Lewis Mory, Midshipman

Lewis Mory. Lewis Mory or Lewis Morey is likely the second son of Robert C. Mory (1736-1793) and Catherine Ginnedo or Guinadeau (1738-1828) of North Kingston, RI. Although genealogical sources indicate his birth date as 24 October 1760, Mory’s grave marker suggests he was born in November 1762. It is possible that he is the Lewis Morey who served as private on board the Massachusetts armed brigantine Freedom under John Clouston from 12 June to 25 December 1776. According to his pension file #W-3286, Lewis Mory first entered on board the Confederacy as a midshipman while the ship was upon the stock at Pocatanuck in the New London River in October 1778. He appears on the Frigate Confederacy Riggers’ Returns of 1778-1779. His two year older brother Robert Mory, a shipwright of South Kingston, also worked on the ship in the summer of 1777 as a carpenter. Robert’s name appears in the Blacksmith’s receipts from May to November 1778 as well. The ship was launched immediately after Lewis Mory’s enlistment and about a month after the launching went to New London where the ship was finished. He is named as Midshipman of the Confederacy in Silas Cleveland’s pension file #S-12486. In 1779, the Confederacy sailed for Philadelphia. Samuel Holt’s widow Margaret, in his pension application #W-3141, suggests that Mory contracted smallpox in Philadelphia in 1779 or 1780 but recovered. Mory’s pension application includes statements from sisters Mary Martin and Sarah Martin Norris that indicate the young midshipman regularly visited the home of their parents Captain Samuel Martin (1730-1786) and his wife Mary (1738-1819) during the war. The Martin’s were neighbors of Holt’s wife Margaret Warnack’s family at that time. After the Confederacy’s capture, Mory was confined on the Jersey prison ship for about nine months. On 8 May 1792, Lewis Mory was awarded $23.19 payment for his services as Midshipman on board the Confederacy commencing 23 July 1780. Shortly after the war a newspaper article indicates Mory, of North Kingston, was paid in full on 30 September 1786 for a L 104 loan made to Jesper Latham and mariner Amos Latham of Groton, Mory’s shipmate on the Confederacy. After the war, Lewis Mory was married to twenty-one year old Elizabeth Beaks of Philadelphia on 10 December 1789 by Samuel Magans, Rector of St. Paul’s in Philadelphia. Mory was a ship master and owner in Philadelphia and according to shipping news published in newspapers at the time, Captain Mory apparently commanded several vessels over the next three decades. Just weeks after his marriage, Mory was cleared out of Philadelphia on the ship Conception to Bilbao, Spain. The Pennsylvania Packet reports his sailing with the brig Susannah from Philadelphia to Rothtort on 12 June 1790. The Pennsylvania Mercury notes he is “not yet arrived” in Philadelphia on the Susannah on 19 March 1791. The New York Shipping News of 4 January 1793 reports Mory’s departure from Philadelphia on the Susannah, bound for Charleston, SC where the City Gazette notes the brig’s landing at Craft’s Wharf with her cargo of flour, brandy, sugar and bar iron. Later that year, the Federal Gazette of 21 August 1793 reports the capture of the brig Susannah and Captain Mory by the British privateer Fanny sailing out of St. Kitt’s under the command of Captain Summerfell. The Susannah was taken on 25 June 1793 near St. Bartholomew’s on the return leg of a voyage to Bordeaux from Phildadelphia. After all the French cargo was removed, Mory and his ship were dismissed only to be detained again and boarded by the Democrat “off our Capes” on Sunday morning 18 August. According to the eyewitness account, the boarding captain behaved “with the utmost insolence to Capt. Mory.” One year later, Mory is in command of the ship Dispatch where his departure from Norfolk to Falmouth is recorded in the Virginia Chronicle of 2 August 1794. The ship apparently returned to Philadelphia by way of L’Orient, France as her 57 day trans-Atlantic crossing is reported in the Philadelphia Gazette of 17 December 1794. The following summer, Mory’s return from Surinam in South America on the brig Dispatch is reported in the Philadelphia Gazette of 22 August 1795. He is probably still sailing the Dispatch in November 1795 when two letters are awaiting Mory at the Philadelphia Post Office. The Philadelphia Gazette also reports Captain Mory clearing the sloop Sally out of Philadelphia for Petit-Goave, Haiti on 4 December 1797. He must have stopped at New York on the way as his arrival is noted there three days later. It is almost eight years later before we find Captain Mory again in the shipping news of the U.S. Gazette on 1 May 1805, in command of the schooner Deborah sailing from Philadelphia to St. Jago de Cuba. Again, Mory is reported as master of the schooner Deborah clearing out of Philadelphia on 26 September 1805, bound for Senegal in Africa. This destination begs the question if her cruise was associated with the slave trade. A newspaper account of 10 January 1807 reports that the schooner Deborah under the command of Captain Mory and carrying a cargo of specie and sugar from Havanna to Philadelphia, was detained by the British privateer Favourite on 9 December 1806 and sent into Nassau in the Bahamas. She was cleared to leave Nassau with her cargo in early January and sailed into New York. Prior to 1805, Mory may have lived on a plantation farm on the Chester Road in Ridley Township, Delaware County near the “Lazaretto” as an advertisement for the sale of the property suggests. Lewis Mory is noted in the Philadelphia directories of 1809, 1813, 1816 and 1818 as a sea captain living at 263 South Front Street. This address no longer exists, having been demolished for the park on the west side of Interstate 95 directly between the Society Hill Towers and Penn’s Landing. His widow Elizabeth is noted as the resident of that address in the 1819 directory. In the 1810 directory, Mory’s address is listed as 297 South Front Street. The federal census of that same year suggests that, in addition to Mory and his wife, a younger female between the ages of 16-25 and a fourth unidentified individual lived within his household in the New Market Ward. Mory appears to have been Master of the brig Madeira shipping out of Philadelphia in the Autumn of 1811 and again in February 1812. A 17 October 1811 article in Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser reports the appreciation of S. Lyman of New York who was a passenger on the brig Swiftsure until it was upset in a gale. Lyman and several others were rescued after ten days on the wreck by Captain Mory who was bound for Madeira, a Portuguese island in the North Atlantic. Still associated with the Madeira wine trade in September 1815 according to Grotjan’s Philadelphia Public Sale Report, Lewis Mory shipped four quarter casks of Madeira on the brig J. Murdoch under the command of J. G. Leuffer. Mory appears to have been shipping out of New York by August of 1817 when letters await him at the post office there. Lewis Mory is named as master of the newly-built 216 ton brig William Henry of New York City, from whence he sailed from the West Side Old Slip for St. Croix in early December 1817. The agents for the ship were Reade and De Peyster. According to shipping news reports, Mory apparently made a second trip with the William Henry, leaving New York in late January and arriving at St. Croix after a nine day voyage. The return trip from West End, St. Croix took 13 days with the brig making New York by 20 February 1818 with her cargo of sugar and rum for owners: A. De Peyster, M. Bathust, G. W. Lynch, T. Moore and C. Cromiler. Captain Lewis Mory died six months later in August 1818 while on a voyage on an unnamed ship owned by James H. Causten of Baltimore, who had lived for a time with Mory and his wife as a boy. Causten may have been Mory’s cabin boy or apprentice as the pension testimony suggests the time to be around the turn of the century. James Hyman Causten (1787-1874) was the son of Baltimore shipping merchant Isaac Causten (1758-1833) and brother of Joseph H. Causten, purser of the USS Constitution and Enterprise during the War of 1812 and the Barbary Wars. Born in Baltimore, James H. Causten married Eliza Myer (1794-1856) in 1813, experienced prolific careers as both a ship master and lawyer, eventually moving to the District of Columbia in 1832. Causten continued practicing law in Washington, specializing in representing ship owners of American vessels and cargo illegally captured by privateers, championing French spoliation claims and later serving as American consul for Chile and Ecuador. Causten may have been aboard the schooner Deborah under Captain Mory as a young man when she was detained in 1806. Two letters dated December 1805 concerning James’ efforts to find an apprenticeship after completing his obligations as a sailor located in Box 1, Folder 1 of the Causten Family Papers Collection at Georgetown University may shed further light on his early relationship with Mory. It is known that Lewis Mory was a friend of James Causten’s father Isaac as the elder Causten posted L 200 in bail for a debt owed by Mory to Conrad Weckerly in December 1797. It is also likely that Captain Mory sailed several vessels on Causten family business leading up to his final voyage in the Summer of 1818. Additional research for Lewis Mory’s merchant career should include the Ship Registers of the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Volume 1 in addtion to; Boxes 91, 92, 111 & 112 of the James H. Causten Papers 1816-1885 in the Causten-Pickett Collection at the Library of Congress. After his death, Captain Lewis Mory was interred in the historic Oak Grove cemetery at St. Mary’s, Georgia. The location of his death there is confirmed by a mortuary notice in the Albany (NY) Gazette of 12 September 1818. Mory’s gravestone can be viewed at: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=mory&GSiman=1&GScid=35913&GRid=51749888& . The inscription reads “Sacred to the memory of Captain Lewis Mory of Philadelphia who departed this life August 13th 1818. Aged 55 years & 9 months. With good will to man, and an unsullied reputation he gained the love and esteem of all that knew him, his Widowed wife grateful in the recollection of departed worth has raised this humble tribute of duteous affection.” Lewis Mory’s will, which was written on 2 October 1810 and proved on 5 September 1818, left his entire estate to his wife Elizabeth who was also named sole executrix. By the time of Captain Mory’s death in 1818, his old friend and fellow midshipman on the Confederacy, Amos Latham was living in Camden County, GA in the vicinity of St. Mary’s. It is possible that the captain met his old friend face to face prior to his death, that Latham cared for him during his mortal illness or that Latham assisted Elizabeth Mory with the arrangements for his gravestone afterward. Amos Latham served as the Cumberland Island lighthouse keeper from 1829 to 1838 and as keeper of the same structure after its relocation to Amelia Island from 1839 until his death in 1842. Captain Mory’s presence and death in St. Mary’s is likely associated with James H. Causten’s conveyance of “Light-Horse” Henry Lee from Nassau to Georgia earlier that year during the Spring of 1818. Having completed his voyage on the William Henry on 20 February 1818, Mory likely went on board Causten’s ship in New York where he also had just landed with a cargo of coffee from Port au Prince. Causten, probably in company with Mory, arrived in Nassau to meet Lee on 1 March 1818 where Causten agreed to land Lee at Cumberland Island, GA. Lee had first approached Causten in Nassau during the previous winter concerning transport arrangements. “Light-Horse” Henry Lee died in Tabby House at Dungeness on Cumberland Island on 25 March 1818, an eyewitness account of his death conveyed in an 11 April 1818 letter from James H. Causten to Lee’s widow Ann. A brief memoir of the events of that time written by Causten, a copy of which can be found in the Virginia Historical Society, may also shed light on the circumstances surrounding the death of Lewis Mory. An abstract of Merchandise entered at the Custom House dated 30 May 1818, suggests that James H. Causten returned to New York with a cargo of Saltpetre. A resident of Philadelphia for most of her life, Mory’s wife Elizabeth lived in the District of Columbia while in her late sixties and early seventies between 1836 and 1841. Despite her absence in the 1840 census records of the Causten household, it is possible that she resided at the 1428 F Street home of James H. Causten where the Washington Hotel now stands, based on her friend and lawyer’s testimony in her 1839 pension application. The captain’s seventy-nine year old widow Elizabeth died on 12 October 1847 and is buried in the cemetery of Old St. Paul’s Church in Philadelphia. The present whereabouts of the “account and memorandum book” of Captain Lewis Mory which his wife had in her possession in 1839 when several pages were cut out and sent in with her application for pension, is not known.

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3 Responses to Lewis Mory, Midshipman

  1. Kay Westberry says:

    I am so excited as I think we have Captain Lewis Mory buried in our local 223-year-old federal historic register cemetery in St. Marys, Georgia. The death date is the same. Our town was the last stop in the US before going to Spanish Florida. It is an old port and ships sailed up and down. We have many sea captains buried here and no idea where they came from. Please verify if you have any records that he died here.

  2. Joe says:

    Kay,
    I want to thank you for bringing to my attention the precise location of Captain Lewis Mory’s burial. I am certain the gravestone is his. Your correspondence allowed me to update the captain’s bio with pertinent information, including the New York mortuary notice recognizing his death at St. Mary’s. I was not able to locate his burial information until you communicated with my website. Are you acquainted with the Amy G. who posted Mory’s gravesite data on Find-A-Grave in April of 2010? Your note also gave me reason to investigate St. Mary’s importance with regard to colonial and early American commerce. Wow, what a hidden treasure! Your interest is much appreciated!!

  3. Owen says:

    Joe, it’s obvious you did a lot of work to research the facts that lead to this exciting story about Lewis’s life. Seems like a life very well lived. I enjoyed it and my thanks to you for posting Lewis’s story. After reading accounts of what happened to the Confederacy at sea, young Lewis must have learned some exceptional seamanship skills on the Confederacy. I also could envision that when considering how torn up the ship got due to heavy seas, older bother Robert would have probably blamed younger brother Lewis and his shipmates for having lacked some seamanship skills.
    If you are wondering, my surname was most probably put in the Ohio Firelands area based upon Lewis’s older brother Robert’s Firelands land claim after War of 1812. I have seen the “Robert Morey” name on an old land map for Firelands claims in Lyme Township. As with most, Robert the orginal ‘sufferer’ of the War of 1812 was probably too old to make the journey, but Robert’s son Ephraim Morey with wife Emily Braman were young enough to make the journey from Connecticut to Ohio. They are both buried in Strong’s Ridge Cemetary in Lyme Township. Anyway that’s how some of the Morey’s came to Ohio’s Firelands in about 1831 to put their claim to section 4 lot 3 in Lyme Township. We now have had around 6 generations of Moreys in this county.
    Hope you enjoyed some of my story like I did yours.
    Kind regards,
    Owen

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