MARRIAGE AND PRIVATE LIFE
WHEN Patrick Houstoun arrived in Georgia he was unmarried. Five years elapsed before he became the husband of Priscilla Dunbar, of Inverness, the sister of Captain George Dunbar. There was frequent communication by boat between Savannah and Frederica, and since Patrick Houstoun and Captain Dunbar were well acquainted, it is but natural to suppose that on some of his visits to the “Southward Settlements” Dunbar invited Houstoun to visit his home at Frederica, where he met the young Scotswoman.
George Dunbar preceded his sister to Georgia by three years, and he was one of the Scotsmen who settled the short-lived Joseph’s Town in 1733. Captain Dunbar went back and forth between Great Britain and Savannah convoying settlers to the Georgia colony through the years 1734 to 1740. He was commissioned by the Trustees with Captain Hugh Mackay to recruit the colony of Scottish Highlanders, and in the ship Prince of Wales owned by Symonds and Company of London he brought the new colonists to Savannah to settle on the shores of the Altamaha River in the early part of 1736. Of the one hundred and ten men recruited by Mackay and Dunbar, the latter enlisted forty.1 Priscilla Dunbar left her home and family in Iverness, and sailed October 18, 1735, under her brother’s care, to endure the hardships of settlement life. She, too, showed the spirit of adventure which impelled chiefs and clansmen to leave their Highland homes in response to the call of the Founder of Georgia. C. C. Jones has said, “Besides this military band, others among the Mackays, the Dunbars, the Bailies, and the Cuthberts applied for large tracts of land in Georgia, which they occupied with their own servants. Many of them went over in person and settled in the province.”2 George Dunbar obtained a grant of five hundred acres.
Priscilla Dunbar arrived with the Scottish Highlanders at a place near the mouth of the Altamaha River in February, 1736. The place previously had been named Darien by her brother George. This was related by the Earl of Egmont who wrote in his Diary under the date of December 11, 1736: “I received an account from Mr. McBane, a Highlander . . . that the first place settled by the embarkation this year to the Southward of Savannah is called Darien, so named by Captain Dunbar.”3 In a short time Priscilla Dunbar made a home at Frederica for her searoving brother who wrote to the Trustees in June, 1738, that he was building a house at Frederica on the “lott” the General had given his sister.4
Diligent effort was made to trace the ancestry of Priscilla Dunbar, and the results have been partially satisfactory.5 In the parish registry of Inverness, Scotland, under date of October 31, 1711, is this entry: “James Dunbar, merchant of Inverness and Janet Dunbar his spouse had a child Priscilla, baptized by Mr. William Stewart.”
In trying to ascertain the parentage of Priscilla some difficulty arose because there were other Dunbar families living in Inverness at the time of Priscilla’s birth. Of three James Dunbars, two had wives named Janet. If there is a doubt that Priscilla was the daughter of a James and Janet Dunbar, it is slight, because the name Priscilla was unusual in Scotland; therefore, it seems conclusive that the above entry refers to Priscilla Dunbar, who became the wife of Patrick Houstoun. If October 31, 1711, is the record of Priscilla’s baptismal date, then an error occurred in inscribing her age on her tombstone as sixty at the time of her death in 1775. Only one inference can be drawn from the tombstone record, and that is that Priscilla Houstoun’s children were not informed of her exact age. In the above Dunbar family were three other daughters and one son named William, but no record could be found of George. It seems positive that George Dunbar’s baptismal record must have been in another parish, because when in 1735 he was given a grant of five hundred acres, it was to “yourself and the Heirs Male of your Body and in failure thereof to William your Brother and Heirs Male of his Body all at the yearly Rent of Ten Shillings pr every 100d Acres.”6
The official record of the union of Patrick Houstoun and Priscilla Dunbar is given in two colonial citations. The Earl of Egmont records in his Journal under date of January 26, 1740/41, that “the same day” Houstoun had written Harmon Verelst from Frederica that “he was settled on the lot of Capt. Dunbar’s Sister whom he had marryed.”7 There must have been an error in copying or in the compilation of that volume, as the date of Houstoun’s letter to Verelst seems clearer in a succeeding entry which the Earl of Egmont made on April 20, 1741. Noting that the letter was dated January 26, Egmont continues with: “he [Houstoun] was settled on the lot of Captain Dunbar’s sister whom he had married.”8
That Houstoun was still complaining of unfulfilled promises is evident from Egmont’s entry of April 20, 1741. Further, he decried the encouragement given by the Trustees to other settlers “who had demerited.” In spite of his protestations Egmont records that Houstoun claimed he “never joined the discontented party.”
Six days later the Earl of Egmont mentioned in his Diary, “the Encouragement formerly given at 2 shillings bounty of corn sow’d in the Province had a good effect and Mr Patrick Houston a quiet landholder had received for his share of the bounty 75 pounds, others more or less in proportion, but some had gone without reward, the Trustees money not holding out.”
Patrick Houstoun received an answer to his letter to Harmon Verelst. Its contents must have aroused in him not only a sense of satisfaction that the Trustees were pleased with him as a settler, but also that his efforts in agriculture to further the welfare of the colony received recognition and approval by the Trustees. Writing under date of April 27, 1741, Verelst explained that Houstoun’s letter of January 26 was “laid before the Trustees, who are much Pleased with the good Disposition you show of Promoting the Welfare of the Colony, and not joining with the Clamours of Unreasonable Men.”9 Houstoun in his letter, evidently had referred to promises made in his behalf by Doctor Houstoun, and in answering Verelst assured him “from my own Knowledge none such ever were, nor could be from the Nature of Your Tenure being a Landholder of 500d Acres, and going at Your own expense; For the Trustees had no money granted them for any such Purposes; their Money appropriated for the Assisting only Persons sent upon Charity.” Verelst closed by offering his “Service” to Houstoun and saying he would be glad to have it in his power to do him “any Friendship.”
By the marriage of Patrick and Priscilla Houstoun the home at Frederica10 was added to the plantation Rosdue in the Northern Division, as residences of the Houstoun family. A few years after the marriage an “Itinerant Observer”11 from London visited Georgia in the beginning of the year 1745, and he left his impressions of his visit to St. Simon’s:
Frederica, . . . is the chief Town in the Southernmost Part of the Colony. . . . It stands on an Eminence, if considered with regard to the Marshes before it, upon a Branch of the famous River Altamaha.. . . It forms a kind of Bay before the Town, and is navigable for Vessels of the Largest Burden. . . . The Town is defended by a pretty strong Fort of Tappy . . . and commands the River both upwards and downwards. . . . The whole circumference of the Town is about a Mile and a Half. . . . The Town is situated on a large Indian Field: To the East it has a very extensive Savannah (wherein is the Burial Place) thro’ which is cut a Road to the other Side of the Island which is bounded by Woods. . . . Down this Road are several very commodious Plantations, particularly the very agreeable one of Capt. Demery and that of Mr. Hawkins. Pre-eminently appears Mr. Oglethorpe’s Settlement, which, at a Distance, looks like a neat Country Village, where the Consequences of all the various Industries of an European Farm are seen. . . . On the South is a Wood, which is, however, so far clear’d, as to discover the Approach of an Enemy at a Distance; without to the Eastward, is the Plantation of Capt. Dunbar. . . . The Town is divided into several spacious Streets, along whose sides are planted Orange Trees. . . . Some houses are built entirely of Brick, some of Brick and Wood, some few of Tappy-Work, but most of the meaner sort, of Wood only. . . . They have a Market every Day: The Inhabitants of the Town may be divided into Officers, Merchants, Store-keepers, Artisans, and People in the Provincial Service, and there are often also, many Sojourners from the neighboring Settlements, and from New York, Philadelphia, and Carolina, on Account of Trade. . . . In short the whole Town, and Country adjacent, are quite rurally charming, and the Improvements every where around, are Footsteps of the greatest Skill and Industry imaginable.
One of the nearest neighbors of the Houstouns was Captain Raymond Demere of Oglethorpe’s Regiment, whose place, Harrington Hall, was only about an eighth of a mile eastward; and Oglethorpe’s Cottage was less than two miles to the northeast.12
Another description of St. Simon’s Island in 1742 was recounted by one who was living at that time: “St. Simon’s then . . . was peopled with a thousand men. There was civilization and the arts; and above, below and all around nature was fresh and free, and in her wildest mood. There was health too as well as enjoyment here, and the soldiers of General Oglethorpe, while at St. Simon’s, were exempt from sickness.”13
In 1741, the Earl of Egmont was visited in London by another Georgia colonial who informed him: “That Patrick Houston had laid much money out on his land but it answered not.”14 That appears to be the last time that Patrick Houstoun wrote or spoke of his disappointment. Later Mr. Carteret, a landowner in Georgia, attended a meeting of the Trustees in London and carried news of the colony. Of Patrick Houstoun he said: “He keeps his plantation of 500 acres in the Northern Division, but when he went down to Frederica the 2 servants he left to take care of it sold off his Cattel, hoggs & poultry unknown to him and contrary to his orders. That he is an honest man, and of tolerable Sense.”15
During the years 1740 and 1741 Patrick Houstoun, when he was living at Frederica, was employed by Oglethorpe in a confidential capacity. William Stephens in writing to the Trustees reported on December 3, 1740, that “Mr. Houston (at present employed by the General at Frederica) sent a boat to his Plantation near Bewlie on the Vernon River for sundry Provisions. . .”16 One of the men who made the trip, to Stephens’s surprise, carried no letters to him from Frederica. Two months later Houstoun went to Savannah and he was the bearer of a letter to Stephens from Thomas Jones who gave to the recipient only a “short Hint that he found Mr. Houston had private Instructions, to make an Enquiry into the late Behavior of some People here, on Occasions of those different Representations of the State of the Colony, sent to the Trustees; which was so very extraordinary that the General was very unwilling to think some Persons, of whom he has entertained a good Opinion, could be guilty of what they are charged with he (Mr. Jones) thought to be the Reason why I had of late less frequent Advices from the General than heretofore. . . .”
Reflecting on that bit of information Stephens thought of all he had written to Oglethorpe and how it coincided with the reports he had sent to the Trustees, and he continued, “. . . knowing how careful I am to stick close to the Truth in all that goes out of my Hand, I have no Apprehensions of meeting with the contrary but if my Veracity must be estimated by the Report which Mr. Houston shall make to the General (a Person, whom I forbear to say more at present on this Occasion) I must bid Adieu to my Hopes of serving here with Honor or Comfort to myself, or Satisfaction to my Constituents: Wherefore I will not suffer any Impressions to be made instantly, chusing rather to let these Mysteries unfold themselves, which I know must in a short Time be as open as the Noon-Day.” A somewhat ambiguous statement, but it would seem to refer to his friend Patrick Houstoun. Stephens could not have had a guilty conscience, but he most certainly was hurt, as a week later he recorded on February 5, “. . . Mr. Houston left us, to return to Frederica; by him I wrote to the General . . . Whatever Mr. Houston’s Negotiations might be here, I had very little Regard to; but I thought that upon his getting home I shall see whether Mr. Jones was right in his Opinion or not. . . .”17
The situation between the two friends clears somewhat by an entry in the Earl of Egmont’s Diary for May 19, 1741, where he records that Stephens had written: “. . . Oglethorpe was suspicious that he [Stephens] did not send fair representations of the characters of the inhabitants and of proceedings at Savannah and had sent—Houston to Savannah to give him private accounts thereof.”
Stephens’s surmise that Houstoun might give an unfavorable report on him evidently was unfounded as further entries in his Journal reveal that correspondence between Oglethorpe and himself continued as before. Furthermore, on October 2, 1741, Stephens received a packet and letters from Oglethorpe together with a constitution from London and his appointment as president with four assistants of the “Jurisdiction of the County of Savannah.”
Patrick Houstoun’s plantation, Rosdue, was well under cultivation, for the reward of seventy-five pounds at two shillings per bushel of corn would indicate that he was the owner of hundreds of acres planted in that grain. Slavery still was prohibited in the colony, although the law was evaded by leasing Negroes from South Carolina for periods of ninety-nine years. Patrick Houstoun may or may not have been engaged in such subterfuge. In a letter dated in 1736, he wrote to Scotland for ten menservants. As his desire became urgent to farm more land, he may have found it necessary to acquire additional help. That is entirely possible as the winning of the bounty on corn was six years after he began the cultivation of his plantation.
Miniatures of Patrick and Priscilla Houstoun were taken, and from the appearance of both it would seem that they were done about the time of their marriage, or a few years later. For his likeness Patrick Houstoun wore a blue coat and ruffled shirt, and his back hair was dressed in curls. He had blue eyes and the broad, open countenance of the Scotsman. Priscilla Houstoun’s miniature reveals her slight of frame, with sloping shoulders, round head and oval face. She wore a pink gown with square neck and a necklace of pearls. Her features were delicate and refined. She had brown eyes and a small mouth, with upper lips turned up at the corners. An air of primness is quite noticeable in the miniature.
Their first child was born in the year 1742. No Bible or other family record gives the birthplace of any of the Houstoun children, but from letters written by Patrick Houstoun throughout the 1740’s, it appears that the family divided its time between Rosdue and Frederica. The older children probably were born in the latter place, and the younger ones at the plantation home in the Northern Division, for by 1751 their father’s political duties kept him near Savannah.
Patrick Houstoun, Jr., was named for his father. In the year of his birth the Battle of Bloody Marsh was fought on St. Simon’s Island, between a comparatively small contingent of Georgians and a large Spanish force. Young Patrick’s uncle, Lieutenant George Dunbar, whose rank was changed when he relinquished his sea calling and was put in Colonel Oglethorpe’s regiment, played a conspicuous part in that battle and throughout the whole of Oglethorpe’s military campaign. Patrick Houstoun undoubtedly fought in the Battle of Bloody Marsh, as every man was needed to assist in preventing the Spanish invasion of 1742, and Houstoun, who was then a resident of Frederica, must surely have felt as keenly as any other man his obligation to participate in every effort to protect not only the town but the colony as well. Two weeks after the Battle of Bloody Marsh General Oglethorpe issued, on July 21, a proclamation ordering a Thanksgiving to be held to the praise of God and that He had put an end to the Spanish Invasion. The Reverend John Martin Bolzius, one of the ministers of the Salzburgers who came to Georgia in 1734, has given a report of the manner in which the inhabitants of Frederica solemnly gave thanks for the victory. Under a September date, Mr. Bolzius entered in his diary: “Mr. Jones told me lately, that the people and soldiers at Frederica, on the day when the Thanksgiving was held [July 25] observed such a stillness and good order as he had never seen there. There was also a very pertinent and devout ascription of praise read which he (and Mr. Jones is a good judge of edifying things) pronounced to be very excellent: and moreover he maintained that it must have been prepared and composed by General Oglethorpe himself, for there was neither preacher nor schoolmaster at that time.”18
SIR PATRICK 1698-1762 AND LADY HOUSTOUN 1711?-1775
The next year, 1743, Patrick Houstoun certainly was in active military service, and a few years later he held a royal commission in Oglethorpe’s Regiment of Foot, which was formed August 25, 1737.19 Patrick Houstoun was an officer in Oglethorpe’s Expedition to St. Augustine in 1743, on the authority of Edward Kimber, who wrote in 1744 a narrative for his father, the Reverend Isaac Kimber. The younger Kimber accompanied the expedition, and his chronicle is in the form of a diary.20 The troops left Frederica on February 28, 1743. In mentioning the officers under General Oglethorpe, Kimber lists, “Mr. Patrick Hourtein, Commissary.”21 There can be no doubt that he referred to Patrick Houstoun, as the name was often spelled incorrectly. Kimber describes the journey both by land and by sea, and tells of the difficulties and hardships endured by the men, in all of which General Oglethorpe shared with fortitude. There is only one reference to Patrick Houstoun in the diary, but the mention of the rations might cover information on part of the Commissary’s duties during the campaign: “Every person carried his own Provisions, (in his Knap-sack or Haver-sack on his Back, Officers and Gentlemen not excepted) of which we had for seven days, at the Allowance of a Pound of Biscuit, and ten ounces of Cheese per Man; which, with Beef, if the Men chose it, was, and is the usual Allowance.”22 After two efforts to take the fort at St. Augustine, one by land and the other by water, General Oglethorpe determined to give up the venture. He gave orders to return to Frederica, where he arrived and disembarked on March 31, having been away fifty-nine days, “not having taken any Prisoner nor seen a Spaniard without the Walls, so much were they terrify’d with out late Attempts.”
Whether Patrick Houstoun’s visit to New York during the early summer of 1743 was for business or pleasure is beyond conjecture. That he was there was reported by a friend, John Provoso, who wrote from that city to Captain George Dunbar, then in London, begging that something be done to expedite the payment of General Oglethorpe’s bills. Provoso was certain that failure to pay the General’s bills was keeping needed supplies from the colony. There is no way of ascertaining whether or not Houstoun returned to Georgia in time to see General Oglethorpe before the latter made his final departure from Georgia, July 23, 1743; but even after he left his regiment remained intact, fully officered. On October 29, 1747, Patrick Houstoun was raised from the ranks to be commissioned adjutant in Oglethorpe’s 42nd Regiment of Foot, and served until July 23, 1748, when he was shifted to quartermaster.23 One year later the regiment was formed into Independent Companies of Foot with the same officers. Patrick Houstoun continued as quartermaster in Lieutenant Colonel Heron’s regiment, certainly until the year 1750.
Two years after the Battle of Bloody Marsh, the Houstouns had a second son who was born on October 19, 1744, and whom they named George.24 Family tradition claimed his birthplace as Frederica. Their third child was also a boy and was named John. History has confused the year of John Houstoun’s birth with that of his brother George, for all historians who have recorded the date and place of John’s birth have stated that he was born in “Burke County, Georgia, in 1744.”25 Rosdue and the home at Frederica were the only property owned by John’s father in 1746, ’47, ’48, and St. George’s Parish, later Burke County, then was forest land. In one of the above-mentioned years John Houstoun was born, and his birthplace, therefore, had to be either Rosdue or Frederica. There are no known records to disprove the inaccurate statement of historians, except George Houstoun’s epitaph and the Bible record. On April 1, 1755, Patrick Houstoun made the public statement that he “had a wife and four children;”26 so sometime after 1744 and before 1755 the two sons, John and James, the latter the fourth child, were born.
As the father spent his time during the seventeen-forties traveling back and forth between Frederica and Savannah, the question arises whether or not his family accompanied him. If so, it was no easy task for a mother and her small children to take such a tedious journey. In spite of the fact that Oglethorpe had had a fairly good road surveyed on the mainland, in a trip between Savannah and Frederica there were three rivers to cross by ferry; therefore it may be surmised that when the Houstoun family was occupying one of its homes and wished to take up its abode in the other, they went by water in a perriagua, or flat-bottomed boat. That trip in itself was a matter of two days or more and was made through the inland passage-way, the boat passing some of the beautiful coastal islands: Sapelo, St. Catherine’s and Ossabaw. In February, 1745, Patrick Houstoun was back in the Northern Division, either in residence at Rosdue or in Savannah for attendance on duty. He occupied some position of trust under the President and Assistants,27 then the governing body of the colony after Oglethorpe left Georgia. He wrote a “ship letter” from Savannah dated February 26, 1745, to Harmon Verelst in London, accountant for the Trustees. The frequent use of the pronouns “us and we” makes it obvious that Houstoun was an official.
From the contents of the “ship letter” some of Patrick Houstoun’s traits of character are plainly recognizable. He began his communication with a minute acknowledgment of all letters he had received, then gave the news that “Mr. Gronau28 had departed this life a few weeks since in Hope of a better elsewhere where notice is taken in my Journal.”29 Continuing, he expressed considerable anxiety with respect to earlier letters he had sent abroad. The prospect of their seizure by the enemy worried him. He then proceeded to list eight packets he had sent during 1744, mentioning the names of the eight ships that carried them, including the name of each vessel’s master. “Two of my last,” he wrote, “more especially are of the highest Concern to me: wherein we have endeavor’d with the utmost Exactness to fulfill the Trustees Commands in sending Coppies of Vouchers for all Payments made from Mich1mas 1739-Mich1mas 1743.” Precise details then followed with exact information on “double vouchers” concerning accounts with individuals, which he said, “we have punctually observ’d.”
The letter is a long one with details on the financial affairs of the colony, emphasizing the necessity of parcelling out a “few broken sums” where most needed and “the Demands most pressing.” “That,” he wrote, “has driven many People to seek Credit for Provisions to maintain their Families.”
Assisting with the management of a youthful colony’s affairs was an exacting work. That Patrick Houstoun diligently applied himself to this task would seem a reasonable assumption. Continuing his “ship letter,” he referred to numerous “inconveniences.” Supplies were short and in spite of careful management several public works had to be deferred. The prison, for example, was rotting away. Houstoun wrote “’tis universally agreed by all, that Stone Work (however rough) is the most eligible as well for strength as Duration; tho’ the greatest Expence therein will be Digging and Carting.”
The most important intelligence in the letter was the report on the building of the church in Savannah. The Reverend George Whitefield, a missionary sent to Georgia from England in 1738 by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, to care for the spiritual needs of the colony, had “£ 150 in his Hands” intended for the church. When the town was laid out, the lot for the church was set aside on Johnson Square. After a long delay the time seemed to have arrived to erect a place for divine worship. Patrick Houstoun’s words indicate that he held some office of authority for superintending the construction. He explained to the Trustees that it was “Time to attempt what was so desirable;” and he gave as other reasons “it had been the subject of so much Talk for Years past especially among Strangers who are apt to scoff at it.” Another reason he wrote was “some of the Artificers Apprehending” little prospect of their soon being employed were beginning to look for work in another province. “Wherefore,” he continued, “taking the best Caution we could to inform ourselves rightly in the several Dimensions of a Church & fix upon what we thought was a due Proportion by divers Drafts of the particular Parts, & an entire Iconographical plan of the Whole; we next resolved to agree with the Workmen, Sawyers, Carpenters Masons, &c; at a certain rate . . . resolving to have as little to do as possible with Day Labour . . . & promised ourselves the little Fund we had, would sufficiently enable Us so farr to carry on the Building, as to see it well cover’d in and thereby safe from Damage.” It was then to be left until another opportunity offered when the Trust should see fit to have the building completed inside and outside. Houstoun concluded, “I purposed to have herewith the Iconography of the church as it now stands; but the Drafts Man I employ’d has failed Me, & I must wait his time, to send it with my next.”30
From Frederica Patrick Houstoun wrote again to Harmon Verelst on March 19, 1745, requesting him to have delivered to General Oglethorpe “a Small Cask with a Dozn Bottles of Wine which is the pure juice of the Grape growing here without mixture whatsoever.” Houstoun wrote that he had made about ten gallons the previous season, and “it was the first Wine made in the County of Frederica.” Although the vines were young he believed “it Drinks a pretty Rhenish.” “If,” he added, “there were people Settled here that understood the Management of Vines I am positive Wine would be brot. quickly to a great Perfection in this Colony, and repay the Government Sufficiently the charge of Settling and Maintaining the Country.” Houstoun closed his letter by saying he “would be Singularly Oblig’d to you woul’d please let me know if the Wine comes Safe to You and if it be Drinkable in Britain.”31
In the year 1745 the Georgia colonists were taking sides for and against the Reverend Thomas Bosomworth and his wife, Mary Musgrove. The long controversy and the end of the contention have a part in this narrative because Patrick Houstoun was one of twenty signers of a petition from the officers of General Oglethorpe and the principal inhabitants of the town and county of Frederica, to the effect that they had personal knowledge of Mrs. Mary Bosomworth from “their first arrival in the colony, and in justice to her character felt themselves obliged to make a public declaration.” According to the residents of Frederica, the President and Assistants in Savannah allegedly were scheming to destroy the Bosomworths, and the Frederica townsmen, in their petition, testified to Mrs. Bosomworth’s “loyalty as a British Subject in bringing her friends and relatives from the nation to fight against His Majesty’s enemies. . . .” The petitioners in taking the part of the Reverend Mr. Bosomworth affirmed that they had had knowledge of him for five years, and “that he never behaved himself inconsistently with his duty and allegiance to his prince and had always conformed to the Liturgy of the Church of England. Their testimony they think will be sufficient to prove the wicked insinuations of her [Mary Bosomworth] Enemys False, Groundless and Malicious.”32 Patrick Houstoun was drawn further into the case by signing the Malatche paper, sometimes referred to as “the Bosomworth Papers.” He acted as a witness to the signatures of fifteen lords on a document declaring Malatche as their Mico with full authority to transact all affairs relating to their Nation. Patrick Houstoun’s attitude was undoubtedly cordial to the neighboring tribesmen. He had come into close relationship with them when they traded with him in his business in Savannah. His brother-in-law, George Dunbar, was intimately associated with them, and he had been sent on secret missions by Oglethorpe “up into the Indian Nations,”33 to make friendly alliance with them, in preparation for the Spanish campaign. It is certain that Patrick Houstoun’s witness of the signing of the Indian kings had no bearing on his later service in the colony. Had he been considered a disloyal subject, he would never have risen to appointment on the Royal Council and finally to the presidency of the same. The paper was sent to the Trustees in London, immediately after the signatures had been attached.
Some years later Patrick Houstoun was the bearer of a letter from the Reverend Mr. Bosomworth written to the speaker and to the members of the Assembly of the colony, and was dated March 16, 1752, asking that the writer be called upon to lay before the assembly his reasons for a true understanding of the state of Indian affairs for the justification of his character.34
It must have been about three years after the Bosomworth affair that the Houstoun family moved to the “Northern Division” to take up their permanent residency at their Rosdue plantation. In the year 1750 Patrick Houstoun then was included among the inhabitants of Savannah. In the summer of that year the principal citizens were so stirred over two circumstances that they resolved to refer their grievances to the Trustees whom they called their “Guardians.” Patrick Houstoun joined his fellow-citizens, numbering nearly forty men, who, on July 7, signed the petitions. The first trouble which had aroused the ire of Savannahians was the chicanery of certain South Carolinians who were seeking to bring about the annexation of the Georgia colony to their own, perpetuating a feud which began when Oglethorpe was made Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the South Carolina troops, as well as those of his regiment in Georgia. That inter-colony contention continued as a distinct irritation through many years to follow. The Georgia claimants set forth in their petition: “We should be not only greatly imprudent, but deficient in Point of Duty, if when alarmed with Schems artfully calculated for Purposes the most detrimental to this colony, we did not immediately apply to its Guardians.”35
“We are sufficiently assured,” concluded the petition, “that some Designing Men in our Neighboring Province are using their utmost efforts to get this Colony Annexed to those and insinuate that such a Junction would be agreeable to the Inhabitants of this. — That a Design of so bad Tendancy may not meet with Countenance, as our part of it is absolutely true.” The signatures followed. The Trustees took cognizance of the complaint about a year and a half later when they issued a protest, entitled, “Objections to Annexing Georgia to South Carolina,” which was sent to the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations. What must have brought intense satisfaction to Houstoun and his fellow-colonists were the words in the text: “. . . The Jealousy which some Charles Town Merchants have of the Town of Savannah becoming from the superior fitness of its situation the great Mart for the Indian Trade to prevent which they will distress the present Inhabitants of Georgia by all the means in their power.”36
Three weeks after signing the first petition most of the signatories, including Houstoun, gathered in the Council Room, on July 29, and signed a second one to be sent to the Trustees apprising them “concerning the great Inconveniences and Hardships the Inhabitants labour under from the Many Parties of Straggling Indians round our Settlements,” asking for military protection.37 The Indian question continued a vexing one for several years, until finally the officers governing the colony settled it.
There is little to relate of Sir Patrick’s children, but with the knowledge that their parents owned property in two beautiful localities in the colony, one can easily imagine something of the life of four boys of that period, and some of their activities and recreations. Frederica had settled down to quiet and peace during the years following the “Spanish Invasion.” It is easy to picture the father and his boys standing on the ramparts of the fort at Frederica, while the parent recounted to his sons the story of that exciting day when Georgia troops drove the larger number of Spanish soldiers from the island.
A broad avenue lined with moss-draped live oak trees led from the Savannah road to the house on the Rosdue plantation. The view to the right and to the left showed the Little Ogeechee and the broad Vernon Rivers which converge into Green Island Sound five or six miles from the mainland. Ample grounds around the house furnished for children the best out-door recreation for building up fine physiques to encounter the strain that came later in their lives, although young Patrick appeared to have been the exception to the rule.
Some of the children of prominent colonists are mentioned in the earliest records, among them the Houstouns’ two older sons who were given citations in the Colonial Records of Georgia in 1755 when their father petitioned the Royal Council for lot number sixty-seven and lot number sixty-nine in the proposed town of Hardwick for his sons Patrick and George, then thirteen and eleven years of age, respectively. The lots were never used, as the town did not materialize, and the project was abandoned. It would be of value, naturally, as a clue to their professions and interests later in life, to know something of the education of the Houstoun children. Although there were several private schools in Savannah, Southern colonists usually provided tutors for their children, and it is presumed that the Houstoun parents adhered to the custom. Young Patrick seems to have been the one selected for a foreign education. According to family tradition, Patrick, Jr., was a frail child. Therefore it is taken for granted that the condition of his health further influenced his father and mother to send him to Scotland for schooling in the hope that a vigorous climate might make of him a more healthy boy. It is not known when Patrick left Georgia, but he was in Glasgow at the age of twelve. On his arrival there, how wonderfully old and strange the foreign city must have seemed to his youthful eyes. Its streets were paved with cobblestones, its houses were built of stone, and there were also thatched cottages, so unlike the small houses of Frederica and Savannah. After young Patrick arrived in Glasgow his father wrote a letter from Rosdue, December 5, 1754, to his cousin, George Houstoun, of Paisley, in which he made reference to his son. It is disappointing that there is no family news in the letter and nothing about the affairs of the colony. “I suppose,” wrote the Georgia Houstoun, “You see my son sometimes at Glasgow. . . .” Exhorting his kinsman in Scotland to give young Patrick good advice so that he would “turn out to be a prittie fellow,” the elder Houstoun closed his letter with “Your Cousling & most Humble Sevtt.”38
Without question Patrick’s aunt took him to visit the ancient Castle of Houstoun, and the interest the boy showed in the home of his ancestors easily can be imagined. Perhaps before he left Scotland he even made the trip to Inverness to carry back to his mother the latest news of her family. It was an enlightening experience for the young lad, and the years he spent in the native country of his parents left their mark on the colony where he was born. As he was visiting relatives, he must have attended preparatory schools in Glasgow. It is known positively that he did not attend the University there, St. Andrews or the University of Edinburgh;39 but in some manner Patrick was well prepared for the conspicuous part he played when he returned to the land of his birth before his father died.
Some time after April, 1755, Sir Patrick and Lady Houstoun’s only daughter was born, and she was given the name of Ann Priscilla; and in the year 1757 the last child, William, was added to the family circle. Prior to 1755 the father had begun his public career, and even before he received his title. When the Colony of Georgia made a change in its governmental affairs, Patrick Houstoun was called into political service, from which he did not withdraw until death claimed him.
1. Unpublished Colonial Records of Georgia, XXIX, 145; also J. P. Maclean, An Historical Account of the Scottish Highlanders in America. . . . (Glasgow, 1900), 149, 150.
2. Jones, History of Georgia, I, 200.
3. Earl of Egmont’s Diary, II, 316. A few years later the town was called New Inverness in the District of Darien, but a short while afterward the settlers gave it the original name.
4. Colonial Records of Georgia, XXII, Pt. 1, 185.
5. On July 27, 1933, the author began a correspondence with the firm of Millar and Bryce, of Edinburgh, Scotland, professional Searchers of Records. On May 9, 1934, the firm sent the results of its search.
6. Unpublished Colonial Records of Georgia, XXIX, 161, 162, 183.
7. Colonial Records of Georgia, V, 442.
8. Earl of Egmont’s Diary, III, 214.
9. Unpublished Colonial Records of Georgia, XXX, 340.
10. In the library of the Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, is a blueprint traced from a map owned by Mrs. Agnes C. Hartridge, of St. Simon’s Island, by Lydia A. Parrish, May 29, 1927, which shows “Houstoun’s Lands” located on the east side of St. Simon’s, east of Frederica. Under date of September 21, 1801, John McKinnon, surveyor, states he made a re-survey of tracts of several lands, in conformity with a re-survey made by Jacob Lewis, a surveyor, in the year, 1774.
11. Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, IV (Back of book, 1-7).
12. M. H. and D. B. Floyd, “Oglethorpe’s Home at Frederica,” in The Georgia Historical Quarterly, XX, No. 3 (September, 1936), 229-249.
13. Thomas Spalding, “A Sketch of the Late General James Oglethorpe,” in the Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, I, 274. Thomas Spalding (1774-1851) was born at the Cottage, Oglethorpe’s first home in Frederica. He gathered information from his grandfather, William McIntosh, who had served as a youth in the troops of Oglethorpe.
14. Earl of Egmont’s Diary, III, 189.
15. Colonial Records of Georgia, V., 500.
16. Ibid., IV, Supplement, 42.
17. Ibid., 89.
18. Thaddeus Mason Harris, D.D., Biographical Memorials of James Oglethorpe, Founder of the Colony of Georgia in North America (Boston 1841), 387-389. From the German translation of John Martin Bolzius.
19. W. R. Williams, ed., “British-American Officers, 1720-1763, Compiled from the Original Commission Register. . . . War Office Records. . . . Public Record Office, London,” in the South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, XXXIII, No. 23 (1932), 194.
20. Edward Kimber, A Relation or Journal of a late Expedition to the Gates of St. Augustine or Florida. . . . Reprinted from the Original Edition (London, 1744; Boston, 1935).
21. Ibid., “(Page 7, line 8, for Hourtein, read Houstein)”, Corrections, 37.
22. Ibid., 22.
23. South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, XXXIII, 194.
24. Sir George Houstoun’s tombstone in Bonaventure has inscribed on it under his name, “1744-1795”: and recorded in his own Bible (owned by the heirs of Mrs. Macartan C. Kollock of Atlanta, Georgia, lineal descendants), in a different handwriting from the other entries is: “Sir George Houstoun, Bart., 9th, June, 1744 . . . aged 59 years, 7 months & 19 days.”
25. James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, eds., Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography (New York, 1888), III, 273.
26. Colonial Records of Georgia, VII, 142.
27. A search for Houstoun’s official position at that time has been in vain.
28. The Reverend Israel Christian Gronau, religious teacher at Ebenezer.
29. Nothing is known of that journal.
30. Colonial Records of Georgia, XXIV, 363-370.
The erection of the church continued under the Reverend Bartholomew Zouberbuhler, who, with the authorities, saw the completion of their task in 1750, when the building was dedicated, July 7. An effort was made through a research worker in London to procure a copy of the “Iconography,” but with disappointing result. A copy, however, is in the state, but it is not procurable.
For a description of the plans and of the specifications of the church see Unpublished Colonial Records of Georgia, XXIX, 106, 107; XXXI, 108, 109.
31. Colonial Records of Georgia, XXIV, 371, 372.
32. Unpublished Colonial Records of Georgia, XXVII, 26, 27, 381, 476.
33. Colonial Records of Georgia, IV, 456; Ibid., Supplement, 127.
34. Unpublished Colonial Records of Georgia, XXVII, 559. For Bosomworth’s narrative, answering the charges against him and his wife by the President and Assistants, see Ibid., 347-414.
35. Ibid., XXXVI, 512, 515.
36. Jones, History of Georgia, I, 437, 438.
37. Unpublished Colonial Records of Georgia, XXXVI, 495-497.
38. A photostatic copy of the letter was sent to the author by Mrs. Anne D. Houstoun of Johnstone Castle, Johnstone, Scotland, April 24, 1913. In her letter she mentioned a visit her husband had paid to “Rossdue,” in 1874.
39. Verification in letters to the author from Mr. John Spencer Muirhead, D.S.O., M.C., LL.B., Secretary, Glasgow University Court (1934); Mr. John Millar, Assistant Clerk, University of Edinburgh (1936); and Mr. Andrew Bennett, Secretary, University of St. Andrews (1938).