James Armistead Lafayette

January 8, 2012

Revolutionary War Image

The portrait here is of General Lafayette of Revolutionary War fame. I snapped the portrait hanging on a wall at Bassett Hall in Williamsburg, Virginia.

I recently came upon a story relating to General Lafayette’s servant James. James was an enslaved man of Mr. William Armistead of New Kent County, Virginia. With his master’s consent, James joined the Continental Army and was assigned to serve the Marquis de Lafayette. At the risk of his life, James entered British camps and brought back information to the Marquis. After the war was won, a petition was offered to gain James his freedom and to compensate his master. Adopting the the patronymic of General Lafayette, James Armistead Lafayette began his new life as a free man.

James’s story was found in “Forgotten Patriots.”

The image, Portrait of General Lafayette, is subject to copyright by Edna Barney. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, an administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

December 7, 2011

Revolutionary War Image

Francis Lightfoot Lee was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. A sketch of the character and life of this Virginian reveals the material that was used in the construction of congressmen in his day. To sketch him is to sketch the average congressman of his time, the time of the Founding Fathers.

He came of an old and excellent family; a family which had borne an unsullied name, and held honorable place on both sides of the water; a family with a reputation to preserve and traditions to perpetuate; a family which could not afford to soil itself with political trickery, or do base things for party or for hire; a family which was able to shed as much honor upon official station as it received from it.

He dealt in no shams; he had no ostentations of dress or equipage; for he was, as one may say, inured to wealth. He had always been used to it. His own ample means were inherited. He was educated. He was more than that – he was finely cultivated. He loved books; he had a good library, and no place had so great a charm for him as that. The old Virginia mansion which was his home was also the home of that old-time Virginian hospitality which hoary men still hold in mellow memory. Over their port and walnuts he and his friends of the gentry discussed a literature which is dead and forgotten now, and political matters which were drowsy with the absence of corruption and “investigations.” Sundays he and they drove to church in their lumbering coaches, with a due degree of grave and seemly pomp. Week-days they inspected their domains, ordered their affairs, attended to the needs of their dependents, consulted with their overseers and tenants, busied themselves with active benevolences. They were justices of the peace, and performed their unpaid duties with arduous and honest diligence, and with serene, unhampered impartiality toward a society to which they were not beholden for their official stations. In short, Francis Lightfoot Lee was a gentleman – a word which meant a great deal in his day, though it means nothing whatever n ours.

Mr. Lee defiled himself with no juggling, or wire-pulling, or begging, to acquire a place in the provincial legislature, but went thither when he was called, and went reluctantly. He wrought there industriously during four years, never seeking his own ends, but only the public’s. His course was purity itself, and he retired unblemished when his work was done. He retired gladly, and sought his home and its superior allurements. No one dreamed of such a thing as “investigating” him.

“Francis Lightfoot Lee” by Mark Twain, 1877 (The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, I, no. 3).

The image, Menokin, is subject to copyright by Edna Barney. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, an administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

Tun Tavern

February 16, 2011

Revolutionary War Image

“The Legend” — On 10 November 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved that two battalions of Marines be raised. The Continental Marines were born that day. According to legend, Captain Samuel Nicholas set up shop in Philadelphia’s Tun Tavern and began recruiting. The rest is history. On 11 July 1798, an act of Congress created The United States Marine Corps.

The Tun Tavern has been recreated at The National Museum of the Marine Corps at Triangle, Virginia.

The image, Tun Tavern – America’s First Recruiting Station, is subject to copyright by Edna Barney. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, an administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

Bounty Land Warrant

September 26, 2010

I found this certificate of my Revolutionary War ancestor for 200 acres of Bounty Land at the Kentucky Land Office online.

John Doland 1785

Revolutionary War Bounty Land

“Under the terms of the Proclamation of 1763, issued by England’s King George III, soldiers who had served in the French & Indian War were paid with bounty land warrants. The warrants were used to obtain land patents; the rank of the soldier determined the acreage awarded by the warrant. The same principle of “land for military service” was used to pay soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Each colony determined the acreage per rank, the requisite duration of service, and the location of their respective Military District. The Military District for Virginia was located in southwestern Kentucky and southcentral Ohio. This website includes information regarding Military Warrants issued to Virginia veterans prior to 1792 and all Kentucky patents authorized by those warrants.”

Berkeley Plantation

May 1, 2008

Revolutionary War Image

Berkeley Plantation, Charles City, Virginia

If Only Walls Could Talk – what amazing tales our ears would hear inside the lovely plantation home of Berkeley. In 1619, early English settlers came ashore at Berkeley Hundred, naming it in honor of their home seats. On December 4th of that same year, the colonists observed the first official Thanksgiving in America, before the Mayflower Pilgrims had even left England. On Good Friday of 1622, while celebrating with their Indian friends, Opechancanough’s men rose up and attempted to massacre all the whites in Virginia, and they almost suceeded.

Giles Bland was an early owner of Berkeley Hundred, and after he was executed for complicity in Bacon’s Rebellion, the Harrisons assumed ownership. This hallowed ground, situated above the historic James River, is a treasure for all Americans, as it has witnessed and participated in the entire history of our nation.

The original brick mansion, which still stands, was built in 1726, of brick fired right on the plantation. Here was born Benjamin Harrison, son of the first owner and builder of Berkeley, who signed the Declaration of Independence and was a three-time Governor of Virginia.  His son, William Henry Harrison, also born at Berkeley, was governor of the Indiana Territory and became the ninth President of the United States. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, became the 23rd President and was the husband of Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison, a founder of the Daughters of the American Revolution and its first President General.

George Washington, and the nine succeeding Presidents of the United States, all visited at Berkeley, and dined in the same dining room that still overlooks the James River today. The British troops of the traitorous Benedict Arnold plundered the plantation during the American Revolution, although no serious harm was done to the mansion. During the Civil War, Union troops of the Army of the Potomac occupied Berkeley Plantation, and President Abraham Lincoln twice traveled via water from Washington to review them. It was here that General George B. McClellan was relieved of command by Lincoln. There are ten acres of terraced boxwood gardens and lawn extending a quarter-mile from the front door to the James River. This wonderful Virginia shrine has been owned and maintained privately.

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The image, Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, is subject to copyright by imulford.net. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

James Monroe’s 250th Birthday

April 18, 2008

Revolutionary War Image

This year marks the 250th anniversary of President James Monroe’s birth in Westmoreland County, Virginia on 28 April 1758. President James Monroe attended William and Mary College, but when war broke out, he left college to join the rebels. He and George Washington were the only Presidents to have served as officers during the American Revolutionary War. James Monroe participated in six major battles, wintering at Valley Forge, crossing the Delaware with General George Washington, and being seriously wounded at Trenton, New Jersey. He was cited for conspicuous bravery. After the war, he worked as a lawyer in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He died  July 4th, 1831, the third president to die on Independence Day.

One of the events scheduled in honor of his 250th birthday is the placing of a memorial tablet at the Monroe family farm by the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution. The farm is located between Colonial Beach and Route 205. This special ceremony will occur on Saturday, April 26th, 2008, at 11 a.m.

On Monday, April 28th, 2008 at 11 a.m. there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of America’s fifth President, James Monroe, at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Wreaths will be presented on behalf of President George W. Bush, the James Monroe Memorial Foundation, and various lineage societies.

That same day, April 28th, at 4 p.m., the Garrison Commander of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia will hold a special Retreat Ceremony at the Flagstaff Bastion. Military personnel are requested to wear duty uniforms, and civilians are asked to wear business attire. To attend this special event, an RSVP must be made by April 22nd, 2008. 

For more information on any of these events, see www.MonroeFoundation.org.

This portrait of James Monroe is from Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

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The image, James Monroe, is subject to copyright by afagen. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

DAR Patriot Index 2000

April 1, 2008

Patriot Index 2000

STIMPSON, STIMSON, STINSON Patriots of the American Revolution. The next edition of the DAR Patriot Index will include my two ancestors from Virginia, Alexander STINSON Senior, father of the listed Alexander (c1733-a1813), and his son David STINSON, both of Buckingham County, Virginia.

Father Alexander STINSON was an old man during the war, however he did contribute supplies to the rebels. It is impossible to know what other support these men may have given to the Patriot Cause, as all the records at Buckingham County Courthouse were burned in 1869 – not by the Yankees, but by arsonist Virginians! We do know that the people of Buckingham County were in the forefront of the movement for liberty, and that many of the county’s citizens must have formed Committees of Safety and more.

My forefather, David STINSON, contributed 400 pounds of beef to the American Revolutionary cause in Buckingham County, Virginia, which qualified him to be a DAR patriot. However, David STINSON did much more to show his true colors during a time of great danger. From some Virginia petitions stored at the Library of Congress I have discovered that my ancestor David STINSON was amongst Buckingham County’s staunchest patriots.  On 7 December 1780, he signed a petition that demanded the privileges of citizenship be withheld from all who refused to swear allegiance to the new American government. He demanded that these “non-jurors” not be allowed to practice law, medicine, and that “non-juror” clergy be silenced and deprived of their benefices. In addition, as a petitioner, he demanded that the non-patriots be double taxed. At that point in history, the South had become the war’s battlefield, and the army of Washington was not assured victory. The cities of Augusta and Savannah in Georgia had fallen to the British. If the American rebellion had been put down, David STINSON and the other petition signatories would have suffered grave consequences.

StarStar As of December 2007, DAVID STINSON is NSDAR Patriot Ancestor #A204931.

After gathering together all the historical documents necessary to prove my STINSON lineage to NSDAR standards, no easy feat in a Virginia burnt county, I decided to write a book on the STINSON family of Buckingham County. It is SO OBSCURE A PERSON – The Story of Alexander STINSON and His Virginia Descendants.   ~~Edna Barney

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The image, DAR Patriot Index 2000, is subject to copyright by barneykin. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.