Absalom Bainbridge


I was a doctor who chose to stay loyal to Britain, and paid a heavy price.

I was born in 1742 in Maidenhead – now Lawrence Township – and grew up in a household where we were used to protesting for our rights. I graduated from Princeton in 1762 and then from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

I was happily settled in my medical career in Princeton when the Revolution broke out. Although many in my family supported Independence, I didn’t believe in fighting a war for it. Many of my neighbors disagreed with me, but I tried to maintain good relations. In December 1776, when the British were approaching the town in pursuit of the American army, I warned one of my neighbors to escape in the night. After that, I joined the British army.

Things changed after the American victories at Trenton and Princeton. I had to flee to Flatbush on Long Island, taking with me my slave Prime, who later escaped. After I left, I was declared a Loyalist and became subject to property confiscation law, so my 400-acre plantation was sold at public auction in March 1779.

In the meantime, I was a surgeon for the Third New Jersey Volunteers under General Cortland Skinner. I resigned in April, 1778 and lived in New York City until the British departed in 1783. After the war, I became an early member of the New York Medical Society and was a highly regarded physician and surgeon.

I died on June 23, 1807 and was buried at Trinity Church.

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