Friday, April 14, 2017

Uncle Joseph, Winter is Coming

Remember Samuel Bliss (1657-1729) he owned part interest in 2 ships that ran to Barbados and was in partnership with a wine merchant, rum runner. He was accused of selling "strong drink" to Indians. I chatted about him in my last Ghost story. He was married to Ann Elderkin. She had a brother, Joseph Elderkin  (1672- 1759) who was arrested in 1701 for "selling drink to Indians". He was charged, found guilty and fined. This may run in the family and I can't wait to see if there is similar mischief during prohibition. I say this because ... well,  watch Smokey and the Bandit
and you will have an idea about my role in this family theme. But shhhh... I have not told my daughters. You are welcome, Coors Beer....hahahah.
I am waiting for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.  

That was not the end of Joseph's crime spree. Not that I think sharing, selling or buying "strong drink" with your friends is a crime. Maybe these kin of mine are just happy drunks and want to share with everyone. 

In September 1712 Joseph is at the Supreme Court on Suspicion of Counterfeit. Yep, he is accused along with two others of having altered Connecticut bills to give them a larger denomination and passing them on. The other two are acquitted and Joseph is indicted. Back to court he goes where he is found guilty, has to pay a fine and sentenced to 6 months in prison. 

In October good ol' Uncle Joseph, being the clever sort pleads to the court in petition that he is in failing and very poor health. Winter is coming
and he fears spending time in prison during the harsh winter months might kill him. 

The Superior Court votes in favor of his plea and he is told he has to pay a bail and will have to return to prison when the weather is more favorable to serve out his sentence. He is released to return in the Spring. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Samuel Bliss - Run Runner

Samuel Bliss was ordered to pay a fine of 20 shillings
to the New London County Treasury. It was March 26 1718 and he was found guilty of selling "strong drink" to the Indians. He was not alone as he stood before the Justice of the Peace. He was accompanied by a host of citizens, men and women all standing for the same crime. 

I would like to proclaim his innocence, I mean he was my Great Grandfather 7 generations ago (1657 - 1729). We are family, but to be honest he was probably guilty. 

You see Samuel owned a Brigantine named Success. Brigantines were built in the colonies in North America in the early 1700s. Smaller than a brig but larger than a sloop, they were swift and easy to maneuver thus making them the  favored ships among pirates. They were often employed as landing vessels for larger fleets of ship because of their maneuverability. 

                      Brigantine 'Centaur' by Joseph Heard (1799–1859)

What has his ship the Success have to do with selling "strong drink?"  She sailed regularly to Barbados, and what was a popular product that came out of Barbados? Associated with piracy? Rum.  

Grandfather Bliss was in partnership with a "wine" merchant in Boston. They imported rum and exported leather, skins, pottery and pork. 

Apeanuchsuck, the Indian in question must have been having a big time because he was arrested first and at his trial ratted out Grandfather Bliss and the others. The original charge says "strong drink" and Apeanuchsuck is to pay 10 shillings or receive 10 lashes on his naked body. In the end Apeanuchsuck pays the 10 shillings and walks away having been served only 2 pots of cider.  

My question is who actually paid the 10 shillings and how did 2 pots of cider change from "strong drink".  

Samuel Bliss trouble making Run Runner.... my people!