3 thoughts on “Welcome to the Redding Historical Society”

  1. To Whom it May Concern,

    Hi! I am a descendant of John and Hepzibeth Lyon, a couple that lived in Redding until patriot persecution drove them to seek sanctuary in a refugee camp on Long Island. Yes, they were loyalists. In 1783, the Lyons and their seven children sailed on the first refugee evacuation vessel to leave New York City for what is now the province of New Brunswick. They helped to found Kingston, a town where Connecticut accents were part of the landscape for the next several decades.
    In 2007, my history about the Lyons and their fellow loyalists was published as an e-book. In December, The Burdens of Loyalty: Refugee Tales from the First American Civil War was published in paperback form. It has been revised and expanded since its first publication, featuring more stories about loyal Americans as well as maps and photographs.

    As the author, I will be given a number of copies by the publisher. Would your historical society appreciate receiving this saga of a Redding family that ended their days in British North America (today’s Canada)? As a descendant of a Connecticut couple, I would be happy to donate a copy to your society.

    Besides recounting the story of the Lyon (and Betts) family, The Burdens of Loyalty tells the stories of over 110 loyalists, most of whom once called Connecticut home. There are stories of Black Loyalists — African slaves who were given their freedom by the British— as well as Jewish loyalists, widows, farmers, lawyers, and the others who made up the 40,000 loyalist refugee population that settled in modern day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

    Reviews on this history in its original e-book format include the following:

    “Stephen Eric Davidson especially helped me understand the pride of present-day Loyalists. His work on the Loyalists past is a model for genealogists, for he adds human details and family stories to the “begat, begat, begat” of traditional genealogies. ” – Thomas B. Allen, Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War

    “Every now and then, a true gem crosses the path of the family researcher. A jewel that not only sparkles with new information, but also has the luster of being – well, just – entertaining. … Burdens of Loyalty is an easy and entertaining book – more personal in nature than scholarly, but within its 200+ pages, the reader will find wonderful insights to the life and troubles of a family finding itself pitted against friends and neighbors and, ultimately, ending up on the losing side of the conflict. The story of the Loyalists after the War is largely unknown. The tales of blacklisting hardships, of resettlement, of the need to begin life anew in a foreign land leave the reader with a renewed appreciation for the fortitude of our ancestors.” — Mike Lyon, president of the Lyon Families Association of America

    “Stephen Davidson sets his purpose for creating this book … in his foreword: “… a more accurate retelling of the Loyalist story for the general reader, one that reveals the many aspects of the refugee experience across class lines, is long overdue.” The first eight chapters clearly establish the background of conflict in “America’s First Civil War.” Davidson describes global tensions translated into community divisions between Patriot and Tory in Connecticut. Using his own family history as the anchor for reporting the social struggles around Lloyd’s Neck, Redding, Stamford and Long Island, the author, in conversational tones, brings the amateur historian and the genealogist “up to speed’ as he connects past and present history, landmarks and events of interest to the reader. … Starting out as a family story and personal search for family, Davidson’s work certainly puts a three dimensional perspective on the dry facts of history. Because he takes pains to set the historical background for the revolutionary times, this … book is worth your time to read.” — Grietje R. McBride, book reviewer forThe Loyalist Gazette

    If you would like to learn more about a family from Redding that lived through “the other side” of the American Revolution experience, I would be pleased to send your society a complimentary copy of The Burdens of Loyalty. It would be great to do something for the old home town.

    Yours in Nova Scotia,
    Stephen Davidson

    PS: I have now stood by both the grave of Hepzibeth Betts Lyon in Kingston, New Brunswick and the resting place of her brother Stephen Betts in Redding. Hepzibeth was a loyalist’s wife and a patriot’s sister.

  2. Hi Stephen! We spoke a number of years ago when you were still doing the research for your book. Congratulations on completing a monumental task. Yes, I think it safe to speak on behalf of the society in expressing a desire to have a copy of our own. You can mail it to: P.O. Box 1023, Redding Center, CT 06875. I can can’t wait to read it and share it. Thanks – Charley Couch

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