The birth of the United States of America provided many foreign born people with the experience that would assist them as they sought to make their fortunes in a post war world.

Thomas Machin was born in Staffordshire, England on March 20, 1744. He was trained as an engineer, and worked on projects such as canal building and mining. In 1772 he was sent to New Jersey to inspect a copper mine. Machin stayed in America, eventually settling in Boston. Pre-revolutionary Boston politics must have ignited a latent spark of independence in him; for he participated in the Boston Tea Party, throwing tea overboard into the harbor in December 1773. Machin served as a New England officer of artillery at the battle for Bunker Hill, where he was wounded.

He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the New York artillery on January 18, 1776. That year Machin was in charge of the project to place a 600 yard chain across the Hudson River. This enormous 65 ton chain was intended to stop the navigation of British ships through the Highlands. It was a great success. No British ship ever attempted to cross the chain barrier.

Machin, after several campaigns in New York, was promoted to captain of artillery on August 21, 1780. He was witness to the conclusive battle at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781, serving on the siege-works.

In 1783, Machin settled in Ulster County, New York. He set up a mill near Newburgh. Using his friendship with Governor Clinton that had developed during the war, Machin obtained several contracts to mint copper coins. He began operations at his converted mill in 1787, making coins for the Republic of Vermont. The mint at Machin’s Mill also made imitation British halfpennies, as well as coins for other States.

Thomas Machin moved to northern New York around 1790. He applied for an invalid pension in 1813, and was awarded an annual stipend of $120.00. Machin would live for three more years in his adopted country.