"Virginia Giant" or “Giant of the Revolution” - an American Patriot Foot six inches tall, weight 260 pounds.
Peter (Pedro) Francisco was born about 1760 -- possibly Portuguese from the Azores.
Possibly kidnapped from his homeland and taken to America, found in June 1765 and was raised by Judge Anthony Winston (uncle of Patrick Henry).
Peter was schooled and trained as a blacksmith.
He heard in 1775 Patrick Henry give the “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. He became a supporter of the colonies breaking away from England.
By 1776, Peter joined the 10th Virginia Militia as a private. A 5-foot sword was given him by Gen. George Washington after Francisco's complaint that ordinary swords were too light.
Peter was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, was at Valley Forge with Washington and Lafayette. Wounded again in 1778 at the Battle of Monmouth, then in the big Battle of Cowpens after starting his third enlistment. At Cowpens he was part of Lt. Col. William Washington’s troops.
He was at Battle of Stony Point, wounded again with a British bayonet (that soldier he then killed), that British soldier was under Lt. Col Basastre Tarleton. Then at Battle of Camden, then with Colonel Watkins at Guilford Courthouse Battle where he was bayoneted again in the leg. In the various battles he killed 11 men.
After Guilford Courthouse battle he defeated Tarleton’s Raiders in what was called “Francisco’s Fight” and made off with most of their horses. Peter was at Yorktown to see the British surrender.
As stated by General George Washington: “... that Francisco's prowess directly enabled American victories in two battles." “The war may have even been lost without Francisco's participation.”
At war’s end in 1783, Peter went home to Buckingham, Virginia. Had a farm house and land named “Locust Grove” in Richmond, VA, from his first wife, Susannah. Over his life he married three times (Susannah Anderson, Catherine Fauntleroy Brooke and Mary Beverly Grymes West) - the first two wives died and he had several children.
James Anderson Francisco, and Polly Francisco (1st wife)
Susan Brooke Francisco, Benjamin M. Francisco, Peter Francisco, II, and Catherine Fauntleroy Francisco (with 2nd wife).
He was a legend in his own time.
Peter died of appendicitis Jan. 16, 1831 in Richmond, VA.
At Guilford Court House, he was gravely wounded and "left for dead" on the battlefield, but was recovered and recuperated by a local farmer.
In "Francisco's Fight" at West Creek Tavern in Nottoway County, VA, he "... single-handedly subdued nine of Tarleton's feared Dragoons in hand-to-hand combat" (a scouting or "recon" party), while his cohort stole off to warn Gen. Horatio Gates of Tarleton's whereabouts. One of the Dragoons attempted to shoot him, but the pistol mis-fired. Should be Banastre Tarleton (erata in story above).
The above story does not mention Peter's wounding in the heroic taking of the Trenton Redoubt (NJ), one of three survivors of a 25-man force under indirect command of Gen. George Washington (NO Redcoat survivors). After recuperating in Virginia, Peter went South to join the forces of Gen. Horatio Gates (Guilford Court House, NC), where he complained of his swords "breaking like toothpicks" when he cleaved Redcoats. Upon hearing word of this in Pennsylvania, Gen. Washington had a 6-foot broadsword especially forged and sent to Peter, so he could "cleave Redcoats from brow to breastbone".
According to marriage records in my grandmother's (Flossie Virginia Shorter, nee Hobbs) family bible, I'm a 5th great grandson of Peter Francisco. I'm related to other great grand-children in the Shorter/Hobbs lineage as well as Bobby Lloyd of Virginia and Travis Bowman of Charlotte, NC. With 3 wives and 8 children, there's likely many more descendants.