Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Gaol-Jail.

Here is a list of people who were in the “Gaol” of the colonial years. Now not all these people were in the “Gaol” some work for them or had family members in them. What is a "Gaol" will it’s another word for jail, I like the word “Gaol” it sounds so mysterious, but what is the meaning of the word and were did it come from? I don’t think any one knows when they started using the word. As for the word “Jail” it’s a old 13th century French word meaning “Cage.” The word “Gaol” was used in the earliest of the American colonies and was used up to about the 1830’s to 1840, after that it was just a Jail. It’s hard to tell when they stopped using the word. For as late as the Civil War they were still using the word. But no matter what the word was “Gaol or Jail,” it meant the same thing a “cage” a place of confinement and a place no one wanted to be.

1777, Richard W. Stockton was a prisoner in Carlisle gaol.

1777, The petition of the Rev. Mr. Daniel Batwell, setting forth, that, on a charge of being concerned in a conspiracy to destroy the continental magazines in this State, he was in custody of the keeper of the gaol of York county, by virtue of a commitment, until Congress or the supreme executive council of this State should take further order touching him, or until he should be otherwise discharged according to law, being presented to Congress and read; and it appearing to Congress, by the certificate of Dr. Jameson that the petitioner is so much emaciated, by a complication of disorders, that his life will be endangered, unless removed from the said gaol:

Resolved, That the said petition be referred to the president and supreme executive council of this State, to take such order relative to the petitioner as they shall think proper; and that, in the mean time, the keeper of the gaol he directed to remove the petitioner from the said gaol to some other safe and proper place, and there grant him every indulgence necessary for the preservation of his health, consistent with the safe-keeping of his person; and that the commanding officer in this place afford the necessary assistance of guards for that purpose.

1779, A memorial from Robert Jewell, was read whereupon, Congress took into consideration a report of the Board of War, on a former memorial of R. Jewell; and, thereupon, Resolved, That eight dollars a day be allowed to Robert Jewell, keeper of the new gaol in Philadelphia, for himself, his door keeper, and occasional clerk: That his two assistants be allowed four dollars each per day: That the pay of these allowances commence the 20th day of June, 1778, when the said R. Jewell and his assistants resumed their charge of the said gaol.

Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789

"That Dr. John Connolly, now stiling himself lieutenant colonel in the British service, was, in the latter end of November, 1775, apprehended in Frederick county, in Maryland, in company with a certain Allan Cameron and John Smith, by the committee of inspection of that county: "That at the time he was taken he was not in arms; or at the head of any party of men in arms; but was clandestinely making his way to Detroit, in order to join, give intelligence to, and otherwise aid the garrison at that place, as appears by his own intercepted letter of the 16 December, 1775, addressed to the commanding officer of that fortress, and by General Washington's letter to Congress of the 25 December, 1775: That at the Time, when the said Lieutenant John Connolly was taken (and for a considerable time after,) he did not produce or plead any commission under the King of Great Britain; although the present Commission, under which he claims to be considered as a prisoner of war is dated November 5th, 1775.

"That a number of officers in the British service, who were made prisoners long after the said John Connolly was apprehended, have been exchanged in course, and no demand has been made till within these few months past by any British general for the release or exchange of the officer last mentioned:

"With respect to the treatment of the said John Connolly, the committee report:

"That at the time when he was first apprehended, he was confined, under guard, by the committee of inspection in the town of Frederick, in an apartment separate from his associates, without any circumstance to aggravate his captivity, except the being debarred the use of pen, ink, and paper: that notwithstanding this restraint, he contrived to write several letters of intelligence to the British officers commanding at the posts of Detroit and Kuskuskis, which letters were found on the person of Dr. Smith, one of his associates, who, having escaped from the town of Frederick, was again apprehended:

"That, by the resolution of 8 December, 1775, he was ordered to be 'confined in prison at Philadelphia;' that being brought to that city, he was confined in the new gaol, where he continued till about the month of November, 1776, when he was permitted, on account of a declining state of health, to reside on his parole at the house of his brother-in-law on the river Susquehanna, where he continued for about two months, when, on information being given to the council of safety of the State of Pensylvania, of certain suspicious circumstances relative to him, he was remanded to his former place of confinement, in which he continued till about the spring, 1777, when he was again permitted, on his parole, and the security of his brother-in-law, to return to his former place of residence on the river Susquehanna.

"That during these periods of his confinement in the new gaol, he had for the greatest part of the time a separate apartment to himself, the privilege of walking in the yard, a person allowed to attend him in his apartment, and his own servant permitted to fetch him such necessaries as he chose to order; and that during the short period when he had not a separate apartment, there were never more than two persons in the same room, seldom more than one, and those some of his associates, or in consequence of his particular request:

"That during these periods of time he made two attempts to escape, in which he was detected; that on authentic information being given to Congress, at York town, that the said Lieutenant Colonel John Connolly was acting in a manner not consistent with the spirit of his parole, and the frontiers being threatened with a barbarous war, in which there was reason to apprehend he was designed as an instrument, he was ordered into confinement in the gaol at York town, on the 13 day of October, [1777]:

"That on the 17th day of May, [1778,] the said John Connolly, with several others, confined in the said gaol, made a representation to Congress, setting forth, in the strongest colouring, the hardships and cruelties which they declared they were then suffering:

"That on the result of a strict enquiry, and after the gaol had been visited by Colonel Pickering, one of the members of the Board of War, it appeared that the suggestions contained in the said representation were scandalous and groundless; and the report of the Board of War was on the 23 day of May, ordered to be published:

"That since the evacuation of Philadelphia, the said John Connolly was remanded to the new gaol in that city, where, excepting the space of about fourteen days, when two persons were necessarily obliged to sleep in the same room, he has had a separate and commodious apartment of his own choice, the privilege of his own servant to attend him constantly, and to bring him whatever he may require, and the unrestrained use of a spacious yard to take the air in, during the day; that, in his letter of 12 October, 1778, the said J. Connolly declares, 'that the common rights of humanity are denied to him,' and paints his situation in such terms, as would tend to induce a belief that the most wanton cruelties and restraints are imposed upon him:

"That, in consequence of a request of J. Connolly to be heard in person by a committee of Congress, this committee have complied with his request, when he declared, in the presence of your committee, 'that excepting the restraint of his person under the limits above mentioned, which, however indulgent they might appear, he conceived unfavourable to his state of health, he experienced every other relief which could be extended to a person in confinement:'

"That Joshua Loring, Esq. British commissary of prisoners, in his letter to Mr. Beatty of the 1st September, 1778, threatens to retaliate on an American prisoner of war of equal rank with Lieutenant Colonel Connolly, for the sufferings which it is pretended that officer endures:" Whereupon, Resolved, That Lieutenant Colonel John Connolly cannot of right claim to be considered and treated as a prisoner of war, but that he was, at the time he was apprehended, and still is, amenable to law martial as a spy and emissary from the British army: That the repeated representations made by Lieutenant Colonel John Connolly, of the grievances he undergoes, are not founded on facts:

That General Washington be directed to transmit the foregoing resolutions and state of facts to the commander in chief of his Britannic majesty's forces in New York, and to inform the said officer, that if, under the pretext of retaliating for the pretended sufferings of a person who, by the law of nations, has no right to be considered as a prisoner of war, any American officer, entitled to be considered and treated as a prisoner of war, shall undergo any extraordinary restraints or sufferings, Congress are determined to retaliate on the person of an officer of the first rank in their possession, for every species of hardship or restraint on such account inflicted.

Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789

Colonel Benjamin Flower, commissary general of military stores, be immediately arrested and closely confined in the gaol in this town. That a member of this house be appointed forthwith to repair to the place where Cornelius Sweets, late deputy commissary of military stores, is confined, and to take the deposition of the said Cornelius Sweers, relative to the charge made by him against Colonel Benjamin Flower, for frauds in his office; and in case it should appear, on the deposition of the said Cornelius Sweers, that Colonel B. Flower is charged with frauds and malpractices in the discharge of his office, in such case notice be given to the Board of War, who are hereby ordered to arrest the said Benjamin Flower without delay, and to confine him in gaol, taking care to secure his money and effects, and all his papers of a public nature.

Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789

The Committee of Claims reported, that there is due to Sacheveral Wood, the sum of £34.9.0=91 9/10 dollars, for the support of 17 men to the 21st December, who are confined in the gaol of Philadelphia, by order of Congress.

1813, Robert E. Cochran, stating that he is closely confined in the common gaol of Charleston district, under a process of attachment issued from the court of admiralty; and praying relief, for reasons stated at large in the petition.

1798, A petition of Robert Sturgeon, now confined in the gaol of the county of Mifflin, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was presented to the House and read, praying relief from the confinement to which he is subjected in consequence of his having converted to his own use a certain sum of money which he received as a collector of the revenue of the United States for the said county of Mifflin, and is unable to refund.

1789, Sarah Parker, of the State of Massachusetts, praying that some relief may be granted for the support of herself and a large family of children, being the widow and orphans of Lieutenant Colonel Moses Parker, who was wounded and made prisoner by the British troops in the battle of Charlestown, on thee 17th of June, 1775, and was afterwards confined in the gaol in Boston, and there died of his wounds, in the month of July following.

1823, William Hill, stating that, being confined in the gaol of Allegany county, by virtue of a process from the District Court of the United States for the western district of Pennsylvania, he has applied for the benefit of the act of Congress, of January 6th, 1800; but that, owing to the absence of the judge, who has been advised to remove to a warmer climate, as the only means of preserving his life, he cannot avail himself of the provisions of said act; and praying relief.

1778, Lieutenant Christopher Hele, be released from his confinement in the new gaol, and that the Marine Committee be directed to take his parole in the usual form, to continue in the city of Philadelphia.

1776, Sacheverel Wood, for provisions furnished by him to several prisoners now in the gaol of this city, the sum of £51 11 9=137.6 dollars.

1808, Edmund Beaumont, of Wallingford, in the county of New Haven, and State of Connecticut, now confined in the gaol of the said county, praying relief against a judgment obtained, and execution awarded against him, in consequence of a breach of the revenue laws of the United States, by persons, unauthorized by him, in landing a quantity of sugar, the property of the petitioner, without a legal permit to land the same at the port of New Haven, in the State aforesaid.

1776, That the committee of safety of Pensylvania release Allan M'Donald, of Kingsborough, a prisoner in the gaol of Philadelphia, on his parole, and that, upon his signing his parole, he be treated agreeable to former resolutions of Congress.

1794, James Bonnell, of the State of New Jersey, an insolvent debtor, under confinement in the gaol of Sussex County, was presented to the House and read, praying that a special act may be passed for his discharge from confinement, or a general act of bankruptcy, extending relief in his and like cases.

1776, Captain Duncan Campbell, a prisoner in the gaol of Philadelphia, being presented to Congress, and read, Resolved, That the committee of safety [of Pennsylvania] be directed to release Captain Campbell on his parole similar with that of the other officers. That Captain Campbell have leave to reside at Lancaster.

1776, Allan Cameron, who is confined in gaol, is in such a state of health as to require the attendance of a physician, and that he is desirous of the assistance of Dr. Cadwalader:
Resolved, That Dr. Cadwalader have leave to attend him.

1778, The petition of James Hawker, Captain of the Mermaid, prisoner in the new gaol, praying to be discharged on parole, was read, and it appearing to Congress that the said Captain Hawker had treated such American prisoners as fell into his hands with singular humanity and tenderness; Ordered, That the Marine Committee enlarge the said Captain Hawker on his parole.

1776, Sacheverel Wood, the sum of £70 4 8=157 26/90 dollars, for victualling prisoners confined in gaol.

1776, Dr. Cadwalader and Dr. W. Shippen, Junr be desired to inspect the room of the gaol where General Prescot is confined, and enquire into the state of his health, and report to Congress.

1776, Lewis Nicola, for repairs done at the old gaol in this city, fitted up for the reception of troops, the sum of £84 15 2=226 dollars

1801, A memorial of John Hobby, late Marshal of the District of Maine, in the State of Massachusetts, was presented to the House and read, stating that he is now, and has been for more than five months past, confined in Portland gaol, in the said State, for a debt due from the memorialist to the United States, which he is unable to pay; and praying such relief in consideration of his past services, advanced age, and injuries sustained in his health by the imprisonment to which he has been subject, as to the wisdom of Congress shall seem meet.

1776, Mr. [Thomas] M'Kean and Mr. [Robert Treat] Paine be directed to examine the gaol [of Philadelphia,] and particularly the apartments where Kirkland, Connolly, Smith and Cameron are confined, and report what is necessary to be done to have them safely and securely kept.

1805, Don Joseph de Cabrera, attached to the legation of Spain, near the United States, and now confined in the debtors' apartment of the gaol in the city of Philadelphia.

1777, A petition from John Simpers was read, setting forth, "that his brother, Thomas Simpers of Coecil county, in the State of Maryland, was taken into custody at the Head of Elk, in the said county, about the 1st week of September last, on suspicion of having dealt with the English army then at Elk, and carried to the American army, then in the Delaware State, put in the provost guard, and sent from place to place, and is now confined in Eastown gaol, in the State of Pennsylvania, and praying that he may be returned back to Coecil county, in order to undergo his trial for the supposed offence.

1777, Daniel Shelly, a prisoner in the gaol of Carlisle, in the state of Pensylvania.

1777, To be paid to Mr. James Buchanan, for the reward of £45, for taking up Alexander M'Leod, Daniel M'Leod, and Murdock M'Castle, three North Carolina prisoners, who broke gaol, and for the expences of bringing them from Broad Creek, in Sussex county, to Baltimore, the sum of [£80.16.10=] 215 52/90 dollars.

1778, General Arnold be directed to cause the said David Franks forthwith to be arrested, and conveyed to the new gaol in this city, there to be confined till further orders.

Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
MONDAY, APRIL 11, 1785.

The Committee consisting of Messrs. [William] Ellery, Mr. [William Samuel] Johnson and Mr. [David] Howell to whom was referred a petition of Seth Harding of the 5th April, 1785, setting forth that he is confined in the Gaol in this city and praying that Congress would grant him such a part of his just demands as will enable him to procure the necessaries of life, and defray the expenses he has been at for about six weeks past, report, That the board of Treasury take order for paying Captain Seth Harding 500 dollars, for which his account is to be debited.

1809, Lyman Spalding, of the State of New Hampshire, praying the liquidation and settlement of the claim of the petitioner for attendance on, and medicine furnished to a certain Benjamin Bagley, confined in the gaol of Portsmouth for trial in the Circuit Court of the United States, some time in the year one thousand eight hundred and five.

Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
TUESDAY, MAY 14, 1776.

The committee to whom the petition of Dr. Benjamin Church, now confined in gaol in Norwich, in the colony of Connecticut, and also a petition from Benjamin, Samuel, and Edward Church, together with a certificate from physicians, respecting the dangerous state of the aforesaid Dr. Church, were referred, brought in their report, which was read and agreed to: Whereupon, Resolved, That Dr. Benjamin Church be sent to the colony of Massachusetts bay, and that the council of the said colony be requested to take a recognizance from him, with two good sureties, in such penalty as they shall think sufficient, not being less than one thousand pounds, lawful money, for his appearance before such court as shall be erected for his trial, and at such time and place as such court shall direct, and to abide the judgment of the same; and that they be farther requested, to take his parole, not to hold any correspondence with the enemies of the United Colonies, or at any time, to depart out of the same colony, without their license; and that, upon the performance thereof, the said Dr. Benjamin Church be set at Liberty.

1776, Michael Holt, a prisoner in the gaol in Philadelphia, be discharged from his imprisonment, that he may return to his family; he taking the oath prescribed by the said council of safety.

1777, Thomas Dewit, for board of sundry prisoners in the gaol of Baltimore, and for fire-wood, candles, &c. from the 19 of December to 3 March, 333 39/90 dollars.

1805, John York, of Brookefield, in the county of Chenango, and State of New York, late collector of the taxes on lands, slaves, and dwelling-houses, for the eighty-third collection district, within the said State, and now confined in the gaol of said county, was presented to the House and read, praying relief in the case of a judgment awarded against the petitioner and execution issued thereon, for the sum of eight hundred dollars, including interest and costs of suit, for the payment of which the petitioner was compelled to apply a certain proportion of the proceeds of taxes collected by him in the capacity aforesaid.

1788, Richard Lawrence a loyalist, and late a Master Ship Carpenter in the British service, but now a Prisoner in the New Gaol of the City of New York, in North America.

1791, An act for the relief of Shubael Swain.

Whereas it appears that Shubael Swain, a prisoner in the gaol of the city of
Philadelphia, on account of a breach of the revenue laws, is insolvent, and has
suffered a long imprisonment.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the right and interest of the United States in a certain judgment for four hundred dollars, with costs of suit recovered in the district court of Pennsylvania, in the month of April, one thousand seven hundred and ninety, against Shubael Swain, under the act, entitled "An act to regulate the collection of the duties imposed by law on the tonnage of ships and vessels, and on goods, wares, and merchandizes, imported into the United States," shall be, and the same is hereby, remitted and released unto the said Shubael Swain.
1791, January 4th--Passed the House of Representatives.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1797-1801

A memorial of David Meade Randolph, Marshal of the district of Virginia, was presented to the House and read, stating that, in consequence of the insufficiency of the gaols in some of the counties and State districts in Virginia, for the safe-keeping of prisoners committed under the authority of the United States, and of a certain act passed by the Legislature of the said State, the memorialist has been subjected to prosecution, and his responsibility greatly increased; and praying that provision may be made, by law, for his security and protection, while faithfully performing the duties of his office, in the execution of process issuing from the courts of the United States.

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