Jane Demarest

1743 – ????

My family was torn apart and destroyed by the Revolution.

I was born in 1743 in Bergen County and in 1761 married David G. Demarest. When the Revolution broke out my family was divided and our men joined both sides of the conflict. I was a Patriot and so I was mortified when David enlisted as a Loyalist in the 4th Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers, on November 23, 1776. Soon after, he was taken prisoner, but he was able to get back home, only to rejoin his battalion on May 16, 1779.

Meanwhile, my eldest son Gilliam joined the Patriot Bergen County militia and served when called to defend our State frontiers. But regardless of his service, since my husband was a Loyalist, the State started to confiscate our property.

David left the Volunteers in 1780 and joined a Loyalist force raised to supply the British with firewood. This meant that now David might run into raiding parties that could include his own father. In August 1781, David’s Loyalist battalion captured three “notorious rebels” during a raid on Hackensack; one of the rebels was Gilliam. He was sent to Sugar House prison in New York City, where David went to try to convince him to switch sides, but he refused. He was eventually exchanged and came back.

I never returned to David. After the war, he sailed with the British to Nova Scotia. Our family stayed behind and was left without a home or property after fighting for both the losers and the winners.


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