The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: March 15

WILLIAMSBURG, March 15, 1776.
At a committee held for Nansemond county, at the house of John Aspray in Suffolk town, on Wednesday, the 22nd of November 1775, present Wilis Riddick, chairman, and 11 members. BETSEY HUNTER being summoned to appear before this committee, for writing certain letters to her mother, and brother (John Hunter, of Norfolk) informing them of the situation of our guards in this county, that the people were in arms at Suffolk and Smithfield, and that our troops were crossing the river on their march down here, and many other matters of importance, the said Betsey Hunter appeared, and said, that she did not intend them as letters of intelligence, but wrote them for her amusement. The committee, having heard the letters read, are of opinion that they were intended as letters of intelligence, and inimical to the American cause. Ordered therefore, that the said Betsey Hunter, with Mary and Martha Wilkinsons (who were privy to and assisting in the said letters, and were also summoned to appear before this committee) be advertised in the publick papers, and looked on as enemies to America. LEMUEL GODWIN, clerk.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie) March 15, 1776

About this entry:

Very little is known about Betsey Hunter. She may have been the sister of John Hunter Jr. of Gosport who moved to Virginia in 1769 to live with his uncle John Hunter. John Jr. joined the British and fought at the Battle of Great Bridge in December 1775 just weeks after his sister was censured for her letter writing in the newspaper. John was later taken prisoner, but he was exchanged and finally returned to Britain sometime around 1780 with his eldest sister, who had been held captive for nine weeks. His sister is unnamed in his loyalist claim, but we may guess that this was Betsey.

Sources: Coldham & VCRP

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