Gail Fairfax Stuart is the hero in With One Hand Tied Behind His Back: The Life and Times of Gail Stuart. But before Gail, there were a whole host of Stuarts—distant cousins, aunts, and uncles—showing up all over the place, and many were involved in significant American events. Consider this. Back in the colonial days there was Alexander Gouverneur Stuart of New York who, in defiance of the British Navigation Acts, stood watch at Montauk Point on Long Island and signaled whether incoming ships were British or non-British. The non-British ships were directed to Martha’s Vineyard where their smuggled cargo was unloaded and transported to clandestine warehouses in New York. Incoming ship’s officers and crews were then treated to a spa, lattes, and a concert.
Then, Eliyahu Stuart, a courier for the British East India Company from Norfolk, Virginia distributed, and tried to collect, the tax on official documents printed in London, a requirement of The Stamp Act. Eliyahu’s accounts, however, yelled, screamed, and some gave him the bum’s rush. Eliiyahu didn’t formally resign. He simply no longer showed up. Some said he moved up north and got into the wine business. Another Stuart, Fitz-Randolph of Boston, had ships and some money. He managed to hide the hooligans of the Boston Tea Party on one of his ships before landing them at Martha’s Vineyard. Unfortunately, they were too late for the concert.
Later, John Cabot Stuart, of Philadelphia brought Chăteaunuef du pape from Martha’s Vineyard to the gentlemen convening across the street in Independence Hall. Of their deliberations, one would unanimously proclaim that Stuart was one swell guy. So, on July 4, 1776, they gave him a copy of their Declaration of Independence. And when she saw it, Stuart’s sister, Anna Alcott Stuart sketched out a flag with stars and stripes that she gave to her best friend, Betsy Ross.
During the Revolutionary War, Light-horse Harry Stuart, of Williamsburg, Virginia would march with Daniel Morgan’s sharp shooters in up-state New York against the British General, John Burgoyne. Gentleman Johnny, however, would lose that battle, surrendering over five thousand troops. Later, at the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina, Light-horse Harry would lead a rifle section in Morgan’s command. There, Morgan’s forces, executing a double envelopment, decimated those of the flashy British Colonel, Banastre Tarleton. Of his one thousand plus troops, 850 were captured and 110 killed. Tarleton escaped to… You guessed it. But was he on time for the concert?
I’ll update you from time-to-time on other Stuarts and their ties to American History. There is plenty of history and there are plenty of Stuarts.