George Ewing (1754-1824)
Military Experience: American Revolution
On November 11, 1775 at the age of 21, George Ewing
enlisted for one year in the 5th Company, 2nd Battilion, 1st Establishment New Jersey Line
Continental Troops and served the year on the ill fated expedition of Montgomery against
Quebec. The following excerpts about Montgomery's expedition during the time Ewing served
are from "The Fraser Highlanders" by J.R.Harper, published by Museum Restoration
"A two-pronged expedition was planned under Generals Richard Montgomery and Philip
Shuyler, to penetrate into Canada via the Richelieu River, capture the forts at St. John,
Chambly, and Montreal, and then proceed to Quebec, where they would join up with General
Benedict Arnold and his 1100 men.
Generals Montgomery and Arnold with 2000 troops arrived in the suburbs of Quebec on 4
December and called upon General Carelton to surrender. He refused and General Carleton
had no further discussion with the Americans, who laid siege to the city for the next
Eventually Montgomery decided to take the city by storm, as his contract with his men
expired at year's end. On the night of 31 December he moved his men into position off the
St. John's Gate and the northern and southern gates of the Lower Town. Early in the
morning of 1 January 1776, Captain Malcolm Fraser, who was field officer of the day,
noticed some suspicious signals beyond St. John's Gate; he turned out the guard and they
were fired at by a body of rebels concealed in a snowbank.
General Montgomery led a column of 500 men toward the southern exit of the Lower Town, but
the men manning No. 1 Battery were ready. As the Americans rushed forward to attack, the
command was given to fire. The head of the column fell under the fatal discharge of
grapeshot and muskets. The survivors made a rapid retreat leaving their General and 12
others dead in the snow......
......A large body of troops arrived from England under General Burgoyne and the first
division under Brigadier Simon Fraser of Balmain landed at Trois-Rivieres and surprised
the retreating Americans, taking 500 prisoners, including their General. The remainder
were allowed to escape and retreated to Crowne Point. On 15 June, the British flag was
raised again over Montreal, the American invasion of Canada was over. "
On his discharge in November 1776, he enlisted and served as Sergeant in the 2nd
Battilion, Cumberland Co. State Malitia, under Captain John Barkar. He participated in the
battles of Germantown and Brandywine and spent the winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. During
this time, he kept a Military Journal, the contents of which
have been passed through the generations. In Februrary 1777, he was commissioned as
Ensign in the 7th Company, 3rd Battillion, 2nd Establishment, New Jesey Line Continental
Troops which was known as Maxwell's Brigade. This was considered a proud mark of
distinction to be placed in the noted corps, the Jersey Blues. He resigned the commission
in April 1778 and several weeks later entered Captain Randall's Company of Artillery--Col.
Lamb's Regiment, the 2nd Regiment of Artillery, Continental Line.
Following the end of the war, he and his young family left
New Jersey for the West seeking new homes and the promise of more prosperous times. In
1786, he moved to West Liberty, Ohio County, Virginia (now West Virginia) and resided a
few years near Wheeling, Virginia. In 1793, with other families of that vicinity, he moved
to Waterford, the frontier settlement on the Muskingum River, near Marietta, Ohio. They
were entitled to lands on the tract donated by Congress to those who had defended their
country. They chose a selection about four miles above Fort Frye, at the mouth of Olive
Green Creek, on the bank of the Muskingum river. They prepared a stockade garrison, to
which they moved, and began to improve their lands. The Indians watched them closely, and
one of their party was killed by them.
In 1797, Ephraim Cutler, the proprietor of several shares in the Ohio Company's purchase,
ascertaining that a considerable amount of his lands were situated on the waters of
Federal creek in Athens County, Ohio, sought to develop this fertile farmland. Accompanied
by George Ewing, they explored a way through the wilderness, cutting out a pack-horse
path, twenty miles in length, from Waterford to Federal Creek. About the 1st of March,
1798, Ewing's family moved to Athens County and settled on what is now known as the Thomas
Gardiner farm. George was ever ready to promote schools, the library, and the good of the
people. He was fond of reading; was intelligent; possessed a fund of sterling sense,
combined with lively wit and good humor. He sometimes indulged in a natural propensity for
poetic and sarcastic descriptions and often served on juries at the freehold courts that
were held to settle conflicting claims on the college lands at Athens. There were one or
two individuals sometimes employed as advocates, demagogues, who frequently made sad havoc
with the king's English. He could not help versifying some of these bombastic speeches,
which he did in a masterly manner, but always in a vein of good humor.
George's son, Thomas, recalled a story about his father that is certainly worth sharing.
"My father was always a very polite man, far more so than most of the settlers about
us. But I remember once when he was not. One day when I was about fifteen he and I were
working in the cornfield when a finely dressed rider stopped and asked if we could
entertain him for the night. My father agreed, but very coldly, and told me to show him to
the cabin. I took his horse and tried to be very polite to make up for my father's unusual
rudeness. We had a wonderful evening and the visitor told many interesting stories, but my
father would not unbend. Next morning he asked me to go with the stranger the mile that
courtesy required of a host, and when I came back he told me who the visitor was. It was
Aaron Burr, who had killed the great Alexander Hamilton."
George and his family lived in Athens Co. for 20 years. In May of 1818, at the age of 64,
George and his wife Rachel, moved to Perry County, Indiana with the following members of
his family: son George Jr and wife Hannah Boyle; daughter Abigail Padgett, daughter Rachel
Hannah Harris, and daughter Jane Hunter Ewing and her husband Elijah Latimer.
It is believed that George died in Perry County on January 15, 1824, however, there is
some confusion because this date does not match the tombstone inscription of 20 Feb 1821.
The 1824 date is most reliable since a letter exists written by Geoge Ewing, dated 5 March
In June of 1907, under the direction and supervision of John G. Ewing (b. 1860), the
remains and tombstones of George Ewing and Rachel Harris were removed from their original
gravesites on the banks of the Ohio River in Tobin Township and were placed in Cliff
Cemetery, Cannelton, Indiana.
"Chester," a hymn from the American
Revolution, compliments of Taylor's