Oswell, Oswell, Oswell

This week’s prompt for #52ancestors is a Favorite Name.

Do you ever hear a new song on the radio and think “meh” or “I don’t really like this”? But then the song is everywhere and it plays in your head when you least expect it and after a while you really like the song. And then the song becomes attached to something meaningful in your life – a feeling, an emotion, or an event – and you can’t help but love the song more.

That’s what Oswell Eve feels like to me. It started out as a just a name in my tree but as I researched this line of my tree, it grew on me and became one of my favorites. And it’s not just me. Just ask all the Oswell Eves in my tree or the people named after an Oswell Eve: There are 13 people with the name Oswell Eve (middle names sometimes vary), 4 people with the first name of Oswell and the middle name Eve, 1 with a middle name of Oswell and the last name of Eve, 1 with the first name Oswell and a different last name, and at least 2 women with the middle name Oswell. Three of these Oswell Eves are my great-grandfathers.

The First Oswell Eve
This Oswell Eve would be my 7th great-grandfather. He is an assumption based on some church records that we are pretty sure list the birth of the second Oswell Eve as well as the assumption that the second Oswell Eve followed British naming conventions for children that were often practiced at the time.

The Second Oswell Eve
This Oswell Eve is my 6th great-grandfather. He is known and well documented. He and a twin sister, Sarah, were born in England in 1721 (if the church record mentioned above is indeed him). He was a ship captain in the mid-1700s. He owned or co-owned several ships and is listed as a Master of Vessels on a map of the Delaware River from 1775, meaning he would pilot others’ ships from the mouth of the Delaware up to Philadelphia. Other jobs included surveying the Delaware River and port warden. He was a member of the American Philosophical Society, but doesn’t seem to have attended any meetings. He owned property in Philadelphia and outside the city, including a water-powered gunpowder mill. He manufactured gunpowder during the Revolutionary War, showing parts of his production methods to Paul Revere and others so other mills could be built in each of the colonies. He was eventually found to be making gun powder for both the Americans and the British. The Americans later convicted him of treason and he lost all his property. When Philadelphia was captured by the Americans in the Spring of 1778, Oswell fled to New York with the British. After his wife joined him in New York, he captained a ship of loyalists and sailed for the Bahamas, where he was granted land by the British government, and lived the rest of his life. He died in the home of his son Joseph on Cat Island in 1793.

Oswell Eve Deleware River Map

Oswell Eve is listed in the top, left box under Master of Vessels.

Oswell married Anne Moore, a Quaker of Irish decent, 2 June 1744 at Christ Church in Philadelphia. (She was disfellowshipped for marrying him since he was not a Quaker.)

Last year, I was in Philadelphia for the day and visited Christ Church. I was so excited to be there, that I told the man in the gift shop that my ancestors had married there. He asked what the name was, and when I told him, he said, “oh, the traitor.” He told me that one of the current ministers is also a descedent of Oswell Eve.

Anne gave birth to at least 13 children. Only 4 sons and 1 daughter lived to adulthood, although the daughter died at 25. Their first son was an Oswell was born in 1745, but he lived less than a year. Their 8th child, born in 1754, was also named Oswell. He is discussed next.

The Third Oswell Eve
This Oswell is my 5th great-grandfather. He was born in Philadelphia and was a captain on his father’s ships. After his father fled Philadelphia, Oswell took over the mill until it was confiscated by the Americans. Oswell went to South Carolina and in 1783 married Aphra Ann Pritchard in Charleston. After this he became a planter. In 1800, Oswell is found in Edgefield, South Carolina on the US Census, but went to Augusta around the same time. His wife’s brother-in-law, Christopher Fitzsimons, offered them Goodale Plantation, and Oswell acted as resident caretaker. Oswell later built a home called Forrest or Frog Hall and a summer cottage called The Cottage Place. He established a cemetery not far from the cottage (known today as Cottage Cemetery). He died in Augusta, Georgia in August 1829 and is buried in Cottage Cemetery.

Oswell Eve

Oswell and Aphra Ann had 15 children. Three died in infancy. Oswell gave 2 of his daughters the middle name Oswell: Elizabeth Oswell Eve and Emmaline Oswell Eve, both lived to adulthood. Two of his sons were also named Oswell, the first died in infancy and the second died when he was 17. This Oswell Eve was attending school in Ireland when he received news that his sister’s husband had died while they were visiting Ireland. Oswell left school to accompany his sister home to Augusta, but he died in Liverpool the day before they were to sail.

Oswell and his family made significant contributions to Augusta, Georgia. Oswell was a ruling founding elder at First Presbyterian Church. A plaque in the church describes him as a citizen esteemed for his courteous manner, his pure example, his incorruptible integrity and zeal for public good. Oswell’s son, Dr. Paul Fitzsimons Eve, and Oswell’s nephew, Dr. Joseph Adams Eve, were among the first faculty members of the Medical Academy of Georgia (now the Medical College of Georgia).

The Other Oswell Eves
The other Oswell Eves in the tree are direct descendants of the first Oswell Eve. Two are grandsons of the second Oswell Eve through his sons John and William. The rest are grandsons, great-grandsons, and one great-great-grandson of the third Oswell Eve. Four of the children of this third Oswell named children after him, including his son, John, who had two sons named Oswell. The first died as an infant and the second died at the age of 27, shortly after being wounded at the First Battle of Manassas at the beginning of the Civil War, leaving a wife and 5 children. This makes for a 3rd generation naming 2 sons Oswell.

14 thoughts on “Oswell, Oswell, Oswell

  1. Joseph J. Menkevich says:

    Dear Ms. Flake,

    You have posted some very interesting items on Oswell Eve of Philadelphia and his Wife, Ann Moore. I have been researching Oswell Eve for nearly 20 years and was always stumped about his wife Ann Moore being a Quaker. I did not believe it was so, but never did check the minute books.

    FYI -I do not agree with various statements, such as: “Oswell was convicted of being a traitor by the Continental Congress after it was found that he was selling gun powder to both the Americans and the British,” because it is not true.

    There was never a trial, there was never a conviction and there are no records of Oswell Eve providing gunpowder to the British.

    Eve was guilty by attainder: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/bill_of_attainder

    All that is left are unproven accusations and empty space on why Eve left Philadelphia.
    Inside that empty space is truth and thus-far the truth has not made it into the books.


    • Julie Medlock Flake says:

      Hi, Joseph. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Isn’t Oswell such an interesting person?

      I agree with your comment about Oswell not being convicted since there was no trial. This post was written several years ago and my understanding has shifted.

      Have you seen Eve’s loyalist claim? He makes a lost property claim as a loyal British subject to the British government following the war.

      It’s hard to know absolutely what happened, but the current evidence supports that Eve sold powder to both sides. As more evidence is found, conclusions may be adjusted.


      • Joseph J. Menkevich says:

        I am Sorry for the late reply – but just caught up with yours.

        Yes, I have seen Oswell Eve’s Claims and have read the reasons for denials.
        I have also read his (Eve’s) papers confiscated by the State of Pennsylvania.
        I have compared the records from the Public Record Office against those held by Pennsylvania and if Eve’s Loyalist Claims were true – then all other historians need to re-write the books.

        I also disagree with your statement: “It’s hard to know absolutely what happened, but the current evidence supports that Eve sold powder to both sides.”

        There is no evidence of that, just as there is no evidence against Eve at all – excepting that he made a claim against the British for his losses in Pennsylvania. (Not one of his claims were proven to be true – meaning he did not cooperate with the British during the War).

        His Loyalist Claims and the alleged “treason” went un-noticed for almost 100 years until some author wanted to glorify Paul Revere at the expense of Oswell Eve.

        Paul Revere never came to Frankford to learn on how to manufacture gunpowder, because he already knew the art, as he published an article on it several years earlier.

        Revere came to Frankford to cut a deal on salt-petre (niter), because Captain Eve and his partners were smugglers. I can make that statement because I have the evidence.

        But that is my story to write. I need to get my web pages up so I can begin blogging & showing the research (prior to a book release).



Comments are closed.