Pardon Sheldon (1739-1838)
The Gaspee Days Committee at www.gaspee.COM is a civic-minded nonprofit organization that operates many community events in and around Pawtuxet Village, including the famous Gaspee Days Parade each June. These events are all designed to commemorate the 1772 burning of the hated British revenue schooner, HMS Gaspee, by Rhode Island patriots as America's 'First Blow for Freedom' TM. Our historical research center, the Gaspee Virtual Archives at www.gaspee.ORG , has presented these research notes as an attempt to gather further information on one who has been suspected of being associated with the the burning of the Gaspee. Please e-mail your comments or further questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
to implicate Captain Pardon
We found the following snippet from the July 6th, 1827 edition of the [Providence] American and Gazette. The article on page 2 describes the Providence 1827 Fourth of July parade floats:
"Behind these [contingent of Revolutionary War veterans] was the barge "Independence," a finely modelled boat, hung lightly upon a carriage, drawn by six horses, manned by six American sailors, neatly dressed, bearing their oars erect. In the stern sat two of the oldest captains of this port, Pardon Sheldon and Samuel Godfrey. The boat was tastefully painted, and decorated with flags, with thirteen stars upon each gunwale. The flag, commemorating the burning of the Gaspee, was borne in the bow, and the American Jack waved from the stern. The device was very happily executed and formed a neat and appropriate emblem of Independence and Commerce. Five youths in white uniform followed, bearing banners inscribed with the names of Revolutionary worthies. After these came a long procession of more than 400 young men."
Their riding together in a float of honor to the burning of the Gaspee indicates that both Captains Samuel Godfrey and Pardon Sheldon must have participated in the attack on the Gaspee in 1772. Unlike the previous 1826 parade, we do not know the specific words used on the banner alluding to the Gaspee. In 1826 (see http://gaspee.COM/EarlyCelebrations.htm ) the four ‘surviving’ Gaspee raiders (Page, Mawney, Bowen, and Smith) had their names on a banner depicting the burning, yet these four and their banner are not mentioned in the 1827 parade. One explanation is that Pardon Sheldon and Sam Godfrey ‘came out of the closet’ so to speak once they saw that they had missed out on all the platitudes extended the other Gaspee raiders the year before. Perhaps something similar motivated Ezra Ormsbee to add into his 1832 pension application the passage about his role in the burning of the Gaspee.
As to the float entered into the 1827 parade, it was quite obviously a seat of honor to be aboard. There would be no other specific reason for these two gentlemen to be so celebrated. As someone who helps run the Gaspee Days Parade each year, such a position of honor would be subject to historical validation. I know my immediate predecessors would be as anal-retentive as I, and I believe that my ancient predecessors would be also. The guys in the 1827 float were also positioned immediately behind the group of Revolutionary War veterans that just so happened to include (by name) John Howland, the president of the newly established (1822) RI Historical Society, and an eyewitness to the boarding of the longboats at Fenner’s Wharf. Thus it seems both Captains Pardon Sheldon and Samuel Godfrey must have been participants in the burning of the Gaspee in order to be so celebrated in 55 years later.
With respect to Pardon Sheldon, Brown
has a letter dated December 12, 1763 from Nicholas Brown & Co. to
Captain Pardon Sheldon, who was commanding their vessel Four Brothers on a trading voyage
to Virginia. The complete image and transcipt is available on-line at http://dl.lib.brown.edu/repository/repoman.php?verb=render&id=1160754632359380.
We note from
accounts (Early American Newspapers collection through the NEHGS portal) that a Pardon
was listed as master of the
The Providence Gazette
advised that the ship
Subsequently in Feb
1775 Pardon Sheldon commanded the John for the
In 1822 through 1825 Pardon Sheldon was
Domestic Industry. In 1825 he won the
While there are several people
Sheldon listed in
SHELDON, PARDON, CAPT 1740c - 3 FEB 1838 PV001
He is buried in
According to FamilySearch.org, The Pardon Sheldon of our concern, was born 21Oct1730 in Providence, RI to Pardon Sheldon (Sr) and Mary (Waterman) Sheldon. But a more authorative source is Wayne G. Tillinghast, The Tillinghasts in America: The First Four Generations (2006) which cites the correct birth year as 1739. The father of our Pardon Sheldon's died when his son was only 3 years old. Our Pardon Sheldon m1 on 30Nov1766 his second cousin once removed, a Mercy Jenkes (1745-1776) daughter of Jeremiah Jenkes and Ann (Tillinghast) Jenkes. He m2 25Oct1778 a Phebe Brown (1741-1786), daughter of George Brown.and Esther Brown. He m3 a Susannah Lyon. Most of the lines listed in FamilySearch.org all claim (erroneously) that this Pardon Sheldon died on 6Oct1786. There may have been another Pardon Sheldon born in Cranston in 1755 to a Job Sheldon and Lydia Sheldon, and while this meets the criteria for being born (just before) 1755, we do not know his death date, and we note that there is nothing in the LDS site or in Wayne G. Tillinghast's work representing any other Pardon Tillinghast with the correct dates. We also note that fellow Gaspee raider Captain Christopher Sheldon and our Captain Pardon Sheldon were first cousins, sharing the same grandparents, Nicholas and Anne (Tillinghast) Sheldon.
Children of our Capt. Pardon and Mercy Sheldon :
|Based on his recognition by parade organizers in 1827, there is actually compelling evidence for Captain Pardon Sheldon to have been a Gaspee raider. And since we, as fellow historical parade organizers, hold to similar ideals, we gladly recognize Captain Pardon Sheldon as a true American patriot for his role in the destruction of the Gaspee.|
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