Feldman, Lawrence H. Anglo-Americans in Spanish Archives: Lists of Anglo-American Settlers in the Spanish Colonies of America, A Finding Aid, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1991.)
Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, (The Kent State University Press, 1999.)
Nester, William R. George Rogers Clark: "I Glory in War", (The University of Oklahoma Press, 2012.)
Parish, John Carl. "The Intrigues of Doctor James O'Fallon", (The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 17, No.2 (September 1930), pp. 230-265.)
Sprague, Stuart Seely. Kentuckians in MIssouri: Including Many Who Migrated by Way of Ohio, Indiana, or Illinois, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1989.)
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. "John O'Fallon", (last modified - September 17, 2016.)
In his article, "The Intrigues of Doctor James O'Fallon", for The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, John Carl Parish sums up the life of Dr. James O'Fallon as follows:
"... he was never a successful adventurer. The Yazoo Company failed to support him, Kentucky friends deserted him, Wilkinson betrayed him, the President of the United States denounced him in a proclamation, the King of Spain issued orders for his arrest, he came to blows with George Rogers Clark, his wife left him, and early in 1794 he died, with no obituary in the newspapers and apparently little mourning over his departure.".
William Murray's pronouncement to Thomas Jefferson of James O'Fallon's destiny of "obscurity" seemed to have come true. There are no existing records of the cause or date of death of Dr. James O'Fallon or his internment in a cemetery anywhere within the borders of the United States of America. According to most historical sources and by all appearances, he seemingly just "disappears" from the proverbial pages of history. Or does he?
The death of an individual as educated and notorious as Dr. James O'Fallon would have almost automatically made him a "significant" member of a blossoming western society elite and garnered him some type of obituary in some kind of newspaper, even if only to make final note of his infamy and deviousness after his passing. Yet, as pointed out above, there is no record of any obituary in newspapers in Louisville, Kentucky (ostensibly the place of his death) or anywhere else for that matter as far as the writer of this blog knows. Even the date of his death is in question. Parish's article cited above gives his date of death as "...early in 1794...". The unknown author of the website "Trade Goods - James O'Fallon (1749-before 1795)" simply states that " ...the remainder of O'Fallon's life is somewhat of a mystery to me ... by March of 1794 O'Fallon's estate is [was] being being distributed by his will's executor, William Crogan.". Hence, his parenthetical statement in the title of the article that O'Fallon died "...before 1795...". Again, the unknown author of "My Genealogy Home Page: Information on Dr. James O'Fallon" indicates clearly that he "....d. [died in] 1794...". According to the Wikipedia article, "John O'Fallon", it states that "...[John] O'Fallon's father [James O'Fallon] died while he [John] was a child and he [John] was raised by his mother.". According to Nester's work, George Rogers Clark, page 362 note 19, there is citation of a letter, "James O'Fallon to Fanny Clark O'Fallon, November 23, 1793" (today contained in the Draper Manuscripts), that passed between the two O'Fallons in question at some point after Frances "Fanny" had fled back to her family for protection and support. This, again, clearly indicates that Dr. James O'Fallon was still alive as late as late November 1793 but has passed away at some point in 1794 and prior to the beginning of 1795, which provides us with an approximate date/period of death of Dr. James O'Fallon.
(Note: Just as an aside - to the same degree that George Rogers Clark and Dr. James O'Fallon had a severe "parting of the ways" according to numerous sources; George Rogers Clark and his nephew, John O'Fallon - oldest son of Dr. James O'Fallon - continued to be close for the remainder of their lives. According to Nester's work, George Rogers Clark, page 319:
"...during these years [at the end of his life], he [George Rogers Clark] became especially close to his nephew, John O'Fallon. He seems to have doted on the lad as the son he never had. In one letter, O'Fallon thanked his uncle for a horse he had given him and in another related his diligence at boarding school. years later, O'Fallon recalled a modest, generous Clark, who 'rarely, if ever, spoke of himself or achievements,' and exemplified 'unselfishness,' being 'always willing to divide all he possessed with a friend or with those he imagined in need.'."
As a matter of fact, it would fall to John O'Fallon to leave for those of us today with what possibly might be the sole record of why George Rogers Clark never married after the end of the American Revolution. Again, according to Nester's work, George Rogers Clark, page 331:
"John O'Fallon, Clark's favorite nephew, offers the only direct account of what Clark was like around women. Clark 'appeared to avoid female society, courting, or much familiarity with the young of both sexes.' The presence of young women 'caused him to withdraw from the room,' an act O'Fallon could anticpate by ' the condition of his countenace and motions of his fingers.' O'Fallon attributed Clark's extreme nervous and bashful reaction to women as his having been 'at an early age...disappointed in love.'."
As for John O'Fallon himself, according to Sprague's work, Kentuckians in Missouri, page 87, the "Hon. John O'Fallon" would cross into Missouri territory "...ca. [circa] 1800..." where he would permanently settle. According to the Wikipedia article "John O'Fallon", page 1, he would serve as an officer in the War of 1812 and go on to become one of the wealthiest and most influencial citizens of St. Louis, Missouri. Finally, the Wikipedia article "John O'Fallon", page 1, concludes with "O'Fallon died on December 17, 1865 in St. Louis. He is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery...", also in St. Louis.)
But, possibly, Dr. James O'Fallon "disappears" from our sight because he chose to remove himself from the growing territory of Kentucky and the ever-expanding American West and head further west. Perhaps, he chose to "cross the River" into Spanish territory and live out his days under their jurisdiction, much as did the great 18th century frontiersman, Daniel Boone, and an ever-increasing number of Anglo-Americans of the period. This may well account for the sudden "disappearance" of Dr. James O'Fallon from the American scene of action as well as the lack of an obituary written by an American source.
To the knowledge of the writer of this blog, there is only a single published source that bears out the above hypothesis concerning Dr. James O'Fallon's supposed flight in Spanish territory. This source is Feldman's work, Anglo-Americans in Spanish Archives. According to this source, pages 231-274, there appears a list/roster of the residents of New Madrid, Missouri, which, according to the introduction on page 230, "...was founded about 1789.". On page 243, appears the following information:
"Entry 504 James Fallan September 16, 1792"
On this list/roster exist other columns for recording the number of male children, number of female children, marital status, and religious affiliation of the individual being recorded. For the entry "James Fallan", these columns are all empty of information. The first name is correct for the individual in question and the last name is certainly one of the accepted variant spellings of "O'Fallon" or "Fallon". The explanation of the date "September 16, 1792" is not given but, a table at the beginning of the work seems to indicate that this may be the date of an "oath of allegiance" given to the Spanish government in order to obtain their permission to reside in Spanish territory. This date - September 16, 1792 - is well after the birth of Dr. James O'Fallon's first son, John Julius O'Fallon, and prior to the birth of his second son, Benjamin O'Fallon. Some sources state that Frances "Fanny" Clark O'Fallon fled to the safety of her original family while she was pregnant with her second child. Dr. James O'Fallon and George Rogers Clark could easily have come to blows shortly afterwards and subsequently Dr. James O'Fallon could have departed not only Kentucky but, also American soil for Spanish territory. Once in Spanish territory and under Spanish jurisdiction, he would have been liable to arrest according to the orders of the Spanish king, Carlos III, as stated in Parish's article, "The Intrigues of Doctor James O'Fallon", page 230. But, Dr. James O'Fallon was a trained doctor by profession and doctors were at a premium in the wilds of the northern Spanish frontier. He could have been administered the oath of allegiance as a guarantee of his good behavior and forgiven by the frontier administration, with or without the knoweldge of the royal house of Bourbon Spain. He could have easily lived out the remainder of his days under Spanish jurisdiction and protection and never once returned to American soil for any reason or desire to do so. But, all the immediately preceeding information is only pure supposition. Ultimately, we are only left with the cryptic entry above and may never know exactly what became of Dr. James O'Fallon at the end of his days.
In the course of these four distinct posts on Dr. James O'Fallon, one theme has run through all of these writings - Dr. James O'Fallon was an enigmatic individual and lived his life accordingly. Even the facts of his death and place of burial are shrouded in mystery. One item concerning his life is certain for sure. His name does not appear on any of the three rosters of American prisoners-of-war from the frigate South Carolina captured by the three British men-of-war on December 21, 1782 just off the Capes of the Delaware. But, there is also no mention of him on board the frigate during her maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to America. Even his part in the story of the frigate South Carolina is shrouded in the same mystery that would accompany him through out his life on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, in the opinion of the writer of this blog, it is only appropriate to conclude this series of posts on this mysterious man as it began on board the frigate South Carolina with his entry in the section of Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina, page 146:
James Fallon (O'Fallon) Surgeon?
The life, actions, plans, thoughts, intentions, goals, dreams, hopes, fears, even the actual spelling of the last name, of Dr. James O'Fallon were constantly punctuated through all his life with ... a question mark. From the beginning to the very end. How very, very appropriate....?
(Reflection Note: The first post on Dr. James O'Fallon entitled "Dr. James O'Fallon - Surgeon on board the Frigate South Carolina" and dated "December 3, 2014" ended with these words - "James O'Fallon died in Louisville, Kentucky in 1794. Here at the end of it all, Dr. James O'Fallon had legitimized himself in the eyes of society.". These concluding words, in the light of all that has been written regarding this mysterious individual in the last three posts over the last month, now must be abrogated. If anything has been determined, he did not legitimize himself in the eyes of society at all but, rather made himself infamous, suspected and detested by all who came into contact with him.)