Annapolis conventions & organization of the militia, 1774–76

Source: Johnston, George. History of Cecil County, Maryland. Elkton: published by the author, 1881. Please cite your sources.

The freemen of the State [of Maryland] met in the counties and appointed committees to represent them in a convention that met in Annapolis, on the 22d of June, 1774. Cecil County was represented in this convention by John Veazey, Jr., William Ward, and Stephen Hyland.

The next convention that the exigencies of the time called forth, the members of which were called Deputies, met in the December following, and went much further in their opposition to the encroachments of the mother country. This convention recommended to the farmers to increase the number of sheep in the province, and to engage more extensively in the cultivation of flax and hemp, and recommended to the people of the province to organize themselves with arms and equipments and to learn how to use them. They also recommended that the committees of observation in the several counties should raise by voluntary subscription or in other ways more agreeable to them, the sum of £10,000 for the purchase of arms and ammunition. Of this sum Cecil County was to raise £400.

1775-05 & -07
Two more conventions were held in Annapolis.

Messrs. Veazey, Thompson, and Ramsay, were signers of the Declaration of the Freemen of Maryland.

John Veazey, Jr., Joseph Gilpin, John D. Thompson, Nathaniel Ramsay, and Patrick Ewing, represented the county in the convention of 1775. ... It seems proper to state in this connection that Peter Lawson, William Currier, and Charles Rumsey, of this county, also signed the Declaration.

The convention balloted for officers of the militia with the following result: Bohemia Battalion——John Veazey, Jr., colonel; John D. Thompson, lieutenant-colonel; William Rumsey, first major; Dr. Joshua Clayton, second; Samuel Young, quarter-master. Elk Battalion——Charles Rumsey, colonel; Henry Hollingsworth, lieutenant-colonel; Edward Parker, first major; John Strawbridge, second; Thomas Huggins, quarter-master. Susquehanna Battalion——George Johnson colonel; Thomas Hughs, lieutenant-colonel; John Hartshorn, first major; Elihu Hall, second; John Hambleton, quarter-master. There is reason to believe that these battalions were intended for home protection and defence, and existed as distinct organizations but a short time, when those of whom they were composed entered the Continental army.

Edward Parker, who then resided near the Brick Meeting-house, had memorialized the convention in regard to the manufacture of linen and woolen goods, and had received a subsidy of £300 to enable him to start business. He stated that he had erected a house, provided himself with all manner of implements, and had five looms constantly employed in manufacturing.

Mr. [Henry] Hollingsworth was as enterprising as he was patriotic; and with a view of aiding the cause of his country, he made a proposition to the convention to manufacture gun-barrels and bayonets for the use of the troops. The convention took action upon this proposition on the 22d of May, 1776, and resolved that a sum of £500 should be advanced to him. ... These barrels were stocked by Mr. William Winters, who had a manufactory for that purpose at Charlestown. Mr. Hollingsworth was the first person that was engaged in the manufacture of warlike munitions in this State for the use of its soldiers.

Charles Carroll, V.P., Council in Safety, placed an order to Col. Henry Hollingsworth for
                ... about 400 bayonets of different sized sockets for the army of the Eastern Shore militia. ... Skillful laborers were hard to procure, and many of the bayonets made by Colonel Hollingsworth were useless, either because they were not properly tempered, or because the steel of which they were made was worthless.

In the convention that met August 14th, 1776, this county was represented by Joseph Gilpin, Patrick Ewing, David Smith, and Benjamin Brevard. ... Robert Allan was sergeant of the company, William Phillips, corporal, Andrew Hegarty, fifer, and that John Jackson had been drummer, but was reduced to the ranks.

The first military organization in the county at this time of which any account has come down to us was an independent company, of which Samuel Evans was commissioned Captain September 28th, 1776. Of this company, Henry Dobson was first lieutenant, Thomas Rumsey was second lieutenant, and William Stewart was ensign.

The campaign of 1776 was disastrous to the Continental army, no portion of which acted with greater bravery and distinction that the Maryland line.

Please cite your sources.

Return to Head of Elk and the American Revolution index page.
Return to Local history timelines index page.

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© Alison Kilpatrick, 2015. All rights reserved.
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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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