Edmond Frank Peters.

Peters of New England: a genealogy, and family history; online

. (page 22 of 28)
Online LibraryEdmond Frank PetersPeters of New England: a genealogy, and family history; → online text (page 22 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

William Beamsley md. (2) Martha , who

survived him.

In the Suffolk Deeds (5 volumes), there is frequent
mention of William Beamsley and in 1 643 , 1 6-1 2 , of George
Beamsley " his lot, near Cedar Swamp and Muddy river."

A house is bought by William Wenboume of Christo-
pher Lawson, next to the lott of William Beamsley.

1652, Aug. 17, mention of upland of William Beamsley.

1652, Feb. 2, Boundary of William Beamsley.

1652-12-11 Boundary of William Beamslie.

1651-Oct. Boundary of William Beamsley.

Sale to William Beamesley by Mary Hawkins of Boston,
land 100 feet towards the street, boimded east with the
street, north with William Phillips, south with William
Beamsley and "part of William Philhps' land and part of
my owne westward." >









?! ^!^


r/r < i

A- V>

Vr- ^





Beamsley 359

1656, April, mention of William Beamsley's land.

1650-6-5. Said William Phillips sold to William
Beamsley land in Boston "in the Mill field being 238 feet
in length, or thereabouts, and in breadth at the South
East front fower score foote, and at the Reare Sixty
foote more or lesse as it is now staked out being bounded
with the lands of Mrs Mary Haukins wch I purchased of
hir as aboue exprest South East, the land of Richard
Bennet South West and my owne land North West and

William Beamsley sells for ;^3o land to Henry Shin.

There are several other allusions to William Beamsley
and to Martha Beamsley. In 1657 he is called a Yeo-
man. The word "laborer" as applied to him in the
church admissions is probably used in a religious sense,
as he was a large owner of real estate in Boston, and it
was only persons of some consideration who had military
titles conferred on them.

Will No. ig6, in the Probate Court, Pemberton Square,


In the Name of God Amen I William Beamsley being
sicke in Body, but of a perfect memory praised be God,
doe make and Ordajne this my Last Will and Testa-
ment, in manner and forme as followeth, first I committ
my body, unto the earth and bequeath my spirit to God,
that gave it, first [illegible] all I make my wife full
executrix and Administratrix of all my houses, Lands,
Orchards goods and Chattells whatsoeuer, that she shall
enjoye and possesse the same, unto her owne proper use,
as long as she shall Liue, Provided she shall Let Mercy,
haue that Chamber, wherein she now lyes for her owne,
and that there shall be with all conveniency made therein

360 Beamsley

A Chimney, and she to enjoye it dureing her widdow-
hoode, And I desire that my wife, may take the care and
charge of her, and see that she wants neither meate
drinke nor Cloathing dureing the tyme of her widdow-
hoode, And further my will is that after my wifes decease,
my whole Estate shall be then prized, and set to sale, The
whole Estate that is then left, to be equally distributed
amongst all my Children, Namely Anne Woodward,
Grace Graves, Mercy Wilbome, Hannah Beamsley, Ed-
ward Bushnell, EHzabeth Page, Mary Robison, And in
case any of these dye unpossessed, then it shall Retume
to the next heyre, And my desire is that these three
Bretheren Thomas Clarke, Richard Gridley, and Alex-
ander Adams, see this my will be fulfilled, according to
their best Endeavour, in wittness whereof I haue sett to
my hand and scale this fourteenth of September, 1658.

William Beamsley r - ^^ ^
Sealed in the p'nts of vs » j ^^^^ \

Thomas Clarke

Alex. Adames
John fferniside

The m'k R G of

Richard Gridley
Before ye [illegible] & Recorded 28,8, 1658

Thomas Clarke Alexander Adams Richard Gridley
deposed this paper to be ye last will & testament of Wm
Beamsly yt they saw him signe & scale ye same & [illegi-
ble] it to be his last will & yt then he was of a disposing
minde to their best knowledge.

Edw. Rawson, Recorder.


The boat swings from the pebbled shore,

And proudly drives her prow ;
The crested waves roll up before,
Yon dark gray land I see no more,

How sweet thou seemest now!
Thou dark gray land, my native land,

Thou land of rock and pine,
I 'm speeding from thy golden sand.
But can I wave a farewell hand

To such a shore as thine?

I 've gazed upon the golden cloud

Which shades thine emerald sod;
Thy hills which freedom's share hath ploughed
Which nurse a race that have not bowed

The knee to aught but God.
Thy mountain floods, which proudly fling

Their waters to the fall.
The birds which cut with rushing wing
The sky that greets the coming spring, —

And thought thy glories small.

But now ye 've shrunk to yon blue line

Between the sky and sea,
I feel, sweet home, that thou art mine,
I feel my bosom cling to thine,

That I am part of thee.
I see thee blended with the wave

As children see the earth
Close up a sainted mother's grave;
They weep for her they cannot save,

And feel her holy worth.

* See page 163, (492 VI.).

362 My Native Land, Good-Night

Thou mountain land, thou land of rock,

I 'm proud to call thee free ;
Thy sons are of the pilgrim stock,
And served like those who stood the shock

At old Thermopylae.
The laurel wreaths their fathers won

The children wear them still !
Proud deeds these iron men have done,
They fought and won at Bennington,

And bled at Bunker Hill.

There 's grandeur in the lightning stroke,

That rives thy mountain ash ;
There 's glory in thy giant oak,
And rainbow beauty in the smoke

Where crystal waters dash.
There 's music in thy winter's blast

That sweeps the hollow glen ;
Less sturdy sons would shrink aghast
From piercing winds like those thou hast

To nurse thine iron men.

And thou hast gems — aye, living pearls,

And flowers of Eden hue;
Thy loveliest are thy bright-eyed girls,
Of airy forms and elfin curls,

And smiles like Hermon's dew.
They 've hearts like those they 're born to wed,

Too proud to nurse a slave ;
They'd scorn to share a monarch's bed,
And sooner lay their angel head

Deep in their humble grave.

And I have left thee, home, alone,

A pilgrim from thy shore ;
The wind goes by with hollow moan,
I hear it sigh a warning tone,

"You see your home no more!"

My Native Land, Good-Night 363

I'm cast upon the world's wide sea,

Tom like an ocean weed;
I 'm cast away, far, far from thee,
I feel a thing I cannot be,

A bruised and broken reed.

Farewell, my native land, farewell!

That wave has hid thee now ;
My heart is bowed as with a spell,
That rending pang! would I could tell

What ails my throbbing brow !
One look upon that fading streak

Which bounds yon eastern sky.
One tear to cool my burning cheek.
And then a word I cannot speak, —

My native land, good-bye!

Their bark is out upon the sea.

She leaps across the tide, —
The flashing waves dash joyously

Their spray upon her side ;
As if a bird, before the breeze

She spreads her snowy wings,
And, breaking through the crested seas,

How beautiful she springs!

The deep blue sky above her path

So cloudless, and the air
That pure and spicy fragrance hath

Which Ceylon's breezes bear;
And though she seems a shadowless

And phantom thing in sport.
Her freight, I ween, is happiness.

And heaven her far-off port.

Mild, tearful eyes are gazing now
Upon that fleeting ship.

364 My Native Land, Good-Night

And here, perhaps, an ashy brow.

And there a trembUng lip.
Are tokens of the agony, —

The pangs it costs to sever
The mother from her first-born child,

To say farewell for ever.

And they who sail yon fading bark

Have turned a yearning eye
To that far land which seems a line

Between the sea and sky.
And as that land blends with the sea.

Like clouds in sunset light,
A soft, low voice breathes in the wind :

" My native land, good-night! "

And they who stood upon the shore,

And bend them o'er the sea
To catch the last faint shadow of

The shrouds' dim tracery, —
I ween, if one could hear the sigh.

Could catch the mother's tone.
He'd hear it say: "Good-night, good-night,

My beautiful, my own."

That ship is gone — lost to the eye, —

But still a freshing breeze
Is e'er awake and drives her on

Through smooth and pleasant seas.
Right onward then she will dash on

Though tempests shake the air,
For hearts that fear not Ocean's wrath

I ween will aye be there.

That sea is Life ; that bark is but

The hopes of wedded love ;
The wind which fills its sweUing sails

I trust is from above;

My Native Land, Good-Night 365

And ever may its progress be

Through summer seas right on,
Till blended with eternity's

Broad ocean horizon.

Hugh Peters.


At the time of the breaking out of the revolution which ended in
the formation and establishment of the American Republic, certain
resident colonists, to the number of more than twenty thousand,
remained true to the royal cause. These gallant patriots are known
to history by the name of United Empire Loyalists ; in consequence of
the stand taken by them, they were proscribed by their fellow-colo-
nists, and compelled to fly from their homes and seek protection
under the British flag. Most of them fought valiantly on the royal
side during the struggle, and, after its close, the various State Legis-
latures adopted severe and highly penal enactments in order to pre-
vent the return of "The Tories," as the United Empire Loyalists were
called, to their homes in the new Republic. More than ten thousand
of them eventually settled in Canada, and their energy contributed
not a little to the prosperity of the country. Others found their way
to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, others to Great Britain, and a
few to the West Indies. Conspicuous among these gallant men who
stood fast allies of the royal cause, was Lieut. -Col. John Peters, an
officer in the Queen's Loyal Rangers. A few years after the close of
the war he went to England, where he remained until his death, in the
year 1786; he wrote a narrative giving an account of his life during
the course of the rebellion.

The original manuscript of this narrative is in the possession of Mr.
S. P. Bell of New York City, and the contents, we understand, have
never before appeared in print. Through the kindness of a corre-
spondent, Mr. Samuel James McCormick of New Rochelle, West-
chester Co., N. Y., we are enabled to lay a copy of this narrative
before our readers. It will be noticed that the writer reflects somewhat
severely upon the conduct of certain high officials whose names are
familiar to persons acquainted with the history of Canada. These
reflections may perhaps be to some extent colored by the writer's
prejudices; at the same time the narrative is written in a spirit of
evident fairness, and freedom from deliberate bias. Similar charges,
moreover, have been made by other writers, and it is by no means
probable that they are wholly groundless. The narrative contains
some little information that is new, and upon the whole it is not with-
out value as a contribution to Canadian history.

Sir, I do not mean to take any pride from family, as

* The Story of a United Empire Loyalist. (Copy of a newspaper
cutting obtained from Nova Scotia.)


Autobiography of John Peters 367

you will conceive, nor to boast of my exploits, but to
relate my story in simplicity.

I was bom in Hebron, in Connecticut, in the year
1740. My father was a wealthy farmer, and colonel of
the militia. He descended by his father from William
Peters, a brother of Hugh Peters, Oliver Cromwell's
chaplain, and of an ancient family in Cornwall, Old Eng-
land, and by his mother from Major General Thomas
Harrison, the Regicide.

My mother was a descendant of John Phelps, a con-
siderable man in Cromwell's Party. I had a liberal
education at Yale College, in Connecticut, and received
the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1759; ini76i, I married
Ann, daughter of Robert Bamett, a merchant at Windsor,
in Connecticut; she was bom in the year 1740, and is
now the mother of eight sons and one daughter.

In 1763 I. settled in Piermont, in the province of New
Hampshire, on the east bank of the Connecticut river,
where I had a Tract of land, and had built a house, a
saw-mill and barn. I was, by Governor Wentworth,
appointed Captain Commandant of the Militia, and
Deputy Surveyor of the King's woods. In 1770 I re-
moved to Mooretown, on the west side of the Connecticut
river, where I had a large parcel of land, and I built an
house, bam, saw and grist mills, and carried on hus-
bandry. Being now in the province of New York, I was
appointed by Governor Tryon to be Colonel of the Militia,
Justice of the Peace, Judge of Probates, Registrar of the
County, Clerk of the Court, and Judge of the Court of
common pleas. Here I was in easy circumstances, and
as independent as my mind ever wished. In 1774 the
spirit of discord and rebellion so far prevailed as to occa-
sion me much trouble, a congress was forming through
the Colonies. The counties of Cumberland and Gloucester,
(since called Vermont) desired me to attend the congress

368 Autobiography of John Peters

to meet at Philadelphia in 1774 which appointment I
accepted of, and passing through Hebron on my way to
Philadelphia, I was mobbed with my Uncles the Rev.
Samuel Peters, Mr. Jonathan and Mr. Bemslee Peters, by
Governor Trumbull's Liberty Boys, because we were ac-
cused of Loyalty. I was liberated after suffering much
ill language from the mob. The Rev. Samuel Peters
suffered more than I did. He and I agreed in opinion
that the teachers, bankrupts, dissenting teachers, and
smugglers meant to have a serious rebellion and a civil
and religious separation from the mother country. My
Uncle advised me to meet the congress, to find out
what their aim was. I did so, and being certainly con-
vinced that nothing short of independence would satisfy
them, I refused to take the oath of secrecy in Congress,
and wrote to my uncle who had been forced to fly to
England, telling him what to expect, and I. returned to
my family at Verdmont * ; but on my way home I was
seized by three mobs, ill treated and dismissed at Weath-
ersfield, Hartford, and vSpringfield. In April, 1775, I
arrived in Mooretown, when another mob seized me and
threatened to execute me as an enemy to Congress.

Then they carried me to the committee. Deacon
Bailey being president (but since a rebel general) who
ordered me the same evening to gaol, and discharged
me the same evening at 12 o'clock because they had
not found proof of my corresponding with General
Carleton, on pretense of which I had been committed to

Soon after another mob seized me, and insisted that I
should sign their Covenant, which was to oppose the King
and British army with my life and property, which Cove-

* Evidently this is a spelling taken from his uncle the Rev. Samuel
Peters, who insisted that it was correct and that Vermont meant a
mountain of maggots.

Autobiography of John Peters 369

nant I did not sign and begged time for consideration,
under bonds, which was granted.

In the meantime news arrived that the British troop had
marched out of Boston and were murdering the inhabi-
tants, both yoimg and old. Whereupon the committee
required me to give orders to the mihtia to be ready at
an hour's notice to march against the royaHsts. I gave
them orders. This gained me much favor for a few days
with the mob. However, as the report of the massacre
near Boston by the King's troops diminished away, the
mob renewed their attack upon me, searched my house
for letters of secret correspondence with General Carleton,
with whom in fact I never had corresponded.

They took all papers found in my house, insulted me,
and required me to sign deeds of some lands I had bought,
confined me to the limits of the town, and threatened me
with death if I transgressed their Orders. The mob
again and again visited me, and ate and drank, and finally
plundered me of most of my moveable effects. Added
to this my Father, Col. Peters of Hebron, wrote against
me, and urged on the mob, assigning for reason "that
his Uncle, Peters, the clergyman, who had taught him
bad principles, was driven out of the coimtry, and that
he would soon become a friend to America if severity was

By January, 1776, vexation had hurt my health, and
the madness of the people daily growing worse, I thought
of a mode to make my escape to Canada, and I applied to
the rebel Col. Beadle, who had been my old and steady
friend, and was going against Canada. He consented to
take me along with him as a companion, and obtained
the consent of the Committee.

March, 1776, we left Mooretown and Col. Beadle used
me kindly and honourably, and never requested me to
bear arms, which he had agreed to before we left home.

370 Autobiography of John Peters

We arrived at the Cedars, when I prevailed upon Col.
Beadle not to burn the town which he was ordered to do.

I sent off to Captain (now Lieut. Col.) Foster of the
8th Regiment at Catarague, all the proper information in
my power and his answer was "he would attack the
Cedars a certain day" and advised me to keep out of
the way. I applied to Col. Beadle to be sent to Montreal
to procure provisions for the rebels; whilst I was there,
Captain Foster took the rebel fort at the Cedars; but I
had got Col. Beadle away.

Having received news of Capt. Foster's success, and
that a rebel party was going to attack him, I sent him
information which enabled him to form an ambuscade
whereby he took and killed near 150 rebels; the Indians
were enraged with the rebels because some of their
friends had been killed in the skirmish, and they killed
several captives and to stop their outrage Capt. Foster
gave them eight yoke of oxen and several cows. At
Montreal I met Dr. Franklin and the other Commissioners
from Congress, also Gen. Wooster and Col. Arnold, and
we dined together, when Arnold said: "Nothing but
independence would settle these matters, and he wished to
God it was now done."

Dr. Franklin and Gen. Wooster wrote a letter to Col.
Gazzen to let him know that Col. De Haws was going
around the mountains with 700 men to attack Capt. Fos-
ter, and Col. Arnold with the main Body, was to meet
Foster at Lachine with four field pieces. I obtained that
information and sent it over the mountains by Mr. Fer-
guson (clerk to Mr. Doby of Montreal) to Capt. Foster, by
which means he escaped over the river.

Arnold on his return to Montreal found Dr. Franklin
and Wooster had gone toward Albany, and he gave
private order to plunder and bum the city of Montreal.
I discovered this by Mr. Wheatly of Norwich, in Con-

Autobiography of John Peters 371

necticut, who, with Arnold, was to share the profit ; and
Mr. Wheatly offered me part if I would join with him. I
thanked Mr. Wheatly for his friendship, desired a few
hours to consider of it, and went and informed the in-
habitants of the design and they set a watch over the
city till Arnold left the town.

I went next to Sorel, where Gen. Sullivan commanded.
He took me a prisoner on suspicion that I had given
Capt. Foster and the Indians of Conisidoga information
of their intentions, and sent me to St. Johns ; the rebels
burnt Chamblie and St. Johns on their way to Isle-la-
Motte where we rested six days, and where I was set at
liberty because they had no proof against me, except
what arose from a letter that Deacon Bailey wrote to
Gen. Sullivan, "to take care of Col. Peters, who was an
enemy to America and would escape to Gen. Carleton
the first opportunity."

Gen. Sullivan and army set off for Crown Point, and I
had retired to the woods on the Isle la Motte and returning
in the evening of June 28th to the deserted camp, where
I foimd a canoe, which Dr. Skinner (who had also es-
caped) and I seized and paddled off in to St. Johns,
nearly forty miles, where we met General Frazer on the
29th of June. The General received me kindly and con-
ducted me to General Carleton at Chamblie, who being
satisfied with my conduct, gave me a pass to Montreal,
where on my arrival the inhabitants treated me with
much friendship and thanks for the assistance given in
preserving their town and property.

August 14, I met with Mr. Peter Le vines, the present
Chief -Justice of Canada, to whom I was known many
years before. Mr. Levine showed me every kind of atten-
tion that friendship and generosity could dictate, and
carried me to Chamblie, and introduced me to General
Carleton as a person he knew might be depended upon.

372 Autobiography of John Peters

October, 1776, I went as a volunteer with General
Carleton on Lake Champlain as one of the pilots to General
Frazer in the van of the army. After the defeat of the
rebel fleet and army, on the third of November, the
royal army returned from Crown Point to St. Johns.

March, 1777. Two deserters from the rebel country ar-
rived at Montreal and informed me that my property
had been seized, confiscated, and myself outlawed, and
that Mrs. Peters and the children had been turned out of
my house in the month of January, 1777 ; that she and
her children had been sent off in a sleigh with one bed,
by Deacon Bailey, to Ticonderoga, one hundred and forty
miles through the woods, snow-storms and bad roads;
that Mrs. Peters, a small and delicate woman, had been
compelled to travel with her young children in her arms,
in deep snow and rain, and were almost dead when they
arrived at Ticonderoga, where the rebel general Wayne
received them with humanity and used them kindly, till
April, when he sent her and her children thirty miles on
their way to Canada, and left them with three weeks' pro-
visions in a deserted house near fifty miles from any in-
habitants between them and Canada ; here she stayed
eighteen days with her children only (the oldest being
fourteen years), her servant having been detained by
Deacon Bailey (for which General Wayne said he ought
to be damned). At length a British boat discovered and
carried them to a vessel and thence to St. Johns, where
they all arrived on the 4th May, 1777, well, but naked
and dirty.

May 6th, 1777, I met my wife and children at St. Johns
(having been advised of their arrival there) with clothing
and other necessaries, and carried them to Montreal. In
May, 1777, I was ordered by Sir Guy Carleton to raise a
regiment of which I was to be the Lt. -Colonel Command-

Autobiography of John Peters 373

June 14th, I was ordered by General Burgoyne to join
his Army with what men I had raised, and he gave my
regiment the name of the Queen's Loyal Rangers.

July 23rd, 1777, my corps, for the first time, was mus-
tered at Skeensborough by Alexander Campbell, Deputy
Commissary of Musters. I had mustered 262 men only,
but I had raised in all 643, though, as my situation was
generally in the advance party, my men were killed off
not quite so fast as I enlisted them, but prevented them
being mustered as regularly as they should have been. I
was in every skirmish which happened between the army
under Gen. Burgoyne and the rebels that campaign,
except at Hublenston.

August 1 6th, 1777, I commanded the Loyalists at
Bennington, when I had 291 men of my regiment with
me, and I lost above half of them in that engagement.
The action commenced about nine o'clock in the morning
and continued imtil near four o'clock in the afternoon,
when we retired in much confusion.

A little before the Royalists gave way the rebels pushed
with a strong party on the front of the Loyalists which I.
commanded ; as they were coming up I observed a man
fire at me, which I returned. He loaded again as he
came up, and discharged again at me, crying out : " Peters,
you damned Tory, I have got you!" He rushed on with
his bayonet which entered just below my left breast, but
was turned by the bone. By this time I was loaded and
I saw that it was a rebel captain, Jeremiah Post by name,
an old playmate and school-fellow, and a cousin of my
wife. Though his bayonet was in my body I felt regret
to destroy him.

We retreated from Bennington to the reinforcement
that was coming up, which was soon attacked and
obUged to retreat to the bridge at the mills in Cambridge,
which I broke up after the troops had retreated over it.

374 Autobiography of John Peters

And the same evening we retreated towards the camp
which we reached the next day. General Frazer received

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 24 25 26 27 28

Online LibraryEdmond Frank PetersPeters of New England: a genealogy, and family history; → online text (page 22 of 28)