William Glanville Evelyn's Last Will and Testament, Staten Island

Captain William Glanville Evelyn was the great grand-nephew of Sir John Evelyn, famous 17th century writer, diarist and gardener.  John Evelyn’s diaries contain many descriptions of the tumult that engulfed England during the Civil War, the coming of the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London.
Captain Evelyn was mortally wounded on October 18th, 1776 while at the front of his Regiment at New Rochelle.  After leaping over a stone wall, he received three bullet wounds, one to his left arm, and two more to his right leg. He was left lying at the stone wall as the Crown forces retreated. It was days later that he finally agreed to have his leg amputed, but it was then too late.

Staten Island Aug 20th 1776.

"Upon my going to Carolina in January last I left a paper with Peggie Wright in Boston purporting that in case of my Death it was my desire she should become possessed of whatever property or Effects I might have in America. As she is now in Halifax, I think it necessary to leave a Memorandum with the Regiment to the same effect, but more Explicit.

"The 24th December last I had a Ballance in the Agents' hands of Forty pounds, some shillings, exclusive of my arrears and division of Non Effective Fund. I have in a Letter authorized my Mother to draw on the Agents for the Forty pounds, but am not certain if she will do it. My pay, arrears etc. from that time to this is in the hands of the Agents.

"From the Pay Master of the Regiment, I have drawn on account of my Company, up to the 24th April last about Four hundred Dollars or £93 „ 6 „ 8 which by a rough calculation is near their Subsistance to that time, leaving as much in his hands, as we supposed would amount to their Provision Money. There is now in his hands upwards of Four months' pay of my Company, besides Augmentation Money and the Bounty of Eight Drafts, and one Recruit (Richardson) whom I enlisted. He, not having paid anything, upon my account that I know of, except Nine or Ten Pounds to Mr Fish.

"In a trunk on board of the ' Sovereign,' Victualler (where most of my Baggage is), I have left in Gold, Ten half Johannes, in Silver One hundred and Forty-six Dollars & four Crown pieces. The accounts of my Company are settled up to the 24th of June, since which settlement they have received a good deal of Money & necessarys from me which are not charged, there is however a Considerable Ballance due to them, but far short of what I have a demand upon the Paymaster for. Of the Money in my Trunk Twenty Pounds Sterling is due to Capt. Tallemacke, of the 'Scorpion,' or his Agent Mr. McKnight, for a Puncheon of Rum which I've had no opportunity of paying for, since I received the money, I am also indebted to Capt. Drummond for two pieces of Osnaburgh. I recollect nothing else.

"The foregoing being a General Sketch of the State of my affairs, it is my wish that in Case of my Death, my Baggage (of which there is a considerable heap, such as it is) & Effects may be sold, and the money arising therefrom as well as all debts and Balances due to me may be paid to the above mentioned Peggie Wright, excepting only Five Guineas which I desire may be paid to my Servant Sturgess, over & above what wages I may owe him, as a small but grateful! Acknowledgement for his fidelity. I also desire that he may have all my silver Shoe and Knee Buckles & my Stock Buckles, and I would wish to recommend him to some good Master as Gov. Martin or Lord Rawdon, who might be better able to reward his services. Whatever money of mine may be in the Agents hands, it's my desire that it may be paid to my Mother, thro' the hands of Mrs. Boscawen or Mrs. Leveson Gower, first paying out of it Nine pounds one shilling to Mr. Busher, which I owe him for Cloth, and is the only Debt I can think of, which comes within my ability to pay. In case my Mother should not be alive, or through any other Cause should not receive this Money, I desire it may be paid to the above mentioned Peggie Wright. I would willingly give some of my acquaintances tokens of the very sincere regard & esteem, I have for them, but if I left them anything I must take so much from her. I only beg that my amiable Friend Captain Knight will accept of the Ring left me by his incomparable and dearly beloved Brother.

Given under my Hand at Staten Island,
August 20th, 1776.
{Signed} W. G. Evelyn,
 Cap'. 4th Regtr


Lieut-Col. John Graves Simcoe

One of the most illustrious of British Officers was John Graves Simcoe. He was responsible for many reforms in law, the courts and the abolition of slavery in Upper Canada during his career as Lieutenant Governor long after he served fighting the Rebels.

"His ambition invariably led him to aspire at command; and even when the army first landed at Staten Island he went to New York to request the command of the Queen's Rangers, a provincial corps then newly raised, which he did not finally obtain until after the battle of Brandywine, in October, 1777. He knew that common opinion had imprinted on the partisan the most dishonourable stain, and associated the idea with that of dishonesty, rapine, and falsehood. Yet, on the otherhand, he also knew that the command of a light corps had been considered as the best source of instruction, as a means of acquiring a habit of self-dependence for resources, and of prompt decision so peculiarly
requisite in trusts of importance."

Simcoe was eventually captured by the Rebels in October of 1779 while in New Jersey and was held as a prisoner until exchanged by New Year's Eve 1779. He arrived at Staten Island to a glorious welcome by Loyalist Staten Islanders.
Painting by William Pars @ 1770

The corps of Rangers claimed all the attention of the now Major-commandant Simcoe, and contributed greatly to lessen his paternal fortune, for though warmly alive to the interests of others, he was always inattentive to his own. We find in Rivington's Royal Gazette, printed at New York during the presence of the British army in the city, an advertisement for recruits somewhat significant of the care and expense bestowed upon the equipment of this effective band of partisans. It is as follows:

Have now an opportunity of distinguishing themselves by


Commanded by


Any spirited young man will receive every encouragement, be immediately mounted on an elegant horse, and furnished with clothing, accoutrements, &c., to the amount of FORTY GUINEAs, by applying to Cornet Spencer, at his quarters, No. 1033 Water street, or his rendezvous, Hewitt's Tavern, near the Coffee House, and the defeat· at Brandywine, on Golden Hill.

Whoever brings a Recruit shall instantly receive TWO GUINEAS.