Lot 115: Continental Congress Currency JONATHAN TRUMBULL, JR Signed Contractor Store Note
Historic Autographs, Civil War Encased Postage Stamps, Colonial, Revolutionary War, Federal Era, Coins, Currency, Medals
December 10, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
1782 Historic Revolutionary War Contractor's Store At George Washington's Headquarters "BEARER" Script Note
JONATHAN TRUMBULL, JR. (1740 - 1809), General George Washington's Trusted Personal Secretary from 1781 until 1783, First Comptroller of the U.S. Treasury from 1778 until 1779, later Comptroller of New York military payments into 1781 for the Continental Army at New York, American Revolutionary War Officer as Major. From 1797 until his death in 1809, Jonathan Jr. was Connecticut's Governor.
January 1783 Revolutionary War Period. New-Windsor (New York). Twenty Shillings and Seven Pence. Wadsworth and Carter Contractor's Store. Private Merchant Note. Payable April 1, 1783. Signed, "Jno Trumbull" by Jonathan Trumbull. PASS-CO graded Extremely Fine-45. This extremely signed fiscal note is in excellent condition, being boldly Signed and completed in bold deep brown ink, and partially-printed in black text upon fresh, clean laid period paper.
The merchant firm of Wadsworth and Carter was the creation of Jeremiah Wadsworth and Colonel Carter. Carter was actually John Barker Church. They served as agents for the French Army during the Revolutionary War. Wadsworth and Carter (Firm) John Barker Church (1746-1818) and Jeremiah Wadsworth (1743-1804). Jeremiah Wadsworth served as the Commissary General of Purchases for both the State of Connecticut and later for George Washington's Continental Army. After leaving the Army himself, Wadsworth developed his partnership with Carter and provided stores to help supply the French Army in America for the Comte de Rochambeau's troops. It proved a lucrative partnership and business. Later, Jeremiah Wadsworth would become a leading stockholder in the formation of the Bank of North America and served for a year as the President of the Bank of New York. This exceedingly rare, JOSEPH TRUMBULL Signed privately issued "Bearer" Currency note is from that historic store. (See much more historical information in our Online Auction Catalog at: www.EarlyAmerican.com)
A year after the American victory over the British at Yorktown, Virginia, in October 1781, General George Washington moved a large part of his army to New Windsor for winter quarters or a "cantonment." Although the Siege of Yorktown had ended most hostilities the year before, the British still occupied New York City and other ports, and George Washington believed that there was still strong sentiment in Britain for restarting the war and taking the colonies back. Thus it was necessary to keep the army here, within striking distance of New York and next to the vital Hudson River, until all the British forces were withdrawn. On April 19, 1783, Washington issued a cease fire order, officially ending the war for the Army.
Here, some 7,000 troops, accompanied by about 500 women and children, built log huts for shelter, drilled and kept ready for a possible spring campaign, if peace negotiations in France where not successful. By late December 1782, they had erected nearly 600 log huts. High-ranking officers, including Major General Horatio Gates, the commandant of the Cantonment, and Major General Henry Knox, Artillery Commander, were quartered in nearby private homes. Commanding General George Washington made his Headquarters in the Jonathan Hasbrouck house (now Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site), just six miles away in Newburgh. Then Colonel Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. was on George Washington's personal staff as his aide when then French Army under Rochambeau needed supply on their march through Connecticut on to Newport, Rhode Island.
Although the army was better housed, fed and clothed than any other time in the war, life at the Cantonment was still difficult. Peace negotiations in Paris progressed very slowly and there was concern that Congress still had not resolved issues relating to the army's back pay, pensions, and land bounties. Rumors of mutiny rumbled through the ranks and threatened to ruin the cause of independence.
At the same time, the army's grievances over long-promised pensions, land bounties and back pay threatened to erupt in rebellion. Fortunately, army discipline prevailed. Following the news of a provisional peace treaty, Washington issued cease-fire orders, effective April 19, 1783, bringing the eight year war to an end. These were still uncertain times, however, as the "Newburgh Conspiracy," where Washington persuaded his officers not to march on the Continental Congress and demand back pay at gunpoint, would demonstrate. The army was peacefully furloughed home.
Today, this state historic site preserves 120 acres of the original 1,600-acre cantonment. In season, interpreters in period dress demonstrate military and camp life activities.Governor Trumbull's son Jonathan Jr. (1740 - 1809), after whom some believe Trumbull Connecticut was named, also had a very illustrious career as an early American statesman. He was the first Comptroller of the U.S. Treasury from 1778 until 1779. Trumbull was made Comptroller of New York military payments into 1781. He then worked as a personal secretary on President Washington's staff from 1781 until 1783.
A member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1789 until 1795, during which period from 1791 to 1793, he held the position of Speaker of the House. From 1795 until 1796, Jonathan Jr. represented Connecticut as a U.S. Senator.
From 1797 until his death in 1809, Jonathan Jr. was Connecticut's Governor, the same office that his father "Brother Jonathan" held from 1769 until 1784.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Research Library at Williamsburg, VA. Papers: Records 14 Wadsworth and Carter Receipts, 1782-1783. These bills and receipts of the firm of [Jeremiah] Wadsworth and [Col.] Carter [alias of John Barker Church], additionally acted as American Supply Agents for the French Army. Documents relate to circumstances surrounding the Battle of Yorktown, October 1781, primarily concerning the return of wagons and teams of horses. Other receipts cover shoeing horses, traveling, recruiting army drivers, food grains, straw, wood, salt and labor costs. Mentioned specifically are Count de Rochambeau, Marquis de Lafayette, and the "Duke's [Lauzun] Legion" in Hampton [Va.].
Jeremiah Wadsworth (1743-1804) was born on July 12, 1743 in Hartford, Connecticut. His father was the Reverend Daniel Wadsworth, a pastor with the First Church of Christ, and his mother was Abigail Talcott, daughter of Connecticut governor Joseph Talcott. As a young man, he worked for ten years on the ships of his uncle Matthew Talcott, beginning at the age of eighteen as a common sailor and eventually becoming a captain. He married Mehitable Russell in 1767 and had three children, Daniel, Harriet, and Catherine.
In April of 1775, Wadsworth was appointed Commissary to the American Revolutionary forces in Connecticut. He remained heavily involved with the American struggle for independence for the duration of the war. He became Deputy Commissary General of Purchases to the Continental Army in June of 1777 and rose to the rank of Commissary General in April of 1778. He served in this role until December of 1779, working to acquire all types of provisions for the Continental Army.
After resigning from the role of Commissary General, he became Commissary to the French Army and Navy serving in America as our military ally. He spent the remaining years of the war working to acquire supplies for the French forces and finally traveled to France at the conclusion of the war.
After the war, Wadsworth continued to be very involved in the politics of his young nation. He attended Connecticut's State Convention for the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788 and voted in favor of ratifying it. He was elected to Congress as a Federalist in 1787 and 1788, serving in 1788. In 1795 Wadsworth was elected to the Connecticut State Legislature and the Executive Council, and he continued to serve on the Executive Council until 1801.
After the Revolutionary war, Wadsworth was also involved in a wide variety of business interests, many of which were based in Hartford. He was one of the founders of the Bank of North America, and also the Hartford Bank. He was an executive with the Bank of New York and United States Bank.
He was involved with some of the earliest manufacturing and insurance partnerships in Hartford. Wadsworth also did business as a merchant, was active in the shipping industry, and acquired a great deal of land in the Eastern part of the United States. He died in Hartford on April 30, 1804.
See: Edward E. Curtis, "Wadsworth, Jeremiah," in Dictionary of American Biography, ed. Dumas Malone (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936), 309-310.
The New-York Historical Society holds description Correspondence, business and military accounts, and commissary records dating between 1776-1802, of Connecticut merchant and Commissary General of the Continental Army, Jeremiah Wadsworth. This Correspondence (bulk 1776-1785), includes letters addressed by Wadsworth to his wife, Mehitable Russell Wadsworth, and other members of the Wadsworth family; Peter Colt and John Jeffrey, merchants at Hartford, Connecticut; Assistant Purchasing Commissary, John Chaloner; M. Rondineau; Jonathan Trumbull; et al.
Financial records include account books, 1777-1782, containing records of the Hartford firm of Wadsworth & Carter, receipts and expenditures for a wide variety of goods and services, and currency exchange; as well as transactions with or for the Continental Army.
Their account book, dating from October of 1782 to January 1783, kept at Peekskill and New Windsor, New York records military expenses, including currency exchange.