Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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GURNEY, Francis, soldier, born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, in 1738; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 25 May, 1815. He volunteered in the provincial army in 1756, served under General Israel Putnam, and came to be regarded by that officer in the light of an adopted son. Gurney was present at the capture of Louisbourg, Cape Breton, 25 July, 1758, and at the close of the war joined the expedition against the French West India islands, and assisted in the taking of Guadeloupe, 27 April, 1759. On his return he engaged in commerce in Philadelphia, and at the beginning of the Revolutionary war assisted in the organization and drilling of troops. Although at first he refused to accept a commission, Mr. Gurney was made captain in a regiment of infantry raised by authority of the province. The following year he entered the regular army, was appointed lieutenant-colonel, and was present at the battles of Iron Hill, Brandywine, and Germantown, in the first of which he was wounded. After the war he returned to mercantile pursuits in Philadelphia, where he resided until his death. He was for several years warden of the port, during, which period he originated and carried out an important improvement in the buoys and beacons in Delaware bay. He was repeatedly elected to the lower branch of the legislature, and subsequently sent to the senate. He was also a trustee of Dickinson college, county commissioner, and director of various institutions. In the whiskey rebellion of 1794, Colonel Gurney commanded the 1st regiment of the Philadelphia brigade, which was composed of young men of good family and education. At a critical period of the Revolutionary war, when there was great difficulty in procuring supplies for the American army, Mr. Gurney was one of several residents of Philadelphia who gave their bonds to the amount of about £260,000 for procuring them. The amount of his personal subscription was £2,000.
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