Silas Deane

Silas Deane (1737 - 1789)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Silas Deane
Born in Groton, New London, Connecticutmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut, New Englandmap
Father of
Died in At sea, London to Bostonmap
Profile last modified | Created 30 Jul 2014
This page has been accessed 1,095 times.

Categories: American Founding Fathers | Signers of the Continental Association | Nominated Profiles.

Silas Deane participated in the American Revolution.
Join: 1776 Project
Discuss: 1776




Silas, the son of Silas and Hannah (Barker) Deane was born the day before Christmas, Dec 24, 1737, in Groton, New London, Connecticut, New England.[1]

Silas married Mehetable Webb on Oct. 8, 1763, in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Mehetable Nott was the widow of Joseph Webb. She died Oct 24, 1767.[2]

Their only child, Jesse was born in Wethersfield, June 24, 1764.[2]

Silas remarried, to Elizabeth Saltonstall Evards.[3]

Silas died Sept 23, 1789, on board a ship bound for Boston, from London. He is buried in St. Leonard’s Churchyard in Deal, on the Kentish coast of England.[4]


Silas attended Yale, graduating in 1758.[3] After graduation he taught school, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1761.[5][3]

Silas Deane House, Wethersfield, Connecticut
Silas settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut, where he met and married Mehitable (Nott) Webb,[2] daughter of Gershom and Sarah Nott, and widow of Joseph Webb, a merchant. Silas built a house in Wethersfield, now called The Silas Deane House, next door to Mehitable and Joseph's Webb house.
Webb House, Wethersfield, Connecticut

Silas left the practice of the law and became the manager of his wife's mercantile business. She died in 1767[2], leaving him to care for her six children by Joseph Webb and their three year old son, Jesse.

Silas remarried within a few years to another widow. Elizabeth Saltonstall Evards was the granddaughter of an early governor of Connecticut. Her father was a wealthy ship owner, and her first husband, Mr. Evards, had died at sea.[3] With each of his marriages Silas' social standing was raised.

Shortly after his first wife died, Silas entered the political arena. In 1768 he served as a Deputy to the Connecticut General Assembly from the town of Wethersfield. He served a total of nine terms.[6] [7]

In 1774, he was appointed to attend the First Continental Congress,[6] and signed the Continental Association.[8] He was sent again as a delegate in May 1775, to the Second Continental Congress.[9][10]

Not everyone believed that it was necessary for the colonies to go to war with England, but Silas Deane, early on, believed that it would be the the correct and necessary thing to do. He didn't march into war with Benedict Arnold and his Massachusett's troops. Nor did he join with Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys. However, Silas was instrumental in raising funds in Connecticut to equip Allen for a successful assault against Fort Ticonderoga, which Allen and Arnold accomplished together. Again, Silas Deane helped with the victory at Saratoga in October of 1777. Deane, through negotiations with the French provided arms, ammunition, and clothing that came from France, for the use of colonial soldiers. [11][12]

Deane had been sent to France, in March 1776, by the Committee of Congress for Secret Correspondence. His commission was twofold: to secure arms and needed supplies for the new army and to secure recognition of the sovereignty of the colonies. The former he succeeded at, the latter was not so easy.[3]


In Dec 1776, Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee were sent to join Deane in France, with the express purpose of enlisting the French Government as an ally of the United States. Eventually treaties were signed and France joined our war for independence.[3][13]

Alas, Silas, "the hero," did not fare so well. He was called home, for no specified reason. He found when he returned that he had been accused of fiscal imprudence, by his fellow diplomat Arthur Lee. He had difficulty defending himself and the case ruined his reputation. He was eventually discharged by Congress with no charges brought, and he was not reimbursed by Congress for the money (his own) he spent procuring supplies. He spent the last ten years of his life in exile (France, Belgium and England), and penniless.[3][13]


Suicide, murder, or natural causes? In 1789, Silas was ready to return home. He had ideas, gathered in Europe, about factories and steam and transportation, that he wanted to implement in the states. He boarded ship, and after a delay for weather, the ship sailed. Four hours out of port, Silas died.[3][13] The mysterious circumstances of his death, continue to engage historians to this day.

There is much more detail to be told about the life, rise and fall, and death of Silas Deane. See the sources listed below and search online and in libraries for others.


  1. Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 - Barbour Collection, Groton, Conn. (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.) From original typescripts, Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection, 1928.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 - Barbour Collection, Wethersfield, Conn. (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.) From original typescripts, Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection, 1928.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, vol II p 509, 521-7. by Franklin Bowditch Dexter, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1896.
  4. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present
  5. Hartford, Connecticut, County Records April 1761 at Connecticut State Library
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hoadly, Charles J. The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut Oct 1772 to April 1775. (pp 2, 71, 159, 213, 325, 389, 414, p 324 appt to Cont. Cong.) Hartford: Case, Lockwood and Brainard,1885.
  7. Hoadly, Charles J. The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut May 1768 to May 1772. (pp 92, 124.) Hartford: Case, Lockwood and Brainard,1885.
  8. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. (Washington, D.C., 1904-37), Vol 1 p 80.
  10. The Hartford Courant
  11. Silas' part in the taking of Fort Ticonderoga and the Battle of Saratoga
  12. Hotchkiss, Herbert. "Two Hundred Years Ago in Connecticut." The Connecticut Nutmeggar. Vol 7, no. 4 (Mar. 1975): 482.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Silas Deane Online. 2004-2005 Webb Deane Stevens Museum

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Searching for someone else?
First: Last:

No known carriers of Silas's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 3
Silas Deane
Silas Deane

Silas Deane House, Wethersfield, Connecticut
Silas Deane House, Wethersfield, Connecticut

Webb House, Wethersfield, Connecticut
Webb House, Wethersfield, Connecticut


Silas is 30 degrees from Jelena Eckstädt, 14 degrees from Theodore Roosevelt and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

D  >  Deane  >  Silas Deane