Neighborhood North


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.


George Sanford


Rhode Island Militia

American Revolution

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.