Charles Dingee – The ships are sailing

Charles Dingee, master of the ship King George with a Letter of Marque, traversed the Atlantic during Britain’s Seven Years’ War with France, 1756-1763. He perished during a confrontation with the Duke de Noailles, privateer of Dunkirk, on 26 December 1762. The King George suddenly “blew up”:

“Morlaix, Jan 5. The Duke de Noailles privateer of Dunkirk on the 26th ult. n 49 degrees 49 minutes north latitude and eight degrees 36 minutes longitude from the island of Teneriffe, discovered an English ship of sixteen guns, which she came up with and immediately engaged very briefly for about three quarters of an hour, when she struck. The English some minutes after fired two guns at the privateer, which made five holes in her under water, and immediately after a great smoke and flames were perceived on board the enemy’s ship, which was coming down upon the Duke de Noailles; but at, about 100 feet distance, she blew up. By some papers which were taken up, she appeared to be the King George of London, Capt. Danger, bound from Philadelphia for London, with about sixty men on board, passengers included, who all perished. The Duke de Noailles received considerable damage. Soon after the explosion the rest of the ship sunk. The sea was covered with dead bodies and limbs, and a child of 10 or 12 months old was taken up expiring. Amsterdam Gazette.” [1]

Most genealogies for Charles Dingee, son of Charles Dingee 1691-1740, concur with Gilbert Cope, West Chester and Mary A Alberison, Philadelphia hypothesis penned in letter 17 February 1904: “Charles Dingee, mariner of Phila. died intestate. Letters of Administration granted to his sons Christopher & Jacob, Mary the widow renouncing her right 8 June 1762.”[2] The Dingee Family Genealogy, snippet view on google books, also supports that assessment, with the exception that Charles (D23) left a will naming his two sons. [3]

To the contrary, the desire to protect Charles’ intentions and wishes following his demise is expressed in Christopher Dingee’s letter to William Plumsted Esq., Registrar General for the Probate of Wills & Grant of Admin. for the Province of Pennsylvania, 26 April 1762:

“Christopher Dingee the eldest brother of Charles Dingee deceased who died at sea, doth hereby caveat against granting letters of admin. on the estate of the said Charles Dingee deceased to any person or persons whatsoever until he the said Christopher be heard.” [4]

Charles’ estate accounts show, of the £318/8/- received from Scott & McMichael, owners of the King George, £200 remained in the company’s hands for the unnamed daughter of Charles. Arguably, that amount would require the consensus of all of Charles heirs and the Courts. His brothers, Christopher and Jacob Dingee rather than his sons, were granted Letters of Administration. No distribution is made to the alleged sons of Charles, and a will is not filed with the estate papers.[5] An explanation why Christopher Dingee had to be “heard” has not been located. Whether the unnamed daughter of Charles Dingee is the legitimate issue of his first or second marriage is unknown.

The primary objective of future research then, is to attempt to identify Charles Dingee’s unnamed daughter by employing qualitative modes of enquiry to reconstruct Charles Dingee’s kinship and commercial relationships and isolate anomalies in the data.

“Marvel not my name’s concealed // In being hid it is revealed”, Hester Pulter.

“… I hereby request and desire that my daughter Sarah may be put under the care and direction of her aunt, my friend, Catharine Dingee whom I hereby appoint her guardian and have good hope that she will be to my said daughter as a good mother and educate and bring her up in the best manner she can – she receiving the annual sum I have by this my will appointed to be raised for this purpose.”

Powerful words.

Will of Isaac Smith made 21 November 1779. Comment: 13 December 1780 Daniel Dingee appointed guardian to Sarah Smith and her brother Jacob. Is Catharine the wife of (unnamed) Dingee or femme sole? 

Comment: Will John Paynter made 1732; describes himself as Blacksmith with five sons; ” John, Samuel, William and Richard and James Paynter my sons all such messuages houses lands and tenements as my said wife shall be possessed of at the time of her decease to be equally divided between my said sons and to ? to them and their heirs and assigns forever”. Mary (wid. John Paynter) given carte blanche to administer his estate?

Comment: Did Charles Dingee m. an older woman with financial assets?

This paper is a work in progress and forms part of a series of papers identifying kinship relationships among the early families of Sussex county.  This research should not be accepted as conclusive, there may be mistakes in the transcription of records or my hypothesis may prove to be false.  If you wish to include any of the material contained in, or derived from this paper, place quotation marks around the extracted portion and credit it as follows: “Sarah Baird, “Charles Dingee – The ships are sailing”, March 2021”.”

[1] London Chronicle for 1762 Jan 23-26, 82.

[2] Miscellaneous genealogical research compiled by Minnie Louise Flemming available on

[3] Harold Edward Jandebeur & Jeannette Dingee Jandebeur, Dingee Family Genealogy. United States: H.E. and J.D. Jandebeur, 1987.

[4] Pennsylvania, City of Philadelphia, administration files, 1686-1828 Administration files, 18-70, 1762 Film # 005871682.

[5] Pennsylvania, City of Philadelphia, administration files, 1686-1828 Administration files, 18-70, 1762 Film # 005871682.


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