John McDougall, Lieutenant

Nephew of General Alexander McDougall of New York, John McDougall was appointed Lieutenant of the 16-gun Continental Navy brig Andrew Doria with a compliment of 130 men under the command of Captain Nicholas Biddle on 22 December 1775. McDougall was third in rank behind 1st Lieutenant James Josiah and 2nd Lieutenant Elisha Warner. Lieutenant McDougall appears on the list of people on board the Andrew Doria dated 10 May 1776 and also in an account book and muster roll of her officers and men dated 13 September 1777 at Providence to be found among the Nicholas Biddle Papers. Also on the Andrew Doria’s muster are Arthur McDougall, Quartermaster and Roger McDougall, Seaman; although no familiar connection has been identified.

While on a cruise about 600 miles southeast of Boston, on Wednesday 29 May 1776, two unprotected and unarmed British transport vessels bound for Halifax were sighted and taken after a short pursuit. The transport Oxford under Master John Stewart carried a 100-man company of the 42d Foot Royal Highland Regiment and the accompanying Crawford, a similar sized company of the 71st Regiment. The two vessels had been separated from thirty others in their convoy by a storm. In order to safely convey the captives, which outnumbered his brig’s crew, Captain Biddle ordered all the naval and land officers separated from their men with the officers placed on board the Crawford. The leaderless troops were put onto the Oxford while all seamen, arms and ammunition were transferred to the Andrew Doria. 1st Lieutenant James Josiah was appointed prize-master of the Crawford while 3rd Lieutenant John McDougall was placed in command of the Oxford, Lieutenant of Marines John Trevett named as his mate. The vessels kept company for over two weeks until they fell in with Lord Howe’s fleet near Nantucket in a fog. The American vessels diverged and before the Oxford even sailed out of sight of the Andrew Doria on 11 June 1776, the three hundred prisoners rose up against the eleven man prize crew and took the transport back into British hands. In his journal Trevett remarked, “I could not blame them, for I would have done the same.” Expecting to join British Lord Dunmore, the mutinous captives reached the Virginia Capes about two weeks after retaking the Oxford. Following mis-information deliberately offered by two pilot boats at Hampton Roads, the British transport Oxford sailed up the James River where it was recaptured by armed boats Liberty and Patriot of the Virginia Navy which conveyed her to Jamestown. McDougall and Trevett along with the other nine of Oxford’s prize crew were escorted to Williamsburg, treated “very politely” and extended money to cover the expense of their return trip home. Lieutenant of Marines Trevett in his journal records, “We tarried one day longer than we needed on account of seeing INDEPENDENCE DECLARED, which was on the 4th day of July, 1776.”

The following day the party set out for Rhode Island by way of New York. While the two were in transit, the Andrew Doria made a short cruise out of New London at the end of June through mid-July taking the Jamaica merchantman Nathaniel and Elizabeth as a prize on 11 July 1776. After being chased by a British warship, her prize crew from the Andrew Doria drove the vessel onto a reef, losing a cargo of sugar but saving her rum, sails and stores. Although not present for the taking of this prize, Trevett records that Continental agent Nathaniel Shaw of New London paid him his share of the prize money as directed by Captain Biddle. Soon after Biddle sailed the Andrew Doria into Newport, he received an appointment to command the frigate Randolph at Philadelphia. Lieutenants McDougall and Trevett arrived just in time to rejoin the Andrew Doria for her cruise conveying Biddle to Pennsylvania. On the passage, the Andrew Doria first encountered and captured the prize Molly. The Lawrence was her next victim and within a couple more days two additional merchantmen were made prizes. Lieutenant of Marines Trevett was placed on a brig from Lord Dunmore’s fleet originally bound from Barbadoes to Newfoundland as prize-master and Lieutenant John McDougall on another prize brig named Elizabeth, both with instructions to put in at Providence. According to a letter from Commodore Esek Hopkins to the Marine Committee dated at Providence on 10 September 1776, both vessels made port safely. Interestingly, a letter from the Marine Committee to Daniel Tillinghast dated 30 October 1776 directs that the Continental prize agent for Rhode Island deduct the forty-five pounds advanced to Lieutenant McDougall to convey himself and the seven other men of his prize crew from Providence to rejoin Captain Biddle at Philadelphia from prize monies earned from the sale of the vessel and cargo.

John McDougall was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and transferred to the frigate Randolph at Captain Nicholas Biddle’s request. Partially manned with captured British sailors, the Randolph sailed from Philadelphia on 3 February 1777 performing escort duty to a large convoy of American merchantmen. On 15 February, the convoy broke up and Randolph sailed northward. Shortly thereafter, the frigate’s foremast was sprung and while repairs were being made her mainmast broke also. Jury rigged and anxious to avoid engagement with the enemy, Biddle sailed for South Carolina but not arriving before squashing an unsuccessful mutiny attempt by the impressed British seamen. Lieutenant McDougall reached Charleston with the frigate Randolph on 11 March 1777 where she put in for extensive repairs. Twice the vessel was turned back from planned cruises for repairs necessitated by lightning strikes to her mainmast. Now protected by lightning rods on her masts, the Randolph sailed from Charleston on 16 August and anchored at Rebellion Road waiting for favorable winds. While in the roadstead, a boarding party from the Continental Navy frigate retrieved and impressed two seaman who had left the Randolph and joined the crew of the merchant vessel Fair American. With a change in wind, the Randolph sailed from Charleston’s anchorage on 1 September. After an overnight chase, the frigate Randolph captured four vessels on the morning of 4 September 1777 including the 20-gun privateer True Briton and three of her accompanying prizes- the North Carolina privateer Severn, French privateer brig Charming Peggy and brig L’Assumption. Two days later, the little fleet returned to Charleston intact. Shortly thereafter, Captain Biddle wrote to Robert Morris on 12 September 1777 praising his subordinates, “I cannot omit telling You that My Officers have on every Occasion given Me the greatest satisfaction. Two better Officers are not in the Service than Barnes and Mc dougal My first and second Lieuts.” In contrast, just eleven days earlier Lieutenant of Marines Panatiere de la Falconniere had been accused by six commissioned and warrant officers including Lieutenant John McDougall of a number of serious charges. They wrote to Captain Nicholas Biddle on 1 September 1777 from the Randolph off Charleston, “For these and a Thousand more instances we could mention (if Necessary) of the same Nature we think him not only unworthy of holding a Commission in the Randolph, but a Nuissance to the ship, and therefore beg you to Rid us of him”.

Between September and early December 1777, the Randolph was again refitted while McDougall and 3rd Lieutenant Joshua Fanning were charged with manning the vessel for another cruise. Despite their successful recruitment of sailors, the frigate’s crew suffered from an inadequate number of marines and marine officers. With de la Falconniere now gone, only Captain of Marines Samuel Shaw remained. The Journal of John Trevett reveals Captain Biddle’s overtures to his former Lieutenant of Marines to leave Captain John Peck Rathbun’s sloop Providence and sail with the frigate Randolph in December 1777, “If Capt. Rathbun would Consent I would go with him and All this Time telling Me that itt Was Presumiton to Make Such an Atemt And A Luded to the Scot[c]h Ship” that was taken from Lieut. Macdugel & My Self but finerly I told him tha ware all well Landed Att Virginea he Pled Likewise with Capt. Rathbun but Anserd no Perperse for Sase Capt. Rothbun I have Made the Agrement with Capt Trevett I will not Give itt up So this Ended All this Conversation we Shuk Hands and the Comadore Says I am Very Sorre for I never Shall See You More.”

In late 1777, while the frigate Randolph was idled for her hull to be scraped, it was suggested by the president of South Carolina’s General Assembly John Rutledge that Biddle take command of a task force consisting of the Randolph and four South Carolina State Navy vessels in order to break the British blockade of Charleston Harbor. The five American ships- the 36-gun Randolph, 20-gun General Moutrie, 18-gun Notre Dame, 16-gun Polly and 14-gun Fair American- sailed on 14 February 1778 only to be surprised by the absence of enemy warships. The fleet then proceeded to the West Indies in search of prizes where they fell upon a dismasted New England vessel abandoned by her British captor. After burning the hulk, their luck turned sour until Polly took a New York to Grenada bound schooner on 4 March which was converted into a tender for the frigate Randolph. It was from this tender that Prizemaster Simeon Fanning, one of the frigate Randolph’s midshipmen, witnessed the death of his brother 3rd Lieutenant Joshua Fanning in the calamitous explosion that followed three days later between nine and ten o’clock during an engagement with HMS Yarmouth on the night of Saturday 7 March 1778. In an unhappy twist of fate, young Simeon would follow his older brother in death the following month. Randolph’s 2nd Lieutenant John McDougall’s will dated 14 January 1778 and proved on 9 May 1778 names Joshua Fanning as one of the three witnesses to McDougall’s last wishes.

That document found on Page 367 (383 online) in Book 19 of Charleston Wills begins, “I John McDougall, Lieutenant on board the Randolph Frigate now of the State of South Carolina… give and bequeath [to my] Uncle General Alexander McDougall all that Messuage or tenement situate lying and being in Charles Town, South Carolina in Tradd Street known and distinguished in the plan or modle (sic) of said Town by the Number Thirty-nine”. Lieutenant John McDougall also left his uncle 3,600 pounds “in the hands of Abraham Livingston, Esq.” along with “All the Prize money due me from the Continental agents in New England together with all such sum or sums of Money that is or may be due me at my death.” His instructions accompanying the bequeath directs that the Charleston property and money be “divided as my said Uncle shall think proper between my Brother Alexander McDougall, Junior and cousins Ranald J. McDougall, Elizabeth Ann Lawrence, Elizabeth Hamilton and John McDougall Lawrence”.

John McDougall and his brother, the General’s namesake, apparently experienced a close relationship with their uncle who was a leading activist New York patriot who achieved the rank of major general by the date of his nephew’s will. Long involved in maritime affairs, General Alexander McDougall (1732-1786) would briefly serve as Secretary of Marine for seven months in 1781. Born on the island of Islay in the Inner Hebrides off Scotland, Alexander was one of five children of Ronald and Elizabeth McDougall who emigrated to New York in 1738. As a young man, Alexander worked as a delivery boy for his father who was a milk dealer on Manhattan Island. At fourteen, Alexander McDougall went to sea and eventually accumulated a modest fortune as captain of two privateers, the 8-gun sloop Tyger and 12-gun sloop Barrington, during the French and Indian War between 1756 and 1763. It is possible the John McDougall first went to sea on his uncle’s privateer. A 1757 ship’s roster suspected to exist for the sloop Tyger has not yet been scrutinized to determine his presence. With the death of his first wife Ann in the same year that hostilities ceased and facing the reality of caring for his widowed mother and his own three children, Captain Alexander McDougall quit the sea to pursue mercantile interests. It is likely that John and his brother Alexander, Jr. also lived under the care of their uncle as their own father John McDougall, born about 1724, had died near the same time. The will of Ronald McDougall dated 1 March 1763 and proved on 26 March 1764 refers to the brothers as sons of John, deceased.

In addition to his brother, Lieutenant John McDougall names cousins Ranald J. McDougall, Elizabeth Ann Lawrence, Elizabeth Hamilton and John McDougall Lawrence as beneficiaries of his estate. Ranald (1754-1786) and Elizabeth (1756-1790), wife of John Lawrence, were two of Uncle Alexander’s three children. Eldest cousin John Alexander McDougall (1752-1775), a budding lawyer freshly graduated from Princeton, had already died three years prior to the making of his will. According to “American Revolutionary, A Biography of General Alexander McDougall” by William Macdougall (1977); the then Colonel Alexander McDougal received the following communication from Colonel Ritzema at Montreal, “Your son, poor Jack, is no more. John McDougall Lawrence was the Lieutenant’s second cousin, son of Elizabeth and John Lawrence. Elizabeth Hamilton, another first cousin, was daughter to the Lieutenant’s Aunt Mary McDougall who was married to Archibald Hamilton. Lieutenant John McDougall’s estate was not fully settled eight years after his death on the Randolph in 1778 as evidenced by his Uncle Alexander McDougall’s will dated 16 December 1780, revised on 12 May 1786 and proved six weeks later on 27 June 1786. With regards to his late nephew’s estate, the General writes, “And whereas my nephew, Lieutenant John McDougal, lately deceased, bequeathed all his estate to me for the purpose of dividing the same as I should think proper between his brother, Alexander McDougal, Jr.. and his cousins, Ronald S. McDougal, Elizabeth Ann Laurance, Elizabeth Hamilton, and John McDougal Laurance, I will that one half of the money which shall arise from the said estate be divided into seven equal parts: two seventh parts to be given to Ronald S. McDougal; two seventh parts to Elizabeth Ann Laurance, and one seventh part to John McDougal Laurance; two seventh parts to Elizabeth Hamilton—this division to be made as soon as the money can be collected with advantage to the estate; John Laurance, Esq., to receive those parts given to his wife and son; Also that Alexander McDougal, Jr., have the one half of the money which shall arise from the said estate of his brother. Lieutenant John McDougal; but as the said Alexander McDougal is now absent, I will that the said half part be put into the Continental Loan Office in New York State for his benefit, to remain there for seven years after the termination of the present War unless he arrives sooner, in which case my executors will deliver over to him the certificate, bonds, or other papers taken for the same, or dispose of them and pay him the money as they shall judge most advantageous of his interest. If the said Alexander McDougal, Jr., does not arrive at the end of the said seven years, or they receive intelligence of his death- in either of these events which shall first happen, I will his half part to be divided among the other legatees of his brother in the same proportion as is above mentioned.”

By his will dated 14 January 1778, frigate Randolph’s 2nd Lieutenant John McDougall “Also give[s] and bequeath[s] unto my friend Lieutenant William Barnes the sum of fourteen hundred pounds.” This gift was probably the result of a mutual pact devised between the two friends as 1st Lieutenant Barnes had named McDougall the beneficiary of precisely the same sum in his will executed three days earlier. Like the earlier assets, these monies were also left in the hands of Charleston shipowner Abraham Livingston, who the commercial and Continental Navy prize agent for South Carolina. Unfortunately, neither man would enjoy the bequest as both would enter eternity at the same instant. Named executors of John McDougall’s estate included his Uncle General Alexander McDougall, his cousin’s husband John Laurence and Abraham Livingston. Witnesses to the will were Captain of Marines Samuel Shaw, 3rd Lieutenant Joshua Fanning and Andrew Stockholm. Shaw and Fanning would perish on the Randolph and it is thought that Stockholm was an assistant to John Jay.

Posted in Navy Commissioned Officers | Leave a comment

William Barnes, Lieutenant

William Bell Clark editor of “The Letters of Nicolas Biddle (1771-1777)” in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LXXIV (July 1950) notes “William Barnes, first lieutenant of the Randolph, had been a colonial shipmaster as early as 1764” no doubt referring in part to Barnes’ command of the schooner Sally from 1768 through at least 1770 and the sloop Polly from Antigua as late as November 1775. This roughly corresponds to some unsourced genealogical material which suggests William Barnes was born about 1744. Newspaper records suggest Barnes may have captained Philadelphia vessels for a decade earlier, appearing in command of the snow George in 1754, sloop Fancy between 1756-57, sloop Greenwich between 1758-59, snow Two Brothers in 1760 and snow Recovery in 1761. If these shipping notices refer to the same shipmaster, it is much more likely Barnes was born about 1734.

William Barnes was commissioned Lieutenant in the Continental Navy and assigned to the frigate Randolph under the command of Captain Nicholas Biddle on 17 August 1776. Four days earlier the Marine Committee had recommended him to Congress “for first lieutenant on board one of the frigates built at Philadelphia”. Along with other officers on 1 September 1777, Lieutenant Barnes signed a complaint against Panatiere de la Falconniere, a French-born Lieutenant of Marines “Most Effectually hated and despised by every one on Board”. Barnes himself was highly regarded by Captain Biddle who wrote to Robert Morris on 12 September 1777, immediately following a short cruise that saw action with the True Briton the previous week, “I cannot omit telling You that My Officers have on every Occasion given Me the greatest satisfaction. Two better Officers are not in the Service than Barnes and Mc dougal My first and second Lieuts.” Friends, both Lieutenants would meet eternity together in the explosion of the frigate Randolph during her tragic engagement with HMS Yarmouth on 7 March 1778.

Little is known concerning the personal life of William Barnes aside from what is revealed in his will executed on 9 January 1778 and probated on 9 May 1778. A transcript can be found on page 368 (online page 384) in Wills Volume 19 of the South Carolina Probate Records and is available for viewing at:

After first directing that his “just and lawful debts are paid”, Barnes bequeaths 2,100 pounds to “my loving friend Cap’t William Pickles of Charles Town”. William Pickles received a commission as Captain in the Continental Navy on 10 October 1776. Captain William Pickles’ naval career mostly unfolded subsequent to the death of his dear friend although we know Pickles was in Charleston about the time Barnes penned his will. According to a letter from Continental Navy agent Abraham Livingston to North Carolina Governor Richard Caswell dated 24 September 1778, “In January last Mr. Wm. Pickles arrived here charged with despatches from Congress and with instructions to me to get him forwarded to the Island of New Orleans in the most safe and expeditious manner”. Livingston placed Pickles on board the former Continental packet schooner Lewis renamed Bostonian as a letter of marque under the command of Captain Matthew Roan. “On their passage thither the Crew rose on Capts. Roan & Pickles, and after a bloody scuffle they landed those two Captains on the Matanzas [in Cuba], and run away with the schooner, which they carried to New Providence.” Pickles finally arrived at his intended destination in mid-March 1778 aboard the Spanish naval brigantine Santa Theresa along with dispatches from the Governor of Cuba to the Governor of Louisiana Governor.

At New Orleans, Captain William Pickles took command of the Continental Navy armed schooner Morris, the former prize vessel Rebecca taken on the Mississippi River and fitted out by Continental agent Oliver Pollock. This first Morris, of 20-guns, was destroyed in a hurricane on 18 August 1779 with the loss of eleven of her crew. Shortly thereafter, Spanish Governor of Louisiana Bernardo de Galvez gifted the Continental agent a second schooner named Morris also placed under the command of Pickles. On 10 September 1779, Captain William Pickles captured the more heavily armed British sloop-of-war West Florida under Royal Navy Lieutenant Payne in “a very severe conflict” on Lake Pontchartrain where the enemy vessel had operated unmolested for nearly two years. Just six days later, Pickles landed some of his men and took possession of the lake territory, witnessing eighteen settlers signing oaths of allegiance and declaring themselves subjects of the “United Independent States of North America.” With the assistance of Galvez, Pollock then fitted out the West Florida as a Continental Navy vessel and placed her under Captain Pickles’ command. After operating in Gulf waters for a short time and providing naval support for Governor Galvez’s successful expedition against the British-held port of Mobile, Pickles carried the sloop West Florida to Philadelphia in 1780.

Captain William Pickles was next placed in command of the Continental Navy brigantine packet Mercury on 11 August 1780 with orders to sail for Amsterdam with Henry Laurens on board carrying a draft treaty of alliance with the Dutch. Laurens embarked on 13 August and the Mercury soon made sail in company with the 16-gun Continental sloop-of-war Saratoga under the command of Captain John Young. Ironically, Young and Pickles were soon separated and the Saratoga would sail to her doom seven months later with at least one of West Florida’s men Stephen Thompson in the only other catastrophic naval loss of life during the War for Independence. The packet Mercury was captured by the British off the Newfoundland Banks on 3 September 1780 by the frigate Vestal and sloop Fairy. Although the sensitive official documents were thrown overboard, they were recovered by the British. Both Laurens and Captain Pickles were first sent to St. John’s in Newfoundland, with Pickles following the statesman to England, arriving in mid-November 1780 on the frigate Vestal. After his release from captivity, Captain William Pickles returned to Philadelphia where he was mortally wounded in a mob attack shortly thereafter on Sunday evening 7 September 1783. Newspaper accounts report Pickles was attacked by at least a dozen men who confronted him at the home of a friend where he resided. Leaving the safety of the dwelling, the captain spoke to the men in a foreign tongue in hopes of pacifying their anger. However, Pickles was immediately accosted by the gang who beat and stabbed him. While chasing his attackers down the street, cutlass drawn, some turned again on Pickles with knives and bludgeons. Mortally wounded, Captain William Pickles died about 10 o’clock Tuesday evening 9 September 1783 and was buried with military honors in St. Peter’s churchyard the following day. Three of the four Genoese sailors tried for his murder were convicted on 8 October, one of which was reprieved. Two were hung on 18 October 1783 for his death. Interestingly, no mention is made in history if his bloody murder at the hands of Italian sailors is somehow associated with the unhappy former crew of the West Florida, who had written to Continental agent Oliver Pollock one year earlier on 2 November 1782 before Captain Pickles’ return from England, holding Pollock responsible for money due them for their service with the vessel.

William Barnes next does “give and bequeath unto Lieutenant John McDougall of the navy of the thirteen united States of America the sum of one thousand four hundred Pounds Current money.” Nephew of General Alexander McDougall of New York, John McDougall was given a Lieutenant’s commission in the Continental Navy on 22 December 1775. He first served under Captain Nicholas Biddle as Third Lieutenant on the Andrew Doria and was promoted and transferred to the frigate Randolph at Captain Biddle’s request. McDougall would not live to enjoy his inheritance as both friends would perish on the same day. Barnes bequeathed the identical sum to John Johnston, further identified as the son of William Johnston, Esquire of Charles Town. It is clear from the details of William Barnes’ will that John Johnston has not yet attained the age of twenty-one at the time of drafting his will on 9 January 1778. It is speculated that the young man may have also been among the Randolph’s doomed men. The elder Johnston is named as executor along with Peter Bouneatheau, former Deputy Secretary to Colonel Henry Laurens during his tenure as President of the South Carolina Council of Safety between 1775 and 1776 and at the time of Barnes death- Postmaster of Charleston, having been appointed to that post by Benjamin Franklin in May 1777.

William Barnes next names his friend Elizabeth Dewees, wife of Phillip Dewees of Charles Town, as beneficiary of 1,400 pounds, “which said sum of money to be at her own disposal.” It is speculated by one genealogical researcher that Mrs. Dewees was Barnes’ sister but this writer believes she is exactly as William Barnes describes her- a friend. Philip Dewees was born in Philadelphia in 1724 and his death in December 1778 would follow Barnes’ by only nine months. It can be speculated that he may have been seriously ill when Barnes penned his will and that the couple had been friends of Barnes’ for many years as Dewees had moved to South Carolina from Pennsylvania about 1764, apparently to escape legal difficulties. Finally, William Barnes left “all the rest and remainder” of his estate to Prissilla Walker of Great Valley in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County. The genealogical speculation that Priscilla Walker may also be Barnes’ sister is more plausible, however identifying a familiar or geographic relationship with her has proved elusive. Although a William Barnes is listed as a landowner in Tredyffrin in 1774, it has not been established if that Barnes was the same as served as Lieutenant in the Continental Navy. It is known that a mariner by the name of William Barnes resided in the Upper Delaware Ward of Philadelphia in 1769. No marriage record has been located for Priscilla Barnes and a husband named Walker in this area for this time period. Of course, the other logical hypotheses is that she also was a dear friend or daughter of a friend to Barnes. The only candidate yet identified is Priscilla Walker, daughter of Joseph Walker (1731-1818) and Sarah Thomas (1734-1792) and cousin to General Anthony Wayne. Much younger than Barnes, this Priscilla Walker was born between 1753 and 1756 and was married to Quaker seer Eli Yarnall on 26 November 1783 at Great Valley, with whom she had five children. The witnesses to William Barnes’ execution of his will included Charleston District Militia Regimental Captains William Livingston and Peter Bocquet, Jr. , a wealthy planter, in addition to Continental Navy 3rd Lieutenant Joshua Fanning who would also perish in the frigate Randolph’s tragic explosion.

Posted in Navy Commissioned Officers | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Marine Corps Commissioned Officers | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Navy Commissioned Officers, Navy Wardroom, Warrant and Petty Officers | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Navy Commissioned Officers | Leave a comment