“Split Rock”: Site of the Hutchinson Massacre of 1643

“Split Rock” is the name for a huge boulder that was transported by the glacial ice all the way from Canada to the northwestern corner of what is now Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx (New York City).  Tradition says this is the spot where my ancestor, Anne Hutchinson, was killed by Siwanoy Indians during a time of especially tense relations between Native Americans and the Dutch in 1643.  The site is just southeast of the overpass where the New England Thruway (I-95) crosses the Hutchinson River Parkway.

My photo gallery of “Split Rock” is — > here.

Split Rock

Split Rock

To imagine the scene, one must recall a time when the Dutch settlement of lower Manhattan was still a scarcely populated farming community.  It was around this time that the Dutch were constructing fortifications in the area of modern-day “Wall Street”, where a stockade wall was placed to protect the Dutch farms from Indian attacks.  The island of Manhattan north of these defensive works, the outer boroughs of today’s New York City (Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island), New Jersey and eastern Long Island remained an inhospitable wildness to the European settlers.

In August of 1643, the Hutchinson massacre took the lives of Anne Hutchinson and most of her family, marking the tragic end of a remarkable and significant life.  She is one of the most important figures, man or woman, in the history of the struggle for religious liberty in colonial New England.

Anne is my 10th great grandmother.  She was born Anne Marbury in England in 1591.  In 1634, she arrived with her husband William and their family in the fledgling colony of Massachusetts Bay (Boston).  Although she was steeped in the religious tradition of the Puritans, she became an outspoken and controversial figure in the religious development of Massachusetts Bay Colony.  She ran afoul of the religious leaders of the community by organizing weekly meetings to discuss recent sermons, in which she also expressed her own unorthodox theological views.  It seems the feisty, intellectual Anne dared to interpret the bible her own way!  In particular, she stressed the individual’s relationship with God as opposed to reliance upon the authority of ministers.  These “radical” views were considered a threat by the civil and religious leaders of the colony, especially Governor John Winthrop, who considered Anne’s opinions to be blasphemy.  She was tried by both civil and religious courts, excommunicated and banished from the colony in 1637.  Eventually she settled in the colony of Rhode Island, which was founded about the same time by my ancestor Roger Williams, another religious exile from whom I am descended through both a son and a daughter.

Anne Hutchinson Memorial at Massachusetts State House by Cyrus Edwin Dallin.

Anne Hutchinson Memorial at Massachusetts State House by Cyrus Edwin Dallin.

Anne lived in Rhode Island until her husband died in 1641, then in 1643 moved to The Dutch New Netherland colony.  That’s where this defender of religious freedom met a terrible end.  Local Indians, long mistreated by the Dutch, had been fighting back, and in August 1643, a group of Indians murdered Anne and almost her entire family, who were living in the area around “Split Rock”.  The only survivor of the attack was Anne’s daughter Susannah.  According to legend, she wriggled into the crevice of “Split Rock” and hid herself, saving her life.  Susannah was, however, later discovered and taken captive by the Indians, who held her for four years until she was ransomed.  One of Susannah’s descendant’s was Stephen A. Douglas, who famously debated Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois campaign for U.S. Senator in 1858.

“Split Rock” is of enough historic importance that in the 1950s officials were persuaded by the Bronx Historical Society to move the planned I-95 New England Thruway a few feet north to save Split Rock from being dynamited.

In 1987, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis pardoned Anne Hutchinson, revoking the order of banishment by Governor Winthrop 350 years earlier.  There is also a statue of Anne on the grounds of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

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Missing Winona portrait returned in time for holidays

The Watkins Home, built by Paul & Florence Watkins between 1924-27, is now operated as Watkins Manor, an assisted living community of nearly 60 senior apartments in Winona, Minnesota. Paul is my great grandfather and the 5th great grandson of  my immigrant ancestor, Thomas Watkins of Boston, Massachusetts. The property is located at 175 E. Wabasha Street. (photo by Jonathunder)

The Watkins Home, built by Paul & Florence Watkins between 1924-27

From the PostBulletin.com, 26 Nov 2014, 4:14 PM, updated 5:08 PM (original post —> here):

Brett Boese, bboese@postbulletin.com

WINONA — The mystery of the missing portrait in Winona has been solved just in time for the holidays.

Winona Police Chief Paul Bostrack said a 23-year-old man contacted authorities on Tuesday to admit stealing the 200-pound painting of Winona businessman Paul Watkins from Winona Health’s Watkins Manor. Authorities recovered the 4-feet by 5-feet portrait less than a block from where it had been reported missing on Sept. 12.

Authorities still are trying to piece together the sequence of events that led to the late-night heist of the $6,500 portrait. Bostrack [said] it appears to have been a “spur-of-the-moment thing” that may or may not lead to criminal charges, since it was returned undamaged.

The painting is the work of Minnesota artist Carl Bohnen in 1920 and was paired with a matching portrait of Watkins’ wife. The portrait was displayed in the mansion’s great hall, which is open to the public and functions like a museum. A side door to the facility that’s typically locked was found ajar on the morning the portrait was reported missing.

Paul Watkins’ granddaughter, Ruth Watkins Fell of Rochester, heard of the portrait’s return on Wednesday afternoon. She grew up playing in the room where the portrait was featured.

“It’s my grandfather’s picture, but it really belongs to the community,” Watkins Fell said. “This is really good news, especially because tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It’s the perfect time.”

Watkins was president of the J.R. Watkins Co., which rose to prominence more than a century ago and remains a provider of vanilla extract, other baking products and health remedies. After enjoying great personal success, he became one of Winona’s greatest philanthropists, donating artwork to local schools, churches and government buildings. Winona State University has even named its main art gallery in his honor.

Winona Health, which operates the Watkins mansion as an assisted living facility, said in September that no charges would be filed if the portrait was returned undamaged. Last month, anonymous donors offered a reward of $3,000 for tips that led to its return.

Watkins Fell said she was on the verge of writing a letter to the editor asking for the portrait’s return. The appeal would have echoed a plea her mother made 35 years ago.

In 1979, one of three Tiffany lamps Watkins donated to a Winona church was stolen out of the parlor. Watkins’ daughter — and Watkins Fell’s mother — wrote a letter to the editor asking for its safe return, offering a $1,000 reward for the lamp, which was valued at about $30,000.

Shortly after making that offer, Watkins Fell said her mother received a phone call claiming the lamp was at the Prairie Island Campground near the Mississippi River in Winona. Authorities were alerted, and the ensuing search found the lamp buried in the sand but otherwise undamaged. The reward money was never claimed.

Watkins Fell said she expects the painting to be returned to its customary place next to her grandmother’s portrait just in time for the holidays — and reinforced with extra nails this time.

“I’m shocked, first of all, but extremely pleased that they somehow got it back,” Watkins Fell said. “Gosh, I’m kind of at a loss of what to tell you. It just makes tomorrow even better. (18)

The Hancock Family of Saline County, Missouri – a genealogical dead end, unfortunately

Rev. Thomas White Hancock (1825-1918), my 3rd great grandfather

Rev. Thomas White Hancock (1825-1918), my 3rd great grandfather

Several members of my family are buried at Blackburn Cemetery in Saline County, Missouri.  Rev. Thomas White Hancock and his first wife, Jacintha Ann (Pollard) Hancock are my paternal 3rd great grandparents.  At least three of their offspring (my 2nd great grand aunts and uncle) are buried at Blackburn along with their parents.  Another daughter, my 2nd great grandmother, Elizabeth Minor (Hancock) Gunnell (1850-1928) is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  I have the names of Thomas White Hancock’s parents from handwritten notes which Thomas wrote on the back of his marriage certificate with Jacintha Ann.  They are John Hancock (1796-1837) and Elizabeth White (1802- ), whose family migrated to Kentucky from Hanover County, Virginia.  Elizabeth married a man by the name of Green after John’s death.  I know that John Hancock was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, where his family must have been early settlers.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to trace this line further back.

More photos —> here

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DNA results: Ethnicity Estimate

I got my DNA test results back from dna.ancestry.com, and there were no big surprises: Looks like most of my genes can be linked to Great Britain (55%), Scandinavia (27%) and Ireland (6%).  There are smaller “trace amounts” from Finland/Northwest Russia (3%), Eastern Europe (3%), Iberian Peninsula (2%), other Western Europe (1%). There are also (possibly) very slight percentages (< 1%) that can be traced to Italy/Greece, European Jewish and Central Asia.

Ethnicity_estimate_TMH_map (35)

Where’s Watkins? Police looking into missing oil portrait from Watkins Manor

This portrait of Paul Watkins (1864-1931) was painted in 1920 by Carl Bohner, a well-known Minnesota painter and printmaker in the first half of the 20th century, who completed portraits of state luminaries including Charles Lindbergh, as well as the portraits of several Minnesota governors that hang in the state Capitol. The portrait was stolen from Watkins Manor on 11-12 Sep 2014.

This portrait of Paul Watkins (1864-1931) was painted in 1920 by Carl Bohner, a well-known Minnesota painter and printmaker in the first half of the 20th century, who completed portraits of state luminaries including Charles Lindbergh, as well as the portraits of several Minnesota governors that hang in the state Capitol. The portrait was stolen from Watkins Manor on 11-12 Sep 2014.

[UPDATED INFORMATION HAS BEEN ADDED IN A NEW POST, on 27 Nov 2014 – CLICK —> here]

The following information was reported by the Winona [Minnesota] Daily News, in its edition of 19 Sep 2014:

An original oil portrait of one of Winona’s best-known businessmen [and my great grandfather] has gone missing from Watkins Manor, in Minesota.  A 4-by-5-foot framed original oil painting of Paul Watkins was reported missing last Friday morning [12 Sep 2014] from Watkins Manor on Wabasha Street, now an assisted-living facility that Winona Health owns. The portrait was in the Watkins Manor chapel, and had a light attached to it.  The portrait is believed to have been taken sometime late last Thursday or early Friday morning, according to Karen Sibenaller, communications director with Winona Health.  A member of the Manor’s housekeeping staff discovered the theft last Friday morning.

No estimated value has been given for the painting. It was created in 1920 by Carl Bohnen, a well-known Minnesota painter and printmaker in the first half of the 20th century who completed portraits of state luminaries including Charles Lindbergh, as well as the portraits of several Minnesota governors that hang in the state Capitol.  The missing painting is one of a set of two; the other is of Paul’s wife, Florence, Sibenaller said.  A door that is seldom used that goes out onto a courtyard was found ajar, Sibenaller said.  Paper, presumed to be from the back of the painting, was found in that area.  Nothing else was missing, and nothing was broken or vandalized inside the building.

Watkins residents do not need to be concerned about safety, Sibenaller said, though she added that Winona Health staff are concerned about the theft and have increased security throughout as a precaution.  Winona police are investigating, said deputy chief Tom Williams.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Winona Police Department at 507-457-6302.

Paul Watkins took over the Watkins Company from his uncle, J.R., in 1911 and built it into the largest direct-sales company in the world.  He used some of the profits to build his Tudor-style manor house.  Paul Watkins died in 1931, and [his wife] Florence lived in the house until her death in 1956.  The home was converted to a nursing home and, in 2001, became part of Winona Health.

Ruth Watkins Fell of Rochester, Minnesota has offered a reward (photo: PostBulletin.com, 29 Sep 2014)

Ruth Watkins Fell of Rochester, Minnesota has offered a reward (photo: PostBulletin.com, 29 Sep 2014)

[updated]: Reward offered for Watkins painting (Winona Post, 28 Oct 2014, by Amelia Wedemeyer)

A $3,000 reward has been offered to anyone with information leading to the recovery of the Paul Watkins portrait painting, which was taken from the Watkins Manor House sometime overnight between September 11 and 12. The portrait is an original oil painting measured at 4 feet by 5 feet; it is mounted in a large frame with a light attached.

Watkins was a Winona businessman and avid art collector whose uncle, J.R. Watkins, founded Watkins Products. After the death of his uncle, Watkins took over the company and expanded it, while also donating art to the Winona community, including pieces such as Italian sculptures and marble pillars to Central Elementary School. His former East Wabasha Street mansion is now the Watkins Manor House, which serves as senior living apartments.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Winona Area Crime Stoppers at 507-547-6530. (38)

The Battle of Baltimore, 12th-15th September 1814

A full-size replica of the "Star Spangled Banner" of 1814 flies over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.

A full-size replica (30 by 42 feet) of the “Star Spangled Banner” of 1814 flies over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.

Today is “Defenders Day” (a legal holiday in the State of Maryland) and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore (also known as the Battle of Fort McHenry), which occurred from 12-15 Sep 1814 during the War of 1812.  My family has no direct connection to the battle that I am aware of, but I grew up in Baltimore and visited the Fort many times as a youngster, both with my family and on school field trips.  Like all Maryland schoolchildren, I learned of the battle and the “Star Spangled Banner” from an early age.  During the battle, American forces repulsed sea and land invasions of the busy port city of Baltimore, Maryland, and killed the commander of the invading British forces.  The British defeated an American force at North Point, however they made no further progress and later withdrew.  The resilience of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during bombardment by the Royal Navy inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the poem “Defense of Fort McHenry” which later became the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States of America.

The Battle Monument is located in Battle Monument Square on North Calvert Street between East Fayette and East Lexington Streets in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Battle Monument is located in Battle Monument Square on North Calvert Street between East Fayette and East Lexington Streets in Baltimore, Maryland.

Tied down in Europe until 1814, the British at first used defensive strategy, repelling multiple American invasions of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada.  However, the Americans gained control over Lake Erie in 1813, seized parts of western Ontario, and ended the prospect of an Indian confederacy and an independent Indian state in the Midwest under British sponsorship.  In the Southwest, General Andrew Jackson destroyed the military strength of the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814.  With the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, sending in three large invasion armies.  In August 1814, British forces sailed from the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda to attack the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C., and on 24 Aug 1814, the British Army overran confused American defenders at the Battle of Bladensburg and marched into Washington, which had been abandoned by the military.  After burning and looting the White House, Capitol, Treasury, War Department and other public buildings and forcing the destruction of the Washington Navy Yard, the British carted public and private possessions back to their ships.  President James Madison and the entire government fled the city and went North, to the town of Brookeville, Maryland.  The British also sent a fleet up the Potomac to cut off Washington’s water access and threaten the prosperous ports of Alexandria, just downstream of Washington, and Georgetown, just upstream.  The mere appearance of the fleet cowed American defenders into fleeing from Fort Warburton without firing a shot, and undefended Alexandria surrendered.  The British spent several days looting hundreds of tons of merchandise from city merchants, then turned their attention north to Baltimore, where they hoped to strike a knockout blow against the demoralized Americans.  Baltimore was a busy port and was thought by the British to harbor many of the privateers who were raiding British shipping.  The British planned a combined operation, with Ross launching a land attack at North Point, and Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane laying siege to Fort McHenry, which was the point defensive installation in Baltimore Harbor.

Aerial view of Fort McHenry

Aerial view of Fort McHenry

At Fort McHenry, some 1,000 soldiers under the command of Major George Armistead awaited the British naval bombardment.  The attack began late on 12 September, as the British fleet of some nineteen ships began pounding the fort with rockets and mortar shells from vessels offshore.  After an initial exchange of fire, the British fleet withdrew to just beyond the range of Fort McHenry’s cannons and continued to bombard the American redoubts for the next 25 hours.  Although 1,500 to 1,800 cannonballs were launched at the fort, damage was light due to recent fortification that had been completed prior to the battle.  As the attack began, an American lawyer and poet, Francis Scott Key, was on a mercy mission for the release of Dr. William Beanes, a prisoner of the British.  Key showed the British letters from wounded British officers praising the care they received from Dr. Beanes.  The British agreed to release Beanes, but Key and Beanes were forced to stay with the British until the attack on Baltimore was over, and Key watched the proceedings from a truce ship in the Patapsco River.  On the morning of the 14th, Key saw the American flag waving above Fort McHenry.  Inspired, he began jotting down verses on the back of a letter he was carrying.  He composed the words to the tune of an old British drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven”.  When Key reached Baltimore, his poem was printed on pamphlets by the Baltimore American.  His poem was originally called “Defense of Ft. McHenry”, and the song eventually became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner”.  It was declared the National Anthem by an act of Congress in 1931.

American victories in September 1814 and later in January 1815 repulsed all three British invasions in New York, Maryland and Louisiana. (42)

405 Years Ago Today – My First Ancestor to Reach America Lands at Jamestown (1609)

John Smith, played by Dennis Farmer, claims the beach for England during a re-enactment ceremony on the 400th anniversary of the First Landing in the, "New World." Settlers from the ships the Godspeed, Discovery and the Susan Constant landed at Virginia Beach and stayed for four days before moving to Jamestown.

John Smith, played by Dennis Farmer, claims the beach for England during a re-enactment ceremony on the 400th anniversary of the First Landing in the “New World.” Settlers from the ships the Godspeed, Discovery and the Susan Constant landed at Virginia Beach and stayed for four days before moving to Jamestown.

Today there are approximately 30 million Americans (perhaps 10% of the population) who can trace their ancestry back to at least one of the Mayflower passengers of 1620.  Of course, most of these people have no idea whether or how they are a descendant.  I am descended from four of these adventurous pioneers, but they were not the first of my family to arrive on the shores of North America.  More than a decade before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth, my 11th great grandfather, Capt. William King, landed at Jamestown.

In 1609, he commanded the ship Diamond (along with a Capt. Ratcliffe), as a member of the so-called “Third Supply” mission to Jamestown, Virginia.  The first English colonists had reached Jamestown in 1607.  The “Third Supply” mission was undertaken at a critical time of the beginning of the Jamestown Colony and of the English colonization in the New World.  Other colonization attempts were made prior to Jamestown, but all had failed prior to this time.  The supply fleet consisted of nine ships and 500-600 colonists (including the first group of women and children).  During the voyage, a hurricane sank one ship, Catch, and wrecked the flagship Sea Venture on the coast of Bermuda.  The remainder of the fleet (minus Catch and Sea Venture), including the Diamond, arrived in Jamestown on 18 Aug 1609 (reckoned by the “old style” calendar).  In late 1609, on the return voyage, Diamond was wrecked in a storm near the English coast, and Capt. William King was lost at sea.  My first ancestor to reach Virginia never actually settled there.

Some years later, Capt. William King’s son, Capt. John King, of the ship Falcon (who went first to Barbados and then to Virginia), ultimately settled in Virginia and established the family line in that colony.  However, it was his father, who never settled permanently in the colony, who was my first ancestor to visit American shores.

Godspeed sailing off the coast of Hampton, Virginia (2012).  This is an 88'  replica of one of the ships that brought settlers to Jamestown in 1607.  She was built in Rockport, Maine, and completed in early 2006.  Replicas of the Godspeed and her sisters in the 1607 voyage, the larger Susan Constant and the smaller Discovery, are docked in the James River at Jamestown Settlement (formerly Jamestown Festival Park), adjacent to the Jamestown National Historic Site.

Godspeed sailing off the coast of Hampton, Virginia (2012). This is an 88′ replica of one of the ships that brought settlers to Jamestown in 1607. She was built in Rockport, Maine, and completed in early 2006. Replicas of the Godspeed and her sisters in the 1607 voyage, the larger Susan Constant and the smaller Discovery, are docked in the James River at Jamestown Settlement (formerly Jamestown Festival Park), adjacent to the Jamestown National Historic Site.

You can read more about Capt. William King and his family line —> here, as well as the fascinating story of what happened to the Sea Venture castaways on Bermuda.  Elsewhere on this site, I have compiled the stories the this Southern branch of my family.  Over the course of three centuries, the family followed the great waterways of Virginia (the James, the Rappahannock and the Potomac) to the falls of the Piedmont and beyond.  Various tributaries merged, including an influx of French Huguenot refugees at Manakintown (near modern-day Richmond) around 1700, then continued over the western mountains of Virginia, through the Cumberland Gap (a decade or so prior to 1800), into Kentucky, across the prairies of Missouri and Kansas, and settled in the Colorado Territory during the second half of the 19th century.  In Colorado Springs, the Southern branch converges with the more numerous Yankee branches of the family, whose roots extend back almost as far in the colonies of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Netherland (New York). (60)

232 Years Ago – The Siege of Bryan’s Station, Kentucky

Lithograph of the women of Bryan's Station, Kentuckyy supplying the garrison with water and defeating the stratagem of the Indians led on by Simon Girty the renegade 1782. You can see indians spying behind a tree. (Print by Nagel & Weingartner, 1851 - Library of Congress)

Lithograph of the women of Bryan’s Station, Kentucky supplying the garrison with water and defeating the stratagem of the Indians led on by Simon Girty. You can see Indians spying from behind a tree. (Print by Nagel & Weingartner, 1851 – Library of Congress)

During the Amercan Revolution, an episode known as The Siege of Bryan’s Station, Kentucky began on 15 Aug 1782.  My 5th great grandparents, John Suggett (1751-1834) and his wife Mildred Davis (1758-1834) were among the defenders of the fort. On the 15th, Indians and British forces under the command of William Caldwell and Simon Girty attacked the fort.  John’s seven year-old son, James, was also reportedly in the fort at the time of the attack, and his sister, Jemima (my 5th great aunt), is considered a heroine for her actions at the time.  The traditional story runs as follows: As Girty’s forces surrounded the fort, the occupants discovered that there was no water inside.  A number of Indians concealed themselves near the spring from which the settlement drew water; however, the fort’s inhabitants believed it unlikely that they would show themselves until they believed they could capture the stockade.  Jemima (Suggett) Johnson was the first to approve of a plan to allow the women to go and draw water from the spring as usual.  There was a risk that the Indians would assault the women, and many of the men disapproved of the plan, but devoid of other options, they eventually acquiesced.  Less than an hour after sunrise, the women drew the water and returned safely.  Soon thereafter, the raid commenced.  A band of Indian warriors managed to set fire to some houses and stables, but a favorable wind prevented the fires from spreading.  The fort’s children used the water drawn by the women to extinguish the fires.  One of the enemy’s flaming arrows landed in the crib of the infant, Richard Mentor Johnson (my 1st cousin 6x removed, and later the hero of the Battle of the Thames in the War of 1812 and Vice President of the United States), but it was quickly doused by Johnson’s sister Betsy (also my 1st cousin 6x removed).  During the afternoon, reinforcements arrived from Lexington and Boone Station, and the fort was saved.  The attackers lifted the siege after Indian scouts reported that a force of Kentucky militia was on the way.  The militiamen pursued Caldwell’s force but were defeated three days later at the Battle of Blue Licks, about 60 miles to the northeast.  The Battle of Blue Licks, fought on 19 Aug 1782, was one of the last battles of the American Revolutionary War.  The battle occurred ten months after Lord Cornwallis’s famous surrender at Yorktown, which had effectively ended the war in the east.  Follow the link —> the more information on the Siege of Bryan Station and the history of the Suggett family.

Bryan Station historical marker placed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Bryan Station historical marker placed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky

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How Old Were the “Founding Fathers” on July 4, 1776?…

…Younger than you think.

Portraits of George Washington (1732-1799)

Portraits of George Washington (1732-1799)

Here’s the answer from an article written last year (8 Aug 2013) by Todd Andrlik in the Journal of the American Revolution:

It’s a simple question — perhaps so basic that it’s been overlooked. How old were the key participants of the American Revolution?

Authors often reveal the age of a particular soldier, politician or other main character in books about the Revolution, but I routinely find myself wondering about their peers at the same time.  As it turns out, many Founding Fathers were less than 40 years old in 1776 with several qualifying as Founding Teenagers and Twentysomethings.  And though the average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 44, more than a dozen of them were 35 or younger!

“We tend to see them as much older than they were,” said David McCullough in a 2005 speech.  “Because we’re seeing them in portraits by Gilbert Stuart and others when they were truly the Founding Fathers — when they were president or chief justice of the Supreme Court and their hair, if it hadn’t turned white, was powdered white.  We see the awkward teeth.  We see the elder statesmen.  At the time of the Revolution, they were all young.  It was a young man’s–young woman’s cause.”

A list of ages of important American Revolution characters seems elementary enough, and certainly easy to assemble, yet I wasn’t able to find such a list anywhere I looked online.  And I don’t recall ever stumbling upon such an appendix while researching my book, so I figured I’d just make one.  This is a list of ages, from youngest to oldest, of key American Revolution participants, providing the precise age as of July 4th, 1776:

Andrew Jackson, 9; Thomas Young, 12; Deborah Sampson, 15; James Armistead, 15; Sybil Ludington, 15; Joseph Plumb Martin, 15; Peter Salem, 16*; Peggy Shippen, 16; Marquis de Lafayette, 18; James Monroe, 18; Henry Lee III, 20; Gilbert Stuart, 20; John Trumbull, 20; Aaron Burr, 20; John Marshall, 20; Nathan Hale, 21; Banastre Tarleton, 21; Alexander Hamilton, 21*; John Laurens, 21; Benjamin Tallmadge, 22; Robert Townsend, 22; George Rodgers Clark, 23; David Humphreys, 23; Gouveneur Morris, 24; Betsy Ross, 24; William Washington, 24; James Madison, 25; Henry Knox, 25; John Andre, 26; Thomas Lynch, Jr., 26^; Edward Rutledge, 26^; Abraham Woodhull, 26; Isaiah Thomas, 27; George Walton, 27*^; John Paul Jones, 28; Bernardo de Galvez, 29; Thomas Heyward, Jr., 29^; Robert R. Livingston, 29; John Jay, 30; Tadeusz Kosciuszko, 30; Benjamin Rush, 30^; Abigail Adams, 31; John Barry, 31; Elbridge Gerry, 31^; Casimir Pulaski, 31; Anthony Wayne, 31; Joseph Brant, 33; Nathanael Greene, 33; Thomas Jefferson, 33^; Thomas Stone, 33*^; William Hooper, 34^; Arthur Middleton, 34^; James Wilson, 34*^; Benedict Arnold, 35; Samuel Chase, 35^; Thomas Knowlton, 35; William Paca, 35^; John Penn, 35^; Hercules Mulligan, 36; Andrew Pickens, 36; Haym Solomon, 36; John Sullivan, 36; George Clymer, 37^; Charles Cornwallis, 37; Thomas Nelson, Jr., 37^; Ethan Allen, 38; Charles Carroll, 38^; King George III, 38; Francis Hopkinson, 38^; Carter Braxton, 39^; George Clinton, 39; John Hancock, 39^; Daniel Morgan, 39; Thomas Paine, 39; Patrick Henry, 40; Enoch Poor, 40; John Adams, 40^; Daniel Boone, 41; William Floyd, 41^; Button Gwinnett, 41*^; John Lamb, 41*; Francis Lightfoot Lee, 41^; Paul Revere, 41; Thomas Sumter, 41, Robert Morris, 42^; Thomas McKean, 42^; George Read, 42^; John Dickinson, 43; John Glover, 43; Benjamin Edes, 43; Samuel Huntington, 44^; Richard Henry Lee, 44^; Charles Lee, 44; Francis Marion, 44; Lord North, 44; George Washington, 44; Joseph Galloway, 45; Robert Treat Paine, 45^; Friedrich von Steuben, 45; Richard Stockton, 45^; Martha Washington, 45; William Williams, 45^; Josiah Bartlett, 46^; Henry Clinton, 46; Joseph Hewes, 46^; William Howe, 46; George Ross, 46^; William Whipple, 46^; Caesar Rodney, 47^, John Stark, 47, Mercy Otis Warren, 47; William Ellery, 48^; Horatio Gates, 48; Artemas Ward, 48; Oliver Wolcott, 49^; Abraham Clark, 50^; Benjamin Harrison, 50^; Lewis Morris, 50^; Lord Stirling, 50; George Wythe, 50*^; Guy Carleton, 51; John Morton, 51*^; Comte de Rochambeau, 51; Lyman Hall, 52^; James Rivington, 52*; Samuel Adams, 53^; Comte de Grasse, 53; John Witherspoon, 53^; John Burgoyne, 54; Johann de Kalb, 55; Roger Sherman, 55^; Thomas Gage, 56; James Smith, 56^; Israel Putnam, 58; Comte de Vergennes, 58; Lewis Nicola, 59*; George Germain, 60; Philip Livingston, 60^; George Taylor, 60*^; Matthew Thornton, 62^; Francis Lewis, 63^; John Hart, 65*^; Stephen Hopkins, 69^; Benjamin Franklin, 70^; Samuel Whittemore, 81

* Evidence may exist that this age is not precise, or only a birth year is known
^ Signers of the Declaration of Independence (average signer age was 44) (86)

Colorado Labor Wars & the Explosion at Independence Depot: 110 Years Ago Today

Men stand on the tracks surveying the damaged Independence Depot building after a bomb exploded, killing 13 non-union miners in Victor, Colorado, 6 Jun 1906 (photo by Schedin & Lehman, from Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District)

Men stand on the tracks surveying the damaged Independence Depot building after a bomb exploded, killing 13 non-union miners in Victor, Colorado, 6 Jun 1906 (photo by Schedin & Lehman, from Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District)

Today is the 110th anniversary of the explosion at the Independence Depot near Victor, Colorado, a turning point in the struggle known as the “Colorado Labor Wars” of the early 20th century.  Many scholars who have studied American labor history have concluded that there is no episode in which violence was as systematically used by employers as in the Colorado labor war of 1903 and 1904.   My great-grandfather, Clarence C. Hamlin, was a key leader representing the interests of the mine owners against the demands of the workers – the WRONG side of history, in my opinion – although there was disgraceful behavior on all sides of the controversies.  Of course, the facts remain in dispute down to the present day.

The “Labor Wars” had origins in the Cripple Creek and Leadville strikes of 1894-96 and even earlier, but the spiral of violence that culminated in the Independence Depot explosion began in 1903 when smelter workers in Colorado City went on strike over the crucial issue of the eight-hour work day.  The response of the mine owners was brutal and heavy-handed, and the mining interests were backed politically by the Republican Party of Colorado and militarily by the Colorado National Guard, which was essentially a private militia financed by the mining interests.  Violence on both sides intensified over the course of several months, culminating in an explosion at Independence Depot on 6 Jun 1904, that killed 13 strikebreakers.  The culprits behind the explosion were not brought to account, and remain unknown.  In the aftermath of the explosion, much ugliness ensued, and the situation became very volatile, with throngs of angry men gathered in the streets in Cripple Creek.  The Cripple Creek Mine Owners’ Association (MOA) and an anti-union vigilante organization, the Cripple Creek District Citizens’ Alliance (CA), called a meeting at the Victor Military Club to formulate a response to the violence.  A short time later, Sheriff H. M. Robertson, whom the MOA deemed too tolerant of the union, was confronted and ordered to resign immediately or be lynched.  Robertson was replaced with Edward Bell, a member of both the MOA and the CA.

In a hostile environment ripe for provocation, the MOA and the CA called a public meeting in a vacant lot across from the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) union hall in Victor.  In her book All That Glitters, Elizabeth Jameson describes how my great grandfather, Clarence C. Hamlin, delivered a passionate speech under fire from union sharpshooters on nearby buildings, blaming the WFM for the Independence Depot explosion and demanding that the union be destroyed.  “The badge of the Western Federation of Miners is a badge of murder,” he declared, “and everyone who is responsible for the outrage at Independence should be driven from the district.”  Alfred Miller, a union miner carrying a rifle, spoke up to challenge Hamlin. Miller was standing next to his brother Christopher, who had, incidentally, earlier been deputized by Sheriff Robertson and assigned to guard evidence at the explosion site and then been relieved of his responsibility along with Robertson.  Fearing trouble, Chris Miller tried to take his brother’s gun, but his action was misinterpreted as a hostile gesture.  In the ensuing riot, two men were killed, five more were shot.  Around fifty union miners fled and took refuge in their union hall across the street.  The Colorado National Guard surrounded the hall and laid siege, firing into the building from nearby rooftops.  Forty union members eventually surrendered, with four of them sporting fresh wounds.  The CA entered the building and trashed it.  Vigilantes subsequently destroyed every union hall in the area.  This was followed by martial law enforced by the state militia, the absolute rule of a military dictator, imprisonment, the exile of guilty as well as innocent men by force, and the crushing of organized labor.

Clarence Clark Hamlin (1868-1940). My great grandfather was an official of the Cripple Creek Mine Owners Association during the labor-management showdown in the Colorado gold fields in the early 20th century.

Clarence Clark Hamlin (1868-1940). My great grandfather was an official of the Cripple Creek Mine Owners Association during
the labor-management showdown in the Colorado gold fields in the early 20th century.

On the morning of 7 Jun 1904, Clarence Hamlin announced the employers’ plan to deport union miners from Colorado.  The CA set up kangaroo courts and deported 38 union members.  In the weeks that followed, unionism was scoured from the Cripple Creek mining district.  Deportation procedures were approved by Gen. Sherman Bell, who had been sent to the district by Republican Governor James Peabody to deal with the civil unrest.  Peabody saw the WFM as a threat to his own class interests, to private property, to democratic institutions, and to the nation itself.  He had promised in his inaugural address to make Colorado safe for investments, if necessary using all the power of the state to accomplish his aims. General Bell converted the examining committee into a “military commission,” which tried 1,569 union prisoners.  More than 230 were judged guilty – meaning they refused to renounce the union – and were loaded onto special trains and dumped across the state line.  For all practical purposes, in a matter of days the Western Federation of Miners had been destroyed in Colorado’s mining camps. The National Guard stopped all work at the remaining union mines, where miners were arrested at shift change and deported.  The owner of the Portland mine filed lawsuits to challenge the mine closing, but he was stopped by stockholders who preferred a non-union mine.

General Bell then ordered that all aid to families left behind by the deported miners had to be channeled through the National Guard.  By such means he hoped to starve them out, insuring that the miners would have no reason to return to the district.  Members of the Women’s Auxiliary who distributed food in secret were arrested, taken to the bullpen and intimidated, although they were not held.  Over the coming weeks other incidents of intimidation, gunfire, beatings, and expulsion erased every visible trace of unionism in the district.

Clarence C. Hamlin, the secretary of the MOA who delivered the speech that may have incited the riot on 6 Jun 1904, would later be elected District Attorney, and when court cases were brought against mine owners, mine managers, mill owners, bankers, deputy sheriffs, and other members of the CA for deporting the union men, and for beatings and destruction, Hamlin refused to prosecute any of the cases.

A Telluride merchant, Harry Floaten, had been deported for his union sympathies.  He, along with others, tried for three days to meet with Governor Peabody about their treatment at the hands of an anti-union mob, but Peabody refused to see them.  Floaten supposedly penned the following bitter parody (to the tune of “My County ‘tis of Thee”) that channeled the miners’ frustrations:

Colorado, it is of thee / Dark land of tyranny/ Of thee I sing: / Land wherein labor’s bled / Land from which law has fled / Bow down thy mournful head / Capital is king.

 

Famous Western Federation of Miners poster entitled "Is Colorado in America?"

Famous Western Federation of Miners poster entitled “Is Colorado in America?”

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