Will: Wybrants, Lieut, his signature from a regimental paylist dated Lincoln, England, 9 August 1781

 

Nationality: Irish
Born: ca.1757
Regimental commission dates:
Ensign, 1 May 1775
Lieutenant, 25 March 1777
Captain, 21 August 1781
Location during the Northern Campaign of 1777: lieutenant of the 62nd Regiment contingent left in Canada
Died: Jamaica, 8 November 1793

 

William Wybrants made a quick rise through the commissioned ranks of the regiment, since within about six years he was able to advance from the rank of ensign to captain—such a quick series of promotions eluded most other subaltern officers in the army. By the spring of 1777, then Ensign Wybrants was the 62nd Regiment's eldest ensign (which placed him in a good position to advance in rank upon a proper opening). When such an opening developed, Lieutenant-Colonel John Anstruther submitted the following memorial to the Canada commander-in-chief in favor of Wybrants (WO28):

 

To His Excellency Sir Guy Carleton Knight of the Bath, General, & Governor in Chief, In, and Over, His Majesty's Province of Quebec, & the Frontiers thereof &ca &ca &ca—General, & Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Forces in the said Provinces &ca &ca &ca

The memorial of John Anstruther Lt Colonel of His Majesty's 62d Regt of Infantry:

Most humbly Sheweth.

That Ensign Wm Wybrants hath been about Two years Ensign in the said Regiment—

That He is at present Eldest Ensign in the said Corps.

That a Lieutenancy is at present Vacant in the 62d Regiment by the Demise of John Fleming late Lieutenant in the same—

your memorialist humbly Recommends the said Wm Wybrants o your Excellency's Consideration, as a young gentleman who always shews a strict attention to, his Duty: and a real Zeal for, the Service—

And your memorialist as in Duty bound will ever Pray—

John Anstruther
Lieut Colonel

Quebec March 25th

 

Such recommendation was not to be denied, and William Wybrants was able to receive his promotion to the rank of lieutenant.

Before General Burgoyne's Army from Canada began its invasion of New York, a general order dated 10 May 1777 stated that the 9th, 20th, 21st, 47th, 53rd, and 62nd Regiments each had to leave a contingent of fifty men in Canada, with each commanded by a captain and two subalterns. While there was no order passed which determined how the officers were selected, a review of officers left behind demonstrates that they were generally their regiment's most junior by rank. Indeed, Wybrants, the junior lieutenant of the regiment, was designated as the 62nd 's representative. In July 1778, over one half year following the surrender of the 62nd Regiment at Saratoga, the private soldiers of the detachment were ordered to join the 53rd Regiment of Foot, then at Chambly. Wybrants, along with then-lieutenant Alexander Hay and the non-commissioned officers and drummers of the regiment's Canada detachment, returned to England aboard the sloop HMS Favorite.

Although Wybrants was back home by the fall of 1778, it was not until 1781 when the Convention Army officer corps of the 62nd Regiment was repatriated. By then, Wybrants was serving as the lieutenant of Major Henry Harnage's company, but he received his own company by the end of the year. As the war ended and the 1780s passed, the 62nd Regiment of Foot was transferred to Jamaica where Wybrants, being the senior captain, at times had command of the regiment. He died there under unknown circumstances in 1793.

William Wybrants is buried in the churchyard of the Cathedral, Spanish Town, Jamaica. His memorial reads "Here lies the body of WILLIAM WYBRANTS, Esqr., Captain in His Majesty's 62nd Regt. of Foot who departed this life on the 8th day of November 1793 in the 36 year of his age, as also the body of his daughter ALICE ELIZA."

While it cannot now be substantiated, it seems likely that William Wybrants was a relation of Mr. Stephen Wybrants of Dublin, Ireland, agent to the 62nd Regiment of Foot from 1769 through 1776.

 

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