Reverend James Ewing, British Army Deserter and Baptist Minister
By Louis Lehmann
Descendants of James Ewing of Hopewell, New Jersey, have long been intrigued by his 1790 letter to family in Scotland. in which he speaks of his desertion in 1782 as the Revolutionary War was winding down..... "I deserted from the British Army on the 15th of September...... I never from the first approved of the conduct of the King and ministry respecting America. That was so long before I did it was because of my station in the army, which for three years before I did leave them excluded me from an opportunity to do it, in which time I was a fixed whig in sentiment... The place where I left them was about 17 miles from New York on a foraging party, the bands of music not being ordered to stay in camp..... As to fatigue I had not so large a share of it as private Soldiers, though I had a considerable one... . 1 A record in the George Washington Papers confirms his desertion and interrogation on that date, revealing that he was then in the 42nd Regiment. 2 With no British military service record, a speculative exploration of his three years in the British army is limited but hopefully may stimulate research toward more valid findings. Somewhat more evidence is available to illuminate his subsequent years as a Baptist minister in Hopewell, New Jersey.
Enrolled Soldier or Contractual Musician?
As a member of a “band of music” in 1782, it is not clear if James Ewing was an enrolled soldier or a musician under contract which was apparently a practice during part of the eighteenth century. His statement in the letter ... “As to fatigue I had not so large a share of it as private Soldiers,” might suggest that he was not actually a soldier.” But in another portion of the letter he tells his sister that “Your questions respecting the pension is I think now answered.” Questions about a pension seem to indicate status as a soldier rather than as a hired musician. Information about a 1779 court martial of a member of the 44th regiment in New York city indicates that two of the people involved were soldiers in the regiment’s “band of music.” 3 Practice may have varied among different regiments with some using soldiers as musicians and some using hired musicians. Maybe some regiments used both.
In the letter James says he was in the army for about three years before deserting in 1782 and that he only stayed that long because of his “station” in the army, a term which could suggest his position or rank in the “band of music” but is more likely to refer to the location in which he has been posted. In either case it appears that he has been in the army since sometime in 1779, probably no earlier than the summer of 1779. Sylvia Frey notes that most of the eighteenth century soldiers in the British army were.. “men of respectable origins, decent by birth and character. The majority were obliged to enter the service, some by state coercion, many by economic constraints.” 4 Despite James Ewing’s humble origin as the son of a shoemaker, he seems to have been reasonably well educated as indicated by the language in his letter and by his later positions as schoolmaster and clergyman. 5 6 7 His letter expresses fervent opposition to the King’s policies toward America, suggesting that James was probably an unwilling participant, perhaps enrolled in the army because of economic hardship. He might have been pressed into service during Britain’s emergency measures during which two-thirds of the 15000 men enlisted in 1778 were of Scottish origin. . If hardship was severe enough for him to be aided by the poor laws, the press acts of 1778 and 1779 allowed conscription of such recipients. Alternatively, economic hardship might have led James Ewing to voluntarily join the army. If so, he may have enrolled in the Glasgow area where his family had migrated to from Kilmarnock or he could have enrolled in England if he was among the many men who moved there because of Scotland’s labor surplus in the 1770s. 8 And despite his Whig sentiments and opposition to the war, he may nevertheless have wanted to go to America.
If James joined the army either in Scotland or England about 1779, he was probably enrolled by a regimental recruiting party sent by the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment from which James Ewing deserted in 1782. Such parties usually included an ensign, a few non-commissioned officers, and a drummer. James was probably among a minority of lowlanders in that regiment as suggested by its composition in 1775 when it included nine hundred and thirty-one Highlanders, seventy-four Lowland Scotch, five English, one Welsh and two Irish. 9 British regiments were often not up to full strength and shortages might have been filled in any way possible. 10
“Bands of Music,” Instruments, and Uniforms
James Ewing’s position in a “band of music” suggests that he may not have been very close to combat situations. Here again practices probably varied among regiments but in most of them the “Band of Music” played ... “at ceremonial occasions and instances such as the Regiment’s mounting guard” 11 in contrast to the Field Music which communicated various orders to the troops. And in his letter to his sister, James relates that he was on a .. “ foraging party, the bands of music not being ordered to stay in camp”
No information has emerged to clarify exactly what instrument James Ewing played but pipers are reported to have been part of the 42nd regiment as well as a “band of music.” There is additional information about instruments used by other regiments during this same general time period. Among the instruments used in the 22nd regiment’s “band of music were two concert horns, three clarinets, and a pair of brass cymbals. French horns, clarinets, and bassoons were some of the items purchased by the 13th regiment, the 15th regiment, the 36th regiment, and the 58th regiment. Oboes and fifes have also been reported to have been used by some regimental “bands of music.” Apparently not all regiments used the same instruments. 12 13
A review of the British Royal Warrants of 1768 for the regiments of foot suggests what sort of uniform James Ewing may have worn if he was a fifer in a royal regiment. His coat would have been red. faced and lapelled with blue, and laced with royal lace. His waistcoat, breeches, and lining of his coat would have been of the same color as that ordered for the 42nd regiment. His coat would have been laced according to the regimental colonel's directions. The lace was to be the color of that on the soldiers' coats and the coats were to have no hanging sleeves behind. Sashes were to be of crimson silk and worn around the waist. The King's arms and the number of the regiment were to be engraved on the gorget which would have been either gilt or silver, according to the color of the buttons on the uniform. James would have worn black linen gaiters, with black buttons, and small stiff tops, black garters, and uniform buckles. James could have worn a black bear-skin cap. On the front, the King's crest, of silver plated metal, on a black ground, with trophies of colours and drums. The number of the regiment on the back part of the cap. Each fifer was supposed to have a short sword with a scimitar blade. His sporran would have been goat skin or buff leather. The tartan was supposed to have been dark green and black with a overstripe but there was some variation. A kilt was more apt to be saved for ceremonial occasions as the Black Watch tended to wear breeches in the North American wilderness. 14 Uniforms varied among regiments. In the 22nd Regiment of Foot the band wore red coats with the regiment's buff facings, buff waistcoats and breeches, and black cocked hats trimmed with silver lace. In the 21st regiment a “band of music” uniforms seems to have been a blue jacket, turned up with a red cape, and cuffs. 15
Service with the 42nd Regiment: 1779 - 1782
Because the letter suggests that James Ewing entered the army about three years before deserting in September, 1782, there seems to be three possible times when he could have entered the 42nd regiment. First is the somewhat unlikely possibility that he was with the regiment before its expedition to Portsmouth, Virginia in April, 1779, about three and a half years prior to September, 1782. If so, he would have been enrolled within Scotland or England at least a month earlier and the available histories do not mention any new recruits in the months preceding that expedition.
Second is the possibility that he was first enrolled in the 26th regiment and then brought into the 42nd as part of an exchange after a draft in autumn, 1779 delivered one-hundred and fifty highly undesirable men, described as... for the most part the sweepings of London and Dublin.. Strong objections by Colonel Stirling, commander of the 42nd, resulted in the exchange of those men for an equal number of Scotsmen from the 26th regiment on Sept 6, 1779. .16 If James entered the 42nd at that time from the 26th, he would have been in New York until March 31, 1780 when the regiment sailed to join an army on April 18 besieging Charlestown, South Carolina. Charlestown surrendered in mid-May. During that period the 42nd suffered ten killed and fifteen wounded. The regiment returned in June to New York where they encamped for some time on Staten Island, at Valentine Hill and other places near New York. In late July the regiment embarked by sea for an engagement in Rhode Island but turned around and returned to Whitstone, Long Island due to weather problems and a large defense at Rhode Island. In August, flank companies of Guards and 42nd marched from Whitestone to Horns Hook in Queens (the same area in which the 42nd was later posted in September, 1782 when James Ewing deserted.) A major event in James Ewing’s regiment occurred in December, 1780, when one of the private soldiers was sentenced to..... Receive 1000 Lashes on his bare back With a cat of nine Tails for breaking into a citizen’s property and trying to steal a cow . 17 The regiment encamped at Greenwich and spent the winter in quarters at New York where they were joined by a hundred recruits from Scotland. 18
The third possibility is that James Ewing was one of those one hundred recruits. If so, he may have been stationed in Scotland or elsewhere for some time before becoming part of the 42nd But however and whenever he arrived, the 42nd does not seem to have been actively engaged after their 1780-81 winter in New York although there are conflicting reports as to whether it was at Yorktown. The official World Wide Web site of the 42nd Royal Highlanders, of Lafayette, Indiana (“History of the 42nd in North America”) http://www.42ndrhr.org/history.php) asserts that the Light Company of the 42nd participated in the battle of Yorktown, September-October 1781. However the Historical Record of the 42nd states that in the autumn of 1781 ... 7000 men under Sir Henry Clinton, embarked for relief of troops under Lt-General Earl Cornwallis, besieged at Yorktown but on arriving at the Capes of Virginia, information was received of the surrender of Yorktown and the armament returned to New York .....and that record does not mention anything about the Light Company participating at Yorktown. Of course it is possible that both records are correct with the Light Company being detached for service at Yorktown prior to the embarkation by Clinton’s forces. But there is no evidence that James Ewing was or was not with the Light Company. Largely, the 42nd saw little activity in 1781. Activity was evidently so subdued that the “History of the 42nd in North America” included as an item of historical interest the fact that Colonel Peebles, the regimental commander, played golf on the parade ground and broke two clubs on March 31, 1781. 19
1782 - Marriage to Amelia and Desertion from the Army
Available histories report very little activity of the 42nd regiment during the first part of 1782 while it was stationed at New York after the decisive defeat of the British at Yorktown. Hostilities ceased and it was becoming increasingly apparent to all parties that the war would be ending. For James Ewing, the most important event during this period was his marriage as he related in his letter...... “What country my wife is of. She was born on Long Island near New York where I married her June 30, 1782. She has born me in this place four boys, the youngest about 8 months old. I deserted from the British Army on the 15th of September following.” Toward the end of the letter, he revealed her given name....”.My wife whose name is Amelia joins me in love to you both.” Her gravestone and a bible transcription by Hiram Deats indicate that she was Amelia Bailey, widow of William Emory, that she was born March 27, 1757 at New York, and that she died August 20, 1800 at Hopewell, New Jersey. 20 21
Amelia may have had a two year child by her first husband at the time she married James Ewing bu the evidence is sparse. The Ewing family bible copied at Flemington by Hiram Deats includes this notation:.....” 1780, March 24, Lydia (added in a later hand -"Ewing was born".... (Comment by Hiram Deats - ‘Perhaps Lydia was child of Mrs. Ewing by her first marriage’ ) No other information about Lydia has emerged except for two 1802 newspaper items stating that “Lydia Ewing - Hopewell” was among the names in a list of letters remaining at the Trenton, New Jersey post office. 22
(Another Lydia Ewing married Josiah Sheppard whose family had connections with Hopewell but her birthdate is listed as 7 April 1781, Cumberland county, New Jersey, and her marriage date is listed as 24 Dec 1799, well before the 1802 newspaper items.) 23
Regrettably no further details have emerged about Amelia, her birthplace, or her parents. Nor has anything been found about William Emory, the date and place of his marriage to Amelia, or his death. This dearth of information leaves many unanswered questions. When, where, and how did James Ewing meet Amelia? Was she a widow when they met? Could James have known William Emory? Was William Emory’s death related to the war? Exactly where were James and Amelia married? Inasmuch as James Ewing deserted on Sep 15, 1782, just two and a half months after his marriage, could Amelia have been involved with the planning and execution of his desertion and his subsequent migration to Hopewell, New Jersey? And since his letter relates that Amelia joined him later at Hopewell, how did they communicate with each other after his desertion?
As a British soldier in a “band of music,” James Ewing’s marriage to an American woman may have been highly unusual. There seems to be virtually no information available about marriages of British soldiers to American women during the Revolution. A Captain Bennett Cuthbertson recommended that ... " Private Men and Drummers, who are married to sober, industrious women, may be indulged with liberty to lodge with them, provided the lodgings are not too distant from the Quarters of the Company" 24 Although this does not specifically address the matter of British soldiers marrying American women, it does suggest the possibility that James might have been able to live with Amelia after their marriage on June 3, 1782, assuming that his regiment permitted the marriage. If the regiment didn’t know about or didn’t sanction the marriage, then it seems unlikely that James would have lived with Amelia after the marriage and up until the time of his desertion.
Although desertion may have increased after the 1781 defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown, it was not a new problem for the British military forces. The magnitude of the problem is suggested in the following letter written July 25, 1778 at Hopewell, New Jersey (the town in which James Ewing settled after deserting in 1782) from Henry Knox to his brother William.) .....Hopewell Township New Jersey, 4 o’clock am 25 June 1778, My dear Brother , The Enemy have evacuated Philadelphia on the 19th. Lucy and I went in but it [stunk] so abominably that it was impossible to stay there as was her first design - The Enemy are now at allen Town about 10 miles south East at prince-Town and we at about 6 miles north Prince Town so that the two armies are now about 19 or 20 miles apart - we are now on the March towards them, and their movements this day will determine whether we shall come in close contact with each other - we have now very numerous  parties harassing and teasing them on all quarters - desertion prevails exceedingly in their Army especially among the Germans above three hundred German and English now deserted since they left Philadelphia... 25 And desertion in 1777 was also a problem for James Ewing’s future regiment, the 42nd Royal Highlanders, as noted by Capt John Peebles who stated that "some Rascals are deserting from us. The 2nd Gr [enadi] rs have lost 6 or 8 within this short time.” 26
For James Ewing, the bad behavior of earlier British deserters had repercussions when he came to Hopewell in 1782 as evidenced by this extract from his 1790 letter to “Sister and Brother,” ..... When I left them I was in great hazard of being taken by the refuge tories but that God in whose strength I undertook the difficult enterprise protected, yea: singularly protected me and brought me and soon after me my wife in safety to this place, where excepting about ten weeks I have lived ever since, the character of a deserter was as odious to the people here as in Scotland, occasioned by the immoral conduct of those who has before me been among them, but by the kind care of an indulgent Providence I soon found friends who have shone themselves such in the time of my adversity. 27
The “immoral conduct” cited by James may well have reflected the problematic behavior by British deserters in 1777 which had antagonized citizens in the Philadelphia area and presumably in such nearby communities as Hopewell..........General Orders, Philadelphia, March 20th, 1777, Complain being made of the irregular behavior of certain of the British deserters, to the great annoyance of the peaceable inhabitants of this city, it is therefor ordered that all deserters from the enemy's army, at present in Philadelphia, who have not written licences from proper authority to remain in town, do immediately repair to some other part of the continent. They will be furnished with proper passes by giving their names, and the name of the places to which they are desirous to remove, to the town mayor. Such as are found in this city after three days, may expect to be sent to jail..... Horatio Gates, Major Gen. 28
Behavior of British deserters in that area was apparently still a problem in 1779 when the pass system had backfired as indicated by....... Article directing civil officers in the respective states to take into custody British deserters, delivering them to the next Commissary of Prisoners, or committing them to the nearest gaol.. "A practice of administering the State oath of allegiance to deserters ... and then supplying them with passes, has herebefore been too prevalent and productive of very perniscius consequences by affording them a safe and easy method of escaping to places in the possession of the British army. Those magistrates and other officers of justice, who have been induced to receive such oaths, and grant passes in consequence thereof, are earnestly called upon to discontinue a practice so injurious to the States. And as those passes have been obtained merely with a design to facilitate their escape to the enemy, the soldiers possessed of them are notwithstanding to be secured and treated as deserters. They are generally clad in short coarse linen coats or coatees, and linen overalls; and carry their regimental coats in knapsacks.” 29
Such was the dubious legacy of preceding deserters when James Ewing left the 42nd regiment in September, 1782 as noted in the George Washington Papers as follows:..... 17th James Ewen of the 42nd Regt deserted the 15th from a foraging party near Phillips. At Horns Hook 37th & 42nd Harlem Heights 38th, 40th, & 54th. 30 This record of the interrogation of James Ewing by an American officer shows that he revealed the locations of five regiments including his own. And an examination of the George Washington Papers by C.N. Smith indicates that James was one of 229 men who... deserted from the British,... crossing over to the American forces surrounding New York during 1782 and 1783. 31
Smith’s list of deserters includes men from both British and German land and naval military units but doesn’t always specify the deserter’s unit as illustrated by this entry... Anderson, Louis, military unit not given, if any, 1782, Aug. 17; from New Jersey or New York [illegible], left Kingsbridge and worked as a tailor, apparently deserted with a brother [whose forename is not given.] . ..... One of these two Anderson brothers may or may not be the man referenced in the following notation in the “History of the 42nd in North America.” ........ “Summer 1782 - While stationed at Paulus Hook, one private named Anderson was court martialed and shot for desertion, the first desertion since 1743. 32 Perhaps this Anderson was Louis or his brother, recaptured by the British after deserting in August and possibly executed within weeks of James Ewing’s desertion on Sept. 15 If so, then the executed Anderson could not have been the first deserter since 1743 because Smith’s list records the June 16 desertion of Robert McDonald and John Gray from the 42nd, two months before the desertion of Louis Anderson and his brother.. Alternatively, the executed Anderson could have been someone else who does not appear in Smith’s list because he was re-captured before encountering American forces. In either case, the execution may well have influenced James Ewing’s decision to desert, assuming that it occurred before September 15.
Desertions specifically from the 42nd were recorded on two occasions in 1782. First, the June 16 entry relates the desertion of McDonald and Gray who informed their interrogator that their unit was on Long Island. Second, the September 17 entry records James Ewing’s desertion on September 15, the only recorded instance of a solitary desertion from the 42nd during 1782 and 1783. During 1783 desertions occurred on two occasions. Seven men deserted together on Jan 3 and three deserted together on Feb 9. 33
Where might James Ewing have been when he deserted? He told his interrogator that his regiment was at Horn’s Hook. (Located at what today is roughly Carl Schurz Park near 89th and FDR Drive in Manhattan, best known as the location of the Gracie Mansion, home of many New York City mayors since 1940. ) But this was not the location from which James deserted because he says in his letter that .”The place where I left them was about 17 miles from New York on a foraging party, the bands of music not being ordered to stay in camp (7 miles from New York as was common)” 34 It is not clear if his reference to “camp” means “Horns Hook” or something else. If the passage means that James deserted 17 miles from Horns Hook, he might have gone in the general direction of Elizabeth, New Jersey which had been a focus of much wartime activity. This would also have been in the general direction of Hopewell, New Jersey, where James eventually ended up. Of course this is just more guesswork because the records in the George Washington Papers do not indicate who interrogated James Ewing, or where the interrogation occurred.
The only available information about James Ewing from the time he deserted on Sept 15, 1782 until he joined the Baptist church in Hopewell, New Jersey on Aug 17, 1783 35, comes from his letter in which he first says... “When I left them I was in great hazard of being taken by the refuge tories .“ There is no indication of just where that may have occurred. But dangerous Tories were still around in 1782 despite the fact that their ranks had diminished. There were still three of the six loyalist battalions in the New York area where Staten Island had a long history as a rendezvous for Tories. Loyalists had waged guerrilla warfare in coastal regions of New Jersey. Foraging raids from Staten Island and New York were accompanied by plundering and massacre. Marauding Tories even threatened the more inland areas of Somerset and Hunterdon counties. One of the worst groups of Tories was known as the “Pine Robbers” whose.... “main purpose was to steal and murder, wreaking vengeance upon the homes and persons of unprotected Whigs. Hiding by day in the recesses of the "Pines" or amid the dunes of the seashore, they rode at night, says a recent writer, upon missions at which justice and humanity stood aghast. The record of their depredations aroused such a spirit that when one of the band was captured he was instantly killed, without an attempt at trial. Fagan, probably the most notorious of the "Robbers," was hung from a tree until, swinging in the wind, the flesh dropped from the bones and the skeleton remained a warning for all future criminals.” Among the Tories were John Barnes, the last royal high sheriff of Hunterdon County; Captain William Chandler, the son of the Episcopal rector of Elizabethtown, and James Moody whose military services ... “ were of the most unsavory character.” ..... "Moody is out" was a cry that struck terror to the hearts of Whig farmers. 36
Eluding the refugee Tories, James Ewing made his way to Hopewell but nothing in his letter indicates why he chose that destination. There had been some Ewings living at Hopewell during the 1720s but no available evidence shows any connection between those early Ewings and James Ewing who came there more than fifty years later. Yet it is possible that he heard something about those earlier Ewings and perhaps he knew, suspected, or just hoped that he might be related and welcomed there. Once again this is speculation but he must have had a good reason to journey from New York to Hopewell despite the danger from the refugee Tories 37.
It is unclear just when James Ewing arrived at Hopewell. His letter indicates that he arrived there first and that Amelia came soon after that......When I left them I was in great hazard of being taken by the refuge tories but that God in whose strength I undertook the difficult enterprise protected, yea: singularly protected me and brought me and soon after me my wife in safety to this place, where excepting about ten weeks I have lived ever since.. 38 She probably joined him no later than May, 1783 since their son, Gideon De Camp Ewing, was born Jan 22, 1784. 39 No information has surfaced to indicate where they were during the ten weeks when they were not at Hopewell. But wherever they were, James experienced problems of health and vocation as indicated in this extract from the letter..... “ When I came first to this place I applied myself to common country weaving which I was not acquainted with, yet my diligent application I for a while made a living but after sometime my health failed me and I felt much discouraged ut here providence once more favored me, for a school master being wanted in the place the people unanimously chose me, in which capacity I acted from July 1784 to January 1789 without any material attention in my way of life and by which I made a better living than I could have done by weaving and the more so as I was sometime employed to measure or survey lands and draw writings for my neighbors”
James Ewing’s employment as a Hopewell schoolteacher was a daunting challenge as illustrated by the following conditions of his contract:
“ '1st Discipline: 'The employers shall individually support him in keeping impartial order in the school, and in chastising any scholar for immorality, such as filthy or profane language, or action, lying, fighting, wilful disobedience etc. Mr. Ewing engages not to chastise any scholar until it is proven guilty in the face of the school, also the employers to support him in expelling any scholar who may prove incorrigible in wicked ways’ “
”The terms of tuition as follows, viz:”
‘For teaching reading, writing and arithmetic to the rule of three, two dollars a quarter, and for arithmetic beyond that, which he can teach in all its branches, two dollars and a half. For English grammar and the general principles of mensuration, three dollars; for Trigonometry, Navigation, Surveying and Algebra, six dollars a quarter. He wishes not to have more than 25 or 30 scholars, and begs the liberty of being sometimes absent for a day, but will make up lost time.’
‘He made a similar contract the next year with the following additions :’
‘Mr. Ewing engages to lose one half the price of tuition when any scholars are sick or die. If he desires he will allow an employer to send one scholar in place of another, but will allow no making up of time by sending more scholars than they engage for. He will take no signature for less than a quarter, until he has seen all his employers, and if the subscription is filled up with whole quarters, he cannot parts of quarters' “ 40
James Ewing apparently extended his teaching somewhat to a schoolhouse at Wertsville, some five miles from Hopewell. . Noticing how farmers of nearby Amwell allowed their grass to run out without sowing any seed, James taught students how to gain a field with good red clover. That was said to be the start of successful seeding of clover and grass in those parts" 41
When not teaching, surveying, or helping others with farming or writing; James was building his family and apparently naming at least some of his children after people who were important to him. His oldest son, Gideon De Camp Ewing, appears to have been named after Dr. Gideon De Camp who practiced medicine in Hopewell. 42 Dr. De Camp seems to have been Presbyterian and may have been the Presbyterian friend mentioned in James Ewing’s letter..... You ask what proffesion abounds most here if you mean in the State the Presbyterians, if in the neighborhood where I live the Baptist are the most numerous though we have a few Presbyterians among us, among whom is the best friend I have in this place... James Ewing’s son, William, born April 13, 1786, might have been named after his “Uncle William,” of whom he wrote extensively in his letter. The middle name of Samuel Bailey Ewing, born Oct 18, 1787, commemorated the maiden name of his mother. Peter Gordon Ewing, born Aug 1, 1789, appears to have been named after Major Peter Gordon, who owned a farm near the Baptist church in Hopewell, who was a constable in 1789, and who perhaps was a neighbor. 43 The namesake of Charles Isaac Ewing, born May 11, 1792, is uncertain but Oliver Hart Ewing, born Feb 15, 1793, was clearly named after Rev. Oliver Hart who was pastor of the church when James Ewing was admitted as a member in 1783. It is not known who Martha Ewing, born Dec 2, 1794, was named after. Of course James Ewing, the youngest child, born June 13, 1797, was named after his father.
At some point during his first six years in Hopewell, James Ewing was inspired to become a minister. On June 20, 1789 James Ewing, after a trial of his gifts, was licensed to preach as a minister. On Apr 7, 1794 By vote of the Board, Brother James Ewing is to have the use of Pool's Annotations during the pleasure of the Church..44 And on May 4 of that same year... James Ewing ordained to the ministry by Revs. Oliver Hart and John Blackwell In 1796, three months after the death of Oliver Hart, Rev. Mr. James Ewing was elected on March 10 to be Minister of the Church. Presumably, he and his family would have lived at the parsonage farm. The Town Records of Hopewell record that in 1785 additional land was secured, making a fine and complete parsonage farm consisting of 132 3/4 acres in one compact body, "which with the blessing of God, will contribute to the support of the Gospel in future Generations." 45
Rev. James Ewing was very active in the Philadelphia Baptist Association from 1794 to 1805. He occasionally preached sermons at their meetings, and he authored the Association’s 1801 Circular Letter in which he endorsed separation of church and state and encouraged missionary activity. He was often appointed to communicate with other associations and sometimes to help resolve conflicts among them. 46
His sermon to his congregation at the Hopewell Baptist Church on Feb 22. 1800, appears to have also addressed some conflict issues inasmuch as he was reportedly preaching from Jude 3, 9, and 10; a new testament letter which warns Christians that some people cause divisions in the Christian community. But his focus apparently changed at the end of that sermon, delivered on George Washington’s birthday, when the following commemorative song, composed by Rev. James Ewing, was sung to commemorate Washington’s death just a few weeks earlier on Dec. 14, 1799. 47
"Great God of Nations and of Men, We would pronounce thy Praise, O'er all thy works thy watchful eye, Extend in war or peace.
Americans proclaim his grace, He heard your prayers and moan, And when war threatn'd to destroy, He rais'd great Washington.
Then didst him keep his plans succeed, By him didst give us rest. O that the Nations of the earth Were with such favors blest.
Yet while we own thy mercy past, Our Nation's loss we mourn, For Washington, the great and good O hear the nation groan.
And now on the our care we cast, Should troubles rise anon, To save us from our foes O Lord, Raise one like Washington."
Six months after the singing of these commemorative verses, Amelia Ewing died on Aug 20, 1800. She appears to have been admitted as a member of the church on Sept 16, 1798, fifteen years after James was admitted.. It is not clear why she waited so long to join the church. But when she died at the age of 43, she left Rev. Ewing with eight children, ranging from age three to sixteen. He remarried on Aug 23, 1801 to Elizabeth Leigh, a member of his church 48
Five years later, on May 17, 1806, Reverent James Ewing died at Hopewell. His death was reported as follows:.......DIED At Hopewell, state of New Jersey, on Saturday the 17th ult. the Rev. James Ewing, many years a preacher in the 1st Baptist church of that place. On Sunday his remains wee interred, and a funeral discourse delivered on the occasion by the Rev. Mr. Bishop from REv. xiv. Mr. Ewing was in the 52nd yar of his age. His illness was of short duration. About three weeks before his death, he preached a funeral sermon on the death of a young gentleman in the neighborhood from the words in Psalms, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, sec." and the same day was seized with the disorder which terminated his life. His sufferings he bore with exemplary fortitude; and expressed the firmest confidence in the Redeemer, in whose vineyard he had been a faithful labourer. His death will not only be severely felt by a widow and eight children, and by a numerous circle of friends - but is a loss to the community, and especially to the militant church. 49
Seven months before the death of Rev. Ewing, his oldest son, Gideon, married Mary Quick. He had probably been out of the household for a number of years as he had been apprenticed at an early age to a blacksmith. He resided in Klinesville for sixty-six years, working in his own blacksmith shop for about forty of those years. Gideon and Mary raised seven children. He died in 1871. 50
Little is known about the life of Rev. Ewing’s second son, William, who was fourteen when his father married Elizabeth Leigh. The “American Sentinel reported his accidental death on March 6, 1827 as follows:....”Distressing Casuality - A fatal accident happened in Readington, a few miles from this place on Tuesday, the 6th inst. Mr. William Ewing suddenly lost his life while engaged in felling timber We learn that he had cut off a tree, which, in falling, lodged upon a smaller one; in attempting to dislodge it, it fell, and as he ran from it, a projecting limb struck his head with such violence as to deprive him of life instantaneously”
Samuel Bailey Ewing, the third son, left the household in 1803 when he was apprenticed out at age sixteen to Charles Morford, a coach-maker at Basking Ridge,. The indenture contract was written as follows: 51
"This Indenture witnesseth that Samuel Ewing late of Hopewell in Hunterdon County in the State of New Jersey hath put himself and by these presents doth with the consent of James Ewing, his father; freely and voluntary___ self apprentice to Charles Morford of Township in Somerset County and ..... aforesaid to learn his art trade or mystery and after the manner of an apprentice to serve him from the date hereof till he is twenty one years of age which will be the eighteenth day of October which shall be in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and eight; during all which time he the said apprentice his said Master shall faithfully serve, his secrets keep, his lawful commands every where gladly obey. He shall do no damage to his said Master nor see it to be done by others without hindering or giving notice thereof to his said Master. He hall not waste his said masters goods nor lend them unlawfully to others. He shall not commit fornication nor contract matrimony within the said term. At cards dice or any unlawful game he shall not play, whereby his said master may be damaged with his own goods or the goods of others during the said term without license of his said master. He shall neither buy nor sell. He shall not absent himself day nor night from his said masters service without his leave nor frequent tavern or playhouses; But in all things behave himself as a faithful apprentice ought to do during said term. And the said master shall use the utmost of his endeavors to teach or cause to be taught - and instructed the said apprentice in the trade and mystery he now professeth, occupieth, and followeth, and procure or provide for him, the said apprentice sufficient meat drink appareel, washing and lodging fitting during the said term. And also that the said master will suffer the said apprentice to attend three quarters night school, his father above named or some one for him being at the expense of tuition and other school charges. And for be true performance of all and every of the said covenant and agreement, each of the said parties binds himself to the other by their presents.
In witness whereof they have interchanegably put their hands and seals this first day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three.
Signed sealed and delivered in presence of Joseph Leigh, John Grove, Samuel Ewing, James Ewing, and Charles Morford."
After completing his apprenticeship in 1808, Samuel Ewing remained with the Morford family, marrying Charles’s daughter, Margaret, in 1815 and moving with the Morfords to New York. He died in Randolph at the age of ninety-seven. His 1885 obituary related that despite having been the son of a Baptist minister, he was a well-known religious skeptic.......On the subject of religion Mr. Ewing was an honest sceptic. Notwithstanding in early life he was educated in Christian doctrine, his extensive knowledge of geology and other sciences caused him to reject the religion of his fathers and look to nature as the man of his council.......Notwithstanding Mr. Ewing found himself exposed to the aggression of many Christian people, no man could be more tolerant for the opinions of others. 52
Peter Gordon Ewing, the fourth son of Rev. James Ewing, lived in Amwell and Raritan but died during an 1851 visit to Missouri. 53 In 1836 he was the victim of a gunshot accident, reported as follows:....”"The Flemington Gazette of Wednesday says 'Capt. Peter Ewing near this place, while out a gunning last Friday, was accidently shot by the gun of the person who was with him, by which he has received considerable injury. A shot entered his eye, and has probably destroyed the sight of it; and several entered different parts about the neck, breast and arms.” 54
Rev. Ewing’s fifth son, Charles Isaac Ewing, was a shoemaker. Like his brothers, Gideon and Oliver Hart, he was probably apprenticed out at an early age, perhaps before his father’s death. He married Elinor Rake in 1819. They lived in East Amwell where they raised a large family. He was township assessor from 1870-77 and died in 1879. 55
Oliver Hart Ewing, the sixth son, was also probably apprenticed out to a blacksmith, perhaps the same one to whom Gideon had gone. He married Elizabeth Fonner, probably before 1817. They had eight children before she died sometime before April 16, 1859 when he married Deborah Kinney. Oliver fathered two more children with her before he died in 1871. He began work as a blacksmith about 1815, building a blacksmith shop and residence on his father-in-law’s property in Readington. His blacksmith shop was the hub of the now deserted village of Rowland’s Mills. Three of his four sons also became blacksmiths. Oliver Hart Ewing died at his home in Rowland’s Mills on Sept 18, 1871 after a long and painful illness. 56 57
Very little is known about Rev. Ewing’s only daughter, Martha, who married Peter Cherry before 1816 and had at least one son. She clearly was interested in family history because she owned the letter which Rev. James Ewing addressed to “Sister and Brother” in Scotland. It is not clear if the letter which she owned was actually written by Rev. Ewing or copied by somebody else. In either case, the document which she owned was copied by Samuel Ewing who appended this notation at the bottom of his copy ..... “copied Nov. 13, 1846 from a letter in possession of Martha Cherry, daughter of the above named James Ewing by Saml Ewing.” This Samuel Ewing may have been her brother, the religious skeptic, whose grandson, Frank Henry Ewing, owned that copy which is now owned by Frank’s grandson, Louis Lehmann, author of this article.
Even less is known about Rev. Ewing’s youngest son, James, who is listed on the 1850 census of Chesterfield, New Jersey, along with Mary Ewing, age 50, and another Mary Ewing, age 23.
1“Letter from James Ewing to Sister and Brother - 1790.” In 1790 (about February or March) , James Ewing wrote a letter to his sister and "brother" (brother-in-law?) in Scotland. Copies of the letter are owned by Louis Lehmann, by Thomas Dilts, by the Hunterdon County Historical Society and by the Hopewell Museum. Copy made in 1846 is owned by Louis Lehmann.
2 George Washington Papers , Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 6. Military Papers. 1755-1798 British Deserters, Names and Interrogations, April 15-Dec. 12, 1782
3 Notes on Bands of Music in the British Regiments. by Don N. Hagist 1997, 2002. Originally published in The Brigade Dispatch, Volume XXVII, No. 1 (Spring 1997), pp. 17-19.
4 Frey, Sylvia. The British Soldier in America. A Social History of Military Life in the Revolutionary Period. University of Texas Press, Austin. 1981. Page 3.
5 “Letter from James Ewing to Sister and Brother - 1790.”
6 Marriage record from Indices in the General Register House, Edinburgh, Scotland. 597 /5 FR1350 "Hugh Ewing shoemaker in Kilmarnock and Margaret Muckle, daughter of the deceased William Muckle cooper in the parish of Newmilns at present in this parish, both 1st marriges, were booked on Friday, May 24, 1754 and after orderly proclamation those several Sabbaths were married on Friday (?) June 14, 1754 by Mr. Lisher."
7 Baptism record of James Ewing. Parish Registers. Kilmarnock, Scotland. 1640-1854. Baptisms. FHL film # 1041385
8 The British Soldier in America pp 4,5, 8
9 Settlements of Scotch Highlanders in America Chapter 13 Highland Regiments in American Revolution. Forty-Second or Royal Highland Regiment. http://www.electricscotland.com/history/highlands/chapter13.htm
00 “A Brief Look at Common Recruiting Practices Both Then and Now”
By Mark Tully http://www.nwta.com/Spy/Spring/Recruiting.html
11 Tenth Regiment of Foot Music Company
22 Notes on Bands of Music in the British Regiments
33 Tenth Regiment of Foot Music Company http://hm10thregtmusic.tripod.com/id50.htms An article by Fifer Kelly Leet, of H.M. 10th Regiment of Foot Music Company in the September, 2001 issue of their publication, “The Springer” quotes a musician in the Guards, W.T. Parke, in writing his memoirs... "The bands of the three regiments of Guards consisted in 1783 of only eight performer, two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, and two bassoons. They were excellent performers on their instruments and hired by the month being paid well”
44 The Forty-Second Royal Highlanders http://www.42ndrhr.org/uniform.php
55 Notes on Bands of Music in the British Regiments
66 The Black Watch : the record of an historic regiment () Author: Forbes, Archibald, 1838-1900. Publisher: New York : Scribner's Sons. Digitizing sponsor: MSN Book contributor: Robarts - University of Toronto Collection: robarts; toronto Pages 113-121 http://archive.org/details/blackwatchrecord00forbuoft
77 “History of the 42nd in North America “ http://www.42ndrhr.org/history.php
88 Historical record of the Forty-second, or, the Royal Highland Regiment of Foot: containing an account of the formation of six companies of Highlanders in 1729 ... and were regimented in 1739 and of the subsequent services of the regiment to 1844 (1845) pp 79-80 Author: Cannon, Richard. Publisher: London : Parker, Furnivall, & Parker. Digitizing sponsor: University of Alberta Libraries. Book contributor: Canadiana.org http://ia700609.us.archive.org/33/items/cihm_48390/cihm_48390.pdf
99 Historical record of the Forty-second, or, the Royal Highland Regiment of Foot:
00 Amelia Bailey's gravestone in Hopewell, New Jersey reads... "In Memory of Amelia Bailey Wife of the Rev. James Ewing Died Aug 20, 1800 Aged 43 years"
11 "Chronological Table of births and c" from a notebook labeled EWING found in the Historical Society (Doric House) in Flemington, N.J. At the bottom of the sheet is the notation, "Quarto bible, Isaac Collins, Trenton, 1791, badly worn, record pages loose. Property of Mrs. Bertha Britton Barton, 333 Penna. Ave., Flemington, N.J. Copied by H.E. Deats, Aug 21, 1941.It includes the following statements relating to Amelia, first wife of James Ewing........1757, March 29, Amelia, the wife of James Ewing was born ...... 1780, March 24, Lydia (added in a later hand -"Ewing was born".... Perhaps Lydia was child of Mrs. Ewing by her first marriage) .... 1782, June 3, James Ewing and Amelia the widow of William Emory were married. (on her stone, Hopewell BapCh, she is Amelia Bailey.) ......1800 August 20, Amelia Ewing deceased.
22 GenealogyBank. “True American” Oct 1 and Oc 25, 1802.
33 Ancestry.com Public Family Trees. Numerous trees (with virtually no useful resource citations) list this Lydia Ewing as child of Abner Ewing and Deliverance Stathem
44 British Military Musicians Rev 1................................. The Material Culture of Regimental Drummers, Fifers, Horns-men, Pipers,and Bands of Music According to Pictorial Documentation and Extant Clothing 1760s-1790s by Sherri Rapp... http://www.scribd.com/doc/68027364/British-Military-Musicians-Rev-1
55 Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00712 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Hopewell, New Jersey Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 25 June 1778 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 18.8 x 16 cm. Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to William Knox https://www.gilderlehrman.org/collections/
66 The Philadelphia Camaign: Brandywine and the fall of Philadelphia Oct 30, 2006 Stackpole Books. by Thomas J. McGuire. Northern New Jersey, Winter-Sping 1777 Page 36
77 Letter to Sister and Brother
88GenealogyBank...Thursday, March 20, 1777 Paper: Pennsylvania Evening Post (Philadelphia, PA) Volume: III Issue: 329 Page: 158
99 GenealogyBank. Saturday, July 31, 1779 Paper: Pennsylvania Packet (Philadelphia, PA) Page: 4
00 George Washington Papers, Library of Congess, 1741 - 1799: Series 6. Military Papers. 1755-1798. British Deserters, Names and Interrogations April 15-December 12, 1782..
11 Smith, Clifford Neal. “Some British and German Deserters During the American Revolution.” In NGS Quarterly, Vol 60. Page 267.
22 History of the 42nd in North America http://www.42ndrhr.org/history.php
33 Smith, Clifford Neal. Pp 267-265
44 Letter to Sister and Brother
55 Ancestry.com. The Town records of Hopewell, New Jersey [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: The Town records of Hopewell, New Jersey. United States: Board of Managers of the New Jersey Society of the Colonial Dames of America, 1931.
66 Morris. Ira K. Morris's memorial history of Staten Island, New York (Volume 1) . Original publication 1898 Original Publisher: Memorial Pub. Co(page 32 of 48) .The Loyalist Regiments http://www.usgennet.org/usa/nj/state1/loyalist_regiments.htm
77 Fife, Margaret Ewing. Ewing in Early America Pages 31, 44, 51. Edited by James R. McMichael. 2003.
88 Letter to Sister and Brother
99 "Chronological Table of births and c" from a notebook labeled EWING found in the Historical Society (Doric House) in Flemington, N.J.
00 Ege, Ralph. Pioneers of Old Hopewell. Originally printed 1908. By Race & Savidge. Reprinted 1963 by Hopewell Museum, Hopewell, N.J. pages 48-49
11 "Manners" - Adapted from Lequear's "Traditions of Hunterdon." Originally published in The Hunterdon Republican 1869-7 www.geocities.com/dane97520/Lequear.html)
22 History and Genealogy of Westfield New Jersey and Vicinity The Memories of a Community Online Sponsored by American History Press http://www.westfieldnjhistory.com
33 Ege, Ralph. Pioneers of Old Hopewell. Originally printed 1908 by Race & Savidge. Reprinted 1963 by Hopewell Museum, Hopewell, N.J. Page 250
44 Matthew Poole (1624 - 1679) was an English Nonconformist theologian. His English Annotations on the Holy Bible was widely used as a reference during the eighteenth century StudyLight.Org
55 Town Records of Hopewell Page 146, 148. 149
66 Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association The Baptist History Collection. Associational Histories and Records. In The Baptist Standard Bearer. No. One Iron Oaks Drive. Paris, Arkansas http://stpaulsseminary.com
77 From an e-mail received from Thomas Dilts on 8/01/2003. ......" When we visited the Hopewell Museum in July 2002, we were given an extract from a sermon preached by Rev. James Ewing at the Baptist Meeting-house in Hopewell from Judes 3,9 and 10" The following verses were composed by Rev. Ewing and sung at the conclusion of the Sermon on February 22, 1800, in commemoration of the Life of George Washington:"
88 Town Records of Hopewell Page 152
99 United States Gazette. 6/3/1806 Vol XXIX Issue 4297 Page 3 (GenealogyBank.)
00 Portrait and biographical record of Hunterdon and Warren counties, New Jersey (1898): Chapman publishing company, New York and Chicago, pub. page 201
11 Copy of Letter of Indenture from Estate of Frances Elizabeth (Ewing) Lehmann. Indenture of Samuel Ewing to Charles Morford. - See “Ewing Exchange” Sept 1997 page 9
22 Obituary of Samuel Ewing. The Randolph Register,Friday, Jan 23, 1885
33 Hunterdon Democrat. Oct 22, 1851, Vol XIV, No. 10 Whole No. 684
44 Newark Daily Advertiser (Newark, NJ) Spt 2, 1836. GenealogyBank
55 History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey. C;ompiled by James P. Snell. Everts and Peck, Philadelphia. 1881. Page 355. books.google.com
66 "Life in the Slow Lane ... Rowland's Mills: A Deserted Village" in "Cultural Resources Digest" A publication of the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Oct 2006
77 Hunterdon County Democrat Oct 4, 1871, Vol XXXIV, No. 7 (1790)
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