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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Conference Papers and Proceedings
Peer Review Status: Unrefereed
Author(s): Marsh, Benjamin John
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Title: Amity, Enmity, and Emotions in the Recollections of Elizabeth Johnston, Georgia Loyalist
Citation: Marsh BJ (2009) Amity, Enmity, and Emotions in the Recollections of Elizabeth Johnston, Georgia Loyalist. Eighth Southern Association of Women Historians (SAWH) Conference, 4.6.2009 - 6.6.2009, University of South Carolina, Columbia. Available from:
Issue Date: 4-Jun-2009
Conference Name: Eighth Southern Association of Women Historians (SAWH) Conference
Conference Dates: 2009-06-04T00:00:00Z
Conference Location: University of South Carolina, Columbia
Abstract: First paragraph: “No one could possibly claim,” explained Arthur Eaton in his preface, that Elizabeth Johnston and her Recollections “are of very wide historical or even biographical interest.” She did not fire any cannons or act heroically, did not enter into personal correspondence with great figures, did not influence the course of political events, or in any other ways stake a claim to historical significance. Indeed, Eaton felt the need to justify her significance through her progeny, reeling off a long chain of her descendants who had subsequently held weighty positions in Canada – chief justices and Supreme Court judges, reverends, senators, and physicians “of the highest professional and social standing.”1 Firstly as a loyalist, and secondly as a woman, Johnston was – until recently – pretty irrelevant to the historiographical architecture of the American Revolution. Johnston was 72 in 1836 when, principally for her grandchildren, she wrote her memoirs, which comprised a loose narrative interspersed with retrospective observations and memorable vignettes, and she appended to them a set of precious family letters dated between 1769 and 1784. She chose the title Recollections of a Georgia Loyalist, a notable statement of identity in light of her residency in Nova Scotia from 1806 until her death in Halifax in 1848.2 This indicated that Johnston carried with her for the rest of her life, like thousands of her contemporaries, the physical and psychological traumas of the American Revolution.
Status: Author Version

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