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  • Forgotten Patriots: African Americans and American Indians Patriots in the Revolutionary War

    Kenyatta D. Berry

    In early May, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) published the second edition of  Forgotten Patriots – African American and American Indian Patriots of the Revolutionary War: A Guide to Service, Sources and Studies. I recently had an opportunity to discuss Forgotten Patriots with Eric Grundset, Director at the DAR Library. An excerpt of the interview is below, followed by a profile of two New England Patriots, Benjamin Lattimore of Albany, New York.

    Kenyatta: Who is spearheading this project at the DAR?

    Eric: I have been involved with this project since its inception and have been spearheading it over the years. We wanted to go beyond the booklets on minority service and launch a deeper project. In the recent years, four staff members have been solely focused on the Forgotten Patriots project.

    Kenyatta: What was the most rewarding aspect of this project?

    Eric: It has been a fascinating journey taking us into many different types of records, allowing some to develop an expertise. For example, I have taken an interest in William Hazzard a revolutionary war veteran. I have compiled a hundred page genealogy on the Hazzard Family, William had fourteen children, eleven who lived until adulthood. They are a fascinating family; one of his descendants was a member of the famous 54th Massachusetts regiment.

    Kenyatta: What was the most frustrating aspect of the project?

    Eric: Dealing with original records and the scarcity of information available on Native Americans and African Americans in the Revolution. Particularly, some records did not identify the color of the patriot that made it quite difficult for our research. For example, in Maryland the records are largely devoid of color but Rhode Island has the best records for minority service in the war.

    Kenyatta: How is the second edition different than the first edition?

    Eric: The second edition is more than just a list of names, we focused more on providing additional information, a bibliography and documenting where to find original sources.

    Kenyatta: What other projects are you working on?

    Eric: We are working on Women in the American Revolution and developing a web presence for the Forgotten Patriots projects.

    For more information about Forgotten Patriots and to read excerpts from the book, visit


    Benjamin Lattimore was born Weathersfield, Connecticut in 1761 and in 1804 he married Dina, the servant maid of Dr. Mancius. Benjamin and Dina had numerous children, but three children lived to adulthood, Mary, William and Benjamin, Jr.

    In September 1776, Benjamin enlisted in the Third New York Regiment of the Continental Army. In 1777, he was captured at Fort Montgomery by the British and was made a servant of British officers. During a trip into Westchester County, he was captured by the Americans and went home. In 1779, Lattimore and his regiment participated in the Battle of Newtown. After the war, he settled in Poughkeepsie and relocated to Albany in 1790’s. In 1799, he was identified as "a negro man" and was baptized into the Albany Presbyterian Church.

    During his lifetime, Benjamin purchased a number of lots in Albany, including a lot on Plain Street in 1798, Hudson Street in 1803 and a lot in 1811. Benjamin and his son Benjamin, Jr. were employed as cartman. Cartman were licensed to haul cargoes throughout the city, the cartman was charged with providing courteous and consistent service and was responsible for removing trash and garbage from city streets.

    In 1820, his status as a free man was called into question. He appeared before the Albany Court of Common Pleas. He deposed that he was 59 years old and had lived in Albany for 26 years. He was described as a six-foot tall mulatto. Attorney Gerrit Denniston testified that he had known Lattimore for a number of years and that he was "a free man [of] irreproachable character for integrity and uprightness." Judge Estes Howe then declared Benjamin Lattimore to be a free man.1

    In 1834, Benjamin applied for a pension as a soldier in the Revolutionary army. For his service, he received a pension of $80/yr and awarded an arrears payment of $240. In, 1837 Benjamin made his will devising his estate to this three living children, Mary, William and Benjamin.2 Benjamin Lattimore died in April 30, 1838 in Albany, New York.

    Benjamin Lattimore, Jr. born about 1792, married Maria and had eleven children

    • Sarah Ann Lattimore b. 1833 married J. Sella
    • Julia A. Lattimore b. 1835
    • Charles S. Lattimore b. 1837 married Josephine Moore of New York
    • Benjamin F. Lattimore b. 1838
    • William T. Lattimore b. 1840
    • Frances Lattimore b. 1844 married William A. Lloyd of Massachusetts
    • Thomas Lattimore b. 1845
    • Emma Lattimore b. 1847 married Robert Dorsey
    • Alice Lattimore b. 1850
    • Helen Lattimore b. 1854
    • Martha Lattimore b. 1856

    The descendants of Benjamin Lattimore, Sr. lived in Albany and New England.

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