A Distiller Turned Quartermaster

We introduced a member of the “Loyal Nine” recently, noting that there were at least two other members who were also customers of the Liberty Paper Mill of Vose, Lewis & Crane.

Thomas Chase (you will note on the entry above that spelling was not necessarily of utmost importance in ledgers) was a distiller by trade and a hater of kings by inclination.

Chase was present at the Boston Tea Party, and it was at his distillery that the Loyal Nine met.

From the Diary of President John Adams:

 “I spent the evening with the Sons of Liberty at their own appointment, in Hanover Square, near the ‘Tree of Liberty.’ It is a counting-room in Chase and Speakman’s distillery. A very small room it is. There were present Jon Avery a distiller, of liberal education, John Smith the brazier, Thomas Crafts the painter, Benj. Edes the printer, Stephen Cleverly brazier, Thomas Chase distiller, Joseph Field master of a vessel, Henry Bass, Geo. Trott jeweler, and Hernry Wells. I was very cordially and respectfully treated by all present. We had punch, wine, pipes and tobacco, biscuit and cheese, etc. they chose a committee to make preparation for a grand rejoicing upon the arrival of the news of the repeal of the stamp act.”

When hostilities broke out in 1775, Chase joined the revolutionary Army, becoming Deputy Quartermaster General of the Eastern Department. In 1777, he notified the Continental Congress there were too few tents for soldiers under his jurisdiction. The Congress agreed to send him $50,000 for that purpose.

His first purchase from the Liberty Paper Mill was in November of 1771, and from then until 1777 he bought a good deal of writing paper and papers for other unspecified purposes. But soon after his appointment as Deputy Quartermaster, we see the purchases of paper for very specific purposes: musket and cannon cartridge paper. Through the remainder of 1777, Chase bought more than 200 reams of cartridge paper. During that period it is interesting to note that he also stepped up his purchases of writing paper, buying more than 150 reams.

Chase wasn’t the first, nor was he the last, to buy cartridge paper from the Liberty Paper Mill, but he certainly kept Stephen Crane busy in 1777!

 

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