Gage, Thomas

Other namesGeneral
Birth: 1719/1720 in Highmeadow, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, England
Death: 1787-04-02 in London, England
Education:

Westminster School

Faith:

Anglican

Nationality:

British

Occupation:

General; Military Governor of Montreal; Commander-in-Chief of North America; Governor of Massachusetts

Residence:

Highmeadow, Wye Valley, GloucestershireLondonAlbany, NYMontrealNew YorkEnglandBoston, MALondon

Marital status:

Married to Margaret Kemble.

Biography:

General Thomas Gage is best known for leading British troops during the early years of the American Revolution, but he also played a major role in shaping colonial North America prior to American independence. Gage was born to a father of the same name, the first Viscount Gage, and his wife, Benedicta Maria Theresa Hall, in 1719/1720, in Gloucestershire, England. Viscount Gage was born Catholic, but he and his wife converted to the Anglican Church prior to the birth of Thomas. At age eight, Gage was sent to Westminster School, where he stayed until 1736, and in 1741 he entered the British military by purchasing a lieutenancy. After the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War, Gage was sent to North America under the command of Major-General Edward Braddock, where he was involved in several disastrous battles, including the British defeat in the 1758 Battle of Ticonderoga. In 1763, after the outbreak of Pontiac’s War, Gage took over as commander-in-chief for all of North America when Jeffrey Amherst, his predecessor, was recalled because of his abusive treatment of Native Americans. In this capacity, Gage began regulating settlers’ relations with Native tribes, especially the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) confederacy, and regularly corresponded with the superintendents, including Sir William Johnson. In 1764 and 1765, several of Wheelock’s correspondences indicate that missionaries needed to obtain permission from General Gage before proceeding into Indian country. Gage was also concerned with growing discontent among British colonists in the east, and increased the presence of British troops in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Following the Boston Tea Party in 1773, he was instrumental in shaping British policy toward the colonists, including closing the port of Boston and allowing British soldiers to quarter in the homes of colonists. From 1774 to 1775, Gage served as the military governor of Massachusetts, where he was responsible for sending British troops to Lexington and Concord and for the costly British victory at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Shortly thereafter, Gage was replaced by General Sir William Howe, and returned to England where he was eventually commissioned as a full general in 1782, and died on April 2, 1787 in London.

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Sources:

Alden, John Richard. General Gage in America. New York, NY: Greenwood Press, 1969. Print. Shy, John. ‘Gage, Thomas (1719/20–1787)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/10275, accessed 17 Nov 2014]. "Thomas Gage." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. http://academic.eb.com/EBchecked/topic/223455/Thomas-Gage.