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Anza, Juan Bautista de (07 July 1736–19 December 1788), military commander, explorer, and governor, was born in the presidio of Fronteras, Sonora, Mexico, the son of Juan Bautista de Anza, commandant of the post since 1719, and María Rafaela Becerra Nieto; his grandfather was commandant of Janos presidio, Chihuahua. Anza’s father was killed in combat in 1739, but Anza continued in the family tradition, and on 1 December 1752 entered the militia at Fronteras. On 1 July 1755 he was promoted to lieutenant at Fronteras, and, after participating in Indian campaigns in Sonora, he rose in 1760 to the rank of captain and commander of the presidio at Tubac (in present-day Arizona). On 24 June 1761 he married Ana María Pérez Serrano of Arizpe, Sonora, but no children were born of the union....

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Ashe, John (1720?–24 October 1781), colonial politician and military officer, was born in the Albemarle Sound region of North Carolina, the son of John Baptista Ashe, an assemblyman, and Elizabeth Swann. In late 1727 the elder Ashe moved south from Beaufort County and purchased a 640-acre plantation near the Cape Fear River. There, John Ashe was tutored in Latin, Greek, and French. Entering Harvard as a member of the class of 1746, he proved to be a rebellious student, continually chafing against authority and chronically absenting himself from class....

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Barnwell, John (1671– June 1724), frontier settler and Indian fighter, was the son of Alderman Matthew Barnwell of Dublin, Ireland, and Margaret Carberry. The elder Barnwell was killed in the siege of Derry in 1690 as a captain in James II’s Irish army, which attempted to restore the last Stuart king after the revolution of 1688. The family seat, Archerstown in County Meath, was forfeited as a result of this support of James II against William and Mary....

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Berkeley, Sir William (03 July 1606–09 July 1677), royal governor and captain general of Virginia, was born in or near London, the son of Sir Maurice Berkeley, a well-connected gentleman of distinguished family. He was the brother of John, first Baron Berkeley of Stratton, a colonial proprietary. He entered Queen’s College, Oxford, in February 1623 and received his B.A. in July 1624 from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. Five years later, he completed his M.A. at Merton College, Oxford. A charming, intelligent, well-connected gentleman, Berkeley became a favorite of King Charles I and was created a member of the Privy Chamber. In 1632 he was appointed a Commissioner of Canadian affairs and executed the office with distinction. He authored a number of notable plays, among them ...

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Bland, Theodorick (21 March 1742–01 June 1790), revolutionary soldier and politician, was born in Prince George County, Virginia, the son of Theodorick Bland, a planter, and Frances Bolling. In 1753 he was sent to Wakefield in Yorkshire, England, for schooling, remaining there until taking up medical studies in Liverpool in 1759. Two years later he transferred to the University of Edinburgh and received an M.D. degree in 1763. In Edinburgh and later in London Bland cut a fashionable figure, chivied by friends for his “monstrous large Whig.” He was also known as “something of a politician,” and it was with reluctance that he heeded his father’s call to return to Virginia in 1764. There he began his medical practice with all its attendant “distresses, cares and anxieties,” the “immense fatigue” of which caused him to retire from the profession in 1771. Wishing for a “calm, quiet, and philosophical life, in a rural situation,” Bland became a planter in Prince George County....

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Brown, Thomas (27 May 1750–03 August 1825), revolutionary war soldier and superintendent of the Southern Indian Department, was born in Whitby, England, the son of Jonas Brown, a shipowner and alum manufacturer, and Margaret Jackson. Captain Cook, the celebrated explorer, was a near neighbor during Thomas Brown’s youth. After several voyages to America on his father’s ships, Brown decided to seek his fortune on Georgia’s newly ceded lands above Augusta in 1773. With the financial support of his father, Brown recruited seventy-four indentured servants in Yorkshire and in the Orkney Islands and sailed for Georgia in August 1774. A second contingent of the same number followed a year later....

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Buade, Louis de (22 May 1622–28 November 1698), French soldier and courtier, was born at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the son of Henri de Buade and Anne Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain, aristocrats. On his father’s side he was descended from the old nobility of the sword and on his mother’s from the ascending nobility of the robe. His father, comte de Frontenac, baron (later comte) de Palluau, and colonel of the Régiment de Navarre, was highly regarded by Louis XIII, who stood as godfather to the infant Louis at his baptism....

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Butler, Richard (01 April 1743–04 November 1791), soldier and government official, was born in St. Bridget’s Parish, Dublin, Ireland, the son of Thomas Butler, the younger son of a baron, and Eleanor Parker. In 1748 the family immigrated to Pennsylvania and subsequently farmed in Cumberland County. During ...

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Coffin, John (1756–12 June 1838), Loyalist and British general, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Coffin, the last receiver general and cashier of His Majesty’s Customs at Boston, and Elizabeth Barnes. Coffin attended the Boston Latin School and went to sea at an early age. He rose to command of a ship by the age of eighteen, and in 1775 he was engaged to bring a regiment of British troops from England to Boston, which at that time had just broken out in armed rebellion against King George III. Coffin appears to have had no conflict in his loyalties; he brought the troops on his ship to Boston and soon engaged in the war on the side of the king....

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Coffin, Sir Isaac (16 May 1759–23 July 1839), Loyalist and British admiral, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Coffin, the last receiver general and cashier of His Majesty’s Customs at Boston, and Elizabeth Barnes. Born into a family of wealth and social prominence, Isaac Coffin attended the Boston Latin School and then entered the British Royal Navy in May 1773. Assigned to the brig ...