More on the John Fell/Elias Boudinot Connection
October 05, 2016
John Fell, Allendale's Founding Father, was arrested in his home by Loyalists on April 22, 1777.
Less than three weeks later, General George Washing appointed Elias Boudinot N.J. Commissary-General of Prisoners -- checking on the conditions of the British prisons in NYC and trying to negotiate the release of Fell and other political prisoners.
(Washington had written to Boudinot on April 1 regarding the appointment, but Boudinot initially refused. You can read Washington's letter here.)
In a June 26, 1777, report, Boudinot states that there is " is Evidence of the greatest Cruelty being used towards several of our unhappy Prisoners, and particularly to Capt. Van Zant, Major Pain,1 Capt. Flahaven, Capt. Vandyck, all of whom are confined in close Goal together with the Honble John Fell Esqr. lately taken from Bergen County—That several of our Officers who have lately had the small Pox in the Goals, have been suffered to languish (one of whom died) with out the least aid either as to Physick, Provision or other necessaries—That in general the daily Rations are not sufficient more than barely to keep the Prisoners from starving."
Boudinot later reported that: “Judge Fell was refused a Doctor or Medicine when sick, and furthermore, the officers make great complaints of the cruelty of the sergeant in locking them up on the most trifling occasion in the Dungeon, where some of them have been for several weeks; one in particular with a wound in the leg, which he never could get dressed.”
Boudinot eventually helped secure Fell's release in January 1778. Fell was confined to Manhattan for several months after that.
(Painting of Boudinot, above, is by James Sharples and is part of Princeton University Art Museum's collection.