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View Tree for George ClaghornGeorge Claghorn (b. July 06, 1748, d. February 05, 1824)

George Claghorn (son of Shubael Claghorn and Experience Hawes)227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233 was born July 06, 1748 in Chilmark, Dukes Co., Massachusetts, and died February 05, 1824 in Seekonk, Massachusetts. He married Deborah Brownell on December 20, 1769 in Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts234, 235, 236, 237, daughter of David Brownell and Grace Church.

 Includes NotesNotes for George Claghorn:

Claghorn Family History

From: Catherine Mayhew
Martha's Vinyard Historical Society
PO Box 827 Edgartown, MA 02539

1) paper copy
Old Ironsides
Colonel George Claghorn
Builder of the Frigate Constitution
(Fourth Edition, 1935)

2) paper copy
Colonel George Claghorn
Builder of Constitution
by William M. Emery
Old Dartmouth Historical Sketches
January, 1931
No. 56

Tenth Report of the Record Commissioners of Boston
Page 235

I've seen references to the following but have
not yet requested copies:

1810 MA Census Bristol Co., Rehoboth, page 335

1800 MA Census Bristol Co., page 422


U.S. Navy "Fact File" on the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") has "Builders: Col George Claghorn, Edmond Harrt's Shipyard, Boston, Mass (1797)," Constitution further described as "Wooden hull, three-masted frigate. The oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy. One of six frigates authorized to form the United States Navy for use against the Barbary pirates."
A Memo of unknown origin states the following:
"George Claghorn of New Bedford, Mass., was Colonel of a Massachusetts regiment during the War of the Revolution. He was the master builder of the New Bedford vessel 'Rebecca' said to have been the first American whaler to double Cape Horn. She sailed from New Bedford September 28, 1791 and returned Feb. 22, 1793 with a full cargo of whale oil. Claghorn was appointed a Constructor in the US Navy and ordered to take charge of the building of the CONSTITUTION at Boston assisted by Mr. Hartley. The deal and plans for the ship(?) had been prepared by Joseph Humphreys, the first US Naval Constructor. The construction was commenced November 1794. She was ready for launching September 20, 1797, but stuck on the ways. A second effort to launch her was made two days later; this too was unsuccessful and Constructor Claghorn reported to Hon. James McHenry, Secretary of War Department, that the reason for the ship's not taking the water successfully was owning to the settling of the wharf from which she was to be launched and that this would be remedied and the launching would take place in October. October 21, 1797 the CONSTITUTION was successfully launched. Of Constructor Claghorn's subsequent career nothing has been found of record; but his name is found number two of the Naval Constructors in Goldsborough's Naval Chronicles."
Excerpts from the Claghorn Study are as follows: "George Claghorn was in the Battle of Bunkerhill and shot in the knee. Went lame ever after. ... At a town meeting at the town of Dartmouth, Mass. Jan 12th 1781, George Claghorn was appointed one of a committee to enlist the soldiers for three years for the Continental Army, pay bounties, etc. ... George Claghorn assisted in establishing American Independence in capacity of 1st Lieu., Capt., and Major and was breveted Col. ... He was considered a rich man in the times worth about $30,000. He had a ship yard at New Bedford, and employed many hands. He was ruined financially by a wayward son, and his heart was broken. ... He died of cancer on the lip, eating an artery he bled to death."
Major Massachusetts Militia in 1781.
"Architect and builder of the US Frigate Constitution (launched 1797) known as 'Old Ironsides'" (Yellow sheet) (This is partially in error as he was not the architect.)
At the Waterfront Park in New Bedford, MA, there is a memorial to Col. Claghorn. The following is from the New Bedford Area Visitor Guide's web page (
Col. George Claghorn was a Revolutionary war patriot, Naval Constructor, and master shipwright. He was a New Bedford resident and had a shipbuilding operation on the New Bedford waterfront in the 1790's and early 1800's. Col. Claghorn's most notable accomplishment came between 1794 and 1797, during which time he moved his family to Boston to build the U.S.S. Constitution. The U.S.S Constitution is the the US Navy's oldest commissioned warship and celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1997. Among other vessels, Col. Claghorn's shipyard also built the whale ship Rebecca, the first whaler to double Cape Horn. The Claghorn memorial was first dedicated in 1936 by the Daughters of the American Revolution, New Bedford chapter. The plaque was taken down in the late 1960's during New Bedford's urban renewal period and placed in storage. It was rediscovered in 1997, and on July 6th, 1997 the memorial was rededicated with proper ceremony. In addition to the Daughters of the American Revolution and local dignitaries, several of Col. Claghorn's own descendants were on hand for the rededication.
Vol. II of "A History of Bristol County Massachusetts," F.W. Hutt ed., 1924, quotes an old manuscript that gives the following: "The ship 'Rebecca' was the first ship built in New Bedford. She was launched in the spring of 1785. George Claghorn, who afterward built the frigate 'Constitution,' the pride of our navy, was the master carpenter. The 'Rebecca' was owned by Joseph Russell and his sons ... She measured about 175 tons, which was considered so immensely large that she was the wonder and admiration of the surrounding country. ... was the first American whaleship to double Cape Horn. She ... made a successful voyage, obtaining a cargo of sperm oil on the coast of Chile, returning in about twelve months. The 'Rebecca' finally made a disastrous end. She sailed from Liverpool for New York in the autumn of 1798 ... and was never heard from." (courtesy of a "lookup" by Ann D'Amore, DE)
DAR information indicates that he entered the service as lieutenant in 1776 under Capt. Manassah Kempton and commanded a company at Dartmouth Alarm; served as captain, 1779, and as major, 1780, under Col William Turner, in the sea-coast defense; later promoted to colonel (other information indicating that he was a "breveted Col." would indicate that he was commissioned a colonel but did not receive that rank's pay).

Judy Goldbaum's data gives birth place as New Bedford, MA.
Tim Cushman's and Judy Goldbaum's data gives death date of 5 Feb 1824; Judy has marriage place as Seskank, RI; several sources have Seekonk, RI; one source had Leekonk; Nat. Soc. of DAR, Vols. 52 & 54, have his death at Rehoboth, MA. Today there is a town of Seekonk, MA, which lies close to the RI/MA boarder, just southeast of Providence, RI. The town of Rehoboth, MA, which lies just a few miles further to the east, was originally called Seekonk, encompassed a much larger territory, and in the early days was described as being "in the southwest corner of the (Plymouth) colony, touching the Massachusetts and Rhode Island borders." (Plymouth Colony, p. 77)
This area changed its name to Rehoboth in 1643. Later, Seekonk, MA, was set off from Rehoboth and incorporated as a separate town Feb. 26, 1812 (12 years before his death), according to the 1883 book, History of Bristol County Massachusetts, which is now on-line at: This book further states, "The territory embraced within the present town of Seekonk originally formed a portion of the ancient town of Rehoboth, where the record history, names of early settlers, etc., will be found." (Chapter XXXVII)
In 1862 the western part of Seekonk was transferred to Rhode Island by the establishment of a new line between the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This western part of Seekonk is now mostly East Providence, RI, but also includes Pawtucket, RI.

More About George Claghorn:
Occupation: MAJOR.238

More About George Claghorn and Deborah Brownell:
Marriage: December 20, 1769, Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts.239, 240, 241, 242

 Includes NotesMarriage Notes for George Claghorn and Deborah Brownell:
Vital Records ofDartmouth Massachusetts to the year 1850 Volume II - Marriages
Published 1932 Page 116
George [int. Cloghorn] and Deborah Brownell [int. Brownel], both of D., Dec. 20, 1769. [Claghorn and Deborah Brownell, B.C.M.]

Claghorn Study has marriage date of 16 Dec 1769 at New Bedford; J. Goldbaum's data has marriage place as Bristol Co., MA (New Bedford is in Bristol Co.); Bonnie Hubbard has marriage date of 20 Dec 1769; a CD-ROM of Bristol Co., MA, vital records indicates that both George and Deborah were "of Dartmouth" when they married there on 20 Dec 1769. (This latter CD-ROM information from a e-mail response dated 10 Mar 1999 from Linda Mathew volunteering to do "lookups" on the Bristol Co. Internet site of the Massachusetts US GENWEB Project.)

Children of George Claghorn and Deborah Brownell are:
  1. Charles Claghorn, d. date unknown.
  2. Henry Claghorn, b. Abt. 1770, Massachusetts242, d. September 17, 1801, New Bedford, Bristol Co., Massachusetts242.
  3. Timothy Claghorn, b. Bef. February 01, 1771, Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts242, d. February 01, 1771, Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts.
  4. Benjamin Claghorn, b. February 08, 1772, Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts, d. February 23, 1789, Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts243, 244, 245.
  5. Polly Claghorn, b. 1774, New Bedford, Bristol Co., Massachusetts246, 247, 248, d. June 14, 1842, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
  6. +Deborah Claghorn, b. 1776, Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts, d. date unknown.
  7. George Claghorn, b. Abt. 1779, Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts, d. date unknown, At Sea.
  8. +Grace Claghorn, b. November 10, 1782, New Bedford, Bristol Co., Massachusetts, d. November 27, 1883, North Attleboro, Massachusetts.
  9. Lydia Claghorn, b. February 1791, Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts, d. August 16, 1863248.
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