Machias Revolutionary War History

Machias Revolutionary & Colonial History to Gold Rush




July 12, 1775, 
   The British fitted out two armed schooners at Halifax foi- the
   purpose of re-taking the Margaretta, the Diligence and the
   Tapnaquish.    O'Brien and Foster, however, were again successful,
   and the battle, July 12, 1775, resulted in their capturing both
   vessels and taking their crews prisoners.

       In the following September the Provincial Congress gave him
   command of two cruisers, the Machias Liberty and the Diligent,
   which were known as the " Flying Squadron," and he served in
   this capacity, doing gallant service, until October, 1776.      A little
   later, he had command of the privateers, Cyrus, Little Vincent, and
   Tiger, which continued until 1779, when be returned to his home
   in Machias and for several months served as Captain of a company
-----------
       (a) I am indebted to one of his descendants, Mrs. Josephine O'Brien
   Campbell of Cherryfield, Maine, for courtesies and assistance in compiling
   the data herein.
       (b) Baxter Manuscripts, Vol. 14, p. 287.

184 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY



   of soldiers, known as the Machias Rangers, which served under
   Colonel John Allen in protecting the settlements from unfriendly
   Indians.
        During the year 1780 two of his brothers, John O'Brien and
   Joseph O'Brien, built at Newburyport, Massachusetts, a vessel
   which was fitted out as a privateer.  She was named the Hannibal,
   and John O'Brien was her commander in her first cruise.  John
   O'Brien, not desiring to serve longer, petitioned the General Court
   of Massachusetts to appoint Jeremiah O'Brien commander, which
   was done.     On this cruise the fortunes of war turned against
   Captain O'Brien, and while off the coast of New York the Hannibal
   fell in with a fleet of British merchantmen under convoy of several
   British frigates.   Captain O'Brien, after a futile attempt to re-
   treat, was obliged to surrender.      He, with the other officers and
   crew of the Hannibal, was incarcerated on board the prison-sbip,
   Jersey.   At the end of six months all of the other prisoners were
   exchanged, but he was transported to Plymouth, England, and
   placed in the Mill Prison, where he remained for about eighteen
   months, when he succeeded in making his escape.  He had culti-
   vated the acquaintance of a French washerwoman, employed about
   the prison, who, with the help of her husband, rendered him
   valuable assistance.   He crossed the English Channel to France in
   a frail row boat.
        The French people where he landed, upon learning who he
   was, were friendly and loaned him sufficient money to enable him
   to take voyage to New York, and he finally reached his home in
   Machias during the autumn of 1782.

Admiral Duff and Protector
Battle between the ADMIRAL DUFF and PROTECTOR. (By Hilda Strait.)


THE CONTINENTAL NAVY

Our country's fledgling Navy actually began with the formation of Washington's Fleet in 1775 under the command of General George Washington. Soon the Continental Navy was established and went on to distinguish itself during the American Revolution, as related here by Florida Associate Charles E. Claghorn.

In 1772 Abraham Whipple, Simeon Potter and several other men boarded the grounded GASPEE on Namquit Point, Rhode Island, and captured the vessel. They then released the British commander and burned the vessel. In June 1775 Jeremiah O'Brien together with his five brothers and 35 other men seized the UNITY in Machias Harbor, Maine. With Benjamin Foster on the FALMOUTH PACKET and O'Brien on the UNITY, they captured the British vessel DILIGENT. Under the Resolves of the Massachusetts General Court dated August 21, 1775, these two sloops became the first vessels of the Massachusetts Navy. The UNITY was renamed the MACHIAS LIBERTY, with O'Brien in command.

Washington's Fleet was formed in the fall of 1775, consisting of eight vessels, the brigantine WASHINGTON and seven schooners, the HANNAH, LYNCH, FRANKLIN, LEE, WARREN, HARRISON and the HANCOCK. But these were army vessels under the command of General Washington. Their flag was a pine tree on a white background on one side, and the words "Appeal to Heaven" on the reverse side.

Hopkins Named Navy Commodore
On October 5, 1775 the Naval Commit-tee of the -Continental Congress was established. On November 28, 1775 Samuel Nichols (or Nicholas) was commissioned a Major in the Continental Marines. A month later, on December 22, 1775, Esek Hopkins of Rhode Island was commissioned Commodore of the Continental Navy. Since Major Nichols was commissioned in November, and Commodore Hopkins in December, the Marine Corps is considered older than the Navy by one month. 

Nicholas Broughton of Marblehead, Massachusetts, sailed on December 5, 1775 on the HANNAH and captured the UNITY, another vessel of the same name ladened with fish, naval stores and timber.

General Washington commissioned John Manley of Massachusetts to command the schooner LEE with 6 carriage guns, 10 swivel guns and a crew of 30 men, total weight 74 tons. In November 1775 Manley captured the British ship NANCY ladened with military stores. On January 1, 1776 Manley was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Washington's Fleet with his flagship the HANCOCK. All of these commissions were in the army. But on April 17, 1776 the Continental Congress recognized Manley's services and commissioned him a Captain in the Continental Navy. In May 1777 Manley sailed from Boston on the HANCOCK and captured the frigate FOX of 28 guns. But then in July 1777 Manley and his crew were captured by the British and confined on a prison ship in New York Harbor.

James Mugford of Marblehead was one of the commanders of the FRANKLIN with a crew of 21 men. He sailed with Captain Joseph Cunningham of the LADY WASHINGTON, a privateer; the two American vessels were attacked by 13 British vessels. The Americans sank two of the enemy ships, but then Captain Mugford received a fatal blow to his body and died in battle on May 19, 1776. After Captain Mugford was killed, the British retreated. Thomas Russell and Jeremiah Hibbert were Lieutenants on the FRANKLIN, and after Mugford died they took command. The two Lieutenants captured the transport HOPE of 10 guns, ladened with 1,500 barrels of gun-powder, a terrific bounty for the Americans.

Appointed Commander-in-Chief
On December 22, 1775 the Continental Congress appointed Esek Hopkins of Rhode Island as Commodore and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Navy, a position in rank equal to that of George Washington as a General and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. But why do we hear of Washington, and not of Hopkins, who had an equal position? Here's the story:

Hopkins was placed in charge of eight vessels and received orders to attack enemy ships off the coast of Virginia and the Carolinas. In January 1776 Hopkins sailed from Providence, Rhode Island on his flagship the ALFRED commanded by Dudley Saltonstall of New London, Connecticut along with John Burroughs Hopkins, his son, in command of the CABOT, with Abraham Whipple of Providence in command of the COLUMBUS. In Delaware Bay they were joined by Nicholas Biddle of Philadelphia in command of the ANDREW DORIA. Later the name was corrected to ANDREA DORIA.

At this point Hopkins changed his mind and decided to attack Fort Nassau on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, because of the cannon and gunpowder stored at the fort. Hopkins was fortunate in having on board Lieutenant John Paul Jones and Major Samuel Nichols with 270 Marines. The surprise attack on Fort Nassau was successful, capturing the fort on March 6, 1776. The Marines seized 71 cannons, 15 brass mortars and 24 barrels of gunpowder.

Saratoga, 1777
SARATOGA, 1777. (By Hilda Strait.)


On their return trip, while in Long Island Sound, the American vessels were fired upon by the large British ship GLASGOW; the American ships were badly damaged. The British fleet then escaped, much to the dismay of the Americans. Sickness and disease was rampant on the American side, especially smallpox, which spread through the seamen. Upon his return to Providence, most of the seamen were dismissed because of illness and Hopkins couldn't find men to serve in the Navy since privateers were paying higher wages and bonuses for captured vessels.

Hopkins Dismissed
The Continental Congress summoned Hopkins to appear before them in June 1776, and despite his victory at New Providence Island, he was censured by Congress for his failure to carry out orders. In December 1776 the naval base at Newport was occupied by the British and Hopkins was unable to sail. He was suspended from his command in the Continental Navy on March 26, 1777 for the loss of Newport, and dismissed from the service on January 2, 1778. Despite his great victory in capturing munitions at Fort Nassau, he was dismissed. Such a tragedy! So that's why you never heard of this great naval officer. Hopkins retired to Providence to live with his wife, Desire, and their ten children.

Offin Boardman of Newburyport, Massachusetts was an interesting character. He was commissioned in December 1775 to command the privateer WASHINGTON. Boardman was captured by the British in June 1777 and confined in the Mill Prison near Plymouth, England. On February 1, 1778 he escaped, but was recaptured April 10, 1778. He escaped again, but was retaken on December 21, 1778, having to spend Christmas in prison. Boardman escaped from the prison a third time on January 3, 1779; this time he made it back to America. He then commanded the privateer BETSEY, but in June 1780 he was captured again by the British UNION and imprisoned. But Boardman managed to escape a fourth time and returned to America. He probably was the prize escape artist of the American privateersmen.

Eleazer Giles of Beverly, Massachusetts commanded the brigantine SARATOGA. In January 1780 the SARATOGA was taken by the British.

Biddle of Philadelphia Fame
Captain Nicholas Biddle was a scion of an aristocratic Philadelphia family. His mother was Mary Scull, and his father was William Biddle. Nicholas was only 25 years old when he commanded the ANDREA DORIA on the- successful mission which captured Fort Nassau. On February 1, 1777 Biddle sailed from Philadelphia on the frigate RANDOLPH with 32 guns for Charleston, South Carolina, where he met and became engaged to a Charleston girl. After sailing out of the city he encountered the 64-gun British frigate YARMOUTH. A cannonball from the enemy frigate struck the powder magazine of the RANDOLPH and exploded. Of the 315 men on board, only four were saved. That was the tragic end of the handsome and wealthy bachelor, Nicholas Biddle.

John Foster Williams of Boston commanded the frigate PROTECTOR with 26 guns. He sailed out of Boston and defeated HMS ADMIRAL DUFF when an explosion blew off part of the stern of the enemy vessel on June 9, 1780. On a second cruise aboard the PROTECTOR, Captain Williams took five British vessels — and then the American ship was captured by the enemy in May 1781. The crew was imprisoned on the old JERSEY, a British prison ship in New York Harbor, which was ridden with smallpox cases. Later exchanged, in January 1783 Williams commanded the ALEXANDER of 200 tons.

Bonhomme Richard
Under the command of John Paul Jones, the BONHOMME RICHARD was victorious over the SERAPHIS on September 23, 1779. (Drawn by E.C. Peixotto.)

As the land war dragged on, the Continental Navy and privateers engaged in combat all across the Atlantic Ocean, capturing enemy vessels and cargoes. But many American ships were captured and the seamen imprisoned in England. French Fleet Causes Surrender
When the French fleet under Admirals de Grasse and de Barras blockaded Chesapeake Bay preventing British ships from landing ammunition, supplies and reinforcements from reaching the enemy, Lord Cornwallis was forced to surrender at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781.
But the war at sea continued, the last naval engagement taking place between Captains John Green of New York on the ship DUC DE LAUZON and John Barry of Philadelphia on the ALLIANCE when the Americans encountered the British frigates ALARM and SYBIL on March 10, 1783 between Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral, Florida. These were the last naval shots of the American Revolution.

Randolph
Continental frigate RANDOLPH. (By Hilda Strait.)



Washington County Machias Maine “The Hornets Nest” Boarded

Maine Election Fraud: Irony of denying Machias key stronghold in

Washington County Maine, Cradle of 1776 Uprising, now prohibited from voting by Republican Party  Paul, the story

Birthplace of 1776 US NAVY WASHINGTON MAINE NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE – details

There are probly 20 m mayf descendents

These are really ancient illustrious communities that are being disenfranchised humble peoples that bred sturdy yeomans to heroically stand down superior british forces – completely cut off from the rest of north America

 

Top rankings for Battle of Machias

14th

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Wikipedia article:

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The Battle of Machias was the first naval engagement of the American Revolutionary War. It took place on June 11–12, 1775, in and around the port of Machiasmarker in what is now eastern Mainemarker.
 Two merchant ships arrived in Machias on June 2, accompanied by the British armed sloop Margaretta, commanded by James Moore. Townspeople ultimately decided to capture Moore and his ship. He was able to escape out of the harbor, but the townspeople seized one of the merchant ships, armed it, and sailed out to meet him. In a short confrontation, they captured his vessel and crew, fatally wounding him in the process.

The people of Machias went on to capture additional British ships, and fought off the landing of a large force intended to take control of the town. Privateers and others operating out of Machias continued be a thorn in the British Navy's side throughout the war.

Background

The Burnham Tavern in a 1911 postcard

In Boston, Admiral Samuel Graves and General Thomas Gage both had reason to dobusiness with the town of Machias. Gage required lumber to build barracks for troops arriving in the besieged city of Bostonmarker. Graves wanted to recover the guns from the wreck of HMS Halifax, which had apparently been intentionally run aground inMachias Baymarker by a local pilot in February 1775. Graves authorized Ichabod Jones, aTory Machias merchant who had ships in the port of Boston, to take flour and other food supplies to the town of Machias aboard his two ships Unity and Polly in exchange for Gage's needed lumber. To guarantee that this would happen, Graves sent the armed schooner Margaretta (sometimes also spelled Margueritta or Marguerite in historical accounts), under the command of James Moore, a midshipman from his flagship HMS Preston to accompany the two merchant vessels. Moore also carried orders to retrieve what he could from the wreck of the Halifax, which they would pass on the way.

Arrival at Machias

On June 2, 1775, Jones' ships arrived in the port at Machias, while the Margaretta was delayed retrieving the guns from the Halifax wreck. Jones met resistance from the community by refusing to sell his pork and flour unless he was allowed to also load lumber for Boston. Since this could be seen as assisting the enemy, the town, after first meeting on June 6 to discuss the matter, elected by vote to permit the trade, and the Unity was docked at the wharf to begin unloading.

When the Margaretta arrived in Machias, Midshipman Moore was displeased when he saw the Liberty Pole, and ordered its immediate removal, threatening to fire on the town if his order was not obeyed. This angered the people of Machias, who refused to dismantle the pole. Benjamin Foster conspired with militia from neighboring towns to capture Moore and his ship. Their plan to seize Moore at church on June 11 failed when he noticed the group of men approaching the church. Moore and his second-in-command escaped the church and managed to get back to their ship. Jones, who fled with them, ran into the woods, from which he eventually emerged two days later.

Margaretta escapes

Some of militia men boarded the docked Unity, removed the remaining supplies, and also removed her sails. Others went around by land near the place where theMargaretta was anchored, and demanded her surrender. Moore refused, threatening to fire on the town. This threat was more bluster than real, as Margaretta sported only a few mounted guns capable of firing one-pound shot. More of the militia men rowed out to the Polly, which was anchored downstream from the Margaretta, and attempted to tow her into the harbor. This attempt failed when she ran aground, possibly due to low tide. Moore raised anchor and came alongside Polly, intending to recover her. However, after a brief and inconsequential exchange of gunfire with the militia men on the shore, he again raised anchor and went further downstream to a safe anchorage.

The next day, the men of Machias regrouped. Foster took about 20 men to East Machiasmarker, where they commandeered the Falmouth Packet, a local schooner.
 The remaining men commandeered the Unity. They rerigged her, installed some planks as a makeshift breastwork to serve as protection, armed themselves with muskets, pitchforks and axes and then set out after the Margaretta, which by that time had reached the waters of Machias Bay. Moore had brought aboard as pilot one Captain Toby, near whose sloop he had anchored overnight, and was looking to depart the scene. But in jibing into brisk winds, the Margaretta's main boom and gaff broke away, crippling its navigability. As a result, once in Holmes Bay, Moore captured a sloop, took its spar and gaff to replace theMargaretta's and also took captive its pilot, Robert Avery, of Norwichmarker, Connecticutmarker.

Conflict

The Unity crew, about 30 Machias men, elected Jeremiah O'Brien as their captain, and then sailed out to chase down the Margaretta. As the Unity was a much faster sailing vessel, O'Brien's crew quickly overtook the crippled Margaretta, while the Falmouth Packet lagged behind. Duncan and some other historians indicate that both the Unity and theFalmouth Packet engaged the Margaretta, but other sources, notably Drisko, indicate that the Falmouth Packet either ran aground or never caught up to the Margaretta, and that the men aboard the Unity alone battled the Margarettadirectly.

Seeing the Unity approaching, Moore opened full sail and cut away his boats in an attempt to escape. As the Unitypulled closer, he opened fire, but the Machias crew managed to avoid that fire and pull alongside the Margaretta. It took two tries, but they tied alongside and stormed on board the Margaretta, led by O'Brien's brother John and Joseph Getchell. Both sides also exchanged musket shots, and Moore tossed hand grenades onto the Unity until Samuel Watts took him down with a musket shot to the chest. As Duncan reports, the Falmouth Packet then managed to pull along the other side of the Margaretta, and the combined crews overwhelmed the Margaretta'screw.

Surrender

As Midshipman Moore was grievously wounded, his second, Midshipman Stillingfleet, surrendered the crew and vessel. Moore was taken into care in Machias at the home of Stephen Jones, the son of Ichabod Jones, but Moore died the next day. At least three other members of Moore's crew were also killed, as was Robert Avery, the colonist taken by the British. The remaining crew members of the British schooner were held at Machias for about a month, and were eventually handed over to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. There were also reports circulated, likely exaggerated, that as many as 100 British men died in this and other skirmishes in the Machias area.

Machias lost two men, John McNiell and James Coolbroth. Coolbroth died after the skirmish of his wounds. Three others were badly wounded but survived. They were John Berry, who had a musket ball enter his mouth and exit behind his ear, Isaac Taft, and James Cole.

Aftermath

The Machias community, expecting the full wrath of the British Empire in revenge, immediately petitioned the Massachusetts Provincial Congress for guidance, supplies and assistance. They organized for the defense of Machias and maintained vigilance in the event of British retaliation. Jeremiah O'Brien immediately outfitted one of the three captured vessels (sources disagree on which vessel; all three are named in different sources, although Unityis named most frequently) with breastwork and armed her with the guns and swivels taken from the Margaretta and changed her name to Machias Liberty. In July 1775, Jeremiah O'Brien and Benjamin Foster captured two more British armed schooners, the Diligent and the Tatamagouche, whose officers had been captured when they came ashore near Bucks Harbor. In August 1775, the Provincial Congress formally recognized their efforts, commissioning both the Machias Liberty and the Diligent into the Massachusetts Navy, with Jeremiah O'Brien as their commander.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2d/USS_O'brien_DD-51.jpg/180px-USS_O'brien_DD-51.jpg

Following rumours that an assault on Nova Scotia was being planned, with stores stockpiled at Machias, a small British fleet carrying 1,000 men attempted to take Machias in August 1777; the troop ships were fought off and no troops were landed. The rumors were only partly true; the idea had been proposed, but no significant military planning had taken place.

During the war, different crews of Machias men refitted and armed different ships—including the Margaretta—and sailed off looking for battle with the British. Jeremiah O'Brien and John Lambert were both commissioned into the Continental Navy. TheMachias Liberty and the Diligent were used to intercept merchant ships supplying the British in the siege of Bostonmarker.
 John and Jerry O'Brien built a twenty-gun ship and began privateering under an American letter of marque. Jerry was captured off New York late in 1777; he escaped from prison in Britain, and continued privateering throughout the war.

The British naval command was continually frustrated by the actions of the Machias seamen during the war, and by the use of Machias as a staging point for militia actions (like the Eddy Rebellionmarker) in Nova Scotiamarker.
 Admiral Graves more than once attempted to subdue Machias; he gave commands in 1776 to "proceed and reduce Machias", and ordered Sir George Collier to "Go,—destroy Machias" in 1777. One British officer, presumed to be Collier, said "The damned rebels at Machias were a harder set than those at Bunker Hillmarker."

Militia forces involved

Drisko, a local Machias historian, lists the following 55 names of Machias men for whom he found evidence of their participation in the attack on the Margaretta: Jeremiah O'Brien, John O'Brien, William O'Brien, Joseph O'Brien, Gideon O'Brien, Dennis O'Brien, Edmund Stevens, Richard Earle (a Negro servant to Jeremiah O'Brien), Samuel Watts, John Steele, John Drisko, Judah Chandler, John Berry, James Cole, Richard McNiel, John Hall, Jesse Scott, Wallace Fenlason, Ezekiel Foster, Joseph Clifford, Jonathan Brown, Josiah Libbee, Joseph Getchell, Joseph Getchell, Jr., James Sprague, James N. Shannon, Benjamin Foss, William McNeil, Jonathan Knights, Josiah Weston, Joel Whitney, John Merritt, Isaac Taft, James Coolbroth, Nathaniel Crediforth, Joseph Wheaton, John Scott, Joseph Libbee, Simon Brown, Beriah Rice, Samuel Whitney, Elias Hoit, Seth Norton, Obadiah Hill, Daniel Meservey, John Steel, Jr., Nathaniel Fenderson, John Mitchell, Will Mackelson, John Thomas, David Prescott, Ebenezer Beal, John Bohanan, Thomas Bewel and Abial Sprague. In addition to those who manned Unity and the Falmouth Packet, many others participated in the preliminary skirmishes from the shore and in smaller boats.

Liberty pole story

There is a widely-told story concerning this affair that Machias men erected a Liberty pole after meeting in the Burnham Tavern in Machiasmarker to discuss the battles of Lexington and Concordmarker. This story has been shown to be fabricated by Machias resident John O'Brien in 1831. There is no mention of the Liberty pole in any earlier accounts, including the official report sent by the residents of Machias in 1775, and the letters of other participants in the events.

Footnotes

1.     Duncan, p. 209

2.     Duncan, p. 208

3.     Drisko, p. 30

4.     Harnedy, p. 8

5.     Leamon, p. 68

6.     Duncan, p. 210

7.     Drisko, pp. 43–45

8.     Duncan, p. 211

9.     Drisko, pp. 45–46

10.   Duncan, p. 212

11.   Drisko, p. 47

12.   Drisko, p. 57

13.   Drisko, p. 46

14.   Drisko, pp. 51–52

15.   Miller, p. 35

16.   Drisko, pp. 53–56

17.   Duncan, p. 213

18.   Drisko, pp. 48–49

19.   Drisko, p. 50

20.   Drisko, pp. 48–49

21.   Edwin A Churchill, "The Historiography of the Margaretta Affair or How Not to Let the Facts Interfere With a Good Story," Maine Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 2, Fall, 1975, p61-63

 

References



THE LEXINGTON OF THE SEAS   (Machias settlement in the American Revolutionary War)       
printed in John Sprague's Journal of Maine History (1913) Vol 1 page 157-164 & page 175 -184
Courtesy of Androscoggin Historical
<http://www.rootsweb.com/~meandrhs>
(c) 1998 <itigapa@aol.com>



              The Lexington of the Seas

                      By John Francis Sprague

      (Published by permission of the Journal of American History.)

     On the nineteenth day of April, 1775, the intrepid farmers
  of Lexington fired the "shot heard around the world," and on the
  twelfth day of June, five days before the Battle of Bunker Hill, a
  sturdy Irishman on the easterly shore of the Province of Maine,
  with a handful of brave lumbermen, river-drivers, farmers, and
  sailors, their hearts burning with the same flame of patriotism,
  successfully fought the first naval battle of the American Revolu-
  tion, captured the first British war vessel, was the first to haul
  down the British flag and bring to death the first of her captains
  of the sea in that great conflict for human rights.
      As early as 1633 the English, perceiving that it would be of
  commercial importance for them to have possessions east of the
  Penobscot River, established a trading post on the westerly shore
  of Machias River a near where it empties into Machias Bay, and
  about where the village is now situated.
      Claude de la Tour and his son Charles were prominent figures
  in the history of Acadia and New England in the seventeenth
  century.
      This settlement had existed but a few months, when Charles
  de la Tour, then the French Commandant at Port Royal, regard-
  ing it as a trespass upon territory to which he held title, sent
  soldiers there who captured it and laid it to waste.
      After La Tour's devastation of the place, no further attempts
  were made to hold it as a trading and military post by either the
  French or English for about one hundred and twenty years, except
  one feeble move made by the French in 1664, which proved a
  failure.
       In 1688 Governor Andros took measures to ascertain the
  number of inhabitants between the Penobscot and the St Croix,
  and the entire number at Machias, all French settlers, was only
  nine, but these were not allowed to remain there unmolested, for in
--------------


(a) According to Williamson it was formerly Mechisses.

page ----158------- SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY



I704, the English broke up their habitations and drove them
away.



     In the summer of 1762 Isaiah Foster and Isaac Labree, hav-
 ing knowledge that there were extensive marshes of wild swail hay
 along the Machias River, went there with vessels for the purpose
 of cutting and transporting hay to their homes in Scarboro, in the
 Province of Maine.
     While there they made an exploration of the country, and



finding a large belt of valuable pine timber, through which were
flowing rivers and streams leading to the bay, they decided that
 sawmills could be built, and an advantageous lumber trade with



Boston engaged in.

     The result was the beginning of the settlement of Machias the
                         

following year, and when Morris O'Brien went there from Scarboro
with his six sons in 1765, and built sawmills, there were already



 about eighty inhabitants.
            
     The occupations of these early settlers were generally laboring
 in the woods, on the drives and in the mills, and aboard the sloops
 and schooners, which freighted their lumber, shaved shingles,
 beaver skins, and other peltry to the Boston market, and returned
 with cargoes of provisions, merchandise, West India goods, and
 New England rum.
      They lived quiet and peaceful lives, and their habits were
 simple and frugal.  It is doubtful if there was in the entire domain
 of the Massachusetts Colony a community that would naturally
 have less incentive to go to war than this one.   So far as known,
 only two of their number, Morris O'Brien and      Benjamin Foster,
 had ever served in any army of the Colonial wars, these two having
 been at the Siege of Louisburg under General Pepperell. (a)
      Eastern Maine was then a vast, primeval wilderness, practically
 undisturbed by man's activities, and this little village was not



connected with the outside world by highways, other than Indian
trails, and had no way of communication with the inhabitants of
their own Province or the Colonies, except over the trackless ocean.
      Farming did not in the first instance receive great attention,
as the men attended more to avocations arising from the logging
------------------


     (a) Maine at Louisburg, by Rev.  Henry S. Burrage, D. D. (1910), PP.
52-133.


THE LEXINGTON OF THE SEAS--------- page----- 159-------------



 and lumbering business, depending largely upon the Boston market
 for all kinds of food supplies.
      But artisans and others went there, among whom was
 Wooden Foster, the blacksmith, who, regardless of his christian
 name, was to hammer out on his anvil crude forks for pitching hay
 and grain, which were fated to be later used as quite powerful
 weapons against British marines.
      Then from Kittery came John Underwood,' who engaged in
 trade.
      Like all New England villages of that day, among the first
 buildings erected was a tavern and a house of worship.      The meet-
 ing-house was a crude structure, long and narrow, an entrance at
 one end and a rude pulpit at the other end.
      In 1772, they settled a minister, the Reverend James Lyon,
 who, three years later, became chairman of the Machias Committee
 of Correspondence with the Colonial Government at Boston.
      Thus was begun a community, whose citizens a few years later
 were to write a page in their country's history inscribed with deeds
 of heroism and valor.
      One, whose name will be forever interwoven with the story of
 that stirring event, was Captain Ichabod Jones.     In 1765 he was a
 shipmaster and a person of some means, living in Boston.        During
 that summer, he made a trip in a schooner eastward, for both pleas-
 ure and profit, stopping at Mount Desert.        While in that port,
 he learned for the first time of the Machias settlement and went
 immediately there, where he disposed of his cargo of goods, to good
 advantage, loaded his vessel with lumber, and returned to Boston.
      He made other voyages from Boston to Machias, and subse-
 quently entered into a partnership with Benjamin Foster, and others,
 to Wild a mill for sawing lumber.  This mill was on the went bank
 of the East Machias River.      He, or the partnership, also ran a
 store in connection with the mill business, and all of the time he
 was in Command of one or two vessels, engaged in the lumber trade
 between Machias and Boston.
-----------
     (a) Smith's Centennial Sketch of Machias.
     (b) The Capture of the Margaretta by Geo.  F. Talbot, Maine Histori-
 cal Collections, Vol. 2, p. 5.
     (c) Baxter Manuscripts, Vol. 14, p. 172.
--------
160 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY



          He continued to do an increasing and thrifty business along
    these lines until 1774, when the English Parliament passed what is
    known in history as the "Boston Port Bill," which was an enact-
    ment that no more merchandise of any kind should be landed at or
    shipped from the wharves of Boston.
          King George evidently labored under the delusion that the
    feeling of resistance to his tyranny was confined to the people of
    Boston, and that to crush it he had only to obstruct and demoralize
    their commerce.
          Later on, he and his ministry learned that this was a stupid
    error, but not until after the history of the world had been
    changed.
          This condition at the port of Boston necessarily interrupted
    Captain Jones' trade.
          The spring of 1775 found him at Machias engaged in loading
    his two sloops, the Unity and the Polly, with lumber; but giving
    Captain Horton of the Polly orders to touch at Cape Ann and
    Salem for a market, and, failing there, to proceed to some port in
    Connecticut.
          But, on arriving at Salem, Captain Horton found the whole
    coast in an uproar, and the inhabitants generally, especially in the
    large towns, in dire distress, and ready for almost anything except
    trade in lumber.
          Captain Horton put into the port of Boston, where be met
    Captain Jones.  These two then concluded to return at once to
    Machias with their families, their own household goods, and also a
    quantity of merchandise for the people there, who had become in a
    great measure destitute, by reason of the unsettled state of business
    during the past year.
          At this juncture, Captain Jones was in rather a troublesome
    quandary.    He realized the necessity of carrying supplies to
    Machias, and he had a great desire to take his family there as well.
          He also feared the ire of the Machias patriots when they
    should discover him in their port under the protection of the
    English flag, for, in order to leave the harbor, be was obliged to
    have a permit from Admiral Graves.
          This permit would be granted only upon condition that be
    return from Machias to Boston with lumber which the British
-------------


THE LEXINGTON OF THE SEAS       161



 desired to purchase for barracks for troops, and he must also
 submit to making the trip under the protection of an armed
 schooner, the Margaretta.   She was a cutter of about one hundred
 tons, carrying forty men, commanded by Midshipman Moore, and
 also equipped with four four-pounders, in the holds, several swivels
 mounted, and a "sufficient number of hand grenades" besides
 muskets, pistols, etc. (a) The object of this supervision of the cruise
 by the Margaretta was not only to see to it that Captain Jones
 carried out his agreement to return to Boston with the sloops; laden
 with lumber, but also to protect him from trouble with the
 Machias people, if any should arise.
      Most historians have assumed, and for what reason is not
 entirely clear, that Jones was a Loyalist, but evidence of this
 seems to be more traditional than otherwise.
      At any rate before he left Boston he fortified himself with
 further protection, so far as Machias was concerned, by obtaining
 a certificate from the selectmen of Boston, requesting the people
 there to permit him to return to Boston, as there were other dis-
 tressed inhabitants who also desired to be transported to Machias.
      It is a matter of some doubt whether the Boston authorities
 had any knowledge of the Captain's agreement with the British
 authorities to furnish them with lumber, or, on the other hand,
 whether the Admiral realized that he was in league with the
 selectmen to do them favors in consideration of their certificate of
 protection.
      If he dissembled with the two opposing forces, as seems quite
 probable, the troubles which such deception brought down upon
 his head were sufficient punishment for the wrong doing.
      Be that as it may, however, the two sloops convoyed by the
 armed Margaretta, flying the British flag, sailed into Machias
 Harbor June 2, 1775.(b)
      A lumbering community labors with much energy at certain
 seasons, but at other times there is enforced idleness.      At this
 time the drives of logs had all come down the rivers and were
 safely in the booms.  The small crops of the farmers had been
 planted, and the lumbering mills were not running as usual, for

----------

(a) Williamson.
 (b) Smith's Cen.  Sketch, p. 38.
------------
 162 SPRAGUTE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY

 political troubles at Boston had paralyzed the lumber trade.
      It was a bright and tranquil June day when the fragrance of
 broad meadows and pine woods filled the air, and the birds sang
 sweet and joyous notes, and waters of river and sea were still, and
 all nature rejoiced, as nature always does on glorious June days.
      For some time past the inhabitants had been lounging around
 the shores and wharves, waiting and watching for the return of
 Captain Jones' sloops with the much needed provisions.
   On the after-
 noon of that day
 practically all of
 the inhabitants
 of  this little
 hamlet     we re
 gathered there.
 some sitting up-
 on fallen pine
 trees, which had
 once stood     as   





majestic senti-                 
nels along the


 river banks, gazing afar for the welcome sails.
      Just as the sun was receding in the Western horizon, and the
 skies were golden, and the waters around were tinted with hues of
 gold, an old seafaring man, whose anxiety had led him farther
 down towards the bay, shouted, "A sail! a sail !" and then all
 was excitement.
      Captain Jones was returning and the stores he was bringing
 would carry joy to every household, and besides they would also
 soon learn how fared their brother patriots in far-away Massa-
 chusetts.
      Their feelings of mingled fear, alarm, and consternation may
 be imagined when    they discovered that their friend of the seas,
 whose coming they   had for days awaited with anxious hearts, was
 escorted by a British war vessel, flying the hated British flag.
      At precisely what time the people of Machias were first
 apprised of the Battle of Lexington is not well settled.  Williamson
 is silent on this point, but Smith says:   "The news of the battle

-----------



THE LEXINGTON OF THE SEAS       163



  reached Machias very soon after its occurrence." Sherman, a who
  frequently  quotes from Smith's account of it, asserts that "It was
  not many  days after the engagements at Lexington and Concord
  that the  officials of Machias received the Proclamation of       the
  Provincial Congress of Massachusetts," informing them of          the
  fact.
      Joseph Wheaton, who was a participator in the capture of      the
  Margaretta, in a letter to Gideon O'Brien, under date of April  23,
  1818, says     "Before the battle of Concord, April 19, 1775,     the
  Margaretta, schooner, Captain Moore, sailed from Boston           and
  came to Machias to convoy two sloops owned by lchabod Jones
  with lumber for Boston, and for the use of the       British Govern-
  ment.   While those vessels were loading, there came to Machias a
  vessel and brought the news of the battle of Concord, and com-
  municated it to the people on a Saturday evening.
       According to Drisko:(c) "One day in May" a meeting was held
  in the east room of the old Burnham Tavern, at which Morris
  O'Brien and his sons, Benjamin Foster and Josiah Weston were
  among those who were present, when it was decided to call a town
  meeting to see if the inhabitants would vote to raise a liberty pole.
       presumablv this would have occurred immediately upon receiv-
  ing the news.    Yet Talbot, who was a very accurate historian,
  apparenth believes that their first intelligence of the Battle of
  Lexington came from Captain Horton of the Polly, some time after
  lie and Captain Jones arrived with their sloops.  (d)
       It is plain that the discreet Captain Jones fully appreciated
  the difficulties of his situation, and that he faced danger whichever
  horn of the dilemma he might grasp.  Naturally the presence of
  the armed vessel aroused the suspicion of the people, and whether
  they had knowledge that the Massachusetts patriots had begun a
  revolution before Captain Horton informed them, or not, they
  certainly knew it then, and the fire of revolt was kindling in their
  breasts.
------------


    (a) Life of Captain Jeremiah O'Brien, by Rev.  Andrew M. Sherman

 (1902), p. 271.
    (b) Maine Historical Collection, Series 2, Vol. 2, p. 109.
    (c) Drisko's History of Machias, p. 34.
    (d) The Capture of the Margaretta, by George F. Talbot, p. 2.
-------------
    164 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY

         His first move to secure the right to reload his vessel and
    engage in his customary trade was to exhibit the paper in his
    possession from the selectmen of Boston, and request them to sign
    a written obligation allowing him to proceed with his trade as
    usual, to carry lumber back to Boston, and to protect him and his
    property at all events.'
         Although they sadly needed the provisions in the vessels lying
    at their wharves, they hesitated about doing anything that could
    possibly be construed as a friendly act to the enemy.
         The Captain being extremely cautious, and they wary and
    apprehensive, this attempt at a compromise failed, and then he
    applied to the authorities to call a town meeting to act upon      the
    matter.
         This meeting was held the sixth day of June,(b) and there was
    a full attendance.   After a somewhat stormy session, a vote was
    finally passed to allow Captain Jones to sell his goods and load his
    vessels with lumber.
         Exactly what was the primal cause for the battle which ensued
    is somewhat uncertain.    Smith appears to regard the reason for it
    as an apprehension by the citizens of Machias that the lumber,
    "then being loaded on     Jones' sloops, was intended for the use of
    the British troops" and a determination on their part that they
    should never return to Boston with their cargoes.
         But it must be remembered that these same persons, after due
    deliberation in open town meeting, had voted to permit this to be
    done.   No one has ever questioned their integrity, and it is not
    easy to conceive of their passing such a vote and then immediately
    organizing a force to prevent this very agreement from being
    carried out.   Neither has any writer proven that Captain Jones
    deceived them regarding his intentions as to the disposal of the
    lumber, and, on the contrary, there is no evidence that they had
    actual knowledge, when assembled in town meeting, that it was
    ultimately to go to the British troops, or that they understood the
    full import    of the Boston Port Act.
                     (To be concluded in the January issue.)

------------

(a) Baxter Manuscripts, Vol. 14, p. 280.
(b) Sherman, p. 31.
-------------
Sprague's Journal of Maine History
Vol. I        JANUARY, 1914           No. 5


                  The Lexington of the Seas

                         By John Francis Sprague

        (Published by permission of the Journal of American History.)

                           (Continued from Page 164.)

        The explanation given by Talbot seems to be the most reason-
   able of any:        "But it is probable that the permission granted in
   the vote would have been carried out in good faith had Dot the
   Captain of the Margaretta, unnecessarily provoked a quarrel with
   the inhabitants,"' in ordering them to take down their liberty
   pole.  There is sufficient proof that some days, at least, before the
   battle the people of Machias had, whether by a vote of the town,
   or not, done what hundreds of other little communities throughout
   the Colonies had done, and were doing : erected a " liberty pole.  "
        Drisko (b) is very certain that it was accomplished by a vote in
   a town meeting, legally called.  They selected a tall, straight,
   and handsome sapling pine tree, " leaving a tuft of verdure at the
   top, the best emblem they had at command of the flag they desired
   to fight for, live and die under. "   This tree of liberty -,%-as planted
   amid the shouts of the assembled inhabitants, the discharge of
   musketry, and the sound of fife and drum.          It was an occasion of
   much rejoicing, and around it the people " made solemn pledges to
   resist the mother country."           When Captain Moore of the
   Margaretta learned of this and its significance, he ordered it to be
   taken down under the threat of firing upon the town." This was
   the last straw.  All of their suspicions that Captain Jones had
   been equivocal in his dealings with them, all of their suppressed
   indignation and slumbering wrath at the presence of the Margaretta
   in their port, were enkindled anew.       It was a crisis in the affairs
   of the Machias patriots.     And yet they were deliberate enough to
   submit to the calling of another town          meeting    to see if the town





 (a) The Capture of the Margaretta, p. 5.
 (b) Drisko's History of Machias, p. 34.
 (c) The Capture of the Margaretta, p. 5.

  176 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY

     would vote to remove the offensive pole, and after the town had
     voted unanimously in the negative, they even then agreed with
     Captain Moore through the mediation of one Stephen Jones, a
     nephew of Captain Jones, to await the action of another meeting,
     which was duly called.      It can be easily understood that it was
     essentially for the interest of Captain Jones to maintain peace
     between the belligerent Moore and the aroused and infuriated
     citizens; and his nephew, who was himself a storekeeper, and in-
     terested with his uncle in business, was exerting all of his efforts,
     towards this end, and it seems that he had influence with Moore to
     dissuade him from attacking the town until after a second town
     meeting.
          But the day for temporizing had passed.  In 1775, John
     Adams was a young school teacher in Connecticut.            In his day,
     the first steps in the career of a great man was to keep a diary of
     the thoughts, impressions, opinions, and doings of himself, his
     neighbors, and his friends.     So John kept one, and this is one of
     his entries    " In another century all Europe will not be able to
     subdue us.  The only way to keep us from setting up for ourselves
     is to subdue us."
          The determination      to rebel against the innumerable acts of
     the Crown designed to       destroy Colonial liberty permeated every
     nook and corner of the     Province of Maine, and the sentiments so
     tersely expressed by young Adams grew and expanded everywhere.
          It could not have been otherwise than that this spirit of inde-
     pendence and these longings for freedom should also prevail ill this
     remote and ocean-bound hamlet.         After the second town meeting
     was called and before it could be assembled, the situation had
     become acute.    It is possible that Captain Jones had been entirely
     frank with the people, that they knew that he had obligated him-
     self to sell his lumber to the      British authorities, and that the
     seriousness of their open or tacit  acquiescence in such a performance
     was becoming vivid to them ; or    it may be that they did not know
     of it with certainty, as appears    probable from the second letter"
     of the Machias Committee to the Boston authorities, and so their
     misgivings regarding their acts In town meetings, and their fears
     that any lumber carried from their port to Boston by Captain

         (a) Baxter Manuscripts, Vol. 14, p. 284.



   

THE LEXINGTON OF THE SEAS        177



  Jones, under escort of an armed vessel of the British Navy, would
  be thus disposed of as a matter of course, were intensified.       It is
  now impossible to determine exactly what were the circumstances
  but one thing is certain, that there was such a final culmination of
  their suspicious, fears, and apprehensions, that it resulted in the
  formation of a plan to prevent the return of the sloops to Boston
  laden with lumber.
      As we have seen, there were two Machias men, Morris O'Brien
  and Benjamin Foster, who had seen service in the army at the
  Siege of Louisburg, and both were citizens of substance and in-
  fluence.  To these two the people looked for counsel and guidance.
  It is quite evident that some took a more conservative view of the
  matter, and in the first instance advised waiting until the ensuing
  town meeting, and allow the people to reverse their action of the
  former meeting, if they would.  Benjamin Foster and Morris
  O'Brien and his sons, and some others, favored taking possession
  of the partly laden sloops of Captain Jones and making prisoners
  of the officers and men, and, while their counsels were divided,
  Foster and the O'Briens finally prevailed.       It is said that Foster,
  weary of the debate, crossed a stream known as the " O'Brien
  Brook,"' near which they were standing, and called out to all who
                                                           favored the cap-
                                                           ture of the Mar-
                                                           garetta and the
                                                           two Sloops to
                                                           follow him, and
                                                           that in a few
                                                           moments every
                                                           man stood by
                                                           his side.
                                                              A plan of at-
                                                           tack, a sort of



                                  impromptu cam-
The Rubicon or the "O'Brien Brook."          paign, was im-



mediately agreed upon.  This was on Sunday, June 11, 1775.  It
was known that the English officers would attend the religious
services of good Parson Lyon in the meeting-house that morning,

 178 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY

 and it was decided to surround the church and seize them during
 the services.  Under this arrangement a part of the company re-
 mained with Foster outside to do this, when the critical moment
 should arrive, the rest dispersing to attend services in the meeting-
 house as usual.
      They had before the meeting opened, quietly secreted their
 arms in the building, a John O'Brien hiding his musket under a
 board and taking his seat on a bench directly behind Captain
 Moore, ready to seize him at the first alarm.  This well prepared
 scheme would undoubtedly, have been successful if they had taken
 the negroes of the community, or at least one of them, into their
 confidence.
      London Atus was a colored man, the body-servant of Parson
 Lyon, and while the parson himself, and about every other member
 of the congregation, except the intended victims themselves, had,
 in all probability, knowledge, or a well-grounded suspicion of what
 was afoot, Atus was entirely innocent of the dynamic atmosphere
 about him.  From his place in a negro pew he could see armed
 men (Foster's band) (b) crossing a foot-bridge that connected two
 islands near the falls, and coming towards the meeting-house.      He
 gave an outcry and leaped from the window, wild with excitement.
 This broke up the meeting, and the officers, believing that an
 attempt was being made to entrap them, followed the example of
 the negro and made their escape.
      They hastened to their vessel, and by the time Foster's force
 reached the meeting-house they were aboard their vessel and weigh-
 ing anchor, and Jones, who wa's to have been made a prisoner, fled
 to the woods, where he remained secreted for several days.
 O'Brien and Foster had previously to this Sunday morning
   secretly invited"' the people of Mispecka and Pleasant River, be-
 ing neighboring plantations, to join them, and they had arrived and
 were in the woods near at hand, ready to engage in the capture of
 the officers.  When Captain Moore and his associates escaped, it
 was quite a large number of people, greatly excited, who followed
 them down to the banks of the river, keeping up an harassing
-----------
    (a) Baxter Manuscripts, Vol. 14, p. 281.
    (b) The Capture of the Margaretta, Talbot, p. 8.
    (c) Baxter Manuscripts, p. 281.

THE LEXINGTON OF THE SEAS        179



  musketry fire, which was returned by occasional shots at the
  populace from the cutter, but at too long range to be dangerous to
  either side.
     They then resolved to seize Jones' sloops and pursue the
  cutter.  One of these, the Polly, was not in available condition,
  but they took possession of the Unity, Jones' other sloop, and dur-
  ing the remainder of Sunday and that night made preparations for
  the attack.  They sent scouts to the East River village and
  neighboring plantations for volunteers, arms, and ammunition.
      A messenger was dispatched to Chandler's River (a) to procure
  powder and ball, and, as the men of that settlement were all absent
  at Machias, two girls, Hannah and Rebecca Weston, nineteen and
  seventeen years old, procured forty pounds of powder and balls
  and brought them to Machias, a distance of twenty miles through
  the woods, following a line of blazed or " spotted   trees, but did
  not arrive there until after the battle was over.
      In the early dawn of the following morning (June 2), the
  expedition started down the river in pursuit of the Margaretta.
  Foster had taken a schooner, the Falmouth packet, at East River
  with a squad of men, intending to join in the expedition, but his
  vessel unfortunately became disabled and he was unable to accom-
  pany the Unity and was not at the engagement.  The crew of the
  Unity, so far as known, numbered about forty, and one-half of
  these had muskets, with only about three rounds of ammunition.
  The rest armed themselves with pitchforks, (b) narrow and broad
  axes, heavy wooden clubs, mauls, etc.     For provisions they had
  " a small bag of bread, a few pieces of pork and a barrel of
  water.  "
      So sudden and impulsive had this undertaking been, that at
  first it was only an unorganized mob, but, while sailing down the
  river with a favoring wind, they were more contemplative, and
  completed their plans by choosing Jeremiah O'Brien as captain,
  and Edmund Stevens, lieutenant ; and, understanding that they
  had no powder to waste, they decided to bear down on the enemy's
  ship, board her, and decide the contest at once.



    (a) Talbot, p. 14.
    (b) John O'Brien's Account, Maine Historical Collections, Vol.
2, p. 242.

180 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY



      In all the history of war, on land or sea, it is doubtful if
  there is a record of   any adventure which exceeds this one for
  dauntless courage and a bold defiance of death.
      Sometime, someone may undertake the task of compiling in
  one work how much this American Nation owes the Sons of
  Ireland.  Their name is legion and their valiant deeds are in-
  scribed on every page of our country's history.             That fair
  "Emerald Isle," ever suffering from the blight of oppression, has
  given us gallant heroes, brave and worthy, in our every war from
  the village green of Lexington to the tranquil waters of Manila
  Bay.   And whenever that grand record is made up no name will
  receive more honorable mention than he, who, in the rays of the
  rising sun of that bright June morning, on the waters of Machias
  River, was made commander of this perilous and desperate expedi-
  tion.  Here were forty undisciplined men in chase of a vessel, well
  armed and equipped with trained marines, without            thought of
  peril or danger.
       One writer' has said that the Unity was " quickly seized and
  unloaded of her lumber, and equipped for battle,"           but this is
  doubtless an inaccuracy.     It is more probable that, as stated by
  another author, (b) the lumber was allowed to remain and was
  utilized by the men for breastworks for protection from the
  enemy's fire.
       The Unity was well into the Bay when the Margaretta was
  first sighted off Round Island, and she, being the more rapid
  sailer, was soon along her side.  The helmsman of the Margaretta,
  who was Captain Robert Avery, had fallen from a shot fired by an
  old moose hunter on board the Unity, by the name of Knight, and
  an immediate volley of musketry from her deck astonished and
  demoralized the enemy.  The bowsprit of the Unity plunged into
  her mainsail, holding the two vessels together for a short time.
  While they were in this position, one of the O'Brien brothers,
  ,John, sprang upon the Margaretta's deck, but the vessels suddenly
  parted, carrying the audacious John alone on board the British



    (a) Lieutenant Edward Wilson, very late of the U. S. Navy, quoted
by Representative Wiley of Alabama in a speech in Congress, February
16, 1904.
    (b) Sherman, p. 57.



THE LEXINGTON OF THE SEAS        181



 vessel.  It is said that seven of her crew instantly aimed and fired
 muskets at him, but he remained unscratched ; they then charged
 upon him with their bayonets and again he escaped by plunging
 overboard, and, amidst a storm of bullets from the enemy, re-
 gained his own vessel.
     Captain O'Brien then ordered his sloop alongside of the
 Margaretta.  Twenty of his crew were selected to board her, armed
 with pitchforks, (a) and a hand-to-hand conflict on her deck resulted
 in the surrender of the Margaretta to the Americans, and Jeremiah
 O'Brien hauled down the British ensign flying at her mast-head.
     Before the battle, an American coaster, with Captain Robert
 Avery as skipper, was lying in Holmes Bay.  Captain Avery was
 forcibly seized by Captain Moore and taken on board the cutter to
 act as pilot out of the river, and was killed in the first of the
 encounter, as we have seen.  Captain Moore also received a mortal
 wound and died shortly after.  Several of his men were wounded,
 but the exact number is not known.  Two of the Americans, John
 McNeil and James Coolbroth, were killed.  It is also known that
 of their number, three, John Berry, Isaac Taft, and James Cole,
 were wounded.
      The crew of the Unity, as near as can be ascertained, were as
 follows :



 Jeremiah O'Brien, Captain
 William O'Brien
 Dennis O'Brien
 Joseph O'Brien
 Samuel Watts
 John Stule
 John Drisko, Jr.
 Judah Chandler
 John Berry
 James Cole
 Richard McNeil
 John Hall
 Jesse Scott
 Wallace Fenalson
 Ezekiel Foster
 Joseph Clifford
 Jonathan Brown
 Josiah Libbee
 Joseph Getchell



 Abial Sprague
 Edmund Stevens, Lieutenant
 John O'Brien
 Gideon O'Brien
 Josiah Weston
 Joel Whitney
 John Merritt
 Isaac Taft
 James Coolbroth
 Nathaniel Crediford
 Joseph Wheaton
 John Scott
 Joseph Libbee
 Simeon Brown
 Beriab Rice
 Samuel Whitney
 Elias Hoit
 Seth Norton
 Obediah Hill



 (a) Maine Historical Collections, Vol. 2, p. 242.

 182 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY


     James Sprague                                 Daniel Meservey
     James N. Shannon                              John Stule, Jr.
     Benjamin Foss                                 Nathaniel Ferderson
     Wm. McNeil                                    John Mitchell
     Richard Earle                                 William Mackelson
        (Body servant of Jeremiah O'Brien)         John Thomas
     Jonathan Knight                               Joseph Getchell, Jr.
     David Prescott                                Ebenezer Beal
     John Bohanan                                  Thomas Bewel

           Referring   again to the assumption of some writers that
     Captain Jones was a Tory, it is evident that it has arisen from the
     second letter to Reverend James Lyon, Chairman of the Machias
     Committee of Correspondence, to Boston, July 7, 1775, in which
     he says :  " We have discovered, upon examining the papers, that
     both Captain Jones' sloops were in the King's Service."
           We have already seen that, in order to obtain a permit from
     Admiral Graves to leave the port of Boston, he had agreed to
     return to Boston with lumber to be sold to the English.              It is
     probable that evidence of this was found, but it would not seem to
     be sufficient grounds for the assertion that he was in the " King's
     Service, " to any further extent than his intention to carry out
     that transaction.     Even this may cast some reflection upon his
     patriotism, but it may be remembered in his favor that the press-
     ing need of the Machias citizens for provisions, and the safety of
     his own family, necessarily concerned and influenced him when he
     entered upon that agreement.         It is possible that Lyon himself
     might have been unduly exercised over the matter, and magnified
     it more than it deserved.  Talbot described this person as "The
     able, highly educated and eccentric Parson Lyon.
           At about sunset of the same day the Unity returned, proudly
     sailing tip the bay and river to Machias Village, with her valuable
     prize, reaching the wbarf amid the tumultuous cheering and shout-
     ing of the people.  They made a hero of Captain Jeremiah
     O'Brien, as he certainly deserved, for his most brilliant achieve-
     ment, and the rejoicing continued until long past midnight.
           Morris O'Brien was born in the city of Dublin, Ireland, in
     the year 1715, and claimed to have descended from one of the old
     Irish kings of that name.         In his home on the banks of the
     Machias there was a portrait representing his ancient ancestor,
     Brian Borumba.  In early life he learned the tailor's trade, and

THE LEXINGTON OF THE SEAS        183



   about 1738 sailed for America, landing in Portsmouth, New
   Hampshire.  For a while he lived in Kittery, Maine.  From
   Kittery he moved to Scarboro, and thence to Machias, where he
   lived until his death, June 4, 1799.         His descendants had a
   prominent and enviable position in the early history of the State
   of Maine.  One of them, Honorable Jeremiah O'Brien, represented
   Maine in the National House of Representatives in the Eighteenth,
   Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first Congress.
      The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, June 26, 1775,
   passed a Resolution, extending the thanks of the Congress to
   Captain Jeremiah O'Brien and Captain Benjamin Foster " and the
   other brave men under their command for their courage and good
   conduct in taking one of the tenders belonging to our enemies and
   two sloops belonging to Ichabod Jones. "          (b)   The Resolution
   further provided that the tender and sloops should remain in the
   custody and under the command of O'Brien and Foster, to be used
   by them for the " publick's advantage " and subject to the orders
   of the Congress.
       Naturally, the news of O'Brien's brilliant victory was heralded
   throughout the land, and it had a great effect in stimulating the
   Colonists everywhere to emulate his example.
       The subsequent career of Jeremiah O'Brien was a notable one.
   The British fitted out two armed schooners at Halifax foi- the
   purpose of re-taking the Margaretta, the Diligence and the
   Tapnaquish.    O'Brien and Foster, however, were again successful,
   and the battle, July 12, 1775, resulted in their capturing both
   vessels and taking their crews prisoners.
       In the following September the Provincial Congress gave him
   command of two cruisers, the Machias Liberty and the Diligent,
   which were known as the " Flying Squadron," and he served in
   this capacity, doing gallant service, until October, 1776.      A little
   later, he had command of the privateers, Cyrus, Little Vincent, and
   Tiger, which continued until 1779, when be returned to his home
   in Machias and for several months served as Captain of a company
-----------
       (a) I am indebted to one of his descendants, Mrs. Josephine O'Brien
   Campbell of Cherryfield, Maine, for courtesies and assistance in compiling
   the data herein.
       (b) Baxter Manuscripts, Vol. 14, p. 287.

184 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY



   of soldiers, known as the Machias Rangers, which served under
   Colonel John Allen in protecting the settlements from unfriendly
   Indians.
        During the year 1780 two of his brothers, John O'Brien and
   Joseph O'Brien, built at Newburyport, Massachusetts, a vessel
   which was fitted out as a privateer.  She was named the Hannibal,
   and John O'Brien was her commander in her first cruise.  John
   O'Brien, not desiring to serve longer, petitioned the General Court
   of Massachusetts to appoint Jeremiah O'Brien commander, which
   was done.     On this cruise the fortunes of war turned against
   Captain O'Brien, and while off the coast of New York the Hannibal
   fell in with a fleet of British merchantmen under convoy of several
   British frigates.   Captain O'Brien, after a futile attempt to re-
   treat, was obliged to surrender.      He, with the other officers and
   crew of the Hannibal, was incarcerated on board the prison-sbip,
   Jersey.   At the end of six months all of the other prisoners were
   exchanged, but he was transported to Plymouth, England, and
   placed in the Mill Prison, where he remained for about eighteen
   months, when he succeeded in making his escape.  He had culti-
   vated the acquaintance of a French washerwoman, employed about
   the prison, who, with the help of her husband, rendered him
   valuable assistance.   He crossed the English Channel to France in
   a frail row boat.
        The French people where he landed, upon learning who he
   was, were friendly and loaned him sufficient money to enable him
   to take voyage to New York, and he finally reached his home in
   Machias during the autumn of 1782.



      THERE are many points of important historical interest in the
 early history of Cherryfield, Steuben and Harrington in the his-
 toric old county of Washington which will be hereafter referred to
 in future issues in Wavfarer's Notes.     One of the most important
 personages in the eighteenth century in the District of Maine was
 General Alexander Campbell of Steuben and Cherryfield, who was
 born September 16, 1731, and died in 1807.  More relating to
 his eventful career will also appear in the Wayfarer papers.

-------------

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