James W. Head, Seaman

James W. Head. Middle child of Jane McKenzie (1731-1818) and John Head (1731-1779), James Waller Head was baptized at Trinity Church in Boston on 5 July 1766. An Episcopal parish, Trinity Church was founded in 1733 and at the time was located on Summer Street. His parents had been married in Boston on 10 June [or 17 Aug] 1755. James had two older brothers, Joseph and John, and two younger brothers Joshua and Benjamin. He also had an older sister Ann and younger sister Elizabeth. Brothers John and Joshua, both residing at Waldoboro in Maine, eight miles from James in Warren, would testify in 1837 supporting their middle brother’s pension application. According to seventy-four year old John’s affidavit, Purser of the frigate Queen of France Samuel Wall “frequently visited my father’s family and urged my parents to let brother James go the cruise with them and promised if they would consent he should have an office when they got to sea. Continue reading

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Samuel Makins, Master’s Mate, Sailing Master

Samuel Makins. Nothing is presently known concerning the parentage or youth of Samuel Makins other than a label on the back of a portrait of a man sold by Lyn Knight Auctions of Lenexa, KS on 18 September 2010 which claims Makins was a native born Englishman. The approximately 25” wide x 30” high oil on canvas painting is one of a pair sold as Lot 60 for $1,900. The note reads, “Died of Yellow Fever in Havana, Cuba (never married), son of Sara Swift (Makins) of Dorchester, Mass. Married to Captain Samuel Makins in Philadelphia, PA on 5/23/1779. Captain Makins was born in England and lost at sea in January 1802.” An auction advertisement identifies the young man as John Makins. Continue reading

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Henry Skinner, Sailing Master, Lieutenant, Captain

Henry Skinner. Son of William Skinner (1708-1760) and Lydia Watts, Henry Skinner was born in Boston on 29 September 1750 and according to his pension application #S-38,374, was “brought up to the sea”. Parents William and Lydia were married nine years earlier on 19 February 1741. Henry’s mother Lydia was the daughter of Col. John Watts and an heir to extensive land holdings in Brunswick and Topsham in Maine. According to civic records, Henry Skinner was married to Elizabeth Langdon, daughter of Boston merchant John Langdon and his wife Mary, by the Rev. John Eliot on 13 March 1780 just four months prior to her eighteenth birthday. Church records indicate the marriage date was 13 April 1779. The Harvard-educated Eliot (1754-1813) had succeeded his father as pastor of the congregationalist New North Church at Boston during the preceding November. Continue reading

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Thomas Vaughan, Master’s Mate, Lieutenant

Thomas Vaughan. Sometime between 1752 and 1760, Thomas Vaughan was born to Edward Vaughan and Ann Wiley who were married on 18 April 1752 at Philadelphia’s Christ Church. Thomas’ natural father is probably Captain Edward Vaughan, master of the ship Swanzey in 1755, ship Ann in 1758 and sloop Harlequin in 1759. Captain Vaughan sailed as master of the sloop Friendship for Jamaica in November 1759, only to be reported captured by the British warships Lively and Cerberus in early 1760 and taken into Jamaica where his ship was condemned. Continue reading

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Joseph Hardy, Midshipman, Captain’s Clerk, Captain of Marines

Joseph Hardy.  Older brother of Ann Hardy Reid of Charleston, SC, Joseph Hardy was the son of “William Hardy of New York.” One genealogical source suggests the Hardy daughter was born in 1767 in Ireland while others indicate New York. It is suspected that the Eliza Hardy buried in plot D-3 of St. Michael’s Church Cemetery near Ann Hardy Reid at Charleston was the widow of William Hardy and mother of Joseph Hardy. It is probable that Joseph Hardy initially resided in Newtown, NY; now known as Elmhurst in the Borough of Queens. This is inferred by the marriage of Ann Hardy to George Reid on 11 October 1789 in Newtown by the Rev. Joshua Bloomer as reported in the Charleston Observer and the rejected pension application of Ann Hardy Reid for her husband’s service during the American Revolution. Continue reading

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