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August 24, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Peter Francisco

Peter Francisco

Revolutionary War hero Peter Francisco is undoubtedly one of Buckingham County’s most famous sons.  A blacksmith by trade, after the war, he settled in the southern part of the county.  In 1783, Mr. J. Gannaway of Buckingham paid Peter £1.9.10 ½ for shoeing horses.

In December of 1784, diarist Samuel Shepard observed Francisco’s striking combination of enormous physique and gentle ways:

I watched the blacksmith at his work and never before saw muscles as great and developed in so young a man, or boy, he is still a boy. I usually write about a man’s face. Of this smith I noticed first his great hands, long broad the fingers square, the thumbs heavy and larger in the nail than the usual great toe. His feet are as exceptional for length and thickness as is his whole body. His shoulders like some old statue, like a figure of Michaelangelo’s imagination like his Moses but not like David. His jaw is long, heavy, the nose powerful, the slant forehead partly concealed by uncombed black hair of a shaggy aspect. His voice was light, surprising me as if a bull should bellow in a whisper. His eyes very friendly and kind. He talked of the war, eagerly told me of stealing clothes from under the enemy guns, all with humor. I asked him about his family and he said he was told he was Irish but also that he was Portuguese. Probably Latin from his color, Franciscao, not Francisco. Or he might come from the Irish west coast where I have seen Irish tangled up with Spanish, his stories sounded like Irish romance.

For more about Peter Francisco, consult “At a Place Called Buckingham.”


Leave a Comment
  1. Mary Hitselberger / Aug 25 2013 6:55 pm

    Isn’t there a book on him  Mary


    • Joanne Yeck / Aug 25 2013 7:05 pm

      There are several printed versions of Peter Francisco’s life. Learn more at the Society of the Descendants of Peter Francisco:

  2. Joanne Yeck / Aug 25 2013 3:38 pm

    Thanks for that tidbit!

  3. Harold Gill / Aug 25 2013 10:49 am

    Peter Francisco was apprenticed to George Wright of Cumberland County. In 1775 he had 2 years and 45 days to serve.


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