Jesse Breed, Midshipman

Jesse Breed. Jesse Breed was born on 21 May 1761 in Norwich. He was the son of Lt. Gershom Breed, originally a saddler then a merchant and importer, and Dorothy McLaren who moved from Stonington to Norwich about 1750. According to the Ancestry of Lawrence Williams, Breed first enrolled in college but left to enlist as midshipman on the frigate Trumbull, presumably in the Fall of 1779. According to his wife Cynthia R. Breed’s pension application #R-1172, he left the Trumbull and went aboard the Confederacy in November 1780 with the consent of Captains Nicholson and Harding, as both ships were in the Delaware at that time. Breed was well acquainted with carpenter Thomas Edgar who transferred from the Trumbull to the Confederacy at the same time. Presumably, he was captured with Edgar and the Confederacy in April 1781. According to the Ancestry of Lawrence Williams, Breed was wounded and initially confined on the Jersey prison ship in New York Harbor. The referenced wound may have been one he received in the 1 June 1780 engagement between the Trumbull and the Watt or another perhaps received during the capture of the Confederacy, it is recorded he was wounded in three places. One of the Trumbull’s 39 casualties while acting as a marine in the battle, Midshipman Breed was wounded in the elbow and thigh with splinters from the after quarter deck gun which had about a foot of its muzzle shot away by a 12 pounder. Reportedly, he was not hurt badly. According to the Stonington Branch of the Descendants of Allen Breed, Jesse Breed was confined on a prison ship and carried to Deal, England. In January 1782, Breed escaped to France, returning home in June of that year aboard the Alliance. The Breed Family Association suggests that Breed spent some time in a hospital in England while a prisoner and that all of his records were stolen there while he was ill. Later he joined his younger brother Simeon (1763-1822) in the merchantile firm of Jesse & Simeon Breed in Norwich. This business was founded in 1764 by Gershom Breed and, after the tenure of Jesse and Simeon, ownership of the Water Street hardware store passed to Joseph and John Breed. The firm survived over 125 years after its founding, subsequently being known as John Breed & Co, A.W. Prentice & Co and Eaton, Chase & Co. Jesse Breed was also a Director of the Norwich Fire Insurance Company. In December of 1798 on a West Indies voyage, Norwich resident Gurdon Bill’s ship the schooner Hannah was seized by the French and he was confined at Guadaloupe where he met Jesse Breed. Both escaped to Paris where they they were sent home by the American Minister. Breed fathered no children, but adopted nephew Jesse Breed Rogers, who was doing business in New York City in 1856. He was married to Mrs. Cynthia (Rogers) Bulkley, daughter of Major Uriah Rogers (1737-1814) and Mary Howell (1746-1816) at the home of her parents on 6 October 1799 by the Rev. Walter King of Norwich. Cynthia Rogers was earlier married to Ichabod Buckley or Bulkley of Colchester, CT who died at age twenty-eight in 1797. She was born in 1771 and died in Norwich on 31 July 1855. While most sources suggest the date of his death as 12 November, according to the testimony of his brother Richard’s widow Lydia, Jesse Breed died on 19 November 1831 in Norwich.

This entry was posted in Navy Wardroom, Warrant and Petty Officers. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *