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Gorham Rangers- Wampanoag /Nawset Elite Warrior Company

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  • Sylvanus Marchant (1718 - d.)
    Gorham Ranger- 7th Massachusetts Regiment-4th Company.- Mixed Wampanoag/Nawsett Elite Fighting Unit-1745 Louisburg.
  • Stephen Sparrow (c.1723 - c.1746)
    Elite Gorhams Ranger- Mixed Wampanoag/Nawsett company. 7th Massachusetts Regiment-4th Company Capt. Elisha Doane- 1745 LouisBurg, Nova Scotia,Canada.
  • Capt. Peter West (1718 - 1757)
    Lt. Peter West -Served in Gorhams Rangers- 7th Regiment/10th Company-MixedBlood- Nawsett/Wampanoag Unit-1745 Louisburg, Nova Scotia later. Captain in the French & Indian War - Died Ft Edward, NY 10/30/...
  • Nathaniel Bassett (1715 - 1781)
    Gorhams Rangers. 7th Massachusetts Regiment-10th Company. Capt. Samuel Lumbart/Lt. Peter West. Louisburg/1745 Nova Scotia.
1747-1750   Special Unit- Consisting of  100 Elite Warriors.

Born at Barnstable, Mass., on December 12, 1709, John Gorham began working on ships operating out of the port before he had turned twenty, trading at various ports in Canada, and he was occasionally involved in land speculation in Nova Scotia and Maine. Following the family pattern, however, he entered into military service before 1741. At the outbreak of King George's War in 1744, Gorham organized a group of about 50 Rangers in New England that was sent to reinforce the garrison at Annapolis Royal, N.S. Gorham's Rangers, mostly Wampanoags/Nawset or persons of mixed-blood, were a highly successful free-ranging unit that employed "unorthodox" tactics -- i.e., those not commonly employed by British regulars -- including the applied use of terror. Their arrival at Annapolis Royal shifted the military balance in favor of the English, and for this, Gorham received wide recognition. His Rangers rapidly gained a fearsome reputation among the French and indigenous populations. Early in 1745, Gorham returned to Massachusetts to recruit additional Rangers, and was persuaded by Governor Shirley and William Pepperell to join the expedition against Louisburg and Isle Royale. At their request, Gorham accepted a commission as Lt. Col. of the 7th Massachusetts Regiment commanded by his father. John Gorham organized the landing at Gabarus Bay on April 30, 1745 and, along with Lt. Col. Arthur Noble, led the failed assault on the Island Battery on 23 May. With his father's death on February 20, 1745/46, he was promoted to Colonel of the 7th Massachusetts and remained in effective command of New England forces at Louisburg until April 1746.

The Louisburg victory, however, did not prove as beneficial as Gorham had wished. First, rivalries with other officers cost him the opportunity to deliver news of the victory personally to George II, effectively denying him a measure of recognition and monetary reward; second, his troops were not allowed to plunder the area around Louisburg as they had been promised, depriving him of a large, and fully expected source of compensation. Finally, Gorham and his troops never received any direct compensation from the crown for their services. The lack of financial support from the British government became an issue that occupied much of Gorham's time and energy during the last five years of his life.

Throughout the remainder of 1746 and 1747, Gorham and his Rangers enhanced their reputation as being "far more terrible than European soldiers," and came to be viewed as the most effective fighting unit in the Province. It was said that their reputation was such that neither French nor Indians would meet with them, and the arrival of Gorham's Rangers was usually sufficient cause for attacking parties to disperse.

After the defeat of Arthur Noble by French forces at Grand Pré, January 1747, Gorham returned to New England and received permission to form a much larger company of Rangers (about 100 men). With the support of the Duke of Newcastle and George II in England (gathered on a brief trip to London), and of Paul Mascarene and Gov. Shirley in the colonies, the defense of the entire province of Nova Scotia fell de facto into Gorham's hands. Following the peace treaty with France, the Rangers continued to play a vital role in furthering British interests in Nova Scotia. In 1748, Mascarene order Gorham to subdue French settlers along the disputed St. John River and to impose the Oath of Allegiance. In addition, he helped to establish Fort Sackville as a means of protecting the newly founded Halifax, and his Rangers were often involved in quelling disturbances of the Micmac and St. John Indians.

Gorham's career reached its apex in July 1749 when he was appointed to the Nova Scotia Council, on which he served until August 1751. But beginning with the appointment of Edward Cornwallis as Governor in July 1749, his fortunes began to decline. Cornwallis and Gorham shared a mutual antipathy perhaps stemming from Cornwallis' feeling that Gorham had already received adequate compensation for his efforts and that the constant requests for additional payment were exorbitant.

In 1751, Gorham traveled to England in an attempt to satisfy his financial claims. He died of smallpox in London in 1751.

John Gorham, founder and commander of Gorham's Rangers during the mid-eighteenth century, was a controversial figure in his lifetime and has remained so in historical memory. Born in 1709 and raised in the Cape Cod town of Barnstable, Massachusetts, Gorham became a merchant as well as a military leader. Essential to both elements of his career were his connections in Cape Cod, and with the wealthy Boston merchant firm of Charles Apthorp and Thomas Hancock. As a young man he was primarily a seafarer, as a skilled whaler and a sea captain. He then became active in trade and in land speculation in a number of locations throughout northeastern North America, including Sable Island, but during the early 1740s he turned increasingly to military activity. With the onset of the British-French phase of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1744 (known to the Anglo-American colonists as 'King George's War'), Gorham raised his first ranger company and led it to Annapolis Royal, the British headquarters in Nova Scotia, besieged at the time by French forces and their Indigenous allies.