GaspeeVirtual Archives
Abel Easterbrooks

The Gaspee Days Committee at www.gaspee.COM is a civic-minded nonprofit organization that operates many community events in and around Pawtuxet Village, including the famous Gaspee Days Parade each June. These events are all designed to commemorate the 1772 burning of the hated British revenue schooner, HMS Gaspee, by Rhode Island patriots as America's 'First Blow for Freedom' TM.  Our historical research center, the Gaspee Virtual Archives at www.gaspee.ORG , has presented these research notes as an attempt to gather further information on one who has been suspected of being associated with the the burning of the Gaspee. Please e-mail your comments or further questions to
The following entry was rediscovered by genealogist Pam R. Thompson in the Revolutionary War Pension File, #S21404, for Ezra Ormsbee, born 30 March 1751 in Warren, RI, son of Ebenezer Ormsbee (sometimes spelled Ormsby) and Hannah Cole (Benjamin3, Hugh2, James1)  Ezra applied for his pension in Warren, RI, on 24 August 1833.
In June 1772 when the English Revenue Cutter Gaspee was burnt in Providence River, I was one that went from this town and helped do it. Capt John Greenwood, James Smith, Abner Luther, Abel Easterbrooks, Nathaniel Easterbrooks, Hezekiah Kinnicut and myself went together in a whale boat and we helped burn her. I mention this merely as a revolutionary incident and not as connected with my pension claim. All the above named persons who were with me in burning the Gaspee have a long time now decd.
We have long known that people from the Bristol and Warren, RI area participated in the attack, but we had previously known only the names of Simeon Potter and  Thomas Swan.  
Biographical notes and random musings

From the Ormsbee Genealogical Website, at 
In the Ormsbee family burying ground on the still existing Ormsbee farm near Porter Corners, Town of Greenfield, Saratoga Co., N.Y., are the graves of Ambrose Cole and his wife Altheare Cole. From a genealogy: "Descendants of James Cole of Plimouth 1633" by E.B. Cole (1908), we find that this branch of the Cole family lived at Swansea, Mass., then moved to Warren, R.I., and later to the Town of Greenfield, Saratoga Co., N.Y. as did this branch of the Ormsbees. There were several inter-marriages between the Coles and Ormsbees, and between the Coles and Easterbrooks family. The Easterbrooks and Coles preceeded the Ormsbees to Greenfield, and it was from Royal Easterbrook that Isaac Ormsbee bought the still existing farm in 1796. Not only were the families inter-married, but they seem to have been closely associated in their migrations, searching for better conditions after the Revolutionary War.

According to information received in 2010 from D. Gibney, a descendant, an Abel Easterbrooks moved from Warren, RI to New Hampshire where fought in the Revolution and where his pension application is ultimately recorded.  In 2014 Gibney relates that Thomas and Joanna Easterbrooks of Warren, RI had children that included John and Nathaniel Easterbrooks.  This John Easterbrooks and his wife Joanna had Abel Easterbooks born 31Aug1748.  This Nathaniel Easterbrooks had a son also named Nathaniel who was therefore first cousin to Abel, and fellow Gaspee raider.

The town of Ludlow, where this Abel Easterbrooks died, is in mideastern Vermont, not an impossible distance from the Greenfield-Saratoga, NY area to where other members of the Easterbrooks family moved.  If this is our man, he was first cousin to fellow Gaspee raider Nathaniel Easterbrooks.

But our Abel (v. Abiel, Abial) Easterbrooks was possibly a different one born on 14Aug1753 to a William Easterbrooks, Jr. and Susannah Luther, his age fitting perfectly with the predominately young, teenaged crowd that later attacked the Gaspee in 1772.  Note that Abner Luther, a fellow attacker who was also from Bristol-Warren, RI, was likely related. This Abel Easterbrooks MAY have been the one who married a Ruth Miller on 3Nov1774 and together had an Abiel Easterbrooks born in Warren, RI c1786. If this is our man, he was second cousin to fellow Gaspee raider Nathaniel Easterbrooks.
We also find in the 1800 Federal census an Abiel Easterbrooks living in Herkimer, NY in 1800.  Interestingly, the Upstate location of his home is along the route of what was to become the Erie Canal, a common migration destination of many Gaspee burners.
The Gaspee Days Committee proudly recognizes Abel Easterbrooks as a Gaspee raider, one of the select group of true American patriots.  We unfortunately do not know more about this man.
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Originally Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 1/2006  Last Revised 07/2014     AbelEasterbrooks.html