John Honeyman, Washington's Spy?


If you’re interested in the espionage and intelligence wars of the American Revolution, then you might want to read my brand-new article examining the strange case of John Honeyman, who is alleged to have helped General George Washington inflict defeats on the British during the dismal winter of 1776-77. I cast doubt on the story, and investigate its origins. What I came up with might surprise you. 

I originally became interested in Honeyman after I was asked, at the end of almost talk I gave about the Culper Ring — Washington’s most successful network during the War of Independence — about what I thought of him. Not knowing anything about it, I tended to hedge a bit. During a quiet spell a few months ago, I reopened the “case” and sent the article off to Studies in Intelligence, the CIA’s scholarly journal. 

It went online earlier today — what with the Hugh Trevor-Roper and the Don Higginbotham posts, it’s been a busy couple of hours — and you can download the PDF here. You can read the entire issue, if you should be so inclined, here

Posted by Alexander Rose,


2 Responses to “John Honeyman, Washington's Spy?”

  1. 1 Teapot Army

    Hmm, sounds like interesting stuff!

  2. I found the children of John Honeyman in a small museum on the east side of the Delaware near where Washinton crossed. I was from his WILL The story of his children were five sons and two daughters. What I found in the museum records was he had five daughters and two sons with dates of each and marriages. I am a descendent of his daughter Eleanor my third great grandmother who married Abram Porter my third great grandfather settled at Ossian Center near Dansville, New York
    Children of John Honeyman:
    1. Jane, who never married died in 1836, age seventy “she was tall, ststely woman large in frame and badly club footed in both feet. She was a dressmatker, but grace of manners and intelligence beyond her other sisters.” Aunt Jane named in Judge Van Dyke’s narrative.
    2. Eleanor, born 1772 died? married Abram Porter and early removed to northwestern New York, settled in Ossian Center near Dansville, N. Y. Records at the Presbyterian Church built 1818 were members and daughter was confirmed there. Abram was born 1773 in Hunterdon N.J. died in Utica Mich.
    3. Margaret, born 1767 dued un 1821 married first to William Henry lived in the vicinity of Lamington, second to George Armstrong.
    4. John, born died 1830, a farmer residing near the parental home, married Catherine Covert. Among his living descendents os Rev. Melvin Honeyman, of Olean, N.Y. and Robert M. Honeyman, of Norristown, Pa. had six sons.
    5. Mary, was known as the “Beauty” married Mattias Lane, resided in Bedminster township rented farms but did not own any.
    6. James, born in 1776 died in 1824 lived in New Germantown, N. J. married Mary Miller of Warren County. He was the father of Dr. John Honeyman and Robert M. Honeyman, merchant, both of New Germantown.
    7. Sarah, born 1780 died 1845 married Abraham Van Dyke, mothe of Judge Van Dyke, of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and grandmother of Dr. John C. Van Dyke amous author and litteraqteur, of New Brunswick, N.J. and Theodore S. Van Dyke of California.

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