Commager, Henry S. and Robert B. Morris, The Spirit of ' Seventy-Six, (Harper & Row, 1967).
Ervin, Sara Sullivan. South Carolinians in the Revolution: With Service Records and Miscellaneous Data, Also Abstracts of Wills, Laurens County (Ninety-Six District) 1775-1855, (Clearfield Co., Inc., 1949).
Founders Online. "To George Washington from Pierce Butler, 6 February 1793", (National Archive, last update: December 30, 2015).
Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina During the American Revolution, (The Kent State University Press, 1999).
Morison, Samuel Eliot. John Paul Jones: A Sailor's Biography, (Little, Brown and Company, 1959).
Moss, Bobby Gilmer. Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1983).
Naval History and Heritage Command. "John Mayrant - Lieutenant, South Carolina Navy (1762-1836)", (www.history.navy.mil., no updated information given).
Owen, Thomas M., compiler. Revolutionary Soldiers in Alabama: Being a List of Names, Compiled From Authentic Sources, of Soldiers of the American Revolution, Who Resided in the State of Alabama, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1975).
Ritch, Mary. "Lieutenant John Mayrant", (trees.ancestry.com., added between January 12, 2007 and April 9, 2007).
"Saratoga", John. "Find a Grave Memorial: Captain John Mayrant, 1762-1836", (findagrave.com., record added: September 9, 2013).
Walsh, John Evangelist. Night on Fire: The First Complete Account of John Paul Jones's Greatest Battle, (McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1978).
Webber, Mabel L., compiler. South Carolina Genealogies: Articles from The South Carolina Historical (and Genealogical) Magazine, Vol. III: Jenkins-Quattlebaum, entry for "The Mayrant Family", (The Reprint Company, Publishers, 1983).
Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390
The writer of this blog has already written a post specifically concerning Midshipman/Lieutenant John Mayrant and given a brief description of his life and duties during and after the American Revolution. This post is entitled "John Mayrant - A Midshipman/Lieutenant under Gillon" and is dated "10/15/2014". Lieutenant John Mayrant is also mentioned in the post entitled "Lieutenants on board the Frigate South Carolina" and dated "03/02/2015". In this later post, John Mayrant is only referred to as a lieutenant on board the frigate South Carolina among several other lieutenants who also warrant mention or reference. In the former post, this blog writer had yet to locate information of any real substance concerning the background, life, duties, and subsequent activities of John Mayrant, both during and after the American Revolution. The writer of this blog feels that enough information has surfaced concerning John Mayrant that another post dedicated to him should now be written. This writer will strive to not repeat, at length, any earlier written information just to avoid redundancy but, may find the need to "restate" some pieces of information in order to make the narrative flow more smoothly. But, certain "areas of interest" concerning John Mayrant will be specifically addressed in this post in order to provide a fuller picture of this gallant officer fighting in the patriot Cause of his country. These "areas of interest" are his services and wounding on board the frigate Bon Homme Richard during John Paul Jone's most famous sea engagement with the HMS Serapis, any subsequent services on board the frigate South Carolina, his marriage after the American Revolution, his removal to Alabama, and the circumstances of his burial plot being unidentified.
The post dated "10/15/2014" stated that John Mayrant's parents both died while he was yet young. In fact, they both died while he was quite young, indeed. According to Webber's article on "The Mayrant Family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 98, John Mayrant's father, John Mayrant, Esq., was born in January 1726 and died on May 26, 1767 when John Mayrant (subject of this post) was still only four years old. John Mayrant's mother, Ann Woodrup Mayrant, John Mayrant, Esq.'s second wife, predeceased him by only several months, dying on September 16, 1766, before John Mayrant even turned four years old. This referenced article cited above indicates that both parents of John Mayrant were buried in "Scotch Meeting Burial Ground".
(Note: Today, this cemetery is known as the First (Scots) Presbyterian Church Cemetery and is located in Charleston, SC. A search of the website, "Find a Grave Memorial" located both John Mayrant. Esq. and Ann Woodrup Mayrant as being interred in this cemetery. At the time of his death, "...after a tedious illness...", John Mayrant, Esq. was forty-one years old. His second wife, Ann Woodrup Mayrant, at the time of her death was twenty-seven years old. Their marraige would produce six children, only two of which would survive to adulthood - John Mayrant, born December 1762, and his younger brother, William Woodrup Mayrant. According to Webber's article on "The Mayrant Family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 99, his younger brother's birth date is not recorded but, he was baptized March 8, 1765. Baptisms usually took place several days after an infants birth, so in the case of William Woodrup Mayrant, he would have been around one and one-half years old at the time of his mother's death and just over two years old at the time of his father's death. Both Mayrant surviving children, John and William Woodrup, were indeed orphaned at a very young age.)
According to the pension application of John Mayrant, "Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390", "...after the death of his parents, he removed to Charleston where he was raised by his Aunt Mrs. Judith Pringle..." Corroboration is found in Webber's article on "The Mayrant Family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 99, "...with his brother William, he was brought up by his aunt Mrs. Judith Pringle." There is no indication in any of these documents exactly when the two infant boys came under the charge and care of their aunt, who, according to the pension application of John Mayrant as cited above, would be the mother of the future Attorney General of South Carolina, John Junius Pringle. According to his pension application, again as cited above, John Mayrant would remain in the care of his aunt until May 1778 at which point events of a much greater import would overtake a still-youthful John Mayrant and propel him into notoriety in South Carolina history.
Again, according to the pension application of John Mayrant, "Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390", "...that in the winter 1777-1778 the Legislature of South Carolina passed an act to raise a naval force, and appointed Alexander Gillon Commodore and three Port Captains William Robertson, John Joyner and John McQueen, who were directed to go to France and build or buy three Frigates and man and equip them. That Commodore Gillon was to command the whole with power to appoint his officers..." John Mayrant's pension application, as cited above, states "...that the deponent procured from Commodore Gillon the appointment of midshipman through the intervention of his friends Thomas Lynch, Elias Horry and William Bull Junior, the nephew of the Lieut. Governor Wm. Bull who took the side of the British when the Revolution broke out..." Webber's article on "The Mayrant family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 99, cites "...that he [John Mayrant] lived with his Aunt Judith Pringle in Charleston until May 23, 1778, when he was appointed midshipman of the South Carolina Navy, by Commodore Gillon..." Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 669, confirms the same information and the same date of John Mayrant's commission as a midshipman in the South Carolina Navy and also confirms that it was conferred on John Mayrant by Commodore Alexander Gillon. John Mayrant's great adventure was about to begin and he had not yet turned sixteen years of age.
According to Huger Smith's article,"Commodore Gillon and the Frigate South Carolina", page 194-195, "...Commodore Gillon sailed from Charles Town probably during August 1778..." This article cites that "...the State Brig Notre Dame commanded by William Hall, Esq., which lately carried Alexander Gillon, Esq., Commodore of the Navy of this State, with Captains Robertson and McQueen and several other officers to Havannah..." But, according to John Mayrant's pension application, "...in August following  the deponent sailed with Commodore Gillon for Havanna [sic: Havana] in the Sloop Tartar 14 Guns which had been purchased by the Commodore for the State..." Webber's article on "The Mayrant family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 99, corroborates this when she states that "...he [John Mayrant] was appointed midshipman of the South Carolina Navy, by Commodore Alexander Gillon, with whom he sailed August 1778 in the sloop Tartar to Havana..." Thus, there is some discrepancy as to which ship carried Commodore Gillon and his South Carolinian delegation to Havana, Cuba though, the reference to "...the State Brig Notre Dame..." is contained in the contemporary South Carolinian newspaper, Gazette, and is dated "October 14, 1778", well after the fact of the arrival of Commodore Gillon and his entourage in Havana, Cuba and may well be a misquotation of the proper ship's name.
Midshipman John Mayrant of the South Carolina Navy was one of the "...several other officers..." who traveled with Commodore Alexander Gillon to Havana, Cuba. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 15, "...Alexander Gillon headed the delegation. There were three captains, John Joyner, William Robertson, and John McQueen, obviously one for each of the anticipated frigates... There was also a cadre of lesser officers, midshipmen, and aides -- just how many is unclear, but Gillon mentioned an entourage of thirteen men shortly after arrival in Europe." In the footnote associated with this piece of information, cited in Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 177 note 13, it states that "...it is difficult at this juncture to be certain who these thirteen were. However, the following names are associated with Gillon early in France..." The name of "John Mayrant" is the second name cited in the list of thirteen names. The footnote goes on to state that "...the first eleven appear in the Commodore's Ledger during a stop in Havana..." Whether this was the initial stop in Havana in August 1778 or the later stop there from January 12, 1782 and April 21, 1782, after which the frigate South Carolina participated in the seizure of the British-held Bahamas Islands, is rather immaterial because John Mayrant would have been on board the frigate regardless of the time frame.
John Mayrant's arrival in Havana, Cuba is further confirmed by the sequence of events that took place following their arrival in that major Cuban port city. The pension application of John Mayrant states that "...at the Havanna they [Commodore Gillon and John Mayrant] separated; that deponent [John Mayrant] was sent with Capt. Robertson to France in the French letter of marque the Gustavus , and landed at Nantes. That Commodore Gillon went in a Spanish Packet to Spain, and came over land to Nantes..." This is supported by Webber's article on "The Mayrant family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 99, as well as Saratoga's article "Capt. John Mayrant" in "Find a Grave Memorial", page 2. The sole noteworthy difference is that in Webber's article, page 99, the French "letter of marque" [a privateer vessel] is referred to as the Gustave rather than as the Gustavus.
This situation set the stage for the first of the above mentioned "areas of interest" - that of the services and wounding of Midshipman John Mayrant on board the Continental Navy frigate Bon Homme Richard during John Paul Jones's famous fight with the HMS Serapis. After John Mayrant arrived in France, he, like so many others who intended to serve on board the frigate South Carolina, thought that their services would immediately commence on board this patriot ship-of-war. According to John Mayrant's pension application, this was not the case. Evidently, in order to secure French acceptance of the requests Commodore Gillon, a shipment of indigo had been sent to France as a negotiating factor. Due to the activities of British warships off the French coast, most of the shipments ended up in British hands with very little of it making its way to France. According to John Mayrant's pension application, "...that the Indigo shipped by the state of South Carolina to Commodore Gillon as remittance was for the most part captured, and he had to delay fitting out his force, until he could negotiate a loan in France..." In Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 19, it states that "sometime in the spring of 1779 Gillon made a quick trip to Holland, most likely to see his family in Rotterdam but also to do business. In June he was in Nantes, exploring possibilities along the French coast. In the fall he traveled to Berlin to solicit assistance in the Prussian capital. He even visited Sweden and Denmark to seek support there. By early 1780 he was back in Holland, his old homeland, where he sought financial and maritime backing. In the course of all his travel, Gillon lost most of his entourage from South Carolina. Some returned home, and a number signed on temporarily with other American sea captains working out of France (particularly [John Paul] Jones); only a few stuck with Gillon throughout his frantic and so far generally unsuccessful efforts. The Commodore certainly approved most of this desertion since he could not possibly pay for everyone's upkeep without ships to command." But, Midshipman John Mayrant was still with Commodore Alexander Gillon through all of these efforts on behalf of the state of South Carolina.
It makes one wonder at the effects of prolonged idleness from action that the next statement in John Mayrant's pension application would speak of possible imminent activity in the patriot Cause. According to the pension application, "...that at this time deponent learnt that Commodore [John] Paul Jones was at L'Orient (now Lorient; about six months beginning 4 Feb 1779) preparing an armament for sea, and that the deponent got permission of Commodore Gillon to seek service in his Squadron..." The pension application goes on to say that Midshipman John Mayrant was "..aided by a letter of introduction from Dr. [Benjamin] Franklin which Commodore Gillon procured for him he succeeded in his object..." Evidently, Midshipman John Mayrant was well received by John Paul Jones because Jones, according to the pension application of John Mayrant, "...appointed him midshipman & Aid..." This is attested to in both John Mayrant's pension application as well as in Webber's article on "The Mayrant family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 99, and, again, both sources attest to this having happened in June 1779.
According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 13, Continental Navy Captain John Paul Jones held a rather low opinion of South Carolina Navy Commodore Alexander Gillon, "...whom Jones once derisively dismissed as '...the red ribboned commodore..." Thus, it begs the question as to whether a mutual dislike developed between John Paul Jones and Alexander Gillon. All of the other sources examined are silent on Commodore Alexander Gillon's thoughts or feelings towards John Paul Jones, except possibly that contained in a letter from Alexander Gillon to Benjamin Franklin and dated 29 June 1779 -
"By Letters lately recd. from So. Carolina I am well acqd. with its Situation & therefore take the liberty to address your Excellency thereon requesting you will weigh how far America is Interested in that States success or misfortunes & that if the Object you have in view for the Continental Ships & Vessels of War in Europe is not superior to that of the relief of the Bleeding Inhabitants of So. Carolina & Georgia you will please to consider whether the Fleet I lately saw at L'orient might not immediately proceed to the relief of them States..."
The phrase contained in the text, "...the Fleet I lately saw at L'orient...", must surely refer to the combined Franco-American fleet gathering there under the overall command of Continental Navy Captain John Paul Jones. If by the date of this letter to Benjamin Franklin on June 29, 1779, John Paul Jones had already penned the "derisive" sentiments towards Commodore Gillon stated above, then there is the possibility that there might have been friction already between these two men who both sought after ships-of-war in Europe for the patriot Cause. It is feasible that Commodore Gillon was making the suggestion in the hope that Benjamin Franklin would operate on this thus, sending John Paul Jones away from the scene of action in Europe that had developed around the situation of Commodore Gillon's attempts to secure the frigate South Carolina. Thus, it is a distinct possibility that John Paul Jones would have readily welcomed a junior officer from his rival's entourage as a dissatisfied deserter from the efforts and cause of Alexander Gillon, "...the red ribboned commodore..."
The topic of the professional relationship between Continental Navy Captain John Paul Jones and Commodore of the South Carolina Navy Alexander Gillon, hopefully, will be addressed in a future post, being that this relationship must have bearing on the ultimate course of events that constituted the life of the frigate South Carolina serving in the patriot Cause. But, this post concerns Midshipman John Mayrant and, currently, his activities on board the Continental Navy frigate Bon Homme Richard, especially during the famous encounter with the HMS Serapis, just off of Flamborough Head, England on the night of September 23, 1779. There seems to be little mention of Midshipman John Mayrant until towards the end of the action. At this point, according to the account of Lieutenant Richard Dale of the frigate Bon Homme Richard as recorded in Commager and Morris's work, The Spirit of 'Seventy-Six, page 949, when he states that "...Midshipman Mayrant followed with a party of men and was immediately run through the thigh with a boarding pike by some of the enemy stationed in the waist [of the HMS Serapis], who were not informed of the surrender of their ship..." In his own words, according to his pension application, John Mayrant stated "...that in boarding the Serapis the deponent (who closely followed Lieut. Dale...) received a pike wound through his leg, and after the fight was over gave him great pain, and he was unable to put his foot to the ground for three months..." Other accounts differ on the actual location of the pike wound on Midshipman John Mayrant's leg. According to Saratoga's article, "Find a Grave Memorial - Capt. John Mayrant", page 3, "...that in boarding the Serapis the deponent...received a pike wound between the knee and ankle, which went entirely through and after the fight was over gave him great pain, and he was unable to put his foot to the ground for three months..." Webber's article on "The Mayrant Family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 99, states that "...during the battle with the Serapis while boarding that vessel, he received a pike wound between the knee and ankle, and was disabled for three months..." According to Walsh's work, Night on Fire, page 87-88, regardless of wherever he received the boarding pike wound to his leg, Midshipman John Mayrant had the singular distinction of being the last man wounded in the famous fight between the Continental Navy frigate Bon Homme Richard and the HMS Serapis. According to Morison's work, John Paul Jones: A Sailor's Biography, page 204, Captain Jones would later refer to Midshipman John Mayrant as "... a brave, steady officer....a young gentleman of fortune, whose conduct in the engagement did him great honor..."
According to John Mayrant's pension application, "The Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390", after the victorious fight between the frigate Bon Homme Richard and the HMS Serapis, "..the prizes were carried into the Texel [West Frisian Islands, The Netherlands], where soon after their arrival the deponent received orders from Commodore Gillon to join him at Amsterdam, where he was fitting out the Frigate South Carolina, which he had purchased. That the deponent joined him immediately (in October or November 1779) and Commodore Gillon was pleased to promote him to a Lieutenancy, and deponent was commissioned accordingly..." What follows in Lieutenant Mayrant's pension application is a rather brief description of the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to Philadelphia, PA. But, towards the end of this brief travel log, Lieutenant Mayrant speaks of having "...sailed thence to the West Indies captured five Jamaica ships in the Gulph & carried them to Havannah [12 January 1782]..." Lieutenant John Mayrant is mentioned none at all in the cross-Atlantic voyage of the frigate South Carolina until this specific adventure in which he certainly had a part to play.
This episode is described in Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 51-52, and takes place after the frigate South Carolina has quickly departed Charleston, SC harbor after discovering that the city was still in British hands and the British men-of-war moored in the harbor were quickly clearing for action at the approach of the patriot frigate. With few other options for resupply and re-victualing, Commodore Gillon set his course for Havana, Cuba. The following episode occurred as the frigate South Carolina was approaching Cuba by means of the Bahamas Channel:
"Early on the morning of January 7,  lookouts on the South Carolina sighted a small fleet of five ships nearby heading up the Bahama Channel. This was a convoy recently departed from Jamaica for Europe loaded with sugar and a wide variety of lumber, particularly mahogany and Campeche wood. Three of the ships sailed with letters of marque and were armed, while two were smaller, unarmed brigantines. Through surprise and intimidation Gillon coerced the closest four to heave to and be boarded. Had they all made a run for safety the Commodore could have caught only a few at best, but it had not been clear to the convoy that the frigate was an enemy. A British man-of-war on the prowl in this area would also have inspected the shipping coming through the Channel. Like most sea predators, the South Carolina carried a variety of banners, flags, pendants, and other deceptive signals to confuse her prey, and Gillon hoisted the appropriate British ones for this occasion.
The fifth ship, the marque Nelly, was at some distance and hesitated to follow the example of her companions. She did, however, ultimately heave to, and this gave Gillon the chance to send a jolly boat with Lt. John Mayrant and twenty-four marines in British uniforms to demand permission to board. The captain of the Nelly at first threatened to fire on the boarding party, but he waited too long to run for safety. Once the South Carolina closed the distance to the vacillating Jamaicaman, the alternative of flight disappeared due to the threat of a devastating broadside from the frigate's guns. The Commodore now enjoyed the same type of luck that he experienced before calling at Tenerife; to be able to enter a Spanish port with prizes in tow."
The topic of deception at sea in order to get close enough to the enemy to either deliver a broadside into them or to intimidate them into surrendering is the background for so many of the maritime stories of the American Revolution, not the least of which is Captain John Paul Jones's ruse to get close enough to the HMS Serapis to actually engage her in fair combat. Interestingly, Lieutenant John Mayrant's pension application makes no other mention of this episode in the life of the frigate South Carolina other than what is cited above. He leaves out the heroic portion of the story - that he with twenty-four Luxembourg or American marines disguised as British soldiers/marines placed themselves directly in harm's way and set out in a jolly boat to approach an enemy ship which had threatened to fire on them if the intended boarding party approached. Midshipman John Mayrant had steadfastly accompanied Commodore Alexander Gillon through all of his journeys and travels back and forth across Europe as he sought support for gaining control of the frigate L'Indien, later the frigate South Carolina. When in October/November 1779, Midshipman John Mayrant had returned to the frigate South Carolina, bearing in his physical body the scars and wounds of combat, Commodore Alexander Gillon must have realized that he had a brave and industrious officer under his command and thus promoted him to Lieutenant. Obviously, Commodore Gillon trusted the "steel nerves" of Lieutenant John Mayrant enough to let him attempt this final, either heroic or foolhardy, action, depending on how one views it. The writer of this blog is certain that Lieutenant John Mayrant must have performed other duties worthy of merit or recognition while he served on board the frigate South Carolina but, direct evidence of these services has not come to light yet in the research on John Mayrant and his time on board the frigate South Carolina.
But, Lieutenant John Mayrant did have at least one, last recorded duty to perform in his services on board the frigate South Carolina. This duty was executed at some point after the arrival of the frigate South Carolina in the "City of Brotherly Love" - Philadelphia, PA - on May 29, 1782. Commodore Alexander Gillon certainly and desperately needed a friendly port to resupply, repair and re-victual the frigate but, and just as importantly, he also needed friendly territory in order to recruit for the frigate. As he knew would happen when he reached Philadelphia, PA, Commodore Alexander Gillon braced himself for individuals, singularly or in groups, leaving the frigate South Carolina. In all of her ports of call between the Texel, Holland and the New World, there had been sailors or marines who had deserted the ship, "passengers" who had, for one reason or another, had decided to leave the frigate and find their own way home to America, or officers who had chosen to resign their commissions on board the frigate and simply leave the service of the state of South Carolina. The stop in Philadelphia, PA would prove little different. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, pages 85-86:
"...the first and most serious difficulty faced by Gillon and Joyner was to find a new crew and marine contingent. With the exception of the frigate's officers, nearly everyone who had shipped on the frigate in Europe had left upon arrival in Philadelphia. The entire Legion of Luxembourg [Voluntaires du Luxembourg] disappeared en masse, apparently determined to find its own way back to France. This exodus of legionnaires was a clear reflection of their lack of confidence in the Commodore's commitment to Article VIII of the contract obligating him to return the frigate to the French port of L'Orient. More than likely, the legionnaires retained their unit cohesion and attached themselves to one of the numerous French units still stationed in the colonies, for most apparently found a way home. At the same time, the seamen also left. Only a handful of men below the petty officer rank stayed aboard the South Carolina for her second voyage. Commodore obviously expected this loss of manpower - his crew had been at sea at least a year. He instructed the purser to settle accounts but not to pay full wages in currency to departing veterans. Those leaving ship received some money but mainly certificates redeemable by the South Carolina treasury at a later date. These certificates would later have a history of their own. The Commodore needed his precious cash to attract a new crew."
The remainder of page 86 and much of the following page 87 of Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, are taken up with the efforts of Commodore Alexander Gillon in recruiting crew and marines for the second cruise of the frigate South Carolina. But, referring back to one of the opening sentences of the previous passage, it stated that "...with the exception of the frigate's officers, nearly everyone who had shipped on the frigate in Europe had left upon arrival in Philadelphia..." Lieutenant John Mayrant was obviously one "...of the frigate's officers..." and he had decided to remain with Commodore Gillon on board the frigate South Carolina which, whether by design with the Commodore or by accident, strategically placed him for his final service on board the frigate. According to the pension application of John Mayrant, "Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390" it is stated:
"...that at this time it was expected daily that Charleston would be evacuated by the British, and Commodore Gillon sent deponent and Capt. Kalteisen [Michael Kalteissen] to Philapdelphia supplied with money to buy a carriage & horses and proceed to Charleston, and it evacuated [14 December 1782], to open a rendezvous for marines and seamen of whom he wanted about 100. That they reached Charleston soon after the evacuation.That shortly after their arrival they learnt that the Frigate South Carolina in attempting to get to sea had been captured by three British frigates. And the deponent states that his commission and papers and all that he owned were taken in her, and lost to him forever. That the deponent was then ordered by Commodore Gillon to remain in Charleston, and by his direction and that of Governor Guerard [Benjamin Guerard, Governor 4 Feb 1783 - 11 Feb 1785] to receive prisoners, make exchanges &c..."
Lieutenant John Mayrant's claims made in his pension application indicate that he and Michael Kalteissen, Captain of Marines on board the frigate South Carolina, traveled alone to Charleston, SC via a carriage purchased in Philadelphia, PA. But, there are other indications that Commodore Alexander Gillon traveled with them, intent on separating himself, both physically and financially, from the frigate South Carolina so that she might have another chance, however slim, of getting to sea and obtaining more prize vessels. According to Lewis's work Neptune's Militia, page 84, Commodore Gillon:
"...removed himself physically from Philadelphia and then from the South Carolina herself. At first, he evidently spent considerable time on the frigate and secondarily recruiting hands in the countryside. But by November 1782 he had officially turned over control of the frigate to Capt. John Joyner and headed south for Charleston in a coach purchased in Philadelphia. He intended to be in constant contact with the frigate but had no plans to resume active command. Should he indeed suffer the indignity of arrest, at least the frigate would be free to resume her voyages..."
In Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, the foot note associated with this passage, page 196 note 23, seems to clear this up with the recorded statement that "...the Commodore evidently traveled with two officers from the South Carolina, Lt. John Mayrant and Captain Micheal Kalteissen. He reached Charleston in time to chair a meeting of the German Friendly Society on 1 January 1783." There is no mention of having Commodore Alexander Gillon as one of his traveling companions on the journey from Philadelphia, PA to Charleston, SC in Lieutenant John Mayrant's pension application. Yet, the final sentence of the passage from the pension application cited above seems to imply that Commodore Gillon was geographically near enough to continue to issue orders to Lieutenant John Mayrant concerning his daily activities and routine. This still does not imply that Lieutenant John Mayrant and Commodore Alexander Gillon traveled together in the purchased carriage. But, if Commodore Alexander Gillon did know of the increasing scope and intensity of the legal and financial maelstrom that was developing around him and the frigate South Carolina while she lay at Philadelphia, PA, then he might have ordered two highly trusted, capable and devoted officers, Lieutenant John Mayrant and Captain Michael Kalteissen, with the task of securing the means for him the leave the "City of Brotherly Love" quickly and in an unobserved manner. Thus, it would make sense that the three high-ranking officers of the frigate South Carolina traveled together away from the frigate South Carolina, the ship they had come to know so well.
The information presented above completes this blog writer's efforts at relating the military services of initially Midshipman and subsequently Lieutenant John Mayrant, both on board the Continental Navy frigate Bon Homme Richard under the command of Captain John Paul Jones and on the South Carolina Navy frigate South Carolina under the command of Commodore Alexander Gillon. But, John Mayrant's life is composed of so much more than his military exploits during the American Revolution. The writer of this blog will now move on to certain of John Mayrant's post-war experiences, again, in the hope of illuminating his life a bit more for those of us who dwell in the 21st century.
After the events concerning the means by which John Mayrant was sent to Charleston, SC along with Captain of Marines Michael Kalteissen and, possibly, Commodore Alexander Gillon and according to John Mayrant's pension application:
"...he continued there [in Charleston, SC] under the orders of Commodore Gillon untill the peace in 1783, where by an act of the Legislature of South Carolina the naval force was discharged. That act which discharged them allowed the officers of the Frigate South Carolina a twelve months pay, which the deponent received, that is to say, he received an indent, which he was obliged to sell at what it would bring. It brought at the rate of Ten pounds for every hundred. That when discharged after the peace of 1783 the deponent was a commissioned 3rd Lieutenant of the Frigate South Carolina; that his regular pay as such was Twelve pounds sterling a month, exclusive of rations."
As he had been very active in the naval service of his state during the American Revolution, John Mayrant continued to serve his state in peace that followed. In the letter, "To George Washington from Pierce Butler, 6 February 1793", the text briefly states:
I yesterday received letters from the under named Gentlemen requesting me to mention them to You as Candidates for the Office, in the Customs at Charleston, lately occupied by Mr. Weyman. I have the honor to be, with great Respect sir, Your Most Obedient Servant
The names of the three likely candidates are cited at the bottom of this letter. The second citation is "John Mayrant formerly an Officer with Mr. Paul Jones." The foot note associated with this reference to John Mayrant indicates that "...he served in the South Carolina General Assembly 1788-1790 and the State Constitutional Convention in 1790..." Evidently, John Mayrant did not receive the position "...in the Customs at Charleston..." referred to in the letter cited above.
Later in the life of John Mayrant, former 3rd Lieutenant of the frigate South Carolina, these words would be recorded and duly noted at the very beginning of his pension application"
"On this Fourteenth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, personally appeared in open court before the Honorable Henry William Delaupan one the Chancellors of the said State in the Court of Equity now sitting Captain John Mayrant Senior a resident of the High Hills of Santee in the District of Sumter and State aforesaid, who will during this month attain the age of seventy years, and who being duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed 7 June 1832."
That John Mayrant's pension application was granted to him by law, we know because according to Ervin's work, South Carolinians in the Revolution, page 49, the following information appears and is listed here rather than in its original table form as found in this work:
Name - John Mayrant, senior
Rank - Lieutenant, Navy
Annual Allowance - $360.00
Sums Received - $1080.00
Description of Service - South Carolina Navy
When Placed on the Pension Roll - April 17, 1833
Commencement of Pension - April 17, 1833
Age - 72
According to Webber's article on "The Mayrant Family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 100, on November 19, 1783, the former 3rd Lieutenant of the frigate South Carolina, John Mayrant married Isabella Norvell. She was the daughter of James Norvell and Isabella Nelson Norvell of St. Mark's Parish in South Carolina. Isabella Norvell was born at some point in 1763. Together, she and John Mayrant would have three children - two sons, John and James Norvell, and a single daughter, Anna Isabella, who married but died childless in 1832. In reference to their children, in Webber's article on "The Mayrant Family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 101, there appears a rather curious and sad note at the very conclusion of the Mayrant family entry. It simply states, with total finality, that "...there were probably other children, but they were apparently all dead without issue by 1827." According to Webber's article on "The Mayrant Family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 100, Isabella Norvell Mayrant's place and date of death are given as "...near Statesburg, S. C. January 3, 1833, aged 70 years." She would predecease John Mayrant by about three and one half years. If the dates for the death of Isabella Norvell Mayrant as cited immediately above are indeed correct, then John Mayrant would submit his pension application on July 14, 1832, when his wife of almost fifty years had less than six months to live. That pension would be granted by law and would commence on April 17, 1833, almost three and one half months after her death.
(Note: At the end of the pension application of John Mayrant, there appears the following statement:
"...the file contains a power of attorney dated 17 October 1845 by J. Mayrant of Hinds County, MS to obtain any pension due his deceased father. Other documents in the file indicate that John Mayrant's wife [Isabella Norvell Mayrant] died between July 1832 and April 1833, that in 1836 he lived with son John in Alabama, and he died in Tennessee in August 1836..."
The paragraph immediately preceding the note cited here indicates that the "J. Mayrant" cited in the above note included in John Mayrant's pension application could be either John or James Norvell Mayrant but, the later passage of the note seems to indicate that it was probably John Mayrant rather than James Norvell Mayrant since further on in the note is cited the fact that "...in 1836 he [John Mayrant Senior] lived with son John in Alabama..." Also, this note indicates that there were surviving Mayrant children who did live beyond 1827. Thus, it must have been those "unnamed" children "...without issue..." who were dead by 1827 and not John Mayrant (the younger) or James Novell Mayrant. According to Webber's article on "The Mayrant Family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 102, John Mayrant (the younger) died in New Orleans on June 28, 1848 and is buried in Jackson, MS. In the same article, page 103, Dr. James Norvelle Mayrant died in Mississippi in November 1858. Thus, there were indeed offspring of John and Isabella Mayrant of South Carolina who survived to adulthood and had children of their own.)
At some undetermined time after the death of his wife, Isabella Norvell Mayrant, John Mayrant decided to move, for unknown or undisclosed reasons, to Alabama. John Mayrant had been receiving his pension from the government for a few years by now. He wanted to continue to receive that pension and thus transferred the pension from South Carolina to Alabama. According to Owen's work, Revolutionary Soldiers in Alabama, page 83, the following entry appears:
"John Mayrant - Lieutenant in the Navy, particular service not shown; annual allowance, $360; to be paid from September 1835; transferred from South Carolina.
--- Pension Book
State Branch Bank
This is undoubtedly the John Mayrant, former 3rd Lieutenant of the frigate South Carolina, who had resided after the war in South Carolina. John Mayrant's rank and branch of service are correct, the annual allowance matches up perfectly and the state from which the pension was transferred is South Carolina, the state of John Mayrant's residence. The statement indicating that the pension was "...to be paid from September 1835..." may indicate that John Mayrant removed to Alabama at some point before September 1835 but, most probably, not much prior to that date. Isabella Norvell Mayrant, his wife, had been deceased for about two and one half years. The concluding entry indicates that location of the actual information within the state of Alabama.
There is one piece of information that might cast light on John Mayrant's reason for removing to Alabama so late in his life. The note at the end of his pension application and referring to "...other documents contained in the file..." states "...that in 1836 he lived with [his] son John in Alabama,..." This may be the reason for his move - possibly he missed the company of his deceased wife and surviving family members and decided to move closer to, or even in with, one set of family members; that of his oldest son, who possibly may have already had power of attorney concerning John Mayrant's estate.
This brings the readership to the final issue of this post concerning the life of John Mayrant - the death and burial of John Mayrant - both of which are mysteries. The references to the final years of the life of John Mayrant and his subsequent death are varied. According to Webber's article on "The Mayrant Family" in South Carolina Genealogies, page 100, "...in 1836 he [John Mayrant] was living with his son John in Alalbama, he died in Tennessee in August 1836." The Naval History and Heritage Command's article on "John Mayrant", page 1, cites in its last sentence that "...late in life he [John Mayrant] moved to Alabama and then to Tennessee, where he died in August 1836." The Wikipedia article for "John Mayrant", page 1, simply states that "...he died in Tennnessee." The Ritch article on "Lieutenant John Mayrant", page 1, repeats the identical information cited in the Naval History and Heritage Command's article, again giving his death month as August 1836. Nothing is said concerning the manner of John Mayrant's death, whether or not it was attributed to natural causes, accident or some other unspecified cause. It is not even noted if he was under the care of a doctor at the time of his death.
The "Find a Grave Memorial - Capt. John Mayrant" article submitted by John "Saratoga" sheds a bit more light on the issue of John Mayrant's death but, it also appears to possibly be based on family legend/traditions. "Family lore" has always been held suspect by professional historians due to the obvious tendency of family members wanting to present their ancestor in the most heroic, moral, humane, or sympathetic light possible. But, the writer of this blog has felt that frequently the author's of family histories are discounted out-of-hand by professional historians when they actually have a great deal of insight and accurate genealogical information to contribute. All of that aside, the Saratoga article on "Capt. John Mayrant", page 1, states that John Mayrant's death took place on August 1, 1836 in Greene County, TN. He was interred in a grave the location of which is not known or recorded. The last page of this article, page 5, repeats the information: "burial: unknown; specifically: location of burial unknown." John "Saratoga"'s article was added to "Find a Grave Memorial" on September 9, 2013. But, on June 2, 2014, an entry was added by Tom Mayrant, third great-grandson of Lieutenant John Mayrant., concerning the death of John Mayrant in August 1836. This statement is included in the article in "Find a Grave Memorial - Capt. John Mayrant", page 1, and briefly states: "God's blessings for my GGG Grandfather, John Mayrant. Died in Tennessee while visiting a friend. Burial place unknown." If this information is indeed correct, then John Mayrant did not move to Tennessee, as cited in a few of the other articles concerning the later life of John Mayrant. He was only visiting "a friend" who lived there and more than likely would have returned to his home in Alabama at the conclusion of this visit. But, while there in Tennessee, something happened and John Mayrant died there rather than in his newly-adopted state of Alabama. Possibly, "the friend" of John Mayrant felt the need to inter his friend and respected figure of society and did so rather than wait for word from John Mayrant's family in Alabama as to how they wanted to dispose of the body. So, over time the location of the burial was forgotten or, possibly, never recorded to begin with. Since his death is recorded as having taken place in Greene County, TN, it is to be assumed that the interment of John Mayrant also took place in a cemetery in that same county or possibly a county adjacent to it.
It is sadly tragic in the mind of this blog writer that the final resting place of John Mayrant is unknown. Possibly, a gesture of respect and kindness on the part of an unidentified "friend" would lead to the grave of John Mayrant being lost to history and to a thankful nation. If anyone in history might have known of the actual location of the final resting place of John Mayrant it was possibly his son, "J. Mayrant of Hinds County, MS" who was acting with power of attorney and attempted "...to obtain any pension due his deceased father..." in 1845. Again, this was almost surely John Mayrant's oldest son, John Mayrant. Lieutenant John Mayrant's life and services, both during the American Revolution and afterwards, were heroic by any standards of any time. He served faithfully and selflessly in both the military when his country called on him to do so and also in the peacetime civil government to the same degree. Yet, for him to lie in an unidentified grave, possibly somewhere in Greene County, TN is a type of epitome of a life lived for others. No doubt, his direct descendants revere and honor his memory as should a truly free and grateful nation for which he struggled, shed his blood, and suffered to establish.