DeBerdt, Dennys

last name (variants): De Berdt; Debert
honorific(s): Esquire
Birth: 1694 in United Kingdom
Death: April 11, 1770 in Chiswell St., London
Affiliation

Massachusetts Assembly; Connecticut Assembly

Faith

Dissenter

Nationality

Anglo-Dutch

Occupation

Merchant; London Agent for Colonial Governments (MA, CT, DE) (1765-1770)

Residence(s)
  • London ( to 1770-04-11)
Events

Fundraising Tour of Great Britain: DeBerdt housed Occom, Whitaker, and John Smith at points during their tour and provided general assistance.

Marital status

DeBerdt was married and had one son and one daughter. His daughter emigrated to America and married Joseph Reed, a notable figure in Pennsylvania history.

Biography

Dennys DeBerdt was a London merchant of Dutch descent, a dissenter who took an avid interest in American affairs and politics. Although he was not especially prominent in British eyes, many Americans, including Wheelock, venerated him as a valuable ally. DeBerdt tried to help Wheelock secure a charter for Moor's, but his efforts failed because the Connecticut Assembly was opposed. Otherwise, DeBerdt helped Wheelock in much the same way as other supporters did: he collected and forwarded donations and circulated information. He also hosted Occom, Whitaker, and J. Smith on their fundraising tour. In 1765, the Massachusetts Assembly elected DeBerdt as their agent in London, a post he held until his death in 1770. He also served as an agent for the Assemblies of Connecticut and Delaware. He frequently advocated for American interests in London, and was instrumental in the repeal of the Stamp Act. DeBerdt invested heavily in American trade, with poor results for his estate. Perhaps because he was a Dissenter and enjoyed limited opportunities in England, he thought American religious freedom was well worth defending. Virtually all correspondence between DeBerdt and Wheelock dates from between 1757 and 1763. DeBerdt's last letter to Wheelock was written in 1763, and Wheelock wrote to DeBerdt only sporadically after that (his last two letters are dated October 1765 and February 1767). It is not clear why the two men stopped corresponding.

Sources

Chase, Frederick. A history of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. 1891. Love, Deloss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Pilgrim Press 1899. Matthews, Albert ed. Letters of Dennys De Berdt. Cambridge (MA): J. Wilson and Son 1911. Accessed via Google Books. Reed, William Bradford. The Life of Esther De Berdt: Afterwards Esther Reed, of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: C. Sherman 1853. Accessed via Haithi Trust.