Ye Dreadd Sloope DOLPHIN




From Archives of Maryland

Converted to HTML by Craig O'Donnell <[email protected]> who is interested in the surnames Fassitt, Tingle, Lynch, Brevard, Pitts.

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Transcribed by Craig O'Donnell from ARCHIVES OF MARYLAND series vol 21.


• Letter of Marque for John Fassitt's sloop:


Thursday 6th August 1778 • Present as on Yesterday

Commission of Letter of Marque and Reprisal issued to Joseph Dashiell Master of the Sloop Dolphin mounting two Swivels and 16 Small Arms navigated by 10 Men, Burthen 10 Tons belonging to John Fassett & Co


In this next, there's no obvious connection to Captain Fassitt, but it has me wondering how the enemy crewmen from the Mermaid fell into the Continentals' hands. It seems they might have been captured somewhere along the Worcester County shore.

[Council to Henry Hooper Esqr Lt of Dorchester County.]

In Council 6th Augt 1778.


We understand there are yet in Dorchester at least 10 or 12 of the Mermaid's Crew, including those who were sick in Worcester and have since been sent forward. It is much to be wished that these People should be exchanged as soon as possible for our own Country Men and to forward it as much as we can, we request you to send forward to Philadelphia, any British Sailors or Marines now in your Power under an adequate Guard.

We are &ca


 I think this explains what happened with the Mermaid.


Rouse Fassitt's Libel


Rouse Fassitt discovered a grounded sloop on the beach at Assateague and presented a 'libel' or Admiralty Court claim for the ship and its contents. There is a reference to the matter in Volume 21:


[Council to Joseph Dashiell Esqr.]

In Council Annapolis 22d March 1779


We are informed by Mr Fassit that four British Prisoners of a Vessel lately retaken, are in Worcester probably yet under Guard: it is supposed some of them may in all Likelihood be wanted as Witnesses in the Court of Admiralty: we request you to send them to Baltimore, the least expensive Way you can; perhaps sending over one or two in a Vessel, as Opportunity may offer, would be best, but we leave that to yourself

We are &ca



I discovered the libel more or less by accident in the Maryland State Archives. Since the Fassitts were mariners I figured they might have appeared in some Admiralty Court case, and when I searched, up popped Rouse Fassitt. Rouse is not a direct ancestor.

Here is the text transcribed from a xerox of the original. There may be another document from the following year detailing any disposition of the cargo; I haven't had time to look for it.


• State of Maryland

• To the Honourable Benjamin Nicholson Esq Judge of the Admiralty Court for the State of Maryland


The libel of Rouse Fassit one of the inhabitants of Worcester County in the State of Maryland showeth that the said Fassit did on the tenth day of March in the year of our Lord one Thousand seven hundred and seventy nine within the jurisdiction of this Court upon the high seas near the Coast of Worcester County discover and take a lawfu prize the Sloop Friendship commanded by a certain John Carter a subject of the King of Great Britain not residing in Bermuda, Providence or the Bahamas Islands or other of them.

Which said sloop was about ___ Tons burthen together with her Guns Tackle furniture & apparal and Cargo consisting of Pork, ??? Tallow, Bees-Wax, Plank and Shingles.

And the said Fassit doth further shew that the Sloop Friendship her Tackle, apparel, furniture and Cargo at the time of the Capture aforesaid, was in possession, and the property of, certain Subjects of the King of Great Britain not residing within Bermuda, Providence or the Bahama Islands or any of them.

And the said Fassit further sheweth that the said Sloop then & there was employed in carry Supplies and other Necessaries to the British Army & Navy employed in the service of Great Britain and bearing arms against the United States of America at the State of New York and so being employed was by the said Fassit so as aforesaid discovered and captured.

And whereupon the said Fassit prays that the said Sloop and her Cargo &c may be condemned to him the said Fassit as Lawful Prize.

Luther Norton [?] pro libellant
[probably Luther Martin, later Md Atty Gen]



• To the Hon'bl Benjamin Nicholson, Judge 0f the Admiralty Court for the State of Maryland


The petition of Rouse Fassit humbly sheweth that the Sloop Friendship against which he hath this day filed his libel was discovered and taken a prize by him on or about the seventh day of March Instant.

That the Vessel is now aground on the Beach and if properly attended to may he imagines be got off, but should she remain where she is besides the risque of her being destroyed she will be [trabea so] Sand to such a Degree as may occasion her to be entirely lost. Her Cargo also, which except for a few Barrels of Pork, Hogs Lard, Tallow and Wax consists of Plank and Shingles, are exposed to Causualties and Plunder, and much of the latter hath actually been lost from the High Tides overflowing the Beach and floating them off.

He therefore prays that your honour would direct a sale of the said Sloop and Cargo and that the monies arising therefrom may remain in the hands of your Marshal subject to the decree of your honour or a final heading [?hearing] and your Petshore [?Petitioner] Rouse Fassit


• March 17th 1779

Jonathan Thisick a Sailer Belonging to the Impertinant fitted out of New York Sworn and Examined by interrogation in Court this 8th day of April 1779 as follows Viz:


Q: What do you know of the Sloop friendship the libel mentioned?

A: he belonged to a prvateer call the Impertinant fitted out of New York to Cruise against American property -- that in company with the Dunmore a British privateer about Six Weeks ago they fell in with and made a prize of the Sloop Friendship the vessell in the Libell mentioned as American property.


Q: At what time did the Sloop Friendship Strike? [i.e., surrender]

A: About four o'Clock in the Afternoon of a Tuesday and that on the Friday following about twelve or one o'Clock she went Ashore on Sinepuxent Beach --


Q: do you [know] by whom the Sloop Friendship was owned?

A: he does not


Rouse Fassitt vs Sloop Friendship
Libell f[ile]d 17th March ???

Senas [?]

Jno Carter
Jonathan PKthisick
John McDugall
Isaac Leve [Levy?]
Chs. Sharp


Court met the 8th April 1779.

Condemnation as to One Third of the Vessel [to Fassit] and the Other two thirds to be delis'd [delivered?] the Libellant on giving Bond and Security in 40.0.0 L to refund the said two thirds in case any person shall put in a claim within twelve months for the said two thirds and Obtain a degree for the same.


Court [?] Ally


award [?] That a Commission issue to Mssrs Thomas and Zadock Purnell to take the Deposition of Rowland Cromwell to be made Use of as Testimony in this Cause in case a claim should hereafter be put in for the said two thirds and in case the said Rowland Cromwell can not be had.