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Joseph Stansbury

British Spy

STANSBURY, Joseph  - A Klos Family Project - Revolutionary War General

 

 

STANSBURY, Joseph, merchant, born in England in 1750; died in New York city in 1809. He emigrated to Philadelphia, where he became an importing merchant, and was generally respected for his integrity. In 1776 it was reported that he "sung ' God save the King' in his house, and that a number of persons present bore him the chorus," and before the close of that year he was imprisoned in Burlington, New Jersey. 

In 1777 he was appointed by Sir William Howe a commissioner for selecting and governing the city watch of Philadelphia, and in 1778 he was a manager of that officer's lottery for the relief of the poor. In 1780 the Whigs were again in possession of Philadelphia, and again imprisoned him, and the agent of the loyalists' estates was directed by the council of Philadelphia to make an inventory of his possessions. His request for permission to live within the British lines was granted on the condition that he should procure the release and safe return of two prisoners then on Long Island, and that he would do nothing injurious to the Whig cause. He was liberated, his property was restored, and with his family he resided in New York during the remainder of the war, and afterward removed to Nova Scotia, but returned to Philadelphia in 1785, intending to resume his former occupation, but, threatened with violence, he removed to New York, where he became secretary of an insurance company. 

He wrote in support of the crown, and his verses were edited by Winthrop Sargent under the title of Stansbury's and Odell's " Loyal Verses" (Albany, 1860).

 His son, Philip Stansbury, traveler, born in New York city about 1802; died about 1870, was the author of "A Pedestrian Tour of Two Thousand Three Hundred Miles in North America, to the Lakes, the Canadas, and the New England States, performed in the Autumn of 1821 " (New York, 1822). This work, which is exceedingly rare, is characterized by great keenness of observation, and contains one of the best descriptions extant of the important battle-fields included in the conquest of Canada in 1759-'63, its invasion during the war of 1812, the wars with the Indians in the New England states, the Revolutionary contest in Massachusetts, and the disastrous expedition of General Burgoyne. As a comparison between the customs, habits of living, modes of thought and educational interests of New England and New York of seventy years since and today, Stansbury's work is valuable.


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