Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Barton Lucas
MSA SC 3520-16712

Biography:

Barton Lucas, a captain of the Third Company of the First Maryland Regiment, was born around 1730 in Prince George's County. His father was Thomas Lucas and mother Anne Keene. Barton had four siblings: Basil, Margaret, Thomas, jr., and Sarah. [1]

Lucas served in the Seven Years' War (1754-1763) which had Britain, France and indigenous people as combatants, resulting in transfer of northern parts of America and Canada from France to Britain. In 1758, he signed on as a cadet, a military officer in waiting, in Joshua Bell's Company and he soon was an ensign in Captain Alexander Beall's Maryland Company, for which he received modest pay. Maryland troops fought at the battle of Fort Duquesne in September of that year, joined by South Carolinian troops, to fend off indigenous attacks, but the English were defeated and Marylanders covered their retreat. During these military engagements, Lucas was injured. [2]

In 1762, Lucas married Priscilla Sprigg. His "beloved wife" Priscilla, "Prisey," was born in 1735 to Osborn Sprigg, a Maryland legislator, and Rachel Belt. In 1756, Thomas Lucas died, willing 112 acres and his plantation to Barton Lucas. In the 1750s and 1760s, Barton bought and sold enslaved blacks for his plantation. [3]

During the Revolutionary War, Lucas, now a prominent community figure and combat veteran, served in the military. He was recommended as a field officer to a Battalion "on the upper part of the Patuxent" in 1775, however, he likely never served in this capacity since he was chosen in January of the next year as a Captain of the Third Company of Col. William Smallwood's First Regiment. In the summer of 1776, this Maryland regiment marched to New York and was put under the command of Gen. George Washington. [4]

At the Battle of Brooklyn, members of the First Maryland Regiment held off the British while the rest of the Continental Army escaped to safety. While Lucas's company played a key role in the Battle of Brooklyn, on August 27, 1776 with a casualty rate of sixty percent, Lucas was ill and could not participate in the battle itself. John Hughes, a private in his company, later said that "Capt. Barton Lucas became deranged in consequence of losing his company." Still listed as ill after the battle, Lucas returned home and later resigned on October 11, 1776. However, Lucas rejoined the military as a colonel in the Prince George's County Militia from 1777-1778. [5]

After his military service, Lucas settled down to his plantation in Prince George's County. Existing records show that enslaved blacks, plantation tools, and farm animals were part of his overall property. At his death, sometime between April 8, 1784 and May 16, 1785, in Prince George's County, he was still called a colonel and much of his property value consisted of enslaved people. There are no records of how the Lucas family treated their slaves. [6]

- Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016.

Notes

[1] Will of Thomas Lucas, 1765, Prerogative Court, Wills, Liber BT2, p. 114, MdHR 1308-1. [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038].

[2] Nathaniel Ewing to George Washington, 9 March 1779, Founders Online, National Archives; Orderly Book, 10 November 1758, Founders Online. National Archives; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly May 9, 1766 to June 22, 1768, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 61, pp. 392; Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly September 23, 1765 - December 20, 1765, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 59, pp. 196-7, 251; "French and Indian War: Roster of Maryland Troops, 1757-1759 [Calvert Papers]," Maryland Historical Magazine 5, no. 3 (1910), p. 281; Maryland State Papers, Scharf Collection, 1759-1801, Certification of military service on the frontier [2/19/1767], S1005 [MSA S1005-57-2, 1/8/5/44]; Joshua Dorsey Warfield, The founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, MarylandA genealogical and biographical review from wills, deeds and church records (Baltimore: Kohn & Pollack, 1905), p. 213; "French and Indian War: Roster of Maryland Troops, 1757-1759 [Calvert Papers]," Maryland Historical Magazine 5, no.3, (1910): 272; Mary K. Meyer, "Genealogica Marylandia: Maryland Muster Rolls, 1757-1758," Maryland Historical Magazine 70, no. 2 (1975), p. 225; Mary K. Meyer, "Genealogica Marylandia: Maryland Muster Rolls, 1757-1758," Maryland Historical Magazine 70, no. 1 (1975), p. 107.

[3] Effie G. Bowie, Across the Years in Prince George's County: Genealogical and Biographical History of Some Prince George's County, Maryland and Allied Families (Richmond: Garrett and Massie, Inc., 1947), p. 595; "Sprigg Family," Maryland Historical Magazine 8 (1913), p. 80; Edward C. Papenfuse, et al., eds.,  A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789, vol. 2 (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1985), p. 763; Special Collections, Legislative History Project Collection, Osborn Sprigg (ca. 1741-1815) [MSA SC 1138-001-1160/1177, 2/11/12/72]; Prince George's County Court, Land Records, 1765, Liber TT, p. 0338-9 [MSA CE65-19, accessed via MdLandRec.net]; Will of Thomas Lucas; Prince George's County Court, Land Records, 1759, Liber PP, p. 0093, 0144, 0321-2 [MSA CE65-17, accessed via MdLandRec.net]; Prince George's County Court, Land Records, 1772, Liber BB 3, p. 0068, 0085 [MSA CE65-22, accessed via MdLandRec.net]; Prince George's County Court, Land Records, 1775, Liber CC 2, p. 0135 [MSA CE65-23, accessed via MdLandRec.net].

[4] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 9.

[5] Fragments of letter of an Unknown Patriot Soldier (September 1, 1776), The Sprit of 'Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants (ed. Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris. New York: Harper and Row, 1967), 440; Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 333.

[6] Prince George's County Commissioners of the Tax, Assessment Record, Rock Creek Hundred, personal property, MdHR 40220-24 [MSA C1162-10, 1/21/10/011]; Will of Barton Lucas, Prince George's County, Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, October 1785, MdHR 9791 [MSA C1146-4, 1/25/08/003]; Will of Priscilla Lucas, Prince George's County Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, October 1785, MdHR 9791 [MSA C1146-4, 1/25/08/003]; Inventories of Precilla Lucas and Col. Barton Lucas, Prince George's County Register of Wills, Inventories, Liber ST, pp. 337-40, MdHR 9799 [MSA C1228-9, 1/25/09/001]; Prince George's County Register of Wills, Administration Accounts, 1791, Liber ST 1, p. 376, MdHR 9805 [MSA C1144-4, 1/25/10/015]; Prince George's County Register of Wills, Administration Accounts, Liber ST 2, p. 6, MdHR 18865 [MSA C1144-6, 1/25/10/017]; Will of Barton Lucas, 1784, Prince George's County Register of Wills, Wills, Liber T1, p. 216, MdHR 9725-1 [MSA C1326-3, 1/25/07/004]. At her death in October 1785, Priscilla's will listed one enslaved black woman and named her next of kin.

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