David Holmes, Timothy Barnard, and Questionable Loyalties

Conflict & War

June 27, 2019
by Bryan Rindfleisch Also by this Author


Journal of the American Revolution is the leading source of knowledge about the American Revolution and Founding Era. We feature smart, groundbreaking research and well-written narratives from expert writers. Our work has been featured by the New York Times, TIME magazine, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Smithsonian, Mental Floss, NPR, and more. Journal of the American Revolution also produces annual hardcover volumes, a branded book series, and the podcast, Dispatches

With the Revolutionary War in full swing by August 1776, George Galphin penned a letter to his nephew, Timothy Barnard. Galphin started his letter with a report of the expeditions against the Cherokee Indians in the spring and summer, followed by the news of armed confrontations between settlers in Georgia and Creek (Muscogee) Indians, although Galphin hoped Cherokee losses might convince the Creeks they would be “served in the same manner.” Galphin then described the activities undertaken by revolutionaries in Charleston, Savannah, and Philadelphia. For instance, American forces expelled the British navy from Charleston, capturing one ship and three transports, although he mistakenly conflated the capture of different ships near Boston when he said the Charleston captures were taken “with all Frasers Highlanders aboard 700 & odd men.” Meanwhile, Charles Lee marched into Savannah “upon a secret expedition,” although rumors suggested Lee intended to strike British garrisons in East Florida. Galphin then reported a “24 Gun ship gone from Charles Town to France with some principal men on board . . . to settle a trade,” and hopefully more, for he heard the revolutionaries had “great encouragement from the French, Spain, & the Dutch.” As Galphin marveled to Barnard, “you could hardly believe the Industry that is in [our] Country & the Spirit for War among the Men is Extraordinary.”[1]

When Galphin moved on to more personal matters, he urged Barnard and his partner in the deerskin trade—David Holmes, also a nephew of Galphin—to “get your Skins down as fast as you can” before British blockades, retaliatory embargoes, and war might prevent “a man from paying his Just debts.” It was at that point Galphin confided in his nephew: he had been appointed by the South Carolina and Georgia Councils of Safety, and the Continental Congress, as the commissioner for Indian affairs in the South. As Galphin put it, “I concern myself [in] no way but to keep the Creeks [and Cherokees] peaceable that I will do if in my power.” In effect, Galphin had chosen sides and was hoping to convince Barnard to join him, although Galphin described himself as a reluctant revolutionary, for “I am sorry an Independence is Declared. I was still in hopes affairs would have been settled but now it is all over.” Galphin concluded by asking Barnard to “Remember me to D. Holms, when you write to him” and “I should be glad to hear from you & D. Holms” soon.[2]

What Galphin did not know was that his two nephews had pledged their allegiance to John Stuart, British superintendent for Indian affairs in the South. As Stuart gloated to his superiors in London, “David Holms . . . made a voluntary Offer to me of his Services . . . accompanied by Mr. Timothy Barnard.” Stuart appointed Holmes “an Extra Commissary, and Mr. Barnard an Extra Assistant Commissary in my Department.” Therefore, when Barnard received Galphin’s letter in August 1776, he transmitted the contents of that letter to Stuart, which had repercussions for the American war effort, such as disrupting Lee’s “secret expedition” against East Florida. Holmes and Barnard, then, provide a textbook example of how the American Revolution was a fratricidal war that pitted families against one another, a civil war as much as a war for independence. When Galphin framed the war as a “family quarrel” between England and its colonies to Creek micos (town headmen) in 1776, he spoke from personal experience. In such ways, the American Revolution was a crucible by which families were violently torn apart by their loyalties to independence or empire.[3]

Even though Holmes and Barnard supported the British, rumors and suspicions of their loyalty haunted them throughout the war, undoubtedly due to their associations with Galphin. Imperial authorities such as Patrick Tonyn, governor of East Florida, accused Holmes and Barnard of being double agents. As Tonyn practically screamed at Stuart in one letter, “I am confidently informed Mr. Barnard conveys intelligence to Galphin . . . and it may be guessed at from whom he was furnished with the Materials of Intelligence, [since] Mr. Holmes it is well known . . . [had been] in support of the Rebel[s].” Although Holmes and Barnard defended themselves against such charges, they were never able to rid themselves of suspicion. It even seemed that some of the rumors were well-founded and, still to this day, we do not know what Holmes and Barnard’s loyalties were. Holmes and Barnard illustrate the murky and questionable loyalties of the American Revolution; walking a fine line between professed allegiance to the British Empire and the suspicions of being secret revolutionaries.[4]

We know little about David Holmes and Timothy Barnard before the Revolutionary War, but we do know they were nephews of George Galphin. Along with Galphin’s sons—George and John, born of Metawney from the Lower Creek town Coweta—Holmes and Barnard were family members in whom Galphin “placed the greatest Confidence.” Together, Galphin’s sons and nephews served as his primary agents in the deerskin trade and his intermediaries with Creek micos, and forged what many considered to be indomitable friendships if not brotherly bonds. This is why Galphin, when he retired from the skin trade in 1773, turned his operations over to his sons and nephews, which they rechristened as the family firm: Galphin, Holmes & Co. As Galphin described the relationship between his sons and nephews, “No people in these parts ever went into trade on a better footing . . . They buy off no old debts . . . I will be security to you for whatever goods they may send for and see you paid.” Family ties, then, meant everything to Galphin, his sons, and nephews.[5]

David Holmes was born in Northern Ireland as the son of William Holmes and Margaret Galphin, one of George Galphin’s sisters. At some point in the 1760s, Holmes joined his mother, father, and two brothers who left Ulster to join Galphin at his Silver Bluff plantation in South Carolina, where David came under the tutelage of his uncle in the deerskin trade. Over the course of a decade, Holmes emerged as one of Galphin’s main traders and later one of his merchant suppliers, noted for his “great deal of Influence among the Indians.” Like other traders in the eighteenth-century South, Holmes doubled as an agent of the British Empire, providing intelligence to imperial authorities, transmitting talks or providing escort between Creek Country, or representing imperial interests to Creek and Cherokee leaders. This is exactly what Holmes did in June 1774 when he delivered messages from John Stuart to the Cherokee town of Keowee, pleading with Cherokee headmen to “Settle the Difference now Subsisting between the [Creek] nation and [British] Government amicably.” Holmes eventually established himself as the leading trader and merchant in Pensacola, where he facilitated the traffic in deerskins and cattle to feed British garrisons in West Florida. In addition to owning property in Pensacola, Holmes possessed land in St. George’s Parish and Queensborough Township in Georgia, where his wife—Jane Pettycrew—maintained property. By 1776, Holmes was considered a “gentleman” by his elite peers in southern society, much like his uncle.[6]

Little is known about Timothy Barnard’s life prior to the American Revolution. We do not know where, when, or to whom he was born, only that he had two brothers—John and Edward—one of whom worked with Galphin in the deerskin trade during the 1740s-1760s. At some point, one of Barnard’s relatives married into the Galphin family, because Timothy was thereafter identified as Galphin’s “nephew.” It should come as no surprise that Galphin took Barnard under his wing, who emerged as one of Galphin’s primary traders at the Lower Creek town of Yuchi, and maintained Galphin’s largest and most profitable trade account. Barnard also found a new home at Yuchi, a distinct people living among the Creeks, where he forged connections with Creek and Yuchi leaders like Captain Aleck, Thunder, and King Jack, courtesy of having an “Uchee women for a wife” (and with whom he reportedly fathered eleven children). Barnard also doubled as the British Empire’s intermediary with the Creeks and Yuchis, transporting deerskins and “Goods [to] Mr. Galphin” while delivering intelligence or messages to imperial authorities like Georgia governor James Wright.[7]

With the outbreak of war in 1775, Holmes and Barnard initially supported their uncle’s efforts to keep the Creeks out of the conflict. In October 1775, Holmes delivered “ammunition & a talk from the Gentlemen of the Committee [of Correspondence] in Savannah & a talk from my Self [Galphin] . . . to the Creeks.” As Galphin recounted to the South Carolina Council of Safety, Holmes “had enough to Do to Stop Several of the Traders . . . from going to Pensacola for goods” and even confronted Stuart’s agent, David Taitt, in one of the town squares “before all the Indians . . . [and] told Taitt he was a Liar.” After the encounter, Taitt “gave out no bad talks” and Creek micos “Sent me [Galphin] word by Holmes that I might Depend upon there being Down” to see him soon. Stuart also had cause to complain about Barnard, for he frustratingly noted to British Gen.Thomas Gage that “George Galphin . . . Conducts [his] Operation by his two Nephews, [and] had acquired some influence in . . . [the Creek] Nation.” This is not to mention that “on order of Mr. Galphin,” Holmes transacted business for the South Carolina Council of Safety when he purchased ammunition and goods totaling £400. It seems, then, that Holmes and Barnard started the war as revolutionaries.[8]

Yet less than a year later, Holmes and Barnard defected to the British side. Apparently, Holmes maintained a correspondence with imperial authorities throughout 1775, who were informed by Holmes that “he saw the appointment of the Person [to manage all affairs whatever in the Creek Nation] was his uncle Mr. Gaulphin.” This infuriated Governor Wright because Galphin previously “said he would not act” for either side. Meanwhile, someone in Galphin, Holmes & Co.—Holmes or Barnard—conveyed a letter from one of Galphin’s traders, James Durozeaux, to Stuart, the contents of which discussed Stuart’s plans to cut off the deerskin trade from Creek Country to Georgia and South Carolina, and thereby force the Creek Nation to seek trade with the British. As Durozeaux noted, Creek towns like Coweta considered themselves “poor” and “they may as well fall on [the Americans] . . . [since they have] not had a Supply as Usual nor powder to hunt with” from Charleston or Savannah. Several months later, Stuart received Galphin’s letter to Barnard and a month later, Holmes delivered talks from Stuart to Creek micos in the town of Chehaw. While there, Holmes intercepted a letter “from Mr. Galphin’s cowpen” and delivered to Stuart “the two talks made by Mr. Galphin” to the Creeks, along with “news I had of trading boats preparing by the rebels to go for Augustine” (Lee’s “secret expedition”). This was despite the fact that Galphin still believed Holmes and Barnard were on his side, as revealed by Galphin’s nephew-in-law, Daniel McMurphy, who demanded that John Burgess protect “Mr. Barnard [who] will be with you to get the Skins which you will deliver to him.” As McMurphy ironically concluded his letter to Burgess, “I still hope you are more wise than join the other side if you have by God you will repent it,” unaware that Galphin’s nephews had done just that.[9]

The question, of course, is what prompted Holmes and Barnard to ally themselves with the British Empire, despite acting as revolutionaries in the first year of the war? Unfortunately, we do not have a good answer. It is entirely plausible that the crippling losses Galphin, Holmes, & Co. suffered in the early years of the war, such as the accidental burning of merchant ships that carried £4,000 worth “of Skins belonging to my [Galphin’s] Nephew[s] &. . . Sons,” as well as a lack of trade outlets when cut off from European markets, convinced Holmes and Barnard to salvage what they could of their finances and enlist with the British. Such a decision would account for the fact that Holmes and Barnard relocated themselves to British Pensacola in 1776. However, Holmes and Barnard could have also had a personal falling out with their uncle, maybe when voicing their financial concerns behind closed doors. That, or a hundred other possibilities. What we do know is the cost that Holmes and Barnard paid for their defection: the severance of kinship ties to their uncle, cousins, and the rest of the family.[10]

On the other hand, it is plausible that Holmes and Barnard conspired with Galphin to defect to the British side and operate behind enemy lines, spying for their uncle and undermining Stuart’s negotiations with the Creeks. This is exactly what some British authorities—like Patrick Tonyn—feared when learning about Holmes and Barnard’s “voluntary Offer” of their services to the British Indian Department. As Tonyn wrote in haste to Stuart, “it has been an unlucky circumstance that Holmes [is] at Pensacola [and] has been allowed to supply the Indian Traders with Goods his being Galphin’s Nephew, the Indians are made to believe that they are supplied by Galphin . . . perhaps there may be some understanding between them which gives them sufficient reason to suspect that such Clandestine proceedings are not improbable.” Within days, Tonyn again accused Holmes and Barnard of being complicit to “the Artfull Machinations of Galphin,” as Tonyn was “informed by the Indians . . . [Holmes] deliver his Talks with the Goods, and are most of them [Creeks] secured to his Service. Holmes in this wickedness does not appear although actually the instrument.” Tonyn also confided “I am further informed that Timothy Barnard [is] in cooperation with Galphin, and [with] this Holmes are contriving all the mischief in their power to hurt the public Service.” Tonyn included the depositions of John Williams and Abel Buell, who were “certain Holmes was a true friend to the American Cause” by sustaining a correspondence “from one Timothy Barnard to said Holmes, and also from Mr. Galphin.”[11]

What seemed damning evidence to Tonyn was viewed with skepticism by Stuart, who wrote back to Tonyn and his superiors in London that Holmes and Barnard “perform very essential services . . . in my department” and express a “tried zeal for the King’s service.” Stuart detailed how “I have had frequent occasion since the present Rebellion to Employ [Holmes and Barnard] in several difficult & delicate Services in which [they] always acquitted with equal Loyalty and discretion, and . . . to my Satisfaction.” Specific to the accusations leveled by Williams and Buell, Stuart confided, “I have had some Conversation with Holmes . . . who declares, that he never in his Life exchanged Six words with Buell.” To try and alleviate some of Tonyn’s concerns, Stuart remarked, “Timothy Barnard and all suspected persons I shall immediately order out of the Nation.” Stuart warned Holmes “if he is detected in carrying on any correspondence with Mr. Galphin . . . the Consequence will be very disagreeable to him.” A week later, Stuart wrote that “I have fully examined Mr. Holmes” and while his “connection with Mr. Galphin breeds suspicion,” Stuart believed Holmes and Barnard were innocent of Tonyn’s charges. As evidence, Stuart forwarded an affidavit from Holmes professing “I am willing at any time to make Oath” of loyalty and stated—in repudiation of Buell’s charges of Holmes misinterpreting the talks from British authorities to Creek micos—that “I do not speak the Indian Language myself, therefore when I have any thing to say to an Indian I must of course employ an Interpreter.” Holmes, in effect, called Buell and Williams liars.[12]

Such public declarations failed to dissuade imperial authorities from investigating further. For instance, David Taitt confided to Tonyn that “I am clearly of opinion with your Excellency respecting . . . Holmes’ House . . . [being] very improper persons to Trade in the Nation in the present situation of Affairs” as well as “Men of suspicious principles.” While Taitt “suspect[ed] many Talks have been given” by Holmes and Barnard to Creek micos in support of their uncle, “unless everything can be clearly proved it is useless to make any Complaint” until more evidence could be gathered. In the meantime, Tonyn kept Holmes and Barnard in his crosshairs, monitoring “their Zeal for His Majesty’s Service” that he found to be “less ardent” and “the Influence of these Gentlemen not so great as was expected.” Tonyn once again accused Holmes and Barnard of betraying the British, for “I am confidently informed . . . [they] convey intelligence to Galphin and [Jonathan] Bryan of what was passing at Pensacola in the Indian Nation and elsewhere by the means of Indian Expresses.”[13]

It did not help matters that Holmes and Barnard left evidence that potentially supported the rumors of being double agents for the revolutionaries. On the eve of Barnard’s defection in July 1776, Taitt reported to Stuart that Barnard promised to send “a talk to the Lower Creeks” from the revolutionaries, “but he now pretends that it was destroyed” and instead “sent me the enclosed, being all that he says he remembers of the talk.” But as Barnard had told Taitt, “I am heartily sorry I have it not in my power to send you the Talk according to my promise but as I did not Chuse to put it among my other papers but stuck it up in the Clapboards in the Top of my House and as some of the Indians had got hold of it and not knowing what it was has made away with it.” Does this sound a little too convenient? Maybe. Or consider the exchange between Galphin, Will’s Friend, and Half-Breed of Okfuskee in June 1778. As the Okfuskee micos observed to Galphin, they had almost come to blows with British agents “and would if it had not been for Mr. Holmes, [who] gave me two pieces of strouds and a set of skin trunk[s].” When Galphin asked if Holmes mentioned him at all, they replied that Holmes “never Mentioned your Name to me Good or Bad.” Was Galphin checking in on his nephew, trying to discern whether Holmes left any messages with the Creek micos, or attempting to establish a line of communication? Or was this Galphin simply asking after his nephew?[14]

Whatever the case, Holmes and Barnard continued to support (or maybe not) the British cause in Creek Country. As Stuart’s commissaries, they transmitted any and all intelligence to the superintendent, such as the “disagreeable [news] that a rebel army, said to consist of two thousand men . . . were marching with artillery against St. Augustine with intent to attack and reduce that place.” On other occasions, Holmes and Barnard accompanied Creek delegations to and from Pensacola to see Stuart, such as when “600 of the Lower Creeks . . . arrived with Mr. Holmes whom I [Stuart] had sent . . . [with] All the chiefs of the Lower towns amongst them.” Whereas Holmes did not speak Creek (Muscogee), Barnard did and was often called upon to convey talks between British and Creek leaders, like in July 1778 when he interpreted a talk from Stuart to Upper Creek micos exhorting them to resist the Americans who “would encroach on your Lands, and probably send their army against you, so that they would endeavor to drive you out of your nation, and take possession of your Lands.” In some cases, it was Holmes and Barnard who mobilized British forces and their allies, as in August 1778 when they set off for East Florida “accompanied by . . . some white men, and thirty Coolamies and Fusshatchies . . . to collect as many Indians as possible with them . . . and march together to [defend] St. Augustine” from a suspected attack.[15]

Holmes and Barnard also engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse with the revolutionaries, chasing around and trying to defuse the many rumors and half-truths that threatened to turn the Creeks against the British, or vice versa. As Holmes put it best, they “take great Care that no Lying Talks should be delivered out . . . [due to] the many Lying Talks that is going about thro’ [Creek] Town[s] every Day.” This is largely how the Revolutionary War was fought in Creek Country; with British and revolutionary agents trying to convince Creek micos to support one side against the other, while arguing the other side was unable to supply them with goods, or boasting of their victories (real and imagined) on the battlefield to persuade Creek micos to enlist in their cause. In one memorable case, Barnard countered the intrigues of “Young [Stephen] Forrester [who] . . . brought up Goods and told [Creek micos] that . . . Mr. Galphin’s Store was full of Goods & Rum” and “that there is now a French & Spanish War, and that they [Americans] and the French & Spaniards will soon be masters of all this Land.” Barnard reacted by conferring with Captain Aleck of Cusseta, who pledged to “not go into the Square all the while the Rebels were up nor do not intend to go down to their Talks to Ogeechee” as well as to do “everything in his Power to keep them from spilling blood.” Holmes and Barnard, then, played a proverbial game of chess against the revolutionaries.[16]

It should be noted that Holmes and Barnard ultimately gained Stuart’s trust, despite the reservations of other imperial authorities. As Stuart related to George Germain—Secretary of State in London—he sent Holmes and Barnard on an expedition throughout Creek Country in December 1778, to revitalize the British interest among Upper and Lower towns, which he deemed a “success” when reporting “[Holmes] has discharged the trust I reposed in him, with great zeal and fidelity and, in justice to him.” While among the Upper Creeks, Holmes took the opportunity to remind Creek micos that “You are all particularly acquainted with Mr. Barnard and myself, you are all Sensible that we have for many years Supplied your Towns plentifully with Goods . . . and as there has a mutual Friendship subsisted betwixt us during the time, we could not be silent on this critical Occasion, but immediately offered our assistance for your protection” because “the Rebels cannot Supply your wants.” As Holmes promised, “as long as you Continue in that good disposition towards us and discontinue all lying Talks that you may hear from the Rebels, you never will be poor, as your Friend and Father will be so watchful that you are all plentifully Supplied.” Holmes and Barnard repeated this message from one town to the next, until Sinnettehagee of Micasugue confronted them and stated, “Mr. Galphin told me to sit still and not to concern myself on either side which Talk I have always thought of when I am asked to go to War against those people.” Holmes responded, “I did not expect that you would have mentioned anything to me respecting the talks which Mr. Galphin has told you; for if you listen to his talks, you are not our Friends, which may be the means of making you and all your people very poor.” Such strong words suggest the defection of Holmes and Barnard was, in fact, real.[17]

Following Stuart’s death in 1779, Holmes was appointed to the Board of Commissioners for Exercising the Office of Superintendent of Indian Affairs, with Barnard as his right-hand man. Holmes and Barnard were tasked to “keep up a Constant Succession of Parties of Indians . . . to Co-Operate with His Majesty’s Forces” and “be particularly vigilant in Endeavours to discover and counteract the Machinations of such Rebel Emissaries, as might be sent into the Nation by George Galphin.” Holmes reported to the Board by July 1779 that the Creek nation was “firmly attach’d to the King’s Interest, Not less than between three, and four hundred are now, out upon actual Service” and “promise to drop all Correspondence with Mr. Galphin and receive no Talks, from the Rebels whatsoever.” The following month, Barnard described how “a Body of upwards two hundred” of Creek and Loyalist men “march’d out of the [Creek] Nation with Commissioner Holm’s for Georgia” to harass revolutionary forces.[18]

But Holmes’s and Barnard’s reputations as “formerly rebel commissioner[s]” never stopped haunting them—as David Taitt remined the board of commissioners in August 1779—which likely explains why Holmes and Barnard faded into the background for the rest of the war. The only documentation we have after 1779 is from the summer of 1780, when Andrew McLean heard from one of his clients in Pensacola that “he left Mr. Holmes sick in the Creeks on his way” to Augusta. We can assume Holmes was forced to move back to Pensacola. A runaway slave advertisement in December 1783 describes Pompey, who “several years ago lived with Mr. George Galphin . . . but lately belonged to Mr. David Holmes, of West-Florida.” In August 1785, when London creditors tracked down the proprietors of Galphin, Holmes & Co., it was discovered that Holmes was “deceased.”[19]

Barnard, in contrast, thrived after the Revolutionary War. When he surrendered to American forces in the summer of 1782, he did so in dramatic fashion, saving the lone surviving son of the Mendingall family who was “brought out of the Creek Nation . . . by Mr. Barnard.” As Patrick Carr—a former friend—reported to Georgia governor John Martin, Barnard “says he will do any thing . . . if I would write to . . . your honour” requesting a pardon. As Carr confided to Governor Martin, “I know Mr. Barnard to be a good Man, as I have Experienced it in many respects, the time I usually went to the [Creek] Nation for Mr. Galphin he render’d me many services, and protected me.” Barnard quickly established himself as one of the main agents for the state of Georgia and the federal government in the negotiations with the Creek Nation. As early as June 1784, Barnard represented Georgia’s interests in the Lower Creek town of Cusseta where he addressed Creek micos: “We the people of Georgia always held you by the hand and looked upon you as our Beloved friends.” Barnard invoked the past, how “All your Nation has heard the talks Mr. Galphin gave you in his life time, Who was Our Great Beloved Man and Loved the Indians a Great Deal and never told them lyes.” This was not the first nor the last time Barnard tried to rewrite his history; when he again appeared in Cusseta in March 1793 and asked Creek micos to reflect “a few years back and see the manner in which the British . . . sen[t] you to war against the Americans, and a care not, should they never see you more, or even hear of your welfare. The English have not thought of you, since the American war . . . These, my friends, are circumstances, which ought to make deep impressions in your hearts.” Not once did Barnard mention his own part in the war.[20]

What, then, should we think of David Holmes and Timothy Barnard? Did they turn against their family during the war, or were they double agents who spied on British forces and sought to undermine the efforts of the British Indian Department? Unfortunately, there is no written confession explaining their loyalties, despite their involvement on both sides throughout the Revolutionary War. All we have is circumstantial evidence that suggests Holmes and Barnard could have been the British turncoats that historians have believed them to be, or they could have infiltrated the British Indian Department in collusion with their uncle Galphin. While we have no definitive answer, we should appreciate how this embodies one of the most beautiful characteristics of history; the lingering questions that spur us to search for answers in the past, even if those questions remain unanswered. Each of us, then, gets to be the judge, for better or worse.

There are several other insights that David Holmes and Timothy Barnard provide about the American Revolution. Holmes and Barnard demonstrate the nebulous and at times contingent nature of loyalty, in which Patriots and Loyalists alike switched sides time and again throughout the war. Loyalty was not a black-and-white affair, it was negotiated and could change over the course of the war. The American Revolution was also a fratricidal conflict that ripped families apart and severed the bonds of kinship. Therefore, it was as much a civil war as a war for independence. Lastly, Holmes and Barnard remind us that there is a lot we still do not know, and may never know, about the American Revolution and how ordinary peoples experienced that transformative event. But that is exactly what drives historians to do what they do; to connect the dots and discern the truth in order to explain the past, and understand how that past shapes our present.


[1]George Galphin to Timothy Barnard, August 18, 1776, Board of Trade and Secretaries of State: America and West Indies, Indian Affairs, 1763-1784, Vol. 78, British National Archives.


[3]John Stuart to George Germain, August 10, 1778, Documents of the American Revolution, Volume XV, ed. K.G. Davies (Shannon: Irish University Press, 1972-), 180-182; “Journal of a Conference,” May 16-19, 1776, Early American Indian Documents, Volume XII, ed. John T. Juricek (Bethesda: University Publications of America, 1989-), 183-190.

[4]Patrick Tonyn to John Stuart, September 8, 1777, Board of Trade and Secretaries of State: America and West Indies, East Florida, 1763-1777, CO 5/558, British National Archives.

[5]George Galphin to James Grant, March 26, 1770, James Grant of Ballindalloch Papers, 1740-1819, Microfilm 687, Reel 19, David Library of the American Revolution; January 30, 1779, Journal of an Expedition . . . Archibald Campbell (Darien: Ashantilly Press, 1981), 52-53; George Galphin to Council of Safety, August 9, 1775, South Carolina Historical & Genealogical Magazine 1:2 (April 1900): 124; George Galphin to Greenwood & Higginson, August 28, 1773, Silver Bluff: DeSoto and Galphin, in Hammond, Bryan and Cumming Family Papers, 1787-1865, MS mfm R.1068a-c, South Caroliniana Library; Account 257, Silver Bluff Trading Post Account Book, 1767-1772, MS #269, Georgia Historical Society.

[6]Last Will and Testament of George Galphin, April 6, 1776, 000051 .L 51008, South Carolina Department of Archives and History; Henry H. Claussen, “George Galphin in Ireland and America,” Richmond County History Journal 13:1-2 (1981): 15; John Stuart to George Germain, August 10, 1778, Documents of the American Revolution, Volume XV, 180-182; Alexander Cameron to John Stuart, June 3, 1774,Early American Indian Documents, Volume XIV, 356-358; Memorial of David Milligan, January 16, 1786, American Loyalist Claims, Series II: Georgia, AO 13/36c, British National Archives; Andrew McLean to Clark & Milligan, February 25, 1776, Andrew McLean Letterbook, 1774-1780, MS mfm R.1068o, South Caroliniana Library; July 5, 1775,Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Volume XXXVIII Part I-B, ed. Allen D. Candler, Georgia Department of Archives and History; Land Grant to David Holmes, March 1, 1768, Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Volume XXVIII Part II, ed. Allen D. Candler (Atlanta: Franklin-Turner Company, 1904-), 299; William H. Dumont, Colonial Georgia Genealogical Data, 1748-1783, Book Z-25 (Washington: National Genealogical Society, 1971), 8-9; Estate Appraisal of Jacob Brazeal, June 9, 1772, Telamon Cuyler Historical Manuscripts, 1754-1905, MS #1170, Series 1, Box 38G, Folder 57, Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

[7]August 16, 1760, Colonial Georgia Genealogical Data, 1748-1783, Book J, 356; James Habersham to George Galphin, November 23, 1771, Habersham Family Papers, 1712-1842, MS #1787, Folder 4, Georgia Historical Society; Joshua Piker, “To the Backcountry and Back Again: The Yuchi’s Search for Stability in the Eighteenth-Century Southeast,” Yuchi Indian Histories Before the Removal Era, ed. Jason Baird Jackson (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2012), 202-204; David Taitt to John Stuart, July 7, 1776, Documents of the American Revolution, Volume XII, 159-161; Account 132, Silver Bluff Trading Post Account Book, 1767-1772; Thomas S. Woodward, Woodward’s Reminiscences of the Creek, or Muscogee Indians, ed. Peter A. Brannon (Tuscaloosa: Weatherford Printing Company, 1939), 109; John R. Swanton, Early History of the Creek Indians and their Neighbors (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1922), 310-311.

[8]George Galphin to Council of Safety, October 15, 1775, The Papers of Henry Laurens Volume X, ed. David R. Chesnutt and Philip M. Hamer (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1981), 467-469; John Stuart to Thomas Gage, October 24, 1775, Indian Affairs 1763-1784, Vol. 77; Council of Safety, January 24, 1775, Collections of the South Carolina Historical Society, Volume III(Charleston: South Carolina Historical Society, 1859), 214.

[9]James Wright to John Stuart, July 6, 1775,Thomas Gage Papers, 1754-1807, American Series, Volume 132, William L. Clements Library; James Durozeaux to Galphin Holmes & Co., December 15, 1775, Henry Laurens Papers, Kendall Collection,MS P, Box 7, Folder 13, South Caroliniana Library; David Holmes to John Stuart, September 26, 1776, Indian Affairs 1763-1784, Vol. 78; Daniel McMurphy to John Burgess, September 26-29, 1776, Indian Affairs 1763-1784, Vol. 78.

[10]George Galphin to Henry Laurens, March 13, 1776, The Papers of Henry Laurens, Volume XI, 157-159; David H. Corkran, The Creek Frontier, 1540-1783(Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967), 299-300.

[11]Patrick Tonyn to David Taitt, June 12, 1777, East Florida 1763-1777, CO 5/557; Patrick Tonyn to John Stuart, June 16, 1777, East Florida 1763-1777, CO 5/557; Deposition of John Williams and Abel Buell, May 30, 1777, East Florida 1763-1777, CO 5/557.

[12]John Stuart to George Germain, August 10, 1778, Documents of the American Revolution, Volume XV, 180-182; John Stuart to George Germain, December 4, 1778,Indian Affairs 1763-1784, Vol. 76; John Stuart to Patrick Tonyn, July 21, 1777, East Florida 1763-1777, CO 5/557; John Stuart to Patrick Tonyn, July 28, 1777, East Florida 1763-1777, CO 5/557.

[13]David Taitt to Patrick Tonyn, August 24, 1777, East Florida 1763-1777, CO 5/557; Patrick Tonyn to John Stuart, September 8, 1777, East Florida 1763-1777, CO 5/557.

[14]David Taitt to John Stuart, July 7, 1776,Documents of the American Revolution, Volume XII, 159-161; Timothy Barnard to David Taitt, July 4, 1776, Archibald Bulloch Papers, 1769-1777, MS 103, Georgia Historical Society; A Talk from Will’s Friend & Half-Breed to George Galphin, June 9, 1778, George Galphin Letters, 1777-1779, in Henry Laurens Papers. Roll 17: Indian Affairs, South Carolina Historical Society.

[15]John Stuart to George Germain, August 10, 1778, Documents of the American Revolution, Volume XV, 180-182; John Stuart to George Germain, January 23, 1778,Documents of the American Revolution, Volume XV, 32-34; David Holmes, July 27, 1778, “Journal of an Expedition,” Indian Affairs 1763-1784, Vol. 80.

[16]David Holmes to John Stuart, October 19, 1777, British Headquarters Papers of the British Army in America (Carleton Papers), 1747-1783, Reel 7 [micro-film]; Timothy Barnard to John Stuart, November 9, 1778, Indian Affairs 1763-1784, Vol. 80.

[17]John Stuart to Lord George Germain, December 4, 1778, Indian Affairs 1763-1784, Vol. 76; David Holmes, July 27 and August 7, 1778, “Journal of an Expedition,” Indian Affairs 1763-1784, Vol. 80.

[18]Board of Commissioners to George Germain, May 10, 1779, Documents of the American Revolution, Volume XVII, 118-119; Board of Commissioners to George Germain, July 28, 1777 and August 16, 1779, Indian Affairs 1763-1784, Vol. 81; John Stuart to Patrick Tonyn, July 28, 1777, Ibid.

[19]David Taitt to George Germain, August 6, 1779, Documents of the American Revolution, Volume XVII, 178-182; Andrew McLean to Clark & Milligan, August 25, 1780, Andrew McLean Letterbook, 1774-1780; South Carolina Gazette and General Advertiser, December 23-27, 1783; Suit against George Galphin, et.al., August 23, 1785, Silver Bluff: DeSoto and Galphin.

[20]Daniel McMurphy to Governor Martin, August 25, 1782, Creek Indian Letters, Talks & Treaties, 1705-1837, MS #1500, Box 62, Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library; Patrick Carr to Governor Martin, December 13, 1782, Creek Indian Letters, Talks & Treaties, 1705-1837, Box 62; Patrick Carr to Georgia Assembly, December 28, 1782, Creek Indian Letters, Talks & Treaties, 1705-1837, Box 62; Timothy Barnard to Patrick Carr, June 2, 1784, Creek Indian Letters, Talks & Treaties, 1705-1837, Box 60; Timothy Barnard to Creek Indians, 22 March 1793, Creek Indian Letters, Talks & Treaties, 1705-1837, Box 60.


  • I was excited to learn of Timothy Barnard (1745-1820) in the Journal of the American Revolution. I read it because I hope to find mention of my family/ancestors, and finally, someone wrote about them! I have been researching Timothy Barnard on and off and never get very far (mostly due to the fact that I am up here in Canada and will probably never get to the South Carolina Historical Society or Library. Timothy is my cousin (1st cousin) from seven generations ago.

    I have also been following George Galphin because I suspected he at least knew Timothy, although I could never prove they were related. I know that Timothy’s nephew named Timothy James Barnard (1775-1839) was married to a Martha Galphin (1785-1803). She could be a daughter of George Galphin.

    IF Martha was one of George’s children, she could be of mixed race as I have read that he had children with four women of different races (Indigenous, Black, White). George left 50 pounds sterling to all fatherless children from within a 30 mile radius of where he lived.

    Timothy Barnard (1745-1820) has been described as an Indian trader. I was never sure if that meant he traded in Indians, or with Indians. Realizing there were slave traders at the time, and that Timothy came from a slave-owning family; I thought either assumption reasonable. Timothy’s father also had stock in the ‘Indian Trade’ (people or goods – I’m not sure). But, we in the family have been told Timothy married a Creek woman. Still, I was never sure if this was a real marriage, or a slave he had taken and had 10 known children with. We have never been able to learn her name.

    If I had to guess, I would guess that Timothy was loyal to the Revolutionaries, or maybe he just didn’t care who won the war and played both sides to his own advantages. I do know that some of Timothy’s family (cousins) did flee/leave the South when the revolutionaries won, were Loyalists, and eventually settled in Canada.

    Our family records indicate that Timothy was born on Wilmington Island, Chatham County, Georgia, USA, on November 3, 1745, to Jane Bradley & John Barnard. Timothy had six known siblings, one being John Washington Barnard (1750-18250) – however I don’t have a record of an Edward as a sibling. Something to look into in the future.

    What is the source of the picture of the 3 men at the beginning of the paper (top of the blog)?

    Thank you for such an informative article. I will be watching for more!
    Karen Prytula in Canada ka************@gm***.com

    1. You can find the source of any of our banner images by hovering your computer cursor over the picture. This one is a painting called “Informant” by Bryant White (www.whitehistoricart.com ©2019 White Historic Art).

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