Myth, etc. #2: Association with the ship “Diligence of Glasgow” in 1729
I cannot blame this myth on the old published histories.Rather it is of recent vintage on the Internet and can now be found in many postings that Hance Hamilton came to America on the “Diligence of Glasgow” and that he was somehow related or associated with a John Hamilton, who some have theorized was his father.
There was a ship named “Diligence of Glasgow” and a John Hamilton was its Master or Captain.The “Diligence of Glasgow” was named in a Scottish Admiralty case dated 1725 as reported in the book by David Dobson, “American Data from the Records of the High Court of the Admiralty of Scotland, 1675-1800” (published 2009):
“William Fulton, carpenter on the “Diligence of Glasgow” and the other crew members, v. her master CAPTAIN JOHN HAMILTON for wages due for a voyage to the Potomac River, Virginia.Reference to Hugh Kennedy, a merchant in Glasgow and in Virginia, and the crew of the “Diligence.” – mate David Spreull, bosun Robert Forbes, cook Christopher Wall, David Petrie, James Baillie, William Anderson, Thomas Ludat, Hugh Ferguson, and George Lyon.”
“AC/31/1170-121213 August 1725
“The crew of the “Diligence of Glasgow” v. CAPTAIN JOHN HAMILTON, master of the said ship, for non payment of wages on the voyage to the Potomac and back.”
And I will note here that in the days of sailing ships, a crew of 10 was not going to manage a very large ship, particularly one that carried 140 passengers, much less families (see the third problem in this set of discussions).
Captain John Hamilton apparently died in 1729 at Penn’s Neck, New Jersey, where he left a will:
“The will of JOHN HAMILTON states that he is late of Mincmor? in the county of Londonder-ry, now aboard the “DELIGANCE (sp?) OUT OF GLASCOW."
“…Thomas Hamilton, Sr, was possibly the son of John Hamilton who died in 1729 at Penn's Neck, NJ, right after his arrival from Ireland.His will was made on board ship and states that he was ‘sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory.’ Only three children are named in father John’s will.The will states ‘. . .bequeath to my three children Mary, Alexander and James Hamilton all my whole worldly substances equally to be divided.’”
[Reference: “Glimpses of the Past,” by Pearl H Johnson 1981, photocopy of will – thanks to Bonnie Hamilton’s 2 Feb 1999 posting on the Roots Web Hamilton subscription list.]
Hance Hamilton was not one of the children named in John Hamilton’s will.The circumstances that a John Hamilton skippered the “Diligence of Glasgow” (which appears to have been a relatively small vessel) does not connect in any way with Hance Hamilton who is alleged to have landed at New Castle in 1729 with 140 families – except for the coincidence of the common name “Hamilton” and the common date of “1729.”And by no trick of osmosis did (Sea) Captain John Hamilton become (Sea) Captain Hance Hamilton.
Lou Poole, Richardson, TX