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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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Arrival of Adam Foutz

When Gen. George Washington stayed in what is now Longfellow National Historic Site during the siege of Boston, he kept a running expense account. The steward that the Massachusetts Provincial Congress had recommended, Timothy Austin, kept a more detailed record. And some invoices and receipts survive.

But nowhere in that material is the name of Adam Foutz, often identified as one of Washington’s cooks while he was in Cambridge, as I quoted yesterday.

Instead, Adam Foutz shows up first in documents from Pennsylvania, printed in the vast Pennsylvania Archives series. They show that he enlisted in Capt. John Patterson’s company of the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment for the length of the war. One entry says that Foutz arrived on 2 Dec 1776; others imply he enlisted one year later, or perhaps that was when he was transfered. This must be the same guy because documents list him as “cook” and “baking for the army.”

The online Pennsylvania State Archives database shows that the state has several documents related to Foutz’s pay.

Adam Foutz thus came out of Pennsylvania, and joined the Continental Army months after its commander had left Massachusetts. There’s no evidence to link him to the “French Cook” whom Washington paid on 24 July 1775. (Which makes sense really, since Foutz isn’t a common French name.) Alas, there’s also no evidence to identify who that “French Cook” was.

TOMORROW: Adam Foutz and the commander-in-chief’s guard.


Charles Bahne said...

What a perfect role for Julia Child to play. She was the French Chef, she lived in Cambridge, and she worked in military intelligence.

Sorry, wrong war, wrong century.

J. L. Bell said...

And probably too tall.