Clift, G. Glenn, compiler. Kentucky Obituaries, 1787-1854, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1979.)
King, J. Estelle Stewart. Abstract of Early Kentucky Wills and Inventories: Copied from Original and Recorded Wills and Inventories, (originally published - 1933; reprinted by Heritage Books, 2003.)
Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, (The Kent State University Press, 1999.)
Weaks, Mabel Clare. Calendar of the Kentucky Papers of the Draper Collection of Manuscripts, (State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1925.)
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Entry for "John O'Fallon", (last modified on September 17, 2016.)
As the last four posts, extending back to November 28, 2016, were each in turn being written, additional information concerning Dr. James O'Fallon would appear but, would be passed over since it seemed to have little bearing on the overall narrative. The three individual points cited above in the title of this specific post have also appeared and do seem to merit closer investigation and the findings to be included in this overall blog. These individual points will be the focus of this final post on Dr. James O'Fallon.
The first topic concerns Dr. James O'Fallon's and his claim to previous military service in the American Revolution. Some of the sources concerning Dr. James O'Fallon have mentioned or alluded an early Revolutionary War imprisonment in North Carolina for outspoken support of the patriot Cause, service as a captain of cavalry, and being commissioned by George Washington himself as a surgeon at the famous Valley Forge encampment. The following sources are useful in locating further information concerning patriot officers of the Revolutionary War. These sources are:
Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants: Awarded by State Governments, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1996.)
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army: During the War of the Revolution, April, 1775 to December 1783, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973.)
Hoyt, Max Ellsworth and Frank Johnson Metcalf. Index of Revoluitonary War Pension Applications, (National Genealogical Society, 1966.)
(Note: These sources are all cited here instead of within the standard bibliography above for a reason, which will be made clear in the paragraph immediately below.)
These are all official sources citing pension applications, land grants and officer status and services during the American Revolution. In none of the sources does a "James Fallon" or "James O'Fallon" appear anywhere. In Bockstruck's work and Hoyt and Metcalf's work, this is not that unusual because Dr. James O'Fallon may not have filed a pension application or received a land grant from a state government. But, for him to not be cited at all under the heading of "Fallon" or "O'Fallon" in Heitman's work, Historcial Register of Officers on the Continental Army is rather unusual in the extreme. This lack of citation in these three works is the answer to why these sources were not included in the standard bibliography at the beginning of this post. As far as these three works are concerned, Dr. James O'Fallon is not recorded as having served with the Continental Army during the American Revolution in any capacity as either an officer or as a "gentleman" surgeon. None of President George Washington's letters concerning the workings of Dr. James O'Fallon in Kentucky on the early 1790s have any statement of recognition of him or his name as an individual who served under him at Valley Forge or anywhere else for that matter during the course of the war. In the light of other character traits displayed by Dr. James O'Fallon during the course of his life in South Carolina and latter in Kentucky, these all seem typical of an individual who was a braggart and dissembler of facts. Thus, it is completely possible that Dr. James O'Fallon, former "Surgeon?" on board the frigate South Carolina, fabricated all of these claims to make himself more legitimate in the eyes of post-revolutionary American society.
A few of the earlier posts have referred to the letters written by Dr. James O'Fallon to various different people. The most quoted one is that written by O'Fallon to his estranged wife, Frances "Fanny" Eleanor Clark O'Fallon on November 23, 1793. But, he did write letters to other individuals also and these have been collected into the "The Kentucky Papers of the Draper Collection of Manuscripts" owned by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. According to Weaks's work, Calendar of the Kentucky Papers, pages 52-57, all of these letters date from Dr. James O'Fallon's time in Kentucky and range in dates from September 3, 1791 to April 6, 1793. These letters will be listed here along with a brief description of their contents:
September 3, 1791 James O'Fallon to John Holder - an order for two tobacco boats to be delivered to Capt. Philip
Buckner or according to his order.
February 14, 1792 Philip Buckner, Jefferson County, KY - a promissary note for tobacco received according to Dr. James O'Fallon's orders on Col. John Holder.
February 14, 1792 James O'Fallon to Col. John Holder - a request to John Holder to deliver tobacco remaining in his possession to Capt. Philip Buckner.
May 28, 1792 John Clark to Dr. James O'Fallon - this letter advised Dr. James O'Fallon in regards to his proposed relocation to Lexington, Kentucky. This is the much cited letter of the previous post regarding the mental and physical health of Frances Clark O'Fallon.
Oct. 2 - Nov. 12, 1792 Dr. James O'Fallon to the United States - an account of professional services rendered to the garrison of Fort Steuben, Falls of the Ohio River. This took the form of an account against the United States for collection by James O'Fallon.
October 15, 1792 Dr. James O'Fallon to the residents of Louisville, Kentucky - this was a published proposal of Dr. James O'Fallon to move his practice to Louisville, KY, if the residents of Louisville would subscribe an annual amount of not less than 150 pounds sterling in return for his services as a
physician. The following persons subscribed:
Philip Buckner, John Harrison, Will Johnston, G.I. Johnston, Thomas M. Winn, Richard C. Anderson, Will Christy, John Thruston, and M. Lacassagne.
(undated) 1792 James O'Fallon to Capt. Philip Buckner - a seemingly more personal letter in which he states that he will not see Philip Buckner before he leaves for Lexington, he also sent John Holder certain bonds with instructions on the collection of the same, some statements on the affairs of the South
Carolina Yazoo Company and other trivial commissions, a statement that he intends on settling
in Lexington, KY before the end of October 1792.
April 6, 1793 Richard Anderson to James O'Fallon - a rather cryptic letter of which the meaning is not completely clear. Richard Anderson requests Spruce(?) to retain and safeguard the key to the inner room of Anderson's house because personal effects - books and papers - belonging to "...William Clark, deceased..."are being held there. He concludes with "....think that O'Fallon will be admitted to the room where his [Clark's] things are.
These eight letters of Dr. James O'Fallon are all that are included in the "The Kentucky Papers of the Draper Collection of Manuscripts" as held by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. These letters span about one and one-half years from a few months after the marriage of Dr. James O'Fallon to Frances Eleanor Clark O'Fallon to a period just prior to the decision of Frances Clark O'Fallon to leave her husband and flee back to her original family. These letters shed no new light on the dealings of Dr. James O'Fallon in Kentucky. But, the final letter from Richard Anderson seems to hint at some suspicion concerning Dr. James O'Fallon and his truthfulness and trustworthiness, especially as concerning the important books and papers of the deceased William Clark, his younger brother-in-law by his wife, Frances Clark O'Fallon.
The final issue to be investigated here is a brief examination of the life of John O'Fallon, the oldest son of Dr. James O'Fallon. It is quite possible, since Dr. James O'Fallon may have abandoned the family right after the realization of the gravity of the abusive situation by John Clark, "Fanny" Clark O'Fallon's father, that neither John, who was two to three years old, nor Benjamin, who was even younger at the time, ever met their father or knew him personally. John O'Fallon was born on November 17, 1791 and Benjamin O'Fallon was born on September 20, 1793, so both of the individuals in question would have been very, very young when and if Dr. James O'Fallon abandoned the family for Spanish territory on the opposite side of the Mississippi River.
John O'Fallon went on the become an important and wealthy individual during the Early Republic period of American history. As pointed out in a previous post dated "12/23/2016", John O'Fallon emigrated to the Missouri territory ca. 1800 (around 1800) and eventually settled in St. Louis, Missouri. It seems that he benefitted from the success of his uncle, William Clark, the younger brother of George Rogers Clark and one-time leader of the "Corps of Discovery" or the "Lewis and Clark Expedition" as it is better known in history. According to the Wikipedia article for "John O'Fallon", page 1, after serving in the War of 1812, in which he rose to the rank of captain, John O'Fallon became assistant Indian Agent to William Clark. Afterwards, according to the Wikipedia article, page 1, he "...then established a contracting business, buying and selling supplies to the Army, from which he accumulated wealth. He invested his newly acquired wealth in a number of very lucrative enterprises including railroads.".
There are numerous indications that John O'Fallon was not only wealthy but, also well-respected in society. According to King's work, Abstracts of Early Kentucky Wills and Inventories, page 124, he is cited as being a grandson in the will of John Clark, the father of John O'Fallon's mother, Frances Eleanor Clark O'Fallon, and was the individual who expelled John's father, Dr. James O'Fallon from the Clark home at Mulberry Hill in Louisville, KY when he became aware of the abusive behavior of O'Fallon towards his daughter, "Fanny" Clark O'Fallon. The actual full text of the will of John Clark is found on pages 125-126 of this same work and includes both the names of John as well as Benjamin O'Fallon. John Clark was obviously a wealthy as well as generous man as far as his grandsons were concerned. According to King's work, Abstract of Early Wills and Inventories, page 125, the following amounts of land were left to John and Benjamin O'Fallon:
"I bequeath to my son William [Clark] and two grandsons John and Benjamin O'Fallon and to their heirs and asigns forever to be equally divided between them - share and share alike - 300 acres of land which I claim under an entry on Treasury Warrant No. 7926 made in the surveyors office on Fayette County on the 29th day of March 1783, which land has been surveyed and for which a patent hath been issued in my name."
Further on in the will of John Clark, on page 126 of King's work, Abstract of Early Kentucky Wills and Inventories, the following passage appears:
"It is my will that my said son William shall pay all my just debts and also that he shall pay unto my two grandsons, John and Benjamin O'Fallon, when they shall be of age the following sums of money; towit: to John O'Fallon one hundred pounds, to Benjamin O'Fallon fifty pounds, all these debts and payments are to be made by son William out of the legacy which I leave him."
So, both John and Benjamin O'Fallon received land and money from their maternal grandfather. But, further down the same page of John Clark's will, they also received a last gift from their generous grandfather. According to KIng's work, Abstract of Early Kentucky Wills and Inventories, page 126, on this final page of John Clark's will, the following passage appears:
"I give and bequeath to my grandsons, John and Benjamin O'Fallon, to them and their heirs forever four negroes, towit: Ben and Priscilla and their increase, also Esther with her future increase, which negroes are to disposed of at the discretion of my executors to be hereafter named for the benefit of said John and Benjaimn O'Fallon until they shall come of age at which time negroes are to be equally divided between them and delivered into their possession."
(Note: For a person to receive the "...future increase..." of an enslaved individual as stated in someone's final will and testament meant that the specified person would have full possession of the female slave in question but, also of any future children of that slave. This implies two situations: that the female slave is married and may be capable of still having children who would become the property of the recipient. Or, that the slave woman is unmarried and the grantor is guaranteeing that the recipient will benefit from any future marriage of the slave woman and thus any children she might have as a result of this future marriage.)
Thus, John and Benjamin O'Fallon also received slaves from their maternal grandfather, John Clark. They had received a bountious gift from their grandfather, John Clark - land, money and slaves. But, there exists further evidence that not only to John O'Fallon was much given but, much was also entrusted to him. According to King's work, Abstract of Early Kentucky Wills and Inventories, page 169, we find the will of Willam Clark, filed on April 14, 1837 and probated on September 13, 1838. The text notes that though William Clark died in St. Louis, MO, he was the son of John Clark of Louisville, KY. There are four executors listed in the will, one of which is John O'Fallon. The remaining three are all sons of William Clark.
Another indication of the high degree of respect and admiration for John O'Fallon is that the death of his wife was not only recorded in St. Louis newspapers but, also in newspapers "back home" in Kentucky. According to Clift's work, Kentucky Obituaries, 1787-1854, page 41, the following entry is recorded noticing the death of John O'Fallon's wife:
"Mrs. Harriet O'Fallon, consort of Col. John O'Fallon, of St. Louis. Died in February, 1826." (The Reporter, Lexington, Kentucky - March 6, 1826).
So, at the end of life, John O'Fallon died well respected and well loved by numerous members of St. Louis society and, apparently, of Kentucky society, as well. He must have been seen as a paragon of virtue, honesty and industry. He had become wealthy and also, towards the end of his life, a benefactor of education through sizeable contributions to what became Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He had evidently found that quality of communal respect and dignity that seemed to elude his father, Dr. James O'Fallon, for all of his life. Whatever he may have vaguely remembered of his father or whatever he might have heard of him over the years, John O'Fallon certainly lead a completely different life than did his father, Dr. James O'Fallon, Surgeon? on board the frigate South Carolina.