The Revolutionary War - War of 1812

How Fox Hill Relates to 1776 - 1812


Guest Speaker:  Tim Smith

            In his 1776 uniform, Tim Smith gave a first person account of how it was to fight the British at Yorktown.  He wore a 3 corner hat, long vest, jacket, trousers, and the most unusual shoes.  The shoes had no left or right foot, a shoe was a shoe and fit either foot.  The jacket tails were pinned in such a manner that a heart design was displayed and in his hat he had a length of white cord or cannon fuse.

He fires the cannons from the Yorktown battlements toward Gloucester.   This was a very dangerous job especially, for the man who loaded the cannon barrel.  If the previous ignition had not been cleared out of the barrel before loading a new charge to shoot the cannon, a man could loose his arm.  Today this is most unlikely but in Colonial times it happened often.  It took 6 men to shoot 1 cannon.   

Hopefully, this presentation gave us an understanding of the times and life of William Johnson and Alex Weston.  During the surrender of Lord Cornwallis to George Washington at Yorktown, the French had a blockade across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.   Many English seaman jumped ship to hide in the marshes of Gloucester and other areas near to the Bay.  The family story is that William and Alex came ashore at Belle Isle the site of Grundland Park in Fox Hill today.  William's sea chest, today is in the possession of his youngest son's grandson.  Others have stories similar to William Johnson and Alex Weston.  William Burge's family has been told very much the same story.   An interesting bit of history is that the area named Guinea in Gloucester was settled by English seaman who had English money known as Guineas that is why today these descendents are referred to as Guinea-man. 

Mr. Smith has worked with English film crews at Endview and Yorktown and told of interesting events.   We are pleased and happy to have Mr. Smith share with us.




November 8, 2003