Alright, here’s a post I started writing at least three months ago but it got away from me. Lately I have been waking up at 5:00 in the morning and I blame getting older on that. Apparently as we age we need less sleep? Is that a thing? Why is that a thing? Can it not be a thing? I really like to sleep. It also doesn’t help that afternoon crash I inevitably succumb to every day. I digress. Because I have been waking up at 5:00 in the morning I now find myself with a little bit more free time to write. Yay for you! Unless otherwise noted, all of my information was retrieved from Wikipedia (again, totally aware that is not a reliable source of information but I was just looking for a succinct description of Posey).
So, General Thomas Posey in a nutshell: He was born near Mt. Vernon in Fairfax, Virginia. As a result, he was a patron of George Washington (some even claimed he was the illegitimate son of George Washington though historians doubt that) and would eventually benefit from that patronage as the Revolutionary War approached. Prior to the war, however, he moved to Staunton, Virginia and married though his wife died while giving birth to their third child. Only one child survived into adulthood.
While living in Staunton he was part of a reprisal against the Native Americans who continually led raids against the settlers. I only mention this because Posey’s experience with Native Americans becomes an asset for him later in life in 1816 when he became an “Indian agent” in Illinois. I know the word “Indian” is not correct anymore but that’s what they called it.
Alright, rewinding a bit to 1775 and the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Posey rises through the ranks, leads battles, and is eventually promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Continental Army. He leaves the Continental Army but then later joins the United States Army as a Brigadier General and serves in the Northwest Indian War which to be honest, I had never heard of. I think by this point it is painfully obvious that I am not a war history buff and am quite terrible writing about it. I love history but the minute I start reading about wars and battles and how one regiment lined up here and charged forward over there while the other guys were over yonder and they fell back and…my eyes glaze over and I kind of stop remembering how to read and comprehend at the same time.
Okay, so the point I’m getting at here is that Thomas Posey was an impressive guy, militarily speaking. It’s what happens between the Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War that we want to know about because that is when he moves to Fredericksburg and marries Mary Alexander Thornton, the wealthy widow of George Thornton. In my earlier days of research on Sligo it was stated that Thomas Posey owned and lived at Sligo. There was even a newspaper clipping our wonderful Dovetail consultant found that stated a brick with his name and dated “1752” had been discovered when Sligo burnt down in 1888. However, I do not believe Thomas Posey lived at Sligo nor do I believe he built the first house in 1752 and here’s why:
First of all, Thomas Posey didn’t marry Mary Thornton until 1784 which is when he moved from Fincastle to Fredericksburg (Posey, p. 109). Right off the bat, the dates don’t line up even remotely. The couple settled on her estate called The Wilderness which is near Wilderness Run.
Secondly, Posey (a descendant of Thomas Posey…I realize that could be confusing) writes:
During their nineteen years at Greenwood, the Poseys engaged in some limited purchases and sales of real property in Spotsylvania County. From James Frazier and John Minor they acquired an improved five-acre plot just outside Fredericksburg, a segment of a larger estate called “Sligo,” which had been a hospital during the war, partially burned, and later restored. Later they sold the property to John Lewis, kinsman to George Washington, for 1250 (pounds) on 5 September 1794. (1992, p. 113, General Thomas Posey: Son of the American Revolution, Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, Michigan.)
What I’m trying to prove here is that Sligo was merely an investment property for Thomas Posey and his wife. My uneducated guess as to how his name became so prominently affixed to Sligo is because he was a Revolutionary War hero and someone, somewhere along the line attributed him to the property in order to garner more interest. Also, it’s kind of like 267 years of the game “telephone” and information is going to get skewed over time.
To end Thomas Posey’s story he eventually moves to Kentucky because he was awarded 7,000 acres for his military service. In Kentucky he starts a new career in politics eventually becoming Lieutenant Governor. He then moves to Louisiana and is a United States Senator for one year. In 1813, President James Madison appoints Thomas Posey as Governor of the Indiana Territory though he loses the re-election in 1816. After that loss he moves to Illinois in 1816 and becomes an Indian agent. Thomas Posey eventually passes from typhus in 1818 and is buried in Shawneetown, Illinois.