Captain Jacob Milligan's Private Life

and Timeline... before and after the Revolutionary War


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 Captain Jacob Milligan - The Private Years - 1747....1796

At this time, we do not know much about the early life of Jacob Milligan.  We are assuming that he was born in New York City, where his parents Dr. John and Ann Milligan lived, based on a sworn deposition (see sidebar).  We learned from newspaper accounts that we was born in 1747. Apparently he attended school (taught by a W. Giles) in New York.

He was apparently a sailor, rising to positions of leadership in that we see he commanded Privateers and was involved in trade up and down the coast. 


In 1772-1773 he was in the town of New Bern, NC, where he became a Mason, joining the Honorable Ancient Society of Free Masons lodge there. See sidebar notes at right.


Jacob Milligan, Captain of the Rutledge, sails Barbados and Guinea, and captures a British Ship.

At left, 4-26-1777 Pennsylvania Evening Post




From Dr. Johnson's Reminiscences.....  "Milligan had by this time left the service and taken command of a privateer, with which he cruised, very successfully, in the West Indies.  He captured many British vessels, took them into Spanish ports, but from the want of responsibility of Spanish agents at the time, or from some other cause, he did not appear to have profited by his adventures.  Milligan was captured in the schooner Margery, his privateer, on the 21st May, 1778, by the ship Levant of 28 guns when off the coast of Georgia.  He lost everything that he was worth, but thought that he got off very well, in not being confined in the British prison ship.  Capt. Martin of the Levant treated him very civilly, and put him on shore at Bloddy Point, on parole.  As soon as Milligan could be exchanged, he went on privateering, but returned to Charleston a little before the siege, and was again put in command of one of the State armed vessels.

1783   Jacob - Begins His Business Life

  Jacob sells at 106 Broad St at the Vendue Store.

Note: We are currently researching this location.  It seems the street numbers may have changed. This is the current location of the Bond Law Office, historically known as The Lining House, a late 17th Century home and office (oldest in Charleston proper)

Jacob moves his business to Beale's Warf

    Slave auction advertisement.  (Editor's note: while we are not happy about finding this and other ads for the sale of human beings, nonetheless for the sake of accurate history they are included.


Jacob and his business partner dissolve their partnership. He moves to 101 Old Church Street to continue his work



15 Broad Street, Charleston SC -(Yellow building) One time site of the Intellegence Office of Captain Jacob Milligan, Charleston SC.  Just a short walk from the Exchange Building.

By 1784 he was in business as Jacob Milligan and Co., Intelligence Office,  Charleston.  The Intelligence office was located at different places over time but all near or next to the Exchange.

Also in 1784 Jacob received a grant of land, probably due to his service in the war. 

From SC Archives... Date: 1784/09/24
Description: MILLIGAN, JACOB, PLAT FOR 640 ACRES ON BRANCH OF CONOROSE CREEK, NINETY SIX DISTRICT, SURVEYED BY T Lewis.   Plat of land showing 640 acres.  This is believed to be near current St. Matthew, SC.  There is no record found to date that he ever lived on the land, probably sold it.

1785  Jacob is seen operating sloops - taking freight.

September 1785 - Jacob opens the Intelligence Office at 15 Broad Street, Charleston SC.  See notice in sidebar, right.

7-1-1785 Jacob Milligan is named a Steward of the Palmetto Society.


Jacob Milligan is named a Steward (Trustee) of the Charleston Marine Society. See article from the Pennsylvania Daily Advance at right.

Jan 12, 1786 Jacob Moves his office to 3 Jervey and Walter's Warf.


Jacob is in London, where he married for the second time.  Mrs. Milligan only lived a few more years and died in England, Dec 17, 1793.  They traveled to Charleston shortly after. She is likely a cousin of Jacob. She is the daughter of Mr. Peter Milligan of Isle of Wight.  


11-12-1790 Penn Packet and Daily AdvJacob Milligan takes the 1790 Federal Census of Charleston. (This is the first national census).  He then publishes the first Charleston Directory from the same information.

8-12-1790 Directory Notice


Jacob Milligan is listed as owner of The Intelligence Office, located at 3 Champney's Alley (or Row), which is directly across the road towards the south from the Broad Street entrance of the Exchange.



We know that Capt Jacob Milligan was a member of the reception committee of 13 members who met George Washington when he visited Charleston about April 27, 1791. (note: this was previously reported as 1781, but Washington visited early May 1791 in Charleston.

Noted from an online history of Geo. Washington's Papers at :

May 2, 1791...came to the ferry at Haddrels point 6 miles further...

Haddrell's Point was the terminus of a ferry, which ran across the Cooper River from Mount Pleasant to Charleston. Charles Pinckney and Edward Rutledge met Washington's entourage at the ferry and rowed him across the harbor in a "12 oared barge rowed by 12 American Captains of Ships, most elegantly dressed. There were a great number of other boats...and two Boats with we approached the town a salute with Artillary commenced..."

President Washington was entertained at The Exchange in Charleston. Read more info here.


Jacob Milligan is named as Harbor Master for Charleston, as seen in this Columbia 10-31-1793 SC news clipping from the Columbia Herald.




The 1794 directory lists Jacob Milligan as harbor master, with address NE of Exchange. Also of interest was the fact that the 1794 directory was compiled by Jacob Milligan! 


1795 Charleston

Jacob Milligan married for the 3rd and final time. He and his wife open a baking business.  See more at right.




Jacob passes away at age 49. Aug 2, 1796 death notice in the SC City Gazette:



Jacob Milligan Becomes a Mason

Typed from the Miscellaneous Records Vol. EEE page 455-456 found in the South Carolina State Archives by James Thomas Bunkley

State of South Carolina City of Charleston
Before me Peter Freman one of the Justices assigned to keep the peace in the said State personally appeared Capt. Jacob Milligan a native of the City of New York, who being duly sworn on the holy Evangelists of Almighty God deponeth and saith that in the year One thousand Seven hundred and Sixty two he was personally acquainted with a certain Michael Samuel DeBruhl who then lived in a house situated at the corner of New and beaver Streets in the said City of New York and followed the Engraving and Gold Chasing business, that he was also acquainted with his wife Margaret DeBruhl and with three of their sons and two of their daughters vis. Godard DeBruhl the Eldest Edward Cornwalis DeBruhl the Second and Michael Samuel DeBruhl the Third son. Phillippa Margaret DeBruhl and Juliana Charlotte DeBruhl his two daughters, that this Deponent went to a school then kept in the said City by a W. Giles
with the three Sons of the said DeBruhl aforenamed two of which vis. the said Edward Cornwalis and Michael Samuel are now present at the taking of this disposition. This Deponent further declares that he was in the Town of Newbern in the state of North Carolina in the year One thousand Seven hundred Seventy two, that he there saw the said Michael Samuel DeBruhl the Elder, who then resided in the said Town, that the said DeBruhl did recommend him this Deponent to the Honorable Ancient Society of Free Masons thus established as worthy of being a member thereof by which recommendation Deponent was admitted a member. This Deponent also declares that the said Michael Samuel DeBruhl the Elder departed this life in the said Town of Newbern in the year One thousand Seven Hundred Seventy three to his certain knowledge.________
Jacob Milligan

Signed and sworn to this 19th day of June 1794. Peter Freman, J.P.

Also look here


1785 Intelligence Office Opens

Similar Ads appear in New York, Columbia, Pennsylvania

Directory Subscriptions




Poor House Lottery



Minutes of the Senate

Jacob requests a pension

The Family Baking Business, Late in Life

After the death of Jacob, Mrs Sarah Milligan continued the family baking business.

Lightning Strike!


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