Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
John Frizell Orderly Book, 1761-1779

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, October 2009

Summary Information
Title: John Frizell orderly book
Creator: Frizell, John
Inclusive dates: 1761-1779
Extent: 1 volume
This orderly book, kept by John Frizell a quartermaster sergeant in the British army, accounts for the general and regimental orders for the 77th Royal British Regiment stationed near Halifax from June 22 to October 1, 1761.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1986. M-2279.3.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

John Frizell Orderly Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


John Frizell was a quartermaster sergeant in the British Army with the 1st Royal Regiment and the 77th Regiment. In the 1760s he was stationed near Halifax, Canada. After the peace of 1763 with France, many members of the regiment received land grants in North America from the British Government. Frizell may have taken advantage of this opportunity as his journal describes him settling in Dedham and Port Royal (Port Annapolis), Canada. In the 1760s, he worked as a shoemaker and later opened a night school, where he taught math, reading, penmanship, and music.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This orderly book accounts for the daily general and regimental orders for the 77th Royal British Regiment stationed near Halifax from June 22 to October 1, 1761.

Entries begin with the daily password (parole) and countersign followed by officers chosen for duty and the text of the official orders (60 pages). Passwords were typically either names of British royalty or names of towns in England (Bristol, Bath, Yarmouth, Worchester etc.). Many orders were directed not just to the soldiers but to the citizens of the area. A reoccurring order forbade the settlers from providing liquor to soldiers or to let soldiers drink in their tents or huts (p. 7). This policy, however, was often not followed. Other orders concerned that day's "working party." The party was commonly required to retrieve wood from the lumber yard, get provisions from the store, distribute goods to the other men, stand guard, and travel. The orders also included logistical details such as the rations of beer per man per week; each member got 2 quarts per day for 6 pence each week (page 48).

The volume's last 160 pages contain Frizell's personal accounts of his settlements at Dedham and Port Royal (Port Annapolis) between 1762 and 1766. Many entries are copies of orders and contracts for making shoes, along with inventories of food and wood. Pages 78-79 contain drafts of advertisements for a night school targeted at "those who cannot attend during the day." The ad states that "A school will be opened by John Frizell att his dwelling at Norton New precinct at any time where will be taught reading wrighting and siffering and something of geometry of Required and the Mensuration of triangles &c. &c. &c." This page also contains a bar of music for singing a psalm that "Note[s] mi is an F."

The book appears to have been used for the secondary purposes of working out math problems and practicing penmanship. Many pages, including the bottom of some orderly pages and in between copies of letters, have scripture quotations written in an elegant hand. These also fill much of the back half of the book.

Other interesting items include a letter to his mother, offering a rare bit of personal information (p. 136); a recipe for black ink (p. 139), and a short essay on using fixed stars in navigation with an explanation of the movements of the seven planets (p. 140). Portions of many pages are torn out; these were likely blank scraps used for practice writing and math exercises.

Subject Terms

    • Annapolis Royal (N.S.)
    • Great Britain. Army. Regiment of Dragoons, 1st (Royal)
    • Halifax (N.S.)
    • Nova Scotia--History--1713-1763.
    • Nova Scotia--History--1763-1867.
    • Quartermasters.
    • United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.
    Genre Terms:
    • Orderly books.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    John Frizell orderly book,  June 22-October 1, 1761 [series]