Archive for the ‘Loyalists’ Category

Recommendation: Two Articles of Interest

There are two articles in the Journal of the American Revolution that I would like to recommend. One is by Michael Sheehan who writes about Stony Point Battlefield and Lighthouse State Historic Site on the Hudson River where my friend Julia Warger is the site manager. Taken from the Journal is a mini bio of Mike:

Michael J. F. Sheehan holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Ramapo College of New Jersey. He is the Senior Historian at the Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site where he has been for nine years. Michael has spent most of his time studying the American Revolution with a focus on the role of the Hudson Highlands and Lower Hudson Valley, where he has lived his whole life. In his free time, he is currently working on a book about the history of King’s Ferry during the American Revolution and he has been playing live traditional Irish music in the Stony Point area for five years. Deeply involved in the Brigade of the American Revolution since 2008, Michael has reenacted and spoken at countless historic sites and societies in New York and New Jersey, and is currently serving as a board member for Lamb’s Artillery Company.

Here is a photo of Mike in his 18th century attire on the day my husband and I visited the site.

Another article in the Journal, by Richard J. Werther, will be of interest to those of you who have read my posts on GRACE GALLOWAY, the loyalist wife who stayed behind in Philadelphia, when her husband and daughter fled, to try to prevent their property from being confiscated. See my posts here, here, here, and here. Read Werther’s piece here.

posted March 25th, 2018 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Battles,Galloway, Grace Growden,Loyalists,Stony Point Battlefield

A mystery and a surprise wedding in two Sarah Jay letters

John Jay was absent from home for extended periods during the early 1790s when, as Chief Justice of the United States, he was riding circuit in the Northeast. He and his wife SARAH LIVINGSTON JAY exchanged letters, many of which have survived. She remained at home, managing the household, entertaining visiting dignitaries and relatives, and overseeing the education of their children Peter (14), Maria (8), Ann known as Nancy (7), and the infant William. She wrote her husband frequently to keep him up-to-date on matters at home or on the political front, or for advice, or just because she missed her “dearest best of friends.”

New York: May 17th, 1792My dear Mr. Jay,
Mr. Dalton has just left me; he sets out to morrow for Massachusetts, & is to take charge of this letter- We still are all well—Yesterday in Company I was told your brother Fredk had been married three weeks; I replied I had not been inform’d of it—today P[eter] Munro [Jay’s nephew] came here to let me know that it was a fact tho he had not had it from your brother. Peggy Munro & myself wish Your opinion respecting the line of conduct proper for us to observe as yet we remain in ignorance respecting it—but perhaps she may deign to inform me of it. . . .

Last Tuesday the Captn of an Halifax vessel called upon me w[ith] an order from Mr. Craighton for one hundred & twenty dollars for the passage of Mr. Craighton & family—I told the Captn that you was in Boston & that I had recd no information from you that such an order was expected consequently could not accept it—the weather has been disagreeable ever since, so that I have not seen either Mr or Mrs Craighton—. . . .
Farewell my dearest! best beloved! Sa. Jay

Indeed, John seems not to have told Sarah that he had offered James Creighton, a Loyalist and a New York lawyer, assistance to return to the U.S. from Halifax, where he, his wife Anna Maria Ogden (1753-?) and their children had settled after the war. They had fared badly there. The matter was clarified by attorney Robert Troup (Jay’s former law clerk), who wrote Jay (May 27, 1792) that the Creighton family was in distress. “Few of our soldiers in the field during the late war reaped more laurels than Mrs. Creighton did within the British lines in her conflicts with the Tory ladies. As an old veteran therefore in affliction she is deserving of every attention we can shew her.”

What patriotic services had Mrs. Creighton performed? Had she been a spy for Jay? It’s an intriguing mystery. Mr. Creighton was able to resume practicing law in New York. Jay had also been sympathetic to another Loyalist, his longtime friend Peter van Schaack, who had settled in London during the War but was able to return in 1785.

John’s youngest brother, Frederick Jay (1747-99), known as Fady, had lost his wife Margaret Barclay Jay very unexpectedly on October 28, 1791. It is no wonder that Sarah was at a loss upon hearing of his wedding so soon after.

New York, May 23d. 1792My dear Mr. Jay,
. . . . I wrote you in my last by Mr. Dalton that your brother Fredk. was married, but believe I did not mention that it was to Miss [Euphemia] Dunscomb. It seems he was already married when you left town, his wedding being on the 10th of April. Mr. Jay’s relations resent the want of [respect] to her memory so much that none of them visit either him or his wife. Last Saturday just as P[eter] Munro & myself were deliberating what was to be done on our part, Fady came in. I suppose said he advancing towards me you have heard that I am married again. I have Mr. Jay, but not being authorised from you to believe it, did not credit it. It’s true said he, I am. Will you take a chair Mr. Jay? No, I must be going, good bye. Good by Mr. Jay, that is all that has passed between us. . . .
Adieu my ever dear Mr. Jay, believe me with the sincerest affection
Unalterably yours S.J.

Don’t you love the way Sarah writes dialogue in her letter, as in the recounting of her conversation with Fady? It conveys a sense of immediacy, and is altogether charming.

The Selected Papers of John Jay, 1788-1794, Elizabeth M. Nuxoll, editor (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017], vol. 5, p. 333-4, 403-4, 411. Also Selected Letters of John Jay and Sarah Livingston Jay Landa M. Freeman, Louise V. North, Janet M. Wedge, editors (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co, Inc., 2005], 208. The portrait of Sarah Livingston Jay and her children is by James Sharples (1751 or 1752-1811); it is at the John Jay Homestead State Historic Site.

posted March 16th, 2018 by Louise, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Family life,Halifax,Jay, Frederick (Fady),Jay, John,Jay, Sarah Livingston,Loyalists

“our family found itself irreconcilably torn apart”

We often need to be reminded that the American Revolution was in great part a civil war. In that context it is useful to consider what went on in New Jersey. In 1776 George Washington and what remained of his army made the retreat and escape from the defeat in New York City into New Jersey and further south, engaging now and then with the British, achieving some morale-boosting encounters such as the Christmas Day attack on Hessian troops and success in the battle of Trenton. Armies and militias on both sides moved back and forth across the state, the British and Loyalists seeking forage and supplies (horses as well as soldiers had to eat) to maintain their garrisons and the Patriots attempting to prevent the looting and pillaging and carrying out raids on British positions.

In New Jersey, particularly in what was then Bergen County, in the northeastern corner abutting Rockland County in New York to the north and the Hudson River to the east, the War clearly divided families, friends and neighbors. Governor William Livingston declared “that the most northern County in the State is almost totally disaffected.” One of the clearest examples of the bitter divisions within families is that of the Demarests in Hackensack Township, not only with regard to the emotional costs engendered by broken relationships but also for the economic hardship resulting from the confiscation by the State of property owned by Loyalists. Here is Jane Demarest’s story, related in the first person from materials by her—the petition arguing against confiscation—and about her. While not strictly in her exact words this passage is true to the life and experience of this New Jersey woman.

I was born in 1743 and christened Jannetje Zabriskie by my parents, Albert and Tjelltje Akkerman Zaborisky of Bergen County. On March 13, 1761 I married David G. Demarest at Schrallenberg, Bergen County. When the Revolution broke out David’s family provided soldiers to both sides in the conflict. At least thirty five men are known to have served, two dozen on the Patriot side and another eleven fighting for the Crown. David and I disagreed on which side to support in the conflict. I was a staunch Patriot and was horrified when David enlisted on November 23, 1776 in Captain William Van Allen’s Company of the 4th Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers, a Loyalist battalion. He was soon after taken prisoner on December 6, possibly during a raid with his unit on Tappan. Somehow he was able to get back home, but on May 16, 1779 he left home and re-joined his Loyalist battalion, part of a body of about 1,000 British troops that entered Bergen County and drove away the picket at New Bridge that day. When David rejoined the Loyalists, I certainly did not follow him, but I still suffered the consequences for his actions. The State began the process to confiscate his estate, which unfortunately for me and my family, was in his name. In an effort to stave off confiscation, I quickly petitioned Governor Livingston and the legislature hoping to transfer the property title to our Patriot family members. I wrote that I had “incurred the reproaches and hatred” of my husband and many family members because of my “attachment to the interests of America” and my “zeal in instilling those principles” in my children. My eldest son, seventeen year old Guilliam, in spite of his father’s commands to the contrary, joined the Patriot Bergen County militia under the command of Colonel Theunis Dey, and served when called to defend the frontiers of the State. I desperately continued trying to preserve our property that the State was confiscating even though my son was fighting for the Patriot cause. David left the New Jersey Volunteers by 1780 and became one of the initial members of Thomas Ward’s Loyal Refugee Volunteers, raised to supply the British army with firewood. Little did David know that this choice would bring him into direct conflict with our son. The Loyal Refugee Volunteers supplemented their wages by conducting raids into Bergen County, making off with cattle and other plunder. David was one of the 110 defenders of the Bull’s Ferry Blockhouse attacked by General Anthony Wayne’s troops that following July, and was still listed on their rolls in 1782, as David Demerea, a name also used by the family. His actions brought an indictment for high treason in Bergen County that was published in The New Jersey Gazette on November 22, 1780. When the major fighting of the war moved south in 1781, the petit guerre taking place in Bergen County still directly [affected] our lives on a daily basis. For David it meant cutting wood on Bergen Neck and raiding up into Bergen County. For Gilliam, it meant defending against Loyalist raids by forces that might include his father. The Royal Gazette, the New York Loyalist paper, on August 1, 1781 carried news that a party of Loyal Refugees who penetrated as far as the New Bridge, near Hackensack, captured three notorious rebels, drove off their stock, and returned without firing a shot. The three “notorious Rebels” were Gilliam, John and Philip Demarest, and they had been taken prisoner by David G. Demarest’s battalion. Two of the three captured Demarests, John and Philip, were imprisoned for less than six months before being paroled home and soon after exchanged. But my son Gilliam remained a captive in the notorious Sugar House prison in New York City. David took advantage of this and tried to convince him to join the Refugees. Gilliam, though, resisted his father’s repeated requests (more like demands) and remained committed to the Patriot cause. He survived the prison, was exchanged and went back into the Patriot military service. Soon after he was wounded in the hand during an engagement, again with his father’s Loyalist troops. At the end of the war our family found itself irreconcilably torn apart. I never again returned to David and spent the rest of my life in the new United States, as did Gilliam. However, we lost the comfort of our three room stone home, confiscated by the State in retaliation for David’s Loyalist actions. And as for David? He left Bergen County for good in October 1782 and sailed with his corps to Nova Scotia, eventually settling in Upper Canada (modern Ontario) on free grants of land provided by the British. The American Revolution left our family either exiled or homeless, despite fighting for both the winners and losers.

See the information about Jane Demarest HERE and in Braisted, Todd. Bergen County Voices from the American Revolution: Soldiers and Residents in Their own Words (Charlestown, S.C.: The History Press, 2012), which can be viewed HERE, in Chapter 5.

posted March 6th, 2017 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Demarest, Jane,Hessians,Livingston, Governor William,Loyalists,New Jersey,Patriots,Washington, George

“Inventory of sundry Household goods”

Another selection from the diary of GRACE GROWDEN GALLOWAY was posted on 2 December 2013: “I now defye the Villans.” What follows is the inventory of the household goods confiscated from the Galloway house on Market Street. Although it does not seem complete it gives an idea of the kind of possessions the Galloways had.

Inventory of sundry Household goods found in the house of Joseph Galloway in Market Street. [The figure to the right is the value.]

Front room downstairs
2 Mahogany tables w. chairs – 15
2 Ditto, chairs ditto – 12
10 ditto chairs with hair bottoms – 10
1 Pr. Brass Hand Irons – 6
1 pr. Shovel and Tongs – 2

Back Room
1 Mahogany table – 5
1 [Mahogany] Side Board – 8
1 [Mahogany] Table – 3.10
8 Mahogany Chairs with hair bottoms – 32
1Pr. Hand Irons and tongs – 3
1 Small looking glass – 0.10
1 Wine Decanter – 0.5
6 Glass Bottles – 0.5
1 Small China Bowl – 0.13
1 Tea Cannister – 0.2.6
1 Windsor Chair – 1.10
1 Hearth [illegible] – 0.2.6

On the Entry
1 Mahogany Skreen (Deborah Morris)
1 Caster with Silver Top
9 Brass Candlesticks
1 Pair of Snuffers
3 Japanned Waiters – 1.2.6
6 Cups and Saucers China – 3.0.0
1 ditto Slop Bowl – 2.6
1 ditto Cream Pot – 3.0
1 ditto Yelato – 5.0
1 ditto Tea Pot – 7.6
8 Silver Tea Spoons – 2.10
1 Plate Basket and other ditto – 10.0

Amount Carried Over – 15.9.6

Joseph Galloway and Betsy settled in England where Galloway was awarded a pension of £500 per year. In 1779, Grace Galloway was given the opportunity to buy back her property and even to put it in her own name. After much thought she decided not to do so since she would be obliged to pay taxes (to the Rebel cause which she did not support) and also because she could be charged with treason. Grace died in 1782 without being reunited with her husband and daughter. She willed her property to Betsy even though she had no legal right to do so since it was technically owned by the state of Pennsylvania. After Joseph Galloway’s death in 1802, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Grace should not have been punished for her husband’s wrongdoings and restored the entire estate to Betsy and her heirs.

Sources: Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and Wikipedia.

posted January 26th, 2017 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Galloway, Grace Growden,Galloway, Joseph,Loyalists,Pennsylvania

“I told them Nothing but force shou’d get me out of My house”

ELIZABETH DRINKER noted on 20 July 1778: “Grace Galloway turn’d out of her House this forenoon, and Spanish officers put in. . . . ”

After the British evacuated Philadelphia in 1778, GRACE GALLOWAY had stayed behind—her Loyalist husband Joseph had fled with their daughter Betsy—in the hope of preventing their house “Trevose,” or the Manor of Bensalem (pictured in the previous post,) from being confiscated. A vain hope as it turned out. Charles Willson Peale, the Commissioner of Forfeited Estates, was determined to seize the property of accused traitors, the sale of which would yield him a five percent commission. Here is Grace Growden Galloway’s account of what happened as noted in her diary.

Wednesday . . . [June 17, 1778] this evening parted with my dear Husband & child. . . .

This day Thursday the 18th the American Troops came into Town.

Friday the 19th was warn’d by peal [sic] that he must take possession of my house for the state. . . .

[July] Tusday the 21st . . . about 2 o’clock they came—one smith a hatter & Col Will & one Shriner & a Dutch Man I know not his Name—they took an inventory of everything even to broken China & empty bottles. . . . they told Me they must advertise the house I told them they must do as they pleased but till it was decided by a Court I wou’d not go out Unless by the force of a bayonet but when I knew who had a right to it I should know how to act. . . .
Accordingly I did so & a little after 10 oclock they Knocked Violently at the door three times; the Third time I sent Nurse & call’d out myself to tell them I was in possession of my own House & wou’d keep so & they shou’d gain No admittance. Hereupon which they went round in the yard & Try’d every door but cou’d None Open, then they went to the Kitchen door & with a scrubbing brush which they broke to pieces, they forced that open—we Women standing in the Entry in the Dark they made repeated strokes at the door & I think was 8 or 10 Minuets before they got it open. When they came in, I had the windows open’d; they look’d very Mad. Their was peel, smith, the Hatter & a Col Will a pewterer in second street. I spoke first & told them I was Used ill: & show’d them the Opinion of the Lawyers. Peel read it: but they all despised it & peel said he had studied the Law & knew they did right. I told them Nothing but force shou’d get me out of My house. Smith said they knew how to Manage that & that they wou’d throw my cloaths in the street. . . .

Wenesday the 22 . . . Sent for Mr. [John] Dickison last Night & he told Me he wou’d look over the law to see if I cou’d recover My own estate & this evening he came & told Me I cou’d Not recover dower & he fear’d my income in My estate was forfeited likewise & that no tryal wou’d be of service: but advised Me to draw up a peti’on to the Chief Justice Mccean [Thomas McKean] for the recovery of my estate & refused a fee in the Politest Manner, but begg’d I wou’d look on him as My sincere friend . . . so I find I am a beggar indeed. I expect every hour to be turn’d out of doors & where to go I know not no one will take me in & all the Men keeps from Me. . . .

[August] Saturday the 8th . . . Peal & Will came to let Me know that I must go out a Monday Morn: for they wou’d give the spaniard [Don Juan de Miralles] Possession. . . .

Thursday the 20th [Her lawyer William] Lewise sent me word that I must shut my doors & windows & if they wou’d come to let them Make a forcible Entry. Peel & Will went over the House to see Nothing was Embassell’d [embezzled] & Locking Up the things at last Smith went away. . . . after every Mortifying treatment I was tiard [tired] & wanted to be turn’d out. Peel went upstairs & brought down My Work bag & 2 bonnets & put them on the side table; at last we went in the Entry to sit. . . . two of the Men went out & after staying some time return’d & said they had been with the council & that they had done right & must proceed. I did not hear this myself but the rest of the Women did. Mrs [Molly] Craig asked for My Bed but they wou’d let Me Have Nothing & as I told them acted entirely from Malice: after we had been in the Entry some time Smith & Will went away & Peel said the Chariot was ready but he would not hasten me. I told him I was at home & in My own House & nothing but force shou’d drive me out of it. He said it was not the first time he had taken a Lady by the Hand, an insolent wretch . . . as the Chariot drew up Peel fetched My Bonnets & gave one to me the other to Mrs Craig: then with greatest air said come Mrs Galloway give me your hand. I answer’d indeed I will not nor will I go out of my house but by force. He then took hold of my arm & I rose & he took me to the door. I then Took hold on one side & Looked round & said pray take Notice I do not leave my house of My own accord or with my own inclination but by force & Nothing but force shou’d have Made Me give up possession. Peel said with a sneer very well Madam & when he led me down the step I said now Mr Peel let go My Arm I want not your Assistance. He said he cou’d help me to the Carriage. I told him I cou’d go without & you Mr Peel are the last Man on earth I wou’d wish to be Obliged to. Mrs Craig then step’d into the Carriage & we drove to her house where we din’d.

By the law of coverture when a woman married any property she brought to the union belonged to her husband unless a prenuptial agreement had been drawn up. Even though the house Grace Galloway lived in had been inherited from her family, according to the law her Loyalist husband was the owner, and it was therefore subject to confiscation.

In the Words of Women Louise North, Janet Wedge, and Landa Freeman (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2011) 124-125. Original source: Raymond C. Werner, “Diary of Grace Growden Galloway,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 55, no. 1 (January 1931) 36. 40-41, 51-72.

posted January 23rd, 2017 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith,Galloway, Grace Growden,Galloway, Joseph,Loyalists,Philadelphia

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