Help Protect Tiverton's History
The following is a 2013 article about the George Sanford, who lived just north of Wingover at the time that it was owned by Captain Peleg Simmons. The two fought together during the Revolutionary War.
Rhode Island Militia
by Bruce Wild
George Sanford was born Oct. 18, 1750 at his parents' farm on Crandall Rd in Tiverton, Rhode Island to Restcome Sanford and Content Manchester Crandall. On December 3, 1773 he married Deborah Dwelly (spelled Divelly in some records) at the old Congregational Church on Lake Road in Tiverton which had been built in 1747 and was used until about 1844.
During the Revolutionary War, British and Hessian soldiers invaded and occupied Newport in December of 1776. Like nearly every able-bodied young man in Tiverton, George joined the Rhode Island Militia. He served in his neighbor Capt. Peleg Simmons' company in Lt. Col. Christopher Olney's regiment, guarding the shores of Tiverton and Little Compton, at Fort Barton, and later, Brenton's Point. Frequently there were skirmishes with British foraging parties or as they attempted raids and reconnaissance on the mainland, but the thousands of patriot militia kept the Redcoats generally confined to Aquidneck Island for the duration of the occupation. The Battle of Rhode Island was fought in August, 1778 resulting in a stalemate. Because of the containment however, resources were promptly used up in Newport, food and fuel was scarce, and some Hessian soldiers had frozen to death that winter. British and Hessian forces finally withdrew November 8, 1779.
Military records show that George Sanford was deployed in the July 1780 expedition when General Comte de Rochambeau arrived at Newport from France with the French Fleet prior to joining Washington for the epic victory over Cornwallis at The Battle of Yorktown.
Major Charles-Albert de More, Chevalier de Pontgibaud, an aide-de-camp to General Lafayette had this to say about the locals in Rhode Island that formed the ragtag American militias: "I have never seen a more laughable spectacle; all the tailors and apothecaries in the country must have been called out, I should think. One could recognize them by their round wigs. They were mounted on bad nags, and looked like a flock of ducks in crossbelts." Despite this humorous and condescending criticism, these provincial forces played a crucial part in the victory for independence from Great Britain.
George and Deborah had twelve children together. Deborah died March 18, 1818 at the age of 64 and George died December 27, 1836 at the age of 86 in Little Compton.
The American Revolution
Ichabod Williston lived a mile and a half north of Adamsville on Crandall Road in Tiverton, Rhode Island (then Massachusetts) . He was a farmer, and during the American Revolution, a private in Capt. Jonathan Edes 4th Company in Colonel Thomas Crafts Artillery Regiment known as the Massachusetts State Train of Artillery at the time Major Paul Revere served in that regiment. He was stationed at Boston on July 6, 1776 when Colonel Crafts read the Declaration of Independence to the American public for the the very first time. Crafts was one of The Sons of Liberty and participated in the Boston Tea Party. Ichabod served as Matross, or a soldier who loaded, maintained and transported cannons. He likely manned one of the cannons that was fired in celebration of American independence on that day. He spent most of his military career stationed in Boston at Fort Independence (formerly Castle William), protecting the city from the British navy during The American Revolution.
"This knife is a family heirloom and probably belonged to John Willeston (1702-1764) b. Boston; lived in Milton, French-Indian War soldier, tailor; married Hannah Sawyer in Little Compton. It descended through his son Ichabod Williston of Tiverton, his great grandson George Williston and eventually to me. The knife is blacksmith-forged iron probably from Taunton. Iron mill, hand-carved chestnut handle, and filled with lead or pewter." - Bruce Wild
Reading of Declaration of Independence
This account is taken from the N.E. Chronicle of July 25, 1776. It reads as follows:
"Thursday last, pursuant to the order of the honorable council, was proclaimed from the balcony of the State House in this town, the Declaration of the American Congress, absolving the United Colonies from their allegiance to the British crown, and declaring them free and independent states. There were present on the occasion in the council chamber, a committee of council, a number of the honorable house of representatives, the magistrates, selectmen and other gentlemen of Boston and the neighboring towns, also the commission officers of the Continental regiments stationed here, and other officers. Two of these regiments were under arms in King street, formed into three lines on the north side of the street and in thirteen divisions, and a detachment from the Massachusetts regiment of artillery, with two pieces of cannon, was on their right wing. At one o'clock, the Declaration was proclaimed by Col. Thomas Crafts, which was received with great joy expressed by three huzzas from a great concourse of people, assembled on the occasion. After which, on a signal given, thirteen pieces of cannon were fired from the fort on Fort-hill; the forts at Dorchester Neck, the Castle, Nantasket, and Point Alderton likewise discharged their cannon. Then the detachment of artillery fired their cannon thirteen times, which was followed by the two regiments giving their fire from the thirteen divisions in succession. These firings corresponded to the number of the American states united. The ceremony was closed with a proper collation to the gentlemen in the Council Chamber; during which the following toasts were given by the president of the council and heartly pleaged by the company, viz.:
'Prosperity and perpetuity to the United States of America.'
'The American Congress.''
'General Washington, and success to the arms of the United States.'
'The downfall of tyrants and tyranny.'
'The universal prevalence of civil and religious liberty.'
'The friends of the United States in all quarters of the globe.'
The bells in town were rung on the occasion, and festivity cheered and brightened evey face. On the same evening, the King's arms and every sign with any resemblance of it, whether Lion and Crown, Pestle and Mortar, and Crown, Heart and Crown, etc., together with every sign that belonged to a Tory, were taken down, and the latter made a general conflagration of in King street."
Ichabod Williston received a pension approved by the Continental Congress and is listed in the Pension Roll of 1835 as follows:
Ichabod Williston - Private - Newport County
Annual allowance $71.67
Sum total received $215.01
Rhode Island State Militia and Troops.
Commencement of pension - March 4, 1831
Placed on roll - Aug 29, 1833
From Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of The Revolutionary War:
Williston, Ichabod, Boston. Matross, Capt. Jonathan W. Edes's (4th) co., Col. Thomas Crafts's (Artillery) regt. ; enlisted May 14, 1776, 4 days preceding march ; service to Aug. 1, 1776, 82 days ; also, same co. and regt. ; service from Feb. 1, 1777, to May 8, 1777, 3 mos. 7 days.
Williston, Ichabod. Matross, Capt. Jonathan Stoddard's co., Col. Thomas Crafts's (Artillery) regt. ; service from May 8, 1777, to July 8, 1777, 2 mos.
Williston, Ichabod. Matross, Capt. Jonathan Stoddard's co., Col. Thomas Crafts's (Artillery) regt. ; service from May 8, 1777, to July 8, 1777, 2 mos. [Name- appears twice on roll.]
Williston, Ichabod. Capt. Perez Cushing's co., Col. Crafts's (Artillery) regt. ; service, 47 days ; company reported as Boston militia and stationed at Hull from July 26, 1777, to Sept. 11, 1777. Roll sworn to in Suffolk Co. and endorsed " Men drafted from Boston Reg't."
Williston, Ichabod. Private, Capt. Nathaniel Heath's co. ; enlisted Feb. 6, 1779 ; discharged May 5, 1779; service, 3 mos., with guards under Maj. Gen. Gates at and about Boston.
Williston, Ichabod. Private, Capt. David Bell's co., Lieut. Col. Symmes's detachment of guards; enlisted Feb. 12, 1781; discharged May 12, 1781; service, 3 mos., under Maj. Gen. Heath at Boston.
From "Representative men and old families of southeastern Massachusetts" - J.H. Beers & Co.:
"Ichabod Williston, son of John and Hannah (Sawyer) Williston, was a farmer and resided in Tiverton, R.I., his farm being about one and a half miles north of Adamsville. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He died on the farm above mentioned Nov. 5, 1838. He married June 11, 1772, Elizabeth Sanford, born in 1749, their marriage being of Tiverton, (R.I.) town record, and she died May 19,1835. They had children as per Tiverton Town Record : Judah, b. Dec 17, 1772; Hannah, b. April 25, 1775; Corey, b. Sept. 7, 1777; Sarah, b. July 19, 1780; Job, b. Feb 29, 1784; Pardon, b. Dec. 26, 1788; Isaac Sanford, b. June 8, 1795; Rhoda, b. June 10, 1797."
Bruce W Wild (1927-2013) m.June E Manchester (1934-2012)
Gertrude D Williston (1892-1995) m. Dr, George H Wild, OD (1893-1952)
George H Williston (1866-1962) m. Denise E Dion (1866-1955)
Simeon Hart Williston (1826-1906) m.Deborah Sanford (1836-1874)
Pardon S Williston (1788-1876) m.Sarah Crandall Tripp (1795-1878)
Ichabod Williston (1744-1838) m.1772 to Elizabeth Sanford