Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ebenezer Dorr, 5th great grandfather

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Thanks to Ellen G. Miles, Curator of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute, for the Ebenezer portrait and documents. Received Oct. 26, 2009.
There is one other known portrait of Ebenezer titled: "Portrait of Ebenezer Dorr, one of the Messengers captured with Paul Revere" and also one of his wife, Abigail Cunningham, painted in 1795 and exhibited in the June, 1875 and November, 1876 Revolutionary Relics Exhibitions, Boston, MA. The portraits, which were catalogued, were in the collection of a Miss Caroline Dorr. I hit a brick wall trying to find them.
Ebenezer rode with Paul Revere to spread the word that "The British Are Coming"

Ebenezer Dorr 4 (5th great grandfather) B. 1739. “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of …Ebenezer Dorr?” Yes! Ebenezer was one of the “three countrymen” who rode with Paul Revere, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Westcott on that historic night in 1775 to help spread the word that “The British Are Coming”. (The other two were Joseph Hall and Solomon Brown) By any measure Ebenezer was an unsung-hero of the Revolutionary War.

Citation….. Roxbury, MA town records, volume 7:
“The intelligence that the British intended to go out to Lexington was conveyed over Boston Neck to Roxbury by Ebenezer Dorr of Boston, Leather dresser or Tanner, who mounted a slow going horse with saddlebags behind him and a large flapped hat on his head to resemble a countryman. Colonel Josiah Waters of Boston, a staunch Whig and one who later helped build Roxbury forts, followed on foot on side paths at a short distance behind till he saw Dorr safely past the sentinels.”

The following is from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 7, Page 139, April 1853                     (click on picture to enlarge)

As a member of the Boston Committee of Correspondence and Safety he helped plan, direct and was rumored to have participated in the Boston Tea Party. I have Googled two lists of names of the men who are “historically said to have participated” in the raid. The lists don’t match to each other. Some names from each list are missing from the other list and one list has 125 names and the other has 177. On the shorter list there is an Ebenezer but there is no last name. However, there is a Samuel Sprague on both lists. and

Biography: “My grandfather,Ebenezer, was originally an artisan, moved from Roxbury into Boston, early in his career; and afterwards entered into mercantile business. He was one of the Boston shipping merchants who first traded for furs on the North Western coast. He is reputed to have been in practical affairs, shrewd, enterprising, and energetic; in domestic life, affectionate and hospitable, with a warm place in his heart for relatives. In faith and life, a devout Christian of the elder school. I remember dimly that his form was somewhat robust, his mien dignified, his countenance good humored and intelligent. His pockets were likely to be well stored with candies and sugar plums intended for grandchildren who he required to receive his gifts in due form; aligning us like miniature soldiers on his front. His residence in my day was a substantial but antique house on the northerly side of Milk Street near Devonshire Street. The front door was double and could be opened inwards and upwards. In the front hall was a rocking horse ridden hard by young Dorrs, especially on the days of the old gentleman’s wonted weekly family reunions; and behind the house was an old fashioned fruit and flower garden.”
Francis Oliver Dorr about 1883.

Ebenezer’s son, Andrew Cunningham Dorr (4th great grandfather) B. 1772 owned the brig, Littler. One of Andrew’s Captains died from fever in the Caribbean at ST. Thomas. If you click on the following link you will be able to read the story of the Dorr families participation in the China Trade from the notes of  Ebenezer's son, Sullivan Dorr, father of  Governor Thomas Wilson Dorr of Rhode Island.  The Dorr family owned 18 ships of their own and five more by partnerships.

Ebenezer named another of his sons Samuel Adams Dorr (4th great granduncle) after another Boston patriot of the time. He was the grandfather of RI Governor Thomas Wilson Dorr (1st cousin 5x removed) architect of the Rhode Island Constitution and leader of the "Dorr Rebellion". Ebenezer died 1809 and is buried on the Boston Commons in one of two historical cemeteries (A white stone tipped slightly forward, on the right side against the iron rail fence, under a large tree, about 50’ from the gate) at the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets. There is a book titled, “The Old Cemeteries of Boston” by Dunkle & Lainhart of the New England Historic Genealogy Society. Listed is Ebenezer’s tomb, #119. The listing includes the names of 21 people buried in that tomb; 19 of them are Dorrs and believe it or not, a Thomas Jones. In the adjacent tomb, #120, are listed 4 more Dorrs. Thanks to John and Theresa Jones for finding the stone. Pictures taken.

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