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Blanchard, Andrew

1728–87

Andrew Blanchard, printer, revolutionary official, and planter, was born in Elizabeth, N.J., the son of John and Mary Joline Blanchard, and after 1740 settled in New Providence, N.J., probably on land owned by his father. He married Mehitabel Arnett about 1758; they became the parents of Mary Ann; Jane, who married James Carney; Sarah, who married Dr. Edward Pasteur; Isaac; and Elizabeth. By the opening of the Revolution, the family was living in North Carolina, and Blanchard sent the children back to New Jersey to live with his brother, fearing that Tories in the state might harm them because of his own support of the Revolution. The children made the journey in charge of a trusted slave, Cromno or Quomono, who remained in New Jersey and was eventually freed.

Blanchard appears first in the records as part owner of the armed schooner Johnston, which was fitted out in New Bern as a privateer in June 1776. The following February he purchased a scythe blade and some old iron at the sale of property abandoned by the last royal governor, Josiah Martin, at the Palace in New Bern. In May 1777 he was paid £1,450 in connection with the manufacturing of guns for the state. The House of Commons in the spring of 1778 proposed that Blanchard be appointed first lieutenant for service at Fort Hancock, but the appointment went to someone else. In 1779 he was a justice of the Craven County court and apparently also a member of the New Bern Safety Committee. In the latter capacity he joined in signing a letter to Governor Richard Caswell discussing conditions in New Bern and relaying information about British activity in Suffolk, Va. The possibility of an invasion of North Carolina seemed real to the committee making the report. Blanchard also served during the same year on a court-appointed commission to examine the accounts of the estate of Lancelot Graves Berry. At some time during the Revolutionary War he was paid £1,215 as commissary to militia, and after the war the assembly of 1785 appointed him one of three commissioners in the New Bern District to pass upon pension applications from wounded and disabled soldiers.

In 1782, Blanchard acquired 123 acres on the Trent River in Jones County, but his primary place of residence probably was in New Bern or on his 450-acre plantation named Deep Gully, on Trent Road eight miles from New Bern.

It is as a partner in the printing firm of Hodge & Blanchard that Blanchard's name is most frequently encountered. In November 1785 the first issue of the newspaper State Gazette of North Carolina appeared; the earliest known surviving issue is dated 4 Oct. 1787, when Abraham Hodge, also a native of New Jersey, and Blanchard appear as publishers. It is likely that they established the paper, as contemporary sources note that it was being printed by them in August 1786. Between 1785 and 1787 the firm also printed both military and civil commissions, blank deeds, circular letters, and, when they held the state contract for printing, the laws of the state. Supplies for a printing establishment were difficult to obtain during a part of the time this firm existed, and in 1787 the partners were obliged to dispose of a warrant on the state treasury for one-half their annual allowance in order to get "some hard Money" to purchase materials needed to complete the public business. When a due bill was presented to the treasury it was refused, and the House of Commons ordered it paid. From this transaction it is revealed that the firm of Hodge and Blanchard did more work for the state than was required by their contract, and they were awarded the additional sum of £150. It was also noted that they had recently printed legislative journals and the treasurer's reports and furnished (but may not have printed) 150 copies of Baron Steuben's Military Instructions, 1,500 copies of the new federal Constitution, and 300 copies of a resolution calling for a constitutional convention.

The firm also engaged in printing for private persons and early in 1787 printed a sermon preached in Fayetteville on 27 Dec. 1786 by Dugald Crawford. Later that year they published an address by Archibald Maclaine that had been delivered on 30 Aug. 1787. With one exception their work bears a New Bern imprint; the thin volume of Laws of North-Carolina for 1786 bears the imprint: "Fayetteville: Printed by Hodge and Blanchard, Printers to the State." The legislature of that year met in Fayetteville, and the name used probably indicates that fact and not that the printing establishment was there.

Blanchard was dead by 14 Dec. 1787, when his administrators, Silas White Arnett and Isaac Blanchard, petitioned the assembly to delay a suit in which the estate was involved.

References:

Clarence Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers (1947).

Douglas McMurtrie, Eighteenth Century North Carolina Imprints (1938).

Elizabeth Moore, Records of Craven County, North Carolina (1960).

New Bern North Carolina Gazette, 26 Dec. 1795.

New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 75 (1944).

William L. Saunders and Walter Clark, eds., Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, 30 vols. (1886–1914).

Additional Resources:

Blanchard, Andrew 1728-1787 in WorldCat:http://www.worldcat.org/identities/lccn-nr90-29130

Blanchard, Andrew in the Colonial and State Records of NC, Documenting the American South, UNC Libraries: http://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/search

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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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