1826 Doc/3 Parts: Pennsylvania Gov. Shulze 60 Swords For Republican Artillerists For Sale
Intriguing 1826 Pennsylvania Militia Document with three letters on a large single folded sheet of paper. One side has one letter [see #1] and the second side has two letters [see #2 and 3] and the last two sides are blank. Sheets are 8 1/8" x 13 1/4" on heavy paper. Word "Copy" is written on two sheets so this may be a retained copy to show that the process to get 60 swords and belts for the Chester County Republican Artillerists had at least been initiated. The 1820s were a time of prosperity, growth, reform and political quiet as the two party system had become one - Democrat or Democrat-Republican and only at the end of the decade did Andrew Jackson and the rise of the Anti-Masons begin to make politics messy again. There were no wars but lots of militia activity of the parading kind as seemingly every community, county, region and state had militia units. They were really popular because participation did not require actual fighting and in a world of one party, they were a form of politics that allowed local politicos to give speeches and compete for positions through company/regimental/brigade and divisional voting. These letters involve the Republican Artillerists of Chester and Delaware counties in southeast Pennsylvania. The Artillerists had been founded in 1816 just after the War of 1812 and they included a number of important men in the counties. They first gained fame, not in war, but in restoring and memorializing the battleground of the Paoli Massacre, a surprise British attack during the Revolution at the Paoli Tavern in Chester County where a number of Americans had been killed. [see #5 for site today and some of the work originally done by the Republican Artillerists] The Artillerists marched at least twice a year on February 22 [Washington's Birthday] and July 4th. All of the letters came from G.B. Porter of George Bryan Porter (1791-1834) [see #4] Porter was born in Norristown, PA of a powerful family. One brother David R. Porter was Governor of Pennsylvania, 1839-1845 and another brother, James M. Porter was Secretary of War, 1843-1844. Porter was a major in the War of 1812 and then studied law at the famous Litchfield, Connecticut law school and began practicing in Lancaster, PA. He was Adjutant General of Pennsylvania 1824-1829 and in 1827 served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In 1832, he was appointed Governor of the Michigan Territory, serving until 1834 when he died in a cholera epidemic. The first letter is directed to Lt. T.J. Baird, Superintendent of the US Arsenal at Frankfort [actually Frankford Arsenal in Northeast Philadelphia which was established in 1816 and closed in 1977.] Thomas J. Baird (1794-1842) was an Irish immigrant who graduated from West Point in 1814 and was assigned to the Artillery. He served on the Northern Frontier at Detroit 1814-1818, Charleston Harbor, 1818-1819, Amelia Island Florida, 1819-1820, Savannah, 1820, Amelia Island, 1820-1821. He commanded the Frankford Arsenal 1824-1827 [time of documents] and resigned in 1828. He then farmed in Philadelphia County and acted as a land agent in Schuylkill County. The letters reference "his Excellency the Governor" who in 1826 was John A. Shulze who was Governor 1823-1829. Also referenced was the Secretary of War who in 1826 was Virginian James Barbour who served 1825-1828. Referenced in the first letter and recipient of the second is "Major Nathaniel Brooke Inspector of the 1st Brigade 3rd Division" Brooke became involved in a couple of Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions and was a politico serving as a Whig in the Pennsylvania State Senate 1839-1842. Also mentioned was Thomas B. Evans (?-1828) a local doctor who was also commander of the Republican Artillerists. The recipient of the last letter and mentioned in all three was Eber Worthington, quarter master Sergeant of the Republican Artillerists. Worthington was the owner of the Turks Head Tavern/hotel from 1824-1826 and again in the 1830s after his son-in-law ran it. [see #6 from internet picture of the Turks Head in 1960s] Finally the last two letters mention "Major General Barnard" who was Issac D. Barnard (1791-1834) [see #7] who was a major general in the militia and would become US Senator from Pennsylvania 1827-1831. Note ties between the militia and politics. So why might Gov. Shulze be so insistent on getting the Republican Artillerists the 60 artillery swords and belts? The letters are dated February 13th and the swords are needed by February 22nd for the parade. Perhaps Shulze felt he needed to mend fences after a rift occurred between the Governor and the Artillerists in 1824. He had come to Chester, PA and had been taken to West Chester to meet the Artillerists. However he seems to have adversely commented on the their fancy uniforms and had gone to another tavern, the Cross Keys, stiffing the Artillerists who had planned a big event at Worthington's Turks Head. Shulze left West Chester quietly and the Artillerists fumed. It was now 1826 and an election year so fence mending might have been his goal. He needn't have bothered as he won with 97% of the vote. The Artillerists disbanded in 1829. A neat 1826 Pennsylvania militia item in fantastic condition. Sent folded.