In this issue:



Piecing Together a Passenger List: The Commerce. Part One of Three
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Approximately 40,000 Loyalist refugees made their way to the Maritime Provinces between 1782 and 1784. While there were evacuations from two ports in the southern colonies, most Loyalists left the United States from New York City, boarding vessels that were organized into seven fleets bound for Nova Scotia. From April to November of 1783, more than 100 sailing ships were employed to take the Loyalists to sanctuary along the Atlantic coast – some ships making the two-week journey as many as three times over the course of the year.
Although Sir Guy Carleton, the British commander in chief in New York, was responsible for procuring and equipping the evacuation vessels, about ten per cent of the Loyalists who found refuge in what is now New Brunswick hired private vessels. Therefore it was a mixture of British naval vessels, private vessels hired by Carleton, and sailing ships paid for by Loyalists that brought these refugees of the American Revolution to the Maritimes.
Given that this humanitarian exodus was organized by the British military, that so many ships were involved, and that a staggering number of refugees were transported to safety, it is astounding to realize that only a handful of evacuation ships’ manifests have survived. Genealogists who are new to loyalist history are surprised to discover that there is no archive of passenger lists to pinpoint the vessel that brought their ancestors to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The only exception to this dearth of passenger lists is the Book of Negroes. Those who are descendants of Black Loyalists can thank Sir Guy Carleton for commissioning a ledger that recorded the names of free (and enslaved) Blacks as well as the names of the ships that took them to sanctuary in other parts of the British Empire. Much to the envy of white Loyalist descendants, the Book of Negroes also records the ages, colony of origin, and descriptions of the Black passengers leaving New York City.
However, while daunting, it is not impossible to piece together lists of refugees who were passengers on some of the loyalist evacuation vessels. As a case in point, this three-part series will consider the case of the Commerce, using documents of the era to reconstruct its manifest and the stories of its refugee passengers.
Because the Commerce carried both white and Black refugees, details about its sailing can be found in the Book of Negroes. In this ledger, we discover that the vessel had Richard Strong as its captain and that it set sail for the St. John River on July 8, 1783. The painstaking research of Dr. David Bell further reveals that this was the departure date for the July fleet. In addition to the Commerce, there were 10 other vessels in the fleet: the Elizabeth, the Montague, the Grace, the Three Sisters, the William, the Lord Townsend, the Joseph, the Aurora, the Ann, and the Sovereign.
The Commerce had 130 passengers – 112 belonging to Peter Huggeford’s #7 militia company, 8 who were with Peter Berton’s # 21 Militia Company, and 10 who were part of the King’s Regiment and the 1st New Jersey Volunteers. The entire fleet transported almost 1,000 refugees.
Bell’s research also identifies the I as being a “transport”, meaning that its primary function during the American Revolution was to carry general supplies and war materials rather than soldiers. Given its name, it could be that the Commerce was originally a merchant vessel chartered by the British to supplement its naval vessels. (The American Revolution was the first British conflict that required almost all of its supplies to be transported from England by ships.)
If the Commerce had been used to carry troops in addition to munitions, horses, and foodstuffs, then it would have had some sort of sleeping quarters below deck that would have been used by its loyalist passengers in July of 1783. Otherwise, the passengers would have spent their two-week voyage making the best of large cargo holds that had once contained barrels and crates for the war effort.
The oldest primary source that reveals the names and circumstances of 12 passengers on the Commerce is the Book of Negroes. The ship carried 4 enslaved Africans and their masters. Scipio Bazely (age 30), Peter Beardsley (24), and Dinah (age 35, and described as “having always been in the family“) were all listed as being the property of the Rev. John Beardsley, one of the Commerce’s white passengers. The Anglican minister also accompanied 12 year-old Jacob who had escaped his master in Portsmouth, Virginia when he was 8 years old. Jacob’s relationship to Beardsley is not defined in the ledger.
Daniel Sickles accompanied two Blacks: his slave 34 year-old Anthony Jarvis and a free born 2 year-old child of mixed race named Betsey Jarvis. (Perhaps Anthony’s daughter?)
Caspar DeDalmack, a white Loyalist, was the designated escort for three Black Loyalists from South Carolina. Adam (age 24) had left his master Dr. Casey in 1781; Hercules (21) had run away from Thomas Wilton in 1779, and Sally (20) made her bolt to freedom in the same year and from the same town as Hercules.
Arriving in July, the Commerce’s passengers had time build log cabins for themselves, a task no doubt completed by the male slaves who had sailed on the evacuation vessel. The fate of the free Black Loyalists is unknown. If they survived the hardships of settlement, they either became the founding ancestors of New Brunswick’s Black community or availed themselves of the opportunity to sail for Sierra Leone eight years later.
With data found in the victualing musters of Fort Howe, there is more about Caspar DeDalmack (or DeDolwick). A German soldier, he and his wife drew rations for themselves and three servants – presumably the Black Loyalists he had escorted. By May of 1784, the German couple only had one servant. Whether the other two had joined the Black Loyalist community in nearby Carleton or died during their first winter is not known. The musters contain the last known references to Caspar and his wife.
According to Dr. Bell’s research, Daniel Sickles was a tanner and shoemaker from New York. As with most Commerce passengers, he was a member of #7 Militia Company. A widower, he travelled with children and his slaves. In a list of grants given within Saint John, there is a Daniel Sickles Jr. and a John Sickles, so these may be his sons. By May of 1784, Sickles had remarried and was drawing provisions from Fort Howe for a wife as well as the two Blacks who sailed with him on the Commerce. These are the last references to this New York Loyalist.
The victualing musters of Saint John’s Fort Howe identify other Loyalists who sailed to sanctuary aboard the Commerce. Their stories will be told in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

Book: The Windows of St. Alban’s
By Jane Lovell & Diane Berlet Photos by David Clendenning
Available from
Twenty-one memorial stained glass windows now grace the walls of St. Alban’s, a Gothic Revival limestone Church in Adolphustown, Ontario. Built in 1884 to mark the centennial of the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists at Adolphustown, the church was intended to be fitted with windows honouring the Loyalist settlers of the region. With only five memorial windows in place when the church opened, the remaining windows were added one by one over the course of nearly twelve decades.
Illustrated with over 90 brilliantly coloured photographs, this book examines the windows of St. Alban’s from a number of perspectives, including the techniques and stained glass studios employed in their creation and the symbolism embodied in the images portrayed. The stories behind the people memorialized in the windows and those who commissioned the work serve to chronicle the lives of the Loyalist and other pioneer families who were instrumental in developing the region, many of whom still reside in the community.
All proceeds from book sales to support the preservation of the architectural, artistic, and cultural heritage of St. Alban the Martyr United Empire Loyalist Memorial Church.
Order online at St Albans’s Books & Tours.
Jane Lovell

A Smart Engagement: A Whaleboat Fight off Stamford, Connecticut, June 24, 1778
by Selden West 2 April 2024 Journal of the American Revolution
Very early on a hot summer’s day in 1778, Moses Mather, Jr., son and namesake of the Patriot minister of Middlesex Parish (today’s Darien), Connecticut, was seventeen years old and sitting in a whaleboat just offshore.
Only two years before, whaleboats rarely had been seen in western Long Island Sound. But as enemies on both sides of the water realized how easily the craft could be converted from sailing to rowing and back again, or dismasted and stealthily carried up beaches to be hidden in the underbrush, by early 1778 their numbers had multiplied. In late March a New York newspaper reported uneasily, “We hear a number of rebel whale boats have been seen reconnoitering the north shore of Long Island.” By May Connecticut whaleboats had been plundering Long Island and capturing Loyalists and small British vessels for weeks.
On the morning of June 24 it was cloudy and airless by 5:00 AM, not a breeze stirring. There were five Connecticut whaleboats floating west of the Norwalk Islands, and it appears the men in them were bored. Someone must have had a spyglass.
A becalmed sloop was spotted close to the Long Island shore beneath the cliffs of Lloyd’s Neck, a peninsula halfway between Huntington Bay and Oyster Bay. Loyalist refugees there supported their families by cutting firewood for the British military. The wood was loaded on small sloops and schooners that were escorted by armed vessels in groups to New York. Here was a solitary wood sloop, helpless. Read more…

See also:

Cato: A Tragedy: The Enduring Theatrical Mystery at Valley Forge

by Shawn David McGhee 4 April 2024 Journal of the American Revolution
The Valley Forge winter of 1777-78 is an integral part of America’s national narrative. For many citizens, the name “Valley Forge” relates both a physical and intellectual landscape, specific spatial geography in Pennsylvania and a certain emotional acreage representative of the enduring suffering many Americans embraced during the revolution. At the end of that challenging encampment, Gen. George Washington permitted a performance of English Whig Joseph Addison’s Cato: A Tragedy (perhaps at Bake House) on Monday, May 4, 1778. The Continental Congress had, however, prohibited theater-going (and other cultural rites) in 1774 in its effort to pressure Parliament into repealing the Coercive Acts and purify Americans of perceived moral corruption. Just why the commander in chief allowed this theatrical engagement to take place given the political circumstances remains a point of contention among scholars.
Washington saw the play many times over the course of his life and, in some respects, modeled his own private and public behavior after that Roman senator. According to historian Gordon Wood, Addison’s Cato impressed upon Washington “what it meant to be a stoical classical hero” committed entirely to the public weal. Researcher Henry Wiencek claimed Valley Forge represented “the darkest moment of the Revolution” and, presumably to raise morale, Washington convened his officers to witness a performance of Cato. Both Peter Henriques and Richard Norton Smith similarly claimed Washington staged the play to inspire a demoralized army at the nadir of the war. Ron Chernow theorized the general approved the play to “buck up his weary men” and remind subordinates their sacrifice mimicked the glorious suffering of the ancient Romans. Mark Evans Bryan recently argued that Continental officials held the play for “an exclusive entertainment” that offered a “display of Georgian gentility by young officers keen to garner the attention of Washington and the major generals.” Which is it? Did Washington authorize the play to remind soldiers that sacrificing for the public good was a timeless expression of republican virtue? To revivify an otherwise downtrodden officer corps? To create the proper social environment for rank-conscious climbers to compete for favor and position? Or is there something else at play here? Read more…

Hessian Soldiers Travelling to America: Newport RI A Soldier’s Lift August 1779
From a Hessian Diary of the American Revolution.
This excerpt from the diary of Johan Conrad Dohla (170 pages).
3 August. From the English newspapers, the news has been learned that Admiral Lord Howe has gone from London to the French court at Paris, and Earl Cornwallis to the King of Spain at Madrid, to inquire of both powers the reason for the increased war preparations. Also, twelve Russian men-of-war supposedly have arrived at the harbor at Portsmouth, entering English pay in order to participate against Spain.
4 August. I went on watch at Southends as lance corporal.
Today a work command from the regiment went to Pest Island to chop down bushes because the order had been received to cover our tents and the entire camp with branches and bushes and to fence it all in with an abatis. This Pest Island, lying between Conanicut and Rhode Island, is a small, narrow island surrounded by water, about a German mile in circumference, and thickly overgrown with bushes. Only a single house stands on the entire island, to which those individuals are brought who are suffering from smallpox.
4 and 5 August. Punishment was carried out by the Ansbach Regiment. The deserter, Recruit [Christian] Sch‡fer, had to run the gauntlet thirty-six times, two days in a row.
6 August. I went on work detail on Pest Island.
7 August. I went on the main watch in the city.
11 August. Today, before the watch moved out, punishment was administered. Private Zimmerman, of the Major’s Company, had to run a gauntlet of two hundred men eight times, because, while on post at the Irish Redoubt, he had engaged in intercourse with a female from the city and was caught in the act by an officer who visited the watch.
13 August. The news arrived that a corps of five thousand Indians had penetrated into New Cumberland County in Old Virginia and furiously attacked Fort Freeland and the garrison — which consisted of three hundred men with three 6-pound cannon — conquered it, and massacred everyone in a most gruesome manner. This caused the Americans also to abandon Fort Munsey, six miles from Freeland. The savages also occupied this one, destroyed everything that they encountered, and killed people and livestock, so that all the inhabitants fled, leaving all their property. To chastise them, General Washington ordered General Sullivan, with eight thousand men, against them. This was carried out and completed with such success that the savages were suddenly surrounded in the woods near Newton, and more than three thousand killed. Another twelve hundred received quarter, but because they attempted a resistance, although already prisoners, he had them all killed. The rest of these cruel monsters took flight; however, many more of them were killed, and those that fled, fled into the English fort at Niagara. Sullivan marched more than fifty miles into their country, destroyed all their developments, and laid two settlements, or villages, as well as Ponejack, a city of the savages, completely in ashes. His entire loss amounted to 130 dead and 92 wounded. His troops took considerable booty from the Indian property.
19 August. During this night, near Fogland Ferry, some enemy raiders sought to cross over to plunder and drive off livestock; however, they had to retreat without carrying out their intent. These raiders are actually freebooters. Everything that they steal, they keep for themselves.
News arrived from the West Indies that Admiral Byron has been defeated by the French and the loss is considerable. Spain has also captured two small islands that belong to the Kingdom of England.
21 August. In the night the English garrison on Paulus Hook, opposite Newport, was unexpectedly attacked by the American General Lee, and 160 men were captured.109 As the enemy advanced, they overran the outer posts before these posts were able to sound the alarm, and as they entered the watch quarters, or blockhouses, most of the English were asleep in their barracks, so that only a few shots were fired and only a few were wounded.
24 August. I went to Pest Island with a work command.
25 August. I went on the main watch in the city. This morning punishment was carried out.
A Private [Nikolaus] Sp‡th, of Quesnoy’s Company, had to run a gauntlet of two hundred men fourteen times, and Private [Andreas] Neubauer, of the Major’s Company, six times, because of pillaging in a garden while on a large command from Princeton’s Point; and a Corporal [Johann Friedrich] Frank, of Quesnoy, received fifteen whacks with the broadsword from Adjutant Seidel, for the same reason.
Today news came from New York that on Staten Island, behind Deckers Ferry Point, the American jaegers, called riflemen, attacked an English command of the Royal Rangers that was posted in a small defensive position during the night, killed nine men, and captured the rest.
30 August. The cannon in all of the defenses and batteries were scaled, because a visit from the French fleet was expected.
31 August. The English wood and provisions fleet of fifty-two sail arrived from New York and Long Island. They also brought along letters for our two regiments.
(to be continued)

Advertised on 5 April 1774: “Hancock’s ORATION, On the Fifth of March.”
What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

“To be sold by the Printers hereof, Mr. Hancock’s ORATION, On the Fifth of March.”

Immediately above the record of ships “Entered-In,” “Outward-Bound,” and “Cleared-Out” from the customs house in Boston in the April 5, 1774, edition of the Essex Gazette, Samuel Hall and Ebenezer Hall, the printers, inserted a brief notice, just three lines, alerting readers that they sold “Mr. Hancock’s ORATION, On the Fifth of March.” The Halls did not need to provide further elaboration for readers to understand the announcement. For colonizers in New England in the 1770s, the phrase “Fifth of March” conjured images like the phrase “Boston Massacre” evokes today. They needed no explanation that the advertisement referred to John Hancock delivering the annual address to commemorate the event, to honor those killed when British soldiers from the 29th Regiment under the command of Captain Thomas Preston fired into a crowd of protesters, to condemn quartering troops in colonial cities during times of peace, and to advocate for American liberties. Read more…

UELAC Loyalist Directory: New Contributions
Entries which have been added, or revised, this week, with thanks:

  • to Lynton “Bill” Stewart who contributed information about:
    • William Hill from Boston who was a Baker before the war. He procured horses for the 14th Regiment, before the evacuation of Boston. He continued to assist the Army while on Long Island, New York, until the evacuation in 1783. In 1784 received a Town Lot Loyalist Land Grant in Shelburne, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, where we was appointed coroner.
    • Thomas Gilbert Sr. from Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts Bay where he married Mary Godfrey in 1737 and where their seven children were born. They resettled in St. Mary’s, Sydney County, Nova Scotia (now Guysborough County NS).
    • Thomas Gilbert Jr. from Berkley, Bristol, Massachusetts Bay also settled in St. Mary’s, NS. He married Rachel Williams (1765-1838), married 3 Nov 1792, Digby, Digby, Nova Scotia.
  • Note re Dr. Robert Kerr, previously updated in mid-March. This from Mark Weinheimer. Dr. Robert Kerr was originally buried in the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church section of the Albany Graveyard. His grave was later moved to the Albany Rural Cemetery. His stone had a lengthy inscription. See Find a Grave.
    Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed March 24, 2024), memorial page for Dr Robert Kerr (1755–25 Feb 1824), Find a Grave Memorial ID 75175889, citing Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, Albany County, New York, USA; Maintained by Honoring our Ancestors (contributor 46844300).

If you are willing to submit some information, send a note to All help is appreciated. …doug

Loyalist Quarterly Newsletter March 2024, by Paul J. Bunnell UE
Published since 2004, the March 2024 issue is now available. Eighteen pages, it features:

  • Ann Bates, Loyalist Spy
  • List of Loyalists (American Revolution)
  • Thunder Over New England
  • Black Loyalists – Grade 5 Humanities Study
  • Famous Loyalists Quotes

Vol. 21 Part 1 March 2024 Quarterly Issue “In Publication since 2004”
Editor: Paul J. Bunnell, UE, Author, Koasek Abenaki Chief;; 978-337-9085, 49 Pleasant St., #106, Alstead, NH 03602
The Only U.S. Newsletter Devoted to The study of The American Loyalists
Subscription Rate: $22 U.S. $24 Can. — (March, June, September, December issues)

The Truth about the Eccentric Jane Lewson who died aged 116
February 8, 2018 By Sarah Murden 8 Feb 2018 in All Things Georgian
Where do we begin with this story? Let’s begin with the accounts of Jane’s life as repeatedly recorded ad nauseum since her death in 1816 and which has entered into folklore … after all, why let the facts get in the way of a good story! Except that for those who read our articles will know we have a penchant for setting records straight.
Jane Lewson died on 28th May 1816, at her home, no. 12 Coldbath Square, Clerkenwell, aged 116. She was reputedly one of the figures who may have provided the inspiration for Dickens’s Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. She was known in the local area as Lady Lewson due to her eccentric appearance: she chose to wear clothes that would have been worn during the reign of George I.
Jane Vaughan was born in 1700, in Essex Street, The Strand of most respectable parents. She married a wealthy gentleman, Mr Lewson, who died when she was only 26, leaving her to raise her daughter alone. Jane apparently had many suitors but never remarried. When her daughter married, Jane became almost a recluse, rarely going out or allowing visitors and as the years passed, Jane became more and more eccentric and retained no servants except one old female servant and then, after this lady’s death, an old man who looked after several houses in the square and who would go on errands for her, clean shoes etc. Jane eventually took this man into her house where he acted as her steward, butler, cook and housemaid, and, with the exception of two old lap-dogs and a cat, he was her only companion. Read more…

Texas in the Spanish Empire: a Podcast
By Martha Menchaca 2 April 2024 at Ben Franklin’s World
During our investigation of early Texas, Martha reveals details about the fall of the Mexica (or Aztec) Empire in 1521 and how the fall of this empire enabled the Spanish to begin their colonization of North America; Information about the strong Indigenous resistance the Spanish faced and how it took them more than 70 years to establish colonies in what is today northern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest; And the Spanish settlement of Texas and how the establishment of Texas as a colony fit within the larger goals and contexts of the Spanish Empire, the history of Mexico, and the history of the United States.
Martha Menchaca, is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin. She’s a specialist in the history of Texas and U.S./Mexican culture. Listen in…

How Can Charles Brockden Brown Help Us Think about AI?
by James M. Greene April 2024 in Common Place
Biloquism reminds us that the questions of agency posed by generative AI are also always questions of imitation and authenticity.
In February 2023, New York Times columnist Kevin Roose shared a bizarre dialogue he had with a chatbot in Microsoft Bing—a conversation highlighted by the program declaring Roose was unhappy in his marriage and loved it rather than his spouse. Roose’s article seemed to confirm the worst fears of artificial intelligence pessimists that the technology could quickly slip out of human control and follow its own motivations.
In November 2023, I asked my students in the first half of the American literature survey to use a chatbot to help them create an interpretation of a course text. My class described far more benign exchanges than what Roose experienced, but when I asked them to reflect critically on these programs, they found it hard not to narrate their use of the programs as a dialogue with an often obtuse conversation partner—even as we repeatedly discussed how large-language models can’t be independent contributors in the same way humans can.
The linguist Emily Bender has described this tendency as one of the dangers of “stochastic parrots.” She coined this phrase to describe how chatbots generate strings of language that appear as a considered response to a human-supplied query, but are actually patterns based largely in the collocation probability of certain words….
….Instead, the kind of deceit the novel has in mind is the self-deception that occurs when we cast responsibility outside ourselves and make imagined external subjects responsible for decisions that are ultimately the product of our own cultural choices. Being aware of the possibility of such deceit strikes me as more essential than ever as generative AI becomes part of our classrooms, our workplaces, and our lives more broadly. Read more…

Grand River Branch: New Website
The Grand River Branch has redeveloped their website, now located at new website for Grand River Branch at
Located in Ontario, Grand River Branch’s primary service area extends from Bruce Peninsula to Long Point and from just west of Hamilton to just east of London. Like all branches, people from any geographical location are welcome to join.

Events Upcoming

David Center: “Suffering for the Crown” Kieran O’Keefe Wed 10 April 3:00

David Center for the American Revolution Seminar: “Suffering for the Crown: The Hudson Valley Loyalists, Violence, and Forced Migration in Revolutionary North America”.
There were three major developments in the Revolutionary War in the Hudson Valley starting in 1778: the escalation of partisan violence, state-sponsored violence against Loyalists, and suffering became a central part of Loyalist identity.
Kieran O’Keefe is an Assistant Professor of History at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. He earned his Ph.D. from The George Washington University in 2021. He is currently working on his book manuscript – same title. This study explores how violence and forced migration to Canada shaped Loyalist communities during and after the Revolutionary War.
More details and registration.

Sir Guy Carleton: “Loyalist Settlements Along the Rideau” & AGM Sat 13 April 1:00 ET

The Sir Guy Carleton Spring Social and Annual General Meeting will be held 1:00-4:00 pm on Saturday, April 13, 2024. The speaker is Brian Tackaberry on Loyalist Settlements along the Rideau River. If you wish to attend, please let us know (email: and the Zoom link will be sent to you a few days before the meeting. Rosemarie Pleasant, President, Sir Guy Carleton Branch

American Revolution Institute: Revolutionary Blacks: The Frank Brothers Tues. 16 April 6:30

Author’s Talk— Revolutionary Blacks: Discovering the Frank Brothers, Freeborn Men of Color, Soldiers of Independence. Through the experiences of William and Benjamin Frank, who enlisted in the Second Rhode Island Regiment of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, Dr. Shirley Green, adjunct professor of history at the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University, focuses our attention on the Black experience during the American Revolution by underscoring the significant distinction between free Blacks in military service and those who had been enslaved, and how they responded in different ways to the harsh realities of racism. Details and registration…

Drumhill DAR, Wilton CT “British March Through Redding” Sat 27 April 2024

Join us to commemorate the 1777 March of the Crown Forces through Redding, on a mission to dismantle the Continental Army Supply Depot in Danbury. This one-day educational Living History event will be presented by The Brigade of the American Revolution at Historic Onion Field, Redding, CT 06876.
See the graphic.
For details, schedule of activities and registration

The Revolutionary War Conference 250 in the Mohawk Valley – June 14-16, 2024

Johnstown, NY
Bus Tour – “1774: The Rising Tide” Friday 14 June. (only a few seats remaining)
In 1774, the politics of the Revolution had arrived in the Mohawk Valley with a vengeance. At the eastern end of the Mohawk another violent Liberty Pole riot was having a detrimental effect on the local citizens of Schenectady. Meanwhile further west along the Mohawk River, in Johnstown, events took a turn when Sir William Johnson passed away in July, thus starting a new chapter in political unrest.
Speakers include:

  • Friederike BaerHessians: The German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War
  • Benjamin L. CarpThe Boston Tea Party at 250: Reflections on the Radicalism of the Revolutionary Movement

The Bus Tour will include several stops in both Schenectady and Johnstown, such as the Schenectady Stockade, Johnson Hall and more. Details and Registration.

From the Social Media and Beyond

  • Townsends
  • This week in History
    • 2 Apr 1754 George Washington’s first military campaign begins as he leads the newly formed Virginia Regiment from Alexandria, VA, west toward the Allegheny Mountains to open a road as the first step in a plan to drive the French from the Ohio country. Image
    • 5 Apr 1764 London. The Sugar Act was given royal assent. The American Revenue Act of 1764 taxed sugar and molasses. Outraged merchants begin to organize a boycott. Image
    • 31 March 1774, London King George III provided his Royal assent, and the Boston Port Act became law. The law closed the port of Boston to punish Massachusetts for the destruction of the tea. Image
    • 5 Apr 1775 Boston, MA. Provincial Congress adopts 53 Articles of War. Derived from the British Articles of War. The preamble enunciates the colony’s rejection of rebellion & treason but provides a long list of grievances against the HM government. Image
    • 1 Apr 1776 Halifax, NS Some 1,200 Loyalist refugees from New England arrive. The first wave of an eventual tally of 40,000 who will escape north during the course of the war and its conclusion. Image
    • 2 April 1776, NYC Continental Congress members Benjamin Franklin, Charles Carroll & Samuel Chase sailed up the North (Hudson) River for Montreal. Their mission was to convince Canada to join America’s Independence movement and become the 14th colony. Image
    • 3 Apr 1776, Congress authorized privateering vessels, which shall have letters of marque & reprisal to capture British ships. Their impact at sea would overshadow the Continental Navy throughout the #RevWar. The navy had 64 ships, privateers 1,697 ships. Image
    • 4 Apr 1776 Cambridge, Mass. Gen George Washington begins marching his army to NYC in anticipation of a British invasion. Image
    • 4 Apr 1776 The body of patriot leader Dr Joseph Warren, killed at Breed’s Hill in 1775, was discovered by his brothers Ebenezer & John Warren. Identified by the golden wire attaching two false teeth Paul Revere had made. Image
    • 6 Apr 1776 Block Island, RI British Capt Tryingham Howe, commanding the 20-gun frigate HMS Glasgow, damages sloop Cabot & USS Alfred under Commodore Esek Hopkins and eludes the rest of the American squadron, escaping to Newport, RI. Image
    • 6 Apr 1776 Phila PA. Continental Congress takes 1st step toward independence by opening American ports to international trade with parts of world not under British rule. This publicly rejected the American Prohibitory Act passed by parliament in Dec 1775. Image
    • 2 Apr 1776 Quebec City Gen David Wooster arrives with reinforcements from Montreal and takes command from Gen Benedict Arnold, who falls from his horse and is forced to leave. Image
    • 31 Mar 1777 Philadelphia, PA Admitted spy James Molesworth is hung. A clerk in the mayor’s office, Molesworth confessed to recruiting pilots to help navigate British ships through the defenses in the Delaware River. Image
    • 5 April 1778 York, Pennsylvania. Displeased with the Articles of Convention signed by British General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, the Continental Congress allowed Gen John Burgoyne and his staff to depart Boston for Britain. Still, the bulk of his “convention army” was marched into captivity in the southern states. Anxious to “close the deal,” American General Horatio Gates agreed to Burgoyne’s use of the term “convention” vice surrender. The use of the word gave Burgoyne (in his mind) a technical way out of admitting defeat and capitulation to the rebels. Many American officers at the time were displeased with the semantic subterfuge, as was Congress. The British soldiers wound up in in places such as Frederick, Maryland, and Charlottesville, Virginia. They were not well treated. Burgoyne and his officers sailed for England. Image
    • 3 April 1779 Madrid. Spanish Chief Minister Conde de Floridablanca offered to mediate peace between France and Britain and guaranteed Spanish neutrality with the proviso that Britain return Gibraltar to Spain. Britain rejects the offer. Floridablanca is to restore Spain’s economic well-being. He believed good relations with Great Britain were crucial for Spain’s growth. Despite this, he was drawn into the American War of Independence on the side of France and the Americans. Floridablanca restored much of Spain’s prestige during the conflict, and in 1782, Britain returned the island of Menorca, in the Baleares, and Florida to Spain. But the siege of Gibraltar failed, and “The Rock” remained British. Image
    • 1 Apr 1781 Ramsey’s Mill, NC Gen Nathanael Greene’s army of a mere 1,500 breaks camp & resumes the offensive against Lt Col Francis Rawdon, who commands British forces in SC & GA. Greene plans to reduce the small garrisons scattered across both states. Image
    • 2 Apr 1781, Dragging Canoe leads a force of Chickamauga Cherokees in the Battle of the Bluffs on the Cumberland River at Fort Nashborough. Part of a series of battles by tribes that did not agree to the Henderson Purchase at Sycamore Shoals in 1775. Image
    • 4 Apr 1782 London Charles Watson-Wentworth, marques of Rockingham, appoints Gen Guy Carleton commander in chief of all British forces in North America with orders to avoid offensive operations, prepare to depart & support Loyalists who wish to depart. Image
  • Clothing and Related:
    • An elegant, diaphanous Georgian English open robe, cotton tabby with “open work embroidery of gilt lamella” 1795 – 1800 Royal Ontario Museum
    • I miss seeing 18th Century clothing on here, so here’s a little addition for you all. A stunning linen Robe à la française with incredible wool embroidery, c.1760
    • Demonstrating once again the long term appeal & durability of high quality textiles —1837 dress made up of 18thc brocaded silk (prob fr Spitalfields), c.1770s
    • Much lovely to take in. Redingote, c.1786. Embroidered silk, chenille, floss silk.
    • Friday Treat Time and a favourite from the Fashion Museum’s fantastic footwear collection! This green silk damask shoe is decorated with gold braid and dates to the 1730s when women’s shoes were made of fabric and fastened with latchets – or straps – secured with a ribbon tie.
    • a cotton muslin girl’s dress beautifully hand embroidered with flowers in tambour-work c.1780s. The fabric is said to have been worked by a bride for her trousseau in 1776 and afterwards made up into a dress for one of her children.
    • Thursday spotlight. Caraco (jacket), here with matching petticoat. In this fine example, one T-shaped piece of cloth forms the back & the sleeves, which fold over the arm, forming a raglan sleeve in the front. The back is shaped using tucks. Made c1770-80
  • Miscellaneous
    • A you partial to being spooned? Well this tray is! You throw your used tea leaves in the slop bowl and put your used spoon in this lovely dish. Lovely flower painting with scattered insects. Meissen, c. 1740.


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