GaspeeVirtual Archives
Joseph Bucklin (1754-1781)

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
Evidence implicating Joseph Bucklin:

Ephraim Bowen recounts in detail how his friend, Joseph Bucklin, fired the shot wounding Lieutenant Dudingston during the attack on the Gaspee.  He is therefore given credit for firing the shot that very nearly started the American Revolution right then and there in June of 1772.  The original citation can be found in Staples, p 14), and the corrected version on this site at:  Bowen.html.

Bucklin and the others kept their identities secret enough that few involved were ever subpoenaed to testify before the Royally-appointed commission investigating the incident. Certainly, Joseph Bucklin himself was never called to testify. This unfortunate necessity of secrecy resulted in the fact that almost half of the raiding party still have not been identified....but we're working on it.

Biographical Notes:

In this convention we will refer to the person the Bucklin Society site refers to as Joseph Bucklin IV as Joseph Bucklin (1719), and Joseph Bucklin V as Joseph Bucklin (1754). Note though, that the Bucklin Society gives the date of death for Joseph Bucklin (1719) as being 1780; as seen below, he actually didn't die until December 1790, unless it's a typo.

Per the RI Historical Cemeteries Database, there is only two logical possibilities.:

BUCKLIN        JOSEPH, CAPT                      1720c - 27 DEC 1790    PV001
BUCKLIN        JOSEPH, DEA                       1693c -  4 MAY 1776    CY034
But we know from the Bucklin Society that our Joseph Bucklin (1754) died at sea.  Captain Joseph Bucklin (c1720 is actually 1719) was his father.  Deacon Joseph Bucklin was from Coventry, about 20 miles south of Providence, and would've been 79 years old at the time of the Gaspee attack. PV001 is the Old North Burial Ground in Providence, where, coincidentally, many Gaspee attackers are buried.

We find in the Providence Gazette of May 7, 1768 an ad from Joseph Bucklin and Nicholas Clark, running a cutlery business of Bucklin & Clark on the west end of the Great Bridge in Providence.  It is notable that the ad proclaims the patriotic idea of buying American-made knives and forks since Britain had as of late distressed this country. On July 8, 1775 Joseph Bucklin is seen to advertise from the same location (without Nicholas Clark as a partner) various indicos.  The term is not found on, and might think it refers to indigo dyes, derived from natural plant coloring of red, blue, and purple. On the other hand, Leonard Bucklin of the Joseph Bucklin Society believes it is a term derived from Spanish for either East Indian or West Indian goods.

From History of Providence County, Rhode Island, by Richard M. Bayles, New York, 1891, page 181: we see that a Joseph Bucklin was apponted in December 1773 to Providence's Committee of Inspection (against sale of banned English goods after the Nonimportation Agreements, etc.). Researcher Glenn B. Short found that Jos. Bucklin co-sponsored the privateer sloop Montgomery in 1776.

From USGenWeb, we discover Joseph Bucklin (1719) in the 1790 Federal census for Providence as:

Bucklin, Joseph  1-2-5-*-*
That is one white male over 16 (Joe Bucklin himself), two males less than 16, and five females.  Since Joseph Bucklin (1754) had been lost at sea in 1781, it is quite possible that Joseph Bucklin (1719) was raising some grandchildren as his own, but as noted later, we cannot find any direct descendants of Joseph Bucklin (1754) or his siblings.  He been about 27 when he died, certainly old enough to have married and had offspring.  But this was all in the middle of the Revolutionary War, and Joseph Bucklin (1754) probably was too caught up in the fighting to have married. It is tempting to comptemplate that Joseph Bucklin (1754) died at sea on mission for the Revolution, which didn't end until 1783.
The following information is assimilated from genealogy files at the LDS ( and the Gendex (now defunct) sites as well as the RI Historical Cemeteries Database:
Joseph Bucklin
Birth:  20 FEB 1719  Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts (alt Coventry, Kent, RI)
Marriage:  29 SEP 1751  Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts
Death:  27 DEC 1790  Providence, Providence, Rhode Island Buried in PV001
Father:   Joseph Bucklin
Mother:   Susannah Annie Jenckes (alt Jenks) daughter of Judge William Jenckes (1674) and     Patience Sprague

Wife : Serviah (alt Zerviah) Sabin born July 1731  Providence, Providence, Rhode Island (alt Pomfret, CT) . Death:  26 SEP 1776
Marriage:  29 SEP 1751 in Rehoboth
Father:   Hezekiah Sabin
Mother:   Zerviah Hosmer   (Hosmer Mountain near Willimantic, CT has a softdrink named for it)
1.    John, Birth: 22 Jun 1752 --died 22 Aug 1752 as infant, buried PV001
2.   Joseph Bucklin 02 MAR 1754  Providence, RI --lost at sea 1781
3.   Anna Bucklin 02 MAR 1756  Providence, RI
4.   James, Birth: 18 Nov 1770 --died 27 Dec 1771 as child, buried PV001
5.   Sally Bucklin  14 MAR 1773  Providence, RI  Death:  24 NOV 1785 in Providence, RI (alt 1770c - 19 NOV 1783 @ PV001) Age 12.

Unfortunately, it appears that none of the children of Joseph Bucklin (1719) and Serviah Sabin went on to have any kids of their own.  We don't know what happened for sure to Anna Bucklin...there is one Anna Buckin of the time period, but the birth year is off by 12:
MANN, ANNA  (BUCKLIN)         1744c -  7 AUG 1825    LN004
There was also a Joseph Bucklin born about 1712 in Warwick, RI and who married a Mary Worden, and another Joseph Bucklin (c1742-1815) born in Rehoboth, MA who married an Amey Whipple (1750-1819). We do note that both Daniel Bucklin and William Bucklin served on privateering ships out of Providence during the Revolution.
An exhaustive Google search on the term "Joseph Bucklin" turns up nothing new that Leonard Bucklin has already scrounged up at the page
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Originally Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 11/2002    Last Revised 12/2015    JosephBucklin.htm