Gochenouer, Lyrita Kimbrell. "Re: [OLIPHANT] David Oliphant", (rootsweb.com, February 1, 1998.)
Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, (Kent, OH: The Kent State University Press, 1999.)
"Scout". "Find a Grave Memorial: Dr David Oliphant - 1723-1805", (www.findagrave.com, record added - January 15, 2014)
Smith, Frank, F.S.G., compiler. A Genealogical Gazetteer of Scotland: An Alphabetical Dictionary of Places, (Logan, UT: The Everton Publishers, Inc., 1971.)
The writer of this blog has come to the realization that though allusions have been made to Dr. David Oliphant being important in South Carolinian society after his arrival in South Carolina, not much else has been put forward as proof of these claims. In fact, in the opinion of the writer of this blog, David Oliphant had his greatest life achievements and impact after his arrival in South Carolina and while he was resident there. In this "possibly-brief" post concerning the conclusion of his life in North America, the writer of this blog intends to illuminate those accomplishments and give him his rightful place among the luminaries of our movement for independence from Great Britain.
Prior to this specific post, there were no "hard facts" as to where exactly David Oliphant was born. The most exact location provided by any of the previous sources was that he was born "...in Scotland...". According to "Scout's" article, "Find a Grave Memorial: Dr David Oliphant - 1723-1805", David Oliphant was born in Pitheavles, near Perth, Scotland in 1720. An examination of Smith's work, A Genealogical Gazetteer of Scotland, does not reveal a town by this name anywhere in Scotland, much less "... near Perth...". This could be for a few reasons. The town could have been abandoned after Oliphant's birth and never reoccupied. The town could have been renamed and the memory of the older name lost to history. Or, possibly, the recorder of the entry for David Oliphant in "Find a Grave Memorial" might have recorded the town's name incorrectly. As referenced above, no town named "Pitheavles" is found in Scotland but, a town named "Pittheveliss" is found there. Again, according to Smith's work, A Genealogical Gazetteer of Scotland, page 60, Pittheveliss is a "...village in the parish of East Perth, population of 77..." in 1971 ( when the work of Smith was published). But, Smith's work, pages 120-121, on which the map of the County Perth is found, does not locate this town on a map of the County Perth. The writer of this blog has found no other reference to act as a cross-reference in corroborating any of this information but, it is still plausible as represented here.
(Note: There is some discrepancy over the actual birth year of David Oliphant. Within the above cited "Find a Grave Memorial" source, two different dates are given for the birth year of this David Oliphant. The "Find a Grave Memorial" articles always begin with the birth and death dates of the individual covered by that article. This specific article clearly states that the birth year of David Oliphant is "1723". But, the first actual sentence of the article begins by stating that David Oliphant was "...born in Pitheavles, near Perth, Scotland, in 1720...". The few other sources that have addressed the birth of David Oliphant have utilized the birth year of 1720 for David Oliphant. The writer of this blog will accept this for the birth year of David Oliphant.)
Another fact of David Oliphant's life that was not recorded and thus has become obscured by the passage of time is his arrival date in South Carolina. Most of the sources that address his departure from Scotland simply state that "...he emigrated from Scotland to America... settled in South Carolina...". David Oliphant participated in the final Jacobite uprising in Scotland that occurred in 1745-1746. The particulars of this participation in the "Rising of the '45" on the part of Dr. David Oliphant are cited in the immediately previous post entitled "'...A Revolutionary Life Lived...', Pt. II - John Alleyne Walter Lieutenant of Marines on board the Frigate South Carolina: Additional Information on His Father-in-Law, Dr. David Oliphant, MD" and dated "02/02/2017". Other sources usually state that at some point after the defeat at Culloden Moor on April 16, 1746, David Oliphant "escaped" following the battle and later emigrated to South Carolina.
(Note: Beginning with the paragraph immediately below this foot note, all the information presented up to the conclusion of this post will come from a single source, "Scout's" article, "'Find a Grave Memorial' - entry for Dr David Oliphant (1723-1805)". There are no other corroborating works that provide this same information. In the opinion of the writer of this blog that makes this information possibly "suspect". But, with this word of caution having been issued, this is the only existing information known to the writer of this blog concerning Dr. David Oliphant and his activities during the American Revolution. Thus, it will be faithfully presented here as such.)
Gochenouer's article, "Re: [Oliphant] David Oliphant", page 1, states that there is evidence of a David Oliphant arriving in Charleston, SC in 1755. This is feasible even though it would be almost ten years after the defeat of the Jacobite forces at the Battle of Culloden. But, "Scout's" article, "Find a Grave Memorial" - entry for Dr David Oliphant (1723-1805) provides a different situation. The above referenced article, page 1, indicates that he emigrated to America soon after the the collapse of the "Rising of the '45" and possibly under quite different circumstances than those assumed due to his having been identified as a Jacobite. It specifically states that:
"...having soon emigrated to South Carolina, he was on the 8th of June, 1747, appointed Surgeon to the "Three Independent Companies" of H.R.M. regular foot, then stationed in that province.".
He must have remained at this occupation and position for several years because the next item we have, from the same source cited above, page 1, concerning Dr. David Oliphant is as follows:
"On the 22nd of January, 1755, he resigned his commission and settled in the parish of St. George, Dorchester, S.C. and engaged in the practice of medicine.".
As far as the source, "'Find a Grave Memorial' - entry for Dr David Oliphant (1723-1805)", the record is silent concerning Dr. David Oliphant for almost exactly ten years until January 1775. It will be made quite clear from the following entries that Dr. David Oliphant took on the cause of his adopted home state and embraced the revolutionary path that it had taken. The dates concerning his involvement with the revolutionary Cause of America in general and of South Carolina in particular are as follows:
"January 11, 1775 to November 1, 1775 - he was elected a member of the Provincial General Assembly of South Carolina.
November 16, 1775 - he was appointed a member of the Council of Safety of South Carolina.
March 26, 1776 - he was chosen a member of the Legislative Council of the Province of South Carolina.
June 1, 1776 - he was appointed by the Continental Congress as Director-General of the Hospitals in the Southern Department. (His commission bore the date July 4, 1776.) As a result of this appointment, he vacated his office on the Council Board.
Continuing on active service, he was present at the following events -
The Siege of Charleston, SC (March 20, 1780 to May 12, 1780) - Dr. David Oliphant was taken prisoner-of-war at the fall of Charleston and was on parole until November 9, 1780 when he was exchanged.
The Battle of Guilford Court House, NC (March 15, 1781)
The Battle of Hobkirk's Hill, SC (April 25, 1781)
May 7, 1781 - Dr. David Oliphant was appointed by the Continental Congress as Director of American Hospitals to the Army by Major-General Nathaniel Greene.
May 15, 1781 - on this date the re-arrangement of the Medical Department was completed and Dr. David Oliphant was appointed by the Continental Congress as Deputy Director Hospital Department for the Southern Army.
The Siege of Fort Ninety-Six (May 21, 1781 to June 19, 1781)
The Battle of Eutaw Springs (September 8, 1781)
After this battle, he was '...subsequently in camp on the High Hills of the Santee...'.
July 13, 1783 - the Southern Staff Service having been discontinued, Dr. David Oliphant was placed the status of '...waiting on orders...'.
November 15, 1783 - Dr. David Oliphant, former Jacobite doctor and revolutionary South Carolinian, was honorably discharged from the service of the United States of America.".
According to "Scout's" article, "'Find a Grave Memorial' - entry for Dr David Oliphant (1723-1085)", after the Peace of Paris in 1783, Dr. David Oliphant once again became the elected representative of his original parish of St. George, Dorchester in the South Carolina General Assembly. He held this political position until he removed to Newport, RI in 1785.
According to "Scout's" article, page 2, once in Newport, RI, on October 23, 1785, Dr. David Oliphant married Ann Vernon, the daughter of Samuel Vernon, a merchant of Newport, RI and the granddaughter of Richard Ward, the Governor of Rhode Island. Just under a month after they married, on November 20, 1785, Dr. David Oliphant and his new wife, Ann Vernon Oliphant, sailed for Charleston, SC. They remained there for just over six months until June 14, 1786, when he and his wife returned to Newport, RI from Charleston, SC on board the sloop, Mary. According to "Scout's" article, page 2, Dr. David Oliphant remained in Newport, RI and practiced medicine there. He and Ann Vernon Oliphant had one son, David Washington Cincinnatus Oliphant, who was born in Newport, RI on March 7, 1789. Again, according to "Scout's" article, page 2, Dr. David Oliphant "...was an original member of the South Carolina Society of the Cincinnati..." and became "...a member of its Standing Committee on October 6, 1783.". He transferred his membership to the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati on July 4, 1788. Dr. David Oliphant died on April 2, 1805 at about eighty-five years of age. He is interred in the Common Burying Ground in Newport, RI. According to "Scout's" article, page 3, Ann Vernon Oliphant died at some point in 1826.
In conclusion, Dr. David Oliphant, a Scottish trained physician, served two "rebel" Causes in his long life time. The first he served was the final Jacobite uprising which occurred in 1745, the rebellion of "Bonnie Prince Charlie". This was the final Scottish uprising in favor of the restoration of the line of Stuart kings who had been deposed over sixty years earlier in the "Glorious Revolution of 1688". All that the records seem to indicate concerning him after the collapse of the "Rising of the '45" is that Dr. David Oliphant "...emigrated from Scotland to America..." where he settled in South Carolina. According to the single source authored by "Scout", David Oliphant seems to have been employed as a surgeon for the Crown Forces stationed in the province of South Carolina. He seems to have occupied this position for several years. But, when he "retired" to civilian life and the private practice of medicine, he seems to have found a new "rebel" Cause - the one of his adopted homeland as the impending storm of the American Revolution neared. As indicated by the time line above, Dr. David Oliphant served long and well the Cause of the colony of South Carolina from being elected to the Provincial General Assembly of South Carolina on January 11, 1775, prior to the actual beginning of hostilities with Great Britain, until his resignation from political civilian duties on June 1, 1776 in order to assume his new position of Director General of the Hospitals in the Southern Department. This was a pivotal appointment for Dr, David Oliphant and in accepting it, he came "full circle" in that he began to serve the American "rebels" instead of Jacobite "rebels" in a medical capacity. His service was only broken by his capture at the fall of Charleston on May 12, 1781 and his being placed on parole until his exchange back to the Congressional Forces on November 9, 1781. He would go on to serve as a surgeon for the patriot Cause in most of the major engagements in the Southern Theater of the American Revolution. He would serve continuously and with distinction until his final honorable discharge on November 15, 1783. After the conclusion of the American Revolution and his stellar service to the state of South Carolina, Dr. David Oliphant would return to the political arena of South Carolina as an elected representative for his parish - St. George, Dorchester - until he removed from his adopted homeland in 1785. He would resettle in Newport, RI, where he would marry the daughter of a prestigious family. Both he and his new wife, Ann Vernon Oliphant, would return to South Carolina for six months between November 20, 1785 and June 14, 1786, possibly to settle Dr. Oliphant's affairs in South Carolina. Then they returned to Newport, RI, where Dr. David Oliphant would practice medicine until his death on April 2, 1805. As far as we know, he never returned to South Carolina again.