John Bacon

???? – 1783

I was a Loyalist raider who attained a terrible distinction.

My origins are a mystery. The first anyone knows anything about me is in 1775, when I was sued for debt in Monmouth County. The suit listed me as a shingle maker and farm laborer. In July 1780, when the British controlled New York City, I was accused of “voluntarily and unlawfully” going there, presumably to trade in contraband with the enemy. The following December, a grand jury in Monmouth County accused me of waging war against the state, abetting enemy troops, and firing upon citizens.

From that point on, I was a notorious Loyalist raider. Times were bleak, with everyone weary of war, and roving gangs of Loyalists like mine were plundering, kidnapping and killing Patriots. I committed many depredations such as robbing the Burlington County collector of a large sum of money. Some suspected me of trying to free Loyalist prisoners, or of killing Patriot Lieutenant Joshua Studson. But I was also probably blamed for some things that I didn’t do. I saw myself as a Loyalist avenger, not an outlaw.

In December 1781, I was indicted for High Treason in Monmouth and a price was placed on my head. In October 1782, a British ship filled with valuable cargo ran aground on Long Beach and was captured by Patriot militia. That night, my gang attacked and killed many of them while they slept. So more militia were sent to run us down, and they caught us at Cedar Creek Bridge – along today’s Route 9.

This was the last skirmish of the war, and I was killed there, which means I may be the last person to die in the Revolutionary War.


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