Archive for the ‘Loyalists’ Category

“that heavy lifeless lump a wife”

GRACE GROWDEN came from a Philadelphia family of wealth and social standing. She had a mind of her own; on a trip to England in 1747 to visit her sister she fell in love with a Mr. Milner who was a customs collector at Poole. Her father forbid the union ordered his daughter home. She complied. In 1753 Grace married Joseph Galloway who inherited his father’s land holdings and mercantile business. Galloway became a lawyer with a prosperous practice in Philadelphia whose marriage to Grace enhanced his social and financial standing. Upon her father’s death Grace inherited the family mansion in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, but as women were not allowed to own property at this time her husband became its owner. The Galloways had three children, one of whom, Betsy, survived past childhood. The marriage was stressful and Grace was not happy. In 1759 she wrote “[I] find myself neglected, loathed, despised.” In her poetry she complained about the tyranny of men and the suffocating constraints of marriage. In one:

…I am Dead
Dead to each pleasing thought each Joy of Life
Turn’d to that heavy lifeless lump a wife.

In another:

never get Tyed to a Man
for when once you are yoked
‘Tis all a Mere Joke
of seeing your freedom again.”

Life became complicated as the Revolution approached. Joseph Galloway opposed independence and as a member of the First Continental Congress proposed a conciliatory plan toward Britain. It was rejected. After the Declaration of Independence was approved Galloway, fearing for his safety, fled to a British camp and then to New York City where he joined the British forces. By now a staunch Loyalist, Galloway followed General William Howe when he occupied Philadelphia and became that city’s Superintendent of Police and of the Port. In 1778 Pennsylvania passed a law by which property of Loyalists was confiscated. A substantial amount of Galloway’s holdings included property inherited by Grace, and when the British evacuated the city she determined to stay on —alone, since her husband had left with her beloved daughter—to try to save it. More from the diary Grace Galloway kept during this period in the next post.

Sources include Texts on The Origins of Liberty Rhetoric, 1770s-1820s and History of American Women, which can be viewed HERE.

posted January 19th, 2017 by Janet, Comments Off on “that heavy lifeless lump a wife”, CATEGORIES: Galloway, Grace Growden,Galloway, Joseph,Loyalists,Pennsylvania,Philadelphia,Poetry

“a large number of Hessians were advancing”

Continuing the account of MARGARET HILL MORRIS of events during December 1776 when she and her children were living with her sister in the small town of Greenbank, New Jersey on the Delaware River, where British, Hessian and American troops were active:

11th. After various reports from one hour to another of light-horse approaching, the people in town had certain intelligence that a large body of Hessians were come to Bordentown, and we might expect to see them in a few hours. About 10 o’clock in the morning of this day, a party of about 600 men [American militia] marched down the main street. As they passed along, they told our doctor and some other persons in the town that a large number of Hessians were advancing and would be in town in less than an hour. . . . On the first certainty of their approach, J. L. [John Lawrence] and two or three others thought best, for the safety of the town, to go out and meet the troops. He communicated his intention to one of the [American] gondola captains, who approved of it and desired to be informed of the result.

The gentlemen went out, and though the Hessian colonel spoke but little English, yet they found that, upon being thus met in a peaceable manner on behalf of the inhabitants, he was ready to promise them safety and security, to exchange any messages that might be proper with the gentlemen of the galleys [commanders of the American naval vessels]. In the meantime he ordered his troops to halt. They remained in their ranks between the bridge and the corner of Main Street, waiting an answer from on board. J. L. and T. H. [T. Hulings] went down to report what had passed, and told Captain Moore [leader of the American militia] that the colonel had orders to quarter his troops in Burlington that night, and that if the inhabitants were quiet and peaceable and would furnish him with quarters and refreshment, he would pledge his honor that no manner of disorder should happen to disturb or alarm the people. Captain Moore replied that, in his opinion, it would be wrong in such a case to fire on the town, but that he would go down and consult with the [American] commodore and return an answer as soon as might be.

Accepting the offer of Loyalist Dr. Jonathan Odell to act as an interpreter (both men spoke French), the Hessian colonel gave these instructions.

He desired the doctor to tell the gentlemen of the town to the same purport as above, with this addition: that he expected there would be found no persons in the town in arms; nor any arms, ammunition, or effects, belonging to persons that were in arms against the king, concealed by any of the inhabitants; that if any such effects were thus secreted, the house in which they were found would be given up to pillage; to prevent which it would be necessary to give him a just and fair account of such effects, which account he would forward to the general, and that if we acted openly and in good faith in these respects, he repeated his assurances, upon the honor of a soldier, that he would be answerable for every kind of disorder on the part of his troops. They remained in profound silence in their ranks, and the [Hessian] commandant with some of his officers came into town as far as J. L.’s, where they dined, waiting the [American] commodore’s answer.

A mini-flotilla of American war vessels patrolled the Delaware River during the winter of 1776-1777. Morris often described them. In the illustration of armed vessels on Lake Champlain in October of 1776 are examples of both galleys and gondolas. GALLEYS, such as the Washington (second from left) were round-bottomed, two-masted vessels, designed to be rowed or sailed, carrying up to ten long guns. GONDOLAS, such as the New York (third from right) were narrow flat-bottomed, single-masted boats, also designed to be rowed or sailed, carrying a small number of guns. (The vessel at center is the schooner Royal Savage.)

. . . [T]he commodore had received intelligence of a party of Hessians having entered Burlington . . . and had ordered up four galleys to fire on the town wherever any two or three persons should be seen together. Captain Moore met and hailed them . . . but the wind was so high that he was not heard or not understood. The four gondolas came up, and the first of them appearing before the main street, J.L., T.H.,and W.D. went down upon the wharf and waved a hat—the signal agreed on with Captain Moore for the boat to come ashore and give the commodore’s answer in peace. To the astonishment of these gentlemen, all the answer they received was first a swivel shot. Not believing it possible this could be designedly done, they stood still, and J.L. again waved his hat and was answered with an 18 pounder. Both these fires, the gondola people have since told us, were made with as good aim as could be taken, as they took it for granted it was at the Hessians they fired. However, as it was impossible to conjecture that such conduct could have happened or to suspect such a mistake, ’tis no wonder the town was exceedingly alarmed, looking upon it in the light of a cruel as well as unprovoked piece of treachery.

Upon this news, the [Hessian] commandant rose calmly from table, and his officers with him went out to eight or ten men who had come to the door as a small bodyguard. He turned to the doctor as he went into the street and said he could easily dispose of his people out of the possibility of danger, but that much mischief might be done to the town and that he would take a view of the gondolas and see what measures might be necessary on his part, but that he should be sorry to be the occasion of any damage or distress to the inhabitants. He walked down the street and sent different ways three sentinels in Indian file together to view and report to him what they saw.

These being now and then seen at different times induced the people on board [the naval vessels] to believe that the houses were full of Hessians, and a cannonade was continued till almost dark in different directions, sometimes along the street, sometimes across it. Several houses were struck and a little damaged, but not one living creature, either man or beast, killed or wounded. About dark the gondolas fell down a little way below the town, and the night was passed in quiet.

While all this tumult was in town, we, on our peaceful bank, ignorant of the occasion of the firing, were wondering what it could mean, and unsuspecting of danger, were quietly pursuing our business in the family, when a kind neighbor informed us of the occasion and urged us to go into the cellar as a place of safety. We were prevailed on by him to do so, and remained there till it ceased.

The quoted passages are from National Humanities Center, 2010: nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/. “The Revolutionary Journal of Margaret Morris of Burlington, N.J., December 6, 1776, to June 11, 1778.” The illustration by C. Randle is also from this source.

posted December 17th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: American soldiers,British soldiers,Hessians,Loyalists,Morris, Margaret Hill,New Jersey

” I was in raptures all the way”

Niagara Falls was known to Indians, explorers, missionaries, and fur traders in the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century it became a waystop for settlers and government officials as Upper Canada was developed, as well as a familiar landmark to loyalist refugees who migrated to the area from the warring colonies. Several visitors, including women, recorded their observations and impressions of the “Cataract” in diaries or journals. Reading what these various observers wrote gives a sense of the wonder and awe with which this extraordinary phenomenon of nature was viewed and goes far in explaining why the Falls became a popular tourist destination in the nineteenth century.
Ann Powell (1769-1792) was a Bostonian by birth. Of distinguished lineage, her well-to-do family left Boston at the start of the American Revolution. When her older brother, William Dummer Powell, was appointed superior court judge in Detroit—one of the forts still in British possession in 1789—Ann made the journey from Montreal to Detroit with him and his family. She kept a journal recounting her experience, to which she added and amended from memory.

We left Montreal on the 11th of May, 1789. . . . [and] went to our boats; one was fitted up with an awning to protect us from the weather, and held the family and bedding. It was well filled, eighteen persons in all, so you may suppose we had not much room; as it happened that was of no consequence, it was cold on the water, and we were glad to sit close.
This mode of traveling is very tedious; we are obliged to keep along shore and go on very slowly. . . . This part of the country has been settled since the Peace, and it was granted to the troops raised in America during the war. We went from a Colonel to a Captain, and from a Captain to a Major. They have most of them built good houses, and with the assistance of their half pay, live very comfortably.
[At the landing, eight miles from Fort Erie] the Niagara river becomes impassable, and all the luggage was drawn up a steep hill in a cradle, a machine I never saw before. . . .
After dinner we went on . . . to Fort Schlosher. . . . All our party collected half a mile above the Falls, and walked down to them. I was in raptures all the way. The Falls I had heard of forever, but no one had mentioned the Rapids!
For half a mile the river comes foaming down immense rocks, some of them forming cascades 30 or 40 feet high! The banks are covered with woods, as are a number of Islands. . . . One in the centre of the river, runs out into a point, and seems to divide the Falls, which would otherwise be quite across the river, into the form of a crescent.
I believe no mind can form an idea of the immensity of the body of water, or the rapidity with which it hurries down. The height is 180 feet, and long before it reaches the bottom, it loses all appearance of a liquid. The spray rises like light summer clouds. . . .
I was never before sensible of the power of scenery, nor did I suppose the eye could carry to the mind such strange emotions of pleasure, wonder and solemnity.
For a time every other impression was erased from my memory! Had I been left to myself, I am convinced I should not have thought of moving whilst there was light to distinguish objects.
With reluctance I at length attended to the proposal of going, determining in my own mind, that when I returned, I would be mistress of my own time, and stay a day or two at least. . . .

Sadly, Ann Powell had a short life. She married Isaac Winslow Clark, a fellow loyalist who had also fled Boston—his family firm had owned the tea that was thrown into Boston Harbor in 1773—and moved to Montreal where she died in childbirth in 1792.

Ann Powell, Journal of Miss Powell of a Tour from Montreal to Detroit, ed. Eliza Susan Quincy (New York, NY: A.S Barnes & Company, 1880), pages 39, 42, 43. See also In the Words of Women, pages 255-56.

posted November 16th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Canada,Loyalists,Niagara Falls,Powell, Ann,Travel

“Cupit has given our little General a . . . Mortal wound”

In the fall of 1777, the British under General William Howe occupied Philadelphia and while the British spent a comfortable and enjoyable winter season there, General Washington and his troops endured dreadful deprivations at Valley Forge. When General Howe resigned his command in 1778, Captain John André and John Montresor orchestrated a spectacular farewell for him called the Meschianza (Italian for medley or mixture) that included a regatta, a procession, a joust of pretend knights, a ball, and fireworks. Prominently featured in the festivities were several of the city’s fashionable young ladies, Peggy Shippen, Rebecca Franks, daughter of loyalist David Franks, and Peggy Chew, daughter of Benjamin Chew among them.
Howe’s replacement, General Sir Henry Clinton, decided later in 1778 to withdraw from Philadelphia and consolidate the British position in New York City in expectation of a possible attack by American and French troops (France had signed a treaty with the United States in 1778).
Those who had fled Philadelphia returned to reclaim their city. General Benedict Arnold was in charge of the American forces there and it wasn’t long before the social calendar was full once again. MARY WHITE MORRIS (See previous posts here, here, here, here, and here.) wrote to her mother, Esther Hewlings White on 10 November 1778:

. . . I know of no News, Unless to tell you that we are very gay, as such, we have a great many Balls and Entertainments and Soon, the Assembly will begin, tell Mr. Hall Even our military Gentlemen here, are too Liberal to make any Distinctions between Wig and Tory Ladyes, if they make any, Its in favor of the latter, such, Strange as it may seem, is the way those things are Conducted at present in this City, it Originates at Headquarters, and that I may make some Apology for such Strange Conduct, I must tell you that Cupit has given our little General a more Mortal wound, than all the Host of Britons cou’d, unless His present Conduct can Expiate, for His past, — Miss Peggy Shippen is the fair One . . .
Mary Morris

The “little General” is, of course, Benedict Arnold.

The letter is in the Robert Morris Collection at the Huntington Library, Lists No. 5, pages 53-55, transcribed by Louise North. [Microfilm, courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Nuxoll] The illustration is a sketch made by Captain André of a costume he proposed for the ladies participating in the celebration, from John Fanning Watson, Extra-Illustrated Manuscript of the Annals of Philadelphia (1830) and can be found HERE.

posted June 18th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Amusements,Arnold, Benedict,Loyalists,Morris, Mary White,Philadelphia,Shippen, Peggy,Washington, George

“The First, Second and Last Scenes of Mortality”

Prudence Punderson (1758-1784) was born in Preston, Connecticut. Her father was a Loyalist and fled with his family to Long Island during the Revolution. Prudence was a gifted artist with her needle and embroidered this picture, sewn on silk with silk thread, when she was a young woman. It is a “momento mori,” entitled “The First, Second and Last Scenes of Mortality.” Intended to remind one of the shortness of life, it depicts the three stages in the life of a woman—in this case Prudence’s: infancy, womanhood, and death. Prudence is the baby in a cradle tended by a black servant; she is the young woman at the table in the prime of life; and she is in a coffin marked with the initials PP. Sadly, Prudence’s life was short. She married Dr. Timothy Rossiter in 1783 and died in 1784 after giving birth to a daughter.

Punderson’s needlework picture is at the Connecticut Historical Society.

posted May 7th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Art,Death,Loyalists,Punderson, Prudence

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