Perhaps a man of great historical importance to both ourselves and indeed to the United States
and of whom so little is known about here and indeed America
is Colonel John Haslet one time Commander of George Washington's Delaware Regt.
in the American War of Independence. We should be aware of this notable man.
some notes from my research on him.
John Haslet was the son of a Presbyterian
farmer and merchant and his wife Ann Dykes (daughter of the Rev. Dykes of Ballykelly)
living in the townland of Straw on the west bank of the river
Roe about 2 miles north of Dungiven close to what is now Burnfoot village. He studied
in Glasgow for the Presbyterian ministry. On qualifying he took up an appointment
at Ballykelly close to Limavady. However
his first wife died in childbirth with their 2nd chid. The first child Polly was raised until the age
of 13 with a relative a Samuel Haslett of Drumneecy when she then went to America to
her father and his new family by his 2nd marriage. The death of his 2nd child compounded with
problems with his
congregation made John Haslet decide to emigrate to America.
In America he joined what
was then the British army of N. America and was involved
in quite a few expeditions and
confrontations in the French-Indian war. One of the
main confrontations was the fall of Fort Duquesne (close to what is now the city of Pittsburg).
After his military
service in the British forces in N. America he went back to
Delaware where he started to farm and
later remarried. However he again got involved in war this time the
War of Independence. He along with
a local dignatory in Delaware a Caesar Rodney were main motivators in Delaware for
independence from London rule.
As rebellion took hold and open confrontation started between the forces of the Crown and what was seen as the "rebellious" Americans Haslet formed up a regiment in the State of Delaware known as the Delaware Continentals or simply Haslet's Delaware Regt. Soon they would be involved in all the major confrontations. They were as perhaps the best equipped and disciplined regiment in the Army. They were amongst the better fighting units and history pays many complements to the unit as being one of the units that changed the course of the war from possible defeat to victory. Victory was theirs and Delaware was the first State of the new union of the United States to sign the declaration of Independnece a document printed by one John Dunlop of Strabane. Many soldiers of this so called army of rebellion were Presbyterians from here. Sadly Haslet was killed at the Battle of Princeton New Jersey on Jan 3rd. 1777. Haslet was initially buried in Presbyterian churchyard in Philadelphia but in 1841 his remains were removed for reburial in Dover Delaware. The Hibernia Society in Philadelphia at the time played a major part in the ceremonies. The image above is of his headstone at Dover Delaware.
Caesar Rodney who later signed the Declaration of Independence wrote on Jan 27th 1777 about the loss of Haslet and writing from Trenton New Jersey to William Killen afterwards chancellor of the State of Delaware and who took over Haslet’s affairs after his death wrote.
“You have heard, sad intelligence of your Mercer and Haslet. Slaine in the battle of Princeton.They fell but nobly fell tho butchered. And so long as the inhabitants of this American world shall continue to be free people so long at least will the name of Mercer and Haslet be held in honorable remembrance. Mercers character is excellent but in Haslet we know we lost a brave open honest sensible man one who loved his country more than his private interest”.
A view taken across Straw townland looking towards Benbradagh hill. The town of Dungiven to the right of the image at about two miles. The river Roe flows across the center of the image from right to left.
Colonel John Haslet commander of the Delaware Regt. killed at Princeton was initially buried in the grounds of the Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. This fact was very well known to his fellow countrymen in the city at the time just after the War of Independence. The Irish community in Philadelphia would react to their fellow countrymen as they would do in the Civil War era. The inhabitants of the city at the time would be primarily the Scots Irish still proud to call themselves Irish. There would be later conflict about this as the Famine and post famine Catholic Irish flooded into the city. There would be friction between the descendants of the Scots Irish and the Catholic Irish. As always in life the hero is quickly forgotten. By 1787 America was changing forever. The deeds of such men as John Haslet were quickly forgotten. His children all seemed to have suffered badly in the years after their father was acclaimed a hero in the War of Independence. Some 10 years after the death of John Haslet the estate that they lived on as a family was in a very poor condition. His children sent a petition to The General Assembly of Delaware about the situation.
“That your Petitioner’s s’d late father gave up a very sensitive and lucrative practice as a physician to take upon him the command of the 1st Reg’t raised by the Delaware state for the service of the United States soon after the commencement of the late war with Britain and fell on the 3rd of Jan’y 1777 in the Battle of Princeton and notwithstanding the happy success of the American arms in that battle the returning anniversary thereof has ever since that era forced and will continue to force from the eyes of such of your petitioners as were then and still are sensible of the loss of such a father involuntary tears and distain their cheeks with weeping and the subsequent reduction of the little property they became entitled to by his Will and Death from the deprecation of Congress paper money is not likely to console them or dry up their tears”.
Some 64 years after Haslet’s death at Princeton there seems to have been an awakening among the populace about one of their heros. A man perhaps who never did receive the accolade that he should have rightly received. Did the main motivation for such events as detailed below come from the Delaware people?. It is very likely. In this year John Haslet’s body was exhumed from its first resting place in Philadelphia where he had been buried after his death at Princeton. Here are some details of the ceremonies that took place when his remains were removed from Philadelphia to Dover Delaware his last resting place.
At a meeting on April 16th. 1841, the Hibernian Society in Philadlphia entered a note from Secretary Joseph Jones that he had been informed “of the intended removal by direction of the Leglislature of Delaware of the remains of Colonel John Haslet a distinguished Irishman and gallant soldier of the Revolution from their present resting place in the burial ground of the First Presbyterian Church in this city to the burial ground of the Presbyterian Church in Dover Delaware”. The Society expressed a desire to participate in those ceremonies. At the same meeting the Society considered plans to honor William Henry Harrison President of the U.S. who had recently died but decided “it is expedient for the Society to join in the procession Tuesday next (April 20th.) but it is respectfully recommended that such of the members as are attached to civil or military bodies shall show their respect to the late chief magistrate by parading on that day with the bodies to which they respectfully belong and that those in private life shall unite in the procession with the body of their fellow citizens of the same description”. At the meeting on June 17th. the Society “unamiously agreed to assemble on the 2nd. day of July next with the appropriate insignia of mourning to escort the (Haslet) remains to the place of embarcation for Delaware and that a deputation from the Society should proceed to Delaware to witness the reinterment on the following day”. The Society appointed David Boyd, Hugh Campbell, Alexander Diamond, James Harper and John Maguire. Boyd whose son David Jr. also was a member had been admitted to the Society in 1824. He was a native of Ballymoney County Antrim and a very successful tailor in Philadelphia. Campbell also was a native of Ireland. He was a dry goods merchant. He was a member of the Hibernian Society from 1834. Diamond was a distiller. He was a member since 1832. Harper was a native of ( 1779 ) of Glaskiel County Tyrone and emigrated with his parents in 1793 or 94. He became a brickmaker and was grandmaster of a Masonic Lodge and served two terms in Congress ( 1833 - 37 ). He had been a member since 1832. Maguire. The only relevant information in his biography lists him as a grocer who was admitted to membership in 1839. The Hibernian Society was the successor to the “Friendly Son’s of St. Patrick” organised in Philadelphia on March 17th. 1771. The Society membership was fading when the “Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants” was organised April 5th. 1790.
“The ceremonies announced to take place in this city yesterday ( July 1st. )
in relation to the remains of the gallant Colonel John Haslet who fell at
Princeton in 1777 were consummated in a formal and appropriate manner.
We are among those who regard demonstrations of this kind as calculated
to have the most beneficial tendency. The events of our struggle for national
liberty may be said to be fading away every hour into the dimness of
distance and thus as we journey on our pilgrimage through life new
objects, new interests, new feelings and new associations are apt to
engross the whole mind. It is well therefore occasionally to exhume
the body of some one of the brave spirits who fell during the trial times
of our early career and thus while pointing to the mouldering remains to
direct the mind and the memory of the present generation to the times
and events in which those remains when animated by life and warmed
by patriotism formed a feature in the struggle for national existence.
Therefore we say that scenes of this kind, well timed and determined
upon in connection with suitable objects are calculated for good. In this
view we regard the affairs of yesterday. The little state of Delaware has
done herself honour in her proper manifestations of feeling in relation to
one of the bravest of those who went from within her bosom carrying his
life in his hand and determined to peril all and if need be to sacrifice all
in an noble effort to sustain the rights of his adopted country. Philadelphia
also deserves a passing word of praise for the becoming manner in which
the remains were disinterred and placed in the hands of the appropriate
committee from Delaware.
The display throughout was highly credible, music, banners and general appearance as well of the military and the civic part of the procession becoming and appropriate.The body which has been exhumed on Thursday was placed in an elegant mahogany coffin and conveyed to the first Presbyterian church on Washington Square where the volunteers and various societies assembled at an early hour in the morning and formed a possession somewhat in the following order”
General Provost and Staff.
The various volunteers of the city and county of Philadelphia, the hilts of the swords of the officers mounted with crape, the drums muffled and in crape, the flags similarly marked, and the various bands of music, including the band from the Navy Yard playing solemn and appropriate airs.This part of the procession excited much attention was closed with Major General Patterson and staff.
A hearse drawn by four black horses each led by a groom in mourning.
Eight members of the Hibernian Society acting as pall bearers and wearing appropriate mourning badges. The coffin was covered with a United States flag, and also a flag borne on the battlefield where Colonel Haslet fell.
A plate on the coffin bore the following inscription.
The First City Troop on foot, also surrounded the hearse as a guard
The clergy in a barouche.
Judges of courts in a barouche.
The Committee of Superintendence appointed by the Leglislature of Delaware and the President of the Hibernian Society in a barouche.
The Judges of the district courts of the U.S. and other distinguished individuals. Officers of the Army and Navy of the United States.
The Hibernian Society wearing green badges and headed by marshals, the natives of Delaware residing in Philadelphia, headed by marshalls the citizens of Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Colonel Thomas Robinson acting as Chief Marshall and Mr. Hickman and assistants.
The escort proceeded along the route designated through several of the principal streets of the city and as they passed minute guns were fired, the bells which had been muffled were tolled and thousands of citizens crowded to the windows and sidewalks. On arrival at the Arch Street wharf Alderman John Binns, who had been specially selected for the purpose by the Hibernian Society, delivered the following address to the Delaware Committee.
“We are assembled to pay the homage of our high consideration to the memory of one who in the darkest days of our perilous struggles took up arms in the defense of Independence one who bravely fought and gloriously died. While we are thus doing honour to ourselves and bending over the remains of a hero of the Revolution deputations from constituted authorities and masses of our fellow citizens are taking to “the house of appointed for all living” the body of one who was most dear to us a hero of two wars one who had but recently been chosen Chief Magistrate of these United States William Henry Harrison. The gratitude of republics has been a theme on which the enemies of self government have delighted to expatiate. We deny that republics are ungrateful. ”I belonged to the Army of the Revolution” has been a passport to honours and emoluments in every state of our proud Republic. We therefore are especially warranted in branding the stigma as a base libel. The page of history is darkly crimsoned with the deeds of Caesars, of Cromwells and of Napoleon, of men whose horses hoofs were red with the blood of their too grateful countrymen. Countless are the names of those who exhalted by the gratitude of their countrymen have trodden down the liberties of Republics while the whole human family has given birth but one pure one peerless patriot, one Washington that glorious patriot who commanded when Haslet fell and who even in the hour of victory watered with his tears the corpse of the gallant soldier. To do honor to these remains we are here surrounded with all “the pride pomp and circumstance of war” officers of the Army and of the Navy and volunteers prompt to do homage to their departed fellow soldier and equally prompt to emulate his example. Soldiers elevate on a high your Eagles give to the breeze your stars and stripes and if your country calls bear your “star spangled banner” to the battle field where it was born and upheld by Haslet and if you cannot bear it victorious as he did die nobly in its defense. The deceased Colonel John Haslet was a native of Ireland, a gentleman of talents who had received a liberal education and was by profession a physician. An association of his countrymen the Hibernian society are among those now gathered round his remains clods of the valley which once were animated by a daring and patriotic spirit as ever gave life to the image of his Creator. That Society have appointed me to discharge the duty I am now performing and which would indeed be but indifferently performed if I did not take occasion to say that the members of this Society their countrymen and all Irishmen are proud on proper occasions to make known that their Montgomerys, their Haslets and their Irvines best blood of Ireland has been freely shed to serve the good cause of “The Land of the Free and the House of the Brave”. The state of Delaware the near and much respected sister of Pennsylvania had adopted John Haslet. Before the Declaration of Independence he raised and mustered a regiment at Dover at the head of which a few days after the Declaration as it’s commanding officer he marched to Head Quarters and placed it under the orders of Washington. The people of Delaware had marked the ardent patriotism the fearless courage the devotion to the public zeal which characterised every act of Colonel Haslet and they selected him to take command of as brave a regiment as ever fought for Independence. He proved all together worthy of their confidence, he led her sons where honour and fame were to be achieved he set them a glorious example and at the battle of Princeton poured his life’s blood. The State of Delaware having enrolled the name of Haslet with her Reids and her Rodneys will no longer permit his remains to be entombed in another state even though that state be Pennsylvania. The constituted authorities of Delaware on the 22nd. day of February last made arrangements to take all that remains of her heroic son to her own bosom to deposit his relics in their own soil and raise over them a monument to her own glory to cherish the rembrance of his virtues and to stimulate others to great and glorious deeds. To you gentlemen who on this interesting occasion represented the state of Delaware are about to be surrendered the precious relics of one of the many distinguished sons your Legislature have wisely determined to take them home and to bury them deep in the soil which has been cultivated and in defense of which he nobly died. To you gentlemen they are now committed, deposit and reverence them and teach your children to reverence them as the remains of him who was patriotic, great and good thus shall you and they be an honor to your country”.
He was replied to by Mr. Huffington a distinguished member of the bar of Delaware and in a manner at once eloquent and touching. He gave a brief history of the Delaware Regiment of the Revolutionary war and alluded particularly to the character and career of Colonel Haslet its commander whose headquarters were at Dover. He was described as the father of the regiment for though his efforts and persuasion a body of more than 800 noble Delawareans rallied for the cause of American liberty.Their condition at the time was very deplorable as related to the clothing, provisions and all the munitions of war. This fact was so generally known that it was believed throughout the state it would be impossible for them to appear in a condition to march. The designated day arrived however and the whole number assembled, but even then strong doubts were expressed and it was thought impossible for men so clad to move forward in anything like military spirit. It was then that Colonel Haslet made one of the most powerful appeals ever heard on any similar occasion. He told them that he had neither gold or power to offer but he promised them eternal fame and the glorious consolation of an approving conscience and inward consciousness that they were struggling in the best and noblest of causes.The effect was electrical. Every man responded and the whole body marched forward animated by the deepest devotion to country. History tells the rest of that sad but glorious narrative. They took part in between twenty and thirty battles and skirmishes. After the battle of Camden in 1780 but fifty survived. These wandered home in struggling groups many of them wounded and the whole when assembled together forming a melancholy wreck indeed of the gallant little army that had gone out from their homes with stout hearts and resolve worth of the best days of chivalry. The bravery of Colonel John Haslett at the battle of Princeton was alluded to by Mr. Huffington in glowing and impassioned terms. He fell while charging the enemy and never did a more sympathetic tear course of the cheeks of Genius of Liberty than when bending over the last resting place of the hero and the martyr. The remains were then placed in the hands of the Delaware Committee and accompanied by a committee of the Hibernian Society were soon afterwards borne onward to the State of Delaware. The escort returned and thus the solemnities in Philadelphia were brought to a close.
The Dover ceremony was reported in the Pennsylvania Inquirer on July 9th. 1841:
“The Leglislature of Delaware at its last session finding the State free from pecuniary obligation of any kind resolved to pay an old debt of gratitude and honor to one of her sons who went abroad at her command and laid down his life in her service. In pursuance of this resolution the bones of Col. John Haslet which for sixty years had rested amongst strangers were on Saturday last brought home and deposited among his kindred and friends. John Haslet was the first Colonel of the old Delaware Blues. He was one of the choice spirits of the Revolution, one of the immortal band of heroes who in the special providence of God were made for that occasion to release their country from oppression, to light a beacon of fire for freedom for all the world and set the example of successful government enjoying degrees of liberty before then unknown among men. By his exertions and influence mainly the Delaware Regiment was raised and mustered at Dover in 1776. If there be anything connected with the history of that celebrated and suffering corps to arouse the pride of Delawareans for heroic actions or stimulate for services rendered the honor and the debt are chiefly due to the brave officers who organised and disciplined these troops and under whose head they fought. Haslet was not long among them but he lived long enough to train this devoted band for action to teach them how to fight and set them the example how bravely to die. Col. Haslet marched with his regiment early in 1776. He participated in the battles of Long Island, White Plains and Trenton and fell at the battle of Princeton 3rd. January 1777 shot through the head with a rifle ball. He became one of the first distinguished martyrs of the Revolution. His corpse with that of Col. Mercer who fell on the same day was carried to Philadelphia and exposed to public gaze to kindle the fire of patriotism in the breasts of the people.To those who believe in a special Providence ( and what America can fail to recognise an almighty hand in the events of the Revolution! ) it would seem that the early martydom of Haslet and Mercer was an appointed means for providing means for producing a great end and it is quite possible that Col. Haslet in his death served the cause of his country more effectually than if he had not fallen. Even his lifeless corpse was made to do the State service until corruption and the worm claimed their own when it was quietly laid away among strangers with scarcely a mark to designate its resting place.
But it was not possible for the state of Delaware to leave her hero thus unmarked and unhonored. At the first lull of the storm when the tempest of Revolution had swept by and the glorious sunshine of peace had appeared bringing with it the fruits of freedom she thought out the grave of her Haslet in the burial ground of The First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia and laid over it a marble on which was inscribed:
More than half a century has since passed by. The old “Buttonwood Church” has disappeared and its site covered with warehouses and stores has become the very centre of business. The demands of trade and commerce clamour loudly for the room occupied by the silent dead who unresistingly yield to the will of the living.The old graveyard is to be broken up. Those whose mortal remains there deposited have the claims of kindred or friendship to watch over them are being hurried off to Laurel Hill or other retired homes for the dead lest they should be removed by the hands of the stranger and thrown into a promiscuous grave. But the State of Delaware could not leave it to filial piety or private friendship to save Haslet’s bones from dishonour. Her legislature in fulfillment of the desire of the citizens “to cherish and preserve the memory of those of her brave and patriotic sons who died gallantly fighting under the banner of Washington in defense of the liberties of their country” direct a committee of their body to bring home the remains of Haslet and erect over them “a suitable monument with appropriate inscriptions and devices”. In pursuance of this resolution Messrs, Huffington, Wright and Du Pont proceeded to Philadelphia on Thursday last on their melancholy errand. They were promptly met and aided in the object of their mission by the civil authorities of Philadelphia, by the military, by many public and private associations, committees and citizens generally. The memory of Haslet was regarded as the property of the nation to be honored by ever American citizen and while they yielded his remains to the demands of the state which claimed him as her adopted son they resolved to give them up with such honors as might be paid to a brave man who had fought the battles and died in the service of the nation. The military of the city turned out in full strength at the call of Major General Patterson who politely tendered to the committee his services on the occasion. The Hibernian society learning that Col. Haslet was a native of the Emerald Isle claimed as right to be permitted to direct and to supply the splendid and expensive obsequies at least until the remains would be delivered to the Committee beyond the bounds of the city. A great number of native Delwareans, residents of Philadelphia assembled to do honor to the dead and express their attachment to their native State and these were joined by a numerous company of Peninsular friends connected with us by a thousand ties but whose strongest bond of union on this occasion was the ancient union of the Maryland and Delaware Regiments. When to all these were added the countless thousands of citizens and strangers who joined in the process the escort which voluntarily accompanied the remains to the city lines presented an array of pomp and pageantry and splendour seldom equalled on any such occasion. The coffin was placed on a splendid rosewood car drawn by four black horses led by grooms in black and white sashes. It was of mahogany covered with black cloth silver ornaments and satin lining. The procession moved from the First Presbyterian church on Washington Square to the sound of mournful music, the tolling of the bells and the roar of the artillery and passed by the way of Sixth Street, Walnut, Thirteenth and Arch streets to the wharf where a staging had been erected. From there an appropriate address was made on the part of the Hibernian society by Alderman Binns and handsomely responded to by Mr. Huffington on behalf of the Delaware Committee. The remains were then placed on board the steamboat Kent in the car furnished for the occasion and were delivered to the Delaware Committee. They were accompanied to Dover by the Philadelphia Greys - Capt. Cadwalader, the Washington Greys - Lieut. Fox all under the command of Captain Cadwalader, by a fine band of music connected with those companies, a deputation from the Hibernian society, a deputation from the native Delawareans and their Peninsular friends resident in Philadelphia and were joined by deputations from New Castle and Kent counties at several points on the river until they reached Duck Creek where they were met by about 100 citizens of Smyrna and forwarded in carriages provided for the occasion. In the mean time arrangements were made at Dover for a reception of the body and its escort. A meeting of citizens assembled on Wednesday evening ( June 30th ) in the State House Judge Harrington in the chair and Dr. Ridgely Secretary at which the following gentlemen were appointed as committee of reception and charged on their behalf with the general arrangement of the ceremonies. Joseph P. Comegys, Dr. H. Ridgely, Charles Kimmey, Sen John R. McFee, A. M. Ridgley, ex Governor Comegys, George P. Fisher, Henry H. Lockwood, C. H. Sipple, John McBates, William Wilkinson, John H. Osborne, Henry Todd, H. B. Benson, N. B. S Smithers, Purueal Loland, James F. Allee, James Douglas, John P. Manlove, R. O. Pennewill, William H. Cooper and James W. Waples.The committee met the procession on horseback and by the clear moonlight of a pleasant summer evening the whole cavalcade slowly entered the capital and marched round the town to the solemn sound of music and the tolling of the State House bell. It was a most impressive scene. The body being deposited in the Court Room which female taste had appropriately hung in mourning. Mr. Comegys chairman of the Committee of Reception welcomed the strangers to Dover by a handsome address to the committee of native Delwareans and Marylanders, to the deputation from the Hibernian Society and the military respectively. He was appropriately answered by Mr. McCurdy on behalf of the Hibernians, by Mr. Martin for the Peninsular deputation and by Capt. Cadwalader for the military. Sentinels were posted for the night and the honored soldier who for sixtyfour years had slept alone again reposed under a soldiers guard. On Saturday morning at sunrise the National flag was displayed from the capitol as a signal for commencing the ceremonies of the day. By this time the people were pouring in from every part of the county and state and the neighbouring states and they continued to come until they filled the public square.The coffin was opened and the great crowd filed by gazing in silent reverence on the bones of the mighty dead. Several old men were there who had personally known the gallant Colonel when he went out to battle and they wept to see all that remained of the gallant Colonel Haslet. Many were there who had heard their fathers speak of the tall athletic and handsome officer they beheld now only heap of dust and ashes. His grandchildren were there overwhelmed by this expression of a nation’s gratitude, the lessons of patriotism and humility. At the appointed hour the whole assembly rose and lifted their hearts to God in grateful acknowledgement of the deliverance which through such instruments as Col. Haslet he had wrought out for their country. Prayer was made by the Rev. President Gilbert of Newark College after which succeeded eloquent addresses from him and from the Hon. John M. Clayton. We made no attempt to give even substance of these or any of the speeches as they will be published in a more permanent form with a more detailed account of the ceremonies. It must be said however now that they were all worthy of the occasion and of the men who made them.Those who listened to the simple and touching accounts of the sacrifices made by Col. Haslet for his country’s sake, how he left wife and children and friends as dear to him as ours are to us, not only to peril but to lay down his life in her cause or who heard the thrilling detail of the services and suffering of his brave compatriots in arms will ever forget the power of eloquence addressed to feeling and grateful hearts. The final procession was now formed in the following order under the direction of the chief marshall Dr. Henry Ridgely and the first and several assistant marshalls, Henry H. Lockwood Esq. and Col. William H. Cooper. Nothing could have been more admirable considering the great crowd they had to manage than the order in which this procession as formed and marched.
In this order the procession moved slowly round the public square and entirely through the town and proceeded to the Presbyterian church where near to the grave of Major Patton the second in command when Haslet fell the remains were deposIted with military honours in their final resting place under a neat monument provided by the legislative committee. The monument is of marble seven feet high on a base of Brandywine granite. The old slab which was placed over the grave in 1783 formed one of the sides and on it the inscription.
The coffin being deposited in the tomb three volleys of blank cartridges were fired over the grave the military and the company dispersed without a single accident of untoward occurrence. The military by platoons marched out of town on their return home followed by the good wishes and thanks of a thousand Delawareans. As they passed the resident of Judge Harrison the Governor and Staff appeared upon the porch and paid their parting respects which were returned by a salute. As citizens of Delaware we are proud of this whole Proceeding. The nation is honoured in this splendid recognition of the claims of a patriot soldier on his country’s gratitude, the state had honoured herself in the payment of a just debt to one who fell in her service, the Hibernians have done honor to the country of their origin as well as that of their adoption by the active and liberal part they have taken in these ceremonies, the native citizens of Delaware resident abroad have honored their fatherland and themselves. Above all the military of Philadelphia and especially the Philadelphia and Washington Greys have honored their profession by paying at so great a sacrifice of time and trouble due honors to the dead. To these last together with the Hibernian Society of Philadelphia the committee ascribe in a great degree the distinguished success with which they have executed the orders of the leglislature while they extend to all who have aided in the ceremonies their warmest acknowledgement and thanks. At a meeting of the committee of Reception and Arrangement held at Dover on Monday the 5th. of July the following resolutions were adopted: Resolved: “That John R. McFee, George P. Fisher and W. H. Cooper be appointed a committee to tender the thanks of the citizens of Dover to the Hibernian Society the Committee of Native Delawareans and Marylanders, the Philadelphia Greys, Capt. Cadwalader and the Washington Greys, Lieut. Fox for the honor conferred by their attendance on the occasion.” Resolved : “That the handsome band of music attending the military ( and which is understood to be connected with these companies and embraced within the above resolution of thanks ) contributed greatly to the solemnity and splendour of the funeral ceremonies.” Resolved: “That the Hon. S. M. Harrington be respectfully required to prepare for publication and cause to be published in pamphlet form a detailed account of the proceedings connected with the disinterment removal and re-interment of the remains of Col. John Haslet”. Resolved: “That H. H. Lockwood, J. R. McFee and Dr. H. Ridgely be a committee to proceed from the respective speakers both of Philadelphia and Delaware copies of the addresses delivered by them on the above occasion to place them in the hands of Judge Harrington for the purpose of publication and to take such other measures in relation to this matter as to them may seem right and proper”. The members of the Delaware group living in Philadelphia included John Hemphill, Henry R. Rodney, Daniel B. Cummins, Henry D. Gilpin, John Connell, Benjamin W. Tingley, Ambrose White, George Handy, Richard Dale, Benjamin H. Springer, Isaac G. Colesbury, Colonel Thomas Robinson, Dr. G. Emerson, Solomon Townsend, William Reynolds, Dr. Thomas R. Buckle, Alexander Peterson, James Barrett, Jacob W. Main, John White, George McCalmont, French Buttell. They met June 22nd 1841 at the Merchant’s Exchange to make their plans. Hemphill chaired the meeting. They also described to ask Marylanders living in the city as well as residents of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to participitate in the ceremonies. A committee of 13, Springer, Colesbury, Robinson, Emerson, Townsend, Reynolds, Brickle, Peterson, Barrett, Main, White, McCalmont and Battell was appointed to accompany the remains to Delaware. This was reported in the journal of June 29th.
Haslet ran successful recruitment campaigns and was
back to the same source or place to recruit the port
of Philadelphia in particular.
In 1759 he recruited 50 soldiers, 32 of them Irishmen, many from
Donegal and Derry. His two sergeants, two corporals and drummer
were Irishmen. This was an regiment whose ethos was Presbyterian
Irish. This year the period of recruitment was much shorter than then
In late April 1759 and the start of May 1759 the enlistment list looked
James Mehatten Derry Ireland aged 27. Labourer. Enlisted April 27th. 1758.
John Guthry Down Ireland aged 19. Weaver. Enlisted May 19th. 1758.
Alexander Mehatten Derry Ireland aged 22. Enlisted April 27th. Labourer.
William Graham Derry Ireland aged 23. Enlisted May 3rd. Labourer.
It is likely that the Mehattens were brothers.
Mark Hazlem Derry Ireland aged 24. Labourer.
April 27th. April 1758.
William Harkins Sussex England aged 27. Labourer.
William Hotkins Sussex England aged 27. Labourer.
Patrick McAllister Donegal aged 26 Ireland. Labourer.
April 28th. 1758. Henry Funniman Jersey aged 28. Labourer.
April 29th. 1758.
John Laverty Antrim aged 25. Labourer.
Felix MeKeown Cavan Ireland aged 23. Labourer.
April 30th. 1758.
Henry Harder Holland aged 24. Labourer.
Hugh Hart Ireland aged 29. Labourer.
James Mulherran Derry Ireland aged 27. Schoolmaster.
John Sprout Down Ireland aged 24. Labourer.
May 1st. 1758.
Samuel Beatty Tyrone Ireland aged 16. Labourer.
William Foster Cavan Ireland aged 15. Labourer.
Bryan Havlin ( Haviland ) Derry Ireland aged 25. Labourer.
James Hawkins Tyrone Ireland aged 22. Labourer.
Hugh Paisley Donegal Ireland aged 27. Labourer.
John Rishady Down Ireland aged 18. Labourer.
May 2nd. 1758.
James Barrett Antrim Ireland aged 36. Labourer.
George Ottaway England aged 24. Labourer.
William Scott Monaghan Ireland aged 30. Labourer.
May 3rd. 1758.
John Aiken Penna. aged 16. Weaver.
John Buchanan Lancaster Penna. Labourer.
John McClavran Scotland aged 25. Labourer.
Joseph Stubbs England aged 21. Labourer.
Thomas Jenkins England aged 35. Labourer.
May 4th. 1758.
James McGonigle Derry Ireland aged 23. Labourer.
John Nugent Derry Ireland aged 35. Labourer.
May 5th. 1758.
Thomas Blair Antrim Ireland aged 26. Labourer.
Cornelius Dougherty Donegal Ireland aged aged 20. Labourer.
Archibald McIntire Ayr Scotland aged 20. Labourer.
James Morrison Penna. aged 17. Tailor.
Michael Morrison Penna. aged 19. Tailor.
William Thompson Down Ireland aged 23. Labourer.
John Weir Antrim.aged 18. Weaver.
May 6th. 1758.
William Bedan Derry Ireland aged 25. Labourer.
Alexander McAllister Donegal Ireland aged 24. Labourer.
Robert McCleary Penna aged 18. Tailor.
Patrick Millekin Down Ireland aged 29. Labourer.
May 7th. 1758.
David Lavel Newcastle aged 15. Labourer.
James McGown Glasgow Scotland aged 24. Labourer.
May 8th. 1758.
William Buchanan Lancaster Penna. aged 18. Labourer.
William Buchanan Donegal Ireland aged 25. Labourer.
James Holmes Antrim Ireland aged 30. Cooper.
May 10th 1758.
William Aiken Antrim Ireland aged 24. Labourer.
May 11th. 1758.
John Hugons Cecil Md. aged 25. Weaver.
Brooks White Donegal Ireland aged 22.
On the 225th anniversary of Haslets anniversary a new memorial monument was unveiled to Haslet at Battle Monument Park Princeton New Jersey on Dec. 30th 2001 the 225th anniversary of the battle of Princeton. Though not an anniversary ceremony as splendid as the ceremonies held at Philadelphia and Dover in July 1841 it nevertheless signalled up the interest still latent in the America people who are interested in their history and how their nation was formed. Still a very young nation as it’s modern history is after breaking away from Britain in the 18th century. Among those who attended the short ceremony were: Major General Frank Vavala Adj. General of the Delaware National Guard. Russell McCabe Administrator of the Delaware Historical Society who gave a short address to open the ceremony prior to the unveiling. The Honourable Wayne A. Smith Majority Leader Delaware House of Representatives. Ralph Nelson Past President of the Delaware Society of SAR. Mrs Priscilla Zaller State Regent/Delaware Society of DAR. Mrs Nancy Lewis Regent/Colonel Haslet Chapter DAR who also gave a short address. Mr. Lyman R. Brenner Secretary/Delaware Society DAR. Rev. William Harris Archivist Princeton Theological Seminary. Mr. Charlie Laverty of the Irish Brigade Association also addressed those gathered. Mr. Timothy A. Slavin State Archivist Delaware Public Archives. Musical Interludes Fran Raferty Courtesy of the Irish Brigade Association. The image above left is of the 2001 ceremony at Princeton New Jersey.
A Patriot of considerable distinction, Colonel John Haslet was the commander of the Delaware’s first Continental Regiment. A native of County Londonderry, Ireland, he emigrated to America in 1757. Haslet was a graduate of the University of Glasgow and an ordained minister of the Presbyterian church. He was commissioned as a Captain in the Pennsylvania Militia in 1758 and was a participant in the expedition against Fort Duquesne. He later settled in Delaware and began the practice of medicine. Active in the civil affairs of his newfound home, Haslet was a leading proponent of Independence. In 1775 he was appointed as a Colonel by the Continental Congress and charged with raising the Delaware Regiment. The distinguished service of the Regiment in the campaign of 1776 can be largely attributed to his inspirational leadership. With the discharge of the Delawares following the battle of Trenton, he was attached to the staff of General Mercer. He was by Mercer’s side when the general fell at Princeton, and was rallying the troops when he was killed by a British bullet. Noted for his bravery and dedication to the cause of Liberty. Colonel John Haslet died a hero to this State and Nation.
Perhaps the next time you drive that little loop road that runs around Straw townland you might just pause and think that back in the early 1700's Joseph Haslett a farmer and store keeper there was rearing his young family and one of his sons would later go on to play no small part in the American Revolutionary or War of Independence that allowed the formation of the United States as we know it. Perhaps if men such as Haslet had not been successful we would have a country lying south of Canada perhaps called simply British N. America.
Notes: John Haslet would appear to have dropped off the last letter "T" from his surname
for whatever reason. I have a copy of his will and he signs as John Haslet. John Haslet
had a brother William circa 1731-1780 who went to America and lived in Greenboro
Carolina Co. Maryland.
another brother James (circa 1732- 1790) who set up a successful seed business in Coleraine,
Joseph who also became a Presbyterian minister, went to America and married there
and also settled in Maryland. His sister
married into the Kyle family and they had a daughter Ann Haslett- Kyle 1759-1820 who married
her 2nd cousin
William Haslett of Carronaffe Co. Donegal. From this marriage two children William
and Mary were born.
This Mary Haslett would later marry the Rev. John Mitchel of Scriggan church.
John Haslet's other sister Ann stayed at home and married an local man an Alex Colhoun and the farm ownership probably changed to the Colhoun name. None of the Haslett males would appear to have come back to Ireland.
The image at top of page is of Haslet's headstone at Dover Delaware.
Click on the icon below for more images of Haslets headstone in the old Presbyterian cemetery at Dover Delaware.