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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

HOW CAPTAIN ELEAZER GILES LOST HIS LEG.

My branch of the Ellinwood/Ellenwood/Ellingwood family were farmers, but many  
of my ancestors had siblings who made their living upon the ocean, or married men
who did. One of my collateral relatives, Sarah Ellenwood, married Eleazer Giles
of Salem, Ma. Since tomorrow is July 4th, I thought I'd share what I recently found
about him  in William Richard Cutter's  Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical
and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Volume 3, p.932:


"Captain Eleazer Giles, son of Eleazer Giles (4), was born in Salem, now 
South Danvers, October, 1744. Married, March 9, 1768, Sarah Ellen Wood, 
of Beverly. He was a seafaring man, shipmaster, of great personal courage, 
energy and determination. At the age of twenty-four he commanded a schooner 
owned by John Prince and Miles Ward, Jr., of Salem. In the Revolution he 
commanded the armed brig "Saratoga," of Beverly, belonging to John and 
Andrew Cabot, and his brother was a lad in the crew. In 1776 Captain Giles
sailed from Beverly in a brig of ten guns and soon afterward fell in with a 

fleet of  merchantmen laden with stores, bound from Jamaica to London, four 
of which he captured: the ship  ''Lucia," four hundred tons: brigs "Alfred," 
"Success" and another, name unknown, of three hundred tons each. In another 
cruise he was less successful. Falling in with a British vessel of equal or 
superior force and relying on the boasted bravery of a newly shipped crew, 
he gave battle. Immediately upon the attack, a portion of his men proved by 
their conduct that his confidence in their bravery had been misplaced; and 
after a short but sharp engagement, in which he was wounded, he was 
compelled to surrender, and was carried to Halifax. His brothers Thomas and 
Benjamin who were in the crew were killed, and his brother-in-law, Benjamin 
Ives, was wounded. Captain Giles had to have his leg amputated twice in one 
day, after reaching Halifax, once below, then above the knee. The operation 
was performed by Dr. Jeffries, of Halifax, later of Boston, and the surgeon of 
the privateer, Dr. Elisha Whitney, of Beverly. He lived thirty years afterward, 
and continued to follow the sea, having a wooden leg. He was master and 
owner of a brig which he had built and later altered into a ship called the 
"Harriet," the name of his daughter mentioned below, and it was employed 
in the Liverpool trade. He had a large property, but died abroad and in some 
way his heirs were defrauded of the greater part of it. He resided in Beverly 
and was actively interested in politics."

One of the things this excerpt proves that no name is so simple that it can't be
made more complicated: notice how Sarah Ellenwood was transformed into
"Sarah Ellen Wood". If I hadn't Googled her name along with "Eleazer Giles"
I might not have found this.

The other thing is that researching the collateral lines of your ancestry is
just as fascinating as your direct lines!

3 comments:

Heather Rojo said...

Another cousin connection. Eleazar Giles is a descendant of Edward Gyles/Giles, my 10x great grandfather. There are many Giles in my family tree, including several Eleazars. The name seemed to run in the family.

Bill West said...

LOL! Another one! :)

Anonymous said...

My fathers name is Edward Giles :)