September 23, 2021 10:00 EDT

Books and Manuscripts

 
  Lot 9
 

9

[American Revolution] [Tophand, Ezekiel]
Partially-Printed State of Connecticut Treasury-Office Certificate

Scarce State of Connecticut Treasury Certificate issued to a Black Patriot who served in the American Revolution

Connecticut, June 1, 1782. One sheet, approximately 3 1/4 x 7 1/2 in. (82 x 190 mm). Partially-printed State of Connecticut Treasury-Office certificate (Numb. 3963), issued to African-American Revolutionary War soldier, Ezekiel Tophand, for service in the Connecticut Line of the Continental Army, for nine pounds, nine shillings, "Being one fourth Part of the Balance found due to him, which Sum shall be paid to him or his Order at this Office, in Gold or Silver, on or before the first Day of June, A.D. One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight...which Interest shall be paid unto him or his Order annually..." Signed by Commissioner of the Loan Office for the state of Connecticut, John Lawrence; MS. on verso recording interest amounts paid unitl 1789. Debt redeemed, and cancelled at center with perforated hole. Anderson CT 19, R2. Lot includes a small print.

Ezekiel Tophand was an African-American soldier from New Haven, Connecticut, who enlisted on December 13, 1776, and fought in David Humphreys (1752-1818) all-black Company in the 4th Connecticut Regiment during the American Revolution. This company consisted of 48 black privates and NCOs and was formed in October of 1780, and served until November 1782 when it was reorganized under the command of Zebulon Butler (1731-95).

"This segregated unit, black soldiers under white officers, was created as the Sixth Connecticut in the Continental Army's reorganization of late 1780. As of January 1, 1781 Connecticut's nine regiments were reduced to five. The Sixth Connecticut was the only regiment not to be combined with another in the consolidation. It simply changed its name, from the Sixth to the Fourth. All black soldiers formerly of the Sixth were placed in an all-black company in the Fourth Connecticut, along with five new black recruits. Other men of color in the Connecticut line remained scattered among white regiments, as was typical in the Continental Army. The Company's captain, David Humphreys, is listed on the muster as an aide-de-camp to 'His Excellency,' referring to George Washington. He had two jobs and so did not devote himself entirely to his unit. Indeed Humphrey's correspondence from this period has him far away from his men's camp at West Point...By 1782, these black privates were seasoned soldiers. Most had enlisted in 1777, when the laws of Connecticut opened service to all males between the ages of sixteen and sixty. In 1777 the Connecticut legislature also freed slave owners from any financial liability connected with slaves they had freed. This law, combined with one that allowed men to hire substitutes for military service, assured that freeing slaves and having them serve in the stead of the master would entail no financial risk if the ex-slave could not support himself in the future. And so...slaves joined the army for the war's duration with the prospect of freedom at the end..." (Judith L. Van Buskirk, Standing in their Own Light: African American Patriots in the American Revolution, 2017, pp. 8-10).

It is estimated that close to 10,000 African-Americans served in the Continential Army and various state militias during the American Revolution, while around 20,000 served in the British Army. Promises of freedom from enslavement was a large motivating factor for joining either the Patriot or British armies. The average length of enlistment for African-American soldiers was around 4 1/2 years, with some serving for the duration of the war. This length is estimated to be almost eight-times that of the average white soldier.

Sold for $2,772
Estimated at $800 - $1,200


 

Scarce State of Connecticut Treasury Certificate issued to a Black Patriot who served in the American Revolution

Connecticut, June 1, 1782. One sheet, approximately 3 1/4 x 7 1/2 in. (82 x 190 mm). Partially-printed State of Connecticut Treasury-Office certificate (Numb. 3963), issued to African-American Revolutionary War soldier, Ezekiel Tophand, for service in the Connecticut Line of the Continental Army, for nine pounds, nine shillings, "Being one fourth Part of the Balance found due to him, which Sum shall be paid to him or his Order at this Office, in Gold or Silver, on or before the first Day of June, A.D. One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight...which Interest shall be paid unto him or his Order annually..." Signed by Commissioner of the Loan Office for the state of Connecticut, John Lawrence; MS. on verso recording interest amounts paid unitl 1789. Debt redeemed, and cancelled at center with perforated hole. Anderson CT 19, R2. Lot includes a small print.

Ezekiel Tophand was an African-American soldier from New Haven, Connecticut, who enlisted on December 13, 1776, and fought in David Humphreys (1752-1818) all-black Company in the 4th Connecticut Regiment during the American Revolution. This company consisted of 48 black privates and NCOs and was formed in October of 1780, and served until November 1782 when it was reorganized under the command of Zebulon Butler (1731-95).

"This segregated unit, black soldiers under white officers, was created as the Sixth Connecticut in the Continental Army's reorganization of late 1780. As of January 1, 1781 Connecticut's nine regiments were reduced to five. The Sixth Connecticut was the only regiment not to be combined with another in the consolidation. It simply changed its name, from the Sixth to the Fourth. All black soldiers formerly of the Sixth were placed in an all-black company in the Fourth Connecticut, along with five new black recruits. Other men of color in the Connecticut line remained scattered among white regiments, as was typical in the Continental Army. The Company's captain, David Humphreys, is listed on the muster as an aide-de-camp to 'His Excellency,' referring to George Washington. He had two jobs and so did not devote himself entirely to his unit. Indeed Humphrey's correspondence from this period has him far away from his men's camp at West Point...By 1782, these black privates were seasoned soldiers. Most had enlisted in 1777, when the laws of Connecticut opened service to all males between the ages of sixteen and sixty. In 1777 the Connecticut legislature also freed slave owners from any financial liability connected with slaves they had freed. This law, combined with one that allowed men to hire substitutes for military service, assured that freeing slaves and having them serve in the stead of the master would entail no financial risk if the ex-slave could not support himself in the future. And so...slaves joined the army for the war's duration with the prospect of freedom at the end..." (Judith L. Van Buskirk, Standing in their Own Light: African American Patriots in the American Revolution, 2017, pp. 8-10).

It is estimated that close to 10,000 African-Americans served in the Continential Army and various state militias during the American Revolution, while around 20,000 served in the British Army. Promises of freedom from enslavement was a large motivating factor for joining either the Patriot or British armies. The average length of enlistment for African-American soldiers was around 4 1/2 years, with some serving for the duration of the war. This length is estimated to be almost eight-times that of the average white soldier.

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