A Connecticut line note being offered by George H. LaBarre Galleries
of Hollis, N.H., the firm says, is both a new discovery and an unusual
piece of Revolutionary War history. It is one of only several dozen issued to
African-American soldiers that have ever been on the market, according
to the seller.
Line notes are essentially promissory notes issued in payment for
service in the Continental Army from 1780 to 1782 because the state
lacked the funds to fully pay its soldiers. They are called line notes
because they were given to soldiers, as it says on the face of the
note, “in the Connecticut Line of the Continental Army.” The text also
stipulates that the note was payable in “gold, silver or bills of
credit” with lawful interest payable annually over a period of six to
eight years. Soldiers usually kept the notes folded in their pockets.
Upon redemption, they were signed on the back and hole-canceled.
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Tuis Sharper was a private in the Sixth Connecticut Regiment and one
of about 5,000 African Americans who served in the Revolutionary War
after George Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in January 1776.
How to spot a counterfeit 1928 China ‘Auto’
dollar: Inside Coin World:
We at Coin World report often on fake U.S. coin rarities coming
from China, but not so often about fake Chinese coin rarities.
All-black units were also started in Rhode Island and
Massachusetts. Adding to the singularity of this particular note is
that these are seldom signed by the soldier since many of them could
not read or write. Most come signed as “…his X mark…” or not signed at
all. That this was hand-signed by Sharper, LaBarre says, makes it “an
extraordinary piece of African American Revolutionary history.”
A biography of Sharper’s combat history provided by LaBarre
Galleries says Sharper was under Capt. Martin Kirtland’s company in
the Connecticut Battalion, formerly of Col. William Douglass, who
died. Later, the battalion was commanded by Lt. Col. David Dimon.
Sharper was also in a foot regiment commanded by Col. Return Jonathan
Meigs. He also served under Capt. David Humphrey’s 6th Regiment
Connecticut Forces, later commanded by Lt. Col. Ebenezer Gray.
Sharper’s records show that he enlisted on May 30, 1777, for a term of
three years and first appeared on a muster roll on Aug. 31. He was
captured as prisoner on Oct. 31, 1777, and returned from captivity on
July 24, 1778. He was listed as discharged May 1, 1780. Sharper
reenlisted on April 3, 1781, for another three-year term in the 2nd
Regiment under Col. Heman Swift. He last appears on a payroll as of
May 1, 1783, in the 3rd Connecticut Regiment of Officers Non
Commissioned and Privates.