Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quick note on Isaac Workman

I've been in contact by email with a descendant of Isaac Workman, DAR and SAR Patriot, and of his grandson Elisha Workman. My great grandmother was sister to his ancestor and they both were children of Elisha. We've been going back and forth about a number of things, and our conversations reminded me of something, a finer point, about Isaac.

I've posted here previously about the Workman Military Lots in Allegany County, Maryland, and you can read that post here. And you can see how many of these lots the Workman family owned in the map below.

A section of the Frostburg State University military lot maps in Western Maryland.

There has been speculation that these lots were earned through military service, but they were not. I was hoping that they were and that the entire male side of the family had gone to war, united as one. What a good family story that would have made! But that was not at all what the records show. I checked everywhere, in Fold3, The National Archive, the DAR records and listing of their Patriots, FamilySearch and Ancestry. He was not in any of them.

What I did find is that Isaac Workman has been verified as a DAR Patriot based on an Oath of Allegiance he swore.

Here's what the Maryland Historical Society had to say about that particular Oath of Allegiance.

Oath of Fidelity:
Abstract                        The Oath of Fidelity was instituted by Laws of Maryland 1777, Chapter 20, An Act for the Better Security of Government.  Every free male 18 years and older was required to subscribe to an oath renouncing the King of England and to pledge allegiance to the revolutionary government of Maryland.  Those already engaged in military service were assumed to be loyal.  Quakers, Mennonites, and Dunkards were permitted to affirm.  There were several penalties associated with failure to obey the instructions of the ACT.  Magistrates neglecting to keep books and transmit them to the Governor were to be fined 500 pounds.  Persons expected to take the oath who did not do so were required, for the rest of their lives, to pay triple the ordinary tax on real and personal property.  They were forbidden to exercise and practice the trade of merchandise or to practice the law, physic or surgery, or the art of an apothecary, or to preach or teach the gospel, or to teach in public or private schools, or to hold or exercise within this state, any office of profit or trust, civil or military, or to vote at any election of electors or senators, or of delegates to the house of delegates.  Oaths were to be administered by the magistrates of each county before March 1, 1778.  One list of those who subscribed to the oath was to be kept at the county court and another sent to the governor and Council in Annapolis. 

Retrieved online January 18, 2013 at Maryland Historical Society,

That's quite descriptive and informative. Men over 18 were required "subscribe" to an oath renouncing England and everything she had to offer. There was no going back now! The punishment for not doing so: for the rest of their lives they were to pay triple the ordinary tax on real and personal property. Yikes! This was serious. And look at that, they were from then forward forbidden from being a merchant, doctor, lawyer, pharmacist, preacher, or teacher. They couldn't hold office or vote either. This was serious stuff.

Isaac lived in Washington County when he took the oath. It was a county that was formed out of Frederick County to the east in 1776 and named for George Washington. (How patriotic is that?) Allegany County where the Workman family lived was formed out of Washington County in 1789 so it's quite possible that he lived in what's now Allegany County when he took the oath.

By the way, nice piece of trivia, the descendants of men who paid the 1783 tax assessment are eligible for the SAR and the DAR because a part of it went supply the Revolutionary War effort. Here's a link to the an index of that tax roll. If you want to look for an ancestor you'll be best served by looking at all of the entries.

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