The left hand of the grandfather clock crept slowly toward twelve and Margaret stared at the spinning wheel propped beside her knees. As the faint tick of the clock kept rhythm with William and Margaret's heartbeats; the couple waited in silence. And then, a sudden and thunderous knock vibrated the iron latch, dangling from the front door. William instantly stood, but before he could move forward, Margaret and the children ran screaming to his side. And the strong-jawed Scottish gentleman provided a comforting kiss to his family and opened the door, waiting for the heavy chain to be wrapped around his neck and wrists.

As the jailers forcefully pulled William down the street and toward the Morristown, New Jersey jail, villagers cursed and mocked the loyalist, taunting him with buckets of hot bubbling tar and sacks filled with goose feathers: "ye traitor, where is ye king now?" the townsmen jeered. But with an air of pride, William Templeton never turned his head to face his accusers, eyes pierced on the stoney road below his feet.

Approaching the darkened jail, a stench of sewage and death floated in the air. And as William stumbled down the steps, wrists bleeding from the weight of the chain, moans of the imprisoned men echoed against the icy walls. "Ye had ye change," the jailer laughed, as he shoved William inside the pitch-black cell.

The Scotsman lingered in the frigid cell, lying next to men dying from Typhoid fever and rats scurrying to steal crumbs from the plates shoved under the door. But William's loyalty to his British king never wavered; never faltered; feeling certain the frightening insurgence would soon end.

On his fortieth day of imprisonment, the clanging of the iron door startled William from his weakened state and the jailer bellowed out, motioning the Scotsman to come forward. Coaxing him through the cell and down the hallway, the jailer sneered: "times up."

William stumbled outside the jail, and onto the street, struggling to fight the sting of the sun piercing his eyes. But the jailer quickly directed him into the Morristown village hall, shoving him into a long line of bruised and filth covered men, waiting for their judgment of treachery.

The Scotsman, William Templeton, was released on bond, but he would face years of punishment for his loyalty to England, losing his property and all possessions to the Council of Safety of 1777 and 1778-the commission overseeing the fate of the loyalists.

A man that never took up arms against his neighbors; just steadfast in his loyalty to his mother country.

Previous mention of my loyalist ancestor had been the subject of this blog; but his story was still unfolding. With fervent dedication, I uncovered additional details and I will share my arduous trail:

With the discovery of my ancestor's name on a "loyalists" list of Morris County, New Jersey, I reviewed the sources of the published book. Contacting the genealogy department of the Morristown Library; I commissioned a search for the sources of the publication. The library staff, revealing that my loyalist ancestor was arrested and then released on bond in May 1778, released copies of the archived articles. Even more sources for further research were provided, ultimately directing me to the final disposition for William Templeton:
The New Jersey State Supreme Court.

Researching a trail of sources between publications may require digging, but the results can be staggering; bringing answers to open-ended questions and tying up loopholes. Which is why providing sources for any genealogical publication is a critical piece to your overall work. Your sources can provide leads for other researchers, such as yourself, in their trail of unrequited questions; perhaps resulting in a "supreme" genealogical finale for another researcher.

Keep searching for answers,

1)The Loyalist of New Jersey; Their Memorials, Petitions, Claims, Etc. From English Records; Jones, E. Alfred, MA, F.R. Historical Society; Newark, 1927.
2)Minutes of the Council of Safety of the State of New Jersey; printed by John H. Lyon; Jersey City; 1872)


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