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The William Heysham Line of New York City & Philadelphia

This is the story of three sons of William Hesam and Dorothy Postlethwaite of Lancaster who came to America in the 18th century. These were Thomas, William and Christopher. They, and their brother Giles, were merchant ship-captains; blue-water sailors who criss-crossed the Atlantic. Thomas and William made their homes in New York City. Christopher kept a foot on both continents keeping a home in both New York and in Lancaster. The fourth brother, Giles, made his home in Lancaster, but sailed frequently to America, stopping sometimes in New York, but most often in Charleston, South Carolina. Since Gyles' family made history in England, I tell his story and theirs on the John Heysham Line page. Another brother, Richard, just a year older than Thomas, was also a mariner operating out of Liverpool on the trans-Atlantic trade like Giles, but he died in 1755 so he doesn't find his way into this page. Yet another brother, Robert, was a mariner in the coastal trade back in England, so he didn't cross paths with his colonial brothers.

The page is named for William because only he left a male line. The biography of Dr. John Heysham of Carlisle, the son of Gyles, mentions that several of the sons of John Heysham, a merchant of Lancaster, emigrated to America and "there made their fortune." This was off by a generation. They were actually his grandsons; the sons of William Hesam and Dorothy Postlethwaite. They were,
(20) Thomas Heysham (1720)
(20) William Heysham (1721)
(20) Christopher Heysham (1724/5)

The following brother is also prominently displayed in the page below, though he continued to live in Lancaster.
(20) Gyles Heysham (1722)

These Heysham boys were contemporaries of Thomas Hesom of Lower Smithfield, one of my forebears. See his story on the John Heesom page. I don't believe, however, that they were closely related. There is no indication they communicated and they lived very different kinds of lives; the brothers as merchants, ship's captains, and politically active members of their cities; Thomas as a small-scale famer living a hard-scrabble life in a frontier community up the Delaware river. In what follows I have, where there is no other dependable information, tended to place those men who were essentially rural in character in Thomas’ line of descent. It is my prejudice that the son of a business man, doctor or lawyer, that is, someone of William’s line, would not choose to become a frontier farmer, given the option. This prejudice mislead me for some time about a descendant of William's who did become a farmer, in northern Pennsylvania. See his story on the Robert Heysham page.

William Heysham's descendants are interesting because so many achieved some degree of, at least minor, fame. William was a leading citizen of Philadelphia and a figure of some importance in the Revolutionary War. His great-grandson Robert Heysham Sayre, through his daughter Ann, was one of the richest men in the country, being both chief engineer of the Lehigh Valley railroad and a founder and managing director of the Bethlehem Steel company. Descendents of William's daughter Mary included one of the leading generals of the Civil War, John Gibbon, but also a long line of noted physicians, culminating in the inventor of the first heart-lung bypass machine, John Heysham Gibbon.

I want to thank the historian and author Tom Truxes for much of the information about the Heyshams in New York City.

(20) Thomas Heysham (1720)
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674)

Thomas Heysham, whose father was William, was christened on 27 March 1720 in Saint Mary's church, Lancaster, Lancashire, England. There is another Thomas, the son of William, who was christened in 1715 at Saint Mary's. I've assumed he died young, to be replaced by this latter Thomas, but some of the dates below are hard to sustain with a 1720 birth year.

I have a Thomas Heysham who was apprenticed to Allen Patchat of Liverpool, "Marriner," on 1 September 1729.

He became a ship’s captain and merchant, and settled in New York City in the mid-1740's. Thomas' routes included one between Newcastle, England and New York, and another between the Gulf of Honduras and New York and/or England.

I imagine the following scenario fit all three brothers. Each would have been apprenticed by their father to a ship's captain in England to learn ship handling, basic navigation and the rudiments of trade. A more thorough explanation of this kind of training can be found under William P. Heysham, below. After completing this training they would have found jobs as officers on a merchant ship, either one of their father's or of one of his friends. Depending on the size of the vessel they may have started as 2nd or 3rd Mate, then worked their way up to 1st Mate and Captain. Managing the trade for the ship's owners, they probably would carry some small load of their own goods as well. As their prosperity increased they would begin to share in the expense and profit of the voyage and become shareholders in the cargo or in the ship itself. Their goal would be to buy their own ship and set-up a merchant-firm of their own.

Since during their early career William and Christopher were noted to be operating out of Hull, on the North Sea coast of Yorkshire, I'll assume that Thomas was as well.

At some point around 1740 the brothers, who would have become familiar with the ports of America during their apprenticeship, made the decision to move to New York City. At left is an etching of three merchant captains of colonial New York. Opportunites for start-up companies would be greater there than in the crowded market of England. They probably procured a house together, with the shipping business on the first floor and living arrangements on the floors above.

Thomas, the eldest brother, sailed out of New York City to Jamaica as early as 1739.

"Custom-House, New York, April 16.

D. Griffith from St. Augustine, W. Baxter and J. Newbold from Maryland, B. Bethel from Jamaica. Entred out. None. Cleared. W. Beekman to Boston, A. Kip, J. Lush and J. Prue to S. Carolina, J. Tucker to Georgia, A. Phenix to Antigua, T. Heysham to Jamaica." - from The Pennsylvania Gazette of 26 April 1739

It is not clear if Thomas lived in New York at this early date, or merely sailed out of there on this occassion. This is the earliest reference I have yet found to the Heysham brothers in America.

On 25 January 1743 a will was recorded in New York City. The grantor was James Tucker - probably the J. Tucker, above. The grantee was Thomas Heysham. This was a reciprocal document, with Thomas Heysham a grantor and James Tucker a grantee - from "An Essay Towards an Improved Register of Deeds City and County of New York, to Dec. 31, 1799. Inc." Note that James Tucker, a merchant of New York, was one of the executors of Thomas' will a decade later.

I have an odd reference,

"Bill of exchange, Guy Heysham on Richard Birkett & Co. for William Dry, Cape Fear, 17 April 1744." - from "Rhode Island Roots"
The early timeframe and association with a Birket, though previously I've seen only James and Miles, makes it seem like this might refer to Thomas Heysham. The period seems early for Gyles, though the spelling favors him. Gyles also sailed merchandise for the Birket's. Cape Fear is in North Carolina, near the town of Wilmington. Colonel William Dry was a leading citizen of the Cape Fear region; magistrate, militia leader and later revolutionary patriot.

Thomas married Catherine, last name unknown, and had at least two children, William and Elizabeth. I expect, based on the above and the probable birth dates of his children, that he was married in New York City. William also married in New York, but Christopher married in Lancaster. That undoubtedly explains why Christopher kept his other foot in England.

On 26 January 1747 Thomas Heysham was a witness to the New York will of the privateer, Captain Arthur Helme, along with Catherine, his wife, and William Heysham, his brother:

“In the name of God, Amen. I, Arthur Helme, of the City of New York, mariner, this twenty-sixth day of January, 1747, do make this Will and Testament. All my just debts and funeral expenses to be paid. I leave to my dear and loving wife Jane the rents, issues, and profits of all my real estate during her widowhood, in order for her better maintenance and support, and the better to enable her to educate, bring up and maintain my children. After the remarriage or death of my wife, all my real estate to go to my well-beloved children, William, Francis, Benjamin, Jane, and George Helme, and unto the child or children wherewith my wife now goeth and is pregnant, to each an equal part. The interest of all my personal estate to be used toward educating, maintaining, and bringing up my children, until they arrive at majority or marriage, then my personal estate to go to my wife. I make my dear and loving wife Jane, and my loving and good friends John Coe and William Helme, executors.” Witnesses, Thomas Heysham, William Heysham, Catherine Heysham.
This will was not proved until 29 October 1781. Note, Letters of administration were granted on 29 October 1781 to Francis Panton, of the City of New York, a shopkeeper and the son-in-law of Arthur Helme, deceased, who became intestate by the death of Jane Helme, John Coe, and William Helme.

Arthur Helme

Arthur was a merchant ship captain and privateer. As the captain of the privateer REVENGE he captured the French brigantine OVER WINDER in April 1747. REVENGE was next captained by Alexander Troup, see below - from "Privateering in King Georges' War, 1739-1748" by Howard M. Chapin. Helme was also captain of the privateers POLLY and PEARL (or PERLL). At least one source calls him a "piratical privateersman," and "a notorious offender against the Spaniards." In October 1779, during the Revolutionary War, Arthur was hired to command the MINERVA, a schooner of twelve guns as a privateer. He cruised off the Capes of Virginia, though unsuccessfully - from "The Life and Times of Stephen Girard, Mariner and Merchant" Volume 1, by John Back McMaster, 1918.

I haven't yet found anything on Arthur's sons William and George, but Benjamin Helme became a New York City lawyer. In addition to a number of wills to which he was a witness, in 1757 he was a signatory to a New York City bond which bound him along with Isaac DePeyster, the colonial treasurer, his father, Abraham DePeyster, and Augutus [Van] Cortland to its payment. Benjamin became a supporter of the Revolution and on 7 November 1775 he was elected as a Deputy to the Provincial Congress. He was also a member of the Committee of One Hundred which acted as an Executive committee of the Provincial Congress. He was listed amongst those patriots who were forced to flee the city when General Howe captured it in September 1776. See Passaic's Victory Day for an account of his meeting with General George Washington.

The only other information on the family in American I have been able to uncover is an Arthur Helme Roorbach, a Hudson river steamboat captain born in 1775 in New York City, who I suspect is the offspring of Francis or Jane Helme, Arthur Helme's daughters.

It is my supposition that the witnesses for wills were the friends, or close acquaintances, of the subject and performed the duty as a kindness.

New York City

New York, or New Amsterdam, was originally a Dutch colony under the control of the Dutch West India Company, but by 1664 as many as half of the residents were not Dutch, the second largest group being the English. They came for religious freedom, better farmland, or to trade because New Amsterdam was such a rich port.

The word Yankee, according to H.L. Mencken, originated in the Dutch of New York, deriving from Jan - kees, meaning John Cheese, which had been a Hollander nickname in Flanders and Germany. The English used it to identify Dutch freebooters and in this sense it became familiar in New York. The New York Dutch applied it to the English settlers in Connecticut, who were regarded at the time as putting business ahead of morals. As time went on, the term was in general use to designate a disliked neighbor to the north.

England coveted the Dutch colony. Not only was it a rich prize in itself, and in possession of England's chief trading opponent, but it separated the two English colonies in Massachusetts Bay and Virginia. In 1664 England sent a powerful fleet into New Amsterdam and seized the colony. The pragmatic Dutch gave up without a shot being fired. Note the star shaped fort at the southern end of the island. This was Fort Amsterdam, the orginal Dutch fortification. The fort was renamed several times by the English; as Fort James, Fort William, Fort Anne and Fort George, honoring different monarchs.

The British built up the wharves on the eastern side of the island, expanded the shoreline and achieved what the Dutch had not been able to do, turn the city into a highly profitable port of trade.

By 1750 New York City was a busy port containing some twelve thousand residents and more than five hundred vessels, great and small. However, it was a great deal smaller than it is today, and only the third largest city in the colonies, after Philadelphia and Boston. Everything north of what is now the City Hall area was forest and outside city limits. The northern end of the town was defended by a wooden wall. It had blockhouses on the shore corners and bastions along the wall. This defensive line became a paved lane called Wall street when the British dismantled the wall in 1699. In the same year a new City Hall was built where Broad street ended at Wall Street, across from the Trinity church.

Broadway was the major thoroughfare, passing by the old Dutch fort. Broad street, the next major road, had originally had a canal down its middle to allow cargo to be brought further into the city. The British filled this in 1676 creating an especially wide street, earning it its name.

Item from the Philadelphia Gazettee, 7-9 September 1747, 'Shipper by the ARENT, Mr. Thomas Heysham, bound from Newcastle for New York.' Would "shipper" imply that Thomas was the shipping agent? The issue is, was Thomas "just" a ship's captain, in the employ of someone else, or was he an independent merchant? ARENT is Dutch for Eagle. On 9 June 1746 the ship ARENT, William Savary master, sailed from New York City for Amsterdam. In November 1748 a Captain Boulder sailed the ship ARENT from Bristol to New York in 5 weeks.

Newcastle, England

This is a port city located on the north side of the Tyne river, in Yorkshire. The view below was engraved in 1745. Newcastle is the regional capital of northeast England. The oldest part of Newcastle is the Quayside, which was until the nineteenth century, the commercial hub of all Tyneside. Most historical of the buildings in this area of the town are the keep of the Norman castle and the adjacent fourteenth century church of St Nicholas with its famous lantern tower. Until the onset of Victorian developments these two buildings were the two most prominent buildings in the townscape of Newcastle upon Tyne. The city came to prominence in the nineteenth century as the shipping point for the coal industry of northern England. The phrase, "shipping coals to Newcastle," identifies a useless task. By the way, the term 'sea coal' refers to coal delivered by ship, that is, from England.

From the "History of the City of New York" by David Thomas Valentine, 1853, page 391-392:

List of Freemen
1747 . . . William Haysham . . .
1748 . . . Thomas Heysham . . .
A slightly different list shows,
Freemen, 1746-7.
March 31st. . . William Haysham, Shipwright [sic]
Freemen, 1747-8.
March 15th. . . Thomas Haysham, Marriner" - from "The Burghers of New Amsterdam and the Freemen of New York. 1675-1866"
These are not long lists, comprising no more than fifty men for each year noted. As freeman they would be liable to service in the militia and could vote. Note that William came first, contrary to what I had imagined. Why wasn't Christopher ever listed as a freeman? Was that because he kept a home, and wife, in Lancaster?

From The Philadelphia Gazette of 12 January 1748, a New York item mentions 'Capt. Heysham from Newcastle [probably Thomas]. Capt. Grenall from Cape Francois, the privateer CATHERINE, Capt Obline, of New York (late Capt. Perkins, who died a few days after the privateer sailed) and Capt Troup.' - This is the same Captain Troup that would report Thomas Heysham’s death in 1751.

The Captain's Troup

The Family originated in Scotland and were settled in New York by at least 1703 when (19) John Troup, a perriwig maker, was made a freeman of the city. He had three sons, John, Robert and Alexander.

(20) John Troup (1705)
(19) John Troup Sr.

Originally a barber, like his father. In 1750 he was at Hanover Square in the hardware business. During the French War he was the agent of Robert Troup, his brother, who was "a famous privateersman." He died at Jamaica, Long Island, on 21 February 1775, aged 70 years. He was a member of the St. Andrews Society of New York City, a charitable origination that aided poor Scotsmen. Archibald Kennedy, below, was also a member. Confusingly, there is also a Captain John Troup, R.N., but he apparently was not related to this family.

John appears to have been a close friend of Thomas Truxton Sr. and the guardian of his son, Thomas Truxton Jr., who was later to become one of America's great frigate Captains. A copy of the will of Thomas Truxton Sr., of Jamaica, Long Island, dated 18 November 1761, proved 18 October 1765, and reprobated 17 April 1776 reads:

"In the name of God, Amen. I, Thomas Truxton, of Jamaica, in Queens County, Gent., "being of perfect and sound mind, Blessed be God for his mercies, but being bound out on a voyage to parts remote beyond the Seas, and knowing the Dangers and perils, as well thereof as of the Enemies, and also the uncertainty of Life." "I leave to my son, Thomas Truxton, born of the body of my late most valuable, dear and affectionate wife, Sarah Truxton," "all my estate in this province, in cash, bonds, plate, etc. If he dies under age, I give all his estate to my two sisters, Sarah Frances and Elizabeth Truxton. As to the estate to which I may be entitled in the Island of Jamaica, West Indies, or in England or elsewhere, I leave to my said son 1/2 (except such sums as may be due from Hon. Philip Pinnock, Esq., which I give to my two daughters). I make my esteemed friend, Mr. John Troup, of Jamaica, Queens County, executor."
Young Thomas Truxton would have been John Troup's ward from the time he was 10 years old. On John Troup's death his son, John T. Troup, took over executorship, but resigned the right a year later and had the will re-probated. Letters of Administration on the estate of Thomas Truxton were then granted to Abraham De Peyster, the principal creditor.

(20) Captain Robert Troup (1707)
(19) John Troup Sr.

Of Hanover, New Jersey. He commanded the brig HESTER [or ROYAL HESTER], 16-guns, and gained a reputation during King George's War in the 1740's. He was known as the "chief of the privateersmen." He brought the news of Thomas Heysham's death back to New York City. He later commanded the privateer-brig STURDY BEGGAR, 26-guns, during the French & Indian Wars. He died in 1768 at the age of 61.

(21) Alexander Troup (c1755)
(19) John Troup Sr. (20) Captain Robert Troup (1707)

The executor of his father's will; he was active during the Revolution.

(21) Colonel Robert Troup (1757)
(19) John Troup Sr. (20) Captain Robert Troup (1707)

The youngest of four children, he inherited his father's independent ways and sided with the patriots in the Revolution. Robert Jr. was born in Hanover, New Jersey on 19 August 1757. He attended Kings College [the present Columbia University] where he was a close friend and room mate of Alexander Hamilton. He was a Colonel in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and aide to General Gates, while Hamilton was aide to General Washington. A lawyer, member of the New York state assembly, and judge of the U.S. District Court for New York from 1796 to 1798. He was also one of the great movers and original subscribers of the Erie Canal. In his later life he was a Land agent in western New York state, the agent for the Pulteney estate of Sir William Johnstone Pulteney, fifth Baronet and Member of Parliament. Well regarded as a kind and prudent manager, the town of Troupsberg in Steuben county was named for him. He died in New York City on 14 January 1832.

(20) Captain Alexander Troup
(19) John Troup Sr.

A merchant ship captain, he was master of the brigantine WILLIAM AND SARAH. As a privateer he commanded the brig REVENGE during King George's War. He had no sons.

In 1748 Thomas Heysham sailed for Honduras. If the Captain Heysham from the last citation was Thomas, then he did a quick turn-around after his arrival from Newcastle.

". . . purchases, traders and mariners impatiently awaited the return of peace to resume and expand their activities in Central America.

The Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle (1748) set the stage for Manhattan's emergence as America's leading logwood port, despite the fact that Madrid threatened the most severe reprisals. Among the first New Yorkers venturing back to the Spanish Main, Thomas Heysham cleared for the Bay of Honduras in January 1748 with a cargo of rum, beef, and flour. Other investors and skippers hurriedly outfitted vessels for the voyage south. On Long Island, Oyster Bay merchant Samuel Townsend initiated the first of many logwood ventures by constructing the twenty-five-ton sloop Solomon which departed New York in the fall of 1749 under Captain John Jones. He did not sail unaccompanied, and when Jones returned the following year he reported more than fifty vessels gathering wood, estimating that many would not be loaded until the following Christmas. By 1753, at least sixty local ships regularly journeyed to the logwood coast, and the Bay of Honduras emerged as the third leading Caribbean landfall for New York traders after Jamaica and Curacao. The lure of high profits seemed to outweigh all the obvious risks, and Manhattan vessels composed nearly two-thirds of the colonial logwood "fleet." As early as 1750 dyewood exports from the Bay surpassed pre-war levels, and by 1756. . ." - page 237

. . . Many masters in the mid-eighteenth century improved maritime efficiency by utilizing lightly-constructed ships and smaller crews. Logwood carriers, on the other hand, tended to be more heavily built and manned, and virtually all bristled with substantial armament for defense against Spanish attacks. When Captain Thomas Heysham cruised to the Bay in 1738 he carried twenty-two men and twelve guns. Further, while most colonial skippers customarily followed shuttle routes between North America and the Caribbean, attempting to limit layover time (and personnel costs) in foreign ports, logwood ships frequently traced the triangular courses described in older textbooks, but recently debunked by computer-aided researchers."

- from "Down to the Bay: New York Shippers and the Central American Logwood Trade" in the "Proceedings of the New York State Historical Association" page 242
A reference that includes much of the above also notes,
"As early as May 1750 one New York skipper informed Governor George Clintyon of enemy preparations underway in Havana to assault England's Moskito Coast settlements and then capture all the merchantmen at the Bay. Reports from Cuba indicated that at least eight privateers were fitting out, to be joined by others from Campeche, all to be accompanied by three Spanish warships. Later that month an enemy galley entered the Bay and captured a Manhattan trader, burned the ship, and abandoned the men on a maroon islet without food or water. They were fortuitously rescued a few days later by Captain Vardil in the sloop Charming Molly. The Spanish intruder also seized Captain Thomas Heysham's tender after a bloody fight which left several men dead. That same summer a Rhode Island vessel seeking logwood encountered several armed gallies and then a xebec. Fleeing to Barbadoes, she carried word that the Spaniards had taken at least seven ships at the Bay." - from "New York History: Quarterly Journal of the New York State Historical Association"
1748 saw the end to the War of the Austrian Succession, or King George's War as it was known in America. It had begun in 1740 and had severely distrupted trade in the Caribean.
"But to eighteenth-century New York traders seeking cargoes of logwood, a valuable dyestuff, the Bay of Honduras (as it was then known) ranked as one of the least hospitable landfalls in the western hemisphere. Natural obstacles included treacherous shoals and deadly tropical fevers, while Spanish guarda costa privateers tested the skill and determination of any colonial seaman. Despite the near certainty of losses and deaths, Manhattan merchants regularly dispatched vessels south to the Bay for the logwood needed to offset escalating costs of European imports. For New Yorkers the height of this activity occurred between 1748 and 1761 . . ." - Ibid

Item from the Philadelphia Gazette, 31 May-26 June 1749. 'Shippers by the HAWK, Mr. Thomas Heysham, bound from Newcastle for New York.' The number of different ships Thomas captained leads me to believe that he was the captain only, not an owner.

The following is from the Northumberland Archives, Carr-Ellison Famiy of Hedgeley, Northumberland.

"Title Copy letter from Ralph Carr, Newcastle upon Tyne, to Gulian Verplank [at New York], via Captain Thomas Heysham.
Date 28 June 1749
Description Carr reports Captain Heysham, 'happen'd a most sad misfortune in this river and was great odds that both Vessell and Cargo had been entirely lost however thank God tis far better than I ever expected it' and he has given Heysham a statement of all expenses incurred in the incident so Verplank can average out the losses; he assures him that he has had all the wet goods dried out and repacked but adds 'I would not for Two Hundred pounds have the like trouble and Vexation that this disaster has given me'; he then discusses a cargo of crown glass sent by Mr Scott and delivered to Verplank by Captain Griffiths giving its price in Newcastle and reports he has asked Mr Scott to inform Verplank if it was of the best quality; he also reports sending some coal, bottles and other glassware for Mr Marston and that he expects captains Tanner, Hickey and Steward 'to clear here but none of them shall come further than Shields'; he ends by advising he has sent some newspapers [to Edmund Quincy at Boston] and offers to send Verplank 'any thing in this Country that wou'd be acceptable to you'"

The rest of the undated references from the Philadelphia Gazette are to a Captain Heysham, first name unknown. They may (and in most cases probably do) refer to Thomas, but I can't be certain.

"Capt. Thompson arrived from Jamaica, spoke with the Antelope, Heysham, and four other ships from Honduras, bound for New-York, all well." - from "The Country Journal or the Craftsman" of 8 September 1750.

James Birket, the younger brother of Miles Birket of Lancaster, made a trip to North American in 1750-1751 and kept a diary. He was a Quaker merchant operating out of Antigua. He appears to have been in frequent communications with the merchants of the Northern Colonies and perhaps acted as a correspondent or factor for them in their dealings with Antigua. He began his voyage on 26 July 1750 from St. John's Harbor, Antigua. He came ashore in New Hampshire and traveled overland to New York City. From there he returned to Antigua on 3 April 1751.

"16 October 1750. "I dined with John Fell, & Supp'd w'th T: Heysham."
Birket was in New York City. After visiting Long Island, he returned to Manhattan.
24 October 1750. He "Dined at Thomas Heyshams."
29 October 1750. He "rode out to Harlem and Several other Country Seats in the Neighborhood along with John Fell Samuel Burling Giles Heysham . . . "
This was Giles Heysham, ship's captain of Lancaster, England, visiting his brother, Thomas. John Fell was the senior member of the merchant firm of John Fell & Company - might there be a relationship with the Jane Fell who married Christopher Heysham in Lancaster? Her parents were George and Mary Fell of Kirkland. Samuel Burling was a Quaker merchant.

I think Giles and the brothers who emigrated to America were probably very close. Note that Thomas, William, Giles and Christopher were all born, rapid order, between 1720 and 1724. Their father died, in 1728, when they were very young which would have pulled them even closer. I suspect there was a number of such nautical visits on both sides of the Atlantic.

16 March 1751. "This morning took leave of my friends in N York (viz) Wm Coventry Is: Latouch Jos. Haynes Nat. Marsten Ra Hilton Tho: Duncan, Ia Burling, Sam Burling John Fell &C &Ca Had a Bowl of Hot Arrack and went Immediately aboard the Snow Elizabeth Giles Heysham. On Board the Eliz'a Giles Heysham Mas't for Antigua w'th John Willett Esq Cha's Duncan And my Self Passengers Also Yorkshire & the Two Horses, Wind N W And a fine gale We turn'd off our fast from the Wharfe at 10 o'Clock A.M. and at One o'Clock we Passed by Sandy hook." - from "Some Cursory Remarks Made by James Birket in His Voyages to North America, 1750-1751" by James Birket.
The ELIZABETH entered harbor at Antigua on 3 April 1751. Giles Heysham was listed as the Master of the ELIZABETH, of Liverpool - from "Liverpool as it was During the Last Quarter of the Eighteenth Century: 1775 to 1800" by Richard Brooke. James Birket's brother, Miles, was a part owner of the ELIZABETH. Miles was also an acquaintance of Thomas and Giles brother, Christopher.

The following, drawn from the Virginia archives, shows that the Heyshams brothers, from both sides of the Atlantic, probably continued to remain close.

Admiralty – Miscellanea, Registers of 1755 – 1758
Registers of Protections from being pressed, Coasting trade, 1755-1758
"Heysham, _____ [Giles] -- master of ship: ELIZABETH" – 17 March 1757, SR 05659, p. 4).

Another quote about the family and Virginia is odd.

". . . All the pennance I can find in my heart to enjoin you for your silence last year (if it be reasonable to punish one of the voluble sex for silence) is to say a great deal to me the next. This you'll say is as selfish as the pennance the ungodly fryer woud have imposed on the lovely lass in the song, tho' not near so mortifying to be sure. I am sorry for my loving friend Mrs. Heysham who like an old pair of breeches is left off after two years constant wearing. For my part I think she has lasted a great while, considering the noble Lord who had the wearing of her. Every body knows he has a weak stomach that must be kept up by variety, and 'tis a marvel he coud live upon partridge for such a tedious time together. Tho' after all it is not impossible but the lady may long for change of dyet, as well as her lover, especially since in such a course of familiarity the Feind must need have discoverd his cloven foot. The truth of it is and to our shame be it spoken, the women are commonly more constant than we. What may be . . ." - from "The Correspondence of the Three William Byrds of Westover, Virginia, 1684-1776," page 505, by Marion Tinling
This gossipy comment could be about any Heysham daughter dumped by a prospective suitor. Of course, its says "Mrs." Heysham, so what could that mean? Was she a widow, out a courtin'? Could this be related to the William Heysham who was colonial agent for Barbados? William Byrd and William Heysham, the agent, were both mentioned in the "Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series." Sarah Perry Heysham lived a good long, wealthy, life after the death of her husband, William, merchant of London, in the early 18th century. A noble lord would be very interested in her.

Thomas must have set sail for Honduras not long after his dinner with James Birkett.

A New York item, 1 April 1751. Report "the arrival there on 31 March of the brig HESTER, Captain [Robert] Troup, from the Bay of Honduras; Captain Heysham of the ship ANTILOPE [sic] died there the day before the HESTER sailed" (4 Apr.). - from The Philadelphia Gazette, 4 April 1751
This may have been an accident at sea or the result of a fever contracted in the tropics.

Ship Types

The Brig

The brig, like the HESTER, is a two-masted sailing ship where both masts are square rigged. The rear mast carries a gaff sail as well.

The Ship

In nautical terms, the only vessel called a ship, like the ANTILOPE, is one that carries three masts with at least three square sails on all three masts.

The Gulf of Honduras

The Gulf, or bay, of Honduras washes the shores of Guatemala, Belize (previoulsy known as the British Honduras) and Honduras in Central America.

Christopher Columbus established Spain's claim to Central America during his last voyage in 1502, when he sailed along its coast from the Gulf of Honduras, which he named, to Panama. While the Spanish colonized the whole area, the coastal regions, often referred to as the "Mosquito Coast," suffered from the depredations of pirates, who were endemic to the area, and from a concerted effort by the British to control trade in the region. The territory of British Honduras, now Belize, was originally part of the Spanish claim, but in the first half of the seventeenth century it was settled by English adventurers, mostly of the buccaneering type, without even a pretence of legal right. Later the English claimed possession by prescription, and, because of Spanish military inferiority, carried the claim. Spanish attacks on the colony continued until 1798 when the settlers won a decisive victory over the Spanish. The chief trade items were logwood, used to produce dye, and mahogany.

The jungles of Central America were breeding grounds for numerous diseases, including yellow fever and malaria. The incidence of such maladies across the Caribbean basin earned the area the title of the 'White Man's Graveyard.'

Thomas Heysham was probably trading for lumber in the region when he caught a "fever" and died.

On 15 April 1751 the ship ANTILOPE, under the command of John Ryan, sailed into New York City from Honduras - from "The Journal of the American Irish Historical Society." The ship probably carried the body of its late master. However, his widow had not waited to settle his estate. Thomas Heysham's will was proved just 6 days after the newspaper account of his death, above, was published. It is impossible to say how successful a merchant/ship owner Thomas was based on the limited information we have. He was only 36 years old, but his friends and associates, as shown through the executors and witnesses of his will, were among the most successful and prominent in the city.

The last will and testament of Thomas Heysham was signed on 11 January 1750. This was probably an update of a previous will prepared just before his last voyage. It would have been standard for seafarers to attend to such duties before every trip. It was proved, or probated, on 10 April 1751. From 'New York City wills 1744-1758':

"In the name of God, Amen, I, Thomas Heysham, of New York, mariner, being well in health. I leave all personal property, except household goods, to my son William and my daughter Elizabeth. I leave to my wife Catherine all household goods and the use of my lot and dwelling house for life, and then to my two children. I make my wife and my trusty friends, Thomas Duncan and James Tucker, merchants of New York, executors. Signed: January 11, 1750. Witnesses, Sarah Griffith, Johana Van Ness, James Emott. Proved: April 10, 1751."
Thomas does not mention his brothers which I cannot explain. I would have thought they were the most likely executors. This is the one and only reference to Thomas' daughter, Elizabeth, leaving the impression that she may have died young or was soon married.

"Seamen often selected executors who were of similar social background to themselves. Thomas Heysham, a prosperous mariner who owned a house and lot, appointed his two "friends," the wealthy merchants Thomas Duncan and James Tucker, as his executors.51 William . . ."

- from "Inheritance and Family Life in Colonial New York City" by David E. Narrett
After Thomas' will was read Catherine moved quicky to settle his outstanding debts.
"Heysham, Thomas, master of ship Antilope - died in Bay of Honduras (4/1); accounts with estate to be settled with widow, Catharine Heysham (4/22);" - from "Genealogical Data from the New York Post Boy, 1743-1773" by Kenneth Scott

At right is a drawing of a colonial New York row house like that which Catherine inherited. It would have been typical of those erected along Wall street. Very little of colonial origin remains today in Manhattan, in great part because of a disastrous fire in 1776.

The Duncan Family

(19) Captain George Duncan (1670)

He was born in about 1670 in Scotland and came to America in about 1700. He died in 1724 in New York City and was buried at the Trinity Church. He married Christine [Ludlow?]. Their children were: Francis (1700), who marred her cousin Gabriel Ludlow, Michael (1702), James (1703), George (1705), Christiana (1706-1784), who married Colonel Thomas DeKay of New York, Mary, and Thomas (1710).

In an inventory of 6 July 1724 pursuant to his death, Captain Duncan had owned two houses, rental properties on Little Queens Street, and a farm in East New Jersey. Listed in the inventory was a coat of arms and a brass-hilted sword.

(20) George Duncan (1705)
(19) Captain George Duncan (1670)

He married Martha Ludlow, the sister of Gabriel Ludlow Jr. [see below]. His children included Frances Duncan (c1735) who married her cousin Gabriel G. Ludlow. His daughter Susan Duncan married William Wickham. The Wickham's were, generally, Loyalists. Parker Wickham, William's cousin, was banished and his estates in Long Island were confiscated at the end of the Revoltuion.

(20) Captain Thomas Duncan (1710)
(19) Captain George Duncan (1670)

The executor of Thomas Heysham's will, he was a merchant of the city and slaveholder who lived on Broadway. His will was probated on 10 September 1760. He was clearly a prosperous man for he left 1000 pounds to his daughter, Arabella, and an equivalent sum to his son-in-law George Duncan Ludlow (1734), who had married his daughter, Frances (c1740). Thomas Duncan had no surviving sons. Thomas' sister, Frances (1700), married Gabriel Ludlow Jr. (c1700), a cousin.

James Tucker

James Tucker was born in about 1700 and settled in New York City where he first appears on record on the occasion of his marriage, on 31 July 1728, in the First Reformed Dutch Church of New York, to Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Cornelius and Jenneke (Paers) Woertendyke. Cornelius Woertendyke was a son of Jacob Woertendyke from the bowery (the country). He married Jenneke Paers of New York on 13 March 1709.

James Tucker resided on part of the Woertendyke estate near the present Elizabeth Street, named in honor of his wife. They had three sons, James, Thomas, and Robert. Robert graduated from King's college, now Columbia, in 1769 and became a physician. James Tucker died in 1759 (probably), a notice of his decease, with the names of his exectutors, appearing on 21 January 1760.

James Emott

A long line of lawyers, all unimaginatively named James Emott, lived and prospered in New York City and its environs.

(19) James Emmott

The first James Emott came to Elizabethtown, New Jersey from England in 1682. He was Secretary of the Province of New Jersey, Clerk of the Council in 1683, Deputy Secretary in 1684, and Captain-Lieutenant of a Foot Company at Perth Amboy on 11 December 1686. He married Mary Lawrence, the step-daughter of the first governor of New Jersey, Sir Philip Carteret. Moving to New York City in the 1690's, he was vestryman of the, then new, Trinity Church. He was most famously the counsel for the celebrated pirate, Captain Richard Kidd. He died in April 1713 in New York City leaving a widow with four sons and a fortune of £2,000. More than one person wondered how much of his fortune was based on Captain Kidd's loot.

This next item probably relates to this James Emott. In response to a vote to establish a public school system in New York in 1704, it was argued that the votes of Jews should not be counted, thereby reversing the outcome of the voting. James Emott, referred to as 'the leading New York attorney,' opened the hearing on behalf of the petitioners against the Jews. In an impassioned oration, he argued that it was an insult to a Christian commonwealth that the killers of Christ should exercise power, and that Jews should not have rights in New York that they did not have in England. Emott, in a landmark for American liberties, lost.

(20) James Emmott
(19) James Emmott

The James Emott who witnessed Thomas Heysham's will, and probably drafted it for him as his lawyer, styled himself a 'Gentleman Attorney at Law.' I think he meant that not only was he a cut above the usual as a lawyer, but that his clientele were as well. He was also the Notary Public of New York from January 1766 to 10 June 1768. He is less famous than either his father or his son, below.

(21) James Emmott (1771)
(19) James Emmott (20) James Emmott

His son, the third James Emott (1771-1850), was also a lawyer. He was a New York state legislator in 1804 and a leader of the Federalist party in Congress from 1809 to 1813, afterwards returning to the New York Assembly where he was the speaker. In his later years he was a judge of the second circuit court.

(22) James Emmott (1823)
(19) James Emmott (20) James Emmott (21) James Emmott (1771)

The fourth James Emott (1823-1884) also practiced law. He was elected the first mayor of Poughkeepsie, New York, was a justice of the New York Supreme court and judge of the court of appeals. In his later years he was a member of the Committee of Seventy that was instrumental in the overthrow of the Boss Tweed ring of Tammany Hall that had so corruptly run the city of New York.

The following describes the inventory and appraisal of Thomas' goods taken after his death.

"Christopher Bancker and Brandt Schuyler, merchants from New York City, were appointed in 1750 as publicly sworn appraisers for the Province of New York. Schuyler was replaced in 1753 by Joris Brinckerhoff, also a merchant. These men primarily appraised estates of deceased merchants and seamen, as well as ships and their cargo.

This manuscript records the appraised inventories of various estates and ships taken by Christopher Bancker, Brandt Schuyler, and Joris Brinckerhoff in New York, between 1750-1762. Entries record the quantity, description, and value of items in English pounds.

Appraisals of ships included valuation of the vessel's equipment such as masts, sails, cables, etc., as well as its cargo. In several instances, the cargo was damaged.

The majority of entries are for the appraisal of deceased merchants' estates, particularly in cases of escheats where there were no heirs. Such names as Thomas Hysham, John Moore, Francis Thurman, and Anthony Rutgers appear on the list of appraised estates. With the exception of several appraisals of business inventories, such as that of cloth merchant, Thomas Hysham, the majority of the valuated items are household goods and personal belongings. Numerous entries for silver, clothing, china, fabrics, furniture, slaves, farm animals, and pots and pans were recorded. Among the more eclectic items mentioned are a tortoise shell watch, a set of gold weights, a single pocket pistol, and a quilting frame."

- from Appraisals by Christopher Bancker, ca. 1699-1763, in The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, Deleware.
People referenced in the document include Thomas Hysham (mariner) and Cathrine Hysham.
"Among eighteenth-century American merchants' records providing incontrovertible proof of the kinds of textiles brought to East Coast ports are the Beekman Papers . . . The New York Appraisements contain household inventories and the seven-page inventory of textile merchant Thomas Hysham." - from "Textiles in America"

". . . . 3/" were appraised in the New York estate of Thomas Hysham in 1751." - from "Studies in Textile History" by Harold B. Burnham.

Catherine remained in New York City after the death of Thomas. Her brother-in-law, Christopher, used her home on Wall Street as a place of business when he was in town. His brother, William, had married so he undoubtedly had a separate address.

The next reference is undated so I can't tell if Catherine's advertisement was for goods her husband held at his death or if Catherine continued his business.

Undated. "Widow Catherine Heysham, whose husband Thomas had died in 1751, sold a variety of garments and textiles, cutlery, saddles, handkerchiefs, cheese, ale, sugar, "&c, &c," all "Just imported."" - from "Proceedings of the New York State Historical Association"

In 1756 she sent her son, William, to the new King's College, which was meeting just down Wall street at the Trinity church. William only stayed a year, going "into business" instead of graduating. Catherine probably apprenticed him to a ships-captain based on his subsequent career.

In the following reference of 1758 a William Thompson died without a will and a letter of administration was approved naming Catherine as the administrator.

Letters of Administration
Name of Intestate: Wm. Thompson
Adminstrator: Catherine Heysham
Date: May 25, 1758 - from "The John Watts DePeyster Publication Fund Series" Volume 29
Why would Catherine be named an administrator for this otherwise unknown man? Was William a relative, perhaps a brother? An alternative explanation, based on what happened upon John Heesom's death in Burlington, New Jersey, is that William Thompson may have died owing Catherine money; maybe he was a boarder. The court would then award her the estate to pay off those debts.

In 1759 Catherine's brother-in-law, William, was accused of treason for trading with the French Indies during the Seven Years War with France. Under the threat of arrest he fled, eventually settling in Philadelphia. His brother, Christopher, remained in New York at least as late as August 1768, when he was living in Flushing, on Long Island.

In 1766 Catherine's son, William, a mariner like his father, died at sea. His personal estate was put at interest by his executors, and the interest and the rent of his house on Golden Hill were paid to Catherine.

By 1772 Catherine had, nonetheless, fallen deeply into debt.

20 March 1772 "A Message from the General Assembly by Mr. Jauncey and Mr. Rapalje with the Bill Entitled "An Act for the Relief of John Cox and Catherine Heysham Insolvent Debtors confined in Gaol in the City of New York" desire the Concurrence of the Council thereto." The bill was reviewed on 21 March 1772 and approved on the 23rd. - from the "Journal of the Legislative Council of the Colony of New York", New York Council, 1861, pages 1845-1846 & 1848
A fuller rendering of the Act is below

"WHEREAS the distressing Situation of such unfortunate Persons who have been rendered incapable of discharging their Debts, has ever been an Object of Attention of the Legislature. AND WHEREAS it appears by the Petition of John Cox and Elizabeth [sic] Heysham that they have been respectively under a long Confinement, by Reason whereof their Effects which they are desirous of applying as far as they will go to the Satisfaction of their Creditors are daily diminishing. WHEREFORE,

BE IT ENACTED by his Excellency the Governor the Council and the General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted by the Authority of the same That it shall and may be lawful to and for the said John Cox and Catherine Heysham and each of them to present a Petition to the Court out of which any Process against them respectively hath issued or to any two of the Judges of such Court (exhibiting at the same Time an Account and Inventory of all Monies owing by and of all Estate real and personal belonging, and of all Debts due to them respectively.) praying to be discharged from his or her said Imprisonment, upon which Petition being so presented such Court may by Rule or Order of Court it shall be in Term Time or if in the Vacation any two of the Judges thereof by Warrant under their Hands and Seals directed to the Goaler in whose Custody he or she is may order such Prisoner to be brought up, and being so brought up administer to him or her the following Oath, (to wit)

"I A. B. do solemly swear that the Account by me now delivered is a just and true Account of all my Creditors, and the Monies owing to them respectively by me to the best of my knowledge and Remembrance, and that the Inventory and Account now delivered by me is a just and true Account of all my Estate real and personal both in Law and equity either in possession Reversion or Remainder (the necessary wearing Apparel of myself and Family immediately under my Care excepted) and I have not directly or indirectly, sold, leased assigned or otherwise disposed of or made over either in Trust for myself or otherwise except as set forth in the same Account, any part of my Estate Real and Personal for my future Benefit or in order to defraud my Creditors, so help me God."

Which Oath being so taken as aforesaid if Proof shall be made to the said Court or Judges that Notice has been given in one or more of the Public News Papers of this Colony (which the said Debtors are hereby required to do in Order to entitle them to the Benefit of this Act) by such Debtor of his or her intending to apply to such Court or Judges for his or her Discharge at least three Weeks before such Application made, and if the Truth of such Oath shall be denied or controverted; the Court of Judges may appoint some further Day or hearing what can be alledged on either Side, and either remand the Prisoners or discharge them after such further hearing in Manner herein after directed; but if such Oath shall not be denied or controverted, then such Court or Judges as aforesaid may immediately order the Lands Goods and Effects contained in such Accounts to be by a short indorsment on the Back of such Petition subscribed by the Prisoner assigned to the said Creditors or to any one or more of them in Trust for his or her Creditors, or to some proper Person to be by the said Court or Judges appointed in Trust for all the Creditors, and also for all Attornies Sheriffs, and other Officers of the Court with the Goaler as to their Fees in any Causes depending against such Debtor, for which Fees such Officers shall come in only as Creditors, and abate in the same proportion, by which Assignment all the Estate of the said Debtors respectively shall instantly vest according to the purport of such Assignment, and such of it as is in possession of any person shall be recoverable in the Name of Names of such Trustees who are hereby fully authorized to dispose of and execute good and sufficient Deeds for the same or any Part thereof, and after six Months previous Notice published in one of the Public News Papers of such Assignment, and requiring all the Creditors to send in their Demands, to divide and distribute as well the Monies thence arising, as such other Monies which shall come into their Hands by virtue of this Act, among the Creditors of the said Debtors respectively, and the Officers aforesaid to whom any Fees may be due in proportion to their respective Debts or Demand according to the true Intent and meaning of this Act: which Assignment being made, and all the Lands Goods and Effects in the Debtors possession according to such Inventory being delivered to such Trustee or Trustees the said Prisoner shall be discharged out of the Custody by order of Court if such Court shall be sitting, or by Order of such Judges if in Vacation Time, and such Order as aforesaid shall be sufficient Warrant to the Sheriff Goaler or Keeper, and he is hereby required to discharge the said Prisoner if detained for no other Causes than such mentioned in his or her said Petition: (PROVIDED that this Act shall not be construed to affect any Creditor or Creditors residing in Great Britain) and such Debtors or either of them shall never after be liable to be sued for any Matter or Cause accrued, or to have his or her Body or Estate taken in Execution upon any Judgement obtained, before such Discharge unless he or she shall be convicted or perjury in any Matter or Article contained in the said Oath.

AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Action or Suit shall be brought for any Thing done in pursuance of this Act, the Defendant or Defendants may plead the General Issue, and give this Act in Evidence, PROVIDED that this Act shall not authorize the Discharge of the said Debtors if he or she shall stand chargeable at the Suit of the Crown.

PROVIDED ALSO and be it further Enacted that if the said Debtors or either of them shall be convicted of wilful false swearing in any Matter or Article contained in the said Oath he or she shall be guilty of Felony, and suffer the Pains of Death without Benefit of Clery."

- from "The Colonial Laws of New York from the Year 1664 to the Revolution."
The Act was passed on 24 March 1772. Basically it directed Catherine to make an inventory of all her goods and monies, and distribute these amongst her creditors in proportion to the debt owed them. Once she was down to nothing but her skivvy-shorts, the rest of the debts would be disolved.

I suspect it was her brother-in-law that went to the Assembly in Catherine's aid. I find Catherine's destitution odd because her husband had left her all his household goods and the use of his lot and dwelling house (I assume this is the home on Wall street) for life. Subsequently her son, William, who must have had a fair amount of money since he left 250 pounds to friends and relations, had stipulated that "the rest of my personal estate is to be put at interest by my executors, and the interest and the rent of my house on Golden Hill to be paid to my mother . . ." Clearly, however, she had lived beyond her means.

Debtors Prison

New York City jail, known as the New Gaol, was built in 1759. The first city structure built specifically as a jail, it was completed on the northern fringes of the city, in an area known as the Commons. Most of the rooms in the three story structure housed lawbreakers, but a few rooms were set aside for debtors and paupers. It was located next door to the almshouse. Bridewell prison, to the west, was built in 1775, afterwhich the New Gaol became the debtors prison. By the time of the print to the left the structure had become the Hall of Records and gained a wooden top.

To protect the city from attacks out of the north a palisades had been built in 1745. It was a wall between ten and 14 feet tall made of cedar logs that were about ten inches in diameter and were set into a trench about three feet deep. The wall was placed just north of the gaol and almshouse. Wall street was just to the south.

Debt in America

Insolvent debtors were often imprisoned for failing to honor their debts. Early on debt was seen as a moral issue and the failure to honor a debt constituted a character flaw. This idea, however, began to change in the mid-1700's as commercial debt increased. The economic downturn following the Seven Years War (1754-1763) caused people to see debt as an economic issue often due to market forces outside the individual's control. Many came to see the debtors prisons as misconceived. Reformers complained that in the two major debtors' prisons, the New Gaol in New York City and Philadelphia's Prime Street Jail, respectable middle class businessmen and their families were often incarcerated with common criminals. Little substantive change was made, however, until after the American Revolution.

Who were Catherine's benefactors, Jauncey and Rapalje?

The Jauncey's

The Jauncey's were staunch supporters of the DeLancey party of New York in the pre-Revolutionary period and were Loyalists during the later conflict. Jauncey & Hoyt, importers, was their firm.

(20) John Jauncey (c1715)

John and his brother, James, below, were the founders of this old New York merchant family. He was born in Bermuda, the younger son of a merchant family. He moved to New York City and first married Sarah Van Tienhoven. He became a merchant ship master in 1737. He commanded a privateer, LINCOLN, of 14-guns in 1743. That ship was lost, but he returned in a French prize, ANNUNCIATION, in 1746. He and John Lawrence, another New York merchant, owned the privateer, CHARMING SALLY, of 26-guns, in 1756-1758. The ship's captain was George Harison [Harris], see below. John subsequently owned many privateers, including MARY ANN, another CHARMING SALLY, of 12-guns, ROYAL HUNTER, SALLY, and POLLY. During this time and after he also captained merchant ships. He lived in Jamaica, Long Island. He married Margaret Heyder in 1764. He died in the winter of 1767/8. His children were John (1738), Joseph (1744), Cornelius, and Sarah.

CHARMING SALLY may have been the ship Thomas Heysham's brother, William, sailed.

(21) John Jauncey Jr. (1738)
(20) John Jauncey (c1715)

He was born in 1738. He married Ellizabeth Hicks in 1761. He was also a privateer, arriving in New York in 1757 in charge of a prize brig. He later commanded the SALLY and PHILIP. He lived on Long Island, just south of Christopher Heysham. In 1765 a John Jauncey was a witness to the will of Catherine Heysham's son, William, so there may have been a long-standing friendship. John Jr. died at sea near Grand Cayman, in the Bahamas, in 1767.

(21) Joseph Jauncey (1744)
(20) John Jauncey (c1715)

He married Susannah, the daughter of Edward Nicholl, a New York merchant. Was Edward the brother of Richard Nichols, esq? If so, there's another connection to the Heysham family via Elizabeth Stollard, below. Joseph was the master of a trading vessel to the West Indies. He died in Charleston in 1779.

(20) James Jauncey (c1715)

He was born in Bermuda and emigrated to New York with his brother, John. A Presbyterian. He became a merchant ship master in 1743. He commanded the CHARITY. He married Maria, the daughter of William Smith, sea captain. He then abandoned the sea and became a merchant. He fitted out many privateers in 1757 and 1758. He owned the OLIVER CROMWELL, John Nicholl commander, AMERICA, MARY ANNE, LORD HOWE, GOOD INTENT and CATY. A warden of the port of New York from 1758 to 1774. In 1765, during the Stamp Act crisis, he agreed to abide by the non-importation agreements. He was elected to the General Assembly in 1768, but was not seated until 1769. He served through 1775, when the Assembly was dissolved. He, James DeLancey and Jacob Walton generally directed affairs in the Assembly.

It was probably James Jauncey who initiated the act for the relief of Catherine Heysham, and probably at the instigation of her brother-in-law, Christopher.

In 1774 he was a member of the Committee of 51 that remonstrated against the arbitrary course of the British Parliament. He returned to England after the war where he died in 1790. His sons were William, James and John.

(21) William Jauncey (1744)
(20) James Jauncey (c1715)

He never married. He built the Jauncey house which adjoined the Ludlow house on Broad street, so there was that affinity as well.

(21) James Jauncey Jr. (1747)
(20) James Jauncey (c1715)

The second son of James. Master of the Rolls in 1774. He was a Loyalist during the Revolution. He died in 1777.

(21) John Jauncey (c1750)
(20) James Jauncey (c1715)

He would have been too young to be the witness to William Heysham's will. He died in 179-.

The Rapalje's

The Rapaljes were an old Dutch family of Walloon origin and were amongst the earliest settlers of New Amsterdam. The first European child born in New York state, in June 1625, was Sara Jores De Rapalje, daughter of Joris Janszen de Rapalje and Catalina Trico. At the time of Catherine's problems Stephen and Garrit [Garrett] Rapalje were merchants of New York City. Garrett was born on 31 May 1730. He was engaged in the importation of ironmongery and dry goods at his store oppostie the Fly Market.

In the mid-1770's Catherine's brother-in-law, Christopher, disgusted by the trend towards revolution, returned to England. Catherine was now alone.

On 30 January 1775 Catherine witnessed a will.

"In the name of God, Amen. I, Elizabeth Stollard, of City of New York, spinster, weak in body and contemplating the necessity of Death. I leave to my uncle, Michael Lourier, of N.Y. City, Cooper, 50l, but if I survive him said sum to be divided between his son Edward and daughter Mary. To my Aunt, Sarah Otis, widow of James Otis, who (if now alive) resides in the Colony of Connecticutt, 100l, two silver table spoons and my damask gown. To my Executor 50l to be for the use of my Aunt, Theodosia Gale, now living at Poughkeepsie, N.Y. To my kinsman, the Hon. John Tuder, Esq, 20l for a suit of mourning. To my Cousin Jane, daughter of Rev. Samuel Auchmuty, D.D., 10l. To the wife of William Bull and her daughter-in-law, Lucy Bull, 10l between them on account of the tenderness and attention they have shown me during my residence with them. To my beloved Couzen, Mary Auchmuty, two silver spoons, my silver shoe buckles, gold sleeve buttons, and three silk gowns. To my beloved Couzen, Jane Harison, widow of the late George Harison, Esq, two silver table spoons. Residuary estate real and personal to my Executor for his own use or any purpose he think fit.
Executor, Rev. Samuel Auchmuty, D.D., Rector of Trinity church
Dated January 30, 1775. Witnesses, Catharine Heysham, William Corbey, Michel McAnd. Proved July 29, 1785, when Lucy Bull, spinster, swore she witnessed the signing of the above will and relinguished her legacy therein. Administration granted the same day to Elisha Adams as the Executor had died."
- from "The John Watts DePeyster Publication Fund Series" Volume 37
Elizabeth Tuder married Giles Stollard on 8 July 1695. Elizabeth's bequests make her seem a lady of means and her beneficiaries were prominent folk. I assume that as a witness, Catherine must have had some association with Elizabeth. Note that a John Tuder was made a freeman of the city of New York in 1748, the same year Thomas Heysham gained the same honor. I also have a Captain John Tuder, High Sheriff and later Recorder of New York City in 1705, perhaps Elizabeth's grandfather, was noted to have lived c1650 to 1708.

Elizabeth's Beneficiaries

(19) Michael Lourier [Laurier]

A Michael Laurier, Cooper, was made a Freeman of New York City in July 1732. His daughter, Mary Lourier, married Thomas Cooper on 27 July 1761. His son, Edward Lourier, had a vault reserved for him in the New York church, circa 1768.

(20) William Bull

"In 1763 four blacks, "Lester, Caesar, Mingo and Isaac," fled from William Bull of New York City, who offered to pardon them if they returned." - from "Root and Branch: African Americans in New York and East Jersey, 1613-1863" by Graham Russell Hodges. William submitted a notice of four runaway slaves in the "New York Weekly Post-Boy" in October 1763. He was appointed Inspector of firewood for the "Slip Commonly Called pecks Slip" in 1769. - from "Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1675-1776" by Herbert L Osgood, Austin Baxter Keep, and Charles Alexander Nelson. He received in pay 4 coppers per cord. He almost immediately quit the position. He was a witness to the will of William Corby, one of Elizabeth's witnesses, in 1782.

(20) John Tuder

He was the Recorder of New York City and, in the Mayor's absence, presided over the Mayor's Court. A vestryman of Trinity church, as was James Emott.

(20) Samuel Auchmuty (1722)

He was the son of Robert Auchmuty, a lawyer of Boston, who emigrated from Scotland. Samuel's brother, Robert Jr., was a defense attorney during the Boston Massacre trial and co-counsel with future President John Adams. He was later a Judge of the Admiralty Court for New England. Samuel, left, was born in Boston and received his degree in divinity at Harvard in 1742. He became the rector of Trinity church, in New York, a Governor of Kings College, and was the Chaplain to "the Right Honorable William, Earl of Sterling." He married a Mrs. Tucker in 1749. The Reverend died in 1777.

Samuel had three daughters, Mary Juliana, Isabella and Jane, whom Elizabeth Tuder Stollard called her cousins. Samuel's three sons were Robert-Nichols, Robert-Harrison, a surgeon with the British Army, and Sir Samuel Auchmuty (1756-1822), GCB. The latter was a loyalist who fought with the British during the American Revolution. Young Samuel received a commission in the 45th Foot and went to England with his regiment after the war. He served with distinction in India, Eqypt, Argentina, Java, and Ireland. He retired as a Lietuenant General.

(20) Jane Harrison & Mary Auchmuty (c1725)

These were daughters of Richard Nicholls [Nichols], esq., whom Elizabeth Tuder Stollard also called her cousins. Jane married George Harrison, Esq., surveyor of customs. Mary married the Reverend Samuel Auchmuty. Another daughter, Elizabeth, married Alexander Colden, of Flushing, Surveyor-General and the son of Cadwallader Colden, Governor of New York in the 1760's. A fourth daughter, Susannah, married John Burges and, upon his death, Dr. Peter Middleton, governor of King's college.

Did Richard have a niece, Susannah? Susannah, the daughter of Edward Nicholl, married Joseph Jauncey. Note the Jauncey connections above.

Richard Nichols, gent. was the Coroner in the government of John Montgomerie, 1728-1731, and held the position until at least 1746. He was also for a period the Deputy Clerk, a post he resigned in 1747. In about 1731, in the first financial advertisement ever in New York, "Richard Nicholls Attorney at Law, near the Fort in New York" offered to negotiate the sale of land and properties. "Richard Nicholls, who was the first broker in New York, was of a good Welsh family, and was an attorney here for sixty years, and for many years postmaster." - from "Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Family History of New York" by William S Pelletreau. Richard Nichols, esq., Postmaster was mentioned in the correspondence of Rev. Auchmuty. He lived on Broadway, just below Wall street. He died in 1775. I don't think he was in any wasy connected with Colonel Richard Nicholls (1624-1672), the Governor of New York and New Jersey in the 17th century.

Elizabeth's Witnesses

(20) William Corbey [Corby]

He married Ann Emett. In 1776 William was one of 547 Loyalists of New York who pledged their loyalty to the King and requested that martial law in the city be suspended. This implies that he was of the middling rank I would think. This petition was addressed to General Howe and Admiral Howe, the King's Commissioners for Restoring Peace in the colonies. William Corby made his will in 1782 and it was proved in November of that year. His witnesses included William Bull. His executors included his "good friends, Richard Jenkins and Jasper Ruckel, bakers." This, contrarily, would imply that he was a "mechanic" or trademan.

A William Corby was Governor of the State in 1732, but I don't know if there was any relationship. He died in New York City in 1736.

(20) Michel McAnd

Was this Michel or Michael?

In a report submitted to the Executive Council of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, William Heysham of Philadelphia, Catherine's brother-in-law, noted parenthetically that he had visited the "widow Heysham" in New York City in March 1775 to get Joseph Greswold Sr., a distiller and Loyalist living on Pearl street, to "render me an account which he had against Widow Heysham." Catherine would have been about 60 years old at the time. Clearly she continued to have problems with money. Note below that William had dealings with the Greswold family during the revolution that may reflect an enmity arising from this period.

I've found a snippet that mentions Catherine's name, but in what context I'm not yet certain. Apparently these were debts owed and the number of months allotted to resolve the issue.

". . . James [Beekman] granted only three months, to Gabriel William Ludlow [a dry goods merchant who made small purchases from James] only six months, to Peter Remsen "3 or 4 months," to Catherine Heysham three months, while in the case of a L10 purchase by Jane Durham James noted that the sum was to be . . . " - from "The Beekmans of New York in Politics and Commerce, 1647-1877" by Philip Lloyd White
The Beekman's were, of course, an extremely rich and influential family in New York City. James Beekman, a New York City merchant and great grandson of Dutch settlers to New Amsterdam, lived from 1732 to 1807. In 1763 he built the family mansion, Mount Pleasant, on the East River near what is now 51st street. He was interestingly a patriot unlike so many of his New York merchant allies. William Heysham was mentioned in Beekman correspondence when his ship, the JEVON, was taken by privateers, see below.

Catherine may have died circa 1784. A deed was recorded in New York City on 20 May 1784 from Christopher & William Heysham etc. to John Mowatt. Another New York deed was recorded on 18 May 1785 from Christopher Heysham to Christian Shultz. - from "An Essay Towards an Improved Register of Deeds City and County of New York, to Dec. 31, 1799. Inc." Note that Thomas Heysham's son, William, had left his house on Golden Hill to his mother, Catherine, and, upon her death, to his uncles, William and Christopher. These deeds may mark the year of Catherine's death when her brothers-in-law divested their newly inherited property.

Captain Heson

The following reference is left here until I figure out its significance. It may relate to a New England family. It is dated in 1730 and concerns a Captain Heson.

1730. ". . . (10 Sept.) Marston, Capt., who arrived in New York Aug. from Jamaica - tells of his being chased by a Spanish pirate ship (10 Sept . )
Heson, Capt. - letter of 7 Aug. from Bermudas reports his arrival there from Providence and that Capt. Philip Cockram of New York was taken by the Spaniards, who cut him and most of his men to pieces (10 Sept.)" - from "Abstracts from Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1748" by Kenneth Scott
"Cockram (or Cockrem), Capt. Philip, late of NYC--killed by Spaniards 9/7/30." - from "Genealogical Data from Colonial New York Newspapers" by Kennetch Scott. Phillip Cockrem, Mariner was a Freeman of the city of New York circa 1719. Sources indicate that Cockram was a privateer who, after the War of the Spanish Succession,
"continued to attack their traditional enemies. They even announced to one captured ship captain that "they meddle not with English or Dutch, but that they never consented to the Articles of Peace with the French and Spaniards."

Thomas and Catherine's children were,
(21) William Heysham (c1740)
(21) Elizabeth Heysham (c1745)

(21) William Heysham (1742)
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674) (20) Thomas Heysham (1720)

He was born circa 1742 and died in 1766. This would make him about 23 years old when he wrote the will, below. The will clearly states he was the nephew of William and Christopher Heysham. I have to believe these are the Heysham brothers then living in Philadelphia, below. I don't know if William was born in America or in England, in Lancaster. After the death of his father in 1751, William’s uncles probably had a large influence on his life.

William was a student at King’s College (later Columbia University) in New York from 1756-1757. Note that William's mother, Catherine, was an acquaintance of Samuel Auchmuty, the rector of Trinity church and a Governor of Kings College. The class entering in 1756 were,

Robert Watts
Phillip Livingston
John Marston
Isaac Wilkins
Samuel Bayard
Anthony Hoffman
Christopher Roosevelt (went into business)
Gilbert Livingston (left because of smallpox)
William Heysham (went into business)
George Spencer (left after two years)
Elihu Woodruff (left after one year)
Richard Jaques (left to physic)
William's classmates were from the wealthiest strata of New York society. The names Livingston and Roosevelt are well known to this date.

Is it reasonable to expect that a 14 year old would be in university? Schooling then was not yet established in the rigid model of today and many young men, especially the sons of the rich, were schooled at home for some period. They usually entered college at a younger age then we would expect today. I've recently found information to corroborate the above.

"Students admitted to King's College were substantially younger than elsewhere. Whereas the average entry age at Princeton was seventeen, it was fifteen at King's . . . Gouverneur Morris (class of 1763), who began his career at the College two months shy of thirteen, was by no means the youngest." - from "Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1754-2004."

Kings College, New York

New York City's first institution of higher learning, Kings College (now Columbia University), was founded in 1754 by a grant of King George II. In July of that year it commenced instruction of a class, consisting of ten students, in the vestry room of Trinity Church. While construction began in 1755, college buildings were not occupied until May 1760. It is the fifth oldest college in the United States and one of the eight Ivy League institutions.

William did not graduate from Kings College. His record is annotated as "Went into business." Another source reads slightly different,

. . .
Anthony Hoffman
Christopher Roosevelt--In his 2nd year he went to Merchandize.
Gilbert Livingston--In his 2nd year he left the College on . . .
William Heysham--In his 2nd year he went to merchandize.
George Spencer--After about 2 years left the College.
Elihu Woodruff--After about a year left the College . . .
- from "Samuel Johnson, President of King's College: His Career and Writings"
So William entered his second year at King's College, the 1757-58 term, but did not complete it. In another book, under the title "NONGRADUATES," was "William Heysham (1756-1758)" - from "Columbia University Officers and Alumni, 1754-1857 By Columbia University Committee on General Catalogue."

"Went into business" was probably an apprenticeship with a merchant ship captain, similar to that of William P. Heysham, of Philadelphia, below. It is interesting to consider whether this move was due to a lack of interest in college, and a career in the law, or a sign of economic distress.

Another source has William Heysham, under the title "Matriculants Who Have Not Graduated," in the year 1760. This may mean that he was in the class of 1760, that is, this was when he was meant to graduate, but had left sometime before. Others of his class who did not graduate were,

William Heysham<.br> Richard Jaques.
Gilbert Livingston, Memb. 1st Prov. Congress, N.Y., from Dutchess Co., 1775; Memb. Constit. Conv. from N.Y. 177; Republican Presidential Elector 1800.
Christopher Roosevelt
George Spencer." - from "Catalogue of Matriculants Who Have Not Graduated, 1758-1897" by Columbia University

The will of William's father, Thomas, had named Thomas Duncan and James Tucker as executors, along with his mother, though Catherine was not identified by name. They probably also acted as guardians during his minority. While the following snippets are incomplete, I think they say that in 1760, when William was 18 years old, his guardians having died, William petitioned the Court of Chancery for a new guardian.

"The appointment of guardians in such cases depended on petitions presented to a court on behalf of minor heirs. By the early eighteenth century, the provincial Court of Chancery emerged as the primary judicial body concerned with minors' legal rights. Located in New York City this court received 168 requests for the appointment of guardians between 1691 and 1775. Seventy-five of these petitions (or 45 percent) concerned Manhattan residents.

The great majority of petitions concerning guardianship were presented during the late colonial era. The Chancery received 102 petitions, or 61 percent of all documented colonial cases, between 1756 and 1775. Eighty-eight requests (52 percent of the total) were dated between 1766 . . .

Though disinterested individuals occasionally served as guardians in these cases, it was more common for overseers to have some financial or personal relationship with the orphans' parents. Minors themselves looked for assistance from those persons who could be expected to protect their interests. William Heysham, an eighteen-year-old orphan, petitioned the Chancery in 1760 that George Duncan Ludlow, a city merchant, be appointed as his guardian. Ludlow's deceased father-in-law, Thomas Duncan, had previously served as an executor of the Heysham family estate. This case also indicates how the appointment of a legal guardian was often a last resort — a measure undertaken when other means of guidance were no longer possible. William Heysham himself only petitioned the Chancery after the death of his father's three executors--the boy's widowed mother and two family friends [footnote] 16. Unlike Dutch legal practice, the Court of Chancery recognized the . . ."

Footnote 16. "Ibid., 12. William Heysham's father, Thomas, had appointed Thomas Duncan as an executor of his will. Duncan referred to his son-in-law, George Duncan Ludlow, in his will. NY Wills, Liber 17:343-44, Jan. 11, 1750; Liber 22:197-98, Nov. 9, 1758. - pg 120

Seamen often selected executors who were of similar social background to themselves. Thomas Heysham, a prosperous mariner who owned a house and lot, appointed his two "friends," the wealthy merchants Thomas Duncan and James Tucker, as his executors. William Morris, who left legacies totaling £1,318 to his wife and . . . pg 184" - from "Inheritance and Family Life in Colonial New York City" by Dave E. Narrett

Executors Thomas Duncan and James Tucker had died in 1760, the year of William Heysham's petition, above. However, William's mother, Catherine, was still alive, witnessing a will as late as 1775. I can only guess the author of the extract above has erred. Did the author 'assume' that William's mother must have died if he were petitioning for a new guardian? While this is building upon too many assumptions, perhaps Catherine was not mentioned in the petition because she was not considered to be financially competent. Looking at her problems with money, above, is illustrative. See also the case of Heysham vs. Heysham, on the Thornton-Heysham page, for a situation of a minor suing his insolvent mother to get a more competent guardian. I don't think this was a case of diminished women's rights [that dang patriarchy!] since the Chancery Courts were generally more liberal than the common law in allowing women to control property.

In 1760 John Waddell made a will and a William Heysham witnessed the codicil of 18 February 1762. Since Thomas' brother William had fled New York in 1759, this must have been Thomas' son. He would have been about 22 years old and probably finishing the maritime apprenticeship I assume he began in 1758. Since Waddell was a mariner it is interesting to consider whether William may have been employed by him, or was even his apprentice, and thus readily available to witness this document.

“In the name of God, Amen. I, John Waddell, of New York, merchant, being of sound mind. "My body to be decently interred according to the Church of England method," at the discretion of my wife and executors. "I leave to my wife Anna the use of all estate during her widowhood, for her support and the support and education of my children, and that after a creditable and Genteel manner," until the youngest is of age, and if necessary, she has power to sell. If she dies before the distribution of estate, I request my friends, Peter Van Brugh Livingston and John Vander-spiegel, merchants, to be executors, and that my children, William, Henry, John, George, Mary, Anne and Sarah, may have a decent maintenance and creditable education. And if my wife should marry, they are to sell all. My wife is to have my horse and chaise and a negro slave, and 1/3 of the rest of my estate. I leave to my son William œ20 over and above his share, "and also my Right in the Public Library in New York, in full bar for his claim as heir at Law." All the rest of my estate I leave to my wife and children, and I make my wife executor.” Witnesses, William Ludlow, Cary Ludlow, George Ludlow. It was signed on 9 October 1760.
The Ludlow's who were witnesses were brothers. The codicil to the will:
“Whereas since making my will I have purchased of Sarah Fitsoort by deed May 27, 1761, a tract of land in the Great Patent, being Lot 24 in Lot 2. I leave the same to my youngest son George "in consideration of his infirmity." If he dies, then it is to be sold as the rest of my estate.” Witnesses to a New York will, William Heysham, Cary Ludlow, Barent De Freest. Dated February 18, 1762. Proved, June 9, 1762.

John Waddell

A member, like Captain Troup and Archibald Kennedy, of the St. Andrews Society of New York City. Captain John Waddell came from Dover, in England, but was undoubtedly of Scottish origin. He was born on 21 October 1714. On 30 November 1736, he married Ann Kirton. On 14 October 1746, he became a Freeman of the City of New York under the designation of "Mariner." A correspondent with Thomas Wharton. He was one of the first subscribers to the New York Society Library, as was his wife and he was one of the original 33 members of the Masonic Society of the City of New York. He died on 29 May 1762. There are portraits of Captain Waddell and his wife in the New York Historical Society.

He achieved minor fame through his signature to Queen Anne’s acceptance of a surrender of governance by the proprietors of the colonies of East and West Jersey. This seems to have occurred in 1709, but was witnessed by John in 1747.

If William was a friend of Cary Ludlow it meant he had good contacts with the wealthiest class in New York City.

The Ludlow Family

Another prominent family of New York, they were closely associated with the Duncans, above. The name Ludlow is derived from the town of Ludlow in Shropshire, England. They are an ancient family of English origin and there is a Ludlow Castle. Ludlow street in New York was named for this family.

(19) Gabriel Ludlow (1663)

He was born at Castle Cary, Somerset, on 2 November 1663, the son of Gabriel and Martha [Cary?] Ludlow of Warminster, Wiltshire. He came to the colony of New York in 1694 and became prominent in business and public life. He was an early merchant of New York City and in 1699 he was Clerk of the colonial assembly. He was an active churchman and vestryman of Trinity Episcopal Church.

He married Sarah Hanmer on 5 April 1697. She was the daughter of Reverend Hanmer, one of the first rectors of Trinity Church. They had twelve children, among whom were sons Gabriel Jr. and William.

(20) Gabriel Ludlow Jr. (c1700)
(19) Gabriel Ludlow (1663)

His sons were George Duncan and Gabriel George. There appears to have been a sister, Martha, as well who married George Duncan.

(21) George Duncan Ludlow (1734)
(19) Gabriel Ludlow (1663) (20) Gabriel Ludlow Jr. (c1700)

He was born on Long Island, New York, in 1734. He married Francis Duncan, a daughter of Thomas Duncan. Thomas Duncan was the executor of Thomas Heysham's will and a guardian of William Heysham, Thomas Heysham's son. George studied law, and, notwithstanding a serious impediment of speech, became eminent as an advocate. In 1760 William Heysham petitioned the court that George Duncan Ludlow be his new guardian, the previous guardians having died.

Previous to the Revolution George exercised much influence in the colony, and was councillor and a judge of the supreme court in 1769. His mansion at Hempstead Plain, later called Hyde Park, was one of the largest houses on Long Island. In 1778 he was made the Master of the Rolls and Superintendent of police on Long Island. Ludlow was a strong Loyalist, and the previous year his house at Hempstead had been plundered and it is said that he escaped imprisonment by climbing on the roof through the scuttle and hiding behind the chimney. After the Revolution he was compelled to leave the country. He was included in the New York Act of Attainder which seized and sold all of the assets of the Tories and his seat at Hyde Park and his other property were confiscated.

"Public Auction," read the newspaper advertisement, offering for sale at police headquarters in Jamaica, "a quantity of household furniture, consisting of mahogany tables and chairs, beds and bedsteads, a very elegant eight-day clock, glass, china, earthen and pewter ware, and some plate, with a variety of kitchen utensils."
Loyalists had been scattered throughout the colonies, but were strongest in New York City, western Long Island and Westchester County. When the British lost, there was little for the most outspoken Loyalists to do but leave the country. It was the largest exodus in American history, with estimates as high as 100,000. Ludlow moved to New Brunswick, becoming the Supreme Court Chief Justice there in 1785. He was later knighted.

(21) Gabriel George Ludlow (1736)
(19) Gabriel Ludlow (1663) (20) Gabriel Ludlow Jr. (c1700)

The brother of George Duncan, he was born in New York City on 16 April 1736. He entered the military service of the crown at the beginning of the Revolution and was colonel and commandant of De Lancey's 3d battalion in 1782. At the close of the war his estate of 140 acres in Hyde Park was confiscated, and he was banished. He also moved to New Brunswick. He was a member of the first council of St. John, its first mayor, and on the organization of the court of vice-admiralty in 1787, although not a member of the bar, was appointed judge.

(20) William Ludlow (1707)
(19) Gabriel Ludlow (1663)

He was born on 21 April 1707. He married Mary Duncan, the daughter of Captain George Duncan. She was born on 14 February 1714 and died on 21 September 1799. Their children were James, Mary W., Sarah, Frances S., William, George, Cary, Gabriel William and Frances.

(21) Cary Ludlow (1736)
(19) Gabriel Ludlow (1663) (20) William Ludlow (1707)

Of Jamaica, New York. He was born on 31 August 1736. An attorney.

3 January 1760. "License of Cary Ludlow to be Attorney at Law, the several Courts of Record in the Province." - from "The New York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin"
He was Deputy Register of the Ordinary & Prerogative Court of New York. He first appears as Deputy Surrogate for the City & County of New York on 19 April 1774. He continued to hold this office through the British occupation of the city during the Revolution. Master of Chancery. He held property on Water and Chatham streets and, in 1792, he built a residence at No 9 State Street, then a residental section of New York City. While probably a loyalist, he remained in New York City after the war and prospered. He married Hester Lynsen. She was born on 13 March 1750 and died on 15 March 1814. They had a daughter, Catherine, who, in 1791, married Jacob Morton. Their sons were George, who died in 1812, Abraham, who died in 1809, and Edmund.

(21) George Ludlow (1738)
(19) Gabriel Ludlow (1663) (20) William Ludlow (1707)

He was born on 18 June 1738.

(21) William Ludlow (1742)
(19) Gabriel Ludlow (1663) (20) William Ludlow (1707)

He was born on 11 August 1742. From a listing of all those "Persons whose property was Confiscated in the Several Counties of Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris, and Sussex Counties of the State of New Jersey, for joining the Army of the King of Great Britain &c. as returned to the Auditors Office, previous to the first day of May 1787:"

Morris County
William Ludlow
George Ludlow
The homes of Cary, William and Gabriel Ludlow were all plundered by Continental forces during the Revolution for window lead for use in the making of bullets.

Barent De Freest

The De Freest's were an old Dutch Family, members of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam.

William, following his uncle’s lead, was a merchant and mariner of New York City. His career, however, was more brief. The following was his Last Will and Testament, dated 28 August 1765 and proved on 11 June 1766:

“In the name of God, Amen. I, William Heysham, of New York, merchant, "being at present bound on a voyage to Sea." I leave to each of my uncles, Christopher and William Heysham, 50 pounds sterling. To Mr. George Duncan Ludlow, 50 pounds. To Peter Allaire, of New York, and William Imlay, Jr., of Bordentown, New Jersey, each 50 pounds [250 pounds would have been quite a bit of money in those days]. The rest of my personal estate is to be put at interest by my executors, and the interest and the rent of my house on Golden Hill to be paid to my mother, and after her death the principal and my house on Golden Hill are left to my said uncles, and I make them executors.” Witnesses, John Richards, John Jauncey, Richard Morris.
George Duncan Ludlow had been William's guardian after the deaths of Thomas Duncan and James Tucker. John Jauncey of New York City, along with John Lawrence Jr., was the owner of the CHARMING SALLY in 1757-1758.

Clearly at this time William was not married and the Thomas Heysham family name ended here. At one time, before finding this will had been proved, I had thought that his friendship with the Loyalist Ludlow's might show that William had returned to England with his uncle Christopher at the start of the Revolution.

William's Beneficiaries

George Duncan Ludlow (1734)

See above. A prominent lawyer and jurist, and William's guardain beginning in 1760. He was a cousin of Cary Ludlow.

Peter Allaire (1740)

A New York City merchant. His family were Hugenouts from La Rocelle, France. His father, Pierre, was born in New Rochelle, in Westchester county, in 1699, while Peter was born in New York City in 1740. At the time of William's will he was only 25 years old, so just starting out on his career. He was a loyalist and during the Revolution he became an agent for the English.

". . . the only character who ever alarmed Franklin himself, a man named Peter Allaire, . . .
. . . he led an adventurous life in international commerce. He purveyed wheat and rice to the French troops in Guiana, sold cannon and cloth in Morocco, traded on the Barbary Coast, in Spain and Jamaica, and traveled to Russia more than once. Based in London since 1776, he shuttled freely and frequently between England and France, even after hostilities broke out . . . Allaire got in touch with Franklin quite early in 1777 and offered his services an an American agent in London . . . By May 22, 1778, Allaire's role as a shuttling intelligence agent seem established . . . " - from "My Life with Benjamin Franklin" by Claude-Ann Lopez
He was, however, playing a double game and was an acquaintance of the famous double agents, Edward Bancroft and Samuel Swinton. He was sent to the Bastille on fears that he meant to poison Franklin with a bottle of tainted Madiera. He was later released, but was expelled from the kingdom. Peter returned to New York, abandoning his wife and child in a French convent. Ironically, the American government, through Franklin and John Jay, provided funds for her support. Somehow Peter stayed out of trouble with the American government.
"a memorial of Peter Allaire, of New York, proposing to supply copper coins, was referred to the Board of Treasury to report." - from the Journals of the Continental Congress, 27 December 1785
I don't know what further action was taken on this memorial. He continued to be employed by the British Foreign Office, reporting to Sir George Young. In 1790, at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion, he advised the British that,
". . . the time for caution on the frontier had ended. Writing from New York in August 1790, this spy argued that 5000 to 7000 men from the western country would join the British in a military venture to conquer Spanish Florida . . . "Take the Floridas" P.A. advised. "Open a free navigation of the Mississippi for the western inhabitants, and you bind that county and its inhabitants forever in spite of Congress, or all the world, for without the Mississippi, its fruitfulness is useless; a few frigates and 2000 men would retake it in three weeks . . . All dispatches sent by ‘P. Allaire' and ‘PA' came from Peter Allaire . . ." - from "The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution" by Thomas Paul Slaughter
He continued to live in New York, having a case before the court in 1797. He died in 1820.

William Imlay

He was born in Bordentown, New Jersey. A merchant of great influence, his firm was John & William Imlay, importers. A Commissioner of the Peace for Burlington county, New Jersey in 1761 and a justice of the county in 1767. He was a member of the New York City Chamber of Commerce from 1769 to 1772, as were Garret Rapelje and James Jauncey (see above). A member of New York's "Social Club" that met at Fraunce's Tavern. Other members included John Jay, Gouverneur Morris, and Robert R. Livingston, patriots, and Daniel Ludlow, and George and William Ludlow, brothers, loyalists. William Imlay was listed as a loyalist, "at first, but doubtful after 1777." This club was broken up in 1775.

There was a William Imlay who was amongst those Quakers rounded up in 1777 and sent to Virginia as people of questionable loyalty.

"Resolved, That William Imlay, said to be a subject of the State of New York, having behaved in like manner as the persons above mentioned, and in particular declined to give assurance of allegiance to the State of New York, be removed and secured with the rest." - from "Exiles in Virginia: With Observations on the Conduct of the Society of Friends During the..." by Thomas Gilpin
Remember that Quakers generally refused to "swear" and were opposed to violence. Many tried to remain neutral, but were as a result distrusted by both sides.

A patriot nevertheless, William was appointed by Washington as Commissioner of Loans. He held this office from at least 1781 until his death. Also Commissioner for the Connecticut Loan Office. His signature is on numerous loans and bonds, some of which were co-signed by Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He died in Hartford, Connecticut.

Military Funding in the American Revolution

In the autumn of 1776 the Congress opened loan offices in the several States and authorized a lottery to raise money "for defraying the expenses of the next campaign." The prizes of the lottery were made payable in loan-office certificates. This scheme was abandoned, but the Loan Offices continued to operate, issuing loan certificates and bonds to defray the cost of the war.

It is interesting that in this will William treated these three men like they were part of his family. Certainly these 50l bequests were not repayments of debts, but signs of familial interest.

William's Witnesses

John Richards

A New York merchant, circa 1750. A John Richards had a "genteel plantation" on the Passaic river, in Bergen county, New Jersey in an area called New Barbados Neck, now Rutherford. A Loyalist, he removed to New York during the Revolution. He was shot and killed while on a pass through the American lines to visit his farm.

John Jauncey

The Jauncey family were one of the wealthiest in New York City. This was probably John Jauncey Jr., who was about William's age. He died at sea off Grand Cayman, the Bahamas in 1767. See the entry above.

Richard Morris

The Morris family was also very wealthy. Richard was born in 1730, the brother of Gouverneur Morris. He was a judge of the Admiralty Court and was appointed Chief Justice of the New York State Supreme Court in 1779 despite his lack of ardor for the Revolutionary cause.

The Morris Family

(18) Richard Morris

Richard left England after serving in Oliver Cromwell’s army, became a merchant in Barbados, and emigrated to New York City when it was known, under the Dutch, as New Amsterdam. He purchased a tract of land in what is now the Bronx, which, along with other real estate, descended to his son, Lewis Morris. The New York estate was erected into a manor, called Morrisania, in 1697. Richard died in 1672.

(19) Lewis Morris (1671)
(18) Richard Morris

He was born in 1671 and died in 1746. An early leader of New York’s “Country” party and doughty champion of the popular cause in the colonial assemblies of New York and New Jersey against the “Court” party centered in the Governor’s Council aligned with a string of supposedly corrupt and power-grabbing governors. Shown at right.

(20) Lewis Morris Jr. (1698)
(18) Richard Morris (19) Lewis Morris (1671)

Lewis Sr.’s eldest son, was born in 1698 and died in 1762. He was the second lord of the manor and became judge of the high court of Admiralty.

(20) Robert Hunter Morris (c1700)
(18) Richard Morris (19) Lewis Morris (1671)

Lewis Jr.'s brother, he was born circa 1700 and died in 1764. He was appointed Chief Justice of New Jersey in 1738 by his father and later became Governor of Pennsylvania in 1754. Protests from the western counties over his administration of frontier defenses resulted in his resignation in 1756.

(21) Lewis Morris III (1726)
(18) Richard Morris (19) Lewis Morris (1671) (20) Robert Hunter Morris (c1700)

At left, he was the third and last lord of the manor. He was born in 1726 and died in 1798. He signed the Declaration of Independence.

(21) Gouverneur Morris (1752)
(18) Richard Morris (19) Lewis Morris (1671) (20) Robert Hunter Morris (c1700)

At right, the half-brother of Lewis Morris III, was born in Morrisania in 1752. Probably the most distinguished member of the family. He attended King's College (later Columbia College and University) in New York City, graduating in 1768 at the age of 16. Three years later, after reading law in the city, he gained admission to the bar. When the Revolution came he was a patriot, despite misgivings about the possibility of mob rule. He was a member of the Continental Congress and a close friend of George Washington. He later worked with Robert Morris, the chief merchant of Philadelphia and Superintendent of Finance for the United States, to whom he was unrelated. He was one of the leading figures of the Constitutional Convention. He was Minister to France, replacing Thomas Jefferson, and later elected to the Senate.

(21) Richard Morris (1730)
(18) Richard Morris (19) Lewis Morris (1671) (20) Robert Hunter Morris (c1700)

At left, he witnessed William Heysham's will. The brother of Gouverneur & Lewis Morris, he was born in 1730 and died in 1810. He was born in Morrisania, and was a judge of the Admiralty Court, like his father. He was appointed Chief Justice of the New York State Supreme Court in 1779 despite his lack of ardor for the Revolutionary cause. Morrisania was annexed to the city of New York as part of the Bronx in 1874.

(22) Lewis Richard Morris (1760)
(18) Richard Morris (19) Lewis Morris (1671) (20) Robert Hunter Morris (c1700) (21) Richard Morris (1730)

The son of Richard Morris, he was born in 1760 and died in 1825. He was born in Scarsdale, New York and saw active service during the early part of the Revolution. He was Assistant to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1781 to 1783. He established a manor at Springfield, Veront, was active in Vermont politics, and served as Representative in the U.S. Congress from 1797 to 1803.

William’s house on Golden Hill was apparently a different property than that willed to his mother in his father's will of 1751. Note below that Mrs. Heysham was living on Wall Street in 1759 when her brother-in-law used it as his New York City address.

Golden Hill

This area was settled by the Dutch and named for a flower that grew there in profusion, the yellow celandine. The Dutch called the flower a gouwe and the settlement Gouwenberg. The English renamed it Golden Hill. Eventually it was absorbed by the city. The area is on the east side of Lower Manhattan, basically John Street east of William Street. This area is four blocks north of Wall street. All that remains today is the narrow Gold street.

This was the site in 1770 of the first blood shed in the American Revolution. A mob, trying to prevent British soldiers from tearing down a “liberty pole,” attacked the soldiers, leaving many wounded.

An Anomoly

The following is for a William Heysham, Mariner of New York, who had died by 1763; that is, three years before our William did. The Heysham mariners who traded with New York, Thomas, William, Gyles and Christopher, either had sons named William who are already accounted for, or were too young to be this man's father. The easiest answer is that the indenture below has the date wrong, but that seems hard to credit. Others of this clan were also mariners, Robert and Richard, both of Liverpool, but I don't have any children for them.

Susannah Hickman was, circa 1763, the widow of a William Heysham, mariner, of New York.

"This Indenture made the twelth day of March in the third year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King defender of the faith and so forth, and in the year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundren and sixty three Between William Crillin of the City of New York mariner, and Mary his wife, and Susannah Heysham of the said City widow and Relict of William Heysham Late of the said City mariner deceased (Which said Mary Crillon and Susannah Heysham are the two daughters and heirs at law of Robert Hickman late of said City yeoman & Susannah his wife both deceased, which said Susannah Hickman was the only child and heir at law of John DeForrest and Susannah his wife both deceased and also niece and heir at law of Abraham Varlett also deceased, who was the only son of Nicholas Varlett Esqr. deceased, and which said Susannah DeForrest was also the only daughter of the said Nicholas Varlett and sister of the said Abraham Varlett) of the one part, and Robert Leake of the said City Esqr. of the other part witnesseth that for and in Consideation of the sum of One thousand and five hundred pounds Current money of the Province of New York to them the said William Crillen and Mary his wife and Susannah Heysham in hand well and truly paid by the said Robert Leake at or before the execution hereof the Receipt and payment where of are hereby acklnowledged They the said William Crillin and Mary his wife and Susannah Heysham Have and Each and Every of them Hath granted bargained sold aliened released Enfeoffed and Confirmed, and by their presents do and each and every of them Doth grant bargain sell alien release Enfeoff and Confirm unto the said Robert Leake (in his actual possession now being by virture of a bargain and Sale to him there of made for one whole year, by them the said William Crillin and Mary his wife and Susannah Heysham by Indenture [garbled] date the day next before the day of the date of their presents, and by force of the statute made for transferring were Into possession) and to him heir and assigns forever, All those Certain Tracts pieces parcells and lotts of land and ground Situate lying and being in the county of Bergen in the Province of New Jersey, whereof or whereunto all any or either of the aforementiioned ancestors of the said Mary Crillin and Suannah Heysham were or was [garbled] possessed or intitled in fee simple, and whereof or whereunto they the said William Crillin and Mary his wife and Susannah Heysham any or either of them now are, or is, as Descendents of heirs at law of the aforesaid . . . [endless legalese] . . .
William Crillin
Mary Crillin
Susannah Heysham" - from "Colonial Conveyances East and West Jersey, 1664-1794"
- Susannah, the only surviving child of Doctor John De Forest and Susannah Verlet, married Robert Hickman in 1703. "Robert Hickman, Mariner" was admitted as a freeman, or citizen, of New York City on 19 March 1705-6.
- "William Crilin, Marriner" was admitted as a freeman of New York City on 23 May 1749.
- Rober Leake, Esquire, was the Commissary General of North America, serving with the army in the campaign for Louisburg, Nova Scotia and with the ill-fated Braddock expedition in western Pennsylvania. He was a rich man with extensive land holdings.

(21) Elizabeth Heysham (c1745)
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674) (20) Thomas Heysham (1720)

Thomas Heysham's daughter. I do not know what became of her, but it is significant, I think, that she was not mentioned in her brother's will of 1765. Even if she had married by this time, which would have been likely, I would imagine that she would rate a comment. She probably died between 1751 and 1765.

(20) Captain John Easom (c1715)

Or Hysham. This may be (20) John Heysham (1712), the elder brother of Thomas, William, Giles and Christopher Heysham. In Yorkshire, at least, Easom was a variant of Heesom, which was a variant in Lancashire, of Heysham. If this is true, then John was the first member of the Heysham family to move to America, followed two years later by Thomas.

John Easom was of New York City and, like the Heysham brothers, a ship's captain and occassional privateer. He commanded the CASTOR early as 1743. Captain John Brown and Philip Wilkinson, of Providence, Rhode Island, were the owners of the CASTOR and POLLUX, which had been built in 1742. The CASTOR and POLLUX were commanded, alternately, by Hugh Wentworth, John Easom, Richard Woolford and John Burgess. - from "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" by Edward Field.

"According to Sheffield, Capt. John Brown and Phillip Wilkinson fitted out two privateers, the Castor and the Pollux in the summer of 1742 (at Newport, Rhode Island), and the "Boston News-Letter" described these vessels as "two fine new sloops." These two vessels saided in consort, or in concert with each other, and so were sometimes called "the concert sloops." - from "Rhode Island Privateers in King George's War" page 102, by Howard M. Chapin
While referred to in several references as a sloop, the CASTOR was also called a brig and a brigantine. Today we normally think of a sloop as a single masted ship with a fore-and-aft rig, but in the early 18th century a naval sloop described the vessel's purpose rather than its size or configuration. CASTOR was probably a brig, with a courtesy title of sloop.

The War of the Austrian Succession, known as King George's War in the Americas, occurred from 1740 to 1748. When France entered the war in 1744 colonial privateers out of New York began operating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in the West Indies.

The incident below, aboard the sloops CASTOR and POLLUX, illustrates the rough justice of the lower decks.

July 1743. "New York, July 25.--Saturday last the Men belonging to the Castor and Pollux Privateers, having found that a Person who had entered on board them two or three Days before was a Woman, they seized upon the unhappy Wretch and duck'd her Three Times from the Yard-Arm, and afterwards made their Negroes tarr her all over from Head to Foot, by which cruel Treatment, and the Rope that led her into the Water having been indiscreetly fastened, the poor Woman was very much hurt, and continues now ill.--N.Y. Weekly Post Boy, July 25, 1743." - from "Historical Index to the Manuals of the Corporation of the City of New York" by Samuel J. Willis
Other sources note that these two ships employed both slaves and runaway slaves in their crews.

"The Castor, Capt. John Burges, and the Pollux, Captain Eason, under their new commanders, sailed from St. Kitts early in March (1745). When off the west end of Porto Rico they fell in with four Spanish men-of-war and two merchantmen, and it was with the utmost difficulty that the privateers escaped. On May 9, 1745, off the west end of Porto Rico, they retook from a Spanish privateer a prize Irish snow, late Capt. Isiah Nichols, from Antigua for Virginia, which had been taken by the Spaniards on May 6. The Spanish privateer escaped by running in amoung the shoals, where the Castor and the Pollux dared not follow." - from "Rhode Island Privateers in King George's War" page 103, by Howard M. Chapin
See also,
"Tuesday last arrived at New York the sloops Castor and Pollux, Capt. Easom and Capt. Burgess, with a snow retaken from a Spanish privateer." - New York item of 10 June (13 June)" - from "Abstracts from Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1748" by Kenneth Scott
"On March 5, 1745-6 [1746], a little to the windward of Hispaniola, the Castor and the Pollux, under the aforesaid commanders, in consort with the Diana of Bermuda, Capt. Skinner, captured the French ship St. Joseph dEgypte, 200 tons, 12 gunds and 35 men, Capt. Jacob Martiene, bound from Marseilles for Cape Francois. She was laden with wine, oil, soap, candles, beeswax and clothes and was convoyed by the Pollux into New York, where they arrived on Tuesday, April 1, 1746" - from "Rhode Island Privateers in King George's War" page 104, by Howard M. Chapin
This incident was also referenced as,
"The Diana next cruised with the consort privateers Castor, Capt. John Burges and the Pollux, Captain Eason, and, on March 5, 1745/46, to the windward of Hispaniola, took the French ship St. Joseph de Egipte, 200 tons, 12 guns, 35 men, Capt. Jacob Martiene, bound from Marseilles for Cape Francois, with a cargo of wine, oil, soap, beeswax candles and clothes. The Pollux convoyed the prize to New York, while the Diana and Castor cruised in quest of a fleet of French merchantmen."- from "Privateering in King George's War: 1739-1748" page 124, by Howard. M. Chapin
I can only guess that the following dates are actually in 1746, vice 1745.
"The privateers overtook their new quarry and captured her off Cape San Antonio on May 7. She was a French ship of about 200 tons, bound from Port Louis for The Havana, for convoy to France with 260 hogsheads of brown sugar, 22,000 weight of indigo, 30 scroons of coca and 15 bales of cotton. The privateers convoyed the prize to New York, where they all arrived on Friday, May 31, 1745. The prize was probably the ship St. Almanzar, which was libelled on June 7. The privateer Castor, Capt. John Burgis and the Pollux, Capt. John Easen or Eason, either particpated in the capture of the St. Almanzar, or were within sight at the time of the capture, as they claimed a share in the prize, and also a share in the china and dry good taken out of the brigantine Friendship, which was evidently captured by the Clinton and Mary Anne on this cruise." - from "Privateering in King George's War: 1739-1748" page 150, by Howard. M. Chapin
"An English sloop, with rum, sugar, and salt, retaken, and sent into New York, by the Castor and Pollux of that place." - from "The Scots Magazine" of 1746 by James Boswell.
"The Sloops Castor and Pollux

According to Sheffield, Capt. John Brown and Philip Wilkinson fitted out two privateers, the Castor and the Pollux, in the summer of 1742, and the "Boston News-Letter" described these vessels as "two fine new sloops". The Castor was commanded by Capt. Hugh Wentworth of Bermuda, who had served as a private in 1737-8 in Capt. Cornelius Van Home's company in the New York militia, and who two years later commanded a New York privateer. The Pollux was commanded by Capt. Richard Woolford, who in 1741 commanded a St. Christopher privateer. These two vessels sailed in consort, or in concert with each other, and so were sometimes called "the concert sloops"."

"The Castor, Capt. John Burges, and the Pollux, Captain Easom or Eason, under their new commanders, sailed from St. Kitts early in March. When off the west end of Porto Rico they fell inwith four Spanish men-of-war and two merchantmen, and it was with the utmost difficulty that the . . ." - from "Rhode Island Privateers in King George's War" by Howard M. Chapin.

"A large French ship, with 400 hogsheads of sugar, from Guardalupe [sic], sent into St. Kits by the Castor and Pollux, two Privateers of the Island."

"The Venus, and the Molly, both from Martinico, carried into St. Kitts by the Castor and Pollux, privateers." - from "The Gentleman's Magazine" of 1744

The CASTOR and POLLUX continued to sail together.

"The Privateers Brig Castor, Capt. Eisom, and Sloop Pollux, Capt. Burges, are both fell down [?] in order to proceed on a Cruize against his Majesty's Enemies. -- N.Y. Weekly Post Boy, August 26, 1745" - from "Historical Index to the Manuals of the Corporation of the City of New York" by Samuel J. Willis

"Privateers brigantine Castor, Capt. Easom, and sloop Pollux, Capt. Burges - have left New York to proceed on a cruize (29 Aug.)" [undated] - from "Abstracts from Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1748" by Kenneth Scott

"English ships present were brigantine Castor, of New York, Capt. Easom, and Capts Burgess [Pollux] and Skinner (29 May) [c1746?]" - from "Abstracts from Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1748" by Kenneth Scott

John Eason married Catherine, the daughter of Noel Cazalet [Cozelet, Coralet], on 10 June 1746. They were married in the Dutch Reformed Church of New York [?]. This was her second marriage, her first husband being Samuel Shurmur/Shurman, merchant, by whom she had a daughter, Mary. Might Shurmur have been of the Dutch church and Catherine converted?

Noel Cazelet was a Huguenot who fled Montpellier, France after 1685, arriving in New York in 1702. Noel married Elizabeth Ony and had four surviving children baptized at the French Huguenot Church in New York City: Peter, John, Noel, and Catherine. Noel was a merchant/periwig maker/barber.

In 1746 Captain Easom was famously involved in an attack on a Spanish flag-of-truce.

"New Jersey did not participate very much in privateering. A small privateer schooner, manned with 15 or 16 men, commanded by Captain Hysham, and "commissioned from the Jersies," lay in wait on October 19, 1746, off Sandy Hook, for a flag-of-truce bound from New York for the Havana. Captain Hysham fired two swivel guns at the flag-of-truce, which forwith struck, and was conveyed into Perth Amboy as a prize upon the claim that she was an illicit trader."

- from the chapter on New York Privateers in "Privateering in King George's War, 1739-1748" page 175, by Howard M. Chapin
This is the one reference that uses the Hysham spelling. Interestingly, it was Howard Chapin who used the Easom spelling above, in "Rhode Island Privateers in King George's War."

A "flag-of-truce" ship was one that had been given the right to enter an enemy port. In this case a Spanish ship carrying prisoners of war, recently released by the British in New York City in exchange for British troops that had been brought up from Havana. The topic of the chapter appears to be transgressions by privateers. On the same page is the story of a privateer taking prizes after the war was over. Thomas firing on a flag-of-truce would have been a serious breach of the admittedly elastic rules of privateers.

The life of a privateer could be lucrative, but was also dangerous. The crews tended to become piratical and difficult for their captains to control. Gustavus Conyngham, probably the most successful privateering captain of the Revolutionary War, was strong willed, but even he was forced by his crew to take and keep a Scandanavian neutral, even though he knew it might cause him to be hung as a pirate. Sometimes captains themselves became piratical and governments closed their eyes to it. During the 1740's Captain Robert Troup of New York stopped a Danish neutral and robbed a Spanish merchant onboard of 8,000 pieces of eight. While this clearly overstepped the boundary between privateering and piracy, Troup was not prosecuted. However, sometimes governments were forced to take action. On 14 July 1746 Arthur Helme, also of New York, was denied a new commission of marque because he had plundered a French flag of truce. By the way, a John Hyson shows up among able seamen who were privateers from Massachusetts.

John Easom was in command of the schooner RANGER when he attacked the flag-of-truce, the sloop ST. MIGEL, commanded by Joseph Espinoza

"Midway between Governor's Island and the Narrows, within the jurisdiction of the New York government, Espinosa's sloop was attacked and captured by the New York privateer "Ranger," John Easom, or Easoner, commander. Espinoza produced the Governor's certificate, but Easom ignored it and took the Spanish sloop into Perth Amboy, New Jersey." - from "Catholic Footsteps in Old New York" by William Harper Bennett
Captain Espinoza complained to Governor Clinton, who had given him the pass through the British privateers which Captain Easom chose to ignore, having himself a commision from the Judge of Admiralty of the province of New Jersey. The New York authorities were outraged and pulled John Easom before the Council. In John's defense, he had received information of "sundry Goods & Merchandize being shipped on board his Flag of Truce by some persons of New York," that is contraband which, presumably, were outside the protection of the flag of truce. The dates below are probably based on the Julian calendar while those above were from the Gregorian. They should probably read 1747.
15 July 1746. "Examination of witnesses Hugh Wentworth and John Easom on the petition of Joseph Espinosa."
3 November 1746. "Joseph Espinosa, master of a Spanish flag of truce, captured by Capt. Easom; order thereon."
4 November 1746. "Examination of Joseph Espinoza; John Easom and Michael Beazley to be arrested."
6 November 1746. "Examinations of John Easom and Michael Beazley; they are committed for trial." - from the "Calendar of Council Minutes 1668-1783" by Berthold Fernow and Arnold Johan
Captain Michael Beazley and a Captain Tingley appear to have been owners of the RANGER, along with Easom. Hugh Wentworth is mentioned above as an early captain of the CASTOR.
"The examination of John Eason of the City of New York Marriner, taken before a Committee of his Majesties Council for the province of New York At the Council Chamber in the said City on the fifth day of November 1746.

The said John Easom says That he lately had a Comission from the Judge of Admiralty of the Province of New Jersey as Commander of the Privateer Ranger a two Mast Boat, Burthen about five or six Tons belonging the port of New York. That one Acklin was his Lieutenant That himself Captain Tingley and Captain Beasley fitted out the said boat, having first [fixed?] at a Certain Sum to be paid for Each day they should keep the said Boat in their Service. That on Sunday the 14 of October last, The Examinate being in the aforesaid boat with eleven or twelve white men and three or four Negroes Took a certain Sloop that Came as a Flag of Truce from the Havana and was then on her Return from New York to that place as he beleives [sic] of which Sloop one Espinoza was Master or Commander, That at the time of taking her the Examinate was near the Watering place on the Staten Island Shore, That the Examinate as soon as he came on board the Flag of Truce asked the said Espinoza by one Michael Beesley who was Interpreter between them what Goods or Merchanizes he had on Board and desired him to deliver up his papers. [and so forth]" - from "Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey"

The flag of truce was provided by the Governor of Havana and had allowed Espinoza to bring English prisoners to New York for exchange.

Perhaps reflecting Captain Easom's problems the CASTOR sailed under the command of John Burges.

"The privateer sloop Castor, under the command of Capt. John Burges, sailed in consort with the Pollux, Capt. Jeremiah Leacraft, in the autumn of 1746 and captured the ship Endeavor, which they brought into New York in Oct. They soon sailed again and cruised in consort with the Triton of New York."- from "Privateering in King George's War: 1739-1748" page 124, by Howard. M. Chapin
I had thought the following referred to a cruise by John Easom, but based on the citation above the ships were probably under the command of Burges and Leacraft.
". . . the brigantine Triton (Capt. Francis Rosewell) sailed later in 1746 under Capt. Abraham Man, and captured the French snow Boree, which she sent to New York in September. Later she fell in with the Castor and the Pollux, cruised in consort with them and, on Nov. 4, 1746, off old Cape Francois, fought a large French storeship of 10 guns and over 70 men with several stands of arms for the army in Canada. After a rather lenghy fight, they finally drove her ashore, and she surrendered. The privateers were unable to float her, so they transferred part of her cargo to themselves and carried it to Turks Island. They started back to the wreck to get the rest of her cargo, but, on the way, on Nov. 24, met two French ships of twenty guns each, which they took after a nine hour battle. The Castor had eight killed and twelve wounded, but the Triton suffered no casualties. Their prizes were bound from Bourdeaux for Cape Francois. The Pollux was so badly damaged in the engagement, that she went to Bermuda to refit, where she arrived before Feb. 19, 1747. The Triton arrived at New York on Dec. 28, 1746, and one of the prizes the St. Margaret alias Marguerite of Bordoux, 250 tons, 18 guns, laden with wine, flour, iron and drygoods arrived on March 4, 1747, having been at sea ever since her capture on Nov. 24. The other prize was the ship Fort Lewis which reached New York in March. The brigantine Triton, under her old commander, Captain Rosewell, went back into the merchant service, and was again at New York on July 27, 1747." - from "Cazalet Family Tree and Genealogy"
Perhaps it's just as well that John Easom was not in command at this time, per the report below.
"Affidavits made by Bernard Eyraud, surgeon, and Jean Dupuy, second lieutenant, of the French ship "Marguerite," of Bordeaux, indicate the heartlessness and inhumanity of the commissioned pirates, known as privateersmen, who hailed from New York in that day. The two French officers testified that their ship was attacked and captured by the New York privateers "Triton," "Castor," and "Pollux," and that Eyraud, Dupuy and thirteen others of the crew were put into a small boat, without a compass, somewhere off the island of Cuycos, and left to shift for themselves . . . The New York authorities investigated the case, and the Advocate-General prosecuted Captain Abraham Man of the "Triton," John Burgess of the "Pollux" and the captain, "unknown," says the record, of the "Castor." It is an odd coincidence that one of the two captains who commanded the "Castor" between 1743 and 1748 was John Easom of Espinoza capture notoriety." - from "Catholic Footsteps in Old New York" by William Harper Bennett
So, to defend the honor of Captain Easom, here's hoping the CASTOR was sailing under Captain Leacroft.

However, by 1748, Captain Easom was privateering again.

August 1748. "A French ship for Hispaniola, of 18 guns, 45 men, worth 20,000l. taken by a little schooner of New York, 6 guns, 45 men, Capt. Eason, and carry'd into Jamaica." - from "The Gentleman's Magazine"

John made out a will in November 1747 in preparation for a voyage. John died and the will was proved in 1751.

"In the name of God, Amen, I, John Eason, of New York, mariner. I leave to my wife Catharine all my estate, real and personal, during her life, and then to Mary Shurman, only daughter of John Shurman, deceased, "issue of my present wife, Catharine Eason." I make my wife and Mr. John Groesbach executors (not dated). - from "Collections, Volume 28" by the New York Historical Society

Witnesses, Theophilus Ellsworth, Ann Man.

Proved December 2, 1751, upon affidavit of Theophilius Ellsworth, of New York, and Ann Man, of Bergen County, New Jersey. The latter deposes that "she remembers that John Eason went to sea as Commander of a private vessell of War, from New York, in November, 1747, and that he executed the will about three weeks or a month before his departure." John Man and Isaac Man were appointed administrators December 2, 1751, Catherine Eason and John Groesbach being both deceased." - from "Collections, Volume 28" by the New York Historical Society
- John Groesbach [Groesbeck] was a merchant of New York City and a neighbor of John Easom. His will was proved in 1752.
- Theophilus Ellsworth, mason, was a large landowner in the colony and operated a ferry between Manhattan and Long Island circa 1731; his family, though English, had come to the city in Dutch times.
- Ann Man was probably Annatje Jefres, who married Isaac Man, a large land owner, in September 1747. John Man was probably Isaac's father, who was living until at least 1755. Note that Abraham Man was a privateer of New York City.

In 1752 a new arrival from England, Edward Andrews, a cutler, opened

"a Shop in the House, late in the Possession of Mrs. Easom, next door to Mrs. Groesbeck's near the Merchants Coffee-House. . ." - from "American Armamentarium Chirurgicum" by George Tieman
Note that John Groesbeck had been an executor of John Easom's will. It is also interesting that Mrs. Groesbeck, Anne Bayeaux, was a Hugenout, like Mrs. Easom, Catherine Cazalet.

The Merchant's Coffee House was, before 1772, on the northwest corner of Wall and Water streets. Water street was then known as Queen street. In 1772 the coffee house moved to a newer building, diagonally across the street. Catherine Heysham, Thomas' widow, kept a house on Wall street frequented by Christopher Heysham, her brother-in-law.

The Merchants Coffee House, at the right, after 1772. The scene is looking east, down Wall Street, at the corner with Water Street.

Thomas and William Heysham were in New York City by January 1747. If John had been their elder brother, wouldn't he have mentioned them in his will, as executors or witnesses if not heirs?

(20) William Easom (c1700)

A William Easom was referenced in a will of New Jersey. It is not clear who the inventory below was for, but his list of debtors was three pages long, one of whom was William.

"1732-3, March 4. Inventory of estate, "as appears by a list of debts as they now stand upon his book," viz.: Johanners Anderson, . . . William Easom, . . ." - from the "Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Administrations, etc." Volume 2
It is not possible to tell what part of New Jersey this inventory was from. Debtors included men from towns around Trenton, including Maidenhead, Hopewell, Amwell, Stoneybrook (today's Princeton), and Crosswicks, as well as Bucks county, across the river in Pennsylvania. The men I recognize include the sons of Daniel Coxe of Trenton, Maurice Trent of Trenton, and the Scholey's of Burlington county. However, there were also men from northeastern New Jersey as well.

(20) William Heysham (1721)
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674)

William Heysham, whose father was noted to be William Sr. in the record of his birth, was christened on 26 February 1721 in Saint Mary's church, Lancaster, Lancashire, England.

Most of William Sr's sons became ship's captains - Thomas, William, Christopher, Giles, Robert and Richard. According to notes left by a descendent, Theodore Heysham, William and his brother, Christopher, initially operated out of Hull, Yorkshire, on England's North Sea coast. William came to America in the mid-1740's with brothers, Thomas and Christopher, settling in New York City. He was a ship's captain and merchant.

I think it probable that William kept one foot in England [at Hull?] for the first few years of his trade with America. It may have been only in 1752, when he married, that New York City became his primary residence.

In Januarry 1747 William Heysham was a witness to the following New York will, along with Thomas, his brother, and Catherine, Thomas' wife:

“In the name of God, Amen. I, Arthur Helme, of the City of New York, mariner, this twenty-sixth day of January, 1747, do make this Will and Testament. All my just debts and funeral expenses to be paid. I leave to my dear and loving wife Jane the rents, issues, and profits of all my real estate during her widowhood, in order for her better maintenance and support, and the better to enable her to educate, bring up and maintain my children. After the remarriage or death of my wife, all my real estate to go to my well-beloved children, William, Francis, Benjamin, Jane, and George Helme, and unto the child or children wherewith my wife now goeth and is pregnant, to each an equal part. The interest of all my personal estate to be used toward educating, maintaining, and bringing up my children, until they arrive at majority or marriage, then my personal estate to go to my wife. I make my dear and loving wife Jane, and my loving and good friends John Coe and William Helme, executors.”

William, with his elder brother Thomas, was included in the list of Freemen of New York City.

"List of Freemen
1747 . . . William Haysham . . .
1748 . . . Thomas Heysham . . ." - from the "History of the City of New York" by David Thomas Valentine, 1853, page 391-392
A slightly different list includes the day each was made a Freeman, and their occupation.
"Freemen, 1746-7.
March 31st. . . William Haysham, Shipwright [sic]
Freemen, 1747-8.
March 15th. . . Thomas Haysham, Marriner" - from "The Burghers of New Amsterdam and the Freemen of New York. 1675-1866"
These are not long lists, comprising no more than fifty men for each year noted. As Freemen they would be liable to service in the militia and could vote. Christopher was probably not listed here because he counted Lancaster as his main residence.

Another brother, Giles, who remained in Lancaster, also sailed into American ports, operating out of Liverpool. There, two more brothers, Robert and Richard, sailed ships on the coast-wise trade. The next item, though it does not say so, is probably about Giles.

"1747 [First month] . . . 30th. A Lovely day. Waited upon the Governor [footnote: George Thomas, a planter in the West Indies, assumed the govenorhsip of Pennsylvania by appointment of the Penn brothers in 1738] in the morning with a Register four [sic] our new Snow Prince William, wth he readily sign'd, & wish'd us Good Success with her. Then I went to my plantation. In the afternnon saw Comp go to Sam Parr's, so I walk'd over to see them, & after drinking Tea there, they came & spent some time with me, vis. Jn Kinsey, Jacob Giles, Is Pemberton, Junr, Capt Heysham, & I. Green-" - from "Hannah Logan's Courtship, A True Narrative: The Wooing of the Daughter of James Logan, Colonial . . ." by John Smith.
Hannah Logan was the daughter of James Logan, colonial governor of Pennsylvania. I assume this is Captain Giles Heysham from his association with Israel Pemberton. Below that relationship is made clear.
"Snow JANE, Giles Heysham commander, will sail for Liverpool; for freight or passage agree with Israel Pemberton, Jr., or said commander." - from "The Philadelphia Gazette: of 30 April 1747
It is possible [probable?] that Israel Pemberton, a rich Philadelphia merchant, owned the JANE and that Giles skippered her for him, or a London associate.

The Pembertons

The Pemberton's were a prominent Quaker family.

Phineas Pemberton

He had arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682. He became William Penn's chief administrator in Bucks County. He was the Clerk of all Courts, Registrar of Wills, Receiver of the Proprietary Quit Rents, Surveryor General, and Master of the Rolls. He also served three terms in the Provincial Council, four terms in the General Assembly, was President of the Assembly, and Presiding Officer of the Yearly Meeting of Friends in Philadelphia.

Israel Pemberton Sr. (1684)

His son (1684-1754) was an extremely successful merchant and leader of Philadelphia. Like his father he was president of the Legislature and Presiding Officer of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends. He was dubbed 'King of the Quakers.' During the French and Indian War he led negotiations that led to peace with the Eastern Delaware on the Pennsylvania frontier in 1758.

Israel's sons, Israel Pemberton Jr., James Pemberton and John Pemberton carried on in Phineas' and Israel's footsteps and played prominent roles in Philadelphia. Israel Jr. and James were among the merchants who were negotiating with the liberal members of Parliament associated with Edmund Burke, trying to preserve peace and head off the American Revolution in the period 1770-1775. When the time for revolution came Israel Pemberton Jr. (1715-1779) was a patriot and printed a remonstrance demanding freedom for the people. Many of Israel's letters are available, mainly dealing with the question of peacedul relations with the Indians, but none dealing with Giles Heysham.

A Snow

The largest of the two-masted ships in the 18th century, the Snow was known for being 'extremely convenient for navigation' (Culver 1935: 235). The sails and rigging on its two masts are similar to those of the main and fore-masts of a ship-rigged (three-masted) vessel. However, unlike a Brig, a third, smaller mast was stepped onto the deck and held a trysail (similar to a mizzen sail on a ship-rigged vessel). The Snow was very similar in rigging to the Brig, and some vessels (known as hermaphrodites) could be changed from Brig to Snow and vice-versa with minor modifications.

William was sailing the CHARMING SALLY out of New York, and from Orkney and Boston, as early as 1749.

"Charming Sally of New York, master William Heysham, from Orkney to Boston, New England, in September 1749, in May 1750, in April 1751, and in May 1754; Captain Taylor, from Stomness, Orkney, to New York on 14 July 1763 . . ." - from "Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration 1725-1775" by David Dobson.
The northern route to Europe, around Scotland, avoided the coast of France, filled with privateers during times of war, and the traffic of the channel. "Note that the customs receipts in the Orkneys, north of Scotland, reached record heights between 1755 and 1763 as the Carolina rice ships took the northern route to the continental markets at Hamburg, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam. Kirkwall in the Orkneys was the most convenient place to pay the duties required by the navigation acts and to revictual." - from the "Papers of Henry Laurens."


This ship's name was a common one, freqently repeated. John Jauncey and John Lawrence, New York merchants and contemporaries of William Heysham's, owned a privateer called the CHARMING SALLY, of 26-guns, circa 1756. However, since we know that William captained the SPEEDWELL for George Folliott and James de Peyster of New York, and that George owned ships called both SPEEWELL and CHARMING SALLY, I'll assume that William's ship was the one owned by Folliot.

The following may show that James de Peyster was bought out by George Bryan circa 1759.

"He [George Bryan] also joined a Captain Lake and New York merchant George Folliot, a business associate, in buying the ninety-five-ton ship Speedwell and acquired, with Folliot, the fifty-ton ship John and William and the fifty-ton snow, Charming Sally." - from "In Pursuit of Equal Liberty: George Bryan and the Revolution in Philadelphia" by Joseph S. Foster.
Foliot probably owned the JEVON as well, another ship William was to captain.

William was, while living in New York City, in the employ of two New York City merchants, George Folliot and James Depeyster.

"George Folliot owned the brig Charming Sally (James McLaughlin, master) and the snow Harison (Mathew Paterson, master) in partnership with George Hanson; the snow Speedwell (William Heysham, master) in partnership with James DePeyster, a wealthy New York merchant outside the Irish circle; the brig John & William (Thomas Moore, master) in partnership with George Bryan, . . ." - from "Refiguring Ireland: Essays in Honor of L.M. Cullen" by David Dickson

James Depeyster

The De Peysters were French Huguenots who had sought asylym in the Netherlands when their religion was suppressed in France. They settled in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in the 17th century and become wealthy merchants and prominent in the governance of the colony. Their family included mayors of the city, governors of the state and chief justices of the courts. They appear to have been allied, at least by marriage, with the Livingston family. James was born on 6 February 1726. I believe he married the daughter of Joseph Reade, a governor of King's College. He died on 27 July 1799 in Jamaica, Long Island. His daughter's portrait was painted by the artist Charles Willson Peale.

George Folliot

An Irishman from Derry, "in 1753 Folliot emigrated to New York City; two years later he formed a partnership with Archibald Cunningham of Derry; the firm, Cunningham & Folliot, prospered in the flaxseed and linen trades, as well as in smuggling." - from "Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan." Of Dock Street, New York City. Known as an "extensive importer." He had large land interests in northern New Jersey and Dutchess County, New York, and derived a substantial income from rents and from managing the estates of others. A founding member, in 1768, of the New York Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Friends of Liberty and Trade, an organization opposed to the Sons of Liberty that wanted both good relations with England and the preservation of liberty. In 1775 he was elected to the Committee of One Hundred and chosen a member of the Provincial Congress for the City and County of New York, but he declined to serve. He was a slave holder and sided with the Loyalist cause during the Revolution. His properties were confiscated and sold in 1784. He is famous for a journal he kept that has survived.

From The Philadelphia Gazette of 14 September 1749, 'Capt. Davis from Hamburgh reports that the ship JACOB sailed for New York with 300 Palatines and Capts. Tanner and Heysham before him; Capt. Griffiths of New York has arrived in England and Capt. Randel of New York at Amsterdam. If this was William Heysham, then the CHARMING SALLY's voyage from Orkney to Boston, above, may have begun in Hamburgh as well, and ended in New York City.

The following reads like an episode out of a Patrick Obrian novel. From the Pennsylvania Gazette of 19 July 1750, a New York item.

"Last Friday morning arrived here the brigt. Charming Molly, Capt. Vardil, in 42 days from the Bay of Honduras, from whence he sailed in company with Capt. Heysham, and Capt. Ross, both of this Port, and Capt. Tucker of Bermuda: By him we have advice, That a Spanish galley, of two 9 pounders, and 14 swivel guns, with 30 oars, and 123 men, from the Havanna, had paid those parts a visit, and on the 6th of May, had taken a tender belonging to Capt. Heysham, as she was coming from New river: The tender killed one of the Spaniards, and wounded six more, before she struck, and the Spaniards killed one of the men afterwards: ----The latter end of May, the galley came off the Bay, and took Capt. Kattur, in a ship from Philadelphia; on board of whom they put 12 men, and sent her with her captain, and 8 of his men, with three women passengers, to the Havannah, after taking out eight of Capt. Kattur's men: ---The Baymen then fitted out a privateer, and went after the galley, and on the 7th of June they came up with her; but she did not care to stand trial, and thereupon quitted Capt. Heysham's tender, and made off, after throwing 4 carriage guns overboard, which they had put on board her, to use her as a consort. The 8th of June, as Capt. Vardil was on his way home, in company with Capt. Heysham , he saw the galley at anchor under the land; on which he and Capt. Heysham, made after her; but she immediately weigh'd anchor, and run for it: Soon after Capt. Vardil seeing a smoak on shore, on a maroon key, sent his boat armed and brought off nine of Capt. Heysham's men, with eight of Capt. Kattur's, which the Spanish had set on shore there, without victuals or water."
Captain Tucker of Bermuda may have been the James Tucker who was one of Thomas Heysham's executors, above. Captain Kattur was a New York sailor of the Privateer Snow, WARREN, mentioned in the Philadelphia Gazette as early as 1746.

Captain Heysham ferried German emigrants to America, circa 1750.

"Für andere Schiffskapitän scheint ähnliches gegolten zu haben. Diejenigen der vier Schiffe, die ausser der "Irene" im Jahre 1753 in New York landeten, nämlich die Kapitäne Mallum, Heysham, Seymour und Pickemann, waren alle in New York beheimatet."

[Translation] This seems to have been the case for other ship captains. Those of the four ships, which landed in New York in 1753, besides the Irene, captains Mallum, Heysham, Seymour, and Pickemann, were all resident in New York.

[footnote] 2 "Kapitän Mellum findet in der Boston Gazette vom 15 August 1749 Erwahnung, wo berichtet wird, er sei, aus Curacao kommend, in New York angelangt. Aüsdrucklich als in New York beheimatet wird Capt. Heysham in einer weiteren Meldung der Gazette vom 24 Juli 1750 erwahnt . . ." - from "Die deutsche Auswanderungswelle in die britischen Kolonien Nordamerikas" by Andreas Brinck

[Translation] Captain Mellum is mentioned in the Boston Gazette of 15 August 1749, where it was reported that he had arrived in New York from Curacao. Expressly as in New York is home to Capt. Heysham in another report of the Gazette of 24 July 1750.


The ship, actually a snow, had been built at Staten Island for the transportation of Moravians to their missions in the New World. - from "Josiah Hornblower, and the First Steam Engine in America" by William Nelson. The work was funded and supervised by the Moravian church. The ship was launched in 1748.

The drawing of the Irene, to the right, was by Benjamin Garrison, the son of Nicholas Garrison, the captain of the Irene. It looks like the ship has been taken "all aback" as it approaches the rocks.

See The Moravian Ship Irene for more.

From The Philadelphia Gazette of 13 September 1751, a New York item mentions "Capts. Heysham, Garrison, Pickeman, Lickly and Jefferson." Since three of these captains were known to be in the business of transporting German emigrants, I'll assume this Captain Heysham is the same one mentioned above.

The Captains

Captain Nicholas Garrison (1701-1781) was the captain of the Snow IRENE. He was born on Staten Island, New York. He shipped many Moravians [German Mennonites] to New York and Pennsylvania. See The Moravian ship Irene for more details about the Captain and his ship.

Captain Robert Pickeman was the captain of the passenger ship AURORA. He shipped many Paltinates to America.

Captain John Lickley was the captain of the LEATHLEY. He operated on the Hamburg to Philadelphia route in 1753.

William married "an American lady whom he met on one of his former visits [to an American port while still a merchant in Hull, England]." William married Mary Oaks in New York City on 3 May 1752 in Trinity Church Parish, New York City. In some sources he is shown to have married Mary circa 1755 in Philadelphia. This may be a simple misunderstanding based on William and Mary's later residence in that city. Mary was born in 1723 and died on 24 [or 27] March 1791 in Philadelphia in the 68th year of her life.

Trinity Church Parish, New York

Trinity Church, an Episcopal parish that once owned a large part of lower western Manhattan, is one of New York City's oldest institutions, being founded in 1646. It's charter was issued in the name of King William III in response to the Anglican colonists' eagerness to build a church to call their own. The Church was to function in accordance with the Church of England and an annual rent of one peppercorne was required to the crown.

The wealth of the parish derived from a land grant bestowed by Queen Anne in 1705. The first church was destroyed in 1776 by a massive fire stemming from an American Revolution battle. An engraving of the ruined church is to the right. A second church was built anew in 1790, but like its predecessor, it did not stay standing long. Heavy snows from the harsh winters of 1838-1839 weakened the church's structure and it was inevitably torn down. The third and last structure, built in 1846, is a Neo-Gothic masterpiece.

The following item from 1753 seems to show that the Captain Heysham in the German trade above was William.

"Custom House, New York, Inward Entries. Sloop Morning Star, John Bennet from Boston. Sloop Charlestown, John Schermerhorn, and Sloop Polly, Patrick Mitchel, from S. Carolina. Schooner Jolly Robin, William Sambach from Spanish town, in Virgin Islands. Schooner Providence, N. Bowers from Canary Islands. Brig Charming Sally, W. Hysham , from Bremen, in Hanover Dominions. Snow Johannes, R. Pikeman from Deal. Snow Irene, N. Garrison, from London." - from The Pennsylvania Gazette of 20 September 1753

The following is from an advertisement in the New York Mercury of 8 October 1753 and shows Captain Heysham living on Broad Street, in New York City. Thomas Heysham's widow lived on Wall Street.

"Plain Work.--Lately arriv'd in this city from Great Britain, Mrs. Mary Gray, who professes teaching all sorts of Plain Work in the Neatest manner, Dresden work in all its varieties; Ladies capuchins, and childrens frocks in the newest fashion. Ladies that hav a desire of seeing any of her work, may see it at Capt. Heysham's, in the upper end of Broad-Street, near the City-Hall, where the said Mrs. Gray Teaches. Likewise teaches to work ladies gloves."

There is a snippet from "New York City Court Records, 1684-1760" by Kenneth Scott showing "Heysham, William - 6 Nov. 1753." This appears to refer to his duty as a Grand Juror. His brother, Christopher, served a similar duty in 1759.

From The Philadelphia Gazette of 19 February 1754, "Arrived at Charles Town, South Carolina, from December 10, 1753, to January 22, 1754. Arnott, Parish, Abercrombie, Read and Mason from Philadelphia: Heysham and Jeffery from New York; Elwell, Trout and Burgess from Boston; Tripp and Andrew from Rhode Island." While I'm assuming that the citations above were for William, this was probably Giles, who had a lot of business in Charleston working for Henry Laurens.

The following newspaper reference of 28 March 1754 indicates that the house Captain Heysham was living in on Broad Street was rented from Garret Burger.

"Burger, Garret, late of NYC, dec'd--three houses belonging to his estate to be sold: one situated in Wyncoop St., next door to Adrian Bancker; another in Broad St., near the City Hall in the tenure of Capt. Heysham; the third in Broad St., in the tenure of Mrs. Anne Verplank; apply to Johannah Man, executrix, or Thomas Oakes (3/28)." - from "Genealogical Data from Colonial New York Newspapers" by Kenneth Scott
This was William Heysham. Christopher had a home in Jamaica, Long Island and may have resided, while in the city, in the house of Thomas' widow, Catherine, on Wall Street.

The Oakes Family

(19) Thomas Oakes (c1700)

Was the Thomas Oakes above related to William Heysham's wife, Mary Oaks? Thomas Oakes was apprently the brother-in-law of Garret Burger, which explains why he was acting for the executor in the notice above. Thomas Oakes and Eva Burger baptized their daughter, Sara, in the Reformed Dutch Church of New York City in 1735 and Gerrit [sic] Burger was a witness.

(20) Mary Oaks (c1730)

She married William Heysham in 1752. She could be the daughter or sister of Thomas Oakes of New York.

William continued to captain CHARMING SALLY in 1754.

"CHARMING SALLY OF NEW YORK, master William Heysham, from Kirkwall, Orkney, to New York 13 May 1754" - from "Ships from Scotland to America, 1628-1828"

Voyages could be long and hazardous:

"Last Week arrived at Sandy Hook, and has since gone up to Amboy, the Brig Charming Salley, Captain Heysham, of this port, from Hamburgh, having had a passage of sixteen Weeks from Land to Land, in which they were reduced to the short Allowance of a Bisket a Day per man for a great while, and in all Probabilty some of them would have perished, had they not met with a Boston Vessel a few Weeks ago, who help'd them to a small Supply. The last Piece of Meat they had was dressed the Day they got into the Hook."

"The New York Mercury of the same date says: "Last Week Captain Heysham of this Port arrived here from Holland, but last from Dover, after a very tedious Passage of 17 Weeks; 'tis said had their last piece of Meat in the Pot when they got into the Hook."" - from the New York Gazette

From The Philadelphia Gazette of 23 July 1754, a New York item of 22 July mentions 'Capts. Heysham, Nathaniel Magee, Cox, Weslade, Russel, Rush, Frattels, Dixon, Homer, Breesttand, Gifford, Crane, Anderson, Jennets, Heyslip and Miller.'

From The Philadelphia Gazette of 24 October 1754, a New York item mentions 'Capts. Thomas, Jermain, Askin, Morrison, Jones, Clymer, Lyon, Thompson, Nicholls, Frazier, Cotton, Mataseur, Cochran, Pearse, Roome, Heysham, Ketteltas and Quereau.'

From The Philadelphia Gazette of 3 April 1755, a New York item mentions 'Capts. Proby, Drumgold, Lewis, Harris, Brasher, Scot Lawrence, R. Thomas, Hill, Wright, Emott, Heysham, Albouy, Tudor, Donaldson, Jones, Byvank, Masterson, Strange, Burger and Fry.'

In the Pennsylvania Gazette of 10 April 1755, a New York item mentions 'Capts. Heysham and Augustine Lawrence and General Pepperell.'

"Captain Heysham, in a Brig, in 20 Days from St. Eustatia, informs us, That Capt. Augustine Lawrence, of this Port, having sprung his Boom in his Passage to Coracoa, put into that Island to refit; but proceeded on his Voyage in two Days after. About 40 leagues to the Eastward of the Capes of Delaware, ten Days ago, Capt. Heysham spoke with a Snow from Philadelphia, bound to Cork, all well on board."

"Saturday last a Snow arrived here from Virginia, with Cloathing, Arms, &c. for General Pepperell's Regiment of Foot, now raising in this, and the neighbouring Provinces."

Augustine Lawrence

He was born in 1719 in Flushing, Long Island, in New York. A mariner, he was a founding member of the Marine Society of New York in 1770. This was a benevolent society founded for the purpose of improving maritime knowledge and for relieving indigent and distressed masters of vessels, and the wives and orphan children of deceased mariners. James Jauncey, Esq., was also a founding member. This organization is still in existence. During the Revolution Augustine, along with Samuel Tuder, was in charge of the construction, in Poughkeepsie, of two of the thirteen frigates authorized by the Continental Congress.

From the Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, Volume 5, August 16 1776-December 31 1776, to Augustine Lawrence and Samuel Tuder:

Philadelphia, 21st October, 1776

Your letter of the 7th inst. advising that the ships Congress and Montgomery were nearly ready for launching, was received. You will observe the above names are now to be given to those ships. We are, at this distance, at a loss to direct their destination. The marine committee have therefore wrote to the Convention for the State of New-York, now at the Fishkills, requesting that they would give you proper directions relative to the launching and otherwise disposing of those ships with their stores, so as to preserve them in the best manner you can from being destroyed. You are therefore to correspond with the said Convention for that purpose.

Your humble servants,

Fra. Lewis
Phil. Livingston

CONGRESS was a 28 gun frigate. Launched in 1776 and destroyed in 1777. The second ship of this name, it was a sailing frigate built by Lancaster Burling at Poughkeepsie, New York, under authority of an act of the Second Continental Congress, dated 13 December 1775. One of the first 13 ships authorized to be built by the new government, she was placed under the command of Captain Thomas Grenell [or Grinnell] in the summer of 1776. Before her outfitting was completed, the British occupied the approaches to the Hudson River and extended their control of the environs throughout 1777. The infant Continental Navy suffered the destruction of CONGRESS in October 1777 to prevent her seizure by the enemy.

MONTGOMERY was a 24 gun frigate. Launched in 1776 and destroyed in 1777. She was placed under the command of Captain John Hodge.

From Sir Henry Clinton's Raid up the Hudson River, October 1777; upon the taking of the forts on the Hudson on 6 October 1777:

"About 10 oClock at Night the Rebels set fire to their two Ships, Montgomery and Congress, some Gallies and other armed Vessels with their Cannon Stores &ca in them."

Augustine died on 5 April 1794 New York City.

Sir William Pepperell, General

Originally a merchant and colonel in the York county, Massachusetts militia. In 1745 he led a highly successful expedition against Louisbourg, a French fortress at Cape Breton. He was created a Baronet for his success. The only native of America who, down to this day, has been raised to an hereditary English title. He died before the Revolutionary War.

In 1756 war between England and France broke out, initiated in the backwoods of America when forces under George Washington were defeated by the French, who were trying to establish their presence at what is now Pittsburgh. This was the Seven Years War, or the French & Indian Wars as it is called in America.

During this war period a Captain Hysham, either William or Christopher, below, sailed for Thomas Greg & Waddell Cunningham, merchants of Belfast and New York, respectively. An Archibald Cunningham was a partner with George Folliot, William's employer. Were these two Cunningham's related? If so this could be William, otherwise, based on the Irish connection, I'd opt for Christopher.


I am favoured with yours of the 20th March & observe The Contents.

The 1st May last, I entered into partnership with Thomas Greg of Belfast. Our Firm you have below. We beg leave to make you a tender of service here & to assure you your Commands at all times shall be paid a due regard to. We have a Certain Account this Morning that Warr is proclaimed. We shall have great opportunitys here to speculate in Prize Goods. The Crops of Grain & Flaxseed will be a very [sic] large. G&C
per Capt. Hysham" - from the "Letterbook of Gregg & Cunningham, 1756-57" by Thomas Truxes

Thomas Greg was a substantial merchant and shipowner, circa 1755, and a partner to Waddell Cunningham. His large family, he had 13 children, were also successful merchants. John Greg, Thomas' brother, was part of a shipping firm with John Torrans and John Poaug in Charleston, South Carolina.

"We shall send bills if we have no Orders from you to the Contrary before, but we believe Prize goods might Answer better.

Exchange to London, 85 per Cent
Course Salt Rose this Morning from 3s to 5s per Bushell
Gun Powder, from £9 to £14 per Hundredweight
Lead, from 40s to 50s per Hundredweight
& all Warlike stores in proportion but little Alteration in the price of dry Goods.
Via Philadelphia
& by Capt. Hysham" - from "Letterbook of Greg & Cunningham, 1756-57" by Thomas M. Truxes
Cunningham supposedly "prospered through military contracts, smuggling, and privateering." - from "Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan" by Kerby A. Miller. In another book by Thomas Truxes, "Irish-American Trade, 1660-1783," Cunningham was said to have "carried on an elaborate contraband trade to the French West Indies, supplying the French forces, in at least one instance, with weapons and ammunition."

". . . received all your goods by the Greg safe &, agreeable to your orders, shall remit as fast as in our power their proceeds to Messrs. David Kerr & Co. of London. Linnins of the sort you sent are at present dull Sale. You may depend we shall leave nothing undone to push them off.

Your Brother set off the 12th Instant for Philadelphia. We have given him the best advice we can & Letters to every Person we think can serve him. We have no hopes to recover your money from General Shirley & have told your Brother so that he may try what he can do where he goes. G&C

The Crop of Flaxseed promises well.

per Capt. Hysham" - from the "Letterbook of Gregg & Cunningham, 1756-57" by Thomas Truxes
General Shirley was William Shirley (1694-1771), Governor of Massachusetts from 1741 to 1759. He was commander-in-chief of North American forces during the French & Indian Wars (7 Years War). He was relieved in 1756 for his forcible removal of the French Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755, though he was later exonerated and made Governor of the Bahamas.
"As we shall have a Number of Privateers out of this port, we have a prospect of having Prize Goods on very reasonable Terms. G&C
per Capt. Hysham"
- from "Letterbook of Greg & Cunningham, 1756-1757: Merchants of New York and Belfast" by my friend, Thomas M. Truxes

Beginning in 1756 William ran into a long series of misfortunes that led to his moving to Philadelphia. First, he lost the CHARMING SALLY in a wreck off the coast of Florida. From the "New York Mercury" of 2 August 1756:

"Captain Heysham, in the Brig CHARMING SALLY, of this Port [New York City], was cast away on the 17th of June last, on the Martiers [Los Martires, or the Martyrs, now known as the Florida Keys], in his Passage from the bay of Honduras for Europe; Vessel and Cargo are lost, but the Crew arrived safe at Savannah, in Georgia, in their Long-Boat; and Captain Heysham came to Town last Saturday Night from Rhode-Island."
He was probably hauling teak logs as his brother, Thomas, had been doing in 1751. The Florida Keys are lined with reefs and shoals and there are few safe places to enter during bad weather. Even today, with superb charts and satellite aided navigation, ships run aground - note the British nuclear submarine that recently ran aground on its maiden voyage. But it was the captain's responsibility to keep water under the keel, and the loss of this ship, and its cargo, would have been a black mark against William's name. A letter to Thomas' brother, Giles, states,
17 August 1756. "Your Brother the Other day had the misfortune to Loose his Vessel Loaden with Logwood on the Coast of Florida. He & his People came here [Charleston, South Carolina] in the boat and we prevail'd on the Capt. of a Guinea Man tho with great difficulty to Carry them to Rhode Island for which they have Sail'd upwards of a month." - from the "Papers of Henry Lauren"

Soon after returning to New York City William was a juror in the case of one John Williams, who died in February 1757.

"Att an inquest taken at the house of Jasper Drake in Montgomerie Ward in the City of New York on Saturday the 12th of February 1757 on John Williams.

Present/John Burnet Coroner

The following jurors were sworn vizt—

John Robinson John Burger Bartho: Barwell Simon Breestead Thomas Shreave Thomas Pettit Francis Bassett Dennis Hicks Wm Heysham John Elsworth Ephraim Brasher Francis Many Dennis Wortman

The jurors upon their oaths do say that the said John Williams on the eleventh day of this present month of February between the hours of nine and . . ." - from "Minutes of Coroners proceedings, City and County of New York," page 62, the personal records of John Burnet, Coroner of New York, 1748-1758
The jurors reported that John Williams was accidentally drowned on 12 February 1757.

William then had another ship, the JEVON.

4 May 1757. "Vessels cleared: . . . snows Jevon Wm Heysham master, " - from the "Calendar of [New York Colonial] Council Minutes 1668-1783" prepared by Berthold Fernow
"Jevon of New York, Hysham, at Stromness 25 July 1757 on way from Hamburg to New York;" - from "American Data from the Aberdeen Journal, 1748-1783" by David Dobson
William was apparently still in the business of transporting German emigrants. Stromness, on the Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, became important during the late 17th century when England was at war with France and shipping was forced to avoid the English Channel.

Unfortunately William lost the JEVON too when he was attacked and his ship taken by a French privateer.

February 1758. "The Jevan [sic], Heysham, from New York, for London, by a Privateer of 20 Guns of Granville." - from "Miscellaneous Correspondence" Volume 2
See also,

"From Moses Franks, London, Feb. 28, 1758

Since my last respects I am without any of your favours, which I attribute to Hysham being taken and the Irene not arriving, hope you are no Sufferer by these Accidents."

- from "The Beekman Mercantile Papers, 1746-1799" by Gerard G. Beekman, James Beekman
Moses, left, was the son of Jacob Franks, a merchant who had helped build New York City's first synagogue. Moses moved to London to represent the family's interests there and pursue a career as a merchant, agent, and ship owner. His portrait was painted by Joshua Reynolds in 1761. He was a participant in the building of the Great Synagogue in Dukes Place, opened in 1766. When Moses Franks died in 1789 he left a fortune to his daughter and her husband, William Cooper. Captain Nicholas Garrison was the captain of the Snow IRENE, see above.

Unlike a grounding, being taken by a privateer of superior force was in many ways outside a captain's control, but the ship's owners would still have groused: if the captain hadn't taken that route he would never have run into the privateer; if he had "cracked on" as soon as he spotted the unknown sail, he would never have been over taken; if he had pushed the ship and crew harder, he would never have been caught.

The JEVON was taken by a French privateer.

"List of Ships taken by the French, continued from p. 43

. . .
Jevan, Heysham, from New-York, for London." - from "The London Magazine" of July, 1759 by Isaac Kimber
From the Pennsylvania Gazette of 23 November 1758 we have the recovery of the JEVON by a British privateer.
"On Thursday returned from a Cruize in the Gulph [gulf] of St. Lawrence, the Privateer Brig COLUMBINE, Capt'. Lance, of this Port, and brought in with her a French Snow, called the MARGARETTA, which she cut out of a Harbour in the Streights [sic] of Belle Isle the 10th of October last; she is loaded with Fish and Oil; and was intended for Old France. She was formerly called the JEVON, commanded by Capt. Haysham, of this Place; and was taken last Winter on her Passage hence to London."
In a Pennsylvania Gazette article of September 1758, just two months before the above, the Privateer Brig COLUMBINE was identified as "of New York." She had just brought in a Spanish prize and was on her way out for a cruise into the St. Lawrence river, looking for more victims, which clearly she found.

Capt. William Heysham was next mentioned as the master of the "snow Speedwell" in 1759. - from "The New York Privateers, 1756-1763" by Stuyvesant Fish. See also,

"Aside from his partnership in the Hayfield, Bryan joined Conyngham, Nesbitt, and Philadelphia merchant John McCullough in November 1759 in the purchase of the fifty-five-ton brigantine, Hannah, which cleared for Dublin in December 1759. Bryan, in fact, dramatically expanded his involvement in shipping that year. He purchased on his own the Patty, a fifty-ton snow. He also joined a Captain Lake and New York merchant George Folliot, a business associate, in buying the ninety-five-ton ship Speedwell and acquired, with Folliot the fifty-ton ship John and William and the fifty-ton snow Charming Sally." - from "In Pursuit of Equal Liberty: George Bryan and the Revolution in Pennsylvania" by Joseph S. Foster
During the Seven Years War George Folliot, the owner of the SPEEDWELL, owned six privateers and three prize vessels in partnerhsip with George Bryan of Philadelphia. Bryan was, later, Vice President of the revolutionary Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council, under Joseph Reed.

I don't know if the loss of CHARMING SALLY and JEVON made William more reckless, or simply that smuggling was so ingrained a habit, but William and his employers were accused of trading with the enemy.

22 September 1759. "James de Peyster, George Folliot owners and Wm Heysham master of the snow Speedwell to be arrested on affidavits of John Chambers and Simon Clarke." - from the "Calendar of [New York Colonial] Council Minutes 1668-1783" prepared by Berthold Fernow
I assume Chambers and Clarke were either government paid informers or trading rivals.
"In September, 1759, Lieutenant Governor de Lancey of New York issued a proclamation for the arrest of one William Heysham, master of the ship SPEEDWELL, charging him with high treason in giving aid and comfort to the enemy by boldly sailing into the French port of Cap François [Saint Domingue, now Cap Haitien on Haiti's northern coast] with a load of provisions. The fact was that the enemy trade was big business; the participants were usually men of wealth and influence in public affairs, often acting in concert, and could count upon a body of seamen to do their bidding." - from "The Coming of the Revolution, 1763-1775" by Lawrence Henry Gipson, New York 1954, pg 32

When word leaked out that William was to be arrested, he fled the scene. The Lieutenant-Governor's proclamation:
"By the Honourable JAMES DE LANCEY, Esq. His Majesty's Lieutenant-Governor and Commander in Chief, in and over the Province of New-York, and the Territories depending thereon in America.


Whereas Information hath been given unto me, upon Oath, That William Heysham, Master of the Snow Speedwell, of the Port of New-York, hath been guilty of High-Treason, in adhering to His Majesty's Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort by carrying and landing at Cape Francois, a Place on the Island of Hispaniola, in the Possession of, and inhabited by the Subjects of the French King, now at War with His Majesty; several Tierces of Gammons [sides of pork]; One Hundred Barrels of Flour; and other Provisions; and delivering the same to his Majesty's Enemies, Subjects of the said French King.

Whereupon I issued my Warrant to the High-Sheriff of the City and County of New-York, for apprehending the said William Heysham. And whereas I have been informed that the said William Heysham hath, and still doth abscond; I have therefore thought fit, with the Advice of his Majesty's Council, to issue this Proclamation, hereby, in His Majesty's Name, strictly requiring, charging and commanding, all Magistrates, Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, Constables, and other Civil Officers, within this Province, to make and cause diligent search and enquiry to be made throughout their respective Jurisdictions and Districts, for the said William Heysham, and being found, him to apprehend, and cause to be committed to the Goal of the City or County where he shall be so apprehended, there to be kept until he shall thence be delivered by due Course of Law. And hereof, they are not to fail at their Peril.

GIVEN under my Hand and Seal at Arms, at Fort-George, in the City of New-York, the Twenty Second Day of September, 1759, in the Thirty Third Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second by the Grace of God, of Great-Britain, France and Ireland, KING, Defender of the Faith, and so forth. James De Lancey.

By His Honour's Command,
Gw. Banyar, Dpy. Sec.
God Save the King."

Source: [Weyman's] New York Gazette, 24 September 1759.

Supplementary Information. 2 September 1759: James De Peyster [Depeyster] & George Folliot, owners, and William Heysham, master, of the snow Speedwell to be arrested (see N.Y. col. mss., 87:125) on affidavits of John Chambers and Simon Clarke.

Source: New York (Colony) Council, Calendar of Council Minutes, 1668-1783. Edited by Berthold Fernow (Harrison, New York, 1987), p. 446.
The Governor had hoped to limit the illicit trade, but was only partly successful.
"I do not know whether my Proclamation to apprehend Heysham, or the Warrant to take up De Peyster and Folliot, hath put a stop to the illicit exportation of Provisions." From a letter from James DeLancey, New York, to General Jeffrey Amherst, of 22 October 1759 (PRO, W.O. [War Office] 34/29 f. 237)

"My Proclamation against Heysham, I believe, gave some Check to the Exportation of Provisions; but De Peyster and Folliott have connections, the former with two of the Judges, and the Latter in the Custom house." Therefore he does not think that they will be made examples of; they have prevailed upon the witnesses to absent themselves; and he fears that this trade will continue." From a letter from James DeLancey, New York, to General Jeffrey Amherst, of 5 November 1759, referenced in "British Colonial Policy, 1754-1765" by George Louis Bee, 1922.

William's employers escaped these serious charges through their wealth and connections with important men in the government. I wonder what affect this series of misfortunes had on William's eventual adherence to the revolutionary cause? The illicit trade with the French appears to have been widespread. In those cases where the government does not effectively enforce its own laws, those that follow them may look and feel foolish as their competitors reap quick profits. William may have dealt with the French because "everyone else did so" or he may have felt pressured by his employers, especially after his recent reverses. When William was charged, likely "fingered" by one of his trading rivals, and suffered loss of employment while his employers got off free, did he become embittered against an "establishment" which favored the mighty? This proclamation for his arrest would hang over William's head for years to come and make it easier for him to slide into the rebel ranks.

William was not alone. A corps of paid informers was recruited to identify the illicit trade with the West Indies. In the fall of 1759 George Spencer, one of those informers, advised Lieutenant Governor De Lancey of the names of sixteen merchant-captains who were said to trade with the French. Implicated were Waddel Cunningham, Jacob Walton, George Harison, William Kennedy, Thomas Livingston, Abraham Lott, John Fox, Thomas White, William Paulding, Jacob Wendel, Samuel Van Horne, Jacobus Van Zandt, William Moore and others. - from "Constituting Empire: New York and the Transformation of Constitutionalism in the Atlantic world" by Daniel Jospeh Hulsebosch. Spencer then wrote a letter to General Amherst listing 46 New York vessels that had taken provisions to "Monte Cristi" and other foreign ports - from "British Colonial Policy, 1754-1765" by George Louis Beer. Monte Cristi was a port on the north shore of Hispaniola [Santo Domingo]. In a letter to William Pitt, then Secretary of State for England, Governor Cadwallader Colden called Spencer an "insolvent debtor" and said there was not enough information to move against the merchants. In the meantime the town turned against Spencer and he was arrested on the pretext of debt. He was paraded around town on the way to jail and in the resulting riot, egged on by paid rabble-rousers hired by his victims, Spencer was assaulted and then drug behind a cart, showered with filth and offal - from "The Case for Liberty" by Helen Day Hill Miller.

6 November 1759. "Waddel Cunningham, Wm Kelly, Thos. Linck and Phil. Branson to be arrested for rioting and assaulting George Spencer." - from "Calendar of Council Minutes 1668-1783"
None of them was ever found guilty. Spencer, in the mean time, remained in jail until 1762. He later took Episcopal Orders.


In the 17th century England enacted Navigation laws to control trade with her colonies, reduce competition with England, and maximise the homeland's profits. These rules encouraged trade between the empire's colonies and levied heavy duties on trade with foreign colonies. For instance, in 1733 Parliament passed the Sugar Act which placed a tax on imports from the French West Indies so high that no one could pay it, forcing merchants to buy from the more expensive British West Indies.

Had such laws been strictly enforced the effect would have been ruinous because the American colonies had already established a lucrative trade both with French Canada and the West Indies islands of Spain and France. Many captains showed their disdain for the Navigation Acts by smuggling in whatever goods they thought were taxed too high and became so accustomed to the act that they resented later efforts to crack down on the practice. It may be said that the whole population became lawbreakers and the customs officials themselves often connived with them. Smuggling was universal and went on regardless of the admiralty courts established to squelch it because juries refused to convict even when the facts of the case were undoubted. It should be noted in mitigation that in England smuggling was also widespread and "traditional."

During the French & Indian Wars, from 1754 to 1763, British officials became distressed by the reluctance of American merchants to support the "common cause" against France. American merchants, often using fraudulent papers, continued their smuggling tradition with the enemy ports of the Spanish and French West Indies.

At this point I have to quote from a comically marxist view of this issue. From "Plato's Dialectic v. Hegel and Marx: An Evaluation of Five Revolutions" by David L. Hoggan, from The Journal of Historical Review:

"English mercantilist-imperialists began to put the economic screws on their colonies after the elimination of French imperial competition at the Peace of Paris in 1763, and on the specious and utterly dishonest pretext that the Americans had to be punished for their illicit smuggling trade with the French West Indies during the French and Indian War of 1754 to 1763. In reality, illicit English smuggling trade with France across the English Channel during that same war was one hundred times greater than similar American trade while at the same time the average American carried a much greater burden in combat during that war than did the average Englishman."
In fairness, the article goes on to say equally nasty things about the Americans.

Interestingly, the Delanceys appear to have been profitably involved in smuggling between Albany and Montreal, in French Canada, during the war.

James DeLancey

The DeLancey's were Huguenots, exiled from France by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. James' father, Etienne or Stephen), a merchant, became one of the wealthiest men in New York City. He married into the influential Van Cortlandt family and was a member of the colonial assembly for 24 years.

James was born in 1703 in New York City and educated in England. He was a noted jurist and one of the most important political figures in the city's early history. He was a justice (1731–33) and chief justice (1733–60) of the provincial supreme court and served (1753–55, 1757–60) as lieutenant governor. He was able to control both the council and the assembly, and, after the suicide of the governor, Sir Danvers Osborne, he assumed control of that office too. He later led the faction in opposition to the administration of Governor George Clinton. From "The Whigs of Colonial New York" by Charles H. Levermore, in the American Historical Review, January 1896:

"The DeLanceys at the head of the party of prerogative were pitted against Smiths and Livingstons, Whig champions of the people."
James was instrumental in founding King's College, later Columbia Universtiy. He died in 1760.

His sons were Loyalists during the Revolution and included Colonel James DeLancey Jr., who headed an irregular unit known as the Westchester Refugees. Oliver DeLancey, a wealthy merchant and the brother of James' Sr., raised the more famous DeLancey Brigade.

General Jeffrey Amherst

During the Seven Years War with France Amherst was plucked from relative obscurity to lead the British assault on Louisbourg. He captured the fortress on 27 July 1758 and was named commander-in-chief in North America. In 1759 he followed this up with a three pronged attack: a westward push from Louisbourg up the St. Lawrence river to Quebec, a northward invasion from Albany through lakes George and Champlain, and an assault on the French in the west at Fort Niagara. He went on to capture Montreal in 1760.

In the later years of the war he was not as successful, most notably in his mishandling of Pontiac's rebellion, and he was recalled to England.

Thomas Truxes will publish a new book, "Little Short of Treason: Trading with the Enemy in Colonical New York" that deals with this subject. The planned release date is the fall of 2008.

William Heysham put some distance between himself and the New York authorities, then got some legal representation. Andrew Allen, a well-connected young attorney in Philadelphia, filed a brief on William's behalf. These two men would, in later years, move together as members of the radical committees whose actions led to the Revolution.

"Andrews father [William Allen] was extremely influential in provincial affairs and was appointed Chief Justice of Pennsylvania in 1750 after having served a term as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Mayor of Philadelphia, and as Recorder of Pennsylvania. Allen was a Presbyterian and opposed the Quakers in the Assembly because of their pacifist views during King George's War. As the breach between the Quaker Party and the proprietary widened, the Chief Justice became the leading spokesman of the Presbyterian or Proprietary Party, although he opposed all infringement upon colonial rights by Great Britain. His son Andrew was a Whig and an upholder of American rights even while a law student. In a brief he denied the right of the Admiralty Court to try William Heysham, master of the ship Speedwell, for high treason after Heysham had sailed into the French port of Cape Francois with a cargo of provisions. Heysham was entitled to a jury trial and Allen claimed that the Court of Admiralty cannot with Propriety oblige any persons to answer Interrogatories "which may have a Tendency to criminate themselves or subject them to a Penalty."

Andrew Allen returned from his studies in England and was admitted to practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on April 20, 1765. He set up his office in Philadelphia. . . ."

- from "Whig-loyalism: An Aspect of Political Ideology in the American Revolutionary Era" by William Allen Benton
If William Heysham got a jury trial it was unlikely they would find him guilty. However this case turned out, William spent the rest of his life in Philadelphia unmolested. Several sources cite this case as an important prelude to the Fifth Amendment.

Andrew Allen

Andrew Allen was born in June 1740, the son of William Allen, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania. He graduated from the College of Philadelphia, later the University of Pennsylvania, in 1759. He studied law under Benjamin Chew, the Attorney General, and, moving to England, finished his studies at the Temple. He later replaced Chew as Attorney General. He married Sarah Coxe, sister of Tench Coxe. Note the association of the Coxe and Sayre families, the later marrying with one of William's daughters. Andrew was a member of the Second Continental Congress in 1775 and 1776, but he was a moderate who favored reconciliation. He was horrified by the Declaration of Independence and subsequently became a Loyalist. See Andrew Allen for his Wikipedia entry.

Another reference of a later date shows Andrew Allen's continuing interest in the protection from self-incrimination.

". . . in 1770 there was a move by the Customs Office in Philadelphia to question under oath every officer and seaman of a vessel that was supposed to have engaged in the smuggling of tea. But Attorney-General Andrew Allen informed the collector of the port: "I am very clear in opinion that the Court of Admiralty cannot with propriety oblige any persons to answer interrogatories which may have a tendency to criminate themselves, or subject them to a penalty, it being contrary to any principle of Reason and the Laws of England." - from "Origins of the Fifth Amendment: The Right Against Self-incrimination" by Leonard Williams Levy

Below is a drawing of the Philadelphia city waterfront in 1768, 9 years after William arrived. The Delaware river is in the foreground, with ships lining up to come into the wharfs along Water street. At this time Philadelphia was the largest city in America, far more important than New York City.

I expect William spent the next 5 to 6 years establishing himself in the city. The first reference I've found to William Heysham in Philadelphia was in 1765.

William may have been helped in setting up his trade by men like George Bryan, a Philadelphia merchant and partner of George Folliot's. Bryan would be a leader in revolutionary Philadelphia and, as such, be thrown together frequently with William Heysham.

William was not one of the major merchants of Philadelphia. Ten merchants/firms controlled over 50 percent of trade. They included: Isaac Cox, Reese Meredith, Ritchie & Clymer, Thomas Willing, Conyngham and Nesbitt, Willing and Morris, Archibald McCall, Anthony Stocker, David Beveridge, and Samuel Massey. They all financed two to three voyages each year.

Below is a contemporary map of Philadelphia, with the Delaware river to the east and the Schuykill to the west. William's residence and business was on the Delaware river side of the city.

In July 1765 William became one of the original members of the Society for the Relief of Poor Distressed Masters of Ships, their Widows and Children." - from "Some Account of the Tree Family" by Josiah Granville Leach. In shorthand this was also called "The Sea Captains Club" or "Mariner's Club." The third paragraph of the citation below distinguishes William Heysham as a merchant, not an "active shipmaster." Since I don't have any references to ships commanded by William during his residence in Philadelphia, I'll have to assume he gave up the sea after his difficulties in New York.

"The Sea Captains Club

During the last thirty-five years of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth, the Society for the Relief of Poor and Distressed Masters of Ships their Widows and Children was, perhaps, Philadelphia's most selective organization. Membership wsa limited to persons residing in or near the city who were or had been commanders of ships in the merchant service. Seldom did they exceed two hundred in any given year.

. . . The worthy idea--formation of a charitable club for the benefit and relief "of poor decay'd Masters of Ships, their Widows and Children"--sprange from benevolently minded Samuel Mifflin and Joseph Richardson, eminent merchants, who formerly had commanded vessels sailing from the port. This respectable pair—Mifflin, a militant gentleman who had raised an artillery company in the French and Indian War, and Richardson, a mild-mannered Quaker—enlisted others in the cause. During June, 1765, in a campaign for"a beginning Fund," they secured pledges, ranging from £5 to £10, from eighty-six shipmasters or former shipmasters . . .

. . . Samule Mifflin was unanimously chosen president "by holding up of the hands." . . . Four of the five managers who had failed to attend the two previous meetings--Henry Harrison, Henry Lisle, John Mease and Charles Stedman--were succeeded by Captain James Blair, Zachariah Hutchings, Joseph Stiles, and Captain Heysham. The first three were active shipmasters. Heysham, a merchant, was to enjoy unniterrupted service as manager for thirty years.

. . . Eleven managers gathered at the Coffee House a week after the annual meeting and took action on delinquent accounts. According to the treasurer's report, sixteen subscriptions pledged the previous June were still unpaid. Lester Falkner and William Heysham were appointed to search out the delinquents, and they applied themselves with diligence. Only five did not pay up. Of these, William McFunn, who had once been an officer in the British navy, and Robert Ferguson, whose last command had been a sloop in the coastal trade, died before the two managers could get in touch with them. The other three--Oswald Eve, Thomas Hatton, and Gurney Wall--were removed from the roll.

. . . The widow Corsar's case was a worthy one. Appreciating her dire need, the forty members present, while unanimously agreeing to pay no money for charity out of the club's funds until the next year, took up a collection for her support. The collection amounted to L6 14s., and William Heysham was directed to "see it properly apply'd." A year later a similar procedure was followed, charity payments were postponed until 1770, and a collection for widow Corsar produced L2 15s."

. . . Hugh Bowes, Will Heysham & Rob Whyte report, That they had visited Martha, the Widow of John Anderson, deceased, late one of our Members, who they think justly merits some speedy relief . . . An order was therefore drawn on the Treasurer for Five pounds payable to said Martha."

- from "The Sea Captains Club" by William Bell Clark in "The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography."

An early patriot, William signed the "Code of Honor" or Non-Importation Resolution of 25 October 1765 of Philadelphia in which the signers agreed not to import any British wares, a demonstration that helped lead to independence. - from "Philadelphia History, 1609-1884," Volume I, of 1884.

The Non-Inportation Resolutions, 25 October 1765. "As it may be necessary that a committee of the subscribers be appointed to wait on the traders of this city, to get this present agreement universally subscribed, the following gentlemen are appointed for this purpose: Thomas William and Samuel Mifflin, esq's, Thomas Montgomery Samuel Hewell, Samuel Wharton, . . . etc. Signed: . . . William Heysham . . . " - from "Incidents in the Life of Jacob Barker, of New Orleans, Louisiana: with historical facts, his..." by Jacob Barker.
This was in response to the Stamp Act, an early attempt by the British to raise taxes "without representation." William Bradford was the major force in this issue and it was at his 'Old London' coffee house that the merchants of Phildelphia met to discuss the Stamp Act and decide their course of action. By the way, this embargo was directed at trade with England, but did not affect the coast-wise trade with the other colonies, nor with the West Indies, perhaps the most lucrative trade route of the Philadelphia merchants. The rise of coffee, from the West Indies, as the drink of choice over tea, whose trade was controlled from England, is significant. While often seen as a sign of patriotic American's support for the Non-Importation Resolution, it is as well the response of canny merchants to keep their vessels loaded and profitable.

William Bradford

William was an American Revolutionary printer and patriot, and the grandson of early Philadelphia printer, another William Bradford (1663-1752). He learned printing from his uncle, Andrew Bradford, in Philadelphia, and in 1742 set up his own shop. He published the "Pennsylvania Journal" and later established the successful anti-British Weekly "Advertiser," which competed for many years with Benjamin Franklin’s newspaper, the "Pennsylvania Gazette." He was a spirited writer, and in his journal assailed the pretensions of the British government and inveighed against the Stamp Act.

In 1754 he established the London Coffee House in Philadelphia. This became the seat of the merchants’ exchange and an important meeting place where new ideas about independence were developed. Bradford was a leader of the Sons of Liberty and official printer to the First Continental Congress. When the Revolutionary War began he joined the militia. As a Major, and later a Colonel, he fought in the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, where he was badly wounded.

See the Library Company of Philadelphia's Past Seminars webpage of the Program in Early American Economony & Society (PEAES) for a paper, by doctoroal candidate Michelle Craig of the University of Michigan, called "The Coffeehouse Debates: Platforms for Philadelphia's Revolutionary Protest." It discusses the place of the Philadelphia merchants in pre-revolutionary protest.

The London Coffee House

The members of the business and maritime communities of Philadelphia would gather at the coffee houses to cut deals, attend auctions, talk politics, read newspapers, or grab a light meal, called an "ordinary." William Bradford's London Coffee House, opened in 1754, was the first and the most important. It had been financed by Robert Morris, Thomas Willing, Archibald McCall, Tench Francis, and over two hundred Philadelphia merchants. It was situated at 100 Market Street, on the busy corner of with Front Street, by the city's docks. At left is the Coffee House in a photograph taken in a later era. Adding to the animated scene was a twice-weekly market selling grains and meats from the country-side. It operated out of sheds on High Street across from the Coffee House.

By the early 1770s, however the London Coffee House was no longer large enough to accomodate the scale of business. The Merchant's Coffee House, which came to be better known as the City Tavern, was built by the subscription of Merchants, ships-captains and other gentlemen on Second street. The Tavern served as the hub of the business community for half a century, but also played host to members of the First Continental Congress and such luminaries as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lafayette and John Adams, who called it "The most genteel tavern in the country."

Per Michelle Craig's paper, above, "A comparison of signatures on the 1765 document [the Non-Importation Resolution] with available tax lists for 1762 and 1770 reveal that merchants almost unanimously supported the measure . . . It was the last time a consensus was so easily reached." As events accelerated, moderates & Quakers became increasingly alarmed at the words and actions of the radicals, who in the 1770's began to call for independence.

By 1768 William had settled on Water Street. The Pennsylvania Gazette of 11 February 1768 carried a notice for the sale of some land in New Jersey in which Captain William Heysham of Water Street was mentioned as a point of contact, or perhaps as an agent for the seller, John Forrest.

"THE subscriber intending to remove to New York, in May next, proposes to sell on reasonable terms, two fine lots of LAND, advantageously situate for a gentleman, a merchant, or a tradesman, in the pleasant town of PRINCETOWN, the dimensions of each of the said lots being about 55 feet in front, and 200 long, with the houses and improvements on one of them, which lies on the corner of the Hopewell road, directly opposite to the College, and are as follows, viz. A large house, two stories and an half high, four rooms on a floor, with a fire place in each, all neatly and completely finished, with a cellar under the whole house; a stable and gardens, a small yard between the garden and the house, neatly paved with brick, with a well of excellent water within four feet of the kitchen. The other lot adjoins to Mr. Taylor, is almost opposite to the college, and the best in the town for any gentleman inclining to build. --- Whoever inclines to purchase, may apply to Mr. JOHN RAMSEY, merchant, in New York, near the Fly market, Captain William Heysham, in Water street, Philadelphia, or to the subscriber in Princetown, and agree upon terms. It will be required that one quarter of the purchase money be paid down, and good security given for the remainder for which any reasonable time of payment will be allowed. JOHN FORREST."
Water Street, known before the Revolution as King Street, is described below.
"Behind these wharfs, and parallel to the river, runs Water-Street. This is the first street which you usually enter after landing, and it does not serve to give a stranger a very favourable opinion either of the neatness or commodiousness of the public ways of Philadelphia. It is no more than thirty feet wide, and immediately behind the houses, which stand on the side farthest from the water, a high bank, supposed to be the old bank of the river, rises, which renders the air very confined. Added to this, such stenches at times prevail in it, owing in part to the quantity of filth and dirt that is suffered to remain on the pavement, and in part to what is deposited in waste houses, of which there are several in the street, that it is really dreadful to pass through it. It was here that the malignant yellow fever broke out in the year 1793, that made such terrible ravages, and in the summer season, in general, the street is found extremely unhealthy. That the inhabitants, after suffering so much from the sickness that originated in it, should remain thus inattentive to the cleanliness of Water Street is truly surprising; more especially so, when it is considered, that the streets in the other part of the town are as much distinguished for the neatness that prevails throughout them, as this one is for its dirty condition." -- from Isaac Weld, Travels Through the States of North America...During the Years 1795, 1796 and 1797, p.3-4.
Almost all of Water Street as it existed in the 18th century has been obliterated by Interstate 95.

The Wharf at Arch Street.

William was made part of the grand jury for a number of cases brought before "William Allen, John Lawrence and Thomas Willing, Esquires, Justices of our Lord the King of his Supreme Court of the Province of Pennsylvania."
"Grand Jury Retble [sic?] to the Court of Oyer and Terminer Sept 26 1768
13. William Heysham . . . " - from Pennsylvania, Oyer and Terminer Court Papers, 1757-1787. The cases included two robberiers and three murders.

From a list of the Proprietary Tax for 1769, county of Philadelphia, of the Upper Delaware Ward, we have William Hysham, with zero acres of land, 1 horse, no cattle, 2 servants, and a Tax of 6.3.4. I've finally seen the original document and it mentions, "1 Servant, 1 Negro, 1 Horse," so William was a slave-holder. At this early date only the more radical Quakers were beginning to question slavery. This document also describes the district as Southwark, which is just south of the original settlement of Phiadelphia. I think it also indicates that William had 15-acres of land. That is, there is a number 15 in front of his name, whereas others on the same page have 2, 10, 45, 150, 230 etc. I can't find a legend.

On 10 November 1770 a petition was presented to the Governor of Pennsylvania and the Council respecting the importance of a new road from Philadelphia to Lancaster. Signers included John Wharton, George Clymer, John Cadwalader, Samuel Morris, Thomas Mifflin, William Heysham, Clement Biddle, Andrew Caldwell, John Bayard, Tench Tilghman, Robert Morris, Samuel Howell, and Samuel Mifflin. These were the most important, and richest, men of the city.

It is not clear what new road this petition referred to, however on the same day a petition from the residents of Lancaster county was delivered to the Governor and Council stating,

"That the Great Road . . . is by constant use of it with heavy Loaded Carriages, and by it being laid in many place over very bad ground, now rendered almost impassable . . . That notwithstanding the great Labour, Care and Expence used in repairing the said Road, it is Constantly in bad Order . . . That another Road upon better ground, and nearer by some Miles, may be had . . ."
This goes on to request, in the most convoluted terms, that the Council fund and maintain this new road. I believe the petition of the citizens of Philadelphia was in support of this latter petition.

The Great Wagon Road

The Great Road, or Great Wagon Road, between Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, begun in the 1750's, began at the Schuylkill River ferry on the west side of Philadelphia and ran west to Lancaster, then to Harris Ferry on the Susquehanna river, and on to York, Pennsylvania. It then gradually turned into Virginia, where it ran through the Shenandoah Valley and on into the southern colonies. It was the most important land route in the country for commercial traffic and helped maintain Philadelphia as the principal port in the colonial period.

The Petitioners

John Wharton was a Philadelphia ship builder and early patriot. During the war he built two ships for the Pennsylvania Navy, the EXPERIMENT and the WASHINGTON. He was a member of the Continental Navy Board from 1778 to 1780. He was also a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1777 and served with Frances Hopkinson and John Nixon on the committee appointed to frame the Articles of Confederation.

John Cadwallader was active in public affairs in Philadelphia prior to the Revolutionary War, and, when the movement for independence began, was a member of the Committee of Safety. He was Captain of a military company half derisively and half admiringly nicknamed "The Silk-Stocking Company." This reflected the perceived wealth of the unit's members. On the formation of the City battalions he was placed in command of one of them, and shortly afterward was promoted to Brigadier General and placed in command of the Pennsylvania militia. He co-operated in the capture of the Hessians at Trenton and was present as a volunteer at the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth.

Samuel Morris, to the right, in partnerhsip with his brother Israel, was a prosperous Quaker entrepreneur who had been Assessor of Philadelphia county and Justice of the Peace for Whitemarch township. He married Hannah Cadwallader. He died on 30 November 1770, only 20 days after signing the petition.

Clement Biddle, left, the "Quaker soldier," was a Philadelphia merchant. He was instrumental in putting down the "Paxton Boys," a gang of vigilantes who were murdering friendly Indians in 1764. A signer of the Non-Importation Resolutions against the Stamp Act. As the war approached he was made Deputy Quartermaster of the Flying Camp, a militia group. After the Battle of Trenton George Washington sent Biddle to receive the swords of the Hessian officers. He was at all the major battles of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and suffered through the winter at Valley Forge. After the revolution he became Marshal of the Admiralty Courts.

Andrew Caldwell was Commander of the Pennsylvania Navy. He led the fleet that repelled the British ships ROEBUCK and LIVERPOOL. It was also he that led the unsuccessful attempt to take and burn British vessels on the Delaware river just prior to the Battle of Long Island [see the Thomas Hissom page]. A merchant ship named after him was commanded by Thomas Truxtron, later a great frigate Captain.

John Bayard was one of the leading merchants of Philadelphia. A signer of the Non-Importation Resolution, a delegate to the Provincial Congress, and a member of the Sons of Liberty. His firm, Hedge & Bayard, supplied arms to the Congress and he later was appointed to the Committee of Safety and Supreme Executive Council. A Colonel in the militia, he was present at the Battle of Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown and Princeton.

Tench Tilghman, at left, was another merchant. When the war broke out he joined the "Silk Stockings" company of John Cadwallader, a light infantry unit. He was later aide-de-camp to General Washington. His maternal grandfather was Tench Francis.

Samuel Howell was a merchant of Philadelphia. He was active politically as early as 18 June 1774 when he became a member of the City Committee of Correspondence. Among his other activities, he was the owner of the Crooked Billet Tavern in Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Navy

The Pennsylvania State Navy was formed on 6 July 1775 by the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety for the defense and safety of Philadelphia's waterborne approach, the Delaware river. Its commander was Andrew Caldwell. Thirteen row galley's were ordered built, each to be armed with a single large cannon in the bow. Two of these, EXPERIMENT and WASHINGTON, were built by John Wharton.

The Navy saw action for the first time on 6 May 1776, right, when it engaged the British ships ROEBUCK, of 44 guns, and LIVERPOOL, of 28 guns. After a brief engagement, both enemy ships were forced to withdraw south past Newcastle, Delaware. This victory, and control of the river, were necessary preconditions in making General Washington's attack on Trenton possible.

When the British occuppied Philadelphia in September 1777 the State Navy fought a holding action, attempting to seal off the city from resupply by sea. While achieving the destruction of a 64-gun ship-of-the-line and an 18-gun sloop, in the end the small fleet was forced up the Delaware river and all the state's ship were eventually scuttled to avoid capture.

The Crooked Billet Tavern

The tavern owned by Samuel Howell was not the one made famous in the Battle of Crooked Billet. That was in Bucks county. This tavern was on a waterfront lane in Philadelphia, called Crooked Billet alley after the tavern. The tavern's sign was a crooked chunk of firewood. The alley ran a very short distance on the east side of Water Street between High and Chestnut Streets. Also known as Crooked Billet wharf. It is now the site of the Spasso Restaurant.

On 6 October 1723 a young Benjamin Franklin spent his first night in Philadelphia lodging at the Crooked Billet Tavern. I believe there is a tavern of the same name in the Southwark district of London, the namesake of this one.

In 1771 a lottery was proposed.


For the Satisfaction of the Adventurers in Pettie's Island, Land and Cash, Lottery, the Subscriber with Pleasure informs them, That the Numbers being rolled up ready for the Wheels, and not more than Three Hundred Tickets remaining, the Drawing will punctually begin on Monday, the 9th Day of September next, under the inspection of William Heysham, John Chevalier, Abraham Beeckley, and Thomas Bond, Jun. in whole Veracity, I doubt not, the Publick will confide for the faithful Discharge of the Trust reposed in them, by
Their obligated Friend,
William Masters." - from Philaspace.org
Another similar drawing was done in October.
"Pettie's Island, Land and Cash, Lottery. . . The Drawing shall begin on Monday, the Twenty-first Day of October, 1771, under the Inspection of William Heysham, John Chevalier, Abraham Beeckley, and Thomas Bond, Jun. . . . [signed] William Masters." - from "A Century of Printing" by Charles Swith, Riche Hildeburn and Ethel Myra Metzer
Petty's Island is an island in the Delaware river between Philadelphia and Camden. It was known as a hotbed for gambling and dueling in the eighteenth century.

The Lottery

Lottery schemes were numerous in the 15 years before the revolution. Lotteries were held for disposing of land on Petty's island and in the Northern liberties, for paving the streets in Philadelphia and for the benefit of various churches.

The Lottery Inspectors

John Chevalier

A merchant of Philadelphia.

Abraham Beeckley

Or Bickley. A wealthy merchant who had emigrated in 1744. He owned a warehouse in Philadelphia and outside the city the estate of Pen Rhyn.

Thomas Bond Jr.

The Thomas Bond house in Philadelphia still stands, across the street from the City Tavern, another colonial era building. The house is today used as a Bed and Breakfast.

On 11 July 1771 William Heysham paid 600 pounds to John Lawrence, Esquire, and his wife, Elizabeth, for a brick house and lot on the north side of Mulberry street, in Philadelphia. The lot was 20 feet wide and 291 feet deep, bounded on the south by Mulberry street, on the north by Cherry street, on the east by the lot of Benjamin Lackey and on the west by the lot of John Gold.

On 12 August 1771 William Heysham paid 180 pounds 18 shillings to Richard Wells and his wife, Rachel, for a house and lot on the north side of Mulberry street. The lot's boundaries were the same as those above, so I assume the two families had a joint ownership, of which the Lawrences held the greater part.

Was 780 pounds a lot to pay? How nice a property must this have been?

William's Neighbors in 1771

Benjamin Lackey

Or Loxley/Locksley. He was a carpenter and land developer, and was deeply involved in radical affairs leading to the revolution. His name appears repeatedly through this page, often sharing committee positions with William Heysham.

Loxley Court, right, is a gated "alley" located between 321 and 323 Arch street. It was built by Benjamin Locksley, who lived at No. 2 Loxley court. Some accounts place Franklin in this courtyard for his famous kite-and-key experiment; it seems certain that he was at least a frequent visitor. It was also claimed that it was Locksley's house key that Benjamin Franklin used in his kite flying experiment. In 1799, the block was graced by George Washington's funeral procession, which came down this block, turned onto 4th Street, and entered Zion Church. - from James Peniston Sculpture.

John Gold

John Lawrence

This may be the John Lawrence Jr., esquire, who, circa 1764/6, was one of the Justices of the Peace. Alderman of the city in 1755 and 1764. He died on January 1775.

Richard Wells

The following describes William's neighbors.

"By Virtue of a Writ to me directed, will be exposed to Sale, on Tuesday, the 28th of September inst. precisely at six o'Clock in the Evening, at the London Coffee house, A certain Brick Messuage and Lot of Ground, situate on the South Side of Cherry street, between Third and Fourth streets, in the City of Philadelphia, containing in Breadth 20 Feet, and in Depth 82 Feet; bounded by Cherry street aforesaid, and by Ground of Benjamin Loxley, William Heysham, William Dickinson, and others; late the Estate of Christian Creamer; seized and taken in Execution by Judah Foulke, Sheriff." - from "The Pennsylvania Gazette of 15 September 1773"
I just found an interesting webpage that lists the property owners on Arch street in 1777, Mapping West Philadelphia. Starting at 4th street and moving east, they are Catherine Kepple Gross (two lots), Leonard Kessler, Conrad Abel, an unowned lot, James Watkins Estate, Benjamin Loxley (a double lot), George Gilmore, John Kearsley, Samuel Griscom, William Heysham, Lawrence Growden Estate (double lot), Second Presbyterian church, ending at Third street. That is, William's home was closer to Third street than to Fourth (starting approx 140' from Third). I believe the physical location is just west of the current Roche Bobois shop, underneath the same building. The opposite of what I had supposed. Also, William's lot did not go all the way to Cherry street. The lot of William Dickinson took up the last approximately 25%. William, as we know, had purchased his lot in 1771

A later description of the houses on Arch street.

"Alexander Wilcocks, then Recorder of the city, afterward lived and died in Arch street, in the second houe above the Second Presbyterian Church, formerly at the corner of Third street. This house stood as late as 1856, as also did the old house next above it in which Dr. Dunlap lived, a celebrated accoucheur [male midwife]. Matthew Clarkson, one of the city mayors, also lived next door or next but one, and next to him Captain Heysham. Next was Kearsley's Episcopal Hospital for Old Women, afterward removed to the rear of the lot, on Cherry street. Then came Mr. Sergeant's house, opposite whose door stood a very large buttonwood tree, and under it a celebrated pump. Next was a red frame shop of David Evans, a coffin- and blind-maker--a funny eccentric fat man--at the east corner of Loxley's court, Loxley himself living at the west corner of it." - from "Annals of Philadelphia" by John FAnning Watson
Counting the houses listed above, William Heysham lived 5 to 6 houses above the church. That is contrary to the website above, which has William the third house above. As skinny as the lots were, perhaps some were later halved.

On 1 October 1771 Capt. William Heysham, of Mulberry St, N side, between 3rd & 4th, had a survey done of his property for an insurance policy. Included was a precise description of the rooms of a three story house and back buildings, including a piazzo, and separate kitchen. A piazzo was a broad porch typical of the era. The total value of the "messuage and appurtenances" was placed at 500 pounds. - from The Contributionship Companies. The latter was the fire insurance firm founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1752.


A House and Back Buildings belonging to Capt. William Heysham situate on the North side of Mulberry Street between third & fourth streets.
20 feet front - 33 feet 6 inches deep Three story high . . . Two rooms on a floor . . . Piazzo 10 feet by 7 feet 6 inches Two story high . . . Kitchen 13 feet by 21 feet Two story high

Below is the Matthew Clarkson/Mary Biddle map of Philadelphia for 1762. Note that Cherry street runs parallel to Mulberry (Arch) street, between Mulberry and Race.

William resided on the north side of Mulberry street, between Third and Fourth streets in Philadelphia (source: Lock Have library, PA. - the Compendium of American Genealogy, vol. Iv). Mulberry Street was called Arch Street early on; the reason-- that Front Street formed an arch or bridge when it passed over Mulberry Street, with the latter going down to the riverside to form a public landing-- this ceased to be true in the 1720s. The name nevertheless stuck, long after most people had forgotten the arch itself.

The view to the left is Arch Street between 3rd and 4th street as depicted by William Birch in one of his series of engravings of Philadelphia street scenes in 1798-1800, the period when William Heysham lived there. The view is looking east; the cross street in the middle ground is 4th Street, with the Second Presbyterian Church on the north side of Arch at the corner with 3rd street. William lived on the north side, three houses down from the church. Across the street, on the south side of Arch street, a low brick wall can be seen which surronded the Quaker burial ground. According to the 1785 MacPherson directory [Taken from George Canby's copy of the 1785 MacPherson directory.] William Heysham lived in Philadelphia midway between 3rd & 4th north side of Arch at number 324. The latter number does not appear to correspond with the current street numbers. William was variously styled Heysham or Hysham, and called Captain for his previous sea service.

Note that in 1764 Samuel Griscom, the father of Betsy Ross, built his 3-story home on "a lot on on the north side of Arch Street between Third and Fourth Streets, just west of the Second Presbyterian Church and across from the Quaker burying ground." - from "Betsy Ross" by Marla R. Miller. Samuel sold this house to Matthew Clarkson, William Heysham's next door neighbor, in 1789 for L1,550. Today's Betsy Ross house is a block east, at 239 Arch street, though whether Betsy ever lived there is a question of debate. In the tax list of 1774 William Heysham and Samuel Griscom are listed one after the other. They were, in fact, next door neighbors. William's tax for 32.14.7, while Samuel's was 11.10.0. See more on this issue, below, with the data I recently found at "Mapping West Philadelphia in 1777."

An important note:

The MacPherson directory used its own house numbering system, numbering the houses in sequence down one side of the street, then down the other. The Biddle directory used a method of alternating numbers, as is common today, so that all odd numbers were on one side and all even numbers on the other. I don’t think William Heysham moved, the directories simply numbered his house differently.

I had thought that the four-story brick townhouse in the photo below, located at 323 Arch Street, was the location of William's house. To the right of it is Loxley Court, which can just be seen, an iron gate on an old alley leading to a courtyard, and 321 Arch Street, which looks more like a period building. Continuing to the right are the Arch Condominiums at 315 Arch. To the left of 323 is Girard Fountain park, about the size of one home. There is a large bust of Benjamin Franklin by James Peniston on the wall fronting the park, his jacket and waistcoat covered in a key design. From there, to the corner of 4th street, is a modern building housing the 2nd Ladder, Engine 8 of the Philadelphia Fire Department. From the latest information it appears that William's house was closer to today's 309 Arch street, which is just off the right side of the photo.

On the opposite side of the street is the Quaker Meeting House. This large complex of builings and park, however, was not erected until 1803, after William's death. In William's day this was an open area surronded by a low brick wall, the Quaker burial ground. While this may sound grisly, it gave William a park-like view from his front door that few in town possessed.

A variety of people lived in the area including shopkeepers, goldsmiths, cabinent makers, merchants, ship’s captains, lawyers, and the Speaker of the General Assembley. Note that the Keppele's lived on Arch street - Henry Keppele Jr. was on the Committee of Inspection and Observation with William. See also the Keppele will witnessed by Robert Heysham, below.


On this side of this block [at the end of the following run of numbers-- remember the numbering on the north side of the street ran west to east] stood the Second Presbyterian Church, which was depicted by William Birch in one of his series of engravings of Philadelphia street scenes in 1798-1800; Click here to view the engraving. The view is as if you are standing on the south side between 4th and 5th Streets and looking to the east; the cross street in the middle ground is 4th Street, with the Second Presbyterian Church on the north side of Arch between 3rd and 4th.

(1785) #313, Cist, Charles
(1785) Cist, Charles, printer, Arch between 3rd and 4th
(1790 and 1791) #127, Kepple, Catharine, gentlewoman? Francis White established Catharine Kepple at the corner of Arch and 4th. John Macpherson, for some reason, gave her only a number on 4th Street, not Arch, and gave his next-following number, #313, to this Charles Cist. It's possible the two occupied different parts of the corner property, one with a 4th Street door and one with an Arch Street door. Clement Biddle treated this address and #314 below as if they didn't exist, but Kepple, Kesler (of #315) and Locksley (of #319) were all here in both years, creating a real if hopefully temporary mystery.

(1785) #314, Lecke, C.W. & Melbeck, merchants
(1785) Lecke and Melbeck, tobacco manufacturers, Arch between 3rd and 4th

(1785) #315, Kesler, Leonard
(1790 and 1791) Kessler, Leonard (Ludwig in 1790 census), joiner
(1790 and 1791) Kessler, Michael, joiner

(1785) #316, Collins, Thomas
(1785) Collins, Thomas, schoolmaster, Arch between 3rd and 4th
(1790 and 1791) #123, Abell, Conrad, hat dyer
(1790 and 1791) #123, Hull, Jacob, tax collector (no people listed for him, suggesting this might have been his office).

(1785) #317, Watkin, James
(1785) Watkins, James, cabinetmaker, Arch between 3rd and 4th
(1790 and 1791) #121, Lewis, Isaac, taylor

(1785) #318, Beckley, Widow
(1790 and 1791) #119, Erwin, Elizabeth, widow

(1785) #319, Locksley, Benjamin
(1785) Loxely, Benjamin, captain, Arch between 3rd and 4th
(1790 and 1791) #117, Loxley, Benjamin, gentleman

(1785) #320, Evans, David, joiner
(1785) Evans, David, cabinetmaker, Arch between 3rd and 4th
A card table made by Evans for Edward Burd, the prothonotary of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, (#414 3rd Street, just around the corner between Market and Arch) is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and is illustrated and discussed in Beatrice Garvan's Federal Philadelphia: The Athens of the Western World, pp.20-21.
(1790 and 1791) #115, Evans, David, joiner (also at #21 Cherry Street, according to the 1791 directory). The fact that this property appears as David Evans' place in the 1790 census, yet no one is listed as living here, strongly suggests that it was a workplace and/or showroom for his furniture.

Apparently there was a small alley at Evans' place at #115, since the 1791 directory lists four men as living at that address, "in Small Alley." Of course it's possible that that was the name of the alley. These are the men:

(1785) Keyser or Keiser, John, cordwainer
(1785) Nichols, William, wheelwright
(1785) Shoemaker, Joseph, hatter
(1785) Wittz, Daniel, taylor

Each of these men had at least one female living with them, and some had kids, so these were obviously not "bachelor pads" of a room apiece, but real homes.

(1785) #321, Sergeant, Jonathan D.
(1785) Serjeant, Jonathan, Esq., counsellor at law, Arch between 3rd and 4th
(1790 and 1791) #113, Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson, Esq., attorney at law

(1785) #322, vacant or residents would not give name
(1790 and 1791) #111, no listing in directory, but the 1790 census lists it as "Kersley's Hospital" whose residents were 11 free white females.

(1785) #323, Clarkson, Mathew
Matthew Clarkson (1733-1800) was quite a prominent Philadelphian of the 18th century. Born in New York, he was brought to Philadelphia by his stepfather, the Reverend Gilbert Tennent, who became pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in 1743, and his mother, Cornelia (De Peyster) Clarkson Tennent. He married one Mary Boude in 1758, and they had seven children. By the time the Directories were published he had already been Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, Quarter Sessions, and Orphans Court, Quartermaster of the First Battalion of Associators, Marshall of the Admiralty for Pennsylvania, Clerk of the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss By Fire, and, the year previous to the Directories, one of the founding members of the Mutual Assurance Company, the insurance company best known as the Green Tree after its symbol. Later he was Alderman of Philadelphia and Mayor, between 1792 and 1795. A Matthew Clarkson, Esq. was at #22 3rd Street, just around the corner from this property, where the State Lottery Office was run; it is not clear whether this was Clarkson, Clarkson's son Matthew, or the Lottery Office run by one or the other.

This property was insured by Clarkson through the Mutual Assurance Company. According to Policies Numbered 56 and 57, the structure was 20' by 36' and "3 stories" though they used that term to describe those we would now call two-and-a-half-story houses. It was fairly plainly finished inside and had a street tree in front of the door. The backbuildings were 55' by 13' and "2 stories."

Anthony Garvan's The Mutual Assurance Company Papers, Vol. 1: The Architectural Surveys, 1784-1794, the source of all this information, states that the insured house was numbered #109 under the 1791 Biddle system of numbering. This is true: (1790 and 1791) #109, Clarkson, Matthew, Esq.

(1785) #324, Heysham, William
(1785) #324, Hysham, William
(1785) Heysham, William, captain, Arch between 3rd and 4th
(1790 and 1791) #107, Heysham, William, gentleman

(1785) #325, Wilcox, Alexander
(1785) Wilcocks, Alexander, Esq., counsellor at law, Arch between 3rd and 4th
(1790 and 1791) #105, Wilcocks, Alexander, Esq., recorder of the city

(1785) #326, Bushell, John
(1790 and 1791) #103, Gibbons, John, doctor of physic

(1785) #327, Ashburn, Lesley
(1790 and 1791) #101, Lesley & Esbourn, joiners

- from Early Philadelphia, 1682-1800

William was a member of the City Committee of Correspondence, perhaps as early as 1773. Committees of this sort were first proposed by Virginia in March 1773 and tasked with contacting the legislatures of each colony so that they could join Virginia and offer concerted opposition toward British encroachments.

December 1773. "It is not easy to describe the anxiety and suspense of the city in this interval; sundry reports of her arrival [the tea-ship] were received, which were premature, but on Saturday evening last an express came up from Chester to inform the town that the tea-ship, commanded by Capt Ayres, with her detested cargo, was arrived there, having followed another ship up the river so far . . . About 2 o'clock she appeared in sight of Gloucester Point, where a number of the inhabitants from the town had assembled, with the gentlemen from the committee, and as she passed along she was hailed, and the captain requested not to proceed further, but to come on shore. This the captain complied with, and was handed thro' a lane made by the people to the gentlement appointed to confer with him. They represented to him the general sentiment . . . the following resolutions were . . . agreed to . . .
Resolved 1st. That the tea on board the ship Polly, Capt. Ayres, shall not be landed.
2d. That Capt Ayres shall neither enter nor report his vessel at the Custom House.
3d. That Capt Ayres shall carry back the tea immediately.
. . .
7th. That Capt Heysham, Capt R. White, Mr. Benjamin Loxley and Mr. A. Donaldson be a committe to see these resolutions carried into execution.
. . ." - from a Philadelphia news paper of 27 December 1773.
Captain Ayres left without off-loading his cargo of tea.

William Heysham was a witness to the Will of Rebecca Crapp of Philadelphia, which was signed on 21 July 1774. She was a single woman. Her heirs were her Nieces: Susanna Chatham, Mary, Rebecca and Sarah Paschall, Hannah Clayton, Sarah Tilotson, Susanna Knight, Hannah Stowe, Susanna Bonham (wife of Ephriam); Nephews: Edward and James Chatham, Jos. Earle, Blathwait Jones and Wm. Tilotson. Exec.: Kinsman Ephriam Bonham, tallow chandler. Wit: Wm. Heysham, Thos. Mason and Peter Thomson [a conveyancer/lawyer]. Proved: July 21, 1774. Q.26.

William Heysham's name was crossed out of the following list.

"Oyer and Terminer the 24th September 1774
Grand Jury
. . .
1. William Heysham . . ." - from "Pennsylvania, Oyer and Terminer Court Papers, 1757-1787"
A traverse juror, also known as a petit juror, is a citizen who has been selected to serve on a trial jury in a legal action or prosecution. The case appears to have been a burglary of the mansion house of Thomas Wilson by James Ensloe.

In November 1774 a survey was taken of 300 acres of land in "On Main Lehiwaxen R. 15 Mi. W. Delaware" in Northampton county in William Heysham's name. On 21 July 1776 315 acres was "returned" to "William Coxe, et al," the patentees. See Northampton. The plat map is at C78 169.

I have not been able to identify Lehiwaxen creek other than that it was mentioned in one book in company with large rivers like the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill, and Susquehanna, and Juniata and Penn's creek. I suspect this was Lackawaxen creek. William had property surveyed there again in 1793, see below. Lackawaxen creek is a tributory of the Delaware, above Port Jervis.

Note that the counties shown on the map to the left are modern creations; Northampton county encompassed this area in 1774.

There are a number of other references to surveys of land in William's name, and that of his son, Robert. Most men of the period who had the means speculated in land. There was much of it to be had and a great deal of money could be made. George Washington famously speculated in an attempt to clear his properties of debt.

The following I had thought referred to William Heysham [Hissom] of Northampton county, a farmer, but now I think this refers instead to a land deal involving William Heysham of Philadelphia. It appears that the names of thirteen citizens, probably all of Philadelphia, were used as a smokescreen to obtain 13 300-acre warrants to land in Northampton county. There is no indication in the documents below that the land surveyed in William's name was ever taken up by him, though I suspect he received a portion of the profit.

"Heysham, William, 300 acres, surveyed Nov. 4, 1774." - from: "Land Warrants for Northampton Co., Pa. 1752 - 1886"
Another citation in the Pennsylvania Archives is from a special meeting of the Board of Property on 6 April 1795. The Land Officers were Daniel Brodhead, Francis Johnston, and David Kennedy. Joseph Scudder of Monmouth county, New Jersey, representing himself and the heirs of Philip Johnston, deceased, presented a petition to the board. It stated that on 4 November 1774 Reynold Keen and Edward Milnor, Esquires, now of Philadelphia, had Warrants granted in the names of Robert Erwin, Robert Smith, William Heysham, Isaac Howell, Stephen Paschall, Reynold Keen, et al for taking up thirteen tracts of land of three hundred acres each in the county of Northampton [see above]. Johnston said these holders "did afterwards release their claims to Reynold Keen in order that he might divide & convey the same agreeably to the proportions intended and agreed upon between the parties concerned . . ." Per documents held by Keen it was said that it was agreed that one part was to be given to the Reverend Doctor Smith and Philip Johnston "for the discovery of the said lands." It was futher claimed that "upon the division of said lands it was agreed that the said Doctor Smith and Philip Johnston should have five of the aforesaid tracts to wit those in the names of Robert Erwin, Robert Smith, William Heysham, Isaac Howell and Stephen Paschall," with Johston having the first three of these tracts. The transaction had not been completed before Johnston was killed at the Battle of Long Island. The heirs now wanted, and got, their land.

Based on the above, I think all land warrants under the name of either William or Robert Heysham, even when for Northampton county, must be questioned.

From an article in The Pennsylvania Gazette, item #56656, dated 7 December 1774:

"Moved and agreed, That a Committee of Inspection and Observation be appointed to attend the execution of the first resolve of the Congress; and that this Committee (the President and Secretaries excepted) be divided, for that business, into six particular districts - the divisions as follow, viz. . . . Whereupon the following Gentlemen were appointed to serve upon this Committee.
For the Second Division. John Wilcocks, John Cox, Henry Keppele, jun., Jacob Winey, William Heysham, Francis Haffenclever, Isaac Melchior, Samuel Maffey, James Irvine, Robert Towers . . ."

The First Continental Congress

It met from 5 September to 26 October 1774. Its first resolve was a non-importation agreement. The committee above was constituted to ensure that merchants in Philadelphia adheared to this resolution as stated in the text below:

"That a committee be chosen in every county, city, and town, by those who are qualified to vote for representatives in the legislature, whose business it shall be attentive to observe the conduct of all persons touching this association; and when it shall be made to appear, to the satisfaction of a majority of any such committee, that any person within the limits of their appointment has violated this association, that such majority do forthwith cause the truth of the case to be published in the gazette; to the end, that all such foes to the rights of British-America may be publicly known, and universally condemned as the enemies of American liberty; and thenceforth we respectively will break off all dealings with him or her."

Members of the Committee of Inspection and Observation, For the Second Division

John Wilcocks was a Philadelphia merchant in the rum and tobacco trade. A member of the city council, along with Tench Francis. A Forwarding Agent for Philadelphia, like William Heysham of Barbados. He was active in the political crisis over taxation on goods imported into the American colonies between 1765 and 1773. In 1774 he was a member, with William Heysham of Philadelphia, on the Committe of Observation. His brother was Alexander Wilcocks, an attorney and member of the Committee of Safety.

Henry Keppele, Jr. was a neighbor of William Heysham's and a witness with him on at least one will. A merchant of Philadelphia involved in the wholesale merchant and import business.

Jacob Winey was a prominent Philadelphia merchant, in partnership with Andrew Bunner at their store on the north side of Market Street. He owned the brigantine NANCY. He was Treasurer of the German Society of Philadelphia, founded in 1764. He appears to have had something to do with colonial currency. His signature is on a Pennsylvania four shilling note issued in 1773.

Francis Haffenclever was probabley Francis Casper Hasenclever, a merchant of Philadelphia. He was born in Wuertternberg, Germany, and emigrated to Philadelphia before 1760. He married Mary Melchior, the sister of Isaac, below.

Isaac Melchior, his last name was sometimes spelled Melcher. He became a Colonel and barrack Master General of the Revolutionary Army. In 1776, Isaac, along with nine other Pennsylvania Germans, gave his personal bond to buy provisions for Washington's half-starved army.

Samuel Maffey is probably Samuel Massey, merchant of Philadelphia. He was a business partner of Benjamin Mifflin and married a Mifflin daughter. His was amongst the 10 most active firms in the city, ranking with that of Conyngham & Nesbitt, and Willing & Morris.

There were several embargo's of British goods from 1765 to 1775 and the Committee of Observation and Inspection was a significant force during each. On the eve of a new embargo merchants would appear before the committee's members to declare their current stock to ensure they could sell it later. Once the embargo began importers would have to present their incoming ships to the committee's inspection for approval. There are several references, below, to William's examinations of ships' cargoes.

From the the Provincial Tax of 1774: William Heysham, Acres-0, Horses-1, Cattle-0, Servants-1, Tax-32.14.7.

Sometime after May 1773, but before January 1775, William became a member of The Society Of The Sons Of Saint Tammany of Philadelphia. This was a radical organization similar to the Sons of Liberty in New York.


King Tammany [Tamanend], a Delaware Indian chief friendly to William Penn, was a popular figure in the folklore of early Pennsylvania. By the time of the Stamp Act crisis images of American Indians, often as Tammany, were being used widely as a symbol of resistance to British authority. By the 1770s, members of the Sons of Liberty (a secret revolutionary society organized in the 1760s) adopted Chief or "King" Tammany as their patron saint to validate their emerging identity as Americans and, in Philadelphia, adopted his name for their group. By 1773, the Tammany society in Philadelphia had grown disenchanted with King George III, so they held a mock "canonization" of King Tammany in order to change their name to the Sons of St. Tammany. Members of the Tammany society often wore buckskins in imitation of their 'Saint' and became known to their detractors as 'Buckskins.' The motto of the society, supposedly taken from Tamanend's own words, was "This is my right, I will defend it."

Colonel William Bradford, in a letter dated Philadelphia, 15 February 1766, to the Sons of Liberty of New York, said,

"Our body in this city is not declared numerous, as unfortunate dissentions in Provincial politics keep us rather a divided people. But when the Grand cause calls on us, you may be assured we shall universally stand forth and appear what we really are—Sons of Liberty in Philadelphia."

See also "The Society of the Sons of Saint Tammany of Philadelphia", by Francis Von A. Cabeen, first published in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1901, and An American Synthesis, The Sons of St. Tammany or Columbian Order.

Tammany Hall, the infamous political machine in New York, had its origins in a Tammany society in that city, but its original purpose as a fraternity of patriots was forgotten.

William was mentioned in the following anti-revolutionary poem published in the "Temple of Liberty" on 7 January 1775. It is called "The Address of Liberty, to the Buckskins [Sons of St Tammany] of Pennsylvania, on hearing of the intended Provincial Congress,”

Fair Liberty, dear Goddess Bright—
Wishing to set the Pennites right—
Thus from her Throne, in candid Strains,
Addressed her Pennsylvan Swain.
Can public Virtue by me stand,
See Faction stalking through the Land ?—
Faction that Fiend, begat in Hell—
In Boston nurs'd—here brought to dwell
By Congress, who, in airy Freak,
Conven'd to plan a Republic?
Will Helmsmen let the Ship of State,
Meet with so dire, shipwreck'd a Fate?
Can Judges, fam'd for Probity
Sit tame Spectators by, and see
The Laws oppugn'd by Committee—
Who Laugh at Courts, and Loyalty?
Can peaceful Quakers, honest Church,
See Congress leave them in the Lurch,
And o'er their Heads such Vermin perch!
Stop Independents! Stop, I say !
You mean to fight—to run away;
The British Thunder you defy,
And right of Parliament deny;.
Revile the kind Peace making Gage,*
"Who with great Prudence would assuage
The fires lit up by H—k's Rage,**
Which unto civil Wars must tend,
Unless the Olive Branch we send
To gen'rous Britain your best Friend.
Stop, Independents, stop, I say!
Attend to my instructive Lay!
Hysham must swing on yonder Tree***
—Dear Friends, an Englishman you'll see,
Traytor to his King and Country!
With Rope adorn'd on gallows high,
He'll kick in Air, in Company
With the Pennsylvan Farmer John,****
And Charley T—, a Rebel Son,*****
For Crime by Statute called Treason,
Which they committed without Reason
Well read in Law John seem'd—Oh, Shame!
Not so was it with poor Hysham!
For ignorant, alas, was he,
Ignorant as e'er Man could be!
(Ignorance, know ye, in Law's no Plea)
But Farmer John inveigled him,
And Charles united in the Scheme;
But Peace the Wight enjoyed_dying_
Both were by his side a crying,
When Rope about his Neck was fix't,--
He clearly saw they would be next
Tuck't up aloft on self-same Tree,
That he, alas, must hanged be!
View, Friends, this sad Catastrophe,
Three Rebels hanging on one Tree—
Dead as Door Nails—hung for Treason,
Which they committed out of Season,—
Lives lost—Estates confiscated—
Their Fam'lies left discomfited,—
A horrid Scene, a dismal ditty—
Good lack-a-day--what a Pity!
Poor Hysham formly, we're told,
Sold goods to France for Sake of gold,
‘Tis true he did, in Time of War,
Yet he escaped from Rope or Tar;
But he's o'ertak'n, Hemp has reach'd him—
For old sin his weight has stretch'd him.—
View, my Readers, this sad Picture!
Hang they will your Gen'ral Stricture.
Unnat'ral Deaths some Folks must dye,
Sic transit gloria mundi.
Ah, me! Deluded, hoodwink'd Cits,
Rouse from your Sleep, resume your Wits!
Honor the King, obey my Laws!
Don't forfeit Life and Lands for Straws!
Had those mad Bandits been discreet,
They ne'er had stretch'd in hempen Sheet.
*General Gage, commander of the British forces in America.
**John Hancock.
***Captain William Heysham, member of Fort Saint David Society (State in Schuylkill, page 402); also Hiltzheimer, page 26; also Directory, signed Non-Importation Resolutions, member of the City Committee of Correspondence [this footnote is in the original document].

Note (1): This probably refers to "The History of the Schuylkill Fishing Company,' also known as the "State in Schuylkill." See below.

Note (2): This probably refers to the diaries of Jacob Hiltzheimer, a farmer, assemblyman and patriot of Philadelphia. He was also a member of State in Schuylkill.
"May 7. [1773]--Went to Falls of Schuykill and dined with James and Charles Biddle, Jacob Bates, Philip Kinsey, Captain Heysham, John Mease, R. Keen, Edward Milner, and others." - from "Extracts from the Diary of Jacob Hiltzheimer: Of Philadelphia. 1765-1798" by Jacob Hiltzheimer, Jacob Cox Parsons
"October 4. [1785]--Remarkabley hard rain all night . . . Went to the State House, and was drawn on a jury: Matthew Clarkson, foreman; Messrs. Whitesides, Henry, Hysham, Harbison, Dean, Harrison, Cornman, Stocker, Bispham, Morgan, and myself."
"June 24. [1791]--With Captain Hysham went to burial of Dr. Jones, from Mr. Clark's on Market Street to Friends' ground. Governor Mifflin called at my house and over-persuaded me to accompany him and family to Cape Henlopen . . ."
"August 8. [1795]--Early this morning took a bath in the ocean. There dined with us Samuel Morris, governor of the Schuylkill Fishing Company, and his son and brother Israel, John Morrell, and A. Tybout. The following guests are at our house: Leaming and wife, Joshua Bond and wife, Peter Kuhn, wife and daughter, William Jones, Robert Hysham, Mr. Kerr, and Robeson."
"September 30.-- Mr. Barge and I took a ride up the canal as far as Mr. William's place; after we met Mr. [Robert] Hysham and B. Scull, and went to Robert Erwin's on Eighth Street, to drink punch with him, where we met a large number of gentlemen."
- from "Extracts from the Diary of Jacob Hiltzheimer: Of Philadelphia. 1765-1798" by Jacob Hiltzheimer, Jacob Cox Parsons

Note (3): This probably refers to the Philadelphia City Directory of 1790.

****John Dickinson, author of the "Farmer's Letters."
*****Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress.

Fort Saint David Society

The fishing company of Fort St. Davids was a gentleman's club established by a number of prominent and wealthy gentlemen of Philadelphia, called by themselves the 'Nobility of those days,' among whom were many Welshmen, who gave the Society the name of their patron saint, as well as Quakers. It was organized and governed in the manner of a garrison or fortification; it had its commander-in-chief, governor, captains, lieutenants, etc. The commander issued his orders, proclamations, &c., in regular military style. The members and invited guests went there for recreation and amusement, the fishing being excellent. The company continued in operation until the Revolutionary War, at which time it numbered among its members some of the best and most patriotic citizens of the day. When the British army took possession of Philadelphia the fish house was ransacked by a contingent of Hessians encamped in the neighborhood.

John Dickinson was admitted as a member on 16 April 1768 and John Bayard was the society's Secretary. Edward Pole, the owner of the Wigwam tavern and the Tammany club secretary, has been noted as the first purveyor of fishing gear in the city.

After the war what remained of the society reassembled and rebuilt their Fort. Some years later it caught fire and was destroyed. After that a portion of the members united with the "Philadelphia Fishing Company," also called the "State in Schuylkill," whose house was lower down the river. The State in Schuylkill was the oldest gentleman's club in America, being founded in 1732 by a group of amateur anglers. Similar to the Fort St. David's Society, they were facetially governed like a colony or state, with a governor and other similar titles, including even a coroner. Members of the era included William Bradford, Samuel Mifflin, Thomas Mifflin, John Dickinson, Robert Morris, and Tench Francis. It survived through the 19th century.

From "Early History of the Falls of Schuylkill" by Charles V. Hagner, Philadelphia, 1869.

It is significant, I think, that William was mentioned so prominently in this anti-revolutionary poem. What had he done to picque the scorn of the poem's author? Clearly, William was not in the same league as Dickinson and Thomson, but well-known enough at the time to be portrayed as Dickinson's unwitting dupe. This might have to do with the fact that Dickinson sat in the First Continental Congress, in 1774, and Thomson had been its Secretary. William Heysham would later be a delegate to the Provisional Congress and was one of those tasked with enforcing the non-importation resolutions. I imagine the author singled out William because his business had suffered as a result of William's diligence. The line, "For ignorant, alas, was he, Ignorant as e'er Man could be!", displays a personal contempt that must have the loss of money at its root. Note below the trouble William had with Ludwig Kuhn when he was a Commissioner of the salt supply.

Note too that William was still dogged by stories of his smuggling in the West Indies during the French & Indian Wars.

William Heysham's 'Co-Conspirators'

John Dickinson

A moderate, known as the "Penman of the Revolution," he studied law in Philadelphia and at the Middle Temple, in London. He returned to Philadelphia and became a prominent lawyer and politician. Dickinson emerged in the forefront of Revolutionary thinkers. In 1765 he wrote "The Late Regulations Respecting the British Colonies . . .," which urged Americans to seek repeal of the Stamp Act by pressuring British merchants. He was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, whose resolutions he drafted. In 1767-68 Dickinson wrote a series of newspaper articles in the Pennsylvania Chronicle that came to be known collectively as "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania." These influential writings attacked British taxation policy and urged resistance to unjust laws, but also emphasized the possibility of a peaceful resolution. In 1768, responding to the Townshend Duties, he championed rigorous colonial resistance in the form of nonimportation and nonexportation agreements.

Because of his continued opposition to the use of force he lost much of his popularity by 1774. He particularly resented the tactics of New England leaders in that year and refused to support aid requested by Boston in the wake of the Intolerable Acts, though he sympathized with the city's plight. In 1774 he chaired the Philadelphia committee of correspondence and briefly sat in the First Continental Congress. In 1775 he chaired a Philadelphia committee of safety and defense and held a colonelcy in the first battalion recruited in Philadelphia to defend the city. In Congress he voted against the Declaration of Independence and refused to sign it.

Charles Thomson

A member of the radical wing of the Independence party. An early patriot and ardent abolitionist, he was famous for his veracity. He was called the "Samuel Adams of Philadelphia, the life of the cause of liberty," by John Adams. Secretary of the 1st Continental Congress, he remained in this post under every Congress until the Federal government came to power in 1789. He also designed the Great Seal of the United States.

A Provisional Convention, or Congress, for the Province of Pennsylvania was held at Philadelphia from 23 to 28 January 1775. Amongst those present for the city of Philadelphia were "the usual suspects":

John Dickinson, Thomas Mifflin, Charles Thomson, John Cadwaldaer, John Cox, John Bayard, George Clymer, Joseph Reed, William Bradford, Samuel Massey, Owen Biddle, William Heysham, Francis Hassenclever, and Isaac Melcher. Samuel Miles attended for the county of Philadelphia. Caspar Weitzel represented Northumberland county. Joseph Reed was selected as President of the Convention.
Its purpose was to approve the conduct and proceedings of the First Continental Congress, which it unanimously did. They resolved that the trade of the city should be "suspended in consequence of the present struggle." They also resolved that their most earnest wish and desire was to see harmony restored between Great Britain and the colonies. They acted against profiteering and encouraged local manufacture to offset the loss of trade.

Provincial Congress Delegates

Joseph Reed (1741–85), left, was a lawyer who studied in London at the Middle Temple. After returning in 1765 to practice law in Trenton, he took an active part in pre-Revolutionary affairs. Moving to Philadelphia in 1770, he became a member of the Committee of Correspondence and President of the Pennsylvania Provincial Congress. In the war he served as military secretary to George Washington and as Adjutant General and took part in a number of battles. He served in the Continental Congress. As president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania he abolished slavery in Pennsylvania and caused Benedict Arnold to be prosecuted on charges of corrupt practices. He was a trustee and founder of the University of Pennsylvania.

John Cox, right, was a successful Philadelphia Doctor who married Esther Sayre. See the Heysham-Sayre webpage for more information on his life and his connection with the Heysham family.

Samuel Miles, left, and Caspar Weitzel, see the Thomas Hissom webpage for information on their lives and their interaction, as military leaders, with the Heysham family of Lower Smithfield township, in Northampton county.

"The Committee of Correspondence was still in authority at this time, but their power being questionable, they recommended, in November, that at the ensuing general election a new committee should be regularly chosen for the city, and one also for the county . . . The city, Northern Liberties and Southwark committee included John Dickinson, Thomas Mifflin, Charles Thomson, John Cadwalader, Robert Morris, Samuel Howell, George Clymer, Joseph Reed, Samuel Meredith, John Nixon, John Cox, John Bayard, Charles Ludwig, George Schlosser, Lambert Cadwalader, Henry Keppele Jr., Jacob Winey, William Bradford, Owen Biddle, William Heysham, John Wilcocks, Sharp Delaney, Francis Hassenclever, Isaac Melchior, Isaac Coates, Samuel Massey . . ." From "History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884."

The following is from "Extracts from American Newspapers relating to New Jersey for the year 1775," edited by A. Van Doren Hon Eyman, 1923. It indicates that the surname Heysham was generally known enough to be used as an alias.

"Last week a certain Ann Harper was convicted at the Mayor's Court for stealing sundry goods, the property of different persons in this City, for which she was sentenced to be whipped publickly, on three different Market days. . . . It is said this Ann Harper is well-known in New York, and on Long Island, where she has gone under the different names of Clarke and Heysham, at different times; and it is supposed she will travel that way again, after she is released from our gaol, as she was taking a place in one of the stages for New-York, when she was apprehended." - from "Extract of a Letter from Philadelphia, dated 14 January 1775"

In a report he delivered to the Supreme Executive Committee in 1779, William Heysham said that he had been in New York City in March 1775 to get Joseph Greswold Sr., a distiller and Loyalist, to "render me an account which he had against Widow Heysham." This must be Catherine, the widow of William's elder brother, Thomas.

The news of the battles of Lexington and Concord reached Philadelphia on 27 April 1775 and feelings ran high, both amongst the patriots and those who thought them reckless. On 2 May the Military Associators, a militia, met and determined that each ward of the city should form one or more companies of soldiers.

The Campaign of 1775

After the battles of Lexington and Concord in April, the British army was successfully bottled up in Boston by the Massachusetts militia. Meanwhile, in May, a force led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga, in New York. Strategically located on the Hudson river, this fort blocked the passage of British troops coming south out of Canada. More importantly however, the decision was made to use the fort's cannon to support the seige in Boston. It would take almost a year to move the heavy cannon through the rivers and forests of New England.

In June, at the battle of Bunker Hill, in Boston, the British succeed in clearing the American position on Breed's Hill, but at a staggering loss. In July General Washington arrived in Boston and took charge of the siege. At the same time the Continental Congress attempted reconciliation with the Crown, but George III responded by proclaiming that the American colonies were now officially in a state of open rebellion.

William was a candidate in the 16 August 1775 election for Philadelphia's Second Committee of Observation and Inspection. This committee would replace the previous body of 66 members with and expanded board of 100; 76 for the City and 12 each for the Northern Liberties and Southwark. There were three slates: moderates, conservatives and mechanics. William was on the moderate slate, which included officers of the Associators, proprietary interests, and prominent merchants. The mechanics were, in contrast, thoroughly radical. No description of the August 16 election has survived, but the mechanics, which included small-scale craftsmen, manufacturers and retailers, were victorious, gaining the majority.

1. Doctor Franklin 27. William Heysham
2. Thomas Mifflin 28. James Millegan
3. John Cadwallader 29. John Wilcox
4. Robert Morris 30. Sharp Delany
5. George Clymer 31. Francis Gurney
6. Joseph Reed 32. John Purviance
7. Samuel Meredith 33. Francis Hassenclever . . ."
William was, once again, in pretty good company.

As all-out rebellion blossomed, city leaders sought to ensure that Philadelphia was well supplied in case of blockade or siege. On 7 December 1775 William Heysham, Nathaniel Browne, and Isaac Coats provided a report on the Amount of Sea Coal in Philadelphia to the Committee of Safety.

The Sea Coal Report

Nathaniel Browne was a 'Free Quaker,' that is he had broken away from traditional Quaker beliefs and supported independence. Clement Biddle was another Free Quaker.

Isaac Coats, or Coates, was also a Philadelphia Quaker. He was a member of the Committe of Inspection & Observation for the First Division. William Heysham was on the same committee for the Second Division.

Early in 1776 William was elected to the revolutionary Committee to rule Philadelphia during the "troubles."


Philadelphia, February 16, 1776.

We, the subscribers, Judges and Inspectors of the General Election held on Friday, the 16th day of February, at the State-House, for the choice of a Committee for the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, to serve for six months ensuing, do certify that the following persons were duly elected.

For the City.

Benjamin Franklin, Richard Willing, Christopher Pechin,
Joseph Reed, John Purviance, Peter Z. Lloyd,
Thomas McKean, William Heysham, Nathan Brown,
Samuel Meredith, James Millegan, William Wistar,
Samuel Massey, Charles Massey, Joseph Dean,
Sharpe Delaney, James Cresson, Jacob Bargo,
Richard Bache, Benjamin Loxley, Benjamin Rush,
William Rush, Benjamin Harbeson, Robert Smith, hatter,
Joseph Wetherill, Chris. Marshall, Sen., William Hollingshead,
Thomas Barclay, Robert S. Jones, Samuel C. Morris,
John Wilcox, Joseph Parker, William Will,
Thomas Cuthbert, James Reed, Jonathan Mifflin, son
John Cox, Frederick Kuhl, of John,
Thomas Lawrence, Joseph Moulder, Nathaniel Donnell,
Jacob Morgan, Timothy Matlack, Andrew Tybout,
William Jackson, James Ash, John Mease,
John Cadwallader, John Patton, Daniel Robinson,
John Bayard, Nicholas Hicks, Samuel Simpson,
Francis Gurney, Philip Poehm, Michael Shubert,
George Schlosser, Jacob Shreiner, George Meade,
Moore Furman, Daniel Joy, William Colladay,
Christopher Ludwick, Francis Wade, George Morgan,
Jonathan B. Smith, William Ball, Capt. William Davis,
Thomas Pryor, John Linnington, Benjamin Paschall,
William Bradford, Isaac flowell, James Bearles.
John Allen, Joseph Watkins,

Northern Liberties.

John Dickinson, George Leib, William Coates,
Isaac Coitcs, John Brown, James Worrell,
Joseph Copperthwaite, Samuel Bruster, Thomas Hopkin,
William Masters, James Loughead, Robert Hare.


Samul Moore, James Skinner, Robert Knox,
John Duohe, William McMullen, James Barms,
Joseph Blewer, Nathaniel Irish, William Robinson,
Robert Allison, Elias Boyoe, Joseph Falconer

The Campaign of 1776

1776 began well for the American cause, then turned sour, but ended in victory and renewed hope. In March American forces captured Dorchester Heights, overlooking Boston harbor, and fortified the position with cannon taken from Fort Ticonderoga. The British, their position now made untenable, evacuated the city, handing George Washington his first great victory.

In June a large British fleet arrived in New York City. It included troop ships with 30,000 men embarked who occuppied Staten Island. At the same time General Howe offered clemency to the American rebels if the ceased hostilities, but the offer was declined.

14 May 1776. "Resolved, That Capt. Heysham & Mr. Joseph Watkins be appointed a Committee to receive the directions of this Board, to carry into execution the making of Carriages for the different Canon which may be made or otherwise procured for the use of this Province." However, "Capt. Heysham & Mr. Watkins having declined serving as a Committee, agreeable to their appointment by a Resolve of the 14th inst., " Capt. Loxley and Mr. William Evans were given the job. - from "Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania: from the organization to the termination of..." by Samuel Hazard.

"August 5th.** [1776] Waited on by Capt. Hysham, Capt. Simpson, and John Leamington, who had thrown the twelve ____ of Green Tea, as directed last Committee night, into [the] Delaware; upon which, I copied the resolve, with direction to the printers to publish it and the affair in next newspapers.**" - from "Passages from the Remembrancer of Christopher Marshall, Member of the Committee of Observation and Inspection, and of the Council of Safety."
Christopher Marshall (1709-1797) was born in Dublin, Ireland and came to America in 1727, settling in Philadelphia, where he worked as a chemist and pharmacist. He was disowned by the Society of Friends for the active part that he took on the patriot side. He is best known for "The Remembrancer," a diary he kept during the Revolution, which was not published until 1839. This episode was captured in the following official report.
"Twelve canisters of illicit tea, on the sloop SALLY, Capt. Ball, from St. Croix, were thrown into the Delaware by Capts. Heysham, Simpson, and John Leamington, under orders from the Committe of Inspection." From "History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884," Volume I, L.H. Everts & Co., 1884.

8 November 1776. "Resolved, That Messrs. Jacob Barge, John Parviance, William Heysham, & Wm. Moulder, be appointed a Committe to superintend and direct the purchase, Sale, & distribution of the Salt imported into this State agreeable to the regulations established by this board." - from "Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania: from the organization to the termination of..." by Samuel Hazard

The Campaign of 1776, continued

In August, the British army finally made its move and landed on Long Island. They dealt a disasterous defeat to the American army there, who were, however, able to escape to Manhattan. In September the British landed on Manhattan and again defeated the Americans. This was followed by another defeat at White Plains, New York, in October.

Throughout November the American army retreated across New Jersey. They finally stopped on the western shore of the Delaware river. At this nadir of the revolution Thomas Paine wrote that "these are the times that try men's souls."

With enlistments coming to an end and his army, and the revolution about to collapse, George Washington took the gamble of attacking the Hessians at Trenton at the tail-end of the year. The resultant victory, and those that followed at Princeton, forced General Howe to withdraw his army from western New Jersey.

There are two excellent histories of this important year. "1776" by David McCullough and "Washington's Crossing" by David Hackett Fischer.

William's son, Robert, took part in the Trenton campaign. His eldest son, William P. Heysham, was a crew member of the privateer REVENGE, commanded by Gustavus Conyngham.

The Campaign of 1777

After the winter successes of the Continental Army at Trenton and Princeton, the British resolved to retake the initiative in the spring. General Burgoyne headed an army coming out of Canada down the Hudson river that would eventually lead to an American victory at Saratoga. General Howe, then in New York City, was supposed to work in consort with Burgoyne, heading up the Hudson river and isolating New England. Instead he decided to load his troops onboard ship and head towards Philadelphia, the rebel capital. Howe felt that there was considerable Loyalist sympathy amongst the people that would burst forth once the the city was taken. He was probably also obsessed with "might have beens." That is, he could have taken Philadelphia in 1776, and avoided the Trenton and Princeton debacles and the resultant retreat across New Jersey, if he had pushed his army harder.

The British fleet was first spotted at the end of July in the approaches to the Delaware river, but General Howe felt the fleet was not safe operating in those waters and so moved south into Chesapeake Bay where, by the end of August, he landed his troops some 60 miles south fo the city. General Washington, then north of Philadelphia, ordered his troops south through the city in a bravado parade down Front street with Washington at its head and Lafayette at his side.

As the threat of invasion and occupation neared, citizens of the city were asked to formally declare their loyalty to the United States government. This oath was directed, in great part, at the Quaker community who were trusted by neither the Loyalists nor the Patriots. The Quakers opposed both the taking of oaths and the violence inherent in the Revolution and had, in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1776, formally directed their members to observe strict neutrality. See The Complexity of Patriotism and Quaker Loyalism in One Pennsylvania Family by Karin A. Wulf, of the American University, for a more complete discussion of the Quaker dilemna.

William Haysham [sic] made his oath of allegiance in 1777 - from "Names of Persons Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania," by John B. Linn and Willima H. Egle.

As the British moved north, the citizens scrambled to prepare, moving valuables out of the town, calling up the militia and rounding up those suspected of favoring the Loyalist cause. The Continental Congress, based on fears that Quakers were sharing intelligence with the enemy, recommended that the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania "apprehend and secure the persons of . . . [including James Pemberton, Henry Drinker, Israel Pemberton, John Pemberton, and Rees Wharton] . . . together with all such Papers in their Possession as may be of a Political nature." From "History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884," Volume I, L.H. Everts & Co., 1884.

The Council decided to expand the list of those to be arrested and asked David Rittenhouse, William Bradford, Sharp Delaney and Charles Willson Peale to identify addition persons "dangerous to the state." From the "Journal And Transactions Of The Exiles, Citizens 0f Philadelphia, Sent To Winchester, Virginia from 2 September 1777 to 30 April 1778:

“A Report had for some weeks prevailed that lists of a great number of persons were made out, with an intent shortly to apprehend and confine them; but for what cause was a profound secret. Several who had the confidence of some of the leading men had seen the lists, and from what they could discover in conversation, it was understood that four or five hundred of the respectable inhabitants were to be secured and sent out of the city."
The eventual list was not so extensive, but included Dr. Adam Kuhn, Dr. Phineas Bond, Reverend William Smith (the provost of the college), Reverend Thomas Coombe (rector of Christ Church), William Imlay, Thomas Gilpin [Quaker merchant], Thomas Afflick [Quaker artisan], and Israel and John Pemberton. Many of these were spared the mortification of arrest if they would agree to stay in the homes and do nothing injurious to the United States.

On 1 September 1777 the Committee of Safety of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, Thomas Wharton President, appointed and authorized the following persons "to carry into execution the resolves of the committee respecting the arrest of such persons deemed inimical to the cause of American liberty [including]: William Bradford, Sharpe Delaney, William Heysham, Charles W. Peale, and Lazarus Pine." Three quarters of the men named refused to give parole and were arrested and confined in the Mason's Lodge.

"The Supreme Executive Council of the state issued orders for the arrest and exile of some of the leading and wealthiest Quaker merchants in the city. In late August, Captain William Heysham, at the head of a militia company, had to half-carry John Pemberton from his home to . . . " - from "Arms, Culture, and Class: The Philadelphia Militia"

William's Accomplices

Charles Willson Peale, the celebrated American artist, his self-portrait is left, was also a celebrated patriot. Born in Maryland, after many travels he settled in Philadelphia in 1775 where he joined the city militia as a Private. A man "determined to do his utmost in the common cause of America," Peale rose to the rank of First Lieutenant. He took part in the Battle of Trenton, crossing the Delaware river at the same time as General Washington's troops did. He later described their crossing as "the most hellish scene I have ever beheld." Back in Philadelphia, Peale served on a number of revolutionary committees as well as the General Assembly of Pennsylvania. In 1802, he made a deliberate effort to provide a pictorial record of the Revolution for future generations. To this end, Peale established a museum at Independence Hall to display the portraits he had painted throughout the war.

Lazarus Pine (1716-1796), commissioned a Captain, commanded a Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Philadelphia City militia to which Robert Heysham, William's second son, was for a short time attached.

Those arrested were initially imprisoned in the Free Masons Lodge. Those who would swear fidelity and allegiance to Pennsylvania were freed. Many gave their parole and left the city. Later, on 11 September, the remaining prisoners were loaded on wagons, drawn through town where large crowds gathered to watch, and then sent on the long journey into exile from the colony. They were first taken, via the Great Wagon Road, to Staunton, and then, finally, backtracked to Winchester, Virginia where they remained until April 1778, when they were released.

On 10 September 1777, the day before the Battle of Brandywine, the Committee of Safety directed a Major Casdrop to keep a guard on the bridge over the Schuykill river, on the west side of the city, and to destroy it when so ordered. He was further ordered to remove all boats from the west side of the Schuykill river. They also ordered that no person be allowed to go over to the west side of the Schuykill unless they produced a pass signed by either Benjamin Paschall or William Heysham, or could produce a Certificate of their having taken the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

The Guard on the Western Approaches

Major Casdrop was Thomas Casdrop. A Lieutenant Colonel in command of the 4th company, 5th Battalion, Philadelphia milita in 1785.

Benjamin Paschall was one of the Free, or Fighting Quakers who refused to accept the Quaker hierarchies' order to remain neutral in the coming struggle with England. He lived near William Heysham, between Front and 2nd streets, at a house he built in 1760 at #279 Spruce street.

The Campaign of 1777, continued

General Washington had arrayed the Continenal Army on the north side of the Brandywine river. The British plan was to attack the center, to hold it in place and to attract Washington's attention, then outflank the American right, crossing the river at an unguarded ford. Washington had expected Howe to try a flanking maneuver, it was his standard gambit, but he had not expected him to go so far upstream to do so. The British plan was successful and the American line was flanked, but Washington was once again able to extricate the majority of his army.

In the days following the British and American armies maneuvered, with Washington attempting to keep between Howe and his target, Philadelphia. Finally, Howe feinted towards Washington's supply base, which the American's were forced to protect, and successfully slid into the city.

Robert Heysham, William's youngest son, was a militia volunteer at Brandywine, entrenched on the left side of the American front, and was one of about 400 Americans captured and held prisoner. Based on later muster reports he was released no later than August 1778, but probably by the time the British evacuated the city on 18 June 1778. William's eldest son, William P. Heysham, was also taken prisoner at about this time. He was crewing a prize ship of the privateer REVENGE when the ship was retaken by the Royal Navy. William Jr. was to remain in the Old Mill Prison in Plymouth, England through at least 1779.

As inevitable occupation neared, William Heysham assisted in removing the chime of bells from the Christ Church tower. Note that "Vestrymen at Christ Church hesitated to remove the church's bells because of the expense involved, and as a result, Pennsylvania's commissary generals took seven bells from Christ Church and two from St. Peter's." - from "Old City Philadelphia: Cradle of American Democracy. Does this mean that William was a commissary general? His later career seems to imply that.

"Sept. 15 . . . I have heard from 2 or 3 persons to day, that ye Church Bells are being taken down; ye Bridge over the Schuykill taken up, and ye Ropes across ye Ferry cuty." - from "Extracts from the Journal of Elizabeth Drinker, from 1759 to 1807, A. D." by Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker, Henry Drinker Biddle
Another group removed the Liberty Bell. The patriots wanted to ensure than when Lord Howe entered the city with his troops, as he did on 26 September 1777, that no bells might be rung in honor of the King.

Christ Church, Philadelphia

The church, located on 2nd street and Market, was founded in 1695. The present building was built starting in 1726 and completed by 1744. The tower and steeple, in part funded by lotteries organized by Benjamin Franklin, were finished in 1754. The baptismal font was sent from England and was the original used to baptize William Penn.

Christ Church's Bells are one of three rings of bells which were installed in the United States prior to the American Revolution. The Bells were cast by the foundry at Whitechapel, England owned by Thomas Lester and Thomas Pack, the same firm which first cast the Liberty Bell two years before Christ Church's bells were cast in 1754. The bells of the church were rung on 8 July 8 1776 to announce the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. A few months later the Liberty Bell and the bells of Christ Church were removed and hidden in Old Zion Reformed Church in Allentown for safekeeping during the invasion of Philadelphia. The bells were returned and re-hung in August of 1778.

What happened to William during the nine-month British occupation? As a well known patriot both his life and property were at risk. He had been in positions of authority whose intrusive nature and prospective impact on other's income and property was so profound that he must have angered many who would be ready now for revenge. There is no indication from the information above, however, that William was planning to leave the city. Note also that none of the tax reports for the city and province show any indication that he owned land, so there was no 'country estate' for him to escape to. Others did make plans. Charles Willson Peale, an acquaintance of William's, spent the last days before the British arrival finding a refuge outside Philadelphia for his family. He then rejoined the American forces. William may have done something similar, finding a sympathetic associate in the country to watch his family, while he shifted for himself. I have recently found the following that notes William's arrest on the first day of the occupation.

Sept. 25 . . . Most of our warm people [that is, warm/hot feelings for independence] are gone off, tho' there are many who continue here that I should not have expected . . .
Sept. 26. Well! here are ye English in earnest; about 2 or 3000 came in through Second street, without opposition or interruption--no plundering on ye one side or ye other. What a satisfaction would it be to our dear absent friends could they but be informed of it; our end of ye Town has appeared the greater part of this day like ye first day of ye week. I understand that Barnhill, Hysham, and some others are taken up. It is recommended to ye inhabitants to continue to assist in guarding ye Town each night for some time yet. Cornwallis came with those troops to day--Gen Howe is not yet come in." - from "Extracts from the Journal of Elizabeth Drinker, from 1759 to 1807, A. D." by Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker, Henry Drinker Biddle
Elizabeth, a Quaker, was the daughter of William Sandwith, a merchant and ship-owner of Philadelphia. She married Henry Drinker, of James & Drinker importers. Henry was one of the men "of doubtful loyalties" who had been recently arrested and sent to Winchester, Virginia. Elizabeth would, therefore, know, and dislike, William Heysham, one of the men who did the arresting. Barnhill was probably John Barnhill, a patriot and owner of a tavern on Elm street, the Golden Ball, and of a stage line, called the Flying Machine. Later he would join William Heysham as a petitioner against "forestalling," i.e. hoarding, in the city. He was also a member, again with William, of the Patriotic Association of Philadelphia in 1778.

A later snippet from Elizabeth Drinker's diary, as yet undated, reads,

"the Afternoon with Debby Morris -- very fine weather Molly [Lahew] Wm. Heysham call'd, to settle some matters relating to Henry Moore at Cranberry [Cranbury]." - from the "Diary of Elizabeth Drinker"
Henry Moore was the school master of Cranberry, Middlesex county, New Jersey.

According to General Howe's aide, Major John Andre, between one-sixth and one-third of Philadelphia's population, estimated then at more than 34,000, fled in the days before the occupation. A loyalist who remained complained that the arriving British troops were looting and that the army was responding with floggings. British officers occuppied the better homes, often doing great damage to them. By the way, John Andre was later hanged by the Americans. He had been captured, behind the lines, in civilian dress and under an assumed name, that is, as a spy. He was Benedict Arnold's contact in the treason at West Point.

The Campaign of 1777, continued

While having suffered defeat at Brandywine and the disgrace of losing the capital, General Washington was still looking for battle. He learned that Howe had split his forces, leaving some in the city, but encamping about 9,000 to the area of Germantown. This provided Washington with local superiority which he used in a four-pronged assault on the British camp. The surprise attack was a complete success, throwing the British into headlong flight, but ended badly due to two events. First, some retreating British troops took refuge in John Dickinson's stoutly built house. While some of his aides argued that the position should be bypassed and the retreating British pressed, Washington stopped to reduce the place. This allowed Howe time to control his troops and set up a defense. Next, two American columns stumbled into each other in the gloom and, tragically, mistaking each other for the enemy, began a fire-fight.

The day ended with the British regaining the field, a technical victory, but the American's could take pride in having forced the British into a retreat on the battlefield for the first time. After some more maneuvering, both armies settled into winter quarters.

How long was William a prisoner of the British? Some men won their freedom, but most soldiers were in for the duration of the occupation. Whether long or short, it was an uncomfortable stay.

"American prisoners, about 500 of them, were put into the two jails, the Walnut Street Prison [called the British Provost] and its predecessor at Third and Market; the officers were confined in the State House. The deprivations suffered by the men in the jails were extreme. Fed barbarously restricted rations, they supplemented their diet with wood, leather, and rats. The provision baskets they hopefully suspended to the street level yielded very little." - from "Philadelphia: A 300-Year History" by Russell Weigley, Nicholas B. Wainwright, Edwin Wolf
Watson, in his "Annals of Philadelphia" claimed that 900 men were held in the Walnut Street Prison alone, mostly soldiers captured at Brandywine and, later, Germantown. The winter was hard on the men, the window-panes having been broken, and not replaced, when a British warship, the 64-gun AUGUSTA, blew-up. She had run aground and caught fire during a confrontation with American forts and gunboats on the Delaware. The British and their loyalist allies had an agency of about eighty spies who identified rebels and had them arrested.

The Walnut Street Prison

The old jail, on the southwest corner of Market and Third, was replaced by a more substantial one on Walnut street, though the earlier jail was still in use in 1777-1778.

"On Walnut Street, near Sixth, was the prison used as the British Provost in 1778. It was under the charge of that infamously cruel scoundrel, Captain Cunningham, a burly, ill-natured Irishman of sixty years, whose conduct as provost marshal here and in New York has connected his name with all that is detestable. There were confined the American prisoners taken at Brandywine and Germantown, many of whom died of starvation after feeling the lash of Cunningham’s whip, or the force of his heavy boot, and were buried in the Potter’s Field near by, now the beautiful Washington Square. It makes the blood curdle to read of the sufferings of those who fell under the sway of that monster, so devilish in all his ways. The miseries of others seemed to give him great delight; and often, in the sight of the starving prisoners, would he kick over a pail of soup, or scatter a basket of fruit or cold victuals which some benevolent hand had placed upon the door-stone with the hope that it might nourish the famished soldiers! We shall meet him hereafter as provost marshal in New York. Tradition says he was hung at Newgate, in England; but the records of that prison, examined by Mr. Bancroft, exhibit no such name." - from Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia"

The administrative life of the city went on, even under British rule. The landowners of the city were tabulated in October 1777. Those living on Arch street, between Third and Fourth street, were, from west to east, Catherine Keppel Cross, Leonard Kessler, Conrab Abel, James Watkins Estate, Benjamin Loxley, George Gilmore, Samuel Griscom (Betty Ross' father), William Heysham, Lawrence Growden Esate, and the Second Presbyterian Church. Across the street were the Quakers and their burial ground. Benjamin Franklin lived, or at least had land, on the next block to the west, across from the Christ Church burial ground.

The British Retreat

Late in the spring of 1778 news was received of the American alliance with France. General Howe, who feared being trapped in Philadelphia by French warships blockading the Delaware River, determined to move back to New York. Howe also received news that he was being relieved by General Clinton. Before leaving, however Major John Andre planned the notorious Mischianza extravaganza of 18 May 1778, in honor of Howe's impending departure.

By the way, Major Andre lived in Benjamin Franklin's home during the occupation and upon leaving, looted the house of books, musical instruments, scientific apparatus, and a portrait of Franklin, supposedly under the orders of his commander. The portrait was later returned and today hangs in the nation's capital.

The British took about 3,000 Philadelphia loyalists with them as they departed and, as they marched through New Jersey, Washington's troops dogged their trail, successfully engaging them at Monmouth.

After the British evacuated in June 1778, leaving the city in a shambles, William, now freed, and others replaced the bells at Christ Church.

An assessment of the damages sustained by the inhabitants in the occupation was made by the city.

Mulberry Ward. (West part)
Andrew Epple, Assessor.
. . .
Heysham, William . . . 286 3 --
. . . - from "The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography"
286 pounds is a lot of money. Matthew Clarkson suffered 200l damages, Nathaniel Falconer 224l, and Isaac Melcher 287l, though a Daniel Joy had 1504l worth. I suppose this means that British soldiers were quartered in William's home. This may also cover trade goods William had stored.

On 23 July 1778 Captain William Heysham was appointed a Warden of the Port of Philadelphia. From the Records of the Navigation Commission For The Delaware River And Its Navigable Tributaries:

“The legal status of the Port of Philadelphia was first defined in the City Charter granted by William Penn in 1701 . . . In 1762 the General Assembly passed "An Act for the Recovery of the Duties of Tonnage Upon Ships and Vessels and Certain Other Duties Upon Wine, Rum, Brandy and Other Spirits and Upon Sugar" . . . An Act passed by the Provincial Assembly on February 8, 1766 provided for the appointment of Wardens for the Port of Philadelphia. The Wardens were responsible for issuing pilot licenses and making rules and regulations governing their service . . . Following the outbreak of the American Revolution, Luke Morris, Samuel Mifflin, Samuel Howell, Captain Joseph Stiles, Captain William Heysham, Commodore Andrew Cardwell, and Captain Nathaniel Falconier were appointed on July 23, 1778."
It is interesting that William's son, Robert, later had a similar position as Assistant Naval Officer, and then Customs Officer, in the post-Revolution years.

Wardens for the Port

Luke Morris was a merchant. He was born on 25 October 1707 in Philadelphia and died on 17 November 1793 in Philadelphia. During the war he served under the command of Thomas Mifflin, the quartermaster general of the Continental Army.

Samuel Mifflin was a member of the powerful Mifflin family. See more under the "Mifflin Family," below. He was one of the leaders of Philadlephia and a successful merchant. He was born on 13 December 1724 in Philadelphia and died in the same city on 16 May 1781. He served during the Revolution as a Colonel, later General, of Artillery. In 1780 he provided 5000l for Washington's Army at Valley Forge.

Samuel Howell was a merchant. A member of the Philadelphia Committee of Correspondence, along with John Dickinson [chairman], George Clymer, Charles Thomson, Thomas Mifflin, Robert Morris, Samuel Miles, John M. Nesbit [Redman Conyngham's partner], and John Bayard, that, among other things, was tasked to form a subscription for the relief of the inhabitants of Boston afflicted by the closing of that port by Parliament in reaction to the Boston Tea Party.

Captain Joseph Stiles was the Superintendent of Ordnance, and keeper of the magazine, and Commissary of Issues at Philadelphia under the Comptroller General during the Revolutionary war.

Nathaniel Falconier was a commissary officer during the war, responsible for the ordnance and provisions of Americans first warship, the ALFRED, in 1775, as well as for the Army. He was authorized by the Board of War to obtain provisions for the army in the counties of Berks, Bucks, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania.

Based on the above, is it possible that William Heysham was, like Morris, Thomas Mifflin, Stiles, and Falconier, also part of the "Supply Corps" during the war? It makes sense, considering both his age and his experience as a merchant, that he had more to do with actions behind the lines than in front of them.

In 1778 William Heysham was a member of The Patriotic Association, the more radical of the two nascent political parties in the city. The other political club was the Republican Society.

"Member of the Patriotic Association of Philadelphia, 1778.
. . .
William Heysham" - from the "Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography"
Also included as members were, William Adcock, William Bradford, Thomas Casdrop, Sharp Delaney, Francis Hassenclever, Jacob Hiltzheimer, John Keppele, Charles Willson Peale, Joseph Reed, and Thomas Paine.

The Patriotic Association would later take the lead in fighting price fixing. See William's involvement with Robert Morris below.

The Patriotic Association of 1778

There were at least two patriotic clubs in Philadelphia which formed the earliest political parties; the Whig or Constitutional Society supported the revoltutionary constitution of Pennsylvania of 1776; and the Republican Society, who wanted to amend it. The leadership of the former included Thomas Paine and Charles Willson Peale. The more conservative Benjamin Rush, Robert Morris, George Clymer and Thomas Mifflin belonged to the latter. Richard Bache, Benjamin Franklin's son-in-law was the Republican chairman.

"In 1778, after the British evacuated Philadelphia, militants had been disappointed at the results of legal proceedings against suspected Tories and Neutrals. The Constituionalists formed the Patriotic Association headed by William Bradford to organize a protest. Later, when commerce with the British was discovered, they created a Whig Association."

"The Constituionalists were adept at organizing and using already existing committees of correspondence . . . By the mid-1770's they had become the backbone of the resistance movement . . . That same year [1779] they were active in the price-fixing campaign." - from "Stability and Change in Revolutionary Pennsylvania" by George David Rappaport.

The Whig's power came from their ties to the militia companies and local clubs like the Patriotic Association and the Sons of Saint Tammany. The Republican Society was less active. They founded the Philadelphia Society and had ties with the Sons of Patrick, a conservative Irish convivial club.

The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776

In June 1776 the radicals in Pennsylvania overthrew the crown, the proprietors and the Quaker dominated assembly. They then summoned a convention to write a constitution for the new state. The document established a unicameral assembly and a plural executive of 12 men, one of whom would preside as president. This was the Supreme Executive Council. All freemen who paid taxes, and their adult sons living at home, could vote in annual elections. Representatives were limited to serving 4 years out of any 7. A Council of Censors was also created to determine whether the constitution had been violated, much as the Supreme Court does today.

The constitution, however, never worked as planned. The Constitutionalists imposed oaths on all citizens obliging them to uphold the constitution and disenfranchised those who refused, such as the Quakers. The men driven from power in 1776 never consented to it. The radical constitutionalists, not surprisingly, controlled the assembly, but voter turnout remained low, delegitimizing the government.

After the war, with the disenfranchised given the vote, the anti-constitutionalist Republicans gained a solid majority. They rewrote the constitution establishing a bicameral legislature with an elected governor. - from "Liberty Equality Power: A History of the American People to 1877" by John M. Murrin, Paul E. Johnson, James M. McPherson, Gary Gerstle, Emily S. Rosenberg, Norman L. Rosenber.

Just as loyalist's had harassed the patriots of Philadelphia during the British occupation, when the King's army left revenge was taken. From the "Journal of Samule Rowland Fisher,"

"11th mos: 27. Joseph Pritchard was brought into my Room, having been this day tryed at what they call the Supreme Court, for having been employed by the Brittish [sic] when in this City to attend at the Middle ferry on Schuylkill to inspect all persons going in or out of the City & was charged with having since used words greatly derogatory of the present Rulers & being by the Jury, so called, found guilty of Misprision of Treason as they term it, he was sentenced to the forfeiture of half his Lands & Tenements, Goods & Chattles, & imprisonment during the War without Bail or Mainprize . . .
11th mo: 29th. While Joseph Pritchard's Wife was here, James Claypoole, Tom Elton, William Heysham & John McCollough broke into Joseph Pritchard's dwelling house & took an account of all his moveables that were there; & on the day following they came again with porters and carried off almost every thing, except a Table, a few Chairs, some books & other small matters, to a house in Spruce Street, near Second Street, where they were publickly sold by Thomas Hale & Robert Smith, appointed by the present Rulers for the Sale of what they call confiscated Estates." - from "The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography."
James Claypoole had joined William in rounding up Quakers in the Winchester affair, above. There were three ferry's across the Schuykill river, the middle ferry being at the end of High Street, now the site of the Market Street bridge. In 1777 there was a floating bridge [of logs] at this point. The Lancaster Pike, the major road west, started at the opposite side of the river.
"A widespread fear of Toryism continued to prevail in Philadelphia after the re-occupation of the city by the Americans. During 1779 a number of supposed British sympathizers were prosecuted on various charges . . . Joseph Pritchard was found guilty of misprision of treason [an act of sedition against the government] and laid under the penalty of losing his property and being imprisoned during the war . . ." - from "The Legacy of the American Revolution to the British West Indies and Bahamas" by Wilbur Henry Siebert
Joseph was still in jail two years later.
24 October 1781. "The Council taking into consideration the case of the following persons now confined in the gaol of the city and county of Philadelphia, to wit: Joseph Pritchard and John Linley, convicted of misprision of treason . . . " - from "Colonial Records of Pennsylvania" by Samuel Hazard.

On 3 December 1778 William joined in a petition against forestalling [hoarding]. The petition noted "That a number of persons in the City have lately taken up the Business of purchasing and storing large quantities of Flour and some other of the necessaries of Life which they have by various artifices raised to so great a price as to make the Poor almost clamerous and must in the end be attended with bad consequencies." - from "The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography." This was a dig against businessmen, like Robert Morris, who were not ashamed to make a profit. Other signers included Benjamin Paschall, William Rush, William Adcock and Charles Willson Peale.

On 10 December 1778, by order of the Committe of Safety, Captain Heysham, with a number of other men, was placed in charge of 'preventing forestalling etc., in the Philadelphia Market.' Forestalling refers to hoarding. It was ordered that,

"William Heysham, George Schlosser, & William Hollingshead, be appointed & requested to make inquiry in all that part of the City from Market Street Northward, including the North Side of Market Street, concerning the engrossing of Flour & other necessaries of Life, & make report as soon as may be, to this Council, of such facts as have come or shall come to their knowledge, concerning the issue;"
Another group was assigned for the area south of Market Street and another for the Northern Liberties.

William's Cohorts

George Schlosser was a merchant of Moravian descent. He was on the Committe of Correspondence and the Committee of Inspection and Observation, for the First Division [William Heysham was on the same committee in the Second Division]. In the latter he was joined by John Dickinson, Charles Thompson, and Isaac Coates. He was a delegate, along with Benjamin Franklin, from Philadelphia at a Provincial Conference held from 18 to 25 June 1776 to support the resolution of the Continental Congress to declare the colonies independent from England. This was the last step before the Declaration of Independence itself was signed.

William Hollingshead, a silversmith, was a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1777 and 1779. In the first instance he replaced Samuel Morris Jr., who resigned, and in the second Joseph Reed, who left to become President of the Executive Council. Note below that William Heysham was assistant judge of the election of William Hollingshead in 1779.

William was one of three auditors of the will of Oswell Eve.

"At a Court of Claims held at Philadelphia for the State of Pennsylvania the 22nd day of April Anno Domini 1779. Present The Honorable Thomas Mc Kean & Justice William Augustus Atlee.

Upon the Claim of Mary Moore exhibited to this Court against Oswell Eve's Estate stating that certain Goods and Chattles to wit one Chest of Drawers, one feather Bed and Bedsteads one Chamber Table and six Chairs which had been seized as the Property of Oswell Eve presently belonged to the said Claimant and also that the said Oswell Eve was justly indebted to the said Mary Moore in the Sum of five hundred & seven pounds three Shillings.

William Hollingshead William Heysham And William Rush or any two of them are appointed Auditors to examine into the Justice of the said Claim And make Report to the Court.

From the Recorder
Edw. Burd, prot Sup. Cur."

"We the above named Auditors having Examined the Account; & heard the witnesses of Mary Moore, do find that the estate of Oswell Eve is indebted to the Said Mary Moore the Summ of five hundred & fourteen pounds three Shillings & four pence.

May 12th 1779 As witness our hands

William Hollingshead
Wm Heysham
William Rush

Recorded 22 Apl, 1779. Prest as Chief Justice is W. Atlee
William Hollingshead, William Rush & Wm Heysham appointed Auditors"

William Hollingshead, a silversmith, was a cohort of William Heysham's in the enquiry into the engrossing of flour. William Rush had previously joined William Heysham in a petition against forestalling. He is, however, most famous as a sculptor. During the Revolution he carved ornaments and figureheads for navy ships. After the war he carved busts and full-figures. In 1794 he joined Charles Willson Peale and 40 other artists in founding an art academy, the forerunner fo the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

On 2 October 1779, President Reed of the Supreme Executive Council appointed William Heysham, and others, by letter as Commissioners tasked with determining the quantity of salt in the city above the allowance of a common family, that is a "Peck for every Poll in each Family above 7 Years of Age." The residue was to be considered public property and paid for accordingly [though most likely with worthless Continental script]. The Commissioners were to determine whether this residue should be collected in one point or if it were safe to leave it in the hands of the current holders. They were required to make weekly reports. Importantly, the letter went on to say,

"Should you meet with any Opposition or Insult in the Course of your Duty on the Occassion you are authorized to call on the Magistrates, Sheriffs, Constables & other Civil Officers."
The invasiveness of this order almost certainly insured there would be opposition & insult to the commissioners, see below. The other Commissioners included William Will and Matthew Irwin, who we've seen on other lists of 'patriots.'

The Effective Supply Tax of the city of Philadelphia for 1779 lists William Heysham with a Tax of 26 [pounds?].

In April 1779 an incident occurred with heightened the popular dissatisfaction with the scarcity and costliness of provisions. A poleacre [a type of merchant ship], named the VICTORIOUS, and some other vessels arrived in port laden with flour. It was expected that a reduction in the price of flour would follow, but instead it had risen. Robert Morris, Blair McClenacham and others, who were interested in the ships, were openly censured, and at a town meeting on 24 May, General Roberdeau presiding, a committee, including Tom Paine and Charles W. Peale, was appointed to make inquiries with Morris. At the same meeting William Bradford, George Schlosser, Capt. Heysham, Philip Boehm, Thomas Casdrop, George Ord, among others, were chosen as a committee of inspection to determine what the prices of various articles should be. William was this committee's chairman.

"From the date of this letter to the chairman, Mr. Heysham, until July 2, he [Morris] heard nothing further." - from "Robert Morris and the Episode of the Polacre "Victorious, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography"
Another reference lists "Heysham, William, chairman Philadelphia committee of complaints" - from "Despatches and Instructions of Conrad Alexandre Gérard, 1778-1780." Gerard was the French Minister to the United States.

From The Virginia Gazette of 12 June 1779, in an article about the meeting, above, General Roberdeau's remarks were reported:

"Gentlemen, although I feel pain from the situation in which you have been pleased to place me, it is with pleasure I meet you, my fellow citizens, to consider and determine upon measures for our mutal and publick happiness. A beneficent God has hitherto blessed us with success, and carried us through a four years war with as few misfortunes as could possibly be expected. We have much to be thankful for; and though many worthy individuals have greatly suffered, yet, as a nation, we have but little to complain of.

The dangers we are no exposed to, arise from evils created among ourselves. I scorn, and I hope every citizen here scorns the thought of getting rich by sucking the blood of his country. Yet, alas! This unnatural, this cruel, this destructive practice, is the greatest cause of our present calamities. The way to make our money good is to reduce the price of goods and provisions. It is not the quantity of money which any man gets, but how far his money will go when he comes to lay it out again, that makes him poor or rich.

. . . Whereas the prices of goods and provisions have, within the space of five or six months, risen to an enormous height, far beyond what they ought to be in proportion to the quantiy of the money.

Resolved, That the publick have a right to enquire into the causes of such extraordinary abuses, and prevent them.

And whereas, since the late importation of a cargo of goods, said to have been since purchased or configured to the management of Mr. Robert Morris, merchant, or others, the prices of all kinds of dry goods have been greatly advanced to the injury of the publick, and the great detriment of trade.

Resolved, . . . will appoint a committee to enquire of Mr. Robert Morris, or others, what part he or they have acted respecting the said cargo . . .

Resolved, That we do unconditionally insist and demand that the advanced, or monopolized, price of the present month be instantly taken off, and that the prices of those articles be immediately reduced to what they were the first day of May instant.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting that no person, who by sufficient testimony can be proved inimical to the interest and independence of the United States, be suffered to remain among us and that the committees be directed to take measures for carrying this resolution into execution.

The following Gentlemen were appointed on the committees . . . And the following Gentlemen, together with the former, were appointed to a committee for carrying the other resolves into execution. . . [including] Capt. Heysham.

At the head of the committee was Rittenhouse, a compatriot of Tom Paine.

General Roberdeau

Daniel Roberdeau was a distinguished statesman and soldier of the Revolution. Born in 1727 of a French Huguenot father, he was a prosperous Philadelphia merchant, three times member of Congress, and a Brigadier General elected by the Associators of Philadelphia. The Associators were a body of militia organized in a system devised by Benjamin Franklin in 1747. They were the forerunners of the National Guard. Roberdeau was the first commander of the Flying Camp. He and John Bayard fitted out two ships as privateers, one of which captured a valuable prize, with $22,000 in silver onboard, which he placed at the disposal of Congress.

Roberdeau strongly advocated the production of lead in the colonies and established a lead mine in Bedford county in 1778 to supply military requirements during the war. Most, if not all, of the expense of this fort were paid out of his private purse. Lead produced there was sent down the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers to soldiers in the East.

On 24 and 25 May, 1779 General Roberdeau presided at a public meeting in Philadelphia to deal with the problems of monopolizers and the depreciation of the currency.

Note: I've been advised that while the picture of to the right is said to be that of General Roberdeau, it is in fact his son, Isaac. The Director of the archeology project at Fort Roberdeau writes,

"If you look at the uniform, it is a later style, and, if you look at the signature under the image, the first vertical stroke, which many people interpret as a part of the "R" is actually an I, for Isaac."

Robert Morris made his case and,

"The facts being as such, he was surprised to receive from William Heysham on June 17 a brisk note requesting him to attend the Committee on Complaints next morning at ten o'clock to answer a charge concerning flour. To this he made an immediate reply . . . He supposed that the charge against him had arisen out of purchases in that article [flour] made by him for the French fleet at the request and order of his Most Christian Majesty; and he volunteered to wait upon any appointed members of the committee, should they wish it, after sunset hours." - from the "Robert Morris and the Poleacre "Victorious"," from the "Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography."
Morris was answered by another member of the committee, Alexander Boyd, who requested copies of the purchase requests he was acting upon.
"Instead of replying at once to Alexander Boyd's letter, Morris laid the matter before the Honorable Mr. Holker. The representative of the French monarch not permitting his American purchaser to make the required report, Morris presently addressed William Heysham in his capacity as chairman of the Committee of Complaints . . ."
and attempted to answer the committee's questions.
"From the date of this letter to the chairman, Mr. Heysham, until July 2, he heard nothing further. On that latter day a new letter, enclosing a brace of resolutions, reached him. The communication came now from William Henry, chairman of the Committee on Prices for Philadelphia."
The committee censured Morris, but the matter was dropped when Morris sold the flour to Continental agents at a 'fair price.' The Committee of Inspection [on Prices] thereafter adopted a schedule of prices, based I assume on the work of William's committee.

Morris' problems were not over, however,

"The committee was satisfied by his explanatory letter, but not so the Constitutionalists. The "Furious Whigs" spread the report that he had large quantities of flour stored in his warehouses, which he was hoarding there. When women besieged him in his office begging for flour, he sent the Committee of Complaints a reproachful note, saying, "Four or five poor women with sacks under their arms came to me this morning, demanding supplies of flour, alleging they were directed by the Committee to me for that purpose and informed by them that I had received two wagon loads of flour from the country yesterday. I confess this surprised me a good deal at first, but on reflecting a little, it seems highly improper the Committee or any of their members could be capable of giving such directions, because some of them had before been informed by my clerks that the flour under my care belonged to His Most Christian Majesty [the King of France], and my letter to Capt. Heysham yesterday confirmed it; consequently it must be known I could not deliver it to any person, but by orders of my employers." - From "Forgotten Patriot: Robert Morris" by Eleanor Young, 1950.
Morris continued to be assaulted on the streets and descried as a "monopolist."

Robert Morris

Robert Morris was a successful merchant who, despite early doubts about the Revolution, signed the Declaration of Independence and funded much of its operations out of his own pocket. General Washington would not have been able to attack at Trenton and Princeton without the supplies Morris bought for him. Likewise, he, along with Benjamin Franklin, was central to attaining foreign loans and the arms which they bought. What rankled, however, was that he made a profit, sometimes a great profit, on all of these transactions. And, he was not shy about it. He felt such remuneration was his due for risking his own money.

Eventually Morris gathered a circle of enemies, including many other merchants who, in the midst of a British blockade, did not have the opportunity to make the deals that made Morris rich. The leader of this opposition was Patrick Henry and the charges made by General Roberdeau were part of a plan to bring Morris down on the charge of war profiteering. Congress did eventually investigate, but exonerated him, concluding that "Robert Morris . . . has acted with fidelity and integrity and an honorable zeal for the happiness of his country." His reputation, howevere, was considerably damaged by the charges.

He returned to national service as the Superintendent of Finance from 1781 to 1784 when the Articles of Confederation went into force. In this position, Morris was responsible for saving the country from financial ruin during the last years of the Revolution. Assisted by Gouverneur Morris, he worked with the states to levy taxes to be paid in specie, slashed military and government spending, and personally bought supplies for the Army and Navy. His crusade against waste brought about a dramatic improvement in accounting procedures and, more importantly, laid the logistical basis for the decisive Franco-American victory at Yorktown.

What role did William Heysham play in the machinations against Robert Morris? Was he one of the disaffected merchants who was eager to see the high-flying Morris brought down, or was he chosen to investigate Roberdeau's claims because he was known to be disinterested? Those clearly on Morris' side at this time included John Cadwalader, Andrew Caldwell, Sharpe Delaney, and Benjamin Rush. Both sides agreed to the election of a new committee for the regulation of the sale of provisions, which again included William Heysham - From "Philadelphia History, 1608-1884." I now suspect, based on William's membership in the Constitutional Society, or Patriotic Association, as opposed to the Republican Society in which Morris and Rush belonged, that he was an anti-Morrisite and actively supported the Constituionalist's anti-price-fixing campaign. The others involved in this affair, Bradford, Peale, Rittenhouse, Paine, Schlosser, and Casdrop were also Constitutionalists or Whigs.

The Supreme Executive Committe met on 25 August 1779. They had received, some time past, a petition from Joseph Greswold Jr., in favor of his father, attainted, requesting a pardon. Captain Heysham had been requested to make an inquiry and report. The Captain made his report at this meeting that, amongst other findings, Joseph Greswold the Elder was a Person of disaffected character. The petition was not granted. William's report in its entirety is available in the Pennsylvania archives.

Joseph Greswold

A New York distiller who grew rich on rum from the West Indies - From "Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson: A Study in Character" by Roger G. Kennedy, 2000.

His son was Edward, a lawyer. It was said that he "learned of the South and sugar at his father's knee, and learned a little later those skills required in the rum trade beyond chemistry and accountancy, skills akin to those of pirates and privateers." A friend of Aaron Burr.

On 12 October 1779 William Heysham was listed as an Assistant Judge of election returns, along with Benjamin Paschall and William Adcock, and assorted inspectors, Freeholders of Philadelphia. They attested that George Bryan, Michl. Shubart, William Hollingshead, Jacob Schriner, and Charles William Peale were duly elected Representatives in the General Assembly for the city of Philadelphia. On the same day they attested to the election of William Moore, Esquire, as Councellor for the city.

William Adcock

He was born in England in August 1731 and was a Philadelphia merchant, shopkeeper, and later half-owner of the 15-ton sloop INDUSTRY. By the early nineteenth century, Adcock had become one of the wealthiest men in Philadelphia. He was active in politics, especially during the Revolutionary War, and served as Justice of the Peace and Judge of the Orphans Court for Philadelphia County in 1779. A Mason, like George Washington, he became the Grand Master of Pennsylvania in 1786.

On 5 November 1779 the Supreme Executive Council of Philadelphia met in council, Joseph Reed, Esq., President, presiding. Also present were Mr. Moore, Mr. Gardner, Mr. Lacey, Mr. Read [Reed?] and Mr. Hambright. The following minutes were taken,

"Whereas, Complaints have been made to us by Captain William Heysham, one of the Commissioners for procuring salt, that he hath been grossly insulted by Ludwig Kuhn, of this City, on that account; And the said Complaint having been supported by sundry affadavits,

Resolved, That the said Ludwig Kuhn attend this Board on Monday next at twelve O'clock, to answer the said Complaint, or in failure thereof, this Board will issue process against him; And that a copy of the above be served on Ludwig Kuhn.

Resolved, That the Secretary write to Captain Heysham to advise him of the above."

On 8 November 1779 the Supreme Executive Council of Philadelphia met in council, the same attending as above.

"Ludwig Kuhn, agreeable to the order of Council of the Sixth Instant, attended, and being called in, and the charge against him by Captain Heysham being mentioned to him, He acknowledged that he had used very gross and insulting language to the said Heysham and threatened to throw him into the Dock; and in the course of his Examination on this subject, he, the said Kuhn, behaved himself in a contemptuous manner to this Board."

"On consideration,
Ordered, That he be committed to the Gaol of the county, and there confined until he be delivered in due course of Law."

The Effective Supply Tax of the city of Philadelphia for 1779 lists William Heysham, with a Tax of 6.10.0.

William Hysham was on the tax lists for Mulberry Ward, Philadelphia in 1779, "6100 . . . 91 and 10," and 1780, "5350 . . ., 87 ad 10."

On 27 May 1780 William Heysham was listed as an Assistant Judge of election returns, along with Benjamin Paschall and William Adcock, and assorted inspectors, Freeholders of Philadelphia. They attested that James Hutchinson, Esquire, was duly elected a Member of the House of Representatives for the city of Philadelphia.

On 15 July 1780 the Supreme Executive Council received an application from Mr. Isaac Moses, merchant of Philadelphia, to sell, by auction, four chests of damaged Bohea tea [a black tea from China]. William Heysham, Philip Boehm and Hillary Baker Jr. were appointed to view these goods and determine if they were, in fact, damaged.

The Players

Isaac Moses was a merchant and early patriot. He subscribed 3,000 pounds and his personal credit to furnish provisions for the Colonial army. He also fitted out, in association with Robert Morris, eight privateersmen to prey on British commerce. Like Robert Morris he has gotten a bad rap for making money during the Revolution.

Philip Boehm was a Philadelphia merchant. His will was probated in 1790. He was on the committee investigating Robert Morris, above.

Hillary Baker was Clerk of the Quarter Sessions and later the mayor of Philadelphia. He died during the Yellow Fever epidemic on 25 September 1798.

The Supreme Executive Council met on 19 July 1780.

"Messrs. Heysham, Boehm, and Baker, having, agreeable to order of the 15th, reported the tea mentioned in Isaac Moses' petition, to be damaged,
Resolved, That the city auctioneer have leave to dispose thereof . . ."

From a letter from Judge Hopkinson to Matthew Clarkson, Marshall, written 11 August 1780:


Some Doubts having arisen as to the Propriety of suffering Prize Goods to be sold by public Venue unless the same shall on Inspection be found to be in a perishing condition. I have directed William Heysham & William Budden, Esquires, to examine the Situation of the Cargoe on board the ship ALBION, which Cargoe you have advertised for sale this afternoon. Messrs Heysham & Budden have made a report to me that they have carefully examined the "said Cargoe being Liverpool Salt" & that they find the same in good "order & well conditioned & in no immediate Danger of suffering by waste or otherwise."

You are therefore hereby directed not to proceed in a publick Sale of the said salt, but reserve the same to be disposed of as the Court shall order after Trial of the said Ship ALBION, & her Cargoe.
I am Sir
your Obd Serv
Fra's Hopkinson."

This will become important later in our story.

William Budden

He was a ship's captain. From "Ship's Registers, 1762-1776," William Budden was Master of the Schooner BETSY, 50 tons burthen, on 3 June 1765 & on 18 October 1766. He was Master of the Philadelphia packet, 160 tons burthen, on 12 September 1768 and of the Sloop REBECCA, 40 tons burthen, on 18 July 1770.

From the minutes of the Supreme Executive Committee on 9 October 1780:

"Doctor Adam Kuhn having lately arrived in this port from St. Croix by the way of New York, in the sloop ELIZABETH, commanded by Captain William Westcoat, under a pass from Sir George Bridges Rodney [Admiral of the British Fleet]; and the said Adam Kuhn being examined before this Board, it appears that he is a very suspicious character, whose going at large is dangerous to the Commonwealth;"
It was resolved to commit him to prison and that the Naval Officer be directed to take the ELIZABETH into custody. Her Master, William Westcoat, was authorized to unload her cargo under the observation of Messrs. William Heysham and Alexander Boyd.

Dr. Kuhn's error appears to have been "of returning to Philadelphia from the West Indies in a vessel bearing a British safeconduct." - from "Early American Science: Needs and Opportunities for Study" by Whitfield J. Bell, 1955. His medical colleagues and other distinguished citizens pleaded with the Supreme Executive Council, in vain, to overlook Kuhn's action because he was a man of science whose work was important to the new republic.

Dr. Adam Kuhn

It is hard to square the man with the events above. Adam Kuhn was born at Germantown on 17 November 1741 and was reared at Lancaster. He studied medicine under his father until 1761 when he sailed for Europe to take a course at the University of Upsala, in Sweden. He studied medicine and botany under Linnaeus. He then went to Edinburgh, taking his degree in Medicine in 1767. He visited France, Holland and Germany, and in January, 1768, returned to Pennsylvania, and took up the practice of medicine in Philadelphia. He was a member of the Society of the Sons of Saint Tammany and according to at least one account 'remained true to the American cause throughout the conflict.' Note however that as the British approached the city in 1777, his name appeared on a list of those suspected of being disaffected. Perhaps he was like John Dickinson, an early supporter of liberty who grew wary of its more radical elements or, simply, he refused to sign an oath of allegiance.

During the post-war Yellow Fever epidemics he led the opposition to Benjamin Rush's theories of the spread and control of the epidemic. He was a 'professor of the theory and practice of physic in the University' of Pennsylvania.

There is no indication that he was related to Ludwig Kuhn who gave William Heysham so much trouble over salt, above.

On 12 October 1780 the Council ordered Dr. Kuhn, with his wife and family, to depart the State on the sloop ELIZABETH, in which he had arrived, and give security to the amount of 100 pounds not to return during this war to any part of America. Subsequently a letter was written to the council by Dr. Frederick Kuhn, of Lancaster, Adam's brother, who said that Adam may have been too neutral in the war, but that is the worst of it.

On 12 December 1780 Articles of impeachment were brought against Frances Hopkinson, the Judge of the Court of Admiralty for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by the Representatives of the General Assembly for various crimes and misdemeanors. Matthew Clarkson, Marshall of the Admiralty [court] of the city, and Robert Morris, merchant, appeared against him. The cargo of the ALBION was one of the matters of concern. The case appears to be one of men, kept from selling goods they thought they had a right to sell, taking revenge on their 'oppressor.' On the 22nd the Supreme Executive Committee of the General Assembly met to hear the case. Mr. William Heysham was called in, sworn and gave an account of what he knew about the case. Frances Hopkinson was found not guilty on all articles of the impeachment. From his friendship with Hopkinson, I would assume that William gave testimony favorable to him, and against Robert Morris, adding weight to the contention that William was part of the anti-Morris clique of General Roberdeau and Patrick Henry.

From a Supreme Executive Committee meeting of 22 December 1780:

"A order was drawn on the Treasurer in favour of Mr. William Heysham, for the sum of 229 pounds, 6 and 4, State money, amount of his claim against the estate of Joseph Grieswold [sic], and decreed by the Justices of the Supreme Court." - from "Colonial Records of Pennsylvania" by Samuel Hazard
What is this all about? Clearly William had incured some expenses in his examination of Joseph Greswold Jr.'s petition in 1779, but 229 pounds seems excessive. The order also refers to a claim against the estate of Joseph Greswold, but what was that based upon? Joseph Greswold, who had recently gotten out of jail on a bond on 1000 pounds, as an attainted person had his property confiscated and sold which is why William went through the government to make his claim. Was this a claim against Greswold and did it have something to do with the widow Heysham of New York?

The Effective Supply Tax of the city of Philadelphia for 1780 lists William Heysham, Capt., with a Valuation of 37,000 [$ ?] and a Tax of 101.15.0. However, the Effective Supply Tax for 1781 lists William Heysham with a Valuation of 950 and a Tax of 9.17.10. Perhaps the difference was a successful voyage in one year. Robert, his son, was listed below him with a zero valuation and Tax of 1.0.0. William Jr. is not listed.

The Effective Supply Tax of the city of Philadelphia for 1782 lists William Hysham with a Valuation of 800 and a Tax of 4.4.8. Robert Hysham is listed below him with a zero valuation and Tax of 0.15.0. William Jr. is not listed.

From a diary entry on 28 January 1782 by the financier, Robert Morris:

"Messrs. Weed, Reuben Haines, Capt. Heysham and [blank] applyed to me to Subscribe Money for the relief of the Prisoners at New York. I urged the impropriety of such a Subscriptin because it ought to be a Public Charge which they agreed to and Mr. G. Morris drew a Petition at their Request." - from "The Papers of Robert Morris"
Elijah Weed was the keeper of the state prison in Philadelphia. Reuben Haines was a Quaker brewer in the city.

In 1783 the Peace was signed and America became a sovereign nation. Part of the treaty was an agreement by the Americans to compensate the Loyalists. This was unpopular and never carried out. In Philadelphia, meetings were held declaring that Tory refugees ought not to be permitted to return or remain among Americans who had remained loyal to their country. The committee selected to carry these determinations into effect were the field officers and captains of the militia, and other prominent citizens, [including] Capt. Heysham for Mulberry Ward. This committee met at the City Tavern, the yellow building in the painting at the right [it still exists today], and adopted a resolution giving ten days' notice to all persons coming within the description of the city resolutions to quit the state. Earnest remonstrances were made against the arbitrary and unauthorized course of the committee, which was in conflict with the peace treaty, but no attention was paid to them. From "Philadelphia History, 1609-1884."

A deed was recorded in New York City on 20 May 1784 from Christopher & William Heysham etc, grantors, to John Mowatt, grantee - from "An Essay Towards an Improved Register of Deeds City and County of New York, to Dec. 31, 1799. Inc." John Mowatt was a merchant of New York City, a partner in Alexander & Mowatt, located at 230 Pearl street. Another deed was recorded on 18 May 1785 from Christopher Heysham, grantor, to Christian Shultz, grantee. My best guess is that when Christopher returned to England he left properties in New York City. He may have thought that he would return after the troubles to reclaim his business, or, because he owned them in tandem with his brother, William, he didn't feel at liberty to sell them. William wouldn't have been able to do anything with them during the war because the city was occuppied by the British. In 1784/5 the revolution was over and I suspect the brothers decided to clean up their holdings and split the proceeds. An alternative, and perhaps a better one, is that Thomas Heysham's son, William, had left his house on Golden Hill to his mother, Catherine, and, upon her death, to his uncles, William and Christopher. 1784 may mark the year of Catherine's death when the brothers divested the newly inherited property.

William Heysham witnessed the Will of John Reynell, Merchant of Philadelphia which was signed on 6 July 1784. Estate in Pennsylvania and Maryland. His heirs were his Sister: Mary Groth [City of Exon, Great Britton]. Kinsmen: Samuel Coates, Hannah Shoemaker, Beulah Burge, Benjamin and Edward Shoemaker, Edward and Sarah Pennington, John and Mary Pennington, Josiah Langdale Coates, John Reynald and Hannah Coates, Joseph and Beulah Paschall, Samuel Coates, Junr., Alice Langdale, Joseph and Buelah Coates, Joseph Clarke, Joseph Paschall, Samuel and Lydia Coates, Elizabeth Fassett and her children, Sarah Pennington, Sarah Humphreys, Mary Coates [Wife of Joseph L. Coates]. Friends: William Wilson, John Field, John Parish. In Trust for families in need, Joshua Howell, Joyer Benezet, William Brown, David Estaugh, John Houghton, Rebecca Jones, Hannah Cathrall, Daniel Offly, Junr., Margaret Porter, Sarah Dickinson, Overseers of the Publick School called Friends Grammer School and for a Negro School. Exec: Joshua Howell, Samuel Coates, Joseph Paschall. Wit: William Heysham, Daniel Rundle, Peter Miller. Proved: September 11, 1784.

John Reynell

John Reynall, a Quaker merchant born in England in 1708, was the last President of the "Friendly Association" whose goal was to preserve the peace with the Indians. He was known for his interest in the native's welfare. He was also a member of the Associated Executive Committee of Friends [Quakers] on Indian Affairs, commissioner for Indian Affairs, and Treasurer of the Pennsylvania Hospital.

He was married and had children. When all of his children died, he took his wife's nephew, Samuel Coates under his wing. Samuel was only 9 months old when his father died. He taught him about his successful business in the Shipping and Commmission Merchant Trade and beqeathed him his home at the northwest corner of Front and Walnut Streets. Samuel went on to be a highly respected citizen and President of the Pennsylvania Hospital thanks to the tutorship of his uncle.

John Reynall was, however, a man of his time, as the following attests:

“Quakers were important in the slave trade in the eighteenth century in New England, especially in Newport, where [for example] the Wanton family was still trading slaves in the 1760s.” Historian Hugh Thomas’s research on the slave trade revealed Friends prominent in the trade in Pennsylvania, often carrying slaves here from the West Indies. Among these Friends: William Frampton, who seems to have transported the first slaves to Philadelphia in the 1680s, followed by some names you might recognize among Yearly Meeting leaders: James Claypool, Jonathan Dickinson…, Isaac Norris, William Plumstead, Reese Meredith, John Reynell, and Francis Richardson. - from Hugh Thomas, "The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870," p. 298.

From the cases of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 1785.

"In Burrows v. Heyshan, 1 Dall. 134, the president of the Common Pleas, (now chief justice) declared, that on the liberal principles of modern practice, and indeed for the honor of common sense, it was incumbent on the court to direct that a scire facias should be amended by the record, after the judgement was removed by writ of error." - from "Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania"
A scire facias is a writ requiring the party against which it was issued to appear and show cause why a judicial record should not be enforced, repealed, or annulled. Was this a mercantile dispute? Here's another case, Heyshem v Wildrick, though I think it may be for a much later era. Also,
"William Heyshem, Appellant. Contract by a partnership — when damages for its breach cannot be recovered in an action against one partner — allegation of a . . . APPEAL by the defendant, William Heyshem, from a judgment of the Supreme Court in favor of the plaintiff, entered in the office of the clerk of the county . . ." - from "Reports of Cases Heard and Determined in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the state of New York" by Marcus Tullius Hun, Jerome B. Fisher, Austin B. Griffin.

A warrant for 400 acres in Catawissa, Northumberland county was granted to William on 27 September 1786. The return date here was 10 September 1796. Henry Drinker was the patentee. See Catawissa. See the plat map at C95 193. William's son, William P. Heysham, had a similar warrant on this date.

The Philadelphia society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons was instituted in May 1787. William Heysham was elected to the society on March 1788.

"Heysham, William . . . gentleman . . . 107 Mulberry St." - from "They Were in Prison: A History of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, 1787-1937" by Negley King Teeters, Albert Gray Fraser
Perhaps William's knowledge of his son's sufferings in the Old Mill Prison during the Revolution animated his actions.

On 4 July 1788 Philadelphia celebrated the establishment of the Constitution of the United States with a Grand Procession [see the Robert Heysham page for more]. Towards the end of the parade was,

"XXXI. The Marine Society, Capt. Greenaway, carrying a globe, supported by Capts. Heysham and Alberson, with spyglasses in their hands.

Ten captains, five abreast, with quadrants, representing the ten States that have joined the Union, viz., John Woods, John Ashmead, William Miller, Samuel Howell, John Souder, Robert Bethel, William Allen, Willam Tanner, Leeson Simons, and George Atkinson.

Members of the society, six abreast, with trumpets, spyglasses, charts, and sundry other implements of their profession, wearing badges in their hats representing a ship, -- eighty-nine in number." - from the "History of Philadelphia 1609-1884" by J. Thomas Scharf

The Marine Society, or Sea Captains Club, was the shorthand name of the Society for the Relief of Poor and Distressed Masters of Ships. Below is another description of their part in the parade.
"The Sea Captains Club
. . .

Laying aside financial worries, the Society joined in the great Federal procession of July 4, 1788 which heralded the ratification of the Constitution of the United States. Special meetings were held by the managers to perfect arrangements, and all members who were not at sea gathered at Captain John Hazlewood's house in Southwark at 8 o'clock in the morning of that momentous day. The Society held the thirty-first position in the mile and a half line which an hour later moved northward in Third Street from Cedar (now South) Street.

Leading off was aged William Greenway, bearing a globe, and behind him, striding along abreast, came William Heysham and Rickloff Alberson, carrying spyglasses. Ten captains, five in a row, representing the ten states which had ratified, came next, each holding a Godfrey quadrant. They were followed by the rest of the members of the Society, eighty-nine in all, numbering many who had joined since the war's end . . .

. . . Then, there was young Ephraim Warner, whose father Elisha had died in the spring of 1790, and whose appeal for help was so poignant that a committee (Charles Biddle, William Heysham, and Leeson Simmons) hastened "to Obtain Justice for the said petitioner." They found him ill with smallpox, and agreed to bear his expenses until he had recovered . . .

- from "The Sea Captains Club" by William Bell Clark in "The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography."
William's son, Robert, led a corps of infantry in the parade.

A survey of two 400 acre parcels on the Lackawaxin creek in Northampton county, recorded in William and Robert Heysham's names, was made on 7 September 1789. See Northampton for the original. I suspect these were for military and patriotic service during the Revolution. The warrants were "returned" on 17 April 1832. I suspect that meant when they were sold. The patentee was Thomas Astley, the buyer? The following is a link to the plat map, William Heysham.

Note that William had 300 acres surveyed along this river back in 1774, but which he "returned" in 1776.

31 October 1789. "To His Excellency The President . . .
Whereas the Office of Surveyor General is become Vacant by the Death of John Lukens, Esqr., and it being of general Importance that the same should be filled by a Gentleman of Capacity and undoubted Integrity--We, the Subscribers, being fully persuaded that General Daniel Brodhead is a suitable Person, and that his appointment thereto would give general Satisfaction, we take the Liberty to recommend him accordingly."
. . . Wm. Heysham" [and others] - from the "Pennsylvania Archives 1789."

17 November 1789. William and his son were made executors, and his wife and daughters were mentioned in the Will of Susannah Cumming, Late of the City of Philadelphia, Mooreland, county of Philadelphia which was signed on 17 November 1789. A Widow. Her heirs were her Son - Joseph. Nieces - Margaret Craft and her Daughter Maria. Nephew - James Craft. Friends - Mrs. Mary Heysham and her Daughters Mary and Ann, Katharine, Mary, Phibe, and Rachel Comley, James Mounteer. James (Son of Joshua Comley). Exec. Joseph Cumming, Robert Heysham, William Heysham Senr. Witnesses-Joshua Comly, Ann Heysham. Proved. 26 April 1791. The use of the suffix Senr. for William Heysham implies that William Jr. was 'in-town' by 1789 and therefore a distinction needed to be made.

Sometime, probably in the middle 1770's, William sold some land to Samuel Morgan for which the mortgage papers were lost during the war. In 1790, apparently in order to clear title for a subsequent sale, William attested to the sale. The verbage is confusing, but Huysham clearly means Heysham.

"Be it Remembered that on the 22 Day of February 1790 personally appeared before me the Subscriber, one of the Judges of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for the County of Salem in the State of New Jersey, Samuel Roberson of full age being Legally Sworn did Depose and say that on or about the twenty eight day of August last part he was present and with Samuel Morgan in the City of Philadelphia and hear William Huysham (?) say unto Samuel Morgan that he did write Down Anth. Keasbey, Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the County of Salem late a certain Mortgage form of the Mortgage Book in his Lands as Clerk when Samuel Morgan, viz., had given unto the said Huysham for a certain sum of which he the said he had Received full satisfaction of the above said Samuel Morgan viz. in his life time and that he had no Demand whatsoever against the Deceased Estate and Samuel Morgan wanted him to Deliver the Mortgage Deed and said the Deed was Lost in the time of the war or when the British was in Philadelphia and further the Despondent saith not.

Sworn before me the Day above written, John Mayhew
Recorded the 6th of June 1790, Keasby"
- from the Mortgage Deed Book of Salem county, New Jersey

In the first Federal census in 1790, William Heysham, gentleman, was living at number 107 Arch street. For some reason Ancestry.com says the address was "Water Street East Side." There were three men and three women residing there. I assume this included Captain Heysham, his two sons, Robert and William, his wife, and two daughters, Mary and Ann. John Gibbons, "Doct P [Doctor of Physick]," who married William's daughter, lived at number 103. This is the same address as used in the Biddle Directory. As discussed elsewhere, on one side of William, at #109, was Matthew Clarkson Esq., later mayor of the city, and on the other, at #105, was Alexander Wilcocks Sr., "Atty, Recorder of the City." At 111 appears to have been the "Kesley Hospital"? Further up, between 99 and 101 Arch Street was the Presbyterian Meeting House. Today's Arch Street Presbyterian church was not built until 1853.

On 24 March 1791 Mary Heysham, William's wife, died at the age of 68.

"1791. 6th Day, 25th [sic] . . . Willian Kenly's son, a young man of 20, died suddenly, and was buried to-day; also, William Heyshan's wife, who also died very suddenly." - from the "diary of Caleb Cresson, 1791-1792."
She was buried in the Christ Church burial ground with her two children, Thomas & Ann, who died in infancy. This was in Section A, Plot LXXXII. Her tombstone is pictured to the right. It states,
In Memory of
Mary the Wife of
Capt. William Heysham
who departed this Life
March 24th 1791
Aged 65 years
and their Children
Thomas Aged 8 Years
and Ann Aged 20 Months

on 3 April 1792 William and Robert Heysham were given warrants for 400 acres each in Allegheny county, see Allegheny. The date of return for the plat survey was not until August 1799. The patentee was "John Field, et al (in trust)." The plats were are A3 18 for William and C87 38 for Robert, both "situate on the waters of Lake Erie."

On 16 April, during the panic of 1792, William Heysham of Philadelphia, bought public securities offered by the United States Treasurer, Samuel Meredith - from "Alexander Hamilton, Central Banker: Crisis Management and the Lender of Last Resort During the U.S. Financial Panic of 1792" by David J. Cown, Richard Sylla and Robert E. Wright

William was elected a member of the Society of the Sons of St. George on 23 April 1793 - from Theodore M. Banta's "Sayre Family," 1901, and based on information from the family Bible of William Heysham Sayre, William's great-grandson. This was the first meeting of the society, making William a founding member.

"It is presumed that all those, or nearly all who signed their names at the first meeting, on the 23d April, 1772, were of English birth, and all of English parentage;"
. . .
Heysham, Capt. William (O.M.) . . . 1772, April 23" - from "A History of the Society of the Sons of St. George"

William's sword, per Banta, was in the possession of William Heysham Sayre, in South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Another descendent, the Reverand Theodore Heysham, claimed the sword was in his possession, though he may have been referring to the sword of William's son, Robert.

Society of the Sons of St. George of Philadelphia

There were a number of social organizations in Philadelphia, the Schuylkill Fishing Company, the Schuylkill Company of Fort St. Davids, the St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia, the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, and the Society of the Sons of St. George. The latter three were benevolent associations devoted aiding fellow emigrants, Scots, Irish and English, respectively. While organized around national origin, they had a decidedly religious undertone.

There appeared in the Pennsylvania Chronicle of 8 May 1773, the following,

"Permit a few unfortunate natives of England, who are here confined for debt, to return thro' the channel of your paper, their grateful acknowledgment to the benevolent Society of the Sons of St. George, established in this city, for their late charitable and generous donation to us, and which was judiciously expended by one of their faithful stewards. "
The Society is still in existence today and provides a scholarship for study at a university in England.

William witnessed the Will of Leonard Kessler, City of Phila, Cabinet maker which was signed on 2 January 1794. His heirs were his Wife: Mary Kessler. Children: John, Elizabeth, Rachel and Hannah. Maria and Rachel, dau. of son Michael. Exec: Wife Mary, son John and friend John Olden of Philadelphia, merchant. Wit: William Heysham, Michael Keppele, Henry Keppele. Proved: February 8, 1804. 1.176. Wills: Abstracts, Book 1 - Part A: 1802 - 1804: Philadelphia Co, PA.

Michael Keppele

A Philadelphia alderman and mayor in 1811.

Henry Keppele

A Philadelphia merchant who died in 1797. See also above.

From The Pennsylvania Gazette of 14 January 1795, Item #80182, 'At a meeting of the Society for the Relief of Poor Distressed Masters of Ships, their Widows and Children, on the 5th instant, being their annual election of Managers and Treasurer, the following members were chosen, viz.

Managers. William Heysham, Sampson Harvey, George Ord, Robert Bethell, John Woods, Charles Biddle, William Allibone, John Souder, John Lockton, Nathaniel Falconier, Stephen Gerrard, Nathaniel Galt.
Treasurer. James King.

The Managers of the Fund

Sampson Harvey, Ship's Captain and Master. An early patriot, he signed the Philadelphia Address to Congress, attempting to get Congress to return to the city. From: "Mediterranan Passes, Letters of Marque, and list of Ship's Registers," 1761-1776: Pennsylvania Archives, Series II, Vol. II.
Ships Registers:
30 August 1765, Vessels Name: Brig ADVENTURE, Master: Sampson Harvey, Tonnage: 50
20 November 1771, Vessels Name: Snow ALSOP, Master: Sampson Harvey, Tonnage: 140
Note also that, in 1783, Sampson lived at 338 Third Street, just around the corner from William Heysham.

George Ord, Ship's Captain Master of the Snow ROSE. He shipped many Germans into the country in the middle decades of the century. His son was the famous naturalist of the same name.

Charles Biddle was apprenticed as a merchant, he left after three years to pursue a seafaring life. He captained many ships during the Revolution and was a British prisoner-of-war on two separate occasions. The father of Nicholas Biddle, manager of the Bank of the United States. Another son of his, Charles Jr., accompanied Dr. John Heysham-Gibbon on a survey of the Panama isthmus for a proposed railroad.

William Allibone [Alibone], Philadelphia merchant, ships Master and part-owner of the CHARLESTON PACKET. This ship made regular trips between Philadelphia and Charleston. It may be the ship that William P. Heysham died on in 1798, see below. Commissioner for the defense of the Delaware Bay and River in 1782. Warden of the port of Philadelphia in 1788. Chief warden in 1790. Superintendent of the Federal Lighthouse establishment for the Bay of Delaware.

John Souder was a ship's captain to whom William had earlier apprenticed his son, William Postelthwaite Heysham.

John Lockton, Ship's Master. From: "Mediterranan Passes, Letters of Marque, and list of Ship's Registers," 1761-1776: Pennsylvania Archives, Series II, Vol. II.
28 February 1767, Vessels Name: Brig POLLY, Master: John Lockton, tonnage: 65
16 June 1768, Vessels Name: Brig MOLLY, Master: John Lockton, tonnage: 105
13 August 1771, Vessels Name: Sloop SUCCESS, Master: John Lockton, tonnage: 30
19 June 1773, Vessels Name: Brigantine POLLY, Master: John Lockton, tonnage: 50
26 August 1774, Vessels Name: Brigantine JENNY, Master: John Lockton, tonnage: 60

"Wm. Heysham" was a subscriber to Thomas Arnold's "American Practical Lunarian and Seaman's Guide." Thomas Arnold instructed "gentlemen designed for and engaged in a seafaring life, in Navigation and Lunar Observations, ascertaining Longitude by Chronometers and rating them, etc., the Mode of determining the Errors of the Sextant, and its Use, with actual practice, the same as at sea, on the reasonable terms." Evening classes, as well as private lessons, were offered. This was not published until August 1822. How could William have subscribed after his death (and that of his son, William P.)? Perhaps he subscribed while the book was being compiled.

William died in Philadelphia on 26 September 1797 at the age of 77. Interestingly his burial was recorded in "Yellow Fever Deaths in Philadelphia 1793, 1797, 1798." However, since all burials during this period were being recorded, I don't think there is any necessary implication that William died of Yellow Fever. His will:

Heysham, William. City of Phila. Gentleman. Signed: January 27, 1796. Proved: November 1, 1797. X.635. Children: William, Robert, Mary Gibbons, Ann Sayre. To Society for Relief of Poor and distressed Masters of Ships, their Widows and Orphans. Son-in-Law: Francis Bowes Sayre [John H. Gibbons had predeceased]. Exec: Sons William and Robert Heysham, Son-in-Law Dr. Francis Bowes Sayre. Wit: Nathaniel Falconier, Jesse Thomson, P. Thomson.

William's Witnesses

Jesse and Peter Thomson were brothers, the sons of Peter Thomson, the elder, a conveyancer living at #34 Sassafras street in Philadelphia. In modern terms, a Conveyancer is a specialist lawyer, someone who is trained and qualified in all aspects of the law dealing with property. Peter Jr. is listed, in different places, as a conveyancer and a druggist. His brother Samuel, a druggist, had died and left him his business. Jesse was an M.D., also residing on Sassafras street.

William was buried in Christ's church burial ground, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania next to Mary, his wife, and near the tomb of Benjamin Franklin. Just two tombstones away is that of Francis Bowes Sayre, William's son-in-law. It was in Section A, Plot LXXXI. His gravestone is pictured to the left. It states:

Capt. William Heysham
Died 26th September
in the 77th year of his Age.

There is also an indication, though whether on the tombstone itself or in church records is not clear, that William was born in Lancaster, England.

There are seven tombstones in a group, next to the wall on 5th street. Though many are illegible today, they were recorded in 1942, from left to right, for John, the son of Francis and Rachel Bowes; Francis and Mary Bowes [his first wife who died 20Oct1725]; William Heysham; Mary Heysham; J.H. Gibbons; Theodosia, the wife of Andrew Reed; and Francis Bowes Sayre.

Christ Church Burial Ground

The graveyard is located at the corner of Fifth and Arch streets. It was opened in 1719 after the smaller plot at the church on Second street was filled. In 1840 another plot was opened at Laurel Hill.

William's executor advertised in order to settle his estate.

"All Persons who are indebted to
the estate of William Heysham, sen. of Philadelphia, deceased, are requested to make speedy payment; and those who have any demands against said estate, will please to present them, properly attested, to the subsribers.
William Heysham,
Robert Heysham,
Francis Bowes Sayre, Executors
November 6." - from the "Gazette of the United States" of 12 December 1797

William's house on Arch street was put up for sale by his son, Robert.

"To Be Sold,
Agreeably to the last will and testament of William Heysham, deceased, and possession given immediately, a valuable property in Arch street, between Third and Fourth streets, consisting of the house, No. 107, with the lot on which it is erected, a stable, and other improvements.--The house is 20 feet front, and contains ten good apartments [rooms]. The lot is of the same breadth as the house and 209 feet deep, with a well of water and a very capacious walled cistern, both with pumps in good repair. The stable stands on the rear of the lot and will accomodate four horses and a carriage. This property enjoys the perpetual privilege of a 26 feet court and an alley, 8 feet wide, extending to Cherry Street. Its central position and the advantages it possesses to free ventilation, renders it well worthy the attention of any person wishing to possess an eligible property in Philadelphia.
For further particulars enquirre at No 88, Vine Street--of
Robert Heysham or Francis Bowes Sayre Acting Executors
January 11" - from the "Gazette of the United States" of 22 January 1798

A seal of the coat of arms of Heysham family was brought from England by Captain William Heysham and was in the possession of Theodore Heysham, his descendent, see below. It was similar to that at the top of this page, gules [red], an anchor in pale [upright] or [gold], on a chief [the top third of the shield] of the last [color, that is gold] three torteaux [balls]. There is, however instead of a helm, a stag courant (leaping, facing left), pierced through the neck with an arrow, as on the arms of William Heysham of Greenwich, England. There are stalks of flowers on each side as supporters and a motto underneath, Mea Spes in Deo. Freely translated as "My hope in God." This works well with the Anchor, a Christian symbol of hope. William's use of these arms should indicate a descent from (18) Giles Heysham of Lancaster, but I think, in fact, he is a descendent of (18) John Heysham, Giles brother, and that he displayed these arms improperly. As an American, and a revolutionary, however he might not care about heraldic rules.

William's children were,
(21) Thomas Heysham
(21) Ann Heysham
(21) William Postlethwait Heysham (1756)
(21) Robert Heysham (1758)
(21) Mary Heysham-Gibbon (1762)
(21) Ann Heysham-Sayre (1765)
(21) Jane Heysham
(21) Christopher Heysham

(21) Thomas Heysham
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674) (20) Captain William Heysham (1721)

He died at the age of 8. His name was listed on his mother's tombstone. There is no known date of birth or date of death.

(21) Ann Heysham
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674) (20) Captain William Heysham (1721)

She died at the age of 20 months. Her name was listed on her mother's tombstone. There is no known date of birth or date of death.

(21) William Postlethwait Heysham (1756)
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674) (20) Captain William Heysham (1721)

He was born in New York City in 1756. This is based on a note on William's subsequent career as the mate on a privateer. Note William's middle name, in honor of his grandmother's family, back in Lancaster, England.

As part of his education, William, at the age of 17, was indentured to a ship's captain to learn the trade of merchant adventurer.
- "William Postlethwait Heysham, March 20, 1773 indentured to Capt. Jhn Soder 4 yrs as apprentice mariner & navigator Phil. PA."
-"Records of servants & apprentices bound and assigned before Hon. John Gibson/mayor of Phil. December 5, 1772- May 21, 1773 March 20 William Postlethwait Heysham with consent of his father William, apprentice to Capt. John Souder of Phil." John Gibson, a merchant, was mayor for two one-years terms, from 1 October 1771 to 5 October 1773.
- also, "March 20. William Postlethwaite Heysham with consent of his Father William, apprentice to Capt John Souder of Phil . . . " - from "The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography."
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Indentures, 1771-73:
Date Name Port Location Whom Indentured Residence Occupation Term Amount Comment:
20 March 1773 Wm. Postlethwait Heysham Capt. John Souder Philadelphia Apprentice, taught the art and mystery of a mariner and navigator, and found meat, drink, washing and lodging only. 4 yrs.

In his apprenticeship, acting as something like a midshipmen in naval terms, William would have learned basic seamanship, how to set the sails, beat up the coast against contrary winds, and maneuver his ship in the tight quarters of a foreign port; navigation, taking sightings of both the stars and the sun, making appropriate calculations based on tables of data from reference manuals, and the use of charts; mathematics, like spatial geometry; some exposure to the problems of leadership and the loneliness of command; and, as a business man, aspects of trade and deal-making. He would have stood long watches at the conn in sun and rain, seen most of the ports of North America, the West Indies and western Europe, and become a member of the tightknit community of the sea.

Captain John Souder

A mariner, ". . . of the Northern Liberties, lumber merchant." His ancestors were also mariners. A Captain Souder sailed between the Netherlands and a new Philadelphia as early as 1681. John Souder and Eleanor Piniard were married on 2 April 1767 in Christ Church, Philadelphia - from "Record of Pennsylvania Marriages Prior to 1810."

A John Souder was a member of the Pennsylvania Navy during the early days of the Revolution in the armed boat VULTURE and, later, the FAME. He apparently volunteered to help man the boats despite being himself a Captain.

"Some time after [January 1776], there was a Report in the city that the Roebuck Man-of-war was aground in the Bay of Delaware, when the Provc. ship Commanded by Capt. [Thomas] Read, was Fitted out to go down & attack her. I [Captain Charles Biddle] went with my com'y and offered to serve on Board as Marines. The Committee of Safety Returned us their thanks and said there was a company of marines belong to the ship, and they only wanted seamen, upon which Capt. Biddle, Capt. Souder, and some other Captains of vessels that then belonged to the said Com'y offered themselves as seamen and went Volunteers in the ship." - from the "Autobiography of Charles Biddle" by Charles Biddle
The "Provc ship" was the MONTGOMERY, of 14-guns, fitted out by the Province of Pennsylvania. It, and another ship fitted out by Congress called the REPRISAL, were ordered down to join in the attack on the ROEBUCK, but never became engaged.


"The British man-of-war Roebuck, 44, cruised about the Virginia and Delaware capes from the middle of March until June [1776]. May 5, in company with the Liverpool, 28, and a number of tenders and prizes, she came up Delaware Bay. On the 8th these vessels were met below Chester by thirteen Pennsylvania galleys and an engagement followed which lasted all the afternoon [see the drawing below]. The Continental schooner Wasp, Captain Alexander, came out of Christiana Creek, into which she had been driven the day before by the British, and recaptured one of their prizes - a brig. The Roebuck was considerably injured in her rigging and, in attempting to get near the galleys, grounded on a shoal; the Liverpool anchored near by for her protection. During the night the Roebuck got off and the British dropped down the river. The galleys followed and another action took place. An American prisoner, impressed on board the Roebuck, says that the galleys "attacked the men-of-war the second day with more courage and conduct [and] the Roebuck received many shots betwixt wind and water; some went quite through, some in her quarter, and was much raked fore and aft . . . During the engagement one man was killed by a shot which took his arm almost off. Six were much hurt and burned by an eighteen-pound cartridge of powder taking fire, among whom was an acting lieutenant." (Am. Arch., IV, vi, 810.) The British ships then retreated. In his official report to the admiral the captain of the Roebuck says: "On the 5th of May I took the Liverpool with me, sailed up the River as far as Wilmington, where I was attacked in a shallow part of the River by thirteen Row Gallies attended by several FireShips and Launches, which in two long Engagements I beat off and did my utmost to destroy . . . After having fully executed what I had in view, I returned to the Capes the 15th." - from "A Naval History of the American Revolution" by Gardner W. Allen, 1913

John Souder, cont.

John's brother, Jacob [see brother Jacob in John's will, below], was on the armed boat PORCUPINE. The Pennsylvania Navy was defeated by the British in 1777 and its surviving boats destroyed by the patriots to avoid capture. Later, in 1779, John used his naval skills as a matross of the First Company of Philadelphia Militia Artillery, under Captain John McGinley. A matross was a gunner's assistant, from the German matrossen meaning sailors because the tasks allotted them in action, that is traversing, loading, firing, sponging, manning dragropes, etc, were deemed to be sailors' work.

Like Captain William Heysham, John was asked by the Supreme Executive Council of Philadelphia to inspect shipping and condemn cargo. He was also a privateer during the war, commanding the SCHUYLKILL, with William P. Heysham as his mate, and the CONCORD between 1779 and 1781.

From a 16 October 1782 article in the Pennsylvania Gazette about a runaway slave - ". . . may probably apply for service in Philadelphia, or to go cook on some vessel, as he has been a voyage with Captain Souder to Havanna last year."

John lived at #182 North 5th street in Philadelphia according to the Biddle Directory of 1791. He was listed as a lumber merchant. He also had an address at 141 N. Water street, between Race and Vine Streets, on the east side, which I take to be his business address. Six years earlier, in the Directory of 1785, John Souder and Company, Lumber Merchants, was on Water Street between Vine and Collowhill.

John, with Captain William Heysham Sr., was a member of the Marine Society and took part in the Philadelphia parade celebrating the approval of the Constitution.

John Souder's Will:
From "Abstracts of Philadelphia County Wills, 1790-1802"
Souder, John. N. Liberties. City of Phila. Mariner and Lumber Merchant.
Signed: July 6, 1796. Proved: Dec 27, 1796. X.525
Wife: Elinor [Eleanor] Pinyard, daughter of Joseph Pinyard, tallow chandler of Philadelphia.
Sisters: Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Sarah.
Children: Elizabeth, John.
Brothers: Charles, Jacob
Exec: James Cooper, John West
Wit: R. Whitehead, Robert Whitehead, J.L.W. Franke.

Indentured as an Apprentice

Apprenticeships were used to teach the "art and mystery" of a craft or trade. The young man would be indentured to a craftsman by his parents, giving the new master all the rights of a parent over the child. While most such indentures had the function of getting poor children off parish relief, and made them into little more than slaves, in the case of William and Robert Heysham it appears to have been an attempt by their father to teach them skills useful to their future careers as merchants and ship captains. Captain Souder may have been a friend, or even an employee by William Heysham Sr.

The document is called an Indenture from the Latin root dent, or tooth. Two copies of it were made on one piece of paper and then cut in two, usually on a jagged or irregular line. The matching of one copy to the other at any later date would prove the validity of such a document.

While William served under Captain Souder America spiraled into revolution.

16 February 1776. "This evening, Captain Souder arrived at Philadelphia from Grenada. On his passage, he spoke a vessel from Cork, the master of which informed him that twenty-five transports, with four thousand troops on board, had sailed from Cork for America. Captain Souder says, that before he left Grenada, a London paper of the thirtieth of last November arrived there, in which was a list of the thirty-nine commissioners appointed to treat with the Congress, among whom were Lord Howe and Governor Johnston." - from "Diary of the American Revolution" by Frank Moore
William P. Heysham was probably onboard with Captain Souder. The transports mentioned above were a fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Peter Parker bringing British troops under General Lord Cornwallis to reinforce Loyalists in North Carolina.

In the spring of 1777 William's apprenticeship with Captain Souder would have been complete and he would be ready to move on, taking up the duties of a First or Second mate, probably on one of his father's ships. However, by this time the rebellion against British rule was in full swing and as a member of a fully radicalized household he would have been looking for a place to strike his own blow.

The journal of Charles Herbert tells of William's imprisonment as a rebel and privateer in the Old Mill Prison in Plymouth, England. Called the "Relic of the Revolution," the book contains the following citation,

Revenge's Prize, taken August 2d. [no year given]
William Hessam, Philadelphia.
William Fowler, Casco Bay.
Daniel Willet, Newport.
William was a member of a privateer's prize crew and taken on the high seas by the British and placed in the Old Mill Prison in Plymouth, England where he remained until sometime in 1779.

A Relic of the Revolution

American Charles Herbert had sailed on the Brig DOLTON from Newburyport, Massachusetts, on November 15, 1776, and on the 24th of December was taken by the British REASONABLE, a man-of-war of sixty-four guns. On January 15, 1777, he began the dated entries of this captivity narrative. See A Relic of the Revolution for the published version of these memoirs.

Herbert was kept prisoner on four different ships before being incarcerated by the British at Plymouth, England. His diary logs the hardships of prison with punishments meted out by both guards and the prisoners themselves. When the Americans' laughing and singing offended their guards, a sailor was singled out for forty days' confinement in the black hole with half rations. When one prisoner stole another's bread and cheese, the transgressor was forced by his fellow captives to "run the Gantlet up one side of the prison and down the other which is upwards of 130 foot through a double file of men with each man A Nettle."

Herbert kept charts identifying names and origins of fellow prisoners, sailors taken from other American ships and charged with treason. News of war progress slipped in with the latest captives and from occasional clandestine newspapers. Some of Herbert's diary was kept in code; his numerical cipher is laid into the volume.

By February of 1780, the King of Denmark paid expenses for the prisoners and their release was arranged by an agent in Flanders. After traveling to Dr. Franklin's house outside of Paris, Herbert sailed for America on the frigate ALLIANCE, reaching his home in Newbury Port on August 23, 1780.

From the book:

"March 4, 1779 This morning James Vallentine died with a Prayer he was a Marblehead man & belonged to Can Lee's Crew, he is the 20th that has died since I have been taken & the 11th since I am to prison. Also this has been A fast day with us, for the Beef that came in the morning was very bad, & not according to Contract, we sent it back again, & the second that came was worse then the first, & we refused it, our Peas was likewise bad so that we could not eat them, and by applying to the officer of the Guard, who spoke on our behalf, we received Chease in room of the Beef, but not till the evening."

The diary was later published as A RELIC OF THE REVOLUTION, Geo. C. Rand. Bos. 1854. It contained . . ." a full and particular account of the sufferings and privations of all the American prisoners captured on the high seas, and carried into Plymouth, England, during the Revolution of 1776... Compiled from the journal of Charles Herbert of Newburyport... who was taken prisoner in the brigantine DOLTON..."

The ship's name as listed, REVENGE'S PRIZE, refers to a merchant vessel taken by the privateer REVENGE and manned by their prize crew. There are a total of nine ships of Herbert's list with similar names: LEXINGTON'S PRIZE, FREEDOM'S PRIZE, REPRISAL'S PRIZE, HAWK'S PRIZE (both a Sloop and a Schooner), CABOT'S PRIZE, STURDY BEGGAR'S PRIZE, RANGER'S PRIZE, and REVENGE'S PRIZE.


On October 30th, 1775 Congress created the Continental Navy, yet it consisted of only four ships, the ALFRED, COLUMBUS, CABOT, and ANDREW DORIA, all merchant ships converted into warships by the addition of cannon. Clearly assistance from the private sector would be required and Congress authorized privateers.

A privateer is not much different than a pirate except it sailed under a Letter of Marque. That is, a commission from a lawful government that empowered a private vessel to legally prey upon the shipping of the state's enemies, in this case the British.

During the Revolution, Congress issued 1,700 letters of marque and reprisal, and privateers captured 3,087 British Merchantmen and 102 British Men-of-War!

There were a number of ship's named REVENGE at this time. The internet has accounts of four such privateers. One is Canadian, that is a Loyalist, one operated in the waters around New England, another in the West Indies (under Captain John Sheffield) and the fourth started its operations in the English Channel in the summer of 1777. The latter is one of the most famous American privateers and was skippered by one of the four greatest captains, Gustavus Conyngham. In "A Relic of the Revolution" there is a page of statistics under the heading,

"Privateer's and Captain Names
Parts of Crews Taken, in Prison
. . .
"Revenge, Captain Cunningham, N.[umber] of Men - 3, Escap'd - 0, Died - 0, Joined Br. Ships - 0, Remain in Prison - 3"
That would seem to remove all doubt as to which ship this was. It also indicates that at the time Charles Herbert left the prison, all three of the men from REVENGE'S PRIZE were still incarcerated.

Captain Conyngham

One of the four best American captains that also included John Paul Jones, Nicholas Biddle, and Lambert Wickes. Gustavus Conyngham was born circa 1747 in County Donegal, Ireland and died on 27 November 1819 in Philadelphia. He was an American naval officer who fought the British in their own waters during the United States War of Independence.

Conyngham was taken to America in 1763 and apprenticed to a captain in the West Indian trade. He married Ann Hockley at Christ Church. Advancing to shipmaster with the shipping firm of a kinsman in Philadelphia, Conyngham & Nesbit, he was employed, as captain of the CHARMING PEGGY, to bring gunpowder from The Netherlands at the outbreak of the American Revolution, but became stranded in The Netherlands.

The American commissioners in France supplied him with a commission dated 1 March 1777 and sent him forth from Dunkirk, France in May in an armed lugger, the SURPRISE. He captured a packet plying with mail between England and The Netherlands and brought it and another prize back to Dunkirk. Upon British protest, Conyngham and his crew were imprisoned, the prizes restored, and the captain's commission confiscated. It was not long before the American Commissioners procured an order for the release of Conyngham and his crew, but so far as concerned the latter it was not at once executed for fear that the crew would disperse, and they were needed to man a cutter which William Hodge had purchased at Dunkirk, the REVENGE.

Captain Conyngham had a crew of a hundred and six men, including sixty-six French, and, according to English report, "composed of all the most desperate fellows which could be procured in so blessed a port as Dunkirk." Clearly forty men were not French. How many, I wonder, were Americans? Another reference, "Ships and Seamen of the American Revolution" by Jack Coggins, indicates that Conyngham's "old crew, plus 65 French cutthroats from Dunkirk, were smuggled aboard [REVENGE]." So, was William a member of the SURPRISE crew?

Sailing around the British Isles and operating off Spain and in the West Indies, Conyngham took over 60 ships in the ensuing two years, but he was finally captured, off New York in April 1779, carried to England, to the Old Mill Prison in point of fact, and threatened with death as a pirate. Amid threatened reprisals on the part of the Continental Congress, Conyngham escaped to The Netherlands, where, in 1780, he joined John Paul Jones in a cruise in the frigate ALLIANCE.

From the end of the war in 1783 until his death in Philadelphia in 1819, he waged a hopeless fight to gain recognition by Congress of his rank in the Navy. Almost a century after his death the commission that the French had confiscated and that could have substantiated his claim was found in the collection of a Parisian autograph dealer.


At the outset of the revolution Benjamin Franklin, America's ambassador to France, obtained ships from the French to use as privateers. One of these, originally called GREYHOUND, was renamed the REVENGE. Franklin also got Gustavus Conyngham, originally from Ireland, to be her captain. REVENGE was one of the fastest ships at that time. A British spy once said that REVENGE couldn't be caught by any vessel in the Royal Navy, but it could catch anything with sails.

REVENGE was a cutter mounting 14 6-pounder guns and 22 swivel guns. She was purchased at Dunkirk, France, for Continental service in the spring or summer of 1777 by William Hodge, an agent of the American commissioners to France, Benjamin Franklin and Silas Dean. Hodge was a Philadelphia merchant and an agent of the Committee of Secret Correspondence, a covert intelligence group and America's first spy agency. Hodge came to France by way of Martinique with dispatches from Congress and was employed by the commissioners in the purchase of vessels for the naval service. It was he that bought Conyngham's first command, the SURPRISE. Hodge also recommended Conyngham to the commissioners as a capable man to take command of the SURPRISE.

The Conyngham and Hodge families of Philiadelphia were related through Mary, a grand-daughter of William Hodge of Philadelphia, who married David Hayfield Conyngham of Germantown, born 21 March 1750, the son of Redmond Conyngham, head of the merchantile firm of Conyngham & Nesbit. This firm occupied Nos. 94 and 96 on Front Street, Philadelphia.

According to a letter written by Silas Deane, REVENGE was "one-half owned by the Congress of the United States, one-fourth by Mr. Hodge, and one-fourth by Ephraim Cunningham & Co. [of Cunningham & Nesbit, merchants]." The following is interesting,

"A General State of the Account Between the Commissioners at Paris from the United States of North America, and Mons. Grand, Banker, Showing what Public Moneys Passed Through Mr. Deane's and the Other Commissioners' Hands, Referred to in Mr. Deane's Letter to Congress

. . .
[To] Captain Hyson for the purchase of a lugger for a packet . . . 15, 169 11 00
[To] Mr. Hodge, who purchased successively two cutters at Dunkirk, &c., paid the expenses of Conyngham's imprisonment, &c., &c. . . . 92, 729, 10 03"
- from "The Deane Papers ... 1774-1790" by Silas Deane
This man is elsewhere in the document referred to as "Th. Hyson of Dunkirk," and paid the amount above on 5 March 1777. Note that Captain Conyngham sent forth from Dunkirk in an armed lugger, the SURPRISE, in May 1777 and captured a British packet. Could it be? More likely this meant the lugger bought by Hyson was to be used as a packet ship. The name Hyson may just be a coincidence, but . . .

Thomas Hyson

Thomas Hyson, the son of Charles Hyson and Margaret Harris, married Wealthy Ann, the daughter of Marmaduke and Rebeccas Tilden, on 19 October 1710. Thomas died early in May 1738.

Thomas Hyson, or Hynson, Jr. was living in Maryland circa 1672.

The British Ambassador to Paris complained that the ship had been fitted in a French (and supposedly neutral) port, but Hodge circumvented the diplomatic objection by a feigned sale of the cutter to an English subject, Richard Allen. Nevertheless, Captain Conyngham and his crew of a hundred and six men, including sixty-six French, and, according to an English report, "composed of all the most desperate fellows which could be procured in so blessed a port as Dunkirk," were put on board. The REVENGE then hastily put to sea, on 17 July 1777, before she could be detained in port or stopped off the harbor by an English captain who had threatened to seize and burn her. She sailed ostensibly for Bergen, Norway, but, as soon as she was at sea Captain Gustavus Conyngham, the "Dunkirk Pirate," took command, hoisted Continental colors, and headed for the North Sea.

Four days later, on 21 July, REVENGE captured a large schooner, the HAPPY RETURN, and on the 23d made a prize of the brig MARIA. Since British warships were nearby and threatening during both captures, Conyngham burned the prizes. Brig PATTY was brought to on the 25th and ransomed. These Continental successes, so close to the shores of England, sent London insurance rates skyrocketing and inhibited British trade.

On July 26th, just a day after she took the PATTY, REVENGE captured the NORTHAMPTON, a brigantine carrying a cargo of hemp and iron. That ship was sent off under a prize crew, but was recaptured, on 2 August 1777, before she could reach port for condemnation proceedings. The British found a prize crew of twenty-one onboard, including sixteen Frenchmen. The NORTHAMPTON was then taken into Yarmouth.

For 2 months Revenge remained at sea cruising off north-western Europe and the British Isles before she put in at Kinehead on the northwestern coast of Ireland to repair her bowsprit and to replenish her casks of fresh water.

Conyngham, who had been sending his prizes to ports in Spain, now himself headed for the Bay of Biscay, putting in at El Ferrol. In the coming months, REVENGE made several cruises from Spanish ports and captured many prizes. On one of the cruises, Conyngham transited the Straits of Gibraltar and operated in the Mediterranean; and, on another, he sailed to the Azores and the Canary Islands.

But word of the cutter's great success reached British ears and the Admiralty ordered English warships to find and destroy her. Moreover, as REVENGE's fame spread, British diplomatic pressure was brought to bear on the Spanish court to bar her from Spanish ports. Conyngham quietly refitted the ship in a small Spanish port and sailed for the West Indies on 1 September 1778. Upon reaching Martinique, REVENGE had captured 60 British vessels, destroying 33 and sending 27 to port as prizes.

A cruise in the Caribbean added several other ships, including two British privateers, to her score before REVENGE arrived at Philadelphia on 21 February 1779, laden with arms and munitions for the Continental Army in South Carolina. The cutter was sold at public auction by an act of Congress of 12 March 1779.

Soon after the sale to a firm of Philadelphia merchants for service as a privateer, REVENGE operated briefly under charter protecting shipping on the Delaware.

The cutter sailed from the Delaware Capes in April in quest for prizes. Conyngham was again the REVENGE's commander and, now, her part owner. However, luck had changed for the ship. While chasing two privateers off the New York coast, REVENGE was taken by British man of war, GALLATEA on 27 April 1779.

Conyngham's description of the Revenge: "She was trim, small, but fast as a witch." See also DANFS, the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, for more detail on this ship.

In the spring of 1778 REVENGE was operating out of Spanish ports on the Bay of Biscay; Corunna, Ferrol and Bilbao. On one of Conyngham's forays into the Atlantic he went to the Azores, Canaries, and beyond. Many of his prizes, which tried to reach ports in Spain, France or America, were retaken.

"And wealth they certainly earned, for in a short cruise off the coast of Portugal they captured no less than seven small English merchantmen. These were sent to Spain under prize crews, or back to America, the last taking with them some of Conyngham's American sailors." - from "Captain Gustavus Conyngham, U.S.N., Pirate Or Privateer, 1747-1819" by Eleanor S. Coleman
The latter was probably William's prize, which he would command, at the age of 22, in the long cruise across the Atlantic. Conyngham never had many Americans in his crew, most being French or Irish. As we'll see below, William's prize had 4 Americans aboard; himself, a master's mate, and 2 sailors.

Conyngham's crew had taken a prize on 12 March, the brig BETSEY.

"The brig Peace & Harmony and the brig Betsey were captured in the Atlantic . . . " - from "Letters and Papers Relating to the Cruises of Gustavus Conyngham" by Robert Wilden Neeser
Of these prizes Conyngham wrote from Cadiz on 3 April 1778,

"We Arrived heare the 27th March On Our Small Cruize of 20 days made 6 prizes but Unfortunate one of them retaken in Our Sight And its reported Another being a Lettermark Ship is Carried into Gibralter by two english frigates

one of Our prizes being an Armd Schooner fitted out of Gibralter to Cruize of[f] Cadiz she we burnt the other 3 sent for America A Snow mounting 8 Carriage Guns Some Swivels[;] Loaded with Currants. A Brig with Brill & Raisins. the 3d with Oranges,5 . . .

5. These vessels were: snow Fanny, William St. Barbe, master; brigantine Peace & Harmony, George Kennedy, master; and sloop Betsey, John Murphy, master . . . Fanny was sent to Martinique; Peace & Harmony and Betsey were sent to Boston, Mass.; Betsey was retaken before it arrived there." - from "Naval Documents of the American Revolution Volume 12"

Brill is a European flatfish resembling a turbot. See also, a letter from Sir John Hort to Lord Weymouth.
"On thursday last arrived here from Madeira as passengers, three masters of British vessels, taken early in the month of March, a little to the NorthEast of that island by the Revenge American privateer, Gustavus Conyngham master. These vessels are as follows.
The Peace & harmony—George Kennedy—master
Betsey—John Murphy
Fanny—William St. Barbe" - from "Naval Documents of the American Revolution Volume 12"
BETSEY was sent to "Newbury port," which is in Massachusetts, about 20 miles north of Boston. Or, as "Naval Documents of the American Revolution, Volume 12" has it, both PEACE & HARMONY and BETSEY were sent to Boston. BETSEY was annotated as
"retaken on the the Coast of America (Taken in the Atlantic)" - from "Letters and Papers Relating to the Cruise of Gustavus Conyngham" by Robert Wilden Neeser
BETSEY had been retaken by the EARL BATHURST. The latter was an "armed ship," that is a transport or merchant ship, rather than a Royal Navy combatant.
"Extract of a Letter from Plymouth, May 3, 1778

Arrived the Earl Bathurst armed ship in six weeks from New York, where every thing remained quiet. The Bathurst has retaken a brig with fruit, called the Betsey, a prize to Cunningham." From the London Chronicle for 1778, May 5-7.

- from Neeser, above.
The May date of arrival for the EARL BATHURST would support the date when William and his prize crew were committed to prison in England,
"Revenge Cutter, Capt. Cunningham, their prize taken April 8, 1778, committed in May.--Wm. Hessman, Philadelphia, Daniel Villet, Newbury [Massachusetts], Wm. Fowler, Casco Bay [Maine], exchanged." - from "List of American Prisoners Committed to Old Mill Prison, England, During the War - Communicated by Jeremiah Colburn," by Josephine Elizabeth Rayne and Effie Louise Chapman, in "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register"
Exchanged refers to the fact that after some time in prison, William and his men were returned to America, exchanged for British prisoners of war held by the Americans. Note that the Jeremiah Colburn of the reference's title was the chairman of the Library committee of Boston in 1865, so he was simply a transcriber of stories told to him. Also, "Hessam or Hessman, William of Philadelphia. Revenge. Comm. [committed to] M. [Old Mill Prison] May, 1778. 3p.139; 7 p.257." - from "Mariners of the American Revolution."



A 737-ton transport ship of 14 guns; sometimes referred to as an ordnance store ship or armed store ship. It was loaded for the West Indies 19-28 September 1778. In November 1778 the ship was sent to West Florida where it was engaged in supporting British operations in the Gulf of Mexico, operating between Jamaica and Pensacola. It was described as "Very strongly fitted and armed."

The ship, no longer in Navy service, was wrecked off Pensacola in a "violent hurricane" on 12 October 1811. It had been trading illegally with the Americans.

However, the following reference indicates a different ship took William's prize.

"In his diary entry of 8 May, Charles Herbert reported the arrival at Forton of three prisoners, who were "taken in a prize upon the Grand Bank, bound to America, by a large old East Indiaman, which has been made a transport. She was bound from New York to England, with a few of Burgoyne's officers on board, wounded and exchanged." Herbert, Relic of the Revolution, pp. 119-20. In a list of prisoners, Herbert identifies the three men as William Hessam of Philadelphia, William Fowler of Casco Bay, and Daniel Willet of Newport. Ibid., p. 257. The "transport" that Herbert mentions was H.M. storeship Grampus, Comdr. Ambrose Reddall, commander, which had sailed from Newport, R.I., on 15 Apr. carrying Gen. John Burgoyne and several of his officers to England. Mackenzie, Diary 1:266. Grampus was the former H.M.S. Buckingham, a warship of 70 guns converted to a storeship but still armed with 30 guns and manned by 230 men." - from "Naval Documents of the American Revolution, Volume 12"
Forton prison was at Gosport, across the bay from Portsmouth and the Old Mill Prison. A convoy of 25 ships left Newport on 15 April 1778 under the protection of the GRAMPUS. They arrived in Portsmouth on 13 May.
"This morning arrived the Grampus sloop of war from Rhode Island, from which ship Gen. Burgoyne landed about twelve o'clock. His army is still detained by the Americans." - from a news-letter from Portsmouth dated May 13, as described in "Hadden's Journal and Orderly Book" by James Hadden
"A Relic of the Revolution" indicated that William's Prize had been "taken August 2d," which obviously doesn't work. Why the difference? Note that I assume Hessman is a simple transcriber's mistake for the uncommon Hessam/Heysham. I also think the same of Villet for Willet.

The following causes a problem with the GRAMPUS. According to the next two references, William Heysham entered prison on 8 May, 5 days before GRAMPUS arrived in England.

"[Mill Prison, Plymouth, May 1778]
8th Friday this Day Prisoners Belonging to the Privateer Revenge Augustus Cunningham Mastr. they were taken in a Prize, Willm. Heysham, P[rize] Mastr." - from the "Journal of Dr. Jonathan Haskins" in "Naval Documents of the American Revolution", volume 12
I assume the following from "A Relic of the Revolution" refers to the Revenge's prize crew because no other crew cited matches this ones make-up, and it jibes with the citation above. It also uses the 8 May date.
8 May 1778. "This afternoon there were three prisoners brought to prison, who were taken in a prize upon the Grand Bank [off Newfoundland], bound to America, by a large old East Indiaman, which has been made a transport. She was bound from New York to England, with a few of Burgoyne's officers on board, wounded and exchanged. The three who came to prison tell us that they had the offer of entering the English service, yet they chose to come to prison. The prize-master's mate entered the service [of England]; of those who came to prison, there was one Newbury man, one Casco Bay man, and one Philadelphia man."
William Heysham was the prize-master. The prize-master's mate would have been the number two officer onboard.

So the arrival dates don't work for GRAMPUS. Note too that the GRAMPUS was not an old East Indiaman with a few of Burgoyne's officers on board, but a repurposed Royal Navy 70-gun 3rd rate with Burgoyne himself. So which ship did carry William to England? At this point I still prefer the EARL BATHURST. It landed at the right time, in May, before the 8th, and it was an old East Indiaman now serving as a Navy transport.

I've just found a reference to a journal in which the following is found. Confusingly, it refers to a fictional online journal. Is this a literary effort based on "A Relic of the Revolution?" I am intrigued, however, that the author used the Heysham name.

8 May 1778. "Today, three prisoners from the privateer Revenge’s prize were brought to the prison. They were taken off the Grand Banks. Because the British Navy is so short handed they were offered the choice of the Navy or prison. Those entering the prison told us that William Heysham, the prize’s mate, took the offer of the Navy." - from D. Hawks
The only difference with the Relic is that Hawks assumes the mate was Heysham, when I think he was the master. I haven't yet been able to contact Hawks about this.

In the meantime, when the REVENGE returned to Spain Conyngham found that the British had made things too hot and, after a refit, he sailed for the West Indies.

How did William come to be the onboard the REVENGE in the first place? Note that William Heysham, Gustavus Conyngham and William Hodge were all from Philadelphia and all were associated with trade and the sea. They would have known each other, or at least each other's firms/families, and would have felt some degree of obligation to each other should they meet outside of Philadelphia.

Conyngham "married Anne Hockley, the daughter of a Philadelphia merchant, and two years later, in the fall of 1775, he sailed from the Quaker city in the Charming Peggy for Holland . . ." however his return voyage was blocked by the British who "complained to the Dutch authorities of the character of the Charming Peggy's cargo . . ." possibly munitions. "Through a friend of his named Ross, Conyngham met William Hodge, a Philadelphia merchant in the employ of the American commissioners, who was purchasing vessels at Dunkirk for the Continental naval service . . ." The REVENGE was formerly named the GREYHOUND. ". . . as many as 66 out of her crew of 106 were mentioned as being French." "The Revenge was no sooner beyond the harbor entrance, on July 17th, than Conyngham took command, under a new commission, "as captain and commander of the armed vessel or cutter called the Revenge," dated May 2, 1777 . . ." "On July 26th Conyngham intercepted the brig Northampton, with a rich cargo of hemp and iron. She proved so valuable a prize that it was decided to send her into port. But both prize and prize crew fell into the hands of the British . . ." In 1778: "The brig Peace & Harmony and the brig Betsey were captured in the Atlantic, the snow Fanny off the coast of Portugal, the ship Hope and the brigs Carabonnere and Tapley in the Straits of Gibraltar, the brig Maria off Cape Finisterre, two brigs in the Bay of Biscay, and a third off the mouth of the Straits." From Conyngham's journal of his stay in the Mill prison, "Suffered a seveare & cruel treatment, dogs, cats rats even Grass eaten by the prisoners, thiss hard to be credited, but is a fact." On 3 November 1779 he escaped with 53 American prisoners. - from "Letters and Papers Relating to the Cruises of Gustavus Conyngham" by Robert Wilden Neeser
Just as Hodge, knowing Conyngham, had suggested his name to Franklin as the captain of one of the new privateers being fitted out, William would have had an introduction giving him an inside track to a position as a junior officer on Conyngham's ship. Did William Heysham Sr. meet Conyngham upon his return to Philadelphia to ask after his son's welfare?

Our William was well qualified to be a ship's officer and he also had the motivation to be a privateer-man. His family were fierce patriots; fierce enough to split them irrevocably from his Loyalist Uncle Christopher. He would be expected to jump at the chance to use his special skills in a way that would make his father proud. Conyngham and Hodge would have been happy to find an American both eager and qualified to help officer the ship. Recruiting in LeHavre, the majority of the ship's crew would be French, but it was important to all involved, especially the ambassador, Franklin, that Americans be seen as leading the effort.

How did William happen to be in Europe to become a member of Captain Conyngham's crew? It is possible that William had accompanied William Hodge or Conyngham to Europe, but I think it as likely that when his apprenticeship with Captain Souder came to an end that he was either already in Europe or that he continued in Captain Souder's service for a time and found himself in Europe when he heard that a new privateer was being made ready for sea. In any case, it should not be surprising that a sailor might find himself in any of the usual ports of the trans-Atlantic trade, and perhaps stranded by the war, as was Conyngham. Many seafaring men found their way from America to Europe during the Revolution and entered the service of the American commissioners in Paris.

There is a list of the Prisoners of War of the American Revolution that was put together as part of the 19th century commemoration of the Americans who died onboard the British prison ships in Wallabout Bay, New York. A William Heysham is on this list. I had assumed that the list referred only to the men aboard the ships of that place, but the introduction to the list doesn't pretend to be so precise. It is just a list of all the prisoners the researchers could find in the British files.

"This list of names was copied from the papers of the British War Department. There is nothing to indicate what became of any of these prisoners, whether they died, escaped, or were exchanged. The list seems to have been carelessly kept, and is full of obvious mistakes in spelling the names. Yet it shall be given just as it is, except that the names are arranged differently, for easier reference. This list of prisoners is the only one that could be found in the British War Department. What became of the lists of prisoners on the many other prison ships, and prisons, used by the English in America, we do not know.

The records of the Revolution kept in the War Department in England have been searched in vain by American historians. It is said that the Provost Marshal, William Cunningham, destroyed his books, in order to leave no written record of his crimes.
. . .
William Heysham
. . . ” - from the "List of 8000 Men who were Prisoners on board the Old Jersey" by 'The Society Of Old Brooklynites,' 1888
I now think that this referred to William in Mill Prison, not William Hissom who fought at the Battle of Long Island, and was killed or taken prisoner there.

REVENGE's PRIZE would have been a dangerous command for William. He had a small crew, only just large enough to get the ship to port and keep a lid on any revolt from the ship's crew that were probably confined below. A large storm would have severely strained the prize crew's ability to safely handle the ship. William would have been under a great deal of strain as he paced the quarterdeck and probably got little or no sleep. When, on 8 April a sail was sighted on the horizon he would have attempted to avoid any contact and it would have been with growing dread that he came to realize it was a British warship. Once overtaken there could be no recourse but surrender. The prize was neither armed nor manned to resist. The warship would have overtaken the lumbering merchant vessel, fired a single shot over its bow to indicate its intent and William would have spilled the wind from his sails, lowered any flag he may have raised, and surrendered.

Immediately following his ship's surrender William and his prize crew would be taken aboard the warship and placed in irons below. Americans were treated as pirates, any pretense to being privateers authorized by a legal government were ignored. The threat would be execution, as was the fate of any pirate.

The Old Mill Prison

In England, American prisoners were housed in the Old Mill prison at Plymouth and Forton prison at Portsmouth on either the charge of 'treason' or 'piracy'. This method of dealing with 'rebel' prisoners provided the British with a free hand to treat their captives in any manner they saw fit. It was not until 25 March 1782, six months after Yorktown, that Parliament passed a law designating Americans as prisoners of war, allowing them to be detained, released or exchanged.

Old Mill Prison was situated on a promontory between Plymouth and Plymouth Dock. It could accommodate about 800 men, but only 625 were ever there at any one time, and usually only about 300. The Forton population varied between 100 and 400.

The prisoners' daily rations were set at "one pound of bread, one quart of beer and three quarters of a pound of beef per day and half a pint of peas or greens five times per week. On Sunday the beef was to be replaced by cheese."

The American prisoners, finding themselves confined, employed considerable Yankee ingenuity attempting to escape. On 5 January 1779 alone, 100 escaped from Old Mill Prison. "Some went over the wall, some tunneled under the wall, others bribed guards, some walked out dressed as officials, another tried to get into a coffin as a replacement for one of their number who had died, while several less scrupulous connived with members of the local populace who helped them escape and then brought them back to collect the five pounds reward, which they afterwards shared." Splitting the reward was a good way for the prisoners to raise money. Once they escaped they needed money to purchase their passage to France.

There was a mass escape in December 1778 in which 109 men crawled through a hole dug under the wall, however all but 22 of the escapees were soon recaptured. They immediately began digging another tunnel. Sounds like "The Great Escape."

There were two other ways of getting out other than escaping. One was to wait until being exchanged with a British sailor or soldier being held by the Americans. The second was to request a pardon and join the British Royal Navy.

On 15 March 1779 100 American sailors, out of the approximately 250 in the prison at that time, were exchanged for English prisoners, and pardoned by the King. The other prisoners were eventually exchanged as well. This was done in the order they were captured. The author of "A Relic," who had been in the prison for over two years, went in this first draft. William had been there for 10 months so he went in a subsequent draft.

In the meantime, on 12 March 1779, the US Government had auctioned off the privateer REVENGE in Philadelphia. She was sold to the firm of Conyngham & Nesbit who put Captain Conyngham back in command. However REVENGE was taken by GALATEA, a British frigate, on 27 April 1779 off the New York coast and Conyngham was sent to the Old Mill Prison. The following is from a journal Conyngham kept of this period.

"29th [July 1779]. this morning Got under way in falmouth harbour the wind at S W fresh Breeze, the English fleet off the Deadman. at 4 in the afternoon came to anchor plymouth A breast the stone house in a small Bite within 80 yds. of the shore. the tide coming in heare runs verry strong . . . on the hill to the westd. of the sound of plymouth is a camp about 1000 Men at 5 in the afternoon Brought too Mill prison. The officer Lieut. haris have behaved verry politley. brought me a by road, not insulted by any mob. Confined to a room over the Guard house wh. 2 centrys.
30th. this day nothing verry particular to me. at night moved too the Black hole in the french yard where theare was some french dezarters. A horrid room . . .
31. this morning took out of the Black hole brought to the room I was first put in. Several people heare say I am that Conyngham who Broke out of the fortune prison. . . . recd. a Letter from Wm. heysham prisoner of War." - from the "Letters and Papers Relating to the Cruises of Gustavus Conyngham" by Robert Wilden Neeser.
I think William's letter to Conyngham confirms his status as a former officer of the REVENGE. Conyngham tried to escape three times, finally tunneling out with about 50 other prisoners in November 1779. He was, however, recaptured while attempting to recross to America and spent another year in the Mill prison before he was included in a prisoner exchange.

The sailors who had been freed from Mill prison starting in March 1779 were sent to Nantes, on the Loire river in France. At this time John Paul Jones was attempting to man a squadron in L'Orient. In a letter cited in "A Relic," Benjamin Franklin noted that Jones had asked that the freed sailors be delivered to him "that they might be at liberty to serve under his command. Most of them, if not all, have been deliverd to him." It was difficult to man regular American Navy ships because of the attractions of privateering. "Out of two hundred and twenty-seven officers and men [on BONHOMME RICHARD] there were seventy-nine Americans, mostly exchanged prisoners . . ." - from "A Naval History of the American Revolution" by Gardner Weld Allen.

Not surprisingly Jones found that two-thirds of these men, recently released after years of lean rations and hard use, were "unfit to bear arms" and a "set of dirty beings, who were to be sent to their homes at an additional expense." - from "Life and Correspondence of John Paul Jones" by Janette Taylor.

On 20 June Captain Jones set sail with a squadron that included the American BONHOMME RICHARD, 42 (Captain Jones), and ALLIANCE, 36 (Captain Landais), and the French PALLAS, 30 (Captain Cottineau), CERF, 18 (Captain Varage), and the VENGENCE, 12 (Captain Ricot). The author of "A Relic" joined the ALLIANCE.

Using freed prisoners could have its downside. Benjamin Franklin wrote to Jones, "As many of your officers and people have lately escaped from English prisons, either in Europe or America, you are to be particularly attentive to their conduct towards the prisoners which the fortune of war may throw into your hands, lest the resentment of the more than barbarous usage by the English in many places towards the Americans should occasion a retaliation or imitation of what ought rather to be detested and avoided for the sake of humanity and for the honour of our country." - from "A Naval History of the American Revolution" by Gardner Weld Allen.

Early in August 1779 43 more Americans arrived from English prisons were were recruited onboard BONHOMME RICHARD. Captain Jones led the squadron out on another sortie on 14 August 1779. They seized a number of prizes, then, on 23 September, Jones had his famous encounter with the SERAPIS, taking her after a long and bloody fight. At the same time the PALLAS took SERAPIS' escort, the COUNTESS OF SCARBOROUGH. Throughout the engagement VENGENCE inexplicably held off to windward. Worse, the ALLIANCE, which showed up late, mistook BONHOMME RICHARD and fired into her several times.

Jones squadron then put into Texel, in Holland. Landais was relieved and Jones took command of the ALLIANCE. The SERAPIS was put under a French flag to avoid complications with the neutral Dutch. The English prisoners taken by Jones were exchanged for the last of the Americans then confined in England, including William Heysham.

"Haysham, Wm. M. [Master] Pard. [Pardon] for exchange Dec. 11, 1779. G." - from "Mariners of the American Revolution" by Jack Kaminkow
William may have served aboard one of Captain Jones' ships in the year between his pardon and of the next reference to him in America. A REVENGE shipmate, Daniel Willet of Newbury, was released at the same time as William. He was later listed as a deserter from John Paul Jone's subsequent command, the ARIEL, on 7 November 1780. William's other shipmate, William Fowler of Casco Bay, was also released, but then captured again as a privateer. He "petitioned to join" the Royal Navy and was pardoned in March 1781. He entered the Royal Navy on 14 May 1781.

Captain Conyngham had made his escape from Mill prison by this time and joined Jones on the ALLIANCE. Jones finally set sail on 27 December 1779 and ran the blockade of a British squadron set to capture him.

The ALLIANCE then cruised off Cape Finisterre. Conyngham left at Coruna, in Spain, and returned to America on another ship. ALLIANCE put into L'Orient for repairs, but Benjamin Franklin wanted to send her back to America as soon as possible. She was to carry arms and a number of passengers. In the meantime more American prisoners arrived from England which Jones again used to man his ships.

In June 1780 ALLIANCE sailed for America, commanded again by Landais, in company with a ship, a brig, a schooner and a lugger. Charles Herbert, author of "A Relic" left the ALLIANCE on 21 August 1780 and was home in Newbury by 23 August. William was also home by the end of 1780 when he was a witness to a will, see below.

How did the years in prison affect William? While it is, of course, impossible to say at this distance in time, William did not have children, though he did marry. This may be nothing more than a natural proclivity, but he may have felt that his youth had been stolen from him and that his joy in life had been beaten out of him. All that can be reasonably said, is that it would have been a period of life that he could never forget, and a treatment he could probably never forgive.

William Heysham Jr. witnessed a will in December 1780 in Philadelphia:

Mifflin, Samuel. City of Phila. Merchant. Signed: December 23, 1780. Proved: May 28, 1781. R.422. Wife: Rebecca. Daughter: Sarah Francis. Nieces: Sarah [Wife of Thomas Mifflin], Susanna and Rebecca Morris [Sisters of Sarah Mifflin], Elizabeth Wheeler [Formerly Elizabeth Jones], Sarah Jones [Sister of Elizabeth Wheeler]. Negro Woman: Katy and her children, Peter, Susan and Nancy. Friends: Ann, Martha and Samuel Powell. Grandchildren: Tench, Rebecca and Samuel Mifflin Francis. Exec: Rebecca Mifflin, William Attmore. Wit: William Heysham, Junr., Edward Pole, Peter Thomson.

The Mifflin Family

John and Elizabeth Mifflin, both Quakers, came to America in 1679 from Wiltshire, England, and built their home, "Fountain Green," in Fairmont Park, Philadelphia. Their son, John Jr., married Elizabeth Hardy in 1683 and they had sons Edward, George, John, Jonathan, Worrell and Oram.

Jonathan's son was Samuel Mifflin. He was one of the leaders of Philadlephia and a successful merchant. He was born on 13 December 1724 in Philadelphia and died in the same city on 16 May 1781. Unlike many of his neighbors, he was not a Quaker, but a Presbyterian. In 1761 he refused election as mayor. Listed amongst those people in Philadelphia in the mid-1700's who owned slaves. The article called Samuel, and seven others, "the most prominent ones, whose names recur in accounts of the colonial city and for whom streets and counties and institutions are named." From the account of a slave born in his household, he was, at least, a kind master. He served during the Revolution as a Colonel, later General, of Artillery. In 1780 he provided 5000 pounds for Washington's Army at Valley Forge. His grandson was Tench Francis through his daughter Sarah. A portrait by Charles Willson Peale is to the left.

Thomas Mifflin was a fourth generation member of the family, the son of a rich merchant and local politician, John Mifflin. John was Samuel's cousin. Thomas took part in the first Congress in 1774, was the Quarter Master General of the Continental Army and took part in the Battles of Long Island, Trenton, and Princeton. He had, however, a falling out with General Washington and resigned from the Army. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention and signed the Constitution for Pennsylvania. He was also the first governor of Pennsylvania. A portrait of Thomas and his wife Sarah, by John Singleton Copley, is to the right.

Samuel Mifflin's Executors & Witnesses

William Attmore

A Quaker merchant of Philadelphia who signed the Anti-Slavery petition of 1783. He also wrote the "Journal of a Tour of North Carolina" while collecting debts owing his firm, Attmore & Kaigher.

Edward Pole

A Quaker merchant of Philadelphia. In advertising he referred to himself as a notary public, converyancer, and merchantile broker. He maintained an office on Market street, near the Court House. During the Revolution he was dismissed from the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Quaker) for "associating with others to learn the art of war." He subsequently joined a group known as the "Free Quakers" or the "Fighting Quakers." He was the Secretary of the Saint Tammany Society. He also owned a tavern, The Wigwam, on the Schuykill river which was the headquaters of the society. Interestingly, he is credited in operating one of America's first tackle shops. He advertised a variety of rods, reels, lines and artificial flies in the 1770's.

William continued his career as a privateer. Each of the following, which are bonds given by Letters of Marque, must have been for a single voyage.

"Feb. 28 1781. SCHUYLKILL. Pennsylvania brig. Guns: 10. Crew: 34. Bond: $20,000. Master: John Souder. Mate: William Hoysham [Philadelphia].
Bonders: John Souder, Philadelphia. James Craig, jr., Philadelphia.
Owners: James Craig, Philadelphia. Philip Moore & Co. [Philadelphia].
Witness: James Trimble."
John Souder had been Master of the privateer schooner CONCORD in 1779 and was, of course, William's master when he apprenticed for the sea. James Craig was a leading citizen, a ship's captain, and member of the St. Andrews society. He owned a number of privateers. James Craig Jr. was a Warden of the port. All would have known the Heysham family well. Interestingly, a John Burrows also captained this ship in 1781. In records similar to the above, Captain Souder was described as 35 years of age, 5 foot 9 inches tall, with black hair and a brown complexion. William P. Heysham was described as 23 years of age, 5 foot 8 inches tall, with brown hair and a fresh complexion.
"Schuylkill made a voyage to Havana, Cuba following her commission. She returned to Philadelphia about early May 1781 with a cargo of sugar. The next voyage was to Cap François, Saint-Domingue. Schuylkill arrived at Cap François on 3 July 1781, having been chased several times while en route to the island. Souder found the Pennsylvania Privateer Brigantine George (Commander William Campbell) there and solicited the George’s company on the passage home. George was also owned by Philip Moore & Co. Both privateers planned to sail about 14 July 1781 with a French convoy. Schuylkill returned safely to Philadelphia. She received a second commission under Commander John Burrows of Philadelphia, with Robert French of Philadelphia aboard as First Mate." - from "American War of Independence - At Sea"
After returning to Philadelphia at the end of July William moved on to the 120-ton JUNO.
"Jul. 24 1781. JUNO. Pennsylvania ship. Guns: 8. Crew: 30. Bond: $20,000. Master: William Smith. Mate: William Hoysham.
Bonders: Robert Bridges, Philadelphia. William Smith, Philadelphia.
Owners: Blair McClenachan, John Pringle, and others [Philadelphia].
Witness: James Trimble."
William Heysham was the First Mate from 24 July to 16 October 1781. Robert Bridges was "the sailmaker of the day" in Philadelphia. Blair McClenachan, an Irish born Philadelphia merchant, was a founder of the Pennsylvnia Bank, and one of the men who funded the Revolution, with Robert Morris. He sent "a score of vessels to sea under letter-of-marque commissions" including the more famous HOLKER.
"Juno sailed from Philadelphia on 8 August 1781 in a convoy escorted by Continental Navy Ship Trumbull (Captain James Nicholson). She proceeded to Havana, Cuba, arriving there on 2 September 1781. She loaded a cargo of sugar and rum, and 14000 Spanish dollars in specie. Juno sailed from Havana bound for Philadelphia in company with two brigs, with similar cargoes and bound for the same port. She parted from the brigs about 13 October 1781. On 16 October, Juno was captured by HM Frigate Amphion (Captain John Bazely) and sent into New York, New York, where she arrived on 20 October 1781. The British reported that she was armed with eight guns and had a crew of forty men. Juno was tried and condemned in the Vice Admiralty court, where she is listed as an American merchant ship with a letter-of-marque. Juno was advertised for sale at New York on 27 October 1781. She was described as a “beautiful Prize Ship . . . a new vessel, well found in sails, anchors and cables . . .” The sale was to be held on 29 October." - from "American War of Independence - At Sea"
HMS AMPHION was a Royal Navy 32-gun frigate built in Chatham in 1780. Just before the capture of JUNO she had captured the privateer ROYAL LOUIS, commanded by Stephen Decatur, the father of the future American naval hero of the same name. The Americans on the AMPHION reported on the chase and capture of the JUNO.
". . . Then, on October 15 there was a night chase lasting some four and a half hours in pursuit of the Juno, a privateer sailing from Havana to Philadelphia. Forten and the other Americans on the Amphion were reluctant witnesses, their sympathies with the Juno's crew, and yet on the receiving end of her resistance. She fired on the British ship, and [Captain] Bazely responded with a broadside. As the firing subsided, there came across the water, in the darkness, loud splashes as the Juno's master ordered his men to jettison her carriage guns. Realizing he could not outgun his opponent, he hoped to lighten ship enough to outrun her. The strategy did not work. Bazely had his gun crews fire at the masts and rigging. The Juno's foremast was hit, and flight was impossible. The captain surrendered, a prize crew boarded his vessel, and he and his men found themselves prisoners on the Amphion.
The AMPHION moored in New York harbor.
"In his log her master reported that toward evening on October 23 his crew was "Employ'd Carr[y]ing our Prisoners to the Prison Ship." - from "A Gentleman of Color" The Life of James Forten"
William was at liberty soon after this debacle, either escaping or exchanged for a British prisoner in American hands. He then served on board the privateer PERSEVERANCE beginning in December.
"Dec. 22 1781. PERSEVERANCE. Pennsylvania brigantine. Guns: 6. Crew: 25. Bond: $20,000. Master: George McAroy. Mate: William Hoysham [Philadelphia].
Bonders: George McAroy, Philadelphia. Thomas Randall, Philadelphia.
Owners: Thomas Randall, Philadelphia. Stewart, Totten & Co. [Philadelphia].
Witness: James Trimble" - from "Naval Records of the American Revolution: 1775-1788" by Charles Henry Lincoln
George McAroy, of Philadelphia, was a lucky captain. He was the commander of the sloop CONGRESS in 1776. In company with the sloop CHANCE, he captured the schooner THISTLE, and ships REYNOLDS, LADY JULIANA, and JUNO. The privateers' owners would receive £5,000 each and the sailors £500 each from the sale of the cargoes and vessels. Thomas Truxton, a famous frigate captain of the War of 1812, was a lieutenant on board the CONGRESS during this cruise. McAroy commanded the brig ELIZABETH in 1780, acting as bonding agent, as he did for the PERVESERANCE.

I have another book, "Naval Officers of the American Revolution" by Charles Eugene Claghorn, which I cannot get into, but a crafty Google search reveals the sentences,

"HEYSHAM, WILLIAM PA February 22, 1781 at age 23 Mate on the brig SCHUYLKILL commanded by Captain Souder. On December 22, 1781 at age 24 he was Mate on the brigantine PERSEVERANCE commanded by George McAroy (PAA)." page 149

"HOYSHAM, WILLIAM PA July 24, 1781 Mate on the ship JUNO commanded by William Smith and on December 22, 1781 Mate on the brigantine PERSEVERANCE commanded by . . ." page 159

"On December 22, 1781 at age 46 he [George McAroy] commanded the brigantine PERSEVERANCE with 6 guns & 25 men (LN)." page 202

The Effective Supply Tax of the city of Philadelphia for 1781 lists William Heysham with a Valuation of 950 and a Tax of 9.17.10. I believe, based on the valuation, that this is William Sr. His eldest son, Robert, was listed below him with a zero valuation and Tax of 1.0.0. William Jr., however, was not listed, perhaps because he was at sea on one of the privateers, above.

The war was basically over in October 1781 with the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown. A peace treaty was signed in 1783.

On 18 July 1786 William was granted a warrant for 400 acres in Catawissa, Northumberland county. The return date of the survey was 23 May 1870. The patentee was Edward Beebe et al. See Catawissa. The plat map is at C92 138. The plat description makes clear that this was for William Heysham Jun., with a P superimposed. William Heysham, presumably Sr., had a similar grant in September 1786.

"A Drawing of a Tract of land Called ____ Situate on the waters of Snake Creek, Adjoining lands of Christopher Roan and others in Stoke township, Northumberland County, Surveyed on the 20th day of September 1786, for William Heysham Jun. by Virtue of his warrant dated the 18th day of July 1786 Containing three hundred and Eighty acres, and three Quarters with the allowance of six [garbled] for Roads etc."
William probably sold this tract, based on a warrant for this service in the revolution, without ever having seen it.

I think I've found William, along with his father and brother, Robert, in the Tax List of 1788. I'm "guessing" that one of those William's is William P. Heysham, perhaps the Captain.

"Alexander Wilcox - Attorney
Dwelling . . . 750
200 of plate . . . 80
1 Horse . . . 20
1 Cow . . . 4
Occupation . . . 300
[Total] L1154

William Heysham, gent.
Dwelling . . . 590
30 of plate . . . 16
Occupation . . . 50
[Total] L656

Robert Heysham
Pr. Head 20p

Captain Heysham
Pr. Head 15p

Matthew Clarkson - Gent
. . ." - from Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801

In the census of 1790 for Philadelphia there were three men living in the household of William Heysham at 107 Arch street. These were, I assume, William Sr. and his two sons, Robert and William Jr.

I suspect we have Captain William P. Heysham in the following article in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 14 August 1793.

July 29, Charleston, South Carolina. ". . . Monday last arrived schooner Friendship, Captain Heysham, from Teneriffe, in 40 days. Capt. Heysham informs, that the day before he sailed a packet arrived from Cadiz, who brought accounts of an action having taken place between the French and combined armies; that the latter were defeated with great slaughter; and that the Duke of York was dangerously wounded."
The Duke of York mentioned here was the second son of King George III. The battle described was fought in the Low Countries following the French Revolution.

From 1794 William was the captain of the merchant ship THOMAS, out of Charleston, South Carolina.

"List of the Names of Persons and of Vessels. . . . concerned in the cases submitted to the commissioners appointed to examine, verify, and liquidate certain claims, under the provisions of the Convention between the United Sates and The French Republic, concluded April 30, 1803, and which were admitted as valid.
. . .
1794 . . . 1795 . . . 1796 { Crafts, Morris and Tunno & Cox, of Charleston, S.C., owners, ship Thomas, Captain Hysham, schooner Eliza, Captain Allen, and schooner Venus, Captain Perkins, supplies for the French Government at St. Domingo." - from "United States Congressional Serial Set"
A total of 154,684 Liv. 4 s. 11 d. was claimed, none of which was shown to be allowed by the French Council of Liquidation. In another citation in the same book the ship THOMAS was referred to as a sloop. Crafts was the firm of William and Ebenezer Crafts, Morris was Thomas Morris, and Tunno & Cox was Thomas Tunno and James Cox. Each firm may have owned one of the ships, or they owned all three together. I suspect the former and that William sailed for the Crafts' family in 1794, probably delivering provisions and arms for the French army, which was fighting both a slave rebellion and a British invasion.

St. Domingo

St. Domingo, or Hispaniola, was the island on which both Haiti and the Dominican Republic now sit. In the wake of the French Revolution of 1789 there had been a massive slave uprising in the French controlled colony of St. Domingo in 1791 and by 1794 the government had agreed to abolish slavery.

The British, at war with France and concerned to stop the spread of revolution in the Caribbean, had seized the French island of Tobago in 1793 and Martinque and Guadeloupe in 1794. The British also invaded St. Domingo. The French planters, eager to re-establish slavery, supported the invasion.

The rebellion's leader, Toussaint Louverture, agreed for a time to lead his forces in support of the French Republic. Louverure's victories over the British and Spanish, however led to his call for autonomy in 1801. In response Napoleon dispatched a large force which defeated, and killed Louverure. The imposed peace did not last long and by 1804 the French were ejected and a republic proclaimed.

The next reference cites both the THOMAS and the KITTY.

"Reported Losses
. . .
Kitty. Captain Hysham, master. Reported condemned at Saint-Domingue."
. . .
Thomas, ship, Captain Hysham, master. Morris Craft and Tunno & Co., of Charleston, owners. Furnished supplies to the French government at Saint-Domingue in 1794. Unpaid bills. Claim allowed by the American Commission at Paris under the treaty of April 30, 1803." - from "The French Assault on American Shipping, 1793-1813" by Greg H. Williams
The book is an accounting of losses sustained by the American merchant marine at the hands of French privateers, public vessels, consular officials, and colonial administrators during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. Condemned property was probably that seized and condemned (i.e. stolen) under the French decree of 9 May 1793, in violation of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between America and France.

How did William end up in Charleston? Note that William's uncle, Gyles, had sailed for Henry Laurens of Charleston and that Thomas Morris was the local agent for the Philadelphia firm of Alexander and Nesbitt. Henry Laurens was at one time the partner of Crafts, Morris and Tunno. Either of these men could have recommended William for a captaincy. Gyles Heysham himself died in 1787 so these were not his voyages. Gyles' younger brother, Christopher, below, another ship's captain, died in 1802, so he can not be ruled out as our "Captain Hysham," though he would have been awfully old.

We have a similar reference to another ship captained or owned by William:

"Evesham (Heysham) William
master of the schooner Fame,
to compensation under this article.1 (2) AWARD At a Meeting of the Commissioners on June 6 [1797] In the Case of the Schr Fame, W? Heysham (sic), M?" - from "International Adjudications, Ancient and Modern: History and Document" by John Bassett Moore and Emil Usteri.
A fuller account is found in the next text.
"6. THE FAME, Evesham, Master This vessel was captured January 20, 1794, and condemned in the vice admiralty court at Dominica on February 26, 1794. No appeal was then taken. Under an order of August 9, 1794, appeals from the vice admiralty courts were admitted, notwithstanding the ordinary time for prosecuting them had elapsed, provided they were presented within a reasonable time; and under this order appeals, not within the ordinary time, were admitted until the end of September 1795. A motion on behalf of the claimant for entering an appeal was made before the lords commissioners on appeal on November 15, 1795, but it was rejected. . . .
. . .
At a Meeting of the Commissioners on June 6 [1797] . . . . .
In the Case of the Schr Fame, Wm Heysham (sic), Mr.
The Board being of the Opinion That it does not sufficiently appear that the Claimants could not obtain, have & receive, by the ordinary Cause of judicial Proceedings adequate Compensation for the Loss & Damage alleged to have been sustained by the Capture and Condemnation complained of--but that the Case set forth and proved by the Claimants is within the description of Cases to which it was agreed by the Contracting Parties that the 7th Article of the Treaty should not extend." - from "Compensation for Losses and Damages Caused by the Violation of Neutral . . . "

William Jr. died on 10 December 1798, when he was 42 years old - from the biography of the Reverend Theodore Heysham. This was just a year after his father's death. Theodore Banta, in "The Sayre Family," indicates that William P. Heysham was lost "about 1800 in the wreck of the Charleston Packet in the Delaware river." While this notation may not refer to a ship specifically named the CHARLESTON PACKET, there was such a ship. Was William the captain or a passenger, returning to his Philadelphia home after a cruise aboard his Charleston-based ship, the THOMAS?


She was a Philadelphia-built brig operated by a new kind of shipping firm, the packet company. They promised to sail on a schedule, not when they had a full load of cargo.

The ship was captained, circa 1784, by William Allibone of Philadelphia, a friend of William Heysham Sr., and owned by Allibone, John Patton and Francis Gurney, also of Philadelphia. Allibone had owned a number of privateers during the war. He died in 1797. His sons were Thomas and William Allibone.

Another clue to the possible identity of the Charleston Packet was a painting, described below.

"S. Nichols Titled across the bottom: Charleston Packet = Brig Emily, Capt. S. Nichols ; the Brig flying the 'Great Luminary' American flag;." - Huge, Frederick Jurgen; Oil on Canvas
Frederick Jurgen Huge, a painter, lived from 1809 to 1878. If this was the correct ship, Huge was not alive to see it.

William's brother, Robert, was the estate's executor.

All persons indebted to the Estate of William Heysham, late of the city of Charleston, and formerly of the city, mariner, deceased, are requested to make paymen, and those who have demands, against said Estate, will please exhibit them to Robert Heysham, Admr. Philadelphia, Feb. 6, 1799" - from the Gazette of the United States of 14 March 1799

I have no record of any children, however I did find a William Hesson born about 1785 in Chatham, Chester county, Pennsylvania in the IGI. Chatham is a village and a township southwest of Philadelphia. The place and time are correct, but I believe it more likely that this was a son of Balthazar, a German emigrant in Pennsylvania who was variously known by the surnames Hussong, Hessong, Hissong, Hisson, Hissom and Hesson.

(21) Jane Heysham
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674) (20) Captain William Heysham (1721)

She was included in the genealogy of Theodore Heysham, as recorded in Roberts' Bios: Vol II - Part 2. She died on 26 September 1764, which may be the year of her birth.

(21) Christopher Heysham
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674) (20) Captain William Heysham (1721)

Per Sandra Seamons/not in Theodore Heysham's genealogy. I know nothing of this son myself. He was not mentioned in the will of his uncle, Chrisopher, signed in 1800.

(20) Christopher Heysham (1724/5)
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674)

Of Lancaster. He was the youngest of the three Heysham brothers who went to America. He was christened on 9 February 1724/5 in St. Mary’s church, Lancaster, Lancashire, England. According to his tombstone Christopher was born in 1724.

Much of the material on Christopher and William Heysham in America was derived from the account of their descendent, the Reverend Theodore Heysham, as recounted in a list of biographies published by Ellwood Roberts:

"Christopher and his older brother William, being amongst the youngest brothers and not having any inclination to serve his majesty in the church, army, or navy, became merchants at Hull, England."
See Ellwood Roberts' Biographical Annals.

Hull, England

Hull is a port on Yorkshire's North Sea coast, just southeast of the city of York, but well south of Newcastle. The main export from Hull was wool, much of which was exported to towns in what is now Holland and Belgium where it was woven and dyed. Some salt was also exported as well as grain and hides. The chief import was wine. In the late 17th century a travel writer called Celia Fiennes described Hull thus:

"the buildings of Hull are very neat [it has] good streets. It’s a good trading town by means of the great river Humber that ebbs and flows like the sea. We entered the town of Hull from the South over 2 drawbridges and gates. In the town there is a hospital that is called Trinity House for seamen’s widows. There is a good, large church in Hull."
In the 18th century Hull was, increasingly, an outlet for manufactured goods from the fast growing towns of Yorkshire. Goods like tools and cutlery were exported. Raw materials for the industrial towns were imported. Imports included iron from Sweden and Russia. Materials for shipbuilding such as timber, hemp, pitch and flax were also imported. The only large scale industry in the city was shipbuilding.

"Christopher attended to the domestic [i.e. coastwise traffic] and William to foreign business. After a few voyages to Philadelphia and some of the southern ports, the brothers relinquished the business at Hull and emigrated to America." - Ellwood Roberts. However, they in fact originally settled in New York City with their brother, Thomas, in the early 1740's. Thomas and William made their homes in New York, and also married there, while Christopher seems to have kept homes in both New York and Lancaster, where he married. While Thomas died, and William moved to Philadelphia, I think Christopher remained in New York City, as did Thomas' widow, Catherine. A fourth brother, Giles, who was also a ships-captain, traded with New York City and Charleston, South Carolina, out of Liverpool while residing in Lancaster.

Christopher's brother, Thomas, was in New York City as early as 1743, and William by at least 1747. Christopher began to spend time in the city no later than 1749, at the age of 24 years. He was witness to a codicil to the New York will of Archibald Kennedy. The will was dated 1738 and this codicil was added on 19 December 1749. The will was proved on 16 December 1763.

"I, Archibald Kennedy, being in good health. When it shall please God to call me, I do willingly leave to my wife the whole fortune and estate, real and personal, which she brought me on our marriage or since, in as good plight and condition as when it came to me," during her life, and which she is to accept in full discharge of my obligations to her. I also leave to her 1/2 of my negroes and stock and utensils of husbandry, with the whole of that farm at Pavonia, which I received from David Daniels, with the buildings. To hold the said farm and negroes and stocks until my daughter Katharine is of age. And this for the education and bringing up of my son Thomas and daughter Katharine. I also leave to my wife the use of plate and furniture and chaise, boats, and canoes, with power to bequeath them to my children. I leave to my son Thomas all my books and apparell and my little negro "Sampe." I leave to my daughter Katharine "the apparell and everything else that did belong to the person of her mother." As to my other farm at Pavonia, and all the rest of my lands and residue of estate, my executors are to sell the same and divide the proceeds among my children. I give power to my executors to set a value upon the 500 acres of land in Evans Patent, which I purchased and had granted in the name of my son, James Kennedy, and I direct them to deliver to him so much of my estate, as with the value of the said land will make 1/5 of the residue of my estate. I also direct my executors to put a value on the 500 acres in Evans Patent, which I purchased and had granted to me in the name of my son, Robert Kennedy; and to deliver to him so much of my estate as with the said value will make 1/5 of my estate. My executors are to pay to my sons, Archibald and Thomas, each 1/5 of my estate when they are 21, and 1/5 to my daughter Katharine. I direct my executors to sell 1/2 of my negroes and stock and the farm at Pavonia which I recovered from David Daniels, and if my wife desires to purchase it she is to have the refusal. I make my wife and John Walter and James Alexander, Esq., executors. Dated (???) --, 1738. Witnesses, Charles Oncile, Abraham Marschalk, Walter Jones.

Codicil.--I devise my two houses in Broadway, near the Fort, which I have lately purchased of the widow of Peter Bayard, and in one of which I now live, and in the other the Custom House is kept, with the lots, to my dear wife for life, and then to my daughter Katharine, but if she dies then to my sons, Archibald and Thomas. Dated March 13, 1745.

Codicil.--Confirms the above will. My sons, James and Robert, being dead, I leave their shares to my other children. The value of the 500 acres of land mentioned in my will, is to be part of the share of my son Archibald. Bedloe's Island I give to my son Archibald, with all the appurtenances and buildings, during his life, with remainder to Robert Ellison and heirs during my son's life to prevent contingent remainders, and after his death to his eldest son. Date Signed: December 10, 1749. Witnesses, John Jones, Christopher Heysham, Robert Ellison [Collector of the Customs at New York]. Proved, December 16, 1763. (Mary Kennedy was then the surviving executor)."

Archibald Kennedy

The name Kennedy comes from the old Irish Gaelic, 'cinneidigh', literally meaning 'ugly headed'.

Archibald was the son of Alexander Kennedy of Craigoch and Kilhenzie, Justice of the Peace of Ayrshire, and his second wife, Anna, daughter of William Crawford of Auchenames. Alexander was a lineal descendant of Thomas, second son of Gilbert, third Earl of Cassilis. Archibald must have been born about 1687. He came out to New York in 1714 (or 1722). He became Collector of the Customs for the Port and eventually Receiver-General of the Province of New York, and in 1725 he was recommended by Burnet to a seat in His Majesty's Council, which honour he received in 1727. He married as his second wife, in 1736, Maria, widow of Arent Schuyler and had several sons and daughters. He lived at No. 3 Broadway. His other property, No. 1 Broadway, was used as the Customs House. He died in New York on June 14, 1763.

His son, Captain Archibald Kennedy, was an officer in the Royal Navy, famous for raising the seige of Lisbon, Portugaul. He held estates in Hoboken, New Jersey and became the greatest property owner in New York. In 1765 he was said to own more houses in New York than any one else. He married an American heiress and, in 1792, became the eleventh Earl of Cassillis, a position which the family had held since 1360. Captain Kennedy tried to be neutral during the American War of Independence and was accordingly mistrusted by both sides. Half of his New York properties were confiscated, including number 1, Broadway, which was appropriated by George Washington. He died in London on 30 December 1794.

Christopher was the captain of the merchant vessel FOUR CANTONS.

"Custom House, New York, Inward Entries. Ship Four-Cantons, Chr. Heysham from New-Jersey.--The N.Y. Gazette Revived in the Weekly Post Boy, Dec. 11, 1749.
He was a regular participant in the trade between New York City and Dublin in the employ of a large Dublin provisioner and linen exporter. Note that these vessels also carried passengers, emigres from Ireland.
"Ships Commanded by Irish-Named Captains, Sailing to and from the Port of New York.

1751. Dec. 9 Ship Four Cantons C. Heysham [Destination] Dublin & Swanzey

1752. Aug. 25 Heysham Dublin

1756. June 14 C. Heysham Dublin 1758. Snow Four Cantons C. Heysham Dublin

1758. Feb. 6 Snow Four Cantons C. Heysham Dublin

1758. Mar. 6 Snow Four Cantons C. Heysham Dublin" - from "The Journal of the American-Irish Historical Society"
The FOUR CANTONS was also commanded by John Tasker in 1758.
"28 November 1751. Ship FOUR CANTONS of Dublin; Christopher Heysham, master; 80 tons; 11 men; registered in New York City 1749; owned by Samuel Horner and Peter Chigneau [Chaigneau/Cragineau?] of Dublin; from Dublin and Swansea with 2 cases, 6 packs linen, and 52 chaldron cole [cauldrons of coal?]." - from the "New York Naval Office Shipping Lists" of 1751

Samuel Horner

Of Dublin.

Peter Chaigneau

The son of a French Huguenot merchant, Louis Chaigneau, who settled in Dublin. There was a small, but significant population of the persecuted French Calvinists living in Dublin. Their cemetary is near St. Stephen's Green. The Irish playwright Samuel Beckett was descended from Huguenots [Becquett].


The name of Christopher's ship, a snow, may refer to the lake of that name in Zurich, Switzerland or, more likely, to the four major counties around Dublin: Dublin, Meath, Kildare, and Louth.

A Snow

The largest of the two-masted ships in the 18th century, the Snow was known for being 'extremely convenient for navigation' (Culver 1935: 235). The sails and rigging on its two masts are similar to those of the main and fore-masts of a ship-rigged (three-masted) vessel. However, unlike a Brig, a third, smaller mast was stepped onto the deck and held a trysail (similar to a mizzen sail on a ship-rigged vessel). The Snow was very similar in rigging to the Brig, and some vessels (known as hermaphrodites) could be changed from Brig to Snow and vice-versa with minor modifications.

"The Snow Four Cantons, Christopher Heysham, Sailor, arrived here on Saturday last from Dublin, but last from Barbados, in four Weeks, being blown off this coast . . . " - from "The Maryland Gazette"
"9 December 1751. Ship FOUR CANTONS, C. Heysham, master, Destination: Dublin & Swansey [Swansea]"
"Christopher Heysham of Dublin, master of the snow Four Cantons of Dublin, had family connections in New York City, including Catherine Heysham of Wall Street, possibly his mother [sic], and a brother, William Heysham, master of the brig Charming Sally of New York . . . "

"Shortly after the period of the Letterbook, Christopher Heysham set up as a merchant at an address on Wall Street where he sold Irish linen and a variety of dry goods (NYM, 16 June 1756 and 16 Apr. 1759; DJ, 30 July 1756; Abstracts of Wills, . . . " - from "Letterbook of Grey & Cunningham, 1756-1757: Merchants of New York and Belfast" by Thomas Truxes
The Wall Street address was probably the home of Thomas' widow, Catherine.

I have a Christopher Heysham, mariner, who married in 1752-3, in Lancaster, England. This aligns well with a daughter, Jane Heysham Machell, we know Christopher had from his will, below. Based on a grandson by her that was also mentioned in the will, Jane must have been born in the 1750's.

From the Philadelphia Gazette of 11 February 1752.

"Custom House, New York, Inward Entries.
Sloop Mary Magdalene, Jonathan Lawrence from St. Augustine. Outwards. Sloop Mary, Willer Taylor for Virginia. Schooner Catharine, Moses Lilly, and Sloop R. Island, R. Bennet for Jamaica. Sloop Three Brothers, John Riven for Madeira. Cleared. Sloop Sparrows, James Riven for Madeira. Cleared. Sloop Sparrow, James Goelet to S. Carolina. Brig Charming Polly, John Keteltas to Amsterdam. Snow St. Andrew, Robert Donaldson to Belfast. Ship Four Cantons, C. Hesham to Dublin."

From "The Journal of the American-Irish Historical Society," Sailings from the Port of Philadelphia:

"25 August 1752. Ship FOUR CANTONS, Heysham, captain, Destination: Dublin"

From The Pennsylvania Gazette of 16 February 1758, a New York item.

"NEW YORK, February 6. Captain Ker, who arrived here on Monday last, from Bristol, on the 4th of January, in Lat. 33, 32, Lon. 50, 35, spoke with the Snow Brantree, William Foster, from Whitehaven for Virginia, all well.

Next Day Captain Christopher Hysham arrived here from Dublin, but last from Londonderry in 9 Weeks and four Days: About ten Days before he came in, he spoke with a Philadelphia Privateer Sloop, about ten Leagues to the Westward of Bermuda, all well on board."

From the Halifax, Nova Scotia Gazette:

17 August 1754 - Port News: Captain Christopher Heysham, ship's captain, entered the port of Halifax from Dublin.
24 August 1754 - Port News: Captain Christopher Heysham, ship's captain, exited the port of Halifax for New York.

The Seven Years War

1754-1763. Known in the American colonies as the French and Indian War, this was a global conflict between England and France.
1759. British defeat French on Plains of Abraham. Quebec surrenders to the British General, Wolf.

Christopher continued to sail the FOUR CANTONS out of Dublin.

c1756. "[On a memorial from the Admiralty relating to the Embargo. Scarcity of seamen for the fleet, a general embargo is laid.]

12. Mar. [The embargo is taken off all neutral ships, and also off a number of English vessels, of which the following were bound to the plantations:--On the petition of William and Robert Baker and Christopher Kilby, the Four Cantons, Capt. Christopher Heysham, 120 tons, 12 men, now at Dublin; the James, Capt. William Gordon, 120 tons, 11 men, going to load at Cork; . . ."

- from "Acts of the Privy Council of England" by William Lawson Grant, James Munro, Almeric William FitzRoy
William and Robert Baker, and Christopher Kilby were partners in Baker, Kilby & Baker, which had the provisioning contract for the entire British army in 1756. They sublet provisioning of the regiments stationed in America to DeLancey and Watts of New York City. Richard Baker and Christopher Kilby managed the affairs of the house in America.

Embargo of 1756

Speaking of the new war with France,

"New ships of war were built, and daily put in commission; but it was found impractable to man them, without having recourse to the odious and illegal practice of impressing sailors, which must always be a reproach to every free people. Notwithstanding large bounties, granted by the government to volunteers, it was found necessary to lay an embargo upon all shipping, and impress all the seamen that could be found, without any regard to former protections; so that all the merchant ships were stripped of their hands, and foreign commerce for some time wholly suspended." - from "The History of England" by Tobias George Smollet and David Hume

Christopher kept a New York City address at the home of his brother's widow, Catherine. From the "New York Mercury" newspaper of 14 June 1756:

"For Dublin, the Snow FOUR CANTONS, Christopher Heysham, Master; Will sail by the fifth of July next: For freight or passage, apply to said Master, at the Merchant's-Coffee-House. To be sold by said Heysham, at the house of the widow Heysham in Wall-Street, Irish linnen, checks, printed linnen, Spittlefield silk handkerchiefs, Cheshire cheese, and several other articles for ready cash or short credit."
Christopher may have been acting as Catherine's "protector" while in New York and the stand-in father figure for his niece and nephew. This item implies that Catherine owned the house and that her brothers-in-law only had use of it. The will of Thomas Heysham, above, gave the house to Catherine during her life, then to his brothers. Does this imply as well that Christopher was here acting on his own, selling his own goods, not those of Horner and Chigneau? On 14 June 1756 Chrisopher left New York City for Dublin on the FOUR CANTONS.

The Merchant's Coffee House

This popular gathering place of merchants and ship's captains was located at the southeast corner of Wall and Water streets in New York City. The American revolution was plotted, in large part, in such coffee houses and it was here that the Sons of Liberty planned their uprising. By the way, there was a New York Tea Party, similar to Boston's more famous event. It occurred when Captain Chambers of the LONDON tried to sneak into harbor with a load of tea. Stopped and inspected, the tea was brought on deck and thrown over the side by townspeople who would not wait for the Son the Liberty who were masquerading as Mohawks for the purpose. The coffee house became the headquarters for the new government at the beginning of the revolution.

The building housing the original Merchants coffee house was a two-story structure, with a balcony on the roof, which was typical of the middle eighteenth century architecture in New York. On the first floor were the coffee bar and booths described in connection with the King's Arms coffee house. The second floor had the typical long room for public assembly.

Merchant's Coffee House (at the right) circa 1772

The following are messages carried by a Captain Hysham for the Beekman's, a wealthy merchant family of New York City. Note the Londonderry and Dublin addresses.

"To Adam Schoals, Londonderry, Nov. 25, 1757
Captain Hyshan Via London; Captain Caldwell via Liverpool.

I have now the Pleasure to advise you that Captain Robert Miller in your snow the Salford arrived Two days Ago, who is no[w] Discharging his Ballast but will not meat [sic] with the dispatch you expect. If seed was as Pleanty as the Last Year. It might being [be in] my Power to git her away in 15 days, but our Cuntry this season will not Produce above half the Quantity. If I Can Procure her a good Frieght Agreable to your directions shall do it, Otherwise believe Shall be Obliged to Put on board for Your account 200 hhds. of seed and 100 for my own account, If I Can . . ."

"To Thomas Marshall, Londonderry, Nov. 28, 1757
via London per Captain Hysham; via Liverpool per Captain Caldwell.

Your favours both of 20 and 26 September Came to hand and by the Contents Observe you Limmit me to 32/6 for seed, it will not be to be had for that this hyear, so shall not ship any for your account, but If I Can by more then What I have Orders for shall send you 50 hhds. on . . . "

"To William Benson, Dublin, March 9, 1758
. . . Mr. Franklin and myself shall put on board Captain Heysham 400 Barrels flour and a friend or two of ours Each 100 Barrels One half of which Will be Consigned to you and the Other half to Mr. Marsden but must beg the Proceeds be Remited Speedily, and your Compliance will much Oblige."

"To John Marsden, Dublin, May 23, 1758
This Serves to Cover Invoice and Bill of Lading for 260 Barrels flour Amounting to £377.12.6 Shiped on Board the Snow Three [sic] Cantons Christian [Christopher] Heysham Master bound for Dublin and Consigned you on Our Accounts when she Arrives dispose thereof for our most Advantage and keep the net proceeds into Your Hands untill the first of October, and then If good Flour Can be Purchased for 12 or 13 per Cent you may Lay out the Whole amount . . ."

"To William Benson, Dublin, May 23, 1758
. . . we did design to Ship per this Vessel, Captain Haysham 600 Barrels flour and to consign the One half to you and the Other half to your Late Partner Mr. Marsden but by Some way or other . . ." - from "The Beekman Mercantile Papers, 1746-1799: Gerard G. Beekman Letter Book" by Philip L. White, Gerard G. Beekman, James Beekman
Note too that Catherine Heysham owed the Beekman's money.

As noted above in the discussion of the Embargo of 1756, Christopher was involved in military contracting during the Seven Years War. The following advertisement was from the "Pennsylvania Gazette" of 17 June 1756:

"New-York, June 14. Thursday last Capt. Heysham arrived here in a Snow, in 9 Weeks from Dublin, with Provisions for his Majesty's Troops now posted in this Province; He acquaints us, That two Ships, one the EARL OF HOLDERNESS of Philadelphia, was sailed from Dublin for Waterford and Corke, there to load Provisions for this Place also."
The EARL OF HOLDERNESS was captained by William Simpson, out of Liverpool.

Christopher continued to captain the FOUR CANTONS into 1758/9. From "The Journal of the American-Irish Historical Society," Sailings from the Port of New York:

6 February 1758, Vessel: Snow FOUR CANTONS, Master: C. Heysham, Where from: Dublin
6 March 1758, Vessel: Snow FOUR CANTONS, Master: C. Heysham, Destination: Dublin
Note that the FOUR CANTONS arrived in New York from Dublin again on 27 November 1758, but captained by a John Tasker. From the "New York Mercury" of 1 January 1759:
"For DUBLIN, The Snow FOUR CANTONS, Christopher Heysham, Master; Will sail with all Expedition: For Freight or Passage agree with said Master. Said Heysham has imported in the last Vessels from England and Ireland, Irish Linnen, Spittlefield Handkerchiefs, printed Cottons, Books, Men's Shoes and single channel Pumps, Women's Shoes and Golow shoes, to be sold at Mrs. Heysham's, in Wall Street."
At left is Wall street in the latter 18th century. About this time Christopher's brother, William, was forced to flee the New York colony, accused by the governor of trading with the enemy during the on-going French & Indian war.

The following is about John Jauncey, a neighbor of Christopher Heysham's on Long Island.

"He was born in 1738. He married Ellizabeth Hicks in 1761 [John Jauncey married Elizabeth Hicks on 1 August 1761]. He was also a privateer, arriving in New York in 1757 in charge of a prize brig. He later commanded the SALLY and PHILIP. He lived on Long Island, just south of Christopher Heysham. In 1765 a John Jauncey was a witness to the will of Catherine Heysham's son, William, so there may have been a long-standing friendship. John Jr. died at sea near Grand Cayman, in the Bahamas, in 1767."
John Jauncey was an owner of the CHARMING SALLY, one of the ships William Heysham commanded, and it was John's brother, James, a member of the General Assembly, who entered a bill in 1772 for the relief of Catherine Heysham's debt, above. John Jauncey Jr. attended King's College, just as Catherine Heysham's son, William Heysham, did. I suspect it was John Jr. who witnessed William's will.

The following is another arrival of THE FOUR CANTONS from Dublin, but one in which the ship was forced to travel via Barbados, far the south, due to adverse winds.

"March 7. The Snow Four Cantons, Christopher Heysham, Master, arrived here on Saturday last, from Dublin, but last from Barbados, in four Weeks, being blown off this Coast in the Winter: He informs us, That Capt. [Samuel] Bayard, in the Privateer Ship Hercules, of this Port, had taken and carried into that Island, a French Privateer Sloop, of 6 Carriage and 6 Swivel Guns, which he fitted out as a Tender . . ." - from "The Pennsylvania Gazette" of 10 March 1757

There is a snippet in "New York City Court Records, 1684-1760" by Kenneth Scott, "Heysham, Christopher - 6 Nov. 1759." This appears to refer to Christopher's service as a Grand Juror for the city of New York. Christopher's brother, William, has a similar notation for 1753.

At some point towards the end of the 1750's Christopher began to take on the role of merchant in addition to that of a ship's captain. From the Receipt Book of the Commissaries and Paymasters of the Province of New York - Cruger, Robinson & Livingston:

"1760, March 29 Bought of Christopher Heysham
32 ps Linnen qt 704 yards @ 11 1/2 d. 33:14:8
Advance at 100 prCt 33:14:8 67:9:4"
Christopher's name was also on a petition signed by about 50 New York City merchants in May 1762. This was not something a ship's captain would have done unless he had taken on the attributes of an overseas merchant. The petition begged the forgiveness of the governor, Cadwallader Colden, who, along with the military, was finally cracking down on a the free-wheeling habits of their merchant fleet.
"In their quest for markets for agricultural products and for products from non-British sources, smuggling by the colonial merchants became so widespread that little attempt was made to enforce the Navigation Acts before 1762. Lieutenant Governor Cadwallader Colden of New York even defended smuggling in a letter to William Pitt in 1760. Colden pointed out the advantage of the illegal trade of provisions and lumber with the Spanish islands . . . The thirteen colonies needed a means of paying for British imports, and they could obtain cash by selling provisions and lumber to the Spanish." - from "The New Imperial Economy: The British Army and the American Frontier, 1764-1768"
Several New York City merchants were jailed in the spring of that year for trading with the enemy during the Seven Years War with France. Christopher's brother, William, had fled the city in 1759 when he was similarly accused. Christopher then, like his brother, may have been involved in illicit trade.

Christopher kept a slave, which was fairly common in the period. From the New York Gazetter of 9 September 1762,

"RAN away the 8th inst. a Negro Man named Jack, alias Salem, a short sett Fellow, a little lame on his right Foot, speaks good English, had on, when he went away, a blew Surtout Coat with yellow Buttons, black knit Breeches, black Stockings, and a Check-Shirt. Whoever brings said Negro to Christopher Heysham, in Kingstreet, shall have Two Dollars Reward if taken within the City, and Five Dollars if taken without, and all necessary Charges paid by said HEYSHAM. N.B. All Persons are forbid harboring or carrying off said Negro at their Peril." - from "Pretends to be Free: Runaway Slave Advertisements . . . " by Graham Russell Hodges
In the colonial period most of the land north of King Street was farmland.

Christopher also kept a servant. From a newspaper article of 1768,

"1768, Aug. 8. - Went away from Christopher Heysham, Flushing, by persuasion of some evil-minded person, a hired servant man, John Brown, a Swiss, who speaks French and broken English. He had on buckskin breeches, check shirt and an old hat with a brass button, and a piece of old hat [?] tied round the tops of his shoes. He is addicted to liquor and is, perhaps, ashamed to return. All person will please persuade him to his interst." - from "Queens County in Olden Times."
So, at least two "employees" of Christopher chose to run away. Was he such a hard master?

From a lawsuit regarding a farm in Newburgh, Orange county, New York,

"Abel Belknap, the father of the respondent, being the owner of the property in question, on the 1st day of September, 1769, mortgaged it in fee, to one Christopher Heysham, to secure the payment of L300, with interest, on the 1st day of September, 1770 . . . Christopher Heysham having filed his bill in the Court of Chancery to obtain sale of the mortgaged premises for the payment of his debt, a decree was obtained, on the 18th day of January, 1787, for the sale of the property, in six months, by one of the masters, for the payment of the debt to Heysham. Belknap, being unable to pay the money due to Heysham, and wishing to prevent a sale of the property, under the decree, applied to Brush to pay the money, and take an assignment of the bond, mortgage and decree. Accordingly, in May, 1789, Brush paid Heysham L352 15s. 2d., being the principal and interest due to him, and Heysham assigned to Brush the bond and mortgage . . ." - from "Reports of Cases Adjudged and Determined in the Supreme Court of New York"

The citations above indicate that Christopher stayed in New York City until 1769 at least, well after his brother William had left. The following indicates that Christopher moved to Philadelphia at some point, but I find no independent verification of this. There are no records in the Pennsylvania Archives for Christopher. While, as a loyalist, he would not show up on the list of patriotic committee's, etc., he also does not show up on any tax lists or under any ship arrivals. The biography below, which perhaps unsurprisingly was ignorant of events in England, also has Christopher as a single man, so it is doubly problematic.

"In the early part of 1774 they [William and Christopher] were located on Water street, in Philadelphia, as merchants. William married an American women whom he met on one of his former visits, but Christopher remained single [sic]. The brothers prospered and worked harmoniously until the war broke out between England and America. Christopher held firm to his king, but William espoused the cause of liberty. Christopher sold out his share of the business to William and returned to England. William continued in business and became a respected citizen, beloved even by his Tory neighbors." From: Montgomery county Historical Society (Pennsylvania), the Compendium of American Genealogy, also Ellwood Roberts' "Biographical Annals, 1904: Montgomery Co, PA" Vol II - Part 2: pp. 24-49.
Note also that William Heysham was not beloved of his Tory neighbors. I think that Christopher made homes in both New York City and Lancaster, but, since he had his family in the latter, was only a part time resident of the former. New York City was a loyalist refuge for most of the revolution so Christopher may have made return calls to the port into the 1790's.

Christopher married for a second time when he espoused Jane Fell on 14 January 1772 in St. Mary’s church, Lancaster, England - from the LDS database.

"13 January 1772. Christopher Heysham, widower, merchant, of Lancaster and Jane Fell of Lancaster" married in Lancaster - from the Archdeaconry of Richmond Marriage Bonds in the Lancashire Record Office
I also have:
"Jan 14. Christopher Heysham, pL [parish of Lancaster], merchant & Jane Fell, same p [place], sp [spinster], lic Wit: Elisabeth Postlethwaite, Thos Wright" - from "The Registers of Colton, Lancaster Priory & Rusland" by Aiden C.J. Jones
Elisabeth Postlethwaite was probably a cousin.

Jane was the daughter of George and Mary Fell of Kirkland. George was a linen-draper, or tailor, who held tenement at Whinfield in the Manor of Pennington. Christopher's elder brother, William, was associated in New York City with a John Fell. Might Jane have been a sister or niece of this merchant?

John Fell (1721-1798) was born and educated in New York City. A wealthy merchant, he was the senior partner of John Fell & Company which by 1759 owned several sea-going, armed, merchant ships. He was a patriot during the revolution. - from "The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections" by Merrill Jensen and Gordon DenBoer

Yates Map of Lancaster in 1786

A deed was recorded in New York City on 20 May 1784 from Christopher & William Heysham etc, grantors, to John Mowatt, grantee - from "An Essay Towards an Improved Register of Deeds City and County of New York, to Dec. 31, 1799. Inc." John Mowatt was a merchant of New York City, a partner in Alexander & Mowatt, located at 230 Pearl street. Another deed was recorded on 18 May 1785 from Christopher Heysham, grantor, to Christian Shultz, grantee. My best guess is that when Christopher returned to England he left properties in New York City. He may have thought that he would return after the troubles to reclaim his business, or, because he owned them in tandem with his brother, William, he didn't feel at liberty to sell them. William wouldn't have been able to do anything with them during the war because the city was occuppied by the British. In 1784/5 the revolution was over and I suspect the brothers decided to clean up their holdings and split the proceeds. These New York properties may also have been those that Thomas Heysham willed to his wife, Catherine, which were to pass to his brothers upon Catherine's death.

From his will it is clear that Christopher lived in Lancaster, England, on the south side of St. Leonards Gate street. John Heysham, Christopher's grandfather, had lived on the north side of St. Leonards Gate. This is in the northeastern quadrant of the central city, close by the Lune river and the sugar quay on the Green Ayre. At left is an etching of Lancaster viewed from the northeast, showing this area of the town. There were a number of warehouses on this street and in the neighborhood to support the sugar trade. In the print, note the two ships just to the right of the bridge ready to unloadd at St. George's quay, next to the Customs House.

Christopher Heysham was listed on the Rolls of the Freemen of the Borough of Lancaster.

At right is the "Shakespeare," the "last survivor of a dozen inns and taverns that lined the ancient route of St Leonards Gate into the city of Lancaster. It serviced the shipyards and their associated maritime industries when Lancaster was a bustling sea port at the end of the 18th Century together with the travellers and coaching services moving up and down the country for whom a stop at Lancaster was essential until the advent of railways made a nights stop less of a necessity." On the south side of the street is the Grand Theater, built in 1782, the third oldest surviving theater in England.

In Christopher's will he left much of his property and assigned executorship to three friends who were Guildmen, that is members of a Guild. This probably meant Christopher was one as well. While we normally think of guilds as the provice of craftsmen, this may have been the guild of Merchant Adventurers.

Christopher made out his will on 22 December 1800 and then died on 11 May 1802. He was buried on 15 May 1802, in Lancaster [or maybe in Carlisle] - from "England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991."

The original will, for Christopher Heysham, Esq., was proved in Lancaster on 27 October 1802. It is contained in the records of the Archdeanery of Richmond, referenced as "Christopher Heysham 27 October 1802." A copy was proved in London on 7 June 1804. Note that it was written in a poor hand and is very hard to make out.

"This is the Last Will and Testament of Mr. Christopher Heysham of Lancaster in the County of Lancaster Esquire made whilst I am of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding in manner following that is to say

all that my messauge or Dwelling house with the Back buildings Garden and other the appurtenances thereto belonging situate and being on the South Side of Saint Leonards Gate [street] in Lancaster aforesaid wherein I now reside unto John Webster of Croxteth Hall within West Derby in the said county of Lancaster Guildman Bryan Waller of Lancaster aforesaid Guildman and William Hall of that same place Guildman and their heirs [so listed?] the same unto and to the use of the said John Webster Bryan Waller and William Hall their heirs and assigns forever upon Trust that the said John Webster Bryan Waller and William Hall or the Survivors or Survivor of their or his heirs or assigns do and shall with all Convenient speed sell and absolutely dispose of the said Messuage or Dwelling house with the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging either in or by public Sale or Private Contract at their or his Discretion for the most money that Can be obtained for the same and that they or he do receive and get in the money which shall become Due upon such Sale and do Convey and assure the same unto and to the use of such person or persons as shall become the purchaser or purchasers there of his her or their heirs and assigns for ever

and I will and order that the money to be raised by the Sale of the said messuage or Dwelling house and premises shall be Considered as part of the residum [residue?] of my personal Estate and be paid and divided as herein after mentioned

and it is my will and mind and I do hereby Declare that Mrs. Jane Heysham's [his widow] Marriage Settlement shall be and shall be accepted by her in [garbled] and full Satisfaction of all Dower or [garbled] at Common Law and in [equity?] or by Custom or otherwise which she can or may or could or might have Claim Challenge or Domain from or out of my real Estate of to which I now am or have been or shall be seized or [garbled] during my Interim [arragi] with her

I give devise and bequeth all those my twelve Leasehold Messuages or Dwelling houses with the respective rights privileges Land appurtenances thereto belonging situate and being in or near to Chapel Street on the Green drive in Lancaster aforesaid being Leasehold and hold under the Corportation of Lancaster and all my farm and Interest and right of Reversal of Leases held in and held of unto the said John Webster Bryan Waller and William Hall their executors administrators and assigns upon the Trusts and for the purposes here in after expressed and where and to [John?] as the Youngest Surviving Son of my said Daughter Jane Machill by her present husband shall have attained his age of twenty five years upon Trust that the said John Webster Bryan Waller and William Hall or the Survivors or Survivor of them his executors administrators or assigns shall and do so soon as they shall think most proper either in or by public or private Sale sell and absolutely dispose of my said twelve Leasehold Messuages or Dwelling houses with the Back buildings and other the rights privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging and all my Estate [garbled] and Interest therein and power and benefit of reversal of Leases thereof for the most money that Can Reasonably be had or obtained for the same and do receive and get in the money which shall become due upon such Sale and Convey assign and assure the said Messuages and premises last mentioned unto such person or persons as shall become the purchaser or purchasers thereof

and I will and order that the money to be raised and received from the Sale of the said Last mentioned messuages and premises shall be and be Considered as part of the residum of my personal Estate and be paid and divided as herein after is mentioned

and for [garbled] facilitating the Sales of all and Singular the freehold and leasehold Messuages and premises I do hereby order and declare that the receipt or receipts of the said John Webster Bryan Waller and William Hall or the Survivors or Survivor of their heirs Executors administrators and assigns for the purchased money for the same premises or any part thereof shall be good and sufficient [garbled] to the purchasers thereof and that after such Receipt or Receipts shall be given such purchaser or purchasers his her or their executors administrators or assigns shall not be obliged to see to the application of such purchase money nor answerable or accountable for any Loss Misapplication or Nonapllication of the same or any part thereof

and I order and direct that my [garbled] Goods and furniture plate Books [garbled] and China shall be disposed of at the discretion of my said Trustees or Suffer the same to [garbled] in the house during Mrs Jane Heysham's life and for her use [garbled] of Expense to her in the content of my siad Grant on or [Sous] which may be therein living and that the maoney thereof arising shall become part of the residum of my personal Estate

I give and bequeth unto my Grandson James Heysham Machall when and he soonest shall attin the age of twenty one years my Gold Watch and Silver hilted Sword but if he should happen to die under that age then I give and bequeth the same to such of his Brothers (the oldest always to be preferred) as shall have attained the age of twenty one years

and the rest residue and remainder of my Goods Chattles [garbled] funds Moneys Mortgages [insert: Estates granted [garbled] in mortgage] and and other [garbled] for money and also other money real and personal Esate and Effects whatsoever and wheresoever not by and otherwise herein Disposed of after and Subject to the payment of my just debts funeral and Testamentutary Expenses I give devise and bequeth unto the said John Webster Bryan Waller and William Hall their heirs executors administrators and assigns upon Trust that they or the Survivors or Survivor of them his heirs executors administrators or assigns shall and do put and place or continue my personal Estate and all the said trust moneys and all annualization or interest [garbled] out at Interest upon such Government or good real [garbled] as [garbled] in their discretion shall think most beneficial and proper and that they do pay and divide all such residue and remainder of my real and personal Estate unto and equally amongst all and every his said Child or Children of the Boddy of my said Daughter Jane lawfully begotten or to be begotten share and share alike when as they shall severally attain the age of twenty five years

and my Will is that the Interest of their respective shares shall accumulate for [garbled] several bought until their attainment to that age and in case any of such Children of my said Daughter Jane since die before he she or they shall attain the age of twenty five years and have lawful Issue then such Issue shall be intitled to their parent's share so dying equally amongst their [?]

And in case any of such Children of my said Daughter Jane shall die before she or they shall attain twenty five years of age without leaving lawful Issue (or leaving such Issue and they shall all die under twenty one years of age then that share of such Child or Children so dying shall go and be paid to his her or their Surviving Brothers and Sisters equally share and share alike at the time their Original Shares are payable

But in case no such Child or Children of the Body of my said Daughter shall live to attain twenty five years of age then I give the whole amount of my said real and personal Estates (Subject and Charged as aforesaid to and equally between my Nephew and nieces Robert Mary and Ann Heysham the Son_Daughter of my deceased Brother William Heysham late of Philadelphia who shall be living at the time if failure of Issue of the children of my said Daughter [William P. Heysham had died by this time]

and I do hereby name Constitute and appoint the said John Webster Bryan Waller and William Hall joint Executors of this my last Will and Testament and it is my will and I do hereby authorize and impower my said Trustees and Executors to Continue my money upon Government securities on [garbled] and to hold my shares in the Lancaster Canal or to sell and transfer the [garbled] or any parts or shares thereof and lend and invest the [garbled] at Interest upon other good real Securities from first to finish [?] as they in their discretion is in [garbled] most prudent and proper and I do hereby declare that they my said Trustees and executors or any of them shall not be Charged or Chargeable with or accountable for any more of the aforesaid trust moneys [garbled] and premises than they shall respectively [interlined: actually] receive nor with or for any Loss which may happen without their willful Default nor any of [garbled] for the other or others of them nor for the debts [garbled] receipts or Dispersal [garbled] of each other but either of them for his own acts deeds receipts and disbursements only and that it shall be Lawful for them my said Trustees and Executors and the Survivors or Survivor of them in his heirs executors and administrators in the first place out of the Said trust moneys and effects to deduct pay and reimburse themselves all such Costs Charges and Expenses as they shall sustain expend or be put unto for or by reason of the Execution and performance of the trusts aforesaid or in any wise relating thereto

and Lastly I do hereby revoke all former and other wills by me made and do Declare this only to be my Last Will and Testament in witness whereof I have to this my last Will and Testament and to a Duplicate thereof Contained on this and to the two preceeding sheets of paper set my hand and Seal that is to say my hand to the Bottom of the first two sheets thereof and my hand and Seal to this third and last sheet the twenty second day of December in the year of Our Lord Christ one thousand eight hundred

[signed]Christr. Heysham LS Signed Sealed Published and declared by the said Testator Christopher Heysham as and for his Last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereto Subscribed our Names as Witnesses the Words [description of the interlining]

James Baynes Thomas Lawson John Dawson

The original will of which the before written contained upon this and the five preceding sheets of stamped paper [garbled] was proved in Common forum on the twenty seventh day of October One thousand eight hundred and two by John Webster Bryan Waller and William Hall the Executors therein named . . .

This Will was proved at London the seventh day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and four before the right . . . [etc.]
Does this sound like he stiffed the old lady? Apparently Christopher had made a good settlement on his wife during the negotiations for their marriage and he felt that no more need be done for her. This implies, as do his twelve messuages, that he was relatively wealthy. The poor did not need Marriage Settlements, the pre-nups of their day.

John Webster & Croxteth Hall

Croxteth Hall was the country estate and ancestral home of the Molyneux family, the Earls of Sefton. The house itself is an extensive mansion in Croxteth Park. West Derby village is on the edge of Croxteth Park and is now a suburb in the north of Liverpool. There was a John Webster living in West Derby circa 1750.

I have a Christopher Heysham with a gravestone in St. Mary’s churchyard, Lancaster Priory, Lancaster. It indicates he was born in 1724, and aged 78 at the time of his death in 1802. This was probably the Christopher who married Jane Fell. Below is a list of administrations of wills, including that for Christopher.

"Heysham, Catherine, Lancaster, widow, A. 1810
Heysham, Christopher, Lancaster, esquire, A. 1802
Heysham, William, Preston, yeoman, A. 1796" - from "A List of Lancashire Wills Proved Within the Archdeaconry of Richmond"
I don't know who Catherine or William were.

Confusingly, in the churchyard attached to the Cathedral in Carlisle, in Cumbria, England, there is a tomb bearing the following inscription:

"Here lie the remains of Christopher Heysham, esq., late of Lancaster, who departed this life May XITH MDCCCII (1802) aged Lxxviii (78) years."
"Prepare to meet thy god in judgement."
Was he memorialized in two cities? It's not likely he was buried in both. Carlisle is the city in which Dr. John Heysham, the son of Gyles Heysham, settled and did most of the research that led to his fame. It is possible that Christopher lived out some of his last years in Carlisle with Dr. Heysham. This might also explain how Dr. John Heysham came to have papers of Robert Heysham, a nephew of Christopher Heysham, that he contributed to the George Clymer Collection in Philadelphia. This scenario would have Dr. Heysham, while sorting through the papers of his recently deceased uncle, coming upon legal documents with the name of the attorney involved, George Clymer, attached. Having no interest in the papers himself, he returned them to America where they found their way into this historically valuable collection. For a fuller account of this see the Robert Heysham page.

Christopher died leaving a daughter, Jane, as his heir. As to Christopher's widow, she died in 1806.

1 July 1806. Died. "At Kirkland, near Kendal, Mrs. Heysham, relict of Christopher H. esq. of Lancaster. 80." - from "The Monthly Magazine"
I also have the record of an inscription in the floor of a church in Kendal, Westmorland,
"(In S. floor). To m. Ann Corney, Widow of Peter Corney of Penrith who d. 1. November 25th 1805 Aged 78 y. This stone was placed here by desire of her Sister Jane Heysham. Also in m. Jane Heysham, Widow, who d. 1. May 23, 1806 Aged 81 y. both Daughters of George and Mary Fell of Kirkland." - from "Westmorland Church Notes" by Edward Bellasis

(21) Jane Heysham (c1753)
(1) Ralph de Gernet (c1050) (2) Vivian Gernet of Halton (c1080) (3) Brian Gernet de Hesham (c1110) (4) Adam Gernet de Hesham (c1140) (5) Thomas Gernet de Hesham (c1180) (6) Robert de Hesham (c1200) (7) Adam de Hesham (c1230) (8) John de Hesham (c1270) (9) John de Hesham Jr. (c1300) (10) David de Hesham (c1320) (11) Thomas de Hesham (c1350) (12) William Hesam (c1400) (13) Nicholas Hesham (c1450) (14) William Heysham (c1520) (15) Gyles Highsame (c1540) (16) William Heysham (c1570) (17) Giles Heysham (1603) (18) John Heysham (c1635) (19) William Hesam (1674) (20) Chrisotpher Heysham (1724)

The daughter of Christopher Heysham and the unknown woman he married in 1752-3.

Jane Heysham, 22, of Lancaster married James Machell, 21, merchant, of Lancaster on 27 September 1775 at Lancaster - from the Archdeaconry of Richmond Marriage Bonds in the Lancashire Record Office
James was probably the son of Richard Machell who was a partner in a firm of wine, rum and brandy importers with Thomas Standiforth and Thomas Burton. "Like the vast majority of the merchants of Liverpool, he [Standiforth] had shares in slavers . . ." - from "Liverpool Banks and Bankers, 1760-1837" by John Hughes. Did Richard as well?

In Christopher Heysham's will of 1800, above, he refers to the youngest son of Jane, James Heysham Machall, when he "shall have attained his age of twenty one years," that is he was born after 1779. Note also that Ann Heesham, the daughter of John Heysham (c1638) of Lancaster, married Thomas Mackerell [or Mackrell/Machell] in January 1693. Thomas was the son of Robert and Alise Mackerell. They had a son, William, born circa 1697.

(22) James Heysham Machell (1779)
(21) James Machell (1754)

James Heysham [Machel] was baptized on 20 May 1779 at St. Mary's, Lancaster. Was Jane's son named in honor of her father in recognition of the inheritance, or to invite it? James was a merchant of Liverpool. His agent was Richard Moon.

1805. "Lancashire County Quarter Sessions Petitions: Ormskirk: Midsummer 1805 - Deposition: Information of Richard Moon of Liverpool, merchant, agent for James Heysham Machell of Liverpool, merchant, John Gwysher, clerk to John Blackburn, Esq., William Doble, Master of the Sloop 'Charles of Saint Ives,' and Joseph Williams, master of the said Sloop, re loss of cargo of salt, c1805."
1807. "Machell v Webster. Bill and answer. Plaintiffs: James Heysham Machell and another. Defendants: John Webster, Brian Waller, William Hall and George Machell (abroad)."
1810. "Memorandum of an indorsement on a grant made 29 Jul. 1799 by the Corporation of Liverpool, to H. Clay of the reversion in fee of certain lands in Church St. and Church Lane, concerning a conveyance made 16/17 Apr. 1810 by Henry Clay and H. Midgeley to James Heysham Machell, Richard Machell and Richard Moon of Liverpool, merchants, of a piece of land in Church Lane, Liverpool."
1812. "Ellice v Machell. Bill only. Plaintiffs: Edward Ellice and others. Defendants: James Heysham Machell, Richard Moon and George Welsh."
The following reference makes Richard Moon the partner of James. Who was the bankrupt referred to?
Undated. "Moon Richard, Liverpool merchant (partner with James Heysham Machell) June 27, at 1, at the George Inn, Liverpool, respecting the interest of the bankrupt in his own or his wife i . . . " - from "The Law Advertiser"
This may relate to the case of Machell v. Clarke. The formerly held precednet "that the estate of the grantee was void on the death of the tenant in tail" [?] was over-ruled.

James apparently had a brother who was also a merchant of Liverpool.

"Machell Richard, Liverpool, merchant and underwriter, (lately carrying on business with JH Machell, and Richard Moon, firm Machell and Moon) ; Feb . . ." - from "The Law Advertiser"
Richard Machell went bankrupt in 1851. Perhaps he was the bankrupt mentioned above.

Richard Moon

Richard Moon of Liverpool, merchant, married Elizabeth, the daughter of William Bradley Frodsham of Liverpool.

His daughter was Eliza Ann (1810). She married Ralph Brocklebank of Childwall Hall, Lancashire, J.P. and D.I. He was the son of John Brocklebank (1775) of Hazelhom, Whitehaven, Cumberland.

His son was Sir Richard Moon (1814) of Copsewood Grange, Warwick, 1st Baronet, Chairman of the London and North Western Railway Company 1861-1892. He married Eleanor, the daughter of John Brocklebank (1775) of Hazelhom, Whitehaven, Cumberland.

He also had sons, Ernest and Robert, both lawyers of the Inner Temple.

The Interesting Case of Peter Heysham, alias Peter Heyman

(19) Peter Heysham

Esq. The earliest known Heysham in the country? There is some confusion with Peter's name, as you'll read below. I've been trying to dig up information on him assuming that he may be John Heysham’s son, one of the "some" that emigrated. He was living in America and does, after all, have the uncommon name of Heysham when the total population of the colonies was only 250,000. If he was John's son, that is the son of a prosperous Lancaster merchant, he would have arrived in America with certain advantages; a better education than most, smooth manners, a good set of clothes, and probably a letter of introduction. These things would have helped him acquire a position.

The problem is that as I found more information about him, it became less likely that his name was Heysham, and more likely that it was Heyman or Hayman.

Peter lived in Virginia - probably in the James river area of Hampton, Jamestown, and Williamsburg - and is buried in Hampton, across the James river from present day Norfolk. In 1692 he was appointed postmaster for all the plantations in Virginia and Maryland.

The Colonial Post Office

April, 1692. A patent to found a Post Office is given to the Englishman Thomas Neale was first put into effect in Virginia, where his deputy Andrew Hamilton did much to organize the postal service.

At the time of his death in 1700 Peter was the collector of customs for the James River District. Based on his service, he could not have been born later that 1670 and more likely much earlier. In 1699 Williamsburg became the capital of Virginia. Could Peter have lived there as a customs official? Virginia's population in 1700 was 58,560 including 16,390 slaves.

Hampton, Virginia

Located on the southeastern tip of the Virginia peninsula on the Chesapeake Bay, Hampton is the oldest continuously settled English community in the United States. As an Indian village called Kecoughtan, it had been visited by the first English colonists before they sailed up the James River to settle in Jamestown. The name Hampton dates from the 17th century English Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley. The area was named in his honor by the first royal governor, Lord de la Ware, in the early 1600s.

Here is the first reference to Peter, using his Heysham surname. Annals of Philadelphia And Pennsylvania, Vol. II:
“There is at present a large marble tombstone, in a grave place half a mile out of Hampton [Virginia], on the Pembroke farm of John Jones, Esq., which had been placed there by governor Nicholson in 1700, which records the death of Peter Heysham, Esq., collector of the customs, who had been killed as a volunteer on board the king's ship, the SHOREHAM, in a brave encounter with a pirate on the coast; most probably, from the date with Kidd [highly unlikely]. The action lasted seven hours, and the governor was also present.“

Captain Kidd

The Notorious Captain William Kidd was a Scotsman, born about 1645, who immigrated to America. By the 1690's he lived in New York, owning his own merchant ship and with a distinguished record of service against France in the West Indies in 1689. He was commissioned by the governor of New York to be a pirate hunter, but was accused of becoming a pirate himself. In 1701 he was hung for piracy in London.

Other Pirates

In 1718 Captain Henry Maynard, a citizen of Hampton, killed Edward Teach, alias Blackbeard, the most notorious of all the Colonial brigands of the sea, and helped bring piracy to an end. Blackbeard's Point in Hampton marks the place where Captain Maynard set the head of 'Blackbeard' on a pole.

Here is a fuller account of the battle referenced above, but now using the surname Hayman. I am willing to assume that a clerk putting together a record with many names and references could record Peter's uncommon name incorrectly, especially when he was not alive to correct any mistakes. I would also assume that the tombstone mentioned above would be far more likely to have the correctly spelled name.

From The Colonial Records Project-Library Of Virginia: "Survey Report No. 4385, 13 May 1700. This document contains 21 depositions sworn before the Court of Oyer & Terminer for the trial of pirates in Virginia before Peter Beverly, Clerk of Arraigns. Some of the depositions are sworn by individual mariners, others by groups of mariners from different ships captured by Lewis Guittar [this is the real name of the pirate involved]. All ships were outward bound from Virginia, except the PENNSYLVANIA MERCHANT, which was inbound from England. On 17 April (1699) the BALTIMORE was captured; on 18 April the GEORGE of Pennsylvania bound for Jamaica. The master of the FRIENDSHIP of Belfast-Hans Haniel-was killed when the pirates fired on his ship. On 28 April 4 ships were captured within the Cape of Virginia including the PENNSYLVANIA MERCHANT, and the INDIAN KING of Virginia and the NICHOLSON. The PENNSYLVANIA MERCHANT was burnt. The crews taken prisoner were confined in the hold of the pirate ship which was call LA PAIX (PEACE); some other being made to throw cargoes of tobacco and other goods to Lyn-Haven by the pirates. On 28 April Captain John Alread, Commander of H.M.S. ESSEX {also called the ESSEX-PRIZE] having heard of the pirates' exploits came ashore and informed H. E. Francis Nicholson H.M. Governor General of Virginia and Captain Passenger of H.M.S. SHOREHAM that there was a Pirate in Lyn-Haven Bay. Whereupon captain Passenger and His Excellency, together with Captain Alread and Peter Hayman Esquire, [this is Peter Heysham, the customs agent] went aboard H.M.S. SHOREHAM and in coming out of the James River engaged the Pirate ship. Captain Guittar fought under a blood red flag. Peter Hayman Esquire was slain. After an engagement which lasted 6 to 8 hours John Lympany, a passenger from the PENNSYLVANIA MERCHANT, was ordered by Lewis Guittar to swim aboard the SHOREHAM to inform H. E. the Governor that there were English prisoners aboard his ship and that they and the ship would be blown up unless H. E. was prepared to grant Quarter to Guittar and his men if they surrendered. The Governor gave his promise. About 124 pirates were taken prisoner and some 25 to 30 pirates were slain. Between 40 and 50 English prisoners were liberated."

Pirate Chasers

Chesapeake Bay was invested by pirates and privateers in the employ of the Dutch during wars with that nation. After many false starts the armed Merchantman, WOLF, successfully plied the bay in defense of the pirates from 1690 till 1791. She was joined by HMS HENRY PRIZE, but by 1692 she needed to be careened and cleaned, and in 1693 was deemed unfit. HMS DOVER PRIZE arrived to replace HMS HENRY PRIZE, the man-of-war commanded by an ex pirate, Thomas Pound. He was effective at his job, and the Southern Bay continued to remain relatively pirate free. HMS ESSEX PRIZE joined them in 1698 with Captain John Aldred.


A Royal Navy ship built in Shoreham, England in 1693. She had a length of 82 ft. and supported 32 guns (making her a large frigate). She was mainly engaged in convoy duties.

Yet another account, from a WPA Guide to Hampton, Virginia, with more about Peter himself. Surname again misspelled, this time as Heyman.
"The community knew too well the pirates that infested the Virginia coast in the late seventeenth century. Hampton citizens continually protested the drunkenness and inefficiency of Captain Aldred, who commanded the ESSEX-PRIZE, a pirate-chaser that always lay up for repairs when its services were needed. When the man-of-war SHOREHAM replaced the ESSEX-PRIZE in 1700, Peter Heyman, collector of customs for the James River, was among the Virginians killed in a ten-hour battle that resulted in defeat of the pirates. Governor Nicholson, who had risked his life aboard the SHOREHAM to watch the engagement, reported that 'Peter Heyman had behaved himself very well in the fight.' Heyman was appointed postmaster in 1692 for all the plantations in Virginia and Maryland, and endeavored to set up an efficient Colonial postal system."

I would have been happy assuming these differences in surnames were all the errors of a clerk, but the next reference is more damning. The WPA Historical Inventory Project in Virginia:
"The VHI Project also encouraged its field-workers to submit reports on community cemeteries, reports that in many cases preserved inscriptions rapidly fading away in the face of time, weather, or encroaching change. Between March 1936 and August 1937, for example, field-workers Sadie A. Anderson, Mary Bullifant, and Eleanor S. Jacobs researched several small cemeteries scattered about the twenty-year-old Langley Field in what was then Elizabeth City County. Bullifant noted what she could from the eroded text of a 1697 grave. She was able to decipher far more, however, from a stone in memory of Peter Heyman, a customs officer shot and killed "as he stood.., on ye Quarter Deck" in a bitter 1700 battle with pirates in Lynnhaven Bay. "

However, I have since determined that a Peter Heysham definitely existed in pre-1700 Virginia. He may or may not be the same man as Peter Heyman/Hayman, above. From Virginia Colonial Records:

Court of Chancery. Bills and Answers. Hamilton’s Division. 1698/99, 1701/02. Heysham, Peter – lawsuit involving – 1698/99-1701/02, SR 13590, p. 1 Bill of Complaint of Benjamin Braine c. Peter Willart, John Burton, John Rawson, Peter Heysham and James Wagstaffe.

“In January 1696/97 Francis Tyerence and Valentine Crugers promised to buy from the plaintiff hogsheads of tobacco. They became bankrupt before full payment was made. He has kept the tobacco until he receives all the money but Willart and the others, assignees of the bankruptcy are claiming it."

The dates, 1698/99-1701/02, do not necessarily imply that Peter Heysham was alive on those dates. The suit, started in 1696, would have continued until resolved even if one of the principles had been killed in a sea battle with pirates.

So, who was Peter Heysham and how did he come to be in Virginia at such an early date? At this point I don’t know, nor how he figures into the family descent.

Other items of interest:

The 1624 census of Jamestown lists no surname close to Heysham.

Just to keep things interesting, I’ve also found an early biography of Peter Heyman. He was the grandson of Sir Peter Heyman, of Summerfield, in county Kent, England. He was collector of customs for the lower James river in 1699, and in 1692 one of the deputy postmaster generals for the colonies. He was killed on board the SHOREHAM in a fight with a pirate ship near Cape Henry on 29 April 1700. Buried at Hampton “where his tombstone was lately seen.” Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Volume VI – Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons.

So Peter Heysham, whoever he was, was not involved in a fight with pirates, at least as far as I know . . .

Steve Hissem
San Diego, California