According to Dr. Lewis in Neptune's Militia, page 35-36, there were 26 of these amorphously-titled men. Yet, they are important only if due to the influence that they exerted on the ship and its fate. Most of those who we know their names were men of importance or distinction but, they had no official rank, duties or assignments on board the frigate South Carolina. As Dr. Lewis points out it is not completely clear whether these men paid for their passage on board the frigate or were simply the "guests" of Commodore Gillon on the frigate's passage across the Atlantic Ocean. It is also quite likely that individualized arrangements were made by or for each man that qualified each man as a "passenger". We do not and probably never will know that full list of their names but, those that we do know were definitely distinguished, either already or in their later lives.
At least four of them were officers in either the Continental Line, state militias, or in the Continental Navy. Major William Jackson of South Carolina was one of the earliest "passengers" to sign onto the frigate South Carolina. Major Jackson was one of the most interesting and experienced of these "passengers" on board the frigate South Carolina, would remain on board the frigate for a short period of time but, would cause Commodore Alexander Gillon a great deal of persistent trouble. Quite possibly, Jackson's greatest contribution to his fledgling country would be his role as secretary of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He was also the 40th individual to sign the Constitution. He was born in Cumberland, England on March 9, 1759 but, was raised by family friends in North Carolina after he had been orphaned. At this point in his life and career, Major Jackson was a combat-experienced soldier, having fought in several engagements with the patriots in the South. He was captured at the fall of Charleston, SC in May 1780. Evidently, he was taken to imprisonment in England and was part of a prisoner exchange while he was there, being released to travel to France. There he came into the employ of Col. John Laurens, a very famous patriot fighter in the American Revolution and the son of Henry Laurens, the president of the Continental Congress. Laurens employed him as his secretary and had him begin to purchase goods and equipment to be sent back to Washington's troops in the colonies. He knew of the frigate South Carolina having come under the control of Commodore Alexander Gillon and began to load these supplies intended for Washington on board the frigate without regard the the necessary supplies needed to get the frigate to sea. Commodore Gillon opposed this and this seemed to be the genesis of their personal conflict.
(Note: Another source, the MHS Digital Editions, The Papers of John Adams, Volume 11 page 209, states that Jackson was raised in Charleston, SC after he had been orphaned. This same source states that he was indeed captured at the fall of Charleston, SC in May 1780 and exchanged later on in the same year. Then he accompanied Col. John Laurens to France as his personal secretary to aid in obtaining "...a loan and military supplies." Both the men reached Paris in mid-March 1781 and worked hard there to secure these supplies and loans. After Laurens' departure for the colonies in April 1781, Jackson "... remained behind to serve as Laurens' agent in the Netherlands to expedite the departure of the frigate South Carolina with a cargo of military supplies." It was when Jackson arrived in Amsterdam, Holland that he began to realize just how difficult his task was to be. These were complicated by efforts on the part of Commodore Gillon to outfit the frigate as well as misunderstandings and disagreements between Benjamin Franklin and John Laurens over exactly how much money was available to purchase supplies that the frigate South Carolina was to transport across the Atlantic Ocean. Shortly after his arrival in Amsterdam, Jackson met John Adams. Adams offered to assist Jackson in any way he could but, it was Jackson's probity that impressed the American statesman. In fact, Adams entrusted his son, Charles, to Jackson's care for the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to Massachusetts. The 11-year-old Charles was homesick and lonely after his older brother had departed for the Russian Court in St. Petersburg with Francis Dana in July 1781. Thus, John Adams was seeking to send him home. Thus, William Jackson became the trustee/guardian of the younger son of the future president of the United States. He died in Philadelphia, PA on December 17, 1828 at the age of 69 years old. He is buried in Christ Church burial ground in proximity to the grave of Benjamin Franklin.)
(Note: The following information comes from "Founders Online, National Archives, 'To Benjamin Franklin from Alexander Gillon, 14 October 1781'". According to this letter from Commodore Alexander Gillon, William Jackson was an officer in the 1st South Carolina Regiment of Foot and was thus on the Continental Establishment.)
Another of these "passengers" was a Colonel James Searle of New York. Indications are that he received an excellent early education. Around the age of 16 years, he moved from New York to the Madeira Islands and entered the trading firm of John Searle & Co. with his brother, John. He remained at the profession for the next 16 years. Between the years 1753 and 1759, he made many voyages to America, particularly to Philadelphia, PA. At some point in 1762, he married Ann (Nancy) Smith of Waterford, England. Searle relocated to Philadelphia, PA in 1765, acting as an agent for his older brother and engaging in his own business ventures, which caused him to accumulate great wealth. By one account, "University of Pennsylvania Archives, Penn Biographies, entry for James Searle", (no page number given), he lost this great wealth due to bad business decisions in his absence during the American Revolution.
From the outset of the American Revolution, Searle was an ardent patriot. Upon his return from England in 1775, he became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Pennsylvania militia and was later elected to the Continental Congress in 1778. As a congressman, he rapidly became known as a most outspoken advocate of the more radical factions of government. His wife, also came to be well-known for her patriotic leadership among the women of Philadelphia, PA. In 1780, he was selected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to travel to Europe as a special envoy to secure loans on the continent for the purchase of munitions and other war materials. On the continent though, he found it very difficult to procure funds for a state rather than for Congress. One, great obstacle he ran into was the person of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin disapproved of states seeking loans for their own state support. These would only act as handicaps or impediments to Congress receiving financial support from European sources. It was this last mentioned trip to Europe that brought him into contact with Commodore Alexander Gillon and the frigate South Carolina.
(Note: The source directly above this one states that James Searles was indeed a Lieutenant-Colonel "...of the Militia...")
(Note: James Searle died in Philadelphia, PA on August 7, 1797 and is interred in St. Peter's Church yard. He was a close friend of both Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.)
Possibly, the most famous American military officer to set foot on the deck of the frigate South Carolina was an individual who is not remembered for his contributions to the military efforts against the Crown of England. Nonetheless, he was a Colonel on the Continental Establishment of the State of Connecticut. He was John Trumbull, the painter. He was born in Lebanon, CT on June 6, 1756. He came from a distinguished background. His father, Jonathan Trumbull was the only Royal Governor who embraced the patriot cause during the American Revolution. His mother, Faith Robinson, was the descendant of a earlier pilgrim leader, John Robinson. John Trumbull was the first American painter who received a college education, graduating from Harvard in 1774 at the age of 16 years old.
At the commencement of hostilities with England, Trumbull marched to Boston, MA under the command of General Joseph Spencer as the Adjutant of the 1st Connecticut Regiment of Foot. He was stationed at Roxbury, MA and from this vantage point he witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill fought on June 17, 1775. This was the closest he would ever come to actual battle which he so often depicts in his famous paintings. Afterwards, he drew a plan of the enemy works before the rebel forces on Boston Neck and thus came to the attention of General George Washington. Shortly after this, according to General Order of July 27, 1775, he was promoted to aide-de-camp of Washington. Trumbull was appointed adjutant to General Horatio Gates when he assumed command of the Northern Department on June 1776. He went on to serve at Crown Point and Ticonderoga but, resigned his commission on February 22, 1777. Ostensibly, this was due to his commission as a Colonel being dated three months after his official appointment to that specific rank by General Gates. This would have effected his seniority within that rank meaning he could easily have been seen as an inferior rank to someone who had the same rank but, an earlier commissioning date.
From the spring of 1777 until 1779, Trumbull stayed in Boston, except for one brief episode where he functioned as the adjutant to General John Sullivan in Rhode Island. At this point, there is slight discrepancy as to what he did next. "TheAmericanRevolution.org" site for John Trumbull states that Trumbull was determined to go to England to study under Benjamin West, one of the leading painters in Europe. "The Journal of the American Revolution; January 28, 2013 issue" states that "...in 1780, after a failed business scheme in Paris involving the investment of American securities, Trumbull went to London to study under (Benjamin) West." Whether there was indeed "a failed business scheme" as an intermediary event or not, Trumbull reached London in July 1780 and began work under West immediately. While he was in London, Trumbull made no secret of his support of the rebel cause in the American Revolution. This turned certain people against him. According to the JotAR article, news from America arrived in London on November 20, 1780 and announced the hanging of Major John Andre for his role in the plot of Benedict Arnold to turn over the plans of the fortifications at West Point to the British. Arnold fled to a British warship in the Hudson River but, Andre was captured, tried as a spy, and summarily hung. This news engendered rage among American loyalists living in England and many of thes had either heard Trumbull's supporting exclamations of the rebels or had heard of his support for the rebels. John Trumbull was arrested immediately. The AR.org article states that this arrest took place on November 18, 1780 and was in retaliation for Andre's execution as a spy by the Americans. The JotAR article states that his arrest was motivated by a whole series of motives including suspicion, a desire for revenge, and that Trumbull had been in correspondence with Benjamin Franklin while Trumbull was in England. Trumbull was tried for treason against the Crown of England, a charge punishable by death. Against the accusations of spying, "...Trumbull testified that he had resigned from military service and was solely in London to pursue painting and art." Then, he delivered a veiled threat to the court saying "..I am entirely in your power; and, after the hint I have given you, treat me as you please, always remembering, that as I may be treated, so will your friends in America be treated by mine." The result of the trial was John Trumbull's imprisonment until June 1781. Benjamin West interceded for Trumbull, even appealing to the King himself. Ultimately, John Trumbull was released from prison on the condition that he leave the kingdom. Trumbull took ship for France, thus ending the European phase of his painting education.
(Note: While John Trumbull was studying under Benjamin West, he was in the company of two other American art students who were pursuing the same types of art studies - John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart. All three of these students of West would go on to make their names famous in the field of early American art.)
The most famous military figure to take passage on the frigate South Carolina as a "passenger" was Joshua Barney. The following information is gathered from an article entitled "Joshua Barney 1759-1818" and published on the site "Shipmodeling, net." He was born in Baltimore County, Maryland on July 6, 1759. He was influenced towards the sea when at the age of 10 years, he went to live with his older sister in Baltimore Town or Fell's Point, as it was known at the time. Her husband, was Thomas Drysdale, a ship's captain trading in the West Indies and Europe. In 1772, young Joshua Barney went to sea at the age of 12 1/2 years old. Beginning in October 1775, Barney served faithfully on board a whole array of ships - a Bermudan vessel named the Hornet which participated in the capture of New Providence, Bahamas in February 1776 where he served as Master's Mate and on board the new frigate Virginia where he was 1st Lieutenant and which on April 1, 1776, in an attempt to elude British naval ships at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, ran aground and was captured. Joshua Barney was only 16 years old at the time. This was Barney's first experience with wartime captivity but, would certainly not be his last. He was exchanged shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed and issued by the now-independent colonies. In August 1776, Barney was assigned to the sloop Sachem and for the next 2-3 years, commanded several armed merchant ships as privateers. But, in 1780, as 1st Lieutenant on board the privateer brig Saratoga, out of Baltimore Town, he would be captured again when the Saratoga struck her colors to the HMS Intrepid, a more heavily-gunned British Royal Navy ship. So, once again, at the age of 20 years old, Joshua Barney was an involuntary prisoner of the British. He was taken to England and spent nearly a year imprisoned at the Royal Navy base in Plymouth. At this point, he effected his escape for the prison where he was lodged. He evidently felt that the best place to hide form the pursuing authorities was "in plain sight". So, according to this source, he dressed as an English country gentleman and toured the western regions of England as well as London itself, where, if one account is to be believed, he saw the King of England pass in his coach. At an opportune time, he slipped across the English Channel to the Low Countries (Belgium and Holland). It was there, in an attempt to take passage across the Atlantic Ocean and reach his distant home, that he came into contact with the frigate South Carolina. According to tradition, he was in the company of a beautiful Italian woman who politely refused to disclose her name to Barney but, at the right moment, introduced him the the Emperor Joseph II of Austria who was travelling incognito through his domains, one of which was the Austrian Netherlands, the region of modern-day Belgium. This mysterious woman, who had traveled in the company of Barney for some time, swore Joshua Barney to secrecy due to the importance of her meeting with the Emperor of Austria in the Netherlands. Barney is reputed to have never seen her again after this meeting. This incident is related in the above mentioned article as well as in Louis Arthur Norton, PhD, Joshua Barney: Hero of the Revolution and War of 1812 , (US Naval Institute Press, 2001).
There is another episode involving Joshua Barney and his time on board the frigate South Carolina that bears mentioning at this point. This information come from Dr. Norton's work, Joshua Barney, mentioned above and concerns a severe storm being encountered by the frigate South Carolina soon after it left the Texel on August 4, 1781. According to this story, the crew was despairing of even being able to save the ship from destruction when Joshua Barney appeared on deck, took command of the ship, and guided her to safety. Dr. Lewis, in his work Neptune's Militia, points out the unlikely occurrence of this episode due to the fact that the ship was staffed with a ward room of very competent officers - many of whom had demonstrated their courage in battle. For a simple "passenger", albeit a naval officer himself, to seize command of the ship and guide her through the ordeal ahead of her is unlikely in the extreme. First, Joshua Barney would have realized that there was a functioning chain-of-command on board the frigate South Carolina and would have realized that he had no official role in the control of the ship. Second, there would have been other ship's officers on deck during the storm, and, if this had taken place, would have restrained Barney from taking control of the ship. Third, it is highly unlikely that the deckhands would have followed the orders of a strange officer over those of their own recognized officers. Finally, and this is the most convincing evidence for the event having never taken place at all - there is absolutely no mention of this episode in Joshua Barney's personal journal. If this episode had indeed occurred, then Barney would have almost certainly made direct mention of it in his diary.
(Note: These three episodes taken together seem to smack of "hero/idol worship" on the part of some third party towards Joshua Barney. The first episode, disguising oneself as an English country gentleman and remaining in England for eight weeks, even to the point where he traveled to London and viewed the King passing in his carriage sounds of foolhardy bravado. It would be more likely for an escaped Barney to have sought out passage out of England as soon as was humanly possible. The second episode, the mysterious and beautiful Italian woman, who is clearly implicated as a high-level spy, with all its implied gallantry and veiled romantic inclinations, seems to be fabricated by someone who wanted to connect Joshua Barney with a dying age of chivalry in order to elevate American military officers to the level of gallant gentlemen and courageous, hard fighters - knights of the 18th century, in the fullest sense of the term. The third episode, the frigate South Carolina and the furious storm, can be discarded simply due it not being mentioned in Barney's own journal. Again, all of these seem to be composed of a healthy dose of "hero worship" on the part of someone else wanting to elevate the status of Joshua Barney even further than it already was in early America.)
Joshua Barney was married twice in his life, widowed once, and reared ten children. He served with distinction during the War of 1812 and was captured for a third time. In his later life, at the age of 59 years old, he evidently decided to remove to Kentucky. He had been awarded a vast amount of land there as a result of his two war services to the United States and decided that he wanted to settle on these lands. In the fall 1818, he and his family traveled to Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh, PA) to take a flatboat down the Ohio River to Kentucky. The strain of the trip to Fort Pitt was too strenuous for the elderly Barney and he died in Pittsburgh, PA on December 1, 1818. He was originally interred in the Presbyterian Church graveyard in Pittsburgh, PA. In later years, the grave was relocated to a large cemetery park and an impressive grave marker erected over the site.
The remaining "passengers" whose names are recorded for history are evenly divided between three Americans and three Dutchmen. The three Dutchmen were all businessmen while the three Americans really seem to have no connection or association with one another. The first of these Americans is Henry Bromfield, Esquire of Boston. The following information is gathered from the "Jacksonsweb.org site, entry for Henry Bromfield". He was, for many years, a very prominent merchant in his native town of Boston, MA. After the British had evacuated the town, he and his family removed from there to a farm in Harvard, MA where he resided for 40 years, the last 35 of them as a widower. His grandson would say of him, "my grandfather was the best specimen of 'the old school' that I ever knew - refined and gentle in his affection - a perfect gentleman....I thank God that I have been permitted to see and know thee. It makes me think better of human nature." George Washington must have thought highly enough of him to call on him, in a letter dated June 24, 1776, to arrive at a "valuation" of the ordinance stores on board the captured ordnance ship Nancy, captured earlier by patriot forces. Bromfield completed the "valuation" on August 12, 1776 and wrote a letter in reply to Washington on August 13, 1776. In the summer 1781, when he embarked on board the frigate South Carolina, he had just founded the firm of Sigourney, Ingraham & Bromfield in Amsterdam, Holland. On September 17, 1749, he married the daughter of Thomas Fayerweather, Margaret Fayerweather and died at the age of 92 years old.
The second American is Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse. The following information is gathered from the Wikipedia entry for "Benjamin Waterhouse" and from 'Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics from the Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, entry for 'Benjamin Waterhouse'.' The citation for him in Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 35-36, simply states that he was "...later a famous professor of medicine at Yale..." But, his name should be remembered by all for it is to his credit that he was the first successful US practitioner of vaccination for smallpox, a deadly killer in the 18th century. Waterhouse was born on March 4, 1754 in Newport, RI. His parents were Timothy and Hannah Waterhouse. He was born into a Quaker family but, this religious belief never played a significant role in his later life. He began his medical training at the age of 16 years old when he apprenticed to a doctor in his hometown of Newport, RI. At 21 years of age, he left the colonies for Europe where he sought out and studied at several noted institutions - under Dr. John Fothergill in London, England; under William Cullen at the University of Edinburgh Medical School; and, finally, at Leiden University, where he matriculated on October 28, 1778 and received his medical degree on April 19, 1780. While he was in residence in Holland, he shared a room with John Adams, future president of the United States. He was among the first American colonists to receive an extensive medical education in Europe. When he returned to America in 1782, he was a member of a small medical elite in a country where there were few formally educated physicians.
In 1798, he became interested in the topic of vaccination for smallpox. He read the available published materials concerning vaccination and corresponded with colleagues in England, also. On July 4, 1800, he obtained a sample of cowpox matter and four days later, on July 8, 1800, vaccinated his children and servants. The test was successful and his children and servants tested immune to subsequent smallpox inoculations. Waterhouse had hoped to make vaccinations in the United States universal but, due to his insistence that it always be administered by a medically trained expert, he was perceived as attempting to set up a profit-making monopoly.
In 1788, he married Elizabeth Oliver with whom he had six children. She died in childbirth in 1815. In 1819, he married Louisa Lee but, no children resulted from this marriage.
He was given a commission in the US Army during the War of 1812 at a time when physicians were not accorded any rank. He simply held the position of "hospital surgeon" with this being upgraded to "post surgeon" in 1818. He was honorably discharged in 1821.
Benjamin Waterhouse had his portrait painted not once but, twice actually. The first sitting was in 1775 and was done by Gilbert Stuart. The second portrait was done by Rembrandt Peale in 1833.
Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse died at his home in Cambridge, MA on October 2, 1846 at the age of 92 years old. He was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery and his wife, Louisa, had a small monument erected in his honor.
Both of these sources are silent as to how he returned "...to the United States in 1782..." But, it is known that he was on board the frigate South Carolina when she left the Texel on August 4, 1781. If his return year is correct, then he must have made it to one of the other ports-of-call of the frigate South Carolina before leaving the ship - Corunna in Spain, Havana in Cuba, or all the way to Philadelphia, PA in May 1782. If he had disembarked from the ship in either Corunna or at Havana, then he would have boarded another ship for the final voyage home.
(Note: In Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution, the following citation occurs on page 969:
_______ Waterhouse - He served as a doctor aboard the frigate South Carolina. A.A.1880A.
Even though the first name is omitted, this is almost certainly a citation to Benjamin Waterhouse, initially of Newport, RI but, later of Cambridge, MA. It is interesting to note that he is cited as having been a doctor on board the frigate rather than just a "passenger" who had no duties at all. He must have placed his services at the disposal of Commodore Gillon for at least a period of time.)
The final American to be discussed here as a "passenger" on board the frigate South Carolina is William Brailsford. Dr. Lewis, in Neptune's Militia, page 36, cites him as being "...a prominent South Carolinian and nephew of a member of the Continental Congress." The other sources from which information was gathered for William Brailsford were "GlynnGen.com - Coastal Georgia Genealogy & History, entry for Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation, by Amy Hedrick, 2003-2012", "Geni.com, entry for William Brailsford (1753-1810) - Genealogy, last updated - May 23, 2014". William Brailsford was born on September 4, 1753 in England, the son of Samuel Brailsford and Elizabeth Holmes. The GlynnGen.com site states that he was "... born around 1760 and was raised mostly in England..." This same source states that Samuel Brailsford, the father, "...retained many of his Charleston business ties which may have brought William back to the Americas." At one point in time, after the death of Henry Laurens, William Brailsford purchased, either in whole or in part, the Broughton Island plantation owned by Laurens.
(Note: According to the "Wikipedia.com site, entry for Henry Laurens, last updated - November 28, 2014", Henry Laurens, the president of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution, "...died on December 8, 1792 at his estate, Mepkin. In his will, he stated he wished to be cremated, and his ashes be interred at his estate. It is reported that his was the first formal cremation in the United States." So, William Brailsford, who died on October 25, 1810, could have easily purchased Broughton Island in terms of his death date compared with the death date of Henry Laurens.)
In June 1786, William Brailsford married Maria Heyward who was "...born around 1769 and raised among the rice-planting aristocracy of South Carolina..." (GlynnGen.com, 2003-2012). He and his wife had five children with the last, Maria Eugenia Brailsford, being born in Charleston, SC. According to the above cited source, in 1803, Brailsford had moved most of the Heyward family slaves to Broughton Island to found a rice plantation there. He turned over management of the plantation to an overseer while he and his family moved to Charleston, SC to take up the life of an absentee landlord. The Hurricane of 1804 almost destroyed the Broughton Island plantation, killing over 70 slaves and devastating the plantation itself. This total destruction of this plantation, coupled with mismanagement by the overseer, led to Brailsford and his family having to abandon living the high-life in Charleston, SC and moving to the Broughton Island plantation itself. But, due to the remoteness of the island, the situation was considered unsafe and the family moved a short time later. In 1806, Brailsford eventually purchased one-third of the lower tract of "the Broadface tract" from the McIntosh family and rechristened it "Broadfield". According to the above cited article, "...it is rumored that this tract was so successful in producing rice that the "Broadfield rice" listed on the South Carolina market, acquired its name from the Brailsford fields."
Just over four years later, on October 25, 1810, William Brailsford died on his estate on St. Simon's Island, GA. This information comes from the Geni.com site while on the GlynnGen.com site states that he died on November 25, 1810.
There exists only one extant letter that was written by William Brailsford. Interestingly, it is written to Benjamin Franklin and speaks of the frigate South Carolina. It is dated "Amsterdam the 8th June 1781" and is a rather brief letter and I will replicate in its entirety here: " Agreeable to promise, I take the liberty of informing your Excellency, that the Crew of the South Carolina being happily compleated, and every difficulty removed, that we shall in the Course of a few Days be ready to put to Sea -- Should you have any Commands, I should esteem myself particularly favord, to be honor'd with them, when your Excellency may rely on their having the greatest Care shown then -- Please to direct for me to the care of Messr De Neufville & fils, and believe me with the truest Respect Sir Your most Obdt Hum Sert (signed) William Brailsford" The source for this letter is 'Founders Online, National Archives - "To Benjamin Franklin for William Brailsford, 8 June 1781" '. It is to be assumed that Brailsford gained passage on board the frigate South Carolina due to his acquaintance with John Laurens, who at this point in time, was in France, seeking support from various courts and significant individuals. The date of the letter as well as the statement contained within the letter to the effect that "...the Crew of the South Carolina being happily compleated, and every difficulty removed, that we shall in the course of a few Days be ready to put to Sea --" The singular event that was the genesis of this statement was that the date on which the letter was written was the same day that the tardy marines - the Legion of Luxembourg - showed up and came on board the frigate South Carolina. Clearly, this is the main reason for the frigate South Carolina having not set sail before now. Yet, it would take almost two full months before the frigate South Carolina set sail for the North Sea on August 4, 1781.
There is one more episode concerning William Brailsford that is directly connected with the frigate South Carolina. It is also an unusual one, like the only extant letter of Brailsford being related to the frigate also. It is unusual in that it concerned an individual who was connected to the frigate South Carolina and resulted in a challenge to a duel being issued by Brailsford to this individual. According to Dr. Lewis's book, Neptune's Militia, (page 189, note 1), it was Brailsford who issued the challenge and he was no stranger to duels but, the footnote does not say anything more on this topic or exactly what was meant by this statement. The challenged individual was the personal secretary of Don Juan Manuel de Cagigal. This challenged individual was Francisco de Miranda. These all transpired in an episode in the life of the frigate South Carolina that this blog writer has yet to touch upon - the participation of the frigate South Carolina in the Spanish invasion and capture of New Providence in the British-held Bahamas in early May 1782.
The challenge emanated from a supposed slight to Commodore Alexander Gillon, commanding officer on board the frigate South Carolina. Brailsford probably had the suspected slight reported to him by an unidentified third party and felt that Gillon's personal honor had been slighted. Thus, he issued the challenge to Francisco de Miranda after the later had fled to the United States to avoid arrest and imprisonment by the Spanish authorities. During his time in the United States, he traveled widely and eventually came through Charleston, SC. It was at this point that the challenge was issued by Brailsford. There is no evidence that the duel ever took place but, was resolved by other means, probably an explanation and clarification of true intent of the supposed utterance.
This leaves the three Dutch individuals who are recorded as being "passengers" on board the frigate South Carolina. The first of these Dutchmen to be addressed in this blog is Herman Le Roy. In Dr. Lewis's book, Neptune's Militia, (page 36), Le Roy is referred to as being "...a Dutch businessman and the first Dutch Consul in New York City..." Most of the information concerning Le Roy, and the other Dutchmen as well, come from letters exchanged between individuals on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Herman Le Roy is mentioned in a letter from Alexander Gillon to Benjamin Franklin, dated "Corunna the 14th October 1781" (Founders Online, National Archives - "To Benjamin Franklin from Alexander Gillon, 14 October 1781") as being on board the frigate South Carolina and going with Commodore Gillon. The implication here is that Le Roy is remaining on board the frigate and continuing across the ocean to the Americas whereas other "passengers" have left the ship in Corunna and sought out their own means of crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Van Hasselt is also mentioned as being on board the frigate South Carolina and continuing with Gillon. Le Roy is mentioned twice in letters that originated from two different sources one day apart from each other. The first letter (Founders Online, National Archive - "From John Adams to the Duc de La Vauguyon, 10 April 1782") states that "...Mr. Le Roy writes that the English have evacuated Charlestown." The very next day, April 11, 1782, a letter (Founders Online, National Archives - "To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Barclay, 11 April 1782") a note attached to the bottom of the letter states that "... Le Roy who was on board the South Carolina frigate, writes that he saw an English Fleet that had the Garrison of South Carolina on Board but Gillon do's not Mention any such Circumstance." Both of these sources point out that Herman Le Roy was incorrect concerning the British evacuation of Charleston, SC. A footnote attached to the second letter indicates that, "the Rockingham government planned to evacuate it but had not yet begun to assemble the shipping to do so." (Piers Mackesy, War for America, Bison Book Edition - University of Nebraska Press, 1993, p.475). But, a piece of factual information gathered here is that Herman Le Roy was still on board the frigate South Carolina when she reached the harbor of Havana, Cuba on January 12, 1782 as evidenced by the locations from where the letters emanated.
The next Dutchman to be addressed is Augustine Buyck (or Bicke). According to Dr. Lewis's book, Neptune's Militia, page 36, Augustine Buyck (or Bicke) was "...another Dutch entrepreneur whose firm had loaned money to Gillon..." There is not a lot of information concerning Buyck. But, it seems that he settled in South Carolina after the war and remained in contact with Commodore Gillon. This comes down to us by way of a curious story. In "The American Monthly Magazine", Vol. XXXIX, July-December, 1911, pages 21-22, there appears this partially accurate episode concerning the frigate South Carolina. It is listed under the "Queries" section, no. 2067 - "Buyck" and states that "...In Johnson's "Traditions of the Revolution" mention is made of Commodore Gillon, who ran the blockade from Rotterdam to Charleston, SC and up the Santee River to Fort Motte, with clothing for the American troops..." This information is mostly correct as far as this writer is concerned but, he has not heard of the incident of the journey up the Santee River carrying clothing destined for the American troops. The narrative continues though, "...With him came Peter Augustine Buyck, whose father sold him the clothing and took a mortgage on Com. Gillon's plantation in payment thereof. This P.A. Buyck married and settled in this same place, where his descendants now live..." According to the birth records, Peter Augustine Buyck was about 20 years old at this point in time. According to "Find a Grave Memorial.com - entry for Augustine Buyck (1761-1824)", he was born in Ghent, Belgium on August 28, 1761, though his birth date as well as his death date are in question. He may well have been sent along with Commodore Gillon and the frigate South Carolina when she set sail form the Texel on August 4, 1781 to keep an eye on their investment. But, the story goes on. According to "RootsWeb.com - World Connect Project, entry for Alexander Gillon", that "...Gillon died at 'Gillon's Retreat' in 1794 and was buried on the property. When he died, he still owed money from the losses he incurred during his term as Commodore of the South Carolina Navy. One of his creditor's sons obtained judgment and sold 'Gillon's Retreat'. The creditor's son, a Buyck from Amsterdam, bought into the property and the plantation remained in the hands of the Buycks for generations after." The "Find a Grave Memorial.com" article referenced above states that Augustine Buyck died on January 22, 1824 and was interred at "Gillon's Retreat" where he still rests today. The fact that Augustine Buyck is interred in the same burial ground as Alexander Gillon lends credence to the story of the father of Augustine Buyck acquired the plantation by means of a legal settlement regarding the mortgage in payment and that his son lived there for years after wards, being interred there after his death.
The last Dutchman to be addressed as a "passenger" on board the frigate South Carolina is W.H. van Hasselt. According to Dr. Lewis's book, Neptune's Militia, page 36, van Hasselt was a "...member of a prominent family from Gelderland, travelling to start silk-farming in the New World..." Evidently, his full name was Willem Henrik van Hasselt. Of the three Dutchmen who were on board the frigate South Carolina when she set sail from the Texel, the least information seems to have been recorded concerning van Hasselt. He is briefly mentioned in two letters. First, he is mentioned in the letter from Alexander Gillon to Benjamin Franklin dated October 14, 1781 as being on board the frigate South Carolina and going with Gillon. Here, only his last name is used and is spelled as "Van Hasselt" (Founders Online, National Archives, "To Benjamin Franklin from Alexander Gillon, 14 October 1781). Second, he is mentioned in the Diary of John Quincy Adams, Vol.1 (Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and Adams, ed. C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014). This is the young Adams entry for Monday, June 18, 1781 and simply states that "Mr. Van Hasseldt" was among the guests he dined with that evening at "Mr. Deneufville's". The name has an alternate spelling here but, that must have been the young Adam's attempt at the name because he also misspelled Mr. de Neufville's name. The writer of this blog has run across no other references to Willem Henrik van Hasselt. But, it is factual that he was on board the frigate South Carolina when she left the Texel in Holland on August 4, 1781.
Charles Adams, the young son of John Adams and younger brother of John Quincy Adams has already been mentioned earlier in the section dealing with Major William Jackson. When the frigate South Carolina set sail form the Texel on August 4, 1781, Charles was in the trusteeship of Jackson. Jackson had a falling out with Commodore Alexander Gillon and chose to leave the frigate South Carolina when she moored at Corunna, Spain in September 1781. Evidently, Jackson and others left the frigate South Carolina at this point in time and Jackson took the younger Adams with him due to the trusteeship that John Adams had placed in his person. Jackson, Colonel Trumbull, a Mr. Boardley, and the younger Adams all took ship for Bilboa, Spain where they boarded the Massachusetts privateer, Cicero, Captain Hugh Hill commanding, and reached the colonies by this means. (This information is all contained in the Founders Online, National Archives - "To Benjamin Franklin from Alexander Gillon, 14 October 1781").
(Note: This is the only mention we have of "Mr. Boardley". Alexander Gillon refers to him as "Mr. Boadely" (Source: Founders Online, National Archives - "To Benjamin Franklin from Alexander Gillon, 14 October 1781") and states that he left the frigate South Carolina with Major Jackson, Col. Trumbull and the young Charles Adams. There is a mention of a "Mr. Bordly" in the entry for Sunday, June 17, 1781 in the Diary of John Quincy Adams, Vol. I (Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and Adams , ed. C James Taylor, Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014) but, there is no absolute way of knowing if this is the same individual due to the alternate spellings of his name. There is good reason to believe that this is indeed the same person but, no definitive way of knowing for sure. Nothing more is said of him.)
The identity of the remaining "passengers" will most likely never be known for sure. There are eleven of them who we know their names and some of their histories, more or less. That leaves sixteen of these "passengers" who we do not even know their names. Dr. Lewis, in his work, Neptune's Militia, page 36, cites that several of the remaining individuals who were taking passage on the frigate South Carolina were merchant sea captains who had been captured, along with their ships at sea, and were being released from captivity in England to make their own way back to the colonies. Dr. Lewis indicates that these may have made up the bulk of the additional passengers who were on board the frigate South Carolina. Dr. Lewis states of these individuals that "...many of these passengers boarded at the last moment, enjoyed ready access to the Commodore, and carried their own ideas on how the South Carolina should best be used." Who the remaining "passengers" were is complete conjecture. They could have been other released captives also seeking to return to the colonies. They could have been Americans who were in Europe for one reason or another and had finished their business and wanted to return home. They may have been foreigners, Europeans or otherwise, wanting passage to America to transact business with the Americans or to emigrate there in order to settle. The reasons could be as numerous as the "passengers" themselves.