GaspeeVirtual Archives
Research Notes on __________ Richmond

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 __________ Richmond:

From Admiral Montagu in Staples, (p31), Montagu was apparently citing names that Aaron Briggs gave to Captain Linzee under duress.
A list of five men's names, that was concerned in destroying his Majesty's schooner Gaspee:
John Brown and Joseph Brown, principal men of the town of Providence; Simeon Potter of Bristol; Doctor Weeks, of Warwick; Richmond, of Providence.
Carroll (p257) says that this was probably Barzillai Richmond. This may have been his conclusion based on a subsequent letter from Gaspee co-conspiritor, Lt. Gov. Darius Sessions, to Gov. Joseph Wanton (see Staples, p79)
SIR:—In consequence of an application made unto me in writing, signed by Barzillai Richmond, Joseph Brown and John Brown, I summoned Daniel Vaughan and took his deposition relative to what he knew respecting the treatment of the mulatto Aaron on board the Beaver, and I herewith inclose it to your honor.
Biographical Information

Adapted from: Descendants of Elizabeth Pabodie--Sixth Generation (Link defunct as of 2005)

Barzillai Richmond was born on 13 Apr 1721 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, USA. He died 5 Jan 1796 in Providence, RI.  His father was a judge, William Richmond of 1694, and his mother was Anna Gray of 1702.  Barzillai married Sarah Knight born 21 Nov 1718 in Providence and died 10 Oct 1791 in Providence.  They were married 24 Nov 1743 in Providence. Sarah was born about 1725 and died October 1791at age 73 per obit.  {her calculated birthyear would be 1718]. They had the following children:
M i William Richmond was born on 17 Aug 1744. Died 1828. m1 Hannah Mason
M ii Ebenezer Richmond was born on 5 Feb 1746 in Providence, Providence, RI practiced medicine (see below)
F iii Mehitable Richmond was born on 21 Jun 1749 in Providence, Providence, RI m. Lewis Bosworth. She died August 1778 per obit..
F iv Anna (Nancy) Richmond was born on 1 Oct 1750 in Providence, Providence, RI m in 1772 Silas Talbot, a suspect Gaspee raider and Revolutionary War hero.
F v Sarah (Sally) Richmond was born on 28 Sep 1758 in Providence, Providence, RI died unmarried Sept 1785 per obit.
From USGenweb, per the 1790 Federal RI Census for Providence, there is a
Richmond, Barzilla   1*3**
that is, himself living with three females, probably his wife and two other females. From the LDS files the Barzillai Richmond of 1721 died 5 Jan 1796 "probably" in Providence, RI.  According to the RI Historical Cemeteries Database, the only Barzillai Richmond in Rhode Island is buried in the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence. He's listed without dates, and is misspelt Barzillia, which we assume is a common typo. This could be the Barzillai of 1721 or 1767, we don't know. We also know from the same source, however, that Sarah K. Richmond, also without dates is buried in the same cemetery, and we would assume it's Barzillai of 1721's wife. The elder Barzillai Richmond would've been 51 years old at the time of the Gaspee attack, but the grandson only 5 years old. Note that either of Barzillai's two sons, William or Ebenezer would be of the age to have participated in the attack on the Gaspee. This William Richmond of 1744 had a son, Barzillai Richmond, born in 1767. This younger Barzillai of 1767 married a girl from Saratoga, NY.

According to Field in State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations-A History (1902) Vol 1, p429, a Barzillai Richmond was a Captain of a company of militia raised during the French and Indian Wars.  The Providence Gazette lists him with the prefix of "Col." in a list of incorporators of the new college in April 1764, later to be known as Brown University. lists him as a Lieutenant Colonel. 

According to Florence Parker Simister, in her book Streets of the City: An Anecdotal History of Providence, p97 relates that in 1743 a Barzillai Richmond was a Deacon and was part of a factional split from the First Baptist Church that established the Beneficent Congregational Society in Providence. According to files from the World Family Tree:

According to Bayles, Richard M. History of Providence County, Rhode Island, New York, 1891, page 585, Barzillai Richmond manufactured hats near the Beneficent Congregational meeting house.  Page 596, Barzillai Richmond was the first president of the Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufacturers. 
And p598:
Barzillai Richmond was by trade a hatter. He was one of the founders of the Beneficent Congregational Church, in 1743. He was much interested in the education of youth, and in 1751, associated with Gideon Comstock, Alexander Frazier, Joseph Potter, Thomas Angell, James Field, and Nehemiah Sprague, obtained permission of the town to build a school house on the west side of the river. He died January 5th, 1796, in his 75th year, respected for his moral worth, by the entire community.

According to the 1770 List of Providence Taxpayers, the only property owner in Providence at the time with the last name of Richmond was Barzillai Richmond, who owned two properties off of Broad Street on the west side, and one of which was at the intersection of Richmond Lane and Broad Street. In March 1765 Barzillai Richmond was advertising for sale "The Half of a convenient Dwelling-House" on the West Side. In 1785 he was appointed (along with others) to the town position of "Persons to order when and where goods shall be removed in case of fire." In July of 1786 he was Moderator at a meeting of the Providence Town Council.  In April 1789, running in a slate for office, he was presented as a "respectable Mechanic"  In 1789 he was a committee member of the Society for abolishing the Slave-Trade.
In February 1796 William Richmond published his father, Barzillai's estate notice, and made reference to The Company of Barzillai Richmond & Son. 

We know nothing else about his life or death as of this writing, but the fact that Barzillai of 1721 wrote letters along with John and Joseph Brown to Dep. Gov. Darius Sessions indicates a relatively high station in society, and very influential friends, and this makes him our prime suspect.

Barzillai's son Ebenezer (c1747-1788) raises curiosity.  We also find a block ad from the Providence Gazette of 17April1773 describing the qualifications of Dr. Ebenezer Richmond, whose office was in his father's house on the West Side nearby the Great Bridge.  It could be that the Dr. Richmond we seek is indeed Dr. Ebenezer Richmond who claimed in his ad that he had been attending patients for several years previous. While he's not buried in Rhode Island per the Database, this is the son of Barzillai Richmond, above. We also find reference in the Providence Gazette that he had moved from Providence to South Carolina, where he died in November 1788 at the age of 41.  So, Dr. Ebenezer Richmond was the son of a community leader with known pro-Revolutionary leanings, and at age 26 in 1772, he's the perfect suspect to have attacked the Gaspee. Remember that Admiral Montagu, in giving his list of names of people involved in the raid, that had been extracted under duress from Aaron Briggs, wrote:
A list of five men's names, that was concerned in destroying his Majesty's schooner Gaspee:
John Brown and Joseph Brown, principal men of the town of Providence; Simeon Potter of Bristol; Doctor Weeks, of Warwick; Richmond, of Providence.
This could mean that Montagu was indicating that both Weeks and Richmond were called Doctors, and Benjamin and Ebenezer are the only ones fitting that assumption as of 1772, and only Ebenezer was from Providence.. But if Dr Richmond did go along for the raid, one would assume that he'd have been called to assist in first-aid efforts when Lt. Dudingston was wounded in the attack. Instead, medical student John Mawney was called upon. It is still possible that the attack leaders did not realize and call upon Dr. Ebenezer Richmond for his services as they might not know he was a physician or did not know he was with them on the raid.  Jerry Levan of PA points out in an e-mail of January 2007 that his research shows that Ebenezer Richmond enlisted in his uncle Col. William Richmond’s regiment and served as a surgeon during the Revolutionary War. Levan also recalls a reference (but can't find it again) to Ebenezer actually being at the Sabin Tavern the night when men from Providence met there to discuss  attacking the Gaspee. 

Barzillai's son Ebenezer Richmond is also a prime suspect since he was a Doctor Richmond from Providence, who later served in the Revolutionary War.  As such, he is the only person to meet the description of Admiral Montagu's list of suspects to be interogated regarding the Burning of the Gaspee.
Other Richmond possibilities from the RI Historical Cemeteries Database, include:
RICHMOND       BENJAMIN, DR                     1748c - 20 FEB 1814    LC012
RICHMOND       EARL W                                  -                PV005
RICHMOND       GARMALIEL                         1724c - 16 MAY 1809    BR004
RICHMOND       GILBERT, CAPT                    1754c - 19 MAR 1782    BR003
RICHMOND       HENRY                                   -                NK026
RICHMOND       JESSE W                                 -                RD020
RICHMOND       JOHN ROGERS                     1737c - 30 APR 1816    EP005
RICHMOND       JOSHUA                                 1734c -  1 MAR 1778    LC012
RICHMOND       PELEG                                    1701c -  3 AUG 1783    EP005
RICHMOND       PEREZ                                    1729c - 22 NOV 1800    LC008
RICHMOND       PEREZ                                    1741c - 22 FEB 1803    LC012
RICHMOND       THOMAS                               1737c - 29 DEC 1817    LC008
RICHMOND       WILLIAM                              1744c -  4 OCT 1828    PV003
RICHMOND,      WILLIAM, COL                     1727c - 25 SEP 1807    LC008
The only Richmond, other than Barzillai, listed as buried in Providence is his son, the William Richmond of 1744. From the 1790 Federal RI Census of Providence at
Richmond, William                            3    2    5       *       *
According to LDS files; a William Richmond, 17 Aug 1744 in Little Compton, RI and died 4 Oct 1828, buried in Providence. This is the son of Barzillai Richmond and Sarah Knight as listed above. He married a Hannah Mason, then a Lois Gray, although this may again be genealogical confusion.

Another William Richmond of interest is Colonel William Richmond, only because his service in the Revolutionary War makes him of the kind of ilk that would have previously burned the Gaspee.  From LDS files: Birth:   20 Aug 1727 in Little Compton, RI. Death:   23 Sep 1807 in Little Compton, RI. Son of William Richmond and Anna Gray, therefore, he is the younger brother of Barzillai of 1721.  He married a Hannah Gray, probably his cousin, a common practice at the time.

A William Richmond was a Colony Assistant (State Senator) in 1770-1772.  Catherine Williams in her book, Biography of Revolutionary Heroes: Containing the Life of Brigadier Gen. William Barton and also of Captain Stephen Olney. Providence, Published by the author, 1839, p303-304  makes a distinction between the William Richmond, Esq. of Providence, and the Colonel William Richmond of Little Compton.  In Field, Edward, State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the End of the Century:  A History.  Boston, Mason Publishing Co. 1902, Vol II, pp424-430 there is a list of Privateersmen from Providence, including that of William Richmond, owner of the Barber in 1779.  William Richmond Esq was appointed to the commitee overseeing a tea boycott in February 1774. A William Richmond served as a director c1800 of the Providence Library along with Joseph Tillinghast that burned the Gaspee, and other suspects of like ilk.

From: THE CONTINENTAL ARMY by Robert K. Wright, Jr.

The New England governments initially filled their particular military needs by raising short-term independent companies to protect key harbors. On 31 October 1775 Rhode Island took a different course and began raising a 500-man regiment of state troops under Col. William Richmond. On duty since 22 December, Richmond's regiment was expanded in January to 763 men in 12 companies.
From: <stale link as of 2007>, William Richmond was a Colonel in the RI Militia during the Revolution.
Private Job Greenman, 43 Jan. 12, 1786.  Paid $4.00 for war related disability.  State regiment, commanded by Col. Wm. Richmond.  Loss of the use of the left knee and leg, occasioned by a wound received in a skirmish with the enemy on the island of Prudence, in January, 1776, per certificate from Col. William Barton, who then commanded the party.
All of these impressive doings by William Richmond only serve to increase the likelihood that, like his older brother, Barzillai Richmond, William also had revolutionary tendencies, and both would've been of the sort that burnt the Gaspee.

Jerry Levans points out that Col. William Richmond was not in a militia per se, but in the RI Troops of the Continental Army during the Revolution. The distinction is important to those that study the Revolutionary War.
The name of Dr. Benjamin Richmond in the burial database gives us pause.  Remember that Admiral Montagu, in giving his list of names of people involved in the raid, that had been extracted under duress from Aaron Briggs, wrote:
A list of five men's names, that was concerned in destroying his Majesty's schooner Gaspee:
John Brown and Joseph Brown, principal men of the town of Providence; Simeon Potter of Bristol; Doctor Weeks, of Warwick; Richmond, of Providence.
This could mean that Montagu was indicating that both Weeks and Richmond were called Doctors, and Benjamin is the only one fitting that assumption as of 1772. But if Dr Richmond did go along for the raid, one would assume that he'd have been called to assist in first-aid efforts when Lt. Dudingston was wounded in the attack. Instead, medical student John Mawney was called upon. And as far as we can tell, Dr. Benjamin Richmond likely lived and died in Little Compton a considerable distance from the docks of Providence.

According to the USGenWeb 1790 Federal  Census of RI for Little Compton, the only Benjamin Richmond of the time was:
Richmond, Benjamin 2-6-6-*-*,
that is two males over 16, six males under 16, and six females, no other freepersons, and no slaves. His burial is at:
From the LDS site, we gather the following:  Benjamin Richmond, born 7 Aug 1747 in Little Compton, RI was one of 10 children of Perez Richmond and Deborah Loring Richmond (?). He may have married twice, since we have him married to Sarah Church, b. 24 May 1751, then also to Betsey Carver (see below).  More likely than not, it's genealogical confusion. We also note that he was the paternal first cousin of Barzillai and William Richmond noted above.

From Descendants of Elizabeth Pabodie-Sixth Generation <> (Link defunct as of 2005)

Benjamin Richmond was born on 7 Aug 1747 in Dartmouth, Bristol, MA, United States. Benjamin married Betsey Carver about 1773 in of Taunton, Bristol, MA, United States. Betsey was born about 1752 in of Taunton, Bristol, MA. They had the following children:
M i Bezar Richmond was born about 1774 in Taunton, Bristol, MA
M ii Coomer Soule Richmond was born about 1776 in Taunton, Bristol, MA.
M iii Holmes Richmond was born about 1778.
M iv Benjamin Richmond was born on 14 Oct 1780 in Taunton, Bristol, MA
F v Betsey Richmond was born on 8 Apr 1785 in Taunton, Bristol, MA
F vi Bethsheba Richmond was born on 21 May 1787 in Taunton, Bristol, MA
M vii Silas Dean Richmond was born on 28 Nov 1793 in Taunton, Bristol, MA
We do find a Benjamin Richmond as having been a prisoner on the British prison ships in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War <>. We also know there were presumably other Benjamin Richmonds in Saratoga, NY, in Virginia, and in North Carolina at the time. We also find this guy's obituary dated 15July1825 in the Rhode Island American, relating that he was a native of Taunton, MA, died in Rehoboth, MA at age 73 (calculated birth year c1752), and was a "Revolutionary Worthy". But he was prefixed as Mr., not Dr.
The main argument against Dr. Benjamin Richmond being our guy is that he was from Little Compton, but he could have been visiting in nearby Bristol at the time and joined in Simeon Potter's boat for the attack. But then, Montagu indicates that he was from Providence, and none of our accounts state that Dr. Benjamin Richmond was.
We'd also be interested in Captain Gilbert Richmond, per LDS files:
Captain Gilbert Richmond born 27 Apr 1754 in Bristol, RI.
Death:   19 Mar 1782 At Sea.
Parents: Ichabod RICHMOND and Mary VUNIS
Married to:  Althea GORHAM in 1774.  He left 3 children all in Bristol, RI.
Gilbert Richmond's mother-in-law was Jemima Potter Gorham, probably related to Gaspee raider, Simeon Potter of Bristol, and since he wasn't from Providence, if Gilbert Richmond did participate in the attack on the Gaspee, he probably did so in Simeon Potter's boat from Bristol. The fact that he died at sea in 1782 suggests that he was serving on an American privateer raiding the British supply convoys towards the end of the Revolutionary War, and the fact that he was a sea captain increases the likelihood he would have been involved in the burning of the Gaspee. Hmmm, we also know that Gaspee raider Benjamin Lindsey also was lost at sea in 1782 on an American privateer, and Joseph Bucklin V, who fired the shot wounding Gaspee's Lt. Dudingston, was also lost at sea near the same time.

From the USGenWeb site we also obtain:
Witness THOMAS WILBUR,  STEPHEN RICHMOND, Justice of the Peace 10 Feb 1769 (Hopkinton Deeds Vol. 2 p. 184 LDS film 0931562.)
In other files at WESTERLY, RI  DEEDS VOL. 7,  we find that both Stephen and John Richmond were used as witnesses to many real estate transactions.

and in Bristol County, Rhode Island 1790 Federal Census  Bristol Town

Richmond, Aletheas                           *    1    3       *       *
and in the 1790 Census of Little Compton, we have the following:
Richmond, Peres                               3    *    5       *       *
Richmond, William                            3    1    2       2       2
Richmond, William                            1    *    4       *       *
there was also a:
Private Sibe Richmond, 68 Jan. 23, 1786  Paid $2.50 for war-related disability. Corps of Invalids Worn out with old age and bodily infirmities contracted when in the army, which renders him incapable of acquiring a livelihood of labor.
From: History of Washington and Kent Counties, Rhode Island by J. R. Cole W.W.Preston & Co., New York, 1889, CHAPTER XVII.  TOWN OF RICHMOND., p. 710:  There are no useful Richmond names from this article, and we don't even know how the town got its name.
If it weren't for the fact that Carroll said it was "probably Barzillai", and not simply "Barzillai", we'd accept Barzillai Richmond as a definite Gaspee Raider. And for that matter, his brother Colonel William Richmond is assigned the status of a definite suspicious character, as are Barzillai's two sons, Dr. Ebenezer Richmond and William Richmond, Esq.
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Originally Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 8/2002    Last Revised 07/2009    Richmond.htm