At the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, we have an interesting American Revolutionary War period document featuring the autographs of three prominent Rhode Islanders including Esek Hopkins (first Commander in Chief of the US Navy), Governor William Greene Jr., and Samuel Ward Jr. (bios below).
Here’s a transcript:
State Rhode Island &c
The General Assembly at August Session 1782 orderd the sum of sixty pounds to be paid William Greene out of the General Treasury
£60..0 witness Sam Ward Dy Secy
[endorsement by Greene:] January 6th 1783 / Received the contents / ? W. Greene
[endorsement by Hopkins:] His Excelly Wm Greene / £60 / G 19 / audt febr 6, 1783 E. Hopkins
[docketing:] William Greene / Govr ordr £60.0.0
— Esek Hopkins (1718-1802) was born in the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations into a prominent family. He went to sea at age twenty and became an accomplished sailor and trader. He commanded a privateer during the French and Indian War and served as a deputy in the Rhode Island General Assembly. His brother Stephen Hopkins served as colonial governor for nine years in four terms between 1755 and 1768 and signed the Declaration of Independence. In October 1775, Esek Hopkins received an appointment as brigadier general to command all Rhode Island military forces. In December 1775, the Continental Congress appointed him the only Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy. His duty was to protect American commerce. In March 1776, he raided Providence (Nassau) in the Bahamas and captured munitions and three ships from the British. As the war began, Hopkins found it difficult to compete with privateers for sailors, and the Continental Congress censured Hopkins in August 1776. His fleet remained blockaded in Narragansett Bay by a superior British fleet until Congress relieved him of command in January 1778. Hopkins served in the Rhode Island General Assembly through 1786, then retired to his farm.
— William Greene Jr. (1731-1809) was born in Rhode Island into a prominent family. His father served eleven terms as colonial governor of Rhode Island. William Greene Jr. served as deputy to the General Assembly (1773-1777), as justice (1774-1777) and chief justice (1777-1778) of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and as the second governor of the state of Rhode Island (1778-1786).
— Samuel Ward Jr. (1756-1832) was born in Rhode Island and graduated from Brown University in 1771. He was the son of Samuel Ward, twice colonial governor of Rhode Island in the 1760s. In 1775, he received a commission as captain of a company in the 12th Regiment. He rose in rank to the command of lieutenant colonel before retiring in January 1781. After the war, he became a merchant and served as a delegate to the Annapolis Convention of 1786.
No photo description available.
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