finding your roots

Colonel Tye

frances moore March 23, 2012

Twenty years ago, I went to a family gathering of a collateral elderly cousin, Vivian Titus. By some accounts, she was an avid researcher and had wanted to share the results of her most recent find. I was only mildly interested at the time but I remember saving a napkin on which she’d printed a runaway ad regarding a young, negro man named Titus who had escaped his master John Corlis. Years later, As the years passed, I started doing family research on my own. When I heard about Col Tye and the circumstances of how he ran away at the age of 21, because he cruel Quaker master would not grant him his freedom, chills ran down my spine! The names fit. I wondered if Vivian knew that her ancestor was the famous Col Tye who was one of many blacks to join the British to fight for his freedom during the American Revolution? Descendants of the Titus family have maintained a family tradition of gathering together for Thanksgiving which is nearly 200 years old. It started with the Titus ancestors who lived in New Jersey.
My 4th gr grandfather Thomas Titus, born 1785, became a freedman and a property owner after Gerardus Beekman freed him in 1814. Gerardus was known to be a Loyalist. I believe that Thomas was related to Col Tye. A local researcher believes that they were one and the same.

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About the Series

The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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