Apart from the Civil War soldiers on which we have little information here in Ireland there were of course men from Co.Derry who took part in the Revolutionary War. Again we have little information on them. However we have information on at least two of them and neither was a small bit player. One of the best documented is Colonel John Haslet from the townland of Straw near Dungiven. He was one of the better commanders in Washingtons Army. A friend of Caesar Rodney he was a real behind the scenes motivator for independence in Delaware. His life is worth looking at. One sees so many parallels with the mindset of Colonel Dennis O'Kane. Haslet was killed at the battle of Princeton and is buried at Dover Delaware. John Haslet was the son of a Presbyterian farmer and store keeper in the townland of Straw on the west bank of the river Roe about 2 miles north of Dungiven. He studied in Glasgow for the ministry. On qualifying he took up an appointment at Ballykelly close to Limavady. However his first wife died in childbirth. This fact compounded with problems with his congregation made him decide to emigrate to America. In America he joined what was then the British army of N. America and was involved in quite a few expeditions and confrontations in the French-Indian war. One of the main confrontations was the fall of Fort Duquesne. After his military service he went back to Delaware where he started to farm and later remarried. However he again got involved in war this time the War of Independence. He along with Caesar Rodney were main motivators for independence. Haslet was held in great esteem by George Washington. Haslet was initially buried in Philadelphia but in 1841 his remains were removed for burial in Dover Del. The Hibernia Society in Philadelphia at the time played a major part in the ceremonies. The image above is of his headstone at Dover Delaware.
Caesar Rodney who later signed the Declaration of Independence wrote on Jan 27th 1777 about the loss of Haslet and writing from Trenton New Jersey to William Killen afterwards chancellor of the State of Delaware and who took over Haslet’s affairs after his death wrote.
“You have heard, sad intelligence of your Mercer and Haslet. Slaine in the battle of Princeton.They fell but nobly fell tho butchered. And so long as the inhabitants of this American world shall continue to be free people so long at least will the name of Mercer and Haslet be held in honorable remembrance. Mercers character is excellent but in Haslet we know we lost a brave open honest sensible man one who loved his country more than his private interest”.
A view taken across Straw townland looking towards Benbradagh hill. The town of Dungiven to the right of the image at about two miles. The river Roe flows across the center of the image from right to left. This is the townland where the two Semple Civil War soldiers came from and also Colonel John Haslet commander of the Delaware Regt. in the War of Independence. To the right and just off the image is the townland of Camnish where John Mitchel the father of the three Mitchel Confederate soldiers in the Civial War was born. One son Capt John C. Mitchel was commander of Fort Sumter and killed there during the bombardment.
Colonel John Haslet commander of the Delaware Regt. killed at Princeton was initially buried in the grounds of the Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. This fact was very well known to his fellow countrymen in the city at the time just after the War of Independence. The Irish community in Philadelphia would react to their fellow countrymen as they would do in the Civil War era. The inhabitants of the city at the time would be primarily the Scots Irish still proud to call themselves Irish. There would be later conflict about this as the Famine and post famine Catholic Irish flooded into the city. There would be friction between the descendants of the Scots Irish and the Catholic Irish. As always in life the hero is quickly forgotten. By 1787 America was changing forever. The deeds of such men as John Haslet were quickly forgotten. His children all seemed to have suffered badly in the years after their father was acclaimed a hero in the War of Independence. Some 10 years after the death of John Haslet the estate that they lived on as a family was in a very poor condition. His children sent a petition to The General Assembly of Delaware about the situation.
“That your Petitioner’s s’d late father gave up a very sensitive and lucrative practice as a physician to take upon him the command of the 1st Reg’t raised by the Delaware state for the service of the United States soon after the commencement of the late war with Britain and fell on the 3rd of Jan’y 1777 in the Battle of Princeton and notwithstanding the happy success of the American arms in that battle the returning anniversary thereof has ever since that era forced and will continue to force from the eyes of such of your petitioners as were then and still are sensible of the loss of such a father involuntary tears and distain their cheeks with weeping and the subsequent reduction of the little property they became entitled to by his Will and Death from the deprecation of Congress paper money is not likely to console them or dry up their tears”.
Some 64 years after Haslet’s death at Princeton there seems to have been an awakening among the populace about one of their heros. A man perhaps who never did receive the accolade that he should have rightly received. Did the main motivation for such events as detailed below come from the Delaware people?. It is very likely. In this year John Haslet’s body was exhumed from its first resting place in Philadelphia where he had been buried after his death at Princeton. Here are some details of the ceremonies that took place when his remains were removed from Philadelphia to Dover Delaware his last resting place.
At a meeting on April 16th. 1841, the Hibernian Society in Philadlphia entered a note from Secretary Joseph Jones that he had been informed “of the intended removal by direction of the Leglislature of Delaware of the remains of Colonel John Haslet a distinguished Irishman and gallant soldier of the Revolution from their present resting place in the burial ground of the First Presbyterian Church in this city to the burial ground of the Presbyterian Church in Dover Delaware”. The Society expressed a desire to participate in those ceremonies. At the same meeting the Society considered plans to honor William Henry Harrison President of the U.S. who had recently died but decided “it is expedient for the Society to join in the procession Tuesday next (April 20th.) but it is respectfully recommended that such of the members as are attached to civil or military bodies shall show their respect to the late chief magistrate by parading on that day with the bodies to which they respectfully belong and that those in private life shall unite in the procession with the body of their fellow citizens of the same description”. At the meeting on June 17th. the Society “unamiously agreed to assemble on the 2nd. day of July next with the appropriate insignia of mourning to escort the (Haslet) remains to the place of embarcation for Delaware and that a deputation from the Society should proceed to Delaware to witness the reinterment on the following day”. The Society appointed David Boyd, Hugh Campbell, Alexander Diamond, James Harper and John Maguire. Boyd whose son David Jr. also was a member had been admitted to the Society in 1824. He was a native of Ballymoney County Antrim and a very successful tailor in Philadelphia. Campbell also was a native of Ireland. He was a dry goods merchant. He was a member of the Hibernian Society from 1834. Diamond was a distiller. He was a member since 1832. Harper was a native of ( 1779 ) of Glaskiel County Tyrone and emigrated with his parents in 1793 or 94. He became a brickmaker and was grandmaster of a Masonic Lodge and served two terms in Congress ( 1833 - 37 ). He had been a member since 1832. Maguire. The only relevant information in his biography lists him as a grocer who was admitted to membership in 1839. The Hibernian Society was the successor to the “Friendly Son’s of St.Patrick” organised in Philadelphia on March 17th. 1771. The Society membership was fading when the “Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants” was organised April 5th. 1790.
“The ceremonies announced to take place in this city yesterday ( July 1st. )
in relation to the remains of the gallant Colonel John Haslet who fell at
Princeton in 1777 were consummated in a formal and appropriate manner.
We are among those who regard demonstrations of this kind as calculated
to have the most beneficial tendency. The events of our struggle for national
liberty may be said to be fading away every hour into the dimness of
distance and thus as we journey on our pilgrimage through life new
objects, new interests, new feelings and new associations are apt to
engross the whole mind. It is well therefore occasionally to exhume
the body of some one of the brave spirits who fell during the trial times
of our early career and thus while pointing to the mouldering remains to
direct the mind and the memory of the present generation to the times
and events in which those remains when animated by life and warmed
by patriotism formed a feature in the struggle for national existence.
Therefore we say that scenes of this kind, well timed and determined
upon in connection with suitable objects are calculated for good. In this
view we regard the affairs of yesterday. The little state of Delaware has
done herself honour in her proper manifestations of feeling in relation to
one of the bravest of those who went from within her bosom carrying his
life in his hand and determined to peril all and if need be to sacrifice all
in an noble effort to sustain the rights of his adopted country. Philadelphia
also deserves a passing word of praise for the becoming manner in which
the remains were disinterred and placed in the hands of the appropriate
committee from Delaware.
The display throughout was highly credible, music, banners and general appearance as well of the military and the civic part of the procession becoming and appropriate.The body which has been exhumed on Thursday was placed in an elegant mahogany coffin and conveyed to the first Presbyterian church on Washington Square where the volunteers and various societies assembled at an early hour in the morning and formed a possession somewhat in the following order”
General Provost and Staff.
The various volunteers of the city and county of Philadelphia, the hilts of the swords of the officers mounted with crape, the drums muffled and in crape, the flags similarly marked, and the various bands of music, including the band from the Navy Yard playing solemn and appropriate airs.This part of the procession excited much attention was closed with Major General Patterson and staff.
A hearse drawn by four black horses each led by a groom in mourning.
Eight members of the Hibernian Society acting as pall bearers and wearing appropriate mourning badges. The coffin was covered with a United States flag, and also a flag borne on the battlefield where Colonel Haslet fell.
A plate on the coffin bore the following inscription.
The First City Troop on foot, also surrounded the hearse as a guard
The clergy in a barouche.
Judges of courts in a barouche.
The Committee of Superintendence appointed by the Leglislature of Delaware and the President of the Hibernian Society in a barouche.
The Judges of the district courts of the U.S. and other distinguished individuals. Officers of the Army and Navy of the United States.
The Hibernian Society wearing green badges and headed by marshals, the natives of Delaware residing in Philadelphia, headed by marshalls the citizens of Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Colonel Thomas Robinson acting as Chief Marshall and Mr. Hickman and assistants.
The escort proceeded along the route designated through several of the principal streets of the city and as they passed minute guns were fired, the bells which had been muffled were tolled and thousands of citizens crowded to the windows and sidewalks. On arrival at the Arch Street wharf Alderman John Binns, who had been specially selected for the purpose by the Hibernian Society, delivered the following address to the Delaware Committee.
“We are assembled to pay the homage of our high consideration to the memory of one who in the darkest days of our perilous struggles took up arms in the defense of Independence one who bravely fought and gloriously died. While we are thus doing honour to ourselves and bending over the remains of a hero of the Revolution deputations from constituted authorities and masses of our fellow citizens are taking to “the house of appointed for all living” the body of one who was most dear to us a hero of two wars one who had but recently been chosen Chief Magistrate of these United States William Henry Harrison. The gratitude of republics has been a theme on which the enemies of self government have delighted to expatiate. We deny that republics are ungrateful. ”I belonged to the Army of the Revolution” has been a passport to honours and emoluments in every state of our proud Republic. We therefore are especially warranted in branding the stigma as a base libel. The page of history is darkly crimsoned with the deeds of Caesars, of Cromwells and of Napoleon, of men whose horses hoofs were red with the blood of their too grateful countrymen. Countless are the names of those who exhalted by the gratitude of their countrymen have trodden down the liberties of Republics while the whole human family has given birth but one pure one peerless patriot, one Washington that glorious patriot who commanded when Haslet fell and who even in the hour of victory watered with his tears the corpse of the gallant soldier. To do honor to these remains we are here surrounded with all “the pride pomp and circumstance of war” officers of the Army and of the Navy and volunteers prompt to do homage to their departed fellow soldier and equally prompt to emulate his example. Soldiers elevate on a high your Eagles give to the breeze your stars and stripes and if your country calls bear your “star spangled banner” to the battle field where it was born and upheld by Haslet and if you cannot bear it victorious as he did die nobly in its defense. The deceased Colonel John Haslet was a native of Ireland, a gentleman of talents who had received a liberal education and was by profession a physician. An association of his countrymen the Hibernian society are among those now gathered round his remains clods of the valley which once were animated by a daring and patriotic spirit as ever gave life to the image of his Creator. That Society have appointed me to discharge the duty I am now performing and which would indeed be but indifferently performed if I did not take occasion to say that the members of this Society their countrymen and all Irishmen are proud on proper occasions to make known that their Montgomerys, their Haslets and their Irvines best blood of Ireland has been freely shed to serve the good cause of “The Land of the Free and the House of the Brave”. The state of Delaware the near and much respected sister of Pennsylvania had adopted John Haslet. Before the Declaration of Independence he raised and mustered a regiment at Dover at the head of which a few days after the Declaration as it’s commanding officer he marched to Head Quarters and placed it under the orders of Washington. The people of Delaware had marked the ardent patriotism the fearless courage the devotion to the public zeal which characterised every act of Colonel Haslet and they selected him to take command of as brave a regiment as ever fought for Independence. He proved all together worthy of their confidence, he led her sons where honour and fame were to be achieved he set them a glorious example and at the battle of Princeton poured his life’s blood. The State of Delaware having enrolled the name of Haslet with her Reids and her Rodneys will no longer permit his remains to be entombed in another state even though that state be Pennsylvania. The constituted authorities of Delaware on the 22nd. day of February last made arrangements to take all that remains of her heroic son to her own bosom to deposit his relics in their own soil and raise over them a monument to her own glory to cherish the rembrance of his virtues and to stimulate others to great and glorious deeds. To you gentlemen who on this interesting occasion represented the state of Delaware are about to be surrendered the precious relics of one of the many distinguished sons your Legislature have wisely determined to take them home and to bury them deep in the soil which has been cultivated and in defense of which he nobly died. To you gentlemen they are now committed, deposit and reverence them and teach your children to reverence them as the remains of him who was patriotic, great and good thus shall you and they be an honor to your country”.
He was replied to by Mr. Huffington a distinguished member of the bar of Delaware and in a manner at once eloquent and touching. He gave a brief history of the Delaware Regiment of the Revolutionary war and alluded particularly to the character and career of Colonel Haslet its commander whose headquarters were at Dover. He was described as the father of the regiment for though his efforts and persuasion a body of more than 800 noble Delawareans rallied for the cause of American liberty.Their condition at the time was very deplorable as related to the clothing, provisions and all the munitions of war. This fact was so generally known that it was believed throughout the state it would be impossible for them to appear in a condition to march. The designated day arrived however and the whole number assembled, but even then strong doubts were expressed and it was thought impossible for men so clad to move forward in anything like military spirit. It was then that Colonel Haslet made one of the most powerful appeals ever heard on any similar occasion. He told them that he had neither gold or power to offer but he promised them eternal fame and the glorious consolation of an approving conscience and inward consciousness that they were struggling in the best and noblest of causes.The effect was electrical. Every man responded and the whole body marched forward animated by the deepest devotion to country. History tells the rest of that sad but glorious narrative. They took part in between twenty and thirty battles and skirmishes. After the battle of Camden in 1780 but fifty survived. These wandered home in struggling groups many of them wounded and the whole when assembled together forming a melancholy wreck indeed of the gallant little army that had gone out from their homes with stout hearts and resolve worth of the best days of chivalry. The bravery of Colonel John Haslett at the battle of Princeton was alluded to by Mr. Huffington in glowing and impassioned terms. He fell while charging the enemy and never did a more sympathetic tear course of the cheeks of Genius of Liberty than when bending over the last resting place of the hero and the martyr. The remains were then placed in the hands of the Delaware Committee and accompanied by a committee of the Hibernian Society were soon afterwards borne onward to the State of Delaware. The escort returned and thus the solemnities in Philadelphia were brought to a close.
The Dover ceremony was reported in the Pennsylvania Inquirer on July 9th. 1841:
“The Leglislature of Delaware at its last session finding the State free from pecuniary obligation of any kind resolved to pay an old debt of gratitude and honor to one of her sons who went abroad at her command and laid down his life in her service. In pursuance of this resolution the bones of Col. John Haslet which for sixty years had rested amongst strangers were on Saturday last brought home and deposited among his kindred and friends. John Haslet was the first Colonel of the old Delaware Blues. He was one of the choice spirits of the Revolution, one of the immortal band of heroes who in the special providence of God were made for that occasion to release their country from oppression, to light a beacon of fire for freedom for all the world and set the example of successful government enjoying degrees of liberty before then unknown among men. By his exertions and influence mainly the Delaware Regiment was raised and mustered at Dover in 1776. If there be anything connected with the history of that celebrated and suffering corps to arouse the pride of Delawareans for heroic actions or stimulate for services rendered the honor and the debt are chiefly due to the brave officers who organised and disciplined these troops and under whose head they fought. Haslet was not long among them but he lived long enough to train this devoted band for action to teach them how to fight and set them the example how bravely to die. Col. Haslet marched with his regiment early in 1776. He participated in the battles of Long Island, White Plains and Trenton and fell at the battle of Princeton 3rd. January 1777 shot through the head with a rifle ball. He became one of the first distinguished martyrs of the Revolution. His corpse with that of Col. Mercer who fell on the same day was carried to Philadelphia and exposed to public gaze to kindle the fire of patriotism in the breasts of the people.To those who believe in a special Providence ( and what America can fail to recognise an almighty hand in the events of the Revolution! ) it would seem that the early martydom of Haslet and Mercer was an appointed means for providing means for producing a great end and it is quite possible that Col. Haslet in his death served the cause of his country more effectually than if he had not fallen. Even his lifeless corpse was made to do the State service until corruption and the worm claimed their own when it was quietly laid away among strangers with scarcely a mark to designate its resting place.
But it was not possible for the state of Delaware to leave her hero thus unmarked and unhonored. At the first lull of the storm when the tempest of Revolution had swept by and the glorious sunshine of peace had appeared bringing with it the fruits of freedom she thought out the grave of her Haslet in the burial ground of The First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia and laid over it a marble on which was inscribed:
More than half a century has since passed by. The old “Buttonwood Church” has disappeared and its site covered with warehouses and stores has become the very centre of business. The demands of trade and commerce clamour loudly for the room occupied by the silent dead who unresistingly yield to the will of the living.The old graveyard is to be broken up. Those whose mortal remains there deposited have the claims of kindred or friendship to watch over them are being hurried off to Laurel Hill or other retired homes for the dead lest they should be removed by the hands of the stranger and thrown into a promiscuous grave. But the State of Delaware could not leave it to filial piety or private friendship to save Haslet’s bones from dishonour. Her legislature in fulfillment of the desire of the citizens “to cherish and preserve the memory of those of her brave and patriotic sons who died gallantly fighting under the banner of Washington in defense of the liberties of their country” direct a committee of their body to bring home the remains of Haslet and erect over them “a suitable monument with appropriate inscriptions and devices”. In pursuance of this resolution Messrs, Huffington, Wright and Du Pont proceeded to Philadelphia on Thursday last on their melancholy errand. They were promptly met and aided in the object of their mission by the civil authorities of Philadelphia, by the military, by many public and private associations, committees and citizens generally. The memory of Haslet was regarded as the property of the nation to be honored by ever American citizen and while they yielded his remains to the demands of the state which claimed him as her adopted son they resolved to give them up with such honors as might be paid to a brave man who had fought the battles and died in the service of the nation. The military of the city turned out in full strength at the call of Major General Patterson who politely tendered to the committee his services on the occasion. The Hibernian society learning that Col. Haslet was a native of the Emerald Isle claimed as right to be permitted to direct and to supply the splendid and expensive obsequies at least until the remains would be delivered to the Committee beyond the bounds of the city. A great number of native Delwareans, residents of Philadelphia assembled to do honor to the dead and express their attachment to their native State and these were joined by a numerous company of Peninsular friends connected with us by a thousand ties but whose strongest bond of union on this occasion was the ancient union of the Maryland and Delaware Regiments. When to all these were added the countless thousands of citizens and strangers who joined in the process the escort which voluntarily accompanied the remains to the city lines presented an array of pomp and pageantry and splendour seldom equalled on any such occasion. The coffin was placed on a splendid rosewood car drawn by four black horses led by grooms in black and white sashes. It was of mahogany covered with black cloth silver ornaments and satin lining. The procession moved from the First Presbyterian church on Washington Square to the sound of mournful music, the tolling of the bells and the roar of the artillery and passed by the way of Sixth Street, Walnut, Thirteenth and Arch streets to the wharf where a staging had been erected. From there an appropriate address was made on the part of the Hibernian society by Alderman Binns and handsomely responded to by Mr. Huffington on behalf of the Delaware Committee. The remains were then placed on board the steamboat Kent in the car furnished for the occasion and were delivered to the Delaware Committee. They were accompanied to Dover by the Philadelphia Greys - Capt. Cadwalader, the Washington Greys - Lieut. Fox all under the command of Captain Cadwalader, by a fine band of music connected with those companies, a deputation from the Hibernian society, a deputation from the native Delawareans and their Peninsular friends resident in Philadelphia and were joined by deputations from New Castle and Kent counties at several points on the river until they reached Duck Creek where they were met by about 100 citizens of Smyrna and forwarded in carriages provided for the occasion. In the mean time arrangements were made at Dover for a reception of the body and its escort. A meeting of citizens assembled on Wednesday evening ( June 30th ) in the State House Judge Harrington in the chair and Dr. Ridgely Secretary at which the following gentlemen were appointed as committee of reception and charged on their behalf with the general arrangement of the ceremonies. Joseph P. Comegys, Dr. H. Ridgely, Charles Kimmey, Sen John R. McFee, A. M. Ridgley, ex Governor Comegys, George P. Fisher, Henry H. Lockwood, C. H. Sipple, John McBates, William Wilkinson, John H. Osborne, Henry Todd, H. B. Benson, N. B. S Smithers, Purueal Loland, James F. Allee, James Douglas, John P. Manlove, R. O. Pennewill, William H. Cooper and James W. Waples.The committee met the procession on horseback and by the clear moonlight of a pleasant summer evening the whole cavalcade slowly entered the capital and marched round the town to the solemn sound of music and the tolling of the State House bell. It was a most impressive scene. The body being deposited in the Court Room which female taste had appropriately hung in mourning. Mr. Comegys chairman of the Committee of Reception welcomed the strangers to Dover by a handsome address to the committee of native Delwareans and Marylanders, to the deputation from the Hibernian Society and the military respectively. He was appropriately answered by Mr. McCurdy on behalf of the Hibernians, by Mr. Martin for the Peninsular deputation and by Capt. Cadwalader for the military. Sentinels were posted for the night and the honored soldier who for sixtyfour years had slept alone again reposed under a soldiers guard. On Saturday morning at sunrise the National flag was displayed from the capitol as a signal for commencing the ceremonies of the day. By this time the people were pouring in from every part of the county and state and the neighbouring states and they continued to come until they filled the public square.The coffin was opened and the great crowd filed by gazing in silent reverence on the bones of the mighty dead. Several old men were there who had personally known the gallant Colonel when he went out to battle and they wept to see all that remained of the gallant Colonel Haslet. Many were there who had heard their fathers speak of the tall athletic and handsome officer they beheld now only heap of dust and ashes. His grandchildren were there overwhelmed by this expression of a nation’s gratitude, the lessons of patriotism and humility. At the appointed hour the whole assembly rose and lifted their hearts to God in grateful acknowledgement of the deliverance which through such instruments as Col. Haslet he had wrought out for their country. Prayer was made by the Rev. President Gilbert of Newark College after which succeeded eloquent addresses from him and from the Hon. John M. Clayton. We made no attempt to give even substance of these or any of the speeches as they will be published in a more permanent form with a more detailed account of the ceremonies. It must be said however now that they were all worthy of the occasion and of the men who made them.Those who listened to the simple and touching accounts of the sacrifices made by Col. Haslet for his country’s sake, how he left wife and children and friends as dear to him as ours are to us, not only to peril but to lay down his life in her cause or who heard the thrilling detail of the services and suffering of his brave compatriots in arms will ever forget the power of eloquence addressed to feeling and grateful hearts. The final procession was now formed in the following order under the direction of the chief marshall Dr. Henry Ridgely and the first and several assistant marshalls, Henry H. Lockwood Esq. and Col. William H. Cooper. Nothing could have been more admirable considering the great crowd they had to manage than the order in which this procession as formed and marched.
In this order the procession moved slowly round the public square and entirely through the town and proceeded to the Presbyterian church where near to the grave of Major Patton the second in command when Haslet fell the remains were deposIted with military honours in their final resting place under a neat monument provided by the legislative committee. The monument is of marble seven feet high on a base of Brandywine granite. The old slab which was placed over the grave in 1783 formed one of the sides and on it the inscription.
The coffin being deposited in the tomb three volleys of blank cartridges were fired over the grave the military and the company dispersed without a single accident of untoward occurrence. The military by platoons marched out of town on their return home followed by the good wishes and thanks of a thousand Delawareans. As they passed the resident of Judge Harrison the Governor and Staff appeared upon the porch and paid their parting respects which were returned by a salute. As citizens of Delaware we are proud of this whole Proceeding. The nation is honoured in this splendid recognition of the claims of a patriot soldier on his country’s gratitude, the state had honoured herself in the payment of a just debt to one who fell in her service, the Hibernians have done honor to the country of their origin as well as that of their adoption by the active and liberal part they have taken in these ceremonies, the native citizens of Delaware resident abroad have honored their fatherland and themselves. Above all the military of Philadelphia and especially the Philadelphia and Washington Greys have honored their profession by paying at so great a sacrifice of time and trouble due honors to the dead. To these last together with the Hibernian Society of Philadelphia the committee ascribe in a great degree the distinguished success with which they have executed the orders of the leglislature while they extend to all who have aided in the ceremonies their warmest acknowledgement and thanks. At a meeting of the committee of Reception and Arrangement held at Dover on Monday the 5th. of July the following resolutions were adopted: Resolved: “That John R. McFee, George P. Fisher and W. H. Cooper be appointed a committee to tender the thanks of the citizens of Dover to the Hibernian Society the Committee of Native Delawareans and Marylanders, the Philadelphia Greys, Capt. Cadwalader and the Washington Greys, Lieut. Fox for the honor conferred by their attendance on the occasion.” Resolved : “That the handsome band of music attending the military ( and which is understood to be connected with these companies and embraced within the above resolution of thanks ) contributed greatly to the solemnity and splendour of the funeral ceremonies.” Resolved: “That the Hon. S. M. Harrington be respectfully required to prepare for publication and cause to be published in pamphlet form a detailed account of the proceedings connected with the disinterment removal and re-interment of the remains of Col. John Haslet”. Resolved: “That H. H. Lockwood, J. R. McFee and Dr. H. Ridgely be a committee to proceed from the respective speakers both of Philadelphia and Delaware copies of the addresses delivered by them on the above occasion to place them in the hands of Judge Harrington for the purpose of publication and to take such other measures in relation to this matter as to them may seem right and proper”. The members of the Delaware group living in Philadelphia included John Hemphill, Henry R. Rodney, Daniel B. Cummins, Henry D. Gilpin, John Connell, Benjamin W. Tingley, Ambrose White, George Handy, Richard Dale, Benjamin H. Springer, Isaac G. Colesbury, Colonel Thomas Robinson, Dr. G. Emerson, Solomon Townsend, William Reynolds, Dr. Thomas R. Buckle, Alexander Peterson, James Barrett, Jacob W. Main, John White, George McCalmont, French Buttell. They met June 22nd 1841 at the Merchant’s Exchange to make their plans. Hemphill chaired the meeting. They also described to ask Marylanders living in the city as well as residents of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to participitate in the ceremonies. A committee of 13, Springer, Colesbury, Robinson, Emerson, Townsend, Reynolds, Brickle, Peterson, Barrett, Main, White, McCalmont and Battell was appointed to accompany the remains to Delaware. This was reported in the journal of June 29th.
Haslet ran successful recruitment campaigns and was
back to the same source or place to recruit the port
of Philadelphia in particular.
In 1759 he recruited 50 soldiers, 32 of them Irishmen, many from
Donegal and Derry. His two sergeants, two corporals and drummer
were Irishmen. This was an regiment whose ethos was Presbyterian
Irish. This year the period of recruitment was much shorter than then
In late April 1759 and the start of May 1759 the enlistment list looked
James Mehatten Derry Ireland aged 27. Labourer. Enlisted April 27th. 1758.
John Guthry Down Ireland aged 19. Weaver. Enlisted May 19th. 1758.
Alexander Mehatten Derry Ireland aged 22. Enlisted April 27th. Labourer.
William Graham Derry Ireland aged 23. Enlisted May 3rd. Labourer.
It is likely that the Mehattens were brothers.
Mark Hazlem Derry Ireland aged 24. Labourer.
April 27th. April 1758.
William Harkins Sussex England aged 27. Labourer.
William Hotkins Sussex England aged 27. Labourer.
Patrick McAllister Donegal aged 26 Ireland. Labourer.
April 28th. 1758. Henry Funniman Jersey aged 28. Labourer.
April 29th. 1758.
John Laverty Antrim aged 25. Labourer.
Felix MeKeown Cavan Ireland aged 23. Labourer.
April 30th. 1758.
Henry Harder Holland aged 24. Labourer.
Hugh Hart Ireland aged 29. Labourer.
James Mulherran Derry Ireland aged 27. Schoolmaster.
John Sprout Down Ireland aged 24. Labourer.
May 1st. 1758.
Samuel Beatty Tyrone Ireland aged 16. Labourer.
William Foster Cavan Ireland aged 15. Labourer.
Bryan Havlin ( Haviland ) Derry Ireland aged 25. Labourer.
James Hawkins Tyrone Ireland aged 22. Labourer.
Hugh Paisley Donegal Ireland aged 27. Labourer.
John Rishady Down Ireland aged 18. Labourer.
May 2nd. 1758.
James Barrett Antrim Ireland aged 36. Labourer.
George Ottaway England aged 24. Labourer.
William Scott Monaghan Ireland aged 30. Labourer.
May 3rd. 1758.
John Aiken Penna. aged 16. Weaver.
John Buchanan Lancaster Penna. Labourer.
John McClavran Scotland aged 25. Labourer.
Joseph Stubbs England aged 21. Labourer.
Thomas Jenkins England aged 35. Labourer.
May 4th. 1758.
James McGonigle Derry Ireland aged 23. Labourer.
John Nugent Derry Ireland aged 35. Labourer.
May 5th. 1758.
Thomas Blair Antrim Ireland aged 26. Labourer.
Cornelius Dougherty Donegal Ireland aged aged 20. Labourer.
Archibald McIntire Ayr Scotland aged 20. Labourer.
James Morrison Penna. aged 17. Tailor.
Michael Morrison Penna. aged 19. Tailor.
William Thompson Down Ireland aged 23. Labourer.
John Weir Antrim.aged 18. Weaver.
May 6th. 1758.
William Bedan Derry Ireland aged 25. Labourer.
Alexander McAllister Donegal Ireland aged 24. Labourer.
Robert McCleary Penna aged 18. Tailor.
Patrick Millekin Down Ireland aged 29. Labourer.
May 7th. 1758.
David Lavel Newcastle aged 15. Labourer.
James McGown Glasgow Scotland aged 24. Labourer.
May 8th. 1758.
William Buchanan Lancaster Penna. aged 18. Labourer.
William Buchanan Donegal Ireland aged 25. Labourer.
James Holmes Antrim Ireland aged 30. Cooper.
May 10th 1758.
William Aiken Antrim Ireland aged 24. Labourer.
May 11th. 1758.
John Hugons Cecil Md. aged 25. Weaver.
Brooks White Donegal Ireland aged 22.
On the 225th anniversary of Haslets anniversary a new memorial monument was unveiled to Haslet at Battle Monument Park Princeton New Jersey on Dec. 30th 2001 the 225th anniversary of the battle of Princeton. Though not an anniversary ceremony as splendid as the ceremonies held at Philadelphia and Dover in July 1841 it nevertheless signalled up the interest still latent in the America people who are interested in their history and how their nation was formed. Still a very young nation as it’s modern history is after breaking away from Britain in the 18th century. Among those who attended the short ceremony were: Major General Frank Vavala Adj. General of the Delaware National Guard. Russell McCabe Administrator of the Delaware Historical Society who gave a short address to open the ceremony prior to the unveiling. The Honourable Wayne A. Smith Majority Leader Delaware House of Representatives. Ralph Nelson Past President /Delaware Society of SAR. Mrs Priscilla Zaller State Regent/Delaware Society of DAR. Mrs Nancy Lewis Regent/Colonel Haslet Chapter DAR who also gave a short address. Mr. Lyman R. Brenner Secretary/Delaware Society DAR. Rev. William Harris Archivist Princeton Theological Seminary. Mr. Charlie Laverty of the Irish Brigade Association who also addressed those gathered and read my contribution to the event. Mr. Timothy A. Slavin State Archivist Delaware Public Archives. Musical Interludes Fran Raferty Courtesy of the Irish Brigade Association. The image above left is of the 2001 ceremony at Princeton N.J.
A Patriot of considerable distinction, Colonel John Haslet was the commander of the Delaware’s first Continental Regiment. A native of County Londonderry, Ireland, he emigrated to America in 1757. Haslet was a graduate of the University of Glasgow and an ordained minister of the Presbyterian church. He was commissioned as a Captain in the Pennsylvania Militia in 1758 and was a participant in the expedition against Fort Duquesne. He later settled in Delaware and began the practice of medicine. Active in the civil affairs of his newfound home, Haslet was a leading proponent of Independence. In 1775 he was appointed as a Colonel by the Continental Congress and charged with raising the Delaware Regiment. The distinguished service of the Regiment in the campaign of 1776 can be largely attributed to his inspirational leadership. With the discharge of the Delawares following the battle of Trenton, he was attached to the staff of General Mercer. He was by Mercer’s side when the general fell at Princeton, and was rallying the troops when he was killed by a British bullet. Noted for his bravery and dedication to the cause of Liberty. Colonel John Haslet died a hero to this State and Nation.
One of the most notable soldiers of the Revolutionary War or War of Independence was Daniel Morgan the victor at Cowpens. Much has been written about his war exploits which are well documented. However there is little known about where he came from. A Morgan family living in the Moydamlaght townland as now and having done so for generations hold that he was a member of their ancestral family. On balance I tend to agree with them. Let us look at this claim.
The name of the townland Moydamlaght is derived from the Anglicised version of the Irish name "Maigh d'Tamlachta" meaning the "plain of the plague cemetery". No doubt relating to a famine way before the main famines of the mid 19th century. The townland is in the rolling hills of south county Derry near the village of Moneynenagh close to the larger town of Draperstown originally named as Ballinascreen its old Irish name. The farming style in the 19th century as now would be a mix of cattle and sheep farming with general mixed farming up to the middle of the 20th century. As now sheep farming seems to predominate in this townland.
Little is known about Morgan's background and where he was from. He would appear to have been a very secretive man about his background. Many people suggest he was from Wales primarily in the basis that Morgan is a common Welsh name. Some others state that he was Scots Irish. The latter is probably the nearest. It at least it links him to the island of Ireland. Let us assume the family of Morgans living in Moydamlaght as now are in fact descendants. The scenario of his early life would be something as below.
Daniel Morgan was born circa 1736 in the townland of Moydamlaght close to Draperstown (Ballinascreen) in Co. Derry Ireland. This area is about 12 miles from where Colonel John Haslet of the Delaware Regt. was born.
Handed down Morgan family history suggests that aged about 14 circa 1750 he along
with two uncles left for America and settled on the Pa-New Jersey border.The part part of Co. Derry they lived in would have been subjected to military rule itself to a great degree under control of the Protestant estate owners many of whom held high ranks within the army. The Morgans would have been Catholic in a very Catholic part of south county Derry. Catholics in the Penal era were subjected to severe pressure to give up their religion and conform to the religion of the Established (Protestant) faith. The Penal Laws lasted from about 1700 – 1829 the year Catholic Emancipation was granted. Did Daniel and his two uncles fall foul of the Penal laws?. One cannot make a definitive statement on this but it looks like his uncles were politically active and and reactive to the system ruling them. Probably under political and military pressure they had only one way out - to America probably via the port of Derry. Though the Penal laws were being eased basically the large estate land owners owners called the tune and were closely backed up by the military. They were all powerfull. This was a post penal Ireland and the "end" of the era was not a step change. It kind of looks like that the Morgans had been reactive to the political and religious situation that existed in the post Penal era. If they had trangressed during the worst years of the Penal times America would have still been their best way out enabling them escape summary jail, transportation or indeed execution. In the Penal era, the Irish Catholic was forbidden to receive education, to hold public office, to engage in trade or commerce, to own a horse of more than a stated value, to purchase land, to lease land, to vote, to keep arms for his protection, to buy land from a Protestant, inherit any thing from a Protestant. a Catholic could not be a guardian to a child, when dying leave his infant children under Catholic guardianship, attend Catholic worship, himself educate his child, send his child to a Catholic teacher, employ a Catholic teacher to come to his child, send his child abroad to receive education, he was compelled by law to attend Protestant service.
The priest was banned and hunted down by the numerous militias with blood hounds and also the school master suffered the same harassment. In the reign of George I the Lord Chancellor Bowes pronounced “The law does not suppose any such person to exist as an Irish Roman Catholic.”
The purpose of the Penal laws was to Protestantise the mass of the people, by eliminating their priests and in time they would be loyal subjects of the crown.
It is good to record that many times during the centuries of Ireland’s agony many decent God fearing Christian Protestants hid the hunted priest when the bloodhounds and human hounds, were close upon him saving the hunted priest's life at the risk of his own. Many a time too the decent Protestant sometimes a poor man accepted the temporary legal transfer of the lands of his Catholic neighbor and hold them for his Catholic neighbors benefit. In the case of Presbyterians they also had problems with the State which was treating them as 2nd. class citizens. The Catholics were at the bottom of the pile.
Why should a family called Morgan living as small tenant farmers in a townland of south Derry suddenly claim kinship with someone with their own surname in far off America in the middle of the 18th century?. Their knowledge or indeed interest in far off America would have been minimal. Yes they would have known that there was a revolutionary war going on in N. America but it really had little to do with the price of their cattle or produce in the markets of south Derry which was their focus for existence. However they would have been very focussed on America when three of their family ended up. They would have communicated with them and been very interested in them and what happened to them. Their interest would be much on the two uncles and especially what happened to a young Daniel as he grew up.
The claimant descendant relatives of Morgans still alive are constantly frustrated by assumptions that are made eg Morgan is a Welsh name so he must be a Welshman etc. It should be noted that many of the old Irish names were Anglicised and in the case of the Morgans their name may well have been O'Muireagdin in Irish and Anglicised to Morgan. Daniel Morgan most certainly would have been raised Catholic. However he died as a Presbyterian in America. These is a simple reason for this. In his homeland religion would have been a major player in his existence. However the America into which he settled would have few Catholic churches. As a Christian he would have had no problem with the Presbyterian religion. In Ireland he would have seen how many of his Presbyterian countrymen were greatly opposed to the rule and control of the Anglican Church (the so called Established Church) later to become the Church of Ireland. Many of these men took part in the later rebellion of the United Irishmen in 1798 against the Crown. By that time Morgan would be well established in America. Many books on Morgans attitude to to the British army in N. America notes it being one of hatred. Maybe he had bitter memories of what had happened to his fellow countrymen back in the Ireland in which he grew up. One reads of his secretiveness about his early life. This is understandable. Be aware that he had to flee Ireland with his uncles as effectively he had rebelled against the British Crown. Like John Haslet his fellow countryman Morgan served initially in the British army and took part again like Haslet in the French-Indian wars. Men such as Morgan would soon be cross checked by the network of British spies looking for such men in the uniform of the Continental Army. This network of spies existed in both Ireland and America. Perhaps and most probably this is the reason for Morgans secretiveness about his early times in America. Haslet who also initially fought for the British army in N. America quickly got disillusioned,joined the American side and played a major part in the operation and efforts along with Caesar Rodney for Independence. Haslet paid with his life at the battle of Princeton but Morgan survived and was well repaid with land grants and died an old man in Virginia. Morgan is buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery Winchester Va. Here is a copy of a land allocation of some five thousand acres allocated to Brigadier General Morgan for his services in the Revolutionary War. It is dated 24th Nov. 1782. Morgan had served seven years. The certificate was signed by John Harvie who was a Provisional Colonel and purchasing and supply agent for the Va. Militias and Continental Army and a lawyer. He was also a friend to Thomas Jefferson.
Notes: With thanks to the late Sister Patricia Morgan Belfast a descendant
family member and her late brother Joseph. I have discussed this subject of Morgan both with the late Sister Morgan and her brother and overall I am of the opinion that yes, this is indeed the true history of General Morgans roots.
It should be noted that as can been seen from the notes on Colonel John Haslett Haslett actually initially fought for the British in N.America and then changed to fight for American independence. In Morgans case he was in the eyes of the British in Ireland an Irish rebel who made good his escape to America. Becuuse of this there were no doubt forces of the Crown in N.America still actively looking for Irish rebels who had made good their escape from Ireland. This in my opinion is why in my opinion there is so little in America about Morgans initial life in America. He had as they say "keep his head down".
Images of the Morgan homestead at Moydamlagh circa 1940 from the Sam Henry Collection Coleraine Museum. Many thanks for use of images.
Image of Morgan's marker at Mount Hebron cemetery Winchester Va. courtesy of Burt Kennedy.
Of Haslet and Morgan we have proof of links back to Ireland. Of many others we have little. However in the far off remote Jerico
cemetery at the mouth of the First Fork close by Sinnemahoning in Cameron Co. Pennsylvania we have a resting hero. Adam Logue
born Derry Co. Ireland died 4. 4. 1836 aged 86. He would have been born in Co. Derry in 1750 a little later that Col. Haslet.
We shall never know where in Co. Derry he was from but we can be fairly sure he was of the Presbyterian faith.
On his gravestone is listed the following.
Wife Mary d. 8-?-1843 85y.
Adeline d.?-27-1820 1m.
Lemira Francis d.6-8-1824 2d.
Eugene Elvira d. 8-27-1831.
Elizabeth d. 9-13-1834.
Charles R. d. 12-16-1835
We can only assume that apart from Mary his wife the others were descendant relatives,