J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Deborah M. Child on the Life of Richard Brunton, 17 June

On Wednesday, 17 June, Deborah M. Child will speak at the New England Historical and Genealogical Society about her new illustrated biography Soldier, Engraver, Forger: Richard Brunton’s Life on the Fringe in America’s New Republic.

Child’s talk will take place on the anniversary of Bunker Hill, appropriate because Brunton fought in that battle. As a British soldier.

Brunton later deserted and used his skill as an engraver to make a living in the U.S. of A. Unfortunately, at times the most lucrative engravings he could turn out were forged bank notes. He died in Groton in 1832.

I played a very small role in the creation of this book. A couple of years back, Child got in touch with me because she was trying to reconcile her sources about Brunton’s army and post-army careers. I did the smart thing and put her in touch with Don Hagist, author of British Soldiers, American War, who quickly cleared up the biggest mystery by alerting Child that her sources in London were reading the army muster rolls wrong. Once that artificial barrier fell, she was able to piece the evidence together to create this unusual biography.

Child’s talk at the N.E.H.G.S. headquarters, 99-101 Newbury Street in Boston, is scheduled to start at 6:00 P.M. It will be followed by a signing. The event is free and open to the public. Register here.

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