Ye Olde Activity Four

Your ancestors were very active during the American Revolutionary War. Some Patriots fought in the Battle of Long Island. Others helped with the whaleboat raids on British camps. Long Island even had its own spy ring during the war. It helped get important information about the British to General Washington. The Long Island spy ring was one of the best kept secrets of the Revolution. It was not until long after the war that people heard about these spies.

In 1775, civil war (war between people of the same country) erupted in the Town of Hempstead. Issues between the Loyalists in the south and Patriots in the north permanently split the town.

In April, during a Hempstead Town meeting controlled by those loyal to George III, a decision was made to swear allegiance to the king rather than support the Continental Congress. The Patriots were outraged. Patriots living in the northern part of the town (then part of Queens County) voted to support the Congress.

In September, the northern residents published their declaration of independence. They then decided to split from the Town of Hempstead. The border dividing the two towns would be ''country road,'' which is today's Old Country Road. Soon after the war, the State Legislature made it official, dividing Hempstead Town into North Hempstead and South Hempstead. In 1796 South Hempstead simply became Hempstead.

Alarmed at Hempstead's refusal to support the Patriot cause, the Continental Congress in early 1776 ordered Colonial Nathaniel Heard to take 500 or so of his New Jersey military to change the mind of any Loyalist. Colonial Nathaniel Heard and his men marched through Jamaica, Hempstead, Jericho and Oyster Bay, forcing 500 Loyalist to sign a loyalty oath. They also collected muskets, blunderbusses, swords and cutlasses.


It became clear early in the war that taking sides, whether Loyalist or Patriot, would have consequences well beyond the years of the war itself. The Loyalists found this out to their sorrow. After ratifying the Declaration of Independence, the Convention of the newly proclaimed State of New York decreed that all persons in the state owed allegiance to the laws of the state, and those who helped to make war on the state were guilty of treason. This meant Loyalists.

After the war, those who chose to be Loyalist, including large numbers of Long Islanders, were to face severe penalties. Their personal property was confiscated, homes taken away and reputations destroyed. Many of them fled to other parts of the world, never to return.

St. George's Church, founded in 1702, as it stands today in Hempstead; situated in the part of town loyal to the king, the church was used for worship by British troops and their supporters.


You are now a Long Island Loyalist. Your job is to help hunt down people suspected of sending secret messages to General George Washington. To complete your job, you will need to gather intelligence about your spy. You will then take the information obtained and create a Wanted Poster to help aide in your search.


Needed Information


Benjamin Tallmadge ... code name John Bolton.

Abraham Woodhull ... code name Samuel Culper, Sr.

Robert Townsend ... code name Samuel Culper, Jr.

Caleb Brewster ... code name Agent 725.

Austin Roe ... code name Agent 724.

Anna Smith Strong ... code name Nancy.


To acquire intelligence click on either of the icons below.