Simon's Family History
John Stites - Audit Office compensation application - 2
To the Commissioners appointed by Act of Parliament to enquire into the losses and services of the American Loyalists
The memorial of Mr John Stites late of the City of New York, Merchant but now in London.
Sheweth...........That your memorialist is a native of
America and has always been a zealous adherent to the King and Govt. of Great
Britain. That at the commencement of the late rebellion in America your
memorialist was settled at New York and from the persecution of its inhabitants
he was obliged to fly to New Jersey where he purchased a small farm near
Elizabeth Town, to which he removed with his family and upon the Royal Army
taking possession of New Jersey in the autumn of 1776 he joined them and
rendered the Royal cause every assistance in his power.
Octr. 27th 1786
Evidence on the foregoing memorial of John Stites
Claimant sworn. Memorial read and confirmed upon oath.
Was settled in New York prior to the war. Is known to Mr. Jauncey and Colonel James Delaney. Was born at Elizabeth Town in New Jersey but had resided in New York from 1763 to 1775 as a Merchant. He always took part with the British, but cannot say but he conformed to the Americans so far as paying taxes and submitting to them whilst he lived under their Government. He thinks he did sign an Association in 1775 which was entered into New York for the Preservation of Order. In New Jersey it was called a Tory Association. He had once or twice turned out to exercise with the Militia at Elizabeth Town, but after the Kings troops landed in Staten Island he refused to go out against them and in consequence was obliged to quit the country. Says he joined the King’s troops the first opportunity and continued after he had joined them as a Merchant at New York where he was part owner of three privateers. He continued at New York till the evacuation and after that event he staid there still as a Merchant till late Spring. His family are still in New York. Says the Americans levied a fine of £270 currency upon him, when they came in on account of his having lived within the British lines. Says he has paid double taxes ever since and has served no office at New York. Being questioned whether he does not consider himself as a subject of the State of New York , says he does whilst he lives under their jurisdiction, but considers himself as a British subject residing there on sufferance. He means as soon as he can wind up his matters to quit New York to come and reside here. His wife and family are Americans and his property in New York is not confiscated. He is come to England chiefly for the purpose of prosecuting this claim and is about to return to New York as soon as this and his other business is finished.
A plantation adjoining Elizabeth Town.
Title - Conveyance
dated 27 April 1776 whereby George Mitchel and uxor in consideration of £935
N.J. Curry conveys to John Stites in fee a tract of land in Elizabeth Town
containing 27 acres 22 rods.
Did not know Mr. Stites before 1777 but knew him from that time till he
himself left New York, which was the October before the evacuation. He never
knew anything to the contrary of his loyalty. He had a share in a privateer with
Dr. Henry Norris….Sworn
Has long known the claimant. Knew him before the war, but had not seen
him from 1773 to 1781. His father had property at Elizabeth Town, but claimant
had no property there at that time. He saw him in New York in 1781 when he kept
a store in Queen Street. He was always represented to the witness as a Loyalist
in he never knew to the contrary when he himself came into New York, he was told
he might call upon the claimant who would not betray him. Being asked if he
thinks the claimant a Loyalist, he says whilst he lived at New York he looked
upon him as a Loyalist, but never knew him to do anything for the King against
the States. He was a quiet man.
Remembers the claimant was at Elizabeth Town in 1776 when the British
came there. He then looked upon him as a Loyalist and thinks so still, but he
knows that is not the prevailing opinion. Says he had a good deal of
conversation with him in New York. Mr. Stites thought the British arms were
declining and being a Merchant was of opinion that he might do himself no good
by making a noise. He was a quite man, knows he had a farm adjoining Elizabeth
Town which has been confiscated and sold. Nobody doubted his loyalty then. In
August 1777 his personal estate was sold.
Audit Office - National Archives ref :- AO/12/14
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