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Journal of a Lady of Quality
Appendices: - XII. A Few North Carolina Loyalists


Robert Schaw.

OF Miss Schaw's elder brother, Robert, or "Bob" as he was known to all his friends, something has already been said. The first mention of him that we can discover in North Carolina records is as a witness to an indenture of John Rutherfurd's in 1751 (Register's Office, Conveyances, BC, 24) and the second is of date 1759, when he was cited for failure to work on the streets and wharves of Wilmington and the road from Point Peter to Mt. Misery on the east side of the Northwest (Wilmington Town Records, p.6). He had probably begun as an apprentice in a merchant's office, for, as his sister said, he had been in trade before turning planter. Such apprenticeship might easily have been entered on at ten years of age. It would look as if he had been employed in the store of some Scotsman—probably Alexander Duncan, who was closely connected with the Rutherfurds and Schaws and with whom he was afterwards in partnership. As his name does not appear among the Wilmington taxables in 1755 or among those with houses in Wilmington in 1756, it is likely that he did not marry much before 1760, which would put his birth date at least as far back as 1740. He may have been and probably was much older. Legally to witness an indenture one would have to be twenty-one years old. That would put his birth before 1730.

He prospered in business, and sometime after 1760 became a partner, first, in the firm of Duncan, Ancrum, & Schaw, and later, after the departure of the senior member for England in 1767, in the firm of Ancrum & Schaw, doing a general merchandising business. Mrs. Burgwin once wrote, "Hoggs tea is all gone and all his handkerchiefs but one; the tea I got at Ancrums." Robert Schaw served in many important capacities, being frequently called upon to act as trustee, guardian, executor of estates, and witness of wills, and seems to have been held in high esteem as a prudent and reliable person. He became a justice of the county Court in 1768, a commissioner of Wilmington in 1769, was appointed a colonel of artillery under General Waddell in Tryon's expedition against the Regulators in 1771, and on September 1, 1775, was commissioned a colonel in the revolutionary army. He was, however, always lukewarm in support of the American cause and refused to follow the lead of the radical party. In June, 1777, James Murray wrote, "Bob Schaw will be obliged to leave Carolina for not taking the oath to the states." There is reason to believe that his property was sequestrated, for in 1786, the administrators of his estate were authorized to sell ]ands in Bladen county, known as the Western Prong lands, and to save the personal estate for the widow and son (N. C. Slate Records, XVIII, 177, 391). As by indentures between John Rutherfurd and Robert Schaw, September 7 and 8, 1768, the latter was made a receiver of the former's property (Register's Office, Conveyances, F, 92-102), it may be that these are the lands that Rutherfurd formerly owned and that Schaw bought of Murray of Philiphaugh.

Schaw married as his first wife, Anne, the sister of John Rutherfurd, who died without issue, January 11, 1767 (Scots Magazine, 1767, p. 167), and as his second, Anne Vail, who is the "Mrs. Schaw" of the journal. She was the widow of Job Howe, the brother of Robert, and had one child, William Tryon Howe, by her first husband, and two children, Alexander* and Robert Schaw, by her second. Alexander was horn before 1775 and died in 1802; Robert, Jr., was born before 1778 and died probably before 1788, as he is not mentioned in his mother's will. Robert, Sr., died in 1786 and his wife two years later in 1788. In the Wilmington Centinal and General Advertiser for June 18. 1788, is inserted a "Request" that all persons indebted to Robert Schaw, Alexander Duncan, deceased, Duncan, Ancrum, & Schaw, and Ancrurn & Schaw settle and make payment or renew their obligations.

*This son, Alexander Schaw, who died in 1802, left one child, Catherine Schaw, as we learn from the will of her uncle, Alexander Schaw, Sr., who died at Inveresk, Scotland, leaving property to the amount of £7500. According to that will the son of Alexander, Sr., John Sauchie Schaw, was to succeed to the property. Should he die, however, before the father and there be no heirs of his body, then Catherine, the niece, was to be the heir, and should she not be living, then the estate was to be divided equally between John Rutherfurd and William Gordon Rutherfurd, Schaw's brothers-in-law (Commissary Court Books, Edinburgh). As it turned out John Sauchie Schaw inherited the property.

Dr. Thomas Cobham.

Dr. Thomas Cobham, who occupies a conspicuous place in Miss Schaw's story, was a prominent "practitioner in physics" in Wilmington, the first mention of whom in contemporary records is of date March 22, 1765, when he witnessed the will of Lieutenant Whitehurst of H. M. S. Viper, who, in the duel with Alexander Simpson, master of the same vessel, fought on March 18, received wounds from which he died. In his own testimony before the Loyalist Claims Commission he says that he settled on the Cape Fear in 1766 and from that time followed his profession. He had a partner, Dr. Robert Tucker, to whom he made a division of a third of the profits of his practice, but from whom he had parted before he finally left the colony. He accompanied Tryon on the campaign against the Regulators, dividing with a Dr. Haslin the inspection of the troops (N. C. R. VIII, 584). He was loyalist in his sympathies, and at first, on March 7, 1775, refused to subscribe to the Continental Association; but on the 13th changed his mind and in the June following sent two guineas to the Committee of Safety for the purchase of gunpowder. In August he promised, at the request of the committee, not to send medicines to Governor Martin on board the Cruizer, and after the battle of Moore's Creek bridge attended without pay the Loyalists who were wounded in the battle. He said afterwards that he never took any oath to the Americans but obtained a certificate from a magistrate that he had taken an oath.

Cobham planned to go to England on the opening of the war, but was prevailed upon to remain "by the executive officers of government," until the occupation of Wilmington by Craig, January 28, 1781, when he joined the British troops and was appointed surgeon to H. M. naval hospital at Charles Town and later by Admiral Digby to the same at St. Augustine. There he remained until Florida was given back to Spain in 1783, when he and the hospital were removed to New Providence in the Bahamas. He continued in the service of the hospital there until he was discharged, April 5, 1786, when in September he returned to England. There he learned from letters received soon after that his estate in North Carolina had been confiscated and sold (Audit Office Papers).

He and his wife, Catherine Mary Paine, widow of John Paine of Brunswick county, early bought land on Old Town Creek, but in 1771 they sold this property and acquired a plantation of 1300 acres, with two sawmills, in which Cobham had a half interest. In 1772 he occupied a house in Wilmington, rented of Mrs. Jane Dubois, probably on Front Street (Wilmington Town Records, pp. 154, iôo), and there Josiah Quincy dined "in company with Harnett, Hooper, Burgwin, Dr. Tucker, and others" on March 29 of that year, and there too he lodged and was treated with great politeness, though, as he wrote in his journal, Dr. Cobham was "an utter stranger and one to whom I had no letters" (Journal, p. 460). In or about March, 1775, Cobham purchased of George Moore, for £840 proclamation money, another house between Princess and Chestnut streets near the river, which may have been the house called "The Lodge," where Miss Schaw was entertained and from the balcony of which she saw the review. On December g, 1778, Cobbam exchanged this house for a plantation of 500 acres in the neighborhood of Wilmington, probably near Schawfield. This seems to be the plantation referred to in a deed Of 1779, according to which John Rutherfurd sold to Dr. Cobham 200 acres on both sides of the main branch of Long Creek, "adjoining the mill lands of Cobham," which (according to the deed) Rutherfurd had received by the will of Jean Corbin (Register's Office, Conveyances, H, 10. There is no such bequest in Mrs. Corbin's will; the property may have been sold by Rutherfurd for his children).

Mrs. Cobham, mentioned by Miss Schaw, (lied sometime before 1777. There was a daughter also, Catherine Jane, whom Cobham left, together with his furniture, in the care of a lady in Wilmington when he went to Charles Town, and for whom he made provision, leaving for her, in trust, 400 acres on the west side of the Northwest, next Schawfield on Indian Creek (Register's Office, Conveyances, L, Pt. 2, 567-568).

That Dr. Cobham was highly respected in Wilmington is plainly evident. Thomas McGuire, one of the witnesses before the Loyalist Claims Commission, said that he was a man not only of probity but of distinguished eminence in his profession. He was still living in 1797.

Robert Hogg.

Robert Hogg came to North Carolina from northern Scotland about 1756 and became a successful and prosperous merchant, living "in affluence," as the record says. He was a native of East Lothian and had two brothers, James and John, the former of whom in 1774, at the age of forty-six, carne to the colony from Caithness with his wife and five children, all of the latter under eight years of age. Robert Hogg had visited Caithness in 1772, and finding his brother James tormented by local thievery and disorder, persuaded him to go to America, which he did, bringing with him a shipload of 280 persons, including his own family of sixteen, with servants, 174 passengers above the age of eight, 6o children under eight, and 30 infants. James settled first at Cross Creek, where he ran a store in close conjunction with Robert's store in Wilmington.

We meet with traces of Robert's life in Wilmington from the Wilmington town records. In common with many other estimable citizens who preferred to pay a fine rather than work on the roads, he was occasionally cited as a defaulter. In 1769 he and John Ancrum were elected commissioners of the town, but as he wished to leave the province to go to Scotland in 1772, his place was taken by his partner, Samuel Campbell. On his return he found the revolutionary movement under way and at first cooperated with the Wilmington Committee of Safety. But in July, 1775, when the members began to advocate extreme measures, he withdrew, and in September sailed for England, with a letter of recommendation from Governor Martin to Lord Dartmouth, written on board the Cruizer, August 31, as follows: "A merchant of first consideration in the colony, where he has resided many years, and who is compelled by popular clamour and resentment to abandon his important concerns here, because he will not renounce his principles, which he has maintained with a manly firmness and steadiness, which do equal honour to his heart and understanding. As I know no gentleman better qualified than Mr. Hogg, both by his intelligence and candour, to represent the state of this colony, I think it a point of duty to introduce him to your Lordship, and to give you opportunity of communication with him" (Dartmouth Papers). Mrs. Dellosset wrote soon after, "Perhaps you will be surprised to hear Mr. Hogg is in England. He was one of your non-conformed to the times, and so made off " Two years later James Clarke wrote to James Hogg, at that time in Hillsboro, "I have always had a great friendship for your brother and never considered him an enemy to this country" (X. C. State Records, XIV, 478). Robert Hogg was one of that large class of intelligent moderates in the colonies who were unable to see the necessity of extreme measures and were literally forced into opposition against their wills. In the growth of the revolutionary movement the time had unfortunately passed when moderation was longer possible.

Robert Hogg remained in England, living in Threadneedle Street, very frugally, with an aged father to support, until the summer of 1778, when hearing of the North Carolina law, passed December 28, 1777, declaring forfeit the property of all who did not return by October of that year, he determined to sail for New York, to await the issue of the efforts of the second peace commission. He arrived before September, 1778, but died in New York the following year, leaving his brother his heir. James remained in North Carolina and endeavored to recover some of the debts due the firm of Hogg & Campbell. The debts of the firm amounted to £18,669, currency (appatently including such also as were owed to merchants in England, which they paid) ; the debts due them in the colony came to £34,999, currency, and among those owing the firm money may be found the names of Robert Schaw and Archibald Neilson (Audit Office Papers).

Samuel Campbell.

Samuel Campbell was a native of North Carolina and a merchant of Wilmington in partnership with Robert Hogg and for a time with Frederick Gregg. He became a captain of militia, and was compelled to take the oath of allegiance to the United States. He became captain of a company in Wilmington, which exercised privately before the battle of Moore's Creek bridge, apparently with the intention of cooperating with the Highlanders; but later was ordered by the Committee of Safety to march to Fort Johnston and dismantle it (see above, p. 205). This he refused to do and was threatened with court- martial, but in the end was neither imprisoned nor tried. He then retired into the country and paid a sum of money for a substitute. He openly joined Craig in 1781 and was appointed a captain of militia, and when Craig marched into the country was placed in charge of the town. On the evacuation of Wilmington he went to Charles Town and was appointed by Colonel Leslie a colonel of militia, but on the failure of the southern campaign he left the city and went to Nova Scotia (Second Report, Ontario Bureau of Arc/lives, pp. 54-55). There he purchased an improved farm in the neighborhood of Shelburne, settled upon it with his family, and expended upon it what property he had left. In 1786 he reported that he had not enough to live on, but in 1800 he was still there (Register's Office Conveyances, L, Pt. 2, 726). His wife, Alice, was a niece of Samuel Cornell, a man of some prominence in the political affairs of North Carolina, who became himself a Loyalist, lost his property, and otherwise suffered at the hands of the revolutionary party.

Campbell in withdrawing his allegiance to the state transferred to James Hogg all claims to the property of Hogg & Campbell, and because debarred from bringing suits in his own name, was protected by an act passed in 1787, authorizing James Hogg and two others to maintain suits in their own name as executors (N. C. State Records, XXIII, 187, 417; XXIV, 858-859). He said that his former income ("gains in trade") was £600 a year and that his own personal loss was £2000 sterling.

Thomas Macknight.

The case of Thomas Macknight illustrates admirably how unfortunate often was the policy of the radical revolutionaries in driving out many men in sympathy with the cause of America, but who for one reason or another were unable to adapt themselves at once to a program of revolt. Our revolution was true to type, and in the year 1775 there was no place in the revolutionary party for men who qualified in any important particular their entire submission to the will of those in control. A radical minority dominated the movement and played the autocrat without mercy, pursuing with intolerant resentment anyone who failed to see the Situation eye to eye with themselves. It could not have been otherwise, for a revolution to be a revolution means the uncontrolled rule of a relatively small body of men. The hardships which the moderates suffered in the years from 1774 to 1780 are comparable, mutatis mutandis, with the hardships suffered by men of moderate minds and restrained opinions in the revolutions of England and France. The documents in the Macknight case are many and voluminous, but only a few facts need to be stated here.

Thomas Macknight was a Scotsman, who came to North Carolina in 1757 and during the eighteen years that followed rapidly advanced to a position of influence and large wealth. He owned landed property in five counties in the colony, chiefly in the Albemarle region, though some of his land lay in the south near the upper Cape Fear, and he was deeply interested in shipbuilding and the export trade in conjunction with certain merchants of Norfolk, Virginia, with whom he was joined in a business partnership. His energies for many years were expended in the effort to build up the industry and trade of the northern part of the province, which in the period after the removal of the capital to New Bern and the growth of the Cape Fear section had tended to decline. When the revolutionary troubles came on, he exerted his influence to hold the Albemarle counties (notably Currituck and Pasquotank) to their allegiance, and succeeded in doing so until October, 1775. In the convention of April 4, 1775, he was present as a representative from Currituck, and when at the session of Thursday, April 6, the members were called upon to subscribe to the Continental Association, he was the only one who refused, on the ground that the doing so would involve a repudiation of a debt owed to a certain merchant in Great Britain, an act so dishonorable that he was unwilling to consider it. He asked for time in which to settle his obligations and his request was upheld by a majority of the members present, who refused at first to vote a sentence of excommunication. But the radical minority, threatening to leave if the sentence was not voted, forced the majority to pass the vote and to declare Macknight "inimical in his intentions to the liberties of America."

Macknight had already withdrawn from the convention, and, after the vote was declared, the other representative from Currituck and the two representatives from Pasquotank also withdrew. Before they did so, however, they drafted a statement of reasons and requested that it be entered in the journal of proceedings, but the convention refused their request and they were obliged to vindicate in the newspapers their attempt to rescue "the character of a gentleman we greatly esteem from undeserved obloquy and reproach." Through that medium both they and Macknight stated the facts in the case, the latter declaring "that he was greatly concerned he could not heartily concur in the vote proposed to be passed, on account of particular circumstances in his situation which obliged him to dislike some part of the Association; that he owed a debt in Britain which the operation of the non-exportation agreement would disable him to pay; and that he could not approve of a conduct ill collective capacity, which as an individual he should blush to acknowledge." He added further, "that he thought it a duty he owed to his own sincerity to mention this sentiment, but did not mean to obstruct the good purposes proposed by an union of measures; that he would cheerfully comply with the non-consumption and non-importation agreement, and should give a passive agreement to the non-exportation article; that an individual, as a member of society, ought to conform his action to the general will of it, but that opinions could not be altered without conviction or insincerely expressed without dishonesty."

In a similar public announcement, issued by the other deputies from Currituck and Pasquotank, the latter expressed their faith in Macknight's intentions as having been "always friendly to the cause of American liberty, his actions evidently shewing to us, who are his neighbors, the uprightness of his intentions; nor did we observe any disingenuous or equivocal behaviour in Mr. Macknight to warrant the censure of the convention in the smallest degree, but some of those who were with him before, being now offended by his withdrawing from amongst them, joined the other party." Macknight in his turn publicly expressed his obligations "to the inhabitants of Newbern in general and more particularly to his friends, who by continuing their wonted civilities have discovered to the world their opinion of the proceedings of the convention relative to himself" (North Carolina Gazette, April 14, 1775).

From this time forward, Macknight became a marked mall, "inimical" whether he wanted to be or not. He was cajoled, bribed, and threatened; finally an attempt was made to assassinate him in his own house, and his dwelling, his merchandise, his crops, and his negroes were plundered. Then lie fled, first at the end of 1775 to Lord Dunmore in Virginia, and after that in February, 1776, to Governor Martin. He returned once to the Cape Fear in July or August, 1776 (Second Report, Ontario Bureau of Archives, p. 1231), but finally toward the end of 1776 he left permanently for England. We meet with him once or twice appearing before the Loyalist Claims Commission, in behalf of Carolina friends. During the years that followed he made long and persistent efforts to obtain compensation for his losses, in part for property confiscated in North Carolina, and in part for two vessels, one of which was commandeered by the British authorities in North Carolina, the other, cleared in September, 1775, with a valuable cargo for Lisbon, was seized by the Americans in December, and, when released, taken off Cape St. Vincent by a British man-of-war, in May, 1776, and condemned as lawful prize under the Prohibitory Act, For ten years he labored in desperation, appealing to the Treasury, Lord North, Lord George Germain, Lord Dartmouth, and the Loyalist Claims Commission, but never succeeded in securing anything that he considered an adequate compensation. Of his later career we know nothing. With the failure of his efforts he completely disappears from view. As we read through the long series of letters, petitions, and memorials to be found among the papers of Lord Dartmouth and the Loyalist Claims Commission, we are puzzled to understand the causes of his failure. Even with full allowance for the fact that the evidence is ex pane, Macknight's case seems a peculiarly pathetic one. (A convenient printed statement may be found in The Royal Commission on Loyalist Claims, Roxburghe Club, for which see the index; later letters and petitions, with one exception, are in manuscript, copies of some of which may be found at Raleigh.)


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