Saturday, May 22, 2010
Memoirs of an American Official in the Service of the King by John Moore, Esq.
(Published in the Journal of American History, first quarter, fourth volume, first number, 1910. )
Posthumous manuscript of a Loyalist in America during the American Revolution with invaluable testimony on the political and economic conditions when the American nation was being founded – genealogical foundations of the Moore family in America –
Ancient manuscript written by John Moore
Deputy-Collector of His Majesty’s Customs – Superintendent of Police and Port of New York Secretary of the Province of New York
Original manuscript in the possession of Cornelia Randolph Murrell, Paducah, Kentucky.
[Transcriber’s note: I have strived to transcribe the text exactly as it appeared in the Journal, including the spelling and printer’s errors. SHM, Jan. 2003]
The discovery of this ancient manuscript in the possession of the descendants of the author is a rich contribution to the historical and genealogical archives of the Republic. Although written nearly a century ago for the private information of the author’s family, and held by them as an heirloom, it reveal many incidents relating to the foundation of the nation from the viewpoint of an American official in the service of the King. The original manuscript was written by John Moore of New York, who was born in 1745, and who indited these memoirs in his seventy-fifth year, after a long and rich experience through the formulative period in American history. It was transcribed in 1851 by Thomas William Channing Moore, son of the author, who was one of the promoters of the Academy of Fine Arts, and who travelled through the art galleries of Europe with Washington Irving and Sir David Wilkie.
The value of this manuscript to American genealogy cannot be overestimated, inasmuch as the author gives a concise statement of the foundation of the Moore blood in American and the various channels through which it was carried in its first century into the physical and moral structure of the republic until today it still lives in a great race of progeny that is scattered throughout the states and into the countries of the globe. John Moore, secretary of the Colony of South Carolina, compatriot of William Penn, and attorney-general for the King in Pennsylvania; Bishop Moore of Virginia, and the Moores throughout the South and Middle West, New York and Pennsylvania and New England.
The original manuscript is now in possession of the Murrels of Kentucky – Dr. David Gamble Murrell and Mrs. Cornelia Randolph Murrell, who reside in Paducah. Dr. Murrell is the great-grandson of the author of these memoirs, and professor of anatomy in the Hospital College of Medicine (ex-officio) in Louisville. Mrs. Murrell is one of the Randolphs of old Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana, a daughter of the Confederacy and the American Revolution. - Editor
Memoirs of an American Official in the Service of the King
by John Moore, Esq.
My grandfather, Colonel John Moore, 1686-1749, was the most eminent merchant in the City of New York – he did more business and owned more shipping than any other merchant there, as in early life, I was informed repeatedly by Captains of his vessels and gentlemen who well knew him. He had for many years been a Colonel of one of the Regiments of New York militia, and Alderman of that City, and for some years before his death, was a member of His Majesty’s Council of the Province. He was in that Office when he died, about the year 1749, about 63 years of age. He left a considerable estate in Philadelphia – which on his decease was sold for five thousand pounds – a large sum in those days. A part of it was in Third Street, and the whole would at present be probably worth, little short of a Million of Dollars. – This was sold by his widow, the surviving Executor, to liquidate and settle all his Mercantile affairs. He also left a number of houses and lots in New York, in Broadway, White-Hall Street and at the shipyard – since called Cherry Street. But the principal part was where he resided, in the largest and most elegant house in the City. He owned the whole ground from the corner of Water Street to the East River, on the East front of the Street now called Moore Street, so named, since his decease, by the Corporation of New York, in honor and to perpetuate the memory of his worth and usefulness as a Citizen – Merchant and Magistrate. His family vault is in Trinity Church yard, New York. He was the first therein interred some years ago. I had his name cut in stone and placed thereon – it is at the South side of the Church, nearly opposite the west end thereof. All his descendants who have died at New York are there buried – as is my father who died in Connecticut and my mother who died at Staten Island.
My grandmother Moore was of a French family, who fled from France in the bloody persecution of the Protestants on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. I think her family name was – Lambert, where or when married, I know not. If I ever heard, I have no recollection;- it was probably either at New York or Philadelphia. At Charleston, South Carolina, I have heard that my grandmother had the most wealthy and respectable connections. She died in New York, in the Revolutionary was, the 21st of March 1782, in her 90th year. I remember to have heard, that they had one or two and twenty children.
Their eldest son, John died at where born, Jamaica, some little time before his father. The Mansion House was left by will to him, but it became part of the general estate and was, with every other house belonging to my grandmother, except the property in Cherry Street, burnt in the great conflagration of New York, in September 1776, the day after the King’s troops obtained possession of that City. It was the base and cruel work of incendiaries, who had secreted themselves in the City for that execrable purpose. The fire commenced at the South boundary of my Grandfather’s Estate and swept every building.
More than a thousand houses were consumed, besides Trinity Church, the largest sacred building in America. The Lutheran Church, near to it, and that elegant building of St. Pauls in the same Street were also burnt. The Broadway was on fire, but was saved by the persevering zeal and personal exertions of the assistant minister, Dr. Charles Ingles, who on the death of Dr. Samuel Auchmerty, in 1776, became Rector and so remained until the close of the war in 1783. He died, Bishop of Nova Scotia, having been thus honored and rewarded by the King, for the unshaken loyalty to the Government until the last moment of its existence in the Country. My grandmother and her two maiden daughters, Rebecca and Ann, was at Perth Amboy, with her excellent son-in-law, John Smith, Esq, being driven from New York, by the violence of the times in the latter end of the year 1775, and by the total loss of her income, by the fire, was in a moment reduce with her unmarried daughters to absolute and irrecoverable distress.
On the evacuation of the Jerseys, by the British Army, in the summer of 1777, they all came to my residence, until Uncle Smith had a house allotted to him. My great-grandfather Moore went from Moore Hall, England to Charleston, South Carolina in 1680 – then moved to Philadelphia in 1687, He married Lady Rebecca Axtell of England and died in 1690 and was buried in the middle aisle of Christ Church, Philadelphia. Doctor Thomas Moore, his eldest son, was Rector of the Parish of Little Britain in London and Chaplain to the celebrated Bishop of Rochester, Dr. Atterbury, who was banished for his supposed attachment to the cause of the Stuart family and later died in France. Doctor Moore published several volumes of the Bishop’s sermons, which I have in my library, but the belong to my daughter Livingston; they have his (Dr. Moore’s) name, as the Editor, and are highly esteemed, by the pious and learned. He left two sons. Clergyman – Dr. Thomas Moore was Rector of North Craynear London, n Kent – cousin Andrew Smith has his portrait. The other son, the Rev. Charles Moore, was a man of great talents, both as divine and a Poet. He died lately in England, and his sermons are now published in London, as I see, by the last English Reviews. He obtained the prize at the University of Cambridge, for the best poem on the death of the late King, George the Second. I have seen it, nearly sixty years ago, and still remember its introductory lines, which are beautifully expressive and sentimental. There were two other brothers – one named John, residing still in London, a Druggist and Apothecary to the Royal family, and one named William, still living in London, an eminent jeweler and goldsmith, under whose direction was cut the seal of the family arms which I have worn since the year 1770. Whether my Great Uncle had or left any other children, I do not recollect.
The late William Moore Esq., of Moore Hall, Pennsylvania, I believe was the next con of my Great grandfather. He died soon after the King’s troops took possession of Philadelphia. He was a firm loyalist to the last. The day after the battle in which General Gray surprised and defeated General Wayne’s division of the American Army, in Sept. 1777, (a few days after the battle of Brandywine) the British Commander-in-chief made Moore Hall his head quarter. The consequence was, the farm was laid waste by the army, all its produce of that year consumed or destroyed, nor, as I heard, did Sir William Moore ever make him any remuneration, notwithstanding the hospitable reception he met with from the old gentleman, then lying very ill of the gout, He died broken hearted and very poor. Dr. Bond and the Rev. Dr. William Smith, married three of his daughters. The late Consul General Phinas Bond Esq. was one of his grandsons. My grandfather was the next son. The fourth son was the late Daniel Moore Esq., member of Parliament for Great Marlow in Kent. He had lived in Barbadoes where he married a lady of great respectability, with whom he obtained a fortune of One Hundred Thousand Pounds sterling. He returned to England, obtained his seat in Parliament, spent Ten Thousand sterling in his election, and lived in such splendour, both at Great Marlow, and at London, that he ran through with the fortune, and at length died, a prisoner, in the King’s bench prison. Previous to this, at the commencement of the American trouble, he was appointed collector of the customs at Charleston and Rev. General of the Province of South Carolina, but the state of the times rendered his affairs of no value to him and he was so persecuted by Colonel Henry Lawrence and the other leaders in the Revolutionary, that he was obliged to return to England penniless. He had a son, his only one who came to New York about fifty years ago. He lived then with my Uncle Lambert Moore, Comptroller of the customs, which lucrative office his father had, while in Parliament, obtained for my Uncle McDaniel Moore’s daughter, who married the celebrated McErskine who has since been created a nobleman, and for a long time was Lord Chancellor of Great Britain. I know not whether he is still living or not. His son is the McErskine, who some years ago was the British Ambassador to this country, and married in Philadelphia to a Miss Cadwallader, Granddaughter of Phineas Bond M.D.
I have thus given the best account, which a memory greatly impaired has enabled me to recollect of the several collateral branches of my Grand-father Moore’s family, every individual of which, were grown to men and women since my Uncle John’s death. I have seen all except my Uncle Richard, who I think went to Barbadoes either before I was born or when I was an infant. All I remember of my grandfather, is having been called to receive his blessing while he lay of his deathbed. I remember the position in which he lay as will as the position of the bed itself. I was about four years old. I was born in the house which he built for his residence and in which he died. The walls of the two lower stories, (it was a double three story in which I lived myself when I married and until April 1776, when the trouble drove me to West Point, to the Country House of my said Grand-father, which in those troubled times, was also an Asylum for my Father’s family) were built upon and the house is still standing at the North corner of Front and Moore Street, - but this is digression.
My father, Thomas, was the eldest son living, after my Uncle John’s death. He went to England for his education, under the protection of his Uncle Thomas, Rector of Little Britain. How many years he was in London I know not. He received his education at Westminster School, then and perhaps ever since the most celebrated school in that Country. I presume he was there at least seven years, as he married my mother when he was 22 years of age, not very long after his return. He commenced business in one of his Father’s houses, then fronting the River, now a compact part of Water Street. He kept a ship-chandler’s store. There was then no other in that part of the City. While in the business I perfectly remember his having removed to three other situations in town and he probably would have succeeded had he either never removed his residence, or never made any purchases of real estate, but my dear Father was all his life long fond of building and anxious to better his circumstances. But all his projects were defeated and invariably tended to increase his difficulties, by the openness and liberality of his mind, a total ignorance of the craft and subtility of the world, and implicit and never ending credulity in the confidence and integrity of all with whom he had to transact business. Everything failing him at New York, notwithstanding the most persevering industry and close attention to his business and living frugally, he at length in my fifteenth year, broke up finally and removed with his family, (all except myself, who was then apprentice to a merchant in New York), to Peekskill, then a poor, miserable country, thinly settled, by, in general, a very indigent people. There he purchased Two Hundred acres of rough land, chiefly in wood, built a handsome brick house, still remaining, the best house there, built a large Grist Mill, and commenced keeping a country store. The mill proved of little use, and never paid the Miller’s wages, the goods were sold chiefly to wretches who never paid for them, and in less than four years, his whole remaining property was there finally lost; besides which, he was greatly in debt, his property in New York all gone and even the reversion of the estate, which his father had left him by will, after his mother’s death, in whom was vested my Grand-father’s whole estate while his widow lived. Thus, there was no alternative but to return with his family to New York, and abide the issue of those suits at law, proceeding step by step to judgment, and execution, from which he was at length exonerated, by the insolvent law, through my exertions and those of his brother Lambert, brother-in-law, Samuel Bayard and my Mother’s worthy relative Lewis Pintard.
Here then was my unfortunate, but worthy Father, though free from debt, without a shilling at command and a number of children, all to young to afford any aid and myself with a bare competence. Through the patronage of McElliot, the Collector, he obtained the appointment of King’s Weighmaster and Guager; he made himself master of his business and by great frugality obtained a tolerable support once more. In the hope of better success he set up a small country store at a place, called, “Sing Sing” and a doleful singing it was. He purchased the goods and committed the sale of them and management of the whole business, to a young man of the name of Sacket, who, like all his former agents proved a worthless person, and in a short year the whole was sunk and the Revolutionary just then commencing, not a shilling of the outstanding debts was ever collected. Soon driven by the fever of the time, he retired to the house, built by his Father but now the property of his brother Stephen, at West Point, where the family remained in a kind of Exile, until the Forts, Clinton and Montgomery, were taken by the British troops, in October 1777, where they had an opportunity after being plundered of all their effects, by the Hessians, to come down to New York with the Army, and lived with me until a residence was provided for their better accommodation.
During the whole residue of the War, the family remained in New York in tolerable comfort, and my father was earning rather more than a bare support, when his unhappy love of building again took place. He hired a lot and put up a Wooden house upon it, at a time when labor and materials of every kind were at prices beyond what was ever known in this country, previous to the horrid was of the Revolution. The building being unfinished never produced any income, and New York being evacuated the next year by the British, the property in 1784 sold for about One Hundred and fifty Dollars, which in 1782 and 1783 cost upwards of One Thousand.
By this time, my Father’s family at home were but four in number, having only their daughter Eliza and son Richard with them. I had removed to Norwich, in Oct. 1783, a month previous to the evacuation of New York, but upon too much uncertainty to take him and family with me, having been able to hire only two rooms for the ensuing winter; but in the spring following having obtained a large and convenient house, I sent for my parents and Sister to reside with me. They came in April, a few days before I removed and were most kindly and dutifully received by the most amiable of men, General Jedediah Huntington, who had married my sister Ann in 1777. My Father arrived in Norwich in May, 1784, very ill, in a rapid consumption and he survived only to the 19th of June. He was buried there the following evening and very early in the spring of 1875 his remains were taken to the family vault at New York and there deposited with those of his parents and children under the care and direction of Bro. Richard, then residing there a young practitioner in Physik and Surgery, My Father and Sister removed to my house immediately after my Father’s death. I shall now give a concise account, and at the same time the best I can, of the other children of my Grand-father’s. Richard, who had served his time with Mr. Paul Richards an eminent Merchant at New York, after the expiration of his apprenticeship entered as a Midshipman with Captain Peter Warren commanding the King’s ships on the Station. Capt. Warren became Sir Peter and died, the celebrated admiral of that name. Richard did not long continue in the Navy, but while he served became a favorite with Sir Peter. He soon settled in Barbadoes and entered into partnership with his cousin William, the son of his Uncle William of Moore Hall, Penn.
They were in great business and made rapid progress in wealth, but owing to the misfortune, the loss of many vessels &c., they at length failed. William soon died there. Richard obtained a subordinate office in the customs which he held until his death. The house and lot in New York, opposite the old family mansion, he left between his surviving brothers and sisters in eight equal shares, (which he inherited from his Father).
For reasons highly equitable, my Aunt Ann, who is now the only survivor of my Grand-father’s children, has been for several years in possession of the whole rent except the one-eight belonging to Coz. Andrew Smith. Uncle Richard died some little time after my Father; he never married. Uncle Daniel Moore died in Jamaica, insolvent, after having been considered in affluent circumstances. He owned a valuable estate there, called Constant Spring, in the Parish of Liguama [Liguanea]; it sold 60,000 Pounds Sterling, and with all his
other property was unsufficient to pay his debts. He had been the warm and steady friend and most affectionate brother to my father, by whose Failure he lost a very large sum, but it never broke in upon or in any way lessened his fraternal affection. I had corresponded with him ever since I was twelve years old and he invited me to come to him, where he would establish me in business. I accepted his kind offer. He had engaged a partner for me and I was prepared to g, when such advantageous prospects were offered to my acceptance in the customs and Recr. General’s office, that I was induced to give up my Jamaica plan.
My Uncle Daniel never married. Uncle Lambert Moore was bred to the Law under the patronage of Judge Chambers. Through his Uncle Daniel’s influence in England he obtained the office of Comptroller of the Customs, a very respectable and lucrative employment which he held, as long as the Government existed in this country. His first wife was Miss Jane Holland, the only daughter of the Hon. Edward Holland, the Mayor of New York. By that marriage he had many children. Daniel went when very young to Jamaica, under the patronage of his worthy Uncle Daniel, who put him to the study of the Law with Mr. Richard Grant, to whom he became a partner. He afterwards was in partnership with his brother-in-law, Mr. David Bailie, a Counsellor-at-law, and became wealthy. When he died he was Recorder of Kingston and Col. of one of the regiments there. He had been married but died a widower and left no children; and he bequeathed his property to his brother John and his sisters. Daniel left John a batchelor, who resides at Brooklyn, with two surviving sisters; Frances, the eldest, unmarried, Mary, the widow of the worthy Mr. Andrew Onderdonk of Hempstead Harbour, L-Island: they had several children all which died in infansy. She had a handsome independancy from her husband. There was another daughter, Rebecca, who died of cancer, not long since, a remarkably sensiable and sprightly woman; she had never married. Several of the children died in infansy. Many years after the death of his first wife, my Uncle married Miss. Gitty (probably Gertrude) Onderdonk, daughter of the esteemed Mr. Henry Onderdonk, of North Hempstead the father of Andrew, by which connection my Uncle thus became the bro-in-law and father-in-law of Andrew. By this marriage he had and has left two very amiable daughters; Phebe, the wife of Mr. Bailie, above mentioned, (they live in England upon his fortune and have no children) and Jane, the wife of Mr. Adam Fredwell, a highly respectable merchant in New York; - they have several children and reside in Brooklyn. My uncle died some years ago and was entered in the family vault at 78 years of age. He left an irreproachable character. Uncle William Moore served his apprenticeship, with Mr. Joseph Reade of New York, who sent him as he agent to Curaçoa, where he very soon died. My father was his heir-at-law, but the property is now owned by Uncle Lambert’s heirs, having been swallowed up, with the rest, by his failure and insolvency.
My Uncle Charles Moore, served his time with Mr. David Clarkson of New York and in early life was attached to the Hospital Department with the King’s Army, in the old French War which ended in 1763. He afterwards settled as a Country merchant at Peekskill, where he failed and was poor ever after, until his death. In some way during the Revolution, he lived at West Point, upon the old place then owned by his brother Stephen, but the American Government having selected West Point as a proper place for the erection of fortifications, he was obliged to leave it and remove to the interior of North Carolina, where his brother Stephen had for some years resided, at Mt. Tirzah in Person County. He was the postmaster there when he died, some years ago. He had married the widow Eve Hall, while he resided at Peekskill, by whom he had and has left a very numerous family, none of whom do I remember (many I have never seen) except his eldest son Charles, now a Country Merchant in North Carolina, and his daughter Francis, the wife of Mr. Henry Rogers of New York, by whom he has many children. Mr. Rogers has retired from business and is supposed to be a wealthy gentleman. The present is his second wife and a very amiable woman. Her mother died lately at a very advanced age.
My Uncle Stephen Moore, served his time with the Hon. John Watts, one of his Magesty’s Council, an eminent merchant, and contractor for the Army Supplies at New York. Upon the breaking out of the French War in 1754, he obtained a Commission in a New York Regiment, under the command of Col. Oliver Delancey, was in several of the battles of those days and obtained considerable reputation in the expidition under Col. Bradstreet. He was at the taking of Fort Stanwix, so named in honor of the British General who commanded on that occasion. He continued in the service through-out the war; at the close of it he was appointed Dep. Paymaster General in Canada.
I cannot help recording here, a circumstance evincive of his intrepidity, activity and zeal. General Haldimand, the in command in Canada, had occasion in mid-winter to send an express to Sir Jeffrey Amherst, the commander-in-chief in America, residing at New York. He applied to my uncle to look out for a person qualified for the purpose and acquainted with all the wilderness through which it was necessary to pass, neither the St. Lawrence nor the Lakes being frozen sufficiently hard to bear sleigh of horses and the dispatches requiring haste and immediately conveyance. My uncle after a few hours preparation told the General he had found such a person and the letters were immediately handed to him. He put a pound or two of dressed provision in his knapsack, put on his skates; slung his blanket and snow-shoes on his back and started from Quebec on the St. Lawrence. On arrival at Montreal he hired a couple of faithful Mohawks, armed as a guard, and all of the on snow-shoes (the snow very deep and no vestige of track) proceeded through the wilderness by the shortest course known only to his Indian guides, to the north end of Lake Champlain. They there took to the lake and proceeded on it and Lake George to its south boundary and from thence to the Hudson. At Albany he discharged his Indians, took to his skates and kept on them till he reached Col. Philip’s seat at the Yonkers, 20 miles from New York. He fell through the ice twice before he relinquished the frozen Hudson. From Col. Philip’s he walked to town and delivered his dispatches to Sir Jeffrey Amherst on the tenth day after leaving Quebec. The General told my Uncle that his situation as dep. Paymaster General to the King’s Army forbade his offering him any pecuniary remuneration, but handsomely insisted upon his acceptance of postage, presenting him with a Roleau of 100 guineas.
So honorable an anecdote I could not resist the gratification of inserting in this family record. After leaving Canada, where he had relinquished his paymaster-ship for mercantile pursuits and having married a Miss Grizey Philips of a respectable family from Boston, entered into partnership with Hugh Finlay Esq., Post-Master General for Canada, who had also married a sister of my Uncle’s wife. They would have done will but for wild speculations in the Lumber Business and trusting the Indian traders to a very great amount, in consequence of which they failed tho’ I believe they paid all their creditors. My Uncle then came and took possession of the house and land left him by his father at West Point. He remained there some years but not long after the American War he purchased and removed to a tract of land in North Carolina where he built a house for himself, and another for his brother Charles to whom he either gave a farm in fee or during his life, I dont know which. He named his place Mt. Tirzah where he obtained the Post Office for his brother. He was the only one of his father’s family who took an active part in favor of the Revolution. He raised a regiment of 1000 strong and joined Gen. Gates. He was in the first battle of Camden in South Carolina. At the first firing of the British his whole regiment took to their heels and left him on the field where in a few moments he was made a prisoner and sent to Charleston. He there found a very old acquaintance and friend of the family, Col. John Harris Cruger, who had some years ago been a partner of his and my Uncles brother, Daniel in Jamaica, but two such determined foes in politicts could not easily been reconciled. Col. Cruger treated him harshly and my Uncle met his frowns with equal determination and hostility. He was a good while a prisoner on Parole, but at length effected his exchange. After the evacuation of Charleston by the British he unfortunately went there and made considerable purchases of goods in the hopes of selling them to advantage, but like the rest of his brothers in all their Mercantile speculations the business ended in a heavy loss and involved him in great difficulties. Fortunately, however, at last the Gov. chose West Point as a strong Post to defend the Hudson River, of course, he was obliged to sell it to the United States and the price was awarded by the Commissioners chosen for that purpose at Ten Thousand Dollars. The payment of this money exonorated him from al his embarrassments and he died at Mt. Tirzah some years ago at an advanced age. His widow has since died. He has left several children, how many I know not. His eldest daughter is one of the finest women in this country but has been a cripple and for many years was confined to her bed with the loss of the use of all of her limbs, occasioned solely by the prick of a cambric needle in her thumb. Another of his daughters, who has several children, is the widow of the late Mr. Stanford, a member of Congress from that State, who died during the session about three years ago at Washington just as he was about returning to his family after an illness of a few days.
I presume our family must have thirty or forty near connections at Mt. Tirzah and other parts of North Carolina whom we in this part of the United States have never seen and probably shall never know. I am now more briefly to mention the daughters of my Grand-father; the eldest, and she the eldest child, was Francis. She married Samuel Bayard Esq., who for many years was the sole vendue Master in New York by patent from the Crown. He was a man of considerable talents; perhaps as an auctioneer New York has never had his equal; his power in figures and every kind of calculation seemed to be innate He would upon the instant, without pen of pencil, upon the sale of any article by gross weight deduct the fare at any percentage turn the neat weight into suttle pounds, if sold by the pound, which in those days was always the case in White Sugar especially, and let the price be ever so fractional as to pence and farthings, tell the amount to the Buyer who sometimes wanted to make payment instantly and upon the spot. There were then no public sales upon time. He was also a man of much wit and humor and fond of convivial evenings but at no time neglected his business. Their children that I know, were Samuel, who early went largely into the Dry-goods business having previously gone to England to settle the necessary correspondence and also to purchase his first assortment. He was in partnership with his kinsman Wm. Bayard Esq., a nephew of his Father’s. In a few years they gave up the business and he was appointed Dep. Sec'y of the Province in the room of Goldsboro Bayard Esq., [sic-Goldsbrough Banyar, Esq.] whose principal in England, George Clark, Esq., formerly Gov. of New York, had sold the reversion of his commission in England to Wm. Knox Esq., (whose deputy I was in place of Mr. Bayard, while he was held a prisoner in charge of the Records at Esopus by the Revolutionary Government of the State). At the close of the War he purchased a farm and built a house at Throg’s-neck to which he removed with his parents and their unmarried daughter, Rebecca. His Father and Mother, himself and sister, all died there. Their daughter Francis, married Philip I. Livingston Esq., who soon after their marriage removed to Duchess Ct'y where he was appointed Sheriff in place of my wife’s Father, James Livingston, Esq. There they remained till the Revolutionary War, when he returned to New York privately and by the same Flag of truce by which my wife and only child came from West Point. He then resided on Long Island and had some small appointment and income from the British Government. At the close of the War and after having resided some little time at Amboy and Norwalk, he purchased part of his brother-in-law Bayard’s farm and built at Throg’s Neck where he died of Apoplexy, in the month of December, 1818.
His wife had died there a few years previous; He left several children, Amelia, the wife of Elijah Ferris, a man of fortune at Throg’s Neck, Harriet, still unmarried, and Maria the second wife of my Cousin Andrew Smyth and Francis, lately married her cousin Samuel Hoffman; his youngest son Wm. died at Jamaica a few days after his arrival there, after having failed in business in New York, his eldest son Alfred married my eldest daughter, Eliza Elloit, - He, also, having failed at New York, went with several of their children and his wife to that Island so fatal to many of our family; he also died there after a residence of six years, in the year 1817 so that he lost both of his sons there.
My daughter returned to New York in June 1818 and with the numerous family is dependant upon her aged father, the writer of these pages. Eliza, Francis, Wm., Lydia and Harriet, live with me; the two last were born in Jamaica where she lost one son, Alfred; her next daughter to Francis, Ann, lives at present with my daughter Hart at Richmond, in Virginia; her son Charles is going as a Clerk to Mr. John C. Clarkson at Potsdam in the County of St. Lawrance in this State; her son Wm. is an apprentice in New York learning the Cabinet making business; another daughter Maria, is at present at a boarding school in New York at the expense, temporarily, of her Aunt Hoffman, who, with her husband is also gone to that fatal Island of Jamaica but with the view of soon returning. My Uncle Bayard’s third daughter married and settled with her husband, Mr. Martin Hoffman, in Duchess County, where he died; his widow now lives at Throg’s Neck with her son Stephen, who married a Miss Bayard, of Nova Scotia, daughter of Capt. Samuel Bayard who was in the King’s Army during the War of the Revolution, and a cousin of Stephen Uncle Samuel who left his place at Throg’s Neck. She lost a fine daughter some few years ago. Her son Samuel, who had long resided in Jamaica, lately returned and married his cousin Francis, as above mentioned. Her son Henry is now doing well in business at New York in partner-ship with my Nephew, Thomas D. Moore, son of Rev. Thomas Moore. In Oct. 1819 he married my Grand-daughter, Eliza Livingston. She has another son, I believe, named Anthony who is married and lives in Duchess County, on the place or near where his parents formerly resided.
My Grand-father’s second daughter Rebecca, died unmarried at New York upwards of 80 years of age. She was a pius and amiable woman and tho’ she lived to such an advanced age was never in health a day since about her Eighteenth year. She occasionally amused herself with drawing and had some turn for it, and at times was very lively in Poetry. She was buried in the family vault. His third daughter, Susannah, married to the truly amiable John Smyth Esq., of Perth Amboy, a man that had not an enemy before the year 1775. The rage of the times which succeeded, his placid and engaging manners notwithstanding, created him, as they did every Loyalist, a host of illiberal foes. He was Clerk to the Board of East Jersey proprietors and Treasurer of the Province when the Revolution commenced. He remained at Amboy till the evacuation of the whole Province by the King’s troops took place in July 1777, when the ill judged and fatal expedition against Philadelphia left New York. Mr. Smyth’s wife and son, Andrew, with Fanny, the daughter of my Uncle Charles, who had lived with them since her infansy, and my aged Grandmother Moore, with her two maiden daughters were obliged to quit their delightful residence and property and moved to New York and they all lived with me, free of expense to them, for some time, He was then appointed Treasurer to the fund raised from the houses of the disaffected inhabitants who had most unwisely left the City the preceeding year on the British Army’s first invasion. Mr. Smyth was proscribed by the States of New Jersey and New York and by a base and inhuman law of New York, called the Troops Acts, made amenable to the state for all the money he had so collected for the support of the Alms House, all of which, was most faithfully applied to its intended use by Commissioners appointed for that purpose. He was therefore obliged to fly with his family to England, where he died broken hearted with character irraproachable. The British Government allowed him during his life 200 sterling a year and his widow during her life half that amount. But all the compensation he received from his property confiscated in Jersey was not, I believe, above One Thousand Pounds. His widow, son and Fanny, her niece, returned to New York in the year of 1791. The widow died there some years ago at about 80 years of age and was enterred in the family vault. Her son Andrew’s first wife, was a Miss Parker of Amboy, daughter to the Mayor of the place, a man of wealth and great consideration in that State, but as far as I could ever learn, Mrs Smyth never received any part of her Father’s estate. She left no children. His second wife, now living, is the daughter of Mr. P.I. Livingston, already mentioned when speaking of that family, and has two children, Francis and John, and are all now in New York in very poor circumstances. He is one of the weighmasters appointed by the Corporation. The last survivor of all my Grand-father’s children is his youngest child, Ann, a maiden Lady of refined manners and improved mind. She is now upwards of 80 and enjoys good health and spirits and is very active. She was educated in England and lived many years with her Uncle Daniel at Great Marlow.
I have thus, for the information of my children and their respective families, given the most accurate account which my memory can afford of my Grandfather’s family and the families of his descendants, not one syllable of which has ever before put on paper, not seen nor heard by any other individual. No doubt it is inaccurate in many particulars, tho’ all the leading features of it are in substance literal facts. But while I write on this subject without better and more full information, I have thought it a duty incumbent upon me that my children may know something of the respectable family from which they are descended, well aware at the same time, that after my death and without this manuscript, they and their posterity would forever remain ignorant of their ancestors. Except my aged Aunt Ann, I am the oldest living being of all my Grandfather’s descendants, and being myself in my 75th year. I know I had no time to lose, and that now or never could my family receive the information. I have thus in some haste committed to paper.
It now remains for me to give an account of my father’s family, of my brothers and sisters and their respective families and shall finish this record with such particulars of myself and children as will no doubt be more interesting to my immediate descendants that any part of the proceeding. My mother, Elizabeth Channing, was the only child of Wm. Channing Esq., of Dorchester, England. He came to New York as Agent for the British Navy about the year 1720. He married Miss Ann Bowns, of Middleton, New York. She died soon after the birth of my mother, who was also deprived of her father and became an orphan at two years of age. She was brought up in the family of John Pintard Esq., an Alderman and Merchant of New York, whose wife was a sister of my mother’s. My mother had a polite and useful boarding school education and had a handsome independancy left by her parents in New Jersey. I have no record of the Channing family in England. There was a colateral branch in New Port, Rhode Island, the Father of which was named John, whose eldest son, William, was Attorney General of the State; his wife was daughter of William Ellery Esq., a Member of Congress and Colector of that Port.
Wm. left a large family. One of his sons, Wm., is a Presbyterian Clergyman of eminent talents now residing at Boston, who has an Uncle also a clergyman, still living, formerly at New London, but of late years had relinquished his profession and become a man of the World. They are both, with all of the family, said to be Iocinians. I know not when my Mother’s Parents were born, married or died, nor do I, of course, know their ages.
My Father married in a year or two after his return from England; He was, I believe, about 22. My mother was 17 and was born the 17, April, Old Style, 1727. He died at Norwich at the house of his son-in-law, General Huntington, (who married my sister Ann, at Norwich in 1777.) the 19th of June 1784, at about 63 years of age. My Mother, who had lived with me from that time, till her removal to by brother Richard’s at Staten Island about 20 years after, died at his Parsonage House the 7th, of Dec. 1805, in her 78 years. She had through life enjoyed a great share of health as had also my Father until a short time before his death. Their remains are deposited in the family vault in Trinity Church Yard, New York. I was their first born, the 18 of April, O.S. 1745, at the house of my Grand-father.
I had a good education, English and Latin, and was preparing for College, being intended for a Clergyman of the Church of England (to which every member of my Grand-father’s family without any exception belonged) when at 12 years of age, being at board on a vessel laying opposite to my Father’s store, I unfortunately fell down the Hatchway and fractured my head. The Physicians and Surgeons who attended me being of opinion that the further prosecution of my studies would probably be injurious to the brain and to my health I was on my recovery placed in my Father’s store where I remained until my 14th year, when, on the 20th of November, 1759, I was bound apprentice to a gentleman from Dublin, Mr. John Foster, who was at the head of the greatest Mercantile House at New York but which failed in the year of 1762, in consequence of their great speculations, both in this Country and the Continent of Europe. Mr. Foster retired to Boston in expectation of resuming business again but his partners in Ireland having also failed and the Creditors in this Country unwilling to make any compromise he removed privately to France, from whence I corresponded with him, he having, young as I was, appointed me his Attorney, and such monies as I could collect, I duly committed to him. My Father’s family being at Peekskill, I was put to board at a Mr. David Fleming’s, who soon after died and not knowing what else to do, I very unfortunately and having no person in the World to whom I could look for support borrowed 500 Pounds at interest and without the lease knowledge of the business and ignorant of the duplicity and chancery of Mankind, embarked, by Mr. Foster’s permission who sent me my Indenture from Boston in Nov. 1762, in the Manufactory now vacant by Mr. Fleming’s death. Being obliged to confide in the Overseer and Laborers I employed (who all cheated and deceived me) at the end of 18 months my poor little capital was totally lost and at 19 years of age I was again adrift.
My worthy friend, Mr. Wm. Bedlow on going to England, requested me to reside with and take charge of his family which I did until his return in the year 1764. Fortunately for myself and the large family I have since brought up, I was taken to a clerkship in the Custom House at the allowance of Fifty Pounds a year, which was at that time the usual wages and my Father’s family having returned a Bankrupt from Peekskill, I boarded with him and paid him Forty out of my Fifty Pounds a year and the residue furnished me with clothing – (now, alas, a young man thinks 500 dollars insufficient for the same purpose) I went into the Custom House, the 8th May, 1765, a day ever to be remembered by me. On the 24th of Oct. following, Andrew Elliott Esq., Son of Lord Minto, of Scotland and brother to Sir Gilbert of the King’s Privy Council and Receiver General of his Magesty’s Customs and rents, appointed me his deputy worth to me about Four Hundred Dollars annually in addition to my Clerkship and from this time received and paid the whole of the King’s revenue at New York. On the 5th Sept. 1768, my Uncle Lambert Moore, the Comptroller, appointed me his Deputy which office I accepted to oblige him whenever he should be absent without any demand of salary.
By this time I had paid the 500 Pounds, with the interest, from which I was in debt, being the money I had borrowed in 1762, paid my board constantly to my Father and not only was out of debt, but has something left. On the 29th Sept. 1769, Charles Williams Esq., a Naval Officer, appointed me his Deputy with the salary of $200.00 a year and from this time I received and weekly paid all the fees of the Custom House and Naval Office to the several officers to whom they were due as well as the fees of the Surveyor and Searcher, Alex. Colden Esq., of the Lieu’t. Governor Colden, Mr. Williams, the Naval Officer, having died at a very advanced age, on the 2nd. of July, 1773, his successor, Stephen Delancey Esq., (son of Oliver, one of the Council) appointed me his Deputy by Commission the next day, the 3rd., and through the advice of Mr. Elliot, my best and constant friend and Patron, the salary was raised from $200.00 to$375.0 per annum and at the same time Mr. Elliot having orders from the Commissioners of the Customs at Boston to act as Receiver from Greenwich Hospital dues which office Mr. Williams had always filled was pleased to give me all the Emoluments of that office as his dep’y which was worth about $200.00 per annum.
By this time I had about $3000.00 at interest, the income from which and from my office I judged would enable me to become a housekeeper with a reasonable prospect to support a family respectably and having been for about two years attached to Miss Judith Livingston of Poughkeepsie (who I first saw at St. Georg’s Chapel) we were there married on the 26 of Oct., 1773, it being her 20th birthday. The custom House (my late Grandfather’s Mansion) was allotted me for a residence a spacious building – the largest in the City, the rent of which was $200.00 a year and belonging to my Grand-mother. The Crown allowed the whole, except 25, which I paid. On the 7th of January 1774, Mr. Delancey was superceded by Samuel Kembell Esq., as Naval Officer, who continued me his deputy at the same salary. These several officers I held enjoying the friendship and patronage of all the principals in the fullest confidence of them and at the same time highly popular with all who had business at the Custom House, (the heat and disturbances of the time, notwithstanding) until the Port was shut by Act of Parliament in the commencement of the year 1776. In April of that year the trouble became very serious at New York. The King’s Troops had evacuated Boston and part of the American Army had arrived at New York and commenced there Fortifications and Barricading the Wharfs and Streets. It was therefore high time for the King’s officers and the friends of Gov’t. to seek for more quiet quarters. The Collector, Mr. Elliot, went to Amboy leaving me his directions to take the seals of office in my possession and from what ever retreat I went to to join him, if practicable, at New York, as soon as possible after the British Army (and event looked for speedily) should be in possession of the City. The Comptroller, my Uncle, went to Hempstead Harbour, where he was safe at the house of his father-in-law, Mr. Underdonk a staunch whig as Rebels were then called. The Naval Officer Mr. Kemble, Brother-in-law to Gen. Gage, the Commander-in-chief, had last year gone to Boston where he was Sec’ty to the General. All the other officers secreted themselves in the best way they could.
My wife went a few days before me to West Point where my Father, who was the King’s Weighmaster and Guager, had gone some weeks ago. I joined them about the 5th of April after being grossly insulted by some Vagabond Laborers on the Public Works. I remained there and at Poughkeepsie in tolerable tranquility (though robbed of my Arms).
The British Army having, after their victory at Brooklyn on the 27th of August, crossed at Kips Bay on York island and obtained posession of the City on the 14th of Sept. (on the 15th some base incindiaries who remained for that vile purpose, fired the City. Upwards of 1000 houses were destroyed on the 17th of Oct, I left West Point and lodged at Dr. Wintts at Tappan, obtained a pass form Amboy from Mr. Attwater, a Member of the Provincial Congress of New York, who to my great astonishment I soon met with at New York as a good loyalist. Uncle Stephen Moore, who had been with us at West Point on a visit, rode with me as far as Hackinsack Bridge, where he parted with me on his way home, in North Carolina. I went to a Doctor Lazier’s, a loyalist, on my way home whose house I passed a large body of American Troops. Had they stopped and examined my saddle bags. the King’s Seals would have been discovered who I was and where I was going to and thus there would have ended my Journey and Imprisonment been my portion. He accompanied me at night to a private place at Tacauca Meadow, where Guides were ready to attend all such friends of Government as were endeavoring to get to New York.
It was an extreme dark night. With several other Loyalist and our faithful Guide we left our hiding place and proceeded in utter silence through the woods and swamps to eh Hudson on the bank of which, near Weehock Ferry, signals by lights were made by the boats from Bloomingdale which every night came over for Passengars. In the impenitrable darkness, which absolutely prevented my seeing the Guide by the shirts of whose coat I held in following him, we were obliged to let him procede us and to jump down a precipice of many feet to get to the River. We were greatly alarmed at finding no boat had come over that night. The Guide feared we should all be made Prisoners by the Guard, who patroled there every hour. Happily he found a large Pettianger on the shore but without oar or rudder. We also luckily found a few staves that had drifted on shore. By our united labors we got the boat afloat and pushed off but a minute or two when we were fired upon by the Guard from an eminance. The darkness prevented their seeing though they heard us. We soon got under the protection of the Phenix, Man-of-war, Capt. Parker (since, admiral, Sir Hyde Parker), and on landing found ourselves on the rocks about four miles from the City. We scrambled along shore about half a mile and for under the residence of a wealthy friend who I had known many years, Mr. Jacob Watson. He was called up and received us all with great hospitality and had beds laid for us on his floors. Early on the 19th we walked to town, the Capt. of the Guard at Mr. Watson’s house, letting us proceed (without waiting permission from Lord Piercy, who was the Gen’l. Commandant) upon my assurance that I would immediately wait upon his Lord-ship and report our arrival at the garrison. Mr. Watson had informed the officer who I was.
I rode out to Lord Piercy’s quarters and was politely received. I accidentally and hapily met in passing his door, my old and worthy friend Daniel Chamier Esq., the Commissary General. Being out of employment he immediately too me into his office at 5/ Sterling a day and rations until, as he politely said, something better might offer. On the 26th. of Nov., The Honorable Henry White begin authorized by the Secretary of the Province, Wm. Knox Esq., in England, who enjoyed the same by reversion from Gov. Clark Esq., who had it by Patent, appointed me Dep. Sect’y with Fifty Pounds Sterling a year and the usual allowance for house rent and all the perquisites attending the business. This, while I held the office was a very lucrative appointment, especially from the marriage licenses. Soon after this appointment, Gov. Tryon called on the citizens to attend him to sweat allegiance to the King.
The sheriff, old Mr. Roberts, accordingly administered the oath and the Secretary of the Province giving to each individual the proper certificate – about 500 were qualified, many of the violent Revolutionist were among them, their oaths notwithstanding – I boarded at my old friends Capt. Taylor’s, the father of Mr. Brancher, whenever not otherwise engaged. I dined with the Commissary Gen’t. where I first made an acquaintance with my valuable friend, Gregory Townsand Esq., who was one of the Deputies after whom my eldest son was named and by whose will he was left and afterwards duly received Fie Hundred Pounds Sterling. Mr. Elliot had made his escape and got to New York from Jersey soon after I did but the Custom House was never opened during the War. About the middle of Dec. I, obtained a flag of truce from the Admiral Lord Howe and accompanied by the Rev. Dr. Inglis, Rector of Trinity Church, whose induction by Gov. T. I attended and to whom in my official character as Secretary of the Province, I administered the usual oaths to Government and Philip I. Livingston Esq., went up the Hudson for our families. We were not suffered to proceed beyond Verplank’s Point. We wrote to the Provincial congress in session at Fishkill making our request. It was immediately granted but with express and rather illiberal orders that neither of us should be permitted to land. Col. Taper, who commanded at Verplank’s Point, superceded their orders and politely invited us to his quarters as did the Commissary, Mr. Andrew Hawks Hay and Justice Smith (since Chief Justice of Canada) on the opposite shore at Haverstraw at whose house we dined occasionally. The Congress sent our families and effects down to New York in two sloops, in one of which my brother Richard also came at their expense but Col. N. Fick, who bore their flag of truce, was not suffered to land in retaliation of their refusal of that privilege to us. We arrived in a heavy storm on Christmas day and were hospitably entertained at the House of Mr. Henry Perry of the Com. Gen’l Department.
My friend Mr. Richard Yates gave me possession of a comfortable house in John Street for which he would not take any rent. On the 1st. of May, 1777, I hired and moved to a handsome house in Broad Street of Mr. John Livingston’s. On the 17th. of July, Mr. Elliot was appointed Superintendent General of the police and Superintendant of the Port, (in place of acting as Coll’r of the Customs) the Civil Gov’t not being organized nor was it during the War. On the 18th. he appointed me Chief Clerk in the Superintendant’s Port Office at 10/ a day. On the 30th. April, 1778, Mr. White gave me a new commission as Dept. Sest’t in consequence of Mr. Knox having succeeded on the death of Mr. Clark as the Principal. In the summer of this year my kinsman Samuel Bayard Esq., who had been Deputy Sect’y previous to the Declaration of Independence, returned to New York from Esopus where he had been sent by the Provincial Congress as a Prisoner on Parole with the records, which wren now taken from him, the State Gov’t being lately organized.
Although there was no obligation to do so on my part, without Mr. White’s superceding the commission he had given me, yet from my connection with Mr. Bayard and commiseration for his long captivity, I surrendered the office to him without its being required of me and probably Mr. White was not pleased on my so doing, and gave him about $400.00, part of my perquisite on all the marriage licenses I had issued while in Office. On the 25th. Sept. Mr. John Aregent, brother-in-law of the celebrated Edmund Burks, one of the Deputies in the Sup’t of the Port’s Department, returning to England and (through Mr. Elliot’s patronage and recommendation) he appointed me his Deputy in addition to my Clerk’s ship. I received 100 Pounds Sterlings a year.
All those offices I held throughout the War, besides which I did considerable and profitable Mercantile business. Thus it appeared I was not an amiable man, but made the most of every advantage I had, foreseeing how the War would terminate. Peace being declared and the British to leave New York in a few weeks I went to Conneticut to know whether I might receive protection there. I was recommended to Gov. Trumbull by my brother-in-law General Huntington whose first wife was the Governor’s daughter. My wife and child were then, and had been for two months past, at West Point at the General’s quarters where my sister, his present wife, was with all his family. The Governor received me very politely and told me there was no law nor any circumstance remaining since the Peace to prevent my removing to Conneticut under protection and perfect safety. On returning to New York, I found my wife and daughter there and an infant son, Townsend, 9 mos. old (M. W. H.) and on the 20th. of Oct. 1783, we took a melancholy leave of my Parents connections and highly valued friends and arrived at Norwich the next day, where myself and my family were as kindly received as if no War or Revolution had ever taken place. Much otherwise was I treated by the Governor of New York, where even since the Treaty of Peace had been ratified by Congress, I was proscribed and all my property as well as my person would have been hazarded had I not removed in time to Conneticut, where I passed seven happy years.
On my birth-day, the 29th. April, 1791, I unhapily returned with my family to New York in the hope of making something more than I posessed for my children but in less than a year I lost near Ten Thousand Dollars by engagements in the Wild Speculations of the day and by placing unbounded confidence where, by sad experience I too late found none was due. In May, 1792, I removed to Hempstead, where my brother Thomas was the Rector and took lodgings and board at Mr. Harry Peter’s. In May, 1793, I hired a house and in honor of my beloved friend Mr. Elliot, called it Elliot Place. My wife, having after a few days illness, died there, Dec. 1813, and my daughter Lydia, having married to the Rev’d Wm. Hart, 24, June, 1815, and removed to Richmond in Virginia, 10 months afterward, I could not think of living alone, not having one of my children left with me; I gave my daughter all my furniture, hired my house to Mr. Samuel Whiting with whose family I boarded the residue of the summer and early in Nov. went with my Grand-daughter, Ann Livingston to Richmond, Virginia where also, my brother the Bishop resides.
In May, 1816, I returned to New York, sold my property at Hempstead, and passed my time between that City, Long Island, the Springs and other places. In Nov. following I returned to Richmond, and in the like-manner the two following years in one of which, my son Thomas accompanied me and in another my son John came there from Jamaica. In Sept. 1818, went with Thomas to Onandago to John’s marriage. Immediately upon my return, in consequence of continued rains, excrable roads and too much fatigue, was taken ill and confined to my lodging at Sister Moore’s all October. In Nov. went to house-keeping at New York, for the accommodation of my daughter Livingston, who having lost her husband at Jamaica had returned with her numerous family of children to New York, in the preceding June, from which time until they came to me they resided at Throg’s Neck at her Father-in-law’s Mr. Livingston. Finding my expenses at New York greater than was convenient, I removed to Amboy, (the 23rd. of April, 1819), where we now reside but with very little change for the better as to expense. In June, last, I had a relapse of the Intermitting Fever and hitherto remained very feeble. I have thus given a short history of my life, which though a very busy one for 18 years from 1765 to 1783, the whole of the residue to the present day, had been, too much of it, an idle one.
I have indeed been more particular than I at first intended, but a no living Being but myself could give my children any account of the way in which I have passed through upwards of 74 years, I have thought it might be satisfactory to them and their children to know something of their Ancestor and of his Ancestor as far as ever came to his knowledge. The idea of writing the record was affectionately suggested to me in one of my daughter Lydia’s letters or it is probable I should never have thought of it, in which case none of my children would ever had known much of their family or connections or of their own Father’s life, there not being one individual of the race left except myself but who are ignorant of all I have thus committed to writing. May all my children continue to live with as much credit to themselves, as their Ancestors and immediate connections have done, for I have never known or heard of one of them who has ever disgraced the name.