of Redding, Connecticut (CT)
is portrayed as a Tory town in my brother Sam is dead but
town records contain very few references to the Loyalists
of Redding during the Revolutionary period. They most certainly
existed, and prior to the war openly disapproved of opposing
the British Government, stating "a firm dependence on the
Mother Country is essential to our political safety and happiness."
if not all, of Redding's Tories were Anglican Church members.
Anglicans were in a difficult position, their choice of religion
was tied closely to the crown of England and a split from
England left them with an uncertain future. Congregationalists
did not have these ties, so for them it was a matter of right
or wrong…did they agreed with the actions of England's leaders
confusion of the Tories/Loyalists is explained by Tim Meeker
in Chapter 2,
since I could remember, all my life in fact, there had been
discussions and arguments and debates about whether we ought
to obey His Majesty's government or whether we should rebel.
What kept confusing me about it was that the argument didn't
have two sides the way an argument should, but about six sides."
should be noted that many Anglicans were angered by the actions
of England's leaders, but felt a Rebellious split from England
was excessive and a diplomatic approach to the issues was
in the best interest of all colonists involved.
Tories referred to themselves as the Redding Loyalist Association.
The Redding Loyalist Association was led by the son of John
Beach, Lazarus. In February of 1775, they and other Tories
living in Fairfield County published an article in a New York
publication proclaiming their loyalty to the King.
Redding Loyalist's "resolutions" sent to James Rivington's
Gazetteer, the government organ (paper) in New York City,
proclaiming their allegiance to the Crown of England is as
Rivington: In the present critical situation of public affairs,
we, the subscribers, Freeholders and Inhabitants of the town
of Reading and the adjoining parts in the County of Fairfield,
and Colony of Connecticut, think it is necessary (through
the columns of your paper) to assure the public that we are
open enemies to any change in the present happy Constitution,
and highly disapprove of all measures in any degree calculated
to promote confusion and disorder; for which purpose and in
order to avoid the general censure, incurred by a great part
of this colony from the mode of conduct here adopted for the
purpose of opposing the British Government, we have entered
into the following resolves and agreements, viz:
Resolved, that while we enjoy the privileges and immunities
of the British Constitution we will render all due obedience
to his most Gracious Majesty King George the Third, and that
a firm dependence on the Mother Country is essential to our
political safety and happiness.
Resolved, that the privileges and immunities of this Constitution
are yet (in a good degree) continued to all his Majesty's
American subjects, except those who, we conceive, have justly
forfeited their rights thereto.
Resolved, that we supposed the Continental Congress was constituted
for the purpose of restoring harmony between Great Britain
and her colonies and removing the displeasure of his Majesty
toward his American subjects, whereas on the contrary some
of their resolutions appear to us immediately calculated to
widen the present unhappy breach, counteract the first principles
of civil society, and in a great degree abridge the privileges
of their constituents.
Resolved, that notwithstanding we will in all circumstances
conduct with prudence and moderation, we consider it an indispensable
duty we owe to our King and Constitution, our Country and
posterity, to defend, maintain and preserve at the risk of
our lives and properties the prerogatives of the Crown, and
the privileges of the subject from all attacks by any rebellious
body of men, any Committees of Inspection, Correspondence,
document was signed by 141 Freeholders and Inhabitants of
the town of Reading and the adjoining parts in the County
of Fairfield but the signers were not revealed by the publisher,
Charles Burr Todd wrote: "The effect of this document on the
Patriots of Redding was like that of a red flag on a bull.
They at once set to work to discover its signers and presently
made public in a circular the entire list so far as they belonged
to Redding. It was given out by the Committee of Observation
under this preamble:"
there was a certain number of resolves published- and whereas
said Resolves are injurious to the rights of this Colony,
and breath a spirit of enmity and opposition to the rights
and liberties of all America and are in direct opposition
to the Association of the Continental Congress: and notwithstanding
said resolutions were come into with a seeming view to secure
the said signers some extraordinary privileges and immunities,
yet either through negligence in the printer or upon design
of the subscribers, said signed names are not made public
- and now if there be any advantage in adopting those principles
we are willing they should be entitled there to; and for which
end and for the more effectual carrying into execution and
Association we have taken some pains and by the assistance
of him who carried said resolves to said Printer we have obtained
the whole of said names.
Committee of Observation added: "There are only 42 Freeholders
in the above number. There are several minors, etc. that make
the above number of 74 that belong to said Reading, and we
hereby hold them up to the public as "adversaries" to the
Association of said Congress."
by the order of the Committee of Observation for said town
of Reading. Ebenezer Couch, Chairman."
entire list of Redding Loyalists was published by the Committee
of Observation for all to see, publicly exposing the signers
and placing them in great danger among their Patriotic neighbors.
Not all of those who had signed were ardent adherents to the
British cause, and the "pressure" applied by the Patriots
in publishing the names of the signers caused some to realign
themselves with the Patriot cause. Those remaining adamantly
against the War of Independence fled to the safety of the
British lines, while the majority simply fell silent opting
for their trusted and beloved church leader, Rev. John Beach's
policy of passive resistance in the Revolutionary period.
Loyalists of Redding, Revolutionary Period
1775, a number of loyalists in town signed what was essentially
a neutrality agreement, saying they would not bear arms on
the side of the British and would not discourage enlistment
in the American army. Rev. John Beach was one of these signers
and perhaps it was concessions such as this agreement that
allowed the Anglican community to survive in Redding, while
other Anglican parishes in Connecticut dwindled and the ministers
of some of them went either into exile or were jailed.
Tories that chose not to heed the warnings and yield to the
Patriots were fined and imprisoned. Minutes of the Connecticut's
Governor and Council of Safety reveal the price paid by those
Beach, Andrew Fairchild, Nathan Lee, Enos Lee, and Able Burr
of Reading, in the county of Fairfield, being Tory convicts
and sent by order of law to be confined in the town of Mansfield
to prevent any mischievous practices of theirs, having made
their escape and being taken up and remanded back to his Honor
the Governor and this Council, to be dealt with."
and ordered by the Governor and his Council aforesaid, that
the said Lazarus Beach (etc…) be committed to the keeper of
the goal in Windham, within said prison to be safely kept
until they come out thence by due order of the General Assembly,
or the Governor and his Council of Safety, and that they pay
cost of their being apprehended and being remanded, etc…,
allowed to be 25 pounds, 3 shillings. Mittimus granted Jan.
Feb. 10, 1777, Beach, Burr, and Fairchild were ordered to
"return to Mansfield and there abide under the direction of
the Committee of Inspection of that town, while Enos and Nathan
Lee were permitted to return home on their giving bonds for
their good behavior."
he headed efforts to protect the safety of his church societies,
one agreement Rev. John Beach refused to comply with was the
omission of the King's prayer in his church services. This
position brought upon him the active persecution of radical
Patriots like the Sons of Liberty. In February of 1778, the
Justices and Selectmen of Redding informed Rev. Beach that
"in order that we may have peace and quietness at home" it
was in his best interest to omit the prayer:
Feb. 12th, 1778
Sir: We have no disposition to restrain or limit you or others
in matters of conscience. But understanding that you, in your
Public Worship, still continue to pray that the King of Great
Britain may be strengthened to vanquish and overcome all his
enemies, which manner of praying must be thought to be a great
insult upon the Laws, Authority, and People of this State,
as you and others can but know that the King of England has
put the People of these United States from under his protection,
Declared the Rebels, and is now at open war with said States,
and consequently we are his enemies.
you must have understood that the American States have declared
themselves independent of any Foreign Power - Now Sir, in
order that we may have peace and quietness at home among ourselves,
we desire that for the future you would omit praying in Public
that King George the third or any other foreign Prince, or
Power, may vanquish, etc… the People of this Land.
compliance herewith may prevent you trouble.
are, Rev. Sir, with due Respect, your obedient humble servants.
the Revd. John Beach.
Signed: Lemuel Sanford, William Hawley - Justices
Hezekiah Sanford, Seth Sanford, Thaddeus Benedict, John Grey,
William Heron - Selectmen of Redding"
Beach, however, continued to read the prayers for the King
vowing that he would "do his duty, preach, and pray for the
King till the rebels cut out his tongue."
John Beach, as a result, wasn't safe inside or outside of
his churches. The Rev. Beach served not only Redding, but
many of the surrounding towns as well. And it seems there's
a story of rebels bursting into his services and threatening
his life in every one. The Redding version is as follows:
squad of soldiers (hired, it is said, by Squire Stephen Betts
for a gallon of French brandy to shoot Mr. Beach), gathered
outside the open door of the church, and from one of them
a bullet was fired which lodged in the ribs of the sounding
board, a foot or more above the head of the venerable preacher.
the congregation sprang to their feet in unfeigned consternation
to rush from the church, he quieted them by saying: "don't
be alarmed, brethren. Fear not them which kill the body, but
are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is
able to destroy both soul and body in hell" and then proceeded
with his discourses as if nothing had happened."
Rev. John Beach died in March of 1782, well before the peace
treaty of September, 1783, but not as a result of a Rebel
sword or bullet, simply old age. In many recorded histories,
he is credited for maintaining a more tranquil community than
others in Connecticut.
Tories: Issac Drew, Ephraim DeForest, John, Joseph and Peter
Lyon, and Daniel Read, were among those whose land was confiscated
by the State courts. Many others were fined for refusing to
perform military duty but as a whole the Loyalists of Redding
were a less tortured one - before, during and after the Revolution
in comparison to others in the state, where recriminations
against British sympathizers took the form of wholesale jailing
and even murder. Lazarus Beach, most certainly a thorn in
the patriot's side in the early stages of the conflict, eventually
fell into rank and remained in Redding after the Revolution
serving as selectman from 1788-1789. Proof that extreme measures
were not taken against the Loyalists of Redding unless the
person had actually gone over to the enemy to take up arms
or screen themselves under the protection of the Ministerial
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