John Stites appears to have served for both sides during the Revolutionary War or War of
Independence. This got him into trouble for which he was subjected to an
Inquisition by the American side, which resulted in his property being
confiscated. After the war he tried to obtain compensation for the losses with
the British government in London.
The New Jersey
Gazette (Trenton), December 16, 1778.
AT an Inferior court of Common-Pleas held for the county of Essex, on the
15th day of September last, were returned inquisitions for joining the army of
the King of Great-Britain, and other treasonable practices found against
of which proclamation was made at said Court, that if they, or any on their
behalf, or any persons interested, would appear and traverse, a trial should be
awarded; but no traverses were offered:
Therefore NOTICE is hereby given, That if neither they, nor any in their
behalf, nor any interested, shall appear and traverse at the next Court to be
held for the said county, the inquisitions will then be taken to be true, and
final judgment entered thereon in favour of the state.
JOHN CLAWSON, Commission
Elizabeth-town, Nov. 14, 1778.
See John's Inquisitions and associated Court cases with regard
to his property :-
Inquisition 18 March 1779
John had land confiscated by the American side during the Revolutionary War. After the
war he took action in London to try and reclaim his property :-
"Stites, John of New York City, merchant. Memorials by attorney London
1784; by the claimant, London, 1786. He is a native of America, was settled in
NYC at the beginning of the rebellion but was obliged to leave in 1776. He
purchased a small farm at Elizabeth Town, New Jersey, to which he took his
family and there commandeered a militia detachment. When the [British] army came
there in the same year he joined them. Claim for a house and 27 acres at
Elizabeth Town; bonds, etc. Rejected. [National Archives, London ref :-
AO12/14/231, 109/276; AO13/83/612-615, 111/483-494]"
(Note - the ref in the book refers to him as "Stiles", however the
National Archives documents clearly show it to be "Stites".
Source - 'American Migration 1765-1794' by Peter Wilson Coldham, ISBN
The comment "He seems to have been a dubious Loyalist", is written in
a similar article in the book 'Collections of the New Jersey Historical Society
Vol 10, Loyalists of New Jersey' by E. Alfred Jones.
In his depositions to claim compensation from the British after the
war he stated his service as :-
Application of 1786 :-
"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.
That your memorialist went, at a very great personal risqué from Sir Geo.
Osborne at his (Sir George’s) particular desire when he commandeered a
detachment at Elizabeth Town to Sir Wm. Howe with intelligence of importance in
the month of December 1776.
in consequence of your memorialists exertions in favor of Great Britain, during
the rebellion in America he has been prosecuted in the year 1777 and all his
property in New Jersey ( a schedule of which he begs leave to annex) has been
confiscated and sold in consequence of his loyalty to his Majesty and attachment
to the British Government."
Evidence on the foregoing by John Stites :-
"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"
See his compensation claims as held by the National Archives in London :-
Return to Dr. John Stites