Loyalist Janet Russell
The first document we had to read was the Evidence of the Foregoing Memorial of Janet Russell. On the first page is Janet Russell’s claim which is stated below. Janet Russell’s late husband David Russell lived in the parish of Saint Georgia in the province of Georgia in the year 1776. He was summoned to take the oath to the Rebel Government, but changed his mind instead of taking the oath. When David Russell left Georgia, he went to Florida and joined Colonel Brown’s Rangers where he was later taken as a prisoner. He was then appointed a Major of the Militia, upward his commission under the Hand of Sir James Wright Governor of the Province – He continued Major of Militia with the Evaluation of the Province – on the land of the Savannah he to St. Augustine and dies there about 10 months since. Province Col. Dated July 5th, 1782, under the hand of Sir James Wright certifying that David Russell was a Major of Militia and Justice of the Peace in Georgia and a good and loyal subject. Likewise, a certificate under the hand of Sir James Wright dates Nov. 10th, 1783 testifying to the same effect (pg. 71).
Janet Russell and her family are originally from England. Her and husband had five kids together, four of which moved back to England with them. They remained loyal to the crown because England’s laws are what they grew up with. Growing up in a society where there was just one King, their political views, thoughts about society, and how the government worked all came from the Britain. When war broke out between America and Britain, they felt they had no choice but to move back. After David Russell changed his mind about taking an oath with the Rebel Government, taken as a prisoner in Georgia, and becoming a Major of Militia who brought peace in Georgia, he and his wife Janet both thought they would be rewarded with some form of land in Georgia as a thank you gift for the service David did and to thank them for being loyal to the crown.
In Daniel Coke’s book on The Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists, 1783 to 1785, he shares with us the Memorial of Janet Russell.
Memorial of Janet Russell Nov. 11th, 1783.
Determin’d the 24th
of November 1785.
“Widow of David Russell settled in Georgia who bore arms. Stephen Haven—late of Savannah in Georgia Naval Officer—sworn. Says he has seen David Russell and knew that he belonged to the Irish Settlement at Queensborough. Says he understood that he was a reputable Farmer there and possess’d of Land. He always understood the Claimer to be his Wife. Says that most of the people in that Settlement went into Rebellion & David Russell was one of the very few who preserved his loyalty. The settlement was upon Briar Creek about 70 or 80 miles from Savannah. N.B., she received an Allowance form the Treasury of 40 a year” (pg. 30).
Janet Russell Timeline
Coke, Daniel Parker. The Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists, 1783 to 1785. University of Oxford. 1915.