Loyalist or Patriot?

July 13, 2024
29 Warburton Ave. Yonkers, NY 10701

"Loyalist or Patriot?"

Saturday, July 13, 2024

11:00 AM and 2:00 PM

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 "Time Chat with Benjamin Thayer," 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, a Marbleheader, a Black Loyalist, a camp follower, and more. 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 are held in-person at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.

Curious how it all works? Watch a recording of last year's performance:

Meet the 2024 Cast of Characters:

The following characters are real, historical people based on primary source research and portrayed by historians.

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.

Lucy Bloom
Portrayed by Leslie Bramlett

Lucy Bloom was formerly enslaved by Michael Bloom of Charlestown, South Carolina. But when the British Army offered freedom to those enslaved by Rebels, Lucy and her teenaged daughter Dinah took their chances. In 1780, they made their escape and are now living in behind British Lines in New York City alongside the British Army and many other Loyalists, both White and Black. She is anxious to see if her freedom will outlast the war.

Catherine Ellison
Portrayed by Karen Pena

Catherine Jansen Ellison is the daughter of a respectable Hudson Valley Dutch family from Kingston, where she met and married John Ellison, a landowner and shipping merchant. They built a large stone home along Silver Stream in New Windsor, NY in 1754. Most of their wealth comes from their grist mill, tenant farmers, and trade. The Ellisons are skeptical of the Patriot cause and have remained neutral, even as their home is occupied as headquarters by Continental Army General Henry Knox.

David Humphreys
Portrayed by Chad Johnson

Born in Derby, Connecticut and a graduate of Yale College, David Humphreys was once a tutor to the children of Frederick Philipse III. A fervent patriot, he joined the Continental Army and worked his way up to Lieutenant Colonel, an award he received for delivering the surrendered flags at Yorktown to Congress. Humphreys has served on the staffs of many Continental Army officers and is now an aide-de-camp to General George Washington.

Scipio Twoshoes
Portrayed by Steven Thomas

Born to a Wangunk mother and an African father near Hartford, Connecticut, Scipio Twoshoes left Hartford in 1725 for Newport, Rhode Island, where he worked as a carter. A free man and heir to land in Connecticut, he joined the Second Rhode Island Regiment as a drummer in 1780.

Sarah Osborn
Portrayed by Kierra Moore

Sarah Osborn is from Orange County, NY, but she has been accompanying her husband Aaron Osborn, a Continental Army soldier on the road of war. One of many women known loosely as "camp followers," Sarah has organized them together to ensure the soldiers get proper cooking, even during battle. General George Washington once asked her if she was not afraid of cannonballs and she replied, “No, the bullets would not cheat the gallows… and it would not do for the men to fight and starve too.”

Your Host, Benjamin Thayer
Portrayed by Michael Lord

Our facilitator in all this is Ben Thayer, the host of "Time Chat with Benjamin 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.


Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, and Friends of Philipse Manor Hall and children 12 & under are free. Tickets include museum admission and are available at the door. To reserve your spot, call 914-965-4027 or email philipsemanorhall@parks.ny.gov. Showings are at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Doors open at 10:00 AM. Seating is first come, first-served. For directions and parking information, click here.


Many thanks to the Friends of Philipse Manor Hall and Revolutionary Westchester 250 for their assistance in supporting this program.

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