GaspeeVirtual Archives
Nathaniel Easterbrooks (1744-1821)

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 to Indict Nathaniel Easterbrooks:

While blissfully preparing for Christmas 2005, we were presented with the following surprise e-mail from Pam R. Thompson who was doing some genealogical research of her own.

I found the following curious entry 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."
I do not find any of these names on your lists of participants.

We have long known that people from the Bristol and Warren, RI area participated in the attack, but we have only known of the names of Simeon Potter, and possibly Thomas Swan.  In fact, we only know the names of about half of the 64 men alleged to have participated in the attack on the Gaspee. This gives us a first hand list of an additional seven men to investigate to be patriots of the forthcoming American Revolution.
Biographical notes and random musings

We have only one good candidate from the RI Historical Cemeteries Database :

This indicates that he was buried in Kickemuit Cemetery in Warren, RI, as expected, and that he would have been 26-28 years old at the time of the Gaspee attack.  Using this info, we can go to the LDS website and find his likely birthdate if 15Mar1744 in Warren, RI, the son of Nathaniel Easterbrooks and Sarah Drake.  On the other hand, his father Nathaniel Easterbrooks born 8Apr1710 may be the one we seek, although less likely.

Descendant Chuck Simmons in 2011 was able to further elucidate the family tree here.  Nathaniel's line of descent from Moses Simmons is as follows: Moses Simmons1 / Sarah Simmons2 / Sarah Nash3 / Sarah Drake4 / Nathaniel Easterbrooks Jr.5, making him a third cousin of fellow Gaspee Raider, Benoni Simmons.  We also note that Nathaniel Easterbrooks was either a first or second cousin to fellow Gaspee raider, Abel Easterbrooks.

In 2014 D. 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.

We also discover a Nathaniel and Lydia (Cole) Easterbrooks being married 17Jul1776 and having a child (yet another Nathaniel) in 1797. 

Lydia Cole (Easterbrooks) was born
21 Sept 1749 in Warren, RI to Benjamin Cole and Mary Beverly, and her death date is actually 17 Aug 1824.  She had been married previously to a Thomas Easterbrooks in 1767. Nathaniel was of Pomfret, CT at his marriage to Lydia (stated in his marriage record) but evidently returned to Warren by 1780. The NEHGS website does give us some historical cemetery inscriptions, of which one reads:
Lydia wife of Nathaniel Easterbrooks died August 25, 1824 Age 75

We also find a Nathaniel Easterbrooks in the 1782 Census of Warren, RI with two adult males, two adult females, and two children.  Nearby families included an Allether Easterbrooks, a Susan Easterbrooks, and an Edward Easterbrooks. A 1790 Census of Warren, RI  lists Nathaniel Easterbrooks as 1-0-6-0-0 [RI, 11]

  1. Persis  b.  15 September 1777, Pomfret, CT [Pomfret TR, 2:44; VR RI, 6:2:65] m. John Spellman/Spillman
  2. Benjamin  b. 1780, Warren, RI . d.  August 1784, at age 4
  3. Nathaniel III  b.1782, Warren, RI d.  August 1784, at age 2
  4. Mary b.  9 November 1784, Warren, RI [VR RI, 6:2:65]. d.  13 April 1849, Woodstock, CT [Gravestone, Bradford Marcy Cemetery]  m. (c1808), Calvin Easterbrooks
  5. Lydia  b.  24/28 January 1787, Warren, RI [VR RI, 6:2:65  d.  10 February 1844, Woodstock, CT [Gravestone, Bradford Marcy Cemetery]  m. Never Married
  6. Sarah  b.  16 May 1789, Warren, RI [VR RI, 6:2:65] d.  14 January 1871, Bristol, RI [Gravestone, North Burial Ground]  m. 13 October 1816, Warren RI, Seth Lincoln [VR RI, 6:2:20/28]
  7. Marcy  b.  14 September 1791, Warren, RI [VR RI, 6:2:65] m. 20 December 1812, Warren, RI, Elijah Cole [VR RI, 6:2:20/17]
  8. Nathaniel III  b.  5 September 1797, Warren, RI [VR RI, 6:2:65]  d.  5 August 1830 m. 19 November 1820, Warren, RI, Harriet Harding [VR RI, 6:2:20/24]
From the Ormsbee Genealogical Website, we have  Ezra Ormbee was also in the Bristol boat that attacked the Gaspee.
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.
The Gaspee Days Committee proudly recognizes Nathaniel 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     NathanielEasterbrooks.html