Author Valerie H. McKito’s new book, From Loyalists to Loyal Citizens: The DePeyster Family of New York (2015 SUNY Press) takes a look at the DePeyster family, one of the first families of New Amsterdam. The family ranked among the wealthiest of New York during the early days of the American Republic. The DePeysters were also unapologetic Loyalists, serving in the King’s forces during the American Revolution.
After the war, the four sons left the United States for Canada and Great Britain. Ten years later, one son, Frederick DePeyster, returned to New York, embraced his Loyalist past, and utilized his British connections to become a prominent and successful merchant. The DePeysters went on to become true Patriots, zealously supporting US interests in the War of 1812.
This book examines the forces at work in the lives of the DePeyster family and the decisions they made to navigate their way from loyal subjects of the British crown to loyal citizens of the United States. How this transformation occurred challenges many of the preconceived ideas we hold both about the Revolution and the formation of the American identity in the years following the war.
Author Valerie H. McKito is an independent scholar who lives in Lubbock, Texas.
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