I0309: Ebenezer BRIDGHAM (13 FEB 1743/44 - ABT 1794)



13 FEB 1743/44 - ABT 1794

Father: James BRIDGHAM
Mother: Martha WINCHESTER

Family 1 : Desire HATCH
  1. +Henriette BRIDGHAM
  2.  ? BRIDGHAM
  3.  ? BRIDGHAM

                                             _Henry BRIDGHAM _____+
                                            | (1623 - 1670) m 1644
                       _Joseph BRIDGHAM ____|
                      | (1651 - 1707) m 1700|
                      |                     |_Elizabeth HARDING __
                      |                       (1623 - 1672) m 1644
 _James BRIDGHAM _____|
| (1690 - 1743) m 1739|
|                     |                      _____________________
|                     |                     |                     
|                     |_Mercy WENSLEY ______|
|                       (1667 - 1746) m 1700|
|                                           |_____________________
|--Ebenezer BRIDGHAM 
|  (1744 - 1794)
|                                            _____________________
|                                           |                     
|                      _____________________|
|                     |                     |
|                     |                     |_____________________
|                     |                                           
|_Martha WINCHESTER __|
  (1693 - 1743) m 1739|
                      |                      _____________________
                      |                     |                     


[NI0309] Ebenezer was named (among several hundred) in the "Banishment Act of the State of Massachusetts", September, 1778, "An Act to prevent the return to this state of certain persons therein named and others who have left this state or either of the Unitd AStates, and joined the enemies thereof." Further, it states "that if any person or persons ... shall voluntarily return to this state ... he shall, on conviction thereof before the superior court of judicature, court of assize and general gaol delivery, suffer the pain of death without benefit of clergy."
From "The Pioneers of Massachusetts":
"Ebenezer Bridgham was born at Boston about 1745, and had a large and lucrative business there.
"From principles of loyalty and attachment to the British Government, inherited from his father (who fell a sacrifice to this allegiance to the Crown), he took an early and active part as a loyalist in the Revolution. Early in 1770, in open defiance of the Non-Importation agreement, he sailed to England with the avowed intention of returning with a cargo of British manufactures and was the first to break the combination in New England. He continued thereafter in a lucrative and increasing branch of commerce, by which he cleared never less that 1,000 Pounds a year until the rebellion of 1775. During the siege of Boston he took up arms in support of the British Government and acted as Lieutenant and Adjutant in the loyal militia embodied under Brigadier-General Timothy Ruggles, without pay or rations. Abuses and irregularities having crept into the Provincial forces in Nova Scotia, he was ordered thither and incurred heavy expenses for which he had not been compensated. He is now in great distress, and his family, consisting of his wife, a sister and three children, are compelled to reside in France, on account of the cheapness of living there, while he is in the unhappy position of being unable through his poverty to return to them or fetch them to England. His health, greatly impaired by his hardships in Nova Scotia (having been shipwrecked three times) and the torture of mind under which he has so long laboured between hope and despair, is now rapidly declining and he has no hope of saving himself and his family from perishing in a prison but in the justice and humanity of the British Government.
"Disdaining to remain an idle spectator of so important a contest, and unwilling to remain a burden on the bounty of the Government, he embarked as a volunteer on General Sir William Howe's expedition to New York in 1776. In November, 1777, he was honoured with the appointment of Deputy Inspector-General of the Provincial forces, with a salary of 10s a day, which, though inadequate for the support of himself and his family (and in his humble opinion not equal to the importance of the trust), he accepted it, and continued to discharge his duties with a diligence and integrity which secured the approbation of the Generals, until December, 1783, when the provincial corps were disbanded and his salary ceased. He is now under the disagreeable necessity of soliciting the bounty of Government for the immediate subsistence of himself and his family."
Ebenezer Bridgham was a witness for the crown at the Trial of the British Soldiers from the Boston Massacre. He testified on behalf of the soldiers:
"They stood with their pieces before them, to defend themselves; and as soon as they had placed themselves, a party, about twelve in number, with sticks in their hands, who stood in the middle of the street, gave three cheers, and immediately surrounded the soldiers, and struck upon their guns with their sticks, and passed along the front of the soldiers, toward Royal-Exchange-lane, striking the soldiers' guns as they passed...I saw the people near me on the left, strike the soldier's guns, daring them to fire, and called them cowardly rascals, for bringing arms agains naked men..."
John Adams was a lawyer in the trial of the Boston Massacre (Rex vs. Wemms). From Adams' summation to the jury:
"The next witness is Bridgham, he says he saw the tall man Warren, but saw another man belonging to the same regiment soon after, so like him, as to make him doubt whether it was Warren or not; he thinks he saw the Corporal, but is not certain, he says he was at the corner of the Custom house, this you will take notice of, other witnesses swear, he was the remotest man of all from him who fired first, and there are other evidences who swear the left man did not fire at all; if Wemms did not discharge his gun at all, he could not kill any of the persons, therefore he must be acquitted on the fact of killing; for an intention to kill, is not murder nor manslaughter, if not carried into execution: The witness saw numbers of things thrown, and he saw plainly sticks strike the guns, about a dozen persons with sticks, gave three cheers, and surrounded the party, and struck the guns with their sticks several blows: This is a witness for the crown, and his testimony is of great weight for the prisoners; he gives his testimony very sensibly and impartially. He swears positively, that he not only saw ice or snow thrown, but saw the guns struck several times; if you believe this witness, of whose credibility you are wholly the judges, as you are of every other; if you do not believe him, there are many others who swear to circumstances in favour of the prisoners; it should seem impossible you should disbelieve so great a number, and of crown witnesses too, who swear to such variety of circumstances that fall in with one another so naturally to form our defence; this witness swears positively, there were a dozen of persons with clubs, surrounded the party; twelve sailors with clubs, were by much an overmatch to eight soldiers, chained there by the order and command of their officer, to stand in defence of the Sentry, not only so, but under an oath to stand there, i.e. to obey the lawful command of their officer, as much, Gentlemen of the jury, as you are under oath to determine this cause by law and evidence; clubs they had not, and they could not defend themselves with their bayonets against so many people; it was in the power of the sailors to kill one half or the whole of the party, if they had been so disposed; what had the soldiers to expect, when twelve persons armed with clubs, (sailors too, between whom and soldiers, there is such an antipathy, that they fight as naturally when they meet, as the elephant and Rhinoceros) were daring enough, even at the time when they were loading their guns, to come up with their clubs, and smite on their guns; what bad eight soldiers to expect from such a set of people? Would it have been a prudent resolution in them, or in any body in their situation, to have stood still, to see if the sailors would knock their brains out, or not? Had they not all the reason in the world to think, that as they bad done so much, they would proceed farther? Their clubs were as capable of killing as a ball, an hedge stake is known in the law books as a weapon of death, as much as a sword, bayonet, or musket. He says, the soldiers were loading their guns, when the twelve surrounded them, the people went up to them within the length of their guns, and before the firing; besides all this he swears, they were called cowardly rascals, and dared to fire; he says these people were all dressed like sailors; and I believe, that by and bye you will find evidence enough to satisfy you, these were some of the persons that came out of Dock-square, after making the attack on Murray's barracks, and who had been arming themselves with sticks from the butchers stalls and cord wood piles, and marched up round Corn-hill under the command of Attucks."

[1428] [S004126]

[1424] [S010768]

[1425] [S003560]

[1426] [S004300]

[1427] [S092097]

[17968] [S010774]

[17969] [S002565]

[17970] [S003542]

[17971] [S004168]


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