James Geagan, Chaplain, Surgeon

James Geagan. Relatively little is known about Chaplain James Geagan who first entered on board the frigate Alliance under the command of Captain John Barry on 1 December 1781. He followed Chaplain Benjamin Balch who served Barry and the Alliance between October 1780 and June 1781. Balch was immediately preceeded in that rate by John Watkins from May 1779 to June 1780. After initially serving as a Continental Army chaplain for Col. Ephraim Doolittle’s Regiment at the siege of Boston, Balch entered the Continental Navy under Captain Samuel Tucker on the frigate Boston on 28 October 1778. When the Boston was captured in South Carolina, Chaplain Balch joined the frigate Alliance with his sons Thomas and Benjamin. Known as the “Fighting Parson,” Benjamin Balch was the son of a Royal Navy chaplain and father to the first chaplain commission in the reconstituted U.S. Navy in 1798. Continue reading

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Peleg Peck, Marine

According to his pension record, Peleg Peck was born at Scituate near Providence, RI on 24 September 1760. Genealogical sources indicate his parents were Thomas Peck (1727-1810) and second wife Dorothy Millard. Peleg was one of seven children including older siblings by Thomas’ first wife: Nathaniel, Abigail and Thomas and natural-born younger siblings Jacob, Peter and Dorothy. Seventy-two year old Peleg Peck’s 1832 pension application states “that he has a record of his age in his Family Bible, which he transcribed from his Father’s old Family Bible when a young man”. Sometime during his youth, the Peck family moved to Smithfield, RI where Peleg lived “during the war & after its close 10 years”. Continue reading

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Esek Whipple, Marine, Seaman

Oldest son of Benajah Whipple (1734-1817) and his wife Tabitha, Esek Whipple was born 3 June 1760 at Fruit Hill in North Providence, RI. Benajah Whipple served as Captain of the 1st Militia Company from Gloucester during the Revolutionary War for the years 1775 through 1780, excepting 1777 and 1778 when he served as Captain in Col. Archibald Crary’s Regiment of the Rhode Island Brigade. The name Esek, or Eseck, may have been a shortened form of the Biblical Ezekial as suggested by one genealogical source and seconded by the Goff & Spencer Survey of 1814 which records the Dekalb resident Ezekial O. Whipple. Early during the War for Independence in August 1775, fifteen year old Gloucester resident Esek Whipple enlisted in Captain James Williams’ Company of Col. Daniel Hitchcock’s Regiment. Continue reading

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Robert Maynard Peck, Midshipman & John Peck, Boy

Robert Maynard Peck. Son of Hester Plaisted and Boston glazier John Peck (1721-1761), Robert Maynard Peck was born on 1 October 1747, a little over ten months after his parents were married on 15 December 1746. Peck’s grandparents were John Peck and Margaret Maynard, from whom he received his middle name. Robert’s father died when he was thirteen years old and his uncle Thomas Handasyde Peck was appointed administrator of John’s estate on 11 September 1761. Thomas Handasyde Peck (1712-1777) was a wealthy Boston merchant and a “gentleman of great integrity and respectability” who lived in a mansion at the head of Peck’s Court on Merchants’ Row near the Golden Ball Tavern. Known locally as “Honest Peck”, Robert’s Uncle Thomas was an importer of furs and hatter by occupation, his Merchant’s Row store called the “Hatt & Beaver”. Continue reading

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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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