John Linton, Seaman

John Linton. The claim of John Linton a seaman on the ship Confederacy in the amount of $27.14 including interest to the date of the Confederacy’s capture on 14 April 1781 was adjusted by the Treasury Department on 31 October 1792. One possibility for this individual is the Massachusetts seaman John Linton who served during the Revolutionary War. This seaman is not likely the John Linton who served as Captain of the 7th Company of Colonel William Bradford’s 1st Battalion of Pennsylvania Militia from Philadelphia’s Middle Ward in 1777 and who also served as captain of the Middle Ward’s Third Company in Lt. Col. James Read’s 1st Battalion in 1780. The Middle Ward was bounded by the West side of 2nd Street, Market Street to Chestnut, East and West of Strawberry Alley. The Confederacy’s seaman is much more likely the John Linton who entered the Port of Philadelphia on 24 September 1772 under an indenture to Adam Foulke for four years as a “servant to be employed attending shop.” The post-war 1790 Census lists the Dwelling of shop keeper John Linton on the East Side of Water Street between Chestnut Street and the South Street Wharf along the wharves. One John Linton took the oath of Allegiance in Pennsylvania on 5 January 1779, having taken “the test” in June of 1777. The Confederacy’s seaman is almost certainly the John Linton who witnessed the will of John Frazer of the ship Hyder Alley with other crewmates and officers on 1 April 1782, just before the Hyder Alley secretly sailed one week later. John Frazer may possibly be the John Frayzer who served on a previous cruise of the Confederacy. Other witnesses to the will were Hyder Alley’s commander Lieutenant Joshua Barney and Second Lieutenant Luke Matthewman, who also served as gunnery officer. The will was proved on 27 May 1782, strongly suggesting that John Frazer was one of the fifteen crewman who were killed or wounded on the Hyder Alley during a celebrated naval battle on 8 April 1782 which ended with 53 British casualties and the capture of the General Monk. The General Monk was formerly the Rhode Island privateer Congress under the command of Silas Talbot. The Hyder Alley was orginally a trading vessel owned by John Wright Stanley who intended to deliver tobacco to L’Orient, France but was unable to secure insurance to cover the risk of shipping loss to the General Monk stationed at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The ship was secretly converted to a privateer by Stanley and John Wilcocks and armed with sixteen guns and 110 men. Joshua Barney, having been commissioned a lieutenant in the Continental Navy in June of 1776 but finding no commands, was appointed master of the Hyder Alley on 25 March 1782. Barney had previously served on the sloop Sachem as executive officer, as prize master of the British privateer Three Friends, on the Andria Doria and as prize master of the British snow Thomas before he was captured in January 1777. He was exchanged in October 1777 and appointed First Lieutenant of the frigate Virginia until its capture in March of 1778. After another exchange in August 1778, Joshua Barney was next appointed First Lieutenant of the Continental sloop Saratoga in the summer of 1780. Barney led the Saratoga’s boarders in the capture of the ship Charming Molly and two brigs. The following day, all three vessels were recaptured by the British Intrepid and Barney was taken to England and confined for almost a year in Mill Prison. He escaped in May of 1781, was recaptured and escaped again, disguised as a British officer. Serving under Barney on the Hyder Alley were First Lieutenant Joshua Starr who would become her commander in May of 1782, Second Lieutenant Luke Matthewman who had previously served as First Lieutenant aboard the Continental Navy sloop Surprize until her scuttling in November 1777, Major McLane, Lieutenant of Marines Scull and John Linton’s crewmate on the Confederacy Master-at-Arms Cornelius Wells. One account of the return of the vessels from this engagement reads, “I saw the ships at Willing’s wharf, and the blood was running from the scuppers of the English ship, whose capture was a glorious one for our merchants, and cleared our Bay from large and small British Cruziers.” Barney sailed again on a privateering cruize commencing on 21 April 1782. It is reasonable to speculate that seaman John Linton also sailed with the Hyder Alley on this short cruise and perhaps with Starr or Barney on subsequent trips. In August of 1782 the General Monk was purchased by Congress, renamed the General Washington and placed under the command of Lieutenant Joshua Barney as a “Packet and Cruzier” on voyages to France.

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