East New Market

Acts and Laws

1777 Thomas Sparrow Recruits

Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, January 1-March 20, 1777

To the Honorable The Council of Safety of Maryland.

The memorial of Thomas Sparrow, Humbly sheweth that agreeable to the warrant your Honors was pleased to grant me for the purpose of recruiting men for the service of this State, I repaired to Dorchester county where I had had the promise of a sufficient number, and firmly believes that I could have enlisted them, but for the reasons hereafter mentioned. I was four days on my passage from Annapolis to Cambridge, and on my arrival Major Thomas Muse being dead, I was obliged to wait a week before I could acquaint your Honors therewith. Colonel Traverse knowing the disappointment I had met with, told me he was going to Annapolis, and should soon return with an answer, if I would write to have another Gentleman appointed to assist me with cash for the recruits. I waited six days after Colonel Travers's return to his House at Hooper's Island for the letter directed to Capt Daffin, which Gentleman supply'd me with a Horse to ride for it, as Col. Traverse had omitted to send it to him. I received the letter, and on my return to Cambridge, heard the corps belonging to Dorchester County was to meet at the Lightwood knot chappie. Mr Peter Carvil told he would ride to that place with me, and made no doubt but that I would enlist thirty men, as he had heard many intended to meet me there for that purpose. I had not received any cash, but as that opportunity offered, I concluded to advance the Small Sum I had to bear my expenses, which if not Sufficient, Mr Carvil offered to supply me with, and to do him justice he was the only friend I had in the field who had courage enough to stand by me. I proceeded to do my duty, and undertook to read the resolve of Convention with respect to raising matrosses. One of the Company told me it was all false and if any man should enlist, he would be sent to Philadelphia, and not to Annapolis, and that they were damned fools that would go to either to fight against their King. I then told him he was a Tory, another told me I should not come there to find any thing else; I told him I hoped to find it otherwise. A young man then desired to hear the proposals; I attempted to read them to him, but one of the Company struck the paper, and many of them made such a noise, that prevented me from informing those who wanted to enlist. I then put up my papers, lest they should take them from me. About an hour after a man called me aside and told me he would enlist at Cambridge, for he was afraid to do it there. Mr George Slakum overheard him, and said Dam your forty shillings, it is not worth six pence. I have gold and silver enough, and will give fifty shillings to a man either to fight for the King, or not fight against him, which of the two I am not positive, but believe I can prove both, if I can be enabled to go there for the evidences.  Mr George Slakum told me I was a damned rascal in offering to enlist men against the King and they were damned fools that would go with me. I saw immediately after that in different places men whispering together, at which time a young man as he passed by me said go off immediately or you will be murdered. I took his advice. It being dark, I knew not the road perfectly. In a few minutes I heard some horses in full speed coming after me; on which I took to the woods and made my escape for that time. It would take up too much time to relate what I suffered in that night, which had almost cost me my life. In Cambridge I received of Capt. Daffin eight pounds, which he told me was at his own risk, being bound up by the Instructions he received not to advance more than forty Shillings at one time, but as I proved to him the inconveniency attending it he advanced me more. When I came away I returned him the whole Sum advanced. I have advanced some cash to the men I have enlisted, to do which I was under the necessity to sell my sword and watch. As I have been so much disappointed in getting men, I was determined not to make use of the public money. In Cambridge I next beat up for men in the presence of many of our principal Gentlemen, being the time of the Election. I had a flag made of two sheets of small bills, which one of a mob that had raised against me, often attempted to take from the man who had it and struck him. They then proceeded to insult me, and was very industrious in advising men not to enlist. John Chalmers seeing the treatment I met with told me he had two swords and that I was welcome to one of them. I accepted of one of them and soon chased the Town of my enemies. Lieutenant James Gray was much my friend in this affair. I intended next to go to New Market as I understood there was to be two days races, but my friends advised me not, as It was expected many of Capt. Andrew's men would be there, and I should be used ill. I complained to many of the Committee, and in particular to Capt. Daffin and Mr. Ennals who told me the night I came away they were sorry I was so ill used, but that it was out of their power to help it, and advised me to apply to your Honors, who I hope will find my Conduct in this matter to have been such as will not disgrace the warrant you Honored me with, which conduct I am determined to pursue in any station you may think proper to place me in, if it is only a private, and hope that the trifling irregularities I have some years ago committed, may not prevent me from being preferred according to the services I have, and am willing to render in the present dispute.
January 5th 1777. Thomas Sparrow

The deposition of Levin Todd of Dorchester County aged about thirty years being sworn on the holy Evangelists of Almighty God, saith, that he was present at the Corps Battalion of Militia of Dorchester County aforesaid, when Thomas Sparrow was recruiting there. That he heard some dispute between the said Sparrow, and a certain Edward Pearson, but on what subject this Deponent Cannot tell. That this Deponent very soon after the said dispute began left the Battalion and further saith not.
Taken before me, This 3d January 1777. Thos Brooke Hodgkin

The Deposition of Jacob Todd of Dorchester County aged about 20 years being duly sworn saith, That he was present at the Corps Battalion of Militia of Dorchester County aforesaid, when Thomas Sparrow was recruiting there That he heard some dispute between the said Sparrow and William Shorter upon which Sparrow told Shorter he was a Tory, but Shorter said to make the worst of him he was only half a Tory. That this Deponent thought the said Shorter did not behave himself well and reprimanded him, and soon after left the Place, and further saith not.
Taken before me,
This 3d January 1777. Thos Brooke Hodgkin