Commodore Joshua Loring, Jamaica Plain by Way of London
I had known for as much as twenty-seven years something of the exciting human interest that lies hidden in public records, particularly in those of Great Britain. As long ago as the fall of 1928 Professor Charles Jasper Sisson of the University of London had come over to our Cambridge bearing bulky rolls of Photostats that had been made from parchments of the Elizabethan era. Each roll concerned the litigation of a different group that included someone who carried the last name of an eminent poet or dramatist of that period. It was to be found-a thing no one hitherto had known-whether the writer bore any relationship to the litigant.
Professor Sisson explained that an uncounted number of records lay waiting in London for interpretation; that history needed to be and some day surely would be rewritten from these legal documents, for their statements, made under oath and in the most rigid circumstances, were far more to be trusted than the rumor and tradition that had long been bandied from one book to another. How true was this utterance I was to learn five years later when I was to attempt to unravel the facts concerning the Lorings, and their house.
But getting permission in 1932 was a slow affair. I must write to the United States Embassy in London where I must present my passport. The United States Embassy must apply on my behalf to the British Foreign Office. The Foreign Office must take the matter to the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, who would decide, and all this took time, which few tourists possess. The two weeks that may seem ample in which to view a city are nothing at all for research. I had hopelessly gone on to Exeter where one morning I was startled to receive a long, brown franked envelope bearing outside in large, black capitals the words "On His Majesty’s Service." Within was my permission. And although it was almost sailing date, I did have time to return to London and join the nervously eager group waiting before the portals of the impressive building in Chancery Lane, heart of the legal district and object of my desire. Here was the storehouse of the National Archives of Britain, which had accumulated in the Courts of Law and Departments of State since the Norman Conquest.
As I recall my women companions, they were all markedly of the bluestocking type. When they donned their long cotton dusters for the struggle, they were attractive chiefly for their singleness of purpose. I remember that even the plumbing was ancient; that the room reserved for readers of older records was called the Round Room, because it was just that, with a circle of readers’ desks so placed that the chief attendant could view all.
Meanwhile at home the interest that the purchase of the Loring-Greenough House by the Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club had stimulated in the history of Jamaica Plain, especially in that of the house and its early occupants, had not abated. The revival of enthusiasm for the whole Colonial past, occasioned by the Boston Tercentenary in 1930, had found expression at Loring-Greenough House in a neighborhood garden pageant. A widening circle was realizing that the club, in acquiring the old mansion, which had been built for a famous Massachusetts Tory, Commodore Joshua Loring, had fallen heir to a large portion of New England history, history not only of national moment but of romantic poignant intimacy that had touched a multitude of significant lives. There was an urge to continue the search for more detail, particularly after the dismaying discovery that our hitherto chief authority, Francis S. Drake, in his book of l878, The Town of Roxbury, Its Memorable Persons and Places (Jamaica Plain, it will be remembered, for 216 years had been the middle portion of that town) occasionally did not agree with the legal papers; in short, in the mass of material that he treated, he made human mistakes and others had copied them. Moreover, all too seldom did he cite his sources. We could be grateful to Drake for arousing interest, even emotion, over the absorbing past of Jamaica Plain. More than anyone else he had saved old Roxbury from oblivion, but we must seek further if only to verify his statements, and perhaps find more. As a framework we could rely on the excellent Loring Genealogy, which had been printed forty years after Drake published and had been culled from an extraordinary treasure of Loring ancestral records now the property of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
The search revealed many a choice bit. The registries of Suffolk and Norfolk disclosed every transfer of the land from its first settlement in the 1600’s to its acquisition by the Club in 1924. There was even a little Elizabethan handwriting lingering about, a petition from the early inhabitants of the town asking pardon for building so far from Roxbury Meetinghouse, and the very first book of records of the old Town of Roxbury, brought up from the black coal dust of the cellar of City Hall, Boston. The hunt for detail had plenty of thrills.
We found that Joshua Loring, builder of the mansion, had been born in Boston August 3, 1716, descended on both sides from Massachusetts pioneers. His mother had been Hannah Jackson of the notable Jackson family of Newton, his father, for whom he was named, fourth in line of Deacon Thomas Loring who had come from Devon to Hingham in 1634. The father had died when the son was but five, and young Joshua had come to Roxbury to learn from James Mears the father’s trade of tanning.
It was exciting to find the boy’s name in manuscript Roxbury records, which showed that, even at fifteen, he had been able and aggressive. We could well believe that, in spite of his apprenticeship, he had never been a tanner. The family record showed that when he became of age he went to sea, entering upon the tempting but hazardous life of privateering in the long struggle of the English colonies with the French.
In 1740 at twenty-four he married twenty-year-old Mary Curtis of Roxbury, fifth child of the eleven of Samuel Curtis, whose thirty-one acres of beautiful farm land lay along the northeasterly end of Jamaica Pond.
By 1744 Loring was commanding "a fine brigantine privateer of Boston, with a crew of one hundred and twenty seamen." We found supporting evidence in his designation as "Captain Joshua Loring" in a church record of that year which listed him with Honorable Paul Dudley in a small group of donors who helped restore the fire-stricken Roxbury meetinghouse. Early listings of members of the Boston Marine Society showed that he had been admitted among ship masters on February 3, 1744, certified No. 15. And the year 1744 was otherwise memorable for Loring. In August, while he was cruising near Louisburg, his fine vessel met two French men-of-war. After a chase of four hours and heavy cannonading, Loring’s vessel was captured with sails and rigging torn and a topmast shot away; but, although captain and men were taken to Louisburg prison, Loring’s personal luck held. While the men were put in close confinement, he was placed comfortably in an officer’s house, respected for his resistance to a superior force, and in December was back in Boston, released by prisoner exchange. Soon after, on January 23, 1745, he became lieutenant in the Royal Navy.
During Loring’s absence, on November 1, 1744, his first son, to be known to Massachusetts history as Joshua Loring the Younger, was born in Roxbury. A daughter Hannah, who became the Mrs. Joshua Winslow of Copley’s portrait, had been born two years earlier, December 15, 1742.
It was in 1752 that Loring, then in his thirty-sixth year, took title to an old Roxbury farmhouse with spreading lands in the middle of the Jamaica Plain section of Roxbury, of which the present grounds of the Loring-Greenough House are a remnant. The place, from its first settlement by a Polley through three generations of that family had been known as the Polley Farm. It had been the childhood home of Mary Curtis Loring’s grandmother, who had been Hannah Polley, and it had been sold out of the family line but seventeen years. Thus through nearly a century it had been developed from a few wild acres to a sixty-acre farm. It lay not over a mile from the farm of Joshua Loring’s father-in-law. We found two inventories from its earlier period, one of April 2, 1689, and the other of January 8, 1721. Each shows the simplicity, even harshness of farm life in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in Jamaica Plain.
When Joshua Loring bought, it was from heirs of Joshua Cheever, a wealthy Bostonian who had evidently acquired the farm for investment. Loring paid "Six hundred ninety three pounds, six shillings, and eight pence Lawful money," and thereby received-or as he thought-"to his … only proper use benefit and behoof forever … A Certain Farm or Tract of Land situate … in the Town of Roxbury … County of Suffolk containing about Sixty acres … bounded as follows, Northerly on the Country Road in part, and partly on the land of William Burroughs, Jn. Williams, and Ebenezer May or on a private way, Easterly on part of said Way & partly on the land of said Ebenezer May and Eleazer May, Southerly on land of John Weld, and Westerly on the Country Road. Also a Wood lot containing fifteen acres more or less situate in Brookline … Also a piece of Saltmarsh containing about five acres," concerning all of which more would later be heard.
It was with pleasurable recognition that we learned, that the purchase had been aided by a substantial mortgage loan from Isaac Winslow, the same man whom we know from no less than three portraits in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The "full just Sum of fourteen hundred Sixty and Six good Spanish Mill’d Dollars of full weight" was the amount for which Loring gave him his bond.
Heightened hostilities against the French pushed Loring’s career. On December 19, 1757, he was commissioned captain in the Royal Navy. In 1759 he was commanding operations on Lakes George, Champlain, and Ontario, called by the high-sounding title of Commodore and Commander of Naval Ships on the Great Lakes, but he had a primitive task.
His advertisement in March of that year, under authority of Major General Jeffrey Amherst, for "deck sloops and schooners of His Majesty’s transport service, and also for battoe or boatmen, and ox-team drivers" shows the nature of the rough campaign. Francis Parkman has set forth the hardships of that lakeside war: the lack of roads, the scarcity of food and of all needful supplies, the ever present danger of Indian attack, yet the need for Loring to build from the standing trees of the forest on the wild shore of Lake Champlain a vessel and other craft in a losing race against oncoming winter in order that he might bear his part in supporting the stratagem that was to conquer Quebec.
Just as 1744 had been a year of destiny for Loring, so was 1760. We were bewildered to reconcile his war activities with the legal documents that showed his movements in Jamaica Plain. While every effort was being directed by Amherst to complete the conquest of Canada by the taking of Montreal by encirclement, and Loring was guarding the important approach by way of the lake waters, on March 22 a lease from the Eliot School trustees was being arranged by or for him for the use of land across the highway from his farmhouse, in order that the old dwelling might be moved thither. The lease helps to fix the date of the building of the mansion which was erected on the site, built the better, beyond doubt, because of Loring’s knowledge of wooden shipbuilding. A note of July l, 1760, showed that on that date the site was cleared of debt. The moved house would serve as a parsonage for a church society yet to be gathered.
The end of the Commodore’s war career was abrupt. On August 23, 1760, with the Montreal campaign thrusting to a crisis, its triumphant close only two weeks and one day away, Loring in his vessel the 0nondaga grounded in the St. Lawrence River, after a short struggle with the island force of Fort Levi, received a cannon shot that tore the calf of his right leg. That he survived the severe wound is remarkable.
Meanwhile the new house was rapidly rising. The Reverend Thomas Gray, Jamaica Plain minister for more than fifty years following 1793, who lived in the moved farm house-parsonage, has named August of 1760-the very month of Loring’s wounding-as that of the erection of the mansion.
The decade that followed appears to have been the most prosperous of Joshua Loring’s life. He could live well on his pension from the British government plus his private transactions, which later were found to have been many. Family tradition tells of the choice livestock that he added to his farm, the planting of new orchards, and the laying out of gardens.
As to the Commodore’s family who enjoyed the country life in Jamaica Plain, we found printed confusion. James H. Stark named Joshua the Younger as twin of Benjamin. Others followed him with further errors. Family records establish that after the birth of the first child, Hannah, and of the first son, Joshua, the Younger, twin sons, Joseph Royall and Benjamin were born in 1750. Their mother had twin brothers, Joseph and Benjamin Curtis, and plainly named her sons for these. A daughter Mary, of whom no further mention was found, was born in 1760, and in 1761 a second pair of twins, John and Thomas. Of the four younger sons, three attained manhood and had notable careers, John being in his turn a commodore. Thomas died in 1768 as a child of seven.
In 1761 Joshua the Younger was an ensign in the British Army, in 1765 lieutenant in the 15th Foot. Hannah, on December 26, 1763, at twenty-one married Joshua Winslow, nephew of the Isaac of the mortgage and cousin of Susanna Clarke, who was to be the wife of John Singleton Copley. Copley’s charming portrait of Hannah is dated the year of her marriage. On October 19, 1769, Joshua the Younger married Elizabeth Lloyd, of whom much was later to be printed. Benjamin, Joseph Royall’s twin, is named second in the Class of 1772 at Harvard, the last class so to be listed in order of family prestige.
It must have been a pleasant community, Jamaica Plain of the 1760’s, in spite of the fast gathering trouble with the mother county. The estate of Sir Francis Bernard, Royal Governor, occupied after 1769 by Sir William Pepperell, lay at the southwest end of Jamaica Pond. Welds, Dudleys and others of rank and intelligence lived on comfortable estates not far away. A drive of but five miles over the Neck into Boston made a fascinating array of luxury goods available to prosperous shoppers, as could be deduced from the close-set columns of the Boston Gazette and Country Journal, goods brought in by all astonishing number of merchant vessels.
We found plenty of evidence, beside the Harvard listing, that the Loring household held a place of highest esteem. The records of the First Parish of Jamaica Plain, which was the Third of Roxbury, disclosed that Joshua Loring was moderator of the meetings that arranged for the coming to the community of its first settled minister, William Gordon, who was to become known as one of the earliest historians of the Revolution. We learned that Loring was one of the founders of St. Andrews Royal Arch Chapter of Masons and its first secretary. His tragedy awaited August, 1774, when he accepted General Thomas Gage’s appointment to the Governor’s Council by writ of mandamus. Council members for years had been elected by representatives of the people. Popular regard for Loring and his family turned to rage, and from that moment it would appear that no tale about them was too cruel to be believed.
We put ourselves in the place of Mary Curtis Loring in the years of her pride and happiness, then in her sorrow. For her had come the heartbreak of torn loyalties. Her brothers were strongly on the colonial side. Her wifely duty lay with her husband.
Then the Loring quest quickened. A fine volume came to hand from the St. Catherine Press of London,The Loyalists of Massachusetts Their Memorials, Petitions And Claims.
The book, by an experienced scholar, Edward Alfred Jones, in beautiful print and splendidly illustrated, contained as Plate XXXII the only picture that we have ever found of Commodore Joshua Loring. Even more exciting for me was the fact that the greater part of the work had been written from unpublished material preserved in the Public Record Office in London. Other material might be there of intense interest to our Club. This author had freely cited his sources. The papers were in the Audit Office group.
On June 7, 1955, a plane from Le Bourget, Paris, set me down gently at a London airport. And on the morrow I went and for days thereafter, only too happy to sign my name and address each day, to agree to wear no unseemly clothing, to carry no cane or umbrella into the search room, to make no disturbance, to do or not to do the other requirements asked of a foreign as of a native searcher.
Of course the plumbing was more ancient than before, and the place was chilly. I pitied the elderly woman in charge of the women’s coatrooms as she shivered and knitted before a tiny fire of coals in the un-June like damp. But the Round Room was the same; only the searchers seemed younger and gayer than in 1932, both men and girls, or perhaps it was only that I was twenty- three years older.
The eighteenth-century records were of course on paper, paper of a much better quality than much of ours today. The writing was almost modern, was fairly well punctuated, and easily understood, except for an occasional misspelling or a word that has passed out of use. Because of the German influence on the throne in the l700’s, most of the nouns were capitalized, but this capitalization was erratic. Though the reading was easy, there were many papers, and they were time-consuming.
They were preserved in large bundles wrapped in cloth and tied with tapes, the papers themselves in separate tape-tied packets within. And they were in the Audit Office group because almost immediately upon the close of the Revolution Parliament had empowered a commission to inquire into the losses of American Loyalists and reimburse them to some extent.
The reports, really petitions, promptly and eagerly made in these circumstances, were called, "memorials," and the persons who made them "memorialists." Each memorial had to be accompanied by letters from persons of standing vouching for the identity and integrity of the memorialist, and each must follow a definite formula. In fact, the memorialist, by paying a shilling, could obtain from the printing office of W. Flexney, opposite Gray’s Inn Gate, Holborn, a pamphlet that set forth the exact form in which to state his troubles, much as we can obtain printed help in making out our tax returns.
I found the papers exciting from the start, whether or not I was to find anything about the Lorings, and I could not help lingering over many with unfamiliar names. But when I came upon the report of a letter that had been written by Commodore Loring on December 14, 1769, to one Mr. Blackburn of London seeking insurance on the Jamaica Plain mansion, I knew that I was on the right track. The letter, quoted to substantiate a claim of value, was as follows:
I should be obliged to you if you would endeavor to get some Insurance made upon my house in the Country, my house it is true is a Wooden One, but I live pretty free from Risque of any Neighbors, and still where I could have the assistance of an hundred People in a few Moments I do not think there is any more Risque in a Wooden house than in a brick One, as nine times out of ten, they take fire in the inside. There is I am informed Numbers in Phila & New York insured in London. I should be glad to ensure two thousand pounds upon the house and furniture which is about five hundred pounds less than my real interest, if you can get this done I should he much obliged to you, or a less sum.
On the second day, in Bundle 47 AO 13, I reached the high spot of the search, the finding of Mrs. Loring’s memorial.
No. 267. The Memorial of Mrs. Mary Loring of Highgate near London 13th December 1783 received 15 December 1783 Evidences- Sir Wm Pepperell Wimpole Street Mr. J. Lorine Englefield near Reading Berks Rob. Bayard Esqr. Wood End near Wolton Underidge Gloucestershire Mr. J. R. Loring Lieut. of his Majestys Ship Salisbury in Portsm
To the Commissioner appointed by Act of Parliament for enquiring into the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists-
The Memorial of Mrs. Mary Loring of Highgate near London, Relict of Joshua Loring Esqr. late of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England humbly sheweth-
That the said Joshua Loring resided in Jamaica Plain in Roxbury within five miles of Boston, was a Captain in the Royal Navy and One of his Majesty’s late Council of the Province aforesaid appointed by Mandamus, which rendered him obnoxious to the People that he was repeatedly mobbed and otherwise ill treated in such manner as to oblige him to leave his House as early as 31. August 1774 and to fly for Refuge to Boston, and put himself under the Protection of the Kings Troops, from which time untill the Evacuation of the Place (which was more than eighteen Months) he wan confined to the Town, and never saw his House nor any part of his Estate afterwards, which was taken possession of by the American Troops on the 19th April 1775 (being allotted them for Quarters) who plunder’d it of the Furniture, Stock, and Stores-
That her late Husband did to the best of her belief, receive One Hundred Pounds in Boston from General Gage as a Relief, and further after his arrival in England an allowance of Two hundred pounds per annum as was given to other Councellors, but your Memorialist could not help feeling it extreamly hard that this allowance was stopped from the 5th July 1781, when her husband did not die untill the 5th Octr following, and further that She was not able to procure any Allowance whatever as his Widow untill 5th May 1782 when it commenced at one hundred pounds per annum-
Your Memorialist has five Children, four Sons and a Daughter to whom the Property alluded to in the Schude annexed is left upon her Death. The Sons have served In the Navy & Army the whole of the War-the losses sustained in consequence of the attachment of her late Husband to Government, and the Relief received appears by the Schedule-
Your Memorialist therefore Prays that her Case may be taken into your Consideration in order that your Memorialist may be enabled under your Report to receive such Aid or Relief, as her losses-the Services of her late Husband & Sons may be found to deserve-
And your Memorialist as in Duty bound will ever pray- Highgate 13’th December 1783
N. 1 & 2 A large well built House, out Houses, Coach House & Stable with Sixty Acres of Land under the best Improvement adjoining situated in Jamaica Plain in Roxbury within five Miles of Boston £ 2500
N. 3 Furniture, Stock, Farming utensils belonging to} 987.. I..6 the above
N. 4. A dwelling House, large Barn & Hovels with} 495} eighteen Acres of Meadow Land adjoining situated as above
N.5 Twenty three Acres of Woodland situated in} 232..I0
Roxbury within seven Miles of Boston
N. 6 Five Acres of Salt Meadow near Boston Neck} 37..10..
a Pew in the Church in Jamaica Plain 18..15..
N.7 A House, outhouses, Stable & Garden situated } 450
near the Common in Boston
N.8 A Pew in Trinity Church in Boston 12
A Negro Man named London 50…
My own Test. £ 4782..16..6
Mrs. Loring’s son, Joseph Royall Loring, allaying the natural doubt in the minds of the commissioners, and indeed of ourselves, that his mother could possess sufficient business experience to appraise her losses to the last penny, made oath before the Lord Mayor of the City of London that the itemized portion of the inventory was the joint work of his late father and himself. He was about to embark on a long voyage and would not be available for questioning. His deposition reads:
Joseph Royall Loring of Highgate in the County of Middlesex Lieutenant of His Majesty’s Ship Salisbury maketh Oath and Saith that he this Deponent is ordered to join the said Ship Immediately which said Ship is going on a Voyage to Newfoundland and not expected to return until on or about the Month of December next and this Deponent further saith that the Schedule or Inventory (Number three) prefixed to the Memorial of Mrs. Mary Loring of Highgate in the County of Middlesex Widow of the deceased Joshua Loring late of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England in America Esquire-containing the furniture Stock and farming Utensils belonging to the Estate of the said Joshua Loring situate in Jamaica Plain Roxbury in America aforesaid amounting to the Sum of Nine hundred Eighty Seven pounds & one Shilling and Sixpence is a true Inventory or Schedule of the said furniture Stock and farming Utensils taken by him this Deponent and the said Joshua Loring deceased and which said Inventory or Schedule so taken was and is in the hand Writing of this Deponent and this Deponent further saith that at the time of the taking of the Inventory of the said furniture Stock and farming Utensils the same was appraised and valued at the said Sum of Nine hundred and eighty Seven pounds One Shilling and Sixpence. And this Deponenent further saith that he has attended the Commissioners at their Office in Lincoln’s In fields from the third day of April Inst until the fourteenth day of the same Month in Order to give Evidence touching and relating to the Matters herein before mentioned but there being no Board of the Commissioners and this Deponent being obliged to join his said Ship without further delay, he this Deponent was advised lo make his affidavit before the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
Joseph Royall Loring
Sworn in London this 14th April 1784 before me
Sworn before the Commissioners of American Claims at their office in Lincolns Inn Fields January 29th 1785 Charles Munro
An Acct. of Sundry Stores, farming utencils and household furniture, left at Jamaica Plain In New England
3 Carts @ £8 24
3 Plows @ 20/ is 6o/ I Iron tooth harrow 25/ 4..5..
4 Iron Crow bars @ 10/ is 40/,7 shovels & spades 30/ 3..10
2 Pickaxes 14/, 4 Plow chains & 1 log D." £5 5..14
3 Wood Axes & two broad D." 32/,2 crosscut saws 21/ 2..16
1 chest of carpenters tools 4..
4 broad howes, 4 narrow D," 36/, set of drilling tools 5/ 4..6
4 sythes 20/, 6 Hay forks, 16 Rakes 20/, 3 sleds 40/ 4.
2 wheel barrows 10/ roleing stone for garden 40/ 2..10..
Cart harness for 3 horses & 4 ox yoaks 1..16
2 Slays, & harness D." compleat 6
3 Yoak of working Oxen & I D." steers 40
6 Cowes with Calves 36
6 head of young heffers @ 40/ 12
3 Coach horses & 1 young colt 70
20 Tons of Hay 60
250 Bushells of Indian Corn, Ry & Barley @ 2/6 31..5
200 Bushells potatoes @ 1/6 51
50 D." of different kinds of roots 5
60 barrells of Cyder 3
3.D." of Vinagar 13
300 Loads of dung in the yard @ 6/ (£) 90
lives stock, such as fowles, duck, hogs, &c, &c. 5
Timber, board, Plank &c in the yard 20
1 chariot & harness for two horses 100
1 single horse chaise & whiskey chair} 45
and harness for D."
£545 - 5
Household furniture In the Dining Room
1 Mahogany desk & Bookcase 25
Library of Books 30
1 pair Sconce looking glasses 30
2 Mahogany Dining tables 3
1 Marble slab 40/ 12 Masilinto prints 24/ 3..4
8 Chairs [ sic ] Mahogany Chairs @ 10 4
Andirons, shoves, & tongs & back 2..10
A closet of China & Glass &c. 10..
Furniture in the Hall
6 Views of the River St. Laurince of [sic] the fireplace 6..1
ornamental China over the mantlepiece 4..
8 Chairs @ 2o/ is #8, 2 Mahogany tables 6o 11
4 Window Curtains 8o/, 2 pr Branches 40/, 1 Tea table 21/ 7..1
1 Full Set of Table China #12—-, 3 dozn burnt China plates 28/ 2..8
2 set of Tea China, 3 large burnt China bowles, 3 small D." 13..10
Sundry pieces of old china with odd dishes 4
A Pymarid of jelly Glasses 5
52 - 19
In the Landing Room
6 Winsor Chairs 54/ a Weather glass 21/ 3..15
1 8 Day Clock with mahogany 20..
In the Dressing room & Bed room Adjg.
Dressing Glass & Table + chairs & a desk 4
Bedroom, Bedstead, Bed & Curtains 3
Dressing table & Glass with 3 chairs 1..10
In the Kitchen
A compleat set of kitchen furniture, consisting of pewter,}
brass, copper, iron, 8 chairs & 2 strong tables, shovel, 40
In the Nursery
a Looking glass, 6 chairs, and one table 3..17
two Beds & Bedsteads without curtains 3
a trunk of odd Books 2
a Chest of draws 30/ andirons shovels & tongs 9/ 1 19 10..16
In the Blue Chamber
A Bed, Mahogany bedstead & Chinse curtains 20
6 Chairs @ 10/ is 60/, a, handsome burau tables & Dressing glass 8
a pair of handsome Scone glasses #6,4 window curtains 80/ 10 [sic]
a bath stove shovel & tonges & poker 1..10..39..10
In the Drawing room
8 Chairs, very handsome with worked bottoms 12
a pair of Scone glasses, handsome 6
Tea table 18/, 4 dammask Curtains yellow #16 16 18
1 pr. of branches, & pair of card tables 2.. 10 37..8
In two Small bedrooms
Two beds bedsteads & curtains £5, dressing table & glass 18/ 5.. 18
1 desk & 4 chairs 2..7..18
In the Chamber over the breakfast room
a Bed, bedstead & curtains 6..10
6 Chairs 36/ looking glass & table 45/ 4….11
chest of draws Andirons shovel & tongues 1l….11
In the garotts
three beds for Servants 4….10
2 large carpets £20, 1 oil cloth 80/ 24…
3 Scotch carpets 12..
Blanketts, quils & counter 2. 10 53..
a large washing Copper 10 10
Deduct for things valued viz.
Chintz Bed Curtains £ 4.. ….
Dressing Glass 10..6
4 Chintz Window Curtains 4.. ….
4 Yellow Damask ed." 16.. ….
Such were some of the possessions of the elder Lorings. It was fitting that the Commodore should adorn the wall above his fireplace with "6 views of the River St. Laurince," every winding of which he must have known from his campaigns. A substantial amount of his property, for which Parliament allowed no compensation, lay in bonds, mortgages, and other loans. Joshua Loring, like many another colonial gentleman in the days before banking was developed, as we know it, is shown to have been a personal banker for friends and neighbors. A typical source of Loring income was the following note of one John Smith:
I promise to pay Capt. Joshua Loring or Order: Nine pounds on demand with Lawful Intrist till paid being for Value rec’d £9:0 Roxbury 28th of May, 1774
And "Lawful Intrist" was high.
Mrs. Loring included it all in her statement of losses and did not hesitate to start the account with a computation of interest for over eight years at 6% of the whole value of the physical property, producing for this portion of interest alone the substantial amount of £2487: I:13, a high figure for the times. This she followed with a long list of personal bonds that her husband had held for neighbors and relatives, with interest at the satisfactory 6%, from Brewer, Child, Richards, Kennedy, Weld, Curtis, and others, all of whom had been, beyond doubt, impoverished by the war and its resultant inflation. However, feeling for equity was not lacking on this side; a committee here acted as agent for the absentee Loyalists, paid their unpaid bills, and as far as possible collected money due them.
Mrs. Loring was eventually allowed £2256, nearly two-thirds of her claim of £4815.
Her statement that her husband left his home "as early as 31 August 1774-and never saw his House nor any part of his estate afterwards" demolishes at a stroke a favorite Roxbury legend that has appeared often in print. Drake wrote, for example:
On the morning of the Lexington battle, after passing most of the previous night in consultation with Deacon Joseph Brewer, his neighbor and intimate friend, upon the step he was about to take, he mounted his horse, left his house and everything belonging to it, and pistol in hand rode at full speed to Boston, stopping on the way only to answer an old friend who asked, "Are you commodore?" "Yes," he answered, "I have always eaten the king’s bread and always intend to!"
Stark and the Dictionary of American Biography copied Drake. E. Alfred Jones quoted Stark. Earlier, in March, 1836, the Reverend Thomas Gray wrote down what must have been the local hearsay:
"Commodore Loring occupied his new house till April 1775 (next day after Lexington Battle) when, with his Family, he fled to England, It was immediately confiscated… ."
Miss Catherine P. Curtis, Mrs. Loring’s grandniece, born in 1797, recorded in her old age, without dating, what were probably the simple facts: "Grandfather Curtis’s sister Mary Maried Commodore Loring in the British service. He was obliged to make up his mind which cause to stand by. He sat up all night before his flight talking with his Neighbor Col. Brewer about the times… . The next morning he mounted his horse, pistol in hand, and rode to Boston, full speed … He left a beautiful new house … with a fine garden stocked with fruit trees … and a farm house, and sixty-five acres of land… . The Loring stock of cattle, cows, oxen and horses were running loose in the street, but Grandfather would not have one of these driven into his yard for fear he should be thought a Tory. ."
In any case, we can be sure that the flight was precipitate, more reasonably in August than later. That Loring expected to return in a happier time may be gathered from the fact that years afterward a wall in the cellar of the mansion was found to be double, and behind it was a stock of fine liquors of which no mention appears in the inventory.
For a year and a half the Loring family were no farther away than Boston and could hardly have helped knowing what was happening to the property. Indeed, during the siege, Mrs. Loring was allowed to pass the sentries in order to call upon her aged mother, who lived nor far from the mansion. ." Although on May 23, 1775, five weeks after the first shot of the Revolution, the selectmen were instructed to "take care of the estates of those gentlemen who have left them and gone into Boston," selectmen could have done little when recruits were swarming in. Private Samuel Haws of Wrentham wrote in his homemade butcher-paper diary, "May the 30 Day Captain Ponds Company moved to Commo. Lorings house."
On June 3, General Nathaniel Greene arrived in command of three Rhode Island regiments, and these were stationed in Jamaica Plain. It is a neighborhood tradition that Greene made the mansion his headquarters, but it could not have been for long. The battle of June l7 hurried the need for care of American sick and wounded, and the Third Provincial Congress, in session at Watertown, hastily arranged for hospitals. Their Journal recorded on June 23:
"The Committee appointed to provide a hospital for the camp in Roxbury reported that they have appointed the house belonging to Joshua Loring…"
A week later the Congress gave to Dr. Lemuel Hayward, trained by Dr. Joseph Warren, a commission as, surgeon of the hospital. By October Dr. Hayward could report: "Doctr. Willm. Aspenwall and myself have attended not less than six hundred patients as Provincial Surgeons, and out of that Number have not lost more than forty."
So the fall passed into the winter of the siege, which had become insupportable to the British and almost so to the neighboring towns. When on March 17, to the amazed, delirious joy of the province, Sir William Howe’s fleet, crowded with armed forces and Loyalists, sailed out of Boston Harbor for Halifax, Joshua Loring and his wife Mary sailed with them. Loring had suffered all that Mary Loring avowed in her memorial and far more. Title to his dwelling and to all his other real estate was yet to be taken from him, he himself to be proscribed and banished upon pain of death.
After the mansion had been emptied of soldier-patients, it was leased successively by the selectmen to various persons of prominence, the last of whom was Isaac Sears, who had won fame as a leader of the Sons of Liberty in New York. It was he who was living in the house when it fell under the Act of Confiscation of April 30, 1779, and became the property of the State.
Approval of the Act was far from general, even among the most ardent of liberty lovers. Eight days after the fatal vote, the Reverend William Gordon wrote to John Adams from the parsonage in view of the mansion, "To confiscate the estates of all which absentees without distinction, or exception I must deem, till I have more light, cruel-cruel, superlative cruel."
Cruel it seemed to us also when we sought to learn if the mansion really had been auctioned at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, as Drake had said. Spread in alluring if minuscule, faded print, we found the notice of the forthcoming sale in the Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser for May 20, 1779. The committee appointed for the business, Caleb Davis, Ebenezer Wales and Richard Cranch, had let no grass grow under their feet. The auction was to be held on Tuesday the first of June, the same day as that of the sale of the late country seat of Sir Francis Bernard, baronet, "on the border of a delightful Piece of Water known by the name of Jamaica Pond," Bernard’s to be sold at eleven in the morning, Loring’s at three in the afternoon,on the premises, not at the Bunch of Grapes.
This, the legal notice, was reinforced by our reading of the actual bills of the auctioneers, Russell & Clapp. There were items for printings by Benjamin Edes & Sons, 100 handbills and a charge for pasting them up, a fee for "the Cryer for Sundrie Times," to Syranus Collins of Roxbury the inflated price of £22-10 for "7 Dinners & Boles Punch, 2 Bottals wine hoss baitings & Oats," Rarest of all, behind which may lie a sorry tale, was a charge of one pound ten shillings "June 1st Paid for a Lince Pin for Mr. Russell’s chaise lost at the sale of Loring’s Place." Deflation of tires could have its counterpart in 1779!
Loring’s Jamaica Plain estate went in two portions, the smaller that contained the farmhouse named in the London inventory, to John Keyes, a tanner; the larger, with the mansion, to Isaac Sears. Gordon, ever eager to spread tidings, wrote on June 13 to Major General Horatio Gates in Providence, "It may be news to you that our friend Sears has purchased his house," the one word his revealing the occupancy.
Another house of Loring’s, "N.7" of Mrs. Loring’s schedule was advertised to be sold to the highest bidder on June 8 "at twelve o’clock at the Bunch of Grapes in State Street." It was this auction that was confused by Drake and after him others with the sale of the mansion. The house was described as "at the South End of Boston next to the South Writing School adjoining on the Common" to be sold at the same time and place as a "large and elegant Dwelling House … lately occupied by Sir William Pepperrel … pleasantly situated in Summer St., Boston, a little below Trinity Church."
It will be recalled that Sir William served in London as "evidence" for Mrs. Loring’s memorial.
The stay of Isaac Seal’s at the mansion was brief. His maritime ventures had been ruined by the war, and he was all but bankrupt. Sears assigned all his affairs, including the Jamaica Plain estate to his reliable son-in-law, soon to be his partner, Paschal Nelson Smith, and it was Smith who, on April 5, l784 sold the place happily to Anne Doane, wealthy widow of Elisha Doane of Wellfleet and Boston. Anne bought for a home in anticipation of her approaching marriage to David Stoddard Greenough, long-time family friend and her legal adviser. The marriage took place on May 11, five weeks after the purchase, and established at the house a family line that was to continue for 140 years.
For the Lorings, however, the I780’s were a tragic decade. Whether the climate of England did not agree, whether they lacked the plenteous food that they had enjoyed in America, or were borne down by their unhappiness, an amazing number of their immediate circle died in those ten years. Joshua the Elder went first on October 5, 1781, at the age of sixty-five. His eldest daughter, Hannah, Mrs. Joshua Winslow, died in 1785, at forty-three. Before she left America she had been widowed at thirty-three and left with six children for their Grandmother Loring’s aid. Joshua the Younger died in 1789 before he was forty-five. His brother Benjamin, the Harvard graduate, a Navy surgeon, died unmarried at thirty-seven in 1787. The death year of Mrs. Mary Loring, wife of the Commodore, has been variously given by historians. The burial of a Mrs. Loring on January 20, 1795, in the graveyard of St. Michael’s Church, Highgate, is probably hers, as also that of a "Josiah" Loring on October 11,1781, in the same place, that of her husband, the "Josiah" being a. mistaken interpretation of the abbreviation "Josa". Both were lately searched, by the Reverend Harry Edwards, vicar of St. Michael’s Church, who found also the burial record of their son, Benjamin Loring, who died 1787. Only the gossipped-about daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Lloyd Loring, survived them all.
The property of Elizabeth’s husband, Joshua Loring the Younger, had consisted largely of bonds and mortgages such as his father had owned. He submitted no inventory of his household possessions left in America, but one exists here in Boston in the Massachusetts Royal Archives. It reads like the belongings of a decently fastidious, homeloving couple, including toys for the children, Elizabeth and John. The latter, the younger, was born October 13, 1773, and was less than a year old when Joshua, the Commodore, was driven from his home, and but two when Sir William Howe was placed in command of British forces in Boston.
Although Joshua the Younger was bitterly execrated in America, I found letters commending him from General Gage, Lord Howe, and Lord Cornwallis himself. Cornwallis wrote:
I had frequent Opportunities of observing the Conduct of Joshua Loring Esqr in his Office as Commissary of Prisoners and I always found him diligent & attentive to his Duty: I can truly certify that he is a Gentleman of exceeding good Character and that he lost his Estate by his Attachment to his Majesty’s Government. (Signed) Cornwallis Mansfield Street 20th April 1783
I must confess that I was moved to hold in my hand at once the three notes from Gage, Howe, and the eminent Cornwallis who surrendered his forces at Yorktown.
The tale that Elizabeth, wife of Joshua the Younger, so engrossed Sir William Howe’s attention that he neglected his military duties and thus lost the American colonies has been dwelt upon and enlarged by various writers of recent times who have used their imaginations to fill in details. All hark back to one or both of two sources, neither reliable: the first a scurrilous reference in Francis Hopkinson’s self-styled "harmonious ditty,"
The Battle of the Kegs
; the other, statements of Judge Thomas Jones in his History of New York in the Revolution
Judge Jones, a New Yorker who had lost heavily in the conflict, hated both sides. While he denounced Howe as stupid and corrupt, he characterized American leaders as knaves or uneducated fools. When E. Alfred Jones cites Judge Jones as authority for the scandal, he adds, "Jones’s observations must, however, be received with caution." And Bellamy Partridge, in his Sir Billy Howe, after relating his version of the matter, admits that contemporary writings have not shed any considerable light on the subject.
Beyond doubt the younger Mrs. Loring was, to say the least, careless of her reputation, although her husband, who was a close friend of Sir William, was with her throughout the period in question, until she left America in 1778. And it is certain that Joshua the Younger was broken in health and spirit as well as finances when they resettled together at Englefield near Reading, England. Yet his wife bore him three more children there in the years before he died in 1798.
I found letter after letter from him begging for Government assistance under various categories and asking for resumption of salary for offices that he had formerly held in America but that no longer existed. In view of the letters and all the gossip, I found of special interest the wife’s plea for compensation in her widowhood. Her memorial is short.
The Petition of Elizabeth Loring
That Your Petitioner is left the Widow of Joshua Loring who died at Englefield in Berkshire on the 18th of September 1789 and who was in the receipt of ten shillings per Day, half Pay, in consequence of his having been Commissary of Prisoners in North America during the late unhappy Dissensions in that Country.
That previous to these Dissensions your Memorialist and her family lived in a State of Comfort, & Affluence, until her Husband, disdaining the most flattering Overtures made to him by the disaffected Party, obtained with the Approbation of General Gage, the hazardous but important Office of High Sheriff of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, preferring an active Discharge of the Duty he owed to his King, whom he had long served in a Military Capacity to every other Consideration.
By the event of the War her Husband was deprived of all his Property, the greatest Part whereof consisted in Bonds and Mortgages, for which there has not been any Compensation admitted—-By Death the principal Support of his Family, a Widow and five Children, three of whom are infants, is also lost, and they must sink into the most distressing State of Poverty unless Relief is extended to them. The long and Expensive illness of her Husband makes this Distress immediate, as his half Pay due since the 24th of June cannot be for some time received, after every Guinea that could be commanded has been expended.
Your Petitioner therefore, trusting to the Varacity of her Representations, and the Reality of her Distress, prays That such Pension or Allowance may be granted to her and her five Children as the disinterested Loyalty of her Husband,-his former Situation in Life-the Number of his Family-and their pressing and immediate Distress may be thought to seserve [sic] from the Bounty of Government.
by your Petitioner who as in duty bound will ever pray Elizabeth Loring
To this petition of Elizabeth Loring, whom Kenneth Roberts made the evil spirit of his novel, Oliver Wiswell, never once mentioning that she was the mother of young children, is appended the following in the rough, blotted handwriting of Sir William Howe. He must either have used a very poor quill, been emotionally disturbed, or been trembling with age. Since he was but fifty-nine, it was perhaps not the latter.
I certify to the Facts as stated in this Petition relative to the late Mr. Loring’s Loyalty, to the Widow’s present distressed circumstances, and to the affluent income Mr. Loring enjoyed in America- W. Howe
Certainly a weight of sorrow and humiliation had fallen between Howe and Elizabeth Loring since they had danced too often together in America and these days fourteen years later which find her appealing for help.
Elizabeth won her request and lived until 1831, receiving Government allowances for no less than forty-two years. It would hardly seem that Britain would so have rewarded her, had she been responsible for the loss of the American colonies. Her children and grandchildren were destined to rise high in Navy and Church.
The Lorings personalize for us the American struggle for liberty. Through them we realize in a vivid way the family aspects of the conflict, the difficulties that were involved on each side, and for each side the terrible cost of war, not only in treasure but in pain and in displaced home and emotional life. We are fortunate to have this detailed view of our past that is linked so strongly with the beginnings of the United States as a nation. Through it we can have a stronger appreciation of our forefathers, for their firmness and courage to oppose authority when it was based on the injustice of taxation without representation. A highly intelligent Scottish gentleman once said to me, "When your country won its liberties, it won our liberties too."
1. Eva Phillips Boyd, The Place Remembers. Presented June 19, 1930, by Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club.
2. Francis L. Drake, The Town of Roxbury: Its memorable Persons and Places, Its History and Antiquities with Numerous Illustrations of its Old Landmarks and Noted Personages (Roxbury, 1878) . (Reprinted by the City of Boston, 1905 as Document 93.)
3. Charles Henry Pope and Katharine Peabody Loring, Loring Genealogy, Cambridge, Mass. Referred to hereafter as Loring Gen. Ancestral Records of the Loring Family of Massachusetts.Three handwritten and typewritten volumes cited by permission of the owner, the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Referred to hereafter as Loring Ms.
4. First to settle was John Polley, who bought the land of Joshua Hewes. Hewes is named in the earliest list (c. 1639) of "Estates and Persons of the Inhabitants of Rocksbury" as owner of 288 acres. Charles M. Ellis, The History of Roxbury Town, 1874, p. 19. Drake, op. cit., p. 50. List of owners" three generations of Polley name; Isaac Sears ; Paschal N. Smith; Anne Doane; five generations of Greenoughs covering 140 years; Thomas F. Ward et as.; Margurite Souther; Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club.
5. Massachusetts Historical Society.
6. Loring Gen., XLVI, I, 78,79. Loring Ms., I, 220.
7. Manuscripts Records Town of Roxbury, 23, "Monday March 12th 1732/3 Hezekiah Turner Iunr. Robert Anne, & Joshua Loring desired Liberty to Erect a pew in the Mens galleries next to the windows at the right hand of the stairs, and Loberty was Voted them Accordingly." This passage may be seen in microfilm at Boston Public Library and in Roxbury Town Record,II (1730-1790).
8. Loring Mr,. P. 222. Loring Gen., p. 78.
9. Roxbury Vital Records (Salem, Mass., 1925), I, 86. "Mary d. Samuell and Hannah [born] June 8, 1720." Also S.C. Clarke, Descendants of William Curtis, pp. 6-8.
10. Loring Ms., p. 223.
11. W.E. Thwing, History of the First Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts 1630-1904 , p. 140 et seq.
12. Boston Marine Society Constitution and Laws, 1834, 34. Listed as certificate No. 15, admitted Feb. 2, 1744. Also in book of 1842; dropped thereafter.
13. Loring Ms., p. 223. Loring Gen., p.78.
14. Roxbuty Vital Records, I 218. Reproduction, Loan Exhibition of One Hundred Colonial Portraits, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 19 June-21 September, 1940. No. 98.
15. S.C. Clarke, Descendants of William Curtis, p. 5. Isaac Curtis, born 1942, son of pioneers William and Sarah Curtis, married "Hannah Polly" of Roxbury, 1670. Ibid., p. 7. Their son Samuel was father of Mary Curtis Loring.
16. Polley to Walley, Suffolk Deeds, L, 152, April 16, 1735.
17. Suffolk Probate Records, Cases nos. 1824 and 4503.
18. John Walley II and other heirs to Joshua Cheever, Suffolk Deeds, LXXXI, 53, October18, 1745. Cheever inventory fills more than four pages. Suffolk Probate Records, Case no. 9898.
19. Heirs of Joshua Cheever to Joshua Loring, Suffolk Deeds, LXXXI, 26.
20. Winslow mortgage, Suffolk Deeds, LXXXI, 30.
21. Ms,. Military journal of Maj. Gen. Winslow of expedition against the French at Crown Point in 1756 , pp. 134, 152. Owned by Mass. Historical Society. See also Loring Ms,. P. 226; Loring Gen., p. 78.
22. Loring Ms., p. 227.
23. Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe.
24. Wynne, General History of the British Empire in America, 1772, II, 96, 97.
25. Records of the Congregational Society of the Third Parish in Roxbury. Lease from Eliot School Trustees, dated Mar. 22, 1760.
26. Suffolk Deeds, LXXXI, 31.
27. Gray, Half century Sermon Delivered April 24, 1842, Appendix 33. This building is shown to the left of the meetinghouse in he cover illustration.
28. Thomas Mante, History of the late War in North America (London, 1772), pp. 301-307.
29. Ms., Catherine P. Curtis, The Curtis Family, 8. Quoted by permission of owner, New England Historic Genealogical Society, The author was a grandniece of the wife of Joshua Loring the Elder.
30. James H. Stark, Loyalists of Massachusetts, 1910, p. 425. Edward Alfred Jones, The Loyalists of Massachusetts Their Memorials, Petitions and Claims, 1930 , p. 199, repeats Stark’s error. Dictionary of American Biography , p. 419, article by John G. Van Deusen, states wrongly that Joshua the Younger was born in Hingham. For single birth of latter, cf. note 16.
31. Jones, op. cit., p. 200.
32. Boston Marriages for 1763. Also noted by Boyle, "Journal of Occurrences in Boston from Jan. 1759 to 14 April 1778," printed in New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1930, p. 163. "1763 Decr 26 Married Mr. Joshua Winslow junr. to Mis. Hannah Loring, Daughter of Commodore Loring." (Note title Mrs., in this case a sign of dignity.)
33. Quinquennial Catalogue of Harvard University 1910, p. 153.
34. Milestone, gift of Paul Dudley, still stands opposite Loring-Greenough House.
P. Dudley Esq.
35. Boston Evening Post, Jan. 3, 1764, reported that 42 vessels cleared the port of Boston.
36. Loring Ms., p. 234.
37. Present whereabouts of original now unknown. It long hung in the offices of the British and Foreign Bible Society in London, but inquiry there in 1952 revealed that in 1926 or thereabouts it had been sold to an American through a dealer, and no record of sale was available. Nor with the single exception of the japanned highboy at Winterthur is there any trace of the other contents of the house.
38. Directions to the American Loyalists In order to enable them to State their Cases by Way of Memorial To the Honourable Commissioners appointed (by Statute the 23 Geo. III, C. 80) to inquire into the Losses and Services of those Persons who have suffered in consequence of their Loyalty to His Majesty and their Attachment to the British Government, By a Loyalist, London. MDCCLXXXIII. (Copy among rare books at Boston Public Library.)
39. Public Record Office, Audit Office 13, Bundle 47. "Extract of a Letter from my Father to Mr. Blackburn" submitted by Joseph Royall Loring.
40. Drake, op. cit., p. 417. Stark, op. cit., pp. 423-424. E. A. Jones, op. cit., p. 199.
41. Memorandum For Mrs. Genl Sumner. March 1863. "The following is an extract from a Statement in my Anniversary Ordination Sermon preached March 27, A. M. Thos. Gray." (Paper in possession of the author.)
42. C. P.Curtis, op. cit ., p. 8.
43.Ibid., p. 9.
44. Drake, op. cit., p. 35.
45. Original at N. E. Hist. Gen. Soc. Library.
46. The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775, published 1838, p. 378.
47. Proceedings Massachusetts Historical Society, LXII, 232, 318. Hayward’s commission dated June 30, 1775.
48. The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775, pp. 60, 61, Dec. 6, 1774. "Resolved, that the names of the following persons be published repeatedly, they having been appointed counselors of this province by mandamus and have not published a renunciation of their commission" Among the names was Joshua Loring.
49. Massachusetts Acts and Resolves, 917. Act passed Oct. 16, 1778.
50. J.W. Leonard, History of the City of New York 1609-1909, p. 226; Records of the Chamber of Commerce of New York, p. 160, "During the war he was engaged in some business in Boston but returned to New York at the peace and made a partnership with son-in-law Paschal N. Smith"
51. "Letters of Rev. William Gordon," Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, 1929-1930, LXIII, 410, dated May 8, 1779.
52. Massachusetts Archives, Royalists Papers, Vol. 154, Papers 271, 271a, 271b, 273, 275.
53. Commonwealth of Massachusetts to John Keyes, Suffolk Deeds, Vol. 130, p. 191. Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Isaac Sears, Suffolk Deeds, Vol. 130, pp. 237, 239.
54. "Letters of Rev. William Gordon," op. cit., p. 415.
55. The Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser, May 20, 1779.
56. Walter Barrett, The Old Merchants of New York City , says of Sears at this period, "He had recently come to New York from Boston and was very poor."
57. Smith to Anne Doane, Suffolk Deeds, Vol. 142, p. 236
58. Ms Genealogy, compiled by David S. Greenough Fifth, shows five successive generations continuing the name of David Stoddard Greenough. (Paper in possession of the author.) E. A. Jones, op. cit., p. 302, "Her brother Joshua stated March 22, 1785, that she had died on February 22 previously, leaving six children unprovided for, who were living with their grandmother, Mrs. Loring."
59. The frequently published date of Mrs. Loring’s death. 1789, cannot be correct. A letter of her nephew, Joseph Curtis, states, "The last letter of Mrs. Loring to my father was dated in 1791. She mentions Joseph her son being in poor health." Loring Ms. p. 246.
60. Massachusetts Archives, Royalists Papers, Vol. 154, Papers 436, 437, 438, "April 9, 1776 Inventory of Joshua Loring Junrs. Household Furniture in the House of Capt. Robert Calef in Green’s Lane. " Items include "Childs Cradle", "Childs Riding Hourse & Sundry."
61. Henry Belcher, The First Year of the American Civil War; Allen French, The First Year of the American Revolution; Bruce Lancaster, From Lexington to Liberty ; Bellamy Partridge, Sir Billy Howe; Kenneth Roberts, Oliver Wiswell.
62. Miscellaneous Essays and Occasional Writings of Francis Hopkinson (Philadelphia, 1792), III, 169.
63. The History of New York During the Revolutionary War and of The Leading Events in the other Colonies at that Period. By Thomas Jones Justice of the Supreme Court of the Province, Edited by Edward Floyd De Lancy, Printed for the New York Historical Society 1879. 2 vols. This work was not published until nearly 90 years after it was written. Jones was himself a prisoner in Connecticut under the order of Loring, and his cattle had been plundered for British army use.
64. E.A. Jones, op.cit., p. 200.
65. Loring Gen., pp. 137, 226. Dictionary of National Biography , XXXIV, 138, 139. Sketch of Elizabeth Loring’s son, Sir John Wentworth Loring, Admiral.
By Eva Phillips Boyd. This article originally appeared in the April-June 1959 issue of Old-Time New England magazine and is reprinted with permission.
Copyright © Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.