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This "raiders" division of the Gaspee. Info website is devoted to information about the Raiders as individuals.

In this section of
Gaspee Raiders
Up
Paul Allen
Ephraim Bowen
Aaron Briggs
Abial Brown
John Brown
Joseph Brown
Joseph Bucklin
Abel Easterbrooks
Nath. Easterbrooks
Capt. Samuel Dunn
Capt. Rufus Greene
Capt. Greenwood
Benjamin Hammond
Joseph Harris
Capt. John Hopkins
Justin Jacobs
Joseph Jencks
Hezekiah Kinnicut
John Kilton
Abner Luther
John Mawney
Simeon Olney
Ezra Ormsbee
Benjamin Page
Capt. S. Potter
Barzilla Richmond
Nath. Salisbury
Capt. Chris. Sheldon
Capt. Shepard
James Smith
Turpin Smith
Capt Swan
Robert Sutton
Capt. Jos.Tillinghast
Capt. Abr.Whipple
Qualification for List
Boat Captains
Raider Connections
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Go to
Gaspee History
for history, overall facts, background, results, and analysis of the  1772 attack itself.

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Books: American Colonial and Revolutionary War history or the people involved. We have suggestions for you.

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This is a history education and research web site of the
Joseph Bucklin Society.

References in brackets [  ] or in curly brackets {  } on any page in this website are to books, or other materials, listed in the Joseph Bucklin Society Gaspee Bibliography, or to materials held by the Joseph Bucklin Society.

The RAP.  
The Joseph Bucklin Society Raider Associations Project
investigates the question: What associations existed among the Gaspee Raiders?

The raiders of the Gaspee were Rhode Island men with various relationships and associations among them.  Many were related by blood or marriage.  Many had business and social relationships between them.  These associations helped keep their identities secret when it was decided that England should not be allowed to discover who were the persons who attacked the Gaspee.  

The Joseph Bucklin Society is now coordinating history and genealogy to research,  discover, and publish not only business and social connections among the raiders, but also family relationships . It is fascinating to plot the overlapping and intertwining genealogical, financial, business, and social relationships among the persons in the Gaspee attacking party and those involved in the cover-up of the names of the attackers. 

Consider the geography and demographics of Rhode Island when the Gaspee was attacked. 

  • The town of Providence,  including rural farm areas, in 1772 was approximately, only six square miles. 
  • Providence had only 4,000 inhabitants, gathered in about with 650 families, with the compact part of the town only having 409 families.
  • There were only about 700 men over the age of 16 and capable of bearing arms. 

The compact part of the town was even smaller.  [The compact part of the town was less than one square mile. For comparison, consider that the Bucklin families had contiguous land holdings on the east bank of the Seekonk river, across from Providence, that were larger than all of the compact part of Providence.] 

A wonderful complete  inventory of the compact part of the town by Kingsley Carpenter showed only 309 dwelling houses.  The commercial (as opposed to agricultural) nature of those who lived there is shown by the fact that there were "186 Store Houses and Shops." 

Many of the raiders lived in close proximity to each other.  For example, Joseph Bucklin, Abraham Whipple, and Nathaniel Greene all lived in a close small section of homes and businesses on the west side of the Great Bridge.  The Bowens, Sabins, Fenners, and Browns all lived in a small  area in or near the Parade/Market square on the east side of the Great Bridge.

In short, the small population and compact nature of the town meant that townspersons would have been well acquainted with one another. 


In addition business and family relationships built bonds among the townspersons.  What follows is a sampling of some of the connections that contributed to the ability of the Gaspee Raiders to keep their identity concealed until after the successful conclusion of the Revolutionary War.

In 1770, the Congregational Church of Providence was established, the founding members including Darius Sessions, Ephraim Bowen, John Foster, Jr. Nathaniel Green, and James Greene,  all connected with the Gaspee Affair. [Records of the Colony of Rhode land, 1770, p. 20].

Joseph Bucklin 5th (who fired the shot) was a second cousin of Amy Whipple, who in turn was married to another Joseph Bucklin, b. 1742, a cousin of Joseph Bucklin 5th.   In addition,  his grandfather had a brother whose son was married to a Whipple. The Whipple's genealogy lists 13 Bucklins as Whipple relatives in the Providence area at or before the time of Joseph Bucklin.

Joseph Bucklin 4th, the father of Joseph Bucklin 5th, was a prominent merchant of the Providence area.  The brigantine Providence was a link to others who figured in Gaspee raid.  The brigantine Providence was commissioned in 1757 by Stephen Hopkins, as governor of Rhode Island, as a privateer to seize goods of France.  Esek Hopkins was the captain of the privateer ship. The first prize captured by Esek was the ship desire, and 20 year old John Brown was appointed the sales agent to sell the ship. [Brown1988].  Later, Esek served as a ship captain for Joseph Brown on many voyages after the Brown brothers began their merchant business. The ship continued in use for at least a dozen years, and, in 1768, the Providence  was partly owned  by Joseph Bucklin the 4th, together with Nicholas Cooke and  Benjamin Cushing. 

John B. Hopkins (captain of one of the boats) was a second cousin, once removed, of Amy Whipple. He was a ship captain of John Brown. John B. Hopkins was a nephew of Stephen Hopkins.

Esek Hopkins, an experienced merchant captain of the Browns, may have been in the attacking party. He was the father of John B. Hopkins and a brother of Stephen Hopkins. 

Stephen Hopkins was greatly associated with John Brown in several, various, business ventures.  Furthermore, John Brown was his treasurer and chief architect of Stephen's substantial political successes in Rhode Island politics.

Abraham Whipple (who was the captain in charge of maneuvers of the attackers) was a 3rd cousin of Amy Whipple. Whipple was married to Sarah Hopkins, the daughter of John Hopkins. The Whipple's genealogy lists 13 Bucklins as Whipple relatives in the Providence area in the 1770's era.  For many years, Whipple had been a sea captain on dozens of voyages of Brown ships, and the captain of privateering ventures of the Browns..

John Brown, the grand planner of the affair was a grandchild of Lydia Bucklin; and Lydia was the sister of Joseph Bucklin 4th's grandfather. To put it otherwise, Joseph Bucklin's grandfather and John Brown's grandmother were brother and sister.

James Sabin was the owner of the tavern where the burning of the Gaspee was organized. Joseph's grandfather had married into the Sabin family; and Joseph himself was married to a Sabin.

Arthur Fenner was a witness to the will of Joseph Bucklin 4th. Arthur Fenner was the owner of Fenner's wharf, from which longboats were loaded with the raiders. Arthur Fenner was a clerk of the local court of general jurisdiction. He appears in the list of persons that Admiral Montague wanted the royal commission to investigate.

John Brown and Joseph Bucklin were two of the six directors of the street paving lottery and project of 1761 in Providence.

Stephen Hopkins was Chief Justice in Rhode Island in 1772. Stephen's brother William had a daughter, Sarah Hopkins, who was the wife of Abraham Whipple, a ship captain of one of the longboats attacking the Gaspee. Stephen's brother John was in the attacking party, and possibly his brother Esek also was in the Gaspee attacking party.

Esek Hopkins was a ship captain for John Brown. When both Esek and Joseph Bucklin 4th were younger, Esek Hopkins had rented a sloop to Joseph Bucklin 4th for Bucklin's  merchant business.

Later another ship, the brigantine Providence,  was a connecting point among Esek, Joseph Bucklin 4th, and probably John Brown.  In 1757, during the Seven Years War,  Stephen Hopkins, then governor of Rhode Island, issued (for payment to him) a commission to John Brown to have  the Providence be a privateer to capture French ships.  Esek Hopkins was the captain of the privateer ship. After the Seven Years War, the brigantine Providence continued in use as a merchant ship. In 1768 it was partly owned by Joseph Bucklin the 4th., together with Nicholas Cooke and Benjamin Cushing. We know that because of the court record in 1768 when the Providence was seized by the English navy for  being involved in rum smuggling. The flimsiest of excuses was used to defend the case. Joseph won the case, and costs were assessed against the customs collector. After the Revolutionary War, the brigantine Providence was owned by John Brown.  [Hawes, Off Soundings p 220]

John Andrews was the judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court in Rhode Island, and he rarely found for the English in the customs cases before him. He was with Lt. Gov. Sessions in some of Sessions attempt to frustrate English attempts to find the culprits of the affair. Andrews himself was the subject of inquiry into his knowledge of what happened the night of the Gaspee attack. Andrews had been the judge who had found for Joseph Bucklin 4th in the English navy's customs seizure of the brigantine Providence, and ordered return of the ship to Joseph.

John Mawney's father was the brother of Ephram Bowen's mother.  In short, raiders Mawney and Bowen were cousins.

The Fenners, Bowens, and Jencks all lived around the Parade/Market square on the east end of the Great Bridge, near the Sabin Tavern (and the Nicholas, John, and Joseph Brown homes were close by.   On the other side of the Great Bridge immediately were the homes of Bucklin and Nathanial Greene [Henry Chace Papers]

Richard Olney and his son Simeon Olney (and the Kiltons) lived a few doors down the street from Darius Sessions.  Olney had purchased the house from Jonathan Bucklin (who was there in1759 but had left by 1770) Joseph Bucklin 4th's uncle.  Like Jonathan Bucklin, Richard Olney operated a popular tavern at the location. [Henry Chace Papers] (Note: Brown & Smith 1972 's misidentification of Joseph Bucklin  in 1772 as an innkeeper apparently arose because of the earlier tavern.]  The location was a good one, because it was just across the street from the Courthouse..

The Sabin, Bowen and Bucklin families had a long relationship.  William Sabin, Obediah Bowen  and William Bucklin were among the small group of men that set out from Rehoboth in 1657 to find "meadows north of town" which were purchased from the Indians that latter became Attleboro. [Cooper, p 2] The three families generally had land in the same places, including descendents that moved to Providence about the same time., 

What is truly remarkable is that even though some Rhode Islanders were loyal to the English, they never publicly came forward with much information. For example, a first cousin of Joseph Bucklin 5th, one Susanna Bucklin, was married to a brave man (Solomon Johns) who joined the English and was a excellent and daring spy for the English in the Revolutionary War.