• Express Rider Transports Connecticut Laws During The Revolutionary War

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    Horses provided the transportation needed to deliver important messages during the Revolutionary War.  While Paul Revere and William Dawes are the most notable riders who delivered messages about the British coming, there were many Express Riders without whom the American effort at freedom may have been derailed.  The above document offers a strong light into Connecticut’s attempt to deliver and preserve evidence of its laws.  


    6 ½ x 8 ¼ Pay order to John Lawrence, Treasurer of the state of Connecticut, October 20th, 1777.  “Sir, pay out of the State Treasury unto Jabez Huntington Esq Thirty Eight pounds, Nine Shillings for his expenses in sending Express to carry the laws of the several towns in Windham County...by order of the Assembly Committee. Jabez Hamlin, Wm Pitkin”


    Fine docketing on verso. “Rec’d for Jabez Huntington, Esq. Ezer Williams”


    The document is signed by Jabez Huntington (verso) and by Jabez Hamlin, William Pitkin and Samuel Wyllys, an important group of Connecticut revolutionaries.


    JABEZ HUNTINGTON (August 7, 1719-October 5, 1786) was a merchant and politician. He amassed a fortune in West India trade. After 1759, he was frequently a member of the legislature and speaker for several years. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, he owned a large amount of shipping and lost heavily by the capture of his vessels. He was among the most active on the Committee Of Safety and in September 1776, he and David Wooster were appointed Major Generals. After the death of Wooster in 1777, Jabez was put in charge of the entire Connecticut militia.


    JABEZ HAMLIN (July 28, 1709-April 25, 1791) served as deputy in the General Assembly, a position he occupied during sixty-five sessions.  He was also Speaker of the House and a member of the Governor’s Council.  Hamlin was an active member of the Council of Safety.  In the Militia, he reached the rank of colonel.


    WILLIAM PITKIN JR. (1725-1789) was the son of Governor William Pitkin and served as an officer during the French & Indian War and as a member of the Council on Safety during the Revolution. He owned one of the first powder mills in colonial America, from which he supplied gunpowder to the Continental Army.  He also served as assistant to and clerk of the Connecticut General Assembly and was judge of the Hartford Superior Court.


    SAMUEL WYLLYS (January 4, 1739-June 9, 1823) was a military officer in the Revolutionary War.  He led a successful petition to the Connecticut General Assembly to create the Governor’s Guard and was elected as the unit’s first captain.  In 1775, he was appointed lieutenant colonel in Col. Joseph Spencer’s 2nd Connecticut Regiment. On July 1, he was promoted to Colonel and commanded the regiment until January 1, 1776, when the 2nd Connecticut was reorganized as the 22nd Continental Regiment. Wyllys remained in command, serving in the Siege of Boston until the British evacuation on March 17, and then marched with George Washington to New York.


    Folds, toning.  Expected wear.  A spectacular Revolutionary War document supporting Connecticut’s desire to maintain a lawful society.


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