Monday, May 2, 2016

Francis Asbury Stafford Sr.

Chalfant Church, built 1811, Washington Township, Coshocton County, Ohio
Francis Asbury Stafford Sr.
Coshocton County, Ohio
Francis Asbury Stafford Sr. was born 22 December 1782 in Frederick County, Virginia, the second of ten children born to Richard and Catharine Brobeker Stafford.  He married Elizabeth Mounts Henshaw 27 February 1805 in Allegany County, Maryland.  Elizabeth was born 1782, and died 08 November 1836 in Coshocton County, Ohio.  She was the widow of Jonathan Seman Henshaw of Berkeley County, Virginia--mistakenly identified in the Henshaw genealogies as Elizabeth Stafford--and brought a daughter Rhua Ann Henshaw into the marriage.  Francis and Elizabeth Mounts Stafford had seven children, two sons and five daughters.  Francis Asbury Stafford Sr. died 06 September 1868 in Coschocton County, Ohio, and they are buried in Chalfant's Cemetery. 
His full name and birthdate are recorded in the Family Bible of Richard and Catharine Stafford.  Additional Bible records and their headstones corroborate the dates.  Their marriage record is on file in Allegany County, Maryland.  Names and dates for their children are also listed in various Bible records, confirmed by the marriage and census records for Coshocton County, Ohio.

It is said they came to Coshocton County, Ohio, in 1808, settling in Washington Township.  Land records compiled in Early Ohio Settlers:  Purchaser of land in Eastern and East Central Ohio 1800-1830 show that Francis A. Stafford bought land in Muskingum County 27 September 1809.  His land, located at r08 t04 s20, was in what would become Coshocton County in 1811.  He purchased more land in 1816 and 1824, s 13 and s9 respectively.  His brother Richard bought s14 in 1812.

According to the history of Chalfant Church in Coshocton County, Ohio, Francis Stafford was one of the earliest members of the church in 1808, along with Mordecai Chalfant, the Youngs, Reasoners, Peter Camp, Eli McClain, and Daniel Johnson, a freed slave.  Chalfant Methodist Episcopal Church is the oldest religious society in Coshocton County.  According to Coshocton County Sesquicentennial, Francis Stafford was among the most prominent keepers of public houses.  He apparently ran a hotel and tavern in Virginia Township in addition to his farming.

Francis is recorded in every census from 1820-1860 for Coshocton County, Ohio, but the recording of his family has sometimes been a bit confusing.  Marriage records in Coshocton County list six Stafford marriages for the time period 1820-1850, all of them Francis and Eliza Stafford’s children.  Their children were William J. Stafford, born 1805; Mary Ann Stafford Compton, born 1807; Eliza Jane Stafford Wright, born 1810; Sarah Stafford Thompson, born 1812; Matilda Stafford Wood, born 1815; Adaline Hariet Stafford Loch, born 1817; and Francis Asbury Stafford Jr., born 1822.  In addition, they raised Eliza’s daughter Rhua Ann Henshaw Higbee, born 1800, and an unidentified boy born about 1805, who is recorded in their household during the 1820 & 1830 Census.

Francis Asbury Stafford Sr. may be the man who married Elizabeth Sheppard 22 February 1838 in Muskingum County, Ohio.  He also married Elizabeth McCulloch 12 April 1852 in Coshocton County, Ohio.  Lastly, he married Isabella McGraw 21 March 1861 in Coshocton County.  Isabella survived him.

William J. Stafford

William J. Stafford was born in 20 November 1805 in Allegany County, Maryland, or possibly Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia.  He married Maritta Thompson 11 January 1829 in Coshocton County, Ohio.  Maritta Thompson was born 1808 in Pennsylvania, the daughter of Joseph and Thankful Aldridge Thompson.  This is the family recorded in the 1830 census in Coshocton County, and in the 1840 census in Muskingum County.  In 1840, William and a neighbor George Hopkins got the “western fever” in response to Horace Greeley’s cry, “Go west, young men, go west!”  Waiting until after the November election so they could vote for fellow Ohioan William Henry Harrison for president, they made the move together to the wild Missouri frontier, settling in Osage County.  William has been recorded as both a farmer and a minister, probably Methodist Episcopal.

William and Maritta Stafford had eight children—Elizabeth Asbury Stafford Gibson, born 1829; Milton D. Stafford, born 1831; Francis Stafford, born 1835; Nancy Stafford, born 1838; William P. Stafford, born 1840; Charles Montgomery Stafford, born 1842; Josephine Stafford, born 1844; and Rhua Ann Stafford LaRue, born 1847.

Elizabeth Gibson had five children and was widowed at 40, but she and her children participated in the Oklahoma Land Rush in 1889.  Her son Billy ran with the Dalton Brothers and the Doolin Gang.

Milton died rather young, leaving one daughter who married a railroad engineer and moved back east to New York.

Charles fought for the Union during the Civil War, then married, raised three sons and a daughter in Johnson County, Missouri, and later moved the whole family to Walla Walla, Walla Walla, Washington.

Rhua Ann LaRue had eleven daughters and was widowed at 44.  She moved with many of her children to Oklahoma after 1900.

Nothing more is presently known about Francis, Nancy, William, and Josephine.

William J. Stafford died in 1867.  Maritta died in 1868 in Johnson County, Missouri.

Mary Ann Stafford Compton

Mary Ann Stafford was born 28 July 1807 in Winchester, Frederick, Virginia.  She married Andrew Compton in Coshocton County, Ohio, on 15 September 1827.  He was born in 22 February 1808 in New Jersey, certainly a descendant of Andrew Compton, but his relationship to Martha Matilda Compton Stafford is unknown.  They apparently lived in Ohio until about 1838, when they moved to Whitley County, Indiana.  Whitley County neighbors Kosciusko County, where Wesley Stafford’s family settled twenty years later.  Andrew died 29 October 1852 in Whitley County.  Mary outlived him by more than forty years, dying 22 December 1893 in Whitley County.  They are buried in the Richland Center (Compton-Norris) Cemetery.

Mary and Andrew Compton had ten children—Rhua Melvina Stafford Grimes, born 1831; Isaac Newton Compton, born 1832; Stephen James Compton, born 1835; Margaret Jane Compton Van Camp, born 1837; Phebe D. Compton Peddycord, born 1839; Matilda Ellen Compton Sickafoose, born 1842; Aaron Lee Compton, born 1843; and Celetta Compton Christian, born 1846; and Francis W. Compton, born 1850.  Another daughter, born about 1828, died in childhood.

Rhua married Mahlon Grimes and had one child, Cassius M. Grimes, who raised his family in Whitley County.  They are buried in the South Whitley Cemetery.

Isaac and Stephen both served in Company E of the 44th Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.  Stephen was a Second Lieutenant.  They both married and raised families in Whitley County, as did their brother Aaron.

Jennie Compton Van Camp was living in Texas in 1907, but nothing further is presently known about her.

Phoebe married Levi Peddycord and they raised their family in Kosciusko County, Indiana, before moving to Snohomish County, Washington.

Ellen married George Sickafoose, and though they lived in Burrien County, Michigan, and raised two sons there, they also did missions work among the Chinese in Portland, Oregon.

Celetta married Wesley Christian and they lived in Kosciusko County.  Their only son Clarence married but had no children.

Frank married and raised a family in Kosciusko County, Indiana.

Eliza Jane Stafford Wright
Eliza Jane Stafford was born 26 May 1810 in Muskingum County, Ohio.  She married Achor Wright 02 Jul 1829 in Coshocton County.  Achor Wright was born 26 October 1806 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, the son of Nathan and Hannah Worley Wright.  Eliza and Achor Wright lived in Ohio until about 1841, when they moved to Bartholomew County, Indiana with the Thompsons and Lochs.
Eliza and Achor Wright had nine children—Amanda Wright Vickers Mitchell, born 1830; Matilda E. Wright Romine, born 1832; Francis Asbury Wright, born 1834; Cleora J. Wright Graves, born 1836; Hester A. Wright Fravel, born 1838; Absalom W. Wright, born 1840; Elizabeth Wright, born 1842; James K. Polk Wright, born 1844; John J. Wright, born 1846; Orlando Allen Wright, born 1850; and Hannah E. Wright Adams, born 1851.

In the mid-1850s, a cholera epidemic swept Bartholomew County, killing an estimated half of the population.  Achor & Eliza Stafford Wright, along with son Francis and daughter Elizabeth all died in the spring of 1854, perhaps during that epidemic.  Their minor children were left under the guardianship of Samuel Thompson and Stephen & Matilda Wright Romine.

Amanda Wright married first Thomas Vickers, then James Mitchell.  She had a daughter by each man before she died in 1866.  Both daughters married and had families in Bartholomew County. 

Matilda Wright married Stephen Romine and raised a family of nine children that remained mostly in Bartholomew and Brown Counties, Indiana. 

Cleora Wright married John W. Graves, had five children, and lived in Missouri and Iowa before settling finally in Kansas. 

Hester Wright went back to live with relatives in Coshocton County, Ohio, where she married William Fravel.  They settled in Knox county, Ohio, and had three children before their deaths in 1862.

James Knox Polk Wright also went back to Ohio, settling in Licking County, where he married and had two children.

John J. Wright was living with his maternal grandfather Francis Asbury Stafford in 1860.  He enlisted with the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at age fourteen and served three years during the Civil War.  Afterward he went to Union County, Iowa, where he married and raised five daughters.

Allen Arlander Wright was living with the Romines during a short stay in Missouri in 1860.  He married in Jackson county, Indiana, and lived in Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, and finally Oklahoma.

Hannah Wright married widower Amos P. Adams and had two daughters, living in Orange and Lawrence County, Indiana.  She is said to have died in 1889 in Barton County, Missouri, possibly while living with one of her daughters.

Sarah Stafford Thompson
Sarah Stafford was born 16 June 1812 in Muskingum (now Coshocton) County, Ohio. She married Samuel Thompson 12 December 1830 in Coshocton County.  He was born in 1806 in Pennsylvania, probably the son of Joseph & Thankful Aldridge Stafford and brother to Maritta Thompson (Mrs. William J.) Stafford.  They lived in Ohio until about 1841, when they moved to Bartholomew County, Indiana, with the Wrights and Lochs.  In the 1850s, they lived for a brief time in Carver County, Minnesota, before returning to Bartholomew County.  Sarah died about 1870, and the rest of the Thompsons went back to Hennepin County, Minnesota, where Samuel died before 1885.

Sarah and Samuel Thompson had seven children—William J. Thompson, born 1833; Maritta Thompson Snyder, born 1835; Robert C. Thompson, born 1839; Mary Thompson Snyder, born 1842; Martha Thompson, born 1844; Sarah Ellen Thompson, born 1848; and Samuel Thompson, born 1850.

With the exception of Maritta, who married James Snyder and moved back to Ohio, all of these lived out their lives in Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Matilda Stafford Wood
Matilda Stafford was born 01 January 1815 in Coshocton County, Ohio.  She married Absalom Wood 11 April 1830 in Coshocton County, and they are recorded the same year in the census for Franklin Township.  Absalom was born about 1810 in Fauquier County, Virginia, the son of Dickerson & Hannah Withers Wood Jr.  A Matilda Wood appears in the 1840 census for Coshocton County, Ohio, but none of the people in her household are the right age to be Matilda Stafford Wood.  One Wood family source says Absalom Wood died after 1836 in Montgomery County, Illinois, but nothing certain about them is known after 1830.

Adaline Stafford Loch

Adaline Hariet Stafford was born 04 April 1817 in Coshocton County, Ohio.  She married David Loch 04 August 1833 in Knox County, Ohio, and they resided in Crawford County, Ohio, until their move to Bartholomew County, Indiana, in about 1837.  It was their move that likely prompted the Wrights and Thompsons, families of Adaline’s sisters, to settle there a few years later.  Some records have supposed Adaline was born in 1822, leading some to believe that she was a twin to the Francis Asbury Stafford Jr., but Stafford and Loch family Bible records have cleared that up.  David Loch was born 14 April 1808 in Rockingham County, Virginia.  He was thought by many to be the son of John Loch (born 1752) & Mary Ann Raider, but Bible records have again corrected a false assumption; he was the son of John (born 1760) & Catharine Loch.

Adaline and David Loch settled on land he had owned in Indiana since 1834, and raised a family of 10 children there:  Lyman Lansing Loch, born 1835; Francis Marion Loch, born 1837; Elizabeth Loch Dye, born 1841; John Milton Loch, born 1843; Sarah Ella Loch, born 1845; William Herod Loch, born 1848; Laura Matilda Loch Brown, born 1853; David Albert Loch, born 1855; Samuel Allen Loch, born 1855; and Cassius Marcus Loch, born 1858.  They also raised from childhood Ransom Loch, born 1834, but his biological parentage is unknown.  Many of their children used the alternate spelling of Locke for their surname.

David Loch ran the Rockford Flouring Mill in Bartholomew County, and later worked for the railroad which took him to Minnesota in the 1850s.  He filed a homestead on some land near Minnetonka, Hennepin County, Minnesota in 1855, but returned to Indiana where he was Superintendent of the County Infirmary during the Civil War.  In 1862, he bought 40 acres in Hennepin County but did not relocate until 1865.  He brought his family to Minnetonka in 1866, where Adaline died 17 July 1872.  David Loch died there 17 April 1877.

Ransom Locke married Lucy Ann Orcutt, had four children, and settled in Green County, Wisconsin, before moving to Smith County, Kansas in 1895.

Lyman, Frank & John Locke enlisted in the 22nd Indiana Volunteer Infantry in August 1861, but Frank & John died within days of each other before the year was out.  The trainmen stopped the train in the country near the County Infirmary and carried the bodies to the home of their parents, an act of kindness greatly appreciated by the citizens of Bartholomew County.

Lyman married Susan Carter and they had eight children.  They settled in Hennepin County, Minnesota, shortly after the Civil War.

Elizabeth married George Dye and had ten children.  They raised their family in Hennepin County, Minnesota, but later lived on the West Coast in California and Washington with several of their children.

Sara Ella Loch was an artist in Minneapolis who never married. 

William was a Methodist Episcopal minister educated at the University of Minnesota and Garrett Bible Institute in Evanston, Illinois.  He married Grace Brown and had two daughters, living in Illinois.

Laura married Dr. William Brown, and their son was a doctor in California. 

David Albert and Samuel Allen were both doctors, receiving their degrees from Harnnewain Medical College in Chicago.  They both practiced medicine in Minnesota until their deaths.  Albert never married, but Samuel was married to a woman named Grace, and they had two sons. 

Cassius was also educated at the University of Minnesota.  He owned and managed the Minneapolis Shade Cloth Company.  He married Roberta Pratt, and they had no children.

Francis Asbury Stafford Jr.
Francis Stafford was born in July 1822 in Coshocton County, Ohio.  He married Martha Matilda Compton 02 February 1843 in Coshocton County, Ohio.  Martha was the daughter of William and Phebe Compton, born in May 1821 in New Jersey.

Francis was a farmer and raised livestock in Coshocton County.  In 1872, he still owned three hundred acres of his father’s original farm in Washington Township, next to his brother-in-law Stephen D. Compton.  He was a member and director of the County Agricultural Society, which put on the county fair each year.  He also ran a tavern in the Wakatomika area.  (It may be that Francis Sr. never operated a tavern, only his son.)

Francis and Martha Stafford had ten children—a Son, born 1843; Matilda Stafford, born 1844; William R. Stafford, born 1845;  Mary Elizabeth “Libby” Stafford Huff, born 1846; Phoebe P. Stafford Stanford, born 1849; Leroy Holmes “Roy” Stafford, born 1850; Francis Montgomery “Mont” Stafford, born 1852; Sarah “Sadie” Stafford Johnson, born 1854; Ellen Stafford, born 1856; and Eliza Lydia “Lyda” Benton, born 1858.  The first son, Matilda, William and Ellen all died as children.  Most of the others and their families continued to live around Coshocton County, Ohio. 

Libby Stafford married George Washington Huff and had ten children.  They farmed near Wakatomika. 

Phoebe Stafford married James Stanford and had six children.  They owned a thriving business in Coshocton. 

Roy Stafford married Lucy Hamilton and had six children.  They farmed around Washington Township until 1900, when he moved to Dresden, Ohio. 

Montie Stafford married Alice Newcombe and lived at Coshocton.  They had no children.

Sadie Stafford married Eugene Johnson.  He worked for the railroad, and they traveled a lot in later years, keeping two homes in San Diego, California, and Dresden, Ohio.  They had no children.

Lyda Stafford married Lyman Benton, and they had no children.  They died in Charlevoix, Michigan.

Martha Compton Stafford died 06 December 1890 and is buried in the Hamilton Valley Cemetery, Coshocton County, Ohio.  Francis married secondly Elizabeth Buxton on 05 August 1897 in Coshocton County.  He died 23 April 1900 in Coshocton County, and is buried beside his wife.


William Josephus Stafford

William Josephus Stafford
Baltimore, Maryland 

William Josephus Stafford was born 12 September 1781, probably in Frederick County, Virginia, the oldest of ten children born to Richard and Catharine Brobacker Stafford.  He married Mary Whipple 01 October 1805 in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland.  Mary was born about 1785, and was said to be the daughter of a William Whipple, and granddaughter of Abraham Whipple.  William and Mary Stafford had two sons, and raised their family in Baltimore.  Mary died 22 July 1809 in Baltimore.  William married secondly Mary Lauderman 05 June 1811 in Baltimore.  William Josephus Stafford died 24 February 1823 in Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina. 

His full name, birthdate, two marriages, and birthdates for his children are recorded in the Family Bible of Richard and Catherine Stafford.  His death date comes from the obituary published in the Baltimore Patriot, 20 March 1823. 

He is listed as William J. Stafford in the estate papers of his parents, chancery court records, and in the census.  Transcribed records for Baltimore available through the Mormon Church show his name variously as William Josephus Stafford, William J. Stafford, William S. Stafford, and William L. Stafford.  Historical reports of the Battle of the Rappahannock refer to him as William S. Stafford.  The research of  Feliciano Gamez Duarte shows that he used William J. Stafford as well as aliases William S. Stafford, Joseph Stafford, and Jose Guillermo Estifano.

After his father died in 1808, William administered the estate and purchased 6 steers and a black boy from it.  Thomas W. Griffith filed a mortgage foreclosure on a piece of property in Baltimore City in Chancery Court against William J. & Mary Stafford in 1817.  In 1820, he was named as a defendant with his brothers and sister in a lawsuit filed by their brother Joseph S. Stafford in the Frederick County, Virginia, Chancery Court.  Court proceedings continued through at least 1834, with no resolution given in the court papers. 

William J. Stafford’s household was recorded in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, for 1820, showing two males born 1775-1794, one female born 1775-1794, one female born 1794-1804, and two males born 1804-1810.  This would appear to be William and his second wife Mary, with sons William Whipple and Francis Asbury.  The other two individuals could be siblings, perhaps William’s brother James Bruce Stafford and sister Sarah Stafford—both of whom are otherwise unaccounted for in 1820.  He is not present in the 1830 Census and presumably died before that time. 

The War of 1812

Perhaps it was the business dealings of his father that took William J. Stafford to Baltimore, where he married Mary Whipple in 1805.  One account given by a family member tried to make her the daughter of William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and granddaughter of Abraham Whipple who led the raid on the Gaspee, an action that helped lead this country into its Revolution.  However, historical documentation shows that William Whipple was the son of another William Whipple and had no children that survived childhood.  Abraham Whipple did not have a son named William, and his daughter Mary was born a generation earlier than the Mary Whipple who wed William J. Stafford.  She may well have been the daughter of a William Whipple and granddaughter of an Abraham Whipple, but not the famous ones. 

William J. Stafford, the first of four generations of Stafford men to become a seaman, attained the rank of captain as commander of the privateer Dolphin, a 12-gun schooner renowned for outsailing its foes.  During the War of 1812, Captain Stafford and the Dolphin carried Baltimore’s privateering commission No. 2, operating in the sea lanes from Baltimore to Buenos Aires and across the Atlantic to the coast of Portugal.  He was responsible for the capture of eleven British ships, nine of which were brought home to Baltimore.  After the declaration of war, Captain Stafford was responsible for the first prize captured on 26 July 1812, a British schooner valued at $18,000.   

On 25 January 1813, after two unsuccessful months in the Atlantic, Stafford encountered two British vessels—Three Brothers and Hebe—off the coast of Spain, twenty-six guns total to his ten.  After a spirited battle in which Dolphin lost four men, the British surrendered and Stafford took the prisoners aboard ship, including Captain W.A. Brigham of Hebe, who was wounded during the battle.  It is reported that Captain Brigham, upon boarding Dolphin and finding it captained by the American Stafford, said, “I did not expect to find a damned Yankee privateer in [this] part of the world!”  Stafford replied that he would soon find American privateers capturing ships on the Thames. 

Hebe was recaptured by the British before it reached America, but Three Brothers and the prisoners were delivered to Baltimore.  Captain Brigham was treated personally by Dolphin’s surgeon, Dr. Chidester, and later attributed his recovery to the doctor’s attentions and Captain Stafford’s tender sympathy and goodness.  Brigham actually published a statement in Baltimore acknowledging the kind and humane treatment received by him and his men.  They were all given back their clothing and personal possessions, and all the wounded were diligently attended to.  Captain Brigham made the statement:  “Should the fortune of war ever throw Captain Stafford or any of his crew into the hands of the British it is sincerely hoped he will meet a similar treatment.” 

Captain Stafford was well known for his kindness of manner toward prisoners.  Such was the power of his personality that on several occasions, when it was necessary to extend the sweeps and row to escape the English men-of-war, prisoners would volunteer to do the rowing.  It was that same kind good nature that won Brigham’s admiration.   

On another occasion, George Coggeshall, Connecticut privateer and author of History of the American Privateers and Letters-of-Marque, would write that he became personally acquainted with Captain Stafford while they were both in the French port of Bordeaux, and that he found Stafford to be “a modest, unassuming, gentlemanly man; no one can, for a moment, doubt his unflinching bravery and gallant bearing, when he reflects on the many battles he has gained over the enemies of his country.”  And Coggeshall appeals to the testimony of Captain Brigham which painted Stafford as “generous, kind and humane.” 

On April 1, 1813, a British squadron blockaded the Rappahannock River from Lynhaven Bay.  An expedition under the command of Lieutenant James Polkinghorne encountered four schooners—Arab, Lynx, Racer, and Dolphin—all built in Baltimore and under the command of Captain William Stafford.  Though heavily outnumbered, Stafford anchored his ships in line of battle with portside guns facing the mouth of the Rappahannock, and when Polkinghorne’s ships approached, the Americans opened fire. 

Arab was boarded and run aground by its captain.  Racer and Lynx were quickly taken and their crews surrendered.  When Polkinghorne went for Dolphin, Captain Stafford put up a stubborn fight that lasted fifteen minutes.  Five Americans were wounded before Dolphin surrendered.  Lynx, Racer and Dolphin were all taken into British service, with Dolphin retaining her name.  Because he was well known for having treated British prisoners well, Captain Stafford was treated in kind, and on 7 April, Captain Stafford and Doctor Chidester were paroled and sent ashore. 

By November 1813, Stafford was in command of another privateer.  Attacked just outside Charleston Harbor by five boats from a British man-of-war, Stafford ripped one of the boats apart with discharges of grapeshot.  The attack failed, and the man-of-war fired a broadside at the privateer before sailing away. 

South America

Following the end of hostilities with the British in 1814, American shipping interests found themselves at a loss while making the transition from wartime to peace.  Many sailors were out of work, and ship owners were forced to look for new ventures.  Many privateers turned to smuggling, among them Captain William J. Stafford and his friend Jose Joaquin Almeida, a Portuguese-born immigrant who had settled in Baltimore in 1797. 

While in New Orleans, Almeida heard about the Spanish expedition to retake Venezuela from the rebels and decided to use the situation to his financial advantage.  Almeida, Stafford, and other sailed for the port of Cartagena, arriving in December 1815 shortly after General Pablo Morillo had taken the city for Spain.  The privateers unwittingly sailed into port and were immediately seized by the Spanish.  Their ships and cargoes were confiscated.  The men were stripped naked and beaten with rifle butts before being thrown into prison. 

Almeida described their transfer to Santa Marta as “the most difficult march, during which we suffered more than we can describe.”  The battered prisoners were forced to march barefoot the 140 miles from Cartagena to Santa Marta, and several men died as a result.  Though they were soon released and returned to Baltimore, these privateers had lost everything and were marked with a deep desire for revenge.  Almeida said “the resentment that burned in my abuse and the loss of my private property led me to enlist in the South American service.” 

The South American provinces were in rebellion against Imperial Spain, and the American privateering interests saw it as the perfect opportunity to plunder Spanish ships both for their treasures and for the satisfaction of revenge for the mistreatment of sailors such as Almeida and Stafford.  In Baltimore they met Thomas Taylor, an American who had long ago moved to Buenos Aires.  A privateer himself, Taylor had come to Baltimore seeking partnerships with American privateers in the cause of South American Independence.  If American businessmen would put up the funding and the ships, their South American counterparts would take care of everything else. 

Respected Baltimore businessmen like David Burke of David Burke and Sons Merchant House, pillars of the community often serving in positions of responsibility and trust, were joined by men of lesser means such as John Craig in these ventures.  Craig and his partners operated a wharf, in addition to owning scows and chartered vessels, and selling groceries and sailing supplies.  Some sea captains like James Chaytor and Almeida also bought interests in the vessels they would be commanding.  Chaytor had been with Captain William J. Stafford at the Battle of the Rappahannock. 

Once a suitable ship had been outfitted—at the cost of an estimated $40,000—the next step was obtaining a crew and supplies in such a way that would escape the notice of the authorities.  In those years when America was at peace, it was illegal for American citizens to act in the interests of other governments against nations with whom America had treaties.  In 1817 and 1818, many charges were leveled against Stafford and the other American privateers by the Spanish government, charges that included piracy of Spanish ships and smuggling of captured Spanish goods into the United States by various means.  However, the laws were either difficult to enforce, or the authorities chose to look the other way, as very few privateers were ever prosecuted. 

All vessels departing Baltimore for foreign ports were required to file clearance papers naming the ship’s owner, master, destination, cargo, arms, and demographics of the crew.  In order to avoid unwanted scrutiny from the customs house, many captains engaged in an elaborate ruse that involved leaving Baltimore without their full crew, armaments, and cargo. 

Captain William J. Stafford in command of the new Brigantine Patriot (also known as Paz), financed by investors John Craig, John Barron, and John Lowell, sailed from Baltimore in early 1817 with a crew complement of twenty.  Dropping anchor at New Point Comfort near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, he rendezvoused with a boat, a sloop, and the schooner Jane to take on more men from Baltimore.  A pilot boat sent to Norfolk returned with twenty-three men to join the crew, bringing their complement to 112.  These vessels also brought muskets, pistols, sabers, powder, ammunition, shot, and fourteen carronades. 

It was not uncommon for privateers to experience disturbances and mutinies for various reasons.  Sometimes it was over the booty taken.  At other times, it was due to the fact that the crew had signed on under false pretenses.  Upon learning that Captain Stafford intended a privateering cruise instead of a merchant voyage, Patriota’s crew grew unruly.  Some would later testify that they felt betrayed and entrapped.  Forty days out to sea, they erupted into full-scale mutiny. 

In the standoff that followed, Captain Stafford alternated between threats of blowing up the ship himself and promises of making their fortunes.  After eighteen hours, Stafford won over enough men that the mutineers had no choice but to submit. 

T.S. Currier, author of The Cruise of the General San Martin, published in 1944, writing from the perspective of a researcher and historian, said of Captain William J. Stafford that he was a man who had all the features of the seasoned and unscrupulous privateer, tough and able to impose his personality upon a crew that was diverse in language and nationality, obsessed with booty, rebellious and often mutinous.  Feliciano Gamez Duarte wrote in his Doctoral Thesis at the University of Cadiz that Stafford must have been a man of great courage with a strong personality and the ability to control his riotous crew by the power of his own will.  Such was his own confidence in himself that Stafford often had his wife traveling with him. 

It was during those years of privateering in Spanish waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico that Stafford, like other privateers, adopted a Spanish name—Jose Guillermo Estifano, a rough equivalent of his own.  Records of the period show that he variously used William S. Stafford and Joseph Stafford as other aliases.  He apparently had several ships at his disposal, including Maria (which was confiscated in Haiti), Veinticinco de Mayo, Santafecino, Patriota/Paz, and most notably General San Martin.  It was to the latter’s three voyages that Currier devoted his study. 

Stafford’s brother James Bruce Stafford sailed with him in the period of 1818-1819.  One of their prizes was so valuable that the Captain put his brother in command and gave him specific instructions on how to load the booty, and who to make contact with in Baltimore and Savannah. 

Seafaring Staffords

Captain William Josephus Stafford was the father of two sons:  William Whipple Stafford, born 18 November 1806, and Francis Asbury Stafford, born 01 November 1808, both in Baltimore, Maryland.  Francis was baptized 27 September 1813 in Baltimore, and was apparently present in his father’s household in 1820, but no record afterward has been found of him. 

William Whipple Stafford married Elizabeth Jane McCay 18 June 1829 in Baltimore, Maryland.  She was born 06 January 1805 in Maryland, the daughter of John McCay Jr. and Ann “Nancy” McDowell.  They had three children:  William John, born 1830; Ann E., born 1834; and Joseph Beale, born 1839.  According to the 1850 Census, he was a seaman. 

William John Stafford was born 23 July 1830 in Baltimore, Maryland.  He married Caroline Elizabeth Gardner 06 March 1855 in Baltimore.  They had five children:  William Gardner, born 1855; James B., born 1859; Mary E., born 1862; Joseph McDowell, born 1864; and George Irwin, born 1867.  According to the 1860 Census, he was a master sailor.  He commanded merchant ships, namely Leila and Casilda, on runs across the Atlantic during the 1850s and 1860s.  On 16 March 1869, Captain Stafford and Casilda were lost at sea during a storm. 

The last of the seafaring Staffords was William Gardner Stafford, born 18 December 1855, in Baltimore.  He had plans to enter Princeton University, but after the death of his father, he felt the financial burden upon his widowed mother would be too great.  Instead, he ran away to pursue the ancestral calling to the sea.  He left Baltimore as a sailor and spent two years on the high seas.  In 1876, he arrived in San Francisco, where he settled and devoted his energies to the coal industry.  In 1893, he founded W.G. Stafford & Company, serving as president and active executive until his death in 1908. 

Separating Myth from Fact

In 1924, a biography for William Gardner Stafford was submitted for publication in History of the San Francisco Bay Region, probably written by his daughter Marjorie Housman Stafford-Fitch.  It was not uncommon in those kinds of publications to find prominent families trying to appear even more important, and being a writer herself, Marjorie seems to have embellished the family record just a bit. 

The founder of the Maryland branch of the Stafford family came to this country with Calvert, Lord Baltimore.  There may indeed have been a Stafford among those early Maryland colonists in 1634, but our Stafford family was not among them.  It is clear that our line—this line—descends from Richard Stafford, who came to this country from Ireland during the American Revolution. 

By the marriage of one of its members to a Miss Whipple, the late William G. Stafford was descended directly from Abraham Whipple, leader of the expedition to sink the Gaspee, one of the first exploits at the opening of the American revolution, and also of his son, William Whipple, singer of the Declaration of Independence.  William Josephus Stafford did indeed marry Mary Whipple in Baltimore, in 1805, and her father may have been a William Whipple.  But the signer of the Declaration of Independence died in 1785 with no children to survive him, and he was certainly not the son of Captain Abraham Whipple who sank the Gaspee.  That Abraham Whipple of Rhode Island was neither the father nor grandfather of our Mary Whipple. 

Another member of the family, William Bayard Stafford, was lieutenant under John Paul Jones on the Bonhomme Richard.  There was a member of some Stafford family who served under Jones during the Revolution, but his name is uncertain and, again, he was not in our direct line. 

The history also claims that William G. Stafford’s uncle Joseph was a major on the staff of Confederate General Jubal Early during the Civil War.  This has yet to be verified. 

It would seem the only thing this biography got right about William G. Stafford’s ancestry is that his great-grandfather William Stafford was indeed the man who captained a privateer during the War of 1812, but it gives no indication of the true nature of his exploits as detailed in the many sources consulted for this history.



Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Life of Richard Stafford

about 1755
  • Birth of Richard Stafford, Wexford County, Ireland
about 1775
  • Richard Stafford arrested in London, charged with stealing and subsequently convicted; given choice between hanging and 14 years of military service, he chose the military
  • June-July:  A British fleet of 30 battleships and 300 supply ships under the command of General William Howe and Admiral lord Richard Howe arrives in new York harbor carrying 1200 cannon, 30,000 soldiers, and 10,000 sailors.  It is conceivable that Richard Stafford was part of that invasion.
  • Taken prisoner by Continental forces, marched into the wilderness of Northern Virginia and released.
  • 15 March:  Marriage of Richard Stafford to Catharine Brobacker.
  • 12 September:  Birth of first child, William Josephus Stafford
  • 22 November (or December):  Birth of second child, Francis Asbury Stafford, in Frederick County, Virginia; named for Methodist Episcopal bishop Francis Asbury.
  • 21 April: Richard Stafford of Frederick County, Virginia, purchased land from Lewis & Mary Stephens fo Frederick County, Virginia, a lot of two acres near the town of Stephensburg (now Stephens City) by the side of the road leading from Winchester to Stephensburg, for the consideration of 10 pounds.  (lot still referenced as belonging to Richard Stafford in 1793, but belonging to John McCowens in 1795).
  • 23 December:  Richard Stafford referenced in the purchase of 100 acres on the North Branch of the Potomac by Mathias Brandenburg; “assigned by Richard Stafford to Timothy Peyton.”
  • 31 July:  Birth of third child, Richard Adam Stafford, in Frederick County, Virginia.
  • Richard Stafford living at Fort Ashby
  • Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 2 horses, and 3 cows.
  • 16 February:  Richard Stafford of Hampshire County, Virginia, purchased land from John Kellar, a lot of ground (99 square feet) in New Frankford, a town in Hampshire County on Patterson Creek.
  • 07 July:  Birth of fourth child, John Fletcher Stafford, in Virginia
  • 08 May:  Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 1 horse.
  • 05 December:  The General Assembly of Virginia adopted An Act to Establish a Town in the County of Hampshire, set aside 139 acres for the town of Frankfort, and named Richard Stafford one of eight trustees.
  • Richard stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 1 horse
  • Richard Stafford purchased from the State of Virginia 400 acres near crossroads on south Branch; land was formerly Fairfax land, which was sold 1788-1819 for taxes.
  • Richard Stafford and three others appointed to view the road from Frankfort to Cresaps Warehouse and report the situation therof at the next court.
  • 03 March:  Richard Stafford witnessed the will of Richard Williams
  • 11 October:  Birth of fifth child, James Bruce Stafford, Hampshire County, Virginia
  • 30 December:  Richard Stafford witnessed a land transaction from John Keller of Hampshire County to Ezekiel Whiteman of Hampshire County, 1 ½ acres in Frankfort
  • 31 December:  Richard Stafford of Hampshire County purchased from John Keller of Hampshire County 2 acres in Frankfort; recorded 11 Jun 1789; witnessed by James Clark, Ezekiel Whiteman, John Mitchell, Andrew Wodro.
  • 12 November:  Richard Stafford and 10 others summoned to appear at the next quarterly court to show cause why they should not be fined for their non-appearance as grand jurors
  • Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes on himself, 1 horse
  • 19 June:  Richard Stafford of Hampshire County purchased from the Trustees of Frankfort ¼ acre in Frankfort, recorded 14 October 1790, witnessed by Andrew Wodrow, Abraham Jones, M.A. Wodrow.
  • 03 September:  Birth of sixth child, Joseph Stone Stafford, Hampshire county, Virginia
  • 15 July:  Richard stafford paid personal property taxes on himself, 2 horses
  • 16 August:  Richard Stafford and wife Catharine of Frankfort sold to John Littlejohn of Leesburg, Virginia, ¼ acre in town of Frankfort, recorded 15 December 1791; witnessed by John Mitchell, Solomon Jones, Alex King.
  • 17 September:  Richard Stafford witnessed a land transaction from Rev. Danny Fairfax of Kent County to John Madden of Hampshire county, 186 acres on North River.
  • 24 October:  Richard Stafford referenced in a survey of Thomas Anderson property on the west side of Knobley Mountain, between the mountain and the Potomac.
  • 12 December:  Richard Stafford of Hampshire County purchased from Denny Fairfax of Kent County, 124 acres on North Branch River, recorded 24 April 1793; witnessed by Arthur O’Hara, Patrick Rilley, John Woodcock, Andrew Wodrow
  • Richard Stafford granted 33 acres on Patterson’s Creek, Book VI, page 126
  • Richard Stafford granted 103 acres, adjacent to T. Lauton, Book VI, page 137
  • 03 May:  Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes on himself, 2 horses
  • 26 May:  Birth of seventh child, Westley Stafford, Hampshire County, Virginia; likely named for John Wesley.
  • 26 July:  Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 2 horses
  • 18 June:  Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 1 horse
  • 10 June:  Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 5 horses
  • 14 September:  Richard Stafford and 2 others appointed processioners for Hampshire County, 3rd District.
  • Richard Stafford granted 100 acres on Knobley Mountain, Book IX, page 67
  • 04 March:  Richard Stafford witnessed the will of Leonard Eckstine
  • 10 May:  Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 5 horses
  • 15 October: Richard Stafford referenced in land transaction for George Gilpin
  • 07 March:  Birth of eighth child, Mary Stafford, Hampshire county, Virginia; she died 14 March, 7 days old.
  • 13 April:  Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 4 horses
  • 24 Jun:  Richard Stafford referenced in land transaction for William Adams.
  • 04 June:  Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 5 horses
  • 11 April:  birth of ninth child, Washington Stafford, Hampshire county, Virginia
  • 02 May:  Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 1 male over 16 (William or Francis), 4 horses
  • Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, one white male over 16 (Francis), 7 horses, 1 slave
  • 31 December:  birth of tenth child, Sarah Stafford, Hampshire county, Virginia
  • Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, one white male over 16 (Francis), 10 horses, 1 slave, 1 stud
  • 10 February:  Richard Stafford received an account settlement from estate of John Turvey
  • Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 1 white male over 16 (Francis), 14 horses.
  • 08 August:  Richard Stafford receives 13 barrels of flour from Richard Galloway, which Galloway charges to Stafford’s account.  Later, Stafford will make a sworn statement that Galloway offered him the 13 barrels in payment of a debt Galloway owed him for his crop of wheat.
  • Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 1 white male over 16 (Francis), 10 horses, 1 stud
  • Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 1 white male over 16 (Richard), 11 horses
  • 05 August:  Richard Stafford named as defendant in a complaint filed by Richard Galloway for nonpayment of a bill of L38.0.3.
  • Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 10 horses, 1 stud
  • Richard Stafford paid personal property taxes for himself, 1 white male over 16 (Joseph), 12 horses
  • 07 April:  Richard Stafford died, Hampshire County, Virginia
  • Widow (Catharine) Stafford paid personal property taxes for 2 white males over 16 (Joseph & Westley), 3 horses, 1 slave
  • Richard Stafford’s estate referred to in Book 5 index.
  • Widow (Catharine) Stafford paid personal property taxes 2 white males over 16 (Joseph & Westley), 4 horses, 1 slave
  • 23 July:  Catharine Stafford makes will naming children Washington and Sally Stafford as heirs; witnessed by Joseph Cresap, Nicholas Durbin, Dan Collins, John F. Stafford, Joseph S. Stafford.
  • 05 September:  Catharine Stafford died, Hampshire County, Virginia
  • 09 October:  Washington Stafford died, Hampshire County, Virginia