John Barker Church (1748 - c.1818) MP

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Nicknames: "alias of John Carter"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead, England, United Kingdom
Occupation: M.P. for Wendover; Grocer; land & currency speculator; duelist; gambler
Managed by: Elwin C. Nickerson
Last Updated:

About John Barker Church

John Barker Church (1748-1818) was born in Lowestoft, England, befriended the cause of the American Revolution (while making a fortune as a supplier to the Continental and French armies), was Commissary General of the French Army in America, and financially aided the new government. Returning to England after the war, he was elected a Member of Parliament. The Church family moved back to America for good in 1799, where he became a founding director of the Manhattan Company[1] and a director of the Bank of North America. Belvidere, the Church family estate in rural western New York, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 as a prime example of Federal style architecture.[2] (1)

Family

bap. 9 Nov. 1748, s. of Richard Church of Great Yarmouth, Norf. by Elizabeth, da. of John Barker of Lowestoft, Suff.1 m. June 1777, Angelica, da. of Maj.-Gen. Philip Schuyler of Albany, New York, 3s. 2da. (3)

Duelist

Church was an experienced duellist, and owned the Wogdon pistols used in the 1804 Burr-Hamilton duel. The weapons had already been used in an 1801 duel, in which Hamilton's son Philip was killed. Following the Burr-Hamilton duel, the pistols were returned to Church, and reposed at his Belvidere estate until the late 19th century[3]

Later legend claimed that these pistols were the same ones used in a 1799 duel between Church and Burr, in which neither man was injured. This makes sense according to the accepted rules of the 'code duello', in which the challenged (in this case, Church) had the right to choose the weapons[4]. However, the same rule was apparently ignored in the 1801 duel, where Philip Hamilton was the challenger and also supplied the weapons borrowed from his uncle. Also, Aaron Burr claimed in his memoir that he, not Church, supplied the pistols for his duel with Church, and that they belonged to him[5]. Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow accepts Burr's version of the story[6]. (1)

Land Speculator

In 1797, John Barker Church returned from Europe with his family to New York to become one of the richest men in the country. 3 After the Revolution, he had loaned land speculator, Robert Morris, a large amount of money, taking security in the name of his brother-in-law, General Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was also a son-in-law of General Philip Schuyler who had married Schuyler’s second eldest daughter, Elizabeth. (2)

Sources

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Part I: Church Family Background in Allegany County Land Speculation.
  3. CHURCH, John Barker (1748-1818), of Down Place, Berks.
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John Church's Timeline

1748
October 30, 1748
Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
November 9, 1748
1777
June, 1777
Age 28
1778
April 14, 1778
Age 29
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
1818
May 2, 1818
Age 69
Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead, England, United Kingdom
May 2, 1818
Age 69
London, United Kingdom
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