|Meet The Loyalist Soldier from the American Revolution
Offered by: Sheffield Museum of Rural Life
Social Studies/History PROGRAM DESCRIPTION Many people see the American Revolution as a conflict between Britain and the Thirteen Colonies. What is often overlooked is the fact that this conflict was also a civil war between fellow colonists, which pitted neighbour against neighbour, and split families apart. The Loyalists, who chose to remain loyal to their king, are estimated to have been between 20-33% of the population. Many Loyalists took up arms to defend their ideals, but many tried to stay out of the fighting, or were intimidated by mobs. Loyalists are often thought to have been only the most recently immigrated British elites, but loyalism cut through class and ethnic divisions, and even included William Franklin, Governor of New Jersey and son of Benjamin Franklin. For this session, students and teachers will interview Jacob Sipes, a real Loyalist soldier. Jacob Sipes was born on the frontier of New York and was living in Pennsylvania when the war started. He served in the famous Loyalist regiment, Butler's Rangers, and was resettled as a pioneer farmer in Upper Canada after the war. He is reenacted in first-person by one of his descendants. The Loyalist is prepared to discuss: -the reasons for staying loyal to the crown, and the choices faced by Loyalists -becoming a Loyalist soldier in the British Army, and the experiences of Loyalists during the revolution -The Peace Treaty, and the resettlement of the Loyalists in Canada -the 30,000 "Late Loyalists" who left the United States for Canada after 1783, including Black Loyalists and Native Loyalists -unresolved conflicts of the American revolution, and the hostile situation leading up to the War of 1812 The Loyalist will also have on hand various artifacts, including a British musket and farm tools. If desired by the teacher, the presenter may also teach the students a simple period dance, with live fiddle music.