A "Thomas White", interestingly, appears on both lists. This may be two separate individuals of the same name from different locales or it may be the same individual being counted by both townships. Salem and Marblehead are very close in terms of distance - a few miles apart. Thomas White is mentioned in the "Pension Application of John Mayrant: S32390" as being one of the lieutenants aboard the South Carolina. While the South Carolina was moored in Philadelphia, Mayrant listed all of the Lieutenants who were serving aborad the frigate. Mayrant lists White as being the first LT, replacing Peter Ansiel (Anirel) who was "cashiered from the service" (dishonorably discharged) for the charge of carrying on a correspondence with Sir Joseph Yorke, the British Ambassador at the Hague. According to the Copy of the Original Index Book , page 385, at the end of the war, Thomas White filed a claim against the state of South Carolina and received a payment of 538GBP, 8s, 8d on May 29, 1783. Even though, he was from New England, and more specifically, Massachusetts, he had served in the state Navy of South Carolina and thus deserved to collect what was due to him from that state.
But, this writer has run across others who hailed from New England, especially from Massachusetts. It is understandable that Dr. Lewis would not have located these individuals. His focus in publishing his excellent book, Neptune's Militia , was to document the history of this fascinating ship. In his preface (page ix) to Neptune's Militia , Dr. Lewis states that this book grew out of his research for his earlier book, The Final Campaign of the American Revolution: The Rise and Fall of the Spanish Bahamas (The University of South Carolina Press, 1991). He actually lays blame for the second book on his computer in that he began to amass a lengthy roster of the officers and crew of the South Carolina in doing research on his first book. So, this searching for individuals who claimed birth in New England in their pension applications was not a focus of Dr. Lewis's excellent work on the South Carolina. But, this writer will attempt to locate some of these individuals through their pension applications and cite them as officers and crew members of the frigate South Carolina.
A name that does appear in Dr. Lewis's list of individuals from Marblehead, MA is that of Nicholas Bartlett, 2nd LT. His pension application, "The Pension Application of Nicholas Bartlett, S33986", is rather short but, packed with the information of his service to the United States. He states in the short third paragraph of his pension application that he was in Holland and entered into the naval service of the United States on June 6, 1780 as a lieutenant under Commodore Alexander Gillon aboard the frigate South Carolina. He also states that he "...was employed cruising against the Enemy until September 27, A.D. 1781 - was then honorably discharged." The South Carolina left the Texel (Holland) on August 25, 1781. It cruised off the coasts England, Ireland and Scotland looking for prizes to take until she put in at Corunna, Spain. He was discharged in Corunna on September 27, 1781 before the South Carolina began its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, bound for the New World. In his pension application, "The Pension Application of John Mayrant, S32390", 3rd LT Mayrant cites the lieutenants who served aboard the ship "...when the Frigate was at Philadelphia just before the capture...". He lists the 2nd LT as being Nathaniel Marston "...in place of Bartlett, who had resigned and left the ship at Corunna." This is another confirmation that Nicholas Bartlett not only left the South Carolina before she crossed the Atlantic but, that he had been the 2nd LT aboard her. He returned to the United States aboard another ship, possibly a Massachusetts privateer, Cicero, bound for a port in New England, probably Boston, MA.
The next name is one that does not appear on Dr. Lewis's list - Richard Briggs, Surgeon's Mate. Briggs had a very eventful and exciting life during the American Revolution. His pension application, "The Pension Application of Richard Briggs, W10458", states that as of September 11, 1832, he was a resident of Worthington, MA in the county of Hampshire. Further into his pension application, he states that he was born in Norton, MA in Bristol County in 1753. He also lived and studied in Braintree, MA before the war and Abingdon, MA after the war until 1807 when he moved to Worthington. I feel that it is safe to say that Richard Briggs was a native of Massachusetts and thus, a New Englander. In the second paragraph of his pension application, Briggs states that in October 1778 he "...sailed in a small privateer from Boston in Massachusetts..." While cruising off Rhode Island, the privateer was captured by a British 74-gun ship-of-the-line, HMS Culloden, Capt. Belfast, commanding. He and all his crew mates were carried to Milford Haven, England where they were kept in prison until the following spring 1779 when they were all transported to placed in Forton Prison where he remained for seven months. In Briggs's own words at this point, "I then made my escape and went to London from which I got passage to Ostend (Holland) from which place I went to Paris and got some small relief from Dr. Franklin and proceeded from thence to L'Orient." While in L'Orient, he was engaged "... as Surgeons first Mate on board the Frigate South Carolina belonging to the State of South Carolina." He states that the South Carolina was then at Amsterdam and he duly traveled there and "...joined the Ship on 28th of August (1780)". He states that the South Carolina lay in Amsterdam until the next summer (1781) "...when we proceeded to Corrunna (Corunna) in Spain and from thence to Teneriffe (Tenerife) and from thence homeward bound to Charleston, which finding in the hands of the enemy we stood for Havanna where we spent the winter." According to his account, the following spring, the South Carolina joined "...the expedition from Havanna against New Providence and took it..." After this successful expedition, the South Carolina convoyed 2-3 other vessels to Philadelphia where she moored early in June 1782 "...where I was discharged after nearly 26 months service." Richard Briggs was among those who chose to leave the South Carolina after it docked at Philadelphia. Most of the enlistments of those aboard had indeed expired and thus they frequently chose to debark from the ship.
When he left his service aboard the South Carolina, Richard Briggs was still a young man, being just short of 30 years of age. When he filed his pension application, he was 79 years old and left a rather poignant statement which I close with: "When I left the Service I had a Certificate of my service which is lost. I have made diligent search for living witnesses of my service but can find none. Nicholas Bartlett of Marblehead was first Lieut. in the ship. Jona Bartlett of Marblehead was Lieut. of Marines, Richard Pierce of Marblehead was Sail Maker (and Joseph Gridley of Boston was Purser and left the Ship at Havana). They are all dead. If anyone but myself exists I know not where." Later, on September 2, 1839, his wife, Huldah Briggs, filed for a widow's pension in Bond County, IL, stating that Richard Briggs, Surgeon's Mate on board the frigate South Carolina died in Worthington, MA on either April 10 or 11, 1835.
(Note: The following notation appears at the end of the pension application of Richard Briggs, "Veteran was pensioned at the rate of $480 per annum commencing March 4, 1831, for service as a Surgeon in the South Carolina Navy. His widow was pensioned in like amount." An earlier entry was made by James Bradford, son-in-law of Huldah Briggs and a resident of Greenville, IL. He states that he was appointed as administrator of the estate of Huldah Briggs, who died December 17, 1842.)
Another native of Massachusetts who served aboard the frigate South Carolina but, does not appear in Lewis's list of New Englanders in his book, Neptune's Militia, was Alexander Coffin of Nantucket. His pension application, "The Pension Application of Alexander Coffin, W8617", states that he was born in Nantucket on November 15, 1764. He begins the third paragraph of his pension application with this statement, "That he entered the Naval service of the U. States, or perhaps more properly, the Naval service of the State of South Carolina sometime in the month of February or March 1781, as a midshipman on board the Frigate South Carolina, carrying forty guns, & about Five hundred men under the command of Commodore Alexander Gillon, this applicant being at Amsterdam in Holland where the said Frigate was built, & owned and commissioned, as he understood & believes, by the State of South Carolina." If Coffin's dates are correct - his birth date and the date he was commissioned aboard the South Carolina - then he was about 6 months away from his 17th birthday when he became a midshipman aboard the South Carolina.
Next, he lists the names of the principal officers of the South Carolina who were serving "...at the time of his entering..." when he boarded the ship. He states that these men are "...to the best of his recollection & belief as follows, viz. Capt. John Joyner, Lieutenants Nicholas Bartlett of Marblehead and William Grinnell of Rhode Island, ____ White of Marblehead, Joshua Barney of Maryland, ____ Marston of Boston, John Morrant [sic, John Mayrant] of South Carolina, Sailing Master, Luke Mathewson of New York succeeded by Fitzgeral [sic, Fitzgerald] of Connecticut, Captains, as there were two, of Marines, MIchael Kellison and ____ Spenser both of South Carolina." Earlier, he had stated that he joined the ship's company while the vessel lay "... at Amsterdam in Holland". Thus, all of these men had either traveled with Gillon to Holland or had joined him later in Holland but, before the ship sailed in August 1781. His account of these officers sheds confirming light on several issues. The "____ White of Marblehead" is almost certainly Thomas White, the 1st LT who replaced Peter Ansiel (Anirel) who had been cashiered from the service. So, if this account is to be believed Thomas White was aboard the ship before it left the Texel in Holland and remained aboard until at least the ship docking in Philadelphia. The "____ Marston of Boston" is almost certainly Nathaniel Marston who had taken the spot of 2nd LT for the frigate, succeeding Nicholas Bartlett who had resigned and left the ship in Corunna, Spain. John Mayrant is again confirmed as being from South Carolina. The two captains of Marines mentioned by Coffin are both familiar already. The "Michael Kellison" is certainly Michael Kalteisen and the "____ Spenser" is most probably John Spencer, "...both of South Carolina".
Coffin then states "that the said Frigate being so commanded and officered as above mentioned after long waiting for an opportunity to put to sea & evade the British squadrons which were constantly cruising off the Texel; finally sailed from thence about the middle of September 1781..." Actually, the South Carolina departed the Texel on August 25, 1781 but, what Coffin then illustrates for the interested reader is what transpired while she was cruising in the Northern Atlantic. His first statement after the departure from the Texel is that the South Carolina "...took an English prize in the North Sea which not being worth sending in was burned, they then proceeded North about, cruised a short time off the west coast of Ireland, took the British Privateer Alexander of 16 guns & 70 or 80 men which they manned & ordered to a Port in France, meeting no more prizes they then shaped their course for, & arrived at, Corunna in Spain..." Coffin gives a very complete reference to the activities of the South Carolina after she left the Texel. Only one other reference has been so far located that speaks of the first, unnamed prize which was burned rather than being taken to a friendly port for condemnation and sale. He also mentions the second prize by name - the Alexander - and gives its number of guns and size of crew.
Coffin states that the South Carolina reached Corunna, Spain "...about the middle of October..." and put in "...for water, provisions and some necessary repairs, which detained them sometime,..." Dr. Lewis in Neptune's Militia points out that Commodore Gillon deliberately did not put into a French port because he was concerned about losing too many French sailors through desertion if he put into a French-speaking port. Thus, he would have consciously steered for another port away from France. Spain provided the next best choice. He then states that "...when ready they again put to sea, & off the coast of Portugal took a prize which was carried in company with the Frigate in Teneriffe (Tenerife) where she was sold;..." Next, he states that the South Carolina "... sailed the better part of November for the coast of America and arrived in January 1782 off the coast of South Carolina Charleston being then in the possession of the British forces." Coffin notes that as the South Carolina was heading for Charleston, she "...one night fell in with a British fleet of Transports, under convoy of a sloop of war or two, but through mismanagement or wrong calculation, suffered them to get, before daylight, between the Frigate & the Land, & before she could then overtake them, they crossed Charleston Bar & so escaped." This event is referred to by Dr. Lewis in his work, Neptune's Militia ,but, so far, no other pension application that this writer has run across has mentioned this specific escape of possible prizes from the South Carolina.
Coffin next states that "..the Stores & provisions of the Frigate being nearly exhausted, they next shaped their course for the Havana for a fresh supply, & give the ship some very necessary repairs..." In Neptune's Militia, Dr. Lewis does a very good job of illustrating why Gillon chose not to put into an American port and chose Havana instead. Both Charleston and Savannah were controlled by the British at this point in the war and thus hostile to patriot vessels and Philadelphia was too far away from the desired shipping channels where prizes abounded. Havana was a logical choice for two reasons. First, the Spanish were inveterate enemies of the British and would be very likely to assist a rebel vessel attacking British shipping. Secondly, Gillon had been to Havana on his first voyage across the Atlantic and had enjoyed a warm reception there. Thus, the South Carolina turned her course towards that port but, "...on their passage to that Port they fell in with and captured 5 large British Jamaica men laden with sugar coffee rum &c &c which were carried , in company with the Frigate, into Havana and they were sold by the Commodore for $100,000 or upwards, as this applicant understood..." Coffin says that the ship arrived in Havana in February 1782 and that the repairs to the South Carolina were so extensive and required so much time to complete that she "...was long detained..." He closes this active portion of his pension application with the statement that "...in the month of May as this applicant believes he obtained his discharge for the purpose of returning to his native country after so long an absence from it." Thus, unlike Richard Briggs, Alexander Coffin did not stay on board the South Carolina long enough to participate with her in the combined Anglo-Spanish seizure of New Providence from the British. The fact that his pension application is silent concerning this expedition is evidence enough that he did not take part in this action.
According to the next paragraph of his pension application, Coffin was in Charleston in 1791 and saw "...the Books of the said Frigate..." He states that "..he thinks & believes that he was attached to her in the capacity of Midshipman, as above stated, for the space of 14 or 15 months, but cannot positively state as he has no documentary evidence in his possession or within his reach to which he can refer." This is evidence that between the time he left the frigate South Carolina in May 1782 and when he "...personally appeared in open Court..." on April 20, 1833, he had lost whatever documentation he had for proving he was on board the South Carolina. He than goes on to say that has diligently sought for these documents from the state of South Carolina "...but has been informed in reply, that all such evidence relating to said Frigate and her employment during the period of his service on board her, has been lost or accidentally mislaid." Yet, Coffin was not to be deterred by the negligence or ineptitude of state governmental officials, so he turned to living persons who knew him during this time and were in some way associated with the South Carolina. He sought for and obtained an affidavit from one Herman LeRoy, Esq. "...who was a passenger from Holland on board the said Frigate during the time he continued attached to her & who also left her at Havana & who is acquainted with the employment of said Frigate during the period of the same, which said affidavit is to this declaration attached." A short ways below this statement, the affidavit of Herman LeRoy, Esq. does indeed appear stating that Alexander Coffin, Jr. "...was acting as a Midshipman on board the South Carolina Frigate in the years 1781 and 1782 as is stated in said applicant's declaration and this deponent further says that he was a passenger on board said frigate from Holland until he arrived at the Havana in the year 1782 and that the said applicant was then actively engaged on board the said frigate as such Midshipman..." LeRoy goes on to say that he believes the applicants statements to be true as to his service on board the frigate South Carolina. Coffin also sought out a more famous individual who likewise travelled on board the South Carolina as a passenger - Jonathan Trumbull, the 18th century painter. Trumbull states "...that he is well acquainted with Alexander Coffin Junior..." and "...that he knew him as a Midshipman on board the South Carolina Frigate in the year 1781 while this deponent was a passenger from Holland to Corunna in Spain in said Frigate and that from his knowledge of the said applicant he believes him to have served as he states in the preceding declaration..." Coffin even goes to the length of including the statements of individuals who knew him after the war and could make positive statements concerning his integrity and claims to have served in the navy during the war. One of these individuals is Gideon Lee, the Mayor of New York City in 1832, when Coffin filed his pension application.
(Note: As to "passengers" on board the frigate South Carolina during her maiden voyage, we know that several more existed than the two cited above. Even though the South Carolina was an impressive warship, and definitely carried her full compliment of officers, marines and sailors, she also provided a means of certain individuals getting back to the colonies during time of war. Some of these men were soldiers sent on official assignments to Europe and, having completed that assignment, sought to return home. Others, like Trumbull, came to the South Carolina through more "circuitous" routes. Trumbull had been studying art in England when the war broke out and he came under suspicion of spying for the rebels while he was in England. He was imprisoned, later released, and extradited to France where he became aware of the South Carolina at the Texel in Holland and her intended destination of home. Many of these passengers left the South Carolina at her first port-of-call, Corunna, Spain. Trumbull was among these who left at Corunna and evidently, made his way home on board a Massachusetts privateer, the Cicero. But, LeRoy continued on to Havana, Cuba, leaving the South Carolina there and taking another ship to home, instead.)
Towards the end of this document, there appears a widow's declaration that she, Mary Coffin of Springfield, IL, "...that she is the widow of Alexander Coffin Junior deceased, who was a pensioner of the United States..." She goes on to state that "...the said Alexander Coffin Junior died at the City of New York on or about the first day of February A.D. 1836." She closes her declaration by stating that she "...appoints irrevocably F.E. Hassler, of Washington, DC, her true and lawful attorney to prosecute and demand from the United States government any pension or money or land that she may have right to..."
The next New Englander that we run across who served aboard the frigate South Carolina is John Cushing, surgeon's mate, of Haverhill, MA. At the time of the filing of his pension application, "The Pension Application of John Cushing, S16356", on August 27, 1832, he was residing in Goffstown, NH, having removed to that locale from Haverhill, MA at an unspecified date. He later on in the application states that his place of residence was Goffstown at the time of his entrance into "...the service of the United States" which is given as being October 1775. He originally served aboard a Massachusetts privateer brig, the Washington, out of Beverly, MA and under the command of Elias Smith. Next, in November 1776, he served aboard the Massachusetts privateer schooner, the Warren, out of Salem, MA. His application states that "...after being out about 3 weeks was taken by the British ship Thomas Letter of Marque from Liverpool -- was carried into that place & kept a prisoner till May following when he was sent to Mill Prison and confined there 2 years & & months." He was then part of the prisoner exchange and was sent to St. Marlowe, France and later to L'Orient. While he was in L'Orient, "... he enlisted for 12 months in the service of the United States on Board the Ship Carolina (sic, South Carolina) from South Carolina, Commodore Alexander Gillon commander, John Joyner Capt., Nicholas Bartlett first Lieut." He then states that "...he enlisted in May or June A.D. 1780 as a surgeon's mate at $20 per month". He then traveled from L'Orient to Amsterdam "..and remained in the service of said ship 19 months & 21 days, and then left the ship on her return to America at Havana from where he returned to Salem and (on) a brig commanded by Capt. Waters".
(Note: John Cushing does indeed appear on Dr. Lewis's list of New Englanders from Salem, MA. Haverhill, MA, which is where John Cushing states he was born, is located in the same county as Salem and Marblehead, MA and is 27 miles to the northwest of Salem, MA)
Thus, John Cushing left the South Carolina at the same point as Alexander Coffin mentioned above. But, due to his station aboard the South Carolina as a surgeon's mate, he must have certainly known Richard Briggs, Surgeon's First Mate. Also, like Briggs he, too, had suffered earlier capture and imprisonment in England, though he and Briggs were incarcerated in different prisons. Towards the end of his brief pension application, he states that he has no record of his age yet, at the beginning of the application he lists his age as 82 years and just before the statement of not having any record of his age, he states that he was born on December 22, 1749. So, the writer thinks that the statement that "I have no record of my age..." may be an indication that he had no physical record to prove that he was born when he said or the he was indeed the age he stated. He goes on to state that "...I never received any discharge..." indicating that he probably never received a document directly stating that he was officially discharged from " ...the South Carolina sea service." All he has as proof of his claims is the simple statement "-- Am acquainted with Honorable Jesse Carr and Charles F. Gove." Attached to the pension application of John Cushing are the supporting affidavits of Jesse Carr and Charles F. Gove.
At the very end of this pension application, one finds the statement in brackets "On January 14, 1843, Mary Cushing, 71, widow of John Cushing, a pensioner at the rate of $393.33/annum, filed in Hillsborough County, NH for the arrears due her husband at the time of his death which occurred on June 22, 1834..." The application closes with the statement that John Cushing received the above stated amount "...for 19 months & 20 days service as a surgeon in the South Carolina sea service."
Another New Englander whose name does not appear in Dr. Lewis's list is Isaac Dade. He does not state where he was born, only that he was currently a resident of Gloucester, MA. His pension application, "The Pension Application of Isaac Dade, W19149", is very brief and devoid of much information contained in the applications of others. He states that he entered in January 1777 and "... was engaged in the land service of the United States on the continental establishment, and served accordingly from that time to the month of September in the same year (when having received a severe wound in the Battle Of Brandywine [11 Sep] I was obliged to retire from the army on furlough untill I should recover from my wound). Once he had recovered from the wound, he "...entered the Continental frigate South Carolina commanded by captain Gillane [sic: Commodore Alexander Gillon] & served in the same for six months". He concludes his application with the poignant statement "...and that by reason of my reduced circumstances in life and poverty, I stand in need of assistance from my country for support, being now of the age of seventy years I have no other evidence to offer than is here exhibited...' He ends with '...it is out of my power to produce any evidence of my service, other than the nature & circumstances of my case & the examination of my person may afford together with the Depositions of the Overseers of the poor of Gloucester which are hereunto annexed." What follows is a statement by one William Wetmore which was made on June 29, 1819. He begins by stating "... that the said Dade, the declarant hath been afflicted in such a manner, & to so great a degree with the palsy, that his understanding, memory & speech, have been for some time nearly obliterated lost & gone but the wound in his neck, from the scar, very apparent & must have been severe..." Wetmore describes Dade's enlistment and his wounding at Brandywine in September 1777. He then states that he had written to the Secretary of State of Virginia and received the following answer: "...that the s'd State had no roll or record of those who served at that period..." Wetmore closes his statement with "...these facts are submitted to the consideration of the Secretary with the hope that they may be satisfactory no further evidence, being to be had or procured."
William Wetmore must be one of the "....Overseers of the poor of Gloucester..." in that his affidavit is the only additional statement attached to Isaac Dade's pension application. Nothing more is said of Dade's service aboard the South Carolina other than the brief sentence stated above. If this is a true statement, then Dade must have served aboard the frigate before she set sail from the Texel and either completed his term of service before she set sail or been invalided out of further service due to his infirmities. He only states that he "...served in the same for six months."
At the very end of his pension application, there is a statement made by Fanny Dade on August 3, 1838, who was applying for a pension "...stating that she married Isaac Dade on 22 Dec,1787 and he died 4 Feb 1819..." She follows this with a "family record" that has been in her possession for 30 years. The first entry on this document is the birth date and place of Isaac Dade - May 10, 1756 at Boston.
All of the New Englanders that were crew members on board the South Carolina and that have been spoken about up to this point in this blog have been from Massachusetts. But, there are, at least, a few that hailed from somewhere else in New England. One, a Samuel Rice, hailed from Rhode Island. His pension application, "The Pension Application of Samuel Rice, S39833", is relatively brief and somewhat redundant in nature; two sworn statements by Samuel Rice and an affidavit by John Trevett who knew Samuel Rice. The text of these separate statements seems to indicate that Samuel Rice may have been born in "... East Greenwich, County of Kent, State of Rhode Island..." In Trevett's statement he says that when he entered the South Carolina, "...there I found Samuel Rice of East Greenwich in the County of Kent and the State of Rhode Island &c..." These are certainly accurate statements but, do not give a definite indication that Rice was actually born in East Greenwich or may have been in residence there at the beginning of the war. Dr. Lewis, in his work, Neptune's Militia, page 205, does list a sailor on board the South Carolina and named Samuel Rice as being from Salem, MA. Thus, the Samuel Rice who filed the pension application may be this same Samuel Rice or he could be someone else of the same name from a different locale. He could have easily been born outside of Rhode Island and immigrated there before the war began. It is impossible to ascertain this from his pension application.
Rice begins the recollections of his wartime activities by stating in the 3rd-person voice "...That on the 28th day of October A.D. 1780 he enlisted as a Seaman on board the Frigate South Carolina, then being at Amsterdam, under the command of Commodore Alexander Gillon -- And that he served as a Seaman on board said Frigate in cruising against the Common Enemy for the time aforesaid until the 26th day of February A.D. 1782, when the period of his enlistment having expired, he was honorably discharged by Commodore Gillon at Havana..." John Trevett, in support of the pension application of Samuel Rice, stated "...That I entered on board the South Carolina Frigate Alexander Gillon Esquire Commodore and John Joiner Esquire Captain, in March A.D. 1781, and when I entered on board the said Ship there I found Samuel Rice of East Greenwich in the County of Kent and State of Rhode Island &c and that the said Samuel Rice was on board the said Ship sometime before I entered on board and was discharged from the said Ship on or about the 28th day of February A.D. 1782 at the Havana in the Island of Cuba." The pension application of Samuel Rice corresponds with the information given in John Trevett's supporting statement except that there is a discrepancy of two days in the discharge date given in the two statements. Rice states that he was discharged on February 26, 1782 and Trevett states that Rice was discharged on or about February 28, 1782.
Towards the end of Rice's pension application there appears a statement that is unsigned but, one can suspect that it is Samuel Rice who is writing this portion of the application. This is an assumption because it is written in the same 3rd-person voice that the earlier entry signed by Samuel Rice is written in. It states "That on the 28th day of October A.D. 1780, he entered as a mariner on board the Frigate South Carolina, Alexander Gillon Esquire commander, and John Joiner Esquire Captain--then lying at Amsterdam: We sailed from Holland the 26th day of August A.D. 1781 on a cruise towards America. On the first day of January 1782, we fell in with 5 sale (sails) of English vessels: these ships and to (two) Briggs (brigs), which we took: and carried into Havana where on the 28th day of February 1782 I was discharged by Commodore Gillon." These two statements are interesting in that they appear to be written by Samuel Rice but, they relate some of the same experiences in different words and also, at least once. relate different experiences altogether. For instance, Rice refers to himself as having "..enlisted as a seaman on board the Frigate South Carolina,..." in the first statement and as having "...entered as a mariner on board the Frigate South Carolina,..." in the later statement. This is a slight discrepancy of minor importance. But, in the second instance of discrepancy, the differences are of a greater nature. In the first statement, Rice says that the express purpose of his enlistment was for "...cruising against the Common Enemy..." while in the second statement he indicates that the voyage was intended as "...a cruise towards America." The first one indicates a cruise to destroy or take British shipping which is what patriot ships of war were supposed to do while the second one implies that in taking this enemy shipping, they were headed homewards. The real, glaring discrepancy is the total lack of mention of any action while the ship is in route to Havana in the first statement and the brief, yet definite statement of the capture of "...5 sale (sails) of English vessels: these ships and to (two) Briggs (brigs), which we took and carried into Havana..." in the second statement. Since there were two separate statements made by Samuel Rice, it is possible that these two statements were at different times and that these times were separated enough chronologically that Rice then remembered an episode that took place that he previously had forgotten in the earlier statement. But, we do not know because the first statement is dated March 21, 1818 and the second statement is undated.
Samuel Rice's pension application included an item that this writer has seen before but, never in a pension application. Samuel Rice points out that the reason for his application is that "...by reason of his reduced circumstances in life is in need of the assistance of his Country for support..." Later in the application, he firmly states that "...I have not since that time by gift, sale or in any manner whatever disposed of my property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provision of an act of Congress..." These two statements by Rice are an attempt to prove beyond a doubt that he is poor and in need of financial assistance from the government of the country to live out his latter years in some kind of comfort. He goes so far as to include an inventory of all his worldly possessions to illustrate his need for financial assistance: "A Schedule of Property and Income (necessary clothing and bedding excepted) of Samuel Rice viz. -- 1 Desk 6 Chairs, 2 small maple tables, 2 iron pots & 1 spider, 1 ax, 6 plates, 1 platter, 1 tea kettle, 1 dish Campbell, 2 chests, 1 tin tea pot, & 1 coffee pot, 6 knives & forks, 6 iron spoons, 1 pair of hand irons shovel & tongs all old furniture, -- My occupation is that of a Seaman but by reason of my age, I have no longer the ability to pursue it, My family consists of myself and Wife who is unable to labor, she being infirm and sickly." It is clear from this inventory that Samuel Rice and his unnamed wife own little more than a few pieces of furniture and some very modest cooking utensils which he concludes by saying that they are "...all old furniture." Samuel Rice and all the others mentioned through out this blog fought for the independence of these colonies which, by their blood and sacrifice, became the United States of America. They were there at the creation of a new country and participated in that creation. Yet, many, many of them were reduced to request financial assistance from that country in the twilight years of their lives. This nothing short of tragic, in the opinion of this writer.