In 1776, as Washington was preparing in Boston to move against New York, the general requested Congress to send him $250,000 in hard coin to pay the militia whose term of service had expired. Washington’s problem was not to raise the money, but to transport it to Boston past hostile Tories. Shipping the specie by boat and evading the British sea patrol was too hazardous. It was at this juncture that John Hancock called upon “three gentlemen of character“- among them, Moses Franks- to cart the money secretly to Washington’s headquarters. It took them two weeks to reach Boston, unfortunately too late to meet the needs of the militia, but the cash was used to satisfy the regulars.
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