Inspiration for Today's World

Category: Patriots (Page 1 of 2)

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was an English-born (February 9, 1737) American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary. One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His history began with the writing of Common Sense 1, a pamphlet advocating independence from Great Britain. Written to people in the Thirteen Colonies and in clear but persuasive prose, Paine marshaled both a moral and political argument to encourage common people in the Colonies to fight for the principles that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. Common Sense was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution, and became an immediate sensation.

It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. As of 2006, it remains an all-time best selling American title, and is still in print today. Common Sense made public a persuasive and impassioned case for independence, which before the pamphlet had not yet been given serious intellectual consideration. Paine connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs to present a distinctly American political identity, structuring Common Sense as if it were a sermon.

Paine’s ideas reflected the idea of transnational human rights. Born in Thetford in the English county of Norfolk, Paine migrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution. Virtually every rebel read (or listened to a reading of) his powerful pamphlet Common Sense, helped crystallize the patriotic demand for independence from Great Britain. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said: “Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain”.

After the American Revolution, Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. He wrote Rights of Man (1791), in part a defense of the French Revolution against its critics. His attacks on Irish conservative writer Edmund Burke led to a trial and conviction in absentia in England in 1792 for the crime of seditious libel.

The British government of William Pitt the Younger, worried by the possibility that the French Revolution might spread to England and had begun suppressing works that espoused radical philosophies. Paine’s work, which advocated the right of the people to overthrow their government, was duly targeted, with a summons for his arrest issued in early 1792. Paine fled to France in September where, rather immediately and despite not being able to speak French, was elected to the French National Convention.

In December 1793, he was arrested and was taken to Luxembourg Prison in Paris. While in prison, he continued to work on The Age of Reason (1793–1794). Future President James Monroe used his diplomatic connections to get Paine released in November 1794. He became notorious because of his pamphlets The Age of Reason, in which he advocated deism, promoted reason and free thought and argued against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine. This would permanently impact history’s opinion of Paine. He published the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1797), discussing the origins of property and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income. In the Agrarian Justice, Paine lobbied for a tax to be placed on all land owners to be used in support of those who did not own land. In 1802, he returned to the U.S. where he died on June 8, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity and movement to socialistic philosophies.

Information was taken from the following references:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Paine

Sybil Ludington

Our Revolutionary War has a history of heros. Many, however, who fill the history books are not without controversy. Sybil Ludington (April 5, 1761 – February 26, 1839), daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington and his wife, Abigail Ludington, is one of those people. Sybil has been celebrated as a heroine of the American Revolutionary War since about 1900. At the age of 16, she rode her horse, Star, on a night ride on April 26, 1777, to alert militia forces in villages of Putnam County, New York and Danbury, Connecticut, to the approach of the British regular forces. A young American patriot, Sybil Ludington is the female counterpart to the more famous Paul Revere. The ride was similar to those performed by William Dawes and Revere (Massachusetts, April 1775). Although Ludington rode more than twice the distance of Revere and was much younger than the two more famous men. The story of Sybil primarily remained a local legend until her story was first published in 1880 by local historian Martha Lamb.

Lamb said that she relied on numerous primary sources, including letters, sermons, genealogical compilations, wills, and court records. In 1996 the national Daughters of the American Revolution said the evidence was not strong enough to support their criteria for a heroine, and removed a book about her from their bookstore. Lostpine includes Sybil because of the following information:

Alexander Hamilton wrote Col. Ludington: “I congratulate you on the Danbury expedition. The stores destroyed have been purchased at a pretty high price to the enemy.” This points to the success of the battle, requiring a forewarning to accomplish.

Sybil received personal thanks from both Gen. George Washington and Gen. Rochambeau, the French commander fighting with the Americans. This is some of the documentation used by Martha Lamb and others to establish the authenticity of Sybil Ludington, story.

Colonel Henry Ludington’s memoir make these claims about his daugher:

“One who even now rides from Carmel to Cold Spring will find rugged and dangerous roads, with lonely stretches. Imagination only can picture what it was a century and a quarter ago, on a dark night, with reckless bands of “Cowboys” and “Skinners” abroad in the land. But the child performed her task, clinging to a man’s saddle, and guiding her steed with only a hempen halter, as she rode through the night, bearing the news of the sack of Danbury. There is no extravagance in comparing her ride with that of Paul Revere and its midnight message. Nor was her errand less efficient than his. By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father’s house at Fredericksburgh.”

The Story of Sybil Ludington

In 1777, Sybil Ludington was a typical 16 year old girl for the times. She was putting the younger children to bed on the night of April 26, 1777, when word reached her house that the British were burning the town of Danbury, Connecticut, which was only 25 miles away. The British had entered Danbury and found some American military stores, stolen some, destroyed others and drank the whiskey. Drunk, they began ransacking the town, burning and looting. Her father was a colonel in the local militia. His men were scattered over a wide area around the Ludington house in Fredericksburg, New York (now Ludington). Sybil convinced her father to let her ride and summon the men. On April 26, 1777, Sybil Ludington rode through the night in Putnam County, New York to warn approximately 400 militiamen under the control of her father that British troops were attacking Danbury, Connecticut, where the Continental Army had a supply depot. On her way to gather her father’s troops, she was able to also  warn the people around Danbury.

Sybil’s father, Colonel Henry Ludington, had fought in the French and Indian War. He volunteered to head the local militia during the American Revolution. Due to her father’s position, Sybil had to move from town to town following her father, and unknowingly played an important role in the success of the colonies. The afternoon after Sybil warned residents of Danbury, the British troops burned down three buildings and destroyed multiple houses, but did not kill many people. Unlike accounts about Paul Revere and William Dawes rides before the outbreak of the Revolution, little was told of Sybil Ludington’s ride for personal reasons; the only record of this event was written by her great grandson. Like many of the stories and details of the American Revolution, family history is critical to fully documenting the truth. Whether Sybil volunteered (as is often recounted) or was directed by her father to bear the order for muster and to rouse the countryside is a matter of uncertainty. (The classic account of the event, an article written in 1907 by Ludington’s great-nephew Connecticut historian Louis S. Patrick, says her father “bade her to take a horse, ride for the men, and tell them to be at his house by daybreak.”) Sybil’s ride has raised 400 men, and even fighting off a highway man with her father’s musket. The militia caught up with the retreating British and beat them back, too late to stop the attack, but not too late to make them pay dearly.

Her grandson writes:

Ludington’s ride started at 9 p.m. and ended around dawn. She rode a total of 40 miles in the hours of darkness. She rode through Carmel on to Mahopac, thence to Kent Cliffs, from there to Farmers Mills and back home. She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She had to defend herself against a highwayman with the stick. By the time she returned home, soaked with rain and exhausted, most of the 400 soldiers were ready to march. The American militia arrived too late to save Danbury. But, at the start of the Battle of Ridgefield, they were able to drive General William Tryon, then British governor of the colony of New York, and his men to Long Island Sound. Ludington was congratulated for her heroism by friends and neighbors and also by General George Washington.

After the war, in 1784, when she was 23 years old, Sybil Ludington married Edmond Ogden. They had one child together, named Henry. Edmond was a farmer and innkeeper, according to various reports. In 1792, she settled with her husband and son in Catskill, where they lived until her death on February 26, 1839, at the age of 77. She was buried near her father in the Patterson Presbyterian Cemetery in Patterson, New York. Her tombstone, at right, shows a different spelling of her first name. There are several variations in the spelling of the name “Sybil”; all of which are correct.

In 1935 New York State erected a number of historic markers along her route. A statue of Sybil, sculpted by Anna Hyatt Huntington, was erected near Carmel, New York, in 1961 to commemorate her ride. Smaller versions of the statue were erected on the grounds of the Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters in Washington, D.C.; on the grounds of the public library, Danbury, Connecticut; and in the Elliot and Rosemary Offner museum at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

In 1975, Sybil Ludington was honored with a postage stamp in the “Contributors to the Cause” United States Bicentennial series. Each April since 1979, the Sybil Ludington 50k Run, a 50-kilometre (31 mi) ultramarathon footrace, has been held in Carmel, New York. The course of this hilly road race approximates Sybil’s historic ride, and finishes near her statue on the shore of Lake Gleneida, Carmel.

Contents taken from the following resources:

http://www.american-revolutionary-war-facts.com/American-Revolutionary-War-Women-Facts/Sybil-Ludington-Facts.html
https://www.thoughtco.com/sybil-ludington-biography-3530671
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybil_Ludington
https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/sibyl-ludington/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw–DLBRCNARIsAFIwR246eT0IU3qkylk1p94yLpG6q1arNaOV_pkSCWvSUUKKgfvxRnilACEaAk4aEALw_wcB

The Rattlesnake

The rattlesnake, a uniquely American reptile, was first used as a symbol by Benjamin Franklin, in 1751, in a satirical editorial in the Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin suggested the colonies thank Britain for sending their convicted criminals to America by sending the British rattlesnakes. The sectioned snake, representing the 13 colonies, was also seen in Paul Revere’s newspaper, Massachusetts Spy, fighting an English dragon, in 1774.

By 1775, Franklin stood behind the rattlesnake as a good symbol for the American Spirit, publishing an essay in the Pennsylvania Journal, and stating:

“I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?”

It is, however, another sectioned snake, that offers the most insight into the minds of our forefathers. In this instance, the rattles represent the 12 values, and the sections of the snake represent the 9 principles, not the 13 colonies.

The Twelve Values are:

  1. Honesty,
  2. Reverence
  3. Hope
  4. Thrift
  5. Humility
  6. Charity
  7. Sincerity
  8. Moderation
  9. Hard work
  10. Courage
  11. Personal Responsibility, and
  12. Friendship.

The 9 principles are:

  1. America is good.
  2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
  3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
  4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
  5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
  6. I have a right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
  7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
  8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
  9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

This modern day interpretation was brought to us by the radio and television commentator, Glen Beck.  Beck reminds us that this flag represents the banner of Conservatism, the same calling our forefathers used to be brave and courageous and continue to fight against the government control, excessive taxation, the safety and wellbeing of their families and the right to work hard and thrive. Those were the very rights described in the Declaration of Independence when this great document stated “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness“.

To fully understand how a fledgling group of colonies could defeat, Britain, the most powerful nation on earth, we need only to go back to the document’s title: “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.” It was unity and the values and principles stated above that created our great country. We must always remember that the enemies of freedom attack unity first. It is the uncivil discourse and divisiveness created by the “isms” (liberalism, socialism and communism) that all citizens must fear.

Taken from:

http://delawarerepublican.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/unite-or-die/

http://www.greatseal.com/symbols/rattlesnake.html

Betty Zane

The last hero of the American Revolution

BettyZaneThe noted end to the Revolution came Sept. 28, 1781 at the siege of Yorktown. There, General George Washington and the French General Rochambeau defeated General Charles Cornwallis. It would not be until September 3, 1783 that the Treaty of Paris would formally end hostilities. During those interim years, there would be skirmishes between the colonies and British. Possibly the very last one would occur at a small and little known place, Fort Henry.

The Siege of Fort Henry (September 11–13, 1782) was an assault on the American Fort Henry, a frontier fort on the western reaches of Virginia that is now the site of Wheeling, West Virginia. The high degree of resolution and courage among frontier womanhood was exemplified by Betty Zane, a dark-haired and dark-eyed beauty who single-handedly saved Fort Henry in the upper Ohio River Valley from annihilation in a brave dash through hostile Indians to bring gunpowder from her brother’s cabin. Fort Henry was a parallelogram, 356 feet long and 150 feet wide, on a hillside overlooking the Ohio River, standing at what is now Tenth and Main streets in Wheeling, surrounded by a stockade fence twelve feet high, and having a three-foot walkway running around the inside. It was practically impregnable so long as supplies lasted. The fort was besieged by the British and their Native American allies. Betty Zane, then just 17 years old, was among those trapped inside by 250 Native American warriors (mostly Wyandot and Delaware) allied with 50 a group of seasoned British soldiers who never had been defeated. Inside Fort Henry were only about 20 males of fighting age.

Living there was a testament to the family’s boldness. Betty’s older brother, the famous Ebenezer Zane, pioneered this area in the turbulent Ohio Valley, and the land was hardly “child-friendly.” Surrounded by thick woods, it was the home of Native Americans who became increasingly hostile because of encroachment on their lands. Beyond that, their move was illegal, as the colonists were defying a royal order that reserved land west of the Appalachian Mountains for natives. The threat of attack increased as the tribes who lived beyond the Appalachians wanted the British to put down the rebellion, and almost all of them allied themselves with the British.

To make things worse, during this siege, they were running out of gunpowder. Betty’s brother carelessly left gunpowder at their house, about 60 yards from the fort. During the battle, while Betty was loading a Kentucky rifle, her father was wounded and fell from the top of the fort right in front of her. The captain of the fort said, “We have lost two men, one Mr. Zane and another gentlemen, and we need gunpowder.” It would not be long before this young girl would become the last hero of the American Revolution.

Betty Zane was the sister of the fort commander, Col. Silas Zane. Betty’s brother Ebenezer remembered that he had carelessly left a keg of gunpowder back at home. A few boys volunteered to retrieve it, but they were not allowed to leave because their deaths would mean the loss of valuable fighters. According to a common account she said, ‘‘you have not one man to spare; a woman will not be missed in the defense of the fort.’’ Startled to see a young woman emerge from the fort and sprint across the open field, the British and natives held their fire. The common drawings of the event show Betty carrying a keg of powder. However, the keg was too heavy for her to carry and run with so in the Zane cabin, Betty gathered a quantity of gunpowder, perhaps in her apron or table cloth, and dashed back to the fort. Her feat is more impressive when we consider that she had gone without sleep for 40 hours pouring lead into bullet molds and dipping the molds into water.

Luckily, she traveled to the Zane home unharmed. The Indians were amazed and yelled “Squaw, squaw” when she ran past. As she returned back to Fort Henry, however, the Native Americans and British were not fooled by the seemingly harmless girl, and they fired at her. Zane sprinted and miraculously managed to evade the gunfire. One shot tore her dress. She successfully delivered the gunpowder, and two days later, the attackers retreated.

To say who this young heroine was, one must tell of her whole family. Most of its members also have a place in American history. Her father, a Dane, came to America with William Penn. Zane Street in Philadelphia was named for him. Later he moved to Berkeley County on the Potomac where five sons and Betty were born. On the death of their father, the children moved to the Ohio Valley where the brothers became famous as Indian fighters and settlers. They are memorialized by Zane Highway which runs through Eastern Ohio, becoming Zane Street in Wheeling. The Betty Zane room in Wilson Lodge of Oglebay Park is named in her honor. Her kinsman, Zane Grey, has immortalized her in his famous novel, Betty Zane.

Betty’s feat is not without controversy. Some historians are skeptical of the historical accuracy of but the legend persists. There is no mention of the heroic act in any contemporary account, including the official report by her brother to General William Irvine. Its similarity to the account of Madame Anne Bailey’s dash to save Fort Lee in the same decade casts additional doubt. The earliest reports of the episode are found in A. S. Withers’ 1895 Chronicles of Border Warfare and in an early 19th-century Philadelphia newspaper account. More than one hundred years after her deed, John S. Adams wrote a poem called Elizabeth Zane that achieved some popularity.

Two other girls in the fort, Molly Scott and Lydia Boggs, later claimed credit for this or similar feats, but most historians agree that Betty Zane’s role was key. Moreover, if Boggs and Scott do merit more recognition, it only reinforces the point that it was not unusual for young women to participate in the many conflicts of the new nation. The reality of violence on the frontier remained genuine for decades, and there was little chivalry for women. Their risks were high because of the probability of brutal treatment if captured. History records that hundreds of girls and women were in fact taken captive, and many more were killed.

Not much is known about Betty Zane’s later life. Before her first marriage, she bore a daughter, Minerva Catherine Zane, also known as Miriam, by one Van Swearingen. Court records in Ohio County, Virginia show an order for Van Swearingen to deed property to Betty Zane, so the daughter would be provided for and not become a burden on the county. Betty then married John McGloughlin and had four daughters; Mary Ann “Polly”, Sarah Nancy, Rebecca and Hannah McLaughlin. It was hard for widows to sustain their families on frontiers, and when John died, she married Jacob Clark and had two more children; a son, Ebenezer Clark, and a daughter, Catherine Clark. Betty lived primarily in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio. Zane’s date of birth was July 19, 1765 and died on August 23, 1823. She was buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery there, and a large statute honors her.

Information contained here taken from the following resources:
http://www.wvdar.org/ElizabethZane/zane-bio.htm
http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1396
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Zane
https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/betty-zane/

John Witherspoon

John WitherspoonJohn Witherspoon was one of the signers of our Declaration of Independence. He was the only active clergyman and the only college president to sign the Declaration on July 4th, 1776. There were other signers who had graduated with Theology Degrees from seminaries, but John Witherspoon was a practicing Church of Scotland Presbyterian minister and president of the College of New Jersey (1768–94; now Princeton University) where he trained many leaders of the early nation.

He was born February 4, 1723 in Gifford, Scotland in 1723, he received the finest education available to a bright young gentleman of that era. John attended the preparatory school in Haddington Scotland. He proceeded to Edinburgh where he attained a Master of Arts, then to four years of divinity school. At this point he was twenty. In 1743 he became a Presbyterian Minister at a parish in Beith, where he married, authored three noted works on theology. He was later awarded a Doctorate of Divinity from the University of St. Andrews, in recognition of his theological skills. It was only through a protracted effort on the part of several eminent Americans, including Richard Stockton and Benjamin Rush, that the colonies were able to acquire his service. In colonial American, the best educated men were often found in the clergy. The College of New Jersey needed a first rate scholar to serve as its first president. Witherspoon was at first unable to accept the offer, due to his wife’s great fear of crossing the sea. She later had second thoughts, and a visit from the charming Dr. Rush secured the deal. He emigrated to New Jersey in 1768.

Upon his arrival at the College of New Jersey at Princeton, Witherspoon found the school in debt, instruction had become weak, and the library collection did not meet current student needs. At once he began fund-raising locally and back home in Scotland, added three hundred of his own books to the library, and began the purchase of scientific equipment: the Rittenhouse orrery1 , many maps and a “terrestrial” globe. He also firmed up entrance requirements. These things helped the school be more on par with Harvard and Yale. According to Herbert Hovenkamp, his most lasting contribution was the initiation of the Scottish Common-Sense Realism, which he had learned by reading Thomas Reid and two of his expounders Dugald Stewart and James Beattie.

Witherspoon believed that common sense could be cultivated in his students or deduced through the development of the moral sense, an ethical compass instilled by God in all human beings and developed through religious education (Reid) or civil sociability (Hutcheson). Contrary to modern distinctions of morality, Witherspoon saw morality as having two distinct components: spiritual and temporal. Civil government owed more to the latter than the former in Witherspoon’s Presbyterian doctrine. Thus, public morality owed more to the natural moral laws of the Enlightenment than traditional sources of Christian ethics. However, as a Christian, Witherspoon saw the impossibility of maintaining public morality or virtue in the citizenry without an effective religion. In this sense, the temporal principles of morality required a religious component which derived its authority from the spiritual. Therefore, public religion was a vital necessity in maintaining the public morals.

Thus, while “public morals” were derived from natural virtue, its ultimate source lay in the public religion of Christianity. However, in this framework, non-Christian societies could have virtue, which, by his definition, could be found in natural law. Witherspoon, in accordance with the Scottish moral sense philosophy, taught that all human beings, Christian or otherwise, could be virtuous. Nonetheless, in keeping with the direction of destiny taught by the English Reformation, Scottish Reformation, and Irish Reformation colonial founders, he saw the new American national leaders, guided by their Christian religion, natural virtues, and republican sense of government, would be the most Protestant, Christian, free, and, therefore, noble nation, a light to the world. Many of his students, including James Madison, Aaron Burr, Philip Freneau, William Bradford, and Hugh Henry Brackenridge, played prominent roles in the development of the new nation.

Some of the courses he taught personally were Eloquence or Belles Lettres, Chronology (history), and Divinity. Of his courses, none was more important than Moral Philosophy (a required course). An advocate of Natural Law within a Christian and republican Cosmology, which Witherspoon considered Moral Philosophy vital for ministers, lawyers, and those holding positions in government (magistrates). He was firm but good-humored in his leadership. Witherspoon instituted a number of reforms, including modeling the syllabus and university structure after that used at the University of Edinburgh and other Scottish universities.

Witherspoon signingDr. Witherspoon enjoyed great success at the College of New Jersey. He turned it into a very successful institution, and was a very popular man as a result. He also wrote frequent essays on subjects of interest to the colonies. While he at first abstained from political concerns, he came to support the revolutionary cause, accepting appointment to the Committees of Correspondence and Safety in early 1776. Later that year he was elected to the Continental Congress in time to vote for R. H. Lee’s Resolution for Independence. He voted in favor, and shortly after voted for the Declaration of Independence. He made a notable comment on that occasion; in reply to another member who argued that the country was not yet ripe for such a declaration, that in his opinion it “was not only ripe for the measure, but in danger of rotting for the want of it.” Witherspoon was a very active member of congress, serving on more than a hundred committees through his tenure and debating frequently on the floor.

In November, 1776, he shut down and then evacuated the College of New Jersey at the approach of British forces. The British occupied the area and did much damage to the college, nearly destroyed it. Following the war, Witherspoon devoted his life to rebuilding the College. He also served twice in the state legislature. In the last years of life he suffered injuries, first to one eye then the other, becoming totally blind two years before his death. He died on his farm, “Tusculum,” just outside of Princeton in November of 1794, a man much honored and beloved by his adopted countrymen.

Witherspoon had suffered eye injuries and was blind by 1792. He died in 1794 on his farm Tusculum, just outside of Princeton, and is buried in the Princeton Cemetery. From among his students came 37 judges, three of whom made it to the U.S. Supreme Court; 10 Cabinet officers; 12 members of the Continental Congress, 28 U.S. senators, and 49 United States congressmen. When the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America met in 1789, 52 of the 188 delegates had studied under Witherspoon. Dr. John Witherspoon died November 15, 1794.

Information was taken from the following references:
http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/witherspoon.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Witherspoon

Dr. Joseph Warren

Joseph Warren graduated from Harvard in 1759, and in the following year was appointed master of the Roxbury grammar-school. He studied medicine with Dr. James Lloyd, and began to practice his profession in 1764. He married, 6 Sept., 1764, Miss Elizabeth Hooton, a young lady who had inherited an ample fortune.

The passage of the stamp-act in the following year led Dr. Warren to publish several able articles in the Boston “Gazette.” About this time began his intimate friendship with Samuel Adams, who conceived a warm admiration for him, and soon came to regard him as a stanch and clear-headed ally, who. could be depended upon under all circumstances. On the occasion of the Townshend acts, Dr. Warren’s articles, published under the signature of “A True Patriot,” aroused the anger of Gov. Francis Bernard, who brought the matter before his council, and endeavored to prosecute Messrs. Edes and Gill. the publishers of the “Gazette,” for giving currency to seditious libels ; but the grand jury refused to find a bill against these gentlemen. The affair created much excitement in Boston, and led Gov. Bernard to write to Lord Hillsborough, secretary of state for the colonies, recommending the arrest of the publishers on a charge of treason.

The search and seizure of John Hancock’s “Liberty” on June 10, 1768 ranks up there with the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party as far as incitement of rebellion is concerned. Customs officers took the ship under suspicion that the cargo on board had been smuggled into Boston without proper duty being paid for it. They were correct. However, their handling of the situation angered many Bostonians and a riot ensued. Dr. Warren was one of the committee appointed to wait upon the governor at his country-seat at Jamaica Plain, and protest against the impressments of seamen and the vexatious enforcement of the revenue laws. He was present at every town-meeting held in Boston, from the arrival of the British troops in October, 1768, to their removal in March, 1770, and he was one of the committee of safety appointed after the so-called “Boston Massacre.”

In July Joseph Warren was appointed on a committee to consider the condition of the town, and send a report to England. It was apparently of him that a Tory pamphleteer wrote : ” One of our most bawling demagogues and voluminous writers is a crazy doctor.” In March, 1772, he delivered the anniversary oration about the “Boston Massacre”; in November his name was recorded immediately after those of James Otis and Samuel Adams in the list of the first committee of correspondence. During the next two years he was m active co-operation with Samuel Adams, and when, in August, 1774, that leader went to attend the meeting of the Continental congress at Philadelphia, the leadership of the party in Boston transferred responsibility to Dr. Warren. On September 9, 1774, the towns of Suffolk County met in convention at Milton, and Dr. Warren read a paper drawn up by himself, and known as the “Suffolk resolves.” The resolutions, which were adopted unanimously, declared that a king who violates the chartered rights of his people forfeits their allegiance; they declared the regulating act null and void, and ordered all the officers appointed under it to resign their offices at once; they directed the collectors of taxes to refuse to pay over money to Gen. Gate’s treasurer; they advised the towns to choose their own militia officers; and they threatened Gage that, should he venture to arrest anybody for political reasons, they would retaliate by seizing upon the crown officers as hostages. A copy of these resolutions, which virtually placed Massachusetts in an attitude of rebellion, was forwarded to the Continental congress, which forthwith approved them and pledged the faith of all the other colonies that they would aid Massachusetts in case armed resistance should become inevitable.

After the meeting of the Provincial congress at Concord in October, Dr. Warren acted as chairman of the committee of safety, charged with the duty of organizing the militia and collecting military stores. As the 5th of March, 1775, drew near, several British officers were heard to declare that anyone who should dare to address the people in the Old South church on this occasion would surely lose his life. As soon as he heard of these threats, Dr. Warren solicited for himself the dangerous honor, and at the usual hour delivered a stirring oration upon ” the baleful influence of standing armies in time of peace.”

The gathering in the church was so great that, when Joseph Warren arrived, every approach to the pulpit was “blocked up” and rather than elbow his way through the crowd, which might lead to some disturbance, he procured a ladder and climbed in through a large window at the back of the pulpit. About forty British officers were present, some of whom sat on the pulpit-steps, and sought to annoy the speaker with groans and hisses, but everything passed off quietly.

On Tuesday evening, April 18, observing the movements of the British troops, Dr. Warren dispatched William Dawes, by way of Roxbury, and Paul Revere, by way of Charlestown, to give the alarm to the people dwelling on the roads toward Concord. Next morning, on hearing the news of the firing at Lexington, he left his patients in charge of his pupil and assistant, William Eustis, and rode off to the scene of action. He seems to have attended a meeting of the committee of safety that morning at the Black Horse tavern in Menotomy (now Arlington), and there to have consulted with Gen. William Heath. By the time Lord Percy reached Menotomy on his retreat, Gen. Heath had assumed command of the militia, and the fighting there was perhaps the severest of the day. Dr. Warren kept his place near Heath, and a pin was struck from his head by a musket-ball. During the next six weeks he was unyielding in urging on the military preparations of the New England colonies. At the meeting of the Provincial congress at Watertown, 31 Nay, he was unanimously chosen its president, and thus became chief executive officer of Massachusetts under this provisional government.

On June 14, 1775 he was chosen second major-general of tile Massachusetts forces, Artemas Ward being first. On the 16th he presided over the Provincial congress, and passed the night in the transaction of public business. The next morning he met the committee of safety at Gen. Ward’s headquarters on Cambridge common, and about noon, hearing that the British troops had landed at Charlestown, he rode over to Bunker Hill. It is said that both Putnam and Prescott successively signified their readiness to take orders from him, but he refused, saying that he had come as a volunteer aide to take a lesson in warfare under such well-tried officers. At the final struggle near Prescott’s redoubt, as he was endeavoring to rally the militia, Gen. Warren was struck in the head by a musket-ball and instantly kilted. His remains were deposited in the tomb of George R. Ninot in the Granary burying-ground, whence they were removed in 1825 to the Warren tomb in St. Paul’s church, Boston. In 1855 they were again removed to Forest Hills cemetery, where they now rest.

Dr. Warren’s wife died, 28 April, 1773, leaving four children. After the death of their father they were left in straitened circumstances until in April, 1778, Gen. Benedict Arnold, who had conceived a warm friendship for Dr. Warren while at Cambridge, came to their relief. Arnold contributed $500 for their education, and succeeded in obtaining from congress the amount of a major-general’s half-pay, to be applied to their support from the date of the father’s death until the youngest child should be of age. His brother, John, physician, born in Roxbury, Mass., July 27, 1753; died in Boston, Mass., April 4, 1815, was graduated at Harvard in 1771, studied medicine for two years with his brother Joseph, and then began practice in Salem, where John Warren attained rapid success. He attended the wounded at the battle of Bunker Hill, where he received a bayonet-wound in endeavoring to pass a sentry in order to see his brother. Soon afterward John Warren was appointed hospital surgeon, and in 1776 he accompanied the army to New York and New Jersey. He was at Trenton and Princeton, and from 1777 till the close of the war was superintending surgeon of the military hospitals in Boston. For nearly forty years John Warren occupied a position foremost place among the surgeons of New England. In 1780 he demonstrated anatomy in a series of dissections before his colleagues, and in 1783 he was appointed professor of anatomy and surgery in the newly established medical school at Harvard. John Warren, Joseph’s brother, was first president of the Massachusetts medical society, retaining the office from 1804 till his death. He was also president of the Agricultural society and of the Humane society. He frequently made public addresses, and in 1783 was the first Fourth-of-July orator in Boston.

Information contained here taken from the following resource: http://www.theamericanrevolution.org/peopleDetail.aspx?people=21

Baron von Steuben

vonsteubenFriedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand von Steuben was bornBaron von Steuben September 17, 1730 in Magdeburg fortress where his father was an engineer lieutenant in the military in 1730. Most of his adolescent years were spent in Russia, but with his father at the age of 10, they returned to Germany. He was schooled in Breslau by Jesuits and by the age of 17…was a Prussian officer in the military. He was a member of an infantry unit and a staff officer in the Seven Years War, later being made a member of the General Staff serving in Russia periodically. His service was commendable enough that he was eventually given assignment with Frederick the Great’s headquarters. Von Steuben’s experiences as a General Staff member in the Prussian Army gave him a wealth of knowledge that heretofore was unheard of, even in the British and French armies of the period. His training would eventually bring to the American soldiers the technical knowledge necessary to create an effective fighting force.

At the age of 33, in 1763, Steuben was discharged as a captain from the army, for reasons that are not known. The following year he received his “Baron” title when he became chamberlain at the Petty Court of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. He was the only courtier to accompany his incognito prince to France in 1771, hoping to borrow money. Failing to find funds, they returned to Germany in 1775, deeply in debt. Looking for work to reverse his fortunes, von Steuben tried employment in several foreign armies including Austria, Baden and France. He discovered that Benjamin Franklin was in Paris and that possibly, he could find work with the Continental Army in America.

Steuben traveled to Paris in the summer of 1777. As luck would have it, he was endorsed for service by the French Minister of War (Count de St. Germaine) who fully realized the potential of an officer with Prussian General Staff training. Steuben was introduced to General Washington by means of a letter from Franklin as a “Lieutenant General in the King of Prussia’s service,” a certain exaggeration of his actual credentials. He was advanced travel funds and left Europe from Marseilles. On September 26th, 1777, he reached Portsmouth, New Hampshire and by December 1st, was being extravagantly entertained in Boston. Congress was in York Pennsylvania, after being ousted from Philadelphia for the winter and on February 5, 1778, Steuben was with them. They accepted his offer to volunteer, without pay for the time, and on the 23rd of the same month, Steuben was reporting for duty to General Washington at Valley Forge. Steuben did not speak English, but his French was such that he could communicate with some of the officers. Washington’s aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton as well as Nathanael Greene were a great help in this area. The two men assisted Steuben in drafting a training program for the soldiers which found approval with the Commander-in-Chief in March.

How did the men at Valley Forge become an army? Steuben began with a “model company,” a group of 100 chosen men and trained them…they in turn successively worked outward into each brigade. Steuben’s eclectic personality greatly enhanced his mystique. He trained the soldiers, who at this point were greatly lacking in proper clothing themselves, in full military dress uniform, swearing and yelling at them up and down in German and French. When that was no longer successful, he recruited Captain Benjamin Walker, his French speaking aid to curse at the men for him in English. His instructions and methods have a familiar ring, nor is this strange when we consider that much of what is done today stems from his teachings. Though he spoke no English, Von Steuben systematically trained the amateur American troops in military discipline and battle-readiness. This rigorous training saved the troops from complete defeat during the Battle of Monmouth. In 1779, von Steuben prepared his Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, which remained America’s official military manual for over three decades.

To correct the existing policy of placing recruits in a unit before they had received training, Von Steuben introduced a system of progressive training, beginning with the school of the soldier, with and without arms, and going through the school of the regiment. Each company commander was made responsible for the training of new men, but actually instruction was done by selected sergeants, the best obtainable.

Warfare in the Eighteenth Century was a comparatively simple matter, once the battle was joined. Combat was at close range, massed-fire melee, where rapidity of firing was of primary importance. Accuracy was little more than firing faster than the opposing line. Much of the Regulations dealt with the manual of arms and firing drills. But battle was close-order drill, and speed of firing could only be obtained by drilling men in the handling of their firearms until the motions of loading and firing were mechanical. Firing was done in eight counts and fifteen motions.

1. Fire! One Motion.
2. Half-Cock — Firelock! One Motion.
3. Handle — Cartridge! One Motion.
4. Prime! One Motion.
5. Shut — Pan! One Motion.
6. Charge with Cartridge! Two motions.
7. Draw — Rammer! Two motions.
8. Ram down — Cartridge! One Motion.
9. Return — Rammer! Two motions.

Complicated as they seem, the new firing regulations were much simpler than those used by foreign armies and they speeded up firing considerably. The bulk of the fighting in the Revolutionary War was a stand up and slug match. The winning side was the one that could get in a good first volley, take a return fire and re-load faster than its foes. Once the individual could handle himself and his musket he was placed in groups of three, then in groups of twelve, and taught to wheel, to dress to the right and to the left. Alignment and dressing the ranks was emphasized but only because proper alignment was necessary for smooth firing.

Another program developed by Steuben was camp sanitation. He established a standards of sanitation and camp layouts that would still be standard a century and a half later. There had previously been no set arrangement of tents and huts. Men relieved themselves where they wished and when an animal died, it was stripped of its meat and the rest was left to rot where it lay. Von Steuben laid out a plan to have rows for command, officers and enlisted men. Kitchens and latrines were on opposite sides of the camp, with latrines on the downhill side. There was the familiar arrangement of company and regimental streets.

The results of the army training were in evidence by May 20, 1778 at Barren Hill and then at Monmouth (ending June 28th). Washington recommended an appointment for Steuben as Inspector General on April 30th, and on May 5th, Congress approved it. It was Steuben serving in Washington’s headquarters in the summer of 1778 who was the first to report the enemy was heading for Monmouth. During the winter of 1778-1779, Steuben prepared “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States,” also known as the “Blue Book.” It’s basis was the plan he devised at Valley Forge.

The following winter (1779-1780) his commission was representing Washington to Congress regarding the reorganization of the army. He later traveled with Nathanael Greene-the new commander of the Southern campaign. He quartered in Virginia since the American supplies and soldiers would be provided to the army from there. He aided the campaign in the south during the spring of 1781, culminating in the delivery of 450 Virginia Continentals to Lafayette in June. He was forced to take sick leave, rejoining the army for the final campaign at Yorktown. At Yorktown his role was as commander of one of the three divisions of Washington’s troops. He gave assistance to Washington in demobilizing the army in 1783 as well as aiding in the defense plan of the new nation. He became an American citizen by act of Pennsylvania legislature in March 1784 (and later by the New York authorities in July 1786). He was discharged from the military with honor on March 24, 1784.

He established residency in New York where he became a very prominent figure. His business acumen was not very keen, and he found himself in difficult financial condition once more. The primary reason was most likely the fact he was living off the prospect of financial compensation from the United States government which was unrealized until June of 1790 when he was granted a yearly pension of $2,500. His financial problems were not ironed out until Alexander Hamilton and other friends helped him gain a “friendly” mortgage on the property he was given in New York (about 16,000 acres). He died a bachelor on November 28, 1794, leaving his property to his former aides, William North and Benjamin Walker.

Contents taken from the following resources:
http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/steuben.html
http://www.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/revwar/image_gal/indeimg/steuben.html
http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/americanrevolutio1/p/American-Revolution-Baron-Friedrich-Von-Steuben.htm

Deborah Sampson

dsampson1Deborah Sampson was born on December 27, 1760 in Winnetuxet, later called Plympton, Massachusetts to Jonathan and Deborah Sampson. She was related to Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Plantation. The oldest of three sisters and three brothers, her contributions to the American Revolution would make her our nation’s first female soldier.

Deborah was five when she first went to live her mother’s cousin, Ruth Fuller of Middle borough, Massachusetts. Ruth died when Deborah was eight. She then went to live Mrs. Thatcher, the 80 year old widow of a First Congregational Church minister. A local minister noticed how hard Deborah worked and made arrangements for her to serve the household of Benjamin Thomas.

Deborah took care of Benjamin Thomas, his wife and their eight sons until she was 18 years old. During her time with the Thomas family, she worked in their home and fields. During the winter when there wasn’t much work to be done, she was allowed to attend school. When she was not in school, she would stay up after everyone had gone to bed and study the school books the Thomas boys brought home. At the Thomas’ home, she learned to cook, spin, weave, how to run farm equipment and how to shoot a musket. She would go along with the Thomas sons when they went hunting and learned to shoot just as good as they could. Deborah stood about 5 foot eight inches tall, was heavy boned, very strong and of light complexion.

Deacon Thomas taught his children how to use money wisely. He gave every child some lambs to raise and sell and he included Deborah. She was very wise with her lambs, selling them for the highest price she could get. She kept her money hidden in a handkerchief.

Deborah was ten years old when the Boston Massacre happened in 1770 and thirteen years old in 1773 at the time of the Boston Tea Party. The citizens of Boston refused to pay for the tea dumped in the ocean and in 1774 King George III issued the Intolerable Acts. When the people of Boston started talking about how they would starve under King George’s laws, Deborah planted a garden for herself and the Thomas family.

On December 16, 1775, the official start of the Revolutionary War, Deborah made a decision to fight in the War. She was sixteen years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. The men and boys from all around were joining the militia or the Continental Army led by General George Washington. By the time Deborah was eighteen, the United States was losing many battles and France had just decided to join with the Continental Army.

dsampson2She left the Thomas’ home in 1779 and became a teacher in a Middleborough public school. She still thought about joining the Continental Army, but didn’t really know how she could do it. Then in the winter of 1780, Mr. Thomas came for a visit and told her about two of his sons being killed in Virginia when they were fighting with Marquis de Lafayette. She had grown close to all the Thomas boys and this is when she committed to serving with the Continentals.

Deborah had taken a room from Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Leonard and towards the end of 1781, she decided she would try to enlist in the Continental Army. Taking some clothes from Samuel, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard, she tested her disguise by going to visit her mother. When her mother didn’t recognize her, Deborah Sampson knew she could sneak into the Continental Army.

Finally, on May 20, 1782 at the age of twenty-one Deborah Sampson enlisted in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army at Bellingham, Massachusetts, as Robert Shurtleff, which was the name of her oldest brother who had died at the age of eight. Deborah was almost immediately detected when noticed she held the quill with her finger in that funny position, like a female. No one else seemed to notice and Deborah Sampson, otherwise known as Robert Shurtleff, was now a soldier with the Continental Army for the next three years of her enlistment. Three days later she was officially part of Captain George Webb’s company. She was soon excommunicated from the Baptist Church, because the people of Middleborough had heard she was dressing as a man and serving in the Army.

Her first narrow escape from discovery was when she was altering her poorly fitting uniform, and was observed to be very good with a needle. She explained it away by stating there were no girls in her family, so as a youngest she had to learn how to sew.

Her regiment was sent to West Point, New York. During a scouting party to try to find food for her regiment, she was shot in the leg by Loyalists who caught her stealing from a cave near Tarrytown. In order to maintain her disguise, Deborah refused to see a doctor and took care of her own wound.

She was at West Point for eighteen months and fought in several battles. Deborah was injured two more times. Once near Tarrytown, her head was cut with a sword and then again near Eastchester. This time she was hit in the thigh by a musket ball was carried to the hospital. But, once there, she showed the surgeon the lesser wound to her head, and he released her. She tried to dig the musket ball out of her thigh with her pen knife! Failing that, she nursed the wound as best she could. But, having left the ball in the leg was to cause her trouble for the rest of her life. She again refused to be treated by a doctor and causing her injuries not to heal completely.

It wasn’t until she came down with a “malignant fever,” which was being passed around the soldiers, that she was forced to see a doctor at a hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Binney examined her and discovered she was not a man. He didn’t tell anyone, but took her to his own home where she could get better care. Once she was well again, Dr. Binney met with her commanding officer.

Deborah Sampson knew right away that Dr. Binney had told her commanding officers, but on October 25, 1783, almost two months after the Peace Treaty of Paris was signed, she went to deliver the letter to General Washington. He was very nice and didn’t make it harder on her than it was already was. He handed her papers that honorably discharged her from the Army with some money so she could get home. He also gave her a note which gave her some of his good advice.

In 1784 she married Benjamin Gannett, a farmer, and they had three children, Earl, Mary and Patience. On January 20, 1792, the Massachusetts General Court ordered that she be paid 34 pounds for her service in the United States Army. In the order, the Court said: she “did actually perform the duty of a soldier. The said Deborah exhibit an extraordinary instance of female heroism, by discharging the duties of a faithful, gallant soldier, and at the same time preserving the virtue and chastity of her sex unsuspected and unblemished, and was discharged from the service with a fair and honorable character….” Later, in 1804, Paul Revere sent a letter to Congress telling them she should receive more money for her duties in the War. She then received a U.S. pension of four dollars per month. She also received a land grant for her military services as a Revolutionary Soldier.

In 1802, Sampson started traveling around the New England states telling about her experiences in the United State Military, always wearing her military uniform. She received a letter from George Washington inviting Robert Shurtliffe to visit Washington. In her travels, she lectured in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York and was perhaps America’s first women lecturer. Deborah Sampson Gannett typically delivered a set of speeches about her wartime experiences, and at the conclusion of her speeches, would leave the stage, put on her “regimentals” and return to demonstrate the manual of arms, unheard of from a woman, and usually to the cheers of her appreciative audience.

Deborah Sampson Gannett died at the age of sixty-six on April 29, 1827 in Sharon, Massachusetts. After her death, her husband, Benjamin Gannett asked Congress to increase the pension. On July 7, 1838, (one year after Mr. Gannett died), Congress passed the “Act for the relief of the heirs of Deborah Gannett, a soldier of the Revolution.” Her children received $466.66 for the medical expenses she incurred from taking care of her own wounds so she would not be found out. On her tombstone is inscribed “Deborah wife of Benjamin Gannett, died April 29, 1827, aged 68 years”. On the reverse side of the stone it reads “Deborah Sampson Gannett, Robert Shurtleff, The Female Soldier Service 1781-1783.”

In May of 1983, then Governor Michael J. Dukakis, signed a proclamation which named Deborah Sampson, alias Robert Shurtleff, soldier of the American Revolution, the “Official Heroine of the State of Massachusetts.”

Contents taken from the following resources:
http://www.hobart.k12.in.us/cside/American%20Revolution/revbio/dsampson.htm
http://www.revolutionarywararchives.org/womansoldier.html

Benjamin Rush

BenjaminRushBenjamin Rush is considered a Founding Father of the United States. Rush lived in the state of Pennsylvania and was a physician, writer, educator, humanitarian, as well as the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Rush signed the Declaration of Independence and attended the Continental Congress. He served as Surgeon General in the Continental army. Later in life, Rush became a professor of chemistry, medical theory, and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Despite having a wide influence on the development of American government, he is not as widely known as many of his American contemporaries. Rush was also an early opponent of slavery and capital punishment.

He was born in December of 1745 in Byberry, Pennsylvania, some twelve miles from Philadelphia. His father died when Benjamin was six, and his mother placed him in the care of his maternal uncle Dr. Finley who became his teacher and advisor for many years. In 1759 he attended the College of Philadelphia, where he ultimately attained a Bachelor of Arts degree. He continued his education with a Dr. Redman of Philadelphia for four years and then crossed the Atlantic to attend to an M.D. at Edinburgh. He spent several years in Europe studying and practicing Medicine, French, Italian, Spanish, and science. He returned in 1769, opened a private practice in Philadelphia, and was appointed Professor of Chemistry at the College of Philadelphia.

Rush was active in the Sons of Liberty and was elected to attend the provincial conference to send delegates to the Continental Congress. Thomas Paine consulted Rush when writing the profoundly influential pro-independence pamphlet Common Sense. Rush represented Pennsylvania and signed the Declaration of Independence. He also represented Philadelphia at Pennsylvania’s own Constitutional Convention, and got into trouble when he criticized the new Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776.

Benjamin Rush was soon beloved in the city, where he practiced extensively among the poor. His practice was successful, his classes were popular, and he further began to engage in writing that would prove to be of considerable importance to the emerging nation. Rush published the first American textbook on Chemistry. In 1773 he contributed editorial assays to the papers about the Patriot cause and also joined the American Philosophical Society.

The highlight of his involvement in abolishing slavery might be the pamphlet he wrote that appeared in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York in 1773 entitled “An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in America, upon Slave-Keeping.” In this first of his many attacks on the social evils of his day, he not only assailed the slave trade, but the entire institution of slavery. Dr. Rush argued scientifically that Negroes were not by nature intellectually or morally inferior. Any apparent evidence to the contrary was only the perverted expression of slavery, which “is so foreign to the human mind, that the moral faculties, as well as those of the understanding are debased, and rendered torpid by it.”

While Rush was representing Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress (and serving on its Medical Committee), he also used his medical skills in the field. Rush accompanied the Philadelphia militia during the battles after which the British occupied Philadelphia and most of New Jersey and the Continental Congress fled to York, Pennsylvania. The Army Medical Service was in disarray, between the military casualties, extremely high losses due to typhoid, yellow fever and other camp illnesses, political conflicts between Dr.John Morgan and Dr. William Shippen, Jr., and inadequate supplies and guidance from the Medical Committee. Nonetheless, Rush accepted an appointment as surgeon-general of the middle department of the Continental Army. Dr. Rush’s order “Directions for preserving the health of soldiers” became one of the foundations of preventative military medicine and was repeatedly republished, including as late as 1908.

As the war continued and Army forces under General Washington suffered a series of defeats, Rush secretly campaigned for removal of Washington as commander in chief. Rush criticized General George Washington in two handwritten but unsigned letters while still serving under the Surgeon General. One, to Virginia Governor Patrick Henry dated January 12, 1778, quoted General Thomas Conway saying that if not for God’s grace the ongoing war would have been lost by Washington and his weak counselors. Henry forwarded the letter to Washington, despite Rush’s request that the criticism be conveyed orally, and Washington recognized the handwriting. At the time, the Conway Cabal[1] was trying to replace Washington with Horatio Gates as commander-in-chief. The letter also relayed General Sullivan’s criticism that forces directly under Washington were undisciplined and mob-like, and contrasted Gates’ army as “a well-regulated family”. Ten days later, Rush wrote John Adams relaying complaints inside Washington’s army, including about “bad bread, no order, universal disgust” and praising Conway, who had been appointed Inspector General.

Shippen sought Rush’s resignation, and received it by the end of the month after Continental Congress delegate John Witherspoon, chairman of a committee to investigate Morgan’s and Rush’s charges of misappropriation and mismanagement against Shippen, told Rush his complaints would not produce reform. Rush later expressed regret for his gossip against Washington. In a letter to John Adams in 1812, Rush wrote, “He [Washington] was the highly favored instrument whose patriotism and name contributed greatly to the establishment of the independence of the United States.” Rush also successfully pleaded with Washington’s biographers Judge Bushrod Washington and Chief Justice John Marshall to delete his association with those stinging words.

Rush’s teaching career and medical practice continued till the end of his life. He became the Professor of medical theory and clinical practice at the consolidated University of Pennsylvania in 1791, where he was a popular figure at the height of his influence in medicine and in social circles. He also remained a social activist, a prominent advocate for the abolition of slavery, an advocate for scientific education for the masses, including women, and for public medical clinics to treat the poor. Rush was a founding member of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons (known today as the Pennsylvania Prison Society), which greatly influenced the construction of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.

In 1789 he wrote in Philadelphia newspapers in favor of adopting the Federal constitution. He was then elected to the Pennsylvania convention which adopted that constitution. He was appointed treasurer of the US Mint where he served from 1797 to 1813. Despite his great contributions to early American society, Rush may be more famous today as the man who, in 1812, helped reconcile the friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by encouraging the two former Presidents to resume writing to each other.

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis to Philadelphia to prepare for the Lewis and Clark Expedition under the tutelage of Rush, who taught Lewis about frontier illnesses and the performance of bloodletting. Rush provided the corps with a medical kit that included Turkish opium for nervousness, emetics to induce vomiting, medicinal wine, fifty dozen of Dr. Rush’s Bilious Pills, laxatives containing more than 50% mercury, which the corps called “thunderclappers”. Their meat-rich diet and lack of clean water during the expedition gave the men cause to use them frequently. Though their efficacy is questionable, their high mercury content provided an excellent tracer by which archaeologists have been able to track the corps’ actual route to the Pacific.

Rush advocated Christianity in public life and in education, and sometimes compared himself to the prophet Jeremiah. Dr. Rush regularly attended Christ Church, Philadelphia in Philadelphia and counted William White among his closest friends (and neighbors). Ever the controversialist, Rush became involved in internal disputes over the revised Book of Common Prayer and the splitting of the Episcopal Church from the Church of England, as well as dabbled with Presbyterianism, Methodism, and Unitarianism.

Rush fought for temperance, and public schools, as well as founded the Bible Society at Philadelphia (now known as the Pennsylvania Bible Society), and promoted the American Sunday School Union. When many public schools stopped using the Bible as a textbook, Rush proposed that the U.S. government require such use, as well as furnish an American bible to every family at public expense. In 1806 Rush also proposed inscribing “The Son of Man Came into the World, Not To Destroy Men’s Lives, But To Save Them.” above the doors of courthouses and other public buildings, apparently disregarding current views that such conflicts with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Earlier, on July 16, 1776, Rush had complained to Virginia’s Patrick Henry about a provision in that state’s constitution of 1776 which forbad clergymen from serving in the legislature.

Rush felt that the United States was the work of God: “I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as perfectly satisfied that the Union of the United States in its form and adoption is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament”. In 1798, after the Constitution’s adoption, Rush declared:” The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.” Rush also helped Richard Allen found the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Benjamin Rush’s writings contained many notes about the less well known signers of the Declaration that came from his observations on the floor of congress. Other members of congress, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams foremost, had some harsh observations to make about Rush. He was handsome, well-spoken, a gentleman and a very attractive figure-he was also a gossip and was quick to rush to judgment about others. He was supremely confident of his own opinion and decisions, yet shallow and very unscientific in practice. His chief accomplishment as a physician was in the practice of bleeding the patient. It was said that he considered bleeding to be a cure for nearly any ailment. Even when the practice began to decline, he refused to reconsider the dangers of it. He died at the age of 68 at his home in Philadelphia, the most celebrated physician in America. He is buried along with his wife Julia in the Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia, not far from where Benjamin Franklin is buried.

John Pulling

NorthChurchLanternsOld North Church (officially, Christ Church in the City of Boston), at 193 Salem Street, in the North End of Boston, is the location from which the famous “One if by land, and two if by sea” signal is said to have been sent. This phrase is related to Paul Revere’s midnight ride, of April 18, 1775, which preceded the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution. Like many of the stories related to our history, they often are embellished to serve personal interests. Within this story is an unknown patriot, Captain John Pulling.

The church is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. It is the oldest active church building in Boston and is a National Historic Landmark. Inside the church is a bust of George Washington, which the Marquis de Lafayette reportedly remarked was the best likeness of him he had ever seen.

Old North Church was built in 1723, and was inspired by the works of Christopher Wren, the British architect who was responsible for rebuilding London after the Great Fire. In 1775, on the eve of America’s Revolution, the majority of the congregation were loyal to the British King and many held official positions in the royal government, including the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, making the fact that some members were loyalty to the Patriot cause even more extraordinary. The King had given the Old North’s its silver that was used at services and a Bible.

Into history comes Paul Revere , a talented silversmith, engraver but more importantly an active member of Boston’s Sons of Liberty. For months he has served as the group’s messenger, carrying information as far away as Philadelphia. When group leader Dr. Joseph Warren learns that General Gage’s army will march on Lexington and Concord, he calls once again on Revere (and young William Dawes) to ride into the countryside to warn area militia members. Dawes’s mission was to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that they were in danger of arrest. Dawes was to take the land route out of Boston through the Boston Neck, leaving just before the military sealed off the town.

For many months before Paul Revere would make his ride, tensions between the Colonists and British Troops had been on the rise, both in the city and in surrounding towns. The Royal Government (the British government in Massachusetts) wanted to ensure that troops would be able to secure the colony in case of rebellion. Orders went out to confiscate weapons that the Colonists had been storing throughout the countryside.

Several parties of British troops had been sent up the coast to confiscate ammunition in Salem and parts of what is now New Hampshire. In both of those cases, Paul Revere and other riders who were members of the Sons of Liberty, alerted the townspeople of the movement of British troops well before those troops could reach their destinations. The munitions were successfully hidden and the British troops were humiliated.

British soldiers guarded the exits to the city and anyone caught wandering the streets after dark could have be arrested. If both Revere and Dawes were detained, their warning would not reach the minutemen. A back-up plan was needed. Revere recalls the view of Charlestown from atop the Old North Church where he rang the bells as a teenager. He approached an intimate friend from boyhood and business associate, a man named Captain John Pulling to help. Both Paul Revere and John Pulling were members of Boston’s Committee of Correspondence. One of the principle roles of its members was to gather intelligence and track the movements of British troops within the Colonies. Pulling also had with ties to the church and Revere would ask a huge favor—to hang signal lanterns in the steeple.

John Pulling was the perfect choice. He was not only a member of the church but also a vestryman (part of the church’s governing body, like an elder). John Pulling was a passionate patriot. We know this because earlier that day, the vestry, Pulling and other vestrymen, made a decision to fire their Loyalist Rector, Rev. Mather Byles Jr., for preaching against their patriot cause. A bold move for liberty. If captured hanging the lanterns, Pulling hoped he could provide a believable reason for being in the church, he was part of the “management team” and needed to be there after firing their Rector. So on April 18th, Captain Pulling was ready to go to the church and hang two lanterns from the window on the north side facing Charleston. This would be the signal that the British Regulars were coming by sea.

Robert Newman, the sexton (janitor) of the Old North, also had patriot allegiances but, perhaps more importantly, he had the keys to the building. He also lived just across the street from the church. Newman was generally considered to be a trustworthy young man, but had not, as yet, been very active in the rebellion. He was not able to find work and had taken a job he did not like as the church caretaker. Eager to help out, he was known to be a man of few words and right for the job of helping in signaling a secret message.

Revere then went to his boat in Boston Harbor and was rowed across by two friends, Joshua Bentley and Thomas Richardson. The men used a petticoat to muffle decrease the noise made by the oars. Seven hundred British soldiers began their journey led by Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith of the 10th Regiment and Major John Pitcairn of the Marines. But by using the lantern method, they would have a fast way to inform the back-up riders in Charlestown about the movements of the British; these back-up riders planned to deliver the warning message to Lexington and Concord in case Revere and Dawes were arrested on the way. To be certain the message would get through.

About 10:00 PM, Newman opened the church door with his key before Captain Pulling joined him inside while Thomas Bernard stood guarding the door. Then John Pulling would hang the two lanterns for just under a minute to avoid catching the eyes of the British troops occupying Boston, but this was long enough for the message to be received in Charlestown. The militia waiting across the river had been told to look for the signal lanterns, and were prepared to act as soon as they saw them.

The warning was delivered miles away to dozens of towns, first by Revere and Dawes on horses, and then by other men on horses and men who rang church bells and town bells, beat drums, and shot off warning guns. Revere didn’t really say “The British are coming!” because most of the people in Massachusetts still thought of themselves as British. But he did say “The Regulars are coming out!” (or something similar) to almost every house along the way to Lexington after he felt safe from that British patrol. The lanterns were immediately seen by the British troops and Robert Newman, living across from the church, was placed under arrest. It would be Newman who would proclaim his innocence and give John Pulling’s name to the British officials. Newman was released and a search for Pulling began immediately.

At first Pulling hid in his house, inside an empty wind cask in the cellar. Then, disguised as a fisherman, he eluded the troops and embarked upon a small skiff to leave the city by sea. The skiff was challenged by a nearby English warship at anchor, but allowed to pass. Sometime later the small boat arrived at Nantasket Beach. At the same time, his wife Sarah Pulling, had also fled Boston. Now, John Pulling was a hunted man. They were to rendezvous at an old Cohasset cooper’s shop. While here, Mrs. Pulling would give birth to a daughter, born before the arrival of her husband. It is unclear for how long the Pulling’s remained hidden in the cooper’s shop (which must have been a primitive structure at best, lacking even the most rudimentary comforts of a home), but they did remain in hiding for an extended period. It is likely that John Pulling was a hunted man for the duration of the British occupation of Boston.

The identity and precise location of the Cohasset cooper’s shop where the Pulling’s would hide is not known, although historians conjecture it might have been among the numerous fishing and mercantile buildings located near our harbor. Here the Pulling’s remained, safe from British eyes. In their hasty flight from Boston, they had left all their property at home and arrived in Cohasset with scarcely any belongings. Thus the couple was destined to suffer from lack of resources during their time in exile. They remained in exile until the last British troops evacuated the city on March 17, 1776. Among the few belongings they were able to bring with them to Cohasset was Sarah’s Bible, which remained in the possession of her descendants for the next century and a half. In 1909 Sarah’s great, great grandson Harvey H. Pratt, of Scituate, a prominent Boston attorney, owned the old family Bible and was able to confirm the story of her exile at the Cohasset shore. Captain Pulling’s health had declined as a result of the privations suffered during his exile, for, although he resumed revolutionary activities following his return to Boston, he died at the age of fifty, in 1787. Sarah Thaxter Pulling, who had been Pulling’s second wife, later resided in Abington until her death at age ninety-nine, in 1846. A great grandson, Rev. Henry F. Lane, noted, “When I was a lad I distinctly remember hearing from my mother’s grandmother . . . that her husband hung the lights from the steeple of the Old North Church.”

So how did the Pulling’s sacrifice fare in history? Not too well. It is not the predominant story surrounding what we now celebrate as “Patriot’s Day.” Upon their return, they found that everything, their possessions and their home were gone. John and Sarah Pulling lost everything because of the light of two lanterns. Were John and Sarah’s risks of no value? Well, history tells us that Revere was actually detained by the British and did not reach Lexington until the battle had already begun. William Dawes did not make it either. He fell off his horse and the horse ran away. Upon procuring another horse, Dawes showed up late too. The message reached Lexington because of the many riders who could see the lanterns that night in the steeple. Those lights high on the church steeple, would start 13 colonies on a path that would create the greatest nation on the earth and the freedoms we enjoy today. Who does history give the credit for the lanterns to? A plaque on the side of the Old North Church gives all of the credit to Robert Newman.

One of the original lanterns is on display at the Concord Museum. The other lantern, is lost, rumored to have been broken during a tour.

Material taken from the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 15 By Massachusetts Historical Society (1876-1877)

A First Person Sermon called “Setting the Record Straight” telling the story of John Pulling [Vimeo Video]

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