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
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
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
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 http://www.dar.org/forgottenpatriots
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
Benjamin Lattimore, Jr. born about 1792, married Maria and had eleven
The descendants of Benjamin Lattimore, Sr. lived in Albany and New