These two portraits depict Elizabeth Oliver Lyde (1739–1820), daughter of loyalist Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Andrew Oliver and his second wife, Mary Sanford. John Singleton Copley painted the portrait on the left in 1758, when Elizabeth was 19 years old. The watercolor on the right was painted by William Dunlap in 1811 or 1812 in New York City when Elizabeth was 72 or 73. [Read more…] about Two Portraits Painted 50 Years Apart
No one usually sheds a tear for the British Loyalists of Long Island, those inhabitants who remained loyal to the crown during the American Revolution. But genealogist Brendon Burns has spent a tremendous amount of effort tracking them down through libraries and archives across the world.
The result is his five-volume series The Loyal and Doubtful: Index to the Acts of British Loyalism in the Greater New York and Long Island Area 1775-1783 (Independently Published, 2023). It’s a meticulous record of people in the city of New York, Staten Island, and on Long Island, acting in support of King George and the efforts to defeat the revolutionaries. [Read more…] about Long Island Loyalists History & Genealogy
Coming of age during the American Revolution, Frances (Fanny) Montresor-Buchanan-Allen-Penniman (1760-1834), faced the currents of one of the most significant political events of the century. Raised by a loyalist, married first to a British officer, and ultimately marrying the famous “patriot” Ethan Allen, she reveals how a woman could move through different communities to survive and prosper in such a complex time. [Read more…] about Fort Ticonderoga Conserving 1770s Fanny Allen Portrait
William and Benjamin Frank joined the Second Rhode Island Regiment in the spring of 1777, following the tradition of military service established by their father, a veteran of the French and Indian War. The brothers became part of a cohort of free Black soldiers serving in an integrated Continental Army.
The Second Rhode Island saw action along the Delaware River in the defense of Fort Mercer (in New Jersey) and the battle of Red Bank, before falling back with the rest of the army to Valley Forge. [Read more…] about Revolutionary Blacks: Soldiers of Independence
David M. Griffin’s Chronicles of the British Occupation of Long Island (The History Press, 2023) probes and explains much of this esoteric history of Revolutionary War-era Long Island, including examples of socio-economic hardship the War imposed on Long Islanders.
Among the stories told here is that of Revolutionary Militia Captain Solomon Davis of Miller Place, who, in the midst of the British Army’s 1776 advance from the city of New York to Eastern Long Island, swiftly buried £500 sterling under a large rock in his backyard, secretly hiding a big chunk of his personal wealth from the British. [Read more…] about Chronicles of the British Occupation of Long Island
The Rebellions of 1837-1838 were insurrections against the oligarchic government of the British colonies of Lower and Upper Canada in 1837 and 1838. The rebellion began in Lower Canada but quickly spread to Upper Canada as well. [Read more…] about The Rebellions of 1837-1838: American Influence & The Formation of Canada
Initially, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (Iroquois) claimed neutrality during the conflict between Britain and the colonists, seeing the disagreement as a civil war and valuing loyalty to their families and to their lands above all else. When the political discontent erupted into the American Revolutionary War, the member nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy split their support between the British and newly formed American forces. [Read more…] about The American Revolution in the Finger Lakes
Historians are fond of saying that the Revolutionary War in the city of New York began and ended in the same place. On July 9, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read to George Washington’s troops at City Hall. Within minutes, a mob of fired-up patriots stormed nearby Bowling Green where they pulled down its statue of King George III and sawed off the royal crown finials on the uprights of the surrounding fence. (The original fence still stands, you can see the saw marks.) [Read more…] about The British Occupation of New York City, 1776-1783
As we celebrated another birthday for America this July 4th I was reminded of the rich history and vital role that New York played in the founding of this nation. This is no less true within the sandy shores and glacial uplands of Long Island.
Drive south on William Floyd Parkway today, through the Suffolk County communities of Yaphank, Mastic, Shirley, and Mastic Beach, and it might be hard to imagine that this area was once the site of a great struggle between a world power and the early American settlers who came to yearn for independence. [Read more…] about Long Island Revolutionary History: A Suffolk County Tour
The book Unfriendly to Liberty: NYC Loyalist Networks Before the Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2023) by Christopher F. Minty explores the origins of loyalism in the city of New York between 1768 and 1776, and revises the understanding of the coming of the American Revolution. [Read more…] about Unfriendly to Liberty: NYC Loyalist Networks Before the Revolution