Ezell, John S., editor, and Judson P. Wood, translator. The New Democracy in America: Travels of Francisco de Miranda in the United States, 1783-1784, (University of Oklahoma Press, 1963.)
Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, (The Kent State University Press, 1999.)
Moss, Bobby Gilmer. South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution, (Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1983).
Nadelhaft, Jerome J. The Disorders of War: The Revolution in South Carolina, (The University of Maine at Orono Press, 1981.)
Parish, John Carl. "The Intrigues of Doctor James O"Fallon", (The MIssissippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Sep., 1930), pp. 230-263.)
Revill, Janie. Copy of the Original Index Book: Showing the Revolutionary Claims Filed in South Carolina Between August 20, 1783 and August 31, 1786, (Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1969.)
Thompson, Theodora J., editor, and Rosa S. Lumpkin, assistant editor. The State Records of South Carolina: Journals of the House of Representatives, 1783-1784, (University of South Carolina Press, 1977.)
Walsh, Richard, editor. The Writings of Christopher Gadsden, 1746-1805, (The University of South Carolina Press, 1966.)
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. "John O'Fallon", (last modified - September 17, 2016.)
Zahnister, Marvin R. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney: Founding Father, (The University of North Carolina Press, 1967.)
The writer of this blog originally composed a post concerning James O'Fallon (or Fallon), surgeon on board the frigate South Carolina, entitled "Dr. James O'Fallon - Surgeon on board the Frigate South Carolina" and posted it on December 3, 2014. Since not much concrete or factual information exists or has been located by the writer of this blog concerning James O'Fallon (or Fallon), this earlier post was not very lengthy and cited few sources. But, two incidents have occurred since the drafting of the first post on James O'Fallon. The first, and most frequently encountered, incident is the location by the writer of this blog over time of additional information addressing an individual or event concerning the frigate South Carolina which warrants an additional post in order to present the new information. The second incident has two parts, both of which are serendipitous in nature. In examining a road map of the state of Missouri, the writer of this blog realized that there is a western suburb of St. Louis, MO named "O'Fallon". In exploring this coincidence, the writer of this blog discovered that the town of O'Fallon, MO, as well as the town of O'Fallon, IL, is named for John O'Fallon who, at one point in time, was the wealthiest resident of St. Louis, MO in the 19th century. According to the Wikipedia article, "John O'Fallon", the namesake of O'Fallon, MO was the son of James O'Fallon, the subject of this specific post. The other part of this second incident is that while in the Clarksville Cemetery of Clarksville, TX, the writer of this blog discovered a series of graves marked by the last name of O'Fallon. Sources cited in the earlier post on James O'Fallon, as well as sources that will be cited later in this current post, indicate that James O'Fallon was born in County Roscommon, Ireland. Some of these graves in Clarksville Cemetery also indicated that some of the internments were those of individuals who had been born in County Roscommon, Ireland. No definite, concrete connection has been drawn yet between these "Texas" O'Fallons and the object of this particular post - Dr. James O'Fallon of the frigate South Carolina - but, the possiblity of a direct, or even indirect, connection does indeed exist. Yet, interestingly enough, even with the introduction here of this newly located information, Dr. James O'Fallon of the frigate South Carolina has still managed to retain his shadowy, mysterious character in American history. Read on...
The writer of this blog will attempt to keep repetition of materials already presented in the earlier post on James O'Fallon dated "12/03/2014". But, some of this information will needfully be repeated to provide for clarity and continuity in the overall flow of the narrative. Most of the sources that address the birth of James O'Fallon agree that he was born near or in Athlone, Ireland, County Roscommon on March 11, 1744 or 1745. According to "My Genealogy Home Page", page 1, O'Fallon was born to William O'Fallon and Anne Eagan of Ballyna House.
(Note: According to Parish's work, "The Intrigues of Doctor James O'Fallon", page 230, James O'Fallon was born on March 11, 1749. Also, according to "Trade Goods", entry for "James O'Fallon (1749-before 1795), page 1, cites a date of 1749 for his birth. The actual birth day corroborates with the other sources on O'Fallon's birth day but, in these two sources the year differs from all the other sources which cite 1744 or 1745 as the actual birth year instead of 1749. These are the only two sources encountered by the writer of this blog which cite this as the birthyear of James O'Fallon. This former source also cites his known name as being "James O'Fallon", but states that he went under the assumed name of "James Fallon" through out most of his life.)
In accordance with the mystery that seems to shroud some men, sometimes through out the duration of their mortal lives, James O'Fallon had these same forces, intended or not, accompanying him during the course of his life. According to "Trade Goods" entry for "James O'Fallon (1749-before 1795)", page 1, James O'Fallon immigrated to America in 1774, at the age of 25 years or 30 years old, depending on which birthyear is accepted as being his actual birth year. Again, according to this same source, he was "...shipwrecked off the coast...", though which "coast" is not clear from the source. He initially settled in Wilmington, NC. But, this is where the "confusion" begins. According to the "Trade Goods" article, page 1, "...in 1776 [he] found himself jailed, "..as a man dangerous to the patriotic cause...". Yet, the NIU Libraries Digitization Project, cited in the earlier post on James O'Fallon and dated "12/03/2014", states James O'Fallon, early in the unrest in the colonies, was an inidividual who spoke out ferverently in favor of the cause of the patriots and was imprisoned by the Royal Governor of North Carolina. His activities during the American Revolution, are recorded briefly in this earlier post, culminating in his appointment to a senior surgeon's position in Washington's army in 1779.
James O'Fallon's association with the frigate South Carolina is even in some question. The only reference to him in Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, is on page 130, and simply cites him as "...an Irishman who may have served on Gillon's frigate.". The only other reference to him as serving on board the frigate South Carolina in the entire work occurs in the foot note's section of the work, page 214. According to Lewis, James O'Fallon "...drew a pension from service as a surgeon aboard the South Carolina. Just where and when the paths of Fallon [O'Fallon] and the South Carolina crossed is not clear, for there is absolutely no mention of him aboard ship except in his pension application.". In fact, the only two references to him in Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, occur on pages 130 in the actual text of the book and on page 213-214, note 16 in the foot note section of the work. Both of these references are to post-Revolutionary War activities of James O'Fallon in South Carolina after the frigate South Carolina had already passed from the scene of action. Both of these references are to the "Smoking Society" or, as it was later known, the "Marine Anti-Britannic Society", dual references to a group of radical patriot-minded individuals who were concerned with expropriating ex-loyalist property and inciting anti-loyalist behavior in South Carolina. Evidently, former Commodore Alexander Gillon was also involved in the machinations of this society and may well have played a leading role in directing the actions of the members of this group. As far as his Revolutionary War activities are concerned, according to Moss's work, South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution, he is briefly referenced on page 302 and the reference is as follows:
James Fallon - he served aboard the frigate South Carolina. Revill, p. 385.
A reference to Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, page 385 indicates that "James Fallon" received a certificate from the state of South Carolina for 95 pounds, 17 shillings, and 5 pence on June 10, 1783. A reference to Bockstruck's work, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants, turns up neither a reference to a "James O'Fallon" nor a "James Fallon" as having received any land from any state at all.
To the knowledge of the writer of this blog, there does exist a third, rather oblique reference concerning "James Fallon" to the frigate South Carolina. According to Thompson's and Lumpkin's work, The State Records of South Carolina: Journals of the House of Representatives, 1783 -1784, page 190, the following passage appears in the chronological journal of the House of Representatives fro South Carolina:
Wednesday, February 26th :
"A Memorial was presented to the House from sundry Naval Officers, praying that every indulgence or privilege granted to the Gentlemen of the Army may/might be extended to them which being read,
[Viz. The Memorial of John Mayrant, Lieutenant of the Navy, Micheal Kalteison Capt. of Marines, and James Fallon, Surgeon of the Navy of this State, for themselves and on behalf of the other Naval Officers now, absent Setting forth That it has been their Endeavours to render this State every Service in their power. That being informed the Land Officers, have petitioned this House, for Certificates for their pay, and those Certificates to be received in payment of Confiscated property purchased by them, that by reason of the Loss of the ship Carolina, they may be in want, And pray that they may be indulged with the Same privileges as the Land Officers]
Ordered That it be referred to a Committee & the following Gentlemen were appointed, Colo. Pinckney, Mr. Logan & Mr. William Moore.".
A reference is made in this petition to "...the Loss of the ship Carolina..." which is certainly a direct reference to the frigate South Carolina. The fact that James Fallon's name is included among the petitioning officers in this memorial and he is described as a "...Surgeon of the Navy of this State...", would seem to indicate that he did indeed serve on board the frigate South Carolina. Again, this is a somewhat oblique reference to service on board the frigate South Carolina by James Fallon, "...Surgeon of the Navy of this State..." and seems to state that he did indeed serve in this capacity on board of this specific ship-of-war of the state of South Carolina. In conclusion, the two above, brief citations and the memorial citation for James Fallon are the only indications of his service on board the frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution.
According to "Trade Goods", entry for "James O'Fallon (1749-before 1795)", page 1, James O'Fallon moved at some point during or very shortly after the cessation of hostilities to Philadelphia, PA and, at some point after the war, cited simply as "...1780s..." he moved to Charleston, SC. The reference to "James Fallon" in Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 130, refers to his "land dealings" along the borders of the newly-independent United States and Spanish Florida and Louisiana are the later workings and occupations of "James Fallon". Before this period of land speculation, "James Fallon" was involved in certain anit-Loyalist activities in South Carolina and, evidently, gained quite a notoriety among the elites of South Carolina society, even to the point of earning their social distaste, mistrust, and outright defamation of his character.
According to Zahnister's work, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, page 75-76, there were several "...disturbing factors..." that faced the re-establishment and security of a patriot-led civil society in South Carolina at the end of the American Revolution. One of these factors was an upsetting of the status quo as orchestraed by Alexander Gillon and James O'Fallon and is described in more detail here:
"...a third disturbing factor was the drive led by Commodore Alexander Gillon and Dr. James Fallon to assert the power of the lower classes against old Tories, British merchants coming back into Charleston, and the patriot low-country oligarchy. The lower classes, in fact, threatened to get out of hand. Mob action became common. The situation became so disturbing that the bells of St. Michael's Church were rung at any sign of mass disturbance, whereupon all the peace officers and 'responsible' citizens were expected to rush into the street fully armed, ready to suppress rebellion.
One incident particularly alarmed the comfortable and the established. After prompting by Dr. Fallon, a group of 'mechanics' burst from City Tavern, 'formed in array in the street, and marched with colours flying towards the square of St. Michael.' The 'peaceable part of the citizens flew to their arms, and met in the square, some on foot, some on horseback, and all...in consternation, not knowing the nature or direction of this singular appearance. A small corps of horse was soon paraded: Major [Thomas] Pinckney and Col. [William] Washington, with a few gentlemen on foot, charged them sabre in hand...' The mob was quickly dispersed; some were wounded and several were hustled off to jail. It was rumored that Dr. Fallon had planned a revolution, intending to seize the chief officials in the state and city government, the Pinckneys and Rutledges, and the British merchants and 'to ship them off [out of] the state... After this he was to reform the government, and share among his friends the emoluments of the enterprise.".
These members of the "...lower classes..." were characterized as lawless men wanting to impose a chaotic situation on South Carolina society and government soon after the cessation of hostilities with Great Britain. But, the negative reaction of the majority of South Carolina society was swift and pointed. According to Nadelhaft's work, The Disorders of War, page 117, "....the radicals were denounced as 'an assemblage of Drunken Tavern-Keepers, Mountebank Doctors, Pettifogging Attornies, and necessitous Speculators, with a Jesuit Priest at their head...'". The text goes on to state that this last statement is "...probably a reference to William Thompson..." but, one of the accusations frequently associated with James O'Fallon was that he was a defrocked Catholic priest. In this same passage in Nadelhaft's work, James O'Fallon is characterized as "... a Georgian who is only known by the remarks of his enemies.". Again, according to Nadelhaft's work, page 117, no less a figure than Nathaniel Greene, the victor of the war in the South against the British, said of James O'Fallon that he was a "'...Jesuit and disturber of all good Government' but fortunately for society 'a great coward'."
Contemporary South Carolinian approbations of the bad character and evil influences of James O'Fallon flowed from the pen of none other than Christopher Gadsden of Revolutionary War fame. According to Walsh's work, The Writings of Christopher Gadsden, page 204, on May 6, 1784, in a letter simply addressed "To the Public", Gadsden wrote thus:
"... I am told that Mr. Official Secretary has declared that, like another Pompey, at a stamp of his foot, he could start up 500 men: for what? To bring about the circumstances wanted to make an aberation? What modesty and influence this, for a man of yesterday!".
A foot note associated with this quote states that the reference to "...Mr. Official Secretary..." refers to "...James Fallon, of Georgia, a little known person who became Secretary of the M.A.B.S. [Marine Anti-Britannic Society] and a confederate of [Commodore Alexander] Gillon...".
Further on in the same work, page 234, in a letter addressed "To the Public in General and to Commodore Gillon in Particular" and dated August 5, 1784, Christopher Gadsden refers to James O'Fallon as a man who has "...stiled himself Your Confident, or private secretary, (trim tram)..." referring to his collusion with Alexander Gillon in inciting the mobs of Charleston, SC. Not only does James O'Fallon receive the scathing accusations of Christopher Gadsden but, also Alexander Gillon is the object of his attacks and accusations. Apparently, the "Marine Anit-Britannic Society" was actually directed and led by Commodore Alexander Gillon and James O'Fallon (or Dr. James Fallon) was only the titular head of the organization in order to screen the activities of the Society from the person of Gillon. But, as the above quotations indicate, this "smoke screen" was not that effective to powerful men such as Nathaniel Greene and Christopher Gadsden who called both Gillon and O'Fallon (Fallon) into account for their activities through the Society that tended towards anarchy, civil disturbance, and outright violent mob action in South Carolina society immediately after the end of the American Revolution.
Verbal criticsms of Alexander Gillon and James O'Fallon (or Fallon) were not limited to native South Carolinians or even Americans alone. There exists at least one foreign example of negative reaction to the activities of Gillon and O'Fallon (or Fallon). Interstingly, the individual in question on this point had already met and had extensive contact with Commodore Alexander Gillon during the American Revolution. This individual was an important officer in the Spanish command structure of the New World - Captain, later on Lieutenant-Colonel, Francisco de Miranda of Spain. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, pages 70-71, Captain Miranda was the aide-de-camp of Captain-General Juan de Cagigal, Captain-General of Cuba. Later in his career, Miranda would gain fame as the ideologue of the South American independence movement but, at this moment in time, late winter-spring 1782, he was an ambitious junior officer in the Spanish colonial military. He also was conversant in English and acted as tranlator between Captain-General Juan de Cagigal and Commodore Alexander Gillon in their negotiations concerning the assault on New Providence, Bahamas. According to Lewis's work, pages 70-71:
"It was possible for one to rise in rank in the Spanish army on merit alone, but opportunities to prove one's mettle did not come frequently, even during wartime. It was far more common to advance through the influence of powerful friends and relatives. Miranda, who was very intelligent and understood the rules of promotion, had linked his career to the coattails of Cagigal in Spain some time in the late 1770s. Until the New Providence expedition, this had proven to be a wise decision. Through the good graces of the captain-general, Miranda jumped in rank from captain to lieutenat-colonel (ahead of most officers of similar age and experience) in the space of four years. Cagigal had come to trust Miranda completely (and would later stubbornly risk his career for his aide-de-camp).
The bond that was so strong between the captain-general and his aide-de-camp did not, however, exist between the Commodore and Miranda. While still in Havanaduring the preparations for the expedition Gillon and Miranda had had frequent dealings.... Yet last-minute hitches had caused the two men to lose patience with each other, and both had soon reached the point of portraying the other in the worst possible light in their messages to Cagigal.... the intense dislike between Gillon and Miranda never disappeared...".
This is all background information to later events that involved both of these men meeting again, under completely different circumstances, after the conclusion of hostilities between Great Britain and America. Late in the war, accusations were brought against Francisco de Miranda of spying and smuggling British goods. These charges were eventually dropped on technical grounds but, the memory of these accusations lingered around Miranda. Eventually, he was ordered to be sent to Havana for subsequent transportation to Spain, there to stand trial for these same charges. With the aid of an American, James Seagrove, he escaped Cuba and made his way to America.
According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 122, a shock was in store for Commodore Alexander Gillon with "...the surprising appearance in Charleston of Francisco de Miranda in 1783, a visit unwelcome to Gillon.". Lieutenant-Colonel farncisoc de Miranda had been touring the United States, attempting to gain support for his independence plans for South America. According to Ezell's work, The New Democracy in America, page 31, Miranda admired the virtues and qualities of Richard Hutson, a man of high society who was elected lieutenant-governeor of the state of South Carolina in 1782. In this passage, cited on page 31, Miranda described Hutson's personal qualities in relation to an event that occurred a few months prior to his arrival in Charleston, SC:
"Intendent Hutson - this post was created for him in September , while I was in Charleston. His spirit and resolution manifested themselves later in the suppression of the mobs incited by the great rogue Gillon and led by Dr. Fagan. These two personages, caudillos of the rabble, had, two months before, insulted countless inhabitants, persons of respect and reputation, whom the said Gillon wished to have thrown out of the country, by calling them, odiously, "Tory" or "British", in order to carry out his advantage. The Governor and leading citizens attempted to contain the damage at first, but with all their authority they could not prevent many persons from being "Pumped & Ducked". Shortly after the election of Mr. Hutson these same people tried to rally again for the same purposes. The Intendent sent a guard to the designated area with orders to arrest every individual who for that reason should assemble there; in this way the evil which an irresolute and timid leader had thought incurable was ended at a stroke. Never again have the tumultous bands or their caudillos appeared.".
The "Dr. Fagan" referred to here is almost certainly meant to be Dr. James O'Fallon (or Fallon). Francicsco de Miranda refers to "Dr. Fagan" as a "...caudillo of the rabble..." and an insulter of "...persons of respect and reputation...". He finally casts aspersion by referring to Gillon and "Dr. Fagan" as "...irresolute and timid leader[s]..." who found their evil machinations "..ended at a stroke..." by the more virtuous members of upstanding society. It is not known whether or not Francisco de Miranda had personally met or knew of James O'Fallon (or Fallon). But, his intense dislike for Commodore Alexander Gillon would potentially lead him to dislike with equal intensity anyone associated with Gillon, which would certainly have included "Dr. Fagan" or Dr. James O'Fallon (or Fallon) as it is in this case.
Thus, Commodore Alexander Gillon as well as Dr. James O'Fallon (or Fallon) earned great amounts of approbation and scathing condemnation from the more well-established and influencial members of South Carolina society and, in the case of Francisco de Mirnada, from well-received and highly respected foreigners. This seems to have effected the rise of Commodore Gillon very little for he went on the be elected to the responsible and elevated political positions in the government of South Carolina. But, the same does not seem to apply to Dr. James O'Fallon. He did not have the social or political influence or capital available to him to chart a new course as did Commodore Gillon. He, evidently, quickly dropped out of sight in South Carolina only to reappear in Kentucky as an agent for the South Carolina Yazoo Company. This move westward could be seen as an attempt to "start over again" and create a fresh, new situation. But, if his actions and conduct in South Carolina earned him the approbations of the leading men of that society's political and social elite, then his further conduct and enterprises in Kentucky would border on conspiracy and treason and bring him to the attentions of founding fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Henry Knox. Now his "games" and machinations were being played for much higher stakes and received with more critical examinations from far more powerful men. Still Dr. James O'Fallon (or Fallon) continued to play the game, seemingly, to the very end.