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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2009 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2009-01: January 4, 2009

Articles

Executed Loyalists I: Two Quakers -- © Stephen Davidson

Not all loyalists who died during the American Revolution lost their lives on battlefields fighting for Great Britain. Many died due to the deliberations of the patriots' judicial system. This article is the second of a three-part series to look at the stories of loyalists who were hanged during the American Revolution.

One of the largest loyalist trials of the American Revolution was held in the town of Ninety-Six, South Carolina in April, 1779. Rebel forces had captured 150 loyalist soldiers, and 50 of them were found guilty of treason. However, in the end, only 20 of the loyalists were condemned to be hanged. All but five of these were given a stay of execution. John Anderson, Samuel Clegg, Charles Draper, Aquilla Hall and James Lindley were the five loyalists sent to the gallows following their defeat at the Battle of Kettle Creek. Although historical accounts have left us with few details about Draper and Anderson, the stories of Clegg, Hall and Lindley -- and the impact of their executions -- have survived. Here are those stories.

Aquilla Hall was 57 when he was captured by rebels. An owner of land along the Reedy River, he had once held many important positions in South Carolina. Earlier in the war, Hall had signed the Bush Declaration. Although it was not a declaration of independence, it did support opposing the British troops with arms if necessary. Whether he signed this document out of conviction or under duress, Hall later demonstrated his most deeply held allegiance by enlisting in the South Carolina Royalists, a loyalist brigade.

Samuel Clegg had been a tax collector in Prince Frederick Winyah Parish 12 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and had represented his parish in the South Carolina assembly from 1765-1768. He was the husband of a German immigrant named Barbara Flick, and the father of four children. Clegg was also an ensign in the South Carolina Royalists when they fought at the Battle of Kettle Creek.

A native of Pennsylvania, James Lindley had settled in North Carolina in the 1750s where he became a wealthy landowner. Over the years, he served as a justice of the peace and a captain of a provincial militia. Under Colonel David Fanning, Lindley saw action a number of times in the defence of Fort Ninety-Six. Rebels had captured and subsequently released him on at least one occasion back in 1775, so when Lindley was arrested along with 150 other loyalist soldiers in February of 1779, he had no idea of how severe the consequences would be.

In the early months of 1779, the British had successfully laid siege to Savannah, Georgia. A colonel sought out loyalists to join a militia to give the British army further support in Augusta. The rebel Colonel Andrew Pickens learned that these new loyalist recruits would be crossing the Savannah River, and he had his soldiers prepare to ambush them. However, plans changed when Pickens' scouts reported that they had discovered 600 loyalists camped out on Kettle Creek in Georgia's Wilkes County.

The patriots launched a surprise attack and overwhelmed the loyalist forces. 78 of the men surrendered; 20 were captured. It is significant to note that at the time of their capture these loyalists soldiers had actually not attacked any rebel forces or any patriot strongholds; they were only on their way to battle.

The loyalist prisoners were marched off to the stockade in Augusta where others who fought against the rebel cause were being held. After being proclaimed criminals rather than prisoners of war, the men were taken back to South Carolina on March 10 where they were charged with murder and sedition. Despite the large number of loyalists who were tried, only 20 of them were sentenced to be hanged.

Eventually, all but five prisoners were released. Historians still cannot explain why Anderson, Clegg, Draper, Hall, and Lindley were the ones singled out for execution. Perhaps their prominent positions in colonial society made them better object lessons for the propaganda of the rebel government – a warning that this was the way that all loyalists who opposed the revolution could expect to be treated.

Zacharias Gibbs, one of those loyalists who had his sentence commuted, later wrote about being imprisoned with Anderson, Clegg, Draper, Hall, and Lindley. He remembered that the "gallows was built within sight of the jail and graves prepared for the bodies". The five loyalists were hanged on April 17, 1779 in Ninety-Six, South Carolina.

From the records that remain, the widows and orphans of these martyred men all made the decision to stay in South Carolina at the end of the revolution rather than join the thousands of refugees who sought safety in Nova Scotia, England, or the Bahamas. Hall had at least one son who, by 1796, would still be a resident of South Carolina. Clegg left behind four children and a widow. Mrs. Clegg died in 1854 in the parish that her husband represented before the revolution. 44-year-old Lindley left a widow and 8 children. One of his daughters married a rebel and lived in South Carolina where she died in 1852. Her brother William died serving with Col. Fanning's loyalists in 1782.

If the purpose of hanging the five men was to silence any opposition on the part of South Carolina's loyal citizens, then the executions were an exercise in futility. Southern loyalists could see that the trials of Anderson, Clegg, Draper, Hall, and Lindley were shams -- miscarriages of justice. Many felt that they now had a justification for committing similar actions against the rebels in the future. The hanging of the five loyalists marked a turning point in the revolution in the south, fueling it with a thirst for retaliation and for greater violence.


To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at {stephendavids AT gmail DOT com} how do I email him?

Gideon White Family Papers: Loyalists at Shelburne

Introduction given by Eleanor Robertson Smith at the launching of the Gideon White Family Papers: Loyalists at Shelburne on 18 July 2008.

Peregrine White, the first born New England child of English parents, was born in a cabin on the Mayflower as she lay in the Cape Cod Harbour. His descendant Gideon White, one of Shelburne's founding fathers, was born in March 1753 in Plymouth, Massachusetts to Captain Gideon and Joanne Howland White. His mother was also a descendant of Mayflower passenger, John Howland.

Gideon, proud of his heritage, was both a maker and a preserver of history, as were his descendants. The papers of this "historically-minded" family were donated to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia in 1938. To-day, two hundred and forty –nine years after Captain Gideon White arrived in Shelburne his varied, valued and unique Gideon White Family Papers: Loyalists at Shelburne are presented in digitalized format to the delight of researchers of the prelude to the Revolution, the American Revolution era and the Loyalist era in Nova Scotia.

Captain Gideon White arrived in Shelburne in the spring of 1784 with twenty-two men of his Duke of Cumberland Regiment. He married at Christ Church, Shelburne, on 17 April 1787, Deborah Whitworth, daughter of Dr. Miles Whitworth of Boston. They had nine children all of whom lived to adulthood and descendants have continuously lived in Shelburne County.

In spite of natural disasters and adverse trade laws Gideon retained a positive attitude about Shelburne. A few months after his arrival Gideon wrote to a friend in Jamaica. ""You I suppose are Anxious to hear what kind of Situation we are in - in this Quarter - be assured it is dam'd hard 'tho in the Course of a few years it will be a very Eligible Situation. I am here securing my little Land &c - but shall not build 'till matters are better Regulated - We have about 15,000 Inhabitants here and but very little Justice, Owing to the misconduct or folly of those in power - In this Town are 2700 Houses - Above 2000 are framed - And business will soon be sprightly. the Whale and Cod fishys. are now attended too - One Whaleman has Arrived with 500 Barrels - next Year I expect to see great exertions - but at present every Man seems intent on a House, Wharfe, Stores &c."

This quote shows the importance of the papers. Guesstimates of the population range from 10 to 16,000. Also It is amazing the number of houses, twenty seven hundred, which were built out of the forest in a year, on the other hand the comment about every man's ambition was to build a home , wharf and store led to one of the real problems in the settlement – the owners became real estate poor.

A friend from New York wrote to Gideon about the many erroneous reports that are circulated respecting your settlements – permit me to assure you that the present situation here is very unpleasant and our future prospects gloomy with the rents and enormous taxes we poor Tories have to pay.

There are details re shipments to and from the New England – for example White received a shipment on 20 October 1788, from Boston, of fourteen oxen aboard the sloop Agnes.

Examples of negligent government officials, hotly contested elections, patronage appointments, bartering fish in exchange for scare salt, or clearing land in exchange for free rent of a property are provided. There are heart rendering descriptions of the fifteen days of disastrous forest fires in 1792. Gideon White described a dreadful scene of desolation and added - When you are informed that fifty Dwelling Houses besides Mills Barns and other Outhouse are destroyed - which belonged to the Loyal Industries Husbandmen who have for Nine Years been contending with this unfriendly Soil - to gain a subsistence - to have all these Labour and Prospects blasted in One Hour - I say knowing this to be fact - you may form some faint Idea of Shelburne" "such is my situation that it is impossible for ever to replace my Loss. This last stroke has completely knock'd down this Settlement, the 800 Negros who were carried to Serea Leone wa s a serious loss but more so to me than any One - I had Eight Negro Families Tenants which had each a quantity of my Land and allow'd me rent - each had his House &c. those are all gone & the Houses destroyed - but the most serious matter is my Grist Mill - No Grist - enough of Dissagreeables - I will make the best of it - ".

Deborah, the wife of Gideon wrote to her son, Miles, ''you would be hurt indeed to see the Distress of your native Town, occasiond by drough & fire...your Papa is out for the Night commanding Watch to Guard the Town, as fire is all round us, Dean is at the farm with a Party everything is out of the House (Distressing indeed) it would be a heavy stroke to your Father to Lose his House & orchard...

These few examples of the 1561 items in this digitalized collection give you a bird's eye view of the contents. Some family researchers will find information they would prefer to ignore, all researchers will find useful data and statistics. Students at secondary, post secondary and graduate levels will be able to augment the official documents with additional facts, such as the purpose or need for the regulation and the reactions which follow from the implementation.

Gid White, whose distinctive signature is on many deeds and other records, served his community well in many capacities and has left a lasting contribution for the generations which follow him.

Gideon wrote a simple will on 13 April 1833 leaving unto my four sons Nathaniel Whitworth, Cornelius, John Dean Whitworth and Thomas Howland (Share and Share alike) to them and their heirs and assigns forever his real and personal estate. The epitaph on his Christ Church Cemetery gravestone reads: "He died in a good old age Full of years and honour".

Christopher Huffman, Loyalist

Our information about Christopher is slightly less obscure than that of his parents. The records trail is meager and full of long blank periods. On the other hand, we are fortunate to have some real documents for some parts of the story.

Christopher was probably a young boy, perhaps eight or ten years old, when the family landed in New Jersey in 1766. Over the next few years he would have been of increasing assistance in the development of the family farm and by the time he was a teen he would have been a major source of help to his father. When the Revolution broke out in 1775, all that would change.

As the conflict gained momentum, the English army recruited thousands of loyal subjects and formed dozens of colonial regiments to assist the regular English troops against the rebels. One such unit was the New Jersey Volunteers (NJV), commissioned on July 1, 1776. Christopher Huffman, young, strong, and loyal, soon joined up. Of his immediate family, he was the only one to do so.

#392 Hoffman, Huffman, Christopher of Mansfield [?] township, Sussex County, was enlisted on January 26, 1777 by Justice of the Peace Robert Ellison, as a private in Captain James Shaw's Company, Fifth Battalion. He survived the Sullivan raid in August. He was assigned guard duty in May 1779 at Sandy Hook and in Nivember to Deckers Ferry Fort. He was promoted to Corporal on August 24, 1780 and transferred to the Light Infantry. This Company was sent to South Carolina where he participated in many battles, the largest one being the Battle of Eutaw Springs, fought in September, 1781. Thereafter, he returned north to Captain William Hutchison's Company, First Battalion, where he was promoted to be Sergeant He survived them and returned North to join Capt. William Hutchison's Company where he was promoted to Sergeant about September 1782. He served until the conclusion of the war. Rather than go to New Brunswick, Canada, he chose to go to Upper Canada where he received a grant of land in the Home District.

For readers interested in more detail, an extensive record of the New Jersey Volunteers can be viewed at the website www.royalprovincial.com. There, a history of the Regiment is available including details of postings, battles, composition of the regiment, and so on.

By late 1782, however, the war was effectively lost and the NJV was moved to Long Island. Leaves were granted for men to return home so that they might retrieve their families in preparation for evacuation2. Plans were already under way for this event: the British colony of Nova Scotia had been explored for possible destinations for the relocation of both troops and civilian refugees. In correspondence datelined New York, Sept. 12th, 1783, Sir Guy Carleton wrote to Lt. Col. Richard Hewlett instructing him to move the 1st NJV (and several other regiments) and provisions from Long Island "to the River of St. Johns in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia"3. Within two years, the English government would sever this area from Nova Scotia and rename it New Brunswick.

Continue with the story (6 pages, stored in the Loyalist Directory) of Christopher and wife Ann Smith, a five-year gap, settlement in the Niagara area, uprooting after two years from improved property given to someone else, and finally proper settlement in what is now part of Hamilton ON.

...Ted Huffman

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions are:
- Robert Leake by Bill Glidden (four-page good biography)
- Thomas Shreve by Dorothy Meyerhof
- Christopher Huffman by Ted Huffman (with 6-page biography)

Last Post: ZERAN, Douglas

Peacefully at the Woodland Villa in Long Sault on Sunday December 28, 2008 age 83 years. Husband of Betty Zeran nee- McEwan. Father of Beverley McCosham (Dan) of St. Andrew's, Maureen Wedderburn (David) of Okotokas, Alberta, William Zeran (Rita) of Colburg, Arthur Zeran (Linda) of Rossland, B.C., Cheryl Cooper (Gary) of Lunenburg. Cindy Zeran (Paul) of Vancouver and Shawn Zeran (Kelly) of Lunenburg. Brother of Norma Forsyth (Lyle) of Cornwall, Bert Zeran (Eleanor) of Finch, Verla Gallinger (John) of Ingleside, Peter Zeran (Helen) of Ingleside, Barbara Steer (Douglas) of Wenatchee, Washington, Joyce Shaver (Gary) of Sudbury and Sterling Zeran (Bonnie) of Fenelon Falls. Thirteen grandchildren. Parents Arthur and Alberta (Otto) Zeran and one brother James Zeran (June of Cornwall). There will be a memorial service on Saturday May 2. Memorial donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation would be appreciated by the family.

Douglas was a member of The St. Lawrence Branch UELAC.

...Lynne Cook UE