2 Replies Latest reply on Apr 11, 2018 10:29 AM by Lewis Wyman

    Revolutionary War - I am looking for primary source documentation to support Cyrus Bustill baking bread for the troops at Valley Forge or a the port at Burlington NJ

    Joyce Mosley Newbie

      Cryus Bustill was born in Burlington in 1732, the son of an English attorney and an African slave. After learning the baker's trade from Thomas Prior, a local baker and member of the Friends Meeting, Bustill gained his freedom at age 36. During the Revolutionary War, he was commended for supplying American troops with baked goods at the Burlington docks, and reportedly given a silver piece by General Washington.

        • Re: Revolutionary War - I am looking for primary source documentation to support Cyrus Bustill baking bread for the troops at Valley Forge or a the port at Burlington NJ
          Marie Taylor Wayfarer

          Dear Ms. Mosley,

           

          Thank you for contacting the History Hub!

           

          In the National Archives Catalog you might be interested in looking at the War Department Revolutionary War Records - finding aid here. It lists many of the Revolutionary War collections that the National Archives holds that may help with your search for primary source material. If Cyrus Bustill was a paid soldier (while baking for the Army), you might be able to find references to him in Record Group 93 through muster rolls, account books, etc. These may also list his primary occupation during the war. Click on this link to learn more about how to order these records. 

           

          If Cyrus Bustill was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, his Compiled Service Record might also be available. Click here to learn more about this collection.

           

          The Manuscript Division at Howard University has digitized the finding aid for the Bustill-Bowser-Asbury collection of papers within its holdings. While the papers within the collection only span from 1840-1926, Series B does allude to Bustill’s time as a baker. To view their finding aid, see here.

           

          Looking at archival collections that the family may have donated might also assist you in your research. Cyrus Bustill had many prominent descendants, some of whom might have donated their papers to various organizations.

           

          Thanks again for contacting the History Hub. Best of luck with your research!

           

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            • Re: Revolutionary War - I am looking for primary source documentation to support Cyrus Bustill baking bread for the troops at Valley Forge or a the port at Burlington NJ
              Lewis Wyman Newbie

              Hello Ms. Mosely,

               

              I am not able to find references to Bustill in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division's finding aids and indexes. For your reference, a published guide to our manuscripts relating to the American Revolution is available through the Hathi Trust digital library:

               

              Manuscript Sources in the Library of Congress for Research on the American Revolution, by John R. Sellers, ed. 1975: Link to HathiTrust.

               

              A manuscript of Cyrus Bustill's September 18, 1787 speech, "I Speak to Those Who are in Slavery," is reprinted in Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900, by Philip S. Foner, ed., (University of Alabama Press, 1998) which is available in the Library of Congress, Main Reading Room's reference collection (LoC Catalog Record). If you are not able to visit the Library of Congress to review this book, you may be able to find it at your local library or through Inter-Library Loan.

               

              Finally, if you are not already aware, a biographical sketch by Anna Bustill Smith was published in the Journal of Negro History, vol. 10, no. 4 (Oct 1925), which is now available online through JSTOR.

               

              Best wishes, and good luck with your project.

              3 of 3 people found this helpful