Philadelphia: Feb. 7, 1799.
1 p., pen and ink on paper, docketed on verso. Folio. A COLORFUL DESCRIPTION OF A "FISHTOWN" SAILOR. Old folds, tape repair, else fine. Item #245062
An entertaining affidavit of citizenship for a sailor from the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, now known as “Fishtown,” which was home to a large number of German immigrants in the 18th century, who made their living shad fishing on the Delaware River. The document was signed just before Lawrence Shisler embarked on an ill-fated tour on the Ariel, a 10-gun merchant ship with a 30-man crew, that was taken by the French on her voyage home from Canton, China. Two sailors, as well as the ship’s master, Jacob Coates, were killed in the ensuing fight with the privateers. Schisler evidently survived, as he is found on another affidavit of citizenship in 1807. Reading in part: "Before me Robert Wharton esquire mayor of the said city of Philadelphia personally appeared Lawrence Schisler aged twenty nine years or there abouts, born in Kensington in the state of Pennsylvania five feet seven inches and three quarters of an inch high, dark brown hair having a scar on his left cheek another on the extremity of one of his left hand fingers, the nail being shot off, having sundry mark in indian ink, to wit RC-CE.-I.S. a heart, a cross and anchor (*) &ca on the forearm of his left hand... has now entered on board of the ship Ariel commanded by Jacob Coates. (*As a postscript) a female figure on his right Arm a Male & Female figure on his Breast in India Ink"
Also signed by Lawrence Schisler, and Martin Worknot, who attested that he had known Schisler since childhood and could vouch for his identity.
Robert Wharton (1757-1834) was the longest-serving mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Born to wealthy Philadelphia merchant, Joseph Wharton, Robert’s brothers included, Continental Congressman Samuel Wharton, and US Marine Corps Commandant Franklin Wharton. He served at various times as the president of the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club and the Schuylkill Fishing Company, and was a brigadier general of Militia.
Lawrence Schisler may be Lorentz Schuessler who was born December 8, 1770 in Philadelphia, the son of Caspar Schuessler and Rachel Keain, who married Clara Jenser in 1792.
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