Throughout this semester we have been going through artifacts excavated primarily from the Magill house by Steven Dyson and his students in the 1970′s. Cataloging and analyzing artifacts is a very interesting and unique experience. It’s like learning about someone by going through their garbage. Although not all of the artifacts we cataloged were left by Magill himself it is fun to image what he was like from looking at the artifacts. This is what led me to write my final paper on Magill. I really wanted to get to know just who Charles Magill was. He was born in Tullycarn, Ireland in 1756 and moved to Middletown with his father, Captain John Magill, and his older brother Arthur in 1765. Magill followed in his father’s footsteps and became a ship captain and trader. By 1780, at the age of 24, he had amassed enough wealth to build his mansion on Union Street. Magill’s wealth and status continued to grow until it peaked in about 1795. At that point, as tensions rose between France, England, and America, he began to lose his wealth and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1800. As best as I can tell he moved to Vermont between 1800 and 1801 where he would live out the rest of his days. He died at only 51 years of age in 1807. In my research I went through various newspapers that ran in Middletown from about 1780-1830. The main paper that I examined was the Middlesex Gazette. I found advertisements that Magill himself placed in the papers and from these and various shipping records and logs was able to figure out a lot about Magill’s trading routes. He traded in goods from various islands in the West Indies such as Martinique, as well as Jamaica, and England. He sold some of his goods in New York and Hartford and also auctioned many of his goods right out of his house here in Middletown. He traded in a variety of goods such as rum, sugar, tin, ceramics, cloth, livestock, and probably even enslaved individuals. I also found articles that spoke to the character of Magill, and his harrowing adventures as a trader on the high seas. One article from 1788 spoke of how his ship was caught in storm and run aground off the coast of Long Island and was stuck there for 13 days. The article that struck me the most was from a 1795 issue of the Gazette entailing an encounter Magill had with a French Naval Office. According to testimony from several witnesses Magill’s ship the Brigadier Union was boarded by a Captain Garriscan of the French naval ship Brutus under the auspices of trade with Magill. Magill sold him several goods including sheep but received only a fraction of what he was owed. When he confronted Garriscan about his money, the French Captain threatened to attack Magill’s ship with the superior weapons on the Brutus. Seeing that he was outgunned Magill took the matter up through legal channels, and subsequently several articles about the incident were published in the Gazette. The one that I found the most interesting was written by Magill himself and refers to Garriscan as a “peevish, passionate tyrant, intoxicated with power and unrestrained by principle. convinced that he might exact any conditions from an unarmed man, he seemed more solicitous to acquire property than to do justice. The character of a pirate he well supported, but that of a naval commander he vilely degraded.” Magill was a proud and intelligent man and I think that the fact that he pursued the matter speaks to his strength of will, to his pragmatic ability to realized when he was at a disadvantage, and to his character. I really feel that through my research I have gotten to know Chuck Magill, and I respect him as a Captain, a brother, and the quintessential American entrepreneur. My essay on Magill will be available through this website soon and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!