Jeremiah Pemberton was born in May 1754. He was the son of William and Sarah Drury Pemberton. He was christened at St. Peter's church where his parents were members. He grew up in a moderate sized family in the Southside home of a prominent riverman and British sympathizer.
By 1776, he had married Susanna Bradt. Their son "Adam" was baptized at the Albany Dutch church on January first. Other children followed. Jeremiah had been named for his newcomer grandfather who married an Albany Bradt in 1723.
According to later documents, at the beginning of the war he was living on a farm owned by his father. In September 1776, he voluntarily appeared before the Albany Committee, took the oath of allegience, signed the test, and was discharged. However, two months later, he was identified as "disaffected" and was ordered to be taken into custody and sent to the New York Convention under guard. At that time, he was identified as a Tory from the "Hellebergh" section of Rensselaerswyck. By then, his father had been confined and exiled from Albany.
His status and whereabouts for the next year are unclear until October 1777 when General Burgoyne asked him to deliver a dispatch to General Clinton in the lower Hudson Valley. Having difficulty finding Clinton while avoiding detection, he went into hiding in the woods. He finally reached New York in March.
Jeremiah Pemberton claimed he was twice a prisoner of war in New York and that he commanded a company in defense of the Bergen [New Jersey] blockhouse. He also claimed to be an ensign in "Jessup's Regiment of Loyal Americans.
In October 1782, his name (with two women and three older children) appeared on a list of those who had arrived at Annapolis, Nova Scotia on a ship from New York.
Afterwards, his Albany property is said to have been confiscated. At that time, Jeremiah was identified as a cordwainer.
In March 1786, from Annapolis, Nova Scotia he submitted a claim for lost livestock and property. He stated that he was living in Nova Scotia, tried to improve land granted by "the King," but "never having been accustomed to labor, [his] prospects are deplorable." He stated that he had a wife and several children and that they were"in want." His claim was rejected by the British. However, in that year a Jeremiah Pemberton was one of the commissioners who were examining such claims. Nova Scotia Chief Justice Jeremiah Pemberton perhaps was different individual.
Sources: The life of Jeremiah Pemberton is CAP biography number 1496. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
first posted: 6/15/10