Jersey Historical Society, Newark, NJ.
Oil Portrait of Jannetje Vrelandt Drummond,
Click on image to enlarge.
Jannetje Vrelandt Drummond, a daughter of prosperous Dutch farmers in
Bergen County, was a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War. Her life and
family were torn apart by her political views and those of her husband.
In 1759, Jannetje (also known as Jane) married Robert Drummond, a
general merchant and shipper in Acquackanonk Landing (now Passaic), an
important inland port on the Passaic River. By the time of the
Revolution, Robert and Jannetje were prosperous and prominent community
members. They were the parents of three living children and, appropriate
to their station in life, had their portraits painted. Robert was an
officer in the local militia. He served in the New Jersey Assembly and
then in the patriot Provincial Congress. While Robert was interested in
correcting injustices brought by the Crown, he was not an advocate of
When the British army invaded New Jersey in November 1776, it
appeared that the patriot cause would soon be lost. To protect his
family and his considerable business interests, Robert formally
affiliated with the Loyalists and was made a major in the New Jersey
Volunteers by the British General, William Howe. Through his local
influence he recruited some 200 local volunteers to his company. At this
time, the fortunes of Jannetje and her family changed forever.
Loyalists and their families in New Jersey, as in other states, were
subject to personal harassment and physical harm, as well as to
punishing, anti-Tory laws. Early in 1777, local mobs plundered the
Drummond Store and carried off some 1000 Pounds worth of goods.
Presumably, for reasons of safety, Jannetje and her children, ages 14,
11, and 2, accompanied Robert when he was stationed in Long Island, and
then in Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas. During their absence
Robertís land and property was confiscated and sold, Jannetje was
indicted for treason, and property she had inherited from her father was
confiscated and sold.
After the peace of 1783, Robert fled to England, presumably with
Jannetje and the children. He lived in London and died there in 1789,
leaving no will. At this time Jannetje must have returned to New Jersey.
She died in 1790 in Essex County, also leaving no will. Her daughter
Mary soon married, her youngest son Elias, age 16, became the ward of a
family friend, but it isnít clear what became of her other son,