning that the British had returned to Boston they marched to Cambridge where they with the troops from the adjoining towns formed into Companies he served during that Company as an Ensign in the Company of Capt Wilder…he was in the battle of Bunker’s hill his Reg was led on in that engagement by Major Moore the Col being [out sick?] Maj Moore was killed in that engagement. (Pension file S22441)

Captain Wilder’s Company lost, “…three Guns, one Drum, one Blanket” (qtd. in Gardner 24).  The three men all came from Royalston, the home of Nahum Green and his sons.

Leland’s Company

From the similarity of the testimony it appears Leland’s Company joined Wheeler’s on the right flank.

Sam’l Jones, Sudbury, Doolittle’s Regt. [ This gentleman, and the next witness of E. Sudbury, are well known by Dr. Bigelow the distinguished Botanist, as witnesses of the highest respectability.] Was at the rail fence ; saw Gen. Putnam and spoke with him, he encouraged us very much, and rode up and down behind us, his horse was all of a lather, and the battle was going on very hotly at the time. […] Our cannon were brought down behind the rail fence; ‘I recollect with perfect distinctness they were fired a number of times.’ (Swett “Notes to The Sketch of Bunker-Hill Battle” 11, Pension file S30516)

David Brewer testifies, “John Leland of south Holliston was my Captain until after the Battle of Bunkerhill when a Gentleman by the name of Jacob Miller took the command of the company and the said John Leland was sent home as a [cow]ard” (Pension file S4974).  The script is difficult to read.  I believe Brewer wrote “coward”, which, if not the sentiment, at least the action seems to be reinforced by family historians:

At the commencement of the Revolution, John was found among the defenders of his country, and at the battle of Bunker Hill, he held a captain’s commission, and led his company into the bloody conflict.  Soon after, however, he became entirely convinced that he was ill suited to military life, resigned his commission, and returned to his farm. (Sherman Leland 220)

Leland would go on to become a minister.

doolittlePage 155

Taken after the battle on Winter Hill, this roll shows Leland’s name struck through and Jacob Miller assuming command.

Oliver’s Company

According to Philip Ballard, part of Oliver’s Company did not reach the hill: “the troop to which I belong did not engage in the battle [Bunker Hill] – I saw at this time Charlestown burnt by the enemy” (Pension file S29609). For Thomas Baker as part of Captain Robert Oliver’s Company “continued here until within two or three days of Bunkerhill Battle when he removed with the body of the Regiment about one mile directly on towards Charlestown and there remained until the 17th day of June when he was ordered and marched to the field of Battle and was in and served through the Battle of that day called the Bunkerhill Battle” (Pension file S12097). Captain Oliver’s Company lost, “one Gun, one Pistol, one Gun Lock…” (qtd in Gardner 23).

Holman’s Company

Silas Church, a corporeal in Capt. Jonathan Holman’s company, was stationed at Lechman’s Point and “was not in any battle” (Pension file S11998). Captain Holman lost “one Coat, one Blanket, one Gun” (qtd. in Gardner 21).

Fletcher’s Company

Edward Turner and Joshua Whitcomb were part of Joel Fletcher’s company. Turner’s son relates the story of Joshua Whitcomb: “that [Edward Turner] was in the battle of Bunker Hill, I will remember when he came home of his relating the death of one his townsmen, Joshua Whitcomb. As they began to retreat they went to get over a rail fence, a ball passed through Whitcomb’s heart”. Turner would later die of the small pox in Albany in 1777 (Pension file W22457). Caleb Bryant, was in Fletcher’s company: “I was in the latter part of the battle on Bunker Hill when Major Moore of our regiment was killed” (Pension file S30286). Captain Joel Fletcher’s Company lost, “three Guns, Blankets three, three Cartuch boxs, 1 Powder Horn” (qtd in Gardner 21).


When the Green boys of Doolittle’s Regiment woke the morning of June 17th to march, they did so to a common man’s tune: “Few notices appear of individuals of this regiment [Doolittle’s]. Robert Steele, a drummer, stated in 1825 that he ‘beat to ‘ Yankee Doodle ‘ when he mustered for Bunker Hill on the morning of the 17th of June, 1775” (Frothingham 84).

Map of Charlestown by Lt. Sir Thomas Hyde Page

Map of Charlestown by Lt. Sir Thomas Hyde

The first attempt by the British forces, formed in three lines, was to turn the far left flank.  The British guns advanced and opened fire at about half-past three o’clock, followed by the troops, who moved slowly forward, and occasionally halted, in order to allow the artillery to make some impression. The day was very fine and very warm, and the attacking columns were encumbered with full marching equipment. They had occasionally to pull down fences in their way, and the grass, high and fit for mowing, also impeded them. In the soft ground, in the neighborhood of the brick-kilns, some of the guns became unable to advance, and were halted. British accounts say their troops received here a very destructive fire. Arriving within musket-shot of the American works, the troops commenced firing, receiving in return only a few scattering shots, until they came within about seventy yards.  The British retreated from the killing field. The death of Major Moore, who commanded Doolittle’s Regiment, occurred on the second attack, which occurred shortly after the first. British General Howe quickly reorganized his retreating forces and attempted the same approach. Historian Frothingham gives this account of Moore’s death:

 On the second attack he received a ball in the thigh, and while his men were carrying him to the rear another ball went through his body. He called for water, but none could be obtained nearer than the Neck. He lingered until the time of the retreat, when, feeling his wounds to be mortal, he requested his attendants to lay him down, leave him, and take care of themselves. He met with a soldier’s death. (Frothingham 84)

Some time passed before the British made a third attempt. The town of Charlestown was now in flames from British shelling. The British sent for reinforcements and waited. There were troops and artillery at the “Neck” that would not cross despite the orders from General Putnam. The “Neck” was rife with cannon shot and was a place of exposure. Reinforcements were few in number. Among those that did come was Seth Washburn’s Company:

 When the company reached the Neck, the shot from the British frigate were sweeping across it ; and the captain, halting his men, addressed a few words to them ; told them that they saw the danger before them ; that if any of them wished to avoid it, or was afraid to go forward, they might then go back. No one left the ranks ; and, after a moment’s pause, the captain said cheerfully, ” Then we’ll all go together.” The whole company started upon a full run across the Neck, to avoid the balls from the frigate as well as they could. As they ascended the hill, they saw the houses in Charlestown on fire, and met numbers bringing off the wounded from the field. Near the summit of the hill they saw an American officer swinging his sword, and beckoning them to come in that direction ; which they obeyed. The men, at this time, had about fifteen rounds of cartridges each. As they came in sight of the British troops, and were moving steadily on towards the breastwork below the redoubt, a ball struck the cartouch-box of the captain, …. The company rushed forward as soon as they had surmounted the hill, and took their station at the rail-fence, and began firing as fast as they could. The enemy, by this time, had mounted the redoubt; and, in about twenty or thirty minutes after the company had entered the action, the order was given to retreat. …in this retreat, they showed nothing like panic. Sergeant Brown received a shot in his thigh, and another in his foot, which disabled him from walking. The captain, who was the last to leave the ground, finding him in this condition, and being an athletic though not a large man, took the wounded man under one arm, and his musket (with his own) in the other, and carried him till he was out of immediate danger. He there left him, and hurried on till he overtook Brown’s brother Perley and Jonathan Sargent (another of the company), and sent them back for the wounded man; whom they brought off in safety. Daniel Hubbard wore a cue, braided in two strands, which hung down his back. As he passed by, Mr. Craige saw him dodge his head ; and it was afterwards found that a musket-ball had cut off one of these strands so close to his head as to graze the skin. Kerley Ward of Oakham, one of the corporals of the company, was wounded in the arm ; and Sergeant Grossman, in the leg. Abner Livermore had the cord of his canteen cut off by a musket- ball while retreating ; and, as it fell, it rolled a considerable distance towards the enemy, who were firing and pressing upon the left flank of the company. His brother Isaac, seeing the disaster, and knowing what the canteen contained, stopped, with the exclamation, ” It will never do to lose that rum!” and, running after the canteen, picked it up, and brought it off the field, in the face of the fire from the British. Samuel Sargent, another of the company, was less fortunate in saving his liquor. While stopping to prime his gun, a musket-ball struck his canteen, and, passing through one end of it, lodged in the other, which rested upon his hip. (Washburn 304-306)

On the third attack the British field artillery directed against the weak point in the defenses: “On their right the artillery soon gained its appointed station, enfiladed the line of the breastwork, drove its defenders into the redoubt for protection, and did much execution within it by sending its balls through the passage-way” (Frothingham 59). Israel Green’s sons received this fire and held till the general retreat. Adjutant Waller was part of the Royal Marines 1st Battalion 47 Regiment gives a description from the British perspective:

Two companies of the first battalion of marines, and part of the 47th regiment, were the first that mounted the breast work ; and you will not be displeased when I tell you that I was with those two companies who drove their bayonets into all that opposed them. Nothing could be more shocking than the carnage that followed the storming this work. We tumbled over the dead to get at the living, who were crowding out of the gorge of the redoubt, in order to form under the defences which they had prepared to cover their retreat. […] We killed a number of the rebels, but the cover they fought under made their loss less considerable than it would otherwise have been. The army is in great spirits, and full of rage and ferocity at the rebellious rascals who both poisoned and chewed the musket- balls, in order to make them the more fatal. (Waller qtd in Drake 29)

Most of the casualties occurred at the taking of the redoubt and the retreat. Lucas Green was most likely wounded at this conclusion to the battle: “As the Americans, after expending all their ammunition, were escaping from their defenses, he was shot by the enemy through the body, and died in his brother Zeeb’s arms, at the early age of eighteen” (Vinton 423, Mass. 824-826). Most accounts say that Lucas was wounded and died later, or that instead of being within the “Killed” column he is listed as “Dying of Wounds” (Memorial 95). Zeeb later petitioned for the loss of a gun at Bunker Hill. The loss of a gun by a soldier only speaks to the the intensity of those final moments when the provincial forces lost the ground.


A letter by Abel Wilder gives us the best approximation of what Nahum’s two sons experienced:

 Charleston Encampment, June ye l8th, 1775.

Dear Wife:

These Lines are to inform you that I am pretty well, though I have had a poorly two or three days. Friday night I was quite poorly. Doctor Wait said I must have a Vomit ; but I told him as there was a battle expected Satterday, I would not take it, lest I should be charged of taking it on purpose. But I took some tincture, which answered a good purpose. And according as was expected, a very hot Battle insued Satterday after noon. Our people had built a fort on a hill in the town of Charleston, and the Regulars landed upwards of two thousand men on said hill ; and our Regiment on the hill ; and they fired upward from four or five Ships, the north battery, and two or three field pieces , but blessed be God, there was not many killed by them. But presently they advanced up near to us, and I fired nineteen times, and had fair chances, and then they was too hard for us, and we retreated. The bals flew very thick, but through the Divine protection, my company was all preserved but one, Phinehas Nevers, who is missing, and Samuel Bradish, badly wounded. But men are in good spirit. I remain your true and loving husband, Abel Wilder. (qtd Marvin 88)

The British had taken the wounded Nevers to Boston as prisoner, where he died (Marvin 88). [Nevers is also given as being in Prescott’s Regiment under Captain Dow (Gilmore 118, 127)] Wilder was a pious man.  If Uzziah and Irijah heard a speech from their commander, before or after, it was inscribed with religious meaning:

Prospect Hill, Charleston, June 29th, 1775.

Dear Wife :

I received a letter from you yesterday, which informed me that the family was well, and you as well as you could expect, which gives me satisfaction. I hope you will be patient under common infirmities, and even if God is pleased to lay greater upon you than is common under your present circumstances. I shall not forget you, neither at the throne of grace, nor in common meditations, though I would not be understood that I am uneasy, for since it is the will of God that I should be here, I am entirely content to serve him in this way. I had almost forgot to tell you that I am well. I am as well as usual, but Abel is not well ; he took physic last night, and is better to-day. As to the judgments of heaven, I am glad that you take a suitable notice of them, and wish every one might. But alas, there are some here that appear neither to fear God nor regard man ; though blessed be God, there are not many such. We have been without a chaplain ever since we came down here, until about a week, but now we have one, Mr. Emory, who preached last Sabbath, and prays night and morning. And Col. Doolittle, who I was afraid was heedless, takes good care to have men attend, and attends himself with constancy and steadiness, which gives me pleasure. * * * * Those from your true and loving husband, Abel Wilder  (Marvin 90)

After the war, Uzziah, Irijah, and Zeeb all made their way to Vermont with much of the Green family. Their memory of the carnage grew tinctured with ceremony year after year. James Bailey was in Black’s company Brewer’s regiment, and may give some hint at the lasting feeling of these men towards the war.  In an inventory of Bailey’s estate for his pension, forty-five years after the battle, he says: “Last but not least in my estimation is my old musket the companion of my better days [through?] a seven years campaign for the independence of my country” (Pension file W16180).

Family Note:  There were other distantly related Greens on Bunker Hill. Lemuel Green, a grandson of Capt. Nathaniel Green was wounded at Bunker Hill (Greene 51-52). Elias Green was part of Seth Washburn’s company and so made the dangerous crossing of the “Neck” and aided in the retreat (Mass. 802). Elias was a much more distant cousin to Uzziah. Seth Washburn’s granddaughter Sally married Jared Green Jr., nephew to Uzziah and Irijah.

 Works Cited:

Bradford, Alden. A Particular Account of the Battle of Bunker, or Breed’s Hill on the 17th of June, 1775: By a Citizen of Boston. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, & Co., 1825. Web. GoogleBooks. Accessed 24 December 2013.

Caswell, Lilley B., Cross, F. W. The History of the Town of Royalston Massachusetts. Royalston: Town of Royalston, 1917. Web. Accessed 27 December 2013.

Frothingham, Richard. Battle of Bunker Hill. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1890. Web. GoogleBooks. Accessed 27 December 2013.

Gardner, Frank A. “Colonel Ephraim Doolittle’s Regiment.” The Massachusetts Magazine. vol 2. Salem: Salem Press, 1909. 11-29. Web. Accessed 1 May 2014.

Gilmore, George. A Memorial of the American Patriots Who Fell at the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17th 1775: With an Account of the Dedication of the Memorial Tablets on Winthrop Square, Charlestown, June 17, 1889, and An Appendix Containing Illustrative Papers. 4th ed. Boston: Printed by Order of the City Council, 1896. Web. GoogleBooks. Accessed 28 December 2013.

Greene, Samuel S. Genealogical Sketch of the Descendants of Thomas Green[e] of Malden, Mass. Boston: Henry W. Dutton & Son, 1858. Web. Accessed 28 December 2013.

Leland, Sherman. The Leland Magazine, or a Genealogical Record of Henry Leland and his Descendants. Boston: Wier & White, 1850. Web. GoogleBooks. Accessed 21 May 2014.

Marvin, Abijah Perkins. History of the Town of Winchendon (Worcester County, Mass.,): From the Grant of Ipswich Canada in 1735, To the Present Time. Winchendon: By the Author., 1868. Web. GoogleBooks. Accessed 28 December 2013.

Massachusetts Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. vol. 6 Boston: Wright & Potter, 1899. Web. Accessed 27 December 2013.

Stiles, Ezra. The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, D.D., LL.D. ed. Franklin Bowditch Dexter. vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1901. Web. GoogleBooks. Accessed 27 December 2013.

Swett, S. History of Bunker Hill Battle with a Plan. Boston: Munroe and Francis, 1826. Web. Accessed 21 May 2014.

Vinton, John. The Vinton Memorial: Comprising a Genealogy of the Descendants of John Vinton of Lynn 1648. Boston: S. K. Whipple and Co., 1858. Web. GoogleBooks. Accessed 26 December 2013.

Washburn, Emory. Historical Sketches of the Town of Leicester, Massachusetts, During the First Century from its Settlement. Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1860. Web. GoogleBooks. Accessed 26 December 2013.

Doolittle’s Regiment:

Pension file S12097, Baker, Thomas, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 42, Image 395 File S12097, page 3. April 15 2014.

Pension file S29609, Ballard, Phillip, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 45, Image 543 File S29609, page 3. April 15 2014.

Pension file S4974, Brewer, David, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 118, Image 186 File S4974, page 3. April 15 2014.

Pension file S30286, Bryant, Caleb, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 135, Image 135 File S30286, page 3. April 15 2014.

Pension file W22746, Church, Asa, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 184, Image 251 File W22746, page 7. April 15 2014.

Pension file S11998, Church, Silas, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 184, Image 622 File S11998, page 3. April 15 2014.

Pension file W16910, Clement, William, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 194, Image 315 File W16910, page 4. April 15 2014.

Pension file S39630, Green, Irijah, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 374, Image 520 File S39630. April 15 2014.

Pension file S21776, Green, Uzziah, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 375, Image 567 File S21776, page 4. April 15 2014.

Pension file S33323/BLWT927-200, Holden, John, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 435, Image 155. File S33323/BLWT927-200, page 5. April 15 2014.

Pension file W20155, Ingersoll, Ebenezer, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 461, Image 568 File W20155, page 3. April 15 2014.

Pension file S30516, Jones, Samuel, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 481, Image 518 File S30516, page 8. April 15 2014.

Pension file S30004, Norton, John, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 618, Image 337 File S30004, page 6. April 15 2014.

Pension file S22441, Pike, Daniel, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 654, Image 312 File S22441, page 3. April 15 2014.

Pension file W22457, Turner, Edward, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 816, Image 186 File W22457, page 6. April 15 2014.


Pension file W16180, Bailey, James, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 38, Image 509 File W16180, page 5. April 15 2014.

Pension file S16074, Catlin, Timothy, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 171, Image 198 File S16074, page 3. April 15 2014.

Pension file S29068, Childs, Reuban, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 182, Image 444 File S29068, page 8. April 15 2014.

Pension file W16537, Clark, Moses, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 190, Image 293 File W16537, page 4. April 15 2014.

Pension file S12546, Coolidge, John, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 217, Image 199-200 File S12546, page 3-4. April 15 2014.

Pension file W25617/BLWT89503-160-55, Gay, James, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 352, Image 70 File W25617/BLWT89503-160-55, page 7. April 15 2014.

Pension file S18846, Gray, Robert, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 373, Image 168 File S18846, page 4. April 15 2014.

Pension file W21211, Green, Zeeb, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 375, Image 725 File W21211, page 5. April 15 2014.

Pension file S32788, Hastings, Eliphalet, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 407, Image 604 File S32788, page 4. April 15 2014.

Pension file S19333, Hill, John, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 426, Image 661 File S19333, page 4. April 15 2014.

Pension file S16415, Hill, Moses, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 427, Image 140 File S16415, page 4. April 15 2014.

Pension file S30595, Morse, Thomas, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 601, Image 769 File S30595, page 8. April 15 2014.

Pension file W19904, Myrick, Basaleel, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 608, Image 833 File W19904, page 5. April 15 2014.

Pension file S9048, Myrick, Joseph, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 608, Image 869 File S9048, page 4-5,9. April 15 2014.

Pension file S11302, Rider,Daniel, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 690, Image 213 File S11302, page 3. April 15 2014.

Pension file S18640, Ware, John, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 838, Image 334 File S18640, page 7. April 15 2014.

Pension file S17779, Whiting, Aaron, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 862, Image 561 File S17779, page 4. April 15 2014.

Pension file W26141, Wight, Nahum, Revolutionary War,, Series: M805, Roll 866, Image 343 File W26141, page 6. April 15 2014.

Opening image:  The attack on Bunker Hill with the burning of Charlestown, June 17,1775; National Gallery of Art. Web. National Park System.Accessed 21 May 2014.

Redoubt image:  Gentleman’s Magazine. “Redoubt and Entrenchment on the Heights of Charles Town, commonly called Bunker Hill, opposite Boston, attacked and carried by His Majesty’s Troops, June 17, 1775.” September 1775.

James McCullough, the Ministers, and the Baptist Church on the Gunpowder

Henry Sanderson. (1805-1880)  Woodland Baptism

Henry Sanderson. (1805-1880) Woodland Baptism

James McCullough’s of Middletown, MD involvement in the church gives a sense of the activity of his life. From land records we can see that he was a trustee of the church.  From the minutes of the Maryland Baptist Union Association we know he was a member of the Executive Board.  From the Baptist history we can know some of the spiritual controversies and the ebb and flow of Baptist spiritual life in the first half of the 19th century.

According to historians John Thomas Scharf and David Benedict the Baptist Church in Maryland got its start in the person of Henry Sater around 1709 (Scharf 552). Sater would invite the wandering preachers into his house and ask them to say a few words.  One minister who happened upon this threshold in the backwoods was a man with a thorn in his side:

Henry Loveall was another of these early preachers of Baltimore County. He was born in Cambridge, England, about 1694, and baptized in New England, probably at Newport, R. I., in 1725. He was in Newport in 1729, and had then begun to preach.  About that year he went to Piscataqua, N. J., where he preached for two years on trial, and was there ordained, but never administered the ordinances, for soon after his ordination he behaved in so disorderly a fashion that he was excommunicated. He was accused of shameful immorality, and it was discovered that his real name was Desolate Baker. After causing much trouble in Piscataqua he came to Maryland in 1742 and became the minister of the Chestnut Ridge Church.

                                                                   (Scharf 552)

There is no shortage of sources calling Rev. Loveall a licentious person, he may have been strong in the spirit but he was indulgent in the flesh.  A grain of salt should be added to these words: Loveall’s indulgences perhaps run scarlet, however, they do not run with blood, but simple passion and lust.  For every preacher of the worldly sort there was one whose name is constantly praised.  The Reverend John Davis stands in stark contrast to Henry Loveall.  In 1747, members of the Chestnut Ridge went on to form Winter Run, later to be known as Harford.

   Who was the first pastor of Winter Run Church is not now known, but two years after its organization Rev. John Davis became pastor. He was born in Pennypack, Pa., Sept. 10 1721. He was ordained in 1756, at Montgomery, Pa., and in that year became the minister of Winter Run, or Harford, or Baltimore Church, and remained pastor for fifty-three years, or until his death in 1809, in the eighty-eighth year of his age. He was a man of great usefulness and influence, of untiring energy, great piety, enlightened evangelical views, and consistent character. He traveled much, preaching in the woods, the barn, the school-house, the cabin, the parlor as well as in the meeting-house, or to the traveler alone. The law indeed, guaranteed protection, but Mr. Davis suffered no little persecution for the purpose of intimidation from ‘certain lewd fellows of the baser sort’…. (Scharf 553)

Davis was the sort to be fed by ravens.  Davis is credited with beginning the Gunpowder Baptist Church in 1806 at the age of 85, he would die in 1809 (Shepherd 391).  Gunpowder Baptist Church had its start in “Tipton’s Meeting House” or “Stump Meeting House” on August 16, 1806 (Adams 67). “In 1815, a division occurred, and about fifty members withdrew, leaving forty-nine” (Adams 67). The reason unknown, this was a serious breach of friendship and community. In 1816 the congregation numbered 52: 5 had been baptized, 2 dismissed, and one member had passed away.  Preaching occurred on the 3rd and 4th Sundays of each month (1818 “Minutes”).  In 1819 the congregation stood at 47. In that year, they were unable to send a representative to the Association meeting held in Washington D. C. The church remained without a pastor till 1821, when Rev. Thomas Leaman came to lead them for the next twenty years (Adams 67). “In 1833, they helped to build the Union Meeting House in Middletown, to which they removed in 1834, adopting the title at that time of ‘Gunpowder,’ from the river of that name” (Adams 67).  There is a land record indicating James’ involvement with the church during this time. 

    This church was a part of the Baltimore Baptist Association until 1836 when the Gunpowder and other churches left to form the Maryland Baptist Union Association.  A schism had begun to form in the association regarding missionary work. This schism was very serious in that the Association was to all purposes the only governing body of the Baptists.  At a meeting in Black Rock in 1836 the Baltimore Association adopted a new direction:

The anti-missionary members immediately forced the adoption of the following Resolution : ‘Whereas, a number of Churches of this Association have departed from the practice of the same, by following cunningly devised fables, uniting with and encouraging others to unite in worldly societies, to the great grief of other Churches of this body, there cannot be any fellowship between principles so essentially different’.

                                                        (qtd. Adams 13)

Those in favor of missionary work responded quickly:

His [God’s] object in raising his followers to this dignity and elevation is obvious. They are designed to be the medium through which he seeks to convey the most substantial benefits to man kind, by accomplishing the merciful purposes of his grace, in the conversion of the world.

(qtd. Adams)

Church historians George Adams and George Purefoy establish that before 1836 the Baltimore Association was supportive of missionary work including in the circular of 1819.

George F. Adams Gunpowder Baptist Church Preacher

George F. Adams Gunpowder Baptist Church Preacher, 1843-1845

George Adams, later preacher at Gunpowder and principal author of History of Baptist Churches, was instrumental in the establishment of the Maryland Union: “Rev. Messrs. G. F. Adams and S. P. Hill, appear to have been the principal movers in getting up this new concern” (Benedict 634).

   The controversy was not limited to Maryland.  Elder George Purefoy relates a similar divide in North Carolina and in several other Associations (48-61).   Evident from these histories and from the 1819 circular is a controversy that had been present for some time. On 27 October 1836, at the First Baptist Church in Baltimore the newly formed Union released a statement and Constitution instituting a policy of bold preaching and religious pioneering. Present were Thomas Leaman and Zachariah Alban2, a friend of James, though twelve years separated them in age.  The fracture of the Association led to a confusing set of labels: those in favor of missionary work were called “Regular” Baptists and those not in favor were termed “Old School” or “Primitive” Baptists (Purefoy 48).  (For a better understanding of the anti-missionary stance see Watt’s The Rise and Progress of Maryland Baptists beginning on page 28).

The schism was salt on the wound as attendance in the churches had fallen.  After John Davis’ death, there was a decimation of the congregation.  Healy in the 1819 “Minutes” admits as much, “Our churches, indeed, have not abandoned the cause of truth: but a time of coldness seems to have overtaken us.  Our increase is very small–and in some of our branches, many who once appeared to be walking in the ways of God, are turned aside into forbidden paths” (12-13). This stagnation and decline continued to the time of the schism:

Since his [John Davis] death, the churches which he planted have been steadily declining, and some of them are nearly extinct.  Harford, the mother church, has been reduced from 160 members, to from 40 to 50.  In a few years, it will, in all probability, no longer exist. Sater’s church is reduced to a few members, and is barren and lifeless.  (Allen 143)

The missionary cause was a practical necessity.  Allen writing in 1836, gives the congregation of Gunpowder as 42; the church had not grown since 1819 (143).  As James watched his church fracture and struggle, wrestling with itself, the time of a renewal was quickly coming.  The formation of the Maryland Union facilitated the entrance of James and Zachariah into roles of leadership in the Association.  The Gunpowder hosted the annual Maryland Union in its second year of existence; 1837. George F. Adams was Moderator as well as preacher, undoubtedly if able, James and Zachariah stood in attendance (Adams 16).  The minutes for the Maryland Union in 1838 show Alban again as a delegate (5).  In these minutes there is also a description of the efforts of one itinerant preacher, Brother Joseph Mettam who also preached at Gunpowder: “Brother Mettam has travelled upwards of 1000 miles, preached 110 sermons, distributed more than 7000 pages of tracts, besides some bibles and testaments, and baptized nine professed believers in the Lord Jesus Christ” (7).  It had been proposed by Zachariah Alban that each church would be visited by the Union Board.  The moveable governing associates reported that meetings were, “generally well attended, that apparent seriousness prevailed, and that in some instances, particularly at Gunpowder, the divine blessing was manifest” (1838 “Minutes” 7).  Later they give this state of affairs at Gunpowder:

Only two years ago, they were not unlike the poor man, who had fallen among thieves; but the Lord has been as the Samaritan towards them.  They are now with invigorated strength and freshed spirits, pursuing their way.  Brother Leaman, their worthy but afflicted pastor, still continues, through divine mercy, to labor with them in word and doctrine…. (1838 “Minutes” 9)

   Daniel B. Wilhelm, a contemporary of James McCullough’s and listed alongside James in the land records for the Gunpowder Baptist Church, gave a short history of the Baptist Church in the North Baltimore area. He titled it Recollections of “Uncle Daniel”3. He gives the years 1840-41 as a time of a great revival, “About the year 1840, the Lord sent two old farmers, Bro. Jacob Knapp and Bro. Wm. Laws” (5).  Adams begins the revival in 1839 and the Baptists grew from 565 to 1183 (17). In Gunpowder from 1839 to 1840 the church gained 119 for a total of 164 (1840 “Minutes” n.p.).  During the 1840 meeting J. McCulloch, Z. Alban, along with others were elected to the Executive Board (1840 “Minutes” 6).  Laws and Mettam began a season of preaching at the Gunpowder:

  They began their joint labors with a protracted meeting with the Gunpowder church, and at this meeting God began a work of grace, which to a greater or less extent has continued to the present time.

In the first monthly report of our missionaries, they say: ‘We arrived at Gunpowder on Friday morning, April 17, at 10 o’clock, and found fifteen or twenty persons present.  We commenced preaching day and night.  On Saturday evening there were evident signs of the Lord’s being with us.  The good work began from that time.  We continued to preach Christ till the next Thursday night.  The church awoke and came up to the work.  The Lord made bare his arm, and many found peace in believing.  We immersed sixteen, and left with a promise to return the following Thursday.’  On their return according to promise, their report says ‘we found a large congregation; one poor sinner, who had not been in a meeting house for many years, and had even prevented his family from going, was sitting outside weeping and trembling,  We preached three times and baptized twenty more.’


They also visited and preached at ‘the Stump, a meeting house belonging to the Gunpowder church.’

(1840 “Minutes” 9)

The Gunpowder had become something of a center for the revival.  Hereford Baptist Church was founded with the help of Gunpowder members, first meeting on John K. Rowe’s two acre lot in 1840, “Bro. Daniel. B. Wilhelm states that the active members of the Gunpowder Church held prayer and enquiry meetings in this building, and that a revival followed, which led to the organization of a new Church” (Adams 90-91). The “Minutes” sums up the two missionaries efforts, “Our two missionaries have travelled, one during the last six months, between 2000 and 3000 miles, have preached on an average about one sermon for each day, besides attending meetings for prayer and other purposes.  They have baptized 147 persons….” (1840 “Minutes” 10). These men must have wakened with a anxious desire each morning.  Putting hoof and foot to ground they traveled to the poor reaches of upper Maryland.  Their voices, preaching fiercely, were sated and renewed by the very water they washed the converts sins away.

   “During 1842, a camp-meeting was held by the members of this and the Gunpowder Churches. Ministers from Baltimore and elsewhere attended and preached with power” (Adams 91). One can only imagine the spirit and happiness of these revivals where converts came up and received baptism.  Neighbors convened, sailors left behind the sea, barkeeps left behind the drink, and doctors got their real medicine.4

There was none of this going to the Springs for recreation in the hot summer like there is at present. Baptists held Camp Meetings in those days….In those days there was no music used in the Churches; the brethren and sisters did all the singing; they sang in the spirit and prayed in the spirit; they had not to hire men of the world and pay them to lead the singing as some Churches do now. (Wilhelm 6)

Burbank, J. Maze. Religious Camp Meeting. 1839. Watercolor. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford

Burbank, J. Maze. Religious Camp Meeting. 1839. Watercolor. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford

Wilhelm gives some account of the Gunpowder Baptist Church in his colorful language:

I recall the meeting at Hardscrabble, a village in the sixth District of Baltimore County. As I said, Bro. Laws labored in the counties. He commenced one of his first meetings in connection with Bro. Mettam, with the Gunpowder Baptist Church. This was in 1840. This is a very hard place–it was called Hardscrabble at that time. There was, I believe some eight houses and four of these were grog shops. There was a great revival in that meeting.  It was held in the old Union Meeting House. Some of the Methodists joined in with the Baptists and a great work broke out with them too. This was the commencement of breaking down those grog shops in that place; but I tell you the old Devil got mad, for he sent his agents out and they cut our clothes and even some of our horses’ ears almost off. I say ours, because I was converted in that revival. This meeting laid the foundation for temperance in the sixth election district in Baltimore County. The Baptists and Methodist with some few exceptions put away whiskey in that place. Now it is the only District in Baltimore County where no liquors are sold. (Wilhelm 6-7)

It is not too difficult to see why Wilhelm became part preacher. His language is lively and forceful. One can imagine that he shared many stories at different tables in the sixth district. I had hoped when I found this little tome that James’ name would appear somewhere in it. Disappointed on that front, the reader (which I’m guessing there has been very few) is delighted by the prospect of Daniel’s recollections. To get a sense of the spirit that was running through those town’s and villages is invaluable. James McCullough’s name appears next to Zachariah Alban’s and Daniel B. Wilhelm’s among others in 1842 for the purchase of acreage for the building of the Church5. It is likely that James was a convert to the Baptist church, like Wilhelm, and so possessed the convert’s ardor.  Wilhelm describes a conversion that mixes reading superstitions into the random occurrences of country life:

   My father was very fond of hunting, so I became very fond of that sport too, especially fox hunting. A company of us fox hunters would go out on Sunday, taking our whiskey with us, and then make another appointment for two weeks ahead and we would have a hunt again. […] I had moved to myself, my wife felt anxious to go to this meeting, so we went up one night, but when we got to the church there came a pack of hounds along, so I sent my wife in the church and went out to see the hounds. […] We went to the meeting that night, and my wife and I both went forward for prayer. We went home praying. After we arrived home there came a pack of hounds through my place. I thought now the Devil has sent those hounds to get me to go fox hunting again. I there promised the Lord I would never go fox hunting again, so I never did. (Wilhelm 7-8)

Wilhelm describes a the fashion of the itinerant preacher:

   Bro. Laws put those men and women as soon as they were converted to work; he had us with him at nearly every place he went to hold meetings; he would hold an experience meeting for about a half an hour before he began to preach; he would preach about thirty or forty minutes, then he invited out seekers. In his experience meetings he would try to get up and ask the prayers of God’s people. 

   He did not take the seekers up from the bench and tell them they had religion; he let them remain down till they knew for themselves and not for another. He did not mind how loud they cried or how many tears they shed, he was not afraid of what people call excitement. (Wilhelm 9)

The religion of the Gunpowder seems not a quiet one. The excitement was allowed to jump through the hard wooden seats and give the farmers something to shout about. Up to this time the word was preached in the Gunpowder by the now blind and deteriorating pastor, Bro. Layman (listed above as Leaman). In 1841, the church greeted a new pastor, Rev. W. H. Dix, but had to depart with him on the 16th of May due to quick ravages of typhoid pneumonia (Adams 67).

The revival took Brother Laws and Brother Wilhelm into several hard looking places where the day’s wages went:

   I happened to be in Baltimore after that. At one time as some three of us brethren were returning from Church one night, we heard fiddling and dancing. One of the brethren said to me, ‘Bro. Dan, suppose you go in and rout those fellows,’ so we went in. The old man of the house had been to church and the boys had got up a frolic while he was gone. They had two colored boys to play the fiddle; I stepped up before them and said, ‘Play us a tune.’ They began, I said ‘Stop, let us have prayers first.’ With that they began to leave, and I called on a brother to pray. After he prayed, they were all gone. Prayer being ended, the old man of the house said, ‘I am glad you run the devil out of my house once.’ I will mention another case while I am on prayer, and the effects of prayer. There was an old man who kept a grog shop and was doing a great deal of harm. We went there and held a prayer meeting, and broke up the grog shop. He sold out and moved away to another place and commenced another groggery. He went on for some time. We sent him word that we would pray God to convert him at such a time and if not, we would have to pray God to kill him; but finally he sold out again and never kept any more grog shops. I tell you in those days there was power in prayer and men felt it and trembled. (Wilhelm 10-11)

This passage from Wilhelm describes the revival as devolving into a very real power struggle with bullying and threats all part of the preaching. If the district was rough as Wilhelm says than what they needed was a rough religion.

  We may assume that James McCullough shared the Baptist’s views on alcohol. Undoubtedly, he was a pious sort.  We do not know what James would have thought of his grandsons James Wesley and William N., the former playing the fiddle the later playing the banjo in the barn dances across the eastern states: having a “frolic”. It was no preacher who “run the devil out” of these two but a couple of women in Ohio where they settled6. From the short-lived musical profession of these two men, it’s not hard to see their father James W as being a lover of a good tune. His father, James, may have been antagonist to the night-time fiddling but in the church choir perhaps his voice rose a little louder than his neighbors or maybe he listened closely to the hymns and felt the spirit more powerfully than what the sermon had done.

    In 1843, fifty members of the Gunpowder, “took letters of dismissal and organized the Forest Baptist Church, building also a new meeting house” (Adams 68). This meeting house was partially built with boards from a dismantled distillery (Wilhelm 9).  The “Minutes” of 1845 take a somber tone.  Gone is the jubilant optimism and the Association seems unable to find sufficient funds.  James McCullough is still a member of the Executive Board (1845 “Minutes” 9).  The Gunpowder and its congregation was struggling, “They state that of the one hundred and one members on their list, many are absent at the West and elsewhere, and their efficient members do not number more than thirty or forty, and most of these are poor and in debt” (1845 “Minutes” 15).  The clerk for the Gunpowder is William McCullough, James’ son.  While James McCullough is listed as a delegate with Zachariah Alban and the acting pastor Vincent Palen.  James is listed as donating two dollars while Zachariah donated three dollars (19). 

George F. Adams was a preacher for Hampton Baptist church in Virginia when the Civil War began.  The congregation, in terms of race, consisted of 949 blacks and 187 whites (Malone 2). Curiously, despite his efforts of salvation for the African-American population, Adams joined the Confederacy and acted as preacher for those soldiers in Virginia (Malone 2).  In 1862 the Union arrested Adams for spying and imprisoned him “on the Rip Raps in Hampton Roads”[Fort Wool] (Malone 2).  These ambiguities became too much and the majority of the congregation separated to form their own church, the First Baptist Church (Malone 2).  From this confusing history, it is unknown during his tenure at Gunpowder whether Adams preached in support of slavery or left the matter unsaid, again concentrating on souls and little on bodies: taking monition from the example of Loveall.

   In 1855 the Gunpowder church had apparently continued to lose members, becoming “quite feeble…For a short time it would revive and then fall back into lethargy” getting so desperate that only a visit by the Holy Ghost would revive them (Adams 68).  In 1863, the Gunpowder did not have a preacher of its own, “All these Churches are too feeble to support their own pastors without aid from the Association” (1863 “Minutes” 11).  To maintain himself a pastor had to divide his time between three churches; the Gunpowder, Hereford and Forest Baptist Churches.  The Gunpowder has maintained itself through the years and is still in service.  James McCullough is buried in the church cemetery.

It is unknown who James McCullough’s father was.  The O’Donoghue line is affiliated through the marriage of Jackson McComas to Sarah McCullough, James’ daughter.

Works Cited:

Adams, George F. History of Baptist Churches in Maryland: Connected with the Maryland Baptist Union Association. ed. J. F. Weishampel. Baltimore: J.F. Weishampel Jr. Press, 1885. Print.

Allen, I. M. The Triennial Baptist Register: No. 2–1836. Philadelphia: Baptist General Tract Society, 1836. Web. Accessed 18 December 2013.

2Referred to as “Father Albin” in Adams’ History

4The son of Rowe was a sailor but gave in to all the preaching occuring around him (Wilhelm qtd Adams 90). Daniel B Wilhelm’s father owned a distillery but due to his conversion gave it up (Wilhelm qtd Adams 94). Also describes the conversion of John C. Orrick (Wilhem qtd Adams 90)

5 Baltimore County Court (Land Records).  Ephraim Bell to James McCullow, Murry Wheeler, John L Price, Daniel Wilhelm, Zachariah Alban. 25 February 1842. TK 317, 1842-1842, MSA CE 66-367, Annapolis, MD. 238-240. Accessed 1 August 2013.

Baltimore County Court (Land Records).  James Gane Mortgage to James McCullough, Zachariah Alban, Daniel B. Wilhelm, John Price, Murry Wheeler. 30 July 1844. TK 344, 1844-1844, MSA CE 66-394, Annapolis, MD. 361-362. Accessed 1 August 2013.

Baltimore County Court (Land Records). John Sauble and Wife to James McCullough, Henry Cooper, Philip Hair, Philip Frank. 1 March 1834. TK 235, 1834-1834, MSA CE 66-285, Annapolis, MD. 468-470. Accessed 1 August 2013.

Baltimore Baptist Association. Minutes of the Baltimore Baptist Association, Held by Appointment, at Pleasant Valley Washington County, Md., September 6th, 7th, 8th, 1816. 1816. Web. Accessed 20 December 2013.

Benedict, David. A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, and Other Parts of the World. New York: Lewis Colby and Co, 1850. Web. Accessed 1 December 2013.

Healey, John. “Circular Letter: The Ministers and Messangers Composing The Baltimore Baptist Association, To the Churches with Which They are Severally Connected, Send Love in the Lord Jesus.” Minutes of the Baltimore Baptist Association, Held by Appointment, at Alexandria, District of Columbia, May 13th, 14th, and 15th, 1819. Alexandria: Samuel H. Davis, 1819. Web. Accessed 20 December 2013.

6 Julian, Kay McCullough. “Re. James and William McCullough.” Message to the author. 19 September 2013. Email.

 James, I believe James played the fiddle and William the banjo. I don’t know about other musicians in the family back then but my daughter use to play the viola in school. She was pretty good and got some scholarships to collage. She went 1 year an dropped out. She loved playing music but hated to study. As good a she was, after one of her concerts my Dad told her that all that classical music was ok, but she would never be really good till she could play Turkey in the straw. She opened her case, got out her viola and played it. Dad laughed and said “now that is good fiddling. You should be doing that on that stage.”


Kay Julian

email September 19 2013

Malone, H. O. “Historical Highlights of Hampton Baptist Church.” Hampton: Hampton Baptist Church. 2001. Web. Accessed 1 December 2013.

Maryland Baptist Union Association. Minutes of the Third Meeting of the Maryland Baptist Union Association, Held at the Baptist Meeting House near Taneytown, MD., October 22d and 23d, 1840. Baltimore: Richard J. Matchett, 1840. Sabin Americana. Web. Accessed 20 December 2013.

—. Minutes of the Fifth Meeting of the Maryland Baptist Union Association, Held in the Baptist Meeting House, Pikesville, MD., October 18, 19, 20, 1838. Baltimore: John W. Woods, 1838. Sabin Americana. Web. Accessed 20 December 2013.

—.  Minutes of the Tenth Meeting of the Maryland Baptist Union Association, Held in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD., November 5th and 6th, 1845. Washington: Wm. Q. Force, 1845. Sabin Americana. Web. Accessed 20 December 2013.

—.  Minutes of the Maryland Baptist Union Association, Held in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church, November 4th and 5th, 1863. Baltimore: J. F. Weishampel Jr., 1863. Sabin Americana. Web. Accessed 20 December 2013.

Purefoy, George W. A History of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association: From its Organization in A. D. 1758, to A. D. 1858. New York: Sheldon & Co., 1859. Web. Accessed 20 December 2013.

Shepherd, Henry Elliot. History of Baltimore, Maryland, from Its Founding as a Town to the Current the Current Year: 1729-1898. Baltimore: S. B. Nelson, 1898. Web. Accessed 18 December 2013.

Watt, Joseph T. The Rise and Progress of Maryland Baptist.  Baltimore: State Mission Board of the Maryland Baptists, 1953. Web. Hathi Trust. Accessed 21 December 2013.

3 Wilhelm, Daniel B. Recollections of “Uncle Daniel.” Baltimore: J. F. Weishampel, Jr., 1883. Print.