GaspeeVirtual Archives
Those That Burned the Gaspee
The 'Official' List of Gaspee Raiders
Gaspee Raider Name Source [ type] Comment Assumed b/d Age@06/1772
Paul Allen Robinson [Secondary]
1742 -- 1800  Age30
Ephraim Bowen Bowen, Staples p 14 [Self]
Later Col. Bowen, 1753 -- 1841 Age19
Aaron Briggs Briggs, testimony, Staples p63 [Self] Impressed into raid by Simeon Potter, c1755 -- Age16-18
Abial Brown Family history [Secondary] Var. Abiel  1755--1839 Age 18 
John Brown Bowen, Mawney, Staples p14 et al. [Primary] Leader of the attack. 1736 -- 1803 Age36
Joseph Brown Montagu, Staples p31, et al. [Primary] Brother of John Brown. 1733 -- 1785 Age38
Joseph Bucklin Bowen, Mawney, Staples p14, 15 [Primary] Fired the shot wounding Dudingston. 1754 -- c1781 Age18
Capt. Samuel Dunn Mawney, Staples p15 [Primary] 1710-c1790 Referred to as Benjamin Dunn by Bowen and Williams Age62
Abel Easterbrooks
Ormsbee pension application [Primary] from Warren-Bristol area
Nathaniel Easterbrooks
Ormsbee pension application [Primary] from Warren-Bristol area
Capt. Caleb Godfrey
Providence Journal Obit [Secondary]
c1736-1825.Research in progress Age36
Capt. Samuel Godfrey
Paul Allen, Jr, History of the Revolution [Sec.] 1743-1831, Age28
Rufus Greene Peter May, testimony, Staples p76 [Secondary] 1748 -- 1831 Age24
Capt. John Greenwood
Ormsbee pension application [Primary] from Warren-Bristol area
Benjamin Hammond Robinson [Secondary] AgeUnknown
Captain Joseph Harris Williams, p21 [Secondary] 1752-1823 Age20
Capt. John B. Hopkins Bowen, Staples p14 [Primary] 1742 -- 1796 Age 29
Justin Jacobs Staples, Staples p108 [Secondary] Stole Dudingston's 'beaver' hat c1755 Age17?
Joseph Jenckes Williams p21 [Secondary] Typo misidentified once as Jospeh Johnson
John J. Kilton Robinson [Secondary] 1749-1824 Age23
Hezekiah Kinnicut
Ormsbee pension application [Primary] from Warren-Bristol area
Abner Luther
Ormsbee pension application [Primary] from Warren-Bristol area
Daniel Martin
Obituary [Secondary]
1751-1837 Age 21
John Mawney Mawney, Bowen, Staples p14, 15 [Self] Student physician, c1751 -- 1830  Age21
Simeon H. Olney Mawney, Staples p15 [Primary] 1754 -- 1804  Age18
Ezra Ormsbee
Ormsbee pension application [Self] 1751-c1834  Age21 from Warren-Bristol area
Benjamin Page Bowen, Staples p14 [Primary] Later Captain, 1753 -- 1833 in Illinois  Age19
Col/Capt.Simeon Potter Briggs, Staples p63 [Primary] Sea Captain,  Militia Colonel. 1720c -- 1806 Age52
Christopher Sheldon
Sheldon, Page 771, [Secondary] 1732-1799 Age40
Pardon Sheldon Newspaper article  [Secondary] Celebrated as Gaspee raider in 1827 parade, Age 32
Captain Shepard Williams Staples p21 [Secondary]
Benoni Simmons
Widow's pension application [Secondary]
1755-1835, Naval & Army hero, Age17
James Smith
Ormsbee pension application [Primary] from Warren-Bristol area
Turpin Smith Turpin Pension application [Self] 1751 -- 1835  Age21
Robert Sutton Bayles[Secondary] 1741 -- 1811  Age30
Thomas Swan Munro [Secondary] Later Captain, 1749c -- 1805  Age23
Amos Sylvester
Providence Journal obit [Secondary] c1745-1827  Research in progress.  Age27
Capt. Joseph Tillinghast Mawney, Staples p15 [Primary] 1734 -- 1816  Age38
Abraham Whipple Bowen, Mawney, Staples p14 et al. [Primary] Tactical commander of the attack. 1733 -- 1819  in Ohio  Age39
Total Confirmed: 38/64

Probable/Possible Status
John Andrews, Esq. Andrews, Staples p90 [Primary] Obviously false testimony;  Age48-56
Welcome Arnold RI Historical Society marker [Secondary] Notified by Lindsey; Age 27
George Brown, Esq. Montagu, Staples p52 [Primary] Alleged, but 'denied' in letter to Commission b1703 -- d 18Mar1786   @PV001  Age69
John Cole, Esq. Montagu, Staples p52 [Primary] Alleged, but 'denied' in letter to Commission
Daniel Hitchcock, Esq. Montagu, Staples p52 [Primary] Alleged, but 'denied' in letter to Commission. 1740-1777 Age 32
Admiral Esek Hopkins
Washington Post, 1907 [hearsay]
Cited as participating, may be misidentified John B. Hopkins, Age  65
Benjamin Lindsey assumed, [Primary] Assumed since he was the instigator of the Gaspee's having run aground earlier. 1744 -- 1782 Age27
(Barzillai?) Richmond Montagu, Staples p52 [Secondary] "of Providence".  Carroll says that this was probably Barzillai Richmond. Age 51
Nathan Salisbury Smith [Secondary] Gravesite marker
1751 -- 1817 in NY  Age21
Silas Talbot
Fowler, personal communication, see bio [Secondary]
Lived near the Providence waterfront, mysteriously 'disappeared' to Dighton, MA for two weeks immediately afterwards.  Age 21
Doctor Weeks (?) Montagu, Staples p31 [Secondary] Probably a misidentified John Mawney
Silas Wheeler Hakes. [Secondary] Alleged by British captors at the Battle of Quebec. Age 20
John Aplin, Esq.
Old Providence, p16.  [Oral history]
Tore down the King's Gaspee wanted poster
Nicholas Cooke
Mawney, p15  [Secondary] Provided paving stones and barrel staves to raiders
Solomon Drowne, Jr.
Field, p465-468 [Secondary] Witnessed the affair, but did not go along.
Gov. Arthur Fenner
Obstructed by dodging the subpoena  Age 26
US Sen. Theodore Foster
Likely complicit in legal obfurcations, Age 20
Stephen Hopkins Deasy, Staples p xxviii [Secondary] Provided advise on limiting testimony.  See bio. b1707 -- d13Jul1785 @PV001   Age65
John Howland Hall, p9 [Self] Witnessed the affair, but did not go along 1757-1854 Age15
William Mumford, Esq.
Purposely misdirected a Gaspee Commission subpoena intended for Arthur Fenner, Jr to Arthur Fenner, Sr.
Daniel Pearce Guild p170-172 et al [Secondary] Beat the drum for volunteers to burn the Gaspee.
James Sabin Bowen, Mawney, Staples p14 et al. [Primary] Owned the tavern where the plot was laid out. c1731 -- 1806  @PV001  Age41
Darius Sessions Deasy, Staples p xxviii [Secondary] Creatively provided for false counter-testimony to Commission. See bio. b1717 -- d27Apr1809  @PV001   Age55
Dr. Henry Sterling
Mawney, p15, [Primary] Medically cared for Dudingston in Pawtuxet after the attack.
Daniel Vaughan
Concannon, [hypothesis]
Key witness may have been recruited by Sessions.
Other Suspicious Characters Known associates
Note1:  From <>
Before 1752 (in Britain) the year calendar year began on March 25th (Lady Day). Dates between January 1st and March 24th were therefore at the end of the year rather than the beginning. Such dates are sometimes seen in the form 12 Feb 1696/7. From 1752 the year began on January 1st instead of March 25th.

Note2:  Click for information on site research at Providence's Old North Burial Ground

Note3:  According to our research, descendants of those who participated in the burning of the Gaspee should be eligible for membership in the Sons/Daughters of the American Revolution.  As an example, we submit the following example gleaned from the DAR lineage book: The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Volume 50, page 250, of a descendant of John Brown, who, while he was not a member of the military, did lead the attack on the Gaspee.

Miss Madeleine Livermore Abbott.
DAR ID Number: 14426
Born in Rhode Island.
Descendant of John Brown, of Rhode Island.
Daughter of Samuel Appleton Brown Abbott and Abby Francis Woods, his wife.
Granddaughter of Marshall Woods and Anne Brown Francis, his wife.
Gr.-granddaughter of John Brown Francis and Anne Carter Brown, his wife.
Gr.-gr.-granddaughter of John Francis and Abby Brown, his wife.
Gr.-gr.-gr.-granddaughter of John Brown and Sarah Smith, his wife.
John Brown, (1736-1805), was the organizer of the successful expedition against the “Gaspee.” He was one of the committee appointed by Congress to build vessels for the navy, to raise recruits and supply munitions of war. He was a member of Assembly when it voted to renounce allegiance to the British crown, and served several terms.
All descendants of Gaspee Raiders are invited to send genealogical and historic research about their ancestors to

Bayles, Richard M. ed. History of Providence County, Vol I & II. W.W. Preston & Co., NY.  1891.  References to Robert Sutton in Biographical sketches, "Town of East Providence" Volume II, p. 174.

Carroll, Charles.  Rhode Island-Three Centuries of Democracy, Volume I, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1932.

Deasy, Richard M., in The Documentary History of the Destruction of the Gaspee, by William R. Staples.  Introduced and Supplemented by Richard M. Deasy.  Providence, RI Publications Society, 1990.

Field, Edward, State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the End of the Century:  A History.  Boston, Mason Publishing Co. 1902.

Fowler, William M. (author of Silas Talbot:  Captain of the Old Ironsides)  personal conversation, November 5, 2008 after he delivered a lecture "Silas Talbot:  A Rhode Island Rogue and Man on the Make." at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the RI Historical Society.

Guild, Reuben Aldridge. Life, times, and correspondence of James Manning, and the early history of Brown University. Boston, 1864, p170-172.

Hakes, Harlo. Hon. Landmarks of Steuben County. 1896

Hall, Edward B. A Discourse Delivered Before the Rhode Island Historical Society, February 6, 1855 on the Life and Times of John Howland, Late President of the Society.  Providence, Geo. H. Whitney, 1855, p9.

John Sheldon of Providence (and Records of His Descendents), Sheldon Family Association, 1984

Munro, Wilfred Harold. Tales of an Old Sea Port. Princeton University Press, 1917. <see citation>

Ormsbee, Ezra.  Application for pension found in Revolutionary War Pension File #S21404, 24 August 1833.

Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project Link visited 11/2001. Searches were conducted only on those without other biographical data included elsewhere.  Much of this information is only tentatively accurate in that it is assumed that 1) they are included in the database, 2) there was no confusion based on the names and time periods, and 3) that they had been buried in Rhode Island. Many, including Abraham Whipple, Nathan Salsibury, and Benjamin Page were, in fact,. buried in other states.

Robinson, Natalie.  Revolutionary Fire:  The Gaspee Incident. RI Committee for the Humanities, Providence, 1984. (Robinson's sources probably included the memoirs of John Howland available at the RI Historical Society.)

Saturday Evening Post, August 22, 1829, Vol VIII, Whole No. 421, Page 1.

Smith, H.P.  History of Cortland County.  D. Mason & Co. Publ., Syracuse, NY, 1885. <see citation  p. 450>.

Staples, William R.  The Documentary History of the Destruction of the Gaspee, Introduced and Supplemented by Richard M. Deasy.  Providence, RI Publications Society, 1990

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the End of the Century, A History, edited by Edward Field, Boston, Mason Publishing Co., 1902 Vol. I. <see citation  p. 467-468>

Williams, Catharine (Mrs.). Biography of Revolutionary Heroes: Containing the Life of Brigadier Gen. William Barton and Also of Captain Stephen Olney. New York, Wiley & Putnam, 1839.

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Originally Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 7/2001    Last Revised 03/2021   GaspeeRaiders.htm.