Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Bittersweet End to the American Revolution

The signing of the Treaty of Paris by British and American diplomats has been recognized as the official end of the American Revolution. But the British military still occupied New York under the command of General Guy Carleton for many months. This left a delicate situation for them to evacuate the Loyalists from New York City who wanted to leave and remain loyal to the King of England. The city was ravaged and destroyed, a sad relic of what had been. Orchards had been cut and homes and buildings were burned-out shells. The city was ordered to be evacuated the fall of that year on November 25th. Small fleets ferried out from Manhattan under the watch of a British warship. The last boat, in a final parting shot, fired a cannon toward the now American occupied shore. It is now referred to as the last shot fired in the American Revolution.

Capt Peter Ruttan (1742 - 1822)

Capt Peter Ruttan, a UE Loyalist in the 4th Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers, was one those who boated out during this period. He had endured a long and terrible war and had experienced the fate of many Loyalists with the confiscation of property and poor treatment. He continued on to Canada and is said to have helped the Mohawk Indian, Chief Brant, through an arduous trip to Ontario. But later, in return for his services, he and other Ruttans received tracts of land at Adolphustown what was called Ruttan’s point. Today, many 5th-generation Ruttans still reside in the area.

I feel a sense of sadness when I read the accounts of the final days of the Revolution knowing the unfathomable hardships my ancestors experienced. But I also have a Patriot line that brings me great pride and I will explore that in future posts.


  1. Great post. I am going to add you to my links and to the links on a new a personal #genealogy blog I am starting that will have resources, my finding and other musings on the topic.

    I got really involved trying in my family history after my mother needed assistance getting to DAR. From researching on Revolutionary war family member I wanted to find them all and that has extended to a general question to ID as many direct ancestors as I can.

    The LOYALIST topic interest me a lot and I am paying more attention to try to locate them in my family (whether they were active Loyalist or had Loyalist feelings).

    Mel Gibson movie the Patriot I have very mixed feelings about . First it really is a slander on some British folks. Second the Loyalist sentiment in South Carolina was far much bigger and diverse than people think. It was truly a horrible Civil war in South Carolina at the time.

    The "land grabs" was as you indicate not such a shining moment in American history. Though it should be noted a quite a few American Patriots tried to stop it and spoke out against it . Including Signer of the Declaration of Independence Charles Carroll of Charles Carroll of Carrollton.

  2. Thanks for your excellent comment. This makes me want to explore more history on this topic and especially on Charles Carroll. Thanks!