Major Raymond Deméré II
By Patrick M. Demere
|Raymond Deméré II (1750?- 1791) was the only son of Captain
Paul Deméré (d. 1760) of the British Army. Raymond was most likely born and
lived at Lot 5 of the South tract at Frederica for the first few years of
Raymond was named in honor of his uncle, Captain Raymond Deméré (1702-1766) who himself had a son in 1752 whom he also named Raymond Deméré. This cousin Raymond remained on St. Simons Island until his death in 1829.
Paul Deméré was a French Huguenot from Nérac, France, who had come to Georgia as a Lieutenant in Major William Horton’s Company of British Grenadiers under General Oglethorpe. Paul Deméré was stationed at Fort Frederica and commanded detachments on St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, and Cumberland Island from 1748 to 1750. When the 42nd Regiment of Foot was disbanded in 1749, Paul became a Lieutenant in the South Carolina Independent Companies serving at St. Simons Island.
Raymond Deméré II (1750?- 1791) would have had an interesting childhood: in September 1752, a disastrous hurricane struck Charleston; in 1754 his father traveled to England to present himself to King George II and to begin the purchase and appointment process for his commission as Captain; in July of 1755, Captain Paul Deméré survived the great massacre of General Edward Braddock’s expedition against the French in Pennsylvania; in 1756 a massive hurricane directly struck St. Simons Island; in late summer 1757, Captain Paul Deméré was ordered to command Fort Loudoun (now in Tennessee), which was the westernmost outpost of the British Empire; and when he was just 10 years old, Raymond Deméré’s father, Captain Paul Deméré, was killed in a massacre in August 1760 at Fort Loudoun.
Raymond Deméré II (1750?-1791), was married twice: first to Mary Elizabeth Milledge (1759-1783), who died childless at 24, and second to Mary Ann Miller (1744-1808). Their children were Raymond Deméré (1785-1788?), Ann Miller Deméré (b. 1786), Mary Elizabeth Deméré (1788-1863), Frances Anne Deméré (1789-1849), and Raymond Paul Deméré (1791-1885).
At 25 years old in July 1775, Raymond Deméré II was one of the forty- five deputies assembled at the Provincial Congress in Savannah. This Congress approved sending delegates to represent Georgia in the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
The following year, an incident that became known as the Battle of the Riceboats occurred near Savannah. In February 1776, seven British ships came up the Savannah River. On the night of 2 March 1776, British troops landed on Hutchinson’s Island and captured an American officer, Captain John Rice.
The next morning, Captain Raymond Deméré II and First Lieutenant Daniel Roberts went under the flag of truce to demand release of the captured officer, and the British took Deméré and Roberts prisoner. The Patriots took several prisoners and placed several prominent Loyalists under arrest. On 20 March 1776, all prisoners were released, including Raymond Deméré II.
In the subsequent April, 26-year old planter Raymond Deméré II left Savannah to join George Washington in Philadelphia. Promoted to Major, Raymond Deméré II became aide-de-camp to Major General Lord Stirling, William Alexander .
In just the first three months of his adventure, he was shipwrecked off Cape Hatteras and traveled disguised through Delaware, finally reaching Philadelphia. On 31 May 1777, he met and dined with General George Washington. Raymond Deméré II then participated in the Battle of Short Hills in New Jersey. They then participated in September 1777 in the Battle of Brandywine where Stirling’s brigade engaged in the fiercest part of the battle.
Shortly after the Battle of Brandywine, Major Raymond Deméré II was apparently sent back to Georgia as the British launched their campaign in the South. In October 1777, Congress authorized the establishment of the office of the Clothier General [quartermaster] of the Continental army. Major Deméré became the Deputy for the State of Georgia. His duties would have included receiving cloth being imported by Congress, having it made into uniforms, and forwarding the finished articles to the Continental Army.
Savannah was eventually captured by the British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell. On 29 December 1778, British forces met little resistance, and literally marched around the Continental flank into Savannah. The British quickly restored the Royal Assembly of Georgia.
It is assumed that Major Raymond Deméré II fled Savannah when the British captured it, but his actions of 1779 through 1782 are not certain, although he evidently acted in the capacity of Clothier General of Georgia until at least mid- 1780.
It is possible that he was with General Benjamin Lincoln when all of the remaining Georgia Continental troops and many militia in the Southern Theater of the War were surrendered at Charleston on 12 May 1780. As an officer, Raymond would have been offered parole by the British which, in exchange for his pledge not to fight again, he would be freed from prison.
Major Raymond Deméré II returned to Savannah and his Parnassus Plantation in Bryan County on the east bank of the Medway River after the War ended. On 20 May 1791, he was thrown from his horse at Major Hardee’s Plantation on the Great Ogeechee near Savannah, his neck was broken, and he died in about half an hour.
Raymond Deméré II, Revolutionary War Major and hero, only son of massacred redcoat Captain Paul Deméré, was only about 41 or 42 at his untimely death. Given his family lineage and prominence; his wealth, military experience, connections, and status as Revolutionary War hero, Raymond Deméré II could very well have had a second half of his life to rival the first. His next forty years could quite possibly have brought him statewide and perhaps even national successes as they did to James Monroe, his fellow aide-de-camp to Lord Stirling.
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