Richard Cartwright, Jr.
Richard Cartwright, Jr. was born in February 1759 and christened at St. Peter's Anglican church in mid-March. He was the son of London native Richard Cartwright and schoolteacher's daughter Ann Beasley Cartwright. This youngest child grew up at his father's Southside inn that was a locus of English speaking culture in pre-revolutionary Albany.
Probably because of his future prominence, we have been left with an uncommon volume of material on the evolution of his character. Young Richard is said to have exhibited a strong desire to learn and possessed of a retentive intellect. A boyhood accident is said to have deprived him of sight in his left eye. He read the bible in its classical languages and grew more and spiritual as the political climate in New York became increasingly charged.
Only sixteen at the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, he witnessed the alienation, marginalization, and eventual banishment of his parents from their Albany home. While his father struggled with his neighbors - now revolutionaries, by early 1777, young Richard appears to have decided to remain loyal to the King when he sent a letter to his older sister who had married a British officer and was living at Niagara. The letter was intercepted by the revolutionaries and the passive adolescent was exposed as a loyalist.
Immediately, he was required to post a bond for good behavior. But, following the Battle of Saratoga, he secured a pass from General Gates and left Albany. He appears to have described the trek up the Hudson, down Lake Champlain, and ultimately to Canada in some detail. Soon after, he settled at Niagara where he became an aide to Yankee-turned-Tory John Butler.
By 1780, he had taken up the supply business from Kingston, Ontario with the slightly older Scottish emigre´ Robert Hamilton. Their principal contract was with the British army.
In 1784 or 1785, Richard married Magdaline Secord of New Rochelle. Her family were prominent loyalists. By 1804, the marriage had produced eight children.
His subsequent and successful life in Canada has been chronicled extensively but is beyond the scope of this Albany-centric profile. He does not seem to have returned to Albany after the 1770s. By the 1790s, many kin and acquaintances had joined him in Canada.
Suffering from throat cancer, Albany native and loyalist refugee Richard Cartwright, Jr. died in Kingston, Ontario in 1815. He was but fifty-six years old.
Sources: The life of Richard Cartwright, Jr. is CAP biography number 6517. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Internet resources: Wikipedia profile; DCB; and as cited above.
first opened: 8/20/12; updated 12/11/12