Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Hezekiah Foard (1752-1833)
MSA SC 3520-17299

Biography:

Hezekiah Foard was born in early 1752, likely in Cecil County. Very little is known about his life prior to the Revolutionary War. [1]

At age twenty-four, in early 1776, Foard enlisted as a sergeant in Edward Veazey's Seventh Independent Company. Many of those in the Seventh Independent Company were recruited from Kent and Queen Anne counties, and were in their mid-twenties. Overall, the average age was about twenty-five, but soldiers born in America were younger than those from foreign countries. [2]

A sergeant, like Foard, had an important role in the Maryland Line. As non-commissioned officers, their duties included maintaining discipline within their company, and inspecting the new recruits. Sergeants needed to teach the fresh recruits of 1776 how to handle weapons and behave properly, despite most sergeants having little military experience as well. [3]

The independent companies, early in the war, had a different role than William Smallwood's First Maryland Regiment, which was raised as full-time Maryland soldiers to be part of the Continental Army. They were tasked with securing the Chesapeake Bay's shoreline from British attack. The Seventh Independent Company was stationed in Kent County's Chestertown and Queen Anne County's Kent Island. During this time, Veazey was uneasy that they did not receive "arms nor ammunition" until June. [4]

While the independent companies were originally intended to defend Maryland, three of them accompanied the First Maryland Regiment when it marched up to New York in July 1776. The transfer of the independent companies to the Continental Army showed that Maryland was more than willing to do its part to recruit the men needed. The independent companies and the First Maryland Regiment arrived in New York in early August, with the Battle of Brooklyn set between the Continental Army and the British Army, joined by their Hessian allies. [5]

Foard served with his company at the Battle of Brooklyn in late August 1776. Sixty-eight percent of Veazey's company were killed, wounded or captured. Captain Veazey was "killed at [Foard's] side," while Second Lieutenant Samuel Turbutt Wright and Third Lieutenant Edward De Coursey were captured. As a result of Veazey's death, First Lieutenant William Harrison took charge of the company. After the battle, only about 36 men remained out of the original force of over 100. [6]

Foard survived the Battle of Brooklyn and was not taken prisoner. In the fall of 1776 and the early part of 1777, he joined other Marylanders at the battles of White Plains, Trenton, and Princeton.

By the spring of 1777, the command of the Seventh Independent Company was uncertain due to the absence of many high-ranking officers. As a result, the company--along with the other independent companies--became part of the Second Maryland Regiment. In early 1777, Foard reenlisted in the Second Maryland Regiment, where he remained a sergeant until September 1777. [7]

Foard was promoted to ensign on September 1, 1777, and served until at least May 1780, mostly in the regiment's sixth and seventh companies. Ensigns most notably carried their regimental flags into battle on a rotating basis, with each company's ensign taking turns. In April 1779, while serving in the regiment's sixth company, he was furloughed. Foard also signed a statement, along with 95 other Maryland officers, to demand all the money that was owed to them. Their plea was ultimately successful. [8]

On June 10, 1779, Foard received a commission as an adjutant of the Second Regiment, serving in an administrative role in addition to his duties as an ensign. Adjutants primarily kept rosters of their regiments, noted the duties of all commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and distributed orders. At this point in the war, officers often had to personally serve as adjutants because the low number of soldiers in the army discouraged the existence of a full-time adjutant. Foard held this position until May of 1780. [9]

In November of 1779, Foard supposedly disobeyed an order to parade the Second Maryland Regiment. He also was accused of relating orders different from "those he had received." He was supposed to march the company, but by disobeying the orders, he was engaging in "conduct unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman." Furthermore, he was said to have "contempt" for the orders given to him by Colonel Thomas Woolford of the Fifth Maryland Regiment. Despite this accusation, he was "acquitted with honor" by the officers overseeing the court-martial and was released from arrest, as approved by George Washington himself. [10]

Foard, along with other Marylanders, marched to South Carolina in spring 1780 and participated in the Southern Campaign. On August 16, 1780, he participated in the battle at Camden. During the retreat he was attacked by a determined British soldier:

...he was attacked hand to hand by a stout athletic Englishman; others were advancing on them [the Continentals]--in the scuffle [Foard] threw [the British soldier], the enemy holding [Foard] by his hair; [Foard] having nothing but his long espontoon [a type of pole arm] he shortened the handle and pinned [the British soldier] to the sand; as the Englishman relaxed his hold he extricated himself, and finding his weapon fast beyond recovery, he fled without it. [11]

After the Battle of Camden, Foard was promoted to first lieutenant, filling the role Edward Duvall, who was killed in the battle. Foard fought at "the defeat of Tarleton at Cowpens," in January 1781, as part of Gates's Continental Army. Foard served as a lieutenant until April 12, 1783, when he was discharged. Alongside other Maryland officers, including William Smallwood, Mordecai Gist, and Nathaniel Ramsey, Foard was one of the founding members of the Society of Cincinnati of Maryland in November of 1783. The Society of Cincinnati consisted of officers dedicated to commemorating their mutual bonds and upholding the values they had bravely fought for. [12]

After the Revolutionary War, Foard returned to Cecil County. On December 14, 1785, Foard married a woman named Sarah Lawrensen. They had three children named Hezekiah Jr, Richard, and Josiah. [13]

In 1787, Foard and his brother Josiah bought six horses, a few cows, two sheep, and other amenities needed for their farm sitting on Bohemia Manor. For the next 46 years, he continued to live on the manor with his children, wife, and a couple of enslaved black individuals, along with necessary supplies to keep the farm up and running. [14]

Foard acquired and negotiated transfers of huge amounts of land in the county. On August 4, 1789, he also was issued 200 acres of bounty land west of Fort Cumberland, divided into four lots, due to his military service. Since he did not claim it, his land sat vacant. Foard likely left his land alone because the bounty land was “absolutely good for nothing . . . unfit for Cultivation." [15]

Foard's time in the military provided him with important connections in his later years. He served in Cecil County as a major in the 49th regiment of the Maryland militia, from 1794 to 1799. Militia officers received their ranks from both experience and prestige, both of which Foard possessed. Some people even called Foard a "general," although he never held that rank. In 1821, Foard was granted half-pay of a lieutenant for his "meritorious services" by the Maryland General Assembly. Foard later applied for a federal veteran's pension to augment his earnings in 1828. [16]

Foard remained a farmer in Cecil County, but also held numerous civil service positions. He was commissioner of the tax for two three-year terms, lasting from 1797 until 1806. He was later appointed as justice of the peace by the Governor of Maryland, serving for nine years in total, over the years, a position he held until his death. Additionally, he served as a justice on the Levy Court, which handled tax allotment, for five years in the early nineteenth century. [17]

Foard also served as a political leader in Maryland for the Republican Party. In April 1821, he was the chairman of a "very large and respectable meeting of the democratic republicans of Cecil County" at a house in Elkton, Maryland. The meeting primarily picked electors for the upcoming Maryland Senate election and recommended candidates for the Republican Party in the upcoming autumn elections. Foard's guidance proved useful, as the Republicans gained fourteen of the open electoral positions while the Federalists only won four electoral positions. [18]

As chairman of a meeting of Republicans, Foard held an important role. A few years later, the same group of individuals welcomed the Marquis de Lafayette, the celebrated French general who fought alongside Americans in the Revolutionary War to the United States. Foard oversaw preparations for his accommodations in Elkton. [19]

Foard died on February 16, 1833 at Bohemia Manor, then owned by his son. The Brattlesboro Messenger in Vermont praised his fighting "during our struggle of independence," while the Salem Gazette in Massachusetts declared that "another pillar of the American Revolution had crumbled to the dust!" The Daily National Intelligencer in Washington D.C. remembered him affectionately, saying that he was "beloved and lamented by all who knew him." [20]

At the end of his life, Foard lived in relative comfort. He had possessions such as a carriage and harness, a walnut desk, and a looking glass. In his will, Foard appointed his sons Josiah and Richard as executors of his estate. By 1837, his other son, Hezekiah, had sold off the manor to the Bayard family. Foard gave his grandson, William Freeman, one hundred dollars and divided the rest of his estate evenly between his three sons. [21]

- Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016; James Schmitt, Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution Research Fellow, 2019

Notes:

[1] Descriptions of men in Capt. Edward Veazey’s Independent Comp, 1776, Maryland State Papers, Revolutionary Papers, MdHR 19970-15-36/01 [MSA S997-15-36, 1/7/3/13].

[2] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 28; Mark Andrew Tacyn, “'To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), pp. 24-25, 97.

[3] Friedrich von Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, Part I (Philadelphia: Styner and Cist, 1792), pp. 137-140.

[4] Tacyn, pp. 33-34, 37, 39.

[5] Tacyn, pp. 44-45.

[6] "Mortuary Notice," Salem Gazette (Salem, Massachusetts), 1 March 1833; Rolls of the Second Maryland Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Roll 0033, p. 92, from Fold3.com; Tacyn, pp. 4, 98.

[7] List of Regular Officers by Chamberlaine, December 1776, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, vol. 12, no. 66, MdHR 4573 [MSA S989-17, 1/6/4/5]; Rolls of the Second Maryland Regiment, from Fold3.com; Reiman Steuart, A History of the Maryland Line in the Revolutionary War (Towson, MD: Metropolitan Press, 1969), p. 81.

[8] Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, NARA M246, from Fold3.com; Steuben, pp. 133-134Hanson's Laws of Maryland, Session Laws 1779, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 203, p. 214.

[9] Steuben, pp. 125-127; Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War, NARA M881, from Fold3.com; George Washington, General Orders, 7 November 1779, Founders Online, National Archives.

[10] George Washington, General Orders, 3 February 1780, Founders Online, National Archives.

[11] "Mortuary Notice," Salem Gazette.

[12] Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, 365; Steuart, pp. 81, 167; Pension of Hezekiah Foard, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 0993, pension number S. 47187, from Fold3.com.

[13] Marriage of Hezekiah Ford and Sarah Lawrensen, 1785, Cecil County Court, Marriage Licenses, p. 42, MdHR 9435 [MSA C632-1, 1/11/6/38].

[14] Bill of sale by Joseph Taylor to Hezekiah and Josiah Foard, 1787, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber 16, p. 119 [MSA CE 133-18]; "Mortuary Notice," Salem Gazette; U.S. Federal Census, 1790, Cecil County, Maryland; U.S. Federal Census, 1820, Cecil County, Maryland; U.S. Federal Census, 1830, Cecil County, Maryland; Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, "Old Bohemia Manor," Cecil County, CE-54.

[15] Pension of Hezekiah Foard; Hezekiah Ford's lots in Western Maryland, Land Office, Lots Westward of Fort Cumberland, pp. 319, 320, MdHR 17302 [SE1-1]; Pension of Mark McPherson, The National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files. NARA M804, W 2144. 1-73, from Fold3.com.  

[16] Appointment of Hezekiah Ford, 1794, Adjutant General, Militia Appointments, MdHR 5587, Militia Appointments Liber 2, p. 95 [MSA S348-2, 2/6/5/10]; Appointment of Hezekiah Ford, 1794, Adjutant General, Militia Appointments, MdHR 1349, Militia Appointments Liber 1, p. 12 [MSA S348-1, 2/8/3/13]; Session Laws, 1821, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 626, p. 176.

[17] For Foard's position as tax commissioner, see Session Laws, 1803, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 560, p. 61. For Foard's position of justice of peace, see, for example, Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1792, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1899 [MSA S1082-2, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1833, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1924, p. 44 [MSA S1082-24, 2/26/4/41]. For Foard's position as justice of the levy court, see, for example, Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1802, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1901 [MSA S1082-4, 2/26/4/40]; Appointment of Hezekiah Foard, 1821, Governor and Council, Appointment List, MdHR 1909 [MSA S1082-10, 2/26/4/40].

[18] "Cecil County," Baltimore Patriot, Baltimore, Maryland, 3 May 1821; Maryland 1821 Electoral Assembly for State Senate, A New Nation Votes.

[19] "Reception of La Fayette in Cecil County, Md," Easton Gazette, 18 September 1824.

[20] Steuart, p. 81; "Mortuary Notice," Salem Gazette; "Mortuary Notice," Brattleboro (Vermont) Messenger, 16 March 1833; "Mortuary Notice," Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.), 28 February 1833.

[21] Inventory of Hezekiah Foard, March 1833, Cecil County Register of Wills, Inventories, p. 678-679, MdHR 16577-1 [MSA C620-26, 1/11/12/42]; Selling of Bohemia Manor from Foard to Bayard family, 1835, Cecil County Court, Land Records, Liber JS 35, p. 83-84 [MSA CE 133-62]; Will of Hezekiah Foard, 1833, Cecil County Register of Wills, Wills, Liber A 8, p. 411-412, MdHR 16556 [MSA C646-7, 1/11/14/14].

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