Here is an actual letter written by our ancestor Ebenezer Bartram (Jr) to the Governor of Connecticut Colony:
New London, July 14, 1776
Honord Sir: I take liberty to inform your Honor this day ye Brig Defence came from Newport and arrived hear and in our cruse which your Honor has had information that in ye engagement with ye ship and brig by the side of ye ship and Brig Lying right astearn and not being in our power to fire on ye Brig we had to suffer their fires near two hour until by the brave activity of our worthy Capt. who behaved like ye seaman, like ye gentleman and like ye man of honor. Therefor Honord Sir if you have any promotions to make it is my opinion that Capt. Hardy is as deserving a gent as any in the Colony of Connecticut without exception. That I must applaud the gallant Behavior of Lieut Smedly and likewise the other officers and men which Behavd in the most brave manner. If any Promotion to Capt. Harding may it please your Honr to let me know the gentleman whom your honr appoints to succede Capt. Harding. With due respect I am your Humbl Servt
To J. Trumbull Esqr
Then another letter to Governor Trumbull only from Captain Harding this time:
New London, Decr 12th 1776
Sir: This serves to Inform your Honr Mr Batram Is a good Deale unwell and in my opinion Not capable to go on this Cruse for which I am Very Sorry for his Illness at the same Time think he ought to be kept under pay for good Services he has Dun in times past. Mr Bartram is a Man of Curig and I Dare say would be willing to proceed on a Cruse was it advisable
I am Sir yor Hons Most obt and most Humbl Servent
To Jonth Trumbull Esqr Govr
Finally a letter to our Ebenezer:
Sir: The Govr and Council of Safety are informed that you are infirm and incapacitated for your command aboard the brig Defence. Though your Skill, Courage & Faithfulness are well approved, you are therefore discharged from your office and place on board with our Thanks for your Passd good service.
Given under my hand in Middletowwn the 11th day of Jany 1777.
To Lt Ebenr Bartram
of the Brig Defence
My Note: He would have been 45 years old. That was pretty old to be in combat. I don't know what his illness was. He lived just a lttle less than six more years.
Emailed Sept. 28
Response from Karen Stock:
Reading this entry made me wonder about when spelling may have become standardized in the U.S. Here's an entry from "spelling" on Wikipedia: ----- Spelling standards and conventions
Whereas uniformity in the spelling of words is one of the features of a standard language in modern times, and official languages usually prescribe standard spelling, minority languages and regional languages often lack this trait. Furthermore, it is a relatively recent development in various major languages in national contexts, linked to the compiling of dictionaries, the founding of national academies, and other institutions of language maintenance, including compulsory mass education.
In countries such as the U.S. and U.K. without official spelling policies, many vestigial and foreign spelling conventions work simultaneously. In countries where there is a national language maintenance policy, such as France, the Netherlands and Germany, reforms were driven to make spelling a better index of pronunciation. Spelling often evolves for simple reasons of alphabetic thrift, as when British English "catalogue" becomes American English "catalog." ------
Further Googling (with apologies for making a verb out of a noun, which was itself a misspelling of the word "googol") yielded this possible source for more info: "American English spelling: an informal description." To find it at a library near you, hit this link: http://www.worldcat.org/wcpa/oclc/146790135