J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

Channell on “Revolutionary Sailors” in Quincy, 3 Sept.

On Wednesday, 3 September, the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy will host a talk by Fred Channell on the topic “Discover Historic New England: Revolutionary Sailors.” The event announcement says Channell “will present his research about his family members who fought in Boston Harbor during the Revolutionary War.”

It looks like Channell is a descendant of the subject of this item in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register from 1859:
Death of an Aged Man.—Abram Fitz-John Channell died at Georgeville, C.E., on the 9th instant, aged about one hundred and ten years. He was born in Shefford, Bedfordshire, Eng., and was apprenticed to Harris Varden, tailor, Whitehorse Yard, Drury lane, London. At eighteen years of age he was impressed, and made one or more cruises on board an English man-of-war. He then engaged in the merchant service, and in the course of a few years found himself in Chebaco Parish, Ipswich, Me., where for many years he successfully carried on the business of tailoring and hotel keeping. He resided for many years in that part of Ipswich now called Essex. From Essex he removed to his late residence in Canada. He was a man of great activity, energy and enterprise, and his uniform habits of temperance doubtless contributed many a year to his long life. He had descendants of the fifth generation whom his own eyes have looked upon, and whom his arms have held.—Journal, January 21, 1858.
According to cemetery records, Channell died at the age of 107, meaning he was probably born in 1750. Later American sources said he fought on the Continental side in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island in June 1776 and the Rhode Island campaign the next year. But that information didn’t make this Canadian obituary.

Fred Channell published a book about his ancestor last year called The Immortal Patriot. In addition to the lives of Revolutionary-era sailors, it’s said to discuss “grave robbing, lake monsters, strange religions, and smuggling.” His event is scheduled to last from 7:00 to 8:30 P.M.


Charles Bahne said...

I think there's a typo in the quote from the Genealogical Register. I can't find either an Ipswich or an Essex in the state of Maine, and neither is Google Maps. But Chebaco (or Chebacco) is a district in the town of Essex, Mass., which formerly used to be part of the town of Ipswich.

J. L. Bell said...

The obituary appears to come from a Canadian newspapers, and the error may have arisen there.

J. L. Bell said...

I wasn’t able to translate the abbreviation “C.E.,” but Georgeville is a town in modern Québec province. An abbreviation no longer used, or another possible error in transmission?

Fred Channell said...

Hello, I am Fred Channell. Chebacco was a parish in Ipswich until it became a town in the early 1800's. My ancestor lived there, in N.H. and settled later in Georgeville, Canada. Differing accounts have his age from 99-110. He is one of a few patriots to live to be photographed. Hope to see you there.