Phineas Hyde, Surgeon’s Mate

Phineas Hyde. Dr. Phineas Hyde was born at at West Farms (now Franklin), near Norwich, on 15 November 1749. He was the second of four children born to Phineas Hyde (1720-?) and Anne Rogers 1726 -1766) who were married five years earlier on 5 April 1744. Phineas was the brother of longtime New London County Court Judge John Hyde. The Frigate Confederacy papers in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania include an undated lodging bill from Samual Beldon to Major Joshua Huntington for a number of the Confederacy’s officers including Phineas Hyde for lodging and meals prior to her maiden voyage. The invoice seems to indicate that Hyde was last of the eight to arrive for duty. Hyde is noted as Surgeon’s Mate of the Confederacy in Silas Cleveland’s pension file #S-12486. Nathaniel Richards of Waterford, one-time Purser on the Confederacy, addresses Phineas Hyde of Stonington as ‘Doctor’ in Hyde’s pension application #S-32 which also states he was the 1st Surgeon’s Mate. This would suggest that John Gardiner was the 2nd Surgeon’s Mate, however, Seth Kennedy’s pension application states that Hyde was 2nd Surgeon’s Mate and Gardiner was the 1st Surgeon’s Mate. Gardiner was the longest boarded of the eight officers and his portion of the Beldon invoice was three times Hyde’s, suggesting that he was recruited for the 1st Surgeon’s Mate position by Huntington. Phineas Hyde’s pension application notes that he served on the Confederacy from the middle of October 1778 when it was “lying in the Thames” to the Spring of 1780 and as a British prisoner for 18-19 months. Phineas Hyde is declarent for Oliver Rogers, Richard Pearse, John Simons and Jesse Sip’s pension applications. Nicoll Fosdick writes in 1818 from New London that Phineas Hyde sailed with his private armed vessel Randolph as Surgeon in the Fall of 1780. He also recounts dining with the Confederacy’s officers in Martinique after his privateer was drove on shore near the Pearl Rock by a British fleet. Perhaps Fosdick first approached Hyde concerning employment after the Confederacy’s cruise during after-dinner conversation. Nicoll Fosdick, born 18 April 1750, was a resident of New London. Fosdick served in the ranks at the siege of Boston and also commanded the privateers Jay, Defiance, Randolph and Eagle during the Revolution. Page 18 of Records and Papers of the New London County Historical Society records, “Other items for the summer of 1780, were the advertising, as ready for a cruise, of the fast sailing privateer sloop Randolph, Captain Nicoll Fosdick, commander… This was about the 29th of July”. By September 1780 Fosdick was commanding the 140 ton CT Privateer Sloop Randolph. He helped capture the British Privateer Sloop Hibernia and took the sloop Venus in September. Surgeon Solomon Drowne of the sloop Hope records, “TUESDAY, OCT. 3 [1780]. Sailed from Providence on board the Sloop HOPE, mounting seven guns… 11th Whilst at Dinners a Sail cried. Immediately give chase, and discover another. One… bears down upon us; the other a brig. Make every preparation for an engagement; but, on approaching and hailing the Sloop, she proved to be the Randolph, Capt. Fosdick from New London, mounting 18 four pounders, The Brig, with only two guns, her prize from England, taken at 8 o’clock this morning. Capt. Fosdick says her Cargo amounted to £20,000 Sterling. What good and ill fortune were consequent on that capture!” On 2 May 1781, while on another vessel, he took the ship Hunter and, later, the brig Pontus. Back on the Randolph, Fosdick captured the British Privateer Schooner Fox on 5 April 1782. He took a total of sixteen prizes during the war. Phineas Hyde married Esther Holdridge on 4 September 1782. The daughter of William Holdridge and Prudence Gavitt, Esther was born on 28 July 1766 in Groton. The couple lived in Poquetanuck as early as 1783 until at least August 1794 before moving to Mystic by June 1796. Their children included: John (6/16/1783-1861), Ann Nancy (10/3/1784-3/20/1855) who married Darius Denison, Prudence (10/16/1787-?), Harriet (10/13/1788-9/2/1819), Laura (12/12/1790-12/12/1850), Elizabeth (5/27/1792-5/1/1810), Sarah (8/14/1794-9/20/1795), Theophilus Rogers (6/18/1796-3/31/1852) who married Agalice Conrotte, Benjamin F. (7/12/1798-7/15/1798), William (12/19/1799-6/2/1858) who married Jane Van Buskirk, Enoch (10/16/1801-2/17/1833), Caroline Esther (6/23/1803-?) who married New Orleans merchant George Washington Moss, Elisha (11/5/1805-?) who married Anne Brown, Joseph Addison Phineas (9/16/1807-6/19/1837) and Frances Elizabeth (7/1/1810-10/1/1810). Esther Holdridge Hyde died in Mystic, CT on 6 July 1810, five days after the birth of their fifteen child. Phineas Hyde served as a representative to the state assembly from Groton in 1804 and was listed in the Connecticut Directory of 1812 as practicing medicine in Lyme. By the time of his pension application, Hyde is “unable to pursue my profession” but is responsible for the care of four children; Laura 28, Caroline 17, Elisha 14 and Joseph 12. Dr. Phineas Hyde died at Mystic, CT on 5 September 1820, less than two years after his inclusion on the pension list of the General Act of 1818 on 18 January 1819. His $240 annual pension was granted retroactive to 31 March 1818, however he only collected a total of $538.28 before his death. His pension records are in the New London State Archives Record Group #3. His burial stone reads, “For beauty, wit, for sterling sense, For temper mild, for eloquence, For courage bold, for things wauregan, He was the glory of Moheagan, Whose death has caused great lamentation, Both in ye English and Indian Nation”. He was remembered as “an eminent physician, surgeon, and linguist, and in the service of the Continental army and navy during the war of the Revolution. For a time… he acted as private secretary to General Huntington. It may be mentioned that Dr. Hyde and Benedict Arnold studied medicine together under the preceptorship of Dr. Theophilus Rogers…and when the British, under the traitor Arnold, burned New London and put the citizen soldiers of Fort Griswold to the sword, Dr. Hyde was one of the most skillful operating physicians on the field of battle.”

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