James Hayes, Boatswain

James Hayes. James Hayes’ interesting story is laid out in his pension application #S-33287. Late in 1778, Hayes from Newburyport served as a seaman on the private armed ship Virgin owned by Joseph Marquard. The 130 ton brig Virgin was owned by Joseph Marquard (1748-1820) and the firm of Lee & Jones. Her captain, Isaac Green Pearson (1747-1821), was commissioned on 28 January 1779. Hayes was captured in the beginning of 1779 by the British warship Diamond under Captain Linza (John Linzee) and was prisoner in Bermuda for several months. The Diamond would be paid off into Ordinary soon after her capture of the Virgin, but was recommissioned later that same year in November. Coincidentally, Captain Pearson was sent to St. Kitts where he escaped in company with Captain Micajah Lunt of Newburyport. Lunt was master of the Vengence of Newburyport in which Pearson and Marquand were also partners. They escaped together to St. Eustatia where they found passage home on the brig Tom under John Lee of Newburyport. Captured again by the British frigate Guadaloupe, they were taken prisoners into New York. Marquand and Pearson also partnered in a second privateer brig Virgin under master Jonathan Coolidge later in 1780. While in Bermuda or on the return voyage, Hayes befriended fellow prisoners Abraham Perkins, Henry Norwel and Abraham Edwards. Perkins and Norwel are declarants in the pension application. He and over forty-five others were returned to Philadelphia in a Cartel for exchange but were impressed into service on the Confederacy by 1st Lieutenant Gross and a boat crew while in the Delaware near Chester. Unable to obtain release, they were “compelled to do duty” for about two months before sailing for France. The impressed men were ‘persuaded’ to join the crew with the promise of wages offered to volunteers. According to his discharge papers signed by Captain’s Clerk John Lawrence, Hayes served as Boatswain’s Mate from 26 August to 14 October 1779 and as Boatswain from 14 October 1779 to his discharge on 25 May 1780. Newspaper shipping records do not offer any substantive data concerning his post-war career. He may or may not be the James Hayes noted in Boston papers as master of the brig Reward in May 1807. Due financial difficulties alluded to in the pension application, it is not likely he is the James Hayes who consigned 396 “Ox Hides” on the brig Sally Barker in February 1820.  Genealogical and census research sheds no light on James Hayes’ personal life. The lack of reference to family in the pension records suggest he may have gone unmarried. The only James Hayes listed in the 1790, 1810 and 1820 Census records for Newburyport suggests a younger James Hayes with a family. He is perhaps related to the James Hayes (1752-1815) who married Sarah Long (1756-1801) in Newburyport in 1777.

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