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Meetings of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey

Standing Committee

Mr. William Lloyd, Mr. Francis Barber, Mr. Robert M. Boggs, Mr. John Clarke Sims, Hon. John Fitch, Rear Admiral Charles H. Baldwin, Mr. William Wilmot Ballard.

Delegates to the General Society

Hon. Clifford Stanley Sims, Mr. William Bowen Buck, Mr. Fras. Barber Ogden, Hon. John T. Nixon, Hon. John Fitch.


Hon. Joseph G. Scott, Rear-Admiral Charles H. Baldwin, Mr. John Clarke Sims, Hon. John Caldwalader, General William S. Stryker.

Hereditary Members

Your Committee having received the following applications for admission to the Society:

Robert W. Burnet as representative of Surgeon Wm. Burnet; Nathan Ford as representative of Capt. Mahlon Ford; Edw. Don Griffin as representative of Col. David Forman; Luther F. Halsey as representative of Capt. Luther Halsey; Henry S. Harris as representative of Surgeon Jacob Harris; James Sterling Hollinshead as representative of Major John Hollinshead; William R. Kinney as representative of Capt. John Kinney; Enoch Anson Moore as representative of Surgeon Eben Elmer; Edw. Polhemus as representative of Major John Polhemus; Chas. Herbert Sargent as representative of Lieut. Eli Elmer; William Ridgway Shreve as representative of Col. Israel Shreve; Rev. Dr. Joseph Farrand Tuttle as representative of Ensign Wm. Tuttle.

John Coddington Kinney as representative of Capt. N. Fitz Randolph, which application is made under the provisions of the Institution provided that as a testimony of affection to the memory of such officers as have died in the service their eldest male branches shall have the same right of becoming members, as the children of the actual members of the Society. The applicant under Rule 2, pays the funds of the Society the sum of $250.

William Lester Donnell as representative of Capt. Nathl. Donnell; Thomas Talmage Kinney as representative of Lieut. Abraham Kinney.

Edward Bird Grubb as representative of Capt. Peter Grub. This applicant under Rule No. 2, pays into the Treasury the sum of $500.

And after a careful consideration of the claims of these gentlemen and their fitness for membership in this Society they cordially recommend their admission. They were admitted.

Your Committee further report that satisfactory documentary evidence, which is herewith submitted having been presented to them relative to the services of Dr. Alexander Ross as a Hospital Physician and Surgeon in the Continental Line, and his consequent eligibility to be represented in this Society, and they having duly and carefully considered the same they recommend the passage of the following resolution:

Resolved, That the preamble and resolutions adopted 4th July, 1882, in relation to the representation of Surgeon Alexander Ross, be and are hereby rescinded and said representation restored to its original status.

Appendix being papers in the case of Surgeon Alexander Ross, referred to in the above report:

Philadelphia, 5th March, 1884.
Francis Barber Ogden, Esq.,

Secretary of the Society of the Cincinnati in State of New Jersey:

My Dear Sir:

Referring to the letter addressed to you regarding the Alexander Ross case, under date of December 6th, 1883, by Major A. B. Gardner, Judge Advocate U.S.A. and Asst. Sec’y- of the Rhode Island State Society of the Cincinnati, I desire to submit some observations in relation to the matter in question. A brief history of the case is that in 1868, John Clarke Sims, Jr., was admitted to membership in the New Jersey State Society of the Cincinnati as great great grandson of Alexander Ross, who, it was stated by the affidavit of Dr. Zachariah Read, had served as a surgeon in the Revolutionary Army and died May 10, 1780. This affidavit was the only evidence submitted and subsequently some question was raised as to its sufficiency. The letter of Major Gardner, above referred to gives a clear account of the state of affairs in New Jersey in 1779-80, and of the organization of the Continental Medical service, and expresses the belief that Alexander Ross served as stated in the affidavit of Dr. Zachariah Reed, as Major Gardner has been a close investigator of the records of the Revolutionary officers, and has spent a number of years in such researches, an opinion from him is entitled to great weight. I desire to call attention to two points, namely: First, that the professional standing of Alexander Ross was such as to render him so prominent as a physician, that his sympathies being with the patriotic rank, it followed as a rational conclusion that his professional services would be sought for by the military authorities, and be willingly given by him; and Second, that the family and social relations of Dr. Zachariah Read were such as to place within his reach knowledge or information of Alexander Ross, that is entitled to be received with absolute credence. As to the first point, I desire to refer to the following extract from History of Medicine and Medical Men in New Jersey, page 378. “Dr. Ross was one of the most prominent and skillful medical men of South Jersey, at the time in which he lived. He rode over a large extent of country, on an old black mare, with his saddle bags stuffed with medicines, and required two weeks, generally to make each of his patients a visit.” To the foregoing, I wish to add the statement that Alexander Ross was a graduate of medicine of the University of Edinburgh and to call attention to the fact that in his day in New Jersey the greater number of the practitioners of medicine were not graduates of any school. So much for the professional standing of Alexander Ross. Now, as to his sympathies, it cannot be questioned that he was loyal to the patriotic cause when his only son and his son-in-law. Major John Ross and Major Richard Cox were officers in the Continental Army. It is interesting to note here that Major John Ross, married July 8, 1778, at Egg Harbor, N. J., Mary Brainerd. The only child of that Rev. John Brainerd who, in 1776, had preached at Blackwoodtown, N. J., a sermon glowing with patriotism, appealing to the people to enlist and fight for their country, the text being. Psalm CXLIV., I: “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to fight”; and that Egg Harbor was the home of the Hon. Elijah Clark, the warm personal friend of John Brainerd, a member of the Provinical Congress and Lieut. Col. of the 2d Batt. of Gloucester Co., whose youngest son John Lardner Clark, married, August 1, 1797, the eldest daughter of Major John Ross; the daughter of this marriage was the mother of John Clarke Sims, Jr., the claimant admitted to membership in 1868, as before stated. As to the second point. Dr. Zachariah Read was the grandson of Joseph Read, who was born in 1739, and died in 1814, and whose wife Martha, who was born in 1753, and died in 1830, was the daughter of Zachariah Rossell, whose second wife was Elizabeth Ross, the widow of Alexander Ross; she died in 1807, aged 74 years; the parents of Dr. Zachariah Read were Samuel J. Read, who was born in 1771, and died in 1856, and Sarah, daughter of Dr. Stacy Budd. She was born in 1781 and died in 1851. Dr. Stacy Budd was born in 1740, and died in 1804, and from the history of Medicine and Medical men in New Jersey above quoted, page 179, it is learned that he studied medicine with Dr. Alexander Ross in Burlington. All the persons above named lived in Mount Holly, N. J. Dr. Zachariah Read, was born in 1808, graduated in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1830, and after practising the profession in Mount Holly for over forty years died there in 1879. During all his long life; he was interested in the early local history of the neighborhood of his home, and gave much of his spare time to the collection of facts concerning it. Now to review the matter, it is evident that the service of a physician of the prominence of Alexander Ross, would have been eagerly sought for. when, as Major Gardner states, the demand for medical attendance became most urgent, and the few whig practitioners in New Jersey were called upon and could not decline to serve, and with two of his family in the patriot army, he could not have failed to render his services to the cause in which his sympathies were naturally enlisted. The affidavit of Dr. Zachariah Read states, it has always been a matter of current report that Dr. Alexander Ross, the father of Maj. John Ross, was a Surgeon in the Army of the Revolution; that he has often been so informed by members of his family in the last generation and by aged persons resident years back in Mount Holly, in which town Dr. Alexander Ross lived and died. What members of his family are these that he refers to? His grandmother, who did not die until he was a man grown, was the contemporary for twenty-seven years of Alexander Ross, and was the stepdaughter and contemporary for fifty years of Elizabeth Rossell, the widow of Alexander Ross. Dr. Read’s father, who lived until 1856, was the contemporary of the said Elizabeth Rossell for thirty-six years. His mother who lived until 185 1, was the daughter of the student of Alexander Ross, and was the contemporary of Elizabeth Rossell for twenty-six years. A comparison of the foregoing dates shows that Dr. Zachariah Read, had unusually good sources of information regarding Alexander Ross, and that the sources from which he obtained his information were so direct that his affidavit is entitled to full faith and credence. Recently access has been obtained to an historical manuscript prepared during 1859-1861 by Dr. Zachariah Read, entitled Annals of Mount Holly, from which the following are extracts: “The next house was where old Dr. Ross once lived; he died about 1780, and was in the war as a Surgeon. John Guy, this old colored man, lived in a small house which formerly stood opposite Stacy Atkinson’s in Pine Street. He waited upon Dr. Ross, who was a Surgeon in the Revolutionary War. Alexander Ross was a practising physician and served as a Surgeon in the American Army of the Revolution. He lived in Church Street.”

I am, my dear Sir, very truly yours,

State of New Jersey, ss.:
County of Burlington,

Be it remembered. That on the fifth day of May, A. D., 1884, before me, one of the Masters of the Court of Chancery of the said State, personally appeared Clifford Stanley Sims, who, being duly sworn according to law on his oath saith, that he has carefully examined a written communication from John C. Sims, Jr., to Francis Barber Ogden, Secretary of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey and dated, Philadelphia, 5th March, 1884, and that he has verified the same by carefully comparing certain of the statements therein made with the printed book therein referred to and entitled, “History of Medicine and Medical Men in New Jersey,” and by carefully comparing certain other of such statements with family records and papers in the possession of this deponent, and by carefully comparing certain other of such statements with an historical manuscript temporarily in the possession of this deponent and entitled, “Annals of Mount Holly,” and by carefully comparing certain other of such statements with the inscriptions on certain of the gravestones in the church-yards or burial grounds of Saint Andrew’s Church in Mount Holly, Burlington County, State of New Jersey, aforesaid, and which said inscriptions are as follows:

“Beneath this stone are interred the remains of Joseph Read, Esquire. He was born in the City of Philadelphia, on the 16th of April, 1739, and departed this life at Mount Holly, on the 19th of November, A. D., 1814, aged 75 years, 6 months and 23 days.”

“In Memory of Martha, relict of Joseph Read, who departed this life February 19th, A. D. 1830, in the 77th year of her age.”

“Samuel J. Read, Esquire, born December 14th, 1771, died October 2d, 1836, and Sarah Read, born 1781, died 185 1, our father and mother.”

“Z. Read, M. D., born Sept. 19th, 1808, died July 28th, 1879.”

“Sacred to the memory of Alexander Ross, M. D., who departed this life May 10th, A. D. 1780, aged 67 years.”

“Elizabeth, the 2d wife of Z. Rossell, died June 8th, 1807, aged 74 years,” and that all and every of the statements so made in the said written communication are in full and exact accord with the said printed book, family records and papers, historical manuscript and inscriptions on gravestones, so carefully examined and compared as aforesaid by this deponent.


Subscribed and sworn to before me at Mount Holly, the day and year aforesaid.


M. C. C.

Judge Advocate’s Office, Governor’s Island, N. Y. City,

6th December, 1883.
Francis Barber Ogden, Esq.,
Secretary of the Society of Cincinnati, in the State of New Jersey.

My Dear Sir:

Two years ago I had the honor to be consulted by you, and asked to give such information as the records in my possession offered, relative to the right of Dr. Alexander Ross, deceased, to have been admitted an original member in the Society of the Cincinnati, had he lived until that Order was instituted. In my reply I came to the conclusion that he would not have been entitled to original membership: ist. Because his name does not appear in Gen. Stryker‘s records of Continental and Military Officers of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War. 2d. Because I could not find his name in the rosters of the lines of any other State. 3d. Because I could not find his name in the list of those who would have been entitled to half-pay for life. Since then I have continued my researches in the register of the Rhode Island Cincinnati, and have discovered a great deal as to the Continental Medical Department of the Army of the Revolution and therefore beg leave to withdraw my former expression of opinion for the following reasons: I would surmise by saying that the actual rosters of Continental Medical Officers are exceedingly imperfect prior to 1781, more so, indeed, than as to any other branch of the service. Under the resolve of Congress of 7th of April, 1777, as to the Medical Department there were allowed in each military district as many senior physicians and surgeons and second surgeons as the director general or deputy director general deemed necessary, and they were accordingly appointed by the physician general and surgeon general of the district and held Continental commissions, but were liable to become supernumerary on discontinuance of a hospital. They were also all liable to the rules and articles of war. These regulations continued in force until the entire new arrangement of Congress on September 30, 1780, by which a large portion of the Continental medical officers were made supernumerary and honorably discharged on October 6, 1780. As the resolutions as to half pay for life were not promised by Congress until the resolutions of Congress of the 3d and 21st of October, 1780, for those who should continue in service, the medical officers who were honorably discharged in that month and their names do not therefore appear in my half pay rolls. I did not, however, discover that they were thus discharged in October, 1780, instead of January 1, 1781, until about six weeks ago. Now as to Mr. John Clarke Sim‘s claim to represent his great-great-grandfather, Surgeon Alexander Ross, in the New Jersey Cincinnati, I am of the opinion that it ought to be favorably considered for three reasons. Surgeon Ross certainly served and I believe Dr. Zachariah Read’s affidavit to have been correct in fact as well as in intent. There is no mistake as to who were surgeons of militia in New Jersey, as a complete record of them is to be found in Gen. Stryker‘s valuable and painstaking official publication. Surgeon Ross‘ service was therefore undoubtedly Continental, and the question arises, when was this service performed and for how long? The history of the Medical Department of the Continental Army points directly to the time when Surgeon Ross must have served. It could not have been in the years 1777 and 1778, because the main Continental Army did not then occupy the State of New Jersey. In 1779 it was encamped principally in the Highlands of the Hudson until late in the Autumn, when it went into winter quarters, in such parts of the country as would most readily afford subsistence and at the same time permit prompt concentration. Some of the troops were accordingly cantoned in Connecticut, others in the Highlands and the remainder in New Jersey. The winter of 1779-80 proved to be one of unexampled severity, and the soldiers being illy supplied with clothing and their subsistence being scanty and of poor quality, sickness and disease increased in an alarming ratio. Dr. James Tilton, of Delaware, became the Hospital Surgeon in charge of the General Hospital at Trenton. The demand for medical attendance became most urgent, and the few whig practitioners in New Jersey were called upon and could not decline to serve. Hospitals were opened in many parts of the State. Private practice was almost at a standstill. The deep snows and prevalence of gangs of marauders prevented any itinerant practice and medical men, unless they had other resources, were then unable in New Jersey to support themselves by their profession. With the opening of the spring in 1780, matters did not improve in this respect, because the campaign of the main Continental Army during the year of 1780 was exclusively conducted in the Jersies. Until the troops finally went into winter quarters in December, 1780. During this year all business in that unfortunate State was at a standstill, and no private medical practitioner could, with personal safety, practice his profession for 3. living and make itinerant medical visits. Gen. Knyphausen made his raid into the Jersies and the battle of Springfield was fought in June, 1780. The Militia were under arms and the farmers who had sown their crops were in many instances unable to reap them or else the invading or continental armies did it for them. From Dr. Zachariah Read’s affidavit there can be no reasonable doubt that Dr. Alexander Ross served and as he did not serve in the Militia, his service was necessarily Continental. I therefore, express it, as my opinion and belief, after mature deliberation, that Dr. Alexander Ross entered the Continental Service as a Hospital physician and surgeon on or about December 1, 1779, and continued in service until the close of the campaign of 1780, when by resolution of Congress of September 30, 1780, he and a large number of other medical officers were deranged (i. e., made supernumerary), on reorganization of the medical department, and was honorably discharged, Oct. 6, 1780. From that time forward he could, with safety practice his profession, had he desired to do so.

I am, my dear sir.

Very respectfully and very truly yours,

Asa Bird Gardner,
Asst. Sec. R. I. State Soc. Cincinnati.

Judge Advocate’s Office,
Governor’s Island, N. Y., 3d April, 1884.
Francis Barber Ogden, Esq.,

Secretary the Society of the Cincinnati, in the State of New Jersey.

My Dear Sir:

Referring to my previous communication relative to the services of Alexander Ross, M.D., in the Continental Hospital Department of the Revolution, I beg to say that I have been making some further inquiries and researches which seem to leave no reasonable doubt that his proper descendant as determined by the Society, would be entitled to hereditary membership. Dr. Zachariah Read’s affidavit of the 17th August 1866, made by an unbiassed and reputable witness points strongly to the conclusion that Dr. Alexander Ross, had served as a surgeon in the Revolution. Had he served in the Militia of New Jersey his name would be found in Adj. Gen. Stryker‘s admirable record of New Jersey’s forces in that memorable contest. I find on inquiry that Dr. Alex. Ross had resided in Burlington, N. J., seven miles from Mount Holly, and later in Mount Holly, where his remains are interred, he having died loth of May, 1780. Early in 1779, the Army was principally stationed in New Jersey and in the Highlands of the Hudson and one of the principal hospitals for the main Continental Army was established at Burlington. In the official History of the Medical Department of the Army by Dr. Harvey C. Brown, it is stated, page 52, that the winter of 1779 and 1 780, was very severe and the soldiers sick in tent and hospital suffered very much. The law as it then stood proved that each physician and surgeon general of the army shall appoint such a number of surgeons, as the director or deputy director general shall judge necessary for the more effectual care of the sick and wounded. The physician general in the middle department was Charles McKnight, A.M., a native of Cranbury, N. J., and the Surgeon General was Wm. Brown, M.D., of Maryland, a graduate of Edinburgh University. Each of these gentlemen were undoubtedly well acquainted with Dr. Alex. Ross, and urged him to take the appointment of Continental Hospital Physician or Surgeon. The necessity of his services to his country at that juncture were great and he could not with propriety have declined such a call.

I am satisfied that Dr. Alexander Ross was in the service as a Continental Hospital Physician from some time in 1779, until his decease. May 10, 1780. My apology for this communication will be found expressed in my former one.

I have the honor to be, dear sir,

Very respectfully yours,

Asa Bird Gardner,
Asst. Secy. R. I. Society.

Honorary Members

In consequence of the large increase in our membership the Society is entitled to several additional Honorary Members. Honorary Membership is thus defined in the Institution: “As there are and will at all times be men in the respective States eminent for their abilities and patriotism, whose views may be directed to the same laudable objects, with those of the Cincinnati, it shall be a rule to admit such characters, as Honorary Members of this Society, for their own lives only. Provided always, that the number of Honorary Members in each State, does not exceed a ratio of one to four of the officers or their descendants.” New Jersey has always held to the policy of freely availing herself of this provision and has secured thereby the fraternal cooperation of many of her most prominent men. The names of Elias Boudinot, Frederick Frelinghuysen, William Livingston, Samuel Lewis Southard and the rest, reflect honor on those who tried to do them honor by this compliment. Of our Honorary Members now living it were not proper to speak individually. We may, however, say collectively the adopted sons of the Cincinnati of New Jersey (her Honorary Members of the present day), are not one whit behind their distinguished predecessors, and are valuable as well as valued additions to our Society. Your Committee beg leave to present for your suffrages the names of Rear Admiral George F. Emmons, U. S. N., of Princeton; Judge Advocate James N. Stratton, of Mount Holly; Governor Joseph D. Bedle, of Jersey City. The rule being suspended they were admitted.

The Hon. Wm. J. Sewall and Mr. Wm. W. Thomas, being nominated for Honorary Membership, their names were referred to the Standing Committee to report thereon at the next annual meeting.


The President informed the Society that he had received $455 in subscriptions from the members towards defraying the expenses of entertaining the General Society at their recent session in Princeton.

The Treasurer presented the following report from the Trustees of the Society.

The Trustees beg leave to report that the present assets of the Society are:

$3,000 W. Jersey R. R. Co. 6 per cent. Coupon Bonds Nos. 817, 818, 819, due 1896, M. V $3,420.00
$1,000 Pemberton & Highstown R. R. Co. 7 per cent. Bonds No. 27, due 1889, M.V 1,110.00
$10,000 Penn. Car Trust 5 per cent. Certf. Series E., No. 4450 and No. 4464 to 72, due May 1, 1889, M. V 10,000.00
Cash on deposit belonging to Capital account $804.45
” ” ” ” ” Sinking Fund 195.10
” ” ” ” ” Income 260.25
Total Cash with accrued interest to July 1, 1884 1,259.80

All of the above securities are registered in the names of William B. Buck. Clifford Stanley Sims and Herman Burgin, Trustees of the Society of the Cincinnati of the State of New Jersey. The cash surplus is deposited in the Guarantee Trust & Safe Deposit Co. of Philadelphia, to the credit of the Society of the Cincinnati of New Jersey. The account to receive 2 per cent, on the daily balances. The Trustees would request the adoption of the following resolution: Resolved, that the report of the Trustees be accepted and approved.

The Standing Committee report that the present permanent fund of the Society consists of $15,529.55 also $260.25. belonging to income account. They have examined the accounts of the past year as rendered by the Treasurer and find the same correct. By this there is shown to be in the hands of the Treasurer the sum of $656.36, after allowing the following disbursements made during the year.

Donations $180.00
Dinner (1883) and Sundry Expenses 320.24
Expenses of Triennial Meeting (entertaining General Society) 815.15
General Society Assessment 20.00


Your Standing Committee recommend that the sum of $120 be divided among the following persons, viz: Miss Eleanor and Susan Lloyd, Miss Sally Dayton, Miss Mary DeHart, Miss Elizabeth Barber, Miss Julia Pennington, and Mrs. Catharine Dunham. Recommendations adopted.


The meeting having been called to order was opened by prayer by Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Saml. M. Shute.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The President announced to the Society the death of Mr. George Washington Harris, Secretary General of the Cincinnati and President of the Pennsylvania State Society, upon which on motion of Dr. Shute the following resolution was unanimously adopted:

Resolved, that the Society of the Cincinnati, in the State of New Jersey, hear with much regret of the death on the 27th of November last of Mr. George Washington Harris, late Secretary General of the Cincinnati and President of the Society in the State of Pennsylvania, and would respectfully tender to the General Society and to their brethren in Pennsylvania the assurance of their sympathy at the loss which they have sustained. Resolved, that the Secretary forward a certified copy of this resolution to the Secretary General and to the Secretary of the Society in Pennsylvania.

The President informed the Society that he had received $445 in subscriptions from the members towards defraying the expenses of entertaining the General Society at their recent session in Princeton, and mentioned incidentally that during the year past he had written some 323 letters on business of the Society.

The Secretary made a verbal report regarding the communications received and made by him since the last meeting.

The Standing Committee have to announce that during the year past death has taken from us:

Chaplain, the Rev. Doctor William Henry Hornblower. He was born at Newark on the 21st March, 1820, and was the eldest son of Chief Justice Hornblower and Mary Burnet, granddaughter of Surgeon William Burnet, an original member of this Society. Edward Riggs Pennington, the son of one and grandson of another of our former Governors. We would respectfully tender to his widow and family our most sincere sympathy at their bereavement. The Secretary will forward a copy of this resolution to the family of our deceased brother.

In accordance with By-Law IX. giving power to the Standing Committee to fill all vacancies by death, resignation or otherwise, they on the 4th day of March last appointed the Rev. Samuel Moore Shute, D.D., Chaplain to the Society, and have the pleasure to announce that on the 16th May last that gentleman was also appointed a Chaplain to the General Society.

The Standing Committee would recommend the adoption of the following resolution: Be it resolved, that whereas the Secretary has now sufficient material for a new Red Book, he be instructed to make up and print the same, and also be it resolved, that the Treasurer be authorized to pay requisite reasonable amounts in furtherance of this object.