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Captain William Lyford Jr.  - Loyalist

1717. Born in Bahamas.

1753 -1762. He commanded several commercial vessels, some of which he owned, plying from Charles Town to ports in the Caribbean, Georgia, East and West Florida, and as far way as England.

1762. His newly begun career as a privateer was cut short by his being hauled into Vice Admiralty Court for striking a disobedient crewman while on the high seas.

1763. He resumed his maritime shipping career.

6/17/1766. He was commissioned by the governor of Georgia as pilot of the Savannah River and bar and several other Georgia rivers and bars.

12/11/1769. He was appointed a consultant be the Georgia Government to help determine the best place for a lighthouse on Tybee Island.

12/20/1773. He prepared a navigational chart of the Savannah River entrance to accompany a report Governor Wright is sending to the Secretary of State in England.

6/26/1776. Refusing to pledge his loyalty to the American cause, he was included on a list prepared by the Georgia Safety Council of men considered "dangerous to the liberties of America."

1776-1783. Having been forced to leave the colony, he went to St. Augustine, from where he served as pilot on various men-of-war throughout the war.

4/1783. He helps Colonial Andrew Deveaux Jr. plan the successful raid on Nassau that drove the Spanish out and helped carry it out.

7/15/1783. He was included by the Assembly of the new state of Georgia on a lengthy list of persons on a bill of attainder, banishment, and confiscation, which meant those on the list were charged with a capital offense, were banished from the colony, and all their property in the colony was confiscated.

9/2/1785. He received a grant of 448 acres on the west end of New Providence Island for his services as a Loyalist. Many years later, exclusive residential resort Lyford Cay, where now lives the likes of writer Arthur Hailey and actor Sean Connery.

11/12/1789. He received a grant of 592 acres on Cat Island for his part in the Deveaux Raid of 1783. He built his residence on the land on the spot on which it was thought, until 1926, that Columbus first set foot in America.

2/14/1794. He died.

 

CAPTAIN LYFORD, THE LOYALIST
(J. G. Braddock Sr.)

Bahamas born—
New Providence—
With steadfast will
And Neptune’s sense,
He followed in
His father’s wake
A man of iron—
Make no mistake—
Who ruled his decks,
Sometimes with fist—
Captain Lyford,
The Loyalist,

  On merchantmen,
On privateers,
Before the mast
He had no peers
And cruised the isles
And crossed the main
To distant shores
And back again
In calm and storm,
In fair and mist—
Captain Lyford,
The Loyalist.

 

  Harbor pilot,
Best by far,
In mastering
Savannah’s bar;
Rebellion came;
Unflinching, he
Refused to change
His loyalty;
They seized his wealth;
His life he risked—
Captain Lyford,
The Loyalist.

  On men-of-war,
He served the Crown;
He helped Deveaux
Save Nassau town,
And at an age
When most men quit,
He still strove in
The thick of it
Making marks which
Shall long exist—
Captain Lyford,
The Loyalist.

 

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For a full length article of Captain William Lyford Sr. published in the Georgia Historical Quarterly , click here: The Plight of a Georgia Loyalist: William Lyford, Jr.

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