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William Alexander, Lord Stirling Signed 1763 French & Indian War Period 4,000 Finance Bond to John Watts!

WILLIAM ALEXANDER, LORD STIRLING (1723-1783). American Revolutionary War General captured at the Battle of Long Island, later served under George Washington at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth; at the Battle of Trenton on December 26th, 1776, he received the Surrender of a Hessian German Mercenary regiment. JOHN WATTS

September 20, 1763 French and Indian War Period, Partly-Printed Document Signed "Stirling", measuring 8" x 12.75", 1 page, no place (New York), Very Fine. Being a Financial Interest Bear Loan Bond between "William Earl of Stirling" and "John Watts" in the amount of "Four Thousand Pounds Stirling money of Great Britain". Lord Stirling signs at lower right and has affixed his seal. Docket on reverse. Soiling, horizontal fold split archival repairs are well performed on the blank reverse. Apparently also written in the hand of Sterling, as it begins "I William Earl of Sterling am..." all being in the same rich vivid deep brown ink and in the same handwritten style. Endorsed on the top of the reverse side, reading in full: "I do Certify that the Interest of this Bond is Secured to me by another Bond & Mortgage taken this day & which when paid is to be discharged of the Interest now due on this Bond, New York, 6 April 1770 - (Signed) Jno Watts".

Who Was John Watts, Jr.? He stands imposingly in the south side of Trinity churchyard, a fifteen-foot-high bronze sculpture of an eighteenth century English barrister gone green with age. Passing tourists are likely to recognize the neighboring tombs of Alexander Hamilton and Robert Fulton, and wonder, "Who is that?" His name is John Watts Jr., born 1749. He died in 1836. The statue was erected in 1893 by John Watts DePeyster, Watts' grandson, as an attempt to keep his grandfather's memory alive for the people of Manhattan. It is a physical monument to the man in New York City which he helped shape. For the complete historic story regarding John Watts importance, please see:

Witnessed at lower left and boldly Signed "Sterling" at right with his red wax and paper seal next to his name. A remarkable financial Document for a huge sum in 1763, Signed by two somewhat unsung major figures in shaping American history, Lord Sterling and John Watts.

Additional Information:

William Alexander, known as Lord Stirling (Born 1726 New York City " 1783), was an American Major General during the American Revolutionary War.

Alexander was considered male-heir to the title of Earl of Stirling through Scottish lineage (being the senior male descendant of the paternal grandfather of the first Earl of Stirling, who had died in 1640), and sought the title sometime after 1756. His claim was granted by a Scottish Court; however, the House of Lords ultimately over-ruled Scottish law and denied the title. Alexander continued to hold himself out as "Lord Stirling" regardless.

Lord Stirling commanded the 1st Maryland Regiment that fought at the Battle of Long Island. He lost the battle and was captured but his actions allowed General George Washington's troops to escape. Stirling was returned by prisoner exchange, promoted for his actions, and served with distinction throughout the war. He was trusted by Washington and in 1778 he exposed the Conway Cabal.

Alexander was educated, ambitious, and proficient in mathematics and astronomy. He joined his mother, Mary Alexander, in a successful business and, in 1747, married Sarah Livingston, the daughter of Philip Livingston (1686-1749) and sister of Governor William Livingston. The couple had two daughters and one son William. One of his daughters, Mary Alexander, would marry a wealthy merchant named Robert Watts of New York. Another daughter Catherine was the wife of Congressman William Duer.

Stirling inherited a large fortune from his father. He dabbled in mining and agriculture and lived a life filled with the trappings befitting a Scottish Lord. This was an expensive lifestyle and he eventually went into debt to finance it. He began building his grand estate in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township, New Jersey and upon its completion, sold his home in New York and moved there. George Washington was a guest there on several occasions during the revolution and gave away Stirling's daughter at her wedding.

In 1767, the Royal Society of Arts awarded Lord Stirling a gold medal for accepting the society's challenge to establish viticulture and wine making in the North American colonies by cultivating 2,100 grape vines on his New Jersey estate.

When the American Revolutionary War began, Stirling was made a colonel in the New Jersey colonial militia.[6] Because he was wealthy, he outfitted the militia at his own expense and was willing to spend his own money in support of the Patriot cause. He distinguished himself early by leading a group of volunteers in the capture of an armed British naval transport.

The Second Continental Congress appointed him brigadier general in the Continental Army in March 1776. At the Battle of Long Island, in August of that year, Stirling led the stalwart, well-trained 1st Maryland Regiment (also known as the "Maryland Line") in repeated attacks against a superior British Army force under command of General William Howe at the Old Stone House near Gowanus Creek and took heavy casualties. The redcoats had made a wide flanking attack sweeping to the east through the lightly-guarded Jamaica Pass, one of a series of low entrances through the ridge line of hills running east to west through the center of Long Island, catching the Patriot forces on their left side.

Outnumbered twenty-five to one, his brigade was eventually overwhelmed and Stirling himself was taken prisoner during the disciplined and measured retreat, but not before repelling the British forces long enough to allow the main body of Washington's Continental troops to escape to defensive positions at Brooklyn Heights, along the East River shoreline. Later, under the cover of a miraculous fog which enveloped the river, and the rear-guard covering actions of the Marylanders, Washington was able to barge his remaining troops and equipment across back to Manhattan Island and New York Town.

Because of his actions at Long Island, one newspaper called Stirling "the bravest man in America", and he was praised by both Washington and the British for his bravery and audacity. Later a commemorative monument was erected at the site of the military engagements and embattled retreat and the plot of land deeded to the State of Maryland near Prospect Park as a sacred parcel of "blood-soaked Maryland soil".

Stirling was released in a prisoner exchange, in return for governor Montfort Browne, and promoted to the rank of major general, and became one of Washington's most able and trusted generals. Washington held him in such high regard that he placed Stirling in command of the entire Continental Army for nearly two months while he was away on personal business, and throughout most of the war he was considered to be third or fourth in rank behind General Washington. At the Battle of Trenton on 26 December 1776, he received the Surrender of a Hessian German Mercenary regiment.

On 26 June 1777, at Matouchin, he awaited an attack, contrary to Washington's orders. His position was turned and his division defeated, losing two guns and a hundred fifty men in the Battle of Short Hills. Subsequent battles at Brandywine and Germantown in Pennsylvania during the campaign to defend the Patriot capital of Philadelphia and Monmouth in New Jersey, cemented his reputation for bravery and sound tactical judgment.

At the battles of Brandywine and Germantown he acted with bravery and discretion. At Monmouth, he displayed tactical judgment in posting his batteries, and repelled with heavy loss an attempt to turn his flank. During the devastating winter encampment at Valley Forge, northwest of British"held Philadelphia, his military headquarters have been preserved.

In January 1780, he led an ineffective raid against Staten Island on the western shores of New York Bay. Lord Stirling also played a part in exposing the Conway Cabal, a conspiracy of disaffected Continental officers looking to remove Washington as Commander-in Chief and replace him with General Horatio Gates.

When Washington and the French comte de Rochambeau took their conjoined armies south for the climactic Battle of Yorktown in 1781, Stirling was appointed commander of the elements of the Northern Army left behind to guard New York and was sent up the Hudson River to Albany.

Always a heavy drinker, he was in poor health by this time, suffering from severe gout and rheumatism. He died in Albany on the 15th January 1783. His death, just months before the official end of the American War of Independence with the Treaty of Paris of 1783, is the probable reason that he is not as well known today as many other Revolutionary War generals. Still, his significant contributions made him one of the most important figures of the American Revolution.

He was buried in the Churchyard of Trinity Church, facing the historic Wall Street district (adjoining nearby St. Paul's Chapel), in New York City.
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