Revolutionary History Made Personal

History is about people, and personal connections always add interest. On hearing we’d be visiting Charleston, SC a good friend, Austin Sayre, suggested we stop by his family’s ancestral home. The Colonel John Stuart House is in Charleston’s historic district, where many of the homes have a plaque describing their former owner’s significance. Colonel Stuart is one of Austin’s ancestors.

The plaque and Wikipedia together describe Colonel John Stuart, a Scottish rebel who later represented the British government in dealing with Native Americans. Born in 1718 in Inverness, he arrived in Charleston in 1748. During the Revolution, his loyalty to the British crown meant he had to flee Charleston, and his house was confiscated. Stuart died in Pensacola, FL in 1779. The British Commander-in-Chief in North America, General Sir Henry Clinton, lamented, “The loss of so faithful and useful a servant to His Majesty.”

Charleston is a beautiful old city. Dozens of fine homes in the historic district have been restored, and it’s absorbing to stroll among them while reading about the lives of former residents. The water front is picturesque, and is best experienced on foot wandering down the narrow streets. The city also provided our first meal out in three months (see Having a Better Pandemic in Charleston, SC).

There’s more to the story. John Stuart didn’t just sail for the new world in search of opportunity. He was fleeing for his life. In 1745 Charles Edward Stuart (“Bonnie Prince Charlie”) led the Jacobite rebellion, which sought to overthrow King George II in favor of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s father, who was waiting in France. John Stuart, clearly of the same clan and therefore related, joined the uprising. It was put down at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, where the English won a decisive victory.

What remained of the Scottish army returned to their homes in the Scottish highlands. But King George II sought revenge against the treasonous officers who had led the uprising. John Stuart was wanted, and likely faced execution if caught. He and his brother Francis left Britain, on a ship that brought them to Charleston. There, John Stuart eventually built the house we had visited, and his descendants ultimately included Austin Sayre.

Incidentally, the TV series Outlander portrays the events around Culloden, including the battle, in a number of gripping episodes.

I contemplated this historical vignette and my connection with it. Part of it didn’t add up. John Stuart had gone to war against the British Crown in 1746, following which he had fled the country. Just 14 years after Culloden, we find Captain John Stuart in the local militia fighting the Cherokee Indians.  He was captured, but later released in exchange for a ransom.  In 1762, Stuart’s familiarity with Native Americans led the British to appoint him Crown Superintendent for Indian Affairs in the South.

During the Revolution, John Stuart’s loyalty to the Crown forced him to flee again, this time from Charleston. Why did this former rebel later pledge fealty to the king?

I asked Austin, who shared the story passed down to him through his family. King George II died in 1760. He was succeeded by his grandson, George III, whose father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, had died in 1751 of a lung injury. Sometime after George III’s accession, John Stuart and his brother Francis sought a royal pardon from the new king. George III was looking for friends in the colonies, and was perhaps also influenced by John Stuart’s service in the 1759-61 Anglo-Cherokee war.  Both brothers were pardoned. This is why the Scottish rebel spent his later years as a loyal subject. What a fascinating twist!

Francis subsequently returned to Britain, but John remained in Charleston until the Revolution. He built his house between 1767 and 1772, by which time he was Colonel John Stuart.

It’s an obscure piece of history. The story was made real for us through visiting the home once owned by our friend’s ancestor, and supplemented with additional information. Charleston felt closer to Britain than does everyday life in New Jersey, because its early history is so vividly British. Our shared histories are why, for this Brit, America has so easily been home for 38 years and will be for the rest of my life.

I am descended overwhelmingly from English stock – my ancestors might even have been on the opposing side at Culloden, although Austin Sayre is too much of a gentleman to retain a grudge. Colonel John Stuart no doubt lamented the 1776 Declaration of Independence, but Austin and I agree that Britain’s loss was the world’s gain. We are a great country navigating a tough patch. We’ll make it to the other side. We always do.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Important Disclosures

The information provided is for informational purposes only and investors should determine for themselves whether a particular service, security or product is suitable for their investment needs. The information contained herein is not complete, may not be current, is subject to change, and is subject to, and qualified in its entirety by, the more complete disclosures, risk factors and other terms that are contained in the disclosure, prospectus, and offering. Certain information herein has been obtained from third party sources and, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified and its accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. No representation is made with respect to the accuracy,  completeness or timeliness of this information. Nothing provided on this site constitutes tax advice. Individuals should seek the advice of their own tax advisor for specific information regarding tax consequences of investments.  Investments in securities entail risk and are not suitable for all investors. This site is not a recommendation nor an offer to sell (or solicitation of an offer to buy) securities in the United States or in any other jurisdiction.

References to indexes and benchmarks are hypothetical illustrations of aggregate returns and do not reflect the performance of any actual investment. Investors cannot invest in an index and do not reflect the deduction of the advisor’s fees or other trading expenses. There can be no assurance that current investments will be profitable. Actual realized returns will depend on, among other factors, the value of assets and market conditions at the time of disposition, any related transaction costs, and the timing of the purchase. Indexes and benchmarks may not directly correlate or only partially relate to portfolios managed by SL Advisors as they have different underlying investments and may use different strategies or have different objectives than portfolios managed by SL Advisors (e.g. The Alerian index is a group MLP securities in the oil and gas industries. Portfolios may not include the same investments that are included in the Alerian Index. The S & P Index does not directly relate to investment strategies managed by SL Advisers.)

This site may contain forward-looking statements relating to the objectives, opportunities, and the future performance of the U.S. market generally. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of such words as; “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “should,” “planned,” “estimated,” “potential” and other similar terms. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, estimates with respect to financial condition, results of operations, and success or lack of success of any particular investment strategy. All are subject to various factors, including, but not limited to general and local economic conditions, changing levels of competition within certain industries and markets, changes in interest rates, changes in legislation or regulation, and other economic, competitive, governmental, regulatory and technological factors affecting a portfolio’s operations that could cause actual results to differ materially from projected results. Such statements are forward-looking in nature and involves a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, and accordingly, actual results may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in such forward-looking statements. Prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements or examples. None of SL Advisors LLC or any of its affiliates or principals nor any other individual or entity assumes any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, subsequent events or any other circumstances. All statements made herein speak only as of the date that they were made. r

Certain hyperlinks or referenced websites on the Site, if any, are for your convenience and forward you to third parties’ websites, which generally are recognized by their top level domain name. Any descriptions of, references to, or links to other products, publications or services does not constitute an endorsement, authorization, sponsorship by or affiliation with SL Advisors LLC with respect to any linked site or its sponsor, unless expressly stated by SL Advisors LLC. Any such information, products or sites have not necessarily been reviewed by SL Advisors LLC and are provided or maintained by third parties over whom SL Advisors LLC exercise no control. SL Advisors LLC expressly disclaim any responsibility for the content, the accuracy of the information, and/or quality of products or services provided by or advertised on these third-party sites.

All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be suitable or profitable for a client’s investment portfolio.

Past performance of the American Energy Independence Index is not indicative of future returns.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
1 reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.