Friday, December 13, 2013
Peter Francisco the Virginia Giant 25.3.1975
Last in the Contributors to the Cause Series, Francisco is remembered for his incredible bravery and strength. He is said to have brandished a five-foot broadsword. He is shown on this stamp carrying a heavy cannon, weighing 1,000 pounds, at the Battle of Camden, where he saved the life of his commander. This stamp was issued at Greensboro, North Carolina on 25.3.1975.
Peter Francisco (c. 1760 – January 16, 1831), known variously as the "Virginia Giant" or the "Giant of the Revolution" (and occasionally as the "Virginia Hercules"), was an American patriot and soldier in the American Revolutionary War.
Peter was soon taken in by the judge Anthony Winston of Buckingham County, Virginia, an uncle of Patrick Henry. Francisco lived with Winston and his family until the beginning of the American Revolution and was tutored by them. When he was old enough to work, he was apprenticed as a blacksmith, a profession chosen because of his massive size and strength (he grew to be six foot 8, or 203 centimeters, and weighed some 260 pounds, or 118 kilograms, especially large at the time). He was well known as the Virginian Hercules or the Virginia Giant.
At the age of 16, Francisco joined the 10th Virginia Regiment in 1777, and soon gained notoriety for his size and strength. He fought with distinction at numerous engagements, including the Battle of Brandywine in September. He fought a few skirmishes under Colonel Morgan, before transferring to the regiment of Colonel Mayo of Powhatan. In October, Francisco rejoined his regiment and fought in the Battle of Germantown, and also appeared with the troops at Fort Mifflin on Port Island in the Delaware River. Francisco was hospitalized at Valley Forge for two weeks following these skirmishes. On June 28, 1778, he fought at Monmouth Court House, New Jersey, where a musket ball tore through his right thigh. He never fully recovered from this wound, but fought at Cowpens and other battles.
· 1975, Francisco was commemorated on a stamp by the US Postal Service in its "Contributors to the Cause" Bicentennial series.
· A park in the Iron bound section of Newark, New Jersey, where most of the population is ethnic Portuguese, was named for him. The community also erected a monument to Francisco there.
· His farmhouse, Locust Grove, still stands outside the town of Buckingham.
· One of his swords (though not the special broadsword commissioned for him by General Washington) is displayed in the Buckingham County Historical Museum.
· Peter Francisco Square, marked by a monument honouring his life and service, was named at the corner of Hill Street and Mill Street inNew Bedford, Massachusetts, which has a large ethnic Portuguese community. The monument includes a Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) medallion of honour.
· The state of Virginia has named March 15 as Peter Francisco Day in his honour.
Thank you Merja for this nice historical fdc.