John Bacon and His Men Essay

John Bacon and His Men Essay

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Captain John Bacon is one of the most notorious of the legendary Pine Robbers – outlaws who preyed on rebel and Tory alike in the desolate lands of the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

Bacon, like many other famed Tory leaders in the province of New Jersey likely held a commission and gained his “Captain” title from the “Board of Associated Loyalists,” which was a group formed in New York and chartered by William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin and last Royal governor of New Jersey. The British Government, knowing that having an organized force of Loyalists would free up their armies to conduct military operations against the Continentals, approved of the Board and as such offered a reward of 200 acres of land to anybody willing to fight for the British during the duration of the war. Raids were to be conducted solely against military targets , and Bacon chiefly confined his “picarooning” to well-known members of the Monmouth Militia unlike many other Pine Robbers who simply used the war as an excuse to plunder indiscriminately. The exploits of Bacon and other Refugees – Tories operating under the auspices of the Board – were far more violent and sinister than those sanctioned by the Crown.

Prior to the war Bacon worked as a laborer on the Crane family farm in Manahawkin. Members of the Crane family would later join the Monmouth Militia.
It’s likely that Bacon’s Tory sympathies caused a rift between himself and his Whig employers and he either was fired or quit to join the Board of Associated Loyalists. At some point he settled his wife and two sons in Pemberton but spent most of his time hiding and raiding in the area between Cedar Creek and Tuckerton.

One of the first actions that can be attributed to Bacon is a raidi...

... middle of paper ...
Ibid, 45.
Salter, 210
Renee Brecht, The Long Beach Island Massacre, part 2, (June 21, 2011).
Salter, 210.
American War of Independence – At Sea, The Long Beach Island Massacre (June 21, 2011).
Salter, 209.
New Jersey Gazette, Trenton, January 8, 1783.
George F. Fort, MD, “An Account of the Capture and Death of the Refugee John Bacon,” Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, (Newark, NJ: New Jersey Historical Society, 1847) 151.
New Jersey Gazette, Trenton, April 9, 1783.
Fort, 152
Henry Charlton Beck, More Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey. (Rutgers, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1963) 260.

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