Last update:Tuesday, 22-Sep-2009 07:58:58 MDT

Loyalists of Bertie County

Resource: Loyalists in North Carolina During the Revolution Robert DeMond. 1940, Duke University Press, Durham, NC

As the Revolution developed and the British Army evacuated Wilmington, being a Loyalist could mean having your lands and goods taken from you, and being brought into court on charges of treason and imprisoned or shot.

Many factors influenced the colonists in their political views and whether or not they supported the King or the "revolutionary movement". Some of these were their original homeland; their occupation; and the location of the county itself.

pg 50
The Scotch as a race generally remained loyal to the Kind of England and were the most important single group in North Carolina to do so. The first Scottish Governor of North Carolina who actively encouraged the immigration of his countrymen was Gabriel Johnston.....[to encourage his countrymen] it was voted that they should be free from taxation for a period of ten years and that 1,000 pounds should be distributed among the several families.....It was further resolved that any group of forty Protestants who would come to North Carolina from the mother country and settle in one township should be free from all taxes for one year."

Many of these may have been defeated at Culloden by the English and took a solemn vow to be loyal to the King.

Merchants
The merchants of Bertie County, carrying on trade with the mother country, were more likely to be Loyalists. They may have purchased goods on time and sold them on credit, so financially, the outbreak of war could mean disaster.

"Of the sixty-eight persons who were designated by name in the North Carolina Confiscation Act of 1779, forty-vie were merchants" Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of the Loyalists of the American Revolution (2 vols, 1864) II, 511-512.

Clergy
The Episcopalian Clergy were often extremely loyal. The Rev. Francis Johnston of Bertie County's OUTLAW CHAPEL was one example. He and Henry Burgess had left for England to take the Holy Orders in London, and in 1770 the Rev. Francis Johnson located in Bertie County as rector of Society Parish. Indications are that his work established Outlaw's Chapel near the "Cashie" community. By 1777 Rev. Johnston was banished for his loyalty to the King, and served a church in Jamaica.

Crown Officials
William Brimmage, Deputy Attorney for the Crown, was a Tory leader and is renowned for his involvement in Conspiracy.
Henry E. McCulloch, also had land holdings in Bertie

Section of the State
The north eastern part of North Carolina were usually supportive of the King. The large holdings along the Chowan River of Nathaniel Duckinfield

Confiscated Lands Reviewing the listings of confiscated lands gives an indication of those who remained loyal to the King.

These men had their land holdings confiscated and resold due to their Loyalty to the King.

1787
Nathaniel Duckenfield
____ McKitrick
William Lother
Henry E. McCulloch
Wallace and Company
William Buchannon and Company

Bertie Loyalist Leanings

More information on Conspiracy in Bertie

Many in Bertie County were not eager to break with England. The John Llewelyn (planter from Martin Co) conspiracy was deeply rooted in Bertie County. The leader in Bertie was William Brimmage. He was crown prosecuting attorney for Bertie and a provincial vice-admiralty judge, owning 10,000 acres of land and about 30 slaves. When the plot was discovered in 1777, Brimmage was jailed in Edenton but eventually fled to England, leaving his family on their plantation in Bertie County.

Court Minutes of Bertie County indicate this additional information. Solomon Pender depart this state in 60 days and that the Constable serve him with a copy of this order. Nov Ct 1777 (268)

Aug 1778
Wm Brimage and Eliz his wife to Elizabeth Pollock daughter of said Wm 
and Elizabeth Deed registered.
Also Frances Brimage (same)
Thomas West Brimage (same)


Will Abstracts (David Gammon)
Book E pg 94
10 Nov 1792  Nov Ct 1799
William BRIMMAGE
of Grays Inn in the County of Middlesex
All my property in England is to be sold and any surplus given to my son Thomas West 
Brimage. My estate in North Carolina is to be divided among my children (unnamed).
Ex. friend, William Bledmore of Kensington, Esquire
Wit Jas Cooper, Hannah Cowley
(Probate indicates will was proved in England before John, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
March 21, 1793)

Nathaniel Duckenfield heir of William Duckenfield, of the Salmon Creek Plantation, continued his family's support of the Church of England in Bertie County. Early congregations met in the Wm. Dukenfield home when the South West Parish [later the Society Parish] was established. He was a member of the vestry and gave 52 acres for a Church.
The Church of England in Colonial Bertie", John E. Tyler (manuscript)

Duckenfield, Nathiel
Claim: 8,762
Reward: 3,000

Henry Eustace McCullough
Henry Eustace McCulloh was the NC colonial agent for Britain in 1765 and 1768.

Around 1730 he sought a grant of land near the head of the Northeast Cape Fear River with plans to settle people from Ireland. By 1736 he applied for a tract of land west of the Roanoke River, for Swiss colonist. McCullough, as many land holders like him, was always considered an outsider. In 1765 he had a part in the War on Sugar Creek involving land in Mecklenburg County which finally led to riots in Enfield, NC. The Regulator Movement grew out of this sense of injustice in Orange County.

In 1768 he reported from the Assembly in New Bern (John Harvey, speaker) to King George -- "No taxation without representation." See pages 150 and 168 in Powell's "NC Though Four Centuries." McCulloh reportedly had lots of land in Mecklenburg and probably in Bertie as well.

In Bertie County alone, two tracts of land (506 acres each) were seized and purchased by John Johnston. He later filed a claim with the British government asking for 54,265 in loss but only was awarded 11,747.16

In 1779, he was in England and wrote to his friends---one of them was William Brimmage--to help him recover his lands. He told Mr. Brimmage that his lands at that point which had been confiscated were already worth 40,000 pounds. He also wrote to a relative, James Iredell, to petition the Assembly in his behalf. None of this helped.

Henry E. McCulloch Letters. Historical Society, Raleigh, NC

McCulloch, Henry E.
Claim:54,265
Awarded: 11,747.16

Colin Clark arrived in America, sailing from Limekilns, Fifeshire, Scotland on Aug 18, 1770. He was the captain of the vessel "Martin", and began trading up and down the coast, soon gathering other vessels as well. He lived first in Plymouth, and later near Windsor, becoming a Commission merchant, sending his ships to Norfolk, NY and the West Indies loaded with tobacco and other local produce and bringing back manufactured goods needed in the colony.

He married Janet Gray McKenzie (at Rosefield) and was rapidly amassing a fortune when the Revolutionary War broke out. The McKenzies were firm supporters of the colonial cause, but Colin had taken an oath of allegiance to the King, then required before one could leave the old country, and could not get in an uprising against his own people in a colony in which he had lived but such a short time. Finding it impossible to stay neutral and continue his import-export business, he left for Scotland in 1778. He tried to provide for his wife and family. The oldest child (David) was only six, and the youngest son, William (his fourth son) was born after his departure. His wife died soon after and is buried at Rosefield.

Colin Clark is reported to have drowned in 1808 in Liverpool harbor in the capsizing of a row boat when he was taking a ship to return to see his children in American. Contributed by: Molly Urquhart murquhar@bellsouth.net


After the close of the War, 1783, the Assembly passed an "Act of Pardon and Oblivion" for those in the state who had aided the enemy. Some felt the act too rigid, and after the Treaty of Peace, friends of Tories worked to change the confiscation laws to return any land not already sold to the owner providing he would become a citizen of the United States. In spite of these liberal terms in the Treaty of Peace, North Carolina passed a law barring anyone over 21 who at any time had voluntarily aided the King, from holding office. The provision of sale of the confiscated property was also included.

Some acts of clemency for individual Tories were performed.

Acceptance of the Treaty of Peace finally ended the rigid punishment terms designed to punish anyone who had placed loyalty to the King above loyalty to the new nation. No doubt ill feeling on both sides continued for some years to come.

The migration of Loyalists to Canada, Nova Scotia and the West Indies had a great impact on the history of those areas.


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