Gorham Sawyer was born in Boston 25 May 1811, son of Benjamin
Franklin Sawyer and Mercy Rogers who were married 23 March
1801. He was one of eight brothers-Benjamin Franklin, Nathaniel,
Henderson, Gilbert, Gorham, Joshua, Willard, and Guild.
Susan Parkerson 11 April 1829 in Boston. She was born in
Norwich, England 11 October 1813 and died in New York 26 February 1834.
Circumstances of her death and place of burial are unknown. A Boston
newspaper, the Columbian Centinel, said that Susan died in New York
and was buried in St. Paul's Episcopal Church Burying Ground, but my
enquiry to New York found that was not true. As yet [February 2005]
no burial records for St. Paul's Church in Boston have been found after
1833 to present day.
A son, Edward Gorham
Sawyer, was born in Boston 31 December 1829 and is the son to whom
Gorham wrote the two
letters in 1860 and 1861.
After the death of
Susan, Gorham and son Edward Gorham went to Charleston,
South Carolina to live with Susan's grandparents. Edward
came back to Boston in 1847 when he was 18 years old.
On 1 June 1838 in Chatham
Co., Georgia, Gorham married Mary H. Mitchell in Savannah.
In the 1840 McIntosh Co., Georgia Census he is listed with a wife and
In the 1850 McIntosh Co.,
Georgia census, he is listed as manager of William Dunwoody's
Plantation. Dunwoody was a wealthy man and owned 100 slaves.
On 20 November 1856 in
Brunswick, Georgia, Gorham married Caroline S. Morgan.
She was the daughter of John and Lucy (Bills) Morgan.
Morgan was the overseer of Elizafield Plantation from 1848-1859,
and Gorham may have been the manager.
In the 1860 Glynn Co.,
Georgia census we find Gorham as "Farm Labour" at the Evelyn
Plantation, which was originally part of Elizafield, and now owned by
Thomas Pinckney Huger. Gorham was manager, and the two
letters were written by him to his long-lost son, Edward Gorham Sawyer,
who was living in Boston. In this census Gorham is 48,
Caroline 22, and Benjamin Gorham 1. Benjamin Gorham
was born 16 September 1858 and died 14 July 1873.
Gorham names his
birthplace as Virginia. In previous lists it was Georgia.
Maybe he did not want people to know he was from the North.
Sometime after the
beginning of the Civil War Gorham joined the District 26, Glynn
County Militia. After that he joined the Charles Stevens,
Company I, 29th Battalion, Georgia Cavalry.
On 22 December 1864
Federal naval forces captured 7 Confederate pickets, their horses and
arms. These men were taken aboard the bark "USS Ethan Allen," and
the log book from the ship states that the prisoners were "Gorham
Sawyer..." and six others. On 27 December, these prisoners were
placed aboard the supply ship "USS Massachusetts" and carried to
Gorham was removed
to the United States Hospital in Philadelphia and died there 10 January
1865 of typhoid fever. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Brighton,
Massachusetts in the Sawyer lot.
His son Edward Gorham
Sawyer, his grandson Edward Joseph Sawyer, and his great
granddaughter Carrie Amanda (Green) Sawyer lie beside him.
Gorham's name was never engraved on the stone, so I had the stone
marked to give him belated recognition.
wife Caroline married Louis Oliver Trimble 11 January 1876.
She died 29 August 1930 and is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Brunswick,
Glynn Co., Georgia. Her husband, her parents, and son Benjamin
are also buried there. A small stone with the marking ULA is
next to them. It could possibly be a child of Gorham and
Mary or Gorham & Caroline. No reference could be
found at the cemetery office.
1. Two original letters from Evelyn Plantation--Edward C.
Stickney, Bedford, Massachusetts.
2. 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860 census records, Oak Grove cemetery
records, Georgia genealogical records-Amy Hedrick, Waynesville,
3. Evelyn & Elizafield Plantation information--Amy Hedrick,
Edward C. Stickney & many other sources.
4. Sawyer genealogical records--Edward C. Stickney.
5. Civil War records--Charles Stevens, Co. I, 29th Battalion,
Georgia Cavalry by Charles Pearson.
6. USS Ethan Allen & USS Massachusetts--Naval Historical Center,