Allegiance Announcement

Press Release, 01/2022

Falmouth resident Tamsen George has just released an historical biography entitled Allegiance: The Life and Times of William Eustis. She stumbled upon this eighteenth-century Boston doctor when executive director of the Shirley-Eustis Association. At that time, the association with its house, barn and grounds featured its connections with Royal Governor William Shirley, the original owner in 1747. On the urging of an association member, Ms. George took up the challenge of creating a biography of William Eustis, the nineteenth-century governor for whom the historic house association is also named. 

The long-term project extended well beyond her retirement taking nearly ten years. As her research grew, she became increasingly fascinated by Eustis and his long history within Boston, the new Commonwealth and the formation of our nation. Some discoveries reminded her of the film, Forrest Gump, where the protagonist was always in the picture, just as William Eustis was. Her research drew her into Boston; the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston Public Library and the state archives; to New York and the New-York Historical Society; to the Library of Congress and even conferences at West Point, Williamsburg, VA and a visit to Paris, France. 

What was it about Eustis? He was there. If there had been media coverage in the eighteenth century, William Eustis would have been interviewed as a key eyewitness. He was in the room, a witness and an insider. Following his two-year apprenticeship with Boston’s Dr. Joseph Warren, Eustis was with Warren when he sent Paul Revere for his famous ride. He was with George Washington when the treachery of Benedict Arnold was discovered, and cared for the hysterical Peggy Arnold. 

But his story does not stop there. Eustis took part in most formative events in the creation of the United States with its citizens’ different attitudes, their ideas of allegiance, their lifestyles and loyalties. He arrived in Brussels days after the battle of Waterloo and became acquainted with such as the Duke of Wellington, and King William I of the Netherlands. He became Secretary of War, friend and trusted adviser to James Madison, then became American Minister to the United Netherlands, and returning to Congress as a representative. defender of the rights of Black people during arguments about the Missouri Compromise. Eustis’s life culminated as governor of Massachusetts, with the pleasure of entertaining his old friend the Marquis de Lafayette at his home. 

Map of Boston 1834
Eustis, Boston Map 1775

Meticulously researched, author Tamsen George, brings us a little recognized man who embodies all those unsung persons who devoted their lives to build a nation markedly different from its European roots. Without all those “common” people as supporters, there would have been no Revolution. After all, there never had been a democratic republic established that had survived anywhere, ever, until the people took it in hand.