Sandy Flash Drive in Kennett Square carries the moniker of James Fitzpatrick, a Revolutionary War traitor and highwayman who died by hanging, writes Joseph Gambardello for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fitzpatrick’s life story was anything but simple and sheds light on an aspect of the Revolutionary War that is often overlooked: how divided loyalties tore apart the fledgling nation.
Fitzpatrick joined the Pennsylvania militia during the war and fought in the disastrous Battle of Long Island. He deserted and made his way home to a life of crime. When the British invaded Chester County in 1777, Fitzpatrick joined them, fighting at the Battle of Brandywine.
After the battle, he gave himself the nickname Captain Fitz.
At the time, the people of Chester County were not united over the Revolution. The lack of support could go “from passive neutrality to outright loyalism,” writes Penn State historian Rosemary Warden.
In surroundings like that, Fitzpatrick built a Robin Hood-like reputation for refusing to rob the poor, targeting militia officers and tax collectors and being chivalrous toward women.
After the British left Philadelphia, he was arrested and hanged on Sept. 26, 1778.
Read more about James Fitzpatrick in The Philadelphia Inquirer here.