Joseph Ioor, Captain of 1st SC Continental Regiment

Joseph Ioor, Captain of 1st SC Continental Regiment. Joseph Ioor was first commissioned Lieutenant on 17 June 1775 and promoted to Captain in May 1776. According to an entry in Captain Robert Parker Saunders’ Order Book of the 1st SC Regiment dated at “Charles Town” on 23 January 1778; one Captain, one Subaltern (Lieutenant), two Sergeants and forty-eight “Rank & file” from the regiment were to “go on Board the Randolph tomorrow morning as was ordered before”. Based on a letter from John Wells, Jr. to Henry Laurens dated 17 February 1778, it is known that two Lieutenants from South Carolina entered as Subalterns on the Randolph. Apparently, Captain Joseph Ioor volunteered to command the guard entering on board the frigate Randolph to serve as a Marine contingent. According to some geneological sources, Joseph Ioor was born at Dorchester, SC in 1744 to John Ioor, Sr. (1722-1772) and Mary Wallace (1728-1785), the second of three sons and one of five children. According to those sources, his mother Mary was the daughter of a British Army colonel stationed at Dorchester about 45 miles inland from Charleston. Family tradition suggests the Ioors were French Huguenots who fled to Holland and then as Dutch converts left Leyden for Massachusetts in the seventeenth century, later relocating to low country South Carolina and Georgia.

According to the will of John Ioor, Sr.  of St. George’s Parish written in 1768, proved in 1772 and recorded in Will Book 14, Page 33; the wife of Joseph’s father was not Mary Wallace but Catherine and Joseph was one of six children- John, George, Catharine, Joseph, Sarah and Mary. The fact that John Ioor, Sr. was married to Catherine in 1768, that all six children were born before that time and that Mary Wallace died in 1785 would seem to preclude her from being the mother of any of the Ioor children. Joseph Ioor’s will proved on 12 June 1783 and recorded in Will Book 20, Page 174 clearly identifies himself as Captain in the 1st South Carolina Regiment and names his brothers John and George as executors. His will directs that his “whole estate be sold” and to “give to my good friend Joseph Elliott of the first Reg’t of South Carolina all my wearing Apparel and seven hundred pounds.” The remainder of his estate was to be left to “my Sisters Sarah and Mary”. Unfortunately his good friend Captain Joseph Elliott would follow him into death just three years later in late Spring 1781. Joseph Ioor’s will was witnessed by Sim[p]son Theus, Ebenezer Simmons and Ebenezer Roche. Simmons, one of Ioor’s Lieutenant’s on board the frigate Randolph, would also lose his life in the explosion on 7 March 1778. The captain’s nephew, son of his younger sister Mary (1756-1814) and Joseph Waring, was named Joseph Ioor Waring (1795-1852) in his honor. Another nephew William Ioor MD (1780-1850), son of the Captain’s oldest brother John and his wife Elizabeth Bradwell, would write the first play authored by a South Carolina native entitled “The Battle for Eutaw Springs”. Captain Joseph Ioor’s other brother George married Frances Guignard and owned a plantation named Clermont near Statesburg, SC.

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Blaney Allison; Master’s Mate, Lieutenant

Blaney Allison, Lieutenant. The best information we have concerning Blaney Allison’s family history comes from Philadelphia wills and the matriculation and tuition records archived by the University of Pennsylvania and available for online viewing. The will of his older brother Benjamin Ashley Allison dated 24 March 1772 and proved exactly three months later on 24 June names three brothers Robert, Blaney and Francis- likely by their order of birth. Apparently, Benjamin Allison, “late of the City of Phila[delphia], Mariner” died in the Parish of Westmoreland on the westernmost tip of Jamaica with his affairs there administered by George Douglas of that place. Named executors at home in Philadelphia were his second wife Sarah Read Allison and his cousin and former business associate Captain William Allison. Benjamin Ashley Allison made a number of voyages since his October 1767 loss of the snow Muggy off of Antigua, having first took command of this vessel in late 1765 from William Simpson who succeeded Benjamin’s cousin William as master seven years earlier. The Muggy had been sailing to Antigua under William Allison since 1752. Benjamin Ashley Allison was next master of the ship Molly to Antigua in 1768 and the brig Sally, built in Baltimore and owned with his cousin William, in 1769 to Barbados. The following year Captain Benjamin Allison weathered a rather unpleasant shakedown at Oporto, a coastal city in Northern Portugal, before returning home to Philadelphia from Lisbon on 15 February 1770. In August 1770, he is reported sailing for Jamaica and subsequently also making port at Antigua and Montserrat in the brig Sally. Allison is recorded off the east end of Jamaica in July 1771, on the north side of Cuba in late August and in early September off Cape Hatteras bound for Philadelphia before clearing out again from that city on 14 November 1771 on his presumably last voyage to Jamaica. Nothing is known of the circumstances surrounding Captain Benjamin Ashley Allison’s death, however it can be reasonably speculated that his younger brother Blaney learned the mariner’s trade on the brig Sally and may even have been present at his end. Sadly, Benjamin’s second wife and widow Sarah Read Allison of Philadelphia would follow her husband in death one year later, her will written on 17 February and proved one month later on 15 March 1773. Twenty-eight year old Sarah Alison died on 26 February and was buried in the Gilpin Family Cemetery at Elkton, MD. Nothing is known concerning Benjamin’s first wife Elizabeth Anderson to whom he was married in the First Presbyterian Church at Philadelphia on 7 January 1768.

Prior to Benjamin Ashley Allison’s seafaring career, he was on several occasions enrolled in the College and Academy of Philadelphia, later to become the University of Pennsylvania. University archives note that he first attended during the 1759-1760 school year. He returned for the 1762-1763 school year but “left the academy in a few days”. The oldest of the Allison brothers returned to the college a final time on 19 January 1764 but is noted as “gone” before the end of the 1764-1765 school year. On 14 March 1768, Blaney Allison is recorded as matriculated at the College and Academy of Philadelphia, his tuition “paid by his father Capt. Alison”. Another 1767-1768 school year ledger notation indicates the college “got paid 14 March” by Robert Alison. These records, as well as other tuition payment notations for his brothers Benjamin and Robert, clearly identify the Allison brothers’ father as Captain Robert Allison, brother of celebrated colonial Classics scholar Dr. Francis Alison, Vice-Provost and Professor of Moral Philosophy at the college attended by his nephews. Like his older brother and perhaps because he may have been sailing with his older brother, Blaney’s college attendance record is sporadic and abbreviated. His tuition for the 1768-1769 school year paid, Blaney is reported “gone”. He is noted as returned on 13 July 1769 only to be “gone” again on 17 August. Blaney’s final stint at the College of Philadelphia came almost two years later when he returned on 1 January 1771 making his tuition payment with wood. On 1 November 1771, Blaney Allison is last recorded as having “paid 1 quar[ter] & 9 days, gone”. A third brother Robert Allison was also entered at the college on 6 July 1768, attending during the same period as Blaney, his tuition also paid for by their father Robert. A mortuary notice published in the 9 March 1772 edition of the “Pennsylvania Chronicle” reports the death of “Mr. Robert Alison, A.B. Student of Physic, from Charlestown, Maryland.” This notice both explains the absence of Blaney Allison’s brother Robert in history and also confirms the brothers original hometown. Charlestown was established in 1742 at “a place called Long Point on the west side of North East River in Cecil County.” For at least a short time, the Allison boys lived in a “good commodious dwelling house” on a “Water lot…seventh from the publick warehouse and wharff” there as their father advertised the place for let in the Pennsylvania Gazette edition of 17 February 1756. Later during the War for Independence, Charlestown was a major supply depot for the Continental Army. The town’s demise was soon provoked by a 1786 hurricane which altered Chesapeake Bay ship channels in favor of Baltimore and Havre de Grace.

Blaney Allison first appears in Revolutionary War military records as a Sergeant in Captain Normand Bruce’s Company of Maryland Militia from Frederick County in November 1775. Because it is believed Allison hailed from Charlestown in Cecil County, his service in a Frederick County company is on the surface questionable. Answers lie in Blaney Allison’s connection to Normand Bruce (1733-1811) who was married to Susannah Gardner Key, the daughter of Francis Key and Ann Arnold, also of Charlestown. While the precise nature of the familiar relationship is not yet determined, it is known that Blaney Allison’s father Robert was associated with the Key and Arnold families there. Bruce later moved to developing Frederick County on lands inherited from the Key’s, becoming sheriff in 1768. Within months Blaney Allison was appointed Midshipman in the Pennsylvania Navy on 26 February 1776, probably with the assistance of Thomas Read, a family friend and Commodore of the Pennsylvania Navy since 23 October 1775. The Commodore’s father John Read had been one of the founders of Charlestown before moving his young family to New Castle, DE and the Read sons were educated at the New London Academy operated by Blaney’s uncle Dr. Francis Alison, prior to the educator’s call to Philadelphia. Blaney Allison was subsequently attached to the Pennsylvania Navy ship Montgomery acquired in April of that year.

Allison served on the Montgomery under Commodore Thomas Read until 15 August 1776 when he was discharged to “go with Captain Read” into Continental service, a sign of their intimate relationship. Read resigned from the state navy on 7 June 1776 to take command of the Continental Navy frigate Washington launched the first week of August 1776. Blaney Allison first served on the Washington as Master’s Mate, another confirmation of his familiar relationship with Thomas Read as a warrant officer was typically appointed at the captain’s discretion. His appointment as mate is noted in a 20 August 1776 letter from his uncle Dr. Francis Allison to another of the doctor’s nephews named Robert. The 36-gun frigate Washington was at that time being built at the Philadelphia shipyard of the Eyre brothers- Manuel, Jehu and Benjamin. On 20 December 1776, Blaney Allison was offered a commission as Lieutenant in the Continental Navy and continued to serve on the Washington, presumably in the place of former 3rd Lieutenant Thomas Vaughan since transferred to the brig Andrew Doria. Earlier that month, because the frigate Washington was still unfinished, the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety directed Captain Thomas Read and the ship’s officers along with some of his gunners to join General George Washington for temporary land service. Read and his men supported the famous crossing of the Delaware and at the Battle of Trenton brought a battery of the frigate’s borrowed naval cannon to bear on the stone bridge across Assunpink Creek. It is highly probable that Lieutenant Blaney Allison participated in this engagement which brought Read a personal letter of gratitude from the general officers of Washington’s army on 14 January 1777. The frigate Washington is described as being fitted out “with all possible dispatch” at Philadelphia on 11 April 1777. As British forces advanced on Philadelphia in September 1777, the frigates Washington and Effingham under Captain John Barry were evacuated up the Delaware and docked near to Captain Read’s home White Hill at Fieldsboro near Bordentown where the Washington is noted by 3 October 1777. Both unfinished and threatened Continental Navy frigates were scuttled on 2 November 1777 to prevent their falling into British hands. Shortly thereafter on 25 November 1777, Lieutenant Blaney Allison was called to serve on a courts-martial of the Master’s Mate, Master-of-Arms, Armourer, Quartermaster and a boy of the ship Repulse presided over by Captain John Barry on the ship Lyon. The four warrant officers were unanimously found guilty of desertion and sentenced “to be hung off the Yard Arm of any Continental Vessell” while the boy was designated to “receive Thirty-Six lashes on his bare back with a Cat of Nine tails”. An addendum to the findings of the court including commendations of past service for the convicted officers signed by Alexander Hamilton and Repulse’s commander Captain Peter Brewster suggesting the sentences were subsequently commuted.

Following the loss of the Washington in November 1777, Blaney Allison’s naval record is not known with certainty. It is most likely Allison followed Thomas Read to his new command serving under the captain as he had previously on the Montgomery and Washington. On 13 January 1778, Read was instructed by the Marine Committee of the Continental Congress to take command of the 12-gun brig Baltimore being fitted out as a packet in the city of the same name for conveying dispatches abroad. The Captain’s orders read, “The present situation of the Frigate Washington of which you are Commander rendering it very uncertain at what time she may be brought into service, and the desire you have to be active in the service of your Country having induced you to take the Command of the Continental Brig Baltimore we now direct that you repair immediately to Baltimore where the said Brig lies and as we intend that she shall be fitted out as a packet and under your direction you will without loss of time proceed upon that business and we trust your good judgment will direct the most frugal & beneficial way of manning that vessel.” The Marine Committee adds, “We now authorize you to purchase any materials Cannon or Stores which may be wanted for fitting this Vessel and to engage on the best terms in your power a proper compliment of men for manning her, but we recommend to you to observe the greatest frugality in all cases…We would have you get your officers from those already engaged in the service but at this time unemployed.” This last request suggests strongly that Lieutenant Blaney Allison next served on board the Continental Navy brig Baltimore. On 30 January 1778, the Commerce Committee of the Continental Congress was making plans with Robert Morris to load the packet boat with tobacco to be shipped overseas and by 1 April 1778 some of the ordinance required to arm the vessel had arrived and recruiting activities of the crew were ongoing.

Council of Maryland minutes for Friday 10 April 1778 provide the best evidence that Blaney Allison followed Read to the brig Baltimore when they “Ordered That the Western shore Treasurer Pay to Lieut Allison three hundred and sixty Dollars out of the money sent by Congress so far as it will go and the residue out of any other Money he may have making up the Order and charging the same to the third Regiment for the Recruiting Service.” The very next day the Council ordered an end to Lieutenant Allison’s recruiting efforts as the $360 dollars expended all of the available Continental funds, paying only the bounty for six recruits, leaving the Maryland government to conclude “we do not see how it will be possible to carry on the Business.” Less than two weeks earlier on 31 March, the 30-gun Continental frigate Virginia under the command of Captain James Nicholson was taken without a fight by British frigates Emerald and Richmond after losing her rudder and running aground in the Chesapeake Bay while attempting to evade the enemy. Over a dozen men in Continental service were left behind on the Virginia’s tender when the frigate left Annapolis on her doomed cruise, including Lieutenant John Fanning and Captain of Marines Thomas Plunkett. In addition, the nine men who rowed Captain James Nicholson to safety in the ship’s barge just before Virginia’s capture were now available to join the brig Baltimore. The Marine Committee wrote to Captain Thomas Read on 22 April 1778, “We have directed Mr. [Continental agent Stephen] Steward to pay the wages due to the Seamen belonging to the Virginia and trust that Captain Nicholson will co-operate with you in getting such a number of those Seamen to enter on board the Baltimore as you may want.”

Little more is recorded concerning the brig Baltimore’s activities in late 1778 and early 1779 except it is suggested that in addition to providing the required dispatch service, she was used in the defense of both Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. Blaney Allison probably served on the vessel as 2nd Lieutenant behind 1st Lieutenant John Fanning, formerly of the frigate Virginia. She next appears in orders from the Marine Committee to Captain Samuel Tucker in command of the frigate Boston on 2 June 1779 instructing Tucker to sail in concert with Captain Seth Harding and the frigate Confederacy with their “first object to frustrate the designs of the enemy by Capturing or destroying their Vessels and to afford every aid & assistance in their power to the inward bound Merchantmen, particularly the Brig Baltimore Capt. Read which is ladened with Continental stores (and) daily expected.” It is presumed that after the packet boat Baltimore’s arrival at Philadelphia in the Summer of 1779, Read did not return to the Chesapeake with the vessel. Prior to the brig Baltimore’s loss off Cape Henry on 29 January 1780, Thomas Read was appointed Captain of the Continental Navy frigate Bourbon building at Middleton, CT on 12 October 1779. Lieutenant Blaney Allison most likely remained with the Baltimore until her capture as William Bell Clark notes in “The First Saratoga” that Allison was “at one time a prisoner in New York and apparently had been exchanged shortly before joining the Saratoga.” Blaney Allison was entered on Captain John Young’s sloop-of-war Saratoga as 2nd Lieutenant in July 1780, about the same time his former commander and friend Captain Thomas Read was taking leave of Continental Navy service to carry the Pennsylvania privateer brig Patty on a trans-Atlantic crossing to France. Blaney Allison probably had an opportunity to leave Continental service at this time and ship once again with his old family friend and mentor in the far more lucrative privateer business but made a fateful decision to continue in the naval war effort. In late November of 1780 Allison was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the room of Joshua Barney who was captured by the British while in command of the prize Charming Molly taken earlier on 8 October, being replaced himself as 2nd Lieutenant by James Pyne from South Carolina. Continental Navy Lieutenant Blaney Allison’s five years of naval service came to an end with the loss of his life, no doubt shouting orders to frantic crewmen desperate in their futile attempts to reverse the tragic circumstances engulfing the sloop Saratoga on 18 March 1781. Almost eight decades later, the “Law Times” publication of unclaimed chancery dividends in the case of Hamilton vs. Allen indicates the affairs of Blaney’s only surviving younger brother Francis Allison “in his own right” and “as administrator of Blaney Allison, deceased” have not yet at that time been fully concluded.

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James Pyne, Lieutenant

James Pyne first appears in Revolutionary War naval records on 19 February 1777 when the South Carolina Navy Board orders an anchor and cable to be delivered to him for the temporary use of a prize taken by the brig Comet, to which he is attached as 2nd Lieutenant. Later that year on 13 October, the Navy Board instructs Pyne to “Open a House of Rendezvous” and assemble a crew of eighty seamen and officers to man the brigantine Comet. Just six days later, Captain Pyne was made aware of a “Brigg now off the Barr, by her behaviour is suspected to be an Enemy Cruizer” and ordered to prepare to go to sea imminently. On 24 October, Pyne is issued specific and comprehensive orders regarding “The Brigantine of War Comet of which you are Captain, being now Compleatly fitted, and ready to proceed on a Cruize, having a full Compliment of Men, Stores, and provissions for Three Months”. On 1 November 1777, the Commissioners of the South Carolina Navy Board followed up Captain Pyne’s orders by authorizing “the Credit of this State with whatever sum he may want” extended for the Comet should she put into any port during her cruise. Captain James Pyne and the 16-gun brig Comet sailed from Charleston the following day with her compliment of 85 men.

By early December, Pyne and brig Comet were cruising in the Caribbean Sea. A letter from Montego Bay dated 10 January 1778 published later in a London newspaper reports, “By Capt. Jacks, who arrived a few days ago from the Grand Caimanas (Caymans), we are informed, that the crew of the Camel (Comet) privateer, James Pine, Commander, belonging to Charles-Town,’ landed on the west end of that Island the 14th of December, and plundered the inhabitants, both men, women, and children, of all their cloaths and furniture, not leaving them so much as a plate, knife, or fork, &c. killed their live stock of all kinds; carried off two Negroes, four puncheons of rum, three casks of wine, some barrels of flour, cordage, block, &c. Just eight days after Pyne’s raid on the British island, on 22 December 1777 the South Carolina Navy brig Comet was taken near the Isle of Pine off the west end of Cuba by HM frigate Daphne of 90-guns under the command of Captain St. John Chinnery. The Comet’s officers and men were initially carried into Pensacola, FL from whence Captain Pyne was sent to New York as a prisoner while his crew was distributed among several vessels in the Royal Navy. In early March 1778, Comet’s Master’s Mate Jarvis Williams and Midshipman Paul Ripley arrived at Charleston with two other crewmen who escaped from the British at St. Augustine.

In response to a letter from Captain Pyne in confinement at New York, on 27 August 1778 the Commissioners of the South Carolina Navy Board recommended “that as we have Actual information of Many Men belonging to this State, being confined at New York, a Cartel may be sent there as soon as Convenient with the British Prisoners now here, to Exchange for Captain Pine, and such other Prisoners of this State as may be there.” By 6 November 1778, the Commissioners could report “that some time past, Capt. James Pyne and Lieut. Wells Late of the Brigg Comet- returned to Charles Town from their Captivity” and on their arrival “Directed them to look after the finishing and fiting of the New Brigg now Building at the State Ship Yard- said Brigg being now near Ready to be Launched.” The Commissioners further commended “Capt. James Pyne as a fitt and proper person to Command said Brigg”. Navy Board records indicate that Pyne was in command of the schooner Rattlesnake later that month on 24 November. Six days later on 30 November 1778, Lieutenant Charles Crowly was ordered to “call upon Capt. Pyne for the Articles of the Schooner Rattlesnake and that you use all your Endeavours to enlist Men for the said Vessel, giving a Bounty of Thirty Dollars for Every able Seaman who shall enlist for the Term of Six Months but to Open no Rendevouze”. That same day Captain James Pyne was assigned a different command by the Navy Board, ordering him “with all possible Dispatch get the Brigg Hornet Compleatly Fitted and Manned to proceed on a Cruize, and… Exert yourself all in your power to get said Brigg ready, as the Service of the state at this time Require it”. Less than a week later, the Navy Board ordered Pyne to order all Hornet’s seamen to temporarily man the brig Notre Dame for a short ten day cruise. To further entice the men, the Board promised all prize monies would “belong wholy to the Captors”.

Captain James Pyne spent December through February superintending the fitting out of the 14-gun brig Hornet. On 28 February 1779, The Navy Board issued Captain Pyne orders. “The State Brigg Hornet of which you are Captain being now Compleatly fitted, well Manned, and having a full Quantity of Provisions and Stores, and now ready to proceed on a Cruiz the Commissioners of the Navy Board Direct that you do Embrace the first faviourable Opertunity to proceed to Sea in Company with the State Schooner Rattle Snake Capt. Frisbee, and the privateer Brigg of war Munmouth Capt. Ingersall, and that you Continue to Cruize in Company Close a Long the Coast, as far to the Southward as Tybee, and as far to the Northward as Cape Fear, not Exceeting Ten days from the time you leave Charles Town Barr, during which time you are by every means in your power, Endeavour to Take, Sink Burn, or Destroy, any of the Vessels or goods belonging to the King of Great Britain or any of his Subjects, Except such as belong to the Islands of Bermuda or new providence and in order to prevent Seperation during the Cruize you are to furnish Capt. Frisbee and Ingersall with proper Signals, before you Sail Over the Bar of Charles Town The Commissioners particularly recommend that you do Endeavour by every means in your power to Cultivate Harmony and a Good Understanding between all the Officers and Seamen, on board the Different Vessels, and that you Cause a regular and good Command to be Carried by all the Officers in their different stations on board the Hornet, and that you have all the Vessels Company properly Quartered and Stationed before you leave the Harbour, and that you Cause them to be regularly Exercised to the Great Guns and small Arms Once every day, and that the Rules of the Navy to be Constantly fixed in some public part of the Vessel where they may at all times be seen by any of the Crew and that the same be publickly read to the whole Vessells Company Once every week- You are not to Suffer any provissions or Stores belonging to the Vessel to be wasted or Extravigantly Expended, and you are to Cause every Warrant Officer to keep Exact and regular Accounts of all Stores Expended in their different Departments and make regular returns to you every Month, which you are Carefully to Examine and when found right to sign them, and at the End of three Months you are to Cause Each of them to return to the Clerk of the Board a General return of all stores Expended, and of all Stores of every kind that remain on board as no pay bill will be passed till such returns have been Examined- Should you be so fortunate as to take any prize, you are to put on board a proper person as prize Master with a sufficient number of men to Navigate her with Orders to proceed to Charles Town or some Inlet in the State of South Carolina, and to treat all prisoners with Humanity and Tenderness, and by Every Opertunity Advise the Board of Every Transaction worth Communicating- As an Encouragement to the Officers and Seamen in the Navy of this State to Engage privateers belonging to the Enemy, the state has agreed that all Vessells fitted out by the Enemy to Cruize against the United States of America, taken by any of the State Vessels shall belong wholy to the Captors, and in Case any man in the Service shall be maimed or any way disabled, he is provided for, and if any man is Killed in the service and leave a wife or Children they are to be provided for by the State, this you are to Inform the whole Vessels Company of.”

In March 1779, Captain James Pyne was unlucky enough to run afoul of Captain Chinnery and the 20-gun frigate Daphne again off of Charleston, eluding capture himself by escaping to shore in the ship’s longboat. The balance of Hornet’s compliment of eighty officers and men were well treated and carried into Savannah where they were paroled and landed on South Carolina soil. Captain James Pyne was next appointed by the South Carolina Navy Board to command the 6-gun row galley Rutledge. Captain Pyne in the Rutledge along with two other galleys participated in an action on the Stono River on the night of 22 June 1779, capturing a British schooner and silencing enemy batteries on John’s Island. Anchored off of Eveleigh’s Plantation under the watchful eyes and ready guns of over a thousand British soldiers all the following day on 23 June, Pyne sailed downriver with the setting sun. His little fleet of three row galleys and British prize schooner survived the gauntlet of cannon and rifle fire emanating from the riverbank, escaping with six dead and a number of others wounded. One month later on 26 July 1779 we find the South Carolina Navy Board ordering Captain Pyne to “Immediately bring to Charlestown the Rutledge Galley and take on board water and Provisions for 2 Months and have the Galley in readiness to proceed on Service on the Shortest Not[ice].” It is assumed that August was spent fulfilling those orders and making the vessel ready as on 4 September 1779, the Navy Board ordered Captain James Pyne “that you do Immediately on rec[eipt] of this, Endeavour by Every means in your Power, to Enlist Seamen and able bodied Negroe Men to Serve on board the Rutledge Galley for Six Months, and that you allow One Hundred Dollars Bounty to every able Bodied Seaman and forty dollars @ Month, and for every able Bodied Negro man forty Dollars @ Month, the Negro to be appraised, and the Owner to be Set[tled] in the Value, in Case of being killed Captured or maimed by the Enemy.” Five days later the Navy Board directed Pyne to proceed “with all possible dispatch to the Southward in Serch of the Enemy and use every means in your Power to take or distroy any of the Enemys Vessels or- Boats, where ever they may be found, you are by Every Opportunity to Acquaint Count DeEstang of your Situation and to desire his directions how to proceed with the Galley”. In orders given to Captain Benjamin Ford of the row galley Carolina on 12 October 1779, Captain Pyne is identified as the senior officer in the South Carolina Navy operating in the area at the time.

On 4 November 1779, while returning to Savannah in company with the former Royal Navy victualer Myrtle and expecting a reception by American forces, Captain James Pyne and the galley Rutledge were captured at the mouth of the Tybee River. The Rutledge was renamed Viper and taken into British service. By the end of November, Captain Pyne had already “attended the [South Carolina Navy] Board, and acquainted them with the loss of the Rutledge Galley”. Apparently, no blame was found in Pyne’s actions as he was ordered by the Navy Board to take command of the brig Notre Dame on 20 December 1779 after the resignation former commander William Hall. Two days later however, Pyne along with Captain William Sisk were directed to go on board, take possession of and inventory all stores on two French ships recently purchased for use of the South Carolina Navy, the Bricole and Truite. The sloop Truite apparently his charge, Captain Pyne carried the vessel to the “State Ship yard at Hobcaw, as a place of Safety”. Originally built at France in 1776 as a small transport, the Truite- or Trout in English- was armed with 26 guns at this time. On 24 January 1780, Pyne reported back to the Navy Board that “if the Trout is to be fitted for a Cruzing Ship… it will be necessary to [break] off her upper Deck, which will be attended with Considerable Expence & Delay.” The Board responded the following day by informing Captain Pyne of his appointment “to the Command of the Trout” and their desire for him “ with all possible dispatch get her fitted and ready for harbour Service”. On 8 February 1780, Captain James Pyne along with a number of other captains of vessels in the service of South Carolina were issued instructions to report to Commodore Abraham Whipple, Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy, who would be responsible for having “them Stationed, and disposed of in the best and most Effectual manner for the defence of this town and [Charleston] Harbour”. The Abraham Whipple Collection in the Rhode Island Historical Society includes two letters from the Commodore to Pyne dated 9 and 21 February 1780.

Anticipating the loss of his vessel, Captain Pyne was ordered to remove “all the Guns, shot & powder” from the Truite on 22 March and to “send them to charlestown in the most Expeditions manner”. The pension application of John Taylor (S-7683) indicates the marine served only about ten days on board the Truet (Truite) under Captain Pyne at Fort Moultrie when the vessel was ordered sunk in the Cooper River channel to prevent the approach of the enemy. After the Fall of Charleston, Pyne was sent to Philadelphia with other naval officers on parole where he was exchanged. Along with his 1st Lieutenant on the Truite Charles McCarthy, on 18 July 1780 Captain James Pyne requested from the Continental Congress an appointment in the Continental Navy. Their memorial was read before Congress two days later and referred to the Board of Admiralty for consideration. By the time the Board of Admiralty was ready to act on 25 October 1780, Lieutenant McCarthy was already engaged in private service. However their report regarding “Pyne’s qualifications and former services under the State of South Carolina, are such, as in the opinion of this Board, may recommend him to the Rank of a Lieutenant in the navy of the United States- But they beg leave to inform Congress, that they have at present several Lieutenants of long standing upon their navy list, who are not in actual service.” James Pyne was soon after appointed 3rd Lieutenant of the sloop-of-war Saratoga under the command of Captain John Young. About November 1780, when Blaney Allison was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of the Saratoga in the place of Joshua Barney who had been captured while in temporary command of a prize vessel, Pyne was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the vessel. It is in this capacity he was serving when the Continental Navy sloop Saratoga vanished on 18 March 1781 with all hands lost. Continental Navy Lieutenant James Pyne’s will can be found on page 176 in Will Volume 20 of Charleston County, SC and was proved in 1783 on page 149 of the Probate Records. A newspaper advertisement for the settlement of his estate dated 8 July 1783 names Deputy Marshal of South Carolina’s Admiralty Court John Sansum as Pyne’s administrator.

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Officers and Men known or believed to be lost on the sloop Saratoga on 18 March 1781

The Continental Navy 18 gun sloop-of-war Saratoga under the command of Captain John Young, along with Continental frigates Confederacy (Seth Harding) and Deane (John Nicholson) and the Philadelphia privateer Fair American (Joseph Jakways) sailed from Cape Francois, Haiti on 15 March 1781 escorting a convoy of fifty-six merchant vessels bound for France and another thirty-two bound for America. By the morning of 18 March, the French and American vessels had separated with the American-bound merchantmen in convoy with the Confederacy, Deane and Fair American. By that time the sloop Saratoga had veered off to the West of the fleet in pursuit of two enemy sail attempting to escape to the safety of the British-held Bahamas. By early afternoon, with the American fleet out of sight, Saratoga approached within gunshot of a lightly armed snow bound from South Carolina to London. By mid-afternoon on 18 March 1781, the snow had struck her colors and Young had her manned by a prize crew under the command of Midshipman Nathaniel Penfield. It was nearly four o’clock in the afternoon by the time Penfield evacuated the prize’s men back to the Saratoga and the two vessels resumed the chase for a second target. In an instant, the already choppy seas were met by an intense squall and severe wind. By the time Midshipman Penfield and his small crew brought the newly won prize under control after heeling precariously before the gusting wind, the sloop-of-war Saratoga had vanished from sight with all hands lost.

No muster is known to have survived the tragic loss and the only serious attempt at identifying her officers and men was made by William Bell Clark in Appendix B of “The First Saratoga” (1953). An attempt to expand Clark’s list by reviewing power of attorney records for her crew in Exemplification Book 11 of the early deed books of the City of Philadelphia where a number of crew lists of Revolutionary War private armed ships proved that Clark had developed his list well primarily from these and Philadelphia will records; as well as, Livingston family correspondence. Only about twenty-five percent of her compliment of 86 men recorded on 10 April 1780 have been identified. It is hoped that this alphabetical list of Officers and Men known or believed to be lost on the sloop Saratoga on 18 March 1781 can be expanded from Clark’s original work with future research and contributions from readers. This site will periodically be updated with very short bios on those known or believed to have been lost on the Saratoga.

Blaney Allison, 2nd Lieutenant
Joseph Bailey, Master’s Mate
William Brown, Surgeon
John Cockshott, Landsman
Martin Condern (Will Book U, Page 75)
Prince Gilbert, [“Free Negro”] Cook (Will Book U, Page 77)
Patrick Green, Able Seaman. Able-bodied seaman Patrick Green who served on the Continental ship Saratoga from July 1780 until his death on 18 March 1781 is noted in his will as a resident of the City of Philadelphia. Found in Will Book S.58, this document was executed shortly after entering onboard the sloop on 1 August 1780 and proved on 12 January 1782. Although all else is speculation, clues to his identity may be found in those named in Green’s will. In addition to Saratoga’s Captain John Young, William Denney and James McCutchon are identified as witnesses while Robert Carson is named as a friend and designated executor of Green’s will. The common denominator for all except Young appears to go back to the French and Indian War, suggesting Seaman Patrick Green was in his forties at the time of his death. Although there was a private William Denney in Captain Charles Syng’s 1st Company of Philadelphia’s 2nd Regiment of Foot during 1777, Green’s association with that Denney cannot be ascertained. However, in 1759 one Patrick Green served as a Sergeant in a company commanded by Colonel James Burd (1726-1793) attached to a regiment under the command of Colonel-in-Chief William Denney. At the time, Denney was also serving as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania. A number of receipts between Green and Burd and the company’s lieutenant from 1759 and 1760 are in the Burd-Shippen Papers. Both James McCutchon and Robert Carson were butchers who supplied the military with meats. The Oath of Allegiance taken on 18 December 1793 by McCutcheon’s son outlines essentials concerning this witness, “James McCutcheon, Mariner, born in the district of Southwark, in the County of Philadelphia, Son of James McCutcheon, late of the same place, victualler, dece’d, and Elizabeth, his wife, who hath always resided in and near the City of Philadelphia”. McCutcheon was a supplier of the Continental Navy having provided beef for two of the brig Lexington’s cruises under both John Barry in March 1776 and William Hallock in September of that same year. After the peace, he charitably supplied beef to the first Chinese and Indian Asian native sailors to arrive to the shores of the fledgling United States on the ship Pallas at Baltimore in late 1785. The diary of Jacob Hiltzheimer of Philadelphia suggests James McCutcheon also operated a Tavern in Southwark in 1786. Hiltzheimer’s diary refers to several cows sold the butcher in 1774 and 1776. This same diary also appears to put James McCutcheon and Patrick Green’s friend and executor Robert Carson together in a 26 February 1780 entry, “McCutcheon and Carson took away my big cow, seven years old (weighed dressed 1763 lbs), for which they paid me sixty-five guineas.” Robert Carson also was a butcher who supplied the military since at least 1762 when first issued a trader’s license. Beginning in 1774, Carson lived in the Moyamensing district at what is today the Northwest corner of Fitzwater Street and East Passyunk Avenue directly across Passyunk from the Southwark district. Dr. Benjamin Rush’s ledger in 1769 identifies Mr. Robert Carson as the “Butcher on the Hill” and tax records suggest McCutcheon and Carson lived in close proximity.
William Hamiliton (Will Book S, Page 79)
John Jones
Samuel Jones (Will Book U, Page 76)
Charles King, Sergeant of Marines (POA)
Hugh Kirkpatrick, Lieutenant of Marines (POA)
John L. Livingston, Midshipman
James McCord, Cooper (Will Book S, Page 82)
George Montgomery
Thomas Pilkinton, Able Seaman (Will Book U, Page 79)
James Pyne, 3rd Lieutenant
Joseph Robinett, Able Seaman. The only thing we know for sure about able-bodied seaman Joseph Robinett who served on the sloop Saratoga from 27 June 1780 until he was lost with the vessel on 18 March 1781 is that he hailed from Philadelphia and that he named his friend Catherine Holeskamp as his power-of-attorney in a document executed on 5 November 1780. It is speculated by this writer that Robinett was the son of Sergeant Joseph Robinett who served under Captain Jehu Eyre guarding the State House and Powder House from August through December 1775. It is possible the private who served in Captain Eyre’s Militia Company of Artillery, known as the Kensington Artillery, from early December 1776 through June 1777 may be the younger Joseph Robinett as the company’s Sergeant is named as William McMichael. Jehu Eyre (1738-1831) served under George Washington at Valley Forge during the Winter of 1776-1777 and with his two brothers was commissioned by the General to build vessels at their Kensington shipyard. Among the ships built under the supervision of the Eyre family was the Continental Navy frigate Alliance. Jehu Eyre “had charge of the boats” which shuttled Washington and his troops across the Delaware on that memorable night of 25 December 1776 and with a single word could have guaranteed the seaman Joseph Robinett a berth on John Young’s Saratoga. On the other hand, the senior Robinett continued to rise in military rank first as ensign and then as Lieutenant of a Philadelphia artillery unit in 1779 under Captain Peter Brown. He later served as Lieutenant of the 2nd Company, 4th Philadelphia Battalion under Captain John Hewson in 1780 when the seaman Joseph Robinett went to sea. Eventually after the peace, Lieutenant Robinett was made Captain of the 2nd Company, 5th Battalion under the command of Jehu’s brother Lt. Colonel Benjamin Eyre in 1786. The elder Robinett apparently resided in the East part of the Northern Liberties in 1782. Nothing is known for certain concerning Catharine Holeskamp, however it is also speculated that she was the daughter of Delaware River pilot Garret Holescamp and his wife Elizabeth who resided in Philadelphia’s East Southwark district at 43 Penn Street, a dockside neighborhood. Mrs. Elizabeth Holscamp’s mortuary notice of September 1807 indicates she was born about 1734, suggesting a logical birthdate of about 1755-1760 for a child- contemporary to the young seaman entering service onboard the sloop Saratoga in 1780. The pilot Holescamp’s 308 South Front Street household in the 1810 Census indicates that in addition to Garrett, his house is shared by two young men between ten and twelve and one female between 26 and 44 years old.
Barent Sebring, Midshipman
Stephen Thompson, Able Seaman (Will Book U, Page 80)
Charles Widdiner
John Young, Captain

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Slops List of Lexington Men at Bordeaux on 27 June 1777

The List of 86 Officers and Men of the Brig Lexington who received Slops delivered at Bordeaux on 27 June 1777 was transcribed by Joseph and Joshua Ross in February 2014 from the original found among the prize court records pertaining to the brig Lexington (HCA 32/388) at the National Archives in Kew, England. Following is an alphabetized list including alternate spellings of names in parenthesis for ease in internet browsing and annotated to note their disposition after the Lexington was taken in battle. Men noted with a + sign were killed and those noted with a ++ sign were seriously wounded in action with HM cutter Alert on 19 September 1777. Finally those men marked with an asterisk * were entered on the ship’s book of the Alert as prisoners.

A List of Slops received at Bourdeaux (delivered 27 June 1777 on board the brig Lexington, Henry Johnson, Esqr 16 Guns & 10 Swivels)

Ledger (presumed Ledger B as many have notations brought over from Ledger A)

Elijah Bowen
John Hopes
Mathew Clear
Edward Hart
Thomas Coleston
John Barry
Mathew Brannon
Philip McGlaughlan
Aaron Quigley
William Riley
George Greggs
Henry Beckly
William Keith
Francis Coleburn
John Harvey
George Morrison
David Clark
Andrew Groce
James Shields
Nicholas Caldwell
Samuel Williams
John Davis
Thomas Lyne
Samuel Hubble
Daniel Feagan
John Thompson
Richard Dale
Thomas Marlin
Jeremiah Holden
James Connelly
John Stewart
Methusalah Lewis
James Dick
John Row
Thomas Bradley
John Chester
Joseph Coleston
James Jackson
Clement Smith
John Roy
Mathew Reason
John Bobbis
Peter Merle
John Bart
James Dane
John Tommy
Alexander Russell
Visant Sabeden
Peter Demey
Peter Gaudel
Francis Bruneau
Greilleume Lagherie
John Rousseau
Anthony Vassel
Joseph Bona
Jacque Lebayonne
John Tommy [blank after]
Anthony Ferrara
John Wiggins
John Dufoue
Peter Pelleren
Elie Legrange
Anthony Rouay
John Parquet
Charles Gay
Charles Bourong
Frederick Lewis
John Paris
John Froy
Augustine Guie(or c)hard
John Roustant
Luke Madeler
Jacob Crawford
Henry Lawrence
George Keith
Raphael Geraue
John LaReval
John Sanceir
John Rouseau
Bernard Fumade
Peter Castel
Benjamin Ragland
James Bennet
Nicholas Shay
Richard Howard
William Lee

Alphabetical List

John Barry *
John Bart
Henry Beckly (Beckley) *
James Bennet
John Bobbis *
Joseph Bona (Bonna) *
Charles Bourong
Elijah Bowen ++
Thomas Bradley *
Mathew Brannon *
Francis Bruneau
Nicholas Caldwell
Peter Castel
John Chester *
David Clark (Clarke) *
Mathew Clear *
Francis Coleburn (Colburn) *
Joseph Coleston (Coulston) *
Thomas Coleston (Coulston) *
James Connelly +
Jacob Crawford *
Richard Dale *
James Dane
John Davis *
Peter Demey
James Dick *
John Dufoue (Dufoe) *
Daniel Feagan (Fagan) *
Anthony Ferrara
John Froy
Bernard Fumade
Peter Gaudel
Charles Gay
Raphael Geraue (Gereau) *
George Greggs
Andrew Groce (Grace) *
Augustine (Auguste) Guichard *
Edward Hart *
John Harvey *
Jeremiah Holden +
John Hopes *
Richard Howard *
Samuel Hubble (Hobble) *
James Jackson
George Keith *
William Keith
Greilleume Lagherie
John LaReval
Henry Lawrence *
Jacque Lebayonne
William Lee *
Elie Legrange
Frederick Lewis *
Methusalah Lewis
Thomas Lyne *
Luke Madeler (Madiller) *
Thomas Marlin *
Philip McGlaughlan *
Peter Merle
George Morrison *
John Paris (Parris) *
John Parquet
Peter Pelleren
Aaron Quigley *
Benjamin Ragland *
Mathew Reason
William Riley *
Anthony Rouay
John Rouseau (Rosseau) *
John Rousseau
John Roustant *
John Row *
John Roy
Alexander Russell
Visant Sabeden
John Sanceir
Nicholas Shay (Shea) *
James Shields *
Clement Smith
John Stewart *
John Thompson ++
John Tommy
John Tommy [blank after]
Anthony Vassel (Varsailles) *
John Wiggins *
Samuel Williams *

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