Tuesday, October 30, 2007

William Hutchi(n)son (1745-1826) Family History - Post 1

William Hutchi(n)son (born ca 1745 NJ, died 1826 Ontario) has been one of my stoutest brick wall ancestors for many years. I found several references to him in the various books about Loyalists who settled in New Brunswick and Ontario, but had not found real "human interest" stories for the family history book.

Thanks to Bev Franks in her WorldConnect database, there are quite a few stories for me to pass on to the family. Here is one of the stories:

From "The Loyalists of America and their Times: From 1620 to 1816," Volume 2, by William Briggs, published 1880. This is a history of the relations, disputes, and challenges between Great Britain, the American Colonies and the United States of America. This work is an attempt to present the story from the Loyalists' point of view, with the aid of documents and records. It also gives the early history and settlement in the British Provinces of America by the Loyalist forefathers. This is the second volume in the two volume series. Chapter XLI, Part I, page 218/9, is titled: Adventures and Sufferings of Captain William Hutchison, and his Settlement in Walsingham, County of Norfolk; communicated by his grandson, J. B. Hutchison, Esquire.

"In the beginning of the wars of 1776, William Hutchison (my grandfather) was urged to join the rebel army (he living at that time in New Jersey); but he boldly declared, death before dishonour. After being harassed about for some time, and leaving a wife and eight children to the mercy of their enemies, he with a number of others tried to make their way to the British army, and were followed by a large force of the enemy; but when they found themselves so greatly outnumbered (being about ten to one), they tried to make their escape to an old barn; but every one of the unfortunate men was caught and hanged but himself. They did not succeed in finding him, he hiding among the bushes. While he lay hidden among some elder bushes, one of the enemy pulled up the bush where he lay, saying 'this would be a d-----d good place for a ---- to hide,' but the shadow falling on him completely hid him from sight. His captain, James J. Lett, was among the unhappy victims, grandfather being lieutenant under him at the time.

"His comrades being all killed, he tried to escape from his covert, but they had stationed sentries all around; he could hear them swearing vengeance on him if they could find him. It being bright moonlight, he could see quite a long distance. He crawled along on his hands and knees across a field, and got into the middle of the road; when the sentries, one on either side of him, got into a quarrel and came close to him before they settled their dispute; having done so, they turned to go away; he then made his escape and got to the British army.

"After suffering all the horrors of a war lasting seven years, losing his property--everything but his loyalty--and that, having extended faithfully through the whole family, is not likely to be lost. His wife and six of his children died from the sufferings consequent upon such a war. Previous to this he had received a captain's commission. After the war closed, he went to New Brunswick, and remained there fourteen years, coming to Canada in 1801, and settled in the township of Walsingham. My father, Alexander Hutchison, was the only surviving son by his first wife. In the war of 1812, my grandfather went out against the enemy with his sons, Alexander, David, and James, in which war my father lost his life.

"Hoping you may be able to find something in these fragments which will be interesting to you, I remain, with the greatest respect, Yours most faithfully, J. B. HUTCHISON."

Grandson Joseph Hutchison must have heard these stories from his grandfather - and passed them on in this book for posterity. I am part of that posterity - William Hutchi(n)son is my 5th great-grandfather. I have at least two other Loyalist ancestors from the US Revolutionary War times.

This provides a different outlook on the Revolutionary War, doesn't it?

There is a good web site for The Online Institute of American Loyalist Studies at http://www.royalprovincial.com/index.htm. This page provides a history of the First Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers. One of William Hutchi(n)son's exploits is noted here:

"A party under Lieutenant William HUTCHISON and Ensign James MOODY in early June of that year successfully captured several officers and men of the Monmouth County Militia and then drove off their pursuers at the point of the bayonet after expending all their ammunition. MOODY himself shot dead a militia officer who was in the act of cursing him across the battlefield, so personal was this war between Rebel and Loyalist. This was soon after followed by 40 men of the battalion with a like number of British regulars capturing a number of militia light horse in a tavern after killing their officer, Captain Skinner. "

There are other books that provide more information about William Hutchi(n)son. I'll post some of them later.

I don't know (and nobody else does either, apparently) the parents or siblings of William Hutchi(n)son. He supposedly was born in about 1745 and resided in Knowlton, Sussex County (now in Warren County) NJ in the 1773-4 time frame.

Do you have Loyalist ancestors? What have you found out about them? Are there any readers who are descendants of William Hutchi(n)son? If so, please contact me!


Unknown said...

I am interested in trying find out about any descendents of Catharine Huthchison born abt 1796, and her husband Daniel MacKinney, particularly in the years leading up to the second world war.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of early info and some pictures available from the Elgin County branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society.

Anonymous said...

Randy - how are you related to William Hutchinson?

Unknown said...

everything is leading me towards the likelihood that William Hutchison is my 6th great grandfather. I've been checking the relation chain in multiple ways to confirm. I was surprised by this version of the story. the first line historical resource that comes up in a basic search presents his story a bit differently and implied that he had to join the British upon fleeing from harassment, losing land, and outrunning an order to bring him in - simply for refusing to fight in the rebellion. it made him sound more sympathetic somehow but I'm interested in the truth, regardless, and I appreciate that you've provided this account ☺️ thank you. at first I felt a bit embarrassed in discovering a loyalist ancestor 😳 lol I'm not some blind patriot 😆 but my mother does have a Masters in American Studies and I do have an intellectual interest in history in general. I can't help but feel some sentiment for the evolution of American culture and government, despite the depth of imperfection, which I particularly admire people for fighting to overcome. anyhow, it was a needed wake up to learn about how those resisting to join rebellion were treated. it seems obvious but I never had reason to consider past the romanticized American mythology, and I think it's very important to do so. is it actually justified to defy constitutional values in the act of establishing that constitution as a foundational way of life? what does that even mean? whether Hutchison was a staunch loyalist or was pushed more into becoming one, I'm disturbed by the implications of his treatment and how it devastated his family 🥺 my line ended up back in America and I was born, raised, and still reside in Los Angeles, California. I love California first and America in many ways because it is my culture, but I always want to know the full picture. part of respecting America requires shining a light on hypocrisy, inconsistency, and bad faith action. it's the only way to learn the lessons needed for progressing towards more fully embodying our ideals. they are great ideals but we still have a long way to go. it seems like corporate capitalism warps and sabotages so much.
but I digress ☺️ thank you! my name is Mira, I am 40 and we are likely related! 💞