Oliver DeLancey was an influential loyalist merchant in New York City with close political and economic ties to Britain. He, along with his brother-in-law John Watts, were given a lucrative “victualling” contract to supply provincial and imperial forces with money, food and clothing during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). It was at that time that DeLancey and Watts settled on New York City as their main supply depot, with smaller distribution points at Boston, Philadelphia and Newport, Virginia. Independent of Watts, DeLancey also secured the contract to supply the New York Regiments. These supply contracts brought DeLancey and Watts incredible wealth, approximately ₤1 million.
Apart from supplying British troops, DeLancey personally financed a regiment known as DeLancey’s Brigade composed of three battalions of 500 men each. DeLancey fled to England when the British evacuated New York City in 1783. There he received nearly ₤43,000 in compensation for land and property seized or destroyed by the revolutionaries. The actual value of his losses was approximately ₤108,000.