Pg. 461 to 474
This is one of the oldest
counties in Georgia, being first laid out in 1765, into two parishes,
viz., St. Patrick and St. David's, although extensive settlements had been
made many years before. In 1777, the parishes above named were
formed into the County of Glynn, and so named in honour of John Glynn,
Esq., distinguished for his unwavering support of the colonies.
The principal streams are the Altamaha, Turtle, Little and
St. Simon's rivers.
The face of the country is broken by extensive swamps, which, when
drained, become the most valuable lands in the county.
The climate is warm. In the summer fevers and agues
occur in the lower lands.
BRUNSWICK is the county town, situated on the east bank of
the Turtle River, 201 miles S.E. of Milledgeville. The town is
situated on a beautiful bluff of white sand, elevated from eight to twelve
feet above high water, and extending itself up and down the river for
upwards of tow miles, affording a delightful situation for a city of the
Frederica is on the west side of St. Simon's Island, and was
settled in 1739. It received its name in honour of Frederick, Prince
of Wales, only son of George the Second. It was laid out by
General Oglethorpe, with wide streets, crossing each other at right angles, and
planted with rows of orange-trees. This place was the favourite
residence of General Oglethorpe, and figures much in the early history of
On the coast are numerous islands, of which St. Simon's is
the most celebrated. Here a battle was fought, July 7, 1742, between
Oglethorpe's regiment and the Spaniards. The latter were defeated
with great loss, and the place where the engagement took place has ever
since been called "Bloody Marsh."
We prefer to give a narrative of matters connected with the
Spanish invasion of Georgia in the language of General Oglethorpe, as we
consider his account the most reliable in its details of any to which we
have had access.
The Spaniards [says the General, in one of his
letters,] at Augustine were so strengthened by the troops left there
after the invasion of Georgia, amongst which were the dragoons of
the regiment of Italica, that they repulsed all the parties of
Indians that I could send out against them.
I had also intelligence of a strong party of men marching
towards the river St. Mathew. As I concluded, this was to
enlarge their quarters, ready for the next body of troops that they
expect in the spring, from Havannah [sic], and with which they propose to
invade all North America, and begin with the conquest of Georgia and
Carolina. I, therefore, thought the best means I could take was to
oppose them in time, and myself in person, to lead the Indians, and
dispute with them the field, before their troops came from Cuba.
I, therefore, with a detachment of the Highland Company of
Rangers, and of the regiment, landed in the night in Florida, and
had such success that the Indians advanced, undiscovered, and
attacked the Spaniards, and killed upwards of forty of them; but one
of their own party being killed, they would give no prisoners
quarters, therefore I have no intelligence.
I march to-morrow, and if I have success I trust in God I
shall be able to force the Spaniards once more to take shelter in
their town, which I shall look upon at a great point gained, since
it will delay their intended operations, and give heart to our
Indians, and keep them steady to his Majesty's interest, who were a
good deal staggered by some strange steps taken by the
Lieutenant-Governor of South Carolina, which Captain Dunbar will
inform your Grace of; but any success I can now have, will only be
putting off for a short time the fatal blow which must attend the
vast operations making at Cuba, &c.
From the Camp, on the River St. Mathew, or St. John's,}
Florida, 18th March, 1742-3}
FLORIDA, ON THE RIVER ST. MATHEW,
21st March, 1742-3
I am to acquainted your Grace of his Majesty's arms.
The Spaniards have quitted the field, and are retired into St.
Augustine. The troops made a very extraordinary march in four
days, of ninety-six miles, for so many it is from this place to St.
Augustine and back again, and this we performed without leaving one
man sick behind us, and the whole party is in strength and health.
I hear from all hands that there is a strong body of troops at St.
Augustine, and can hardly conceive the reason of their behaviour and
precipitate retreat, from numbers so much inferior to them, unless
they have orders from their court to preserve their strength entire
for the intended invaders. I did all I could to draw them to
action, and having posted the grenadiers and some of the troops in
ambuscade, advanced myself, with a very few men, in sight of the
town, intending to skirmish and retire, in order to draw them into
the ambuscade, but they were so meek there was no provoking them.
The Indians advanced so nimbly, as to get up with a party of the
enemy, and killed forty of them under the cannon of the town.
Above addressed to the
Earl of Oxford.
FREDERICA, IN GEORGIA, 30th July, 1742.
The Spanish Invasion, which has for a long time threatened the
colony of Carolina and all North America, has at last fallen upon
us, and God has been our deliverer. General Hozcasilas,
governor of the Havannah [sic], ordered those troops who had been employed
against General Wentworth, to embark with artillery and every thing
necessary for a secret expedition. They sailed with a great
fleet; amongst them were two half galleys, carrying 120 men each,
and 18-pound guns. They drew but 5 feet water, which satisfied
me they were for this place. By good great fortune, one of the half
galleys was wrecked coming out. The fleet sailed for St.
Augustine, in Florida.
Captain Hamer, the latter end of May, called here for intelligence.
I acquainted him that the succours [sic] were expected, and sent him a
Spanish pilot to show him where to meet with them. He met with
ten sail, which had been divided from the fleet by storm; but having
lost 18 men in action against them, instead of coming here for the
defence of this place, he stood again for Charlestown to repair, and
I having certain advices of the arrival of the Spanish fleet at St.
Augustine, wrote to the commander of H.M. ships at Charlestown to
come to our assistance. I sent Lieutenant Maxwell, who arrived
there and delivered the letters on the 12th of June, and afterwards
Lieutenant Mackay, who arrived and delivered letters on the 20th
June. Lieutenant-Colonel Cook, who was then at Charlestown,
and was Engineer, hastened to England; and his son-in-law, Ensign
Eyre, Sub-engineer, was also in Charlestown, and did not arrive here
until the action was over; so for want of help, I myself was obliged
to do the duty of an engineer.
The Havannah fleet being joined by that of Florida, compose
51 sail, with landmen on board, a list of whom is annexed.
They were separated, and I received advices from Captain Dunbar, who
lay at Fort William with the guard schooner of 14 guns and 90 men,
that a Spanish fleet of fourteen sail had attempted to come in
there; but being drove out by the cannon of the fort and schooner,
they came in on Cumberland. I followed on myself, and was
attacked in the Sound by fourteen sail, but with two boats fought my
Lieutenant Folson, who was to have supported me with the third and
strongest boat, quitted me in the fight, and run into a river, where
he hid himself until next day, when he returned to St. Simon's with
an account that I was lost; but soon after found that I had arrived
there before him. For which misbehaviour I put him in arrest,
and ordered him to be tried.
The enemy in this action suffered so much, that the day after
they run to sea, and returned to St. Augustine, and did not join
their great fleet till after their grenadiers were beat by land.
I drew the garrison from St. Andrew's, reinforced Fort
William, and returned to St. Simon's with the schooner.
Another Spanish fleet appeared on the 28th off the bar.
By God's blessing, upon several occasions taken, I delayed their
coming until the 5th of July. I raised another troop of
Rangers, which, with the other, were of great service. I took
Captain Thompson's ship into the service for defence of the harbour.
I embargoed all the vessels, taking their men for the service, and
gave large gifts and promises to the Indians, so that every day we
increased in number. I gave high rewards to them who
distinguished themselves upon any service. Freed the servants
brought down by the Highland company, and a company of boatmen
filled up as far as we had guns.
All the vessels being thus prepared, on the 5th of July, with a
leading gale and spring tide, 36 sail of Spanish vessels run into
the harbour in line of battle.
We cannonaded them very boldly from the shipping and
batteries; they twice attempted to board Captain Thompson’s ship,
but were repulsed; they also attempted to board the schooner, but
were repulsed by Captain Dunbar, with a detachment of the regiment
on board. I was with the Indian Rangers and batteries, and
sometimes on board the ship, and left Major Heron with the regiment.
It being impossible for me to do my duty as General, and be
constantly with the regiment; therefore it was absolutely necessary
for his Majesty's service to have a Lieutenant-Colonel present,
which I was fully convinced by this day's experience. I
therefore appointed Major Heron to be Lieutenant-Colonel, and hope
your Grace will move his Majesty to approve the same.
The Spaniards, after an obstinate engagement of four hours,
in which they lost abundance of men, passed all of our batteries and
shipping, and got out of shot of them towards Frederica.
Our guard sloop was disabled and sun. One of our
batteries blown up, and also some of our men on board Captain
Thompson's. Upon which I called a council of war at the head
of the regiment, when it was unanimously resolved to march to
Frederica; to get there before the enemy, and defend that place; to
destroy all the provisions, vessels, and artillery at St. Simon's,
that they might not fall into the enemies' hands. This was
accordingly executed, having first drawn all the men on shore which
had defended the shipping. I myself staid until the last, and
the wind coming fortunately about, I got Captain Thompson's ship and
guard schooner, and our prize ship to sea, and sent them to
Charlestown. This I did in the face and in spite of 36 sail of
the enemy. As for the rest of the vessels, I could not save
them, therefore was obliged to destroy them. I must recommend
to his Majesty those who are sufferers thereby, since their loss
was, in a great measure, the preserving the Province. We
arrived at Frederica, and the enemy at St. Simons.
On the 7th, a party of theirs marched towards the town; our
Rangers discovered them, and brought an account of their march; on
which I advanced with a party of Indians, Rangers, and the Highland
company, ordering the regiment to follow. Being resolved to
engage them in the defiles of the woods before they could get out
and form in the open ground, I charged them at the head of our
Indians, Highlandmen and Rangers, and God was pleased to give us
such success that we entirely routed the first party, took one
Captain prisoner, and killed another, and pursued them two miles to
an open meadow or savanna, upon the edge of which I posted three
platoons of the regiment and the company of Highland foot, so as to
be covered by the woods from the enemy, who were obliged to pass
through the meadow under our fire. This deposition was very
fortunate. Captain Antonio Barba, and two other Captains, with
100 Grenadiers and 200 foot, besides Indians and negroes, advanced
from the Spanish camp into the savanna with huzzas, and fired with
great spirit; but not seeing our men by reason of the woods, none of
their shot took place, but ours did. Some platoons of ours in
the heat of the fight, the air being darkened with the smoke, and a
shower of rain falling, retired in disorder. I hearing the
firing, rode towards it, an at near two miles from the place of
action met a great many men in disorder, who told us that ours were
routed, and Lieutenant Sutherland killed. I ordered them to
halt, and march back against the enemy, which orders Captain
and Ensign Gibbon obeyed; but another officer did not, but made the
best of his way into the town. As I heard the fire continue, I
concluded ours could not be quite beaten, and that my immediate
assistance might preserve them; therefore spurred on, and arrived
just as the fire was done. I found the Spaniards entirely
routed by one platoon of the regiment under the command of
Lieutenant Sutherland, and the Highland company under the command of
Lieutenant Charles Mackay. An officer, Captain
Don Antonio Barba, was taken prisoner, but desperately wounded. Two others
were made prisoners, and a great many left dead upon the spot.
Lieutenant Sutherland, Lieutenant Charles
Mackay, and Sergeant Stewart, having distinguished themselves upon the occasion, I
appointed Lieutenant Sutherland Brigade Major, and Sergeant
Second Ensign. Captain Demere and Ensign
Gibbon being arrived
with the men they had rallied, Lieutenant Codogan, with an advance
party of the regiment, and soon after the whole regiment, Indians
and Rangers, I marched down to a causeway over a marsh very near the
Spanish camp, over which all were obliged now to pass, and thereby
stopped those who had been dispersed in the night there, the Indian
scouts in the morning advanced to the Spanish camp, and discovered
they were all retired into the ruins of the forts, and were making
intrenchments [sic] under shelter of the cannon of the ships; they guessed
them to be about 4,000 men.
I thought it imprudent to attack them, defended by cannon,
with so small a number, but marched back to Frederica to refresh the
soldiers, and sent out parties of Indians and Rangers to harass the
enemy. I also ordered into arrest the officers who commanded
the platoons that retired.
I appointed a General Staff:
Lieutenant Hugh Maxwell and
Lieutenant Maxwell, Aids-de-Camp; and Lieutenant
On the 11th of July, the great galley and two little ones
came out the river towards the town. We fired at them with the
few guns we had so warmly, that they retired, and I followed them
with boats till they got under the cannon of their ships which lay
in the sound.
We received intelligence from the Spanish camp that they lost four
captains and upwards of two hundred men in the last action, besides
a great many killed in the sea-fight, and several killed in the
night by the Indians, even within or near the camp; and that they
had held a council of war, in which there were great divisions,
insomuch that the forces of Cuba were separated from those of St.
Augustine; and the Italic Regiment*** of dragoons separated from
them both, at a distance from the rest, near the woods, and that
there was a general terror amongst them. Upon which I was
resolved to beat up their quarters in the night; and marching down
with the greatest body of men I could make, I halted within a mile
and a half of their camp, to form, intending to leave the troops
there till I had well reconnoitered the enemy's disposition.
A Frenchman, who without my knowledge was come down amongst
the Indians, fired his gun and deserted.
Our Indians in vain pursued, and could not take him.
Upon this, concluding we were discovered, I divided the drums
in different parts, and beat the grenadier march for about half of
an hour; then ceased, and we marched back in silence.
The next day I prevailed with a prisoner, and gave him a sum
of money to carry a letter privately and deliver it to that
Frenchman who had deserted. This letter was wrote in French,
as if from a friend of his, telling him he had received the money,
that he should strive to make the Spaniards believe the English were
weak; that he should undertake to pilot up their boats and galleys,
and then bring them under the woods, where he knew the hidden
batteries were; that if he could bring that about, he should have
double the reward he had already received.
The Spanish prisoner got into their camp, and was immediately
carried before the General De Montiano. He was also asked how
he escaped, and whether he had any letters; but denying his having
any, was strictly searched, and the letter found, and he, upon being
pardoned, confessed that he had received money to deliver it to the
Frenchman, for the letter was not directed. The Frenchman
denied his knowing anything of the contents of the letter, of having
received any money or correspondence with me; notwithstanding which,
a council of war was held, and they deemed the Frenchman to be a
double spy; but General Montiano would not suffer him to be
executed, having been employed by him; however, he embarked all
their troops, and halted under Jekyl; they also confined all the
French on board, and embarked with such precipitation that they left
behind them cannon, and those dead of their wounds unburied.
The Cuba squadron stood out to sea, to the number of twenty
sail. General Montiano, with the Augustine squadron, returned
to Cumberland Sound, having burnt Captain Horton's houses on Jekyl.
I, with our boats, followed him. I discovered a great many
sail under Fort St. Andrew's, of which eight appeared plain; but
being too strong for me to attack, I sent the scout-boats back.
I went with my own cutter and landed a man on Cumberland, who
carried a letter from me to Lieutenant Stewart, at Fort William,
with orders to defend himself to the last extremity. Having
discovered our boats, and believing we had landed Indians in the
night, they set sail with great haste, insomuch that not having time
to embark, they killed forty horses which they had taken there, and
burnt the houses. The galleys and small craft, to the number
of fifteen, went through the inland water passages.
They attempted to land near Fort William, but were repulsed
by the Rangers. They then attacked it with cannon and small arms,
from the water, for three hours, but the place was so bravely
defended by Lieutenant Alexander Stewart, that they were repulsed,
and run out to sea, whither twelve other sail of Spanish vessels had
lain at anchor without the bar during the attack, without stirring;
but the galleys being chased out, they hoisted all the sail they
could, and stood to the southward. I followed them with the
boats to Fort William, and from thence sent out the Rangers and some
boats, who followed them to St. John; but they went off rowing and
sailing to St. Augustine.
After the news of their defeat arrived in Charlestown,
men-of-war, and a number of Carolina people raised in a hurry, set
out and came off the bar. After the Spaniards had been chased
quite out of this colony, the Carolina vessels were dismissed, and
Captain Hardy, in his letters, promised to cruise off St. Augustine.
We have returned thanks to God for our deliverance. I have set
all the hands I could promptly to work upon the fortifications; and
have sent to the northward to raise men ready to form another
battalion against his Majesty's orders shall arrive for that
purpose. I have retained Thompson's vessel, have sent for
cannon shot, for provisions, and all kinds of stores; since I expect
the enemy, who, though greatly terrified, lost but few men in
comparison to their great number, as soon as they have recovered
from fright, will attack us with more caution and better discipline.
I hope his Majesty will approve the measures I have taken;
and I must entreat your Grace to lay my humble request before his
Majesty that he would be graciously pleased to order troops,
artillery, and other necessaries sufficient for the defence of this
frontier and the neighbouring provinces, or give such directions as
his Majesty shall think proper; and I do not doubt but with a
moderate support not only to defend these provinces, but also to
dislodge the enemy from St. Augustine, if I had but the same number
they had in the expedition.
The above is from a letter written by
General Oglethorpe, July 30,
1742, addressed to the Duke of Newcastle.
In this section of the State a
gallant action was performed by the American troops during the
Revolution, the particulars of which are thus given by Colonel
Elbert in a letter to Major-General Howe, dated Frederica, April 19,
DEAR GENERAL:--I have the
happiness to inform you, that, about ten o'clock this forenoon, the
brigantine Hinchinbrooke, the sloop Rebecca, and a prize brig, all
struck the British tyrant's colours, and surrendered to the American
arms. Having received intelligence that the above vessels were
at this place, I put about three hundred men, by detachment, from
the troops under my command, at Fort Howe, on board the three
galleys,--the Washington, Captain Hardy, the Lee, Captain
and the Bulloch, Captain Hatcher,--and a detachment of artillery,
with two field-pieces, under Captain Young, I put on board a boat.
With this little army, we embarked at Darien, and last
evening effected a landing at a bluff about a mile below the town,
leaving Colonel White on board the Lee, Captain
Melvin on board the
Washington, and Lieutenant Petty on board the Bulloch.
Immediately on landing, I dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel Ray and
Major Roberts, with about one hundred men, who directly marched up
to the town, and made prisoners three marines and two sailors
belonging to the Hinchinbrooke. It being late, the galleys did
not engage until this morning. You must imagine what my
feelings were to see our three little men-of-war going on to the
attack of these three large vessels, who have spread terror upon our
coasts, and who were drawn up in order of battle; but the weight of
our metal soon damped the courage of these heroes, who took to their
boats, and as many as could abandoned the vessels, with everything
on board, of which we immediately took possession. What is
extraordinary, we have not one man hurt. Captain Ellis, of the Hinchinbrooke, and
Captain M., of the Rebecca, made their escape.
As soon as I see Colonel White, who has not yet come to us with his
prizes, I shall consult with him. I send you this by
Brigade-Major John Habersham, who will inform you of other
SAMUEL ELBERT, L.C.
The following was related
to the compiler by the late Hon. Thomas Spalding:--
In 1788, the Creek Indians overran the country, from the Alatamaha to the St. Mary's.
Captain John Burnett lived at this time
at the head of Turtle River, with his family and slaves, attending
to large stocks of cattle. All the people had fled from the
main to the islands. Going out one day with his son, the late
Colonel Burnett, he discovered Indians at some distance with rifles.
"John," said the old man, "let us charge on them." "Father,"
replies his son, "do not charge on them; there are more Indians
behind the log." He did, however, charge, and his son followed
him. When they had reached within a few yards of the log, ten
Indians rose up, and discharged their pieces at the old man.
He received several wounds, one of which, in the ear, finally proved
mortal. With the aid of his son and a black boy, he was able
to reach his house. About two weeks afterwards, one hundred
Indians, in the dead of night, came into his inclosure, having
killed a negro who stood sentinel at the gate. They attempted
to fire the house, in which there were five or six males and two
females. Repeated efforts were made by the savages to force the
doors; but those within were upon the alert, and continued firing
upon them for four hours. The eldest daughter of Captain
Burnett, assisted by her younger sister, loaded the muskets below,
and handed them, through the scuttle, to their brothers above.
The firing was heard at St. Simon's Island, many of the inhabitants
of which came to the beach to listen to it; and as soon as daylight
came, thirty men collected, and proceeded to Mr. Burnett's.
Upon their arrival, they found that, within the house, one negro had
been killed. Mr. Moses Burnett received three wounds, and all
of his negroes were carried away by the Indians.
COUPER, Esq., died in this county.
He was born at Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, Scotland, on the 9th of March,
1759, and was the third son of the Rev. John Couper, clergyman of that
parish. His eldest brother, the Rev. James Couper, was for more than
a quarter of a century Regius Professor of Astronomy in the University of
Glasgow; and his second brother, Mr. William Couper, a distinguished
surgeon of that city, was, with Mr. Tennant, the inventor of the chloride
of lime, which, as a bleaching material, has exercised a most important
effect on textile fabrics. Mr. Couper emigrated to Georgia at the
early age of sixteen, and arrived in Savannah, during the autumn of 1775,
as a clerk to the house of Lundy & Co.
On the breaking out of the Revolution, he retired with his
employers to Florida, where he remained until the peace of 1783, when he
removed to Liberty County, where, in the year 1792 he married a daughter
of Colonel James Maxwell. The death of Mrs.
Couper preceded his own
only a short time, after a union of more than fifty years. The
talents and integrity of Mr. Couper at once gave him a leading influence
in society; and soon after his removal to Glynn County, that influence was
successfully exercised against the Yazoo fraud, of which he was an
indignant opponent, and which, as one of the members of the Legislature of
1796, he aided in defeating.
In 1798, Mr. Couper represented Glynn County in the
Convention that framed the Constitution of Georgia; and at the time of his
death, himself and his friend, Mr. Spalding of Sapelo Island, were the
only survivors of that body.
Having embarked very extensively in the cultivation of Sea-Island cotton,
Mr. Couper, at an early period, withdrew himself from politics, and during
the remainder of a long life, devoted himself to the discharge of the
duties of a private gentleman. In making this selection, his talents
and character were, probably, more valuable to the community than if he
had adopted a career of more notoriety, but of less practical utility.
Living in a style of refined and most liberal hospitality,
generous and enlarged in all his views, his example exercised an elevating
influence on all around him. For many years one of the largest
proprietors in the State, his system of treatment of his slaves, which was
in accordance with his humane and just feelings, produced a happy effect
on those around him, and has continued to influence the condition of that
class of persons throughout the sea-board.
Mr. Couper possessed a conversational talent
equaled by few;
and having been endowed with a tenacious memory, his reminiscences of the
early history of Georgia were highly interesting.
The memoir of Captain
Rory McIntosh (who may, from his elevation and purity of
character, his romantic courage, and his madness on some points, justly be
called the Quixote of Georgia,) which is annexed, will induce the reader
to regret that more of his recollections have not been permanently
recorded. Mr. Couper died in March, 1850, having just
completed his ninety-first year.
Reminiscences of Captain
RODERICK MCINTOSH, contained in a letter written by
Esq., at the age of eighty-three, and addressed
to a gentleman of Georgia.
ST. SIMON’S, 16th April, 1842.
DEAR SIR:--Believing it would be
acceptable to you to know some particulars respecting that singular
kinsman of yours, Captain RODERICK MCINTOSH, of Mallow, I sit down
at the age of eighty-three to give you my reminiscences. After the
lapse of more than half a century, recollections are not to be depended
on; yet, as my acquaintance with him was principally between 1777 and
1781, when I was from eighteen to twenty-three years of age, and at which
time I was strongly impressed with his character, my recollections of him
are more vivid than of events of more recent date.
Of the time or Rory’s emigration to America, and the relation
in which he stood to Captain John McIntosh, the head of the clan in
Georgia, I know nothing. That he was at the battle of Musa, in
Florida, I learned from hearing him say to an officer in St. Augustine, “I
am a scoundrel, sir; at Musa, a Captain of Spanish Grenadiers was charging
at the head of his company, and, like a vermint, sir, I lay in the bushes,
and shot the gallant fellow.”
It was my understanding that
Rory, until he left the
Highlands for America, had been strongly in favour of the Stuart family,
an attachment that continued to the end of his life.
My first recollections of
Rory are on his arrival in St.
Augustine, in 1777. His loyal character was well known. On
parade, some of the officers congratulated him on having made his escape
from the rebels. “My escape, sir! No! I despised them too much to
run away, but sent them a message that I should leave Mallow for East
Florida at twelve o’clock on the -----day of-----, and to come and stop me
if they dared.” Rory, and his ancient maiden sister, Winnifred,
resided together at Mallow. I don’t recollect that she came to St.
Augustine, and rather think that she remained at Mallow, and died there.
I am of opinion that he was only distantly related to Captain John
To elucidate my stories, I must introduce myself--clerk to a
Mr. Archibald Lundy, in St. Augustine--a gentleman of a most generous and
hospitable disposition. He invited Mr. Rory McIntosh to reside with
him. At that time I was particularly fond of shooting birds.
“My young friend,” said Rory to me, “I see you are a sportsman, and I love
you for it.” He often told me of shooting on Blackbeard Island,
where the ducks and geese were so numerous on a frosty morning, “that we
could hardly hear each other speaking.”
Having now introduced
Captain Roderick McIntosh and myself, I
shall proceed to relate some anecdotes:--
In 1777, he must have been about sixty-five years of age,
about six feet in height, strongly built, white, frizzled, bushy hair, and
large whiskers, [then uncommon,] frizzled fiercely out, a ruddy, McIntosh
complexion, handsome, large and muscular limbs. In walking, or
rather striding, his step must have been four feet. I have seen him
walking along, and a small man trotting by him. One of his shoulders
was rather depressed, the effect of “an inglorious wound” received from a
I think I now see his manly figure, strutting before a
battalion of British troops on parade, and receiving the most pointed
attention from the officers.
Rory was not
wealthy; a few negroes, and a large stock of cattle at Mallow, made him
comfortable. Hunting was his business and amusement, and in those
days supplied a bountiful table. While the Spaniards held East
Florida before 1763, he had carried there a drove of cattle, and received
payment in dollars, which he put in a canvass bag behind him on his horse.
In returning home, and near Mallow--the roads were then hog-paths--the
canvass gave way, and a part of the dollars fell out. He secured
such as were left, without looking after those which had dropped.
Some years after, being in want of money, he recollected his loss, went to
the place, picked up as many dollars as he wanted, and returned home.
It is said that he more than once had the same resource.
He was fond of dogs, and besides hounds, had some setters;
one in particular, Luath, which he had taught to take his back
scent. He laid a considerable bet that he would hide a doubloon at
three miles distance, and that Luath would find it. Luath went off
on his trail, and returned panting, his tongue out; but no doubloon.
“Treason!” cries Rory, and off he and Luath went. The log was turned
over, and the dog had scratched under it; a man appeared at some distance
splitting rails. Without ceremony, Rory drew his dirk, and swore
that he would put him to instant death unless he returned the money.
The man gave it up, saying that he had seen Mr. McIntosh put something
under the log, and on examining, had found the gold. Rory tossed him
back the money. “Take it,” said he, “vile caitiff. It was not
the pelf, but the honour of my dog I cared for.”
Some time before the Revolution,
Rory and his kinsman,
Colonel William McIntosh, went on horseback to Charleston. About Jacksonborough, they stopped some days; their landlord had a handsome
daughter. Rory fell in love, and called the Colonel out, saying, “My
kinsman, I am in love with the young maiden in the house, and you must ask
her father for his daughter.” The Colonel foresaw trouble, but
complied. The landlord politely thanked Mr. McIntosh for the honour
that he did him, but said that his daughter was engaged to a young man in
the neighbourhood. “No matter,” says Rory, “I will have her.”
The Colonel remonstrated. Rory persisted, saying, “I will beat him
and spit on her intended.” “But why?” says the Colonel, “he has not
injured you.” “No matter,” says Rory, “he is my rival, and I will
disgrace him.” With much difficulty, the Colonel got Rory to proceed
on their journey.
Rory seldom had
money. Upon extra occasions, Cowper & Telfair, in Savannah, were his
bankers. Mr. Cowper was his particular friend.
Before the Revolution, Rory came to Savannah on his way to
Charleston, and applied for money to bear his expenses. Mr.
Cowper saw that something extraordinary agitated him, and with
difficulty got the secret. “That reptile in Charleston, Gadsden,
has insulted my country, and I will put him to death.” “What has he
done?” says Mr. Cowper. “Why,” says Rory, “on
being asked how he meant to fill up his wharf in Charleston, he replied,
with imported Scotchmen, who were fit for nothing better.” Mr.
Cowper prevailed on him to return home.
A privateer ship of twenty guns was fitted out in St.
Augustine, called the Toreyn, Captain Wade. Rory engaged twenty
Loyalists from McIntosh County, as mariners under him. A report
reached Rory that he wanted prize-money, which he resented with great
indignation, and made a deed to a Mr. Gordon’s children of all he might be
entitled to. On crossing the bar, the ship struck; Rory drew his
dirk on the pilot, and said he was bribed by the rebels. The ship
got over, but took no prizes.
In 1778, a part of the garrison under
General Prevost marched
by land to join a force from New-York to attack Savannah. Rory
accompanied them, and attached himself particularly to the light infantry
company [4th Battalion, 60th Regiment] commanded by Captain Murray.
In their advance, a part of them beleaguered a small fort at Sunbury,
commanded by Captain [afterwards General] John McIntosh. The British
opened lines, in which Captain Murray’s company was placed. Early
one morning, when Rory had made rather free with the “mountain dew,” he
insisted on sallying out to summons the fort to surrender. His
friends could not restrain him, so out he strutted, claymore in hand,
followed by his faithful slave Jim, and approached the fort, roaring out,
“Surrender, you miscreants! How dare you presume to resist his
Majesty’s arms?” Captain McIntosh knew him, and seeing his
situation, forbid any one firing, threw open the gate, and said, “Walk in,
Mr. McIntosh, and take possession.” “No,” said Rory, “I will not
trust myself among such vermin; but I order you to surrender.” A
rifle was fired, the ball from which passed through his face, sideways,
under his eyes. He stumbled, and fell backwards, but immediately
recovered, and retreated backwards, flourishing his sword. Several
dropping shots followed. Jim called out, “Run massa--de kill you.”
“Run! you poor slave,” says Rory. “Thou mayest run, but I am of a race
that never runs.” In rising from the ground, Jim stated to me, his
master, first putting his hand to one cheek, looked at his bloody hand,
and then, raising it to the other, perceived it also covered with blood.
He backed safely into the lines.
When the French, under
D’Estaing, landed near Savannah, Rory was at Thunderbolt, with
the family of Robert Baillie. The house was surrounded
in the night. Rory dropped out of a back window, and made his
way into Savannah. What part he acted during the siege, I never
heard; but after the French were repulsed, a truce was arranged for the
purpose of burying the dead, and several of the officers went out on the
battle-ground, among them Rory, who strutted about, and said--”A
glorious sight--our enemies slain in battle!”
I recollect seeing in St. Augustine, on some public day,
Rory, Colonel McArthur, and Major Small, Scotch officers, parading the
streets in full Highland costume, attended by their pipers.
After Charleston fell, Rory went there from Savannah, by
land, particularly to visit Major Small. On meeting,
Rory said: “I
have traversed, at the risk of my life, the rebellious Province of South
Carolina, to see my friend, the famous Major Small.” “Welcome!
welcome! the brave Roderick McIntosh! I have heard his Majesty speak
with kindness and respect of Roderick McIntosh.” “Spare me--oh,
spare me!” said Rory, “his Majesty is too good;” and the pair hugged each
other. “I can offer you,” said Major Small, “no greater mark of my
respect, than by ordering my pipers to attend you whilst in Charleston.”
The 71st Regiment was then in Charleston.
Sir AEneas McIntosh, the chief of the border clan, was a captain in it.
AEneas was a slender, delicate gentleman, educated in France.
Rory, who could brook no chief that was not a powerful man, was sadly
disconcerted. Sir AEneas politely asked him to dine with him
the next day on calf’s head. “Calf’s head!” said Rory. “I feed
my negroes on calves’ heads.” Rory never afterwards noticed his
chief, but observed that he was of a spurious race.
Major Trail, of the British Artillery, was particularly
attentive to Rory, and had him one day at dinner, when, no doubt, the
company were well informed of his character. I visited Charleston
about this time. A friend of mine, Captain James Wallace, with his
family, from St. Augustine, had removed to Charleston, and rented a house
in the suburbs, north of Governor’s Bridge. I was there of an
evening, when in came Rory, followed by his piper. “I am come,
Madam,” said he to Mrs. Wallace, who was from the Highlands, “to take a
cup of tea, and give you a taste of our country’s music. I have just
come from dinner with Major Trail, where I spent a most happy day. A
toast was given which I had not heard for many years, and which I drank
with muckle glee.” “What was it?” said Mr. Wallace. “The
Young Gentleman,” said Rory.
I had not met Rory
since his residence in St. Augustine, and he seemed pleased to see me.
“I was surprised,” said he, “at Thunderbolt by the French, and disgraced
by dropping out of a window, like a raccoon, sir; but, what grieves me, I
left the dirk of my ancestors behind me; and--do you see, sir?--this eye
is set in darkness by the hurt I got near Sunbury.”
At the close of the war in 1783,
Rory’s health was sadly
impaired. He had been appointed Governor of Sunbury, with Captain’s
pay. He took passage on board the brigantine Ranger, Captain
from St. Augustine to London; during the voyage he was confined to the
cabin. The Ranger had been a privateer; her guns had, however, been
landed, with the exception of four. On their passage, they fell in
with a ship under American colours. Captain Stuart went on deck,
made some bustle, and returned below, saying they were all prepared.
“Oh,” said Rory, “how it grieves me to lie here like a dog, when brave men
The Ranger got safe to London; but poor
Roderick died on
board at Gravesend.
I forgot to mention some matters in due time; but is not yet
too late. A gang of negroes had got arms, and had even built some
kind of a fort, above Savannah. Rory went with a party, attacked,
and took them prisoners. In this skirmish, Rory received the
“inglorious wound” in his shoulder. One of his party, after firing,
stepped aside behind a tree. “What do you do there?” asked Rory.
“To load my musket.” “And can’t you, like a brave man, load your
musket on the road?”
A Creek Indian had committed a murder;
Rory went to demand
satisfaction. The Indian, aware of his purpose, had assembled his
friends to kill him. Rory, who also knew his danger, went boldly into the
midst of the Indians, and seized the man with his drawn dirk in his hand,
which so intimidated the assembly that they agreed to give satisfaction.
Another version of the story is, that Rory actually killed the Indian.
I know both merely by report.
I was once in St. Augustine, when
Rory was introduced to an
elderly Scotch gentleman, Mr. Morrison, who had just arrived.
addressed him in Gaelic. Mr. Morrison lamented his ignorance.
“ I pity you,” said Rory, “but you may be an honest man for all that.”
Rory did not like his namesake in Georgia. He accused
them of attempting to deceive him at the beginning of the war, by saying
that their design was to bring in “the young gentleman” to reign in
I am, my dear Sir,
Your most obedient servant,