Bateman Lloyd (1756 – 1814)



Me. Bateman Lloyd, the subject of this biographical sketch, was born August 28, 1756, at Woodstown, Salem County, in the southern part of the State of New Jersey, in which vicinity his family had for many years resided. He was a son of Bateman Lloyd and Lydia Ware, and belonged to that branch of the Lloyd family that came to this country while William Penn was Governor of Pennsylvania. The Lloyds are a very ancient Welsh family, that trace their ancestry to the sixth century.  Bateman Lloyd’s family residence was about ten miles from Salem, the county seat, and about thirty-five miles from Philadelphia. As far as is known, he resided there until the breaking out of the Revolutionary War.

Not much has been ascertained regarding his father’s family, on account of the lack of facility of obtaining information. He had one sister, Rebecca, who married Joseph Clark, a sea-captain, of Philadelphia, and had seven or eight children. He also had a brother Jacob, who had two children—Susan, who married Fowler, and Mary, who married Coles. Several members of these latter families died of yellow fever.

Although the Lloyd family had for several generations adhered to the religious faith of the Quakers, Bateman’s tendency was certainly toward that of the Moravians, whose church he attended when opportunity offered. While residing in New Jersey, after his marriage, he, however, more frequently attended the Presbyterian church, which was the one preferred by his wife, there being no Reformed Dutch church within convenient distance of their residence, this latter being the one that she more persistently adhered to, and which they both attended while in Flatbush. They were, however, both possessed of that quality of religion that made them respect the religion of others, although it might not strictly agree with their own.

Although not a native of Flatbush, he was for about fifteen years a resident there, and in 1802 became the owner of and resided in what subsequently became the Zabriskie homestead. The chain of circumstances  that led him to make his permanent abode in this town contains several links that are of interest.

At the breaking out of the Revolutionary War he was in his nineteenth year. So great was his patriotic ardor that his Quaker principles did not prevent his taking an active part in the struggle. In an official list of the “officers and men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War,” prepared by the Adjutant-General of the State of New Jersey, the various positions that he occupied are set forth. He was First Lieutenant in Captain Kinsey’s company, Fourth Battalion, Second Establishment, February 17, 1777. November 12, 1777, he was Captain in the same company. He was Captain in the Third Continental Regiment September 26, 1780. He was also Captain in the Second Continental Regiment. He was taken prisoner February 27, 1778, and remained such until April 1, 1781, when he was exchanged. Subsequent to this he resigned. He was at one time captain in the New Jersey Militia, and held the position of forage-master at Salem.

Flatbush being a favorite place of the British for holding their prisoners, he, when taken, was fortunate enough to be sent there for safe-keeping. While there, his life must have been one of much privation, as is shown by the following letter, which sets forth in distinct terms some of the hardships and annoyances to which he, with his fellow-officers, was subjected:

‘Long Island, September 15, 1780. Sir: The prisoners of war and state prisoners belonging to the State of New Jersey beg leave to remind your Excellency of our distressing situation. The petition to the Assembly in May last, which we inclosed under cover to your Excellency, we doubt not, has been laid before them; we, not hearing from them since, inclines us to think that a multiplicity of business, or some other cause, has prevented them from paying that attention to us that our urgent necessities required. ‘Tis sixteen months since we received the last supply, great part of which was disposed of in paying our arrears, which has ever been the case during near four years’ captivity which many of us have experienced, to the extreme prejudice of our minds, bodies, and estates: consequently, what might appear a tolerable supply at first, when our debts are paid, a few necessaries purchased at the most extravagant prices, we generally find ourselves possessed of but a scanty pittance indeed.

We therefore humbly pray your Excellency will act the part of an advocate for us, that we may receive both a liberal and speedy supply, and, as we are the immediate sufferers, we hope it will not be deemed presumptuous in us to say we think fifty pounds per man is the least that will answer to pay our debts and clothe us properly for the winter season, exclusive of what is due for our board, which has not been paid since the 20th of May, 1779.

We are, with the highest esteem and most perfect respect, your Excellency’s most obedient and humble servants.

Signed, on behalf of the whole and at their request,

Hendrick Van Brunt,

John Mercer, First Regiment.

Bateman Lloyd, Third Regiment.

His Excellency the Governor of New Jersey’

The situation in which he found himself, though unpleasant in many respects, did not cause him to employ his time with none effect. He was successful in engaging the affections and marrying the daughter of one of the prominent citizens of Flatbush.

Tradition has it. and without the slightest doubt truthfully, that, during a portion of, if not all, the time he was held as a prisoner, he was lodged in the old county jail, which was then located in Flatbush, and stood on the spot now occupied by the residence of Mr. Abraham Lott.

While lodged there, it is very probable that he was billeted upon the family of Mr. Jacob Lefferts, and that his parole, which only permitted him to walk through a certain limited portion of the town, necessarily included this residence. There is another phase of the tradition which says that the church corner, on the side of the street opposite to that on which was situated the residence of the youthful lady who engaged his affections, was the limit of distance which his parole gave him permission to indulge in. But this aspect of the case fails to inform us just why this situation of the young lady’s residence should get him acquainted with her, and, least of all, why she should fall in love with him; and, to accept it, we must either believe that he broke his parole, or that he was met more than half way by the young lady herself, neither of which suggestions can be for a moment entertained. Perhaps her sympathy for the despondent prisoner of war, patriotic, aged twenty-one, and finelooking, may have opened the way for the growth of a feeling of greater delicacy and power. While it is immaterial which of these traditions is accepted, it is nevertheless true that it was during his enforced residence in Flatbush that he became acquainted with the lady, Miss Abigail Lefferts, daughter of Jacob Lefferts, that he with difficulty, owing to her father’s objections, succeeded in making his wife. This event occurred January 19,1780, after he had been about two years a prisoner.

Some time after his marriage, probably immediately after his exchange, which took place April 1, 1781, he removed, with his wife and child Catharine, then seven months old, to his native place in New Jersey. While resident there, after the close of the war, he engaged in commercial pursuits, in which he was eminently successful.

His investments were in real estate in that vicinity, in which manner he added largely to that which, on his return, he found himself in possession of through the death of his father. It was while at the height of his prosperity in New Jersey that he was earnestly desired by his father-in-law to return to Flatbush to reside. This, being contrary to his interests, he for a considerable time declined to do, but finally consented, and disposed of his property in Woodstown at a great sacrifice.

It was during these negotiations preparatory to his return to Flatbush that his father-in-law was suddenly removed by death. It was only about a month previous to this event, which occurred February, 1802, that Jacob Lefferts and Ida,, his wife, had conveyed to Bateman Lloyd the family residence, with the accompanying two acres of land.  This conveyance may have been, and probably was, in some way connected with the return of Bateman Lloyd to Flatbush, which return took place a short time afterward.

After his return to Flatbush he again followed mercantile pursuits. On the sale of the old school building, which occurred in 1805, it was purchased by Mr. Lloyd, who, with the material obtained from it, erected a store a few feet in the rear of his dwelling, which remained there until 1825, when it was removed and converted into a barn by Dr. J. B. Zabriskie.  This barn was finally removed in 1850, and a more commodious one erected on the same site, which still remains. He carried on the store that he thus erected until his death, which occurred May 5, 1814.

It was in his native place that Mr. Lloyd’s military experience was most regarded, and there he was always addressed as Colonel, although we have been unable to obtain any evidence of his having held a commission as such. It is possible that he held that rank by brevet. It is noted that, after the close of the war, while he was a resident of Woodstown, he took part in the celebration in honor of the reception of General Washington, which took place at Salem, ten miles distant.

While residing in New Jersey he was a justice of the peace, and tradition says that a frequent part of his duties was the marriage of young couples who had failed to obtain the consent of their parents. It would seem very probable that his personal experience in such affairs would lead him to regard leniently the wishes of young people who found difficulty in procuring the assent of their unyielding parents.

His friendship for the colored race was well known, likewise his disapproval of their being held as slaves, and it is not known that he ever owned one. It is exceedingly probable that he was the means of inducing his father-in-law, Jacob Lefferts, to set his slaves free at his death. Bateman Lloyd was one of the earliest of those who were energetic in advocating the abolition of negro slavery in this country, and his views on the subject were very pronounced. He was a member of the “Emancipation Society of New Jersey,” the certificate of membership of which was hung in a prominent place in his house. After his death it was carefully preserved as a memento by members of his family. This certificate was ornamented by the representation of one of its members extending a helping hand to a prostrate slave, who makes this inquiry, “Am I not a man and a brother?”

In New Jersey a majority of his neighbors were Quakers, who were noted for the assistance they afforded to runaway slaves from the Southern States. He sympathized with these people in their endeavor to assist the colored people, and, when applied to, would give assistance to the fugitives, and refused to aid in having them sent back to their masters. He was an advocate of temperance, and, while it was the custom of the times and of his associates to use wines and liquors frequently, he did not indulge in the practice, and, although not demonstrative in his opposition, the social class placed before him would almost always remain untouched.

Mr. Lloyd was modest and retiring in manner, and not disposed to take; an active part in public affairs. We have no record that he did after the close of the Revolutionary War, with the exception of his being for several years a member of the board of trustees of Erasmus Hall Academy. The traditionary evidence is unanimous as to his possession of those personal qualities which unite to form the pleasing gentleman.

In personal appearance, he is designated, by the one living person who still remembers him, as fine-looking, with a pleasing cast of features, which included a Roman nose, indicative of the force of character for which he was noted. His hair was dark and mixed with gray.

At an unexpected moment, while attending to some work which was being done in his barn, Mr. Lloyd was prostrated by a stroke of apoplexy, from which he did not fully recover, although in a few weeks he was sufficiently well to go about. During his illness he was under the care of Dr. Francis H. Dubois (1783-1834), who then resided in New Utrecht, and whose practice extended to the adjoining towns. Mr. Lloyd died of a subsequent attack of the same malady.”

Source:  Historical Sketch of the Zabriske Homestead, Flatbush, L.I., by P.L. Schneck, M.D., Brooklynn, New York, 1881, pages 37-44

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