Week 19 (May 7-13) – There’s a Way: What ancestor found a way out of a sticky situation? You might also think of this in terms of transportation or migration.
William Hooper is my fifth great grandfather. He was born 1755 in Charlotte, New Brunswick, Canada to Richard Hooper and Amy Riddle. He was the first born of five sons – William, James, Henry, Stephen & John. As a Loyalist fighter in the Revolutionary War, he had more than a few ‘sticky situations’ to get through.
In 1776 at the age of 21, he served at Ft. Cumberland, New Brunswick, Canada as a member of the Royal Fencible Americans. The Royal Fencible American Regiment of Foot, or RFA, was (according to Wikipedia) “…a Loyalist battalion of infantry raised in 1775 to defend British interests in the colony of Nova Scotia. The RFA was commanded by Lt. Col. Joseph Goreham throughout its existence. The most notable achievement of the RFA (and its only combat as a regiment) was the successful defense of Fort Cumberland during the Eddy Rebellion in November, 1776, which prevented the revolution in the other American colonies from moving into Nova Scotia.”
In one of the pension documents Abigail filed to get the widow’s pension she was entitled to, she claimed that William was attached to the “royal regiment of American rangers”. And in another that he was under the command of General Goreham. I believe she meant that he served as a ranger in the RFA regiment under Lt. Col. Joseph Goreham.
Evidence of William Hooper by Martha Ford Barto on Families of Deer Island
William came to Deer Island about 1786 from St. George, (New Brunswick). He signed an affadavid in defense of Patrick Flinn on Aug. 30, 1805. On Feb. 4, 1812, with brother John and others, he signed a petition requesting land. He resided in Leonardville, (New Brunswick)
In the above ‘evidence’ the signing in 1812 must have been by his son, William Henry as according to his pension documents, he was dead before 1812.
While William isn’t named in the following document, it is an example of the kinds of fighting the RFA was involved in.
Siege of Fort Cumberland – report of an attack on the enemy
1776 Royal Fencible Americans & Royal Highland Emigrants Attack on the Enemy, Nov. 29, 1776
Near the Rebels Head Quarters, 29th Nov. 1776
Pursuant to your orders I marched at half an hour after five o’clock this morning, to attack the rebels, with Captains BRANSON and PITCAIRN’s companies of light Marines, Capt. STUDHOLM, Lieut. BODUWAIN, Lieut. SHEARMAN, Lieut. CONNOR, four serjeants and 64 rank and file of our regiment.
We took the right hand road, leaving DANKS and GAY’s house on the left, and continued our rout along the edge of the marsh, under the hill, which prevented our being seen or heard by the enemy. When there was sufficient day light to enable us clearly to distinguish objects, we began to ascend the hill, in a short time the advanced guard heard the Indians talking at their wigwams, and finding we were wholly undiscovered, I detached Capt. BRANSON’s company to fall upon their right flank, and Capt. PITCAIRN’s on their left, whilst I pressed forward in the center, with our detachment.
But just as we reached the top of the hill, I heard them beat to arms, on which the men gave a loud huzza, and ran like lions. The villains fired on us from right and left of the road leading to Eddy’s head quarters, which we surrounded. The rebels who occupied the house darted out of it at our approach and fired as they fled, leaving only a negro man behind, who beat the drum.
We pursued, however, as fast as we could. The next house we entered was the rendezvous of their wretched committee, and owned by one Gardiner, this I burnt, with every rebel’s house and barn for six miles, including the whole French settlements at Bloody Bridge, every man belonging to which were this day in action against us.
All the houses I destroyed contained the comforts and many of the luxuries of life, with numbers of spare arms; and the barns of the French were receptacles for quantities of salt provisions, flour, rice, and pease, besides grain of different kinds: circumstances which denoted mature ideas of war.
In sight of the French village of Bloody Bridge stands the settlement of Jolly Ceur, about a mile distant: After the men had taken a little refreshment, I intended to have crossed the marsh, and laid the other nursery of rebellion in ashes, but recollecting the superiority of the detachment under my command, and the correction the enemy had just received, I determined to return to the Fort, to give them time to reflect on their infamy and madness, to wait the operation of executive justice, and the offer of mercy and oblivion.
Indeed, notwithstanding the resentment which their conduct as rebels highly merits, I should not have added fire to the sword, had they not introduced that calamity, by wickedly burning all the buildings near the fort.
Our regiment had one man killed on the spot, one mortally wounded, one dangerously, and two slightly. The Marines had one man wounded in the body, and when the Doctor applied the bandage, the ball dropped out.
The loss of the enemy cannot be ascertained, we did not search for their dead, the thickness of the cover, rendering it exceedingly difficult to find them, but in the pursuit we saw two Indians and one white man who had received the just wages of wanton, unprovoked rebellion.
The behaviour of the officers and men was equal to the cause that inspired them, and the chearfulness with which the Marine light companies underwent every fatigue deserves the highest encomium.
I have the honour to be, Sir, with respect, your obedient and most humble servant, THOMAS BATT, Major R. F. Americans
Lieut. Col. GORHAM.
The Royal American Gazette, (New York), January 16th, 1777.
In 1782 he married Abigail Branch and they received a Loyalist Crown Land Grant for St. George, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada in 1784.
All of their children were born in Leonardville, Deer Island, Charlotte, New Brunswick: William Henry in 1791, Samuel in 1795, Benjamin in 1802, Nancy in 1804, my 4th great grandfather – Henry in 1806, Elizabeth in 1808.
William died in 1808 on Deer Island, Charlotte, New Brunswick, Canada at the age of 53, according to the many documents and letters in the pension file.