The Endicott family played a significant role in the War of 1812 during the Atlantic, Northwest Territory and Canadian campaigns. A total of 21 Endicotts (6 from Massachusetts; 6 from New Jersey; and 9 from Kentucky) saw service during the conflict. All came from a common ancestor, Governor John Endecott (1588-1665), the first and longest serving Governor in Massachusetts history.1 He served as Colonel of the East Regiment at the founding of the Colonial Militia in 1636;2 later was a Major General of the Militia in 1645-1649;3 was elected Governor no less than five times;4 and was considered the Father of New England.5
The role of the Kentucky Endicotts and their contribution in the War of 1812 has been previously researched and published (September, 2012).6 These Kentuckians were direct descendants of Thomas Endicott, b.1737 (5th generation) and his brother Joseph Endicott b.1738 (5th generation).7 It was Thomas who was born in Burlington County, New Jersey and migrated to Virginia in 1763; North Carolina sometime after 1775; later to Kentucky in 1786; and then finally to the Indiana frontier ca. 1817. 8 All of the 21 6th generation Endicotts served in the War of 1812 as patriots as had their ancestors before them in the Pequot War (1637-1638);9 King’s Phillips War (1675-1677);10 and the American Revolution (1775-1781).11 This is the story of those who served from New Jersey in the War of 1812.
The New Jersey Endicotts, who served in the War of 1812, descend from Joseph Endicott (1672-1747) who came to New Jersey in 1698.12 One of his sons was John Endicott (1707-____) of Burlington County, New Jersey.13 This John was a brother to Joseph Endicott (1711-1748) also of Burlington County.14 When Joseph’s son, Thomas (1737-1831), moved South with his family, John and his family stayed on in New Jersey. One of John’s sons was Benjamin Endicott (1741-1792).15 Mabel McFatridge McCloskey in her 1943 and 1959 published work – Some Descendants of John Endecott Governor of the Mass Bay mentions Benjamin briefly as a son of John Endecott b. 1707 of Burlington County, New Jersey. She states that Benjamin’s descendants lived in New Jersey.16 More is discovered on Benjamin in the 1911 published work of Charles M. Endicott, Esq. of Salem, The Endicott Family,17 in which is given some detail on the Benjamin Endicott family. “Benjamin Endicott lived in New Jersey; uncertain when born (subsequent research shows he was born in 1741 in Gloucester, New Jersey);18 was twice married. He suffered much from imprisonment and deterioration of his property, during the Revolutionary War. It lay on the line of march of the British troops. He died in 1792. His children were:
This is as far as our information extends, with regard to the New Jersey branch of the family; and here we must therefore leave it. 19 Gordon Harmon, in his work on The Endecott-Endicott Family History, provides further information on the Benjamin Endicott family. Those additions are in italics, above.20
After the Revolutionary War, a desire by some Americans to make Canada a part of the United States coupled with the Native Americans resistance to the westward expansion of the United States, and British efforts to assist them, led to growing tensions between the two countries. The British demanded the “right of search” of all American shipping vessels and the Americans called for “free trade and rights.” These issues propelled James Madison to election victory when he became President in 1809.21 Relations continued to deteriorate and Congress declared war on June 4, 1812. 22
“The State of New Jersey was reluctant to go to war. However, the New Jersey militia was actively protecting the State’s coastline against raiding parties from the blockading British fleet.” 23 “While the prevailing sentiment in New Jersey favored peace if it could be had with honor, it did not flinch from the crisis that England precipitated. On November 10th, an order calling out the militia was issued. No organizations were reported from Gloucester County, but it seems that many Gloucester men were enrolled in companies formed at Salem. President Madison was authorized to accept the services of any number of volunteers not exceeding fifty thousand, who were to be armed and equipped by the United States and a similar authority was given to him to call upon the Governors of States for detachments of militia, the whole of which was not to exceed one hundred thousand.” 24
“In answer to the call from Governor Aaron Ogden, Governor of New Jersey who issued a proclamation calling for volunteers to garrison fortifications and for coast defense, Gloucester County responded with eleven full companies of troops, of which one was independent, eight were attached to Brigadier General Ebenezer Elmer’s brigade of detailed militia and were assigned to Colonel Joshua Howell’s Regiment. The territory embraced in present day Atlantic and Cape May Counties sent out its quota of volunteers who took a prominent part in inland and coast protection. As all the troops herein appended were accredited to Gloucester County, it is impossible to assign the troops to the several counties, as upon the original rolls, now in the Office of the Adjutant General in Trenton (and from which these lists were copied), each and all the companies are mentioned only as from Gloucester County.” 25
Note: At the time of the Gloucester County volunteers coming forward, Atlantic County was yet to be formed from Gloucester County. Cape May was already formed.
The Endicott family branches residing in New Jersey at this time were those of Joseph Endicott (1711-1749) in Bur-lington County and the John Endicott branch living in Gloucester County. The Endicott branch from New Jersey in the War of 1812 was all from the Gloucester family line. During this time, Gloucester County encompassed the present day counties of Gloucester, Atlantic and Camden. 26 Atlantic and Cape May counties were the home of many later generations of Endicotts.
The Endicott family contribution to the War of 1812 in-cluded the five sons of Benjamin Endicott born in 1741. All five sons served in the company of artillery of Captain Robert Smith, Third Regiment, Gloucester Brigade. This company was attached to the Second Battalion. 27 The Records of Officers and Men of New Jersey in Wars 1791-1815 show the following for the New Jersey Endicotts in this unit:
You will note that there are six Endicotts who served in the company. One, Private Benjamin Endicott, was not one of the brothers but was probably an older cousin. He is believed to be the son of Ann Endicott, a niece of John (1707) 28 and her husband, another Joseph Endicott not further identified at this time.
They each were commissioned or enrolled on May 1, 1814 for the period “until relieved.” They were discharged on February 19, 1815. 29 Their service was for a total of 10 months and 19 days. Their company was organized February 12, 1809 and volunteered for protection of the maritime frontier. On February 12, 1814, the company was ordered into service during the War of 1812. The company reported for duty at Smithville, Gloucester (now Atlantic) County, and was stationed at Leeds Point and Somers Point and at other locations along the coast between Little Egg Harbor and Great Egg Harbor Rivers.
When British troops attempted to land at Somers Point, the company was called out to repel them. They appear to have had but one continuous tour of duty, which was from May and for which they were paid by the State, by act of the Legislature, February 8, 1816; but during all the rest of the year “prepared for actual service on any sudden emergency.” 30 They were called out several times by alarms along the coast defense of the State during the course of the war. Their service continued until the war came to an end and they were discharged at Smithville on February 19, 1815.
Like other branches of the Endicott family, those from New Jersey did not hesitate to offer their services to the nation’s continuing struggle for freedom. They served honorably throughout the war and then returned to their individual pursuits to build a new nation. It is a trait that had been followed by their predecessors, and would continue into the future as new generations of the family took their place in reaching for the American dream.