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24th of March, 1745. At Canso, they were joined by a naval force ordered thither by the British Government. On the 16th of June, the city and fortress surrendered; and the Colonial troops, instead of returning “ashamed,” came home to diffuse joy and gladness through every part of New England.
It would be gratifying to know the number and the names of the Gloucester men engaged in the expedition to Louisburg; but that information cannot now be obtained. It can scarcely be doubted, that nearly all the fishermen of the town eagerly seized the opportunity to break up the “ hornet’s nest,” which prevented their approach to the places which furnished them with the means of subsistence. The Massachusetts archives show that a Capt. Byles, and his company of forty-one men, were at the siege of Louisburg, and were on pay from Feb. 16 to Sept. 30. The Capt. Byles here mentioned was undoubtedly Capt. CHARLES BYLES of this town; who, according to the statement of an aged descendant recently deceased, commanded a company at Louisburg, and also in the next French War.
The services of Capt. Thomas Sanders in the expedition have been already mentioned. Several letters and notes addressed to him while in command of the transports in Chapeau-Rouge Bay, by Admiral Warren and General Pepperrell, are yet preserved by one of his descendants.
J ob Stanwood received from the General Court, in 1747, £12. 10s., in consideration of his services and sufferings in the expedition; and, in 1749, was granted a pension of £15 per annum for life. He lost his left arm.
David Stanwood was wounded ; and, soon after his return from Cape Breton, obtained from the Provincial Legislature a grant of £5. In 1746, he had a further allowance of £8 ; and was recommended to the Governor to be placed in the garrison at Brunswick, in room of an effective man. He had another grant of £5, in 1747.
A son of Thomas Ayers is said to have been lost in the expedition; and James Parsons and Samuel Goodwin returned home sick, and died,—Parsons on the 11th, and Goodwin on the 18th, of August, 1745.
No account of the part borne by Gloucester in the expedition to Louisburg would be complete without the story of Peg Wesson. The popular belief in witchcraft had not then ceased, and Peg was reputed a witch. She lived in or near an old building on Back Street, called “the Garrison; ” and there, just before the departure of the Gloucester soldiers for Cape Breton, she was visited by some of them, who, by their conduct towards her, aroused her indignation to such a pitch, that, on their departure, she threatened them with vengeance at Louisburg. While in camp there, these men had their attention arrested by the singular movements of a cr0w that kept hovering near them. After many attempts had been made in the usual way to kill the bird, it occurred to one of them that it must be Peg Wesson; and, if so, that no baser metal than silver would bring her to the ground. He accordingly took his silver sleeve-buttons from his wrist, and discharged them at the bird; which fell, wounded in the leg, and was soon killed. Upon their return to Gloucester, they learned, that, at the exact moment when the crow was killed, Peg Wesson fell down near the Garrison House, with a broken leg; and that, when the fractured limb was examined, the identical sleeve-buttons fired at the crow, under the walls of Louisburg, were found, and extracted from the wound! Such is the story of Peg Wesson; and, incredible as it may seem that it was ever received as truth, some now living can testify to the apparent belief in it with which it was related by many persons not more than fifty years ago.
The next year after the fall of Louisburg, a large French fleet appeared at Nova Scotia; and, in all our towns, great apprehensions of an invasion were felt. The selectmen of Gloucester were instructed by the town to petition to the General Court to finish the Battery, and furnish it with ammunition; and the people of this and some other seaports were in such fear, that they sent away their effects. But various accidents combined to render the enemy powerless for harm; and, after a few weeks of anxiety, all cause for alarm ceased to exist.
At the March meeting in 1748, the town voted that the select
men should take care of the poor, as “they formerly used to do.”
This duty had been for a few years previously performed by officers chosen specially for it, who were only required to agree with individuals for the maintenance of the paupers, as no work-house was yet established. The amount paid for the support of the poor, — seven in number, — this year, was £281. 16s., old tenor; or about one hundred and forty dollars, lawful money.
The maritime business of the town had been steadily increasing for several years, notwithstanding the interruptions by war ; and was constantly attracting new settlers. Only a few of them, however, left descendants in town to perpetuate their names here, or were themselves prominent while they lived in it. Of these, all who came to Gloucester between 1735 and 1750 will be here mentioned.
JAMES PEARSON, a sea-captain, is said by descendants to have come to this town from Bristol, England. He married Hannah, daughter of Capt. Andrew Robinson, Jan. 6, 1738 ; and settled at Eastern Point. He married a second wife (Mary Edgar), Feb. 3, 1749 ; and died March 24, 1789, in his seventy-seventh year, leaving several children. WILLIAM, his oldest son, engaged in maritime employments, and accumulated considerable property by privateering in the Revolutionary War. He was a representative several years; and, for a short time, President of the Bank. His death took place Dec. 5, 1826, at the age of eighty-five. He had children, but survived all of them. One of them (William) was educated a physician, and commenced the practice of medicine with great promise in his native town; but his career was early ended by a sickness which resulted from a fall from his horse, as he was one night descending the hill near Farm Ledge, on a visit to a patient. The fall caused a hemorrhage, by which he was so much reduced as to be obliged to seek a mild climate in winter; and, while on a second visit to the West Indies, he died at St. Eustatius, Feb. 9, 1795, aged twenty-six. He was buried, by the Concordia Lodge of that place, with Masonic solemnities. Edmund, brother of the preceding, was lost at sea on a voyage to France. William Bonaparte, another son of Capt. William Pearson, died in 1825, aged twenty-eight, leaving two sons; one of whom (William) is a graduate of Yale College, now residing in California. JAMES, the second son of Capt. James Pearson, was bred to a maritime life; and during the Revolutionary War, though then in early manhood, he commanded the large privateer-ship “Starks.” After the peace, he settled in mercantile business ; and died in October, 1793, aged forty-one. He was captain of the artillery company, and was interred on the 18th with military honors. A printed notice of his death says that he was “ a benevolent citizen and fervent patriot; in war, an undaunted soldier; in peace, an industrious merchant; but, more than all, a man of great native integrity. He bore his sickness with fortitude; and, in the firm belief of a blissful immortality, resigned his life with calmness to the God who gave it.” He left daughters, and a son James, who was lost at sea.
JONATHAN FELLOWS is supposed to have come from Ipswich about 1740. He settled in Squam. His only public service known to us was that rendered as captain of a company against the French in the campaign of 1755; and, of that service, no particulars can now be ascertained. He died June 20, 1759. By his wife Elizabeth,‘ he had sons Nathaniel and Caleb, and two daughters, born here. Cornelius Fellows, who was chosen one of the selectmen in 1774, and moved out of town that year, may have been another son. He and Nathaniel and Gustavus Fellows are said to have removed from Gloucester to Boston, and to have become distinguished merchants. A Samuel Fellows was ensign in the company of Capt. Jonathan Fellows in 1755. He is the same, probably, who, as an ofiicer of the customs, or in some other equally unpopular capacity, made himself so odious to the people here in 1768, that a mob of about seventy persons, headed by several respectable citizens, suspecting that he was concealed in the house of Jesse Saville, proceeded thither one night in September of that year, and thoroughly searched the building in pursuit of him; making use of a good deal of violence in their behavior, and showing a determination to deal severely with
' Isuppose she was the daughter of Caleb Norwood and his wife Alice. The latter, becoming a widow, married Rev. John White; and left, with other children by her previous husband, u daughter,— Elizabeth Fellows.
the object of their animosity if they could find him. He sought safety, it is likely, in flight; as his name does not appear in our subsequent history.” JoHN DANE came, in 1743, from Ipswich; where his ancestor, John Dane, was an early settler. He was a shoemaker, and had his shop and dwelling on Front Street. He married Abigail, daughter of John Pool, Jan. 27, 1743, and had several children; but the name was not perpetuated here in the male line beyond the second generation. He died July 21, 1793, in his seventyfourth year. His son William was a shopkeeper on Front Street, and acquired some property. He was a representative in 1812; and died in December, 1820, aged seventy-four. Another son (Joshua), who kept a little shop, and was a man of quiet but peculiar habits, died April 21, 1845, aged eighty-one; leaving an only son (John), a merchant in Boston, since deceased. EBENEZER CLEVEs came from Beverly, and married Anna Stevens, March 4, 1744. Six sons and two daughters are recorded as the fruit of this marriage. The name is not borne by descendants in Gloucester; but the Rockport Family of the same name are probably from this settler. JoHN HALE, son of Samuel Hale of Newbury, where he was born in 1722, was a shoemaker, and came to Squam Parish about 1746; when, by his wife Elinor, his son Samuel was born. Besides two daughters, he had three other sons, only one of whom (Benjamin) settled in Gloucester. SAMUEL graduated at Harvard College in 1766, and was for some time the teacher in an academy near Portsmouth, N.H. He afterwards engaged in the practice of law in that town; but at the opening of the Revolution, having enrolled himself on the royal side, he felt obliged to leave the country, and go to England. Of his subsequent career, nothing is known. He died in England about 1787. George D. Hale, a son of Benjamin Hale, has been Collector of the Customs for the District of Gloucester. JosEPH CLoUGH married Susanna Tarbox in 1748, and a
* In 1769, he was captain of one of the king's armed cutters, and was complained of for disorderly conduct in delivering from the sheriff's hands a man named Merrill, who was under arrest for debt.