Captain Benjamin Gorton is our Patriot Ancestor.

It is difficult to find many details about a person who lived in the 1700’s. And from the few facts we find, it is difficult to construct a picture of their life.  But here is what we know.

Benjamin Gorton is our Patriot ancestor. He is my great, great, great, great, great (5 greats) grandfather.
He was born in July 2, 1725 in Swansey, MA and died Sept 28, 1814 in Warwick, Rhode Island. His parents were Samuel Gorton III and FreeLove Mason who raised their family in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Benjamin’s ancestors, his extended family and his older siblings were all born in Warwick, Rhode Island. Benjamin’s notorious, out-spoken great-grandfather, Samuell Gorton, who founded Warwick, RI in 1642, had passed away almost 50 years before.
Benjamin, himself, was actually born in Swansea, MA, about 15 miles across the Bay from Warwick, which is where his mother’s family originated.

He was one of nine children, a “middle child,” with four older and four younger siblings (four brothers and four sisters). Benjamin’s mother died when he was twelve years old.

Benjamin’s older brother. Samuel IV, became a physician.  Samuel IV had a great-grandson named Slade Gorton, born in 1832, who founded the Gorton Fish Cakes of Gloucester, MA in 1868 (now owned by Nippon Suisan -USA-, Inc.). SladeGorton has a descendent, Thomas Slade Gorton III, born 1928, who was a Republican Senator from Washington from abt 1981-2001.

Benjamin, the second son, was in the military most of his adult life. We can’t be sure if he was also a Captain of a ship or if his title “Captain” derived from his military service, in which he was a Captain.

There is a record of a ship, the “Swallow,” captained by a Benjamin Gorton, being captured by the French in the French –Indian War in 1758. There is a possibility that this was our ancestor. Most everyone in RI in that time was involved with shipping and trading. Although RI is only 48 miles by 37 miles across, RI has 384 miles of coast land lending itself to perfect water ports.

Benjamin married in 1762, at age 37, a late age for getting married in those days. His wife, Avis Hulett, was the daughter of Capt. John Hulett (and Bernice Hale) who was a large land-owner in Scituate, Rhode Island.
Benjamin and Avis had 9 children, from 1763 to 1786. The first 6 children were born in Warwick, RI. Between 1775 (age 53) and 1777 he moved to Providence, RI since that is where his last 3 children’s births were recorded. He was 61 years old at the birth of his last child.

Benjamin served in the military between 1762 and 1792. He was listed as being in the infantry/militia during the years 1762, 1765, 1766, in Warwick, RI and during 1776-78, 1780-81 and 1792 in West Greenwich, RI. He went from an Ensign in 1762  to a Lt. in 1765 to a Captain in 1777, 1778, 1780 and 1781 and was listed as a 2nd Major in 1792 in post revolutionary service.

Benjamin died on Sept 28, 1814 “in his 89th year,” in his ancestral home of Warwick, RI.

Copyright © 2010 Jan R. Markle