Hosted by Michael Tormey, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
 

 


Our Revolutionary War Ancestor and Other Colonial Forebears


by Michael Tormey, June, 1998 (updated July 4, 2006)


Patrick Tormey, family patriarch of the Maryland Tormeys, immigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1816. Of course, we descendants of Patrick Tormey, as Irish Americans, look back on our Irish heritage with great pride.

In addition to our Irish roots, however, Maryland Tormeys are also connected to a very rich early American heritage by way of our family matriarch, Jane Jamison (my great-great-great grandmother), who married Patrick Tormey in 1825.

Though to date I have minimal information on Jane Jamison's paternal line, I have uncovered records that trace her maternal line back five generations to her great-great-grandfather, Roger Brooke, who was born in 1637 and died in 1700. (See Jane Jamison's detailed pedigree chart.)

Of special interest to Maryland Tormeys, among Jane Jamison's maternal ancestors was her grandfather, Leonard Smith (1734-1794), who was an active participant in the American Revolutionary War effort. Being that all Maryland Tormeys (those descended from Patrick Tormey and Jane Jamison) are directly linked to Leonard Smith as a lineal ancestor (he is my great-great-great-great-great grandfather), his activities during the Revolutionary War make us eligible for membership in the organizations of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). (See Addendum 1 at the bottom of this web page for details on Maryland Tormeys known to have been members of the SAR or DAR.)

 

SAR - Sons of the American RevolutionDAR - Daughters of the American Revolution


Medallions of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution
(each image is linked to the respective organization's own website)


 

The SAR and DAR are well-established organizations with long histories (the SAR having been founded in 1889 and the DAR having been founded in 1890). As one might expect, they are historical organizations with large genealogical and historical resources (seeking to maintain and preserve the legacy of early American patriots), but they are also service organizations that are very involved in educational and charitable endeavors.

As their names imply, membership to the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution are restricted to men and women respectively. Applicants must prove lineal, blood line descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence. (See Addendum 2 at the bottom of this web page for detailed examples of qualifying patriotic service during the Revolutionary War.)

 


Details of Leonard Smith's Revolutionary War Activities


The following excerpt is from a book titled Revolutionary Patriots of Frederick County, Maryland 1775-1783, by Henry C. Peden, Jr., (*1) and serves as excellent documentation of Leonard Smith's service:

SMITH, Leonard (1734-1794). Served on the Committee of Observation in 1775 [Ref: I-85]. Resident of Lower Monocacy Hundred. Appointed by the Committee of Correspondence to solicit subscriptions in 1775 to purchase arms and ammunition [Ref: I-86]. Associator in December 1775 [Ref: E-172]. Coroner in 1777 [Ref: F-476]. Juror to the Oath of Allegiance in 1778 [Ref C-29]. He died testate in 1794, leaving wife Elizabeth (died June 27, 1820, and her maiden name was Neale) and their children Raphael, Benjamin, John, Joseph, Charles, Francis, Mary (1764-1834, and married Leonard Jamison), and Jean [Ref: M-9:37, M-9:38, U-990] (*2)

Of the Revolutionary activities Leonard Smith was involved in, his service to the Committees of Observation and Correspondence are perhaps the most significant.

By definition, Committees of Observation were groups of respected and influential colonists, loyal to the fight for independence, that were formed to ensure that the directives of the Continental Congress were carried out in their respective colonies. Initially, they were formed in 1774, to enforce the First Continental Congress' ban placed on the purchase of all British goods. (On October 20, 1774, the Congress voted to cut off all trade with Britain.  It was hoped that this would result in enough financial pain to bring about a repeal of the "Intolerable Acts" and force the British government to reduce their demands on the colonies.)  As the ban progressed, the committees were also charged with the task of maintaining order and preventing social unrest in the wake of  the severe inflation that resulted in the colonies.  In the governmental and judicial vacuum that ensued, they often filled in for county courts and assumed other roles of political leadership.

Of equal importance, Committees of Correspondence were groups of respected and influential colonists formed to ensure adequate communication between the colonies.  As written correspondence was the only way to communicate over long distances, the committees regularly sent letters and circulars throughout the colonies.  Through their letters, they kept other colonies informed of what was happening in their respective local areas, urged unity against the British, requested any necessary assistance (as in Leonard Smith's requests for financing for the purchase of arms and ammunition in Maryland) and gave words of encouragement to their neighbors in the fight for American independence.

 


Our Other Early Maryland Ancestors


Though just a collateral ancestor and not a direct, lineal ancestor to the Maryland Tormeys, it is interesting to note that one of Leonard Smith's sons, John Smith (1748-1805), Jane Jamison's uncle, was also involved in the Revolutionary War effort.  He served as an ensign of the First Maryland Battalion of the Flying Camp in 1776, and worked his way up to the rank of captain before the military was dissolved in the 1880s.

Prior to the Revolutionary War, Leonard Smith's father, also a John Smith (1676-1735), is known to have served as a justice of the Maryland provincial court from 1729 until his death.

Leonard Smith's great-grandfather, Roger Brooke (1637-1700), is known to have been a justice of Calvert County, Maryland from 1674 to 1685, and served as high sheriff in 1684.

 


Notes


(*1) Peden Jr., Henry C. Revolutionary Patriots of Frederick County, Maryland 1775-1783 (Family Line Publications, 1995), page 341

(*2) In his book, Henry Peden references several primary sources, each designated by a letter (as shown in brackets in in the above excerpt about Leonard Smith). Following is a breakdown of the letters referenced in regard to Leonard Smith, listed in the order referenced by Peden:

I= Williams, T. J. C. and McKinsey, Folger. History of Frederick County, Maryland (Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company, 1979, reprint), 2 volumes

E= Maryland Historical Magazine. "Journal of the Committee of Observation of the Middle District of Frederick County, September 12, 1775 - October 24, 1776." Volume XI, pp.50-66, 158-175, 237-260, Volume XII, pp. 10-21, 302-321. (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1917)

F= Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Western Maryland, Volume I (Baltimore: Regional Publishing Co., 1968, reprint)

C= Carothers, Bettie. 9000 Men Who Took the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity to Maryland During the Revolution, Volume I (Lutherville, Maryland: Privately Compiled by the Author, 1978)

M= Western Maryland Genealogy (New Market, Maryland: Catoctin Press, January, 1985 - July, 1995), 11 volumes.

U= Sons of the American Revolution, Maryland Society, Membership Applications (Approved Originals), 1889-1993 (Baltimore: University of Baltimore, Langsdale Library), Filed by Maryland State Numbers.

 


Addendum 1: Maryland Tormeys Known to Have Been Members of the DAR or SAR


Following are transcripts of membership records of known members of the DAR who are descended from Leonard Smith.

(Note: Additional details on many individuals referenced can be found at Genealogy Records: Maryland Tormeys.)

 

Mrs. Grace Caughy Zell (DAR ID Number: 67649)
[sister of Allie Caughy Grindall, below; mother of Gertrude Carroll Zell Peitseh, also below.]

Born in Baltimore, MD.
Descendant of Leonard Smith, of Maryland.
Granddaughter of Patrick Tormey and Jane Jamison (1797-1878). [Note: This reference to Jane Jamison's year of death as 1878 is an error. Other records, including her grave marker, and even other DAR records state Jane Jamison Tormey's year of death as 1876.]
Great-granddaughter of Leonard Jamison and Mary Smith (1764-1834), his wife.
Great-great-granddaughter of Leonard Smith and Elizabeth Neale, his wife.
Leonard Smith (1734-1794) was one of the Committee of Observation of Frederick County, MD, 1775. He was born in St. Mary's County; died in Frederick County.


Mrs. Allie Caughy Grindall (DAR ID Number: 69244)
[sister of Grace Caughy Zell, above.]

Born in Baltimore, MD.
Wife of Charles S. Grindall, M.D.
Descendant of Leonard Smith.
Granddaughter of Patrick Tormey and Jane Jamison (1797-1876), his wife.
Great-granddaughter of Leonard Jamison and Mary Smith (1764-1834), his wife.
Great-great-granddaughter of Leonard Smith and Elizabeth Neale (died 1820), his wife.
Leonard Smith (1734-1794) was one of the Committee of Observation of Frederick County, MD, 1775. He was born in St. Mary's County; died in Frederick County, MD.


Mrs. Gertrude Carroll Zell Peitseh (DAR ID Number: 69245)
[daughter of Grace Caughy Zell, above.]

Born in Baltimore, MD.
Wife of Theodore W. Peitseh.
Descendant of Leonard Smith, of Maryland.
Daughter of Oliver Caroll Zell (born 1864) and Grace Caughy (born 1864), his wife.
Granddaughter of Noah W. Caughy (1824-1892) and Mary Tormey (1829-1890), his wife, married 1852.

Click the image to the left to see a photocopy of Gertrude Carroll Zell Peitseh's original DAR application for membership, dated 1908.


Mrs. Bessie Tormey Devries (DAR ID Number: 77851)
[sister of Rosalie Tormey Power, below.]

Born in Baltimore, MD.
Wife of J. Oliver Devries.
Descendant of Leonard Smith, of Maryland.
Granddaughter of Patrick Tormey and Jane Jamison (1797-1876), his wife.
Great-granddaughter of Leonard Jamison and Mary Smith (1764-1834), his wife.
Great-great-granddaughter of Leonard Smith and Elizabeth Neale, his wife.
Leonard Smith (1734-1794) was one of the Committee of Observation of Frederick County, MD, 1775. He was born in St. Mary's County; died in Frederick, MD.

Click the image to the left to see a photocopy of Bessie Tormey Devries' original DAR application for membership, dated 1910.


Mrs. Rosalie Tormey Power (DAR ID Number: 80800 )
[sister of Bessie Tormey Devries, above.]

Born in Baltimore, MD.
Wife of John W. Power.
Descendant of Leonard Smith.
Granddaughter of Patrick Tormey and Jane Jamison (1797-1876), his wife.
Great-granddaughter of Leonard Jamison and Mary Smith (1764-1834), his wife.
Great-great-granddaughter of Leonard Smith and Elizabeth Neale (died 1820), his wife.
Leonard Smith (1734-1794) was one of the Committee of Observation of Frederick County, MD, 1775. He was born in St. Mary's County; died in Frederick County, MD

 

Alfred Jenkins Tormey, son of Leonard Jamison Tormey and Ellen M. Jenkins (and brother of both Bessie Tormey Devries and Rosalie Tormey Power, noted above), is known to have been a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. No details of his membership are known at this time, however, and will require further research.

It is assumed that there are many other descendants of Leonard Smith who have been members of both the SAR and DAR. It is hoped that further research with these organizations will provide additional records that will help connect yet more distant cousins of the Maryland Tormey family.

 

Addendum 2: Examples of Qualifying Patriotic Service


It is worth noting, as is the case with Leonard Smith, a Revolutionary patriot was not simply defined as someone who served in a militia. The Revolutionary War effort required the active participation of a large number of patriotic Americans who helped in the war for independence in a wide variety of ways. The Daughters of the American Revolution, for example, in evaluating potential members, considers any of the following as patriotic activities worthy of membership:

Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Military Service, such as participation in the army or navy of the Continental Establishment, a state navy, a state or local militia, the Privateers, or military or naval service performed by French Nationals in the American theater of war

Civil Service, under the authority of provisional or new state governments, such as state officials, county and town officials (town clerk, selectman, juror, town treasurer, judge, sheriff, constable, jailer, surveyor of highways, justice of the peace, etc.)

"Patriotic Service", which includes a wide variety of activities, such as the following:

--Members of the Continental Congress, state conventions and assemblies

--Membership in committees made necessary by the War, including service on committees which furthered the cause of the Colonies from April 1774 (such as Committees of Correspondence, Inspection, or Safety), or committees to care for soldier's families, etc.

--Signer of Oath of Fidelity and Support, Oath of Allegiance, etc.

--Member of the Boston Tea Party

--Defenders of Forts and Frontiers, Signers of petitions addressed to and recognizing the authority of the provisional and new state governments

--Doctors, nurses and others rendering aid to the wounded (other than their immediate families)

--Ministers who gave patriotic sermons and encouraged patriotic activity

--Furnishing a substitute for military service

--Prisoners of war or refugees from occupying forces

--Prisoners on the British ship Old Jersey or other prison ships

--Service in the Spanish Troops under Galvez or the Louisiana Militia after December 24, 1776

--Service performed by French nationals within the colonies or in European support of the American cause

--Those who rendered material aid, in Spanish America, by supplying cattle for Galvez's forces after December 24, 1776

--Those who applied in Virginia for Certificates of Rights to land for settlement and those who were entitled to and were granted preemption rights

--Those who took the Oath of Fidelity to the Commonwealth of Virginia from October, 1779 to November 26, 1783

--Those who rendered material aid such as furnishing supplies with or without remuneration, lending money to the Colonies, munitions makers, gunsmiths, etc.



 
 
 
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