Deveaux and his Loyalist partisans are believed to have been responsible for burning the Prince William Parish church at Sheldon in April 1779. Deveaux was commissioned as a major in the South Carolina Loyalist militia known as the “Royal Foresters” and served the British army occupying South Carolina for the next three years.
Loyalist. Deveaux was born in Beaufort on April 30, 1758. His father was Andrew Deveaux III, a wealthy planter and cattleman on Port Royal Island, and his mother was Catherine Barnwell, a granddaughter of “Tuscarora Jack” Barnwell. His father was prominent in local politics as a member of the St. Helena’s Parish vestry and as commissioner to build the first Beaufort District courthouse in 1769. He was also a well-known Loyalist who was among the delegation of Beaufort men who encouraged Governor Charles Montagu to move the colonial capital from Charleston to Beaufort in 1772.
With the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1775, Andrew Deveaux III was subjected to insults and harassment by the local patriot sympathizers. This prompted Andrew Deveaux IV to form a body of Loyalist ruffians, who disrupted patriot meetings in Beaufort whenever possible. This local rivalry continued for several years until the arrival of British troops from Savannah on Port Royal Island in February 1779. Deveaux assisted the British landing and joined the invading army. Deveaux and his Loyalist partisans are believed to have been responsible for burning the Prince William Parish church at Sheldon in April 1779. Deveaux was commissioned as a major in the South Carolina Loyalist militia known as the “Royal Foresters” and served the British army occupying South Carolina for the next three years. He was second in command of the Loyalist garrison at Fort Balfour in Beaufort District in 1781. In 1782 he was among the British occupation garrison in Charleston. He led several daring and successful waterborne raids among the Sea Islands and actually occupied Beaufort for two weeks in March 1782.
When the British evacuated Charleston in December 1782, Deveaux, now a lieutenant colonel, left with them. His father’s estates were confiscated, and most of his family became refugees in St. Augustine, Florida. In 1783 Deveaux raised a small army of volunteers from the Carolina Loyalist refugees in Florida and outfitted six small-armed vessels at his own expense. With this little fleet he sailed to Nassau, Bahamas, which was then occupied by seven hundred Spanish soldiers from Cuba. Nassau had been captured from the British in 1782 by a combined American and Spanish fleet. Deveaux successfully blockaded the harbor and by daring maneuvers forced the surrender of superior Spanish forces. By this conquest Deveaux was made de facto governor of the Bahamas from April to September 1783. By the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the Bahama Islands remained part of the British Empire and southern Loyalists were given large grants of Bahamian lands. The Bahamian Loyalists took over the politics of the colony, populated the islands with their slaves, and began growing a crop later known in America as Sea Island cotton.
Deveaux traveled to London, where he was awarded half-pay as a lieutenant colonel in the British army for his service to the crown. He then moved to New York, where he married a wealthy heiress, Anna Maria Verplanck. They settled at Red Hook, Duchess County, New York. Deveaux died in New York City on July 11, 1812, as a result of injuries sustained in a fall from a balcony.
Rowland, Lawrence S., Alexander Moore, and George C. Rogers. The History of Beaufort County. Vol. 1, 1514–1861. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.
Saunders, Gail. Bahamian Loyalists and Their Slaves. London: Macmillan, 1983.
–––. Slavery in the Bahamas, 1648–1838. Nassau: D. G. Saunders, 1985. Siebert, Wilbur H. Loyalists in East Florida, 1774 to 1785: The Most Important Documents Pertaining Thereto, Edited with an Accompanying Narrative. 2 vols. DeLand: Florida State Historical Society, 1929.