tv Loyalist Resistance During the American Revolution CSPAN July 6, 2021 4:19pm-5:19pm EDT
so that families can get anything. >> comcast along with television companies support c-span2 is a public service. >> during the revolutionary war, colonists took up arms to try to gain their independence from england. however, there was a, poverty population that opposed the quest for independence and organized rebellions throughout the colonies. up next, travis shaw looks at the causes of these uprights and how these 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 hosted this talk and provided the video. >> our first speaker is travis shaw. travis is the current director of education for the virginia piedmont heritage area and brings in two decades of experience in the field of historic preservation, archaeology and education.
working with both private and public institutions prior to joining virginia piedmont heritage, travis spent time in st. mary's, the maryland conservation lab, mt. vernon and historic sites and garden. holds a b.a. in history from the st. mary's college of history and a concentration in public history from american history and has written numerous articles and if you look closely you might spot him at the historical films in mount vernon and other ships and municipalitiesiums. he's famous on -- you do virtual programs during this code of time and travis is well versed in doing virtual many -- travis >> already. thank you hope, and with that
i'll go right away and jump right in. let me get the screen share going here. let's see. everybody see that all right? good. so, 1936 the american author steven vincent benet releases one of my favorite works of american literature, and quite a famous short story and that is the devil in danyell webster. it's a story about a new hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for prosperity, and when the devil comes to collect his due, this farmer enlists the famous order daniel webster as his defense to try and get out of this compact with satan. there's a really well-done film version from 1941 you can see here, but even if you've never seen, it even if you've never read the short story, you're probably familiar with it, bus
it has been parodied dozens and dozens of times in pop cull toor. most famously on "the simpsons," great story, and during the trial for this man's soul the jury is made up of the greatest villains in american mystery. in the case of "thecism sopz you've got lizzie borden, the 1976 philadelphia flyers and in the original story, you ever who, it's villains from america's founding. you have people like the notorious pirate blackbeard and tomsdale, the heavy-handed governor of the jamestown colony and king philip, the native american leader and namesake of king philip's war an most prominently you have a number of american loyalists from the revolutionary war. you have simon girdy.
you have benedict arnold. he's away on other business or else he eastbound the forement jury. here we are in the early 20th century and yet the greatest villains in american history including these loyalists throughout the 19th and 20th accept truckers loyalists are portrayed as kind of the archvillains of america's past. they are people who resisted the founding of the republic. they are portrayed as proud, very petty, sometimes kind of clownishly incompetent and sometimes blood-thirsty savages. really all of these kind of stereotypes play into the popular conception of american loyalists, even hundreds of years after the complex had ended, and -- and, you know, in many ways this on secures the reality of american loyalism. american loyalism is incredibly
complex, so what we're going to do today is we're going to take a look at two events in a 1781 that helped to give a more complete and more well-rounded view of the types of people that resisted mefrp independence and perhaps give a more complex vow of the events surrounding our nation's birth. before i do that i would like to just give a general overview of the loyalists. you know, this image here is kind of a rough sketch of a later painting showing britain receiving her loyal subjects after the end of the war. you know, in -- in -- in most modern scholarship, most modern people who study loyalism put the number of loyalists in america during the revolutionary war at about 20% to 25% of the population so we're certainly not talking about a majority, but we are talking about an
incredibly sizable minority of people in the colonies. you know, 20% to 25%, we're talking about at least half had a million people in the american colonies could be defined as loyalists. now, whether that means passive loyalism in the sense that maybe, you know, they are resisting continental -- the continental congress in passive ways and giving intelligence, giving supplies and giving shelter to -- to british forces, refusing to pay their taxes or to, you know, submit to continental congress' demands for goods or men, or active loyalism. in that case we're talking about men who are actually taking up arms and fighting on behalf of the crown. we're -- we're talking about a substantial number of people so the question real becomes why. where are these people coming from and why do they make the
choices that they make, and -- and in general we can kind of break these motivations down. some of these motivations do overlap substantially, but there's a few kind of core principles at work here. the first and kind of the biggest is political conservatism. it's important for us to remember now we're talking hindsight, hindsight being 20/20. at the start of the american revolution, british subjects are real kind of the freest and least and greatest political rights of any people in the western world. most british subjects could point across the english channel and say, well, lock at france, look at spain. look further on the continents to places like the hapsberg monarchy or russia. these are absolutist powers. in england we have a constitution. we have rights that are guaranteed for englishmen and even across the atlantic here in
the american cole anything, as i said, 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 political conservative roots to this. from most 18th century englishman, the idea of a republic or democracy, that's akin to anarchy. there's kind of a feeling or a saying that better one king 1,000 miles away than 1,000 kings one mile away and that representative government pretty quickly gives way to mob rule, you know. these loyalists would certainly see themselves as the forces of law and order in a kind of anarchic society. for other loyalists it's a more personal connection. many people living in the american colonies still have family ties to those over in britain. economic ties, certainly the hotbed of loyalism here in
virginia is going to be seen as the southeastern part of the colony around norfolk. this is an area that's very cosmopolitan and very dependant on shipping and economic ties so even if you're not a wealthy merchant you might be a ship builder or a rope-maker or a ship handler, someone whose livelihood is tied to this kind of global economic system and that's certainly true and a lot of other colonies. i think we have a perception that most loyalists are incredibly wealthy people. people who have status and money to lose, but the reality is we're going to see people from across the spectrum, from every political class and station in life who have some sort of tie to britain or to the empire. geography can be very important. we're going to see that in the event that i'm going to discuss later on. certain areas, again, are grow graphically tied to the empire. we tend to see a lot of
loyalists in the large cities on the seaboard. again, cities that are tied to the global trade of the empire. cities that are full of recent immigrants from the british aisles, but we also see large numbers of loyalists on the frontier. these are areas that are most directly receiving the protection of british soldiers. they don't see soldiers as an occupying force. they see them as a means of protection. we are going to see a lot of religious and ethnic minorities turn to loyalism. again, that fear of mob rule, the fear that the rob is going to kind of subsume them. you see as far asset nick groups go, in particular, of course, native americans are going to look to the crowned a kind of a stabilizing and protecting force and a lot of african-americans will turn to the crown as a means of gaining their freedom from enslavement during the war.
in the carolinas and in western virginia, many scots are going to be associated with royals and in particular the highland scots. in virginia, in a lot of 18th century documents, the word scotsman where scot is almost always associated with being a tory or being a loyalist. religious groups like quakers, non- -- nonviolent pacifist groups, their nonviolence is going to be seen as kind of a -- a -- a -- a suspicious interest rate, kind of a back door into passive loyalism. these people don't want to support the war effort against the british and, therefore, they must be with the british and then lastly simply opportunism. a lot of people will be a loyalist when the british army is in the neighborhood and then when the continental army comes marching through they will all of a sudden change their tune. this is perhaps i think one of
the most misunderstood aspects of loyalism in -- in something that we're going to see in the events that we'll talk about is loyalism is not a static thing. it is not set in stone. people's political convictions waiver over time. they can change over time. there's definitely a sliding scale or a spectrum of loyalists versus patriot support and one of the biggest factors that's going to influence that is who is in charge at this particular moment in time? we see this constantly throughout the war, a really great example is going to be during the british occupation of philadelphia. as the american army is kind of huddled outside the city at valley forge, locals are going to be bringing food and other supplies into the city and selling them to the british simply because the british are empowered. the british seem like they are on the winning side at this point. they have hard money to pay so there's definitely opportunism
at play and lastly i call it personal retribution. we are going to see tame and time again including in the events that i'm going to talk about that for some people the american revolution is not necessarily a political struggle. it's going to be a personal struggle, and -- and this has played out brutally throughout the klein yaz during the latter part of the war. it's going to play out in new jersey and it's going to play out along the frontier. for many people your enemy is which ever side your neighbor might happen to -- to pick. if you've got a problem with the guy. if you, you know, years ago he stole land from you and you got into it over cattle or whatever, other personal problems that you might have with these people, that could definitely play out under the guise of this conflict between rebels and loyalists in the sense that, you know, it gives you an opportunity and kind of gives you legal cover to exact retribution, so all of these factors, as i said, many
of these can be intertwined and overlap but they will be continue. motivations. there's just as many of motivations as loyalists and evan has a combination of factors that play into their decision. with that we're going to look at two events that occurred in the mid-atlantic in 1781, and the reason i chose these events because our theme this year is hindsight and with hindsight we look at the year 1781 as the year that the revolution is won, the year of the surrender at yorktown, kind of the end of major hostilities here in the north american continent, but for the people living through 1781, the future certainly was a lot murkier. you have to remember in 1781 at the beginning of the year you have cornwallis leading an army and though he suffered many
setbacks the americans are unable to stop his army and charleston, of course, fallen the previous year. washington and his army are kind of stuck outside of new york. they are not powerful enough to take new york from the british, but the british there certainly can't be left unattended. the french alliance that so many people had put their hopes on really had not amounted to much in terms of battlefield success. the angulo -- franco american forces have been turned back in savannah and turned back in atlanta so the promise that had become prom then the has fizzled out to this point. here in virginia in early 1872 you have a large british force who handed under benedict arnold. cornwallis is going to join forces with this force and brick
the war to virginians in a which not -- there's a tremendous amount of eternity and that's not the case and that's going to directly load way to the clay pools in virginia and the wider conspiracy in maryland that these both ole cure and we'll with, to set the scene, part of virginia we're going to focus on is an area known at hampshire county now in eastern west virginia, but at this point in 1781 it's about a generation or so removed from truly being the frontier. we are seeing sparse settlement in the area, particularly along the major rivers. we're talking about the south branch of the potomac river.
we're talking about the lost river, i don't know how to say it, i'm not a west virginian, but this area sort of the leading edge of heavy settlement, particularly along the rivers and along the turnpike road and as for the rest of the scotaged, we're talking about scots coming from scotland problem and, a lot of german settlers as well. this is an ethnic mix that we see in western pennsylvania and coming down from the great valley of pennsylvania and spreading into the shenandoah vale and westward across the mountains into the river valleys in hampshire county. just to put it in modern context this is the area that we're talking about, so warfield, west
virginia is kind of the heart of this area, down to petersburg, william westmoreland -- just over the mountains so in 187 is colonel van meter, the commanding colonel of the militia out in hampshire county writes a letter -- he's going to describe the ponic that is so we're talking a, quote, dangerous insurrection has as i rennen in this county. they act with supplying the army and the collector of the tax
under the former act has been opposed in the execution of his duty and has been obliged to desist from any further proceedings therein, so there's a lot going on here, and -- and what -- is this new tax that has been helped the support effort. the -- gentleman gentleman up to this joint has been -- she's serg vinagre, supplying everything from korean romania any kind of sly -- at this time in 1771 a tax has been passed at 80% of your personal property. if you own 100 pounds of personal property you'll be taxed 80 pounds on all of that to help keep the army in the
field. this is an incredibly onerous task on anyone living in virginia at this time. we're also talking about the requisitioning of men and supplies, so on top of this tax that is being paid in money, you are expected to supply the army with livestock, food and men. you know, van meter just prior to this is actually complaining that he sent 50 of the local militiamen down sutto help to assist with that than yell green's army, and they are being taken into the army rather than serving their term and being returned to hampshire county so, you know, husband, brothers, fathers are being taken from their harms and put into -- another thing to point out this is not the first loyalist
disturbance that occurred in this area. three years prior or four years prior a force of 70 men were raised by hinton, one of the settlers out in rokhamn county. the ring leaders are put down and arrested and are in jail and everyone is dispersed but it starts a snowball effect along the western virginia frontier. the arrests and retributions are going to continue through the late 1770s and into the 1780s. in april of 1780 just a year prior to this a guy named sebastian hoover was killed by a loyal unfortunate neighbor of his. this kind of violence, this tut-for-tat violence is going to start spreading through 1780 and really prime the people of western virginia for what will occur if there's actually an
area randolph county called tory camp creek because many of these people who resisted these efforts to tax, these efforts to raise men and supplies, would actually just up and flee into the hills and into the hollows of this very mountainous and sparsely populated area. so there's a lot of minor disturbances going on, but this time in april of 1781 it's very different. this time we actually have a british army in virginia that is operating in virginia, so what had previously been kind of isolated incidents now are seen as part of a much wider conspiracy to raise men to join cornwallis and to kind of overthrow congressional authority in virginia. and this is, again, one of the main impulses. van meter is out in the county trying to raise 240 militia to march to williamsburg to help
defend the colony hand that's really what's going to kick off what is known as claypool's rebellion. so april 11th van meter writes this left and jefferson saying there's resistance and people don't want to pay these taxes. i can't get my tax collect outout to actually execute this duty because the people are upset. when the tax collect oral comes through the lost river area, they are going to be confronted by a group of armed men. this group of armed men is under the leadership by a local settler by a guy named john claypool and they are going to declare that they would not make up any clothes, beef or men for the congressional forces and then claypool is going to distribution liquor and then they will detroit red wing to king george's health and damnation to the congress. this may not seem like a serious
incident but in the context of what's going on with cornwallis' army in virginia, people start to panic in richmond and over the mountains in the eastern part of virginia. a few days later the sheriff is sent to arrest claypool for this little display that he had put on, and -- and he shows up with a posse of 50 men to put claypool in irons and 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 -- and wise lit sheriff kind of agrees to back down at this point but claypool's rebellion has begun in earnest. what we know were john claypool, not a whole lot to be honest. we know that he was born in 1733. accounts differ as to where he comes from.
some say he was born in rokhamn county out there in west virginia, although other sources say maybe he was born in delaware and that his parents had moved to the area as a young man. he's described as a scotsman and, again, as i mentioned earlier, scots are really heavily, especially in virginia, associated with toryism or with loyalism. there's this idea that they are almost kind of an ail yep people or alien in the sense that they are a different people, a different culture that is not to be trusted. many of the most prominent scottmen at the start of the revolution are loyalists. lord dunmore, the last governor of the colony is a perfect example of that. we do know that claypool had settled along the lost river in the 1750s. hits family is very locally prominent. they have a lot of connections to the local government, so certainly not a poor farmer, well-established family at this
time, pretty middling in the sense of the type of people that we see out in this area. certainly not poor, fairly well-connected. so the epicenter of claypool's rebellion is going to be the farm of a man named john break, unlike claypool, is a german immigrant, and he's certainly a very prom nencht man, more prominent than claim yoom himself. he owns a lot of land and a mill and some industries there along the -- the river about 15 miles or so. the farm is going to become a rendezvous point for claypool and his rebels. when we look at the man who is making up the rebellion, there's a lottism grants, german
immigrants and scottish immigrants and those people are fairly poor. these are the people that the 80% tax is going to fall heavily on and these are the people being called up into military duty. at this point virginia has introduced a levy system where men can be taken from the militia and forced to serve in the continental army for a period of months so many mindeserve and they resist this. one of the local informants said that i'm informed there's several deserters amongst those people. some are english prisoners so we have english prisoners that have been health in the charlottesville area or winchester area and have made their way over the mountains to escape. we also have 18-month men and eight-month men, militiamen drafted into the army for aered poo of time and to not want to go and serve so they are going to join this rebellion. there is some claim that there are english agents circulating
through the area trying to convince these men to rebel. whether or not there's any proof to that is never conclusively or really been proven. i think as with any kind of conspiracy like this, there's a lot of theories that are floating around, a lot of misinformation and a lot of panic. but the fear is it has a very real effect on the virginia government. there's fear that these men are going to join with cornwallis. there's fear that they might march north into maryland and burn hagerstown to the ground, so there's a lot going on in the spring of 1771. here's a modern view of where the farm is today kind of courtesy of google. the log building on the left is the 18th century building that was there at the time manned there would have about a much larger farm and mill complex located here. it also gives you an idea of what the terrain looks like. this is an area of very heavily
wooded areas, a lot of hills and hollows. the perfect place to kind of lead an insurrection, and it's here at the farm that color in van meter is going to send a mounted column of militia to again break up this -- this rebellion before it takes off. when they arrive at the farm, they are actual little going to be greeted by an exchange of gunfire. van meter and his force are going to be pushed back in an armed exchange, and this is at the point where virginia authorities decide something more seriously needs to be done. and so they are going to call upon have a vass's second greatest hero of the revolution after george washington himself and that's going to be daniel morgan, the old wagoner. in early 1781 daniel morgan has left the army and has returned
home to the winchester area, and he's suffering from a lot of really -- a lot of health issues. he's been kind of passed over a few times for command. he feels like he hasn't quite gotten his due, but certainly his health at this point is beginning to fail him, but morgan agrees to -- to raise a group of men to march over the mountains into the lost river valley and into the south fork valley and put an end to claypool's rebellion before it can snowball out of control. so he will as ball 400 men from the surrounding counties. they will march over the -- the mountains here, and if you look at the map here we can see the winchester area, over the mountains and into the south branch valley. and they are going to first stop at don claim pool's property and
it's here that they will confront daniel nothing hane. there's a brief exchange of gunfire and the second in command in killed if the exchange. claypool himself and most of the other men under his command will scatter. they will head the next stop on the march will be he and his men will make themselves quite comfortably for the next few days. living off the family's live stock and crops. as they're occupying this area, many of the men who had resisted, taken up arms in support of john claypool will begin to turn themselves in.
weeks, most of the rebels will turn themselves in. and this is going to include john claypool himself. so what we refer to as the claypool rebellion is not a huge disturbance. and certainly, i think, daniel morgan was right in striking at the heart of it, going after the ring leaders, breaking it up -- before -- breaking it up before this rebellion can really grow into a much more serious threat. so, the aftermath of the rebellion. most of the men are pardoned. most of them plea to the virginia authorities that they have been misled, that their quarrel was not with, you know, that they were a people who were really rebelling not because they were against the revolution but because they were against the taxation and the hardship that the war was bringing and
they had been misled by these people and wicked ring leaders who kind of put them on this path towards supporting the british. and many of the men who had taken up arms actually agreed to form a company and march off in support of lafayette's army as a way of showing good faith towards the american cause. many of the ring leaders are going to petition directly to the governor of virginia, who is governor harrison, for clemency. and we can see there is a transcription of that petition here. they say they were induced to join the late conspiracy against the state. the object was to refuse the payment of taxes and oppose the act for raising troops. again, they are couching this not in terms of support for britain but opposition to taxation and drafting of men.
both colonel van meter and daniel morgan themselves will support this movement towards pardoning the rebels. daniel morgan says, "i can truly say this is the first time i ever spoke in favor of a tory and ever wish their life spare them but humanity and policy urges me to say something in favor of claypool and wish he may obtain forgiveness." so, even daniel morgan is arguing for leniency. and claypool himself, the ring leader of this kind of nascent rebellion on the virginia frontier, will be pardoned by the governor of virginia. he is released from captivity and claypool and the rest of his conspirators will go home to their homes along the lost river, along the south fork. and 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 are going to discuss. so, going to talk about a conspiracy referred to as the frederick seven. there is no good, sexy or exciting name for this rebellion, because it is much wider, but at the same time, much less well-formed than claypool's rebellion. so, june of 1781, very similar letter arrives. this time the government of maryland. the information is given. "this board has good reason to believe that henry newcomer and and bleachy washington -- are
disaffected and dangerous persons whose going at large may be detrimental to the state." again, we have this kind of information arrives that there is this nebulous idea these dangerous people are afoot, and that they are plotting against the state. this conspiracy grows out of the same disaffection that's affecting those in virginia. again, six years of war have taken a heavy toll on the people of western maryland. we are talking about again, men, supplies, food, livestock being taken from these communities to support the war effort. and heavy taxation to support the war effort. the area that we are talking about is a wide area, basically from modern frederick, maryland, west to hagerstown, maryland. a lot of the small towns, sharpsburg. this is going to be the heart of this plot. so one of the first identified
leaders is one of the guys in that letter, henry newcomer. one night, henry newcomer is going to confide to one of his neighbors that "they raised a body of men for the service of the king." there's a dutch man in frederick who is going to lead this body of men to join with lord cornwallis. unfortunately for newcomer the man he confides in is christian orondorf, an officer in the continental army. he has been captured early on. but released on parole. he is returned to sharpsburg. and he is going to play this up. orendorf is going to feign disgust and disappointment with the continental cause and 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 men have you enlisted for this plot?" predictably he will turn around and report what he had learned straight to the maryland authority. it's going to become clear as just as with claypool's rebellion in virginia, disaffection is really spread far and wide throughout western maryland. one of the conspirators who's caught up in this claimed they had gotten oats of allegiance to the crown -- oaths of allegiance to the crown from 6000 individuals. i think he is probably lying about this, but that certainly plays to the belief that this is a widespread and 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 frederick county, maryland. the authorities quickly zero in on seven ring leaders associated with this plot. nicholas andrews, john graves, adam graves, two brothers, yost plecker, henry shell, his english or german name, peter sueman and caspar fritchie. you will notice a few things about these names. again, there are a lot of germans on this list. again, german immigrants are going to be associated with this plot just as they had been with claypool's rebellion. this is, again, these people are a lot of recent immigrants. also, there are a lot of germans who are fighting alongside the crown. german auxiliaries, the feared hessians fighting with the british. so, there is a lot of
anti-german sentiment that goes into this conspiracy. peter sueman in particular is a member of the brethren church a pacifist sect. here's someone who is suspect to begin with because he has refused to support the continental cause because of his pacifist beliefs. so, these are the seven ring leaders. and one of the local militia commanders, thomas sprigg, summed up the feelings towards the seven men when he said they have "admitted to administering the old of allegiance to many persons. they confess very freely that they expect and deserve to be hanged. i pray god they may not be disappointed." unlike claypool's rebellion, where the ring leaders are pardoned, the state of maryland is not going to take as kind of
a view of the seven ring leader. the ring leaders are brought to the courthouse in frederick where they face a special tribunal. a court of oyer and terminer. it is a special court where they will not be tried by a jury but instead tried by a panel of men specifically appointed for crimes like treason. the judges selected were james johnson, local militia commander, the brother of governor thomas johnson. alexander hanson, the son of the maryland continental congress member. and upton sheridan, a. local judge and state senator , and all three are known for being very, very, very committed to the continental congress, to the american cause, and for having an extremely harsh stance
towards any suspected loyalists. there is no semblance these men are being tried by an impartial court. the deck is stacked against them. christian orendorf, the continental officer who overheard all of this to begin with, he is going to basically be the star witness. he is 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. the sentence. "you shall be carried to the jail, and hanged, your entrails shall be burned while you are yet alive, your head will be cut off, your body shall be divided in four parts. and your heads and body should be placed where his excellency
the governor shall appoint." this is a punishment we associate with a much more brutal age. to call back to some pop-culture here. anyone who is seen end of the movie "braveheart," knows exactly what we are talking about. we are talking about them being hung, cut down, ripped apart. a message to anyone else who might consider rising up against the continental or congressional authority within the state of maryland. this is a punishment that is reserved for the worst of traitors in kind of the absolutist kingdoms of old europe. here's the thing, though. we don't know if it was actually carried out. we do know, and here is the writ for sueman that survives telling the sheriff to carry out this brutal punishment.
we do know that three of the ring leaders, fritchie, plecker and sueman were brought out in front of the courthouse. this is the modern city hall in frederick which stands where these executions were taken -- taking place. on friday, august 17, those three were brought to the courthouse. and we know they were executed. the local papers, contemporary sources, just say that they were killed. family lore and the legend says that at least sueman was hung, drawn and quartered according to the punishment put out by the court. some say that the crowd and the executioners lost their stomach after witnessing such a barbaric execution and 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 hung or executed, they will be released and actually sent to the french navy. the french warships are in the chesapeake bay. these men are given a reprieve. they are being told, you will serve the rest of your life on a french warship, impressed as a sailor. if you ever set foot on maryland again, you will be executed immediately. we know this because three of those men later escaped. the graves brothers and one of the other men, i believe it is andrews, later escaped and find their way to british held new york. those three are given loyalist
claims. those three file claims with the british government. so, not everyone was a lucky. everybody had their property confiscated. this was hard on the fritchie family. it left behind his widow and 11 young children. later on, in the 1790's, both sueman, his widow will have some of that property returned to her and many think that that might be in response to the realization that he probably did not have much to do with this conspiracy. he was simply a pacifist who got caught up in this mania against the suspected loyalist plot. in case anyone is super into the civil war out there, the name caspar fritchie might ring a
bell, caspar is the father of john caspar fritchie who later marries barbara, the flag waving heroine of that campaign. so, in conclusion, what can we take from these stories. we're talking in hindsight. we're talking about looking at the misconceptions of the past. as i mentioned earlier, one of the main takeaways is 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. it's easy for us to look back and say that things were done, the writing was on the wall. the situation was still up in the air enough that people in maryland and virginia were willing to put their lives on the line to support british cause. it was still in their view likely that the british would win this conflict. it's a perfect example of how loyalism is not a 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 taxation, they are facing all of the burdens of the war of and congress's authority, and they decide that they are going to change their mind. we also see men who participate in both of these events that end up then turning around and serving in the patriot cause later on. they've seen the error of their ways. they've been faced with this choice that you serve for the patriot, you serve the patriot cause, or else you will be punished. and i think the most important take away is that sometimes patriots and loyalists were kind of fighting for the same thing. the american rebels would've claimed that they were fighting for self-government, they are
fighting for, against arbitrary government, arbitrary taxation, the tyranny that has been imposed upon them by the british government. well, the participants of claypool's rebellion and this 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 in 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, kind of common cause in why these men were taking up arms, why they were resisting. they were just resisting in, 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 of two -- to how we look at the american revolution. with that, i ran up on some time but if anybody has some questions, i would love to answer them. host: thank you, travis. actually, don't have that many questions. one person did ask, i'll just ask you for your opinion of this. how would you define mid-atlantic? which colonies do you consider mid-atlantic. virginia is considered southern in some aspects. but probably more mid atlantic. what are your thoughts on that? travis: oh man. if i was to be 100% very geographically strenuous about this, i would say definitely
pennsylvania, new jersey, delaware, maryland. maryland. western maryland has a lot more in common with pennsylvania whereas eastern maryland is closer -- the chesapeake is in the 18 century more in common with the south. again with virginia, certainly the tidewater is very much culturally politically, economically the south. the area i was discussing, hampshire county, out across the mountains, i would say culturally is much more in tune with western maryland and pennsylvania. that is where the settlers are coming through. that is where a lot of their economic and cultural ties are, too. you know, i kind of use that is -- as a broad term just to kind of, how can i best to find this tiny little area in western maryland and western virginia? but the mid-atlantic is a broader region.
i certainly would not call all of virginia or maryland mid-atlantic. host: one question coming up. i will get that to that in a second. kind of a generic, broad question. you know, you mentioned what happened to some of these men after claypool's rebellion. and up there in frederick, the frederick seven. some of them go back to the continental army, which is crazy. we do not even think about that today. we think, you are either british. or you are a patriot or a whig. the complexities of the situation highlight the civil war aspect. this is a civil war in many respects. if you do not know this i am putting you on the spot so that is ok. how many of these loyalists do you think when the war was over and the united states was created, how many do you think actually leave and go to canada or go someplace else, just totally leave, refused to stay
here and they just leave? travis: as far as the men involved in these two episodes? host: that or just in general. travis: in general kind of the numbers that scholars today give to the number of loyalists who actually leave the new united states is somewhere in the number of 80,000. so, it's a pretty substantial number of people, most will go to canada. some will go to the west indies. very few return to britain because these people are not really british. in many cases these families had been here for generations, over a century. america is home to them. about 80,000 total loyalists will leave. as far as in these particular instances, claypool's rebellion and this maryland conspiracy, we do not really know for sure. i imagine very few of them. i think these people are the
rank and file if we want to call them that, pretty, we're talking about poor farmers, artisans, middle-class people. they had not necessarily bet everything on the british army. they had not gone over and enlisted, actually joined with cornwallis. so i think it was easier for them to kind of reintegrate back into society. they definitely play up this, "we were deluded, led by these ring leaders. we didn't really mean it." my good friend stephanie walters has done a lot of research on virginia loyalism. she's found at least one account of one of these loyalists in western virginia who's later involved in, i think it is, either a suicide or a murder
that happens like 20 years down the road. and it was related back to the stance he had taken during the war. i think for the most part, the people, the ones who are part -- pardoned at least make a good-faith effort to reintegrate into society. some of these guys, especially the deserters, they go back into the army. say, we were wrong. we will help the war effort. it really falls most heavily on the ringleaders. host: we will ask one more question. we have a couple other questions we do not have a lot of time for. i will email them to you. we will get the answers. i will get you blane's question. were these other loyalist groups aware of any activities or activists in other parts of the colonies? did they ever create a loyalist network, these pockets of
rebellions and loyalists, did they ever try to get together in some kind of fashion and work together? travis: that is a great question. host: it is, is it not? travis: that is a really good question. in the minds of the congressional authorities, they absolutely believed that this was part of a widespread conspiracy, that there was coordination between these groups. that is kind of the difference between what is happening in 1781 and what happened earlier in the war, this belief that this is part of something bigger. in reality, probably not as much. as i said, there is some fear that there is english agents operating with claypool's guys, whipping them into a frenzy. early on in the war in 1776, -- 1775, 1776, they start rounding up suspected loyalists in maryland and virginia because there is this idea they will raise groups of indians on the frontier that are going to link up with them, and they will march east and burn everything
in the tidewater. there is a fear of this conspiracy but there is very little actual evidence this is happening in maryland or virginia. in places where the british army is well-established and where loyalism is stronger and you see the raising of provincial regiments, yes, there is much more coordination. northern new jersey, new york city, in the carolinas when the british army arrives, there is a bit more coordination, but that seems to take place mostly wherever the british army and the british political infrastructure exists. out here on the frontier, it is kind of like, these things are kind of every man for himself. host: ok. great. thank you, travis. i knew a little bit about claypool but not as much as you just covered. i knew nothing about the frederick seven. which is amazing. great story. i know you love frederick. it is very apropos you brought that up. thank you for that.