Loyalist or Patriot

July 29, 2023
29 Warburton Ave. Yonkers, NY 10701

Saturday, July 29, 2023
Loyalist or Patriot?  

11:00 AM and 2:00 PM | in-person at Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site

Whose side are you on? During the American Revolution, the Philipses were staunch Loyalists. The Hudson Valley was the site of fierce fighting between the Patriots and the British during the Revolutionary War, and Westchester County in particular was a contested “neutral zone.” How did people decide where their loyalties lay?

Join us for a unique living history “talk show,” colonial-style. Our host Benjamin Thayer will ask the hard questions of seven real historical people, including Mary Philipse Morris, an Algonquian British ally, a Continental army officer, and an enslaved woman named Liss. Learn how and why they decided to stay loyal to the British Crown, or revolt as Patriots, and how they feel about the other side. Will they answer honestly? Will they argue with each other? Join us to find out! Time for audience Q&A will follow each performance. Performances held in-person at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.

Tickets are $16/person, $10 for Friends of Philipse Manor Hall members. Get tickets here or at the link below.

Co-sponsored by the Friends of Philipse Manor Hall

Meet the Characters:

Mary Philipse Morris

Portrayed by Sarah Wassberg Johnson

Mary Philipse was once the wealthiest heiress in the American colonies. When she married British Army officer Colonel Roger Morris, she left her brother’s house—Philipse Manor Hall—for New York City and then the newly constructed Mount Morris. She was forced from her home by the Battle of Washington Heights and has now fled Philipse Manor Hall with her family for British-controlled New York City. She and the entire Philipse family are loyal to the Crown.

Black Corn

Portrayed by Drew Shuptar-Rayvis

Black Corn ( Pekatawas MakataWai’U) is a Pocomoke man whose family was forced to leave their lands in the colony of Maryland. Settling with their cousins the Nanticoke in the Delaware River Valley, they moved again to Oswego at the outbreak of war. Black Corn and his family have sided with the English, who have promised to prevent further European settlement on Native lands.


Major John André

Portrayed by Jim Keyes

John André was born in London to wealthy Huguenot parents. He joined the British Army in 1771. In 1779 he became Adjutant General of the British Army in North America, which gave him the rank of Major. André helped facilitate General Benedict Arnold’s defection from the Rebels. In attempting to escape the Patriot lines, he was captured out of uniform.


Portrayed by Carla Lynne Hall

Enslaved by the Townsend family of Oyster Bay, Long Island, Liss was subject to the political tensions of the time. British Colonel John Simcoe helped her escape, but she was re-enslaved by another British officer in New York City. She remains in contact with Robert Townsend, one of George Washington’s spies.

Lucy Flucker Knox

Portrayed by Tiffanie Downs

Lucy was born in Massachusetts to the wealthy Flucker family. Against her family’s wishes, she fell in love with and married Henry Knox—a common Boston bookseller. When the war broke out, Lucy’s family remained loyal to the Crown, but the newlyweds wanted to join the Patriot cause. They fled Boston and Henry joined the Continental Army, eventually becoming a General under George Washington.

Captain Gershom Mott

Portrayed by Chad Johnson

Gershom Mott was born and raised in New York, son of timber merchants. He was an early member of New York City’s Sons of Liberty and joined in Stamp Act protests in the 1760s. He is now a captain in the Continental Army.


David Williams

Portrayed by Matt Thorenz

The son of a Philipse tenant farmer, David Williams enlisted as a private in the 4th New York Regiment on July 4, 1775. After suffering frostbitten feet in Canada, he was discharged from the Continental Army and joined the local militia. He and his fellow militia members just happened to be in the right place at the right time to capture a British officer out of uniform.


Your Host, Benjamin Thayer

Portrayed by Michael Lord

Our facilitator in all this is Ben Thayer, who will be bridging the timeline gap between present day and our historical guests as he asks them questions to help us understand why they chose to stay loyal to the Crown, or rebel as Patriots.


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