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John Alsop  - A Klos Family Project - Revolutionary War

 

John Alsop
1st Continental Congress

 

ALSOP, John of the continental congress, born in Middletown, Connecticut: died in Newtown, Long Island, 22 November 1794. He was a prosperous merchant of unquestioned patriotism and integrity, and was a worthy member of the first American congress in 1774-'76. On the occupation of New York by the British forces he withdrew to Middletown, Connecticut, remaining there until peace was concluded.

His son, Richard Alsop, author, born in Middletown, Connecticut, 23 January 1761 ; died in Flatbush, Long Island, 20 August 1815, studied at Yale College, but did not complete the course, preferring to devote himself exclusively to languages and literature. Although he was brought up to a mercantile life, it proved so irksome that he soon devoted himself to letters, and formed a kind of literary league, popularly known as the "Hartford Wits." These included Theodore Dwight, Lemuel Hopkins, and Benjamin Trumbull. The association, informal as it was, made a notable literary hit,, all of its members being among the intellectual lights of the time. Alsop was the leading spirit and the principal writer of the " Echo," a series of burlesque essays (1791-'95). It, comprised travesties and exaggerations of current publications, state papers, and the like, making a target of anything, in fact, that offered a mark for the active wits of its editors. These papers were mostly done into polished pentameters, somewhat ponderous but instinct with fun, and not without latent wisdom.

Most of the "Wits" were federalists, and the "Echo" soon became bitterly anti-democratic. The whole series was published in a volume in 1807. Alsop's other works include a "Monody on the Death of Washington," in heroic verse (Hartford, 1800); "The Enchanted Lake of the Fairy Morgana" (1808); "The Natural and Civil History of Chili," from the Italian of Molina, and fugitive pieces. In 1815 he edited the "Captivity and Adventures of J. R. Jewett among the Savages of Nootka Sound." He was an accomplished linguist, acquiring languages, as it seemed, by a sort of intuition, and made a distinct impression on the drift of public thought.

Another son, John Alsop, poet, born in Middletown, Connecticut, 5 February 1776; died in Middletown, 1 November 1841), was a pupil of Dr. Dwight. He studied in the law school of Judge Reeve at Litchfield, was admitted to the bar, and began practice in New London. He afterward became a bookseller in Hartford, and still later in New York. The latter part of his life was spent in retirement in Middletown. His poems were never issued in book form, but appeared in various periodicals and collections.

 

 

Biographical Directory of the US Congress

ALSOP, John, a Delegate from New York; born in New Windsor, Orange County, N.Y., in 1724; completed preparatory studies; moved to New York City and engaged in mercantile pursuits and importing; represented New York City in the colonial legislature; one of the incorporators of the New York Hospital, serving as its governor 1770-1784; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1776; member of a committee of one hundred appointed in 1775 by the citizens of the city to take charge of the government until a convention could be assembled; served as the eighth president of the New York Chamber of Commerce in 1784 and 1785; died in Newtown, Long Island, N.Y., November 22, 1794; interment in Trinity Church Cemetery, New York City.


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