Skip to main content

tv   Loyalist Resistance During the American Revolution  CSPAN  July 2, 2021 10:29pm-11:30pm EDT

10:29 pm
quest for independence, and organized rebellion throughout the colonies. up next, travis shaw looks at the causes of these uprisings, and how the loyalists may have been misunderstood by history. mr. shaw is the education director for the virginia piedmont heritage area. the office of historic alexandria, in partnership with emerging revolutionary war, hosting this top, and provided the video. current director of education our first speaker, a good friend of mine, travis shaw. travis shaw is the current director for the virginia piedmont heritage area. he joins two decades of presentation and museum itch occasion. with publican educations provoked adjoining, try the spent time at historic st. mary's at the archeological conservation lab at mount vernon, and oakland's gardens. he holds a b.a. in history from state mary college, nma and
10:30 pm
history from public history, and he is written numerous articles for the american bout of trust. if you look closely, email so spot him in historical films, including mount vernon, and the boston tea party shift in museums. also, travis is pretty famous on youtube because travis did three or four videos a week of virtual programs during covid times. travis is well versed in doing virtual presentations. it is my honor to present travis as he presents disinfectant and dangerous persons. royalist resistance in the minutemen. travis? >> thank you so much robert, it is a pleasure to be here today. with that, i will go ahead and jump right in. let me get the screen share going here. everybody see that all right? good. . so, 1936, the american author,
10:31 pm
steven vincent brene, releasing one of my favorite works of american literature, and quite a famous short story. that is the devil and daniel webster. it is a story about a new hampshire farmer, selling his soul to the devil, in exchange for prosperity, and when the devil comes to get his due, this farmer and lifts the famous order, daniel webster, as his defense to try to get out of this compact to a satan. there is a very well done film version from 1941, that you can see here. even if you never see it, even if you never read the short story, they're quite familiar with it, because it has been parodied dozens, and dozens of times in pop culture. probably, most famously, on the simpsons. a great episode. one of the central themes of this story is that during the trial for this man soul, the jury is made up of the greatest
10:32 pm
villains in american history. in the case of the simpsons, you have richard nixon, lizzy bore down, the 1976 philadelphia fires, and in the original story, however, it is villains from america's founding. you have people like the notorious pirate, black beard. you have thomas dale, the heavy-handed governor of the jamestown colony. you have king philip, the native american leader namesake of king phillips war. and, most prominently, you have a number of american loyalists, from the revolutionary war. you have simon gurney, you have walter butler. at one, point they asked, whereas benedict arnold? he's away on other business, otherwise, he would be the foreman of the jury. here we are, in the early 20th century, and yet, the greatest americans in american history
10:33 pm
include the loyalist of the 19th, and 20th century. loyalists are portrayed as the arch villains of america's past. they resist the founding of the republic. they are portrayed as proud, very heavy, sometimes, clown nationally incompetent. sometimes bloodthirsty savages. really, all of the stereotypes play into the popular can sum conception of american loyalists. even hundreds of years after the conflict and ended. and in many ways, this obscure the reality. american loyalists is incredibly complex. so what we are going to do today is take a look back to events, in particular, that occurrence of 1881, that i think, help give a more complete, more well-rounded, view of the types of people who
10:34 pm
resisted american independence, and perhaps, give a more complex view of the event surrounding our nation's birth. so, before we do that, i want to spend a few minutes giving a general overview of the loyalists. this image, here, is a bit of a rough sketch of a later painting, showing britain receiving her loyal subjects, after the end of the war. in most modern scholarship, most modern people who studied loyalism, putting a number of loyalists, in america, during the revolutionary war, at around 20, or 25% of the population. we certainly are not talking about a majority, but we are talking about an incredibly sizeable minority of people in the colonies. 20 to 25%, we're talking around at least half 1 million people, in the american colonies. this could be defined as loyalist, and a passive
10:35 pm
loyalism, and a resisting continental congress, in passive ways, giving intelligence, giving supplies, giving shelter to british forces, and refusing to pay their taxes, or to submit to continental congress demands for goods, for men. or, active loyalism, where in that case, we talk about men who are actually taking up arms and fighting on behalf of the crown. we are talking about a substantial number of people. i guess the question, really, becomes, why? where did these people come from? why do they make the choices that they do? and, in general, we can break these motivations down. some of these motivations do overlap, substantially. but, there is a few, core principles, at work here. the first, and the biggest, is political conservatism.
10:36 pm
it is important to remember, now, we are talking about hindsight, it being 2020, and at the start of the american revolution, british subjects are kind of the free east, and at least taxed, greatest political, rights of any people, in the western world. most british subject, simply, could point across the english channel and say, look at france, look at spain, look further on the continent to place this monarchy, or to russia. these are absolutist powers, and in england, we have the constitution, we have the right side are guaranteed and, for englishman. so, even across the atlantic, here in the american colonies, the subjects are being taxed less, than any subjects within the british empire, or certainly, within the rest of the european system. so, there are deep, conservative, political roots to this. for most 18th century
10:37 pm
englishman, there is the ideas of a republic, or a democracy, but that is akin to anarchy. there is a feeling, or a saying, that better one king 1000 miles away, then 1000 kings, one mile away. that representative government, quickly, gives way to mob rule. these loyalists would, certainly, see themselves as the forces of, law and order, in an antarctic society. so, for other loyalists, it's a personal collection. many people living in the american colonies still have family ties to those over and britain, economic ties, certainly, it is a hotbed of loyalism here in virginia, seen in the southeastern part of the colony, and this is an area that's very cosmopolitan, and so even if you are not a wealthy merchant, you may not be a shipbuilder, or rogue maker, or a ship handler, or
10:38 pm
someone whose livelihoods are tied to this global, economic system, that revolves around the british empire. certainly, that is true and many other colonies. i think we have a perception that many loyalists are incredibly wealthy people, people who have status, and money to lose. but, the reality is, we will see people from across the spectrum, from every political class, and station. life, who has some sort of tie to britain, or the empire. geography can be quite important. we see that in the events that i will discuss, later on. certain areas, again, geographically tied to the empire. we tend to see a lot of loyalists in the large cities on the sea board, and again, cities that are tied to the global trade of the empire. cities that are full of recent immigrants from the british isles. but, we also see large numbers of loyalists on the front here. these are areas that, are most
10:39 pm
directly, perceiving the protection for british soldiers. there are an occupying force, they're seeing it as a means of perception. there is a lot of religious, and ethnic minorities myself, the fear of marlborough, the fear that a mob will subsumed them. it is far as the ethnic oops go, and of course native americans will look to the crown, and as we stabilize, and protecting force, and a lot of african americans as a means of gaming the freedom from enslavement during the war. in the carolinas, and in western virginia, many of scott's will be associated with loyalism, particularly the highland scotts. in virginia, and a lot of 18th century documents, they weren't scotsman, and we're always associated to being a tory, or
10:40 pm
being a loyalist. religious groups, like quakers, nonviolent pacifist groups, their nonviolence will be seen as a suspicious straight. a back door into passive loyalism. these people don't want to support the war effort against the british, therefore they must be with the british. lastly, simply, opportunism. a lot of people will be the loyalist when the british is in the neighborhood and with the continental army comes through they change their tune. this, is perhaps, one of the most misunderstood aspects of loyalism, and something we will see in the events we will talk about. talk about is loyalism is not static, it is not set in stone, people's political convictions waiver overtime. they can change overtime. there is definitely a sliding
10:41 pm
scale, or a spectrum of loyalist versus patriots support. one of the biggest factors that influences that is who is in charge, at this particular moment in time. we see this, constantly, throughout the war. really, a great example will be the british occupation in philadelphia, as the american armies are in the city at valley forge. locals are going to be bringing food, and other supplies, into the city, to sell them to the british. simply because the british are in power, they seem to be thinking there on the winning side at this point, with money to pay. definitely, there is opportunism at play. and lastly, i call it personal retribution, we will see, time, and again, including the events i talk about, for some people, the american revolution is not, necessarily, a political struggle, it will be a personal struggle. so, this is played out through
10:42 pm
the carolinas during the latter part of the world, and the war, the police in new jersey, along the frontier, and for many people, your enemy is whichever side your neighbor may happen to pick. if you have a problem with a guy, if years ago, he stolen from you, or you got into it over cattle, or whatever, other personal problems you may not have with people, that, definitely, could play out. under the guise of this conflict between rebels, and loyalists, in the sense that it gives you an opportunity, and it gives you legal cover for exact retribution. many of these factors, many can be intertwined, many can overlap, but they are going to be important motivators for loyalists. i would say, there is just as many motivations as there were loyalists, everyone can have their own combination of these factors, that play into the decision. with that, we looked at two
10:43 pm
events that occurred, and in the atlantic in 1780, one the reason why i chose these events is our theme this year, is hindsight. and, with hindsight, we look at the year 1781, as the year that the revolution is one. it is the year of the surrender a yorktown, the end of major hostilities in the north american continent, and for the people living through 1781, the future, certainly, was a lot murkier. you have to remember, in 1781, cornwallis leading an army through the carolinas. although he will suffer several setbacks, the americans will be unable to stop, or destroy his army and, of course, charleston, it is found in the previous here. washington, and his army, are stuck outside of new york. they aren't powerful enough to take new york from the british, but the british there, certainly, cannot be left unattended. the french alliance, they can
10:44 pm
put their hopes on, a really, had not amount to much in terms of battlefield success. they found that the franco american forces were found in savannah, they had been turned back and rhode island, and this alliance had begun with such promise, and really had fizzled out until this point, at least in terms of battlefield success. here, in virginia, of course, early on, you have a large, british, loyalist force, under the command of benedict arnold. it will be reinforced throughout the spring, and cornwall will join forces with this force. basically, bringing the war to virginia, in a way that virginians had not experienced before. so, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty in 1781. we like to think, it was all said, and done by that point, but that was not the case. that will, directly, lead to the events of both claypool
10:45 pm
rebellion in virginia, and this wider conspiracy, in maryland, that both occur in the spring, and summer, of 1781. so, we begin with claypool's rebellion, claypool's rebellion to set the scene here, the part of virginia that we are going to really focus on is an area known as hampshire county. it's known eastern west virginia. at this point in 1781 it's about a generation or so removed from truly being the frontier. we are seeing some spar settlement in the area. particularly along the major rivers. we're talking about the south branch of the potomac river. we are talking about the lost river. they take upon. however you say it. i'm not in west virginia. this area is really the leading edge of heavy settlements. particularly along the rivers, along the few turnpike roads. kind of first being built out
10:46 pm
into the area. as with much of the southern frontier we are talking about scotts irish immigrants. coming from all store, northern ireland. we are talking about scott's coming from scotland proper and a lot of german settlers as well. this is the ethnic mix that we see in western pennsylvania. we see a coming down from the great valley pennsylvania into the shenandoah valley. westward across the mountains into the river valleys in hampshire county. just to put it in modern context. this is the area we are talking about. more field, west virginia, is the heart of the area. down in petersburg west virginia. the loss river valley towards wardens ville. just over the mountains from the shenandoah valley. so in april of 1781 to colonel,
10:47 pm
the commanding colonel of the militia out in hampshire county, writes a letter to the governor thomas jefferson. and it is going to describe, basically, the panic sweeping across this area in the early part of 1781. we are actually talking, quote, a dangerous insurrection as lately arisen in this county. and occasion by the execution of the late acts of assembly for recruiting the states quota of troops to serve in the continental army. they act for supplying the army with close provisions. in consequence of which the collector of the tax under the former act has been opposed in the execution of his duty. it's been obliged to assist from and then for the proceedings. so there's a lot going on here and what he is referring to is this new tax that has been passed to help support the war
10:48 pm
effort. the war has been going on for six years at this point. virginia as, up to this point, more or less been untouched by the war. virginia is really serving as a bread basket from the continental army supplying everything from grain, meat, cattle, livestock, wagons, any kind of supplies that are going to help keep the army in the field. at this time around 1781 a tax has been passed at 80% of your personal property. if you own 100 pounds of property are going to be taxed 80 pounds on it. to help keep the army in the field. this is an incredibly onerous tax on anyone living in virginia at this time. we're also talking about the requisitioning of men and supplies. on top of this tax that is being paid in money you are expected to supply the army with livestock, food and men.
10:49 pm
van meter, prior to this, is complaining that he sent 50 at the local militiamen down south to help with nato greens army. they're being taken into the army rather than serving their term and being returned to hampshire county. husbands, brothers, fathers are being taken from their farms and put into the army to serve. so this is going to be hugely important in 1780, 1781. another thing important to point out is that this is not the first loyalist disturbances occurred in the area. in 1777, three years prior, for years prior, a force of some of the man was raised by william, one of the settlers out and rocking him, county. that being raised to fight for the british. this is services put down, during leaders are arrested, put in jail everyone is dispersed.
10:50 pm
but it's going to start a snowball effect along the western front of west virginia. these arrests and retribution's will continue throughout the late 17 seventies, late 17 eighties. in april of 1780, a year prior to this, a guy named sebastian hoover was killed by a loyalist neighbor of his. this kind of violence, -for-tat violence, is going to start spreading throughout 1780. and really prime the people of western virginia for what will occur in the spring of 1781. this more widespread resistance. to this day there is actually an area in randolph county now in west virginia called tory camp creek because many of these people who resisted these efforts to tax, these efforts to raise men, and supplies, would actually up and flee into the hills and into the hollows of this very mountainous, sparsely populated area.
10:51 pm
there is a lot of minor disturbances going on but this time in april of 1781 it is very different. this time we actually have a british army in virginia that is operating in virginia. so what have previously been isolated incidences are now seen as a much wider conspiracy to raise men, to join cornwallis and to overthrow congressional authority in virginia. this is again one of the main impulses. he's out in the county, the, general trying to raise 240 militia to march to williamsburg to defend the colony. that's really what's going to kick off what is known as claypool's rebellion. april 11th, they write the letter to jefferson saying there's resistance, people don't want to pay the taxes, i can't get my tax collector out
10:52 pm
to execute this duty because the people are upset. when the tax collector comes through the loss river area they are going to be confronted by a group of armed men. this group is under the leadership of a local settler a guy named john claypool. they are going to, quote, declare they would not make up any clothes,, before men for the congressional forces. and it claypool is going to distribute liquor amongst these men and they're going to drink to king george the third's healthy and domination to the congress. now this may not seem like a serious incident but within the context of what is going on with cornwallis is army in virginia people start to panic in richmond. over the mountains and eastern part of virginia. a few days later the sheriff was sent to arrest claypool for this little display that he had
10:53 pm
put on. and he shows up with a posse of 50 men to put claypool in irons. when they arrive at claypool's rendezvous spot they are going to be confronted by an even larger group of armed men. probably 70 or 80 armed men. and wisely the sheriff agrees to back down at this point. but a claypool's rebellion has begun in earnest. what do we know about john claypool? not a whole lot, to be honest. we know he was born in 1733. i council defer as to where he comes from. some say who is born rocking ham county in west virginia. although other sources say he was born in a delaware. that has parents had moved to the area as a young man. he's described as a scotsman, as again, i mentioned, it scotts are heavily, especially in virginia, associated with
10:54 pm
tory-ism, loyalism. there is an idea that they're almost an alien people alien in the sense that they are different people a different culture that is not to be trusted. many of the most prominent scotsman in virginia at the start of the revolution are loyalists. certainly lowered down more, the last royal governor of the colony is a perfect example of this. we do know that claypool had settled along the lost river in the 17 fifties. his family is very, locally, prominent. they have a lot of connections to the local government. so certainly not a poor farmer. well-established family of the time. pretty middling in the sense of the type of people that we see out in this area. certainly not pore. fairly well connected. so the epicenter of claypool's rebellion is going to be in the
10:55 pm
farm of a man named john break. break, unlike claypool, is a german immigrant. he certainly a prominent man. probably more prominent than claypool himself. he owns a lot of land. he owns email. some other industries there along the river about 15 miles or so south of a modern-day more field. good break farm is going to be a rendezvous point for claypool and his rebels. when we look at the men who are making up this rebellion, it is a lot of, as i said, immigrants, german immigrants, scottish immigrants, these people are fairly poor. these are the 80% tax, it falls on them, they're being called up into military duty. at this point virginia has instituted a levee system where men can be taken from the militia and forced to serve in
10:56 pm
the continental army for a period of months. so many men resisted this. one of the local informant said that i am informed there are several desert is among those people. some are english prisoners. we have english prisoners from the british army that have been held in the charlottesville area, the winchester area making their way over the mountains. to escape. we also have some 18 months men and eight months minute. these are militiamen drafted into the army for a period of time. and they do not want to go and serve. they are going to join the rebellion. there is some claim there are english agents circulating throughout the area trying to convince a man to rebel. whether not there's any proof to it has never conclusively, really, been proven. i think as with any kind of conspiracy like this there is a lot of theories that are floating around, a lot of misinformation, a lot of panic.
10:57 pm
but the fear has a real effect on the virginia government. there's fear these men are going to join it with cornwallis. there's fear that they may march north in the maryland and burn it to the ground. there is a lot going on in the spring of 1781 and here is a modern view of where the brake farm is today. courtesy of google. the log building on the left is an original 18 17th building. there would've been a much larger farm mill complex here located. it gives an idea about the terrain looks like. it's an area of very heavily wooded areas. it's a lot of hills and hollows a perfect place to lead an insurrection. it's here at the break farm and that the colonel is going to send a mounted column of militia to break up this
10:58 pm
rebellion before it takes off. when they arrive at the break farm they're actually going to be greeted by an exchange of gunfire. the general and his force are going to be pushed back in an armed exchange. this is at the point where virginia towards the side it's something more seriously needed to be done. they're going to call upon virginia's second greatest hero of the revolution after george washington, probably, himself. that's daniel morgan. the old wagner. in early 1781, daniel morgan has left the army. he's returned home to winchester. to the winchester area. he suffering from a lot of really help issues, he feels like he hasn't gotten his due. he's been passover for. command certainly has helped at this point is beginning to fail him. but morgan agrees to raise a
10:59 pm
group of men to march over the mountains into the loss river valley, into the south fort valley. and it put an end to claypool's rebellion before it can snowball out of control. he will assemble 400 men from the surrounding counties. they will march over the mountains here. if you look at the map we can see the winchester area. over the mountains, into the south branch valley. and they are going to first stop at john claypool's property as they are marching out. it's here the claypool and his rebels will confront daniel morgan. there's a roof exchange of gunfire. claypool second-in-command is killed in the exchange. claypool, himself, most of the other men under his command will scatter. they will head to the hills. they will head to these remote
11:00 pm
little hollows, these valleys. and absolutely flee in terror of the face of daniel morgan and this much larger, much better trained and equipped force of men. the next stop on daniel morgan's march will be the brake form itself. he and his men will make themselves there quite comfortably for the next few days living off of the break families livestock and crops. as they are occupying the area many of the men who have resisted, who've taken up arms in support of john claypool, will begin to turn themselves in. , over thethey really don't have stomach for a fight. so over the next three weeks most of the rebels will turn themselves in. this is going to include john claypool himself. what we referred to as a claypool rebellion really is not a huge, huge huge
11:01 pm
disturbance. certainly i think daniel morgan was right in striking at the heart of it and going out to the tune of the main ringleaders, breaking it up before the rebellion could grow into a much more serious threat. the aftermath of the rebellion, most of the men are pardoned. most of them plea to the virginia tortoise they've been misled. that their coral was not with, you know, that they were people who were really rebelling not because they were against the revolution because they were against the taxation and hardship the war was bringing. that they were misled by the evil and wicked ringleaders who put them on this path towards supporting the british. many of the men who had taken
11:02 pm
up arms actually agreed to form a company in a march op in support of lafayette's army. as a way of showing their good faith towards the american cause. many of the ringleaders are going to petition directly to the governor of virginia at this point who is governor harrison for clemency. we can see there is a transcription of that petition here. they say they were induced to join the late conspiracy theory against the state. the objective which was to refuse the payment of taxes. to oppose the act for raising troops. so again they're catching this not in terms of support for britain but opposition to taxation and drafting of men. boat colonel, the militia colonel and daniel morgan themself will support this movement towards pardoning the rebels. daniel morgan says, quote, i can truly say this is the first
11:03 pm
time i've ever spoke in favor of a tory, ever wishing their lives spared. the humanity as well as policy urges me to say something in favor of claypool and wish he may obtain forgiveness. so even daniel morgan is arguing for leniency. claypool himself, the ringleader of this nascent rebellion and the virginia frontier, will be pardoned by the governor of virginia. he has released from kepa divvy. and it claypool, the rest of his conspirators, will go home to their homes along the lost river, along the south fork. claypool will actually live in peace for the remainder of his life. he dies there at the age of 89 in total peace and prosperity for the rest of his life. this will not be the case for our next group of loyalists we will discuss.
11:04 pm
so, talk about a conspiracy albert to it as the frederick seven. there is no good sexy or exciting name for the rebellion. because it is much wider but at the same time much more well formed than claypool's rebellion. so june of 1781 very similar letter arrives, this time the government of maryland. the information is given that the board has good reason to believe that henry newcomer of washington county and fudgy kellyanne tingles, these are all individuals, are disaffected and dangerous persons. who's going at large, may be detrimental to the state. we had this kind of information arriving that there is a nebulous idea these dangerous people are a foot. and they are plotting against the state. this conspiracy grows out of the same disaffection that is
11:05 pm
affecting those in virginia. again, six years of war have taken a heavy toll on the people of western maryland. we are talking, again, men, supplies, food, livestock being taken from these communities to support the war effort. and heavy taxation to support the war effort. ederick, maryland,the area we at is a wide area, basically from modern frederick, maryland, to hegar's town, maryland. a lot of small towns in between, sharp spurred, dunes borough, this is going to be the heart of this plot. so one of the first identified leaders as one of the guys in that letter, a guy named henry newcomer, he lives in sharps bergh. the civil war people have probably heard of the newcomer farm as one of the landmarks of antietam. one night henry is going to confide to one of his neighbors that they raised a body of men for the service of the king.
11:06 pm
that there is a dutchman named freaky in frederick who is going to lead the body of man to join with lord cornwallis. unfortunately for newcomer the man he confides in is a man who is an officer in the continental army. he's been captured early on in the war but released on parole. he has returned to town and he is going to be playing this up. oren dorsey is going to feign discussed and disappointment with the continental cause. he is going to start pumping newcomer for more and more information on this plot. how can i get involved? who else is involved? what kind of men have you enlisted for the plot? and predictably he is going to turn around and report everything he's heard from newcomer. straight to the maryland authorities.
11:07 pm
it's going to become clear that just as with clean pulse rebellion in virginia disaffection is really spread far and wide throughout western maryland. one of the conspirators whose caught up in this later claimed they had gotten oaths of allegiance to the crown from over 6000 individuals. i think he's probably lying about this. but that certainly plays to the belief that this is a wide spread, a very deep conspiracy against the american cause. whether or not they had 6000 people involved they do start making arrests. the maryland authorities will start picking up dozens of people and imprisoning them in washington county. and in frederick county maryland. the authorities quickly zero in on seven ringleaders who are associated with this plot
11:08 pm
nicholas andrews, john graves, adam graves, two brothers, yeast plucker. henry shell. peterson, minute casper fringy. you will notice a few things about this names. there's a lot of germans on this list again, german immigrants are going to be associated with this plot as they had been with claypool's rebellion. again, these people are a lot of recent immigrants. there is a lot of germans fighting alongside the crown. german auxiliaries, the feared hessian's fighting with the british. there is a lot of anti german sentiment that goes into this conspiracy. peter soon in particular is a member of the brother in church, a pacifist sect. if you're someone whose suspect to begin with, he's refused to
11:09 pm
support the continental cause because of his pacifist beliefs. so these are the seven ringleaders. one of the local militia commanders, a guy named timeless's brig timed up, i think, the feelings towards the seven men when he said that they have admitted to administering the oath of allegiance to many persons. they confessed freely that they expect and deserve to be hanged. i pray god they may not be disappointed. so unlike labels rebellion where the ringleaders are pardoned the state of maryland is not going to take as kind of a view as these seven ringleaders. the ringleaders are brought to the courthouse in frederick where they are going to face a special tribunal, a court of order and terminal. this goes back to medieval days. it is a special court where they will not be tried by a
11:10 pm
jury but instead be tried by a panel of men specifically appointed for crimes like treason the judges selected were james johnston, a local militia commander. also the brother of governor thomas johnson. alexander hansen. the son of maryland, continental congress john hansen. one of the first of congress. and upton sheridan. a local judge and state senator. author of these men are known for being very, very, very committed to the continental congress, to the american cause. and for having extremely harsh stances against any suspected loyalist. there's really no semblance that these men are being tried by an impartial court. the deck is stacked against them and it's not going to take long for them to reach a conclusion in this trial.
11:11 pm
christian or north, the continental officer who had overheard all of this to begin with is going to basically be the star witness. he's going to testify against these men and within a matter of a few days the trial is over and all seven men are going to be found guilty. and the sentence, you shall be carried to the jail and hand there in. you shall be cut down to the earth alive. your and trails shall be taken out and burnt while you are yet alive. your head shall be cut off. your body shall be divided into four parts and your heads and quarters shall be placed in excellency of the governor, where he shall appoint. this is drawing in quarter rain. this is positively medieval stuff here this is a punishment we don't really associate with the american revolution. we associate with a much more brutal age to call back to some pop culture.
11:12 pm
anyone who's in the end of the movie brave heart knows exactly what we're talking about we're talking about them being hung, cut down, ripped open, beheaded, this is a message to anyone else who might be considering rising up against the continental or congressional authority within the state of maryland. this is a punishment that is reserved for the worst of traders in the absolutist kingdoms of old europe. here is a thing however. we don't know if it was actually carried out. we do know, actually, this is for sun himself. he is telling the sheriff to carry out this brutal punishment. we do know that three of the ringleaders were brought out in front of the courthouse onto the grounds. this is the modern city hall
11:13 pm
and frederick which stands on the courthouse grounds where these executions were taken place on friday august 17th those three were brought to the courthouse and we know that they were executed. local papers, contemporary sources, just say that they were killed. family lore, the legends say that at least one of them, at least soon was hung, drawn, quarter according to the punishment put out by the court. some say the crowd and executioners lost their stomach after witnessing such a horrific and barbaric execution. that the other two were simply hanged until they were dead. whatever the case three of the men were killed. the other four, however, were pardoned. or at least they had their stay of execution. rather than being hundred and
11:14 pm
cornered, or executed, they will be released and actually sent to the french navy. the french war ships are at the chesapeake bay at this time. these men are given a reprieve. they're being told you're going to serve the rest of your life on a french warship. basically impressed as a sailor. and you'll will be executed if you ever step funnel maryland again. immediately. we know this because three of those men later escaped. the graves brothers, one of the other men, i believe it's andrews later's escapes and finds their way to new york the men are giving loyalist claims. so not everyone was as lucky as those three. everyone had a property confiscated. this was particularly hard on the richie family. it left behind his widow and 11 young children with no means of support.
11:15 pm
sun wynne suffers a similar fate. later on in the 17 nineties soon, his widow is going to have some of that property returned many think that might be in response to the realization he probably didn't have much to do with this conspiracy. he was simply pacifists who got caught up in this mania against this inspected loyalist plot. in case anyone is super into the civil war out there the name casper freaky might ring a bell. casper french is the father of john casper freaky who later marries barbara our. the flag waving heroin of the 1862 maryland campaign. there is a fascinating civil war connection to the story. in conclusion what can we take away from the stories? we are talking in hindsight, about looking back on some of the misconceptions of the past. as i mentioned earlier one of
11:16 pm
the main takeaways is that we look back at 1781 as the end of the revolution in many ways. at least the revolutionary war. for the people of 1781 this was not the case and although it's easy for us to look back and say things were kind of done, the writing was on the wall, the situation was still up in the air and enough that people in maryland and virginia were willing to put their lives on the line to see for the british cause in their view it is still likely that the british would win this conflict. it's a perfect example of how loyalism isn't it clear-cut set in stone division in society there are men who participated in claypool's rebellion and in this uprising who had served for the continental cause. but by 1781 they are facing
11:17 pm
taxation, they are facing all of the burdens of the war and of congresses authority. they decide they are going to change their mind. we also see men who participate in both of these events that and up then turn around and serving and the patriot cause later on. they've been faced they've seene ways. they've been faced with this choice that you serve for the patriots, you serve the patriot cause or else you will be punished. and i think the most important takeaway is that sometimes patriots and loyalists are kind of fighting for the same thing. the american rebels would've claimed they were fighting for self government. they are fighting for -- against arbitrary government, arbitrary taxation, the tyranny imposed upon them by the british government. will the participants about claypool's rebellion and this
11:18 pm
western maryland conspiracy absolutely were fighting for the same thing. these are men who probably were never taxed harder or called upon more by the government had the government imposed restrictions on their lives more strenuously than they did and 1781 than they did by the governments of maryland and virginia versus the crown of great britain. so there's a lot of, i think, common cause in why these men were taking up arms, why these men were resisting. they were resisting -- they took two very different paths towards what they thought would assure them the greatest amount of freedom, and prosperity. and i think that certainly adds an extra layer of complexity to how we look at the american
11:19 pm
revolution. with that i know i'm running up on time. if anybody has any questions, i would love to answer them. >> all right, thank you travis. actually, we don't have that many questions. one person did ask, i will ask you for your opinion on this, how would you define mid-atlantic? which colonies were those? i know virginia is considered southern and some aspects. but probably more mid-atlantic. what are your thoughts on that? >> man, i think if i was to be absolutely 100%, you know, a very geographically strenuous about it i would say, definitely pennsylvania, new jersey, delaware, maryland. marilyn, you know, western maryland has a lot more in common with pennsylvania were eastern is closer, the chesapeake is and the 18th
11:20 pm
century more in common with the south. again with virginia it certainly is the tidewater it's very much culturally, politically, economically the south. the area i was discussing, hampshire county, out across the mountains, i would say culturally is a much more, again, into northwestern maryland, pennsylvania. that's where the settlers are largely coming through. that's where a lot of the economic and cultural ties are as well. --you know, i kind of use it asa broad term. how can i best define this tiny area of western maryland, western virginia? but, you know, the mid-atlantic is a broader region. i certainly wouldn't call all of virginia or maryland at this time mid-atlantic. >> right, i have one question coming up. i will get to then a second. let me ask you, a generic, broad question.
11:21 pm
you mentioned what happens to some of these men after claypool's rebellion. up there and it frederick seven. and some of them go back you said -- you don't think about it today. you think either british, patriot, whip, a loyalist, and the complexities of the situation just highlights the fact that the civil war aspect, right, it's basically a civil war in many aspects. if you don't know this, travis, i'm putting on the spot, it's okay. how many of these loyalists do you think when the war was over, the united states was created, how many of them do you think actually could leave and go to canada, go somewhere else? just refusing to stay here, just sleep, what do you think? >> as far as the men involved and the two episodes? >> that or in general. in general. it's hard to answer but in general. >> in general the numbers that
11:22 pm
scholars today give to the number of loyalists who actually left the united states and someone the number of about 80,000. it's a pretty substantial number of people. most will go to canada. some will go to the west indies. very few returned to britain because these people aren't really british. many cases these families have been here for generations. over a century. america is home to them. so about 80,000 total loyalists will leave. as far as in these particular instances couples rebellion, this maryland conspiracy, we don't really know for sure. i imagine very few of them. i think these people, generally, the rank and file, if you want to call them that, are pretty, we're talking about poor farmers, small family farmers like artisans, middle class people, they had not
11:23 pm
necessarily a bad everything on the british army. they hadn't gone over, enlisted, with cornwallis. so i think it was easier for them to, kind of, reintegrate back into society. you know? they play up the we are diluted, we were led by the ringleaders who talked us into this. we did not really mean it. >> right. >> my good friend stephanie walter's has done a lot of research on virginia loyalism in particular. she's fine when account of one of the loyalist, suspected, out in western virginia who is later involved in, i think it's either suicide or murder that happens like 20 years down the road. it was in some ways related back to the stance he took during the war. but i think for the most part these people, the ones who are pardoned at least make a pretty good faith effort to
11:24 pm
reintegrate into society. as i said some of them, especially in the deserters from the army go back into the army, they form these companies. saying we were wrong, we will help the war effort. so really it falls most heavily on the ringleaders. >> one more question, we have a couple other questions that we don't have a lot of time for. but we will do is that i will email them to the. we will get the answers to those participants. we'll get the blades question. where these groups aware other groups, activists, activities going on in other colonies? did they ever create some type of network, pockets of rebellion's, pockets of loyalists? did they ever try to get together in some kind of fashion and work together? >> that is a great question. >> it is, isn't it? >> in the minds of the congressional authorities they absolutely believed this was part of a widespread conspiracy.
11:25 pm
that there was coordination between these groups. that is the difference between what is happening in 1781 and what happened earlier in the war. this belief that it's part of something bigger. in reality? probably not as much. as i said, there is some fear there's english agents operative make labels guys, whipping them into a frenzy. early on in the war, in 1785, they start rounding up suspected loyalists in maryland, virginia. there's this idea that they're going to raise groups of indians on the frontier that are going to link up with them and they're going to march east to burn everything. there is a fear of this conspiracy. there's very little actual evidence that this is happening in maryland or virginia. in places where the british army is established, where loyalism is a bit stronger, where you are actually seeing
11:26 pm
the raising of provincial regiments, yes. there is much more coordination. places like northern new jersey, places like around new york city, in the carolinas when the british army arrives, there is more coordination. that seems to take place mostly wherever the british army and the british political infrastructure exists. out here on the frontier it's kind of, like, these things are every man for themselves. >> right, okay, great. thank you travis. i know a little bit but not as much as you covered. i appreciate that. i knew nothing about the frederik seven. amazing, great story. i know you look frederiksen. it's very apropos you brought it up. thank you for that. we will see you at the end of the day for the panel. some of these other questions may be brought up on the panel. >> unfortunately you will not be seeing me at the panel. i have another commitment. >> that is right. we will email them to you.
11:27 pm
>> email the questions to me. it's been an absolute pleasure. thank you so much.
11:28 pm
11:29 pm
next on american history tv, author michael hares discusses the 1777 battle of brandy wine. and misconceptions surrounding general john sullivan's role in the battle. the office of historic alexandria and partnership with the emerging revolutionary war hosted this talk and provided the video. >> all right, it is my pleasure to introduce our last speaker today. michael harris has worked at the national park service here in fredericksburg, virginia. also forts lot park in new jersey. and at brandy wine battlefield. he's led numerous tours. that have been able to take part of. and was awarded the american revolution war table awarded 2014. his

21 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on