May 8, 1815: Murder of David Ramsay

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Forgotten today, Ramsay was famous in his time as one of the first major historians of the American Revolution.  During the Revolution he served in the South Carolina legislature and as a field surgeon with the South Carolina militia, being imprisoned by the British for a year after the fall of Charleston.  In 1785 he published a two volume History of the Revolution in South Carolina, in 1789 a two volume History of the American Revolution, in 1807 a Life of Washington, and, posthumously, in 1816-1817 a three volume History of the United States.  All during his literary career, and I have noted only his major works, Ramsay maintained a large practice in Charleston as a physician.  Appointed by the court to examine the sanity of William Linnen, a tailor after Linnen attempted to kill his attorney.  Ramsay reported to the court that Linnen was mad.

After Linnen’s release he sought revenge and ambushed Ramsay, shooting him in the back and the hip.  Carried to his house, before he died Ramsay made the following statement:  ‘I know not if these wounds be mortal; I am not afraid to die; but should that be my fate, I call on all here present to bear witness, that I consider the unfortunate perpetrator of this deed a lunatic, and free from guilt.'”

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Published in: on May 8, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on May 8, 1815: Murder of David Ramsay  
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