An Ornate Stove … and the Family of a Clever Irish Spy
The past few years I have been exploring my ancestry. Thanks to the assistance of genealogical researchers in the ranks of the Daughters of the American Revolution, I am gaining a greater understanding of my early American heritage.
An expert in nonprofit fundraising with some proficiency with online communications, I have marveled at the adept way in which my research colleagues cruise the Internet relentlessly in search of information. No item of information, no matter how obscure, is hidden from them (thank heaven). To those good friends I owe a debt of thanks for bringing new meaning to my life through their discoveries.
The photograph above is of Caroline Honeyman Ten Eyck, the person through whom my father and I trace our American Revolutionary War heritage. My father had this image in his personal archives; he gave it to me in 2010. Caroline Honeyman (1829-1916) was the mother of Clarence Ten Eyck, and my father was Clarence’s grandson. Caroline’s father was Robert Miller Honeyman, who was the son of James Honeyman, who was the son of our documented Revolutionary War ancestor, Irishman John Honeyman. Click on the link to reach the Wikipedia description of John Honeyman’s life.
Update: I recently found another tribute to John Honeyman on Find A Grave. (June, 2013)
John Honeyman served in the British Army during the French and Indian War, but he was sympathetic to the American cause and confidentially presented his services to George Washington.
Washington called upon John for assistance in 1776. John’s work ultimately led General Washington and 2,400 troops to cross the Delaware River at Christmastime (at just the right time), and to their success at the Battle of Trenton.
George Washington is known as the father of the nation, but he was also the father of American Intelligence and America’s first “spymaster.”
For further information, here below are a few websites discussing John and the activity of spies during the American Revolutionary War:
- "John Honeyman, Sr. Private Spy for George Washington"
- Central Intelligence Agency, "In Defense of John Honeyman (and George Washington)"
- Early America Review, "George Washington, Master of Misinformation"
- Liberty’s Children (Episode 19), "Across the Delaware" (an educational children’s cartoon series on YouTube that portrays John Honeyman’s role in the Battle of Trenton)
- Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting, "Washington Crossing the Delaware" (1851, oil on canvas), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, may be viewed here (description and additional photographs are included). I like to think this historic event would not have been possible without the able assistance of Irishman John Honeyman.
- George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade is a new study and I am pleased to note John Honeyman’s role is described.
My grandmother, Mary Carolyn Ten Eyck Appleton, and I were both named after Caroline Honeyman. The archives of my grandparents are found in the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections at Zimmerman Library, The University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. My father, David Ten Eyck Appleton, is adding more to our family’s archives in the years ahead.