General John DAGWORTHY


JOHN DAGWORTHY: eldest son of Hon. John Dagworthy, member of King’s Council, High Sheriff, etc., by his wife Sarah Ely, was born in Trenton, March 30, 1721. We have been unable to ascertain the date of marriage of his parents or the record of birth of their other children. John Dagworthy, Sr., was a resident ofFrom the Trenton Times, July 29, 1904: «On the road from Trenton to Princeton which passes through Lawrenceville is one of the finest specimens of rural homes of Colonial days, unchanged save the walling up of two of the numerous fireplaces. It is the home of Mrs. Gertrude Scudder. The old crane, with its hooks fastened to it, is still in the kitchen fireplace. wholesale nfl jerseys from china The old mansion is built of rough blocks of New Jersey granite, that have been plentifully used in the buildings of this vicinity. It is probable that the stone was taken from a quarry near the house. This quarry was opened before the memory of the oldest inhabitant. Small square panes of glass in heavy sashes form the windows of the old house. There is no portico in front, the door is of the ancient bisected type with its brass knocker. In n corner of the yard in front of the house is a wine cellar, now surmounted by a windmill. The house was built by Colonel (1) John Dagworthy. During the Revolution it was owned by George Green, who, with his family, vacated the place in order that Colonial troops might be quartered there. John C. Green, a benefactor of Princeton and the founder of the present Lawrenceville School, who occupied the house for many year was a grandson of the Revolutionary owner.»

This old place, ca1lad Cherry Green or Cherry Grove was evidently built by Col. John Dagworthy’s father, John Dagworthy, Senior, about 1720. It was the custom in early days to haul heavy trunks of trees to the house by horse, for one of the big fireplaces which was large enough to permit a person sitting on one end of the log while it was burning in the middle. These logs would last a week and at the end of that time the stumps or butts would be brought together and a new trunk hauled in from the forest and placed on the fire. Mrs. Scudder, the present owner, stated that Mr. Andrew Carnegie’s agent had offered $200 for the old boxwood bush on the front lawn. It had grown to immense proportions and had evidently been planted when the house was built.

Trenton in 1725, when he purchased 100 acres covering the site of the present village of Ringoes, in Amwell Township, Hl1nterdon County, on the Old York Road, and on August 6, 1736, conveyed five acres to Philip Ringoe on which the latter erected the first tavern, the nucleus of the town, though an Episcopal church is said to have been erected there of logs by Dagworthy in 1725. The Dagworthys, however, never lived in Amwell.

The first record of John Dagworthy, Junior, that we have is March, 1740 1, when William Atlee announces in the American Weekly Mercury, that be has «left off Trading in partnership with Thomas Hooton» and «proposes with John Dagworthy, Jun., to continue Store in Trenton. » The youthful Dagworthy at this date was barely 20, and six years later, at the age of 26, when New Jersey raised a regiment of four hundred men for» King George’s War,» called the «Jersey Blues,» the Council commissioned Peter Schuyler, Colonel, and John Dagworthy was commissioned Captain of one of the Com poses and went with the command to Albany, New York, in September, 1746, with the troops from Pennsylvania and other States to participate in the «expedition against Canada.» Though the expedition was abandoned, Colonel Schuyler was assigned to Fort Clinton, at Sara toga, and in his letter to the Council of New Jersey, dated March 9, 1747, reports among other details of his command, «In Cap’t Dagworthy’s Company, eighty five private men on duty, five dead, ten deserted, which with the three commissioned Officers makes in all one hundred three.» (New Jersey Archives, Vol. VI, p. 424.)

It appears from a letter from the Council of New Jersey to the Colonial Minister, the Duke of Newcastle, dated February 12, 1748 (Ibid, Vo1. VII, p. 102). that Captains Ware and Dagworthy raised their own companies for the expedition against Canada, and «have signified their intention to us to take a voyage to Eng land, to implore your Grace’s assistance and interest with his Majesty, for such marks of his Royal favour as they may be thought to deserve; we being members of his Majesty’s Council, think it a piece of justice due to them to assure your Grace that both of these gentlemen were in good business and left the same to engage in his

Majesty’s service and behaved therein with becoming zeal and resolution through the course of that expedition.

We are, may it please your Grace, your Grace most obedient and most humble servants. «

«Jno. Reading Jas. Hule

Ja. Alexander Andw. Johnston

Robert H. Morris Jno. In a letter of Governor Horatio Sharpe of Maryland to Lord Baltimore, under date of Sept. 2, 1754, wherein he was making provision for the defense of the State against the French and Indians, he says: «I have given the command thereof to one Capt. Dagworthy, a gentleman born in the Jerseys, who commanded a company raised in that province for the Canada Expedition, since the miscarriage of which be has resided in this province upon an estate which he purchased in Worcester County. «

In another letter to Lord Baltimore, Governor Sharpe praises Dagworthy and «especially his ability during the past summer to exist with his command without food» and facetiously adds that» he could no doubt be able to pass through the winter without shelter.»

While at Fort Cumberland was begun the long dispute between Captain Dagworthy and George Washington, who had been commissioned Colonel of Colonial troops and Commander in chief of the Virginia forces. Dagworthy holding a Royal commission as Captain, refused obedience to any Provincial officer. General Braddock was appealed to and decided in Dagworthy’s favor.

This was followed by the future Father of His Country making his memorable trip on horseback to Boston to lay the dispute with Dagworthy before General Shirley, Commander in chief of his Majesty’s forces in America. The young Virginian’s enterprise was rewarded by Shirley’s decision in his favor and the question of precedence of Provincial Colonels over Captains though the latter held Royal Commissions was definitely settled by an order and warrant issued by Lord Pitt as Colonial Minister, Dec. 13,1757.

The following extract from a letter written by Washington to Governor Dinwiddie, dated at Alexandria, Va., in which he refers to the dispute with Dagworthy, indicates that he was not without misgiving as to the justice of the position taken by the Virginia Governor: The Committee were resolved that the Maryland and Carolina Companies should not be supported with our provisions j that I think met with your approbation, upon which I wrote to Col. Stephen desiring him to acquaint Capt. Dagworthy therewith, who paid slight re gard to it, saying that they were under the King’s garrison.

Capt. Dagworthy I dare venture to affirm is encouraged by Governor Sharpe who we know has written him to keep the command. With this, Capt. Dagworthy had acquainted Col. Stephen. As I have not yet heard how General Shirley has answered your request I fear for the success of it especially as it is next to an impossibility (Since Governor Sharpe has been there (Boston) to plead Captain Dagworthy’s cause) to make the Genl. acquainted by writing with the nature of the dispute.

They (the officers) have urged it to me in the warmest manner to appear personally before the General for that end. This I would gladly do if I had your permission, which I should more freely ask since I am determined to resign the Commission which you were generously pleased to offer me and for which I shall always return a g grateful sense, rather than to submit to the command of the person who has not such superlative merit as to balance the inequality of rank. However, he adheres to what he calls his rights in which I know he is supported by Governor Sharpe.

He says that he has no commission from the Province of Maryland but acts by the virtue of that from the King, that this was the condition of his engagement in the Maryland service and that when he was sent up there the first of last October, he was ordered by Governor Sharpe and Sir John St. Clair not to give up his right. To my certain knowledge his rank was disputed before General Braddock who gave it in his favor and he accordingly took place over every Captain upon the Expedition except Capt. Jos. Mercer and Capt. Rutherford whose Commissions were older than his, so that I should not by any means choose to act as your Honor hinted in your last, lest I should be called to an account myself.


After the erection of Fort Frederick as a better protection to the settlers of the frontier against attack by the French and Indians, Dagworthy was placed in command with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, with five hundred men in his battalion.

In 1758 «Dagworthy and his troops were ordered to join the expedition against Fort Duquesne as the quota of Maryland.» «Some of Dagworthy’s Maryland men were present at Major Grant’s defeat, and by their bravery, with the Carolina troops, sustained the action, » and Lieutenant Colonel Dagworthy was present at the fall of Fort Duquesne November 25th, 1758, henceforth to be known as Fort Pitt (now Pittsburg) in honor of the great minister of England, afterwards Lord Chat ham. After its fall» a garrison of 200 men drawn from the Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia troops was assigned for its defence.»

Scharff, in his «History of Maryland,» says: «Lieutenant Colonel Dagworthy was the first to bring the new!’; of the fan of Fort Duquesne to Baltimore town.» The capture of this fortress filled the colonies with joy, and this was one of three victories (Louisburg, 1758, surrendered to Amherst and Boscawen; and Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario, destroyed by Bradstreet, it provincial! officer) that practically settled the struggle between the French and British for the possession of America and incidental1y determined forever whether America should be Protestant or Roman Catholic.