Appendix #S6: Influential New York Leaders During the Revolution
John Jay was a graduate of King's College and a prominent New York attorney. He was appointed secretary to the New York Correspondence Committee, an early collaboration with pre-revolutionary Committees of Correspondence in other colonies. He was selected as a representative to the First Continental Congress and was later elected President of the 2nd Continental Congress. In those assemblies he supported forming the Continental Association, which was the crucial policy that abrogated power to Revolutionary Committees in New York while reducing the power and influence of the British Provincial government.
Back in New York in 1775 and 1776, Jay participated in and often led those Revolutionary Committees, whose goal it was to restrict the activities and influence of Loyalists who supported the British regime. In that capacity, he disarmed, arrested, banished or jailed several prominent Loyalists and even prosecuted a few of the leaders of the FDNY, like John Dash and George Waldegrove. His manipulation of the firemen’s traditional exemptions for military service made him no friend of the firemen before the war generally.
During the war, he was the American ambassador to Spain and attempted to get Spanish recognition of the new government and financial aid for the revolutionary cause. After the war, he became the first US Supreme Court justice and later as special envoy to Britain negotiated the Jay Treaty, which avoided a war but was met with hostility by political opponents. He served as Governor of New York and received votes for the Presidency in two elections before retiring in 1801.
John Jay (partial): see the National Gallery for a full image and context(www.npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.74.46).
Marinus Willett was a prominent Colonel in Washington's army. Before the war, as a leader of the Sons of Liberty, he sought pretexts to burn Loyalist property, which inevitably led to tensions with firemen. As mentioned in the book, he was the leader of the Sons who stopped ships in New York from reinforcing the British troops in Bosotn after the first two battles in Lexington and Concord. Also, he was the Revolutionary leader of the group who confiscated the muskets and ammunition stored in City Hall under the supervision of Jacobus Stoutenburgh. This resulted in Stoutenburgh’s later affidavit to establish the exact number and value of the weapons taken from his care “by sundry persons”.
Marinus Willett (partial): see the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website for a full image and the context of this portrait (www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/10833).
Isaac was a fourth-generation American Stoutenburgh. His father, a gunsmith and a fireman, had served on the Common Council, managed dozens of public works along with the colonial Night Watch for decades. His uncle, Jacobus, also a gunsmith, was the city’s first Engineer (Fire Chief) and oversaw the growth and ‘modernization’ of the fire department. This Isaac Stoutenburgh was also a gunsmith and fireman. He raised a militia company, participated in the early provincial and State governments, liquidated the massive Loyalist estates, served the city as an Alderman, and managed large civic projects. He contributed substantially to the distinguished Stoutenburgh legacy in 18th century New York.
Isaac Stoutenburgh (partial): see the Stoutenburgh-Teller website for a genealogy of the Stoutenburghs and a full image (www.stoutenburgh-teller.com/colonial-portrait-isaac-stoutenburgh).