Monday, December 10, 2012

Sheftall's Messmates

British sea captain John Stanhope ordered American Revolutionary Mordecai Sheftall to a prison ship off Savannah, Georgia.  The captain showered the Revolutionary with "illiberal" accusations but, Sheftall recalled, "I made a point of giving  Mr. Stanhope suitable answers to his impertinent treatment...."

In his diary, Sheftall wrote, "We were permitted to choose our messmates, and I accordingly made choice of Captain Thomas Fineley, Rev. Mr. Allen, Mr. Moses Valentonge, Mr. Daniel Flaherty, my self and son, [fifteen-year-old] Sheftall Sheftall."

The Sheftall Family were a Jewish-American family deeply committed to American protest and, ultimately, the American Revolution.  Congregationalists from New England settled in Midway, Georgia, making that town an early center of protest in Georgia.  Rev. Moses Allen served the church in Midway and later became a chaplain in the Continental Army.

Please consult William Pencak, Jews & Gentiles in Early America, 1654-1800 (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2005), pages 163, 167-169, and Burnette Vanstory Georgia's Land of the Golden Isles (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1981 [1956]), 36, 41-42.  For the Revolutionary inclinations of "English-speaking Calvinists" like New England Congregationalists, consult David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), page 162; for the Revolutionary commitment of many Jewish-Americans, please check Pencak, Jews & Gentiles, 65, 125, 202-212;  and Eli Faber, A Time For Planting: The First Migration, 1654-1820, vol. 1 of The Jewish People in America, series General Editor Henry L. Feingold (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), pages 102-105.
Post a Comment