Sunday, June 24, 2007


I was googling about on my Ellingwood line the other evening and
stumbled across another distant relative with an interesting story.
I found this one at
which belongs to D. La Pierre Ballard, and the relative is one
Benjamin Ellenwood of Nova Scotia, a privateer for the British
during the War of 1812!

My greatgrandmother Clara Ellingwood is a descendant of Ralph
Ellingwood (Ellenwood/Ellinwood)of Salem and Beverly through
his son Ralph Jr. Another of his sons was Benjamin Ellenwood
whose family and descendants lived in Beverly. Then (as I posted
earlier) after the French and Indian Wars some Essex Co. colonists
migrated to Nova Scotia to take up the lands once held by expelled
Acadians and among these was another Benjamin Ellenwood, the
grandson of the first Benjamin, who went north to Yarmouth,
Nova Scotia in 1764 with his wife Susanna Corning.

Their son Nathaniel Ellenwood married Margaret Freeman on
14 Nov 1781 and two years later their son Benjamin was born on
14 Mar 1783. Nathaniel was a successful sea captain and there’s an
excerpt on the website from a book with entries concerning the
activities of a Captain Ellenwood.

Apparently Benjamin followed in his father’s footsteps and an
excerpt from another book, "Under the Red Jack: Privateers of
the Maritime Provinces of Canada in the War of 1812" by Charles
H.J. Snider details just how successful he was when he turned to

“On April 3, 1813, [Captain] Benjamin [Ellenwood] succeeded
Thomas Freeman in charge of the privately armed schooner
"Retaliation". By July he had brought in nine prizes, besides
those which he had driven ashore. On September 2, 1813, he
was promoted to the schooner "Shannon", also out of Liverpool,
Nova Scotia. With perhaps one exception, he was the most
successful privateersman out of Nova Scotia in the War of 1812,
and only thirty years of age. The "Shannon" measured 146 tons
and had a crew of 50 men with five guns. He had only six men
left when he manned out her sixteenth prize two months later.”

But Benjamin Ellenwood’s success and life was short lived. After
the war he returned to commercial shipping and docked at Dolby’s
Wharf in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 31 Jan, 1815. Sometime after
docking and selling his cargo he was stabbed to death by one of his
own crew, a man named James Archibald who was later tried,
convicted and executed for the murder.

His widow remarried and left Nova Scotia with her new husband
and family, leaving her children by Benjamin with his father
Nathaniel Ellenwood. He moved the family back to the United
States and in a final irony, the grandsons of Benjamin Ellenwood
the Canadian privateer fought in the Civil War for the United

D. La Pierre Ballard is a descendent of Benjamin and also is related
to two more of my ancestors, Simon Stone and William Ballard.
He credits Suzanne Ballard Sell and his Cousin Patricia for some of
the information I’ve used in this post.

It’s an interesting website. Check it out!


Janice said...


As usual another fascinating story. My own Reynolds/Runnels ancestors lived in Nova Scotia.

Oh, and by the way, you've been tagged! I hereby award you the Thinking Blogger Award for all the fine posts that make me (and others too I am sure) THINK.

here to learn how to pass it on


Bill West said...


Thanks for the compliment,Janice!