Cadwallader Colden II, son of Lieutenant Governor Cadwallader Colden of New York from 1762-1776, lived in the precinct of Hanover, Ulster County, New York. In addition to farming, surveying and mercantile interests, he held a number of positions including: major during the French and Indian War; judge with the Ulster County Court of Common Pleas, 1769-1775; and justice of the peace, 1769-1775. His life changed dramatically with the coming of the American Revolution. In early 1776 he was arrested for his Loyalist sympathies, confined in the Kingston jail and on a prison ship, and later held as a parolee at homes and country inns, before being banished behind the British lines in New York City in August 1778. In 1780, he was appointed, Commissary to the British Prisoners in the Possession of the Enemy and continued in this capacity until the British evacuation in 1782. In 1784, the New York authorities finally allowed him to return home to Hanover, now called Montgomery, where he died on 18 February 1797.
The reel contains the journal kept by Cadwallader Colden II during the American Revolution. It includes the following periods: early 1776 to his arrest and confinement in Kingston jail; August 1776, paroled at his home; December 1776, appearance before the Continental Congress; March 1777, ordered to take the oath of allegiance to the State of New York, charged with committing overt acts of loyalism, sent to fleet prison; September 1777, paroled to Hurley, New York; July 1778, exiled to New York City. While he was living in New York City, he pleaded with state leaders, including Governor George Clinton, for his release, which did not come until 1784.